Monday, October 31, 2011

This Week in Television History: November 2011 Part I

Listen to me on me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:
Realms of Music
WROM
Wednesday 9/7
9pm ET, 6pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio
KSAV.org
Friday 9/9
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT

KWDJ 1360-AM
Ridgecrest, Calif.
Saturday 9/10
Following Dodgers baseball

InternetVoicesRadio.com
Tuesday 9/13
11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT
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.


Nov 2, 1966

Friends star David Schwimmer born in Astoria, Queens, New York.  
Schwimmer was raised in Southern California and attended Beverly Hills High School. He graduated from Northwestern University and went on to co-found the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago. In addition to stage work, Schwimmer’s early acting credits include guest roles on TV shows such as The Wonder Years, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue. The dark-haired actor’s big break came when he was cast in Friends, a half-hour comedy about the careers and love lives of six young adults living in New York City. Schwimmer played Ross Geller, a neurotic paleontologist and the older brother of the obsessive-compulsive Monica Geller (Courteney Cox Arquette). One of the show’s key storylines involved Ross’s on-again, off-again romantic relationship with Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), Monica’s high school friend and current roommate who, for a time early in the series, worked as a waitress at Central Perk, a coffee shop that served as a gathering spot for the six friends.

Friends, which debuted on September 22, 1994, on NBC, became a massive hit and a pop-culture icon, propelling Schwimmer and the five other main cast members--Aniston, Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry--to Hollywood stardom. The show inspired fashion and hairstyle trends (notably Aniston’s layered cut, known as “The Rachel”), as well as such catchphrases as “How you doin’?” and “We were on a break.” After 10 seasons, the final episode of Friends aired on May 6, 2004; more than 50 million viewers reportedly tuned in, one of the all-time largest audiences for a TV finale. (By comparison, the most-watched last episode in TV history, the l983 finale of M*A*S*H, drew some 106 million viewers, while the last episode of Seinfeld, in 1998, was seen by over 76 million people.)

In addition to his work on Friends, Schwimmer has appeared in such movies as

The Pallbearer (1996), with Gwyneth Paltrow; Six Days Seven Nights (1998), with Harrison Ford and Anne Heche; Picking Up the Pieces (2000) with Woody Allen and Kiefer Sutherland; and HBO’s critically acclaimed World War II miniseries Band of Brothers (2001). Schwimmer played the title role in the 2005 film Duane Hopwood and voiced the character of Melman the Giraffe in the animated feature Madagascar (2005).


November 3, 1956

The Wizard of Oz is broadcast on television for the first time.  
Some 45 million people tuned in to CBS to see the movie, which was broadcast on Ford Star Jubilee. Judy Garland's 10-year-old daughter, Liza Minnelli, introduced the program.



November 5, 1911

Leonard Slye, later known as Roy Rogers, is born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  
Rogers first came to Hollywood in the 1920s as a migrant fruit picker. In the early 1930s, he joined a singing group called Uncle Tom Murray's Hollywood Hillbillies, which first sang on the radio in 1931. Rogers went on to sing with other similar groups, including the Sons of the Pioneers, which recorded hits like "Tumbling Tumbleweeds." The Sons of the Pioneers group was recruited for low-budget western films, and Rogers was soon playing bit parts for Republic Pictures, the same studio where cowboy star Gene Autry worked. When Autry quit over a dispute with the studio in 1937, Rogers gained more exposure. Starring with his trick horse, Trigger, and his frequent co-star Dale Evans, Rogers soon became one of the Top 10 moneymakers in Hollywood.

Rogers also followed Autry into the radio medium, launching The Roy Rogers Show in 1944. The show, a mix of music and drama, always closed with the song "Happy Trails," which became known as Rogers' theme song.

After Rogers' wife died in 1946, he married co-star Dale Evans. His radio program ran until 1955. In 1951, a TV version of the program debuted and ran until 1957. Rogers became one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood by diversifying his money: His empire included a TV production studio, real estate, cattle, horses, a rodeo show, and a restaurant chain. Roy Rogers died in 1998.


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



Stay Tuned



Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 28, 2011

Your Mental Sorbet: Hitler and the Great Pumpkin

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

Hitler and the Great Pumpkin
As the Nazi gang makes plans for Halloween, Hitler extols the virtues of the Great Pumpkin. Meanwhile, good ol' Jodl Brown is (accidentally) invited to the Halloween party.

This scene from Downfall (German: Der Untergang) is a 2004 German/Italian/Austrian epic war film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, depicting the final ten days of Adolf Hitler's life in his Berlin bunker and Nazi Germany in 1945, in which Hitler launches into a furious tirade upon finally realizing that the war is truly lost, has become a staple of internet videos. In these YouTube Parodies, the original audio of Ganz's voice is retained, but new subtitles are added so that he now seems to be reacting instead to some setback in present-day politics, sports, popular culture, or everyday life. Other scenes from various portions of the film have been parodied in the same manner, notably the scenes where Hitler yells at G├╝nsche to find Fegelein and where Hitler rants at Jodl after the latter rejected his plan. By 2010, there were thousands of such parodies, including many in which a self-aware Hitler is incensed that people keep making Downfall parodies.

The film's director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, spoke positively about these parodies in a 2010 interview with New York magazine, saying that many of them were funny and they were a fitting extension of the film's purpose: "The point of the film was to kick these terrible people off the throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions into reality. I think it's only fair if now it's taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like." Nevertheless, Constantin Films has taken an "ambivalent" view of the parodies, and has asked video sites to remove many of them. On April 21, 2010, the producers initiated a removal of parody videos on YouTube. There was then a resurgence of the videos on the site.
In October 2010, YouTube stopped blocking any Downfall-derived parodies, and is now placing ads on some of them. Corynne McSherry, an attorney specializing in intellectual property and free speech issues for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, stated "All the [Downfall parody videos] that I've seen are very strong Fair use cases and so they're not infringing, and they shouldn't be taken down."

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TV CONFIDENTIAL Archives: Oct. 19, 2011

Show No. 109
Oct. 19, 2011
First hour: Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen help Ed recap the first month of the new fall TV season, including a look at such early hits as Pan Am, New Girl, 2 Broke Girls and Up All Night, NBC's programming strategy with Prime Suspect, and the reasons behind the failures of The Playboy Club, Free Agents and Charlie's Angels.
Second hour: Ed welcomes actor Dennis Farina (Crime Story, Get Shorty, Midnight Run, Buddy Faro). Dennis' latest film, The Last Rites of Joe May, will be available to more than 40 million homes nationwide via Movies on Demand for eight weeks beginning Oct. 27. The film will also be available for instant viewing via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU, as well as have a limited theatrical release in New York in November. Dennis is also one of the stars of Luck, a provocative look at the world of horse racing that will premiere on HBO in January 2012. Also in this hour: Phil Gries presents rare audio of some of the early television appearances of Woody Allen. Allen's life and career will be the subject of Seriously Funny, a two-part documentary that will air Nov. 20-21 on PBS.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Michael Learned, Beverley Staunton Plus a Tribute to Pete Rugolo: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Actress Michael Learned, singer Beverley Staunton and music journalist Jon Burlingame will be our guests on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing Oct. 26-Nov. 1 at the following times and venues:

WROM Radio
Wednesday 10/26
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Saturday 10/29
Midnight ET, 9pm PT
Sunday 10/30
10pm ET, 7pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio
KSAV.org
Friday 10/28
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT

KWDJ 1360-AM
Ridgecrest, Calif.
Saturday 10/29
8pm PT
Sunday 10/30
2pm PT

InternetVoicesRadio.com
Tuesday 11/1
11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT

Winner of four Emmy Awards, including three for her portrayal of family matriarch Olivia Walton on
The Waltons, the long-running CBS drama that was a Thursday night ritual for many of us every week throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Michael Learned is also an accomplished stage actress who has headlined many productions on and off Broadway, including Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, the national tour of On Golden Pond, Wendy Wassserstein’s The Sisters Rosenweig and Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch. She earned her fourth Emmy for her starring role as Mary Benjamin in Nurse, and has also appeared in such films, miniseries and TV movies as For the Love of Mary, Life During Wartime, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Power, Roots: The Gift and the Waltons reunion movies.


Michael Learned is currently starring, along with Granville van Dusen, in Southern Comforts, a romantic “opposites attract” comedy about a Southern widow and a New Jersey widower who find love late in life.
Hailed by The New York Times as “a delightful and sneakily sexy romance,” Southern Comforts is playing at The Falcon Theatre in Burbank (818-955-8101; www.falcontheatre.com) through Sunday, Nov. 13.

We’ll talk about what attracted Michael to the play, her early background as an actress, her fondness for the theatre and, of course,
The Waltons when she joins us in our second hour.




Also joining us this week will be Beverley Staunton, primary lead vocalist on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars — a role that requires the kind of versatility that Beverley has shown throughout her musical career, which has seen her perform with such artists as Bette Midler, Michael Buble, Julio Iglesias, Barry Manilow, Kelly Clarkson, Lionel Ritchie, Martina McBride, Dionne Warwick and James Taylor.

Beverley’s new CD, Everything Changes, is an upbeat collection of songs that showcases her musical style as a Country/Pop artist. We’ll talk about the CD, as well as go behind the scenes of Dancing with the Stars, when Beverley joins us at the bottom of our second hour.




Our first hour will include a tribute to the late Pete Rugolo, the Emmy Award-winning composer and arranger who wrote the theme music for such classic TV shows as Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Thriller, Run for Your Life, Felony Squad and The Fugitive. Though many of us think of Pete in terms of his TV compositions, his career in television only scratched the surface of his many contributions to the world of music in general, which included collaborations with such greats as Stan Kenton, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Mel Torme, Dinah Washington and Nat King Cole.

Joining us as we remember
Pete Rugolo will be music journalist and music historian Jon Burlingame. Jon’s writings on the subject of music in film and television include such books as TV’s Biggest Hits: The Story of Television Themes from Dragnet to Friends, which includes comments from Jon’s interviews with Pete Rugolo and other great composers. We'll also feature some of Pete's work in television as part of our bumper music during our first hour.

Also this week: Phil Gries with Part 2 of our look back of the early television career of Woody Allen, including rare audio of his appearances with Johnny Carson, Steve Allen and Merv Griffin. Allen’s life and career will be the subject of Seriously Funny: The Comic Art of Woody Allen, a two-part documentary that will air Nov. 20-21 on PBS.
TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Fridays 7pm ET and PT
Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org
Saturdays 8pm PT
Sundays 2pm PT
KWDJ 1360-AM (Ridgecrest, Calif.)
Tuesdays 11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT
Passionate World Radio
Three times a week
WROM: Realms of Music
www.tvconfidential.net
blog.tvconfidential.net

Also available as a podcast via
iTunes and FeedBurner
Find us now on
Facebook

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Week in Television History: October 2011 Part IV


Listen to me on me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

Realms of Music
WROM
Wednesday 9/7
9pm ET, 6pm PT

Share-a-Vision Radio
 
KSAV.org
Friday 9/9
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT

KWDJ 1360-AM
Ridgecrest, Calif.
Saturday 9/10
Following Dodgers baseball

InternetVoicesRadio.com
Tuesday 9/13
11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT


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.


October 26, 1946

Pat Sajak born is born in Chicago.  
Wheel of Fortune, which debuted in 1975, became the longest-running syndicated game show on American television, turning Sajak and his co-host, Vanna White, into pop-culture icons.

After attending Chicago’s Columbia College, Sajak joined the Army in 1968 and went to Vietnam, where he was a disc jockey for Armed Forces Radio in Saigon. After his discharge from the military, he worked in radio and TV and in 1977 became a weatherman for a Los Angeles TV station. In 1981, Wheel of Fortune’s creator, Merv Griffin (who also developed the long-running game show Jeopardy!, which debuted in 1964) tapped Sajak to take over hosting duties from Chuck Woolery for a network daytime version of Wheel. In 1983, Wheel of Fortune became a syndicated evening program. It has remained on the air continuously since that time, with Sajak and White as co-hosts.

During each episode of Wheel of Fortune, contestants compete to solve word puzzles. Players spin the big wheel to determine prize money and each player can buy vowels to help solve the puzzle. White stands next to the puzzleboard and reveals the individual letters when players have guessed them correctly. Born Vanna Marie Rosich on February 18, 1957, White was raised in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She attended the Atlanta School of Fashion Design and worked as a model before heading to Los Angeles to pursue acting. In 1982, the blonde beauty was selected to join Sajak on Wheel of Fortune. The first letter she ever turned on the puzzleboard was a “T.” In 1992, the Guinness Book of World Records named White “Television’s Most Frequent Clapper,” crediting her with an average of 720 claps per show.

Each year, more than 3,000 people audition to become contestants on Wheel of Fortune, while fewer than 500 make the final cut. During its 25 years of syndication, Wheel of Fortune has given over $180 million in cash and prizes to its contestants.

As for longevity, while Jeopardy! debuted in 1964, it has not aired continuously since then. Jeopardy! first aired from 1964 to 1975, then went off the air. It returned briefly, from 1978 to 1979, and was revived again in 1984, when Alex Trebek became host of a syndicated edition of the show. The longest-running game show in network or syndication is The Price is Right. The show originally aired on network TV from 1956 to 1965. A syndicated version of The Price is Right premiered in 1972, with Bob Barker as host. Barker remained with the show until his retirement at the age of 83 in 2007. Comedian Drew Carrey took over hosting duties beginning in October 2007.



October 28, 1950

Popular radio personality Jack Benny moves to television with The Jack Benny Show. The TV version of the show ran for the next 15 years.

Jack Benny was born Benjamin Kubelsky in 1894. His father, a Lithuanian immigrant, ran a saloon in Waukegan, Illinois, near Chicago. Benny began playing violin at age six and continued through high school. He began touring on the vaudeville circuit in 1917. In 1918, he joined the navy and was assigned to entertain the troops with his music but soon discovered a flair for comedy as well. After World War I, Benny returned to vaudeville as a comedian and became a top act in the 1920s. In 1927, he married an actress named Sadye Marks; the couple stayed together until Benny's death in 1974.

Benny's success in vaudeville soon won him attention from Hollywood, where he made his film debut in Hollywood Revue of 1929. Over the years, he won larger roles, notably in Charley's Aunt (1941) and To Be or Not to Be (1942). Movies were only a sideline for Benny, though, who found his natural medium in radio in 1932.

In March 1932, then-newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan, dabbling in radio, asked Benny to do an on-air interview. Benny reluctantly agreed. His comedy, though, was so successful that Benny was offered his own show almost immediately, which debuted just a few months later. At first a mostly musical show with a few minutes of Benny's comedy during interludes, the show evolved to become mostly comedy, incorporating well-developed skits and regular characters. In many of these skits, Benny portrayed himself as a vain egomaniac and notorious pinchpenny who refused to replace his (very noisy) antique car and who kept his money in a closely guarded vault. His regulars included his wife, whose character, Mary Livingstone, deflated Benny's ego at every opportunity; Mel Blanc, who used his famous voice to play Benny's noisy car, his exasperated French violin teacher, and other characters; and Eddie Andersen, one of radio's first African American stars, who played Benny's long-suffering valet, Rochester Van Jones. The program ran until 1955.

In the 1950s, Benny began experimenting with television, making specials in 1950, 1951, and 1952. Starting in 1952, The Jack Benny Show aired regularly, at first once every four weeks, then every other week, then finally every week from 1960 to 1965. Benny was as big a hit on TV as on the radio. Despite the stingy skinflint image he cultivated on the air, Benny was known for his generosity and modesty in real life. He died of cancer in Beverly Hills in 1974.



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



Stay Tuned



Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 21, 2011

Your Mental Sorbet: Roseanne Halloween IV

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

Roseanne sends everyone to a party while she stays home -- and is visited by the ghosts of Halloween past, present, and future. To teach her a lesson about the Halloween spirit.









Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TV CONFIDENTIAL Archives: Oct. 12, 2011

Show No. 108
Oct. 12, 2011
First hour: Ed celebrates the 60th anniversary of the premiere of I Love Lucy along with James Sheridan and Barry Monush, co-authors of Lucille Ball FAQ: Everything Left to Know About America's Favorite Redhead, an indispensable look at the Original Queen of Comedy, from her life growing up, her love interests, her various inspirations, and a ton of information about her films and TV series, including I Love Lucy. Also in this hour: Robert J. Thompson, professor of popular television at Syracuse University, with a look of the legacies of Steve Jobs and A.C. Nielsen, Jr.

Second hour: Ed welcomes Golden Globe Award-winning actor Stacy Keach (Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, Titus, King Lear, Twilight Zone Radio). Stacy is the co-author, along with artist, inventor and scientist Dr. Gary Greenberg, of Mary’s Magic Microscope: The Sand Bandit, the first in a series of children’s books that Stacy and Gary hope will inspire middle-school aged kids to discover the wonders and the possibilities of science fact. Also in this hour: Part 2 of our conversation with Emmy Award winner Joseph Dougherty, one of the writers and producers of Pretty Little Liars, which continues its second season with a special stand-alone episode, “The First Secret,” that airs Oct. 19 on ABC Family.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dennis Farina, Early Woody Allen, and Shows We’d Watch Again: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Actor Dennis Farina will be our special guest on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing Oct. 19-25 at the following times and venues:

WROM Radio
Wednesday 10/19
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Saturday 10/22
Midnight ET, 9pm PT
Sunday 10/23
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio
KSAV.org
Friday 10/21
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT

KWDJ 1360-AM
Ridgecrest, Calif.
Saturday 10/22
8pm PT
Sunday 10/23
2pm PT

InternetVoicesRadio.com
Tuesday 10/25
11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT

One of the industry’s busiest actors, Dennis Farina’s many credits in film and television include Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Bottle Shock, That Old Feeling, Saving Private Ryan, Reindeer Games, Buddy Faro, Empire Falls, Midnight Run, Thief and, of course, Crime Story. Dennis’ latest series, Luck, a provocative look at the world of horse racing executive produced by Michael Mann and David Milch, will premiere on HBO in January 2012.

Dennis Farina is also the star of The Last Rites of Joe May, the story of an aging, short-money hustler looking for redemption that has elements of such classic films as Tender Mercies and High Noon. Throughout it all Farina delivers a riveting, memorable performance. We’ll talk about Joe May, as well as some of Dennis’ other notable screen roles, when he joins us in our second hour.

The Last Rites of Joe May will be available to more than 40 million homes nationwide via Movies on Demand for eight weeks beginning Oct. 27. Check your cable or satellite carrier for more information. The film will also be available for instant viewing via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU; in addition, it will have a limited theatrical release in New York during the month of November.



















Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen will join us in our first hour as we take a look at the first month of the new television season: Which shows are doing well, which have already been canceled, which ones we’ve seen and which ones we’d recommend watching again. Plus: Phil Gries with some rare audio of the early television appearances of Woody Allen, whose life and career will be the subject of Seriously Funny: The Comic Art of Woody Allen, a two-part documentary that will air Nov. 20-21 on PBS.
TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Fridays 7pm ET and PT
Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org

Saturdays 8pm PT
Sundays 2pm PT
KWDJ 1360-AM (Ridgecrest, Calif.)

Tuesdays 11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT
Passionate World Radio
Three times a week
WROM: Realms of Music
www.tvconfidential.net
blog.tvconfidential.net

Also available as a podcast via
iTunes and FeedBurner
Find us now on
Facebook

Monday, October 17, 2011

This Week in Television History: October 2011 Part III

Listen to me on me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:
 
Realms of Music
WROM
Wednesday 9/7
9pm ET, 6pm PT

Share-a-Vision Radio
KSAV.org
Friday 9/9
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT

KWDJ 1360-AM
Ridgecrest, Calif.
Saturday 9/10
Following Dodgers baseball

InternetVoicesRadio.com
Tuesday 9/13
11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT


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.


October 18, 1988
Roseanne debuts on ABC. 
The show was considered groundbreaking for its realistic portrayal of a working-class family and the issues they faced. Barr’s portrayal of the loud, abrasive, overweight Roseanne Conner was a sharp contrast to the stereotypical TV housewife in the mold of Leave It to Beaver’s June Cleaver and The Brady Bunch’s Carol Brady. The show was an instant ratings hit, airing for nine seasons, collecting numerous awards and turning Barr into a big star.
Roseanne was set in the fictional town of Langford, Illinois, where the wisecracking Conner lives with her husband Dan (played by John Goodman), daughters Becky (alternately Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke) and Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and son D.J. (Michael Fishman). Roseanne’s younger sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is also a prominent member of the family. The show featured a large cast of supporting characters, which over the years included a young George Clooney (as Roseanne’s boss Booker Brooks of Wellman Plastics), Estelle Parsons (as Roseanne and Jackie’s mother), Shelley Winters, Martin Mull and Sandra Bernhard, among others.
Roseanne Barr was born on November 3, 1952, and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She began doing stand-up comedy at clubs in Denver and used her experiences as a wife and mother of three children as fodder for her routines. She became known for using the term “domestic goddess” to refer to a housewife. By the mid-1980s, Barr had risen to national fame, and in 1988 her self-titled TV show debuted on ABC.
During her years on TV, the outspoken Barr became a tabloid target, and her family, personal appearance and romantic relationships were all heavily scrutinized. Barr was married to her second husband, the actor Tom Arnold, from 1990 to 1994. From 1995 to 2002, she was married to Ben Thomas, who worked as her security guard. In June 1990, Barr stirred up controversy when she performed a screeching, off-key version of the “Star Spangled Banner” at a Major League baseball game in San Diego. After her song, she spit and grabbed her crotch in what she said was a humorous imitation of baseball players. She was heavily criticized for the incident, which was later parodied on multiple occasions, including by Barr herself.
The final original episode of Roseanne aired on May 20, 1997. Barr went on to host her own talk show, from 1998 to 2000, and has subsequently been involved in a variety of film and television projects.

October 23, 1925
Talk show host Johnny Carson is born in Corning, Iowa. After studying journalism in college, Carson began working in radio and television. He began writing for TV shows in the 1950s and hosted his own show, Carson's Cellar, in 1951. He began occasionally guest hosting for Jack Paar on The Tonight Show and became the show's permanent host in 1962.  
He retired in 1992 and died in Los Angeles on January 23, 2005.

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



Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 14, 2011

Your Mental Sorbet: The Addams Family: Halloween, Addams Style

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

Halloween, Addams Style
Season 2  :  Ep. 7
Gomez and Morticia are outraged when Wednesday comes home from trick-or-treating in tears after a neighbor tells her witches don't really exist.


Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TV CONFIDENTIAL Archive: Oct. 5, 2011

Show No. 107
Oct. 5, 2011
First hour: Ed welcomes actor/comedian Sandy Hackett and singer/songwriter Lisa Dawn Miller, two of the stars and producers of Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show, the critically acclaimed musical tribute to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop that is about to embark on its annual national theatre tour, with stops in more than 45 cities across the country. Also in this hour: actress Tanna Frederick (Queen of the Lot, Hollywood Dreams, Sylvia) tells Ed about Project SOS: Save Our Surf, the charity she founded that supports clean water and clean oceans around the world. Tanna will be co-hosting a celebrity surfathon on Oct. 15-16 that will benefit the global charities Waves for Water and Tumelo Home, as well as Santa Monica Baykeeper and Inside the Outdoors in Southern California. Plus: Stephen Battaglio, business editor for TV Guide, helps Ed sort through the first two weeks of the new TV season, including the early success of such FOX shows as New Girl and The X Factor, the rise of network comedy series, and the demise of NBC's The Playboy Club.

Second hour: Phil Gries joins Ed for a special expanded edition of the Sounds of Lost Television commemorating the 50th anniversary of Oct. 1, 1961, the day on which New York Yankees right fielder Roger Maris hit his 61st home run, surpassing Babe Ruth’s single-season record — an accomplishment that has nearly been forgotten in the wake of the Steroids Era, but which many traditionalists still consider to be the record for most home runs in a Major League Baseball season. Topics include a look at the various controversies that plagued Maris in 1961 as he neared Ruth's record.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stacy Keach, Sixty Years of Lucy, and the Passing of Steve Jobs: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Actor Stacy Keach, inventor Gary Greenberg, writer/producer Joseph Dougherty, authors Barry Monush and James Sheridan, pop culture historian Robert J. Thompson will be our guests on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing Oct. 12-18 at the following times and venues:

WROM Radio
Wednesday 10/12
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Saturday 10/15
Midnight ET, 9pm PT
Sunday 10/16
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio
KSAV.org
Friday 10/14
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT

KWDJ 1360-AM
Ridgecrest, Calif.
Saturday 10/15
8pm PT
Sunday 10/16
2pm PT

InternetVoicesRadio.com
Tuesday 10/18
11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT

John Huston once said that Stacy Keach “is not just a star... he is a constellation. The audience will come to see whatever character he plays.” And whether you think of Keach as King Lear, Ken Titus, the narrator of the Twilight Zone radio dramas or Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, the Golden Globe Award-winning actor has continued to captivate audiences on stage, screen and television for more than five decades.

Long interested in the study of science, Stacy recently collaborated with artist, inventor and scientist Gary Greenberg on Mary’s Magic Microscope: The Sand Bandit, the first in a series of children's books featuring a modern-day Nancy Drew that Stacy and Gary hope will inspire middle-school aged kids to discover the wonders and the possibilities of science fact. We’ll talk about the book, as well as other aspects of Stacy’s distinguished acting career, when Stacy and Gary join us in our second hour.

In our first hour, we’ll celebrate the 60th anniversary of the premiere of I Love Lucy along with James Sheridan and Barry Monush, co-authors of Lucille Ball FAQ: Everything Left to Know About America's Favorite Redhead.

James and Barry provide Lucy fans with a dispensable look at the Original Queen of Comedy, from her life growing up, her love interests, her various inspirations, and a ton of information about her films and TV series, including I Love Lucy.

Also this week: We’ll play Part 2 of our conversation with Emmy winner Joseph Dougherty, one of the writers and producers of Pretty Little Liars, which continues its second season with "The First Secret," a special stand-alone episode that will air Tuesday, Oct. 19 on ABC Family.

Plus: Robert J. Thompson, professor of popular television at Syracuse University, with a look of the legacies of Steve Jobs and A.C. Nielsen, Jr.


TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Fridays 7pm ET and PT
Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org

Saturdays 8pm PT
Sundays 2pm PT
KWDJ 1360-AM (Ridgecrest, Calif.)

Tuesdays 11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT
Passionate World Radio
Three times a week
WROM: Realms of Music
www.tvconfidential.net
blog.tvconfidential.net

Also available as a podcast via
iTunes and FeedBurner
Find us now on
Facebook

This Week in Television History: October 2011 Part II

Listen to me on me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

Realms of Music
WROM
Wednesday 9/7
9pm ET, 6pm PT

Share-a-Vision Radio
 
KSAV.org
Friday 9/9
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT

KWDJ 1360-AM
Ridgecrest, Calif.
Saturday 9/10
Following Dodgers baseball

InternetVoicesRadio.com
Tuesday 9/13
11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT


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.




October 15, 1951

TV's first long-running sitcom hit, I Love Lucy, debuts on this day.

Ball starred as a ditzy wife on the radio show 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 said 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.

At the time, most television shows were broadcast live from New York City, and a low-quality 35mm or 16mm kinescope print was made of the show to broadcast it in other time zones. Because Ball was pregnant, she and Arnaz insisted on filming the show in Hollywood. The duo, along with co-creator Jess Oppenheimer, then decided to shoot the show on 35 mm film in front of a studio audience, with three cameras, a technique now standard for most present-day sitcoms.
The result was a much sharper image than other shows of the time, and the audience reactions were far more authentic than the "canned laughter" used on most filmed sitcoms of the time. The technique was not completely new — another CBS comedy series, Amos 'n' Andy, which debuted four months earlier, was already being filmed at Hal Roach Studios with three 35mm cameras to save time and money.
Hal Roach Studios was also used for filming at least two other TV comedies as early as 1950, both airing on ABC, namely Stu Erwin's The Trouble with Father, and the TV version of Beulah; the original 1949/50 Jackie Gleason TV version of The Life of Riley on NBC was also done on film, not live. There were also some dramatic TV shows pre-dating I Love Lucy which were also filmed, not live. But I Love Lucy was the first show to use this film technique in front of a studio audience.

Arnaz persuaded Karl Freund, an Academy Award -winning cinematographer of such films as Metropolis (1927), Dracula (1931), and The Good Earth (1937), as well as director of The Mummy (1932), to be the series' cinematographer.

Scenes were often performed in sequence, as a play would be, which was unusual for comedies at that time. Retakes were rare and dialogue mistakes were often played off for the sake of continuity.

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 following open-heart surgery in 1989.


October 16, 1946

Suzanne Somers is born Suzanne Marie Mahoney. is an American actress, author and businesswoman, best known for her roles on Three's Company and Step by Step.
Somers later became the author of a series of best-selling self-help books, including Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones (2006), a book about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She has also released two autobiographies, four diet books, and a book of poetry entitled "Touch Me" (1980). She currently features items of her design on the Home Shopping Network. During the 1980s, Somers became a Las Vegas entertainer. She was the spokeswoman for the Thighmaster, a piece of exercise equipment that is squeezed between one's thighs. Thighmaster was one of the first products responsible for launching the infomercial concept. During this period of her career, she also performed for U.S. servicemen overseas.

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

Stay Tuned
 
Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 07, 2011

Your Mental Sorbet: Andy Rooney's Final "60 Minutes" Sign off

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

After 30 years as a staple of "60 Minutes," Andy Rooney gave his final sign off.


Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

TV CONFIDENTIAL Archives: Sept. 30, 2011

Show No. 106
Sept. 30, 2011
First hour: Ed welcomes Christine Devine, Emmy Award-winning news anchor for KTTV, FOX 11, and the spokesperson for Wednesday's Child, a national program that helps children from the foster care system find permanent families. The Wednesday's Child feature is seen every week on FOX affiliates in Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Christine's book, Finding a Forever Family: A News Anchor's Notebook on Adoption Within the Foster Care System, is a very touching story of how the Wednesday’s Child program changed not only her life, but also the lives of more than 500 foster children and foster parents across the country. Also in this hour: independent film director Brendan Moriarty discusses his film The Road to Freedom, which is based on the true story of photojournalist Sean Flynn, who disappeared in Cambodia while on assignment for TIME magazine during the Vietnam War. The Road to Freedom opens in Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities across the country during the week of Oct. 3. Plus: Phil Gries with Part 2 of our look at Jackie Gleason, the short-lived CBS prime talk show hosted by the Great One in early 1961, following the demise of You're in the Picture.
Second hour: Television historian Paul Green (Pete Duel: A Biography, Jennifer Jones: The Life and Films) and writer/producer Dan Farren (Story Salon) join Ed and Tony Figueroa for a wide-ranging conversation about American adaptations of popular British series over the past four decades, including The Office, All in the Family, Three's Company, Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous and Couplings. Topics include a look at how the American approach to episodic television differs from that of the British.