Saturday, December 12, 2015

Forgotten TV: Bracken's World (1969)

In the post-Star Trek era of 1969, NBC was turning its attention toward, ah, biting the hand that feeds it, if you will.

Whereas Universal's The Name of the Game, in its 2nd season, was set at a fictional magazine, 20th Century Fox's Bracken's World was set at a fictional version of the studio, Century Studios, offering a look behind the scenes in a not-quite-soap-opera-style setting.

Studio head John Bracken was heard but not seen during the 1st season, with Warren Stevens doing voice-overs, communicating with his secretary (Eleanor Parker). However, changes were made headed into season 2. Stevens & Parker were gone, and Bracken was given a new voice, and a body to go with it, as Leslie Nielsen came over from The Bold Ones (The Protectors) to replace Stevens as Bracken. Unfortunately, Nielsen never had much luck fronting a series, and just a few months after The Protectors met its end, so did Bracken's World, which had its last episode on Christmas night, 1970. It would be more than a decade before Nielsen would land another series, this time the police satire, Police Squad!, which became a cult classic, spawning a trilogy of movies despite the fact that the series, like Protectors and, before that, The New Breed, lasted just 1 season. Go figure.

The following compilation comes from the series' pentultimate episode, "The Country Boy", with guest star Tim Matheson playing an aspiring singer. Matheson performs covers of James Taylor's seminal "Fire & Rain" (joined in progress), and, at the start of the episode, The Youngbloods' "Get Together", sung in a voice that suggests the influence of B. J. Thomas, who had a huge hit that year with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head" (from "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid").

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