Monday, August 30, 2010

This week in Television History: August 2010 Part V

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 TVConfidential.net. We are also on Share-a-Vision Radio (KSAV.org) 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.

September 3, 1991
Director Frank Capra (You Can’t Take It With You, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life) dies at the age of 94 at his home in La Quinta, California.

Capra was born in Sicily, on May 18, 1897, and as a young boy sailed to America in steerage with his family, who settled in Los Angeles. After graduating from the California Institute of Technology and serving in the U.S. Army, Capra worked his way up through the movie industry; he had his first big success as a director with 1933’s Lady for a Day, which received a Best Picture Academy Award nomination. The following year, Capra helmed the comedy It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. The film took home Oscars in five categories: Best Director, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor and Actress. Capra won a second Best Director Oscar for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), which starred Gary Cooper as a man who inherits a large fortune and wants to use it to help Depression-era families. Capra received a third Best Director Oscar for You Can’t Take It With You (1938), a movie about an eccentric family that starred James Stewart, Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore and was based on the Pulitzer prize-winning play of the same name by Moss Hart and George Kaufman.
In 1940, Capra took home a fourth Best Director Oscar for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), which featured Stewart as an incorruptible U.S. senator.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Capra joined the Army again and during his time in the service made several well-received propaganda films, including Prelude to War (1943), which earned an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Capra went on to co-write and direct 1946’s It’s a Wonderful Life, perhaps his best-known work. The film again starred Stewart, this time as George Bailey, a small-town man who is saved from suicide by a guardian angel. Although the film was considered a box-office disappointment when it was first released, it garnered five Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture, and eventually gained widespread appeal when it was broadcast annually on TV around Christmastime, starting in the 1970s.
Capra’s final film was Pocketful of Miracles (1961), a remake of Lady for a Day starring Bette Davis as a street vendor who needs to remake herself into a society dame in order not to disappoint her daughter.

September 4, 1967
Gilligan's Island, The classic TV comedy about seven people stranded on a deserted island, airs its last episode. The show starred:Bob Denver as Gilligan, the bumbling, dimwitted, accident-prone crewman of the S.S. Minnow.

None of the show's episodes ever specified Gilligan's full name, nor clearly indicated whether "Gilligan" was the character's first name or his last. On the DVD collection, series creator Sherwood Schwartz states that he preferred the full name of "Willie Gilligan" for the character. On Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the writers artfully dodge the recitation of Gilligan's full name, when the other names are announced. Alan Hale, Jr. as Jonas Grumby, the "Skipper". A longtime actor in B-westerns and the lookalike son of Alan Hale, Sr., a legendary movie character actor, Hale so loved his role that, long after the show went off the air, he would still appear in character in his Los Angeles restaurant, Alan Hale's Lobster Barrel. Although the Skipper was a father figure to Gilligan, Hale was only 14 years older than Denver. It is alluded in one episode that Gilligan pushed the Skipper out of the way of a loose depth-charge when they were both serving in the United States Navy. Jim Backus as Thurston Howell, III, the condescending millionaire. Backus was already a well-known actor when he took the part. He was perhaps best known as the voice of the cartoon character Mr. Magoo. He reused some of the voice inflections and mannerisms of Magoo in the role. He was well known for his ad-libs on the set.Natalie Schafer as Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell, Thurston's wife. Schafer had it written into her contract that there were to be no close-ups of her, perhaps due to her advanced age. Schafer was 63 when the pilot was shot although, reportedly, no one on the set or in the cast knew her real age, and she refused to divulge that information. Originally, she only accepted the role because the pilot was filmed on location in Hawaii. She looked at the job as nothing more than a free vacation, as she was convinced that a show this silly would "never go". Tina Louise as Ginger Grant, the movie star. When regular shooting began, Louise clashed with the producers, because she believed that she was to be the main focus of the show (despite its title). Her character was originally written as a sarcastic and sharp-tongued temptress, but Louise argued that this was too extreme and refused to play it as written. A compromise was reached; Louise agreed to play her as a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball. The evening gowns and hair style used were designed to re-create the look of Myrna Loy.

Louise continued to clash with producers and was the only cast member who refused to return for any of the TV movies that followed the series' cancellation, and the fourth season, which was later canceled to make room for Gunsmoke, saying that the role had destroyed her career as a serious actress. However, she did appear in a reunion of the cast on a late night TV talk show in 1988 and on an episode of Roseanne in 1995. In the first season, Ginger often wore gowns that looked as if they were tailored from S.S. Minnow tarps or similar ersatz cloth (some had the name of the vessel stenciled on them). Later on, she wore regular evening gowns with high heels, though it was never explained why she brought so many changes of clothing on a "three-hour tour". Russell Johnson as Roy Hinkley (The Professor). Incongruously, "the Professor" was in fact a high school science teacher, not a university professor. In the first episode, the radio announcer described him as a research scientist and well-known Scoutmaster. Johnson stated that he had some difficulty remembering his more technically-oriented lines. Dawn Wells as Mary Ann Summers. Wells was a former Miss Nevada when she auditioned for the role. Her competition included Raquel Welch and Pat Priest. She wrote The Gilligans Island Cookbook and starred as Lovey Howell in the musical stage adaption of the show.Although the show ran for only three years, it aired in reruns for decades. The characters were resurrected in three TV movies.

September 4, 2002:
Kelly Clarkson wins first American Idol.

In a live television broadcast from Hollywood’s Kodak Theater. Clarkson came out on top in the amateur singing contest over 23-year-old runner-up Justin Guarini after millions of viewers cast their votes for her by phone. She was awarded a recording contract and went on to sell millions of albums and establish a successful music career. (Clarkson and Guarnini also co-starred in the 2003 box-office bomb From Justin to Kelly, which was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for that year’s worst film but lost to the Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck vehicle Gigli.) Starting with its first season, American Idol became one of the most popular TV programs in U.S. history and spawned a slew of talent-competition shows.
American Idol was based on a British TV show called Pop Idol, which was developed by the English-born entertainment executive Simon Fuller and debuted in the U.K. in 2001. The Idol concept was shopped around in the United States and reportedly rejected by several TV networks before Fox picked it up. The American Idol premiere, which aired on June 11, 2002, was co-hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman (who was dropped from the program after Season One) and starred a trio of judge--the acerbic British music executive Simon Cowell, the singer-choreographer Paul Abdul and the musician-producer Randy Jackson. The show followed the judges as they selected contestants, who were required to be teens or young adults, from open auditions around the United States. Contestants who made the cut were flown to Hollywood, where they were eventually narrowed to 10 finalists, who performed live on television and were critiqued by the judges. Home viewers phoned in their votes for their favorite performers and each week the contestant who received the lowest number of votes was eliminated from the competition.

September 5, 1929
George Robert "Bob" Newhart,
stand-up comedian and actor who is best known for playing psychologist Dr. Robert "Bob" Hartley on the popular 1970s sitcom The Bob Newhart Show and as innkeeper Dick Loudon on the popular 1980s sitcom Newhart was born.

He also appeared in film roles such as Major Major in Catch-22, and Papa Elf in Elf. He provided the voice of Bernard in the Walt Disney animated films The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under.

September 5, 2005
Katie Couric makes network anchor debut on the CBS Evening News.

Couric, who served as co-anchor of The Today Show from 1991 to 2006, replaced Dan Rather, who anchored CBS Evening News from 1981 until his retirement on March 9, 2005, in the aftermath of a controversial story about the military record of President George W. Bush. (Bob Schieffer served as interim anchor between Rather’s departure and Couric’s debut.) Barbara Walters was the first woman to co-anchor the network evening news, when she was paired up with Harry Reasoner on the ABC Evening News from 1976 to 1978.
Couric was born on January 7, 1957, in Arlington, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1979. That same year, she began her career in journalism as a desk assistant at ABC News in Washington, D.C. During the 1980s, she was a TV reporter in Miami and Washington, eventually becoming a Pentagon correspondent for NBC. On April 5, 1991, Couric became the permanent co-host, alongside Bryant Gumbel, of The Today Show, where she was known for her perky on-air personality as well as her hard-hitting interview style with politicians and other newsmakers. On April 5, 2006, after months of speculation in the media, Couric announced she would leave Today. That same day, CBS officially confirmed that Couric would become the anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News. Her salary of $15 million per year--which made her TV’s highest-paid news anchor--reportedly remained the same. Couric said farewell to Today Show viewers on May 31, 2006. Meredith Vieira, a former co-host of Walters’ daytime chat fest The View, replaced Couric on Today starting in September 2006.

Couric’s heavily hyped September 5, 2005, debut on The CBS Evening News attracted large numbers of viewers, but the show’s ratings later dropped below those of competitors NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson. Some critics charged that Couric didn’t have the hard-news experience and gravitas of her CBS predecessors Rather and Walter Cronkite.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Sunday, August 29, 2010

TV Confidential Archives Aug. 23, 2010



First hour: Ed and Frankie welcome character actor and author Denny Miller (Wagon Train, The Party, Mona McCluskey, Buck and the Preacher). Denny's books include Didn’t You Used to Be What’s His Name?, a whimsical look at his career in film and television, and Toxic Waist, a book about health and fitness, one of Denny's lifelong passions. Topics range from Denny's work with the Southern Nevada Conservancy to his recent appearance at the Western Legends Festival, as well as working with such legends as David Janssen, Sidney Poitier, Peter Sellers and John Wooden.

Second hour: Emmy-winning writer/producer William Link joins Ed and Frankie to discuss Columbo, Mannix, Ellery Queen, Murder, She Wrote, Tenafly, My Sweet Charlie, That Certain Summer, The Execution of Private Slovik and other aspects of his television career. Bill's latest book is The Columbo Collection, a collection of 12 original short stories featuring the famous rumpled detective that he co-created with his longtime collaborator, the late Richard Levinson. Bill will be appearing at the West Hollywood Book Fair in Los Angeles on Sept. 26, Bouchercon by the Bay in San Francisco on Oct. 14-17, and the Ninth Annual Men of Mystery Luncheon in Irvine, Calif. on Oct. 30.

Bonus Segment: In this special edition of This Week in TV History, Tony Figueroa remembers the original Survivor finale won by Richard Hatch, the birth of Regis Philbin, the anniversaries of the passings of Gracie Allen and Frank Capra, and the final episode of Gilligan’s Island.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: Conan Emmy Intro

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

Conan O'Brien inserted into several shows at the beginning of the 58th Annual Emmy Awards

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Monday, August 23, 2010

This week in Television History: August 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 TVConfidential.net. We are also on Share-a-Vision Radio (KSAV.org) 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.

Aug 23, 2000
First Survivor finale airs.
On this day in 2000, Richard Hatch, a 39-year-old corporate trainer from Rhode Island, wins the season-one finale of the reality television show Survivor and takes home the promised $1 million prize. In a four-to-three vote by his fellow contestants, Hatch, who was known for walking around naked on the island in Borneo where the show was shot, was named Sole Survivor over the river raft guide Kelly Wiglesworth. Survivor, whose slogan is “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast,” was a huge ratings success and spawned numerous imitators in the reality-competition genre.

Produced by Mark Burnett (The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?), Survivor premiered on May 31, 2000, on CBS. The show centers around a group of sixteen strangers who are stranded for 39 days in a remote location where they must fend for food, water and shelter and compete in various challenges to win rewards and immunity from being voted out of the competition by their fellow contestants. The voting takes place at the so-called “Tribal Council” ceremony and after a contestant is voted off, the show’s host Jeff Probst informs that person that “the tribe has spoken” and asks the evictee to extinguish his or her torch.
As of May 2008, Survivor had been on the air for 16 seasons. The show has been filmed in a variety of locations around the world, including the Australian Outback (season two), the Amazon (season six) and Fiji (season 14). Season 13, which was set in the Cook Islands, stirred up controversy when the contestants were initially divided by race into four competing tribes: African-American, Asian, Caucasian and Hispanic.
In 2006, season-one winner Richard Hatch was found guilty of tax evasion for failing to report his Survivor prize money to the IRS. He was sentenced to more than four years in prison. Other former Survivor contestants have gone on to reap more success from their appearance on the reality show: Season one’s Colleen Haskell landed a co-starring role in the forgettable 2001 comedy The Animal, while season two’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck (nee Filarski) went on to become a co-host of the daytime TV talk show The View.

August 25, 1931
Regis Francis Xavier Philbin is born.
Media personality and occasional actor, known for fronting various talk and game shows. Appearing on television since the late 1950s. Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of a television camera.

New York Bronx accent, his wit, and irreverent ad-libs. He is most widely known for Live with Regis and Kelly, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Million Dollar Password, and for hosting the first season of America's Got Talent. He is the cousin of singer-songwriter and American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi.

August 27, 1964
Comedian Gracie Allen died. Burns and Allen started performing a successful vaudeville act in the early 1920s and married in 1926. In 1932, they first appeared on the popular radio program The Guy Lombardo Show. Audiences loved Allen's gentle, ditzy character, and CBS launched a half-hour show, The Adventures of Gracie, in 1934. Renamed
The Burns and Allen Show
in 1936, the radio show ran until 1950, achieving Top 10 ratings almost continually.

The pair launched a TV series that ran from 1950 to 1958, and they appeared in more than a dozen movies during their 35-year career together in what became one of the most successful and beloved comedy acts in history. Allen retired after a mild heart attack in 1958. After her death, Burns visited her grave once a month while continuing to work in TV, theater, nightclubs, and movies. He wrote many books, including Gracie: A Love Story, a tribute to his wife. Burns died in 1996 at the age of 100.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Saturday, August 21, 2010

TV Confidential Archives: Aug. 9, 2010

First hour: Ed and Frankie discuss Men of a Certain Age, The Closer, Rizzoli and Iles, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, the upcoming Showtime series The Big C, the recent HBO documentary on Ted Williams and the lack of characters such as Tommy Lasorda in baseball today. Then Tony Figueroa remembers the premiere of Candid Camera, the births of Steve Martin and Jerry Falwell and the deaths of Elvis Presley and Groucho Marx.

Second hour: Emmy Award-winning producer and director Bob Wynn joins us this hour. Bob's book, I Used to Be Somebody, is a engaging look at his 40-year career in television, which saw him produce and direct more than 200 shows and specials for NBC, ABC, CBS and PBS in venues all over the world, including The Judy Garland Show, NBC Follies with Sammy Davis Jr., Alice Through the Looking Glass, Bob Hope on The Road to China, the first American television program filmed in China, and The Tennessee Ernie Ford Nashville to Moscow Express, the first American show filmed in the Soviet Union, and the long-running NBC series Real People. Also in this hour: David Krell with some thoughts on the long running ABC series Barney Miller.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

This week in Television History: August 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 TVConfidential.net. We are also on Share-a-Vision Radio (KSAV.org) 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.

August 18, 1977
Comedian Grouch Marx died.
Marx was born in New York in 1890. His mother encouraged him and his brothers Chico, Harpo, Gummo and later Zeppo to enter show business at an early age. They worked the vaudeville circuit, then moved to Broadway in the early 1920s, writing their own musical comedies. One of their Broadway comedies, Cocoanuts, became their first film, in 1929.

After the brothers stopped making films, Groucho continued to have a successful performing career. He hosted a popular radio quiz show called You Bet Your Life from 1947 to 1956, which became a TV show and ran until 1961. Groucho was still performing late in life: At the age of 82, he gave a one-man show at Carnegie Hall.

August 19, 1981
Charlie's Angels aired its final episode Let Our Angel Live.

The detective series featured crime-solving beauties instructed by a mysterious voice on a speaker phone known only as Charlie. Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, and Farrah Fawcett played the original Angels. Fawcett's blown-dry, feathered hair launched a national fad, and the actress left the show after a year to pursue a career in movies. Subsequent Angels included Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, and Tanya Roberts.

In 2000, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu played the Angels in a movie version of the show.

August 19, 1921
TV producer Gene Roddenberry, best known as the creator of Star Trek, is born in El Paso, Texas.

His family moved to Los Angeles when Roddenberry was a toddler, and his father became a police officer. Roddenberry also studied criminal justice at Los Angeles City College but became a pilot instead through the Civilian Pilot Training Program. During World War II, Roddenberry flew bombing missions in the South Pacific with the U.S. Army Air Corps. Shot down during a raid, he survived and won a medal. A second crash, when he was working as a Pan Am pilot after the war, killed 14 people and convinced Roddenberry to give up flying. Instead, Roddenberry became a police officer like his father. But before long, he discovered that living the police life paid less than writing about it for TV, so he began writing scripts for Dragnet and other police TV dramas. In 1963, he produced a short-lived NBC show, The Lieutenant, about life in the U.S. Marines.
A lifelong science-fiction fan, Roddenberry wanted to try his hand making a sci-fi TV program. He convinced superstar Lucille Ball to fund a pilot. Although the first pilot was rejected, a second take was picked up, and Star Trek premiered in 1966.
Although the show ran for only three years and never placed better than No. 52 in the ratings, Roddenberry's sci-fi series became a cult classic and spawned four television series and nine movies.
Roddenberry died on October 24, 1991, and was one of the first people to be "buried" in space.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tony's Sitcom Moment with Lorene Yarnell

The Story Salon theme was "My Sitcom Moment PART II"
Tony talks about meeting Lorene Yarnell

Good Night Ms. Yarnell.
Thanks for the moment.

