Friday, December 28, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Gerry Anderson's name was one of the very first I recognized as someone who made TV shows I liked...even though I couldn't read it! At 4 my favorite shows were SUPERCAR and STINGRAY. I still have drawings I made of both between 1964 and 1966. By '65, however, it was FIREBALL XL5 all the way for me! I had the books, the toys and I never missed the series. We never got THUNDERBIRDS in this market so it would be years before I saw that classic program but Steve Zodiac was certainly an early hero to me...as was Gerry Anderson.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
One of the great television ACTORS, Jack Klugman will no doubt be remembered for his gruff characterizations as Oscar Madison and Quincy but when one looks at the whole of his career, it becomes quickly obvious there was so much more to him than that. In his life, too, he served as an inspiration to many who were written off. Rest in Peace, sir, and thanks for all the great memories.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Here, from an interior photoshoot featuring actress Julie Sommars (THE GOVERNOR AND JJ) with exotic animals is an absolutely stunning shot that the TV star may well have expected to find on the mag's cover the following week. Instead, for some reason, it was decided to use a photo snapped just seconds later. Yikes!
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Perhaps inevitably, the success of The Carpenters as a recording act led to Richard and Karen headlining several TV specials. Despite the fact that the brother/sister act couldn't read lines at all, their amazing talents and personal charisma made them quite successful. Here, from 1977, is a very musical holiday special with guest stars Harvey Korman and Kukla and Ollie (sans Fran). Settle back and revel in that angelic voice of Karen's.
Monday, December 17, 2012
The last great Christmas TV special of the sixties, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN was from Rankin and Bass, the folks who had previously brought you RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER and many other great programs. The designs were by the inimitable Paul Coker, Jr whose work was recognizable to many of us from MAD.
The great voice cast included Jimmy Durante, Billy De Wolfe, June Foray and Paul Frees but, as the title character, deadpan comedian Jackie Vernon in the role of his career.
Despite a number of sequels, it's the original that's become a classic.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Rowan Atkinson, the only one I'd seen before, was the villain of the piece, a role he played with relish and gusto, much the way he played the various incarnations of Blackadder and later Mr. Bean, on his way to becoming a UK national treasure whose participation in the recent royal celebrations literally stole the show.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
An early favorite TV western for me was SUGARFOOT which went off the air when I was only 2 but I remember it! Actor Will Hutchins starred as a cowboy studying to be a lawyer. Will's charismatic personality carried the show and made him a fan favorite.
A few years later, he tried a funny but unsuccessful sitcom entitled HEY, LANDLORD!, then turned up briefly as a sixties incarnation of Dagwood Bumstead in a revival of BLONDIE. In between, he co-starred twice with Elvis. He says that Elvis was always worried that people were trying to steal scenes from him but knew he didn't have to worry about that with Will. If you look at the two films, though, it's fun to watch Will effortlessly do just that--steal every scene he's in from the King.
A few years ago, I was privileged to work with Will Hutchins in two old time radio re-creations. In one, I was a mob boss and he was my gunsel. In the other, I was a killer out to get his crooked ringleader.
Monday, November 26, 2012
This 1968 TV GUIDE cover was one of the first I remember ever seeing. IT spotlights a then new show starring former GILLIGAN'S ISLAND star Bob Denver with an actor I'd never heard of named Herb Edelman. Basically, the latter and his wife (played by actress Joyce Van Patten) ran a diner and Bob played their cab driver buddy. A second season retooling had Bob's character helping out at the diner as well. With Edelman, eventually one of my all-time favorite character actors, a much different person than Skipper Alan Hale (who guest-starred in one episode), the dynamic with Denver was very different as well. The show was basically low-key and not as unrealistically silly as Denver's previous gigs either. Overall, apparently too old-fashioned for the rapidly changing times and THE GOOD GUYS succumbed to the ratings in 1970.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Larry Hagman, son of beloved actress Mary Martin and himself one of THE great TV villians as JR Ewing, was a fascinating character in real-life. A leftist, a biker, a martial artist, a vegetarian and a militant anti-smoker, he also dropped acid regularly back in the day with friends like David Crosby, Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and, of all people, Burgess Meredith. After a few floundering years after the mega-successful I DREAM OF JEANNIE ended, he found a whole second career on DALLAS.