Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

A Great, Long Lost TV Series

“Here’s Edie” Resurfaces on DVD

By David Luhrssen
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Muriel Cigars was more than just the sponsor (“Brought to you by…”) of the ABC series “Here’s Edie” (1962-1964). Integral to the production, the commercials starred the show’s hostess and were almost as innovative as everything else in this wildly creative program. The Muriel ads featured Edie Adams purring suggestively about the product (sometimes a cigar is really more than just a cigar) in the midst of choreographed song-and-dance numbers.

But as the multi-disc DVD release of the long-lost if not entirely forgotten series shows, there was much more to “Here’s Edie” than a trail of cigar smoke. Adams was an engaging vocalist, singing the Great American Songbook beautifully and able to sally into the cabaret of Kurt Weill without missing a beat. Music was her love. What other network show dropped references to monochords and early polyphony into the mix? Adams was also a versatile entertainer, whether spoofing the cooing of Marilyn Monroe or the frilly operatics of Jeanette MacDonald.

Although produced on a tight budget, “Here’s Edie” featured superb black-and-white cinematography, filtered lighting and sweeping overhead camera angles. Adams rode a crowded New York subway car in one episode— the song of loneliness playing in her head just audible above the rattle of the train on the tracks. Another show found her in the incongruous setting of a London neighborhood, still in ruins from the Blitz, singing a love song.

Great guests were plentiful, including Duke Ellington and his Orchestra (Adams sat in for a wordless “Satin Doll”) and Peter Falk doing a marvelous monologue revealing the actor in full Columbo mode a decade before “Columbo” debuted.

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