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Based on Richard O'Connor's best selling novel and autobiography,the
classic television western series "Bat Masterson" became one of the
biggest hits of the 1958-1959 premiere season and introduce audiences
to actor Gene Barry who became a major star due to this series which
was far beyond the other typical TV-Westerns that came out that period
that showed a fictionalized account of the life of real-life
marshal/gambler/dandy Bat Masterson. The series was produced by Ziv
Television Productions,the company responsible for such hit series as
"Stories of the Highway Patrol","Tales of the Texas Rangers",and "Sea
Hunt". "Bat Masterson" upon the first episode was an immediate hit that
ran for three seasons in prime-time for NBC-TV from October 8, 1958
until June 1, 1961 for 107 episodes all in classic black and white. The
theme song to "The Ballad of Bat Masterson" was sung by Bill Lee who
was a member of the popular singing group "The Mellomen".
About the show, in just about every episode,took a tongue-in-cheek approach,with Gene Barry's character coming into a sort of ordinary Western town often dressed in expensive Eastern clothing and preferring to use his cane rather than a gun to get himself out of trouble or out of a sticky situation usually to help a damsel in distress or sometimes when dealing with gunslingers or bandits would use a gun whenever the situation got out of hand. In part Bat Masterson each week would roam from one Western town to another who always portrayed himself as a ladies' man traveling the vast and dangerous wastelands of the Old West in search of adventure. The show was so successful that during its three year run on NBC was Nominated for 2 Prime-Time Emmys for Outstanding Actor in a Prime-Time Series(Gene Barry),and also for Outstanding Editing in a Prime-Time Series(Richard L. Van Enger). Also during its run,Bat Masterson brought along a lot of successful writers to go along with the incredible stories in each episode. Top notch writers ranging from Andy White, Don Brinkley, Richard Collins, Harry Essex, to future "I Spy" producers David Friedkin and Morton S.Fine not to mention future "Star Trek",and future "Outer Limits" story consultant Samuel A. Peeples,along with Frank Pittman, Don Ingalls, Stanley Kallis, the husband and wife team of D.D. and Mary Beauchamp, and Ellis Kadison.
Top notch directors added spice to some of the intriguing stories ranging from Alan Crosland, William Conrad, Hollingsworth Morse, to Jesse Hibbs, Monroe Askins, Montgomery Pittman, Earl Bellamy,and future "Dick Van Dyke Show" director John Rich.
Several guest stars included some big name Hollywood heavyweights and newcomers including Robert F. Simon, Richard Eastham, George Macready, to Yvonne Lime, Gary Vinson, Brett King, Douglas Kennedy, Ron Hayes, Gary Vinson, Dan Sheridan, James Coburn, Warren Oates, Edgar Buchanan, to R.G. Armstrong, Gene Nelson, Kenneth Tobey, John Agar, Jack Elam, Frank Silvera, Morgan Woodward, Dabbs Greer, Ross Martin, Elaine Stewart, to future "Star Trek" players DeForest Kelley and Grace Lee Whitney not to mention fresh newcomers like Stephanie Powers, Ralph Taeger,Kevin Hagen, Diane Brewster, future Dukes of Hazzard star James Best,and Dabbs Greer along with 50's scarlet Allison Hayes and Allen Jaffe.
Several great episodes from the "Bat Masterson" series stand out ranging from "Double Showdown"(the pilot episode), "Dynamite Blows Both Ways", "Death by Decree", "Dead Man's Claim", "Incident At Fort Bowie", to "A Noose Fits Anybody", "Six Feet of Gold", "License To Cheat", "Election Day", "Buffalo Kill","General Sherman's March Through Dodge City",to "The Conspiracy"(Parts 1 and 2), "The Fourth Man", "The Treasure of Worthy Hill",to "A Matter of Honor", "Jeopardy at Jackson Hole"(which was the final episode of the series). After the success of Bat Masterson's run ,actor Gene Barry went to star in the detective series "Burke's Law" in which he played a Beverly Hills millionaire who was chief of detectives of the Los Angeles Police Department that lasted from 1963 to 1966 for ABC. In 1968 he starred in the 90-minute detective drama series "The Name of the Game" that also starred Robert Stack and Tony Franciosa.
The year of 1975 saw a dramatic change in prime-time television. It was
that same period where the "television Western" became the age of the
dinosaur,and from that came a slew of police dramas that were all over
the place. Some of them are worth watching while others were
unbelievable. The year 1975 saw new and violent crime shows and police
dramas that conquered the prime-time landscape...the premiere shows
like "Baretta", "S.W.A.T.", along with "Starsky and Hutch" dominated
the schedule. And then came "The Blue Knight" which was a
police-oriented cop show but it was in a genre of its own.
On November 11, 1973, a two-hour made for television movie premiered on NBC-TV that was based on Joesph Wambaugh's best selling novel based on the same title THE BLUE KNIGHT starring William Holden became a major hit. It was so successful that it won William Holden the Emmy for Outstanding Actor in a dramatic role not to mention garnering awards right and left including the Emmy for Lee Remick for Outstanding Actress in a dramatic role. This special presentation that aired in prime-time for NBC proved to be a critically acclaimed success with the public that sparked interest in continuing the character in a weekly dramatic series. The producers really wanted William Holden to revised the title role,but Mr. Holden (Hollywood's Golden Boy) wasn't interested in doing a weekly series for television or was unacceptable to the terms. However, Mr. Holden was an established Oscar winning actor who won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1957 for "Bridge Over The River Kwai",not to mention a veteran of the Broadway stage and theatrical work to his esteem credits. William Holden was also a huge box-office draw whose last picture "The Towering Inferno" was one of the top ten biggest films of 1974.
So the production company, Lorimar Productions, and its producers Lee Rich and Philip Capice (who were also behind the television series "The Waltons"),along with creators Albert Ruben and E. Jack Neuman with Joesph Wambaugh as technical consultant,insisted George Kennedy for the part of Officer Morgan. However,George Kennedy was also an established actor of stage,and the big screen for his theatrical work not to mention his guest appearances on several television shows to name a few. George Kennedy was also a huge theatrical box-office draw mostly known for his role in the "Airport" movies and countless Westerns,but his biggest success came in 1967 when George Kennedy won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in "Cool Hand Luke"(that starred Paul Newman). On May 9, 1975, CBS-TV aired a two hour made-for-television movie based on Joesph Wambaugh's novel with George Kennedy in the title role of "The Blue Knight" as Officer Morgan with the series focusing on the cops of the Los Angeles Police Department circa-1975 to be exact. The TV-Movie became a huge hit which gave the powers that be over at CBS-TV to launched a weekly series starring George Kennedy in the title role. The series unfortunately, didn't make it on the air as a fall schedule in prime-time on December 17, 1975 as a replacement for another series that CBS had was canceled anyway. THE BLUE KNIGHT as a weekly series lasted a mere-season producing 24 episodes from December 17, 1975 until October 20, 1976.
And that was very unfortunate since George Kennedy brought an "everyday man" approach to his character as realistic as possible as he and his police buddies do battle with dangerous criminals, drug dealers, rapists, and the whatever else occurs within the mean streets of Los Angeles, circa-1975. Whether intentional or not, as a series, did provide some incredible stories not to mention like other cop shows of the mid-1970's,it provided lots of action and excitement in some of the episodes. It was not a bad series to begin with since the powers that be over at CBS put this show on its Wednesday night slot in prime-time opposite another cop series "Starsky and Hutch" over at ABC,and against "Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected" and "Petrocelli" that was over at NBC. While it stood up as a great series such of the great writers that contributed to the scripts consisted of Joesph Wambaugh, Albert Ruben, Del Reisman and top-notch Hollywood directors J. Lee Thompson, Ralph Senensky, Leo Penn, along with Gordon Hessler, William F. Claxton, Paul Krasny, Irving Moore, Charles S. Dubin, Harry Harris, and Robert Butler. During its mere-season run some top name guest stars appeared in various episodes ranging from future "Dallas" star Jim Davis, to Robert Hays, Lee Weaver, future "Simon & Simon" star Gerald McRaney, Vic Tayback, Robert Hoy, Bruce Glover, Harry Lauter, Sherry Jackson, Edward Binns, Glynn Turman, to Barbara Rhoades, Verna Bloom, Art Hindle, Howard Hesseman, to guest stars Ron Harper, Aneta Corseaut(of The Andy Griffith Show), Norman Fell, Anthony Eisley, and Vince Howard. When THE BLUE KNIGHT was canceled by CBS on October 20, 1976 it was replaced the following week with The CBS Wednesday Night Movie.
George Kennedy put his mark on a character that stood for honor and principals and stood up for his police buddies when they got into trouble. Even after 40 years, the question remains about this short- lived series that lasted a mere-season on the air is to why they can put the entire seasons of "The Waltons" and "Dallas" on DVD and not a good clean cop show like "The Blue Knight" which deserves that honor on its 40th anniversary.
Out of all the great TV Westerns that were all over the place during
the late-1950's and early-1960's,"Laramie" turned out to be one of the
very best of the Revue Studios produced Westerns,the same production
company behind "Wagon Train". When "Laramie" first premiered in 1959,
the series had potential but was shaping up to be something a bit
different from the monotonous world of TV Westerns that were popping up
during that period. In that same year, 28 different Western-based
prime-time shows premiered on all three major television networks with
the exception of "Bonanza" which was the first prime-time adult Western
that was produced and filmed in color. The other Westerns that
premiered that same year were produced and filmed in classic black and
white ranging from "Riverboat", "The Rebel","The Alaskans","Wichita
Town","The Law of the Plainsman",along with "Johnny Ringo","Shotgun
Slade","The Deputy starring Henry Fonda",and "The Man From Blackhawk"
just to name a few. Most of these Westerns that premiered in 1959 had
more or less degenerated into endless shows about either a loner or a
couple of buddies shooting it out with bad guys and riding off into the
West. Most of these shows lasted a mere two or more seasons with the
exception of "Bonanza" which lasted an astounding 14-seasons on the air
"Laramie" when it premiered in 1959 attempted to do something far more intriguing: the series focus on two brothers in the Wyoming territory in the mid-1800's that consisted of young Slim (John Smith)who was the lead,and his confused kid brother(Robert Crawford,Jr. whose younger brother Johnny Crawford played Chuck Connors son Mark on "The Rifleman"). Their relationship was unheard of and not quite like anything else on a Western series at that time with lead to many unexpected and intriguing plots throughout the series entire run. Also that made this show stand out was the two other main characters one of them was Jess Harper(Robert Fuller)who was the unpleasant loner that wanders in the area and was accepted,with qualifications,as part of the group even though the brothers couldn't quite understand his personality whom they first thought of him as a notorious gunslinger at first,but came to accept him as part of the family. Also added in was the secondhand assistant(Hoagy Carmichael)who was part of the operations. During its first season the show didn't quite take off,but only had mediocre ratings as NBC had the decision to either canceled it or "reimagine" it. If they have done this the other way, the overall status of "Laramie" would have not survived due to competition from the other networks. Instead, NBC kept it on the air but made major changes that included everything that made this show special. By the show's third season,the overall changes were done and this time around the series would be produced and filmed in color. Gone were Robert Crawford,Jr. and Hoagy Carmichael but kept John Smith and Robert Fuller as the two leads. Added to the cast were Spring Byington and Dennis Holmes. Byington's character was portrayed as the sweet old lady who cared for them and Holmes was added in as the young orphan permitted to live with them on the Sherman Ranch.
"Laramie" premiered on NBC's prime-time schedule on September 15, 1959 and lasted four seasons on the network until the final episode on May 21, 1963. Out of the 124 episodes that this series produced, a total of 64 episodes of the series were in black and white from September 15, 1959 until June 13, 1961. A total of 60 episodes were produced and filmed in color for its final two seasons from September 26, 1961 until May 21, 1963. "Laramie" was Robert Fuller's first foray into series television and this was the series that made him a major star. Out of all the cast members that were associated with this series, only two actors Robert Fuller and John Smith were the only two cast members that stayed on throughout its entire run. Robert Crawford was in Season 1 and midway through Season 3(as a guest star). Spring Byington and Dennis Holmes were with the series through Seasons 3 and 4 only. Hoagy Carmichael appeared in Season 1 of the series while actors Stuart Randall and Eddy Waller(who was the stagecoach driver in 19 episodes)appeared during Seasons 1 thru 3 only. The guest star roster who appeared on "Laramie" consisted of some Hollywood heavyweights and newcomers ranging from Brian Keith, Dan Duryea, Adam West, Everett Sloane, Anita Sands, Warren Stevens, Thomas Mitchell, Arthur Hunnicutt, to Harry Dean Stanton, R.G. Armstrong, L.Q Jones, Morgan Woodward, to Claude Akins(who appeared four times in various episodes), Julie London, Vera Miles, Ernest Borgnine, John Anderson, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Denny Miller, Rod Cameron(who appeared six times in various episodes),Ron Harper, Jan Merlin, John Lupton, Gregory Walcott, Edgar Buchanan, Dennis Patrick, Lee Van Cleef, Russell Johnson, Gary Clarke, Harry Lauter, George Macready, Alex Cord, Joanne Linville, Lloyd Nolan, Ellen Burstyn, Parley Baer, Ray Danton, Carolyn Jones, Richard Devon, to future Star Trek DeForest Kelley, Lottie Harris, Ed Nelson, to also another future Star Trek Leonard Nimoy, and future Hogan's Heroes Ivan Dixon,and future Green Acres Eddie Albert not to mention future Dallas star Jim Davis and future Dukes of Hazzard Denver Pyle not to mention future Tarzan Jock Mahoney along with future teen heartthrob Tommy Sands.
After the success of "Laramie" actor Robert Fuller went on to star in "Wagon Train",but his biggest success was yet to come in 1972 when he starred opposite Julie London, Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe in one of the most successful television dramas of the 1970's "Emergency!" that was produced by Jack Webb.
"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
"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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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