Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Dabney Coleman


Dabney Coleman died last week.  He was 92.

Coleman had a long and successful career.  I'd like to focus on two failures.

The first was "Buffalo Bill."  It lasted for 26 episodes in 1983 and 1984.  Coleman played an obnoxious tv talk show host in Buffalo, NY.  NBC president Brandon Tartikoff loved it and he greenlit a second season.  The critics loved it.  The audience didn't.  No one watched.  Research showed the public didn't warm to a main character who was so mean spirited.  I thought "Buffalo Bill" was absolutely brilliant.  It was well crafted, smart, sharp, and funny.  In fact, I have the DVD boxed set.  Dabney Coleman's performance was outstanding.

The other failure of note was Coleman starring in ABC's "The Slap Maxwell Story" in 1987 and 1988.  It barely limped through one season, 22 episodes.  Coleman played an old style newspaper sports columnist, and once again, I thought he was great.  It was another Dabney Coleman character with plenty of rough edges.  "The Slap Maxwell Story" was an odd show.  It was half comedy, half drama, and occasionally confusing.  Apparently, the rest of America was confused as well, and the series didn't last.

By the way, "Buffalo Bill and "Slap Maxwell" have something in common.  Both theme songs were great.  Visit You Tube, and you'll hear what I mean.

So, what do we take from this?  A failure, or two, isn't the end.  Your star can still shine brightly.