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"Murder, She Wrote"


vecchiolarry

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Hello Everyone,

 

Today, I saw a rerun of "Murder, She Wrote", Angela Lansbury's successful series about a snoopy old woman who solves murders.

 

In this episode, there were several old stars guesting as citizens of Cabot Cove in Maine.

Ruth Roman, Julie Adams, Gloria DeHaven, Kathryn Grayson and Dody Goodman.

 

Over the years, Angela had many of her old friends and compadres as guests on this show.

 

Who do you remember as your favourite(s)???? And, how was it to see them again as older thespians? And, did they turn out to be the murderer or the victim?

 

Let's have some fun recalling!!!!!

 

Larry

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Larry,

 

Not that he was known for acting at any point, but Roger Miller made my favourite turn on the show as a sheriff and had me wishing he had made some film appearances when he had been at the height of his powers and wit. The only film he appeared in was The TAMI Show and he did the soundtrack for a not-so-classic Blake Edwards film called Waterhole No. 3. I'd love to have that episode of Murder, She Wrote. What a great, classy show. There's nothing quite like it on the airwaves today. (And I liked The Notebook, too).

 

Johnny

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Hey Johnny,

 

Of course you liked "The Notebook"!! You are a smart, articulate person who appreciates good product. Most people on this board are in the high bracket that we are and demand high quality and trumpet it whenever possible.

 

I remember that Roger Miller episode and thought it was an odd but ultimately brilliant (clever) casting. He should have done more; he is certainly more talented than many today.

 

Regards,

Larry

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I've seen my share of the episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" and enjoyed seeing many of the guest stars of yesteryear on the show.

 

I always admired the generous Angela Lansbury for remembering many of her co-stars from the movies and giving them a break on her hit TV show.

 

She was especially kind to the late actress Madlyn Rhue who suffered with MS.

When Miss Rhue guested on the show, it was noted that she didn't have health insurance, which caused a great expense for her. In turn, Miss Lansbury arranged for her character to be part of the show which meant that she would automatically be covered for health insurance.

A sweetheart indeed.

 

I recently watched "The Notebook" on cable and also enjoyed the movie. Of course I couldn't keep my eyes off of the wonderful Gena Rowlands.

 

Mongo

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Hi Mongo,

 

Yes, Angela is a very gracious lady and her husband, Peter Shaw, was something of a father figure to me. I'm still friends with Tony, their son.

Angela's mother, Moyna MacGill, was a great friend of my grandmother and they partied together throughout Europe and America. Moyna was indeed the life of every party and I'm sure Auntie Mame was modelled on her, although Patrick Dennis says otherwise...

Ironic that Angela played Mame so successfully later.

 

FYI, Angela and Peter also helped with Madlyn Rhue's funeral expenses, although this is probably confidential information I'm giving out. But, that's the kind of people they are/were.

 

Also, I have it on good grounds that several other stars were asked to appear on "Murder, She Wrote" but for some reason didn't -- Hedy Lamarr, Ava Gardner, Victor Mature, Greer Garson and Katharine Hepburn. She also pursued Albert Finney and apparently Elizabeth Taylor told her that she would drop everything and be on if only she could "shot the hell out of somebody". She wanted to be a villainess!!!!!

I'd pay money to see that!!!!

 

Larry

 

PS - Angela appeared on "Law and Order"(???) recently as a miserable, controlling old ****, who bribes city officials and eventually goes to jail at the end.

A lesson in what a great actress can play. She should get an Emmy nomination for that.

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Hello again, Larry,

 

Thank you for your very kind words! After thinking about Miller's appearance on the program, I just couldn't help but visit a website that listed all the episodes and all the guest-stars and I just could not believe the quality of talent listed. I think I'll have to find someone with the DVD edition and revisit Virginia Mayo's appearance, Dorothy Lamour's, Evelyn Keyes' (I've had a soft-spot for Evelyn), and even Dane Clark's (!).

 

Thanks for reminding us (if indeed we ever forgot) about all this. But the one disheartening element I've always found with this program (and similar ones) is that it's odd as many people got bumped off as they did whenever Jessica Fletcher was within distance. A bit strange...

 

All this also has me thinking about Columbo---maybe that's because I always remember Myrna Loy's appearance on that program but I think there was a similar shining roster of stars parade before its cameras, though certainly not to the degree of Lansbury's.

 

Johnny

 

 

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I just recently saw the episode with Eleanor Parker, and hadn't seen her since Sunburn in 1979, and it was nice to see her.

 

Johnnyweekes, I hope your kidding about the people getting bumped off. If they don't there would be no show, and no stars to be discussing.

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kak122760---I suppose that was an obscure crack. I didn't mean to imply anything nasty about Jessica, if that's what you took from my comment. I just find it strange that so many people get shuffled off this mortal coil for dubious reasons that always coincides with a visit from a great detective (or, in this case, a mystery writer). That's fiction for you, though---but what would we do without it?

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Hi Larry,

the most endearing episode to me was when Angela played a

dual role as her cousin sibyl and sang the song she sang

in the movie "The Picture of Dorian Gray" her character

in the movie was Sibyl Vane the song was i think ?....

"Little Yellow Bird". most delightful hour of television.

On the show Hurd Hatfield who played Dorian Grey also

did an episode of Murder she wrote Larry did you know

him ? or meet him? would love to know! takecare lolite.

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Hi Lolite,

 

No, sorry to say that I did not know Hurd Hatfield. I did see "The Picture of Dorian Grey" on TV and was quite impressed with it though. Everybody in it was great.

 

Angela played Jessica's cousin a couple of times and her name was Emma MacGill; this was an insider joke among people who knew Angela and her family, as her mother was actress Moyna MacGill.

Also, Angela's grandfather, Edgar Lansbury, had been a founding member of Britain's Labour Party and there was a line in one of her British sleuthing episodes - "Goodness, imagine that, being a member of the Labour Party!!"..... What fun.....

 

Larry

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johnnyweeks,

 

I didn't think you were saying anything nasty about Jessica. I had just recently had a discussion with someone and they were seriously saying they don't like murder mysteries due to the same person being around when dead bodies showed up. I tried to explain to them, that that's what murder mysteries with a central character are all about. Then I saw your post, and thought maybe more people think that way.

 

Have a good day.

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Hello,

 

I have heard today that Angela Lansbury is to have knee replacement surgery in Los Angeles.

Apparently, after many years of kicking up her heels on Broadway in "Mame", "Gypsy", "Sweeney Todd" and "Dear World" and other shows, she has deteriorating knees. An occupational hazard for many dancers....

 

Angela also fell at The Hollywood Bowl last night while at a tribute there for Stephen Sondheim. She is 79 and will be 80 in October, so this can be a dangerous age for many women.

 

I'm sure we all wish her good luck with her recovery.

 

Larry

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Oh that is too bad about Angela Lansbury. I hope the surgery goes well. Then I am really happy that this morning she received an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series. I really hope she wins in September, she really was superb in that uncharacteristic role.

 

I did not always watch Murder She Wrote in the later years, which is when she had many of her friends as guest stars, so finally they are releasing them on DVD! I really want to see the Hurd Hatfield episode. I believe he was also a neighbor of hers in Ireland.

 

And I know this is slightly off the Murder She Wrote topic, but in regard to guest stars on television series, just a few weeks ago I read that they were releasing the Jack Klugman series Quincy on DVD. I used to watch that show, and that immediately reminded me of an episode in which Quincy was mysteriously called by a woman to investigate a doctor. When he asks for her name and she gives it, he then pauses and thinks and then says "The actress?" And then she immediately hangs up. Well (Spoiler Alert) it turns out she was a famous but now forgotten Hollywood star who was a victim of REALLY, REALLY bad plastic surgery, which she reveals dramatically at the end by dropping a veil or something. Anyway initially she wanted just to revive her career, and the resulting publicity from the Quincy's investigation actually does result in her getting career offers again.

 

Anyway, I did some research and at the time I did not know who played that role, but I now see the role was played by Jane Greer, the great film noir actress from OUT OF THE PAST. So I really want to see it again when that season is released on DVD.

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Hi Richard,

 

Oh, thanks for mentioning that -- I hadn't heard about the Emmy award nominations today. I'm so glad Angela is in the running for one. She has been nominated many times and never won; I can't imagine what's wrong with these stupid TV actors. I guess they don't want to award real talent but keep giving it to their own unwashed, stuttering slobs.....

 

I never saw "Quincy" so I have not seen Jane Greer in that episode. She did do a cameo role in "Against All Odds" (1982?), which was a bad remake of her great film noir movie, "Out Of The Past"...... She was a real beauty, a natural one; no cosmetic enhancements. Rare today.

I believe she has now died.

 

Hope you're well,

Larry

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Hi, Larry:

 

Angela Lansbury is a great actress. She has done it all: Broadway, television, motion pictures, and even some soundtrack albums. Not only that, but she is a really sweet person, not like some of the cold roles she played in her early career (although not always).

 

It really irks me all these years, Larry, that Angela has been nominated 17 or 18 times, yet never won the Emmy. This is a disgrace. I could never figure out why, since everyone talks about how well-liked and nice she was. Then I found out the real reason, and I have disregarded the Emmies ever since. It seems that at one time, out of 5,000-6,000 members, only 75 members voted for the award. In recent years, it has been upped to 300, but hardly enough to take the award seriously.

 

Angela did win two Golden Globes for "Murder She Wrote," but could never win the Emmy. What irked my mother and I was that the actress on the stupid show, "Picket Fences" won three Emmies, while Angela had none. It was like Angela was the "Susan Lucci" of primetime televsion. Angela thought it was because her show didn't have all these over histronics like a show like "Picket Fences" did.

 

Frankly, I think the role of Jessica Fletcher is a lot more subtle and harder to do. The fact that Angela gave her friend, Madlyn Rhue, roles on "Muder She Wrote," when no one else would, is a testament to her classiness as a human being. Unlike a lot of people in Hollywood, she never forgot her friends.

 

Finally, I hope she does win the Emmy this time. She is long overdue. It's odd for someone who is in the Television Academy Hall of Fame to not have won an Emmy. Then again, Jackie Gleason never won one, either. Shame on the Academy.

 

Deborah

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Hi Deborah,

 

The Emmys are an even more abhorant organization than the Oscars. I never watch them and really don't know who won or even who many of them are anymore.

Jackie Gleason certainly should have won one and absolutely so should Angela Lansbury.

The part she played on "Law and Order" was that of a supreme **** and a very cold woman, so she might not win.

People like those sobbing, hand wringing confession roles and Angela made no apologies for being a dragon on that show.

But, good luck to her.....

 

Larry

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh, I use to run home from school just to watch that show. I began watching that show in elementary school and was hooked. I had first seen Angela in "Bedknobs and Broomsticks!" GREAT! I then wrote to her in second grade. I can still remember the crayon note that I wrote to her, and bless her heart she sent me an autograph...I have now had that in a frame for 13 years...I am a senior in college! I will never forget the look on my fellow classmates when I brought her autograph in to show and tell, while everyone else had brought their new Christmas toys!

 

My favorite character on Murder She Wrote was when Angela played the duel role!

p.s. I also have the collection of "Murder She Wrote" paperback books that are out...they are still coming out. It is amazing what this woman can do!

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