Thursday, November 13 (7:30 p.m.)
Here’s Edie: The Best of Edie Adams on Television (1962-1964)
Edie Adams (1927-2008) may be best known as the Muriel Cigar girl, for her movie roles in The Apartment and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, or for being the wife of actor and comedian Ernie Kovacs. Her work as creator/producer/star of her own variety series on ABC or as a pioneer television conservationist is often overlooked. Adams’ tireless efforts going back to the 1960s to locate, acquire and save the television programs of her late husband won Kovacs a new generation of fans in the 1970s, and two recent DVD box sets have done even more to boost his reputation as “television’s original genius.” This program of highlights from Adams’ successful and inventive variety series Here’s Edie (ABC, 1962-64) will be presented by Ben Model, archivist for the Kovacs/Adams collection. The 21 episodes of the show were released on a DVD box set last year, thanks to the work of Adams’ son Josh Mills, and had been unseen since they first aired. Look for guest stars Sammy Davis, Jr., Terry-Thomas, Rowan & Martin and Soupy Sales among others in the songs and sketches that will be presented.
Friday, November 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Marcel Perez: International Silent Comedian Rediscovered (1912-1925)
Probably the greatest silent film comedian you’ve never heard of is Spanish-born Marcel Perez. Part of the first generation of screen clowns, his career began in Paris in 1900 and flourished until 1928. During that time Perez helped create the ground rules for the genre in Europe and continued to refine the basics in the United States. An international favorite, Perez was, along with Max Linder, one of the few direct links between European and American silent comedy, and made more than 200 starring shorts. The obscurity that he’s fallen into today is due to the scarcity of his surviving work combined with the gypsy-like way he traveled through early screen comedy – constantly renaming himself and his screen character. Fortunately, several of his films survive and have been preserved by the Library of Congress. This evening of rare Marcel Perez comedies will introduced by film historian Steve Massa who is largely responsible for Perez’ recent discovery by classic film fans, and accompanied by Ben Model who, in cooperation with the Library of Congress, is producing a new DVD The Marcel Perez Collection due out by the end of this year.
Saturday, November 15 (7:30 p.m.) 1939 Double Feature
In Name Only (RKO, 1939)
In this romantic melodrama, Carole Lombard plays widow Julie Eden, who meets and falls in love with unhappily married Alec Walker (Cary Grant). Alec’s manipulative wife, Maida (Kay Francis), who married him only for his wealth and family prestige, refuses to give Alec a divorce. She convinces everyone — even Alec’s parents — that she is the victimized one and that Alec is an irresponsible philanderer. The usually dour New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote, “The story, while obvious, is thoroughly convincing, thanks to the ‘natural’ attack which director John Cromwell has taken upon it and to some delightfully pleasing dialogue…. And a generally excellent cast contribute in making this one of the most adult and enjoyable pictures of the season.”
Bachelor Mother (RKO, 1939)
Ginger Rogers shines in one of her best comic roles as Polly Parrish, a salesgirl at a large New York City department store. The unattached Polly leads a quiet life until she surprisingly finds herself the caretaker of an abandoned infant, while everyone believes that she is the actual mother. New York Times critic Frank Nugent wrote, “Although the theme of mistaken maternity is one of the venerables of farce, this treatment of it–written by Norman Krasna, directed by Garson Kanin and played by so many pleasant people–is too logical, too human, too humorous for outright farce. It is comedy, simple if not always pure, and we must call it one of the season’s gayest shows.” This sparkling farce which also stars David Niven and Charles Coburn became one of RKO’s biggest box-office champions, in that championship year of 1939.