Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Loretta's Beauty Shop .......... (for M.B.)

Loretta's Beauty Shop is open again today - it is of course located at Cabot Cove somewhere in New England - Maine, perhaps? - where that amazing sleuth and thriller writer Jessica Fletcher resides - when she is not globe-trotting around the world solving murders where-ever she goes .... Jessica of course is the tireless Angela Lansbury (still working in her late 80s - she was back on the London stage earlier this year) - while her MURDER SHE WROTE TV series are replayed endlessly - there is at least one a day on here. 

I never bothered with the series back when first shown - being younger and out a lot and it was not my sort of TV, but hey 30 or so years later, its amusing to check them out now and then, if only for the great guest stars - we have seen Jean Simmons, Janet Leigh, Carroll Baker, Rod Taylor, David Hemmings and lots more including Angela's old pals from her MGM days. Some episodes are set in a make-believe Ireland (where Angela lived for some years) and its fun seeing their recreations of Paris, Hong Kong, Cairo and others.

A particular favourite of mine, Ruth Roman, wound down her career here, doing three episodes set in Cabot Cove where she plays Loretta who runs the local beauty parlour (where everything is pink), its where Angela and her gossipy neighbours hang out: Julia Adams still looking terrific, a rather portly Kathryn Grayson, and Gloria De Haven, This particular episode I saw the other day "The Sins of Castle Cove" (Season 5, episode 17, 1989) concerns a PEYTON PLACE type novel written by a local girl, using all the local scandals, which becomes a best seller and, yes, inevitably leads to murder. But fear not, Jessica will soon unravel it, meanwhile relax with the girls at the parlour presided over by the good-natured, jovial Loretta, a vision in pink - go Ruth, a good final role for her.


  1. I did watch this on occasion when it was on originally but I wasn't a faithful viewer like my folks however now that it is such a heavy rerun favorite I think I've seen them all. It's interesting to see how they moved Jessica from a somewhat dowdy country mouse at the beginning to quite the chic semi fashion plate as she globe trotted in later seasons.

    Love all the guest stars, Jean Simmons got the special treatment she deserved with a two parter. Many of those who did appear, like Eleanor Parker and Jean Peters, weren't really working anymore but would do the show because they realized their fans were watching it, and of course Angela Lansbury knew and had worked with EVERYBODY!!

    Julie Adams while not really a semi regular like William Windom or Ron Masak pops up more then the other ladies which always pleases me, I have a soft spot for her and am anxious to read the autobiography I just found out she wrote.

    My favorite episode that involves Loretta/Ruth, the other ladies and that Pepto-Bismol beauty shop is "If It's Thursday, It Must Be Beverly" where one of the customers dies under suspicious circumstances and it turns out all the ladies are involved with her husband on the sly. It has a lot of humor.

  2. Oh yes, I've got that one, I got Series 4 on dvd as it had a Loretta/Ruth episode and its that one "Beverly" ..... will run it again later. There's only about 250 or so episodes which will probably be re-run for ever, as long as people want to watch undemanding TV, the Lansbury family but be getting marvellous repeat fees. ..... Keith Michell was amusing too, with a distinct gay vibe, in several, as he kind of took over the detective work from Jessica.

  3. There is also a terrific 1st season episode "Paint Me A Murder" in 1985, a desert island murder mystery which ropes in Capucine and Stewart Granger (25 years after their "North to Alaska") along with Judy Geeson, Ron Moody, Cesar Romero and more ....