Friday, October 30, 2009

Your Halloween Mental Sorbet: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

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

It was the third Peanuts special to be produced and animated by Bill Meléndez. Its initial broadcast took place on October 27, 1966, CBS re-aired the special annually through 2000, with ABC picking up the rights beginning in 2001. The program was nominated for an Emmy award.

Peanuts: Specials: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Ep. 101)
Uploaded by Peanuts. - Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

Stay Tuned & Happy Halloween

Tony Figueroa

Monday, October 26, 2009

This week in Television History: October PART IV

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every 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 on line at 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.

October 27, 1954
Disneyland, Walt Disney's first television series, premieres on ABC. The one-hour show, introduced by Tinkerbell, presented a rotating selection of cartoons, dramas, movies, and other entertainment. The show ran for 34 years under various names, including Walt Disney Presents and The Wonderful World of Disney. The program was the longest-running prime-time series on network TV.

October 28, 1950
Popular radio personality Jack Benny moves to television with The Jack Benny Program. The TV version of the show ran for the next 15 years.

Jack Benny was born Benjamin Kubelsky in 1894. His father, a Lithuanian immigrant, ran a saloon in Waukegan, Illinois, near Chicago. Benny began playing violin at age six and continued through high school. He began touring on the vaudeville circuit in 1917. In 1918, he joined the navy and was assigned to entertain the troops with his music but soon discovered a flair for comedy as well. After World War I, Benny returned to vaudeville as a comedian and became a top act in the 1920s. In 1927, he married an actress named Sadye Marks; the couple stayed together until Benny's death in 1974.
Benny's success in vaudeville soon won him attention from Hollywood, where he made his film debut in Hollywood Revue of 1929. Over the years, he won larger roles, notably in Charley's Aunt (1941) and To Be or Not to Be (1942). Movies were only a sideline for Benny, though, who found his natural medium in radio in 1932.
In March 1932, then-newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan, dabbling in radio, asked Benny to do an on-air interview. Benny reluctantly agreed. His comedy, though, was so successful that Benny was offered his own show almost immediately, which debuted just a few months later. At first a mostly musical show with a few minutes of Benny's comedy during interludes, the show evolved to become mostly comedy, incorporating well-developed skits and regular characters. In many of these skits, Benny portrayed himself as a vain egomaniac and notorious pinchpenny who refused to replace his (very noisy) antique car and who kept his money in a closely guarded vault. His regulars included his wife, whose character, Mary Livingstone, deflated Benny's ego at every opportunity; Mel Blanc, who used his famous voice to play Benny's noisy car, his exasperated French violin teacher, and other characters; and Eddie Andersen, one of radio's first African American stars, who played Benny's long-suffering valet, Rochester Van Jones. The program ran until 1955.
In the 1950s, Benny began experimenting with television, making specials in 1950, 1951, and 1952. Starting in 1952, The Jack Benny Program aired regularly, at first once every four weeks, then every other week, then finally every week from 1960 to 1965. Benny was as big a hit on TV as on the radio. Despite the stingy skinflint image he cultivated on the air, Benny was known for his generosity and modesty in real life. He died of cancer in Beverly Hills in 1974.

October 30, 1945
Henry Franklin Winkler is born

Winkler is best known for his role as Fonzie on the 1970s American sitcom Happy Days. "The Fonz", a leather-clad greaser and auto mechanic, started out as a minor character at the show's beginning, but had achieved top billing by the time the show ended. Winkler started acting by appearing in a number of television commercials. In October 1973, he was cast for the role of Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, nicknamed The Fonz or Fonzie, in the TV show Happy Days. The show was first aired in January 1974. During his decade on Happy Days, Winkler also starred in a number of movies, including The Lords of Flatbush (1974), playing a troubled Vietnam veteran in Heroes (1977), The One and Only (1978), and a morgue attendant in Night Shift (1982), which was directed by Happy Days co-star Ron Howard.
In 1979 Winkler appeared in the made-for-TV movie An American Christmas Carol, which was a modern remake of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. An American Christmas Carol was set in Concord, New Hampshire during the Great Depression. Winkler played the role of Benedict Slade, the Ebenezer Scrooge equivalent of that film.
After Happy Days, Winkler put his acting career on the back burner, as he began concentrating on producing and directing. He quickly worked on developing his own production company and, within months, he had opened Winkler-Rich Productions.
He produced several television shows including MacGyver, So Weird and Mr. Sunshine, Sightings, and the game shows Wintuition and The Hollywood Squares (the latter from 2002–2004 only). He also directed several movies including the Billy Crystal movie Memories of Me (1988) and Cop and a Half (1993) with Burt Reynolds.
As the 1990s continued, Winkler began a return to acting. In 1994 he returned to TV with the short-lived right-wing comedy Monty on Fox which sank in mere weeks. Also in 1994, he co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in the holiday TV movie One Christmas, her last film. In 1998, Adam Sandler asked Winkler to play a college football coach, a supporting role in The Waterboy (1998). He would later appear in three other Sandler films, Little Nicky (2000) where he plays himself and is covered in bees, Click (2006, as the main character's father), and You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008). He has also played small roles in movies such as Down to You (2000), Holes (2003), and I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007).
Winkler recently had a recurring role as incompetent lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn in the Fox Television comedy Arrested Development. In one episode, his character hopped over a dead shark lying on a pier, a reference to his role in the origin of the phrase "jumping the shark". After that episode, Winkler in interviews stated that he was the only person to have "jumped the shark" twice.
When Winkler moved to CBS for one season to star in 2005–06's Out of Practice, his role as the Bluth family lawyer on Arrested Development was taken over by Happy Days co-star Scott Baio in the fall of 2005, shortly before the acclaimed but Nielsen-challenged show ceased production.
In October 2008, Winkler appeared in a video on with Ron Howard, reprising their roles as Fonzie and Richie Cunningham, encouraging people to vote for Barack Obama. The video entitled Ron Howard’s Call to Action also features Andy Griffith.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Saturday, October 24, 2009

TV Confidential Archives Oct. 19, 2009

Ed and Frankie pay tribute to the King of Rock 'n' Roll in the first hour along with renowned Elvis Presley authority Cory Cooper. Then in the second hour, Ed and Frankie welcome television historian Bruce Dettman as they remember The Adventures of Superman and its iconic star, George Reeves.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Soupy Sales

Soupy Sales (born Milton Supman, January 8, 1926) was best known for his long-running local and network children's television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales (and was later known as The Soupy Sales Show); a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.From 1968 to 1975, he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What's My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.

Improvised and slapstick in nature, Lunch with Soupy Sales was a rapid-fire stream of comedy sketches, gags, and puns, almost all of which resulted in Sales' receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.
Sales developed pie-throwing into an art form: straight to the face, on top of the head, a pie to both ears from behind, moving into a stationary pie, and countless other variations. He claims to have been hit by over 25,000 pies during his career.

Topless dancer pranks
The show's set included a door in the background. During the show, Sales would answer a knock at the door and interact with an actor seen only as an arm. Occasionally, the person at the door was a celebrity.

One time, while the show was being broadcast live from Detroit, Sales' studio crew pulled a prank on him: when opened the door, he saw a topless dancer partially covered with a balloon.

Instead of a quote here is Soupy telling the story about the New Year's Day incident

Good Night Soupy

Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Hey, you can do it in your house yeah, On the rug, or on the wall
If your folks get bugged do it in the hall
Do the Mouse yeah let's do the mouse
Come-on do the mouse with me
Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Hey, do it all around your house, yeah, Don't be afraid that you can't do it
There is really nothing to it
Shake with your hands wig-lin from your ears
Make like a mouse push your feet down and cheer
Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Hey, you can do it in your house yeah, Be the first one on your block
Every cat will be in shock
Do the Mouse yeah
Let's do the mouse
Come-on do the mouse with me
Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Don't be afraid that you can't do it
There is really nothing to it
Just follow me and I'll get you through it
Have no fear when Soupy's here
Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Hey, do it all around your house, yeah, Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Hey, do it all around your house, yeah, Hey, do the mouse, yeah, Hey, do it all around your house, yeah,

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Your Mental Sorbet: Halloween with The New Addams Family.

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

A TV reunion movie, Halloween With The New Addams Family, aired on NBC Sunday October 30, 1977. It featured most of the original cast, except Blossom Rock, who had played Grandmama but was very ill at the time; she was replaced by Jane Rose. Gomez's brother, Pancho, is staying with the Family while Gomez goes to a lodge meeting in Tombstone, Arizona. Gomez is jealous of his brother, who once courted Morticia. Halloween is nigh, and Pancho tells the legend of Cousin Shy, who distributes gifts and carves pumpkins (similar to the Great Pumpkin). Actually, Gomez has been lured off by crooks, who've bugged the house in order to steal the Family fortune. Lafferty, the boss, sends Mikey to investigate. Wednesday Senior is home from music academy, where she studied the piccolo (she breaks glass with it). Pugsley Senior is home from Nairobi medical school, where he's training to be a witch doctor. Gomez and Morticia meanwhile have had two new sets of kids, who are exact copies the original kids, and names Wednesday Jr. and Pugsley Jr. Mikey panics and flees after treading on Kitty Cat's tail. The crooks have a fake Gomez and Morticia to help in their plans, along with two strong-arm goons, Hercules and Atlas. Gomez returns home for the Halloween party and trimming of the scarecrow. The movie had a slightly different version of the theme song. The finger snaps were used, but not the lyrics.
Lafferty poses as Quincy Addams (from Boston) to get in. He has his men tie up Gomez and Morticia and his doubles take their places, confusing Pancho, who's still got the hots for Morticia. Lurch scares off the thugs and terrifies the assistant crook. Fester, trying to be nice, puts Lafferty on the rack. Lafferty tries to escape through the secret passage and steps on Kitty Cat's tail. When the police arrive, they surrender. The Addamses are then free to celebrate Halloween happily.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, October 19, 2009

This week in Television History: October PART III

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every 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 on line at 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.

October 13, 1959
Olive Marie Osmond is born. Actress, singer, doll designer, and a member of the show business family, The Osmonds. Although she was never part of her family's singing group, she gained success as a solo country music artist in the 1970s and 1980s. Her best known song is a cover of the country pop ballad "Paper Roses."

In 1976, she and her singer brother Donny Osmond began hosting the TV variety show Donny & Marie. Marie Osmond had a recurring role on Ripley's Believe It or Not for two seasons (1985-86), replacing Holly Palance. Where she introduced segments based on the travels and discoveries of oddity-hunter Robert Leroy Ripley.
In 1978, Marie and Donny released their film Goin' Coconuts,, which was not a financial success. The following year, Marie starred in a sitcom pilot titled Marie. which did not make the new season schedule and in 1980 she had her own variety show on NBC, also titled Marie, which only ran for half a season.
The singer played her mother, Olive, in the TV movie Side By Side: The True Story Of The Osmond Family. She also starred in the TV movie I Married Wyatt Earp.
She returned to television first in the short-lived 1995 ABC sitcom Maybe This Time and then with brother Donny in 1998 to co-host Donny And Marie, a talk/entertainment show that lasted two seasons.
She appeared as herself in the 2001 TV movie Inside The Osmonds, which showed how the brothers' egos, their father's fiscal mismanagement, and the family's quest to build a multimedia empire led to their downfall. The film was produced by her younger brother, Jimmy Osmond.

October 13, 1974
Television talk show legend Ed Sullivan dies.

Born in New York, Sullivan became a newspaper reporter and later a gossip columnist. He hosted his own radio show starting in 1942 and gained national fame as host of Toast of the Town, later named simply The Ed Sullivan Show, which ran for more than two decades.

October 15, 1943
Penny Marshall was born Carole Penny Marshall in The Bronx, New York City. She is the sister of actor/director/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 15, 1951
TV's first long-running sitcom hit, I Love Lucy, debuts .
Ball starred as a ditzy wife on the radio show My Favorite Husband from 1948 to 1951. CBS decided to launch the popular series on the relatively new medium of TV. Lucy insisted Desi be cast as her husband in the TV version, though the network executives said no one would believe the couple were married. Desi and Lucy performed before live audiences and filmed a pilot, convincing network executives that audiences responded well to their act, and CBS cast Desi for the show.

