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allaboutlana

TVMovie/Miniseries Trivia

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Her third child, a daughter, eventually became a competent child balarina. There was an occasion when the mother was prompting the girl in her schoolwork. She got impatient and abusive when the child had trouble with the lesson. "You'll be stupid! You'll wind up like people in the streets, eating out of garbage cans!" The younger son was playing in the same room, and was running a tape recorder. Years later, that tape was played back in a courtroom in Utah.

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Timeline:

The murder was in 1978.

The trial was in 1982.

Two books were written, which were used as basis for film scripts.

Both of the TV treatments were aired in 1987.

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A side issue which affected events: The woman had a history of getting her hands on money. (She was dismissed from Bryn Mawr for forgeing checks.) In New York, she had a male acquaintence of modest means. He had a problem: He was a scofflaw who had accumulated some hundreds of dollars in unpaid parking tickets. He asked the woman's help in this manner. He asked her to become the co-owner with him of his modest savings account -- Some $4000. She consented. The courts now could not just collect his money out of the bank account, because there was a co-owner. At a point when she needed some cash, she emptied out that savings account herself.

 

Parallel to this, these things were happening: Her younger son took a plane out West. In a Western state he bought a .357 magnum pistol. He then flew to Utah, went to one of his grandfather's warehouses and killed the old man with two shots. Then he flew back home to his mother in New York taking the pistol with him. His mother then gave the pistol to her shared-bank account friend, with instructions to get rid of it. A couple of years, later the police got to the point of investigating the mother in connection with the homicide. Interviewing contacts and accquaintences, they ran across this friend. He was still holding the pistol, and also a grudge.

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I seem to recall the story and I was pretty sure that Stephanie Powers was in the one that I saw, so I did a little checking. The TV movie with Stephanie Powers was called "At Mother's Request". The other mini-series starred Lee Remick and it was called "Nutcracker: Money, Murder, Madness". It was based on the novel by Shana Alexander.

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Correct at 64 Views, Miles. One quibble: Shana Alexander's book was not a novel, but a true-crime,naming the names, account. One aspect Ms. Alexander covered more completely than anyone else: Frances Schroeder (The Powers/Remick character) used her father's money to finance a major production of the NYC Ballet. Buying her way into the upper crust, as she saw it. Her mother had been the father's heir, but Frances controlled the mother as completely as she did her son. The pinchpenny millionaire father was portrayed by E,G. Marshall ( *Request* ) and by J. D. Spradlin ( *Nutcracker* )

 

Wikkipedia has followed the people involved. Frances Schroeder served out her sentence, a model prisoner, and earned a college degree while inside. Died after her release. The triggerman son served his sentence and is now free. Her older son, Marc, who refused to participate in the killing, nevertheless had troubles of his own and served a prison sentence for matters not related to his mother's greed and entitlements. Now free, he is the one who came into possession of the fortune, following the death of his grandmother.

 

Your thread, Miles, and I'd really like for you to participate.

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Here's one you may know without research. Melissa Gilbert appeared in a TV movie with another actress who had already appeared in a theatrical version of the same story. In the theatrical movie, the other actress played the part that Melissa Gilbert played in the TV production. What was the title of the movie and who was the other actress?

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I'll give you a hint. The other actress had also been in the stage version before appearing in the theatrical film.

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thought someone else would pick this one up by now.

 

That would be the 1979 TVM remake of *The Miracle Worker* , in which Patty Duke played Anne Sullivan. She had played the juvinile Helen Keller both on stage and in the 1960s theatrical film.

 

???

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Thanks, Miles. Next:

Late 1970s TVM that aired as Special. Sponsor's name in the program title.

 

Details of events in the 1950s-60 that resulted in a US Supreme Court decision that has affected the whole country ever since. An A-List star (Oscar winner) portrayed a prisoner who appealed a case all the way to the High Court. An A-List charactor actor (Oscar winner who sometimes had lead roles) narrated and also portrayed the Chief Justice. Another A-List charactor actor (also an Oscar winner who sometimes had lead roles) portrayed the Plaintiff's attorney, who later became a Supreme Court Justice himself. The title is a Bibical reference.

 

???

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The inmate had to go to the prison library and draft his appeals himself. It was a matter that would have to be addressed sooner or later, and the Supremes were deciding in Chambers which appeal to hear. (Paraphrased): "This man is not from a disadvantaged minority and (holding up a stack of hanwritten-in-pencil-on-legal paper letters) God _knows_ he's not illiterate."

 

This Florida case was the one they chose to hear, feeling it would not be challanged along any ethnic lines.

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Correct, 'skipper. Jose Ferrer as Attorney Abe Fortas, who pled the case and later served on the Nine himself. John Houseman narrated and was cast-listed as "Chief Justice", but it was really Hugo Black. The case at hand was a defendent's right to have a lawyer even when he could not afford one. Prior to the Gideon case, that right only existed in Capital cases. Results up to date: Even if your life _never_ has anything to do with Criminal cases or courtrooms, everybody in the country who pays taxes is carrying a part of that financial load..

 

Mudskipper's thread.

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Thanks...

 

Twice Oscar-winner leads the cast in this mini-series about a young couple who buys a house in a small, quiet New England village and find unusual things going on....

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Clue:...Miniseries was based on a best-selling book by an author known for another profession than writing...

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Mostly resembles *The Dark Secret of Harvest Home* . a good one. Bette Davis as the leader of the local cult. Not witchcraft, it seemed, but an agraculture-based faith based on rituals meant to assure good crops. It was also matriarchial; women ran things, mostly, and men were often expendible after they had "planted the corn". The young couple: The wife was actually returning to her birthplace. They occasionally sent women out to bring in new blood. Writer/actor Tom Tyron wrote the source novel.

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It's terrible what happened to the men...but I wish the miniseries had more established actors than Bette Davis alone....Your thread, Flash.

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Thanks, 'skipper. I had to trace this one down and purchase the video. A one-season series of performances, done on Sunday nights. Late 1950s, when most such shows were done live, and the recording and reproduction was less sophisticated than it later became. Some of them were comedy-varity, but the sample at hand was a drama, played out in two 1-hour episodes.

 

Hollywood lambasting Hollywood. A veteran screenwriter's novel was adapted, by him and his brother, for the screen. A sharp hustler starts as a copyboy on a New York newspaper, pulls a few fast deals, stealing others' stories, etc, and works his way up to columnist. The POV narrator is another writer who starts out ahead of him and ends up behind him. An opportunity comes up, and the hustler goes to Hollywood, starting as a scriptwriter.

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The older newspaperman later gets the call to Hollywood, and finds that the hustler has done well for himself. He has taken credit for the work of others. He has put out scripts that closely copied the plots of stories that were successful (this, decades before the term "ripoff" came into use). His name, if not his work, is connected with some very successful, big-grossing films. The newcomer to the West Coast has less success, and he falls for a woman who is extremely impressed with the rising hustler. The hustler rises to a very high studio position, and he comes to the attention of the daughter of the Studio head.

 

Sidebar: A young and popular singer, wanting to branch into acting, tried to get the role of the hustler. An advisor overuled that, in the belief that the portrayal of the hustler had anti-Sematic overtones. The singer and his singing/acting whitebread wife instead made a comedy about a young couple with a new baby, and it did not do well.

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The older writer feels unrewarded in this environment, is thinking about going back to New York. Then the hustler has an irresistable offer: A big-grossing movie, (something like *The Front Page* ) has just come out, and the hustler wants a newspaper-themed blockbuster of his own. The offered pay makes it worth the writer's time to stay.

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Party crasher at a big function full of Studio execs and industry big names. A relative of the hustler shows up, reproaching him about neglect of his family. This is a stalwart charactor with a good record.

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Bigdeal big bash wedding for the rising comer and the studio chief's daughter. Turns out people can make use of _him_ , too. As the reception is breaking up, the groom is left crying on the staircase, and the bride takes off abroad with one of her long-standing boyfriends. The narrator/writer and his wife leave this business, go back to New York to work in News.

 

This is the only filmed version of this story. The source novel (same title) is much better known. I'm not aware of any rebroadcast of this performance. As mentioned previously, recording of these B&W live productions from this period are of poor quality. The DVD in my possession shows that.

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The narrator/reporter/scriptwriter is the best known name in the cast. 50s, he was a sitcom lead as an unmarried man in charge of rearing a teenage girl (with the help of his Asian serveant). He worked, voice only, as the employer of some angels. Big screen, he stood in for Capote as an investigative reporter, and he spied on Castro for Hitchcock.

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All correct. Budd Schulberg wrote the source novel; he and his brother Stuart wrote the script. Norman Fell in a cameo as the unexpected party guest. Pioneered for a lot of the dump-on-Hollywood works that followed.

 

Your thread.

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