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Neil

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Everything posted by Neil

  1. I'm always up for a "Mame" discussion! Nanny Nora Muldoon and Gooch were combined into one character in the Broadway musical version--which still contained the plot thread of Mame writing her autobiography, Gooch having been sent to secretarial school "Speedo" to take dictation. Until "FritzyBoy2" brought it up, I hadn't considered the notion that Jane's Gooch was too old to be pregnant. My problem (as stated MANY time) is that Gooch is such a subordinate character in the movie, we don't care enough about her to give her her own song. And besides, there's very little interaction between Mame and Gooch directly so Mame did not really give her the "live live live" lessons. (And BTW does "live live live" really translate into tramping it up in an East Flousberg* Pennsylvania motel room with God-knows-what sort of lowlife?) I don't know if, in the Broadway musical version, Patrick was such an a-hole to his old nanny Gooch, but it really bothers me in the movie. Specifically Agnes greeting him with a cheery "HI, Patrick!"....which goes unacknowledged and followed by "What is AGNES doing here???" to Mame as if Agnes wasn't even there. I'd be interested in how you, Harry, feel "That's How Young" is the weakest lyrically. I hadn't thought about it along those lines. I love the song. I'm not sure where else in the movie it could have been placed, but the film really needed a post-"Mame" LucyMame kicking-up-her-heels musical number--not that the goings-on afforded the opportunity for one. (Maybe Mame, Vera and Gooch doing "Ukulele Talk"?) Re: the Upson Downs scene. One prominent national critic praised it because "we get to see Lucille Ball, the actress". Right. Lucy is very low-key but true to the character. This scene in the movie certainly plays differently than the recording I have of the Broadway show (from the 1968 LA stop on the tour). The audience is laughing throughout. However, you can get away with cartoon-ing it up with broad performances on stage. I have mixed feelings about the decision to play it more realistically and much more sedate in the movie, which is a musical COMEDY after all. I'm not knocking Angela, because by all accounts she wowed them onstage, but if she had recreated that same performance in the film it just wouldn't have worked. The casting of Angela as Broadway's Mame up against so many higher-caliber women considered (Lucy included) and her subsequent triumph after years as a supporting player is the sort of show-biz success story people love. Established icon Lucy taking on a role (meant for Angela, after all and STOLEN) that was not necessarily her forte is the sort of show-biz story people love-----to HATE. *Is this REALLY a Pennsylvania city?
  2. What an insightful perspective. I knew if I lived long enough Mame would eventually be seen as entertaining (I don't know about "masterpiece" ....). Some of your points: agree thoroughly about It's Today's "botch orchestration" (well put). Evidently "Gooch's Song" was a killer on stage. I've never even liked the song. I don't find it particularly tuneful or the lyrics clever. ("Although I was leery, I thrived on your theory that life could be a WOW"---yes, there are only so many rhymes to "now" but this one is real stretch). Without examining them all, I think this may be the worst song in any Jerry Herman musical. The problem with "That's How Young..." is that its placement is completely incidental to the plot. They loved it on stage because for one thing it's a great song, but that 2nd act needed a kick-up-your-heels production number. Perhaps they could have included it somewhere else in the movie. Lucy's portrayal is very well-acted (with one of two exceptions) but this Mame lacks the madcap quality Roz's had. This is the fault of the director and writer, not Lucy. In the clash scene between Mame and Patrick, he says "I was afraid you'd come up here dressed like a farmhand or the Queen of Sheba"...No she wouldn't. Not this Mame. There's nothing we've seen of her that would indicate she would do that. Her relationship with young Patrick is covered in the "Open a New Window" montage. Other than that, we don't see the bond between the two. I only wish they had added whatever soft-focus tricks they used, generating them in post-production, as they probably would today, instead of using filters--or whatever--as the film was being shot, thereby committing them to the film's negative. If they had used the former technique (assuming it was possible in 1974), these shots could have been corrected for the DVD or maybe even before the release of the movie in '74. . The point I've tried to make is that besides being excessive, they were not necessary---at least to the degree they were used. An unforeseen backlash is that those shots gave fuel to the critic-mob chant that Lucy was "too old" for the part.
