Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The New Maverick

THE NEW MAVERICK was a fun 1978 TV movie that reunited early sixties cowboy stars James Garner and Jack Kelly as the original MAVERICK brothers in order to set up a new TV series, eventually called YOUNG MAVERICK. Newcomer Charles Frank wasn't bad as Ben Maverick, the star of said new series. Garner and Kelly did not carry over into the series. The problem he had was the same that Kelly, Roger Moore and Robert Colbert had had. He simply was NOT James Garner. This was rectified when a post-ROCKFORD FILES Garner was persuaded to return to the role on a full-time basis in 1981's BRET MAVERICK. While the latter didn't last long, it was quite enjoyable and is still seen in reruns today while THE NEW MAVERICK is just a trivia question.

Monday, October 29, 2012


A couple of years after retiring as Emma Peel, Diana Rigg moved to the US, changed her hairstyle and made a concerted effort to become Mary Tyler Moore. Her short-lived but high-profile sitcom, DIANA, featured the future Dame as a fashion designer. Years later, when my wife and I met Ezra Stone, the former radio star turned TV director, he told us of how much he enjoyed working on this series. Apparently all the fun was behind the screen, however as the show just wasn't very good and Rigg's appeal was very different than it had been on THE AVENGERS.

Monday, October 22, 2012


This channel will be taking a brief hiatus while the producer attempts to catch up on some paid work that's fallen behind. While you await our return, please enjoy a violin solo.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The 1960 Presidential Debates

I was 20 months old when Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Nixon debated on national television in 1960. My mother always told me that I was glued to the set as if the two men were favorite cartoon characters. Little did either of us realize at that time how right that assessment would become as far as the latter.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Turn On

TURN ON didn't have a lot of positive buzz when it premiered in February of 1969. Advance press screenings are said to have found it tasteless and mostly unfunny. No one was expecting a long run. The show was essentially a retooling of the original concept of LAUGH-IN, a hostless show consisting of topical one-liners, blackouts and visual gags. LAUGH-IN producer George Schlatter himself was behind it so how could the concept go wrong?

Each episode was to have one or two celebrity guest stars, interacting with the repertory cast of regulars that included Chuck McCann, folk singer/actor Hamilton Camp, future "Christie Love"Teresa Graves (who would go from this to the still on the air LAUGH-IN) and one Debbie Macomber (The bestselling romance author? The age is right but I haven't been able to determine if it's her).

The guest star for the first episode was Tim Conway. Arguably one of the funniest men ever, after McHALE'S NAVY, TV just didn't seem to know what to do with him. Conway has alleged for years that TURN ON was canceled even before the first episode was over.

In fact, according to the Web, it was actually a day or two later and had as much to do with certain major markets opting not to carry the controversial series as it did the political and sex-related humor itself.

With no one anticipating such a sudden failure, several other episodes had been shot. Seen here is the TV GUIDE ad for the second, never aired episode which featured I SPY's Robert Culp and his wife France Nuyen. A later episode would have presented one of the last TV appearances --had it actually appeared--of The Monkees--Mike, Davy and Micky, Peter having already defected.

The Paley Center in New York City supposedly actually has two episodes available for viewing on-site, including the Conway one, but the series--in spite of the fact that its once edgy jokes seem terribly tame as reported on Wikipedia--has never been spotted on television again.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Seventies Commercial Characters

From a 1977 TV GUIDE, here we see a whole bunch of wonderful character actors who had found their niche in lucrative TV commercial characters.

Avery Schreiber was a Second City alum who had been in MY MOTHER THE CAR and part of a popular comedy duo with Jack Burns.

Norman Alden played lots of villains as well as the voice of AQUAMAN on SUPER FRIENDS and the sidekick in ELECTRAWOMAN & DYNAGIRL.

Allen Melvin was Sam the Butcher on THE BRADY BUNCH as well as a veteran of both SGT BILKO and GOMER PYLE and the voice of Magilla Gorilla.

Dick Wilson played a tipsy bar patron on dozens of sitcoms before squeezing his first Charmin.

Marty Ingels was either Dickens or Fenster in I'M DICKENS, HE'S FENSTER and also did cartoon voices before marrying Shirley Jones.

Jesse White was best known for his collaborations with Stan Freberg on records and in commercials before donning his Maytag uniform.

Arthur O'Connell was a reliable, award-winning actor in scores of programs including the older "son" of the younger father on THE SECOND HUNDRED YEARS.

Mae Questel was the cartoon voice of Betty Boop, Olive Oyl, Little Audrey and even, on occasion, Popeye!

Margaret Hamilton appeared with Peg Lynch on radio and was The Wicked Witch of the West in the nightmares of children for decades after 1939's WIZARD OF OZ!

Jan Miner was a radio and stage veteran who lived happily ever after as Madge the manicurist.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What's It All About, World?

This is a show I remember enjoying. I just don't recall anything else about it. This first episode from February of 1969 guest-starred Barbara Bain and Martin Landau the married co-stars of a show I didn't watch at that time, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. All I can figure is that the attraction for 10 year old me was Dean Jones, himself, a favorite from such Disney films as THAT DARN CAT and THE LOVE BUG. The show lasted the proverbial 13 weeks and then became a trivia question.