View My Stats

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Best Dolly Levi and the Best Shirley Maclaine I Ever Saw.

The year was 1958.
So it doesn't involve the musical "Hello, Dolly!"
That didn't exist until 1964.
There was a movie based on its source material, "The Matchmaker".
With a lovely score.  But no songs.
You didn't need them.
There was no Carol Channing, no Pearl Bailey, and certainly no Bette Midler.
No, before all of them there was the "The Matchmaker".
And its star "Shirley "Hazel" Booth."
And she was better and the movie was better than any production of "Hello Dolly" ever was.
As those of you who know my general feelings about Ms. Booth, and how I couldn't bear to watch
"Hazel", it came as more than just a mild shock to witness just how wonderful she was in
"The Matchmaker".  There was no shortage to her charm.  And the supporting cast was dazzling.
Paul Ford as Horace Van Der Gelder, who had far more to do than any of the Van Der Gelders in the musical, and every moment he had was great.
Anthony Perkins was Cornelius Hackle and almost stole the movie.
Robert Morse was Barnaby Tucker.  Pretty hard to beat.
If she wasn't busy doing "Hazel" she should have done "Hello Dolly".
There was wonderful use of "breaking the fourth wall".
Having the characters directly addressing the audience.
Preceding "House of Cards" by about fifty years.
Ms. Booth had done two previous musicals on Broadway.  I have both cast albums, and she was marvelous in both of them.
Check out the cast album of "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn"  The whole score is sensational and Ms. Booth is even better.
But Shirley Maclaine was, in "The Matchmaker" at the top of her game as Irene Molloy.
Every scene she had made you want to cry for her.  Absolute perfection.
And in the same year,  she was equally superb in a movie called "Some Came Running".
Wow, was she good in that.  She played a tramp who was in love with  Frank Sinatra.
It was mentioned by Ms. Maclaine herself that Sinatra had James Jones' novel re-written so that Shirley's character would be murderded at the end, in order to guarantee her an Oscar nomination.
She didn't get one, Martha Hyer got one for the same picture.  Were they watching the same movie?, Martha Hyer was a cold fish, and played it ,that way.  And it  certainly didn't require her getting murdered to get it. It just required her to be married to Hal Wallis who was a major big shot in Hollywood..
All of her Shirley's earlier scenes warranted a win.  Not just a nomination. She got neither.
Talk about breaking your heart.
Wendy Hiller won for "Separate Tables".  Who remembers her or it?
I used to live in Malibu, in a condo complex.  I knew that Shirley Maclaine  lived there too.
I'd always hoped I'd run into her at the pool, so I could tell her how much I loved what she did in
"Some Came Running".  That never happened.
Anyway, 1958.  Quite a year.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When Is A Joke You Wrote 47 Years Ago, Not A Joke You Wrote 47 Years Ago?

When I was in college, I got involved in writing sketches for annual college shows that were very well attended.
In 1970, it was our task to write a takeoff on Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour.
The sketch included a glee club performing a medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs.
The joke was that each member of the glee club simultaneously sang a different Rodgers and Hammerstein song.
It was pretty funny, and as far as I know, original.
Even then we always prided ourselves on being original.
There had to be a winner, and the winner that night was a soloist who, on slide-whistle, performed
Schubert's Unfinished  Symphony, with the finish that he himself wrote just for this occasion.
He played Schubert's Unfinished Symphony with a flourish, and ended with "Shave and A Haircut,
Two Bits".
It brought down the house, and we were very proud of ourselves.
For 47 years.  It was a great joke.
Little did I know that five years previously, on the Danny Kaye Show, when he played the German
Conductor, he did the exact same joke.  "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits".
They run the old Danny Kaye show on JLTV, a cable station, here, and I saw it for the first time last
week.
I didn't see it in 1965,  I used to watch "I Spy", which was on opposite Danny Kaye.
So I couldn't have seen it then.
52 years ago.  "Unfinished Symphony" and "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits".
We must have come about it independently.  But he did it first, with a full orchestra.
As he announced the set-up for the bit, I held my breath hoping that they paid it off a different way.
But no chance.  And it was just as funny.
So was my version original?
Well at least his didn't have a slide-whistle.  And I think that made it funnier.
That's all I have to cling to.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and 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@comcast.net
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Followers

Blog Archive

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."