Around The Town

Broadway Babe

Nostalgic videos from Broadway Babe include Mel Brooks on Johnny Carson, a star- studded PBS Camelot concert, Merv Griffin, and Jack Cassidy.

July 22, 2023: Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has picked out 4 interesting videos that she’s posted for viewing. The New York Philharmonic concert version of “Camelot” with a star-studded cast; Mel Brooks hilariously guesting on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson; a documentary about the life of media mogul and talk show host, Merv Griffin; and a documentary about Tony Award winning actor Jack Cassidy, who was married to Shirley Jones, and how he sabotaged his career, dying at 49.

Mel Brooks and Johnny Carson.

Nostalgic videos from Broadway Babe include Mel Brooks on Johnny Carson, a star- studded PBS Camelot concert, Merv Griffin, and Jack Cassidy.

July 22, 2023: Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has picked out 4 interesting videos that she’s posted for viewing. The New York Philharmonic concert version of “Camelot” with a star-studded cast; Mel Brooks hilariously guesting on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson; a documentary about the life of media mogul and talk show host, Merv Griffin; and a documentary about Tony Award winning actor Jack Cassidy, who was married to Shirley Jones, and how he sabotaged his career, dying at 49. 

Camelot

In 2008, PBS-TV broadcast a wonderful concert version of Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot”, starring the late, great Marin Mazzie, Gabriel Byrne, Nathan Gunn, Stacy Keach, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Sieber, Marc Kudisch, Will Swenson and Fran Drescher.  This was a beautiful production, and since the latest revival of “Camelot” is closing this week, I thought I’d post this most delightful version featuring the New York Philharmonic with 70 orchestra members. And oh, what a rich sounding orchestra they are, especially under the baton of Broadway veteran musical director, Paul Gemignani. Elaborately staged by the incredible director and former Broadway actor Lonny Price, this semi-staged concert is a pure delight.  If you missed the most recent Aaron Sorkin revival version, I urge you to watch this.  And even if you saw the recent revival, I urge you to see this!

Mel Brooks with Johnny Carson

From 1983, “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” with guest star, Mel Brooks (now 97 years old). When I think of Mel Brooks, these words come to mind: outrageous, hilarious, witty, funny, ageless, legendary — a true original. He was on the “Carson Show”, plugging his movie “To Be Or Not To Be” co-starring his wife, Anne Bancroft. This is the movie where they sing and dance “Sweet Georgia Brown” in Polish, which has become a classic.  You can see how much Johnny Carson admires and respects Mel. They have an incredible on-air chemistry. Johnny is absolutely fascinated with Mel. This is 26 minutes of pure joy!

Jack Cassidy: Hollywood Mysteries and Scandals. 

From E Entertainment,1999, “Hollywood Mysteries and Scandals – She Loves Me” with reporter AJ Benza, unfolding the scandalous life and times and bizarre death of actor Jack Cassidy who was married to Shirley Jones and had 4 famous sons. He was mostly well known as a musical comedy star on Broadway, plus he worked on TV and in films.  He was insecure, an alcoholic and dwarfed by the the success of Shirley, who he met when co-starring with her in a road company of “Oklahoma”. She then starred in the movie versions of “Oklahoma” and “Carousel” in the 1950s, and, of course, she achieved even greater success starring on TV’s “The Partridge Family.” He became jealous of the popularity of his sons’ successes as well as Shirley’s.  This, in spite of being a Broadway star, winning the Tony Award for his performance in 1963’s “She Loves Me”. In this episode, there are interviews with his good friends, Kaye Ballard, Sheila MacRae, Jerry Vale and Nanette Fabray.  Sadly, Jack died a tragic death at age 49.  This is interesting, but sad viewing and quite riveting! 

Merv Griffin A&E “Biography”

This excellent documentary about Merv Griffin aired on A&E “Biography”.  Merv Griffin was one of the most loved men in show business, as well as one of richest. He was a TV talk show host, producer, singer and media mogul, (and later on, a hotel tycoon). A brilliant entrepreneur who created “Jeopardy”,and “Wheel of Fortune”, that are still on the air today. From 1965-1986, he hosted “The Merv Griffin Show”, the highly popular daily talk show, featuring lots of music, comedy and conversation with entertainers, authors, politicians and personalities.  He was never confrontational and only asked soft ball questions and most often, appeared to be a big fan of his guests. He was truly a nice guy and excellent talk show host. Baby boomers will remember Merv, and younger folks, I think, will truly enjoy this documentary.