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THIS 'N' THAT
- MSNBC has an interesting story up about a firm that will rehabilitate your Google image. If someone Googles your name, do unflattering pages pop up first? They put a stop to that. My partner and I have been doing this kind of thing for years - so if you're in that unfortunate position you may want to email us.

- This Is Tom Jones just debuted on DVD last week and already folks are writing asking if there will be another volume!

movie poster- Have you read all the hype about Michael Moore's movie Sicko? As someone who has spent a LOT of time in hospitals over the last year (with ill relatives) I can tell you the system is a mess. You have to be there 24 hours a day to look after someone who is in Intensive Care to make sure they get what they need or don't get dosed with the wrong medicine. My mother would have died in ICU last year had I not been there all night. In INTENSIVE CARE! As it was they nearly overdosed her to death after she left ICU by not checking to see what meds she was given in another part of the hospital.

I'm looking forward Sicko (love the movie poster, congrats to whoever designed it), CNN fact checked it and gave it a clean bill of health. I just finished watching Moore's previous films for a second time, all but Fahrenheit 911, I haven't seen that one. Which reminds me - when Fahrenheit 911 came out Fox 'News' commentators and others were decrying it's slant but in every review I read not a single mistake was called out, not one inaccuracy except concerning the flight of the Bin Laden family out of the US after 9/11. And even that was a technicality, the Bin Ladens were allowed to escape the US by plane when all other air travel was grounded. Which reminds me - why WOULD the Bush administration let the Bin Laden family escape without being fully interviewed by the FBI? If my brother in law committed 9/11, don't you think they'd want to talk with me? More than once? I've never imagined one good reason in all these years except the obvious..

Anyway, Moore backed up his F 9/11 assertions with detailed attributions on his web site, prolly still there.

Route 66 on DVD- Dan Wingate, who works in the TV DVD division of Sony, tells me that Sony relinquished the rights to Route 66 (and Naked City) some time ago so perhaps that new DVD collection of Route 66 episodes aren't bootlegs after all (Naked City has been available on DVD for some time). This was a concern from an earlier Blog posting.

- USA's network's new series Burn Notice debuted on Thursday, June 28 as the top-rated program on basic cable at 10 p.m. in the key demos.

- Boomerang will offer a 3 1/2 day marathon of The Flintstones; all 166 ABC episodes will air beginning July 4 at 6 a.m. ET. It will all kick off with the original unaired pilot called The Flagstones.

- Yesterday I brought up the Smothers Brothers - here is a clip of Pat Paulsen and Bill Morrison from, I think, The Summer Brothers Smothers Show but it's credited to The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. But what do I know? This is a classic bit!

Monday, July 2, 2007 - 12:22pm
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SUNDAY YOU TUBING
I'm crazy about the Smothers Brothers, a way under-appreciated, innovative musical comedy duo. Their variety series in the 1960s was loads of fun, as were the other programs they hosted in the 1970s and late-1980s. Let's look at some highlights.

A musical comedy segment from the first season of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Liberace was hilarious as a guest on the 1960's series.

The very funny opening dialogue from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour reunion show in 1988. This special led to a revival of the show a year later.

Ventriloquist Jay Johnson relates a very funny story of Shari Lewis' appearance on the Smothers' program.

Sunday, July 1, 2007 - 8:19am
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TV & DVD NEWS
From the press release: AmericanLife TV Network SM, the network devoted to the Baby Boomer generation, debuts a new Monday night primetime programming line-up on July 2, featuring classic television sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Newhart, WKRP in Cincinnati and The Bob Newhart Show. 

Also on American Life Saturday, July 7 - The Color Honeymooners: An all-star line-up guests on 'Ralph Goes to Hollywood,' including the late Bing Crosby, Maureen O’Hara and the late Bert Parks (8-9 p.m. ET/PT).  On an episode airing later that evening (11 p.m.-12 a.m. ET/PT), the late Paul Lynde, perhaps best-loved for his seat in the center square of Hollywood Squares,' guests as movie star Washington Kenmore on 'Play It Again, Norton.'

Sounds like fun!

Kevin Butler writes about some new DVDs for classic TV lovers: Warner Home Video has released The New Adventures Of Superman and The New Adventures Of Batman on DVD.

New Adventures of Superman on DVDThe New Adventures Of Superman was the first series of TV cartoons that Filmation created and produced for CBS TV's Saturday morning schedule in 1966. The only disappointments about this package is that there is no commentary track or documentary about the creation of the series.

Also, The Adventures Of Superboy segments which were a part of the program were omitted due to legal hassles from the Jerry Siegel estate.

Batman on DVDThe New Adventures Of Batman has commentary from the series co-producer and creator Lou Scheimer and from Filmation historian Michael Swanigan plus a documentary about the creation of the very first Batman TV cartoons.

The Paramount/Fleischer Popeye movie cartoons of the 1930's will be made available on DVD on July 31st. Unlike previous DVD collections of the films in recent years?, this new set will showcase prints from top quality 35mm films and feature a documentary on the production and creation of the cartoons and commentaries from top film cartoon historians like Leslie Carbarga, Jerry Beck and Leonard Maltin.

Popeye cartoons on DVDI'm looking forward to all three of those releases. If you like you can click on the titles to order from Amazon at a tremendous discount.

Friday, June 29, 2007 - 11:09am
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BIG DVD NEWS
The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour are coming soon from Time-Life.

Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 1:43pm
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IN THE NEWS
Have you been reading about WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, in the news because he murdered his wife and kid before killing himself? Swell guy. Backward City Wrestling lists some other troubled wrestling stars that made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 9:20am
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CAPTAIN & TENNILLE SPECIALS ON DVD & MORE
Brant Berry of RetroActive Entertainment responds to J. Michael Johnson's recently posted question: Mr. Johnson will be very pleased to know that Toni Tennille and Daryl Dragon are once again clients of mine and we will be issuing their TV specials on DVD in September! I don't have the final one-sheets for distribution yet, but should have them any day now. As soon as I get this, I'll forward you a copy with all of the details. Here's what's coming September 4:

Captain & Tennille in New Orleans (1978) @ $14.98
Captain & Tennille in Hawaii (1978) @ $14.98
Captain & Tennille "Songbook" (1979) @ $14.98
The TV Specials (a 3-pack of the titles above) @ $39.98
Captain & Tennille Christmas Show (1976) @ $14.98 (October 2)
Captain & Tennille "Secret of Christmas" - new audio Christmas CD @ $13.98 (October 2)

These will ALL be unedited - so ALL of the songs will be intact. Also, new audio commentary by Toni & Daryl and sound options will include original Mono as well as a 5.1 surround mix.

I used to love Captain & Tennille - before I became a punker I actually bought a couple of their albums (I used to hang with such a clean cut crowd). 'Muskrat Love' aside, there were some nice tunes and the vocals and orchestrations couldn't be beat. I never saw their TV series but here's a taste from You Tube with John Travolta and Toni Tennille dueting on 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart.'

Kevin S. Butler writes about the $10,000 Pyramid taping I attended back in the day (1975): That show was taped at the ABC TV Studio Theater at 215 W. 58th St. on Manhattan's upper west side, the same theater where Kids Are People Too MC'd by the late Bob McAllister, Michael Young and Randy Hamilton was taped back in the late-1970's and early-1980's.

The Late Show With David Letterman is still being taped at The Ed Sullivan Theater, The Montel Williams Show was taped at The WOR TV 9 Studios at 1481 W. 42nd St., The Maury Povich Show at a studio on W. 29th St.

With the exception of The Ed Sullivan Theater, the other TV studios that I've mentioned no longer exist in NYC.

Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 8:49am
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RANTINGS OF A MADMAN
This story and video of what looks to me to be an out of control police officer overreacting and harassing these skateboarding kids really ticks me off and reminds me that the answer, in my mind, to an overcrowded justice system is - stop arresting so damn many people!

Just so you know, I've never had any kind of trouble with the police, under any circumstance, but I think there is a tendency on the part of some officers to make a mountain out of a molehill, in spite of the long term effect it has.

If some kid is caught smoking pot confiscate it and send him on. I watched one night while officers intercepted a group of college kids drinking while walking to a party and arrested them all. What's the point? Imprisoning people like Tommy Chong? Back in my dad's day if an officer pulled you over and you'd been drinking but were reasonably sober they followed you home or told you to walk or called a cab.

I realize in some ways the criminal justice system is like any other business - more 'clients' means more work, more money, job security and greater opportunity for advancement.

Not to belittle the brave officers who form the thin blue line - there are good and bad in every group - I just don't want to live in a zero tolerance world like our schools seem to be turning into. Suspending a kid because he takes an aspirin? Or another booted because he put his arm around his girlfriend? Jeez! And the way they'll divert an airliner because of some minor thing... what pussies we've become.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 2:27pm
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GAME SHOWS
Kevin Butler writes about CBS' reluctance to move The Price Is Right to NYC to suit Rosie O'Donnell: There are no proper TV studios left in NYC to produce any game shows with an audience of the caliber of The Price Is Right.

It wasn't always that way. The Price Is Right was originally broadcast from the NBC studios in NYC from 1957 until the 1960's with Bill Cullen serving as the show's first host. Mark Goodson and his co-producing partner Bill Todman originally broadcast their TV game shows from NYC on the major networks back in the 1950's and 1960's.

In those days, the networks didn't have their own state of the art TV studios as they do today. The network execs had to acquire old theaters or, in the cases of The Today Show and the very first CBS Early Show of the 1950's, programs were broadcast from the RCA Exhibit Hall in NYC's Rockefeller Center or from Grand Central Station. (Goodson & Todman's classic What's My Line? was broadcast from Grand Central Station until the producers and CBS moved the show to the Brooks Atkinson Theater. This info comes Gill Cates book about the show. Mr. Cates was one of the producers of What's My Line and he is the father of actress & singer Phoebe Cates.)

Goodson and Todman didn't move their TV operations to Southern California until the 1970's.

Well, CBS could do what they did for David Letterman and buy a theater and refurbish it - but moving TPIR to NYC would be a mistake because you're dealing with an entirely different breed of audience member. So Cal just attracts more effusive (you might even say flakier) people than you would typically find in Manhattan.

I went to some game show tapings in New York City in the 1970s, the $10,000 Pyramid and a short-lived game called --- with host Adam Wade. He was the first ever African-American game show host. That show was a mess, they had fallen behind one day and had to play the bonus round at the beginning of the next episode - and they never caught up. Every show would begin with that was supposed to cap off the previous episode.

A reminder - Fans of old school TV kid programs will want to tune in when James Rana and I celebrate 50 years of THE GUMBY SHOW on Sunday, July 1st at 8am on 89.1fm WFDU - on-line at www.wfdu.fm, that's out in Jersey.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 9:05am
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COUNTRY MUSIC SHOWS
Randall Hamm writes about our Sunday Country You Tubing: You said you would like to watch the Porter Wagoner and Wilburn Brothers shows. At one time or another the Billy Walker Country Carnival, and the Country Carnival with Del Reeves along with many other Show Biz Nashville programs have been aired.

Those programs at one time were owned by Norman Lear and then Willie Nelson (yes that Willie Nelson) owned the catalog and ran them on his short lived Outlaw Network.

When the upstart RFD Network began they were looking for musical programming and well Willie leased the catalog to RFD!

Now the catalog has been purchased by Jim Owens, and RFD has been showing a wealth of catalog from the catalog of Jim Owens under the title "Jim Owens Presents".

Many shows were actual specials produced by Jim Owens including specials by the Statler Brothers, Janie Frickie and many country giants of the 70's and 80's. Also they ran 2 very rare "Jimmy Dean Variety Shows" a few weeks back. These were the ones that ran on the ABC Network in the 60's and featured Jim Henson's Rowlf Muppet.

Being a country music fanatic of that time period, this is a glimpse into a time capsule of the great period in time when country was country and rhinestones were a plenty.

Funny how your taste changes as you get older. We had some great talent like (Arthur Smith out of Charlotte) on the air every week and I refused to watch that stuff because it was country music and I lived in the South. Now I love those old style Country & Bluegrass tunes. (I wouldn't give you 10 cents for modern country but that's a different thing; Country music today is what they used to call MOR in the radio biz - Middle of the Road. You know, that station your parents listened to back in the day.)

Occasionally I would watch The Arthur Smith Show on the weekends - which must hold some kind of a record, I think he was still on the air in Charlotte a few years ago (CMT says the show ran from 1951 to 1982 but I swear I saw it listed in TV Guide in Charlotte much later than that). For decades his program was was regionally syndicated, his was a wonderful Bluegrass boogie ensemble and you get to know the personalities of the musicians if you watched long enough. I guess it was their pleasant nature that kept me tuning in on those afternoons when there was nothing else on TV, the pre-cable days. And the fact that they were damn fine musicians.

Arthur Smith was related to an older lady that lived on the corner of our block and a couple of times a year I would see him pull up in his new but not ostentatious car to visit her. He seemed really nice. Come to think of it, he may have been the first TV star I ever saw outside of a studio.

Unless Allen & Rossie were the first. I can't remember how old I was when Allen & Rossi came to town to celebrate the opening of our glittering new, air-conditioned Big Bear grocery store (boy, they used to keep those food stores down South cold during the summer, it brought a lot of people into the place).

Marty Allen TV starOn the afternoon I went to see these guys I'd watched on TV (but never particularly liked) I was barefoot and Marty Allen stepped on my foot. And he was a huge guy, at least to this skinny little kid, he didn't just step on my foot, he squashed it. I ended up with an infected ingrown toenail as a result.

What were we talking about again?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 3:09pm
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MONDAY MUSINGS
- It's official - Rosie O'Donnell was offered the hosting gig on The Price Is Right. And she said no. The money was right but she wasn't willing to relocate to L.A. and CBS wouldn't move the show to New York or Miami. And The View - they've lost 400,000 viewers since O'Donnell left.

- Can you believe ABC renewed According to Jim for another 18 episodes?!? Speaking of ABC, I like hidden camera shows and that net has a summer series called Just For Laughs that starts July 17th. Wonder if it'll be any good? Remember Totally Hidden Video on Fox a decade ago? They had a few good shows but so many of the stunts were too-obviously phony.

- Comedy Central has a new series starting July 8th, American Body Shop, about a larcenous group of miscreant auto repair guys. There are some funny moments here, especially in episode two when a priest turns up with a dead body wedged in his windshield. I guess it goes without saying the whole affair is crude and the characters appropriately disgusting. Look for American Body Shop July 8th at 10:30pm on Comedy Central.

- This Is Tom Jones comes to DVD on June 26th - that's tomorrow. I have a full review for you here, it's one DVD collection not to be missed if you're a lover of pop music, Tom Jones or just love watching variety shows from the late-'60s.

- Kevin Butler has this to say about Mario Cantone on The View:
I just read the news about The View contemplating hiring comic/character actor, mimic, singer and former host/performer of WWOR TV channel 9's Steampipe Alley Mario Cantone. I've seen Mario appear on The View as a guest in the past and he was a hit with the viewers, the hosts and the studio audiences... as they say, "TBC" (To Be Continued?!).

Is Mario being considered because Rosie was gay and ABC figured that was key in the show's rating success last year? Just asking...

- Get ready for - Degrassi: The Next Generation, coming this fall to syndication.

Monday, June 25, 2007 - 10:29am
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SUNDAY YOU TUBING
Let's listen to some good old country music, shall we? I was disappointed there were no clips of the Hee Haw Gospel Quartet which included Grandpa Jones but Grandpa himself is well represented. Here he is from the Wilburn Brothers Show doing 'Any Old Time,' a Jimmie Rogers song.

Weekends were crowded with country music shows in the 1960s & 70s, I did my best to avoid them. Now I enjoy Bluegrass and the old country tunes and would love to watch Billy Walker Country Carnival., The Arthur Smith Show, Porter Wagner Show, or any other of those corny shows. Grandpa Jones singing 'Are You From Dixie' on The Porter Wagner Show in the mid-sixties.

You remember Flatt & Scruggs, if for nothing else than penning and performing The Beverly Hillbillies theme song. Here they are doing 'Ruby,' a big Bluegrass hit on the Martha White Show. The 7 year old kid playing Mandolin and singing with them is a young Ricky Skaggs.

Like I said I hated those country shows, but the theme to The Martha White show grabbed me for some reason. Well, what's not to like - it was performed by Flatt & Scruggs. "Martha White self-risin' flower with Hot Rise Plus..." It's not online, but I did find a version performed by some folks (the Carrivick Sisters?) in their living room, it'll give you a taste.

Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner were the Sonny & Cher of the country music world before Sonny & Cher conquered TV. Wagner & Parton had a rocky relationship, to say the least, but they had a definite chemistry. Here they are singing 'Run That By Me One More Time.'

Finally, superstar Dolly Parton in her early days singing 'If We Never Meet Again' on The Porter Wagner Show in the late-sixties.

Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 8:25am
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CAPTAIN & TENNILLE DVDS
J. Michael Johnson writes to ask about the former head of R2 Entertainment: Brant Berry did something I thought no one would ever do... satisfy my Captain & Tennille fix by issuing all their old music catalog, as well as the DVD set of their variety show, which I had such fond memories of and can now enjoy anytime... I was so anxious to purchase their music specials (especially the 'Songbook', which contains a memorable duet torch song medley between Toni Tennille and Ella Fitzgerald... now I find out my hopes are dashed... any further contact from Brant?

Funny you should ask - we got this message recently from Anthony McWhorter of Television Archives: I just sent Brant Berry some ABC promos for the upcoming Captain and Tennille DVD special he is releasing later this summer under his new company RetroActive Entertainment.

That's great news - Brant has incredible taste and is responsible for some of the best DVD collections ever released.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 - 11:16am
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TV/DVD NEWS
Will the next co-host of The View be a man? Former NYC kid show host (and gay comic) Mario Cantone is in reportedly the running for Rosie's empty seat.

Speed Racer is being revived with all-new episodes for Nicktoons, Nickelodeon's 24-hour cartoon channel. This new character will be the original Speed's son.

I was setting up the new TVparty contest - we're giving away copies of Mystery Science Theater 300 Volume 11 - when I noticed something weird. The last two volumes in the series are out of print and commanding sums of $100 - $200 apiece. It's pretty rare for a DVD set to grow in value that fast! If the trend holds up, you could by several of these new Volume 11 sets, sit on them for 6 months or so and double your money. Of course, you never know about these things...

Did you know CBS is now streaming their soap operas online? In fact, they have full episodes of many of their primetime series as well. Wait - CBS has a show called Pirate Master?!?

Saturday, June 23, 2007 - 8:31am
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THIS 'N' THAT
30 TOP RATED PROGRAMS OF LAST WEEK
Total Viewers / (R = repeat)
America's Got Talent (NBC: 11.82 million), So You Think You Can Dance (Fox: 10.63), Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (Fox: 9.97), NBA Finals, Game 4: San Antonio at Cleveland (NBC: 9.91), NCIS R (CBS: 9.79), CSI R (CBS: 9.63), NBA Finals, Game 3: San Antonio at Cleveland (NBC: 9.49), Two and a Half Men R (CBS: 9.38), CSI: Miami R (CBS: 9.28), Cold Case R (CBS: 9.03), So You Think You Can Dance (Fox, Wed. 8 p.m.: 8.94), Hell's Kitchen (Fox: 8.85), Law & Order: SVU R (NBC: 8.80), Without a Trace R (CBS: 8.59), Shark R (CBS: 8.46),

The Price Is Right (CBS: 8.42), The 34th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (CBS: 8.33), CSI: NY R (CBS: 8.01), Deal or No Deal (NBC, Wed. 8 p.m.: 7.98), Dateline (NBC, Mon. 10 p.m.: 7.41), How I Met Your Mother R (CBS: 7.37), 60 Minutes R (CBS: 7.35), 48 Hours Mystery R (CBS: 7.31), Law & Order R (NBC: 7.17), Cold Case R (CBS, Sun: 7.08), Last Comic Standing 5 (NBC: 6.95), The Unit R (CBS: 6.84), Criminal Minds R (CBS: 6.69), America's Got Talent R (NBC, 6.45), House R (Fox: 6.41)

- Ratings for the third season opener of TNT's The Closer broke the record for a regularly scheduled series telecast on ad-supported cable.

- Andie Taylor writes: Just thought you might find this interesting - I saw that TV Squad wrote about the best and worst of last season, according to votes from AOL TV... Over 3 million votes were cast - best comedy, best villain, worst show, cancelled show missed most...etc. Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool - although I do disagree with some of them - seriously... Grey's Anatomy should have gotten best drama (in my opinion). Definitely something worth debating. Here's the link.

- Drew Carey is the latest name being bandied around in the press as possible host of The Price is Right. Out of all the persons put forward (Rosie, George Hamilton, Todd Newton, Mark Steines, John O'Hurley) only Drew Carey has the necessary charisma - he's quick witted, focused and has that everyman quality, something few of the other contenders posses. I would watch him.

UPDATE: But Barker stressed Wednesday that he never meant to imply she (Rosie O'Donnell) was his top pick to replace him. It would be “terribly presumptuous,” he added, to assume he would have any impact on the host selection. Read the story here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 - 9:41am
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GREAT STUFF
You have to head over to Ken Levine's Blog and read the story behind one of the most famous - and funniest - scenes in television history. Remember the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode 'Chuckles Bites the Dust'? Now you know... the rest of the story.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 - 10:29am
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OUTTAKES AND BLOOPERS
Enjoy some foul-ups from season 2 of Star Trek Enterprise.

Frasier's 200th episode special featured outtakes with that cute little dog, 'Eddie.'

Elvis during the filming of his 1968 comeback special.

One of the funniest outtakes ever from The Carol Burnett Show with Tim Conway cracking up the cast during a 'Family' sketch. What's Dick Van Dyke doing there in that sketch? He replaced Harvey Korman during the first part of the show's last season.

Another hilarious outtake with Tim Conway from the Burnett show, I think this was the first Mr. Tudball sketch.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 - 9:27am
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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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