Monday, January 23, 2017

This Week in Television History: January 2017 PART IV

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history,
the more that fact and legend become intertwined.
It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

January 23, 1977
The miniseries Roots debuts on ABC. 
The show traced four generations of an African-American family based on the family of author Alex Haley. Running for eight consecutive days, the miniseries became the single most watched program in American history, drawing about 100 million viewers.
January 24, 1917
Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnino. 

The American film and television actor whose career spanned more than six decades. He was an unconventional lead in many films of the 1950s, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1955 for Marty. On television, he played Quinton McHale in the 1962–1966 series McHale's Navy and co-starred in the mid-1980s action seriesAirwolf, in addition to a wide variety of other roles. Borgnine earned an Emmy Award nomination at age 92 for his work on the series ER. He was also known for being the original voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants from 1999 to 2012.
Borgnine died of kidney failure on July 8, 2012 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los AngelesCalifornia with his family at his side. He was 95 years old.

January 25, 1937
NBC radio presented the first broadcast of The Guiding Light

The show remained on radio until 1956 and began on CBS-TV in 1952. 

January 28, 1957
Jack Lescoulie takes over the short lived Tonight! America After Dark
Rather than continuing with the same format after Allen and Kovacs' departure from Tonight, NBC changed the show's format to a news and features show, similar to that of the network's popular morning program Today. The new show, renamed Tonight! America After Dark, was hosted first by Jack Lescoulie and then by Al "Jazzbo" Collins, with interviews conducted by Hy Gardner, and music provided by the Lou Stein Trio. This new version of the show was not popular, resulting in a significant number of NBC affiliates dropping the show.

January 29, 1977
Freddie Prinze’s family removed him from life support, and he died at 1:00 pm at the age of 22. 

Prinze suffered from depression, and on January 28, 1977, shot himself with a small automatic pistol after talking on the telephone with his estranged wife. His business manager, Marvin "Dusty" Snyder, tried to intervene, but Prinze shot himself in the head, and was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center to be placed on life support following emergency surgery.
The death, initially ruled a suicide, was years later re-ruled accidental. Prinze had a history of playing with guns, faking suicide attempts to frighten his friends for his amusement. He had left a note stating that the decision to take his life was his alone, but because he pulled the trigger in the presence of a witness —it gave enough weight to the argument that he really was not planning to take his own life that night. 

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, January 20, 2017

Your Mental Sorbet: "Slow Jam the News" with President Obama

Here is an Obama "Mental Sorbet
that we could use to momentarily forget about
what is leaving a bad taste in our mouth today.
Jimmy Fallon and President Obama slow jam the news, discussing Obama's legacy,
accomplishments and thoughts on the 2016 election.

Stay Tuned and 

Thanks Obama

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Miguel Ferrer

I made an enjoyable living as a very young man,
but I think as I became more comfortable and knowledgeable about myself and what I wanted,
I moved into acting.
Miguel Ferrer
Miguel José FerrerFebruary 7, 1955 – January 19, 2017
Miguel Ferrer died today of cancer. He was 61.

Ferrer was born in Santa Monica, California, the oldest of five children of Academy Award–winner José Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney. His father was Puerto Rican, and his mother had IrishEnglish and German ancestry. Ferrer's siblings are sisters Maria and Monsita and brothers Gabriel (nicknamed "Gabri" and husband of singer Debby Boone) and Rafael, also an actor. His first cousin is actor George Clooney

Ferrer was reared in Hollywood; and, as a teenager, his interests shifted toward music. He played the drums on Keith Moon's Two Sides of the Moon. Ferrer's friend, Bill Mumy, who played Will Robinson on the television classic Lost In Space, cast him as a drummer in the series Sunshine, his first television role.

Ferrer began his career in the early 1980s making guest appearances on episodic television. He played the younger self of his father's character on Magnum P.I in 1981. In 1983, he was given a small part as a waiter in The Man Who Wasn't There. He also had a small part in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) as the Excelsior helm officer. He had a major role in the 1987 action movie RoboCop as aspiring, cocaine-snorting corporate executive Bob Morton. Since appearing as Morton, Ferrer has usually acted out flamboyant villains with senses of humor. Ferrer's notable roles include a sinister biker in Valentino Returns, an overzealous engineer in DeepStar Six, a resourceful vigilante in Revenge, Commander Arvid Harbinger in the comedy Hot Shots! Part Deux, Lloyd Henreid in the Stephen King miniseries The Stand, and a drug informant in Traffic. He has occasionally taken on lead parts, as well, such as The Harvest and The Night Flier.

In the early 1990s, Ferrer appeared on three primetime TV series simultaneously: as D.A. Todd Spurrier in Shannon's Deal (1989–1991), as Cajun cop Beau Jack Bowman in Broken Badges (1990–1991), and as cynical, wittily abrasive FBI forensics specialist Albert Rosenfield in Twin Peaks (1990–91). Ferrer reprised the role of Albert in the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). 

He played another medical examiner on the small screen, Dr. Garret Macy, in the television crime/drama series Crossing Jordan (2001–07). Ferrer performed as the voice of the Heretic leader in the video game Halo 2. In 1999, at the 41st Grammy Awards, he was nominated for "Best Spoken Word Album for Children" in Disney's The Lion King II, "Simba's Pride Read-Along". In 2003, Ferrer made his New York stage debut in the off-Broadway production of The Exonerated.

Ferrer played a super-villain called "The Weatherman" in the failed 1997 TV pilotJustice League of America. Later in the year, Ferrer provided the voice for a similar character, the Weather Wizard, in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Speed Demons". Ferrer also voiced Aquaman in another Superman: Animated episode, "A Fish Story". Ferrer has also provided voice-over roles in the TV series Robot Chicken (2006) and American Dad! (2007).[2]
Ferrer played Jonas Bledsoe on NBC's short-lived update of the Bionic Woman series. Ferrer also starred in another short-lived NBC series, Kings, in 2009 as a military commander of Gath. He played Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Felix Valdez in the 2011 Lifetime police procedural drama, The Protector. Also in 2011, he started a multiple-episode guest role on the final season of Desperate Housewives.

Signed to a recurring role in NCIS: Los Angeles as Naval Criminal Investigative Service Assistant Director Owen Granger, Ferrer was promoted to a series regular for the fifth season on February 6, 2013.[3] He also appeared in the 2013 film Iron Man 3 as the Vice President.
Ferrer reprised his role as the FBI forensic pathologist Albert Rosenfield in the 2017 revival of Twin Peaks.

Buenas Noches Sr. Ferrer 

Stay Tuned
Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tippi Hedren, Rich Little plus The Year in Television: Next on TVC

Actress Tippi Hedren and celebrity impersonator Rich Little will join us on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing Jan. 20-23 at the following times and venues:

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Friday 1/20
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Saturday 1/21
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San Jose, Santa Cruz and Salinas, CA
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Sunday 1/22
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Sunday 1/22
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Monday 1/23
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Monday 1/23
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Film buffs know Tippi Hedren as the star of the classic Alfred Hitchcock films The Birds and Marnie—an experience that, in many respects, was both the opportunity of a lifetime and a nightmare come true. While the story of Tippi’s complicated relationship with Hitchcock has been told countless times by other people, it’s never been told by Tippi herself… until now.

Hedren’s memoir, Tippi, sets the record straight, revealing never-before-told stories about the torment that Hitchcock put her through during the filming of their two collaborations. But it also shows the strength and spirit that has defined Tippi throughout her life—and how that strength was put to the test time and again during the making of Roar, the ambitious independent film that Tippi produced and starred in (along with dozens of live lions and tigers) that is not only one of the most notorious film productions of all time, but fueled a passion for wildlife preservation that continues to this day. Tippi Hedren will join us in our second hour.

Also joining us this week will be America’s Master Mimic, Rich Little, the man who has impersonated the voices of countless showbiz figures and politicians over the past six decades. Since Inauguration Day is soon upon us, and given that Rich is known for his impersonations of the past ten sitting U.S. presidents, we’ll ask if he’ll be working Donald Trump into his repertoire anytime soon. We’ll also learn the difference between an impressionist and an impersonator, how Rich takes an actor’s approach to mastering voices, and how he nearly made his national TV debut without any pants. Rich Little will join us near the end of our first hour.

Rich Little recently completed principal photography on Futurama: The Movie, in which he plays the voice of Richard Nixon's reanimated head. His new book, Little by Little: People I’ve Known and Been, features stories and anecdotes about thirty of the most famous people that Rich has impersonated over the years, including George Burns, Jack Benny, Ed Sullivan, James Stewart, Dean Martin, Robert Goulet, Richard Nixon, Orson Welles, John Huston and John Wayne. The book also includes charcoal sketches of each celebrity that Rich discusses in the book—all done by Rich Little himself—plus about 100 photographs, many of which are in color.

This week’s show will also include our annual look at some of the major stories that helped shape this past year in television. Foremost will be a discussion of how TV covered the 2016 presidential election.

TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
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Monday, January 16, 2017

This Week in Television History: January 2017 PART III

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history,
the more that fact and legend become intertwined.
It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

January 17, 1922
Betty Marion White is born. 

Actress, comedian, presenter, singer, author and television personality. In 2013, the Guinness World Records awarded White with having the longest television career for a female entertainer. 

