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Snavely, the failed US version of Fawlty Towers, 1978

Inspired by the thread on the terrible pilot for the American version of Are You Being Served...

Here's Harvey Korman and Betty White in Snavely, an adaptation of Fawlty Towers.

It's easy to see why this wasn't picked up.

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by Anonymousreply 6305/25/2020

How is this different from Newhart?

by Anonymousreply 105/15/2020

Didn't Bea Arthur also do a US version of "Fawlty Towers"? I think it was called "Amanda's".

by Anonymousreply 205/15/2020

Thanks for posting this OP.

I laughed out loud several times during it.

It's better than the Golden Girls pilot.

It didn't make me laugh at all when I first saw it (& yes I'm a big fan of the show).

by Anonymousreply 305/15/2020

From Wikipedia r2

[quote] Amanda's (also known as Amanda's by the Sea) is an American sitcom television series based on the 1970s British sitcom Fawlty Towers that aired on ABC from February 10 to May 26, 1983. The series starred Bea Arthur as Amanda Cartwright, who owns a seaside hotel called "Amanda's by the Sea" and was Arthur's first return to series television since her sitcom Maude ended in 1978.

by Anonymousreply 405/16/2020

And here is the hotel inspector episode of Amanda’s.

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by Anonymousreply 505/16/2020

Wow! How bizarre that I didn't know that both Rose and Dorothy starred in failed versions of one of my favorite UK sitcoms ever!

by Anonymousreply 605/16/2020

Blanche's version of "Fawlty Towers" would have been the R-rated one with most of the action happening in the guests' B.E.D.

by Anonymousreply 705/16/2020

I enjoyed Snavley much more than Beane’s of Boston. I thought Harvey Korman is pretty good. Betty White seemed a bit distant. I think it was better than Amanda’s as well Much as I love Bea Arthur, as Amanda she was just passing time between Maude and Dorothy Z.

by Anonymousreply 805/16/2020

Thank you for this obscurity.

No one could possibly match the hilarity of John Cleese, Prunella Scales and particularly Mollie Sugden.

by Anonymousreply 905/16/2020

I also give you “Payne” with John Laroquette A the 3rd US attempt at Fawlty Towers...

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by Anonymousreply 1005/16/2020

Mollie Sugden's pussy was in 'Are you Being Served'. Was she in 'Fawlty Towers'?

by Anonymousreply 1105/16/2020

Royal Payne..........ahhh the American wit..........

by Anonymousreply 1205/16/2020

I'm in the minority. I've never liked John Cleese or "Fawlty Towers". For me his comedy and his personality have always appeared obnoxious and unfunny. I also find most of "Monty Python" painfully unfunny, dull and annoying.

by Anonymousreply 1305/16/2020

To blow your minds even more, here is DL fav Rue McClanahan guest starring in an early episode of Newhart, yes that show about an inn keeper, as Tom Poston’s old lover. Does anyone else think we’ve tripped up the stairs into some strange parallel universe?

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by Anonymousreply 1405/16/2020

Betty White didn't seem to have a character to play.

And the maid was a big zero.

by Anonymousreply 1505/16/2020

Fawlty Towers is beloved because of the characters (and the superb actors who played them) but it was also only 2 series of 6 episodes each (and even then, there's a couple duds in that 12 IMO).

Basil and Sybil were hilarious but AWFUL people. The show was funny because they were mean and terrible. It would never work in a longer form TV series and especially in America where main characters in comedies can't be too mean and certainly not for 22 to 26 episodes a season.

It should also be noted that the Golden Girls follow up series Golden Palace certainly had Fawlty Tours themes running through it which I'm sure wasn't an accident.

by Anonymousreply 1605/16/2020

[quote]Basil and Sybil were hilarious but AWFUL people. The show was funny because they were mean and terrible.

I adored how Sybil would spend hours on the phone smoking and emitting nasty giggles. "Oooh, I knoooow..."

