Friday, August 11, 2017

What Might've Been: The Roaring Twenties (1960)

On the surface, WB's The Roaring Twenties might've been the studio's answer to another ABC series, The Untouchables, except that instead of federal investigators, the protagonists were reporters.

Rex Reason ("This Island Earth") & Donald May (later of As The World Turns) were the leads. Dorothy Provine provided a distraction as ingenue Pinky Pinkham. Mike Road (ex-Buckskin, later better known for his cartoon work) was their police contact. The cast also included Gary Vinson, who moved from this series directly to McHale's Navy, as Roaring Twenties was cancelled early in 1962, midway through its 2nd season, with remaining episodes burned off right before the start of the fall season, which, in those days, started in late September-early October, as they do now.

In "Lucky Charm", Pinky is courted by a mobster (Cesare Danova), who may have other plans. Pay attention to when Pinky sings "Don't Bring Lulu". I think we may have found the inspiration for "My Name is Tallulah", from "Bugsy Malone", nearly 15 years later.

I'm begging for someone, like, maybe Me-TV, to pick up this show.

Rating: A-.


Mike Doran said...

Sometime during the first season, John Dehner made a few appearances as a flamboyant reporter named Duke Williams - and promptly blew the other male leads off the screen.
When The Roaring 20s returned for season 2, Rex Reason had left, and John Dehner was a full co-star.
Unfortunately, the bad timeslot didn't help ...
I have a handful of 20s episodes on c2c DVDs; in about a third of them, Dehner basically stars, with everybody else in support.
In all cases, Dorothy Provine gets her song of the week.

By the way, Warner Bros. was very conscientious about the music; they got a pile of publicity when they found the legendary piano man Meade Lux Lewis, and made him a regular musician on Roaring 20s.

Those of you who've seen MeTV's nightly reruns of 77 Sunset Strip know that Warners is saving at least some of their TV library; maybe they ought to start bringing more of it back ...

hobbyfan said...

Since 77 Sunset Strip is in DVR territory (overnight viewing), I wouldn't know.

Will WB ever release the series on DVD?

Hal Horn said...

I wish Warner Archive would put full seasons of 77 SUNSET STRIP up for streaming, but so far it's only been "best ofs" with no episodes from Season One. I also wish they'd make ROARING TWENTIES available on the WA Instant site, since I'd love to see it. It's about the only TV series from that era that lasted more than a year that hasn't been streamed yet.

hobbyfan said...

Screw Warner Archive. I prefer to see the DVD's available at Walmart, Best Buy, et al. Even though it did last just 2 seasons, it would be a sort-of companion piece to the Untouchables, covering the era of Prohibition, as Untouchables was set post-Prohibition.

Mike Doran said...

Curiosity arises:

How precisely is DVR beyond your reach?

Because that's how I'm seeing 77 Sunset Strip.

MeTV airs 77 at three in the blessed AM; I use the DVR to watch at more civilized hours.

And The Roaring 20s was scarcely the pseudo-docudrama that The Untouchables was, at least in the early going.
20s was more 'serio-comic', like the other Warner detective shows - and once John Dehner took hold, the 'comic' part won out.

hobbyfan said...

Just not interested in using a DVR, as that would add to my cable bill.