You Can’t Take It With You 1938

I first watched this movie in the 90’s and I still watch it from time to time. Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur had great chemistry on screen. The following year they would be in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”…another great movie. Capra wanted Jean Arthur in It’s a Wonderful Life but she was committed to a Broadway show.

This movie is about a rich man named Tony Kirby (Jimmy Stewart) who is working reluctantly for his ruthless banker dad. He falls in love with his stenographer Alice (Jean Arthur). The father doesn’t really care but his mother is outraged that he would love someone beneath him. This part of the story you have seen before but it’s when the great Lionel Barrymore who plays Alice’s grandfather Martin Vanderhof enters the movie gets going.

Martin and his family do exactly what they want, his daughter Penny received a typewriter in the mail by mistake and thinks she is a novelist, Alice’s sister dances everytime music is played and a basement full of unemployed older gentlemen who like to invent things…especially firecrackers… It’s a crazy household but they live life and are not bothered by a thing.

This is the opposite of the Kirby family who is uptight, overwhelmed and disgusted by this family…except Tony of course.

The movie is full of off the wall humor and Alice’s family is great. Anyone that comes to the house wants to stay…and sometimes does. The grandfather goes out and finds one person (Mr. Poppins) who invents things but works at a terrible job and Martin invites him to live at the house with his family to be…”a lily of the field” and quit his dreadful job.

Here are some quotes from the meeting

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: How would you like to come over to our house and work on your gadgets?

Poppins: Your house? Well I don’t know, thank you.

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Oh go on, you’ll love it. Everybody at over at our place does just what he wants to do.

Poppins: Really?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Mmm-hmmmm.

Poppins: That must be wonderful. But how would I live?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: The same way we do.

Poppins: The same way? Well, who takes care of you?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: The same One that takes care of the lilies of the field, Mr. Poppins, except that we toil a little, spin a little, have a barrel of fun. If you want to, come on over and become a lily too.

This is a screwball comedy and a good one. Lionel Barrymore is magnificent in this. Just a few years later he would play mean Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life.

This movie was directed by Frank Capra. Some critics in his day called him “Capra-corn” because of the optimism he showed for the everyday man. I think he was a great director. This is one of his best movies.

It’s a very good movie…any movie with Jimmy Stewart can’t be bad. The comedy holds up today. After the movie, you will want to be a lily of the field.

This movie is based off a play written by the great George Kauffman and Moss Hart.

Logan’s Run

1970’s futuristic sci-fi movie. That’s all it takes for me to watch.

Sometime in the 23rd century… the survivors of war, overpopulation, and pollution are living in a great domed city, sealed away from the forgotten world outside. Here, in an ecologically balanced world, mankind lives only for pleasure, freed by the servo-mechanisms which provide everything. There’s just one catch: Life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of Carousel.

And so begins this movie from 1976.

A future society living in a dome and everything is run by a computer. Everyone is under 30 because when you turn 30 you are killed in the Carousel ceremony. Logan and Jessica try to escape and after nearly being killed, they find an old man outside the dome who tells them how life used to be many years ago. it’s a bit more complicated than that but a good sci-fi movie to watch.

The Cast is Micheal York, Jenny Agutter, Richard Jordan, Roscoe Lee Browne (Voice only), Peter Ustinov and a brief appearance by Farrah Fawcett.

Peter Ustinov is great in this movie as the old man… He keeps this movie grounded and he is my favorite character in the movie.

I like the special effects for its time period. You can tell it was made in the disco era and this was pre-Star Wars. Some of the set looks huge and they mix them with miniatures. I wish I could have a room like Logan’s.

Jenny Agutter is beautiful in this movie and there is a small appearance by Farrah Fawcett.

I’m very surprised that there hasn’t been a remake since everything else has been remade to death.

Roger Ebert’s review in 1976

“Logan’s Run” is a vast, silly extravaganza that delivers a certain amount of fun, once it stops taking itself seriously. That happens about an hour into the film, but even the first half isn’t bad if you’re a fan (as I am) of special effects and cities of the future and ray guns and monorails whizzing overhead. The movie was made on a very large budget – the figure $9 million has been whispered about Hollywood – and it looks it. “2001” it’s not, but it has class. The plot is fairly routine stuff, by science-fiction standards; It seems to be a cross between Arthur C. Clarke’s “The City and the Stars” and elements of “Planet of the Apes” (1968). It’s about another one of those monolithic, self-perpetuating domed cities we’re all scheduled to start living in 300 or 400 years hence. 

People wear the regulation futurist leotards and miniskirts, and glide around enormous interior spaces that look like modern buildings in Texas (these scenes were shot on location in modern buildings in Texas). They don’t seem to eat anything, although they drink stuff that’s apparently nutritious, and when they feel like sex they just plug themselves into a cross between a teleporter and a computer dating service and materialize in each other’s bedrooms. 

The only catch in this idyllic existence is that nobody’s allowed to live more than 30 years. On the appointed last day, they ascend heavenward in a “carousel” that incinerates them while their friends applaud. In theory, if you get to the top of the carousel without being zapped, you can continue to live. But there are no old people in the city . . . 

Our hero is Logan, played by Michael York with a certain intelligence (meditate on how some of his dialog would sound coming from anyone else and you’ll see what I mean). He’s a “sandman,” assigned to intercept “runners” who attempt to escape their society. Most people start to run just as they’re approaching their 30th birthdays – Logan’s world is just like ours. One day, after being double-crossed by the computer-mind of the city, Logan runs, too. And the beautiful Jessica (Jenny Agutter) runs with him. 

It’s here that the movie gets to be fun. Logan and Jessica float through an irrigation system, are trapped on an elevator, get into fights with other sandmen (during which we reflect that everyone’s death rays are terribly inefficient), walk through an ice tunnel populated by Roscoe Lee Brown playing a computerized Tin Man and finally emerge into a largely abandoned Washington, DC. This flight is not unaccompanied by laughter on our part. The audience seemed to laugh a lot, indeed, but it was mostly tolerant laughter. Maybe the moviemakers themselves even knew some scenes would be funny, as when, Jessica and Logan, dripping wet in the ice tunnel, get out of their wet clothes and into some dry animal skins and then immediately, inexplicably, put their wet clothes back on again. There are the obligatory shots of the man and woman confronting the brave new world with their arms about each other, and then a truly marvelous confrontation with the lone survivor of Washington (played by Peter Ustinov with a twinkle in his eye and, I swear, in his voice, his beard and his toes as well). After a knockdown fight borrowed from old Westerns, the movie’s ending is unabashed cornball utopian. But “Logan’s Run” has wit enough to work on such a level; even while we’re chuckling at such an audacious use of cliche, we’re having fun.

 

 

MatchGame 73-79

I’m not big into game shows but this one was my favorite. When I was at my grandmothers I would watch Match Game. This was the one I looked forward to. The questions were written for the dirty minded… you could see what the celebrities wanted to write down but they had to stay somewhat clean. Dick DeBartolo from Mad Magazine wrote most of the questions so it had that humor.

Mary liked to pour gravy over John’s ______

It was fun for the celebrities and from the documentries I’ve seen they would film 12 episodes over a weekend and drinks would be flowing at lunch and dinner. The styrofoam cups you would see them drinking from  would sometimes be vodka instead of water on air.

The regulars I remember were Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly and Richard Dawson (until he left for his own show). The others that would be on the show occasionally were Betty White, Fannie Flagg, Joyce Bulifant, Nipsey Russell, Marcia Wallace, Patti Deutsch and more.

Sometimes the celeberties would have so much fun that I would feel sorry for the contestant trying to win money when the celebrities would write joke answers. Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly would usually be serious on the answers.

So many women would pick Dawson because he was the best player and because they wanted to kiss him if they won…or lost really…That was a glimpse to his future game show.

Gene Rayburn was the host and he would hold everything together barely. It really did seem Rayburn was having a great time.

I remember Richard Dawson’s last week on the show. He wore dark glasses and would not smile. He seemed bored (he had started to do Family Feud by this time) and serious. Turns out that he wanted off the show but they would not let him…After that final show of him being sullen and not smiling…he was gone.

The game was also changed because of Dawson. In the last round more times than not he was picked…well he was good… The producers changed the rules and  made people spin a wheel to see which celeb they would get in the final round.

They would push the censors as far as they could for the 1970s…I watch it whenever I can…

 

 

 

 

The Spirit of 76 movie

This movie is a B movie all of the way…and it plays up that fact… It was released in 1990 and if you are wanting to watch something that spoofs the 1970s… This movie is for you.

This movie stars David Cassidy, Lief Garrett, Carl and Rob Reiner, and Olivia d’Abo… Citizen Kane, it is NOT. It’s a fun film about the future where all is gray and they lost every record because of a magnetic storm including the US Constitution. Adam-11 (David Cassidy) has built a time machine because he wants to go to a beach…beaches don’t exist anymore in the future… so the government wants him to use the time machine to go into the past to 1776 and get a copy of the US Constitution so they can rebuild their society with it. To make it work he needs a chemical that’s rare in the future… tetrahydrozoline.

The government agrees to give him some tetrahydrozoline but sends two more travelers Chanel-6 (d’Abo ),  Heinz 57 (Geoff Hoyle) with Adam-11 to retrieve the document…but instead of going back to 1776 the time machine malfunctions and goes to 1976.

Devo makes an appearance as the “Ministry of Knowledge”…

It’s a corny movie but they have the 70s down in many parts of the movie. After meeting up with two teenage stoners (The group Redd Kross) they look for the constitution but lose the tetrahydrozoline.(the main ingredient to a very popular item in the 70’s… Visine).

If you are looking for a second Gone with the Wind…don’t watch this but it’s funny and silly enough to entertain you.

You have to know a little about the 70s to get some of the jokes…Like David Cassidy’s character looking around a garage in 1976 asking “am I going to be stuck here forever?” while looking at a Partridge Family lunch box.

If you are bored try this one.

Bedazzled 1967

This is one of my favorite comedies. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were always a great team and this movie they work very well together. It’s the old story of selling your soul to the Devil for wishes…but as always the wishes are not exactly what the wisher has in mind.

Dudley Moore plays Stanley Moon who is a shy and pathetic figure who pines for a waitress (Eleanor Bron) who works at Wimpy’s Burger where is employed as a cook. Peter Cook is the devil… He is perfect for this part. He is a hilarious devil and at times likable but does the most annoying things like tearing the last page out of mysteries, scratching LPs and just petty things to aggravate people.

The movie is very British and very funny.

The chemistry is great between Moore and Cook and by this time they had been together for a while. There was a version of this movie released in 2000 but it is not as subtle as this the original version. This is an offbeat quirky film.

This film also features Raquel Welch appropriately as Lust. She is only in it for a few minutes but she plays Lust to the hilt. The film had no name at first and in an interview, Peter Cook said he wanted to name the movie “Raquel Welch”…when asked why he wanted to name it after the actress when it wasn’t about her he said because the Marquee would read “Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in Raquel Welch”… The producers didn’t like that.

Eleanor Bron plays Margaret the waitress and the object of Stanley’s desire was also in HELP! with The Beatles.

Check this film out if you can. Personally, I think it beats the remake.

Gunsmoke the Early Years

I grew up watching the hour-long color episodes (seasons 12-20) of Gunsmoke in reruns and I liked the show. Now I’m watching the first 6 seasons…they are black and white and very different. There is no Festus or Newly…we have Chester (Dennis Weaver) and he is a refreshing character. They just never played these episodes on television when I was younger. There still is Doc Adams  (Milburn Stone)and a very young good looking Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake).

These episodes dealt with murder, rape, human trafficking, and plenty of Matt Dillon (James Arness) decking bad guys with his fist or the butt of his gun. They are 30 minutes long which is great. They got to the point quickly. Some of the stories were grim but it matched the look of the series.

I was surprised at how rough, violent and authentic they were and that is not knocking the later episodes but there is a difference. The violence was toned down as the series continued.

The later color episodes centered more around the guest stars and the old black and white ones centered more on the local cast of Dodge City.

Have Gun Will Travel was also on CBS along with Gunsmoke. You will see some of the same character actors and sets. Some Have Gun Will Travel scenes were filmed in a redecorated Long Branch… Too bad there wasn’t a crossover at least once.

Chester…I’ve always liked Dennis Weaver as an actor…in McCloud, Duel and anything he was in… He brings his character Chester alive as a real person. Chester had a limp on the show and Dennis Weaver said he would take yoga classes so he could do things like putting on a boot look believable with a bad leg…he also put a pebble in his boot on his right foot so he would not forget which leg was lame.

Chester could be lazy but he was invaluable and loyal to a fault to Matt Dillon. Dennis Weaver left the show after the 9th season with no explanation on what happened to Chester as was the way back then with TV shows.

If you are a fan and have seen only the later episodes…check these out.

Paul Lynde Halloween Special

I love watching this from time to time. Yes, it’s bad…really bad but it’s so bad it’s good. All the celebrities who are in different phases of their careers, cross paths in this epic of a show. First, let’s go through all of the stars.

Paul Lynde of course,

Billie Hayes (Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf)

Margaret Hamilton (The witch from Wizard of Oz)

Tim Conway (No seventies variety show was right without Tim Conway)

Florence Henderson (Brady Bunch mom)

KISS (their first TV show appearance)

Billy Barty (was in many films)

Betty White (and still going)

Roz Kelly (Pinky Tuscadero from Happy Days)

Donny and Marie Osmond! (just to top it off)

The plot… which really doesn’t matter.

I always thought Paul Lynde was wickedly funny. In this, he was watered-down and could not be his Hollywood Squares best. He had a quick campy wit at times and the writers probably toned it down for prime time. I first noticed Lynde on Bewitched as Uncle Arthur and he was great in that role. It was his delivery that made everything work in his comedy.

This special has comedy bits and music…oh yes the music. You have KISS, you have the disco and you have Florence Henderson singing “That Old Black Magic…” Most of the comedy bits fail but the real comedy is how bad it is… The only thing missing from this extravaganza was a guest appearance from Harvey Korman and/or Don Knotts.

The main reason many people have watched it since it aired is it was KISS’s first TV show appearance…not including concert material.

It is a train wreck but one I like watching over and over again. At no other time could a show like this have been aired. It only aired once…for good reason.

What other show does Paul Lynde play a trucker who wants to marry Pinky Tuscadero?