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Your host: Billy Ingram

NEW THIS FALL
Here is The CW's fall primetime schedule (new shows in caps):
Monday
8:00 p.m. Everybody Hates Chris
8:30 p.m. ALIENS IN AMERICA
9:00 p.m. Girlfriends
9:30 p.m. The Game
Tuesday
8:00 p.m. Beauty and the Geek (new day and time)
9:00 p.m. REAPER
Wednesday
8:00 p.m. America's Next Top Model
9:00 p.m. GOSSIP GIRL
Thursday
8:00 p.m. Smallville
9:00 p.m. Supernatural
Friday
8:00 p.m. Friday Night Smackdown!
Sunday
7:00 p.m. ONLINE NATION
7:30 p.m. CW NOW
8:00 p.m. LIFE IS WILD
9:00 p.m. America's Next Top Model (repeats)

Notice Veronica Mars is not on the schedule, the show is being retooled - supposedly. Waiting in the wings as a mid-season replacement is a beauty contest where mothers compete against their daughters.

Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 9:57am
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CBS THIS FALL
The CBS' fall 2007 primetime schedule with new shows in caps:
Monday
8:00 p.m. How I Met Your Mother
8:30 p.m. THE BIG BANG THEORY
9:00 p.m. Two and a Half Men
9:30 p.m. Rules of Engagement
10:00 p.m. CSI: Miami
Tuesday
8:00 p.m. NCIS
9:00 p.m. The Unit
10:00 p.m. CANE
Wednesday
8:00 p.m. KID NATION
9:00 p.m. Criminal Minds
10:00 p.m. CSI: NY
Thursday
8:00 p.m. Survivor: China
9:00 p.m. CSI
10:00 p.m. Without a Trace (new day)
Friday
8:00 p.m. Ghost Whisperer
9:00 p.m. MOONLIGHT
10:00 p.m. Numb3rs
Saturday
8:00 p.m. Crimetime Saturday (drama encores)
9:00 p.m. Crimetime Saturday (drama encores)
10:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery
Sunday
7:00 p.m. 60 Minutes
8:00 p.m. VIVA LAUGHLIN
9:00 p.m. Cold Case
10:00 p.m. Shark (new day)

The only show that looks interesting to me: KID NATION
Forty over-achieving kids between the ages of 8 and 15 will have 40 days to build a new world without any parental supervision in a deserted town in Bonanza City, New Mexico. They will cook their own meals, run their own homes and businesses, and create a real government while coping with the everyday pressures of being a child. Most of the rest should be gone by November.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 2:24pm
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THE GREAT ONE
Jackie Gleason is one of my favorite television stars of all time, a true natural master of the medium. Here's the story of his early days and how he transitioned to television as told by head writer, Harry Crane. The clip ends with Jackie telling one of the greatest show biz stories of all time.

And now a bit from an early-'50's episode of Gleason's show. Now that was a face and body made for those old tiny black and white screens.

Here's Jackie on the Johnny Carson Tonight show in 1985. It was Gleason's only sit down with Carson - fitting, seeing as how Johnny stole one of his most famous bits (Art Fern) from The Great One. In the first part of this interview they discuss You're In The Picture, a notorious bomb that lasted one episode. You can read about it here.

Here's part 2 of that interview:

Part 3 - boy, do I miss Carson's smooth style.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 12:47pm
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CARTOONS!
Remember the Marvel Superheroes cartoons from 1966? I don't - they didn't air where I grew up. The cool thing about them was that they used the actual artwork and stories from the Marvel comics from a year or two earlier. Generally theses animated (and I use the term loosely) shorts would appear on local kid shows but there was also a half-hour program available to stations around the country.

Here a Mighty Thor cartoon drawn by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta with an intro by Stan Lee discussing the origins of the character. These are not to be confused with the far superior Spiderman and Fantastic Four cartoons that ran on Saturday mornings around the same time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 10:15am
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Just heard that the Reverend Jerry Falwell has died. In his honor, let's all think of some way to exploit this sad event to advance our causes and line our pockets."
- Mark Evanier

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 3:32pm
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ABC'S NEW FALL SHOWS
From the press release: ABC will introduce seven new series this fall, and 12 overall for the 2007-08 season. In total, just 30 percent of ABC’s fall lineup will be occupied with new or relocated programming, with changes impacting the Monday through Friday lineups. There are four new fall dramas (Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Women’s Murder Club and Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Private Practice) and three new fall sitcoms (Cavemen, based on the Geico Insurance commercials, Carpoolers and Sam, I Am). College Football on Saturday and the Sunday rotation of America’s Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters will remain intact. Wednesday’s lineup will be completely revamped with new dramas Pushing Daisies, Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money, while the returning Men in Trees will relocate to the Friday 8 p.m. anchor spot.

Word on the street is that 'Geico Caveman' show is a major stiff. Of course, that's not the first TV show spunoff from a commercial - remember Max Headroom, based on a series of Coke ads? (Those commercials were based on a British TV show but still...)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 3:16pm
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BLAH BLAH BLAH
You know what's so fantastic about having Netflix and Blockbuster.com? You can identify a film on the internet you haven't seen (or want to see again) and click right over and drop it in your queue, especially the obscure films that never seem to turn up on TV.

Like for instance, I just watched Bad Day at Black Rock with Spencer Tracy and I'm so totally blown away by it. From the opening shots to the end, a magnificent motion picture. But you probably already knew that, right? I would never have gone to the video store for that film - if I would ever have remembered it to begin with - and who's to say the store would have it? Really, DVDs by mail is better than cable.

When it comes to iconic classic comedians, do you know who's movies are very scarce on DVD? Mae West. Her best early films aren't represented at all. W. C. Fields' funniest movies are also in short supply - The Bank Dick, It's a Gift, My Little Chickadee with Mae West and his shorts are about it. And it's a mixed bag when it comes to Laurel & Hardy unless you want one of the many useless retrospectives. Thank goodness The Little Rascals are well represented, including their silent films. Charlie Chaplin is also in abundant supply as are Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd shorts.

And since I mentioned the guy, Spencer Tracy isn't well represented on DVD either. There are a scant couple of clips of Mae West on You Tube. From She Done Him Wrong:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 7:46am
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WILD!
Justin Kaplowitz writes: Check this out. From the "Tube", I found this great mini-documentary on how they made one of the best TV movie opening sequences ever (us TV Geeks call it "HBO In Space"). This 10 minute film--which HBO would show just to fill time between feature movies--shows how they did it and the great detail involved in getting it just right. A must for any TV production buff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 7:39am
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 7:39am
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TV NEWS
Five ratings challenged series renewed for 2007-08:
ABC's Notes From the Underbelly (13 episodes) and October Road (episodes TBD)
NBC's Friday Night Lights: 22 episodes
NBC's Scrubs: 18 episodes
Fox's 'Til Death: episodes TBD

I hate Scrubs. I know, I'm the only one...

HERE'S NBC FALL PRIME TIME SCHEDULE - 2007-08 (other than ER the new programs are in CAPS)
MONDAY
8-9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
9-10 p.m. Heroes
10-11 p.m. JOURNEYMAN
TUESDAY
8-9 p.m. The Biggest Loser
9-10 p.m. CHUCK
10-11 p.m. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
WEDNESDAY
8-9 p.m. Deal or No Deal
9-10 p.m. BIONIC WOMAN
10-11 p.m. LIFE
THURSDAY
8-8:30 p.m. My Name Is Earl
8:30-9 p.m. 30 Rock
9-9:30 p.m. The Office
9:30-10 p.m. Scrubs
10-11 p.m. ER
FRIDAY
8-9 p.m. 1 vs 100/THE SINGING BEE
9-10 p.m. Las Vegas
10-11 p.m. Friday Night Lights
SATURDAY
8-9 p.m. Dateline NBC
9-11 p.m. Drama Series Encores
SUNDAY (Fall 2007)
7-8 p.m. Football Night in America
8-11 p.m. NBC Sunday Night Football
SUNDAY (January 2008)
7-8 p.m. Dateline NBC
8-9 p.m. Law & Order
9-10 p.m. Medium
10-11 p.m. LIPSTICK JUNGLE

All I can say is - blecchh! Wait a minute - they're bringing back the Bionic Woman? Let me guess - Lindsay Wagner plays her mom. They should have taken Veronica Mars and made her the Bionic Woman.

And I don't see how NBC is going to squeeze another two hours of primetime a week out of Deal or No Deal for another year. NBC announced the cancellation of Dateline a couple of years back - until the numbers came back on those child predator shows they do.

Monday, May 14, 2007 - 11:59am
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NOW WHAT?!?
This is an outrage - they are banning text messaging while driving in some states!

What about our right to free speech as Americans - are you telling me I can't engage in a chat room or create rave flyers while I'm driving? If I can't write essays on my Blackberry or, say, photoshop images and layout books in Quark while I'm driving down the street where will it end? It's a slippery slope to the abolishment of the first amendment, that's what I think. Then it's on to the second amendment - soon we won't be able to fire off our guns while driving down the street.

Donde esta mi America?!?

Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 11:51am
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SUNDAY YOU TUBING
Here's Lily Tomlin, one of my favorite actresses and comedians losing it on the set of I Heart Huckabees alongside Dustin Hoffman. This was a different rant than the one I presented to you before. It's hard to have sympathy for Lily here but who knows what the situation was. I wonder if Tomlin and director David O. Russell will work together again? We the public should demand a sequel - but only if Lily's involved!

Bloopers from Star Trek: The Next Generation and classic Star Trek. Star Trek didn't invent the end of the season blooper reel but made them famous because everyone wanted to see them.

Outtakes from the hilarious movie Shaun of the Dead.

Another of my favorite movies, a Meet the Parents gag reel with Robert DeNiro.

Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 11:46am
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SATURDAY MORNING TV
The first Saturday morning program I can remember watching was Sky King which came on around noon from 1959-1966 (all reruns, the program originally aired in 1951). It was a modern day western with Kirby Grant as heroic Sky King, pilot of the Songbird (a
Cessna T50 Bobcat) who, with his niece Penny, battled petty criminals in the air and on the ground. You can read more about Sky King here (it's on DVD now) and watch this, the only clip I could find on You Tube.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 11:19am
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TELEVISION REVIEWS
I just watched some recent and upcoming episodes of The Bronx Bunny that airs on the Starz network. This is one puppet show that's not for kids - in fact, I don't think most adults can handle it!

I like their brand of loutish, crass, scatologically incorrect humor; I can't believe Starz can broadcast this stuff, it has to be pushing some kind of appalling new envelope. The foul-mouthed celebrity interviews are riotously confrontational and the vulgar barnyard porn parodies sensational.

Some of the episodes already broadcast featured Chris Jericho (WWE wrestler), Steven Schrippa of The Sopranos, Kelly Clarkson from Nip/Tuck, Michael Rappaport from True Romance and Mr. Sulu himself, George Takei all in side-splitting segments. I just about bust a gut when the puppets asked George Takei if he was born gay or "just got sucked into it." That'll give you some idea of the level of humor here.

When I saw a preview episode of The Bronx Bunny a few months ago I thought the production had a lot of promise and it's clearly gotten a lot better - and by better I mean more abominable. The show airs 11:45pm every Wednesday on the Starz network. In upcoming weeks look for some hilarious guest star turns from Tommy Chong, Eric Roberts, Wee Man and Robin Leach. Yes, Robin Leach was actually funny. I'm looking forward to season 2, if there's going to be one, or a DVD release with more material. This is a winner.

The Bronx Bunny originally had a run in Great Britain in 2003 (where they interviewed Hugh Hefner, Jessica Alba, William Shatner and Larry Flynt) but these Comedy Central shows are new productions. (Am I the only person who thinks it's weird that I can enjoy a show like this and Ozzie & Harriet?)

Here's a bit from the George Takei episode from You Tube:

Speaking of crass comedians, I really like Artie Lange - he's a regular on the Howard Stern radio show but I only just now discovered him. I thought he killed at the roast for William Shatner on Comedy Central (now out on DVD) so I netflixed Beer League which blew me away it was so funny. (That film was co-written, produced and starred Artie Lange.) The commentary track on that DVD is really eye opening by the way.

Now he's hosting the first of 8 new episodes of Live at Gotham, a standup show on Comedy Central beginning its second season. In addition to Artie's opening act (pretty good, the best of the bunch) you get an amusing routine from Last Comic Standing star Al Jackson, along with comedy from Jeremy Schachter, Geoff Keith and others. Future hosts include Lewis Black, Jim Breuer, Robert Schimmel and several other comics I haven't heard of. Live at Gotham debuts next Friday, May 18th at midnight. What else have you got to do?

You know, if Time Warner sold cable TV by the channel instead of in packages, I would subscribe to HBO and Comedy Central (and maybe three others) and be done with most of the rest. HBO and Comedy Central in particular have really tapped into something. Bravo did as well for a time, although I haven't caught anything on Bravo in the last 6 months - Shear Genius looks like a loser from this distance, a perfect example of running out the clock on a winning format. VH1 suffers from the same affliction, how many times can you dilute Flavor of Love?

