Return to an era of big, glitzy family TV specials
Posted on Feb 05 2010 by Greg
There were two "Alice" specials in 1966: the hip Hanna-Barbera "What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?"
and the more traditional, Hollywood Palace-style "Alice Through the Looking Glass."
I'm hoping the release of the new "Alice" feature this year inspires the H-B special to be at last released to DVD, but this Tuesday, the "Looking Glass" special is finally going to be available (up until now it was a budget VHS).
This glitzy special, which was rebroadcast on Thanksgiving Day, 1972, after star Judi Rolin
appeared in the Macy's parade, features an all-star musical variety cast including Agnes Moorehead, Ricardo Montalbán, Nanette Fabray, Jack Palance, The Smothers Brothers, Jimmy Durante
, Broadway's Robert Coote
), London's Roy Castle
(Singin' in the Rain
) and great character actors like Iris Adrian
and Jackie Joseph
. Alice father is played by Richard Denning
, who played Lucille Ball's
spouse on radio's "My Favorite Husband" and lost Deborah Kerr
to Cary Grant
in the movie "Affair to Remember."
The score was released on RCA Records on vinyl. The Emmy-winning costumes were co-created by Bob Mackie
. Moose Charlap
, who wrote most of the music for the Broadway "Peter Pan," did the same for this. The score includes the "Backwards Alphabet," which was also recorded as a single by Soupy Sales
It's a little corny and cheesy by today's jaded, cynical standards, but a feast for the eyes and ears as well as a time capsule of legendary talents of the 20th century.
And what happened to 20-year-old Judi Rolin
, who played Alice? She did some other TV, including a soap opera, but is now apparently a realtor in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Thanks for confirming that the show was rebroadcast in 1972. I knew I remembered seeing it, because of the scene in which Alice is frightened to discover that Jack "Jabberwock" Palance has only an evil side and not a good one. Since I was only three years old when the original broadcast occurred, I knew I couldn't have been remembering that.
(I do have vivid memories of falling in love with Janet Waldo's Alice in the H-B special, so I'm guessing it must have been rerun a time or two as well.)
The H-B Alice first aired on March 30, 1966 on ABC and was rebroadcast the following year, but TV Guide mistakenly advertised a Debbie Reynolds special for that time slot and many of us missed the rerun!
An edited version was aired in syndication in 1977 and apparently it's been shown on Boomerang cable for those lucky enough to have a cable company that carries it.