Posted October 23 2009 - 11:13 PM
Thanks Mike- nice to be here! The stills from the Pickalittle reprise are in a novelization of the screenplay which Willson penned as a "tie-in" and it must have gone to publication before the final cut was established. Could be findable on Ebay. I don't think Warners were too good on retaining out-takes (egs. look at all the trouble Ron Haver went to to locate missing footage for the 1954 A STAR IS BORN, the 'Together' out-take from GYPSY seems to have come from a privately-owned 16mm print). In the doco (included again in the BluRay) they use a black+white segment from a "work print"- if this print is extant and complete, it could have it. I read that UA foolishly destroyed material in a warehouse which included their out-takes(so we aren't likely to see 'Coffe Break' from HOW TO SUCCEED now.) I am surprised that no "extended CD soundtrack" of THE MUSIC MAN has been put together. Most of the other big musicals (inc GYPSY) have had expanded, remastered versions released to what I assume must have been good sales figures. I once sneaked on to the Warner Bros backlot in 1981 (with a helpful extra from 'Fantasy Island'!) and found many familiar buildings such as the Waltons' home (used in Bette Davis' DARK VICTORY in 1939 and no doubt many other movies), 'River City High School' and the MId-Western town set (used for River City, Salinas in EAST OF EDEN , KINGS ROW in 1941 and-at the time I saw it- Hazzard County for the TV series).
As it was shot in Technirama (an anamorphic version of VistaVision) it was easy to blow THE MUSIC MAN up to 70mm.prints. It was shown this way in London, and I'm guessing in certain US cities. The costs would no doubt be prohibitive, but I would love it if Warner Home Video transferred this BluRay from a 65mm print. I have 2001 on Blu-Ray and it looks so good that I have been wondering if it was taken from a 65mm positive print. BluRay is, in fact, ideal for movies shot in this 'High-Def' film format (twice the resolution of 35mm).
Has any other HTF MUSIC MAN fan noticed the balding heads amongst the crowd cheering+ observing the 'fantasy band' as it emerges from the High School hall in the Finale? I think they may be Warner executives making a 'cameo' appearance on what must have been an exciting day's shoot on the backlot. I could be wrong, but they just don't look like regular period-clothed extras to me!
Fans may be interested (and saddened) to read about Timmy (Tommy Djilas) Everett's early demise at 39 after a troubled life.(Imdb used to have some posts dealing with his life on their message boards). He won a Theatre World award in 1958 for playing the suicidal young Jewish man in the Broadway version of THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS (which Warners filmed in 1960 with Robert Preston). Pert Kelton, who died only 6 years after MUSIC MAN was released, was an old-time Vaudeville performer who was in many movies in the early sound era, one of which (THE BOWERY) comes on the Fox movie channel from time to time. She was the original 'Alice' in The Honeymooners but reportedly was not retained in the cast due to persecution towards her and her husband in the McCarthy era.Final trivia note: I have read that Meredith Willson(real name Robert Meredith Reiniger) had no success in finding people to back his new show while the character of Winthrop was a spastic boy. When he was altered to a grieving introvert with a giant-size lisp, things changed! For one man to do the book (script),music and lyrics of such a brilliant+ legendary show is truly amazing and he is surely worthy of more credit for this achievement. His later shows were not as successful (though MOLLY BROWN came close, not that you would realize that easily from the number of clever songs that were dropped by MGM when they filmed it), but probably the praise for MUSIC MAN which meant the most to him came from the great Richard Rodgers, who told him over lunch at Sardi's after the Broadway opening: "I'm a tremendous fan".( Me too.)