  3. With Monday Night Football on ABC starting at 9 eastern time, the ABC 8:00 (eastern) show was at a severe disadvantage. Football was played live across the country so we on Pacific time got it at 6:00. The official schedule had the game running until 9 Pacific. But it (followed by all that post-game BLATHER) ended whenever it ended. I think the 8:00 series shown in the east was either scheduled for 9:00 (or 10:00?) on the west coast or started whenever the pundits finished analyzing the game and many times they didn't seem to be in ANY rush. Or later if God forbid, the game went into overtime. There were many times the football game ran 3-hours-plus so the last part aired opposite Here's Lucy on the west coast. You can imagine the resistance I faced trying to commandeer the set at 9:00 especially if that was part of a nail-biting overtime conclusion. Monday Night Football/Here's Lucy: not exactly the same fan base.
  4. I stumbled across 1966's "Lucy Gets a Roommate" (Carol Burnett) on youtube. It is by far the best of Carol's 7 TLS/HL appearances. This was a year before Carol got her variety series and four years after she left The Garry Moore Show. In the meantime she had had a Broadway show and a special or two. But many CBS affiliates were unsure enough about Carol that they did not carry "TCBS" that fall (as I read in TV Guide), so I'm unclear just what Carol Burnett meant to the general public at that particular time. The episode is a fun and funny half-hour. I was struck by a couple things: -what a generous performer Lucille Ball was. The episode is designed as a showcase for Carol who is given the bulk of the comedy. Lucy carries her own but is essentially playing straight for Carol. 1966's Lucille Ball had nothing to prove, but not all performers would design a showcase for another who could potentially be considered a rival, and a 20-years younger one. -how far afield The Lucy Show got from the original premise in a very short period of time. Though undeniably funny, the "Roommate" proceedings are played much more broadly, sort of a sitcom-skit hybrid, a unique style that was not usually satisfying, IMO. I can't think of another similar sitcom, can you? It's impossible to imagine "Roommate" being done any time in the first 2 seasons. (I never equate the 3rd season Danfield episodes as being the same caliber as the first two). I didn't watch the Roommate sequel "Lucy and Carol in Palm Springs" but is there ANY reference to roommate Carol moving out of the Glenhall Apartments? As I recall, Carol Bradford's goofy, shy librarian character is totally different in "Palm Springs". The 1962-64 shows had at least SOME continuity but by this time TLS did not...and apparently no one cared. "Roommate" ranked #1 for its week!. Both the Carol Burnett TLS 2-parters offer a format-changing shift that is abandoned and never mentioned again after Bradford/Tilford returns to wherever she came from. The Tilford exit is even worse. They two DID graduate from stewardess school after all; and with enough honors to headline--some of their fellow graduates might say HOG---the graduation musical show (attended by ?????). Just try to imagine the 2-part stewardess shows as part of season 1 with Lucy and Viv playing the exact same script, Viv subbing for Carol! (...pausing while you do that....). To me the only highlight of both is the brief but hilarious visual of Lucy fighting the movie film upstream. Even when the comedy has potential, it's ruined by artificiality. The serving lesson has that fake-sounding over-dubbed tick of a clock. When Lucy and Carol's turn devolves into mayhem, it's accompanied by the annoying college fight song music---and doesn't the clock start ticking faster for no reason? Episodes like these are the type that have tarnished historic reputation of The Lucy Show. Entertaining (mostly) but vapid. .....sort of like my posts. When books are written about 60s TV shows, The Lucy Show, THE MOST successful sitcom of the decade (title shared with Andy Griffith), barely gets a mention, let alone any respect.
  5. I wonder why they couldn't get insurance on Gale. He seemed in tip-top form to me. So strictly because of his age? In that case, no actors who are 80 (or whatever the cutoff age) can work on TV unless uninsured? What does this type of insurance cover and why it is necessary on individual people? I can only guess there's some compensation if --they become incapacitated and it covers the expense (?) of replacing them in the cast; or -they have an accident on the set?
  6. "more sophisticated comedy in shows like Mary Tyler Moore, Maude, The Bob Newhart Show, Taxi, Cheers, etc." Yes, but only ONE of these was still on the air in 1986. "Cheers" and "Golden Girls" could make me laugh. Hits circa 1986 "Cosby" "Who's the Boss", so many other etc's: NO. As fair a look back as could be expected. Reviewer makes good points, some I hadn't thought about. Like how The Lucy Show set up the premise, then found the kids incidental to the plots, seen less and less until they disappeared. (Ditto the narcoleptic Little Ricky, rarely seen until his dose of Gigantigrow between seasons 5 and 6). Grandma Lucy interacting with the little ones was cute but maybe having them all live together, appearing in every episode, was a mistake.. Reviewers assessment of Ted and Margo "competent, but unmemorable": apt. They should have learned from The Mothers In Law that casting the young adults with bland actors, giving them really no discernible character would add nothing to the show. Larry and Ann just didn't have the comedy acting chops to forge their own characters, as actors from a previous generation might have. Donovan Scott did. Maybe he should have played Ted. With a Ruth Buzzi as Margo? They needed some sort of character clash at home other than Lucy and Gale.
  7. Mid-October front page headline in Enquirer/Globe/One of those "Cary Grant: Lucy Wants Me to Save Her Show". Can't remember the story but evidently he was asked. I wonder how serious this negotiation got. He died in November 29, 1986.
  8. Nor did I know the episode was called Legal BEAGLE or as wikipedia calls it LEAGLE BEAGLE. Legal Eagle makes more sense and that's what I always thought was the title. . Re: Mot's comment: "Lucy's courtroom routine is probably the most Lucy Ricardo-esque bit she has in the whole series." Very true, which is why this one is my favorite. So IN ORDER (title abbreviated). X=Unaired. 1. Grandparent 2. Goose-X 3. Wires 4. Ritter 5. Sax 6. 2X4s 7. Up a Tree-X 8. Bytes 9. Green Thumb-X 10. Beagle 11. Breaking Up-X 12. Mother 13. Grandmother-X They hid their stride with #10 with 4 solid episodes in a row, far superior to any that preceded them except for maybe the premiere.
  9. I'm enjoying everyone's take on different episodes. "Guard Goose"-the 2nd show filmed. -now that I see it again, I don't know why I didn't like it in the first place. No classic and actually not all that good, but not bad like I remember. I don't usually pay attention to Lucy's looks but as I recall (from initial viewing) I thought she looked very tired in this one. Madelyn told me at the time "Lucy wasn't feeling well that week". I don't know why they passed on the comedy of Lucy and Curtis being chased by the goose as each entered the store. It would be interesting to know which episodes were filmed AFTER the premiere got such a lousy reaction. The show was certainly getting better.
  10. moved comment to "what episodes are you watching?"
  11. I've only watched the one I saw being filmed: the unaired "Breaking Up". There's absolutely nothing wrong with the episode. It's no watch-it-over&over-again I Love Lucy but everything's there, including a bit of Lucy-isms: talking to Curtis through the kazoo. I haven't seen the others in a while but the also-unaired "Greatest Grandma" was also a worthy episode. Of the other unaired episodes: "Up a Tree", "Green Thumb" and "Guard Goose", as I recall they were best left unaired. I'll have to watch "Goose" again but the fact that it's a misfire is strange. I'll bet it looked better on paper. Bob & Madelyn tried to incorporate the current goings-on into their plots. (Did you know they got the idea for 1964's "Job at Bank" trap door from a bank that actually had one?). Guard geese were indeed in use. Not explained: the morning after clean up of goose-doo. Also hiding a key outside in a rock was new.
  12. "Coming to Kansas City from LA, he served as a co-host of a top rated, issues oriented talk program for more than 15 years" I'm glad for him that he was able to have a successful post-hollywood career. I looked up Roger C Carmel. Turns out the Cutes, Sr. was only 4 years older than Jr. Wikipedia statement on Roger: "Officially, Carmel had a salary dispute with producer Desi Arnaz, although, according to rumors, he was fired because his drug use interfered with production." Has anyone hear this one before?
