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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Re: "He's very clean; isn't he."
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0217  Monday, 28 January 2002

[1]     From:   Tom Dale Keever <
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        Date:   Sunday, 27 Jan 2002 13:50:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0200 Re: "He's very clean; isn't he."

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 Jan 2002 10:02:17 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0200 Re: "He's very clean; isn't he."


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Dale Keever <
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Date:           Sunday, 27 Jan 2002 13:50:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 13.0200 Re: "He's very clean; isn't he."
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0200 Re: "He's very clean; isn't he."

>> I don't suppose I'll be the only one to point out that the actor who
>> deserves his due for playing Paul's clean old grandfather in A HARD
>> DAY'S NIGHT was not Wilford Bramley but Wilfrid Brambell, better known
>> to British audiences as Steptoe Senior in the (superior) British version
>> of SANFORD AND SON.
>
>"Comparisons are odorous" (there, I've tethered my upcoming remark to
>Shakespeare).  In the spirit of giving actors their due: Redd Foxx is
>one of the most respected comedians of American situation comedy, and
>for his audiences, there is no superior!
>
>Heather James

There is no need to attempt a contrast between Brambell and Foxx, both
of whom were inimitable geniuses, to hold that the British series was
far better than its US spin-off.  Attempting to duplicate the success of
"All in the Family's" Americanization of "'Til Death Do Us Part," the
producers merely patched together take-offs of the British plots for the
first season, but were never able to match the writing of "Steptoe's"
Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.  Once they ran out of Galton and Simpson
plots the series floundered in the hands of lesser TV hacks.  Galton and
Simpson were the geniuses behind Tony Hancock as well and their Steptoe
scripts have been compared to the early plays of Beckett, with some
justification.  Both the Steptoe and Hancock scripts have been
published, so anyone who is interested can take a look.  Galton and
Simpson also scripted the two "Steptoe and Son" feature films which are
available on video.  Brambell's co-star was Hary H.  Corbett, a veteran
of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, and a major talent in his own
right.

I suppose this has gotten a bit off the SHAKSPER thread, but I don't
think consideration of other "playwrights" who were able to bring
serious literary quality to a popular entertainment genre is entirely
out of place.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Monday, 28 Jan 2002 10:02:17 -0600
Subject: 13.0200 Re: "He's very clean; isn't he."
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0200 Re: "He's very clean; isn't he."

  Heather James writes,

> In the spirit of giving actors their due: Redd Foxx is
> one of the most respected comedians of American situation comedy, and
> for his audiences, there is no superior!

Perhaps, but I don't think the point was the relative merits of Brambell
and Foxx, but rather of the two programs. I had the chance to see
"Steptoe and Son" a few times and loved it. I saw a few episodes of
"Sanford and Son" and enjoyed it. Reaching back over all those years, my
judgment is that the latter was (or gradually became) a vehicle for
Foxx, who made the most of it. The former was much more ramified, much
less a "vehicle."

De gustibus non disputandum (that's Latin for "you pays your money and
you takes your choice").

Next question: did either actor ever do Shakespeare?

(Possible follow-up: what roles would you have liked to see them in?)

Cheers,
don

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