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Your host: Billy Ingram

Comic bookI saw this linked from Mark Evanier's site - an article on what it was like collecting comics back in the day written by KC Carlson. Although he started a few years before I did it was like detective work to find your favorite comics each week because the distribution was so spotty.

I remember New Gods number 2 didn't hit any newsstand, hotel lobby or drug store that I knew about but John Hitchcock found 2 copies and, believe me, I paid dearly to get that book. Being a Kirby comic it was well worth it.

I'll second Carlson's comments on Sugar and Spike. I actually had an extra 13 cents one day (a rarity for sure) but didn't see any comics that I collected (DC) that I didn't have so I took a chance and bought Sugar & Spike no. 76. I was hooked and still have that dog eared comic and every one until the series ended with number 98.

Saturday, December 8, 2007 - 3:39pm


People seem to like lists so here's one of my own, my favorite TV on DVD collections of the past year. As I look over this list, these are all television programs I was thrilled to discover for the first time on DVD, shows I hadn't experienced before. Oddly, I've never been a fan of TV dramas but they crowd my list of favorites this year, a testament to just how incredible they are.

I selected these sets not so much for the extras or bonus features but based solely on the content of the programs - after all, that's the main reason you buy TV shows on DVD.

Weeds on DVD10. Weeds - The Complete Second Season: Everyone's talking about this ingenious Showtime dramedy, it's all about a suburban housewife who turns to selling pot to support her family after her husband dies. Weeds sports a superior cast and some of the best scripts anywhere and it's all staged with a sweetly sarcastic edge. Even the kid actors are good. Both riotously funny and breathtakingly tense, Weeds is addictive!

The Closer Season 1 DVD9. The Closer - The Complete Second Season: Critics are raving about this unusual crime drama about a Southern gal (Kyra Sedgwick) with the people skills of a predatory panther who joins the LAPD to solve their toughest crimes. This show also stars one of my favorites, J.K. Simmons (the nazi prick from Oz) as her boss.

Dexter on DVD8. Dexter - Season 1: A show that has you rooting for a serial killer? If you try to explain this show to someone they'll look at you with a blank expression, it's all in the execution so to speak, and no TV drama has you clutching the chair like Dexter.

This Is Tom Jones on DVD7. This Is Tom Jones: This collection of 8 episodes focuses on 'Rock 'n' Roll Legends' - it's an amazing array of musical performances not just from the dynamic Tom Jones but also the Tommy-era Who, The Moody Blues, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and many other sixties superstars. Not many singers have the chops to duet with the likes of Janis Joplin, Little Richard, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Joe Cocker but Tom Jones handled it with with and style.

Extras Season 2 on DVD6. Extras - Season 2: Ricky Gervais (British version of The Office) stars as a struggling actor who finally catches a break but can't enjoy it thanks to the incompetent, mendacious people he's surrounded by. As far as I'm concerned, Gervais is a TV genius right up there with Jackie Gleason and Lucille Ball. This one's only $11.00 if you order online now, what a deal!

The Shield DVD5. The Shield - The Fifth Season: If you haven't yet experienced The Shield, I can only tell you that you're missing out big time. I suggest you start with season one - you may find yourself hooked like I am, waiting impatiently for the next season's DVD release. It's a joyously wicked roller coaster ride of outrageous behavior so tightly directed, so finely written and acted that it's ultimately bullet proof.

Kyle XY on DVD4. Kyle XY - Season 1: The best science fiction challenges the ordinary in ways that make you wonder. Kyle XY does just that in a stark manner, it's a fascinating enigma, a slowly unfolding thread revealing an intriguing pattern of emotional highs and lows that causes you to re-think what you know and gaze at everything fresh.

Entourage on DVD3. Entourage Season 3 - Part 2: TV's funniest and most realistic sitcom, with one of the finest casts ever assembled, keeps getting better and better. No wonder, spoofing the world of Hollywood show biz is an ever flowing fountain for laughs. Plus, Jeremy Piven is a howl all by himself.

Hootenanny TV Show on DVD2. Best of Hootenanny: If you're a folk/ country/ gospel/ jazz/ bluegrass/ world music lover - or just interested in the roots of American rock music - this is the ultimate early-sixties collection; an exciting, eclectic mix with heart-stopping performances from Trini Lopez, Mariam Makeba, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Johnny Cash, Hoyt Axton, The Dillards, Flatt & Scruggs, Ian & Sylvia, Marion Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, The Tarriers, Doc Watson and many others. Continuity is preserved and the performances are, every one, a gem. There are also some seriously genius comedy routines sprinkled throughout from Vaughn Meader, Louis Nye, Bill Cosby, Jackie Vernon and Woody Allen. I can't tell you how many times I've put this on to listen to at work.

The Wire on DVD1. The Wire - The Complete Fourth Season: The Wire is absolutely my favorite TV drama of all time, I just finished watching all 3 seasons for a second time this fall and I've been greatly anticipating season 4. Though there are major plot treads and characters that interweave and evolve through the years, each season of The Wire focuses in on a different segment of Baltimore's appalling underbelly. This year they zoom in on an inner city middle school to focus on the kids that get lured into gangs and the drug trade. This is no cheap plot device, show co-creator and head writer Ed Burns started out as a public school teacher in Baltimore.

This devastating spectacle never fails to send my blood pressure soaring; there are so many moments when you won't believe what you've seen or heard because it feels so real. Wonder if you'll like The Wire? Just watch the first scene of the first episode of season 4 and you'll be along for the ride - but I suggest you start with season 1.

Little Britain on DVDHow could I not have these shows on my list? Little Britain The Complete Collection; The Best of the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; American Gangster The Complete First Season; Friday Night Lights - The First Season; Paul Lynde Halloween Special; Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1; Route 66 - Season 1, Vol. 1.

Haven't seen it yet but sure to be a winner: Big Love - The Complete Second Season.

Space GhostNot television but not to be missed: Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Act of Violence / Mystery Street / Crime Wave / Decoy / Illegal / The Big Steal / They Live By Night / Side Street / Where Danger Lives / Tension).

Friday, December 7, 2007 - 11:33am


Congratulations to Eileen Deliz of Longwood FL for winning the TVparty! / Wheel of Fortune prize pack worth $250. It's on its way to you right now, Eileen. Happy Holidays!

We're giving away 5 copies of the new Mod Squad Season 1 Volume 1 right now. I'm watching it now - trippy and not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I'm enjoying it actually, mostly because it was shot in and around 1968 Los Angeles.

Rudolph on CBS once again won first place in the ratings on Tuesday night. Santa Claus is Coming to Town finished second in the 8:00 hour for ABC Wednesday night.

Sci Fi Channel's miniseries Tin Man, based on The Wizard of Oz, was a hit with a 3.6 household rating, 5.3 million viewers.

Oxygen network's The Bad Girls Club scored big for the season 2 opener, it's up 10% over last year, it's their highest rated series.

Daytime, Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Montel are all up this winter.

The season finale of E's Keeping Up With the Kardashians was the highest rated show for the net in 5 years.

NBC will air 4 'best of' SNL specials this month on Saturday night in primetime starting with the best of Will Ferrell.

Friday, December 7, 2007 - 8:43am


Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer puppetTHIS WEEKEND
CNN has picked up the story we brought to you 2 years ago thanks to writer Rick Goldschmidt - the discovery of the original Santa and Rudolph models used in the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer TV special back in 1964.

You can read the CNN story here and this page will show you what the puppets looked like when they were rescued, so to speak. At right you can see Rudolph fully restored to his former glory.

Just a reminder for you folks in Chicago - this is your chance to see one of the biggest stars from your childhood - the original Santa & Rudolph models will be at Borders in Schaumburg on Dec. 8 and 9th. I'll bet if you have kids they'll enjoy seeing this.

While you're there pick up Rick Goldschmidt's lavish book on the classic Rankin-Bass special - I've got it, it's fantastic and you'll love it! If I'm not mistaken Rick's band will be there as well.

Thursday, December 6, 2007 - 12:42pm


Justin Kaplowitz points us to the Chicago Tribune's ranking of the rankest shows in TV history. They are:
2. "Cavemen" (2007): 15.6%
3. "Mama's Family" (1983-90): 7.3%
4. "Cop Rock" (1990): 6.9%
5. "Small Wonder" (1985-89): 6.6%
6. "Joanie Loves Chachi" (1982-83): 5.8%
7. "Barney & Friends" (1992-present): 5.3%
8. "Ernest Angley Hour" (1973-present): 4.0%
9. "Homeboys in Outer Space" (1996-97): 3.9%
10."My Mother the Car" (1965-66): 3.6%
11. XFL (2001): 3.4%
12. "Pink Lady and Jeff"(1980): 3.4%
13. "The Ropers" (1979-80): 2.8%
14."Manimal" (1983): 2.5%
15. "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer" (1998): 1.5%
16. "B.J. and the Bear" (1979-81): 1.2%
17. "Mr. T. and Tina" (1976): 1.2%
18. "Petticoat Junction" (1963-70): 1.1%
19. "Beauty and the Beast" (1987-90): 1.0%
20. "Mr. Belvedere" (1985-90): 0.9%
21."Life With Lucy" (1986): 0.9%
22. "Turn-On" (1969): 0.6%
23. "You're in the Picture" (1961): 0.4%
24. "When Things Were Rotten" (1975): 0.4%
25. "The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage" (1991): 0.1%

The worst of the worst? The Jerry Springer Show. I actually hate to see Mama's Family so high on the list, the first NBC season was actually really funny with Carol Burnett and Betty White as semi-regulars. But the syndicated version was SOOOOO bad it negated everything that went before.

Thursday, December 6, 2007 - 9:18am


Aw heck, this blog is nothing BUT random stuff. Tom Taylor wants to hear the "You can call me Ray" bit that Bill Saluga used to do on numerous variety shows of the 1960s & 1970s. Here's an audio capture from a Don Rickles special.

Speaking of audio captures, here are some moments from the past all taped with a recorder in front of the TV back in the day. These were posted in earlier blog entries. You didn't expect reruns from a television blog?!?

Here's a wonderful few minutes with two television masters - Merv Griffin and George Burns. Burns loved to sing old songs from his vaudeville years, tunes that had long fallen out of favor with the public. He even released an album of these obscure ditties in the mid-seventies but it didn't exactly inspire a rush on the record stores.

Another sound clip: the late, great Pat Paulsen was running for President again in 1975. Here's one of his comedy routines from that election cycle where he skewers the primary candidates on both sides.

Phyllis Diller ShowsMichael Thom recently sent us this tune - he taped it off of the TV with a reel-to-reel recorder in 1966 and it's a joy. One of the best theme songs of the sixties (of all time, really) came from a show that only lasted a half-season - The Pruitts Of Southampton starring Phyllis Diller. It was written by the immortal Vic Mizzy, who also wrote the themes for The Addams Family, Green Acres, Mr. Terrific and so many other classics. Think we'll ever see this one on DVD? Not likely - yet this show, Camp Runamuck, Hank and other one season wonders from the mid-'60s are the programs I really want to see again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - 11:55am

Ellen Burstyn ShowFROM THE MAIL
Richard Tolleson writes, "I absolutely agree with you about Ellen Burstyn. Do you remember The Ellen Burstyn Show? It aired for one season (1986, I think), on Saturdays after Life With Lucy? Someone ought to put that one out on DVD."

I do remember that show. The critics loved it and I did as well. A top quality production but a lousy timeslot following the disastrous Life With Lucy. Here's a promo for the first episode.

Mike wants to know if you have the answer to his question: "Hello, for years now a friend of mine and myself have been trying to find out the title of the theme song for Uncle Pete's Funhouse. We both know it was circus music."

Uncle Pete's Funhouse aired in Philly and starred Pete Boyle, father of Everybody Loves Raymond star Peter Boyle. At least I assume that's the show he's talking about...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 1:35pm

Ellen Burstyn "Once somebody's in your heart they're never truly gone. And they can come back to you at the most unlikely times." That's the --- behind Oprah Winfrey Presents Mitch Albom's For One More Day which debuts on ABC this Sunday, December 9th at 9:00pm EST / PST. In this mesmerizing TV movie, Michael Imperioli plays an emotionally disturbed former ball player who's drinking destroys his family and leaves him on the verge of suicide before encountering his mother - who passed away 9 years ago.

It's a powerful drama thanks to a strong script and co-star Ellen Burstyn who, as always, is riveting. She always delivers. Burstyn is one of those performers that can carry an entire production on her shoulders. Ask if there is a better actor working today and I'll respond with a blank stare.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - 7:41am


People have been writing in and asking about the new Rudolph AFLAC commercial. Is it really stop motion animation? And did the surviving original voice actors provide the voices for the characters?

Rick Goldschmidt, the expert on all things Rankin-Bass, tells us that it looks like stop motion to him but the original Canadian voice actors and Rankin-Bass were not involved.

Meanwhile, you can get a look at the ONLY surviving models used in the Rudolph special at this weekend in CHICAGO at BORDERS BOOKS in SCHAUMBURG, IL and the BROOKFIELD ZOO Dec. 8 and 9th. Here are RUDOLPH & SANTA as they look today after being restored by owned by In addition, Rick will be at Borders that Saturday with his band. Don't miss this one! Check out Rick's Blog for more info.

Monday, December 3, 2007 - 7:34am


Remember the Bicentennial Minute? During the 1980s, the USPS sponsored something similar called The Magic of Christmas, a 30 second salute to the holidays with various stars telling a Christmastime story. This one stars Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek. Look for a young Holly Hunter in the Post Office spot that follows.

Did you know there's a new DVD collection of 1969's This Is Tom Jones' Christmas shows? Here's a comedy bit from one of the 2 shows featuring Fred Willard and Patti Deutsch.

Did you have one of those aluminum Christmas trees back in the day? I knew a couple of people who did - they're retro chic and selling for a fortune on Ebay!

Sunday, December 2, 2007 - 7:44am


The funeral for Mel Tolkin is today, one of the brilliant comedy writers from Your Show of Shows and so many other projects. Jay Blotcher forwards this tribute written by William Walker: "This breaks my heart. Heard the news yesterday when I was manning the phone bank at WGA headquarters in L.A. I knew Mel and adored him. I met him when a group of writer friends and I took him out to dinner about 11 years ago. He attended my housewarming party in 1996 and played piano. I have a photo of the two of us in a prominent place of honor in my office bathroom. He'd have liked that. A wonderful, decent, decent man. In a serendipitous twist, I found myself marching on the picket line a couple of weeks ago with his son Michael, author of "The Player." Michael was thrilled that I knew is father and loved the story of our dinner together. Mel will be missed. I plan to attend his funeral Thursday.

"My guess is that with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon and Sid Caesar likely in attendance, it's going to be the funniest fucking funeral in history."

Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 12:37pm


Have you seen the promos for the new Comedy Central standup special Last Laugh '07 starring Lewis Black with Dave Attell and D. L. Hughley ? Is the show funny? Oh, yeah!

Lewis Black never fails to make me laugh with his faux outrage. I'm not even sure half of what he's saying is supposed to be funny. He may be right that "2007 wasn't a year but a drug," there were so many outrageous events to lampoon that these guys could have been at it all night, I suppose.

Attell is also killer in this special with some topical humor, vagina jokes and this is the funniest bit I've seen from D. L. Hughley. For a capper the three comics get together and take questions from the audience in a press conference manner which leads to some hilarious moments. On the whole, a great way to waste an hour.

From the press release: Fires and recalls and jail time, oh my!  COMEDY CENTRAL’s Last Laugh ‘07 Starring Lewis Black takes an irreverent look back at the most controversial and outrageous events of the year.  From Senator Larry Craig looking for love in all the wrong places, to Paris Hilton doing hard time, to Amy Winehouse saying “no, no, no” to rehab, 2007 was one spirited year.  "Last Laugh '07 Starring Lewis Black" promises to take an equal opportunity jab at our most laughable newsmakers and memorable moments of the past 12 months.

Last Laugh 07 airs on Comedy Central this Sunday, December 2nd at 10:00pm and will stream on starting December 3 at 2:00 a.m. for one week.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 11:30am


Friendly GiantLinda Gillies points us to this amazing story: "Just saw on the news, then checked the Globe & Mail online for the details. Apparently the CBC used the Friendly Giant puppets, Rusty the Rooster, & Jerome the Giraffe, without permission - in a skit performed for the Gemini Awards show. Family of the late Robert Homme are very upset & have taken all the Friendly Giant paraphernalia from the CBC Museum permanently." Read the story here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 9:58am


Peter Greenwood of Jack Chertok TV needs your help: "We are about to release a DVD of My Living Doll but we are still missing a bunch of the shows, This will be the first time a US production company has ever asked the fans for their help.

"The only thing that comes close is the search for the older Dr. Who shows by the BBC. Please post a news story on your site and ask around your network... lets share this show with everyone."

I love My Living Doll and can't wait to see it on DVD.

Neville writes. "Read your blog post all about the woes of the second season of Heroes-all I have to say is, 'It serves them right!"

"Maybe if the creators and producers of this so-called 'great' show tried to tell the story in the standard, classic time honored way as seen in most comic books, the show would have worked. Instead, what they've done is basically redo the British (later American) show The Tomorrow People with adults instead of kids, as well as remake the 1986-1989 Marvel comic book Psi-Force. Why couldn't Tim Kring simply just have the characters wear superhero garb, and tell a story somewhat similar to what is read by millions daily in books by Marvel and DC? Because 'we can't do superheroes in the standard fashion; people won't watch.' BULLSHIT! Why not call Heroes The New Tomorrow People, then?

"If you just do a superhero show like a superhero comic book (or movie), people will suspend disbelief enough to tune in every week, and you wont have any problems. As for what the critics and the so-called 'sophisticated' viewers might think-@#$%'em! It's time they started to learn what's behind those characters, anyway, and if they're going to watch a superhero show, it should damn well look like one.

"As for me, I'd rather watch (and read) Legion Of Super Heroes, The Batman, Teen Titans, The Fantastic Four, and the upcoming Spider-Man show instead. At least I'm getting the real thing there.
Just my $0.02."

Michael Mayo says, "For what it's worth, I was looking at your material on Joe Pyne's guest list and found a fairly significant oversight. I lived in LA when Pyne's show was on and remember that Cornel Wilde was on at least once and possibly more promoting "The Naked Prey". I remember it clearly because Pyne basically gave him as much time as he wanted and it was fascinating listing to him talk about shooting in Africa and showing a lot of behind the scenes footage he took. I'm hoping some of this shows up on the Criterion edition that will come out next year."

DVDs of The Joe Pyne Show coming soon? That will be one to watch for!

Finally, Patrick tells us, "Maybe you could add this tidbit to your article on the Rankin-Bass "Rudolph" special - AFLAC has a new commercial just out, that uses the "Rudolph" characters with the AFLAC duck. I assume they made duplicates of the stop-motion figures for the ad; it's definitely not CGI. It ends with the duck, and not Rudolph, leading Santa's way. I've seen it about two or three times."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 - 9:31am

This is an interesting contest you might enjoy. To kick off The OC: The Complete Series on DVD November 27, log onto: and create your own Atomic County graphic novel for a chance to win The OC: The Complete Series on DVD - autographed by the show's creator, Josh Schwartz.

You can add characters, objects, backdrops and text to create your own graphic novel. You can send it to your friends, view and rate creations by other fans.

Now doesn't that sound like more fun than what you're doing right now?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 6:36am


I ran across this yesterday while doing some research and it blew me away! It's a promo for an episode of TV's Racket Squad (1951-53).

The plot of the episode - a down and out Broadway producer is sick of losing money on productions and decides to produce a play so bad, so offensive (it's called Uncle Tom's Penthouse) that the show will be a sure flop. The producer will make money not by selling tickets but by selling a great deal more than 100% interest in the show to unknowing investors. When the play inevitably folds on the first night he can pocket a fortune. Instead, the play becomes a massive hit and there's no way to pay back the investors.

Sound familiar? Substitute Springtime For Hitler for Uncle Tom's Penthouse and you've got the plot of The Producers.

Do I think Mel Brooks ripped the idea off from this show? Probably so. He was writing for television at the time for a comedy program (Your Show of Shows) that spoofed other TV shows. It makes sense that he might have seen that episode of Racket Squad and tucked away the idea until 15 years later when he was writing The Producers.

Watch for yourself:
Quicktime Download / Real Player Format

iPhone Download (.m4v)
iPhone Cell Download

Monday, November 26, 2007 - 5:07am


I thought you might be interested in the top selling DVDs on TVparty! for the first 2/3 of November. As you can see, Christmas is big here, which is not at all ironic since I happen to love Christmas. You may have seen me on a number of Christmas themed shows on Bravo a couple of years back (The Christmas Special Christmas Special and the 100 Greatest Holiday something or other). I wish they would show those again, I thought they turned out really well.

Rankin Bass Christmas Specials on DVD1. The Christmas Classics Gift Set
2. Spirit of Christmas
3. Route 66
4. The Carol Burnett Show - Let's Bump Up the Lights
5. Bob Hope - Hope for the Holidays
6. The Carol Burnett Show - Show Stoppers
7. The Year Without a Santa Claus / Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey / Rudolph's Shiny New Year
8. Sold Separately: Classic Kids Commercials
9. The Christmas Collection
10. Happy Holidays With Bing & Frank

Other big sellers on TVparty! now: The Best of Fractured Fairy Tales, The Donny and Marie 1978 Christmas Show, Bob Hope - The Vietnam Years, Sonny & Cher - The Christmas Collection, The Best of Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, Bing Crosby's White Christmas All Star Show, Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp, and Sonny & Cher - The Ultimate Collection.

Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 11:47am


On Thanksgiving I mentioned ABC's Friday-after-Thanksgiving cartoon special featuring episodes of the net's Saturday morning programs and presented this promo from the 1972 schedule:

Kevin S. Butler writes: "ABC's tradition of airing a block of their popular Saturday morning cartoons on the Friday after Thanksgiving began back around 1966 and lasted well into the 1970s. The specials aired for four hours and featured Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, King Kong (the Rankin/Bass animated TV series), The Beatles, The New Casper Cartoon Show, Hoppity Hooper, etc.

"The 1972 broadcast of the fest featured a rarity - a live action kid's special hosted by former basketball great turned local NJ politician and amateur magician Jerry Lucas. The Jerry Lucas Super Kid's Day Magic Jamboree had Mr. Lucas performing magic tricks for a group of kids in the studio, he also filmed tips on how to improve basketball playing skills.The special was very entertaining and informative but it was never repeated and he never hosted another. As far as I know, The Jerry Lucas Super Kids Day Magic Jamboree is not available on VHS or DVD.

"The last live performer to host a cartoon fest on ABC was my dear friend and fellow performer Soupy Sales. He MC'd The ABC TV Funshine Festival not after but on Thanksgiving Day itself, November 25, 1976.

"Soupy taped his segments at an amusement park (I can't recall which) along with a lot of actors dressed as Hanna-Barbera's most popular TV cartoon characters. They performed comedy skits between reruns of the cartoons and Soupy's own Saturday afternoon kid's comedy game show Junior Almost Anything Goes.

"ABC TV aired one more after Thanksgiving Day cartoon festival in the 1980s, again this special show was taped at an amusement park and featured Hanna Barbera characters (on this last one I can remember some actors dressed up as Jane, Judy and George Jetson)."

Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 7:23am

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