Friday, November 30, 2018

High School Fridays: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake @ Troy (women's basketball), 11/30/18

The best kept secret in Section II basketball this off-season was at Troy High. Most of us didn't know about it until tonight.

Troy athletic director Paul Reinisch quietly overhauled the women's basketball coaching staff. Paul Bearup, after 13 seasons, decided to concentrate on his day-to-day duties as a physical education teacher. Ryan Meikel was named head coach, with Sarah Fullmer the only assistant. I think I can figure out what happened here. After a 6-15 campaign last season, Reinisch reasoned that the girls were hearing too many voices, which led to the team lacking cohesion and/or direction. The idea here is that with just two coaches instead of three or four, a system both the boys & girls teams have had (and the boys still do), it will make things a little easier for a women's team that still lacks senior leadership. They have just two seniors on this season's 11 player roster.

It helps the new coaching staff that they got what amounted to a gimme right away.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake has been a second division club since the Suburban Council was split into two divisions three years ago. Headed into tonight's league opener, the Lady Spartans hadn't beaten Troy in three tries. Coach Colleen Froschauer has a talented roster, but she, too, also lacks seniors, with just one----Erin Pahl---on her roster, countered with two freshmen and an 8th grader.

Troy took the lead early, and never gave it up. Sophomore forward Jenalyse Alarcon, one of Troy's leading scorers last season, led all scorers with 18 points before fouling out in the 4th quarter. Alaina Holmes added 11, and survived a minor injury scare in the 3rd quarter when she tweaked either her knee or her ankle. Kelly Anderson led Burnt Hills with 11, and Troy rolled to a 60-36 victory.

However, the road doesn't get easier for Troy. While there's one fewer team in the division after Mohonasen departed for the Colonial Council, Troy has three home & home series on the docket this season, as they'll visit Burnt Hills for the rematch on January 29 after mid-term week. The other home & homes are with, as usual, Albany (starting Tuesday) & Schenectady. In the long term, however, it would make more sense, due to geography, to have that 3rd home & home series be with Averill Park or Columbia, both close territorial rivals.

After visiting Albany Tuesday afternoon, the Lady Horses return home next Friday to play Ballston Spa, then get a week off before traveling to Guilderland. The boys, under 2nd year head coach Greg Davis, begin their season Tuesday at home vs. Albany.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What Might've Been: The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963)

In 1963, MGM acquired the rights to Robert Lewis Taylor's youth-centric Western novel, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, and adapted it into a weekly series for ABC. This was the show that put a young future movie icon on the map.

That would be a then-12 year old Kurt Russell, years before a string of Disney movies led to "Escape From New York", among other films. Russell had 2nd billing in the title role behind Dan O'Herlihy, who played Jaimie's father. Another future icon, Charles Bronson, already a television veteran, joined the show about halfway through the season.

So where did ABC go wrong? Travels was slotted opposite The Wonderful World of Disney on NBC and the combination of My Favorite Martian and the first half of The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS. Game over.

A feature film reboot of the series finale was released about a year or so after the series ended with Russell & Bronson joined by Russ Conway, replacing O'Herlihy.

The four eldest of the Osmond Brothers (Alan, Merrill, Jay, & Wayne) appeared as the Kissel brothers, and sang the closing theme, "In Old California". Unfortunately, complete episodes are not available online, so we'll settle for the instrumental intro:

I was but an infant when this came out, and I never watched the show, so no rating.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: Father Christmas (1977)

The Kinks gravitated from pop to hard rock, closer to a punk style, some say, in the late 70's, before moving back to the softer sounds of yore on 1983's "Come Dancing".

From 1977, here's "Father Christmas", not to be confused with Emerson, Lake, & Palmer's "(I Believe in) Father Christmas", for obvious reasons.

Sports this 'n' that

For the 2nd straight season, ESPN is seeing a member of their football broadcast team leave for a coaching job that he once held.

This time, college football studio analyst Mack Brown is leaving to begin his second stint at North Carolina, taking effect next season, hoping to reverse the Tar Heels' recent misfortunes on the gridiron. However, if Jon Gruden's struggles in his 2nd tour of duty in Oakland are any indicator, Brown will have a long road ahead of him in tobacco country.
A correction on recent notes on Troy High.

The boys' basketball team's game at Bethlehem last night was actually a scrimmage, but was not designated as such per Schedule Galaxy, which needs to specify such things going forward. Greg Davis' club begins their season, as per usual, in the first week of December. The women, meanwhile, open at home on Friday vs. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
This is how bad things are at Bishop Maginn these days.

Once a power in the now-defunct Big 10, Maginn now plays in the Western Athletic Conference. Enrollment is down, thanks largely to the emergence of charter schools such as Green Tech. The performance on the court, as a result, is a far, far cry from those glory days, which weren't that long ago.

After their boys' team was blown off the court at Lansingburgh twice over the weekend, the Maginn women came to North Troy Tuesday, and were similarly dismantled by Lansingburgh, 40-19. Not a good start to the season for the Griffins, who will begin league play next week.
While the Capital District High School Hockey League welcomed back Albany Academy this season, other schools are in the mix as well, but joining forces with pre-established teams.

For example, after changing their name from Tri-Falls to Adirondack last year, the conglomerate of Hudson Falls, Glens Falls, & South Glens Falls has added Warrensburg. Niskayuna-Schenectady is now Niskayuna-Schenectady-Albany after adding a handful of players from Albany High. An article in the Daily Gazette reports that the Mohawks have had fewer players from the Electric City in the last year or two due to declining interest.

"Guilderville" (Guilderland-Mohonasen-Scotia-Glenville) has added players from Schalmont & Voorheesville to their roster. The Shaker-Colonie Jets are now the Capital District Jets after welcoming players from Averill Park, Tamarac, & Columbia, the latter of whom has not fielded a team since the 80's, when their program merged with Troy's, for all the good that did. There just aren't enough kids in each of the individual schools to field separate teams, which otherwise would expand the league into two divisions within itself. Queensbury is in division 2, and thus doesn't play in the Section II tournament.
Now's a good time to announce that starting next month, we're launching a new blog devoted to local sports. Watch for it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: The Christmas Song (1957-61)

Nat "King" Cole, I think, though I cannot be sure, recorded Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song" with a jazz trio in 1946, then reissued it as a solo track 15 years later, and it is the solo version that everyone remembers.

This clip, though, appears to be from Cole's ill-fated variety show from the late 50's. I may be wrong (again), but this sounds like a mashup of the video clip, and the later recording.

Judge for yourselves.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tough guys shill for Canada Dry (1977)

Canada Dry came up with a clever ad campaign in 1977, running a series of ads that mixed and matched various stars singing the praises of the soft drink.

Virtually every one of these spots features Broderick Crawford reprising his Highway Patrol character of Dan Matthews. Here, he's bookended by Aldo Ray (last heard from dabbling in cartoons) and Jack Palance.

There are other spots with Bruce Gordon, reprising as Frank Nitti from The Untouchables, a sought after bit that isn't available presently, and one with Ruth Buzzi as Gladys from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. That same fall, Gladys would become a cartoon character in NBC's The Nitwits, a belated spin-off from Laugh-In.

Sports this 'n' that

Congratulations to the Glens Falls Indians on winning their 2nd Class B state title in 3 years after beating Batavia, 55-32, on Saturday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. It was QB Joe Girard III's final football game, as he'll be playing basketball at the same venue beginning next season. In fact, Orange basketball coach Jim Boeheim and assistant Gerry McNamara were in attendance at the game, a perfect transition, if you will for Girard as he finishes his gridiron career.
In a week of high scoring football games at the college level, an SEC game between LSU & Texas A & M turned into a basketball game if the final score is any indicator. The Aggies beat the Tigers, 74-72, on Saturday night, another case where defense had the night off.

Meanwhile, long time Big 10 rivals Ohio State & Michigan had their annual end-of-season game in Columbus, with the Buckeyes, a home underdog, spoiling Michigan's chances of sneaking into the College Football Playoff with a 62-39 win. Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh might want to talk to his brother, John, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, about figuring a way to beat Ohio State......
Speaking of Baltimore, the future seems to be now. Rookie Lamar Jackson, out of Louisville, is 2-0 as a starter for the Ravens, who are chasing Pittsburgh for the AFC North title. It appears that Joe Flacco is being phased out in his 11th season out of Delaware.

