Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Ken Berry found fame on the sit-com F-Troop but that lasted only 2 years. In 1968 Ken Berry joined the cast of the Andy Griffith Show as farmer and part time town councilman Sam Jones. When Griffith left the show Berry took over the lead role while the rest of the cast remained. The name was changed to Mayberry R.F.D. (RFD is a postal term for Rural Farm District) In a way it was the same show and in another way it was a spin-off. They did something like this with All in the Family when they changed locations to Archie’s Bar and the show became Archie Bunker’s Place. Mayberry R.F.D. ran until 1971 when CBS decided to cancel all the shows they had that appealed to rural audiences. Most of those shows were in the top 20 but CBS canceled them anyway. In 1972 CBS was looking for a summer replacement for the Sonny and Cher show. They aired the Ken Berry “WOW” Show on July 15, 1972. Most people knew Ken as only an actor. With this series he got to show off his skills as a dancer and singer. Ken got his start in show business as a dancer. As a singer, dancer and actor he was a walking variety show by himself. The show starred many fine performers like future Charlie’s Angels Cheryl Ladd and a man who seemed like he was going to be a permanent member of variety shows, Steve Martin. Of course he went on to bigger things near the end of the 70’s. Mostly the series lampooned current movies and TV shows. The acts were supposed to be designed to make you say WOW! I have always liked watching Ken Berry in almost anything and this show was enjoyable to watch but Mr. Berry’s charisma was not enough. The show ended on August 12th of that year.
Mr. Berry has his own site and I wrote to him to there to ask permission to use a photo of him from this show. I have not heard from him in time for this posting so I have used the TV Guide photo from his Mayberry R.F.D. days that you see above . You can get to Mr. Berry's site here.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Not long ago I did a series on variety shows. In doing some research for that series I found some shows I did not know about and others that I was reminded of. One thing that I was reminded of was that 3 of those shows starred members of a hit sit-com from the 60's. It was the Andy Griffith Show. After Don left Andy's series for the movies he came back to television with his own variety series. It aired on Tuesday nights on NBC from September 15, 1970 to July 6, 1971. He had a good supporting cast, some of them had been in his movies. One was the man of a million voices Frank Welker and another was future MASH star Gary Burghoff. The actors were good but the writing was not. That is pretty much what killed the show. There were two segments were always on each week. One was Mr. Knotts complaining in a funny way on how hard it was to put on a TV show each week. That might be funny once or twice but not every week. The other was Don sitting on the front porch talking to his guest star of the week. The was an obvious attempt to bring back memories of the Andy Griffith show. It was ok but didn't really work until the episode where Andy himself was on the show. After it was canceled there may have been a few lean months in the Knotts household but he made up for them when he was cast in a few Disney movies. Don finally found a steady job when they cast him as the landlord on Three's Company. Rumor has it that when they were recasting the part the producers said they wanted a Don Knotts type of actor. They had trouble finding that type till they said well let's see if Don Knotts himself is availble. He was and I think he got a better residual deal on the syndication then he did on Andy Griffith. Remember in the 60's they just did the show and got paid only for the first run. No one back then knew it was keep airing. So few actors thought of asking for part of the syndication rights.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
I realize that some readers of this blog may not know who Peter and Gordon, which I have mentioned in a previous posting, are. Peter Asher and Gordon Waller where friends in school in England and liked to play guitar and sing together. At first they called themselves Gordon and Peter and played at school parties. Eventually they changed their act’s name to Peter and Gordon. The school parties was a good place for this young act to start but the guys wanted more. They took to climbing the school’s gate at night and started playing in clubs when they were only 16 or 17 years old. A lot of record company executives were at those clubs and while many showed interest the one they auditioned for and eventually signed with was E.M.I. While they were signed to a contract on their own merits the duo was lucky enough to be friends with one of the Beatles. Paul McCartney was dating Peter’s sister Jane. In those days Paul and John would write songs for other people who they liked. Sometimes Lennon and McCartney would write songs that started out as a Beatles tune but then one of them decided they didn’t like it. What were they going to do with a song that was ready to be recorded but it was not right for the Beatles? The answer is that they gave them away to their friends. Peter and Gordon received at least 3 songs from Paul that were throw a ways and one that was written just for Peter and Gordon.
One of the throw away songs was “A World Without Love.” Paul like the song but John didn’t. John must have felt odd when it turns out that he gave away a #1 hit song. Peter and Gordon topped the charts world wide for one week in 1964 making them the 2nd British act after the Beatles to have a #1 hit song in America. Around this time the Beatles, mostly John and Paul, were being attacked for their success. Critics were saying that if anyone had a hit in the top 40 that was written by Lennon and McCartney it was only because the Beatles were so famous it did not matter how good the song was. Paul took this as a challenge and wrote a song called Woman for Peter and Gordon. However, he did not use his real name. He signed the song as written by Bernard Webb. The song reached #14 on the charts in the USA and it was then they told that it was really written by Paul McCartney.
After a string of hits that ended with them doing novelty songs like Knight In Rusty Armor and Lady Godiva, a song that Peter didn’t like, P & G decided to take a rest from recording. The rest lasted for almost 40 years. Now they have started to get back together on occasion and perform their old hit tunes to the delight of old fans like me and new fans that have just found out about them.
Actually the first time I heard of them was in the 1970’s after they had decided to take a rest. My friend Jeff was a huge fan of 60’s music. I liked that music too but my friendship with Jeff fanned the flames into a near obsession with many groups from that decade. Anyway he introduced me to P & G and I happened to notice he didn’t have a lot of their records. One day in Cincinnati at a place called the Ohio Bookstore I found their first American album in the records section. I didn’t know it was their first one but it was in good condition and it was only selling for $1. My Mom and Dad drove me to his house and I will never for get the look of surprise and enjoyment on his face when I gave it to him. He said he didn’t have this one and that it was a rare find. I told him where I got it. After that we started taking the bus into Cincinnati to visit that store and other book and record stores that we saw ads for. Jeff has wound up with the biggest private record collection in the USA, I may be wrong but the man could open up his own record shop and if you include his sister Marsha’s collection it may be the biggest collection in the world. It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows him that he has made a living out of working in record stores. Usually as the manager.
Getting back to Peter and Gordon. Peter became a manager and producer of such singers as James Taylor and Linda Rondstat. Gordon released a solo album and to me it seemed like he had dropped off the face of the Earth. Actually he was touring the Earth in the show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He had also gotten married and raised a family.
The above photo you can get at this site.
Monday, August 21, 2006
I just saw this on the 60'shop newsletter. I don't think they will mind if I share it with you. If you want to see more stuff like this you can subscribe if you e-mail them at The60sshop@aol.com Now here is the tale of this duo's reunion. Hope you have fun reading it. OK ... we're ALL getting older ... and SOME of us have aged better than others. As we watch our '60's heroes try to keep on keepin' on, we've come to expect the gray hair ... the voices that don't go QUITE as high as they used to ... and the mid-section paunch ... but I can't think of ANY '60's artists that I've EVER seen who've aged as much as THESE two guys have!!! (Well ... MAYBE HOWARD KAYLAN of THE TURTLES!!! lol) Honest to God, they look absolutely ANCIENT!!! The good news is, they've maintained a fair amount of charisma, a good sense of humor and enough of an ability to sing on-key MOST of the time ... and, as such, we really enjoyed seeing PETER AND GORDON perform at BEATLEFEST this past weekend. They performed nearly every Top 40 Hit they had (only KNIGHT IN RUSTY ARMOUR and SUNDAY FOR TEA were missing from the line-up) which includes, of course FOUR LENNON AND McCARTNEY tracks given to the band while PAUL was dating PETER's sister, Actress JANE ASHER. In between, they kept us entertained with humorous anecdotes and, in fact, an earlier question and answer session was MOST enlightening. (After PETER ASHER had spent some time talking about how PAUL McCARTNEY lived at the ASHER family home for a couple of years whenever THE BEATLES were in London ... and even composed several songs ... including the earliest "SCRAMBLED EGGS" version of YESTERDAY there on the premises ... GORDON WALLER then told the audience that his all-time two favorite BEATLES' songs were I'LL FOLLOW THE SUN and THINGS WE SAID TODAY ... and that he asked PAUL if, perhaps, he'd be willing to give THOSE two away for the duo to record. "No," PAUL replied ... "JOHN LIKES these two!!!" (Apparently LENNON didn't think A WORLD WITHOUT LOVE was strong enough for THE BEATLES to record themselves ... so PAUL gave the song to PETER AND GORDON and it immediately went #1 all over the world!!!) They opened their show with my personal P & G favorite, I GO TO PIECES, written by DEL SHANNON. Along the way, they did a VERY nice version of the BUDDY HOLLY tune TRUE LOVE WAYS (ANOTHER favorite of mine), a GREAT live version of LADY GODIVA (which ASHER admitted he HATED when it was first presented to them and felt it would be a HUGE mistake to record the song ... once it became a Top Five worldwide hit, he says, he came to love it!!!) They recreated their "wall of sound" effect for their rendition of PHIL SPECTOR's TO KNOW YOU IS TO LOVE YOU and then closed the show (quite emotionally, I might add) with the PAUL McCARTNEY (or is that BERNARD WEBB???) tune WOMAN, a song VERY near and dear to the hearts of both FRANNIE and myself. GORDON also talked a little bit about the MIKE SMITH Benefit Concert (which first reunited the duo) and said that it would soon be available for purchase on DVD. (PETER AND GORDON then performed THEIR version of THE DAVE CLARK FIVE classic BECAUSE.) Another emotional part of the show was when BREAKFAST WITH THE BEATLES Host MARTIN LEWIS came out and read a telegram from SIR PAUL himself congratulating the duo on reuniting and once again helping to prevent A WORLD WITHOUT LOVE. As we've said SO many times here in FORGOTTEN HITS, this was a GREAT opportunity to see some of the artists who SO shaped our lives while growing up listening to this music. PETER AND GORDON are completing a world tour together and have several other dates scheduled around The United States ... check them out if you can ... you may not get another chance!!! (By the way, PETER ASHER is still quite active "behind the glass", too ... he just finished producing the brand new DIANA ROSS album, which will contain a version of PAUL McCARTNEY's White Album Track I WILL.)
Today on the Fox TV network a new television season begins. This got me to thinking that 40 years ago in 1966 three TV shows premiered that changed not only television but the world. By this time Batman had been on TV since January. It had an immediate effect on the public. Batmania was everywhere. Now Batman had been around for a long time but by 1966 his sales were so low that he was on the verge of being canceled. The TV show boosted sales and his comic books have continued to be published without ever being canceled. While the effects of the TV show have faded over time they still crop up every now and then. Usually when a new Batman movie or cartoon series is being pushed.
Later on Sept. 8th the original Star Trek series was aired for the first time on NBC and a few days later on Sept. 12th The Monkees first episode was also aired on that network. All three series were canceled too early. However, cancellation may have worked in all of there favors. Syndication helped make all three more famous then they were before. I plan to have more on Star Trek and the Monkees later to honor their anniversaries.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Denzel Washington, and Brooks Army Medical Center
Don't know whether you heard about this but Denzel Washington and his family visited the troops at Brook Army Medical Center, in San Antonio,Texas (BAMC) the other day. This is where soldiers who have been evacuated fromGermany come to be hospitalized in the UnitedStates, especially burn victims. There are some buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a Hotel where soldiers' families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the Hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost filled most of the time.While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his checkbook out and wrote a check for the full amount right thereon the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hearthis story and want to get the word out to the Americanpublic, because it warmed their hearts to hear it. The question I have is why does:Alec Baldwin, Madonna, Sean Penn and other Hollywood types make front page news with their anti-everything America trash and Denzel Washington's Patriotism doesn't even make page 3 in the Metro section of any newspaper except the Local newspaper in San Antonio.
A true American and friend to all in uniform! This needs as wide a distribution as we can create. GOD BLESS YOU DENZEL FOR YOUR PATRIOTISM
How do I know which way to go?
Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Pay attention and grow wise, for I am giving you good guidance. Don't turn away from my teaching.
I will teach you wisdom's ways and lead you in straight paths. If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won't limp or stumble as you run.
Sometimes we're faced with several options, and we don't know which way to go. In Psalm 25, David asked God for guidance. Perhaps he remembered when, as a shepherd boy, he had to show the right path to his sheep who were wandering away. Just as he knew which path would lead to safety for his sheep, God knew the path that would lead to everlasting life. Just as those sheep that looked to him for direction were in the least danger, so David knew he needed to look to God for direction.
Today, God still leads us by his truth—his written Word and his Spirit, which helps us to understand it. Are you not sure which path to take? Pray as David did and read what God has already said in his written Word. He will show the right road to follow.