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The Joy of 1970s Movie Musicals

The 1970s brought an extraordinary slate of movie musicals that covered diverse musical genres and human emotions. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we celebrate the decade’s most innovative musicals – and even give a good word to some its odd failures – with guest Lee Gambin, author of “We Can Be Who We Are: Movie Musicals from the 1970s.”

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: The Hollywood Greats – Groucho Marx

BOOTLEG FILES 762: “The Hollywood Greats – Groucho Marx” (1979 episode of a British television series).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Fell through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Zeppo Marx is one of the most mysterious figures in film history. He appeared with his brothers Groucho, Harpo and Chico in their first five feature films at Paramount (and in a segment of a promotional film for the studio), but the union within his zany siblings’ antics was always tenuous. He was barely on screen in their first film, “The Cocoanuts,” and snagged a single memorable segment with Groucho in “Animal Crackers.” Zeppo got more screen time as the romantic interest in “Monkey Business” and “Horse Feathers,” but by their final film “Duck Soup” he was back to being an elusive on-screen presence.
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Ma and Pa Kettle On Film

One of the most successful film series of all time were the Ma and Pa Kettle comedies starring Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as a rustic couple who were always getting into some crazy trouble. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we revisit those wonderful movies with Lon Davis, co-author of the new book “Ma and Pa Kettle on Film” (published by BearManor Media).

The episode can be heard here.

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Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series (DVD)

Few television programs hit the airwaves with the impact of “Rowan & Martin Laugh-In.” With its rapid-fire skein of zany sketches, topical humor, hipster catch phrases, go-go dancing, and zeitgeist-hugging mod fashions and pop-art production design, the program defined the spirit the free-wheeling and often chaotic late 1960s and early 1970s.
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The Bootleg Files: The Carpenters…Space Encounters

BOOTLEG FILES 761: “The Carpenters…Space Encounters” (1978 television variety special).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Music clearance rights are probably at the root of the problem.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

When it comes to kitsch, nothing beats the television variety specials of the 1970s. Between the none-too-special guest stars performing musical numbers for which they were ill-suited, the flashy polyester costuming, the overbaked choreography and the manic need to appear hip, these productions often represent the best of the worst elements from the decade that good taste forgot.
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