NORMAN LEAR IS BACK ON TOP! It started on May 22, 2019, when ABC television broadcast “Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All In The Family And The Jeffersons.” The show consisted of live “recreations” of two episodes from the original “All In The Family” and “The Jeffersons” from the 1970s. This special was conceptualized and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and featured an all-star cast.
Live In Front Of A Studio Audience focused on two episodes involving George Jefferson: “Henry’s Farewell,” which introduced George Jefferson in 1973, and “A Friend in Need,” from 1975. The recreated episodes starred Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes as George and Louise Jefferson with Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as Archie and Edith Bunker. The show was a success and called attention to Lear’s amazing career.
Recently, Variety published “Norman Lear Won’t Stop: TV Legend’s Sony Deal Renewal Takes Him to Age 100.” His catalog of old television series and movies are mentioned as having caught the interest of people who pass as “creatives” in 21st century Hollywood. Some of these people would like a shot at remaking just about everything Lear ever did, including Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Fernwood 2 Night, neither of which attracted much of an audience during their original run on television.
The article also quotes Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra, who maintains an ongoing rapport with Lear:
“He’s not resting on his laurels. Whenever I see him, every few weeks, he always asks me, ‘What more can we do? What should we be doing with our library?’
“If there’s somebody we want to talk to, I always call Norman and say, ‘Hey, do you know this person?’ If he says yes, he’ll volunteer to send an email to introduce us. Because if you get an endorsement from Norman, that’s a pretty strong one. We don’t want everyone to know our secret weapon, but he’s one of our better salespeople right now.”
Then Vinciquerra dropped this:
“We have so many people coming to us saying, ‘We want to remake this show or that show.’ Very famous people whose names I won’t use, but they want to redo The Princess Bride. Some people want to do animated versions of some of the sitcoms. Not a month goes by when we don’t have an idea coming from some very big name wanting to do things with Norman.”
Needless to say, this statement wound up all over the internet. and caused Cary Elwes to tweet an astute observation:
“There’s a shortage of perfect movies in this world. It would be a pity to damage this one.”
Amen . . .
FEATURED IMAGE: A lovely photo of two beautiful young actors seemingly enjoying one another’s company. The first time that I saw The Princess Bride back in 1987, my immediate reaction was some producers should sign Cary Elwes to a multi-film deal and remake a few Eroll Flynn swashbucklers. In fact, I can see Elwes adapting his Dread Pirate Roberts persona to the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies and they might work even better than Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow!