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SUNDAY FUNNIES
Anytime I'm starved for laughs I always fall back on The Honeymooners. Here's a part two of a particularly funny Honeymooners sketch from The Jackie Gleason Show.

Believe it or not, twenty years later Gleason was still doing the odd Honeymooners' show, here's a clip from 1978's Honeymooners Valentines Day Special.

Sunday, July 13, 2008 - 1:07pm
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STUFF
Archie GoodwinIt's been ten years since the death of Archie Goodwin, one of the greatest talents ever to work in the comic book field. There are few writers in the history of the business that were better than Archie, his scripts for the early issues of Creepy and Eerie magazines alone are enough to earn him legendary status. I had the pleasure of spending some time in the mid-eighties with the guy and he was a sparkling personality. At this year's Comic-Con in San Diego he will be honored with the Bill Finger award, appropriate as Finger was another under-appreciated talent. Here's an audio chat between Archie and Al Williamson, a long time collaborator and one of comic's greatest artists who is sadly now suffering from Alzheimer's.

HBO has signed up for another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm but announced a big screen version of Deadwood is a no-go.

In the interest of accuracy Kevin Butler wants to point out that, contrary to an earlier post, Officer Joe Bolton never played a Captain on any of his shows.

Saturday, July 12, 2008 - 8:11am
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DON KNOTTS
The Archive of American Television has a massive collection of interviews with TV legends where they go into great detail with the interviewees. They can be found easily on You Tube, this interview with Don Knotts (#5 out of 7 parts but not able to embed) focuses in on his guest star roles on other shows and movies in the 1960s.

Friday, July 11, 2008 - 7:59am
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TV THE WAY IT WAS
Those of my generation were so lucky to grow up during televisions's messy adolescence, a time when broadcasters flew by the seat of their pants during the daytime hours, broadcasting local shows that relied on the talent in front of the camera and not the flash and trash that is common in the syndicated programs you'll find on TV today.

Officer Joe BoltonI get lots of mail from people who share that love for the way TV was, like this missive from Pete Putman: "I grew up just outside of Newark, NJ in the late 1950s and 1960s, and watched Sandy Becker, Claude Kirchner and Clownie (the forerunner of Oogie on Uncle Floyd's show), Fred Scott, Soupy Sales, Chuck McCann, and many others. Also Office Joe Bolton/Captain Joe Bolton and whatever other titles he held on WPIX at the time.

"I lived in Maplewood from 1962 to 1971 and my neighbor right down the street was Tom Mahoney, who acted on Sandy Becker's program in a number of roles including Kimosabee. I sure was surprised to find that out.

"Also remember watching Crusader Rabbit, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Courageous Cat, Beanie and Cecil, and numerous other cartoons that have vanished into the ether. Also a big fan of Felix the Cat.

"I know I sound like an old-timer, but kids today have no idea how much work went into these very creative and imaginative programs, plus so many of them were done live. And the humor was grown-up enough that adults could get it, too.

"My mother used to let me stay up late to watch Ernie Kovacs during the week - he really opened my eyes to comedy."

Run over to chuckmccann.net to see an example of what Pete's talking about. And here's the incomparable Ernie Kovaks as one of his bizarre characters, Percy Dovetonsils.

Friday, July 11, 2008 - 7:39am
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THIS SHOULD BE INTERESTING
Guess who's getting his own talk show on the Bio Channel? None other than William Shatner who wil sit down with Kelsey Grammer, Valerie Bertinelli, Judge Judy, Jon Voight and his former Trek co-star and on again / off again pal Leonard Nimoy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 11:03am
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MORE RASCALS STUFF

Kevin Butler adds some info in reference to the above clip posted earlier of a 1954 reunion of the early Little Rascals stars during the TV show You Asked For It.

"That marked the last public appearances of Bob McGowan (the series original writer and director) and Art Lloyd, the series cameraman.

"After this show aired both men passed away. It also marked the last public appearance of Mickey Daniels, his name in the series as far as I know was not 'Freckles' that nickname belonged to the late J. R. Smith.

"Mr. Daniels left show business to become a foreman on a construction site in Tasmania, he left that job and returned to the USA to work as a cab driver, a job that he would maintain until he became fatally ill in the early 1970s with liver trouble."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 - 11:47am
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ON THE TV
The Gong ShowTwo new shows debut on Comedy Central next week amid great hype (between the Enzyte commercials) - The Gong Show with Dave Attell and Reality Bites Back.

The Gong Show was one of my favorite shows of the 1970s, especially the first couple of years before it descended into total drunken chaos. I stated in a previous post that I'd definitely watch if original host Chuck Barris returned but Dave Attell makes a fine MC for this offbeat talent show.

The celebrity panel judging the first episode's parade of weirdos consists of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Steve Schirripa aka Big Pussy on The Sopranos, and Brian Posehn from The Sarah Silverman Show. The winner on each show gets a WWF style wrestling belt emblazoned with the Gong Show logo and the grand total of $600.

This is a pleasing update of the former daytime game show; for instance, the first episode begins with a drag queen singing about her lost pussy that I swear was performed on the original.

The show is sleazier than the original but what isn't these days? This new Gong Show is an entertaining diversion, more so that American Idol as far as I'm concerned. If you enjoy watching slutty women, self immolation, and massively overweight guys this debut episode is for you.

Reality Bites BackFollowing The Gong Show comes Reality Bites Back, Comedy Central's first reality show competition series with laconic Michael Ian Black hosting.

Black is that overly adorable, dark haired comic who really came into his own with VH1's I Love The 70s and its various spinoffs - but for some reason his last attempt at a TV series (Stella) was sadly lacking.

The concept: ten D-List comedians (so far down the D-List I only recognized one of them, Darnell Rollins) compete in humiliating contests based on previous reality show competitions. The last comic standing walks away with $50,000.

This series looks like a winner even if the host tries a little bit too hard on the first episode and my favorite contestant was voted off post-haste.

The show works wonderfully, the first completion (I won't give it away) is cringe worthy to the max. If recoiling from the TV in horror equals entertainment value then this is must see. Overall better than the low rent reality shows it spoofs (think Rock of Love and I Love New York) Reality Bites Back is highly amusing, mindless entertainment. That's all you can really expect from a television show, right?

Catch The Gong Show followed by Reality Bites Back beginning Thursday, July 17th at 10:00pm on Comedy Central.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 - 10:27am
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