Friday, September 23, 2011

Eleanor Parker in Bracken's World (1969)

The glamorous, cut-throat world of Hollywood gets a self referential look in this hour long drama. Studio boss Bracken is never seen - at least in the first season. His affairs are administered by his executive secretary, Sylvia Caldwell (Parker). Starlets and aspiring actors, temperamental directors and acting coaches make up the cast of characters in this soapy series that often featured cameos by film stars such as Debbie Reynolds, who had her own sitcom on the network that season, featured here on the blog yesterday. Parker was replaced in the second season by Bracken himself, played by Leslie Nielsen. Season two only lasted 15 episodes.

This series hasn't seen the light of day since it was first broadcast. It's never been released on DVD. There are a few clips on YouTube, including a series featuring Lois Nettleton. The promo above was uploaded to YouTube by MattTheSaiyan.

Obscurity factor: 10 (largely forgotten, not on DVD, limited presence on YouTube)

9 comments:

  1. I am curious, if IMDb is mistaken, saying Parker did only 16 episodes, of the first season's 26. Her character appears central to the concept, until "Bracken" himself shows up the second year. Perhaps there was another "secretary" after Parker left, and prior to Nielsen joining the cast...... Well, Wikipedia answered it for me...Parker, Season 1, episodes 1 - 16, followed by Bettye Ackerman as Anne Frazer, epsiodes 17 - 41 (overlapping with Nielsen).

    Regardless, this looks like a show that I would enjoy watching.

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  2. Some quick Googling, came up with this: Parker quit her first TV series, "Bracken's World," after only 16 episodes "due to lack of creative satisfaction.” She received a Golden Globe nomination for this role.

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  3. Thanks for the further research!

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  4. Technically, Parker was in only 15 episodes (one episode where she was credited -- "Move in for a Close-Up" -- she was not in). In her biography, she said that she was supposed to be the lead of an ensemble cast, but that they kept bringing in guest stars to beef up the show, and there was nothing left for her to do but answer phones and scold the children. BTW reruns have circulated and been for sale at www.networksplus.net/caseyguy/epPartners.htm

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  5. That's so often the case with shows - when they go in a different direction the stars can sometimes get huffy. It happened to John Amos in Good Times and Robert Reed in the last season of the Brady Bunch...

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  6. Also available at http://dvds4chemo.com/id66.html

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  7. To Leighton: for the last 10 episodes of the first season, Bettye Ackerman was brought in to "replace" the executive secretary role, but they promoted Davey Evans (Dennis Cole) from stuntman to be Bracken's right-hand-man until they retooled (and ruined) the series for the second season.

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  8. Show has not been released on DVD, but enterprising folks have cobbled together the entire series at http://www.sell.com/22ZG5V

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