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ON DVD
In the ongoing thread about Mill Creek DVDs, Bob Huggins writes: Regarding the Mill Creek collections, I have a few of the television collections, including the detectives set that you mentioned. While Mill Creek has released some licensed material, they are primarily a distributor of public domain material which means that you will usually find TV episodes sourced from 16 millimeter prints rather than the preferred 35 millimeter format that most major studios and major independents use. You do sacrifice a bit of visual quality, but they have released some interesting and harder to find older shows and, yes, the price is right. Notable TV-on-DVD sets from Mill Creek include:

Robin Hood on DVDsThe Adventures of Robin Hood (season 1, 1955-56)

The Buccaneers (surprisingly good quality on this set; complete series 1956-57)

Sherlock Holmes (complete series; 1954-55):

The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (the largest collection on commercially available DVD – 100 episodes – spans the entire series)

One Step Beyond (half the series)

Jack Benny Show DVDsJack Benny Show (various episodes)

Classic TV Westerns (massive 300 episode collection of various TV Westerns)

TV Detectives (150 episodes of various TV police/detective shows)

Mill Creek carries other public domain TV releases (the usual suspects like “Bonanza” and “The Lucy Show”), but the above represent, in my humble opinion, their most important classic/vintage TV-on-DVD releases.

You can read Bob's reviews of The Buccaneers, Sherlock Holmes, Ozzie & Harriet, and the TV Detectives sets on the product pages if you click the links. Let me add - those collections above are all less that ten bucks. What a deal!

Tim Lones adds: "Mill Creek puts out The Best of Jack Benny, a 40 episode DVD consisting mostly of public domain Benny Episodes, but including some GE Theater shows and specials, and the hour long NBC special from November 1965 with the Beach Boys and Bob Hope. Haven't looked at it myself but from what I hear from others, its not great quality but its the biggest amount of Benny material on one DVD set thus far. I got mine at a store called "Big Lots" Here in Canton, Ohio for $6.00."

Friday, April 11, 2008 - 6:02am
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TV STUFF
Check out the Cleveland Classic Media Blog, it covers various subjects from Vintage Cleveland/Northeast Ohio Radio and TV from the 1940's onward using TV Guide ads, photos and many times, vintage TV schedules.

Run Buddy Run TV showOne of my favorite shows as a wee lad was Run, Buddy, Run which aired for a brief half season back in 1966, one of the best years for classic TV. The show never caught on and I doubt it was ever rerun in the states. Here's the show's clever opening theme, the show was created by Leonard stern, co-creator of Get Smart and a lot of the Smart crew were on board for this one as well.

Quicktime / Real Player

The show starred Jazz legend Jack Sheldon, you might know him as the guy who sang 'Conjunction Junction and other ditties in the Schoolhouse Rock series. Or from his many appearances on the Merv Griffin Show in the 1970s.

Week of March 31st - Top 20 Rated TV Shows (total viewers):
American Idol - Tuesday (Fox): 26.12 million, American Idol - Wednesday (Fox), CSI (CBS), Dancing With the Stars (ABC), Dancing With the Stars Results Show (ABC), CSI: Miami (CBS, Mon. 10 p.m.),

Without a Trace (CBS), Two and a Half Men (CBS), NCAA Basketball (CBS, Saturday), CSI: Miami (CBS, Tues. 10 p.m.), Survivor: Micronesia (CBS), CSI: NY (CBS), Criminal Minds (CBS), The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS, season finale),

Cold Case (CBS), Hell's Kitchen (Fox, season premiere), NCAA Basketball (CBS, Saturday Bridge), Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (Fox, Thurs. 9 p.m.), The Moment of Truth (Fox), Deal or No Deal (NBC),

Thursday, April 10, 2008 - 9:47am
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ARTICLE UPDATE
Bob Huggins writes: "I just read Mitchell Hadley’s informative article on the UN and movie making. I do want to mention that, contrary to Mr. Hadley’s assertion that The Poppy is also a Flower has only been released on VHS, it has also been released on DVD (possibly in an unauthorized version) and retitled as “The Opium Connection by at least two companies and Amazon carries them.

"The Poppy is also a Flower also appears on a couple of Mill Creek Entertainment’s multi-movie DVD sets -- Crime Classics 50 Movie Pack and Mystery Collection 250 (!!!) Movie Pack. Given that the film has been released on several low budget labels, it looks like this may now be a public domain title."

TV westerns on DVDI've never heard of Mill Creek before, but it looks like they have some amazing DVD collections, some with 250 movies, with up to 325 HOURS of entertainment for $50 if you order through Amazon. How does 58 episodes of TV westerns for less than $10 sound or 42 hours of TV detective shows for $18? I haven't seen them so I can't attest to the quality but that's a great value!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 - 12:47pm
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THIS 'N' THAT
Frank Reighter tells us: "At the Three Stooges Fan Club meeting April 26, Officer Joe (WPIX-TV New York NY "The Three Stooges Funhouse") Bolton's daughter, Catherine A. Bolton will be appearing."

Frank also passed this story along:
Jean Daugherty "Play Lady" passes away
Syracuse, NY - Local television pioneer Jean Daugherty, who was best known as the "Play Lady" on the former children's series "The Magic Toy Shop" on WTVH-TV, passed away Sunday at St. Joseph Hospital Health Center.
While at WTVH (Channel 5) Daugherty produced 16,000 shows, including numerous documentaries on local culture. She appeared in, wrote and produced all 6,200 episodes of "The Magic Toy Shop" broadcast by WHEN-TV and WTVH between 1955 and 1982.

That would make The Magic Toy Shop one of the longest running shows in TV history.

Catfight! The Weinstein Company has shifted Project Runway from Bravo to Lifetime. Bravo is calling foul, from the Universal (they own Bravo) press release:
NBC Universal has continuing legal rights related to "Project Runway," including a right of first refusal to future cycles of the series, which The Weinstein Company unfortunately has refused to honor. NBC Universal regrettably had no alternative but to bring legal action to enforce its rights to this program, including the right to decide whether it is in the best interest of the company to continue to air the show under the proposed financial terms.

Seems Bravo had an oral contract, Lifetime has one in writing. Oops! Thanks to shows like Project Runway, the network's highest rated series, Bravo's rating are at an all-time high right now.

"They did not have a right of first refusal," counters Weinstein attorney David Boies. "They were simply outbid by Lifetime" after "lowballing" a renewal. "We offered it to them, they turned it down and we sold it to somebody who paid more. They blew it, and now they're embarrassed by it and are trying to get back in court what they lost in the marketplace." Here's the story from USA Today.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 - 7:25am
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MONDAY MASH-UP
Entertainment Weekly has a list of the 20 Worst Comic Book Movies Ever - a shorter list would be comic book movies that worked. Let's see - Superman 2, the last Batman movie, Ghost World, the first Spiderman - that's about it. Haven't seen Art School Confidential yet. Now someone compile the 20 worst comic book adaptations of movies.

That damn Bee Movie is coming to DVD, does that mean another relentlessly annoying Jerry Seinfeld marketing crunch? Ugh.

Did you see Diane Werts syndicated article last week on the new trend in programs with celebrities showing off talents they aren't known for? It's gotten to the point where NBC is reviving Circus of the Stars. You might notice that I'm quoted in the piece.

This case has been ongoing for some time, now there's a resolution but it hardly seems fair to me.
A British appeals court has awarded the lead singer of Procol Harum full royalties to the band's iconic hit "A Whiter Shade of Pale."
Britain's Court of Appeal ruled in singer Gary Brooker's favor on Friday. An earlier decision by a lower court had awarded the group's former organist 40 percent of the song's royalties.

Basically, the guy who wrote and performed the most famous organ solo of the 20th century will get no royalties just a co-writing credit.

My favorite comic Ricky Gervais is the subject of a new BBC profile and it's quite funny, here's the first portion:

Monday, April 7, 2008 - 7:19am
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ON YOUR TV
If there is one television program that stands above the rest, undoubtedly the greatest program in the history of the medium, it has to be those shows I did for Bravo, 100 Funniest Movies. Look for it Monday night, check your local listings. If you miss it, thoughts of suicide may follow.

Saturday, April 5, 2008 - 8:10am
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Pistols n petticoats on DVDHAPPY SATURDAY
Bob Huggins writes: "Saw your Pistols 'n' Petticoats You Tube reference on the blog today. I don’t know whether some episodes of PnP are public domain or not, but six episodes from the series have surfaced on DVD, courtesy of Echo Bridge Home Entertainment (a company that has released a number of shows with episodes in the public domain)." Here's the link to purchase Pistols 'n' Petticoats on DVD.

This is interesting news and should provide hours of entertainment - from the press release:

Broadcast journalist Mike Wallace's interviews from the television program "The Mike Wallace Interview," which ran for two seasons in 1957 and 1958, will be available online starting April 4, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin has announced.

Wallace, 89, rose to prominence in 1956 with the New York City television program "Night Beat," which soon developed into the nationally televised prime time program "The Mike Wallace Interview."

In the early 1960s, Wallace donated to the Ransom Center the show's interviews on 16mm kinescope. The 30-minute interviews can now be viewed online. Most of the episodes have not been seen since they aired.

"It was a fascinating time and they were fascinating people, but I never thought 50 years ago that they would live beyond the hour that they existed back then," said Wallace. "Today they are still relevant. The people may be different, but the issues they face are the same."

Interviewees include Oscar Hammerstein, Kirk Douglas, Henry Kissinger, Eleanor Roosevelt and Salvador Dali among others. Didn't Babs Streisand make her first appearance on Night Beat?

From that archive, check out Salvador Dali's crazy signature on the contract to appear on the show.

Saturday, April 5, 2008 - 7:00am
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RANDOM YOU TUBING
This guy condenses episodes of TV shows into less than 10 minutes. Here's the 'Young Girl's Mother' episode of Amos 'n' Andy, see if you like the results.

Pistols & Petticoats was a 1966 CBS western comedy that starred Anne Sheridan and Ruth McDivett, it's fondly remembered today by many classic sitcom fans. It was a genuinely funny show but didn't stand much of a chance - it was up against top-rated Get Smart on NBC and, sadly, Anne Sheridan died before the season ended. Here's the opening to an episode of Pistols & Petticoats:

Finally, here's a thoroughly filthy routine from one of Redd Foxx' comedy albums. Not safe for work, and racially insulting as well!

Friday, April 4, 2008 - 10:43am
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DVD REVIEW
Johnny Cash TV show on DVDThe Best of The Johnny Cash Show

I was really looking forward to this one, in fact I went out and bought it (gasp!) which is why it pains me to say that this collection is not what I expected.

The Johnny Cash Show (1968-1971) on DVD is encased in a heavy handed documentary format with numerous interviews with show participants like the show's hairdresser, a member of the Tennessee Three, and Hank Williams, Jr. Kris Kristofferson hosts and it's narrated by that guy who does all those PBS documentaries (Peter Coyote).

The production overall expends way too much time burnishing Johnny Cash's image, as is done when a superstar dies. Like making it a point to declare that the legendary singer was not conservative or liberal, he was apolitical. With endless platitudes like, "the man for whom family was everything," they could easily be talking about Walt Disney or Abraham Lincoln. While there's no questioning his impact on American music, his extramarital affairs and drug use in the 1970s & 1980s makes statements like that ring somewhat false.

The interviews and show history are interesting enough but, except when musical director Bill Walker is on screen, the documentary is (I assume) deliberately vague on details. For instance, Johnny Cash looks buzzed in some of the clips but that is completely ignored. Everything was roses and lollipops on the Johnny Cash Show, if this production is taken at face value.

And too much time is given over to lionizing John Carter Cash, Johnny and June's only child who is seen as an infant on the show and featured prominently in the commentaries. No surprise he's one of the producers of the DVD.

That said, aside from the commentaries, this is one of my favorite DVD collections of all time. There are many phenomenal musical performances to be found on these 2 discs, they just aren't as easy to access as they should be. There's no 'Play All Music' feature so tunes must be selected one at a time. The second disc has fewer commentaries (until the end), just wall to wall music, as it should be.

Besides electrifying performances by Johnny Cash there are musical numbers from seminal artists like Bob Dylan (who appeared on Cash's first episode), Conway Twitty, Mother Maybelle Carter, George Jones, Pete Seeger, Bill Monroe And His Blue Grass Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Loretta Lynn and so many more.

Here's the line-up of songs:

DISC 1: Johnny Cash - Ring Of Fire
Bob Dylan - I Threw It All Away
Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash - Girl From The North Country
Kris Kristofferson - Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash - Blue Yodel #9
Stevie Wonder - Heaven Help Us All
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising
Linda Ronstadt and Johnny Cash - I Will Never Marry
George Jones - Medley (White Lightning with Johnny Cash, She Thinks I Still Care, Love Bug, The Race Is On)
Johnny Cash - Hey Porter
Waylon Jennings - Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line
Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash - The Singing Star's Queen
Waylon Jennings - Brown Eyed Handsome Man
Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man
Marty Robbins - Medley (Big Iron, Running Gun, El Paso)
Johnny Cash - Come Along And Ride This Train
Johnny Cash - As Long As The Grass Shall Grow
Johnny Cash - Man In Black
James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
Pete Seeger and Johnny Cash - Cripple Creek, Worried Man Blues
Johnny Cash - Sunday Morning Coming Down
Johnny Cash - Old Time Religion
Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, The Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins and The TennesseeThree - Daddy Sang Bass
Mother Maybelle and The Carter Sisters - Wildwood Flower
Neil Young - The Needle And The Damage Done
Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three - Tennessee Flat Top Box
Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash - The Long Black Veil
Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three with Carl Perkins - Big River

DISC 2: Johnny Cash - I Walk The Line
June Carter Cash - A Good Man
Derek And The Dominos - It's Too Late Derek And The Dominos with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins - Matchbox
Charley Pride - Able Bodied Man
Bill Monroe And His Blue Grass Boys - Blue Moon Of Kentucky
Loretta Lynn - I Know How
Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
Johnny Cash - Ride This Train (America The Beautiful, This Land Is Your Land)
The Everly Brothers with Ike Everly and Johnny and Tommy Cash - That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine
Ray Charles - Ring Of Fire
Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue
Conway Twitty - Hello Darlin'
Mother Maybelle Carter - Black Mountain Rag
Tony Joe White and Johnny Cash - Polk Salad Annie
Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman
Neil Diamond - Cracklin' Rosie
Ray Price - For The Good Times
Roy Orbison - Crying
Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash - Oh, Pretty Woman
Johnny Cash - Wanted Man
Chet Atkins and Johnny Cash - Recuerdo De La Alhambra
Chet Atkins - Medley (Country Gentleman, Mister Sandman, Wildwood Flower, Freight Train)
June Carter Cash with Homer And Jethro - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Merle Haggard - No Hard Times
Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash - Sing Me Back Home
Carl Perkins - Blue Suede Shoes
Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, The Carter Family and The Statler Brothers - The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago
Roy Clark - Medley (In The Summertime, 12th Street Rag)
The Statler Brothers - Flowers On The Wall
Johnny Cash - Working Man Blues
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash - Jackson, Turn Around, I Love You Because
Hank Williams Jr. - Medley (You Win Again, Cold Cold Heart, I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You, Half As Much)
Johnny Cash - A Wonderful Time Up There

Johnny Cash TV ShowI really shouldn't complain given the outstanding musical numbers contained between these covers, this program captured luminaries like Neil Young, James Taylor, Derek And The Dominos, (and just about everybody else featured here) at their peak.

Don't miss this highly entertaining if flawed DVD collection from The Johnny Cash Show, there's also a single-disc CD version available.

Thursday, April 3, 2008 - 8:13am
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THIS 'N' THAT
Check out this guy who filmed movie recreations in his basement, posted them on You Tube, and now he's on his way to stardom. This is what makes the Net so great!

Damn those guys from Poison are sleazy - and ugly. Just as Rock of Love season 2 gets underway, Poison's drummer was arrested on rape charges Friday. I hope I look that good - when I'm 90.

I mentioned Allen & Rossi in an earlier post, I just discovered there's a tribute site for these classic TV and nightclub comedians - hellodere.com. Not my favorite comics but, hey...

Everyone loves lists! AOL has made their picks for the TV's 50 Best Comedies - Ever. For what its worth, here's #50 - 41.

What to watch tonight: Hell's Kitchen season 4 premiere at 9 pm/ET on FOX - it's loads of fun. Read the my review here.

Does anyone have episodes of The Virginia Graham Show? I've never come across a single one.

This will get your blood flowing - Bette Midler, The Harlettes & Jerry Lee Lewis on the Rolling Stone (magazine) Special in 1977. This number was preceded by a very funny comedy routine by the Divine Miss M that regrettably isn't on You Tube. I wish someone would send me a copy of this special, it contains some of the greatest musical performances ever on television. Why its never been released on DVD is beyond me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - 11:17 am
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