Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Travis-ty

I got a nice comment from someone who remembered ALMOST PERFECT (CBS 95-96, starring Nancy Travis). Les Moonves said it was the best show he ever cancelled…which I suppose is like the girl I lusted after in high school saying to me at the reunion: “you’re the best guy I never slept with”. We made 34 episodes, it had a loyal following and usually received a 16 share. Later the show enjoyed a brief run in syndication on Lifetime and USA. And yet, Paramount has not released it on DVD…which brings up one of my many pet peeves: why are some TV series on DVD while other more deserving ones aren’t?

No ALMOST PERFECT on the shelves but you can get…..

the first season of BA BA BLACK SHEEP, the complete collection of TABITHA (please Nora Ephron, don’t turn this into a movie), the second season of the DORIS DAY SHOW (yes, there was more than one), THE BEST OF MR. ED #3 (contains the one where Mr. Ed talks and Wilbur has to cover for him), PRIVATE SECRETARY (for the many Ann Southern fans) , THAT’S MY MAMA season two (the really good season), AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE (otherwise known as “Bulimics at the Beach”), DUSTY’S TRAIL (the Gilligan spin off – lasted four episodes ).ED SULLIVAN’S AMAZING ANIMAL ACTS (“the Romanian Dancing Bears! Take a bow, youngsters!), RAMAR OF THE JUNGLE season ten (by season ten he was fighting the Survivor Africa contestants), HEE HAW (the classic ones with Tucker Lynn Twitty & Clower)….

and just this week comes word that the 1976 CAPTAIN & TENNILLE Variety Show is being released…as a boxed set. Ohmygod! Captain & Tennille??? It’s bad enough having to listen to “Muscrat Love”, imagine seeing them do it? And you don’t just get music, oh no. You also get their (gulp) comedy routines.

Here’s an example. Their guest is Jackie Gleason. Get ready to laugh.

TONI: I am so excited to have one of the greatest funnymen in the history of television right here on this stage.

CAPTAIN: Thank you, Toni.

TONI: No, honey, it’s not you, sweetheart. I’m talking about Jacking Gleason (applause)

JACKIE: Well Toni and Captain, I want to congratulate you on your first show. And I hope you will have a very long television career.

TONI: Aw, thank you.

JACKIE: (re Captain) The only trouble is, I feel that he hasn’t got the correct attitude.

TONI: What do you mean?

JACKIE: Well, I don’t think he believes this show is going to last long. He hasn’t even taken his hat off.

Apparently, it lasted long enough to be released. Meanwhile, ALMOST PERFECT sits in the vault. Come over sometime and I’ll show you the tapes. And if you’re not thoroughly entertained I’ll sing “I’ve Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You”.


Adam Renfro said...

Ohh, man, Ken Levine really has a blog? Not too great.

Your site has been killing me! I hope you get easily bored at home and post often.

Michael Markowitz said...

If Toni Tennille truly is talking about jacking Gleason, then this is one for the Museum of Broadcasting's new porn wing!!

If it's just a typo, then I am bitterly disappointed.

Grubber said...

True story, it was only about 5 weeks or so ago, I looked up Nancy Travis on IMDB to track down the name of the sitcom where she played a TV writer.

My wife and I both enjoyed that show and still wished it had enjoyed a longer run.

So, be assured, it is remembered.

Enjoyed reading your blog, feel free to post as often as possible!

Toby O'B said...

David Clennon was great on that show as Neal, so different from his character of Miles on 'thirtySOMETHING'. (I'll bet you could have had him appear on the show in both roles and there'd be some in the audience who would never have guessed they were both played by the same actor!)

Speaking of twins, the show cane out around the time of 'Duckman' and I thought it would have been cool for Nancy's character to have a twin sister who had that same grating attitude and voice she used in the cartoon; give us a chance to see a live-action Bernice.

Well, at least 'Almost Perfect' can take its official place in the TV universe with its crossover with 'Cybil'.....

Stephen Gallagher said...

THE BEST OF MR. ED #3 (contains the one where Mr. Ed talks and Wilbur has to cover for him)

Fantastic. How did I manage to miss that one?

By Ken Levine said...

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments on ALMOST PERFECT. You've made my day. I am forwarding them all to Nancy T. and my partners.

Scott said...

Wait! Also tell Nancy and Co. that the line I really, really related to from the pilot was:

"Daddy, I'm in charge, and there are all these men who have to do what I say."

There. Now you know pretty much everything you need to about me.

Scott said...

Re: above, I realize you can't tell by the name (it's my husband's), but I am a woman -- so my relating to that line is not as creepy as it might seem.


Lee Goldberg said...

It was a cult favorite among us tv cop show writers. I loved the scenes in the writers' room.

Anonymous said...

Nancy is great! She just starred in the pilot I did for TNT.

I'm sure AP will make it to DVD. It was a show too smart to stay on the air.

It's amazing what they're releasing on DVD. I'm currently watching my mailbox for the PINK LADY & JEFF box set!

Scott said...

And since we're reminiscing... who was the Cyd Charisse fan who came up with the "Singing in the Rain/American in Paris/Bandwagon" spoof in the second (?) season?

Alina Adams

By Ken Levine said...

Robin Schiff, David Isaacs and I. We wanted to shake things up with two dream sequences. One was the musical and the other was a black & white film noir piece. We were always looking for new ways to tell stories. And we had such a wonderful versatile cast that we could let our imaginations run wild and do shows like that one.

Michael Markowitz said...

Oh, GREAT! Now, Nancy, whom I've known and loved for 13 years, will think my support for her boils down to a "jacking Gleason" joke!

Shows what I get for thinking unsaid stuff goes without saying: AP was great.

Anonymous said...

Ken, You forgot to mention "Saved By the Bell," The Complete First Season...with extra "Screech" bloopers!

Luswei said...

Ken --
I loved ALMOST PERFECT. And then by happenstance I met the very talented Kevin Kilner. The same way I've stumbled upon your blog, a fellow WGAW writer steered me here.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Here I am commenting late again, probably unread by many. But I have to say my wife and I were absolute fans of Almost Perfect. From the great opening song (don't you hate it they keep getting shorter these days?) to the scenes in the writing room to the great and believable romance story between a cop show writer and a cop. In fact, I love it so much I just realized I have stolen it for a propsed sitcom over here in Holand. Only this time the romance is between a cop and a district attorney's assistant.

Anyway, my question... because there is a question... is: what happened to the romance in the second season. I got the impression that this was one of the first cases of network tempering ruining a show. Can you tell us more about it?