Saturday, August 31, 2019

I've Got a Secret salutes radio (1964)

I thought about putting this over at Saturday Morning Archives under "You Know The Voice", but, nope. This has more to do with radio than cartoons.

The occasion for this 1964 episode of I've Got a Secret is less about Arthur Godfrey's 30th anniversary in radio, which was the focus, but rather, a celebration of radio's storied past. You'll meet the voices behind:

The Quiz Kids
The Green Hornet (Al Hodge, later of Captain Video)
The Lone Ranger (Brace Beemer, whose grandchildren appeared in the first game)
The Shadow (Bret Morrison)
Boston Blackie

As well as some lesser known radio soaps. Singer Rosemary Clooney sits in on the panel for this one, as Bess Myerson may have been the only panelist who had no radio background.



As has been documented here in the past, reruns of Lone Ranger, The Shadow, & Green Hornet would resurface on local radio airwaves in the 70's, which is how I became acquainted with the Shadow and the Ranger, the latter's TV reruns aside.

Rating for this episode: A.

A little of this and a little of that

With a new school year around the corner, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden finally threw in the towel Friday, admitting what everyone else has known for a while, that renovations on the South Troy Pool won't be completed in time. Like, DUH!

Madden issued a statement that was filled with excuses, including weather and a labor shortage, if but because the city couldn't find a contractor that would not only be trustworthy, but, knowing the hometown like I do, cheap. The bottom line, though, is that the city should've started working on not only the South Troy Pool,  but Knickerbocker Pool in Lansingburgh, way sooner than they did, a fact pointed out by GOP Mayoral candidate Tom Reale at a press conference at the latter site on Friday.

If Reale beats Madden in November, then Madden can rent himself out as a Dr. Phil lookalike for parties, or be the new face of Oreck vacuum cleaners......
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Women's soccer star Carli Lloyd raised some eyebrows the other day when she showed up at the Philadelphia Eagles' training camp, and booted a 55 yard field goal. A fair number of today's NFL kickers, including the Giants' Aldrick Rosas and Buffalo's Steven Hauschka, got their start playing soccer before transitioning to American football. Philadelphia kicker Jake Elliott was impressed, obviously, and while Lloyd is contemplating making a run at signing a free agent deal in 2020 as a placekicker, she is getting support from the aforementioned players.

The only question is whether or not we'll still be talking about it 10 months from now.
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Condolences to the family of former Miami Dolphins lineman Jim Langer, who passed away Friday at 71. While actress Valerie Harper got the headlines with her passing, Langer, a member of the Dolphins' perfect championship team in 1972, will likely be remembered with a moment of silence at the Dolphins' home opener.
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Yankees ace CC Sabathia may have thrown his last pitch.

Sabathia came out of Friday's game vs. Oakland with knee issues, which have been a recurring issue the last few years, and in this, his final season, Sabathia may have to little more than a spectator during the post-season, depending on the seriousness of the injury, and whether or not he'll miss any time. We won't know that for sure until later today.
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NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand decided to end her Presidential aspirations, at least for now, and withdrew from the 2020 race earlier this week. Seems money is a big issue, as she didn't have enough funds raised to qualify for a debate scheduled for next week. Better, then, to step aside now and avoid any future embarrassment, as if President Trump hasn't already embarrassed New York enough the last few years.

However, if I were in charge of the Democratic National Committee, I'd advise former Vice President Joe Biden to step to the side, too, but the Democrats just love playing with fire.

Biden is being held accountable for a number of social miscues, including allegations of sexual harassment in his past, but considering the DNC decided to be stupid and rigged the nominating process three years ago to give tabloid magnet Hillary Clinton the nod over a more deserving Bernie Sanders, they'll likely make the same mistake next year, and tab Biden as their choice to face Trump. Nobody wanted Swillary, and, from what I've been reading lately, some Trump voters from '16 are now feeling buyers' remorse, as they're starting to see Trump's true colors, and, yes, green is one of them.
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When he was at CNN, Stuart Varney was one of the more reliable reporters they had, specializing in financial news.

Then, I read that Varney, now with Fox News, is bleating the same kind of BS that 2020 re-election campaign flack Kayleigh McEnany was trying to sell Chris Cuomo the other night, that Trump doesn't lie.

No, Stuart, he does. Distorting the facts to fit his agenda does make the President a liar. His distrust of mainstream media comes from his own inability to separate fact from fiction. And, yes, I have to believe that his age (73) doesn't entirely play a role. It's just the fact that he has been playing a role right along. Pretending to be the same tough boss he was on The Apprentice gets and holds the attention of his brainless dittohead followers. It doesn't help, of course, that his two oldest sons, Don, Jr. & Eric, have also been portrayed by mainstream media as dumber than a bag of hammers and in over their heads.

In truth, and this may sound a wee bit harsh to some people, but the only facts Trump should care about are in the one book he is never seen with in public. The Bible.

And for those of you who are hardcore Trumpets, I have this suggestion. If you care about Trump as much as you say you do, then give him this piece of advice, made famous by Quincy Jones around the time they recorded "We Are The World":

Check your ego at the door.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Valerie Harper (1939-2019)

Six years ago, Valerie Harper was diagnosed with brain cancer, which the doctors said was inoperable, and she was given three months to live.

It wasn't long after that diagnosis that Harper appeared on Dancing With The Stars. Three months, indeed, turned into six, nearly seven years before the actress passed away earlier today, eight days after her 80th birthday.

Best known as Rhoda Morganstern, Mary Richards' BFF on first The Mary Tyler Moore Show, then, Rhoda, Valerie began her career on Broadway, and her resume includes productions with comedy legends Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason. She returned to series television with Valerie in the mid-80's, but left after a couple of seasons due to a salary dispute. Valerie would morph eventually into The Hogan Family, with Sandy Duncan taking over as the lead.

Today, as Hollywood mourns Valerie's passing, we will do the obvious, for a change, and serve up a 1st season episode of Rhoda in rememberance.



Today, Valerie joins Mary Tyler Moore in show biz heaven. Rest in peace.

Musical Interlude: Superstar (1971)

The Carpenters covered "Superstar", written by Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie & Friends) & Leon Russell, in 1971. Richard Carpenter was inspired after seeing Bette Midler cover the track on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and it'd been recorded by Russell a year earlier, with Rita Coolidge (Mrs. Kris Kristofferson) on vocals.

However, this is the version most oldies channels will choose. For obvious reasons.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dunce Cap Award: Kayleigh McEnany

You've all heard the phrase, "----- lies and you swear to it.", right? Of course.

One of President Trump's biggest failings is that he has no real grasp of facts. He distorts information to incite and inflame his voter base, but at the same time, the entire country is listening to his tall tales, and outside of that voter base, Trump is getting raked over the coals for misrepresenting those facts in order to make himself look good.

The Associated Press will do a lengthy fact check article at least once a week to correct the President's mistakes. For a man who reportedly gave his life to Christ three years ago while on the campaign trail, he acts like anything but a Christian.



I respect the office of the President, don't get me wrong. It's just that the man occupying that position is not guided by his faith. If he was, he would've divested himself of his ego a long, long time ago. The mainstream media would have you believe that he is a self-centered narcissist who thinks everything has to be about him.

NFL Hall of Famer Gale Sayers titled his autobiography, I Am Third, because he put God & family ahead of himself. A lesson Trump seems not to have learned in public. Yet.

