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FUNNY STUFF
Check out these stupid game show answers.

Oh c'mon, these are too good not to watch more!

When are we going to get the Newlywed Game on DVD? That stuff is hilarious!

Friday, January 25, 2008 - 7:48am
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THIS 'N' THAT
Kevin Butler reminds us of a little known role Lois Nettleton had in a soap opera spoof ala Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: "She also starred as Christina Stockwood on Norman Lear's national syndicated sitcom All That Glitters in the late 1970s. On this unique but neglected sitcom the women were the successful business execs and the men stayed at home to care for the home and family.Along with Anita Gillette and Gary Sandy, Ms. Netlleton also performed on the series with Chuck McCann who played her house husband Bert. The show was seen in syndication during the late 1970s but it was not a hit and it went off the air after a few weeks."

Eric from Just My Show tells us: "Thought some of your readers might be interested in knowing that Barry Williams has a new blog site called The Greg Brady Project. It's been up for a little under a month, but the media push is really just starting. No pressure, but here's the site in case you'd like to check it out and maybe post something. I'm one of a few people who are blogging on there along with Barry (no need to mention that if you decide to write something).

"There is definitely plenty on there for Brady Bunch fans, but I know Barry also wants to keep it contemporary as well. The coolest part is probably how interactive it is. There's a Greg Brady Project Community you can sign up for that brings in social networking. Anyway, you can check it out for yourself."

This is terrible - the Hydrox cookie is no more! Granted, except for a trip I took on Delta a few years back when they were passed around, I haven't had one since I was a kid but I preferred them to Oreos. At least they were different. And did you know that Oreo was a knockoff of Hydrox?

Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 8:48am
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ANOTHER LOSS
Lois Nettleton Bob Huggins writes with sad news: "Unfortunately, another actress from television’s classic age, Lois Nettleton, has also passed away. Details here."

From the L.A. Times obit: She had roles on "Kraft Television Theatre" and "Studio One" in the 1950s and appeared on "The Twilight Zone" in a 1961 episode titled "The Midnight Sun." She played a woman coping with the radically shifting climate after the Earth falls out of orbit.

Nettleton also had roles on "Bonanza" and "The Fugitive" in the 1960s and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in the '70s, among other series. For two years in the late 1980s, she was a regular on the police drama "In the Heat of the Night." She also appeared on "The Golden Girls," "Murder, She Wrote" and "Cagney & Lacey."
For three years in the 1990s, she had a role as Virginia Benson on the soap opera "General Hospital."

She won Emmy Awards for daytime television for her role as suffragette Susan B. Anthony in "The American Woman: Portraits in Courage" in 1976 and her performance in an episode of the religious program "Insight" in 1983.

You have to be a registered member to view that LA Times article but it's free.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 10:18am
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HAM & BRITS
Eric Pleasant brings up an interesting point: "Just an observational inquiry Billy,
What is it with this current trend that Hollywood is having in casting British (or Australian) actors as Americans in many of the current TV shows like the TERMINATOR, The new BIONIC WOMAN, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Why they force the british actor playing Apollo to use an American accent is quite meaningless to me) as well as WITHOUT A TRACE - with all those Aussies-among other shows. Is there a conspiracy in the works. Can't American actors play American actors anymore?"

That’s a really good question. I noticed when I lived in London that the caliber of actor is better overall in England than it is here, they have a longer, richer history in the art and the level of craft there is much higher. But I can’t see that that would hold much sway in Hollywood. So it’s a mystery to me as well. Someone high up in the casting world may be hip to the same thing I discovered across the pond. Also, television actors in London are not as highly paid as their American counterparts so perhaps a major British TV star may be willing to work for less initially?

Several people have pointed out that the The Man From U.N.C.L.E. complete DVD collection is awesome. I haven't seen it but Eric adds, "While it is a dream come true, I also realize that their are as many bad episodes as well as good ones which is the flaw with having an entire series. Luckily I can pick and chose the ones to watch." I'm jealous!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - 7:22am
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KID SHOW MEMORIES
For today's post I'll offer something different. Every day people write in with their memories of the local kid shows they grew up with. I select the best memories and add them to the appropriate pages. I thought I'd share with you the TV memories I'm adding just this morning.

Major Mudd photoMy brother, sister, cousin, and I were on the Major Mudd Show (BOSTON) circa '68 or '69. I remember having so much fun aboard 'The Nervous One'. I was just 3 or 4 at the time, and at first I was told that I was too young to participate. But my older cousin persisted and told them that I was very smart for my age, and I got to "Blast Off For Fun and Adventure" with the rest. I got to sit on Major Mudd's lap, and help him announce, I also got to blow the trumpet at the beginning of the show. I felt so important. My cousin, brother, and sister got to participate in games and things. Ed McDonnell's passing was a great loss for Boston. He is missed, but he has left behind some wonderful and fun memories.

- IBBY, Almost Too Small


gerald bledsoeI too remember Soul Alive. It showed off the latest dance trends and positive facts about what was happening in the NYC High Schools like Kennedy, Boys and Girls, Richmond, Seward Park, Franklin, etc. A dance called The Hustle was very popular during this time. High school students use to show off the latest trends, to include Calvin Klein, Jordache and Sassoon Jeans. What’s also important to remember is that hair styles were neat and the pants didn’t hang off the butt. The show aired for about 1 hour with commercial breaks. The introduction was always the same- “SOUL ALIVE” - then intro music like Salsoul Orchestra (Salsoul Rainbow) - then the voice, "’m Gerry Bledsoe today’s school is from...", then a close up of dancers like they do on Soul Train. The dance atmosphere was less attractive than Soul Train or American Bandstand. There weren’t a lot of graphic displays. It didn’t matter because when the music was playing each High School danced to the funky beats like Kool and the Gang, Earth Wind and Fire, Rock Creek Park (Blackbyrds), Fatback band (Bus Stop) and other significant chart busters. This show was also during the era of the newly born RAP era. Any person who went to High School in New York loved to watch the show. The show was pretty much Black and Puerto Ricans from the 5 Boroughs. It has been a great memory for me.

- Frederick A. Clark

I would come home from school for lunch and from 12noon - 12:30 watch Big Brother (BOSTON). What a wholesome show, the pledge of allegiance was said and we toasted President Eisenhower then Kennedy, their pictures hung on wall. He had a song he and children would sing,
"the grass is always greener,
"in the other fellows yard,"
and showed cartoons like Hercules, Tales of the Wizard of Oz etc. Oh, to have a time machine.

- Paul Bondi, Worcester

I think the ending to the Big Brother song was:

So long small fry,
it's time to say goodbye,
come back again,
tomorrow night and then,
we'll have some fun,
there's some for everyone,
so don't forget we have a date,
tomorrow night and don't be late,
so small fry, so long.

Was his show the one that sang:

The grass is always greener,
in the other fellow's yard

and ended with:

if we all could wear green glasses now,
wouldn't be so hard,
to see how green the grass is,
in our own back yard.

If you want to know why Boomers love television it was those wonderful, long-gone local kiddie shows with the sterling personalities that hosted them that hooked us.

By the way, I've greatly expanded the Romper Room section, I'm hearing from former teachers all the time now and coaxing them to share their memories.

Romper Room History
Romper Room Comments
Romper Room Around the USA
Romper Room in Spokane, WA
Romper Room in LA
Romper Room in Pittsburgh
Romper Room in Virginia
Romper Room in New York
Romper Room in Chesterfield, MO
Romper Room in Charlotte, NC
Romper Room in Baltimore
Romper Room in Evansville Indiana
Romper Room in Witchita

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 8:58am
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R.I.P.
tv showsBoth Suzanne Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show) and Allan Melvin (just about every show) passed away recently. Kevin Butler writes: "Veteran comic/character actor, mimic and cartoon voice over performer Allan Melvin died on Thursday January 17,2008 at his home in Brentwood, Ca. Mr. Melvin lost his battle with cancer at the age of 84.

"Born in Kansas City, Mo. he moved with his family to NYC where he graduated from Columbia University with a Masters degree in journalism but instead of becoming a newspaper reporter he joined NBC Radio in NYC where worked as a sound editor for the network's radio soap operas.

"He would later perform on various radio shows and he developed a stand-up comedy act. The success of his nightclub act led to his appearing on the radio edition of Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts Show. Melvin won the top spot on the show and he went onto a long and successful career as a comic/character actor on many TV shows among them the Sgt. Bilko show with Phil Silvers, Gomer Pyle, USMC with Jim Nabors, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Brady Bunch.

"Mr. Melvin also appeared in movies he played the no nonsense police desk sergeant in With Six You Get Eggroll with Doris Day, Brian Keith, Pat Carroll and Jamie Farr.

"He was also in the original Broadway stage production of Stalag 17 in 1951 in which he played the role of Reed and played Archie Bunker's loud mouth next door neighbor Barney Hefner on the controversial Norman lear sitcom All In The Family.

"But to the many kids who grew up with his work Melvin will always be remembered for his voice overs for such popular TV cartoons as Beetle Bailey, Magilla Gorilla, the Around The World In 79 1/2 Days segment of the Catanooga Cats show, The Secret Lives Of Waldo Kitty and for voicing Bluto on The All New Popeye Comedy/Adventure Show, The Popeye/Olive Comedy Show and Popeye & Son.

"Melvin was also the voice of Dropper the Lion in Hanna-Barbera's Banana Splits Adventure Hour on Saturday mornings during the 1970's. Allan Melvin retired from acting ten years ago yet he was interviewed for some magazines when the forgettable Sgt. Bilko movie starring Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd came out - he didn't give the film praise or any support.

"In one of his last interviews for People Magazine 12 years ago he gave his thoughts about his life as an actor: "I've enjoyed the stuff I've done but the one you're getting paid for, that's what you enjoy most."

Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:43am
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HAPPY SATURDAY!
Richard Tolleson writes about the Jack Benny reruns from 1977: "Those 1977 rebroadcasts were the first time I had the opportunity to see The Jack Benny Show, having come along after the show already left the air. Of course, I knew who he was, but that was about it. I loved watching those shows that summer. They made me want to see more (which, in pre-cable days, was impossible). I was able to find a lot of the old radio episodes, which still make me laugh whenever I listen to them."

If you want to hear some Jack Benny radio programs hop over to this site.

Kevin S. Butler adds: "I've just seen the film clips of Mr. Frank Nelson's guest appearances on the Jack Benny TV show and would like to add this extra information about his TV career.

"He had also done voice overs for UPA's Dick Tracy Show and the Mr. Magoo Show and was the voice of Spiffy the Cat for The Oddball Couple, an animated animal version of Neil Simon's Odd Couple seen Saturday mornings on ABC during the 1975-1976 season. Spiffy was a spoof on the Felix Unger character (Paul Winchell did the voice of Fleabag the Dog an animated version of "Oscar Madison. Winchell used his Knucklehead Smiff voice for Fleabag.)

"Mr. Nelson's last TV cartoon VO job was the voice of the crooked hotel owner on a Garfield special for CBS and Melendez/Mendelson Productions, Inc. The story had Garfield, his owner Jon Arbuckle and Oddie the slobbering dog going on vacation to a tropical island where they fell victim to a con man running a lousy hotel and the ruler of a group of dangerous natives. The voice of the leader of the natives was played by former rock DJ Wolfman Jack."

Saturday, January 19, 2008 - 8:17am
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JACK BENNY
Back in August of 1977, CBS did an odd thing. They brought back The Jack Benny Program for 4 weeks of reruns. For the first airing the network chose the most famous episode of the program, the one from 1961 where Jack shows off his legendary vault to a pair of Treasury agents. I always felt that was the worst episode of the series since it relied too heavily on gimmicky props, but whatever.

Jack Benny Show

What's really odd is these programs were all in black & white and the comedian had died three years earlier. Still, The Jack Benny Program was undeniably one of the funniest TV (and radio) programs of all time.

Here's a memorable scene from the Benny show with Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Mel Blanc as the salesperson and the wonderful Frank Nelson ("yeeeeees?") as the Floor Walker. And here's another classic Jack Benny / Frank Nelson bit for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - 10:29am
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DID YOU KNOW?
American Gladiators
is a hit for NBC and has been picked up foir a second season. Meanwhile Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was the highest-rated scripted series debut for any broadcast network show in almost two years; it's been 8 years since a series on Fox hit that big right out of the gate.

The Florence Henderson Show on Retirement Living will debut Thursday, Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. ET; this talk show will feature TV legends like Carol Burnett, Bob Newhart, Garry Marshall, Dom DeLuise, Shelley Berman, Betty Garrett, Jason Alexander, Bob Mackie, Judge Judy and Monty Hall. Sounds like fun.

TV's Vampira (Maila Nurmi) has passed away. Here's the LA Times obit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 12:49pm
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LINKS
Life imitates art - here's what Dennis Haysbert, who played the President
in 24, has to say about the current race for the White House:
“As far as the public is concerned,” he says in the January 21 issue of TV Guide (on newsstands January 17), “it did open up their minds and their hearts a little bit to the notion that if the right man came along—I do believe Barack Obama is the right man—that a black man could be president of the United States.” Too bad Haysbert's not running...

The LA Times has an interesting article on the new Get Smart movie
starring Steve Carrell that opens this summer.

A.J. McWhorter from Television Archives has a column where he looks at Hawaiian TV stars and where they are now - check it out here.

Finally, there's a new Family Guy DVD coming tomorrow, Family Guy’s Blue Harvest which is a take off on Star Wars. I hate Family Guy but here are some clips for you to enjoy since I'm the only person in the universe who dislikes the show.

