Today's incident is the one that inspired this whole series of articles.
It's the one that reminded me of the original "Old Bread, Old Rolls" story, because it is so strikingly similar.
A couple of weeks ago, it was once again Pledge Week on your favorite and mine, my local PBS station in Detroit.
My wife had Tivoed a musical special called "Moments To Remember", a traipse down early 1950's Memory Lane.
I remember seeing it quite a few years ago, and enjoying it.
I even wrote about it here once, at some point.
So when my wife put it on for her mother to watch, I started to get caught up with it again.
Before they got to the body of the show, the hosts, Nick Clooney (Georgie's father) and Patti Page, informed us over and over that this was, in fact, NOT a rerun of the show that was on several years ago.
That it was in fact, an entirely new show.
Because they had had so much positive response from the first show, they decided to come out with an entirely new version.
This certainly peaked my interest, and had me hooked.
After a few new numbers that were not included in the original show, they started including retreads of numbers that were.
They had Julius La Rosa singing "Domani", using the same piece of videotape where his pocket handkerchief started out on the right side,
then magically switched to the left side.
Then he once again sang Eh, Cumpari".
Same piece of video.
Then, they once again shlepped out a 94 year-old Frankie Laine, to sing "That's My Desire".
Making no allusion to the fact that the man had died six years ago.
This was not part of a new show.
All in all, I'd say that at least 40% of the material was recycled from the previous special.
And the stuff that replaced it was decidedly inferior.
Stuff that obviously didn't make the cut for the original show, because that stuff lacked the quality of the stuff that did.
They shlepped out The DeCastro Sisters, whose one and only hit was "Teach Me Tonight", which they sang.
These were three women with ancient faces, each wearing wildly inappropriate teased jet-black wigs.
They were, in short, child-frighteners.
And they now have all since died.
One, as early as 2004.
So this number was shot back then.
They had simply gone to the vault of what was left over and exhumed it.
Again, not exactly new.
And, of course, no mention of anyone now being dead was mentioned.
They did an interesting interview with the pianist Roger Williams, who is now also dead.
No reference to that.
They had groups on that I had never heard of, who did cover versions of other people's hits.
We were not getting a "totally new show".
We were getting the dregs of what was left from the previous show, with filler from stuff we'd already seen.
Because they didn't HAVE enough material to put together an enirely new show.
PBS must have figured that the demographic was so old for this show that nobody would know the difference.
Just like "Old Bread and Old Rolls".
I have since thought of one more glaring example of "Old Bread, Old Rolls", perpetrated by the usually great director, Frank Capra.
He wasn't great this time.
More about it next time.
My book, "Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store, You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
You might want to check them out.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
The website "On Screen & Beyond" has two hours of an interview I did on it's podcast in their archives.
Just Google On Screen & Beyond to find them if you're interested.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."