Here's another stupid Korvette's commercial (see yesterday's post for the cheapo Julie Newmar spot) which, if nothing else, provides some nice glimpses of period 1970s stereo receivers and turntables. This commercial is thirty seconds longer than the previously posted commercial and the faux-musical number contained within its structure seems to have actually been prepared, rehearsed and planned. Did they simply spend too much money on this ad and decide to cheese-out when doing the Newmar ad? Or did Julie's presence bust the budget and thus require a serious pullback on production values? I hope it was the later, for Julie's sake. And I hope they provided her with a private car to and from the set to ease the disgrace of having to do the ad at all. Though somehow I think they tried to palm off a bus pass on her...

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Without the long-defunct east coast department store chain Korvettes, it's safe to say we wouldn't have a  Walmarts or a Costco. E. J. Korvette (nee Kerfauf), the founder of this junky suburban bin of trash, brought a number of new ideas to the shopping world, including discounting (then illegal), subscription shopping (a la Costco) and expanding to distant suburbs instead of sticking around the business center of towns. This last innovation proved to be his greatest non-contribution to our country's culture.  Every time you find yourself driving in a somewhat isolated and undeveloped area and then suddenly see a huge, ugly windowless/charm-free building looming on the horizon off the highway, you have Korvette to thank. The business went bankrupt in 1980 after thirty-plus years. Why? I don't know. But the above commercial might offer some clue to the clueless management of the chain. They managed to hire the fiery, leggy and impossible-not-to-be-sexy Julie Newmar to do an ad for their stores and then failed to actually use more than five seconds of her on screen. The ad is as cheap and pointless as the store itself; Julie comes out, giving up a brief glimpse of her luscious gams, then sits in a chair and begins rattling off product names. Do we stay on her? Of course not. We cut to shots of the products themselves because they were so frigging beautiful.

I hope Julie got a decent payday for her half-an-hour of work though somehow I doubt the check cleared. They probably paid her in discounted products. Even as I write this I can picture the sight of a behemoth Korvettes off a dismal highway somewhere in outer Long Island. Blecchhh.

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What on earth possessed warm and fuzzy comedian Danny Thomas to build the monstrously large Trousdale Mega-Moorish-Monstrosity in which he and wifey RoseMarie spent their declining years? Usually when the kids move out, a couple downsizes. But not the Thomas's. Above is a tour of their steroidal manse as pictured last year when it was on the market for a ludicrous 135 million dollars. (It wound up selling for a mere 60 million). The sellers were not the Thomas family, who unloaded it in 2000 for a fast 15 million.

There's a lot of hating for this place in the Youtube comments section but I have to say that its wildly over-the-topness is somehow refreshing, given that it was built by a warm-hearted (at least his persona was) TV family comedian and not some oil-pushing, arms-dealing, money-laundering scumbag. As retirement villas go, it's wonderfully silly. Groucho Marx, who lived further below in Trousdale (same street though--Hillcrest Rd.) used to complain that Thomas was spying on him and trying to get a look at his girlfriend Erin Fleming. He was probably right.

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If you type pretty much anything into the Youtube search bar, someone will have posted a video of some sort related to your search. Hence the above five minute clip of a 1967 'Lucy Show' featuring Milton Berle, an actress named Ruta Lee (about whom I know nothing) and a quick and charming cameo by Milton's wife Ruth. What were my keywords? 'Milton Berle Wife'. And why? Click here for my post a couple of days ago featuring a Jack Benny show co-starring a bevy of Beverly Hills show-biz wives, among them the fetching Mrs. Berle. I suppose Gracie Allen qualifies as one of them, but video and information on her are too easy to find. Next up, Mrs. Danny Thomas...

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Here's a bite-size clip of an old Dick Cavett show with Jack Benny and Phil Silvers as guests. The two are obviously fond of each other and, as always when Benny is a guest, you don't get that electric 'who's going to top who?' thing that often happens when multiple comics are on stage. Benny was famous among other comics for being an uncommonly generous audience. Indeed, Silvers does most of the talking as Jack sits by, languidly listening. But look out. When Benny does intrude, it's perfectly timed, unexpected, and winds up getting the big laugh. This stuff was an art for these guys and Benny's true genius was in his 'artlessness'...you didn't see it coming and often there didn't even seem to be anything there until he found it, which often had to do with his sense of timing. Speaking of which, Mel Brooks referred to Benny's timing as 'dangerous'. A perfect way to put it--now when you watch him you'll see how truly, scarily long he was willing to draw things out and how accurate he was when finally he would let the other shoe drop...

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