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Roadshow!: The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s Hardcover – January 2, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
Kennedy weaves an engrossing tapestry from an impressive array of facts as he relates how these overblown productions were born in haste, went awry in the craziest ways, and then floundered disastrously at the box office. What makes this excellent book so absorbing is the author’s colorful, highly readable chronicle. It smartly juggles the antics of dictatorial studio executives, often misguided creative talents, and desperate marketing gurus as they jumped blindly over the cliff of reason and entertainment value. What resulted from this chaos were colossal movie musicals misfires.
Kennedy’s study of this little-explored area of Hollywood film history is an extremely satisfactory mix of detailed research, astute observations, and flavorful narrative.Read more ›
A roadshow was a movie released by a major studio, in just a few theaters at first and with great fanfare, then weeks or months later, released slowly to other theaters throughout the country. Tickets were issued at higher than normal prices and with assigned seating. The idea seemed to be to make the movie experience more like a Broadway theater experience.
I did not know about this phenomenon until I visited Graumann's Theater in Hollywood and saw a display of fancy tickets and programs from movies in the 1920s and 1930s. I didn't realize the practice continued into the early 1970s until I read this book.
It all seems rather quaint now that the blockbuster movies are released on as many screens as possible all at once and if a new release doesn't impress on the first day, it disappears quickly. In the 60s even the worst flop would take months to fail.
Matthew Kennedy begins with the most successful roadshow, The Sound of Music. This was the peak of the roadshow phenomenon and for movie musicals as well. For the next ten years, movie musicals got more expensive and overproduced and never achieved the success of Sound of Music. Movie studios went broke trying.
Kennedy gets into the nuts and bolts of putting together a 60s musical and even into the finances. And then there's the gossip. The story of the making of Doctor Dolittle is my favorite of this bunch, with Rex Harrison insulting everyone, and his wife (who wasn't in the movie) creating a scene wherever she went. Of course the movies that were flops are the most fun to read about. Paint Your Wagon was doomed from the start, and Finian's Rainbow could have been halfway good, but boneheaded moves like filming Fred Astaire's dance scenes so that his feet weren't visible on screen kept it from having a chance.
Roadshow! is a fun look at a slice of movie history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The subject matter is interesting — the last great hurrah of Hollywood musicals following the mammoth success of The Sound of Music in 1965. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Neurasthenic
Reading Roadshow: The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s by Matthew Kennedy is like finding out that your adored favorite aunt and uncle actually had a marriage filled with... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Russell J. Sanders
You might not think the collapse of the mammoth Hollywood musical would have the makings of a rich & rewarding book, but "Roadshow! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Snookie Handsome
One of the best books ever on the topic. Lots of insider information. I've reread several timesPublished 11 months ago by Jim MCCORMACK
This book deals with an area of film history previously untapped — the rise and dramatic decline of Hollywood’s massive road show musicals. Read morePublished 16 months ago by The Movie Man
I devoured this book!
If you are a fan of those big musical film spectaculars of the 1960's (and early '70's) then this book will fascinate you. Read more
First rate account of a fascinating time in the movie industry and the popular culture. As a lifelong worker in the feature film industry I appreciate the depth and detail of Mr. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Far2Go
Despite a few factual errors, and some questionable judgments, this is a well-written and well-researched examination of the decline of road show musical films. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Larry Gevirtz