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Tales of Wells Fargo (1957)
Remembering Jim Hardie and the classic Western series "Tales of Wells Fargo" on it's 60th anniversary
The western-adventure series "Tales of Wells Fargo" premiered on NBC's Prime Time schedule as a mid-season replacement on March 18,1957 where it became one of the network's biggest hits that started in a era filled with television Westerns. Out of the 200 episodes that this series produced only actor Dale Robertson(who played special agent Jim Hardie for Wells Fargo) was with the series throughout it's entire six season run in all 200 episodes. Out of the 200 episodes only Seasons 1 through 5 produced only 166 black and white episodes that ran 30 minutes in length(with commercials)airing from March 18,1957 until July 10,1961. Only the first five seasons aired on Monday nights in prime time at the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot where it produced 166 black and white episodes. In the sixth and final season of the series saw a change in production when NBC moved "Tales of Wells Fargo" from Monday nights to Saturday nights to an earlier time slot where the show expanded to a full hour and was what NBC would say "The Following Program Is Brought To You In Living Color" and this time new cast members were added. The sixth and final season which moved to Saturday nights at the 7:30 eastern/6:30 central time slot where 34 color episodes were produced airing from September 30,1961 to June 2,1962.
"Tales of Wells Fargo" was the brainchild of creators Frank Gruber and Gene Reynolds where Nat Holt served as executive producer of the series and was produced by Earle Lyon and Al C. Ward which produced a total of 200 episodes airing from March 18,1957 until June 2,1962. Actor William Demarest(later of "My Three Sons" fame)joined the cast in the final season of the series. "Tales of Wells Fargo" as a series was a well written satisfying western that followed the exploits of special agent Jim Hardie, agent for Wells Fargo who served during the first five seasons as narrator/agent and later on became a rancher while still protecting the law and order for Wells Fargo.
Big name directors from Earl Bellamy, Sidney Salkow, R.G. Springsteen, to William Witney, Christian Nyby, William F. Claxton, to George Waggner, Boris Segal and Gene Nelson contribute to some of the great episodes. Writers were Samuel A. Peeples, James Brooks, Gene Reynolds, Dwight Newton, D.D. Beauchamp, Ken Pettus, Barney Slater, Jack Turley, Sam Peckinpah, Frank Price, to Louis L'Amour and A.I. Bezzerides. "Tales of Wells Fargo" was produced by Revue Studios(the same studio that brought you "Wagon Train" and "The Virginian") for NBC Television.
The guest star roster consisted of Chuck Connors, Michael Landon, Hugh Beaumont, Robert Vaughn, Dan Blocker, James Coburn, Claude Akins, Denver Pyle, Jack Elam, Edgar Buchanan(who appeared in six episodes). Other guest stars were Nick Adams, Charles Bronson, Eddie Albert, John Dehner, Royal Dano, Martin Landau, Simon Oakland, Jan Merlin, Celia Kaye, to Jack Nicholson, Paul Fix(who appeared in six episodes), Buddy Ebsen, to Ray Teal, Lee Van Cleef among others.
Eight Is Enough (1977)
To Fill Our Lives With Love...Remembering the family comedy-drama series Eight Is Enough on its 40th anniversary
Cannot believe that the series "Eight Is Enough" is 40 years old! The series was based on Thomas Braden's 1975 New York Times best selling novel which was modeled on the syndicated newspaper columnist who was a real life parent who raised eight kids on which the television series was based. The show centers on a Sacramento, California, family with eight children(from oldest to youngest: David, Mary, Joanne, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy and Nicholas). The father, Thomas Bradford, was a newspaper columnist for the fictional Sacramento Register. His wife Joan(Diana Hyland)took care of the children. Hyland appeared in four episodes before she took gravely ill; she was written out of the show for the remainder of the first season and died after after the second season aired. The second season began in the fall of 1977 with the revelation that Thomas Bradford(Dick Van Patten)was a widower. Tom fell in love with Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott(Betty Buckley)a schoolteacher who came to the house to tutor Tommy who had broken his leg in a football game. They were married in one of the series TV Movie broadcast titled "Children of the Groom" which aired as a two hour event on November 9, 1977. In another television event two other Bradford children were married in Season four episode titled "I Do, I Do" that was originally broadcast on September 19, 1979. As the series progressed Abby got her doctorate in education and started a job counseling students at the local high school; Mary became a medical doctor,while second youngest son Tommy became a singer in a rock and roll band.
In the pilot episode, the role of David was played by Mark Hamill while the role of Nancy was played by Kimberly Beck and Tommy played Chris English. Beck and English only appeared in the pilot and was abruptly replaced by Dianne Kay and Willie Aames for the remainder of the series. Mark Hamill was replaced by Grant Goodeve for the rest of the series entire run. As far as the rest of the cast were only actors Dick Van Patten, Lani O' Grady, Connie Needham, Susan Richardson, along with Adam Rich and Laurie Walters were with the series throughout its entire five season run appearing in all 112 episodes. Dianne Kay and Grant Goodeve appeared in 111 episodes while Willie Aames appeared in 109 episodes of the series and Betty Buckley appeared in 102 episodes.
"Eight Is Enough" was the brainchild of creator-writer and executive producer William Blinn along with producers Philip Capice and Lee Rich who served as executive producers along with producers Gary Adelson, Greg Strangis, Robert L. Jacks, and Philip Fehrie for Lorimar Productions for ABC-TV airing for five seasons and 112 episodes from it's mid-season premiere(which replaced "The Bionic Woman")on March 15, 1977 until May 23,1981. Repeated episodes from it's fifth and final season aired as summer replacements from May 30,1981 until August 29,1981. The series aired on ABC's Wednesday night prime time schedule at the 8:00 eastern/7:00 central time slot which was a ratings winner. Regular writers for this series included Peter Lefcourt,and writing teams of Gwen Bagni and Paul Dubov along with Greg Strangis, William Blinn, Thomas Braden, Gil Grant, Bruce Shelley, Norman Lessing, Martin Roth, Matt Robinson, Bruce Kalish,and Paul Schneider. The rotating team of seasonal directors including Irving J, Moore, Vincent McEveety, Phillip Leacock, Earl Bellamy, Hollingsworth Morse, Arnold Laven, David Swift, Leslie H. Martinson, Ralph Senensky, Barry Crane, Marc Daniels, Gerald Mayer, Jack Bender, William F. Claxton, Robert Friend to name a few.
Big name guest stars ranging from seasoned veterans like Jack Elam, to Will Geer, Frank Cady, David Wayne, Noah Beery, Abe Vigoda and Barry Van Dyke to guest stars Ellen Travolta, Julia Duffy, Susan Dey, to Judy Strangis, Sherry Jackson, Don Johnson, Tricia O' Neal, Danny Bonaduce, Charlene Tilton, Robin Williams, Ike Eisenmann, Stephanie Kramer, Jonathan Frakes, Timothy Van Patten, Karen Valentine, Gregory Walcott, Adrienne Barbeau, Kevin Schultz, Beth Howland, Corey Feldman, Billie Bird just to name of the big name guest stars that appeared on this show.
Eight Is Enough throughout it's run was nominated for an impressive six prime-time Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Actor or Actress in a Prime Time Series, Best Supporting Actor in a Prime Time Series and Best Film Editing. It won the People's Choice Award in 1978 for Best New Dramatic Television Series and was nominated for 2 Golden Globes for Best Actor(Dick Van Patten),and Best Writing for a Prime Time Series. The best episodes that came from "Eight Is Enough" were "Turnabout", the two part "Yes, Nicholas There Is A Santa Claus", to "V is for Vivian", "Seven Days In February", "Long Night's Journey into Day","Here We Go Again", to the two part "You Won't Have Nicholas to Kick Around Anymore" to "Moving Out", "Mother's Rule", to "Marriage and Other Flights of Fancy", "And Baby Makes Nine", "The Idolbreaker", to "Father Knows Best" just to name a few of the great episodes of the "Eight Is Enough" television series. When it was abruptly canceled in the Spring of 1981, ABC replaced it on it's Wednesday night schedule with "The Greatest American Hero" that starred William Katt and Robert Culp.
The origin of police dramas. Remembering the one and only "Dragnet" on its 65th anniversary
As we commemorate the 65th anniversary of one of the greatest police dramas of all time it is no doubt that "Dragnet" is one of the most famous and influential police procedural dramas in television history. "Dragnet" broke ground as innovative and original and from the show's first episode it became a huge hit with a cult following that still is prevalent to this day. This was a series that gave audience members a realistic portrayal of the police officers and detectives who put their lives on the line everyday for the safety of the public. Actor-producer- director Jack Webb in full collaboration of the Los Angeles Police Department gave the show the stamp of authenticity where most the episodes of "Dragnet" were based on actual cases-real cases and the full cooperation of how modern police departments work.
The program opened each week with these words of Jack Webb's character Detective Sergeant Joe Friday: "This is the city. Los Angeles, California. I work here. I carry a badge." The most successful cop drama in television history where it became one of the biggest hits at NBC, Dragnet's hallmark was its appearance of realism,from the straight documentary style of narration by Joe Friday to the cases drawn from the files of the Los Angeles Police Department to it's accuracy and attention and the details of police work("It was 4:30..We were working the day watch out of homicide. The boss is Captain Murphy. My partner is Frank Smith. My name's Friday."). Viewers were reminded of the unglamorous dead ends and the constant interruptions of their private lives that plague real policemen,and this made the final shoot-out and capture of the criminal more exciting. At the end of each episode and before the final commercial break(On March 10th, trial was held in Department 182 Superior Court of the state of California,in and for the county of Los Angeles. In a moment the results of that trial)after the criminal was apprehended,an announcer would describe what happened at the subsequent trial and the severity of the sentences he or she received.
The origins of "Dragnet" started on radio for NBC that aired on June 3,1949 and lasted for 314 episodes until July 26,1957(the radio program was still on the air when the television version was just starting out)and on December 16,1951 made the transition to television where it lasted eight seasons and 276 black-and-white episodes until August 23,1959 when it's creator-actor-producer Jack Webb abruptly pulled the plug on this series when it still getting high ratings. Then after a eight year hiatus, NBC revived it under the new title "Dragnet:1967" with Jack Webb at the helm as Sgt. Joe Friday that lasted four seasons and 98 episodes in color that aired from January 12,1967 until April 16,1970. NBC was set to renew the series for a fifth season when Jack Webb again abruptly pull the plug on this series due to other factors. It was revived again in syndication under the title "The New Dragnet" that lasted two seasons and 52 color episodes from October 24,1989 until January 21,1991. This was followed by a short-lived revival in 2003 when creator-producer Dick Wolf(of "Law And Order")launched "L.A. Dragnet" for ABC with Ed O'Neill in the role of Sgt. Joe Friday that lasted 22 episodes airing from May 11, 2003 until May 5, 2004.
"Dragnet" was so successful that in 1954 a full length theatrical feature was based on the television show in color(Starring Jack Webb as Sergeant Friday and Ben Alexander as Detective Frank Smith)that became the first ever television series to ever be made into a motion picture. The film was a monster box-office hit becoming one of the highest grossing pictures of that year. Another theatrical feature based on "Dragnet" came out in 1987 with Dan Ackroyd and Tom Hanks also surfaced(with an appearance by Harry Morgan as Bill Gannon,who worked with Jack Webb in the 1967-1970 series as Captain Bill Gannon).
"Dragnet" was the launching pad for future actors like Lee Marvin, Robert Vaughn, Leonard Nimoy, Carolyn Jones, Martin Milner, Dennis Weaver, Henry Corden, Francis Bavier, Ellen Corby, Charles Bronson, Parley Baer, Claude Akins, James Dobson, Lee Meriwether, Michael Ansara, Strother Martin, Kenneth Tobey, Fess Parker, Robert Bray, Glenn Corbitt, along with Raymond Burr, Hans Conried, Kevin Hagen, Alvy Moore, Yvonne Lime, Warren Oates, Richard Boone, and James Coburn just to name a few of the guest stars and actors who got their start on this series that would go on to bigger careers. "Dragnet" also had the intentions of using the same recurring actors in many of the episodes among them were Virginia Gregg and John Stephenson which were known as Jack Webb's regular players.
"Dragnet" also set the standard as well as the architecture for future police dramas to follow. And even after 65 years it still sets the standard for one of the great television programs that began on radio, made the transition to television during the 1950's and beyond. So here's to the anniversary of "Dragnet"..Happy 65th!!!
Hill Street Blues (1981)
The reinvention of the cop dramas...Remembering Hill Street Blues on its 35th anniversary
When it comes to outstanding dramas no one will ever come close to one of the greatest cop dramas of the 1980's perhaps the best police drama in television history. "Hill Street Blues" was indeed groundbreaking and realistic in its portrayal of the men and women who put there lives on the line everyday in order to protect and serve the citizens of the city. When "Hill Street Blues" burst onto the scene as a mid-season replacement in January of 1981, no one had never seen a show like this before and it reinvented the cop show genre like no other. Hand-held cameras,stories that lasted multiple episodes and large ensemble casts were pretty new to audiences but it didn't click at first. Ratings for the first season of the series were so low that cancellation seemed imminent. But through critical acclaim,the show grew to become one of the defining shows of the decade,one that set the standard for police dramas to follow. Despite incredibly low ratings during its first season, it surprised audiences and critics alike when "Hill Street Blues" won eight Prime Time Emmy Awards in 1981,breaking the record for the most Emmy wins for a show's first season. That record stood until 2000 when another critically acclaim NBC drama "The West Wing" surpassed it.
"Hill Street Blues" premiered in prime time on January 15,1981 as the mid-season replacement for two canceled NBC shows("A Man Called Sloane" and "Good Time Harry")and from the first episode became one of the biggest hits in the history of NBC that was nominated for an impressive 98 Prime Time Emmys and was victorious in winning 8 Prime Time Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series,Outstanding Writing and Direction,Outstanding Actor, Outstanding Actress,Outstanding Supporting Actor,Outstanding Supporting Actress and was nominated for 4 Golden Globes winning 3 Golden Globes in 1982,1983 and 1984 for Best Outstanding Drama Series. For the seven seasons and 146 episodes it produced the show became part of NBC's "Must See Thursday Line-Up" of prime time shows that included "Cheers","Family Ties","Night Court" and "The Cosby Show" for all of Seasons 1 thru 6. The seventh and final season saw the series moved from Thursday nights to Tuesday nights in mid-season until May 12,1987. The show was produced by MTM Productions(Mary Tyler Moore's production company and her ex-husband Grant Tinker) the company that not only produced "The Mary Tyler Moore Show",but also produced "The White Shadow", "St. Elsewhere", "Newhart","Remington Steele", "WKRP In Cincinnati",and also "Rhoda" just to name a few.
"Hill Street Blues" was the brainchild of creators Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoil and was set somewhere in the fictional police headquarters of a large metro city(taking place on the mean streets of Chicago)and it dealt with the men and women of the police department taking on the baddies,but it was way more than that and took it's characters to even more dealt than any show like it. The characters are real,candid and rather than just stereotypes that had real problems and realistic situations. The writers who were behind this series consisted of Anthony Yerkovich, David Mamet,Steven Bochco, Micheal Kozoli, Dick Wolf, Walon Green, Jeffrey Lewis, David Milch and top notch directors from Gregory Hoblit, Christian Nyby, Rick Wallace, Thomas Carter, Gabrielle Beaumont, John Patterson, Stan Lathan, George Stanford-Brown, Corey Allen, Don Weis, Oz Scott, Bill Duke, Randa Haines, Arnold Laven and Alexander Singer.
Big time guest stars ranged from David Caruso, Talia Balsam, Meg Tilly, Anne-Marie Johnson, Howard Rollins, Frances McDormand, Lindsay Crouse, Alfre Woodard, Morgan Woodward, Jennifer Tilly, Linda Hamliton, Danny Glover, Michael Lerner, Chris Noth, Dolph Sweet, James Remar, Ally Sheedy, Cuba Gooding Jr., Michael Biehn, CCH Pounder, Ron O'Neal, Lynn Whitfeld, James Avery, Meshach Taylor, Alan Autry, Steven Bauer, Hector Elizondo, Yaphet Kotto, Joanna Kerns, Don Cheadle, Clarence Williams III, Laurence Fishburne, Ralph Manza, Lauren Holly, to Renny Roker, Lynne Moody, Lee Weaver, Jane Kaczmarek, and Mykelti Williamson just to name a few of the great actors who were guest stars on this series. When NBC abruptly canceled "Hill Street Blues" after seven seasons and 146 episodes,it didn't them executives in charge of prime-time programming long to find its replacement that was also under Steven Bochco that was also critically acclaim...."L.A. Law" that premiered in the fall of 1987.
