display | more...

I've felt displaced in time and space more than once in my life. Maybe that's why I seem to be the only one I know who recalls Blansky's Beauties.

This is not a good thing.

I saw it once, inexplicably rerun, when I was a kid. Another write-up led me to investigate the repressed memory further.

The American sitcom lasted thirteen episodes, made Charles in Charge look like William Shakespeare, and raised more time-travel conundrums than a season of Doctor Who.

See, in 1977 two things dominated the tiny American screen: Happy Days and Charlie's Angels. One had wholesome family values and broad comedy. The other had really skimpy outfits and broads. Hey, someone thought. Why not combine the two?

The result was a show in which comedienne Nancy Walker played Nancy Blansky (cousin to Happy Days' Howard Cunningham), who ran the floor show at a lower-end Las Vegas hotel. She lived with two of her top dancers, Bambi Benton (a California babe with Arnold Horshack's laugh) and Ethel "Sunshine" Akalino (a lovable, energetic dingbat) and her two nephews, Joey Deluca (a choreographer) and Anthony Deluca (a horny 12-year-old kid). Perfect set-up. Family shenanigans and scantily-clad girls. Yay. Nancy spent most of her time playing den mother to her bevy of stereotypes, which included snobby but slutty Hilary, giant-sized hick Arkansas, tough token Black girl Jackie Outlaw, and others. It was sort of like the Spice Girls, twenty years earlier and without the depth.

Typical plot: a ridiculously stereotypical Arab sheik wants to kidnap Bambi and make her his newest wife. The cast try to save her from a horrible fate. It's debatable whether they succeed, because, at the end of the episode, Bambi is still on this show. The girls were curvaceous; the jokes fell flat.

Then there was the issue of time.

It's 1977 on Blanksy's Beauties, but we received no clues about the future of the Happy Days gang. Nancy appeared her future age, twenty years earlier, on Happy Days, while her cousin Howard Cunningham appeared unchanged, twenty years later, on Blansky's Beauties. Arnold (Pat Morita), a Happy Days alumnus, ran the hotel's coffeeshop. No change from his 50s incarnation. Pinky Tuscadero showed up in one ep, looking and acting as young as she did when she rode around with Fonzie back in the 50s.

Yet when Nancy recalled nearly hiring Laverne of Laverne and Shirley as a dancer, the event took place in a flashback to 1957. Meanwhile, the same actor, Eddie Mekka, played (at the same time!) Carmine Ragusa on Laverne and Shirley and Joey Deluca on Blansky's Beauties. The show also explained that Joey was Carmine's much younger identical cousin, which is why in 1977 he looked so much like Carmine in 1957.

To add to the general confusion, Lynda Goodfriend left the role of Sunshine when the show was cancelled and became Richie Cunningham's girlfriend and wife on Happy Days. Scott Baio joined her back in the 50s as Charles Arcola, Fonzie's cousin, a character pretty much exactly the same as Anthony Deluca.

Despite the epic fail, NBC cloned the show the following year as a Made for TV movie, Legs and a subsequent series, Who's Watching the Kids? They even used several of the same actors. They sexed up the movie and it got okay ratings, but the series did about as well as Blansky's Beauties.

Bits and pieces turn up on Youtube from time to time. Maybe someone is even rerunning this thing.

But I have no idea why.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.