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TPIR & PERRY MASON
Kevin S. Butler makes this prediction: "There is no way that The Price Is Right will be able to continue successfully without Bob Barker. No radio/TV MC before has been able to successfully play games with contestants from the studio audience and display such a genuine, friendly nature.

"Oftimes former TPIR hosts like Tom Kennedy and the late Dennis James would exhibit a phony nature towards the contestants. They didn't have Mr. Barker's fun loving attitude and were unable to host the nighttime syndicated versions of the program.

"I feel that Jonathon Goodson (the show's executive producer/corporate head and the son of the show's co-producer and co-founder of the company the late Mark Goodson) should let the show die after Mr. Barker's departure this coming May. Otherwise, The Price Is Right will be nothing more than another unsuccessful attempt to keep an old and bye now passe' concept going, trying to stay on the air for nothing more than making money and attempting to maintain an audience that may no longer be there.

Also relating to an earlier post, Kevin adds: "Perry Mason was always a good TV crime drama and not just during the show's first season. The episodes that aired during its long run were always thought provoking and entertaining due to the wonderful scripting and the performances of the show's main cast and the guest actors. Perry Mason always had the best of Hollywood's list of character players.

"Zasu Pitts, Michael Constantine, Les Treymaine, Alan Hale, Jr., Paul Winchell, Paul Tripp (yes, two of kiddie TV's most famous hosts/performers played villains on this show), Robert Armstrong, John Banner, Connie Hines, Jesse White, Sylvia Fine and Francis Bavier were among the many talented performers who appeared on the show. And the performances from Ray Collins (as Lt. Art Tragg), Bill Talman (as DA Hamilton Burger), Bill Hopper (as private detective Paul Drake), Barbara Hale (as Mr. Mason's secretary Della Street) and Raymond Burr as Perry Mason - all of them made this show a hit.

"No one has ever topped this type of quality courtroom drama before or since.

"Perry Mason was successfully revived as a series of made for TV movies in the 1980's / early 1990's - successful mainly due to the fact that TV producer Fred Silverman was able to hire Mr. Burr and Ms. Hale to play their roles one more time. Mr. Burr stated that he would do the first Perry Mason TV movie in 1985 but only on the condition that Ms. Hale be hired to play Della Street again. She didn't want to do it but Mr. Burr said, "I wont do it without you, Barbara." And I agree with Mr. Burr, there is no way that he could have played that role again without this caring and courageous partner.

"Mr. Silverman was also wise enough to hire new actors to play Paul Drake, Jr. (Ms. Hale's real life son actor and singer William Katt), along with David Ogden Stiers as DA Michael Restin and a tough black actor (James McEachin) playing the no nonsense police detective Lt. Brock.

"The TV movies also featured a list of talented guest performers like Patty Duke, Mason Adams, Ronny Cox, Pernell Roberts, Robert Guillaume, and a talented lady that I was lucky to work with on Alf's Hit Talk Show Ms. Linda Blair.

"The only reason that this wonderful concept ended was that Mr. Burr left us all too soon in 1993. Follow up TV movies starred talented men in the role of the lead lawyer (Paul Sorvino and Hal Holbrook starred but not as Perry Mason) but the idea didn't work and the series finally came to an end."

Not to mention The New Perry Mason from 1973 - with none other than Brett Somers (Match Game) as Perry's secretary Gertrude "Gertie" Lade and Monte Markham in the title role. That series lasted only a few weeks on CBS but is fondly remembered by many viewers, perhaps because of the stellar guest stars that included Denver Pyle, Jodie Foster, Pat Harrington, Carolyn Jones, Simon Oakland among others. Believe it or not, there are a lot of folks who would like to see this show on DVD - me, I'm looking forward to season two of Perry Mason.

Oh, and if I were CBS I would be looking to morning radio personalities for the next host of The Price is Right. Only an unknown (Conan O'Brien) could have replaced David Letterman and I think that would be the best strategy in this case.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 11:39am
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NEW SHOW, NEW LOW
So, one of the main guys behind 24 has created a right wing version of The Daily Show, it's called the Half Hour News Hour. Here's a clip from You Tube:

Now tell me, have you ever seen anything less funny in your life? The opening to the show is a cold ripoff of The Daily Show theme and they even have to use an annoying laugh track to get you to believe that comedy is happening.

It airs on Fox News, the home of fake news.

Speaking of 24, I caught the couple of episodes Fox broadcast the other night. I was so bored I gave up on it before the second episode finished. I really enjoyed the past seasons of 24. I watched the first three seasons twice - but the series gets worse with each year.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 9:03am
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FROM THE MAILBAG
"In looking through your otherwise fantastic site, I came across a mention of The Charmings being the worst show of 1986. While I hardly think it was a GREAT show, I don't think it deserves to be panned so. Despite the silly premise, the show featured some outstanding performances by Christopher Rich, Judy Parfitt and Pail Winfield that made it an enjoyable series to watch. It only lasted two seasons, and in truth that's about all you could expect from such a limited idea. And probably because of that, it never had the chance to be as bad as some of the more popular shows were.
I should also add that the show has gotten a lot of praise on IMDB and on Jump The Shark from viewers who still remember it after so many years.
Sincerely,
-Joe Vecchio
PS I'm glad you had praise for
The Wizard, another good show from that era that deserved better."

This points out a conundrum. Every TV show, even if I thought it was the worst thing ever, had tens of thousands of people who loved it. Who am I to say they're wrong? If I'm reviewing a DVD collection, I won't point it out if I didn't like the show itself - it's too late to criticize the original production, it's done. If you want to own Hogan's Heroes, my opinion on that show doesn't matter; although I'm quick to praise to the hilt programs I enjoy or discover for the first time on DVD.

In the case of The Charmings, I only saw one episode. It seemed like a Bewitched rip-off to me, but it certainly wasn't the worst thing I'd seen and better than a lot of what's on today. If I'm not mistaken it was being rerun on one of the cable channels a few years back.

Monday, February 12, 2007 - 8:39am
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WHAT I'M WATCHING
World at War on DVDOne of my favorite television series of all time is World at War, produced by the BBC and HBO in the 1970s. These WW2 documentaries were by far the most riveting I'd seen and the production was expanded for DVD. If you enjoyed World at War you may want to consider watching it again with the 12 hours of extras, bonus documentaries and retrospectives.

Right now I'm enjoying another WW2 docu-series called The Nazis: A Warning from History which has a fascinating collection of untold stories, interviews with key people and utilizes documents that have been gone over before. It's a magnificently paced, heart-breaking work that provides fresh details into one of the defining moments in world history.

The Nazis on DVDReleased by the BBC and A&E (written and produced by Lawrence Rees), The Nazis becomes most riveting when interviews with unrepentant Nazis and those who were most victimized by their brutality are on screen. Location shoots offer some incredible present day views of former battlefields and the now abandoned palaces that belonged to prominent Nazis.

Say what you will about the Nazis but you have to admit they had some fine photographers along with skilled filmmakers who were shooting (toward the end of the war) with some spectacularly rich color motion picture film.

Saturday, February 10, 2007 - 9:09am
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AND FINALLY ON THAT PLANE CRASH
"If you have the author of the inquiry contact me, I may be able to help the family obtain copies of the two shows in question. Our web site includes a web presentation on the Feb. 1, 1957 Rikers Island air crash -- 10 web pages, 15 PDFs, 40 images, 2 lists of names (the passengers and the Correction staff honored for their rescue response) and the CAB report of its investigation. In fact, one of the pages in the presentation may relate to the family memorial observance mentioned in the inquiry."

www.correctionhistory.org

Tom McCarthy
NY Correction History Society (NYCHS)

Saturday, February 10, 2007 - 8:28am
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NEW REALITY SHOW
Just what the world needs now, right? Interested in seeing clips from the new Mark Burnett (Survivor) reality series On the Lot? It's produced with Steven Spielberg and billed as "a show where  aspiring filmmakers can become Hollywood directors."

Clip 1

Clip 2

Clip 3

Clip 4

Thursday, February 8, 2007 - 7:45am
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MORE ON THAT Feb. 1, 1957 PLANE CRASH
"Billy Ingram was nice enough to forward your note. I am so happy to hear from you. I only recently read the book Tiger on a Leash last month. We found a few copies on amazon.com and a few of my cousins read the book before the 50 year anniversary. The chapters on the plane crash made the accident very real for me and our family. My uncle was Mario De Rosa . He was 37 years old and left a wife (who died in her early 50's) and four children. The accident change our family's life. My uncle moved next door to be closer to my aunt & her children. Every Sunday my aunt would cook dinner for the family (3 brothers) and over ten cousins ate together. Now 50 years later, when we have a birthday party we need to rent a hall as the family has grown to over 60 people and we have very close relationships including second and third cousins. We had a memorial last Thursday, the day of the accident, for Mario and over 40 people attended even though it was a workday for many of us.
I was very moved by the story of your family and that your mother was listed as having the worst injuries. Your mother showed great courage to continue to find a way out of the plane and save your brother's life.
I was touched to hear about her story and that your family is so large. I was surprised in the book by how many families had children aboard. Was your brother injured as well?

"Since we feel that this event changed our family's lives, I was hoping to get a copy of the old TV shows so some of the younger cousins and grandchildren can learn of crash. For my cousins and uncles who lost a father and brother the accident is still very emotional for them. There was a lot of confusion after the crash and the messages from city officials were that he was dead, then alive in hospital and then confirmed a day later that he was dead.

"It would be great if we can get copy of the show which was on the Survival Channel. There is also another show about the crash that I listed in my email. If I am successful in obtaining a copy for either show , I will forward to you.
There is also a website set up recently with a lot of information on the crash . The site shows pictures similar to the book and it is amazing that only 20 people died and over 80 escaped considering that all of the exit doors were jammed.
The site is here. If you google "1957 plane crash rikers island" you get the site. We also heard that NYC may be having a ceremony on Rikers Island this month."

- Laura Allison

Thursday, February 8, 2007 - 7:40am
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TWO YEARS AGO
TV/newspaper pundit Jonah Goldberg's "bet" with Juan Cole is coming due. On Feb. 8, 2005, the 'doughy pantload' (I love that description) said:
"Anyway, I do think my judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture. So, I have an idea: Since he doesn't want to debate anything except his own brilliance, let's make a bet. I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now)."

How does this person, who is spectacularly wrong on almost every issue, maintain a shred of credibility, much less a job?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, cartoonist Tom Tommorrow predicted this almost 4 years ago.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007 - 9:50am
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SMALL WORLD
From the mailbag: "Hello, I read that you had family on the Northeast Airline Flight Feb. 1, 1957. My mother and brother were on that flight. My mother was one of the worst burn victims. I was only 1 yrs. old and she lived on to be 65 after so many skin graphs she was able to go on. My family and I are from Malden Massachusetts. I have gotten a few of the Tiger on a Leash books online and am ordering another one soon. My brother recorded the plane crash that was documented on the Survival channel. He still has it. I wish I could find out how to get copies from the Survival channel that had shown it. If I find it I will get back to you and see what we can do about getting a few.

"Hope to hear from you, take care, Diane Dillon (Chopelas)
My mother Ester Chopelas and my brother Gregory Chopelas were the victims."

There's a Survival Channel?!? This topic of conversation has me wanting to read more about this crash.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007 - 9:50am
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50 YEARS AGO
I got this email and I passed along some leads, but I wonder if any of you guys might know the answer to this: "Looking for some old TV shows which highlighted a tragedy for our family.

"My uncle died in plane crash more 50 years ago yesterday . The plane went up in La Guardia airport and down in Rikers Island , The airline was Northeast and Flight number 823. The crash was on Feb. 1, 1957.

"We had a memorial for him and some family members discussed that there were two TV shows which dramatized the plane crash . The first one was part of the Armstrong Circle Theatre is entitled Day of Disaster:: Rikers Island. The rescue episode is Number 258 of the series & was aired on May 14,1957 . The second show was aired in 1964 on a show called "Survival" . The episode called " Survival: Flight 823". Survival was a syncopated documentary series conceived by Sherman Grinberg distributed by Official Films.

"Is there anyway we can get a copy of these shows?"

Sunday, February 4, 2007 - 8:04am
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YOU TUBING
The always funny Lewis Black on the current state of children's entertainment and the media's need to see everything through gay colored glasses.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 - 6:31am
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WHAT I'M WATCHING
Gomer Pyle, USMC
I haven't seen this show since I was a kid and I wasn't that impressed with it then - but I find it hilarious now. What makes it work so well is the snappy delivery of Frank Sutton who played Sgt. Carter, performances that are spot-on and flat out funny. In case you didn't know, most of the best writers and producers of The Andy Griffith Show moved over to Gomer Pyle which explains why the show is so crisp.

Gunsmoke 50th Anniversary Edition
I Netflixed this one - so I don't have all the discs or the packaging. I wasn't even sure why I rented it, Gunsmoke is one of those shows that ran hot and cold. Some episodes are inspiring, beautifully directed television but could too often become pedestrian.
What struck me about the first disc were the two episode commentaries by Ed Asner and Bruce Dern. Dern was a guest on the episode starring Bette Davis and his comments about working in TV in the 1960s (and with Miss Davis) is incredibly insightful. There are lots of other extras as well - now I discover the DVD collection was produced by Paul Brownstein, which I suspected when I saw this rich mix of extras (the commentaries are just the tip of the iceberg). They don't call him the 'Raider of the Lost Archives' for nothing. Now I'm looking forward to experiencing the rest of this DVD package.

