Saturday, December 20, 2014

Countdown to Christmas: Mr. White's Christmas (The Rogues, 1964)

Earlier this morning, during their pre-dawn double-play of The Rogues, Me-TV unspooled the episode, "Mr. White's Christmas", which didn't actually air until the spring of '65. By that time, the decision had already been made to cancel the series. John McGiver guest stars, and Larry Hagman, a few months away from I Dream of Jeannie, fills in, although Charles Boyer has the spotlight.

The complete episode isn't available, and so we will settle for a sample clip:

No rating, as I have little memory of seeing the episode in its entirety.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas with Liberace (1954)

Liberace was granted his own television show not once, but twice.

The first series bowed in 1954 and enjoyed a healthy run of a couple of years. However, when he returned in a syndicated offering in 1969, it lasted just 1 season. Why that was, I don't really know, because I've never seen that version.

Liberace was close to his family, though. Brother George was his musical director, and his mom was reportedly a producer. Following is a compilation of clips from a Christmas episode from 1954. Liberace solos on "O Little Town of Bethlehem" & "O Holy Night" (instrumental only), and then, at the end of the show, the family gathers for a round of "Jingle Bells" (George is dressed as Santa Claus).

To think that this well respected musician and entertainer was working the other side of the street, if you catch my drift, was quite the surprise years later.

Rating: A-.

Weasel of the Week: Devar Hurd

"How do I know you're not sick? You could be some deranged lunatic!"--The Fresh Prince (Will Smith), 1987

In a nutshell, that describes this week's Weasel, Devar Hurd. 5 years after being released from prison for sending X-rated selfies, intended for R & B singer Ashanti, to her mother, Hurd is on trial again for stalking the singer and her family anew. You'd think this guy would've learned his lesson, but no. He chose to be his own defense lawyer, as if he actually learned anything while in stir.

He claims, according to media accounts, that Ashanti invited him in by accepting his messages, not realizing that he'd sent them to her mom instead of Ashanti herself. Blocking him on Twitter would've ended it all, but since he was using various aliases, how would Ashanti know if he was trying to contact her?

That he's in court is one thing. Proving he needs to go back to jail is another. In between, if it's love he's really looking for, like so many of these other dullards chasing hot actresses or singers, he'd be better served trying online dating. At least there he can find plenty of fish in the cybersea.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Countdown to Christmas: The Girl in the Emporium (The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, 1959)

As part of Mill Creek's Holiday Classics compilation, we present one of four Christmas episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.

Rick Nelson and his friend, Wally (Skip Young) are out Christmas shopping, then decide to apply for jobs at the same store, as both are interested in the same girl, a comely clerk who waited on them both.

We'll have a more comprehensive review of the series another time. This episode, on the other hand, merits a B.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Classic TV: Bat Masterson (1958)

Some people might think of Gene Barry for either Burke's Law or The Name of the Game, but before either one of those series, Barry had already established himself.

Barry was cast in Bat Masterson, a fictionalized account of the exploits of the real-life Wild West gentleman and gunfighter. The tailored suits Barry wore would become his trademark, as he was similarly outfitted in his later series.

The series lasted three seasons (1958-61), and airs today on Encore Westerns, a premium service, and has aired on This TV as well. The following entry is an episode that was included on a DVD compilation I had some time back. From Internet Archive, here's "The Fighter":

As simple as it gets.

Rating: A.

NFL this 'n' that

With two weeks left in the regular season, only three division titles, four playoff spots overall, have been decided. Normally, you'd think they'd have everything wrapped up around this time. Nope.

3 of the 4 AFC divisions have been decided, and it looks like both AFC Wild Cards will come from the North. A 1/2-game separates Cincinnati from Pittsburgh & Baltimore. The Bengals effectively eliminated Cleveland from title contention on Sunday---more on that shortly---, but get tone-deaf Peyton Manning and the Broncos on the season finale of Monday Night Football. Regardless of what happens, the North champ is locked into the 4 seed in the AFC, especially considering the WWE-style schedule manipulations of the East champs, the New England Patriots. The Pats and Philadelphia both got the luck of the draw with their division foes being their last three opponents. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Dallas collected a receipt on Sunday for the Thanksgiving Day Massacre, and hold a couple of tiebreakers in their favor.

Personally, I'd rather the Pats play their home games on a neutral field. Does Leavenworth have a football stadium? There's just something screwy about Crybaby Brady and his Col. Flagg wannabe coach, Belichump.

Back to the Browns. Coach Mike Pettine gets a Dunce Cap for deciding that rookie QB Johnny Manziel would get another start after the former Heisman Trophy winner stunk it up against Cincinnati, and the Bengals defense threw his on-field antics back in his face. All that proves to me is that Manziel let the success go to his head at Texas A & M, and should've stayed in school instead of listening to the leeches he surrounds himself with.

Don't ya think Browns management wishes they hadn't let Brandon Weeden, now Tony Romo's backup in Dallas, walk after 2 years? Of course.

The New York tabloids wanted the Jests to lose to Tennessee, so they could draft this year's Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota, or last year's, Jameis Winston, the latter being instant tabloid bait. Winston is like Manziel in that he has not matured enough to warrant turning pro now. He needs another year at Florida State. So the Jests went out and completed Tennessee's Dismal Double, after the Titans lost to the Giants a week earlier.

Meanwhile, while Giants QB Eli Manning didn't make any X-Men wannabe ads for Toyota this season, he did do something worthwhile, like doing a "No More" spot for the Joyful Heart Foundation. ESPN's Cris Carter is also among the talent.........

Maybe in his spare time, Eli can get his brother Peyton an appointment with a voice coach. Trying to string together words to the tune of Nationwide Insurance's jingle doesn't work. Period.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Celebrity Rock: Ballroom Blitz (1992)

One of the highlights of "Wayne's World" in 1992 was the soundtrack. Sure, Mike Myers (Wayne) & Dana Carvey (Garth) and their writers seemed to throw everything in but the kitchen sink, including a homage to Scooby-Doo with a false finish, but the retro soundtrack was a winner. They put Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" back in the public consciousness, but that wasn't the only gem from the 70's, it seems.

The Sweet scored a big hit with "Ballroom Blitz". However, ye scribe never heard their version prior to the movie, and I'd imagine a number of you were in the same boat. So it might come as a shock that actress Tia Carrere's cover was just that. A cover. And a pretty good one, too. If only they didn't include Wayne & Garth's hammy antics in the video......