Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Your Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Sorbet PSA: William Shatner & State Farm® present "Eat, Fry, Love," a turkey fryer fire cautionary tale

Here is another "HOLIDAY SOR-BAY"
that we could use to artificially stimulate our Holiday spirit. 

We start with a Pre-Thanksgiving P.S.A.

William Shatner loves deep-fried turkey, but over many Thanksgivings and Christmases he's made mistakes, burned himself, and nearly burned down his house. In this dramatic retelling, Bill shows us how dangerous turkey fryers can be.

Stay Tuned and have a SAFE Thanksgiving

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

David Cassidy

My life has flourished in so many ways both personally and professionally that I can't ask for a better life.
David Cassidy
David Bruce Cassidy
April 12, 1950 – November 21, 2017
David Cassidy died today at the age of 67.
David Cassidy was born at Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in New York City, the son of singer and actor Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward.
In 1956, Cassidy's father married singer and actress Shirley Jones. They had three children: David's half-brothers Shaun (1958), Patrick (1962), and Ryan (1966). In 1968, after completing one final session of summer school to obtain credits necessary to get a high-school diploma, David moved into the rental home of Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones in Irvington, New York, where his half-brothers also resided. David remained there seeking fame as an actor/musician while simultaneously working half-days in the mailroom of a textile firm. He moved out when his career began to flourish.
Cassidy's father, Jack, is credited with setting his son up with his first manager. After signing with Universal Studios in 1969, Jack introduced him to former table tennis champion and close friend Ruth Aarons, who later found her niche as a talent manager, given her theater background. Aarons had represented Jack and Shirley Jones for several years prior, and later represented Cassidy's half-brother Shaun. Aarons became an authority figure and close friend to Cassidy, and was the driving force behind his on-screen success. After making small wages from Screen Gems for his work on The Partridge Family during season one, Aarons discovered a loophole in his contract and renegotiated it with far superior terms, and a four-year duration, a rare stipulation at the time.
On January 2, 1969, Cassidy made his professional debut in the Broadway musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling. It closed after four performances, but a casting director saw the show and asked Cassidy to make a screen test. In 1969, he moved to Los Angeles. After signing with Universal Studios in 1969, Cassidy was featured in episodes of the television series IronsideMarcus Welby, M.D.Adam-12 and Bonanza.

In 1970, Cassidy took the role of Keith Partridge, son of Shirley Partridge, who was played by Cassidy's real stepmother and series lead Shirley Jones. The Partridge Family series creator Bernard Slade and producers Paul Junger Witt and Bob Claver did not care whether Cassidy could sing, knowing only that his androgynous good looks would guarantee success. Shortly after production began, though, Cassidy convinced music producer Wes Farrell that he was good enough, and he was promoted to lead singer for the series' recordings.
Once "I Think I Love You" became a hit, Cassidy began work on solo albums, as well. Within the first year, he had produced his own single, "Cherish" (from the album of the same title), which reached number nine in the United States, number two in the United Kingdom, and number one in Australia and New Zealand. He began tours that featured Partridge tunes and his own hits. Though he wanted to become a respected rock musician along the lines of Mick Jagger, his channel to stardom launched him into the ranks of teen idol, a brand he loathed until much later in life, when he managed to come to terms with his bubblegum pop beginnings.
Ten albums by The Partridge Family and five solo albums were produced during the series, with most selling more than a million copies each. Internationally, Cassidy's solo career eclipsed the already phenomenal success of The Partridge Family. He became an instant drawcard, with sellout concert successes in major arenas around the world. These concerts produced mass hysteria, resulting in the media coining the term "Cassidymania". By way of example, he played to two sellout crowds of 56,000 each at the Houston Astrodome in Texas over one weekend in 1972. His concert in New York's Madison Square Garden sold out in one day and resulted in riots after the show. His concert tours of the United Kingdom included sellout concerts at Wembley Stadium in 1973. In Australia in 1974, the mass hysteria was such that calls were made to have him deported from the country, especially after the madness at his 33,000-person audience concert at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
In 1978, Cassidy starred in an episode of Police Story titled "A Chance to Live", for which he received an Emmy Award nomination. NBC created a series based on it, called David Cassidy: Man Undercover, but it was cancelled after one season. A decade later, the successful Fox series 21 Jump Street used the same plot, with different youthful-looking police officers infiltrating a high school.
On February 20, 2017, Cassidy announced that he was living with non-Alzheimer's dementia, the condition that his mother suffered from at the end of her life. He retired from performing in early 2017 when the condition became noticeable during a performance in which he forgot lyrics and otherwise struggled.
On November 18, 2017, it was announced that Cassidy had been hospitalized suffering from liver and kidney failure, and was critically ill in a medically induced coma. He was out of the coma two days later, but remained in critical but stable condition, with doctors hoping to keep him stable until a liver became available for transplant.

Good Night Mr. Cassidy

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, November 20, 2017

Della Reese

So whatever it is you want,
need or desire or just like to have,
you better try to get it now,
'cause this is the only time there is.
-Della Reese
Della Reese
July 6, 1931 – November 19, 2017
Della Reese died yesterday at her home in California. Della Reese was born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931, in the historic Black Bottom neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 13, she was hired to sing with Mahalia Jackson's gospel group. Delloreese entered Detroit's popular Cass Technical High School (where she attended the same year as Edna Rae Gillooly, later known as Ellen Burstyn). She also continued with her touring with Jackson. With higher grades, she was the first in her family to graduate from high school in 1947, at only 15.

Afterwards, she formed her own gospel group, the Meditation Singers. However, due in part to the death of her mother and her father's serious illness, Reese had to interrupt her schooling at Wayne State University to help support her family. Faithful to the memory of her mother, Delloreese moved out of her father's house when she disapproved of him taking up with a new girlfriend. She then took on odd jobs, such as truck driver, dental receptionist, and elevator operator, after 1949. Performing in clubs, Early soon decided to shorten her name from "Delloreese Early" to "Della Reese".

In 1969, she began a transition into acting work which would eventually lead to her highest profile. Her first attempt at television stardom was a talk show series, Della, which was cancelled after 197 episodes (June 9, 1969 – March 13, 1970).

In 1970, Reese became the first black woman to guest host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She appeared in several TV movies and miniseries, was a regular on Chico and the Man and played the mother of B. A. Baracus in The A-Team episode "Lease with an Option to Die". In 1991, she starred opposite her old friend Redd Foxx in his final sitcom, The Royal Family, but his death halted production of the series for several months. Reese also did voice-over for the late 1980s Hanna-Barbera animated series A Pup Named Scooby-Doo on ABC. In 1989, she starred alongside Eddie MurphyRichard Pryor and Redd Foxx in the film Harlem Nights, in which she performed a fight scene with Eddie Murphy. Reese appeared as a panelist on several episodes of the popular television game show Match Game.
Reese has had a wide variety of guest-starring roles, beginning with an episode of The Mod Squad. This led to other roles in such series as: The Bold Ones: The New Doctors, Getting Together, Police Woman,Petrocelli, Joe Forrester, Police Story, The Rookies, McCloud, Sanford and Son with old friend Redd FoxxVega$, Insight and two episodes of The Love Boat. She also had a recurring role on It Takes Two opposite Richard Crenna and Patty Duke, three episodes of Crazy Like a Fox, four episodes of Charlie & Co. opposite Flip Wilson227 with best friend Marla GibbsMacGyver, Night Court, Dream On,Designing Women, Picket Fences, Disney Channel's That's So Raven and The Young and the Restless.
After coping with the death of one of her best friends, Redd Foxx, in 1991, she was reluctant to play an older female lead in the inspirational television drama Touched by an Angel, but went ahead and auditioned for the role of Tess. She wanted to have a one-shot agreement between CBS and producer Martha Williamson, but ordered more episodes. Reese was widely seen as a key component of the show's success. Already starring on Touched by an Angel was the lesser-known Irish actress Roma Downey, who played the role of case worker Tess's angel/employee, Monica. In numerous interviews, there was an on- and off-screen chemistry between both Reese and Downey.
The character of Tess was the angelic supervisor who sent the other angels out on missions to help people redeem their lives and show them God's love, while at the same time, she was sassy and had a no-nonsense attitude. The show often featured a climactic monologue delivered by the angel Monica in which she reveals herself as an angel to a human with the words: "I am an angel sent by God to tell you that He loves you." The character of Tess was portrayed by Reese as down-to-earth, experienced and direct. Reese also sang the show's theme song, "Walk with You", and was featured prominently on the soundtrack album produced in conjunction with the show.
During its first season in 1994, many critics were skeptical about the show, it being the second overtly religious prime-time fantasy series, after Highway to Heaven. The show had a rocky start, low ratings and was cancelled 11 episodes into the first season. However, with the help of a massive letter-writing campaign, the show was resuscitated the following season and became a huge ratings winner for the next seven seasons. At the beginning of the fourth season in 1997, Reese threatened to leave the show because she was making less than her co-stars; CBS ended up raising her salary. Touched by an Angel was cancelled in 2003, but it continued re-running heavily in syndication and on Ion Television (formerly PAX-TV), The Hallmark ChannelUp, and later MeTV.


Good Night Ms. Reese

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

This Week in Television History: November 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.


November 20, 1942
Stewart Robert "Bob" Einstein is born. 

Actor and comedy writer who portrayed the fictional stuntman Super Dave Osborne.
Einstein got his start as a writer on several TV variety shows, including The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Einstein is also known for his roles as Marty Funkhouser in Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Larry Middleman on Arrested Development.

He won two Emmy Awards as a writer and was nominated four other times. He also won a CableACE Award for acting as Super Dave, along with five other nominations. His parents were the comic Harry Einstein, best known for playing the character Parkyakarkus on radio and in the movies, and the actress-singer Thelma Leeds. His younger brother is comedian and writer Albert Brooks (born Albert Lawrence Einstein), and his older brother, Cliff Einstein, is a retired advertising executive in Los Angeles.

November 21, 1937

Margaret Julia ”Marlo“ Thomas is born. 
Actress, producer, and social activist known for her starring role on the TV series That Girl (1966–1971) and her award-winning feminist children’s franchise, Free to Be… You and Me

For her work in television, she has received four Emmys, a Golden Globe, the George Foster Peabody Award and has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. 

She also received a Grammy award for her children’s album Thanks & Giving All Year Long.

November 21, 1972
Maude's Dilemma Part two. 
Maude Findlay (Beatrice Arthur) discovers she is pregnant and opts for an abortion. To comfort Maude, her grown daughter said "When you were young, abortion was a dirty word. It's not anymore."
Two CBS affiliates canceled the episodes and 32 CBS affiliates were pressured not to rerun the segments in the summer of 1973 by anti-abortion factions.
The second airing of the program gave the show a 41 percent share with 65 million people tuning in. The first time the show aired CBS received 7,000 letters; the second time around 17,000 letters of protest poured in.

This program appeared at a time when the Supreme Court had not yet protected legalized abortion (The Roe vs. Wade decision was still one year away). Reportedly, Pro-Life groups mailed Norman Lear photographs of aborted fetuses in protest. 

November 22, 1932

Robert Francis Vaughn is born. 
Actor noted for his stage, film and television work. His best-known TV roles include the suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the wealthy detective Harry Rule in the 1970s series The Protectors. In film, he portrayed one of the title characters in The Magnificent Seven and Major Paul Krueger in The Bridge at Remagen, and provided the voice of Proteus IV, the computer villain of Demon Seed.

November 23, 2012
Larry Hagman, star of "Dallas" and "I Dream of Jeannie," dies.

Larry Hagman dies at age 81 of complications from cancer at a hospital in Dallas. Hagman was best known for his role as the villainous Texas oil baron J.R. Ewing on “Dallas,” which aired from 1978 to 1991 and was revived in 2012.

November 25, 1947

John Bernard Larroquette III is born. 
His roles include Dan Fielding on the 1984–1992 sitcom Night Court (winning a then-unprecedented four consecutive Emmy Awards for his role), Mike McBride in the Hallmark Channel series McBride, John Hemingway on The John Larroquette Show, Lionel Tribbey on The West Wing and Carl Sack in Boston Legal.

November 26, 1922

Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz is born in St. Paul, Minnesota. 
The son of a barber, Schulz showed an early interest in art and took a correspondence course in cartooning. After serving in the army in World War II, Schulz returned to St. Paul and took a job lettering comics for a small magazine. In 1947, Schulz began drawing a comic strip for the St. Paul Pioneer Press called "L'il Folks," featuring Charlie Brown and his gang of friends. In 1950, after several rejections, Schulz sold syndication rights to United Features, which renamed the strip "Peanuts." Schulz drew the comic himself, without assistants, until his retirement in 1999. Peanuts ran in some 2,600 papers, in 75 countries and 21 languages, earning Schulz some $30 million a year. Schulz died in 2000.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, November 17, 2017

Your Mental Sorbet: B.C. The First Thanksgiving (1973)


Here is another "Mental Sorbet
that we could use to momentarily forget about those
things that leave a bad taste in our mouths
The characters were featured in two animated television specials. B.C.: The First Thanksgiving, first aired on NBC in 1973, was directed by Abe Levitow, and featured the voice talents of Daws Butler (as B.C. and Clumsy), Don Messick as Peter and Thor, Bob Holt as Wiley and Grog, and Joanie Sommers as Fat Broad and Cute Chick.





Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Monday, November 13, 2017

This Week in Television History: November 2017 PART II

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.


November 18, 1942
Linda Evans is born. 
Known primarily for her roles on television. In the 1960s, she first gained fame after playing Audra Barkley in the Western television series, The Big Valley (1965–1969). 

However she is most prominently known for the role of Krystle Carrington in the 1980s ABC prime time soap opera Dynasty, a role she played from 1981 to 1989.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, November 10, 2017

Your Mental Sorbet: Garfield's Thanksgiving


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



Garfield's Thanksgiving is a 1989 animated television special based on the Garfield comic strip. It once again featured Lorenzo Music as the voice of Garfield. The special was first broadcast November 22, 1989 on CBS. It has been released on both VHS and DVD home video. On overseas DVD copies of Garfield's Holiday Celebrations, this special is replaced with Garfield in the Rough.

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Thursday, November 09, 2017

John Hillerman


John Benedict HillermanDecember 20, 1932 – November 9, 2017
John Hillerman died today at his home in Houston at the age of 84. He was in declining health with the cause of death remaining undisclosed.
Hillerman was born in Denison, Texas, the son of Christopher Benedict Hillerman, a gas station owner, and Lenora Joan (née Medlinger). His father was the grandson of immigrants from Germany and France. His mother was the daughter of immigrants from Austria and Germany.
When he was 10 years old, Hillerman developed an interest in opera; when he was 12, he took a train to see performances when Metropolitan Opera productions were presented in Dallas. Young Hillerman grew up in Denison and attended St. Xavier's Academy.
After graduation, he attended the University of Texas at Austin for three years, majoring in journalism.

In 1953, Hillerman joined the United States Air Force, working in maintenance in a B-36 wing of the Strategic Air Command. He served for four years and achieved the rank of Sergeant. During his years of military service, he worked with various theatrical groups. He said of his early work with a Fort Worth community theater group: "I was bored with barracks life. I got into it to meet people in town. A light went on." On his discharge he moved to New York City to study at the American Theatre Wing. In 1957, he began his career in professional theater.

had "more than 100 leading roles on and off Broadway". He appeared on Broadway in 1959 in both King Henry IV, Part II and The Great God Brown and worked in live performances in a variety of venues before making his motion picture debut in 1970.
Hillerman had roles in 20 films, including The Last Picture Show (1971), What's Up, Doc? (1972), High Plains Drifter (1973), Paper Moon (1973), Blazing Saddles (1974), and Chinatown (1974). His other roles include Lucky Lady (1975), At Long Last Love (1975), and a small appearance in the comedy film Up the Creek (1984).

was probably best remembered for his role as former British Army Sergeant Major Jonathan Quayle Higgins III ("Higgins") on the television series Magnum, P.I. (1980–88). Hillerman learned to speak with the English accent of Higgins as "he spent most of his days listening to a recorded Lawrence Olivier recite 'Hamlet.'" He had acted as Magnum's foil and often used Higgins's catchphrase, "Oh my God!" whenever Magnum did something Hillerman's character would probably call, "Utterly ridiculous and stupid!" In 1975, Hillerman was a co-star in Ellery Queen as Simon Brimmer, a radio detective who hosted a live radio show and tried to outsmart Ellery Queen (Jim Hutton). From 1976 to 1980, he had a recurring role as Mr. Conners on the television series One Day at a Time and he co-starred as Betty White's estranged husband on The Betty White Show (1977-1978).
In 1982, Hillerman played in the television pilot of Tales of the Gold Monkey, where he played a German villain by the name of "Fritz the Monocle".
In 1984, he hosted the David Hemmings-directed puzzle video Money Hunt: The Mystery of the Missing Link. In 1990, Hillerman returned to television to perform for one season as Lloyd Hogan in the series The Hogan Family. That same year, Hillerman portrayed Dr Watson to Edward Woodward's Sherlock Holmes in Hands of a Murderer.
In 1993, he appeared in Berlin Break for one season. He played the role of Mac Mackenzie, a former spy and currently the proprietor of "Mac's", a bar in West Berlinconsidered to be neutral territory during the Cold War. He teamed up with two jobless spies as investigators: Valentin Renko (Nicholas Clay), an ex-KGB agent, and Willy Richter (Kai Wulff), an ex-BND (West German secret service) operative. The show reunited him with Jeff MacKay, who portrayed "Mac" MacReynolds in Magnum P.I..

retired in 1999, and resided in his home state of Texas. Since 2010 until his death, he relied on a mobility scooter to get around.


Good Night Mr. Hillerman 

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa