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February 18, 2010


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You and the wife have The Complete Murder She Wrote on the shelf?

Glenn Kenny

I think we're missing Season 9. But the Grayson stuff—three episodes, it turns out!—is Season 4, so we're good to go. My Lovely Wife adores both Angela Lansbury and the silly series, and I have come to share that love. And when I ran Premiere's Home Guide, I was on EVERY Universal Home Vid division list, so I got a lot of the sets gratis, which helped make collecting rather effortless.

We make sure to attend all of the divine Miss Lansbury's recent Broadway engagements: "Deuce," "Blithe Spirit" (fabulous), and next month we're doing "A Little Night Music." We're mad about the gal!


I was planning on getting the DVD of the stage production of Sweeney Todd, and was looking forward to seeing Lansbury's take on Mrs. Lovett. I'm going to assume she's better than Helena Bonham Carter. Amazing that she's still performing on Broadway.

Ed Hulse

Another sad day. Katy was one of my boyhood crushes. And, when I met her years later, a most charming lady. With the exception of Alice Faye, was there a more wholesomely sexy songbird in movies?


Lansbury was indeed a splendid Ms. Lovett, but it was filmed at the end of a long tour, which itself didn't commence until after a two-year Broadway run; and by that time, her interpretation had become a bit broader that it is on the original cast album. But the film does have a better Sweeney (George Hearn, who took over from the uncharismatic and vocally underpowered Len Cariou), a good supporting cast (excepting the Johanna from hell), and the chance to see Prince's Brechtian conception of the thing (minus a few more extravagant touches that got cut for the tour -- if memory serves, a crane moved things around on stage).


Back in the 1980s when the 8th Street Playhouse did a 3-D retrospective, the highlight was "Kiss Me, Kate," with Grayson. When she swiveled from profile to frontal during her duet with Howard Keel on "Wunderbar," everyone in the theater pulled back his/her head to steer clear of the incoming cleavage. Keel said that she was the most beautiful actress in Hollywood. As for wholesomely sexy songbirds, yes, Ed, KG is up there with Alice Faye, Ginger Rogers and Deanna Durbin.


For whatever reason, Kathryn Grayson never steamed my specs the way Linda Darnell or Ava Gardner did, but I certainly appreciated her charms, vocal and otherwise, in KISS ME KATE, one of my favorite movies (even though I've never seen it in 3-D). RIP.

Now that I know Glenn is a MURDER, SHE WROTE fan I feel I can come forward and admit, nay, confess, that I never missed that show during most of its run. I've always loved Angela Lansbury, and I've got a great Oscar-bait part for her, if I can just get the script to Clint Eastwood to direct. Angie, baby, if you (or Clint) see this, give me a shout.

The Siren

Jbryant, Glenn and I came out as big MSW fans a while back. One of many reasons I love the series is the casting of old-time stars in guest parts, much like Columbo, a series I am quietly fanatical about too.

I haven't written about Grayson yet and don't know if I will be able to, but I was sad to note her passing. She was uncommonly beautiful, one of those bombshell bodies with a wholesome mien; in addition to Faye and Durbin I'd add Grable, and I also think of her in the same breath with Jane Russell. My favorite Grayson role is the little seen Frank Borzage outing Seven Sweethearts, in which she has a fairy-tale role as the youngest sister and handles it with great warmth. I also like her very much in Kiss Me Kate.


Siren: Yes, the guest star factor was a major part of MSW's appeal for this cinephile, ditto COLUMBO.

Mike D

Goodnight, Aunt Susie.

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