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Petticoat Junction (1963)
50 years ago in 1963...Petticoat Junction premiered on CBS
"Petticoat Junction" originally aired for seven seasons on CBS-TV from September 24,1963 until the final episode on April 4,1970. Created by Paul Henning,who also served as executive producer of the series,this series produced 222 episodes during the course of it's network run. Out of the 222 episodes,only 57 of those episodes during the first two seasons of "Petticoat Junction" were in classic black-and-white that aired from September 24,1963 until June 15,1965. Out of the entire 222 episodes of this series only 165 of those episodes were in color for Seasons 3 thru 7 that aired from September 21,1965 until April 4,1970. Out of the cast members that were on this series,only actors Edgar Buchanan and Linda Henning were the only cast members that stayed on throughout its entire seven-year run. The show's sponsor for the series entire seven-year tenure was the Proctor & Gamble company (the makers of Tide Detergent, Duncan Hines cake mixes, Joy dish detergent and JIF Peanut Butter).
"Petticoat Junction" was one of the great,heart-felt show that was part of CBS' rural line-up of comedies that were right alongside "The Beverly Hillbillies","Green Acres",and "The Andy Griffith Show". Set in the town of Hooterville,this series featured the great Bea Benaderet(who was a regular from "The George Burns/Gracie Allen Show",and not to mention was the voice of Betty Rubble in the animated cartoon "The Flintstones")as Kate Bradley,the widow and the manager of the Shady Rest Hotel,which is located just on the outskirts of the little village of Hooterville. Kate Bradley runs the hotel while taking care of her three lovely daughters,Billie Jo, Bobbie Jo, and Betty Jo...all without much assistance from Uncle Joe(Edgar Buchanan)who in just about every episode was looking for quick rich schemes,while lazing himself away on the hotel's front porch. The show enjoy great success within the Nielsen ratings until the 1968-1969 season when actress Bea Benaderet passed away from lung cancer at the start of the 1968-1969 season,and that was when the show was declining in the ratings. In an effort to save the show,actress June Lockhart was brought in as Benaderet's replacement as Dr. Janet Craig,a physician at the nearby hospital who took over the responsibilities of the Shady Rest Hotel(June Lockhart was no stranger in the land of television shows. She was the mom on "Lassie" from 1957-1964 and was Dr. Maureen Robinson on the science fiction/adventure series "Lost In Space" from 1965-1968. June Lockhart came on board "Petticoat Junction" after her series "Lost In Space" ended production in 1968). By the show's final season which was the 1969-1970 one,the ratings were at the bottom of the Nielsens. In order to save the show,the producers did however do crossover episodes which consisted of characters from both "Petticoat Junction",and "Green Acres",not to mention bringing on the characters from "The Beverly Hillbillies". The episode titled "A Christmas in Hooterville" was that crossover episode that aired in December 12, 1969. Because of low ratings,CBS canceled this series on April 4,1970 after 222 episodes. The precursor of what was to come came within a year after "Petticoat Junction" was canceled with CBS' infamous purge of 1971. The show that replaced "Petticoat Junction" after seven season came on September 19,1970 with "The Mary Tyler Moore Show".
The shows that were the victim of CBS' infamous purge that came in 1971. Gone were "Lassie"(17 Seasons), "The Ed Sullivan Show"(23 Seasons), "The Beverly Hillbillies"(9 Seasons), "Hogan's Heroes"(6 Seasons), "Green Acres" (6 seasons), "Family Affair"(5 Seasons),not to mention the town of Mayberry,North Carolina....eight seasons as part of "The Andy Griffith Show",and three seasons as part of "Mayberry R.F.D."(11 Seasons),"The Jim Nabors Variety Hour"(2 Seasons), "Hee Haw"(ran for two seasons on CBS,then in 1971 went into national syndication for the next 20 years),and "The Glen Campbell Show"(2 Seasons).
"Petticoat Junction" was a great family heart-felt series that would have stood alongside "The Beverly Hillbillies",and "The Andy Griffith Show" in all-time popularity,if only someone at the powers that be over at Viacom(the distributor of the re-run package of sitcoms),had not done the unthinkable in the early-1970's,decided to exclude the first two seasons from their syndication package which aired from 1963 to 1965. Only the 165 color episodes were re-run in for national syndication that aired from 1965 to 1970. The first two seasons were some of the funniest and most innovative episodes of the series. The show is rarely seen in television these days,but its worth taking a look.
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962)
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour-93 well directed episodes from the master of suspense
Even though it lasted three seasons,a lot of classic Hollywood greats and some new and established actors from the past and present came together for this anthology which was television's last attempt to revive great drama stories. And this is what The Alfred Hitchcock Hour did for an astounding 93 episodes,all in classic black and white. Hitchcock actually expanded his half-hour format into a hour long segment with gave it more time for character and story development as well as unexpected twists and surprises within the story lines. "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" originally ran for three seasons on two major television networks. First it aired on CBS-TV for 48 episodes that ran from September 20,1962 until July 3,1964. CBS canceled the series after two seasons,and from there NBC-TV picked up the series for its final season and the remaining 45 episodes that aired from October 5,1964 until May 10,1965. "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" still had the brief introduction from Hitchcock about tonight's story along with the sadistic wit and humor that you came to expect not to mention our narrator telling us the ending-which was wrap up by Hitchcock himself.
The thing about this show is that it expanded its format to a full hour in which the storyline,situations and unexpected plots and twists progress right along,but in the end it was great entertainment. Some of the finest directors were on board for this series for some of its finest episodes ranging from Alf Kjellin, to Joesph H. Newman, Bernard Girard, John Brahm, Joesph Pevney, Jack Smight, Leo Penn, David Friedkin, Leonard Horn, William Witney, Phillip Leacock, to Laslo Benedek, and Jerry Hopper to future Oscar winning directors ranging from Richard Donner, William Friedkin, and Sydney Pollack. Even Alfred Hitchcock directed one episode from this anthology series.
Some of the finest writers team up for astounding episodes ranging from future Oscar winning producer James Bridges to Richard Levinson, William D. Gordon, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Henry Slesar, David Friedkin, Morton S. Fine, Lukas Heller, to Stanley Kallis, Mann Rubin, Alvin Sargent, William Bast and H.G. Wells.
The actors ranged from newcomers like Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, to Bradford Dillman, Richard Dawson, Claude Akins, Sally Kellerman, William Shatner, Angie Dickinson, Robert Culp, Richard Basehart to Alejandro Rey, Tony Randall, Robert Duvall, James MacArthur to Barbara Eden, Roddy McDowell, Dick York, Fess Parker, Gena Rowlands, Leif Erickson, Jeremy Slate, Elizabeth Montgomery, Hari Rhodes, George C. Scott, Steve McQueen, Cliff Robertson and Ed Nelson to old-timers like Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, John Forsythe and Peter Lorre just to name a few that appear in various episodes.
One episode in particular was in Season 1 of the series that featured Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield in which Tony Randall delivers a perfect performance as the frustrated ad executive who drinks too much and loses everything he has including his wife in "Hangover"(Season 1:Episode 12 that aired on December 6,1962)which dealt with the subject of alcoholism.
Others favorites episodes were Peter Fonda in "The Return of Verge Likens"(Season 3:Episode 1 that aired October 5,1964),and John Forsythe in "I Saw The Whole Thing"(Season 1:Episode 4-aired October 11,1962),to June Lockhart as a vengeful wife in "The Second Wife"(Season 3:Episode 27-aired April 26,1965). Other favorites included Christopher Lee in "The Sign of Satan"(Season 2:Episode 27-aired May 8,1964),Lillian Gish in "The Body In The Barn"(Season 2:Episode 32-aired July 3,1964),to the hilarious Bob Newhart in "How To Get Rid Of Your Wife"(Season 2:Episode 11-aired December 20,1963);Roddy McDowell and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in "See The Monkey Dance"(Season 3:Episode 5-aired November 9,1964);to Frank Gorshin and Martin Landau in "The Second Verdict"(Season 2:Episode 30-aired May 29,1964),and Arthur Kennedy in "Change of Address"(Season 3:Episode 21-aired October 12,1964).
Two unknown actors Bruce Dern and Robert Redford appear in various episodes of the series and both of these actors would go on to bigger and better things in their careers. One of them would go on to becoming a big time Oscar-winning Hollywood producer and director(namely Robert Redford). Robert Redford appeared in two episodes "A Piece of the Action"(Season 1:Episode 1-aired September 20,1962),and "A Tangled Web" (Season 2:Episode 18-aired January 25,1963). Bruce Dern also appeared in two episodes of the series "A Lonely Place"(Season 3:Episode 6-aired November 16,1964),and "The Night Caller"(Season 2:Episode 15-aired January 31,1964).
