Saturday, July 01, 2006

Aaron Spelling Misses

Well the series on Aaron Spelling’s hit shows is over but today I would like to talk about his shows that didn’t make it. No matter how big the producer is there are always shows that didn’t make it. They may have made it to series but that doesn’t mean they are hit shows. Some may not have even gotten sold.
The Young Rebels has already been mentioned in this posting and in this one. It aired on NBC from Sept. of 1970 to Jan. 1971. It followed the members of the Yankee Doodle Society in 1777. The members of the society were all under 30. They were spies against the English during the American Revolution.
The New People was really before it’s time. Mr. Spelling worked with Rod Serling, who also created the Twilight Zone, on this series. It was about a group of young people who survive a plane crash on an island that is an abandoned atomic test site. Stories revolved around them trying to start a new society while coping with their different backgrounds. Sounds like Lost don’t it? I recently told Booksteve that it starred Mike Farrell before he was on MASH. However, I was wrong research into the show did not show him in the cast. The show was one of the few 45 minute shows. Sort of trying what Ted Turner eventually had success with when he did his shows 5 minutes before the hour. It aired on ABC from September 1969 to January 1970.
In 1981 Spelling produced a series that starred Robert Stack. It was called Strike Force. Mr. Stack played Captain Frank Murphy. He was in charge of a special unit in the LAPD. They went undercover and took on mad bombers, assassins, cult leaders, etc. They went undercover when regular police methods didn’t work. This was really a good show and deserved to be a hit. For some reason it wasn’t. It ran on ABC on Fridays at 10pm from November 1981 to May of 1982. It must have gotten renewed for the fall of 1982 as it was on in September. However, it was canceled by October of 1982. The show however quickly dated itself. It wasn’t the shows fault but the phone companies. I remember at the close of one episode Mr. Stack’s character is trying to convince a man who had been missing for years to call his family. He thinks it has been so long they may not want to hear from him. Robert Stack tells him “All it takes is a dime.” Then gives him a dime to call his family. That was the week that pay phone calls went up from 10 cents to 25 cents. If it had aired the week before I would not have thought anything of it but at that moment I thought the show was dated.
Now we come to the more recent Summerland. The show only aired a couple of years ago. It stared Lori Loughlin from Full House. The show was her idea to have her star as an Aunt who has to raise her nieces and nephews after their parents die in an accident. The kids move in with her and she is helped by her two best friends and her ex-boyfriend in taking care of them. One of the nephews was played by recording star Jesse McCartney. Aaron Spelling said he thought it was such a good idea he wished he thought of it. It came on in the summer on the WB as a replacement series. It did so well they brought it back as a mid season replacement in the spring. Ratings weren’t so good in the spring and the show was canceled. Perhaps Summerland should have been a summer replacement series every year.
Those are just 3 shows that Mr. Spelling produced that became series but weren’t hits. He had more but his hits were so huge that they overshadowed the flops. He also had pilots that didn’t sell. Here are some examples.
Free Spirit- Lisa Eilbacher stars in this 1987 pilot for ABC. She plays a widow who remarries only to find out that the ghost of her first husband is haunting them.
Divided We Stand- Seth Green starred in this 1988 pilot as Cody Gibbs. He played a 10 year old boy whose parents were divorced and share joint custody of Cody. The show was 60 minutes. The first 30 minutes Daddy got Cody and the second half Mommy got him. The show told how he was trying to reunite his parents.

Mr. Mom- Spelling was the executive producer of a TV pilot in 1984 to bring the movie hit that he also produced to televison. It was about an unemployed auto worker getting use to taking care of the house while his wife got a job. Michael Keaton and Terri Garr played those parts in the movie. For TV they cast Barry Van Dyke and Rebecca York. Barry is a good actor but he isn’t as funny as Michael Keaton.

While Aaron Spelling had a lot of hit shows even he has had some misses. Just goes to show you that no one is perfect. This brings to an end our week long series on one of Hollywood’s biggest producers…Aaron Spelling. I hope you enjoyed it. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 30, 2006

Millie The Model

Marvel has announced that they will release a Marvel Milestones of Mille the Model and Patsy Walker this month. I am not too familer with Miss. Walker. I know she was a comedy comic book and the character was later revived as a superhero called Hellcat. It is Millie who I used to read. Again I have to thank my Mom and Dad. Her books were part of what they sold by bundeling up 3 books and selling them for 29 cents. Books back then were about 15 cents each so you saved 16 cents. With inflation today that might cost you $5 for that bundle. Anyway Millie was the longest running humor book that Marvel comics had. It had numerous spin- offs and for a time I imagine it was a close rivil to Archie. As a matter of fact Archie artist Dan DeCarlo was the main artist on Millie the Model for along time. Her boyfriend Clicker looked alot like Archie for awhile. Millie had a close friend/rivil with another model named Chili. They were alot like Betty and Veronica. Millie of course was Betty and Chili was Veronica on a really bad day. Chili was so popular that she spun off into her own series for a couple of years. It was the only spin off of Millie the Model that didn't have stories revolve around Millie. They of course had Chili at the center. The Millie the Model line of books were all canceled by 1973. I did read that there were two Millie the Model Queen Size issues in 1974 or 75. I doubt that they were reprints so soon after being canceled. My guess is that Marvel saw that they had all these stories finished before the cancelation and already paid the creators. So they decided to publish 2 more issues just to try and get some of their money back. Just as Patsy Walker crossed over into the real Marvel universe, Millie I have heard has been seen in some issues of She-Hulk, Dazzler, Defenders and was at the wedding of Reed and Sue Richards. Millie really had enough that she should get a Marvel Masterworks series. The Marvel Milestones book is a single issue at $3.99. I don't normally like spending that much on a comic book anymore but for you Millie I will do it. I love you and have missed you. Perhaps you will get that Masterworks series if sales on this are good enough. Posted by Picasa

Freedom Fighting Again

I gave a brief overview of the Freedom Fighters from the 1970's in this earlier posting. Now DC Comics has announced that on July 19th the new Freedom Fighters series will be released. These are not the ones from the 70's they are no more. Yes it will have Uncle Sam, The Ray, Phantom Lady, Firebrand and my favorite, at least from the 70's team, the Human Bomb. Haven't heard about Black Condor but there is a new one called Big Foot. Somewhere along the way is Father Time. This new team operates as secret government agents. At one point they become wanted by the law just as in the 70's series. As you can tell they aren't wanting to release too much. This is not an exclusive as what I have told you is gotten from the comic shop news. Will fans of the 70's series like the new series? Time will tell. You will have to judge this as a new team not the reunion of the old team if you want to enjoy it. Posted by Picasa

7th Heaven

By 1989 the big 3 networks had almost completely written off Aaron Spelling. NBC did commission a show from him called Nightingales about student nurses. They gave him a big welcome to NBC that touched Mr. Spelling's heart. However, that was the last good time for him at that network. The show got bad ratings and bad press. The premise of the show had the nurses live in the same house and was more interested in their love lives with the Doctors then in helping save lives. It was quickly canceled. For most producers that would be the end of it. However, if his acting was his first act and his producing in the 1970’s was his second act, then he was about to enter his smashing final 3rd act. In the late 80’s others were starting to enter the network television field. In the 1950’s Dumont was the fourth network but faded. Now Fox started to create another fourth network. They weren’t taken seriously at first. They only had enough shows to air on the weekends. They started in 1987 and they did attract a big producer. No not Aaron. It was Stephen J. Cannell who produced 21 Jumpstreet. It led off the Sunday night lineup. That night did well for Fox and over time they expanded to other nights. To do that they were going to need more big name producers to attract attention. In 1990 they knocked on Aaron Spelling’s door. They wanted a show that could help them on the new Thursday night line up that could be competition against the strong NBC line up that night. Aaron helped by giving them Beverly Hills 90210. The show was an instant hit and made instant stars of the younger actors. It ran for along time. Fox eventually made the big 3 become the big 4 networks. It also gave Warner Brothers and Paramount the courage to try to start their own TV networks.
Now I gave you this brief broadcast history lesson to tell you of another show. That show is 7th Heaven. In 1995 the WB and UPN networks began. Everyone thought UPN had the best chance of making it because they had the new Star Trek Voyager show. UPN had a lot of very good action shows but the only one that came closest to being a hit was ST:Voyager. The other shows were doing so bad that when they had the chance the local stations switched from UPN to WB. WB didn’t have much but there were 2 shows that were getting good buzz. They were Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 7th Heaven. Unlike other hit shows from Spelling this was not a hit right out of the gate. As you can see by the TV Guide cover 7th Heaven was called the best show you’re not watching. That soon changed as the show became the most watched show on the WB. It ran for 10 years setting the record for the longest run family drama and breaking the record set by the Waltons. The cast grew so large that I won’t even bother mentioning them all here. It was about a local minister and his family and their trials and tribulations in everyday life. Stephen Collins played Rev. Eric Camden and Catherine Hicks was his wife Annie Camden. I thought that it was funny that both were veterans of Star Trek movies. Collins was in the first movie and Hicks was in the 4th film. 7th Heaven was a wholesome family drama and it was brought to you by the man many said was responsible for bringing sex to network TV. Mr. Spelling publicly said the show was his favorite of all of his shows. The actors playing the Camden children became famous and got TV and movie offers of their own. Barry Watson who played Matt Camden the oldest son was set to leave the show for another series. Then he was diagnosed with cancer. The producers of 7th Heaven kept him on the show as a writer. When he was cancer free he decided to stay on as an actor for awhile since they were so nice to him. Later he briefly got his own show. It was not a spin off. He starred in a show called What About Brian. Jessica Biel who played Mary Camden left the show for a movie career. No matter where they went they always came back to 7th Heaven for special shows like a wedding or the supposed series finale. I say the supposed finale as there are rumors that it could be coming back for the new CW network. I don’t know if it would be for the fall or as a mid-season replacement. My money is on the mid-season replacement at this late date. However, they won’t have to build new sets so maybe it will be on in the new fall season. Either way I love the show and hope it continues for at least one more year or as long as the scripts are well written. Posted by Picasa

The Monkees on Johnny Cash

Here is a video to The Monkees on the Johnny Cash Show.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My Two Cents on Superman Returns

Well I went to see Superman Returns today. First I want to tell you to stop reading if you have not seen the movie and plan to see it. First off for my money I would rather rent one of the old Christopher Reeve movies then see this film again. Now don’t get me wrong the actors did well and the directing of the shots was very good. I did have a problem with two scenes in the film. One actually made me want to throw up. I probably should have suspected this stuff as I have heard that this was a darker Superman then we had seen before. I guess I like my Superman lighter. First is the whole idea of Lois as a Mom. I have no problem with single Mothers. It is just that it isn’t holding in continuity from the books. Lois has never been a Mom in the comics. Of course they are trying to pick up where they left off with the old Superman movie series. So they are creating their own continuity. It was not real surprising that the kid is not the son of Lois’ current boyfriend. He is really Superman’s son. Lois may be a beliver in women's rights but she has never struck me as someone who would have a child out of wedlock. Also the girl playing Lois Lane looks like she is 15 years old. A fellow I worked with also saw the movie and said he didn't like coming out of the theater wondering if Superman had to pay for child support.
What was the scene that made me sick? Well first you have to know that Luthor married a wealthy woman (played by Noel Neill). She dies and he gets all her money. He leaves with his real girlfriend the woman’s maid to find the Fortress of Solitude. They leave her two little dogs home alone. A long time later they come back. They see only one dog eating on a bone with bits of fur all around. Luthor’s girlfriend says “Weren’t there two of them?” THE DOG ATE THE OTHER DOG!!! YUCK!!!!! This is one DVD I don’t think I want under my tree at Christmas. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go rent Superman the Movie to get this out of my mind.

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Hart To Hart

In 1979 Aaron Spelling teamed up again with Robert Wagner. This time it was for Mr. Wagner to star in a new TV show. It was called Hart to Hart. It was created by best selling novelist Sidney Sheldon. Mr. Wagner played Jonathan Hart. Stefanie Powers was his wife Jennifer Hart and Lionel Stander was their chauffer/man Friday Max. They also had a dog named Freeway. This all star cast show premiered in August 1979 on ABC. It started on Saturday nights at 10pm but was quickly moved to Tuesday at 10pm where it was a huge hit and stayed there its entire run. The show really seemed like a television version of the Thin Man movie series. You remember William Powell played a police detective who married a rich woman. They had a dog named Asta and they solved crimes in their high society circles. William Powell may have married into wealth but we were reminded each week in the opening sequence that Jonathan Hart was a self-made millionaire. I wonder how the company that Mr. Hart started did without him guiding the company day after day. He and his wife were always flying to beautiful locations to visit friends. At some point one of their friends were either murdered or suspected of murder. Of course they felt obligated to solve the crime. Forget the police. They don’t know what they are doing in fighting crime. Only wealthy industrialist knows how to solve crimes. Why is it always murder? Why aren’t they ever suspected of robbery or some other crime that isn’t so fatal? Another thing is why on shows where ordinary people solve crimes, if you can call the Harts ordinary, is it always people with well paying jobs who solve crimes? I guess no one would tune in to watch the Hobo Detective every week. This may sound like I didn’t like the show. I did like it and watched it almost every week. It was a lighthearted murder mystery at its best. The show had good writing, acting and directing. None of that guarantees that a show will be a hit but thankfully this one was. I remember reading that Lionel Stander came out of retirement to play the part of Max. I guess he knew a good script when he read it. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Charlie's Angels

I remember 1976 for many things. It was the year I turned 15. It was the year I had my first kiss. It was the year our country celebrated its bicentennial. It was also the year that America and the world were properly introduced to Farrah Fawcett-Majors. I say properly as she was popular in many hair care commercials and a certain Noxzema commercial. Remember the phrase Let Noxzema cream your face. So the razor won’t? Anyway September 22 1976 the Spelling production of Charlie’s Angels came on the ABC network. In his book, A Prime Time Life, Mr. Spelling tells a story that dealt in part with the beginning of the show. He wanted to do a TV movie with Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. They wanted more money. Instead of money he offered them part of a new TV show. It was one that many thought didn’t have a chance and would be off the air quickly. Of course he didn’t tell them all that. They agreed to do the movie with the show as part of their payment. The TV show was Charlie’s Angels and it has been on the air ever since. The original cast was Farrah, Kate Jackson who was on another Spelling show called The Rookies, Jaclyn Smith, David Doyle and the voice of John Forsythe. Some shows seem to have a revolving door built in for the casting director. This is one of those shows. Farrah was such a huge hit the first year. Every girl in America wore their hair the way she wore hers and she was getting offers left and right that she left in 1977. She still appeared in a few episodes later to fulfill her contract but for all purposes she was gone. She did some bad movies and had a hit poster but that was it. Leave a hit show to do bad movies that flop. Not a good trade. In 1979 Kate Jackson left. Those who filled those two big parts were Cheryl Ladd, Shelly Hack and Tanya Roberts. When Cheryl joined they were still trying to get Farrah to stay. If the episode where Cheryl is introduced seems like her role has little to do then that is the reason. They were hoping they could refilm her scenes with Farrah in case she decided to stay. This show was not great TV it was eye candy. Teenage boys and lets face it some adult men too watched every week to see the pretty ladies. I had a friend at the time who I was watching the opening of the show with one night. He said he wouldn’t mind being trapped in an elevator with any of the Angels. Then they showed the face of David Doyle. He said well maybe not him. It was the first show that made me realize that on TV the bad guys are always bad shots. On one episode one of the girls was standing with her gun drawn. She was wide open except for a thin metal hand rail on the steps where she was standing. The bad guy fired and missed her but hit the rail. She took aim at the villain who was partly covered by a parked car and with one shot hit him. None of her bullets hit the car. The show lasted until August 19, 1981 but that wasn’t the end of Charlie’s Angels. It was made into 2 hit movies later staring Drew Barrymore and Lucy Lu. Posted by Picasa

Fantasy Island

Aaron Spelling’s production of Fantasy Island became a companion piece to The Love Boat in January of 1978. Just as the cast of The Love Boat was the frame work of the anthologies for the romantic comedies, Fantasy Island’s cast was the frame work of the Twilight Zone type fantasy stories on this show. Ricardo Montalban starred as Mr. Roarke and Herve Villechaize as his right hand man Tattoo. For a season Mr. Roarke’s God Daughter Julie was added to the cast and was played by Wendy Schaal. At first Mr. Roarke seemed to just be a wealthy man who owned the island and wanted to make people’s fantasies come true. He grew more mysterious and magical as the series went on. He was friends with a mermaid who had a fantasy to have legs instead of fins. He also fought the Devil (played by Roddy McDowall) on occasion. The people were flown in by plane and as they got off the plane Mr. Roarke told Tattoo who they were and why they came to the island. This was a good way of introducing their characters into the episode. Usually the fantasy would deal with romance. A woman who was overweight all her life would want to be thin and glamorous. A man who was considered a geek in school would want to become a sex symbol to women. A man would want to live like a gangster in the days of Al Capone. A salesman who was about to loose his job would want to score the sales of his career. At the end of the fantasy they would be back to normal and realize that real life was better then the fantasy and would have found true love along the way. Like Love Boat Fantasy Island’s guest stars were made up of TV and movie stars past and present. Unlike Love Boat the 2 or 3 stories were usually dramas.
Mr. Villechaize started thinking that he was the star of the show not Mr. Montalban. He started making demands for more pay. Of course the real stars on a show like this are the stories and the guest stars each week. Mr. Villechaize may have been wrong about being the star but his character was important to the show. It was his character who gave the show its catch phrase. Each week he would see the plane full of guest stars landing. He would point to it and shout “De Plane! De Plane!” At times Roarke would let him be in charge of a certain person’s fantasy and you would feel sorry for him when things went wrong. Roarke was ready for this and was able to set things straight and give Tattoo the credit. In his bid for more money Mr. Villechaize got replace in the 1983-1984 season by Christopher Hewett as Lawrence. Mr. Hewett later went on to greater television fame as Mr. Belvedere from 1985 to 1990. Perhaps Herve was on to something. The 83-84 season was the last for the show.
In September of 1998 ABC tried to revive the show. Malcolm McDowell was cast as Mr. Roarke. His trademark white suit was replaced by a black suit. Mr. Villechaize had passed away by then and there was no Tattoo on the new show. It took 4 or 5 people to do what Tattoo did on the first show. By January of 1999 the show was canceled. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Love Boat

The year is 1977. The success of a series of made for TV movies, that were based on the book by Jeraldine Saunders called the Love Boats, is about to become a TV series. I am of course talking about the Aaron Spelling production of the Love Boat. It was one of the biggest hits of the late 70’s early 80’s and made certain that Gavin MacLeod would be known for more then just playing second banana on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The production style of the series was like Love American Style on cruise ship. However, there was no continuing cast on Love American Style. You did have one on The Love Boat. Gavin MacLeod played Captain Stubing. Bernie Kopell was Doc. Fred Grandy was Yeoman Purser Gopher Smith. Ted Lange was Bartender Isaac Washington and Lauren Tewes was Cruise Director Julie McCoy. Cast members came and went during its run from 1977 to 1986 but these were the core members of the cast that were with it the entire run. Well Lauren Tewes left in 1984 due to personal problems. In 1979 Jill Whelan joined the cast as the Captain’s daughter and in 1984 Ted McGinley was cast as Ace the ships photographer. When Lauren left in 1984 she was replaced by Pat Klous as the new Cruise Director. In 1985 the ratings were starting to take on water. In an effort to save the ship 8 pretty dancing girls were added to the cast as the Love Boat Mermaids. One of those Mermaids was Terri Hatcher. Who later went on to star in Lois and Clark and recently in Desperate Housewives. The Mermaids failed to save the day and the show was canceled after 9 years. Ten years if you count the specials that started airing in 1976. The cast in the early years were just a frame work for the 3 or 4 short romantic comedies that took place on the boat each week. Every week bought stars from TV and movies of past and present together. Don Adams, Steve Allen, Charo, Helen Hayes etc. were all on the Love Boat. The Love Boat was the ideal place for Spelling to have crossovers with his other hit series that were also on ABC. Charlie’s Angels solved a crime and found romance on the boat. I believe the Love Boat even once went to Fantasy Island. The show even helped to change policy on real life cruise ships. Before Love Boat the bartenders on the ships had to be clean shaven. Isaac the bartender sported a mustache and some passengers didn’t want clean shaven bartenders. So they started allowing them to grow facial hair.
If any show put Aaron Spelling on the map as a TV producer it had to be The Love Boat. Yes Charlie’s Angels helped a lot but it fizzled out half way through. The Love Boat seemed like it would sail on forever. It was a monster in the ratings for several years. Not that it was a great show. It wasn’t. But it was lighthearted entertainment that was just the right medicine if you were home on Saturday night. The format of the show was pretty flexible. Comedy wise you could do almost anything with it.
The Love Boat had a second chance to sail on when 12 years after it was canceled a new Love Boat was on the UPN network. It ran from April of 1998 to July of 1999 with Robert Urich as Captain Jim Kennedy III. The premise was the same. Stars of TV and movies past and present starred in 3 or 4 romantic comedies each week. Bad ratings and a network with not enough stations signed up caused the cancellation of the show. However, on the last episode there was a reunion of the original cast of the first series. They got together for the wedding of Captain Stubing’s daughter Vicki on the new Love Boat. Fred Grandy who played Gopher was the only one not to show. He was now a politician and from what I hear was glad that Gopher Smith was now in his past. Posted by Picasa

Gaylord DuBois

Gaylord DuBois was a prolific comic book writer for Western publishing. He wrtoe most Tarzan, Lone Ranger and Space Family Robinson. Unlike other comic book writers who lived in urban areas Mr. DuBois preferred living in the country. He wore many hats in his life time. Writer, Minister, poet, range rider, Wyoming Deputy, necktie salesman and more. The book above you can get at this site. It may be the first printing of the first Lone Ranger story he ever wrote. You can read more about him by clicking here. I was going to tell you myself but this was apprently written by Mr. DuBois himself. Better to get the information straight from him. Posted by Picasa

Starsky and Hutch

In Sept. of 1975 one of my favorite cop shows came on TV. Aaron Spelling’s Starsky and Hutch. Paul Michael Glaser played Dave Starsky and David Soul played Ken Hutchinson. They were police detectives in Bay City as they drove around in their red and white Ford Torino. How they could be undercover cops in that car I don’t know. At first the car was suppose to be green. The creator of the show, Bill Blinn, had a green car when he was a teenager. He asked for a green car then one day they drove up with this red and white striped tomato. That became the car for the show. However, in some episodes they did have Hutch drive in a plain green junker. Paul Glaser was the last to audition for the role of Starsky. He was waiting in the hall to be called along with all the other hopeful actors. His wait was so long he fell asleep. He woke up just in time. A man looked out the door into the hallway. He saw Mr. Glaser he said to him that he was the last one and motioned for him to come in. When he went in he read a few lines with David Soul. Now David Soul had already had a starring role in one of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movies. The producers saw the movie and knew they wanted him for part on one of their shows. When David read the script he said he wanted to play Starsky. The producers said no. They told him that he would make a better Hutch. Many people have said this was an updated version of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. However, you must remember that Butch and Sundance were outlaws. I think it was more of an unofficial TV version of Supercops. In the early 70’s there were two real life cops that made headlines with the way they caught criminals. They were famous by their nicknames Batman and Robin and also called the Supercops. A book was written about them and a movie was made from the book. Both the book and the movie were also called Supercops. One of the stars of the film was Ron Liebman. Just as in Starsky and Hutch one man was a blond and the other had darker black or brown hair. I forgot which color Mr. Liebman’s hair is at the moment. I don’t know if I am right but it is just a thought.
The script for the pilot had been turned down by ABC. Most of the show was to be shot at night and at that time too expensive to shoot. Some time passed and ABC decided it might work to shoot it with some advances that made it easier and more cost effective to do night shooting. However, Mr. Blinn no longer worked for Spelling. In the time that passed he had gotten a job at another network as well. Some wheeling and dealing had to be done but they got him back so they could start work on the new series. The cast was rounded out by Bernie Hamilton who played Captain Dobey the man that Starsky and Hutch reported to. I may be wrong but I believe in TV history this was the first show that had white men working for an African American boss. They had Antonio Fargas play their informant Huggy Bear. Dobey looked after all 3 of them like he was their Father and Starsky, Hutch and Huggy got along like brothers.
They operated in Bay City. Now the first few episodes didn’t mention the name of the city. Since most shows were filmed in LA that or NY were the two most popular cities for TV cops I thought it was LA. Then they started calling it Bay City. I suppose nearby is Coast City and it is protected by Green Lantern. I figured that it must be a fictional version of San Francisco where S & H worked. A behind the scenes joke, perhaps it is true, is that the writer named them Starsky and Hutch because that was the real names of the men who started the S & H Green Stamps company.
For a show that was a hit the networks moved it around a lot. It started out on Wednesday nights at 10pm in 1975. In 1976 it moved to 9pm on Saturday nights. It had its biggest success there and stayed there till January of 1978. From 1978 to 1979 the show was moved twice. Once back to Wednesday at 10 then to Tuesdays at 10pm. There it died a quiet death and was canceled. Its last show was on August 21st 1979. I think that the audience started to outgrow the show. Its biggest audience, at least in my area, seemed to be 14 and 15 year old boys and girls. Girls watched because they thought the guys were cute and boys watched because of the action and adventure. Then they all got their drivers license and started to spend Saturday nights dating and such instead of staying home and watching TV. If your main audience is 14 and 15 year olds and you move your show to a school night at 10pm you have made sure the show will be canceled. At least back in the 70’s you did.
The first three seasons of the show are out on DVD and as you may know by now I have all of them. I hope the 4th season is out soon. I missed most of those when they first aired so I can’t wait to see them. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Mod Squad

