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WHAT I MISSED
There's apparently a documentary out making the festival rounds about one of my all time favorites, Jack Sheldon, called Trying To Get Good. I can't wait to see this one. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn't have it yet but bop over to the official web site and enjoy some heavenly music. God, can that man play the horn...

If you don't recognize the name Jack Sheldon, this Jazz great was seen regularly on The Merv Griffin Show and sang the Schoolhouse Rock tune 'Conjunction Junction.' Here's a trailer for the film:

Now here's one of those great Schoolhouse Rock segments featuring Jack Sheldon - 'How A Bill Becomes A Law.'

Come to think of it, whatever happened to that Charles Nelson Reilly documentary Life of Reilly? It's not yet on DVD.

The Academy of Television and Radio in Los Angeles held a Mary Tyler Moore Show cast tribute to Betty White recently, here's a photo from the event thanks to Dan Wingate.

Sunday, August 10, 2008 - 10:21am
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COMING TO SPIKE TV
Kung FuKillers Star David CarradineKung Fu Killer
is in every way a by-the-numbers revenge action picture but it's so well realized, so tightly directed and ferociously choreographed that a reliance on timeworn plot devices never becomes a problem.

Set in China in the late 1920s, there's plenty of muddy, bloody, brutal action to keep you riveted to the screen. Those who enjoyed David Carradine's 1970's series Kung Fu will find this new telefilm is right up their alley, the producers made it easy to buy into the idea that this could be Kwai Chang Caine with one major behavioral modification.

Much like Caine, White Crane was a caucasian brought to the temple as a young boy to be taught the ways of the Wudang monk, he spent years wandering from place to place, and has a tendency to speak in short clips, dispensing with unnecessary contractions.

Unlike Caine, this martial arts master has a fierce thirst for revenge instilled in him early, inspiring him to do things Caine would never try, like taking on all brawlers in a nightclub for cash. Passivity doesn't have the same cache it did 35 years ago, apparently.

The film starts out strong with a tremendously exciting sequence that sets up Crane on his quest for vengeance against a ruthless Changhai drug lord. You would think Carradine might be getting kind of old for this sort of thing but you'd be wrong, he moves with the fluidity and grace of a much younger man. His Kung Fu is strong!

Osric Chau as Crane's protege Lang Han is nothing short of a revelation, look for this Canadian newcomer to become a major action star in the future. Imbibed with both sensitivity and strength, Chau is amazing in his fight scenes, like a young Bruce Lee but a much better actor when it comes to the quiet moments.

Darryl Hannah also appears as an American chanteuse bathed in blond locks and steeped in trouble; this the first time she and Carradine have worked together since Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.

The mostly Chinese supporting cast is spot on; Pei-pei Cheng as Wudang grand master Myling is extremely effective in the short time she's on screen as is Rosalind Pho in the challenging role of Lang's warrior love interest.

Shot on location, this was a joint venture between Chinese and American filmmakers, the first on this large a scale.

Although Kung Fu Killer is fully self-contained, a full-length sequel airs the next night picking up where the first storyline leaves off. Again it's a by-the-book tale of brother against brother - nothing inspires revenge like a family member, in this case a former member of Crane's temple is causing major trouble - but it's a fast paced, exotic adventure, better than much of what you'll find in the theaters this summer.

Fans of the old Kung Fu series and action film enthusiasts will enjoy this thrilling 2 night event. Don't miss out.

Kung Fu Killer airs Sunday, August 17th at 10:00pm ET on Spike TV.

Friday, August 8, 2008 - 12:33pm
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CANADA HAS A WALK OF FAME?
Man From AtlantisIsabelle Pereira writes: I have started a nomination campaign so that actress Belinda Montgomery gets a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. She played Dr. Elizabeth Merrill in the classic "Man from Atlantis" in the 1970s, opposite Patrick Duffy of "Dallas". It is one of my very favorite shows of all time.

I have set-up an online petition and three of her co-stars have already signed it: TV Icon Angela Lansbury (signature No. 37, they co-starred together in an entire episode of "Murder She Wrote), "James Sikking (signature No. 304, he was her co-star in "Doogie Howser M.D. in the role of Doogie's dad Dr. David Howser) and Max Casella (signature No. 1781, also a co-star on "Doogie Howser" in the role of Vinnie Delpino). There's also the signature of world renowned producer Ken Kragen (No. 1760), he was the one responsible for getting all the superstars together to record "We Are The World" for the "USA for Africa" in the 1980s. I am in the process of getting more co-stars on board. Belinda also played the estranged wife of Don Johnson's character Sunny Crockett on "Miami Vice". And she was in tons of "movies of the week" and made guest appearances in many notable TV shows. Take a look.

Here is the link to a YouTube clip of Mike Douglas interviewing them on the set:

The link to the petition is here.

Friday, August 8, 2008 - 8:27am
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COOL OFF WITH SONNY & CHER
A blast from summers past - The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour debuted in August of 1971 and was an immediate hit. Here's part of the opening to one of the first shows, you can easily see why the program was so hot, it was by far the most exciting - and funny - variety series to hit the airwaves since Laugh-in.

Thursday, August 7, 2008 - 8:38am
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TV NEWS
The Closer is cable TV's biggest audience draw with an amazing 7.4 million viewers. In contrast, a new episode of South Park usually draws about 3.1 million while Lewis Black's Root of All Evil's second season opener grabbed a mere 1.1 million viewers. If you haven't seen The Closer you're missing one of the best dramas on TV today.

Enjoy Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? A daily syndicated version is coming this fall.

Thursday, August 7, 2008 - 5:39am
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SLIGHTLY OFF THE SUBJECT DEPT.
TV BlogApparently some people are surprised that freecreditreport.com isn't free, you have to sign up for a subscription with a monthly charge. As long as you give notice before your first month is up you won't be on the hook for the charges (and thus meeting the modern definition of 'free'). There is a place to get your credit report for free - AnnualCreditReport.com - that's because consumers can obtain a free credit report each year from the three major agencies.

By the way, that too-cute guy Eric Violette that sings the jingle on TV is French Canadian and doesn't speak english! Wonder if he knows what a huge star he is in the states? If that spot had been shot in the USA and he was in the union he would be making major bank.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 - 9:10am
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HERE & THERE
Is former Full House kid Mary-Kate Olsen refusing to talk to the Feds about Heath Ledger's death unless she receives immunity? The New York Post is saying so.

Frustrated federal officials could obtain a grand-jury subpoena to compel the funky Full House actress to tell them whatever she knows about the Dark Knight star's behavior, his possible drug use and the events of that fateful morning, according to sources.

What does former TV pop Bob Saget have to say? "Anybody who talks about my TV kids - that upsets me the most," Saget told The Post. "I am very protective. I love them very, very much." Heck, my REAL dad wouldn't have defended me if I was as big a fuck up as Mary-Kate.

A milestone in history - broadcast TV beat newspapers in ad sales for the first time ever. Newspapers are dead. As long as publishers believe the best way forward is to sack the talent and diminish the product to the point of irrelevancy there's no hope. Me? I spent much of my life working in and around publications, the solution is a no-brainer but I'm not doing anyone any favors. (Here's a hint - you can't compete with TV and the internet, only assimilate. Here's another - if the public perceives your product as liberal, become that.)

For no other reason, the newspaper deserves to die given their current 'quality' of reporting. If we had today's press in 1972 there would have been no Watergate scandal and Dick Nixon would be on Mt. Rushmore.

Don't look for Playgirl on the stands any longer - after 35 years it just went belly up. I only own one issue, from the 1980s, but that's because a celebrity friend was the centerfold!

Former St. Elsewhere star Ed Begley, Jr. is joining the cast of CBS' new sitcom Gary Unmarried.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 - 11:52am
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ANOTHER ROMPER ROOM TEACHER FOUND
"Hi There. Just discovered the wonderful site with R.R. stories and pictures.

"I was the 'teacher' at WGAN-TV, Portland , Maine from 1969 to 1975. Amazing memories of LIVE TV production and the hilarious incidents that happened in our primitive studio. Children having potty "accidents", butterflies escaping from insect hatching segments, "Safety-Chief" car collisions and many messy snack-times that demanded clean-ups during commercial breaks, etc.

"The reality behind the scenes was totally different from what was being seen (and loved) in hundreds of living rooms! It was a great time to be in TV-land and I enjoyed it all.

"I think too, of how our culture has changed. We all bowed our heads and said the prayer before snacks! We stood with hands over hearts and said the Pledge! I got more than one fan letter from families of recent immigrants who said their children were learning English and respect from participating at home. IMAGINE!

"Interestingly, my own father had known and worked for the man (Philo Farnsworth) who is credited with the "invention" of TV! Farnsworth had a laboratory in our small town in Maine, and so I had an early awareness of the possibility of airwaves bringing pictures to everyone's homes. Little did I know, however, I'd be ON TV as a young woman. Thanks Philo!

"I have a large scrapbook of photos and memorabilia of course, and will enjoy, once again, looking through it and telling stories to my 4 grand-children!

"Thanks for the great website." - Jo Harmon

Sunday, August 3, 2008 - 7:45am
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