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Neil

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Everything posted by Neil

  1. I posted this to Facebook, but for those who didn't see it:
  2. Darwin Porter is a trash writer, inventing dialogue between two people who were the only ones in the room and no notes were taken.
  3. LOL, as always. I thought there should be a Chris "Home Alone' episode where she returns from a sleepover at Cynthia's and the house is vacant. Lucy: "You know how it is when you're planning a big trip. Some little detail is liable to slip your mind." The move to California, and the great episodes that could have happened, will forever fester in my craw. They dispense with the absurdity that Mooney and Lucy would both move without the other one knowing pretty quickly. but STILL...
  4. Like a lot of these All-Time Best Lists, this one is top heavy with more recent shows some of which I've never seen and an alarming number I've never heard of. I was glad to see Burns & Allen made the list even if it was only #85. Some series might have made the list if you just looked at their first two seasons: Bewitched (did I miss it on the list?), The Lucy Show and The Beverly Hillbillies, whose first season is hilarious in no small part due to the presence of Bea Benedaret as Pearl Bodine.
  5. Agree that at least a nomination for "Pillow" seemed appropriate, if for nothing else being a trouper, forging ahead in layered winter clothes despite the unseasonable NYC heat wave. "Here's Lucy" won as Best TV Comedy in 1971 from some TV association. I can't find the Variety clipping right now. I don't know what the Emmy nomination criteria is, but when Lucy won in 1968, there were 5 nominees. For 70-71, there were only three for Best Actress in a Comedy while there were 5 for Best Actor. This was the only season HL got any Emmy recognition that I know of. Gale and Bob&Madelyn's Burton script. Both lost to MTM people. In the seasons in between, Lucy was passed over for lesser performers. The winner for both years, Hope Lange was as good a choice as any given the other none-outstanding nominees. Hope won despite her series being cancelled TWICE. First by NBC, then by ABC. I don't remember much about "Ghost & Mrs. Muir" but it didn't seem like much was required from Hope.
  6. Oh, can't they leave poor "Mame" alone?? In "Center Square: Paul Lynde" biography, Paul tells of advice Lucy gave him when he was starting his show. For some reason, the author feels the need to add "Lynde should have been more dubious because at the time Ball thought she was perfectly suited to play the lead in the disastrous musical Mame."
  7. Contains the most bizarre segment of any Lucy movie. Colorful and dazzling to watch and somehow she shines. She doesn't embarrass herself which is saying a lot considering what she's given to do. Let's see Mary Tyler Moore, Irene Ryan, Inger Stevens, Shirley Booth or Patty Duke (63-64 Emmy Best Actress in a Comedy nominees bypassing Miss Ball) pull this off! This movie sat on the shelf for a couple of years for some reason. By the time of its release MGM had pretty much given up on Lucy, despite appearing in two semi-hits "Dubarry" and "Best Foot Forward" and as movie-stealing support in "Without Love" and "Easy to Wed", all except "Love" in glorious technicolor.
  8. Love your season 3 observations. Before I thought of the fact that there were writers, I remember when I first saw these that something was missing from the previous shows. Maybe it was Bob and Madelyn's way with words? To me, the show just wasn't as funny. Even though it's Viv-less, I like "Lucy Becomes a Father". Her getting stuck in a mummy bag is B&M schtick-worthy. Yes, the poker game is similar to "Be a Pal" but I don't remember any specific bits repeated. Lucy once said on a talk show "I was bitten by a bear once" and it must have been this one. A real live bear was used except for the very last scene. My main season 3 complaint is the complete eradication of the various supporting semi-regular players, even though as you say, they were at least mentioned.
  9. I guess I'm the only one (except for Lucy herself, apparently) that enjoys the John Wayne episode. Each summer when CBS ran The Lucy Show from 68 to 71, it was shown. Yes, it's a bit overboard that Lucy would get "carried away", but I think it's one of her best free-wheeling performances. I'm continually amazed that these shows were put together in 4 days. By this time of TLS, SO MUCH relied on Lucy herself carrying the whole show: "Lucy Flies to London" is a perfect example. I've always wanted to see the John Wayne script because I've assumed it was one of the few times where Lucy seemed to ad lib, brilliantly IMO. I love her swiping the sponge from Bennett Green and jerking John's face back and forth as she adjusts his make up, all the while lamenting how he's always ganged up on in his movie scenes. Oh, well....it's not the first or last time I've been out on my own with my opinions. The 6th season is by far my least favorite. "Phil Harris" has grown on me even though it's not The Lucy Show as I wanted it to be. Missing scene: Lucy getting drunken Phil our of his clothes and into that bathrobe! (which might have been quite funny). By this time, TLS was a two-character show set in a bank. Roy Roberts added nothing and Mary Jane, through no fault of her own, was no Viv and was given little to do other than react. You have to give Phil Harris scribe Bob O'Brien some credit for trying to expand the premise beyond that stodgy bank. Though impoverished, the Lucy Carmichael of the first two seasons had class. 6th season Carmichael was, much of the time, more annoying than funny. I detect a change in the character from the 5th season. What is missing? Her sweetness and vulnerability, maybe. Though it had more than its share of duffers, there are many 5th season shows I like. No so, the 6th. I enjoy "George Burns" but the routine is lifted verbatim from Burns and Allen. You can have your Rose Nylan and Connie Stevens' Wendy. No one else could do Gracie. Not even Lucy.
  10. Miss Pat trivia: she was only 31 when she did The Lucy Show. She performed at her LA club until 1983, then moved to Lake Tahoe where did her act until 1992 "when ill health forced to retire". She died in 1997 and was only 62. Had had a stroke. But poor Miss Pat spent her childhood in orphanages and foster homes.
  11. Lucy is in top form. Highlights: following tea cart around so she can get her lunch; and her posture during delivery of "How about next Friday?" line. I love the Joanna Barnes-like performance of the salon host. I'll bet she did Gloria Upson in some production of "Auntie" or "Mame". Isn't uncredited model ("Come, Georgia") Cher's MOTHER? Though it's been done before (on Dick Van Dyke), I expected Lucy to get "accidentally" hypnotized. Mary Jane and Miss Pat: an unlikely friendship. Doesn't being at Lucy's beck and call for another "kooky caper" preclude having a social life? Mary Jane has a boyfriend?? (bites her nails then his during scary movie). Miss Pat has a pretty good singing voice. I didn't know her "That's All" was cut from the DVD.
  12. "Lucy & Pat Collins". For a California bank episode, it's pretty good....up to the disappointing last scene, made all the worse because everything that preceded it was good stuff. The fur salon is the highlight. The woman playing the saleswoman put a lot into a part that could have been a nothing. And Lucy is great throughout. Her 1967 Emmy was well-deserved (much more than the 1968 win IMO). Note that Lucy's look to Mary Jane after MJ says of the $30,000 coat Lucy's trying on "Why don't you buy it?" is the same look she gives Ethel when E suggests to Carolyn that she might be able to change her Hawaii reservations to come to Lucy's "party". But what were they thinking with the hypnotism scene? The nadir of which has Lucy and Mooney doing a Laurel and Hardy bit--under hypnosis (?!). Pat Collins, aka "Miss Pat" with her cat-eye glasses and piled-high cotton candy blonde hair, wins The Lucy Show's "Don Loper Award" for the most stilted, but somehow endearing performance by a non-actor in a Lucy show. (The Here's Lucy recipient: Lawrence Welk?). I never noticed before that Pat croons some of Edie Adams' "That's All" to end her act. I would guess Miss Pat's "The Hip Hypnotist" was an actual club act.
  13. You're probably right. Fewer shows were shot/aired in color in 65-66 than I realized. I always assumed, without any proof, that Dick Van Dyke went into the season knowing it was their last so continued in b/w because of that. I'd forgotten that Jeannie debuted that year and was initially in b/w (on color-pioneering NBC!) --with a different theme song. Me or Antenna is running the mostly-forgotten sitcom "Joey Bishop" which has the unique distinction of going from b/w in its first season to color for seasons 2 & 3, then back to b/w for its 4th and final. Filmed at Desilu, there are a lot of familiar names in the credits including Milt Josefsburg. Nothing is horrible about "Joey B..", but there's no draw either.
  14. The final episode "Lucy Fights the System", a great showcase for Lucie/Kim. And peppered with such great supporting players: Mary Treen, of course, Barbara Morrision, pie throwing Harry Holcome, John "Red" Fox (Danfield's Officer Wilcox), Eddie Quillen, Sid&Vanda and others I recognize but don't know names. Usually crowd scenes on HL feature people that can't even act as in "Milton Berle/Life of Party". To spare expenses, I figure. Maybe by 1974, LBP had made up the lost revenue going over budget on the "Burtons" show. A convenient excuse for Gary to pinch pennies, something I seriously doubt. Kudos to Jack Donahue for the deft pie throwing direction and choreography. Usually shots are framed lazily and give away what's going to happen. Example: Before Lucy throws Eva Gabor's necklace out the hospital window, director cuts to an awkward looking wide shot which telegraphs the bit in advance. But here Donahue does a quick pan from 2-shot of Harry Holcome and Jack Collins (with Gale out of the shot) and follows the pie to Gale's face. It's the perfect ending to the series. Gale's extended reaction is priceless. They must have planned this as the finale though I read somewhere that it wasn't the last one filmed. A couple of things: if Jack Collins has "just turned 40", so have I! I like that they use actual restaurant terms like "the deuce table" to indicate a 2-seater. You wouldn't have heard any acknowledgment of how old Lucy & Harry have become even 2 seasons previous ("There are people who won't do business with us because of OUR AGE"). And no one told writer Bob O'Brien that "the kids" don't wear jeans, faded or otherwise, when they go surfing!
  15. When CBS added The Lucy Show to their morning sitcom line up in the fall of 1968 (9am Pacific time), they started with the 2nd season, aired for the first time in color.. I was in school and left my (audio) tape recorder running through "Captain Kangaroo" (8-9am). My mother was not one to watch TV during the day but I remember her telling me she walked through the TV room and noticed Lucy's red hair in COLOR. I knew that Lucy didn't start airing color episodes until season 4. It was years before I found out about the 2nd and 3rd being shot in color but aired in b/w because of Bill Paley's color-STUBBORNESS. CBS was able to air color, pre-1965 because they showed Wizard of Oz annually. In 1965, most (but not all) of the network shows were shot in color. I don't know the percentage of color TVs in use but the number increased post-1965. It was stupid of CBS to refuse to air the episodes in color because it would have been a draw. I've said this many times before but it was a strange (as in different) experience listening to all those early Lucy Shows without the visuals. The 1963 Lucy Show was completely different from the 1968 episodes.
  16. Re: Harrison's post "a sea of VCR Plus+ codes for people who wanted to program their VHS recorders." I did not know ANYBODY who used this to record shows but various TV listings dutifully included them. "The Lucy Show" has never gotten much respect. "Good Skate" is pretty good for a post Bob-Madelyn episode but I like mainly to marvel at Lucy's physical agility rather than the laughs, though there are some. I don't know who chose "Frankie Avalon" as 1/2 of the Here's Lucys they aired. I wonder, without the high profile glare of the attention of Lucy's big return to TV, if 10 years had been kind to "One Good Grandparent". As I'm sure you all know, a batch of Lucy Shows from previous seasons aired during the summer hiatus between TLS and HL. CBS repeated most of these each summer through 1971 instead of rerunning that season's HLs. The big mystery to me is why CBS didn't take the opportunity to run 2nd season episodes. These did not look dated and it would have been the first time they aired in prime time in color. Instead the chosen episodes were mostly guest star episodes from the Hollywood stretch. As I recall there was only one episode originally aired in b/w: 3rd season's "Mechanical Man". Not bad but most of the 2nd season's were much better.
  17. I can't get my photo bucket app to work anymore. Otherwise I'd be posting pictures. Lucy Day footprint related: The John Wayne shows are two of my favorites. About as overtly larcenous as Lucy ever got. And contains my favorite Ethel/Fred exchange. Fred (focusing camera) Ethel, look at me and smile. Ethel: Make up your mind. I can't do both.
  18. "Special Guest Star" Cloris as Phyllis dominated every Mary Tyler Moore scene she was in. I wonder how much of the Phyllis character resulted from the writers picking up on what Cloris could do. On paper, Phyllis would seem to be a subordinate character. She made only 34 MTMs spread out over the first 5 years of the show. It's hard to imagine anyone else as Phyllis Lindstrom. There was only one season 73-74 in which Rhoda, Phyllis, Georgette and Sue Ann all appeared. (I think) For the record The Mary Tyler Moore Show"''s end of year rankings for the 7 seasons are #22, #10 (tied with Here's Lucy!), #7, #8, #11, #19 and down to #35 for its 7th and final season. The third of 3 CBS comedies that started at 8:30 with the waning "My Three Sons", then the forgotten "Arnie" before Mary at 9:30. It was up against the 2nd half-hour of NBC's Saturday movie and "The Most Deadly Game" on ABC. Of all the Saturday night shows, only Mary and My Three Sons made the top 30. CBS didn't have much faith in MTM considering the time slot given. Eventually MTM moved from 9:30 to 9:00. During its last season, it was moved Saturday at 8:00 and we all know what a jinxed time slot that is for a sitcom.
  19. After seeing "Wildcat" in January of 1961 a Rob Miller of Providence RI wrote this letter-to-editor of Newsweek magazine: " I have a suggestion to make to Miss Lucille Ball: Next time you decide to do a broadway show, hire the unheralded writers of I Love Lucy. They’d do a better job with Wildcat than author N. Richard Nash.".
  20. Though she worked steadily through the years, she was 44 when the general public was aware of her. She simultaneously got an Oscar for Last Picture Show and joined MTM in 1970. The rapid rise and fall of "Phyllis" is an interesting historical note. "Phyllis" rated #6 in its first season, ahead of Rhoda #7 and Mary Tyler Moore trailing at #19. The next season 76-77 saw a decided shift in viewer preferences (according to Nielsen). All three MTM shows fell out of the top 30. Phyllis fell so far it was cancelled. Scored a marginally acceptable #40. Rhoda and Phyllis were up against the new and very popular "Little House on Prairie". Phyllis weathered the loss of Barbara Colby in season 1. The quick replacement Liz Torres was not the same. Phyllis's workplace changed in season 2 so Liz was out. Judith Lowry as Mother Dexter was a great addition. Unfortunately after filming the wonderful "Gets Married" 2-parter, she died suddenly before it aired. The always old as such "ageless" Bert Mustin followed soon. But what a great way to go. Jane Fonda is now only a year younger than Mother Dexter in season 1! Ain't that a kick in the pants?!!
  21. I'm also fascinated with "Lucy Day". What a schedule they put her through! She held up under the oppressive humidity and heat, so humid that despite the heat it rained at one time. Thanks to the bonus material on one of the DVDs (Here's Lucy?) we got to see all the footage they could find. And yeah, where IS that slab of cement now?
  22. "Jim Nabors" is a rather odd offering. But there's hope we'll get a look at some other obscure series in the future. The market I lived in did not run "The Jim Nabors Talk Show". My wishlist includes "Pete & Gladys" and "Glynis". When CBS ran I Love Lucy in the morning from 1959 to 1966, they did edits to allow for more commercials. The show was divided into 4 acts instead of 2. When it was beamed, I'm wondering whether they still ran the 35mm film through a telecine device or whether the shows were transferred to 2" videotape, the only tape format available at the time (as far as I know). CBS reran the 78 Pete & Gladys episodes for 2 years, mainly (I think) because they had ownership in the show. All of their other daytime offerings over the years were prime time ratings hits.
  23. I'm going through my Lucy memorabilia boxes from my attic, sorting out the few things I want to keep and it's a laborious process. I can't believe the stuff I saved (and DIDN'T save). One blast from the past: The log I printed up for a rare Lucy tape I gave away. Backstory: As a kid, I had my reel tape recorder set up by TV to catch anything Lucy. I caught most of Lucy's variety show appearances from about 1968 on. I compiled them into one cassette and put an ad in Tom's Lucy Fan Magazine, probably about 1984 or 1985. For $3 (which just covered the postage and blank cassette, mind you), I offered to send one to anyone interested. The response was overwhelming! You youngsters have to remember that at this time VHS was only about 5 years old. I don't know that Columbia House had started their 3-episode I Love Lucy VHS subscription yet. DVDs: that was way into the future. These variety show guest spots were only aired once (in all but one case) so the recordings were rare indeed, not something we EVER thought we'd see again. Since then, most of the clips have come out as DVD extras (TLS,HL producers: THANK YOU!) or are available on youtube. As far as I'm aware only 2 of the selections have never come out are: Lucy and Carol singing "I Remember it Well" from the 1968 Emmys (with intro sung by Frank Sinatra). Lyrics were tailored to the commemoration of "20 years of television". Carol "I remember the 12 inch screen". Lucy: "we were so impressed" Carol: "Bishop Fulton Sheen" Lucy "you mean Father Knows Best?"...you get the idea. The other is the audio from a Mike Douglas Show in 1968, in which Lucy was a surprised guest...AND a little later Vivian was too. A pictorial of this was featured in TV Guide. I almost didn't tape it. TV Guide listed Lucy as guest but when the opening credits listed that day's roster of guests, there was no mention of her because of the surprise element. A sister act had just finished their number and Mike, reading from cue cards, introduced an older sister and much to his surprise out pops Lucy! Ozzie & Harriet were Mike's co-hosts for that week. My recording catches the interview in progress with Lucy saying, in answer to a question from Mike, "I think there were 5 years of I Love Lucy. But I could be wrong, there may have been 10." And "next year I'm having another change of format: my kids are grown and I'm putting them on." looking to audience "I hope they approve". The audience dutifully applauds. During the course of the interview, the camera shows a series of stills from her shows with Lucy doing commentary. Very entertaining The last still was Lucy on stilts. Mike, again reading from cue cards, says "we have a lady backstage who is a champion stilt walker. Would you like to meet her?". Lucy responds with an enthusiastic "Indeed I would!!" (Would you... really???) The curtain parts and we see Viv from the rear (in her knit suit?) trying to mount stilts. It's a great show. As far as I know, the video of this Douglas show has not been found. I think Mike's show originated from Philadelphia so copping both Lucy and Viv as surprise guests must have been quite the undertaking. The girls do "Friendship". Lucy has to be cajoled to do it "I can't sing!!" and proves it by hitting a few clinkers! Lucy is very relaxed in her interview and is obviously thrilled to see Viv. There is one (of many) VERY interesting moment. Mike asks the panel "I was asked by a college student about where we are going with this medium and I couldn't answer. I'm sure you four can (L&V, O&H)." There's an awkward pause. Everyone stammers until Viv jokes "Personally? ... I went to Santa Fe with it".... but then Lucy pipes in with a very authoritarian opinion, which in retrospect actually makes little sense including "If they want to say it's for education, that's fine with me. Unfortunately they put the education shows on Sunday afternoons when you should be out with the dogs and the kids" (in that order?). For the record, the other selections on the tape: 3 Carol Burnett numbers (Boys in Backroom, Good Man is Hard to Find & Rock Sisters), Dinah Shore's Like Hep, "Man Around the House/Cleo" from Jack Benny special, Shirley's Bouncing Back for More, Autograph Ann (Margaret) and Celebrity Lu, Lucy's military-themed song and dance from Pearl Bailey's short-lived variety show and Lucy winning her 1967 (my version has presenters Carl Reiner and Barbara Eden reading list of 4 nominees). It was a LONG time before we got to see these again---probably 2 decades. Naive dolt that I am, I didn't realize I should have saved these to use later as barter for trading rarities with other collectors. By the time I figured out we were not all one big happy family who practiced "sharezees", I had already given my unique recordings away.
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