Archive for the ‘ TV ’ Category

Hooked.

I’m hooked on Ovation’s Versailles.

No, it’s not a story about a small town in Ohio, although that would be good…hmmmm, might have to work on that.

It is a somewhat fictionalized but mainly on point serving of life in the court of France’s Sun King, King Louis XIV.

Louis was the one who turned the hunting lodge of his father into the Palace that Represents the Old Regime.

It comes on every Saturday evening at 10; I watch it on demand later the next week.

George Blagden is transformed into Louis in a magnificent way and does a stellar job of portraying the Sun King.

His not so long suffering wife, Marie Terese of Spain is played by Elisa Lasowski, tolerates the many mistresses of King Louis on screen just as the real Queen did in person.

One of Louis’ most important maîtresse en titre, or mistress, was Françoise Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Marquise of Montespan, who is played to perfection by Anna Brewster.

Seriously, it is great TV.  And for a history fool such as I, it’s like a trip to Disney!

They have white-washed Montespan a tad, and they have white-washed the Affaire des Poisons.  Oh, they talk about it, but they, so far, have left Montespan out of the mix.

Even with the whitewashing…I’m hooked.

The Affaire des Poisons blew UP in the Fall of 1677 and was the beginning of the end for the powerful mistress of the powerful king.

Montespan, a courtesan of the highest degree, was with the Affaire des Poisons under a cloud of suspicion.  The king began to think the beautiful woman and mother of seven of his illegitimate children was capable of murder.

The King strayed from the beautiful Athenais many times, but rarely for any length of time.  He was a rake, a sexual aggressor, and had hundreds of affairs.  Lady Antonia Fraser said that if Montespan or his mistress de jour couldn’t get her clothes off fast enough, he’d have a go at a chamber maid while waiting.

Really, he was one horny dude.

His eye fell upon and stayed upon one Duchess of Fontanges, and Montespan was relegated to the position of superintendent of the Queen’s household while he dallied with the Duchess.

Before the romance could set, the Duchess was dead.  Most suspected she was poisoned by Montespan or one of her minions, but no proof was offered.

Montespan was early on assumed by many to have been a player in the Affaire des Poisons, but no one could prove that either.

Fontanges death earlier than  the Affaire des Poisons which involved the murder of a minister and others in the French Cabinet.

Montespan’s name was mentioned in testimony when the poisoning cases were brought, and it was evident that the Marquise had dealings with La Voisin, the chief player in the Affaire des Poisons.

Prior to this scandal, La Voisin, or Catherine Monvoisin, carried out rituals and would create a special potion which Montespan would put in the King’s food to make him fall in love with her.

To make this potion, they – the witch and Montespan would call on the devil, pray to him for the king’s love, and sacrifice a new born child.

The child’s body would be crushed, the blood drained, the bones mashed, and the mixture would be added to the love potion for the king.

Historians believe Louis’ food was infused with such for thirteen years! La Voisin was arrested after a lengthy police investigation.

The Paris police found the remains of 2,500 infants in her garden.

No longer able obtain the potion from the witch, Montespan needed another source.

Enter Etienne Guibourg, a priest.  Guibourg would perform a black mass over the nude body of Montespan in a blood soaked ceremony.

Rumor has it, child sacrifice was involved.

The potions worked, at least in Montespan’s eyes.  Supplanting the current and pregnant mistress, she became the mistress of the king in 1667 and remained in that position for years.

Publicly, the ensuing scandal after the AdesP forced Louis and Montespan apart.  Privately, he visited her daily in her rooms at the palace.

Her hold was just that strong.

After a few years, and in 1691, Madame de Montespan “retired” to the Filles de Saint-Joseph convent with a pension from the King, and as a thank you for her leaving peacefully and not killing him, her father was created Governor of Paris, her brother the duc de Vivonne and a Marshal of France.

In her long retirement, Madame de Montespan donated vast sums to hospitals and charities. She was also a generous patron of the arts.

The king’s final mistress and the woman who would become his second wife, Madame de Maintenon helped Louis to cover UP the Affaire des Poisons, Montespan’s crimes and prevent further scandal.  After all, Montespan was the mother of many of the King’s children.

The enormity of her crimes became her safeguard.  The scandal was just too big not to cover UP.

Montespan’s final years were ones of severe penance.  Her death was a sorrowful blow to her surviving children when she died in 1707.

Louis, however, refused to allow them to wear mourning in her honor.

Wonder why?

 

Darling Darlene

My generation was the first to grow UP with the Mickey Mouse Club.

And just like Miss Frances’ Ding Dong School, I never missed it!

The show ran from 1955 to 1959 on ABC.  The cast included regulars and a few that changed from time to time.

Everyone had their favorite, mine was Darlene.

Someone gave me a doll, I named it Darlene.

Seriously, it was my first crush.

I was 3.

Darlene was one of the prettiest and by far one of the most talented on the show.  But what started as a promising career careened to temper tantrums, jealousy, back-stabbing, a phasing out, to a life of crime and even a little jail time.

Hey, she wasn’t Annette Funnicello – which was exactly the problem.

What is today known as Walt Disney’s Bad Seed, Darlene was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and at the age of ten started taking singing lesions when her mother noticed that many in the congregation at church were moved to tears when Darlene sang .  Dance lessons were added, and the bright young star had the opportunity to study with Burch Mann, the founder of the American Folk Ballet!

In 1955, she auditioned for the MMC and was in all three seasons.  Starting as the lead female singer she starred in serials such as Corky and White Shadow.  Later on she would appear in the New Adventures of Spin and Marty.

Then there was Annette.

While the other kids were in the studio, Darlene was on location at Big Bear Lake learning to ride a horse and learning to act while working on Corky and White Shadow.

All the hard work impacted her health and she came down with pneumonia.  Six weeks in bed cost her the main role and Doreen Tracey took over.

Darlene didn’t take the setback well.

The second season of the MMC saw her more reticent and less likely to share that big grin with the gang.

I was oblivious to all this.  At three, I was infatuated with the gal.

Darlene realized that she was no longer the favored child on the set.

Annette was on the scene, the boys were crazy for her, and Darlene’s pigtails couldn’t hold a candle to Annette’s hot Latin looks and raven locks.

Again, I was still team Darlene.

She did get several scenes in Annette’s first serial, and the director was impressed.  After all, Darlene could act, and she was second only to Annette in fan mail!

Often paired by the Disney machine for personal appearances the two girls were constantly vying for the spotlight.

The fact that Darlene was a better singer helped a little.

But that Annette was just so darn popular with the boys!

The serial roles started going to Annette, and eventually the serial Annette and Darlene was renamed Annette.

Darlene was replaced by Judy!

Things were not going as planned.

While the serial was filming in 1957, Darlene was shipped off to the Windy City on a one-woman publicity tour to promote the MMC’s Magazine.

Darleneites, at least the ones who could write, were furious, and letters poured into the studio.

Disney reacted quite differently than fans had hoped.

A Disney-friendly columnist claimed the letters were part of an organized campaign instigated by Darlene!

Disney said Darlene was busy rehearsing for an upcoming movie.

Typical Hollywood smoke!

By February of that year, the movie had been shelved and Darlene was in the recording studio awaiting the expiration of her Disney Mouseketeer contract.

Still bound by her recording contract, her recordings of the Sleeping Beauty songs were released in 1959.  The recording contract kept her from using her most valuable talent, her voice, elsewhere.

Finally released, she signed a contract with Decca and recorded two 45s in 1960.  One had two rock songs and one had a ballad and a polka.

The discs are so rare, they are collectors’ items.

Her career slowing, Darlene focused on school and graduated High School in 1959.  She spent a few years as a soloist with the First California Ballet Company and toured with them in the US.

She refused to join the tours organized by Jimmie Dodd and refused to do personal appearances for Disney.

She and her sisters did some night club work, singing and comedy – stuff like that. And there was the occasional TV guest appearance; Dr. Kildare, National Velvet to name a few.

She eventually became an ER nurse at Valley Presbyterian Hospital where she was called Nurse Mouse!

She wasn’t too fond of that, nor was she fond of the constant questioning as to why she didn’t become a big star like Annette!

In 1968 she married, and he tried to restart her singing career as a country artist.  You’ve probably never heard any of them.

She did go to the 25th Disney reunion in 1980.

Divorced from the first husband, in legal battles with Disney and the Screen Actors Guild, Darlene fell for a conman who further alienated her from the Mouseketeers and led her into a string of felonies and misdemeanors.

Shoplifting, check-kiting, and the like landed her partner in crime and life in the slammer for 18 months; they married while he was in the big house so she could visit.

When Darlene was tried, her conviction saddled her with a two year sentence of which she served three months.

California, just sayin’.

In 2005, the couple was indicted on federal fraud charges, but the issue was resolved without prison time.

Darlene became a widow in 2008.

Her legal battle with the Mouse ended with a settlement; undisclosed of course, and she’s now retired.

She no longer does Disney appearances or MMC reunions.

She’s happy to live a quiet life spoiling her grandchildren.

Life didn’t turn out for Darlene as either she or I would have hoped.  Her last television appearance was in 1962, but for a while, she was many a little boy’s dream date every afternoon.

And she was for darn sure mine.

Someone Had To…

This is from the things we take for granted category!

I’m sure you remember this…

…and this…

We know them, but what do we know about them.

Well, that’s why I’m here.

Someone had to write it, it didn’t just spring UP!

Victor Vic Mizzy was born on January 9, 1916, exactly 100 years ago today!

He was a composer for TV and movies and this two most well known efforts are the themes from Green Acres and The Addams Family.

But he did more than that.

He had top 20 hits back in the 30s and 40s, and wrote for The Andrews Sisters, Doris Day, Dinah Shore, and Teresa Brewer.

Yeah, I know, they’re all sooooo last century, but hey, music is music!

And what about the Mills Brothers classic, With a Hey and Hi and Ho-Ho-Ho?

He wrote that too.

Born in Brooklyn, he attended New York University after a childhood of playing the piano and accordion.  He was self taught!

He served in the US Navy during WW II and during his “idle” time, he wrote hit songs!

He broke into TV in the late 50s writing for Shirley Temple, but the 60s made him “famous”.  He was writing as late as 2007 when he worked with Sam Raimi on music for Spider Man 3.

Mizzy died at the age of 93 in Bel Air.

Now you know.

Insult To Injury

When I heard that Will Farrell and Kristen Wiig were doing a Lifetime movie, I knew the end was near.

Don’t get me wrong.   I like Lifetime movies; I’ve watched and enjoyed a ton of them.  But, I’ll have to admit, I never expected to see Farrell and Wiig in one.

Never.

As in never, ever.

But, alas, they did.

I continued to read the article and learned that their movie was to be a parody of Lifetime movies to “celebrate” the 25h anniversary of Lifetime movies.

Hmmm.

I was a little offended.

Lifetime has made billions off their made for television movies, and to come UP with a parody says to all of us who’ve enjoyed them in the past that we’ve been suckered.

And we have.

“A Deadly Adoption” aired Saturday.  It used every cliché every Lifetime movie has ever come UP with.

It was a train wreck.

It wasn’t convincing.

It wasn’t funny.

It was insulting.

In the first two minutes of the film, Wiig’s character falls off a rotten dock and suffers a miscarriage.

Of course, infertility ensues, a second child is wanted.  You know the drill.

Enter, Bridgette/Joni, a lovely surrogate who’s offered UP her offspring to the long-suffering couple.

Yeah, I know cliché to the 10th power.

Of course, Wiig is clueless to the fact that Ferrell has gotten drunk on a book tour and done the nasty with Bridgette/Joni, even though he doesn’t remember it.

Cliché.

Of course all that leads us to think the baby might really be Will’s after all, and wouldn’t that work out just great.

But, nooooooooooooooooooo, the heifer isn’t really preggeres, and is faking it all along.

Cliché!!

And, spoiler alert, all’s well that ends well.  Bridgett/Joni’s over-tattooed-ex-con boyfriend gets killed, Sully (the daughter) doesn’t die without her insulin, Wiig never stops wearing overalls, and every one lives happily ever after.

Well, except for the Gay BFF who got too nosy.

Curiosity kills the cat, you know.

The film, done with a modicum of reality, was just actual enough to sucker us in.  But the acting wasn’t what we know Wiig and Ferrell can do – on purpose???, I’m not so sure.  Was Ferrell trying to be serious?  Was he not trying at all?

Wiig, well, she actually made it believable, well, almost.

The settings were too perfect, the story-line too trite, and the fake beard Ferrell wore just too too!

Kristen Wiig (l) and Will Ferrell star in the Lifetime television movie 'A Deadly Adoption,' premiering Saturday, June 20, at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime. Credit: Lifetime [Film still] [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

Kristen Wiig (l) and Will Ferrell star in the Lifetime television movie ‘A Deadly Adoption,’ premiering Saturday, June 20, at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime. Credit: Lifetime [Film still] [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

From the life-altering accident to the “on the wagon” philandering hubby, to the Gay BFF, the non-confrontational wife, the crazy pregnancy faking surrogate to the chase scene and the ridiculously happy ending, we’ve been had.

The deadliest thing about this is that we’ve taken Lifetime into our homes for the past 25 years; they’ve made billions off us, and they just let us know we’re their bitches.

Wiig, Ferrell, and the whole bunch owe us an apology.