Thursday, April 23, 2009

"How's That For a Topper?"

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email telling me that, if I bought this kick-ass t-shirt of Charles Nelson Reilly giving the peace sign (for only $14.95), I would also receive a free screener dvd copy of the film of Charles' brilliant one-man show, The Life of Reilly.

I was lucky enough to see The Life of Reilly when it played here during an extremely short run at Facets Multimedia

I saw the movie with Mike from Logopolis and his boyfriend, Andy. And I wanted a copy of the dvd the second the film started. 

And I've been waiting. And waiting. And yesterday, I finally got it. Along with the t-shirt.

Apparently, the release of the film is being held up because of some legal problems, but the filmmakers have stacks of these screener dvds of the movie and are graciously including them with t-shirt sales until all the dvds are gone.

It's just the movie, no extras or anything like that. But with a show this wonderful, extras aren't needed. 

Charles died on May 25th, 2007, but as the film shows, he led an extraordinary life. And not just because he was a Match Game star, either. 

He was a Broadway star and a Broadway director, an acting teacher, a friend and a loving soul. 

And he was a student. Check out this little piece from The Life of Reilly where Charles discusses his first acting class, taught by Uta Hagen...




And since today is Shakespeare's birthday - - and since Chicago's Mayor Daley proclaimed today to be "Talk Like Shakespeare Day" (Dear sweet Jesus... wtf?...) - - here's Charles doing a bit of Hamlet.

Just before this clip, Charles talks about being on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (he appeared on Johnny's show over 100 times) and one of the other guests was a woman discussing Shakespeare. Charles chimed in, saying that he loved Shakespeare as well, and the woman replied, "What would someone like YOU know about Shakespeare?!?" Charles stood up and did this...




That is just one of the reasons why we lovingly remember Charles Nelson Reilly. 

That bitchy, Shakespeare woman who tried to belittle Charles on national television... Now, who was she?... What was her name?...

Exactly.

6 comments:

Prospero said...

Many years ago, I was driving along Wilshire Boulevard and got stopped at red a light. A little white convertible pulled up along side me, engine roaring. I looked over to see a man in huge sunglasses and a sailor's cap behind the wheel. He turned to me and smiled and waved. It was CNR, himself. I waved back, stunned. I was never so thrilled to have a celebrity encounter, as I was that one. Not even the 20 minute conversation I had with a still gorgeous Treat Williams on Hollywood Blvd. Not the dance of "get out of my way" I had with Liam Neesom on the second floor the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble. Nope. A brief encounter with CNR, where neither of us spoke a word, was far more exciting to me. I don't think people realize how important and influential he was in American Theatre. May he (and Mr. Shakespeare) rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

He was one of the first acting teachers I ever had. Being in his class was a life changing experience. I miss him like mad.



-Alex

yellowdog granny said...

i adored cnr.i miss him...

Fabulastic said...

Can I just say: I am thin and I am gorgeous?

Aaron said...

Who WAS the bitchy Shakespeare woman who tried to belittle CNR on nat'l television? I don't recall. It wasn't on "Hollywood Squares," was it? Because you may have gotten her confused with Rose Marie...

;-)

There's NOTHING that man ever did--NOTHING--that I didn't like.

Michael said...

I, too, just received my t-shirt and DVD, and watched the film this evening. Truly fascinating. CNR was an amazing individual.