The front-running Steelers, however, took one on the chin Sunday, dropping a 24-17 decision to Denver, which has been dealing with hard luck this season, chasing Kansas City and the LA Chargers in the AFC West. Five weeks remain, and plenty of time for more maneuvering.....
Kingston won the Lansingburgh Holiday Basketball tournament on Saturday, beating the hosts, 71-53. The Knights fall to 1-1 as they will begin Colonial Council play this weekend. In the consolation game, Shaker beat Bishop Maginn, 73-46. It wasn't a packed house in North Troy, but that can be blamed on a lack of newspaper coverage.
Speaking of which, El Cheapo Media has fumbled their high school sports listing for this week. LaSalle's hockey team begins their regular season schedule with the annual trip to Plattsburgh on Friday, but what does El Cheapo do? They have Friday's game backwards, reporting that LaSalle is home. Wrong-o, hedge fund breath! The Cadets play two games in the Plattsburgh area to start the season every year. They have a matinee at Beekmantown on Saturday before returning to the Capital Region. I guess El Cheapo laid off their proofreaders in the sports department.......
RPI has advanced to the NCAA Division 3 football quarterfinals after upsetting Brockport, 21-13, on Saturday. Next stop is in the Baltimore suburbs against Johns Hopkins, better known as a lacrosse power, on Saturday. The only way anyone will know how the Engineers fare will be by listening to the game on the school's radio station. It would be an achievement if RPI brought home its first national title in any sport since the 1984-5 hockey team, but we'll see........
Union College, speaking of hockey, won the Friendship Four tournament in Ireland over the weekend. This week, the University at Albany's men's basketball team visits the Emerald Isle for a tournament. Can lightning strike twice?
Most observers are writing off, or have written off, Green Bay, and that was before they lost to Minnesota on Sunday night. Too many State Farm commercials, getting dumber by the year, have reduced Aaron Rodgers to not-quite-has-been status. They're saying the same thing about Eli Manning with the Giants, and Big Blue is 3-8 after getting swept by Philadelphia on Sunday. The Jests are playing out the string after dropping to 3-8 as well in a loss to New England. Patriots over Jets is met with a yawn at this desk, since the most selfish QB in the league, Tom Brady, doesn't believe in diversifying his offense. I get he's a gamer, but as Kenny Rogers sang 40 years ago, you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, etc., and pad the stats on something else once in a while.......

Countdown to Christmas: 'Twas The Week Before Christmas (The Smothers Brothers Show, 1965)

From The Smothers Brothers Show:

Apprentice angel Tom works with the Marine Corps' Toys For Tots campaign, and Dick, as usual, has to help clean up after.

The supporting cast includes some familiar names, including Roland Winters, who was doing a good deal of TV in those days after playing Charlie Chan in the movies some years earlier, Harriet MacGibbon (The Beverly Hillbillies), and, in this episode, a pre-Brady Bunch Eve Plumb.

The Four Star banner logo was edited off this print.

I think the Smothers Brothers were, in fact, working with Toys For Tots at the time, similar to Bewitched using their Halloween episodes to shill for UNICEF.

No rating.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

On The Air: Titans (2018)

Parents, ya might want to keep your kids away from these Titans.

Four years ago, TNT had ordered a pilot based on the long running DC Comics franchise. The pilot was entrusted to Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind"), who wasn't exactly golden with pre-established franchises, having scripted both of Joel Schumacher's "Batman" movies, and had a hand in the feature film reboot of Lost in Space that flopped.

A couple of years later, TNT decided they were no longer interested, and Warner Bros., along with DC, decided to reboot the project for the now-active DC Universe streaming service. Goldsman was still attached, now joined by DC's Geoff Johns, and ultra-busy producer Greg Berlanti (Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, God Friended Me, etc.).

The first season is set for 12 episodes, and unlike Marvel-Netflix's family of series, will stream one at a time, so if you want to binge, you have to wait until after all 12 are available.

Much has been made online, for all the wrong reasons, of the casting of Anna Diop as Starfire. In the storyline, Princess Koriand'r, aka Kory Anders, aka Starfire, has lost her memory, but not her powers. Diop has acquitted herself in the role so far. Australian Brendan Thwaites plays Dick Grayson (Robin I/Nightwing), who has relocated from Gotham City to Detroit. Seems the posting is a call back to the disastrous decision made by DC to plant the Justice League in Motown in the mid-80's.

The plot centers on one Rachel Roth, aka Raven. Comics fans know that Raven, an empath, is the daughter of a demon from another dimension and a human mother, and that the Rachel Roth alias is a more recent creation, after Raven had been de-aged somewhat. Don't ask. Rachel's adoptive mom is played by Sherilyn Fenn (ex-Twin Peaks), and through the first couple of episodes is the only familiar name in the cast. That changes with the introduction of the Doom Patrol, who will be spun off into their own series. Brendan Fraser, who has seemingly dropped off Hollywood's radar, will voice Robotman.

Time now to take a look at the trailer. Parental discretion is strongly advised.

The Nuclear Family, a menace beginning in episode 2, were originally created as foes for The Outsiders in the mid-80's. It's part of the Berlanti philosophy to use villains from other books to fill out the rogues' gallery, a trend that started with Arrow cribbing from Batman's rogues gallery.

Rating: A.

Advertising For Dummies: Drinking Canada Dry won't make you a song & dance man, but.....(1980's)

Here's a long lost Canada Dry ad that hasn't seen the light of day in years.

Before Quantum Leap launched his career into the stratosphere, Scott Bakula was just another actor looking to be discovered. The soft drink maker's ad agency cast him in this ad, directed by Bob Giraldi, with choreography by Michael Peters ("Beat It"). I guess they thought they found their answer to Dr. Pepper's singing pitchman, David Naughton.

Judge for yourselves.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The ignorance of Twidiots hits Charlie Brown

It's come to my attention that some ignorant souls on Twitter raised a stink the other day over ABC airing A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, pointing out a scene where Franklin, an African-American character added to the Peanuts strip in 1968, is seated alone on his side of the makeshift banquet table.

Series creator Charles Schulz introduced Franklin in response to the assassination of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968. This particular show aired five years later, and has been a holiday staple, first on CBS, then on ABC, which has held the rights since 2002. Franklin had appeared in 1972's "Snoopy Come Home", but was part of a larger group of kids at the table.

Here's the scene that has so many people in a lather.

I call this Twidiot Twaddle over-reacting, a case of people looking for something to gripe about. I've heard of making mountains out of molehills, but this is ridiculous.

My take: There might've been more guests, but some probably declined invitations off-camera. Some people just like to spend their time being miserable......

Sports this 'n' that

Suppose you were hosting a Thanksgiving weekend basketball tournament, and none of the local papers promoted the event in advance?

That's what happened in Lansingburgh, as the Knights opened their season with a holiday tournament, welcoming Kingston, Shaker, & Bishop Maginn to their gym on Friday. Ye scribe found out via the Knights' page on the Colonial Council website, which only promoted the home team's headline game vs. Bishop Maginn, which now plays in the Western Athletic Conference after the dissolution of the Big 10 4 years ago.

Kingston, which swept Troy High last season in a home-&-home regular season series, added another Suburban Council pelt in beating Shaker, 77-56 in the opener. Maginn vs. Lansingburgh was only delayed by a mere five minutes due to the earlier games, including the junior varsity tournament involving the same four schools, running over the Section II-appointed time frame. Will they never learn?

In Shaker's defense, two of their seniors, Connor McHugh & Rayveon Burt, might not have been in full basketball shape, less than a week after their football careers ended in Middletown with a loss to New Rochelle.

Maginn didn't have their rosters finalized in time for the printing deadline for 'Burgh's game program, so I can't tell you who did what. What I can tell you is that their coach decided to take a technical foul right at the start. Bad idea. Isaiah Knight sank one out of two free throws, starting him off toward a game-high 31 points. Trevor Green finished with 15, and Lansingburgh blew away the Griffins, 79-58. While it was the first game for both teams, the Griffins came out flat in the first quarter, outscored by a ridiculous 32-6. Maginn could get no closer than 16 points the rest of the evening.

It'll be Kingston vs. Lansingburgh in the title game, with Maginn vs. Shaker in the consolation game, later today. Oh, by the way, El Cheapo Media doesn't have it on their schedule of events for the second straight day. Priorities, you know.
Four days after Kansas City & the Los Angeles Rams put on an offensive show on Monday Night Football, a Big 12 matchup between Oklahoma & West Virginia sought to live up to the homily that "anything you can do, we can do better".

Well, I did say Monday's game looked like a Big 12 game, if not an Arena game. Once again, the scoreboard was lighting up like a pinball machine as Oklahoma earned a rematch with Texas for the Big 12 title next week with a 59-56 verdict in Morgantown.
Back in the day, you could count on Oklahoma playing Nebraska when both were in the former Big 8 (now Big 12) on Black Friday. Ditto Texas vs. Texas A & M. With Nebraska now in the Big 10 and the Aggies in the SEC, those matchups don't happen as often as they used to. Two traditional regular season-ending games take place today, as Michigan will play Ohio State for a spot in the Big 10 title game next week vs. Northwestern, and Notre Dame visits USC. The Trojans' other end-of-season tradition, vs. in-city rival UCLA, took place last week. USC coach Clay Helton is on the hot seat, and could be pink slipped with a loss tonight.
One week ago, ESPN decided to try something a little different.

Pardon The Interruption, part of the network's weekday afternoon drive chat block, went on location at co-host Michael Wilbon's alma mater, Northwestern. The Wildcats were hosting Binghamton, out of the America East conference. Tony Kornheiser, a Binghamton alumnus, wore their colors opposite Wilbon in Northwestern gear. It felt like a compacted College GameDay episode during basketball season.

Well, after SportsCenter, Wilbon & Kornheiser were in the unusual position of doing color commentary for their respective alma maters during the game. Unfortunately, this sweeps stunt was DOA. Kornheiser has already proven, after a disastrous stint on Monday Night Football, that he isn't meant to be a game analyst. Wilbon has called NBA games, and should've known better than to lapse into doing two hours-plus of schtick with Kornheiser. Oh, by the way, Northwestern blew out the Bearcats. That game was over at halftime.
Since Section II has just one team left (Glens Falls) in the state football tournament, Spectrum News' Albany branch isn't bothering to broadcast the game. It's a cost-saving move, although game analyst James Allen will cover the game for the Albany Times-Union.
RPI's playoff game today at Brockport has a decided hometown flavor.

Former LaSalle QB Joe Germinerio, Jr., whose brother, John, is a sophomore at Union, is the starting quarterback for Brockport, and was named the Empire 8 Conference Offensive Player of The Year. No, that game isn't being televised, either. However, RPI's student-run radio station will have the game, set for a noon (ET) kickoff.

Friday, November 23, 2018

YouTube Theatre: March of The Wooden Soldiers (aka Babes in Toyland)(1934)

Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland was first adapted for the big screen by Hal Roach in 1934, and starring Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy. However, for whatever reason, the film has been reissued under the title, "The March of The Wooden Soldiers", which refers to a climatic scene in the film.

"Wooden Soldiers" is a loose adaptation of Herbert's original story, and has been an annual holiday tradition in New York, airing on WPIX even to this day.

Stannie Dumm (Laurel) & Ollie Dee (Hardy) live with the Old Woman in a Shoe, and take action when the nefarious Mr. Barnaby threatens to foreclose unless Little Bo-Peep agrees to marry him. Why would she even give a pathetic scoundrel like Barnaby the time of day anyway? Laurel & Hardy's characters, in case you can't figure it out, are based on Tweedledum & Tweedledee from Alice in Wonderland.

Babes in Toyland has been adapted twice more, at least. Disney gave it a shot in 1961, and there was a TV-movie in the 80's with Richard Moll (Night Court), Keanu Reeves, and Drew Barrymore.

Apparently, the reason for the looser adaptation was to allow room for Laurel & Hardy's usual schtick. I think the 1986 TV-movie was a little shorter in length.

Rating: B+.

What Might've Been: Anna & The King (1972)

20th Century Fox bequeathed CBS with a pair of sitcoms in 1972, both based on hit movies. You know, of course, that M*A*S*H went on to win a bunch of Emmy awards in its 11 seasons (1972-83), and gradually transitioned into more of a dramedy as time progressed.

Anna & The King, you'd think, would've also been a winner. Yul Brynner, having already won an Oscar and 2 Tony awards for his role in the movie and stage versions of "The King & I", made a rare foray into television to reprise as the King of Siam, this time opposite Samantha Eggar (Deborah Kerr had the role of Anna in the movie). Brynner was back at CBS, which gave him his first television job several years earlier as a director on Studio One.

So what went wrong? It aired on Sundays, opposite the 2nd half of The Wonderful World of Disney. Game over.

Interestingly, Keye Luke had the distinction of co-starring on Anna as well as ABC's freshman series, Kung Fu, which premiered a month later, and didn't air weekly during its first season. For Luke, it was really a hat trick, since he was also the lead voice in the CBS Saturday morning series, The Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan that same season. Brian Tochi, who played the Prince, may be better known for his later Saturday morning work, co-starring in Space Academy five years later, also for CBS.

Unfortunately, Anna & The King lasted just 12 episodes, when its pedigree suggested it should've succeeded. Had it been on a different night, things might've been different.

Gilmore Box provides the intro:

No rating. My house was a Disney house on Sundays.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Classic TV: The Bob Newhart Show (1972)

Group therapy was never this funny, and, believe me, I know. I've been there.

Bob Newhart joined CBS' developing Saturday night lineup in 1972 with a self-titled sitcom that cast him as a psychologist based in Chicago.

Dr. Robert Hartley (Newhart) listens to the issues of his patients, but when he comes home, it's more of the same when it comes to friends like pilot Howard Borden (Bill Daily, ex-I Dream of Jeannie).

The Bob Newhart Show lasted six seasons (1972-8), and for all but the final season had stablemate The Mary Tyler Moore Show as its lead-in. In addition to Daily, Newhart was surrounded by an outstanding ensemble, including Suzanne Pleshette, Marcia Wallace, Peter Bonerz, and John Fiedler. 70's icons Henry Winkler & Howard Hesseman made appearances before hitting it big themselves.

Shout! Factory owns the video rights to the series, and offers the intro:

Rating: A.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

On The Air: God Friended Me (2018)

When a preacher's son decides to publicly declare himself an atheist, well, let's just say that God will have something to say about that.

God Friended Me brings executive producer Greg Berlanti back to CBS after Supergirl moved to CW following its 1st season. Unfortunately, the two shows are slotted opposite each other, as both air on Sundays at 8 (ET), though God Friended Me often will have delays due to football overruns until January.

Brandon Micheal Hall stars as Miles Finer, the son of a preacher (Joe Morton). Choosing not to follow in his father's footsteps, Miles decided to be an atheist, and launches a podcast. Initially, he believes that a Facebook account credited to God is a hoax, but, as he and the viewers find out, it's anything but. Violet Beane moves over from The Flash to play Cara, Miles' partner in solving the weekly mysteries.

Ya might say this is Berlanti's way of rebooting Highway to Heaven for the 21st century, except God is taking a direct hand via social media, rather than sending an angel to Earth.

Following is a trailer for the show:

Let me suggest a couple of songs for a soundtrack album:

"Son of a Preacher Man" (Dusty Springfield) & "Mysterious Ways" (U2). The rest of the album can be front loaded with contemporary Christian music (i.e. Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, Kari Jobe, etc.).

I finally got around to sampling the show, but not all the episodes are available On Demand at present. I think maybe a DVD acquisition is in order......

Rating: A.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Forgotten TV: One Happy Family (1961)

In the winter of 1961, Mark Goodson & Bill Todman served up a sitcom that felt like just another domestic comedy, except that in this case, you had three generations under the same roof.

Dick Sargent, four years before Broadside, toplined One Happy Family. In fact, when Sargent was later cast to replace Dick York on Bewitched, it snapped a string of failures that began with Family.

Only 15 episodes were filmed at Desilu for G-T, whose logo at the end of the show adorned several Milton Bradley home games of familiar G-T game show franchises such as Password. Due to the lack of episodes, it was never syndicated,  but Decades does have it in its library, as you'll see in this sample.

No rating.

A little bit of this and a little of that

It used to be that on Thanksgiving week, schools would have an early dismissal on Wednesday, to give students and faculty a head start on the holiday.

This year, they're taking it a step further.

When classes end today, students will have the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving, returning to class on Monday. In the Washington County village of Salem, Thanksgiving vacation has already begun with classes cancelled today, along with a parent-teacher conference, due to an overnight snowstorm.

Some schools will open their doors this weekend, such as Lansingburgh, which will be one of a number of schools hosting pre-season basketball tournaments.
Last month, Niskayuna High had to deal with the fact that some of their students hurled racial slurs at some African-American soccer players on Schenectady's women's team, adding more discomfort for a team that finished at the bottom of the Suburban Council's Grey division.

Now, the school is dealing with threats, real or otherwise, aimed at the school itself over the last two weeks. A public forum was held Monday night, mostly addressing the poor handling of a school lockdown two weeks ago that forced students to wait until 6 pm to return home.

Some might call it karma in the wake of the incident last month, but there's no way of knowing right now if the two are related.
Monday Night Football, in its 49th season, has seen its share of blowouts.

But, then, they've never seen a college game break out like it did last night between the Los Angeles Rams & Kansas City Chiefs.

When I say college, I mean the high scoring affairs you often see in the Big 12 (i.e. TCU-Baylor a couple of years back). The Rams went to 10-1 on the season with a 54-51 shootout win. You could also make the argument that this was more like Arena football at double the size. Thankfully, the teams get to rest next week before returning to action on December 2.
The Washington Trumpets lost QB Alex Smith for the season on Sunday when he suffered a broken leg in a loss to Houston. This dredged up memories of another Washington QB, Joe Theismann, whose season ended the same way 33 years ago against the Giants. Houston's JJ Watt ended up playing the part, if you will, of Lawrence Taylor in sacking Smith.

Washington has pulled former Jets 1st round pick Mark Sanchez off the scrap heap. Sanchez never saw the field in a game for Chicago last year. However, the team is also dealing with the predictable criticism for not even considering exiled QB Colin Kaepernick, and that's only going to add to the ongoing tension over whether or not owners have colluded and conspired to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Like, they're seeing Kaepernick as a sacrificial lamb to appease a certain jingoistic, narcissistic President........
Former WWE wrestler-turned-rapper Eric Arndt, aka Enzo Amore, has been in the news again the last couple of weeks, and, predictably, is in hot water again.

Arndt, who now goes by the handle Real1 as a rapper, was booted off an airline a couple of weeks back for allegedly vaping. He claims he wasn't. On Sunday, he was in Los Angeles for Survivor Series, somehow still having enough change to get a ringside ticket, and went incommunicado until he felt it was time to call attention to himself. Smartly, WWE cameras didn't catch his act, and Staples Center security bum-rushed Arndt out the door. Reportedly, he's been banned from the arena, like any other disruptive fan would be at a Lakers, Clippers, or Kings game. The dude wasn't exactly the most popular guy in the locker room in the nearly 2 years he was on the main roster, but it seems little has changed.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Mason Reese's earliest commercial (1970?)

We all know Mason Reese parlayed ads for Dunkin Donuts and Underwood into a lucrative career as a pitchman, but it started with Ivory Snow laundry detergent.

Reese, now 53, appeared front & center in this spot.

Not entirely sure if 1969 is the correct year. Mason would've been 4 at the time. If anyone can clarify the date on the ad, I'd appreciate it.

Musical Interlude: That'z Endurance (2018)

Ron Killings has had two passions in life. Rap music and wrestling.

On his second tour of duty with WWE, Killings, a 2-time NWA World champion, doesn't get many opportunities to serve up some rhymes outside of his long running theme song. He is, however, dropping singles periodically, but they don't get much on-air promotion. WWE looks upon him now more as a comedy act than a serious contender for any title, because, well, you know, Killings did spend some time "with the enemy" and won those two world titles between 2002-2007.

Anyway, Killings records under his own name, not as R-Truth, and is joined by Mannish Mania for "That'z Endurance" (Yes, that's the correct spelling. Rappers, you know.)

Just for the sake of it, parental guidance is suggested.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Musical Interlude: Yesterday, When I Was Young (1969)

It was reported on Thursday that actor-country singer Roy Clark had passed away. Oh, but now, three days later, it turns out someone tried to claim it was an internet hoax, and I took down my original obituary. However, it's been confirmed that Clark, 85, had indeed passed on.

Anyway, let's go back to the early years of Hee Haw for "Yesterday, When I Was Young":

Rest in peace, Roy.

Section 2 has one team going to Syracuse

It's beginning to look like Section II football's luck is finally running out.

At the end of business on Saturday night, only one team from Section II had punched its ticket to the Syracuse Carrier Dome for the state championships next weekend. That would be Class B champ Glens Falls, which beat Marlboro Saturday afternoon, 48-28. QB Joe Girard III, who will play for basketball coach Jim Boeheim at Syracuse next year, will get a crack at adding one more state title to his resume, and in the very same building that will be his new home.

Meanwhile, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake's struggle to get past the state semi-finals continued on Friday, as the Spartans fell to Cornwall, 21-20, marking the third straight year that the Class A champions have been eliminated in the pentultimate round.

Over in Class AA, Shaker, off a bye week, was matched against the same team that knocked them out six years ago in Kingston. New Rochelle, meanwhile, had to be thankful Troy is now in Class A, and their season already over, as the Flying Horses had ended the Hugenots' season the last two years. The bye week, however, proved to be a momentum killer for Greg Sheeler's club, as New Rochelle, down 19-13 at the half, shut out Shaker in the second half en route to a 27-19 decision. The Blue Bison finish 10-1 on the season.

There is some solace, though, for the schools whose gridiron seasons have already ended, as basketball & hockey scrimmages have begun. Regular season play begins right after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Forgotten TV: Northwest Passage (1958)

Early in its television history, MGM, like its rivals, used its film library to develop programs for the small screen.

Northwest Passage had first been adapted by MGM as a feature film starring Spencer Tracy & Walter Brennan in 1940. The studio went back to the Kenneth Edwards novel 18 years later, with future icon Buddy Ebsen, fresh from Disney's adaptation of Davy Crockett, taking over for Brennan, who was starring on The Real McCoys.

Unfortunately, Northwest Passage lasted just one season. Producer Adrian Samish is better known for his years working for Quinn Martin. Associate director Robert Justman (billed here as Bob Justman) later worked on Star Trek, among others.

Let's take a look at a sample episode, "The Assassin", with Pernell Roberts, a year before Bonanza:

Edit, 9/7/2020: Had to change the video. This copy starts from the beginning anew around the 25 minute mark:

No rating.

Friday, November 16, 2018

On The Shelf: More DC-Hanna-Barbera craziness

DC's Halloween treat for readers was another four pack of 1-shots pairing DC heroes with Hanna-Barbera characters, rebooted with more realistic appearances.

Running in the back of all four 1-shots was a 4-part Secret Squirrel serial by J. M. DeMatteis & Tom Mandrake, spun off from the back pages of Scooby Apocalypse, where Secret has been replaced by Atom Ant. Anyway, DeMatteis is borrowing an idea from Dial M For Monkey, one of the backup features from Dexter's Laboratory, by teasing a relationship between Secret and Agent Honey Bea, who happens to be the daughter of Secret's long-supposedly dead nemesis, Yellow Pinkie. Monkey, if you'll recall, was hot for his partner, Agent Honeydew, and the diff, of course, is that Monkey couldn't speak English.

Digression over. Seems Pinkie's consciousness has been downloaded into a computer program, and that poses a threat. For a series that was designed as a satire on James Bond and his like, this fails. Without frequent writing partner Keith Giffen, DeMatteis lacks his comic mojo. Pay attention to a subtle homage to the late Mel Blanc, who first gave voice to Secret in 1965.

Rating: C.

On to the main events. Deathstroke, The Terminator is paired with Yogi Bear, but it seems the idea of a forest legend teased in the solicitations went out with the wash. Instead, Yogi and mercenary Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) team up to shut down some illegal genetic experiments. Plenty of Laff-a-Lympics call-backs, including the identity of the villains. However, it's a few steps backward for writer Frank Tieri, who apparently geeked out in jamming as many H-B characters from the 50's to the 70's in his story. Mark Teixiera (not the former ballplayer) saves this from being a total fail.

Rating: B--.

Huckleberry Hound was rebooted as gay in Mark Russell's Snagglepuss Chronicles miniseries, but that doesn't appear to be the case in a 1-shot team-up with Green Lantern (John Stewart), set following the latter's return from Vietnam in the early 70's. Spiritually, it's a prequel to April's Hong Kong Phooey-Black Lightning 1-shot, where HKP was the Vietnam vet. Huck & John discover a common bond in dealing with civil rights issues in the early 70's. Scott Lobdell has recast Huck as a stand-up comic, and I'd venture to say that Lobdell topped his work on Flash-Speed Buggy back in April. Cue the Motown soundtrack!

Rating: A.

Nightwing teams with Magilla Gorilla. Instead of being perpetually being up for sale at a pet shop, Magilla is rebooted as a big time TV & movie star, framed for the murder of his manager. Keep an eye open for some surprise guests.

Rating: A.

Unfortunately, publisher Dan DiDio proved again why his detractors call him DiDiot. His attempt at putting Superman & Top Cat together as a team comes off as a farce that could've subbed out Supes for, oh, I don't know, Birdman, maybe? Or The Impossibles? A sentient plant sounds like something right out of the Impossibles' playbook. DiDiot's script is all over the joint, and not in a good way. No sign of TC's gang, either, as this appears to be a follow-up to TC arriving in the DCU last year for a quick meeting with Batman.

Rating: C-.
Staying on the Super-beat, the producers of Supergirl have found who they think is the ideal man to play Lex Luthor.

Jon Cryer has been popping up lately on NCIS, keeping him busy after Two & A Half Men ended its run. Hey, he can't be worse than Jesse Eisenberg, who just didn't look right as Luthor in two go-rounds on the big screen. Look for Cryer to make his debut on the show after the holiday break.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won't be back until after the next "Avengers" movie comes out next spring, but ABC, perhaps at the request of corporate parent Disney, has renewed the show already for a 7th season, likely in 2020. Just when you think ABC wants to veer away from the Marvel Universe, they get dragged back in. They're also working with Allan Heinberg on a female-centric Marvel series, yet to be determined.

Forgotten TV: Swingin' Country (1966)

In 1966, Dick Clark made his first sale to NBC with the daytime variety show, Swingin' Country, co-hosted by Roy Clark with Molly Bee and Randy Draper. The series lasted just a few months, nestled amidst the usual collection of soap operas and game shows. Now, being that ye scribe was just a toddler of three when this came out, there ain't gonna be a rating.

Just check out this sample open:

It would take Dick Clark more than a decade before he landed another show on NBC, this one he hosted himself (Dick Clark's Live Wednesday). Of course, he'd finally get a hit show with Bloopers & Practical Jokes in the 80's, co-produced with Johnny Carson's production company.

A little bit of this and a little of that

The first pre-winter snowstorm brings with it concerns about NY state football playoffs scheduled for tonight and tomorrow in Middletown, outside of Poughkeepsie.

Section II Class A champion Burnt Hills, coming off a bye week, is set to play tonight vs. Cornwall. Figuring classes will have been cancelled for today due to the weather, coach Matt Shell should have his team on the road after the storm ends around 1 pm (ET) this afternoon for an 8:05 kickoff. You have to figure, too, that Middletown also got hit, and crews there will be working to get the field ready, as best as able, for tonight's game.

Burnt Hills hasn't gotten past the state semi-finals the last two years, and the adverse conditions may not help. Just sayin'. Saturday's card sees Class B champ Glens Falls vs. Marlboro, and AA champ Shaker facing New Rochelle. The Long Island representative should be thankful they're playing someone other than Troy this year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sit atop the AFC North, and they'll continue to play without star running back Le'Veon Bell, who's held out all season looking for----what else?----more money. I tell you, pro players are never satisfied. It's an ego thing, more than a greed thing. Once you become a big star, you're always going to want to be paid more than the rest of the players at your position. The agents might be greedy, but the players, enabled by the leeches and hangers-on that surround them, get their egos puffed up, and blown out of proportion. It happens.

The problem is, Bell didn't like the idea of the franchise tag being placed on him. Who does, anyway? I look for Bell to be back in the league next year, wearing someone else's colors.
The rest of Major League Baseball's post-season awards have been handed out. Some are surprises, others aren't. Consider:

Manager of the Year:

AL: Bob Melvin (Oakland) won his 3rd trophy, second with the A's. People in Boston are complaining that Alex Cora, who led Boston to 108 wins in the regular season, en route to the Red Sox's 4th World Series title in 15 years, should've wrapped it up before the playoffs began, especially considering he's a first year manager. Who can figure sportswriters, anyway?

NL: Atlanta's Brian Snitker was rewarded for the Braves' return to the top of the NL East, outpointing Milwaukee's Craig Counsell.

