Monday, September 22, 2014

This Week in Television History: September 2014 PART IV


Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:


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.

September 22, 1964
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. first aired on NBC.
It follows the exploits of two secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who work for a fictitious secret international espionage and law-enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E. Originally co-creator Sam Rolfe wanted to leave the meaning of U.N.C.L.E. ambiguous so it could be viewed as either referring to "Uncle Sam" or the United Nations


Concerns by the MGM Legal department about possible New York law violations for using the abbreviation "U.N." for commercial purposes resulted in the producers clarifying that U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Each episode of the television show had an "acknowledgement" credit to the U.N.C.L.E. on the end titles.

September 22, 1994
Friends debuts, debuts on NBC. The show, which featured a group of relatively unknown actors, went on to become a huge hit and air for 10 seasons. It also propelled the cast--Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer--to varying degrees of stardom and success in Hollywood.
Of the six main Friends cast members, Jennifer Aniston emerged as arguably the most famous. Aniston played the fashion-loving Rachel Green, who, when the show began, worked as a waitress at Central Perk, a coffee shop that served as a gathering spot for the friends. The actress’s blonde, layered hairstyle during the first season became known as “The Rachel” and was copied by women around the globe. Off-screen, Aniston, whose film credits include The Good Girl (2002), Bruce Almighty (2003), Rumor Has It (2005) and The Break-Up (2006), became a tabloid-media fixture for her relationship with the actor Brad Pitt. The couple married in a lavish ceremony in Malibu, California, in 2000 and announced their separation in early 2005 amid soon-to-be-confirmed rumors of Pitt’s involvement with the actress Angelina Jolie.

September 24, 1964
The Munsters first aired. 

The show featured  the home life of a family of benign monsters. It stars Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster and Yvonne De Carlo as his wife, Lily Munster. The series was a satire of both traditional monster movies and the wholesome family fare of the era, and was produced by the creators of Leave It to Beaver. It ran concurrently with The Addams Family.
It was canceled after ratings dropped to a low due to the premiere of ABC's Batman, which was in color. Though ratings were low during its initial two-year run, The Munsters found a large audience in syndication. This popularity warranted a spin-off series, as well as several films, including one with a theatrical release.

September 25, 1929
Barbara Jill Walters is born. 


Walters was first known as a popular TV morning news anchor for over 10 years on NBC's Today, where she worked with Hugh Downs and later Frank McGee and Jim Hartz. Walters later spent 25 years as co-host of ABC's newsmagazine 20/20. She was the first female co-anchor of network evening news, working with Harry Reasoner on the ABC Evening News and was later a correspondent for ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson.

September 25, 1944:
Michael Douglas born. 

On this day in 1944, Michael Douglas, who will become one of Hollywood’s A-list stars in the 1980s with such blockbuster films as Wall Street and Fatal Attraction, is born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Douglas is the son of the Academy Award-winning actor Kirk Douglas, whose best-known films include Spartacus and The Bad and the Beautiful. Michael Douglas shares a birthday with his wife, the Welsh-born actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was born 25 years earlier, in 1969.

September 26, 1964
Gilligan's Island first aired. 

Created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz and originally produced by United Artists Television. The situation comedy series featured Bob Denver; Alan Hale, Jr.; Jim Backus; Natalie Schafer; Tina Louise; Russell Johnson; and Dawn Wells. It aired for three seasons on the CBS network from September 26, 1964, to September 4, 1967. 

Originally sponsored by Philip Morris & Company and Procter & Gamble, the show followed the comic adventures of seven castaways as they attempted to survive (and in a later movie escape from) the island on which they had been shipwrecked. Most episodes revolve around the dissimilar castaways' conflicts and their failed attempts (invariably Gilligan's fault) to escape their plight.

September 26, 1969
The Brady Bunch premieres. 

The show was panned by critics and, according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, during “its entire network run, the series never reached the top ten ranks of the Nielsen ratings. Yet, the program stands as one of the most important sitcoms of American 1970s television programming, spawning numerous other series on all three major networks, as well as records, lunch boxes, a cookbook, and even a stage show and feature film.”

September 27, 1954
Steve Allen becomes the first host of The Tonight Show

The first Tonight!  announcer was Gene Rayburn. Allen's version of the show originated such talk show staples as an opening monologue, celebrity interviews, audience participation, and comedy bits in which cameras were taken outside the studio, as well as music, including guest performers and a house band under Lyle "Skitch" Henderson.

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





Stay Tuned



Tony Figueroa

Friday, September 19, 2014

Your Mental Sorbet: Ted Cassidy - The Lurch Shindig 1965

Here is another "Mental Sorbet" little spark of madness that we could use to momentarily forget about those things that leave a bad taste in our mouths.
September 16, 1964
Shindig! premiered. 
September 18, 1964
The Addams Family first aired. 

This clip features a little bit of both. 
and this is just me having fun.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa