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THE ONE, THE ONLY...
Television was Groucho Marx's to conquer and conquer it did. He was the rare film comedian to make a big splash on TV and sustain that success. His superior wit was tailor made for the small screen, he didn't need fancy visuals or expensive production numbers. Thanks to You Bet Your Life we have hours upon hours of hilarious entertainment to enjoy for years to come. The two DVD collections that were released a few years ago contain some of the funniest TV episodes ever. Here's the opening segment from Groucho's summer rerun series in 1955.

I've shared this before - when Dean Martin hosted The Hollywood Palace in 1964 he closed the show with the next week's star, Groucho. It's not long before the ad-libbing started.

Gosh, I miss The Dick Cavett Show even though I probably only watched a half dozen episodes when it aired in the 1970s. Thank goodness for the DVDs but that's a drop of oil in the ocean when you consider how much more there is that could come gushing out. I mean, where else could you find Groucho and Truman Capote on the same stage?

Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 10:17am
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THIS 'N' THAT
Two of my favorites, HUNG and ENTOURAGE, return tonight at 10:30pm on HBO. You didn't want to see a preview did you?!?

Ed Golick has a fantastic new book on Detroit television - it's a book crammed full of vintage photos, if you grew up in the Detroit area you're going to love taking a trip back down those forgotten cathode highways. More later!

Speaking of retro, apparently in 2003 The Hollywood Squares (who knew it was still on then?) hosted a game show week where they collected up some old faves from the 1970s - like Jim Lange, Wink Martindale, Peter Marshall and Charles Nelson Reilly with Brett Somers - and stuffed them into the familiar boxes.

Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 10:00am
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LOSING FRIENDS AND INFLUENCING NOONE
I went to my local pizzeria they other day for lunch. I ordered a slice and a coke and they asked me to pay a little less than $5.00. I said, "You want me to pay BEFORE you give me my food?" It occurred to me that this was EXACTLY like Obama extorting that money from BP and I yelled, "Fascists! Hitler! This is America you fucking Mussolini loving union thug!" I didn't get my pizza but you can't imagine how much better I felt about myself; glowing with the immense satisfaction that I helped stop the spread of fascism in my own neighborhood. You can do the same in your community, wouldn't you rather see that smiling Mexican dude behind the counter than some angry Aryan guy with a Charlie Chaplin mustache and too many Jews in the oven to get a decent pizza made?

David T. Latham writes about my reckless review of Obsession on A&E: I highly recommend you go over to the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation website: http://www.ocfoundation.org/ , where you will learn that OCD, like all other forms of severe mental illness, is a biological disorder of the brain.

The brains of people with OCD are biologically different then those of "normal" people. Ongoing research at Mass. General Hospital and their Brain Institute (with PET scans, etc.) prove this.

Look for yourself, unless you're too selfish.

I really appreciate the response David, I deserve the snark! Heaven knows I'm not suggesting anyone take anything I say seriously. Or that I'm being the least bit judgmental. I guess my point was - do shows like Obsession foster a notion that OCD is as easy to walk away from as a cigarette addiction?

And, I'm not sure I go along with the idea of a "normal" person. I haven't met one yet. Aren't the brains of geniuses different than "normal"? Seems like the same thing as OCD to me.

Well, that should alienate about half the people who come to this blog. Woo hoo!

Friday, June 25, 2010 - 4:33pm
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EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE I WRITE SOMETHING
THAT OFFENDS SOME PEOPLE - HERE I GO AGAIN!

Obsessed
returns for a second season on A&E Monday night with two compelling stories of people trapped in their own personal hell, caught in a riptide of action/reaction that they can't - or choose not to - deal with.

I've seen promos for this series but never made the effort to watch it. I have to say, it's not the subjects of this show that I find compelling but the people around them, the loved ones that stick around and deal with it - or hang out to complain constantly.

I love people that say, "That was my first clue something was wrong." You'll hear a husband say that in this hour when he noticed his wife might have an obsession with exercising before they were married and had kids - and it got progressively worse after that.

I think these compulsive people are, at the core, incredibly selfish individuals and this show only backs up my theory. A person who freaks out if someone who's consumed alcohol touches his things - that's infantile behavior. An inability to join your family for dinner, when they're just 10 feet away, because you can't get off the treadmill is conduct no parent would put up with in their pre-schooler ("Stop playing with your toys and come to dinner!"). Yet here are grown adults with spouses and kids that are unable to control themselves.

I think the thing that separates the majority of us from those unfortunates with obsessive disorders is that we aren't as self-indulgent. Believe me, I might be if I had the opportunity, perhaps you would as well, but it's just not an option.

I know hoarders, just like you see on TV. I deal with my own obsessive compulsive issues. But the fact that these behaviors are developed later in life and can be stopped is enough for me to have a zero tolerance for that type of thing in my life.

I have a friend who's (mostly) stay at home wife complained to me that her husband comes home and immediately starts cleaning the house. Even if she's just cleaned, it's not good enough for him and he'll spend a half an hour or more cleaning what's been missed. I asked her, "What are you complaining about? Your man goes out and makes a living and then comes home and cleans the house! It's a dream come true." I told him, when he complained that his wife doesn't clean well enough for him, "If you lived alone you'd be doing all the cleaning anyway. Think of it that way."

The individuals shown on this program have so much support, so much love, and so much to live for - it's astonishing that it takes strangers intervening to rectify the problem. Guess that why they call it a mental illness, logic doesn't play a role.

I'm prolly a jerk for even positing that it's selfishness driving these folks to the brink of madness but I find it difficult to empathize - even if I can relate. That makes me sound callous and shallow, doesn't it?

If you're alone and suffering from this illness my heart goes out, I simply can't imagine what you're going through and I apologize if you're offended by what you've read. That these individuals were being enabled by loved ones is astonishing to me.

I'm especially baffled why these types of TV programs are so popular now. Are we normalizing this type of behavior or is it cathartic? This episode kind of leaves you hanging, or purposely omits the outcome, I don't know which - we learn that one of the individuals gets better but what about the other?

Then again, if a family of your own making isn't enough to spur you on, what is?

Obsessed returns for a second season on A&E Monday, June 28th at 10/9c.

Thursday, June 24, - 8:17am
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OFFICER JOE
Barry Mitchell writes: From the crumbling, black construction paper pages of our family album... this 1961 photo of my brother Arthur (left, holding the local Howard Beach, Queens, NY newspaper, “The Banner”), WPIX TV’s Officer Joe Bolton, and myself. This was taken at a Howard Beach carnival/bazaar. I don’t think this particular photo ever made it into The Banner, but they were nice enough to give us an 8x10 glossy.

TV Blog / WPIK TV's Officer Joe Bolton

Wednesday, June 23, - 11:05am
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