TV BLOG - 160
The producers of Smallville are suing Warner Bros. and the CW - but only after they were renewed for a tenth season! It's an old story by now - the producers feel cheated out of money because Warner's owns the CW so they allegedly offer the show at below-market license fees.
I mentioned Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and how much I'm enjoying it. Here's one of the more shocking moments in the second episode, a show full of shockers, really. (I don't have kids so I have no clue what's going on in the schools but kindergartners who couldn't identify a tomato or a potato?!?) Seems this elementary school doesn't mind loading down the kids on high fat foods but the kids can't have knives with their meals otherwise, the administration believes, the students will go nuts stabbing each other. Hence a generation of kids that eat with a spoon - or more likely with their hands. Lovely.
Maria Lauren writes about the event I hipped you to on Saturday night, a reunion of Dean Martin's Golddiggers: Hi, Billy! Yes, it was fun to put on my beaded dress and reminisce with the talented ladies that I had the pleasure of performing with as The Golddiggers. The audience couldn't get enough of our stories about our times spent performing with "Showstoppers" like the Rat Pack. It was also an opportunity for us to catch up with my "Golddigger sisters." We've been blessed to evolve from 'digging for the gold' to 'cultivating the gold' by giving back to the world and making it a better place. Hats off to Robyn Whatley-Kahn, Joyce Garro, Linda Bott, Marie Halton, Linda Eichberg and especially to Patti Gribow for putting this event together. It brought back memories of our first reunion show that I produced in 2003, filled with singing, dancing and stories about Dean Martin and other Legends. It's all in the upcoming book that my sister Linda Eichberg called Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. Thanks for the memories!
March 28, 2010 12:42pm
A SUNDAY KIND OF LOVE
Headline of the day: Jesse James' Former Employee: He Touched Me With His Sex Organ
Fans and detractors are having a high old time over celebrity chef Paula Dean - can I just say I hate her magazine covers, they airbrush every wrinkle and line off her face and it's bizarre looking.
Speaking of celebrity chefs, I'm really enjoying Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, you can see it free on hulu.
I've mentioned before how much I love George Burns - and, by extension, Burns & Gracie Allen. They were one of the few radio personalities to successfully transition to TV. And why was that? I'm convinced, and George Burns often said it was true, that Gracie Allen was so irresistibly adorable that the straight man in the act - Burns - got a free ride.
Gracie retired in 1958, leading to the cancellation of their popular (but rarely in the top 20) TV program. Her reasoning was solid - she was rich and had worked so hard for so long that she deserved to take it easy. A long run in vaudeville, a series of motion pictures (ever see The Gracie Allen Murder Case?), decades on radio, one of TV's first sitcoms running for 8 years - the woman was tired, people! (She also had serious health problems.) Gracie Allen even ran for president in 1940 ala Pat Paulsen ("Everybody knows a woman is better than a man when it comes to introducing bills into the house.")
George Burns tried to keep the TV sitcom going but, like Sonny Bono in the 1970s, he found the magic was gone. Gracie Allen died in 1964 and Burns eventually found his own way as a solo performer after trying out a number of female partners to replace the irreplaceable Gracie.
Here's part of a George Burns & Gracie Allen Show with that well-worn plotline about the couple not really being married because of some technicality; in it, George contemplates life without Gracie.
March 28, 2010 12:39pm
The Golddiggers were a singing and dancing troupe of young women that at different times over their initial 24-year history consisted of as few as four and as many as thirteen members appearing on stage at one time. They performed in the style of Las Vegas showgirls, and were chosen for their wholesome, attractive looks, talent and presence. Many of the girls continue to perform today.
The group began on The Dean Martin Show, and soon thereafter became widely known for starring in their own television series, joining Dean both as regulars on his show and in his nightclub act, and performing on their own in live venues, on other TV programs, and on tour with Bob Hope. Their forte was tightly choreographed and synchronized singing/dancing routines, vocalizing in harmony with coordinated costuming and hairstyling for a great visual effect.
March 26, 2010 7:10am
THE LATEST NEWS ON HAL JORDAN
There's a new book called "Chicago Television" coming from the Museum of Broadcast Communications, it will cover the rich history of video blown forth from the Windy City, from Super Circus and Kukla, Fran & Ollie to Siskel & Ebert and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
George Burns was one of those entertainers I was always happy to see on television. I especially liked the turn of the century tunes he would race through. Reaching back to a 1954 Jack Benny Program, here's George & Jack doing a George & Gracie routine.
A long while back I blogged about the three Mr. Belvedere movies (1948-1951) starring Clifton Webb. I found a clip of one of the funnier moments from the first film, Sitting Pretty where Mr. Belvedere goes to work as a nanny for a middle class family in order to write a book about the experience. In each film (Sitting Pretty, Mr. Belvedere Goes To College and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell) old Belvy has a nemesis - in this case the persnickety, gossipy neighbor played by Richard Haydn.
Thursday, March 25, 2010 12:32pm
ANOTHER CLASSIC TV STAR HAS PASSED
Mr. Culp appeared in many films like The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday with Lee Marvin and Oliver Reed, Turk 182, Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice with Dyan Cannon, Natalie Wood and Elliot Gould, and Walt Disney's Sammy The Way Out Seal with Elizabeth Frasier, Olan Soule, Rene Riano, Billy Mumy, Jack Carson and Ann Jillian.
But he is best remembered for his work with Bill Cosby on I Spy and on The Greatest American Hero with Connie Selleca and William Katt.
Mr. Culp was reunited with Mr. Cosby for a CBS TV I Spy movie remake and for The Mark Twain Prize Awards last year in which Mr. Cosby received the honor, this was also Mr. Culp's last public appearance.
He also played a villain on an installment of Columbo on NBC's Sunday Mystery Movie series with Peter Falk and one of my favorite performers and a dear friend Chuck McCann. He will be missed!
I seem to remember Robert Culp going public with his desire to be a guest on The Cosby Show in the 1980s, apparently he hadn't been asked and basically publicly shamed Bill Cosby into having him on. As I recall, Cosby wasn't so hot on doing the I Spy reunion but did it to provide Culp with some work; Cosby stated at the time that he was grateful for Robert Culp's help on I Spy since the comedian had little or no acting experience. We shouldn't forget what a groundbreaking series I Spy was, the first TV drama to star a black man since - ever! And the first TV program to star a black male since Amos 'n' Andy.
Thursday, March 25, 2010 5:19am
THIS 'N' THAT
Naturally, someone had to ask Betty White about Sandra Bullock's marital problems. Classy lady, she basically said it's none of her business and the less people have to say about it the better. Hear hear!
They found a Nazi connection to Curious George - turns out the husband and wife creators H.A. and Margret Reys were trying to stay one step ahead of the bootjacked hordes invading their home, Paris, and the chimp's exploits reflect somewhat their precarious journey to New York.
Which brings us to - what does Hitler have to say about the healthcare bill? He seems to weigh in on every subject now. Why isn't this guy and his henchmen in jail? Has anyone told him he lost the war?!? (Actually, this was funny the first few times, now it's just getting silly.)
Word is Scrubs may finally be getting the axe and American Idol's ratings are down 10%.
Sony Animation is making a 3-D CGI Popeye movie.
A guy is suing TMZ because he says the job gave him depression and anxiety. Hey, if you aren't depressed and anxious about going to work you don't have a job, you have a hobby.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 6:32am
WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION
Eric has also launched an online petition to get NBC to bring back their Must See TV THursday night schedule for one night. You can join the effort here.
I mentioned Esposito before, many of the same folks that are involved in the film I'm working on were on the crew for Esposito, although a different director (Matt Nunn) and writer (Erin Fedeand). I had nothing to do with the movie, it was shot in Charlotte, NC, but I got to see the first few minutes of it the other day. I can tell you honestly that if the rest of the film is as good as the few minutes I saw, it's another Office Space. Hilariously funny in that dry way, I laughed out loud several times in just the first three minutes and I'm a tough audience when it comes to comedy. If you live in Charlotte there's a screening for the cast & crew coming to a theater in early-April but I'm not sure if it's open to the public or where it is (movies submitted to film festivals around the country can't have had a theatrical run, only a screening. Them's the rules).
I posted this before but it's worth repeating because the music is so nice - the director posted a recording session for the movie's soundtrack:
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 7:12am
COMEBACKS AND MELTDOWNS
Look what's making a comeback - the Polaroid picture. You see, Polaroid stopped making the film for the instant cameras two years ago, the last of the film passed it's expiration date some months back. But The Impossible Project fired up an old Polaroid film factory in the Netherlands to make the film available again. That's good news - on this last project I worked on we needed a Polaroid picture but had to fake it, we couldn't find any film. It'll be costly (it always was) - $21 for 8 pictures, well worth it to the SX-70 and 600 series users who tend to be high end photographers and the like.
Did you see that take down of a University of Wisconsin Milwaukee student who wouldn't stop being disruptive in class? Honestly, in a lot of ways this is so sad, but on the other hand she got exactly what she asked for. Yet another example of how you can't get away with acting like an ass in public anymore. Thank God there were no camera phones back in my day - I had some legendary meltdowns! Then again, if you want your name in the papers, just verbally assault someone at the Verizon store.
NBC won't let Conan O'Brien appear on American Idol - they're doing him a favor.
Paul Reiser, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Rapaport, Will Estes, Bridget Moynahan, Sissy Spacek, Christian Slater, and Tom Selleck are all working on pilots for possible series this fall.
Rosie O'Donnell wants her place back on the daytime schedule - I doubt that will happen or succeed if it does, Ellen took your place honey! Does she want to be called the 'Queen of Nice' again? Ha ha ha ha ha!
Coming to the big screen next summer - Captain America starring Chris Evans. Evans signed an eight picture deal, two Captain Americas, three Avengers, and three potential crossover films. Smacks of the old Hollywood studio system, huh? If they can pull off one good Avengers movie I'll be seriously shocked, the reason most of the superhero movies don't work is that they're crowded with too many characters that all need origin stories.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 5:00am
SPINNING THE WEB
Also comes the not-especially-shocking news that Phil Spector was assaulted in prison for mouthing off to another inmate. When he hit you, did it feel like a kiss?
Showtime announced their summer schedule (see below) and Ali notes a correction in their listings: The correct title for your schedule is "The Real L World". You may want to update your site. I miss the original show and wonder how this is going to work out. I hope the people in it don't all try to assume the roles of Shane, Bette, Jenny et. all.
Kevin S. Butler has the scoop on The Fess Parker Show on CBS in 1974. Never heard of it? There's a good reason for that - read about it after the jump.
Jeff Sawyer reminds us of a classic kiddie star who started a trend: It was 55 years ago that I watched the Pinky Lee Show. I seem to remember he did a silly dance whereby he would place his opened hand, palm down above his head and move it in a circular path, then at the same time he would take his other open hand and move it in a circular path over his tummy, and finally at the same time he would lift one foot off the floor and move it in a circular path. The overall effect was a man rubbing the top of his head while rubbing his tummy while twirling his foot. Quite comical and coordination challenging!
Monday, March 22, 2010 7:50am
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