Clip #1: Ship Maneuvers - Quicktime - Real Player - Windows

Clip #2: Tiefighters - Quicktime - Real Player - Windows

Clip #3: – The Crew Acts Cool - Quicktime - Real Player - Windows

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 - 8:05am
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SUNDAY YOU TUBING
S'More Entertainment is releasing Make Room For Daddy Season 6 on DVD for the first time and what a delight it is. I'll have a review soon, but in the meantime let's look at Danny Thomas - here's the closing of Make Room For Daddy from around season 3 with the original sponsor tag.

Make Room For Daddy was known for having a major guest star practically every week, here's Dean Martin on the show in a well worn plotline.

Sunday, January 13, 2008 - 10:33am
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WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE!
One of the greatest cartoons created for television in the 1960s was George of the Jungle from the folks who brought us Bullwinkle. George was funny and smart in the Jay Ward Productions' tradition but lasted only one season of new episodes.

Now George of the Jungle is back in a new production headed by Jay Ward's daughter for Comedy Central's new nighttime schedule for kids. I just watched the first two episodes which debut beginning next Friday night.

George of the jungle

Of course, everything's been pleasingly redesigned to fit the modern sensibility (John K. changed everything, didn't he?) while the iconic theme song remains - with minor changes. It's wacky and weird like the original, but kids today are used to what was considered cutting edge 41 years ago - audience asides, random pop culture references - so the new George and his animal cohorts are more extreme in their behavior while the storylines are more straightforward.

The new George is a teenager - as is everyone in this jungle, naturally - and bears little resemblance to the 1960's version. George is also saddled with a Betty / Veronica-type sidekick conflict.

While the original George of the Jungle could be enjoyed by adults and kids alike this new incarnation is strictly for the youngsters in the spirit of The Fairly Odd Parents and the like. Anyone over the age of 11 won't find much of interest here.

That said, this Flash animation production is plenty cute and should prove popular with the young ones. Purists won't be pleased but that's OK - the original still stands and probably couldn't be topped or duplicated anyway.

Visit georgeofthejungle.tv and cartoonnetwork.com for more info. George of the Jungle airs Friday nights starting January 18 at 7:30pm (ET/PT).

Friday, January 11, 2008 - 9:23am
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ANOTHER SAD PASSING
Johnny GrantKevin Butler writes: We've suffered another loss to the entertainment industry. Johnny Grant, a local Los Angeles radio personality and one of the main organizers of the Santa Claus Lane Parade (later renamed The Hollywood Christmas Parade), died Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at his penthouse in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. He was 84.

Aside from being a popular radio broadcaster and one of the chairmen who helped to obtain the services of many well known performers and personalities to appear in the parades over the years Mr. Grant also helped to induct many celebrities onto Hollywood's Walk of Fame where well-known stars had their own names engraved into the streets of L.A.

He also MC'd the placing of celebrity's foot and hand prints into the courtyard of the (former) Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Known as the "honorary Mayor of Hollywood" Grant retired from broadcasting years ago but still worked with the Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce on their many events and successfully promoted the city Hollywood over the years.

He retired from the Hollywood Christmas Parade in 2006 following the final TV broadcast (Grant was given his own star on the Walk Of Fame that year and he also rode in the last parade). People are still trying to get the Hollywood Chamber to revive the parade without much success.

Click here to read L. WAYNE HICKS' article about Johnny Grant's role in TV's first telethon.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 8:23am
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COMING TO A TV NEAR YOU
Comedy Central will be bombarding you with new stand up specials this month, look for new shows from Stephen Lynch and Dan Cummins debuting tomorrow (Friday) night.

Stephen Lynch's musical tour de force through his demented psyche begins with a heaping hunk of blasphemy followed by even more sacrilegious tuneage along with peppy songs about dating white girls, loving Nazis, wishing for his grandfather's death, and a cute ditty about Satan (more blasphemy). But it works. This guy can really write some funny tunes and he has the vocal chops to pull it off.

This is not one for the nuns but it is bright and fresh, a terrific way to spend a half hour. Lynch is currently starring in the new Broadway musical, The Wedding Singer.

Stephen Lynch's show is followed by 30 minutes with Dan Cummins, a sardonic, low key Loki who shares his amusing observations on life and relationships - the usual. Is it funny? Yeah, but you won't be rolling in the aisles. Both of these shows deliver enough laughs to forget that your favorite shows are gone-baby-gone until VH Day (Victory in Hollywood).

Look for the Stephen Lynch and Dan Cummins specials starting Friday night, January 11th at 10:00 & 10:30pm.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 6:58am
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