Monday, July 06, 2020

This Week in Television History: July 2020 PART I


July 6, 1925

Mervyn "Merv" Edward Griffin, Jr. the American television host and media mogul is born. 
He began his career as a radio and big band singer who went on to appear in movies and on Broadway. During the 1960s, Griffin hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show, and created the game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. A billionaire at his death, he is considered an entertainment business magnate.

July 10, 1995
Hugh Grant appears on Tonight Show after Hollywood arrest.
On this day in 1995, Hugh Grant appears on late-night television’s The Tonight Show less than two weeks after being arrested with a Hollywood prostitute. The show’s host, Jay Leno, famously asked the English actor, “What the hell were you thinking?”
Grant, who shot to stardom with the 1994 hit British film Four Weddings and a Funeral, was arrested on June 27, 1995, in a parked car near Sunset Boulevard with a prostitute named Divine Brown and charged with lewd conduct in a public place. At the time of his arrest, Grant, then age 34, was already scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show to promote Nine Months, his first major Hollywood movie. The actor kept his agreement and went on the program, speaking publicly about the incident for the first time. “What the hell were you thinking?” Leno asked him, to which Grant simply responded “I did a bad thing.” The show garnered huge ratings (enabling Leno to beat his late-night talk show rival David Letterman) and Grant was praised for apologizing for his behavior, in contrast to other scandal-plagued celebrities who went into seclusion or blamed their mistakes on others.

Grant pled no contest to the charges against him, paid a fine and received probation. Although the arrest surprised many fans of the actor, who was known for his charm and wit, his career did not seem to suffer in the end and he went on to star in a number of films, most often romantic comedies, including Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001),  About a Boy (2002), Love Actually (2003) and Music and Lyrics (2007). Though Grant’s long-term girlfriend, the English model and actress Elizabeth Hurley, stuck by him during the scandal, the couple announced their separation in 2000 after 13 years together.


July 12, 1990
Northern Exposure airs its first episode. 

The offbeat show, about a Manhattan doctor contractually forced to work in the fictional of town Cicely, Alaska for four years to repay a student loan from the state.  Rob Morrow stared as Dr. Joel Fleischman. Most of Northern Exposure's story arcs are character-driven, with the plots revolving around the eccentricities of the Cicely citizens. The show consistently ranked in the Top 20 most-watched TV shows until it was canceled in 1995. 

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Your Mental Sorbet: Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl

Summertime in Hollywood means seeing a concert at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. 
Sadly, it was announced that for the first time in 98 years, the Hollywood Bowl has canceled its summer season for safety reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. 
Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl was my introduction to a Bowl Concert (I would love to see it on a big screen one of these days). The back drops are beautifully drawn. 
Pack a picnic basket and enjoy the concert.
See you next year. 
Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl (1950)

Here is another
that we could use to momentarily forget about those
things that leave a bad taste in our mouths

 

Image result for wash your hands gif
Stay Tuned and Wash Your Hands 





Tony Figueroa

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Hugh Downs

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances,
but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
Hugh Downs

U.S. television broadcaster Hugh Downs dies at age 99 - Reuters
Hugh Malcolm Downs
February 14, 1921 – July 1, 2020

Hugh Downs was born in Akron, Ohio, to Edith (née Hicks) and Milton Howard Downs, who worked in business. He was educated at Lima Shawnee High School in Lima, OhioBluffton College, a Mennonite school in Bluffton, Ohio; and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, during the period 1938–41.
Downs worked as a radio announcer and program director at WLOK in Lima, Ohio, after his first year of college. In 1940 he moved on to WWJ in Detroit. Downs served in the United States Army during World War II in 1943 and then joined the NBC radio network at WMAQ as an announcer in ChicagoIllinois, where he lived until 1954.[11] While at WMAQ Downs also acted, including as the "co-pilot" in the "Uncle Ned's Squadron" program in 1951. He married a coworker, Ruth Shaheen, in 1944, three days after his 23rd birthday. He also attended Columbia University in New York City during 1955–56.
On August 25, 1958, Downs concurrently began a more than ten-year run hosting the original version of the game show Concentration. Also, he hosted NBC's Today Show for nine years from September 1962 to October 1971, plus co-hosting the syndicated television program Not for Women Only with Barbara Walters in 1975–76. Downs also appeared as a panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth and played himself in an episode of NBC's sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?

In March 1954, Downs moved to New York City to accept a position as announcer for Pat Weaver's The Home Show starring Arlene Francis. That program lasted until August 1957. He was the announcer for Sid Caesar's Caesar's Hour for the 1956–57 season, and one of NBC Radio's Monitor "Communicators" from 1955–1959. 



Hugh Downs, Former 'TODAY' Anchor and Legendary Newsman, Dead at ...
This is one of my earliest TV memories.
Downs became a bona fide television "personality" as Jack Paar's announcer on The Tonight Show from mid-1957, when he replaced Franklin Pangborn, until Paar's departure in March 1962, and then continued to announce for The Tonight Show until the summer of 1962, when Ed Herlihy took the announcing reins. Herlihy held that post until October 1, 1962, when Johnny Carson took over the show, and brought Ed McMahon as his announcer. Downs made his first television news broadcast in September 1945 from the still experimental studio of WBKB-TV (now WBBM-TV) in Chicago, a station then owned by the Balaban and Katz theater subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. Downs later recalled that when he went for his first job, he had never seen a television before, and he was unsure whether television would last. Downs became a television regular, announcing for Hawkins Falls in 1950, the first successful television soap opera, which was sponsored by Lever Brothers Surf detergent. 
He also announced the Burr Tillstrom children's show Kukla, Fran and Ollie from the NBC studios at Chicago's Merchandise Mart after the network picked up the program from WBKB.
Downs earned a postgraduate degree in gerontology from Hunter College while he was hosting Over Easy, a PBS television program about aging that aired from 1977 to 1983. He was probably best known in later years as the Emmy Award-winning co-anchor — again paired with Walters — of the ABC news TV show 20/20, a primetime news magazine program, from the show's second episode in 1978 until his retirement in 1999.
Downs was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 1984. In that same year, he was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as holding the record for the greatest number of hours on network commercial television (15,188 hours), though he lost the record for most hours on all forms of television to Regis Philbin in 2004.
A published composer, Downs hosted the PBS showcase for classical musicLive from Lincoln Center from 1990–96. Downs made a cameo appearance on Family Guy in addition to other TV shows.
Downs was seen in infomercials for Bottom Line Publications, including their World's Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets, as well as another one for a personal coach. He did an infomercial for Where There's a Will There's an A in 2003. His subsequent infomercial work aroused some controversy, with many arguing the products were scams.
Downs appeared in regional public service announcements in Arizona, for that state's Motor Vehicles Division; for Hospice of the Valley, a Phoenix-area non-profit organization specializing in hospice care, as well as in many public, short-form programs in which he serves as host of educational interstitials.
On October 13, 2007, Downs was one of the first inductees into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Downs publicly expressed support for libertarian viewpoints. He opposed the U.S. "war on drugs". He did several pieces about the war on drugs and hemp. On his last 20/20 he was asked if he had any personal opinions he would like to express and responded that marijuana should be legalized.



Good Night Mr. Downs
Stay Tuned
Tony Figueroa
Legendary broadcaster Hugh Downs, 99, has died at his Scottsdale ...

Your Mental Sorbet: The 2000 Year Old Man - 1975 Animated Special

Photoshop Cs4: The 2000 Year Old Man - 1975 Animated Classic

Here is another
that we could use to momentarily forget about those
things that leave a bad taste in our mouths

Image result for wash your hands gif
Stay Tuned and Wash Your Hands 





Tony Figueroa

Your Mental Sorbet: Ferris Bueller's Day Off | Reunited Apart with Josh Gad

Watch the Ferris Bueller's Day Off Cast Reunite for the Ultimate ...

Here is another
that we could use to momentarily forget about those
things that leave a bad taste in our mouths


Bueller? Bueller? Josh gathers the cast of Ferris Bueller--as well as some VERY special surprise guests--to pay tribute to one of the most iconic films of the 80's and the man who created it. Be here at 9am PT/12pm ET on June 28th, because you know, life moves pretty fast.... and you are not going to want to miss this! Directed by James Merryman Produced by Meghan Monaco Executive Produced by Taylor Stuewe Edited by Will Newell & Alex Stuewe FEATURING: Matthew Broderick Alan Ruck Mia Sara Jennifer Grey ....and many more!

