Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Have Gun - Will Travel (1957)
The Legend of Paladin: Calling Card and Gunslinger with a sense of ethics and principles.
"Have Gun Will Travel" was a prime time staple of Saturday nights for the six seasons it ran on CBS-TV where it aired Saturday nights in prime time at the 9:30 eastern/8:30 central time slot. The series was so successful that it was the third and fourth highest rated television series where it dominated the Nielsens every year throughout the first four seasons of its six year run airing from September 14,1957 until the final episode of the series on April 20,1963. The series was produced by Filmaster Productions in association with the CBS Television Network. Actor Richard Boone appeared as Paladin in all 225 episodes of the series which were all broadcast in black and white. "Have Gun Will Travel" was one of the few television shows in its era to spawn a successful radio version of the program that starred John Dehner(in the radio version) that premiered in 1958 lasting until 1960. The television series was the created force of Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow who also served as executive producers and was produced by Frank Pierson, Don Ingalls, Robert Sparks, and Julian Claman.
Out of the 225 episodes of the television series a total of 24 were written by Gene Roddenberry(later of "Star Trek" fame). Other writers that contribute to this series were Bruce Geller, Harry Julian Fink, Don Brinkley, Lee Erwin, Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts, Sam Peckinpah, Richard Matheson, Harold Jack Bloom, along with Albert Aley and Fred Freiburger. Andrew McLaglen directed 101 episodes of Have Gun Will Travel while it's star Richard Boone directed 19 episodes of the series and he also served as a writer for several episodes too. Other directors were Sam Peckinpah, Ida Lupino, Lamont Johnson, Don Taylor, William Conrad, Sutton Roley, Gary Nelson, Jerry Hopper, Robert Butler along with future Hollywood director Richard Donner and Buzz Kulik. Big name guest stars ranging from Vincent Price, Jack Lord, James Coburn, Angie Dickinson, Denver Pyle, Claude Akins, Harry Morgan, Lee Van Cleef, Charles Bronson, Jack Elam, James Franciscus, June Lockhart, George Kennedy, Suzanne Pleshette, Michael Landon, DeForest Kelley, James Best, Ken Curtis, Warren Oates, Werner Klemperer, Buddy Ebsen, Kevin Hagen, Pernell Roberts, Martin Balsam and John Carradine to name a few of the guest stars that were with the series.
The show's sponsors throughout it's run were the R.J. Reynolds Company the makers of Winston and Salem Cigarettes and the Ford Motor Company.
The Rifleman (1958)
The Man. The Legend. Remembering The Rifleman television series on it's 60th Anniversary.
"The Rifleman" was the saga of Lucas McCain, a homesteader in the Old West struggling to make a living off his ranch and make a man out of his motherless son Mark McCain. The series was set during the 1870's and 1880's in the fictional town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory. "The Rifleman" was the created brainchild of producer Sam Peckinpah along with the production team of Jules Levy, Arnold Laven, and Arthur Gardner who served as executive producers of the series and was produced through Dick Powell's Four Star Television for ABC-TV that lasted five seasons producing 168 episodes all in black and white and ran 30 minutes in length airing from September 30, 1958 until the final episode of the series on April 8, 1963. The series was on Monday nights for the remainder of it's run at the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot. "The Rifleman" was historical as well becoming the first prime time Western to show a single parent raising a child.
Chuck Connors, a former professional baseball player and coming off two big major theatrical movies "Old Yeller" and William Wyler's "The Big Country" won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Lucas McCain and young Johnny Crawford started his career on this series as Lucas' son Mark McCain. Also along with the cast were Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance. But the real star of the show was Lucas' rapid action Winchester rifle that was customized to allow repeated firing by cycling its lever action that can be fired in three tenths of a second which was helpful in taking down the bad guys each week. Though quite successful during its first two seasons the show began to slip by the third season due to the ratings and by the show's fifth and final season it was out of the top ten of the Nielsens,.
Joesph Lewis directed 51 episodes of The Rifleman television series along with Arnold Laven who directed 22 episodes of the series. Other directors were Gene Nelson, Arthur H. Nadel, Don Medford, Richard Donner, Lawrence Dobkin, Paul Landres, Don Taylor, Ted Post, Jerry Hopper and even Chuck Connors directed an episode. Fantastic writers came from Arthur Browne, Calvin Clements, Robert Culp, Albert Aley, Ed Adamson, Bruce Geller, Lawrence Dobkin, Tom Gries, Sam Peckinpah, Chuck Connors, Christopher Knopf and Margaret Armen to name a few. More than 500 guest stars in over 970 credited roles appeared during The Rifleman's five season run with many veteran character actors cast in recurring roles along with some new Hollywood faces that were just starting out also made guest appearances as well...among them Buddy Hackett and Sammy Davis Junior. But the real tone of the show was the kinship and the relationship between father and son provided the balance against the violent backdrop of the frontier. The result was several Emmy nominations including a Golden Globe nomination for the show resulting in one of the best television Westerns of all time. Happy 60th Anniversary!!!
Remembering The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet on it's 65th anniversary
Cannot believe that this series has stood the test of time. "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" was for it's time groundbreaking, cutting edge for a family oriented show that was unheard of when it premiered on radio in 1944 and then made the transition to television in 1952. This was the show that brought Rick Nelson into America's living rooms and made it acceptable not only for it's standards but kept it's morals in check too. This was the sitcom where the husband never works while the wife stays home with the well-behaved kids...sometimes with hilarious and unpredictable results making it one of the funniest shows ever conceived for television.
"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" premiered on ABC-TV on October 3, 1952 and ran for an astounding fourteen seasons on the air until April 23,1966 starring the entire Nelson family which included Ozzie Nelson his wife Harriet Nelson and sons David and Ricky Nelson. The series produced an astounding 435 episodes with seasons 1 thru 13 telecast and filmed in black and white with the 14th and final season of the series produced in color. Out of the 435 episodes that it produced a total of 409 episodes were in black and white from October 3, 1952 until March 17, 1965. The 14th and final season produced 26 episodes in color from September 18, 1965 until April 23, 1966. "Ozzie and Harriet" became the second longest running family sitcom in television history behind "My Three Sons". The sponsors were The American Gas Company, Proctor and Gamble, The Eastman Kodak Company, Quaker Oats Company, The Chrysler Corporation, Heinz Ketchup, and The Colgate-Palmotive Company throughout the series entire 14 season run.
Ozzie Nelson was the creator-writer and executive producer of the series but also the director of several episodes as well. Ozzie Nelson directed a total of 358 episodes between 1952-1966. David Nelson directed 8 episodes of the series between 1963-1965. Writers include Dick Bensfield, Bill Davenport, Ben Gershman, Perry Grant, Don Nelson, and Jay Sommers. Ozzie Nelson along with Harriet Nelson, David Nelson, and Rick Nelson appeared in all 435 episodes of the series with the supporting cast members Don De Fore, Parley Baer, Lyle Talbot, Mary Jane Croft, Connie Harper, James Stacy, Joe Flynn, Kent McCord, and Frank Cady. The show had a low key style to it but when the boys got married that show had outlived it appeal and when the show went into it's fourteen and final season in color in the fall of 1965 ABC moved it to an earlier time slot(on Saturday nights) which led to it's cancellation in the spring of 1966 when the series was moved in favor of Batman.
By 1966, the youth counter culture was changing and so was the television landscape as well,but for a series that was family friendly and had great appeal the times were changing that saw "Ozzie and Harriet" end it's astounding run on television and made it's place in cultural history.
Wagon Train (1957)
The Golden Standard from the Golden Age...Remembering Wagon Train on its 60th anniversary
This was the quintessential Western from the golden age of television and even 60 years later it still holds the title. The series was a runaway hit lasting an astounding eight seasons on the air producing 284 episodes airing on two major television networks throughout it's run. First it ran for five seasons on NBC premiering on September 18, 1957 until June 13, 1962 airing on Wednesday nights in prime time producing 226 episodes all in black and white(with the exception of five episodes that aired in color during the fifth season). After NBC canceled the series in the summer of 1962, ABC picked up the series for it's last three seasons airing from September 19, 1962 until May 2, 1965 where a total of 95 episodes were produced with Season 6 producing 37 episodes in black and white and Season 8 producing 26 episodes. Then on September 16, 1963 the series moved from Wednesday nights to Monday nights for it's seventh season where the show expanded to 90 minutes in color where 32 episodes were produced. The series was produced by Revue Studios from 1957 until 1963. From 1963 to 1965 the series was produced by Universal Television.
The series debuted in the fall of 1957 at number 15 in the Nielsen ratings, rose to number two in the next three seasons,and peaked at number one in the 1961-1962 season. When it moved to ABC in the fall of 1962 the ratings began to decline and "Wagon Train" never again make the top 20 listings. The series starred Ward Bond as Major Seth Adams(Seasons 1-4) and was replaced upon his death by John McIntire as Christopher Hale(Seasons 4-8),and Robert Horton as Scout Flint McCullough(Seasons 1-5),and was replaced by Scott Miller(Seasons 6-8),and Robert Fuller(Seasons 7-8) along with Michael Burns(Seasons 5-8). Actors Frank McGrath and Terry Wilson were the only cast members that were with the series throughout it's entire run.
An array of directors included Virgil W. Vogel (who directed over 80 episodes of the series), along with Joseph Pevney, Jerry Hopper, Allen H. Miner, Earl Bellamy, Herschel Daugherty, David Butler, Christian Nyby, Sutton Roley, Sidney Lanfield, Andrew V. McLaglen, Mark Stevens, and William Witney. Fantastic writers included Norman Jolley, Jean Holloway, Aaron Spelling, Thomas Thompson, Calvin Clements, Gene L. Coon, David Swift along with Harold Swanton and John McGreevey contributed to some of the stories. "Wagon Train" was so popular it became the attraction for an impressive array of guest stars ranging from Bette Davis, Rhonda Fleming, Barbara Stanwyck, Lee Marvin, Ronald Reagan, Leslie Nielsen, Joan Crawford, Ernest Borgnine, Carolyn Jones, Robert Culp, Agnes Moorehead, Glibert Roland, Charles Bronson, James Caan, Burgess Meredith just to name a few. And lists goes on and on...."Wagon Train" kept on rolling in as the new regulars were added to the episodes until the train came to an end in the Spring of 1965.
Perry Mason (1957)
The one that started it all...Remembering the original Perry Mason television series on its 60th anniversary
More than 60 years since the series debut on CBS, Perry Mason was without a doubt the most successful courtroom drama/detective series ever made for television...still a define classic and it is highly watchable today without being dated. For the nine seasons that it was on the air, this was a series that was predictable while defying the odds, the outcomes and the plots to the mysteries went beyond the norm. While the plots were quite complex at times,the writers also treated viewers each week with intelligence not to mention keeping viewers in suspense to what happens next. The "Perry Mason" character, as developed by Erle Stanley Gardner went beyond the law or bending in order to fight for his client or testing a hypothesis where Mason not only goes beyond the norm for his client but exposing the truth and the suspect in the courtroom. Mason's Raymond Burr was not only the attorney at law but also was part detective and part sleuth who basically went beyond the norm of each of his cases with the help of his secretary Della Street(Barbara Hale), the private investigator/detective Paul Drake(William Hopper), the police Lt. Tragg(Ray Collins) of Homicide with the Los Angeles Police Department. Each case were in different aspects with someone being victimized by someone else,or in other cases a client who asks for Perry Mason's assistance or asking for help which begins during the first half of the show. The second half comes with the subsequent trial against the District Attorney Hamilton Burger(William Talman)where Mason exposes the truth and the culprit in the courtroom.
Perry Mason premiered on CBS on September 21,1957 where it ran for nine seasons and 271 episodes in black and white(with the exception of one episode that aired in color "The Case Of The Twice Told Twist" that was telecast in Season 9) until the final episode of the series on May 22,1966. The first five seasons aired on Saturday nights from September 21,1957 until May 26, 1962. Then for Seasons 6 through 8 the show moved to Thursday nights from September 27, 1962 until May 13,1965. The ninth and final season saw the series moved to Sunday nights from September 12,1965 until May 22,1966. Many fine writers and directors created interesting stories for "Perry Mason" in which some episodes were adaptions of Mason novels written by Gardner himself. And Gardner working with executive producer Gail Patrick Jackson the original entries were held strictly and successfully to the author's character with the strictest detail possible. Directors like Jack Arnold, Christian Nyby, Ted Post, Arthur Marks, Vincent McEveety, Robert Sparr, Earl Bellamy, Arthur Hiller contribute to some of the episodes. Excellent writers like Gene Wang, Jackson Gillis, Seeleg Lester, Stirling Silliphant, Mann Rubin, Samuel Newman, Orville H. Hampton, Laurence Marks, along with Jonathan Latimer and Sy Salkowitz. The guest stars ranged from Ruta Lee, Jesse White, Peter Breck, Yvonne Craig, Victor Buono, Steve Inhat, James Shigeta, Barbara Eden, Bobby Troup, Dick Clark, Ross Martin, Michael Constantine, Gavin MacLeod, Edward Asner, Jeannette Nolan, Strother Martin, Morgan Woodward, Charles Bronson, Skip Homeier, Mike Connors, Barry Sullivan, Pippa Scott, Barbara Bain, Cecil Kellaway, Richard Long, Whitney Blake, James Drudy, Stacy Graham and the list goes on. The most watched program of its day keeping viewers tuned in each week to see what happens next and it is still enjoyable to watch more than 60 years later....
