|Scott Baio and Erin Moran on Happy Days.|
As I explained a couple of weeks ago, each installment of These Days Are Ours requires an extensive postproduction phase. Recording the show takes only 30 to 40 minutes. Editing, however, takes several hours, usually spread out over a few days. During that time, I think a great deal about the Happy Days episode we're reviewing. Occasionally, a thought will occur to me that I should have said when we were actually recording.
This week's podcast is a perfect example. We're reviewing Season 8's "Broadway It's Not" in which Joanie (Erin Moran) and Chachi (Scott Baio) appear in the high school musical, a cornball Western called Home on La Grange. Chachi becomes fiercely jealous when Joanie swoons over the show's handsome but arrogant leading man, Granville Clark (guest star Larry Anderson). Granville and Chachi exchange insults before resorting to physical violence. Ultimately, the young Mr. Arcola emerges triumphant, usurps Granville's leading role in the play, and sings a mushy romantic duet with Joanie.
Only during the editing stage did I realize that "Broadway It's Not" is structured exactly like a Popeye cartoon, specifically like the cartoons Popeye was making during the 1950s at Paramount. Most of those 'toons center around the eternal Popeye/Olive/Bluto love triangle. The way Granville roughs up Chachi during rehearsals, throwing him through a fake window and into a real trough of water, is highly Bluto-esque. Meanwhile, the way Joanie's loyalties waver between Granville and Chachi is classic Olive Oyl behavior. And Chachi is written just like Popeye, taking a lot of abuse before he finally snaps. All that's missing is a can of spinach.
By the way, my cohost and I differed on the merits of a song called "My Home Sweet Home La Grange." I loved it. My cohost did not. Again, during the editing phase, I realized why I liked the song so well: it's arranged like the musical numbers from many of Mel Brooks' movies. Compare it to "Prisoners of Love" from The Producers, "I'm Tired" from Blazing Saddles, or the title song from Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
What did we think of "Broadway It's Not"? Was it a hit or a miss? Find out by listening to These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast.