Monday, July 05, 2010

This week in Television History: July 2010 PART I

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every other Monday at 9pm ET, 6pm PT (immediately following STU'S SHOW) on Shokus Internet Radio. The program will then be repeated Tuesday thru Sunday at the same time (9pm ET, 6pm PT)on Shokus Radio for the next two weeks, and then will be posted on line at our archives page at We are also on Share-a-Vision Radio ( Friday at 7pm PT and ET, either before or after the DUSTY RECORDS show, depending on where you live.

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.

Jul 5, 1963
Edie Falco is born in Brooklyn, New York.

The Sopranos, proclaimed by some critics to be the greatest TV series of all time, debuted on HBO in January 1999. The show centered around the personal and professional problems of the New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini. Complicating Tony’s life were a large cast of characters--among them, his materialistic wife Carmela, his therapist Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), his uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese), his children Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and A.J. (Rober Iler) and his crime-world crew, including Paulie “Walnuts” Gaultieri (Tony Sirico), Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt) and Carmela’s cousin Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli). The brainchild of writer and producer David Chase, the show became known for its dark, edgy style, its graphic violence and profanity and its frequent pop-culture references.
As the well-coiffed, conflicted Mrs. Soprano, Falco was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in each year of the The Sopranos’ six-season run and won the award three times. In 2003, during the show’s fourth season, she scored a rare trifecta, winning a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award, and an Emmy in the same year. Falco’s Carmela enjoyed the lavish lifestyle her husband’s profession provided, but struggled with his infidelities and the fact that his illegal career was at odds with her religious faith. The final episode of The Sopranos aired June 10, 2007; almost 12 million people tuned in for the finale, which provoked fierce debate among the show’s die-hard fans over its open-ended final scene.
Prior to her breakout role on The Sopranos, Falco acted on Broadway and appeared on such TV shows as Oz, Law & Order and Homicide. Her first big film break came with a small speaking role in Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway (1994). She went on to appear in A Price Above Rubies (1998), Judy Berlin (1999), Sunshine State (2002) and Freedomland (2006). More recently, Falco guest-starred in several episodes of the acclaimed NBC sitcom 30 Rock.

July 6, 1925
Mervyn "Merv" Edward Griffin, Jr.
is born.

He began his career as a radio and big band singer who went on to appear in movies and on Broadway. During the 1960s, Griffin hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show, and created the game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. A billionaire at his death, he is considered an entertainment business magnate.

July 6, 1927
Patrick “Pat” Layton Paulsen was born.

The comedian and satirist notable for his roles on several of the Smothers Brothers TV shows, and for his campaigns for President of the United States in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992, and 1996, which had primarily comedic rather than political objectives, although his campaigns generated some protest votes for him.

July 7, 1927
Carl Hilding "Doc" Severinsen the
pop and jazz trumpeter is born.

He is best known for leading the NBC Orchestra on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Severinsen was born in Arlington, Oregon, the son of Minnie Mae and Carl Severinsen, who was a dentist. He was nicknamed "Little Doc" after his father, and had originally wanted to play the trombone. But the senior Severinsen, a gifted amateur violinist, urged him to study the violin. The younger Severinsen insisted on the trombone, but had to settle for the only horn available in Arlington's small music store a trumpet. A week later, with the help of his father and a manual of instructions, the seven-year-old was so good that he was invited to join the high school band.

Jul 10, 1995
Hugh Grant appears on The Tonight Show after Hollywood arrest.

On this day in 1995, Hugh Grant appears on late-night television’s The Tonight Show less than two weeks after being arrested with a Hollywood prostitute. The show’s host, Jay Leno, famously asked the English actor, “What the hell were you thinking?”
Grant, who shot to stardom with the 1994 hit British film Four Weddings and a Funeral, was arrested on June 27, 1995, in a parked car near Sunset Boulevard with a prostitute named Divine Brown and charged with lewd conduct in a public place. At the time of his arrest, Grant, then age 34, was already scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show to promote Nine Months, his first major Hollywood movie. The actor kept his agreement and went on the program, speaking publicly about the incident for the first time. “What the hell were you thinking?” Leno asked him, to which Grant simply responded “I did a bad thing.” The show garnered huge ratings (enabling Leno to beat his late-night talk show rival David Letterman) and Grant was praised for apologizing for his behavior, in contrast to other scandal-plagued celebrities who went into seclusion or blamed their mistakes on others.
Grant pled no contest to the charges against him, paid a fine and received probation. Although the arrest surprised many fans of the actor, who was known for his charm and wit, his career did not seem to suffer in the end and he went on to star in a number of films, most often romantic comedies, including Notting Hill (1999), Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), About a Boy (2002), Love Actually (2003) and Music and Lyrics (2007). Though Grant’s long-term girlfriend, the English model and actress Elizabeth Hurley, stuck by him during the scandal, the couple announced their separation in 2000 after 13 years together.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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