The Joey Bishop Show (1961)
Remembering The Joey Bishop Show running on two major television networks..the switch
During the 1960's color boom,many television programs that were on the air at the time went from black and white to color,and there was one series in particular where the switch occurred during its entire four season run of Joey Bishop's early sitcom series. Interesting points about Joey Bishop's sitcom by the way..."The Joey Bishop Show" was one of three spin-offs that was based on Danny Thomas' classic television series "Make Room For Daddy"(that also spun-off The Andy Griffith Show, The Bill Dana Show,and Make Room For Granddaddy)that was created by Danny Thomas and Louis F. Edelman where Danny Thomas served as the show's executive producer along with producer Milt Josefburg and was produced and filmed at Desilu Studios under Danny Thomas Enterprises and Bellmar Productions. A total of 123 episodes were produced.
The series lasted four seasons on the air and was on two major television networks running from September 20,1961 until March 30, 1965. First it ran for three seasons at NBC from September 20,1961 until May 30,1964 for 97 episodes. Then moved to CBS in its final season for 26 episodes from September 27,1964 until March 30,1965. Season One of The Joey Bishop Show was in black and white for 34 episodes airing from September 20,1961 until May 9,1962 where it was on Wednesday nights in prime time opposite "Checkmate" and the animated "Top Cat". The first season saw Joey Bishop's character as Joey Barnes who worked as a Hollywood public relations firm and was living with his parents and his younger sister(Marlo Thomas),and younger brother(Warren Berlinger) along with his older sister (Virginia Vincent),and her unemployed husband(Joe Flynn). Marlo Thomas appeared on just only 19 episodes of Season One and was dropped after the first season ended along with the supporting cast.
The show's second season saw numerous changes as the series was moved from Wednesday nights to Saturday nights with a new format and new cast for 34 color episodes airing from September 15,1962 until May 11,1963. In this new format Joey Barnes is the host of a New York City talk/variety show with his new wife Ellie(Abby Dalton)and there new child. Also added to the cast were Corbett Monica as Joey's head writer, Joe Besser(of Three Stooges fame) as the henpecked superintendent of their apartment building and Guy Marks who played Joey's manager along with Mary Treen as the Barnes' housekeeper and head nurse with whom Joey frequently trades insults. The third season which was also on Saturday nights would be the last at NBC in color where it produced 31 episodes airing from September 21,1963 until May 30, 1964.
After it was abruptly canceled by NBC in the Spring of 1964 the series was picked up by CBS in it's fourth and final season where the series was reverse back to black and white for 26 episodes on CBS' Sunday night line up airing from September 27, 1964 until March 30,1965. Only Joey Bishop was with the series throughout its entire run in all 123 episodes. Actress Abby Dalton appeared in 90 episodes from 1962- 1965. Corbett Monica appeared in 73 episodes from 1962- 1965. Mary Treen appeared in 67 episodes from 1962-1965.
Interesting note about "The Joey Bishop Show"...that it featured several celebrity guest stars who appeared as themselves ranging from The Andrews Sisters to Jack Benny, Bill Dana, Don Drysdale, Milton Berle, Jack Carter, Andy Williams, Jack Paar, Bobby Rydell, Don Knotts, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Junior, Jerry Lewis, Edgar Bergen, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Goulet, Danny Thomas, Sheldon Leonard to Zsa Zsa Gabor, Frank Howard, Vic Damone, and Jack Jones just to name a few of celebrities that were on the show. Not to mention special guest stars ranging from Nancy Kulp, Raymond Bailey, Joi Lansing, Lee Van Cleef, Dawn Wells, Burt Mustin, Jack Albertson, Henry Gibson, Dick Martin, Sterling Holloway, Rusty Hamer, Marjorie Lord, Neville Brand, John Astin, Vivian Vance, Jackie Coogan, Sue Ann Langdon just to name a few of the guest stars not to mention walk on cameos as well(which included Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and the members of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team in another episode).
The fourth and final season saw a dramatic change as it was moved to Sunday nights where it was opposite television's Number One show "Bonanza" that clobbered it in the ratings. When it was canceled in the Spring of 1965, CBS replaced it along with another sitcom "My Living Doll" with the hour long courtroom drama "Perry Mason"(which was in its ninth and final season) in which in the fall of that year CBS programming made the jump to color.
