Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Neil

Viv's Career after The Lucy Show

Recommended Posts

Neil    1,350

It would seem that Viv did not want to work very much after she left The Lucy Show. Either that or the offers just weren't coming in. I'm a little surprised that she didn't return to her musical comedy roots and tour in musicals. She would have been a natural to do "Hello Dolly" in some venue. Her name value alone would have been a huge draw. Though Frawley wasn't up to it at the time, he would have been perfect as Horace Vandergelder.

 

With a few lyric changes, such as

"Wow wow wow, fellas.

I'm getting tired of being called a cow, fellas."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HarryCarter    1,052

It would seem that Viv did not want to work very much after she left The Lucy Show. Either that or the offers just weren't coming in. I'm a little surprised that she didn't return to her musical comedy roots and tour in musicals. She would have been a natural to do "Hello Dolly" in some venue. Her name value alone would have been a huge draw. Though Frawley wasn't up to it at the time, he would have been perfect as Horace Vandergelder.

 

With a few lyric changes, such as

"Wow wow wow, fellas.

I'm getting tired of being called a cow, fellas."

Supposedly, Vivian lost confidence in her musical abilities after her nervous breakdown. However, she appeared in the Broadway musical Cradle Will Rock right after her breakdown. She never appeared in another stage musical. Maybe this was a bad experience for her. When Vivian got sick for the final time she was booked to star in a production of The Matchmaker, so she would have played a non-singing Dolly Levi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Neil    1,350

She also did the play "My Daughter, Your Son" with Robert Alda which I think made it to Broadway but closed after a short run. Wasn't she scheduled to do something with Woody Allen at some point? Or am I thinking of Eve Arden?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HarryCarter    1,052

She also did the play "My Daughter, Your Son" with Robert Alda which I think made it to Broadway but closed after a short run. Wasn't she scheduled to do something with Woody Allen at some point? Or am I thinking of Eve Arden?

Viv did do "My Daughter, Your Son" on Broadway in 1969. It had a brief run, but she did it in stock for a while. It was a play, not a musical. Viv did lots of stock productions in the post-Lucy years, but none were musicals. Among her credits were Butterflies Are Free, Harvey, Arsenic and Old Lace, Barefoot in the Park, and Everybody Loves Opal.

 

Vivian was hired to star in the Broadway premiere of Woody Allen's Don't Drink the Water. She played the role out of town, but left before it reached Broadway. She was replaced by Kay Medford. She supposedly left because did not get along with costar Lou Jacobi, although some say she wasn't convincing enough as a Jewish mother. Eve Arden was hired for Woody Allen's Purple Rose of Cairo, but her husband Brooks West became fatally ill and she withdrew right before filming. Zoe Caldwell replaced her.

 

When Lucy announced that she would end The Lucy Show after season two, Vivian planned to star on Broadway in the play Beekman Place. That changed when The Lucy Show returned for season three. Arlene Francis took Viv's role in the show, which also featured Laurence Luckinbill. Like most of Arlene Francis' plays, it had a short run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
C L A U D E    2,006

Viv did do "My Daughter, Your Son" on Broadway in 1969. It had a brief run, but she did it in stock for a while. It was a play, not a musical. Viv did lots of stock productions in the post-Lucy years, but none were musicals. Among her credits were Butterflies Are Free, Harvey, Arsenic and Old Lace, Barefoot in the Park, and Everybody Loves Opal.

 

Vivian was hired to star in the Broadway premiere of Woody Allen's Don't Drink the Water. She played the role out of town, but left before it reached Broadway. She was replaced by Kay Medford. She supposedly left because did not get along with costar Lou Jacobi, although some say she wasn't convincing enough as a Jewish mother. Eve Arden was hired for Woody Allen's Purple Rose of Cairo, but her husband Brooks West became fatally ill and she withdrew right before filming. Zoe Caldwell replaced her.

 

When Lucy announced that she would end The Lucy Show after season two, Vivian planned to star on Broadway in the play Beekman Place. That changed when The Lucy Show returned for season three. Arlene Francis took Viv's role in the show, which also featured Laurence Luckinbill. Like most of Arlene Francis' plays, it had a short run.

Well, duh, Kay Medford instead of Viv playing a Jewish mom.  Kay was perfect as the Jewish mom in Funny Girl, every intonation, every line, every word just perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HarryCarter    1,052

I think Vivian realized she wasn't right for the role and that contributed to her departure.

 

I just remembered that Vivian did do one musical after her stardom as Ethel Mertz. During her hiatus after the second season of I Love Lucy, Vivian returned to the La Jolla Playhouse to star opposite Mel Ferrer in Pal Joey. I've never seen any documentation that she did indeed do it, but she was announced for the role. This seems like it would have been a better role for Vivian in 1963 rather than 1953, but that's just because I can't picture "Ethel Mertz" as Vera Simpson, but I can see "Vivian Bagley" doing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HarryCarter    1,052

I was just researching Don't Drink the Water and found an interview with Vivian where she says that David Merrick offered her the lead in one of the Hello, Dolly! companies after she left The Lucy Show. She said she turned the offer down because she wasn't ready to return to the stage at that time. The following year, she accepted Merrick's offer for Don't Drink the Water. I assume Merrick had wanted Vivian to replace Mary Martin in the first touring company of Dolly when Martin went abroad with the show. I think that was the only production running at that point outside the one on Broadway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Annaleigh    296

I was just researching Don't Drink the Water and found an interview with Vivian where she says that David Merrick offered her the lead in one of the Hello, Dolly! companies after she left The Lucy Show. She said she turned the offer down because she wasn't ready to return to the stage at that time. The following year, she accepted Merrick's offer for Don't Drink the Water. I assume Merrick had wanted Vivian to replace Mary Martin in the first touring company of Dolly when Martin went abroad with the show. I think that was the only production running at that point outside the one on Broadway.

Thank you for this great information!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mot Morenzi    1,503

Very interesting. I know she toured with a production that brought her up to the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. The name of the play escapes me at the moment. Her Maxwell House commercials and Rhoda appearance are the only non Lucy roles I've seen documented on film post The Lucy Show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Neil    1,350

Picure these other potential Frawley-Vance musical vehicles: "I Do I Do", "Mame"--with Frawley as Beau., and Frawley's favorite of the three "Sweeney Todd"---if you remember, he gets to slash the leading lady's throat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Neil    1,350

Though "Ballroom" came along a little too late for Viv, I think she would have been great. "Ballroom" is based on the Tv-movie "Queen of the Stardust ballroom" that starred Maureen Stapleton and Charles During. It may be the first and last Broadway musical based on a TV movie. The broadway version, starring Dorothy Loudon and Vincent Guardina, was not a hit and ran a little over 2 months.

Music was by Bea Arthur's One Woman Show accompanist Billy Goldenberg and Bea did the "11:00 number" "50 Percent" in her show. The show's charavter's name was Bea ASHER.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HarryCarter    1,052

If it was done earlier, Ballroom would have been a terrific vehicle for Vivian. Great thinking.

For a long time a revival of Ballroom was planned with Tyne Daly as Bea. There was a reading done with Lucie in the supporting role of Angie. Alan and Marilyn Bergman wrote some additional songs with new music by Marvin Hamlisch. A big complaint with the original production was that there wasn't enough songs for the characters. I haven't heard anything else about the planned revival since that reading. Maybe plans were completely abandoned after Hamlisch's death.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
C L A U D E    2,006

If it was done earlier, Ballroom would have been a terrific vehicle for Vivian. Great thinking.

For a long time a revival of Ballroom was planned with Tyne Daly as Bea. There was a reading done with Lucie in the supporting role of Angie. Alan and Marilyn Bergman wrote some additional songs with new music by Marvin Hamlisch. A big complaint with the original production was that there wasn't enough songs for the characters. I haven't heard anything else about the planned revival since that reading. Maybe plans were completely abandoned after Hamlisch's death.

Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, besides being my mom's favorite tv movie, sounds perfect for Viv.  Can't believe the Broadway run with the great Dorothy Loudon only played a couple of months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lucyilove    234

Obviously she wouldn't have been considered since the show was created by Paul Henning for his friend Bea Benaderet and Viv was already back on tv in TLS but I've often though Vivian would have been great as Kate Bradley on PETTICOAT JUNCTION.  Intriguing to ponder Lucy perhaps getting Bea to costar as her tv second banana at last on TLS which would have lessened the ties with ILL and Viv getting Bea's roles as Pearl on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and then Kate on PJ but of course in both cases producers Ball and Henning went with their old cohorts (Bea of course working for Henning on BURNS AND ALLEN). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
C L A U D E    2,006

Obviously she wouldn't have been considered since the show was created by Paul Henning for his friend Bea Benaderet and Viv was already back on tv in TLS but I've often though Vivian would have been great as Kate Bradley on PETTICOAT JUNCTION.  Intriguing to ponder Lucy perhaps getting Bea to costar as her tv second banana at last on TLS which would have lessened the ties with ILL and Viv getting Bea's roles as Pearl on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and then Kate on PJ but of course in both cases producers Ball and Henning went with their old cohorts (Bea of course working for Henning on BURNS AND ALLEN). 

Whoa what?  I can POSSIBLY see Viv as Kate but certainly not as Pearl Bodine.  NOBODY could touch Bea in THAT role, IMO of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lucyilove    234

Whoa what?  I can POSSIBLY see Viv as Kate but certainly not as Pearl Bodine.  NOBODY could touch Bea in THAT role, IMO of course.

I didn't mean to suggest Viv would have been better in EITHER role, just that it would have been fun to see her in something so different.  Love Bea, always have.  Certainly agree her Pearl is one of the alltime great supporting performances on any tv series.  I could see Viv in the part though, she had eccentric bits in some of the ILL episodes but no I don't think she would have been as good as Bea in it any more than I believe Bea would have been a better Ethel, nobody could have done any better in those parts than Bea's Pearl or Vivian's Ethel. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
C L A U D E    2,006

I didn't mean to suggest Viv would have been better in EITHER role, just that it would have been fun to see her in something so different.  Love Bea, always have.  Certainly agree her Pearl is one of the alltime great supporting performances on any tv series.  I could see Viv in the part though, she had eccentric bits in some of the ILL episodes but no I don't think she would have been as good as Bea in it any more than I believe Bea would have been a better Ethel, nobody could have done any better in those parts than Bea's Pearl or Vivian's Ethel. 

Oh yeah, Viv played a similar HICK in that show where she was hanging on a clothes line and said the immortal lines, DIDN'T MIND THE WASHIN MACHINE BUT I NEARLY PASSED OUT GOIN THROUGH THE WRINGER, LOL!  Sorry, it's ME, just can't see her in that role.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Neil    1,350

Whoa what?  I can POSSIBLY see Viv as Kate but certainly not as Pearl Bodine.  NOBODY could touch Bea in THAT role, IMO of course.

Agreed. Pearl was the best thing Bea ever did (from what I've seen). The character was instrumental in making Hillbillies the hit that it was...which makes her reward: the laugh-lackluster "Petticoat" all the more disappointing. The Kate Bradley role did not tap into Bea's comic talents and could have been played by anyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
C L A U D E    2,006

Agreed. Pearl was the best thing Bea ever did (from what I've seen). The character was instrumental in making Hillbillies the hit that it was...which makes her reward: the laugh-lackluster "Petticoat" all the more disappointing. The Kate Bradley role did not tap into Bea's comic talents and could have been played by anyone.

In her GUEST turn on ILL as the old lady looking for a date with Mr Ritter, she proved her acting chops.  As she had being the original choice for the role of Ethel Mertz but not being able to leave her commitment to Burns and Allen was it?  I can see Bea BEING Ethel but cannot see Viv being Pearl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LucyImHome    30

Agreed. Pearl was the best thing Bea ever did (from what I've seen). The character was instrumental in making Hillbillies the hit that it was...which makes her reward: the laugh-lackluster "Petticoat" all the more disappointing. The Kate Bradley role did not tap into Bea's comic talents and could have been played by anyone.

I've always wished Bea was kept on The Beverly Hillbillies, instead of moving on to Petticoat Junction. I love Pearl!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
C L A U D E    2,006

I've always wished Bea was kept on The Beverly Hillbillies, instead of moving on to Petticoat Junction. I love Pearl!

Yes, but obviously when Paul Henning or whoever saw how great she was, they wanted to give her her own showcase.  Problem was they didn't make the character of Pearl move on to Petticoat but this unfunny character instead.  I think she was basically the sane one among some oddballs.  Even the dog was funnier than Kate Bradley.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will    56

I like Bea on Petticoat Junction because she plays a caring mother as she was in real life but I agree her character was given all the straight lines and had to keep the dialogue moving.  She is outrageously funnier than that as we have seen.  However, Bea stayed on with the role so she must have liked it but I wish Lucy and her could have been together again on the Lucy Show.  (Lucy is too funnier for the sometimes funny mostly slow Petticoat Junction).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will    56

I am glad Viv wasn't Kate on Petticoat Junction.  Viv had a strong, fun personality and it would be boring to see her tackle Kate Bradley.  I doubt Viv would have stayed in CA to 1965 but would have left sooner finding no fulfillment in that role.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, duh, Kay Medford instead of Viv playing a Jewish mom. Kay was perfect as the Jewish mom in Funny Girl, every intonation, every line, every word just perfect.

What kind of a mother would name her son Floor enz ze ze ze zez?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×