Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue (1977)

 

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

This one is for my mother, who can still rattle off the names of Harold Robbins’ novels she hasn’t read in decades.

The fact that Harold Robbins, who led a rather crazy life, but was a terrible author, became THE model for a whole generation of ensuing trashy roman a clef wanna-bees, is perplexing.  Here was a womanizing good-time bruiser with a lax work ethic.  But, he churned out novels at an impressive rate, every one of them a success.  Robbins was truly an awful writer in the technical sense: repetitive, plots hidden in time changes, characters who speak two words to each other and are thus “destined” (a word he used often on every page) for each other, though it may take the entire book for it to happen without any rushing climax.  And, most annoyingly of all, he always found room for himself as the narrator.  Not Harold Robbins, but a nice-guy ex-husband or lawyer or whatever, who knows all of the other characters, who all like him, so he can recount the entire story for the readers.  Yes, a male narrator in a land of fiction so overwhelmingly aimed at women, though often he turns his women into horribly unbearable characters who don’t invoke the sympathy of those in perhaps Sidney Sheldon or Jackie Collins’ books.

I can’t say I’m surprised Harold Robbins has disappeared from the reading public’s collective memory since he died in 1997 (though new books are still being published under his name), but here’s a partial list of his work: “The Dream Merchants,” “A Stone for Danny Fisher,” “The Carpetbaggers,” “Where Love Has Gone,” “The Adventurers,” “The Betsy,” “The Lonely Lady,” all of which were turned into films.  The hard-living Robbins knew everyone there was to know and they all found their way into his books, veiled or otherwise.

My favorite is “Where Love Has Gone.”  His narrator character, the good-guy ex-husband of a sculptress and father of her teenage daughter, is yanked back into the hell of San Francisco high society when the daughter, in a fit of rage and madness, stabs her mother’s boyfriend with one of her sculpting tools.  Sound familiar?  Yup, change SF to LA, change the sculptress to an actress, the tool into a kitchen knife and it’s Lana Turner’s story (up until the end, when suddenly he gets all preachy and starts issuing comeuppances).

But one of his novels got only a TV treatment, “Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue,” though it’s no better or worse than most of the above-mentioned feature films (Pia Zadora in “The Lonely Lady” may be giving the worst performance in cinematic history), just longer.  Why TV  for this one?  Even Jackie Collins’ “The Bitch” and “The Stud” played movie houses at roughly the same time.  It could be because the book is unreadable and therefore you can’t resent money spent since you watched a bastardized version that tries to help the story on free network TV.  There are multiple times in the novel where Robbins inserts a flashback into a flashback of a flashback.  In this one, his alter ego is good-guy lawyer who grows up silently crushing on an early-developing gal who dates his rich best friend while he works the elevator in said friend’s building.  She goes out with the bad boys, but “destiny” mates the good-guy lawyer and the tramp-in-training for some sort of life together.  Kind of.  First, she has to slash her stepfather as he tries to rape her after perhaps accidentally killing her mother.  After leaving juvie, she becomes a call girl.  Dead in the heart.  Men ravage her, everyone from the upper crust to guys with crumpled bills, from scamming bisexuals in Florida to cops on the take in NYC.  Knowing all the wrong people, but honest in her dealings with them all, she is asked to become a high-end madam.  Until, yet again, justice shuts her down.  Only this time, the Harold stand-in is the prosecuting attorney.  No one seems to have a problem with the fact that the Assistant District Attorney grew up with the defendant, not even the defendant, and over the course of flashing back across the decades, we learn, indeed, there is love.  Robbins’ style of elementary writing is ideal for a glossy miniseries and with “Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue,” his tale unfolds over the course of six hours, rather than the other titles mentioned, none of which are even half as long.

However, look at it from another standpoint.  This is 1977.  “Rich Man, Poor Man” was barely a year in the past and “Roots” had aired in January (“Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue” followed in October), so overall, the rules were not set and this one was certainly not aiming for the same kind of feel.  We’re very early in the miniseries movement and Harold Robbins was no fool.  Anything for a buck.  So, for six hours, we’re treated to Robbins’ “Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue” in fairly chaste splendor (faithful, it’s not), which would become a hallmark of the American Miniseries.  Overt sex was bizarrely underused.  It’s goofy, yes, but mostly it’s just so-so, showing Robbins that maybe the miniseries, young as it was then, was not the best place for his work.  If only Judith Krantz had learned that lesson…

Or, consider the title actually is “Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue” and assume he made a heap of cash.  Neither Irwin Shaw nor Alex Haley could say that (yet).  Thus, it’s clear the intended audience is made up of Robbins’ readers first and foremost.  Anyone else with the patience no doubt was welcome.

But, and it’s a BIG but, the star is Lesley Ann Warren, one of the most consistent presences in the American Miniseries, playing everything from Southern belle lunacy in “Beulah Land” to fantastically tense thrillers like “Family of Spies,” both covered here previously.  She has never given a bad performance, no matter the movie.  For “Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue,” she won a Golden Globe.  And she’s fantastic, the best thing about it, going for broke and rising above it all with class.

Does she resemble the blonde Polish second-generation know-it-all in Robbins’ book?  No, but she’s so good an actress, it doesn’t matter.  And, don’t forget, she did “Evergreen” and pulled off first-generation Eastern European immigrant, so there really isn’t a role Lesley Ann Warren can’t play.

cinderella pumpkin

New York City, the 1935.  We know that because of the typical street scene: a guy getting a shoeshine while reading a newspaper with a huge headline proclaiming chiseling of New Deal policies in Rhode Island (that’s the headline?), kids play in the streets, even a pushcart is still evident, despite their disappearance decades earlier and, most notably, laundry hanging from every place on a set there is to hang laundry.

We start at a boisterous party where Lesley Ann is clearly the fantasy of every man there.  When she puts on her favorite record, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” she goes into a trance-like balletic dance, ruined by her ox-like stepfather, so she decides to trot off to the movies with her friends (her younger brother, who is only an infant in the book, declines, as it’s a romance picture, of course).  Before she goes, her soft-spoken mother, Barbara Barrie, asks her to “show a little more respect” to her new stepfather (Albert Salmi) because “he was your father’s friend.”  After all that groping, not likely, but Lesley Ann is a good girl who loves her mama, so she agrees.

On their way to the movies, Lesley Ann and her friends come across two boys they know by sight, Marc Singer and David Dukes.  Marc “moved uptown” because his family has money, but his eyes are still on Lesley Ann because she has “the biggest…toes.  I hear you have the biggest…toes…” as he puts it.  She’s not buying.  “You an expert on big toes?” she asks sarcastically.  However, she’ll flirt, especially when Marc invites her and her pals to his family’s seaside home.  David declines the offer to go. He has to study.  Everybody romps in the water, but not-yet-Beastmaster Marc Singer, in  one-piece bathing suit with sections cut out to make it surprisingly fashion forward, wants more from Lesley Ann.  “You like me, huh?” she asks him.  “You kiddin’?  You’re somethin’ really special,” he tells her.

Her hands are already all over him, but then she tells him, “you don’t have to bull me.  I hate when guys try to bull me” as they fall to the sand in a clinch.  The kiss is big, so big he asks where she learned it.  “It’s not something you learn, exactly,” she replies before darting off ahead of him.  He, um, probably needs a few moments before he can easily stand up.  But after getting him all hot, she turns cold.  Coming out of the shower to find Marc standing there, she’s furious, snapping that the kiss was nothing special.  “I kiss how I wanna kiss,” she hisses.  “I don’t know what you want!”  She doesn’t?  He’s all but telling her in neon bulbs.  She knees him in the groin, but it’s a mixed signal because she also says she’ll do whatever she wants, not what he wants, later apologizing that it was literally a knee-jerk reaction her father taught her.  That’s a far cleaner version of the story than is in the book, but its brevity is a treat, as bonkers as it is watching Marc Singer pretending he’s a teen.

I guess to save time and actors, we find out that Marc’s wealthy father runs a modeling agency, 79 Park Avenue (which doesn’t make an appearance in the novel until the very end), because a “model” is in his father’s study when Marc brings Lesley Ann home to wheedle cash out of Pops.  “Give him my best,” Marc dryly notes to this perky pretty gal.  “And your best too,” he adds, even nastier.  But, still believing she’s there for just a modeling job, she offers Marc $20.  “Her dress must have cost $200,” Lesley Ann marvels.  “An hour’s work for her,” Marc replies, pouting, but Lesley Ann still doesn’t get it.  “She’s a model!” Lesley Ann insists when told the truth.  “You know, for somebody who’s supposed to be so smart, you’re not always so smart,” Marc replies, in a sentence that Robbins’ himself might have spent hours crafting so badly (he did not write the screenplay).

On the way out, Marc’s dad Michael Constantine, sporting two bodyguards is coming in.  He demands his son not play with a “tramp” because he’s worked too hard to bring his family up in the world.  After all this, Marc STILL has to explain that his father is a mobster.  She’s not upset.  “Why would I blame you for what your father does?” the innocent part of her asks.  Cue the romantic kiss.

After they “raid the icebox” for a meal and make out while dancing, the kissing is heated, but once again, she dampens his fire.  “Once you let a guy go all the way, he don’t even know your name from then on,” she tells him in full seriousness.  “You’re terrific.  And I’ll do anything that makes you happy,” she says to his delight, “except that,” she adds to his deflate.  They may or may not have done something.  However, when they go into the elevator, they find David reading a book while operating it.  David barks at Marc that “she’s just another kid from the neighborhood like all the others…you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” a stinging comment she hears.

On the way to church, Mama Barbara coughs.  Badly.  Anyone who has watched a film since the silent era knows she better start making every word count, because she doesn’t have too many more.  Also at church that day with a mother is David Dukes and the ever-resourceful Lesley Ann makes sure to pray as closely to him as possible.  Her hands may or may not be wandering, but I can tell you one thing, Barbara manages not to cough once the whole time.  They clearly have chemistry, but Marc is able to dip her on satin and fur from his mother’s closet, not to mention picking the lock of her jewelry box to fish out a tiara for her.

 

79 MSLAW

“I want you and I to be together,” Marc tells her over a dozen or so violins.  “I mean, I want us to be together,” he continues, but the whole time, David has had Marc’s parents in the elevator and there’s only so much stalling he can do.  It’s not a pretty scene.  Michael scolds Marc for not getting rid of her like he advised him, the mother is aghast at the whole situation and Lesley Ann is heartbroken that Marc never even told his mother he had a girl “Forget it, Papa’s Boy, grow up first,” Lesley Ann screeches, which only angers Michael, so much so that he goes to slug her.  “You were gonna hit me, weren’tcha?  You think you’re so special, living up here.  You’re no different than my stepfather…AND HE’S A PIG!” she howls, dashing out half-dressed.  Luckily, sympathetic David is still on elevator duty.  Not only does he stop the elevator and try to comfort the blubbering humiliated lass, but when she tearfully admits she doesn’t even know where the nearest subway is, he offers to take her.  One doesn’t need a mud pile and a cloak to be chivalrous.

As they make their way back to their neighborhood, Lesley Ann and David realize they have a lot in common and it’s not deliberate cock-blocking David uses in warning her that Marc is not worth it.  Things get awfully soapy when David tells her his father is “on the bum” just as they pass a convention of homeless men.  “Every time I pass one of these, I think I’m going to see my father,” he says, which brings out the sympathetic and touchy side of Lesley Ann.  He sheepishly asks her out on a date and she kisses him, with one of her big kisses.

She can hear her mother coughing when she enters.  Albert doesn’t show up at the hospital for a while, and drunk, no less.  The doctor tells them he’s “surprised she collapse like this sooner.”  That’s grim.  While her mother sleeps, Albert insists he was duped into a marrying a woman who was sick.  Lascivious Albert puts the moves on Lesley Ann, who pulls a knife on him, getting him to retreat to his bedroom with a bottle.

There is an unintentionally funny montage of Lesley Ann trying to find a job so her mother won’t have to work.  It has everything: voiceovers, gusty winds, drenching rain, the whole thing.  She literally bumps into the girl she met at Marc’s that night, the “model” (Pamela Susan Shoop), who takes her to 79 Park Avenue, run by the elegant and delighted Polly Bergen.  “Do you really think I can be a model?” she asks incredulously.  “Sure,” Polly says with a big smile, but warning her that “it can take years” to make the right connections and succeed as a model.  Polly offers her another way to make money, without saying exactly what it is, but Lesley Ann knows what it is and can’t do it.

It’s then Marc returns to her life and says he ha a job for her, which turns out to be, in her words, “a hostess in a dime-a-dance joint.”  Marc has also invited David to be there, though neither he nor Lesley Ann knew the other would be there.  Running the dance hall is Jack Weston (perfectly cast as “Joker,” the kind of low-level fast operator who turns up out of some slime pit in every Robbins story).  “This is no job for cream puffs,” Jack tells her.  “I mean, the hours are long and the customers are short on charm,” he adds, really selling it so well.  She agrees, if only to prove she can.  It turns out that Marc arranged for David to be there so someone could watch over Lesley Ann while he went into the back and gambled with Jack and company.  David has some explaining to do, since he never followed up on his request for a date, but that’s Marc’s fault.  Marc still believes Lesley Ann to be his dame, despite what said dame said to the contrary.

“Come on, let’s dance, it’s my last night as an amateur,” Lesley Ann teases with a smile and they do.  Awww, everything looks ideal, doesn’t it?  Even toupee-covered Jack sees that what Lesley Ann and David have must be real.  Cue the badness, in the form of a craps game in the back room.  Marc drags Lesley Ann to the game and has her blow on the dice for luck, though Lesley Ann sees that he’s switching the dice while she does so, knowing that all eyes are on her, and fumes.  “So long…this time for good!” she snarls at Marc on the way out.  “You always seem to be around to pick up the pieces,” Lesley Ann tells David as he walks her home.  “There won’t be any more pieces to pick up.  Promise,” she adds, with a light kiss.

Faster than you can hum “Big Spender,” Jack is cooing to Lesley Ann that he’s so proud of how much she’s learned in just two weeks on the job.  Her voice has dropped and so have her necklines.  She’s not thrilled with the touchy creeps, but she knows how to fake it.  Luckily, David is there every night to escort her home.  Marc shows up one night, still demanding she belongs to him, betting she still has feelings for him.  She disagrees saying, “that’s what they call growin’ up.”  And out, as the creators want us to notice.

“You think taxi dancin’ makes me dirty or something?” she asks when David says he wishes she had another job, not because of anything she’s doing, but because he worries about her among “all those guys.”  “That kind of thing’s important to you, huh?” she notes.  I don’t have to spell it out for you, do I?  No, but they do.  Lesley Ann asks if he is.  He is.  So is she.  He then has one of those speeches where he talks about he and his bride staying that way until the wedding night.  It’s sappy and certainly unlikely in this story, unless the run down to City Hall immediately in what is now the wee hours of the morning.

Cue the thunder as Lesley Ann goes inside.  It’s as subtle as title card saying, “here comes ruination.”  The camera tilts, the 1970s visual equivalent of that thunder, as drunken Albert grabs for her, pins her down and…fades to a dissolve.  When she wakes up, bruised and tattered, she finds that handy kitchen knife, wakes him up and…the police take her away as shocked neighbors watch.

In this one instant, the miniseries has managed to improve upon and then negate the power of what has just happened, THE main turning point in the novel.  Robbins’ version has a lot more going on in this scene (including the mother being dead and the brother being an infant, which clears the way for a literal new chapter in the main character’s life) and the slashing is not 100% conscious.  It’s not 100% unconscious either.  Here, however, she is very deliberate in what she does.  Fine, it takes less time to do it this way, but it’s harder to build sympathy.  But, not to worry, faithful David shows up just as the police are hauling her out and instead of the truth, Lesley Ann tells him she was angry and did it.  She neglects the part about the rape because that would destroy his fantasy of two innocent lovers sharing a blissful wedding night.  Better to stop everything right there than let him learn the truth.

4bfaeb709ef14ff4621550efaafb4493

It’s Jack Weston and his lawyer John Saxon who arrive to help her.  She makes them promise not to tell the court she was raped.  “Whatever happened, [David’s] gotta understand,” Jack tells her, but she is resolute.  No mention of rape, even if it means a year in juvie.  They finally get her to agree to it, but then Albert shuffles into court with Barbara in tow, which causes Lesley Ann to revert to the lie.  Having the mother dead in the book already literally led us from the slashing to the year in custody.  Nice and clean, nothing maudlin.  If I fault Robbins’ for often being too rushed to get from Point A to Point B, he did handle this part particularly well and the miniseries makes it mawkish and sloppy, even including tearful goodbyes for Lesley Ann with Barbara and David.  Wrong, this is supposed to be the end of her life, or at least this phase, with no connections left hanging when the next starts.

To make it seem like the men have any purpose, Marc is desperate to go to her trial, arguing with his father to the point of the you-guessed-it coda of “you go out that door and you never come back,” along with the mother weeping in her marabou-trimmed robe.  Marc gets there just after it’s all ended and accuses David of having stolen his girlfriend.  Way to blunt the moment, eh?  Watching her ride off in a car full of depraved teens should be the end of the scene.

“We got this system here, just like the bees,” a salivating intake doctor tells Lesley Ann upon arrival at the detention center, “we got the queen and we got the workers.  The queens don’t have to work.”  He offers her the queenship, in the form of a fake medical excuse that will keep her from heavy labor, but naturally there are strings attached.  “Relax…it isn’t as if this hasn’t happened to you before,” he whispers while pawing her and being sexually suggestive.  “You know why I’m in this place?  I took a knife to a man,” she hisses.

David visits often, more often than her mother, but she is hardening and gets nasty with him.  She is befriended by a girl who tells her when she gets out, she should become a stripper.  Right there in the dormitory, the friend declares it’s “stripping school!” and shows everyone just how easy a job it is.  Lesley Ann takes to it like a natural (in the book, the act she learns and makes nice money doing is…well, not time for that yet).

In another attempt to build sympathy out of bad re-plotting (Robbins has her go straight from her time there to a new life in Florida), Lesley Ann is welcomed home with a party and a still-kickin’ mother.  Her stepfather pulls her aside to remind her of the scar he has.  “Yeah, I hope it’s still there when they shut the lid of your coffin,” she snaps and fixes herself a plate of cold cuts.  Desperate for money to care for her mother, she tells David she needs a job and met a girl inside who “is kind of in show business.”

Lesley Ann becomes a stripper faster than you can say Gypsy Rose Lee.  But, the money isn’t what she expected.  So, her pal says to her that it could be if they “change the act.”  She understands and refuses.  “It’s just an act,” she’s told.  “How can makin’ love be just an act?” she rages.

The next morning, a phone call wakes her up.  It’s about her mother.  “How bad is it?” she asks.  “Real bad,” she’s told.  Wait, they paid people to write this dialogue?  She needs to race back to Manhattan, but her friends have disappeared…with everything she owns except the robe she’s wearing.  The grimy landlord is at the door looking for his money, which of course is gone with her former friends.  The landlord reminds her, “you’ve got plenty right here,” when she says she hasn’t any money to pay him, running his fingers over her robe.  She doesn’t have any choice.  “Okay, you’re the boss,” she says in resignation, the robe slipping off her body.

Barbara Barrie gets a slumming vet deathbed scene when she confesses to her daughter that she knows what the stepfather did to her.  And then promptly dies.  Lesley returns to her work as a taxi dancer.  Jack is being pressured by Marc’s dad Michael to get rid of her because he still thinks she’s trash (this is how we find out that Albert has run off and left her to support her brother, making everything as squeaky clean as “The Waltons”).  Jack fires her, telling her why, and then offers to keep her AND her brother in “this little place,” but she sweetly turns him down: “I’d be lying to you…I’d like to feel that way about you, but I don’t.”  Jack then has the best line (with the most connection to the tough-as-nails Robbins characters) when he says, “where’s all that honesty gonna getcha?” As always, faithful David is there to provide a shoulder.  Or be protection when a drunk older man remembers her from her stripping days.  He pushes the guy away, but he also learns the truth.  “What else did you do?” he asks, horrified by what he’s hearing.  What he really wants to know, of course, is there still a chance of his wedding night fantasy?  “You wouldn’t be the first,” she brazenly tells him.  She tells him her first wasn’t Marc, “it was…”

And right there, she puts her hands on her hips, drops her voice, raises her eyebrows, pushes out her chest and says harshly, “it was a lot of guys, so you’d be the head of a long line.  I’ve been lying to you…so just get out!”  She would rather kill his love for her than tell him the truth.

“I learned something that day in Jersey with that crummy landlord.  After a while, I didn’t feel a thing,” the newly-hardened Lesley Ann tells Polly Bergen when she shows up again at 79 Park Avenue.  This time ready for the life.  “I didn’t feel sad or ashamed.  I just thought, ‘so this is what it’s all about.'”

1000x1000

(okay, this still isn’t from the movie, but it’s vintage Polly Bergen)

Polly can see Lesley Ann is serious, so she gives her a wad of cash for a makeover.  As this happens, in comes the one NYC call girl Lesley Ann seems to run into at every turn.  “Why haven’t you called me?” she begs of Polly, high and a total mess.  Yes, we get it, thank you sledgehammer.  “It gets to some girls,” Polly chirps.  “It won’t get to me,” Lesley Ann avows.

We then see Lesley Ann with her new look walking into a guy’s room.  “Whatever you want, you’re the boss,” she replies when asked if she wants a drink, head turned over a bare shoulder, the glare of a hotel lamp the only light in her dark world, now making that line her motto and the end of the first episode.

Harold_Robbins_79_Park_Avenue_TV-687129117-large

Word War II sneaks up on us, right as Roosevelt is about to leave for Tehran.  In the story, Lesley Ann is doing very well as a “model,” but Polly is upset because a bunch of her girls have been arrested.  “It’s getting so you can’t even trust a cop anymore,” she tells Lesley Ann. They aren’t sure whether it’s the police or some angry gangsters who are responsible.  The latter had offered to buy Polly’s operation and she said no.  “We’ll lay low for a while,” Polly says.  I was hoping she would say, “We’ll lay low and horizontal for a while,” but I didn’t write this.

On a date with a regular, Lesley Ann is stopped by cop Alex Rocco.  They know each other and Alex only did it because there was a sting meant to capture her at the john’s place.  Lesley Ann is still baffled as to why Polly’s shop is being targeted (I don’t have an answer, none of this is in the novel), but Alex tells her the only person who might know is John Saxon, the lawyer Jack Weston sent in after Lesley Ann sliced up her stepfather’s face.  Out to dinner with John, they run into Marc.  John worries about whatever history they have.  “No, it’s over.  It’s been over for seven years,” she notes.  That’s an awfully exact number of years.  Should we count the months and days too?

Lesley Ann presses John for information about the mob, but is told that’s not a fashionable term.  “Let’s just say, there are the ins and there are the outs,” John notes.  Again, I have no idea what that means.  Robbins refers to it as the syndicate on nearly every page of the book.  He further explains that the “ins” are intent on running the city’s prostitution ring, putting small-timers like Polly out of business.  John is the lawyer behind it all.  “No offense…but I guess we’re both prostitutes,” Lesley Ann dryly says.  “No offense,” John chirps back with a smile and a swig of champagne.

Marc is waiting for Lesley Ann when she gets home.  He’s still hot for her, but she’s not really interested.  Anyone paying attention will perk up when Marc says, “we didn’t exactly part friends six years ago.”  Wait, what?  Six years?  Lesley Ann had told John it was seven.  Stupid math, it always gets in the way.  As he nibbles around her neck, she almost gives in, but the phone rings.  It’s a john, but she puts him off, then asking Marc to leave.  He takes out a wad of bills, chucks them at her and snarls, “this should pay for the rest of the night!”

Yet in the morning, Marc is there in the bed with her.  Like she says to any paying customer who spends the night, she gives him the same speech about getting dressed while she makes breakfast, that “it’s twelve noon, check out time,” but so rote that she doesn’t even realize she’s saying it.  During an uncomfortable breakfast, Marc says, “we haven’t seen each other in six or seven years…”  Damn, now I’m even more confused!  How long as it been, does ANYONE know?  Marc thinks they can have a life together, but Lesley Ann isn’t biting.  However, she does suggest that if he can get his father, the mob, or rather “ins” kingpin to “back off 79 Park Avenue,” it couldn’t hurt, but Marc is incensed and storms out.

A cockamamie plot twist that has Lesley Ann throwing a wedding for her oldest friend is simply an excuse to reintroduce David, back from the war.  Lesley Ann is thrilled to see him, and it’s clear their connection is still in place.  She even lets him come up to her place for the first time.  He forgets his cane in the taxi.  “It’s all right.  You don’t need one, I’m right here,” she tells him, dripping moony romantic notions.  The ensuing scene is paint-by-numbers, with Lesley Ann even given the line, “let’s pretend we’re meeting for the first time.”  Oy.  The phone rings, Lesley Ann takes off her earring like every woman until the 90s did in every movie, and turns down an invitation.  David hasn’t put any of the pieces together at all.  We could say it’s because he’s blinded by love, but there is a level of stupidity too.

When Lesley Ann comes home one night, she finds Marc sitting in the dark with her brother.  He’s clearly threatening her just by being nice to the kid and she knows it.  She asks if he has spoken to his father about Polly’s predicament and he says no, then grabs her for a good time (the brother is in the bathroom taking eons to wipe mustard off his face), she refuses.  “Still gotta pay, huh?” he asks and she slaps him.

4409-114306

To keep her brother out of Marc’s clutches, she blackmails a trustee at an elite private school to take the kid.  Also bearing happy educational news is David, who has been accepted into law school.  Swept up in the moment, he asks her to marry him, which stops her dead in her tracks.  Can you guess which speech he gives her?  Yup, the I-don’t-care-what-secrets-you-have-I-love-you-and-nothing-else-matters speech.  It’s typically followed by blind faith from the person to whom it’s delivered and then something happens big enough to chase him away.  Polly tries to warn Lesley Ann not to run off with David.  She’s practical.  “It happened to me too.  Can you picture me…giggling and being right up to picking out that wedding dress and then bam!  Men, they want all the thrills they can grab, but they have to have a Madonna,” she tells Lesley Ann grimly before snapping out of it and telling her best girl to go for it.  Would anyone like to predict what’s coming?  I can wait while you do.  It’s not particularly creative, less so even than Robbins, whose book has now become merely a threadbare basic idea for a script getting worse and worse.

It starts with Marc going back to his father, asking for a job.  The old man is thrilled as he’s about to buy in to Las Vegas, but Marc has a condition: “take the heat off 79 Park Avenue.”  Michael nearly has a stroke haranguing the tramp “who is like a poison on your insides,” but even if he wanted to, he can’t.  Someone higher up than him wants it because “it’s gotten too big.”  Really?  In the last scene, wasn’t Polly predicting the demise of her business?  Just like she had been doing since Lesley Ann joined her?

As Lesley Ann is packing to leave with David, drunken Marc pays a visit, informing her she’s going with him to the West Coast.  Just then, in comes David.  Remember the syrupy ointment I mentioned a bit ago?  It’s fly has arrived.  Marc is vicious as he spills out the truth, even raining money on David so he can pay for a weekend with “the best hooker in New York.”  David, even with his leg injury from the war, charges at Marc, but he’s no match for Marc…or the truth.  And now would be the moment when the blind love he promised her would never disappear, no matter what, bolts for the door.  In a fury of tears and anger, Lesley Ann tosses Marc out and crumples to the floor, once again denied the happiness she had almost achieved.

Lesley Ann goes back to her work and Polly.  Wearing what appears to be a swan on her head and a mink on her body, she is dead to the whole thing as she knocks on the john’s door, but it’s a set up.  Marc is there.  “It’s for your own good,” he tells her, then trashing David and their romantic dreams.  “Let’s face it baby, you’re no princess,” he reminds her.  “I don’t believe in that fairy tale junk and I don’t need it,” he says, full of true passion for her.  After everything that’s happened, he does actually love her.  “You need me,” quoth he.  “I don’t need you.  I don’t need anybody,” quoth she, though you guessed that before his sentence ended.  He offers her a life in California, away from the “ins” who are about to muscle Polly out and make it impossible for her to work on her own.  “Maybe we deserve each other.  Okay, we’ll get married, if that’s what you want, but you will never own me…ever!” she tells him, laying out that she’ll play the good wife in public, but at home, no dice.  “I’ll be there for you if I feel like working that night,” she spits out with full confidence.  “It’s a deal,” he says, though hoping that “one day, you’ll come to me.”

We zoom to 1944 and life in California.  Marc sports a beard and a chest that in a few years would mean this…

MV5BMTY5NzQwMjczOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjk0NjI3._V1_SY677_SX475_AL_

When you are ready, we’ll continue.

Ready?  Okay, here we go.  A montage of roulette wheels, sparkling lights and craps tables make Marc a rich man and Lesley Ann adorns his dinner table with a smile, just as she promised.  He arrives home one day to find her packing.  She’s leaving because she’s pregnant.  “Whose is it?” he asks before anything else.  “Not yours!” she rages.  Though he knows the baby is David’s, Marc demands that Lesley Ann and the baby are his, objects he controls.  Marc is in Vegas with a talent-free showgirl when the call comes in that Lesley Ann is in labor.  She delivers a baby girl, but when Marc shows up, she’s asleep, saying David’s name over and over.

I’ll stop for a moment for a very peculiar note.  After a party at their house, the butler is told to go to bed and clean up in the morning.  The butler’s name is Tom.  In the novel, the main character went to Florida, where she and her reform school friend did “the act,” but a kindly man fell in love with her, someone very pure and she liked him.  Alas, he found out the truth and died before they could get married.  This man had a faithful butler named Tom, who crushed on the main character and stayed with her through the rest of the novel, through the hooking years and through her married years.  Since that Florida plot is cut from this telling of the story, so is the faithful butler, so it’s a nice touch that SOMEONE has decided to tie the movie to the source material.

A few years of comfort pass when Jack Weston shows up at the house.  Lesley Ann is thrilled to see him.  “I guess we both stepped up a bit,” he chuckles.  He’s nervous, but whatever news he’s bringing, he’s more upset that she is clearly unhappy, despite the polished act.  So, why is he really there?  He’s there to warn her that Marc is “skimming” from his boss.  “He’s suffering from a terrible sickness, one that could get him killed,” Jack says, purposely frightening her to make sure she’s aware of how bad it is.  Papa Michael is the next to show up, issuing him the same warning Jack gave Lesley Ann, but more honestly, listing the crimes and the people who are watching him, waiting for the perfect moment to take him down.  There’s more.  David has just gotten married (to Veronica Hamel) and is in Los Angeles for his honeymoon.  His father-in-law is the NYC District Attorney and Michael is worried the honeymoon is an excuse for David to find some dirt.

Anything but the “harmless reunion,” he labels it, Marc invites David and his wife to dinner.  Lesley Ann is horrified, especially since Michael had warned him not to get close to David.  She dashes off to plan a dinner party in a matter of hours.  “That’s the biggest reaction I’ve had from you in years,” he snipes.  At dinner, Marc has fun making David and Lesley Ann nervous, while Veronica chatters away.  “Like something out of a storybook,” he says nastily to Lesley Ann after Veronica recounts the happy series of events that has led David from college to a law practice and her.  Marc insists that the guests see their three-year old daughter.  David takes a second to wonder, as Lesley Ann nervously glowers.  Later on, Veronica guesses that David and Lesley Ann had “an affair,” and that “sometimes those feelings don’t change,” but she’s unconcerned as David wraps her into a tight clinching kiss.  It’s not quite the same when Marc figures out that his wife still has feelings for David.  He’s obsessed with it and collapses into a crying fit.  For the first time, Lesley Ann tries to comfort him.

A call from Jack warning of impending doom scares Lesley Ann, so she sends the kid to their cabin and packs up so she and Marc can get there too, before anything bad happens.  Marc surprises her by bringing her brother (Scott Jacoby) home from school for a vacation and refuses to hustle out.  He tells her to go, but he won’t go.  “If you’re staying, I’m staying,” she tells him, much to his great surprise.

We’ve heard about him for years and years, the biggest “in” of them all, the head of the crime syndicate, and the man from whom Marc has been “skimming.”  Be afraid, because when he shows up, indeed he is a two ton monster.  Ladies and gentleman, Raymond Burr.

Playing a mob boss.

As a cross between Don Corleone and Perry Mason.

burr_250

“Your boy grabbed too much, you lost control,” he tells Michael, chillingly, and after a speech that has them meandering through a fish market.  Raymond is there to take care of Marc once and for all, despite Michael’s begging.  “When have we ever mixed blood with what’s right?” Raymond asks as he leaves, 500 pounds of food under his arm.

While Lesley Ann is in a panic, Marc believes he has nothing at all to worry about.  He calmly teachers her brother some cheating card tricks before Lesley Ann orders him on the next plane out.  The kid berates his mother for her life before LA (he’s smarter than David, I guess), but Marc nearly breaks his arm forcing the kid to apologize.  Are Lesley Ann and Marc finally reaching a new level of understanding?  Well, when she returns from sending off her brother, Lesley Ann confesses she’s been “so stubborn and crazy…I never realized what we had, what I had…I’ll make it up to you, I promise!”  You know what happens after a speech like that, especially when the characters are waiting for a mafia don to come a-visitin’.

Jack calls and insists Lesley Ann dart out the back door and run for her life.  The whole thing is a set-up to kill Marc.  While on the phone, she hears gun shots and rushes in to find Marc dead, bringing the second installment to a close.

Harold_Robbins_79_Park_Avenue_TV-687129117-large

Marc’s father, the most inept and frightened mobster on celluloid, blames Lesley Ann for his son’s death.  I guess he didn’t pay attention to his own dialogue, because his boss, the hefty tough guy Raymond Burr, clearly said Marc was marked for death.  Yet as angry as he is, he can only think to call her a “tramp.”  Yes, we know.  You’ve been using that slur since 1935.  Someone send the man a thesaurus.  “You find that dirty tramp and killer.  You hear me?  Kill her,” he growls into the phone to an associate.  Luckily, Lesley Ann came from humble beginnings, so she has no problem taking a bus to safety, realizing driving her own car would not be smart.

Not as smart is rushing back to NYC and Jack Weston’s paternal arms.  Wow, they would never think to look there.  Discussing her husband being mowed down, Jack says comments on how awful it must have been.  “It wasn’t so bad,” she says, skipping to another subject for the end of that sentence.  “It wasn’t so bad?”  Even if you didn’t love the guy (and just a scene earlier, she had decided she did), replacing the windows, curtains and rugs would have cost a fortune.  It is bad, let’s be honest.  Jack gives her the spectacular news that Michael is looking for her, to kill her, and the police are looking for her, as she’s a material witness in her husband’s death (though wouldn’t that be the jurisdiction of the LA police?).  He tells her to turn herself in, spinning it so that he’s giving her good advice, and she falls for it.  “You’re about the only friend I have left.  I don’t even know how to thank you,” she says, as he plays with her fingers and retreats into creepy bit of reminiscing.  And she falls for that too, locking the door and reaching for him.  “No, that would be gratitude, I don’t want that,” he says, stopping her.  I call it padding, but whatever.  It’s a weird scene, not in the tone of the rest of the piece, but in another movie, it mind be charming, since Warren and Weston act it with honesty.

There is more padding when David has a loopy conversation with Veronica as to whether or not he’s spoken to Lesley Ann since she turned herself in, reminding him AGAIN that he was once in love with her.  David snaps that “there are 26 other Assistant District Attorneys” and that he is on another case.  His involves a hooker brought in by dedicated cop Alex Rocco after a botched abortion.  She manages to whisper that she’s a model on Park Avenue.  Alex knows exactly what that means, though David is still unwise to the dealings of the girls and the cops of NYC.

To further pad what should be wrapping up, we have another sweet Jack-Lesley Ann scene where he brings her the joyous news that her father-in-law is backing off, BUT, not all of Raymond’s gang are confident she won’t “sing.”  The solution is for Lesley Ann to return to 79 Park Avenue.  It’s a moneymaker, but “even when she’s sober,” Polly can’t handle the running of it.  “I want a normal life.  I have a four-year old daughter I hardly know,” Lesley exclaims, but Jack gives her a picture of the kid with Michael, who has found the kid and flown her to NYC as “insurance.”  A fidgety “no I won’t,” “but you gotta” goes back and forth and she agrees, as long as “I don’t have to turn tricks myself.”  Jack is furious that she’s in this position, but he knows it’s the safest place for her.

As expected, Lesley Ann runs the place efficiently.  She has Alex helping, she wants new doctors to help the girls (the one from the hospital scene died), she chides the clients and she is a pal to the girls.  Alex suggests they use a South American doctor who can’t work in the US.  “Ask him if he knows about penicillin,” Lesley Ann tells him.  “What’s that?” Alex asks.  “It’s a new drug.  If he doesn’t know about it, I’m going to get a doctor myself and your payoffs stop cold,” she scoffs. She’s a natural as a madam.  When a new girl (Denise Galik) comes in, she tells her to go home.  “Are you kidding?  Know what I got there…?” says the girl, finishing with a father who “knocks us around,” which of course earns her Lesley Ann’s complete sympathy.

Get this.  “Just give me a chance.  A chance to wear nice clothes like the ones you’re wearing, or maybe with some dough, I could find myself some dough or a guy who wants to be decent once in a while.  So don’t do no more favors like telling me to go home, okay?” the young lass says.  She’s just wrapped up the plot of the whole damn thing in seconds, but we’ve got more than an hour to go!

“Why don’t you get some new clothes?  You look like an ad for a dirty book,” kindly Lesley Ann tells her.

