Friday, March 16, 2018

Everybody Loves Raymond: Foreign Adaptations, Part 1

     Everybody Loves Raymond was a 1995-2005 sitcom, where Ray Romano starred as the main character Ray Barone, Patrica Heaton as his wife Debra Barone, who lived across the street from Ray's parents, his mother Marie, played by Doris Roberts, his father Frank played by Peter Boyle, and his brother Robert, played by Brad Garrett.  While Ray and Debra have three kids, daughter Ally (Madylin Sweetin) and twin sons Geoffry and Michael (Sawyer and Sullivan), they were rarely the focal point, with Ray and Debra's interactions with Marie, Frank, and Robert took up the majority of storylines.  Monica Horan, who played Robert's girlfriend and later wife, was a recurring character in the first seven seasons but was upgraded to the main cast for the eighth and ninth season.  Everybody Loves Raymond had a slow start in the ratings, but grew over time, and was in the top twenty in the Nielsen Ratings from seasons three to nine, and top ten for seasons five to nine.  The show lasted nine seasons and 210 episodes.  Since the show was based on relatable family interactions, versus dated pop culture references, the show, like The Nanny, become a concept ripe for adaptation.  Here are three Foreign Adaptations of Everybody Loves Raymond

         The first, and by far the most well known is the Russian adaption of Everybody Loves Raymond, воронины (Voronins, as in, The Voronins).  Georgiy Alexandrovich Dronov (Георгий Александрович Дронов) plays the main character Konstantin N. Voronin (Константин Николаевич Воронин) and Ekaterina Volkova (Екатерина Волкова) plays his wife Vera Sergeevna Voronina (Вера Сергеевна Воронина), who lives across the street from Georgiy's mother Galina (Галина), played by Anna Frolovtseva (Анна Фроловцева), father Nikolai (Николай), played by Boris Klyuyev (Борис Клюев), and brother Leonid "Lyonya" (Леонид "Лёни"), played by Stanislav Duzhnikov (Станислав Дужников).  Julia Kuvarzina (Юлия Куварзина) played Anastasia Schwartz (Анастасия Шварц), who eventually marries Lyonya. Konstantin and Vera have three children: daughter Maria (Мария), played by Masha Ilykhina (Мария Ильюхина) and twin sons Krill (Кирилл) and Philip (Филипп), played by Philip and Cyril Vorobyovy (Филипп и Кирилл Воробьёвы) for the first ten seasons; Roman and Artem Penchuk (Роман и Артём Пенчук) played the twins from season eleven onwards.  The first ten seasons adapted episodes from the nine seasons of the American show; each subsequent season featured completely new storylines.  New characters include the son of Lyonya and Anastasia, Alexander (Александр), played by two different baby actors, born in the 11th season, and youngest daughter of Konstantin and Vera, Lyudmila (Людмила), played by four different baby actresses (born in the 14th season).  Unlike the American show, production and release of episodes are much faster than the American counterpart, going through the original 210 episodes in just three years, with each episode in a season (typically twenty episodes) released over a period of four weeks.  While production did slow down somewhat during the non-adapted seasons, nevertheless the show has currently released 21 seasons and 455 episodes, with the 22nd season premiering on March 6th.  A documentary was made chronicling Raymond's creator, Phil Rosenthal, journeying to Russia to adapt the show; Exporting Raymond was released in 2010.

         Everybody Loves Raymond was adapted in India in Hindi, as the show Sumit Sambhal Lega (सुमित संभाल लेगा), which translated into English means "Sumit Will Handle" or "Summit Will Take Care."  Namit Das (नमित दास) plays the main character Sumit Walia (सुमित वालिया), and Manasi Parekh Gohil (मानसी पारेख गोहील) plays his wife Maya Walia (माया वालिया).  Always dropping by his place are his mother Dolly (डॉली), played by Bharti Achrekar (भारती आचरेकर), his father Jasbir (जसबीर) played by Satish Kaushik (सतीश कौशिक), and his brother Rajneesh (रजनीश), played by Vikram Kochhar (विक्रम कोचर).   Saniya Touqeer played daughter Alia and Avisha Sharma (आविषा शर्मा) played son Avi (अवि; no twins in this version).   Steve Skrovan, one of the writers of the original Raymond, helped bring Sumit Sambhal Lega to the STAR plus network.   Fun fact: Avisha, a little girl, played the little boy Avi.   The show was released in eight-to-ten episode seasons from 2015 to 2016, for a total of 11 seasons and 108 episodes, plus one special.
       Finally, there was one adaptation which never got past the pilot stage.  In the UK, Everybody Loves Raymond was to be adapted into a BBC sitcom called The Smiths.  Filmed in May 2013, the pilot starred Lee Mack as Michael Smith and Catherine Tate as his wife.  Lee Mack spearheaded the pilot, writing as well as starring in it.  The pilot was produced by Silver River and filmed at Elstree Studios in London.   Unfortunately, BBC decided not to pursue the show, with the unaired pilot as the part of the adaptation produced in the UK.  Lee Mack confirmed in an interview in December 2013 that The Smiths had been scrapped.     
         With its focus on universal family dynamics, Everybody Loves Raymond continues to run in Russia as воронины; Sumit Sambhal Lega aired a respectable 108 episodes with its own adaptation.  It's too bad that The Smiths never got off the ground, it would have been interesting to see an adaption of Raymond set in the UK.  Check out the Russian and Hindi versions of Everybody Loves Raymond, and wonder what might have been with The Smiths.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Pure Flix: A Profile

         On March 21, 2014, God's Not Dead premiered in theaters.  God's Not Dead starred Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, Dean Cain and featured a cameo from the Christian band The Newsboys. God's Not Dead follows a series of interconnected stories, the most significant of which is a college student (Harper) who stands up to a professor (Sorbo) claiming God is dead.  Made for $2 million and grossing $64 million at the box office, the film put Pure Flix, the studio that made the film on the map.  The film shines a light on Christian films and marked a trend of major stars playing roles in Christian productions.   Now, Pure Flix has become a major player in distributing Christian content, with a theatrical production and distribution arm, a streaming service, and a homeschool curriculum.
        Pure Flix was founded in 2005 by David A. R. White, along with Michael Scott, Russell Wolfe, and Elizabeth Travis.   White had enjoyed a successful acting career before 2005, having a recurring role on the Burt Reynolds-led sitcom Evening Shade and also had guest roles on Coach, Saved by the Bell, and Melrose Place.  He also starred in several significant roles in Christian movies before founding his company, including Second Glance, Belles of Innocence (with Chuck Norris) and Mercy Streets (with Eric Roberts).  He also helped starred in and helped produce The Moment After in 1999, in an effort to improve the quality of Christian movie productions.  White's straddling of Hollywood mainstream and Christian films gives him a unique position among Christian film studios.
       In the beginning, many of the Pure Flix Releases were direct-to-video.  Pure Flix released Hidden Secrets, starring John Schnider, David White, and Tracy Melichor in 2006 and The Wager in 2007, starring Randy Travis, Jude Ciccolella and a pre-career revival Candice Cameron Bure.  From there, Pure Flix released a string of movies that used character actors from Hollywood and/or Christian music stars.  The Imposter, starring DC Talk star Kevin Max, was released in 2008, and Sarah's Choice was released in 2009 and starred recording artist Rebecca St. James.  In the Blink of an Eye, about the rapture, was released in 2009 and starred Eric Roberts, David White, and his wife, Andrea White.  Pure Flix also released a string of adaptions of Bible Stories, including Ruth (2009), Apostle Peter (2012), Daniel (2013) and Esther (2013), as well as three more end times movies, Jerusalem Countdown (2011), The Mark (2012) and The Mark 2: Redemption (2013).  In 2011, Pure Flix released theatrically the movie What If..., starring Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, Debby Ryan and John Ratzenberger, about a man being visited by an angel and given the chance to relive his life if he had married and had two children.
      Following God's Not Dead, Pure Flix released mostly modern Christian Dramas coupled with biographical dramas illustrating the faith journey of real-life people.  Other modern Christian dramas include Do You Believe? (2015), Faith of Our Fathers (2015),  God's Not Dead 2 (2016), and Same Kind of Different as Me (2017).  Biographical dramas include Woodlawn (2015), about the 1970 Woodlawn High School football team who all came to Christ, I'm Not Ashamed (2016), about Rachel Joy Scott, who was the Christian who was killed for her faith at Columbine, and The Case for Christ (2017) about atheist turned Christian reporter Lee Strobel.   Pure Flix also released a concert film, Hillsong: Let Hope Rise (2016).
      In 2018, Pure Flix has three movies scheduled for release.  Samson, the first Biblical story in five years, about the physically strong but morally weak judge from the Old Testament, came out in theaters on February 16, 2018.  God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness will come out in theaters on March 30, 2018, and will be about the people of a church struggling with their faith after the building burns down.  Unbroken: Path to Redemption will be released on October 5, 2018, and will follow the ministry of Louis Zamperini, after his time as a prisoner of war (the prisoner of war era was covered in the secular movie Unbroken in 2014).
      Pure Flix remains committed to Christ-centered films, showcasing both real and fictional people on their faith journey.   Check out Pure Flix's movies, and streaming service, for great Christian films and content.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Blog Post Stats and Trivia Contest!

Blog Post Stats (in no particular order):
Total Blog Posts: 250
"Romance is for Other People" Book Tidbits: 45
Directors Covered in "Famous Director's First Theatrical Movies": 45
"Brief/Short Histories": 4
YouTube Blogs: 15
YouTube Channels Mentioned: 29
Bollywood Movies Covered: 12
Subjects with Multiple Parts: 14
Blogs about Christian-related content: 4
Examples of TV Shows with Web series: 9
Television Spin-Offs Covered: 27
TV Series Covered that continued without the Main Star: 15
Movie Series Covered which failed to adapt all titles in the book series: 12
Blogs with Spoiler Warnings: 20
Documentaries Profiled: 10
TV Series Continuations of Movies Covered: 21
Non-Star Trek Gene Roddenberry Productions: 7
Non-US TV Series Covered: 21
Theme Park Rides Profiled or Mentioned: 24
Total Songs Profiled on Song-Related Blogs (Except Weird Al): 32
Blog Post with the highest views: VeggieTales: A Short History (464 views!)
Movie and remakes profiled side-by-side: 6
Summer camp movies covered: 5
Celebrities Who Starred in Theme Park Rides: 62
Productions (TV and Stage) by Whose Line Stars/Creators: 11
Videos Embedded in Blogs: 43
Oldest Piece of Entertainment Covered: William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing - (Written between 1598 and 1599, published in 1623)
Youngest Piece of Entertainment Covered: The Last Jedi (Released December 15, 2017)

"Weird" Al Yankovic Spotify Playlists: 2
Songs on Original Artists/Songs+Parodies: 137
Songs on A Love Story told by Weird Al Parodies: 10

Film Series You've Probably Never Heard of:
Charlie Chan: 58
Blondie: 28
Road to...: 7
Thin Man: 6

Trivia Contest:
All of these questions cover material I have covered in my blogs.
Rules: First person to send me the answer to all the questions correctly will win a $5 Amazon gift card plus a signed copy of my book, Romance is for Other People!
Ways to Enter: Facebook Message or email

1.  Who was the musical artist who joined Ryan Styles, Greg Proops, Jeff Davis, and Joel Murray in Whose Live Anyway?

2.  Where in the world is the Indian film Kal Ho Naa Ho set?

3.  Before he started directing his own projects, Akira Kurosawa was a second unit director on which film?

4.  Which Italian producer held the rights to Dune in 1981?

5. Jessie McCartney's record label turned down which song which was written by Ryan Tedder and McCartney?  Who was the artist who ultimately recorded the song?

6. What is the second chapter title in Romance is for Other People?

7.  Which of the Broadway musicals I said I wanted to see in one of my early posts has since closed?

8.  On which day did I first announce on the blog about my book, Romance is for Other People?

9.  Which Emmy did Casey Pugh receive, and for which project?

10.  What was the reason for the TV show Dragnet ending, both times?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Walt Disney before Mickey Mouse

           "I only hope we never lose sight of one thing - that it all started with a mouse."  - Walt Disney, 1954.    Walt Disney built his empire with Mickey Mouse as the mascot and the founding cartoon of his company, with the public release of Steamboat Willie (1928), though technically Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho were made first.   However, before Mickey Mouse, from 1921 to 1928, Walt Disney, along with his animation partner Ib Iwerks, worked on three early animation series.  Here is a short history of Walt Disney's animation career before Mickey Mouse.
            In 1921, Iwerks and Disney were struggling businessmen who worked for the Kansas City Film Ad Company.  It was here that Disney first decided to focus his efforts on Cel Animation.  However, the head of the Ad Company, A.V. Cager, did not want to try cel animation, so Walt formed his own company, Laugh-O-Gram Studios in Kansas City, Missouri.  Milton Field contracted Disney to create twelve cartoons for the local Newman Theater, thus the cartoons were called Newman's Laugh-O-Grams.  Disney incorporated Laugh-O-Gram Studios in 1922.   The Laugh-O-Gram studio was always strapped for cash and at the end of 1922 Disney was living in his office to save money.  Laugh-O-Gram Studios made 10 shorts, many of them were updates on Fairy Tales.  The first short was actually Newsreel footage of animators (called Newman's Laugh-O-Grams), was Walt Disney's first true animated short, Little Red Riding Hood (1922).   In addition to Iwerks, Hugh Harmon, Fritz Freleng, and Carman Maxwell also worked at the studios, many of which would go on to have long careers in their own right.  Seven animated shorts were produced and distributed.
                Disney found a distributor with Pictorial Clubs of Tennessee, but only received a $100 advance.  A Kansans City dentist asked for Laugh-O-Gram to produce a dental hygiene short for Missouri schools, Tommy Tucker's Tooth (1922).  The short earned Disney $500 dollars, and by that point, Disney was interested in combining animation and live-action and created Alice's Wonderland (1923) with Virginia Davis in the title role.  Alice's Wonderland was the last project made at Laugh-O-Gram studios. Disney made Alice's Wonderland not to be played in theaters but rather to sell the concept to a studio.  Laugh-O-Gram Studios went bankrupt in 1923, and Walt Disney moved to Hollywood and lived with his Uncle Robert and brother Roy.  It was there Walt and Roy founded the Disney Brothers Studio, which later changed its name to the Walt Disney Studios that we know today.
            Walt struggled to find a distributor initially.  He finally found one in Margret Wrinkler and her fiancee Charles Mintz, who previously released Out of the Inkwell and Felix the Cat.  She lost the rights to both and was looking for a new project.  Walt Disney signed a contract to produce six Alice Comedies for Wrinkler Pictures.   Disney was even able to convince Virginia Davis's family to move down to Hollywood to continue playing Alice.  In the Alice Comedies, Alice had various adventures in an animated landscape with an animated cat named Julius.  Ub Iwerks, Rollin Hamilton, Hugh Harmon and Fritz Freleng did the animation on the shorts.  The first of the Alice Comedies distributed to the public was called Alice's Day at Sea (1924).  Virginia Davis ultimately starred in 14 Alice Comedies from 1924 to 1925, with Margie Gay taking over the role on 15 February 1925 with Alice Solves the Puzzel (1925).  Dawn O'Day played Alice in only one short, Alice's Plant Egg (1925).  Margie Gay was the longest running Alice, starring in 31 shorts from 1925 to 1927.   Lois Hardwick was the final Alice, with her first Alice Comedies film being Alice's Circus Daze (1927).  She starred in a total of 10 Alice comedies, bringing the total of all Alice Comedies to 57.
          Towards the end of 1927, Disney and Iwerks were ready to move on to a new project.  Universal Studios was looking to get into animation at the time, so Walt Disney signed a contract to create and animate a series of fully animated short.  He decided on a rabbit to because there were so many cat stars at the time (Felix the Cat, Krazy Kat).  Universal chose the name of the character out of a hat, which became Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.   The first short, Poor Papa, was not received well by Universal.  It was then that Disney made a deliberate effort to make Oswald a character with a distinct personality and character: "Hereafter we will aim to [make] Oswald a younger character, peppy, alert, saucy and venturesome, keeping him also neat and trim." [1]. The next short, Trolley Troubles, was released on September 5, 1927, and introduced Oswald to the world.  The release was a huge hit, and Disney, Roy, and Iwerks and their staff worked on 27 Oswald shorts, from 1927 to 1928.
            Unfortunately, Walt found out from Iwerks that Charles Mintz, his producer (and distributor) was hiring his animators to work for Mintz directly instead of though Disney.  In early 1928, he tried unsuccessfully to sell the series to other studios.  He finally traveled to New York City to ask for an increase in the budget, he instead was told that he was getting a 20 percent cut and was reminded that Universal owned Oswald.  Disney angrily quit working for Mintz and left on a train to finish Oswald shorts he was contractually obligated to complete.  Soon after, he decided to create with Iwerks a new cartoon character his studio owned completely. That character was Mickey Mouse.

          To celebrate my 250th blog, I am doing a post with stats from the last 249 blog posts, plus a 10-question trivia contest, where the winner will receive a $5 Amazon gift card, plus a signed copy of my book, Romance is for Other People!

Friday, February 16, 2018

YouTube Channel Profile: Defunctland

            Ever miss particular theme park rides?  Wish you could know more about closed ride history, plus other aspects of theme parks?  Well, here is your YouTube channel.   Created November 2, 2016, with the first video posted on February 15, 2017, Defunctland focuses on all things defunct from theme parks from around the United States.  Defunctland is founded, written and hosted by Kevin Perjurer, a deep-voiced man of mystery since his profile picture is of Brad Pitt (or a wax sculpture of Brad Pitt).   Here is a profile of the YouTube channel Defunctland.
           Defunctland began with a look at of the one of the most notorious closed Disney rides, ExtraTERRORestrial: Alien Encounter, a ride meant to provide genuine scares to people attending the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, as opposed to the gentle thrills of Haunted Mansion.  Opening in 1994, the ride lasted for almost a decade until closing in 2003.  Perjurer profiles the entire history of the ride, from its conception to closing, along with any interesting trivia along the way.  Perjurer shows a huge love of closed Disney Rides and Attractions, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Disneyland's Videopolis, Captain EO, and Pleasure Island, along with smaller aspects such as the Sorcerer's Hat from Disney's Hollywood Studios and the walk-around characters who no longer roam the park.  A personal favorite of mine is Disneyland's America Sings because I had no knowledge of the ride before I viewed the video:

         Of course, the other major player in the theme park game is also profiled, Universal Studios, with 7 videos about closed rides, attractions and other shows from the theme parks.  The major closed rides profiled include Jaws, Kongfrontation, and Earthquake: The Big One, as well as shows such as Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue.    But Purjurer also expands beyond the Disney and Universal theme parks to include rides from King's Island in Ohio (Son of Beast) and Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Drachen Fire), plus the history of Action Park.  He also released a bonus video with compiled archive footage from his research into closed theme park rides and attractions.  Check out the history of Disaster Transport from Cedar Point, which wanted to be a themed space ride on the level of Disney or Universal but failed miserably: 

        In addition, Kevin Perjurer started the Defunctland Podcast on August 24, 2017, where he talks about everything related to theme parks.  By far the best of the podcast feature his interviews with people who actually work in the theme parks, including a Universal Studios employee and a three-part podcast with Imagineer and Puppeteer Terri Hardin, the Muppet performer who worked on Captian EO and many other Disney attraction-related projects.  Kevin Perjurer also hosted a live stream debate between him and Rob Plays, about the future of the Theme Park Industry.  Check out Purjurer's interview with Terri Hardin, if you have a few hours:

      Kevin is also working on (with others) a VR theme park with the closed attractions profiled.  He released a short VR-enabled 360-Degree Proof-of-Concept video with the Sorcerer's Hat.   Kevin has talked about the virtual theme park and its aspects several times on the Defunctland Podcast, giving hints to the design and layout.  
      One final bonus tidbit: Kevin released his first non-theme park-related content on December 31st, 2017, with the history of Mac Tonight, a McDonald's character no longer used by the company.   
       Overall, there are 29 official episodes of Defunctland, and 11 podcasts available in addition to the live stream.   Kevin Perjurer, disguised as a Brad Pitt wax figure, continues to shed light on closed rides, attractions, and theme parks.  Check out Kevin Perjurer's Defunctland YouTube channel:

         This is the 248th post on this blog.  To celebrate my 250th blog, I am doing a post with stats from the last 249 blog posts, plus a 10-question trivia contest, where the winner will receive a $5 Amazon gift card, plus a signed copy of my book, Romance is for Other People!


Friday, February 9, 2018

Foreign Adaptations of The Nanny, Part 2 (European Versions)

            Last week, four Latin American versions of the US sitcom The Nanny were covered.   In addition, the show was adapted in European countries, showing that the concept has appeal across the ocean as well. Here are three European adaptations of The Nanny:
            The Greek version of the Nanny, Η Νταντά (The Nanny) premiered in 2003 on the Mega Channel.  Mary Papadakis (Μαίρη Παπαδάκη), played by Maria Lekaki (Μαρία Λεκάκη), goes to work as a nanny for wealthy Aris Bakopoulos (Άρης Μπακόπουλος), played by Kostas Apostolidis (Κώστας Αποστολίδης).  There Mary meets the three children, Natalia (Ναταλία), played by Iphigenia Voyiatzaki (Ιφιγένεια Βογιατζάκη); Phoebus (Φοίβος), played by Vassilis Karagiannis (Βασίλης Καραγιάννης); and Evita (Εβίτα) played by Natalia Dara (Ναταλία Δάρα).  She also interacts with the butler Dionysis Hatzimichael (Διονύσης Χατζημιχαήλ), played by Christos Simardanis (Χρήστος Σιμαρδάνης), and Aris' business partner Smaragda Plauputa (Σμαράγδα Πλαπούτα), played by Kalliroi Myriangou (Καλλιρρόη Μυριαγκού).   Η Νταντά lasted two seasons and 70 episodes, from 2003 to 2005.  (Opening Titles start at 2:00 on the video below:)
           The version of The Nanny from Poland, Niania, premiered in 2005 on channel TVN. Franciszka "Frania" Skalska (Agnieszka Dygant) goes to work as a nanny for wealthy Maksymilian "Maks" Skalski (Tomasz Kot) in Warsaw.  Frania is put in charge of three children, Małgorzata (Maria Maciejowska), Adam (Roger Karwiński) and Zuzanna (Emilia Stachurska), and meets butler Konrad (Adam Ferency) and Maks' business partner Karolina Łapińska (Tamara Arciuch).   The Polish Niania was a huge success in Poland, lasting 9 seasons and 134 episodes (typical season consisted of 15 episodes), from 2005 to 2009.  On the one-hundredth episode ("Miłość aż po Hel"/"Love up to Hel" which is an adaptation of "From Flushing with Love"), Fran Dresher, the original Nanny, pays a visit to the set of the Polish Niania. (Opening titles start at 2:50, and then see Fran Dresher's appearance during the closing credits at 21:28 in the video below:)
            In 2004, Моя́ прекра́сная ня́ня (My Fair Nanny) premiered on channel STS/CTC in Russia.  Viktoria Vladimirovna Prutkovskaya (Виктория Владимировна Прутковская), played by Anastasia Zavorotnyuk (Анастасия Заворотнюк) goes to work in Moscow as a nanny for Maksim Viktoroviс Shatalin (Максим Викторович Шаталин), played by Sergei Zhigunov (Сергей Жигунов).  She meets Maks' three children, Maria (Мария), played by Ekaterina Dubakina (Екатерина Дубакина); Denis (Денис), played by Pavel Serdyuk (Павел Сердюк), and Kseniya (Ксения), played by Irina Andreeva (Ирина Андреева).   Viktoria also interacts with the butler Konstantin Nikolaeviс Semyonov (Константин Николаевич Семёнов), played by Boris Smolkin (Борис Смолкин), and Maks' business partner, Janna Arkadyevna Izhevskaya (Жанна Аркадьевна Ижевская), played by Olga Prokofieva (Ольга Прокофьева).  Моя́ прекра́сная ня́ня was another huge success, lasting 7 seasons and 173 episodes, from 2004 to 2009. Since the original Nanny ended at the sixth season and 146 episodes, the Russian producers brought the American writers in to help write the additional seventh season.  (Opening titles start at 1:35 in the video below:)
           These European versions of the Nanny enjoyed incredible success, one version even going one season beyond the original show's run.  For Russia and Poland (and possibly for Greese as well), their country's version probably became as beloved as the original Nanny was in the US.  Check out these European adaptations of The Nanny.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Foreign Adaptations of The Nanny, Part 1 (Latin American versions)

           The Nanny has such typical set-up it's surprising the show didn't premiere until the 1990s.  Fran Dresher stars as Fran Fine, the nasal-voiced fashionista who becomes the titular Nanny for a wealthy family in Manhattan headed by British widower Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), who has three children, Maggie (Nicholle Tom), Brighton (Benjamin Salisbury), Grace (Madeline Zima).  Rounding out the cast is the sharp-tongued butler Niles (Daniel Davis) and Maxwell's business partner, C.C. Babcock.  While the children were present throughout the show, the funniest moments occurred in the dynamic between the four adult leads, with Fran being outlandish, Maxwell usually playing the straight man and Niles and C.C. trading barbs with each other and Fran and Max.  In the US, the original show lasted six seasons and 146 episodes, from 1993 to 1999.  The show became a huge international hit, playing in more than eighty countries.  With such a successful concept, it's no wonder that several countries tried to adapt The Nanny into their own language.  Before we begin that list, check out the catchy original opening credits:
    In 2004, Argentina adapted The Nanny as La Niñera.  In this show, Flor Finkle (Florencia Peña) works as the nanny for Juan Manuel Iraola (Boy Olmi) in Buenos Aires, with his three children Maggie (Augustina Córdova), Juan Agustín (Mariano Colombo) and Micaela (Malena Luchetti).  The butler Fidel was played by Roberto Carnaghi and Juan Manuel's business partner Teté López Lynch was played by Carola Reyna.  Unlike US sitcoms, which run on a 22-27 episode season, in the first season, 175 episodes were broadcast on the channel Telefe in 2004.  In the second season, 39 episodes aired, until the show was canceled in March of 2005.  The show also holds the distinction of being the first sitcom made in Argentina. In all, the show ran for two seasons and 214 total episodes, 68 more episodes more than the original series.
     In 2005, Chile adapted The Nanny as La Nany.  Eliana Melina Tapia Cárdenas (Alejandra Herrera) goes to work as a nanny for Max Valdivieso (Alex Zisis) in the La Dehesa neighborhood in Lo Barnechea, near Santiago.  She meets his three children, Catalina (Camila López), Tomás (Maximiliano Valenzuela) and Sofia (Vania Vilas), as well as the butler Bruno Órdenes (Fernando Larraín) and Max' business partner Loreto López, or Lolo (Francisca Castillo).   La Nany aired on Chilean channel Mega from 2005 to 2006 and ran for one season and 106 episodes.
     Around 2006, Ecuador made its own version of La Niñera.  Mary Zambrano (Paola Farías) goes to work for Carlos Eduardo Saenz de Tejada (Frank Bonilla in the 1st and 2nd season, Juan Carlos Salazar in the 3rd season), who lives in Samborondón.  She nannies for Carlos' three children Mauli (Andrea Calderón), Junior (Adrián Avilés), and Graciela "Gracielita" (Arlette Cabrera) and meets butler Jorge (Marcelo Gálvez) and Carlos' business partner Leticia Buckman (Gizella Garbezza).  La Niñera aired on channel Ecuavista and lasted three seasons. 
         In 2007, Mexico released La Niñera, which aired on TV Azteca.  Lisset stars as Fran Flores, who goes to work for Maximiliano Fabregas (Francisco De La O), who lives in the neighborhood of Polanco.  She becomes the nanny to Julieta (Daniela Wong), Fausto (Carlos Hayes), Elenita (Gala Montes) and interacts with the butler Nicolas (Roberto Leyva) and Max's business partner Sisi (Luciana Silveyra). La Niñera lasted one season and 20 episodes, with Lisset singing the theme for the title sequence.
         These Latin American sitcom adaptations provide an interesting look into the how a sitcom changes for its audience while keeping the concept the same.  Its also interesting to note that four Latin American counties wanted to do their version of the Nanny, set in their wealthy cities and neighborhoods.  Check out these South American adaptions of the Nanny.