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upperco

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Posts posted by upperco


  1. 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. 

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  2. Apparently, CBS went back to its original negatives and found they were cut. The company cleaned those up and this is what was shown on Me-TV. 

    The edits are unideal. And the split volumes and high cost are modus operandi for CBS' MOD program now. But if you like the show, this is the best you're going to get. 

    And I, personally, hope these sell okay so that we get the rest of the series. There are two episodes that haven't been seen since syndication in the early '60s, and they come from Seasons Two and Three, respectively. The fact that the first season's un-syndicated episode was released means it's a possibility that those other two could finally see the light of day, too. 


  3. Got my sets today. 

    The good news: All 38 Season One episodes are included in this two-volume release... for the first time EVER. And they've all been cleaned up and look pretty good.

    The bad news: All the episodes are edited.

    Most run between 22:10 and 22:40. The first eight and "Aunt Mattie Boynton" are about a minute longer though, and one episode in Volume II -- "Public Property On Parade," which hasn't been included in the series' syndication package in decades -- runs in the 24-minute range. 

    I'm generally pleased. Splitting the season into two separate sets makes it pricey (especially given the edited content), but if we want to see more of this series, and more releases of similar series, this is an effort we have to support. 
     

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  4. On 6/28/2017 at 8:17 AM, rickylu said:

    Does anyone know when "The Desilu Revue" was filmed? I'm guessing it would have had to have been sometime in the fall of '59 to be ready by Christmas. Lucy definitely had a lot on her plate that autumn if she had to film the remaining LDCHs, on top of all the time she put in to "Revue", plus an increasingly difficult personal life.

    According to Daily Variety production listings, it was shot around early December '59 -- not long before it was broadcast, and as it turns out, only about six weeks before "Lucy Meets the Mustache" was filmed. 


  5. Found a discrepancy in commonly accepted I LOVE LUCY airdate information and wanted to see if anyone here could shed some light on the matter. 

    Older episode guides -- like Bart Andrews' and Geoffrey Mark Fidelman's -- list the second season episodes "Redecorating" and "Ricky Loses His Voice" as having been originally broadcast on November 17th and November 24th, 1952, respectively. Presumably the rebroadcast of "The Fur Coat" then aired on December 1st. 

    According to the DVDs, the Blu-rays, and now, most internet sources, "The Fur Coat" was rebroadcast on November 17th and the new episodes then followed on November 24th and December 1st. 

    Newspaper listings favor the older guides' information. As we know, those publications aren't always accurate, but three weeks in a row of incorrect printed episode loglines seems hard to buy.

    What's the real story here -- why did our understanding of when these episodes were first broadcast change? (Does this having something to do with discrepancies in local markets?) And, ultimately, which airdate information is most correct? 

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  6. The New Dick Van Dyke Show was at #36 (17.8) for the period counting September 10, 1973 through January 13, 1974. It was at #31 (19.4) for the period counting January 14 through March 24, 1974. And in Variety's final season average, counting premiere to April 21, the show was at #40 (18.2). Also, for reference, Lucy's previous lead-out, The Doris Day Show, was axed at #37, with an 18.6.

    I say that to note that Van Dyke's numbers behind Lucy weren't the improvement CBS wanted and it would have been on the bubble regardless of whether Lucy was renewed. The show-curdling departures of Hope Lange and Carl Reiner, Van Dyke's announced alcoholism, and Lucy's decision to leave (thus giving Van Dyke's show no companion) likely just made the choice easy for Silverman and Wood. 

    Incidentally, I've seen the entire run of The New Dick Van Dyke Show. I personally don't think the final year's premise shift was rejuvenating, yet the quality basically stayed the same. I think The Lucy Show is an apt comparison, for while the scripting was never on par with the star's earlier series, it did give him some memorable chances to clown, which were worth the figurative price of admission and deserve to be seen more often today. 

     

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  7. Here's Lucy was not in the Top 20 in the spring (it was #21), but yes, it had beaten both ABC's and NBC's movies (by 1.2 and 3.2 points, respectively). Incidentally, it had lost to both ABC's football and NBC's movies in the fall (by 2.1 and 0.9 points, respectively). 

    The New Dick Van Dyke Show also improved in the spring -- 19.4 vs. 17.8 -- but it was still lower rated than ABC's movie. By that time, both Reiner and Lange refused to return, and with Van Dyke announcing that he was an alcoholic, CBS was ready to wash its hands of a show whose average barely made the Top 40 at season's end, and (likely) only did so because it was next to Lucy.

    And to answer your other question, there were 72 shows listed for the fall's list, 63 for the winter/spring's, and 81 in the final annual average. 

    Also, Variety's conclusive "Season Average" from May 1974 differs slightly from the common Top 30 that's been published and posted ad infinitum. Variety's list specifically includes premiere weeks and goes until April 21st. Marsh and Brooks' tome only vaguely cites September to April. 

    According to Variety, NFL Football came in at #18 with a rating of 21.3. Here's Lucy and ABC's spring movie tied at #26 with a 19.8. And NBC's movie was at #31 with a 19.0. According to Marsh and Brooks (what you're citing), NFL was at #19 with a 21.2, ABC's movie was at #26 with a 20.2, and Lucy was at #29 with a 20.0.


  8. 1 hour ago, Neil said:

    Very interesting observations.  Where did you get the info that HL's ratings improved by 2 points between Jan and March?  These 2 months had some of the best HL episodes in a long time, starting with "NG as RN" which ran in January. 

     

    Variety. Ratings for Here's Lucy for the "1st half season" (Sept. 10 - Jan. 13) averaged 19.2. Ratings for the "second season" (Jan. 14 - Mar. 24) averaged 21.3. 

    (Remember, of course, that Lucy was up against Monday Night Football in the fall, and only movies in the winter/spring.) 


  9. Ball proved every season that she was open to negotiation, and while it's been reported that she almost bowed out in October '72, she seemed willing to stick around again when interviewed by the LA Times in November '73 ("if people still want me -- if CBS still wants me"). I won't speculate on what happened between then and February '74*, but I will say that the trades never contradicted the two commonly accepted facts: that she wanted to leave and that CBS executives would miss having her on a weekly series.

    However, the extent to which both parties exhibited those claims privately during negotiations -- and I believe there were negotiations, for the announcement didn't come until the end of February (not since the mid-era Lucy Show days had Ball's fate remained uncertain that late in the season), a month after production wrapped -- is unknown and may indeed have been contradictory. 

    As is always the case, I think there were a number of factors that probably influenced what happened -- the ratings being just one. (Incidentally, the numbers had fallen, but the network never expressed any public concern -- which means the show was likely still profitable -- and the press considered it, while still in the Top 30, in good shape.) 

    • The upcoming release of Mame (which looked to be a success and could have opened the door to different projects for Ball)
    • Lucie Arnaz's desire to move on (she booked Seesaw in December '73, two months before the official announcement of the series' end)
    • CBS' success in the fall of '73 -- there were only three midseason replacements (and no room to move good shows that deserved a second chance)
    • The problems with the likely-to-be-axed The New Dick Van Dyke Show (cancelling it would mean that Lucy didn't have a great companion on Mondays; Wood/Silverman would NOT have put Maude or Rhoda next to Lucy -- those were different types of shows and were held to different standards; that's part of the problem Van Dyke faced)

    Conversely, some external things that could have indeed prolonged negotiations in February...

    • The relaxation of the Prime Time Access Rule, as the networks suddenly got an extra hour on Sundays, even if they didn't have the pilots for it (this was later postponed)
    • The fact that the show's numbers were improving by nearly two ratings points in the period between January and March (so, February) 
    • The problems with the divorcing Sonny & Cher, who were likely to not return (meaning that CBS would be losing another hit show)
    • And, as with the above, the problems with The New Dick Van Dyke Show, which instead of reducing the need to keep Lucy, may have done the opposite: increased CBS' desire to hold onto her

    *Okay, I will... Ball probably did her annual hemming and hawing -- this time more tired and ready to go than ever, but still hoping the network would negotiate like usual. Unfortunately, the brass didn't appear to fight as hard to keep her as they had before (like in October '72) and recognizing that maybe she wasn't as valuable to them as she once was, Ball decided to walk away from the weekly series and just commit to specials (which, in November '73, she said wasn't of interest to her, but I digress....) 

