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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Best Felix Unger I Ever Saw.

I mentioned last time that, as much as I loved Tony Randall as Felix Unger, he was, in my eyes, only the second best Felix Unger I ever saw.
And it was close.
But no cigar.
In the very early 1980's, Showtime used to fairly regularly broadcast regional productions of Broadway type productions.
It was an inspired idea.
I wish they were still doing it.
I wish SOMEBODY was doing it now.
The showed things like "Little Johnny Jones", the George M. Cohan musical, at the Goodspeed Opera House, in Connecticut, mercifully without Donny Osmond, who opened it on Broadway for a mercifully brief run.
The Goodspeed production was great.
And they took us to the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in Florida, where a production of "The Odd Couple" was being offered.
Oscar Madison was being played by Darryl Hickman, Dwayne's older, less talented brother.
You have never seen a boring, more laid back Oscar Madison in your life.
He spent the entire evening not getting any laughs, and essentially playing straight to the actor playing Felix, who was the least boring, funniest, energetic, manic Felix Unger in history.
Namely, Charles Nelson Reilly.
Funny every time he opened his mouth.
Funny with every visual reaction.
There is a good twenty minutes at the beginning of the play where Felix's first entrance is set up.
All the poker players have been forewarned that Felix is missing, and has sent a suicide telegram.
Yes, a suicide telegram.
We all know he is coming.
There is a knock on the door.
They open the door, revealing Charles Nelson Reilly as Felix.
From the peak of his forehead, his thick, black toupee is sticking straight up, erectly.
Inspired.
And that was the jumping off point.
Reilly then took over the stage for the next two hours.
I think he did it in spite of Darryl Hickman.
Not because of him.
I kept thinking how good the production would have been if Reilly worked opposite a heavyweight like Walter Matthau.
You'd think Darryl Hickman would have risen to the occasion, like an inferior tennis player playing against a great one, causing his game to improve.
It didn't happen.
Reilly carried the load all by himself, and did not show any strain doing it.
It was masterful.
So, sorry Tony.
I must call 'em like I see 'em.

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My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at macchus999@aol.com.
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

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1 comment:

  1. There's a chance you're qualified to get a free Apple iPhone 7.

    ReplyDelete

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About Me

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 macchus999@aol.com. 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."