The REAL Francis Bavier (Aunt Bee) / Walter Cronkite Highlights / Joan Crawford on TV / Gas Prices and the Presidential Elections / Recasting Roles in 60s Sitcoms / Walter Murphy / Will Ferrell Old Milwaukee Beer Commercials / Classic TV Promos / Ed Wynn / Silent Star Marion Mack / Rudy Ray Moore / Natalie Wood Mystery
Kevin S. Butler has a look at the life of Gerry Anderson, creator of Supercar and so many other wonderful TV shows for kids.
The price of chicken wings has spiked ahead of the Super Bowl.
Sorry about the sparse updates - my mom went into the hospital before Christmas and she's in rehab now so my attention has been elsewhere. Poor mom - this has been going on for 4 years.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Check out this great web series - interviews with some of the greatest stars of the big and small screen.
A pilot based on Nick Fury agent of SHEILD is in production for ABC by writer director producer Joss Whedon. Here are some pics.
There's going to be a Justice League and the characters featured will reportedly be: Superman, Aquaman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and the Martian Manhunter. That closely follows the original lineup in the comic book that debuted in 1961. But this film is doomed to fail - too many heroes need an origin story, as will the villain(s). That's what killed the 1980's Batman franchise - too many backstories get in the way of the STORY. You heard it here first!
Disney owes $319 million over profits foer the game show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' - a jury found in 2010 that Disney hid the show’s profits from its creators, London-based Celador International. That's Disney for you. Not the easiest people to get money out of, when I worked in the industry companies would go out of business waiting to get paid by Disney, waiting 6 months was not uncommon.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
GONE NOT FORGOTTEN
Newly cancelled TNT drama Leverage won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Cable Television Drama. Leverage is one of my faves and I'm sorry it's no longer in production. Feature film please?
Just for fun, here's Sonny & Cher on the Tonight show in 1975, this was before they announced they wre getting back together... on TV at least.
Friday, January 11, 2013
The first season of the 'Dallas' reboot is now out on DVD and I'm watching it now.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
A man in Florida left his baby at the liquor store / bar, then returned four HOURS later to retrieve the kid. Prolly went to watch the 'Honey Boo Boo' marathon. All well and good until he lay down in the street for a nap with the kid. He's in police custody after hiding in some bushes to escape detection. But a crying baby is always a dead giveaway.
Al Jazeera bought Current TV to get on American cable. Time Warner immediately dropped Current TV. When things like that happen I think, "Wonder why they don't want me to see Al Jazeera?"
Did you know up to 40% of your cable bill goes to pay for ESPN? If you don't watch the channel you get screwed every month. Maybe that's why ESPN seems to be on in every bar?
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Justin Kaplowitz reminded me of this great ABC fall jingle from 1973 'This Is The Place To Be.' This is a very long version mixing the jingle with the sounds of the primetime lineup followed by video clips from that amazing year of dying and decaying series. A lot of extras got work that season! It gets pretty trippy at the end; promotions like these made ABC number one among younger viewers in the seventies.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Kevin Butler writes about the 60th anniversary of The Abbott and Costello Show.
Mitchell Hadley writes about an obscure Rod Serling Christmas TV movie from 1964.
I have a review of a marvelous book - The Three Stooges: the Filming Locations.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Meanwhile, from the press release:
The Hollywood Show will take place on January 11 – 13, 2013. Robert Conrad will only be appearing on January 12th. Mr. Conrad will be speaking to audience members followed by a Q&A session as well as clips from the classic TV western. Seating is limited to 200 guests. Please secure your tickets as soon as possible. Visit our website at www.hollywoodshow.com.
The Hollywood Show, which started in 1979, is perhaps the best known autograph show in the country. It is legendary among autograph shows, not only for the celebrities who appear, but the crowds each event attracts. It's also the only celebrity autograph convention held 4 times per year. The Hollywood Show kicks off 2013 at an exciting new venue; The Westin LAX! The Hollywood Show has earned the reputation of being "THE PLACE" for celebrities to appear, and is known worldwide as the perfect place for fans to get "up close and personal" with their favorite stars!
In addition to the fabulous line-up of celebrities offered at each event, The Hollywood Show has teamed up with a wide variety of vendors to offer fans the ultimate selection in show related memorabilia, merchandise and much, much more.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
ONE OF MY FAVE XMAS SPECIALS
Every once in a while a DVD comes along that surprises me - something that I wasn't expecting to be all that great turns out to be phenomenal. This is one of those cases.
My first TV memory is of Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop but I hadn't seen anything they'd done since I was a wee tyke. I was impressed by the fact she was still entertaining kids on television in the 1990s but I hadn't given Shari and her sassy puppet pals much thought.
This new DVD, A Shari Lewis Christmas, collects all three of the Shari Lewis Show's Christmas episodes (1960-1963) plus a holiday themed local telecast, Hi Mom and it's a tasty yuletide treat.
Shari is a charming hostess for this musical Christmas party, her singing is melodic and lovely, the perfect pitch for the holidays. The tunes, a mix of original and classic carols, are delightful and instantly hum-able. Shari has a way of making each melody her own with a sparkling presence that lights up the screen.
These shows are genuinely witty and entertaining, stylistically they hold up beautifully and the picture and sound quality are quite nice on this DVD. Shari's remarkable ability to bring her many puppet personas to life is amazing to behold, she jumps effortlessly from one character to the other in rapid succession. She even sings in three distinct voices and makes it believable.
In the first 30 minute program, Shari and her friend Jump Pup the dancing canine (actually Jackie Warner in a dog suit) trim the Christmas tree with jolly musical accompaniment before joining Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse on a shopping trip. When Lamb Chop and Charlie join Shari for 'Jingle Bells' it's pure magic.
On the second episode, Shari and her pals prepare to go caroling but Charlie hasn't caught the Christmas spirit. Tony Award nominee Ronald Radd as Mr. Goodfellow joins Shari to perform a thoroughly delightful tune, 'How Can I Be A Santa Claus?' - it's a real showstopper, a tune I'm going to want to hear every Christmastime from now on.
Mr. Goodfellow and Jump Pup are feeling lonely for the holidays so it's up to Shari and Lamb Chop to liven their spirits in episode three. A December edition of Hi Mom from the late-1950s is included; a live, New York City telecast aimed at kids and their stay at home moms that featured a cooking segment, story time, crafts, guests, songs, and puppet routines along with the Bosco & Gerber commercials (included).
Done on a miniscule, 1960's daytime TV budget, the production is dependent wholly on Shari's ability to make her fanciful characterizations come to life and she more than rises to the task, glittering like a monochromatic jewel atop the tree.
If you're in a nostalgic mood, or if you have young ones that could use some old school Christmas cheer, this is the DVD for you - a sweet deal at only $10.00. Also included: a Christmas greeting shown in theaters from the 1960s.
Sunday, December 9, 2012 3:34pm
POP GOES THE CULTURE
Author Joel Eisner, who has published some of the finest books on Classic TV of all time including the Batman Batbook writes:
It was taped 10 days in advance of the broadcast, so we took the train from Brooklyn, to Channel 5 on a Wednesday afternoon, the show was taped from about 2PM until 8 PM. The guest was some teenage girl pool player, which was taped first and later cut into the program. The show was disappointing, they decided to use stock footage from a previous season of parents (not of the kids in the audience of our show) doing all the games and stunts. we just sat in the bleachers and watched the tape on the monitors. They didn't even do the snake can game. (After the taping, the brought cans out and let the kids play a round off camera. One kid won the bicycle and I happened to be on the subway platform when the took the bike home)
McAllister stayed away from the audience except when on camera then disappeared between shots. Lunch at at about 4 PM consisted of a good humor ice cream bar and a can of soda. When we finally left, the gave us a Wonderama shopping back with a smash Twinkie, a few pieces of candy and a gift certificate for a free hamburger at Burger King. Needless to say, we were tired and disappointed.
In the Summer of 1981, I interned for College credit at Channel 5 in the Programming Department. I was the one who produced the weekly schedule of reruns to be distributed to the press. I had access to much of the files on every show they aired. I found the Wonderama file and asked the woman who I was working for why McCallisiter was dropped from the program and was replaced with reruns. Now this is what she told me: McAllister was an ultra liberal, who tried to pressure the station into having more minority kids in the audience.
