Monday, August 29, 2011

This Week in Television History: August 2011 PART III

Listen to me on me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

Tuesday 8/2

11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT

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Friday 8/5

7pm ET, 4pm PT

10pm ET, 7pm PT

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Saturday 8/6

8pm PT

Tuesday 8/2 – Sunday 8/7

11am ET, 8am PT

9pm ET, 6pm PT

2am ET, 11pm PT

September 3, 1966

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
airs its last episode. The sitcom focused on the comic antics of a young family based on the real-life family of show founders and stars Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. The show premiered as a radio comedy in 1944 and ran for 10 years. Even before the radio show ended, a TV version launched in 1952; the television show ran until 1966. The Nelson's two sons, Ricky and David, played themselves on the TV version.

September 3, 1991

Frank Capra dies at the age of 94 at his home in La Quinta, California.

According to his obituary in the New York Times: “Capra movies were idealistic, sentimental and patriotic. His major films embodied his flair for improvisation and spontaneity, buoyant humor and sympathy for the populist beliefs of the 1930s.”

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.

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.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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