This unused Pilot was available for a brief time on YouTube and I saw it there. On the face of it, it sounded as though it would either be mundane or insane. A sitcom, seemed like a great idea for the great musical theatre queen Ethel Merman. She essentially played herself in the person of the show's Broadway star Lolly Rodgers. Lolly is left responsible for her grandson after his parents are jailed for tax evasion. Since she's about to go out on a national tour of MAME, she drops the kid off with her other child, a son named Harry, played by legendary New York actor, teacher, theatre director Austin Pendleton whose character is a theatre press agent used to a freewheeling New York bachelor lifestyle. The tot in the middle is ably played by The Bad News Bears star, Chris Barnes.
One would think that, at best, nothing but tired, sitcom tripe would be yielded, or at worst, a total disaster worth watching only to see it burst into flames was what the viewer had in store. However, the chemistry between La Merman, the best there ever was at the old Musical Comedy Park and Bark, "put on a show"isms and the quirky, all method in all moments work of Pendleton actually creates a chemistry that works and raises the bar of their material. As I watched I found myself laughing a good bit and marveling at how each of these 2 masters of their particular craft and personal instruments dug up diamonds together with a real mother son dynamic. It is a lesson in how the older and newer traditions of the acting world are not irreconcilable with each other and in fact they can complement and make fine art when blended by a deft hands. Bruce Paltrow knew what he was doing in casting here and handles his players with the subtle grace he became known for in his later television creations.
I am sad that YouTube has taken it down, but hope it will reappear somewhere it can be seen again.
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