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The Bootleg Files: The Madwoman of Central Park West

BOOTLEG FILES 701: “The Madwoman of Central Park West” (1980 television special based on the Broadway musical).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lack of perceived commercial interest coupled with music rights clearance issues.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

Actress Phyllis Newman passed away earlier this week, and you can be excused if her name doesn’t ring that proverbial bell. The peak period of her career occurred in the 1960s, when her bouncy personality helped to make her a ubiquitous presence in Broadway musical comedies and on television game shows and talk shows. Newman’s 1962 Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical is still recalled as one of the great upsets in that prize’s history – her “Subways Are for Sleeping” performance snagged the honors that many expected to be bestowed upon Barbra Streisand for her breakthrough role in “I Can Get it For You Wholesale.” She later made history as the first woman to guest host “The Tonight Show” while Johnny Carson was on vacation.
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The Bootleg Files: Main Street to Broadway

BOOTLEG FILES 679: “Main Street to Broadway” (1953 all-star film).

LAST SEEN: We cannot confirm the last public exhibition of this film.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Only as a bootleg.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never made available for U.S. commercial home entertainment release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not for a long time.

One of the most curious flops of the 1950s was an all-star feature called “Main Street to Broadway.” Originally intended as a fundraising vehicle for a nonprofit devoted to the promotion of live theater, the film went through an excessively ambitious pre-production cycle but emerged as a predictable and strangely unsatisfactory effort that fell considerably short of its lofty mission.
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