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American Masters on PBS


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#61

makelikeatree

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Posted Oct 26, 2011 @ 5:39 PM

Most of the stuff they have talked about so far I already knew (I have gotten to where they talk about the ticketmaster battle) but the amount of footage is amazing


It was nice to see footage of Jeff and Stone testifying in the Ticketmaster lawsuit/thing. I had never seen that before. But where was Eddie? I'm surprised he didn't testify. Or maybe they didn't have footage of that. I did enjoy the Neil Young RnRHOF induction speech especially with the footage of Uncle Neil laughing back stage. Overall, it's a decent documentary, especially if you are a fan. But, I've already seen almost all of the footage before. There's nothing really new or groundbreaking about the film, but as a fan, it's nice to have all the clips in one place.

#62

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Posted Oct 27, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

There's nothing really new or groundbreaking about the film, but as a fan, it's nice to have all the clips in one place.


That wasn't really any surprise. I mean it was a documentary that was only 2 hours long about a very private group of people made by a director who was a close personal friend of theirs and it had to cover 20 years. I wasn't really that surprised that they didn't dig into any dirt about the band or spend time talking about things like how they almost broke up during the recording of No Code or how the issues they have had with drummers in the past. Plus like I said it was only 2 hours, not really enough time to cover everything. I mean even if it was a multi-night Ken Burns type thing they would probably still have left stuff out. Plus there is a companion PJ20 Book that goes along with the movie, which I understand covers things in much more depth. I bought it but I have not had a chance to crack it open yet.

#63

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Posted Jan 13, 2012 @ 7:56 AM

Has anybody watched the Billy The Kid episode that was on this week? This was so good, after watching it I was on the computer all day just reading about him and examining the only photo we have of him. He was such a cute kid and his story is very interesting. Now there is someone who found a photo of him on e-bay for like nine dollars. He swears it's Billy the Kid and after seeing all his reasons why, I think it is Billy. Very interesting stuff!

#64

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Posted Jan 14, 2012 @ 6:40 PM

My favorites in this series are the one about the life and career of Jerome Robbins and the one about the life and career of Woody Allen.

I stumbled on the Jerome Robbins one (ha . . . bad thing to say about this legendary dancer/choreographer) while channel-surfing one night. I'd just seen the revival of "West Side Story" and was just captivated. What an interesting, if difficult, man. The show has some wonderful anecdotes from the actors and dancers who worked with him. I highly recommend it.

And, in spite of myself, I just love Woody Allen, or, rather, Woody Allen's films. The only thing that really surprised me was how many he's made--over 40. All these years later, DH and I still quote from "Play It Again, Sam." I was laughing out loud watching some of the clips from his early movies (seeing Allen trying to be part of a marching band while playing the cello was just golden). His most recent film, "Midnight in Paris," is the best movie I've seen in years. And nothing, for me, can top "Hannah and Her Sisters," although "Annie Hall" comes close.

Anyway, this is a really interesting look at his work and his life. The clips of his works alone make this an American Masters worth watching.

#65

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 9:24 AM

What if Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee gave a party and nobody came?
I think both these episodes were new, although PBS has fooled me before.
I watched the Margaret Mitchell episode and liked it but had to record Harper Lee, which I was actually more interested in seeing. Anyone else watching?

#66

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 12:48 PM

I liked the Harpee Lee one and how they structured it, but obviously it sucks they had no interviews with her since the 60's to use, but they did the best they could do. I kinda want to reread "To Kill A Mocking Bird" now, since I've never read it as an adult.

Edited by Morbs, Apr 3, 2012 @ 12:59 PM.


#67

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Posted Apr 4, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

I only caught the end of the Mitchell ep (did not know about her funding scholarships for doctors at Morehouse College, and was depressed when I realized why she and the college president were having to hide that fact--a white woman funding the education of black men in the 1940s South was a Very Bad Thing).

Loved the Harper Lee ep! I'm a big fan of the film, and I also really have to reread the book, which I haven't read since junior high. It was always the first book our Book Club read every year, since it was the favorite of our teacher/moderator. As a fan, I already knew about the Capote connection (him being Dil), but this show really drove home how much of a jerk he was (one of the talking heads called him a sociopath), especially his feeling so threatened by Lee's success that he dropped her lifelong friendship completely. The biggest thing the ep left me with was the fact that Lee started out being Scout, and has ended her life as Boo, a recluse who doesn't want to talk with the public.

#68

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Posted Apr 4, 2012 @ 6:56 PM

I loved Alice, Harper Lee's 99 year old sister, who, at the time of the interview was still working at the law firm their father started. I loved how she referred to her sister as Nelle Harper, as she probably had done her entire life. In addition to calling Capote out as a disloyal jerk, at least a few of the interviewees noted that in reading To Kill a Mockingbird you could plainly see that the character of Dill was badly damaged, and get a sense that this "little boy" wasn't going to grow up well.
Blame Harper Lee for the fact that I never pursued writing. If I couldn't write a novel that spoke to the ages the way she did, I wasn't going to be bothered writing at all.

#69

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Posted Apr 5, 2012 @ 8:46 AM

Alice was a hoot! Her voice reminded me of the guy from Switchblade. Still practicing law in her 90s. Wow.

#70

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Posted Apr 5, 2012 @ 10:06 PM

Anyone else watching?

Enjoyed both a great deal. Always sort of hated Mitchell, as I think GWTW has done more over the years to cement stereotypes and give a false view of history than almost any other book/film. But learning about her and her life did a lot to my respecting her, if not embracing the book. Harper Lee's was just as illuminating, although I sort of knew the Capote stuff. A recent re-read of "Mockingbird" had me surprised out how much I _didn't_ enjoy it as an adult, but the doc did inspire me to take another crack at it.

#71

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 11:06 AM

I thought both Margaret and Harper were interesting.

The woman who played Scout in the movie came to our library a few years ago to give a speech. She said Robert Duvall is a pain in the neck when it comes to this movie. He refuses to do personal appearances about it or he'll say he's coming to one and then pull out at the last minute. She said that the last time he didn't show up she burst into tears and the guy that played her brother told her to stop crying over that jerk. I can see where Duvall is coming from. It was really just a bit part for him. He was on screen for basically two minutes and didn't even get to speak. I can see why he wouldn't want to make a huge deal out of it even though it is a classic movie.

Just looked up recent info on Harper and found an article from last summer that said her health isn't good at all. Alice

Edited by Angeltoes, Apr 6, 2012 @ 11:18 AM.


#72

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Posted Apr 6, 2012 @ 12:00 PM

IIRC, the brother of Mary Badham (who played Scout in the film) is John Badham, movie director.

#73

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 4:58 PM

I really enjoyed the Harper Lee episode. It was nostalgic for me since I was born and raised in Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville (the basis of Maycomb). The town has not changed a whole lot since the time of TKAM. I escaped from that hellhole as soon as I could. TKAM is my favorite book of all time and I used to re-read it every year when I was a kid, but I haven't read it in about 10 years. I re-read it after watching this episode and it's amazing how a book that you've read so many times can still be so powerful when you re-read it as an adult.

I loved Alice, Harper Lee's 99 year old sister, who, at the time of the interview was still working at the law firm their father started. I loved how she referred to her sister as Nelle Harper, as she probably had done her entire life. In addition to calling Capote out as a disloyal jerk, at least a few of the interviewees noted that in reading To Kill a Mockingbird you could plainly see that the character of Dill was badly damaged, and get a sense that this "little boy" wasn't going to grow up well.

Alice Lee is such a badass. 100 years old and still working in the law office in the 2nd floor of the county bank building. I'm glad that she called Capote out for his jerkiness.

The biggest thing the ep left me with was the fact that Lee started out being Scout, and has ended her life as Boo, a recluse who doesn't want to talk with the public.

I am one of the few fortunate people to have met Ms. Lee and gotten to talk to her one on one. I met her when I was in high school. I won a statewide creative writing competition for a short-story (don't even remember what the story was about) and SHE called ME and wanted to have lunch with me. We met in our hometown for lunch at a restaurant called "Radley's." You can't make this stuff up. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and she was a kind, intelligent, gracious lady. She even gave me her phone number and told me if I ever needed anything to just call her. We were strangers but she was so encouraging and supportive of me. So, yes, she is a notorious "recluse" but only because she doesn't care for the media. I was so surprised that she was the one that reached out to me. Anyway, sorry, enough about me. Long story short...she's a wonderful person. Just wanted to share that with you guys.

Edited by makelikeatree, Apr 15, 2012 @ 5:00 PM.


#74

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Posted May 15, 2012 @ 8:05 PM

The Johnny Carson bio was interesting and brought back memories. I remember as a kid in the late 70s/early 80s how cool it was to be able to stay up and watch the Tonight Show. I still think Johnny is funnier than most of what's on now.

#75

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Posted May 15, 2012 @ 10:13 PM

Johnny Carson had the classiest retirement in entertainment history. Aside from the moment on Letterman, he didn't attempt a "comeback", because he knew he couldn't improve on the 30 years of the Tonight show and he wanted to go out a winner.
He was the best ever at what he did, period.

Edited by prairiegal, May 15, 2012 @ 10:13 PM.


#76

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Posted May 16, 2012 @ 12:10 AM

I missed most of the Johnny Carson show due to work but will make sure to catch a rerun. I hope they were able to show some of his New York shows from the 60s, I know some of them are apparently lost but he was hilarious in New York. I have watched some of his very earliest shows on Youtube and it's really amazing to see how well he could judge an audience and know just how far he could go, no matter what era he was performing in.

Looking forward to the hour and a half I missed.

#77

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Posted May 16, 2012 @ 8:33 AM

I miss Johnny Carson. Once you got past all the marriage/divorce/alimony jokes, no one was better at making me laugh about the events of the day. Hard to believe it is 20 years since he went off the air. The last few weeks of shows he did were all classics.

Those damn cigarettes will get you sooner or later.

#78

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Posted May 16, 2012 @ 8:30 PM

I miss Johnny Carson.


Oh, how I miss him, too. My favorite TV shows have come and gone and while I recall them with fondness, nothing comes close to my feelings for Johnny and the Tonight Show. I almost threw up when I saw Leno on this documentary. Yes, I knew he should be there but he's such a piece of shit and, if the stories, were to be believed, Carson felt the same way about him, too. He was kind of like the male version of Joan Rivers but in a much eviler sense. Once Johnny left, I never watched the show again.

I remember watching the Tonight Show after Carson returned from his absence after his son died. I was a little surprised that this doc didn't include the clip of him holding up a picture of Ricky and saying, basically, that he wanted everyone to know what his son looked like and not like the picture the news programs kept showing which was the image on his driver's license. That really moved me and I'm surprised, after all these years, I remember it like yesterday.

I wonder if his first wife is still alive (Google tells me nothing), and if so, why wasn't she interviewed? Or the third wife? Or Alexis?

#79

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Posted May 17, 2012 @ 4:23 AM

I wonder if his first wife is still alive (Google tells me nothing), and if so, why wasn't she interviewed? Or the third wife? Or Alexis?


It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't do it to honor his memory by letting him live through his work. I was so touched how many people were moved to tears when talking about being called over to the desk.

I am forever and always a Dave girl, just the time of when I was raised, but the love and respect they had for each other was so warm and delightful I loved Johnny (it's why I believe Peter Lasalley's story more than Bob Wright's about whether he cared who succeeded him). Dave's obvious delight of him made me delighted by him. The fact that Peter Lasallay went to go work with Craig Ferguson because Dave asked speaks so much to that loyalty. The fact that he faxed in jokes (and was delighted when Dave used his jokes and he was only paid $25 a joke if it was aired) also speaks to their lovely professional relationship. Dave's tribute episode after Johnny is such a delight.

An interesting article about that talks about how Johnny felt about loyalty is this article about Janet De Cordova and how when Fred De Cordova gave him the wrap a signal during his eulogy to his son and how they never spoke much again.

Dave and Johnny's relationship was such a delight and they both took such delight in each other.

Edited by biakbiak, May 17, 2012 @ 4:25 AM.


#80

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Posted May 17, 2012 @ 10:43 AM

I also have been a Dave girl forever. Johnny knew that Dave lost the Tonight Show because he would not even bring up the topic of being Johnny's successor with TPTB at NBC out of respect for Johnny. Dave never wanted to seem like he was pushing Johnny out the door. And the way Leno did it, hiding in closets to eavesdrop on meetings, and then going public with this behavior and appearing so proud of it - what a weasel. Johnny never spoke publicly, but all his post-retirement actions certainly indicated his support of Dave.

I don't think Johnny's first wife ever granted interviews, did she? Probably to keep things private because of the kids. The other ex never grants interviews either. I wonder whether something was written into the divorce settlement about that.

I have some of the DVDs that came out, with some of his classic shows. I haven't watched them for a while; seeing this documentary makes me want to pull them out.

#81

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Posted May 18, 2012 @ 10:46 PM

I wonder if his first wife is still alive (Google tells me nothing), and if so, why wasn't she interviewed? Or the third wife? Or Alexis?


A few answers about the ex-Mrs. Carsons, plus the widow...

Johnny's first wife might have been the least likely to have been seen.
Like you, I can't find anything on her current status (Jody would be about 84 now if still alive - about 2 years younger than Johnny would be).
But based on some early-'90s articles, she sounded like even more of a recluse than Johnny, plus she was at that point, even estranged from their sons.
http://www.people.co...0117582,00.html
It seems there was very little amicable about Jody & Johnny post-marriage.

Joanne, who we saw in the special, patched up a lot of her bitterness with Johnny, and from what I've heard, stayed in contact with him periodically until his death.

Joanna (wife#3) has had very little to say over the years since their divorce battle, and these days is active in the California social & charitable scene.
This shows her about at a fundraiser in 2010 (black and red hat):
http://societynewsla...ay-brings-luck/

As for Alexis -- she seems to have developed Johnny's penchant for privacy... There's little about her
current life anywhere I can find. But there is this interesting item from the University of Nebraska's
Fall 2008 newsletter:
http://www.unl.edu/f...008magazine.pdf

We see Alexis in a rare appearance, with almost all of Johnny's surviving family, except for son Chris.
Johnny's brother, sister, son Cory, and many nieces and nephews with their own kids gathered.
A fascinating group photo.

(Hope this gives you a good footnote to the great information provided in the special)

Edited by PShau, May 18, 2012 @ 10:50 PM.


#82

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Posted May 19, 2012 @ 6:54 AM

We see Alexis in a rare appearance, with almost all of Johnny's surviving family, except for son Chris. Johnny's brother, sister, son Cory, and many nieces and nephews with their own kids gathered. A fascinating group photo.


It was a fascinating photo! Even without the caption, it was clear who was blood-related to Carson.

Good finds, thanks PShau.

#83

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Posted May 21, 2012 @ 3:44 PM

Cool update on the wives, thanks! Johnny's son is very handsome. I hope he did manage to become friends with them... it seems like he did.

Interesting tidbit. I see Joanna is part of the Share, Inc. charity. That was mentioned in an I Love Lucy episode way back in 1956! When she's in Hollywood and is going to do the fashion show with other, "Movie star wives". Sheila MacRae is a founding member (she's in that episode).

Wow, so I wonder what happened to Mrs. Carson #1? Can someone answer a question about how divorce settlements work? If she got a certain number of dollars per year for life, does that ever go up? No cost of living? What seemed like an OK amount to live on in the 60's, sure wouldn't carry you as the years roll on.

The show was very well done. It made me so sad... that was my childhood. And it reinforced my hate for that fucker Jay Leno.

#84

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Posted May 21, 2012 @ 8:49 PM

Count me in to the group who can't watch the Tonight Show with Jay Leno with Jay Leno. He annoys me. My favorite part of Johnny's monologue is when a joke would fall flat and he would reach up to the mike and tap it - "Anyone out there?"

But I loved Floyd R Turbo - Johnny once filled out a credit card application for FLoyd and got a credit card! He brought it to show everyone.

holding up a picture of Ricky and saying, basically, that he wanted everyone to know what his son looked like and not like the picture the news programs kept showing which was the image on his driver's license

I remember that too - for such a private man it was kind of surprise he would do that.

Johnny was just the best.

#85

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Posted Feb 14, 2013 @ 4:25 PM

Nat King Cole. Did you guys know that Nat King Cole was having an affair with Gunilla Hutton (she played "Billie Jo Bradley on "Petticoat Junction" when she was 20 yrs old and he was 46/47)? According to this show, he was just about to leave his wife of 17 yrs for Gunilla when he was told about his Cancer. He decided to just stay with his wife.

#86

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Posted May 21, 2013 @ 6:31 AM

Anyone else watch Mel Brooks last night?  So glad that they are getting his insanity and his memories on film before we lose him - and Carl Reiner.



#87

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Posted May 21, 2013 @ 7:46 AM

I happened to catch American Masters/Mel Brooks last night by accident.  What a great show.  I've never been a huge fan of Blazing Saddles (my husband can't get enough of it though), but what an awesome body of work.  I also like not only did he write/direct/produce so many of  his typical comedies, but he also was producer for so many that weren't his type of movie (e.g. The Fly, etc.).   Based on what I saw he truly did NOT micro manage; he allowed others to follow their own plan. 

 

It was great to be reminded how funny so many of those actors were that he used... Cloris Leachman and Madelyn Kahn... I'm still laughing this morning about Cloris Leachman's eyebrows and mustache.  And Madelyn Kahn's scenes, where she realizes she may be in love with Frankenstein, and when she gets the call in her hotel room... They really were all so so awesome. 

 

I always forget how much I love PBS.