Monday, June 29, 2015

This Week in Television History: June 2015 PART V

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.

July 2, 1955
The long-running musical-variety program The Lawrence Welk Show debuts on ABC. 

Welk, a bandleader from North Dakota known for light dance music, had launched his own show in 1951 on KTLA in Los Angeles. The show remained a network hit for some 16 years, then became a syndicated series. Welk retired in 1982 and died in 1992.
July 3, 1950
TV game show Pantomime Quiz Show debuts as a network series on CBS. 


The program, a variation of charades, ran for 13 years, although it changed networks several times. The show began as a local program in Los Angeles in 1947. In 1949, the show was one of TV's first programs to win an Emmy, first awarded by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences that year.

July 5, 1970
PBS began airing concerts by the Boston Pops Orchestra. 
Evening at Pops is an American concert television series produced by WGBH-TV. It is one of the longest-running programs on PBS, airing from 1970 to 2005.[1] The program was a public television version of a variety show, featuring performances by the Boston Pops Orchestra. It was taped at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.
Most shows featured a guest star, usually a well known singer or musician, most commonly within popular music or sometimes rock, folk, jazz or other musical genres. After one or two opening numbers by the Pops, the guest would be brought onstage. Usually the guest would sing several their own hits or songs associated with them, with accompaniment by the Pops. After concluding their set, the guest artist would leave the stage, and the Pops would play one or two closing numbers. The three men who served as Boston Pops Conductor during the show's run – Arthur Fiedler (1970-79), John Williams (1979-95) and Keith Lockhart (1996-2005) – appeared. Gene Galusha provided narration and announced most of the pieces played.
Evening at Symphony, a companion series produced by WGBH and featuring performances of the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa, aired on PBS from 1974 to 1979.


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

 



 

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Tony Figueroa

Friday, June 26, 2015

Your Mental Sorbet: The Dean Martin Roasts - Johnny Carson (Man of the Week)

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. 


Original Air Date - November 2, 1973

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Tony Figueroa

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Patrick Macnee

I was absolutely delighted that those shows have been preserved
Patrick Macnee 

Daniel Patrick Macnee
February 6, 1922 – June 25, 2015

Patrick Macnee died today at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at the age of 93.

The elder of two sons, Macnee was born in London in 1922 to Daniel and Dorothea Mary (née Hastings) Macnee. His father trained race horses in Lambourn. His maternal grandmother was Frances Alice Hastings, who was descended from the Earls of Huntingdon.


