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Neil

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Neil last won the day on June 16

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  1. New Lucy Books

    You are correct. Previous to 1947, this book lists the top money-makers of the year in alphabetical order without giving specific numbers or rankings top to bottom. The time period covers parts of 2 years. Though she's 3rd billed, "Easy to Wed" is considered a Lucy movie and did make the list of 1945-46. I guess MGM didn't appreciate Lucy's contribution because her contract with the studio was just about to end. "Ziegfeld Follies" "Thousands Cheer "Top Hat" and "Roman Scandals" also made the lists. One more reference: 15 female film scholars were asked to name the top movies featuring women of all time. "Dance Girl Dance" heads up the list compiled by one and was included in another.
  2. You inspired me to watch "Eddie Albert" again. This was done after "Mame". Lucy looks SO GOOD, proving once again that the soft-focus shots (at least to that extreme) were not necessary for the movie. We rarely saw Lucy's still-shapely legs by this time. The choreography is very similar to the Dan Daily show. This one was the 7th episode of the season and the first good one--and the first written by Bob & Madelyn. Their little touches do make a difference: references to real-life. "Joyce Haber's column" and "I saw him in 'Music Man'", which he did do on-stage. Eddie does bellow his lines, which according to legend is what Lucy insisted upon, though she herself doesn't do it so much. The 6th season really pepped up for the remainder of the run. Since they had Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor in the last 2 seasons, I wonder if they thought of having the Carters visit "Hooterville" for a Green Acres plot. When the guest stars for the upcoming season was signed, Bob and Madelyn got their first pick. So it's surprising that Helen Hayes was written by Fox&Jacobs. Imagine if they had done a "Celebrity Next Door/Talullah" remake with Helen and Lucy upstaging each other in another Girl Friday Follies show! With the exception of, I suppose, Steve&Eydie, the roster of 6th season guest stars wasn't exactly from the "A" list: Ed McMahon, Eddie, Chuck Connors, that Bow Wow Boutique guy, Foster Brooks, Arte Johnson, Andy Griffith, Joan Rivers (before she was really hot), and return visits from Danny Thomas, Milton Berle, Phil Harris, Jackie Coogan of course Frankie Avalon! whose career had peaked 10 years earlier.
  3. I too love your observations. Her "Making Whoopee" vocals are what I always bring up to point out that she sounded fine singing before and after "Mame". ("Goes Hawaiian" and "Bank Robbery Medley" before and "Whoopee" "Bouncing Back for More" and even the dreadful "Girlfriends of the Whirling Dervish" after). Had it not been for her vocals in "It's Today" especially those 2 first notes sung acapella (forever stuck in that craw of mine), her Mame singing is actually listenable and might not have been the subject of so much critical derision, but she sounded so much better around that time in other venues. Other than Candid Camera's Bank Robbery Medley (technically not putting on a show), I can't think of another putting-on-a-show musical performance by Lucy in the last 3 years. Seems like there were a LOT in the first 3 seasons. Are Mary Jane & Vanda's flapper outfits left over from Lucy & Carol's WW1 show? You wouldn't think cheapskate-y LBP would spring for 2 new costumes just for "Crime & Punishment"'s exit. And yes, I too would love to have seen their number. I think "Mot" came up with a spinoff series with MJ & Vanda as 2 crime fighting flappers. Bob & Madelyn's HL shows were always a cut above the others--with a few exceptions. At least there was a nod to SOME continuity in their episodes. Was the "Girl Friday's Association" mentioned in anyone else's scripts? Despite some real duffers, I think the 6th is also my favorite HL season. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the best of the entire 12 post-ILL seasons though.
  4. New Lucy Books

    This isn't new and not a Lucy book......but at least it's a BOOK. 1977's paperback "Reel Facts: the Movie Book of Records" It has some interesting categories besides the usual: Critic's lists of "best of the year", an annual list of the top grossing movies, an extensive list (200!) top grossing movies. Not adjusted for inflation so the list is top-heavy with more recent movies. The author points out the problem with top grossing movies of a calendar year. A movie could be released in October and make money into the next year, so even if the total take was substantial only the proceeds from the calendar year total puts it on the list. And the box office returns are not specified (profits? gross receipts?, etc.). Several Lucy references: "The Facts of Life" made the "10 best movies of the year" on both Time Magazine and New York Times's picks lists. The ONLY comedy on either list unless you count Time's inclusion of 101 Dalmatians. I've never heard how "Facts" did at the BO. The #20 movie of 1961 made $3M, so it was less than that. It was pretty cheaply made (black-and-white, rear screen, it had a real "TV" look to it) so it must have made SOME money. Facts was out of the public eye for 30 years, not shown on TV after its "Sunday Night Movie" showing until its VHS release in 1996 (or 97). The reason has never been clear to me: some sort of legal rights wrangling. "Yours Mine and Ours" box office came in at #9 in 1968 with $11M. The only other comedy in the top 20 was "Odd Couple" (unless you count "Jungle Book"). YMO came in at #150 in the top 200 money-makers of all time, with BO receipts listed here as $11.7M. "Jaws" was #1 so "Star Wars" obviously hadn't come out yet. In 1950 "Fancy Pants" ranked the 20th grossing movie of the year at $2.6M---only $300,000 short of that year's Best Picture winner "All About Eve" WHICH by the way made the #11 slot---tied with, of all things, "FRANCIS, THE TALKING MULE"!! Nowhere on the 1950 of 1951 list is "Sunset Blvd." "Long Long Trailer" was #17 with $4M. 1954's #9 through #17 were all within a range of $4M to $4.7M. A few surprises in their list of the 50 top-rated theatrical movies shown on network television: Besides the obvious ones: Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz (8 times!), Sound of Music. The big shock was #30, Doris Day's "The Ballad of Josie"---one of her last (if not THE last) movies, made in 1968. Not considered stellar Day. Shown on 9/16/69 (Tuesday) it had a 56% share of the audience. "TDDS" had just moved from Tuesday to Monday for its 2nd season. This may have been the season premiere of "NBC's Tuesday Movie". Another odd one: 1966's airing of "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" was #42. I love these types of books but they always leave me wanting more. With the internet, books like this aren't published anymore.
  5. Have they aired 16? Or are there some here made specifically for the DVD? (new to us)
  6. From an August 1965 TV Guide "Bulletin" page: "Screen Gems has signed comedienne KAY STEVENS and will try to build her into a new LUCILLE BALL." Poor Kay didn't get very far. Not even a pilot I've ever heard of.
  7. MAME

    I don't know what to make of this, an online posting about Mame: " In 1979/80 at CSUN, Lucy did a lecture class for the media students (she and Gary Morton were close friends w/the department chair). First day, packed lecture hall, in she walks, 5 minute standing ovation. She finally gets us to settle down, and, first gravelly words out of her mouth: "I want to apologize for 'Mame.'" Pandemonium ensued."
  8. Tim Conway has died

    "he suffered complications from Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) and had no signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s." What do they mean? If he had no signs, why did they bring it up at all? “They used to do 33 shows a year on Burnett,” Did they??
  9. Doris Day has died

    That is the most moving and WELL-ACTED rendition of "The Way We Were" I have ever heard. My thoughts on Doris: In 1964, she was movie's NUMBER ONE box office star. By 1968, she was an anachronism. 1968 is generally acknowledged as the year movies matured. By her own choice, Doris didn't keep up with those times. It's reported she turned down "The Graduate". Hard to imagine her in it. When it was announced that DORIS DAY would be coming to television, everyone expected greatness. In one article, circa 1966 or 1967 (nor sure) it was announced that Lucille Ball would retire in 1969 ("at the age of 59" adding a year to her age), but CBS had Doris Day under contract to ensure they would still have the #1 comedienne on television. Of course, neither of those things happened. "The Doris Day Show" was a huge disappointment and went through more format and cast changes than The Lucy Show (although that series is a strong #2). TDDS might have been better in front of an audience but I don't think Dodo ever appeared onstage in a play or musical. Success in a weekly situation comedy is not in the cards for every actor even if they seem sure-fire. Like Doris, Jimmy Stewart and Shirley MacLaine, to name 3. They can only elevate mundane material so far. That Doris could keep that middling pastiche TDDS, with nary an LOL moment, going for 5 years is a testament to her likability. Evidently Doris didn't need it all. She virtually retired after TDDS at the age of 51 (same age as Lucy when TLS began!). She could have written her own ticket with live performances but chose to live her life in relative seclusion in beautiful Carmel. She owned a hotel (and/or restaurant?) in Carmel. When her son ran it, she would make glad-handing appearances there. But when he died in 2004, she quit doing that. Disappointed by the men she chose, Doris took solace with her many dogs. I hope she was happy. I hope that Doris knew and was warmed by how much we loved and admired her.
  10. Desiree Anzalone

    Were I her, I would not be ordering a bunch of 8-track tapes to play in my new luxury sports car. (Or preparing my Mai Oui jingle). I would like to hear what her story is too.
  11. "Where is My Wandering Mother Tonight?" is a NEAR perfect episode, so very late in the run of the series. My big problem with the show (as I have stated MORE than one time) is that Kim invites Lucy over for the weekend but then has a date with Brian on Saturday night. Just what does she expect weekend-invitee Lucy to do during said date? This could have been taken care of with a few lines of 'misunderstanding' dialogue when Kim extends the invite. Bob and Madelyn were usually so particular about that sort of thing. I love the running B&M gag of calls to Harry always waking him up. Culminating in this, the last, one with Kim doing the calling "I'm sorry Uncle Harry. Did I wake you?" "You can't help it, dear. It's in the blood." Even with sub-standard material (of which he got PLENTY), I don't recall a bad Gale Gordon performance. When he's got great material, as he does in this one, he shines. Re: the all-important set up. Likewise "Franchise Fiasco" and the malfunctioning yogurt dispenser. It would have been a more logical payoff if when Mary Jane enters, Lucy is under the machine with a hammer trying to fix it (ala Wildcat and the Stutz) as she explains away "George and Lynn"'s absence. Those insertions of logic really do make a difference. Lucy on the runaway electric mattress would have been funny regardless but think about how much more satisfying it was when, with 10 seconds of dialogue, it was established that the newly waxed floor was so slippery Jerry could slide across it.
  12. Evidently Kate Smith was a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers (hockey?) and sang "God Bless America" at many of their games all the way up until her illness. In honor of Kate, the Steelers erected one of those UGLY bronze statues of her. (Has there ever been a bronze statue that was flattering?) The Steelers recently took down her statue for her racism: some offensive song she sang in the 30s. First off, let me say that I defer to those who have the right to be offended. I grew up in an all-white (except for one kid) community and did not even know the n-word was a derogatory term. We, born with white privilege, really do take it for granted and can be insensitive to how we (as a group) have treated minorities. BUT if you're going to start eliminating a performer's entire body of work (or categorize them as shamefully racist) based on one song, where does it end? Because in the 30s, and even into the 50s, everybody did it. The Marx Brothers "Day at the Races"'s number "Who Dat Man?", everything Eddie Cantor or Al Jolson and many many vaudevillians did, but also LUCY!! Remember the scene in Fuller Brush Girl when she and Eddie Albert emerge from the smokestack, their faces all darkened by soot. What music is playing in the background? "Way Down Upon the Swannee River"....the reference is not subtle. Burns & Allen: as part of a vaudeville show they participated in, someone does Eddie Cantor in blackface. The list could go on and on. And don't forget the most popular (and longest running) radio sitcom "Amos n Andy". I can see why the radio version could be considered offensive because it was two white men doing dialect. I'm less sure about the TV series controversy. Yes, Andy and "the Kingfish" were bumbling (and very so very FUNNY) , but in every episode I've seen, it's an all-black cast including prominent people: judges, policemen, etc. played by black actors. And were they any more bumbling than any number of white man portrayed in TV comedies, including the still-running "Simpsons" and "Family Guy"? A&A was pulled by CBS after only 2 highly rated seasons, but lived on for YEARS in syndication, well into the 60s. CBS finally pulled it from syndication in 1966 because of NAACP pressure. I heard about the Kate Smith controversy on Bill Maher's show this last Friday. I don't appreciate Bill referring to her TV appearances in his youth as "they'd drag that old bag out for a song. I thought she was Ethel Merman". If you look at some of Kate's 60s variety show appearances, her voice was, simply put, thrilling. For a real kick, check out Kate on the Cher Show where she, Cher and Tina Turner make the most unlikely trio since Dinah Shore, Lucy and Diana Ross. They sing a medley of Beatles tunes and Kate does not embarrass herself (but leaves the lyric "I get HIGH with a little help from my friends'" to Tina. ). But speaking of discrimination, Kate had more than her share of body shaming, a discriminatory teasing thing that is still mostly OK. Along with gay jokes. And by the way, this one black kid in grade school...he was just one of the guys, not treated any differently or taunted that I ever witnessed. His parents in all-white St. Helens, Oregon might not have had it so lucky.
  13. So hard to choose, but my favorite bits: Mickey Rooney and Lucille Ball as Ichirou and Toshi Yamaguchi, Eleanor’s Japanese gardeners. Blondells Have More Fun - (for the title ALONE!) and "Desilu President Lucille Ball, upon seeing the ratings, pulls an imaginary toilet chain and flushes the show away."
  14. Somehow I missed these when first posted. Pure Brilliant-osity! So dense they can't be absorbed in one read.
  15. I can just see myself sitting in a brand new convertible listening to an 8-track stereo tape deck!

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