Saturday, November 23, 2013

Streaming Vintage news coverage from 50 years ago

I've been captivated by the streaming coverage of CBS News as it originally aired 50 years ago. If you haven't checked it out yet, check it out here:

The website will be streaming the vintage news as it originally aired 50 years ago.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An interview with Vicki Lawrence about "Mama's Family"

Here's a link to a new interview with Vicki Lawrence about the sitcom "Mama's Family". I love that show!

It will soon be available on DVD.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Favorite episodes of The Waltons (Seasons 1-3)

Here are some of my favorite episodes of  The Waltons (of the episodes I've seen)

The Typewriter  (from Season 1, 1972)
John Boy borrows a precious antique typewriter from the Baldwin sisters in order to submit his writings to a magazine. His sister sells the typewriter to a junk man and John is faced with the task of telling the sisters that he lost it.

The Actress  (from Season 1, 1973)
In this episode, an actress from New York gets stranded on Walton Mountain, and John Boy brings her in to the house to sleep until her car is repaired. It turns out that the car can't be repaired for a month, and her driver runs away. Grandma doesn't like her being in the house, thinking she's a bad influence. Then it is revealed that the actress doesn't have a penny to her name, and the household decides that she is still famous enough to put on a local performance that will raise enough money for her ticket home.

This is a really good episode and I loved how all the kids are awestruck by the famous actress. Mary Ellen even has a scrapbook devoted to her. John Boy even has a little crush on her.

I also liked the scene where the actress makes a telephone call from the general store and the telephone operator listens in.

This episode was directed by veteran film director Vincent Sherman.

The Bequest (from Season 2, 1973)
In this episode, Grandma gets a letter from some lawyers declaring that she has inherited 250.00. All the kids' eyes light up and they all say "you're rich, Grandma!" Wow. To think 250 was alot of money one day. Grandma decides how it will be divvied up, and all the kids tray to decide how they will use it. Grandma even pledges to donate money for a new church roof. The pastor is played by John Ritter. Then John Boy and Grandma take a ride to visit his university, and it's a great moment for Grandma.

The Awakening (from Season 2, 1974)
In this episode, it is revealed that Grandma is losing her hearing. Grandpa has a talk with two of the boys and ask them to pretend not to notice she is going deaf and to stop laughing at her. I loved the scene with the entire family on the porch listening to the radio address by President Roosevelt talking about social security. Grandma gets made because she's reminded about going deaf and she argues with the kids about the President.

The Heritage (from Season 2, 1974)
In this episode, a stranger comes to town and offers the Waltons $30,000 to sell their land and move out. The Waltons are tempted...and even Grandpa thinks it's a good idea for awhile. They eventually refuse.

The Fulfillment (from Season 2, 1974)
Ma and Pa Walton bring in an orphan to stay at the house for a week. The boy turns out to be a brat, complaining about everything, but then takes a liking to the Waltons' neighbors who are looking to adopt.

The Graduation (from Season 2, 1974)
John Boy graduates in this episode, and then the family buy him a new suit. But he sells it back to Ike Godsey when their cow dies.

The Car  (from Season 2, 1974)
John Boy works tirelessly over at a neighbor's house in exchange for a car. When he's done with the work, the owner decides not to part with the car.

The First Day (from Season 3, 1974)
John Boy's first day at college!  He is excited, but wasn't expecting to be taunted and picked on by upper classemen, who trick him into doing all sorts of embarrassing things.

The Ring (from Season 3, 1974)
John Boy and Mary Ellen go to a college dance, and Mary Ellen loses a ring that belongs to a neighbor.

The Romance (from Season 3, 1974)
This is a great episode focused on Olivia and John Sr. Walton. Olivia wants to pursue her passion for art and painting and John Boy teachers her to drive so she can take a class. The teacher begins to flirt with her and makes a pass at her and then the episode ends with her and John forgiving him.

The Marathon (from Season 3, 1974)
This is a fun episode where John Boy enters a 7-day dance marathon, against the wishes of Ma Walton. I've always been curious about these marathons ever since I saw the movie They Shoot Horses Dont They.

The Spoilers (from Season 3, 1974)
A rich, spoiled family comes to live in a old house on Walton Mountain, and ultimately decide that country live is not for them.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

TV Guide's ranking of "60 Greatest Animated Shows of All Time"

In a recent issue, TV Guide ranked the 60 "Greatest" animated shows of all time. Number one, of course, is The Simpsons. I haven't watched it in years, and don't know too many people who still watch any new episodes.

  2 = The Flintstones, which is an iconic show but one of the "greatest"?

  3 = "Looney Tunes", which seems odd because most of the shorts were originally released in theaters. The list should really be "Top Made-For-Television Animated Programs"

  4 = "Peanuts", which also is confusing because are we ranking by TV series or Animated specials?

 5 = "Scooby-Doo" - originally aired in 1969. I think new episodes are being produced today. Longevity helps.

  6. = "Rocky and Bullwinkle" - I watched it, but haven't seen it in years.

  7. - "Batman: The Animated Series" - never seen it.

  8. - "SpongeBob" - never seen it.

  9. - "Family Guy" - Guess they had to put some new shows in the Top 10 to be relevant.

  10. - "South Park" - Surprised this isn't ranked higher. Rounding out the Top 60 are shows listed in alphabetical order.

In my opinion, there is a GLARING omission from the list. One of my favorite shows - animated or otherwise - is Muppet Babies which aired in the 1980s until the early 1990s. This was a clever, funny, inventive, and educational program that was fun to watch and always enjoyable.

And where is Gumby? Isn't claymation animation?

 I don't know who came up with this list, but they probably are children of the 90s who grew up with alot of "new" TV programs, so many of the shows on the list I never heard of. Bob's Burgers? Archer? The Fairly OddParents?  WHAT? And they left of "Transformers"?

 Not only is "Batman: The Animated Series" on the list, but also "Batman Beyond" and "Batman: The Brave and the Bold"....HELLO?!  Do we have a Batman bias here, guys? Where is Spiderman? Or She-Ra?

 And then we have a bunch more "TV Animated programs" that were not originally TV programs - they were theatrical shorts : Popeye, Tom and Jerry, and Woody Woodpecker.

 Makes me want to pull my hair out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Emmy Award show last Sunday night

OK, I watched the Emmy ceremony for the first time in about 10 years last Sunday.

I wasn't rooting for any one show in particular - my favorite shows (The Office, Bones) weren't even nominated for anything.

I tuned it just for curiosity's sake. It was interesting to see so many big-time movie stars win Emmys, such as Michael Douglas, Jeff Daniels, and James Cromwell.  Ellen Burstyn also won an Emmy for a TV movie I've never heard of nor will ever see. Speaking of veteran stars, it was nice to see Bob Newhart and Diahann Carroll make appearances. It's always great when some legends of the medium pop in and give the show some character.

The tributes to the fallen stars were nice too. I liked the personal touch of the speeches that Robin Williams gave for Jonathan Winters and that Rob Reiner gave for Jean Stapleton. I think this was a better idea than to show clips of their career. I wonder if showing clips has gone out of style; I mean, anyone can go on YouTube nowadays and see tribute montages on their own.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Valerie Harper on Dancing with the Stars

Normally I don't watch Dancing with the Stars but I tuned in tonight to see Valerie. She did a great job dancing out there in front of millions. Next Monday night is another dance before someone is eliminated. I hope it's not her!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Love Boat on ME-TV

I'm really excited that ME-TV is now airing THE LOVE BOAT on Sundays! I don't think I've seen a full episode in about 30 years. I always thought of this as a fun and exciting show.

The very first episode (from September 1977) aired last Sunday on ME-TV, and it was fun to watch!

The guest stars included Bonnie Franklin, Suzanne Summers, and Jimmie Walker.

Can't wait to watch more episodes!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Clip from 1985's Entertainment Tonight: Summer Preview

Here is a fun clip from Entertainment Tonight, previewing summer 1985 releases.

If I could go back in time, I'd see Back to the Future, A View To A Kill and Return To Oz, which I never got to see in theaters.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The old "Star Trek" episode with Khan (1967)

The upcoming movie Star Trek: Into Darkness has inspired me to get up to speed with some Trek history and learn a little more about Khan---I suppose it's no surprise anymore that Khan is the main villain in the new movie (it was a secret for months).

