Friday, May 29, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: William Shatner singing Rocket Man

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

William Shatner sings rocketman at 1978 Sci-Fi Awards show.


Stewie is setting up a random flashback of when he was being "cool"

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, May 22, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Carson's next-to-last night

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




As his retirement approached, Johnny Carson tried to avoid too much sentimentality, but would periodically show clips of some of his favorite moments and revisit with some of his favorite guests. However, no one was quite prepared for Carson's next-to-last night, where his final guests his guests were Robin Williams and Bette Midler.

“And so it has come to this: I, uh... am one of the lucky people in the world; I found something I always wanted to do and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I want to thank the gentlemen who've shared this stage with me for thirty years. Mr. Ed McMahon, Mr. Doc Severinsen, and you people watching. I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you. And I hope when I find something that I want to do and I think you would like and come back that you'll be as gracious in inviting me into your home as you have been. I bid you a very heartfelt good night”.



Stay Tuned



Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This week in Television History: Funny Men

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.


May 14, 1998
Last episode of Seinfeld aired. The show starred comedian Jerry Seinfeld and was created by Seinfeld and Larry David. Though Seinfeld originally intended the show to be about how a comedian gathers material for his show, it was later better known as the “show about nothing” that was able to draw comedic absurdity from ordinary day-to-day events. Originally, each show began and ended with clips of Seinfeld performing stand-up that related to that episode’s plot.
Seinfeld's ensemble cast included Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss), George Constanza (Jason Alexander) and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards), all the main characters in the show were based on Seinfeld’s or David’s real-life friends and acquaintances. When the pilot (Originally titled The Seinfeld Chronicles) aired on July 5, 1989, reception was luke warm. The show was picked up by NBC and attracted a loyell following. Each episode's story line would be discussed at the water-cooler the folowing morning (One sparked a lawsuit).
The show also introduced new catch phrases into the national lexicon, including “yada yada yada,” “shrinkage,” “man hands” and “spongeworthy.”
The much-anticipated final episode was watched by an estimated 76 million viewers. Advertisers paid the then-record sum of $1.7 million for a 30-second spot in the show.
The 180 episodes of Seinfeld continue to air in syndication around the world.

May 22, 1992
Johnny Carson's last Tonight Show. As his retirement approached, Johnny Carson tried to avoid too much sentimentality, but would periodically show clips of some of his favorite moments and revisit with some of his favorite guests.
However, no one was quite prepared for Carson's next-to-last night, where his final guests his guests were Robin Williams and Bette Midler. Midler found the emotional vein of the farewell. After the topic of their conversation turned to Johnny's favorite songs ("I'll Be Seeing You" and "Here's That Rainy Day"), Midler mentioned she knew a chorus of the latter. She began singing the song, and after the first line, Carson joined in and turned it into a touching impromptu duet. Midler finished her appearance when, from center stage, she slowly sang the pop standard "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)." This penultimate show was immediately recognized as a television classic, and Midler would win an Emmy Award for her role in it.


Bette Midler - One For My Baby @ Yahoo! Video

Carson did not have guests on his final episode of The Tonight Show. An estimated 50 million people watched this retrospective show, which ended with him sitting on a stool alone on the stage, curiously similar to Jack Paar's last show. He gave these final words of goodbye,

“And so it has come to this: I, uh... am one of the lucky people in the world; I found something I always wanted to do and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I want to thank the gentlemen who've shared this stage with me for thirty years. Mr. Ed McMahon, Mr. Doc Severinsen, and you people watching. I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you. And I hope when I find something that I want to do and I think you would like and come back that you'll be as gracious in inviting me into your home as you have been. I bid you a very heartfelt good night”.


During his final speech, Carson told the audience that he hoped to return to television with another project and that hopefully "will meet with your approval". A few weeks after the final show aired, it was announced that NBC and Carson had struck a deal to develop a new series, but ultimately he chose never to return to television with another show of his own.
Johnny Carson died of complications from emphysema on January 23, 2005 at age 79.

May 25, 1992
Jay Leno's first Tonight Show. When Carson announced his retirement in 1992, Jay Leno succeeded him as host (Jay Leno, who became "permanent guest host" in 1987.), much to the outrage of David Letterman, host of Late Night, which ran after Tonight. The following year, Letterman accepted CBS's $42 million offer for his own show and launched the Late Show in 1993, running against Leno's time slot. Letterman beat Leno every week for the show's first year.
NBC announced in 2004 that Leno would leave The Tonight Show at the end of May 2009, and passing the torch to Conan O'Brien. However, following rumors of Leno being interested in moving elsewhere to launch a competing program, NBC signed Leno to a new deal for a nightly talk show in the 10:00 p.m. ET timeslot. The primetime series, tentatively titled The Jay Leno Show, will debut in fall 2009, following a similar format to the Leno incarnation of Tonight.
On September 22, 2006, Variety reported that The Tonight Show led in ratings for the 11th consecutive season, with a nightly average of 5.7 million viewers – 31% of the total audience in that time slot – compared to 4.2 million viewers for the Late Show with David Letterman, 3.4 million for Nightline and 1.6 million for Jimmy Kimmel Live. When the Leno show initially directly faced Letterman's show, Letterman initially led in ratings, however the turning episode is generally marked when Hugh Grant appeared on Leno (July 10, 1995). Leno famously asked Grant "What the hell were you thinking?" referring to Grant's arrest for seeing a prostitute.



Notable episodes
In September 2000, with California in an energy crisis that forced power outages, Jay Leno did an episode in the dark using only candles and flashlights known as "The Tonight Show Unplugged" in response to California's power crisis.

Following the attacks of
September 11, 2001, The Tonight Show was off the air for about a week, as were most similar programs. The first post-9/11 episode began with a still image of an American flag and a subdued opening without the usual opening credits. Leno's monologue paid tribute to those who lost their lives and to firefighters, police and rescue workers across the US. Leno had questioned whether a show that regularly poked fun at the government could continue after the attacks, but in his monologue, he explained that he saw the show as a respite from the grim news of the world, akin to a cookie or glass of lemonade handed to a firefighter. Senator John McCain and the musical group Crosby, Stills, and Nash were featured guests. For an extended period after the attack, a short clip of a large American flag waving was shown in between the announcement of the musical guest and Leno's introduction during the opening montage.


On August 6, 2003, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on The Tonight Show and confirmed he would be running against California Governor Gray Davis for the California recall election. Schwarzenegger won the election on October 7.

On January 24, 2005, Leno had an episode that paid tribute to Tonight Show predecessor
Johnny Carson, who had died the day before. There were no opening credits, and the monologue simply gave condolence to Carson. There were no segments used, however, Leno played clips from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson before commercials. All the guests were people who had worked with Carson or had been on his show, including Ed McMahon, Drew Carey, Don Rickles, and Bob Newhart.


On July 20, 2006, as Colin Farrell was being interviewed by Leno, Farrell's stalker, Dessarae Bradford, evaded security, walked on stage as cameras were rolling, confronted Farrell, and threw her book on Leno's desk. In front of a silent, stunned audience, Farrell escorted her off the stage himself, told the camera crew to stop filming, and handed her over to security. As Bradford was led out of the studio, she shouted, "I'll see you in court!" Farrell's response was a smooth, "Darling, you're insane!" Outside the studio, NBC security handed her off to Burbank police, who eventually released her. While waiting to begin filming again, a shocked Leno sarcastically called for "a round of applause for NBC security" from the audience. After Farrell apologized to the audience, describing Bradford as, "my first stalker," the show then continued filming and the incident was edited out of the broadcast aired that night. Farrell later requested a restraining order in court against Bradford.


On January 2, 2008, The Tonight Show (along with Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Late Night with Conan O'Brien) returned to air without writers, with the WGA still on strike. This was in response to the deal by David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants with the WGA to allow Late Show with David Letterman and Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson to return with writers. Leno's guest that night, Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, was criticized for crossing the WGA picket line to appear on the show. Huckabee would go on to win the Iowa caucuses the next day.


On March 19, 2009, President Barack Obama appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. This marked the first time that a sitting President of the United States appeared on a late night talk show. President Barack Obama came under fire for a remark made about the Special Olympics, in which he made in reference to Leno's congratulations to Obama's low bowling score.


May 30, 1908
Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and countless other Warner Bros. cartoon characters, was born on this day in San Francisco. His parents, who ran a women's clothing business, moved with their son to Portland, Oregon, when Blanc was a child. Blanc began performing as a musician and singer on local radio programs in Portland before he was 20. In the late 1920s, he and his wife, Estelle, created a daily radio show called "Cobwebs and Nuts," which became a hit. Blanc made many other radio appearances and became a regular on Jack Benny's hit radio show, providing the sounds of Benny's ancient car (The Maxwell) and playing several other characters.



In 1937, Blanc made his debut with Warner Bros., providing the voice for a drunken bull in a short cartoon called Picador Porky. Another actor provided the pig's voice, but Blanc later replaced him. In 1940, Bugs Bunny debuted in a short called A Wild Hare. Blanc said he wanted the rabbit to sound tough and streetwise, so he created a comic combination of Bronx and Brooklyn accents. Other characters Blanc created for Warner Bros. included the Road Runner, Sylvester, and Tweety Bird. He performed in some 850 cartoons for Warner Bros. during his 50-year career. For other studios, he provided the voices of Barney Rubble and Dino the dinosaur in The Flintstones, Mr. Spacely for The Jetsons, and Woody Woodpecker's laugh.
In his 1988 autobiography, That's Not All Folks, Blanc described a nearly fatal traffic accident that left him in a coma. Unable to rouse him by using his real name, a doctor finally said, "How are you, Bugs Bunny?" and Mel replied, in Bugs' voice, "Ehh, just fine, doc. How are you?"
Blanc continued to provide voices until the late 1980s, most memorably voicing Daffy Duck dueling with Donald Duck in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988). After Mel Blanc died of complications from heart disease, his son Noel, trained by his father, provided the voices for the characters the elder Blanc had helped bring to life.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, May 15, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet:"Newhart" - Series Finale

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

This is the final scenes from Newhart,

Bob Newhart discusses the final episode of "Newhart".

First Darryl, Second Darryl: QUIET!
Dick Loudon: Your- your brothers can speak? Why didn't they say anything up 'till now?
Larry: I guess they've never been this P.O.'ed before.


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, May 08, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: The Bryan G Show: The Curly Shuffle

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

Here's comedian impressionist Bryan G version Jump 'N the Saddle Band's hit novelty song The Curly Shuffle.



We never miss a chance we get up and dance and do the Curly shuffle

Stay Tuned





Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dom DeLuise

Actor-director-producer-chef Dom DeLuise died died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 75. The Golden Globe nominated star was well known for his roles in several Mel Brooks' classics, such as Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights and the Twlve Chairs. He was the husband of actress Carol Arthur, and the father of actor, writer, director Peter DeLuise, and actors David DeLuise and Michael DeLuise.
A frequent collaborator with DeLuise, Burt Reynolds released a statement to Entertainment Tonight on his friend's death.
"I was thinking the other day about this. As you get older you think about this more and more, I was dreading this moment. Dom always made everyone feel better when he was around. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much,"
Burt Reynolds

TV producer Greg Garrison hired DeLuise to appear as a specialty act on the popular Dean Martin show. DeLuise ran through his "Dominick the Great" routine, a riotous example of a magic act gone wrong, with host Martin as a bemused volunteer from the audience. The show went so well that DeLuise was soon a regular on Martin's program, participating in both songs and sketches. Garrison also featured DeLuise in his own hour-long comedy specials for ABC. (Martin was often just off-camera when these were taped, and his distinctive laugh can be heard loud and clear.)




On TV Mr. DeLuise appeared in
The Dom DeLuise Show (1968) (summer replacement for Jackie Gleason)
The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour (regular performer from 1971 - 1972)
The Roman Holidays (1972) (A Hanna-Barbera animated television series Very similar in theme to both The Flintstones and The Jetsons)
Lotsa Luck (1973–1974) (Created by Carl Reiner, Bill Persky & Sam Denoff)
Only with Married Men (1974)
The Dom DeLuise Show (1987 - 1988)
Die Laughing (1990)
Fievel's American Tails (1991 - 1992) (voice)
Candid Camera (host from 1991 - 1992)
All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series (1996 - 1999) (voice)
Spaceballs: The Animated Series (2008) (voice)

An avid cook and author of several books on cooking, in recent years he appeared as a regular contributor to a syndicated home improvement radio show, On The House with The Carey Brothers, giving listeners tips on culinary topics. He also wrote several children's books you can find at The Official Dom DeLuise Website





Here is my favorate Dom DeLuise Moment


To quote Mr.DeLuise, "I'm actually a thin, serious person, but I play fat and funny, but only for the movies".

Good Night Dom. Tonight there will be food and laughter in heaven.

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

This week in Television History: Win some & Loose some

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every other Tuesday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org
TV CONFIDENTIAL: TV CONFIDENTIAL May 5 edition with guest Lee Majors


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.

May 1, 1931
President Herbert Hoover officially dedicates New York City's Empire State Building. Less than eight months later, a television-transmitting antenna had been erected atop the structure (The top was originally designed as a mooring mast for dirigibles). During the ensuing 36 years, television and FM radio signals have continued to be transmitted from this location. Today, 22 stations share the site.

May 3, 1991
Prime-time soap opera Dallas airs its last episode. The episode was watched by 33.3 million viewers (38% of all viewers in that time slot)
The show debuted in April of 1978, and broke ratings records in 1980 when 83.6 million viewers tuned in to find out "Who Shot J.R.?". In the final episode, titled Conundrum (An homage to It's a Wonderful Life) J.R. (Larry Hagman) is contemplating committing suicide. The drunk J.R. walks around the pool with a bourbon bottle and a loaded gun, when suddenly another person appears, a spirit named Adam (portrayed by Joel Grey), whose "boss" has been watching J.R. and likes him. Adam proceeds to take him on a journey to show him what life would have been like for other people if he had not been born. At the end of the episode Adam encourages J.R. on to kill himself. J.R. will not do it, as he does not want Adam to be sent back to heaven with his job incomplete. At this point Adam reveals that he's not an angel, but a minion of Satan. Bobby has returned home. The gun goes off while Bobby is in the hallway, and he rushes to J.R.'s room. He looks at what has gone down, gasps, "Oh, my God," and the series ends on that note with the fate of J.R. never settled (although it eventually would be five years later, in the reunion movie, Dallas: J.R. Returns.).


May 4, 1975
Moe Howard of the Three Stooges, died. Howard was born in Brooklyn in 1897. The brother of fellow Stooges Shemp and Curly. The Stooges appeared in 190 short subjects for Columbia and more than 20 feature-length films.
Curly suffered a series of strokes which led to his death on January 18, 1952.
On November 22, 1955, Shemp died of a heart attack.
Joe Besser was hired in 1956. Joe, Larry, and Moe filmed 16 shorts through December 1957. With the death of Columbia head Harry Cohn, the making of short subjects came to an end, and Howard was forced to take a job as a gofer at Columbia.

Throughout their career, Moe acted as both their main creative force and business manager. C3 Entertainment, Inc. was formed by Moe, Larry and Curly-Joe DeRita in 1959 to manage all business and merchandise transactions for the team.
Eventhough the Stooges never made any money when thier Columbia shorts were syndicated on local TV stations, the did do very well fiancially making personal aparances in the cities where thier shorts were airing. The movie The Outlaws Is Coming (1965) has a nod to television's key role in the resurgence of the Stooges' popularity, the outlaws were played by local TV hosts from across the U.S. whose shows featured the trio's old Columbia shorts.




Normandy Productions, and amassed control over the team's finances and existed until 1994 when the heirs of Larry and Curly-Joe filed a lawsuit against Moe's family, particularly his grandsons. The result gave the other heirs more profits, and placed Curly-Joe's stepsons (Robert and Earl Benjamin) in charge of the Stooge images/sales. The moniker C3 Entertainment, Inc. was reinstated and is currently the owner of all Three Stooges trademarks and merchandising. Larry's grandson Eric Lamond is a majority owner in the company as well.


May 6, 1959
Raymond Burr wins the Best Actor in a Dramatic Series Emmy for Perry Mason, in which he plays a crime-solving attorney. The popular show, which debuted in 1957, ran for nine years. Derived from mystery novels by Earl Stanley Gardner, the character of Perry Mason had made his radio debut in 1943 and the show continued until 1955. The sleuthing Perry Mason character was revived in a series of TV movies from 1985 to 1993.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Legend of Evie Everheart



Performed by Donna Allen-Figueroa
Written by Donna Allen-Figueroa & Tony Figueroa
In association with Story Salon
Friday May 8th 2009
Coffee Fix
12508 Moorpark St
Across from Studio City Library, Studio City
818.762.0181
www.storysalon.com

Friday, May 01, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Ed Ames on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson - April 29, 1965.

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

While playing "Mingo" on television, Ames developed some skill in throwing a tomahawk. This led to one of the most memorable moments of his career, when he appeared on, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, on April 29, 1965. During the course of the show, Ames and Johnny Carson were discussing Ames' tomahawk throwing abilities. When Ames claimed that he could hit a target from across the room, Carson asked Ames if he could demonstrate this skill. Ames agreed, and a wood panel with a chalk outline of a cowboy was brought on to the stage.





This led to a very long burst of laughter from the audience and Carson's famous ad-libs; "I didn't even know you were Jewish!," and, "Welcome to Frontier Bris."

Stay Tuned



Tony Figueroa