Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters Theme

The pre-Donny Osmonds sang the theme and occasionally appeared on the  short-lived but well-remembered TV series from the early '60s called THE TRAVELS OF JAIMIE McPHEETERS. The series starred Dan O'Herlihy as a classy father with a drinking problem in the old west. He and his son Jaimie, well-played by young Kurt Russell, eventually end up on a wagon train where generally well-written anthology type stories took place week after week. Charles Bronson becomes the wagonmaster about halfway through the series. The Osmonds' appearances, doing barbershop quartet style harmonies, were somewhat anachronistic highlights. They were obviously a favorite of the Brothers Gibb in Australia as they adopted that style and even recorded a version of this song.

Monday, September 26, 2016

What I Watched the Week of May 6-13, 1972

Haven’t done one of these in a while. Let’s say it’s the week of May 6-12, 1972 and I’m in the Cincinnati area. I was 13 years old. What would I have watched on TV every evening?


My mother liked NBC’ EMERGENCY but my dad liked CBS’s ALL IN THE FAMILY. We all liked ABC’s BEWITCHED, though, and even though it was a late rerun, I think that’s what we watched. That would have left us open to switch to CBS for the rest of the night for MARY TYLER MOORE, THE NEW DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, ARNIE, and then at 10 back to ABC for Gary Collins’ THE SIXTH SENSE.


On Sundays, whether or not we watched WALT DISNEY depended on what was on and this week it was a rerun of “Joker, the Amiable Ocelot,” which we would have skipped. Probably would have watched TOM JONES with the Bee Gees, Tim Conway, and Lulu. At 9, we definitely watched Tom Jones as he starred in one of my favorite specials of the day, THE SPECIAL LONDON BRIDGE SPECIAL. I know because I sat in front of the set and audiotaped it! The Carpenters, Elliot Gould, Chief Dan George, Terry-Thomas, and Hermione Gingold headed an all-star cast directed by David Winters (I believe), many years later a FB friend! My mother would have watched THE BOLD ONES right after that but not me.


Normally the choice here was between  LAUGH-IN and GUNSMOKE, the latter being my dad’s favorite series. This being rerun season, though, I’m betting we watched Dan and Dick. Rich Little guested on HERE’S LUCY at 9 (I shook hands with him 8 years later) and we rarely skipped THE DORIS DAY SHOW. At 10, we watched Anne Bancroft’s rerun special.


At 8, we had to choose between PONDEROSA (??), GLEN CAMPBELL, and MOD SQUAD. We watched them all and none of the episodes look familiar so not sure which we saw that night. Either way, we probably turned it off halfway through because my mom was a buff for beauty pageants and AMERICA’S JUNIOR MISS was on.


For some reason, two local stations preempted network programming—including McCLOUD, THE SMITH FAMILY, THE MARTY FELDMAN COMEDY MACHINE, and THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE’S FATHER for old movies tonight! This left us with CAROL BURNETT and MEDICAL CENTER. At 10, the movies ended and we had to choose between NIGHT GALLERY and MANNIX.


ALIAS SMITH AND JONES was opposite the legendarily bad ME & THE CHIMP. If we watched the latter that night, then at 8:30 we probably watched MY THREE SONS (although in retrospect, I wish we’d watched THE OLD RADIO COMEDIANS on PBS). IRONSIDE with Raymond Burr was a favorite on at 9 but we also watched LONGSTREET fairly often on the other channel. DEAN MARTIN probably beat out OWEN MARSHALL, COUNSELOR AT LAW but maybe not. It was the latter show that made me (briefly) want to become an attorney.


My BRADY BUNCH was vying against my dad’s SANFORD AND SON. I remember watching this Brady episode, though. After that, Fridays were straight ABC at our house always—THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY, THE ODD COUPLE, ROOM 222, and LOVE AMERICAN STYLE.

And that was the week that was (to coin a phrase) in May of 1972.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pebbles Flintstone-1963

Exploitation? What exploitation? Pebbles made her TV debut in late February of 1963. The Baby Pebbles doll was in stores that very week and more toys, games, etc appeared throughout the year! Holy Sparkle Plenty!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The John Larroquette Show 1993-1996

I was reminded today of THE JOHN LARROQUETTE SHOW, a series from 24 years back that should be much better remembered than it is. After years of perfecting the obnoxious "Dan Fielding" on NIGHT COURT, it may be that no matter how good his performance was, the public simply wouldn't accept John as a nice guy. 

In spite of its title, this was an ensemble cast series with Larroquette the odd sane man out in an insane microcosm of a bus station. One unique aspect of his character was that he was an alcoholic, like Sam on CHEERS. Only here, he was constantly in danger of falling off the wagon and his struggles were not only written in but often highlighted whole episodes. Rock star David Crosby--himself a notorious addict--appeared from time to time as John's character's AA sponsor. 

Our hero is the new night manager at a bus station and it pretty much becomes his world, shared with the other citizens of the night who either work or hang out there.

Episodes were a mixture of well-performed comedy and well-acted drama and the show ran several acclaimed seasons but then seemed quickly and wrongly forgotten. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

R.I.P. Noel Neill

I don't know if I'd call it an early crush as much as just a strong, almost maternal, feeling from Noel Neill, the original and most well-known live action Lois Lane. After a modeling career and some B movies, she first turned up as the crusading reporter in Kirk Alyn's Superman serials. At first replaced in the George Reeves TV version, she returned to the role and won the hearts of youngsters and their future selves everywhere. She passed yesterday.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Get Smart-1965

Designed by committee--including Mel Brooks and Buck Henry-- as a spoof of James Bond and THE MAN FRON U.NC.L.E. by way of Inspector Clouseau and adapting Don Adams' pre-existing "Byron Glick" character from THE BILL DANA SHOW pretty much intact to fit the bill, TV's GET SMART--also co-starring purring commercial star Barbara Feldon--ran  5 seasons on 2 networks from 1965-1969 and has aged well. The zany comedy lead to two feature films, a TV movie, a revival series, a stage play, a series of tie-in book and comics, and at the time not just one but would you believe a half dozen catch phrases?

Here are a couple articles from just prior to the show first airing.