Friday, July 31, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Shatner Does Palin

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

Palin's final speech was dona as of poetic beauty...
And who does poetry better than Shatner?

Stay Tuned

Monday, July 27, 2009

This week in Television History: July 2009 PART II

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE everyevery other Monday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. The program will then be repeated Tuesday thru Sunday at the same time (10pm ET, 7pm PT) on Shokus Radio for the next two weeks, and then will be posted onlineat our archives page at

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.

Richard Bernard “Red” Skelton (July 18, 1913September 17, 1997) was a comedian who was best known as a top radio and television star from 1937 to 1971. Skelton's show business career began in his teens as a circus clown and went on to vaudeville, Broadway, films, radio, TV, night clubs and casinos, while pursuing another career as a painter.

July 20, 1958
The last episode of the popular Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts airs, after nearly a decade on TV. The program, one of television's earliest amateur talent shows, was a breakthrough vehicle for stars including Rosemary Clooney, Pat Boone, Steve Lawrence, Connie Francis, and Patsy Cline. Elvis Presley flunked his audition for the show in 1955.

Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. The astronauts also returned to Earth the first samples from another planetary body. Apollo 11 achieved its primary mission - to perform a manned lunar landing and return the mission safely to Earth - and paved the way for the Apollo lunar landing missions to follow.

Miss America 1984 Vanessa L. Williams (The first black Miss America) ten months into her reign she received an anonymous phone call stating that nude photos of her taken by photographer Tom Chiapel prior to her pageant days had surfaced. Williams believed the photographs were private and had been destroyed. Days later, Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse, announced that his magazine would publish the photos in their September 1984 issue, and paid Chiapel for the rights to them without Williams' consent. After days of media frenzy and sponsors threatening to pull out of the upcoming 1985 pageant, Williams felt pressured by Miss America Pageant officials to resign, and did so in a press conference on July 23, 1984. The title subsequently went to first-runner up, African-American Suzette Charles. In early September 1984, Williams filed a $500 million lawsuit against Chiapel and Guccione. According to a Williams family representative, she eventually dropped the suit to avoid further legal battles choosing to move on with her life. Williams is quoted as saying "the best revenge is success."
Although she resigned from fulfilling the duties of a current Miss America, she was allowed to keep the bejeweled crown and scholarship money and is officially recognized by the Miss America Organization today as "Miss America 1984" and Suzette Charles as "Miss America 1984b."

Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006) was the best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (a role which earned him five Emmy Awards), and as landlord Ralph Furley on the television sitcom Three’s Company in the 1980s.

Daniel “Dan” Hale Rowan (22 July 192222 September 1987) He was featured in the television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, where he played straight man to Dick Martin. Born on a carnival train near the small town of Beggs, Oklahoma, under the name of “Daniel Hale David”, Rowan toured with his parents, Oscar and Nellie David, who performed a singing and dancing act with the carnival. He was orphaned at age 11, spent four traumatic years at the McClelland Home in Pueblo, Colorado, then was taken in by a foster family at age 16 and enrolled in Central High School (Pueblo, Colorado). After graduating from high school, he hitchhiked to Los Angeles, California, in 1940 and found a job in the mailroom at Paramount Pictures; quickly ingratiating himself with studio head Buddy DeSylva, a year later he became Paramount's youngest staff writer.

Albert Brooks is born Albert Lawrence Einstein on July 22, 1947. Actor, writer, director son of Thelma Leeds (née Goodman), a singer and actress, and Harry Parke ( Einstein), a radio comedian who performed on Eddie Cantor's radio program and was known as Parkyarkarkus. His brothers are comedic actor Bob Einstein, better known by his stage name "Super Dave Osborne" and Cliff Einstein, a partner and longtime chief creative officer at the Los Angeles ad agency Dailey & Associates and his half-brother was Charles Einstein (1926-2007), a writer who wrote for such shows as Playhouse 90 and Lou Grant. Brooks started his own career in comedy by landing regular roles on variety shows in the late 1960s and gaining popularity on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. Brooks' first film appearance was Taxi Driver (1976). He began screenwriting and directing in the 1980s, with films including Lost in America (1985), Defending Your Life (1991), The Muse (1999) and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2005).

July 24, 1956
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis perform their last comedy show together at New York's Copacabana Club.
Born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, Martin started a nightclub act after working as a prizefighter and a steelworker in the 1940s. Lewis, the son of performers, debuted in comedy acts with his parents at age five and was working steadily as a comic by 1946, when he met Dean Martin. The pair performed an act in which screwball Lewis constantly interrupted straight man Martin's singing. They made their first appearance in 1946 at a club in Atlantic City and were an instant hit, soon in demand for radio and movie performances. The pair made 16 movies together, starting with My Friend Irma in 1949. By 1956, though, the pair decided to call it quits. After the duo split up, Martin launched his own TV variety show, which ran from 1965 to 1974. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Martin teamed up with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop to perform in Las Vegas. The group quickly became known as the Rat Pack, a suave group of young, fast-living entertainers. The group made several movies together in the early 1960s, including Ocean's Eleven (1960), Sergeants Three (1962), and Robin and the Seven Hoods. Martin died in 1995.
Lewis went on to sign one of the most lucrative film contracts of the day, a $10 million deal for 14 films with Paramount. Lewis' films, including Cinderfella (1960) and The Nutty Professor (1963), failed to attract much praise from American critics but made him a star in France, where he has long been considered a comic genius. After a long absence from film, he gave an acclaimed performance in the 1986 film The King of Comedy, co-starring Robert De Niro.

Norman Milton Lear (born July 27, 1922 in New Haven, Connecticut) TV writer and producer who produced such sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times and Maude.

July 27, 1940
Bugs Bunny first appears on the silver screen in A Wild Hare. The wisecracking rabbit had evolved through several earlier short films. As in many future installments of Bugs Bunny cartoons, A Wild Hare featured Bugs as the would-be dinner for frustrated hunter Elmer Fudd.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, July 24, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Jane, you ignorant slut.

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

Point Counterpoint: Lee Marvin & Michelle Triola

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, July 20, 2009

The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11

This is not TV History... It is History captured on TV.

The first manned spacecraft landing on the Moon was at 3:17 p.m. EST on July 20, 1969, when the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, the Eagle, landed in Mare Tranquillitatis, located at 0°4'5"N latitude, 23°42'28"E longitude. The Eagle landed approximately 50 kilometers from the closest highland material and approximately 400 meters west of a sharp-rimmed blocky crater about 180 meters in diameter.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite

I represent the first generation whom, when we were born, the television was now a permanent fixture in our homes. When I was born people had breakfast with Barbara Walters, dinner with Walter Cronkite, and slept with Johnny Carson.

Tony Figueroa

He broke the news of the Kennedy assassination, reported extensively on Vietnam and Civil Rights and Watergate, and seemed to be the very embodiment of TV journalism.

At one time, his audience was so large, and his image so credible, that a 1972 poll determined he was "the most trusted man in America" - surpassing even the president, vice president, members of Congress and all other journalists. In a time of turmoil and mistrust, after Vietnam and Watergate, the title was a rare feat - and the label stuck.

Walter Leland Cronkite was born in St. Joseph, Missouri on November 4, 1916. One day, he read an article in "Boys Life" magazine about the adventures of reporters working around the world - and young Cronkite was hooked. He began working on his high school newspaper and yearbook and, in 1933, he entered the University of Texas at Austin to study political science, economic and journalism. He never graduated. He took a part time job at the Houston Post, left college to do what he loved: report. After working as a general assignment reporter for the Post and a sportscaster in Oklahoma City, Cronkite got a job in 1939 working for United Press. He went to Europe to cover World War II as part of the "Writing 69th," a group of reporters who found themselves covering some of the most important developments in the war, including the D-Day invasion, bombing missions over Germany, and later, the Nuremburg war trials.

While working for the UP, Cronkite was offered a job at CBS by Edward R. Murrow - and he turned it down. He finally accepted a second offer in 1950, and stepped into the new medium of television. Walter Cronkite was host of "You Are There" in which key moments of history were recreated by actors. Cronkite was depicted on camera interviewing "Joan of Arc" or "Sigmund Freud." But somehow, he managed to make it believable. Cronkite was also named host of "The Morning Show" on CBS, where he was paired with a partner: a puppet named Charlemagne. In 1961, CBS named him the anchor of the "CBS Evening News" - a 15 minute news summary anchored for several years by Douglas Edwards. And it came at a significant time. In September of 1963, Cronkite launched the expanded program with an extended interview with President John F. Kennedy. Two months later, it was Cronkite who broke into the soap opera "As The World Turns" to announce that the president had been shot - and later to declare that he had been killed. It was a defining moment for Cronkite, and for the country. His presence - in shirtsleeves, slowly removing his glasses to check the time and blink back tears - captured both the sense of shock, and the struggle for composure, that would consume America and the world over the next four days.

In 1968, Cronkite returned from visiting Vietnam and declared on television:"It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is a stalemate." President Lyndon Johnson, on hearing that, reportedly said, "If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America." Not long after, Johnson declared his intention not to run for re-election. That same year saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy - two more shocking moments that bound the country together through the medium of television. Once again, as he had five years earlier, Cronkite was the steadying force during a time of national sorrow. "It's a kind of chemistry," former Johnson aide and CBS News commentator Bill Moyers once said. "The camera either sees you as part of the environment or it rejects you as an alien body, and Walter had 'it,' whatever 'it' was."

One of Cronkite’s enthusiasms was the space race. And in 1969, when America sent a man to the moon, he couldn't’t contain himself. "Go baby, go!," he said, as Apollo XI took off. He ended up performing what critics described as"Walter to Walter" coverage of the mission - staying on the air for 27 of the 30 hours that Apollo XI took to complete its mission. Cronkite even managed to have a surprising influence on world affairs. In 1977, he interviewed Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat, who told Cronkite that, if invited, he’d go to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The move was unprecedented. The next day, Begin invited Sadat to Jerusalem for talks that eventually led to the Camp David accords and the Israeli-Egyptian treaty. In 1981, Cronkite announced he would retire at the age of 65, to make way for a new anchor in the chair, Dan Rather. A commentator in the New Republic said it was like "George Washington leaving the dollar bill." There were so many requests for interviews, eventually all of them were turned down. In retirement, Cronkite kept busy with other projects - a short-lived magazine program on CBS called "Walter Cronkite's Universe," a few documentaries, plus a seat on the CBS board of directors. He spent a considerable amount of time at his summer home in Martha’s Vineyard, sailing the boat he named for his wife, "The Betsy." And he wrote his autobiography, "A Reporter’s Life," published in 1996. In 2005, Cronkite’s wife Betsy died after a battle with cancer.

To Quote Mr. Cronkite on March 6, 1981, concluding his final broadcast as anchorman, "Old anchormen, you see, don't fade away, they just keep coming back for more. And that's the way it is."

Good night Mr. Cronkite

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Your Mental Sorbet: Walter Cronkite And The Lunar Landing

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

Walter Cronkite reflects on what it was like to be on the air while watching the first man reach the moon.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Emmy Nominees: 2009

Download the 2009 Primetime Emmy® Nomination Summary . . . PDF WORD
Download the 2008-2009 Primetime Emmy® Facts & Figures . . . PDF WORD
Download the 2008-2009 Primetime Emmy® Supplemental Info . . . PDF WORD

'Big Love'
'Breaking Bad'
'Mad Men'

'Family Guy'
'Flight Of The Conchords'
'How I Met Your Mother'
'The Office'
'30 Rock'

Bryan Cranston, 'Breaking Bad'
Michael C. Hall, 'Dexter'
Hugh Laurie, 'House'
Gabriel Byrne, 'In Treatment'
Jon Hamm, 'Mad Men'
Simon Baker, 'The Mentalist'

Sally Field, 'Brothers and Sisters'
Kyra Sedgwick, 'The Closer'
Glenn Close, 'Damages'
Mariska Hargitay, 'Law & Order: SVU'
Elisabeth Moss, 'Mad Men'
Holly Hunter, 'Saving Grace'

Jim Parsons, 'The Big Bang Theory'
Jemaine Clement, 'Flight Of The Conchords'
Tony Shalhoub, 'Monk'
Steve Carell, 'The Office'
Alec Baldwin, '30 Rock'
Charlie Sheen, 'Two And A Half Men'

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 'The New Adventures Of Old Christine'
Christina Applegate, 'Samantha Who?'
Sarah Silverman, 'The Sarah Silverman Show'
Tina Fey, '30 Rock'
Toni Collette, 'United States Of Tara'
Mary-Louise Parker, 'Weeds'

William Shatner, 'Boston Legal'
Christian Clemenson, 'Boston Legal'
Aaron Paul, 'Breaking Bad'
William Hurt, 'Damages'
Michael Emerson, 'Lost'
John Slattery, 'Mad Men'

Rose Byrne, 'Damages'
Sandra Oh, 'Grey's Anatomy'
Chandra Wilson, 'Grey's Anatomy'
Dianne Wiest, 'In Treatment'
Hope Davis, 'In Treatment'
Cherry Jones, '24'

Kevin Dillon, 'Entourage'
Neil Patrick Harris, 'How I Met Your Mother'
Rainn Wilson, 'The Office'
Tracy Morgan, '30 Rock'
Jack McBrayer, '30 Rock'
Jon Cryer, 'Two And A Half Men'

Kristin Chenoweth, 'Pushing Daisies'
Amy Poehler, 'Saturday Night Live'
Kristin Wiig, 'Saturday Night Live'
Jane Krakowski, '30 Rock'
Vanessa Williams, 'Ugly Betty'
Elizabeth Perkins, 'Weeds'

'The Colbert Report'
'The Daily Show'
'The Late Show With David Letterman'
'Real Time With Bill Maher'
'Saturday Night Live'

'The Amazing Race'
'American Idol'
'Dancing With the Stars'
'Project Runway'
'Top Chef'

Phil Keoghan, 'The Amazing Race'
Ryan Seacrest, 'American Idol'
Tom Bergeron, 'Dancing With The Stars' '
Heidi Klum, 'Project Runway'
Jeff Probst, 'Survivor'
Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, 'Top Chef'

'Generation Kill'
'Little Dorrit'

Kevin Kline, 'Cyrano de Bergerac'
Brendan Gleeson, 'Into The Storm'
Sir Ian McKellen, 'King Lear'
Kevin Bacon, 'Taking Chance'
Kiefer Sutherland, '24: Redemption'
Kenneth Branagh, 'Wallander: One Step Behind'

Chandra Wilson, 'Accidental Friendship'
Shirley MacLaine, 'Coco Chanel'
Drew Barrymore, 'Grey Gardens'
Jessica Lange, 'Grey Gardens'
Sigourney Weaver, 'Prayers For Bobby'

Edward Asner, 'CSI: NY'
Ted Danson, 'Damages'
Jimmy Smits, 'Dexter'
Ernest Borgnine, 'ER'
Michael J. Fox, 'Rescue Me'

Sharon Lawrence, 'Grey's Anatomy'
Ellen Burstyn, 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
Brenda Blethyn, 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
Carol Burnett, 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'
CCH Pounder, 'The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'

Beau Bridges, 'Desperate Housewives'
Justin Timberlake, 'Saturday Night Live'
Steve Martin, '30 Rock'
Jon Hamm, '30 Rock'
Alan Alda, '30 Rock'

Christine Baranski, 'The Big Bang Theory'
Gena Rowlands, 'Monk'
Betty White, 'My Name Is Earl'
Tina Fey, 'Saturday Night Live'
Jennifer Aniston, '30 Rock'
Elaine Stritch, '30 Rock'

Monday, July 13, 2009

This week in Television History: July 09 PART I

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE everyevery other Monday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. The program will then be repeated Tuesday thru Sunday at the same time (10pm ET, 7pm PT) on Shokus Radio for the next two weeks, and then will be posted onlineat our archives page at

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.

July 1, 1941
NBC broadcasts the first TV commercial to be sanctioned by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC began licensing commercial television stations in May 1941, granting the first license to NBC. During a Dodgers-Phillies game that was broadcast July 1, NBC ran its first commercial. The advertiser was Bulova and they paid $9.00 to advertise their watches on the air.
Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, (born July 1, 1952) is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning Canadian-American comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers (with John Belushi) and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.

July 2, 1955
The long-running musical-variety program The Lawrence Welk Show debuts on ABC. Welk, a bandleader from North Dakota known for light dance music, had launched his own show in 1951 on KTLA in Los Angeles. The show remained a network hit for some 16 years, then became a syndicated series. Welk retired in 1982 and died in 1992.

Lawrence "Larry" Gene David (born July 2, 1947) is an American actor, writer, comedian, producer, and film director. David is the co-creator and producer of two successful television comedies, Seinfeld (1989-1998) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (1999-present).
In 1989, he teamed up with Jerry Seinfeld to co-create the television series Seinfeld, where he also acted as head writer and executive producer. David's work won him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993. In 1999, he created the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, a mostly improvised sitcom in which he stars as a fictionalized version of himself.
Formerly a standup comedian, David went into television comedy, writing and starring in ABC's Fridays, as well as writing briefly for Saturday Night Live.

July 3, 1950
TV game show Pantomime Quiz Show debuts as a network series on CBS. The program, a variation of charades, ran for 13 years, although it changed networks several times. The show began as a local program in Los Angeles in 1947. In 1949, the show was one of TV's first programs to win an Emmy, first awarded by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences that year.
Mervyn "Merv" Edward Griffin, Jr. (July 6, 1925 – August 12, 2007) was an American television host and media mogul. He began his career as a radio and big band singer who went on to appear in movies and on Broadway. During the 1960s, Griffin hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show, and created the game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. A billionaire at his death, he is considered an entertainment business magnate.
Patrick “Pat” Layton Paulsen (July 6, 1927 – April 24, 1997) was an American comedian and satirist notable for his roles on several of the Smothers Brothers TV shows, and for his campaigns for President of the United States in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992, and 1996, which had primarily comedic rather than political objectives, although his campaigns generated some protest votes for him.

Carl Hilding "Doc" Severinsen (born July 7, 1927) is an American pop and jazz trumpeter. He is best known for leading the NBC Orchestra on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Severinsen was born in Arlington, Oregon, the son of Minnie Mae and Carl Severinsen, who was a dentist. He was nicknamed "Little Doc" after his father, and had originally wanted to play the trombone. But the senior Severinsen, a gifted amateur violinist, urged him to study the violin. The younger Severinsen insisted on the trombone, but had to settle for the only horn available in Arlington's small music store a trumpet. A week later, with the help of his father and a manual of instructions, the seven-year-old was so good that he was invited to join the high school band.

July 12, 1990
TV series Northern Exposure airs its first episode. The offbeat show, about a Manhattan doctor contractually forced to work in the fictional of town Cicely, Alaska for four years to repay a student loan from the state. Rob Morrow stared as Dr. Joel Fleischman. Most of Northern Exposure's story arcs are character-driven, with the plots revolving around the eccentricities of the Cicely citizens. The show consistently ranked in the Top 20 most-watched TV shows until it was canceled in 1995.

William "Bill" Henry Cosby, Jr. (born July 12, 1937) is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a vanguard role in the 1960s action show I Spy. He later starred in his own series, The Bill Cosby Show, in 1969. He was one of the major characters on the children's television show The Electric Company for its first two seasons, and created the humorous educational cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, about a group of young friends growing up in the city. Cosby also acted in numerous films. Cosby's net worth is estimated at over $300 million.

Milton Berle (July 12, 1908 – March 27, 2002) was an Emmy-winning American comedian and actor. As the manic host of NBC's Texaco Star Theater (1948–55), he was the first major star of television and as such became known as Uncle Miltie and Mr. Television to millions during TV's golden age.

July 13, 1938
Massachusetts Television Institute opens a "television theater" in Boston on this day in 1938, the first theater of its kind. The Institute charged 25 cents for admission. Some 200 people attended the first show, which broadcast singers, musicians, and dancers who were performing in a studio above the auditorium.
In the theater below, the audience viewed a black-and-white image on a 9-by-12-inch screen. Such experimental uses of television persisted throughout the 1930s, and televisions did not become common household appliances until after World War II.

July 13, 1985
Live Aid, a massive concert for African famine relief, takes place simultaneously in Philadelphia and London. In addition to 162,000 fans that attended the all-day event were 1.5 billion viewers worldwide who watched the show on MTV or other television stations. An estimated 75 percent of all radio stations around the world broadcast at least part of the concert.
Irish musician Bob Geldof, of the Boomtown Rats, organized the event. Among the participants were Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Beach Boys, Carlos Santana, Madonna, Sting, and Tina Turner. Several disbanded groups came together again for the day, including Crosby, Stills and Nash; The Who; and surviving members of Led Zeppelin, including Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. All performers worked for free, as did many other concert workers. The production, which ordinarily would have cost $20 million to stage, cost only $4 million and raised more than $70 million for famine relief.

Despite the number of acts, the show ran surprisingly smoothly. Rotating stages allowed bands to set up and dismantle their equipment while other bands were onstage. Acts from one stadium were telecast across the Atlantic to the other. Such organization, however, did not characterize the group's later charitable efforts: Live Aid was later criticized for its disorganized and slow efforts to channel aid to Africa.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tim and Tom, Sinatra and More: This Week on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Author, speaker and stand-up comic Tom Dreesen will be our special guest this week on the season premiere of TV CONFIDENTIAL (Monday, July 13, 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio; Tuesday, July 14, 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,

Most of us know Tom Dreesen for his many appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as his many years as the opening act for Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and other show business legends. Less known, however, is the story of his partnership with comic/actor Tim Reid (WKRP in Cincinnati) in the late 1960s as America’s first, and only, interracial comedy team. At a time of racial unrest, riots and assassination, Dreesen and Reid worked nightclubs across the country, facing racist heckling, threats and even violence. And while they would never enjoy the success as a team that they would later have in their solo careers, their individual triumphs would not have been possible were it not for the struggles they went through together. It’s a remarkable story of passion, perseverance and a 40-year friendship that will appeal to anyone, no matter what field you work in. Tom Dreesen will join us live in our second hour.

In our first hour, Tony Figueroa and David Krell will join us as we take a look at the world of television during the first half of 2009. From the changing of the guard on NBC late night television to the Letterman/Palin controversy, from notable series finales (E/R) to shows that were perhaps canceled before their time (Life on Mars), from the inauguration of Barack Obama to the death of Michael Jackson and a whole lot more.

If you want to be part of our conversation, if you have questions for Tom Dreesen or comments about the year in television so far, we invite you to join us for our live broadcast this Monday, July 13, at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. Our email address, as always, is But our phone number is brand new... (888) 746-5875 (or 888 SHOKUS-5).

NOTE. If you should miss the live broadcast, you can catch an encore presentation Tuesday, July 14 at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,, as well every night at 10pm ET, 7pm ET on Shokus Internet Radio through July 26. The July 13 show will be then archived at beginning July 27.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Story Salon Podcast "Planes, Trains & Automobiles"

"Planes, Trains & Automobiles" CLICK HERE to listen to podcast
Stories of travel featuring Tony Figueroa.
"Home On The Range" performed by Beverly Mickins with an arrangement and guitar by John O'Kennedy...

"Tony's Journal" shot by Dan Farren with his iPhone.44:58 / 41.3 MB / Rated PG-13 (Some Adult Content)

Your Mental Sorbet: Tim and Tom

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

The following clips are in honor of Tom Dreesen who will be our guest Monday on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte.

Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen the first (and only) interracial comedy team. Tim & Tom started in Chicago nightclubs then went on the road for five years. They worked all over America at a time of racial unrest, riots and assassinations. They faced racist heckling, threats, and even violence (Tim had a cigarette put out in his face). As a team they never had the success that they would later have in their solo careers. They were just ahead of their time.

Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen are later reunited when Tom as a guest stars in a 1982 episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.

Tim and Tom appeared on Late Show with David Letterman in September 2008. They talked about their new book, Tim & Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White.

Tom joins us Monday, July 13, 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, July 03, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Andy Discovers America

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

The Andy Griffith Show: Andy Discovers America
Have a Happy 4th of July

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Karl Malden

Karl Malden (born Mladen George Sekulovich, March 22, 1912) was an Academy Award winning American actor featured in the Marlon Brando films such A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and One-Eyed Jacks. He was also featured as General Omar Bradley in Patton. On TV his best-known role was as Lt. Mike Stone on the 1970s crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco and as spokesmen in commercials for American Express Travelers Cheques "Don't leave home without it!"

He changed his name from Mladen Sekulovich to Karl Malden at age 22. Since he was proud of his heritage, when he starred in a movie or on TV, he insisted that a character carry his family name: In On the Waterfront, Fred Gwynne's character was named "Sekulovich".

In 1988 he was elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a position he held for five years. Following that he published his memoir entitled, "When Do I Start?: A Memoir."

To Quote Karl Malden, "People have told me that I came to this industry at its Golden Age. But when I was there, it was just an age."

Good Night Sekulovich

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa