Friday, September 12, 2014

A Year At the Top

Norman Lear was the TV hit king of the seventies and Don Kirshner had done quite well, also, with The Archies and then his TV Rock Concert series. Thus it was with great anticipation that the public awaited their announced collaboration, A YEAR AT THE TOP, due in early 1977. Only it was delayed almost a year and when it did air, it aired only 5 episodes.

The show starred Greg Evigan, later of BJ & THE BEAR and MY TWO DADS along with Paul Shaffer fresh off SNL and with three and a half decades of DAVID LETTERMAN still in his future.

Between january and August of 1977, there was a major cast shakeup, replacing Mickey Rooney with Gabe Dell. It didn't help.

In spite of the hype and the fact that the show's stars even put out an LP, nothing really helped.

The premise was basically that these two struggling nice guy musicians made a deal with the devil for one year of success, "a year at the top." To someone this apparently seemed an acceptable premise but even taken as black comedy it was just not workable. Add to that the fact that Paul, a brilliant musician and a funny man, simply couldn't act, and the show quickly died and was swept under the rug of TV history.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Connie Stevens at MANC

It's almost here! The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention is only weeks away now and certainly one of this year's highlights is CONNIE STEVENS, a TV mainstay of the sixties and seventies!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meet the Cartwrights

It's almost here! This year's Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention is mere weeks away. Amongst this year's guests, one will be able to meet the Cartwrights! Well, not THOSE Cartwrights, but sisters Veronica and Angela Cartwright. Seen above in the mid-sixties when Angela was appearing on LOST IN SPACE, set in the future, whilst Veronica was a regular on THE ADVENTURES OF DANIEL BOONE, set in the past. Angela was a major child star on television and Veronica went on to be a major star in films such as ALIEN. In a fair world, she would have won an Oscar for her intense performance in INSERTS.


Find out more about the Cartwright sisters and the rest of the stars and familiar faces on his year's guest list for the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention here!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I never watched NICHOLS when it was on new. It was opposite the latter part of ABC's Tuesday MOVIE OF THE WEEK and that was a golden age for TV movies so we usually watched those, especially since it was also opposite the beginning of MARCUS WELBY, MD, one of my mother's favorite series. I liked James Garner though, from barely remembered MAVERICK episodes and a few movies. Over the years, I wished I had watched NICHOL, especially when he himself said it was probably his favorite of all his series.

With his recent passing, I've finally begun to watch episodes and while I'm enjoying it immensely, I can see why it failed. One week, it's a drama, the next a sitcom. One week, Nichols is a reluctant hero, the next he's attempting an elaborate robbery with a handpicked group of criminal experts. One week co-star John Beck is an antagonist, the next he's comic relief. The only consistent characterization is that of Neva Patterson as the woman who runs the town and her character is given much deeper characterization than she really needs (although so much fun to watch!) 

NICHOLS was also the place where Garner put together the crew who would follow him into THE ROCKFORD FILES, his infinitely superior next series. But NICHOLS can't just be written off because, taken on their own, the episodes I've seen thus far have been wonderful fun!
R.I.P. James Garner

Thursday, July 24, 2014

TV is Back

So today, for the first time in several years, we get TV back. Haven't really missed it, mind you. Just that it's turned out to be cheaper to get 200 channels back than to have none. Go figure. No idea if we'll even turn the thing on any more than we have been. We're so used to NOT mindlessly flipping channels hoping to find something better on. We'll see. Not even sure what channels we'll be getting. Don't really care. We'll see how this goes.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

R.I.P. James Garner

Sometimes James Garner played just plain tough guys. He was good at it, but so were scores of other actors of his generation. What made James Garner something special was when they allowed him to be James Garner first and his character second. In that way, Garner brought a vulnerability, an amiability and an outright Oklahoma charm that no other actor could give a role. He brought it to the title role on MAVERICK in the late fifties and it was a huge success! Lightning struck twice when he also brought it to his second iconic role, Jim Rockford, a decade and a half later.

Not only was James Garner able to capture the lightning twice but he successfully revisited both those roles in later years before settling into a career as an always-reliable character actor and voiceover artist.
R.I.P. James Garner