Sunday, April 20, 2014

Make Room For Danny


MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY began in 1953 and was already 6 years old by the time I started watching it. Originally it had starred Danny Thomas with Jean Hagen, Rusty Hamer and Sherry Jackson. By the time I could remember seeing it, you had Marjorie Lord added to the cast as the new wife and Angela Cartwright as the new daughter. Annette Funicello was also a regular for a while.


It was a fixture in our house until I was six years old and even then daytime reruns persisted! Just five years later, however, most of the original cast returned in a less successful but no less entertaining update entitled MAKE ROOM FOR GRANDDADDY!




Saturday, April 19, 2014

NBC Week-1970



The week in which most of NBC's new series premiered in September of 1970 was dubbed--by NBC itself--as NBC WEEK. Note that on several evenings, local affiliates opted to air their own programming instead!

Disney and Bonanza were nearing the end of long runs but still had a few years to go. This version of THE BILL COSBY SHOW was good but didn't make one percent of the impact of his later sitcom. THE BOLD ONES was a rotating series that would stick it out for a few years.


THE RED SKELTON SHOW switched to NBC in a half hour format after nearly 2 decades on CBS with an hour. Red wasn't happy and it showed. LAUGH-IN was in the middle of its groundbreaking run and the NIGHT GALLERY pilot featured Steven Spielberg's first professional credit!


Don Knotts had made some great big screen comedies in just a few short years but saw the writing on the wall and opted to return to television. Sadly, although this series is fondly remembered by those of us who saw it, there weren't very many of us. JULIA was a gentle "message" sitcom and pioneered black the presence on TV. It also gave football player Fred Williamson his real start as an actor. 



THE MEN FROM SHILOH was THE VIRGINIAN, updated with new cast members and with a new name so as not to wear out its welcome. The Kraft show, likeweise had been on for ages. FOUR-IN-ONE was the proto-MYSTERY MOVIE where McCLOUD debuted but the other 3 spokes didn't survive the season.


Flip Wilson would be another one to cross racial lines and become a big hit on all sides. IRONSIDE was Raymond Burr's successful post-Perry second act. NANCY was a cute show with a cute cast about the supposed President's daughter. Dino, of course, had been a TV fixture for years. Whether or not he remembered any of it is a different question.


THE HIGH CHAPARRAL was a good western in the tradition of THE BIG VALLEY. THE NAME OF THE GAME was the wonderful semi-anthology series featuring rotating stars Tony Franciosa, Gene Barry and Robert Stack and BRACKEN'S WORLD was a VALLEY OF THE DOLLS riff soap that didn't last too long.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Timmy's In the Well by Jon Provost


I am not a dog person but when I was little, I sure wanted to be because I loved LASSIE! I'm currently enjoying reading this fascinating autobiography by Jon Provost, one of my TV siblings from back in the day and this year a scheduled guest at May's NOSTALGIA EXPO in Cincinnati!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Happy Birthday to Doris Day


Doris Day's '60s movies are not her best but they're where I learned to love Doris Day. And what's NOT to love? Band singer, recording star, musical star, comedy actress and eventually television legend with her long running DORIS DAY show and musical specials. Plus she's a local girl (from Cincinnati) made good! Today, Doris turns 90. Happy birthday, Dodo!












 

Friday, March 28, 2014

R.I.P.-Lorenzo Semple, Jr.



He wrote some of the WORST movies of his day--THE PARALLAX VIEW, KING KONG--but also some of the very BEST!--THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.

But most importantly, he was the writer who developed BATMAN for television, wrote the seminal early episodes and the feature film.  Rest in peace, sir. And thanks for everything.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My First Anime


I remember Osama Tezuka's ASTRO BOY as being my mostest favorite series when I was about 4. 


By age 5, my tastes were more refined and MARINE BOY with his oxygen gum was my favorite, I remember the first time I saw those brilliant colors while visiting the home of a friend whose parents could afford a color TV!



By 1969, however, PRINCE PLANET came into rotation on a new UHF channel and I began wearing a pendant all the time. In fact, I still have it in the drawer directly in front of me!



But the best was probably SPEED RACER by 1970, colorful and creative with lots of action and likable characters. Many, many years later, I spoke on the phone with Corinne Orr who was not only the voice of both Speed's girlfriend AND his little brother but also the above-mentioned Marine Boy!



Honorable mention must be given to this guy, ALAKAZAM THE GREAT, a feature-length Japanese anime based on the Monkey King legend, dubbed into English with celebrity voices like Frankie Avalon and Jonathan Winters and frequently shown on television throughout my childhood. 


Saturday, March 15, 2014

McCloud



I've already mentioned that McCLOUD was one of my absolute favorite TV series of the 1970s. After stealing scenes from Marshal Dillon in GUNSMOKE and a giant bear on GENTLE BEN, Dennis Weaver was finally the star of his own series.


McCLOUD was inspired by, if not entirely based on, a then-recent Clint Eastwood film entitled COOGAN'S BLUFF about a western lawman who becomes a fish out of water while in NYC on assignment. See the TV GUIDE description below. 



Originally a one hour part of NBC's anthology, THE MEN, in 1970, Marshal McCloud joined became one of the initial spokes of the "wheel" of the MYSTERY MOVIE, increasing the length of his episodes to 90 minutes or, occasionally, 2 hours!




And it was mostly Dennis, the clever writing, and solid directing that carried it as there was barely a  regular cast at all. J.D. Cannon was perfect as Chief Clifford, Sam McCloud's foil in every episode. Terry Carter was equally well-cast as Sam's easy-going, by the book partner. A parade of character actors and actresses reappeared in certain roles from time to time including Diana Muldaur as Sam's most regular girlfriend and Terri Garr and singer/actress Della Reese as officers working at headquarters.




McCloud regularly would end up using outlandish ways of police work as his brief assignment to study NYC police methods ended up stretching on from 1970 to 1977, even necessitating spinoffs such as the book series below.










THE RETURN OF SAM McCLOUD was a welcome 90 minutes or so with old friends a dozen years later but the magic was gone. The original series, however, still offers fun and intriguing mysteries that can be enjoyed over and over.