Apr. 2nd, 2017

Flotsam

Apr. 2nd, 2017 10:25 am
sartorias: (handwritten books)
Okay, enough people have given me a thumbs up on LOTR rereading, so I will start that this week--on Saturday, as I'm running so dry on topics for BVC blog links. I have the book waiting on the nightstand.

Meanwhile, yesterday's mail brought a gift from a friend--what looks like a first edition (there probably wasn't a second) of Mary Chase's play, sort of novelized and illustrated, Mrs. McThing. One of Mary Chase's books was a childhood fave, and once the internet gave me access to such data, I was astonished to discover that she'd been a well-known playwright.

So I took an hour last night to do some exploring.

In the process of looking up the playbill for Mrs. McThing, I found out that one of the child actors was Brandon De Wilde. I thought, wow, a Hollywoodish name for a kid, and looked him up. Turned out that his parents were from Dutch extraction, and that was his name, no Hollywoodizing here, and furthermore he'd been a phenomenally famous kid actor--who unfortunately died very young (age thirty). Examples of his acting exist on YouTube, most pretty hard on the eyes.

The clearest one was his appearance on What's My Line, a show that I always heard about as a kid, but as my dad didn't have any interest in it, I never actually saw an episode, as we watched whatever he wanted to watch. So I ended up watching bits of other episodes, like the appearance of "Eleanor Roosevelt. The show ran for well over a decade--yet when you look at the set, you'd think it was a high school production. Early television reminds me of early novels: raffish, experimental, doing its best to sell to the mainstream.

One of the episodes had Groucho Marx as a panelist, and he destroyed the format with his constant cracks. So that led me to the show he hosted, You Bet Your Life, which looks even lower budget. The episodes are fascinating glimpses of fifties culture, especially the outtakes. From the glimpses there that audience came there for the bits that would be cut out of the actual airing. Pretty tame by today's standards.

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