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The Debbie Reynolds Show (1969)
a cute show
This is actually a perfectly cute little show. It is too bad it did not run more than one season. I had some copies in the past and had never watched them really and am just watching them now. It is not a brilliant sitcom, but let's face it, until the 70's with All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, along with Bob Newhart and Carol Burnett (comedy variety there) the only really great sitcoms were I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched. But this is a very sweet show and although I am not having belly laughs, I am smiling at the end of each show. Too bad it did not last for a few seasons. It is certainly no worse than Mayberry RFD or F Troop or Gomer Pyle, all big hits at the time. Not as good as The Beverly Hillbillies or Green Acres, but not bad. It is very cute, very sweet, a nice little show with a little bit of zany.
Charles Grodin (1995)
I liked this show very much too. Grodin was very funny and at times very touching. He had his best friend as a producer or something, I don't recall, but he found a job for his best friend which was neat. I think he did the voice overs. Grodidn also touchingly said goodnight to his mother every night and that he loved her; very sweet. I do remember the first year it seemed there were more entertainment guests on, famous actors, with his friend Marlo Thomas being the first. It did get more political as time went on and became a bit of a different show. Very good still, but different. He also had great singers singing great songs at the end of each show, which was also a neat twist. If I remember it was on the same channel, either CNBC or MSNBC, either way it was the channel owned by conservative Roger Ailes. I think it was called the Everybody's talking network or something like that. Anyway, Roger had his own show too and then Grodidn came on later with his show, so allowing for lots of opinions and were respectful about it. They were a lot more polite than nowadays! I think the later political seasons, and I think the show was only on for a few years, led to Grodin being on 60 Minutes II in an Andy Rooney type bit.
Later with Bob Costas (1988)
a great show
I could not agree with the other reviewers more. Bob Costas was and is a great sportscaster and was also a great talk show host. Because he actually talked and let his guests talk too! And he knew everything about them and their whole body of work and you knew it was not just from doing research (and that was at a time when there was no internet to do the research anyway!). He is a very intelligent man and seemed very modest and kind; this came through in all of his interviews. I wish the show was still on. It was so much more easy going as a show than Charlie Rose, the only interviewer who did the same kind of show. Tom Snyder's show in the 90's was also very good, but again they were not Bob Costas and his Later show. Mr. Costas never appeared smug and was always a real gentleman. A great show with lots of great guests!
very good episode
I would agree with the other reviewer here. Ann Blyth had a fairly long Hollywood career that was in several different stages: B musicals in the early part, dramatic roles that sometimes included such roles as Veda the evil daughter in Mildred Pierce, and then the later musicals and comedies she did starting in the late forties. This episode of Wagon Train, and she did 5 of these, was a very good one. It kind of combined all her talents to play the good, sweet daughter and her not so great mother, a tough saloon type lady. And as the other reviewer said, she got to sing in this. So she did her good girl role, her bad girl role and sang. All in one shot! Blyth's movie roles ended in 1957 and it is too bad she did not go on and do more movies as she was a very good actress. She did do some interesting TV work in this time period and this is one of the best. An excellent episode of the excellent Wagon Train series, which combined the regular characters of a Western with really great guest stars and always gave them a chance to shine as Blyth does in this one.
The Jensen Project (2010)
cute TV movie
I disagree with some of the other reviewers here. I watched this last night and hope it turns into a series. It was very cute, very light, a nice family TV movie in the spirit of Spy Kids. Was it the greatest thing I have ever seen, no. Was it the worst thing, no. It was nice to see TV vets Patricia Richardson and LeVar Burton, 33 years now since Roots, believe it or not. Kellie Martin is a bit young to play the mother of teen ager, but she did it very well as always. She always shows class and grace in her roles and did very well in this cute family movie. It is what they refer to as a "back door" pilot and so if it did well they might turn it into a series. It would be better probably as a series of TV movies, similar to Mystery Woman, another Martin series. Nice to see something family oriented nowadays.
interesting first episode
This is the first episode of the many episode show, The Du Pont Show with June Allyson, aka, The June Allyson Show. June only appeared in about 1/3 of the shows and introduced the rest. It is a well produced and very well cast show, with many big stars of the time in roles. June was in some roles typical of her image on the show, but also some more different shows and so that makes it interesting to watch this series.
This is the first episode, about a young widow and her mother in law, also a widow. They are named Ruth and Naomi, as in the woman and her mother in law in the Bible, of the famous "wither thou goest, I will goest, and where thou lodgest I will lodge and thy people will be my people." Similarly, this is about family love and how there are some in laws who are very loving. Allyson is afraid to get remarried and her mother in law encourages her to follow her heart. Allyson gives a nice performance, but the really stand out one is given by Harding, in particular her later scene on the stairs talking about love. A very touching performance and a typical one of this actress in the fifties on TV. She got (or maybe was willing to take) some very age appropriate roles and just offered some lovely, very positive performances in these little half hour playlets.
a lovely little show
This was a lovely little episode, about a widow and mother whose son and daughter in law move out of state and she has to rebuild her life. How she does this is dealt with in a charming and creative screenplay and offers a lovely performance by Ann Harding, who had the prettiest speaking voice and got some really nice TV roles in the fifties and early sixties. It is an episode of 1957, but for anyone trying to rebuild a life, the issues it touches upon are timeless.
Harding was a very famous actress in the early thirties in Hollywood and played in a few movies we have heard of today (Holiday, When Ladies Meet, and The Animal Kingdom, all of which were remade in either the same or the next decade). By the late thirties she was in England making movies and by the early forties was in character roles (she tested for The Yearling and Mrs. Miniver but was cast in neither). She is very older lady looking in these fifties roles and that was rather amazing in Hollywood, an actress playing her age. But the roles are all lovely and her performances are really good in them. She acted much more at the time than many of her more famous contemporaries and the roles really hold up very nicely.
This was an excellent, lovely episode and a good example of why the show ran so long and was so good. It combined the best of anthology with the best of medical series, well written and performed in an underplayed way.This episode is about whether Dr. Kildare will go into research medicine after he is unable to save his friend and what the diagnosis is of the young Margaret, aka Mardy. It also gives a wonderful guest role to actress Barbara Bel Geddes, best known to us as the young daughter in I Remember Mama in her youth and Miss Ellie on Dallas in her later years. She is a research physician, at first seen as cold, later taking an interest in the girl who would have been the same as as her own daughter if her daughter had lived. This is played simply, discreetly, and touchingly. The show explores the issues of accurate diagnosis, doctors who do research as opposed to clinical work with patients, boundaries with patients, and the protégé relationship between Dr. Kildare and Dr. Gillespie, played wisely and warmly by Raymond Massey. The weekly TV series at the time gave a lot of great roles to guest stars and this is a prime example in the role and the customarily great performance by Bel Geddes.
The Dick Powell Show (1961)
I could not agree more with these other reviewers. The Dick Powell Show, later called the Dick Powell Theatre after his death, was a great show. Typical of Mr. Powell's shows in so many areas. Well cast, well directed, well acted, interesting shows, parts for actors of all ages (Gladys Cooper, Charlie Ruggles and Charles Bickford, all in lead roles), and wonderfully produced. There are some neat all star shows in particular, A time to Die, Special Assignment, Who Killed Julie Greer, Last of the Private Eyes. The shows had a wide range: shows about the cold war (Project X), family dramas (In search of a son), to light romantic comedies (View from the Eiffel Tower, featuring a lovely performance in a drama by Jane Powell, no relation to Mr. Powell!). Mr. Powell obviously liked to help his friends get work, which had ranged back to Four Star Playhouse, Stage 7, Star and the Story, Turn of Fate, June Allyson Show and Zane Grey Theatre. All of these were produced by Dick Powell's Four Star Productions and he cast basically every veteran actor and actress in Hollywood, all in great shows. He would have given us many more shows if he had lived longer and this show, Dick Powell Show, was really great and would have easily gone on, as the other reviewer said, for several more years.
The Actress (1953)
This is a wonderful movie about the life of young Ruth Gordon, who would grow up to be an actress and famous writer. She was married to Garson Kanin and wrote many of the films of Tracy and Hepburn. Tracy is wonderful in one of his "dad" roles, as are the other leads in the film. Debbie Reynolds was originally to play Ruth but Simmons was cast instead and she is indeed brilliant in the movie. She is touching and very funny, very much a young girl driving her parents crazy. Tony Perkins is also very good as her boyfriend. Best of all, and not mentioned in most of the other reviews here, is Teresa Wright as the mother. She is a riot in the part and was only 11 years older than Simmons in real life. She had taken a reduction in pay for another great film, The Men, and this was one of her other really good parts in the fifties after so many great parts in the forties. The part is sort of like her last one, in The Rainmaker, as a simple kind of person. She played them wonderfully and was very funny in both.
The Opposite Sex (1956)
why is everyone trashing this movie?
I don't know why so many people on here are trashing this film. Is it a classic movie, no. But is it so awful, no. It is a perfectly good, entertaining movie. I think Allyson, the perfect 50's movie wife, is cast well as Kay, who is a perfect wife who gets left. I thought it was a little inside 50s joke, here is the perfect wife being left. Anyway, she is good and yes she was not 20, but it is a wife role and her daughter is about 10. It is not a young woman's part, that is the whole point; the husband leaves her for a younger woman. Ann Miller, Agnes Moorehead, Ann Sheridan, Dolores Gray, Joan Collins are all great. Does Miller sing or dance, no. But maybe someone was thinking she was a good actress and funny with lines and could be in a movie and not tap dance. I am sure she was happy to be cast as an actress for once. She was always a very funny performer. So check the movie out for yourself, it is really pretty good (and nice to see Allyson in some pretty clothes after all those years of white blouses in movies).
I thought this was a very good movie. I always found it amazing that Jennifer Jones was so effective in it as she was hardly a young woman when making this movie. Nevertheless, you hardly notice it and she is really excellent in it. I also thought Gielgeud (I think I am misspelling his name!) and McKenna were also excellent. I love when she is able to tell him after he orders her to get the dog to kill it, "She took Flush with her." It is such a triumph for Barret, for the sister, and of course for Flush too!!! Another reviewer mentioned that they kept thinking of The Heiress in watching this movie. I have thought so too at times. I feel De Haviland would have been great in this role, or actually in a few other of Jones' roles over the years too (Good Morning Miss Dove, Love Letters, and Cluny Brown all come to mind). But Jones was wonderful in each and in this one too. She certainly makes one seek out some of Barret and Browning's poems.
Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951)
This was such a great series in the 50s and 60s and then again in the mid 80s to mid 90s. In particular several actresses really thrived in this series. One in more recent years was Glenn Close in the Sarah Plain and Tall movies, the first two of which were just great. Her current series Damages is excellent, but i prefer Sarah Plain and Tall. Also Greer Garson got to play the Bette Davis role in the Little Foxes and show her less Mrs. Miniver side. She was great. Also she was excellent in Captain Brassbound's Conversion, a great role by a great actress. Both can be seen at the museum of TV and radio in NY. But the one with the longest run in this series was Julie Harris. I have not seen her performance in the Good Fairy, but her performances in The Lark (as Joan of Arc), Pygmalion, Anastasia, Johnny Belinda, Nora in A Doll's House (a performance referred to in Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique) , The Holy Terror (as Florence Nightingale), Victoria Regina as Queen Victoria, and most especially her beautiful work in Little Moon of Alban, are all wonderful performances. No TV actress ever has been able to have an 11 year history of such different, yet all great, roles and performances. We won't see the likes of these again.
The Barbara Stanwyck Show (1960)
great short lived show
This was an excellent show. One can see easily how Stanwyck got an Emmy for it. Unfortunately, at the time she finally agreed to do an anthology show, they stopped making them and this one was canceled after a year. I have seen about half of them and they are excellent. The best ones are comedy ones and she reminds us how funny she was. In particular, Confession i think it was called, with Leon Ames and a young Peter Falk, is hilarious. Truly a black comedy episode, very funny. The other episodes are very good too, a little bit of everything, comedies, westerns, romances, court room stuff, adventure (with three with same character of adventurer Josephine Little). And lots of great Stanwyck performances playing strong, neat ladies. It is too bad it was not made a few years earlier and then we could have watched a lot more episodes. She made a lot of this show, by the way, in one season, I think over 35 episodes. That is more than some cable shows air in 3-4 seasons nowadays.
About a year ago I was able to see a bunch of these and they are quite excellent. June appears in less than half of them, I think there were about 60 and she was in maybe 20 of them. But she is in the hosting part in the beginning, similar to Loretta Young and also Barbara Stanwyck in her short lived show. Anyway, June looks fancy and does a nice introduction in each one. The ones she was in are actually pretty good. The show obviously had a high budget as the acting guests are all big actors and the scripts are pretty good. The ones June acts in are a bit out of the ordinary for her, but still firmly in her image. The comedy ones remind us she was an excellent comic actress, in particular one in which she plays a lady lawyer. She spars quite well in court. The others have big name guests, including a particularly nice one with Ann Blyth in which she is very good and one with Anne Baxter and Dean Stockwell and they were excellent as well. Unfortunately did not get to see the Jane Powell or Irene Dunne episodes and would have liked to. But if you have ever wondered if this show was any good, it is.
Letter to Loretta (1953)
great show in reruns
This show has been running in reruns on a Christian station for some years now (since maybe 2004) and it really is a good show. Ms. Young was able to really show the real depth of her talent for possibly the first time, in all kinds of roles, which is what she loved about the series, that she could do all kinds of parts, in the abbreviated 30 minute anthology format. There are a few episodes that are extra special, in which she plays a nun (same character in at least 2 shows) and you can really tell she wanted to pay tribute to them. They are both set in a hospital and really have not dated. In another, she is a lady who befriends a little Oriental boy and thinks he has cheated her; when she discovers he has not she feels awful. It is one of her best acting scenes ever. Also another episode in which she loses her husband in the war, falls in love again, and then the husband comes back. It was set in a beach setting and her performance (with her regular co star, John Newland I think his name is) is a great one. Also a performance from I think the early 60s, she is a teacher in love with her principal, and is accused of an affair. She has a lot of facial props to make her look unattractive and this half hour is probably the best acting she ever did. You really see the depth of her talent in this show and the shows are upbeat, realistic, but make you typically feel better or make you think of their topic. She did a great job, as she was not only the principal actor, she also was the principal director. It really was Loretta Young's show.
Little Women: Pilot (1978)
This was a wonderful miniseries from 1978. I was a child when I saw it but remember it so well. It was re-run on the network in 1980,but not since then has it been seen to my knowledge. I too wish it was available on video or dvd. The performances were wonderful, especially Susan Dey at her finest as Jo. Also Eve Plumb was a great Beth. Greer Garson was a perfect Aunt March and Dorothy McGuire capped her wonderful career of playing so many mothers by playing one of literatures finest, Marmee of course. All of the other actors were very good as well. This is one of the best versions of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, and as the other commenters here have noted, it is very accurate to the novel. I still think the Katherine Hepburn version is the best, possibly it feels most genuinely Victorian. The June Allyson version is good too, but mainly the first hour. I think also the Winona Ryder one was also wonderful. But in this one, possibly due to the length, you really felt like the novel was coming to life, if you know what I mean. I hope this comes out on video one of these days. It is a real classic.
Jane's House (1994)
Beautiful movie about loss and moving on
This is a beautiful tv movie back when they regularly made beautiful tv movies. It is about a widower of two children who meets a single business woman and how they get married. What distinguishes this is a loving, realistic look at loss, marriage, and people being able to go on with their lives. The movie is called Jane's House, Jane being the dead wife. She is almost a character in the movie, represented by her beautiful, warm home which becomes a home of conflict as the children do not take well to a new mom. Most of all, the music is great and so is Anne Archer's performance of an interesting, beautiful woman who unexpectedly falls in love and the sacrifices she makes to help her husband move on with living. Over all, extremely well done.
The 20th Century-Fox Hour (1955)
This is a good show from the 1950's. It is currently (2003) airing as the Fox Hour of Stars with Robert Wagner as a host. Some of the shows are remakes, such as Laura, Cavalcade, Miracle on 34th St., etc. They are very well done, not as great as the originals perhaps, because they are only about 47 minutes long. But they are well cast with many big name actors (Teresa Wright, Joan Fontaine, Michael Wilding, Merle Oberon, Thelma Ritter, Joanne Woodward, Robert Preston). Some of the stories are also original stories, such as Child of the Regiment, a very good story about racism. These aired in some cinemas in America and England at the time and cast a lot of actors (like Woodward and Wagner) in them who were under contract to 20th Century Fox at the time. They are basically like little movies and it is fun to see different casts get to try the roles. For example, Thomas Mitchell is equally as wonderful as Kris Kringle as Edmund Gwenn was in the film of Miracle on 34th Street. All in all, a very good show and fun to see these actors in different roles that are basically shorter movies.
This was part of the A & E series Playwright's Theatre from the early 1990's. Each week was a one act play, this one by Tennessee Williams. The performances in this remake of the movie Baby Doll are all excellent. Ray Sharkey plays the man whom manipulates and seduces Lesley Ann Warren, the wife of the low character played by Peter Boyle. He almost sets it up for the wife to be seduced so he can get a cheaper price for his cotton. Lesley Ann Warren, who at this time was at the peak of her career, gives an outstanding performance as the not very bright woman who is manipulated and essentially raped by the end of the story. She is able to show this "baby doll" woman as a woman used as a plaything and victim and the dangers of accepting this type of thinking, that humans are to be used by other humans, for all people.
Very funny remake
This is one of the Hallmark Hall of Fame Specials that Julie Harris did in the 1960's, getting to interpret yet another classic role. Ms. Harris really had probably the greatest actress' run of great roles in television from 1956 to 1967, getting to remake many classics: The Good Fairy, The Lark (as Joan of Arc), A Doll's House, Victoria Regina, Anastasia,Johnny Belinda, and this, Pygmalion. It is a very funny remake with lots of good actors. It has John Williams and Gladys Cooper in very funny and charming supporting roles as Col. Pickering and Mrs. Higgins. It also has James Donald, rather than Rex Harrison, as Professor Higgins. Only the season before he had played the German prince Albert in Victoria Regina; this is a great show of this actor's versatility that he played this role so well and that he is so funny. Of course, it is to be expected that Julie Harris is great as Eliza Doolittle; but she is also hilariously funny. Just the season before, she had played Queen Victoria; this is the opposite end of the spectrum and wonderful of course. All in all, a great production. I saw this at the museum of tv and radio in black and white; I think it was done in color, maybe some day that version will show up.
great tv version of classic novel
This is a great tv version of the classic Edith Wharton novel, one of my favorite books in college. It was part of the DuPont Show of the Month series of classic plays and novels. When Julie Harris was not busy giving perfect portrayals of classic roles on the Hallmark Hall of Fame, she was giving them in other series such as this, along with The Heiress, The night of the Storm, and He Who Gets Slapped. She is the young, pretty Mattie Silver in this, and gives a very good performance. Also Sterling Hayden, he also of some great tv performances of that era, as Ethan Frome. This was originally to have starred Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, and Mildred Natwick in a Warner Brothers' movie in the late 1940's. It was never made, but fortunately this was and is it is far more lively and interesting than the 1992 American Playhouse movie.
Playhouse 90 (1956)
very versatile show
I have gotten to see a few more of these shows and they are very versatile. I have seen some less known ones than Requiem for a Heavyweight, Days of Wine and Roses, and Miracle Worker. One of these is the very first in this series, Forbidden Area, a cold war drama starring Charlton Heston, in a tv role when he was a huge movie star. It also features Tab Hunter, Vincent Price, Victor Jory, and acting wonderfully as always, CHarles Bickford and Diana Lynn. It is an interesting look at the Joint Chiefs of staff in the government, while also being an interesting cold war spy story. Highly recommended!! Also there is the tv version, 20 years before the movie, of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon, with Jack Palance in another great Playhouse 90 role. Also in small roles, Peter Lorre at the end of his career and the beautiful Lee Remick at the beginning of hers. Also I got to see (at the Museum of tv and radio in NY)a live video tape version of The Great Gatsby, with Robert Ryan, a little old for the role but very good,also Rod Taylor in a good performance, and Jeanne Crain cast completely against type as Daisy, an interesting performance of hers. To top it off, there is the delightful Claudette Colbert and Paul Henreid comedy, One Coat of White, which is a spoof of aging in America, in laws, America in the 1950's, and modern art. Colbert is sooo good, it makes one regret that, then as always, films cut actresses careers too short as they get over 50. Fortunately, Colbert was in a lot of great tv productions in the 1950's (The Guardian, The Royal Family, Blithe Spirit, and Bells of St. Marys) and several of these still exist. It is really amazing how many of the great stars continued their work in great tv roles, which are less known today, but if you get to see them are highly impressive.
The United States Steel Hour (1953)
This is another outstanding example of the Golden Age of Television. These plays were usually adapted from novels or plays, but some were original scripts. You get to see Julie Harris in one of her many, many outstanding live tv roles in A Wind from the South, as a young Irish girl. Also there are adaptations of classics like Hedda Gabler with Talulah Bankhead in the title role. There is a wonderful adaptation of a Bret Harte story, with Franchot Tone as the town drunk, Jane Meadows as the town prostitute, and Teresa Wright as the lovely schoolmarm who makes it all work out well. This is like watching a play with these three great performers. Also there are comedies like The Man in Posession with Lilli Palmer and Rex Harrison when they were doing Broadway comedies. It is very funny. Then there are original dramas, like The Bogey Man with Celeste Holm and Robert Preston, a play about a trailor park; good performances, great atmosphere. I recently got to see The Thief with Paul Lukas, Mary Astor, and in a small role, but in the same year as his first two big movies, James Dean. It also features a great performance by Diana Lynn and it is very atmospheric of Europe at the turn of the 20th Century, with a sophistication that was rarely seen in American films of the time. Again, these plays are like watching plays of the time and are all highly enjoyable, with great actors in surprising parts; too bad there are not more of these to be found. Hopefully there are more in a vault somewhere!
I have only been able to see a few of this series' episodes. But each has been wonderful. The Lawn Party has Geraldine Fitzgerald as a snobby woman, India, who wants a beatiful party for her daughter, without realizing how it is making those who most love her suffer. Typically, Fitzgerald plays the part as written, a snobby woman who ultimately sees the harm she is doing. There is also the wonderful October Story with Julie Harris and Leslie Nielson; it is a charming comedy with both stars in great form. Best of all are the Eileen Heckart character dramas written by Tad Mosel. One of these, Other People's Houses, is about a still common family problem of how to deal with the fact that a parent is aging and has to go live in a retirement home. This also features a young Rod Steiger, who over-acts horribly. There is also My Lost Saints, about a woman who must choose between her selfish mother and the family she works for and thought of as "family" until events change. She has to see that her beloved employers and her mother are humans and not saints, having to mourn this loss along the way. Heckart is very touching in that one. Best of all of course is a Trip to Bountiful with lovely young Eva MArie Saint as the war bride and this time Heckart as a nasty daughter in law. But the star of the show is Lillian Gish, giving the performance of a lifetime in this beautiful Horton Foote drama. That is why these "tv shows" were so beautiful and great, they were character dramas written by great writers. Hopefully more will show up and today's audiences can enjoy these early dramas that are still so relevant today. As they say, only times change, not people and these dramas about people certainly prove that.