By 1968 Daniel Boone was still a hit show but it had been on for 4 years. Around this time a show is usually about to go off the air. DB was still going strong and wouldn’t be off canceled till 1970. Of course Aaron Spelling didn’t know this so he had to come up with another show. What he came up with was a show about young undercover Cops. Not just any cops. These weren’t the typical kids raised by Ward and June Cleaver who went to the Police Academy when they grew up. These kids never went through that kind of training. They were kids of the street. Linc Hayes, played by Clarence Williams III, was the cool dude with the wild afro. He was raised in Watts and arrested during the Watts riots. Pete Cochran, played by Michael Cole, was from a wealthy family. His family kicked him out because of his rebel ways and he was arrested when he stole a car. Peggy Lipton played Julie Barnes. She was a runaway from her prostitute Mother in San Francisco and was arrested for vagrancy. Tige Andrews played Capt. Adam Greer. He made them a deal that they could avoid jail if they worked undercover to help the police. They would infiltrate the schools, gangs etc. In doing so they could find out who the adult crooks where that preyed on the kids.
While Mr. Spelling was the producer of the show the real creator was Bud Ruskin. Mr. Ruskin use to be a policeman. He wrote the pilot script from his own experiences as a young undercover narcotics officer in the 1950’s for the LA Sheriff’s Department. He wrote the script in 1960. Years later it caught the eye of Mr. Spelling and he made it into a hit TV show. Eight years from script to screen is a long time but it was worth it.
This youth task force didn’t easily work together. Because of their different cultures and backgrounds they always questioned authority and each others reasons and methods. However, with out realizing it, this kept them on their toes. They became a great task force against crime. The one thing they probably agreed upon was getting rid of the station wagon they drove around. Now can you really see the super cool Linc driving a station wagon? It was gone by the second season.
The show ran on ABC. That network would become a home for many of Aaron Spelling productions throughout the 70’s. It ran mostly on Tuesday nights from September of 1968 to August of 1972. Then in September of 1972 it ran on Thursday nights till it ended it network run in August of 1973. While I never saw it, there was a movie version of the Mod Squad a few years ago staring Omar Epps, Claire Danes and Giovanni Ribisi. The premise of the show 21 Jumpstreet was the same as the Mod Squad. However, it was closer to real life as they were real cops who still looked young enough to pass as high school students.
Here is a link to a Mod Squad fan site. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Whole Earth Will Hear A Reliable Messenger

An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.
Proverbs 13:17 NLT

Letters from God

A U.S. ambassador resides in a foreign country and yet lives on U.S.-owned property. Though the laws of that land may differ from ours, the ambassador is still responsible to uphold the laws and rules of his own government. His words and actions can never be wholly his for he does not act in his own capacity. When he speaks, he is a messenger for his government. When he acts, his deeds reflect on the country he represents. We are Christ's ambassadors and therefore his messengers. Too often we think that the message we preach reflects our faith. However, on a much deeper level it is the message of our everyday words and actions that are influential. We are the letter from God that people read. We become unreliable messengers when we speak crudely, gossip about a neighbor, or act dishonestly.

Our words and actions reflect God, who lives inside us, to people who never open a Bible or enter a church. Never forget that you are an ambassador for Christ and a messenger of hope. Ask his Spirit to empower you to deliver the Good News with your life and words.

LORD, thank you for allowing me to be your ambassador. Let my message be honest and true. Help me to encourage others and to go out of my way to speak a kind word. Forgive me for times when I have spoken without thinking. Let me live in such a way that my words and actions represent you so that my message may be one of love and hope.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), entry for April 21.

The Atom Number 16

A few weeks ago I bought The Atom #16. I love golden age and silver age comic books. To me even a bad story from that era can beat out a good story from modern times. I figured with a story by Gardner Fox and art by Gil Kane and Sid Greene I was in for quite an entertaining time. I was not let down too much. The art was great. The villains face looked so real I think Mr. Kane must have based it on someone he knew. The story by Mr. Fox flowed smoothly up to a point. The story starts out with Ray Palmer as the Atom stopping a robbery in Ivy Town. He has had a busy week of fighting crime and is very tired. He decides to go out of town to get some rest. Ray’s neighbors are too noisy for him to sleep. He changes to the Atom and sleeps on a small tree branch in the woods. Andrew Frost lives nearby. Andrew found out that he had ESP but it came and went at odd times. He found out that those times happened when the Atom was nearby. He set up a trap to catch Atom so he could use the energy that the Atom gave off to make him a rich man. His ESP tells him Atom is nearby. He uses the power to capture him. He takes him home and irons him out flat. It increases the energy flowing to Andrew so that his power last longer. Atom figures out that being tired yet still fighting is what really caused the energy from his body. He stops this from happening and tries to fight Andrew Frost while not getting too tired. Atom defeats Frost and finds it ironic that Frost’s scheme was due to fail anyway. Sometime the fatigue would have left his body and cut off the flow to Andrew Frost and he would no longer be able to see the future. Now the whole story of flattening out the Atom is really too far fetched for me to believe. Yes I did say that it flowed well and to a certain point it did. Still wouldn’t flattening him out have killed him? Also, in the last two panels Atom is back to his old self. No explanation is given on how he got back to normal. The art was great but it needed to explain how Atom was flattened without killing him and how he got back to normal Posted by Picasa

Daniel Boone

***I had originally posted this thinking that Aaron Spelling was the executive producer of the show. I have since found out that I was wrong. I have taken out all references to Mr. Spelling but left my memories of the show. If this as caused others to report that Mr. Spelling was the executive producer as I did when I saw this on other sites that I thought was reliable then I am sorry.***
This show was a big hit for NBC. It ran from Sept. 24, 1964 to August 27, 1970. Mr. Parker had many co-stars on the show who were either already famous or soon to become famous. They included Albert Salmi, Ed Ames, Veronica Cartwright, Rosie Grier and Jimmy Dean. Yes the Jimmy Dean who now sells sausage. Daniel Boone and many of the characters on the show were based on real life characters from the history books. The stories took place in the North Carolina-Tennessee-Kentucky area before and during the Revolutionary War. Mr. Boone was one of the founding fathers of my home state of Kentucky. Daniel lived in Boonesborough the town that was named after him. It really does exist as I have been there before. The show was part entertainment and part history lesson. At the time the show was airing in reruns I was in elementary school learning about those explorers who started Kentucky. The ones talked about the most were Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton. I kept watching the show to see if they would ever meet but they never had Simon Kenton on the show. As you can see the show helped me with my history lessons. I could now put a face on Daniel and some of the others that we talked about in class. Sometimes the show took place entirely in Boonesborough. Other times it took place while Daniel and his friends were out hunting or exploring the area. Most of the Indians there were like Mingo, played by Ed Ames, friendly to the settlers. Some were not. When the Revolutionary War came Daniel defended Boonesborough against the red coats. The early episodes were filmed in black and white. Most TV shows were filmed in black and white in 1964. With color TV getting more popular the next season they started filming the show in color. In 1970 the show was canceled. Fess Parker had a hit career in movies and television and decided to retire from show business. He went home and opened up a winery.
You can click here or on the title above to go to a fan site for the show. There you can read an announcment for an upcoming DVD release date on the show. Posted by Picasa