The other classic episode of the series featured two well-established actors who were but known for their "rural" comedies.....Pat Buttram,who was a known for starring in Westerns in the 1930's and 1940's as later on as the oily salesman/con artist Mr. Haney on the television series "Green Acres",and George Lindsey,who was known as "Goober" from "The Andy Griffith Show" television series appeared together in a episode title "The Jar"(Season 2:Episode 17-aired February 14,1964). Veteran Hollywood legend Gloria Swanson appeared as a old woman in a haunted house title "Behind The Locked Door"(Season 2:Episode 22-aired March 27,1964),that also starred James MacArthur.
"The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" was next to the last of the great anthology series of the 1960's and it was the last attempt to established this in the age of television. When it was canceled by NBC on May 10,1965 the magic that was this was gone,and in its place came the onslaught of police dramas and espionage shows.
One of the best epics in the "Tarzan" series starring the theatrical debut of Mike Henry in the title role
American International Pictures,the studio founded in the mid-1950's by Samuel Z. Arkoff and his business partner James H. Nicholson were known for there style of "B" movie pictures,mostly the occasional genre of films that they released which were "teenage juvenile","horror and monster flicks",and the "beach movies",not to mention the movies that featured the works of Edgar Allan Poe that were produced by Roger Corman(the studio that launched the careers of unknowns Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern not to mention reinvented Annette Funicello's career after her stint with Disney,and made Vincent Price its top box office star,and also launched the careers of Pam Grier and Fred Williamson too).
By 1966,American International Pictures took on a new venture..this time around the first-ever "Tarzan" motion picture that was filmed on location and brought with it a new style of high adventure and excitement. That picture was titled "Tarzan And The Valley of Gold",the 34th entry into the "Tarzan" franchise,and the first to star former NFL-great Mike Henry(who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams)in his theatrical debut as the "Lord Of The Jungle". Mike Henry replaces Jock Mahoney in the series. Mike Henry gets to do more things as Tarzan in "The Valley of Gold" than any other Tarzan that came before or after him. Not to mention this version is the more exciting of the series,and not since Johnny Weissmuller or Gordon Scott you have never seen "Tarzan" like this before,and more,all at a running time of 92 minutes tops. The movie begins with Tarzan(Mike Henry)arriving in Mexico wearing a custom-made suit and tie and carrying a briefcase as he is ambush in a stadium by assassins out to kill him in the style of the "James Bond" films. Second in the most exciting and incredible scenes in the film Mike Henry's character hurls a gigantic Coca-Cola bottle onto a sniper that is trying to kill him. Later on after he disses the suit and tie for loincloth accompanied by a chimp and a his pet lion,our hero goes into the hostile jungle where he slings a rope with two hand grenades attached to that land onto the rotor blades of a helicopter(in one of the most astounding action scenes ever filmed),and later on Tarzan gets behind the wheel of a tank and blasts away the villains.
Tarzan must also rescue a little boy named Ramel(Manuel Padilla, Jr.,who would also appear as Jai in the "Tarzan" television series starring Ron Ely during the mid-1960's and was a versatile child actor throughout) from a thoroughly evil but sadistic wealthy international criminal,Augustus Vinero(David Opatoshu),who likes to surprise his adversaries by installing small explosive charges into wristwatches,rings,and necklaces to blow up people. Not to mention has to rescue that damsel in distress(Nancy Kovack) from the evil villain and not to mention Tarzan has a dual to the death with a fight against the villain's hencemen,an Odd-Job type character. The death scene of the hencemen and the villain is fitting,but Mike Henry makes a great Tarzan character in a franchise that desperately needed to shot in the arm after the last Tarzan venture came out some three years before with Jock Mahoney in the title role.
"Tarzan And The Valley of Gold" was action-packed with non stop excitement and high adventure,and director Robert Day along with producer Sy Weintraub kept the action sequences at a good pace. The locations where the movie was filmed included were not far from scenic Acapulco,at Plaza de Toros in Mexico City,and at the Chapultepec Castle,and the Teotihuacan ruins,and the in the caves at Guerro. The screenplay by Clair Huffaker was an above-average and a change of pace for the franchise not to mention the film was given the full widescreen "Panavision" treatment. Despite mixed reviews when this movie came out on July 8,1966, "Tarzan And The Valley of Gold" did tremendous business at the box office,becoming American International's first and only attempt at a "Tarzan" movie and their highest grossing picture in the history of the studio. Robert Day would direct the next two to the last "Tarzan" films in the franchise both starring Mike Henry. Those would include "Tarzan And The Great River"(1967),and the last "Tarzan" theatrical feature "Tarzan And The Jungle Boy" (1968),both would be released by Paramount Pictures.
B.C.: The First Thanksgiving (1973)
Johnny Hart's legendary comic strip comes to television as an animated special in 1973
As tradition among the television networks,Thanksgiving themed television specials,shows,movies and made-for-television movies are presented. One of them dealt with the first Thanksgiving set in Cro-Magnon Man times,not to mention this was based on the "B.C." comic strip. If you're not familiar with the comic strip that appears in syndicated newspapers across the country..it goes like this....The "B.C." Comic Strip is based on a group of cavemen who get into in a series of prehistoric shenanigans. The main character was B.C. himself who is a naive but humble slob who gets himself into all sorts of misadventures. It wasn't until the comic strip's creator Johnny Hart brought B.C. and his cave pals out of the comic strip pages of the newspaper to having their first of two animated specials specifically design for television.
The first B.C. animated special premiered as a special presentation for NBC-TV on November 19,1973 titled "B.C.-The First Thanksgiving" that was produced and directed by long-time Chuck Jones animator Abe Levitow and featured three of the best voice-over cartoon actors of their day. You have the great Daws Butler as B.C. along with veteran voice-over actors Bob Holt(as Wiley/Grog),and the great Don Messick(as Peter/Thor/ and Turkey)not to mention Joanie Sommers(as The Fat Broad/Cutie Chick).
In this first animated feature the group of cavemen have to catch a turkey that will go on the rock soup that's being made. So,the chase is on! In perspective,the B.C. world didn't go any further except with two animated features:One depicting the first Thanksgiving and the other dealing with Christmas. It was never depicted as an animated series and always stayed as a comic strip until it's creator Johnny Hart passed away in 2007 on his drawing board. It's still running today as a weekly comic strip thanks to Johnny's grandson.
Wide Country (1962)
The short-lived series "The Wide Country"
Premiering on September 20,1962 the short-lived series "The Wide Country" was in fact NBC's answer to "Stoney Burke"(which was on a rival network) that lasted one season and produced 28 episodes,all in classic black-and-white. At the time "The Wide Country" aired,almost half of the programming that dominated prime-time were television westerns with "Gunsmoke", "Wagon Train",and "Bonanza' being the top three programs that dominated the Nielsens. "The Wide Country" was similar to "Stoney Burke" that featured modern day rodeo competitors who perform for top prizes. Also to point out that when this series premiered for the 1962-1963 season,almost half of the programming at NBC was in color with "Bonanza","The Joey Bishop Show", "The Wonderful World of Disney",and "The Virginian" just to name a few.
Produced by Revue Studios(the same company that also produced "Wagon Train" and "The Virginian")the series starred Earl Holliman and Andrew Prine as brothers Mitch and Andy Guthrie who are traveling rodeo competitors. Older brother Mitch is a champion bronco rider in the rodeo who tries to keep his younger brother Andy from getting into something while having various kinds of adventures along the way due to the life of a rodeo cowboy was like since they basically work the circuit of big shows,many of which were large urban centers. The aspect of this made for some great human interest stories in which the somehow over protected brother who convincingly keeps his kid brother out of trouble as well as keeping from doing something or teaching him the value of being a rodeo cowboy as well as teaching his kid brother the meaning of responsibility. Out of the 28 episodes that this series produced,it managed to bring on some very interesting guest stars ranging from Patty Duke, Roberta Shore, Slim Pickens, Jay Novello, to Barbara Parkins, Edgar Buchanan, Alan Hale,Jr., Anne Helm, Adam West, to Roger Mobley, Barbara Stuart to Yvonne Craig and I. Stanford Jolley.
The series aired on Thursday nights where it faced tough competition from "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet", "The Donna Reed Show", and the children's series "Mister Ed",and the second half of "Perry Mason" which clobbered it in the ratings. "The Wide Country" ended with the final episode of the series on April 25,1963. On September 19,1963 the show that replaced "The Wide Country" was another short-lived modern day "western" titled "Temple Houston" starring Jeffrey Hunter that was also produced under Revue Studios.
Stoney Burke (1962)
On October 1,1962 the short-lived series "Stoney Burke" premiered on ABC
Six years before the role of Steve McGarrett made him a household name on "Hawaii Five-O",actor Jack Lord starred in this critically acclaimed short-lived series about the life of a modern day rodeo rider who competes for the Golden Buckle,the award given to the world champion saddle bronc rider titled "Stoney Burke" that was produced by the multi-talented writer,producer,director Leslie Stevens under his production company Daystar Productions(United Artists Television)that produced an astounding 32 episodes(all in classic black and white) that was on ABC-TV from October 1,1962 until the final episode on May 20,1963. The series aired on the network's Monday night schedule where it ran opposite "The Lucy Show",and "Saints and Sinners" which by the way didn't improve things in the Nielsens,but "Stoney Burke" was the show that replaced "Surfside Six" after more than 2 seasons. This series was especially good but with Leslie Stevens at the helm this was technically about as good as television got in the early-1960's. The quality of this series lies in it's production values,thanks to producer-writer-director Leslie Stevens who made this one of the more intelligent "modern" westerns ever committed to television. This series launched the careers of Warren Oates(Ves Painter),and Bruce Dern(E.J. Stocker)who would go on to bigger and better things in their careers because of this series. Out of the 32 episodes that this series produced,"Stoney Burke" brought along interesting guest directors(like Tom Gries and Gerard Oswald)made contributions to some of the episodes along with superb writing that was essential to the stories presented along with the best acting cast ever assembled. But what made this show stand out was it's beautiful stunning black and white photography coming from up and coming photography directors who would go on to become big time Hollywood heavyweights...from Conrad Hall to Ted McCord,Joesph MacDonald,and Haskell Wexler. Jack Lord gives a stunning performance as the title character,but Warren Oates steals the show as his shifty but resourceful best friend Ves Painter. While Lord and Oates make a great team,Bruce Dern also gives a memorable performance as Stoney's trusty sidekick E.J. Stocker....all given by three superb actors in the roles of their careers.
What also made this show stand out were some of the guest stars that made the show a noir classic...top notch actors ranging from Ina Balin to Robert Duvall, James Coburn, Scott Marlowe, Sally Kellerman, to Charles Bronson, Burgress Meredith, James Mason, Jack Elam, Dub Taylor, Michael Pollard, Diane Baker, to Dyan Cannon just to name a few. After 32 episodes the show was canceled due to low ratings with the final episode of the series that aired on May 20,1963. After the success of "Stoney Burke",Leslie Stevens created the following year an anthology science fiction series that would become one of ABC's biggest hits of the early-1960's "The Outer Limits"...the phenomenal success of that series lasted two seasons before it was gone by mid-1965. After the success of "The Outer Limits",Stevens tried his hand an another TV-series and it wasn't as successful and by 1966 Daystar Productions went out of business. From then on,Stevens was a hired gun at Universal where he produced and directed several shows,among them was "The Name Of The Game"
If ABC had given "Stoney Burke" a chance it would have been around much longer which would have blossomed into a full run series....imagine if "Stoney Burke" stayed around to make the transition to color during it's second season which never happened.....Imagine if ABC have given Leslie Stevens the chance to produce "The Fugitive" rather than independent producer Quinn Martin or better yet imagine if Leslie Stevens was given the chance to helm "Star trek" at NBC instead of Gene Roddenberry...but that never happened. During the early-1960's Stevens did two of television's greatest most original noirs...the modern day western "Stoney Burke",and the science fiction anthology "The Outer Limits"...who knows what the outcome would have been since Stevens put a touch that could have been even better,much less given it a longer stay.
The Lucy Show (1962)
50 Years Ago....The Lucy Show premiered on CBS
Premiering on October 1,1962 the situation comedy series "The Lucy Show" aired on CBS. It was Lucille Ball's followed up to "I Love Lucy",and here first prime-time series without Desi Arnaz. The show began with Lucille Ball as Lucy Carmichael,a widow with two children,Chris(Candy Moore),and Jerry(Jimmy Garrett),living in suburban Danfield while sharing her home with divorced friend Vivian Bagley(Vivian Vance),and her son Sherman(Ralph Hart). The series was based on Irene Kampen's "Life Without George" which centered on a divorcée with children. In the show's original format,Lucy has been left with substantial trust fund by her late husband,which was managed during the first season by local banker Mr. Barnsdahl(Charles Lane).Dick Martin was cast in ten episodes as Lucy's next door neighbor,Harry Connors,during the show's first season. Character actor Don Briggs was also featured in six episodes as Viv's beau Eddie Collins. The first season of "The Lucy Show" fully utilized the talents of Bob Carroll,Jr.,Madelyn Davis,Bob Schiller,and Bob Weiskopf(the original writers of "I Love Lucy")in creating the show's first classic 30 episodes,all in black-and-white that aired between October 1,1962 through April 29,1963. It also featured Desi Arnaz as executive producer for fifteen of the first season's thirty shows along with producer Elliott Lewis. At the start of the show's second season,Desi Arnaz resigned as head of Desilu and as executive producer of "The Lucy Show". Lucille Ball took over the operations of Desilu and became the first woman to run a major Hollywood studio while Elliott Lewis replaced Desi Arnaz as executive producer of the series. Gone from second one were Dick Martin,Don Briggs,and Charles Lane. The Barnsdahl character was replaced by a more tyrannical boss,Theodore J. Mooney,played by Gale Gordon who would not become Lucy's perfect foil,but would remain with the series throughout the duration of it's run,surviving the format change. Under Ball's supervision,beginning with the 1963-1964 season,the episodes were filmed in color,although they would continue to be broadcast in black-and-white until September 13,1965. The final black-and-white telecast of "The Lucy Show"(which was filmed in color)aired on April 12,1965. Not to mention toward the end of Season 2,a disagreement erupted during production between Ball and head writers Bob Carroll,Jr., and Madelyn Davis regarding a script that Ball found inferior. As a result,Carroll and Davis left the series along with Weiskopf and Schiller right behind them.
At the start of the 1964-1965 season,the original staff changed. Elliott Lewis left the series as executive producer and was replaced by Jack Donohue,who also served as executive producer of the series as well as directing several episodes. With the absence of Carroll,Davis,Weiskopf and Schiller,Ball hired veteran comedy writer Milt Josefberg,who wrote for "The Jack Benny Show",and "The Joey Bishop Show".Under Josefberg supervision there were no permanent writers and different writers were employed each week(among them Garry Marshall). There were further changes to the series as Vivian Vance reduced the number of episodes she appeared in. Also added to the cast in Season 3 was veteran actress Ann Sothern. As the result,Season 4 saw the format of "The Lucy Show" changed dramatically.
In the first color telecast that aired on September 13,1965 of the 1965-1966 season saw Lucy and Jerry moving from Danfield to California where Lucy began working for Mr. Mooney at the bank,first part-time,and then full-time. Lucy's daughter Chris left for college as actors Candy Moore and Ralph Hart were dropped from the cast. Jimmy Garrett would make only two appearances that year to help with the transition,before he was also phased out of the series. Also added to the cast were Mary Jane Croft. Overall,the fourth season of "The Lucy Show" was regarded as the weakest with the quality of the scripts that were out week to week. Nevertheless,the show continued to received excellent ratings for Seasons 4 thru 6.
For the next two seasons,the show greatly improved due to the many famous stars that made guest appearances usually playing themselves in various story lines involving their encounter with Lucy and Mr. Mooney conducting bank business. From the 1965-1966 season onward with the change in format a number of famous celebrities made guest appearances ranging from a Who's who of Hollywood heavyweights.
The show's sixth and final season of the 1967-1968 saw Ball's second husband Gary Morton becoming executive producer of the series when Lucille Ball sold Desilu Productions(which owned and produced "The Lucy Show")to Gulf + Western Industries(Paramount Television)which meant she was no longer under ownership of the series. During the course of the series Lucille Ball was nominated three times for Best Actress in a Comedy Series and finally in 1966 she won the Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Also during this time Gale Gordon was also nominated an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series while Lucille Ball won her second Emmy during the series' run in it's final season. The final season of "The Lucy Show" posted it's highest Nielsen rating..becoming the Number 2 show on television. The final episode of "The Lucy Show" aired on March 11,1968 after 156 episodes. On September 16,1968 Lucille Ball made her final appearance on television which would be the last situation comedy series she would produced for CBS titled "Here's Lucy" which brought back her co-star Gale Gordon and her own two children Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. that would last another six seasons ending in 1974.
The Mothers-In-Law (1967)
Despite it's short hiatus,this was solid proof that this show had incredible talent that succeeded where ratings fail
Despite mixed reviews,"The Mothers-In-Law" was executive producer Desi Arnaz' last stand at producing another half-hour situation comedy that lasted two seasons. Not only that it had astounding talent,it had two of the greatest comedy television writers ever,the spectacular team of Bob Carroll,Jr. and Madelyn Davis(who were the creators as well as having full production control during the show's entire run),the same team who wrote many of the hilarious scripts for "I Love Lucy","The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour","The Lucy Show",and "The Ann Sothern Show". For the 56 color episodes that it produced,"The Mothers In-Law" was placed on NBC's Sunday Night Schedule sandwiched in the 8:30PM/EST time slot between "The Wonderful World of Disney","Bonanza",and "The High Chapparal". When it premiered on September 10,1967,the show was placed opposite the long-running "The Ed Sullivan Show" on CBS,and the crime drama series "The FBI" that was produced by Quinn Martin over at ABC which didn't help it in the ratings. Maybe if the powers that be over at NBC,put "The Mothers-In-Law" at another time slot it would be progressed into some more,but it didn't. This was a series that have some great comedy chemistry between it's two stars....one was Eve Arden,and the other was Kaye Ballard. Along with Roger C.Carmel and Herbert Rudley and you had to major hit. However the chemistry between Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard was much as the same as Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance did for "I Love Lucy". The magic between these two actresses was phenomenal. Even some of the physical predicaments or the comical situations these two ended up in were priceless in the age of situation comedy shows of the mid-1960's. Another great piece of casting were the newlyweds(Jerry Fogel and Deborah Walley)and from there you have a television classic that was funny then as it was when audiences saw it back in 1967. However,during the first season,actor Roger C. Carmel(Roger Buell)appeared in only 30 episodes airing September 10,1967 until April 28,1968. Carmel's final appearance on the series was in "How Not To Manage A Rock Group"(aired April 28,1968 with musical guests "The Seeds"). His replacement for the show's second season? He was replaced in Season 2 by Richard Deacon who was a fine veteran of many classic television shows. Deacon was Fred Rutherford on "Leave It To Beaver",and he was also Mel Cooley from "The Dick Van Dyke Show". Deacon appeared in 26 episodes of the series running from September 15,1968 until the show's final episode on April 13,1969.
Though the show never fails to provide laughs,there are some that really stand out that were the best of the series....
"A Night To Forget"(Season 1,Episode 4:airing October 1,1967)-where Eve and Kaye get locked in a department store. They try to call their husbands for help but get a wrong number in Barcelona,Spain!
"Through the Lurking Glass"(Season 1,Episode 12:airing November 26,1967) -Roger is writing for a TV show about the Masked Martian. So,he dresses up in the costume and jumps out at people in the park in order to gauge their reactions for his script. Naturally,he gets arrested and has trouble trying to explain since he is dressed up as a martian. So,he calls for help only to get Eve and Kaye coming in dressed by grasshoppers followed by Herb in an "Arabian Nights" type costume,then Jerry and Suzy dressed as a kangaroo and a rabbit.
"You Challenge Me To What?"(Season 1,Episode 12:airing December 17,1967)
"The Hombre Who Came To Dinner"(Season 1:airing January 14,22,1968)-a two part episode that had special guest star Desi Arnaz.
"Didn't You Used To Be Ozzie Snick"(Season 2,Episode 13:airing December 22,1968)-with special guest star Ozzie Nelson.
When "The Mothers-In-Law" was canceled by NBC on April 13,1969 after 56 episodes,the executives didn't take long to find a replacement when "The Bill Cosby Show" took over the time slot that was once "The Mothers-In-Law"...that show lasted two seasons as well.
50 Years Ago...One of the most realistic dramas ever produced premiered on ABC
On October 2,1962,one of the most realistic,exciting,and one of the most realistic dramas in television history premiered on the ABC Network. "Combat!" was that show and under it's creator and producer Robert Pirosh under executive producer Selig J. Seligman under his production company,Selmar Productions produced a show about the grim lives of a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in France during World War II. The squad lead by Platoon leader Second Lieutenant Gil Hanley(Rick Jason),and Sergeant Richard "Chip" Saunders(Vic Morrow). "Combat!" was more that just a combination of drama,it was a show loaded with action. Each week,these soldiers and their Platoon Leaders take on the Germans with lots and lots of spectacular action sequences and astounding firefights and sometimes daring rescue missions where not only the squad fights to stay alive against impossible odds,but the replacements that were assigned to the squad always ended up being captured by the enemy or killed. The squad in some cases find themselves in a tough situation only to find a way to get out of the predicament they're in and destroy the enemy against the perils they faced,only to come out of them victorious. But instead "Combat!" focused on the individual soldier and how he dealt with the war on a personal level not to mention the mental and physical fatigue these men faced each week. There was a brotherhood of sorts between the characters whether the situation they were in.One had the others back in case of trouble and to help each other out whenever the squad was in a tight situation. This was a show that had some of the best writing,spectacular direction,believable characters and some of the best hardcore action sequences ever produced for television were the hallmarks of this television classic which today had the same impact as when television audiences first saw this show and eventually blew them away back in 1962. "Combat!" became the longest-running World War II drama in the history of television that became a staple on ABC's schedule,lasting five seasons. Out of the 152 episodes that were produced,the first four seasons of the show(which were in classic black-and-white)spanning 126 episodes aired from October 2,1962 until April 12,1966. It's final season(the color episodes)produced 26 episodes that aired from September 13,1966 until the show's final episode on March 14,1967. The repeats from Season Five aired from March 21,1967 until August 29,1967.
"Combat!" was one of ABC's most successful show and went on to develop a huge following of loyal fans which remains to this day. The series regulars were superb and believable especially with the main characters of Vic Morrow,Rick Jason,along with Jack Hogan(Kirby),Conlan Carter(Doc),Dick Peabody(Littlejohn),Pierre Jalbert(Caje)were in some aspects lifelong brothers in the fight,depending on each other each week to get through some of the tightest situations even when they were assigned to dangerous missions. Not to mention a line-up of guest stars that came on board each week ranging from additional squad members or playing evil Nazi villains. The guest stars ranged from Frank Gorshin,to Lee Marvin,Charles Bronson,Sal Mineo,Roddy McDowell,Terry Carter,Frankie Avalon,Dennis Weaver,to Claude Akins,James Whitmore to Robert Duvall and Richard Basehart among others. Even after 50 years,this was the show that had non stop action and incredible drama,and it shows in the number of Emmy nominations and wins this show received. Don't miss the best episodes of "Combat!" from the premiere episode "A Day In June" to "The Long Walk Home"(Season 2), "The Hostages"(Season 2),"The Hard Way Back"(Season 3), "Hills Are For Heroes"(Season 4),to "Ollie Joe"(Season 5),and the final episode of the series "The Partisian"(Season 5).
Happy Anniversary....for now "Checkmate King Two To White Rook:Out"
The Smith Family (1971)
From the producer of "My Three Sons" and "Family Affair" comes "The Smith Family"
For the record,actor Henry Fonda starred in two landmark television shows that were in fact a decade apart.
First of all,audiences got to see him as U.S. Marshal Simon Frye on the landmark western series THE DEPUTY(Top Gun Productions/Revue Studios-MCA/for NBC-TV that ran from September 12,1959 until July 1,1961)that was produced and created by Roland Kibbee and Norman Lear(future creator and producer of "All In The Family" fame)that ran for two seasons and produced 76 episodes that were in classic black and white.
The second series he did was when he portrayed Detective Sgt. Chad Smith on another short-lived series THE SMITH FAMILY(Don Fedderson Productions/The ABC Television Network that ran from January 20,1971 until June 7,1972)that was produced and created by Edmund Hartmann under executive producer Don Fedderson that was in color and produced 39 episodes. The series ran 30 minutes(which included commercials).
Produced by the same company by brought you "My Three Sons",and "Family Affair","The Smith Family" was a far departure from Don Fedderson's previous sitcoms. But this one had a premise. Picture if you will "Dragnet's" Joe Friday or "The Untouchables'" Elliott Ness as a family man,happily married and determined to keep his job and his homelife separate There you have the challenges faced by Henry Fonda's Detective Sgt. Chad Smith,and focal point around which each episode revolved. It was your average sugarcoated typical family sitcom,but with a kick that includes a lot of police action and tight situations in just about every episode that was above your average half-hour family situation comedy-drama. His determination to safeguard his family's normality is illustrated by their picket-fence enclosed house on Primrose Lane. The series did have some solid moments to it,including the episode in which a mild-mannered man inveighies his way into the Smith household as "an old friend of Chet's" titled "Ex-Con"(Airdate: January 27,1971).
There were some other episodes that were outstanding thanks to actor Ron Howard's brilliant performance as the oldest son Bob. In the episode titled "Where There's Smoke"(Airdate: February 3,1972),Bob is sitting at a teacher's desk when he sees a group of boys pouring gasoline on the floor of the next classroom to torch the school. Bob picks up the phone to call the police when the boys take Bob by force and badly beat him to a pulp. It's up to Bob to call his dad and save the school from being destroyed. Other episodes were great too. From the first episode "Cindy"(the pilot episode airdate:January 20,1971),to "The Peer Group" that guest starred Butch Patrick and Stefan Arngrim(airdate: April 14,1971),to the two part episode titled "Strangers",guest starring Betty Lynn,aka Thelma Lou from "The Andy Griffith Show"(airdates: February 24,1971 and March 3,1971),and including one episode where the teenage daughter is harassed at school by a group of bad girls(one of them is Kathy Garver,aka Cissy Davis of Family Affair is a role that was a far departure from her good girl status). Other guest stars including Stanley Livingston,Jerry Mathers and even Jay North in recurring roles and in one episode William Windom. The final episode of "The Smith Family" was "Father In Law"(airdate: June 7,1972). Repeats of this series ran on ABC from June 14,1972 until August 23,1972.