Episode #247: The Nutcracker in Wonderland

Jenn and Kendyl return with a discussion of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) and the book and ballet it’s based on.

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Episode #244: Cyrano de Bergerac Is a Loser

Jenn and Kendyl compare Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018) with the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand as well as several other adaptations of this catfishing origin story.

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Episode #236: Justice for Harry!

We talk Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2018), the songs, the flashbacks, and who got the short end of the stick.

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Vlog: Musicals Based on Movies

In which Kendyl lists the many musicals that were inspired by movies.

‘Footloose’: The OKG true Hollywood story

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Vlog: Hairspray Spotlight

In which Kendyl talks Hairspray (1988), Hairspray (2007) and Hairspray Live! (2016).

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Vlog: Bedazzled – A Faustian Tale

In which Kendyl takes you through the original material that led to Bedazzled (2000).

Doctor Johann Faustus (1587)
Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, performed by Oxford Theatre Guild (December 2013)

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Who did Batman v Superman better?

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Vlog: Sabrina Fair

In which Kendyl discusses the 1953 play, and the two film adaptations of Sabrina Fair.

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Peter Pan Productions that Fly from Stage to TV

With Pan, a new adaptation of Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, being released in theaters soon, we at Adaptation Podcast have been talking about ALL THINGS PAN. Unlike most adaptations of Peter Pan, this new film will be an origin story and prequel to the ones we know and love.

While commentating on Peter Pan (2003), three other adaptations came to mind: the 1960 production starring Mary Martin, Peter Pan Live! (2014), and Hook (1991). My article on Hook will be out shortly, but first let’s address the two televised stage productions by NBC.

Cast:                                                         1960                                                            2014

Peter Pan Mary Martin Allison Williams
Hook Cyril Ritchard Christopher Walken
Mr. Darling Christian Borle
Smee Joe E. Marks
Wendy (Young) Maurine Bailey Taylor Louderman
Jane Caitlin Houlahan
Wendy (Grown up) Peggy Maurer Minnie Driver
Narrator Lynn Fontane
Michael Kent Fletcher John Allyn
John Joey Trent Jake Lucas
Tootles David Komoroff Jason Gotay
Slightly Edmund Gaynes F. Michael Haynie
Twins Luke Halpin &
Benedict Herrman
David & Jacob Guzman
Curly Bill Snowden Ryan Steele
Nibs Carson Woods Chris McCarrell
Tiger Lily Sondra Lee Alanna Saunders
Black Bill John Holland
Cecco Richard Winter Michael Park
Starkey Robert Vanselow Bryce Ryness
Liza Jacqueline Mayro (Uncredited)
Nana Norman Shelly (in a suit) Bowdie (Real Dog)
Croc (Uncredited)
Mrs. Darling Margalo Gillmore Kelli O’Hara

There are more characters listed for 2014

Both versions had their shortcomings and their pleasant surprises. I love the story of Peter Pan, but it has been done so many times. I grew up on the 1960 version, but I was interested to see what they could do with the extra money and space, and of course—CHRISTOPHER WALKEN AS HOOK.


Peter Pan Live! was the 2014 live production of the 1954 musical adaptation of Peter Pan, televised from Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York. The production was a follow-up to The Sound of Music Live! While similar in content to the original, the version of Peter Pan featured in the special contained revisions to its book to emphasize the character of Captain Hook, along with additional songs from its revivals, new songs adapted from the musicals Do Re Mi and Say, Darling, and the restoration of a song that had been cut from the musical before its original Broadway premiere.

This production had the capability of a huge studio, rather than just a theatrical stage, and the characters easily flew between lavish and colorful sets, instead of needing moments for set changes. It ran 2:11 without commercials—so it was about three hours long when I saw it on TV, which may have been needed to fit everything in, but it felt really long and by the middle I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

The 1960 version just titled Peter Pan and was a production that looked like they were taping the stage production as is. It ran 1:40 without commercials, which is rather long considering they cut the story down, presumably to make it more child friendly, sacrificing some scenes and songs, and lessening the time that Wendy, John, and Michael have to interact with Neverland and the audience. It was closer to the book at first, but once in Neverland it takes many liberties and is incomplete.

Characters

2015-09-22 23.48.07Peter: I originally watched the Mary Martin version when I was a little kid—able to forgive much more. When I rewatched the 1960 version, I thought it would be strange to have an older woman playing Peter, but once Mary Martin got into it; she played it like a careless child. She was naïve and silly and all about fun. She may not have seemed like a boy, but Peter is stuck at an age where he is sexless. Allison Williams on the other hand, played Peter in such a way that I never saw a little boy; I always saw a woman.

Allison Williams is not a bad actress, but the role is iconic and she had a high bar to reach. She played Peter a little flat and bland. For example, when Peter is calling Hook a codfish, he is asked if he is a man, the answer “NEVER”—a line which should have a spark to it—was very glazed over. Mary Martin’s Peter actually “imitates” Hook rather than dubbing the other actor’s voice over to pretend that the imitation is really that good. This way the pirates, including Hook, seem even more silly and bumbling. However, the questions were almost completely omitted in 1960—the only question asked was, “do you have another voice?” which led to a scene I can only describe as the version taking advantage of her vocal range, extending it into this song and dance with Peter dressing up like a lady—“A beautiful lady” as Hook says. This is a bit like in the book when Peter wears Wendy’s cloak to disguise himself on the ship—which he does do, but as a pirate for a good laugh.

I understand that they have a woman play Peter for the arrangement of the songs. An older woman can hit the notes better than a young boy, but the original play was not a musical and only starred a woman because in 1904 children could not work past nine p.m., so it would be interesting to see if a young boy could pull the production off. Speaking of songs, however, it is always funny that the loud songs do not wake John and Michael, or anyone else in the house (which we discussed in our commentary).

Wendy (young): Taylor Louderman, in the 2014 version, was a tad too flighty or airy. Her singing voice was fabulous but the speaking lines were like needles in my ears. She also looked like she was wearing a bad wig, which made me think maybe she would take it off to play Jane, but as the cast list shows, she does not. Honestly, The actress looked too old to be keeping her doll in her bed, not to say that there is a specific age that something like that should stop, but her mannerisms were under her age and seemed so awkward. We have seen that before, in Jurassic Park and Maleficent—and just like those, they aged the actress but not the character and it comes off weird.

Her actions with “the kiss” giving and getting are over the top and a bit sickening because it seems unfounded and childish for her, not to mention her wild belief in the unimaginable. A strange boy just snuck into her room, and she is immediately in love with him? I know the story has been spun that way in many adaptations but I have to say that the skepticism of Wendy and her brothers in the 2003 version was refreshing.

Startling enough the 1960 version omitted the whole idea of “the kiss.” There is no such exchange and when Wendy is shot, she is saved by one of her buttons, a very interesting twist. Plus, when they talk to each other like Mother and Father, they laugh at the whole idea, though it still scares Peter while Wendy is unfettered. Maurine Bailey gets very little stage time, however, as she stays behind when the boys go out, but they made her scenes count. Even if it is more believable to say that Peter was upset not with her leaving, but with the fact that she was taking everyone else.

Wendy (grown up): I didn’t really like Minnie Driver (2014). I liked the line that being grown up keeps you grounded, but when I used to watch Peggy Maurer (1960), in the same role, I cried over how heartbroken Wendy was that she couldn’t go, and loved her apprehension to letting Jane fly off with Peter. Minnie Driver’s Wendy says that she hopes that her daughter will have a daughter and she will fly off with Peter and on and on down the genealogical tube, just so she knows that Peter will live on. It would not be my first reaction to having my daughter possibly stolen away. Minnie Driver is only in it for a short second, but it was enough to not like her words or the way she carried herself. I am glad they make a bigger deal out of the mermaids comb, as Wendy really does treasure it forever and shows it to Peter. Even though the 2014 didn’t break my heart as much, the ending when Peter flies off with Jane—it still gets me and makes me cry a bit.

2015-09-22 23.47.40Hook: In both versions, Hook was done well, in completely different ways. Cyril Ritchard (1960) played him deliciously evil. His Hook is a bit of a caricature, but this is a child’s “dream” if you will, and his emotional range is far superior to that of Christopher Walken (2014), although he was a crazy and amazing Hook in his own right. In fact, he played Hook like only Christopher Walken can—as Christopher Walken, who, if you did not know, is a fabulous dancer. He isn’t much of a singer, but his speak-singing was actually quite pleasant and fitting. He had some fantastic lines and fabulous comedic timing and deadpan moments. When Wendy gives her last words, he retorts, “That’s it?” which is what I was always thinking and could be a play on Cyril Ritchard’s version who allowed Wendy to say “These are my last words” and then cut her off, so they literally were. Genius.

Smee: Christian Borle who played Smee in 2014, also played Mr. Darling, instead of playing Hook at the same time, which first happened at its opening in 1904 to keep cast costs down. This made Smee quite a bit younger than I am used to, but it wasn’t a bad thing. The actor was well built, giving Smee some guns! Even though Bob Hoskins will always be my Smee, I did enjoy Borle’s portrayal of him. He had a different comical styling and he added things to the character that I liked very much. His was one of the best performances and completely trumps Joe E. Marks (1960), who was fine, but very forgettable and completely overshadowed by Hook.

The Lost Boys: In the 2014 version, they looked like a bunch of AC/DC cosplayers in their school uniform-like costumes that did not fit. They were clearly professional dancers, which didn’t hurt, but my suspension of disbelief can be stretched only so far. Their speaking lines were tough to handle. They acted just fine, but again with the age of the actors and then their mannerisms, and the unnatural pitch of their voices (maybe I misheard, but it seemed like they were trying to sound younger) were very off-putting. They are far too old to need to be adopted. It is a big deal that the lost boys and Peter are supposed to be children and any grown up in Neverland is a pirate, so it would be nice to see that properly—or did I get all of that from Hook? Anyway, properly aged children play Michael and John, and I loved them.

In 1960 all the boys were young like you would imagine. They handled the choreography and stage directions just fine, even if they weren’t as complicated as the more recent production. It did’t hurt the production at all to have them be the age they should be. They changed what they needed to, to fit the production. Tootles was a bit on the younger side, so they let one of the others shoot Wendy.

(Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Tiger Lily and Tribe: If you look up the two actresses who played Tiger Lily, Sondra Lee and Alanna Saunders, you will find that one of them (from 1960) is white and blonde and the other (from 2014) and her tribe were authentic and not whitewashed. Maybe one or two were white, but most of her tribe looked Asian, Polynesian, Caribbean and/or African. And when they got to the tribal song when the tribe and Lost Boys have come to a truce, they updated it to something more authentic than the racist sounding one of 1960, which also completely left out Marooner’s Rock and instead has Tiger Lily tied to a tree for the wolves. Although Tiger Lily does save Peter in both versions, I preferred her peering over at a wounded Peter and ending the scene to the 1960 version where she and her tribe chase off the pirates just after “the beautiful lady” is revealed to be Peter, which is silly and unconvincing. This version turned Tiger Lily into a comical farce and a bit if a wimp. I don’t mind a little comedy, but not at the expense of a culture. This is what went into children’s heads!

Nana: In 2014 she was an actual and very well trained Sheepdog (not a St. Bernard or a Newfoundland in this one) and possibly one of the better actors. In 1960 she was a costumed actor, Norman Shelly, who you may have noticed, also played the crocodile in that version. His Nana was very good and for a bit you forgot it was a suit, even if the dog was too big. It was very similar to one of my favorite Sesame Street characters, Barkley the dog.

The Croc: Remember Katy Perry’s sharks? That was the 2014 version, but nowhere near as cool. The actor was uncredited and was in a weird sparkly pink and purple suit. It is similar to the 1960 version, but that croc was a bit more realistic in both costume and the way he crawled on the ground. I guess Norman Shelley had more practice for suits. The whole production might have spent more time on it as there were many animals in suits, but they were done well in an artistic and dance costume kind of way.

Sets and Costumes

For the most part, the sets and costumes were very well done in both versions. In 2014 everything was colorful and fun, as it should be in Neverland; even the stage floor was painted like a map and had a directional star, which is cool, but when the boys were fighting over the blue “sea” parts, it was a little strange for stage direction. Hook had a great chair that he sat upon a lot; it was a red cushioned gold throne, which reclined (or at least a food rest raised)! It was a cute addition to the set and character.

The 1960 version did great on less with simpler and yet more interesting and clever stage craft. They were more meticulous with their spacing, movement and set design with pieces of scenery that could move, change and grow.

Downfalls

In the beginning of the 2014 version, Peter and Wendy go into the corridor to see if it is safe after they hear a noise. I do not ever remember ending up in the corridor before, and I feel like they added it because of the studio capabilities—rather than the issue of sets on a stage.

2015-09-22 23.47.57It is sad that it took until they were planning to leave Neverland for the actors to find their grooves and fill out their roles better. It took a second watch to not feel agitated by the length and some of the acting. I actually like a lot about it, except for Peter and Wendy, and aren’t they the whole point?!

As I said, the 1960 version had cut the story down, so I couldn’t understand why they had a dance number with the animals and Liza (yes, the maid Liza had fairy dust thrust upon her by Michael and although she then spins out of sight, she appears in Neverland). There is another scene later with Liza where she asks Peter to teach her how to crow, this is probably for the kids to “learn along” with them, and the scene is actually really cute, but a bit frivolous. She is so lucky that the Darlings don’t fire her for being missing all that time.

Should I have been annoyed with being able to see the wires that helped the kids and Peter fly in 2014? Probably not, as it was live, but I couldn’t help but see them, while in the lower budget Mary Martin version I only spotted them once (well twice if you count the way the back of Michaels feety pajamas hiked up).

Highlights

 1960:

  • Mr. Darling is found, when they return, to be in Nana’s doghouse in the nursery. It’s a good laugh.
  • There are many comedic moments in this version. Like when Peter tries to hide everyone on the ship, including the costumed animals, and finds there are not enough doors to close over them, until he realizes one door is a pull-down shade.
  • It is very light and fun.
  • Michael is the cutest in his feety pajamas, especially when he learns to fly and is running in the air.

2014:

  • They kept the Kite in this one, helping Wendy get away when the pirates attack (although that has always been a silly thing). Also, when a Pirate lets it gets away from him, he cries like a child and it made me giggle. Especially, when Smee gave him a biscuit (cookie) to calm him down.
  • When Smee and two other pirates are marking spots to blow up Neverland they are singing, and at certain points they pause for effect and I enjoy it.
  • The pirates are all pretty fantastic.
  • It emphasized diplomacy. Wendy tries to teach it to the boys, and they continue singing “I won’t grow up” making War in general seem childish—though she hilariously fails to use diplomacy with Tiger Lily a moment later.
  • I love that Peter says he is forgetful at the beginning, but by the end he forgets that he forgets.

Both versions are worth a watch and for very different reasons. I suppose that even though Peter Pan has been done so many times, and in so many formats, you can still make it new and interesting.

Before going to see the new film Pan, I would also recommend checking out the Syfy network’s two-part miniseries, Neverland, which takes a very interesting look on the origins of Peter and Hook as well as the Lost Boys. It is definitely worth a watch—and Bob Hoskins reprised his role as SMEE!

Stay tuned for my thoughts on Hook (1991), to come soon.

Adaptation #139: Peter Pan, #NotAllChildren

header139

Everyone gathers again for more Peter Pan discussion, this time on the novel by JM Barrie and all the ways it’s been adapted on stage and screen. The hosts talk about the kiss in the corner of mother’s mouth, heartless children and anti-monarchy pirates.

Check out our commentary on the 2003 film Peter Pan!

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Ever the Gentleman…The Loss of Patrick Macnee

Just after Christopher Lee’s passing, we have lost another great, Patrick Macnee. The two of them were the last surviving members of Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948). I wrote last month about the passing of Christopher Lee because everyone knew him and I wanted to honor him and shed light on lesser-known things about him. I am writing about Patrick MacNee because he is less well-known and I want to honor him by shedding light on this great man and actor.

macneeOn June 25th, 2015, Patrick Macnee died of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, California with his family at his bedside, his son Rupert said. He had lived in the US for the last 40 years, and had become a US Citizen. He was 93.

I grew up with Patrick Macnee as the ever-gentlemanly spy, John Steed on BBC’s The Avengers (1961). It is his most iconic role, and honestly ruined me for all other men. He was the epitome of the debonair English gentleman. He wore a suit, and very well, along his dapper bowler hat and distinctive umbrella, which doubled as a sword. He refused to be seen with a gun, saying in later interviews: “I said that I wouldn’t carry one; when they asked me why, I said that I’d just come out of a world war in which I’d seen most of my friends blown to bits.” Macnee became outspoken and, in later years, took every opportunity to express his disapproval of the proliferation of guns in private hands. He was always proper, but with quick wit and great agility. You could say that he is the original Kingsman.

The Avengers (1961) initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant (Macnee), but Macnee’s famous bowler-hat-wearing, umbrella-wielding intelligence officer became the protagonist when Hendry exited the series. Macnee played the part alongside a succession of strong, female partners, including Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Linda Thorson, and Joanna Lumley. The show ran from 1961 and 1969 and was reprised in the 1970s.

This show was groundbreaking, and Macnee had spoke of his pride in how the show paved the way for women to play leading action roles. Of course, it was more than that, as he treated his female partners as equals, unlike how he was originally a side-kick of sorts. The most notable of them was Emma Peel, played by Diana Rigg in fashionable outfits and the occasional catsuit. She was nobody’s fool, a speedy sports car driver and martial arts expert; he was suitably impressed, if more staid. The two routinely engaged in witty banter while keeping the world safe from supervillains.

Avengers“It made them delight in the awareness that they could get out there and do it all, fight men, take on villains, all the kinds of stuff we showed in The Avengers,” Macnee said during an interview with The Lady Magazine. “I’m very proud of what we achieved for women with The Avengers. I don’t think we knew that we were doing it at the time; it just seemed that a woman would make the ideal foil to my John Steed. And so she did.”

The great thing about Patrick Macnee, however, is that his gentleman qualities went beyond the role and were part of his personality, saying once that it was hardly acting because he grew up that way. As a frequent guest on television talk shows around the world, Macnee was an ambassador for the tradition of the British gentleman, with his special brand of congeniality, humor and intelligence, his remarkable physical agility, and his unfailing good manners, sense of decency, and fair play. His comments and responses to questions were laced with a tongue-in-cheek, somewhat subversive sense of irony, along with a lightning-fast wit.

A Quick Bio:

Daniel Patrick Macnee, professionally known simply as Patrick Macnee, was born on February 6, 1922 in Paddington, London, England into a wealthy and eccentric family, Daniel Macnee (1877-1952) and Dorothea Mary Hastings (1896-1984). His father trained race horses in Lambourn, and was known for his dress sense; he had served as an officer in the Yorkshire Dragoons in the First World War. His maternal grandmother was Frances Alice Hastings (1870-1945), who was the daughter of Vice-Admiral George Fowler Hastings and granddaughter of Hans Francis Hastings, 12th Earl of Huntingdon. His younger brother James, known as Jimmy, was born five years after him.

Macnee’s parents divorced after his mother began to identify as a lesbian. His father later moved to India, and his mother began to live with her wealthy partner, Evelyn Spottswood, whose money came from the Dewar’s whisky business. Macnee referred to her in his autobiography as “Uncle Evelyn”, and she helped pay for his schooling.

He was educated at Summerfields Preparatory School, where he acted in Henry V at the age of 11, with Sir Christopher Lee as the Dauphin; followed by attending Eton College, where comedian and author Michael Bentine became a life-long friend. Macnee first appeared on stage and made his film debut as an extra in Pygmalion (1938). His career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the Royal Navy. After military service, Macnee attended the Webber Douglas School of Dramatic Art in London on scholarship—about which he said, “I went to acting school, but only for nine months. If you’re an actor, you know, don’t really need to learn how to do it.”

The New AvengersHe trudged the streets of London visiting the casting offices every day, and hung out near the entrances to London’s smarter restaurants and hotels in hope of “running into” a noted producer. There were a few near-misses. He got valuable experience onstage at The Windsor Repertory Theatre, in London’s West End, and on tours in Germany and the United States. He accepted a few minor roles, with bit parts such as Young Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol (1951). Disappointed with his limited roles, Macnee left England for Canada and the United States.

In 1954, he went to Broadway with an Old Vic troupe and later moved on to Hollywood, where he made occasional television and film appearances until returning to England in 1959. Once back home, he took advantage of his producing experience in Canada to become co-producer of the British television series Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years (1960). Shortly thereafter, Macnee landed the role that brought him worldwide fame and popularity in the part of John Steed.

He reprised the role in The New Avengers (1976)—about which he said, “They call it The New Avengers but it’s really the old Avengers with new people except for me, looking rather fat and rather old.” Although popular, it failed to recapture the magic of the original series, and only lasted one year.

He did appear as the voice of Invisible Jones in the sad, failure of a movie adaptation The Avengers (1998), with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman. I will say no more on that.

“Television has some lovely aspects to it—and some ghastly aspects—but the theater itself was a wonderful invention.” —Patrick Macnee.

Other Significant Roles:

Macnee also featured as a guest star in dozens of British, American and Australian TV productions.

He appeared in Magnum, P.I. (1984) as a retired but delusional British agent who believed he was Sherlock Holmes, in a season four episode titled “Holmes Is Where the Heart Is.” And he played both Holmes and Dr. Watson on several occasions. He played Watson alongside Roger Moore’s Sherlock Holmes in the TV film, Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976), and twice with Christopher Lee, first in Incident at Victoria Falls (1991) and then in Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (1992). He played Holmes in another TV film, The Hound of London (1993). He is thus one of only a very small number of actors to have portrayed both Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on screen.

IblisMacnee’s other significant roles have included playing Sir Godfrey Tibbett opposite Roger Moore in the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985), as Major Crossley in The Sea Wolves (again with Moore), guest roles in Encounter, Alias Smith and Jones (with creator  Glen Larson), Hart to Hart, Murder, She Wrote, and The Love Boat. Although his best known part was heroic, many of his television appearances were as villains; among them were his roles of both the demonic Count Iblis and his provision of the character voice for the Cylons’s Imperious Leader in Battlestar Galactica (meeting up with Glen Larson again) and the show’s introductory voiceover. He also presented the American paranormal series Mysteries, Magic and Miracles. Macnee made his Broadway debut as the star of Anthony Shaffer’s mystery Sleuth in 1972 and subsequently headlined the national tour of that play.

On television, Macnee made a guest appearance on Columbo in the episode “Troubled Waters” (1975) and played Major Vickers in For the Term of His Natural Life (1983). He had recurring roles in the crime series Gavilan with Robert Urich and in the short-lived satire on big business, Empire (1984), as Dr. Calvin Cromwell. Macnee also narrated the documentary Ian Fleming: 007’s Creator (2000).

 

macnee columboHe also appeared in several cult films: The Howling (1981), as ‘Dr George Waggner’ (named whimsically after the director of The Wolf Man, 1941) and as Sir Denis Eton-Hogg in the rockumentary comedy This Is Spinal Tap (1984). He played Dr. Stark in The Creature Wasn’t Nice (1981), also called Spaceship and Naked Space.

Macnee played the role of actor David Mathews in the made-for-television movie Rehearsal for Murder (1982), which starred Robert Preston and Lynn Redgrave. The movie was from a script written by Columbo co-creators Richard Levinson and William Link. He took over Leo G. Carroll’s role as Alexander Waverly, the head of U.N.C.L.E. in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E: The Fifteen-Years-Later Affair (1983), produced by Michael Sloan. He featured in the science fiction television movie Super Force (1990) as E. B. Hungerford (the series which followed did not feature Macnee), as a supporting character in the parody film Lobster Man From Mars (1989) as Prof. Plocostomos and in The Return of Sam McCloud (1989), a TV film, as Tom Jamison.

He made an appearance in Frasier (2001), and several episodes of the American science-fiction series Nightman as Dr. Walton, a psychiatrist who would advise Johnny/Nightman. Macnee appeared in two episodes of the series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993–94) and was a retired agent in a handful of installments of Spy Game (1997–98).

Interesting Spots:

Macnee made numerous TV commercials including one around 1990 for Swiss Chalet, the Canadian restaurant chain, and a year or so before, a commercial for the Sterling Motor Car Company. Over the James Bond theme, the car duels with a motorcycle assailant at high speed through mountainous territory, ultimately eludes the foe, and reaches its destination. Macnee steps out of the car and greets viewers with a smile, saying, “I suppose you were expecting someone else.” Macnee was the narrator for several “behind-the-scenes” featurettes for the James Bond series of DVDs and recorded numerous audio books, including the releases of many novels by Jack Higgins. He also recorded the children’s books The Musical Life of Gustav Mole and its sequel, The Lost Music (Gustav Mole’s War on Noise), both written by Michael Twinn.

patrickcynernautMacnee featured in two pop videos: as Steed in original Avengers footage in the The Pretenders’ video for their song “Don’t Get Me Wrong” (1986) and in the video for Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger” (1996), as the band’s driver, a role similar to that which he played in the James Bond film A View To A Kill (1985).

He scored a top 10 hit of his own in 1990, with Kinky Boots—a novelty song recorded with Avengers co-star Honor Blackman—which was championed by Radio 1’s then-breakfast DJ Simon Mayo.

Macnee reunited with Diana Rigg in her short-lived NBC sitcom, Diana (1973) in a single episode.

He dictated his autobiography, which he titled Blind in One Ear: The Avenger Returns (1988), to Marie Cameron.

From people that knew him:

A tribute on his website said of him: Patrick Macnee was a popular figure in the television industry. He was at home wherever in the world he found himself. He had a knack for making friends, and keeping them. Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories and good wishes. Patrick Macnee was known for his unswerving professionalism, his loyalty, his intuitive creativity, his unaffected courtesy, and his understated humanity.

Sir Roger Moore tweeted: “So very sad to hear Pat Macnee has left us. We were mates from 1950s and I have so many happy memories of working with him. A true gent.”

Linda Thorson, who played Tara King in The Avengers alongside him, talked about remembering him as a “paradox” when talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program. “He was the best-dressed man on television and a nudist in real life. He was always upbeat. He had great stories and great detail and wonderful energy,” she continued. “Patrick [had] a very happy and long life and the most wonderful children who took the greatest of care of him, in the last decade in particular.”

Diana Rigg said, “Patrick was a very dear man and I owe him a great deal.” Macnee was something of a mentor and teacher to Diana Rigg.

Last Words:

Mr. Macnee, you were a true gentleman and I am glad that you were a part of my life. I hope to get you into others lives as well. You were my Steed, and I think all men should strive to be like you.

 

the_avengers_john_steedRIP Daniel Patrick Macnee

Vlog: Terrible Performances in Good Adaptations

In which Dorin lists the actors who almost ruined perfectly good adaptations.

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Vlog: Stand Out Performances in Bad Adaptations

In which Kendyl lists the actors that did their best to shine, despite being in awful adaptations.

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Vlog: Casablanca (1942)

In which Kendyl gives the origins of Casablanca and it’s most famous quotes.

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Vlog: WORST Shakespeare Adaptations

In which Jenn gives our picks for the worst adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays.

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Spotlight Vlog: William Shakespeare

In which Kendyl talks about the many influences that Shakespeare has had on language, jokes and the stage.

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Vlog: Shakespeare’s Cymbeline

In which Dorin explains the confusion that is Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, and contemplates how the recent film with update it.

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Adaptation #116: Cinderella, Dressed in Yellow

header116Our team geared up for the new live-action Cinderella by reading and watching an insanely large amount of versions of the classic tale, from the 7 BC Egyptian Rhodopis to the 2011 A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song. We get into themes of beauty and it’s worth, social status and neglect as well as why there are just SO many birds.

Make sure you let us know in the comments if there are any other versions we should pick up!

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For a similar discussions, check out our episodes on all the versions of Snow White, Into the Woods, Maleficent, Once Upon a Time, Starkid’s Twisted, and Frozen/The Snow Queen.

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Vlog: Five Best Shakespearean Adaptations

In which our Adaptation hosts had the impossible task of picking just five amazing Shakespearean adaptations…and Jessica has a bit of a crisis in listing them!

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Adaptation #111: Into the Woods of Deconstruction

header111As fairytale connoisseurs, the team has been looking forward to the film Into the Woods for a long while. Most are extremely pleased, but someone has some issues with the plot.

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For a similar discussions, check out our episodes on Once Upon a Time Season 3, Starkid’s Twisted, Frozen, and Jack the Giant Slayer.

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