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Neil last won the day on December 16

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  1. Was "Mame" *Really* a Flop?

    Love this chart! Where did you get it from? I'd like to look up other years. Budget and box office numbers can be very misleading. $18M is higher than I've ever heard. When BO numbers are released, they're not always clear: are they 1) the gross receipts received by the theaters? 2) the net of that that reaches the studio? 3) including pre-sold network TV fee? (which was probably considerable). Or some other calculation. The bottom line: what was the PROFIT? When they tally gross receipts based on a calendar year, it doesn't take into account movies that had a run that spanned 2 calendar years. (though Mame's take would have been all 1974). I followed Variety's publish weekly grosses and they said Mame ended up with $6.5million or so. I've heard the Mame budget as $6M, $8M, $10M and $12M. Warners paid (I think) $3.5M for the rights to the Broadway musical, so that was a big chunk. In a big coffee table book about Warner Brothers movies, "Mame" was the studio's 4th highest grossing film of the year, behind "Exorcist" "Blazing Saddles" and "Magnum Force". And one more time: Lucy did NOT finance the movie and BUY the role, STEALING it from Angela!! a rumor people seem to like to believe, akin to "Viv was a year younger than Lucy but was contractually bound to remain 20 pounds overweight". Any way you figure it, Mame's BO was a disappointment. The rights were purchased at a time when the major studios were still hoping for one more "Sound of Music". But "Mame" was really the last of those faithful Broadway-to-movie musicals, and the last by a long shot (with a few low-performing exceptions). The sophisticated "Cabaret" changed critic's expectations and they were NOT in the mood to endorse the old-fashioned "Mame". Had "Mame" been made even 5 years earlier, it may have joined the list of revered movie musicals. For one thing, Lucy was in much better shape vocally in 1968 than she was in 1973 (year of production) and her age wouldn't have been such a HUGE factor.
  2. 2018 Christmas Colorized Episode

    Who says the "Swedish" line? I wonder if that was in reference to "I Remember Mama" which was set in the early 1900s, I think. Is this just the 2nd year for Dick Van Dyke color episodes? If so, I don't agree with 3/4 of their choices so far. "Alan Brady is Bald" was a natural, considered to be one of the best. I prefer the episodes that involve more work than home.....and others that display Van Dyke's amazing physical dexterity. I don't know episode titles but there was one that had Rob hypnotized and went from sober to drunk at the sound of a bell; the flashback to his initial interview for the Alan Brady job..after he had not slept in several days doing a radio stunt...so many: my personal favorite is "You're No Henry Walden" from the 1st season, very well-written with a great spot by Doris Packer. I think "Never Bathe on Saturday (Sunday?)" probably had censor problems because of the imagined visual of Laura naked in the tub and maybe that's why they (Carl Reiner?) picked it. It's certainly good, but not their best. Amazing that Mary was only 24 when the show started. CBS must have given up on "Andy Griffith". Their Christmas episode, from that first uneven season (before the series really found itself), is not good and while "AG" fans say their favorite episode is The Pickle Story, it's not mine by a long shot. Nor am I in agreement with MTM fans who always cite "Chuckles Bites the Dust" as the very best. I don't even like it.
  3. 2018 Christmas Colorized Episode

    Lucy's 1900 hairdo reminded me of a shot of her in Mame during "Loving You". That first season took a lot of logic liberties and "Pioneer Women" is no exception, but I did enjoy it. Again I marvel how Lucille Ball handles even the most outlandish stuff believably: walking backwards in fright as the bread emerges from the oven trapping her.

    In honor of Nancy (and Lucy), I'll spend the evening "listening to my Lena Horne records".
  5. Interesting blurb from an Oct. 1967 TV Guide after the first fall ratings had come out. (CAPS are mine.) The Carol Burnett Show was among the new series that fall. After noting that FOUR theatrical movies shown by the networks placed #1, #2, #4 and #7, they listed the regular series that rounded out the top 10: Bonanza, Family Affair, Lucy, Andy Griffith, Gomer Pyle and Bewitched . But here's the interesting observation: "Professionals were confounded by the quick success of the Carol Burnett variety hour. Carol made the top 20 DESPITE FORTY-ODD CBS outlets which considered her prospects SO POOR THEY DID NOT EVEN AIR THE SHOW." WHAT????!!!!! FORTY??? It had been 5 years since she appeared on Garry Moore's show but her intervening specials did well. AND her first appearance on "The Lucy Show" (the 5th season's "Roommate") was the #1 show of the week, which must have been due to the appeal of Carol. Variety shows had not yet hit the skids they did in the 70s. There were (by my count) TWELVE hour long variety shows on the network's schedule that fall (13 with the January 1968 addition of Laugh-In). Also mentioned: "Other new series high on the Nielsen list were THE MOTHERS IN LAW, The Jerry Lewis Show, Gentle Ben and Kraft Music Hall." MIL, Jerry Lewis and Gentle Ben each ran a mere 2 seasons each.
  6. CBS revives Murphy Brown

    I will be very disappointed if CBS pulls the plug on Murphy Brown after their initial order of 13. It has not been canceled (that I know of) but is on the "iffy" list.

    "PETER FARRELL, the Portland Oregonian's TV columnist from 1979 to 2004 has died at the age of 79." I only bring him up because I had a Life with Lucy battle with him in 1986. (Just to remind: this was BEFORE email, so it was through the regular mail). His review of the first "Life with Lucy" was no rave but he did point out 3 things she did well: pointing to the box with the casserole, dancing to Top Jimmy and tasting her own health drink concoction. His only real complaint was the it was all so "old hat" (yes I suppose, but wasn't that what people expected?) He prefaced this review by saying he's "never really been a Lucille Ball fan". (then I say "find another line of work"!!). It wasn't until after the national reviews came out, the ones that hated the show and Lucy herself so fiercely and cruelly, that Farrell started slamming the show in his column (apparently without viewing any more episodes). I wrote him a letter, chastising him for "changing his mind" about the show and not giving Lucy a chance by viewing additional episodes. I pointed out that his initial review wasn't all that bad. He wrote me back in a most unpleasant and curt tone. Can't remember what he said but something along the lines of "butt OUT. What the hell do YOU know?"!! This same thing happened with "Mame" reviews. I collected every local paper reviews I could find and most of them were fair-to-pretty good; in addition to Variety's qualified thumbs-up. It wasn't until the national magazines came out ("Time", in particular) that "Mame"-bashing became OK. This included our local movie reviewer, whose initial review was kind to the movie and Lucy. (This reviewer was much more into things like "The Exorcist" and later "Star Wars", so "Mame" was not his cup of tea to begin with.) And then at the end of the year, he named "Mame" as one of the 10 worst movies of 1974.
  8. DVR Alerts!

    On Dec. 3rd at 4:30 am (yes AM!!), "The Joey Bishop Show" will feature Mr. and Mrs. Jack Carter, our own Paula Stewart. I looked up Paula on imdb and her bio ends with this statement "More recently, Paula had a radio show on KCLA-FM that features Hollywood celebrities and other people with interesting careers." Does anyone know about this radio show? And I wonder what they mean by "more recently". I don't know what to make of "The Joey Bishop Show". It's not BAD but there's nothing to draw you to it. After the first season, filmed single-cam style in black-and-white, in which Joey lived with his mother Madge Blake and his extended family (including "sister" Marlo Thomas), season 2 was completely revamped. Season 1's supporting cast was gone and the show started filming in front of an audience (at Desilu, of course). Joey was now a TV host with wife Abby Dalton. This format continued for 2 seasons on NBC in color. Dropped by NBC in 1964, CBS picked it up for one last season (continuing the same format) airing at 9:30 on Sunday opposite the #1 rated Bonanza. Its success depended completely on its lead-in: Bob Cummings' new gimmicky comedy My Living Doll (with Julie Newmar as a robot!). I don't know what CBS was thinking. Despite having 123 episodes (70 or so in color), "Joey" had NO syndication life. (I'm only guessing this from listings in my old TV Guides). "Joey" has the distinction of being the only series I know of, that started in b/w, went to color, then back to b/w (for its CBS season.) The format and set, post Madge Blake-season, are similar to "The Danny Thomas Show"---Danny and Sheldon Leonard produced it. Someone in the know told me that the series, never a ratings grabber, continued to be renewed in order to placate producer Sheldon Leonard. If this is the case, why couldn't Lucy use her Desilu muscle to get Ethel Merman's Maggie Brown on the air? --not to mention one of the other sitcom pilots Desilu was churning out.
  9. What do you mean: "lines stuck to the record"? RE: "Stuntwoman". Lucy/Ironman's pay for her H-12 adjusted for inflation would be $800 in 2018.
  10. "Wingding", "Lucy and Joan" "Stuntman"--- Am I the only one who loves the "Wingding" episode? Perhaps if you knew how similar it was to actual shows of the time ("Shindig", the most obvious), the parody might be more enjoyable. Lucy without Viv is a little softer and sweeter this season (as compared with season 3). A most hilarious aspect, albeit unintentionally, of Wingding is its host "Reb Foster" and his awkward movements trying to dance along with the ensemble. In the closing credits "Reb" appears as "himself". He must have had some sort of show like "The Lloyd Thaxton Show". Lloyd was sort of square looking and much older than his audience and introduced rock groups who mostly lip-synced their latest hits while the teens took to the dance floor. "LT" was a 5-day a week, half-hour syndicated series. Despite being swamped by Desilu business, in these three episodes Lucy does NOT look at cue cards, which makes her performance all that much more genuine. This season, she's still got that Lucy Ricardo sweetness, which (IMO) would ebb away during the last half of the 5th season. Decades showed an edited version of Wingding I've never seen before. Much of the original dialogue remains intact (not the CBS morning/NickatNite edits) but when it comes to the Tear Ducts performance on Wingding, the scene opens as the dancers are finishing the title song, Reb introduces Lucy and Mel and then the scene skips the entire first verse, the slow-moving part, and cuts directly to the up-tempo rock verse. And who don't we see the title lucy types out on the typewriter (earlier in the Pop Record company office) when she and "Tink" are trying to come up with something? I suppose it's ridiculous to quibble about TLS continuity but Reb announces that Barney Miller is getting a record of the Tear Ducts song out the very next day---and by the next week, Lucy Carmichael's appearance on network TV and her recording career are never mentioned again. Re: the infamous Joan B.--toilet plunge incident. We assume Lucy was making some comment about Joan's performance (as Joan "FU Lucille Ball" Blondell interpreted it), but she may have been referring to how the scene was playing or some objection to the script....and not Joan herself. When these stories emerge, the press-writers seem to be taking the other person's side, making Lucy look bad---without considering the other possibilities of what Lucy was trying to do. I think Joan worked well with Lucy and would have made a passable Viv replacement. This episodes gives us the only clue as to what happened to Chris. She's going to college "up north". Other than the extended supermarket scene (which, while amusing, seems like filler), "Lucy and Joan" is a solid episode. And I don't care what anyone says, Lucy as Ironman is hilarious----despite the fact the her director and fellow stuntmen don't notice her long lashes, colorful eye-shadow and ruby-red lipstick! Let's see the other Emmy nominees that season pull this off: MTM or Liz M.! The great Lou Krugman appeared in both Wingding and Ironman. I can't think of an episode after that in which he appeared which is a shame because he and Lucy worked well together.
  11. I cannot put my finger on it but there's something OFF about that third season--as compared to the 2nd. The absence of Bob & Madelyn is an obvious factor, but......the premises are good, for the most part. And the dialogue shows spark here and there. So what is it? It may be the absence of funny lines that seemed to flow naturally out of conversation*: a B&M specialty, along with unusual words they used to spruce up dialogue. Lucy Carmichael in the third season just wasn't as "classy". 2nd season: I can't tell the difference between the shows written by "3 Bobs and a Babe" and those written with Fred Fox and Iz Elinson; or the other handful of writers brought in, which leads me to conclude the quality was up to Bob and Madelyn. None of the 4 3rd season Schiller-Weiskopf episodes thrill me, though they contain some funny moments. *such as Viv (bemoaning Lucy economizing on meals) "Pretty soon I'll be nothing but skin and bone." Lucy: "Face it, Viv. You could lose 30 pounds before your skin even gets near your bone."
  12. CBS revives Murphy Brown

    Yes, I attended an MTM filming. The plot had something to do with Lou's old war injury and his sudden affection for Ted---until Ted threw out a big story at the end of the newscast to do a tribute to Lou. What should have been obvious to the home viewer turned in-studio audience member was that there was no underscoring or segue music, so ends of scenes seemed a little odd. We didn't know the scene was over until someone yelled "cut". "Murphy Brown"---I can't say that I was an avid viewer when it was first on. I wanted to like it more than I did. To me, the highlights were the weekly secretaries and any episode that featured Colleen Dewhurst as her mother. That said, I LOVE the reboot! From my memory, it's better than the original. If it runs as long as the original, Candace will be 82!
  13. CBS revives Murphy Brown

    From the stories I've heard, 3 hours seems to be short for a "filmed in front of live audience" show these days. BUT STILL that's a ratio of 9 to 1! A Fran Dresher fan, friend of mine, attended a filming of her "Happily Divorced" series (or whatever it was called). It went on a LONG time and mid-show after keeping the audience waiting, the MC came out and said they couldn't continue because Fran developed laryngitis (how can you TELL?). Did anyone ever see a "Seinfeld"? With all its quick scenes and jumping back and forth, I don't know how they did it in front of an audience in sequence. In the OLD days, a filmed sitcom was done in 90 minutes; a videotaped show was done in one hour (and done twice in the same evening: 5:30 and 7:30). They only stopped if someone muffed a line or for a new set-up including when things went wrong. The only long delay I remember from Here's Lucy was "Franchise Fiasco" with technicians frantically trying to get the yogurt dispenser to work, actually malfunction. They never did succeed. If you watch the episode, the inserts do not match the wide shot. Mary Tyler Moore filming paused whenever Mary entered Lou's office. The wall between his office and the newsroom was on a hinge and they had to adjust it out for Lou's interior, including moving the newsroom file cabinet. Note that on the show, the wall is angled in (in the direction of Lou's office) when they're in the newsroom and out when they're in his office. But they accomplished the switch quickly. And one more remarkable Here's Lucy tidbit (for those who haven't read it the other dozen times I've posted): in "Blind Date/Don Knotts", Lucy being made up like wolfman was done in real time, with Lucy saying her lines off-camera as she was being worked on, while Don read his Ben/Fred bit off cue cards.
  14. 2018 Christmas Colorized Episode

    The sight-gag of the bread is a classic and one everyone remembers, but I'm not wild about the episode as a whole----though it's been a long time since I've seen it. Listening to Tom on Stu's show, evidently this colorization is quite expensive (though he didn't give out numbers) so doing an episode where you already have the colors of the set is less expensive----but they did the Scotland show, which I don't think ever aired.
  15. (a little late on my response) "Kill Bill" may have been a phrase Vivian Vance used along with "Fry Frawley".