Thursday, January 21, 2010

Phoebe Figallily is a Silly Name ...

By Kelli

OK. I admit it. I still get a glazed look and a slightly dumb smile when I hear the Nanny and the Professor theme song.

I didn't watch much TV as a teenager, because we lived in a rural environment, and flipping on a show required a real commitment--we didn't have PG&E, just a gasoline generator, which meant going out into the cold and yanking the cord and making sure the damn thing had gas in it.

We still watched a fair amount of programming--Sixty Minutes, usually Love Boat and Fantasy Island, Wonder Woman (new and old adventures), Laverne and Shirley (though I gotta admit, it wasn't worth the generator pull after Shirley left and it was just Laverne and the crazy blonde. But I digress ...). A lot of movies of the week (anybody else remember Anthony Hopkins chewing scenery as Hitler? Or Jane Seymour in East of Eden?)

Back when I was younger, though, TV was divided up into new and reruns, and the reruns were always my favorite. So from a very young age, I loved ...
Captain Kangaroo (of course). Romper Room felt too much like boot camp.
I Love Lucy. The Dick Van Dyke Show. The Addams Family!! The Doris Day Show. Bewitched (though Darin yelled too much) and That Girl (though Donald yelled too much). And, of course, Batman, which sparked a life-long love of comic books [which means I'm not selling my Julie Newmar autographed Catwoman photo].

When I was a bit older, I discovered The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and Night Gallery--all favorites to this day (You've probably all heard my Shatner story. And yes, I have all the original episodes on DVD. And no, I don't recognize Generations as canonical).

I also watched a lot of westerns with my dad. Gunsmoke was a family favorite (I was partial to Festus), along with High Chaparral. I liked Barbara Stanwyck in The Big Valley long before I saw Double Indemnity ...

New series? Well, Happy Days, and spin-offs. Earlier, I loved The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Hope Lange. MTM, of course, Bob Newhart, the Carol Burnett Show and The Julie Andrews Hour in the early '70s. MASH. Also Hawaii Five-O and Harry-O (no relation), and Barnaby Jones and Columbo and McMillan and Wife.

But my earliest favorite was still Nanny. Richard Long (Big Valley) played the Professor--Juliet Mills played Nanny--the kids were cute--and who wouldn't want a magical British nanny to solve all your problems? She even drove a cool old car--a 1930 Ford named Arabella. And best of all, she was in love with the professor, and he with her. I knew this--no one could argue me out of it. In fact, the last line of the Addrisi Brothers theme song, contrary to popular opinion, is not "Is it love?" but "Nanny is in love." And I am unanimous in that. ;)

Ah, the memories.
Excuse me, gang ... got an appointment with my computer and ...


Joshua Corin said...

I want to hear the Shatner story! I love a good Shatner story. In fact, I've yet to hear a bad Shatner story.

Confession: I had never heard of "The Nanny and the Professor" until now. Does this make me callow? But I plan on catching up on lost TV!

And yes, what *was* with all the men yelling at their girlfriends and wives? And so few of the wives yelled back. Well, and then there's Maude. =)

Paula Matter said...

Yes, I want to hear the Shatner story, too!

I'd forgotten so many of these shows until now. Wow. I loved so many of them. Dick Van Dyke is probably my favorite. And I can watch it instantly on Netflix. So very cool.

Thanks for the memories, Kelli.

Terry Stonecrop said...

This was fun. I'd like to hear your Shatner story too.

Jen Forbus said...

Josh, I hadn't heard of "The Nanny and the Professor" either. And I also haven't heard the Shatner story.

Something I remember from childhood television was when our picture tube was starting to go bad...remember those? And you'd have to turn the TV on like a half hour before the show you wanted to watch because it took so long for the picture to actually show up. And I also recall hitting the side of the television to try to get it to right itself. Ha! How televisions have changed.

Kelli Stanley said...

LOL ... OK, OK, here's my Shatner story. I hope you guys won't be disappointed.

Just over 18 months ago (!), I was waiting for NOX DORMIENDA, my first book, to come out. Published with a small library press, I was still trying to take advantage of every opportunity to learn about the business.

Since BEA was in LA in 2008, I was able to attend, and signed ARCS at the MWA table. A hugely cool event--met a lot of colleagues and friends there, and had books signed by Barbara Walters (she's very pretty in person), Mariel Hemingway, Diahann Carroll, Billie Jean King, Dionne Warwick ... you get the picture.

But a light bulb exploded when I found out SHATNER was to be there. (Nimoy, too, but for me it's always been SHATNER.)

So some friends--including Andy Peterson and Steve Flax--got in line with us and we waited. I was at the front of the line.

When Shatner arrived, it was like ... I don't know. God. ;)

I had an impulse to give him a copy of my book, so I'd saved him an ARC. Seemed like the only thing to do, in acknowledgment of the years of entertainment and inspiration he's given me. Sort of like a first born child to the priesthood ... ;)

So when I went up for a signature, I gave it to him, though the handler got confused, and Chandler had to use his Kirk voice. So I thanked him, and when I left, I got--well, remember the Shatner wink from Star Trek?

It all seems to have taken place a long, long time ago on one of those planets with the cool matte painting background ... and funnily enough, we're now with the same publisher--SMP.

And yes, I have pictures! I'll try to dig 'em up.

So that's my Shatner story! He really does an air of palpable authority ... five year missions, and all that ... ;)


Kelli Stanley said...

Josh, it's so true! At one time I wanted to write an article on the whole yelling male/magical female thing in the 60s and how it tied in to the burgeoning feminist movement ...

but thankfully am sticking to fiction. I've had enough academic writing for a couple of lifetimes. :)

And Maude ... how could I forget? Lady Godiva was a freedom fighter ... ;)


Kelli Stanley said...

I LOVE the Dick Van Dyke show, Paula! My favorite episodes were the ones in which Rob and Laura entertained at a party--a little singing, a little dancing, a little wisecracking from Sally and Buddy.

Now, that was television! ;)

Thanks for dropping by, sweetie!


Kelli Stanley said...

Terry, thanks commenting and for coming by Criminal Minds!! :)

Glad you like his week's walk down nostalgia lane! :)

Kelli Stanley said...

Jen, you made me laugh, thinking about TV tech escapades! :)

Remember foil on rabbit ears?

And of course, there was the Outer Limits opener ...

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission ... We will control the horizontal ... We will control the vertical ...

Hilarious now, when a computer chip is controlling the whole damn thing. ;)

Thanks for the memories, sweetie!! :)


Sophie Littlefield said...

ooooh, i was there when kelli met "Bill" (you do call him bill now don't you kelli?)

Hadn't thought of Captain Kangeroo. I LOVED the magic drawing board. Seriously with a bottle of wine, I could spend a happy evening just watching it draw things.

Hey - that should be an iphone app....

Kelli Stanley said...

It's "Bill" only when we sing "Rocket Man" together, Soph!

Loved the magic drawing board, too. And let's face it--Mr. Greenjeans was kinda hot ... ;)


Paula Matter said...

My two favorite Dick Van Dyke shows: when he gets accidentally hypnotized and the one where Laura's curiosty gets the better of her.

Oh! And the one where she wants to write a story and Rob's reluctant to critique it.

And... :) I loved that show.

Shane Gericke said...

Great opening song on Nanny. I love theme songs on shows back then even more than the shows themselves. And Kel, which Darrin yelled more--new Darrin or old Darrin?

"Bewitched" is when I finally figured out that TV was fakery. I saw Samantha wiggle her nose and get things done. So I went outside and wiggled my nose at Lincoln Highway, which split my Illinois town in half. It didn't move. Ha!

I saw Shatner at BEA then, too. But he didn't wink or anything. But Alec Baldwin was also there that year, hawking his book on divorce, so Jerrle got in line and hawked my first book at him, like what you did with Captain Kirk. The handler was very kind, though my book probably wound up in the trash.

Great post, Kel.

Kelli Stanley said...

Wasn't that a great BEA, Shane?? I saw Alec Baldwin in passing, but didn't get in line. Saw Brooke Shields from a distance, too.

I was way too shy to hawk the book to Shatner--sorry, Soph, "Bill"--I just humbly gave it to him and told him it was my first novel and thanked him for all his inspiration.

It was kind of like when you go to the Vatican and have the Pope bless your underwear. ;) (I learned this from attending a Catholic university when I first lived in Italy).

And as for Darrins ... I think the first Darrin yelled more (Dick York) but was still more palatable than the whiny second Darrin (Dick Sargent). My favorite character was probably Sabrina ... she was so cool!! ;)

So Shane ... Mary Ann or Ginger? Sorry, buddy, you can't have both. ;)


Kelli Stanley said...

Paula, I smile whenever I think about that show--particularly the earlier seasons, before Rob and Laura started looking too much like the Beatles.

I love those Kennedy-esque fashions. And what about the walnuts episode? ;)

So creative, so funny--pure entertainment.

And Lucy was hilarious, too. And actually kind of subversive for the '50s, since the whole buy-in to the show is that everyone watching knows Lucy is the famous one and Desi not so much. She had to fight to get him involved.


Shane Gericke said...

Mary Ann. I always preferred the girl next door to the glamour puss :-)

It was a great BEA, as are they all. I do like me some free books ... er, I mean, networking with publishing industry peers to shift the paradigms and such.

Shane Gericke said...

As for the walnuts episode, I think a few of those writers in New Rochelle were smoking some of those hulls to come up with something that wacky. It was fun to watch.

Bobby Mangahas said...

"Twilight Zone" is one of my all time favorites.