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by Anonymousreply 1705/16/2020

Sybil was my favourite part of that show.

by Anonymousreply 1805/16/2020

Yeah, Sybil's attitude was key to making the show work.

by Anonymousreply 1905/16/2020

Thanks for posting OP. I've been wanting to see this for years.

by Anonymousreply 2005/16/2020
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by Anonymousreply 2105/16/2020

Agreed r17 r18 and r19 - Sybil was the best thing about Fawlty Towers!

by Anonymousreply 2205/22/2020

The German version, “ Zum letzten Kliff”. Laugh? I thought I’d cry!

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by Anonymousreply 2305/22/2020

In the Amanda's episode, I don't see how Elliot Shoenman got a sole created by and written by credit. Shouldn't it have been adapted or developed by? Especially considering it was a direct adaptation of a Fawlty Towers script. It doesn't show the full credits at the end, but on the Snavley one it did say based upon Fawlty Towers by John Cleese and Connie Booth. All In The Family was credited as being "developed by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin" not created by them since they were adapting an already created show.

by Anonymousreply 2405/22/2020

R24, it's because John Cleese was so appalled by the adaptation — mostly that they made Basil and Sybil one person in the form of Bea Arthur — that he wanted no credit and pulled his name off it.

by Anonymousreply 2505/22/2020

Interesting that the actors who were most faithful to the adaptation and made it work were the guest parts: the picky hardware salesman guest and the dimwitted resident chief of police.

The maid was a zero, and "Pedro" seemed to be a black actor playing a Puerto Rican (but they said he was from Albania or something, which made no sense).

Watching this made me realize which American actor could have taken on the part of Basil Fawlty and made it work in his own way: Paul Lynde. He could capture John Cleese's bootlicking of the "important guests" and his disdain for everyone else. Not sure what American actress at the time could play Sybil.

by Anonymousreply 2605/22/2020

Harvey Korman and Betty White were actually perfect casting — because of the Carol Burnett and MTM shows, they were sort of the ne plus ultra of the Basil/Sybil character types (buffoon and lovable bitch) at the time. It was the script that was the problem.

Eh, maybe Eileen Brennan would have been better as Sybil.

It was really hurt by the lack of the cute, sensible maid Polly of the original. They sort of collapsed Polly and Sybil into the wife character and made her bland. Priscilla Barnes would have been good; she was doing network shows in '77-'78.

by Anonymousreply 2705/22/2020

I just saw an interview with Bea where she discussed how disappointing Amanda's turned out to be. She said FT was a terrific show

by Anonymousreply 2805/22/2020

Couldn’t make it thru more than 5 min of this. I love them both so just goes to show if the script sucks it doesn’t matter how great the actors are.

Amazing to think that for every successful thing Betty White has been in, she has about 10 things that have barely seen the light of day. A real trooper, as they say.

by Anonymousreply 2905/22/2020

Speaking of Harvey Korman, he also starred in this, which I remember watching in 7th grade and actually liked:

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by Anonymousreply 3005/22/2020

R16, it surprised me when I found out there are only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers. The way people go on about it, I always thought it was this massive show that ran for years. But then I remembered that Brits love to make 6 episode seasons 5 years apart and call it a day.

by Anonymousreply 3105/23/2020

Maybe AI will bring Paul Lynde back from the grave for future performances and that could happen r26.

by Anonymousreply 3205/23/2020

[quote]A real trooper, as they say.

TROUPER, unless she was in the highway patrol.

by Anonymousreply 3305/23/2020

R33 autocorrect fucks a lot of shit up...oh well

by Anonymousreply 3405/23/2020

R23 Lol, I wonder if they did a version of "The Germans."

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by Anonymousreply 3505/23/2020

R13, I’m with you. John Cleese is completely up his own arsehole.

by Anonymousreply 3605/23/2020

R26: Bea Arthur as Sybil would have worked, but the combo of the two that was Amanda Cartwright does not work well at all. She also is written to insult guests to their faces. Basil does it under his breath and after some of the guests do behave very off or badly indeed.

R31: That's quality over quantity, and I think it's a much better system of producing television shows than the massive 22 episode seasons we fart out over here.

R16: The duds for me are The Psychiatrist (Cleese making fun of his Dad, really), The Wedding Party (Cleese cannot write sex jokes), The Anniversary (Cleese writes this CRINGE script for only him, I and other cringe at that episode while he laughs his ass off in the commentary) and Waldorf Salad (The American "hero" of that show is a complete jackass and I detest him and that episode). The others are good to fantastic.

by Anonymousreply 3705/23/2020

This could be done today and done well for a limited series if the right actors were involved, and the premise was shifted slightly to an AirBNB type property - a GOOPy wife and the snarky husband a la Niles Crane. Or maybe it's a vapid husband and snarky wife.

by Anonymousreply 3805/23/2020

Why not make them a gay couple?

by Anonymousreply 3905/23/2020

The Snavely one, did a good job of copying the hotel, it looked almost the same.

by Anonymousreply 4005/23/2020

[quote] That's quality over quantity, and I think it's a much better system of producing television shows than the massive 22 episode seasons we fart out over here.

22 episodes-- HAH! Back in the '50s and '60s they did 39-episode seasons and brought in a summer replacement series.

by Anonymousreply 4105/23/2020

R41: Which is even stupider than the 22 episode thing. This is why American sitcoms get run into the ground. How the hell can you churn out 9 seasons of 22 episodes and keep it fresh and original? You can't.

by Anonymousreply 4205/24/2020

R42 There is a difference in how they are written. In the US, shows are written by a staff of writers and sometimes they even have outsiders write an episode. In the UK one writer or duo write every episode.

by Anonymousreply 4305/24/2020

R43: That doesn't mean anything. Whether it's one writer or a room of 10, if you know you're only going to have 7 episodes to do everything you want in a season, you're gonna put your all into it. Over here, for every great episode of a show, there's about 4 to 5 filler episodes that are just "there". I am glad to see streaming services now going the UK/European route of less episodes per season but more put into each episode. It's an improvement.

by Anonymousreply 4405/24/2020

R44 it depends. There are a few UK shows that I wouldn’t have minded being padded out with fillers, just to have more of them. Once a cast settles into their roles, especially on a sitcom, even filler episodes can be entertaining. Not because of the writing of the episode but because of the talent and chemistry of the cast. But, too many US sitcoms over do the filler. It is like sausage, too much filler is bad but so is too little.

by Anonymousreply 4505/24/2020

Do British shows have syndication rules similar to American ones? Don't American shows need to get to at least 100 episodes in order to qualify for syndication, which is where much of the actual money comes from?

by Anonymousreply 4605/25/2020

The 100 episode thing was never a mandate, it was just sort of an unspoken guideline.

A lot of megahit shows are sold into syndication the season before they're slated to get to 100.

And many big hits are sold for big bucks and then vanish: The Cosby Show broke sales records, then it disappeared after a season or two in syndication. It was essentially off the air for years before Cosby's scandal.

Then there's stuff like the Addams Family, which had only 64 episodes (two seasons), and ran everywhere forever.

And DL favorite It's a Living barely had one full season of episodes in its original run, but was syndicated on weekends and got such high ratings they brought the show back, with fat Ann Jillian and Barrie Youngfellow ready for her pivot.

by Anonymousreply 4705/25/2020

Paul Lynde as Basil and Sandy Dennis as Sybil.

that would be PERFECTION!

by Anonymousreply 4805/25/2020

That custom of 100 episodes before syndication is from over 2 decades ago. WIth the rise of cable programing that changed.

Syndication was never that big a thing in Britain because they did not have the dozens of stations hungry for programing that we had in the us.

by Anonymousreply 4905/25/2020

R49: That's another thing, the UK had 3 TV channels until 1982, and then only 4 channels until 1997, at least over the air. They didn't have thousands of UHF stations looking to fill time outside of infomercials. Where the two countries have converged is with Pay TV services and the hundreds of linear channels that need to pack their schedules with content. But that didn't happen in either country till the 90s.

by Anonymousreply 5005/25/2020

[quote]Then there's stuff like the Addams Family, which had only 64 episodes (two seasons), and ran everywhere forever.

And "Gidget" and "The Honeymooners" each of which only had ONE season.

by Anonymousreply 5105/25/2020

I thought it was a goddamn laugh riot !

by Anonymousreply 5205/25/2020

Yet, all those British shows, most of them with a handful of episodes, still managed to be shown all over the world. Of course they couldn't strip most of them (on 5 days a week) but they still were shown weekly. Most of grew up watching Monty Python, and Fawlty Towers and Are You Being Served and all those other BritComs that PBS stations would air in weekly blocks.

by Anonymousreply 5305/25/2020

R53 Are You Being Served is one of the UK shows that did include some enjoyable filler episodes as the show went on.

by Anonymousreply 5405/25/2020

R54: One could argue it went on too long. It started in 1971, I believe and ended in 1985. It wasn't year on year, they took hiatuses as you do over there, but still. A decade and a half with 6 cast changes.

by Anonymousreply 5505/25/2020

R55 Did you ever see the sequel show? They did two seasons of it. I enjoyed it but everyone doesn't.

by Anonymousreply 5605/25/2020

R54 Are You Being Served's last few seasons were all "filler" and by filler I mean dreck.

There were three stages for AYBS....The first stage (and best) were the first 5 series with the original cast. Then Arthur Brough (Mr. Grainger) died after the 5th series and they went to the 2nd stage, series 6 and 7, then Trevor Bannister/Mr. Lucas left and after that it was all garbage.

by Anonymousreply 5705/25/2020

R57 I actually liked Mr. Spooner, but none of the Mr. Grainger replacements worked for me. I also disliked when they brought on Old Mister Grace, who was played by an actor who was really younger than Young Mr Grace, but looked like they dug him up from the graveyard.

by Anonymousreply 5805/25/2020

R57: After Bannister called it quits, that should have been it. But Croft and Spiers wanted to continue with the popularity of John Iman and Mollie Sugden and so it happened. But by 1981, Harold Bennet was dying and would be dead by the end of year, Bannister is gone, Alfie Bass just leaves after 1979 with no explanation and they go through two senior male salesmen in one season, with no explanation of where they went or why. Then in 1983, it's two people on the men's counter. It was hard to follow who was were and why.

by Anonymousreply 5905/25/2020

R56: I've heard of the sequel show but have never seen it. It doesn't seem like a concept I would like.

by Anonymousreply 6005/25/2020

R60 It was fun to see them existing outside the store in a country house hotel, one major difference is that it is serialized. R59 I never understood why after Mr. Grainger left they kept adding another person. It never made sense that the Lady's department could be run with two but that for some reason the Gentleman's department needed three.

by Anonymousreply 6105/25/2020

R61: It's a man's world and Granger was old and doddering. But once Mr. Tebbs shows up, that last reason disappears. And the thing is, I liked Tebbs and that season of the show. James Hayter did a good job in the role. But the biscuit company he did commercials for HATED AYBS and demanded he leave the show or lose his role with them. So he quite after one season because the biscuit company paid more. A little trivia for you all. Otherwise, Mr. Tebbs could have stayed to the end and we wouldn't have had that revolving door I posted about above on the MensWare counter.

by Anonymousreply 6205/25/2020

What’s Happening is another one...I was so surprised to learn years later it ran for only 3 seasons. Was huge in reruns (separate from What’s Happening NOW)

by Anonymousreply 6305/25/2020
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