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Red Buttons in 'Play It Again, Sam'

Red Buttons in ‘Play It Again, Sam’

Feb. 9, 1971: Actor Red Buttons poses in a mirror for Los Angeles Times staff photographer Lou Mack.

This photo was published the next day accompanying a stage review of actor Red Buttons’ role in “Play It Again, Sam.” Times theater critic Dan Sullivan reported:

This reviewer has no objection to shows whose only aim is to entertain you, provided they do.

Woody Allen’s “Play It Again, Sam” at the Huntington Hartford does, and – what do you make of this, Sam? – there are even some ideas in it.

Nothing to strain your brain. But besides providing the expected number of sex jokes and failure jokes (1,345 at rough count), Allen has found a witty way to dramatize just how far the moves have come in little more than 50 years: namely from a trivial fun-form to a vehicle, literally, of myth.

Allen’s hero (played by the author on Broadway, here portrayed by Red Buttons) has lost his wife, can’t get a new girl and wouldn’t know what to do with her if he could. …

This being 1971, it it the late Humphrey Bogart who steps in – and the measure of the truth of Allen’s observations is how happy we all are to see that familiar trench coat.

No show with a take-charge guy like Bogie in it is going to welsh on a bargain, sweetheart. You want laughs, you’ll get laughs – and Felix will get the girl. …

Buttons’ performance is especially interesting. Less sly than Allen probably was on Broadway, he is thoroughly convincing as an all-time loser. …

For more, check out this article Red Buttons from the Los Angeles Times Hollywood Star Walk.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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2 Comments

  1. December 4, 2014, 6:29 pm

    Feb. 9, 1971 – the day of the Sylmar earthquake.

    By: tallahto@hotmail.com
  2. August 6, 2015, 4:14 pm

    I'm afraid that all the true leaders at the executive level were purged from the military over a four year period. What is left are suspect.

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