Monday, May 31, 2010

This week in Television History: June 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.

May 31, 1930
Clint Eastwood is born in San Francisco, California.
With his father, Eastwood wandered the West Coast as a boy during the Depression. Then, after four years in the Army Special Services, Eastwood went to Hollywood, where he got his start in a string of B-movies.

For eight years, Eastwood played Rowdy Yates in the popular TV Western series Rawhide, before emerging as a leading man in a string of low-budget “spaghetti” Westerns directed by Sergio Leone: Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). All three were successful, but Eastwood made his real breakthrough with 1971’s smash hit Dirty Harry, directed by Don Siegel. Though he was not the first choice to play the film’s title role--Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman all reportedly declined the part--Eastwood made it his own, turning the blunt, cynical Dirty Harry into an iconic figure in American film.
Also in 1971, Eastwood moved behind the camera, making his directorial debut with the thriller Play Misty for Me, the first offering from his production company, Malpaso. Over the next two decades, he turned in solid performances in films such as The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Escape From Alcatraz (1979) and Honkytonk Man (1982), but seemed to be losing his star power for lack of a truly great film. By the end of the 1980s, after four Dirty Harry sequels, released from 1973 to 1988, Eastwood was poised to escape the character’s shadow and emerge as one of Hollywood’s most successful actor-turned-directors. In 1992, he hit the jackpot when he starred in, directed and produced the darkly unconventional Western Unforgiven. The film won four Oscars, including Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman), Best Film Editing, Best Director and Best Picture, both for Eastwood. He also found box-office success as a late-in-life action and romantic hero, in In the Line of Fire (1993) and The Bridges of Madison County (1995), respectively.
As a director, Eastwood worked steadily over the next decade, making such films as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), Absolute Power (1997) and, most notably, the crime drama Mystic River (2003), for which he was again nominated for the Best Director Oscar. The following year, he hit a grand slam with Million Dollar Baby, in which he also starred as the curmudgeonly coach of a determined young female boxer (Hilary Swank, in her second Oscar-winning performance). In addition to Swank’s Academy Award for Best Actress, the film won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman) and Eastwood’s second set of statuettes for Best Director and Best Picture.
In 2006, Eastwood became only the 31st filmmaker in 70 years to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America (DGA). That year, he directed a pair of World War II-themed movies, Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006). The latter film, which featured an almost exclusively Japanese cast, earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and a fourth Best Director nomination for Eastwood (his 10th nomination overall).
Off-screen, Eastwood has pursued an interest in politics, serving as mayor of Carmel, California, from 1986 to 1988. He was married to Maggie Johnson in 1953, and the couple had two children, Kyle and Alison (who co-starred in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), before separating in 1978 and divorcing in 1984. Eastwood also had long-term relationships with the actresses Sondra Locke and Frances Fisher (with whom he had a daughter, Francesca). He married his second wife, Dina Ruiz Eastwood, in 1996. Their daughter, Morgan, was born that same year.

Jun 1, 1980
CNN (Cable News Network), the world's first 24-hour television news network, makes its debut.

The network signed on at 6 p.m. EST from its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, with a lead story about the attempted assassination of civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. CNN went on to change the notion that news could only be reported at fixed times throughout the day. At the time of CNN's launch, TV news was dominated by three major networks--ABC, CBS and NBC--and their nightly 30-minute broadcasts. Initially available in less than two million U.S. homes, today CNN is seen in more than 89 million American households and over 160 million homes internationally.
CNN was the brainchild of Robert "Ted" Turner, a colorful, outspoken businessman dubbed the "Mouth of the South." Turner was born on November 19, 1938, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and as a child moved with his family to Georgia, where his father ran a successful billboard advertising company. After his father committed suicide in 1963, Turner took over the business and expanded it. In 1970, he bought a failing Atlanta TV station that broadcast old movies and network reruns and within a few years Turner had transformed it into a "superstation," a concept he pioneered, in which the station was beamed by satellite into homes across the country. Turner later bought the Atlanta Braves baseball team and the Atlanta Hawks basketball team and aired their games on his network, TBS (Turner Broadcasting System). In 1977, Turner gained international fame when he sailed his yacht to victory in the prestigious America's Cup race.
In its first years of operation, CNN lost money and was ridiculed as the Chicken Noodle Network. However, Turner continued to invest in building up the network's news bureaus around the world and in 1983, he bought Satellite News Channel, owned in part by ABC, and thereby eliminated CNN's main competitor. CNN eventually came to be known for covering live events around the world as they happened, often beating the major networks to the punch. The network gained significant traction with its live coverage of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the network's audience grew along with the increasing popularity of cable television during the 1990s.
In 1996, CNN merged with Time Warner, which merged with America Online four years later. Today, Ted Turner is an environmentalist and peace activist whose philanthropic efforts include a 1997 gift of $1 billion to the United Nations.

June 5, 1954
Your Show of Shows final episode.