Classic Chuck Jones Animation On Its Finest Hour..Remembering the classic television special How The Grinch Stole Christmas on its 50th anniversary
Fifty years ago in 1966, there was a television special that was released in a midst of a wave of animated holiday specials and it is right up there with "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer"(1964), and "A Charlie Brown Christmas"(1965) that went on become as classics. "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was originally intended to be released as a theatrical short ended up going to television under the direction of legendary animator Chuck Jones(who was also the producer along with Ted Geisel)along with assistant director Ben Washam. It was based on the eponymous 1957 famous children's book by Ted Geisel(aka Dr. Seuss) about a mean spirit Grinch who wrecks havoc of the Who's of Whoville as he tries to take Christmas away from them is a must see from beginning to end. But also finds a way to return the kindness to the people he stole from. Featuring the voice of the great Boris Karloff as The Grinch(who also serves as the narrator)along with the additional voices of June Foray and Thurl Ravenscroft(who was also the voice of Tony The Tiger for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes Cereals) with music and lyrics by Albert Hague and Eugene Poddany. So successful that the animated special in 1967 won the Grammy Award for Best Children's Recording In The Spoken Word to Boris Karloff-the only major award of his astounding long career in film and television. Thurl Ravenscroft also received Grammy nominations for his work.
The half-hour television special "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was originally telecast as "A CBS Special Presentation In Color" airing on Sunday December 18,1966 where it aired in prime time at the 7:00 eastern/6:00 central time slot where the special preempted "Lassie" in its regular time slot and faced strong competition it faced when it aired during the first half of "Voyage of the Bottom of the Sea",and the second half of "The Bell Telephone Hour" and from the ratings it received from it's original telecast "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was a colossal hit...becoming the most watched television special in its time slot. The original sponsors during its initial telecast were The Coca-Cola Bottling Company and the Foundation for Commercial Banks. So successful that CBS aired the special annually ever December until 1987. After it's initial network run on CBS,the animated special moved over to Ted Turner's Turner Network Television(TNT) and Superstation WTBS which was also TBS(Turner Broadcasting System) where it was shown annually from 1988-1995. Then in 1995 it was moved again over to the WB Television Network where it shown annually twice from 1995-2006. From 2006-2014 it came back to network television this time over to ABC where it aired twice annually on that network until 2014. As of August 13,2015 it moved over to NBC where it would be shown twice annually during the Christmas season. As of December 18,2016 NBC will air the special in honor of its 50th anniversary.
The phenomenal success of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" spawned two animated specials that were telecast between 1977 and 1982. On October 29,1977, ABC aired the television special titled "Halloween Is Grinch Night" that was a prequel to the classic holiday season that was produced by Ted Geisel along with executive producers David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng under there production company DePatie-Freleng Enterprises that won the Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Children's Special in 1977. On May 20,1982 ABC aired another animated television special titled "The Grinch Grinches The Cat In The Hat" that was also produced and created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and produced by Ted Geisel(featured the voices of Mason Adams and Bob Holt). A feature- length live theatrical feature "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was released in 2004 starring Jim Carrey and directed by Ron Howard and coming in 2018 a 3-D animated feature film based on the classic Dr. Seuss story featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch will come to theaters in late-2018.
Even after more than 50 years...this animated special still entertains. Happy Anniversary...Mr. Grinch!!!
The architect and the blueprint of the Police Dramas. Remembering the one and only "Dragnet" television series on its 65th anniversary
As we commemorate the 65th golden anniversary of one of the greatest if not the architectural format of the police drama it is evident to see why after all these years why "Dragnet" has stood the test of time. "Dragnet" was directly responsible for the maturation and realistic portrayal of police dramas(that set the tone for other police dramas to follow). In cooperation and support of the Los Angeles Police Department,"Dragnet" set out to do what no other drama has done and it mainly focused on the actual police stories as it follow a strict system of coordinated measures to apprehend criminals and suspects. Jack Webb the show's creator-producer-director-and actor(under his production company Mark VII Limited) was largely responsible for this. And to see why "Dragnet" was such a success that it lasted into a franchise that still to this day phenomenal beyond expectations.
The program opened each week with these words from Detective-Sargent Joe Friday: "This is the city. Los Angeles,California. I work here. I carry a badge." Dragnet's hallmark was its appearance of realism that were actual cases that were from the files of the Los Angeles Police Department to the documentary style narration by Joe Friday,to the accuracy and sheer detail of police work(9:15...It was sunny in Los Angeles we were working the day watch out of homicide...the boss is Captain Perry, my partner is Frank Smith. my name's Friday).
The origins of "Dragnet" first began on radio for NBC that premiered on June 3,1949 lasting until July 26,1957 for 314 episodes. Then after its success of radio made the transition to television on December 16,1951 where it was one of the biggest television hits in the history of NBC lasting eight seasons and 276 black-and-white episodes until August 23,1959 when Jack Webb abruptly pull the plug on the series during which garnered high ratings. Then after an eight year hiatus "Dragnet" returned to NBC in a new format that lasted three seasons and 98 Technicolor episodes airing from January 12,1967 until April 16,1970. NBC was set to keep Dragnet on for a fifth season until the show's creator-producer Jack Webb pull the plug on the show at the end of its fourth and final season due to other reasons. "Dragnet" also spawned two more versions of the show. On October 24,1989 the syndicated "The New Dragnet" produced 52 episodes lasting until January 21,1991. Even creator and producer Dick Wolf(of "Law and Order") revised a new version titled "L.A. Dragnet" for ABC that lasted a mere season and 22 episodes from May 11, 2003 until May 5, 2004. The success of the television series also spawned two theatrical features. At the height of show's success on TV, Warner Brothers Pictures in 1954 released in theaters "Dragnet",and in 1987 Universal Pictures released in theaters a comedy version of "Dragnet" with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks with a appearance by Harry Morgan(who played Officer Bill Gannon in the revised version of the television series).
"Dragnet" had a documentary style approach on how police procedures worked and the detectives that handled the cases since audiences had no idea on how the suspects were captured and brought to justice. Just before the show took its final commercial break,the show's announcer would inform the audience of something that was related to the case. Here is an example: "On July 20th,trial was held in Department 184 Superior Court of the State of California,in and for the county of Los Angeles. In a moment the results of that trial." Then after the break the camera faded in for what was presumably the perpetrator's mug shot consisting of him or her standing uncomfortably against the wall where the results of the trial were announced where the perpetrator's name and fate were superimposed on the screen. Here is an example: "The suspects were found guilty of.....and the sentence was punishable for no more than a maximum of...." which was the case where they are being committed for their crime. The success of Dragnet won five Prime-Time Emmys for Best Mystery Program, Best Outstanding Actor(Jack Webb), Best Supporting Actor, Photography, and Outstanding Direction(Jack Webb) and was Nominated for 12. Dragnet was nominated for 2 Directors Guild Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement and in 1953 won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Episode and Outstanding Writing.
Even after more than 65 years later "Dragnet" is still one of the more realistic cop dramas ever produced and it is evident to see why it has lasted longer and has other cop shows using its formula. Jack Webb was an architect of the police drama format. A testimony that still holds up to this day. Happy 65th Anniversary "Dragnet".....Jack Webb.....
I Love Lucy (1951)
The greatest sitcom ever....Remembering the one and only "I Love Lucy" original television series on its 65th golden anniversary
First of all, this was the sitcom of sitcoms. Every aspect of the show's premise was implausible and innovative. This was an extraordinary accomplishment in entertainment when it premiered in 1951. And it was the first-ever sitcom to feature a woman as a main character which was not only rare but taking a huge step forward during the golden age of television in the early-1950's. "I Love Lucy" was rebellious and controversial but in turn had some of the most hilarious episodes ever conceived for television. And even some 65 years after it premiered on television the series is still going strong in syndicated repeats in dozens of languages across the world and still to this day remains popular with an American audience of 40 million each year. As for the series itself it has stood the test of time. "I Love Lucy" made television history as being the first scripted television program to be shot on 35mm film and was in front of a studio audience. From the first episode of "I Love Lucy" on October 15,1951 the show was a instant hit on CBS' Prime Time Monday night schedule for the remainder of it's six- year run producing 181 episodes(which includes the "lost" Christmas episode and the original pilot)until the final episode of the series on May 6,1957 all in classic black-and-white. "I Love Lucy" aired on Monday nights in Prime-Time for the remainder of its run at the 9:00 eastern/8:00 central time slot.
About the production team behind "I Love Lucy". The series was produced by Desi Arnaz who served as executive producer(under his production company Desilu Productions)for 158 episodes of the series from 1952 to 1957. Jess Oppenheimer was producer for 155 episodes from 1951-1956. Marc Daniels directed 33 episodes of the series from 1951-1953. William Asher directed 101 episodes of the series from 1952-1957. James V. Kern took over directorial duties in the final two seasons of the series from 1955-1957. Jess Oppenheimer was one of the writers for Seasons 1 thru 5. Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf came on board during the last two seasons of the series. Only writers Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll Jr., were the only principal writers that were with the series throughout its entire six year-run. Lucille Ball kept the same principal writers for other shows including "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Show", "The Lucy Show",and "Here's Lucy". Only actors Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz along with Vivian Vance and William Frawley were the only principal cast players that were with the series throughout its entire run.
The phenomenal success of "I Love Lucy" won five Prime-Time Emmys for Best Situation Comedy Series and Best Actress in a Series between 1952 and 1957 and was nominated for an impressive eight. "I Love Lucy" was during the four of its six seasons was the top rated show on television and was the first series in its final season to end its run at the top of the Nielsens(which was an accomplishment later only matched by "The Andy Griffith Show" in 1968 and "Seinfeld" in 1998).
The guest star roster of who's who of Hollywood greats appear on this series including the hilarious episode where "Lucy Meets Superman" played by George Reeves as Superman!!! And other Hollywood greats include appearances by Richard Widmark, John Wayne, William Holden, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Charles Boyer, Rock Hudson, Hedda Hopper, Van Johnson, Harpo Marx, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Orson Welles, Claude Akins, Joi Lansing and Cornel Wilde. Speaking of the greatest episodes from "I Love Lucy" there are several that are considered classics among them "Lucy Does A TV Commercial"(Season 1, Episode 30), "Lucy's Italian Movie"(Season 5, Episode 23); "Job Switching"(Season 2, Episode 1); "The Camping Trip"(Season 2, Episode 29); "Lucy Is Enceinte" (Season 2, Episode 10); "The Black Wig"(Season 3, Episode 26); "Hollywood at Last"(Season 4, Episode 16)are just some of the hilarious episodes this series had.
Even after 65 years "I Love Lucy" remains one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history and its a milestone that will never be surpassed or equaled. First you had Lucille Ball's astounding flair for comedy top it off with some of outlandish moments that even to this day still entertains. Happy 65th anniversary to one of the great sitcoms of all time....Here's to you Lucy!!!!
Hill Street Blues (1981)
Remembering the police drama Hill Street Blues on its 35th anniversary
The series "Hill Street Blues" premiered on NBC's Prime Time schedule on January 15,1981 as the mid-season replacement for two canceled NBC shows("A Man Called Sloane" and "Good Time Harry")that became one of the greatest police dramas of the 1980's that was nominated for an impressive 98 Prime Time Emmys and was victorious in winning 8 Prime Time Emmys during its first season for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Writing and Direction, Outstanding Actor in a Prime Time Series, Outstanding Actress in a Prime Time Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Prime Time Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Prime Time Series. This was debut season record that was held until 2000 when another critically acclaimed NBC series "The West Wing" surpassed it winning 9 Prime Time Emmys for Outstanding Television Series. "Hill Street Blues" was nominated for 4 Golden Globes and was victorious in winning 3 Golden Globes in 1982, 1983 and 1984 for Best Outstanding Television Series.
For the seven seasons and 146 episodes it produced while on the air the series aired as the mid-season replacement on January 15,1981 where it aired on Thursday nights at the 10:00 eastern/9:00 central time slot until January 17,1981 when the network moved the series to Saturday nights until March 21,1981. Then NBC moved "Hill Street Blues" again from Saturday nights to Tuesday nights in order to save it from cancellation within its first season where it was placed at the 9:00 eastern/8:00 central time slot from March 28,1981 until May 26,1981. Then from Seasons 2 thru 6, the show was placed on Thursday nights in Prime-Time becoming one of NBC's "Must See" dramas on it's successful prime time line-up at the 10:00 eastern/9:00 central time slot where it remained from October 29,1981 until April 3,1986. By the show's seventh and final season saw the show remaining on Thursday nights on October 2,1986 until November 27,1986 on the same exact time slot. Then on December 2,1986 it moved from Thursday nights to Tuesday nights from March 3,1987 until the series finale on May 12,1987.
"Hill Street Blues" was the brainchild of creators Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoil(who also served as executive producers of this series) along with producer Gregory Hoblit. The series was produced by MTM Productions(Mary Tyler Moore's production company and then ex-husband Grant Tinker). MTM Productions not only created Mary Tyler Moore's sitcom of the 1970's but also created "The White Shadow","Newhart", "Rhoda","St. Elsewhere", "Remington Steele", "WKRP In Cincinnati","The Tony Randall Show",and "The Bob Newhart Show" just to name a few. Interesting point about the actors associated with "Hill Street Blues". out of the 146 episodes it produced only actors Daniel J. Travanti, Veronica Hamel, Micheal Conrad, Michael Warren, Betty Thomas, Joe Spano, Charles Haid, Dennis Franz, Bruce Weitz, Jon Cypher, Taurean Blacque and Kiel Martin were with the series throughout its entire seven season run.
