Monday, June 3, 2013

Tales of the City

1993 British/American Television Mini-Series
Alternate Title: Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City

Cast: Olympia Dukakis, Donald Moffat, Chloe Webb, Laura Linney, Marcus D'Amico, Billy Campbell, Thomas Gibson, Paul Gross, Barbara Garrick, Parker Posey, Mary Kay Place, Nina Foch, Cynda Williams and Stanley DeSantis
Director: Alastair Reid
Writer: Armistead Maupin and Richard Kramer, based on the novel by Armistead Maupin

It is 1976, and Mary Ann Singleton, a young secretary from Cleveland, takes a vacation to San Francisco and decides to stay. She moves into 28 Barbary Lane, home to enigmatic landlandy Anna Madrigal and a bohemian collection of free-spirits, and her adventures begin.


  • Internet Movie Database: 7.7/10
  • OMG rating: 9/10

  • DVD: Available
  • Book: Available

Video clip:

  • BAFTA TV Award nominations for Best Actress (Dukakis) and Costume Design.
  • GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Mini-Series.
  • Peabody Award.
  • Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Miniseries and Writing.

  • Originally serialized in The San Francisco Chronicle, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City was first published in book form in 1978. It was followed by seven more books in the series: More Tales of the City (1980), Further Tales of the City (1982), Babycakes (1984), Significant Others (1987), Sure of You (1989), Michael Tolliver Lives (2007), Mary Ann in Autumn (2010) and The Days of Anna Madrigal (2014). To date, only the first three have been adapted for the screen.
  • Casting Call: Ann-Margret, Anne Bancroft, Heather Graham, Ashley Judd, Diane Ladd, Cynthia Nixon, Vanessa Redgrave and Elizabeth Taylor.
  • Cameo appearances include Edie Adams (her final film role), Paul Bartel, Karen Black, Vaginal Davis, Paul Dooley, Robert Downey Sr., Janeane Garofolo, Michael Jeter, Lance Loud, Bob Mackie, Ian McKellen, Don "Father Guido Sarducci" Novello, Rod Steiger, McLean Stevenson (his final film role) and Tales author Armistead Maupin.
  • Produced by the UK's Channel 4 and first broadcast there in 1993, then shown on PBS in the US in 1994. Amid controversy surrounding the gay themes, nudity and drug use in the mini-series, Tales of the City gave PBS its highest ratings ever for a dramatic program. Despite this ratings success, PBS bowed to threats of federal funding cuts and did not participate in the production of the sequel, More Tales of the City.
  • A stage musical adaptation, titled Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, premiered at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater in 2011, with book by Jeff Whitty and score by Jake Shears and John "JJ" Garden. Directed by Jason Moore, the cast included Judy Kaye, Mary Birdsong and Wesley Taylor.

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