1969: ‘Sam’ a smash in D.C.

Show bound for Broadway

Jan. 17, 1969
GOOD MORNING: The smash D.C. opening, pre-B’way of Woody Allen’s legiter, “Play It Again Sam,” has Arthur Jacobs reading the small print of the pic contract for this David Merrick show. Could it be another situation at 20th a la “Hello, Dolly?” Jacobs says he believes the film cannot be released until after B’way companies are complete. (No, it doesn’t seem likely Pearl Bailey would play the Woody Allen role) … Asked how he’d film the Humphrey Bogart role in the pic — Jerry Lacy plays Bogey in the play — Jacobs sez he might try to use film clips of Bogart classix … We’re awaiting Betty Bacall’s reaction to “Sam” when Merrick opens the show at the Broadhurst next month. … 2009 Update: This week, I was still awaiting Betty (Lauren) Bacall’s reaction to the legit version of Woody Allen’s play, “Play It Again Sam” when I phoned her in N.Y. And so was she — she laughingly told me she never went to see Woody’s play, which has Bogart in-and-out of the romantic comedy. The finale is Bogart in the classic “Casablanca.” However, Bacall did see the 1972 film version and told me, frankly, she wasn’t too enthralled with Jerry Lacy as Bogart. But she laughingly noted, “Bogey probably would have enjoyed it.” (Bogart died Jan. 14, 1957) Bacall also noted she was glad I introduced a lighter conversation as past weeks have been tearful for Bacall who witnessed the progressively tragic news about her longtime family friend, Natasha Richardson. Bacall visited her in the hospital, attended the viewing and, finally, the funeral Sunday. She recently completed the film “Carmel” in which she plays an art owner — and forger. She is also reading several more film scripts to follow. When I noted that multimedia confreres Angela Lansbury and Jane Fonda are back onstage and I asked if she would do a play, Bacall answered, “You don’t ‘do’ a play, you’re ‘in’ one. However Kirk Douglas insisted to her that he ‘does’ a play — and just did — at the Kirk Douglas Theater. Meanwhile she’s also completed the films “The Wide Blue Yonder” and “Grandma” with Ben Gazzara and Olivia Thirlby. Her manager (and longtime friend ) Johnny Planco admits, “She keeps you on your toes.” Lauren Bacall will be only 85 on Sept.16.