Barbara Diamond, the wife of I.A.L Diamond (Billy Wilder’s writing partner for ‘Some Like It Hot’ and other Hollywood classics) said this about THAT famous last line in the iconic 1950’s comedy:
“Most of the mail I get is letters from all over the world talking about “Some Like It Hot.” I would say overall, it’s probably the biggest hit I’ve ever been in, I’m sure. I’ve had films that have grossed more in the beginning, but they’ve had a shorter life; this just keeps on going and going and going.
“Some Like It Hot” was one of the biggest successes of 1959, audiences adored it and continued to flock to theatres to see Sugar, Joe and Jerry create mishap on screen.
With the ever increasing popularity of Television, it’s no surprise that The Mirish Company would try and turn their most successful film: “Some Like It Hot” into a ongoing television series.
The series would focus on the mishaps and adventures that Joe and Jerry would face in their new identities, trying to recreate the magic that was created on film by bringing it into peoples homes and television sets throughout the year.
The premise of the show was this: Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon reprising their roles for the pilot) are still on the run from the mob, so they decide to up their game and go under the knife for a complete facial transformation (enter the two new actors playing Joe and Jerry: Vic Damone and Dick Patterson.)
With new faces on their fronts, Joe and Jerry assume their problems are
behind them. However they are soon enlisted by federal agents to help
track down Studs Columbo (Spatz Columbo’s twin brother of course!)
Studs Columbo is determined to track down and rub out the two musicians
who had his brother killed, Joe and Jerry reluctantly agree to get back
into drag and get the goods on “Girl-Crazy” Castro, the gangster who
deployed the machine gun that killed Toothpick Charlie in the original
There is no mention of Sugar in the pilot, she has been replaced by a character called Candy Collins (Tina Louise). Collins is Studs Columbo’s moll who eventually falls for Joe after he reveals his true identity to her.
The pilot was shot at NBC studios in mid March 1961 and quickly vanished into thin air. Neither NBC not the potential sponsor Proctor and Gamble picked up the show. The precise reason this show was a no-go is still unclear, however one studio memo said: “As this is essentially a joke show, it would be difficult to sustain on a high level.”
By the end of 1961, the pilot was considered dead. Perhaps at the end of the day, “Some Like It Hot” should always be considered a one off, no sequal.. no remake.. no television series.. Just a beautifully perfect one off movie ever to be repeated.
More on this planned TV show can be found here: “Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion.” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Some-Like-Hot-Companion/dp/1862058644
When we think of “Some Like It Hot,” we can’t help but feel how overlooked it was during the 1960 Academy Awards, only winning 1 Oscar out of its 6 nominations in total. However that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was universally praised and awarded with nominations from all around the globe at various entertainment award ceremonies. Not only that, but it was the 4th highest grossing film of 1959 in the United States, grossing nearly $10.2million at the box office after its initial budget of $2.8million.
Academy Awards 1960:
Best Costume Design: (Orry Kelly.)
Best Actor in a leading role: Jack Lemmon
Best Director: Billy Wilder
Best Writing and Screenplay: Billy Wilder and I.A.L Diamond
Best Cinematography: Charles Lang
Best Art Direction and Set Decoration: Ted Hayworth and Edward G. Boyle.
Golden Globes 1960
Best Motion Picture Comedy
Best Actress In A Musical Or Comedy: Marilyn Monroe
Best Actor In A Musical Or Comedy: Jack Lemmon
BAFTA Awards 1960
Best Foreign Actor: Jack Lemmon
Best Film From Any Source: Billy Wilder
Bambi Awards 1960
Nominated: Best International Actor: Tony Curtis
Directors Guild Of America 1960
Nominated: Outstanding Directorial Achievement In Motion Pictures: Billy Wilder
Grammy Awards 1959
Nominated: Best Soundtrack Album
Laurel Awards 1960
Comedy Performance: Marilyn Monroe
Top Male Comedy Performance: Jack Lemmon
National Board Of Review 1959
NBR Award Top Ten Films
Venice Film Festival 1959
Golden Lion Award: Billy Wilder
Writers Guild Of America 1960
Best Written American Comedy: Billy Wilder and I.A.L Diamond