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This was a peculiar modern dance/ballet/musical with the feel of a bad
variety show revolving around the fall of humankind from Grace - based
upon the concept of Heaven being an old-fashioned radio in Mary's dream
(think Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz). The look was pure disco seventies
as sequins, silver lame, pink feather boas, and glitter abounded while
Mary Tyler Moore and the cast danced and sang to upbeat, silly numbers
about sin and sorrow in what has to be one of the oddest moments in
Don't expect this show to be aired again except in a retrospective history of strange, obscure television specials.
An ego-driven, unstylish mess.
And that's said by a fan of everything else MTM ever did. However, I would look at it again as part of a "worst camp" festival.
A really good music special that has a unifying theme needs subtlety. Barbra Streisand was great at this. Jamie Foxx is great at this. MTM was not.
Picking two jarring opposites and throwing them together over and over again for an hour was not a winning formula for this kind of program, IMO.
And this completes my comments. And my 10th line of text.
This was a much misunderstood production for mid seventies mainstream
US TV. Moore demonstrates a kind of quirky genius in her juxtaposition
of artists and numbers in what I look back on now as a show way, way
ahead of its time. Just the pairing of Doug Kershaw with his screaming
Cajun fiddle with MYM's Broadway-look dancing and singing is/was
inspiring and breathtaking. The entire cast of this avant gard
production was aware that they were past the cutting edge of what was
considered appropriate for prime-time programing in the 70s. More
talent on one show than I have seen before or since. Great number
selection. Great talent. Mesmerizing.
If this show were to be run today on CBS it would get mo-betta attention and reviews, but still might not appeal to mainstream sensibilities. DS 2/14/06
I remember exactly ONE- no, make that TWO- things about this special: in one truly surreal moment, Mary is shown in a kind of sylvan setting dancing with Ben Vereen- in the same style that he used in his brief summer variety series. They're both in pastels, and the thing is a near-romantic ballet that shows them both off to good advantage. (One forgets that MTM was a truly lovely and graceful dancer before ever uttering one comic syllable.) The other thing is at the halfway mark of this hour-long special, her phone rings, waking her up in the middle of the dream (the entire special is framed as a dream), and she actually tells the person to call her back because she's "in the middle of an incredible dream right now," and goes right back to sleep and the dream resumes. I was laughing out loud at that moment, and I was only 13 at the time!!
I remember watching this on TV when I was in high school. I thought it
was very strange, but I also liked it very much. In fact, there are
images and moments from it that still haunt my thoughts today.
Especially a dance number in which Mary and several other women were
wearing sexy Nazi SS-style outfits. Very hot! When the video for Golden
Earring's "Bullet to the Bone" came out years later, the women dancing
in it reminded me of this TV special.
At the time, I did not realize that MTM had a background as a dancer, and this special really broadened my appreciation for her talents.
I wish I could see it again. If it ever became available on DVD or VHS, I'd buy it without hesitation.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember my dad, mom, and younger sister were anticipating watching
this special after seeing the promos for it, which I remember CBS aired
practically non-stop. I, on the other hand, remember at the same time
that evening I watched a syndicated rerun of a National Geographic
special from 1967, "Holland Against the Sea" on the black-and-white TV
set in my bedroom, which aired on another local station (I was watching
that National Geographic as extra credit for a school assignment; I was
13 years old at that time).
Now, fast-forward to the present day, when I was able to see a few snippets of "Mary's Incredible Dream" on You Tube after reading some comments about the special here at IMDb and also at Shock Cinema Magazine.com.
I can *confidently* say I *agree* with the other reviewers' comments - especially 4-Eyes' and 15231's - and *didn't* miss much.
"Mary's Incredible Dream" *definitely was* nothing more than a vanity vehicle for Ms. Moore. A good portion of the numbers were overdone, particularly that "Come On, Get Happy" one a few minutes into the special (yes, I knew Ms. Moore herself was a dancer; anybody who remembers those production numbers she did with Dick Van Dyke on his sitcom should know that) and the whole concept itself seemed rather excessive for a one-hour special.
But I had to see that "****-kicking portable washboard number" Shock Cinema Magazine.com described in their critique of this special (that song was "Mama's Got the Know-How," which Ms. Moore sang with country singer Doug Kershaw and the chorus) - *that* was rather funny (Ms. Moore was dressed up like a late-60's - early 70's hippie, wearing a headband), and it seemed the only somewhat restrained but good number in the whole show. (The still photo Shock Cinema Magazine.com used of Ben Vereen as Lucifer in the green outfit whispering something to Ms. Moore as she holds her hand to her mouth in dismay was also funny; she somehow reminded me of that British cartoon character Crystal Tipps in that pose, especially her hairstyle.)
The whole program itself was somewhat reminiscent of those Dora Hall musical specials in its production values - particularly in the "Come On, Get Happy" number - except unlike Ms. Hall, who often used that dated John Seely stock music for cues in her specials *in between* other songs that were performed, Ms. Moore went *all out* in the music for her special, especially in using Arthur Fiedler, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the California Boys Choir. Ms. Moore spared no expense in the visual effects department, either, something Ms. Hall and her cohorts could probably never afford for her low-budget specials.
And also, what was the deal with the sound waves scrawling across the screen introducing each act? I felt as if I was about to read some technical info from the liner notes of one of those vinyl stereo percussion albums from the early 60's my folks had!
It was rather surprising to see "Mary's Incredible Dream" was nominated for three Emmys, mostly in the technical categories. Happily, this special *didn't* win any of them (but, just about *anything* MTM Enterprises churned out back then seemed to enamor the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences).
All told, I *didn't* regret seeing that rerun of the National Geographic special that night while my folks and my younger sister saw "Mary's Incredible Dream" on the big color console TV in the living room. My folks soon shared everyone else's opinion - "Mary's Incredible Dream" *wasn't* all that hot.
20th Century Fox Television now owns "Mary's Incredible Dream," in addition to most of the other MTM Enterprises properties. I'm *very* certain Fox *doesn't* have any plans at this time to resurrect this special on DVD; music royalties for some of those songs could also pose a problem in the special seeing a DVD release. And, since this special was made before January 1, 1978, when the current copyright laws took effect, it's uncertain whether or not Fox renewed the copyrights on "Mary's Incredible Dream."
One funny thought, though: If "Mary's Incredible Dream" was in the public domain, wouldn't it be great if, say, it were spoofed on "Mystery Science Theater 3000?" I can only imagine the funny comments the two robots and that one human with them would be slinging at the screen while watching this show.
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