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Your host: Billy Ingram

R.I.P. Nikki
Burt Bacharach wrote the song 'Nikki' as a tribute to his daughter who was born with Asperger's syndrome. The song was famously used as the theme for The ABC Movie of the Week. Nikki died earlier this month, a suicide (she was also the daughter of Angie Dickinson, TV's Police Woman). Our condolences go out to the families.

Click for the story.

Click here for the ABC Movie of the Week theme.

Monday, January 15, 2007 - 11:08am
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LINK ME UP, SCOTTY
If there is a better online community devoted to a classic TV show than the Andy Griffith Rerun Watchers Club I haven't run across it.

A tribute to the long gone Dumont network.

Alluc.org allows you to watch entire episodes of TV shows online. Actually, what they've done is scour You Tube and other video sharing entities and compiled a comprehensive, easy to use list. It's not legal to watch these shows like this, I expect - but it is what it is.

Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 8:44am
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LOCALS ONLY!
People occasionally ask me what my favorite articles are on the TVparty site. It may surprise you, but I'm most fond of the Billy Eye / Judy Zee punk rock articles salvaged from Data-Boy magazine from 1980-83 - although I originally tried to distance myself from them (they've been online since 1994).

At the time I was working for the advertising arm of this publication (heck, I WAS the advertising arm) and truly enjoyed it, so much so that Judy Zee (the mag's typesetter) and I set out to cover the local music scene for the rag. And we did it for free! It was cool because the editor of the magazine didn't bother to read the articles - until advertisers started complaining that I was being less that complimentary in my reviews of the goings on in their clubs, the very same businesses I was designing ads for. I remember the printers threatened to stop printing the mag because I was using the word 'fuck' and I would get 'fired,' then allowed to continue simply because the magazine was ad heavy and starved for content.

The bands covered were mostly obscure, but I hope the articles contain some level of continuity and tell (in a very limited way) some of the story of the punk / new wave scene in the very early-1980s.
I searched for my writing partner Judy Zee (aka Judy Zander or Zanders, I forget) and I got close to finding her, I thought, in 1995. (I know her father was a writer or editor at Newsday in New York in 1980 and Judy lived in Venice, CA during the 1980s.)

You can find the articles here.

Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 8:39am
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Jethro vs Opie?
Here's an LA Times story on Max Baer, Jr. who played Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 10:36pm
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FROM KEVIN S. BUTLER:
In October, 2006 Sonny Fox made a guest appearance at "The Friends Of Old Time Radio" nostalgia convention at the Holiday Inn North in Newark, N.J.

The convention sponsored two seminars, one dedicated to NYC based radio & TV kid show hosts and one where Sonny talked about his first venture on radio.

Mr. Fox appeared briefly at the first seminar honoring NYC based kid's shows which also had Chuck McCann and John Zacherley on the panel (Bill Britten the third host/ performer of 'Wonderama' & NYC TV's "Bozo" and Captain Allen Swift of WPIX's 'Popeye Show' were slated to be there but Bill was working out of town and poor Mr. Swift had been injured in an accident and had to bow out.)
Soupy Sales was there as well. Sonny Fox was the hit of the first seminar as he talked about his work on 'Wonderama'; he returned the next day to talk about his work on his first radio gig, Allen Funt's 'Candid Microphone"' and his other ventures on radio and TV including 'Wonderama'.

I asked him how he first became involved with Mr. Herb Sheldon as his comedy scriptwriter. I forget the way that he was introduced to Mr. Sheldon but I do know that it was not a happy experience for Sonny because he stated that Sheldon was not a witty man.He also talked about 'Wonderama' and how he made the show successful and recalled how he had to leave the series to co-host a daily talk/variety show for adults, 'The New Yorkers' with Penelope Wilson, Stewart Klein (this was Mr. Klein's first appearance on WNEW TV) and Gloria Okon in 1967.

He didn't watch Bob McAllister's version of 'Wonderama' until a few weeks later and he was not pleased with what he saw. He felt Bob's version of the show leaned more towards game show concepts and too much entertainment and not enough towards meaningful informational segments.

Mind you, these are Sonny's opinions, not mine.

At the end of the seminar, the panel's moderator Brian Gari, grandson of entertainer Eddie Cantor, gave Sonny an award for his lifetime of achievements as a host and producer/creator of quality radio and TV shows.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 8:48pm
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FROM THE MAILBAG:
This comes from William French and is typical of what happened to the many local kid shows across the nation:
"I am to young to remember most of the classic shows from the San Francisco Bay Area, but I lovingly remember Romper Room and the work of Pat McCormick. The most fun for me was on weekends. KTVU and KBHK would show classic comedies, such as the Ma and Pa Kettle movies, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, and the Don Knotts movies.

"I recently contacted the KTVU Program Manager, Caroline Chang, to see if any of the classic programming still survived. Here is her response:

"Thank you for taking the time to write and for your suggestion. Unfortunately, the programs you mentioned no longer exist. We were just talking about 'BITS & PIECES' yesterday, and are talking about resurrecting the 'idea', but the programs/spots themselves are long gone. In addition, many of those shows were done on a format (2" tape) that doesn't exist, and we have no way of playing anymore. Shows like ROMPER ROOM were produced by us, but we don't 'own' the show's format, and none of those shows were saved. The ONLY elements that still exist are contained in the 30th Anniversary special show. Many of those shows that were used on that special were part of then-employee's personal items, and that was almost 20 years ago. Those employees have long since retired. None of them had more than a few shows or photos. It is very unfortunate that our employees in the 50's didn't foresee a desire for the audience of today to reminisce, and find a way to store/file all those old shows. Thank you so much for writing, and I wish we were able to provide the audience with the shows you requested. They're missing out on some great old shows.

"This is quite sad and there seems to not be close to any Bay Area produced children's show surviving. The only one might be the KRON program 'Buster & Me'. The funny thing about this show is that the main character (or at least the monkey puppet, 'Kovacs' The Chimp) was used in Mrs. Doubtfire. It is possible that KRON has other shows, or at least episodes. Wouldn't it be great for someone to put together a book and DVD set of surviving local shows from around the Country, of course the work involved would be tremendous."

Great DVD news from Frank Darmstadt: "Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release Maude: The Complete First Season on March 20th. Prolific TV producer Norman Lear's groundbreaking spin-off from "All in the Family" starred the ever-lovely Bea Arthur as the outspoken and strong-willed title character. The three-disc set will include all 22 episodes presented in remastered fullscreen and Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks. Retail is $29.95. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Volume 1 is due on 3/27/2007. It will include the first 25 episodes. Retail $29.95." I'll be first in line for these! Why does Sony have all the great stuff but I never get review copies? Is it because they know I'll buy it anyway?

Captain Jack McCarthyAnyone know the
answer to these questions?

"When Jack McCarthy hosted the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade broadcast back in the 1950's and 1960's , he always told the story of a little boy who'd go into church and say, "Here I am..." . Any information about the story or where it came from would be most appreciated! Thank you. John J. Vanderpool"

"As a child I remember seeing a Saturday morning special several times that was called The Secret World of Ugg - could you tell me any information on it or whether I can purchase it? Thank you, Whitney & JT Anderson"

Benson and Hedges"Love your site! I have a question: you have the famous 1967 Benson and Hedges TV commercial; can you tell me who did the music, please? I mean that fabulous wordless female vocal, over that beautiful music. Thanks, Tony Rowat"

Monday, January 8, 2007 - 9:16pm
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