His parents divorced after his mother declared her lesbianism and took up company with a wealthy live-in partner, whom Macnee referred to as "Uncle Evelyn" in the memoirs he dictated to Marie Cameron, Blind In One Ear: The Avenger Returns, and who helped pay for young Patrick's schooling. He was educated at Summer Fields School and Eton College, where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps and was one of the honour guard for King George V at St George's Chapel in 1936. He was later expelled from Eton for selling pornography and being a bookmaker for his fellow students.
He studied acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, but shortly before he was to perform in his first West End leading role, which would have had him acting alongside Vivien Leigh, he was called up for the United Kingdom Armed Forces. He joined the Royal Navy as an ordinary seaman in 1942 and was commissioned a sub-lieutenant in 1943, becoming a navigator on Motor Torpedo Boats in the English Channel and North Sea. He caught bronchitis just before D-Day; while he was recuperating in hospital, his boat and crew were lost in action. He left the Navy in 1946 as a lieutenant.
After nurturing his acting career in Canada, Macnee appeared in a number of films. He was an uncredited extra in Pygmalion(1938), A Matter of Life and Death (1943) and Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948), before graduating to credited parts in such films as Scrooge (US: A Christmas Carol, 1951), as the young Jacob Marley, the Gene Kelly vehicle Les Girls (1957), as an Old Baileybarrister, and the war film The Battle of the River Plate (1956). Between these occasional movie roles, Macnee spent the better part of the 1950s working in dozens of small parts in American and Canadian television and theatre.
Not long before his career-making role in The Avengers, Macnee took a break from acting and served as one of the London-based producers for the classic documentary series The Valiant Years, based on the Second World War memoirs of Winston Churchill.
While working in London on the Churchill series, Macnee was offered a part originally known as Jonathan Steed. Despite numerous roles in theatre, on television and in cinema, Macnee is best known as John Steed in the series The Avengers (1961−69). The series was originally conceived as a vehicle for Ian Hendry, who played the lead role of Dr. David Keel, while Steed was his assistant. Macnee, though, became the lead after Hendry's departure at the end of the first season.
He played opposite a succession of female partners who included Honor BlackmanDiana Rigg and finally Linda Thorson. Steed was also the central character of a revival, follow-on series, The New Avengers (1976–77), in which he was teamed with agents named Purdey (Joanna Lumley) and Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt).
Although Macnee evolved in the role as the series progressed, the key elements of Steed's persona and appearance were there from very early on: the slightly mysterious demeanour and, increasingly, the light, suave, flirting tone with ladies (and always with his female assistants). Finally, from the episodes with Honor Blackman onwards, the trademark bowler hat and umbrella completed the image. Though it was traditionally associated with London "city gents", the ensemble of suit, umbrella and bowler had developed in the post-war years as mufti for ex-servicemen attending Armistice Day ceremonies. Macnee, alongside designer Pierre Cardin, adapted the look into a style all his own, and he went on to design several outfits himself for Steed based on the same basic theme.
Macnee insisted on, and was proud of, never carrying a gun in the original series; when asked why, he explained, "I'd just come out of a World War in which I'd seen most of my friends blown to bits." Lumley later said she did all the gun-slinging in The New Avengers for the same reason. However, the Internet Movie Firearms Database lists seven instances where Steed uses a firearm, all in the original series.
During the 1960s, Macnee co-wrote two original novels based upon The Avengers, which he titled Dead Duck and Deadline. In 1988, he dictated his autobiography, which he titled Blind in One Ear: The Avenger Returns, to Marie Cameron. In 1995, he hosted a documentary, The Avengers: The Journey Back, directed by Clyde Lucas.
When asked in June 1982 which Avengers female lead was his favourite, Macnee declined to give a specific answer. "Well, I'd rather not say. To do so would invite trouble," he told TV Week magazine. Macnee did provide his evaluation of the female leads. Of Honor Blackman he said, "She was wonderful, presenting the concept of a strong-willed, independent and liberated woman just as that sort of woman was beginning to emerge in society." Diana Rigg was "One of the world's great actresses. A superb comedienne. I'm convinced that one day she'll be Dame Diana." (His prediction came true in 1994.) Linda Thorson was "one of the sexiest women alive" while Joanna Lumley was "superb in the role of Purdey. An actress who is only now realising her immense potential."
Macnee's other significant roles have included playing Sir Godfrey Tibbett opposite Roger Moore in the James Bond film A View to a Kill, as Major Crossley in The Sea Wolves (again with Moore), guest roles in Encounter, Alias Smith and Jones (for Glen Larson), Hart to Hart, Murder, She Wrote, and The Love Boat. He made an appearance in episode 10 of series one of The Twilight Zone in 1959 ("Judgment Night"). Though Macnee found fame as the heroic Steed, many of his television appearances were as villains; among them were his roles as both the demonic Count Iblis and his provision of the character voice of the Cylons's Imperious Leader in Battlestar Galactica, also for Glen Larson, for which he also supplied the show's introductory voiceover. He also presented the American paranormal series Mysteries, Magic and Miracles. Macnee made his Broadway debut as the star of Anthony Shaffer's mystery Sleuth in 1972 and subsequently headlined the national tour of that play.
On television, in 1975, Macnee made a guest appearance on Columbo in the episode "Troubled Waters." In 1983 he played Major Vickers in For the Term of His Natural Life.He had recurring roles in the crime series Gavilan with Robert Urich and in the short-lived 1984 satire on big business, Empire, as Dr. Calvin Cromwell. Macnee also narrated the 2000 documentary Ian Fleming: 007's Creator.
In 1984, Macnee appeared in Magnum, P.I. as a retired but delusional British agent who believed he was Sherlock Holmes, in a season four episode titled "Holmes Is Where the Heart Is." He played both Holmes and Dr. John Hamish Watson on several occasions. He played Watson three times: once alongside Roger Moore's Sherlock Holmes in a 1976TV filmSherlock Holmes in New York, and twice with Christopher Lee, first in Incident at Victoria Falls and then in Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady. He played Holmes in another TV film, The Hound of London (1993). He is thus one of only a very small number of actors to have portrayed both Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on screen.
He also appeared in several cult films: in The Howling as 'Dr George Waggner' (named whimsically after the director of 1941's The Wolf Man) and as 'Sir Denis Eton-Hogg' in the rockumentary comedy This Is Spinal Tap. In 1981, he played Dr. Stark in The Creature Wasn't Nice, also called Spaceship and Naked Space. In 1982, according to information provided by Thomas "Duke" Miller, a TV/movie/celebrity expert, Macnee played the role of actor David Mathews in the made-for-television movie Rehearsal for Murder, which starred Robert Preston and Lynn Redgrave. The movie was from a script written by Columbo co-creators Richard Levinson and William Link. He took over Leo G. Carroll's role as the head of U.N.C.L.E. in The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E: The Fifteen-Years-Later Affair, produced by Michael Sloan, in 1983; his role differed from Carroll's of Alexander Waverly. Patrick starred in the 1990s science fiction series Super Force as E. B. Hungerford and his computer counterpart; his character of the human Hungerford was killed in the pilot. Macnee also appeared as a supporting character in the 1989 science fiction parody Lobster Man From Mars as Prof. Plocostomos and inFrasier, season 8, episode 12. He also played in the 1989 film The Return of Sam McCloud (again for Glen Larson) as Tom Jamison.[12] He would also make a cameo appearance in the Sci-Fi American television series Nightman (also for Larson) as Dr. Walton, a psychiatrist who would advise Johnny/Nightman.
Macnee served as the narrator for several "behind-the-scenes" featurettes, featured on the James Bond series of DVDs. He lent his voice in a cameo as 'Invisible Jones' in the 1998 critically lambasted film version of The Avengers, in which the character of Steed was taken over by Ralph Fiennes, and he also featured in two pop videos: as Steed in original Avengers footage in the The Pretenders's 1986 video "Don't Get Me Wrong" and in the Oasis's video of their song "Don't Look Back in Anger" in 1996, as the band's driver, a role similar to that which he played in the 1985 James Bond film A View To A Kill.
He had also appeared in various TV commercials including one in 1990 for Swiss Chalet, the Canadian restaurant chain, and recorded numerous audio books, most notably for the audio book releases of many novels by Jack Higgins. He also recorded the children's books The Musical Life of Gustav Mole and its sequel, The Lost Music (Gustav Mole's War on Noise), both written by Michael Twinn. Macnee also appeared as a retired agent in the short-lived TV series Spy Game (1997) and in two episodes of the series Kung Fu, the Legend Continues.
Macnee reunited with his former Avengers partner Diana Rigg in her short-lived NBC sitcom, Diana, in a 1973 episode.
Around 1989, Macnee did another commercial of note for the Sterling Motor Car Company. Over the James Bond theme, the car duels with a motorcycle assailant at high speed through mountainous territory, ultimately eludes the foe, and reaches its destination. Macnee steps out of the car and greets viewers with a smile, saying, "I suppose you were expecting someone else."

Good Night Mr. Macnee 

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Tony Figueroa