Hootenanny
I keep coming back to this DVD collection. If you're a fan of world, bluegrass, country, roots of rock, gospel or folk music this is a must-have. Sublime from start to finish. You can put it on and play it like a CD.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 - 6:29am
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DAYTIME TOP TEN
Want to know how your favorite daytime TV shows are doing in the ratings? Here's the top ten based on Nielsen ratings from Sept. 18, 2006 through Jan. 21, 2007:
The Price is Right (CBS, second half: 5.87 million viewers),
Young and the Restless (CBS: 5.67)
The Price is Right (CBS, first half: 4.81)
Bold and the Beautiful (CBS: 4.16)
The View (ABC: 3.46 million)
General Hospital (ABC: 3.42)
Days of Our Lives (NBC: 3.33)
As the World Turns (CBS: 3.25)
One Life to Live (ABC: 3.10)
All My Children (ABC: 3.09)

Note that a million more people tune in to the second half of The Price Is Right than watch the first half. CBS must be freaking out about the possibility of losing their top daytime program when Bob Barker retires.

Speaking of TPIR, did you know Doug Davidson (among others) has auditioned to take over the hosting role? Does anyone remember his disastrous turn as host of the nighttime TPIR in 1994? It didn't even finish out the season as I recall.

While I didn't care for him (to be fair, I only saw the first few episodes) one TVparty-er wrote: "Well, I don't fully blame Doug for his lackluster effort. The extreme change in format and timing contributed to it, I always felt he was moving the show WAY too fast. However, there were some things about that version I also liked. The new camera that gave a bird's eye view of the audience and the big wheel RULED. I also like how he built up the suspense when a car was being offered. He once had a contestant close her eyes and he went backstage and climbed into the back of a truck, and the truck entered with him standing on it. With Barker, it's always predictable when a contestant is about to win a car."

Davidson is the only one out there with experience in the role.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 - 10:43am
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BOSTON POPS
Boston police arrested the unfortunate guys who installed the cool, minimalist Aqua Teen Hunger Force promos that caused the city to freak out. Everyone over-reacted - why is that anyone's fault?

The guys they arrested were just doing their job on behalf of the ad agency they work for and Turner Broadcasting. Not one of the other cities where these promos were installed reacted this way. At best it's just one of those things, a sad reminder of how frightened we've become. We can thank the media for that but we only have ourselves to blame, I suppose.

I'm looking forward to the ATHF movie myself - and Turner ought to pay for everything, it was a publicity bonanza for a very funny show.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 - 9:18am
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Eric from Just My Show has a new episode up and you should check it out, it features interviews with Ted Lange (The Love Boat/Celebrity Fit Club) and Samm Levine (Freaks and Geeks). Eric says: "I'm guessing you've seen it, but if by some chance you missed Freaks and Geeks in its short run, you should definitely check out the DVD. It's one of the great shows that a lot of people haven't seen."

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 7:35am
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IN THE NEWS
Keith Schad tells us: "I seem to remember you said you were looking for a clip of the CBS program In The News, the Saturday morning current events program for kids, narrated by the late Christopher Glenn. I don't know if you have seen this one, but I found it on You Tube and thought you might like to post it so others can see it too. It is about the NASA's 'troublesome new year' and the space shuttle program. I love hearing that sounder for In The News again!"

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 7:25am
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THE BIG VALLEY
The first 15 episodes of season two of the Big Valley is out now on DVD and it's a pretty good show as I remember, the last of the great, old-time TV westerns with an all-star cast that included Barbara Stanwyck, Peter Breck, Lee Majors and Linda Evans. I haven't seen the show in thirty years but here are some video clips (in Windows Media format) for your enjoyment.

Clip #1: An Accident

Clip #2: Libby Mathews

Clip #3: Mother Instincts

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 7:02am
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BIG AMAZON SALE
Amazon is having a HUGE sale on classic TV DVDs - most at 50% off. Don't miss this one!
Click here to save big bucks on the shows you want to own.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 9:32am
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IN THE NEWS
You might enjoy this article about classic TV shows on DVD from the Boston Globe - yours truly was interviewed for the piece and it contains some interesting info.

Here's a unintentionally funny call from a kook to the San Francisco Gate newspaper. Priceless.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 9:22am
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YOU TUBING
Here is a snappy collection of TV commercials from the 1950s & 1960s, including baseball great Pee Wee Reese for Gillette
.

This is funny - a local TV news outtake. This poor reporter on the street encounters a violent, abusive drunken geezer who gets more and more annoyed.

Remember a show called You Can't Do That on Television? Here's an entire episode revolving around divorce.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 9:32am
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