Friday, October 30, 2015

Al Molinaro

I spent twenty years here before I got anything going, and from that I got lucky. It takes a lot of luck in show business too. You've just got to be lucky and in the right place at the right time 
Al Molinaro
Albert Francis "AlMolinaroJune 24, 1919 – October 30, 2015
Al Molinaro died in a Glendale, California, hospital today, at the age of 96. He is survived by his wife Betty and son Michael, who said his father's death was the result of complications from an infected gall bladder. 
Al Molinaro was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the son of Italian immigrants Rafaele and Teresa Molinaro. Molinaro moved to California in the early 1950s and worked odd jobs, finally saving enough money to start his own collection agency. He eventually sold his business and became interested in southern California real estate speculation. His investments paid off when one of his properties was purchased by a conglomerate which used the land to build one of the largest retail shopping malls of its day. As a result, Molinaro was already financially independent when he decided to pursue his longtime dream of being an actor.
Molinaro took an improvisation class, in which Penny Marshall was one of the other students. In 1970, she introduced him to her brother, producer Garry Marshall, who offered Molinaro the role of police officer Murray Greshler on the TV sitcom The Odd Couple, which aired until 1975. 
The following year, Molinaro was then hired by Garry Marshall to replace Pat Morita on another sitcom he produced, Happy Days. Molinaro's character was Al Delvecchio, the owner of Arnold's malt shop. He left the show in 1982, but then was tapped by Garry Marshall again to play the Al Delvecchio role on the short-lived Happy Days spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi, starring Scott Baio and Erin Moran.
In 1987, Molinaro and fellow Happy Days cast member Anson Williams opened a chain of diners called Big Al's.
He revealed in 1990 that he declined acting roles in movies offered to him by Garry Marshall. Molinaro said at the time, "I can’t work in movies with Garry because I’m so square that I won’t be in a movie that has four-letter words in it. . . . That puts me pretty much totally out of films these days. . . . You get to a point where you don’t want to do just anything for the career. You gotta live with yourself".
In 1992, at age 73, he retired from acting in film and television but continued to appear in TV commercials until the early 2000s. He appeared in 42 On-Cor commercials between 1987 and 2003.

Molinaro appeared in Weezer's music video for the 1994 song "Buddy Holly", which was set in Arnold's diner. He introduced the band as "Kenosha, Wisconsin's own Weezer."
In 2004, Molinaro announced plans to write a book about his childhood in Kenosha and his acting experiences. In 2005, he did not appear in the Happy Days Reunion which aired on ABC.
Molinaro was a frequent guest on the Don and Mike Show, a nationally syndicated radio show that aired from 1985 to 2008.

Good Night Al
Don't forget to lock up.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Your Mental Sorbet: Auto-Tune The Munsters: A Rock Opera

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

COZI-TV presents a Halloween special, "Auto-Tune the Munsters," the first TV show in history to get the Auto-Tune treatment! The episode "A Man for Marilyn" features five original songs and videos as Grandpa tries to turn an ugly frog into a handsome prince for Marilyn. Invite all the zombies, monsters, ghosts and witches at your Halloween party to hear this rock and rap musical with Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne), Lily (Yvonne DeCarlo), Grandpa (Al Lewis), Eddie (Butch Patrick) and Marilyn (Pat Priest). Trick or treat? Have both this Halloween night at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Charlotte Rae and Deborah Norville: Next on TVC

Actress Charlotte Rae and Inside Edition anchor Deborah Norville will join us on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, airing Oct. 28-Nov. 2 at the following times and venues:

WROM Radio
Detroit, MI
Wednesday 10/28
8pm ET, 5pm PT
2am ET, 11pm PT
Sunday 11/1
8pm ET, 5pm PT
2am ET, 11pm PT
Click on the Listen Live button at

KHDN AM-1230
KBSR AM-1490
KYLW AM-1450
Billings, MT
part of GLN Radio Network
Friday 10/30
3pm ET, Noon PT
Saturday 10/31
6pm ET, 3pm PT
Monday 11/2
3pm ET, Noon PT

Share-a-Vision Radio
San Francisco Bay Area
Friday 10/30
7pm ET, 4pm PT
10pm ET, 7pm PT
Click on the Listen Live button at
Use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in KSAV
or hear us on the KSAV channel on CX Radio Brazil

Indiana Talks
Marion, IN
Saturday 10/31
8pm ET, 5pm PT
Sunday 11/1
6pm ET, 3pm PT
Click on the player at
or use the TuneIn app on your smartphone and type in Indiana Talks

KSCO-AM 1080
San Jose, Santa Cruz and Salinas, CA
KOMY-AM 1340
La Selva Beach and Watsonville, CA
Sunday 11/1
9am ET, 6am PT
Also streaming at

KHMB AM-1710
KHMV-LP 100.9 FM

Half Moon Bay, CA
Sunday 11/1
9pm PT
Monday 11/2
Midnight ET
Click on the Listen Live button at
San Francisco, CA
Monday 11/2
10pm ET, 7pm PT
with replays Tuesday thru Friday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT
Click on the Talk Slot button at

Ann Arbor, MI
Various times throughout the week
on the Entertainment Channel at

Most of you know Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Garrett on The Facts of Life (and, before that, Diff’rent Strokes), as well as Schnauser’s wife on Car 54, Where Are You? and Molly the Mail Carrier on Sesame Street. But she also has a long list of stage credits, both on and off Broadway, including Li’l Abner, Threepenny Opera, Come Back Little Sheba, Pippin, Romeo and Juliet and dozens of others. Most remarkable, however, is that as often as Charlotte has made us laugh, she did often did so while overcoming great personal trauma, including the uncertainty of raising a son with autism at a time when very few medical experts knew much about it.

Charlotte opens up about her life in a new book, The Facts of My Life, that also includes great stories about her work and friendships with such legends as Meryl Streep, Jean Stapleton, Larry Hagman, Alice Ghostley, Stacy Keach, Julie Newmar, Tina Louise, Eartha Kitt, Paul Lynde, Dick Cavett, Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury and Charles Nelson Reilly. Charlotte Rae will join us in our second hour.

For our listeners on the East Coast, Charlotte Rae will be signing copies of The Facts of My Life at legendary Sardi’s Restaurant in New York City on Tuesday, Nov. 3. For our listeners on the West Coast, Charlotte will sign copies of her book at the Barnes and Noble at the Grove in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Also joining us this week will be Deborah Norville, the Emmy Award-winning journalist
who is celebrating her 20th anniversary this year as the host of Inside Edition. An eternal optimist, Deborah has not only believed in the power of positive thinking since she was a young girl, she has written or co-written several books on the subject — the latest of which, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible, asks the question “How much better would life be if we lived it with possibility?”

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible: 101 Studies About a Positive Attitude to Improve Your Life is an inspiring collection of stories written by people who achieved success, overcame disabilities and loss, or otherwise transformed their lives through positive thinking and force of will. Deborah Norville will join us in our first hour.

TV CONFIDENTIAL: A radio talk show about television
Wed and Sun 8pm ET, 5pm PT on WROM Radio
Fri and Mon 3pm ET, Noon PT and Sat 6pm ET, 3pm PT on GLN Radio Network
Fri 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, and CX Radio Brazil
Sat 8pm ET, 5pm PT and Sun 6pm ET, 3pm PT on Indiana Talks
Sun 9am ET, 6am PT KSCO-AM 1080 (San Jose, Santa Cruz and Salinas, CA)
Sun 9am ET, 6am PT KOMY-AM 1340 (La Selva Beach and Watsonville, CA)
Sun 9pm PT, Mon Mid ET on KHMB-AM and FM (Half Moon Bay, CA)
Mon 10pm ET, 7pm PT on The Radio Slot Network
Replays various times throughout the week on the Entertainment Channel at PWRNetwork
Tape us now, listen to us later, using
Also available as a podcast via iTunes, FeedBurner
and now on your mobile phone via
Follow us online at
Follow us now on Twitter:
Like our Fan Page at

Monday, October 26, 2015

This Week in Television History: October 2015 PART IV

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

October 27, 1945
U.S. President Harry S. Truman made his first live television appearance. 
President Harry S. Truman made his first "live" television appearance at a Navy Day speech in New York's Central Park on October 27, 1945.

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 Show 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.

October 30, 2010
The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. The gathering that took place on October 30, 2010 at the National Mall in Washington, DC. The rally was led by Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program The Daily Show, and Stephen Colbert, in-character as a conservative political pundit.  About 215,000 people attended the rally, according to aerial photography analysis by for CBS News.
The rally was a combination of what initially were announced as separate events: Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" and Colbert's counterpart, the "March to Keep Fear Alive." Its stated purpose was to provide a venue for attendees to be heard above what Stewart described as the more vocal and extreme 15–20% of Americans who "control the conversation" of American politics, the argument being that these extremes demonize each other and engage in counterproductive actions, with a return to sanity intended to promote reasoned discussion. Despite Stewart's insistence to the contrary, news reports cast the rally as a spoof of Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally and Al Sharpton's Reclaim the Dream rally. 

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


Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa