Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Mother the Car

MY MOTHER THE CAR is remembered as a notorious flop but it really wasn't. It ran a full season and all of the episodes are on Hulu and YouTube so you can check it out yourself. The premise was stupid but hardly the stupidest premise ever to come out of Hollywood. The cast was fine with Jerry Van Dyke endearing in the lead and the voice of veteran Hollywood star Ann Sothern as the reinCARnated mother. Avery Schreiber is fun as the crazy man trying to either buy or steal the car in many episodes as well.  MY MOTHER THE CAR was one of the first series I remember being sad about when it was canceled. I was seven years old. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Rifleman and Son

One of my favorite westerns growing up was THE RIFLEMAN, surprisingly more a moral play about a father and his son than a typical cowboy drama. The comic book was a success from several different companies. John Crawford, who played the son, will be a guest at September's Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Expo! 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fast Draw Contest

Not sure of the date but a fun pic of Clint and Gene "in uniform" as it were, Preston and Borginine out of uniform...and I have no idea what Hugh Downs was up to  here. Didn't realize he was that short either!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dealer's Choice With Bob Hastings

I don't really remember this 1974 game show at all but I wish I did as it was hosted by my friend Bob Hastings, scheduled to appear as Guest of Honor at the inaugural CINCINNATI NOSTALGIA EXPO this next weekend after coming to town off and on for the past 26 years of its predecessor, THE GREATER CINCINNATI OLD TIME RADIO AND NOSTALGIA CONVENTION. It's been a great pleasure to get to work with and learn from Bob all these years! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

R.I.P. Steve Forrest

This past Saturday, May 18th, I randomly decided to watch a NIGHT GALLERY episode on Hulu. In this case, it was a Western episode featuring a cast of familiar Western faces--Gilbert Roland (right, above), Lex Barker, Buddy Ebsen, Slim Pickens, Albert Salmi...and Steve Forrest. Forrest plays a gunfighter who doesn't realize he's dead. Little did I realize at the time that Forrest, himself, brother of Dana Andrews and always a great authoritative presence in films or television, passed on that date. The news came out today. Rest in Peace.r television, passed on that date. The news came out today. 
Rest in Peace.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Men On the Street

Steve Allen was a multi-talented man, one of whose talents was that he could spot talent in OTHER people! On his fifties shows, he did a feature whereby he allegedly did unrehearsed "man on the street" interviews. The interviewees at various times included such funny folks as Pat Harrington, Dayton Allen and Gabriel Dell but most memorably were the men seen here, some of the funniest of them all.

Louis Nye: Pronounced "Looie," his famous catch-phrase was a fey, "Hi-ho, Steverino!" He specialized in over-privileged mama's boys with delusions of grandeur but he could also do a good serious role. In fact he made a good, long career as a character actor in films and on TV including a running role on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM in his 90s!  

Don Knotts: He started in radio and while he didn't really seem to have the looks for TV, his uber-nervous character on the Allen Show more than made up for that. Andy Griffith recognized his talent and put him on his own show a few years later, effectively reducing himself to straight man and in the process creating TV history. In the sixties, he became an unlikely major movie star and, a decade later, returned to TV as a popular regular on THREE'S COMPANY!

Tom Poston: Perhaps the funniest of them all, Poston is best remembered today as a smart panelist with a dry wit on the TV quiz show TO TELL THE TRUTH but his career encompassed a number of stage triumphs as well. He was an amiable leading man in a couple of sixties features but ended up a most welcome character player in films (such as PRINCESS DIARIES 2) and on television in such shows as NEWHART. He even married Suzanne Pleshette, Newahrt's wife from his previous TV series where Poston also appeared in a few episodes!

All in all, three very, very funny guys!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bob and Dorothy Jo

It's hard to deny Bob Barker his place as THE best game show host of all time but reports of his sexual harassment of models during his long and successful run on THE PRICE IS RIGHT are too prevalent to ignore. Seen here is Bob's wife of 36 years, Dorothy Jo. Often seen on Bob's TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES series (and later, I believe, on TATTLETALES), Dorothy Jo came across as a tough broad who adored Bob but wouldn't put up with any shenanigans! Had she not passed in 1981, I'm betting Bob would not have had the issues he later had...or if he had, he would not have survived them!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


NBC's MYSTERY MOVIE rotating anthology series produced several of my very favorite seventies television series including McCLOUD, HEC RAMSEY and COLUMBO. Another on that list would have to be BANACEK. I was never a big George Peppard fan. I find his acting both before and after this series to be either dismally dull or annoyingly smug. Yes, that includes A-TEAM.

But here, as a Polish-American millionaire insurance investigator in Boston, he is the very personification of the word cool, helped along by some wonderful writing and often amazingly clever mystery plots.

And also a great supporting cast. Although he owns and sometimes drives a gorgeous 1941 Packard, Banacek is most often chauffeured in a limo by Jay (played by Ralph Manza), a very traditional comic sidekick as one might find in movies of The Falcon, The Saint or the Lone Wolf. 

Murray Matheson is the brains of the operation as Felix, intellectual owner of an antiquarian bookstore and our hero's go-to guy for any and all obscure info or even the word on the street.

 Thomas Banacek's heritage is played up often. At the time, Polish jokes were big and Polish organizations weren't happy about that. Smart, sexy Banacek with his own "old Polish proverbs" became a popular role model for such groups.

Christine Belford appeared on the show semi-regularly as a rival insurance investigator and sometimes "love"interest. Around this same time, she and Peppard starred opposite each other in a clever but now forgotten feature film mystery entitled THE GROUNDSTAR CONSPIRACY. Originally, I found her character grating for some reason, but in later viewings I've quite enjoyed their cat and mouse games.

The show ran, as did its fellow Mystery Movies, in a more or less monthly 90 minute or 2 hour slot. There were only two seasons with critical success but middling ratings. Supposedly Peppard, then going through a rocky divorce, exited after that so his soon-to-be ex wouldn't get half of his earnings under California law.