Is it possible to portray national politics humoursly on television? I would have answered with a resounding "no!" But that was before I watched Masterpiece Theater's "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" on PBS. Although set in present-day England, it's a bit of a fantasy about an idealistic world. On the other hand, it could possibly re-engage people's thinking about politics. Can you imagine this: a perky supermarket manager finds herself the head of a political movement. And she takes positions - against the Bush administration, against Tony Blair, against the mishandling of Iraq - even against the monarchy. Heavens! I had to suspend disbelief - an ordinary woman becomes Prime Minister? I enjoyed that! "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" is a five-part mini-series, Sundays on PBS. Bless Masterpiece Theater. For more than 30 years, I've been enthralled with its television presentations. It's a dependable source for bringing fine literature to life, making eminently entertaining television dramas: no bimbos in peril, no car chases, no shoot-em-ups, no teenagers in heat. Thank you, thank you! P.S. - "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" continues on Sundays through Nov. 18. Catch it if you can. If you do, you'll say thank you to Masterpiece Theater, too.
When my friend needs a greeting card for almost any occasion, he still goes from shop to shop to find one that has "Peanuts" gang: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder or Snoopy. Yes, I'm referring to the cartoon strip characters created by Charles Schulz. In the '60s (can't believe that's 40 years ago!) most people were fans of "Peanuts" - from hipsters and college kids to presidents (Ronald Reagan wrote Schulz a fan note), astronauts, ministers and regular folks like me. The strip reached 300 million readers in 75 countries. I can recall watching animated "Peanuts" television specials - and I think they can still attract an audience. And do you recall the musical, "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown?" It is still being done in amateur theater productions. Surely, Charles Schulz was most successful. However, there's a new biography, "Schulz and Peanuts," written by David Michaelis and, according to the author, Schulz was a lonely and unhappy man. He points out that "Peanuts" was autobiographical. Schulz's cartoons registered emotions like anxiety, depression, disillusionment and yearning. In doing so, the artist transformed the newspaper cartoon strip. My favorite character was Schroeder, the fanatic pianist - and if you know me, you can easily guess why. Do you have a favorite? Schulz created a beloved bunch of cartoon kids and the zany beagle. If all of the above interest you, go to our beautiful library and take out "Schulz and Peanuts." I think you'll find that it's an interesting read. Good grief!
It's a rip-off - and I'm fuming!! I just read that Mel Brooks' new show, "Young Frankenstein," will cost $450 a pop for the best seats. What?! Outrageous! Who - aside from the million dollar bonus clubs - can think twice about taking a date or the family to the new musical! Even full-price orchestra tickets to a standard Broadway show now cost at least a c-note. You might wonder about off Broadway ticket prices. They are hardly a bargain when they can reach as high as $70. I'm beginning to think that it's all too big an investment. What's the alternative? How about a movie? A couple can go to a film, pay a babysitter and even go get something to eat. Of course, sometimes a movie can cost too much too if there are kiddies around who gorge on big bags of popcorn, soda and candy. But back to the theater. At the current prices, young adults won't be able to go to Broadway shows. It's become an elitist pastime. Perhaps if the financial barriers were removed, there would be a lot more interest in theater for all ages. There needs to be more reduced-tickets initiatives. As for me, I'm sticking to the movies - and only a small bag of popcorn.