At the time, most television shows were broadcast live from New York City, and a low-quality 35mm or 16mm kinescope print was made of the show to broadcast it in other time zones. Because Ball was pregnant, she and Arnaz insisted on filming the show in Hollywood. The duo, along with co-creator Jess Oppenheimer, then decided to shoot the show on 35 mm film in front of a studio audience, with three cameras, a technique now standard for most present-day sitcoms. The result was a much sharper image than other shows of the time, and the audience reactions were far more authentic than the "canned laughter" used on most filmed sitcoms of the time. The technique was not completely new — another CBS comedy series, Amos 'n' Andy, which debuted four months earlier, was already being filmed at Hal Roach Studios with three 35mm cameras to save time and money. Hal Roach Studios was also used for filming at least two other TV comedies as early as 1950, both airing on ABC, namely Stu Erwin's The Trouble with Father, and the TV version of Beulah; the original 1949/50 Jackie Gleason TV version of The Life of Riley on NBC was also done on film, not live. There were also some dramatic TV shows pre-dating I Love Lucy which were also filmed, not live. But I Love Lucy was the first show to use this film technique in front of a studio audience.
Arnaz persuaded Karl Freund, an Academy Award -winning cinematographer of such films as Metropolis (1927), Dracula (1931), and The Good Earth (1937), as well as director of The Mummy (1932), to be the series' cinematographer.
Scenes were often performed in sequence, as a play would be, which was unusual for comedies at that time. Retakes were rare and dialogue mistakes were often played off for the sake of continuity.
I Love Lucy became one of the most popular TV situation comedies in history, ranking in the top three shows for six years and turning the couple's production company, Desilu, into a multimillion-dollar business. Ball became president of the company in 1960, after she and Desi divorced. She also starred in several other "Lucy" shows, including The Lucy Show, which debuted in 1962 and ran for six seasons, and Here's Lucy, in which she starred with her two children until the show was cancelled in 1974. A later show, Life with Lucy, featuring Lucy as a grandmother, was cancelled after only eight episodes. Ball worked little in the last years of her life. She died of congestive heart failure following open-heart surgery in 1989.

October 16, 1946
Suzanne Somers is born Suzanne Marie Mahoney. The actress, author and businesswoman is best known for her roles on Three's Company and Step by Step.

Somers later became the author of a series of best-selling self-help books, including Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones (2006), a book about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She has also released two autobiographies, four diet books, and a book of poetry entitled "Touch Me" (1980). She currently features items of her design on the Home Shopping Network. During the 1980s, Somers became a Las Vegas entertainer. She was the spokeswoman for the Thighmaster, a piece of exercise equipment that is squeezed between one's thighs. Thighmaster was one of the first products responsible for launching the infomercial concept. During this period of her career, she also performed for U.S. servicemen overseas.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Sunday, October 18, 2009

TV’s Superman and the King of Rock ’n’ Roll: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Music legend Elvis Presley and actor George Reeves will be the topics of discussion on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, Oct. 19 at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with a rebroadcast Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 11pm ET, 8pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,

Joining us in our first hour will be Cory Cooper, a nationally renowned authority on the life and career of Elvis whose knowledge of the King has been frequently cited in books, radio programs, television shows and news outlets across the United States and Canada. More an expert on Presley’s life than his albums and related memorabilia, Cory has always been impressed with the impact, talent, unselfishness and humanitarian that was the essence of Elvis. He will be joining us beginning at 10:30pm ET, 7:30pm PT.

Then in our second hour we’ll welcome author, columnist and television historian Bruce Dettman, a contributing writer to many film and TV publications, including Glass House Presents, the definitive source of news and information pertaining to actor George Reeves and The Adventures of Superman. Known among fans of the series as “Mr. Retrospective,” Bruce has chronicled the life and career of George Reeves for more than two decades. He’ll be joining us beginning at 11pm ET, 8pm PT.

If you want to be part of our conversation, if you have a question for our guests or have a favorite television memory of Elvis Presley and George Reeves that you’d like to share, we invite you to join us for our live broadcast, premiering Monday, Oct. 19 at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. Phone number is (888) 746-5875 / (888) SHOKUS-5. If you have questions or comments you’d like to send in advance, our email address is

Friday, October 16, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: 1969 ABC Fall Preview

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

ABC Fall Preview from 1969. Shows include Music Scene, The New People, The Survivors, Love American Style, Marcus Welby, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Room 222, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Brady Bunch, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.

Part 1 of 2

1969 ABC Fall Preview Part 2 of 2

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Story Salon Podcast "Off the top of my head"

"Off the top of my head"

Tony Figueora hosting
The performers...
Dan Farren ( 90 second story)
Donna Allen Figueora
Carrie Specht
Dan Tirman
Beverly Mickins (singing Blue Blue Blue - John Fogherty)
Featured guest storyteller Rueben Padilla
And John O'kennedy as musical director.
Image by Dan Farren
43:45 / 40.2 MB / Rated: PG-13

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TV Confidential Archives: Broadcast Date Oct. 5, 2009

In the first hour, Ed, Frankie and Tony weigh in on the premieres of several new network series, including Cougar Town, Modern Family, Community, Hank, The Middle, The Good Wife, Trauma and Mercy.

Actor, author, composer and stand-up comedian Dan Frischman joins Ed, Frankie and guest co-host Tony Figueroa in the second hour to talk about his role as Arvid on Head of the Class, as well as his encounters with such legends as Carroll O'Connor, John Houseman and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Dan will be appearing at the Barnes & Noble in Burbank on Saturday, Nov. 14 to discuss his new novel, Jackson and Jenks: Master Magicians.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Monday, October 12, 2009

This week in Television History: October PART II

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every 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 on line at 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.

October 7, 1949
Anthology series Ford Theatre debuts. The program featured a different one-hour dramatic play each week in its early seasons, later shortened to a half-hour. Plays ranged from comedy to serious drama and featured many stars of the era, including Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Davis. The show ran until 1957.

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 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 9, 1954
Scott Stewart Bakula is born.

His most prominent roles have been as Sam Beckett in the science fiction television series Quantum Leap, and as Captain Jonathan Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise. He also co-starred with Maria Bello in the short-lived CBS television series Mr. & Mrs. Smith and had a recurring role in the sitcom Murphy Brown.

October 11, 1950
The Federal Communications Commission issues the first license to broadcast color television, to CBS. However, RCA charged that CBS's color technology was inadequate and contested the license, which was to go into effect November 3. RCA's challenge worked: A restraining order was issued on November 15. Despite this setback, CBS did broadcast the first commercial color TV program in June 1951. Color TV technology continued to evolve during the 1950s. In 1956, a Chicago TV station became the first to broadcast entirely in color. Color television sets, however, remained less popular than black and white sets until the late 1960s. In 1968, color televisions outsold black and white televisions for the first time.

October 12, 1970
Kirk Thomas Cameron is born. Best-known for his role as Mike Seaver on the television situation comedy Growing Pains, as well as several other television and film appearances as a child actor. Recently, he portrayed the lead roles in the Left Behind film series and in the 2008 drama film, Fireproof.

Cameron is also an active Christian evangelist, currently partnering with Ray Comfort in the evangelical ministry The Way of the Master, and has co-founded The Firefly Foundation with his wife, actress Chelsea Noble. He stated that his main priorities in life are: "God, family, career — in that order," and he says that this decision has had negative consequences on his career.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, October 09, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Reverend Jim's driving test

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

From the sitcom "Taxi," Reverend Jim (Christopher Lloyd) takes a test for his driver's license.
What does a yellow light mean?

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

TV Confidential Archives: Sept. 21, 2009

In the First hour Jon Burlingame, author of TV's Biggest Hits, joins Ed and Frankie for a look back at the theme songs from the Top 10 television shows from 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago, and how those themes reflected trends in popular music at the time. They also discuss the new FOX musical drama Glee, as well as the bravura performance of emcee Neil Patrick Harris on this year's Emmy Awards telecast.
I join the guys in the Second hour with Jon Burlingame and later do this week in TV history.

Monday, October 05, 2009

This week in Television History: October Part I

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL with Ed Robertson and Frankie Montiforte Broadcast LIVE every 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 on line at 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.

October 1, 1927
Thomas Edward Bosley is born.
Among his early television appearances was in 1962 as Assistant District Attorney Ryan in the episode "The Man Who Wanted to Die" on James Whitmore's legal drama The Law and Mr. Jones on ABC.
Bosley's best known role is the character Howard Cunningham, Richie Cunningham's father, in the long-running television sitcom Happy Days. Bosley is also known for portraying Sheriff Amos Tupper on Murder, She Wrote. He also portrayed the titular Father Frank Dowling on the TV mystery series, Father Dowling Mysteries. In 2004, Bosley guest starred as a toy maker named Ben-Ami on the series finale of the Christian video series K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments. Among myriad television appearances, one notable early performance was in the "Eyes" segment of the 1969 pilot episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Joan Crawford. In 2008, Bosley starred in the Hallmark Channel television movie Charlie & Me.
Also notable as a voice actor due to his resonant, fatherly yet expressive tone, Bosley hosted The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater, a 1977 radio drama series for children. He went on to voice many animated cartoon characters, including Harry Boyle in the animated series Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. He provided the voice of the title character in the 1980s cartoon The World of David the Gnome, and the shop owner Mr. Winkle in the children's Christmas special The Tangerine Bear. He also narrated the movie documentary series That's Hollywood. Additionally, he played the narrator B.A.H. Humbug in the Rankin/Bass animated Christmas special The Stingiest Man In Town. Bosley was also the voice of Gepetto, Pinocchio's 'dad' in Filmation's Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, released in 1987.

October 1, 1955
The Honeymooners debuts on CBS. The TV comedy, which starred Jackie Gleason, enjoyed enduring popularity despite the fact that it aired only 39 episodes.
The show originated in 1951 as a sketch on Gleason's variety show Cavalcade of Stars. He continued the sketches when he launched a new program, The Jackie Gleason Show, in 1952. In these skits, Gleason played bus driver Ralph Kramden, and Audrey Meadows played his long-suffering wife, Alice, who deflated his get-rich-quick schemes but often saved the day. Art Carney played friend and sidekick Ed Norton, and Joyce Randolph played Ed's wife, Trixie.

In a departure from most TV shows at the time, The Honeymooners was filmed in front of a live audience and broadcast at a later date. To allow Gleason more time to pursue other producing projects, he taped two episodes a week, leaving him free for several months at the end of the season.
Unfortunately, the two shows did not do as well with audiences as Gleason had hoped, and only 39 episodes of the The Honeymooners aired. In 1956, Gleason returned to his hour-long variety format, occasionally including Honeymooners skits. In 1966, he began creating hour-long Honeymooners episodes, which he aired in lieu of his usual variety format. From 1966 to 1970, about half of Gleason's shows were these hour-long episodes. In 1971, the episodes were rebroadcast as their own series. On May 9, 1971, the final episode aired.

October 2, 1928
George Robert Phillips "Spanky" McFarland was born.
Most famous for his appearances in the Our Gang series of short-subject comedies of the 1930s and 1940s.

The Our Gang shorts were later popular after being syndicated to television as The Little Rascals. In 1952, at age 24, McFarland joined the U.S. Air Force. Upon his return to civilian life, indelibly typecast in the public's mind as "Spanky" from Our Gang, he found himself unable to find work in show business. He took less glamorous jobs, including work at a soft drink plant, a hamburger stand, popsicle factory, selling wine, operating a restaurant and night club, and selling appliances, electronics and furniture. In the late 1950s, when the Our Gang comedies were sweeping the nation on TV, McFarland hosted an afternoon children's show, Spanky's Clubhouse, on KOTV television in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The show included a studio audience and appearances by other celebrities such as James Arness, and it ran Little Rascals shorts.
Spanky loaned his name and celebrity to help raise money for charities, primarily by participating in golf tournaments. Spanky also had his own namesake charity golf classic for 16 years, held in Marion, Indiana.
McFarland continued to do personal appearances and cameo roles in films and television, including an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. His final television performance was in 1993 in an introductory vignette at the beginning of the Cheers episode "Woody Gets An Election".
McFarland died suddenly of a heart attack on June 30, 1993, at age 64. His remains were cremated shortly thereafter. In January 1994, “Spanky” joined fellow alumnus Jackie Cooper to become one of only two Our Gang members to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
October 1, 1958
Kraft Television Theater broadcasts its last episode. The influential show had first appeared in 1947. Kraft had discovered the value of entertainment sponsorship back in 1933, when it launched the radio program Kraft Music Hall specifically to introduce Miracle Whip. The product took off and so did Kraft's media ventures. Kraft Television Theater featured televised comedies and dramas starring a different cast every week. The series' first production cost only $3,000, but by 1958 the network paid at least $100,000 per production. Jack Lemmon, James Dean, Grace Kelly, Anthony Perkins, and Paul Newman were among the stars that appeared on the program.
Keenan Wynn, Jack Palance and Ed Wynn"Requiem for a Heavyweight" - Playhouse 90, CBS, 10/11/56EMMY winner for Rod Serling

October 1, 1958
The first TheTwilight Zone episode Where Is Everybody? Aired.
Opening narration
“The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we're about to watch, could be our journey”.

October 2, 1962
Johnny Carson starts his new job as host of The Tonight Show.

Carson started each show with a monologue and continued with sketches in which he played recurring characters "Carnac the Magnificent,". In 1965, Carson insisted on delivering his monologue at 11:30 instead of 11:15, the show's official starting time, because many stations ran news until 11:30 and didn't join The Tonight Show until the half hour. In 1967, Carson walked out over contract differences, returning several weeks later when the network allegedly offered him a contract worth more than $1 million a year-an exorbitant salary at that time. The show moved to Burbank in 1972. In March 1978, Carson received a contract reportedly worth $3 million. Frequent guest hosts included Joan Rivers, who became "permanent guest host" from 1983 to 1986, and Jay Leno, who became permanent guest host in 1987. David Letterman also served as guest host, appearing more than 50 times.
When Carson announced he would retire in 1992, a highly publicized battle for the job ensued between top contenders Jay Leno and David Letterman. When Letterman lost, he accepted CBS's offer for his own show and launched The Late Show with David Letterman in 1993. Carson died at the age of 79, in 2005.

October 4, 1949
The television series Life of Riley debuts, starring Jackie Gleason as bullheaded family man Chester Riley.

The show originated on the radio in the early 1940s and starred William Bendix. In 1953, Bendix took over the TV role from Gleason and stayed with the show until its cancellation in 1958.

October 4, 1957
Leave It to Beaver debuts.

The typical 1950s "wholesome family" comedy presented the life of the Cleaver family from the perspective of seven-year-old Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver.
The Cleaver clan included parents June and Ward, and older brother Wally. The show, which ran until 1963, enjoyed much popularity in reruns as well as a revival in the 1980s as The New Leave It to Beaver.

October 5, 1950
The game show You Bet Your Life, starring host Groucho Marx, airs its first TV episode.

The show had debuted on radio in 1947. Thanks to Marx's sarcastic humor and improvised wisecracks, the show became a hit first on radio and then on television. The show ran until 1961.

October 5, 1957
Bernard Jeffrey McCullough better known by his
stage name Bernie Mac, was born on the South Side of Chicago. Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D.L. Hughley as The Original Kings of Comedy.

After briefly hosting the HBO show Midnight Mac, Mac appeared in several films in smaller roles. His most noted film role was as Frank Catton in the remake Ocean's Eleven and the titular character of Mr. 3000. He was the star of The Bernie Mac Show, which ran from 2001-2006, earning him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

His other films included starring roles in Friday,The Players Club, Head of State, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Bad Santa, Guess Who, Pride, Soul Men, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the solid organs, but had said the condition was in remission in 2005. Despite having the disease, his death on August 9, 2008 was caused by complications from pneumonia.

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

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dan Frischman on TV CONFIDENTIAL premiering Monday, Oct. 5

Actor, author, composer and magician Dan Frischman will be our special guest on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, premiering Monday, Oct. 5 at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio, with a rebroadcast Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 11pm ET, 8pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,

Best known for playing budding scientist and ϋber geek Arvid Engen on the long-running ABC comedy Head of the Class (as well as Chris Potter on the popular Nickelodeon series Kenan and Kel), Dan Frischman has been performing on stage, screen and television for nearly three decades. An accomplished stage magician, he has also just published his first novel, Jackson and Jenks: Master Magicians, the humorous tale of two youngsters who suddenly find themselves bestowed with fantastical powers—only to learn their newfound abilities can be more troublesome than not. We’ll talk about the novel, as well as Dan’s many roles in film and television, when he joins us for our second hour. If you’d like to be part of our conversation, if you grew up watching Head of the Class or have a favorite episode, join us for our live broadcast, premiering Monday, Oct. 5 at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Shokus Internet Radio. Phone number is (888) 746-5875 / (888) SHOKUS-5. If you have questions or comments you’d like to send in advance, our email address is

Friday, October 02, 2009

Your Mental Sorbet: Jenny Slate's "F" Word

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

New Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate drops an F-bomb in the middle of a live skit New Saturday Night Live cast member Jenny Slate. Her face is awesome once she realized her mistake.

The late Charles Rocket, surrounded by the mostly unknown cast (although young Eddie can be seen behind him) parodying the "Who Shot JR" sequence from the TV show "Dallas", that was one of the biggest pop culture items in late 1980, tells host Charlene Tilton (also on Dallas at the time) that "It has been the first time he has been shot in his life, and he'd like to know who the fuck did it". This originally aired live in the East Coast, edited for the West Coast airing later that night, but surely has to be the earliest instance of the profane word uttered on National TV.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Never Judge a Show by its Pilot: Community

First impressions:
This looks funny and I can see the show appealing to those of us who went back to college later in life. I personally had nightmares about gong back to school.
The big question is "Can Joel McHale carry a primetime network show?"
This show also looks like something I might write. A simple story about a guy who is making the best of things in a bad situation.

This show will draw in the Joel McHale and Chevy Chase fans. Also having The Office as a lead in will help greatly.

I watched the Pilot:

Joel McHale's character, Jeff Winger, is a DUI lawer whose bachelor’s degree was proven fake. Now he has to get a BA. degree within four years or be permanently be disbarred.

Off the bat, I see two problems. Please note these are observations not judgments:

DUI lawyers are the most despised of all attorneys. When you add the fact that his predicament is entirely of his own doing, it is hard to be sympathetic towards him. He is not a victim of circumstances.

Jeff has to find redemption ASAP. Historically American sitcoms cannot have a lead character with no redeeming qualities.

Like any good sitcom pilot, you know everything you need to know before the first comercial break. The supporting cast is creatively introdiced by type (Like the characters in the Gillian's Island theme) in a speech from the college's Dean. Later we learn everyone's name. Half of the supporting characters are college age. Abed, played by Danny Pudi is the pop culture junkie with assburger's syndrome. Annie, played by Alison Brie is the high-strung perfectionist. Troy, played by Donald Glover, is the former high school football star adjusting to his new status while clinging on to his high school glory. The other characters are adults returning to school. Pierce, played by Chevy Chase, is the senior citizen of the group and whose life experience has brought him infinite wisdom. Shirley, played by Yvette Nicole Brown, it the middle-aged divorcée. Rounding out the cast of characters is Britta, played by Gillian Jacobs, the 28-year old drop out who has returned to school. Britta is the one extracaricilar activity that Jeff is interested in. Britta is the most grounded character and can serve as the conduiet between the normalacy of the viewers and the crazyiness of campus life. I identify with Britta because I went back to school at her age and from my expirence, there is another cross section missing in the ensemble. Many of my classmates were downsized adults who had been in the workforce for a couple decades only to have their jobs no longer exist. I want to see that person.

In the pilot, Jeff has two goals. First, he wants to blackmail Dr. Ian Duncan, a teacher (played by John Oliver) whom Jeff represented in a DUI case, into giving him answers to all the tests. Second, he wants to get into Britta's pants. He tells her that he is a board certified Spanish tutor (He only knows a few words of the language). Britta invites other classmates to to join her and Jeff as a study group. The group learns more about themselves than their course work. I see the show having potential but I never judge a show by its pilot.

I watched the next episode. Ken Jeong is introduced as Spanish professor, Señor Chang. Jeff's attempt to become Britta's partner in a Spanish class project fails miserably. He winds up teamed with Pierce who wanted Jeff as a partner. The chemistry between Joel McHale and Chevy Chase is great. Meanwhile Britta’s comment about an executed Guatemalan journalist inspires Annie and Shirley to stage a protest. Their protest involves baking brownies, creating piñatas and placing duct tape over their mouths as a silent protest. I think it would work better if the socially conscious, albeit misguided, students focused on domestic issues like the two wars, the economy, or healthcare. All in all, I predict this show will last the season.

To quote Jeff Winger and Dr. Ian Duncan:

Jeff: I discovered at a very early age that if I talk long enough, I can make anything right or wrong. So either I'm God or truth is relative. In either case, booyah!"

Ian: Interesting, it's just that the average person has a much harder time saying 'booyah' to moral relativism.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa