Monday, January 05, 2015

This Week in Television History: January 2015 PART II

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

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.

January 6, 1975
ABC-TV debuted A.M. America

AM America was a morning news program produced by ABC in an attempt to compete with the highly rated Today on NBC. The show never found an audience after its premiere on January 6, 1975. Lasting just under ten months, its final installment aired on October 31.
The program's concept was based on Ralph Story's AM, the local morning show on the network's owned-and-operated Los Angeles station KABC-TV. LikeTodayAM America employed two hosts and a news anchor. ABC chose Bill Beutel, who was co-anchor of Eyewitness News on the network's New York Cityflagship station WABC-TV, and Stephanie Edwards from Ralph Story's AM to host the program. Peter Jennings, who at the time was ABC's Washington correspondent, provided the news reports.
One notable episode of AM America aired on April 25, 1975, when members of the British comedy troupe Monty Python (with the exception of John Cleese, who had temporarily left the group) made one of their earliest appearances on American television.
Edwards quit the show by the end of May, and Beutel followed her out a few months later. On November 3, the Monday following its final broadcast, AM America was replaced by Good Morning America. Theme music written by William Goldstein.

January 8, 1965
The TV dance show "Hullabaloo" debuted on NBC. 
Directed by Steve Binder, who went on to direct Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback SpecialHullabaloo served as a big-budget, quality showcase for the leading pop acts of the day, and was also competition for another like-minded television showcase, ABC's Shindig!. A different host presided each week—among these were Sammy Davis, Jr.Petula ClarkPaul AnkaLiza MinnelliJack Jones, and Frankie Avalon—singing a couple of his or her own hits and introducing the different acts. Chart-topping acts who performed on the show included Dionne WarwickThe Lovin' SpoonfulThe Rolling StonesThe YardbirdsSonny & Cherthe SupremesHerman's HermitsThe AnimalsRoy Orbison and Marianne Faithfull. Many early episodes included black and white segments taped in the UK and hosted by Brian Epstein. Sid Bernstein was the booking agent for Hullabaloo. Peter Matz, formerly of The Carol Burnett Show, was the orchestra leader.
Some of the programs in the series were videotaped at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. Most were taped in New York City either at NBC's Studio 8H (built for Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra and which would later house Saturday Night Live), or in NBC's color studio in the Midwoodsection of Brooklyn. Much of the series' color videotaped footage was later transferred over to kinescope on film - as such copied in black and white. Only three half-hour episodes are known to exist in their original color videotaped form.

January 10, 1980
The final episode of The Rockford Files aired on NBC. 
Jim meets John Traynor while on a fishing trip in Parma. When John takes ill Jim takes him to hospital where John gives Jim his Proxy for the upcoming vote on the town’s Proposition 46D. Not knowing what it is Jim registers the proxy with Mayor Sindell, the pharmacist. Jim is then escorted out to see Henry Gersch at his mobile home. Gersch wants Jim to vote “for” the proposition, so Jim agrees. Jim returns to his motel and is visited by a mysterious figure who tells him to get out of town. This proves difficult as the Firebird is stolen and later found at the Parma Mechanic’s who believed Jim called and requested it fixed. Jim meets with Carrie Osgood, a journalist, who saw Jim fishing and again at the pharmacy. Jim is taken to the bus stop by the Sheriff, in an effort to have him leave town, but when the bus stops at Santa Barbara, Jim is collected by Gersch’s goons and taken back to Parma. Carrie recognises the mysterious figure as Stan Belding, a businessman from Las Vegas. Jim and Carrie manage to read Proposition 46D, which is identical to the previous legalisation which legalised gambling. Jim then finds out that John Traynor discharged himself from hospital. Jim now realises that John set him up, and figures out that John must be hiding out under canvas in the hills. Using the local pizza boy as a distraction, Jim leaves his motel room disguised as the pizza man to evade Gersch’s goons who are watching him. Jim finds John in his tent – murdered, which cancels the proxy. Jim reports this to the police, who find nothing, so arrest Jim for filing a false report – without a body, the proxy is still valid. Jim is in a cell, while outside the police hounds are barking at the trunk of the sheriff’s vehicle. Lee Melvin – an official – grants Jim an amnesty so that he can vote. Jim works out where Traynor’s body is, and goes to vote while Carrie calls the state police. They enter just in time to arrest Sindell, the Sherriff, Belding and Gersch’s goons, but Jim must lead the chase to catch Gersch himself, sitting in his mobile home on the outskirts of town.

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

Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

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