On Wednesday, Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary for President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign, went on CNN, and engaged in a debate with host Chris Cuomo, brother of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Scope out the nonsense coming from another brainwashed Trumpet.



Talk about the prototypical dumb blonde. Yes, she's a bottle blonde, I can see that. She keeps talking over Cuomo, trying to get her points across, but she's just a parrot perpetuating the Trumpian propaganda, and denying that Trump ever lies. He just misrepresents facts on purpose, and goes on blast at the mainstream media that doesn't bow down to him, as if he were America's answer to Kim Jong Un of North Korea, whom Trump sees as a role model.

Trump has traded off his Apprentice persona for too long to back away now and recognize his mistakes, but he should. McEnany, on the other hand, gets a Dunce Cap for swapping her brains and her soul for blind loyalty to Trump, who needs a fact checker on his staff to get him on the right path, instead of a bunch of brainless yes men & women.

NFL 2019 preview, part 1

In a week's time, the NFL will begin the celebration of its 100th season. For that reason, ancient NFC North rivals Green Bay & Chicago will play the now-traditional Thursday opener, relegating the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to a Sunday home opener vs. Pittsburgh. Then again, the Evil Empire has already had a post-Super Bowl Thursday opener, so.....!

We'll start our annual preview by taking a look at the Patriots and the rest of the AFC East.

New England has issues headed into the new season. Tight end/detergent salesman Rob Gronkowski retired after the Super Bowl due to frequent concussions. The Patriots were able to lure Ben Watson out of retirement to replace Gronk, but Watson will sit out the first four games due to a PED-related suspension. Defensive back Eugene Chung was picked up on cocaine possession charges, but his case has been postponed to November, and to this point, the league has done nothing in regards to suspending him, pending the litigation. That allows Chung to play.

Meanwhile, center David Matthews is dealing with a blood clot, and that could sideline him, which could lead to problems along the offensive line. New England wanted to bring back another tight end, Martellus Bennett, after signing his brother, Michael, a defensive lineman, as a free agent, but Martellus chose not to sign. He knows all too well about the revolving door in Bill Belichick's offense, where he treats running backs, tight ends, and receivers as expendable spare parts due to QB Tom Brady's insistence that the offense is predicated on him and him alone. That lack of balance righted itself just in time for the Super Bowl, when a diverse attack is most necessary.

Miami blundered by not only letting coach Adam Gase go after two seasons, but letting QB Ryan Tannehill walk as well (Tennessee). Gase is now in the Meadowlands with the Jets, and that could spell trouble for the Dolphins when the two teams meet. New York has reworked its running game (again), picking up Le'Veon Bell from Pittsburgh and jettisoning Isaiah Crowell. They also got some help in the receiving corps by picking up Jamison Crowder (Washington) as a free agent to back up Robby Anderson. What do the Dolphins have left to contend? Not much.

In Buffalo, there was talk about letting LeSean McCoy go after last week's game. Not so fast. Letting McCoy go would be a fatal mistake.

Projected order of finish:

1. New England. The division is theirs to lose until the other teams figure a way to get around the political protection the Patriots get from the league.

2. Buffalo.
3. Jets.
4. Miami.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Burger King presents: The Singing Cashiers (1974)

How Don Cornelius didn't land a sponsorship deal with Burger King for Soul Train, I'll never know. This 1974 offering would've been perfect.



Now, that's what I call soul food.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Musical Interlude: Hit Me Off (1996)

80's hitmakers New Edition reunited in the mid-90's, as Bobby Brown's solo career hit a snag or three. In order to promote the CD, "Home Again", the guys appeared on Family Matters in a November sweeps stunt.

By this point in the series, after having cloned himself at the end of the previous season, Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) was able to convert one of his clones into his suave, debonair alter-ego, Stefan Urquelle (White again), allowing Stefan to live his own life. That figures into this clip. This episode is also titled, "Home Again":



It wasn't the first time they had musical guests on Matters, but I think it was the last time, as prior to this, Shanice, Tracie Spencer, and the late Donna Summer had all appeared with Donna playing a relative of Urkel's, and Shanice & Tracie appearing as themselves, doing duets with Eddie Winslow (Darius McCrary). We'll have those clips up down the line.

Monday, August 26, 2019

The tale of a Polish spy gets pranked (To Tell The Truth, 1963)

Yesterday, we served up a 1971 episode of To Tell The Truth in which poet-comedian Nipsey Russell and series announcer Johnny Olsen were undercover as imposters. As noted at the time, this was not the first time such a stunt had been executed on the show.

Today, we move back in time to the winter of 1963, the year of ye scribe's birth, and the tale of a Polish emigre who'd defected after serving as a Communist spy. Bud Collyer is the moderator, and with the exception of Art James, who was hosting another Goodson-Todman game, Say When, at the time, it's the same panel, with Olsen as the announcer.



As was the case with Nipsey, Henry Morgan (I've Got a Secret) successfully collected all the votes, but I don't think there was ever an opportunity for payback on Secret back then.

Rating: B.

Does one man's retirement change the balance of power in the AFC South?

Andrew Luck decided the other day to hang up his helmet & cleats as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, just two weeks before the start of the regular season, citing leg injuries that have been slow in healing since the off-season, the latest in a series of physical setbacks for the 2018 NFL Comeback Player of The Year.

Most pundits had the Colts winning the AFC South before Luck announced his retirement. Now, they're backpedaling, ignoring the rest of the talent on offense, including receiver T. Y. Hilton and running back Marlon Mack. Now, they're touting either Houston or Tennessee as the class of the division.

Personally, I'd think there might be some residual effect from those stupid DirecTV ads Luck did a few years back, along with the likes of the Manning brothers and others. Peyton used what few brain cells he has and retired soon after winning a Super Bowl with Denver, while Eli has been regressing the last couple of years with the Giants, and Tony Romo is now a CBS analyst. Curses, anyone?

Digression over. Of course, Luck's decision, and the timing of same, was a topic today on ESPN's First Take, as Stephen A. Smith debates with Will Cain and guest John McEnroe, who stopped by the studio en route to the US Open tennis championships, which begin today.



For now, Jacoby Brissett becomes the starter at QB for Indianapolis, unless the team manages to pull someone off the scrap heap in the next 13 days. ESPN could offer Tim Tebow, whose baseball season ended due to an injury, but.......nah.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Once upon a time, there was a real-life Oz (To Tell The Truth, 1971)

I just could not pass this up.

Buzzr (check listings) has its own YouTube channel, from whence we get this magical episode of To Tell The Truth from 1971. The first game recalls a game from the Bud Collyer era of the series, in which Henry Morgan (I've Got a Secret) went undercover and fooled the panel. Here, Garry Moore, the original host of Secret, and panelists Gene Rayburn, Peggy Cass, Tom Poston, & Kitty Carlisle are introduced to a real-life Oz, based on L. Frank Baum's novels and the 1939 feature film, "The Wizard of Oz":



Announcer Johnny Olson would later sit in on the panel on Match Game, and occasionally would get screen time on The Price is Right after it was revived. You might think it was foreshadowing in Nipsey Russell's case, as Russell was cast as the Tin Man in "The Wiz", just a few years later. Dick DeBartolo, also a writer for Mad Magazine, had to have written the Oz material.

Rating: A.

On The Shelf: Bendis writes a mystery

While readers are waiting for Geoff Johns & Gary Frank to finish Doomsday Clock before the end of the year, and for Johns to either find another writer to take over Shazam! or finish the current storyline then hit the reset button, an even busier writer has authored the best mystery story arc of the year.

That, of course, would be Brian Michael Bendis, who has written some compelling stories in this genre (i.e. Jinx) in the past. Bendis is shepherding DC's Event Leviathan, a six issue miniseries that has ties to Greg Rucka's Lois Lane 12-parter, which bowed last month.

Leviathan had been an organization under the direction of Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ra's, ex-girlfriend (sort of) of The Batman, a neo-terrorist in a fashion model's body, so why has Bendis steered Leviathan toward Superman? Your guess is as good as mine. Paired once more with artist Alex Maleev, with whom he'd helped bring Daredevil back to the top of the best seller list at Marvel, Bendis is challenging the reader as well as the heroes in trying to unmask the new leader of Leviathan, who has overthrown Talia.

However, I for one wouldn't be at all surprised if they went to a predictable suspect that no one thinks of. Ra's is appearing in Batman & The Outsiders as part of the Year of The Villain event, but I wouldn't rule him out of taking over his daughter's group, too.

Rating: Incomplete.
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Speaking of Ra's & Talia, the former's first appearance in Batman was selected as the first of DC's facsimile edition reprints. Batman #232, first released in 1971, has been reprinted a few times before, but, as is the case with Marvel's facsimiles, not with the original ads and letter column pages included. Denny O'Neil & Neal Adams created the first iconic villain of the 70's, and the fact that Adams' forthcoming Bat-miniseries with Ra's is due soon helps suggest that Ra's will have a bigger role than you think going forward.

However, this classic tale is Adams at the peak of his powers. As a writer, he's questionable. As an artist, he is non-pareil.

Rating: A.
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Today, Jim Cornette is a commentator with Major League Wrestling (check your listings). In the 80's, he went from a photographer to becoming an iconic rule-breaking manager for the Midnight Express, a wisecracking, tennis racquet carrying loudmouth playing the part of a spoiled rich boy from Louisville. Today, he has a podcast or two that has excerpts on YouTube, filled with blue language, but deep down, Cornette is also a wrestling historian.

Cornette, aided by writer Brandon Easton, moves into the world of comic books, thanks to IDW, with the graphic novel, Jim Cornette Presents: Behind The Curtain--Real Pro Wrestling Stories, in which Cornette discusses a number of legendary tales of the business. From a 1975 plane crash that nearly ended Ric Flair's Hall of Fame career before it really got started to the infamous 1997 Montreal Screwjob in the WWE, Cornette lays out the details, including one factoid about the Montreal '97 incident that you probably didn't know about.

Oh, yeah, he also manages to discuss his time as a member of the WWE creative team without mentioning fanboy-turned-pariah Vince Russo by name. Just as well.

Rating: A+.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Musical Interlude: To Live & Die in LA (1985)

Wang Chung just missed the Top 40 with the title song to "To Live & Die in LA", which was released around Thanksgiving in 1985. It did, however, peak at #21 on the Modern Rock chart.

Wang Chung, of course, would rebound with the CD, "Mosaic", a little more than a year later.

Sports this 'n' that

Team USA hadn't lost a game in international play in basketball since 2006. Australia's national team had dropped 66 in a row to Team USA. Not exactly the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals, which is more theatre than sport, anyway, but you wondered if the tide would eventually turn for either side.

It has.

Australia, led by Patty (short for Patrick) Mills of the San Antonio Spurs, who scored 30 points, upset Team USA earlier. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is coaching Team USA, too, and he might have conflicting emotions about one of his own NBA players tagging an "L" on his ledger.
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College football is back. While America's Line only lists two games on their sheet for today, coincidentally the two games being nationally televised, there are more games. As I write, Colgate and Villanova have just started their game.

Locally, RPI, UAlbany, et al, don't start for another two weeks, so take a deep breath.
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New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is caught in a Catch 22 scenario not entirely of his own making.

Brady, you see, filed a trademark application for the name, "Tom Terrific", recently. Of course, Mets fans began squawking, because in New York, "Tom Terrific" means Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.

And to a generation or two of "baby boomers", there's this guy:



Brady has admitted that he wanted the trademark so that no one else could use it to describe him. There are Patriots marks across the country who think Brady, with 6 Super Bowls, is the greatest of all time. Not at this desk, but that's for another time.

However, New York fans can rest easy. Brady was denied the trademark. He does have the option to appeal, but for someone who also admitted he doesn't like the name, hence the reason for the application, I don't think he'll bother.
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It's Players' Weekend in Major League Baseball. From what I saw last night, home teams might be better served leaving the colors intact on their uniforms.

The Mets & Dodgers, for example, made it difficult for fans to read the numbers and fancy nicknames (save for Mets ace Jacob deGrom), as the colors were, well, bleached out for the weekend. Thank God for high definition cameras.

Oh, by the way, the Mets & Dodgers both lost (to Atlanta & the Yankees, respectively). Karma, anyone?

Friday, August 23, 2019

Classic TV (?): The First Hundred Years (1950)

CBS' The First Hundred Years holds a distinction as one of the first daytime soaps. The series ran for roughly 18 months (December 1950-June 1952) before being dropped in favor of The Guiding Light being transitioned from radio to television.

Procter & Gamble produced & sponsored the series, which began the company's association with daytime drama. P & G also packaged Guiding Light, Search For Tomorrow, As The World Turns, and World's short-lived primetime spin-off, Our Private World, which spent a summer on CBS in 1965.

Rob Wargo posted this sample episode on YouTube:



Not sure about this, but that might be Ken Roberts as the narrator, carrying the story along, as if it was intended for radio, and, yes, Roberts worked in radio himself back in the Golden Age.

No rating.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

When News Was News: ABC Scope (1964)

Beginning in November of 1964, ABC would block out a half hour a week for a news-magazine series that was, in effect, a forerunner to CBS' far more successful 60 Minutes, which, oh by the way, is still on the air.

ABC Scope ran just for four seasons (1964-8), when it could've lasted long enough to facilitate a transition to the current 20/20.

The program was hosted, or, actually, anchored, by the usual suspects, including Howard K. Smith and John Scali. However, science editor Jules Bergman, whom most folks associate with ABC's coverage of NASA flights, is the guest host for this particular installment on the Vietnam War. We get just the first couple of minutes, followed by a Ernie Anderson-narrated promo for The F. B. I.:



Today, if you mention M-16, you usually think of firecrackers more than repeating rifles.

Rating: A.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A rare inter-network crossover (1965)

I just couldn't let this pass, even though we've already posted one classic commercial.

Chevrolet has long used celebrity endorsers for their line of cars & trucks. In this spot from 1965, though it could be 1964, as the next year's models usually came out in the fall of the previous model year, Bewitched's Elizabeth Montgomery & Agnes Moorehead join the cast of Bonanza (Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, & Michael Landon) to introduce the 1965 line.

The spot also features Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), so look close.



Greene would later do some voice-overs for Chevrolet, and Chevy did, in fact, sponsor both shows.

Remember Mrs. Butterworth? (1975)

Mrs. Butterworth syrup, now made by Pinnacle Foods, has always been in the shadow of Aunt Jemima, and both competed for the consumer dollar with Log Cabin (then made by General Foods). Yes, Quaker made syrup under the Aunt Jemima label along with frozen waffles & pancakes. Lever Brothers, which sold Mrs. Butterworth to Pinnacle, didn't expand on the brand. Their loss.

Anyway, in this ad, Mrs. Butterworth (voiced by Hope Summers, ex-The Andy Griffith Show) makes the acquaintance of a 5 year old Kim Fields (well before The Facts of Life made her famous).

Videos of Summer: The Way (1998)

Fastball topped the modern rock charts for nearly 2 months in 1998 with the bluesy "The Way", which was actually based on a true story, adapting the account of an elderly couple who'd disappeared, only to be found dead two weeks later.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

What Might've Been: The Tycoon (1964)

Walter Brennan was a year removed from The Real McCoys when executive producer Danny Thomas came calling again, this time with a different premise.

The Tycoon cast Brennan as Walter Andrews, a millionaire businessman. The series was coupled with McHale's Navy, in its 3rd season, opposite The Red Skelton Hour on CBS, and NBC's freshman spy series, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. Apparently, what viewers abandoned Tycoon would return for Peyton Place, which followed. Go figure.

Two years before The Green Hornet cemented his icon status, Van Williams co-starred as Andrews' associate. George Lindsey, before joining the cast of The Andy Griffith Show full-time, appeared in 2 episodes.

Now, you've already seen this trailer reel with the ABC 1964 preview we've previously screened:



No rating.

Monday, August 19, 2019

What Might've Been: Lucas Tanner (1974)

A primetime show set in school? According to television history, the concept has been hit or miss.

The sitcom, Our Miss Brooks, with Eve Arden, transitioned to radio, and was a modest success on TV, too. James Franciscus got two seasons with Mr. Novak, a drama. Andy Griffith, however, bombed with The Headmaster, such that CBS rushed a replacement sitcom for him to air that same season.

So, in 1974, NBC tried out an hour long drama, as the others were all half hour shows. Their vision was actually the hope that Lucas Tanner would be a double-sized Mr. Novak. David Hartman, a year removed from the end of The Bold Ones (The New Doctors), was cast in the title role. If he'd been a contract player at Universal, this must've been the end of said contract, since he would soon jump to ABC to host Good Morning, America.

Unfortunately, Lucas Tanner, while it lasted the full season, was cancelled after that one season. Why? CBS had Cannon. Enough said. My folks preferred Cannon or ABC's Wednesday edition of the Movie of The Week.

Hence, there's no rating. We'll leave you with this sample:

A trilogy of passings

While the northeast was being battered with severe, violent thunderstorms over the weekend, there were a trio of passings to pass along.

Peter Fonda produced, co-wrote, and starred in 1968's "Easy Rider", co-authoring the script with Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern. "Rider" is the film Fonda is best remembered for, atop a resume that also included films such as "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry", "Futureworld", & "Open Season". Fonda also dabbled in recording music, releasing one single in the late 60's. He made only one movie with his sister, Jane, "Spirits of The Dead", also released in 1968, and directed by Jane's then-husband, Roger Vadim.

Peter Fonda passed away Friday at 79.
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Cedric Benson was a first round draft pick out of Texas in 2005, drafted by the Chicago Bears, but spent just 3 seasons in Chi-town (2005-7), and continued his playing career in Cincinnati (2008-11) and Green Bay (2012). Benson was killed in a motorcycle accident on Sunday. Benson was 35.
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When CBS had broadcast rights to horse racing's Triple Crown in the 60's & 70's, veteran sportscaster and World War II veteran Jack Whitaker helped shape the word picture before the race. Some YouTube commentators and online accounts mistakenly assumed Whitaker was also the race announcer for Secretariat's record-breaking victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. That was instead Chic Anderson, who was contracted by CBS to call the races for the network, although at Belmont itself, the late Fred Capposella called the race.

Whitaker was also tabbed by game show icon Bob Stewart to helm Stewart's first game show for CBS as an independent producer, 1966's The Face is Familiar. In this sample, Whitaker is joined by actors Bob Crane (Hogan's Heroes) & June Lockhart (Lost in Space):



Familiar didn't last very long, and we'll take a longer look at it another day. Whitaker also covered football and golf for CBS until leaving for ABC, where he continued to work on horse racing when ABC acquired the rights to the Triple Crown (now in the hands of NBC).

Whitaker passed away Sunday at 95.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Musical Interlude: Can't Get There From Here (1985)

R. E. M.'s "Can't Get There From Here" is the first single off their 1985 CD, "Fables of The Reconstruction". This does resemble something that was actually intended for public access, but it did gain significant airplay on MTV.

On The Shelf: GLOW loses some shine, and some old friends return

Season 3 of Netflix's GLOW dropped last week. A couple of weeks earlier, the comics version of the series came to an end at IDW.

There was so much promise when the miniseries launched at the end of April. However, artist Hannah Templer fell behind schedule, delaying issue 2 to mid-June. As a result, issues 2-3 came out on back-to-back weeks, and so did issue 4 and the Summer Special last month.

I was willing to forgive Templer's neo-Manga art style, the same used on Cartoon Network shows such as Steven Universe, for example. Then, considering that writer Tini Howard has been busy as well, writing for Marvel and other publishers, maybe part of the problem was hers as well. In any case, the miniseries ended with a thud.

The GLOW Summer Special, written by comics vet Devin Grayson, who is making a bit of a comeback on the independent circuit, is a little bit better. The artwork looks a little more realistic and serious, but not given enough space. Why? Because IDW needed the space to promote another miniseries, Marilyn Manor, which is a tabloid journalist's dream.

Marilyn Manor purports the notion that Marilyn Monroe & President John F. Kennedy not only had a steamy affair back in the 60's, but also had a daughter, who's a bit of a party girl. Meh.

Final rating for the GLOW miniseries: Down to B--.
Rating for Marilyn Manor: C.
Rating for GLOW Summer Special: B+.
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DC had an abundance of super-teams back in the 60's, and, one by one, those teams are returning.

Brian Michael Bendis is adding a new, monthly Legion of Superheroes to his work load. After the two part miniseries running through September & October, the monthly kicks off in November. Ryan Sook is doing both the miniseries and the ongoing. Add this to the previously announced revivals of Metal Men (October) & Inferior Five (September) as 12 issue maxiseries, and you wonder if DC will go for the downs and add, oh, I don't know, the Sea Devils at some point.
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As expected, Bendis is adding his breakout star, Naomi, to Young Justice, beginning with issue 10, out in November, following a two-part appearance in Action Comics. Meanwhile, Jamal Campbell is working on another project for DC, so any continuation of Naomi's own book will wait until 2020 at the earliest.

Along that same tack, Grant Morrison will begin "season 2" of The Green Lantern in 2020. To tie fans over, a 3 part miniseries, Green Lantern: The Darkstars, debuts in November. Remember when the Darkstars were actually perceived as heroes? You don't? Get thee to a bargain bin, effendi! In recent times, the Darkstars have been reimagined as being rogues. Ehh, whatever.
======================================
DC continues to solicit Shazam! despite the continuing delays with the series. I get that the solicitations are written in advance, but writer Geoff Johns is SO busy with movie & TV work, as we talked about last time, and co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio don't quite get the idea that there's no point in soliciting a book until it gets back on schedule.
=======================================
NBC-Universal-Comcast has some beancounters who may have gotten lessons in economics from watching Jack Benny's sitcom back in the day. How else to explain SyFy reversing field and passing on a pilot for Lobo, which was to spin off from Krypton? Instead, Krypton, which ended its 2nd season on Wednesday, has been cancelled, leaving Wynonna Earp as the last comics-related series left at SyFy, which already deep-sixed Deadly Class after 1 season and Grant Morrison's Happy! after 2. Warner Horizon is looking to either DC Universe or HBO Max to be the next destination for the two series. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 16, 2019

What Might've Been: Wendy & Me (1964)

George Burns returned to television as both an actor and a producer in 1964.

Burns teamed with Warner Bros. to package a pair of freshman sitcoms for ABC, No Time For Sergeants (previously reviewed), and our next subject, Wendy & Me. That was the good news. The bad? Both shows were cancelled after one season.

Burns plays the building manager of an apartment building, and, as he did with The Burns & Allen Show, takes time to talk to the audience, cigar in hand as always. Wendy & Me was his first acting gig since wife Gracie Allen had passed away. Perhaps he was hoping that Connie Stevens (ex-Hawaiian Eye) could fill the void on camera in terms of chemistry.

Viewers, however, voted against the notion. Wendy & Me had one big roadblock in front of it. Lucille Ball was in the 3rd season of The Lucy Show as part of CBS' powerful Monday block. NBC answered with Andy Williams. Game over.

Now, being that I was a toddler back then, I never saw the show. So this sample size, provided by John Eimen (ex-McKeever & The Colonel) on his YouTube channel, is not enough to warrant a rating.

Sports this 'n' that

The late Baltimore Orioles manager, Earl Weaver, often fretted when Don Stackhouse was on the mound with the game on the line. I think he gave Stackhouse the nickname, "Two-Pack", as in two packs of cigarettes that Weaver would go through, back when smoking in the dugout was permitted, when Stackhouse was in the game.

Today, Mets manager Mickey Callaway might be inclined to feel the same way about his bullpen in general.

Callaway almost let another game slip away Thursday night in Atlanta. The Mets had been on their way to a blowout win over the Braves to salvage the final game of a three set with the NL East leaders. However, Drew Gagnon, entrusted with a six run lead in the 9th, cut the lead by 2/3, down to two, allowing homers to Ronald Acuna, Jr., Freddie Freeman, & Josh Donaldson. For the latter two, it was each their 2nd homer of the game, and in Freeman's case, his 2nd in as many innings.

Closer Edwin Diaz was brought in with two out. Diaz promptly walked Brian McCann, then struck out Ender Inciarte to end the game. Mets Nation could breathe a sigh of relief.

On a popular message board this morning, there were the haters complaining about Gagnon, who has been on the yo-yo shuttle between New York & Syracuse. Callaway has gotten his share of haterizing in his two seasons in Flushing, but we've been over that before. The Mets snapped a three game losing streak in beating Atlanta, and the two teams will meet again in Flushing next weekend.
============================
For all the bludgeoning the Yankees administered to Baltimore this season, going 17-2 against the Orioles, you wondered if there was any karma headed the Bombers' way.

The Cleveland Indians may have had the answer Thursday.

The Yankees used reliever Chad Green as an "opener", and he didn't survive the first inning. In all, the Indians hit 7 home runs, including two apiece for Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez, en route to a 19-5 rout. Granted, the Yanks could've had their last run taken away when a fan pulled a Jeffrey Maier and caught Gleyber Torres' home run ball in the 8th, but with the big lead, the Indians didn't want to raise a fuss, and who could blame them?
============================
Who besides Yankee radio announcer John Sterling, 82, would be the oldest active announcer in baseball? For all we know, Sterling may have inherited that title after Vin Scully retired from the Dodgers a couple of years back. Just askin'.
=============================
While Vince McMahon's XFL 2.0 does not begin play for another six months, the league is starting to sign players. Former Oklahoma QB Landry Jones was picked up off the scrap heap on Thursday. Keep in mind that in the original XFL's lone season, Tommy Maddox led Los Angeles to the championship, then finished his career in Pittsburgh as a placeholder until Ben Roethlisberger was drafted four years later.
==============================
ESPN debuted their revamped Monday Night Football broadcast team on Thursday, with Anthony "Booger" McFarland moving to the booth to join Joe Tessitore (whose Holy Moley for ABC may have wrapped on Thursday), with Jason Witten one and done before heading back to Dallas. McFarland uses his nickname on the air, but it sounds like he's in the wrong profession. Don't ya think his future lies in wrestling? Just askin'.

For what it's worth, Oakland had its way with Arizona and rookie Kyler Murray, 33-13.
==============================
The Associated Press reports today that a minor league baseball owner wants nothing to do with a Muslim rights group.

E. Miles Prentice, owner of the NY-Penn League's Connecticut Tigers, also runs the Center For Security Policy, an organization that has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Prentice, however, maintains he's not a racist. Prentice, who also has a stake in an Oakland AA affiliate, may need to keep an open mind going forward. The last thing baseball needs right now is to be swept into the political maelstrom regarding race.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Only in The South: Football fundraising takes a fumble at gunpoint

School has started in Arkansas. Unfortunately, the last days of summer vacation ended in controversy.

On August 7, four teenagers from Wynne High, two of them wearing football jerseys, were doing some door-to-door fundraising. Harmless? Of course. But try telling that to the wife of a jail administrator in Wynne.

Jerri Kelly, seeing the four teens approaching her door, reportedly dialed 911, then met the boys with a gun and ordered them to the ground. She held the boys at gunpoint until the police arrived.

The issue? Mrs. Kelly is white. The football players are African-American.

Five days later, Mrs. Kelly was arrested and charged with false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a minor, and four counts of assault. There was no mug shot immediately taken due to what was claimed to be a "medical issue". A picture was taken the next day, although that won't be in the following video:



Mrs. Kelly has been accused of racially profiling the four boys. Her husband's boss denies any preferential treatment was given, but clearly, with school having started yesterday, damage control was in order.

The players were selling discount cards for the season. No harm, no foul, except in the mind of a callous Weasel who's too afraid to tell her side of the story, knowing she was wrong. She was released on bond, but inevitably, the truth will put her behind bars where she belongs.

ABC Fall Preview 55 years ago (1964)

In 1964, ABC celebrated what they called, "The Year of The Week". Cheesy, yes, but, as history teaches, there were quite a few clunkers.

We have already reviewed the following:

Voyage to The Bottom of The Sea: The promo mentions a Captain John Phillips. However, Phillips was replaced or rechristened Lee Crane when the series hit the air, with Crane portrayed by David Hedison ("The Fly").

No Time For Sergeants
The Bing Crosby Show
Peyton Place
Shindig!
The Addams Family
Jonny Quest (reviewed at Saturday Morning Archives)
Bewitched
Valentine's Day
12 0'Clock High
Broadside

Yet to be reviewed:

Wendy & Me
The Tycoon
Mickey (as in Rooney)
ABC Scope (announced as ABC Close-Up), produced by ABC News.

Michael Rye, staff announcer at ABC at the time, is the narrator.



Yeah, cheesy.

Rating: B-.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Forgotten TV: Profiles in Courage (1964)

Independent producer Robert Saudek had acquired the rights to adapt President John F. Kennedy's acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize winning best-seller, Profiles in Courage, into an anthology series for television, dramatizations of the chapters in the book.

However, NBC slotted Profiles on Sunday nights at 6:30 pm (ET), which back in those days was an optional lead-in slot for the primetime schedule. Today, NBC has news at that time most weeks. Because of the early hour, and the fact that it would likely be airing opposite football during its first two months on the air, having launched in November 1964, viewers had trouble finding the show, which was cancelled after 1 season, and certainly deserved a better fate.

Here, Union College graduate Lee Tracy stars as second generation politician Robert Taft.



Rating: A.

Musical Interlude: It Might Be You (1982)

Nearly 40 years later, Stephen Bishop's dreamy ballad, "It Might Be You", from "Tootsie", is still getting some airplay on adult contemporary & oldies channels. Not sure if this live clip comes from the Oscars or the Grammys or the American Music Awards.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What Might've Been: The Greatest Show on Earth (1963)

There's a sort of urban legend that says that comedy icon Lucille Ball had been offered a part in the 1952 movie, "The Greatest Show on Earth",  but turned it down. She was developing I Love Lucy at the time of production.

11 years later, Ball's production company, Desilu, acquired the rights to produce a TV series version of Greatest Show on Earth, for ABC, to replace The Untouchables, another Desilu entry, on the schedule.

Jack Palance landed his first series gig, one of three (Bronk & Ripley's Believe it or Not! being the others) in his career. Unfortunately, Greatest Show was matched opposite The Beverly Hillbillies & The Jack Benny Program on CBS, and The Richard Boone Show, a Goodson-Todman entry for NBC. CBS won the ratings war in the time slot, and Greatest Show was cancelled after 1 season. So was The Richard Boone Show, but that's for another time.

Following is "Lady in Limbo", with Lucy in a rare at the time dramatic part. Billy Mumy, 2 years before Lost in Space, and Roger C. Carmel, 4 years before The Mothers-in-Law, also guest star.



Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus had a hand in the production for authenticity. There, though, is a reason why they haven't tried something like this since.

No rating.

What Might've Been: Sons & Daughters (1974)

Spun from the TV-movie, "Senior Year", Sons & Daughters was placed in a no-win situation in the fall of 1974. It was one of those cases where network suits used a velcro dartboard to determine where a show would be placed, and whether or not it'd stick.

Sons wound up on Wednesdays at 8 (ET), opposite two more freshman series, the sitcom That's My Mama on ABC, and Little House on The Prairie on NBC. Ultimately, Little House would end up the winner, as Sons really wasn't given much chance to succeed.

Looking at the cast, Universal's casting department had built a pretty fair ensemble. Gary Frank would later win an Emmy for ABC's Family. Debralee Scott moved on to first Welcome Back, Kotter, then, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Jan Shutan had finally landed a series gig after a failed pilot for Dick Tracy failed to sell seven years earlier.

CBS would have trouble filling that Wednesday berth for years to come.

Here's the intro:



No rating.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Forgotten TV: The Leslie Uggams Show (1969)

Actress-singer Leslie Uggams was given her own variety show on CBS in 1969. You might not remember it, because it lasted 10 weeks.

Why?

Bonanza, that's why. Despite having The Ed Sullivan Show as a lead-in, Uggams' series was slotted opposite the NBC Western, a poor decision by the programmers. Personally, I'd have tried to pair Leslie with Carol Burnett, and see where that would've gone on the schedule.

I do know this. I was only 6 when this was on, but my folks probably would have had Bonanza or the ABC Sunday Night Movie on. CBS even went so far as to have the cast of Hogan's Heroes cross-over for one episode with a framing sketch, but that didn't work.

Here's Leslie, performing "Everybody Gets to go to The Moon":



I remember Leslie more for her acting (i.e. Roots) than for her singing, though I think she might've done a musical number or three on, say, The Mike Douglas Show or a Jerry Lewis MDA telethon.

Series regulars Dennis Allen and Johnny Brown later moved over to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and Brown subsequently returned to CBS to co-star on Good Times.

No rating.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Classic TV: Hopalong Cassidy (1952)

William Boyd took a chance, putting everything on the line in making the investment of his career.

Boyd acquired the rights to the Western hero, Hopalong Cassidy, and made the decision to move from movies to television. Conflicting accounts differ as to when the TV series launched, whether it was 1949 or 1952. Edgar Buchanan co-starred in the TV series as Red Collins before moving on to Judge Roy Bean, Petticoat Junction, & Cade's County.

Here's a sample episode. The plot seems kinda familiar:



My only memory otherwise was back in the 70's, a local channel took a chance and aired reruns on a weeknight, once a week.

No rating.

Sports this 'n' that

50 years ago, the Mets were the dregs of the National League, but of course you know what happened that year, the first year of divisional play. They stalked and overtook the teams in front of them, claimed the division and league titles, then upset Baltimore for their first World Series title. The late relief pitcher Tug McGraw coined the phrase, "Ya gotta believe!", to rally the fan base.

"Ya gotta believe!"

Today, that phrase has resurfaced as the Mets have pulled themselves into playoff contention after being written off and left for dead by the media, including WNYT's Rodger Wyland, writing in the Albany Times-Union a few weeks back. The Mets have won 8 straight, 15 of the last 16, the last two in dramatic fashion vs. Washington.

The rumors of trading either Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard last month may have had a hand in fueling this current run. Neither one was traded, and instead, Jason Vargas was dealt to Philadelphia. Marcus Stroman was acquired from Toronto. It's 2015 all over again, and Stroman is this year's Yoenis Cespedes.

Only now is the tabloid media in New York realizing what some of us already knew. The Mets' rookie GM, ex-agent Brodie Van Wagenen, pulled off the heist of the year in getting ex-Tri-City Valleycat J. D. Davis from Houston. Davis has made Washington's Patrick Corbin his personal patsy, having hit three homers off Corbin, including one Saturday night. The Nationals' pen, however, has been proven to be just as hazardous to second year skipper Dave Martinez's health as the Mets' bullpen was to Mickey Callaway until recently. Three of closer Sean Doolittle's five blown saves came against the Mets, including one on Friday. In all, out of their 10 losses to New York entering play today, the Nationals' bullpen has blown seven saves, the latest charged to Fernando Rodney on Saturday.

There's still time left in the season where things could go south, but the Mets will ride this momentum train as long as they can. You just gotta believe.
===============================
The annual Jets-Giants game for bragging rights to the NY-NJ market took place earlier than usual this year, with the Giants winning on Thursday. It won't mean anything long term unless the two teams meet in the regular season, which only happens once every four years.
===============================
Had the Little League World Series regionals on the tube Saturday night, and ESPN's bottom line showed that Houston had set a club record for runs in a single game. They bludgeoned Baltimore, 23-2. Ouch!!! This is what happens when the Orioles hire a no-name as their new manager (Brandon "Jekyll &" Hyde) to replace Buck Showalter. Toronto also has a no-name in their dugout, and they've won two straight from the Yankees, who've also mauled the Orioles this season. Go figure.
==============================
One of the running urban legends in WWE these days suggests that CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon, who will turn 74 later this month, allegedly has a fetish for certain females on his roster, like Alexa Bliss, for example. Because of Bliss' injury history, she has been, in the eyes of detractors, over-protected the last few months, and taking fewer bumps in the ring. Currently 1/2 of the women's tag team champs with Scotland's Nikki Cross, Bliss (Lexi Kaufman) is still a pariah on some message boards, because while she has her supporters, she also has critics who feel she's still being heavily pushed just because of her looks and her blonde hair. At the same time, for every critic ragging on Bliss, they lose track of how many blondes are on the women's roster. While Bliss and Charlotte Flair (Ashley Fliehr) are getting the lion's share of the scorn from detractors, Canadian born Natalya Niedhart is getting a shot at one of the women's titles tonight when she faces Becky Lynch, but after 10 years on the main roster, Natalya is seen as boring, despite her pedigree.

Ex-Marine Lacey Evans was rushed to the main roster, and rushed into title matches vs. Lynch despite having so few TV matches under her belt. She's still on the road, but has been off TV since last month's Extreme Rules event. Ex-Riott Squad member Sarah Logan and Dana Brooke have been engaged in a series of matches on WWE Main Event, which few people see.

The real problem is in the creative office. Vince McMahon employs nearly two dozen writers for each of his primary shows. You know what they say about too many cooks spoiling the sauce. McMahon has rewritten the script for Smackdown by himself the last three weeks, and the results have been positive in a lot of places. Maybe the old man should take the hint and start trimming the fat in the writers' room.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Musical Interlude: Young Girl (1968)

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap's 1968 hit, "Young Girl", is similar in theme to an older standard, "Go Away, Little Girl", which was at one time recorded by Puckett's Columbia stablemate, Steve Lawrence, before Donny Osmond brought "Little Girl" back onto the charts.

Both songs address the "Lolita" factor, about a man seduced by a girl who's actually underage. Like its follow-up, "Lady Willpower", "Young Girl" peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, and topped the Cashbox pop chart.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Weasel of The Week: Curt James Brockway

This week's Weasel is hoping to use mental illness as an excuse for his actions at a county fair in Montana the other day.

You've heard the story by now. Curt James Brockway, 39, an ex-con, reportedly grabbed a 13 year old boy and threw him to the ground, all because the kid wouldn't take off his cap for the playing of the national anthem.

Now comes word, and this is where the mental illness defense comes into play, that Brockway's lawyer claims his client believed that he got his orders from President Trump.

BOLLOCKS & BALDERDASH!

Brockway had his brains scrambled in an auto accident nearly 20 years ago. A lenient judge let him be released on bail after this incident, and is living under the delusion that Trump told him to go after anyone that disrespected the flag or the anthem.

For more on the story, here's a report from CBS News' YouTube channel:



As much as President Trump has been bashed in this space the last few years, even before becoming President, this is not on him. It was a random attack, and a 13 year old boy wound up with a fractured skull, bleeding from his ear for 6 hours.

With his rap sheet, Brockway is likely heading back to the slammer, unless he can prove he does have psych issues, in which case he would likely be headed to the state hospital. Jail would not be the answer this time, as once the cons there learn the age of the victim, they'd mete out their own brand of justice.

You give the mental health system a bad name, Curt Brockway. I've got a better name for you. Weasel.

What Might've Been: Paper Moon (1974)

Paramount thought they had a hot commodity at the start of the 1974-5 season.

Paper Moon, based on the movie of the same name that came out a year earlier, was paired with The Odd Couple, which shifted from Fridays to Thursdays for its final season. Both the movie and the series were adaptations of the novel, Addie Pray, by Joe David Brown.

Christopher Connelly was cast as Moses "Moze" Pray, the role originated by his former Peyton Place castmate, Ryan O'Neal. Future Oscar winner Jodie Foster was cast as Addie, a role that earned Ryan's daughter, Tatum, an Oscar earlier in 1974. The late Alvin Sargent, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, also was a writer for the series. Sargent later went on to work on Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy, among his many film credits.

So why did the series fail? It was slotted opposite the 2nd half of The Waltons, which was set a little later in time, not quite in the same era as Moon, but it already had an established audience. Game over.

Following is the pilot episode:



Jodie Foster had done some guest roles on other sitcoms, including The Courtship of Eddie's Father, and with her brother, Buddy, on Mayberry RFD, before landing the Moon gig, her only starring role in a series.

No rating. I don't think my folks even tried this out, opting instead for The Waltons, though they'd abandon that for Barney Miller the following winter.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

CBS Fall Preview 45 years ago (1974)

We complete our look back at 1974's fall season with CBS. The presentation is fronted by Ted Knight as Ted Baxter, the egomaniacal news anchor from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, with archived clips from that series and other returning favorites, such as Maude, M*A*S*H, & The Carol Burnett Show.

We've previously looked at:

Rhoda
Planet of The Apes
Paul Sand in Friends & Lovers
The Manhunter

We will soon see:

Sons & Daughters

Yes, Ernie Anderson is the off-screen announcer, before he took the full-time gig with ABC.







Forgive the poor video quality. While CBS has successfully bracketed fall previews in the past, such as the 1961 show with Garry Moore, this comes up flat.

Spoiler alert: Only one freshman series managed to survive the season----Rhoda.

Rating; B-.

Sports this 'n' that

After last week's NFL Hall of Fame game, the preseason schedule begins in earnest tonight. NFL Network will have some live game action, and a ton of tape delayed games, which will be cycled and recycled ad infinitum over the next few days.

One big surprise is the annual Jets-Giants preseason game at MetLife Stadium is the teams' first preseason game. Traditionally, the two teams usually have two games in the books by the time they have their little clambake for bragging rights. Weird. Both teams are hoping to pick up some of the positive vibes from the city's baseball teams.

The Mets & Yankees have just gotten done bludgeoning the bottom feeders of their respective divisions. Then again, the Yankees have used the Baltimore Orioles as a set of punching bags all year, like everyone else, save maybe the Red Sox. The Mets swept Miami at Citi Field for the 2nd time this season (the first time was in April), and suddenly are a playoff contender.

The Mets have won 13 of their last 14. Washington comes to town Friday, but will be without ace Max Scherzer, who is on the IL. Some of today's Mets are being compared to the Miracle Mets of 50 years ago, who erased a 10 game deficit to win the NL East and the World Series.

It would be fitting if it happened again, wouldn't it, now?

Of course, come September, the Giants & Jets will do what they do best, stumble out of the gate, as they have the last couple of years.

Then again, I could be wrong about that......
================================
WWE will be in the Great White North this weekend for the latest NXT Takeover & Summerslam, both in Toronto, which has hosted two Wrestlemania events. Hometown icon Trish Stratus has said she will wrestle her last match vs. 2nd generation star Charlotte Flair, so we'll see if she does the honors for Flair, who doesn't need them, or if she wins in front of the homies, just as she did 13 years ago in what was to be her final match back then.

The idea is for WWE to wipe the slate clean as they prepare to move Smackdown Live! from USA to Fox come October 4 (final USA episode will be on September 24, as the series moves from Tuesdays back to Fridays). Fox will either pre-empt on October 25 due to the World Series, or move the show to FS1 for a week. That has not yet been made clear.

Speaking of FS1, there are rumors that the cabler could be a second home to NXT come the fall, acting as a hour-long infomercial for the WWE Network, if you will. With upstart All Elite Wrestling set to begin a weekly run on TNT on October 2, WWE wants to make sure their fans keep their eyes on their product.
=================================
The NCAA is trying to take steps to cut down the stream of one-&-dones from entering the NBA by restricting agents' access to their prospective clients.

The august body is stubbornly holding on to the gradually dying precept that their student-athletes are amateurs, but when you're on your second or third generation of kids surrounding themselves with glad-handing leeches filling their ears with praise for how good they've been in high school or on the playgrounds, the barriers are eroding, and the suits in charge of the NCAA are too blind to see it. These kids today have been conditioned to chase the money as soon as they possibly can. However, for every LeBron James, there are about two dozen kids taking the money too early, and flaming out. That's just the way it is. You don't see that in other sports.

Speaking of LeBron, the new rules, he claims, are aimed at his agent, Rich Paul, who doesn't have something the NCAA feels he should have, and that's a college degree. I guess the suits feel that an agent has to have a degree, like in business management, for example, to have some semblance of credibility with them. We'll see.
========================================
ESPN loudmouth Stephen A. Smith is on hiatus from First Take while he recovers from an injury.

No, his jaw isn't broken (unfortunately), but he did try something the other week, sparring in a boxing ring, and that's where the injury occurred. Smith, who's been blasted in this space time and again for blowing out more hot air than the average balloon on subjects, such as boxing, that he isn't really qualified to talk about (basketball was his beat when he first came to ESPN), was trying to prove he knows what he's talking about. Next, we'll read something about how he tried out for an NFL team, and something happened there.......

Meanwhile, moderator Molly Querin walked off the set the other day over one of Max Kellerman's rants. Maybe Max is getting frustrated not seeing Screamin' A. Cosell on the other side of the table.....

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Musical Interlude: Everything That Touches You (1968)

The Association had a string of hits in the late 60's that most folks can remember fairly easily. "Cherish". "Along Comes Mary". "Windy".

And, then, there's this 1968 ballad, "Everything That Touches You", which still gets some radio airplay more than 50 years later.

This clip is taken from a long forgotten NBC special, Where The Girls Are, from April 1968. Actor-singer Noel Harrison, fresh from The Girl From UNCLE, served as host, and introduces the following performance.



Where The Girls Are is not available in its entirely online at present. Wouldn't mind finding it for the simple reason of seeing Harrison doing a duet with Don Adams (Get Smart) on "Brush Up Your Shakespeare".......

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What Might've Been: All is Forgiven (1986)

All is Forgiven, from the producers of Taxi & Cheers, should've been a big hit, but it wasn't.

Terence Knox (ex-St. Elsewhere) and Bess Armstrong are at the front of the ensemble for this NBC entry, which also features Carol Kane (ex-Taxi) and David Alan Grier, four years before In Living Color. Shawnee Smith, who plays Sonia, would later turn up on another Paramount sitcom, Becker, about a decade later.

Following is the series opener.



Knox would move on to Tour of Duty after Forgiven ended.

No rating. Wouldn't be fair based on a small sample, since I never saw the show the first time. The above video was taken from an A&E rerun.

What Might've Been: Kodiak (1974)

As NBC & Jack Webb took a look at forest rangers with Sierra, ABC went out and tried a different tack.

Kodiak brought Clint Walker (ex-Cheyenne) back to series television after he'd made a few movies, including an ABC Movie of The Week, "Killdozer". He even hooked up with his old employers at Warner Bros., which packaged Kodiak for ABC.

One problem, and it was a big one. Kodiak was slotted opposite NBC's Sanford & Son. Game over. Kodiak was also filling the Friday lead-off slot where The Brady Bunch had been, but with the prime time block now three hours on Monday-Saturday due to changes in programming regulations, Kodiak was supposed to be a warm-up act for The Six Million Dollar Man. Unfortunately, Kodiak was cancelled after the first episode aired, but three more were shown before ABC finally pulled the plug and overhauled the Friday block, as Jack Elam's sitcom, The Texas Wheelers, also got a quick hook. Another WB property, Kung Fu, with David Carradine, was tried out on Fridays before moving back to Saturdays for the winter.

All that's available is this sample clip with guest star Robby Benson.



No rating. My folks watched Sanford & Son before flipping the channel for Six Million Dollar Man.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Videos of Summer: Waterfalls (1995)

TLC was one of the most socially relevant hip hop acts in the 90's. 1995's "Waterfalls" addresses drugs and the effects of promiscuity and HIV/AIDS. Bokeem Woodbine is among the guest stars in the video, directed by F. Gary Gray.

ABC Fall Preview 45 years ago (1974)

Yesterday, we looked at NBC's 1974-5 fall slate, and reviewed Sierra. Today, we're looking at ABC's 1974-5 slate. Turns out most of the hits would come along in mid-season.

We have previously looked at:

That's My Mama
Get Christie Love
Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Nakia
The Texas Wheelers

We'll soon see:

The Sonny Comedy Revue
Paper Moon
The New Land
Kodiak

Narrators include Ernie Anderson:



The skits in the middle, including a two-parter with husband & wife comics Charlie Brill & Mitzi McCall, killed this show dead.

Rating: C.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

What Might've Been: Sierra (1974)

It's safe to assume that by 1974, Jack Webb was no longer a reliable source for programming for NBC.

Adam-12 was entering its final season. Emergency! was starting its 4th. Chase & Hec Ramsey had been cancelled at the end of the 1973-4 season.

So Webb decided that his next project would move out of Los Angeles proper, and into the forest.

Sierra shined a spotlight on a group of forest rangers working in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. Nice idea, wrong night of the week. Couldn't air it in back of Emergency! on Saturday because that was also a movie night. Thursday was a problem. NBC was trying to fill the vacancy created by the termination of Flip Wilson's variety show. Problem was, as the season began, Sierra was matched against The Odd Couple (also in its final season) and The Waltons.  Ballgame. NBC went back to the variety well after Sierra was cancelled, trying out Mac Davis and Gladys Knight & The Pips for short stints.

Following is a sample clip, a crossover with Emergency!, as Randolph Mantooth & Kevin Tighe guest star as firemen John Gage & Roy DeSoto, respectively. The theme song was written by one of the more prolific hit makers of the decade, John Denver, who also composed the theme for ABC's The New Land:



Michael Warren (billed as Mike Warren here) would later resurface on Hill Street Blues, which was far more successful, and spent most of its run on the other side of the Thursday block.

Rating: B.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Videos of Summer: La Isla Bonita (1986)

Madonna's "True Blue" CD in 1986 produced a good number of hit singles, including this next offering, "La Isla Bonita", although the video looks like it was shot in New York.

ABC Fall Preview 50 years ago (1969)

ABC's slogan in 1969 was "Meet us in September", and they had plenty to offer in terms of new shows.

We've already looked at:

Music Scene
The New People
Marcus Welby, M. D.
Love, American Style
The Brady Bunch
The Courtship of Eddie's Father
Room 222
The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (which moved over from NBC, where it debuted a year earlier)
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters Hour
The Movie of The Week

And we'll soon see:

Harold Robbins' The Survivors.

William Schallert (ex-The Patty Duke Show) narrates:





Rating: A.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Musical Interlude: Part Time Lover (1985)

Stevie Wonder hit #1 on the pop chart, and scored a Grammy for 1985's bouncy "Part Time Lover", off "In Square Circle". Wonder gets help from ex-wife Syreeta Wright, Luther Vandross, and Earth, Wind, & Fire vocalist Philip Bailey.