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The L.A. Times has an article up about the top celebrity tax scofflaws - would it surprise you to know that O.J. is among the tax cheats? That guy will make it to prison yet. Both Dionne Warwick and Sinbad owe over $2,000,000! Sinbad actually made so much money that he owes 2 million plus?!?

Also in the Times - a piece about the wonderful Glenn Close / Ted Danson drama on FX, Damages. Seems people aren't tuning in in numbers that the network hoped for and the show may be cancelled. What a shame...

Thursday, October 18, 2007 - 8:56am


This is an odd thing - a new novel based on a TV show that lasted only one season and was cancelled 40 years ago! Granted, it was a great show - Time Tunnel was a sci-fi fave produced by Irwin Allen (Lost In Space) and there were a few paperback adaptations back in the day but, outside of the Star Trek franchise, I can't think of any other novels based on a long gone television program.

Time Tunnel Book

The book cover uses screen captures from various episodes - does the plot really contain Nazis and aliens? This book was released in another country, Argentina I believe, not here in the U.S. Here's more on the author, hope your Spanish is good.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 - 7:46am


Jay Blotcher points us to a TV Land parody of Sex & the City starring Bea Arthur, Sally Struthers, Katherine Helmon and Charlotte Raye. Yikes! Wait until you see who plays Mr. Big!

Speaking of Bea Arthur, here's a clip from her infamous TV special from around 1980. It was the lowest rated show of the entire season and probably the gay-est show ever up to that time with guests Wayland Flowers & Madame, Melba Moore (singing 'Miss Thang'), and Rock Hudson.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 6:44am


NBC's Chuck and Journeyman are proving to be a drag on Monday nights, Heroes is the only bright spot for the network on that night and numbers are down for that show as well. Look for Chuck and Journeyman to be gone soon but they should have been natural matches for Heroes. What gives?

Other Monday night disappointments this fall - The Bachelor (ABC), Everybody Hates Chris (CW), Aliens in America (CW), and Girlfriends (CW). I've heard great things about Aliens in America.

CSI: Miami on CBS and Dancing With the Stars and Samantha Who? on ABC are looking strongest on Mondays.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 11:36am


Heard on Late Night with Conan O'Brien:
"In a recent interview, journalist Robert Novak says that in order to get rid of Senator Larry Craig, the Republican leadership is going to have to 'get him in a room and slap him around.' When he heard this, Craig said, 'Don't say it unless you really mean it.'"

"The Rockefeller Center ice skating rink officially opened today -- even though the temperature were in the high 80's. By the way, four people drowned."

"Over the weekend, someone broke into Britney Spears' home and stole a bunch of homemade sex tapes. Police are on the lookout for the one guy who's not sick of seeing Britney's vagina."

"In New York, a woman who was arrested for indecent exposure after baring her breasts was acquitted because in New York City, showing your breasts is not illegal. I don't have a joke for that -- I just want to remind women that in New York City, showing your breasts is not illegal."

"Radar Magazine is causing a big controversy because the cover of their November issue features a doctored photo of a partially-dressed Rudy Giuliani and a totally nude Hillary Clinton. 'Radar' says it's all part of their plan to sell zero magazines."

"Scientists have discovered an organism that has managed to survive despite the fact that it hasn't had sex in millions of years. Scientists discovered the organism at a Star Wars convention."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 10:51am


Gilbert writes: "This wonderful person in Canada I believe has put the special that I have been waiting for since 1976 and have heard partly on your website. The interview with Mae West on Dick Cavett's Backlot USA. I went on and have seen the rarely shown performance of Mae West and Rock Hudson on the Oscars in the 50's of 'Baby it's Cold Outside.' You can also see the performance of 'Frankie and Johnny' and 'After you've Gone' from the Backlot USA special! I wish I could get these on tape!"

That was a great special and I'm thrilled that it's available to see on You Tube. Just a few weeks a go there was very little Mae West on You Tube, now there's quite a bit. Embedding is not allowed on these clips so here's the link to the opening of Mae's segment on Backlot USA, the other clips are easily accessible from that page as well.

Ron Motta wonders about this: "Okay, I want to prove once and for that I am neither a.) crazy nor b.) imagining things.

"About twenty years ago in high school, I remember someone showing rare TV clips in the library. One of the clips was outtakes from Mork & Mindy (I specifically remember a buck-naked Robin Williams running up the stairs) but another one was a short film for All in the Family. The premise was 'What If Norman Lear Let The Censors Have Their Way?' It featured Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers. It opened with Archie opening the door and saying 'Yoo-hoo, Edith. Far be it from me to yell, but I am home.' And Edith comes sweeping into the room in an evening gown saying, in a high class accent, 'ARCH-i-bald!' Some of the jokes included Edith reading Ms. Magazine and Archie reading Ebony. I don't really remember much more, but I remember they did a parody of the theme song. One of the lyrics was "...or a quick vasectomy."

"Now, I KNOW I'm not crazy. Do you know what this footage was from, if it's available or if anyone else has at least seen it????"

I haven't seen that one, have you? Speaking of mail, Kevin Butler forwards a scan of a rare Merry Mailman comic book.

classuc tv

If you grew up in the NYC area (or, like me, had one of his LP records) you may remember Ray Heatherton and his theme song:

"I am The Merry Mailman
Ring Ding Your Bell Will Ring.
That's My Very Special Ring
And This Is What I'll Bring?

A Letter From Your Grandma.
Who Says She's Coming To Stay!
And Close Your Eyes
For The Big Surprise
It's A Present For Your Birthday!

I Am The Merry Mailman!
Singing So Merrily!
And I'm So Very Glad To Be!
You're Very Merry, Merry Mailman!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 8:11am



The Price Is Right is the only network daytime show where people are seen in a positive light having fun, in a state of euphoria rather than angry, sick or agitated. The excitement is established from the very start and that's where the announcer is key. That's why Rich Fields really was the perfect choice to replace Rod Roddy when he died in 2003. Fields reminds me of Johnny Olsen, the original (1972) announcer mixed with just enough Rod Roddy. You may recall that Rod Roddy always got one closeup per show (until he got sick) but for some reason that didn't apply to Rich Fields, he would instead come onscreen after his announcing duties were done ("This has been a Mark Goodman presentation") and could be seen - barely - behind the credits during the show's last few seconds, entering from the right. Think they'll throw the guy a bone and give Rich Fields a close-up?

There's a new show logo, the entire set has been done over in a retro 1970's style and it looks great, less garish than before. I always felt the show's designs were stuck in the late-1980s.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:02am

The audience is wildly enthusiastic. Drew seems to want to be chummy with the contestants, saying hello to everyone, calling everyone "buddy." He's a bit nervous but that's to be expected, I think his relaxed style will win the day. The first contestant won a Jeep playing that game where you pick the first and last two numbers in the price.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:05am

That's a motley looking crew in contestant's row. The next game was 'Cliffhanger,' you know, where the little guy yodels his way over the cliff if you miss the prices too much. The contestant won a trip to Bali. There's a model named Fire on the show?!? Isn't that a stripper name? I still miss Janice. Will the 'lovely Lenicia' be back?

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:10am

There's a new overhead camera that they seem to have trouble getting good shots with. The next game was 'In The Bag' where the contestant matches prices to products to win $16,000. Drew is a lot less defferential to the contestants than Bob when it comes to playing the games. The contestant won the big money and she nearly fainted.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:21am

The first 'Showcase Showdown' goes down smoothly enough, the very first spin wins a $1,000 by hitting the $1.00. Drew's on a winning streak so far. That really is a sharp new logo for the show.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:24am

classic tv blogHere's a look at the new set from the CBS web site. The new logo is very close the the original 1970's version.

The next game is '1-2-3' - a simple game of placing 3 blocks in front of prizes. There's the beautiful Fire again! And another winner.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:31am

Next up a Sorority girl wins a new car playing 'One Way' where Drew asks her to say, "Oh mighty sound effects person, do I have at least one number right?" With Bob it was always, "Ladies, do I have at least one number right?"

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:39am

The contestant guesses which of 2 prizes is the bigger bargain and it's another winner! Lots of simple games on this episode. The game is still called 'Barker's Bargains' - Drew says it's named after the founder of The Price Is Right, Ezekiel Barker. The 77th perfect show for TPIR, where every contestant won.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:43am

'Showcase Showdown' number 2 and the Sorority girl (her name is Amor) hits $1.00 for an extra $1,000 and moves on to the Showcase round. It really is a perfect show. A good omen for Drew?

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:49am

The Sorority girl beat out a housewife and won a hot tub, a big screen TV and a trailer - boy, will she be popular back at school. The theme music sounds slightly different, that's because it's now in stereo for the first time.

The show is no longer a Mark Goodson production but a Freemantle Media production (Freemantle bought out Goodson years ago). No sign of Rich Fields, no closeup or walk on. It's said that it's against FremantleMedia's company policy for announcers to appear on camera but that sounds silly. Rich Fields once stated it was up to Bob Barker whether the announcer was seen.

The torch has been passed and I think the new host will settle into his role fairly soon. He's a bit awkward now but if Drew is successful, he could have a hit in daytime and primetime - The Power of Ten was a winner this last summer for CBS. Peace out!

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 11:57am


First I have to sit through Ellen - she just had a mind numbingly bad interview with some actress I never heard of who described how frightened she gets flying. Pitiful. Now Ellen is touring her Montecito home. Now she's playing hide & seek. Remind me again why I rarely watch broadcast TV? The commercials alone are enough to send me running into traffic.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 10:32am

I confess I haven't watched The Price Is Right very often over the last decade. I enjoyed it as a kid when it debuted in 1972 and watched it for a period during 1994 - 1995 as it coincided with the time I took to eat lunch. I remember watching TPIR when the news broke that the federal building in Oklahoma City had been blown up.

I would flip it on two or three times a year after that but I've tried to turn it on every once in a while over the last couple of months just because a 35 year TV tradition was coming to an end, no more Bob Barker at 11:00am on CBS.

True, it was time to retire. Bob was getting awfully frail and was justifiably terrified of the more effusive winners. On his very last show the camera went to Bob at an inopportune moment, as he was trying to keep some woman from getting too close; you could see the abject fear and revulsion in his eyes.

So, because I have nothing better to do, I'm going to live blog the first episode of Drew Carey's Price Is Right.

Carey was on The Early Show this morning on CBS, via phone, and didn't have much to say about TPIR but did announce he's getting married. It was one of the most low-energy interviews ever heard on TV.

I wrote some time ago that, if a person was magically transported from 1972, The Price Is Right would be one of the only shows that he or she would recognize. Meet the Press would be another. The Today show, Tonight and all the other programs on the air in 1972 have changed so much, even the Soap Operas have radically changed, they're steamier with much younger casts.

TPIR, on the other hand, still had the same host, some of the same games, and much the same set designs. Just how much is CBS willing to change TPIR with the new host?

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 10:12am


We've seen that numbers are down overall for returning network primetime shows (but way up for cable nets like Cartoon Network). But how are the syndicated reruns doing?

They're way down as well. Everybody Loves Raymond is the top show in syndication but ratings are down 27% this fall. Seinfeld, Friends, Scrubs, South Park, One on One (whatever that is), Malcolm in the Middle, and According to Jim all suffered double digit erosion. The biggest losers - Bernie Mac is down 38%, My Wife and Kids is off 44%, and That '70s Show plummeted an astonishing 47%!

The big winners - King of Queens is up 27% and Sex and the City soared 37% over last year's numbers. Other than that only Family Guy (3.6%) is up over last year.

Two and a Half Men debuted in syndication this fall and already the 4th most popular syndicated sitcom.

Ratings are also weaker for the magazine shows - The Insider lost 15%, Entertainment Tonight and Extras are both off 14%, Inside Edition is down 9%, while Access Hollywood leaked 12%.

Monday, October 15, 2007 - 9:12am


What's My Line was a long-running game show with a regular panel of celebrities that stayed with the show week after week. It was where Fred Allen found a home after failing in his attempt to replicate his enormously popular radio show to TV. He was once famously quoted as saying, "You can take all of the sincerity in Hollywood and put into a mosquito's navel and still have room for two caraway seeds and a producers heart" and, "Television is a device that permits people who haven't anything to do to watch people who can't do anything."

This clip is from March 18th 1956, the day after Fred Allen passed away...

Another long-time panelist passed away in 1965 while the Sunday night show was on the air, columnist Dorothy Kilgallen. Here's her tribute, it's remarkable how similar they are...

Miss Kilgallen died under most unfortunate circumstances.

After securing an interview with Lee Harvey Oswald's killer Jack Ruby, Kilgallen announced on a TV talk show that she would release new information that would "blow the JFK assassination wide open." A few days later she was found dead, dressed and sitting upright in bed. Her death was ruled either suicide or accidental overdose of alcohol and barbiturates. Coincidently, her research papers were nowhere to be found.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 9:06am


Every day I get reports on what products were purchased from through this site and every once in a while I'll find some obscure DVD that I hadn't heard anything about. Check this one out, it sounds really interesting, perfect for Halloween.

Munsters on DVDThe Munsters - America's First Family of Fright
Product Description:
Your favorite TV ghouls have arrived on DVD with this fright-tastic two-disc set! Disc One features Four Amazing Looks at the Munsters: The Munsters: America's First Family of Fright; Fred Gwynne: More than a Munster; Yvonne DeCarlo: Gilded Lily; Al Lewis: Forever Grandpa.. Disc Two with Hours of Eerie Extras: "My Fair Munster" unaired pilot plus 3 Different Presentations in Black and White and Color; Unaired Main Title Sequence (Pilot Version); CBS Network Promos; The Munsters in Several Vintage TV Special Appearances: "Seven Wonderful Nights" (CBS Special with Buddy Ebsen); "Wayne & Schuster Take an Affectionate Look at the Monsters"; "Marineland Carnival" (CBS Special); "Big G Little O"; "It's What's Happening Baby" (with "Murray the K"); "We Don't Knock" (with Lenny Clarke). Plus: Universal Newsreels; Syndication TV Spots; Munster Go Home Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots.

The four documentaries listed were extras for The Munsters 2 set but a lot of this material is new to DVD. The cool thing is that this disc is only $6.00 if you order online now. I'm going to snatch this one up - I only have the first season of The Munsters (by far the best) so this is all new for me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 7:55am


Did you catch The War by Ken Burns on PBS a few weeks ago? I watched a couple of the episodes and was enthralled, as I am whenever I see one of Burn's masterworks. The music was especially well directed so it's gratifying to find a new 4 CD soundtrack release containing the many diverse songs from the series.

The CDs are arranged by category: Sentimental Journey is a rich selection of ballads from the war era, I'm Beginning To See The Light spins the dance hits, Songs Without Words showcases the evocative classical music used for the programs, while the fourth CD mixes swing, blues, bluegrass and classical into a tempestuously tasty brew.

They're are all terrific, harkening back to a truly sparkling moment in the history of entertainment. I've always had a fascination with the 1940s, starting as a young boy. I suppose that's natural, my father served during the war as did all of his friends, so I was exposed to this music at an early age. These are collectively some of the best tunes ever etched to vinyl and this CD set does a bang up job of presenting the greatest artists the era had to offer.

Ken Burn's The War soundtrack cdsI'm Beginning To See The Light unleashes the Big Band sound at it's very finest - Ellington, Dorsey, Miller, Barnet, Basie, Goodman alongside many other legendary band leaders. You get the greatest hits of the era, the best renditions of the tunes, all blended effectively - not the middle of the road, flat versions all too often trotted out when pop music from the early-1940s is dumped onto compilations.

This is the creme de' le' creme, the swingin' years in a nutshell. Start a party with this one:
1. C JAM BLUES Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra
2. FRENESI Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
3. IN THE MOOD Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
4. LET ME OFF UPTOWN Gene Krupa & his Orchestra
5. TAXI WAR DANCE Count Basie & His Orchestra
6. THE SHEIK OF ARABY Coleman Hawkins All Star Octet
7. PISTOL PACKIN MAMA Al Dexter & His Troopers, with vocal by Al Dexter
8. AMERICAN PATROL Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
9. FOR THE GOOD OF YOUR COUNTRY Count Basie & His Orchestra
10. CHEROKEE Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra
11. ROSE ROOM Benny Goodman Sextet
12. I'M BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT Harry James & His Orchestra
13. TUXEDO JUNCTION Erskine Hawkins (the Twentieth Century Gabriel) & His Orchestra
14. ONE O CLOCK JUMP Count Basie & His Orchestra
15. I M CONFESSIN Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
16. (I'VE GOT A GAL IN) KALAMAZOO Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
17. BOOGIE WOOGIE Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
18. TAIN T WHAT YOU DO (IT S THE WAY THAT YOU DO IT) Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra
19. SING, SING, SING Benny Goodman & His Orchestra

Ken Burn's The WarSentimental Journey is a leisurely jaunt through some of the most beautiful and haunting pop ballads of all time. Timeless classics every one, a joyously melancholy reflection of the times they were written for:

1. WE'LL MEET AGAIN Benny Goodman & His Orchestra
2. DANCING IN THE DARK Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
3. LITTLE BROWN JUG Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
4. I'LL BE SEEING YOU Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
5. MOONGLOW Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
6. MEMORIES OF YOU Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra
7. I'LL GET BY Harry James & His Orchestra
8. ON THE ALAMO Benny Goodman & His Sextet
9. PENNIES FROM HEAVEN Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra
10. BODY AND SOUL Coleman Hawkins & His Orchestra
11. LET'S GET LOST Frank Sinatra
12. BLUES IN THE NIGHT Cab Calloway & His Orchestra
13. THERE SHALL BE NO NIGHT Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra
14. ECHOES OF HARLEM Cootie Williams & His Rug Cutters
15. SKYLARK Earl Hines & His Orchestra
17. PAPER DOLL The Mills Brothers
18. LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY Frank Sinatra
19. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY Les Brown & His Orchestra
20. WAITING FOR THE TAIN TO COME IN Harry James & His Orchestra

Ken Burn's The War on CDSongs Without Words is moody and intense, melodic and soaring; perfect background music for most any endeavor. A great CD for a late night seduction - or cleaning the house, whichever you're better at. It's a little string-y for my tastes but if you're looking for a superior, all-purpose classical CD this is the one, it's an impressive selection.

The track listing:
1. WALTON: THE DEATH OF FALSTAFF Leonard Slatkin & London Philharmonic Orchestra
2. DVO ÁK: CELLO CONCERTO IN B 3.MINOR (SECOND MOVEMENT) Yo-Yo Ma, Kurt Masur & New York Philharmonic
3. COPLAND: CONCERTO FOR CLARINET, STRINGS, HARP AND PIANO Benny Goodman, Aaron Copland & Columbia Symphony Orchestra
4. LIGETI: LAMENTO FROM HOMMAGE Á BRAHMS Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Marie-Luise Neunecker, Saschko Gawriloff
5. FAURÉ: ÉLÉGIE, Op. 24 Steven Isserlis & Pascal Devoyon
6. LISZT: NUAGES GRIS Barry Douglas
7. COPLAND: GROVERS CORNERS FROM OUR TOWN Aaron Copland & New Philharmonia Orchestra
9. ELGAR: NIMROD FROM ENIGMA VARIATIONS Leonard Slatkin & London Philharmonic Orchestra

Ken Burn's The War on CDThe War: A Ken Burns Film Soundtrack is just as effective as the other three, maybe more so, if you're looking for a party CD. This one reflects many moods and has a smattering of some more obscure jazz tunes that are sure to please. What an incredible array of smooth classics you get on this one by Kate Starr, Ellington, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Bing and Les Paul.

The original music composed for the film that is included is tops, especially the thrilling Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell, Sam Bush and Mike Marshall number. Check out the track listing:
1. American Anthem - Norah Jones
2. Walton, The Death of Falstaff - Leonard Slotkin & London Philharmonic Orchestra
3. The Wang Wang Blues - Benny Goodman Sextet
4. Movin' Back - Wynton Marsalis (composer & arranger)
5. How Long Blues - Count Basie
6. In the Nick of time - Edgar Meyer, Joshua Bell, Sam Bush & Mike Marshall
7. It's Been a Long, Long Time- Bing Crosby with Les Paul
8. America My Home (Excerpt) - Wynton Marsalis (composer & arranger)
9. If I could Be With You (One Hour Tonight) - Kay Starr, accompanied by the Capitol International Jazzmen
10. Blue As the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur (Excerpt) - Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble
11. Until I'm In Your Arms Again - Wynton Marsalis
12. Variations For the Healing of Arinushka - Kalle Randalu
13. Basie Boogie - Count Basie & His Orchestra
14. Solitude - Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
15. Concerto for Clarinet, Strings, Harp and Piano (Excerpt) - Benny Goodman, Aaron Copland & Columbia Symphony Orchestra
16. If You Can't Smile and Say Yes - The King Cole Trio
17. American Anthem - Amanda Forsyth & Bill Charlap

These surprisingly good soundtrack CDs from Ken Burn's The War would make an excellent addition to any music library, especially if you are craving the songs of the World War II era but don't know where to start.

Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 1:15pm


Rachel Maddow: “Twelve year old Graeme Frost, meet Cindy Sheehan, meet 9/11 widows, meet Staff Sgt. Brian McGough, meet Michael J. Fox, meet the kids who were targeted by Mark Foley, meet Jack Murtha. I mean, Graeme Frost as a twelve year old now joins an esteemed list of Americans who have been personally attacked, personally slimed, called liars and cowards and frauds, and threatened for daring to publicly espouse a view that the right disagrees with. I mean, just when you think you’ve found the person who they can’t possibly slime, I don’t know, say a twelve year old kid just out of a coma, turns out yeah, the bar does actually go that low, it’s just astonishing.”

Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 12:33pm


Top 30 Rankings / Total Viewers:
CSI (CBS: 20.97 million), Dancing With the Stars - Monday (ABC: 20.21), Grey's Anatomy (ABC: 18.51), Sunday Night Football (NBC, Chicago at Green Bay: 18.30), Desperate Housewives (ABC: 17.82), House (Fox: 17.44), NCIS (CBS: 16.42), Dancing With the Stars - Tuesday (ABC: 15.90), CSI: Miami (CBS: 14.72), Criminal Minds (CBS: 14.56), Without a Trace (CBS: 14.20), NFL Post Show (CBS: 14.19), Survivor: China (CBS: 14.14), Two and a Half Men (CBS: 13.24), Pushing Daisies (ABC, premiere: 13.03), Cold Case (CBS: 13.02), CSI: NY (CBS: 12.69), Private Practice (ABC: 12.45), Heroes (NBC: 11.96), Brothers & Sisters (ABC: 11.91), Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC: 11.84), Law & Order: SVU (NBC: 11.62), NFL Pre-Kick (NBC: 11.35), The Unit (CBS: 11.31), Shark (CBS: 11.28), Deal or No Deal - Wednesday (NBC: 11.17), Bionic Woman (NBC: 11.07), 60 Minutes (CBS: 10.86), Boston Legal (ABC: 10.43), Rules of Engagement (CBS: 10.09)

Tomorrow, Friday, will be the last time you'll be able to turn on the TV at 11:00am (ET/PT) and see Bob Barker hosting The Price Is Right.

Speaking of game shows, Regis Philbin will host a new primetime version of Password on CBS called Million Dollar Password. 6 episodes have been ordered.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 9:02am

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