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Monday, August 09, 2010

This week in Television History: August 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 TVConfidential.net. We are also on Share-a-Vision Radio (KSAV.org) 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.

August 10, 1948
Candid Camera, produced and hosted by Alan Funt, debuted on this day in 1948.
Funt had originally created the concept for radio, debuting Candid Microphone in 1947. When it premiered as a television show, the program kept the name Candid Microphone until its second season.

Both the radio and TV versions featured unsuspecting people captured in their natural, bemused responses to comic setups. Candid Camera ran on network television from 1948 to 1950, again in 1953, and once again from 1960 to 1967. In 1989, Alan's son Peter became his father's co-host in a series of Candid Camera specials. In 1991, CBS tried to revive the show with Dom DeLuise and Eva LaRue as co-hosts.

August 11, 1921
Alex Haley, author of Roots (1976), was born in Ithaca, New York.
After 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Haley retired and wrote books, including The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965).

In 1976, he published his best-known work, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The blend of fact and fiction, drawn largely from stories recited by Haley's grandmother, chronicles seven generations of Haley's family history, from the enslavement of his ancestors to his own quest to trace his family tree.
Roots became a TV miniseries in 1977. The eight-part series was aired on consecutive nights and became the most watched dramatic show in TV history. Some 130 million people-nearly half the country's population at the time--watched the final episode of the series. Haley died on Feb. 10, 1992.

August 11, 1933
Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. The
evangelical Christian pastor, televangelist, and a conservative commentator was born.

He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. He founded Lynchburg Christian Academy (now Liberty Christian Academy) in 1967, Liberty University in 1971, and cofounded the Moral Majority in 1979.

August 13, 1899
Alfred Hitchcock is born.

He became a highly influential director of suspense films in the 1940s and 1950s, known for sneaking his own cameo appearance into every film.

On Television, Hitchcock also hosted two anthology mystery series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, from 1955 to 1962, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, from 1962 to 1965. After his theme music, based on Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette," played, he would offer an eerie, "Good eeevening." Each episode appeared to end with evil triumphing over good, but after the final commercial Hitchcock would explain in his distinctive British accent how happenstance or a bizarre mistake had overpowered the villain. A color revival of his show was introduced in 1985. Although the revival featured all new episodes, each was preceded by one of Hitchcock's introductions from earlier shows, processed into color.

August 14, 1945
Steve Martin, comedian, actor, and writer Steve Martin is born in Waco, Texas.
The son of a real estate executive, Martin moved to Garden Grove, California, as a child, where he worked at Disneyland during his teens. At Disneyland, he entertained crowds with magic tricks and later with banjo music and comedy. He eventually studied theater arts at UCLA and broke into show business as a comedy writer. In 1969, he won an Emmy for his writing on the hit comedy show The Smothers Brothers and later wrote and appeared on other comedy-variety shows, including The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
Meanwhile, Martin began performing his own comedy at nightclubs and on records. He was soon guest-hosting The Tonight Show and appearing on Saturday Night Live.


Martin made his film debut in 1977 in The Absent-Minded Waiter, which he wrote. After playing small but entertaining roles in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) and The Muppet Movie (1979), he starred in his first big hit, The Jerk (1979). He appeared in numerous comedies in the 1980s, including All of Me (1984), Three Amigos (1986), and Roxanne (1987), a modern adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, for which he won the Writer's Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Emmy Winner Bob Wynn: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Emmy Award-winning producer and director Bob Wynn will be our special guest on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, August 9 at 9pm ET, 6pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with rebroadcasts Friday, August 13 at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org, as well as throughout the week on ShokusRadio.com.

Bob Wynn's career spanned four decades, during time which he produced and directed more than 200 television shows, including the highly acclaimed The Judy Garland Show; Bob Hope on The Road to China, the first American television program filmed in China; The Tennessee Ernie Ford Nashville to Moscow Express, the first American television show filmed in the Soviet Union; a host of specials featuring the likes of Bing Crosby, Danny Thomas, Don Rickles and Sammy Davis, Jr.; and the long running NBC series Real People. A high school dropout "before it became fashionable," Bob Wynn overcame his modest beginnings to become one of the most successful producers in television. He tells his story with humor and wit in I Used to Be Somebody, an engaging memoir that The Los Angeles Times likens to having a dinner conversation with someone "who tells the most wonderful stories. By the end of the evening, you feel, inexplicably, like dancing." Bob Wynn will be joining us in our second hour.

TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie MontiforteEvery night at 9pm ET, 6pm PT Shokus Internet Radio Fridays 7pm ET and PT Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org
www.tvconfidential.ne
tblog.tvconfidential.net
also available as a podcast via iTunes and FeedBurner

Saturday, August 07, 2010

TV Confidential Archives July 26, 2010

First hour: David Krell discusses the history of The Lone Ranger, one of the first Westerns ever to air on television, from its roots in radio to the infamous 1979 lawsuit filed by Wrather Corporation against Clayton Moore, the actor known to generations of viewers as The Masked Man.
Second hour: Author, novelist and television historian Douglas Brode joins Ed for a discussion of television Westerns, from Davy Crockett and Gunsmoke to Lonesome Dove and Deadwood. Doug's latest books include Shooting Stars of the Small Screen, a comprehensive look at more than 450 actors who starred in television Westerns over the past 60 years, and The Yellow Rose of Texas, a graphic novel that tells the story of Emily Morgan, the African-American woman who, legend has it, inspired the famous folk song of the same name. Also in this hour: Tony Figueroa remembers the birth of Norman Lear, the death of Bob Hope and other events that happened This Week in TV History.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds - Torture and S & M

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

In Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds Revival Play Debating Torture and S&M Gary Cole continues leading the debate as Steve Allen, France Nuyen will dominate as the Empress Tz'u-hsi, Joe Mantegna makes the case against the evils of torture as Cesare Beccaria, Ernie Hudson illuminates the depths of despair and the power of knowledge as Frederick Douglass, and Richard Gilliland incarnates the wit and defiance of the rebel de Sade. Opening Minds Productions, in association with Meadowlane Enterprises, Inc., and Bill Allen, is reviving Steve Allen's award-winning, timeless PBS series Meeting of Minds as live theater. Allen's series, comprised of 24 hours of programming, originally aired from 1977 to 1981. Staged readings are scheduled once a month at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood as part of launching the effort to perform these works nationally.




Meeting of Minds - Torture and S&M 1 from Edward Headington on Vimeo.




Meeting of Minds - Torture and S&M 2 from Edward Headington on Vimeo.


Stay Tuned



Tony Figueroa

Monday, August 02, 2010

This week in Television History: August 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 TVConfidential.net. We are also on Share-a-Vision Radio (KSAV.org) 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.

August 2, 1924
John Carroll O'Connor was born.



Actor, producer, and director whose television career spanned four decades. Known at first for playing the role of Major General Colt in the 1970 cult movie, Kelly's Heroes, he later found fame as the bigoted workingman Archie Bunker, the main character in the 1970s CBS television sitcoms All in the Family (1971 to 1979) and Archie Bunker's Place (1979 to 1983).



O'Connor later starred in the 1980s NBC television crime drama In the Heat of the Night, where he played the role of Sheriff William (Bill) Gillespie. At the end of his career in the late 1990s, he played the father of Jamie Stemple Buchman (Helen Hunt) on Mad About You.

August 3, 1940
Actor Martin Sheen is born Ramon Estevez in Dayton, Ohio.




The son of a Spanish immigrant, Sheen was the seventh of 10 children. He moved to New York after high school and began pursuing an acting career while working as a janitor, car washer, and messenger. After several successful Broadway roles, he appeared in his first film, The Incident, in 1967. His film and TV career has included numerous political roles, most recently as fictional U.S. president Josiah Bartlett on the popular TV show The West Wing. Previously, he played Robert Kennedy in the TV movie The Missiles of October (1974), John F. Kennedy in the miniseries Kennedy (1983), and the White House chief of staff in The American President (1995). Sheen is the father of film stars Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen.

August 3, 1941
Martha Helen Stewart (
née Kostyra) was born.



Business magnate, television host, author and magazine publisher. As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she has gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising. Stewart's syndicated talk show, Martha, is broadcast throughout the world, she has written numerous bestselling books, and she is the publisher of Martha Stewart Living magazine.
In 2001, Stewart was named the third most powerful woman in America by Ladies Home Journal. In 2004, she was convicted of lying to investigators about a stock sale and served five months in prison. Stewart began a strong comeback campaign in 2005, with her company returning to profitability in 2006.

August 5, 1956
Maureen Denise McCormick was born.




Actress, reality show participant, and recording artist. She is best known as a child actor who played Marcia Brady in the television series The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974.

August 6, 1911
Lucille Ball was born.




She became one of America's most beloved comic actresses, is born near Jamestown, New York. Her father, an electrician, died when Ball was two. By age 15, Ball had decided to attend drama school and become an actress. However, the shy, skinny teenager received little encouragement and was rejected at least four times from Broadway chorus lines before finally becoming a chorus girl in 1926. In 1933, she was hired as the Chesterfield cigarette girl and was featured in all the company's advertisements. Attracting attention with her Chesterfield ads, she finally began playing bit parts in Hollywood movies in 1933. By the late 1930s, the starlet had graduated to comic supporting roles. In 1940, she met Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz while shooting Too Many Girls. The couple married the following year.
Ball continued to land movie roles that didn't fully showcase her talent. Frustrated, she turned to radio and starred as a ditzy wife in My Favorite Husband from 1948 to 1951. CBS decided to launch the popular series on the relatively new medium of TV. Lucy insisted Desi be cast as her husband in the TV version, though the network executives argued that no one would believe the couple were married. Desi and Lucy performed before live audiences and filmed a pilot, convincing network executives that audiences responded well to their act, and CBS cast Desi for the show.
I Love Lucy became one of the most popular TV situation comedies in history, ranking in the top three shows for six years and turning the couple's production company, Desilu, into a multimillion-dollar business. Ball became president of the company in 1960, after she and Desi divorced. She also starred in several other "Lucy" shows, including The Lucy Show, which debuted in 1962 and ran for six seasons, and Here's Lucy, in which she starred with her two children until the show was cancelled in 1974. A later show, Life with Lucy, featuring Lucy as a grandmother, was cancelled after only eight episodes. Ball worked little in the last years of her life. She died of congestive heart failure in 1989, at the age of 78.

August 7, 1948
Stanley Victor Freberg
author, recording artist, animation voice actor, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer, and advertising creative director was born.



His first jobs (at age eighteen) involved supplying voices for Warner Brothers cartoons, usually in support of Mel Blanc and always without credit. Soon though, Freberg was being heard on radio shows and on early television. He and V.O. actor Daws Butler worked puppets and supplied the vocals on Bob Clampett's Time for Beany, the first kids' show to attract an adult audience.
In 1950, he launched a long association with Capitol Records, recording silly and satirical material. The sales and critical reaction stunned the Capitol execs so they let him keep on doing pretty much anything he wanted, even when it meant attacking their own industry. His recordings all had two outstanding qualities. One is that they were funny. The other is that they were produced with high production values, first-rate music (usually supplied by arranger-conductor Billy May) and a fine supporting cast that included Butler, June Foray and Peter Leeds, along with the hundreds of voices that came out of Freberg himself. Even if you didn't get the satire — and some folks didn't, especially when Freberg records were released overseas — the material was always fun to listen to.
Freberg starred in two network radio shows, both of which also featured his frequent partner, Butler. The 1954 That's Rich was a fairly standard situation comedy but the 1957 Stan Freberg Show was a glorious (if short-lived) festival of satire and comedy. It made him, by his definition, "the last network radio comedian in America." A nice way to end an era.
When The Stan Freberg Show ended after 15 weeks, Freberg found a new outlet for his humor in advertising, with award-winning campaigns for Sunsweet Prunes, Jeno's Pizza Rolls, Chun King Chow Mein, Pittsburgh Paints and many other clients. He didn't exactly invent the funny commercial but he quickly became its master, and rival ad agencies scrambled to emulate his lead. And of course, he continued to release records, including the album many believe to be the greatest comedy record of all time. Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, The Early Years.


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

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Tony Figueroa