Monday, October 29, 2018

This Week in Television History: October 2018 PART V

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa


October 29, 1948
Kate Jackson was born. 
Perhaps best known for her role as Sabrina Duncan in the popular 1970s television series Charlie's Angels. Jackson is a three-time Emmy Award nominee in the Best Actress category, has been nominated for several Golden Globe Awards, and has won the titles of Favorite Television Actress in the UK, and Favorite Television Star in Germany—several times—for her work in the television series Scarecrow and Mrs. King. She co-produced that series through her production company, Shoot the Moon Enterprises Ltd., with Warner Brothers Television. Jackson has starred in a number of theatrical and TV films, and played the lead role on the short-lived television adaptation of the film Baby Boom.

November 2, 1998
CBS debuted the television series Becker
Becker is an American sitcom that ran from 1998 to 2004 on CBS. Set in the New York City borough of the Bronx, the show starred Ted Danson as John Becker, a misanthropic doctor who operates a small practice and is constantly annoyed by his patients, co-workers, friends, and practically everything and everybody else in his world. Despite everything, his patients and friends are loyal because Becker genuinely cares about them. The series was produced by Paramount Network Television.
The show revolved around Becker and the things that annoyed him, although the supporting cast also had their moments. The relationships between Becker and Reggie (later, Chris) formed the key plots of many episodes. The show tackled more serious issues as well, such as race, homosexuality, transvestism, addiction, nymphomania, schizophrenia, cerebral AVM, and political correctness.

November 3, 1933
Ken Berry is born. 
Sitcom actor, dancer and singer. Berry has had success in multiple television shows, one being with his friend and mentor, Andy Griffith. Berry starred in the successful comedies F Troop, The Andy Griffith Show spin-off Mayberry R.F.D., and The Carol Burnett Show spin-off Mama's Family

He also appeared on Broadway in The Billy Barnes Revue, has headlined as George M. Cohan in the musical George M! and provided comic relief for the medical drama Dr. Kildare, with Richard Chamberlain in the 1960s.

November 3, 1978
The first episode of Different Strokes was aired on NBC. 
The series stars Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson, two African American boys from Harlem who are taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman named Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato), for whom their deceased mother previously worked. During the first season and first half of the second season, Charlotte Rae also starred as the Drummonds' housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett (who ultimately spun-off into her own successful show, The Facts of Life).
The series made stars out of child actors Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana Plato, and became known for the "very special episodes" in which serious issues such as racism, illegal drug use, and child sexual abuse were dramatically explored. The lives of these stars were later plagued by legal troubles and drug addiction, as the stardom and success they achieved while on the show eluded them after the series was cancelled, with both Plato and Coleman having early deaths.

November 3, 1993
The first episode of The Nanny was aired by CBS. 
Fran Drescher starred as Fran Fine, a Jewish Queens native who becomes the nanny of three children from the New York/British high society. Created and executive produced by Drescher and her then-husband Peter Marc Jacobson, The Nanny took much of its inspiration from Drescher's personal life growing up in Queens, involving names and characteristics based on her relatives and friends. The show earned a Rose d'Or and one Emmy Award, out of a total of thirteen nominations, and Drescher was twice nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy. The sitcom has also spawned several foreign adaptations, loosely inspired by the original scripts.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 26, 2018

Your Mental Sorbet: The War of the Worlds (radio drama)


Here is another "Mental Sorbet
that we could use to momentarily forget about those
things that leave a bad taste in our mouths
The War of the Worlds is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on Sunday, October 30, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds (1898). It became famous for allegedly causing mass panic, although the scale of the panic is disputed as the program had relatively few listeners.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, October 22, 2018

This Week in Television History: October 2018 PART IV

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa


October 22, 1938
Christopher Allen Lloyd is born. 
Among his best-known roles are Emmett "Doc" Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy, Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and its sequel Addams Family Values, and Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as Jim Ignatowski in the television series Taxi.

Lloyd, who also has done voiceover work in animation, has won three Primetime Emmy Awards and an Independent Spirit Award, and has been nominated for two Saturn Awards and a Daytime Emmy Award.

October 23, 1983
Jessica Savitch died at the age of 36.
Jessica Savitch had dinner with Martin Fischbein, vice-president of the New York Post, in New Hope, Pennsylvania. After the meal at Odette's Restaurant, they began to drive home about 7:15 pm, with Fischbein behind the wheel and Savitch in the back seat with her dog, Chewy. Fischbein may have missed posted warning signs in a heavy rainfall, and he drove out of the wrong exit from the restaurant and up the towpath of the old Pennsylvania Canal's Delaware Division on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. The car veered too far to the left and went over the edge into the shallow water of the canal. After falling approximately 15 feet and landing upside down, the station wagon sank into deep mud that sealed the doors shut. Savitch and Fischbein were trapped inside as water poured in. A local resident found the wreck at about 11:30 that night. 

Fischbein's body was still strapped behind the wheel, with Savitch and her dog in the rear. After the autopsies, the Bucks County coroner ruled that both had died from asphyxiation by drowning. He noted that Fischbein was apparently knocked unconscious in the wreck but Savitch had struggled to escape. There was no finding that drugs or alcohol had played any part in the crash.

October 24, 1973
Kojak first aired. 
Kojak stared Telly Savalas as the title character, bald New York City Police Department Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak. It aired from October 24, 1973, to March 18, 1978, on CBS. It took the time slot of the popular Cannon series, which was moved one hour earlier. Kojak's Greek American heritage, shared by actor Savalas, was prominently featured in the series. In 1999 TV Guide ranked Theo Kojak number 18 on its 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time list.

October 25, 1928
Marion Ross is born. 
Ross's best known role is in the sitcom Happy Days, which aired for eleven seasons on ABC, from 1974 to 1984. She portrayed endearing matriarch Marion Cunningham, mother of Richie, Joanie, and (briefly) Chuck. She later starred in the short-lived but critically acclaimed drama—infused with a healthy dose of humor—Brooklyn Bridge, which ran on CBS from 1991 to 1993. Despite lasting only two seasons, the series won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award following its first season. With Ross in the lead role, even though the series was created and executive-produced by Gary David Goldberg and was substantially based on his early life, this "drama" won its Golden Globe and received its Emmy nomination in the comedy/musical category.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 19, 2018

Your Mental Sorbet: Woody Woodpecker šŸŽƒSpooky episodes - FrankenWoodyšŸŽƒHalloween Special | Kids Cartoon | Videos for Kids


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

Woody Woodpecker is an animated cartoon character, an anthropomorphic acorn woodpecker who appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz animation studio and distributed by Universal Pictures. Though not the first of the screwball characters that became popular in the 1940s, Woody is perhaps the most indicative of the type.


Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, October 15, 2018

This Week in Television History: October 2018 PART III

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa


October 15, 1943
Penny Marshall was born Carole Penny Marshall in The Bronx, New York City
She is the sister of  TV producer Garry Marshall. Her father was of Italian descent andchanged his last name from "Marsciarelli" to "Marshall" before Penny was born. She moved to Los Angeles to join her older brother Garry Marshall, a writer whose credits at the time included TV's The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966).
One of her first jobs was for a TV commercial for a beautifying shampoo. She was hired to play a girl with stringy, unattractive hair, and Farrah Fawcett was hired to play a girl with thick, bouncy hair. As the crew was lighting the set, Marshall's stand-in wore a placard that read "Homely Girl" and Fawcett's stand-in wore a placard that said "Pretty Girl". Farrah Fawcett, sensing Marshall's insecurity about her looks, crossed out "Homely" on the Marshall stand-in placard and wrote "Plain".
Marshall first gained prominence as a television actress with a recurring guest role of Myrna Turner on The Odd Couple (1971–1975), and made two guest star appearances on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Paula Kovacks, Mary's neighbor in her new apartment building.
In 1974, her brother Garry Marshall was the creator and part-time writer for the hit TV series Happy Days with Ron Howard and Henry Winkler. For an episode that aired November 11, 1975 titled "A Date with Fonzie", he hired Marshall and actress Cindy Williams to play dates for Howard's and Winkler's characters, LaVerne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, a pair of wise-cracking brewery workers. The pair were a hit with the studio audience and Garry Marshall co-created and starred them in a hit spin-off, Laverne and Shirley (1976–1983). The characters of Laverne and Shirley also appeared in five more episodes of Happy Days. In 1983, while still filming Laverne and Shirley, she guest-starred on another popular sitcom, Taxi, in a cameo appearance as herself. In the Taxi episode "Louie Moves Uptown", Marshall is turned down for residency in a new high-rise condo in New York City. The Laverne and Shirley episode "Lost in Spacesuits" is referenced in the scene.
Because male actors such as co-star Ron Howard and husband Rob Reiner later became directors, and at the encouragement of her brother, Marshall became interested in directing. She directed two episodes of Laverne and Shirley and other TV assignments. She soon moved on to theatrical films, her first film being Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986) starring Whoopi Goldberg. Marshall has directed several successful feature films since the mid-1980s, including 1988's Big starring Tom Hanks (the first film directed by a woman to gross over US$100 million), Awakenings (1990) starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, and A League of Their Own (1992) with Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell. She has also lent her voice to Ms. Botz, the evil nanny, on the first produced episode of The Simpsons, and played a cameo role as herself in HBO's series Entourage.


October 15th, 1973
Tomorrow first aired. 
(also known as The Tomorrow Show and, after 1980Tomorrow Coast to Coast) is an American late-night television talk show hosted by Tom Snyder. The show aired on NBC from 1973 to 1982 and featured many prominent guests, including Paul McCartney“Weird Al” Yankovic (in his first televised appearance),Ayn RandJohn Lennon (in his last televised interview), Jerry Garcia, the Grateful DeadKen KeseyCharles MansonThe ClashJohnny RottenRamones, and U2(in their first American television appearance). Los Angeles news anchor Kelly Lange, a good friend of Snyder, was the regular substitute guest host.


October 18, 1943
The first broadcast of Perry Mason was presented on CBS Radio. 

The show went to TV in 1957. 

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.

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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 12, 2018

Your Mental Sorbet: Garfield's Halloween Adventure


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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, October 08, 2018

This Week in Television History: October 2018 PART II

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.
Donna Allen-Figueroa


October 8, 1943
Cornelius Crane (Chevy) Chase is born in New York City. 
Chase began writing material for comedians in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. After meeting Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels while standing in line for a movie, Chase landed a job writing and acting for the program. After a year, he left the show to launch a movie career. His films include Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), and Fletch (1985).

October 8, 1958
Bat Masterson first aired.
Bat Masterson is a Western television series which showed a fictionalized account of the life of real-life marshal/gambler/dandy Bat Masterson. The title character was played by Gene Barry and the half-hour black-and-white shows ran on NBC from 1958 to 1961. The series was produced by Ziv Television ProductionsBat is a nickname for Masterson's first name, Bartholemew.
The show took a tongue-in-cheek outlook, with Barry's Masterson often dressed in expensive Eastern clothing and preferring to use his cane rather than a gun to get himself out of trouble. Masterson was also portrayed as a ladies' man who traveled the West looking for women and adventure.
The black derby, fancy decorative vest, black jacket, and elegant pearl-tipped cane were his trademarks. Miniaturized versions were marketed to children as tie-in products during the run of the show.

October 9, 1953
Anthony Marcus "Tony" Shalhoub was born. 

The actor of Lebanese origin is best known for his role as manic-obsessive sleuth Adrian Monk on the TV series Monk. By 1991, one of his first television roles was as the Italian cabdriver Antonio Scarpacci in the sitcom Wings. Shalhoub was pleasantly surprised to land the role after having a recurring role in the second season. Shalhoub affected an Italian accent for the role. In the same time period, Shalhoub played physicist Dr. Chester Ray Banton in the X-Files second-season episode "Soft Light." He later returned to series television in 1999, this time in a lead role on Stark Raving Mad opposite Neil Patrick Harris. The show did not attract much of an audience, and NBC cancelled the series in July 2000.
After a two-year absence from the small screen, Shalhoub starred in another TV series, Monk, in which he plays a San Francisco detective diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, for USA Network. Michael Richards had been offered the role when the show was being considered for broadcast on ABC, a network which would later rerun the first season in 2003, but he eventually turned it down. Shalhoub was nominated for Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series seven times consecutively, from 2003-2009, and won in 2003, 2005, and 2006.


October 10, 1958
77 Sunset Strip first aired
The series revolves around two Los Angeles private detectives, both former government secret agents: Efrem Zimbalist Jr. played Stuart ("Stu") Bailey, a character Huggins had originated in his 1946 novel The Double Take (which he later adapted into the 1948 movie I Love Trouble, starring Franchot Tone in the role). Roger Smith played Jeff Spencer, also a former government agent, and a nonpracticing attorney. The duo worked out of a stylish office at 77 Sunset Boulevard (colloquially known as Sunset Strip), between La Cienega Boulevard and Alta Loma Road on the south side of the strip next door to Dean Martin's real-life lounge, Dino's Lodge. Suzanne, the beautiful French switchboard operator played by Jacqueline Beer, handled the phones.
Comic relief was provided by Roscoe the racetrack tout (played by Louis Quinn), and Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III (played by Edd Byrnes), the rock and roll-loving, wisecracking, hair-combing hipster and aspiring PI who worked as the valet parking attendant at Dino's, the club next door to the detectives' office. Byrnes had originally been cast as a contract killer in the series pilot, but proved so popular that he was brought back in a new role for the series.
Despite Huggins' hopes for a hard-edged drama, the tone of the series was much lighter and featured a strong element of self-deprecating humor. Many of the episodes were named "capers". The catchy theme song, written by the accomplished team of Mack David and Jerry Livingston, typified the show's breezy, jazzed atmosphere. The song became the centerpiece of an album of the show's music in Warren Barker-led orchestrations, which was released in 1959, a top-10 hit in the Billboard LP charts.
Sue Randall and "Kookie", 1964
The Kookie character became a cultural phenomenon, with his slang expressions such as "ginchy" and "piling up Zs" (sleeping). When Kookie helped the detectives on a case by singing a song, Edd Byrnes began a singing career with the novelty single "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)" (Warner Bros. 5047), based on his frequent combing of his hair; this featured Connie Stevenson vocals in the chorus and the song, with words and music by Irving Taylor, became the first hit single for the recently established Warner Bros. Records. Kookie was also used to provide product placement for Harley-Davidson, appearing on their Topper motor scooter in the show and in Harley-Davidson advertisements.
When Byrnes' demands for more money and an expanded role were not met, he left the show, but he came back as a full-fledged partner in the detective firm in May 1960. (During his absence, Roscoe's and Suzanne's roles were beefed up to handle the leg work he normally did.) In 1961, Robert Logan became the new parking lot attendant, J.R. Hale, who usually spoke in abbreviations. In 1960, Richard Long moved from the recently canceled detective series Bourbon Street Beat with his role of Rex Randolph, but he left the program in 1962. Rex lived at 3770 Pastel Place, North Hollywood, California.
One of the series' more unusual episodes was the 1960 "The Silent Caper", written by Smith. It presented its story completely without dialogue, hence the title. Another off-beat entry was 1961's "Reserved For Mr. Bailey", which finds Zimbalist alone in a ghost town. He is the only actor on screen for the entire hour. (This latter episode was never included in the syndication package, and many fans had expressed their frustration at being unable to see it again. It finally resurfaced on MeTV on June 17, 2017.)

October 14, 1943
The Radio Corporation of America finalized the sale of the NBC Blue radio network. 

Edward J. Noble paid $8 million for the network that was renamed American Broadcasting Company. 


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


Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa