Saturday, 31 August 2019

Crazy Presents: Rhodent & Mad Presents: Rhota



Yesterday we sadly lost the great Valerie Harper. When I was a kid in the '70's, I absolutely loved Valerie & Rhoda, and watched the show, you should pardon the phrase, religiously ( as Rhoda's mom Ida would say ).
There was something about that whole New Yawk Jewish vibe that translated perfectly to British / Irish working class Catholic, or whatever the hell my family is.
As an adult, you can see how zeitgeisty Rhoda was in it's depiction of a modern woman who openly talked about and enjoyed sex, just trying to make her way in the world. But as a kid, I just felt like Rhoda, her nutty family and:  'Uhh, Carlton... Your doorman..?' could've been my friends, an impression only the best sitcoms give you, and something they all aspire to. Plus, of course, Valerie was one attractive lady, and one of my major TV crushes, natch.
Once a week, I could visit the Manhattan I saw in the comics, and it was just like I imagined it. And it was a big show. How big? Well, both Crazy & Mad did their own versions. You don't get bigger than that.
New York, that was your last chance.











19 comments:

  1. My schoolboy crush was Lesley-Anne Down (Lady Georgina Worsley in "Upstairs, Downstairs," the Russian spy in "The Pink Panther Strikes Again," etc.). I think I first saw her in a strange pirate western filmed in Yugoslavia, starring & directed by Kirk Douglas (still with us at 102!).

    I own the Mad issue with "Rhota," but never saw the other one.

    Regards,
    Chris A.

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    1. The Douglas film was "Scalawag" from 1973.

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  2. I remember that one - Yeah, Lesley-Anne was on the crush list too, but she wasn't on every week like Rhoda!

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  3. I loved Rhoda too but haven't seen it since I was a kid. I'm now tempted to a rewatch. At around the same time my weekly crush was Pamela Sue Martin from The Nancy Drew Mysteries.

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  4. That's a real '70's crush, yeah.

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  5. Ah, that's a shame. I fancied her too. Strange to think that I haven't seen an episode since they were shown in the '70s. Where did the time go?

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  6. Watched the 1st episode on youtube today. It's a little slower paced than you remember for sure, but still pretty good.

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  7. I remember the show, but never really watched it. She had a protracted battle with cancer before the end, sad to say.

    Gene Poole

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  8. American prime-time TV in the 70's was pretty horrible & I didn't watch too much of it. You can always tell when a serious show or made-for-TV movie from the 70's pops up, due to that icky layer of plasticity that seems to cover everything from the fashion to the music to the stilted acting.

    But the one bright spot in all that was the MTM Productions - Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, Lou Grant - you could always tell an MTM Production by the fact that it employed actual writers - and that the actors seemed to appreciate that & had a good time with it.

    Pete's right - by today's standards, they're a little slow going. But they're still watchable & enjoyable - and there ain't much else about 70's TV that can claim the same.

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    1. I liked Kolchak the Night Stalker and the two TV movies that preceded the series.

      - Neil

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    2. Yeah, Kolchak still stands up, not so much the monsters, more the performances.

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    3. I liked banter between Kolchak and his editor. Really funny! Recently I watched some 1950s episodes of Mike Hammer starring Darren McGavin on YouTube. A lot like Kolchak minus the monsters, right down to his voice over narration.

      - Neil

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    4. Kolchak! I had completely forgotten about that!

      You know that the major reason it was better fare than most was because of Richard Matheson, yes? Matheson's short story collections & Twilight Zone episodes were nothing short of awesome.

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    5. Just rewatched the TV pilot film for the Six Million Dollar Man. More melancholy than the series, and some occasionally brilliant moments. Uncredited script doctor was Steve Bochco. GREAT acting by Darren McGavin as the unscrupulous federal agency director with solid support by Martin Balsam as Dr. Rudy Wells. Fine jazz/electronic music score by Gil Melle'. A winner from 1973.

      Gene Poole

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    6. I rewatched that a few years back, and it was very good and melancholy, as was The Hulk pilot.

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    7. A lot of the Hulk episodes were formulaic, even rehashes of old "The Fugitive" teleplays from the '60s, but I recall a few genuinely innovative episodes, even later in the run.

      Gene Poole

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  9. Yeah, I must watch some Lou Grant again - That was a great show.
    Actually, watched the first couple of episodes of Rhoda today, and what struck me most was the trio of women ( Valerie, Julie Kavner & Nancy Walker ) and what obviously skilled actors they all were, Walker especially. I'm assuming they'd all done stage work, 'cos it was all in front of an audience, and you could see them 'filling in the blanks' in the slow bits and keeping the show moving along. Nice to see actual, proper acting, especially in the second episode where there's a scene between Rhoda & her Mom that could've been sappy and cheesy in lesser hands, but they both act it like proper drama. Stands out compared to today, for sure.

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  10. Heh. That reminds me of the classic response to "What's worthwhile, comics & popular culture-wise" circa 1981. And the answer was ALWAYS the same: "Comics: Daredevil, X-Men, Cerebus, maybe Ka-Zar the Savage - TV shows: Lou Grant, Hill Street Blues, MASH, maybe WKRP."

    It was a different world then, that's for sure.

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  11. Nice homage Pete, to a classy lady. Like you , I was glued to "Rhoda" every week.

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