Monday, July 10, 2017

They All "Don't Drink The Water"

Woody Allen's first play Don't Drink The Water, starred the great Lou Jacobi and
1966: Lou Jacobi, Vivian Vance
and author Woody Allen, before Vance
was fired.

co-starred I Love Lucy's Vivian Vance as his wife. Vance was fired from the play by Allen as it previewed out of town and replaced by Kay Medford and later Peggy Cass. The show opened on Broadway in 1966.

Don't Drink The Water would be revived often after it's successful Broadway run with various revolving touring company casts over the next decade. Jackie Gleason (coming off Skidoo), and Estelle Parsons would star in the awful 1969 film version, directed by Howard Morris, which Woody Allen would disavow.

The play takes place inside an American embassy behind the iron curtain. Three tourists, an American caterer named Walter Hollander and his wife and daughter rush into the embassy just ahead of the police who suspect them of spying via their innocent picture-taking. The comedy hijinx ensues from there, including the son of the (missing), ambassador falling in love with the caterer's daughter. Don't Drink The Water received overall positive reviews and would run for 598 performances at three different Broadway theaters.

                                                   (thanks to John Wendler)

the original 1966 poster when the show was announced

Playbill while the show was debuting
out of town with Vivian Vance

 Broadway Playbill (artist unknown to me)

Jacobi, Kay Medford and the entire cast, (Brother Theodore on the right)

Jacobi, Kay Medford

Lou Jacobi as Walter Hollander caricatured by Sam Norkin

Long Island railroad schedule ad for two,
(David Merrick produced), hit shows

Lou Jacobi, Peggy Cass...

Lou Jacobi, Peggy Cass...

Sam Levene as Walter Hollander

Sam Levene, Marjorie Lord...

Sam Levene, Vivian Blaine

Sam Levene, Selma Diamond...

Sam Levene, Gloria Bleezarde

Michael Vale

Hans Conried...
Hans Conried, Vivian Blaine...

Blaine and Conried

Phil Foster, Vivian Blaine...

Imogene Coca, King Donovan

Al Lewis

Shelley Berman

Joe Flynn

Jerry Lester...

Jan Murray

Henrietta Jacobson/Julius Adler

Eddie Bracken, wife and daughter...

Morrie Dragoon

George Savalas

Paul Lynde...

1969 movie poster art by Sanford Kossin...

Poster art by Jack Davis...

Italian poster

a 1994 TV version starring Woody Allen and Dom DeLuise and directed by Woody Allen


  1. Great stuff, but you left out Woody's 1994 made-for-TV film version, with Woody and Julie Kavner in the leads, and Michael J. Fox, Mayim Bialik, Dom DeLuise, and Edward Herrmann in the supporting cast. It's better than the 1969 version, but it's still not that great -- the material hasn't worn well with time.

  2. "No, we're suing them for low resistance to tainted meat!" -- still one of my favorite lines. If it's my time machine we're going to see Hans Conried. I guess Eddie Bracken makes it into all of these.

  3. Why did Woody fire Vivien Vance?