Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones

The Monkees are like the mafia. You're in for life. Nobody gets out.
Davy Jones
We Children of Television lost a beloved figure of our youth today. The Martin County Sheriff's Office stated that Davy Jones had complained of breathing difficulties on this morning in Indiantown, Florida, and had been transported to Martin Memorial South Hospital in Stuart, where he was pronounced dead. Jones is survived by his widow, Jessica, and four daughters.

Born David Thomas "Davy" Jones on December 30 1945 in Manchester, England. At the age of 11, he began his acting career and appeared on the British television soap opera Coronation Street, which was produced at Granada Studios by Granada Television in Manchester. In 1961 Jones played Ena Sharples' grandson, Colin Lomax, the year Coronation Street was first broadcast. He also appeared in the BBC police series Z-Cars. However, after the death of his mother from emphysema when he was 14 years old, he left acting and trained as a jockey with Basil Foster. Foster was approached by a friend who worked in a theatre in the West End of London during casting for the musical Oliver!. Foster replied, "I've got the kid." Jones was cast and appeared to great acclaim as the Artful Dodger. He played the role in London and then on Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award.

On 9 February 1964, he appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show, the same episode on which The Beatles made their first appearance. Jones says of that night, "I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that."

Following his Ed Sullivan appearance, Ward Sylvester of Screen Gems (then the television division of Columbia Pictures) signed Jones to a contract. A pair of American television appearances followed, as Jones received screen time in episodes of Ben Casey and The Farmer's Daughter. He also recorded a single and album for Colpix Records, which charted but were not huge hits.

From 1965 to 1971, Jones was a member of The Monkees , a pop-rock group formed expressly for a television show of the same name. With Screen Gems producing the series, Jones was shortlisted for auditions, as he was the only Monkee who was signed to a deal with the studio, but still had to meet producers Bob Rafelson's and Bert Schneider's standards. Jones sang lead vocals on many of the Monkees' recordings, including "I Wanna Be Free" and "Daydream Believer". Jones met Laramy Smith in 1967, introduced by Eirik Wangberg (then a producer and co-owner of Sound Records), and they co-produced The Children, an Austin, Texas group Jones discovered while on tour with the Monkees. A single was released on Laramie Records entitled "Picture Me", which reached Billboard at number 2 with a bullet.

After the television series went off the air, The Monkees disbanded. However, Jones continued to perform solo, while later joining with fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz and songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart as a short-lived group called Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. He also toured throughout the years with other members as various incarnations of the Monkees.

In February 2011, Jones mentioned rumours of another Monkees reunion. "There's even talk of putting the Monkees back together again in the next year or so for a U.S. and UK tour," he told Disney's Backstage Pass newsletter. "You're always hearing all those great songs on the radio, in commercials, movies, almost everywhere." The tour came to fruition entitled, "An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour."

In 1978, he appeared with Micky Dolenz in Harry Nilsson's play The Point at the Mermaid Theatre in London.

Jones continued acting as he appeared in one episode of The Brady Bunch, two episodes of My Two Dads, an episode of Here Come the Brides, and two episodes of Love, American Style. He also appeared and sang, in animated form, on an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies and in an episode of Hey Arnold. Also, Jones made a cameo appearance as himself in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob vs. The Big One" (his appearance was meant to be a pun on Davy Jones' Locker), a third-season episode of the sitcom Boy Meets World and the Brady Bunch spoof movie of The Brady Bunch Movie. In 1997 he guest-starred as himself on the television show Sabrina the Teenage Witch and sang "Daydream Believer" to Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart).

In later years, Jones performed with his former bandmates in reunion tours and appeared in several productions of Oliver! as Fagin. He continued to race horses with some success in his native England, while residing in Beavertown, Pennsylvania. He owned and raced horses in the United States and served as a commercial spokesman for Colonial Downs racetrack in Virginia. Jones maintained a residence in Indiantown, Florida as well.

In 2001, Jones released "Just Me", an album of his own songs, some written for the album and others originally on Monkees releases. In April 2006, Jones recorded the single "Your Personal Penguin", written by children's author Sandra Boynton, as a companion piece to her new board book of the same title. On 1 November 2007, the Boynton book and CD titled "Blue Moo" was released and Jones is featured in both the book and CD, singing "Your Personal Penguin". As a result of the collaboration, Jones became a close friend of Boynton. Also in 2007, Jones recorded the theme for a campy movie comedy called Sexina: Popstar PI.

In December 2008, Yahoo Music named Jones "Number 1 teen idol of all time". In 2009 Jones was rated second in a list of 10 best teen idols compiled by Fox News.

In 2009, Jones released an album entitled "She" which is a collection of handpicked classics and standards from the 1940s through the 1970s. Also in 2009, Jones performed in the Flower Power Concert Series during Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival.

An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour (also called Here They Come!: 45th Anniversary Tour) was the fourth and final reunion tour by The Monkees to feature Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork together. It was the group's first tour in a decade following Monkeemania, which ran from 2001 to 2002. The tour visited the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. Due to the success of the first North American leg, a second leg was planned for the Fall of 2011, however, dates were suddenly cancelled without explanation.

Good Night Davy

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

TV CONFIDENTIAL Archives: Feb. 22, 2012

Show No. 127
Feb. 22, 2012

First hour: Award-winning stage and film actress Tanna Frederick (Hollywood Dreams, Queen of the Lot, A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia) talks to Ed about making her directorial debut in the stage production of Claire Chafee’s Why We Have a Body, now playing at the Edgemar Center for the Arts through Sunday, Apr. 29. Also in this hour: Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen remember the network television premiere of Schindler's List, which aired on NBC without commercial interruption This Week in TV History.

Second hour: Ed welcomes award-winning television director Michael Preece, whose credits include such top shows as Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, The Young Riders, Walker: Texas Ranger, Seventh Heaven and approximately 70 episodes of Dallas. Michael had a hand in virtually every major storyline of Dallas, including “Who Shot J.R.,” Miss Ellie's acceptance of Jock's death, and “Blast from the Past,” the famous cliffhanger that set the stage for Patrick Duffy's return to the show. Other topics include Michael's experience with such stars as Karl Malden, Marlon Brando, Michael Douglas, John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Larry Hagman, Barbara Bel Geddes and Tim Conway.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Barbara Bain, Plus Adventures in Paradise: Next on TVC

Actress Barbara Bain and author James Rosin will join us on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing Feb. 29-Mar. 6 at the following times and venues:

WROM Radio
Detroit, MI
esday 2/29
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Sunday 3/4
8pm ET, 5pm PT
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Talktainment Radio
Columbus, OH
Thursday 3/1
9pm ET, 6pm PT
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San Francisco Bay Area
Friday 3/2
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT
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The Coyote KWTY-FM
Ridgecrest, Calif.
Sunday 3/4
9pm PT
Monday 3/5
Midnight ET
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Passionate World Radio
Ann Arbor, MI
Tuesday 3/6
11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT
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Though many of us think of her starring roles as Cinnamon Carter on Mission: Impossible (for which she won three Emmy Awards), and Dr. Helena Russell on Space: 1999, Barbara Bain has a very extensive theatre background that dates back to her early days as an actress, when she studied at the Actors Studio in New York under the great Lee Strasberg. We’ll ask Barbara about working with Strasberg; her experience as a dancer under the tutelage of Martha Graham; some of her early work in television, including appearances on Harbourmaster with Larry Hagman, and as Rob Petrie’s former girlfriend "Dorie Doo" on The Dick Van Dyke Show; and, of course, a question or two about Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999 when she joins us in our first hour.

Barbara Bain is currently co-starring along with
Tanna Frederick in the stage production of Claire Chafee’s Why We Have a Body, which begins an eight-week run at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica on Friday, March 2, with performances through Sunday, Apr. 29. For tickets and more information, call (310) 392-7327 or go to

We’ll also climb aboard The Tiki this week as we welcome back actor, screenwriter and television historian James Rosin. Jim’s latest book, Adventures in Paradise: The Television Series, is a behind-the-scenes oral history of the popular ABC series from the early 1960s starring Gardner McKay. Besides high production values, strong writing, and an excellent roster of guest stars, Adventures in Paradise was also a show with a distinguished pedigree. It was not only based on a concept by bestselling novelist James Michener (Sayonara, Hawaii, Shogun), but boasted such talented producers as Martin Manoulis, William Self, Dominick Dunne and, briefly, Roy Huggins. We’ll talk about what made Adventures in Paradise such a unique network TV series — and what made Gardner McKay an unusual television star — when Jim Rosin joins us in our second hour.

Plus: Tony Figueroa and Donna Allen with a look at the highs, lows, and everything in between of last week’s Oscar telecast hosted by Billy Crystal. It’ll be a full program as always... we certainly hope you’ll join us.

TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Wednesdays and Sundays 8pm ET, 5pm PT
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Thursdays 9pm, 6pm PT
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Sundays 9pm PT, Mondays Midnight ET
The Coyote KWTY-FM (Ridgecrest, Calif.)
Tuesdays 11:05pm ET, 8:05pm PT
Passionate World Radio
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Monday, February 27, 2012

This Week in Television History: February 2012 PART IV

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

CLICK HERE for a list of Stations

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.

March 2, 1904

Dr. Seuss born.
Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator of such beloved children's books as "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham," is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel, who used his middle name (which was also his mother's maiden name) as his pen name, wrote 48 books--including some for adults--that have sold well over 200 million copies and been translated into multiple languages. Dr. Seuss books are known for their whimsical rhymes and quirky characters, which have names like the Lorax and the Sneetches.

Geisel, who was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts, graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was editor of the school's humor magazine, and studied at Oxford University. There he met Helen Palmer, his first wife and the person who encouraged him to become a professional illustrator. Back in America, Geisel worked as a cartoonist for a variety of magazines and in advertising.

The first children's book that Geisel wrote and illustrated, "And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street," was rejected by over two dozen publishers before making it into print in 1937. Geisel's first bestseller, "The Cat in the Hat," was published in 1957. The story of a mischievous cat in a tall striped hat came about after his publisher asked him to produce a book using 220 new-reader vocabulary words that could serve as an entertaining alternative to the school reading primers children found boring.

Other Dr. Seuss classics include "Yertle the Turtle," "If I Ran the Circus," "Fox in Socks" and "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish."

Some Dr. Seuss books tackled serious themes. "The Butter Battle Book" (1984) was about the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during Ronald Reagan's presidency. "Lorax" (1971) dealt with the environment.

Many Dr. Seuss books have been adapted for television and film, including "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" and "Horton Hears a Who!" In 1990, Geisel published a book for adults titled "Oh, the Places You'll Go" that became a hugely popular graduation gift for high school and college students.

Geisel, who lived and worked in an old observatory in La Jolla, California, known as "The Tower," died September 24, 1991, at age 87.

March 2, 1944

For the first time, the Academy Awards are presented as part of a televised variety show.

Jack Benny served as master of ceremonies for the event, which was held at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Due to lack of network interest, the show was only broadcast locally, on two Los Angeles TV stations. Winners included Best Film Going My Way, whose male lead, Bing Crosby, won Best Actor. Ingrid Bergman won Best Actress for her performance in Gaslight.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa