A Halloween Musical: FEATHERTOP (1961)

Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! In celebration of Friday’s spookiest of all holidays, today’s Halloween themed post looks not at festive sitcom episodes (like we did last year), but instead at one of the few musicals written around this trick-or-treating phenomenon. Based on a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne (known by high school students everywhere as the scribe who created the notorious Hester Prynne), ABC-TV’s production of Feathertop aired on October 19, 1961. With a score by Mary Rodgers and Martin Charnin, this hour long original musical starred Hugh O’Brian in the titular role of a scarecrow brought to life by an evil witch (Cathleen Nesbitt) who hopes to torment the governor (Hans Conried), her arch-nemesis, by orchestrating a romance with the creature and the governor’s daughter, played by Jane Powell. A huge success, it looked as if Feathertop could become an annual television event. But it hasn’t been broadcast since.

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However, I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of the entire broadcast at the Paley Center a few months ago. While the show has never been released on home video, the soundtrack is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. There are several excellent songs, a few of which I want to share with you. The first is a solo for Jane Powell entitled “Easy Come, Easy Go,” which she sings after meeting and falling in love with Feathertop.

This number is a duet for Conried and O’Brian, who are both mistrustful of each other, entitled, “Intimate Friends.”

And last, but not least, the big love duet, which surely looked to be the production’s biggest hit, “Perfect Strangers,” for O’Brian and Powell.

 

 

Come back next week for another Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!

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