Cy Young Award:

AL: Tampa Bay left-hander Blake Snell pulled the upset, as most folks figured Cleveland's Corey Kluber and Boston's Rick Porcello could've been getting more hardware.

NL: Jacob deGrom (Mets), despite 10 wins, posted a 1.70 ERA. He cuts the hair, then goes out and carries the Mets to, well, respectability after a mid-season collapse.

Most Valuable Player:

This might as well have been make-good day for Boston & Milwaukee. Why? Scope it out.

NL: Christian Yelich was in Giancarlo Stanton's shadow in Miami. Then, the Marlins' new management team splits them up, along with Marcell Ozuna (St. Louis). Yelich went to Milwaukee, and flipped the switch in the second half. Stanton was nowhere near close to winning in the AL with the Yankees, because......

AL: Mookie Betts (Boston) was a runaway winner. Don't know where Stanton finished, but there's always next year.

Oh, by the way, deGrom finished 5th in the NL voting, taking the only first place vote that didn't go to Yelich.
Spectrum Cable's mobile service launched a new ad campaign a couple of months back. Emmy award winning actress-talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is the narrator for these spots, including this one.....

Sounds like Ellen was rehearsing reviving her stand-up act, don't ya think?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Forgotten TV: Stand Up Spotlight (1988)

Part of the deal that brought comedienne and future talk show host Rosie O'Donnell to VH-1 in the late 80's apparently included giving her the opportunity to host the channel's answer to sister station MTV's Half Hour Comedy Hour.

It wasn't enough that O'Donnell would do top-of-the-hour airchecks using other people's names (i.e. Sally Jessy Raphael) for cheap laughs. Now, she had a weekly half-hour show that competed with MTV, as well as A & E's An Evening At The Improv (a hour-long late night show) for viewers' funny bones. Stand Up Spotlight lasted virtually the length of O'Donnell's tenure at VH-1, and was met at this desk with a stifled yawn. Check it out for yourself.

It wasn't long after this that there were two comedy networks that later merged together to form today's Comedy Central, a sister network to VH-1 & MTV. Unfortunately, CC can't be bothered to dust off reruns of this show, back when Rosie was actually interesting, and not a bloviator ranting endlessly at a certain New York demagogue now residing in Washington.......

Rating: B.

Musical Interlude: Convoy (1976)

The mid-70's brought citizens band (CB) radios into the public consciousness. It spawned movies, a Saturday morning cartoon (1977's C. B. Bears), and a 1-hit wonder by C. W. McCall (real name: William Fries).

McCall's "Convoy" was used, I think, in the movie of the same name.

This clip is culled from an episode of VH1's 8 Track Flashback toward the end of that series' run, hosted by actress Suzanne Somers (ex-Three's Company, She's The Sheriff), and the performance itself, as credited, is from The Mike Douglas Show:

Update, 1/24/22: Here's another clip, this one taken from Hee Haw. McCall is clearly lip-synching here, backed by series regulars Lulu Roman, Gailard Sartain, Junior Samples (back to camera), Lisa Todd, George Lindsey, and Grandpa Jones. Looks like ol' Grandpa wanted to be someplace else.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sports this 'n' that

Major League Baseball has begun handing out its post-season awards, starting on Monday with the Rookies of The Year, one for each league.

To the surprise of, well, no one, Shohei Otani of the Angels was named AL Rookie of The Year, despite missing some time due to injury. Otani apparently won't be able to pitch in 2019, though he might still be able to be a DH, due to needing Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Like, with all the attention Otani was getting during the season, did any other AL rookie have an equal chance?

Over in the National League, Atlanta's Ronald Acuna, Jr. outpointed Juan Soto of Washington to cop the Rookie of The Year. The Mets' Jeff McNeil finished 8th.
Suddenly, it's getting busier in Los Angeles as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

The NFL has moved the International Series game between the Rams and Kansas City to LA next Monday night due to poor field conditions in Mexico City. A Shakira concert last month, and a number of events since, have left the field in such poor shape that the NFL was left with no choice, after ESPN hyped the game to the moon last night, but to bring the Chiefs & Rams back to the US. Some think it might be a Super Bowl preview, provided, of course, that the Chiefs can avenge themselves on New England for losing in Foxborough last month. If the season were to end now, Kansas City would be the #1 seed in the AFC, and you know Tom Brady doesn't like that.
Los Angeles will also host the WWE's Survivor Series on Sunday, and, as of earlier today, one of the marquee matches on the card has been cancelled.

Last night, on Monday Night Raw, Becky Lynch led Smackdown's women into the arena in Kansas City, where Lynch targeted her opposite number, Ronda Rousey. WWE pulled a similar angle last year leading up to the event. and reprisals are expected tonight on Smackdown in St. Louis. Let's take a look at what happened:

It seems that Lynch suffered a concussion and/or a broken nose courtesy of former Raw women's champ Nia Jax. Lynch, as you can see in the video above, was a bloody mess at the end of the evening. Now, the Lynch-Rousey match has been postponed, robbing fans of what many feel might've been the best match on the card. We'll know by the end of the night if Rousey gets a substitute opponent.
You might've noticed that Raw ended promptly at 11 pm (ET) last night, well before the Giants-49ers game ended. USA Network, seeing the abysmal ratings for Raw, decided to take away the 5-15 minute overrun the show usually gets, effective with last night's show. Beats me why it took them so long to make that move. If or when ratings move up to a level satisfactory enough for USA's liking, I'd say the overruns will return.
Concussions have been a frequent problem for WWE wrestlers, both male & female. Lynch becomes the 3rd woman to suffer a concussion in the last month, after Alexa Bliss and Zelina Vega, the latter of whom was cleared for a return to the ring in time for tonight's Smackdown card. Bliss will still be at Survivor Series, albeit in a manager's role, because she's sustained several concussions in recent months, and Vince McMahon will protect one of his golden girls at all costs. Bliss (real name: Lexi Kaufman) should be getting some time off at home to recouperate,  but because she's one of Raw's top heels (villains), she's not getting the luxury of home recovery.

But what happens if Bliss is forced to retire prematurely due to another concussion or another major injury? That's on McMahon for stubbornly refusing to do right by his troupe. There's no getting around that.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Musical Interlude: Magneto & The Titanium Man (1975-6)

Marvel Comics villains "Magneto & The Titanium Man" were immortalized in song by Paul McCartney & Wings on their 1975 album, "Venus & Mars". Turns out McCartney is a comics fan, and invited Magneto's co-creator, Jack Kirby, backstage while on tour in California.

Titanium Man and another villain mentioned in the song, Crimson Dynamo, are associated with Iron Man. Magneto, as you know, has been both a foe and an ally of the X-Men in the books over the years.

The video was recorded on the Venus & Mars Rockshow tour in 1976.

Dedicated to the villains' co-creator, Stan Lee.

Stan Lee (1922-2018)

He was a proofreader at 17, an editor at 19, a prolific writer throughout the 50's & 60's, and publisher of Marvel by age 50. In fact, his very name is synonymous with Marvel, having created many of the characters who've been adapted into movies & television shows since the 70's. The Marvel Studios movies of 2019 likely will be the last where he'll make obligatory cameo appearances.

To sum it up, Stan Lee has passed away, about six weeks shy of his 96th birthday, after a battle with pneumonia, among other issues.

Stanley Martin Lieber went to work for Timely Comics while still in high school, working as a proofreader and doing other minor tasks, in 1939. His first published work was a text piece on Captain America, published around 1940-1. After Cap's co-creators, Joe Simon & Jack Kirby, left for DC, Lee, not yet 19, was named editor. He left to serve in the Army in World War II, and returned to Timely after the war.

In 1961, Lee ushered in what has become known as the Marvel Age of Comics with the introduction of The Fantastic Four. By this point, Kirby had returned, and co-created the FF, as well as the company's interpretation of the Norse Thunder God, Thor, with Lee. In 1966, Marvel contracted with Canadian animators Grant Simmons and Ray Patterson to adapt Silver Age tales of Thor, Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Iron Man, & The Incredible Hulk in a syndicated daily series which lasted one season. In some form or another, Marvel's heroes have been a television fixture ever since.

I actually met Lee when a class field trip in New York made a stop at Marvel in 1973. He had boundless enthusiasm, as you could tell from his monthly editorials. Around this time, Lee appeared on To Tell The Truth:

In 1982, with Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends entering its 2nd season on NBC, Lee was added to the show as narrator, and 1st season reruns were re-edited to add his narration for continuity purposes.

Lee also did commercials. He shilled for Personna razor blades in the 70's, but good luck trying to find the ads.

Such was his dedication to Marvel that he has made cameo appearances in virtually every Marvel movie in the last decade. That string, as I wrote above, will end next year, and that "Captain Marvel", Marvel Studios' 1st film of 2019, will be dedicated to Lee.

Rest in peace, Stan. Excelsior!!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

On The Air: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has been castigated in this space for refusing to share his vision for Archie Comics' horror line. Other writers have been able to save the line with new alternate continuity titles, while Aguirre-Sacasa went to Hollywood and abandoned the two books he was writing.

One of them, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, was adapted and rebooted into a Netflix series by Aguirre-Sacasa and Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, Arrow, etc.). The continuity of the series is not the same as the comic book, which may actually be a good thing.

On her 16th birthday, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka, ex-Mad Men) is faced with a choice. Either she commits to signing her name to the Book of The Beast and move to the magic realm, or remain with her mortal friends, including her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch, ex-Austin & Ally). Sabrina's parents, Edward, a warlock, and Diana, a mortal, were killed in an accident. In the comic book, Diana was sent to a mental hospital while, in the most recent issues, Edward had possessed a previously killed Harvey. Sabrina's aunts, Hilda & Zelda, are forever at odds. Hilda (Lucy Davis, "Wonder Woman") is more sympathetic than Zelda to their niece's concerns.

As with the live-action sitcom that aired on ABC & WB (1996-2003), the show is set in Greendale, which is adjacent to Riverdale. At Baxter High, Sabrina has to deal with strict Principal Hawthorne (Bronson Pinchot, ex-Perfect Strangers), while forming a new circle of friends. A friend asked about the cast of characters, and, aside from Hilda, Zelda, Harvey, Ambrose, and family familiar Salem, the supporting cast was created for the show. Madam Satan, however, is also the villain in the comic book, and her history dates back to the Golden Age.

Then again, it wouldn't be a Berlanti show if there wasn't an established supporting character rebooted for the LGBT community, and in this case, it's Ambrose (Chance Perdomo), described in notes on the show as pansexual.

There's also a callback to a classic literary tale as Sabrina retains the services of a lawyer named Daniel Webster (John Rubenstein) to argue her case.

Check out the trailer.


In terms of appearance, the producers nailed it right on the button with cute-as-a-button Kiernan Shipka, who captures Sabrina's classic look, save for the hair, which remains golden blonde, as opposed to the platinum blonde that Sabrina sported back in the 60's.

It's fitting, then, that Chilling Adventures dropped five days before Halloween, and has already been renewed for a second season.

Sabrina's story is more about establishing her independence and her identity. But what price would she pay for that?

Rating: B--.

Sports this 'n' that

The Los Angeles Dodgers went about the formality of releasing infielder Chase Utley from his contract, all so Utley could retire, as he said he would. He won his only World Series title 10 years ago with Philadelphia, but was left off this year's World Series roster by the Dodgers.

If you believe some corners of the internet, Utley will never be forgiven for a take-out slide in 2015 National League Division Series vs. the Mets that all but ended the career of fellow infielder Ruben Tejada. The rules were rewritten after the 2015 World Series to eliminate the threat of injury to middle infielders. At his core, Utley was an old school ballplayer, one of the last of a gradually phased out breed.
Having clinched a share of the Liberty League title a week ago, RPI put all their focus on the annual Battle of The Dutchmen's Shoes vs. Union on Saturday. It was also Senior Day at East Campus Village Stadium, and RPI sought to maintain a perfect record headed into the post-season.

Union, however, had other ideas. After six years in Troy, the Shoes are headed back to Schenectady, as Union routed RPI, 34-10. While they might not have seen much action, if at all, the game also marked the first time former Troy High teammates John Germinerio (now a sophomore at Union) and Matt Ashley (RPI freshman) would play against each other. It'd been two years since they'd been on the ECVA turf together (2016 Section II Class AA Super Bowl). Given the spotty reporting of El Cheapo Media, we'll never know if either one saw the field on Saturday.
Speaking of Section II, we started with 5 teams advancing to state football playoffs. This morning, we're down to 3.

On Saturday, Class D champion Warrensburg dropped a 37-16 decision to Moriah. Less than 24 hours earlier, Class C champion Cambridge-Salem, which, when it was just Cambridge, won the last two D titles, was eliminated by Ogdensburg Free Academy. Class B champion Glens Falls, led by Joseph Girard III, advanced on Friday night by beating Beekmantown, 21-7, at Shenendehowa.

AA Champ Shaker and A titlist Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake had the week off, and begin state play next Saturday.
When the Buffalo Bills play the Jets today, both teams will have veteran backup quarterbacks under center.

The Bills are on their 4th different starting QB this season, having signed Matt Barkley, a bust with Philadelphia and Chicago, two weeks ago. 2nd year QB Nathan Peterman hasn't been officially pronounced a bust himself, but it seems he can't win when it really matters. The Jets, meanwhile, wary of a foot injury by rookie QB Sam Darnold last week, will bring Josh McCown off the bench to start. If Darnold has to be declared inactive, 2nd year QB Davis Webb, acquired from the Giants in the offseason, would be signed from the practice squad to back up McCown.

Another intriguing matchup sees AFC East tyrant New England visiting former defensive star Mike Vrabel and Tennessee. The Titans are coming off an upset of Dallas six days ago, in which the Titans defense did to Dallas what New England did to Green Bay the night prior, shut them down in the second half. You know Vrabel will have Tennessee ready for this one. All he's gotta do is flash his Super Bowl rings to motivate the team. If anything, Vrabel will be ready for anything his former coach, Bill Belichick, will try. The Patriots have already lost to former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Detroit earlier this season, but haven't lost since. You know what that means. Crybaby Brady and his ego have taken over. Ex-Patriot and local product Dion Lewis will be in the backfield for Tennessee, part of a 1-2 punch with Derrick Henry. This will be emotional, but not an easy game for either side.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Classic TV: Eye Guess (1966)

Prolific game show producer Bob Stewart left Goodson-Todman in 1966 to start his own company. His first sales were The Face is Familiar for CBS, which we'll review another day, and Eye Guess for NBC, both co-produced with Filmways.

Bill Cullen, at the time a regular on I've Got a Secret and having been the original host of The Price is Right, was tapped to host. The format was a hybrid of standard quiz shows with the memory aspect of Concentration. The series lasted three years (1966-9), and maybe should've gone longer, except that NBC did a purge of game shows in '69, having cut the original Match Game right along with Guess.

Check this sample out:

Stewart would produce several more shows for NBC, as well as ABC & CBS, over the next 20 years before shifting to cable.

Rating: A.

Friday, November 9, 2018

What Might've Been: Drexell's Class (1991)

In its nascent years, Fox was blessed with hits like Married...With Children, The Tracey Ullmann Show (which begat The Simpsons), America's Most Wanted, Cops, & In Living Color. Of course, there were bound to be the usual clunkers, too.

Included in that group was Drexell's Class, which was an elementary school version of, say for example, Welcome Back, Kotter or a contemporary ABC hit of the period, Head of The Class.

Dabney Coleman had struck out at ABC (The Slap Maxwell Story) & NBC (Buffalo Bill) in trying to establish himself as just as big a star on television as he was in movies (i.e. "9 to 5", "Dragnet"). He pulled double duty on Drexell, getting an additional credit as a consultant. Drexell was another hard luck loser, this one taking a job as a teacher in order to pay off his back taxes.

Perhaps the most publicity this series got in its six month run was a guest appearance by "Problem Child" co-star Michael Oliver. Unfortunately, we won't see Michael in this sample clip. The supporting cast includes future stars Cleavant Derricks (later of Sliders), Jason Biggs ("American Pie"), A. J. Langer (later of My So Called Life) and the late Brittany Murphy, who later returned to Fox with the animated King of The Hill before her untimely passing.

Edit, 4/26/22: Had to change the video. This features the rap group Digital Underground, featuring Tupac Shakur, and this would not be his last primetime acting gig.

So why did it fail? It was on Thursdays, and NBC still owned the night.

No rating.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Origin of a Classic: Three to Get Ready (1975)

While the remake of One Day at a Time has just been renewed for a 3rd season at Netflix, let's take a look at a pilot for the original series.

In fact, it went by a different title.

Three to Get Ready was produced for CBS in 1975. The setting remains the same, Indianapolis. Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin), however, is a nurse being wooed by a doctor (Lewis J. Stadlen, later of Benson), barely a month after her divorce had been finalized. Also, Ann only has one daughter, Julie (Mackenzie Phillips), not two. Dwayne Schneider (Pat Harrington) is the building superintendent.

After having been turned down for a part on Maude, Marcia Rodd plays Ann's upstairs neighbor. She was cut when the changes were made to develop One Day at a Time, and would later surface on 13 Queens Boulevard, among other places.

It's easy to see why Stadlen was cut, as well.....

Stadlen, a second generation actor (dad was New York kids show personality and voice actor Allen Swift), came off as too abrasive and forward, which today would get a guy in trouble on or off the job. Since not all the familiar elements are yet in place (Julie was softened a little by the time the series started), I think you can understand why this ended up failing, and needed to be retooled.

Rating: B--.

A little bit of this and a little of that

Coming out of Tuesday's elections, local voters bum-rushed Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove out the door after just one term, electing former judge Mary Pat Connolly as DA. Abelove had gotten himself in hot water over his handling of certain cases in town. If anyone says they didn't see it coming, they'd be wrong.

Meanwhile, the Geezers On Parade's attempt to discredit Democratic newbie Antonio Delgado's bid for Congress was an epic fail, as Delgado, a former rapper and Harvard Law School graduate, unseated incumbent John Faso after one term. Faso's camp claimed voter apathy over President Trump was the deciding factor at the polls.

As for those attack ads that took some of Delgado's rap lyrics out of context, this was a mean spirited, irresponsible attempt at discrediting Delgado, formerly known as AD Tha Voice as a rapper, but if anyone took the time to listen to the song those lyrics were lifted from in their entirety, the Geezers' plot was quickly unraveled. GOP operatives should've known better. Seven years ago, voters in the hometown elected teacher-turned-political newbie Lou Rosamilia over current City Council President Carmella Mantello, despite the Geezers' last second attack ads questioning Rosamilia's qualifications.

Come to think of it, similar tactics were employed on behalf of Abelove against Connolly, ignoring the fact that Connolly had spent more than 2 decades on the bench as a judge.

I recommend sending the local GOP some copies of the writings of George Santayana.
On Wednesday, America's biggest man-child, President Trump, bullied Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of office, and it's clear from this move that Trump is scared of what special prosecutor Robert Mueller might find.

For someone who supposedly is a born-again Christian, such as Trump, it seems he's having a hard time learning to turn the other cheek away from criticism, making it harder for folks outside his voter base to accept him as the leader of the free world. To Trump, image is everything, more important than establishing domestic and foreign policies.

If you tried to determine the average IQ of a Trump supporter, the numbers would probably be smaller than the size of a thimble. They're getting played, and they don't care.
Proving that professional sports today is more about "what have you done for us lately", the Chicago Blackhawks fired coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday, as the 'Hawks are off to a less than stellar start. Quenneville led the 'Hawks to three NHL Stanley Cups in the last decade and change, and is likely to land someplace else within the next year.
Giants coach Pat Shurmur wasted everyone's time the other day to announce that Eli Manning would remain the starting quarterback for Big Blue's next game, Monday at San Francisco. Rookie Kyle Lauletta has not been active for any game this season, and it seems unlikely he'll see the field at all this season. The Giants drafted Davis Webb last season, then let him move across the hall to the Jets' locker room, as Webb is on Gang Green's practice squad, and could be activated if Sam Darnold has to be inactive for Sunday's game vs. Buffalo. Darnold sustained a foot injury in his last game, and is questionable for this week.
After going unsigned through the first half of the season, former Dallas Cowboy Dez Bryant finally found a new home on Wednesday, signing with New Orleans. The Saints will play a Thursday night game vs. the Cowboys in three weeks, which means Bryant has a chance to avenge himself on his former team, which tired of his diva behavior last year. Dallas, meanwhile, has a chance to pick up some ground in the NFC East if they can beat the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Not an easy task to be sure, considering Dallas flushed an early lead down the tubes against Tennessee on Monday.
Riverdale co-star Mark Consuelos will soon be joined by wife Kelly Ripa on the show. The talk show hostess has signed on for a few episodes later this season as the mistress of Consuelos' character, Hiram Lodge. The couple's son, Michael, made his debut on the show last night, playing a teenage version of Lodge in a flashback episode. Ripa (ex-All My Children) has some primetime experience, but it's been quite a while since her last night gig.

Of all the comic book shows on the CW, Riverdale has the most soap opera elements to it on a network obsessed with using that format, even though Jane The Virgin, based on a Spanish telenovela, is ending its run at the end of this season.

Speaking of the CW, if you wondered why the titular heroine on Supergirl had a Power Rangers-style helmet over her head for much of this week's episode, it's because star Melissa Benoist was busy finishing her run on Broadway over the summer when shooting began in Vancouver, and a stunt double wore the costume for much of the episode, with Benoist doing voice-overs when needed. The shots of Melissa "wearing the helmet" will remind many of the same shots used on Robert Downey, Jr. in the "Iron Man" & "Avengers" movies over the last 10 years.

Comics fans would recognize the helmet as a variant on one worn by Wildfire, a member of the Legion of Superheroes for many years.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Forgotten TV: Evel Knievel (1974)

Yes, there was a feature film based on the career of stunt cyclist Evel Knievel in 1974, but that same year also saw an unsold pilot for a television dramatization that purported to reboot Knievel as a crusader for justice.

Sam Elliott, currently the voice-over pitchman for Ram Trucks and Coors beer, was cast as Knievel. The supporting cast includes Noble Willingham, better known for his later work in "Good Morning, Vietnam" and Walker, Texas Ranger, and Michael Anderson, Jr. (ex-The Monroes). One of the first original efforts from Viacom as a producer, not a distributor.

Around the same time, Knievel also had a licensing deal with Ideal Toys.

A couple of years later, a masked stuntman known as the Human Fly followed in Knievel's marketing footsteps, and landed a deal for a comic book from Marvel, which had sold ad space to Ideal for their line of Knievel toys. I don't think Knievel and the Fly ever met, though.

No rating.

Weasel of the Week: Brian Kemp

Not all the ballots have been counted in Georgia, but Republican Brian Kemp, running for governor, appears to have overcome the challenge of Stacey Abrams, who served on the state's House of Representatives until last year.

The problem? Kemp, the Secretary of State, refused to step down from the position in order to make a run for the statehouse, and clearly is involved in a conflict of interest, involving voter suppression, among other things.

If these charges are true, then Kemp is clearly afraid that he was going to fail in his bid to become governor, such that he's reportedly resorted to eliminating polling places in largely minority sections of the state, continuing to insult the intelligence of African-Americans and other minorities in Georgia. Former President and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter has ripped into Kemp, but, unfortunately, Kemp has turned a deaf ear to Carter and all of his other detractors.

His greed and covetousness earn Kemp a set of Weasel ears. He has disrespected his state by suppressing the ability of citizens to vote in areas he's clearly afraid he's going to lose. Apparently, the only way to solve this issue is to take the matter before a local district court and a non-partisan judge.

To her credit, Abrams recruited former talk show host Oprah Winfrey to stump on her behalf, and Winfrey still carries a lot of pull. Kemp had to be fearful of that. He should be afraid of what the courts may say.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Musical Interlude: Holy Water (2004)

Big & Rich wrote and dedicated "Holy Water", the third single from their 2004 debut, "Horse of a Different Color", to their sisters, who'd previously been victims of domestic abuse. "Holy Water" landed in the top 15 on Billboard's Country chart, while falling short of the top 40, peaking at #75 on the Hot 100.

How it failed to hit #1, I don't know.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Musical Interlude: I Can't Tell You Why (1979-80)

In 1979, the Eagles gave us one of the greatest date night songs of all time.

Timothy B. Schmit is on lead vocals and co-wrote "I Can't Tell You Why". The video was shot a year later, with a shuffle in the lineup. Glenn Frey plays the electric piano, when in fact Joe Walsh was on keyboards on the record.

"Why" has been covered by the likes of country singer Vince Gill (with Schmit singing backup) and R & B singers Howard Hewett and Gerald Alston, the latter of whom missed the top 40 10 years after the original was released.

50 years ago tonight......

As America heads to the polls tomorrow, it happens that today is the 50th anniversary of Richard Nixon's election as President. Nixon had been a Vice President under Dwight Eisenhower, and ran unsuccessfully against John F. Kennedy in 1960. We all know the rest of the story, of course. After edging (outgoing) Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Alabama Governor George Wallace, Nixon rolled over George McGovern in 1972, only to see his second term end less than two years later in the wake of Watergate.

Back in the day, it wasn't that easy to predict who'd win. As this video shows, NBC anchors Chet Huntley & David Brinkley pulled the proverbial all-nighter, and this was the tail end of the coverage, after Nixon had won......

The current President, Donald Trump, aspires to be the second coming of Nixon or even Ronald Reagan, but doesn't come close. Anything positive that Trump does is buried under a cascade of headlines that would rather promote the idea that he is, in fact, the world's oldest man-child. His distrust of the majority of the news media is, in fact, childish, but it is part of the facade he has used the last three years, appealing to a base of disaffected, disenfranchised voters who resented the fact that America dared to elect an African-American 10 years ago. Those that buy into Trump's act don't realize they're being played, and most simply don't care.

Closer to home, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's bid for a third term isn't going to be that easy. Weekend polls show that Republican challenger Marc Molinaro has narrowed the lead to about 11-13 points. Bearing in mind that upstate NY went against the second generation governor in his primary bid vs. actress-activist Cynthia Nixon (no relation to Richard) two months ago, who's to say Cuomo makes it to a third term?

The Green Party is trotting out the same, tired old also-rans. Howie Hawkins for Governor, Mark Dunlea for Comptroller. Dunlea was in town on Saturday, stationed outside the Uncle Sam Atrium on opening day for the indoor farmer's market. The Green Party's platform is all but ignored, as the media would rather focus on the two major parties only, but it would help if the Greens were able to nominate some fresh faces. Hawkins is this generation's Harold Stassen, for example. If you don't know who Stassen was, he was a perpetual third party candidate for President who usually earned enough votes to buy a cup of coffee, if you get my drift. Independent candidates were ignored two years ago in the Presidental election, and likely will be again in 2020 unless they find someone who can put a dent in the big two. Good luck with that. Hawkins'll be lucky if he gets enough votes to qualify for the next election.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Musical Interlude: The Loco-Motion (1987-8)

Australia's Kylie Minogue peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in 1988 with her cover of Little Eva's 1962 #1 hit, "The Loco-Motion". The Gerry Goffin-Carole King composition also struck the top of the charts for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974. Minogue hit #1 in her native Australia in 1987, and the song was re-recorded and produced by the hot team of Stock, Aikman & Waterman a year later for international consumption.

I would venture to say that at the time, Kylie might've been considered the heiress apparent to Australia's reigning queen of pop, as far as American audiences were concerned, Olivia Newton-John. Didn't happen. Kylie didn't have the consistent chart success as her countrywoman did in the 70's & 80's.

Sports this 'n' that

They called the first weekend in November, "Statement Saturday", in college football. A marketing gimmick for the NCAA's media partners (ESPN, CBS, Fox) more than anything else, because even though we are in the homestretch of the regular season, to the casual viewer, it's just another weekend.

Top ranked Alabama shut out LSU in a nationally televised game, the second half of a Southeastern Conference doubleheader on CBS. Yawn. Clemson, two seasons removed from a national title, throttled Louisville, ringing up over 70 points. I actually fell asleep watching this early afternoon game. Michigan spanked Penn State, 42-7. It was that kind of day, no more typical than it is during the first month of the season. Defenses on the losing teams, apparently, took the week off at the wrong time.
Spectrum Cable viewers expecting to see the Section 2 Class A football title game Saturday night had to deal with a poor video feed at Shenendehowa that grew increasingly worse during the first half. Viewers like ye scribe had to flip over to one of the myriad of college games, and it wasn't until after the game was over before Spectrum News' signal had been restored, it seems. It was blustery, cold, & windy in Clifton Park, conditions that a team from the north country like Queensbury would be accustomed to, but the effect on television viewers was a different story.

For what it's worth, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake won its 3rd straight A title, avenging a loss to Queensbury three weeks ago, in a 21-16 verdict. Queensbury's Liam O'Mara was a one-man show three weeks ago, but scored both of Queensbury's touchdowns in the rematch. Burnt Hills' defense shut down Queensbury after that.

Burnt Hills dedicated their season to teammate Deacon Marcucci, who was killed in an auto accident right before the start of the school year.

In other action, they finally crowned a new champion in Class D, as Warrensburg defeated Hoosic Valley, 28-6. Syracuse-bound Joseph Girard III led Glens Falls to their 3rd straight B title, shutting out Cobleskill-Richmondville, 40-0.
Seeing as how there've been crossovers between Classes A & B, AA & A, B & C, and C & D, why not expand the scope next year?

Troy & LaSalle play for the Collar City Cup each year, and Troy has won the last three meetings. Lansingburgh, in Class B, had a horrible season, going 0-8 (a previously reported win over Mohonasen was submitted to certain media outlets in error, as the result went the other way), but eventually, they'll cycle up and have some talent to compete with their cross-town rivals. Catholic Central is part of Holy Trinity in football, but that shouldn't stop them from taking a crack at Troy and/or LaSalle. Just something to think about.
Troy High's boys basketball team will visit Catholic Central as part of the annual Crusader Roundball Classic on December 28-29. This will mark the first visit of Troy to Monsignor Burns Gym since the 2014-15 season, when Troy was an independent. Figuring the joint should be jumping, as CCHS will also welcome teams from outside the region for the four-team event. Troy discontinued their Holiday Classic two years ago after poor showings by both the mens' & womens' teams, but a strong showing at CCHS might just convince athletic director Paul Reinisch to change his mind. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

On The Air: All American (2018)

All three of Greg Berlanti's freshman series this season are short-season entries. Lifetime's You bowed over the summer. The adaptation of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina went live on Netflix last week. And, then, there is All American, which debuted on CW on October 10.

All American is based on the early years of newly retired NFL player Spencer Paysinger, who hung up his cleats after spending last season with Carolina. Paysinger had also played the Giants and Miami during his career.

Daniel Ezra plays Spencer James, the analogue for the teenage Paysinger. A gifted player, James also is a magnet for trouble, yet his talent attracts the attention of a coach (Taye Diggs) who's looking to bolster his roster at Beverly Hills High. James is at Crenshaw High, and if that name sounds familiar, it should----to 80's baseball fans. Crenshaw is the high school alma mater of Eric Davis (Cincinnati) and Darryl Strawberry (Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, San Francisco). Digression over.

Given that it's based around inner city life, it'd be a complement to Black Lightning, airing on Tuesdays.

Check out the trailer:

Give Berlanti credit for expanding his scope with All American & You, as well as the feature film, "Love, Simon", earlier this year, reminding viewers that he doesn't restrict himself to genre programming, though that does still make up the bulk of his workload. High school recruiting has become a thing that is no longer confined to the bigger, more competitive markets (i.e. Los Angeles, NYC). The rules are changing, and this show illustrates why that is.

I tried to watch the opener, but I don't need another show that is filled with angst and soap opera drama. There's enough of that on CW's schedule already, to the point that it's cliched.

No rating.

High School Fridays: Saratoga vs. Shaker (Class AA football title), 11/2/18

For the second straight year, Saratoga Springs High found themselves at Bob Ford Field at UAlbany for the Class AA football championship. Last year, Troy High denied Terry Jones' Blue Streaks the title on the same field, and under drier conditions than what Saratoga and Shaker endured Friday night.

Shaker hadn't won the AA title since 2012, and were themselves humbled by the Flying Horses two years ago at RPI in what amounted to a de facto home game for Troy, whose campus is just up the street from RPI's East Campus Village Stadium.

Saratoga had lost to Shaker in their regular season meeting on September 14, so the time was nigh for revenge, with so much else on the line. The Blue Streaks won the opening coin toss, and methodically marched down the field, taking up more than half of the first quarter before QB Jake Williams ran it in from about 5 yards out, giving Saratoga an early 7-0 lead.

Shaker, having gone three-and-out on their first possession, answered back on their second drive, which carried over into the second quarter. Logan Souza, the subject of a feature piece in the Albany Times-Union earlier in the day, ran in untouched from about 7 yards to tie the score. However, on the very next play from scrimmage, Saratoga's Ashton Capone broke loose and galloped 58 yards to put the Streaks back in front.

Back came Shaker. With 44 seconds left in the half, Connor McHugh found Raveon Burt all alone at the Saratoga two yard line, and Burt ambled in, leaving the teams even at 14 at the break.

From there, however, it was all Shaker. After a scoreless third quarter, Shane Lavender picked off Williams in the fourth and took it the distance, 83 yards, to give the Blue Bison their first lead of the night. It really was the game winner, as Saratoga couldn't respond, and Souza added his second touchdown later in the period to seal the game, as Shaker wins its second AA title, 28-14.

Come to think of it, Times-Union high school columnist James Allen, calling the game for Spectrum Sports, nearly had the score right in his pre-game prediction. He figured Shaker would net 28 points, so there's that to hang his hat on. Speaking of Spectrum, there was a tech glitch in the broadcast during the third quarter, as for some unknown reason, someone at the studio lost track of the schedule, and tried to bring viewers back to the pre-recorded newscasts. Fortunately, the glitches only lasted a few seconds.

In other action, across the river at Lansingburgh, Cambridge-Salem captured the Class C title by beating Chatham, 41-27. Cambridge won the D title the last two years, and have dominated the lower classes since classification play began 25 years ago.

Two teams have punched their tickets to the state tournaments. Three more will do so by the end of today. The Class D game will be contested at Schuylerville at 1 pm. Then, it'll be a doubleheader at Shenendehowa, with the Class B game (Glens Falls-Cobleskill) at 3, and the Class A game (Burnt Hills-Queensbury) at 7:30.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Musical Interlude: Tall Cool One (1988)

The late 80's brought a wave of what I like to call "danceable metal". Def Leppard started the trend with with the heavy, bouncy beats on "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Rocket", off "Hysteria". Robert Plant's contribution was 1988's "Tall Cool One", the 3rd & final single off "Now & Zen". "Tall" peaked at #25 on the Hot 100, and topped the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.


It wasn't long before "Tall" was used in an ad campaign for Diet Coke. Makes sense.

What Might've Been: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1962)

Yesterday, we took a look at Screen Gems & ABC's 1969 adaptation of Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and how that ended up losing viewers from its' lead-in, The Brady Bunch. As noted, this wasn't the first time a Capra film had been adapted for television.

Seven years earlier, the same two, Screen Gems & ABC, brought Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to the small screen. This one aired on Saturday nights, with Fess Parker trading in the coonskin cap of Davy Crockett for sharp suits and a seat in Congress.

There was one problem. CBS had Jackie Gleason on at the same time, and he'd already run off Western icons Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, whose variety show bombed out. Ballgame over.

For what it's worth, when those Crockett reruns were replayed on The Wonderful World of Disney, I seem to recall Crockett also going to Congress. Hmmmm.

By the way, in the 1939 film that inspired the series, Smith's first name was actually Jefferson. Why it was changed to Eugene 23 years later, I'll never know. If they thought Parker could fill Jimmy Stewart's shoes and do a sitcom, well, scope the sample video with musical guest Kay Starr, and see for yourself.

Of course, two years later, Parker would bounce back, pull the coonskin cap out of storage, and spend the rest of the 60's as Daniel Boone.

No rating.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Forgotten TV: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1969)

A few years ago, someone thought it'd be a cool idea for Adam Sandler to headline a comedy remake of Frank Capra's classic, "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town". The critics weren't exactly fond of this version of "Mr. Deeds", but then, somewhere in between these two films, there was a short-lived TV series that deserved a better fate.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town was coupled with another 1969 freshman series, The Brady Bunch, at the front of ABC's Friday lineup. Monte Markham, who had flopped two years earlier with another ABC-Screen Gems entry, The Second Hundred Years, was cast in the lead as Longfellow Deeds, small town newspaper publisher-turned-millionaire who relocates to the big city. Even with Capra himself directing the pilot, Deeds was gone by the holidays, having lost viewers from Brady Bunch.

Unfortunately, no episodes are available at the moment. All we have is this intro supplied by Gilmore Box to YouTube:

A few years earlier, another Capra classic, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", was similarly adapted for television with a pre-Daniel Boone Fess Parker in the title role. Yep, that failed, too. These are the mysteries of television I just don't get.

No rating. Never saw the show.