Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Bye Bye Birdie


I understand that those who love the Broadway musical hate this movie, and reading about how much they butchered it, how many songs they left out and how they changed the plot, I can see why. But I was not handicapped by that knowledge when I saw the movie, so I enjoyed it a lot, and still do, though I have seen the play on stage now. (Which I enjoyed also, and can’t choose which is the better version.) I loved the songs, the satire, and the innovative filming. I particularly enjoyed seeing the real Ed Sullivan—the stiffest stiff who ever lived, and God’s gift to impressionists—playing himself, and seeing the MacAfee family in choir robes against a heavenly background singing about how “We’re gonna be on Ed Sullivan!” It’s hard to remember how much some people dominated early television, people like Ed, and Arthur Godfrey, and Lucy, and Walter Cronkite. We watched Ed every Sunday. I think the guy who played Conrad Birdie was fabulous, and there is some great dancing. I always enjoy Dick Van Dyke, and Janet Leigh is good. The man who steals the scenes he is in is Paul Lynde, the original center square on “Hollywood Squares.”