Saturday, August 05, 2006

Captain America and the Falcon #173

I just bought this old issue of Captain American and the Falcon #173 at my local comic book shop. It is from 1974. It seems to be the 2nd part of at least a 3 part story line. The Committee of Regain America’s Principles has formed and for some reason has decided that Captain America and the Falcon are dangerous to the country and a warrant has been issued for their arrest. Professor Xavier and his X-Men have found out that a group called the Secret Empire, a mutant hating group, is behind all of it. They are trying to get rid of all mutants as well as Cap and Falcon. Most of the X-Men are missing. The only ones left are the Professor, Cyclops and Marvel Girl AKA Jean Grey (later called Phoenix). This part of the story begins with Nick Fury and Shield agents on another assignment when they see Captain America and Falcon with Cyclops and Marvel Girl. The agents have to at least try to arrest them since they are wanted by the government and they are government agents. They all escape. What puzzles me about this scene is when Furry is thinking he thinks “I admit I don’t like that cornball Avenger—but arrestin’ him is somethin’ else.” He doesn’t like him!! I always that he and Cap were friends. I guess they were just friendly co-workers. Cap and his friends escape to a cave where the Professor explains how the Committee and the Secret Empire are working together and how he suspects that Hank “Beast” McCoy’s girlfriend might be connected. They make a plan. Cyclops acts like he is trying to kidnap McCoy’s girlfriend but Cap and Falcon disguised as the neatest and clean shaven bums I have ever seen rescue her. Hearing them say they are looking for work she has the Secret Empire contact them. They are given a job as a test of loyalty to steal an electron-gyro from the Brand Corporation. Dressed as Captain America and the Falcon they succeed. The Guards try to stop them but Mr. Black, the factory boss, finds a note Cap left that explains everything. Despite the guards insistence Mr. Black lets them escape. Dressed again as Roger Stevens and Willie Samuels they deliver the gyro to the Secret Empire. Proving they are loyal to the cause they are taken to the underground headquarters of the Empire. Professor X, Cyclops and Marvel Girl have followed them. Professor X says now all they can do is wait. Wait for two mortal men to try and deceive an entire empire on its home territory…risking exposure and annihilation every second they spend in that mammoth tomb they’ve willingly entered! Yes we wait perhaps forever because Captain America and the Falcon may never come out of there alive!!!
WOW! In 1974 that would have had me going to the drug store next month to get the next issue. I wonder if they came out alive?
This was actually a pretty good story by Steve Englehart. I don’t always like what he writes but this is one of the good ones. The art for Sal Buscema seemed a bit rushed to me but it was great to see his work again. Roy Thomas loves these types of stories and did a wonderful job of editing I am sure. I am not sure who did the cover art. It looks like it was either Gil Kane or Terry Austin. If you have any idea or if you know for sure please tell me. If you see this issue and want to read all of it and not just an overview I recommend that you buy it. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 04, 2006

Those who trust in God are no longer guilty

On the Sabbath [Paul and Barnabas] went to the synagogue for the services. After the usual readings from the books of Moses and from the Prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: "Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for us, come and give it."

[After recounting God's plan from Moses to Jesus, Paul said] "Brothers, listen! In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God—something the Jewish law could never do. Be careful! Don't let the prophets' words apply to you. For they said, 'Look you mockers, be amazed and die! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it.'"

Acts 14:13-41 NLT

About this promise

Have you ever had a guilty feeling about something? Perhaps you did something wrong and felt guilty about it. Perhaps you have magnified the feeling of guilt beyond the "wrongness" of the act that precipitated the guilty feeling. Or perhaps you feel justly guilty for a sin, and you don't know what to do about it. The best way to relieve justifiable guilt is to confess the sin to God and ask him to forgive you. Forgiveness is the only cleansing agent that can remove both guilt and a guilty feeling about a sin.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Stars On TV Conclusion: Prime Time Soap Operas

The 1980’s seemed to open the flood gates on bringing back old movie stars to television. As mentioned in this series before you had Barbara Stanwyck and Charlton Heston on Dynasty II: The Colbys. Late1981 saw the first episode of Falcon Crest that starred Jane Wyman and years later Kim Novak for a season. In 1983 Anne Baxter was one of the stars of the drama Hotel. Apparently many of the movie stars who wanted TV stardom found the key to success. Now I know that some of them weren’t looking to be TV stars. Some did it for the money or to jump start their careers. But the ones that did want to star in a series found that there was strength in numbers. So they joined the cast of prime time soap operas. Soap operas, nighttime and daytime, came of age in the 1980’s. Now I never did get into the soaps. So I don’t have much to say about them. Believe it or not when I was in college I had a class called Broadcast Criticism. We had to watch shows and compare them to each other and tell which show was the better one and defend our position. One show that I was required to watch was Dallas. I forgot which show I had to compare it against. At that time I also worked at Bakers Shoes in Florence Mall. The Manager there, Rick Harkness, was a big fan of Dallas. He kept trying to get me interested in the show. I told him how I had to watch the show that week for a class. A few weeks passed and I had written my paper and got my grade. Rick was talking to someone about Dallas and since he had missed the last episode he asked me what happened. I said to him "Why are you asking me? You know I don’t watch the show." He looked at me and asked “You mean you didn’t get interested when you had to watch it for school?” I said "No I just don’t like the show." The 80’s was a haven for soap operas. So if you are fans of those types of shows buy the DVD’s and enjoy the show. I hope you have enjoyed this series of overviews of movie stars on TV. Television is littered with the failures of many movie stars who could not make the transition. However, Barbara Stanwyck, Rock Hudson and Doris Day did succeed. Tony Curtis was a successful co-star on Vegas. Currently James Caan is a hit on Las Vegas. Hmmm! I guess it isn’t just an ensemble cast that helps succeed but location too. James Woods is the next to try and others will follow. So raise a glass to their never say die spirit and wish them well.

The above TV Guide cover is dated June 9,1983 and from this site. Posted by Picasa
Ringo Starr & The Monkees - Pizza Hut Commercial 1995

Here is a commercial that some of you may have forgotten about.

The Stars On TV: McCoy

On October 5, 1975 NBC aired a new show as part of its NBC Mystery Movie series. It was McCoy and it starred Tony Curtis. Mr. Curtis had tried for TV stardom before with British produced program The Persuaders. While that show was a hit in England it didn’t do well in America and was too expensive to be produced. Economics canceled that series.

NBC must have had some faith in McCoy to add it to the line up of the NBC Mystery Movie series. Mr. Curtis played McCoy, a professional gambler who had a very expensive lifestyle. He had hit an unlucky streak and was having a hard time maintaining that lifestyle. He decided he had to find another way to make a living in order to maintain the way he liked to live. He became a professional con man. He was hired by people, who had been taken by criminals, to set up sting operations to get all or most of their money back. McCoy’s fee was so huge that he was able to get the money back, pay other people that he hired to help him and still keep a large amount for himself. One of his main helpers was a nightclub comedian named Gideon Gibbs played by Roscoe Lee Browne. Roscoe Lee Browne as a nightclub comedian??? The show had a very brief run. You would never know by its air dates that it ran only four episodes. The last show was broadcast on March 28, 1976.

After this Mr. Curtis found some success on TV as a co-star when he joined the cast of Vegas as Philip Roth in 1978. The real star of the series was Robert Urich as detective Dan Tanna and, as Mr. Roth, Tony Curtis was his boss. After that series ended in 1981 MR. Curtis pretty much retired and kept busy with his favorite hobby of painting.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Stars On TV: The Doris Day Show

When I started doing this stars on TV series I thought it would show that movie stars don’t make the transition very well. However, I have seen in my research and writings that there are just as many successes as there are failures.
It was just a coincidence that Henry Fonda followed his good friend James Stewart in this series. It is also a coincidence that Doris Day follows her friend Rock Hudson in today’s posting.
Many people credit Mary Tyler Moore to show what life is like for the single professional woman. It is true that her show was the most popular of that type of show. However, she was really beat to the punch by Marlo Thomas on That Girl in 1966 and Doris Day in The Doris Day Show in 1968. Now Miss Moore and Miss Thomas played never married career women. Miss. Day played Doris Martin a widow with two young sons. In the first season of the series she had to move back to the farm from the city where she had been raising her sons. Her Dad, played by Denver Pyle, and his farm hand Leroy, played by James Hampton, tried to help her to adjust to life back on the farm. In the second season Doris decided to commute back to the city as she took a job working as a secretary at a magazine publisher. Rose Marie, MacLean Stevenson and Paul Smith joined the cast as her friends and co-workers.
Why make changes to bring people from the city onto the show? Since CBS was the network that broadcast the series that might be the reason. CBS at that time was trying to get rid of all series with a rural setting. While most of their popular shows were based in the country those shows didn’t attract advertisers. Most of the people who lived in the country didn’t have the big money to spend that advertisers were looking for. Perhaps the producers of the series saw this coming and tried to get their viewers use to the stories taking place in the city.
Another change took place in the fourth season. The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a huge hit and changes were made to make it look more like that series. Miss. Marie, Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Smith were gone. John Dehner and Jackie Joseph were brought in to replace them. Doris Martin still worked for the magazine but was now a writer. However, her sons had magically disappeared. If her name had not been in the title Miss Day might be gone as well.
The series can be considered a hit since it lasted from September 24, 1968 to September 10, 1973. However, so many changes occurred that in the end it didn’t remotely look like the series that it started out to be. Like most shows the first season was the best. In trying to look like another show the series lost the appeal that it had to begin with. Even the popular Doris Day could not save the series.
I have read that Miss. Day really didn’t want to do the series to begin with. Her husband was her manager and he tried to convince his wife that she should do a TV series. Miss Day said she wanted to continue to do movies. He still tired to get her to do a series telling her that the movies she wanted to do were on the way out and TV was the best way for her to continue acting. She still said no. Not too long after this her husband passed away. While gathering his things together Miss. Day came across some paperwork that showed he had committed her to a sit-com called The Doris Day Show and had not been able to tell her before his death. Since the series was set to shoot in a few days it was too late to back out. She also needed the work to keep her mind off her husband’s death. Ironically, just as she played a widow on her show, she had just become one in real life.

