12 March 2009 | bkoganbing
American Cuties On The Continent
Watching Les Girls a couple of days ago put me in mind of a short lived series that seemed to have borrowed liberally from that Gene Kelly film in the creation. The series is Harry's Girls and like Les Girls it starred three shapely young ladies Susan Silo, Denise Nickerson, and Diahn Willliams. They are the girls and their problems and the morale of the troupe at large are of concern to Harry, played by Larry Blyden.
Take a look at the continental cast list of Harry's Girls. Appearing in some of the episodes are such players as Dennis Price and Claude Dauphin whom you would not be normally seeing except on the small screen. The series only ran for 16 episodes and the expense of shooting in Europe outran the ratings. Sadly the show did not catch on. A pity because I do remember the wonderful location photography of the series.
I also remember Larry Blyden who never quite made it on the big screen or the small. He did many guest starring roles on television, but was mainly noted for his stage work. It was on stage that I saw him in 1957 playing Sammmy Fong in Flower Drum Song, the first Broadway show I ever saw.
He was a funny guy, the fast talking thoroughly Americanized Chinese person who is being brought back to the old country traditions by an arranged marriage with Miyoshi Umeki. Some of that same persona was present in his Harry Burns in Harry's Girls.
Blyden and the shapely female trio were going to Europe to preserve an old vaudeville act. Vaudeville had died in the USA some time ago, but in Europe where it's Music Hall, Variety Hall, etc. it was still going in 1963. The only venue for Silo, Williams, and Nickerson would have been Las Vegas in 1963. Blyden too might have been a lounge act, but he preferred what he knew.
I'm sorry the series never developed a following. And this review is dedicated to a very fine entertainer Larry Blyden who gave me my first night of Broadway entertainment.