So this weekend I watched the old "Star Trek" episode with Khan (Ricardo Montalban) - thanks to the old reliable Y-Tube.

I've heard about this episode for years, but never actually watched it. And it was pretty good, explaining Khan's history and everything.

Next up, I plan to watch the movie "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"; I've never seen the whole movie yet.

So hopefully by the time the new movie comes out, I'll have enough background to understand what's going on. :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mary Tyler Moore cast reunion

I just watched this clip from Katie Couric's talk show, where she sat down with the ladies from the MTM show. They all got together a few weeks ago to film an episode of "Hot in Cleveland" starring Betty White (I've never seen this show). It was nice seeing them all together again.

 Here is the clip if you have not seen it.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Valerie Harper's message to her fans

I was saddened to hear of Ms Harper's terminal diagnosis. But was encouraged by her message to her fans; watch the video below.

Tomorrow she will be on NBC's "The Today Show" and "The Doctors" TV show.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Muppet Show Guest Stars

Roger Moore and Miss Piggy
The Muppet Show is my favorite TV variety show of all time. It aired on television from 1976-1981, a total of five seasons and 120 episodes. Each episode was a potpourri of puppetry, comedy, and music. Lots of music! And each episode featured a different human celebrity guest star. The Muppets themselves became celebrities too -
Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the rest of the gang. They even have their own star on the Walk of Fame. And last I heard, they're all at work on a new movie.

And even after 30+ years, a number of the human guest-stars are still in the showbiz spotlight, too. Alan Arkin (a season #4 guest) is nominated for an Oscar this year for his role in the film Argo. Sylvester Stallone (season #3 guest) has a new movie out this weekend (but I heard it's mediocre). And Steve Martin (season #3 guest) is still making movies and performing with his bluegrass band.

Alice Cooper and The Muppets
Rockers Alice Cooper and Elton John are still touring and playing to packed venues.  And Paul Williams is "still alive"; he's the subject of a new highly acclaimed documentary  - Paul Williams: Still Alive.  Joan Baez and Paul Simon are still touring, too.

Ah, music. There were sooooo many singers on the show. I loved the episode with Lena Horne, certainly a favorite. And John Denver's show was great, too---love anything with him and the Muppets. And there were also episodes with Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt, Harry Belafonte, Lou Rawls, Gladys Knight, Connie Stevens, Theresa Brewer, Debbie Harry, Melissa Manchester, Rita Coolidge, Beverly Sills,  Arlo Guthrie,  Leo Sayer, Cleo Laine, Lola Falana, Helen Reddy, Petulia Clark, Twiggy, and Jaye P. Morgan.  But one of my favorite all-time musical moments came when Judy Collins sang "Send In the Clowns".

Johnny Cash and Miss Piggy
There were some great country singers on the show, too. The episodes with Johnny Cash singing "Orange Blossom Special" and the one where Loretta Lynn singing "You're Looking At Country" were two of the best shows ever. There was also Kenny Rogers (singing "The Gambler" - another great music moment), Kris Kristofferson, Crystal Gale, Mac Davis, Roger Miller, Jim Nabors, and believe it or not, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Now that was a great show. And one of my favorite singers, Anne Murray. When a country star appeared appeared, it was almost like watching another great variety hit, Hee Haw, especially when Roy Clark was the guest. Specially-designed "hillbilly" Muppets were created for country-themed sketches. I love those puppets; they haven't been seen since the show went off the air.

Vincent Price and Kermit the Frog
It's not easy to pick a favorite episode, especially with so many movie-themed shows, such as the Star Wars-themed episode, when Mark Hamill, Chewbacca, and the Droids stopped by. That is a classic show. I also loved the episode with Roger Moore, another one of my favorites; all the Muppets think he's James Bond 007.  In another show, Shirley Bassey sang "Goldfinger", one of the coolest musical moments. Other movie stars who hosted included Danny Kaye, Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, James Coburn, Lynn Redgrave, Rita Moreno, Dom DeLuise, Leslie Ann Warren, Candice Bergen,  Elke Sommer, Charles Aznavour, Raquel Welch, Marty Feldman, Dyan Cannon, Madeline Khan, John Cleese, and Glenda Jackson.  When Brook Shields hosted, the entire show had an "Alice In Wonderland" theme. Two more great shows were the Gene Kelly episode and the Peter Sellers episode. And the Julie Andrews episode was terrific, too. And then there was "Superman" himself, Christopher Reeve. 

