Thursday, September 30, 2010

This week in Television History: "'The Flintstones" Turn Fifty

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.


Yes Folks, The Flintstones turn 50 and I want the world to know!



"Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyabba-dabba-doooooooo!"

The Flintstones ran from September 30, 1960 to April 1, 1966 on ABC. Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, The Flintstones is about a working class Stone Age man's life with his family Fred & Wilma Flintstone and his next door neighbors and best friends Barney & Betty Rubble. Critics and fans alike agree that the show was an animated imitation of The Honeymooners with rock puns thrown in. It aired during an era when color television was becoming popular in America. Its popularity rested heavily on its juxtaposition of modern-day concerns in the Stone Age setting. The Flintstones also became the first primetime animated series to last more than two seasons this record wasn't surpassed by another primetime animated TV series until the third season of The Simpsons in 1992.

The show is set in the town of Bedrock where dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, and other long extinct animals co-exist with barefoot cavemen. Like their 20th century peers, these cavemen listen to records, live in split-level homes, and eat out at restaurants, yet their technology is made entirely from pre-industrial materials and largely powered through the use of various animals. For example, the cars are made out of stone, wood, and animal skins, and powered by the passengers' feet.

It has been noted that Fred Flintstone physically resembled voice actor Alan Reed, and also Jackie Gleason. The voice of Barney was provided by legendary voice actor Mel Blanc, though five episodes (the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 9th) during the second season employed Hanna-Barbera regular Daws Butler while Blanc was incapacitated by a near-fatal car accident. Blanc was able to return to the series much sooner than expected, by virtue of a temporary recording studio for the entire cast set up at Blanc's bedside. It should be noted, however, that Blanc's portrayal of Barney Rubble had changed considerably after the accident. In the earliest episodes, Blanc had used a much higher pitch. After his recovery from the accident, Blanc used a deeper voice. Additional similarities with The Honeymooners included the fact that Reed based Fred's voice upon Jackie Gleason's interpretation of Ralph Kramden, while Blanc, after a season of using a nasal, high-pitched voice for Barney, eventually adopted a style of voice similar to that used by Art Carney in his portrayal of Ed Norton. The first time that the Art Carney-like voice was used was for a few seconds in "The Prowler" (the third episode produced).

In a 1986 Playboy interview, Jackie Gleason said that Alan Reed had done voice-overs for Gleason in his early movies, and that he (Gleason) considered suing Hanna-Barbera for copying The Honeymooners but decided to let it pass. According to Henry Corden, who took over as the voice of Fred Flintstone after Alan Reed died, and was a friend of Gleason’s, “Jackie’s lawyers told him that he could probably have The Flintstones pulled right off the air. But they also told him, “Do you want to be known as the guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air? The guy who took away a show that so many kids love, and so many parents love, too?”

Henry Corden handled the voice responsibilities of Fred after Reed's death in 1977. Corden had previously provided Fred's singing voice in The Man Called Flintstone and later on Flintstones children's records. After 1999, Jeff Bergman performed the voice of Fred. Since Mel Blanc's death in 1989, Barney has been voiced by both Frank Welker and Kevin Richardson. Various additional character voices were created by Hal Smith, Allan Melvin, Janet Waldo, Daws Butler and Howard Morris, among others.

Although most Flintstones episodes are stand-alone storylines, the series did have a few story arcs. The most notable example was a series of episodes surrounding the birth of Pebbles. Beginning with the episode "The Surprise", aired midway through the third season (1/25/63), in which Wilma reveals her pregnancy to Fred, the arc continued through the trials and tribulations leading up to Pebbles' birth in the episode "Dress Rehearsal" (2/22/63), and then continued with several episodes showing Fred and Wilma adjusting to the world of parenthood. A postscript to the arc occurred in the third episode of the fourth season, in which the Rubbles, depressed over being unable to have children of their own (making The Flintstones the first animated series in history to address the issue of infertility, though subtly), adopt Bamm-Bamm. The 100th episode made (but the 90th to air), Little Bamm-Bamm (10/3/63), established how Bamm-Bamm was adopted. About nine episodes were made before it, but shown after, which explains why Bamm-Bamm would not be seen again until episode 101, Daddies Anonymous (Bamm-Bamm was in a teaser on episode 98, Kleptomaniac Pebbles). Another story arc, occurring in the final season, centered on Fred and Barney's dealings with The Great Gazoo (voiced by Harvey Korman).

The Flintstones was the first American animated show to depict two people of the opposite sex (Fred and Wilma; Barney and Betty) sleeping together in one bed, although Fred and Wilma are sometimes depicted as sleeping in separate beds. For comparison, the first live-action depiction of this in American TV history was in television's first-ever sitcom: 1947's Mary Kay and Johnny.



The show contained a laugh track, common to most other sitcoms of the period. In the mid-1990s, when Turner Networks remastered the episodes, the original laugh track was removed. Currently, the shows airing on Boomerang and the DVD releases have the original laugh track restored to most episodes (a number of episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 still lack them). Some episodes, however, have a newer laugh track dubbed in, apparently replacing the old one. Because of this practice, the only episode to originally air without a laugh track ("Sheriff For a Day" in 1965) now has one.

Following the show's cancellation in 1966, a film based upon the series was created. The Man Called Flintstone was a musical spy caper that parodied James Bond and other secret agents. The movie was released to theaters on August 3, 1966 by Columbia Pictures. It was released on DVD in Canada in March 2005 and in United States in December 2008.

The Flintstones had several spin-offs and TV specials.
The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show (1971–72)
The Flintstone Comedy Hour (1972–73)
The New Fred and Barney Show (1979)
The Flintstone Comedy Show (1980–82)
The Flintstone Funnies (1982–84)
The Flintstone Kids (1986–88)
The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones (1987)
I Yabba-Dabba Do! (1993)
Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby (1993)
A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994)
The Flintstones: On the Rocks (2001)

There weree also two Live action Flintstone Movies



The Flintstones (1994)
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000)

After fifty years, Fred still hasn't won the fight, And that cat has not stayed out for the night.





"Wiiilllllmmmmmmaaaaaa!!!"

Stay Tuned



Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Greg Giraldo (December 10, 1965 – September 29, 2010)

Greg Giraldo died today, four days after being hospitalized following an accidental overdose of prescription medication. He was 44.

Greg Giraldo was born The Bronx and was raised in Queens. Early on, he excelled academically and was selected to attend Camp Rising Sun, the Louis August Jonas Foundation's international summer scholarship program. Giraldo attended Columbia University.
Before becoming a comedian, Giraldo worked as a lawyer, having graduated from Harvard Law School. Giraldo spent less than a year as an associate for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom before deciding to change his occupation. Despite his prior career, Giraldo rejected that persona and very rarely discussed his days as a lawyer.



Giraldo was known for his distinct delivery and his skills in ranting, never allowing his rhythm to be broken. Giraldo performed regularly at the Comedy Cellar in Manhattan. Giraldo was a regular panelist on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. Additionally, he was the star of the short-lived Common Law, and also starred in several pilots, including The Greg Giraldo Show and Gone Hollywood for Comedy Central. The New York Times has praised Giraldo as "a talented comedian with a winning personality." In 2004, he was featured in the hit spoken-word Lazyboy song, "Underwear Goes Inside the Pants."
Although the series was not picked up in 2005, The Greg Giraldo Show was a similar format to Tough Crowd. The regular comics often joked during the run of Tough Crowd that Giraldo would eventually be the host of the show. However, when Giraldo was offered this series, many of the Tough Crowd comedians were rumored to be frustrated that Giraldo was essentially adopting the format used by Colin Quinn.
Giraldo appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien over a dozen times, The Howard Stern Show and The Opie and Anthony Show. Giraldo was a panelist on Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time special. He has also appeared as a member of the panel in the NBC show The Marriage Ref. He had two half-hour specials on Comedy Central Presents. He has also written segments for Last Call with Carson Daly.
Giraldo, who had three children, was known among comedians to drink heavily. However, he confirmed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on July 7, 2005 that he had quit drinking. Giraldo recently starred in a series of TV cable commercials. His series Friday Night Stand-Up with Greg Giraldo began on Comedy Central in late 2005 and ran until 2006. His CD Good Day to Cross a River was released 2006 on Comedy Central Records.



Greg appeared in Comedy Central's annual roasts roasting Chevy Chase, Pam Anderson, William Shatner, Jeff Foxworthy, Flavor Flav, Bob Saget, Joan Rivers, Larry the Cable Guy, and David Hasselhoff, as well as the TBS roast of Cheech & Chong.
In 2008, Giraldo appeared in venues across the United States as the headlining act of the Indecision '08 Tour, produced by Comedy Central.
Giraldo was a regular on Comedy Central's television series Lewis Black's Root of All Evil. Giraldo is one of the Advocates who lobbies for their side to be considered the "root of all evil." He won in two of his nine appearances.
Giraldo served as a judge during season seven of the NBC reality competition show Last Comic Standing.

To qoute Greg Giraldo, "Why do we need another station where everyone has a gun? We already have BET".

Good Night Greg

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TV Confidential Archives: Sept. 20, 2010

First hour: Ed and Frankie pay tribute to the Night Stalker movies and television series along with Mark Dawidziak, television critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and author of The Night Stalker Companion.
Second hour: Ed and Frankie welcome actress, comedienne and activist Alison Arngrim, Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie and author of Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, a behind-the-scenes look at her life on Little House that also reveals how the experience of playing Nellie helped her overcome depression, shyness and a history of traumatic abuse. Also in this hour: Author Jeff Thompson discusses his books House of Dan Curtis and The Television Horrors of Dan Curtis, both of which provide an insightful look at the career of Dan Curtis, the Emmy Award-winning producer, director and auteur behind Dark Shadows, The Night Stalker, The Winds of War and other films and television productions.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This week in Television History: September 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.

September 27, 1954
Steve Allen becomes the first host of The Tonight Show.
The first Tonight! announcer was Gene Rayburn. Allen's version of the show originated such talk show staples as an opening monologue, celebrity interviews, audience participation, and comedy bits in which cameras were taken outside the studio, as well as music, including guest performers and a house band under Lyle "Skitch" Henderson.

When the show became a success, Allen got a prime-time Sunday comedy-variety show in June 1956, leading him to share Tonight hosting duties with Ernie Kovacs during the 1956–1957 season. To give Allen time to work on his Sunday evening show, Kovacs hosted Tonight on Monday and Tuesday nights, with his own announcer and bandleader.
During the later Steve Allen years, regular audience member Lillian Miller became such an integral part that she was forced to join AFTRA, the television/radio performers union.
Allen and Kovacs departed Tonight in January 1957 after NBC ordered Allen to concentrate all his efforts on his Sunday night variety program, hoping to combat CBS's Ed Sullivan Show's dominance of the Sunday night ratings.

September 26, 1969
The Brady Bunch airs for the first time.

The show was panned by critics and, according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, during “its entire network run, the series never reached the top ten ranks of the Nielsen ratings. Yet, the program stands as one of the most important sitcoms of American 1970s television programming, spawning numerous other series on all three major networks, as well as records, lunch boxes, a cookbook, and even a stage show and feature film.”
Created by Sherwood Schwartz (whose previous hit sitcom was Gilligan’s Island),
The Brady Bunch followed the story of Carol (Florence Henderson), a widowed mother of three blonde daughters, who marries architect Mike Brady (Robert Reed), a widower and the father of three brown-haired boys. The blended family lives together in a suburban Los Angeles home with their cheerful housekeeper, Alice (Ann B. Davis). The show focused primarily on issues related to the Brady kids--Greg (Barry Williams), Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Peter (Christopher Knight), Jan (Eve Plumb), Bobby (Mike Lookinland) and Cindy (Susan Olsen)--who ranged from grade-school age to teenage. Although set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a time of political and social upheaval in the United States, The Brady Bunch generally avoided controversial topics and instead presented a wholesome view of family life, tackled subjects such as sibling rivalry (including Jan’s now-famous complaint about the focus on her sister: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”), braces and dating.
After 177 episodes, ABC cancelled The Brady Bunch and the last original episode aired on August 30, 1974. However, the show soon became a massive hit in rerun syndication. The show’s various spin-offs have included a 1977 variety program, The Brady Bunch Hour; a 1988 TV movie A Very Brady Christmas; the 1995 big-screen parody The Brady Bunch Movie (with Shelley Long and Gary Cole as Carol and Mike) and its follow-up A Very Brady Sequel (1996); and the 2002 TV movie The Brady Bunch in the White House. In 1992, Barry Williams published a best-selling memoir titled Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg, which provided a behind-the-scenes look at the show and revealed that life behind the Brady Bunch cameras was less wholesome than it seemed on TV.

October 1, 1962
Johnny Carson becomes the new host of The Tonight Show.

Ed McMahon was Carson's announcer. The Tonight Show orchestra was for several years still led by Skitch Henderson. After a brief stint by Milton DeLugg, beginning in 1967 the "NBC Orchestra" was then headed by trumpeter Doc Severinsen who played in the Tonight Show Band in the years that 'Skitch' Henderson conducted. For all but a few months of its first decade on the air, Carson's Tonight Show was based in New York City. In May 1972 the show moved to Burbank, California into Studio One of NBC Studios West Coast (although it was announced as coming from nearby Hollywood), for the remainder of his tenure. Carson is often referred to as "The King of Late-Night" because of the great influence he has had on so many well-known talk show hosts and comedians. Carson started each show with a monologue and continued with sketches in which he played recurring characters "Carnac the Magnificent". In 1965, Carson insisted on delivering his monologue at 11:30 instead of 11:15, the show's official starting time, because many stations ran news until 11:30 and didn't join The Tonight Show until the half hour. In 1967, Carson walked out over contract differences, returning several weeks later when the network allegedly offered him a contract worth more than $1 million a year-an exorbitant salary at that time. The show moved to Burbank in 1972. In March 1978, Carson received a contract reportedly worth $3 million. Frequent guest hosts included Joan Rivers, who became "permanent guest host" from 1983 to 1986, and Jay Leno, who became permanent guest host in 1987. David Letterman also served as guest host, appearing more than 50 times.
When Carson announced he would retire in 1992, a highly publicized battle for the job ensued between top contenders Jay Leno and David Letterman. When Letterman lost, he accepted CBS's offer for his own show and launched Late Show with David Letterman in 1993. Carson died at the age of 79, in 2005.

October 2, 1928
George Robert Phillips "Spanky" McFarland was born.
Most famous for his appearances in the Our Gang series of short-subject comedies of the 1930s and 1940s. The Our Gang shorts were later popular after being syndicated to television as The Little Rascals.

In 1952, at age 24, McFarland joined the U.S. Air Force. Upon his return to civilian life, indelibly typecast in the public's mind as "Spanky" from Our Gang, he found himself unable to find work in show business. He took less glamorous jobs, including work at a soft drink plant, a hamburger stand, popsicle factory, selling wine, operating a restaurant and night club, and selling appliances, electronics and furniture. In the late 1950s, when the Our Gang comedies were sweeping the nation on TV, McFarland hosted an afternoon children's show, Spanky's Clubhouse, on KOTV television in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The show included a studio audience and appearances by other celebrities such as James Arness, and it ran Little Rascals shorts.
Spanky loaned his name and celebrity to help raise money for charities, primarily by participating in golf tournaments. Spanky also had his own namesake charity golf classic for 16 years, held in Marion, Indiana.
McFarland continued to do personal appearances and cameo roles in films and television, including an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.
His final television performance was in 1993 in an introductory vignette at the beginning of the Cheers episode "Woody Gets An Election".
McFarland died suddenly of a heart attack on June 30, 1993, at age 64. His remains were cremated shortly thereafter. In January 1994, “Spanky” joined fellow alumnus Jackie Cooper to become one of only two Our Gang members to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jerry Houser: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Actor and voiceover artist Jerry Houser (Slap Shot, Summer of ’42, The Brady Brides) will be our special guest on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, Sept. 27 at 9pm ET, 6pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with encore presentations Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 11:05pm ET, 8:05pm on PIV World Radio, Friday, Oct. 1 at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org, plus three times a day on ShokusRadio.com through Sunday, Oct. 3. One of the busiest actors in the industry today, Jerry Houser has appeared in countless films, TV series, animated series, and commercials over the past 40 years, including Slap Shot with Paul Newman, where he played Dave “Killer” Carlson; The Brady Brides, A Very Brady Christmas and other Brady reunion TV-movies, where he played Wally Logan (Marcia’s husband); Seems Like Old Times with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn; Magic with Anthony Hopkins; We'll Get By with Paul Sorvino; and the classic coming of age film, Summer of '42. Jerry will be appearing at the next Hollywood Show in Burbank, Calif. on Oct. 9-10, along with his fellow Summer of ’42 cast members Jennifer O’Neill and Gary Grimes. We’ll talk about that, and more, when Jerry Houser joins us in our second hour.

In our first hour, we’ll take a look at some of the recent network television premieres. This will be the first of several segments on the new fall TV season that we’ll doing over the course of the next few weeks.

If you have thoughts on any of the new fall series, send us an email at talk@tvconfidential.net and let us know what you think. We will incorporate your comments beginning with our Oct. 4 program.
TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Tuesdays 11:05pm, 8:05pm PT PIV World Radio
Fridays 7pm ET and PT Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org
Three times a day, every day on Shokus Internet Radio
http://www.tvconfidential.net/
blog.tvconfidential.net
Also available as a podcast via iTunes and FeedBurner
Find us now on Facebook

Friday, September 24, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: You got spunk!

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

In the The Mary Tyler Moore Show Pilot "Love is All Around": Mary Richards decides to move to Minneapolis after being jilted by her fiancé and applies for a secretarial job at WJM-TV.

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TV Confidential Archives: Sept. 13, 2010

First hour: Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner (Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg) joins Ed for a discussion on the life and career of television pioneer Gertrude Berg (The Goldbergs). Also in this program: Ed, Frankie, Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen discuss the final episode of As The World Turns and the current state of daytime soap operas.

Second hour: Author James Rosin (The Invaders: A Quinn Martin TV Series) discusses the history of The Invaders and its continued impact on television audiences throughout the world. Also in this hour: Ed and Frankie replay their July 2008 conversation with writer/producer Larry Cohen (The Invaders, Coronet Blue), while David Krell remembers the 40th anniversary of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Monday, September 20, 2010

This week in Television History: September 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.

September 21, 1950
William James "Bill" Murray is born.
The Academy Award nominated comedian and actor gained national exposure on Saturday Night Live,

and went on to star in films including Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

September 21, 1985
George Clooney makes his first appearance as a handyman on the popular TV sitcom The Facts of Life.

Clooney appeared in 17 episodes of the show, which aired from 1979 to 1988 and chronicled the lives of a group of young women who meet at a fictional boarding school. Years later, he moved on to Hollywood superstardom in the hit TV medical drama ER and such films as The Perfect Storm, Ocean’s Eleven and Michael Clayton.
Clooney, who was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky, is the son of the journalist and TV host Nick Clooney and the nephew of the well-known singer Rosemary Clooney. His early acting credits, in addition to The Facts of Life, included small roles on the popular sitcom Roseanne and the drama Sisters. Clooney also appeared in single episodes of such shows as The Golden Girls and Murder, She Wrote. Clooney first shot to fame as Dr. Doug Ross on the medical drama ER, which debuted in 1994.

September 26, 1986
Dallas episode
Return to Camelot airs. Pam's stunned to find Bobby alive in her shower, the events from his death onward all a dream.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alison Arngrim and The House of Dan Curtis: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Actress/comedienne Alison Arngrim and author Jeff Thompson will join us as we go back to the 1970s on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, Sept. 20 at 9pm ET, 6pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with rebroadcasts Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 11:05pm ET, 8:05pm on PIV World Radio, Friday, Sept. 17 at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org, plus three times a day on ShokusRadio.com through Sunday, Sept. 26.

Known by television audiences worldwide for playing Nellie Oleson, the manipulative young villainess on the long-running NBC television series Little House on the Prairie, Alison Arngrim is also the author of Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, a poignant memoir that not only takes readers behind the scenes of her life on Little House, but reveals how the experience of playing Nellie helped her overcome some very painful, very traumatic experiences that she went through in real life before, during and after the time she appeared on the show, including her struggle to overcome depression, shyness and a history of traumatic abuse, and the devastating loss of her best friend and Little House co-star Steve Tracy to AIDS, which inspired Alison to embark on a second career as a social and political activist. Alison Arngrim will be joining us in our second hour. In addition, she has upcoming appearances at the South Dakota Festival of Books in Sioux Falls, SD on Sept. 24 and 25, as well as at the Ninth Annual West Hollywood Book Fair in West Hollywood, CA on Sept. 26.
Also joining us in our second hour will be Jeff Thompson, author of House of Dan Curtis and The Television Horrors of Dan Curtis, two excellent new books on the career of Dan Curtis, the Emmy Award-winning producer, director and auteur behind Dark Shadows, The Night Stalker, The Winds of War and other films and television productions. Jeff will also be appearing at the upcoming Nashville Comic Con in Nashville, TN on Sept. 25 and 26.In our first hour, we’ll replay our tribute to The Night Stalker, the long-remembered Darren McGavin series from 1974 that originated from the two highly rated, hugely successful made-for-TV movies produced by Dan Curtis. That segment originally aired in March 2007 and featured Mark Dawidziak, television critic for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and author of The Night Stalker Companion.

TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Tuesdays 11:05pm, 8:05pm PT PIV World Radio
Fridays 7pm ET and PT Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org
Three times a day, every day on Shokus Internet Radio
Also available as a podcast via iTunes and FeedBurner
Find us now on Facebook

Friday, September 17, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: Jane Curtin exposes her black bra

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

Jane Curtin was angry about letters claiming that she wasn't sexy enough to fill Chevy Chase's shoes as the new host of Weekend Update.



Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Edwin Newman

Edwin Newman died at the age of 91 August 13 of pneumonia in Oxford, England, where he had lived since 2007, according to family attorney Rupert Mead. He said Newman's wife and daughter delayed the announcement of his death until today to allow themselves time to mourn privately.

The best way to honor Mr. Newman is with his own words.

Edwin Newman singing in an SNL sketch titled News Bar,
"Why can't the networks teach the anchors how to speak? 'Stead of telling them how to style their hair, pick a suit that's chic? They dress like fashion models, they all look like Mark Spitz, And they sound as if they'd learned their English from Burlitz. They read the news with foot in mouth, instead of tongue in cheek, Why can't the anchors learn to speak?"






To Quote Edwin Newman, "If the speech writer is the enemy of language because he conceals, or in some cases distorts, the politician's personality and talent, so is the public opinion poll, for it also depersonalizes, and anything that depersonalizes is an enemy of language".
Good Night Mr. Newman
Stay Tuned
Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TV Confidential Archives: Sept. 6, 2010

First hour: Donna Allen joins Ed, Frankie and Tony Figueroa as they recap the 2009-2010 Emmy Awards telecast hosted by Jimmy Fallon. Also in this hour: Tony remembers the births of Julie Kavner, Sid Caesar and Philo Farnsworth, as well as the premieres of Star Trek, The X Files and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Second hour: Ed and Frankie welcome New York Post television columnist Michael Seth Starr, author of Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr, a compassionate look at the life and career of the actor known for his starring roles in the long-running television series Perry Mason and Ironside, as well as such classic films as Rear Window, Godzilla and A Place in the Sun. Also in this hour: David Krell remembers the 1987 motion picture Broadcast News.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This week in Television History: September 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.

September 13, 1990
Law & Order premieres on NBC.
The Law & Order franchise was created by Dick Wolf.

The first half of Law & Order, which is set in New York City, focuses on the police as they investigate a crime--often inspired by real-life news stories--while the second part of the show centers on the prosecution of those accused of that crime. Each episode opens with a narrator stating: “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”
Law & Order’s cast has changed continually throughout its run. Among the best-known characters are Homicide Detective Lennie Brisco, who was played by Jerry Orbach from 1994 to his death in 2004; Lt. Anita Van Buren, played by S. Epatha Merkerson since 1993; District Attorney Jack McCoy, portrayed by Sam Waterson since 1993; Detective Mike Logan, played by Chris Noth from 1990 to 1995 (he later reprised the character for the spin-off Law & Order: Criminal Intent); Detective Rey Curtis, played by Benjamin Bratt from 1995 to 1999; and Detective Ed Green, played by Jesse Martin from 1999 to 2008. The actresses Jill Hennessey, Carey Lowell and Angie Harmon each did a stint on Law & Order as assistant district attorneys. Fred Thompson, who was a U.S. Senator from Tennessee from 1994 to 2002, portrayed District Attorney Arthur Branch from 2002 to 2007. In 2008, Thompson launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for U.S. president. Law & Order has also featured a long list of guest appearances by famous actors, including Julia Roberts (Bratt’s then-girlfriend), Samuel L. Jackson, Chevy Chase and Edie Falco.

On September 20, 1999, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, starring Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni as a pair of New York City detectives who investigate sex-related crimes, premiered on NBC. Law & Order: Criminal Intent followed in 2001. Law & Order: Trial by Jury debuted in 2005 and lasted for one season.

September 16, 1949
Edward James Begley, Jr. was born.

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The actor and environmentalist. Begley is perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Mark Craig's intern, Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six consecutive Emmy Award nominations. He currently has a reality show about green living called Living With Ed on Planet Green with his wife, actress Rachelle Carson.

September, 16, 1993
Frasier, a spin-off of Cheers, makes its debut on NBC.


Frasier starred Kelsey Grammer as the erudite, snobbish Dr. Frasier Crane, a radio psychiatrist who relocates from Boston to his hometown of Seattle following the breakup of his marriage. The main characters in Frasier’s life are his father Martin (John Mahoney), a down-to-earth retired cop; his younger brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce), a psychiatrist who shares Frasier’s taste for the finer things in life; his father’s kooky caretaker, Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves); his radio show producer, Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin) and his father’s dog, Eddie.
Kelsey Grammer, who was born on February 21, 1955, studied drama at New York City’s Juilliard School and began his professional acting career in theater. In 1984, he made his first appearance on Cheers as the fiance of one of the main characters, Diane (Shelley Long). Although Frasier Crane was originally only supposed to appear on Cheers for a few episodes, the popular character became a permanent member of the show. Frasier ran from September 1993 to May 13, 2004. After making an Emmy Award-nominated guest appearance as Crane on the 1990s sitcom Wings, Grammer became the only actor in TV history to earn Emmy nominations for playing the same character on three separate shows.
Grammer’s other acting credits include a recurring role as the voice of Sideshow Bob on Fox’s hit animated series The Simpsons.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Sunday, September 12, 2010

David Vincent and Molly Goldberg: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

The career of Gertrude Berg and the classic Quinn Martin series The Invaders will be among the topics of discussion on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, Sept. 13 at 9pm ET, 6pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with rebroadcasts Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 11:05pm ET, 8:05pm on PIV World Radio, Friday, Sept. 17 at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org, plus three times a day on ShokusRadio.com through Sunday, Sept. 19.

An entertainment genius and entrepreneur long before Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray and Oprah Winfrey, Gertrude Berg was the driving force behind The Goldbergs, the first successful domestic sitcom in American TV history, which originally aired from 1949 to 1955 following a 20-year run on radio. Though the history of The Goldbergs has been overshadowed by tragedy. Berg's co-star Philip Loeb took his life in 1955 after being blacklisted a few years before during the "Red Scare" of the early 1950s that perception is beginning to change, thanks to the DVD release of Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, an excellent documentary by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner that brings to light what a dynamic force Gertrude Berg was. Aviva Kempner will be joining us in our first hour.


Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg Trailer from Aviva Kempner on Vimeo.

In our second hour, we will shift gears and remember The Invaders, the short-lived series starring Roy Thinnes that continues to captivate audiences throughout the world. Our guests will include television historian and author James Rosin, whose latest book is The Invaders: A Quinn Martin TV Series, a behind-the-scenes look at a show that, in many respects, was a cross between The Fugitive and Invasion of The Body Snatchers. The hour will also include an encore presentation of our June 2008 interview with writer, producer and independent filmmaker Larry Cohen, the creator of The Invaders.

TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: Car 54 - "A Policeman's Lot"

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

A little tribute to the NYPD
Officer Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) sings "A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One" from 'Car 54, Where Are You? Christmas At The 53rd.'




Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Monday, September 06, 2010

This week in Television History: September 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.



September 7, 1950

Julie Kavner is born.



Before taking on the role of Marge Simpson on The Simpsons, Kavner played Brenda Morgenstern on Rhoda, a spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show that originally aired from 1974 to 1978. In 1978, Kavner won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Brenda, the younger sister of the show’s lead character, played by Valerie Harper. She won another Emmy in 1992, for Outstanding Voice-over Performance, for an episode of The Simpsons. On the big screen, Kavner has been a frequent performer in the films of the writer-director Woody Allen, including Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987) and Shadows and Fog (1992). Among her other film credits are Awakenings (1990) and Judy Berlin (1999).

The Simpsons began as a series of animated shorts created by cartoonist Matt Groening (who reportedly based some of the main characters on members of his family) that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show starting in 1987. On December 17, 1989, The Simpsons debuted as primetime program on Fox with a Christmas special titled Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. Set in the fictional town of Springfield, The Simpsons skewers American culture and society with its chronicles of a middle-class family comprised of the buffoonish husband and father Homer Simpson, a safety inspector at a nuclear power plant; his well-meaning, sometimes gullible wife Marge; and their troublemaker son Bart, precocious daughter Lisa and baby Maggie.



September 7, 1927
Philo Farnsworth's Image dissector camera tube transmitted its first image, a simple straight line, at his laboratory at 202 Green Street in San Francisco. The source of the image was a glass slide, backlit by an arc lamp. This was due to the lack of light sensitivity of the tube design, a problem Farnsworth never managed to resolve independently.




Philo Taylor Farnsworth (August 19, 1906March 11, 1971) best known for inventing the first completely electronic television. In particular, he was the first to make a working electronic image pickup device (video camera tube), and the first to demonstrate an all-electronic television system to the public. Largely self-educated, Farnsworth grew up on farms in Utah and Idaho. As a boy he took an interest in electricity and electrons, and it's said he came up with the idea of electronically scanning images for transmission while he was in high school.

On September 1, 1928, Farnsworth had developed the system sufficiently to hold a demonstration for the press—2 years after John Logie Baird had demonstrated his mechanical Television system in London. His backers had demanded to know when they would see dollars from the invention. The first image shown to them was a dollar sign. In 1929, the system was further improved by elimination of a motor-generator; the television system now had no mechanical moving parts. That year, Farnsworth transmitted the first live human images using his television system, including a three and a half-inch image of his wife, Pem—with her eyes closed because of the blinding light required.



Farnsworth spent the next decade arguing over patent rights in legal battles with David Sarnoff and engineer Vladimir Zworykin of RCA. In 1934 the U.S. Patent Office sided with Farnsworth, and in 1939 he sold his various patents to RCA. Although Farnsworth was awarded more than a hundred patents related to television, he did not become famous as "the inventor of television." Now it is generally agreed that the development of television involved many individuals, but it is also the consensus that Farnsworth deserves the lion's share of the credit.

September 8, 1922
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar was born.



The comic actor and writer known best as the star of the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour. Caesar began his television career when he made an appearance on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater. In early 1949, Sid met with Pat Weaver, vice president of television at NBC (and father of Sigourney Weaver), which led to Caesar's appearance in his first series The Admiral Broadway Revue with Imogene Coca. The Friday show, simultaneously broadcast on NBC and the DuMont network (in order for the show to be carried on the only TV station then operating in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania- DuMont's WDTV- the sponsor had to agree to a simulcast) was an immediate success, but its sponsor, Admiral, an appliance company, could not keep up with the demand for its new television sets, so the show was cancelled after 26 weeks on account of its runaway success. According to Sid, an Admiral executive later told him the company had the choice of building a new factory, or continuing their sponsorship of the Revue for another season.

On February 23, 1950, Caesar appeared in the first episode of Your Show of Shows, a Saturday night 90-minute variety program produced by Max Liebman. The show launched Caesar into instant stardom and was a mix of scripted and improvised comedy, movie, and television satires, Caesar's inimitable double-talk monologues, top musical guests, and large production numbers. The impressive guest list included: Jackie Cooper, Robert Preston, Rex Harrison, Eddie Albert, Michael Redgrave, Basil Rathbone, Charlton Heston, Geraldine Page, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Pearl Bailey, Fred Allen, Benny Goodman, Lena Horne and many other big stars of the time. It was also responsible for bringing together one of the best comedy teams in television history: Sid, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, and Imogene Coca. Many prominent writers, denizens of the famed Writer's Room, also got their start creating the show's madcap sketches, including Lucille Kallen, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Michael Stewart, Mel Tolkin, and Larry Gelbart. Sid Caesar won his first Emmy in 1952. In 1951 and 1952, he was voted the United States' Best Comedian by Motion Picture Daily's TV poll. The show ended after 160 episodes on June 5, 1954. Just a few months later, Sid Caesar returned with Caesar's Hour, a one-hour sketch/variety show with Morris, Reiner, a young Bea Arthur, and much of the seasoned crew. Nanette Fabray replaced Imogene Coca who left to star in her own short-lived series. Ultimate creative and technical control was now totally in Caesar's hands. The show moved to the larger Century Theater, which allowed longer, more sophisticated productions and the weekly budget doubled to $125,000. The premier on September 27, 1954 featured Gina Lollobrigida.

Contemporary movies, foreign movies, theater, television shows and even opera all became targets of satire by the writing team, whose frenetic and competitive spirit produced some of the best comedy in television history. Often the publicity generated by the sketches boosted the box office of the original productions. Some notable sketches included: From Here to Obscurity (From Here to Eternity), Aggravation Boulevard (Sunset Boulevard), Hat Basterson (Bat Masterson), and No West For the Wicked (Stagecoach). Even silent movies were parodied, which showed off the impressive pantomime skills of the entire ensemble. They also performed some recurring sketches. The Hickenloopers were television's first bickering couple, predating The Honeymooners. As "The Professor", Caesar was the daffy expert who bluffed his way through his interviews with earnest roving reporter Carl Reiner. In its various incarnations, "The Professor" could be Gut von Fraidykat (mountain-climbing expert), Ludwig von Spacebrain (space expert), or Ludwig von Henpecked (marriage expert). Later, "The Professor" evolved into Mel Brooks' famous "The Two Thousand Year Old Man". The most prominent recurring sketch on the show was "The Commuters", featuring Caesar, Reiner and Morris involved with everyday working and suburban life situations.

Caesar's Hour was followed by Sid Caesar Invites You, briefly reuniting Caesar and Coca in 1958, and in 1963 with several As Caesar Sees It specials, which evolved into the 1963-'64 Sid Caesar Show, which alternated with Edie Adams in Here's Edie. Caesar also teamed up with Edie Adams in the Broadway show Little Me, a successful Neil Simon play, with choreography by Bob Fosse and music by Cy Coleman in which Sid played eight parts with 32 costume changes. Caesar and Edie Adams played a husband and wife drawn into a mad race to find buried money in the mega-movie-comedy It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

September 8, 1966
Star Trek premieres.



Although Star Trek ran for only three years and never placed better than No. 52 in the ratings, Gene Roddenberry's series became a cult classic and spawned four television series and ten movies.

The first Star Trek spin-off was a Saturday morning cartoon, The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek, which ran from 1973 to 1975 (original cast members supplied the voices). The TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired in 1987 and was set in the 24th century, starring the crew of the new, larger U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, captained by Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart). This series became the highest-rated syndicated drama on television and ran until 1994.

Another spin-off, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, premiered in 1992, featuring a 24th-century crew that lived in a space station rather than a starship. Star Trek: Voyager, which debuted in 1995 and ran until 2001, was the first to feature a female captain, Kathryn Janeway (played by Kate Mulgrew). In this series, the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager is stranded more than 70,000 light years from Federation space and is trying to find its way home. The final spin-off to air on TV was Enterprise, which premiered in the United States on September 26, 2001. The final two episodes of that show aired in May 2005.

Setember 8, 1986
The Oprah Winfrey Show is broadcast nationally for the first time.


A huge success, her daytime television talk show turns Winfrey into one of the most powerful, wealthy people in show business and, arguably, the most influential woman in America.

Winfrey, who was born in rural Mississippi to a poor unwed teenage mother on January 24, 1954, began her TV career as a local news anchor in Nashville and Baltimore before moving to Chicago in 1984 to host a low-rated morning talk program. She quickly turned the show into a ratings winner, beating out a popular talk program hosted by Phil Donahue. At the urging of the Chicago-based movie critic Roger Ebert, Winfrey signed a syndication deal with King World and The Oprah Winfrey Show was broadcast nationally for the first time on September 8, 1986. It went on to become the highest-rated talk show in TV history.

Proving that talk-show host wasn’t the only role she could play, Winfrey made her big-screen debut as Sofia in director Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple(1985), based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name and co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover. The film earned Winfrey a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, although she lost the gold statue to Anjelica Huston (Prizzi’s Honor). Winfrey went on to star in and produce in 1998’s Beloved, based on Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and voice characters for 2006’s Charlotte’s Web and 2007’s Bee Movie, which co-starred and was co-written by Jerry Seinfeld. In addition to TV and film, Winfrey became a true media mogul, branching out to books and magazines, radio, musical theater and the Web. In 2008, she announced plans to launch her own network, named OWN, in 2009.

In 2008, The Oprah Winfrey Show had an estimated weekly audience of some 46 million viewers in the United States and was broadcast around the world in 134 countries. Winfrey wields enormous influence when it comes to promoting products: A recommendation on her show can turn a book, movie or just about anything else into a bestseller, a phenomenon that has been dubbed the “Oprah Effect.”

September 9, 1956
Elvis Presley sang "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" on Ed Sullivan's show Toast of the Town.


Presley scandalized audiences with his suggestive hip gyrations, and Sullivan swore he would never book the singer on his show. However, Presley's tremendous popularity and success on other shows changed Sullivan's mind. Although Elvis had appeared on a few other programs already, his appearance on Ed Sullivan's show made him a household name.

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



Stay Tuned





Tony Figueroa