Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Stars On TV Continued: The Big Valley

On September 15, 1965 Barbara Stanwyck, as usual, defied the rule that movie stars didn’t become TV stars. She was the star of the western The Big Valley. She was Victoria Barkley the head of the Barkley family ranch in the San Joaquin Valley of California in the 1870’s. She ran the family business with her sons Jarrod (Richard Long), Nick (Peter Breck) and daughter Audra (Linda Evans). The early episodes introduced Heath Barkley (Lee Majors). He was the illegitimate son of Victoria’s late husband Tom. This story line gave the series a soap opera feel till Heath was accepted as part of the family. Mr. Majors had to be one of the luckiest men on the planet at that time. This was his first acting job. No small roles in plays, movies or other TV shows for him. He started at the top. The only other actor I have heard that happened to back then was Burt Ward when he was cast as Robin on Batman. The similarities end there as Mr. Ward was not on any other series. Mr. Majors has since starred in other shows. Most of them were big hit shows that helped to define that decade of television. As a matter of fact most of this cast had that type of luck with their careers. Richard Long’s next TV series was a minor hit comedy called Nanny and the Professor. It was a mid-season replacement in January of 1970. It got renewed for the fall of 1970 but was canceled by December of 1971. Mr. Long died not too long after that. Linda Evans took decades off from her TV acting career. During part of that time she married and divorced John Derek. She emerged on TV again in January of 1981 as Krystle Carrington in one of the biggest hits of the 1980’s. It was Dynasty. Like I said about Mr. Majors post Big Valley series this series also defined the decade it was produced in. It ran until May of 1989. Dynasty also brought Miss Barbara Stanwyck back to TV. It had a spin off series called Dynasty II: The Colbys. Like The Big Valley she ran the family business. She also had the help of Charlton Heston. It was a hit but not as big as the show that spun it off.
I said earlier that Barbara Stanwyck as usual defied the rule. I said that because it seemed to be an unwritten rule that only men could become big stars. Very few women became screen legends. Those women were Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyck. During the credits of the Big Valley she showed who the big gun was on the series. It seemed like an event each week when she was introduced as Miss. Barbara Stanwyck. None of the men on this or any series at that time were called Mr. Also, unlike many of her male counterparts, her show was a hit. It’s last broadcast was on May 19, 1969. Pictured above is the TV Guide cover from July 20, 1968. On the cover are Miss. Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long and Linda Evans. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Stars On TV: The Jimmy Stewart Show/ Hawkins

Television has made many stars out of actors. Many of them went on to be become movie stars like Michael Douglas, Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn, etc. Some actors who were already movie stars have tried their hand at becoming TV stars. For some reason that doesn’t turn out as well as you would think. Perhaps it is because the actor is so well known from his or her movies that they are bigger then the role on the show. In other words the audience can’t believe them in the part.
My all time favorite actor is Jimmy Stewart. He has made at least two attempts at a television series. His first attempt was the well named Jimmy Stewart Show. It aired Sunday nights on NBC at 8:30pm from September 19, 1971 to August 27, 1972. This show should have been a big hit for Jimmy but wasn’t since it only lasted one season. Jimmy played Professor James Howard a teacher at a small town college. Most of the comedy in this sit-com revolved around his home life. At home the Professor’s married son Peter moved back in bringing his wife and 8 year old son Teddy with him. To make things more confusing the Professor and his wife had another son named Jake who was also 8 years old. Teddy was a little embarrassed when he had to tell people that Jake was his Uncle. Another fine actor on the show was character actor John McGiver who played Dr. Luther Quince. He was the Professors boss and best friend. While never a big movie star the movies were also kinder to Mr. McGiver. Almost any TV show he co-stared in got canceled. As I said before the show should have been a big hit for Mr. Stewart. He gained fame by playing the small town man fighting the good fight. This was the type of character that he played on his TV show. I guess that he had just grown too big for the role.
A little over a year later on October 2, 1973 he tried again when he starred in Hawkins on CBS on Tuesday nights at 9:30pm to 11pm. It was a legal drama which he played Billy Jim Hawkins a lawyer in rural West Virginia. Much like Matlock years later Hawkins fame as a lawyer preceded him and many wealthy clients came to West Virginia to ask his help. His slow taking and country ways made him sound dumb to big city attorneys and police officials. He used this to his advantage to disguise the sharp investigative mind that he had. His cousin R. J. Hawkins, played by Strother Martin, traveled with him and helped him investigate and solve the crime.
This show was part of CBS's attempt to start a revolving wheel of crime series. One week it was Hawkins, then Shaft and the next week it was the Tuesday movie of the week. It was actually a fun series to watch. However, it seemed that only NBC with McCloud, Columbo and McMillan and Wife could get a revolving crime wheel going. The other networks could never seem to get one going. Shaft was pretty good too. Perhaps if they had been on each week both series would have lasted longer. As it was this series ended on September 3, 1974. Since Mr. Stewart is no longer with us I hope that they release both series on DVD real soon. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Show That Should Be Released On DVD...The Good Guys

Well here is one of the best comedies that Bob Denver ever did. At least that is what I have heard. I never got to see it and it has never been rerun anytime. He did it fresh off his success from Gilligan’s Island. Bob was Rufus s single Cabdriver and was best friends since high school with Bert (Herb Edelman) who ran his own diner with his wife Claudia (Joyce Van Patten). Rufus was not only a cabdriver but he worked part time at the diner if Bert needed help. Rufus was always coming up with get rich quick schemes that never worked but always got them into trouble. One story that I read about was really ahead of it’s time. Claudia wanted to beautify the highways of the city by planting flowers. Bert was going to help her and they left Rufus to handle the crowd at the diner. The police stop Bert and Claudia thinking they are planting marijuana. They are arrested. At the station the police hear them talking about Rufus. They ask where he is. Bert innocently tells them he is at the diner making hash. I am sure that it got worse from there but it sounds like it was pretty funny to me.
The show aired on CBS from September 25, 1968 to January 23, 1970. It couldn’t have done too badly since it was renewed for a second season. However, it didn’t get to run the full second season. Seen on occasion were Gilligan’s …ahem! I mean Bob’s Gilligan’s Island co-horts Alan Hale Jr. and Jim Backus.
During the second season Rufus gave up the cab driving business and became a full partner in the Diner. He should have kept driving as the diner closed down at the time the series was canceled. Perhaps the show will be released on DVD someday. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rest In Peace Jack Warden

I just read on Mark Evanier’s site that Jack Warden died. According to other sites I read he basically died of old age. He stared in many fine films like All The President’s Men, Heaven Can Wait, Used Cars, Problem Child and more. He was a fine actor and I will best remember him for his role on the TV show Crazy Like A Fox. It was a favorite show in my home. My Dad said Harry Fox played by Jack Warden and Harrison Fox, Harry’s son played by John Rubinstein reminded him of us the way they solved crimes together. He was right. I had hoped to see another reunion with the two. Maybe one day John Rubinstein can play Harrison as a lawyer who solves cases the way his detective Dad did and his own son works with him in the law firm. This makes me feel like I have lost another part of my Dad again. I just had to write about it in honor of my Dad. Posted by Picasa

It Was 30 Years Ago Today

The week of July 24, 1976 the #1 hit in America was Kiss And Say Goodbye by The Manhattans. Winfred “Blue” Lovett said that they didn’t name themselves after the city as you might think. They were named after the cocktail drink. He said they were named the Dulcets. It meant they sang melodic tones but if someone in the audience didn’t know that then the name didn’t make sense. He didn’t fully explain why they named themselves after the drink.
Most of the group was from New Jersey. But when the Air Force sent some of them overseas they returned with 2 new members. At a contest at the Apollo Theatre in 1964 they came in third. However, it was a turning point in the groups’ career as an executive for Carnival Records was there and signed then to a contract. In March 1965 they had their debut single on the pop charts. The song I Wanna Be (Your Everything) peaked at 68. Later, they changed to King Records and had some R & B hits but failed to crack the pop charts.
In 1972 they were signed to Columbia Records. With a major label behind them they were allowed to get more involved with the production of their music. Blue Lovett wrote many of their songs. He said that sometimes they would come to him while he was sleeping but none of them were good enough to make him get out of bed in the middle of the night. Then came one that he just couldn’t get out of his head. So he dragged himself to his piano in the middle of the night and wrote the song. It was Kiss And Say Goodbye. Lovett says that he liked his songs to tell a story and this one was about a love triangle. Something that we have all been through at one time or another. It entered the charts on April 17, 1976 and was #1 the week of July 24, 1976. Their next big hit came in 1980 with Shining Star. It went to #5 on the pop charts and in 1985 had a hit with a Sam Cooke remake You Send Me on the adult contemporary charts. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 24, 2006

Dave Berry On Hurricanes

Just got this from my friend Chuck who lives in Florida. Thought you might like to read it if you have not yet. I don't have a picture of Dave Berry but I did have one of Harry Anderson who played Dave Berry on Dave's World. The series was based on one of his books that, like most of what he writes, was based on his life.

Dave Barry on Hurricane Season
To: Ex-Floridians, present Floridians, and future Floridians or those who know a Floridian. We're about to enter the peak of the hurricane season. Any day now, you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person pointing to some radar blob out in the Gulf of Mexico and making two basic meteorological points. (1) There is no need to panic (2) We could all be killed Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Florida. If you're new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to prepare for the possibility that we'll get hit by "the big one.'' Based on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple three-step hurricane preparedness plan: STEP 1. Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days. STEP 2. Put these supplies into your car. STEP 3. Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Florida. We'll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items: HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE: If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home meets two basic requirements: (1) It is reasonably well-built, and (2) It is located in Nebraska. Unfortunately, if your home is located in Florida, or any other area that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the insurance business in the first place. So you'll have to scrounge around for an insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of your house. At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental floss. Since Hurricane Andrew, I have had an estimated 27 different home-insurance companies. This week, I'm covered by the "Bob and Big Stan Insurance Company", under a policy which states that, in addition to my premium, Bob and Big Stan are entitled, on demand, to my kidneys. SHUTTERS: Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all the doors, and -- if it's a major hurricane -- all the toilets. There are several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages: PLYWOOD SHUTTERS: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself, they're cheap. The disadvantage is that, because you make them yourself, they will fall off. SHEET-METAL SHUTTERS: The advantage is that these work well, once you get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December. ROLL-DOWN SHUTTERS: The advantages are that they're very easy to use, and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will have to sell your house to pay for them. HURRICANE-PROOF'' WINDOWS: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane protection. They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so. He lives in Nebraska. HURRICANE PROOFING YOUR PROPERTY: As the hurricane approaches, check your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio furniture, visiting relatives, etc.; you should, as a precaution, throw these items into your swimming pool (if you don't have a swimming pool, you should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn these objects into deadly missiles. EVACUATION ROUTE: If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look at your driver's license; if it says "Florida" you live in a low-lying area.) The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being trapped in your home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from your home, along with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not be lonely. HURRICANE SUPPLIES: If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy them now! Florida tradition requires that you wait until the last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into vicious fights with strangers over who gets the last can of SPAM. In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies: 23 flashlights and at least $167 worth of batteries that turn out, when the power goes out, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.
Bleach. (No, I don't know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the bleach is for. But it's traditional, so GET some!)
A 55-gallon drum of underarm deodorant.
A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be useless in a hurricane, but it looks cool.)
A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask anybody who went through Andrew; after the hurricane, there WILL be irate alligators.)
$35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.
Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation by turning on your television and watching TV reporters in rain slickers stand right next to the ocean and tell you over and over how vitally important it is for everybody to stay away from the ocean. Good luck and remember: it's great living in paradise! Those of you who aren't here yet, you should come. Really! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A prayer to ask Jesus into your heart

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever, believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.John 3:16 and 17king james version
If you know in your heart that you need Jesus Christ in your life. Then pray this simple prayer.

Dear God,
I know that I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I invite Christ into my heart and life as my personal Saviour. Amen!
If you have done this then you now need to find a Bible believing and preaching church. The links section at the right or below depending on your browser has links to some local churches in my area. You can e-mail them if they are not in your area. They may be able to help you find one in your area. Posted by Picasa

The Television Family

The posting yesterday on reunion movies along with TV Land airing the Brady Bunch this week end got me to thinking. They say that the only time the cast of a TV show became what they played on the show only happened with the Monkees. They were only suppose to play a rock band but eventually became a rock band. Well when the Brady Bunch went on the air in September of 1969 it was about to happen again. Over time the core cast, without realizing it, became a family. Robert Reed was famous for hating the quality of the scripts. In the last episode he was cut out of the script. He was told to leave the set but refused. Sherwood Schwartz could have had security drag him away but Mr. Reed and the kids were so close and viewed him as a father figure that he didn’t have the heart to have the kids see Dad taken away by security. If the show had been renewed for another season there were plans to write Mr. Reed out of the show. He was to have died in a car accident over the summer. It is a good thing he was kept alive. When the show spun off the Brady Brides Mr. Reed was asked to appear in the first episode since it was the wedding episode. The producers asked out of kindness and were ready to recast the part since he was busy on a Broadway play and really hated the show. They were surprised when he said he would make the time to do it because “No one else marries off my daughters!” He took time off from the play and flew to LA to shoot the pilot.
Now Peter, Christopher Knight, is getting married. Greg, Barry Williams, sang at the wedding and Bobby, Mike Lookinland, and Cindy, Susan Olsen, attended. Mike Lookinland said it wasn’t like a former cast member got married. He said “My brother’s getting married.”
I have known all my life that TV was powerful. I never realized that it actually created a family. Posted by Picasa