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Classic TV Blog / TVparty!
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FAMILY GUY AND YOU TUBE
The ever-amazing Justin Kaplowitz writes in response to my callous statements on Family Guy:

Hi Billy,
Good to see the blog up and running, 'cause I do have a few things to say. First of all, I have been a fan of Family Guy since it came on in 1999, never mind that people have dismissed it as a "Simpsons Ripoff". But as I recall in an episode of the Simpsons, Roger Meyers Jr., creator of "Itchy and Scratchy" (Played by Alex Rocco) tried to defend his case of ripping off I&S from a bum played by Kirk Douglas. If I recall, he said something--in jest, I'm sure--along the lines of :
"Animation is built on plagiarism, If it weren't for 'The Honeymooners' we wouldn't have 'The Flintstones'. If someone didn't rip off Sgt. Bilko, there'd be no 'Top Cat'. Huckleberry Hound, Chief Wiggum,Yogi Bear? Hah! Andy Griffith, Edward G. Robinson, Art Carney. Your honor, you take away our right to steal ideas, where are they gonna come from?"

All kidding aside, there have been a series of "Mutual admiration" jokes between The Simpsons and Family Guy on some of their recent episodes. One good example was a recent Halloween episode where Homer clones himself, and among the increasing crowd of Homers is Peter Griffin from "FG". Another one recently when Peter shows up in an Italian book of law breakers under "Plagiarissimo", additionally Stan Smith of Seth MacFarlane's other series "American Dad" also appears in the book under "Plagiarissimo de Plagiarissimo".

On the flipside of the coin, "Family Guy" has had it's share of Simpson Slams, such as when Stewie--In what I thought was a Brilliant Homage to the "Naked Gun/Police Squad!" Movies--runs down Homer with his Big Wheel in the Griffin's garage, to which Peter responds "Hey Stewie (LOOKS DOWN AT HOMER). Who the hell is that?". In another episode, Stewie goes into a rant about college students downloading their favorite Simpsons episode each night, including a slam against "Mr. Plow".

The whole point of this rant is that we all love and hate certain things. I just happen to love Family Guy a great deal, mostly because of the occasional obscure/pop cultural jokes that I can understand. And I usually get the joke, because I probably found out about it first on your site or even Youtube. Speaking of which, I am ever increasingly in awe of Youtube, not because it can turn anybody into a star, but as a promo/jingle freak, it blows me away whenever I see something that I've seen before in a much better definition that originally seen. Case in point:


name="wmode" value="transparent">

The only way I was ever able to see this before was in some sort of Pixilated mosaic that no videophile would touch with a 10 foot pole. This video is not only an improvement, but it's like I'm actually watching TV itself as it originally happened some 25 years ago! What's more, there are many other classic TV shows/ promos/ commercials on the "Tube" that have never seen the light of day anywhere else (Y'know how many full episodes of "WKRP in Cincinnati" I found with the music intact?! That many.). I don't care that it "Sold Out" to Google, as long as it keeps cranking out the good stuff*, I'm happy.

*And that even includes and clips from "Family Guy"

In the Words of the great Richard N. Hughes (WPIX-TV) "What's Your Opinion, We'd like to Know?"

- J.K.

Thanks Justin - as I said, this is a "me" thing apparently - if ALL my friends (who I feel have good taste, mind you) love Family Guy then obviously I'm off the page.

Speaking of which, the other night I watched my first ever episode of Two and a Half Men. This is another show a lot of my friends like - well, mostly my family members enjoy it. I thought the episode that aired on CBS last Tuesday night was annoying claptrap. (For all I know, the show isn't as good as it once was or I caught a bad episode.) The whole thing came off like a bad high school play; predictable, formulaically tasteless - not truely tasteless, I could enjoy that. Like something written by committee and directed by proxy, Two and a Half Men reminded me why I stopped watching network TV a long time ago.

Have you ever stopped drinking soda pop for a period and then tasted your first can of Coke again? Then you know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006 - 10:29am
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It's the 40th anniversary of It's the Great Pumkin, Charlie Brown, undoubtedly one of the finest and funniest animated specials of all time.

Is it fair that the thing exists - in its entirety - on You Tube?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 7:33am : Billy Ingram
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YOU TUBE IS THE NEW TV
I know (from watching Judge Judy) that no one is allowed to put their hands on another individual unless it's concentual. It's considered assault, apparently. That's why I found this You Tube video interesting.

Granted, the guy is a complete twit. He's young and idealistic, I suppose, full of breathless nervousness. His question to Representative Marylin Musgrave is innocuous and nonsensical enough: "If you had a choice between saving a soldier's life or preventing a gay marriage, which would you would stop?"

Why can't professional politicians simply answer a person's questions? It's the easiest way to disarm these kinds of 'Gotcha' moments, Bill Clinton was a master at it. It's THEIR JOB to answer to their constituents, whether they like it/them or not.

Engaging in Nazi-like strong-arm tactics on public sidewalks seems so unnecessary but it is becoming more and more frequent. The law allows pretty much anything short of assaulting someone on public streets - just ask any celebrity being stalked by paparazzi.

I'm not sure I'd be so crazy about someone coming up to me, following me down the sidewalk asking irritating questions - but then again, I look for friends where I can find them...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 7:22am : Billy Ingram
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Family Guy on Sunday Night
All of my friends love Family Guy. I'm the only person I know who doesn't enjoy the show. I tried watching a couple of episodes - to be fair, they were early shows - but I couldn't get over its derivative nature, the riffs ripped-off from 'The Simpsons', the wildly divergent character designs. It especially irked me that the design for Stewie was WAY too similar to the character "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth" by one of my favorite cartoonist Chris Ware.

When I tell my friends I don't care for the show, they can't believe it and are vociferous in their enthusiasm for the program. So I must be missing something?

Fox sent me a preview of this Sunday's Family Guy episode and it did provide quite a few laughs - so maybe I need to take another look at the series. Chris Ware be damned.

Saturday, October 28, 2006 - 10:07am : Billy Ingram
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Suzy Homemaker
Every Christmas there's a hot toy that kids clamor for and parents suffer to get.

suzie homakerBack in the early-sixties, the Suzy Homemaker doll from Topper Toys was one of those hot holiday items. The doll didn't incite riots, fist fights or high-priced auctions but it was so popular that, forty years later, you'll hear someone referred to as a "Suzy Homemaker."

Toy maker Topper's Suzy was a fairly realistic looking doll that stood a full 22 inches, clad in practical dresses, with accessories galore like ovens (that really cooked cakes like the EZ Bake does), refrigerators, irons, washing machines, beauty salons - everything a woman could want.

For the modern, liberated female Suzy became an object of derision; an anachronistic take on women's roles that was harmful to impressionable little girls. Although I don't remember this specific argument being made, the point was that G. I. Joe could stay home to cook and clean while Suzy Homemaker could go off and fight the insurgents in Viet Nam. (Suzy was a few inches taller than Joe so maybe that wasn't such a bad idea.) The Deluxe Reading company took over the franchise for a while before the Suzy Homemaker doll fell out of favor in the early-seventies and the line was discontinued.

suzy homemaker dollsBut that wasn't the end for Suzy - as you can see in this TV ad from 1977 Suzy was recast as a Raggedy Ann knockoff with a stroller; morphing from molded plastic to cloth. Made in China by Coleco, the new Suzy was helpless, limp and dependent. She went from capable to cuddly - not exactly what the feminists had in mind, I suspect, but nothing they could criticize either.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 8:37am : Billy Ingram
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Evel Knievel Crash Car
Evel Knievel dollA popular toy for boys in 1973 was the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. The legendary stuntman came with a car that, on impact with a wall or rocks, could break apart to release Knievel to ride away unscathed. Bet you won't find too many of those in mint condition!

Knievel himself was involved in the toy's development but didn't get all the features he hoped for in the final product. "One toy I'd like them to make is my own idea," Knievel explained at the time. "I think it's the most super toy in the world. You wind it up, it goes like a little bugger, goes across the floor, grabs this little Barbie doll, throws her on the floor, gives her a little lovin', jumps back on the motorcycle and goes whizzing out the door screaming, 'G.I. Joe is a faggot!'"

Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 7:41am : Billy Ingram
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I'm a huge fan of the shows produced by Allan Blye and Bob Einstein - they were producers and writers for the Smothers Brothers and Sonny & Cher shows.

One forgotten 4 episode series from Blye & Einstein was 'Joey & Dad', a 1975 Sunday night summer replacement (for 'Cher') that attempted to recreate the Sonny and Cher show in a post-Sonny & Cher world - by taking sexy, multi-talented Joey Heatherton and pairing her with her father, who was known in the local NYC market as The Merry Mailman. Instead of marital sparring, the focus of 'Joey & Dad' was on the generation gap; other than that, it was a straight ahead S&C clone. The show not only failed to get picked up, Cher blamed the program for her series falling in the ratings when she returned in the fall.

Here's the opening to one of those 'Joey & Dad' shows, from the degraded audio tapes I previously referred to. Although it's pleasing enough and mildly funny, with dialogue like this it's not hard to see why the variety show became an endangered species in the 1970s.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 8:49am : Billy Ingram
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 7:09am : Billy Ingram
The only two primetime shows I've seen this fall were the premiere episodes of '30 Rock' and '20 Good Years.'

I see both shows are on the brink of cancellation already. I thought '30 Rock' - the one episode I saw - was OK. Not the worst thing I've seen. Pleasant enough, with some potential. The misguided John Lithgow scream-fest '20 Good Years' that followed was simply atrocious, not a redeeming thing about it.

Now that NBC is languishing in the ratings, they've decided to de-value their first hour of primetime programming. From now on they'll spend as little as possible on the 8:00-9:00pm timeslot and concentrate on the last two hours. Doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. '30 Rock' is/was a very expensive show to put on and look how that turned out.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 7:00am : Billy Ingram
We got this response to the 'I Dream of Jeannie' question below: "Healy was in the army on detached duty to NASA. It is explained in one of the episodes during the first season."

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Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 8:09am : Billy Ingram
A while back I found some old audio cassette tapes of material I taped from the TV in the mid-seventies. Here's one last clip from those tapes with George Burns. This time he's accompanied by Marvin Hamlish, singing a song Hamlish wrote for 'The Entertainers.'

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Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 7:50am : Billy Ingram
This question comes from Eric Pleasant:
"Maybe you have an answer to this burning question that has besieged me since I got my first color set 35 years back, on the wonderful 'I DREAM OF JEANNIE' why did Nelson and Healy have different colored uniforms, I thought they were both in the Air Force working for NASA?

"Does the Air Force have different colored uniforms for their officers? An inquiring mind that wants to know."

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Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 7:34am : Billy Ingram
I've been looking for a documentary for over a decade now - it's called 'Motel' and it aired in 1984 (I think) on PBS.

I was lucky enough to record the film because I was working when it originally aired ( I read about it in the LA Times). It was my custom at the time to keep those video tapes of shows I wanted to watch later (we'd TIVO it today). 'Motel' was a real surprise, a delight that touched me in a way that no other documentary had before. It takes place in an abandoned motel along a forgotten road in New Mexico (maybe Arizona); the story of a handful of societal misfits who came together through various circumstances to inhabited this dilapidated structure, attempting to turn it into a working motel and artist space.

The quirky individuals profiled in 'Motel' were so wonderful I often wonder what happened to them. After watching it a few times and showing it to some friends, I lent the tape out and it disappeared forever. No problem, I thought - this was 1994 with the wide-open internet it should be easy to find. Not so.

I contacted PBS, they remembered it but knew nothing of it. There's no mention of it on imdb.com - or in any forum I could find over the years and I have been frustrated at every turn.

'Motel' (maybe I got the name wrong?) should not be lost to the ages; it should be taught in every film class in the nation as an example of how to draw clearly delineated, colorful characters on film; I think of it as one of the first of what we consider the modern documentarian style.

Has this film has dropped off the face of the Earth? Maybe - unless you can help me track down a copy. (This is an example of why I no longer lend out video tapes of stuff I pulled off of the TV in the mid-eighties - it's astonishing how many of those broadcasts will never appear again.)

