Friday, May 7, 2021

Deja View: Take "Two!"

In the vast television landscape, many sitcoms have come and gone. Some became cultural touchstones and have never gone off the air thanks to syndicated reruns. Some linger in the memory, though we don't see much out of them anymore. Some are completely forgotten if we ever even knew about them at all! I don't know how many of my readers will recall the 1982 show depicted at right, It Takes Two. Springing from the creator of hits like Soap and Benson, it was unfortunately fated to land closer to Fay, Loves Me, Loves Me Not and I'm a Big Girl Now, also by the same creator, Susan Harris. You'll surely recognize some of the show's familiar faces.

The concept of It Takes Two concerned the issues that sprang up between a middle-aged, married, Chicago couple with two successful careers who sometimes ran into conflicts as a result. That, and their colorful family life provided the story fodder.

Though he tends to be remembered for movie roles and dramatic television fare, Crenna was a TV comedy veteran, with scores of episodes of Our Miss Brooks and The Real McCoys under his belt. He portrayed a successful surgeon here.

Oscar-winner Patty Duke also had significant sitcom cred, having played two leading parts in The Patty Duke Show during the mid-'60s. As Crenna's wife, she played a district attorney.

This was a pretty big opportunity for character actress Billie Bird, who had portrayed scads of bit parts in movies and on TV since 1950. Here she played Duke's sassy, blunt mother, who lived with the couple.

As the family's daughter, Helen Hunt brought a childhood full of prolific acting work to the table. She would, of course, go on to win an Oscar of her own in addition to costarring in the successful sitcom Mad About You.

Then at the dawn of his career, Anthony Edwards had Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) in the can, along with a couple of other small parts, before playing the family's son. His character had moved out, but was still around frequently. He would proceed to costar on the monster hit medical drama ER, among other things.

Richard McKenzie, who played a colleague of Crenna's at the hospital, was a veteran of countless bit roles. This was his only regular series role, surely thanks to several appearances on Soap - as a doctor.

But the purpose of this post isn't really to delve into the intricacies of the show. Nor to expound on the gravity-defying hairdo that Duke adopted for the role, though that would be fun!

We're here to talk about Crenna and Duke's living quarters. Anything stand out about this kitchen to you? (Apart from its heavily-'80s decor.)

Does this help?

Yes, Crenna's and Duke's 1982 kitchen was redressed and used as the one for 1985's The Golden Girls! Actually, the rendition shown in these last two photos are following a makeover. In season one of TGG, the set had been left in a version closer to the one seen in ITT. It was only after that successful first season that the wallpaper and some of the other decor was upgraded and further feminized.  I have prepared some comparison photos. Apologies in advance for some of the shitty visuals from It Takes Two. The lesser-known show is not readily available in high quality.

Although it doesn't read that way, thanks to the poor video quality, the two shows featured the same kitchen wallpaper. A beige background with a paler, cream, diamond pattern on it.

The very same baker's rack in the niche.

The "Girls" had a wall calendar on their swinging kitchen door.
For the sake of everyone's health, I do hope that is not the same fruit leftover from two years or so before...! LOL

Earlier eps of ITT had a small butcher block in the middle of the room, which was replaced by the table with the fruit on it. As you can see, TGG got a new refrigerator, but those cabinets remained.

When Helen Hunt used the kitchen phone, it was on a side table against the wall. But in the second show, a wall-mounted phone was installed.

As I say, ITT was created by Susan Harris.

The characters lived in a Chicago high-rise.

Yet, hilariously, when Harris created TGG, it was set in suburban Miami, where the precise same kitchen could be found!

So while Crenna & Co. looked out the kitchen window to see other skyscrapers in their midst...

...the Girls had a view of their neighbors' similarly-built ranch-style, Florida homes!

Here is a photo of the kitchen set soon after its remodel for season two of The Golden Girls.

I've wondered to myself if that yellow cup behind Crenna is the same one used in the AIDS awareness episode of TGG in which Sophia puts an R on it for "Rose."

This angle shows the back doorway of ITT's kitchen, a shot rarely-seen in TGG.

In the pilot for TGG, you'll see that the back doorway area is cleared out with no cabinetry. (And note that Coco's frying pan in dead empty as he's stirring away......) 
There's that cup again, along with the familiar (and peculiar) stove-top placement.

Could the recycling have extended to this coffee cup?
Here's a shot of that wallpaper up close. But the kitchen isn't the only room of ITT's set to be recycled... Take a look at these comparison shots from the living rooms!

The condo living room is very much the same as the Miami house but with some tweaks. The door and general furniture placement is similar, but a fireplace has been moved.

The back hallway is still there. In ITT, it leads to most of the bedrooms. In TGG (apart from the pilot, when it led to Blanche's bedroom), it leads to the lanai.

The balcony area has been removed and in its place is a seldom-used seating area (and an even less-used fireplace.)

In ITT, there was a modern chair in front of the fireplace for Duke to look over legal briefs, etc... This area was kept open on TGG.

One bigger change was on the right side. Where Billie Bird once had a single bedroom, this now has been adjusted to make a longer hallway, leading to the Girls' rooms.

This shows how the bedroom door was closed off and an angled hallway created further left.
This shot allows a little peek into Bird's bedroom. Most of this area would later be the hallway on TGG.

Before Harris came up with the Golden character of Sophia, she had experimented with similar ideas before. There was Audra Lindley as Lee Grant's live-in mother on Fay and then Bird, who offered many zany remarks as the live-in mother of Duke here.

I know you wish I was done, but I'm not...! Take a look at this, too. They reused Crenna and Duke's bedroom, turning it into Blanche's boudoir! Looks like Duke really liked to moisturize at night...!

All of this was in the mid-1980s, before it was as fashionable as it is now to "go green" and recycle. They really made good use out of the existing sets from It Takes Two when preparing The Golden Girls. When watching ITT, you can see similarities in the way the shows are handled. The timing, the dialogue, the music, etc... One show clicked and the other didn't.

McKenzie even found himself recycled as a guest star on a 1990 episode of Girls as an ex-con set up on a blind date for Dorothy by a matchmaker her mother has hired.

During the pandemic and all its attendant stressors and annoyances, I've gravitated to everything simple and/or amusing in order to get my mind off of things. For some reason, this tickles me far more than it probably ordinarily would, but I can't quit cackling about it! It Takes Two's opening credits featured a theme song by Paul Williams, which he sung with Crystal Gayle. Called "Where Love Spends the Night," it played while all the usual clips from the show were flashed on-screen along with the actors' names. Trouble is, the song was a LULLABY! I can tell you from experience that from age 50 on, it's enough trouble to stay awake in front of the TV set. So a perkier song (like the rejuvenated "Thank You for Being a Friend?") would be more in order if one wants people to stay tuned. This poor song, which isn't bad on its own terms, limped along and every time one thought it was over, it kept on going! LOL It also contained a really fascinating descending verse end which makes me howl with laughter every time I hear it. Maybe it's just me. And to bring everything full circle, the oddball pairing of Williams and Gayle brought to mind for me the famed duo Sonny and Cher...
...which, of course, reminded me of this stellar Golden Girls moment! Till next time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Bumps in the Road - Group III

This is my latest mound of bulge pics, gathered during decompression TV & movie viewing during the pandemic. After this, I'm going to attempt to get back to some sort of regular posting, even if they are brief ones as I was doing for a while. This is a quite varied collection, so I suspect there ought to be something for just about everyone! Above left is Mr. Rock Hudson in the film Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971.) Even though Hudson is constantly getting it on with a parade of sexy coeds in the movie, in real life he was reportedly involved with his young male costar John David Carson (seen with him here.)

Hudson allegedly got into the sexy spirit of the swinging murder mystery by doing without any underwear during the filming.

One of the old reliables when it comes to vintage VPL is Mr. Steve Cockring Cochran. The always-sexy actor is seen here in the western Raton Pass (1951.)

A master at menacing gazes, he also had a tendency to reveal what was going on in his pants if they were of the right fit & fabric.

The star of the movie was Patricia Neal, who he manages to entice away from leading man Dennis Morgan.

That's not Morgan, but another costar Scott Forbes at left (if you can even manage to look that direction...!)

Another old hand at allowing a sneak peak of his third leg was Rory Calhoun. This movie, Ride Out for Revenge (1957) boasted a cast of familiar faces such as Lloyd Bridges, Gloria Grahame and Vince Edwards.

The handsome devil seen here is William Smith, a bodybuilding actor who worked in many TV shows and movies. This was Laredo, on which he was a regular.

Thanks to loyal reader and fellow blogger Angelman66, we were able to get a glimpse of that fabled stage production of "Fortune and Men's Eyes." The play was spicily revised by Sal Mineo, who directed in it and starred alongside protegee Don Johnson. While not all of it was preserved on film, there is a nice chunk of it available for viewing.

Newcomer Johnson moved in with Mineo during this period so their on-stage chemistry was rather significant. Sadly, the most eye-popping moments of the play are not captured on film...
...but we do get some bulgy moments from young Johnson in his flimsy briefs.

