Thursday, February 16, 2017


Peter Marshall:
Paul, what is "The Great White Way"?
Paul Lynde:
Eating chicken with a fork.
'The Hollywood Squares'


In Toobworld, newspapers are usually fictional because they're going to showcase something that actually has import for the story in the episode.  But in this episode of 'That Girl', Don and Ann were reading an actual copy of the New York Times.  Even if the date of the production can be tracked down via the IMDb and other sources, we can determine approximately when this episode was filmed based on those ads for various Broadway plays.

With this showcase, these plays actually took place in Toobworld, but their "televersions" may have differences from the productions that were mounted on the Great White Way.  The length of their runs, for instance.  

Here's a quick summation of what these plays were about:


Ian McShane, Eileen Atkins and Ian McKellen play three young Russians whose dreams are interrupted by World War II. Older and wiser 16 years later, they still pursue their visions. The 'love story' by Aleksei Arbuzov opened on November 14, 1967 at Henry Miller's Theater in New York; it ran for 23 performances.


"Black Comedy" was first presented in New York with White Lies at the Ethel Barrymore Theater by Alexander H. Cohen directed by John Dexter.  The production featured the Broadway debut of both Michael Crawford and Lynn Redgrave. The production previewed from January 31, 1967 and opened on February 12, 1967. It closed on December 2, 1967 after a total of 14 previews and 337 performances.


Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, (10/09/1967 - 11/18/1967) 
SYNOPSIS: Legendary singer Marlene Dietrich performs a concert of German songs and other standards.  (I would not be surprised if Mel Brooks saw this theatrical concert and was inspired to create Lili Von Schtuppe of "Blazing Saddles".)

And this is the one which intrigues me the most....


"The Unknown Soldier and His Wife" is a 1967 play by Peter Ustinov.  The marvelously wry "two acts of war separated by a truce for refreshment" which was launched at Lincoln Center. The tale of the common soldier who is about to be buried with honors but who, on investigation, turns out to be the same fall-guy throughout the world's history, dragging his wife along with him. Over and over the same wars recur and the same common soldier is buried with honors after death.  The first preview was June 27, 1967 and it opened on July 6, closing November 12, 1967.*

[These synopses are from a combination of excerpts from Wikipedia, Playbill, the Hirschfeld estate, and the Samuel French company.]

Especially with New York-based TV shows, real plays have been cited just as often as fictional plays.  "Wicked" showed up in 'Ugly Betty' and 'Rules Of Engagement'; Alex of 'Gilmore Girls' saw "Moose Murders"; producer Maxwell Sheffield turned down the opportunities to mount "Hair", "Tommy", and most painfully, "Cats".  

And in the most crowded of references, the cops of the 53rd Precinct went on a search to find tickets to a Broadway show but were turned away at the box offices for  "How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying)", "Carnival!", "A Thousand Clowns", and "Milk and Honey", "The Sound Of Music", "Mary, Mary", "No Strings", "Camelot", and "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum".  (We saw the officers making their weary trek along Broadway as the marquees for each of those shows was seen.)


O'BSERVATION: I read a novel by Ustinov - "Krumnagle" - and saw two movies he wrote - "John Goldfarb, Please Come Home" and "Hot Millions".  He had a very trenchant wit, which sometimes took me a while to fully appreciate.  ("Krumnagle" especially.)  I'm keen now to read this play.

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