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Classic TV Blog / TVparty!
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Your host: Billy Ingram

TV MOMS
Mother's Day is coming up, if you're in LA on Tuesday you will definitely want to check this out.

television blogThe Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has just posted information about the event Jim Longworth (author, TV Creators and TVparty contributor) is producing and moderating on May 6, a salute to TV moms. Here's the lineup: Meredith Baxter - Family Ties; Barbara Billingsley - Leave it to Beaver; Diahann Carroll - Julia; Bonnie Franklin - One Day at a Time; Catherine Hicks - 7th Heaven; Vicki Lawrence- Mama’s Family; Cloris Leachman - Phyllis; Marjorie Lord - Make Room for Daddy; Doris Roberts - Everybody Loves Raymond; Marion Ross - Happy Days; Holland Taylor - Two and a Half Men.

What a list! Jim is also bringing in some special surprise guests - I'm not at liberty to say but the names are BIG and should create quite a bit of excitement. The event will be webcast live on Tuesday, May 6 at 7:30 PT 10:30pm ET. Tell him TVparty sent you!

Sunday, May 4, 2008 - 11:00am
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MAE WEST SUNDAY
I'm working on a piece on Mae West and thought I'd share these golden moments with you. Mae made her first TV appearance on the 1958 Academy Awards program singing 'Baby It's Cold Outside' with Rock Hudson creating an instant camp classic.

And this from her 1933 film I'm No Angel, one of my favorite screen moments of all time.

Let's see - Cher in the last post, now Mae West. I'll get off the gay icons next posting...

Sunday, May 4, 2008 - 9:05am
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CHER YOUTUBING
Now that You Tube is back I wanted to share this with you. Someone has posted (audio only) some TV performances by Cher and pointed out this odd fact - Cher sang the same song on the last (taped) episode of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour that she did on the debut of her own series. The tune is 'All in Love is Fair,' a Stevie Wonder cover. First the 1974 performance from her last show with Sonny.

This version from Cher in 1975 has pretty much the same arrangement but sports a slightly fuller orchestrations and Cher is toning down that ersatz southern accent she sings with.

I'm guessing there was about a 6 month period between these performances. Girl had pipes! Cher grew considerably as an artist in the first couple of years away from Sonny and actually recorded at least one fine album, Stars, which has never been released on CD.

This cover of a Velvet Underground tune is from Stars, her first album for Geffen in 1975. The first time I heard it I hated it, despised the entire album in fact, but it grew on me and became one of my favorites, at least for the time.

Of course, the song is a bit absurd, the idea of Cher sitting on cornerstones, "counting time in quarter tones" is a bit of a stretch.

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 11:43am
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SATURDAY
Jim Hager, who found national fame with twin brother Jon on Hee Haw, died Thursday afternoon (May 1) in Nashville of an apparent heart attack. He was 66. Here's the obit.

Wow - as I write this You Tube is down and has been for some time.

Look what's become a collector's item now that it's out of print - Beany & Cecil on DVD is going for $53.00 to $103 on Amazon - for used copies!

Bob Huggins writes: "I saw your blog posting about Eve Arden. In addition to her more famous shows “Our Miss Brooks” and “The Mothers in Law,” Eve Arden also starred in “The Eve Arden Show.” Alpha Video recently released a four episode, single DVD of this rare to see show. Details here.

"Alpha also offers two public domain episodes of “Our Miss Brooks” along with a couple of PD episodes from “The Life of Riley.”

Considering that Eve Arden was a major television star of the 1950s, it’s disappointing that so little of this comedienne’s television output is available on DVD, especially “Our Miss Brooks” which featured Gale Gordon (The Lucy Show), Richard Crenna (The Real McCoys) and later Gene Barry (Bat Masterson, Burke’s Law) in the cast. Speaking of “Burke’s Law,” the first half of season 1 has just been released on DVD this week by VCI Entertainment. This was one of Aaron Spelling’s first big hits as a television producer."

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 10:11am
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BAFTA/LA BRITISH COMEDY AWARD WINNERS
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA)  honored the best of 2007’s British television and theatrical comedies at tonight’s inaugural BAFTA/LA British Comedy Awards Presented by British Airways, held at the Fours Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.  The idea for a British Comedy Festival and Awards was initiated by Nigel Lythgoe, BAFTA/LA Board Member and Event Chair, and was endorsed unanimously earlier this year by the full Board.  The Awards finalists were selected by a distinguished jury of U.S. based comedy talent and executives working in the entertainment industry.  Final recipients were chosen in a vote by the full BAFTA/LA membership.
 
Billy Connolly, one of the UK’s top comedians, was honored with the BAFTA/LA Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy.  Connolly is a BAFTA Film Award and BAFTA Scotland nominee for his work in John Madden’s Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown, and a BAFTA TV Award nominee for his mini-series “30 Years of Billy Connolly.”
 
Extras was chosen as the Best British Comedy Television Program, beating out Gavin & Stacey, The IT Crowd and Little Britain.  Creator and star Ricky Gervais accepted his award via tape from New York, and his co-star Ashley Jensen was at the gala to accept on his behalf.  Harry Hill, writer and actor in the current series TV Burp, accepted his award via tape from London for Best British Comedy Performer in Television. 
 
Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz received the Best British Comedy Film Award over nominees Magicians and Run, Fatboy, Run.  Wright’s Hot Fuzz star Simon Pegg won the award for Best British Comedy Performer in Film.
 
“BAFTA/LA is delighted to have honored some of Britain’s most beloved comedic luminaries at the first British Comedy Awards Presented by British Airways.  There were a lot of laughs, and we are already looking forward to next year, and having this event become an annual affair that will introduce American audiences to both established and upcoming UK talent,” said BAFTA/LA Board Member Nigel Lythgoe. 
 
Finalists in the film and television categories were screened for the public in Los Angeles earlier this week.  The gala coincided with Los Angeles’ BritWeek 2008 (April 24 to May 10), a series of UK-centric events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the British Consul General’s official residence in Los Angeles’ Hancock Park. 
 
For more information on BAFTA/LA, visit www.baftala.org. 

Friday, May 2, 2008 - 6:10am
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COULD IT BE?
Michael Ackerman writes in regard to the previous post: "I'm pretty good at recognizing voices and I would swear that the voice over on the Dorothy Gray cold cream ad is Janet Leigh (Psycho and mother of Jamie Lee Curtis). No way to verify but I am pretty sure it's her."

I agree, it does sound like her and she wasn't such a big star in the early-1950s.

Speaking of iconic stars, Jay Blotcher alerts me that yesterday would have been Eve Arden's 100th birthday, she the star of two very funny sitcoms, Our Miss Brooks and The Mothers in Law. Here's a scene from The Mothers in Law with co-star Kaye Ballard who's still around and kicking.

Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 11:49am
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UNO DE MAYO
Someone suggested in relation to an earlier post about a particularly bad dog food commercial that this oldie but goodie from the TVparty vault deserves a crack at the title of worst TV commercial ever. If you haven't seen this 1950's cold cream ad, you simply won't believe what they do to this model's face!

Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 10:53am
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LEAPING PARAGRAPHS
Remember the little girl who died from untreated diabetes last month? Her parents prayed over her and refused to take her to a doctor. This paragraph leapt out at me from the news story of the parents being charged with second-degree reckless homicide:

The Neumanns each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. The couple and their attorney did not immediately return messages left Monday by The Associated Press.

These idiots wouldn't take their child to a doctor but they're more than willing to go to a lawyer now that their sorry asses are in trouble?

And this struck me odd, from the rave movie review by Roger Friedman on Foxnews.com:

Iron Man is really a comic book hero of the '80s and '90s, so he’s not really part of my nostalgia.

Huh?!? Iron Man debuted in 1963 and probably hit his zenith (in sales, anyway) in the mid-1970s.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 1:00pm
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PEARL DIVING ON YOU TUBE
On a lighter note - two of my favorite performers together from a 1963 TV taping - Pearl Bailey and Andy Williams singing 'Give Me The Simple Life.'

Pearl Bailey was a remarkably fluid performer, you can't help but smile when she's on screen and marvel at how far out on a limb she would go without wrecking the routine. Her styled meshed beautifully with Andy Williams' unique ability to stay in the groove and remain on key no matter what's thrown at him.

Speaking of Pearls, here's country comic Minnie Pearl with Dean Martin from the boozy crooner's variety show.

Sunday, April 27, 2008 - 10:30am
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DO YOU FEEL A DRAFT?
I found this to be surprising - in 1969 the U.S. reinstated the lottery for the draft in which birthdays were chosen at random from those rolling cages. If you were a male between the ages of 19 and 29, the higher up the list your birthday was the more likely you were to go. As a result, 850,000 men were called up to fight in Viet Nam in 1970.

