LikeTelevision proudly presents - The Woody Allen Special from September 21, 1969 - which was part of TV series called The Kraft Music Hall. (the guest for this episode was the 5th Dimension, featuring the Laura Nyro song Wedding Bell Blues with Marilyn McCoo in top form and Working on a Groovy Thing - AWESOME. Wedding Bell Blues was released in October 1969 shortly after this special and stayed in the Top 40 for 14 weeks). Candace Bergen, best known for her role as Murphy Brown is Woody's special guest. And - oh my - what a treat - Reverend Billy Graham has a terrific interview with Woody Allen as they discuss God, sex and seeing each other's show. Billy says he'll go see Play it Again Sam if Woody goes to one of Billy Graham's revivals. It's an amazing bit of television history -and fascinatin given the events that followed the era of the sexual revoltion of the late 1960s.
Woody Allen Comedy Special
Directed by - Alan Handley
(1969) - Color - 57 min
This show was sponsored by Libby's - and features their celebrity spokeman at the time - Tony Randall, best known for his role as Felix Unger in the TV version of The Odd Couple. The show also has cameos by stars like Jamie Farr (Klinger in M*A*S*H, Philip Bruns - best known as Morty Seinfeld, Jerry's Dad, Joe Silver and Barney Martin.
Intro, color, credits, etc. - September 21, 1969 - Woody Allen (born Allen Stewart Konisberg) has a show on Broadway (Play It Again Sam, w/ Diane Keaton), a terrific new movie (Take the Money and Run) and is a rising star - so the Kraft Music Hall gives Woody his won comedy special. (See some of his early work on the Sid Caesar pages, where Woody worked as a writer). This is very early Woody Allen - years before Bananas (1971), Everything you always wanted to know about sex (1972), Play it Again Sam (the 1972 movie, not the Broadway Show which was playing in 1969) or Sleeper (1973). Woody has a terrific comedy skit with Candace Bergen. Two aspiring young Broadway actors are told by the director that they are going to play the scene in the nude - or else they will be replaced. They comply - and well, it is easy to find laughs contemplating Woody naked, though he seems convinced that he is a Greek God. WHEW - funny stuff!
Woody has an incredible interview with Billy Graham
Woody Allen and Candace Bergen are told they must preform the scene in the nude - or the director will get new actors. So they comply.
Tony Randall begins with a long form commercial for Libby's - which sponsored the show. This is followed by a quasi live lip synch performance by the 5th dimension -who serve up Working on a Groovy Thing and a new Laura Nyro song to be released in just a few weeks called Wedding Bell Blues. Then Woody decides to do a silent film comedy short - very funny and very much in the style of Buster Keaton. Candace Bergen plays a rich women who gets knocked in the head, loses her memory, and falls in love with the poor man, played by Woody Allen.
Woody gets serious - for a moment and asks Billy Graham a question about God and his opinion on sex
Part three features the classic interview of television history - Woody Allen interviews Reverend Billy Graham. It's 1969 - the height of the sexual revolution - so of course Woody asks Reverend Graham to offer some insight on his feelings about sexual relations. They also discuss God (Woody is an agnostic it seems) and seem to really enjoy each other and the banter. This is just hilarious - (like when Woody asks Billy what his favorite commandment is) and fascinating given the passage of time and changing cultural and social beliefs. WOW!
Woody Allen Comedy Special
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Candace Bergen - looking terrific as a fetching 25 year old actress, many many years before the Murphy Brown gig
Candace Bergen and Woody do another comedy short - this one is loosely based on the My Fair Lady concept. Woody plays a wise Hasidic Jew who can help transform Candace Bergen from an idiot to an intellectual. Also features a cameo by Philip Bruns - best known as Morty Seinfeld, Jerry's dad. Oh - and I forgot to mention - Dave Madden (best known as Reuben Kincaid, the manager of The Partridge Family) has a cameo in one of the Libby's commercials.
Billy Graham has a great sense of humor and laughs at one of Woody's jokes
Tony Randall stars as Justice Dunn, the Libby's secret agent character. Shown here using the secret phone, a la Get Smart's Don Adams and his shoe phone. This phone comes out of the horseshoe radiator grill from an Edsel.
Jamie Farr, dressed in a wet suit, diving mask and snorkel - in his pre Klinger dressing like a woman days
Woody Allen in a comedy skit from his 1969 special