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Mr. Novak, NBC TV Series 1963-65.

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Flashgear, Jul 11, 2017.

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  1. Message #401 of 439 Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    There is another season two episode of Mr. Novak, Visions of Sugar Plums (Oct. 6, 1964) W: Joseph Calvelli. D: Paul Wendkos. Guest starring Eddie Albert, which might present further music clearance issues, although far less challenging than the Jazz themed Let's Dig a Little Grammar...my screen caps taken from my copy of this episode, which is of much higher quality, obviously...
    A visions 9.JPG

    Eddie Albert, twice nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor in Roman Holiday and The Heartbreak Kid, plays a mysterious 'vagabond', who hasn't taught in 15 years, but is hired on by a desperate Principal Vane during a staffing crunch, where faculty is suddenly short staffed...
    A visions 1.JPG

    Eddie Albert plays Charlie O'Rourke, who arrives in the old truck and camper that is also apparently his home...he's an English Lit teacher with a fondness for singing and playing his guitar, which of course he does on the way into Jefferson High, much to the delight of the 'problem' students that he has been called upon to help...
    A visions 4.JPG

    Vane's first impression of O'Rourke is not positive...he remarks to Novak: "I'm not sure if he's a great teacher, or just a con man"...
    A visions 10.JPG

    O'Rourke turns on his seemingly effortless charm during his orientation with the assistant principal...
    A visions 15.JPG

    Phyllis Avery had joined the cast for season two, replacing the invaluable Jeanne Bal who had basically played the very same continuing role in season one...Avery debuts here as asst. principal Ruth Wilkinson...
    A visions 14.JPG

    During the staffing crisis, Principal Vane himself is called upon to teach an Algebra class...he's a little freaked out, considering he hasn't actually taught math in nearly 20 years...he is amused by O'Rourke's advice on how to handle this emergency...
    A visions 18.JPG

    O'Rourke hilariously tells Vane: "I'd be very general in my approach, and stall for time. Let them carry the ball. You know, Mr. Vane, children can be marvelous teachers. In a little while, all my cobwebs would disappear and I'd be in command."
    A visions 19.JPG

    What transpires here is a warm and supremely memorable scene for the great Dean Jagger, where indeed what unfolds from Vanes nervous and disjointed Algebra presentation ends with the ease of his naturally inspiring rhetoric: "The ancient Egyptians were interested in 'how', the ancient Greeks in 'why'. We remember the Egyptians for their well engineered heaps of rocks. We remember the Greeks for their philosophy, logic, literature and art." A young Bonnie Franklin makes another appearance as one of the enraptured students...
    A visions 24.JPG

    Meanwhile, O'Rourke deals with his 'problem' students, including a painfully shy and emotionally crippled girl played by Adrienne Hayes...
    A visions 26.JPG

    Without permission, O'Rourke reconvenes his class at a local lake, enjoying the splendor of a sunny afternoon and once again playing his guitar and singing to the delight of the kids...he might have a life lesson in mind for the kids, though, and perhaps an awakening for himself...
    A visions 28.JPG

    The shy young girl is beckoned by O'Rourke into a reading of Robert Frost's Stopping by woods on a snowy evening...in understanding the immortal themes of the treasured Americana, a touching and meaningful interplay results, accompanied by the exquisite music of Leith Stevens...beautiful...
    A visions 31.JPG

    Beverly Washburn on the left, Robert Diamond in the middle, among the students drawn into the bliss of a meditation in nature, warmed by the afternoon sunshine...and perhaps the inner warmth of self discovery for themselves...
    A visions 34.JPG
    A visions 35.JPG

    Vane and Novak are furious at O'Rourke's impromptu and unauthorized field trip, and Miss Wilkinson is sent with a school bus to retrieve the kids for the end of the school day...she turns her qualified wrath upon him, unsure of his motivations and sincerity...is he dangerous, or just 'unconventional'?
    A visions 36.JPG

    She has, however, fallen somewhat under his spell...they have a spontaneous picnic, and before she knows it, night has fallen while O'Rourke has once again spun his magic... this time singing Shenandoah (Across the Wide Missouri), which alludes ironically to Mr. Novak producer E. Jack Neuman's next TV series, A Man Called Shenandoah, starring Robert Horton the next fall...
    A visions 38.JPG

    The next day, a reckoning must take place...perhaps with Miss Wilkinson's heart as collateral damage...
    A visions 43.JPG

    Vane is a brilliant and compassionate man...he can hear a heart break from across a room, but he is nonetheless surprised and shocked at the heartache his colleague is left to hold for herself...a lament for what might have been...
    A visions 46.JPG
    A visions 48.JPG
    A visions 50.JPG
     
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  2. Message #402 of 439 Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    The songs performed by guest star Eddie Albert in Visions of Sugar Plums are all traditional folk songs of the Great American songbook...Jimmy Crack Corn/Blue Tail Fly, Skip to My Lou, My Darlin' and Shenadoah/Across the Wide Missouri...so, none of the songs themselves have copyright, and are in the public domain...perhaps the original talent contract for Eddie Albert signed him off on any further claims for his musical contributions as the performer in this episode in regard to possible enhanced residuals in the event of syndication...you can generally play a few bars of a copyright song and cut it short without paying a royalty for what's called fair usage. If the Musician's Guild regulations of the day required Albert's renditions of these songs (in their totality) to be registered with ASCAP, then perhaps an inherited concession would need to be pursued as a music rights clearance with his estate prior to this episode ever being released on DVD, streaming or download...but who knows for sure? That's why Warners has a battery of entertainment law specialists to sort it all out...
    A visions 9.JPG
    A visions 2.JPG
    A visions 8.JPG
    A visions 32.JPG
    A visions 39.JPG
    A visions 40.JPG
    A visions 42.JPG
    A visions 35.JPG

    Although best known for his long career as an actor (he died at age 99 with hundreds of credits to his name), within a year of his singing on Mr. Novak, and with the great success of his new show Green Acres, Eddie Albert had another Multi Gold selling album, where he once again sang and played guitar, performing some Gospel and Folk standards, as well as the theme song of Green Acres too...

    [​IMG]

    Eddie Albert was already an established actor in Hollywood in 1942, when, much like the great Jimmy Stewart in the Army Air Corps, Eddie Albert went to the shooting war with the Marines in the Pacific...remember his memorable on camera interview for the BBC's The World at War?... Where Eddie recounted the horrors of the amphibious landing at Tarawa Atoll in November 1943...one of the bloodiest Marine battles of WW2, where nearly a thousand Marines died in just three days, with thousands more wounded...and nearly the entire 6000 man Japanese garrison wiped out in the fighting...much, much, respect to this man for leaving the privileged refuge of Hollywood behind to put his own life on the line as a fighting man in the service of his country...

    Oh, yes...hey, it's all in good, well meaning fun...
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Eddie also starred in Irving Berlin's Miss Liberty on Broadway introducing "Let's Take an Old Fashioned Walk" which had been written for Astaire and Garland for Easter Parade but replaced by "We're a Couple of Swells."
     
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  4. Message #404 of 439 Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    Hear, hear!

    As far as I'm concerned, this is Randall's thread. He started it, kept it going through the lean times when many of us doubted if we'd ever see this show debut on DVD, and he's contributed a massive amount of work on it. If he's fine with some fun tangents and Mountie pics, then that's good enough for me.
     
  5. Message #405 of 439 Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    That's a nice album cover...wonder if those are Albert's children, or just models for the cover? I must confess to being surprised that Eddie Albert had a singing career of sorts, though I shouldn't be, as so many golden age stars were double or triple threats and multi-talented. (And he's the best thing about Roman Holiday, as far as I'm concerned....)

    Good to know that there are some top-notch episodes in the second season. I've resumed reading Chuck Harter's book, and it seems like season two was plagued by all manner of behind-the-scenes problems. Leonard Freeman, for all his TV successes, perhaps wasn't the best fit for Novak. He doesn't come out so well in these chapters, especially for his (studio mandated) reduction of recurring characters roles. There still seem to be several intriguing-sounding episodes, such as the aforementioned Eddie Albert episode, the "mock U.N." episode with Robert Culp ("The Tender Twigs") and the one with Martin Landau and the "teaching machine" ("Enter a Strange Animal"). I can't say "Faculty Follies" sounds very promising, however. ;)

    Boy, you're not kidding about the prints for "Visions of Sugar Plums" episode being markedly superior, Randall! If that's any indication of the sort of quality we'll be getting on the Warner Archive S1 DVD set, then I'll be one happy camper.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Message #406 of 439 Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Thanks Jeff, for your very kind compliments. I really appreciate that. I'm still waiting for my season one Mr. Novak set (along with Eleventh Hour, Sugarfoot S3, Lawman S3) which I can't track, and because of our recent Postal strike actions, will be delayed until whenever...also have Outer Limits S2 Blu and Dan August coming, as well as the dirt cheap Mill Creek release of S.W.A.T. 1975-76, so these are Christmas gifts to me from a very dear and close friend, being myself, that all knowing bastard...

    Those are Eddie Albert's kids, son Edward and daughter Maria. Edward Albert was also an actor of note with many TV credits, and in films like Butterflies are Free and Midway...

    Matt, I found this Playbill for his Broadway run of that show...308 performances from July 1949-April 1950...
    [​IMG]

    About more possible music rights issues in season two of Mr. Novak...it appears that Tommy Sands second episode in season two (And Then I Wrote) also features more Duke Ellington music...his immortal big band standard, Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Don't Care if you Don't)...Tommy Sands was Frank Sinatra's son in law at the time, married to Nancy, and like 'ol Blue Eyes, obviously a big fan of the timeless Duke Ellington...in browsing Google newspapers, I discovered this 1953 concert ad in my hometown newspaper archive...
    A calgary duke.JPG

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    That was my thought as well. He's the thread starter and he's the primary contributor to it, so I have no problem with the pics.

    Gary "we are too close to Christmas for scrooge-like behavior, imho" O.
     
  8. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Cinematographer

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    OT: you've got a point there! I was just going off what I learned were the rules here, and I didn't realize that sometimes they can be bent.
     
  9. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Supporting Actor

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    Gee whiz, so much consternation. I frankly want to thank Randall for this thread and all the enthusiasm he's brought to the boards regarding "Novak." With the massive decline in tv-dvd releases, the boards here had become quite moribund a year or two ago, with only a scant few postings. But with threads like this one, or Rustifier's amazing "77 Sunset Strip" effort, or the 'daily viewings' thread and so forth, it brought some renewed life and activity to these waning quarters. With the news of tv-dvd releases remaining terribly sparse, and hence, extremely depressing, a bit of tangential detours and reflexive humor is a very welcome tonic, from my perspective. It's certainly more heartening than slews of unfulfilled 'wish lists' destined to remain unrequited pipe-dreams. Talk about downers. Again, I have to thank Randall and his contributions here for stirring up my own interest in seeing "Novak" again, from some rather dormant ashes.

    Got a big kick out of that cover to that "North-West Romances" pulp. I have an issue of that title from right around that era, from Summer 1944. Good stories. I read them all. Fiction House had a nice line of genre-oriented titles, like "Lariat," "Planet Stories," and "Detective Story," almost always with appealing cover art. Lots of good, old-style, sure-footed protagonists overcoming adversity and invariably winning their lady-love. No self-serving naval gazing, nor extraneous angst tolerated back then, thank goodness.
     
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  10. Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Screenwriter

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    Yes, Bert, It is troubling and kind of inhibiting to know that there are 'angry old men' here who resent us having fun.

    Many posts at HTF, are whining about shows that are not out. If something comes out, they whine it should have been something else, or in Blu-Ray..?

    So posts about things that we are watching and enjoying, and what other fun things that leads to are very entertaining.

    Thanks, again to Randall for graciously hosting this fun thread.
    000b3bb35251922c5fa6d004c396d70f.
     
  11. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Cinematographer

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    I wasn't against that in this thread; it's only that when I tried to scroll down to see the latest posts, the thread kept scrolling up as more and more and more pictures kept showing up. That was the only peeve I had here.
     
  12. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Thank you Bert for this wonderful and heartening post, I really appreciate it, my friend! I really appreciate the support, and your uniquely fascinating and informative insights!

    Thanks Bob, for your continuing support and contributions here my friend! Much appreciated!

    I don't think I would have even started this thread for a nearly forgotten show had Chuck Harter not written his extraordinary and wonderful book on Mr. Novak...I could hardly believe anyone had actually produced a book on this rarely seen 52 year old near obscurity of a television drama...let alone to have written a book of such astounding and unexpected quality. He's told me that he only discovered the show in early 2015, viewing home made DVDs sent to him by a friend...he quickly became possessed with an urgency to find out everything he could about the show and to see if a book was even remotely possible. He's well situated in Los Angeles, but I don't think he would have succeeded to the degree he has without his innate talent for research, and his relentless drive born from his sincere love of the show. The book is his labor of love...he's a true believer in the optimism and ideals as represented by the fabled Mr. Novak, and inspired by those ideals. The guy is a true Renaissance man...a talented writer, researcher and musician...hat's off to him!

    In associated Mr. Novak news, it's just been reported that screenwriter John D.F. Black has passed away at age 86...he wrote 6 episodes in season two of Mr. Novak, including With a Hammer in his Hand, Lord! Lord!, for which his script won the prestigious Writer's Guild Award for 1965...he is also known for his writing on Star Trek (The Naked Time), Combat! (Survival), and Mannix (A Day Filled With Shadows), among many scripts he wrote for vintage TV...
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Message #413 of 439 Dec 6, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    Another Mr. Novak season two episode with possible music complications...And Then I Wrote (April 20, 1965) W: Joseph Calvelli, Mel Goldberg. D: Abner Biberman. Guest Starring Tommy Sands, Mike Kellin, Norman Fell, Louise Latham.
    A then 13.JPG

    Tommy Sands returns for his second episode of season two, playing an entirely different character than he did in the earlier Let's Dig a Little Grammar...the more I see of this guy, the more I like him as an actor...he's very effective and convincing in these appearances, with the strength to carry an episode, although he is given a superb supporting cast in both of these outings...he had become an overnight teen idol in 1957, with his chart topping success with the song Teen-Age Crush...I think he was a far better actor than a singer...
    A then 2.JPG

    He plays another outstanding scholar, with a talent for spacecraft design, here with what appears to be a large scale model of the Surveyor Moon lander...
    A then 1.JPG

    His father is played by the great Mike Kellin...the father is the ineffectual owner of a record store where a dissatisfied customer is seen sounding off about the disappointing customer service...the customer is played by Mr. Novak Producer and Co-creator E. Jack Neuman in an uncredited cameo appearance...
    A then 6.JPG

    The reason for the poor customer service is the ongoing song writing sessions that Kellin and his friend (Norman Fell) are occupied with in a back room of the money losing record store...Kellin is so obsessed with trying to write the perfect top 40 easy listening hit that he completely ignores his son announcing his acceptance of an advanced science scholarship at a prestigious university...
    A then 9.JPG

    Norman Fell is the lyricist to Kellin's written music...a long standing but thus far unsuccessful writing partnership in quest of selling their new song to the great Tony Bennett...
    A then 16.JPG

    Louise Latham plays Kellin's devoted girlfriend...
    A then 17.JPG

    Principal Woodridge (Burgess Meredith) is ecstatic that the "first man on Mars" may be the scholarship winning Tommy Sands of Jefferson High...
    A then 20.JPG

    The problem is, the kid feels he has to turn down the scholarship in order to help his overwhelmed father in holding on to the failing record store business...
    A then 21.JPG

    He tells Novak: "You've been in the store, Mr. Novak. Did my pop impress you as the kind of man who could run that store alone? While he's writing songs in a back room with his collaborator, I leave town for a couple of days and that store falls apart. Could you imagine what it would be like if I was gone for a couple of years? That store is all my pop has going for him right now. It's what keeps him writing songs, and writing songs is what keeps him alive!"...
    A then 24.JPG

    Louise Latham...
    A then 29.JPG

    Norman Fell get's a rejection letter back from Tony Bennett's arranger...informing him that they liked the music a whole lot better when it was known as Don't Get Around Much Anymore, (Don't care if You Don't)...as written and performed by Duke Ellington and Bob Russell some twenty years before! Fell angrily retorts: "I write the best lyrics of my life, and it's to stolen music!"...somehow, and perhaps subconsciously, Mike Kellin has used a well known Jazz standard, thinking the music to be original and his own...
    A then 30.JPG

    Latham knows that Kellin's son must be persuaded to take his scholarship and leave his father behind, to be looked after by her, after all...Novak, being the saint that he is, decides to intercede on her behalf...
    A then 32.JPG

    Kellin is crushed and embarrassed at the realization that his music is so obviously derived from an immortal Jazz standard, well known and so familiar to even casual Jazz fans...he struggles to understand how he could have done this in the first place...
    A then 34.JPG

