robert berman

10

“The more I thought, the more I felt like crying. Life seemed so sweet and so sad, and so hard to let go of in the end. But hey, man, every day is a brand new deal, right? Just keep on working and something’s bound to turn up.”

American Splendor (2003, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini)

cinematography by Terry Stacey

In the last few decades, there has been considerable discussion of a basic paradox in the construction of the universe as we know it. Why are the laws of physics exactly balanced for animal life to exist? For example, if the Big Bang had been one-part-in-a-million more powerful, it would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and life to develop.

If the strong nuclear force were decreased 2 percent, atomic nuclei wouldn’t hold together, and plain-vanilla hydrogen would be the only kind of atom in the universe. If the gravitational force were decreased by a hair, stars (including the Sun) would not ignite.

These are just three of just more than two hundred physical parameters within the solar system and universe so exact that it strains credulity to propose that they are random—even if that is exactly what standard contemporary physics baldly suggests.

—  Bob Berman; Robert Lanza  Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe
10

Happy Labour Day!

10 Women Directed Films About the Workers & the Workforce

Blackboards | Samira Makhmalbaf | 2000
Clockwatchers | Jill Sprecher | 1997
Dance Girl Dance | Dorothy Arzner | 1940
The Governess | Sandra Goldbacher | 1998
Harlan County U.S.A. | Barbara Kopple | 1976
I Like It Like That | Darnell Martin | 1994
A League of Their Own | Penny Marshall | 1992
The Nanny Diaries | Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini | 2007
Zero Dark Thirty | Kathryn Bigelow | 2012
Zero Motivation | Talya Lavie | 2014

Lucy Saves Milton Berle

S4;E13~ December 6, 1965

Synopsis

When Milton Berle is doing research to play an alcoholic, he disguises himself as a drunk and visits the soup kitchen sponsored by Mr. Mooney’s bank.  Lucy and Mary Jane recognize him and so he tells them he is Milton Berle’s twin brother, Arthur.  Lucy vows to get even with Milton Berle for neglecting his brother and causes an uproar at a press party.  

Regular Cast

Lucille Ball (Lucy Carmichael), Gale Gordon (Theodore J. Mooney), Mary Jane Croft (Mary Jane Lewis)

Guest Cast

Milton Berle (Himself) was born Milton Berlinger in New York City on July 12, 1908. He started performing at the age of five. He perfected his comedy in vaudeville, early silent films, and then on radio, before taking his act to the small screen, where he would be proclaimed “Mr. Television” and later “Uncle Miltie.” He hosted “Texaco Star Theater” on NBC from 1948 to 1956. The variety show was re-titled "The Milton Berle Show” in 1954 when Texaco dropped their sponsorship. The program was briefly revived in 1958, but lasted only one season. In 1959 he played himself in “Milton Berle Hides out at the Ricardos.”  Berle continued to perform live, in films, and on television specials for the remainder of his career. One of his classic bits was to dress in drag, something only hinted at in this episode. Berle will return for three episodes of "The Lucy Show” and two episodes of “Here’s Lucy.” On all but one, he again played himself. He died of colon cancer in 2002. 

Milton Frome (Jerry Bike, Milton Berle’s Agent) played Sam, who Lucy Ricardo tried to fix up with Dorothy, in “The Matchmaker” (ILL S4;E5).  He will also play a waiter in a 1972 episode of “Here’s Lucy” starring Donny Osmond. He made a half a dozen appearances with Milton Berle on “Texaco Star Theatre” from 1953 to 1956.  

The Agent’s last name is never mentioned.  It is the same as Lester Bike, Ernie Ford’s friend and TV host in “Tennessee Ernie Hangs On” (ILL S3;E29).  

Robert S. Carson (Mr. Potter) also played Mr. Potter in “Lucy at Marineland” (S4;E1). He was a busy Canadian-born character actor making the fourth of his six appearances on the series. He also made five appearances on “Here’s Lucy.”

Charles Cantor (Old Man, Autograph Hound) was a stage and radio actor making his penultimate screen appearance before passing away nine months later.

Eleanor Audley (Eleanor, Columnist) was first seen with Lucille Ball as Mrs. Spaulding, the first owner of the Ricardo’s Westport home in “Lucy Wants to Move to the Country” (ILL S6;E15). She returned to “I Love Lucy” to play one of the garden club judges in “Lucy Raises Tulips” (ILL S6;E26).  Audley was a New York born actress who performed in eight Broadway plays between 1926 and 1944. She specialized in snobbish society matron types, most notably as Eddie Albert’s mother on TV’s “Green Acres” (1965). She is probably best known, however, as the voice of two of Disney’s most memorable animated villainesses: Lady Tremaine, the wicked stepmother in Cinderella (1950); and the evil Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty (1959). This is her last appearance opposite Lucille Ball.

Sid Gould (Sid, Reporter) made more than 45 appearances on “The Lucy Show,” all as background characters. He also did 40 episodes of “Here’s Lucy.” Gould (born Sydney Greenfader) was Lucille Ball’s cousin by marriage to Gary Morton. Gould was married to Vanda Barra, who also appeared on “The Lucy Show” starting in 1967, as well as on “Here’s Lucy.”

A few of the others at the press party are played by:

  • Paul Bradley makes the last of his six appearances on “The Lucy Show” in various roles. He will also be seen in two episodes of “Here’s Lucy.”
  • Paul Power was seen in two episodes of “I Love Lucy” and two films with Lucille Ball.  

  • Hazel Pierce was Lucille Ball’s camera and lighting stand-in throughout “I Love Lucy.” She also made frequent appearances on the show. Of her many on-camera appearances on “The Lucy Show” only once was she given a character name and credited, in Lucy Plays Cleopatra” (S1;E1). She was also an uncredited extra in the film Forever Darling (1956).

Other uncredited extras play the other guests at the press party and the men at the soup kitchen.

The night this episode first aired (December 6, 1965) “The Lucy Show” was followed by an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” (filmed at Desilu) which also featured Milton Frome (Jerry Bike).  

Jerry Bike’s office is decorated with large photographs of Danny Thomas and Bob Hope.  

When Berle arrives, he flips them open to reveal four photos of Milton Berle instead.   Danny Thomas recently guest starred in “Lucy Helps Danny Thomas” (S4;E7) as well as appearing in “Lucy Makes Room for Danny,” an episode of “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.”  Bob Hope teamed with Lucy in numerous feature films as well as appearing as himself in the season six opener of “I Love Lucy.”  

When Berle and his agent are discussing him playing a serious role, Berle mentions Joe Levine.  Joe Levine was the producer of the 1966 film The Oscar, in which Berle played a dramatic part.  Although the film was finished shooting at the time of this episode’s initial broadcast, it would not be released until March 1966, so the already obscure reference would be lost on viewers. The film (which is not mentioned by name in the episode) also featured Paul Bradley, who is an extra in this episode, as well as Jesse Wayne, “The Lucy Show” stunt coordinator.

As examples of actors who did research by “living” their roles, Jerry Bike cites Paul Newman as a prizefighter and Marlon Brando as a cowboy.  Newman played boxer Rocky Graziano in the bio-pic Somebody Up There Likes Me in 1956.  Brando played cowboy Rio in One-Eyed Jacks in 1961.  Neither film is mentioned by name in the episode.  

Hearing about Newman and Brando, Milton Berle facetiously wonders what role Frank Sinatra is preparing for?  This may be a reference to Sinatra’s love love after breaking off engagements to Lauren Bacall in 1958 and Juliet Prowse in 1962.  It may also be referring to Sinatra’s ties to organized crime. In 1963, he was stripped of his gaming license because a known mobster was seen at his Lake Tahoe casino, one which Lucille Ball herself was known to visit.  Berle suggests he use Dean Martin as a role model to play a drunk. Martin’s affinity for alcohol has been used as the source of humor previously on “The Lucy Show.”  

Mr. Mooney’s Westland Bank is sponsoring meals at the South Side Soup Kitchen. Upon entering the run down soup kitchen, Milton Berle says “I was here once. Jack Benny took me here for dinner.” Berle is playing upon Jack Benny’s persona of being a miser.  Benny guest starred in “Lucy and the Plumber” (S3;E2).  

Milton Berle at first tells Lucy his name is Herman Berman.  Lucy brings up comedian Shelley Berman. On New Year’s Day 1961 Lucille Ball was a mystery guest on “What’s My Line?” where Shelley Berman was one of the panelists.

When Mary Jane first recognizes Berle as someone famous, Lucy thinks he’s Jackie Gleason. In “Lucy Helps Danny Thomas” (S4;E7) she mistakenly attributes the catch phrase “And away we go!” to Thomas  when it was actually Jackie Gleason’s.  

While trying to remain incognito, Milton Berle mutters his famous catch-phrase: “I’ll kill you a million times.” His cover is immediately blown.

When Lucy is dressed as a poor flower seller, Mr. Mooney calls it a “cheesy Mary Poppins outfit.” Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964) was an Oscar-winning film that featured Julie Andrews. Although Mary Poppins never dressed as a poor flower seller, Julie Andrews did dress this way on stage in My Fair Lady as Eliza Doolittle.  My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins were both Oscar contenders in 1965.  

Callbacks!

Milton Berle also lined his office with photos of himself in “Milton Berle Hides out at the Ricardos”, a 1959 episode of “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.”  

Blooper Alerts!

Two seasons later, Lucy Carmichael will again meet Milton Berle for the first time in "Lucy Meets the Berles” (S6;E1).  The episode also features Mary Jane Croft and is directed by Maury Thompson.

“Lucy Saves Milton Berle” rates 3 Paper Hearts out of 5 

5

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate U.S. Independence Day with:

10 American Road Movies Directed by Women

Crossroads dir. Tamra Davis
Farah Goes Bang dir. Meena Menon
The Guilt Trip dir. Anne Fletcher
The Hitch-hiker dir. Ida Lupino
Little Miss Sunshine dir. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Manny & Lo dir. Lisa Krueger
River of Grass dir. Kelly Reichardt
The Road Within dir. Gren Wells
Wanda dir. Barbara Loden
Wanderlust dir. Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini

8

Women directed August US releases

August 7
The Diary of a Teenage Girl  (Marielle Heller) - LIMITED
The Falling (Carol Morley) - LIMITED

August 14
Fort Tilden (Sarah Violet-Bliss & Charles Rogers) - LIMITED +VOD
Ten Thousand Saints (Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini) - LIMITED

August 18
6 Years (Hannah Fidell) - LIMITED + VOD
Learning to Drive (Isabel Coixet) - LIMITED

August 25
The Second Mother (Anna Muylaert) - LIMITED

August 28
Zipper (Mora Stephens) - LIMITED + VOD

Asa Butterfield - Rising Star Award

Asa Butterfield first made headlines with his performance in “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” for which he was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer and a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in an International Feature Film. He went on to star in Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” to outstanding reviews; the film was nominated for, and won, five Oscars at the 84th Academy Awards. Butterfield also won the 2012 Breakthrough Award at the Young Hollywood Awards. He was last seen on the screen in the role of Ender in Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment’s “Ender’s Game” franchise, based on the award-winning book and again received rave reviews. Butterfield recently wrapped filming on “Ten Thousand Saints” in the co-lead role of Jude, co-starring opposite Ethan Hawke, with Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini directing. He will next appear in the starring role of Nathan in Origin Pictures’ “X + Y,” which will screen at the Toronto Film Festival and London Film Festival. The film is directed by BAFTA Award-winning director Morgan Matthews.

Films Directed by Women Released in the US in 2015

January 

Little Accidents (Sara Coangelo)
Appropriate Behavior (Desiree Akhavan) 
Above and Beyond (Roberta Grossman)
Girlhood (Céline Sciamma) 
Song One (Kate Barkery-Froyland)
Veronika Decides To Die (Emily Young)
1971 (Johanna Hamilton)

February 

Jupiter Ascending (Lana & Andy Wachowski)
The Voices (Marjane Satrapi) 
50 Shades of Grey (Sam Taylor-Johnson) 
McFarland USA (Niki Caro)
Farewell to Hollywood (Regina Nicholson & Henry Corra) 
Ana Maria in Novela Land (Georgina Riedel) 
My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn (Liv Corfixen)
Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine (Michele Josue)
52 Tuesdays (Sophie Hyde)
The Lesson (Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov)
Treading Water (Analeine Cal y Mayor)
Somewhere Only We Know (Jinglei Xu)    

March 

October Gale (Ruba Nadda)
Compared to What? The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank (Michael Chandler & Sheila Canavan)
Amour Fou (Jessica Hausner) 
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Shlomi Elkabetz & Ronit Elkabetz) 
Serena (Susanne Bier)
The Riot Club (Lone Scherfig) 
A Girl Like Her (Amy S. Weber) 
She’s Lost Control (Anja Marquardt)

April 

Farah Goes Bang (Meera Menon)
The Sisterhood of Night (Caryn Waechter) 
The Road Within (Gren Wells) 
Just Before I Go (Courteney Cox)

May 

Ride (Helen Hunt) 
Welcome to Me (Shira Piven)
Hot Pursuit (Anne Fletcher) 
Pitch Perfect 2 (Elizabeth Banks) 
Ever Secret Thing (Amy J. Berg)
One Cut, One Life (Lucia Small & Ed Pincus) 
Aloft (Claudia Llosa)
Sunshine Superman (Marah Strauch)
Gemma Bovery (Anne Fontaine)
I Believe in Unicorns (Leah Meyerhoff)
Something Better to Come (Hanna Polak)
Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World (Belinda Sallin)

June 

An Open Secret (Amy Berg) 
Dil Dhadakne Do (Zoya Akhtar) 
Madame Bovary (Sophie Barthes) 
The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle) 
Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve) 
Infinitely Polar Bear (Maya Forbes)
Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World (Dana Nachman) 
What Happened, Miss Simone? (Liz Garbus)
Advantageous (Jennifer Phang)
The Midnight Swim (Sarah Adina Smith)
Runoff (Kimberly Levin)

July 

Jackie & Ryan (Ami Canaan Mann) 
Strangerland (Kim Farrant) 
A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile (Sophie Deraspe) 
Unexpected (Kris Swanberg) 
Jenny’s Wedding (Mary Agnes Donoghue)
Meet Me in Montenegro (Alex Holdridge & Linnea Saasen) 
Stray Dog (Debra Granik)

August 

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller) 
The Falling (Carol Morley) 
Fort Tilden (Sarah Violet-Bliss & Charles Rogers) 
Ten Thousand Saints (Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini) 
6 Years (Hannah Fidell) 
Learning to Drive (Isabel Coixet) 
The Second Mother (Anna Muylaert)
Zipper (Mora Stephens) 
Meru (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)

September 

Breathe (Mélanie Laurent) 
Paul Taylor: Creative Domain (Kate Geis) 
Sleeping with Other People (Leslye Headland) 
Prophet’s Prey (Amy Berg) 
The Intern (Nancy Meyers)
Mississippi Grind (Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden) 
Misunderstood (Asia Argento) 

October 

Big Stone Gap (Adriana Trigiani) 
In My Father’s House (Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg) 
Suffragette (Sarah Gavron) 
The Armor of Light (Abigail Disney) 
Sex Death and Bowling (Abby Walker) 
The Wonders (Alice Rohrwacher) 
Addicted to Fresno (Jamie Babbit)

November 

Miss You Already (Catherine Hardwicke)
Suffragette (Sarah Gavron)
The 33 (Patricia Riggen)
Ayanda (Sara Blecher)
By the Sea (Angelina Jolie Pitt)
Love the Coopers (Jessie Nelson)
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
#Horror (Tara Subkoff)
The Summer Of Sangaile (Alanté Kavaïté)
Janis: Little Girl Blue (Amy Berg) 
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (Lisa Immordino Vreeland)
Sand Dollars (Israel Cárdenas & Laura Amelia Guzmán)
Very Semi-Serious (Leah Wolchok)

December

Imba Means Sing (Danielle Bernstein) 
Bleeding Heart (Diane Bell) 
The Girl in the Book (Marya Cohn)

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Marc Fichou, Plastron, 2010