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Collector's Call (2019– )
Not A Bad Start
8 July 2019
Fully expected to not like this series, but, after watching it for awhile I have to admit that I enjoy it.

As noted the series theme deals with collectors who come on, banter back and forth with Ms. Whelchel about it, then get to interact with an expert who usually makes the collector a tempting offer to trade. This added game show dimension is done is such a low key manner that it's easy to accept and make our own guess.

Ms. Whelchel does a good job interacting with the collectors, who usually arrive on camera with a family member of friend and the subject matter expert about the collection, trying to get the guest collector to talk about their collection and share their enthusiasm and energy about the topic at hand. Ms. Whelchel, of course, is the poster child for those things going back to her career on 'The Facts of Life' a cute 70s ish series which allowed her to smile a lot and interact with others.

As of this date (7/2019) the series has been extended for another season and will bring back the same cast and theme. That's good because this type of series needs someone like Ms. Whelchel to propel it forward. Watching her stand there, smiling and looking excited brings energy to the show and helps loosen up the guests, who are all just regular people like us.

This is the first shot at making their own product by METV. The honchos there believe a series about collectors taps into the nostalgia craze and should be of interest to and a natural connection for the current viewers. Not sure if they'll keep it on the same night and time, but, sounds weird but even that is cute. You have to seek this series out to watch. I found it by accident, flipping the dial looking for 'The Odd Couple', which they used to air on Sunday nights. No dice, that series was sent into outer space. Probably not to return for awhile.
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FantomWorks: One Tough Customer (2017)
Season 4, Episode 3
Drawn Out, Fake Reality Show Episode
2 July 2019
One thing you could always count on with this series was the shop owner, Dan, always being bent out of shape and taking nothing easy. Instead, he goes off the deep end more than Oliver Wendall Douglas on Green Acres (since both are fictional characters, why not compare them?).

In this episode Dan does a few things out of character for him. One, he actually listens to a pitch from anyone not him. This time, from an employee, a guy who literally pops out of the woodwork and pitches a restoration plan for an old Model T Ford. This alone is not in Dan's wheelhouse. As an anal guy, no way this Ford hasn't already been charted and given a project name and number, and assigned a project manager. Next, we find out who the mythical PM is: Dan's young daughter. Why her, who knows?. She's more anal than her dad, if that's possible. And, maybe for laughs, takes charge of this Ford Project. Showing Dan has a mean sense of humor, turning her loose on the rather silly woodworking PM wanna-be promises to let her expose the abundant supply of testosterone she inherited from the old man. Third, Dan really gives his fictional series TV character a direct drilling in the caboose, and states for all to hear that he has somehow managed to forget a project and let one of his men take it on. This stirs confusion among his troops. They all cringe at the thought of it happening to them. To top it off, working under the bosses little girl. Sack and all.

As we watch the other car done for this episode with no interest, we focus on the Ford Project with all of our well earned knowledge of this fine series. We're confused as well because this episode is so un-Dan like. Whoever wrote this episode was either promoted or lined up before a firing squad. Or both. Or married to Dan's offspring.

What really blows this whole deal is when the rapidly losing altitude woodworker gets a call with a quote for parts. The call is not only done on speakerphone but right in front of the bosses little girl. Try woodworker guy tries to dig out of his hole ('can I have a military discount?') and fails, then gets reamed by the girl and PM and bosses daughter. All fake. The daughter acts as bad as she comes across, as a poster child for the Virginia Republican Party (no offense).

This scene alone is so fake and contrived that only a complete mindless ape couldn't figure that out. The poor woodworker, forced to bend over and take it over nearly each of his 'management decisions' drawing insults from Ms. PM never overcomes his lack of este nagales and hears a muted mush sound later when he tries in vain to clank them together.

Tail between his legs, at the end he faces the boss who spares him. As a true fictional character on this fictional TV series, big time Dan let's woodman off the hook but warns him his future as a member of the management class is in peril, as is his chance to get a crack at his daughter. Woodman, of course, understands this. But, he also knows he is headed for failure city, all because he let them use him in this episode. Soon enough, he'll be changing spark-plugs at a Jiffy Lube in Arlington, or even worse, Stafford, Virginia.
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Full Custom Garage (2014– )
Unique Car Program, No Fat Guys
20 June 2019
'Full Custom Garage' (FCG) is a unique series, airing on a cable channel which is a poster child for running series that are all the same. FCG brings a talented metal worker, welder and artist (not a mechanic, he tends to avoid that topic) together will junk yard odds and ends with the result usually being some sort of strange looking small vehicle, truck, car or 3 wheeler. Ian, the host, as many have noted here and he often let's us know on air doesn't use blueprints or other normal work guides. Instead, he works thru visions in his head and crafts whatever those might be.

Ian uses props as guest persons, usually some old timer from the hills of Northern California who need something done to a vehicle they own, and usually 'right away'. this, or course, adds the element of time, running against the clock and the dynamic, or friction, to get the project done before the episode ends. This is the aspect of the series I'm not a fan of. Ian is a unique entertainer whose skills alone can carry most episodes. Running it against the clock knocks the series down a lot, taking it from something possible special, certainly unique, to just another version of the never ending battalions of the channels other series. Those all feature the usually over tattooed and over weight and bearded mechanics who labor away each day with a camera stuck in their face and are directed around by recent Film School losers under the hyper watchful eye of their respective boss/owner. The running 'against the clock' theme runs heavy with them. Each episode features some project that highlights the services the garage provides, the owner standing outside of the work and workers dropping by only to comment on the time element. These series have, for the past several seasons, been using the theme of the business and how they are all driven by making a lot of money, etc.

Perhaps the worst of these series I the 'Graveyard Cars', which appears to just be a one hour feature series on old Detroit power cars logistics and supply chain functions. The owner of this garage and program host stands out because he is a certified nut, totally insane and out of touch with reality. Things on his show have gotten so bad that he can only employ and feature on the series family members. Most of the actual mechanics blew this guy off, finding working for him too much to endure.

Finally, the only other series on this channel that was close to reality and not driven by the clown show characters of the rest, Fantomworks garage, was cancelled last season. Although still in reruns it was axed when the owner wouldn't turn his garage into a clown show, aka 'Graveyard Cars' and start stocking his place up with fat white 20s tattooed bearded figments who
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Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice (1994 TV Movie)
This Is The End?
31 March 2018
I'm going to avoid talking about this Gunsmoke film, the last and final version of Gunsmoke as we knew it: the long dusty line back to the radio program, thru the 20 years on prime-time network TV to the 4 post-series films (or 'long' episodes) produced about 12-19 years later. I guess the elements of the film are familiar to all fans: the event and the bringing bad guys to justice, albeit a strange variation on the theme.

This time it's different. It's the Marshall's last ride. As portrayed by James Arness. Maybe someday it'll come back with a new cast and take another run at it. As someone said about Gunsmoke and its role in American TV 'the series ran for 20 years. In radio they called such series 'sustained' meaning it had a sponsor. This series was 'sustained' for 20 years, and never had to be carried for old times sake'. It held up its own end of the deal. That alone is amazing. What's more is that it probably could have gone on for even more seasons. Such a long run that it often left people, fans, critics wondering, why?.

Gunsmoke started its run on tv in 1955, the year I was born, as just another Western series in a crowded field. The genre crammed network tv and movies for most of the decade: at one point 7 of the top ten shows were Westerns. Studios rushed to produce them. Several led to starting roles for soon to be famous actors. Why Gunsmoke lasted so long has always been a subject of debate. It wasn't the only show with roots to radio, its cast wasn't in particular famous or its management of a higher order. But, it did break away from the usual Western story line. And, over time, was able to develop characters deeply, giving fans a unique feeling of closeness to it. Almost like a part of the family. Something about it hit home with Americans and they kept tuning in.

When they finally put the series down in 1975 most figured it was about time. It had gone on so long that it would be hard to maintain the high script and production values it was famous for. Later on, some of the episodes were just so bad that you had to be a dedicated fan to just watch. One example, episode 16 in season 16, shows how far off the trail it could wander. How many times could the Marshall slay evil while managing to bring along the cast for another brush with death or drama of some sorts?. The series, without even a finale, just went off the air.

But, 12 years later the Marshall rides again. Four more times in all. The last, this effort in 1994, wasn't recognized either as 'the end'. Instead, Dillon just rides off into the dusty sunset. Taking the genre with him. It's only fitting that the Marshall and the series are given that honor. Because it managed to last the longest of all and was probably the best of the lot.

Americans had a special relationship with its Westerns. It's also how many foreign people see Americans as" cowboys chasing bad guys and Indians while we open new space and build stuff, like railroads and towns'. And, the Marshall enforces the law and an American sense of justice for all. He represents the American sense of fairness and order. He is honest, true and faithful. He is fair. In a world full of bad guys and lawbreakers the Marshall holds true.

Those are values that have nothing to do with the West but somehow have come to represent it in books, radio, tv and the movies. Americans were especially receptive to Westerns in the 50s when a changing world forced us to intervene and lead it away from evil Godless Communism. The Westerns gave us all a place where we could see conflicts between people play out and with outcomes we demanded. And, 'Gunsmoke' did just that. Although the concept had been played out by 1975 on tv, and the genre had been exploited way too far, the basis of 'Gunsmoke', the values it represented, still had a serious following. The Marshall never really represented the 'West' but American values superimposed on it. He never gave up. He lost, but not often. But, he never sold out. He didn't cheat. He fought hard, but fair. He was Tom Rath, circa late 1800's.

Given all of that Marshall Dillon couldn't be denied one last ride. That his values never changed isn't hard to believe. He represented what was good in all of us. That will never go out of style. And, who knows how those values will reappear in the future.
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Reminds Me of the 'I Love Lucy' Episodes
4 December 2017
Paul Douglas guest starred as the episode 'star' who is starting a new morning program (ala 'Today' which started around this time (1959)). Needing an assistance, he ends up getting Lucy, who is hired by the sponsor.

Lucy 'finally' gets into show biz and soon becomes a hit on the program. Douglas has accepted her and enjoys having her. So does the sponsor, who is getting high ratings. However, Lucy always has 'something' go wrong. Here, it's her work schedule. She's off to work early while Ricky works nights. The two hardly see each other, and Vivian now sees Little Ricky more than she does. Lucy finally discovers what is 'really' important to her: her family. And, she decides to leave the 'biz'. We'll let you see how that goes down.

This is my favorite 'Comedy Hour' episode. It has the feel and tenor of the original 'Lucy' series. It focuses on Lucy and her family. In that sense it is probably the once 'Comedy Hour' episode that does as all the others spotlight the celebrity guest star. Here, we get the original cast (even Fred) more than Douglas. Douglas does a great job and brings super energy to the role. Unfortunately, he died in September, 1959. The first actor in the series to do so.
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The Patty Duke Show (1963–1966)
Unique Show For The Time
7 January 2015
Patty Duke was a very popular actress at the time, one of a handful of teen/child stars who was taken seriously. To take advantage of that the Patty Duke Show was conceived. It ran for 3 years on ABC network.

The program featured Duke in dual roles as herself (Patty) and her Scotch cousin (Cathy). The two are very different: Patty supposed to be the 'average' American era teen and Cathy the more mature and traveled counter. The show was set in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

The format, with Duke playing dual roles, was a real first for TV at the time. TV, films and music were riding a wave of teenage girls in the early 60's. Duke was an actress, although she, like many other girl teen stars gave singing a go and appeared on several music shows in the mid-60's.

The program itself was one of the last actually filmed and produced in New York. Others, such as 'The Naked City' and 'Car 54 Where Are You?' had gone off the air by the time Duke's program started. The Duke program, taking advantage of New York states lax child labor rules, was made there due to Dukes age (16) when production began. The program actually moved to Hollywood for a few of the final episodes. Although filmed in New York, and unlike most New York produced programs, the program was filmed in studio with no outside or remote scenes.

TPDS evolved over its broadcast run. At times a source of conflict, Patty and Cathy come to terms and eventually co-conspirators in many antics. Patty's boyfriend manages to stick around during her many flights of fancy, chasing other boys and generally using him and taking advantage. He provides a base and sense of continuity. Patty's family are all wary of her (from experience) but are supportive. Many guest stars appeared as well, most from the music field and popular with teens at the time.

William Asher was involved with the show, leading a team of successful producers and directors. Asher eventually left to focus on 'Bewitched'.

Although still doing well in the ratings, TPDS show was canceled after its 3rd season (105 episodes).

One of my personal questions about the program was why the use of look alike cousins? The whole premise was far-fetched and probably not needed to make it successful. Cathy's part in the plots were often superficial and didn't contribute much. Asher had noted it was used as a 'hook' or 'gimmick' to stand out, however, you can easily argue Duke was talented enough to carry the program as just the Patty character. Cathy's on screen time and lines were reduced over the programs run, and she was actually not in at least 5 episodes in season three. Something to ponder.
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The Lucy Show: Lucy Waits Up for Chris (1962)
Season 1, Episode 1
Off To A Great Start
21 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
After a two year break from TV Ball returns with The Lucy Show in 1962. As evidenced by the series overall ratings its clear that Ball's appeal to viewers had not slipped. The series gets off to a great start in episode 1, season one 'Lucy Waits Up For Chris'.

Ball and I Love Lucy co-star Vivian Vance are parents without partners and sharing a house with their kids. Candy Moore, Ball's daughter is the oldest (at 16). In this episode she goes out on her first date and mom wait's up for her return, worried about how it went.

As Moore's mom Ball pulls off a funny representation of the typical teenagers parent. But, typical for her, Lucy goes overboard which leads to a series of antics and misunderstandings. The start of 6 seasons of the same, only with different guest stars.

The Lucy Show is not hard to accept. It is set in New York and, except for the lack of a man about, is fairly normal and easy to follow. The kids are all featured and are major characters in season one. Moore is the center of several episodes, most relating to her social life or growing up. The boys are underplayed often and presented as fairly typical kids of the era.

Filmed and broadcast in black and white, the series was executive produced by Desi Arnaz. Although not actively involved in the day to day production he nonetheless stayed on top of it enough to ensure that the scripts were good and that Ball stayed within the scope of her character. Arnaz left after 15 episodes and resigned his role in Desilu Productions, the owning company of the series. Critics believe the series best episodes were in the first season, and most of those during Arnaz tenure as ED.

The series features good acting and production values with solid writing and interesting plot themes. Ball plays her Lucy Ricardo character again, but Vance is presented in better terms than as Ethel Mertz. However she still ends up in capers with Ball and is often the victim of them. But, its all in good taste.

Off to a great start, season one is probably the highlight of the series. Episode one, although a bit tentative, is nevertheless funny and worthy of consideration.
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The Lucy Show: Lucy and the Old Mansion (1965)
Season 3, Episode 22
Last Episode with Original Family, Cast
3 October 2013
This episode is a good example of the changing focus of the program, from Lucy and Vivian and their kids to pretty much a show of antics from the two stars. Lucy's two children both appear in their final episode together, and Viv's son his last. Only Lucy's son will make it to Season 4, then only in a few episodes. Candy Moore, Lucy's daughter on the show, was completely written out and never appeared again.

Tracing the trajectory of The Lucy Show isn't hard. The first three seasons featured Ball, Vance and the three kids. After season one Gale Gordon joined the cast. Also dropped for good was any plan for Ball's character to have a serious love life, pretty much the same for Vance. Neither had many dates, neither had even a remote love interest. Ironically, even Desi Arnaz noted the poor scripts as far back as season two. Arnaz had been executive producer for the first 15 or so episodes of season one, the episodes which have received critical acclaim over the years. Arnaz was forced out of his ownership stake in Desilu Productions late in 1962 and left the show.

Without Ricky Ricardo (Arnaz) to play against, Ball had to go for 100% physical, or slapstick, comedy. The family concept, used a great deal in season one, some in season two, is virtually gone in season three. That alone makes this episode stand out. You can also note the beginning of 'gag' comedy, mostly due to Ball changing writers often.

Candy Moore commented in a book on Ball that season three wasn't good in comparison, and that the original theme had been dropped. In season one Moore's character figured in many episode plots, and featured Ball's reactions to them. However, she correctly stated that by her last season on the show she was only a minor character and that her lines had been greatly reduced. Too bad, Ball missed the start of the 60's and its youth culture. That could have led to many episodes dealing with it and featuring Moore or the boys. It didn't seem to matter as the program somehow went onto become the top rated show in its last 3 seasons. Even Vance leaving as a full time character didn't phase the ratings. Vance did appear in the last three seasons but only as a guest star vie regular cast.

This episode stands as the last featuring all of the original families. For that, it does deserve some note. However, other than that the episode is not really up to the standards set in the first two seasons.
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Must Have Classic-Pay Attention to Lesley Gore's Set
23 March 2013
You can't get any better than this, for both concert films and for content. If you weren't around then the film will let you in on why so many think the period was so great. If you were then it'll reinforce you memories. Steve Binder, who did the Elvis Comeback Special (1968), produces. There are so many technical devices used in making TAMI that I'll leave it to others to explain, but they do come out in how the concert feels, the experience and the sound. Binder does a great job. You notice no detail missed as the house band is tops, another Binder trademark. Listen to them in Lesley Gore's set, especially in 'You Don't Own Me', an overlooked classic on its own, and you can see what I mean. Gore's performance anchors the wide ranging acts and gives TAMI a lot of its era feel. If you don't buy the DVD (came out in 2011) your just plain nuts. A solid classic, a must have. For all music fans.
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Bachelor Father (1957–1962)
Fabian Wasn't Available/Smile If You Think Kelly Was Sweet
12 July 2011
This program was a forerunner (one of them) of today's benign, bland TV show. Corny but cute, BF offers us a chance to look in on what used to be a very common plot theme (parents dead, kids live with relative) of the early TV era. BF was the first, from my limited research, to exploit the theme and engage it as a series. As noted similar programs followed and then dropped off by the early 70's. BF deals with its premise, after the initial couple of episodes, by never mentioning why Kelly is living with Bentley again.

BF is fun to watch. It is so of it's era, the direct opposite of Seinfeld which downplayed the present tense (in order to increase its syndication value), that you almost expect to catch 'Wagon Train' or 'The Ann Sothern Show' when its over. It's really nothing special. That is its charm.

Each episode's theme seems to be based on Bentley chasing ladies and its 'unintended consequences' or Kelly's awkward ritual of passage through her teens. All are done with a classy ease that makes one wish life really was so certain and clear. Bentley's 'dates' are all beauties of the era, all seem to fall into his lap, and all are a bit leery of his reputation. None break him down enough to actually merit more than dating. Kelly runs the usual gauntlet of teen angst and manages to deal with all as expected. She boarders on being super bright, average, bossy, selfish, cute, hip, sexy, dumb, boy crazy (often), jealous, etc.

BF in season 5 follows Kelly into college and possibly getting married. But, having run out of networks in the spring of 1962, BF is doomed to TV black space. It leaves us hanging without knowing what becomes of Kelly, Bentley or Peter. If anything, BF kept a 50's version of TV life in a time capsule, at least to 1962.

The final season (1961-1962) is all over the place. Howard returns for several (9) episodes, I think as Kelly's boyfriend. He then disappears later in the season, replaced by (love interest) Warren Kincaid (a lawyer working for Bentley). Four episodes in he also vaporizes. Kelly is a college freshman in season 5. Howard and Ginger are as well and attend the same school. Never having a formal finale, in the last episode 'Curfew Shall Not Ring' Kelly moves near campus but soon returns home. And, with yet another boyfriend: a low-budget character who eats a lot of cake. By my count she has at least 5 boyfriends in season 5.

Given the confusing final season, it's hard to guess which direction season 6 would have gone. Probably with Kelly in college, Bentley slipping back into his 'bachelor' ways and Peter remaining Peter.

Howard was dropped late in season 5. An important character he provided continuity, laughs and male teen 'insight' for Kelly, and Bentley. His relationship with Kelly was fun yet confusing. Was he her boyfriend or not? Ginger in season 5 is portrayed as a 'typical' teen girl and Kelly's close friend and confidant. Yet, oddly, appears in only 5 episodes. This is hard to understand. BF had continuity issues. Howard and Ginger were not developed much, if at all. 'Bentley' breaks down the 4th wall in a few episodes and provides narration in most throughout the series run. Given that, it's clear, the program is from his own POV.

Kelly glides through the series with limited character development. Bentley is a superficial male of that era. Only Peter shows any real change. Guest roles were weak, usually centered on Bentley. It had light, frothy plots, none serious. They also show no unique qualities, some were imitative of others, including rip-offs of 'I Love Lucy' (travel to Europe, Bentley on vacation (season 6, ILL, 'Building a BBQ')). BF would have benefited from better writing. The characters did have room for growth.

'Bentley' went on to star in 4 shows and as the pervert judge in 'And Justice For All'. He continued acting and voice work until a few years ago (he died in 2010 at 93). Peter, portrayed by Asian prototypical actor Sammie Tong, was lined up for a new show in 1963 in much the same type role. The show failed. A 'degenerate gambler', deep in debt and in trouble with the mob (even with real life help from Forsthye) Tong committed suicide in 1964, some claim, in order to avoid shame. Kelly (Noreen Corcoran) went on to sing, appear in TV guest roles and 60's beach movies (including a popular effort which featured Lesley Gore). Never really catching on she left the trade in 1969 to focus on dancing or production. Corcoran died in January 2016 at 71. She never married and had lived in San Francisco, California.

Bachelor Father aired for a few years on Retro TV (RTV). It was picked up by Antenna TV in September, 2012 and aired there on T-F from 4-5a EST and at 2-3a on Sundays. It was dropped at the end of 2014. According to sources the cable channel decided not to renew it after negotiations with the rights owners failed to reach agreement on long-term plans to broadcast the show. After decades of not being on broadcast television at all it has once again returned to TV black space. It also is not out in DVD.
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The End of Funny?
16 February 2011
Nothing I add here will help this film, of course, unless you're a Lucy fan. For once, her energy doesn't work and she fails to do much of anything: romance, comedy or otherwise. As H.L. Menken once said 'it both shines and stinks like rotting mackerel'. Too bad. This is the last film Arnaz and Ball made together. Arnaz will never be seen again as an 'A' list star. Went right to the 'C' list. Not Ball, who not only survives but will go on to even greater heights and prosperity. Arnaz, the other way.

Sort of shows just who had the talent in the family.

'Forever, Darling' was supposed to be the first of many Desilu films.

The studio, known only for TV selected this film as their first project. The poor box office and critical reception it received led Arnaz to scrap those plans and close Desilu Films as well as his production company (Zenra). Desilu would not make another film until the 1968 release of 'Yours, Mine and Ours'. Arnaz had nothing to do with that film, didn't pick the script or push its being made. He did ensure the Studio keep an option on it, which at least kept it around as a vehicle for Ball. Which is why he got it.

While 'Forever, Dear' barely recouped the $1,250,000 production costs ($11,260,820.90 today) 'Yours, Mine and Ours' was made for $2,100,000 ($14,955,964.60) in 1968 and earned $36,000,000 ($256,387,964.60) at the box office and other rights. Ball, who was then the sole owner of Desilu Studios, made the film in partnership with Paramount Studios who had recently purchased her company and owned half of rights. When Ball went to the bank in 1969 her share from the movie was so big ($128,193,982.30)and unexpected that she had failed to cover her assets for income taxes and wound up taking a large hit.

Ball always seemed to walk away from her projects financially better. This continued with her new production company (Lucille Ball Productions (LBP)) who owned and produced her final major run series 'Here's Lucy'. The series earned a lot of money and enjoyed a brief spurt of high ratings in seasons 2-4. However, it was her first series that fell out of the top 20 programs (5-6). When she figured she had enough episodes in the can LBP/Ball sold the rights to it as well.

A quick note on the film and Arnaz. Arnaz was getting pretty cocky in 1956. He was at the top of the TV business and was staring in the top rated TV show and married to his co-star. He made Desilu considerable money but was under pressure to make more. To help free up his time he tried to distance himself from 'ILL'. It took up too much time and, not known then, forcing him to work with Ball, now something he hated. Arnaz wasn't jealous of her success but was seething with vile over the lack of recognition for what he did with Desilu. Ball propped him up, which made it worse. So, as a master stroke, Arnaz would bring in a clunker like this film and using his own skills make it work and show them all he had it.

The failure of the film was the first major failure for Arnaz and marks the spot where his career, and life, started to spiral downward. The film represented the last bold extension of Arnaz hubris. He stuck it out and got it cut off. He was never the same.

He remained as head of Desilu Studios until November 22, 1962 when he was ousted in a partnership coupe led by his wife and a team of bankers, lawyers, accountants and industry experts. He took a $3,100,000 ($24,947,973.33)buyout and then spent the next 10 years blowing all of it. He was broke by 1975 and forced to write his bio 'A Book' to earn money. He hung in there but basically out of the business. It was ironic, here he was, in the 1970's, a guy with a great resume in the biz but unable to find a job. His reputation was, outside of the Lucy franchise, not very good. Add his drinking and other very large issues and you've got a guy who's finished in Hollywood. Ball of course still loved him, and bailed him out of many problems caused by his drinking and his spending. Much of that area isn't widely known and has frustrated writers doing research. Ball didn't make it this far in show biz without learning how to keep her mouth shut.

That said, you know, this film is an OK watch if for nothing else the 50's connection. I read a 1956 review that gave the film high marks for production values, in particular the great outdoor scenes at Yosemite which were so typical of the era and for what the critic thought was a standard view of 1950's America. Maybe he meant the Arnaz marriage, which had made them the Royal Couple of the era. This film marked the beginning of the end of their reign. And, just like the Arnaz' marriage, the 50's would be gone and as we drive away we can see them in our rear-view mirrors, forever left back in that era. Maybe that is what the title means after all.
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