Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rest in Peace, Joanie "Chyna" Laurer

WWE legend Joanie "Chyna" Laurer has passed away at age 45.

Ms. Laurer was born in Rochester, New York and became interested in body building at a young age. She quickly caught the attention of the WWE, but was originally rejected by Vince McMahon, who felt it would not be believable for a woman to beat up men. When the rival WCW became interested in her, Vince's son was finally able to convince his father to give her a shot and she became an instant superstar.

Wrestler "Chyna Doll" reigned over the WWE, attracting viewers and spectators who quickly became her fans. Her transition to a regular acting career, however, was not smooth and she ended up becoming a reality show oddity. She fully retired from wrestling in 2011 and had seemingly coasted into a graceful retirement. Many people felt that she deserved to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, though she was rejected due to her unfortunate dalliance in pornography. The WWE allegedly felt she was too controversial to receive the honor.

Ms. Laurer was a trailblazing legend who will be missed by her fans from around the world.

Krusty Brand Seal of Approval!

Krusty the Clown is not known for his discerning taste. Pretty much anything that isn't visibly defective gets his Krusty Brand Seal of Approval. Regardless of the appropriateness of a cartoon clown endorsing a pregnancy test, this one is known to cause birth defects.

His cereal contained jagged metal among the (mostly) edible Krusty-O's.

And what could possibly be the target audience for a Krusty Brand Geiger Counter? Perhaps kids who want to check the radioactivity of their other Krusty Merchandise?

And finally, who could forget Krusty Brand Imitation Gruel? It's not just gruel, it's imitation gruel!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Beverly Hillbillies!

One of the most critically reviled television shows in history was also the biggest hit ever seen. The Beverly Hillbillies was television's biggest hit in the 1960's, often attracting huge audiences that today's audiences can only dream of. As a result, the show spawned many strange merchandise tie-ins from books:



Grocery promotions:

Lunch boxes:

And even strange novelty songs:

The show lasted for nine seasons, getting canceled only because CBS wanted to eliminate its rural themed programming. While the show's ratings weren't as high as they had been they were still higher than other more urban shows that had gotten canceled. While the show's cancellation had shocked its fans, it set the stage for edgier sitcoms that changed television forever.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rest in Peace, Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts, best known for her role as Marie Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond has passed away at age 90.

Ms. Roberts got her start on television in the 1950's, starring mainly in anthology series. She became highly demanded in the 1970's as she found herself in such shows as All in the Family, Alice and her breakout role in Angie as the title character's mother. Unfortunately, Angie flamed out pre-maturely, leaving Doris to again seek out work where she could find it. Luckily, she was still a popular choice as a guest star in Hollywood. Her highest profile role during this time was in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation as the mother of Beverly D'Angelo's character.

It would be Everybody Loves Raymond that would bring her the most fame. Allegedly beating out 100 actresses for the role of the snooping, judgmental Marie Barone, she became a legendary television mom who may have been a bit too nosy but who loved her family dearly. The cast instantly gelled and it was obvious that they genuinely liked each other. Doris once stated that she would play Marie forever if she could.

Ms. Roberts kept busy right up until the end. Her work will live on forever.

"A Murderous Affair" A Fake Lifetime Original Film

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What Do These People Have in Common?!?

What do Geena Davis, Richard Belzer and Donald Glover have in common?!?

They all auditioned for Saturday Night Live and were rejected!


What do Joan Van Ark, Patrick Swayze and Joe Pantoliano have in common?!?

They all had guest starring roles on M*A*S*H


What do George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino and Burt Reynolds have in common?!?

They all guest starred on The Golden Girls


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"The Challenge of the Superheroes!"

In 1979, Hanna Barbera decided to stretch out from animation into live action. It used its DC Comics license to produce a bizarre two part special- The Challenge of the Superheroes!

Stepping into roles they created a decade before, Adam West, Burt Ward and Frank Gorshin returned to form, battling each other yet again. Undoubtedly inspired by the wild success of Superman, this bizarre spectacle brought together cast off DC characters in a tacky, tawdry two part special. The first part was an overlong 1966 Batman episode with the second half a bizarre spoof of Dean Martin's Celebrity Roasts which were already on life support by that time. Would the kids of 1979 understand the joke? Would their grandparents, the primary audience for Dean Martin's rickety roasts, appreciate the cheesy superheroes? No and no. Hanna Barbera's short lived live action adventure would fail, becoming a seldom seen fiasco that DC Comics would disavow. The program has finally gotten a home video release as part of Warner's Archive Collection, nearly three decades after its release.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Today on TV


On this day in 1964, Mr. Ed aired its 100th Episode.


In 1967, football legend Jim Brown made his television acting debut on NBC's I Spy.


On this day in 1987, Fox Television premiered one of its first breakout  hits- 21 Jump Street.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cheers Fun Facts


John Lithgow was the original choice to play Frasier on Cheers. He wasn't available due to his busy work schedule and the part went to Kelsey Grammer.


Nancy Marchand, who played the Police Commissioner in The Naked Gun and more famously, Tony Soprano's mother on The Sopranos, guest starred as Frasier's mother. She disapproved of Diane.


Kirstie Alley was the only main cast member of Cheers who never guest starred on Frasier. As a Scientologist, Ms. Alley disapproves of psychiatrists and therefore refused to appear on the show.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ramona on TV!

Beverly Cleary is truly a legend. As she celebrates her 100th year this month, it is especially wonderful to celebrate her and all of her creations. In 1988, PBS and CBC partnered to bring Ramona to life. For the first time ever, viewers got to see the spunky Ramona on television.

Played by Sarah Polley, Ramona had adventures adapted from various books in the series. Ramona the show ran for ten episodes, introducing the character to a new audience who would hopefully choose to pick up one of her books and discover her amazing world. The show even spawned a spinoff book.

The show was successful, but due to the lower budgets of public broadcasting, it was never meant to run past the initial season. While the episodes were released on videocassette, they have not yet made it onto DVD.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault

It wasn't April 1st, but it might as well have been. Thirty years ago this month, Geraldo Rivera announced that a secret vault had been uncovered in one of Al Capone's old haunts and he would open it in a live two hour syndicated special.

Many doubted that they would find anything; some experts felt that anything valuable or incriminating would have been discovered years earlier. Geraldo, however, hyped up the possibilities for weeks before. Would they find bodies? Documents detailing illegal activities? Gold? When the day arrived, a record breaking national audience tuned into what would be a two hour special detailing Capone's crimes featuring taped visits to locations important to Al Capone's life. The live portion of the special was being beamed from Chicago as demolition crews worked on uncovering the vault and Geraldo wildly speculated on what they would find.

At the end of two hours, however, the excavation uncovered nothing except for broken beer bottles and old newspapers. Geraldo became a laughingstock, but a very wealthy one. In the end, that's all that really mattered to him.