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Old 03-14-2012, 03:07 PM   #1
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Default My Living Doll - The Official Collection: Volume One DVD Review

In the 1980s, the TV series Small Wonder was on the air, a series created by Howard Leeds about a family living with a girl who was actually a robot, pretending (to the rest of the world) like she was a real human being. But this was far from the first series with a premise, and not even the first one involving Howard Leeds. In 1964, following the success of the series My Favorite Martian, CBS turned to producer Jack Chertok to create something new. And out of this request came My Living Doll, television's original series about a "living android."

The series starred Bob Cummings, who had already made a name for himself in television years earlier as the star of his own series, The Bob Cummings Show, as Dr. Bob McDonald, a psychiatrist for the government space program (yes, much like Dr. Bellows on I Dream of Jeannie!). Things change quickly for Bob when he meets the mysterious woman wrapped in nothing but a bath towel, who turns out to be a robot named Rhoda (played by Julie Newmar, pre-Catwoman). Meeting this new woman turns out to be much more than he anticipated, though. Now, he has the responsibility of training her to function just as any human would, but at the same time, keeping Rhoda's secret from the rest of the world... which certainly isn't easy with his sister and neighbor Peter constantly in the way!

The series only ran for one season on CBS before being canceled. The series didn't quite have the ratings necessary to move ahead, and that matter was only complicated when star Bob Cummings asked to be released from his contract due to those low-ratings before the first season even ended. With only one season of episodes produced, the series simply wasn't viable enough to be re-air in syndication, despite efforts to make that happen. As the years passed by and the series went unaired, episodes simply became "lost," with even the copyright owner not knowing where they can be found. But now, the "lost" status of the series changes a bit, as the series debuts on DVD, marking the first opportunity for most people to even see the series. With that, we have eleven of the twenty six episodes presented in MPI's release of My Living Doll - The Official Collection: Volume One.

Read our review by skees53 here:
http://www.sitcomsonline.com/mylivin...dvdreview.html

Please post any questions or comments about this set.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:46 PM   #2
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Default The reason Bob Cummings...

..."walked away" from the series in January 1965 was due to the friction caused by a script Cummings commissioned from Ray Allen (Saffian), which would have been the 22nd episode to have been filmed, "Grandpa Visits". This episode would have introduced "Grandpa McDonald"- virtually the same character {"Grandpa Collins"** Bob had played on his earlier series. When executive producer Jack Chertok read the script, he was furious, because Julie Newmar had been literally written out of the story ["Rhoda" would have appeared only briefly, at the beginning and end]. He called Bob into his office for a meeting, and let him have it. Chertok reminded Bob that this was "MY LIVING DOLL", not "THE BOB CUMMINGS SHOW", and that Julie was his co-star. He wasn't going to stand for Julie being off-camera for almost an entire episode {there was already tension behind the scenes between Bob and Julie, because, among other incidents, he tried to "teach" her how to act**, and he certainly wasn't going to indulge Cummings by allowing him to revive a character from his previous show. After the meeting ended, Bob decided to leave the series....Jack Mullaney became Julie's co-star for the final five episodes.

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Old 03-20-2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TV Knowledge Fan
..."walked away" from the series in January 1965 was due to the friction caused by a script Cummings commissioned from Ray Allen (Saffian), which would have been the 22nd episode to have been filmed, "Grandpa Visits". This episode would have introduced "Grandpa McDonald"- virtually the same character {"Grandpa Collins"** Bob had played on his earlier series. When executive producer Jack Chertok read the script, he was furious, because Julie Newmar had been literally written out of the story ["Rhoda" would have appeared only briefly, at the beginning and end]. He called Bob into his office for a meeting, and let him have it. Chertok reminded Bob that this was "MY LIVING DOLL", not "THE BOB CUMMINGS SHOW", and that Julie was his co-star. He wasn't going to stand for Julie being off-camera for almost an entire episode {there was already tension behind the scenes between Bob and Julie, because, among other incidents, he tried to "teach" her how to act**, and he certainly wasn't going to indulge Cummings by allowing him to revive a character from his previous show. After the meeting ended, Bob decided to leave the series....Jack Mullaney became Julie's co-star for the final five episodes.

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Old 03-21-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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I have a copy of the script, Zoneboy- sent to me by someone who told me what led to Bob walking off the show....there had been tension between Bob and Julie off-camera, and "Grandpa Visits" was the end of the line for Cummings, as far as Jack Chertok was concerned.

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Old 03-23-2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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That's pretty close, the "Grandpa Visits" script from Cummings was the final straw..also Cumming's was showing up two to three hours late to set on most days of filming.
As for Julie she never complained about anything she kept it to herself, a total pro in every sense she remains a very thoughtful soul.
This report came to me from several of our still living on set personel, to be fair Cumming's was promised his own show by CBS..this was hardly it.
It was based around Julie..not him from the start..most of the time Cummings was very on target and considerate..but he was lied to so you can hardly blame him for walking from the show.
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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Thank you for confirming my information, Peter! The story behind "Grandpa Visits" is a little-known one, but it should be, as that was the catalyst as to why Bob left the series.

Apparently, ever since the cancellation of his previous series on CBS ["THE NEW BOB CUMMINGS SHOW"] in 1962, one of their key executives- either president James T. Aubrey, or Hunt Stromberg, Jr.- assured Bob he'd be back on their schedule as soon as possible...even if Aubrey overruled Jack Chertok's choice of someone like Bob Crane or Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. playing the lead on "MY LIVING DOLL", in favor of Cummings {I believe there might have been some kind of ultimatum as well- "Either Bob Cummings is the star, or there's not going to BE any show"...Aubrey could be VERY arrogant about his programming choices and decisions**.

Indeed, Julie would not say ONE unkind word against Cummings- even to a newspaper reporter, shortly after his exit from the show. But what she put up with- the lateness, the "acting lessons", the arrogance- it's a miracle the series was produced at all!!

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Old 03-27-2012, 10:21 PM   #7
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The other funny story around Cummings was that when he met with Mr Chertok he made a demand that was out of the ball park.
So Jack thought has was set for Bob Crane or another choice, but CBS stepped up and paid Cummings and had him as a loan out from CBS.
This was part of the reason why the show went missing, in return for this huge payment CBS had the first syndication run of the show (they held rights for five years after it was axed).
So they were sent the master negs to work from and they sold it to a early cable set up out of New York called Teleprompter.
They ended up in a legal rangle with CBS over unpaid royalties (the curse of the Doll) but then it was to come back to Chertok Tv.
CBS offered to store these negs..which turned out to be a bad idea...as we all know.

A recent document also noted if they had of done a second season another lead was planed.
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:27 PM   #8
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Upon watching these on the DVD, its obvious that the show needed a different male lead. Cummings is so hammy and just so wrong for the part. Newmar is great but he brings the show down.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:09 PM   #9
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Well Ben, your so right..clearly he was not the right choice..Jack Chertok always took great care with his casting..this was forced on him and everyone connected with the show knew they were in trouble from the start.
Cumming's just went to town with demands..and script changes to highlight himself..the work is cringe worthy from him..but they were stuck with him.
When Jack Mullaney took over there was a chance to turn it around, they had some really charming scripts and fun guest stars in the final five..
They put Julie in the drivers seat as she should have been from the start..but it was a case of to much to late.
The episode "Dancing Doll" was to highlight Newmar's skills as a dancer, and the Eddie Foy Jr episode "Brother Harry" had some wonderful banter from Newmar to Foy..but again to late to turn the ship away from the iceberg.
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