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Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Should Have Been Called Yellow Dog Democrat.
When a cable channel aired this about a year ago,I couldn't wait to see it.There was good music & choreography, but it turned out to be a propaganda piece for the Democratic Party & Presidents Woodrow Wilson & FDR.To me,they were highly overrated.One claim is there was universal support for American entry into WWI.Truth is there so much opposition Wilson suspended First Amendment rights to arrest people who voiced opposition.In the case with FDR,the movie claimed the New Deal ended the Depression.WWII ended the Depression,the New Deal prolonged it.This would have been a much better movie without all the propaganda.The movie industry is mostly left wing,but this movie threw the bias in the faces of the viewers,a preview of later such blatant politicizing in the entertainment industry.
Dirty Sally (1974)
About Five or Six Years Too Late in Coming
The lead character reminded me of a great aunt of mine.Sally's voice & mannerisms were just like hers.My aunt also dipped snuff.This was sort of a Western Route 66,Sally & Cyrus were headed for California & stopped along the way to help others.If this show had been on the air any time up to about the late '60's it would probably have been a hit.By 1974,the Western was fading off the small screen,which was the reason for Dirty Sally not catching on.It had very good writing,acting,& story lines with a mixture of drama & humor.One of the best half season wonders in the history of television.Two top notch actors in the lead & supporting roles who are no longer with us.RIP Dack Rambo & Jeanette Nolan.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
A Disappointment,But Not a Total One
I really looked forward to seeing this film when it was released,being a big fan of Dick Van Dyke's.After I saw it,I was let down,although I never understood why.One reason might have been I was getting too old for films like this,being 10 going on 11 at the time.However,it still had its moments.My favorite sequence was where Van Dyke sang "Me Old Bamboo",which sounded like an old English vaudeville tune.If Sally Ann Howes' actual voice was used,she had a very good singing voice.The windup doll sequence she & Van Dyke did was another highlight.Other than that,the film to me was silly & overdone in many ways.Many others must have felt that way,it got tepid reviews & did not do well at the box office.
Malibu U. (1967)
I remember this short- lived gem,from The Summer of Love.I recently saw a clip of Lesley Gore doing Sunshine,Lollipops,& Rainbows for this show on YouTube.Mr.Rosens reminiscences about working on this show were interesting,I always enjoy it when people who worked on a particular project post on IMDb.I did not know Erin Gray was on this program.Mr.Rosen's comments about how it was so cold indicate it was made in the winter.That's typical of many shows made on the beach for two reasons.First is there are no crowds to film around,plus the beaches in California are more photogenic in winter.Most SI swimsuit issues are shot in winter for those reasons,especially when done in California.I hope whoever owns the rights to this program will consider putting it out on DVD,it only ran six episodes,but I'm sure many who were growing up then would love to relive the memories of a more innocent era,when in the words of a critic speaking about television back then,entertainment was truly entertaining.Speaking of the more innocent time,this was about when the innocence was shattered.
The Midnight Special (1972)
One of the best music shows,ruined by odious Helen Reddy
I really looked forward to Fridays after Johnny Carson to watch The Midnight Special.There were always great music & comedy acts.The first three years were the best.There was a different host every week,with great music,comedy,& no boring chit chat.Then Burt Sugarman pulled a big boner by bringing in a permanent host,(I liked the idea of rotating hosts).Of all the people he could have gotten,it had to be one of the most obnoxious,least talented of the era,Helen Reddy.That was it for me.I rarely watched anymore after that.I could not stand that droning nasal "singing" of hers,or her far left political leanings.Evidently there were others who felt the same,Reddy was dropped after about a year,but the show never seemed as good or was as popular as before,it went off after two more seasons.
The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)
How did MST3K miss this one?
I first saw this film with my world history class when I was a junior in high school.There were three other classes watching with mine,most of us were heckling it.Among the corniest aspects were the sign for the Polo Brothers business written in English(this was Venice,they were Italians),then when Ernest Truex was in a gondola searching for Marco Polo breaking out in song about him.Even after makeup,Sigrid Gurie looked about as Chinese as Hillary Duff does without makeup.I couldn't believe such talented actors as Truex,Gary Cooper,& Basil Rathbone would have made such a silly film.The best performance was by H.B.Warner as Chen Tsu,the first Chinaman Polo befriended.It was on TCM last night,Robert Osborne commented about how the movie was not a box office hit,I'm not surprised.The only reason to watch is for laughs at how corny it is.
Shirley's World (1971)
In Shirley McLaine's words"It was crap"
This was one of several shows to premiere in 1971 with movie stars in them.Jimmy Stewart's was the best of the bunch.Among others to join the group were Anthony Quinn,James Garner(before Rockford),Tony Curtis & Roger Moore(on the same show),Glenn Ford, & Henry Fonda(his show actually premiered that January & was canceled in January 1972).They all were bombs,only Stewart & Garner's shows lasted a full year.This show was the lowest rated,& rightfully so.In fact it was the lowest rated for the year.The two episodes I saw were almost unbelievably silly.Later on,Shirley McLaine told Johnny Carson "it was crap" & she felt relieved it got canceled.Sheldon Leonard had a rare failure in this one.He later told Bob Costas he apologized to Shirley McLaine years afterward.
Lotsa Luck (1973)
One of the Best One Season Shows
I'm glad to see this show is now out on DVD.I never thought NBC gave it a chance.Even though it only ran one full year,it was canceled in November or December of 1973.I thought maybe it was given a reprieve when didn't go off in January 1974,but it did only last one season.Three top-notch comedy players made up the cast in the late,great Kathleen Freeman,the recently departed Dom Deluise,& the always delightful Beverly Sanders,who made a very successful career in ads for Arm & Hammer Baking Soda & Hunt's Tomato Sauce after this program's demise.Wynn Irwin was so wonderfully obnoxious as the deadbeat brother-in-law,I suspect he really caught hell from fans who saw him on the streets.RIP,Mr.Deluise.
The Good Witch (2008)
Very entertaining,would be a good series
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie,& somewhat expect it's a pilot for a regular series.If not,I hope the producers will consider making one, or possibly make other movies with the characters.Another idea might be have Cassandra be a roving witch,going from one place to another helping locals out.Catherine Bell was top-notch in the role, as were all the others.In many ways,this movie was a composite of BEWITCHED & THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, although without the special effects of the former classic series.It may not ever be the classic series either became,but still,I hope the networks,broadcast & cable,& the stars & producers will consider a series if they haven't already.
Twilight Theater (1982)
A Very Funny Hodgepodge of Sketches,Good Music,Too
I watched this program when it first aired in 1982.I liked it so much that when it was rerun later that summer I taped it to watch again,because I was out when it aired again.I watched it several times over a two or three week period before taping over it.Probably the most significant thing about this show was it might very well have been the television debut of Pee Wee Herman.While I had already seen Paul Reubens' character in CHEECH & CHONG'S NEXT MOVIE,it was probably the introduction to a large segment of the world.The "Funky High School"segment was also funny,in a very weird way. Steve Martin starred in a hysterical sketch called "Auto Interruptus" as a radio talk-show addict who got a big surprise listening to his favorite show while he drove home from work.The music was supplied by Riders in the Sky & Devo's video for "It's a Beautiful World."I'd really like to see this one on DVD.All in all,a very entertaining piece of early '80's memories.