Like this?

9780671818241

Or like this?

robbins_h_79parkavenue_1966

Maybe like this?

BK106

Or how about this?

R160033556

Anyway, I guess we’ll never know.  Back in the plot, David’s father-in-law, angling to be governor someday, puts David on the case of linking Raymond Burr and the city’s prostitution.  He strong-arms David by telling him the department is riddled with dirty cops and lawyers, but not David, because he’s been tapping his phone.  “I want that tap taking off tonight,” David insists.  “Why not?  It’s boring anyway,” DA Robert Webber says, “except when you and [Veronica] were talking about [Lesley Ann].  I liked that.”  We now have a new champ in the creep department.

All fathers have it out for Lesley Ann.  After Michael reunites her with her own, he tells a very stupid hood in his gang to put a tail on her around the clock.  The hood tries to argue that the big boss won’t like that.  “We’re not touching her…yet,” Michael says, his voice filled with malice.  Incidentally, does anyone remember why he originally disliked Lesley Ann so much?  I’ve completely forgotten.

Want more pathos?  When Lesley Ann gives her daughter a doll, the kid asks, “does it talk like the one Grandpa gave me?”  “No, it doesn’t talk.  It just looks pretty,” her eyes filled with harsh truth.  Oh, brother.  The padding is getting thicker and thicker.

David catches a break in his case when a party is raided.  The new girl Lesley Ann had told to go home ended up staying in the life and becoming a liability, so bad that at a party Lesley Ann was chaperoning, she had to climb out with the girl down the fire escape when the police showed up.  The girls at the party are linked to Park Avenue Models.

The net is closing in on Lesley Ann.  Phone tapping David hears not only has Lesley Ann’s voice clearly running the show, but also implicates Alex as a dirty cop.  Alex is tipped off to the internal investigation, the new girl is beaten up, David knows the truth…we really should be rushing to a conclusion here, right?

No such luck.  David meets Lesley Ann for lunch, but he’s being trailed by a gal with a small camera in her purse.  He tells her the jig is up.  “That’s what I do for a living, I prosecute criminals,” he says, totally seriously.  He says a raid is imminent, but she can help make her situation easier if she cooperates.

They finish lunch and stroll around.  She asks about his wife, why they don’t have kids, he tells her she has to talk or face prison.  I summed that up nicely and saved you about 10 minutes.  “You know they’ll do to me if I talk?” she asks.  “We can give you enough security,” he replies, which makes her laugh.  He asks what she wants.  “I want you to let me go.  I want you to let me take my little girl and get out of here.”

This whole meeting, after 10 years, is ineptly handled.  Follow me here.  In the novel, every time the woman is confident again, somehow he keeps coming back into her life, but certainly not before the lid is about to be blown on her operation.  In fact, he doesn’t know anything about it until he’s assigned the case.  Granted, as I said up front, the likelihood of an ADA allowed to prosecute a case involving a former paramour is ridiculous, but here, not only is he going to do that, but he knows all about it before it happens and wants to help her.  Allowing the case to proceed with a lawyer who knows the defendant is judicial misconduct, but mainly on the part of the judge who allowed it.  The defense would of course object and the ADA would never get to the actual case, but in this inane scenario, he’s now an accomplice!

“You think I should have learned another trade.  Like typing or hairdressing or waitressing,” Lesley Ann tells her disappointing brother, who doesn’t like where she gets her money.  “I wish I did something else too,” she tells him.  I assume this scene exists simply to tie up a loose end that we never needed anyway.

DA Robert Webber is full of plot-advancing news.  Dirty cop Alex Rocco has killed himself, the noose is tightening on everyone and he’s not feeling so well.  Michael is responsible for the lady with the camera, but Raymond does not want him to handle the Lesley Ann problem.  “You have too many feelings about her,” Ironsides says, with about the same level of interest.  “She’s afraid of me, she’ll tell me the truth,” Michael counters.  Raymond reminds him she wouldn’t “do anything stupid” while Michael has her kid, but he says “she only cares about two things, her own skin and money.”  Raymond appreciates her business skills, but Michael is able to convince the big big big boss to let him talk to Lesley Ann, “but I don’t want to hear anything about our business being hurt by anything you might do to her,” he warns, luckily before the meal.

Talk about your sloppy plotting.  All along, Veronica has been just fine that David has a past with Lesley Ann.  “You’ve got to be done with her if we’re going to stay married,” she demands, in a suit out of the yet-to-be “Dynasty” collection as he is slaving over legal papers.  What changed?  To be fair, she also says it’s not only the marriage, but “your future, your career” at stake.  That much is true, though Robbins didn’t seem to think so in the novel.

veronica-hamel-03

(not a still from the movie)

She then turns shrill because she feels her future is at stake!  “For the last month, you’ve been moping around here like you lost your best friend or something…maybe you better figure out who your real friends are!” she demands.  “I’m your wife and I want you, but I’m not going to eat dirt to prove it,” is the threat.  Whoa!  “Eat dirt?”  Who is asking that?  Some fetish john from the agency?  With Raymond Chandler dead, who writes a line like that for a jealous wife?  “You get that tramp out of your system, or I get out,” she declares, choking up.  She went to the Michael Constantine school of Lesley Ann hatred.

In a movie that is even more chaste than Harold Robbins in the sense that it’s about prostitution, yet sex is only a hint now and then, I was surprised at the next scene, where Michael himself shows up at Lesley Ann’s and beats her up, literally throwing her around the room.  “You want to hit me again?  You never climbed out of the gutter, did you?” she roars as he takes another slug.  She then hits him where it hurts, telling him her daughter is not Marc’s.  “She doesn’t have one drop of your lousy stinking blood in her!” she roars as he knocks her around the furniture and chokes her.  She reaches for a gun and plugs him, with Michael doing a close-up so overacted and hysterical, you want to both laugh at it and cheer the fact that he’s FINALLY gone from the story.  By the way, Denise is hiding in another room, watching the whole thing.

It’s a news flash that tells us the police have raided the modeling agency, Lesley Ann is in even deeper and the witness has disappeared.  When Lesley Ann is arrested, a lawyer who is not John Saxon arrives (remember, the whole mob connection is barely a thought in Robbins’ story, as that would take away from his characters deciding their lives).  “You know anything about criminal law?” she snarls.  “My practice is in East Harlem,” he replies.  Um, okay.  That answer is a little bit stereotyping, a little bit of a non-sequitor and a lot hysterically inept.  David comes to offer a deal one last time, to rat out Raymond Burr, probably enjoying a meal at the moment, but she refuses.  David tries to quit the case, telling hospitalized DA Robert Webber he shouldn’t be involved, but Robert encourages him to do it with glorious reasoning: she killed one of Raymond’s top guys, “so she’s dead, today, tomorrow, whenever, she’s dead.”  Then by all means, press forward to open court and a zillion other places a man in love would be foolish enough to place a woman who needs real protection.  In truth, Robert “levels” with David.  He wants to be governor and then the one step above that (unnamed, understood to be the Presidency, but maybe that was a bad assumption, maybe he means the head of the “ins” or running the House of Chanel), and wants David to go along.  “I can’t have guys around me in the arena deciding if the lions should live or die.  You’re soft,” Robert tells him.  Wait, so now David his the ADA, his son-in-law and a Christian martyr/gladiator?  This crackling stupid scene is actually one that comes from Robbins almost verbatim and doesn’t make any sense on film than it did reading it.  The DA is in the hospital with some terrible condition and he’s worried about events far enough in the future that he’ll be long dead?

The court case isn’t going Lesley Ann’s way, but then Denise comes out of hiding to testify.  Good loyal Denise is so dim answering questions the whole court keeps laughing.  If you think she’s a defense witness, wrong!  She testifies merely that they were arguing, Lesley Ann demanded more money and then shot Michael when the answer was no.  Lesley Ann insists that Denise won’t crack as “they’ll kill her” if she does, but her lawyer says the only way around it is to have Lesley Ann testify herself, leaving her open to cross examining.

Demure in a suit, Lesley Ann calmly tells the actual series of events leading to Lesley Ann’s gunning down of Michael.  Denise had said Lesley Ann’s clothes were soaked in blood and Lesley Ann says the same thing, as a result of Michael falling on top of her.  We’re expected to believe she didn’t bleed as he knocked her all over the set? David refuses to cross examine her, but his associate does, starting  and ending simply with her juvenile record.  Her lawyer tries damage control and asks her why she was convicted of assault that time.  “I was a virgin and my stepfather raped me,” she says, with a hubbub echoing around the court and David being totally shocked.  Remember, she never told I’m the truth because of his fantasy that they de-virginize on their wedding night.  All this time, she’s been protecting him at her expense.  Polly aces the courtroom drama acting, also paid off, telling the jury that she ran a legit modeling agency and that Lesley Ann didn’t want to be a legit model, but rather a call girl.

Help comes in the form of a letter Lesley Ann had given to a friend as insurance in case she met an untimely demise.  Her lawyer reads it and stuns everyone by asking David to take the stand!  He lets David read the letter, which contains her daughter’s birth certificate.  Lesley Ann rages in horror and refuses to let him use the letter.  The judge agrees to it, so the lawyer has to go around it, using David as “the only witness” who hasn’t been bought off, asking him if “she is capable of first degree murder,” the only honest person who can answer the question honestly.  “No, she isn’t,” he says.  The jury finds her…not guilty.  David stays seated long after everyone has left the courtroom, with Veronica the last to depart, knowing the truth without having to hear it.

In case any viewer has forgotten the history between David and Lesley Ann, good old Jack Weston tells Raymond Burr the whole truth, in far less than six hours, adding that he is the one who paid for her lawyer.  “Okay, she’s off the hook then for murdering [Michael], but she’s still facing trial on vice charges.  That means she can still talk,” Raymond says cautiously.  Jack argues that she’s “not a singer.  She knows how to survive, not to sing.”  Jack knows she will do time for bribery and prostitution, but that’s a good thing because while she’s in the pokey, “the heat will be off the operation.”  Raymond, notably angry, probably because lunch is late, reminds Jack that if Lesley Ann does talk, Jack would die.  “I know,” he says.  Awww.

Indeed, she is sentenced 5-1o years for the smaller crimes.  Before she’s taken to prison, David and Lesley Ann are given some time to chat in the judge’s chambers.  David did not prosecute that case, so it can’t hurt.  They ramble on about her brother, who had been hazed at school for being her brother, but then David wants to know why she hid the truth about their daughter. He doesn’t actually want an answer, moving on quickly to announcing Veronica has left him.  “She’ll return when I disappear,” Lesley Ann says.  “I don’t want her back…I’m going to wait for you,” he replies.  He promises her he will, against her wishes, but he insists.  “I’m different than your dream of me, I always have been,” she tries next.  He hasn’t had that fantasy in many years.  “It doesn’t make any difference to me.  I’m going to wait for you, so why don’t you just stop arguing with me?”  Well, because Lesley Ann is going for the gold in this tear-streaked final scene.  “I have something for you, if you want,” Lesley says haltingly, taking him back into the courtroom where their daughter is waiting.  She doesn’t need to ask him to take care of her. “I’ll manage.  Somehow I’ll manage,” he tells her, which wouldn’t put him high on the “must hire” list for nannies.  “This man is a good friend of Mommy’s,” she cries to her daughter.  She runs from the courtroom as David carries his daughter to a new life.

Is this early version of the soapy miniseries a harbinger of what was to come after or did it just exist on its own?  Both.  It’s mistakes are colossal, it’s very slow at times and it’s not faithful to the source material, but it does have everything: tough dames, murder, prostitution, mobsters and oodles of true love.  It’s rough, but the next 15 or so years would find ways to shore up the shaky foundation of “Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue.”  It exists on its own because Harold Robbins exists on his own, unconcerned with what everyone else was doing and the movie definitely follows that lead!

Categories: Romance Miniseries

4 Comments to “Harold Robbins’ 79 Park Avenue (1977)”

  1. Lovethisbook 28 November 2015 at 7:11 am #

    Where can I purchase the DVD of this mini series.
    I would very much like to some girlfriends watch it.

    • Bj Kirschner 28 November 2015 at 9:06 pm #

      To the best of my knowledge, it is not on DVD and it’s unlikely to be available, but I know much of it is on YouTube.

  2. Ivoria 8 July 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    I live in FL. I am wondering when 79 Park Avenue with Leslie Ann Warren will be playing on TV. I know it was a miniseries which I watched when I was 16. Now I am 56 and really would like to see it again. Please let me know.

    • Bj Kirschner 8 July 2017 at 3:51 pm #

      The full “79 Park Avenue” is available for free on YouTube. Have fun!


Leave a Comment or Question