    The_Los_Angeles_Times_Mon__Nov_5__1973_.jp2

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  10. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Daisy Enright appeared far fewer times on the TV version than she did on radio, yes?

     

     

    Yes, she appears in more extant radio episodes than those produced for television, but remember that the radio show ran for eight years, while the TV show ran -- under the Madison format -- for three.

     

    Regarding whether or not the character was more prominently featured on the radio series, the absence of several whole years (save an episode or two) makes comparing her seasonal appearance rates difficult. But if the trend from the early (almost intact) seasons was maintained, we'd conclude that Ms. Enright appeared a few more times per radio year than she did in the TV iteration (i.e. four episodes as opposed to two). So I'd estimate that the character was a slightly larger presence on radio than she was on television. 


  11. There are indeed episodes with both Morgan and Fax ahead. Morgan was out during a portion of the second year recovering from a stroke. The best episodes are already behind the series as its third TV season approaches, but the previously skipped Thanksgiving offering this week is great, as is Monday's "Second Hand First Aid" -- due in large part to another appearance by Mary Jane Croft as Ms. Daisy Enright. 


  12. Re: the UCLA Archives: does this mean you're LA-based and if so, are these open to the public or only to students, faculty etc.? Also, if you've been there I'm assuming you know about the Paley Center and whether you've checked their library and what they might have in their hot little hands (some pretty cool finds there sometimes!).  I LOVE (and so miss) the Paley and could spend days on end looking at and for rare stuff you'd find nowhere else, not even online. :D

     

     

    I wasn't based in L.A. when I visited the UCLA Archives -- I've done so twice now -- but I am currently a resident of the city. I've also been to the Paley Center quite a few times and am friendly with some of the staff members. Both have extensive libraries, but so little available for actual viewing.

     

    In the case of UCLA, it's open to the public, but you can only view material that has been transferred to DVD or, in some cases, VHS, and you have to let them know in advance what you want to screen (and give some indication of when). They also generally require information about the research you are hoping to conduct, but I told them that I was both a student and a blogger and that seemed to be enough. Truthfully, they drag their feet about transferring items and only do so if you're actively working on a specific project (like a book or documentary, etc.), but I sweet-talked them into burning an episode of my beloved ​He & She -- the only one of the 26 that's not in that currently circulating set -- to a DVD-r. (Now anyone can ask and see the episode!) It was a compromise of sorts because when I was planning my first visit, I'd requested many items that weren't readily available. 

     

    Also, I just checked their online database and they have 16mm prints of those two non-circulating and unsyndicatable episodes of Our Miss Brooks. So there's no doubt that these episodes do exist and are accessible to CBS. 

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  13. Thanks for the info although it sounds a little 'off".... They managed to clear or have no problem with the entire series save THREE episodes, perhaps for music rights (wouldn't be the first time though)? Sounds funny ...although not implausible. 

     

    The way these things works (or more accurately, don't work!) sometimes can be mind boggling. :blink:

     

    I don't actually think it's 100% accurate either. 127 episodes of the series have circulated among collectors (and were indeed uploaded to YouTube for a time), one of them being "Public Property On Parade," which is currently unavailable for syndication and allegedly un-remastered. A friend told me this was due to music licensing issues, but in the 22-mintue version out there, there's nothing that would indicate this to be true. (In general, I don't think this series ever had a lot of music that would need clearing.) 

     

    The other two excluded episodes are "The Bakery" and "Blood, Sweat, And Laughs," both of which, unlike "Public Property," have probably been out of syndication for decades -- and maybe this is due to music. (Incidentally, for those who either saw the series on YouTube or have that bootleg set, this new package includes "The Dream," a memorable third season installment that has remained elusive for collectors; I screened it at the UCLA Archives a few years ago, and it'll be good to see the outing in rotation.)

     

    Now, it's also possible that those three episodes are currently unavailable due to a lack of quality sources. I've gotten conflicting reports as to whether these new syndication offerings come from 16mm or 35mm prints (evidence points to 16mm, but they LOOK 35 -- I'm no expert though), and the syndication bible specifically lists them as being Syndication 4x3 HD as opposed to Network 4x3 HD; I've been told this was intentional and that full-length ready-for-home-release versions weren't made because Me-TV was "footing the bill" for the transfers -- otherwise CBS wouldn't have even considered it. Essentially, their only interest in ​Our Miss Brooks (right now, anyway) is giving Me-TV something to play that looks fairly good, not preserving the entire series for posterity and/or using it outside of this current deal. 

     

    I wonder if tjw might know what the real story is... 

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  14. Yes, why were 3 episodes not sold into syndication?

     

    Music, I believe (but don't quote me). 

     

    Why would only syndication prints hold up a dvd release?

     

    I've been told that CBS only chose to remaster what they could put into syndication, as that's their only consideration with regard to ​Our Miss Brooks at this time. 


  15. I think the appeal of the Blu-Rays is being able to see the episodes as they were originally broadcast. 

     

    I actually don't care about the elevated picture quality or any additional special features (delightful though they may be), for I would buy these episodes on any format -- Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS -- if it meant the chance to have them all as initially presented. 

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  16. I also agree that I Love Lucy was probably at its peak in 1955, but so was The Phil Silvers Show, the writing for which was always highly praised. Also, I Love Lucy had won twice in that category already, so it's likely there was some desire to give other shows due credit. (As for The Phil Silvers Show winning twice more after that, I think it speaks mostly to a lack of comedic competition in the latter half of the decade.) I actually think it's more surprising that Make Room For Daddy, always a second-tier entity in my opinion, won the year prior over shows much more meritorious, like ​I Love Lucy, The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show, and even Mister Peepers, which had just married off its title character in what was then a Must-See-TV moment. 

     

    As for snubs, the lack of appropriate categories for the 1965 ceremony probably screwed Elizabeth Montgomery from ever being properly acknowledged for her work on Bewitched, but I think her next best chance of winning was in '67, and we know how that turned out. (I personally think Ball deserved the award in '63 over Shirley Booth -- but probably not in '67 or '68, the latter of which could have very nicely gone to Marlo Thomas after a solid season of work on That Girl or to my beloved He & She's Paula Prentiss, which would have acted as a nice reinforcement of how stupid CBS was to cancel the show before even attempting to help it find an audience.) Also I never understood why Hope Lange won for both seasons of The Ghost And Mrs. Muir. Seriously, she's charming, but outstanding? I suppose it's another matter of competition -- all the most deserving (Ball, Thomas, Montgomery) were not in their primes. 

     

    In the '70s, on the other hand, there was no shortage of talent. One major show that that was totally lost in the shuffle was The Bob Newhart Show, with a scant two nominations for its fifth season (after the show had passed its prime, in my opinion). There were so many good comedies at the time, but it still deserved more shine -- for writing, for Newhart, and, most importantly, for Pleshette. Speaking of '70s actresses, Ruth Gordon should not have been able to win as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for a guest shot on Taxi in 1979; that award should have belonged to Soap's Katherine Helmond, who was nominated all four years on the show but never won (losing to Jean Stapleton, Gordon, Cathryn Damon, and Isabel Sanford -- the latter two of whom I do believe were deserving at the time). 

     

    And one more: I think Bea Arthur should have won for the first season of The Golden Girls over Betty White, whose character took the longest to get defined but benefited from scoring a pair of big juicy episodes that managed to be the year's best. Oh, well, at least they all won eventually... 

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  17. Thank you for keeping us in the loop, tjw! I cannot properly express how grateful I am for your recognition and appreciation of our individual regards for the show. If you're taking episodic requests, I would like to chime in with some thoughts... 

     

    I also agree with what's been expressed above: "Together For Christmas' is an ideal companion for "The Christmas Show" -- it's thematically much better than anything else on either series, and I think pairing the two could be an opportunity to reach Lucy fans who may have forgotten about The Lucy Show in favor of the evergreen I Love Lucy. It's a smart business move and could spark renewed interest in both CBS properties. However, a potential drawback could be in the combination of the now tried-and-true "Christmas Show" with an episode that doesn't engender the same familiarity as the other I Love Lucy classics with which its been paired thus far. In other words, I wonder if there are some folks who are tuning in out of a fondness for the episodes being chosen, not simply the colorization, and would therefore not be compelled to watch for something they've seen colorized before alongside something they've never even seen before. 

     

    Regarding the potential inclusion of a country episode in future specials, I think "Country Club Dance" has the most sell-ability given the Barbara Eden guest appearance. Eden could help do press beforehand and speak about the experience -- Jeannie remains infinitely more visible than Danny Thomas or Talulah Bankhead -- and it's one of the more consistently funny of those final 13. 

     

    As for others, I adore "The Operetta" but I fear the music itself is a hard-sell in today's market, especially to audiences who have never been exposed to operetta in any form. I think it's best to stick with episodes that contain iconic physical bits and/or still marketable stars. In this vein, I'd recommend "The Ballet," "Lucy Gets In Pictures," "In Palm Springs," "The Great Train Robbery," and "Lucy And Bob Hope." 

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  18. I get that, but something struck me what I saw the colorized "L.A. at Last!" last year.  That scene when Fred comes though the door wearing that crazy "Hollywood" shirt.  I never really laughed at that before.  But when I saw it in color, the color gave it such a powerful punch.  I belly laughed at that scene for the first time ever.  Some things just work better in color, if the color is done right.  And these guys are doing it right.

     

     

    The colorization issue has usually been a matter of personal predilection. I've always tended to avoid these debates when they periodically arise, because they often go in circles. Also, I'm conflicted. I'm generally a purist at heart, but the issue isn't so black-and-white (pun fully intended). As always, I understand that some find the color to be an enhancer, particularly in certain episodes and moments (like the one expressed above). I'd like to be able to feel the same, but I'm not there... yet. 

     

    I am still unable to suspend my knowledge that the colorization is artificial, particularly when it comes to the humans. (I don't mean to knock anyone's hard work, for which I'll always remain appreciative, or to downplay the aesthetic strides made. I think it's much better than the work done on BEWITCHED, but not nearly the quality of a series actually produced in color, like THE LUCY SHOW, for instance.) So as a result, it's difficult for me to focus on the show itself when the visuals are earning my attention, both positively and negatively. And this puts the color in direct competition with the very reasons I found the series entertaining in the first place: the material and the performances.

     

    However, I think it would be interesting to hear from someone who discovered the series though these color broadcasts, because I'm sure his/her reaction would be radically different from mine, given that the visuals weren't acting as an imposed distraction, but merely as an element inherent within the work. In fact, I believe most of my issues stem from the fact that I know the series so well and find color inconsequential to its entertainment value, especially because I believe that the process of colorization is not yet perfected. But, as always, enjoyment is predicated on expectations -- where we set them and where they're met -- and I just try to be open to anything. 

     

    And, once again, I like the idea of colorization from a commercial perspective. As previously stated, I don't think it's artistically meritorious (yet), but I'll 100% support the business reasons for doing so, in the belief that other ventures, like the restoration of the original broadcast elements, will reap some of the benefits. And, in the meantime, more people are seeing the show and reaffirming its timeless appeal, which does a diehard fan's heart good. 

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  19. I tend to think in production order, but I use broadcast order in written discussions about the series because that's what was officially presented. 

     

    As for "The Girls Want To Go To A Nightclub", I actually think that despite its silly premise, the episode serves as a great introduction to the four characters, better even than "Be A Pal" and particularly, "Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying To Murder Her", which is an evidently problematic production both aesthetically and narratively. Knowing more about the Mertzes, their relationship with each other, and their individual relationships with the Ricardos, sets the template immediately and thus enhances what we see of them in the other early episodes ahead, in which Lucy and Ricky are generally much better defined than Fred and Ethel. 

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  20. I enjoy seeing I LOVE LUCY in primetime, but digital color doesn't enhance my personal enjoyment. (However, I won't begrudge anyone who does find the series more entertaining, or for newer viewers, accessible, in this manner.)

     

    Frankly, my current LUCY objective is getting the broadcast elements for everything that was presented during the original '51-'57 run -- particularly the repeats, because many of them had new scenes -- preserved for the ages. (And the TLDCH too, especially because I still believe there are scenes that were left off the DVD -- not just in the Bankhead episode.) 

     

    So my support of colorization comes only from the small hope that there would be enough of a profit from this project that could then go into funding the preservation effort, which I think is much more artistically essential.

     

    At any rate, I watch every new broadcast and will purchase any new release, if need be, so I'd love to know more about the colorization business model and how it's paying off so far!

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