Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dean & Jerry & Tony & Jeff: This Week on TV CONFIDENTIAL

TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte

Tony Figueroa joins Frankie Montiforte and Ed Robertson in our first hour as we remember Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man, The Prisoner), Ricardo Montalban (Fantasy Island) and the marks they left in film and television, on and off the screen. Tony also introduces a new segment he'll be doing for our program ("This Week in Television History"), as well as leads us in an interesting discussion on the long-running series M*A*S*H. Then Jeff Brodrick joins us in our second hour as we look back at one of television's first comedy-variety series, The Colgate Comedy Hour. We talk about the many great comedians who hosted the show (including Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis), how it launched the careers of such future TV producers as Norman Lear and Danny Arnold, its influence on such shows as The Carol Burnett Show and Saturday Night Live, and a whole lot more.

Listen at

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This week in Television History: The 1st Emmy Awards were presented on January 25, 1949.

The 1st Emmy Awards were presented on January 25, 1949. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences held the ceremony at the Hollywood Athletic Club located at 6525 Sunset Blvd. The first Emmy Awards only honored shows produced and aired in the Los Angeles area. The very first Emmy handed out was for Most Outstanding Television Personality and it went to 20-year-old ventriloquist Shirley Dinsdale. Dinsdale stared in the children’s show Judy Splinters that aired on KTLA. By the Way is KTLA LA’s first TV Station.

In 1955 Ed Sullivan organized a group of East Coast TV professionals and established a New York-based Television Academy. Two years later, the Los Angeles and New York groups united to form a new entity, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, with Sullivan as its first president.
"Emmy" name was origionally "Immy," after the image-orthicon camera tube, which was instrumental in the development of television. Emmy is a winged woman holding an atom. The wings represent the muse of art and the atom and its electrons the science and technology of the new medium. The statuette was designed by television engineer Louis McManus, whose wife served as its model. Because the statuette took the form of a woman the name "Immy" was feminized and became "Emmy".

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was" January 25, 1949

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Your Special Inauguration Edition Mental Sorbet: January 20th. 2009

Here is another "Mental Sorbet" that we could use to momentarily forget about those things that leave a bad taste in our mouths.
President Barack Obama takes the oath of office and delivers his inaugural address from the steps of the Capitol.

Good Luck in your new location President Obama... I like the sound of that.

Stay Tuned

Tony & Donna Figueroa

Friday, January 16, 2009

This week in Television History KNBC Channel 4 in Los Angeles first went on the air on January 16th, 1949.

KNBC Channel 4 in Los Angeles first went on the air on January 16"th, 1949, with the call letters KNBH (NBC Hollywood) broadcasting from the NBC Radio City Studios on Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood (The location is now a Washington Mutual Bank). The station debuted with three hours and forty minutes of programming, which followed a fifteen-minute test pattern-and-music session. The programming included an eighteen-minute newsreel, a Review of 1948, LA’s first variety show called On the Show, and station’s first live program The Pickard Family, featuring Dad and Mom Pickard and their four children singing familiar American songs.

By October 1949, KNBH had extended its operating schedule from five to seven days a week, with approximately twenty-six hours of television programming each week. In 1954 the station changed its call letters to KRCA-TV for NBC's then-parent company, RCA (the Radio Corporation of America).

In November 1962 the station relocated to the network's color broadcast studio facility in "Beautiful Downtown Burbank" known then as NBC Color City. With the move the call letters were changed again to KNBC. NBC took the KNBC identity from its San Francisco radio station (which then became KNBR). NBC Studio in Burbank became home to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (Where announcer Gary Owens first coined the term "Beautiful downtown Burbank)". It was also the home to Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man, the daytime drama Days of Our Lives, countless game shows and most notably since 1972 The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and later Jay Leno.

On October 11, 2007, NBC-Universal announced that it would sell its Burbank studios and construct a new, all-digital facility near the Universal Studios lot. This is in an effort to merge all of NBC-Universal's West Coast operations into one area. When Conan O'Brien takes over The Tonight Show he will shoot in Universal’s Sound Stage 1 (The former home to The Jack Benny Program).

And now for the news.
Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel, Pat Sajak, Tom Snyder,
Jack Perkins, and Nick Clooney(George’s dad) worked at KNBC news early in their careers. On a personal note: As someone who grew up in Southern California there were many local news stories that later received national or even international attention. I can also say that Channel 4 was making news while they were covering the news.

May 17th 1974 Channel 4 and other local TV stations covered a house in Compton that had been commandeered by the Symbionese Liberation Army, the revolutionary group that three months earlier had kidnapped 19-year-old Patricia Hearst (The granddaughter of the legendary newspaper baron). This was the first time I ever remember channel surfing because the event was being covered LIVE (not "Film at 11). Viewers got to see events play out as they happened. Shortly after 5 p.m. Los Angeles police, sheriffs and FBI agents closed in on the house. The house caught fire and 6 bodies were later recovered. Patty Hearst was not there.

In the summer of 1987 during an afternoon newscast, a gun-wielding mental patient took consumer reporter David Horowitz and the rest of the Channel 4 news team hostage while they were live on the air. The gunman was the son of a former Channel 4 News contributor and an invited guest of one of the news team members. As soon as the gunman appeared on camera the station stopped broadcasting the news, but as far as the gunman knew they were ON THE AIR. Viewers would later see tape of Horowitz calmly reading the gunman's statement on camera with a gun pointed at him. After Horowitz finished reading the statement the gunman surrendered his toy gun and was arrested. This event led Horowitz (whose long running syndicated series, Fight Back! originated from Channel 4) to start a successful campaign to ban "look-alike" toy guns in several states, including California and New York.

Later that year on October 1st 1987 viewers watched anchorman Kent Shocknek and weatherman Christopher Nance dive under their news desk during an after shock from the Whittier Narrows earthquake. Kent Shocknek would never live down this event and forever be known as Kent "After-Shocknek". It should also be noted that Kent Shocknek was later honored by the Red Cross and by a few cities for demonstrating how to behave during an earthquake.

KNBC Channel 4 News (1987) - Earthquake in the Newsroom
by joecool85

On April 30th 1992, the second day of the Los Angeles Riots, KNBC News was covering the historic event nonstop. But that evening the station decided to suspend it’s around the clock riot coverage to air the series finale of The Cosby Show giving viewers a brief Mental Sorbet. Following the broadcast Bill Cosby went on the air and asked Angelinos to pray for peace.

Happy Anniversary NBC 4
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was" January 16th, 1949

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: KNBC's Kent Shocknek and Christopher Nance (October 1st, 1987)

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

This post is in honor of NBC4's 60th Anniversary.

This video is from October 1st, 1987. It opens with David Letterman doing a bit on the Whittier Narrows earthquake that happened that morning. Letterman airs the still infamous scene in the KNBC newsroom where news anchor, Kent Shocknek and weatherman Christopher Nance are hiding under the desk.

Please note that the cameraman stayed standing at his post.

Kent Shocknek was later honored by the Red Cross and by a few cities for demonstrating how to behave during an earthquake.

Happy 60th Anniversary NBC4

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Again these things happen in 3s

TV lost three stars in a very short time span.

Don Galloway, the actor best known as Det. Sgt. Ed Brown (the primary sidekick of Raymond Burr) on the TV series Ironside, but also appeared in such films as The Big Chill and The Rare Breed has died. He was 71. As research for the role on Ironside, Galloway hung out with Los Angeles Police Department officers and often found himself wondering what it would be like to actually be a peace officer. In 1993, he became a reserve deputy for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, but he left about a year later when he retired from show business. After debuting on TV in 1962 in the CBS soap opera The Secret Storm he appeared in about 70 TV and film projects including the NBC sitcom Tom, Dick and Mary.

Galloway eventually moved to New Hampshire, where he wrote a weekly opinion column for the Union Leader in Manchester for much of 2004. In his column he once described "the seven best sounds on earth". On the list with a kitten purring and stew simmering was Number 7: "A politician not talking. Hasn't happened lately, but could. Maybe. Probably not."

Patrick McGoohan, the Emmy-winning actor who created and starred in the cult classic television show The Prisoner, has died at the age of 80. He was most famous as the character known only as Number Six in The Prisoner, a sci-fi tinged 1960s British series in which a former spy is held captive in a small enclave known only as The Village, where a mysterious authority named Number One constantly prevents his escape. McGoohan came up with the concept and wrote and directed several episodes of the show, which has kept a devoted following in the United States and Europe for four decades. The series ran just one season and 17 episodes in 1967, but its cultural impact remains. He voiced his Number Six character in an episode of The Simpsons in 2000.

McGoohan won two Emmys for his work on the Peter Falk detective drama Columbo, and more recently appeared as King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film Braveheart. His first TV acting job was in Disneyland's The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (1963). In 1964 he starred in the series Danger Man, a more straightforward spy show that initially lasted just one season but was later brought back for three more when its popularity—and McGoohan's—exploded in reruns. He also appeared as a warden in the 1979 Clint Eastwood film Escape from Alcatraz and as a judge in the 1996 John Grisham courtroom drama A Time To Kill.

Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in MGM musicals and later as Mr. Roarke "your host" on TV's Fantasy Island died at the age of 88. Montalban had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946. He was cast in the leading role opposite Esther Williams in Fiesta, and starred again with Williams in On an Island with You and Neptune's Daughter.

Sr. Montalban was best known as Mr. Roarke, who presided over a tropical island resort where visitors fulfilled their lifelong dreams — usually at the unexpected expense of a difficult life lesson. Montalban was also the celebrity spokesman for mid-1970s models of the Chrysler Cordoba (Montalban became the subject of jokes when he described the car's optional seats as being "available in soft, Corinthian leather.") Star Trek fans (TV & Movies) will always know and love him as Khan.

Montalban helped found the ALMA Awards, which honor and encourage fair portrayals of Latinos in entertainment. In 1970, Montalban organized fellow Latino actors into an organization called Nosotros ("We"), and he became the first president. Their aim: to improve the image of Spanish-speaking Americans on the screen; to assure that Latin-American actors were not discriminated against; to stimulate Latino actors to study their profession.

Good Night Mr. Galloway, Good Night Mr. McGoohan and Bunas Noches Sr. Montalban.

Stay Tuned

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Tony on "The ALL NEW Dating Game" with Jeff MacGregor (Circa 1988)

I am starting a new feature called the "Mental Sorbet" that we could use to momentarily forget about those things that leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Since I am sure that our laughter will come at the expense at others I offer myself first to be poked fun of.

This was just uncovered.
Check out my hair.
I still have the suit.

Go ahead and laugh!

I had been a stand up comedian in Los Angeles for about a year and a half. My "day job" was teaching comedy traffic school and I just started co-hosting and co-producing my first radio show.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009

Dear Readers,

I have been spending Christmas and New Years at home in Hollywood (Is this what they call a Stay-cation?).

Again, I was never one for New Year’s resolutions but since I did it last year I thought that I could make it a yearly feature on my blog.

Last year I resolved to do more reading (Especially reading more classics and more plays).
I did do a lot more reading last year (thanks to the writer's strike), but not as many classics or plays as I wanted to.
So this year I plan to read more classics and more plays and take more advantage of my local library.

Last year I resolved to take a greater interest in current events outside the entertainment industry especially since 2008 was an election year.
I did that and I also volunteered some time with the Obama campaign (I discovered that volunteering eases election fatigue).
This year I again resolve to take a greater interest in current events outside the entertainment industry.

Again this year it would be ridiculous for me to say that.
"I resolve to watch less television"
but I said it last year and I did wind up watching less TV (and as I predicted it was not because of any self discipline on my part, it is only because of the writers strike).
This year I resolve to watch less television and I hope it is not due to an actors strike.
Don't worry I should have enough to write and talk about.

Last year I resolved to do more blogging and podcasting.
Over the year 2008 I seemed to write a lot of obituaries on my blog and I felt bad when some one's passing slipped under my radar (Please tell me if it happens in 09). Donna and I did not do as many Take Out Stories as I wanted but...
I resolve to do more blogging and podcasting this year.

To quote Dave Garroway, the first host of the Today Show who closed each program with an upraised hand and the single word, "Peace".

Stay Tuned and Happy New Year

Tony & Donna Figueroa

PS: I resolve to patronise more "Mom & Pop" business' in my neighborhood.