2 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
Gene Patton, the NBC stagehand in Burbank who stole the spotlight as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine on NBC’s wacky The Gong Show, died Monday, his family announced. He was 82. Patton died in Pasadena, according to a spokeswoman at the local Woods-Valentine Mortuary. He had suffered from diabetes. The Gong Show, dreamed up and hosted by producer Chuck Barris (The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game), aired on NBC in daytime from 1976-78 and then in syndication. Acts — most of them amateurish and just plain awful — auditioned for three celebrity judges, who banged a gong on
- Mike Barnes
2 items from 2015
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