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.