It seems odd to me that the older covers of TV Guide seemed to just jump out and capture your attention like this one did to me. The new TV Guide covers don't do that to me today. Oh well it is just an observation. Posted by Picasa

The Stars On TV: McMillan and Wife

The early 70’s really saw a lot of movie stars trying for Television stardom. On September 29, 1971 Rock Hudson threw his hat into the ring with what was to become a successful run on McMillan and Wife. To a generation of people Mr. Hudson became better known for his TV series then his movies.
On the show Rock played Stewart McMillan. He was a San Francisco lawyer who was appointed to be the Police Commissioner. His wife Sally was a fan of mystery novels. The new Commissioner became directly involved in the cases and his wife, no matter how hard he tried to stop her, would help. It isn’t too amazing that this was a hit as part of the NBC Mystery Movie. Rock Hudson is a good actor but the supporting cast is even better. The lead actress was Susan Saint James as his wife. John Schuck was Sgt. Enright and Nancy Walker was Mildred his maid who also helped solve some of the crimes. At the time I had never seen the William Powel movies of the Thin Man but in hindsight the series played like the TV version of the Thin Man. Another successful attempt at this would be made with the TV series Hart To Hart.
McMillan and Wife was only on once a month as part of a revolving mystery wheel on NBC. The others, McCloud and Columbo, were spun off into weekly series. For some reason McMillan and Wife was not. Perhaps they kept it in rotation in order to be the anchor of the mystery series while they introduced other new series. This might give any other series that replaced McCloud or Columbo a chance to build up loyal viewers.
In 1976 Susan Saint James and Nancy Walker didn’t renew their contracts to the series. Normally this would have been the end of the series. However, Rock Hudson stayed with the show. Martha Raye was introduced as Mildred’s sister Agatha. Susan Saint James was not replaced. They killed her character off in a plane crash. The series name changed to McMillan. The last episode of the series aired August 21, 1977.
The series actually was over when Miss. Saint James quit. What the producers seemed to fail to realize is that her character was the audience. Through her we were able to be part of they show. Through her we followed the police investigation from beginning to the end.
Rock Hudson did make the transition from movie star to television star with this show. He tried for television stardom again. None of them matched the success he had with McMillan and Wife.
Instead of using a TV Guide cover as the photo I used a copy of the DVD box set of the series first season. Just thought I would give loyal readers of this blog a break from all the TV Guide photos. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Stars On TV Continued: The Family Holvak

On September 7, 1975 Glenn Ford tried for television stardom again when NBC broadcast the first episode of The Family Holvak. I guess with the success of The Waltons NBC wanted to see if they might have some similar success with a depression era family drama. Mr. Ford was Reverend Tom Holvak and Julie Harris was his wife Elizabeth. Preachers don’t usually make a lot of money and during the depression it was even worse. In order to make ends meet the church allowed the preacher to have a garden sell the produce from the garden. Ratings were not very good and NBC canceled the series in December of that year. For some reason CBS, the network that aired The Waltons, aired the repeats of The Family Holvak in the summer of 1977. Perhaps they were looking for a companion show to The Waltons. More likely they were looking for a possible replacement for that show since its main star, Richard Thomas, left the show in 1977. CBS didn’t have to worry. While Mr. Thomas was the main star up to that point, The Waltons was more of an ensemble drama and was able to continue till 1981. The Family Holvak was officially out of luck and canceled by CBS when they aired the last repeat episode on June 28, 1977. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Stars On TV Continued: Cade's County

In 1971 Glenn Ford tried for his own television series. It was Cade’s County a police drama set in a small desert town of Madrid, California. Mr. Ford played Sheriff Sam Cade and was in charge of law enforcement through out the county. Of course that is what gave the show its name. He had many deputies to help in enforce the law. The role of the young deputy named Pete was played by Peter Ford. He was the son of Glenn Ford. It was broadcast on Sunday nights starting on September 19, 1971 from 9:30pm to 10:30pm. When it first started my family watched it if we were home at that time. Later I found my self wanting to play with my toys or with my cousin Rachel then rather watch TV. Now family shows weren’t too hard to come by in the early 70’s. However, the taste for entertainment by person in the family could differ. For example as a 10 year old I liked watching the Brady Bunch, the Partridge Family, Alias Smith and Jones etc. I sometimes felt that Mom and Dad watched my shows only because they were family friendly. While I liked watching the comedies like Here’s Lucy, My Three Sons, Bewitched etc. with my parents they also liked to watch shows like The F.B.I., Gunsmoke and Mission Impossible. While I have grown to appreciate those shows and would like to see them again they were boring to my 10 year old senses. One Sunday night I was playing a game with my cousin. My Mom called to me that Cade’s County was on. I told her that I didn’t want to watch it anymore. To this day I feel like I hurt her feelings when I heard her say “But I thought we all found a show that we like to watch!” The truth is we did for awhile. I just got bored with it. Just like I got bored with The F.B.I. and Mission Impossible. I suppose I should have gone into the living room to watch the show with them but I was having too much fun playing that game. The show must have been a hit early on. As evidence the above TV Guide cover talks about how movie stars don’t shine on TV but Glenn Ford does. It must have had a big drop in viewers because it was canceled. Its last broadcast was September 4, 1972.
It was in September of 1972 that my Mom’s prayer for a show we all enjoyed together was answered. It was at that time that The Walton’s came on. It was instantly the family favorite. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Stars On TV Continued: The Smith Family

By the 1970’s the half hour drama was becoming rare. If you were a drama you were an hour long. Only sit-coms were a half an hour. In 1971 on Wednesday nights ABC aired the Smith Family. It was one of those rare half hour dramas. It did have some minor success mainly because it stared Henry Fonda as Det. Sgt. Chad Smith. He was a 25 year veteran of the police force and worked on everything from robberies to runaway children to homicides. His police work was not the focus of the series. It was centered mostly on his family life. Janet Blair played his wife Betty. His children were played by Darlene Carr as Cindy Smith, Michael-Kames Wixted played Brian Smith and a post Opie pre Ritchie Cunningham Ron Howard played 15 year old Bob Smith. I am sure that Rance Howard was a good father since he did most of the fatherly work. However, with help from Andy Griffith, Henry Fonda and Tom Bosley it is no wonder that Ron Howard turned out to be pretty levelheaded. Of course I don’t remember ever episode of the series but I do remember one where son Bob got to ride along with some police for a report from school. Nothing was supposed to happen so Dad wasn’t worried but Mom was. When it turned out that something happened on ride along they both were worried till Bob got home. Another episode was probably their Christmas episode. Mr. Fonda was hanging up a sign on the house that said Merry Xmas. I asked my Dad what that meant. He told me it meant Merry Christmas. He said they took Christ out of Christmas and we should not do that. Except for this example I have always written it as Christmas.
To the best of my knowledge this is the only TV series that Henry Fonda was in unless he was he guest star on a show. He did host a special tribute to All In The Family but was never officially on the show. In 1963 he was the star of Spencer’s Mountain. It was based on a novel by Earl Hamner Jr. Eventually the TV networks asked Mr. Hamner to create a TV movie. He based his TV Movie on the same characters but made a few changes and titled the movie The Homecoming. That movie did so well it became a series. Perhaps you have heard of it. It was called The Waltons. Till very recently it was the longest running family dramas on TV. So in around about way Mr. Fonda stared in the movie that the Waltons was based on. So he was involved with two family dramas. However, The Smith Family didn’t come close to being competition to the long run of the Waltons. The Smith family only ran from January 20, 1971 to June 14, 1972. Only a year and a half run, The Waltons ran for 9 years. The Smith Family was a pretty good show and should have run longer. I hope there will be a DVD release soon of the series. The above TV Guide cover is for The Smith Family and it is the May 8, 1971 issue.
I just saw an ad for the new series Shark Starring James Woods this fall on TV. Let's hope, in this day of what seems like a million channels demanding our attention, that Mr. Woods can bet the odds and become part of a rare breed. A movie star that can transition to become a television star. Posted by Picasa