Monday, June 20, 2011

Redd Foxx & Pearl Bailey in Norman, Is That You? 1974

Obscurity factor: 7

Dry cleaner Ben Chambers (Foxx) isn't having a good day. His wife Beatrice (Bailey) has left him for his brother and he's come all the way from Phoenix to LA on the bus to commiserate with his son Norman. When he arrives he's shocked to find out that Norman has lavender drapes, a water bed and is shacked up with a man.

Norman, Is That You is one of the first films to address the subject of homosexuality in a positive light. While some of the characters reactions to being gay are prejudiced, the overall message of the film is that it's okay. It was based on a play of the same name (the family was Jewish instead of African American) which flopped on Broadway but found success in regional theater. The film was produced by George Schlatter, the force behind Laugh In. Look for Wayland Flowers and Madame in their first film role.

This film has yet to be released on DVD. A VHS was put out in the late 90's and can still be found on Amazon. You can also find some footage of the film on YouTube, including a great segment of Wayland Flowers and Madame performing in a club.

Obscurity factor: 7 (known in some circles, not on DVD, available on VHS)


  1. Too funny :p

    This looks like something my mom wouldn't let me watch when I was a kid :(

    You would think someone like Netflix would have this available.

  2. Yes, it's ripe for a Netflix streaming title... I found it on iOffer a while back.

  3. I really like this movie, even though it is by no means a great movie. I remember ads for it on TV when it was in the theaters. I finally saw it when I was in my 20s. It was videotaped instead of filmed, so it must have looked awful on the big screen. I saw a regional production of it in the late-1970s with Harvey Korman in the Redd Foxx role.

  4. Hah, Dennis Dugan! I went to high school with his younger brother, Dan, who'd turn beet red everytime the PA system would broadcast Dennis' latest TV or movie appearance.

  5. On Broadway it was Lou Jacobi as the father and Maureen Stapleton as his estranged wife. She was even billed significantly below the title because the part was relatively small. Sam Bobrick & Ron Clark the authors wrote three or four quick broadway flops but all of them had huge laughs and long lives in regional and stock theaters.

  6. Frank DeCaro was talking about this film on his show. It was during Thanksgiving week I believe. He said that it was being shown somewhere in NYC I think.

    I wanted to call in & let him know I had heard of the film through you but I was busy dropping off & trailer & picking up a load...

    Hope you got to see it :)

  7. I have a gray market DVD of it. It's just the kind of film Frank would love though :)