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EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
The highest rated TV program during the 1960s was The Beverly Hillbillies and with good reason - at least for the first few seasons the show was overwhelmingly hilarious. And the show's still got pull - TV Land's New Year's Eve Beverly Hillbillies Best Dang Marathon scored big with audience numbers 80 percent above the year-ago time period.

Meanwhile, guess who's coming back to TV? George of the Jungle in a new production from Jay Ward Productions. Here's the press release:

Get ready to catch junglemania with George of the Jungle, star of the original TV series that premiered in 1967, now re-imagined for today’s kids. Forty-one years after the original George of the Jungle, from creative genius Jay Ward, join George as he protects the jungle of Mbebwe—a wild playground packed with quirky creatures, creepy villains and wacky wilderness adventures. George’s jungle family includes his best buddy, an ape named Ape, friends Ursula and Magnolia, his faithful dog Shep (actually an elephant) and the lovable Tookie-Tookie bird. For these friends, every day is a new adventure full of mishaps, mayhem and monkey business where there’s always another tree to crash into.

The series is co-produced by Bullwinkle Studios (a joint venture between Classic Media, an Entertainment Rights group company, and Jay Ward Productions, Inc.) and Studio B Productions, a DHX Media Ltd. production subsidiary. Executive Producers are Tiffany Ward, daughter of the late Jay Ward and President of Ward Productions, Inc.; Evan Baily, EVP Production & Creative Affairs Classic Media; Eric Ellenbogen; Chris Bartleman and Blair Peters, the founding partners of Studio B Productions and Rob Simmons, CFO & GM, Studio B Productions. Story Editors are Evan Gore and Heather Lombard (Futurama, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius).

Tuesday, January 8, 2008 - 9:21am
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OH CANADA...
Some time back I mentioned a big bust in Canada where some TV on DVD bootleggers were brought down by the authorities. I surmised that I knew what company was likely busted (they weren't named in the news stories). The site for the bootlegger I suspected (they operate under various names) was down for a while but they're back up and running now, riding the top of the search engines when you search for TV shows on DVD.

Believe me, I've been tempted to order from them myself. All three seasons of Batman for $60? The Green Hornet series for $50? All 12 seasons of Perry Mason for $160? Trouble is - besides being illegal and cheating the participants out of their royalties - the shows are all taped off of the TV and will likely be edited. Wonder what the story is? Are they still shipping or just taking the money and running?

Anyway, speaking of Canada - Rick Mercer has a very funny bit that he does for Canadian TV called 'Talking To Americans' where he goes out and does a 'Jaywalking' type thing, interviewing ordinary Americans to find out just how ignorant they are of our neighbor to the north. Or is it to the south?

Monday, January 7, 2008 - 7:51am
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SUNDAY YOU TUBING
Dan Wingate points us to the theme song for The Pruitts of Southampton a very funny mid-sixties sitcom starring Phyllis Diller. I've had the audio file on this site for a while but this is the first time I've seen the show's opening in decades. What a delight! Is it too much to hope for this show on DVD? Well, yes...

Now here's female impersonator Jim Bailey doing Phyllis Diller.

 

Someone has posted a bunch of clips from Liberace's 1969 variety series and here's a silly segment with Ms. Diller.

Sunday, January 6, 2008 - 9:28am
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THE ODD COUPLE
It's odd that I would be watching The Odd Couple on DVD (season 3 of the TV series, that is) when I recieved this interesting notice:

The Odd Couple Together again! For the first time since The Producers, Martin Short and Jason Alexander reunite on stage for two nights only in a reading of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. This limited engagement revives the hit comedy that won several Tony® Awards and was turned into a legendary TV series and classic film. Short and Alexander recreate the confrontational hilarity that only mismatched roommates Felix and Oscar can ignite. Don't miss this exclusive staged reading, a special engagement of Reprise!'s 2007/2008 Season.

The Odd Couple- 2 Performances Only!
January 25 – 26, 2008 at the Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles

Call Ticketmaster at 213-365-3500 or visit reprise.org for your tickets today!


Sounds like a lot of fun! Feeling lucky? Enter to win a pair of tickets to see The Odd Couple on January 25th!

Saturday, January 5, 2008 - 8:38am
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LAUREL & HARDY
If you scroll down, you'll see that on Sunday I plucked a short silent film from You Tube of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy together for the last time before Hardy passed away. Nothing controversial about that, right? Wrong!

Kevin Butler writes, "The film was shot in color (although some B&W footage does exist) in 1956 but it was not meant to be seen by the public.The young man standing between the boys is the one who filmed this last visit between Stan and Babe. His name was Andy Wade and Stan allowed Mr. Wade to filmed this visit, 'on The strict understanding that it was to be shown to no one but Andy and his family' as my dear friend film / theater / Shakespearian historian and founder of The Sons Of The Desert Dr. John McCabe stated in his keynote speech at the first annual Sons' convention at the Ramada Inn At O'Hare Airport In Chicago, Ill back in the summer of 1978.

"Unfortunately a fink had manipulated Andy into giving him the footage and this villain made dupes and sold it without Andy's knowledge or permission or even with Stan's consent or knowledge. Andy had been killed in a car crash when this exploiter began to duplicate and sell this footage and Stan and Andy's father were outraged at this! They both tried to stop the sale of the film and so did Jack McCabe but without any success. To the day that Stan, Mr. Wade and Jack died they were still very angry at this film exploiting the boys.

"As Stan had told Jack, 'This is not the way that I would want to be remembered' and I agree with Stan and with Jack on this. This is not the way that I would want to remember L&H or their wives or Stan's daughter Lois or Andy Wade either!"

Thursday, January 3, 2008 - 7:43am
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NEW YEAR'S LINKS
This is funny - someone switched the cast of Hawaii 5-0 with the Doris Day Show.

One of my favorite internet diversions is Mark Evanier's look at LA restaurants that are no longer in business. I remember many of those old eateries.

Along the same lines is Groceteria, David Gwynn's look at long gone grocery stores, he hunts down lacations where the old A&P, Piggly Wiggly or Big Bear store facades still stand.

Alan Sepinwall's rundown of some of last year's celebrity deaths. Here's one that escaped my notice:
Barbara McNair (Feb. 4): A singer and sometime actress, she was one of the first African-American women to headline her own variety show, 1969's "The Barbara McNair Show." She was 72.

And you have to check out The Wire with a laugh track:

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 - 8:58am
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ZAPPA MYSTERY?
There is an oft-quoted exchange that supposedly happened between Frank Zappa and ultra-conservative talk show host Joe Pyne (who had a wooden leg due to a war injury) that went something like this:

Pyne: "So I guess your long hair makes you a woman."
Zappa: "So I guess your wooden leg makes you a table!"

Mike Ransom of Tulsa TV Memories wonders: "I happened to look over your Joe Pyne article again and found that you had added a 'near-complete' list of Pyne's guests.

"I have a magazine clipping from my own collection on my site in which Roy Blount, Jr. recounts the supposed Zappa-Pyne-table anecdote:
http://tulsatvmemories.com/fantastic.html#pyne

"Nevertheless, I have always suspected it to be an urban legend. I find it interesting (though not conclusive) that Zappa does not appear on your list. The guys I specifically remember myself, F. Lee Bailey and David Susskind, DO appear on the list. I suspect that Anton LaVey was the guy I remembered on your site as having a shaved head and 'wearing a ceremonial robe who would periodically retract his eyelids for a moment.'

"So I wonder, how complete is your list?

I replied to Mike that I didn't think that list of guests was necessarily complete, but merely a listing of the surviving episodes. That list was provided by the company that owns the Joe Pyne Show with plans to release Pyne Show DVDs this year. I couldn't say definitively whether Zappa made that quip or was ever on the Joe Pyne Show although I've read about this exchange from several different sources. Sadly, we can't ask either participant as they shuffled off some time ago.

Then Mike wrote back:

"I heard from Roy Blount, Jr. about this question.

"Subject: Query for Mr. Blount: Frank Zappa on the Joe Pyne show - urban legend?

"Roy, I run a just-for-fun web site about Tulsa TV and radio memories. On my site, I have a magazine clipping from my own collection in which you are quoted as having witnessed an exchange between Frank Zappa and Joe Pyne on the latter's 1960s TV show:
http://tulsatvmemories.com/fantastic.html#pyne

Nevertheless, I have always suspected it to be an urban legend. Can you confirm that you personally saw Zappa on the show?

"I ask because TVparty.com now has a 'near-complete' list of guests on the Pyne show, and I find it interesting (though not conclusive) that Zappa does not appear on it.

"Can you confirm the Zappa story? Happy Holidays, Mike Ransom"

Here's the reply Mike got:

"I didn't see the Pyne show in question, just read about it somewhere (some reputable published source, surely) many years ago (close to the time when it allegedly occurred, at any rate) and quoted it in a book -- I think it was a book I wrote about hair, "It Grows on You," now out of print -- back in the 80s. as I recall. So I'm afraid this is one rare bit of history that can't be proved by me." - RB

Maybe someone out there has the answer?

Monday, December 31, 2007 - 8:08am
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