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Neil

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Neil last won the day on January 22

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  1. Laugh-In's Jan 1968 debut. I'll NEVER forgive this show for knocking "The Lucy Show" out of its rightful #1 position in the 67-68 season rankings. For the first half of the season, TLS was the #1 show on the air. "LI" nibbled away just enough viewers the latter part of the season to put TLS 6/10ths of a ratings point behind #1 Andy Griffith Show. "Laugh-In" took a while to catch on but ended the season at #21. The next two seasons it would be #1, but Here's Lucy amazingly held its own. It just would have been wonderful if TWO of Lucy's series had ended their runs at #1. Always stuck in my CRAW.
  2. Laugh-In's Jan 1968 debut. I'll NEVER forgive this show for knocking "The Lucy Show" out of its rightful #1 position in the 67-68 season rankings. For the first half of the season, TLS was the #1 show on the air. "LI" nibbled away just enough viewers the latter part of the season to put TLS 6/10ths of a ratings point behind #1 Andy Griffith Show. "Laugh-In" took a while to catch on but ended the season at #21. The next two seasons it would be #1, but Here's Lucy amazingly held its own. It just would have been wonderful if TWO of Lucy's series had ended their runs at #1. Always stuck in my CRAW.
  3. Whenever the subject was brought up, Lucy admitted that she didn't like being the studio head. She was lucky to have honest people to guide her. So many (Debbie Reynolds, Judy Garland, Doris Day) were ripped off. It was incredibly easy to do and get away with. But in the 5 years she ran Desilu, it's doubtful that she devoted much time to it, what with doing her own show and all the other performing she did from 62 to 67. When she sold the studio in 1967, Star Trek had just LIMPED through its first season. Opposite still-top-10 Bewitched, it didn't have much of chance, but through letters from devoted fans it made it to 3 seasons (not sure the last was a full season of episodes). WHO could have predicted that the series itself, and I'm not counting the movie versions and TV sequels, would have such a lasting appeal? (not me..was never a big fan). I don't understand the TV business today. There's such a glut of product that I wonder if spending more per episode than the network pays in the hopes of recouping later is still a valid business model. But in 1969, when Star Trek when off the air, there wasn't much for local stations to pick from, especially in color. There was a time when a one or two season show could get a syndication sell. Desi's Mothers In Law with its 56 episodes was still being run in LA 5 times a week in the early 70s. (which means the entire series would repeat after 2 1/2 months). "Guestward Ho", "Desilu Playhouse" and "Greatest Show on Earth" were on the market well into the 60s. (Forward thinking Desilu shot "Show" in color). But local stations wanted half-hour shows. Few hour-long shows did well in syndication. So Desilu initially lost money on Star Trek as a network series? Did the amount the network pay a studio for a series hinge on its ratings? After two season of having no shows on the air except "The Lucy Show", Desilu hit the jackpot in 66 and 67---with Star Trek, Mission Impossible and Untouchables franchises churning out product well into the future. As much as she griped about the responsibility, it must have been a heady experience to own all those studios she once toiled at as a rather under-appreciate stock player. Lucy single-handedly turning Desilu around makes for good copy, but she was the first to admit that wasn't the case. Lucy being responsible for Star Trek makes for GREAT copy and there's a little truth to that. I wish Lucy Carmichael had done cross-overs to all the Desilu shows in 66-67. Imagine her on Star Trek doing her "it's a moo-moo" alien!
  4. Spoiler alert: they get divorced... Hasn't this movie already been made TWICE? Will it start with them not speaking on the Ernie Kovacs set and flashback? Again? Unless they cover a specific event in someone's life, biopics are a tricky thing because real life usually has no flowing plot. The Lucy-Desi history is so ingrained, they can't fiddle with the timeline or dramatize something that didn't actually happen. I think we've romanticized Lucy and Desi into the Ricardos over the years--with Gary being an annoying footnote; as is her very impressive post-ILL career. No one, NO ONE has been able to recreate Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo. Many have tried. Some get a couple of things right. But Lucille Ball's portrayal of Lucy Ricardo, and our love affair with her, is at the crux of any story about Lucy and Desi. Am I mistaken or in Desi's "A Book", did he suggest Lucy actually tried to kill him FOR REAL with a gun that turned out to be a cigarette lighter---and he calmly lit his cigarette from the flame? There are SO many things wrong with this story. First off, wouldn't Lucy know it's not a real gun (and she obviously didn't try to load it)? And it's nice of Lucy to keep the flame going by keeping her finger solidly on the trigger, so Desi could do his cigarette lighting bit....yeah, right. Didn't he also hand her a piece of paper containing the name of the man she was having an affair with? Did we ever find out who that was? (Don Loper?)
  5. 1-line rerun plot descriptions in a 1970 TV Guide LUCILLE BALL-Arthur Godfrey sings "Reconstruction Time" (not what I would call the "highlight") I LOVE LUCY-Lucy, disguised with glasses and a putty nose, goes star-hunting at a famous Hollywood restaurant. (did writer watch the show in reverse?)
  6. In 2020 dollars, each 3 episode VHS tape cost $85!! (PLUS S&H). They were originally $30 each. Now, in 2020, you can get the entire series for $45 which is the equivalent of $17 in early 80s dollars. I don't know if they ever released the entire 180 episodes (60 VHS tapes or $1800!!) but they tried to group them by theme and they must have been running out of common threads towards the end. Again, to put this in perspective $1800 is the same as 2020 $4400! So we could have waited for 35+years and saved ourselves a bundle! But when all you could see on TV were those WTBS edited 16mm episodes, we went for it. The concept of having episodes available any time you wanted to watch was new and irresistible. I don't remember how often they came in the mail but I think it was a couple months in between each shipment. Somewhere along the line, those sniks at Columbia House lowered the price to $20 a tape but somehow forgot to tell those of us that signed on at $30, BUT if you called them, they corrected the "error" for future purchases. Oh, and I've still got mine. Why? I don't know.
  7. Carole's birthday is a week from Tuesday (Jan. 14th). If people would like to send me birthday greetings to pass on to her, I'm compile them and make sure she gets them. You can either messenger me or email: nlwlbrn@gmail.com. I would want to send by Friday the 10th to make sure she gets them. I'm working on a Carole video that's just about done. Will post when I finish. The premise: "Since Mrs. Lucy Carter got the award and Kim got the car, Miss Ball feels a little sorry for Cynthia Duncan and arranges for her to be her stand-in for her new musical film.....something she soon regrets as never-shy-Duncan starts taking over." It will be about 9 minutes long. I'm so glad Carole is still in the limelight and STILL PERFORMING.
  8. I found it amazing that Mary Jane Croft did more episodes as Clara Randolph on Ozzie and Harriet than she did as Mary Jane Lewis on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy combined. (75 O&H's, 65 TLS/HL's as Mary Jane; 8 more as Audrey Simmons, according to IMDB). She did O&H for TEN years 1956 to 1966 so it was simultaneous to Betty Ramsey, Audrey and (for one season 65-66) Mary Jane Lewis. The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet ran a staggering 14 years. "Adventures" is a bit of an over-sell, but there's something charmingly innocent about their pre-Seinfeld 'show about nothing' approach. Even the picture-perfect Nelsons were not immune for the unavoidable tragedies of life later on.
  9. I didn't think it was possible but Clara Randolph is even DAFFIER than "Inner Glow" Lewis! (Note the bellboy and the end credits: 2 writers for the "storyline" and 3 for the "screenplay")
  10. "Little Ricky"? "Uncle Alberto"?? What series is this?? This may have been covered in previous posts (but I'm lazy): are there an "extras" on the Our Miss Brooks DVDs? A local station ran OMB reruns for a time when I was a kid but scheduled it at 9am opposite CBS's weekday rerun of I Love Lucy. No contest, I'm afraid. Desilu's involvement in the show has never been completely clear. It seems to be one of those many MANY shows "filmed at Desilu", but is often referred to as a Desilu production, as is "The Ann Sothern Show". I'm not altogether sure there were shows produced and owned solely by Desilu (pre-1966 blitz) other than Lucy, The Untouchables, Desilu Playhouse and those various one season (and HALF season in the case of my beloved "Glynis") shows: "Harrigan and Son", "Guestward Ho", "Those Whiting Girls" "Greatest Show"....more? "There are two episodes that haven't been seen since syndication in the early '60s, " Any idea why?
  11. About 10 years ago, I attempted to write a fan letter to Jerry. I found out who his representing agency was and called, eventually spoke to a secretary who had a decided speech impediment, saying I should address it in care of his agent, her boss, "Biss Liss". I repeated this back to here several times to make sure I heard right. I never got a reply. The agent's name was actually "Biff Liff"! and I have a feeling the secretary intercepted the letter and thought I was making fun of her, maybe. My favorite of his scores is "Dear World". Despite wonderful songs throughout and a Tony-winning performance by Angela, it was a surprise flop. (my memory is 132 performances: roughly 4 months when Dolly and Mame were still running). I heard from someone who attended that people were walking out. I can't understand. Even if the book was uneven, you were treated to an evening of those gorgeous songs. His big heartbreak was "Mack and Mabel", another great score. By 1975, the Tony musical nominees were slim pickings. The show got a Best Musical nomination and both leads were nominated along with several other creative and technical people. But NOT the score, a real slap in the face for Jerry. A SHOCKINGLY short run: 65 performances. Like Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along", it's one that keeps getting revived with a revised book. Neither ever really succeeded as a show as far as I know. Nor has there been an attempt to remount for Broadway. So it was great for Jerry that he came back in the 80s with his last long running bona fide hit "La Cage". A couple lesser-known Jerry tunes. He wrote "Like a Member of the Family" for CBS's big 50th anniversary week of clip shows in 1977. AND he wrote the theme tune (no lyrics I know of) to the pilot of the Desi Arnaz-produced "Carol Channing" sitcom. With the song "Hello Dolly" being such a big hit, he had to write a similar song for "Mame", which of course did quite well. But he was severely criticized for trying yet again in "M&M" with "When Mabel Comes In the Room", because the set up was so reminiscent of "Dolly" (Mabel returns to the studio after an absence and is welcomed back, Jerry-style). Without considering the staging, I think "Mabel" may be the best of his three big "Leading lady, We Love You/Welcome Back" songs. Though not exactly in the same category, the big equivalent is "Dear World" was the title tune and he got knocked for that. I've never heard his scores for "Milk & Honey" (pre-Dolly), "Grand Tour", TV's "Mrs. Santa Clause" or the 'concept musical' (whatever that is) "Miss Spectacular". Since Charles Strouse is still alive, maybe we'll finally hear the ACTUAL story of the composing of "Before the Parade Passes By". Both Jerry and Charles insist that Jerry's story is right, but I have to say, it just doesn't ring completely true. Plus I heard from someone who talked to Strouse off the record there's more to it than what we've heard. For those who don't know: David Merrick had Strouse & Adams come to Detroit where Dolly was in trouble. They wrote a first act closer "Before the Parade Passes By". Jerry claims he never heard theirs and wrote his own based on the title alone. The practice is that "ghost-composers" give up any credit for writing the songs, all of which say "Music and Lyrics by Jerry", in exchange for a little piece of the show, a great deal for Strouse&Adams in hindsight. It been said that Bob Merrill contributed "Motherhood March", "Elegance" and some, if not all, of "I Put My Hand In". Interesting that "Motherhood" and "Hand" did not make it into the movie version. "Elegance" in particular has that Merrill sound, a rhythm reminiscent of his "Sunshine Girl" from "New Girl in Town".
  12. Decades has disappeared from my cable company's line-up! Did the network go under?
  13. I agree about the picture of Eve on the jacket cover. Looks more like a face Doris Packer would make. Yes, the price is very steep. $70 for the full season! In Amazon's suggestions based on "frequently bought together", they list the other half of the season and......BEN CASEY, Season 1. Does the DVD have the original credits and not the abbreviated syndicated version? I assume, like ILL, the opening originals featured the sponsor prominently. Also Phillip Morris? Shots of Walter Denton and the seedier Madison High boys smoking behind the gym?
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