  13. "Fritzy-Boy-2" posted an analysis of my fav "The Late Show" and referenced the same blogger's views on Mame, which he said had been posted before. I missed the post the first time around so in case anyone else did, it's worth a read: https://lecinemadreams.blogspot.com/search?q=mame I have to say his (her? for brevity's sake I'll call him/her "him") analysis is pretty spot-on. He points out things that I hadn't thought about and I've watched this movie so much, I can no longer be objective about it. I want it to be a better movie than it is, for Lucy's sake. I want to smack the next person who says Lucy was too old for the part. When I meshed the number from the movie, Angela's revival and Ginger's London run, the difference in the ages of the three women was only 4 years (Angela: 57, Ginger: 58, Lucy: 61 (her age in January of 1973). Writer does point out the perfection of the Mame number and echos what I've always thought: Alas, if the rest of the movie had been this good..... It was nice to get a little shout-out for a couple of my Mame videos at the end of the article. I didn't think anyone--outside my fan base of 6-- was watching. Unfortunately Youtube won't allow me to upload my favorite: the Mame number with the OBC soundtrack substituted.
  14. This was a very well written insight into The Late Show. There is not a wasted shot or line in TLS. (And I apologize for going off topic) Art's Oscar worthy scene (among so many) is one where he has collapsed from a perforated ulcer attack in public. Margo/Lily urges him to go to the hospital and Ira/Art screams "Do you know what it's like sitting in the veteran's hospital for 6 months with tubes and shit running every which-way? I'll never let those butchers open me up again. NEVER!", the usually stoic Ira is on the verge of tears. That's REAL acting. Had the movie made more of a splash at the BO, it would have garnered acting nomination (if not wins) in every category: Art, Lily, Joanna Cassidy as the moral-less moll (the Double Indemnity Barbara Stanwyck of the 70s) AND Bill Macy as Charlie Hatter of "Charles S Hatter Productions" "Charles S Hatter Talent Agency" "Charles Hatter Theatricals" "CS Hatter Entertainment Corp. of America" and (of course) "Charles Hatter, Real Estate" all located UPSTAIRS at 203 1/2 Hollywood Blvd. (That 1/2 is a great touch ) However he's been tending bar "just temporarily" , as he tells Ira because "the talent business is a little slow".
  15. Macy was 3rd billed --behind Art Carney and Lily Tomlin- in one of my all-time favorite movies "The Late Show" released in 1977. It was up for and won several awards and the critics loved it but it was a major FLOP. I loved it so much I saw it 4 times in one week (took several friends to it). Save for a handful of other (non-laughing) people, the theater was vacant. I'll check but Bill may have been up for an award himself. Macy is great and it's the movie Art should have won his Oscar for. This is IMO his best work. As I recall "Harry & Tonto" wasn't much of a movie. I've never been able to get anyone on board with me about The Late Show's greatness. I think part of the problem is that it doesn't fall into a distinct genre category (by default: a comedy if you love it on the subtle side: I do) and the heist plot is a bit hard to follow. I say: forget about the plot and watched these actors at the top of their game with these well-drawn out characters challenging their skills! The best work of the aforementioned actors plus Joanna Cassidy and Eugene Roche. Its only Oscar recognition: a well deserved screenplay nomination. Lost to "Annie Hall" (fair enough). Writer Robert Benton would win a couple years later for Kramer v Kramer. Sometimes you don't know how great an actor is until you see them in something like this. I never much cared for "Maude" or Bill in it (too much YELLING). I had the same reaction to Audra Lindley. Her performance as Mrs. Roper was one-note, but that's the way it was written. Then she played Burt Reynolds' mother in "Best Friends". It's a supporting role but she stole the movie. I couldn't believe it was the same woman.
  16. I have the Prettybelle CD but never caught those lyrics. Prettybelle is no WILDCAT but it has a good score. Show closed out of town but many years later Angela and (what I assume is) the rest of the original cast put it out on LP. This was 1971 so I don't know how UN-PC this was at the time, but there are many references to rape (including its own peppy song) and it's treated a little too light-heartedly. I was able to get a recorded-from-audience version of whole show and my favorite number "Manic Depressives" had been cut!. The failure of Dear World and Prettybelle along with the rather unsavory "Something for Everyone" movie are reasons cited for why Angela did not get the Mame movie, but I'm inclined to believe even without front-runner Lucy, they wouldn't have gone with Angela. Though I can't think of any other likely candidate in 1973.