By the mid 1970's and having been on the show I can tell you from first hand experiance that my friend and I were among handful of white kids in the audience of what was about 100 or more kids. So, what McAllister was complaing about was ridiculous. I was informed he was becoming unreaonable and when he demanded that the station pay for buses to bring minority (in particular black kids) in from Philadelphia, they fired him. Every other story as to why he was let go was just invented to cover up this incident.
The last time I heard about McAllister was not long before he died. He made an appearance at the now defunct Brooklyn comedy club called Pip's in Sheepshead Bay performing his magic act for kids. I thought this was sort of sad end to his bright career.
Joel has a new book coming next year that promises to be a smash!
Friday, December 7, 2012 1:56pm
Remember the great Christmas Specials we all grew up on - thye wonderful and the weird? I've collected stories and clips from those past Holiday celebrations.
Kevin Butler reminds us that there was another 50th anniversary this year, for a local NYC children's series Hall in Fun.
Tuesday, December 3, 2012 1:25pm
More often than not the personal interests of Ms. Gibson and Mr. Buxton also became the topics of some shows as they discussed music with Lenoid Hambro, animals with zoologists and film comedy with historian Prof. William K. Everson.
The series even went on location to the Soviet Union to see that nation thru the eyes of two Russian kids. The Russia show was so successful with the young viewers that months later (at the request of the viewers) the two youngsters from The Soviet Union were invited to come to the USA and see American life from an American kid's point of view.
Eventually, the show's format changed and the series would be seen on Sunday mornings and the in studio segments would be dropped in favor of filming all of the shows exclusively on location. Mr. Buxton would leave the series and the show's announcer Bill Owens became Ms. Gibson's second and last co-host.
"Discovery" would remain a popular fixture on ABC TV's Sunday mornings schedule until 1971 when it was replaced by "Make A Wish" with singer/songwriter and musician Tom Chapin.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 10:24am
Troubled 1980's boxing champ Hector "Macho" Comacho is dead at 50, he was shot in the face in Puerto Rico and had been in a coma.
Here's George Carlin on his time in the military. Hard to believe, huh?
Saturday, November 24, 2012 11:24am
Thanksgiving is the 25th Anniversary of the Chicago TV Terrorist Attack!
Come to think of it, how would we know the difference?!?
Recent articles about the possibility of foreign terrorists taking out the internet with worms and viruses reminded me of a time on November 22nd 1987 when a couple of guys, one wearing a Max Headroom Mask, took over the television airwaves in Chicago, disabling two different stations in order to broadcast their own twisted idea of entertainment.
A little history: Max Headroom (played by Matt Frewer) was an investigative journalist in a fictional TV series set in an apocalyptic future. With a crude, choppy signal Max would break into the official TV news reports with his own reportage that was embarrassing to the powers that be. (He also was seen in dozens of Coke commercials in the 1980s.)
The first 'Denial of TV Service Attack' on that November night in 1987 took place during WGN's live nightly news program. Stunned viewers saw was someone approximating the Max Headroom persona standing in front of a moving corrugated metal background with only an odd buzzing sound heard. In less than 30 seconds WGN engineers moved their signal to another transmitter, regaining control.
(WGN was already on alert for such anomalies - four years earlier cold weather caused a signal jump resulting in the Bozo show being replaced by Fast Times at Ridgemont High, nudity and profanity intact.)
It got a lot weirder when 'Max' returned on the local PBS station WTTW at around 11:15pm, during an episode of Dr. Who.
This time the TV Pirates were more successful, they used their minute and a half of airtime to berate liberals and "newspaper nerds." The guy in the Max mask shot the finger to the camera and hummed the Clutch Cargo theme song. He waved around a Pepsi can while repeating Coke's slogan "Catch the Wave" - then retrieved the Pepsi can saying, "Your love is fading."
Then the unthinkable happened. 'Max Headroom' dropped trou in order to allow his accomplice (his brother?) who was wearing a dress to take a fly-swatter to his bare behind. During Dr. Who no less, was nothing sacred?!?
WTTW engineers worked frantically to kill the signal but were unable to before the electronic assault ended abruptly.
This was surely the tackiest terror attack of all time but the assailants were never discovered. No doubt if they had come forward they would probably be big time TV producers now, after all their minute and a half show was still better than last week's 'Two and a Half Men.'
We all know if the ratings had been good for the 'Show Me Your Ass And I'll Paddle It' program it would still be on today. At the very least, WTTW should air this during pledge breaks...
Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:04am
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