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Neil

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Neil last won the day on April 13

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  1. I don't know why but I got a hankering to watch "Baby Pictures", a stellar episode in every way. Nothing against Desi's musical segments, but this one at the end drags this episode down from the classic it is throughout the rest of the show. It's never mentioned in anyone's "top 10". It's one of Doris Singleton's greatest performances. Two instances in particular: 1) the way she pronounces "GLUTTON" in "I just hope that glutton of yours hasn't taught little Stevie any bad habits" and her expert body language when she delivers the line "He outgrew that, didn't he?". Has there ever been an episode where an occasional player has gotten that much solo screen time? Carolyn doing a mad dash cleaning up the apartment when Lucy's on her way up. Next to Mrs. McGillicuddy, Carolyn Appleby is the most valuable/underutilized supporting player of the series. (Counting "Japan", both Doris and Kathryn appeared in the same # of episodes: 10, so says imdb). The other episode on the disc "Lucy Tells the Truth" is also great. For the bridge club scene alone, it's one of my favorites. All four actresses at the top of their game and a script that gives them so much to work with. Shirley Mitchell made such an impression that it seems like her character appears in more than 3 eps. But isn't "It's a 3-ring circus" a lie? They all act like Lucy claiming she speaks Italian is the bet-winning lie. It's easy to see why I Love Lucy remained the #1 show on TV throughout its run.
  2. Georgia Engel has passed away

    It's a credit to Georgia that she was able to make what was essentially "a woman dumb enough to fall for Ted" into a believable fleshed-out character. I had no idea she was that young either. That would have made her in her mid-20s during the MTM run--26 years younger than her TV husband (sound familiar?). One of my favorite Georgette lines, complimenting Mary on her wine selection: "It's one of Ted's favorites.....white".
  3. Wildcat

    Remember Mae West's "Beulah, peel me a grape" line and given Hank's obsession with grapes, maybe that would have worked...... Carolyn used "peas" so it would fit in to her rhyme scheme. (along with "dimple-y knees" ???) Heaven knows what un-PC rhyme she would have come up with for "grapes" .......or "SHUCKING", for that matter. This Wildcat did the Lucy cry at the end of "You're a Liar" which got knowing laughter from the audience. Tony nominations: you're referring to the previous season. Lucy's competition was (winner) Elizabeth Seal in "Irma La Douse", Julie Andrews "Camelot", Nancy Walker "Do Re Mi" and Carol Channing in "Show Girl". I don't know when the Tony nominations were announced in 1961 but maybe the show had already closed (as had "Show Girl"). This was the year bona fide STARS of other musicals were put into the "featured" category simply because their names were not above the title. So yes, I think Lucy deserved one as did Don Tomkins. The score (and book) were rolled up into the Best Musical category, not an individual award. But Wildcat did get a Grammy nom for best Original Cast Album--which is impressive since there were a lot of them that year, and Wildcat made the top 5. OBC albums were still topping the album charts in 1961. Wildcat appeared on the charts through August. I'll have to go back to my research but I think Wildcat peaked at #12 and spent many weeks in the top 20 albums sold.
  4. Wildcat

    I've concluded from last night's "stage reading" of Wildcat that it IS a salvageable show! The director made some wise cuts: OUT were the dark moments (Joe actually HIT Wildcat at one point...and Hank too). In 1960, one reviewer who, like the bulk of them, loved Lucy but was mild about the show, called N. Richard Nash's book "an unsmiling libretto" a very apt description. What "N" didn't seem to understand was this was a musical COMEDY and you had the greatest comedienne of all time willing to risk it with your project. In Nash's book, there was not enough that was clever or witty about the lines or plot twists, such as they were. Which put a huge burden on the show's star, who out of necessity resorted to inserting crowd-pleasing Lucy-isms to win them over---much to N's chagrin and the audience's delight. It's a testament to Lucy's tremendous appeal and stage presence that she was able to turn this tepid material (book, not score) into an SRO hit. I was impressed with this production because the wise cuts moved the show along breezily. I noted a couple of lyric changes: in "You're a Liar" they changed "Giving you a BELT I wouldn't mind. If I knew that you would learn a lesson from the WELT, I wouldn't mind" to something else more in keeping with the PC times. In "El Sombrero" they changed "how in the world in a Mexican hat, can a MEXICAN stay that way" to "....can ANYONE stay that way..". Much like the word "Jew", the word "Mexican" has developed a negative connotation. I'm not sure why. I've seen one other production of Wildcat and concluded from that one that it really was the dull show the 1960 critics complained about. But last night's version: I've changed my mind. And say to Broadway (who have collectively ignored me to-date) "BRING BACK WILDCAT".. (If they can "Bring Back Birdie", why not?). The book needs another revision, but the bare bones for a satisfying evening of musical theater are there: mainly the wonderful Coleman-Leigh score. Including the melodious "Tall Hope". I have one minor bone to pick with Carolyn though: Does anyone PEEL PEAS?
  5. New Play About Vivian

    "Side-KICKED". Hmmmmm....... This sounds like more Lucy-bashing to me. Vivian as Ethel Mertz and Vivian Bagley can NOT be topped. But would she have ever been a top-banana on her own?---if that is indeed the premise of this piece. It's hard to tell with "Guestward Ho" because the script is so poor (Schiller and Weiskopf, I think!) and the single-camera laugh-track-when there's nothing-funny doesn't help. Stars like Lucy could elevate so-so material like this. I've seen very little of Viv's other solo work. Was there ever a second banana who shined as brightly as Vivian Vance? Rhoda, I suppose. Some may say Art Carney. Yes, but he was very one-note (though a very GOOD note if that's your cup of tea).
  6. Wildcat

    "Speaking of spitfire!" This weekend the "Lakewood Community Players" is staging Wildcat for a 2-night run! In Lake Oswego, a suburb of Portland. I'll be there. I doubt "Do you know a fella named Fred Mertz?" made it into the final script. 2 performances: hmmm....I don't have my hopes up for a full orchestra.
  7. I adore Frank Nelson in everything he's done. He's fine with his little scene in "Buys New Furniture" but I don't think his interpretation of Ralph Ramsey is good in the "Country Club" episode. He doesn't bring his usual zest to the character. He's merely serviceable but it really wasn't written to his talents. I don't know what actor would have been better, though. (probably a little too early for RG Brown). When reference books that listed cast members started being published, Frank and Mary Jane were listed as regulars in 1957. This was before we had ready access to episodes so I assumed he was in more than TWO, hardly what you'd call a "regular". ("Housewarming"---'Where's Ralph?" "Still away on a trip!". In other words: "we didn't want to pay Frank Nelson for a cameo!") Bobby the Bellboy appeared in more! Ditto Charles Lane in the Lucy Show. I was SHOCKED SHOCKED SHOCKED to learn later that he only appeared in FOUR. Don Briggs and a host of others did more than that. Same with Dick Martin's paltry six episodes. I think the show lost a little something by getting rid of next-door put-upon neighbor and sometimes Lucy-date Harry Connors. "No More Double Dates" implies there was more going on between he and Lucy Carmichael than him being roped into helping the mechanically-challenged ladies with household projects. I've never seen the "Lucy and Viv Fight Over Harry" script. Has anyone else? Lucy Show first season cast of regulars and semi-regulars included Lucy, Viv, Harry, Barnsdahl, Jerry , Sherman, Chris, Thelma Green, Dorothy, Audrey Simmons, Viv's beau Eddie, Alan Harper (and more? I can't think of any right this very minute). The Lucy Show's 6th season premiere ("Meets the Berles") had 1/12th of those: only Lucy. Just LUCY. Never has a hit show gone through so many metamorphoses. "The Doris Day Show", you say? Yes, but that was never a bona fide HIT. And never the LOL sitcom the underrated, under-appreciated "Lucy Show" was. ILL purists disagree with me (but when I say they're wrong, THEY'RE WRONG!). You youngsters don't realize what comedic-tepid fare was being offered at the same time as TLS (and HL, for that matter). "The Lucy Show" even in its less than stellar offerings was usually good for a laugh and better than 80% of what else was on. At its best it was well-structured comedy. Maybe they weren't producing the classics ILL did (though I think they came close with many eps through the 5th season). I really don't appreciate the way TLS is given the also-ran treatment in discussions of Lucy's TV career. And I will defend "The Lucy Show" until my dying day. After that, it's up to one of you younger ones to carry the torch.
  8. Desilu Productions

    Whoops! That was obviously supposed to be "Chris"-----unless after Viv pushed her out the 2nd story window. Lucy took an EXTREMELY high bounce, after which the format of "The Lucy Show" merged with "Topper". Viv is charged with involuntary manslaughter and the Danfield Tribune headline blares "Bagley Busted: Pulled Bounce Boner". At her trial, a defiant Viv protests her innocence: "I haven't pulled a boner since the day before Ralph and I got married".
  9. Desilu Productions

    Yes it did. I know the "Waits Up for Christ" premiere was #1 for that week. As were other early episodes. And the 5th season Carol Burnett/Roommate did. As well as many episodes for most of the 6th season. Not sure there were any number #1's in between the first season and Burnett. The reason "Roommate" was #1 was obviously the draw of Carol. Which makes the fact that CBS was very iffy about the prospects of her variety show, which debuted the next season, seem all the more strange. TV Guide said many CBS affiliates did not carry it. I think they were referring to smaller market affiliates that represented more than one network. Those stations could pick and choose between what their parent networks were beaming to them. Or they could run the other show at a different time and night. TV Guide did mention one major market that did not choose to carry Carol: Cincinnati. Despite being under-represented, "Carol Burnett" was one of the 1967 freshman shows that did well in the ratings from the get-go (as well as "Mothers In Law", "The Jerry Lewis Show" and "Flying Nun") Interesting that Lucy's 3 main series peaked (in the season end tallies) at #1, #2 and #3 in that order. 70-71's #3 is particularly impressive because it was essentially a 9-year-old sitcom by the time of that season. I don't know if "Burtons" ratings were so high, that that one show's ratings lifted the season's average, because other than 4 or 5 episodes, season 3 was not Here's Lucy at its best. I know I've said this dozens of times (but am going to say it again....because I like saying it): in the same season that saw the debuts of Mary Tyler Moore and All in the Family, HL was the highest rated sitcom on the air and CBS's highest rated show! (and yes, I'll probably point that out again)
  10. DVR Alerts!

    Yes, the re-enactments were a little weird. Especially the actor playing Gary Morton! Lee and Paula: now THERE'S a sitcom idea. "World Renown Forensic Pathologist"? I think this title was bestowed upon him by the same entity that deemed "I Married Joan" "AMERICA'S FAVORITE COMEDY SHOW" and Joan Davis as "AMERICA'S QUEEN OF COMEDY". The original IMJ opening credits had the announcer blaring these debatable achievements over the title card of "I Married Joan" after the initial singing of the theme song. During the announcer's dubious claims, the "chorale" faded out, then faded back in for "WITH JIM BACKUS". For the prints currently being run, all that "America's favorite..." stuff is cut. What does "RA" mean as in "weigh in on the illness pretty much not being RA." ?
  11. Desilu Productions

    I can only hope that Me will rerun at least some of the 13 Glynis episodes. Its failure baffles me. The couple of episodes I've seen hold up well (if you can ignore the single-camera, non-human-like laugh track: standard practice at the time). It seemed to have everything. It was something different: a comedy with actual suspense. . A lead actress who had a unique, very appealing personality. Its producer: Jess Oppenheimer! In those days, getting cancelled after 13 episodes was uncommon. Its #6 1965 summer ratings is some vindication. It ran as a summer replacement for The Lucy Show and did better in the ratings than TLS's 64-65 season which ranked 8th, the lowest of all 6 seasons. I wonder if there was talk of a revival. Side-note trivia: during the 11 years TLS/HL was in the top 10, it held every position except #7, #5 and (damn you LAUGH-IN!!) #1.
  12. Lucy Fest 2019

    Great-grandson of Xavier Valdez?
  13. Lucy Sightings!

    This is not the first time Bill Maher has inserted a Lucy reference into his "New Rules" segment. It's amazing that clips that are now 67 years old garner immediate (and loving) audience response. At 9 seconds in, here Donna Brazile say off-camera "I love that episode"
  14. I remember seeing "Lucy Makes Room for Danny" at night in the summer when CBS ran the 13 as a series (for FIVE years, GodBlessEm). They must have been running first season I Love Lucys during the day simultaneously. Because I was surprised by the almost-menacingly scary volume and tone with which Ricky yells at Lucy was she emerges from the Williams' bedroom (specifically his reading of "LUCY!!!" ); as opposed to the less volatile 1951 Ricky.
  15. After the 5 (by my count) story arcs in I Love Lucy did so well, I'm surprised there were NONE in The Lucy Show and only one in Here's Lucy---not counting 2-part episodes or Lucy's broken leg (arc forced on them). I wish the 2nd season HL location shows had been better. Too much bickering took the enjoyment of the 'fun' aspect out of the trip (contrast these with Hollywood or Europe). "Rapids" is probably the best one, but I like it more for the amazingly fearless stunts 59 year old Lucille Ball did than for the humor. I've seen a picture of the "Rapids" set and there is a lucy body-double, so she may have been used for long shots---and when Lucy is yanked off the rock into the water. That looks like the real Gale Gordon stepping into the raft and slipping head-first into the COLD COLD river. Re: the comment about the Richardo's progression from young marrieds to middle-age. Yes. And it certainly happened FAST. Fred and Ethel aged better than Lucy and Ricky. 1959 Desi barely resembles the boyish 34 year old in season 1, in looks or demeanor. Lucy still looked great but the change in hairstyle made her look more matronly, though not tragically so.
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