Wednesday, April 20, 2011
There Must Be A Pony
In a column by Liz Smith from early 1981 she wrote that Natalie Wood had bought the rights to James Kirkwood's book, "There Must Be A Pony." Natalie was to play the role of Marguerite, the part that Liz Taylor played in the ABC, made-for-TV movie that aired in 1986. Robert Wagner starred with Liz, and Wagner was also the executive producer of the movie, directed by Joseph Sargent.
The movie was Wagner's project after his TV show "Lime Street" had failed after only a few episodes aired.
Wagner did not mention that it was his late wife who was behind "There Must Be A Pony" when he told about the production in his book. The only reason he owned the movie was because Natalie died. It's yet another example of the way he leaves out details when he should be crediting Natalie where credit is due. Instead of saying something to the effect that Natalie would have played the role beautifully (as Liz Taylor did, too), he usually avoids ever talking about Natalie as an actress or shrewd industry figure. The best I've ever heard him say of Natalie's career was that she "had a good run." Never have I read or heard Wagner compliment Natalie's talent in a heartfelt manner. It makes a person wonder why.
The storyline in "There Must Be A Pony" involves its main charater, Marguerite Sydney, who is a celebrated Hollywood star attempting a comeback after a stay in a mental hospital, as she attempts to also re-establish a relationship with her teenage son. She takes a shot at romance with a "mysterious stranger."
As the New York Times said in 1986: Elizabeth Taylor triumphs in the part, even as the production sinks.