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HarryCarter

Kaye Ballard has passed away

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HarryCarter    1,004

A spectacular talent who had “IT” until the end. It’s one of my greatest thrills seeing her last show in New York in 2012. She was even better than I could have ever imagined. 

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Luvsbway    1,983

That Dessert Sun piece is really good and very informative about how HUGE a career she had. So happy that she got to see her documentary get such high honors. 

I'd suggest any other legends over 90 to stay away from Palm Springs this year. It doesn't seem like a safe place for them right now. 

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Neil    1,314

Carol and Kaye in the same week: I can't take any more....

Kaye Ballard: typecast as the loud Italian: something she did very well and hilariously but she had an untapped dramatic range.  I once saw a video (from I don't remember where but it was black and white from the 50s) in which she did very serious scene with someone and was amazingly effective.   Desi did not augment the laugh track on Mothers In Law and it's KAYE that gets the most enthusiastic audience response.   Here's my old tribute to Kaye on MIL.  At the end Kaye sings.   In the plot, the Hubbards and Buells invest in a rock band and this is Kaye's suggestion for a song to put in their act.......followed by the song written specifically for her act by Kander and Ebb, later incorporated into you-know-what and associated with you-know-who. Then her rendition of "My Man" from her hit album of Fannie Brice songs.  It was her idea to turn this into a Broadway musical, done some 10 years later. 

 

 

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Freddie2    813

We're all heartbroken down here about Carol and Kaye, but there's one heck of a double act playing "up there" right now. She certainly had good luck with her mouth.

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Neil    1,314

KAYE BALLARD SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED FOR.....

TONYs:  When Kaye's "Golden Apple" played Broadway, they named winners but no nominations--I'm not sure there was even a supporting category yet.   For the 60-61 season, unfortunately Tony rules were changed:  LEAD in a musical required the actress's name being above the title on the marquee.  Any other actress in any show, be they the STAR or not, was categorized as "Featured" , the category that replaced "supporting"..

Elizabeth Seal won for "Irma La Douce" , Channing for "Show Girl", Julie for "Camelot and Nancy Walker for "Do Re Mi"......I know nothing of Elizabeth Seal, but Nancy's role in "Do", I would categorize as somewhere between lead and supporting.  (Phil Silvers was THE lead).   I don't know when Tony nominations came out in relation to Wildcat's run but no nomination for Lucy is one of those things that will forever be lodged in my near-capacity-filled CRAW.

This is the season that Kaye was such a big hit in "Carnival" and surely would have received a nomination and very possibly a  WIN had the leads in Bye Bye Birdie (Dick Van Dyke) and Molly Brown (Tammy Grimes) been in the category they rightfully belonged in (LEAD) and not the ridiculous "featured" category by virtue of the technicality of the stupid rule.   They both won. 

EMMYs:  "The Mothers In Law" was not the type of show the Emmys embraced, but look at the actual best comedy nominees during these 2 years:   2 nominations for the badly aging "Bewitched", 2 for "Family Affair", 2 for "Get Smart" (the winner both years), 1 each for Hogan's Heroes, Julia, Ghost and Mrs. Muir and The Lucy Show.  The following is a just IMO analysis.  "Bewitched" had lost a lot of its charm by then (its 4th and 5th season); "Get Smart" was amusing but TWO 'Best" Awards?  I say:  only by default;  I never saw an episode of "Heroes"; and only have a scant memory of "Ghost and Mrs." (which NBC had CANCELED).  With that enticing premise, I probably watched "Ghost" at the beginning but it must have been extremely dull or laugh-less for me to lose interest.  I wouldn't have traded "The Lucy Show"'s one nomination for anything but I would have nominated it in ANY of the other 5 seasons over this one.   And I say "Julia" was nominated only because of the publicity of the first black woman to be the lead in a "sitcom" (ignoring the early 50s "Beulah")  If they say Julia was a comedy, I have to take  their word for it, I guess....same for "Family Affair", which I would nominate only as Best Sitcom For Those Suffering From Insomnia. 

But look at the Best Actress in Comedy nominations.  I don't see why Kaye (or Eve for that matter)  shouldn't have scored a nomination, despite what the Academy thought of "MIL".   Again Lucy's 1968 win:  while I love the fact that she won 2 in a row, I don't consider her performances this season as stellar (and can't really say why).  Her snub for season 2: stored in aforementioned craw; I wish Liz had won in 1966 over MTMoore for Dick Van Dyke Show.  She deserved it then.  But by 1968, someone had decided to make her more of a comedienne and she was less effective at that (I would go so far as to say "annoying");  Diahann Carroll's Julia was not exactly an acting challenged--Diahann's nominated for same reason described above for series.  Not knocking the lovely, likable Hope Lange but  the dull "Ghost" did not tap her talents--and TWO wins in a row---JEEZ!!!;  Barbara Feldon was cute and appealing but nomination as LEAD?--I say no; the buzz was that quirky Paula Prentiss would win for the one season "He and She", the season's critic's darling.  Its Best Comedy snub was surprising.  I think Lucy took the undeserved backlash for winning a second time over newcomer Paula and that's the reason Lucy was never nominated again.  I can't argue with poor Marlo Thomas, nominated for 4 of That Girl's 5 seasons, losing all.     With that said, I think Kaye Ballard was as  equally deserving of a nomination as those that got them.   Try picturing any of the other nominees (excepting Lucy of course) livening up MIL material. 

While Mothers In Law wasn't as consistently high-rated as Kaye has said ("It was cancelled when it was #14", she said often), at #40 (or so, if memory serves) for its 2nd season at a time when the networks had some 100 shows,  it was the highest rated show BY FAR to be cancelled at the end of the 68-69 season. The cast left for the break assuming they'd be back for season 3.  It was one of the last to be cancelled by a sponsor Proctor & Gamble who, if I'm understanding it correctly, owned that Sunday 8:30 time slot.  But why didn't another network pick it up, as they did with the lower rated "Ghost and Muir"?  Scuttlebutt has it that Desi, bless him, was just too hard to work with by that time for another network to take on a show whose ratings were good but not great.  His alcoholism trumped his better judgement, sometimes throwing his weight around like he was still as influential as he was in his Desilu days.    I do wish Desi had gotten around to "Another Book" as promised.  I think his post-Lucy/Desilu years were harder on him than he let on.   Those who worked with him (that did not suffer the wrath of his hair-trigger temper) speak of him, Kaye included,  in consistently loving and glowing terms afforded no other producer in TV history. 

But back to Kaye:  there's no reason that audience-pleasing Kaye could not gone on to her own "Kaye Ballard Show".  Possible premise: Kaye runs an Italian restaurant along with (and living with)  her  loving but brow-beaten father and her dominating, disapproving, acid-tongue mother.  (which describes Kaye's real life mother).  But WHO could have played the mother?

For those who made it to the end of my blathering, sorry. I didn't mean for this post to go on so long, but I had a personal, if sporadic, relationship with Kaye and her passing has upset me greatly.  She used to call me occasionally---a real thrill when it happened.  My thoughts today are of her.  I only wish she had had the higher profile career deserving of someone with her enormous talent.  But grateful that she got to see the premiere of the documentary about her.  And the positive response and long-overdue attention.  Hopefully we'll all get to see it eventually.  The few clips I've seen look great (a virtual one-man production by our own enormously talented Dan Wingate, an occasional poster to our board).  It would be a perfect inclusion for a Mothers In Law marathon by the Decades channel. 

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Freddie2    813

From what I've seen/heard, a lot more people were fans of Kaye than I knew. Of course she was a legend, but not necessarily a household name. Thank goodness for Mothers-in-Law, even though it only ran for two years (as Neil so aptly discussed), because it was such a terrific documented showcase for Kaye's talents. And speaking of mothers-in-law, how interesting was it to read that Kaye was considered for Marie Barone? 

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Mot Morenzi    1,441

God, what a loss. I could feel my heart plummet the moment I saw the (beautifully done) banner. Just too sad. I'm thrilled at the tributes she's getting, though. 

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Neil    1,314

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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JessiLu    32

Lucie’s Instagram post today was quite an honest tribute to Kaye:

https://www.instagram.com/luciearnazofficial/p/Bs-yzGElcVQ/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=176cuoodabw9p

It’s sad to think that Kaye was “more consumed with regret than gratitude.” She seemed so full of life and joy during recent interviews I’ve watched. But you can never know for sure what is going on beneath the surface. 

Really appreciate Lucie’s candor, though, and her thoughts on the lessons we can take from Kaye’s life.

 

 

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Freddie2    813
20 hours ago, Neil said:

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.

North Dakota Moon forever!

17 hours ago, JessiLu said:

Lucie’s Instagram post today was quite an honest tribute to Kaye:

https://www.instagram.com/luciearnazofficial/p/Bs-yzGElcVQ/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=176cuoodabw9p

It’s sad to think that Kaye was “more consumed with regret than gratitude.” She seemed so full of life and joy during recent interviews I’ve watched. But you can never know for sure what is going on beneath the surface. 

Really appreciate Lucie’s candor, though, and her thoughts on the lessons we can take from Kaye’s life.

Up until her passing, I always assumed that Kaye was just as enchanting and full of life as she appeared in her performances and interviews. It's very sad to hear that she was bitter, but I sincerely hope that the wild success of her documentary gave her an eleventh hour moment of reassurance; everybody loves Kaye! This is very similar to what happened with Rose Marie about a year ago.

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Luvsbway    1,983
3 hours ago, Freddie2 said:

North Dakota Moon forever!

Up until her passing, I always assumed that Kaye was just as enchanting and full of life as she appeared in her performances and interviews. It's very sad to hear that she was bitter, but I sincerely hope that the wild success of her documentary gave her an eleventh hour moment of reassurance; everybody loves Kaye! This is very similar to what happened with Rose Marie about a year ago.

I think it all depends on the person. I've heard from a few over the past few days who knew her that thought she was fun and happy in these past few years. I did hear she was getting ill around the end of last year and wasn't seeing as many people. I wouldn't take one person's experience as that's how she always was.

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HarryCarter    1,004

Buzzr put together a nice compilation of some of Kaye's game show appearances: To Tell the Truth with Bette Davis from 1966, What's My Line? from 1969 (with Betty White!), and What's My Line? from 1973. 

 

The 1969 one is particularly fun and interesting. Kaye says The Mothers-in-Law was cancelled even though it was in the top 40. She was right - it was ranked #40, but the highest rated show to be cancelled that year. Kaye was currently filming the movie Lovers and Other Strangers and she raves about the project and every one of the cast members. Kaye was fired from the movie with the explanation she looked too young to play the mother. She was replaced by Bea Arthur. One of the many examples of Kaye losing out on a big break. 

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Mot Morenzi    1,441

We've started re-watching The Mothers-in-Law in Kaye's honor. It's been a while since I've seen it, so it's fun to be experiencing it again. Max remembers it from its original run in Australia - he says it was a "must-watch" in his family's household.

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Neil    1,314

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. 

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HarryCarter    1,004

Lovers and Other Strangers was both a critical and commercial success. It was one of the top 25 box office films of the year and nominated for three Oscars: for Best Adapted Screenplay for Renee Taylor & Joseph Bologna, Best Supporting Actor for Richard Castellano (as Kaye/Bea's character's husband), and for Best Original Song for "For All We Know." It won for Song. Incidentally, the movie marked Diane Keaton's film debut. She played the daughter-in-law to Kaye/Bea's character. 

Kaye also performed a song from Molly ("I See a Man") on The Jack Paar Tonite and several numbers with costars Danny Fortus and Eli Mintz. 

Buzzr airs the syndicated What's My Line? episodes in the afternoon, but they keep repeating the same episodes over and over again. It's annoying. 

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Mot Morenzi    1,441

Are there plans to release the Kaye and Rose Marie films digitally or on DVD? Or do licensing issues limit them solely to theatrical exhibition?

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HarryCarter    1,004
25 minutes ago, Mot Morenzi said:

Are there plans to release the Kaye and Rose Marie films digitally or on DVD? Or do licensing issues limit them solely to theatrical exhibition?

Rose Marie’s film, Wait for Your Laugh, is available on DVD and is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and other sites. 

Kaye’s film has only had one festival screening so far, so I’m sure there are plans for further theatrical showings before there is a home release.

 

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Mot Morenzi    1,441
1 hour ago, HarryCarter said:

Rose Marie’s film, Wait for Your Laugh, is available on DVD and is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and other sites. 

Kaye’s film has only had one festival screening so far, so I’m sure there are plans for further theatrical showings before there is a home release.

Thanks for that. I'll track down Rose Marie's while I wait for Kaye's to be released.

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Neil    1,314
22 hours ago, HarryCarter said:

Lovers and Other Strangers was both a critical success.

Buzzr airs the syndicated What's My Line? episodes in the afternoon, but they keep repeating the same episodes over and over again. It's annoying. 

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. 

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Luvsbway    1,983

FYI the air date of the widow episode is Sept. 11, 1991. I don't get Decades but if anyone catches this episode and could get it online, I'd be very happy.

I watched Joan's show a lot in the 90s and really enjoyed it. 

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Neil    1,314
1 hour ago, Luvsbway said:

FYI the air date of the widow episode is Sept. 11, 1991. I don't get Decades but if anyone catches this episode and could get it online, I'd be very happy.

I watched Joan's show a lot in the 90s and really enjoyed it. 

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?

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