And more from our Gossip Girl: New shows capitalize on a “Golden Era” … The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones … “La Dolce Vita” restored … Happy birthday, Miss Monroe
“THE EARLY 1960s was a very romantic period in America. The Vietnam War had not yet escalated and the Kennedy era, at least until November of ’63, took over the country with style and bold sexiness. It was a time of tremendous creative expression and hope. America has never really gotten over the 60s—any part of the 60s”
So says our pal Hal Lifson who works PR in L.A. but whose passion is for all things 1960s.
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SO, HAL is going to be over the moon with two new TV series situated smack in the midst of that “golden” era before the Kennedy and Martin Luther King deaths — and before youth rebelled, grew out their hair, took “trips” that didn’t require trains, planes or automobiles, wanted to “make love, not war” and declared nobody over thirty was to be trusted.
The great success of AMC’s “Mad Men” is probably partially responsible for the renewed interest in this era. Listen, given the level of Hollywood creativity, if there was a successful series about, let’s say, Marie Antoinette, other networks would pop up with projects about Du Barry or Madame du Pompadour. There is nothing new under the sun.
Anyway, NBC is gearing up for “Playboy Club,” which will be based on the first and most famous of Hugh Hefner’s gathering spots in Chicago. Hefner and Playboy magazine are cooperating, so there will be lots of beneficial cross-promotion. (Playboy itself did a “Mad Men” themed pictorial last year, and has been leaning more toward retro recently.) “Playboy Club” will star Eddie Cibrian, Laura Benanti (Broadway’s divine “Gypsy”), David Krumholtz, Amber Heard, Leah Renee, Jenna Dewan, and Naturi Naughton. Apparently, the show will be a soap-opera-ish drama with some crime thrown in. (Killer Bunnys?)
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AND OVER at ABC, they are prepping “Pan Am,” which is about a group of flight attendants (“stewardesses,” back in the day,) working for the iconic then-luxury airline in its early 60s heyday. This one stars Christina Ricci, Kelli Garner and Annabelle Wallis. I can tell you right now the plot is a staple that has been used at least a dozen times, usually at 20th Century Fox — three beautiful girls and their various adventures with men. Think “Three Blind Mice,” “Ladies in Love,” “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “How to Marry a Millionaire,” and “The Pleasure Seekers.” And those are the few I recall off the top of my head.
So, get ready for more 1960s fashions and foibles on the small screen.
Oh, and the one that started it all? “Mad Men” finally returns for season five next March, with an episode directed by Jon Hamm, aka Don Draper.
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SPEAKING OF the 1960s and cultural icons, tonight in New York will be overripe with nostalgia.
Martin Scorsese, Vera Farmiga and Emily Mortimer are hosting the New York premiere of the “restored” version of Frederico Fellini’s 1960 classic, “La Dolce Vita.” In its tale of a weary reporter looking for some meaning to his life, the movie catapulted Marcello Mastroianni to international stardom, gave Anita Ekberg her crowning moment in film iconography (the blonde Amazon in the Trevi Fountain!) and introduced American audiences to the paparazzi. In Fellini’s movie they chase Ekberg all over Rome.
Gucci and the Cinema Society are sponsoring the night, which promises to be a long one. “La Dolce Vita” was epic in its originally released version. “Restored” usually means — more footage. Oh, well, there’ll be a big party at the fabulous Standard Hotel after, so the audience will be able to unwind after the intensity of Fellini’s black and white stunner. Pasta is sure to be served.
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THE COMPARISONS to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones never ends. Not even amongst the surviving members of those two supergroups. Recently, several of the old Stones revealed they were “jealous” because all four Beatles could (or were allowed to) sing, and for The Stones it was only Mick Jagger crooning, shouting and posturing at the mike.
Sir Paul McCartney chimed in: “The four of us were unusual. We could sing. We were an entity. Mick used to call us the four-headed monster.”
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ENDQUOTE: We began with the 1960s and we might as well end with them. “During the 60s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don’t think they’ve ever remembered.”
This is from Andy Warhol, who embodied the era in so many ways. He was also one of the most emotionless, opaque persons one could ever encounter. But I don’t think one should blame the times. Andy was just … weird.
I miss what he’d be saying about today’s cultural atmosphere. Actually, it has become so horrible that Andy might have retreated entirely. If he’d lived, I could see him today as a Pop Art Garbo, wanting very much to be left alone.
ENDFACT: Had she survived the summer of ’62, Marilyn Monroe would be 85 today. I can’t imagine it, but who knows, she might have surprised us. And even herself.