Following on the deaths of Corin Redgrave and Natasha Richardson last year, another member of the Redgrave family acting dynasty has left us too soon. Lynn Redgrave has passed on at age 67 from the breast cancer that first attacked her in 2003.
Ms. Redgrave made quite a splash back in 1966 in the English hit, “Georgy Girl,” getting an Oscar nomination and a lot of worldwide attention as a zaftig “ugly duckling” who finds herself the center of attention for her handsome flat-mate (Alan Bates) and an aging millionaire (James Mason). Though she later became slender enough to play traditionally glamorous and very sexy leading ladies — and did occasionally in such roles as the ill-fated “The Happy Hooker” — she instead gravitated to a very British-style career in which she rather brilliantly covered all kinds of serious and comedic parts on stage, television, and movies. (Deep comedy fans might remember her in Woody Allen’s “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex” and the disaster movie spoof, “The Big Bus.”) While her sister, Vanessa Redgrave, was getting attention on a massive scale with her high end film and stage career and far-left politics, she appeared in a series of commercials for Weight Watchers’ products, starred in the U.S. sitcom, “House Calls” and gracefully segued into often quirky character roles like her accent-heavy Oscar-nominated turn as a housekeeper in 1998’s “Gods and Monsters.”
Though I’ve always enjoyed Ms. Redgrave’s work in all media over the years, I’ve never actually caught her signature movie role. After the flip, we have a couple of scenes that indicate this one might be worth very much renting or adding to your Netflix queue.
Three years ago, I did a piece for Bullz-Eye entitled “TV (No-)Shows On DVD,” where I took a look at the top 15 shows that the Bullz-Eye staff had wanted to see released onto home video in full-season or complete-series sets. From the series cited on that list, we’ve gotten “Newhart: The Complete First Season,” five seasons of “Family Ties,” seven seasons of “Beverly Hills 90210,” and “WKRP: The Complete First Season” (a laughable title, given how much was excised from the original episodes), with “The State: The Complete Series” scheduled for release on July 14. We’ve also been pleased to see that a couple of the kids shows we cited – “Groovie Goolies” and “Josie and the Pussycats” – have made it into stores, and we were beside ourselves at the emergence of a couple of our pipe-dream series, including “Quark,” “Fastlane,” and “Andy Richter Controls the Universe.”
I’ve got to be honest with you: I loved that show with a passion when I was seven years old, but not in a million years would I have bet on that series ever coming out on DVD, and yet you can order a copy from Amazon at this very moment. That’s what led me to compile this A-to-Z list of shows that I’d like to be able to experience again…or, in some cases, for the first time. Yes, some of the series on this list are obscure, and it’s likely that almost none of them will ever make their way to home video, but I felt the same way about “Quark” three years ago, and…well, look what happened there. I’m sure you’ve got your own favorites, and I’d love to know what they are, so please feel free to leave your picks below. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my list…and the accompanying YouTube clips, too.
A. “AfterM*A*S*H”(1983 – 1985): Given that all of the seasons of the original “M*A*S*H” series have long since made it to DVD and proved to be a rousing success, it’s a little surprising that we haven’t seen the release of the post-war exploits of Sherman Potter, Max Klinger, and Father Francis Mulcahy. Few would claim that the show ever lived up to its predecessor, but there were only 31 episodes produced; you’d think that a complete-series set would be a no-brainer, since the diehards would surely snap it up, what with the additional guest appearances by Col. Flagg and Radar O’Reilly. Indeed, should such a collection ever come to pass, let’s hope someone also thinks to tack on the failed pilot for “W*A*L*T*E*R,” where Radar moves from Ottumwa, Iowa, to St. Louis, MO, in order to become a police officer. And, yes, I’mserious.
B. “BJ and the Bear” (1979 – 1981): Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I just can’t imagine that there’s not a connection between the fact that, in December 1978, a movie about a trucker with a monkey (“Every Which Way But Loose”) was a huge success, and in February 1979 this series – which is about a trucker with a monkey – premiered. Some may say that Greg Evigan’s most lasting pop culture footnote is co-starring with Paul Reiser on “My Two Dads,” but he’ll always be B.J. McKay to me.
C. “CPO Sharkey”(1976 – 1978): With the amount of appreciation Don Rickles has gotten in recent years, most notably with “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project,” it’s hard to believe that no-one’s tried to make a buck or two by offering up the release of this series. Maybe it’s because Rickles’ comedy in the series wouldn’t exactly come across as politically correct nowadays. Sharkey’s company consists of an African-American, a Polish-American, a Jewish-American, an Italian-American, and a Hispanic-American, and…well, suffice to say that he probably didn’t need nearly as many hyphens within his preferred choice of terms for them. Frankly, though, I just want to see the episode which features a guest appearance by the Dickies!