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Bye Bye Birdie

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Some people might say that songs about goin’ steady and bein’ happy don’t belong in the era of the Big Issues Musical. Those people would be wrong. In a pastel-hued ’50s universe, songwriter Albert (Alexander) and his girlfriend/secretary Rose (Williams) stage a PR stunt for singer Conrad Birdie: He’ll head to Ohio, to bestow one smooch on a teen (Chynna Phillips) before joining the Army. The leads are certainly cheery and every so often they seem like a viable couple, despite the fact that we know Miss America would never date George Costanza. If this remake — originally aired on ABC — doesn’t quite best the 1963 film, it’s a chirpy little knockoff.

REEL GOODIES (0:24) Alexander reminds us that he is a Tony winner as he belts ”Put on a Happy Face.”

THE LAST DETAIL Director Gene Saks knows from big-number musicals showcasing TV stars: He helmed 1974’s Mame with Lucille Ball.