TelevisionWeek Executive Editor Tom Gilbert joins our roster of bloggers with this forum all about classic television, where anything from "Leave It to Beaver" to "Malcolm in the Middle" is fair game for discussion. Reunion specials, DVD releases of classic shows, vintage commercials -- anything that's ever been telecast is the hot topic here.


Timeless TV

August 2008 Archives

Dancing With the Bona Fide Star

August 1, 2008 3:15 PM

Here's a little razzmatazz for you: Dynamic dancer-singer Mitzi Gaynor is on the comeback trail—via DVD, that is. And at 76, she can definitely show the “Dancing With the Stars” crowd a thing or two about fancy footwork.

Mitzi Gaynor

Gaynor, who rose to movie stardom in the ’50s in films such as “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “The Joker Is Wild” and, most famously, as Nellie Forbush in “South Pacific,” went on to conquer TV in the ’60s and ’70s with a series of lavishly produced, Emmy-winning variety specials. Those specials are the source from which this new DVD release, which hits shelves Nov. 18, has been culled.

Titled “Mitzi Gaynor—Razzle Dazzle! The Special Years,” it showcases Gaynor performing at her peak (and in some pretty wild costumes). It also features new interviews with the star and with costume designer Bob Mackie, among many of her other associates. A truncated version is headed to PBS this fall as well.

Mitzi DVD

While prodigious songbirds Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand fronted their own 1960s specials basically by concertizing, Gaynor was the only female performer of that era who could carry an entire series of specials well into the ’70s on the strength of her glamour, dynamism and dancing talent alone. People of a certain age still talk about her show-stopping appearance on the 39th Academy Awards telecast in 1967, performing the Oscar-nominated song “Georgy Girl,” which no doubt led to her first special in 1968.

See for yourself; here’s a trailer for the DVD. (Oh yeah, and be sure to check out the male dancers’ togs!)