Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Location, location, location

My cable company offers a couple of nostalgia channels featuring old time series. I like to call it the “Doesn’t Hold Up Network” because a lot of these shows that I remember loving back in the day are now just awful. Who knew the years wouldn’t be kind to GIDGET?

The reason I find myself stopping at one of these channels (besides hoping to see Claudine Longet guest star as a murderer) is that as a kid growing up in LA, I recognize most of the locations that they used. So it’s kind of like stepping into a time machine, except the past is in black-and-white and I can fast forward through the assisted living commercials.

But a lot of local landmarks that have long since been turned into Jiffy Lubes and Casa de Cockroach apartments reappear in all their glory behind Honey West and Amos Burke.

ROUTE 66 is a great one for Way Back Machining. One week they were in the old Marineland and the next they stopped off at Jungle Land, home of many ferocious tranquilized animals. It’s a good thing the scenery is so nostalgic because the show itself was terrible. The dialogue tried to be Paddy Chayefsky and actor George Maharis tried to be, well… an actor. Long florid speeches filled with imagery and dripping with classical references describe a dog that chewed up a garden. What’s disconcerting is that at the time this show originally aired in the ‘60s I thought it was incredibly deep. Of course that's not why I watched it.  I was just hoping to see Claudine Longet with a gun.

What struck me most about these old hour shows is how cheesy the production values were. Today a cable show like SUITS and THE AMERICANS looks as sumptuous and well lit as a feature. If they get 3,000,000 viewers a week they're lucky.   Back then, on network television drawing an audience of 30,000,000 those old shows looked like they were made for $22. Except for Jack Webb-produced shows like DRAGNET and ADAM-12. $22 was the budget for the entire season.

Sidebar: Harry Morgan told me this -- Ever notice on DRAGNET that Webb & Morgan wore the same suit every day? That’s because they went out one day and shot footage of them getting in and out of cars and going in and out of buildings, and to match those all year long they had to be in those suits. I told Harry, “Well, at least you don’t have the problem of having to wear the same thing every day here on MASH. Oh…wait a minute…”

I think the difference is that audiences today have much higher expectations. They can spot a cheapo production. With HD cameras they can make home movies that look way better than KOJAK. (By the way, I see a lot of San Fernando Valley locations in KOJAK – a show set in New York.)

That’s something else I'm always on the lookout for – LA locations masquerading as other parts of the world. I once saw the Burbank airport substituted for Miami. Can’t think of many mountain ranges behind the actual Miami airport. The Fugitive traveled all around the country but one out of three small towns all seemed to have the same Main Street. How dumb was Inspector Girard that he never figured that out? 

So even though a lot of these programs don’t stand the test of time I still have a great fondness for them. What a treat that the Los Angeles of my youth has been so captured on film. I feel bad that kids growing up in Los Angeles today won’t have that same luxury. With production costs what they are, it’s now the kids in Vancouver who will be able to look back and see their city as it is today.

54 comments:

Paul Blake said...

Ken, Jack Webb was one in a long line of smart producers who used duplicate costumes to save costs. Check out one of my favorite shows, The Adventures Of Superman, especially the later color years. Jimmy, Lois, Clark, all wore the same outfits from show to show so that stock footage could be matched to save costs. Gotta skrimp and save those dollars where you can, right?
Paul Blake

Wendy M. Grossman said...

People who are very familiar with New York, Toronto, and Vancouver play the same game. (Also, now, Nashville, since although the show is shot in Nashville when the stars go "on the road" Nashville has to stand in for Miami and Chicago...)

I assume the main factor in all this is that some parts of production costs have come way down (video instead of film, etc.) and the industry has become much more expert about business models and revenue sources. At the beginning there were no reruns, no future revenue streams, at least as far as they knew.

wg

Scooter Schechtman said...

It's like early 70s "Night Gallery." Didn't matter if the locale was New England, Old England, Wales or THE FUTURE, you always saw that dry LA dirt with the LA mountains.
Universal Studios, where day-for-night is the only way to go!

Mitchell Hundred said...

One sign that you're a Vancouverite: you watch movies and TV shows partly for the fun of spotting local landmarks. I do this.

Pat Reeder said...

I put on Me-TV or Antenna TV every night, when I'm cleaning my parrots' cages (they're not getting cable on their TV until they get jobs and pay for it themselves), so I'm seeing all those old shows that I never saw when they first aired. "Honey West" and "Burke's Law" are particularly interesting because they not only used outdoor L.A. locations, they used a lot of real indoor locations instead of sets. So if they went to a nightclub, it wasn't a soundstage, it was actually a Sunset Strip club from that period, often with a band that was actually playing there at the time.

I have also become a big fan of Anne Francis, who was not only Honey West, but she pops up in a lot of other shows of that period, like "Suspense." I never knew much about her before, but she has that same combination of cool, blonde sexiness, humor, intelligence and approachability that made everyone fall in love with Elizabeth Montgomery.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Try watching old MOD SQUADS. It's all a delight. The slang, the attitudes, the clothes, the hair, the cars -- very Wayback Machine. Plus, Peggy Lipton.

When I was watching some early ROCKFORD FILES recently, and it wasn't only the quality of the sets that struck me as being of its time, but the pacing of show. Those car chases were exciting when I first watched them in the 70s, now they seem to be in slow motion.

Michael said...

Harry Morgan also said that everybody teased him about doing the monotone on Dragnet and he said that was incredibly hard acting to do. Think about it. And while you're at it, go to You Tube, type in Johnny Carson Jack Webb, and get ready to laugh.

John said...

Old episodes of "Bewitched" have those great exterior shots of the 10,000-foot high mountains of the northern Bronx in the distance, behind the McMahon and Tate office building. You really need chains on your snow tires if you drive up to Riverdale in the winter.

There was a bit more of a separation between movies and television 50 years ago, in that movies in response to the growth of TV had gone to more location shooting, while the studios were just beginning to embrace TV at the time, and didn't seem to want to make the production values look as good as their movies, unless someone at the network was willing to pay for it (as was the case with CBS and Route 66's location shots -- if Columbia had been footing the bill by themselves, they never would have left the studio street where Samantha, Major Nelson and Hazel's houses were located).

Growing up in New York, you've got a few shows from the period, like "Car 54" that provided looks at your surroundings, but for the most part, what shows there were in the city preferred to stay off the streets during the Bob Wagner and John Lindsay years (i.e. -- You'd think with "The Patty Duke Show" if the opening song makes a big deal about her never getting out of Brooklyn Heights, they would have done some exterior shooting in Brooklyn Heights. But apparently that wasn't in ABC or United Artists' budget).

MikeBo said...

I was a big fan of "Streets of San Francisco" with Michael Douglas and Karl Malden, largely because I lived in San Francisco in the '60s. When I see the reruns, it is like stepping into a time machine.
As for LA, ny newsguy career put me in every neighborhood at one time or another over 25 years. I play the same game when I watch anything. The area around 6th and Santa Fe street has played every part of cities from Rome to NY and on to Poughkeepsie. The biggest location star is, of course, the Sixth Street Viaduct. Sadly, its soon to go the way of The Garden of Allah as an architectural LA masterpiece.

Jeannie said...

Buster Keaton shot many of his best shorts and features on the streets of L.A. There's a book called "Silent Echoes" by a fan (not me) who tracked down the actual locations, decades later, through things like 1929 telephone directories and landmarks. Great fun to read and visit the sites. I also read a bio of Preston Sturges, which listed one of the places he lived, but when I went to find it, I noticed the 101 freeway had eliminated it.

Anonymous said...

I remember the Malibu Canyon Rd. tunnel (Pink Lady, anyone?) being used as a border checkpoint between two European countries in, I believe, Mission: Impossible.

Anonymous said...

We live in Portland, Oregon. The only reason we watch the TV show Grimm is to see the filmed locations that I could see in person on my way to the grocery store. How dumb is it that seeing something on television validates it existence more that being there in real life?
--Stephen Kelsey

Bruce Patterson said...

No mention of this blog

http://entertainment.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/22/18401068-zach-braff-raises-money-and-ire-with-kickstarter-campaign-for-new-film?lite

Hollywoodaholic said...

Mock "Route 66" all you want, but Stirling Silliphant was an excellent writer of character pieces, and the Corvette boys were just the lead ins to a story usually profiling a great guest star as a local. I've re-watched the shows recently and they DO hold up much more than other shows because it is all character. It's also unique because they actually shot around the U.S. on real locations (and yes it was 16 mm and they had a tight budget).

Silliphant would head out to a town before the production crew, hang out in a local bar and talk to some local lonely women, and... viola! an episode. The crew would roll into town and shoot.

Contrast that with "The Fugitive" where Southern California stood in for everywhere else in the U.S., and it showed.

And then there's "I Spy," which actually shot on location throughout Mexico, Greece, and the Far East. That could never happen today, and the show holds up because it was about the chemistry of Culp and Cosby, not spy gadgets.

McAlvie said...

I think they look dated not just because of production values, but also because tastes have changed so much. Take a show that is filmed today but tries to recreate the early 60s or 70s ... all that wood veneer and avocado green look cheesy now, but they were trendy at the time!

To really enjoy those old shows, you need to immerse yourself and watch a few hours of it. It takes a few episodes, but after a while you stop noticing the flaws so much. The things that stand out by comparison to modern productions become less obvious after a while.

iain said...

The "Kojak in Las Vegas" episode was on MeTV recently (with special guest stars Liberace & Priscilla Barnes!) & the Nevada desert exterior shots looked a lot like Simi Valley to me.

Also, it's not hard to figure out the target advertiser demo for this channel, as I learned more about catheters than I ever knew before - or ever hoped to.

RCP said...

It's funny when LA stands in for another location: I can't remember the show, but it took place somewhere like Minnesota - in one scene, two characters stopped to chat beside the trunk of a palm tree. I can always tell when a NYC street scene is actually California simply by the degree of sunlight.

Jeannie said...

'Buster Keaton shot many of his best shorts and features on the streets of L.A. There's a book called "Silent Echoes" by a fan (not me) who tracked down the actual locations, decades later...'

Thanks for the tip about "Silent Echoes."

Victor Velasco said...

Ken, I've taken a deep breath and now I can respectfully say I think you're off base with Route 66. Even as a kid, I had some sense that this show was a little over the top - without actually knowing this term at the time. This was a great drama for the most part; what about seeing the country and through exposition learning about all kinds of folks? Herbert B. Leonard hit the mark with this as well as "Naked City" OK, Maharis never panned out as a superstar and it helped to have a degree in humanities to understand some things but jeez, man, just what in your opinion was a good TV drama in the early 60's?
Re: "Dragnet". In a sick way, it was great that Jack Webb, in gathering his stock troupe, went out of his way to cast actors who, generally, had faces didn't 'read' on camera

Anonymous said...

I loved the the idea of ROUTE 66 more than I did the actual show: two buddies, driving a hot car around the country, having an adventure with the town beauty and then moving on.

But there were problems with the acutal show.You're so right about Stirling Silliphant's scripts. They were long on speechifying. And seating Buzz and Tod and the guest star in the two-seater Corvette always looked a little awkward.

BigTed said...

I've never seen most of these shows before, and it's fun to see what was considered entertaining back in the day. One revelation has been "Burke's Law," about the captain of a detective squad who's extremely rich for some reason, and who takes an hourlong show to solve simple crimes because the female suspects are always hitting on him.

Oh, and one of these stations shows two nightly episodes of "The Jack Benny Program." That's some great comedy!

Jim Kubisch said...

Even as an upstate New Yorker, I appreciated, and even started to recognize, all the LA and surrounding locales on Adam-12, Dragnet and even Perry Mason, just to name a few. That's always been a part of my enjoyment of TV shows and movies. Linking actors and locations to everything else I've ever seen.

I didn't take my first trip to NYC until I was a young adult, but felt as if I had been there because of all the recognized sites from TV and film.
In fact, much to my surprise, I saw that I had been to a bar I saw in The Odd Couple! Early in the film, Felix stops by a sleazy place with dancers and a combo behind the bar. I recognized the place from a visit to the 42nd street area back before it was cleaned up. That added to my already incredible enjoyment of that film.

Paul Duca said...

You missed it...Claudine may or may not have been a murder on the episode of THE BOLD ONES on Cozi TV last Sunday. But Burl Ives got her off.

Jeffrey Mark said...

I started watching Route 66 on You Tube and loved every episode. Great character studies - very human stories - great location settings as you can get glimpses of what different towns in the US looked like back in the early '60s. But I think it was a good show because someone was in trouble and the guys tried their best to help out and do a good deed. Where do you get a show like that nowadays. People seem to want to hear vagina jokes too much. Sad...we've lost our humanity. Route 66 sure showed a helping heaping of that.

michael said...

There are blogs on the internet devote to every subject including TV and film locations.
http://dearoldhollywoodblogspot.com

Dear Old Hollywood has several featuring The Rockford Files alone.

One of the reasons for cheap looking sets and location is why waste money for something people would not see. Imagine watching HD on our old Black and White only TV or those popular 13 inch portables we all had. The look has grown with technology, be it the film stock to shoot the show or TVs to watch it.

Anonymous said...

I think it is fun to watch Alfred Hitchcock Presents and recognizing some of the same furniture used in different episodes. I can imagine it is neat to see locales in shows that you are familiar with. Julie, Burlington, Iowa

kent said...

Kids in Santa Clarita will have plenty to look back on.

Cap'n Bob said...

I always thought the car was the star of Route 66.

normadesmond said...


william hurt was a fun surprise
on kojak not too long ago and
suzanne pleshette & robert morse
were on i don't know what
the other night & couldn't
have been over 15 years old.

Frank Paradise said...

Sadly Hollywood North has now shifted from Vancouver to Toronto due to better Hollywood tax write offs and a jolly crack smoking mayor called Rob.

Jake Mabe said...

I disagree with you about "Route 66" not holding up. Well, I partially disagree. It may not "hold up" in the sense that it is timeless, but it's much better than 95 percent of the crap on network TV today.

No argument about "Gidget"...

AlaskaRay said...

Miami is nothing. They used Burbank for the famous airport scenes in Casablanca.
Ray

Anonymous said...

In Toronto we are used to seeing yellow "New York" cabs every once in a while.

During the production of the Total Recall remake, I saw a few giant green screens around town, OUTSIDE. Making me wonder why they would bother to shoot outside in the middle of downtown if the whole background is going to be replaced.

Hollywoodaholic said...

"Justified" is a great show, but the moment they left shooting in Appalachia and moved the production back to the dry barren hills of L.A., it lost one of its main assets.

I watched a "Naked City," last night (another Herbert Leonard show), and like "Route 66" it DOES hold up remarkably well because it's character-oriented, plus it uses a dozen or so New York locations in every episode.

Mike Schryver said...

Since GIDGET has been mentioned again, it gives me a chance to rehash something that happened a while back when Ken was teasing the next day's post about lame TV theme songs.

I stepped on his reveal a little bit by mentioning that I liked the GIDGET theme, which of course turned out to be one of his lame examples. What I was thinking of, though, was the end theme, which I like a lot and has a sort of big band arrangement, not the opening version with the lyrics.

No, the show itself doesn't hold up. And if everyone also hates the end version of the theme, I'll just accept that I have bad taste.

Carol said...

My husband and I, for what it's worth, love watching Emergency! on MT TV every night before dinner. It actually holds up quite well, story-wise, despite the 70's clothes and porn-stashes.

Then we go laugh at Happy Days on another channel, and then we watch MASH on ME TV at 7. We lead an exciting life.

PatGLex said...

Hey, Hollywoodaholic: Justified NEVER filmed in Appalachia. They've only come to Kentucky to shoot background stuff and get their bearings (sometimes unsuccessfully).

I remember watching the movie FARGO when I lived in Minneapolis and enjoying all of the Twin Cities locations they filmed at [hey! there's the top of the parking ramp at the airport! etc.]

Ron Clark said...

Bash away all you want at Route 66, but I've always enjoyed that show, and I never saw an episode of it until sometime in the 90's (it's not a nostalgic echo of my past). It may not have the glitzy production values of whatever live action cop cartoon is currently in vogue, but I'll take Todd and Buzz in a heartbeat over David Caruso whipping off his sunglasses. You may consider it "speechifying"; I think of it more as a writer who was trying to actually say something, as opposed to a writer who was trying to see how many times he could cram the word "vagina" into an episode.

D. McEwan said...

Yes, I think of Anntennae TV and ME TV as "The Old Folks Channels," because all the ads are for retirement homes, catheters, health insurance, osteoperosis treatments, ungrateful grandchildren who never call, etc. Why do they think that fans of 50 and 60 year old shows are all elderly? --- Oh. I see. I keep forgetting that I'M elderly.

On ME TV, Burke's Law has just made its bewildering transition into a third-rate spy series, Amos Burke, Secret Agent. It went off the DVR season pass then.

There's an episode of Mission: Impossible where they have to break into an eastern-European prison through the roof. You'd recognize the location in an instant, since they're on top of a Paramount soundstage, and the friggin' Griffith Park Observatory is unmissable in the background! Of course, on The Adventures of Superman with George Reeves, the Griffith Observatory is Jor-El's home on Krypton.

I must seek out the Route 66 at Marineland. I grew up living two miles down the road from Marineland and used to ride my bike there. (You know I treasure the Route 66 episode with Karloff, Chaney and Lorre. Idiotic but glorious fun.)

On Burke's Law, every time Burke's Rolls pulls into Parker Center, the exact same motorcycle passes it going the other way. It's one shot that's in every friggin' episode.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade used a big, unmistakable shot of the Burbank Airport (I refuse to call it by the vile new name it was given a couple years back) for an airport in Berlin. They have it draped in HUGE Nazi Swastika Banners and bunting. That must have beena fun day in Burbank. (In The Lost World: Jurassic Park II, when the tyrannasaur is rampaging through downtown San Diego, it's really rampaging through downtown Burbank.

Love the shot in MGM's The Three Muskateers with Gene Kelly and Vincent Price where the muskateers arrive on the north coast of France and you can see England across the channel in the background, only "England" is clearly Santa Catalina Island, and they're thundering about on horses below the cliffs on which sat Marineland.

The DVD set of Buster Keaton's silent shorts (which are like the best films ever made) includes as extras a lot of the Silent Echoes stuff, where the author of the book takes you to each location, and you get before-and-after shots of the locations. Just fascinating. There's a book of Laurel & Hardy lcoations by the same guy. It was what led me to the Vendome stairs that Laurel & Hardy carried the piano up and down in The Music Box. Climbing those steps, I genuinely felt like I was treading on Holy Ground. Well, Holy Concrete.

BTW, that wild crane shot that opened Boogie Nights, where the camera pulls out a movie theater, over the street, back across the street again, and into a night club, was shot two blocks from where I live now. The "nightclub" is now used as a church.

When TBS was shooting 10 Items or Less, they shot it entirely in the supermarket one block from my home where I get all my food. They didn't close during shooting. I'd go in, and they'd encourage you to shop quietly, because the shoot was going on around you. Those aren't extras. They're REAL shoppers! Watching it, it was weird to see scenes being played in front of shelves full of cat food, some of which were now in my cupboard, waiting to be fed to my cats.

jbryant said...

AlaskaRay: It's a myth that the airport scenes in Casablanca were shot at Burbank Airport. Van Nuys Airport was used for Major Strasser's arrival; I think everything else was shot on soundstages at Warner Bros. in Burbank (maybe that's where the confusion started).

Bob S. said...

There are a lot of old shows to make fun of, but Route 66 isn't one of them. They actually *did* film on location around the U.S. (I know because they filmed an episode in my hometown).

tb said...

I always hated seeing Viet Nam war scenes filmed in Californis, it's just so wrong. And I do love those old shows, especially Adam-12, Batman and Columbo

Darrell Don Porter said...

I too enjoy Route 66 now and again, tho I can't sit thru an entire hour of it. I love the song (instrumental only) and the car. Of course it's dated, so what? I enjoy it and would like to see Then Came Bronson again, but that doesn't seem likely. Michael Parks was so cool. Parks, now in his 70s, is still doing at least 1 flick/year, and was in both Argo and Django. He's still cool! As for the Gidget theme, I too like it, the end credit version, except for the guitar riff, but I understand why it's there. And Gidget's eternally young and cute. Just what we all want to be!!

Darrell Don Porter said...

PS: I always hated seeing Vietnam war scenes in...Viet-fucking-nam!

John said...

To be fair to the viewers of the mid-1960s, Gidget did last all of one season, or one season less than Sally Field lasted as "The Flying Nun". So it wasn't as if audiences in 1965 found the show a laugh riot while looking at it again reveals the truth; they didn't think much of it during its first run, during a season when just about every comedy on ABC that didn't star Liz Montgomery got wiped out (OK, Liz and Larry Storch...)

Mister Charlie said...

I have been enjoying a Rockford glut, polishing off 6 seasons this past year, and though I did not ever live in LA so much of the background area and house shots looks so generic California 1970's that it is nostalgic. And I find myself wondering where they shot something, I have recognized Olive Ave. in Burbank, and I too thought they may have used Burbank Airport for somethings over the seasons. If I knew more about LA I would be able to pick more out.

Cap'n Bob said...

Doug: Those same stairs were used in a Three Stooges short. They were icemen trying to get a block of ice to a house at the top.

A_Homer said...

I agree with the general observations of your post Ken, backlots and backgrounds, but not those early Route 66 episodes. They were actually something different when it comes to locations as another commenter pointed out, they had Stirling Silliphant involved, who was thinking how to use the location units to get a lot of different themes going while on the road themselves. It really was location, location, location.
It was a smart set-up to let American landscapes play a role, and find a story to wedge in and connect car driving through and location incident. If I had to show just one example, watch the one with a real actor, Walter Matthau, as a gambler in a coal mining town losing its mine. The opening context scenes of the town and mine are practically documentary footage quality. They set the harsher tone of a town going to die. The (irony) solution is they need to raise money for a freeway connection so people will pass through. That's quite a storyline and then on top of that, decide to work with a supposed town gambler (Matthau) to raise the funding, etc… I prefer that story and the acting-style of the time you mention (with limitations) to the 70s acting style and headline-plots of most Norman Lear productions, which have aged far worse because the characters were close to stereotypes and catchphrases. But yes, you're right about the dialog, that was the era. The drivers Milner and Maharis hardly had to do much except keep the different situations connected.

Maharis ( the supposed model for GI Joe )… sure… but I think his limits were written for. He was emotional and open to Milner's closed underplaying, slow boil. Neither had time for much reflection. They were reduced, but the opposite of the Jack Webb Robot- Brechtian way that became parody. These guys existed in a simpler world outside the big city, of highways and small towns. Both were driving away from something, Maharis character was understood to be sort of earthy, dumb but kind and honest guy, an orphan who ran away to make his way in the world. Milner's character we learn at points dealing with the death of his father (basically) in fact. Their relationship seemed cobbled from between the recent "On the Road" and "Of Mice and Men". Unfortunately with the better rough edges removed for tv. Today the psychopathic qualities of both sets of pairs would be kept and the rest dumped to the wayside. (Hmm….)

What is beautifully shot but never overdone is the center of it all, this car, a beautiful corvette. It doesn't speak, it isn't super-charged, it's not overtly symbolic, it's just their ship that draws in music as it comes to join the storyline. The two guys have no real place to be, some backstory you really don't ever get, and for some reasons unknown, get involved in the plot by making decisions to take an odd-job here or there just to raise enough cash to keep going. The dialog's not the thing because for sure, it's got your "Paddy C." side, but no one cared, because it's the way the locations bring these people together through the new kind of journey. When I think of hammy tv as theater-scripts, I think bad Twilight Zone and Serling, which when lazy, had some universal cosmos/society moral to imply in the form of an O'Henry influenced tale. The Route 66 psychology introduced something new to come, in the car, down-to-earth, different, stranger, more modern, it's just the way things come together in shots, car, location, attitudes and some event that brings them into contact.

Webb returned Milner as a policeman in Adam-12, which just dumps everything of Route 66 but two guys in a car with back projections, looking to the society to - what else - police it.

txutxi said...

Growing up in Venice in the 70s, my way back machine TV show is Starsky and Hutch. We actually watched it being filmed at the time and now it is a way to see Venice before MDR took it over!

VP81955 said...

You'd think with "The Patty Duke Show" if the opening song makes a big deal about her never getting out of Brooklyn Heights, they would have done some exterior shooting in Brooklyn Heights. But apparently that wasn't in ABC or United Artists' budget)

I once interviewed William Schallert, who told me they had planned to do some exteriors for an episode...but alas, it rained all day.

And like "The Twilight Zone," "Route 66" is a perfect example of early '60s sensibilities captured via CBS. And that Nelson Riddle theme!

Ron Rettig said...

Ken, Re-view "Kiss Me Deadly" movie for a lot of great shots of West LA and even downtown and Bunker Hill before it was demolished, oops I mean "redeveloped" in the mid 1950s.

D. McEwan said...

@Cap'n Bob, I was well aware that the Three Stooges totally ripped off The Music Box on the very same steps, but had chosen not to sully my comment with any mention of The Three Plagiarists. The steps remain Holy depsite their having been soiled by The Stooges.

Jay S. said...

Just a friendly tip: the next time you have the urge to call a classic like "Route 66" terrible, please think about what you're saying for a moment. Because such seemingly tossed-off comments reflect poorly on you as a TV historian.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Actually, THE FLYING NUN lasted three seasons and launched a mini-bonanza of tie-in merchandise, including a record album with the same Columbia talent behind it as The Monkees.

Not only does GIDGET hold up, but so does THE FLYING NUN, Despite its much-maligned, outlandish premise, it's the only fantasy comedy of the '60s that in which, surprisingly, the premise becomes less outlandish when you actually watch it.

Unlike the other fantasy shows, rarely does anyone on the show try frantically to hide Sr. Bertrille's flying -- with the few exceptions of characters whose knowledge of it night threaten the future of the convent. Besides, she's up in the sky, for gosh sakes.

There was also the involvement of Bernard Slade in the writing and a cast whose skill transcended the premise.

As for locations, I grew up in Miami, so watching the original FLIPPER brings back memories of Channel Four and Skipper Chuck -- and the musical HONEYMOONERS feature familiar local actors of the time.

Plus you can count on Vizcaya to be used as a location. Vizcaya is sort of Miami's Cinderella Castle, because it's a representation rather than a real castle built by a millionaire about 100 years ago.

I recognized this popular tourist attraction the moment I saw it recently in IRON MAN 3. It was like FLIPPER all over again!

mike said...

Little bit hard on Route 66, as other commenters have pointed out. Certainly the dialogue crosses the line into Pretentiousness sometimes, but at its best (which admittedly isn't every single episode) it's really interesting character studies in a much less standardized America.