For this episode, Reunited Apart is fundraising for CORE.
CORE provides financial relief when a food and beverage employee with children faces a health crisis, death or natural disaster. As the world faces the biggest pandemic in our lifetime, they continue to honor their mission by providing support to families affected by COVID-19.

Image result for wash your hands gif
Stay Tuned and Wash Your Hands 





Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Carl Reiner

Everybody wants to laugh - you know that.
They need to laugh...
people need to laugh.
Carl Reiner
Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke Show Creator, Dead at 98 - E! Online

Carl Reiner
March 20, 1922 – June 29, 2020

No photo description available.BLOGGER'S NOTE: A couple of weeks ago I was asked who was my artistic hero. There are many, but through the process of elimination I narrowed it down to Carl Reiner. A performer who branched out in to writing, directing and producing. A writer who told his own story with himself playing the lead. Only to have it rejected. Then to have the same story sold but with another actor and giving us one of the best situation comedies of all time. Then knowing when to call it quits and moving on to other projects. A man who never stopped working.

Carl Reiner was born in The Bronx, New York, on March 20, 1922, to Irving, a watchmaker, and Bessie (née Mathias) Reiner. His parents were Jewish immigrants; his father was from Austria and his mother was from Romania. His older brother Charlie served in the 9th Division in World War II and his ashes are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. At age 16, Charlie read in the New York Daily News about a free dramatic workshop being put on by the Works Progress Administration and told Carl about it (he would later credit Charlie with having changed his career plans). His uncle Harry Mathias was the first entertainer in his family.

In 1943, Reiner was drafted into the Army Air Forces and served during World War II, eventually achieving the rank of corporal. He had initially trained to be a radio operator, but after spending three months in the hospital recovering from pneumonia, he was sent to Georgetown University for ten months of training as a French interpreter; it was here that he had his first experience as a director, putting on a Molière play entirely in French. In 1944, after completing language training, he was sent to Hawaii to work as a teleprinter operator. The night before he was scheduled to ship out for an unknown assignment, he attended a production of Hamlet by the Special Services entertainment unit. Following an audition for actor and Major Maurice Evans, he was subsequently transferred to Special Services. Over the following two years, Reiner performed around the Pacific theater, entertaining troops in Hawaii, GuamSaipanTinian and Iwo Jima until he was honorably discharged in 1946.

Reiner performed in several Broadway musicals (including Inside U.S.A. and Alive and Kicking) and had the lead role in Call Me Mister. In 1950, he was cast by Max Leibman in Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, appearing on air in skits while also working alongside writers, such as Mel Brooks and Neil Simon. Reiner also worked on Caesar's Hour with Brooks, Simon, Woody AllenLarry GelbartMel Tolkin, Mike Stewart, Aaron Ruben, Sheldon Keller, and Gary Belkin.
Starting in 1960, Reiner teamed with Brooks as a comedy duo on The Steve Allen Show. Their performances on television and stage included Reiner playing the straight man in 2000 Year Old Man. Eventually, the routine expanded into a series of 5 comedy albums and a 1975 animated television special, with the last album in the series winning a Grammy Award for Spoken Comedy Album. The act gave Brooks "an identity as a comic performer for the first time," said Reiner. Brooks's biographer, William Holtzman, called their 12-minute act "an ingenious jazz improvisation ...", while Gerald Nachman described Reiner's part in guiding the act:
The routine relies totally on the team's mental agility and chemistry. It's almost heresy to imagine Brooks performing it with any other straight man. Reiner was a solid straight man to Caesar, but with Brooks he is the second-banana supreme...guiding his partner's churning comic mind.
In 1959, Reiner developed a television pilot titled Head of the Family, based on his own personal and professional life. However, the network did not like Reiner in the lead role for unknown reasons. In 1961, it was recast and re-titled The Dick Van Dyke Show and became an iconic series, making stars of his lead actors Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. In addition to writing many of the episodes, Reiner occasionally appeared as temperamental show host Alan Brady. The series ran from 1961 to 1966. In 1966, Reiner co-starred in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.
On The Dick Van Dyke Show, he began his directing career. After the series ended its run, his first film feature was an adaptation of Joseph Stein's play Enter Laughing (1967), which, in turn, was based on Reiner's semi-autobiographical 1958 novel of the same name. Balancing directing, producing, writing, and acting, Reiner worked on a wide range of films and television programs. Films from his early directing career include Where's Poppa? (1970), Oh, God! (1977), and The Jerk (1979).
In one of his memoirs, he writes, "Of all the films I have directed, only Where's Poppa? is universally acknowledged as a cult classic. A cult classic, as you may know, is a film that was seen by a small minority of the world's film goers, who insist it is one of the greatest, most daring, and innovative moving pictures ever made. Whenever two or more cult members meet, they will quote dialogue from the classic and agree that 'the film was ahead of its time.' To be designated a genuine cult classic, it is of primary importance that the film fail to earn back the cost of making, marketing, and distributing it. Where’s Poppa? was made in 1969 for a little over $1 million. According to the last distribution statements I saw, it will not break even until it earns another $650,000."

Reiner had a large role in the early career of Steve Martin, by directing and co-writing four films for the comedian: The Jerk in 1979, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid in 1982, The Man with Two Brains in 1983, and All of Me in 1984. Reiner also appeared in both The Jerk, playing a version of himself, and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.
In 1989, he directed Bert Rigby, You're a Fool. In 1990, he narrated the Grimm children's story "The Musicians of Bremen" (music by Bernard Rogers) for a CD of classical music for children.
In 2000, Reiner was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, where he was honored by fellow friends and comedians, Mel BrooksDick Van DykeMary Tyler MooreSteve MartinRob ReinerJerry SeinfeldRay Romano, and Joy Behar.
A year later, he portrayed Saul Bloom in Ocean's ElevenSteven Soderbergh's remake of 1960's Ocean's 11, and later reprised the role in Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). From 2004 to 2005, Reiner voiced Sarmoti in Father of the Pride.

Reiner was the author of several books, including his 2004 memoir My Anecdotal Life: A Memoir and novels, such as his 2006 novel NNNNN: A Novel. In American Film, he expressed his philosophy on writing comedy: "You have to imagine yourself as not somebody very special, but somebody very ordinary. If you imagine yourself as somebody really normal and if it makes you laugh, it's going to make everybody laugh. If you think of yourself as something very special, you'll end up a pedant and a bore. If you start thinking about what's funny, you won't be funny, actually. It's like walking. How do you walk? If you start thinking about it, you'll trip."
In May 2009, he guest-starred as a clinic patient on the season finale of House. Reiner also voiced Santa in Merry Madagascar and reprised his role in the Penguins of Madagascar episode "The All Nighter Before Christmas." In December 2009, he guest-starred as a television producer Marty Pepper on Two and a Half Men. In June 2010, Reiner guest starred in Hot in Cleveland as Elka Ostrovsky's date and reprised the role in July. He also made appearances in The Cleveland Show as Murray and wrote the story for the episode "Your Show of Shows", named after the program that started his career. In October 2013 and January 2014, Reiner reprised his role on Two and a Half Men.

In 2012, Reiner appeared as a guest on Jerry Seinfeld's show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. They talked at a diner about his comedy career and Reiner invited Jerry to come and have dinner with Mel Brooks and himself. According to Reiner, every night, Brooks heads to Reiner's house to eat, watch Jeopardy (he tapes it) and watch movies. The one rule for movies: It has to be one where "somebody says, 'Secure the perimeter!' or 'Get some rest.'" Brooks "falls asleep with his mouth open" every time.
On December 24, 1943, Reiner married singer Estelle Lebost. The two were married for 64 years until her death in 2008. At the time of the marriage, Reiner was 21 and she was 29. Estelle delivered the line "I'll have what she's having" in the deli scene of their son Rob's 1989 film When Harry Met Sally.... She died on October 25, 2008, at age 94.
He was the father of Rob Reiner (b. 1947); poet, playwright, and author Annie Reiner (b. 1949); and painter, actor, and director Lucas Reiner (b. 1960).
Reiner described himself as a Jewish atheist. He said, "I have a very different take on who God is. Man invented God because he needed him. God is us." He said in 2013 he developed an atheistic viewpoint as the Holocaust progressed.

Stay Tuned
Tony Figueroa
Reiner was a lifelong Democrat. He endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party nomination during the 2016 United States presidential election. Reiner's residence was in Beverly Hills, California. At the age of 98, he was among the oldest celebrities active on Twitter.