1106 – Landsbury Con
This will be a lullaby of ol’ broadway in Cabot Cove.
Episode 1106 – Landsbury Con
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, trees and Multi-forms…you might be saying what in the name of the Face of…no, ‘cause it’s not the Face of Boe. Isn’t it? Or it’s the Face of Boe. What in the name of the Face of Boe…’cause I say well, wait a second, is the name the Face of Boe or is the name Boe and the face is of Boe? If you’re confused, you’re probably in the right place. Even though I already may know the answer or be able to speculate on the answer to whom is Boe, I couldn’t answer it on the essay…if this was…you say, is this…? I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m trying to explain, and that means you’re in the right place, ‘cause it’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. Thanks for making it possible, patrons, and thanks to these sponsors is how we’re able to be here for you for free twice a week.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press Play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake. It could be thoughts on your mind, things you’re thinking about, thoughts about the past, the present, the future. So thoughts, it could be feelings, anything coming up for you emotionally related to those thoughts. My thoughts give me feelings, my feelings give me thoughts. They don’t quite…they work…I would say they conspire together.
I don’t like to use that word, conspire together, but my thoughts and my feelings…I don’t know what…I do know what…so thoughts, feelings conspiring to keep me awake. They try to draw me into it, too. They say it’s not a conspiracy; we’re just working together. I say no, no, it seems like my thoughts and my feelings…but it could also be physical sensations, it could be changes in time, temperature, routine. You could be traveling, your schedule could have changed. You could have guests, you could be a guest, you could be putting the magic to the test. You could have had too much grey stuff. Even though if you tried it, it’s delicious. I don’t know why that…well, as soon as I thought of be my guest…you could have watched too much Angela Lansbury, whether it’s movies or her show…one of her many shows.
Here’s a question that’s never come up I don’t think on the podcast before…and please reach out to me. Do people…how many people have cosplayed as an…as a character Angela Lansbury has played? I would bet some people. I don’t know if the Venn diagram…I mean, it’s somewhat niche, and I’m not talking about Halloween, but you could do it as Halloween, is…well, here’s the other thing; is there an Angela Lansbury convention? I hope to goodness there is. If there’s not and you’re listening to this, please message me. After I start the RomCom Con convention…or restart it and get a booth, ‘cause I think that one already exists, I’m willing to do…I mean, I’m willing to do it in my imagination, so you’re welcome to come. Lansbury Con. I guess this could be an episode idea. That’s where the…yeah, we’ll do it.
That’s I guess what tonight’s episode will be about and what I’ll…yeah, we’ll figure it out. Why not lean in? Maybe…Sheryl Sandberg; have you ever cosplayed as…would you consider cosplaying…is Cabot Cove the place or is that a cheese or a wine? No answer. My brain doesn’t have an answer for that. We’ll have Cabot cheese at Cad…not…no, no, no; Lansbury Con, not Cadbury Con. That’s different. Lansbury Con, sponsored by Cadbury. Just because they sound similar, and…all in Scoots’ brain, so we didn’t have a problem. How’d you get all those corporate sponsors, Scoots? Oh, they’re imaginary sponsors of an imaginary event, so not a problem. Okay, so, where were we? If you’re new, you may be confused. Totally makes sense if you are. But so, if you’re confused and you’re new, I’m glad you’re here.
Oh, whatever’s keeping you awake, I’d like to take your mind off of that. The way I’m gonna do it is getting distracted, but I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents. I get to introduce…I don’t even…I’m not even…I’m not someone that would actually…I just wanted to point this out and level the playing field, even though I’m supposed to be introducing a sleep podcast, I’m not an…I’m not not a Angela Lansbury fan, but I’ve never seen her show, an episode of that show she’s really famous for. Don’t worry; if you’re young, I’ll explain who Angela Lansbury is, ‘cause I don’t really…I know she was in either Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Incredible Mr. Limpent, or maybe…I mean, she was Mrs. Potts in…is that what it’s…Mrs. Teapot or something in Beauty in the Beast, the animated one.
But she was…I don’t know, was she…she was in…she’s been in movies with Dick Van Dyke, she may have been in Mary Poppins. I’m not positive about any of this. But Angela Lansbury was a beloved actress and she succeeded in so many different words in performance. So, I think…I’m assuming there already is a conference, but if there isn’t, we’ll give it its due and I’ll…the good thing is, I’ll learn more about who Angela Lansbury is. I’m not promising to watch any of those shows because they don’t really go along with…she was on a famous procedural show called Writing Mysteries. Writing Mysteries, She Wrote. Mystery, She Wrote. So…okay, so…oh, so I’ll explain more, so if you say who’s Angela…it sounds nice, though, don’t you think?
That sounds like somebody you’d be nice…you’d be like oh, I…have you met my mother’s friend, Angela Lansbury? You say, do you introduce all your mother’s friends by their full names? I do when it sounds so lovely, when I can say Angela Lansbury. You say okay, this will be…I’m not trying to…I do have…’cause some of my brain said Scoots, who’s your favorite Angela? I would say probably Angela Bassett, ‘cause I just don’t know as much about Angela Lansbury, but I would cosplay as…I will do an episode about Angela Lansbury. Also, Angela was a twin of the sister who I gave a pencil sharpener to, who briefly I thought was my girlfriend in fourth or fifth grade but wasn’t or maybe was, because Angela was dating my best friend.
So, my best friend, who was my best friend at the time, said well, why doesn’t your sister go out with my friend Andy? It didn’t work out. I’ve talked about it on the show before. Beaver Lake Nature Center. Got a pencil sharpener for her. Oh, we also went and bought earrings at Kmart. I think I bought her telephone…earrings that looked like a telephone or something. Maybe that’s what Bo was buying. Yeah, I think I…I think I bought her…no, you’re right; my brain…I bought her some dangling earrings. Bo was buying Angela telephone earrings, and I said maybe I should buy her sister earrings, too. Didn’t work out, but I mean, that’s why you make a sleep podcast. Oh, but you should start your sleep podcast.
You’re right, so I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night, use lulling, soothing tones…lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, which just means my voice is not perfect. Pointless meanders and superfluous tangents; you’ve already heard a couple of those, which means I’m gonna go off-topic and get mixed up and just do my thing, but all to keep you company while you fall asleep. So if you’re new, a few things to know; the most important thing is you deserve a good night’s sleep. I’m glad you’re here, and I hope you…I can help you fall asleep, because one, I’ve been there…one, I’ve been there; tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. I got all of those, so I know how it feels. That’s why I call it the deep, dark night.
I know it can feel lonely, frustrating, it can be…make sleep something you’re not looking forward to that you’re dreading, so if I can help you, that would be my honor, but also I really believe you deserve a good night’s sleep. If you get the rest you need, your life’s gonna be more manageable and your world and our world will be a better place. That’s important to me because it’s true. You do deserve a place you can get some rest. There are a couple things with the show; one, the first thing is it’s very different. Sounds different, doesn’t have a…it never gets started, it’s always going. I was supposed to introduce the podcast, then I invented a new…humble brag; I invented a new convention, maybe. First imaginary convention I’ve invented today, or came up with. I don’t know.
I thought I was gonna talk about my brain…my feelings and my thoughts conspiring against me, but clearly I got past that. I came up with a ridiculous meander. But so, this podcast does take some getting used to. Most listeners report…this is like…I’m not kidding, I think I’ve heard this a million times; took two or three tries for me to get used to the show. So give it a few tries. There’s really nothing to lose, and I only gain if you become a regular listener. If the podcast works for you, then it works for both of us. If it doesn’t work for you, you could check out sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou. That has other sleep podcasts and stuff on there, and sleep audio.
But give it a few tries just because it’s so different, and what’s different about it…one, it’s a podcast you don’t really listen to, just like something that’s a little bit out of focus. You say okay, I kinda barely understand what he’s talking about. Also you just kinda barely listen, and what was the other thing? I don’t even remember anymore. Oh, this is a podcast…oh, I don’t put you to sleep; I’m here to keep you company while you fall asleep. I’m here to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-sib, your bore-cuz, your bore-bestie, your bore-bor, your neigh-bore, and so, I’m here to help you fall asleep. That’s really what I’m here to do, is keep you company, take your mind off of stuff, and then you fall asleep. So, I guess I’m not here to help you fall asleep; I’m here to keep you company.
The other things that throw people off is the structure of the show, which is very specific, but it is adjustable as you become a regular listener, though I found more and more people coming back to the traditional structure of the show or using Patreon to use the show differently, but here’s the structure of the show. Starts off with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, so you feel seen, you feel welcome, then I say something silly so you say okay, the tone of the show about something serious is a little bit silly. Then there’s the intro. Oh no, then there’s support for the show so the show can come out for free twice a week on every podcast app.
That’s important to me, and the only thing that makes it possible is the sponsors and the people that support the show and support all the work that we all put into this show, which I appreciate. Then there’s support for the community around the show for listeners, and then there’s an intro, which we’re like ten or twelve minutes into. Fourteen, according to the clock, but some of this will be edited out, believe it or not. The intro is really a show within a show. Some people, especially when they first listen or they just don’t like me and the show, which is understandable, they clump the support for the show and the intro together.
But the intro is really where I’m trying to explain what the podcast is, I’m not succeeding, but it’s also supposed to serve as a wind-down, as part of…listeners are getting ready for bed, they may be doing something else relaxing, they’re getting comfortable, and so, that’s part of the wind-down, is to ease you into bedtime, to give you a landing strip, ‘cause it just doesn’t work for me to just get in bed and fall asleep. I have a wind-down routine I take. So, some listeners are getting ready for bed, some people are doing a chill activity, some people are in bed getting comfortable. There are people that are already asleep. We’re happy for all of you, though a little…we do have a little bit of whatever sleepy FOMO is.
There’s 2% of people that skip ahead to twenty or thirty minutes and start the show there, and then there’s a equal amount of patrons, people that support the show online, that either just listen to the intros or just listen to the story portion. So, that’s kinda interesting that for the people that are the most engaged with the podcast, half of them listen to intros and half of them listen to story-only…that’s not of all the supporters; there’s…most people listen to the episode straight through. I mean, not in one sitting. There’s no wrong way to use the show, even though now I’m explaining different use cases. But so, you could kinda see as you become a regular listener what’s gonna work, but the intro is a part of it ‘cause it eases you into bedtime. That’s what I was trying to say.
Then there’s support for the show again between the intro and the story, again so the show can come out free twice a week. Even though this show sounds free and easy, there’s a lot of work that goes into it. Then there will be our bedtime story, which apparently will be something about Angela Lansbury. I’m excited to find out more. Maybe I’ll even…I’ll just do a quick Angela Lansbury search and watch something later. Then there’s thank-yous at the end. So, that’s the structure of the show, that’s why I make the show. I’m really glad you’re here, or I’m really appreciative that you’re back if you’re a regular listener or that you check the show out on someone’s recommendation or you were searching for something to help. Please give it a few tries. I really hope it can help you. I work really hard, I yearn and I strive. I really hope I can help you fall asleep, and here’s a couple of ways I’m able to do it for you for free twice a week.
Hey everybody, this is Scoots here, and I don’t know what past Scoots…like, I know past Scoots was talking about Angela Lansbury, but sometimes he doesn’t write everything down, and I know he was talking Angela Lansbury’s famous roles. I was like okay, well, my knowledge of Angela Lansbury is pretty limited, Scooter. I don’t know if you know that when you decided to make an entire…but here’s the thing I know; Angela Lansbury’s pretty wonderful. So I said let’s learn more and let’s just be open-minded and see where it goes from there. So, I looked up on Wikipedia, of…you say Scoots, where do you learn more? What’s the definitive reference on Angela Lansbury? I say, the definitive one? I don’t know. I’ll probably hear about it when this episode comes out.
But the reference I have easy access to to get a basic overview, thank you, is Angela…is Wikipedia. Here’s the first thing; this is how not clear I was. Angela Lansbury is an Irish-British actress who’s played…she’s been…I knew she was in film, theatre, music…musicals, too, television roles. She is a DBE, so she’s royal…royalty, at this point. That made me think of the Marple character, Miss Marple or whatever. But then I said, I can’t really…I think we’re already pushing our luck with that one, ‘cause I don’t even remember how I was trying to skirt around it. Oh, Miss…was it Miss Marble? I don’t know. But so, eighty years of career at this point. She’s an Academy Award nominee. She was a star in the golden age of Hollywood, according to Wikipedia.
Grew up in London, moved to the United States in 1940, started studying acting, then moved to Hollywood in ‘42. She signed MGM and…oh, she was in The Picture of Dorian Gray in a movie called Gaslight. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, she got two Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe. She was in eleven more MGM films, and then her contract ended in 1952. She did supplemental work with theatrical appearances. I don’t know what that means. But she then appeared in 1962 in the Manchurian Candidate, which was met with widespread acclaim and is considered one of her finer performances. That doesn’t have a citation though, but so…if I saw…I’m assuming it is, though. Then moved into musical theatre on Broadway. She was in Mame. Holy cow. Okay, so that’s where we can go next.
This could be a all-facts about Angela Lansbury and where it leads. She got a Tony Award, then she moved from California to County Cork in Ireland in 1970, but consider…can…still continued with theatrical and cinematic performances. She was in leading roles in the musicals Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, The King and I, then Bedknobs and Broomsticks. We’ll cover that one. I thought I was gonna rewatch that, but I don’t remember…I think we started it, or maybe it was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I don’t know if she…that’s a good question; I don’t know if she was in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I don’t see it listed here yet. Moving into television in 1984. This was 1984 when she was on the show Mystery Writer, writer of mysteries. That ran for twelve seasons in one of the longest-running and most popular detective drama series in TV history.
Lansbury actually assumed ownership of the series and was its executive producer for the final four seasons. Then she moved into voice work; that probably came up…that’s maybe where it came from, is Beauty and the Beast and also in Don Bluth’s Anastasia. She toured in a variety of international productions and continued to make film appearances; Nancy McPhee, Mary Poppins Returns…has received a Academy Award, BAFTA, Tony Awards, Golden Globes, Olivier Award, and then nominated for other things; Best Supporting Actress on three occasions, Prime Time Emmy Awards on eighteen occasions, and a Grammy Award. Yeah, in 2014, she was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. She’s also had three biographies written about her.
So, let’s go to…a little bit deeper into her career. Tonight at 8:30…and then was joined…let’s see. Let’s see, I don’t know…I don’t understand this ‘cause I don’t have the context, so I’m trying to think. Having gained the job by claiming to be nineteen when she was sixteen…oh, she was working at a nightclub in Montreal earning $60 a week, then returned to New York City in 1942, then Hollywood. She was following her mother who was trying to resurrect her cinematic career. Lived in a bungalow in Laurel Canyon. That sounds nice. Lansbury and her mother obtained jobs; they worked at Bullocks Wilshire Department Store, and she was actually…Lansbury maintained her job; $28 a week, supported the rest of her family, then was in Gaslight which was a mystery thriller set in London.
Starred Ingrid Bergman as the star, lead role of Paula Alquist. Angela Lansbury played the role of Nancy Oliver, or Olivier, and then got an agent, then signed a seven-year contract with Metro Goldwyn Meyer…Meyer. That’s $500 a week using her real name as her professional name. Got casting attention in Variety Magazine, and then Gaslight…although Lansbury role was widely praised…that was one she got Best Supporting Actress for, then National Velvet as the older sister of Velvet Brown, and maintained a lifelong friendship with Elizabeth Taylor. No, let’s open that one just in case…then was in picture…a picture…The Picture of Dorian Gray, a cinematic adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel set again in Victorian London. She played Sibyl Vane, a working-class music hall singer who falls in love with Dorian Grey.
I have not read that novel. I’m reading something now, but that might go on my list. The film was not a financial success, but Lansbury’s performance once more drew praise. Got a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture. That was a nomination but lost to Anne Revere, her co-star in National Velvet. Let’s see, then…let’s see what else we got here. Established career; 1950 to 1960…eleven further films ‘til her contract ended, as we talked about. Keeping up with B-list stars…MGM used her less than the small…similar-aged actresses, biographers…these were mediocre films anyway. Some people claim she was miscast repeatedly by MGM, playing different roles, and the company then had a slump. In 1948, started cutting their budgets.
Lansbury played her first American character as Em, E-M, a honky-tonk saloon singer with Judy Garland in the Wild West musical, The Harvey Girls. Then she was in The Hoodlum Saint, ‘Til the Clouds Roll By, If Winter Comes, Tenth Avenue Angel, The Three Musketeers, State of the Union, Red Danube, then was in a UA film The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, Paramount on Samson and Delilah, then in Kind Lady in 1951 and Mutiny in 1952. Huh, then was in a few different radio plays including Pride and Prejudice and then started on television; Robert Montgomery Presents The Citadel. That was a episode of that. But not happy with those roles, did not…instructed her manager not…to terminate her contract, and then joined East Coast Touring Productions.
This is so cool because this is someone taking charge of…instead of just…I don’t know, this is changing it up and staying a professional performer. But yeah, was in Affair…Remains to Be Seen and Affairs of the State, two…those are former…oh, Broadway plays. But not happy at this time either, so again I’m projecting. Of course my…then let’s see…they mix a lot of personal stuff in here even though its supposed to be about career. Returned to cinema as a freelance actress and still did not enjoy…was being miscast. She had some roles on different films. Are these films or…? I mean, it says Hollywood. She played Princess Gwendolyn in the comedy film The Court Jester, Stake, Street, Purple were three other movies, then another movie, then Long Summer, Reluctant Debutante. Those were the last few movies.
The summer movie and the debutante movie really boosted her career again. Throughout this period, she kept going on television in recurring roles…or recurring appearances on Revlon Mirror Theatre, Ford Theatre, the George Gobel Show, and a regular on the game show Pantomine…Pantomime Quiz. Then finally got a sympathetic role in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, which was critically acclaimed. But then of course it had the Other Side and All Fall Down, and then the Manchurian Candidate, which she was cast in after Frankenheimer saw her performance in All Fall Down. Let’s see what else. She had agreed to appear in the film after reading the novel. One of the most exciting books I ever read.
She got her third Best Act…Supporting Actress Academy Award Nomination for the film, and…but she lost to Patty Duke for The Miracle Worker in 1962, then was in In The Cool of the Day, World of Henry, Dear Heart…a lot of her titles are not…she turned down some roles including Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She did…was in Something For Everyone in 1970. In that same year, she was in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. In 1971…that was her first lead in a screen musical and she did a lot of publicizing of it, including on the David Frost Show, and that secured an enormous audience for me, so then she spent most of the 1970s on stage rather than screen. Big Farm on the Nile, who the…Vanishing Something based on…that was a remake.
I don’t know if this is a film…a mirror one based on a Agatha Christie novel, this time as Miss…holy small world; as Miss Marple. So, we can’t say Miss Marple’s a Agatha Christie thing. Lady Marple; that’s who I was thinking of, not Miss Marple. That was the character I was wondering about. So, then…a sleuth in 1950’s Kent. She hoped to get away from the depiction of the role, instead returning to…oh, that someone else had played…she kinda based it on Agatha Christie’s description of the character, which kinda did…was a precursor to Jessica Fletcher on Mystery, I Wrote. She was signed on…appeared in two sequels as Miss Marple that were never made, and then was in the animated film The Last Unicorn. Let’s see…okay, so then in 1990 to 2000, it doesn’t say any…but this is when Mystery, She Wrote is running.
I think this…did this come up because of the…if you live in LA or you visit LA and you go on the Universal tour, you get to see Cabot…part of Cabot Cove, or once what was…it’s considered Amity and Cabot Cove, I think, or is my memory serving me? But Lansbury continued on television, many series and cinema…did the New York Philharmonics tribute to the centenary of the Statue of Liberty with Kirk Douglas, was in something called Angels with a Frowny Face, was in a couple other TV movies, I think. Shell Seekers, The Love She Sought, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris; there’s a rhyme. That was an adaptation of a novel. That was her highest pro…oh no, her highest profile cinematic role was as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, which she considered a gift to her three grandchildren.
The title song of the film won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, Golden Globe for Best Original Song, Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media. Also made a surprise appearance on…in 2021, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museums…of Arts’ first-ever exposition about…exhibition about Walt Disney and studios. Was also in films…in Nancy McPhee in 2005, and that really was a positive experience for her, then in Mr. Popper’s Penguins with Jim Carrey, was set to be in Grand Budapest Hotel; holy mackerel, but had scheduling conflicts with the Australian production of Driving Miss Daisy, which she co-starred in with James Earl Jones, then got an Honorary Academy Award prevented…presented to her by Robert Osborne.
Emma Thompson and Geoffrey Rush also were offered tributes…then was in Miss Poppins Returns, the sequel. Then what else we got? Was invited to the AFI…oh, spoke about some of her other experiences. Okay, now we get into theatre, which is…so, it’s kept separate, so I guess we’ll go theatre, Broadway. But yeah, so theatre, from breakthrough, was in Hotel Paradisio in 1957 on Broadway at the Henry Miller Theatre. It only ran for fifteen weeks, but she got good reviews. Then was in A Taste of Honey at the Lyceum Theatre, and let’s see what else we got. Got a great deal of satisfaction from that role and developed a friendship with Lawrence Olivier and Joan Plowright. Lived on East 7…97th Street.
Was in The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Breath of a Scandal, Blue Hawaii with Elvis Presley playing…that’s a play? I don’t know. Then was in Anyone Can Whistle, which was short-lived, but it was written by…Stephen Sondheim was involved. She appeared in the second season episode of The Man From Uncle, the Greatest Story Ever Told, which is a biop. Moll Flanders, Harlow, Mister Buddwig…these are films though, so this is jumping around. This is all…this is like Wikipedia made for Sleep With Me. She was in musical cinema including The Pirates of Penzance. I saw that movie a few times. I didn’t get it, but…like on repeat or something as a kid.
She was in a Gothic fantasy film The Company of Wolves in ‘84, Little Gloria, Happy At Last, The Gift of Love, A Christmas Story, A Talent for Mystery, 1984 as a mystery writer, which she considered a rushed job, but Lawrence Olivier was in it. She was in Lace in the first Olympics in 1984. Then she played Mame Dennis in Mame, which my…is Jerry Herman’s musical adaptation of Auntie Mame, which my dad was in in a community theater, which I think has come up in a couple episodes, including a repeat not that long ago. She actively sought the role in hopes that it would mark a change in her career. Theatre critics were surprised. They thought it would go to a better-known actress and it was her first starring role. I was trying to explain my…to my daughter, actually, the character of Mame.
She’s a glamorous character, twenty costume changes in the Broadway play, ten songs, dance routines. First appeared in Philadelphia, then Boston, and then at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1966 in Broadway and really gained…Angela Lansbury, her big following…overwhelmingly positive, and made her a superstar, according to some of her biographers. Everyone loves you; everyone loves the success, enjoys it as much as you do. That letter to be on Perry Como’s Thanksgiving Special in 1966. She used to also use it as a jumping-off point to raise money for organizations. She was invited to star in the 1968 Academy Awards in a musical performance and host…co-host that year’s Tony Awards. Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Club elected her Woman of the Year.
When the film adaptation of Mame was put into production, she was offered the part, but it went to Lucille Ball. Oh, she hoped to be offered the part, but Lucille Ball was more established…box office…Lansbury considers this a big disappointment. She followed her success of Mame as in Dear World, a musical adaptation of something else, but did not enjoy the experience. The reviews were positive and she secured her second Tony Award…of her performances, but the reviews of the show were not great. Then she was in Prettybelle, then…oh, then 1970, a lot of stuff going on. 1972; returned to London’s West End performing…the Royal Shakespeare Company’s performance of Albee’s all over.
Then she had a reluctant involve…that…this was following her reluctant involvement, a revival of main tour in the United States, then played Rose in Gypsy on The West End. She initially turned down the role. Didn’t want to be in the shadow of Ethel Merman, who played the Broadway version. You got rave reviews, standing ovation in May, 1973. She was soon in demand among London society, having dinners held in her honor. Then Gypsy went in tour in the US in Chicago. Oh, and in Chicago was rewarded the Sarah Siddons Award for her performance, eventually got back to Broadway where I was a critical success…third Tony Award, and then tour of the country again in 1975. Then she needed a break from the musicals, and she was Gertrude in Hamlet.
Let’s see what else…was in a few…another one…two one-act plays by Al…Edward Albee. Counting the Ways In Listening, then another revival tour of Gypsy, then twenty-four performances of The King and I…taking over somebody who was on break, then on…Sleeping on the Nile, which is a Agatha Christie adaptation, and Betty Davis in…I think Betty Davis was in that too? Then was in Sweeney Todd in 1979, which…let’s see. She jumped on the role, being in the Sondheim project, and loved the wit, intelligence of the lyrics. Remained in that role for fourteen months and got fourth Tony, then kinda went on some…a little family business. What else here? Then she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, then appeared in another Mame revival at the Gershwin, but the show did not…wasn’t commercially successful.
It’s more of a period piece, not a show of today, Lansbury noted. 2001, returned…after Mystery, She Wrote, she returned to Broadway in the musical The Visit. She thought she was gonna take a break from rolling…had a bunch of family things going on, but returned to…in a play by Terrence McNally, the Deuce. Not The Deuce; just Deuce, and received a Tony nomination for that one. She was in Blithe Spirit in 2009, got a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play, her fifth Tony, then was in something…let’s see. All of…let’s see, twenty…2009, she was in something with Catherine Zeta Jones, a revival of A Little Night Music. Seventh Tony nomination, then she got a doctoral degree from the Manhattan School of Music, then returned to the West End, in Gore Vidal is the Best Man.
Then that’s when she did the Australian tour of Driving Miss Daisy in 2013 with James Earl Jones. Then she returned…2014 to Blithe Spirit, if I’m pronouncing that correctly. It was even in the tour across North America. Got the Olivier Award in 2015 at eighty-nine. In 2016 was announced would return to Broadway in The Chalk Garden, but then Lansbury decided I don’t know, I’m gonna…think I’m gonna…nah, I’m gonna keep taking a break, hang with my family. In 2019, Lansbury returned to Broadway portraying Lady Bracknell in…from The Importance of Being Earnest for Roundabout Theatre. Yeah, then television…so these…totally so Sleep With Me. So in television, let’s see. Lansbury was offered…in 1983 a Norman Lear sitcom with Charles Durning, and then a detective series.
Unable to do both, she decided to do the detective series despite the fact her agents told her to do the sitcom. The series Mystery, She Wrote, she played Jessica Fletcher. We’ll look that up, learn more about that…who was a mystery novelist solving mysteries, encountered…so, she was writing mysteries and solving mysteries, an American Miss Marple. The team that made it had made Columbo. First the role was offered to Jean Stapleton who declined the role, as did Doris Day. Its premiere, which had to do with Sherlock Holmes, came out in 1984. It was on Sundays from 8:00 to 9:00 PM, and it was highly popular. Critical reviews were mixed. It got a Nielsen rating of 18.9, top-rated in its time slot.
Inoffensive family viewing despite it…despite the topic, the show was very mild and followed a whodunnit format and nothing to keep you up at night, so kinda Sleep With Me. Lansbury was protective of Jessica Fletcher and had creative input over her costumes, makeup, hair, and would not submit to pressure from network executives that wanted her to be in a relationship. She wanted to be a strong, single female, and she believed that a script-writer had made things…she would disagree with the script and ask for it to be changed if it was not within the character. She said it was a role model for older female viewers. It was even called a television landmark, maybe even paved the way for the Golden Girls. It gradually gained a younger audience, it says.
By 1991, one-third of the audience was under fifty years old. It outdid many things in the same time slot, even Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. There was even a spin-off in 1987. It looks like she was in Mame with Bea Arthur. We’ll find out. Then as it continued, she took over in 1989, co-producing the show. But she did kinda…it was long hours and thought by ninety, ninety-one, it would be…the show would be ending. But then she became an executive producer in ‘92, ‘93, and the show’s setting moved to New York City in the eighth season where Jessica had taken a job at Manhattan University, teaching. That was an attempt to get more younger viewers. It was a Sunday night institution, and the show’s ratings improved during the early nineties, but CBS executives moved it to Thursdays at 8:00 PM.
There’s not a good move; obviously Friends…Lansbury was not happy. The show finally ended in 1996, Angela Lansbury voicing a goodbye from Jessica…message at the end. It was kinda like…everybody was focused on youth and the youth demographic at the time. But the role was very prominent. Let’s see, what else? There was Mrs. Santa Claus, in which Lansbury played Santa Claus’ wife, which was a hit. Lansbury was in different TV commercials and even spin-offs of things related to her success, was a guest on other TV shows that…where order…legal order, those shows. BBC mini-series she pro…she played Aunt March on Little Women, and I think that’s everything of her thing, so let’s go to Mame next, because this is a musical that I saw three or four times when my dad was in it, and I had no reference.
But I was telling my daughter it was kind of a plot device back then. So, it was originally titled My Best Girl. It was based on a 1955 novel. Oh, written by Patrick Dennis in a 1956 play. It’s set in New York City, spans the Great Depression, WWII…eccentric bohemian Mame Dennis whose motto is life is a banquet and most people don’t eat their fill, she lives a fabulous life with wealthy friends which is interrupted when the son of her…young son of her brother comes to live with her, Patrick. They cope with the depression in a series of adventures. It was also a film, but it opened at Broadway in 1966 with Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur. Oh yeah, ‘cause she has a best friend, I think, that she plays off of. Oh, ‘58 it was a film, and ‘74. The Lucille Ball role was in 1974.
Okay, the musical was inspired by the success of the play, and the Broadway was at the Winter Garden Theatre. There was national tours. I don’t think the…I don’t know if this covers the plot. Adaptation…oh, here’s the synopsis; so, Dane…Madam…Mame Dennis…I don’t know where my brain is. She’s in a clique. Ten-year-old Patrick is entrusted to her care, and she…now, so when I saw it, it was a theatre…community theatre at a retirement community where my dad lives, so everyone…my dad was playing a boy. He was playing the teen…so, there was a little kid who played the little Patrick, like a actual ten-year-old. But for the rest of the play, it was played by my dad who played the high school college and adult Patrick. Yeah, she introduces the boy to her freewheeling lifestyle.
Agnes Gooch is…I don’t know if that’s her best friend? That says Mame’s personal secretary and nanny-in-law. Vera Charles…oh, that’s her bosom buddy and a partier, and Dwight Babcock, who’s the one who has control of her brother’s estate. So yeah, and it’s like a kind of…pretty basic advice; like a fish…you know, like a fish out of water for both of them. Patrick’s just a kid, goes to live with Mame. Mame’s living this single party life, kind of, with plenty of money. Then they lose everything in 1929 and Mame tries to get jobs, but she always has good humor and irrepressible sense of style, according to Wikipedia. Mame…oh, so Mame gets married to a southern aristocrat. For some reason I thought…Patrick gets married at some point though too, I think.
Oh, Patrick goes to boarding school; St. Boniface in Match…Massachusetts, an imaginary school. Mame and Beau travel the world on a endless honeymoon, then Beau visits the big farm during the honeymoon, but Mame’s a wealthy widow. But Patrick is engaged. He’s become a snob, I guess. He’s engaged to a debutante, Gloria Upson. Her family’s not open-minded at all, pretty close-minded, and Mame kinda gets Patrick’s mind open. Then he meets another woman who becomes his wife, and in the end, Mame is hanging out with Patrick’s son, Peter, with her usual flair. Let’s kinda go through the songs. Overture, then Saint Bridget with Patrick and Agnes, then It’s Today, which is Mame, Vera, and company. Then Open a New Window; this must be when Patrick comes. Mame, young Patrick, and company.
Then The Moon Song, the Man in the Moon; Vera, Main…Mame and company, then My Best Girl; young Patrick and Mame. Then We Need a Little Christmas; I don’t know if that’s that song, We Need A Little Christmas Right This Very Moment. Let’s look that up next. That’s young Patrick, Agnes, Ito, and Beauregard and Mame. Fox Hunt, Uncle Jeff, Uncle Patrick, Cousin Fam, Mother Berms…Burnside, then Mame Beauregard and company. That must be when he falls for Mame. Final Act I…My Best Girl and Mame and young Patrick and company. Intra Octa before Act II, then the opening of Act II, The Letter. Young Patrick and older Patrick, then a reprise of My Best Girl with older Patrick; would have been my dad. Bosom Buddies with Mame and Vera, Gooch’s Song with Agnes Gooch.
That’s How Young I Feel; Mame, Junior, and company. If You Walked Into My Life; Mame. It’s Today reprise; Mame and company. My Best Girl reprise with older Patrick. Final Act II, Open A New Window, All, then Curtain Calls, It’s Today, We Need a Little Christmas, and Mame. Yeah, that is…it’s from…that is, it’s a popular Christmas tune; We Need a Little Christmas, which makes sense ‘cause it was written during…yeah, 1929. Now, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I get this movie and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang mixed up, along with some…one of those Christmas movies; Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I guess I saw this on repeat or something? It was…came out before my time, but I definitely saw this when I was a kid. It’s a animation and…what do they call it? Well, they’ll tell us.
1971; Walt Disney…it was loosely based on books Magic Bedknob or How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons, and Bonfires and Broomsticks by Miriam Norton. During the inter-development during the negotiations for Mary Poppins…when those were placed on hold, and then it was shelved because it was too similar to Mary Poppins. It was originally 139 minutes long, then it was edited to under two hours before its premiere. The Sherman brothers composed the songs. It was released in 1971 to mixed reviews. They liked the live action animated sequence. Five Academy Awards, Best Visual…Special Visual Effects it won. It was the last film released before…prior to Roy O. Disney visiting his brother at the big farm. Let’s see, it was restore…oh, in 1996 it was restored with most of its deleted material put back in.
There was a stage adaptation. So, it takes place in 1940 with Charlie, Carrie, and Paul. They leave London…oh yeah, I remember starting this out, ‘cause I just read a book about London in 1940 and watched a documentary. So the children, they want to go back to London, but they’re supposed to be living out there. They see this lady flying on a broomstick; they change her mind. She reveals she’s going to a correspondence school. Yeah, so there’s a lot of funny stuff, and she wants to help the British defeat the people that are up to no good. She even has a transportation spell she’ll teach them to keep silence that she figures out on the bedknob. Only Paul can work this spell. Then their school’s closed. So, she can’t learn the final spell. She turns the bread…bed into something.
They go to London to find the professor, and…yeah. I guess…so, yeah. I remember meeting a professor. They go to a magical land, bed goes underwater, and so…I don’t know. Yeah, eventually they teach the kids a bunch of stuff. Let’s just close out with Mystery, She Wrote, a little bit about it. I wonder if it has…not the facts, though. Let’s see the premise we talked about, the ending, the cast, regular cast…I want to learn about Cabot Cove though, is what my thing is. Is that really where it was set? I’m almost positive. If there’s a Wikipedia article on Cabot Cove…I don’t know if there is, so I’m search…searching for Cabot Cove. Let’s see, it was mostly produced in Universal Studios, Universal City, California. Exterior shots, some of them in Mendocino…oh, which also stood in for the main town of Cabot Cove.
So, they did some exterior shots on-location. That’s all about Cabot Cove that’s there. That’s unfortunate. Tom Bosley was in it for the first four seasons. That’s interesting. Tom Bosley, from 1984 to 1988. Tom Bosley was in Happy Days, which we were…I was watching with my parents on…what is that thing called? It’s an app you can watch free TV from…it’s kinda like Nick at Nite in the app version. Plasma or something? Pluto TV. I said, I had to leave the room because it was bringing up too many…I couldn’t remember…whenever Happy Days was airing, I must have been a child, so…but Tom Bosley was on that show, I’m pretty sure. I don’t know…yeah, he was on Happy Days, the sitcom Happy Days, which was a 1950s sitcom that was out in the seventies, maybe? Let’s see.
Happy Days is…yeah, is a American sitcom, was on TV from ‘74 to ‘84. 255 half-hour episodes, eleven seasons…Garry Marshall…was the idealized vision of life in the fifties and sixties in Midwest US. Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Anson Williams. It was a unsold pilot originally. Howard Ross and Anson Williams…love in the television set, then love in the Happy Days, then George Lucas cast Howard in American Graffiti, which ABC took a second look at the pilot and then they focused it on the dilemmas of innocent teenager Richie Cunning…who would have thought we got from Angela Lansbury to Happy Days? Oh, and that leads to Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, which were spin-offs from that. Laverne & Shirley I highly recommend.
I wonder if there’s a Laverne & Shirley…that went from 1976 to 1983. You got so many great people in that; Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Michael McKean, David Lander, and a couple other people played other recurring roles. It was a physical comedy. In its third season, it was the most-watched American television program. Six Golden Globes, one Emmy. It was a spin-off of Happy Days. Its two lead characters were introduced as acquaintances of Fonzy, Henry Winkler. They…let’s see, set in roughly the same period, 1958 to 1967. Made for Paramount by Garry Marshall along with Lola Ganson, Mark Rothman, and Michael Eisner. According to Michael Eisner, Cindy Williams had refused to do Laverne & Shirley spin-off, but her role was cast with Liberty Williams; no relation.
They did a screen test, but they said no way. They eventually got her to co-star with Penny Marshall, co-star of the series. Schlemiel, schlimackel, hasenpfeffer incorporated, which is a Yiddish American hopscotch chant which leads the series theme song, Making Our Dreams Come True. Schlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated. Probably saying it wrong. The hobstock…hopscotch chant is from Penny Marshall’s childhood. It was set in Milwaukee for the first five seasons. They worked as bottle-cappers at the Shots Brewery. Yeah, I think that’s a nice place to close out. Angela Lansbury all the way to Penny Marshall. Those are two amazing, amazing…so, thanks, Angela Lansbury. We didn’t get any fanfiction of yours; we just got…I don’t know. This was interesting, take a little journey through Angela Lansbury’s career and led us to a couple other little meanders. Thanks and goodnight.
[END OF RECORDING]
(Transcribed by Leah Hervoly)
- Ms. Heiress Goes to Paris
- Inoffensive Family Viewing
- Angela Lansbury
- Beauty and the Beast
- Laverne & Shirley
Notable Talking Points:
- Wooing with a pencil sharpener and telephone earrings
- Man, this Wikipedia is disorganized
- Reviewing the songs of Mame