Thanks to Jay Blotcher for this: Ever wonder why so many classic TV shows disappeared without a trace? Here's the log for one 2” quad videotape from NBC. The log is three pages long, this video cartridge was taped over and over again from 1960 until 1971, each time erasing what was on there before. This was very common at local stations, it's why you won't likely find your day on Romper Room.
From The Carol Burnett Show - Mr. Tudball and Mrs. Wiggins. You can't see Harvey Korman and Tim Conway together on stage but the wonderful Chuck McCann performs with Tim quite often and I understand the show is hilarious!
Two and a Half Men is still CBS' biggest show but ratings are down this year. Watching the last two episodes that came after a short December hiatus I wondered if the network gave the producers notes that included - up the sex talk and more fart jokes. On last week's episode Ashton Kutcher shaved his beard. Now I know why he grew a beard in the first place. His face filled out in an unfortunate way since That '70s Show.
Paula Dean was teaching people to make food that could give them Diabetes. Then she announces she has Diabetes. Then inks a deal to promote Diabetes drugs for millions of dollars. Kids, THAT'S business plan!
It's looking inevitable that General Hospital will go the way of its sister soaps. Ratings are down 21%, the network has to give up an hour in the afternoon to its affiliates soon, and Katie Couric has a new show on ABC that the network is heavily invested in.
Monday, January 23, 2012 - 4:56am
THE TWO MRS. ____
There are classic TV shows that we are all familiar with wherein key supporting cast members were replaced with another actor and you may not have noticed.
Of course, the story of the two Darrins on Bewitched is well-known, but did you notice there were two Mrs. Kravitzs, the nosy neighbor? The first Mrs. Kravitz, my favorite, was Alice Pearce who won a posthumous Emmy Award for her hilarious portrayal of the Stephens' perpetually hysterical neighbor. She was a big part of what made Bewitched so darn funny that first season in particular.
Sadly, Alice Pearce died of Ovarian cancer in 1966 before completing season two. As a result, Mary Grace Canfield, who was also appearing as Ralph the carpenter on Green Acres at the time, stepped in for four episodes playing Abner's sister Harriet Kravitz. She proved to be equally nosy while dusting the drapes; the Kravitz's had the cleanest drapery in whatever town it was they lived in!
Sandra Gould assumed the role of Gladys Kravitz beginning season three and she did a good job of keeping that one joke going for years past its sell by date - but I missed the nails-on-chalkboard raspiness that Alice Pearce's voice possessed.
On the same series Louise Tate, wife of Darrin's boss Larry, was also replaced after season two. Lofty, catty Irene Vernon originated the role before a more sedate Kasey Rogers took over. Vernon was pressured to leave the series after her friend, writer Danny Arnold (who, in many estimations, made the series what it was), left on acrimonious terms after year one.
Sharp viewers may have done a double take with two new cast members on Bewitched playing familiar roles - but then the 1966-67 season was the first year in color. That was a huge change in and of itself.
GREEN ACRES: Another key supporting character played by two actors on a popular sitcom of the day was Mrs. Ziffel from Green Acres.
Zaftig Barbara Pepper was originally seen in the role of Mr. Ziffel's constantly complaining farm wife and doting 'mom' to Arnold the pig.
Few at home guessed that this frumpy housefrau was once a sex kitten in motion pictures of the '30s & '40s. A heart ailment led to massive weight gain and ultimately forced her to give up the job. She died just a few months after leaving the show.
When Fran Ryan stepped in as Mrs. Ziffel in 1969 it was seamless. She easily inhabited the role, adding a sardonic edge while continuing the essence of what made Barbara Pepper's daffy portrayal so fresh.
Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 8:34am
James H. Burns has a cool article - Growing Up With Flash Gordon (And A Tribute To Al Williamson). I continue to be amazed at the late Al Williamson's work in the Creepy Archives hardback reprints of the 1960s Warren horror comic magazines. As a kid Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin were heroes in my eyes.
I watched Showtime's House of Lies but didn't find much of anything to like about it - except the phenomenal cast that is totally wasted.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 8:31am
REMEMBERING SUSAN GORDON
Former kid star and current worldwide Jetsetter John Eimen writes about a sad passing: On a sad note, I found out yesterday that Susan Gordon died. She was a really good kid actress and we'd been in touch a couple of years ago via e-mail. As it turned out, we both lived in Japan for over ten years, so we shared a few stories about that aspect of our lives as well as the kid-actor stuff. We both had a very positive feeling about our years in TV.
Susan Gordon certainly was a wonderful actress, quite effective at tugging the heart strings so she played a lot of orphans and misfits. The again, she also played the bratty kid superbly, as she did on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour ('The Paragon').
You may have seen her in the 1950's TV adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street starring Ed Wynn or another Alfred Hitchcock Presents ('Summer Shade') or Gunsmoke ('Little Girl'), The Twilight Zone ('The Fugitive') or any of her many TV appearances in the days of Black & White. She even appeared with John Eimen when he was starring in the 1962-63 sitcom McKeever and the Colonel ('Love Comes To Westfield'). Here's that Gunsmoke episode, when the series was a half-hour long:
Before that episode of Gunsmoke Susan starred in a very unusual pilot in 1959 - unusual in that the series didn't get picked up for another decade. The Secret Life of John Monroe was based on the writings of James Thurber. Almost the exact concept was picked up by NBC in 1969 and titled My World and Welcome To It with William Windom starring as John Monroe.
Monday, January 9, 2012 - 8:31am
AROUND THE DIAL
Speaking of gasbgs, Donald Trump is threatening to do something radical if the Republicans pick the wrong nominee. Let me guess - he'll start a TV contest for the next great world leader and it will be decided by who comes up with the best ad campaign for Trump's next book.
Finally a new big 4 network show that's loads of fun to watch - Revenge on ABC. I was thrilled to see one of my favorites, CCH Pounder, turn up in episode 7. You can still watch the entire series on HULU until after January 5th.
Ratings for FX and History channels are up almost 20% this season. Teen Nick, ESPN2 and G4 are down this year.
When a commercial has someone say, "It's unbelievable" they really are telling you that you can't trust what you just saw.
Could you identify a victim in a cold case murder victim? In some cities, like Las Vegas, photos of corpses are being posted online in hopes of solving some baffling mysteries.
Paramount was the number one movie studio in 2011 with a reach of over 5 billion in sales.
Did you know the season 4 volume 2 edition of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea has the first episode as broadcast on ABC in 1964, with original commercials? The episode is kinda hamfisted but exciting with some spectacular underwater scenes. Nothing like the monster-of-the-week-aboard-the-Seaview it became.
Snoop Dogg, a longtime fan of the show, was a guest star on The Price Is Right on Monday. Check out how he made his entrance, cool as usual. He aced all the games but one. There will be celebrities on TPIR all week, yesterday was Jennie McCarthy, today Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Daughtry on Thursday and Heidi Klum on Friday. They have a new announcer on TPIR? I liked the last guy, Rich Feilds.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 4:18am
ITEMS OF INTEREST
Lounge singer and Rat Pack adjunct Kaye Stevens has died. Besides a career in nightclubs and Vegas she also appeared on "Days of Our Lives" as Jeri Clayton from 1974-79.
Fascinating review on Fresh Air of two books about the Chitlin' Circuit. You'll learn the origin of the song 'Fever.'
I have a new web blog - NewsRegurgitator.com where I pull quick news bites and quotes from sources around the world so you can have an easily digestible review of what people are talking about - the stuff they DON'T talk about on TV and radio. Spend 2 minutes a day and be more informed and have stuff to talk about over that mythical water cooler.
I also host another TV blog at BestofTVblog.com where I collect news and other bits of interest to television lovers. Right now there's a list of returning TV shows in January, and there are a bunch of them, along with info on how you can own a 1966 Batmobile.
Friday, December 30, 2011 - 6:28am
NOW THAT'S NEWS
Cheeta from the Tarzan movies has died - or did he? Reportedly Cheeta was “roughly 80 years old, loved fingerpainting and football and was soothed by nondenominational Christian music.” However experts are questioning the story, doubting a chimp can live that long for one thing so it looks like a hoax. But the animal habitat where Cheeta lived stands by their story.
Donna Douglas, who played Elly May Clampett on the "The Beverly Hillbillies," sued Mattel and CBS Consumer Products and they've settled for an undiclosed sum. Ms. Douglas claimed the companies didn't get her approval to use her name and likeness for a Barbie doll.
Thursday, December 29, 2011 - 8:43am
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