The comic variety show featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca launched in 1950. Other featured performers were Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Nanette Fabray, Bill Hayes, Judy Johnson, The Hamilton Trio and the soprano Marguerite Piazza. The show was created by Sylvester Weaver and directed by Max Liebman. Writers for the show included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, Larry Gelbart, Mel Tolkin, and Carl Reiner. For three of its four years, it ranked as one of the Top 20 most highly rated shows. In 1952, the program won the Best Show Emmy Award.

Jun 6, 1998
Sex and the City premieres on HBO.

The show’s creator, Darren Star, was best known at the time for producing the long-running Fox TV series Beverly Hills, 90210, and its spin-off, Melrose Place. For Sex and the City, Star switched coasts, loosely adapting a book by the same name by Candace Bushnell, compiled from a number of her columns for The New York Observer. In the pilot, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), who authors a similar newspaper column for the fictional New York City Star, and her three friends--Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon)--discuss the issue of whether women are capable of having sex like men. Carrie also has an embarrassing first run-in with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), with whom she will begin a tumultuous relationship that will last the length of the series.
Sex and the City didn’t really break out with fans until the second season, when the format of the show changed a bit: Carrie stopped addressing the camera directly, and simply provided a voice-over narration, and the man-on-the-street-type testimonials by different characters were largely omitted. The main premise--that each episode provides fodder for one of Carrie’s columns, each of which features a different question about sex, love and relationships--remained constant throughout the show, as did the unusually frank discussion and portrayal of sex that became the show’s hallmark.
At the Emmy Awards, Sex and the City was nominated in the category of Outstanding Comedy Series in each of its six seasons; it won the award in 2001. In 2004, Parker collected an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, while Cynthia Nixon triumphed in the supporting category. To win, Nixon beat out co-stars Davis and Cattrall, who had been nominated in five out of the six seasons of the show’s run. Cattrall and Parker both took home Golden Globe Awards for their performances as well, and the show received three Globes for Best TV Series - Musical or Comedy.
As soon as the series wrapped up in 2004, buzz began about a possible big-screen adaptation. Though the project stalled due to questions over money and Cattrall’s reported reluctance to sign on to the project, the plans finally came to fruition in late May 2008, when Sex and the City: The Movie was released to mixed reviews but great box-office success, including a $55.7 million opening weekend haul. As with the series, Parker served as an executive producer for the movie, which was written and directed by Michael Patrick King.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Smothers Brothers Uncensored: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Television critic and NPR commentator David Bianculli is scheduled to join us on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, which premieres Monday, May 31 at 9pm ET, 6pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with rebroadcasts Friday, June 4 at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,, as well as throughout the week on Nationally known for his reviews and commentaries on the popular radio program Fresh Air, David Bianculli is the author of Dangerously Funny, a comprehensive look at the careers of Tom and Dick Smothers and the legacy of their groundbreaking television variety series, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (CBS, 1967-1969). Combining cutting-edge comedy with groundbreaking music and scathing social commentary, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was the Saturday Night Live of its time, pushing boundaries and needling authority long before The Colbert Report, The Daily Show and Real Time with Bill Maher. An instant hit, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was one of the most influential and top-rated shows on prime time American television, until it was unceremoniously pulled in April 1969 for being too controversial. The complete story of the show's rise and fall will be told in detail when David Bianculli joins in our second hour.

Also scheduled to join us that night will be animator Gene Hamm, a friend and colleague of Art Clokey, the creator of the popular children's series Gumby and Davey and Goliath. Art Clokey passed away in January 2010; Gene Hamm will help us pay tribute to Mr. Clokey's career when he joins us in our first hour. If you want to be part of our conversation, if you're a fan of The Smothers Brothers or grew up watching Gumby and Davey and Goliath, we invite you to join us for our live broadcast on Monday, May 31 beginning at 9pm ET, 6pm PT on Phone number is (888) SHOKUS-5, (888) 746-5875. You can also email questions in advance to
TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte
Every night at 9pm ET, 6pm PT Shokus Internet Radio Fridays 7pm ET and PT Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.orgwww.tvconfidential.netblog.tvconfidential.netAlso available as a podcast via iTunes and FeedBurner

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gary Coleman (February 8, 1968 - May 28, 2010) reported, Coleman had slipped into a coma and was on life support after suffering an intracranial hemorrhage. He was pulled of life support this morning and later passed away. His wife Shannon Price and her father were at the hospital Friday.

Gary Wayne Coleman was born in Zion, Illinois on February 8, 1968. He was adopted by Edmonia Sue, a nurse practitioner, and W.G. Coleman, a fork-lift operator. He suffered from a congenital kidney disease caused by focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (an autoimmune destruction and alteration of the kidney), which halted his growth at an early age, leading to a small stature (4 ft 8 in; 1.42 m). He underwent two kidney transplants, one in 1973 and one in 1984, and required daily dialysis.

While best known for his role on Diff'rent Strokes, Coleman had appeared earlier on The Jeffersons and on Good Times as Penny's friend Gary. He also appeared in a 1978 pilot for a revival of The Little Rascals as Stymie — this show was produced by Norman Lear, who also produced The Jeffersons and Good Times.

Coleman was cast in the role of Arnold Jackson on Diff'rent Strokes, portraying a child adopted by a wealthy widower. The show was broadcast from 1978 to 1986, and was a huge success.
Coleman became the most popular fixture of the show, enhanced by his character's catchphrase "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" At the height of his fame on Diff'rent Strokes, he earned as much as $100,000 per episode. It is estimated he was left with a quarter of the original amount after paying his parents, advisers, lawyers, and taxes. He later successfully sued his parents and his ex-advisers for misappropriation of his finances and was awarded $1.3 million. Coleman became a popular figure, starring in a number of feature films and made-for-TV movies including On the Right Track and The Kid with the Broken Halo. The latter eventually served as the basis for the Hanna-Barbera-produced animated series The Gary Coleman Show.

Coleman is parodied in the hit 2003 Broadway musical Avenue Q, which won the 2004 Tony Award for best musical. A character presented as Coleman works as the superintendent of the apartment complex where the musical takes place. In the song, "It Sucks to be Me", he laments his fate. On Broadway, the role was originally played by Natalie Venetia Belcon. In 2005, Coleman announced his intention to sue the producers of Avenue Q for their depiction of him, although as of 2010 the lawsuit had not materialized. At the 2007 New York Comic Con, Coleman said, "I wish there was a lawyer on Earth that would sue them for me."

Coleman was a candidate for governor in the 2003 California recall election. This campaign was sponsored by the free newsweekly East Bay Express as a satirical comment on the recall. After Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy, Coleman stated that he would be voting for Schwarzenegger. Coleman placed 8th in a field of 135 candidates, receiving 14,242 votes.

Coleman secretly wed his girlfriend of five months, Shannon Price, 22, on August 28, 2007. They met on the set of the 2006 comedy film Church Ball.
On May 1 and 2, 2008, Coleman and his wife appeared on the show Divorce Court to air their differences in front of Judge Lynn Toler. Unlike regular Divorce Court participants, they appeared on the show with the intent to save their marriage rather than adjudicate a separation.
Death. On July 3, 2009, Coleman and his wife were involved in a domestic dispute in which Coleman's wife was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, and both parties were cited for disorderly conduct.

Coleman suffered a seizure on the set of The Insider on February 26, 2010. Dr. Drew Pinsky, who was with Coleman at the time, assisted him until paramedics arrived.

On May 26, 2010, Coleman was admitted to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah, after falling and hitting his head and suffering an intracranial hemorrhage at his home outside of Salt Lake City, UT. He was announced to be in critical condition. By mid-morning on May 27, 2010, Coleman was conscious and lucid. By mid-afternoon on May 27, 2010, Coleman was unconscious and on life support.

Earlier today, it was announced that he was still unconscious and on life support. Coleman died later in the day after being taken off life support .

Good Night Gary

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Your Mental Sorbet: Drew Barrymore on David Letterman

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

During a 1995 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, Barrymore shocked the normally unflappable host by climbing onto his desk and flashing him (but with her back to the camera) for his birthday.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Art Linkletter

Art Linkletter died at his home in Bel Air, California. He will be buried in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery.
Art Linkletter was born Gordon Arthur Kelly in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. In his autobiography, Confessions of a Happy Man (1960), he revealed that he had had no contact with his natural parents or his sister or two brothers since he was abandoned when only a few weeks old. He was adopted by Mary (née Metzler) and Fulton John Linkletter, an evangelical preacher.
Linkletter hosted of two long-running TV shows. House Party, which ran on CBS radio and television for 25 years, and People Are Funny, on NBC radio-TV for 19 years. Linkletter was famous for interviewing children on House Party and Kids Say the Darndest Things, which led to a successful series of books quoting children. He is the only person to have five network television shows running in prime time simultaneously.

In 1963, Linkletter became the endorser and spokesman for Milton Bradley's Game of Life. His picture appeared on the box with the statement "I Heartily Endorse This Game", and also on the $100,000 bills featured in the game.
In 2005, at the age of 93, he opened the Happiest Homecoming on Earth celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of Disneyland. Half a century earlier, he commentated on the opening day celebrations in 1955. For this, he was named a Disney Legend in 2005.
Linkletter had one of the longest marriages of any celebrity in America (it lasted for 74.5 years, until his death). He married Lois Foerster on November 25, 1935, and they had five children: Arthur Jack (known as Jack Linkletter, a TV host), Dawn, Robert, Sharon, and Diane.
Linkletter outlived three of his five children. His 20-year-old daughter, Diane Linkletter, died on October 4, 1969, by jumping out of her sixth-floor kitchen window. Linkletter claimed that she committed suicide because she was on, or having a flashback from, an LSD trip, but toxicology tests done after the incident detected no signs of LSD use, and it is quite likely that the drug played no part in her suicide. Linkletter spoke out against drugs to prevent children from straying into a drug habit. His record, We Love You, Call Collect, recorded before her death, featured a discussion about permissiveness in modern society. It featured a rebuttal by Diane, called Dear Mom and Dad. The record won a 1970 Grammy Award for the "Best Spoken Word Recording". His son Robert died in an automobile accident on September 12, 1980.

His son (Arthur) Jack Linkletter, (November 20, 1937(1937-11-20)–December 18, 2007 (aged 70), died from lymphoma.
To Quote Art Linkletter, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out".

Good Night Mr. Linkletter

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, May 24, 2010

This week in Television History: May 2010 Part IV

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.

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.
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.
NBC announced in 2004 that Leno would leave The Tonight Show at the end of May 2009, handing the reins 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.
In their new roles, neither O'Brien nor Leno succeeded in delivering the viewing audiences the network anticipated. On January 7, 2010, multiple media outlets reported that beginning March 1, 2010, Jay Leno would move from his 10pm weeknight time slot to 11:35pm, due to a combination of pressure from local affiliates whose newscasts were suffering, and both Leno's and O'Brien's poor ratings. Leno's show would be shortened from an hour to 30 minutes. All NBC late night programming would be preempted by the 2010 Winter Olympics between February 15 and February 26. This would move The Tonight Show to 12:05am, a post-midnight timeslot for the first time in its history. O'Brien's contract stipulated that NBC could move the show back to 12:05 a.m. without penalty (a clause put in primarily to accommodate sports preemptions).

On January 10, NBC confirmed that they would move Jay Leno out of primetime as of February 12 and intended to move him to late night as soon as possible. TMZ reported that O'Brien was given no advance notice of this change, and that NBC offered him two choices: an hour-long 12:05am time slot, or the option to leave the network. On January 12, O'Brien issued a press release that stated he would not continue with Tonight if it moved to a 12:05am time slot, saying, "I believe that delaying The Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show."
On January 21, it was announced that NBC had struck a deal with O'Brien. It was decided that O'Brien would leave The Tonight Show. The deal was made that O'Brien would receive a $33 million payout and that his staff of almost 200 would receive $12 million in the departure. O'Brien's final episode aired on Friday, January 22. Leno returned as host of The Tonight Show following the 2010 Winter Olympics on March 1, 2010.

May 28, 1998
Comic Phil Hartman killed by wife Brynn, in a murder-suicide.

He was 49. Born on September 24, 1948, in Ontario, Canada, Hartman was raised in Connecticut and Southern California, and later became an American citizen. Early on, he found work designing record album covers (he created the official logo for the rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) but made the leap to acting in 1975 when he joined the L.A. improvisational acting group, the Groundlings. With his fellow Groundlings alum, Paul Reubens, Hartman wrote the screenplay for the successful comedy Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985). Along with Reubens, Hartman had helped create the zany man-child character of Pee Wee Herman, though Reubens received most of the credit. From 1986 to 1990, Hartman portrayed Kap’n Karl on the Saturday morning children’s TV series Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
Also in 1986, Hartman earned a spot on the long-running NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. In his eight years on the show, Hartman became known for his spot-on impersonations of a variety of celebrities, notably President Bill Clinton. He also made frequent guest appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 1989, Hartman shared an Emmy Award for his writing contributions to Saturday Night Live. He went on to set a record for the most appearances (153) as one of the show’s regulars.
Hartman joined the cast of the TV sitcom NewsRadio in 1995. He played the egotistical anchorman of an AM radio news station in New York City through four seasons of the show’s five-year run. The ensemble cast also included Dave Foley, Maura Tierney and Andy Dick. Hartman also notably provided the voices for a number of characters, including the has-been actor Troy McClure and the incompetent lawyer Lionel Hurtz, on the acclaimed animated series The Simpsons. In addition to his TV work as an actor and pitchman (for MCI, McDonald’s and Cheetos, among others), Hartman appeared on the big screen in Blind Date (1987), Jingle All the Way (1996) and Small Soldiers, released after his death.
Off-screen, Hartman was popular among his Hollywood colleagues and known for being completely different from some of the more unlikable characters he had portrayed. The murder-suicide, which shocked fans and friends alike, occurred early on the morning of May 28, 1998, at the couple’s home in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino. According to news reports, Brynn, Hartman’s third wife (two previous marriages ended in divorce) had a history of drug and alcohol problems. The couple had two children.

May 29, 2003
Bob Hope celebrates 100th birthday

Some 35 U.S. states declare it to be Bob Hope Day on this day in 2003, when the iconic comedic actor and entertainer turns 100 years old.
In a public ceremony held in Hollywood, city officials renamed the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Avenue--famous for its historic buildings and as a central point on the Hollywood Walk of Fame--Bob Hope Square. Several 1940s-era U.S. planes flew overhead as part of an air show honoring Hope’s longtime role as an entertainer of U.S. armed forces all over the world. Hope, who was then suffering from failing eyesight and hearing and had not been seen in public for three years, was too ill to attend the public ceremonies. Three of his children attended the naming ceremony, along with some of his younger show-business colleagues, including Mickey Rooney.
One of the leading talents on the vaudeville scene by the 1930s, the London-born, American-raised Hope met his future wife (of nearly seven decades), the nightclub singer Dolores Reade, while he was performing on Broadway in the musical Roberta. They married in 1934, and four years later Hope launched his own radio program, The Bob Hope Show, which would run for the next 18 years. One of the country’s most popular comics, Hope had a successful film career largely thanks to the series of seven “Road” movies he made with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, including Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1946) and Road to Rio (1947).
In 1941, after America’s entrance into World War II, Hope began performing for U.S. troops abroad; he would play shows for more than a million American servicemen by 1953. Some 65 million people watched him perform for troops in Vietnam on Christmas Eve in 1966, in his largest broadcast. Hope also became a legend for his countless TV specials, which he would perform over the course of some five decades. He hosted the Academy Awards ceremony a total of 18 times, more than any other Oscars host.
Dubbed “Mr. Entertainment” and the “King of Comedy,” Hope died on July 27, 2003, less than two months after his 100th birthday celebration. He was survived by Dolores, their four adopted children--Linda, Anthony, Nora and Kelly--and four grandchildren.

May 30, 1908
Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and countless other Warner Bros. cartoon characters, was born 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

Sunday, May 23, 2010

TV Confidential Archives May 17, 2010

TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte: A radio talk show about television

May 17, 2010
First hour: Actor and author James Best (Best in Hollywood: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful) joins Ed, Frankie and guest co-host Tony Figueroa for a conversation about The Dukes of Hazzard, his work with James Stewart, Burt Reynolds, and other motion picture legends, his experience teaching young actors camera technique in Hollywood and at the University of Mississippi, and his early days as a contract player at Universal Studios.

Second hour: Mark Dawidziak, television critic for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, joins Ed and Frankie for a look at some of the top stories coming out of the annual network TV upfronts, including the cancellation of the original Law and Order after 20 years on television, the future of American Idol post-Simon Cowell, and NBC's widely publicized failed pilot of the remake of Rockford Files, as well as CBS' upcoming remake of Hawaii Five-O. Mark's latest book, The Bedside, Bathtub and Armchair Companion to Dracula, is an engaging look at the Dracula phenomenon, from the publication of the Bram Stoker novel in 1897 to the many film and television adaptations, including the classic 1931 film with Bela Lugosi, the 1974 television Dracula starring Jack Palance and produced by Dan Curtis, and the 1979 theatrical release starring Frank Langella.
Also in this hour: David Krell remembers the legacy of Saturday Night Live on late night and prime time television, while Ed and Frankie pay tribute to actress Adele Mara.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: Drew Barrymore on Johnny Carson

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

Segment with Johnny and a young Drew Barrymore with missing teeth from 1982.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, May 17, 2010

This week in Television History: May 2010 Part III

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.

May 17, 2000
Final episode of Beverly Hills 90210 airs

Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) and David Silver (Brian Austin Green) finally say their vows, and on-and-off couple Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) and Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) reunites, as the curtain closes on the teen drama series Beverly Hills, 90210 after 10 seasons. The final episode of the show, which premiered on October 4, 1990, on the Fox Television network, airs on this day in 2000.
Beverly Hills, 90210 was created by Darren Star and produced by Aaron Spelling, known for his roster of hit TV shows, including The Mod Squad, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Dynasty, Starsky and Hutch and T.J. Hooker, among many others. At the outset, the show focused mostly on the culture shock that twin siblings Brandon and Brenda (Jason Priestley and Shannen Doherty) experience when they move with their parents from Minneapolis to swanky Beverly Hills. The first few seasons of the series followed the Walsh twins and their classmates--notably played by Garth, Perry, Spelling, Green, Gabrielle Carteris, and Ian Ziering--through their time at West Beverly Hills High School (the fact that many of the actors were noticeably older than high school age was well noted in press coverage of the show). The third season saw many of them go off to college at California University, and by the eighth season the gang (much changed after many cast departures and additions) was making their way into adult life.
90210 became the first in a string of Fox programs that were geared towards teenagers and young adults, combining glamour and style trends with a moralistic spin on teen-focused “issues.” Seemingly, no subject was taboo, and in its 10 seasons the show featured plotlines revolving around alcohol and drug abuse, learning disabilities, teenage pregnancy, date rape, gay rights, domestic violence, suicide and AIDS. Fueled by a young, diverse audience, 90210 proved to be consistently popular in the ratings for most of its run, reaching as high as No. 24.
Frequent cast changes occurred throughout the course of the show, most notably the departure of Doherty, who left at the end of the fourth season amid rumored tensions on the set. Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, who played Brandon’s bad-girl cousin for four seasons, replaced Doherty. Perry departed near the beginning of the sixth season but returned in the ninth as a “Special Guest Star.” In 1992, 90210 spawned a spin-off, Melrose Place, which was aimed at a slightly older audience; though it got off to a disappointing start, it eventually became another hit, producing in turn its own short-lived spin-off, Models, Inc. In the 10th season, ratings for Beverly Hills, 90210 dropped to an average of only 10 million viewers per week, a decline from previous seasons. Fox finally pulled the plug in early 2000, and the final episode aired that May. Melrose Place had bowed out the previous year.
In the fall of 2008, an updated version of Spelling’s now-classic series, titled simply 90210, debuted on the CW network. The show focused on a family from Kansas--parents with two teenage children--who move to Beverly Hills to keep tabs on the father’s alcoholic mother, a former TV star. Garth and Doherty both signed on to reprise their roles of Kelly Taylor and Brenda Walsh, now a guidance counselor and a guest musical director, respectively, at West Beverly Hills High School.

May 20, 2007
The Simpsons airs 400th episode.

The Simpsons was created by Matt Groenig, whose comic strip Life Is Hell caught the attention of the Hollywood producer James L. Brooks. Brooks enlisted Groenig to create a cartoon short that would run during the Fox sketch comedy series The Tracey Ullmann Show. Two of the show’s regulars, Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner, provided the voices for Homer and Marge Simpson, while Nancy Cartwright (who had originally auditioned for the role of their daughter, Lisa) landed the role of their troublemaking adolescent son, Bart. Lisa (voiced by Yeardley Smith) rounded out the speaking parts for the dysfunctional Simpson family, who made their debut on The Tracey Ullmann Show in April 1987. Brooks later convinced Barry Diller, Fox’s then-chief executive, to turn the shorts into a half-hour weekly series, to be developed by Brooks, Groenig and Sam Simon. The Simpsons debuted on Fox in December 1989 with a special Christmas episode, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. The first animated prime-time sitcom since The Flinstones in the 1960s, The Simpsons burst onto the scene during a period when most of the successful comedy series on television were family-friendly offerings such as The Cosby Show, Full House, Growing Pains and Family Matters. Offbeat and dysfunctional, The Simpsons offered a far different view of family life. Critics raved about the show and its edgy, pop-culture savvy humor from the beginning, and it became a huge ratings hit.
In 2005, The Simpsons became the longest-running sitcom ever, passing The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ran for 14 seasons (1952-66). Over the years, the series racked up no fewer than 23 Emmy Awards, and was named by TIME magazine as the best show of all time in 1999 and as No. 1 on Entertainment Weekly’s list of New Classic TV Shows in 2008. Its incredible success paved the way for other adult-oriented animated series, notably Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, The Family Guy and South Park.

May 21, 1999
Soap star Susan Lucci wins first Emmy after 19 nominations.

“The streak is over…Susan Lucci!” announces Shemar Moore of The Young and the Restless on this night in 1999, right before presenting the Daytime Emmy Award for Best Actress to the tearful star of ABC’s All My Children. The award was Lucci’s first win in 19 straight years of being nominated in the Best Actress category for her portrayal of Erica Kane.
A native of Garden City, New York, Lucci moved to New York City after graduating from college in 1968. She played bit parts in the films Goodbye, Columbus and Me, Natalie (both 1969) before landing the role of the troubled teenager Erica Kane on a new soap opera, All My Children. The show debuted on January 5, 1970, and Lucci would go on to play Erica Kane over the next four decades, as the character married no fewer than 11 times (to eight different men, and several of the marriages were invalid), had several children and grandchildren, was kidnapped, survived an airplane crash and a car accident, battled drug addiction and became the owner of her own cosmetics company (among other notable events). By 1991, Erica Kane was, according to TV Guide, “unequivocally the most famous soap-opera character in the history of TV.”
As reported by the New York Times, Lucci at that time was the highest-paid actor on daytime television, earning more than $1 million per year for her work on All My Children. Her honors included a Best Soap Actress win in a 1985 People magazine poll, and a 1989 Soap Opera Digest Editors Award for an “outstanding contribution to daytime television.” One thing she didn’t have, however, was an Emmy. She received her first nomination in 1978, and before long had received several nominations in a row without a win. After reportedly losing her temper after failing to take home the award in 1982 and 1983, Lucci began accepting her runner-up status with more humor. In the fall of 1990, she appeared as a guest host on an episode of Saturday Night Live, in which all of the show’s cast and crew members carried Emmy statuettes past her during her opening monologue. She also filmed a commercial for a sugar substitute called the Sweet One, in which she lampooned her own hunger for an Emmy.
Lucci was the favorite to win that May night in 1999, and Moore’s announcement brought the audience in the theater at Madison Square Garden to their feet for a standing ovation that lasted several minutes. Lucci’s emotional acceptance speech brought tears to the eyes of many in the crowd, including the talk show host Rosie O’Donnell and Lucci’s All My Children co-stars Kelly Ripa and Marcy Walker. After thanking her husband, Helmut Huber, the All My Children cast and crew and her fans, Lucci closed her speech by announcing “I’m going to go back to that studio Monday and I’m going to play Erica Kane for all she’s worth.”
In addition to her work on All My Children, Lucci guest-starred repeatedly on the prime-time soap opera Dallas during the 1990s and has appeared in a number of TV movies, including Lady Mobster, Mafia Princess and Secret Passions. In 1999, she starred on Broadway in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Lucci also competed in the seventh installment of the reality series Dancing With the Stars, which aired in the fall of 2008.

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.
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.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Dukes of Hazzard, Dracula and More: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Actor James Best and television critic Mark Dawidziak will be our special guests on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, May 17 at 9pm ET, 6pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with rebroadcasts Friday, May 21 at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,
Best known for playing Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on the long-running CBS series The Dukes of Hazzard, James Best has also appeared in more than 70 motion pictures, including Winchester '73, The Left-Handed Gun, Shenandoah, Gator, Sounder, Firecreek, Three on a Couch, The End and Hooper, as well as such classic television series as The Fugitive, The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Gunsmoke and The Andy Griffith Show. His new book, Best in Hollywood: The Good, The Bad and the Beautiful, is a candid yet entertaining look at his show business career, including his experiences with such legends as James Stewart, Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds, Samuel Fuller, Audie Murphy, Andy Griffith and Jerry Lewis. James Best is scheduled to join us in our first hour. Then in our second hour we'll welcome Mark Dawidziak, TV critic for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer and author of such books as The Columbo Phile and The Night Stalker Companion. Mark's latest book, The Bedside, Bathtub and Armchair Companion to Dracula, is a fun look at the Dracula phenomenon from every conceivable angle, from the original publication of Bram Stoker's novel in 1897, to the many film adaptations of Dracula (including the 1931 classic starring Bela Lugosi, as well as the Hammer films starring Christopher Lee, the 1974 television Dracula starring Jack Palance, and the classic horror comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein), to the continuing impact of the Dracula character on our culture today, including such popular series as The Night Stalker, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. If you're a fan of vampire fiction, it's safe to say you can count on this being one hour you can really sink your teeth into.If you want to be part of our conversation, if you're a fan of James Best, The Dukes of Hazzard, the Dracula legend or any other aspects of our guests' careers, then join us for our live broadcast on Monday, May 17 beginning at 9pm ET, 6pm PT on Phone number is (888) SHOKUS-5, (888) 746-5875. You can also email questions in advance to

Friday, May 14, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: "Sanford and Son" A Visit from Lena Horne (1973)

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

While on the NBC tour in Burbank, Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) meets Lena Horne. Fred plays upon her sympathies by weaving a tall tale about his "little lame son" Lamont. Agreeing to pay a visit to the Sanford home.

Good Night Ms. Horne

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TV Confidential Archives May 3, 2010

First hour: Film legend Ann Rutherford (Gone with the Wind) joins Ed and Frankie for a conversation about David O. Selznick, Louis B. Mayer and the Golden Age of Hollywood. Ms. Rutherford will be honored by the Young Musicians Foundation at their annual spring luncheon, which will be held on Saturday, May 22 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills (for ticket information, call 310-859-7668 or visit Also in this hour: Ed and Frankie pay tribute to Lynn Redgrave (Georgy Girl, House Calls), as well as discuss Conan O'Brien's interview on 60 Minutes.

Second hour: Legendary actor and voiceover artist Joseph Campanella (Mannix, The Bold Ones, One Day at a Time) joins Ed and Frankie for a conversation about his long career in television, including his work with such legends as Roy Huggins, Quinn Martin, Mike Connors, David Janssen, James Garner, Bill Bixby, Burl Ives and Bonnie Franklin. Also in this hour: David Krell remembers Brandon Tartikoff and the landmark NBC series Hill Street Blues, while Tony Figueroa remembers The Honeymooners, the series finales for Seinfeld and Friends, and the anniversary of the death of Frank Sinatra.

Monday, May 10, 2010

This week in Television History: May 2010 Part II

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.

May 14, 1998
Frank Sinatra dies of a heart attack in Los Angeles, at the age of 82.

Sinatra emerged from an Italian-American family in Hoboken, New Jersey, to become the first modern superstar of popular music, with an entertainment career that spanned more than five decades. In the first incarnation of his singing career, he was a master of the romantic ballads popular during World War II. After his appeal began to wane in the late 1940s, Sinatra reinvented himself as a suave swinger with a rougher, world-weary singing style, and began a spectacular comeback in the 1950s.
In addition to his great musical success, Sinatra appeared in 58 films; one of his earliest was Anchors Aweigh (1945). Playing a cocky Italian-American soldier who meets a violent death in From Here to Eternity (1953), co-starring Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift, Sinatra won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His film career flourished after that, as he starred as Nathan Detroit in the movie musical Guys and Dolls (1955) and played a heroin addict in The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), for which he was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor. He also starred in the musicals High Society (1956) and Pal Joey (1957) and turned in a memorable performance as an Army investigator in the acclaimed film The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
By the late 1950s, Sinatra had become the epitome of show-business success and glamorous, rough-edged masculinity. He even headed up his own entourage, known as the Rat Pack, which included Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. The group had originally formed around Humphrey Bogart, who died in 1957. The Rat Pack first appeared together on the big screen in 1960’s casino caper Ocean’s Eleven. They would go on to make Sergeant’s Three (1962), Four for Texas (1963) and Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964). Onscreen and in real life, the Pack’s famous stomping grounds included Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York (notably the Copacabana Club).
Sinatra worked steadily in film throughout the 1960s, though many of his performances seemed almost perfunctory. His last major Hollywood role came in 1980’s The First Deadly Sin. A famous heartthrob, Sinatra married four times, divorcing his longtime sweetheart Nancy Barbato after a decade and three children (Nancy, Frank Jr. and Christina) to marry the actress Ava Gardner in 1951. Their marriage lasted less than two years, and in 1966 Sinatra married the 21-year-old actress Mia Farrow, 30 years his junior; they were divorced in 1968. In 1976, he married Barbara Blakely Marx (the former wife of Zeppo Marx), and they remained together until his death.

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.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, May 07, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: "TAXI" - Jim at Harvard

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

Jim reminices on his student days at Harvard University and his introduction to the world of drugs via "funny brownies".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, May 03, 2010

This week in Television History: May 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.

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. 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.
YouTube - Moe Howard on The Mike Douglas Show
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, 2004
Final episode of Friends airs on NBC

Created and executive-produced (with Kevin S. Bright) by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, Friends debuted 10 years and 236 episodes earlier, on September 22, 1994. Shot at the Warner Brothers studios in Burbank, California, the show was set in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where six friends struggled with the ups-and-downs of young adult life in the big city--albeit while living in an impossibly large, cushy apartment, apparently without the burden of having to spend much time working actual jobs. Almost from the beginning of its decade-long run, Friends was a cultural phenomenon, winning six Emmy Awards (including one for Outstanding Comedy Series), sparking hairstyle trends (“the Rachel”), spawning catch phrases (“How you doin?”) and turning its six principal cast members into household names.
Preceded by a maelstrom of hype and publicity, the hour-long Friends finale drew approximately two-thirds of the audience garnered by the finales of two other long-running sitcoms, Cheers (80.4 million) in 1993 and Seinfeld (76.2 million) in 1998, according to a Fox News report. The most-watched TV series finale ever, M*A*S*H, was viewed by some 105 million people when it aired in 1983. According to the New York Times, NBC charged advertisers an average of $2 million for every 30 seconds of ad time during the finale--a record amount for a sitcom and only $300,000 less than what CBS charged during that year’s Super Bowl.
In the finale, the long-running on-and-off relationship between Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), which over the years included a drunken Las Vegas wedding and a baby, Emma, born in 2002, ended as most of the show’s fans hoped: They got back together, presumably for good. Meanwhile, Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Monica (Courtney Cox-Arquette) had become suburbanites and parents of twins, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) was married, and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) was headed off to L.A. to pursue his acting career. (A spin-off sitcom, Joey, followed LeBlanc’s character to Hollywood; the show failed to attract a significant audience, and was canceled in 2006.)
Throughout the show’s run, its six stars maintained a famously unified front, ensuring that no one of them emerged as a dominating force onscreen and even negotiating their salaries together. In the spring of 2000, each member of the cast signed a two-year, $40 million contract that netted them each a staggering $1 million per episode. Broadcast in some 100 countries, Friends continues to earn good ratings for its syndicated rerun episodes.

May 9, 1971
Last Honeymooners episode airs.
The last original episode of the sitcom The Honeymooners, starring Jackie Gleason as Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden, airs.

Although a perennial rerun favorite in syndication, The Honeymooners actually aired only 39 episodes in its familiar sitcom format, running for just one season in 1955-56. The show debuted on October 5, 1951, as a six-minute sketch on the variety show Cavalcade of Stars, hosted by Jackie Gleason. Cavalcade of Stars evolved into The Jackie Gleason Show in 1952, and Gleason continued the sketches, playing the blustery Ralph Kramden. Regular cast member Audrey Meadows soon replaced the original casting choice, Pert Kelton, as Ralph’s long-suffering wife, Alice, who deflated his get-rich-quick schemes but often saved the day. Art Carney played Gleason’s friend and sidekick, Ed Norton, from the beginning, and Joyce Randolph was the most memorable incarnation of Ed’s wife, Trixie.
In 1955, Gleason had tired of the hour-long variety-show format and wanted to try something new. He suggested creating two half-hour programs: The Honeymooners and Stage Show, a musical-variety show, which Gleason would produce. Among Stage Show’s many musical guests was the first-time TV performer Elvis Presley, who visited the show in January 1956.
In a departure from most TV shows of the time, The Honeymooners was filmed in front of a live audience and broadcast at a later date. To allow Gleason more time to pursue other producing projects, he taped two episodes a week, leaving him free for several months at the end of the season. Shows were taped at New York’s Adelphi Theatre in front of around 1,000 people.
Unfortunately, the two shows did not appeal to audiences as much as Gleason had hoped. He soon returned to his hour-long variety format, occasionally including Honeymooners skits. He sold the full Honeymooners episodes to CBS for $1.5 million, and they would go on to earn the network a windfall in syndication. In 1966, Gleason began creating hour-long Honeymooners episodes, which he aired in lieu of his usual variety format. From 1966 to 1970, about half of Gleason’s shows were these hour-long episodes. In 1971, the episodes were rebroadcast as their own series, until May 9, 1971, when the final episode aired.
Despite its brief life as a traditional sitcom, The Honeymooners remains one of the most memorable TV comedies of all time, rivaled only by I Love Lucy in its pioneering role in television history. Its influence has stretched into modern-day sitcom classics such as Roseanne (also a show focused on a working-class American family) and Seinfeld (another sitcom about wacky New York neighbors). The devotion of Honeymooners fans throughout the years has bordered on cultish worship, including the formation of a club known as RALPH: Royal Association for the Longevity and Preservation of the Honeymooners.

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

Stay Tuned