3 items from 2015
Leonard Firestone, a pioneer in the television programming and syndication industries who oversaw the off-net syndication of shows including “The Addams Family” and “Green Acres,” died at his home on Hilton Head Island, S.C., on March 4.
Firestone began his entertainment career at Unity Television in 1950, distributing theatrical films to television stations and quickly rising to national sales manager.
Variety quoted Firestone as saying that “in 1950, the only programming available to the new fledgling television stations were (pre-’48) movies, so we met that need.” In the mid-1950s he was hired by Ziv Television, where he oversaw a sales force of more than 100 salesmen, distributing firstrun TV programming such as “Sea Hunt” and “The Rifleman.” In the early 1960s, Firestone was hired to run Four Star Television Distribution, which was founded by Dick Powell, Charles Boyer, Ida Lupino and David Niven. Subsequently Firestone was senior VP at Filmways, in charge »
- Carmel Dagan
I was not always a big fan of Westerns. My knowledge/memory of them were largely drawn from TV shows of my childhood – and not always the best ones. They were dominated by The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry (although I was never a big Autry fan) and shows like them. Westerns dominated TV in those days in ways that I don’t think any genre dominates any more.
It was my late wife, Kimberly Yale, who really schooled me in movie Westerns and the difference between a John Ford Western, ones by Howard Hawks, and Budd Boetticher’s Westerns. I finally learned and grasped what powerful movies they were, Just a few years ago, I got to see John Ford’s masterpiece The Searchers on the big screen and it was only then that I really understood how powerful it was and why its star, John Wayne, was such an icon. »
- John Ostrander
By Joe Elliott
Long-time Grass Valley, California resident (Norman Eugene) Clint Walker starred in the iconic television western Cheyenne from 1955-1963. This was the golden era of TV westerns, with dozens of similar shows airing around the same time.
Like their big screen counterparts, TV cowboys were usually handsome, brave, resourceful and of course good with a gun. However, there was something a bit different about the Cheyenne Bodie character as Walker portrayed him. He fit the genre all right. A big, handsome man built like an oak tree (6’6”, 48-inch chest, 32-inch waist), he rode easy in the saddle and looked better than almost anybody in a Stetson and boots. Men who doubted his resolve always ended up regretting it. Ladies looked his way. Still, despite never violating the conventions of the formula, Walker somehow managed to make the sum of his character add up to more than its parts. »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
3 items from 2015
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