To contemporary audiences, White is best known for her television roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. Since the death of co-star Rue McClanahan in 2010, she is the only surviving Golden Girl. She currently stars as Elka Ostrovsky in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland for which she has won two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Awards

She also hosted NBCs practical-joke show Betty White's Off Their Rockers which resulted in two Emmy nominations.
Regarded as a television pioneer for being one of the first women in television to have creative control in front of and behind the camera, White has gone on to win six Emmy Awards (five for acting), receiving 20 Emmy nominations over her career, including being the first woman to receive an Emmy for game show hosting (for the short-lived Just Men!) and is the only woman to have won an Emmy in all performing comedic categories. 

In May 2010, White became the oldest person to guest-host Saturday Night Live, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award. White also holds the record for longest span between Emmy nominations for performances—her first was in 1951 and her most recent was in 2012, a span of 61 years—and has become the oldest nominee as of 2013, aged 91. The actress is also the oldest winner of a competitive Grammy Award, which she won in 2012.
Due to her legacy and continued success within the entertainment industry The American Comedy Awards, The Screen Actor Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts have all awarded White with Lifetime achievement awards recognizing her contribution to television.
She has made regular appearances on the game shows Password and Match Game and played recurring roles on Mama's Family, Boston Legal, The Bold and the Beautiful, That '70s Show, and Community.

January 19, 1957
Philadelphia comedian, Ernie Kovacs, did a half-hour TV show without saying a single word of dialogue.
Silent Show was an American half-hour television comedy special created by and starring Ernie Kovacs. It was broadcast in the United States on the NBC network in 1957. It was selected by the United States as the only television program screened at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. Kovacs restaged and expanded the "Eugene" sketch for the ABC network in 1961.

January 22, 1947
The first television station west of the Mississippi River goes on the air. 

The station was KTLA-TV in Hollywood. The station began broadcasting at 8:30 p.m. from a converted garage. When the first Emmy Awards were handed out two years later, KTLA swept the awards for its original programming.
January 22, 1972
Emergency! premieres

Emergency!, produced by Dragnet star and producer Jack Webb, premieres, featuring the same semidocumentary style popularized by Webb's earlier police drama. Emergency was based on the paramedic program that started in Los Angeles, California in 1969. Senator Alan Cranston actually praised the show for informing the public about the value of funding such programs!
The show focused on the adventures of paramedics Roy DeSoto and Johnny Gage. The show, which ran from 1972 to 1977, foreshadowed later hits like E.R., with its interwoven comic and serious subplots.
Julie London was married to fellow Emergency cast member Bobby Troup. In an earlier marriage, London was married to Jack Webb. Bobby Troup was a bandleader before becoming an actor.

January 22, 1987

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, January 13, 2017

Dick Gautier

Dick Gautier
October 30, 1931 - January 13, 2017
Dick Gautier started his career as a night-club comic and a singer for dance orchestras. He joined ASCAP in 1959 after serving in the United States Navy. In 1960, he portrayed fictional rock 'n roll star Conrad Birdie in the original Broadway theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie, receiving a Tony Award nomination for his performance.

He appeared in an episode of The Patty Duke Show, "Anywhere I Hang My Horn Is Home". He portrayed the clumsy robot "Hymie" on TV's Get Smart

He played Robin Hood in the short-lived TV comedy series When Things Were Rotten, a Mel Brooks send-up of the classic legend.

He portrayed a dance instructor in the original TV series Gidget and a French dress designer in the episode "Samantha, the Dressmaker" from the second season of the TV situation comedy Bewitched. In 1978, he appeared as Harriman in the episode "The Intimate Friends of Janet Wilde" in the NBC crime drama series The Eddie Capra Mysteries. He also portrayed a magician, Cagliostro, in the Wonder Woman TV series episode "Diana's Disappearing Act" starring Lynda Carter.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Gautier was a frequent game show panelist, appearing on Match GameFamily Feud,TattletalesShowoffsYou Don't Say!Liar's ClubPassword PlusBody LanguageSuper PasswordWin, Lose or Draw, and the TV version of Can You Top This?.

In 1974, when Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig reprised their Batman roles (as Robin and Batgirl respectively) for a TV public service announcement about equal pay for women, Adam West (who was trying to distance himself from the Batman role at the time) was absent. Instead, Gautier filled in for West as Batman.

Gautier performed several voice-over roles in animation, including Rodimus Prime in the third season of the Transformers animated series from 1986–1987 (taking over for Judd Nelson, who previously performed the role in the 1986 Transformers movie), as well as Serpentor in the G.I. Joe series, Louis from the 1986 Cartoon, Foofur, Spike the Dog in Tom and Jerry Kids, and he was also narrator for Discovery Channel's Search for Adventure.
Gautier is known for his caricatures of celebrities, and has written several instructional books on caricature, drawing, and cartooning, including Drawing and Cartooning 1001 CaricaturesDrawing and Cartooning 1001 Figures in Action and Creating Comic Characters.

Good Night Mr. Dick Gautier

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa