49 years ago today: “No Naked Ladies in Front of Giovanni’s House!”
We’ve walked past Giovanni’s house many times… We were surprised that Giovanni’s house (132 East 29th St.) played a starring role in an episode of the television series Naked City (first aired April 17, 1963).
The main character, Ben Giovanni, is seen sleeping on a cot in a kitchen, and as the narrator says: “was being attacked by a house… This house!” then there’s a cut and we zoom into architectural decorative elements (like an eagle and devilish faces) on the exterior of 132 East 29th St…
The narrator continues: “How does one attack a house… when does one attack a house?”
Ben Giovanni concludes that a house is weak on rent day. (What in the world does that mean?) Which is also “Free Ben Giovanni Day.”
It’s one of the most bizarre stories in an often bizarre series. Al Lewis plays a tall, pajama-clad, very-Italian tenant and is punched in the eye. The main character has a “brain trust” that both studies and advises him. And Marisa Pavan plays an exquisitely beautiful Italian woman (which she is).
It’s an attractive building, unique, with less gothic detail/elements in real life… we’ve watched it slowly decay during the last ten years.
Now it’s no longer naked and surrounded by scaffolding…
Giovani’s house must contain a few more stories in the (formerly) naked city..
Misc. credits (and nonsense):
The main characters in the series (Paul Burke and Horace McMahon) play a small role in this episode…
Marisa Pavan as Francesca
Harry Guardino as Ben Giovanni
Al Lewis as Mr. Carrari
Written by Abram S. Ginnes
Directed by Ralph Senensky
Music composed and conducted by Nelson Riddle
(The florist in the background, on Lexington Ave. is now a check cashing operation, the sign store is an Indian restaurant, Curry Express…)
PS. 1963!?!? Same year Dr. Strangelove and My Bare Lady were filmed…