Give My Regrets to Broadway
A Broadway producer is implicated in the murder of a detective investigating his business practices.
It’s Not Burlesque, It’s Not Parody!
The butler’s name is Smight, because the script pays a great debt of homage to Harper.
Det. Harrington (Arthur Frantz) is murdered while taking McCloud’s shift (the marshal wants to watch the playoffs on TV with Chris, who doesn’t care for basketball). But it’s no mistake, Harrington was investigating Malcolm Garnett (Milton Berle), who’s producing Those Frolicking Forties on Broadway, with Harrington’s daughter (Lane Bradbury) in the cast. Garnett has bilked the late Mr. Blanchard out of two million dollars, and the widow (Barbara Rush) needs the money to support her expensive tastes, including an athletic young artist (Jeffrey Pomerantz) who killed Det. Harrington at her bidding so as to force McCloud into reopening the unconcluded bunco case.
This whirling constellation is the essential situation, and Antonio is on for the ride. A striking image is produced by the “Boogie-Woogie GI Joe” dance number in rehearsal togs. Garnett’s speech to the players is a small masterpiece in itself. “Wrong,” he begins, interrupting the rehearsal, “wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong! This is nostalgia! Not parody! It’s not burlesque, not camp! It’s whimsy!” He elaborates. “Simple years, clean years! World War Two! A war with a heart! A war everybody could understand! This is a war you came out of the theater whistling from!” He expands. “America was clean and unpolluted! We were wonderful! Everybody liked us then!” He concludes. “What I am trying to say is, to make this look sincere,” finally, “and make it look simple!” To McCloud, he describes his cast as “my sabotage group here.”
A more amazing image yet is Rush up to her chin in a steam unit and sipping champagne from a glass held to her lips by McCloud. Dennis Weaver sings “Another Way” as the remorse-stricken marshal wanders the streets of New York following Harrington’s murder. Later, he finds the detective had blackmailed Garnett into hiring his innocent daughter to star in the show.
All of this and a very funny cocktail party, at which frail and elderly Leonard (Arthur Malet) describes the new exercise regimen his young and lusty wife Susan (Barbara Rhoades) has him on (“he’s everything I’ve always wanted in a man”), and McCloud tells the story of Dirty Dave’s unusual daughter memorably peering down the barrel of a Winchester one hot day out amongst the cottonwoods and the mesquite, are accurately and briskly given under Antonio’s direction.
Barbara Rush Louise Blanchard
Written by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by Louis Antonio
I want some earth beneath my boots again,
I wanna get back to my roots again...
Well, all I can say is thank you
For invitin’ me to join you,
But I want to live my life another way.
—Sung by McCloud in a voiceover.
MALCOLM GARNETT: (Interrupting a rehearsal of “Boogie-Woogie GI Joe”.) Wrong! Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong! This is nostalgia! Not parody! It’s not burlesque, not camp! It’s whimsy! You people obviously do not understand what we are portraying here. These are Those Frolicking Forties... Simple years, clean years. World War Two! A war with a heart! A war that everybody could understand! This is a war you came out of the theater whistling from!... What is this, an amateur show? What am I running here?... America was clean and unpolluted. We were wonderful. Everybody liked us then... What I am trying to say is, to make this look sincere, and make it look simple!
(At Chris Coughlin’s apartment, over a candlelight dinner,
McCloud is completely absorbed in the basketball playoffs on television.)
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Sam, your pants are on fire.
McCLOUD: (Not listening.) Yeah, you betcha, yeah, just as soon as the quarter’s over.
SGT. BROADHURST: That was some leave of absence,
about twelve minutes.
McCLOUD: (Reading case files.) Yeah, well, I just dropped by to do a little perusin’.
SGT. BROADHURST: A little what?
LOUISE BLANCHARD: (To McCloud, of her late husband’s involvement with Malcolm Garnett.) The next thing I knew, my dishrag slithered out from under and started banking Broadway shows.
McCLOUD: (To Louise Blanchard, of a lady in New Mexico.) She was some kind of a thrill till they ran her out of town. (Laughs.) She had a diamond-studded garter that she wore to all sporting events. Now don’t you think that caused some kind of a stir?
JULIAN FRANCO: Louise, how would you like me to
paint you now? Right now! I feel it... what about you?
LOUISE BLANCHARD: Right now?
McCLOUD: (Ending his account for Louise Blanchard’s cocktail party guests.) Yeah, that was the last I ever saw o’ Dirty Dave’s unusual daughter, or my deputy, just two little hollowed-out places in the sand.
(Louise Blanchard’s cocktail party.)
McCLOUD: This is quite a spread.
EVELYN: Louise is famous for her spread.
(A telephone call during the cocktail party.)
LOUISE BLANCHARD: Who’s the call for?
SMIGHT: The—gentleman in the—cowboy boots, Madam.
(McCloud meets some of the party guests.)
LEONARD: (Elderly, frail.) Health food! Believe me, it’s the health food! They’d given up on me entirely! It’s my angel wife. She really is an angel. Every day she makes me ride an exercise bike. Pump hard, she says, pump hard! Every day! I feel like a kid again! Right, Susan?
SUSAN: (His “pale young silicone bride”, in Louise’s description.) Leonard is everything I’ve always wanted in a man.
(Julian is painting Mrs. Blanchard on a divan when he is
JULIAN FRANCO: That cop! What’s he doing back here?
LOUISE BLANCHARD: I’m sure I don’t know, Julian.
JULIAN FRANCO: Well, just get rid of him, huh? I happen to be in the middle of some, uh, very good headwork here.
LOUISE BLANCHARD: Well, I can’t be expected to tell him that, can I?
(Chris Coughlin is taking revenge for McCloud’s absorption
in TV basketball by pretending to watch a political talk show while he serves
McCLOUD: (Describing his “prospector’s stew.”) Most people would think that this is just plain old ordinary beef stew, you know?... The secret here, ya see, is, you got to catch your lizard at the right time of the year... in winter is when they stay under the rocks and they don’t move around so much and get all nice and plump... in summer, they spend so much time scramblin’ in ‘n out o’ the sun, they get all scrawny and raunchy and just as tough as a bootstrap, no good to cook at all... now, this was a summer lizard, I knew right off the minute I bought him I was goin’ to have to tenderize him, so you know what I did? I got me just oh about a quarter-pound o’ sidewinder, and cut it up real thin...
CHRIS COUGHLIN: (At this, she bursts out laughing.)
McCLOUD: You just had to do it to me, didn’t ya. (She is still laughing.) You just had to do it to me, didn’t ya. A man concentrates a little bit on a basketball game on TV, and you’re just not gonna let him forget it, are ya?
CHRIS COUGHLIN: (Laughing.) Sliced sidewinder?
McCLOUD: You heard every word I said, didn’t ya.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Sam McCloud, I never could take my ears off of you.