Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ed Asner

In the sixties, Ed Asner was one of "those guys." You know. The character actor who's on everything but you never learn his name. In movies and TV shows, he perfected his gruff character as a mobster, a cop, a spy, a construction boss, and a hundred other thankless roles.

Those kinds of actors rarely become a star but when he translated his stock character to THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW at the end of the decade, he fell into one of those magical concoctions TV sometimes chances on where everything works even BETTER than planned.

 He stayed with the show for its entire run, creating and honing a very real human person behind the stereotype he embodied.

And then he had the chance to take it even further when he had awhile new series built around him--a drama this time! LOU GRANT would be another hit and while its ensemble cast was nearly perfect, it was still ED who held it all together.

Later, he moved into doing voiceovers and cartoon work, his most famous voice for animation being the main character in Pixar's delightful UP!

Ed Asner is yet another star who will be on hand at next month's Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. Click here for amore in-depth look at Asner's career and details about the convention!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Robert Loggia at Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con in September

Although he beat the dreaded typecasting and has been able to maintain a long and successful career in meaty character roles, T.H.E. CAT, Loggia's mid-sixties TV series, is still fondly remembered by fans. 

Even before he was T.H.E. CAT, Loggia achieved TV fame in Walt Disney's THE NINE LIVES OF ELFAGO BACA, which also appeared in comics.

Meet Robert Loggia in person as one of many stars appearing at next month's MID-ATLANTIC NOSTALGIA CONVENTION.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mackenzie Phillips

I never saw Mackenzie Phillips in AMERICAN GRAFFITI until it aired on TV several years after the fact. She had grown up around show business as the daughter of John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.

The very first time I saw her was in a TV drama special--a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME I believe--entitled MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP. She was dark, brooding and surly in the show--not my type at all, bust she was only a few months younger than me and I did like her.

After that, she turned up again in a now-unjustly forgotten movie entitled RAFFERTY AND THE GOLD DUST TWINS, an enjoyable dramady with Alan Arkin and Sally Kellerman. I paid to see it twice and chose it as my favorite movie that year. 

Again, she was surly and troubled but gave a great performance.

After that, I was delighted when Mac turned up as the oldest daughter on a new seriocomic sitcom that would be a favorite of mine through the late seventies and into the early eighties. 

But being the daughter of a famous rock star had taken its toll on her and with success came a drug habit to rival her Dad's. She began to show the effects on TV and became unreliable behind the scenes. She was fired. Over time, she cleaned up and was allowed back…only to relapse again.

Years later, once again clean and sober along with her Dad who had written a popular autobiography about his life, his career and his drug issues, she formed a new Mamas and Papas that, at one point, include vocalist Scott Mackenzie for him she had been named. All looked good for a while. 

But not only were there still drug issues to deal with, it would be revealed years later, after his death,  that she had entered into an incestuous relationship with her father.

But she came back again. And this time she wrote it all down. Every dark, surly and bros-worthy word of it.

In the end, Mackenzie Phillips is a survivor. She's been through multiple kinds of Hell and lived to literally tell the tale. Something tells me--and I hope I'm right--that she'll be around long after many of us are gone. Hang in there, Mac. We still love ya.


Friday, August 16, 2013

You Can Change the World-1951

A rare and unusual 1951 all-star pro-Christian, anti-commie propaganda JACK BENNY "episode" produced by the religious organization, The Christophers. Rochester calls a bunch of stars to gather at Jack's house to listen to Father James Keller.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Intros to 18 Forgotten Seventies Sitcoms

Most of these were cancelled quickly but that doesn't mean they were all bad. Many were quite fun, in fact, and most were from folks who had made (or would make) others that were big hits.

Good Heavens--with Carl Reiner
Turnabout-Developed by Steven Bochco
Nancy-Created by Sidney Sheldon
From a Bird's Eye View-Produced by Sheldon Leonard
Needles and Pins-Produced by Hy Averback
The Brian Keith Show
Diana-Directed by Ezra Stone
The Ted Knight Show
The Practice-with Danny Thomas
Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers-by MTM
The Bad News Bears-with Corey Feldman
Getting Together-with Bobby Sherman
The Good Life-with Larry Hagman
Barefoot in the Park-based on Neil Simon's play
Bridget Loves Bernie
Anna and the King-with Yul Brynner
Sanford Arms-from Bud Yorkin
Highcliffe Manor with Shelly Fabares (who was in several others of these as well)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

R.I.P. Cosmo Allegretti

Although he only appeared regularly in live action in the show's later years, Cosmo Allegretti was an integral part of so many childhoods as the puppeteer behind Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather Clock and so many more on the classic CAPTAIN KANGAROO SHOW.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

1961-Year of the Surly Surgeon

Here's a quick mini-retrospective of 1961, when I was 2 and just becoming really aware of what television was.

Friday, August 2, 2013

R.I.P. Michael Ansara

From Cochise to the Blue Djin to General Kang, Killer Kane and beyond, handsome Michael Ansara, for many years the spouse to Barbara Eden, left a wide legacy in television history. 
Rest in Peace.