I was Musical Director of the NBC Show
Buddy Bregman | West Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was Musical Director, Conductor and Musical Arranger of the NBC Show. It was great fun working with Paul Lynde and also Sir Michael Redgrave and Jane Powell - it was very moving conducting Battle Hymn of The Republic whilst Sir Michael recited The Gettysburg Address as he was leaving the Wild West - screams every day with Paul Lynde - Janie and I shared a Limo to rehearsal and taping to NBC Brooklyb - I have never had more fun than that on any show - we laughed sooo much we could hardly speak. PAUL LYNDE still is the funniest person I have ever known much less worked with!!! BUDDY BREGMAN"
A GEM FROM TV'S "GOLDEN AGE" . . . . . .
J. T Waldmann | Carmel, IN, home to the fabulous new Regional Perf | 04/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"During its "Golden Age" - from roughly 1949 to 1961 - network television produced a number of dramatic anthologies such as The Philco Television Playhouse, Kraft Television Theatre and Playhouse 90. It was also the Golden Age for musicals on the small screen. TV versions of Broadway shows, often with members of their original casts, appeared quite regularly: "Anything Goes" & "Panama Hattie," both with Ethel Merman; "High Button Shoes" with Phil Silvers & Nanette Fabray; "Kiss Me, Kate" with Alfred Drake & Patricia Morrison; "Wonderful Town" with Rosalind Russell; "Peter Pan" with Mary Martin & Cyril Ritchard. Millions of Americans experience lesser-known works like Kurt Weill's "Knickerbocker Holiday," "One Touch of Venus" & "Lady in the Dark," as well Rodgers & Hart's "A Connecticut Yankee" & "Dearest Enemy."
Operettas abounded: "Naughty Marietta," "The Merry Widow," "The Red Mill," "Babes in Toyland," "The Chocolate Soldier" and even a handful of Gilbert & Sullivan shows. Gian Carlo Menotti wrote both "Amahl and the Night Visitors" and "Maria Golovin" for the medium. Composers like Alec Wilder, Richard Adler, Hugh Martin, Sammy Fain, Arthur Schwartz, Albert Hague, Victor Young, Jay Livingston, Moose Charlap, Harry Warren, Gordon Jenkins, & Mary Rodgers adapted children's classics ("Hans Brinker," "The Pied Piper of Hamlin," "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Pinocchio," "Hansel and Gretel" - with Barbara Cook & Red Buttons) as well as works by O. Henry, Mark Twain, James Thurber, & Louisa May Alcott. Even Bernard Herrmann joined the fray with "A Christmas Carol" in 1954.
There were musical adaptations of "A Bell for Adano," "High Tor" (Bing Crosby & Julie Andrews), and "Our Town" (Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint). After their triumphs in KISMET, Alfred Drake & Doretta Morrow starred in "The Adventures of Marco Polo" on NBC-TV. "The Importance of Being Earnest" first saw light on October 9, 1957 as "Who's Earnest?" before morphing into off-Broadway's "Earnest in Love" in 1960. On March 31, 1957 practically everyone in America was glued to the tube, mesmerized by Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella." And in 1958, Dupont Show of the Month aired Cole Porter's final non-film score, "Aladdin."
Which brings us to RUGGLES OF RED GAP, Harry Leon Wilson's "tongue-in-cheek treatise on turn-of-the century ideas about class distinctions and European brushes with Americana." (LP liner notes) The novel went through four film adaptations, and Sigmund Romberg composed the score for 1915's Broadway rendering (it lasted for 33 performances). The most famous film version earned Charles Laughton the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best actor and a 1936 Best Picture Academy Award nomination. Bob Hope and Lucille Ball starred in the very loose 1950 remake entitled "Fancy Pants."
With music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Leo Robin, RUGGLES starred Michael (father of Vanessa, Corin & Lynn) Redgrave in "a remarkable departure from his usual classical repertoire" (CD liner notes). MGM song thrush Jane Powell ("Royal Wedding," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers") is delighful as Ruggles' love interest and solos on "I Have You To Thank" and the lovely "A Ride on a Rainbow." The two leads team up on "It's Terribly, Horribly, Frightfully Nice" & "I'm in Pursuit of Happiness," which Styne recycled two years later in GYPSY ("You'll Never Get Away from Me"). Imogene Coca kicks up her heels on "When You Dance in Paris, France," David Wayne shines on "I Don't Want To Be a Gentleman," and Peter Lawford lends his own special singing style to "Oh, Those Americans." Joan Holloway does the show's final show-stopper, "Kickapoo Kick." Buddy Bregman (Styne's nephew) provided the orchestrations and also conducted the whole affair, one of the most "Broadway" sounding shows ever written for TV. It's curious that this RUGGLES never made it to Broadway.
Noise reduction appears to be Flare's only remastering, so your old Verve LP probably sounds pretty much like this CD. Rounding out the CD are five selections by Ms. Powell, including two each from the movies "Hit the Deck" & "Athena." Gordon MacRae joins her in a duet from "Three Sailors and a Girl," and the CD ends with a song from "Feathertop," a TV musical starring Ms. Powell with a score by Richard Rodgers & Moose Charlap. (Stage Door Records, another UK company, has also released RUGGLES, with different cover art, and 13 bonus tracks by Ms. Powell.)
Lots of fun. Recommended."
A Lost Television Musical Preserved on Record
Bruce K. Hanson | Petersburg, VA | 04/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I read that Ruggles of the Red Gap was finally on CD I rushed to the Amazon site buy it. Yes, I was hoping that Verve Records would dig into their vaults to remaster their own recordings of the musical but no such luck. However, Flare Records, who has released several other Jane Powell compilation CDs has done a nice job with this new one. The songs by Jule Styne and Leo Robins are delightful whether sung by Imogine Coca, Michael Redgrave, Davis Wayne, or even Peter Lawford. Yet the score really comes alive when the voice of Jane Powell treats us to "I Have You to Thank", "It's Terribly, Horribly, Frightfully Nice" (with Redgrave) and perhaps the best of the lot, "A Ride On A Rainbow". It's also fun to hear the tune,"I'm In the Pursuit of Happiness", before Styne recycled it more successfully with the lyrics of "You'll Never Get Away From Me" for Gypsy. There are also some great bonus tracks by Jane from her various films. Here's the problem: with the exception of the elimination of the surface noise, the tracks do not sound much better than my original LP records of the same material. It's a shame that recordings like these made by American record companies are not released in our own country using the original master tapes. I suppose then, we have to be grateful to those English record companies that are re-releasing public domain recordings at an alarming rate. And I am glad that Flare Records has released all of those Jane Powell CDs. It would just be nice if they would go the extra mile to make these old records sound the best they can. In most cases it leaves the buyer with little option but to snatch up whatever they are releasing, regardless of the sound quality. Well folks, not in this case. Ruggles of the Red Gap has also been released on another British label, Stage Door Records. And while the liner notes and photos are not much better than those of Flare, there is a big difference in sound quality. The Stage Door version is much clearer and brighter than the Flare version which sounds a bit foggy by comparison. Also, the bonus tracks, which are from Stage Door are from the Jane Powell album, "Can't We Be Friends", sound much better than the same tracks on Flare's True Love album which is basically the same album as above with more of Jane's Verve singles included. (And the cover of Flare's CD as depicted on this site, the original Verve album cover, is not the cover you receive when you order this product. Rather, it is a generic design of little appeal.) Set at about the same price, I suggest strongly buying the Stage Door version of Ruggles which includes two great albums beautifully re-mastered on one CD. Perhaps, in the near future, Flare Records will push a bit more to create the best sound possible. After all, Stage Doors seems to be doing it and they have not been around as long."