  17. I don't know if anyone finds this interesting but sometimes I think about and find fascinating how fleeting time is and how close things were relative to the current year--when they seemed like ages apart, if that makes sense: (my math may need a little fact checking). If "Mame" was in production today, Lucille "too OLD for the role" Ball would have been born in 1958, the same year as Megan Mullaly, Bebe Neuwirth, Annette Benning, Ellen DeGeneres, Michelle Pfeiffer, Holly Hunter, Jamie Lee Curtis AND EVE PLUMB!!---any one of which seems age-appropriate now. If "Life with Lucy" was airing this season, Here's Lucy would have ended its run in 2007, I Love Lucy would have premiered in 1983 and the Ernie Kovacs Comedy Hour would have aired in 1992. Lucy would have been born in 1944. Marriage to Gary: 1994. Wildcat: 1993-4. Today, the rustic old days of "Wildcat"'s Centavo City: 1970
  18. Heaven's loudspeaker: "TELEPHONE FOR WALTER PIDGEON"
  19. Cheers, yes. But was "Newhart" all that GREAT?
  20. As "Lucy Makes Room" judge Gale Gordon might say: "Oh you ARE a fan"
  21. Re: Lucy's answer to Gary Collins/Hour Magazine question: "(without Vivian) would you ever do a series with another woman?". (Answer: a definite "No, sir.") Speaking for Mary Jane Lewis, all I can say is "WELL!!! What was I? Chopped Chipmunk Liver???"
  22. This was the sort of perspective I was hoping for. Though I thought Lucy's LWL make-up was too harsh, she moved like a much younger woman. (Example: her entrance dancing to "Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs"--was that a real group??). And the critic reaction WAS quite ageist, and unfair--always stating she was 75 and "shouldn't be doing" what she could still do. Now that some of these critics are themselves probably 75, maybe they see things a little differently. Writer is right about supporting cast. With the exception of Leonard (and of course Gale), they were as bland as bland can be. In retrospect, the premiere was as good as anyone could expect it to be. (But--ONCE AGAIN-- shame on director and/or editor for including the foam output of a second extinguisher.) And BYW, Lucy's first "I'll never do another....can't top what....." came after LDCH, 2 year before The Lucy Show. One misquote: "Stone Pillow" was CBS not ABC. (Luckily when Lucy Moved to NBC, she got a round-trip ticket.) The "Stone Pillow" history depends on the writer. Some have referred to it as a failure, both critically and ratings-wise. Here, the writer is closer to the truth. While not a ground-breaking TV movie, it scored in the top 10 for the week--a major accomplishment considering it was opposite a segment of ABC's very popular "Helen & Ann" * mini-series. *excuse me: that was "North and South(ern)"
  23. Here's an interesting audio interview of my dear Cara Williams, done fairly recently. I haven't listen to it all yet, but she starts talking about Pete & Gladys AND Lucy at 21:35. I say "MY dear' Cara, because even SHE admits she was difficult....as does everyone who worked with her in interviews I've seen or heard.
  24. And I say HERE HERE! The few "Elizabeth"'s I've seen don't hold up, but no one can touch Betty's Sue Ann Nivens. (I wasn't as wild about GG's Rose as most people). But I say the great Cara Williams is the most underrated, forgotten TV sitcom actress to ever grace the TV screen. There was only ONE Lucy, but Cara was the only who came close to replicating her style and appeal. She brought more comic talent and heart to Pete and Gladys than it really deserved. A pedestrian effort, wild and non-sensical, but undeniably funny, occasionally hilarious. But as series: a few too many "Drafted"-like episodes. The loosest "spin-off" sitcom of all. Emmy doesn't recognize shows like Pete & Gladys but the Academy honored Cara with a nomination (lost to Hazel's Shirley Booth). And I know I've sung Cara's praises before, but by this time, I've run out of new things to post! Someone on Youtube has colorized some P&Gs along with a few Cara Williams Shows, the latter was a disappointment. A little too dull and not worthy of Cara's talent. It disappeared after one season along with Cara's career as a star. And she was only 40, the same age as Lucy when ILL started.
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