Friday, December 7, 2012

Richard III and Julius Casear in Gidget

"A Hearse, a Hearse, My Kingdom for a Hearse." By Louella MacFarlane and John McGreevey. Perf. Sally Field, Don Porter, and James Davidson. Dir. William Asher. Gidget. Season 1, episode 6. ABC. 20 October 1965. DVD. Sony Pictures, 2006

The same internet wag who made the joke about the archeologists not being certain that the skeleton was that of Richard III—remember, they only have a hunch—also risked a joke about Richard's skeleton objecting to being carried away in a mere ambulance. "A hearse! A hearse! My kingdom for a hearse!" he supposedly cried.

When I heard that joke come out of my—I mean, his—mouth, I wondered how original it was. A quick search revealed that the line was taken as a title for—of all things—an episode of the 1960s sitcom Gidget. Yes, the show with Sally Field—currently playing Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincon.

I requested the episode, just in case anything interesting should come of it, though I didn't really have much hope for a Richard III tie in. I suspected the episode was merely titularly parasitical. Yesterday, I put it on while grading essays and straightening up the office (it's not the sort of show you need to devote your entire attention to).

At first, I was disappointed.  Gidget wants to buy a cool hearse (apparently, it's "the end"—just the thing to cart your surfboards to the beach). To do so, she decides to sign up for auto shop. She hopes to earn money, impress her dad, learn about cars, and demonstrate that girls can do anything boys can do. The men are skeptical (not to mention patriarchal), and plot how to get her to drop auto shop.

At that point, an allusion to Julius Caesar dropped in out of nowhere! I imagine that the writers though the allusion appropriate for a fifteen-year-old high school student to make under the circumstances. I found it surprising and delightful—especially as it tends to undermine some of the overbearing patriarchalism of the two men.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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