1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Yiddish version of "This is Tom Jones"
Chip_douglas from Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands
26 June 2009
People on the internet love to talk about their favorite TV shows of
old. Here in the Netherlands there are several forums devoted to
classic television, and of course most of the talk is concentrated on
children's television and programs teenagers used to watch. Whereas
there are plenty of 40 year old to be found posting about seventies
shows for children and teens, it is quite difficult to find people
remembering more mature programs of the day. Apparently the generation
that came before isn't quite as interested in conversing about
television as their offspring are. Take "The Mike Burstyn Show" for
instance, when this variety program popped up again on oldies channel
Hilversum Best, this reviewer immediately went online to find some
background information (it would be nice if Hilversum Best had little
informational blurbs before each show like their competitor
/Geschiedenis has). Yet all I could find is one mention of the program
on Burstyn's Wikipedia page. Surely there must have been people
watching it back in the day as the show ran for four years. Nobody's
talking about it though. So I guess I'll take it upon myself to be the
first to shed some light on this forgotten musical extravaganza.
New Yorker Mike Bursteyn was born into show business as they say for
both his parents, Pesach Burstein and Lillian Lux were stars of the
Yiddish theaters. Before long, Mike and his twin sister were in on the
act, now called the Four Bursteins. From here Mikey carved out a career
in musical theater, but the exact how and why he came to have his own
comedy variety show in Holland I haven't been able to ascertain as yet.
What I do know is that the Dutch adore English and American
entertainers who are willing to pick up the Dutch language. The Mike
Bursteyn Show was a combination of musical numbers (as in Broadway
musicals), special guests and comedy. The show must have been broadcast
around prime time, for the jokes were all extremely stale and
predictable, but Bursteyn's endearing attempts to say them in a
language foreign to him made all the difference. Actually, in an early
show they also had him performing sketches, but that didn't work out so
he ended up doing stand up in between the songs instead.
Clad in a tux and with a head full of curls, Bursteyn reminds me of a
Jewish Tom Jones. In fact, the whole show seems to be modeled after
'This is Tom Jones' and the later Las Vegas bound shows The Tiger'
hosted between the late sixties and early eighties. Being a good clean
Jewish boy, Mike's act didn't ooze with sex appeal quite as much as
Tom's did, but you get the picture. Bursteyn's forte lay more in
picking songs from popular musicals and then having the Gillian Lynne
dancers act out precisely what he was singing about. Adding backup
support were Dutch lovelies Jodi Pijper, Martha Hollestelle & Diny
Groeneveld (none of whom ever really managed to break out of the
supporting range unfortunately) In addition to the Dutch guest stars,
MB managed to get some of his friends (and family) from the New York
stage to fly over to the low countries for a song or two.
Bursteyn ended each show with his trademark 'Tomorrow', several years
before John Huston brought the musical Annie to the big screen to the
delight of generations of little girls everywhere. Of course if you do
a search for the 1982 Annie, you will find hundreds of Dutch thirty-
something women who know all the lyrics by heart. None of them will
have heard of Mike Burnsteyn though...
7 out of 10
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