And today - when our brave soldiers return home they're possibly faced with accommodations that look as if they've been neglected since the Viet Nam era. You are going to be horrified by the following video. I swear I think I'll just stop paying attention, it's just too much.

If you need to be reunited with a relative or estranged loved one or are looking to fill in missing pieces of your personal history, WE tv wants to help you. From the press release:

WE tv is looking for people nationwide to be profiled on the network’s newest docu-series THE LOCATOR. The series follows Troy Dunn, a professional with over 16 years of experience of connecting people, on intense and emotionally-charged journeys to reunite “half the world with the other half” and bring closure to those seeking it. Thousands of people are in desperate need to find people from their past – lost or estranged family, friends and loved ones. If you are one of those people, WE tv is looking for you. Are you adopted and ready to find your birth mother? Were you separated from your family at a young age and have not been successful in finding them? Do you have a reason to find the missing links from your past? If so, please submit thru either wetv.com/casting or TroyTheLocator.com by June 15th 2008 to be considered for a locate.

In each episode, Troy will select one “angel” case and set out on a quest to locate the individual. Cases featured will include stories of adoption, abducted children, dire medical situations involving terminal illnesses, abandonment and more. Each case will be handled by experienced professionals who include Troy, his team of private investigators, detectives, genealogists, law enforcement officials, and psychics. The series speaks to the power of human connections and brings viewers stories of hope, triumph and healing.

Did you know Milwaukee has its own classic TV station? From the press:

Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television) premiered in Milwaukee on March 1, 2008 as a digital service of WDJT-DT, CBS 58, with over the air coverage on digital channel 58.3 and cable coverage on Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications digital cable channel 201

“We are very excited to bring Me-TV to even more homes in Southeastern Wisconsin,” said Jim Hall, General Manager of the Weigel Broadcasting Company television stations in Milwaukee. “In the short time Me-TV has been on the air in Milwaukee, it has developed a very loyal following. Putting Me-TV on Channel 49 makes this family friendly channel available to virtually every household in our viewing area.”

It’s now easier to find Me. Viewers in Southeastern Wisconsin can now watch Me-TV for free over the air on Channel 49 as well as digital channel 58.3. For Time Warner customers, Me-TV can be seen on both standard cable Channel 19 and digital cable channel 201.

Sunday, April 27, 2008 - 9:46am
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SMILE!
This would make a great stunt for Candid Camera - except it's true: Beginning earlier this year, AT&T Wireless began to charge customers who pay their bills in their stores.

Can you imagine the look on people's faces when they find out they have to pay extra to use cash?!?

Friday, April 25, 2008 - 10:26am
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PORTABLE TELEVISION
Classic TV lovers have more shows available to go. From the press release:
Stephen J. Cannell Productions, Inc. and New Video today announced that top series from the vast Stephen J. Cannell Productions, Inc. library of groundbreaking television programs are now available for purchase and download on the iTunes® Store. Beginning today, iTunes customers will be able to purchase compelling character-driven series such as “21 Jump Street,” “Hunter” “The Greatest American Hero” and “Wiseguy,” with other titles to be added in the coming weeks. Representing the worldwide distribution rights to over 1,000 hours of Cannell-produced series and TV movies, Stephen J. Cannell Productions, Inc. controls one of the largest independent libraries of television programming in the world. Stephen J Cannell Productions, Inc. has partnered with New Video, a leading digital aggregator of independent video content, to bring these highly sought after series to the iTunes Store, the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie destination. Individual episodes are available for purchase at $1.99, and full season passes of each series are available at a discount. New Video and Stephen J. Cannell Productions, Inc. look forward to expanding their partnership to make more quality Cannell programming available in digital format on iTunes.

Here are the Cannell shows for download:
21 Jump Street (1986-1991 FOX)
Starring Holly Robinson Peete, Dustin Nguyen, Peter DeLuise, Steven Williams, Johnny Depp and Sal Jenco. They are a new breed of undercover police officers – an elite unit of baby-faced cops who walk their beat down high school hallways. With headquarters in an abandoned chapel located at 21 Jump Street, these rookie cops pose as students to infiltrate the world of teenage crime and they all answer to the hard-nosed, by-the-book Captain Adam Fuller.

The Greatest American Hero (1980-1983 ABC)
Starring William Katt, Robert Culp, Connie Sellecca, Michael Pare and Faye Grant. William Katt plays Ralph Hinkley, an earnest high school teacher who is presented with an unusual red flying suit with super powers. Among the capabilities the suit provides him are to become invisible, have holographic vision and the ability to fly. In spite of the fact that he promptly manages to lose the suit's operations manual, he is reluctantly pressed into service as a crime fighter.

Hunter (1984-1991 NBC)
Starring Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer. He plays by his own rules. He hates the pimps, pushers, creeps and killers that prowl our city streets. And he never fires a warning shot. Fred Dryer stars as the maverick police detective who along with partner Dee Dee 'The Brass Cupcake' McCall (Stepfanie Kramer) brought a tough new attitude to television.

Wiseguy (1987-1990 CBS)
Starring Ken Wahl, Jonathan Banks and Jim Byrnes. Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl), a tough, street-wise undercover Federal agent, infiltrates the organized-crime syndicate in Atlantic City where, with one slip of his cover, he could end up a dead man.

Renegade (1992-1997 USA Network)
Starring Lorenzo Lamas, Branscombe Richmond and Kathleen Kinmont. He was a cop, and a good one. But he committed the ultimate sin and testified against other cops gone bad. Cops tried to kill him, but got the woman he loved instead. Framed for murder, he now prowls the badlands. An outlaw hunting outlaws; a bounty hunter; a RENEGADE.

Silk Stalkings (1991-1999 CBS/USA Network)
Starring Rob Estes, Mitzi Kapture, Ben Vereen. This provocative series follows the casework of homicide detectives Chris Lorenzo and Rita Lance with an unusual specialty: high profile crimes of passion. The elite Ocean side community of Palm Beach that they patrol has its fair share of society murders, or as they refer to them, “silk stalkings.”

The Commish will also be available on iTunes in the coming months.

Friday, April 25, 2008 - 8:43am
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THIS 'N' THAT
Fox News reports that Jimmy Fallon will replace Conan O'Brien when O'Brien makes the jump to "The Tonight Show" in 2009.

Speaking of which, ever wonder what going green means to a kid? Jay Leno found out on yesterday's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" when he read "Kid's Letters For Earth Day."

TVparty-er Michael writes: "This website gets you copies of complaints to the FCC about any specific trashy TV show: TVshowComplaints.org." Cool!

Most broadcast shows that have returned in the weeks since the writer's strike have suffered double-digit ratings decreases - ABC's "Desperate Housewives" is down 33 percent, NBC's "ER" is down 24 percent and CBS' "CSI: NY" is down 12 percent, among others.

Watching the promo for the next episode of Kenny vs Spenny I was struck by this too-true quote: "If you're gay and want to be on reality TV -- you'd better be willing to make Paul Lynde look like fucking Lee Marvin." - Chez Pazienza

Thursday, April 24, 2008 - 2:18pm
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TERRIFIC EVENT THIS WEEKEND
Sal Gomez writes about the video of the Carpenter's house in the previous post:

This is so great. Especially after viewing pictures of how the current owners have literally destroyed the home as I had come to know it and allowed the beautiful Oasis that was the backyard to turn into a dump. I understand the owners need for privacy but if they really intended to live in a home that they could enjoy in peace and quiet, they should bought another house or looked to see what they could get for this "historic" piece of pop culture.

Thanks to you other Carpenter fans can see how beautiful the house once was and what it might be again if it can be saved.

BTW... I might have mentioned this to you some time ago but it's worth repeating. Four years ago I co-founded a group of drive-in theater fans that wanted to help spread the work that the drive-in theater is alive and well here in Southern California. Although there is only one open and operating theater in L.A. and Orange County there are a few more around. To make a long story short, we have been arranging and scheduling drive-in tailgate parties every summer since our inception and we've managed to create a small but loyal following. These "events' are great fun and it's a great family friendly night that brings back a lot of fond memories from the past.

Our first party for 2008 will be this Saturday night, April 26th at the Vineland drive-in here in the City of Industry (about 12 miles north of the Carpenter home).

I would so be there if I was in the area! Check out socaldims.com for more info.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 12:50pm
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