Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bob Jones

Growing up, Bob Jones was a major local TV personality. He was somewhat intellectual and clearly more literate than most  local TV folks. He had a talk show called KALEIDOSCOPE but, like many others in regional TV, he multi-tasked. Sometimes he did the news, the weather, spot announcements or, as seen here, hosted the MONEY MOVIE! George Clooney's Dad, Nick, himself the host of AMC movies at the time, told me once that Bob Jones knew more about movies than anyone. When I started at Waldenbooks in 1982, Bob was a frequent customer at the downtown store where I worked. His "square" personality perhaps led to his leaving TV during the "ANCHORMAN" era of the late seventies. I'm not certain whatever happened to Bob Jones but I've always remembered him fondly.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dale Robertson Passes

Star of TV's TALES OF WELLS FARGO (one of my favorite childhood westerns) and THE IRON HORSE (one of my mother's favorites), Dale passed early on the morning of February 26th...exactly one day after I was surprised to discover that he was still alive. Sigh...

Go to our sister blog for a major tribute in rarer than rare photos.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Avengers in Fable Land

Here's a delightful 1969 UK text story with lovely illustrations featuring British TV's THE AVENGERS, in this case starring John Steed and Tara King. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Friday in 1970

Friday, September 10th, 1970

Well it's the end of the TV GUIDE week. Let's see what was worth watching nearly 43 years ago.

As always, school, DARK SHADOWS, dinner, etc, etc. all leading up to Friday night TV.

7:30 presented some tough choices for a change--the final CBS episode of GET SMART (a rerun), a late episode of Sally Field's THE FLYING NUN (a much better show then folks might think without seeing it) and one of my parents' favorites and mine, THE HIGH CHAPARRAL, a western starring Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell, Henry Darrow and Mark Slade. This episode guest-starred Steve Forrest and Kurt Russell, already a TV veteran and just about to become a movie star in Disney flicks. How to cook Jamaican Cod Fritters on NET's INTERNATIONAL COOKBOOK wasn't even in the running.

I'm going to guess that we watched THE FLYING NUN. That would leave us open for HE & SHE at 8, one of my all-time favorite sitcoms to this very day! The Paula Prentiss/Richard Benjamin/Jack Cassidy series had originally aired in 1967. Said to be ahead of its time, CBS revived it as a summer series in 1970 and tonight was its very last network appearance. As I recall, we watched HE & SHE rather than a BRADY BUNCH rerun. That now-classic series was still relatively new and I hadn't watched early episodes at all. Then one night I was at a friend's house and her family watched it. After that, I got my family to watch it as well.

At 8:30, another conundrum. One of MY favorites, HOGAN'S HEROES (in its final Friday night appearance before moving to Sundays for its last season) or THE GHOST & MRS MUIR, one of my Mother's (and years later my wife's) favorites. Pretty sure we watched one of them rather than DIXON SAN, a locally produced special with Paul Dixon in the orient preempting the network's THE NAME OF THE GAME on both Cincinnati and Dayton channels. It would be 4 decades before I would enjoy THE NAME OF THE GAME in reruns.

With HERE COME THE BRIDES regularly preempted by Channel 12, we were then left with lousy looking movies starring the likes of Ralph Meeker, John Payne and two--count 'em two!--with Louis Jourdan.

Nothing to speak of after that before bedtime. The late night shows that went on whilst I was unconscious included John Cassavettes, Cab Calloway and the then-ubiquitous Jack Douglas and Reiko.

The end of another week for 11 year old me. I was looking forward to the new TV season coming up the following week.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Thursday in 1970

Thursday, September 10th, 1970

Once again at school all day, followed by the usual after school daily routines and shows before primetime.

At 7:30, Billy Graham once again preempted ABC's feed on Channel 12 but I have no idea what I missed this time as Oral Roberts cut it off on the Dayton ABC channel as well! Oh, well. More than likely we would have watched FAMILY AFFAIR no matter what, in spite of a highly touted NBC science special, THE ICE PEOPLE.

At 8, Glenn Ford hosted a one hour musical (!!) salute to America with guests that included Lou Rawls, John Hartford, Connie Stevens, Mac Davis, Bill Medley (from the Righteous Brothers) and Mark Lindsay (then briefly estranged from Paul Revere and the Raiders). Don't know if we would have watched that but of we did, we probably tuned out halfway through to catch BEWITCHED, a family favorite.

In retrospect, I wish I had watched MIDSUMMER ROCK, a 90 minute NBC special that had been filmed in Cincinnati in July of 1970. My dad worked at the Post Office at the time that was just down the street from the Reds' by-then abandoned Crosley Field where the Midsummer Rock Festival had been held. He came home complaining of long-haired hippies and loud motorcycles and tons of trash everywhere throughout the whole neighborhood.

Ultimately, it became an important bit of rock history as the first time Iggy Pop had done his geek act--cutting himself, smearing himself with peanut butter and then spontaneously walking out across the top of the crowd on the hands of concert goers. In the TV coverage, one can hear staid veteran announcer Jack Lescoulie wondering just what the heck was happening!

Besides the Stooges, the groups appearing briefly on air--edited down from 15 hours of he Festival--included Traffic, Mountain, Alice Cooper and Grand Funk Railroad. At 11 and having just discovered AM radio not long before, I had, I'm certain, never heard of any of them except Grand Funk Railroad.
Legendary MGM musical star Gene Kelly had a variety special on at 9 that we probably saw. His major guests were Barbara Eden and James Garner. Based on the ad, though, its main reason to exist was to introduce the brand new Chevrolet Vega! Other than the skipped rock concert, Gene and Chevy's only competition consisted of three old movies--a Rock Hudson Western, a Robert Ryan spy flick and a Betty Grable musical.

THE GOLDDIGGERS London variety series with Marty Feldman aired its final episode at 10 and then I'd have gone to sleep, missing that evening's chat show guests that included Rich Little and Glenn Ford.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Wednesday in 1970

Wednesday, September 9th, 1970

Again I was in school but our school had no cafateria so I either ate at an uptown restaurant or ran the three and a half blocks home for a quick lunch. On those occasions when I ran home, I'd generally catch a few minutes of Bob Braun and Nick Clooney's mid-day shows before I had to race back.

DARK SHADOWS at 4, as usual. After that, the routine generally followed yesterday's until primetime.

At 7:30. Billy Graham usurped ABC broadcasts on Channel 12 again. THE VIRGINIAN presented a rerun from 7 full years earlier, all because it featured Robert Redford who, in 1970, had just achieved superstardom with BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. That wouldn't have mattered to me yet, though, so I probably watched the final episode of the Hanna-Barbera animated sitcom WHERE'S HUDDLES? instead.

At 8 PM, channel 9 offered what appears to have been a syndicated special of black music starring BB King and Sly and the Family Stone. Once again, my tastes had not yet reached that level. I probably tuned out for a while and let my parents watch whatever.

At 8:30, my choice would have been between ROOM 222 and THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES. In its 8th season I believe by that point, the TV GUIDE didn't even bother to list the show's whole title--just...HILLBILLIES.

Not to be one-upped by rival evangelist Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, at the time a favorite of my friend Doug and his family, cut off network programming on Channel 12 at 9. Specifically, an episode of THE EVERLY BROTHERS variety series.

Broadway Diva Carol Channing had a musical comedy network special on NBC featuring an unlikely guest list that included Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir John Gielgud, Art Carney and MY THREE SONS' Fred MacMurray. I'd be willing to bet, though, that we opted for the rerun of Chad Everett's MEDICAL CENTER that featured the acting debut of football star and future infamous celebrity OJ Simpson.

At 10 PM, President Nixon interrupted everything on every channel (as he often did!) with a brief message on behalf of "The United Community Fund."The only ting not affected was NET which presented a controversial documentary, HOMOSEXUALITY IN MEN AND WOMEN.

Still, Nixon was gone by 10:05 and we were left with the choice of HAWAII 5-0, The Americas Cup boat races or, from ABC, a rerun of the CBS episode of THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR that had aired during the 1968 musicians strike. George harrison, Donovan and Jennifer Warnes (Warren then) appear along with Howard Hesseman's comedy group, The Committee. That would probably have been what we watched as we weren't boating enthusiasts and didn't normally catch  Jack Lord's now-classic (and revived) cop show.

Off to bed for me, missing the late night talk show guests Joel Grey, Bernadette Peters (whom I didn't even hear of until a couple of years later), George Maharis, Totie Fields, Karen Valentine and Mickey Rooney.

Had I been aware of how cool it was, I might have begged to stay up to catch the great Clifton Webb in his signature role in MISTER BELVEDERE RINGS THE BELL. As it is, it would be another dozen years before I discovered Webb.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Tuesday in 1970

Tuesday, September 8th, 1970

This would, I believe, have been my first day back at school, the beginning of sixth grade. Obviously, I would have missed TV until probably 4...when I never missed DARK SHADOWS during this period, even if I sometimes had to stop at my friend Debbie's house (which was closer to the school than mine) to catch it! According to IMDB, this would have been the series 1097th episode. According to the booklet with the box set, the plot revolved around David and Hallie, the two teenage stars. I had such a crush on Kathleen Cody who played Hallie Stokes. In 2011, I exchanged a couple of emails with her.

After that, I most likely got dinner but had it in front of the TV watching MARINE BOY/ROCKET ROBIN HOOD, a combination half hour featuring two completely unrelated series. Corrine Orr did the voice of Marine Boy and in 2007, I spoke with her on the telephone. ROCKET ROBIN HOOD featured art by Wally Wood and Gray Morrow(both of whom I run blogs on) and Jim Steranko whom I've met a couple of times.

At 5, I could have watched reruns of HAZEL, RAWHIDE (with Mary Astor from THE MALTESE FALCON) or, out of Dayton, I LOVE LUCY. On Channel 19, however, my favorite channel, was BATMAN--a penguin episode.

After BATMAN came THE PATTY DUKE SHOW and then VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, all watched whilst mostly news played out on the other channels.

At 7, Milton Berle guested on an F TROOP repeat but we most likely stuck with TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES. My Mom loved Bob Barker. Oddly, in later years, my Dad loved Bob on THE PRICE IS RIGHT.

As prime time hit, we had the US debut of Kenneth Clark's CIVILIZATION. Are you kidding? I was 11. Pass.

Opposite that was a Billy Graham Crusade. These came along fairly often in those days and were remembered by me mainly for cutting off more interesting programs. Interesting to note that the ancient looking George Beverly Shea appeared and sang...and that Shea, well over a hundred years old now in 2013--is still alive as of this writing!

Graham displaced an episode of THE MOD SQUAD with Sammy Davis, Jr that still ran on the Dayton channel we never could bring in. Other than a TV western movie with John Gavin, my only real choice was Channel 19's MUSIC CONNECTION again so I may have read for a while.

At 8:30, Diahann Carroll's JULIA was on, opposite Suzanne Pleshette in the TV film, ALONG CAME A SPIDER. At 9, pre-empted locally by a Charlton Heston movie (!!), was a re-airing of the pilot for McCLOUD, a series which was getting set to debut and which would eventually become one of my faves form that era.

Channel 19 had O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE with Fred Allen and Marilyn Monroe, which I know I didn't see til a decade later, and Channel 48  offered a 1968 Duke Ellington profile, which I didn't have the sense yet to appreciate. At 9:15, CBS debuted a documentary entitled A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE UNITED STATES.

I may have come back to MARCUS WELBY, MD with Delores Del Rio (I had another crush on Elena Verdugo who played the Doctor's nurse) but most likely I read until bedtime.

The late night talk show guests included Arlo Guthrie, George Jessel, Joey Heatherton (another crush!) and Dick Clark but I was undoubtedly asleep by then.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Monday in 1970

Monday, September 7th, 1970

Let's face it, I spent most of the day watching Jerry Lewis and his MD telethon. We may have even contributed. In years where we were financially able to, we sometimes did.

What were some of the shows I COULD have been watching?

Well, TODAY featured a report on DISNEY ON PARADE along with tennis champ Billie Jean King. CAPTAIN KANGAROO's featured animals were a dog and a goose. SKIPPER RYLE's daily show for younger kids was still on as was UNCLE AL. I had outgrown both but still tuned in from time to time out of habit.

Gane show choices included HOLLYWOOD SQUARES and SALE OF THE CENTURY. Daytime reruns of former primetime shows were prevalent and included GOMER PYLE USMC, BEWITCHED and THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.

Local favorites like THE PAUL DIXON SHOW in the morning were popular and BOB BRAUN'S 50-50 CLUB and THE NICK CLOONEY SHOW were on in the early afternoon.

Soaps abounded in the afternoon along with more game shows like THE DATING GAME (Bill Bixby guested this day) and THE MOVIE GAME, talk shows with Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas and Art Linkletter, and a Reds baseball game!

DARK SHADOWS trumped everything else at 4 on Channel 12, followed by an ADDAMS FAMILY rerun. I caught SESAME STREET from time to time (it was still pretty new then) because I liked The Muppets and also tuned in THE FRIENDLY GIANT, perhaps the gentlest children's show ever.

I'm sure we watched the news at 6 PM, ignoring the opposing episodes of BURKE'S LAW and MAJOR ADAMS (the syndicated title for early Ward Bond WAGON TRAIN episodes) that intrigue me now.

At 6:30, after the Telethon had ended, Channel 19 debuted a variety special saluting America. Its unlikely cast included host Pat Buttram and guests Anita Bryant (before her ant-gay controversies), Red Skelton and Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell (played by Tom Hanks in the later movie).

At 7, we either watched an F TROOP rerun or TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, most likely the latter.

7:30 had the final episode of William Windom's Thurber-inspired sitcom, MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT but I'm thinking we skipped that for my Dad's never-missed GUNSMOKE. We certainly didn't watch IT TAKES A THIEF. We never did.

That would take us up to 8:30. At 8PM a network baseball game  had taken over NBC's Channel 5 so all we had to choose from after that was ABC and CBS basically. The latter had a 1959 Robert Taylor western, THE HANGMAN, but we probably stuck with the family favorites, THE LUCY SHOW (guest-starring Danny Thomas), MAYBERRY RFD and then THE DORIS DAY SHOW on Channel 9. Larry Storch was funny as a boxer on this episode of Doris's series.

At 10, with the movie and the ball game continuing on the other stations, the only real choice was THE WILD, WILD WEST or INSIGHT on PBS, the latter being a dramatized religious anthology, here presenting a pre-M*A*S*H Jamie Farr. Guess what I watched.

I rarely stayed up past 11 in those days but if I had, I could have watched CAN YOU TOP THIS?, HE SAID SHE SAID (with Sally Field) or more news.

The late night talk shows had Henny Youngman guesting with DICK CAVETT, newsman Charles Kuralt with MERV GRIFFIN and future LOVE BOAT singer Jack Jones subbing for Johnny on TONIGHT.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Sunday in 1970

Sunday, September 6th, 1970

On Sundays, unless I was up early to catch a Laurel and Hardy movie on the late, late, LATE show, I slept in since there was nothing but religious programming on 'til 8 AM.

At 8, Channel 9 had DASTARDLY AND MUTTLEY. This was followed by WACKY RACES, TOM AND JERRY and CARTOONS A GO GO while the other stations all continued with religious, political or medical programming. At 10, we got SKIPPER RYLE, a holdover from the fifties kids show boom now done as a 2 hour combination of cartoons, music, games and magic, all with a live kid audience. Skipper was also the station's announcer, movie host, bowling show host and weatherman.

At Noon on this day, I was watching Day Two of channel 19's THE MUSIC CONNECTION, passing up Kubrick's PATHS OF GLORY, a film I still have never seen! Otherwise, all I missed was more politics, third string movies and a track meet.

At 4 PM, the choice was between TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT and Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald in concert on the French Riviera from 1966. Nowadays I would choose the latter. Back then, it would have been Tarzan.

Not much else on in the afternoon other than sports except for reruns of the TV western LAREDO and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, both opposite each other. At 6, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. was on, opposite MITCH MILLER and WAGON TRAIN. If I had control of the TV it was Napoleon Solo, of course. If my Mom did, it was one of the other two.

At 7:30, it was Disney. Whether we watched that depended on what was on on any given week. This week it was the third and final part of a movie with James MacArthur and Nick Adams apparently called WILLIE AND THE YANK. We probably caught the sitcom TO ROME WITH LOVE instead.

Perennial Sunday night staple ED SULLIVAN also depended o his guests as to whether we watched. On this particular evening, it was Liza Minnelli (whom I had never heard of at that point), Henry Mancini, David Hemmings, Judy Carne and Mason Williams. Sounds like a good show now but Judy would have been the only reason I might have tuned in back then. Eubie Blake had a special on Channel 48 but my parents probably watched THE FBI instead.

BONANZA and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE were never miss items on Sunday evenings, passing up, as always, THE BOLD ONES and various movies, in this case LOLITA and THE HOUSE ON GREENAPPLE ROAD. The latter was the pilot for the DAN AUGUST TV cop show but, oddly, starred Christopher George as August rather than Burt Reynolds!

The 5th Annual Jerry Lewis MD Telethon came on later that night, broadcast locally on Channel 19 and hosted by Puppeteer Larry Smith and horror host, The Cool Ghoul! Among the star power on the national feed that year were Jack Benny, Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra, Joan Crawford, Vincent Price, Roy Rogers, and Soupy Sales. A far cry from what passed for celebs on it on later years. I would usually stay up as long as I could before passing out on the couch, then wake up to catch more of it the next day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Saturday in 1970

It's February of 2013 and there are hundreds of television stations and yet nothing to watch. Let's go back to September of 1970 and then see what our options were, shall we?

We had 5 main channels--Channel 9 was CBS, Channel 12 was ABC, Channel 5 was NBC, Channel 19 was a UHF independent channel and Channel 48 was NET (now PBS). Secondarily, there was KET, the new Kentucky PBS channel that was 90% classroom programs at that point, and the Dayton channels that could be picked up well enough to watch if the wind was right--Channels 2, 7 and 16. Only once was I ever able to pull in Channel 22 so of course it was that one that TV GUIDE always showed to have the best programs!

It's Saturday, September 5th, 1970. I'm 11 years and 8 months old and I watch a LOT of television! The new school year was just starting and I was in 6th Grade. But let's say I was off sick that week. What would I watch?

Saturday, September 5th:

I usually woke up early on most mornings, school or no school. On Saturdays, the earliest option for me was at 7 AM--PLAY IT SAFE. PLAY IT SAFE was a fun, locally produced game show featuring Cub Scouts learning about traffic safety. Before that, when the stations began signing on for the day, it was all farm programming (even though we lived in the city) and educational shows.

At 7:30, we had BATMAN, although I'm unclear if it was reruns of the Adam West series or the then-recent Filmation cartoons. Either way, if I didn't like the eepisode, at 7:45 I could switch to DAVY & GOLIATH, Art Clokey's gently religious claymation show.

Things really started to get going at 8 AM with a choice between the animated GULLIVER, and already ancient reruns of HECKLE & JECKLE or THE JETSONS. I probably opted for the latter, still an all-time favorite.

For me the rest of the morning would have been BUGS BUNNY/ROAD RUNNER, THE CATTANOOGA CATS, a locally compiled CARTOONS A GO-GO show, HR PUFNSTUF, THE BANANA SPLITS (switched off halfway through to catch ARCHIE) and then either GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE (new)or THE FLINTSTONES (old).

At Noon, the last episode of Cass Elliot's music series, GET IT TOGETHER aired opposite THE MONKEES (old episodes with news songs inserted). On this particular day, however, I opted to catch the debut of Channel 19's MUSIC CONNECTION, an early form of MTV-style music where one would sit for hours watching music videos and performances or just listening to music while watching psychedelic imagery. It started this day at four hours and eventually would take up most of the station's weekends. Things I missed by watching it that day included PENELOPE PITSTOP, UNDERDOG and SUPERMAN (the George Reeves version) as well as AMERICAN BANDSTAND and UPBEAT. In retrospect, I wish I'd watched the latter with guests David Cassidy, The Cowsills, Ron Dante and The Ides of March!

I may actually have tuned out THE MUSIC CONNECTION at 2:30 for HERE COME THE BRIDES, one of my favorite series at the time and one that the local station, for some reason, opted to cut from prime time and run on weekend afternoons instead for most of its run!

They did the same with LAND OF THE GIANTS, which followed it. After that, though, it was golf, tennis or Little League so I'd have been off reading for a while.

At 6, MIDWESTERN HAYRIDE would have been on courtesy of my mother. This longrunning local music show was then hosted by future HEE HAW regular Kenny Price and tonight featured an undoubtedly still clean-shaven, suit and tie wearing Willie Nelson as a guest!

Bob Barker's TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES was always fun at 7.

At 7:30, a failed pilot with Robert Young as a detective would attract my attention NOW but at the time I went for Basil Rathbone in THE MAD DOCTOR on Channel 19, passing up ADAM 12, LAWRENCE WELK and MY THREE SONS. The Claude Rains PHANTOM OF THE OPERA followed but I may have switched to ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINCK or PETTICOAT JUNCTION. If the latter, then I stayed on CBS for MANNIX, one of my favorite detective series.

Although I was probably in bed by 11 PM, an option I had if I couldn't sleep was HUGH HEFNER with Steve Allen and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I think this was PLAYBOY AFTER DARK although the TV GUIDE just lists it as HUGH HEFNER.

Overnight would have been the usual mix of old movies on the various late, late shows featuring Mitzi Gaynor, Ralph Bellamy, Tony Curtis and Gig Young but I wouldn't have caught any of them.

Coming Next: Sunday Programming!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Salvage-1 (1979)

This was a fun if highly improbable TV movie from January of 1979 that features Andy Griffith, who'd been floundering a bit in movies lately, returning to the small screen and a regular series. By the time this pilot aired, it looks as though the decision had already been made to go to series.

Andy plays a junk dealer who finds out that he can legally salvage all of the NASA equipment left behind on the moon...if he can just get to the moon. The series that followed ran out of similarly warped ideas fairly early but limped along with a likable cast for the remainder of the year.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Courtship of Eddie's Father

ALL IN THE FAMILY is often credited with changing the face of the American sitcom but I have to say that THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER had already started the maturing over a year before. 

Based on the 1963 feature film with Glenn Ford as Tom Corbett and THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW's Ronny Howard as Eddie, the basic storyline is that Eddie's mother has died and he feels it's time his Dad starts dating again because he's been kind of down. 

For the TV version, producer James Komack cast Bill Bixby, an actor who had been big on MY FAVORITE MARTIAN a few years earlier but who had kind of floundered around with hammy performances in a couple of big screen Elvis movies since. Bixby managed to completely redefine his sometimes manic acting style, in the process adding a more realistic, mature charm. Komack himself played his co-worker and often had some funny interactions with Kristina Holland as his secretary.

Academy Award winning actress Miyoshi Umeki played the gentle Japanese housekeeper--more a part of the family really--Mrs. Livingston.

Young Brandon Cruz took on the role of Eddie. He wasn't a great actor even as kid actors go but he brought the role a mannered realism  and what seemed at least to be a genuine bond with Bixby.

An unsung star of the series was rising star singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson whose song "Best Friend" served as the theme but also punctuated various points throughout each episode.

 There were tie-in comic books and several TV GUIDE covers. Over the course of the show's three seasons, there were at least hints of more adult themes as well as a number of somewhat serious episodes in general. But there was always a background of love and friendship.

Komack produced other hit series including CHICO & THE  MAN and WELCOME BACK KOTTER while Bixby ran through several more series including THE MAGICIAN, THE INCREDIBLE HULK  (one episode of which guest-starred Brandon Cruz as seen below) and GOODNIGHT BEANTOWN before becoming a successful director on shows like BLOSSOM. Sadly, he died fairly young. 

According to Cruz, he and Bixby were so close that even when the show was not shooting, they hung out frequently. "He was like a second father," he said once. Perhaps that's why Brandon--although, like many child stars, he had issues--turned out pretty well in the long run.