Saturday, September 13, 2008

(link:) Rare recordings of Mike Nichols and Elaine May on NBC's 'Monitor'

(Reposted from 'Brief Window')

Holy cow!
Why doesn't somebody tell me these things?!?

Over four hours of previously unreleased Nichols and May comedy routines, available to be heard online??
It's a bonanza! Who knew?

Head over to Isn't Life Terrible right now and take a listen to a wonderful trove of Mike & Elaine stuff you've likely never heard before...

Follow links to recordings of
Mike Nichols and Elaine May on NBC's 'Monitor':
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4

Wow, I had no idea.

I stumbled onto this archive just the other day while googling around for information about
The Compass Players, the mid-1950's improvisational theater revue that would a few years later evolve into Chicago's legendary Second City.

For the unitiated, before their long and stellar careers in film,
Mike Nichols and Elaine May had early forays with improv at the Compass Theater that led them to huge stage and television success as a stand-up comedy team.

Their partnership only lasted into the early '60's, and other than 3 LPs they released, there really has not been too much recorded evidence available of their time performing together.
It's a sad state of affairs, and it's never sat well with me.

I was vaguely aware that material from their final LP before they split had been taken from appearances made on 'Monitor', NBC's network radio variety program that ran every weekend from 1955 - 1975.

Personally, I never guessed that other recordings of theirs from that program had existed, or survived.

It's good stuff! I'm still making my way through it, and it's great to hear 'new' Nichols and May, as they do amazing things with improvisation and comedic timing.

Some of the recordings are brilliant, some are not quite, but it's all an unexpected treat - - and again, who knew?!?

It's been interesting to learn more about the Monitor program, too, so I'm also having fun investigating all there is to see and hear at the extensive Monitor Tribute Pages.

- You can read more about Nichols and May in Jeffrey Sweet's book about The Compass Players and Second City; 'Something Wonderful Right Away' or in Gerald Nachman's 'Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s'.

Nachman's book can be previewed at Google Book Search; The chapter on Nichols and May begins on page 318.

UPDATE, 4.5.09: Thanks to reader Mark for bringing my attention to an old video clip of Nichols and May, performing in a commercial for GE refrigerators on live TV...

- Click here for link to Google Video, (via TV Days.Com)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for compiling this and putting it in a place easy to find for someone like me, old enough to barely remember Nichols and May had made my early life interesting and young enough still to enjoy them! Agnes in Missouri

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