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Neil

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Neil last won the day on February 12

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  1. Lucy Fest 2019

    Mine too!! In answer to Mot's comment about his sitcom. No, that is not a good use of his talents. The show was SO Seinfeld, it's almost like they were trying in a satirical way (which, if they were, they didn't pull off). Here's one of my favorite bits from his stand-up.
  2. I Married Joan

    I missed the first of the episode but in it Joan has to get rid of some excess dresses. She goes to a dress shop to snatch customers with "Tell ya what I'm gonna do". I guess the IMJ people were counting on viewers who didn't have TV sets during the 51-52 season. (Joan debuted in the fall of 1952), and there were a lot of them. I read that my hometown Portland, considered a major metropolitan market, did not get a TV station until '52 (and at first there was only one), so we missed the entire first season. IMJ lasted only 3 seasons but was one of the first successes in syndication; the first to run episodes 5 days a week. It was a huge success; its 98 episode were run by local stations well into the 60s. Yes, the show is a bit of a hush-push but I find something endearing about Joan herself. She tries SO hard.
  3. When Here's Lucy ended in 1974, Broadcast Magazine reported about it saying that Lucy's show has "not kept up with the times, still relying on old-school slapstick while shows like All in the Family and Maude deal with relevant social issues". Were they suggesting Here's Lucy be more "relevant" in the way that Lear's shows were? So what if Norman Lear had taken over when Milt Josefsburg left in 1972, changing the title and titillating up the plots. (Desi Jr: "Where was he when we did the Ann-Margaret episode??") I'm sure MOT will chime in with possible racy "Lear's Lucy" episodes, but in the meantime here's my contribution: "No Nudes is Good Nudes" The marina raises her rent so Kim scans the classifieds for a 2nd job and answers an ad looking for "liberal-minded" models. Kim had recently watched a TV interview with her lookalike Lucille Ball, who advised aspiring actors to "take anything that comes along like I did. Don't turn anything down. " When the photographer turns out to be working for "Hustler", Kim heeds Lucille Ball's advice and does what she is told, assuming no one she knows will see "the spread". But Kim's aghast when the issue comes out and she finds she's on the cover, prominently displayed at every newsstand in Encino, prompting all her former one-episode suitors, except Wayne Newton and Jim Bailey, to seek to rekindle their romances with her. Kim confesses to Uncle Harry and they both panic when Harry realizes that he has had his Hustler subscription sent to the office (so he can write it off as business expense). The two try in vain to keep the magazine from Lucy who, when she takes one look, does her "spider". Steaming mad, Lucy Carter then sets out to punch special guest star Larry Flynt in the nose. (and also give "Miss Ball" a piece of her mind). The name Lucy Carter is well known in the celebrity world so Flynt has been expecting a visit. It seems Flynt has the negatives from an old nude photo shoot attributed to Lucille Ball, though the name on the negative sheet is that of "Lucy Hinkley". When Miss Ball got wind of it, she sued Flynt claiming "that's not me. It's the lookalike contest winner: 'that motor-mouthed, scatterbrained Carter woman'". Meanwhile Cynthia Duncan claimed the pics were of her. "Wanna see proof?", said Duncan when she showed up at the Hustler photography studio in a very revealing negligee ready to pose for a sequel spread. Just as Lucy Carter's winding up for a punch, Flynt confronts her with one of the more provocative stills from the old black-and-white shoot, and Lucy does her 2nd "spider" of the episode. Episode promo: "So who is the young nude model? Is it Lucy Carter, Lucille Ball or Cynthia Duncan? Tune in tonight on CBS for the premiere of "Lear's Lucy" and find out!" (followed by the season premiere of another show Lear has taken over, making its Monday night debut, now called "The Nude Dick Van Dyke Show" pronounced the same way as the series title from the previous season.)
  4. Mot inspired me to rewatch the episodes "Misses the Mertzes" and "Chummy with Neighbors" (also "Hates to Leave"). The bit is "Misses" about just missing each other at the train station was done again in "No More Double Dates" and "Serves a Summons" from TLS season 1 and 2. I think it works each time. Very well choreographed. I can't think of another time it was done. (I'm not counting in this category where people are in the same house but don't know the other is there like "Summer Vacation" ---a bit repeated in "The Carol Channing Show" pilot).
  5. These are both great ones. An I Love Lucy episode didn't need a big physical comedy scene to be memorable. I know of no other series that was able to combine touching and wildly hilarious episodes, sometimes the same one. (Some might convincingly argue "All in the Family" did it, but their serious episodes could be a bit ham-handed IMO.) Before the days of reference books and episode guides, sometimes you would only catch an episode here and there. And these syndicated prints sometimes unceremoniously lopped off the first 5 minutes. I remember seeing one of these moving to the country episodes and assumed the Mertzes were being written out of the show. Adjusted for inflation, Lucy's furniture expenditure was over $31,000! No wonder she collapsed in that rocking chair, one of my favorite bits in that episode. The premise of Lucy mistaking stock numbers for prices was very clever. Poor Ethel.after 15 years of being a part of the excitement Lucy brought to her life, then being left with lumpy, sags-in-the-wrong-places Fred, I would cry too! When reference books first started being published, Frank Nelson was listed as a 1957 regular despite the fact his Ralph Ramsey appeared in only TWO episodes. (Am I right?). Bobbie the Bellboy appeared in more! "Mot": Were there many "new furniture" episodes? I only remember one other one.
  6. I Married Joan

    We are spoiled by the quality of "I Love Lucy"! The fact is that I Married Joan is probably a cut above the bulk of the sitcoms aired by the networks in the 50s---especially the early 50s when they were still trying to come up with a workable production formula. They're mostly so CHEAP looking. I don't know what the economics of sitcom budgets vs. network revenue were but some of these filmed shows would crank out 2 in a week, leaving no time for enough rehearsal or attention to detail. Starting with one plot and veering to another one unrelated: seems to me like Here's Lucy did this a few times. There was that one where she went on strike, then thought Harry was trying to kill her! IMJ's 2nd season #25 is impressive when you consider how many shows there were at the time (the Dumont network was still around) and that it was opposite top 10 "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends" on CBS.
  7. I Married Joan

    In your opinion, is the blonde Jane Kean?
  8. I Married Joan

    And Doris sounds like Florence Halop! My cable guide called this episode #2, but youtube has it listed as #3.
  9. I Married Joan

    I Married Joan's SECOND episode in the fall of 1952 was entitled "Ballet". The plot made NO sense, even by IMJ standards. Three actors who had already appeared on I Love Lucy were in the cast. The original premise for IMJ was that the judge would be counseling a couple about their problems which would lead him into describing some related Joan antics. In this episode the married people at the beginning of the episode were Doris Singleton.....married to BOBBY JELLISON!! Seems wife Doris needs more energy (?!). Judge Jim Backus then describes how he solved this by sending Joan to ballet school (?!--#2) in a scene VERY reminiscent of Lucy's ballet--including a stern instructor (Florence Bates-?!-#3) and Joan getting carried away and doing the Charleston. End of scene. The rest of the episode had NOTHING to do with ballet. Brad is bringing home an important judge for dinner...BUT earlier that day, his car splashes a puddle and ruins the dress of a young woman (who I THINK is Jane Kean) so he takes her into a department store to buy her another dress and runs into the same judge---(yes, at the store: ?!-#4). To explain why he's with this young woman, Brad tells the judge that SHE is Mrs. Stevens and brings her home with predictable confusion. Meanwhile Joan gets a call from an old boyfriend (LEIF ERICKSON!!), who used to be a pro football player, who's in town so she invites him over too. (And this point: WHY NOT?) And then they, for no particular reason, re-enact some of his greatest football game moments in the Stevens living room. A dizzyingly pastiche of a storyline. Before you call me daft, looney, off my rocker, out of my head-----here's my proof: I found the episode on Youtube with these strange "woo-woo" opening credits.
  10. This has REAL episode possibilities!
  11. Kaye Ballard has passed away

    Do you remember when the "all Lucy" show aired? With the writers, Robert Osbourne and Carole Cook, I think and more. And Lucie Arnaz's infamous "she was a control freak who had to be in charge 24 hours a day" appearance. (Lucie suffered a little backlash for that one). I can't tell if they're airing these Joan Rivers Shows in chronological order. Or if they're doing the "Decades" thing of buying a batch and repeating those over and over again. Do you know how long Joan's show ran?
  12. Kaye Ballard has passed away

    Well not to THIS critic, it wasn't. But it's been a long time since I watched it and only sought it out when I saw it in Bea's filmography. Is "BUZZR" a channel? I cannot keep track of things anymore-----when a Best Comedy Emmy nomination can go to a series you can only see on your Apple watch. Bob Hope's old joke about the proclivity of I Love Lucy reruns: "I once turned on my toaster and got her show" is not all that far-fetched today. Decades runs half-hour versions of Ed Sullivan shows and they too, annoyingly, just keep running the same batch over and over. Sometimes they show a b/w episode so I keep hoping for Wildcat. Acts presented on these edited versions are trimmed down substantially. Decades has started running Joan Rivers morning talk show from the late 80s and early 90s. I'm waiting for the Gary Morton/Altovese Davis "neglected widow(er)s" show. It's great to see Joan looking so......well, HUMAN. She was an entertaining and engaging talk show host and the show was consistently interesting. So unlike the (IMO) UNWATCHABLE talk shows of today ("View" "Talk", etc.) where the gals BRAY over each other and the length of topics covered is geared to low-attention spans. On my DVR queue, I have a JR show in which Valerie Harper discusses the cancellation of her new series "City". I remember seeing an episode and thought it was pretty good (in comparison to the general quality of 1990 comedies). CBS chose to run it opposite NBC's "Valerie" incarnation "The Hogan Family". Initially "City" bested "Hogan" but the satisfaction Valerie felt was short-lived. "City" ran only 3 months. I never saw "Valerie, Valerie's Family or Hogan Family" so I don't know how good it was; nor do I know what the beef was that got Valerie thrown off her own show. I'll bet series stars in the future thought twice before throwing down ultimatums---thinking (like I"m sure Valerie did) "They CAN'T write me out of a show whose title bears my NAME." Imagine Mary Jane in the Lucy-less Lucy Show: first "Lucy's Friend", then "The Screwball Lewis Family" starring Mary Jane with Marcia Lewis, Al Lewis and little Richard Lewis as MJ's constantly kvetching son.....with occasional appearances by Jerry Lewis and Louis Armstrong.
  13. Kaye Ballard has passed away

    These What's My Line?'s are from the 5-day-week syndicated version, which looked a little cheap compared to the original run's classy glamour. Someone obviously saved the original videotapes! The original WML ran from 1950 to 1967 and this 5/week one went from 1968 until 1975, so WML had 24 seasons. I don't know where they found this Wally Bruner guy. Talk about your dud emcee. It's obvious Wally was not a Mothers In Law viewer. Kaye sang on the show a LOT. The much-more appropriate Larry Blyden took over as emcee in 1972. Bennett Cerf also appeared on the syndicated version. Cerf died in 1970. With the strange nature of syndication distribution, he kept popping up on WML's for a year after his death. Not getting a movie was not good for Kaye but if she was going to not get one, this would be the one to not get. "Lovers and Other Strangers" must have played better on stage. I've seen the movie...once--and only to see a pre-Maude Bea...and found it dullsville. I don't think it was a success. I see "Kay" dropped the "e", supposedly her numerologist's recommendation for the "Molly" marquee (or so rumor has it). "Molly" was a huge disappointment for Kay(e) running only 3 months. I've got an audio recording of the show. The house seems full and the audience is loving it. But I guess the era of the homespun, heart-warming musical had passed. "Molly" might have had a chance 10 years earlier. Throughout the 50s, 60s and into the 70s, it was standard practice to release Broadway musicals on LP, including most of the failures. ("Anyone Can Whistle" with only NINE performances was recorded and released by Columbia in the deluxe gatefold album format!) Broadway musicals as best selling albums: that era had also passed by 1973. 1961's "Wildcat" stayed on the Billboard album "top" charts from its January release through August of 1961 even though the musical had closed the first part of June, selling upwards of 100,000 copies. "Molly" with 108 performances should have been preserved on record. She got to do the inspirational number from the show "Go in the Best of Health" in costume on Carol Burnett's Show. Years later, she recorded many of the songs for a Kaye Ballard album (not officially an "original cast recording"). Like "Wildcat", "Molly" played at the Alvin and featured Swen Swenson in the cast.
  14. Kaye Ballard has passed away

    Here's a youtube video someone just posted for Kaye
  15. Kaye Ballard has passed away

    If you want to review on of Kaye's best Mothers In Law episode, I suggest Episode #43 from season 2: "Didn't You Used to Be Ossie Snick?" with guest star Ozzie Nelson.
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