Fellow comic hero "Wonder Woman" also appeared - Lynda Carter. Wow. Plus many other successful TV stars: Tony Randall, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Loretta Switt, Cheryl Ladd, Hal Linden, Linda Lavin, Gilda Radner, Rich Little, Florence Henderson, Avery Schreiber, Nancy Walker, Bruce Forsyth, and Jean Stapleton.

Phyllis Diller and The Muppets
Stars of other TV variety shows were also guest, and they blended in so well, it was magical. Carol Burnett hosted and it was a great show. Harvey Korman hosted once, too, as well as Ruth Buzzi (Laugh In) hosted. And then there was the great show with Andy Williams. 

What other greats were on the show? There were legends of stage, including Zero Mostel, Ethel Merman, Ben Vereen, Bernadette Peters, Pearl Bailey, Carol Channing, Joel Grey, Sandy Duncan, Phyllis Diller, James Coco, Leslie Uggams, and Kaye Ballard. 

Other wonders of the stage were magician Doug Henning, mime acts Shields & Yarnell and Mummenschanz ("cousins of the Muppets", as Kermit calls them), Senor Wences, and balloon artist Wally Boag, whom I knew very little about until his passing a few years ago.

Dance legends Juliet Prowse and Rudolf Nureyev graced the Muppet stage. And music legends Dizzy Gillespie, Jean-Pierre Rampal, and Liberace also were guests. Buddy Rich's drum showdown with Animal was one of the all-time best moments ever.

George Burns and Gonzo
Did I mention how much I love this show? And I haven't  even mentioned Bob Hope, George Burns, Milton Berle or Edgar Bergan yet! All comedy legends who started off on vaudeville.  And with The Muppet Show being so very "vaudeville-esque", and they fit in just well. Other comedy legends on the show included Jonathan Winters, Don Knotts, and Spike Milligan. 

And finally, the lesser known guests. There are a few who - I'm embarrassed to say - I still don't know much about. For example, Phyllis George and Marisa Berenson; they were guests, but I'd have to look them up to remember their claims to fame. Also, someone named Chris Langham was a guest on the show once. According to the Muppet Wikipedia, Mr. Langham was a Muppet Show writer, and appeared on the show at the last minute as a replacement. 

Well, there you have it. Every guest of the original Muppet Show. I don't know if I could ever pick a favorite one because they're all so much fun!

This post is a submission in the 2013 blogathon

Friday, January 25, 2013

Press Your Luck and The Whammys

Remember this game show? It only aired a few seasons, but I remember watching it during summer breaks when I didn't have school on weekdays. This was the kind of game show that appealed to kids, but all the contestants were grown adults who would scream out "Big Money!" and "No Whammys!" as they hit the buzzer hoping the glowing lights stop on a large dollar amount. If the lights flashed on a "whammy", then a cartoon character would take all their winnings away. It was really dumb! But fun!

Goodbye to Mr. Drummond

I was saddened to hear of the passing of actor Conrad Bain, who played the dad, Mr. Drummond,  on Diff'rent Strokes from 1978-1986. Diff'rent Strokes was one of my all-time favorite TV shows of the early 80s. He was a great father figure character, and I learned from him the same lessons he taught Arnold and Willis. That show touched me because I didn't have a father in my house growing up, so I really respected and admired Mr Drummond. That is such a great show! If I only had one show to take with me on a desert island, I probably would pick this one!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Birth of a new blog!

Created a new blog today! TV Gems. Birthday: January 25, 2013.

My vision for this blog is to write about my favorite TV shows and memories, including commercials, cartoons, Christmas specials, etc.

"Stay tuned"!!!