The scene shown here is from the western series The High Chaparral. A boxer is taking on all comers as a prelude to a big fight that's coming up.

George Sims, who is sporting a pre-Tom Selleck stache, plays the strapping boxer.

Methinks we may have lost something when we segued into satin shorts with a stripe down the side. I'd be more interested if boxers wore tights again. Ha ha!

The gents seen here are Sid Haig and Jerry Franks. They appear in 1971's female prison flick The Big Doll House as (horny) food suppliers. They wind up getting more than they bargained for, though, when some of the gals escape.

They are stripped of their clothing so that the escaped prisoners can use it to disguise themselves.

This leaves Franks and Haig in only their tightie-whities.

They ask for and are granted permission to go to the bathroom and are shown on their walk back to the truck.

Haig, at far right, had a long, prolific career as a bad guy in movies and on TV, but this was Franks' only significant film appearance. He had appeared on several episodes of The Jonathan Winters Show in various sketches.

I'm afraid I didn't catch this hapless fellow's name when I watched 1981's Final Exam, about a psycho stalking a college campus. (But I can tell you it is not Martin Short in his SNL skit about synchronized swimming! LOL) As a new pledge to a fraternity, he is (somewhat homoerotically) hazed by some of the brothers.

He is taken outside and stripped to his undies...

Next, he's tied to a tree, covered in shaving cream, sprayed with a fire extinguisher (!)...

...doused with ice water...

...and then has the remaining ice dumped into his briefs!

Shrinkage Alert!

The poor chap is then left there until nightfall.

Fortunately, a night watchman passes by and is able to cut him loose.

I'm not sure the danger is over, though.

You may remember Jared Martin, who made a bit of a splash as Dusty Farlow on Dallas? He's seen here in the Italian-made sci-fi flick Rome 2033: The Fighter Centurians (1984.)

The movie has that sort of hazy look to it (to help disguise cheap sets?)

But his flimsy prison uniform still affords a bit of exposure.

The blonde cutie seen here is from Summer Job (1989), one of countless, countless '80s beach/sex comedies. Unlike many actors who do towel scenes, he really was naked underneath because he's seen slipping into some briefs during the shot.

Unfortunately for him, someone put ointment (Icy-Hot-ish stuff) in his briefs!

Later, he's shown walking along the beach with the female lead of the movie. We don't really get a proper view of his snug spandex shorts, though.

However, when he brazenly cops a feel...

...she grabs him right back - where it counts!

Sorry some of these dates are a little askew. I generally try to be chronological, but didn't quite succeed this time! The above person is one Tommy Lee Jones and the movie, one of his lesser-known efforts, is Nate and Hayes (1983.)

In the period swashbuckler, he sports some revealing pants, particularly in this walk across a city thoroughfare.

If you can manage to get past the serious wedgie on the guy to the right, there is a Jazzercize participant in the middle. The film in question is 1984's Heavenly Bodies.

Oh God, the wedgie's even worse now! The person in pink and blue is one of several athletes coerced into taking an aerobics class in order to improve balance and dexterity. He's trying to make fun of it by appearing female.

And his little get-up is pretty revealing!

Ultimately, he is interrupted by the instructor Cynthia Dale, but not before we get a pretty good look at him.

The lesser-known actor's name is Richard Rebiere.

As he soon becomes the love interest of Dale, we get to see more of him, including the big finale in this sort of Rocky meets Flashdance meets Perfect!

Did ya ever see Carrington (1995) with Emma Thompson? I finally did and one of her boyfriends (Rufus Sewell) has a fascinating swimsuit on in one scene.

According to the sundial, it's about 9:47am? LOL

Looks like we're back in prison again. This time, literally! The movie from 1987 is called Prison. Ivan Kane is being issued his clothing while wearing only these snug briefs.

Later, the whole assemblage of inmates is corralled into the courtyard and made to stand in the sun with only their underwear for protection. One of them, though, gets the upper hand.

Say, do you recognize this handsome ferret towards the right side of the pic?

Yes, it's the chiseled Viggo Mortensen at his most beautimous...!

Mortensen would go on to greater glory (and greater on-screen exposure) in the coming years. But he was pretty dreamy here. Before I go, I have a couple more pics of someone who made a bit of an impression in my last batch of photos...

Peter Wyngarde caught the eye of several readers last time. Here he is in some taut white pants during his days as Jason King.

And speaking of leaving an impression....! He's seen here after receiving Britain's Best Dressed Male Personality of 1970. "Dressed Left," I might say...! (To the right is the prior year's winner, one Barry Gibb.)