Friday Geek Out: Remember WENN
Remember WENN is an awesome comedy/drama that ran on AMC (back when it was known as American Movie Classics) for four seasons between 1996 and 1998. The series was set in the 40s, around the start of World War II. Based in New York, the staff of WENN worked hard to create great radio on the smallest of budgets.
Remember WENN is the type of show that’s just not around today. It was firmly rooted in its time, right down to the look of the show, which looked as though it might have been shot in Technicolor (only that was some 90’s technology at work making it look that way). The show was mostly a comedy, sometimes veering into the madcap comedy realm, as the station struggled to stay on the air and the staff struggled to fill all the air time with something that was different than what other New York radio stations were doing at the time (as you’ll see in the clip below).
Rupert Holmes, best known to this day for creating “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” created and wrote the series, including the original songs. Holmes has also had a solid Broadway career, among his hits are <em>The Mystery of Edwin Drood</em> and most recently <em>Curtains</em>. You can hear a couple of Holmes’ Remember WENN creations on his website. He showcases two Betty Buckley-sung numbers from WENN’s Christmas episode. It’s well worth the trip to the website to check these out.
Sadly, this series has not received an official DVD release. I’m not sure why that is since it seems like everything under the sun is on DVD these days. It’s just as surprising as the show’s abrupt cancellation after new owners took over AMC. It was unfortunate it didn’t get a fifth season. As much as the show was a comedy, it also took some compelling turns into drama, especially around the U.S.’s entry into WWII, which was being set up as a centerpiece of the fifth season.
I was able to find a couple of Remember WENN clips on YouTube, though far fewer than I’d hoped. First is Victor Comstock, the station manager, selling new intern Betty Roberts on the magic of the radio drama from the first episode of the series.
One of the AMC on-air promos.