It just isn't Halloween without it...Celebrating the Peanuts special "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" on its 50th anniversary
Fifty years ago in 1966, the television special "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" aired as "A CBS Special Presentation In Color" on October 27,1966. It was the third Peanuts special(and the second holiday themed special,following the phenomenal success of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 1965 that became a colossal hit)to be produced and animated by Bill Melendez and was written by Charles M. Schulz,based on his Peanuts comic strip and serving as executive producers Lee Mendelson along with Bill Melendez with the original theme music composed by Vince Guaraldi. "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" was also the first Peanuts special to use the titular pattern of a short phrase,followed by the main character "Charlie Brown", a pattern which would remain the norm for almost all subsequent Peanuts specials for many years. The initial broadcast of "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" took place in prime-time on Thursday October 27,1966 on CBS-TV In Color ,preempting "My Three Sons" on it's regular schedule.
The original sponsors,as seen during the opening sequences(almost never seen afterward in its entirely since the original telecast)were The Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Dolly Madison Snack Foods which would go on to be a longtime co-sponsor of the Peanuts specials that originally aired on CBS. From the original telecast it was a colossal hit and the animated special was nominated in 1967 for three Prime Time Emmys including Outstanding Children's Program, Outstanding Animation Director(Bill Melendez),and Outstanding Outstanding Animation Writer(Charles M. Schulz). It was also nominated in 1967 for the Golden Globe for Best Animated Special. "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" really encapsulates childhood, the camaraderie and the spirit of Halloween in this classic tale of Charlie Brown and his friends going out for trick or treats and seeing Charlie Brown and his bag of rocks while everybody else gets candy and goodies; Linus and Sally waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive while Charlie Brown and the gang get invited to Violet's Halloween party. The classic Snoopy and the Red Baron(in one of the greatest animated scenes ever)sets the tone for what's to follow. The scene where Sally really gives Linus the scolding of his life is the best of this holiday special where Sally misses Halloween and Treats while calling Linus "You Blockhead!" while sitting all night in a pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive but instead rises Snoopy from the patch. The musical score from Vince Guaraldi is in regards a classic among classics and the score is just as brilliant today as it was when audiences first heard this back in 1966. I heard there is a soundtrack album to this television special too.
"It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" aired annually on CBS from 1966 until 2000 with ABC picking up the rights beginning in 2001(as with all of the Peanuts specials)where it airs annually during the Halloween season. Until the 2013 broadcast, the other Peanuts special "You're Not Elected Charlie Brown" aired immediately after "It's The Great Pumpkin" as if the emphasize the proximity of Halloween to Election Day. Also,the Great Pumpkin is mentioned in "You're Not Elected Charlie Brown" which aired twice on ABC in 2014. When ABC aired the first-ever animated special based on the "Toy Story" movies titled "Toy Story of Terror" that animated special "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" immediately followed afterward. Even after its initial broadcast more than 50 years ago this Peanuts special still entertains while enjoying the holiday spirit. So, here's a golden 50th anniversary to the Great Pumpkin and Charlie Brown.
Mission: Impossible (1966)
Outstanding and innovative espionage series...Remembering the original Mission:Impossible television series on its 50th anniversary
As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the most innovative if not successful espionage television series of all time the original "Mission:Impossible" for the seven seasons it was on the air for 171 episodes held the record for the longest running espionage series in television history for over 35 years(about 10 more episodes than its nearest rival, the British-produced "The Avengers" with 161 episodes)until its astounding record was broken in 2010 by Kiefer Sutherland's "24" that surpassed it with 195 episodes. But what makes "Mission:Impossible" one of the greatest shows of all time? It was well- written with more intrigue and excitement if not suspenseful than any other show of its era with superb production, big-time guest stars and explosive action and high adventure each week that kept viewers tuned in(that was in an era loaded with a ton of espionage theme series but "Mission:Impossible" went beyond the norm of the regular "spy" show and took it to heights never before seen during its run).
"Mission:Impossible" was the created brainchild of Bruce Geller who was also the executive producer of the series along with producers Barry Crane, Joseph Gantman, Bruce Lansbury, Stanley Kallis, Laurence Heath, Allan Balter along with Robert E. Thompson and William Read Woodfield, that became one of the biggest hits of the mid-1960's and remained on the air as a CBS-TV staple throughout the early-1970's. The series chronicles the missions of a team of secret government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force that went after ruthless dictators, evil organizations in foreign lands and in later episodes taking on organized crime with the strictest attention to detail and timing in order to save the world.
About the cast...out of the 171 episodes of this series only actors Greg Morris(Barney Collier),and Peter Lupus(Willy Armitage)were the only main cast members that were with the series throughout its entire seven-year run. Steven Hill(Dan Briggs)appeared in 28 episodes of Season One only. Steven Hill was replaced by Peter Graves(Jim Phelps)from Seasons 2 through 7 for 143 episodes. Martin Landau(Rollin Hand)was in the first three seasons of the series for 76 episodes. Barbara Bain(Cinnamon Carter) was also in the first three seasons of the series for 78 episodes. Landau and Bain left at the end of the Season 3 and were replaced by Leonard Nimoy(Paris)in Season 4 for 49 episodes of the series. Nimoy left at the end of Season 6. Lesley Anne-Warren(Dana Lambert)came on board in Season 5 for 23 episodes and left at the end of its fifth season. Sam Elliott(Doug Roberts)join the cast in Season 5 for 13 episodes. Other IMF agents were Lynda Day-George(Lisa Casey) in Seasons 6 and 7 for 44 episodes,and Barbara Anderson(Mimi Davis)in seven episodes of Season 6.
The series was produced during the first two seasons by Desilu Productions from September,1966 to January,1968. From January,1968 until March,1973 the series was produced solely through Paramount Television. The original broadcast history of the series aired on CBS-TV from September 17,1966 until March 30,1973 producing 171 episodes all in color. Season 1 was on Saturday nights at the 9:00-10:00 time slot from September 17,1966 until January 7,1967. On January 14,1967 it moved to the 8:30-9:30 time slot until April 22,1967. From Seasons 2 through 4 aired on Sunday nights at the 10:00-11:00 time slot from September 10,1967 until March 29,1970. Season 5 saw the show move back to Saturday nights at the 7:30-8:30 time slot from September 19,1970 until March 17,1971. Season 6 also move the show to a later time slot on Saturday nights at the 10:00-11:00 time slot from September 18,1971 to December 9,1972 and again until February 26,1972 with repeats airing until August 30,1972. The seventh and final season of the series saw the show moved from Saturday nights to Friday nights in an earlier time slot from 8:00-9:00 in prime time from September 16,1972 until the final episode of the series on March 30,1973.
During its run the series was nominated for an impressive 15 Prime-Time Emmys winning 7 of them for Outstanding Acting, Outstanding Direction, and Outstanding Writing and won 3 Golden Globes for Best Television Series,Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series,and Best Actor in a Television Series and won the Edgar Award for Best Episode in a Television Series. "Mission:Impossible" was without a doubt a series with big time writers from Bruce Geller, Allan Balter, Paul Playdon, Kenneth Pettus, Stephen Kandel, Jackson Gillis and top-notch directors from Barry Crane, Paul Krasny, Lee H. Katzin, Leonard Horn, Alexander Singer,Virgil W. Vogel, Joesph Pevney, Marc Daniels,to Leslie H. Martinson, Sutton Roley, Paul Stanley and Alf Kjellin.
Big time guest stars from Ricardo Montalban, Cicely Tyson, William Marshall, Eartha Kitt, Fritz Weaver, Anthony Zerbe, John Vernon, Lloyd Bridges, Pernell Roberts, Lee Meriwether, Joan Collins, Edward Asner, Robert Conrad, Carl Betz, William Shatner, Bradford Dillman, Barbara Luna, to Malachi Throne, Antoinette Bower, William Windom, Wally Cox, Ed Nelson and James Daly just to name a few whose performances were both convincing and enjoyable during the show's seven season run on CBS.
"Mission:Impossible" also saw a remake of the TV-series in the late- 1980's with Peter Graves(that was on ABC from 1988-1990) in the cast and spun a series of seven theatrical films starring Tom Cruise beginning in 1996. Even 50 years later it was one of the best ever conceived for its era.
America's most lovable housekeeper...Remembering the classic comedy series "Hazel" on it's 55th anniversary
For the five seasons that it was on the air,Oscar-winning actress Shirley Booth played an independent,opinionated,extremely talkative,in control housekeeper on "Hazel",but on the other end there was never a more lovable and respectable maid who became television's favorite.
Based on the popular single-panel comic strip by cartoonist Ted Key which appeared in the "Saturday Evening Post",the producers(James Fonda along with executive producers Harry Ackerman and William D. Russell for Screen Gems) took some of the harshness out of the cartoon character and replaced it with the warmth and wholesome family values that made "Hazel" a huge television hit for the early-1960's.
"Hazel" ran for five seasons on two major television networks running from 1961 to 1965 producing 154 episodes. The show aired during the first four seasons on NBC's Thursday night Prime-Time lineup from September 28,1961 until March 25,1965 for 125 episodes with the first season episodes in black and white producing 35 episodes(with the exception of "What'll We Watch Tonight",from Season 1,Episode 6 that was the only episode in its first season in color)airing from September 28,1961 until June 7,1962. The next three seasons of the series were "Brought To You In Living Color" for 90 episodes airing from September 20,1962 until March 25,1965(Seasons 2 thru 4). The fifth and final season saw the series moved from NBC to CBS for 29 color episodes airing from September 13,1965 until the final episode of the series on April 11,1966. The broadcast history of the series aired on NBC's Thursday night schedule for the first four seasons of the show's run at the 9:30 eastern/8:30 central time slot where it preceded "Dr. Kildare" from 1961-1965. After the series was canceled by NBC in the Spring of 1965 saw the series moved to CBS in its final season from Thursday nights to Monday nights at the 9:30 eastern/8:30 central time slot preceding "The Andy Griffith Show" in its prime time slot until April 11,1966.
Interesting point about the cast here only actors Shirley Booth and Bobby Buntrock were the only cast members of the series that stayed throughout its entire run and appeared in all 154 episodes. Actors Don De-Fore and Whitney Blake were the only cast members that appeared in 125 episodes in Seasons 1 thru 4 when the series aired on NBC from 1961- 1965. Both De-Fore and Blake left the series after the end of Season 4. In the final season of "Hazel" actors Ray Fulmer, Lynn Borden, and Julia Benjamin appeared in all 29 episodes in color when the series was on CBS from 1965-1966. During the first four seasons, "Hazel" was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company and during Season 4(the show's final season at NBC)was sponsored by The Bristol-Myers Corporation. In the show's final season the sponsors were The Proctor & Gamble Company and Philip Morris.
The show's first season placed fourth in the 1961-1962 Nielsen ratings. Actress Shirley Booth won two Prime-Time Emmys in 1962 and 1963 for Best Actress in a Series and was nominated for her third season in 1964. Booth also received a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actress in a Television Series in 1964. Out of the 154 episodes that were produced William D. Russell directed 136 episodes of the series. Charles Barton directed 10 episodes while E.W. Swackhamer directed 7 episodes. Veteran director Hal Cooper was behind one episode. Outstanding writers for "Hazel" consisted of Ted Key(the show's creator for 153 episodes) along with Peggy Chantler Dick, Robert Riley Crutcher, Norm Liebmann, James Fonda, Dorothy Cooper, Phil Leslie, Keith Fowler, Louella MacFarlane, and R.S. Allen.
The notable guest stars that appeared on "Hazel" were Frank Gifford, Howard Smith, Cathy Lewis, Mala Powers, Alan Hale Junior, Ellen Corby, John Astin, Leif Erickson, Dick Sargent, Lee Meriwether, Claude Akins, Harvey Korman, Ken Berry, Parley Baer, William Schallert, Virginia Gregg, Malcolm Atterbury, James Doohan, Leo G. Carroll, to Sterling Holloway, Jack Dodson, Luciana Paluzzi, Gloria Henry, Eleanor Audley, Alan Hewitt, Jamie Farr, Hugh Marlowe, Dub Taylor, Harold Gould, and Oskar Homolka and Bonnie Franklin just to name a few of the guest stars that were on the show.
The first four seasons of "Hazel" saw huge ratings but when the series when to CBS in its final season it had fallen out of the top 30 programs and this is when the producers made numerous cast changes when lead to its abrupt cancellation in the Spring of 1966(the series was replaced in the fall of 1966 when CBS replaced it with the Don Fedderson produced series "Family Affair")
Family Affair (1966)
Good Wholesome Values and Morals...Remembering the classic "Family Affair" television series on its 50th anniversary
The television series "Family Affair" was the created brainchild of powerhouse producers Don Fedderson and Edmund L. Hartmann(who also served as executive producers of this series) who were also known for "My Three Sons",and "The Millionaire" television series along with producers Fred Henry, Edmund Beloin and Henry Garson that made "Family Affair" one of the most heartwarming comedy-drama series of the mid- 1960's. The series was one of CBS' most popular shows spanning five seasons and producing 138 episodes in color that premiered on CBS' Monday night prime-time schedule on September 12,1966 where it preceded "The Andy Griffith Show" and went opposite "Peyton Place",and "The Danny Thomas Comedy Hour". During its first three seasons the series aired on Monday nights at the 9:30 eastern/8:30 central time slot from 1966 to 1969. By the show's fourth season CBS moved the series from Monday nights to Thursday nights in an earlier time slot for its final two seasons(1969-1971) at the 7:30 eastern/6:30 central time slot until its cancellation on March 4,1971. "Family Affair" became so successful that CBS put the series on its daytime lineup schedule also known as "The Family Affair Morning Show" aka "The Brian Keith Show" which consisted of repeated episodes from various seasons airing from September 7,1970 until January 12,1973. Repeated episodes from the best of the series aired from March 11,1971 until September 10,1971.
"Family Affair" basically was a good series that had a "Disney" type theme to it that had a basic story-line, great actors, and impressive guest stars that made it not only fun to watch but made it one of the most popular heartwarming sitcoms of its era. The series chronicles the trials of a successful civil engineer and bachelor Bill Davis(Brian Keith)who life has suddenly changed when he learns that he is given custody of his brother's orphaned children in his luxury Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City. Davis' English Butler and counterpart Giles French(Sebastian Cabot) also had adjustments to make as well as he became the guardian and the second parent of caring for teenage daughter Cissy(Kathy Garver),and his brother's 6-year-old twins Jody(Johnny Whitaker),and Buffy(Anissa Jones) not to mention Buffy's treasure possession Mrs. Beasley her doll that was the heart of the show. This was a series that had basic "family values" and "morals" that was still on the airwaves that were successful during that era. Out of all the actors associated with the series only actors Brian Keith, Kathy Garver, Anissa Jones and Johnny Whitaker were the only cast members that stayed with the series throughout its entire run. Sebastian Cabot appeared in 130 episodes of the series. When Sebastian Cabot left the series for medical reasons, his brother Nigel French(John Williams) was introduced for nine episodes in 1967. In the show's final season Nancy Walker was added as a part-time housekeeper Mrs. Turner for six episodes for the 1970-1971 season.
Creators Don Fedderson along with Edmund L. Hartmann were writers for all 138 episodes of the series. Other outstanding writers that contribute were Henry Garson, Edmund Beloin, Austin and Irma Kalish, Elroy Schwartz, George Tibbles, Seaman Jacobs, Peggy Chantler Dick, Fred Fox, Joesph Hoffman, Phil Davis, and Phil Leslie among others. Charles Barton directed 106 episodes of the series while William D. Russell directed 31 episodes of the series. James Sheldon directed one episode. Notable guest stars consisted of child actors Eve Plumb, Erin Moran, Veronica Cartwright, Butch Patrick, Kym Karath and Pamelyn Ferdin. Other guest stars were June Lockhart, Robert Reed, Ida Lupino, Jamie Farr, Jackie Coogan, Joan Blondell, Sterling Holloway, James Hong, Brian Donlevy, Martha Hyer, Ann Sothern, Doris Singleton, Vic Tayback, Dana Andrews, Paul Fix and Lee Meriwether among the many who made guest appearances on the show.
As for some of the best episodes of "Family Affair" there were several that were very good if not downright dramatic with a hint of comedy. But I start with the show's pilot episode "Buffy" from Season 1. Other great episodes included "The Joiners"(Season 5,Episode 20), "The Substitute Teacher"(Season 3,Episode 5),"A Member of the Family"(Season 2,Episode 23), "Christmas Came a Little Early"(Season 3,Episode 7), "A Matter of Tonsils"(Season 2,Episode 22), "Oliver"(Season 3, Episode 6), "Mrs. Beasley,Where Are You?(Season 1, Episode 7), "Mr. French's Holiday" (Season 2,Episode 27), "Fat,Fat,The Water Rat"(Season 2, Episode 7),and "The Baby Sitters"(Season 2, Episode 29),and the two-part episode "Lost in Spain"(Season 3, Episodes 18 and 19) to name a few. During its five season run "Family Affair" was nominated for eight Prime-Time Emmys between 1967-1969 for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series,Outstanding Directorial Achievement and Outstanding Writing Achievement. Nominated in 1971 for the Golden Globe for Outstanding Television Series and nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedic Role(Brian Keith).
When the series was abruptly canceled in the Spring of 1971 after five seasons and 138 episodes,audiences started turning to more "realistic" and irreverent television shows that were more of a urban and gritter appeal and by that time it was "harder" to find a wholesome family oriented program that was not only family friendly but successful and "Family Affair" exceeding all expectations as a television series. The 2002 remake of this was not successful nor did it do right to the original show. Happy 50th anniversary.
Laverne & Shirley (1976)
Incredibly hilarious series from the people that bought you Happy Days. Remembering Laverne and Shirley on its golden 40th anniversary
Being this was the spin-off to the successful "Happy Days" television series the characters of Laverne and Shirley made their debut premiere in a classic episode "A Date With Fonzie"(Season 3,Episode 10) from the "Happy Days" television series that originally aired on November 11,1975 and from that episode Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams made an astounding impression. The lead characters were introduced in that episode as acquaintances of "The Fonz"(Henry Winkler). It was from that episode and due to the high ratings it achieve,the producers thought it would be a great idea to create a spin-off to "Happy Days" which was at the time the highest rated show on the air not to mention a colossal hit for ABC-TV(which had five of the top ten shows in the Nielsens).
"Laverne and Shirley" was the created brainchild of Garry Marshall along with Mark Rothman, Edward L. Milkis and Thomas L. Miller(who also served as executive producers of this series)along with producers Lowell Ganz, Jeff Franklin, Arthur Silver along with Mark Rothman and Milt Josefburg that premiered on ABC's Tuesday night prime time schedule on January 27,1976 as the mid-season replacement for "Welcome Back Kotter"(which moved to Thursday nights). The series from the first episode was a colossal hit becoming ABC's top-rated sitcom that lasted eight seasons and 178 episodes until May 10,1983. During its eight year-run it went through major changes as the network moved the show to different time slots. For the first four seasons it was on Tuesday nights from January 27,1976 until May 15,1979. Then in Season 5 it moved to Thursday nights from September 13,1979 until December 13,1979 and on January 7,1980 moved to Monday nights until February 11,1980 where it was losing viewers and falling ratings. Then for the next three seasons the network moved it back to its original Tuesday night time slot after "Happy Days" from January 26,1980 until May 10,1983.
Only actress Penny Marshall was with the series for all 178 episodes. Cindy Williams was with the series for 159 episodes from 1976-1982. Williams left the series at the end of Season 7 to pursue other interests. Other recurring characters included actors David L. Lander("Squiggy" for 156 episodes); Michael McKean("Lenny" for 150 episodes),and Eddie Mekka("The Big Ragoo" for 150 episodes). Phil Foster appeared in 149 episodes while actress Betty Garrett appeared in 97 episodes of the series. The series "Laverne and Shirley" started roughly in the same time period as "Happy Days" with the timeline starting in 1958 when the series began through 1967 when the series ended.
Several writers contribute to some of the hilarious hi-jinks and slapstick comedy each week ranging from Lowell Ganz, Garry Marshall, and Mark Rothman(who were the writers for all 178 episodes of the series) along with Jeff Franklin, David W. Duclon, Marc Sotkin, Milt Josefburg, Fred Fox, Ron Leavitt, Winifred Hervey, Babaloo Mandel, Bob Brunner,and Michael Warren. Big time directors ranging from James Burrows, John Tracy, Alan Rafkin, Howard Morris, Joel Zwick, Alan Myerson, Garry Marshall, Jay Sandrich, Jerry Paris, Carl Gottlieb, Chris Thompson, and Tom Trbovich just to name a few. The guest stars who made appearances on this series featured Vicki Lawrence, Ed Begley, Jr., Carrie Fisher, Ed Marinaro, Fred Willard, Billy Sands, Jay Leno, Michael Mann, Anjelica Huston, Laraine Newman, Robert Hays, Roger C. Carmel, Scatman Crothers, Charlene Tilton, Conrad Janis, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Howard Hesseman, Fabian, Pat Carroll, Hans Conried, Troy Donahue, Toni Basil, G.W. Bailey, Severn Darden, Scott Brady, Christopher Guest, Jerry Belson, to Carl Ballantine, Mark Harmon, Fred Dryer, Dennis Haysbert, Ted Danson, and Art Garfunkel. Even had cameos from Jim Lange and Ilene Graff too.
During the peak of the show's run "Laverne and Shirley" got there own Saturday Morning cartoon show that aired on ABC on October 10,1981 with Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as the voices of there characters where it was part of "The Laverne & Shirley/Fonzie Hour". But with the original series the cast was electric not to mention the adequate writing and above average direction not to mention the slapstick antics made this show a solid ratings winner for the eight seasons it was on the air. Several great episodes do stand out here and I will start with the show's top ten which includes the two-part episodes "Murder on the Moose Jaw Express"(Season 5),"The Bardwell Caper"(Season 6), "We're In The Army Now"(Season 5). Other great episodes included "The Diner" (Season 5), "Look Before You Leap"(Season 2), "The Defiant One"(Season 7),and "Laverne and Shirley Meet Fabian"(Season 3). When the series was suddenly canceled by ABC in 1983 it faced strong competition of NBC's "The A-Team" that crushed it in the ratings. The series that replaced it in the fall of 1983 was "Foul Ups,Bleeps and Blunders" aka "The Dick Clark Show" on ABC's Tuesday night schedule.
Dr. Kildare (1961)
A Landmark Medical Series That Set The Tone For What Was To Follow...Remembering the Dr. Kildare television series on its 55th anniversary
Premiering on NBC's prime-time schedule on September 28,1961, "Dr. Kildare" became a widely successful television series that was based on the theatrical MGM "Dr. Kildare" movies starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore that were released in theaters during the 1930's and 1940's. There was also a successful radio version of "Dr. Kildare" that became a household name within itself even before it made the transition to television by the early-1960's. The television series quickly achieved success and made a star of Richard Chamberlain,who played the title role(along with an ABC medical drama "Ben Casey" that premiered at the same time but premiered a week after "Dr. Kildare" on October 2,1961)that inspired many television series dealing with the medical field.
Produced with the American Medical Association along with the Physicians Advisory Committee and the Hospital of the Good Samaritan of Greater Los Angeles for their valuable assistance the television series "Dr. Kildare" became one of the biggest prime-time successes at NBC produced a total of 191 episodes airing from September 28,1961 until August 30,1966. Out of the 191 episodes that were produced a total of 135 hour long episodes were in black and white for Seasons 1 thru 4 from September 28,1961 until May 11,1965(with the exception of "The Burning Sky" in Season 2 that was in color). Then on September 13,1965 for it's fifth and final season,the show went from it's hour long format to an half-hour weekly format and the series was now in color for 56 episodes airing from September 13,1965 until April 5,1966. Repeated episodes of it's fifth and final season continued in constant airings until August 30,1966. Seasons 1 thru 4 of "Dr. Kildare" were on Thursday nights in prime-time for NBC. The fifth and final season saw the series moved from Thursday nights to Tuesday nights for the remainder of it's run.
Under the creation of James Komack and producers Norman Felton and David Victor(who served as executive producers of this series under there production company Arena Productions/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television and NBC),the series like the MGM film series of the same title(1938-1942) centered around the young intern Dr. Kildare(Richard Chamberlain) working at the fictional metropolitan "Blair General Hospital" to learn his profession,and dealing with not only the problems of the patients,but confronting medical issues while winning the respect of the Senior Dr. Leonard Gillespie(Raymond Massey) while surrounded by all artistic obstacles both personal and professional. The results of this series was riveting drama with big name guest stars to boot along with the superior writing. The result gave the series three Prime Time Emmy Nominations for Best New Series and Best Actor in a Television Series and won Richard Chamberlain the Golden Globe in 1963 for Best Outstanding Actor in a Television Series.
The list of big time writers for this series consisted of Gene Roddenberry, Douglas Benton, Don Brinkley, Sy Salkowitz, E. Jack Neuman, Arthur Weiss, Al C. Ward, Christopher Knopf, Edward J. Lakso, Chester Krumholz, Phillip Saltzman, William Bast, to Theodore Apstein, Louis S. Peterson, Jerry De Bono, and Jim Thompson. The big time list of directors who made "Dr. Kildare" a standard quality of great entertainment included Jack Arnold, Alvin Ganzer, Don Medford, Marc Daniels, Alf Kjellin, Leo Penn, Ida Lupino, Lawrence Dobkin, to John Brahm, John Newland, Herschel Daugherty, Sydney Pollack, James Goldstone, Alexander Singer, Boris Sagel, Paul Wendkos and David Friedkin along with James Komack, Richard C. Sarafian, Don Taylor and Elliott Silverstein.
In addition to the recurring characters including Ken Berry, Jud Taylor, Jean Inness, Robert Paget, Joan Patrick, John Napier and Cynthia Stone among others big name guest stars ranging from Leslie Nielsen, Lee Meriwether, Hayden Rourke, Diane Baker, William Shatner, Robert Redford, James Mason, Boris Karloff, Suzanne Pleshette, Robert Culp, Yvette Mimieux, Ricardo Montalban, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Vaughn, Ed Asner, to Sorrell Booke, James Best, Dick York, James Franciscus, Richard Beymer, Ross Martin, Donna Douglas, Fred Astaire, Barbara Parkins, William Schallert, Dean Jagger, James Earl Jones, Diana Sands, Gene Hackman, Greg Morris, Angie Dickinson, Kim Hunter, Carroll O'Connor, Basil Rathbone, Edgar Buchanan, Steven Hill, Anne Francis, Joanne Linville, Charles Bronson, Jack Lord, James Coburn, Burgess Meredith, Yvonne Craig, and George Kennedy.
Several great episodes of "Dr. Kildare" do stand out as brilliant and I will start the show's pilot episode "Twenty Four-Hours". Other great episodes "An Island Like A Peacock", "The Administrator", "An Ungodly Act", "One for the Road", "For The Living", "The Chemistry of Anger", the two-part "Tyger,Tyger", to "To Each His Own Prison", "The Good Luck Charm","Whoever Heard Of A Two-Headed Doll?","A Miracle For Margaret" just to name a few. The phenomenal success of "Dr. Kildare" was a landmark series for many reasons largely because it let audiences see for the first time a show that combined high drama and medical information that was unheard of when this series premiered in 1961. And it has been much imitated.