Monday, June 29, 2015

The Simpsons Schoolhouse Rock - The U.S. Constitution

I'm an Amendment-to-Be,
Yes, an Amendment-to-Be,
And I'm hopin' that they'll ratify me.
There's a lot of flag burners
Who have got too much freedom,
I wanna make it legal
For policemen to beat 'em.
'Cos there's limits to our liberties,
Least I hope and pray that there are,
'Cos those liberal freaks go too far.

Friday, June 26, 2015

TV Cop Show Interrogation Method: Of Course You Didn’t Do This- You’re Gay!

“You know what? I think I believe you when you say you didn’t rape and kill that lady! You’d never do that to a woman! Not a gay guy like you! I bet you were out on the town at the gay bars when this happened!”

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Biggest Emmy Losers

Who has the record for most Emmy losses? For the Daytime Emmys, it's Susan Lucci, who frequently went home empty handed.

For the prime time Emmys, it's Angela Lansbury.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TV Cop Show Interrogation Method: It Was Only Right For You To Do What You Did!

“If it were up to me, I’d be giving you a medal for killing that guy. I’m surprised you held back as long as you did! If I caught some pervert banging my cheating wife, I wouldn’t think twice about putting a bullet in his head!”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rest in Peace, Dick Van Patten

A Good Title?

Networks and show creators often struggle with creating titles that will resonate with viewers. Sometimes the title of a show is the only thing that a viewer might see before deciding on a new show. Sometimes, an accurate title is all that keeps a robot from going homicidal against his show's producers.

In fact, what happens is that a robot- me- shows you how to repair a variety of things.

In the case of The Good Wife, the title was chosen after they considered many other titles like In the Spotlight (dull) or The Whole Truth (boring). It was one of the other titles, however, that would have made an epic show. The epic title? Leave the Bastard. Who wouldn't watch an awesomely titled show called Leave the Bastard? It would have been a perfectly cromulent title!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dennis Without Someone to Menace

Dennis the Menace needs someone to "Menace". That's what his neighbor Mr. Wilson is for- the put upon guy who just wants to live his retirement in peace. On the hit sitcom Dennis the Menace, Joseph Kerns fit the bill, as the poor guy who can't understand why nobody else sees how much of a menace Dennis really is.

The show began its life after CBS lost Leave it to Beaver to ABC. The show couldn't have found a better Mr. Wilson than Mr. Kerns. He looked just like the Mr. Wilson on the funny pages and made us believe that while he was faced with Dennis' everlasting annoyance every week, deep down he had a fondness for the boy who became the grandson he never had. Sadly, after filming the 100th episode of the show, Mr. Kerns died of a heart attack. 

Replaced by veteran actor Gale Gordon, the show lost its way. Something just didn't seem right anymore. It was canceled after just one more season.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

TV Quote Weekends

"Hey you're young and swinging, 
No time to think about tomorrow. 
but there ain't no use to deny it. Some day you're gonna buy it. Time to plan for a Ferryman tomorrow."

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

TV Quote Weekends

"Seems like they forgot to have things happen in this movie."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Everyone was on the "Love Boat"

Indeed, everyone who was an actor or actress in the 1970's and 1980's was on ABC's Love Boat. A Saturday night fixture back when the networks actually put new programming on Saturday nights, the show became a stop on the way up to fame and also on the way down. Up and coming stars, eager to get any work worked side by side with has-beens who had seen better days. Today we concentrate on celebrities who were on their way up.

Before she was trading wisecracks with the alcoholics in Cheers or teaching Summer School with future NCIS star Mark Harmon, Kirstie Alley was gold-digging on Love Boat. This stint was from early in her career before she apparently lost her mind.

Richard Dean Anderson did his time on Love Boat enroute to a career that would eventually see him making the name "MacGuyver" a verb. (Usage: When Billy's computer broke, he MacGuyvered a replacement.)

Eager to setup an acting career that would make the jump to adulthood, self proclaimed "prairie bitch" Alison Arngrim also did a stint on this Boat of Love. It didn't really pan out for her, but she seems like a cool person, so she gets a pass from the snark.

And finally, there's Miss Kathy Bates, years away from her Academy Award winning role as the murderess Annie Wilkes in Misery. Perhaps this gentleman triggers Annie's rage when he dumps her after this honeymoon cruise, leaving her to retreat from society. Now you see why the death of Misery Chastain sent her 'round the bend?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

An Unwanted Proposal

When Joe proposes marriage to Catherine on the air in an episode of Newsradio, it was meant as a ridiculous stunt thought up by station owner Jimmy James to increase the ratings at the radio station.

The scene angered certain NBC executives. Why? Well, as it turned out, the meddling executives had made the same recommendation months earlier to increase ratings. (Apparently NBC's "Must See TV" was built on gimmicky weddings and babies.) The episode portrayed the proposal as a ridiculous, desperate idea dreamed up by a clueless executive. Apparently, the dig didn't go unnoticed by NBC's real life clueless executives.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Clerks: The TV Show"

What would a Clerks TV Show look like if it were produced without any input from Kevin Smith? Imagine no longer! In 1995, Miramax Films decided to enter the television business by turning one of its quirky hits Clerks into a television show.

Miramax doubtless figured that the gen-xers who found Clerks enjoyable would flock to a show with the same name. Of course, other than the character names and the title of the show, there was little in common with the movie. The pilot was a mess, though it did feature future stars Keri Russell and Jim Breuer.

Amazingly, the actors who played Dante and Randal in the film were rejected for the television show and a script submitted by Kevin Smith was also refused. Luckily for all involved, the pilot went nowhere.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Perry Mason and the Case of the Difficult Diva

In 1963, Raymond Burr had to endure painful dental surgery. Unfortunately, this was going to cause a problem with the shooting schedule. How would CBS deal with the situation? By enlisting some big names to take Mr. Burr's place. The biggest name they could get was an amazing choice- Bette Davis!

Playing a lawyer named Constant Doyle, Ms. Davis brought gravitas and glamour to the show, despite the fact that her career had seen better days. This amazing "get" was due to the fact that Miss Davis was considered to be a difficult person to work with. Her tenure on the show lasted just one episode.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fake Tabloid TV Quotes

"Uh oh! Sarah Jessica Parker is considering taking Extreme Measures to stop people who say she looks like a horse. Ms. Parker believes that Smart People still find her attractive and that she is within Striking Distance of silencing those who say she’s an ugly woman. It may take some Hocus Pocus for her to change her reputation, however, but Somewhere, Tomorrow she may prevail over her critics."

“Linda Blair needs an Exorcist to eliminate the bad spirits that haunt her finances. It seems her creditors are raising a Ruckus over her unpaid bills and her house may end up Repossessed. Will she be able to say All is Normal, or will she be Zapped Again and end up on the street?”

"Apparently controversy Runs in the Family when it comes to Michael Douglas. His son was caught dealing drugs, contributing to the drug Traffic that afflicts the United States. Michael’s Basic Instinct was to hire a lawyer and tell his son to Don’t Say a Word. Will prosecutors be able to convince a jury that Michael’s son is guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt or will the younger Douglas end up a Solitary Man in prison? Only time will tell if his son will end up Falling Down or Shining Through.

"Full Disclosure- Demi’s life is not Flawless these days! She’s made some bad Choices and A Few Good Men have been a bad influence on her. If These Walls Could Talk, they’d say that Demi has used little Wisdom in choosing who to share her Bedrooms with. Her family is rallying around her, making sure she’s safe in a General Hospital. Hopefully her Mortal Thoughts will disappear and she’ll clean herself up to prevent becoming a Ghost!”

“John Travolta is in a Face Off with his accusers! John says anyone accusing him of gay shenanigans is engaging in some Pulp Fiction and that they are telling Basic lies about him! He and his wife are taking the controversy Moment By Moment and are thinking of taking A Civil Action against the masseuses making these allegations. Will John’s life go back to being Perfect or will it resemble a Battlefield Earth?”

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Before They Were Famous: Clark Gregg on Law & Order

Years before he would be corralling super heroes, rocking lanyards and putting Baby in the matrimonial corner (His wife is the lovely Jennifer Grey) Clark Gregg was paying his dues on the first season of Law & Order.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

TV Show Interrogation Method: "I just need to clear this off my desk."

"Look, it’s all the same to me. I get paid no matter what. I just need to clear this case off my desk. Just say this was all just an accident and we both go home tonight to our families.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Different Character, Same Show

Before Jerry Orbach played the role he was best known for- Detective Briscoe on Law & Order- he played a defense lawyer named Frank Lehrman. 

Here's Frank Lehrman:

And here's Detective Briscoe:

See the difference? Law and Order frequently repurposes different actors and actresses who pickup the show's tried and true formula. It makes filming go much smoother.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ten Things NBC's "Today Show" Can Do To Stop its Ratings Slide

10. “Accidentally” let ladies have “wardrobe malfunctions” in front of the glass studio.

9. Let Ann Curry return to beat the crap out of Matt Lauer.

8. Get ABC or CBS to pick up the show.

7. Get Dolly Parton to “accidentally” show her whoppers on live TV.

6. Have corporate parent Comcast “accidentally” shut off all other channels except NBC.

5. Get Dick Wolf to produce “Law & Order: Today”

4. Call in Jane Pauley…….. Maybe she’ll have some ideas about what to do.

3. Begin the thawing of J. Fred Muggs.

2. Host a singing competition! That’s what the young people want to see!

1. Change everything… Except for Matt Lauer. He has naked pics of the Comcast CEO.

Monday, June 8, 2015

From NBC to ABC

Television shows rarely jump networks, but it does occasionally happen. Sometimes when a show gets canceled by one network, another one will decide to pick it up to see if it will fill a need they have.

ABC has often picked up shows from other networks and in these cases, it picked up shows from NBC.

Diff'rent Strokes ran for one season on ABC after a seven season run on NBC.

Father Dowling Mysteries ran for two seasons on ABC after just one season on NBC.

Matlock ran for six seasons on NBC and three on ABC.

Most recently, Scrubs ran for seven seasons on NBC and two seasons on ABC.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Facts About "Facts of Life"

The 1980's sitcom The Facts of Life was an interesting and rare case where a sitcom was able to rebalance itself after a disastrous first season and become a modest hit for its network.

Did You Know?

The First Season was a disaster- The show had high hopes, as it was a spinoff of the hit Diff'rent Strokes but it didn't quite measure up. Featuring a majorly different cast, it seemed too busy with too many castmembers. Famed producer Norman Lear wanted NBC to cancel the show, but the network decided a re-work might fix things. Mr. Lear removed his name from the show, but continued to produce it as he was contracturally obligated to do so. The eventual success of the show made him millions of dollars.

Charlotte Rae was heavily involved in the show- She hired Mindy Cohn herself and named Mindy's character 'Natalie' after her childhood friend. Beverly Ann, who replaced her character when she left the show, was named after her sister. The young adoptee Andy was named after her son.

Future Stars Got Their Start There- Both Molly Ringwald and George Clooney starred on the show during different seasons. Molly was one of the fired actresses from the first season.

Robin Thicke's Parents Wrote the Theme Song- 1980's Also-Dad Alan Thicke and his then-wife Gloria Loring, herself an accomplished actress and singer wrote the television show's theme song. Ms. Loring sang it during seasons 2-9.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Are You Being Served? Repeat Customers

Repeat Are You Being Served customer Mavis Pugh, who played Lady Weeble Able-Smith and the wife of the forgetful customer...

was married in real life to another repeat customer- John Clegg who had the "undetectable toupee" and the disastrous made to measure suit.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Be-Bop Bamboozled"

Lazy "Left Sharks", Hot Dog on a Stick costumery, wardrobe malfunctions? Recent Super Bowl tastelessness doesn't hold a candle to the tacky, tawdry Super Bowl half times of the 1980's. Before the NFL just hired big name talent to perform for 15 minutes, they used to stage campy productions that made "Toddlers and Tiaras" look classy and understated by comparison.

Eager to send the decade out with a bang, the NFL and Coca Cola commissioned what was billed the world's first live 3-D extravaganza- "Be-Bop Bamboozled". Viewers who purchased specially marked cartons of Coca-Cola were given 3-D glasses to view this landmark event. At halftime, the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers were tied 3-3; it was the lowest first half score in Super Bowl history. Viewers were watching a barn burner, but all that was paused as Bob Costas traded in his dignity to ask us to put on our ridiculous Coca-Cola glasses and watch "Be-Bop Bamboozled".

We'll totally remove this picture, Mr. Costas, if the price is right...

What followed was 15 minutes of hokey card tricks, gimmicky "effects" and blindingly fluorescent colors. It was a snapshot of the go-go '80s, bizarrely themed to the 1950's.

It's the Gary Busey/Pointer Sisters Variety Hour!

Audiences were befuddled. Did that really happen, or did we all drink ourselves into a stupor and slam our heads into the coffee table? Before we knew it, the show was over and we were left to ponder the tastelessness of it to ourselves- Twitter hadn't been invented yet so our clever wise-ass comments were NOT recorded for posterity. 

The game continued, with the amazing Cincy kicker Jim Breech becoming the de facto MVP, kicking the team to what seemed like certain victory and on the way to the congratulatory DISNEYLAND parade. Unfortunately, Cincinnati's defense checked out and its seeming curse checked in, permitting the San Francisco team to squeak ahead. Jerry Rice would be the MVP and the garish halftime show would become an almost forgotten relic.

Monday, June 1, 2015

TV Network Theme Parks

The dazzling success of DISNEYLAND Park spurred numerous companies to attempt to get a bit of the magic for themselves. Two television networks made their own attempts to enter the theme park realm- CBS and ABC.

CBS chose to develop the Santa Monica Pier into a theme park. The location had been rejected by Walt Disney when he was seeking a location for DISNEYLAND, but it was already partially developed and popular, so CBS decided to go for it.

CBS sought to theme up the pier as best as it could, creating "Disneyland-Style" theming to impress crowds who had grown accustomed to DISNEYLAND. This proved to be an expensive proposition considering that the site was surrounded by water. The park found initial success, but succumbed to a nearby construction project that made it difficult to get to the park, plus CBS' inattention. The park eventually was demolished as a public hazard.

ABC chose to enter the theme park industry in 1968, but didn't want to go head on against DISNEYLAND (which it had helped finance originally, but no longer held an interest in) so it went north- to Redwood City, California and built ABC's Marine World. Meant to be the first of a small chain of theme parks, the park was wildly successful. ABC, however, didn't realize that theme parks require a steady stream of investment to keep guests coming through the gates. Losing interest in the park, they sold it to the owner of a safari park called Africa USA. The park was eventually relocated to Vallejo, California where it remains open as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.