Monday, January 22, 2018

This Week in Television History: January 2017 PART IV


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 22, 1968
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In first aired.

January  23, 1983
The A-Team debuts on NBC. 

A go-getting newspaper reporter Amy Allen (Melinda Culea) seeks the help of a mysterious group of Vietnam-veterans-turned-soldiers-for-hire to find her missing colleague in Mexico. An elite commando unit in Vietnam, the so-called A-Team was wrongly imprisoned by the Army. They escaped and began working as mercenaries, doing whatever needed to be done for their various clients while consistently eluding the fanatic Army officers sent to catch them. The A-Team went on to become a huge hit and make a star of the-then little known actor Mr. T.

January 28, 1973
CBS-TV debuted Barnaby Jones.
Barnaby Jones is a television detective series starring Buddy Ebsen and Lee Meriwether as a father and daughter-in-law who run a private detective firm in Los AngelesCalifornia. The show was introduced as a midseason replacement on the CBS network and broadcast from 1973 to 1980. Halfway through the series run, Mark Shera was added to the cast as the cousin of Ebsen's character, who joins the firm. William Conrad guest-starred as Frank Cannon of Cannon on the first Barnaby Jones episode, "Requiem for a Son", and the 1975 two-part crossover episodes, "The Deadly Conspiracy". The series was produced by QM Productions(with Woodruff Productions in the final two seasons). It had the second longest QM series run (seven and a half seasons) following the nine years of The FBI. The series bore the Quinn Martin trademark where commercial breaks divided each episode into 4 "Acts" concluding with an epilogue. The opening credits were narrated by Hank Simms.

January 28, 1978
Fantasy Island premieres. 

Before it became a television series, Fantasy Island was introduced to viewers in 1977 and 1978 through two made-for-television films. Airing from 1978 to 1984, the original series starred Ricardo Montalbán as Mr. Roarke, the enigmatic overseer of a mysterious island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, where people from all walks of life could come and live out their fantasies, albeit for a price.

Roarke was known for his white suit and cultured demeanor, and was initially accompanied by an energetic sidekick, Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize). Tattoo would run up the main bell tower to ring the bell and shout "De plane! De plane!" to announce the arrival of a new set of guests at the beginning of each episode. This line, shown at the beginning of the series' credits, became an unlikely catchphrase because of Villechaize's spirited delivery and French accent. In later seasons, he would arrive in his personal go-kart, sized for him, and recklessly drive to join Roarke for the visitor reception while the staff scrambled to get out of his way. From 1981 to 1982, Wendy Schaal joined the cast as a beautiful brown-eyed blonde assistant named Julie. The producers dismissed Villechaize from the series before the 1983–1984 season, which ended up being its last, and Tattoo was replaced by a more sedate butler type named Lawrence (played by Christopher Hewett), who pressed an electronic button to ring the bell rather than climb the tower himself.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa
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