The Impossible Years is a 1965 comedy play and a 1968 movie, based on the play.
The play was written by Robert Fisher and Arthur Marx, son of comedian Groucho Marx. After two previews, the Broadway production, directed by Arthur Storch, opened on October 13, 1965 at the Playhouse Theatre, where it ran for 670 performances. The original cast included Alan King, Sudie Bond, Bert Convy, Neva Small, and Scott Glenn. Ed McMahon temporarily assumed the role of Dr. Jack Kingsley for eight performances from January 17, 1966 to January 22, 1966 so Alan King could honor a previously scheduled Miami night club engagement.
On August 22, 1966. Sam Levene replaced Alan King in the starring role of Dr. Jack Kingsley, a psychiatrist, in the Broadway production of The Impossible Years, performing the role for 322 performances until the show closed May 27, 1967 at the Playhouse Theatre. After the Broadway production closed, Sam Levene starred in the first U.S. national company production of The Impossible Years and performed the hit comedy for the duration of 1967 until March 10, 1968 when the production starring Sam Levene closed at the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. National tour stops included performances at New York's Mineola Theatre; Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, New Jersey; The Playhouse Theater in Wilmington, Delaware; Royal Alexandria Theatre in Toronto, Canada; Detroit, Michigan; Shubert Theatre, Cincinnati, Ohio; The National Theatre in Washington, D.C.
The comedy revolves around Jonathan Kingsley, a teaching psychiatrist at the local university, his wife, and their two teenage daughters. Complications arise when the older one develops an active interest in the opposite sex, and her younger, impressionable sister begins to emulate her misadventures.
|The Impossible Years|
|Directed by||Michael Gordon|
|Screenplay by||George Wells|
|Based on||The Impossible Years by Bob Fisher and Arthur Marx|
|Produced by||Lawrence Weingarten|
|Cinematography||William H. Daniels|
|Edited by||James E. Newcom|
|Music by||Don Costa|
|December 5, 1968|
|Box office||$5.8 million (North America)|
The 1968 film version, which premiered December 5, was adapted by George Wells and directed by Michael Gordon. It starred David Niven, Lola Albright, Chad Everett, Ozzie Nelson, Cristina Ferrare, Gale Dixon and Darlene Carr. The eponymous theme song was written by The Tokens and performed by The Cowsills.
Jonathan Kingsley, an author of numerous books on parenting, is a professor of psychiatry at the local university. He and wife Alice are raising two teenage daughters; the elder, Linda, 17, begins to display uncharacteristic behavior: walking as if on air, smiling incessantly for no reason, cleaning up her room daily, showing politeness toward her little sister, and more. It is suspected that she has lost her virginity while on a school field trip to Catalina Island, and Kingsley's general practitioner confirms this. Linda, while being interrogated, admits as much, and she reveals that she is married. She insists on concealing the identity of her husband until the film's surprising conclusion.
- David Niven as Jonathan Kingsley
- Lola Albright as Alice Kingsley
- Chad Everett as Richard Merrick
- Ozzie Nelson as Dr. Herbert Fleischer
- Cristina Ferrare as Linda Kingsley
- Darleen Carr as Abbey Kingsley
- Jeff Cooper as Bartholmew Smuts
- John Harding as Dean Harvey Rockwell
- Rich Chalet as Freddie Fleischer
- Mike McGreevey as Andy McClaine
- Don Beddoe as Dr. Elliot Fish
- Louise Lorimer as Mrs. Celia Fish
- Karen Norris as Mrs. Rockwell
- Susan French as Miss Hammer
- Trudi Ames as Francine
- Edward McKinley as Dr. Pepperell
- Ned Wertimer as Dr. Bodey
MGM bought the film rights to the play in 1965 for $350,000. George Wells completed the script by March 1966. MGM announced it for production in August 1966. The movie was greenlit by the team of Robert O'Brien and Robert M. Weitman. Filming took place in October 1967.
At one stage, Peter Sellers was announced for the lead but by May, David Niven had been signed. Christina Ferrare, who played Niven's nubile daughter, had been under contract to 20th Century Fox for a year. The film featured the final movie performance of Ozzie Nelson.
The movie was a hit, earning $5.8 million in rentals in North America., making it the 17th most popular movie at the U.S. box office in 1969. Nevertheless, critical reaction was overwhelmingly negative. In 1970, it was reported Jackie Cooper and Bob Finkel had written a pilot script for a TV adaptation of the play for NBC.
- "'The Impossible Years' Production History. Broadway World. Retrieved from https://www.broadwayworld.com/shows/backstage.php?showid=323138
- "Ed McMahon: Performer." Playbill. Retrieved from http://www.playbill.com/person/ed-mcmahon-vault-0000077532
- "Sam Levene: Performer, Director." Playbill. Retrieved from http://www.playbill.com/person/sam-levene-vault-0000019807
- ""Big Rental Films of 1969"". Variety. 7 January 1970. p. 15.
- Smith, Cecil. (Oct 15, 1965). "'Impossible Years' Has All Possible Comedy Ingredients". Los Angeles Times. p. d13.
- Martin, Betty (Mar 31, 1966). "'Impossible' Script Ready". Los Angeles Times. p. d17.
- Martin, Betty (Aug 9, 1966). "Top Role for Candy Bergen". Los Angeles Times. p. c9.
- "MGM Plans 14 Films on 1967 Budget". Los Angeles Times. Jan 25, 1967. p. d10.
- Haber, Joyce. (Oct 12, 1967). "Cindy: She Came to Work, Not Play". Los Angeles Times. p. e15.
- Roger Fristoe, "The Impossible Years", Turner Classic Monthly accessed 19 December 2014
- "The World's Top Twenty Films." Sunday Times [London] 27 Sept. 1970: 27. The Sunday Times Digital Archive. accessed 5 Apr. 2014
- Champlin, Charles (Feb 9, 1969). "The Wonder of Hollywood's Movie Decisions". Los Angeles Times. p. t1.
- Haber, Joyce (Oct 19, 1970). "Hairdresser Just for Julie, Warren". Los Angeles Times. p. c18.
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