Classic Movie Night Recommendation: My Favorite Year

My Favorite Year (1982)



“He is a legend.  One of the biggest stars ever.  He’s one of a kind.  A guy like this is irreplaceable.  Replace him, Leo.”  -King Kaiser about Alan Swann

“He is a legend. One of the biggest stars ever. He’s one of a kind. A guy like this is irreplaceable. Replace him, Leo.” -King Kaiser about Alan Swann

Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker) is the freshman writer for the Comedy Cavalcade, a weekly live television comedy sketch program which stars Stan “King” Kaiser (Joseph Bologna).  The neurotic, hot-tempered, King Kaiser heads one of the most popular shows on television and his crazy neurosis keep his staff on their toes.  Added to his stress are threats from a local mob boss who is less than impressed with the comedic impersonation Kaiser portrays on the show.  This week the program will feature special guest Alan Swann (Peter O’Toole), an Errol Flynn-esque actor from Hollywood’s Golden Age.  Rather than being his swashbuckling self, Swann has filled his life with alcohol and women.

Benjy is given the job of babysitting his hero, but he often finds himself involved in the antics.  In between alcohol induced escapades, Benjy begins to see the cracks in his hero and learns about the human side of his favorite movie star.  Swann himself realizes that people allow him to get away with too much and he has been able to escape much responsibility in his life with little more than a slap on the wrist.


“To the question: ‘What were you doing naked in Central Park, in Bethesda Fountain at 3:00 in the morning?’ Swan replied, ‘The backstroke.’” -Leo Silver about Alan Swann

“I’m not an actor.  I’m a movie star.”  -Alan Swann

“I’m not an actor. I’m a movie star.” -Alan Swann

The age of television had arrived in the 1950’s, and the most popular programs were the live comedy sketch shows.  “Comedy was king,” and Hollywood’s Golden Age was passing and many of the famous movie stars at the time were beginning to fade and lose their luster.  Comedians on television were the stars now and the weekly variety shows were their most popular offering.  TV allowed people to see the movie stars in their homes shrunk down to a small screen.  However, as we see with Swann, live TV offered its challenges as well.  Stars now needed to get it right in one take, when they were used to multiple takes to make them look good.  Mel Brooks, executive producer of the film, based the premise of the film on his experiences as a writer on Sid Caesar’s variety program, Your Show of Shows.  Errol Flynn would appear on Your Show of Shows.  Unlike the film, Flynn’s guest appearance would be uneventful.

“Stone, the cardinal rule: They always love a big entrance.”  - Alan Swann

“Stone, the cardinal rule: They always love a big entrance.” – Alan Swann

Though Flynn’s appearance was uneventful, he was used as the inspiration for the Alan Swann character.  O’Toole was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Swann.  He insisted on performing his own stunts.  What made the swashbuckling actors like Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks larger than life was daring adventurous nature.  They would perform their own stunts, and audiences loved it.

Follow the link for more images from My Favorite Year.  Pinterest Board: Classic Movie Night Recommendation

Images from: My Favorite Year Dir. Richard Benjamin.  MGM, 1982.  DVD.

Tagged: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood.

Celebrating the golden age of Hollywood

Hometowns to Hollywood

Exploring the hometowns and legacies of Hollywood's Golden Age stars.

Madison Movie

Rob Thomas' movie blog.

10 Years Ago: Films in Retrospective

What a difference a decade makes. We revisit a movie on the week of its tenth anniversary and talk cinema, politics, social issues, and our own lives over the past decade.

Criterion Close-Up

A Criterion Podcast

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

Movies Silently

Celebrate Silent Film

4 Star Films

Looking Deeper at The Best Classic Movies Together

Gareth Rhodes Film Reviews

Spoiler-free film reviews

Lesley Teare

Thoughts on design


TV, movies, pop culture, & mostly everything in-between

The Social Sundae

Growing your audience just got easier.


The observations of actor, author, comedian, critic, director, humorist, journalist, m.c., performance artist, playwright, producer, publicist, public speaker, songwriter, and variety booker Trav S.D.

The Blonde at the Film

a fresh look at old films

%d bloggers like this: