What's My Line? Forums

CBS (ended 1967)

Charles Nelson Reilly Died

  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [1]May 28, 2007
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    Charles Nelson Reilly dead at 76:

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/05/28/reilly.obit.ap/index.html

     

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  • Avatar of Stan16mm

    Stan16mm

    [2]May 28, 2007
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    A  few years ago, a few friends and I saw his one man show.  One of the funniest, whimsical evenings ever.  His stories of growing up with his parents, trying to get work as an executive said that "queers" were not allowed on television - then years later looking at how many times his name was in TV Guide each week were painful for him back in the day but somehow talking about it in the show made it at once, sad then funny and how ridiculous it all was.

    This was a real personality.  At the end of the show, he introduced some friends in the audience who were about to get married.  He told them how he'd be there later in the week at the wedding and he began to cry at how happy he was.  He got the adience howling by simply saying, "Well, I told you, it's that kind of a show".

    How lucky for all of us that the executive who held him back was so wrong.  I know of friends who were trained as actors by Charles Nelson Reilly and they describe him as "the best teacher".  He has left his mark on so many people and I wish him eternal peace.

     

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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [3]May 29, 2007
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    I wish eternal peace for that network executive who never told his side of the story. If we're talking the early 1960s, then he could have known personally or worked with Dave Tebet, a legendary macho NBC exec. According to a best - selling 1986 book on the history of NBC that stayed in print for many years, one of Dave's jobs was to hush up the violent fights that one particular lesbian TV star had with her lover in public. The book doesn't name her, but authors Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad might tell you if you ask them. (Be forewarned that they are native New Yorkers, and they might charge you. Now that Dave Tebet is dead, they own the goods.)

    So Dave Tebet may or may not have known the man who gave the rejection routine to Charles Nelson Reilly, but we know that this anonymous, silent man followed the custom of his time. The custom was that you didn't hire people who refused to play love scenes with the opposite sex. The trick was to say you would do anything and then make TV casting directors laugh. That made it much less likely that the side you got at an audition would include a love scene. Did George Gobel ever get within six inches of a leading lady's mouth ? Arthur Godfrey ? Jack Webb ? (Many people found Mr. Webb funny.) Those entertainers had something called privacy. Dave Tebet and other businessmen respected it. What was the real reason Jack Webb and Julie London divorced ? If it involved a same - sex affair, that's something that was nobody's business in the era of privacy.

    In that bygone era, Charles Nelson Reilly got plenty of work in something that used to be called a Broadway show. Maybe he talked about his Elvis - inspired role in "Bye Bye Birdie" decades later.  Maybe he reminisced about it in his recent "one - man show" and people have forgotten what he said. These "one - man shows," which have too much information and too little conflict, differ a lot from the Broadway shows of yesteryear. One thing remains the same: you have to pay money to see it in person. You have to leave home. As long as Mr. Reilly didn't discuss any television executives while he appeared on television in your home, then I see no reason to bombard people with the wrong information on tv.com. Theater stories belong in theater.com. Don't let the information in the Information Age run wild. In the Jazz Age the musicians knew when to stop. What's next ? Finding out if executives at Mutual of Omaha objected to certain gay animals on "Wild Kingdom ?"

    Edited on 05/31/2007 8:50pm
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [4]May 31, 2007
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    GSN Honors TV Personality and Tony Award-Winner Charles Nelson Reilly With a Match Game Marathon on Saturday, June 2 From 9 AM to 8 PM ET.

    GSN will also air Reilly's appearances on What's My Line? (1964) and I've Got A Secret (1972) on Monday morning June 4.

    More here:

    CHARLES NELSON REILLY TRIBUTE

    Edited on 05/31/2007 1:27am
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [5]May 31, 2007
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    I presume this means that WML? EPISODE #783 will be skipped over for the airing of CNR's 1964 appearance?
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [6]May 31, 2007
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    Sadly, your presumption is most likely a valid one.

    CNR's 1964 appearance as a guest panelist is on EPISODE #711 of May 3, 1964.

    This episode last aired on GSN on June 11, 2006.

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  • Avatar of TVGord

    TVGord

    [7]Jun 1, 2007
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    Oh, let's all cross our fingers that no one of significance to GSN dies next month, in the days leading up to Dorothy's final appearance and the first show without her.  We've been waiting to see these episodes for so long, it would be a cruel joke if they should choose to pre-empt those episodes for any reason!  (fingers crossed, teeth gritting).

     As for CNR, there's a special place in my view of the afterlife for people who made us laugh here on earth.  CNR has an honored spot there.  :-)

    Edited on 06/01/2007 4:34am
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [8]Jun 1, 2007
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    TVGord wrote:

    Oh, let's all cross our fingers that no one of significance to GSN dies next month, in the days leading up to Dorothy's final appearance and the first show without her. We've been waiting to see these episodes for so long, it would be a cruel joke if they should choose to pre-empt those episodes for any reason! (fingers crossed, teeth gritting).

    As for CNR, there's a special place in my view of the afterlife for people who made us laugh here on earth. CNR has an honored spot there. :-)

    Here, here.  The Match Game is the 1970s at its best:  risque humor that would have gotten censored in the 1960s.  It is risque humor without the information overload that ruins it for many people.  I don't suppose Fred Silverman, who was the CBS programming director circa 1974 before he moved to ABC, was the evil network executive Mr. Reilly encountered in the late 1950s ?  Early 60s ?   (Presumably that was before he sat on the What's My Line panel in May of 1964.)

     

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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [9]Jun 1, 2007
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    stopettearoma wrote:
    I don't suppose Fred Silverman, who was the CBS programming director circa 1974 before he moved to ABC, was the evil network executive Mr. Reilly encountered in the late 1950s ?  Early 60s ?   (Presumably that was before he sat on the What's My Line panel in May of 1964.)

    Frankly I doubt it would've been Mr. Silverman - who I think first joined CBS around 1966, in charge of children's programming.  (I.I.N.M., Lidsville on which CNR co-starred in the early 1970's was on ABC, which Freddie didn't join until 1975.)
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [10]Jun 1, 2007
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    W-B wrote:
    stopettearoma wrote:
    I don't suppose Fred Silverman, who was the CBS programming director circa 1974 before he moved to ABC, was the evil network executive Mr. Reilly encountered in the late 1950s ?  Early 60s ?   (Presumably that was before he sat on the What's My Line panel in May of 1964.)

    Frankly I doubt it would've been Mr. Silverman - who I think first joined CBS around 1966, in charge of children's programming.  (I.I.N.M., Lidsville on which CNR co-starred in the early 1970's was on ABC, which Freddie didn't join until 1975.)

    Maybe we're better off not knowing who it was.  It doesn't matter, anyway, because Mr. Reilly got on What's My Line in May of 1964.  Network executives didn't object to that.  Many people wanted to get on the show but didn't for a variety of reasons.

     

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  • Avatar of billsav57

    billsav57

    [11]Jun 7, 2007
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    A few days before CNR died, I looked at his MySpace page. He obviously had been sick, so I assume he had someone else put it together, but I hope he contributed at least the information. On it, his TV appearances in the 70s were downplayed -- it dealt much more with his stage career. If you saw him on WML, he was not the clown he was on Match Game -- although I could watch his appearances on there for hours as well. He was also one of Burt Reynolds' best friends. A truly fascinating and perhaps misunderstood personality.

     

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