Monday, October 15, 2018

This Week in Television History: October 2018 PART III

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa


October 15, 1943
Penny Marshall was born Carole Penny Marshall in The Bronx, New York City
She is the sister of  TV producer Garry Marshall. Her father was of Italian descent andchanged his last name from "Marsciarelli" to "Marshall" before Penny was born. She moved to Los Angeles to join her older brother Garry Marshall, a writer whose credits at the time included TV's The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966).
One of her first jobs was for a TV commercial for a beautifying shampoo. She was hired to play a girl with stringy, unattractive hair, and Farrah Fawcett was hired to play a girl with thick, bouncy hair. As the crew was lighting the set, Marshall's stand-in wore a placard that read "Homely Girl" and Fawcett's stand-in wore a placard that said "Pretty Girl". Farrah Fawcett, sensing Marshall's insecurity about her looks, crossed out "Homely" on the Marshall stand-in placard and wrote "Plain".
Marshall first gained prominence as a television actress with a recurring guest role of Myrna Turner on The Odd Couple (1971–1975), and made two guest star appearances on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Paula Kovacks, Mary's neighbor in her new apartment building.
In 1974, her brother Garry Marshall was the creator and part-time writer for the hit TV series Happy Days with Ron Howard and Henry Winkler. For an episode that aired November 11, 1975 titled "A Date with Fonzie", he hired Marshall and actress Cindy Williams to play dates for Howard's and Winkler's characters, LaVerne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, a pair of wise-cracking brewery workers. The pair were a hit with the studio audience and Garry Marshall co-created and starred them in a hit spin-off, Laverne and Shirley (1976–1983). The characters of Laverne and Shirley also appeared in five more episodes of Happy Days. In 1983, while still filming Laverne and Shirley, she guest-starred on another popular sitcom, Taxi, in a cameo appearance as herself. In the Taxi episode "Louie Moves Uptown", Marshall is turned down for residency in a new high-rise condo in New York City. The Laverne and Shirley episode "Lost in Spacesuits" is referenced in the scene.
Because male actors such as co-star Ron Howard and husband Rob Reiner later became directors, and at the encouragement of her brother, Marshall became interested in directing. She directed two episodes of Laverne and Shirley and other TV assignments. She soon moved on to theatrical films, her first film being Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986) starring Whoopi Goldberg. Marshall has directed several successful feature films since the mid-1980s, including 1988's Big starring Tom Hanks (the first film directed by a woman to gross over US$100 million), Awakenings (1990) starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, and A League of Their Own (1992) with Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell. She has also lent her voice to Ms. Botz, the evil nanny, on the first produced episode of The Simpsons, and played a cameo role as herself in HBO's series Entourage.


October 15th, 1973
Tomorrow first aired. 
(also known as The Tomorrow Show and, after 1980Tomorrow Coast to Coast) is an American late-night television talk show hosted by Tom Snyder. The show aired on NBC from 1973 to 1982 and featured many prominent guests, including Paul McCartney“Weird Al” Yankovic (in his first televised appearance),Ayn RandJohn Lennon (in his last televised interview), Jerry Garcia, the Grateful DeadKen KeseyCharles MansonThe ClashJohnny RottenRamones, and U2(in their first American television appearance). Los Angeles news anchor Kelly Lange, a good friend of Snyder, was the regular substitute guest host.


October 18, 1943
The first broadcast of Perry Mason was presented on CBS Radio. 

The show went to TV in 1957. 

October 18, 1988
Roseanne debuts on ABC. 

The show was considered groundbreaking for its realistic portrayal of a working-class family and the issues they faced. Barr’s portrayal of the loud, abrasive, overweight Roseanne Conner was a sharp contrast to the stereotypical TV housewife in the mold of Leave It to Beaver’s June Cleaver and The Brady Bunch’s Carol Brady. The show was an instant ratings hit, airing for nine seasons, collecting numerous awards and turning Barr into a big star.
Roseanne was set in the fictional town of Langford, Illinois, where the wisecracking Conner lives with her husband Dan (played by John Goodman), daughters Becky (alternately Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke) and Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and son D.J. (Michael Fishman). Roseanne’s younger sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is also a prominent member of the family. The show featured a large cast of supporting characters, which over the years included a young George Clooney (as Roseanne’s boss Booker Brooks of Wellman Plastics), Estelle Parsons (as Roseanne and Jackie’s mother), Shelley Winters, Martin Mull and Sandra Bernhard, among others.
Roseanne Barr was born on November 3, 1952, and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She began doing stand-up comedy at clubs in Denver and used her experiences as a wife and mother of three children as fodder for her routines. She became known for using the term “domestic goddess” to refer to a housewife. By the mid-1980s, Barr had risen to national fame, and in 1988 her self-titled TV show debuted on ABC.
During her years on TV, the outspoken Barr became a tabloid target, and her family, personal appearance and romantic relationships were all heavily scrutinized. Barr was married to her second husband, the actor Tom Arnold, from 1990 to 1994. From 1995 to 2002, she was married to Ben Thomas, who worked as her security guard. In June 1990, Barr stirred up controversy when she performed a screeching, off-key version of the “Star Spangled Banner” at a Major League baseball game in San Diego. After her song, she spit and grabbed her crotch in what she said was a humorous imitation of baseball players. She was heavily criticized for the incident, which was later parodied on multiple occasions, including by Barr herself.
The final original episode of Roseanne aired on May 20, 1997. Barr went on to host her own talk show, from 1998 to 2000, and has subsequently been involved in a variety of film and television projects.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 12, 2018

Your Mental Sorbet: Garfield's Halloween Adventure


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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, October 08, 2018

This Week in Television History: October 2018 PART II

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa


October 8, 1943
Cornelius Crane (Chevy) Chase is born in New York City. 
Chase began writing material for comedians in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. After meeting Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels while standing in line for a movie, Chase landed a job writing and acting for the program. After a year, he left the show to launch a movie career. His films include Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), and Fletch (1985).

October 8, 1958
Bat Masterson first aired.
Bat Masterson is a Western television series which showed a fictionalized account of the life of real-life marshal/gambler/dandy Bat Masterson. The title character was played by Gene Barry and the half-hour black-and-white shows ran on NBC from 1958 to 1961. The series was produced by Ziv Television ProductionsBat is a nickname for Masterson's first name, Bartholemew.
The show took a tongue-in-cheek outlook, with Barry's Masterson often dressed in expensive Eastern clothing and preferring to use his cane rather than a gun to get himself out of trouble. Masterson was also portrayed as a ladies' man who traveled the West looking for women and adventure.
The black derby, fancy decorative vest, black jacket, and elegant pearl-tipped cane were his trademarks. Miniaturized versions were marketed to children as tie-in products during the run of the show.

October 9, 1953
Anthony Marcus "Tony" Shalhoub was born. 

The actor of Lebanese origin is best known for his role as manic-obsessive sleuth Adrian Monk on the TV series Monk. By 1991, one of his first television roles was as the Italian cabdriver Antonio Scarpacci in the sitcom Wings. Shalhoub was pleasantly surprised to land the role after having a recurring role in the second season. Shalhoub affected an Italian accent for the role. In the same time period, Shalhoub played physicist Dr. Chester Ray Banton in the X-Files second-season episode "Soft Light." He later returned to series television in 1999, this time in a lead role on Stark Raving Mad opposite Neil Patrick Harris. The show did not attract much of an audience, and NBC cancelled the series in July 2000.
After a two-year absence from the small screen, Shalhoub starred in another TV series, Monk, in which he plays a San Francisco detective diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, for USA Network. Michael Richards had been offered the role when the show was being considered for broadcast on ABC, a network which would later rerun the first season in 2003, but he eventually turned it down. Shalhoub was nominated for Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series seven times consecutively, from 2003-2009, and won in 2003, 2005, and 2006.


October 10, 1958
77 Sunset Strip first aired
The series revolves around two Los Angeles private detectives, both former government secret agents: Efrem Zimbalist Jr. played Stuart ("Stu") Bailey, a character Huggins had originated in his 1946 novel The Double Take (which he later adapted into the 1948 movie I Love Trouble, starring Franchot Tone in the role). Roger Smith played Jeff Spencer, also a former government agent, and a nonpracticing attorney. The duo worked out of a stylish office at 77 Sunset Boulevard (colloquially known as Sunset Strip), between La Cienega Boulevard and Alta Loma Road on the south side of the strip next door to Dean Martin's real-life lounge, Dino's Lodge. Suzanne, the beautiful French switchboard operator played by Jacqueline Beer, handled the phones.
Comic relief was provided by Roscoe the racetrack tout (played by Louis Quinn), and Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III (played by Edd Byrnes), the rock and roll-loving, wisecracking, hair-combing hipster and aspiring PI who worked as the valet parking attendant at Dino's, the club next door to the detectives' office. Byrnes had originally been cast as a contract killer in the series pilot, but proved so popular that he was brought back in a new role for the series.
Despite Huggins' hopes for a hard-edged drama, the tone of the series was much lighter and featured a strong element of self-deprecating humor. Many of the episodes were named "capers". The catchy theme song, written by the accomplished team of Mack David and Jerry Livingston, typified the show's breezy, jazzed atmosphere. The song became the centerpiece of an album of the show's music in Warren Barker-led orchestrations, which was released in 1959, a top-10 hit in the Billboard LP charts.
Sue Randall and "Kookie", 1964
The Kookie character became a cultural phenomenon, with his slang expressions such as "ginchy" and "piling up Zs" (sleeping). When Kookie helped the detectives on a case by singing a song, Edd Byrnes began a singing career with the novelty single "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)" (Warner Bros. 5047), based on his frequent combing of his hair; this featured Connie Stevenson vocals in the chorus and the song, with words and music by Irving Taylor, became the first hit single for the recently established Warner Bros. Records. Kookie was also used to provide product placement for Harley-Davidson, appearing on their Topper motor scooter in the show and in Harley-Davidson advertisements.
When Byrnes' demands for more money and an expanded role were not met, he left the show, but he came back as a full-fledged partner in the detective firm in May 1960. (During his absence, Roscoe's and Suzanne's roles were beefed up to handle the leg work he normally did.) In 1961, Robert Logan became the new parking lot attendant, J.R. Hale, who usually spoke in abbreviations. In 1960, Richard Long moved from the recently canceled detective series Bourbon Street Beat with his role of Rex Randolph, but he left the program in 1962. Rex lived at 3770 Pastel Place, North Hollywood, California.
One of the series' more unusual episodes was the 1960 "The Silent Caper", written by Smith. It presented its story completely without dialogue, hence the title. Another off-beat entry was 1961's "Reserved For Mr. Bailey", which finds Zimbalist alone in a ghost town. He is the only actor on screen for the entire hour. (This latter episode was never included in the syndication package, and many fans had expressed their frustration at being unable to see it again. It finally resurfaced on MeTV on June 17, 2017.)

October 14, 1943
The Radio Corporation of America finalized the sale of the NBC Blue radio network. 

Edward J. Noble paid $8 million for the network that was renamed American Broadcasting Company. 


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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 05, 2018

Your Mental Sorbet: The Legend of Evie Everheart


Here is another "Mental Sorbet
that we could use to momentarily forget about those
things that leave a bad taste in our mouths
The Legend of Evie Everheart
Performed by
on Friday May 8th 2009
Donna Allen-Figueroa
www.storysalon.com
In association with Story Salon


Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, October 01, 2018

This Week in Television History: October 2018 PART I

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa


October 1, 1958
Kraft Television Theater broadcasts its last episode. 

The influential show had first appeared in 1947. Kraft had discovered the value of entertainment sponsorship back in 1933, when it launched the radio program Kraft Music Hall specifically to introduce Miracle Whip. The product took off and so did Kraft's media ventures. Kraft Television Theater featured televised comedies and dramas starring a different cast every week. The series' first production cost only $3,000, but by 1958 the network paid at least $100,000 per production. Jack Lemmon, James Dean, Grace Kelly, Anthony Perkins, and Paul Newman were among the stars that appeared on the program.

October 2, 1928
George Robert Phillips "Spanky" McFarland was born. Most famous for his appearances in the Our Gang series of short-subject comedies of the 1930s and 1940s. 

The Our Gang shorts were later popular after being syndicated to television as The Little Rascals. In 1952, at age 24, McFarland joined the U.S. Air Force. Upon his return to civilian life, indelibly typecast in the public's mind as "Spanky" from Our Gang, he found himself unable to find work in show business. He took less glamorous jobs, including work at a soft drink plant, a hamburger stand, popsicle factory, selling wine, operating a restaurant and night club, and selling appliances, electronics and furniture. In the late 1950s, when the Our Gang comedies were sweeping the nation on TV, McFarland hosted an afternoon children's show, "Spanky's Clubhouse," on KOTV television in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The show included a studio audience and appearances by other celebrities such as James Arness, and it ran Little Rascals shorts.
Spanky loaned his name and celebrity to help raise money for charities, primarily by participating in golf tournaments. Spanky also had his own namesake charity golf classic for 16 years, held in Marion, Indiana.
McFarland continued to do personal appearances and cameo roles in films and television, including an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. His final television performance was in 1993 in an introductory vignette at the beginning of the Cheers episode "Woody Gets An Election".
McFarland died suddenly of a heart attack on June 30, 1993, at age 64. His remains were cremated shortly thereafter. In January 1994, “Spanky” joined fellow alumnus Jackie Cooper to become one of only two Our Gang members to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.


October 2, 1958
The Huckleberry Hound Show first aired

The Huckleberry Hound Show was a syndicated animated series which began airing in 1958 and the second from the Hanna-Barbera studios following The Ruff and Reddy Show, sponsored by Kellogg's. Three segments were included in the program: one featuring Huckleberry Hound, another starring Yogi Bear and his sidekick Boo Boo, and a third with Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks, two mice who in each short found a new way to outwit the cat Mr. Jinks.

The Yogi Bear segment of the show became extremely popular and, as a result, it spawned its own series in 1961. A segment featuring Hokey Wolf and Ding-A-Ling was added, replacing Yogi during the 1960–61 season. The show contributed to making Hanna-Barbera Productions a household name, and is often credited with legitimizing the concept of animation produced specifically for television. In 1960, it became the first animated program to be honored with an Emmy Award.

October 4, 1953
I Led Three Lives was first seen in syndication. The TV show was never on network. 
It was loosely based on the life of Herbert Philbrick, a Boston advertising executive who infiltrated the U.S. Communist Party on behalf of the FBI in the 1940s and wrote a bestselling book on the topic, I Led Three Lives: Citizen, 'Communist', Counterspy (1952). The part of Philbrick was played by Richard Carlson.
I Led Three Lives lasted 117 episodes. Philbrick narrated each episode and served as a technical consultant – and all scripts were approved by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Nonetheless, the episodes often had very little to do with the actual events of Philbrick's life, with plotlines taking Philbrick on journeys to Europe and South America. They gradually became more and more outlandish, featuring such supposed "Communist plots" as an attempt to convert vacuum cleaners into bomb launchers.
The "three lives" in the title are Philbrick's outward life as a white-collar worker, his secret life as a Communist agent and his even more secret life as an FBI operative helping foil Communist plots.
The title of the TV series "I Had Three Wives", which aired briefly in 1985, is a pun on the name of the original; it was an otherwise unrelated comedy-drama about a private detective's three ex-wives who cooperate on cases.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Your Mental Sorbet: ‘SNL’: Matt Damon As Judge Brett Kavanaugh


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


Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, September 24, 2018

This Week in Television History: September 2018 PART IV

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa


September 24, 1958
The Donna Reed Show first aired.

sitcom starring Donna Reed as the middle-class housewife Donna Stone. Carl Betz co-stars as her pediatrician husband Dr. Alex Stone, and Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen as their teenage children, Mary and Jeff. The show originally aired on ABC from September 24, 1958 to March 19, 1966. When Fabares left the show in 1963, Petersen's younger sister, Patty Petersen, joined the cast as adopted daughter Trisha. Patty Petersen had first appeared in the episode "A Way of Her Own", on January 31, 1963. Janet Landgard was a series regular from 1963-1965 as Karen Holmby.

September 24, 1963  
Petticoat Junction first aired.
Set just outside the rural town of Hooterville, the show followed the goings-on at The Shady Rest Hotel, of which Kate Bradley (Benaderet) was the proprietor. Her lazy Uncle Joe Carson (Edgar Buchanan), who was the great uncle to Kate's three daughters, helped her in the day-to-day running of the business while she served as a mediator in the various minor crises that befell her daughters Betty Jo (redhead), Bobbie Jo (brunette), and Billie Jo (blonde). The actresses portraying Billie Jo and Bobbie Jo changed over the years, whereas Betty Jo was portrayed by Linda Kaye, the daughter of Paul Henning, for the entire run.

September 24, 1968
60 Minutes premiered on CBS-TV.  
An American newsmagazine television program broadcast on the CBS television network. Debuting in 1968, the program was created by Don Hewitt, who chose to set it apart from other news programs by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation. In 2002, 60 Minutes was ranked #6 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2013, it was ranked #24 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time. The New York Times has called it "one of the most esteemed news magazines on American television"

September 24th, 1968
The Mod Squad first aired. 

It starred Michael Cole as Pete Cochren, Peggy Lipton as Julie Barnes, Clarence Williams III as Linc Hayes, and Tige Andrews as Captain Adam Greer. Theexecutive producers of the series were Aaron Spelling and Danny Thomas.
The iconic counter-culture police series earned six Emmy nominations, four Golden Globe nominations plus one win for Peggy Lipton, one Directors Guild of America award, and four Logies. In 1997 the episode “Mother of Sorrow” was ranked #95 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.

September 24, 1993
ABC debuted the series "Boy Meets World." 
An American television sitcom created and produced by Michael Jacobs and April Kelly. The show aired on the ABC network from September 24, 1993, to May 5, 2000, lasting seven seasons.
The show chronicles the everyday events and life-lessons of Cory Matthews (Ben Savage). It also stars Cory's teacher George Feeny (William Daniels), best friend Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong), brother Eric (Will Friedle), and love interest Topanga (Danielle Fishel). The show also features Cory's father Alan (William Russ), mother Amy (Betsy Randle), and sister Morgan (Lily Nicksay), while introducing the characters Angela Moore (Trina McGee-Davis), Rachel McGuire (Maitland Ward), and Jonathan Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn) in its later seasons.

September 29, 1948
Bryant Charles Gumbel is born. 

The television journalist, sportscaster, newscaster, television personality and sports anchor is best known for his 15 years as co-host of NBC's The Today Show. He is the younger brother of sportscaster Greg Gumbel. He began his television career in October 1972, when he was made a sportscaster for KNBC-TV Los Angeles.

September 29, 1953
"Make Room for Daddy" premiered on ABC-TV. 
The Danny Thomas Show (titled Make Room for Daddy for its first three seasons) is an American sitcom that ran from 1953 to 1957 on ABC and from 1957 to 1964 on CBS. Episodes regularly featured music by Danny Thomas, guest stars and occasionally other cast members as part of the plot.
In March 1953, Danny Thomas first signed the contract for the show with ABC and chose Desilu Studios to film it using its three-camera method. Two proposed titles during preproduction were The Children's Hour and Here Comes Daddy.

September 29, 1963
"The Judy Garland Show" premiered on CBS-TV.
The Judy Garland Show is an American musical variety television series that aired on CBS on Sunday nights during the 1963–1964 television season. Despite a sometimes stormy relationship with Judy Garland, CBS had found success with several television specials featuring the star. Garland, who for years had been reluctant to commit to a weekly series, saw the show as her best chance to pull herself out of severe financial difficulties.
Production difficulties beset the series almost from the beginning. The series had three different producers in the course of its 26 episodes and went through a number of other key personnel changes. With the change in producers also came changes to the show's format, which started as comedy and variety but switched to an almost purely concert format.
While Garland herself was popular with critics, the initial variety format and her co-star, Jerry Van Dyke, were not. The show competed with NBC's Bonanza, then the fourth most popular program on television, and consistently performed poorly in the ratings. Although fans rallied in an attempt to save the show, CBS cancelled it after a single season.
TV Guide included the series in their 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon".

September 29, 1963
My Favorite Martian first aired.
The show starred Ray Walston as Uncle Martin (the Martian) and Bill Bixby as Tim O’Hara. A human-looking extraterrestrial in a one-man spaceship crash-lands near Los Angeles. The ship’s pilot is, in fact, an anthropologist from Mars and is now stranded on Earth. Tim O’Hara, a young newspaper reporter for The Los Angeles Sun, is on his way home from Edwards Air Force Base (where he had gone to report on the flight of the X-15) back to Los Angeles when he spots the spaceship coming down. The X-15 nearly hit the martian’s spaceship and caused it to crash.

September 30, 1958
Naked City first aired
Naked City is a police drama series from Screen Gems which was broadcast from 1958 to 1959 and from 1960 to 1963 on the ABC television network. It was inspired by the 1948 motion picture The Naked City and mimics its dramatic "semi-documentary" format. As in the film, each episode concluded with a narrator intoning the iconic line: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."
The Naked City episode "Four Sweet Corners" (1959) inspired the series Route 66, created by Stirling Silliphant.Route 66 was broadcast by CBS from 1960 to 1964, and, like Naked City, followed the "semi-anthology" format of building the stories around the guest actors, rather than the regular cast. In 1997, the episode "Sweet Prince of Delancey Street" (1961) was ranked #93 on TV Guide's "100 Greatest Episodes of All Time".


September 30, 1958
The first episode of The Rifleman aired on ABC-TV. 
The Rifleman is an American Western television program starring Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son Mark McCain. It was set in the 1870s and 1880s in the fictional town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory. The show was filmed in black and white, in half-hour episodes. The Rifleman aired on ABCfrom September 30, 1958, to April 8, 1963, as a production of Four Star Television. It was one of the first prime time series on US television to show a single parent raising a child.

The program was titled to reflect McCain's use of a Winchester Model 1892 rifle, customized to allow repeated firing by cycling its lever action. He demonstrated this technique in the opening credits of every episode, as well as a second modification that allowed him to cycle the action with one hand.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa