Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Roger Moore

I enjoy being a highly overpaid actor
-Roger Moore
Sir Roger George Moore 
October 14, 1927 – May 23, 2017
Roger Moore's family announced his death in Switzerland from cancer.
I wanted to highlight some of Sir Rodger's work in television.

Ivanhoe (1958–1959)

Moore made his name in television. He was the eponymous hero, Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, in the 1958–59 series Ivanhoe, a loose adaptation of the 1819 romantic novel by Sir Walter Scott set in the 12th century during the era of Richard the Lionheart, delving into Ivanhoe's conflict with Prince John. Shot mainly in England at Elstree Studios and Buckinghamshire, some of the show was also filmed in California due to a partnership with Columbia StudiosScreen Gems. Aimed at younger audiences, the pilot was filmed in colour, a reflection of its comparatively high budget for a British children's adventure series of the period, but subsequent episodes were shot in black and white. Christopher Lee and John Schlesinger were among the show's guest stars and series regulars included Robert Brown (who in the 1980s would play M in several James Bond films) as the squire Gurth, Peter Gilmore as Waldo Ivanhoe, Andrew Keir as villainous Prince John, and Bruce Seton as noble King Richard. Moore suffered broken ribs and a battle-axe blow to his helmet while performing some of his own stunts filming a season of 39 half-hour episodes and later reminisced, 'I felt a complete Charlie riding around in all that armour and damned stupid plumed helmet. I felt like a medieval fireman.'[9]

The Alaskans (1959–1960)

Moore's next television series involved playing the lead as "Silky" Harris for the ABC/Warner Brothers 1959–60 western The Alaskans, with co-stars Dorothy Provine as Rocky, Jeff York as Reno and Ray Danton as Nifty. The show ran for a single season of 37 hour-long episodes on Sunday nights. Though set in SkagwayAlaska, with a focus on the Klondike Gold Rush in around 1896, the series was filmed in the hot studio lot at Warner Brothers in Hollywood with the cast costumed in fur coats and hats. Moore found the work highly taxing and his off-camera affair with Provine complicated matters even more. He subsequently appeared as the questionable character "14 Karat John" in the two-part episode "Right Off the Boat" of the ABC/WB crime drama The Roaring 20s, with Rex ReasonJohn DehnerGary Vinson and Dorothy Provine, appearing in a similar role but with a different character name.

Maverick (1960–1961)

Moore's debut as Beau Maverick occurred in the first episode of the 1960–61 fourth season, "The Bundle From Britain," one of four episodes in which he shared screen time with cousin Bart (Jack Kelly). Robert Altman wrote and directed "Bolt from the Blue," an episode featuring Will Hutchins as a frontier lawyer similar to his character in the series Sugarfoot, and "Red Dog" found Beau mixed up with vicious bank robbers Lee Van Cleef and John CarradineKathleen Crowley was Moore's leading lady in two episodes ("Bullet For the Teacher" and "Kiz"), and others included Mala PowersRoxane BerardFay SpainMerry AndersAndra Martin and Jeanne Cooper. Upon leaving the series, Moore cited a decline in script quality since the Garner era as the key factor in his decision to depart. In the wake of The Alaskans, Moore was cast as Beau Maverick, an English-accented cousin of frontier gamblers Bret Maverick (James Garner), Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) and Brent Maverick (Robert Colbert) in the much more successful ABC/WB western series MaverickSean Connery was flown over from England to test for the part but turned it down. Moore appeared as the character in 14 episodes after Garner had left the series at the end of the previous season, actually wearing some of Garner's costumes; while filming The Alaskans, he had already recited much of Garner's dialogue since the Klondike series frequently recycled Maverick scripts, changing only the names and locales. He had also filmed a Maverick episode with Garner two seasons earlier in which Moore played a different character in a retooling of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's 1775 comedy of manners play entitled "The Rivals." In the course of the story, Moore's and Garner's characters switched names on a bet, with Moore consequently identifying himself as "Bret Maverick" through most of the episode.

The Saint (1962–1969)

The Saint ran from 1962 for six seasons and 118 episodes, making it (in a tie with The Avengers) the longest-running series of its kind on British television. However, Moore grew increasingly tired of the role, and was keen to branch out. He made two films immediately after the series had ended: Crossplot, a lightweight 'spy caper' movie, and the more challenging The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970). Directed by Basil Dearden, it gave Moore the opportunity to demonstrate a wider versatility than the role of Simon Templar had allowed, although reviews at the time were lukewarm, and both did little business at the box office.Worldwide fame arrived after Lew Grade cast Moore as Simon Templar in a new adaptation of The Saint, based on the novels by Leslie Charteris. Moore said in an interview in 1963, that he wanted to buy the rights to Leslie Charteris's character and the trademarks. He also joked that the role was supposed to have been meant for Sean Connery who was unavailable. The television series was made in the UK with an eye to the American market, and its success there (and in other countries) made Moore a household name. By spring 1967 he had achieved international stardom. The series also established his suave, quipping style which he carried forward to James Bond. Moore went on to direct several episodes of the later series, which moved into colour in 1967.

The Persuaders! (1971–1972)

Television lured Moore back to star alongside Tony Curtis in The Persuaders!. The show featured the adventures of two millionaire playboys across Europe. Moore was paid the then-unheard-of sum of £1 million for a single series, making him the highest paid television actor in the world. However, Lew Grade claimed in his autobiography Still Dancing, that Moore and Curtis "didn't hit it off all that well." Curtis refused to spend more time on set than was strictly necessary, while Moore was always willing to work overtime.
According to the DVD commentary, neither Roger Moore, an uncredited co-producer, nor Robert S. Baker, the credited producer, ever had a contract other than a handshake with Lew Grade. They produced the entire 24 episodes without a single written word guaranteeing that they would ever be paid.
The series failed in America, where it had been pre-sold to ABC, but it was successful in Europe and Australia. In Germany, where the series was aired under the name Die Zwei ("The Two"), it became a hit through especially amusing dubbing which only barely used translations of the original dialogue. In Britain it was also popular, although on its premiere on the ITV network, it was beaten in the ratings by repeats of Monty Python's Flying Circus on BBC OneChannel 4 repeated both The Avengers and The Persuaders! in 1995. Since then, The Persuaders! has been issued on DVD, while in France, where the series (entitled Amicalement Vôtre) had always been popular, the DVD releases accompanied a monthly magazine of the same name. True Entertainment are now showing the entire series from start to finish.


And finally The Muppet Show



Good Night Sir Roger
Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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