    "Maybe that's the way it happens. Maybe after 500 songs, 500 failures, there's nothing left but to reach deep down and come up with something somebody else wrote 20 years ago. I wonder if I ever wrote anything I didn't steal!"...
    A then 38.JPG

    Sands is, at first, angry with Novak for hurting his father, albeit with a dose of truth...
    A then 39.JPG

    Tommy Sands and Mike Kellin are exceptional in this fine episode...completely convincing with genuine and affecting performances as father and son...
    A then 40.JPG

    Remarkably, this time the Duke Ellington music is acknowledged in the closing credits, most likely because it is heard no fewer than four times in the body of this episode, and the entire structure of the story is built upon the song itself...
    A then 41.JPG

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Supporting Actor

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    The music rights are such a crazy curve-ball in these situations. Being a later-era Ellington tune makes it seem more likely to cause problems. On the other hand, at least it was credited at the time. That shows some forward thought, legally speaking. I was always surprised to hear the actual commercial recording of Ellington's "Jubilee Stomp" (1928) being used to represent the band music in a dance-hall scene in the ZaSu Pitts / Thelma Todd short "Asleep in the Feet" (1933). I suspect that early Ellington stuff was still under the control of his rather notorious and avaricious manager Irving Mills, who pocketed some bucks for it from Hal Roach's usage. You really don't often encounter 'commercially released' recordings in film or early-tv too often, probably for a myriad reasons, from legal to union-driven restrictions. It's so rare that I tend to remember such examples. Another one being the late Colleen Moore silent, "Why Be Good" ((1929), long thought lost, but recently found, restored, and put out on dvd by Warner Archives. There was a similar party/dance scene in which genuine commercial recordings were used for that part of the soundtrack, including the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks recordings of "Blazin'" and their popular "Here Comes My Ball and Chain," released on Victor the preceding year. At least, I think those were on the film's original disc soundtrack, and not a later-day replacement for a missing reel of Vitaphone discs.

    That last cover to "North-West Romances" was the best yet. My gosh, but I love that kind of stuff. If I had a poster of that cover, I'd put it on my wall! As a sidenote, this title, along with Clayton Publishing's "Ranch Romances" from the 1920s/30s were still pretty vibrant action fare. Don't let the word "romance" fool you. At least not in the earlier days of these pulps. True, it was usually an indication that the stories included a stronger or more prominent female in the narrative, but these were still pretty heavy on the genre-driven action and adventure. Later on, these type of titles did devolve somewhat into more thin-and-wispy 'romantic' plots for a female-centric readership.
     
  15. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    But if there are Scrooges with their attitude who want to leave the thread, let them do so and decrease the surplus population. :D
     
  16. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    I loved Scrooge. He was a great businessman until the end when he got corrupted and wimped out. Going to see the play next week but I just get so sad at the end when they ruin the poor man with all that sentimental nonsense.
     
  17. Message #417 of 439 Dec 7, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    JamesSmith

    JamesSmith Screenwriter

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    Hear! Hear! You speak the truth Neal. For many years, I've spoken the same about the Grinch. How perfect, how anti-commercialism he was at the beginning of the cartoon, and then some sixties politically correct "guidelines" make the writers change this most perfect, green skinned creature into another hopeless, softy going along with society's middle class values. Scrooge and the Grinch are 100% iconoclasts that should have been left to their own devices. Did I mention Milburn Drysdale is my favorite character in the Beverly Hillbillies?

    James
     
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  18. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    And don't forget Homer Bedloe on Petticoat Junction. Another smart businessman just trying to do his job and shut down an obsolete, money losing train line.
     
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  19. Bert Greene

    Bert Greene Supporting Actor

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    Face it, Neil. You blew it. You only had to behave yourself for two-and-a-half more weeks. Now Santa ain't going to be bringing you that Susan Oliver pin-up calendar.

    You are your own worst enemy.
     
  20. Message #420 of 439 Dec 8, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
    Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    You know, when I take my dog out for a walk, she always insists on taking a good piss on the same old pile of coal...every time out...some mighty fine lumps of coal in there...they would make fine stocking stuffers for a few folks I have in mind...hardee har, har...

    Santa can bring me that Susan Oliver pin-up calendar...and one for Brenda Scott, Kathryn Hays and Diane Baker too!
     
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