15 July 2015 | bkoganbing
All fail the king
This television series marked the surrender of Yul Brynner to the role that made him. Even though the television show was not a success it marked for Brynner the fact he would never escape being King Mongkut of Siam. For the rest of his life Brynner would be the King of Siam be it here or in various revivals of The King And I.
Watching the pilot I noted that no real mention of The King And I was made. That the title was Anna And The King is noteworthy as the fact that not a note of Rodgers&Hammerstein's music is heard.
The King And I is a favorite Broadway show of mine and this TV series was a let down. I suspect for Yul Brynner as well, he was probably just as happy it went for 13 episodes and he could get back to the big screen and for stock company revivals of The King And I. I have to say it was jarring to hear a laugh track on this show. Not unusual for a television comedy, but almost sacrilegious for one of Broadway's most prestigious shows.
I would also love to know whose idea it was to make the Anna Leonowens character an American. And then hire Samantha Eggar an English actress to play her. That truly does not compute.
Poor Keye Luke who played the Kralahome must have also been grateful the series was canceled. In The King And I and in Anna And The King Of Siam which was a dramatic version of the Margaret Landon book that starred Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison. The Kralahome is a fierce character and an antagonist of the schoolteacher. Here Keye Luke looks and sounds like a blithering idiot.
This might have made an interesting series, but it certainly was done all wrong here.