Long time readers of this blog know I rarely watch TV except on DVD (but I watch a lot of DVDs). It never even occurs to me to sit down and watch broadcast or cable TV. Sometimes I might flip on some daytime shows while I'm working or catch a program or two when I'm away from home but that's about it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 10:37am
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UPCOMING
Fox has some new TV on DVD releases coming in the next couple of months you might be interested in - from the press release:

"Picket Fences" Season One – June 19. Life in a small town is not so simple in Rome, Wisconsin where things never seem to be business as usual in creator David E. Kelly’s ("Boston Legal," "The Practice," "Ally McBeal") critically-acclaimed and irresistibly quirky drama "Picket Fences." One of the most in-demand television series requested by fans to be released on DVD, the "Picket Fences" Season One DVD debuts as a six-disc collection on June 19th from Fox Home Entertainment featuring all 22 original episodes including the series pilot.

"Prison Break" Season Two – August 28
Featuring the same intense fusion of suspense, action and drama that initially made the series a runaway hit, "Prison Break" Season Two is cut loose from restrictions of its locked-down first season, making full use of the newfound freedom with inventive set-pieces and expansive plotlines.

"Land of the Giants" The Complete Series – July 24
From the creative mind of science-fiction and television legend Irwin Allen ("Lost In Space," "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea") and the final piece of the Allen library to be released on DVD, "Land Of The Giants" Complete Series – Limited Edition gained a cult following in the late 1960s as it chronicled the adventures of The Spindrift, a commercial spaceship and its passengers.

Picket Fences I never saw but I know a lot of people loved it. Prison Break I'm looking forward to immensely but Land of the Giants was, unfortunately, not one of Irwin Allen's better efforts. Still, it would be cool to have.

TV NEWS: Sure enough, Veronica Mars is being retooled for a fourth season despite a precipitous drop in ratings for season three. The idea is to flash forward a few years where we find Veronica training as an FBI agent. Good luck with that, I hope it works. I'm partway through the second season of Veronica Mars on DVD and it's one of the most original, freshest shows around.

NBC has given another ratings challenged show - Friday Night Lights - a full second season pick-up. I haven't seen it but I liked the movie (I'm a sucker for sports movies) and plan to sample the DVD.

What is the only daytime talk show to post audience gains over 2006? The Ellen Generes Show.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 8:42am
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MUSICAL YOU TUBING
A show I remember fondly was The Andy Williams Show, it's one of the first TV programs I remember watching with my family as a kid. Another was Ed Sullivan but I hated that show. The version of The Andy Williams Show I remember best was the one produced by Allan Blye & Chris Bearde in the late-sixties which was kind of like Laugh-In with more music.

And what wonderful music - Andy was the smoothest TV crooner of all time. Here's 9 1/2 minutes from a 1966 episode (before Blye & Bearde) featuring another luscious singer Ella Fitzgerald. They don't make TV like that anymore!

If you haven't seen this before it's kinda cool and funny - Andy with Bobby Darin and Eddie Fisher doing 'Do-Re-Mi' from the mid-sixties.

Finally here's Bobby Darin with Judy Garland doing a medley of train songs that looks like it's going to fall apart at the seams before soaring to great heights at the end. From Garland's stellar 1963 series.

Friday, May 11, 2007 - 1:02pm
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DEES & DOES
TVparty-er Fred Ahlert has a dream - "and that dream is to see the CBS promos from approximately 1973 that self-promote CBS as the #1 network for 25 years straight. These nationally shown spots were musical, and featured regional residents of California, New York, etc. shouting 'Who's the Best? CBS.'

"I always loved these as a teen and sure would love to see them again... I believe there were 4-5 of them. Thanks for all your great work! I am a huge TVparty fan... and a pal of Tom Gilbert to boot."


Anyone have a copy to share?

This is fun - over at My Word and Welcome To It (clever name!), Mitchell Hadley grabs an old issue of TV Guide and dissects it for you. Pretty cool! This entry looks at the November 29, 1975 edition.

From the press release: NBC announced that Emmy Award winning Tom Selleck ("Magnum, P.I.") will return to television series drama when he joins the starring cast of NBC's "Las Vegas" (Fridays, 9-10 p.m. ET) next season as a charismatic, self-made billionaire who is surrounded by an air of mystery when he becomes the new owner of the Montecito Resort & Casino.

In addition, James Caan, who has starred as Ed Deline, the Montecito's surveillance head for four years, will return to the series for one episode in its 2007-08 season premiere after announcing earlier this year that he would be departing the series after its 2007 season finale.

Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:48am
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HBO BLUES
Ari Emanuel takes up for embattled HBO chairman and chief executive Chris Albrecht. In spite of what he did in Vegas (who said what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?), the guy was responsible for greenlighting some amazing shows - Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire, Rome, Entourage, Everyone Loves Raymond, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under (one of those shows I despise - I'll bet it's your favorite so I won't say which!) The Wire, Curb & The Sopranos would make my top 10 TV shows of all time list and Everyone Loves Raymond could be the best non-animated sitcom of the last decade.

Ari's right - we've forgiven Mel Gibson, Kobe Bryant and a host of other high profile f'ups. (Damn, even Paris Hilton is STILL DRIVING!) Not that HBO had a choice but I suspect his firing will ultimately will hurt the cable channel more than it does Albrecht. After an appropriate period, he'll make some huge deal with another network.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 3:58pm
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WICKED!
A while back I featured a press release from S'more Entertainment about the Paul Lynde Halloween Special (that aired in October of 1976) that's coming to DVD soon. Kevin S. Butler points out an error:

"The entry states Paul Lynde is joined by Margaret Hamilton who dons the entire Wicked WItch Of The West costume from The Wizard Of Oz for the only time since the original 1939 release, including the green makeup - with all due respect that is not true.

"Maggie wore her "Wicked Witch" outfit for the ABC TV kids TV newsmagazine Discovery during the 1960's."She wore the costume again on an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood as the Princess Witch (minus her green makeup - which she told was a relief for her because she didn't want to go through the nightmare of having makeup laced with copper again and then have it either inflame or infect her skin).

"This info comes from 'The Wizard of Oz' book by John Fricke, from my interview with the first host/ performer and interviewer on Discovery Mr. Frank Buxton and from my conversations with Maggie Hamilton herself."

I didn't know that, but that wasn't the only inaccuracy in the press release - it stated that the Lynde special was rock group KISS' first TV appearance - but they appeared on The Midnite Special before the Lynde special and on The Mike Douglas Show before that.

Attention DVD producers - I write liner notes and press releases for new TV on DVD releases and I make sure errors like this don't slip through. That's only if you care...

Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 3:23pm
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RED WEDDING
TVparty
has a section with articles I wrote back in the early-eighties when I was writing a music column covering the punk / new wave scene in Los Angeles. One of the best bands I saw during that period was Red Wedding, a band that influenced the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction among many others. Guitarist Spider Taylor was considered the best on the scene, that everyone seemed to agree on.

A new CD has just been released of Red Wedding's recorded songs from 1981-1985 and it is really incredible. This CD is a must-have for so many reasons (the principle being it's an amazing listen) but it's a natural for music historians who are into that exciting period because Red Wedding was LA's only openly gay punk / post-punk alternative band, this at a time when that kind of thing was not so accepted. In fact, the band faced open hostility from a surprisingly large number of musicians although one member of the band was usually totally straight.

I listen to college radio all day (or I have DVDs on) while I'm working and Red Wedding's sound would fit right in today, there's no sense of the work being dated at all. Order it here at the Ear Rational web site.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 8:03am
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DIS & DAT
Dick Morris: "One of the things, though, that I think the antiwar crowd has not considered is that, if we’re putting the Americans right within their arms’ reach, they don’t have to come to Wall Street to kill Americans. They don’t have to knock down the trade center. They can do it around the corner, and convenience is a big factor when you’re a terrorist."
- So let me get this straight. If you're a terrorist and you want to kill Americans, we deliver?!?

From the press release: AmericanLife TV Network, the only independent
network devoted to the Baby Boomer generation, has reached a long-term agreement with CBS Television Distribution for Mission: Impossible. The show will debut in October as part of AmericanLife TV Network’s primetime classic television lineup.

Network primetime shows in danger of cancellation and their Nielsen overall ranking:
Close to Home (CBS) #34 (bad demographics); Law & Order: Criminal Intent #35 (more bad demos); Law & Order (NBC) #38; The New Adventures of Old Christine #53; According to Jim #61; Notes From the Underbelly #65; Crossing Jordan #66; Scrubs #71; George Lopez #74; The Game #94; All of Us #96.

According to Jim is still on the air?!? I thought George Lopez was cancelled last year.

FX just renewed Dirt and The Riches for a second season. Upcoming - a Glenn Close/Ted Danson legal drama. I guess Glenn Close enjoyed doing The Shield.

Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 7:53am
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Alex Toth Book
TVparty's Billy Ingram and James Counts produced a new book that animation and comic book fans will want to own - 'Dear John: The Alex Toth Doodle Book.'

It's a bit different - a collection of correspondence and sketches from the reclusive master artist Alex Toth's last 25 years.

Click here for more info about the book. There are very few copies left and I haven't heard any serious talk of a second printing; it was released only through comic book stores in August of 2006.

 

Andy Griffith on DVD


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