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More Than a Secretary (1936)
A script! A script! My kingdom for a script!
Romantic comedies aren't supposed to tax the brain, and so they tend to have weak plots. This one is far weaker than most romantic comedies.
That's not to say that the characters aren't pleasant. Dorothea Kent as Maizie is an especially fun character, but the rest of the cast is certainly competent as well. If only they'd had a decent script, the resources put into this film could have resulted in a really nice movie.
This movie was released on Christmas Eve 1936, but it would have fared better had it been released in late summer. In that era, movie theaters were among the few facilities that were air conditioned. Spending the day in a blast-furnace of a workplace, and sleeping in a bed soaked with sweat was miserable, so movie houses didn't need much in the way of entertainment to sell tickets; the cold air was sufficient for that.
Maverick: Bolt from the Blue (1960)
Amusing But Not Very Mavericky
By 1960, Maverick wasn't faring too well. Roy Huggins had developed the series, but Warner Brothers had, in his opinion, cheated him out of cash and credits from his writing. The highly popular James Garner was gone, too, after a contract dispute.
You can't say they didn't try to goose the series' ratings. Will Hutchins, who plays a lawyer yet to have his first case, was the star of his own series, "Sugarfoot", in which he plays essentially the same character. In fact, Beau recognizes him as Sugarfoot in the last scene. (Not really a spoiler; in 1960, audiences would have recognized Sugarfoot from the start.) This episode was written and directed by Roger Altman, who would achieve fame for writing and directing M*A*S*H a decade later. The script does not feature the clever and funny twists that earlier made Maverick a beloved series. Maverick does not gamble, connive, or con anyone, and he doesn't spout a misanthropic quote from Pappy (although in the case of Beau, it was "Uncle Beau"). This is simply an amusing story set in the west, something that could have been filmed with Matt Dillon, Bronco Lane, or any other unmarried western character.
Given the amazing talent in this episode, this shouldn't have been merely an amusing episode; it should have been exceptionally good. What a disappointment!
The Johnny Carson Show (1955)
On the Tiffany network
Little Georgie Gobel was a star on radio, until his singing career was interrupted by WWII. While in the service, he started doing stand-up for his fellow soldiers, which started him on a new career path. In 1954, he landed on NBC, doing The George Gobel show, for which he received an Emmy.
CBS needed to counter George Gobel, and in 1955, they introduced Johnny Carson's series. He was from radio, and from the Midwest, just like Gobel, but offered a more sophisticated personality as opposed to Gobel's "aw shucks" down home style.
Gobel ended up moving to CBS and Carson to NBC. CBS ended up fighting a demographic war for decades, with a large audience, but one of older, rural viewers that advertisers found less desirable.
The Tonight Show formula that Carson used was basically this half-hour show, plus interviews with celebrities and authors.
Carson protégé and heir-apparent David Letterman ended up moving to CBS when NBC chose Jay Leno to replace the retiring Carson, thus completing the circle back to CBS.
Really strong cast
As a general rule, James Garner got the better Maverick scripts, partly because of seniority, and partly because he was better at comedy. When Jack Kelly delivered a light line, it tended to thud like a sack of hammers. Being handsome, charming, and amiable would have been a winning combination for any other series, but Kelly didn't complain that he was less popular, comfortably explained that James Garner was Maverick, and he was Maverick's brother.
This episode features some really strong actors. Maverick often won its time spot on Sunday evenings over strong shows on the other networks, so actors were eager to appear on the show, but many of the actors were young and relatively inexperienced, becoming more recognized in their own right in later years.
J. Pat O'Malley was hardly dry behind the ears, though. He'd been appearing in movies and TV for two decades. His winning smile, twinkling eyes, and British manner make him an extraordinarily popular actor, if one that most people cannot name, with credits om 216 productions before his death in 1985. He played two roles in two episodes of Maverick. He was probably best known for playing Harry Burns in 8 episodes of "My Favorite Martian". He played Mr Bundy in 23 episodes of "Wendy and Me", a show that was actually fairly good, although forgotten today.
Pat Crowley is still an active actress - she was in a 2009 "Cold Case" - even though she started out on the Chevrolet TV Theatre in 1950. She plays the less appealing sister in this episode, although she's equally pretty, with a more appealing personality. She played in three roles in three episodes of Maverick.
Ruta Lee plays the sister who steals sister Pat Crowley's boyfriend - just keeping him in the family, sis - and she is treacherous in other ways as well. She's also still active half a century later, having recently shot a movie to be released in 2010. She also played three roles in three episodes of Maverick.
Despite their multiple appearances, these three didn't appear together in any other episode.
Kelly makes reference in the show to Pitcairn Island, with no explanation. In the 1950s, everyone would have understood the reference to the island involved in the recent blockbuster movie, "Mutiny On The Bounty." Today's viewers are more likely to say, "I've heard that name before. Where is Pitcairn Island, and what is the significance?" It probably would have similarly drawn a quizzical look in the year this episode was set in; the real-life mutiny occurred in 1790.
The script is the star of any Maverick episode, and this one is a little on the weak side. Maverick, however, reminds me of my late friend Harry Goldwater, a small town dry goods merchant, who once told me, "When business is good, it's good, and when it's bad - it's not bad." The poorest Maverick episode beats the pants off the best episode of most of today's situation comedies.
An age when age was appreciated
Connie Stevens was 21 when she filmed this episode, as a bright, bubbly, annoyingly perky flibbertigibbet, and she IS a beautiful woman, but Andrea King, even at age 40, was so hot that she made Connie Stevens look like a little schoolgirl by comparison.
Connie's character has come to town at the suggestion of a note that was received along with $100 and the promise of more to come. She can't seem to find her benefactor, but she spends some time telling the town banker - played by Lyle Talbot, 50, that age and money are unimportant; she's looking for character - such as exhibited by Bret Maverisk.
It was a different world in 1959, when women weren't considered over the hill at nineteen, and the curves of a mature woman were showcased.
Bret spends the episode trying to figure out why he's being advised to leave town for his own safety. As always, Maverick reverses the usual formula, presenting a situation that's hopeless but not serious, instead of a situation that's serious but not hopeless.
Ten Strike, New Mexico is supposedly about 20 miles from Faro City and from Prairie Flats. The USGS database doesn't show any Faro City or Prairie Flats, and the only Ten Strike is Tenstrike, Minnesota. A 1972 "Alias Smith and Jones" was entitled "21 Days to Tenstrike", about a cattle drive to Colorado. Roy Huggins, the writer who came up with the Maverick series, is credited with writing the Alias episode, but writers credits for this episode went to the director. Huggins complained bitterly of being snookered out of credit for many things he wrote early in his career, and this may have been one of them.
Adam West, who became TV's "Batman" a decade later, is in this episode. He's not easy to recognize, though. His appearance changed as he matured.
Maverick: Duel at Sundown (1959)
Just a minor correction.
Actually, it was Abby Dalton, playing Buchanan's daughter, who said, "You put money ahead of everything, don't you", to which Garmer answered "No... no, there's breathing." She replied, "Well, maybe you oughta just keep that in mind."
I imagine that if, as a trivia question, you suggested that Clint Eastwood, Abby Dalton and Edgar Buchanan once appeared together, and asked who had the lead role, few people would guess that it's yet another actor, much less name James Garner.
James Griffith, who plays John Wesley Hardin. is only on screen a few seconds, but his performance is perfect. He's one of those character actors that everybody recognized, but nobody could name, who could always be counted on for superb work. Not a bad way to be remembered.
Paul Anka appeared on another episode as celebrity guest
The splash at the start of the show had "I've Got A Secret" encircled by a Christmas wreath, and host Steve Allen mentions in introducing the panel (Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson, Henry Morgan) that Bess Myerson will be hosting the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1.
That would appear to place this episode in December 1966, as Myerson was hostess for the 78th annual Tournament of Roses Parade, on New Year's Day, 1967.
One of the guests was a marine with an uncommon last name, and two navy corpsmen, twins, with the same last name, although they are unrelated, as far as anyone knows. The secret? They met when the twins delivered the marine's wife of - you guessed it - twins. Did the marine consider naming the twins after the corpsmen? No; one of the twins was a girl.
When Anka comes out to do the celebrity guest bit at the end of the show, he announces that he has a new baby himself, two weeks old. That birth date would not work for Amanda, Alicia, or Ethan; it would appear to be Amelia, Anthea, or Alexandra.
Those Two (1951)
There doesn't appear to be any other way to get you this information:
I really don't want this as a comment, but rather as an addition to "Full Cast and Crew".
Bill Cullen was the announcer on this show. (He declared it on a circa-1965 episode of "I've Got A Secret" featuring Carol Burnette and a trivia team from Columbia University.
The host of that episode show was Steve Allen, not Garry Moore.
It used the regular panel, consisting of Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess "Miss America" Myerson, and Henry Morgan.
One of the non-celebrity guests was a couple that had been married 50 years. She had a piece of her original wedding cake. (Steve Allen joked that "they don't make wedding cake like they used to"). The secret, though, was that he was wearing the same suit he was married in. It looked nice, and was once again in style.
As a surprise, Steve Allen produced the suit coat that Bill Cullen had married Ann in, a decade earlier. Bill had gained 15 pounds, he claimed, but the suit coat fit nicely. Bill quipped that he gained it other places, not in the belly.
I need ten lines of text, and they ought not be junk, so I've tried my best. The episode of "I've Got A Secret" where Bill said he was the announcer on "Those Two" was rebroadcast about 3 or 4 AM, EST, on the morning of June 5, 2008.
If there's a way to get you information like this that creates less work for you, please drop me a note, telling me how to do it.