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West Side Story: Behind the Scenes

The 1961 version of “West Side Story” is considered by many to be among the greatest movie musicals of all time. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we discuss the making of this classic (and dispel some longstanding rumors on its casting) with Richard Barrios, author of “West Side Story: The Jets, the Sharks, and the Making of a Classic.”

The episode can be heard here.

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The Bootleg Files: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

BOOTLEG FILES 744: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (1973 television production of the Off-Broadway musical).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most likely due to a problem with rights clearance.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.

One of the big entertainment stories this week was the announcement that the classic year-end holiday specials featuring the characters from Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip will not be shown on broadcast television, but will instead be seen on a streaming service. Many fans of these productions were deeply disappointed, as these specials have been an integral part of the holiday season television line-up for decades. However, there is another television special based on “Peanuts” that has not been broadcast since its only offering 47 years ago.
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The Bootleg Files: Mary’s Incredible Dream

BOOTLEG FILES 725: “Mary’s Incredible Dream” (1976 television special starring Mary Tyler Moore).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Too many music and performance rights issues to address, not to mention quality control problems.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Unlikely.

The 1970s represented the pinnacle of bizarre variety programming on American television. Whether it involved regularly scheduled programming – look at “Pink Lady and Jeff,” “The Gong Show” or “The Brady Bunch Hour” – or standalone specials – think of Raquel Welch doing “The Age of Aquarius” on an Aztec pyramid or Ann-Margret joining the Bay City Rollers” in “Saturday Night” before an audience of old ladies or Paul Lynde throwing lavender-scented double entendres at KISS on his Halloween show – the decade represented the alpha and omega of musical-comedy inanity.
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The Elvis Movies

Elvis Presley was the king of rock ‘n’ roll, but he was also one of the most popular film stars from the mid-1950s through the late 1960s. In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” film historian James L. Neibaur, author of “The Elvis Movies,” considers Elvis’ cinema output and place in film history.

The episode can be heard here.

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Disney After Walt: 1966-1985

Following Walt Disney’s death in 1966, his namesake company entered a tumultuous period that showed great achievements in film, TV and theme parks, as well as a harrowing time when the company faced a hostile corporate takeover. On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” the guest is Mark Arnold, author of “Frozen in Ice: The Story of Walt Disney Productions, 1966-1985.”

The episode can be heard here.

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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: The Ann Miller Great American Soup Commercial

BOOTLEG FILES 699: “The Ann Miller Great American Soup Commercial” (1970 television advertisement).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube in both its full-length and truncated versions.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: There is no market for old-time television advertisements.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.

If you are a frequent viewer of today’s American television, you may have noticed some depressing trends regarding advertising. It appears there is a surplus number of commercials for pharmaceutical products that display cheerful images while running soundtracks full of dreadful warnings of toxic side effects, and there are too many commercials from insurance companies that offer obnoxious characters who try and fail to be funny, and there are also too many commercial from packaged food providers that promise immediate and drastic weight loss if you shift your diet to an exclusive focus on their offerings.
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Jane Russell: A Tribute

Jane Russell’s stardom was engineered by Howard Hughes’ fervid imagination, and her initial publicity overemphasized her remarkable physique. But she was a genuinely talented performer adept at light comedy and melodrama. In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” actor/writer Joe Mannetti returns to offer a tribute to Jane Russell’s iconic place in Hollywood history.

The episode can be heard here.