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Beads On TV

Guest starringon "Kojak," Liberace shows the cop a beaded jacket. He says, It weighs over 30 pounds.

Kojak: Yeah?

Liberace: It was made from one of Kate Smith's old beaded bags.

Kojak: Yeah?

Liberace: I don't have it cleaned; I have it polished. Whatever that means.

Beads are often punch lines or set-ups. In a "Cheers" episode Frasier throws a party for son, Frederick. Woody comes into the bar and Norm puts a string of beads on his neck, Have a Froot Loop necklace. (Shades of Warhol's Campbell Soup Can series?) Children can make lots of things into beads.

Bob Saget of "America's Funniest Home Videos" has another idea for beads out of exotic objects. The night's winning video was a shot of a silo collapsing. The winners brought a brick from the silo and gave it to Saget. As an aside he said it was, A perk of the job. And to his wife said, I'm bringing you a rock for a new pendant.

In a "Welcome Back, Kotter" episode. Vinnie Barbarino is pleading with Kotter for better grades. My Mother is a saint!
Kotter: Ah, My Mother the Saint.
Vinnie: Yeah, you don't know how it feels to get hit with beads.

In one episode of "Golden Girls" Sofia thinks she is dying and asks daughter Dorothy for her rosary. She brings it saying, Here are your beads, Mom. I found them in the peanut butter. Sofia replies with impeccable logic, That's where I keep them.

Pearls of Wisdom

 On "Designing Wisdom" was a modern retelling of Guy de Maupassant's The Necklace in which Suzanne buys pearls for $4500 and proves they are real by rubbing them against her teeth. Charlene says: It hardly seems worth it to buy rough pearls. Joanne wears them and looses them in a salad bar. After she confesses Julia forces Suzanne to admit they were false.

"Saturday Night Live's" Rozanne Rozanadana (Gilda Radnor) on Bo Derrik's "perfect nose hair," I wanted to add two more hairs, braid it and add a bead on the end.

In the English comedy, "Keeping Up Appearances," Onslow - anti-hero of the non-working class - can't find his beer bottle opener. Sister-in-law Rose says, Why don't you wear it around your neck? Onslow replies indignantly, And look like some big silly Doris dangle? Beads as emasculators.

In The Wallet, Part 2 Jerry Seinfeld argues with his father over paying a restaurant bill. pointing out that Dad has no money because he lost his wallet. The son finally gives in, saying, Go ahead. I'd be very curious to see how you pay without money, 'cause if this works it's the end of the whole monetary system. We'll be back to wampum. [slightly paraphrased.]

And for just plain nuttiness is the 15 February 1994 episode of "Late Night with David Letterman." A perennial guest, Richard Simmons, entered from the audience door, flinging beads in all directions like a one-man Mardi Gras. Richard put some on Dave's neck. Dave said, You look good. Simmons gushed, I love these [beads]. Way to go, Richard.

Another Mardi Gras story was told by French Stewart in early September 1999 on "The Daily Show with John Stewart." French had been on a float and noticed that the women with the most beads thrown from the floats were those willing to expose themselves. At the end of the parade ("five hours of standing ovation" he called it) the floats went into the Superdome. He could hear someone calling, "French, French." He looked down to see his wife -- covered with beads.

On a "Thursday Night Special" called (I think) Movies, T.V. and Radio (6 February 1993) the set up is Flip Wilson in drag as Geraldine. She is nurse to Bill Cosby. She recognizes him, but cannot place him. The Coz replies, My name is in the baby beads, as he displays the bracelet.

Beads aren't always played for a laugh on TV. Sometimes they appear in mundane ways, as a prize on "The Price is Right," (seen 1 November 1985). It was a Giorgio gown advertised as having "sequins and bugle beads." Just plain bugle is correct, as both Spencer can Shakespeare knew.

The John Stossel Special: The Mystery of Happiness - Who Has It and How to Get It used beads in two scenes to set the atmosphere. One was a small child in rural China playing with an abacus (not limited to China). The other was a rosary as a visual introduction to the religious segment.

Beads are in the news a great deal, and we have a special section on this. A couple of older reports: a clip filmed in Ireland (probably Dublin) on "CNN Prime News" (8 May 1992) showed a poster with a painted rosary as the border. The wording inside read, "Get Your/Rosaries/Off Our/Ovaries." Abortion was the issue, in case you hadn't guessed.

NBC News on Christmas Eve 1985 ended with a neat touch. Do they do this every year?. The last frame flashed,

Gold $326.50
Frankincense $1.10
Myrrh $.67

Everyone knows of gold beads, but I am not sure about frankincense ones. The stuff sold as myrrh beads is actually made from unrelated scented seeds.

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