1 9 7 2 (USA)
13 x 30 minute episodes
Yul Brynner and Samantha Eggar starred briefly in the CBS series Anna and the King, which ran from September to December of 1972.
Reprising his Academy Award-winning role of stubborn King Mongkut of Siam from the 1956 film version of The King and I, Brynner led this (non-musical) series through its monarch vs. feisty western woman scenario, prone to hasty pronouncements and prancing about his palace in loon pants, et cetera et cetera et cetera.
“In Siam, we have a form of democracy known as absolute monarchy”.
Samantha Eggar played English governess Anna Owens, who arrives in Siam in 1862 to be the personal teacher to the King’s 67 children. She brought with her a child of her own – her 12-year-old son named Louis (Eric Shea).
Louis was able to handle himself very well in a fight and even gave a black eye to Crown Prince Chulalongkorn (Brian Tochi), which was a crime punishable by death – but luckily, the charge didn’t stick.
In the debut episode, Anna signed an agreement to become the children’s teacher, replacing the King’s right-hand man, Kralahome (Keye Luke). There was an immediate breach of contract, however, when the King demanded that Anna and her son live inside the palace, even though they were promised a house of their own.
Just as Anna and Louis were ready to leave because of the breach, the King softened and agreed to the house, and the Owens family stayed.
The staging was well realised, and the lavish sets looked beautiful (some were those featured in The King and I), but CBS pulled the plug after 13 episodes.
The true story of how Anna Leonowens, an English governess, went to Siam to teach the King’s children, became first a personal biographical account (The English Governess At The Siamese Court), then a 1944 novel by Margaret Landon (Anna And The King Of Siam), then a film of the same name (1946) and then, most famously, a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King And I, which opened on Broadway in 1951 and was adapted as a hugely successful second feature film in 1956.
Crown Prince Chulalongkorn
Pilot | The Baby | The King or the Tiger? | Chulalongkorn’s Grades | Anna’s Romance | The Bicycle | The Chimes | Louis, the Pawn | The Haunted Temple | The Marriage of Prince Chula | The King and the Egg | Louis’ Love | Serana