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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was only 13 years old when I saw this, and for some reason I was home
alone watching it, but I remember it as one of the best television
specials I ever saw. Of course it was the first time I'd seen Jackie
Gleason do anything approaching a dramatic role, and he was in
something where he'd written about his own kidnapping.
Most details are hazy in my mind except he had to teach his kidnappers how to make an extra dry martini. They thought they knew how, but he cringed at the small drop of vermouth they used and then proceeded to show them how by bringing out a perfume type of bottle with a squeeze ball on it and using one squirt. Yes, that moment was hysterical, but I distinctly remember a great deal of it being dramatic and poignant. I believe no one was willing to put up the ransom money.
I was also struck by the beginning backstage scenes during the airing of his TV show just before the kidnapping. I've got to see if the Museum of Radio and Television in New York has this. I remember this along with the 1969 airing of the Emmy winning special "Male of the Species" (starring Michael Caine, Lawrence Olivier, Sean Connery, and Paul Scofield) as being the two dramatic specials from the sixties that I would love to see again.