I've really been looking forward to this one, this is one of the most anticipated DVD releases in a long time for fans of 1970's variety shows (of which I'm one) and fans of early KISS (count me in once again).
This 1977 holiday themed hour was a star-studded affair with Paul Lynde and some of the greatest stars of that era.
The immortal Margaret Hamilton reprises her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz and things really get rolling when they're joined by Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf (Billie Hayes) and the diminutive Billy Barty. Nothing matches the joy of seeing Margaret Hamilton and Billie Hayes with a large role to play in a musical comedy setting; when they are on the screen it's magnetic, two artists at the peak of their craft.
Also on hand are Betty White, Florence Henderson, Tim Conway and Pinky Tuscadero (Roz Kelly) who was enjoying a fleeting fame as Fonzie's short term girlfriend.
Most of the jokes are standard 1970's variety show which means occasionally they're actually funny. At the time Paul was appearing on the Donny & Marie program (and they make a cameo here) so naturally there are silly, arbitrary comedy sketches (like Paul picking up truckers with his CB Radio) and requisite disco-ed up dance numbers to contend with but that's part of the charm of shows like this.
All else aside, this special is the Holy Grail for KISS fans.
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special was the first prime time appearance for KISS and it's an auspicious debut, they rock out on three explosive numbers - 'Detroit Rock City, 'King of the Night Time World,' and 'Beth' which was climbing the charts at the time. Great stuff, especially 'Beth' (all numbers were lip-synced) which gets the full-on variety show musical number treatment, it could easily have been Cher or Dinah Shore in the same setting.
This was the first exposure of this seminal band to most teens; they had only been on national TV twice before, once in the afternoon and again late at night. This was a revelation for hardcore fans of the band. By the next year KISS was the hottest group in the nation and I was bored to death with them.
The source tape for this special wasn't in the best of condition (it's a miracle it survived at all) but the DVD looks pretty much like the program did when it was first broadcast, so I'm not complaining.
Another great feature is the bonus audio interview with Peter Marshall, in it he reminisces about Paul in a very frank and revealing chat.He has some delightful stories to tell.
Quite frankly, I can't think of anything better to pop into the DVD player this Halloween, it's kitschy, campy fun that will undoubtedly rocket you back 3 decades in time. It's only $11.00 if you order online now, well worth the price.
September 30, 2007 - 8:29am
Are viewers tiring of the network fare early this year?
The only Thursday shows to build in audience share over last year are Smallville (dead even), Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Don't Forget the Lyrics (vs the show that formerly had the timeslot, Celebrity Duet), and Without a Trace (vs former timeslot occupant Shark).
The only new show of the night, Big Shots on ABC, was a big dud, dead last in the 10:00 slot.
September 28, 2007 - 11:36am
And Kevin tells us about this odd bit of TV history: "The set that is now being used for the local Dallas TV talk show Good Morning Texas on WFAA TV channel 8 was the set originally used for WFAA's local kid's show Peppermint Place starring Jerry Haynes as "Mr. Peppermint" along with his head puppeteer and director Vernon Daily.
Lisa Whelchel (formerly of The New Mickey Mouse Club and Blair Warner on The Facts Of Life) made one of her earliest TV appearances on Peppermint Place as a ventriloquist and singer."
I tried to find a picture of the set online but wasn't successful. An old kiddie show backdrop used for the current morning show?
By the way, TV Land will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic sitcom Leave it to Beaver with a 48-episode marathon starting on Monday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. ET. It kicks off with the show's pilot episode.
September 28, 2007 - 10:55am
September 27, 2007 - 12:25pm
September 26, 2007 - 3:25pm
As I predicted Nashville was a huge bomb for FOX and it's been cancelled. Back To You, on the other hand, looks like a winner for the network, as is K-Ville. The controversial Kid Nation on CBS landed in the 17th place for the first outing.
the top 20 for last week in overall viewers:
September 26, 2007 - 10:49am
September 26, 2007 - 9:19am
Many people equate Downey with the Carpenters. Their music continues to sell hundreds of thousands of units each year, and come holiday time, is an annual radio staple. My brother, who works at NARAS (The Recording Academy) co-produced a Carpenters tribute album in 1994, and we were overwhelmed by the positive response. Today, "YouTube," the internet, your websites, and numerous TV retrospectives are introducing new generations to the music and the legacy of the Downey duo.
According to information sent to me by Downey City Councilmember Kirk Cartozian, an application for demolition has been received for the "addition" to the property at 9828 Newville Avenue. (The house consists of two connected structures--the "addition" and the main house.) According to a reliable source, another application will be filed to demolish the main house sometime after the addition is torn down.
Please help me get the word out?
I am considering the start up of a campaign to raise funds to buy the Carpenter house from the current owner and preserve it. Please let me know if you might be able to help or know of someone who would. In the meantime, please write to the Downey City Council (firstname.lastname@example.org and Gcaton@downeyca.org) and the Downey Patriot newspaper (email@example.com) and urge them to support the preservation of the landmark Carpenter house. For complete Downey City Council addresses, go to http://www.downeyca.org/city_contact_email.php.
Thank you, Jon Konjoyan
A few years ago Sal Gomez sent me this video of a tour of the former Carpenters home in Downey California when the owners at that time opened it up to the Carpenters' fan club members. Enjoy!
September 26, 2007 - 8:04am
Over on FOX, K-Ville's second week was a decent one, holding 96% of Prison Break's numbers but was down 27% from last week.
On CBS How I Met Your Mother is dragging down the night with a number 3 finish, the first episode of The Big Bang Theory that followed drew 10% more viewers.
September 25, 2007 - 12:39pm
September 25, 2007 - 8:34am
The Closer Season One - it's such a joy to discover a show that immediately catapults into my favorite programs list. Critics are raving about this unusual crime drama about a Southern gal (Kyra Sedgwick) with the courtesy of a panther who joins the LAPD to solve their toughest crimes.
This show also stars one of my favorites, J.K. Simmons (the nazi prick from Oz) as her boss. I heartily recommend this one, even for folks that don't normally enjoy this type of show, it's exciting, funny and keeps you guessing to the end with intricate and unexpected plot twists. I'm two discs in and I haven't guessed the ending to any of the shows, that's highly unusual and very pleasing.
Saturday Night Live Season One - I'm surprised how many of these remarkable shows I'm not familiar with since I actually watched most of them when they were first broadcast. Some of these episodes were rerun then chopped down to an hour and rerun again on cable but I didn't realize just how much fantastic material was cut and remained unseen for 3 decades. Cutting Edge comedy and first rate musical performances from the mid-seventies' best entertainers, groups and individuals not usually seen on TV, then or now.
Doris Day Show Season 4 - what a strange history this sitcom had, five years on the air (1968-1973) and four format changes!
Doris didn't want to do a TV show, she was shocked to find after her husband's unexpected death that she was broke and he had signer her - against her expressed wishes - to a sitcom on CBS and filming was set to begin in just a few weeks.
Season one had America's sweetheart living on a farm with her father (Denver Pyle) and two boys. For Season two Doris began commuting to San Francisco for a job as a secretary at a magazine. Her boss was played by McLean Stevenson (M*A*S*H*) and a new friend and co-worker was introduced portrayed by the always wonderful Rose Marie (The Dick Van Dyke Show).
For Season 3 Denver Pyle was dropped as Doris and the kids moved to San Francisco where they lived above an Italian restaurant run by Kaye Ballard and Bernie Kopell. Her new neighbor was played by the impossibly persnickety Billy De Wolfe ("pushy, pushy, pushy").
In season 4 the kids vanished without explanation as Doris became a writer for Today's World magazine. She got a new boss (gone was McLean Stevenson, replaced John Dehner) and new co-worker (Rose Marie was dropped in favor of Jackie Joseph). This format stuck until the series was cancelled after season 5.
Season 4 is somewhat funnier that the previous incarnations; The Doris Day Show followed Here's Lucy on Monday nights so I guess the network wanted to 'Lucy' Doris up, giving her an impossibly gruff boss and placing her in wacky situations like being mistaken for a jewel thief or exposing a dating service by becoming a client. It's lightweight, frothy entertainment that works mainly because of Doris Day's shimmering personality, a perky cast, and familiar 1970's guest stars.
September 24, 2007 - 9:34am
September 23, 2007 - 9:34am
According to a story flying around the Net, McCormick will also allegedly detail some "sexual play" she had with her co-star, Eve Plumb - but the publisher yesterday denied that story.
Remember when Barry Williams wrote his tell all book and claimed that he dated Florence Henderson, the lady who played the Brady mom? I was working in Hollywood at the time and heard from someone who had worked on the show - now I'm not saying this is true, this is just what I heard - that, in fact, he didn't date Florence Henderson, he dated Robert Reed, the guy who played the Brady dad. Reed was gay and, according to a male prostitute I knew, had an S&M dungeon in his home. And besides, Florence Henderson doesn't date men, at least according to what she told a friend of mine that was co-starring with her in a Wesson Oil commercial in the 1980s. Some family!
September 23, 2007 - 7:39am
September 22, 2007 - 11:39am
By the way, Sunday's Simpsons is pretty funny. It picks up where the movie left off, at least in the credits, as Homer and his family are seen zipping through the street of a destroyed Springfield and all arrive home to find - Spiderpig. Great stuff. You may want to 'tape' or Tivo the credits to watch it again.
September 22, 2007 - 7:49am
OF LIFE REUNION
"BTW, in the middle of the screaming, Kim makes reference that she called "Julie Pie" looking for Lisa Whelchel (Blair). Any St. Louisan here knows that refers to Julie Piekarski who appeared with Lisa W on "Facts" and "The New Mickey Mouse Club." They all stay in touch!"
September 21, 2007 - 8:49am
Bionic Woman (read the review here) I'm not sure about, it could turn out to be a fine series but it left me a bit cold just based on the first episode. Life (read the review here) is a crime drama that looks like a winner to me, with layers of intrigue and a nice twist to the underlying plot.
September 19, 2007 - 8:49am
September 18, 2007 - 12:43pm
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