Bye Bye Dick Gautier
Over on his website, Mark Evanier has a very nice profile and personal story here on Dick Gautier who passed away the other day at age 85. Gautier was best-recognized for playing 'Hymie the Robot' on the Get Smart series, and starred as 'Robin Hood' in another Mel Brooks series, When Things Were Rotten. But what's little known is that he created the role of 'Conrad Birdie' in the original production of of the Broadway musical, Bye Bye Birdie.
I was listening to the cast recording the other day, so I thought I'd post him singing, along with Susan Watson, one of the show's big hits, "A Lot of Livin' to Do."
Better still, here's a full, 14-minute clip of the show when it appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Dick Gautier comes in around the 4:25 mark. It's introduced by Dick Van Dyke (who later sings the big hit from the show, "Put On a Happy Face"), and features a lot of Paul Lynde. Why did the musical get such an incredibly long amount of time on the TV show? Well, if you know Bye Bye Birdie, you probably have a really good guess. The answer of which is included in this scene -- the song "Hymn for a Sunday Evening"...about appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show.
1/16/2017 09:48:43 pm
Hmm. Some of the dialogue leading up to "Hymn For A Sunday Evening" is "off book", compared to the script licensed for school productions. (I started to remember the lines from when I played MacAfee way back in Jr. High) I'm curious if the differences were edits for school productions; which would be odd since one version isn't anymore or less risque than the other, or if the dialogue was changed by Lynde and Champion because it flowed better for Lynde than the original book.
1/17/2017 09:20:51 pm
Not knowing the differences, if I *had* to guess it's that it's not "off book," but rather that high school and junior high editions have been edited. That just seems far more likely to me, and isn't uncommon, especially given the subjectivity of what's risque, especially from the distance of half a century. Besides, given that what Lynde was doing *was* the original production, anything they did would be the "original book."
1/17/2017 09:27:40 pm
Fair enough. I just found the differences odd, not significant, just odd; especially since the school version we used back then still had smoking and alcohol, even by the teenagers. I'm sure that has been changed by now. At this point, it's impossible to know the thought process of whomever was responsible for publishing the licensed school version.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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