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  1. Today
  2. As far as I know, none of the color episodes have aired down under. I never watch Free-To-Air television here because most of it is beyond painful so I can't say for certain, but I seriously doubt it. I have to import a lot of what interests me.
  3. Here's a full-length TV spot. Pity this couldn't be found for the DVD.
  4. Thanks for the fascinating insight! After the first telecast, a lot of people online seemed to want Allison Janney to play Maude. She seems like a good choice, although she is tied to a CBS show.
  5. Did the color episodes play in theaters in Australia, Mot? I don't remember you mentioning it before. Heck, do they even air on TV down there? Excuse my American-ness. "Dancing Star" is so, so, so incredible- probably even better than the way more famous second half with Harpo. It's interesting to think how this two parter reunited Lucy with former co-stars. I wonder how many movie buffs would've recognized the connection at the time; same with William Holden's appearance. When the TV special featuring "Dancing Star" aired, naturally my family gathered together for it, and before it aired I went on a tirade about it being "one of, if not the greatest Lucy performance ever", and afterwards the general consensus was that Lucy's performance is otherworldly. Maybe part of it comes from the fact that it's kind of an underground gem, not included with the evergreen classics that will always be engrained in pop culture. There aren't any huge comedy scenes, but the episode really gets to the heart of the Lucy character. For once, she finally gets a chance to shine onstage with a big star- independent of Ricky, no less! And she doesn't ruin the situation, either. That scene where Lucy and Van perform the number together at the show should be studied by actors everywhere. You'd expect everything to fall apart, and it seems that way at first, but as the number continues Lucy eases into it and it's just so crazy good. It makes you think that maybe she should be included in Ricky's show once in awhile! And the look on her face when she comes backstage after performing is one for the ages. It's the Lucy character at her most crystallized, pure essence.
  6. Wendie Malick is a great choice, Mot! She has the "bite" that Maude should have, but would certainly bring her own thing to the role. As much as I enjoy JLD, I really can't see her playing the character. I think Louis CK would've been an awesome Archie Bunker. His first sitcom, Lucky Louie, was pretty obviously inspired by Lear's works. Let's not forget that Maude has been remade before, as Nobody's Perfect in the UK with Elaine Stritch and Richard Griffiths! Re, Upperco: I remember reading on your blog that you were involved with this endeavor at one point, and it's a shame that they aren't still consulting you. Hardly anybody has such terrific insight into what makes great television.
  7. I could definitely see Julia as Maude!
  8. I was involved in an earlier iteration of this project. The dream Maude the producers went into pitch this idea with was Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Incidentally, Louis C.K. was the dream Archie Bunker -- pre-2017 -- with Molly Shannon as the ideal Edith.) As for Good Times, all the producers wanted to do Sanford And Son as the last of the big four, but because that was a Yorkin series with which Lear had limited involvement, the latter insisted upon Good Times instead.
  9. Yesterday
  10. That's a really good question. Wendie Malick came to my mind as a possibility. She can be fiery and feisty...maybe not to the same degree as Bea, but perhaps she'd put her own stamp on it.
  11. I have to agree with Neil on his Good Times assessment. Perhaps whatever episode they've chosen to recreate has themes that relate to some important issue going on today. Also, Good Times has a handful of cast members who are still with us, so I wouldn't be surprised if we got one or two cameos. I thought that The Jeffersons cast pulled it off better than the AITF cast last time, but they didn't pick a very good showing for the Bunkers. Personally, I think these specials are a great idea, because Norman Lear's shows are so very theatrical. Next to All in The Family, Maude is probably his greatest show, but I have no clue who could fill Bea Arthur's shoes today. Then again, you'd never think of Marisa Tomei as an Edith Bunker type.
  12. I just got the colorized collection and have been making my way through them over the past 24 hours: Pioneer Women This episode looks very pretty. I like the bolder colors they're using for the newer ones. You can tell the gang was starting to get more comfortable with things this time around, but it still has that slightly stilted first season feel. Lucy seems to struggle raising her voice, which cracks on a number of occasions. As funny as the bread loaf is, I can't ever shake the fact that this is the most illogical gag the series ever did. I wish we could've seen more of the Society Matrons in future episodes, they were a hoot. Lucy Does a TV Commercial What can I say about the plot that hasn't been said already? I don't think color necessarily adds a whole lot to this installment, since the sets are modest and it's more character focused, but it was nice to catch a glimpse of the Ricardo's first bedroom in that pretty shade of teal. The restoration of Lucy's Philip Morris bit was astounding; it was nearly impossible to tell that was sourced from 16mm footage. So glad they've been able to clean up those re-inserted scenes more since the original releases, and the sound is much clearer as well. Love the bold yellow they chose for the Saturday Night Varieties curtains. The Million Dollar Idea That Elois Jenssen dress in the opening scene is an absolute knockout! How wonderful there were sketches and reference photos to bring it so vividly to life. Again, the bolder colors they're using now really pop in comparison to the more faded-looking earlier entries. The painted TV backdrop was gorgeous as well. Episode wise, the plot is somewhat thin, but the two contrasting sales pitches make the whole thing worthwhile. How anyone could claim Lucy Ricardo didn't have any talent is beyond me - the woman was a master at improv! The Fashion Show Color REALLY adds a lot to this outing! It felt like I was seeing the fashion show sequence for the first time ever, and I actually gasped at some of the gowns, something I'd never done before. Lucy's sunburn was incredibly well done - as good as the B&W makeup effect was, seeing her skin tomato red really emphasized just how much she'd hurt herself. The Dancing Star Why this episode isn't talked about more among casual fans I'll never know. It's easily one of Lucille's greatest performances, and that's saying something, given she always gave great performances on this show. Lucy's pink dress is beautifully done.
  13. I see they're going to do another All in the Family. There's no denying the greatness of "AitF" and Norman Lear's contribution. But to me, the lasting appeal is in the performance of Carroll O'Connor. Beyond Family, I'm not much of a Norman Lear's 70s "relevant comedies". They're too broadly played, very "presentational", WAY too LOUD with everybody YELLING; and not all that funny. Their social themes are hammered with the subtlety as that garlic sandwich. Plus they ushered in that era of videotape instead of film. Thankfully the MTM crowd stuck with film. Positive note on the Lear shows: I liked their theme songs. I have to give them chutzpah credit for attempting to recreate episodes from the original scripts. I saw the last one. I can't say they really succeeded, but it's always fun to see something LIVE. So "All in the Family": fine, but "Good Times"? Really?? Maybe I never saw a good episode. Personally I'd rather see a cast recreate "Lucy is NG as RN"!
  14. Last week
  15. Philip Mckeon, who played the son on Bob and Madelyn’s Alice, has passed away at just 55.
  16. For the most part, I find season three much sillier and far less grounded than season two, but you're right, there is a renewed sense of energy. The Countess arc contains several of my favorite episodes. The biggest fly in the ointment is the lack of continuity with the first two years. I wish the new writers hadn't ditched the volunteer fire dept. and all the recurring friends. Their absence is glaring, and what new characters were introduced (Mrs. Valance) lack the development and personal touches that made the likes of Thelma Green and Audrey Simmons memorable. As well, while Vivian has some wonderful season three moments, I sometimes get the impression that she's just going through the motions. Maybe it has to do with all we've read, but her readiness to leave can sometimes come across as disinterest onscreen...at least to me. Having said that, however, I do think a number of third season episodes gave her more showcase moments than season two, where she was often relegated to the background to make way for Mr. Mooney. Steamboat Bessie being a prime example.
  17. Interesting perspective. I was thinking about this very thing earlier today. Season Two has been my favourite TLS season for many years, the bulk of my top 10 episodes are from this season, but lately I’ve been gravitating more towards Season Three. There’s a fresher energy to this season, more or a rewatchability factor. Was it down to the change of writers? Perhaps. Can it be chalked up to an increased effort to prove TLS was more than the original writers? Maybe. Vivian wanting to go out with a bang?
  18. Okay, thoughts on my "Skate" rewatch: For one thing, at first I tried to watch the episode up on Hulu, which has ILL, TLS, and HL all available. To my surprise, they're missing a few episodes here and there, for whatever reason, so I pulled out my DVD. I guess it must have been awhile since I watched TLS on DVD, because the wonderful menu opening really made me smile. Right away I find it funny that Lucy and Viv are schlepping around in pajamas and curlers, yet they're all done up in makeup and blue eye shadow that reminds me of my 8th grade homeroom teacher. This episode isn't the greatest. IMO the second season is better written but way more forgettable than the third- which got the lowest ratings of any TLS season (a shocking 8th place!). Even though it hasn't been broadcast in color yet, there are some nice touches- specifically in the scene at the store where Lucy is in blue and Viv is in red. Speaking of the store, I did some number crunching. The moose calls appear to cost $2.98, or $24.74 in today's money! Viv's bill of $8.50 would be $70.56 and Lucy's, at $59.60, comes out to $494.77! The store's owner, Mr. Carlyle, was 80 years old at the time- making him born in 1884. And on the subject of birthdays, I Googled Sitting Bull and discovered that nobody knows his actual birthday, so who knows what Jerry was on about. That is one ugly-ass country club. For such a swanky affair, it looks like a middle school dance. I could practically smell the Axe Body Spray. There's some real visual value that's lost by not having Lucy's scarf billow behind her. I wonder if the music was dubbed in later for editing purposes. It would've been awkward with the scene going on in silence. For my money, Viv is the real MVP of the episode. Lucy is great as always, but I found myself enjoying Viv most of all. In the store scene, just look at the way she walks out with that moose head- it's brilliant physical comedy. Lastly, I actually have my own "Good Skate" kind of story. My senior year of high school, for Halloween I was talked into dressing as Christopher Robin for the day with a group of friends who were doing Winnie The Pooh characters. As we all know, Christopher Robin has red shoes. The only person we knew who had red shoes was my friend's younger brother, a good three or four sizes smaller than me. I went through the seven hour school day wearing them and I can definitely relate to Lucy's distress. My feet weren't exactly swollen, but holy cow were they sore.
  19. Now you all have got me convinced to rewatch "Good Skate". I remember my surprise at seeing Marshall and Belson listed as writers for the episode the first time I saw it. From literally everything I've heard, Garry Marshall was the nicest guy in the world, but I agree with Neil that his shows aren't exactly high art. Without a doubt, they're entertaining, and in the same way that I can forgive the lesser entries of TLS and HL in favor of laughs, I feel the same way about a lot of his works. I think I mentioned before that I picked up the complete Laverne & Shirley for like $35, and I pop that in every once in awhile. From what I've seen of Happy Days, it's also great fun. I once saw a documentary from the late 70s that showed what went into creating the average episode of HD, and at one point, in between takes, Garry brought out a bag of candy and started throwing handfuls into the audience to get them riled up. I think that really sums up what most of his shows were like; The Odd Couple's legendary performances notwithstanding.
  20. I appreciate some of Garry Marshall's movie work (particularly "Nothing in Common" which should have earned Jackie Gleason a supporting actor nomination). I acknowledge the greatness of The Dick Van Dyke Show and a lot of "The Odd Couple". I'm not sure whether Garry was THE driving force behind either. His other TV work in the 70s: "meh". What offended me in his auto-biography was his implication (if I remember correctly) that writing for The Lucy Show was somehow slumming. Though I gave him an "A" for effort for "Good Skate", did the great roller skating scene require much writing or "black stuff"? It's great to watch Lucy on skates but as I recall, that's all she does. Brilliantly. But it's all HER; and not in the writing. I also give him kudos for using two B&M bits: entering all disheveled ;and for the line "Viv, you haven't live until you've....." (whatever the finish was). Plus they tried to do the build-up to the big scene with as much logic as possible----again "A" for effort; but "C" for execution. "Your feet are going to swell up like balloons. You'll NEVER get them into shoes in time for the dance", says Viv. Really? With a dress so long, she could have worn comfortable shoes and no one would have known. Wasn't the dance the NEXT night? Meaning Lucy would have to sleep and shower in the skates! Sneaking out of the sports store wearing moose heads is a funny sight gag, but a bit of a cheap one......hardly a way to leave without drawing attention to themselves. Marshall, like the bulk of the 1964-moving-forward writers, didn't respect the skill it took to write a great Lucy Show. And didn't have it.
  21. Thanks for the "Good Skate" trivia! I haven't read Marshall's autobiography yet so that's fascinating to learn. It's easy to see how Lucy's influence affected his later shows, especially Laverne and Shirley. "This is shit" - ah, Lucy, tactful as ever
  22. It's crazy how many different places clothing turned up. And in different forms such as this. It really feels like it takes some group thinking to figure it out. The purple dress at the LD museum was another one in discussion. Seems like the collar on that one changed.
  23. At the Comedy Center in Jamestown last year, on display was a pink and gold gown worn by Lucy that the group had trouble identifying. Finally it was determined that this was Lucy’s costume from John Wayne’s Swing Out, Sweet Land, but without the floor length vest she wore over it. While watching Lucy and the Generation Gap today, I had the realization that this was the same costume Lucy wore as Mrs. Julius Caesar. I somehow never made the connection before. Maybe the long wig and crown jazzed it up a bit more.
  24. Apologies for the double post, but I was watching "Lucy and the Good Skate," today, another superior third season installment. For anyone who is interested, Garry Marshall talks about this episode in his autobiography - which is definitely worth checking out. Marshall writes that he and his writing partner, Jerry Belson, had written a script that Lucy performed at a charity event in 1964 or 1965. When Milt Josefsberg took over, he remembered them from the charity event, and they were brought aboard. Initially, Garry Marshall didn't want to do it - he had done a couple of scripts for the Dick Van Dyke Show, and at the time, it was considered to be the "classier"/more sophisticated show. But Garry Marshall's wife had just had a baby, so Milt Josfsberg convinced him that The Lucy Show would give him greater job security/better exit opportunities. With regard to "Good Skate," Garry Marshall notes that the first draft was very different, and that Lucy didn't like it at all. She wrote "this is shit," on the cover, and handed it back to him. Lucy didn't think it had a strong enough climactic ending, so Marshall and Belson came up with the finale where Lucy keeps running into things on skates while at the party. Marshall notes that Lucy wasn't interested in plot or believability at this point - she just wanted the slapstick that the audience loved, so that's what the writers gave her. Later in the book, Marshall adds that many of the sitcoms that he wrote and developed in the 1970s - The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Mork and Mindy, etc. borrowed heavily from his work on The Lucy Show. In fact, his later show, Laverne and Shirley, was essentially a homage to his work with Lucy and Viv.
  25. Earlier
  26. Shelley Morrison (The Flying Nun, Will & Grace) died December 1st at age 83.
  27. Disney+ has a series focused on the fork character from Toy Story 4 voiced by Tony Hale. Apparently Betty and her Classic Cohorts reprise their characters from the movie in one episode. Knowing how "The Mouse" works, it's entirely possible that these guest appearances were recorded way back at the same time that they made TS4, but a big part of me hopes that they were done more recently, because (I hate to say it) any extended period of time that we don't hear from Betty has me worried.
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