It's evident that this series had some of the best writers that gave this series the must see television of the decade ranging from the creators Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoil along with Dick Wolf, David Milch, Anthony Yerkovich, Jeffrey Lewis, David Mamet, Walon Green, Robert Ward and had top notch directors from Christian Nyby, David Anspaugh, Thomas Carter, George Stanford-Brown, Bill Duke, Stan Lathan, Jack Starlett, Corey Allen, Alexander Singer, Gabrielle Beaumont, Randa Haines, Oz Scott, Arnold Laven, Don Weis, Rick Wallace, and Robert Butler who contribute to some of the fantastic and riveting episodes this series had.
Top notch guest stars from David Caruso, James Remar, Howard Rollins, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Lauren Holly, Jennifer Tilly, Lindsay Crouse, Dan Hedaya, Jane Kaczmarek, Linda Hamilton, Danny Glover, Michael Lerner, Reni Santoni, Gregory Sierra, Clarence Williams III, Anne-Marie Johnson, Edward James Olmos, Chris Noth, Dolph Sweet, Ally Sheedy, Michael Biehn, Joe Santos, Eric Laneuville, CCH Pounder, to Lynn Whitfield, Garrett Morris, James Avery, Charles Hallahan, Mimi Rogers, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Jill Eikenberry, Cuba Gooding Jr., Richard Bull, Robert Pastorelli, Alex Hyde-White, Beah Richards, Richard Romanus, Hector Elizondo, Steven Bauer, Hal Williams, Robert Davi, Scatman Crothers, Yaphet Kotto, James Murtaugh, Joanna Kerns, Don Cheadle, Dwight Schultz, Dana Elcar, Laurence Fishburne, Moses Gunn, to Beverly Todd, Keenen Ivory-Wayans, Patricia Wettig, Val Bisoglio, and Michael Ironside just to name a few of the great guest stars this series had.
From the best episodes I will start with the riveting pilot that started it all "Hill Street Station". Other great episodes "What Are Friends For?"(Season 6, Episode 9); "It Ain't Over Till It's Over'(Season 7, Episode 22); "Grace Under Pressure"(Season 4, Episode 14); "Trial By Fury"(Season 3, Episode 1); "Freedom's Last Stand"(Season 2, Episode 11); "The Rise and Fall of Paul The Wall"(Season 5, Episode 10) and many more great episodes that made "Hill Street Blues" one of the best cop dramas of the 1980's.
When NBC abruptly canceled this critically acclaimed series after seven seasons and 146 episodes, it didn't take the powers that be over at NBC long to find its replacement that also created and produced by Steven Bochco that also became NBC's "Must See" drama of the late-1980's and early-1990's which was "L.A. Law"
Mister Ed (1958)
Remembering the famous Mister Ed television series on its 55th anniversary
Being one of the silliest if not most beloved comedy/fantasy sitcoms that were so prevalent in the early-1960's was a television series about talking horse named Mister Ed. The talking palomino had a huge popularity with children of all ages and it was a series based on the skills of Alan Young making you believe that a horse could talk with the voice of Allan "Rocky" Lane(who was a "B" movie star in Westerns during the 1940's and 1950's) whose voice was well integrated into the personality of a palomino that spoke to a generation gap that continues to this day some 50 years after he went off the air,and some 55 years when the series began.
Mister Ed may have been silly or over the top but designed as basically a children's show with adults in mind with some of the episodes seeing Mister Ed's owner Wilbur Post(Alan Young)being frustrated to no end as Mister Ed always ends up along with Wilbur getting into one hilarious mischief adventure after another and that also was the plot to some of the crazy over the top episodes this series had during it's run of six seasons. Based on the children's short stories by Walter Brooks along with Sonia Chernus who were the creative team behind this series along with Al Simon serving as executive producer,the series "Mister Ed" first ran in national syndication for 26 black and white episodes from January 4,1961 until July 2,1961. It was one of the few television series to debut in national syndication to be pick up by a major television network. On October 1,1961 the series was picked up by CBS-TV and remained with the network for six seasons for 130 episodes in black and white until June 16,1965. In the show's final season a total of 13 episodes were produced from September 12,1965 until February 6,1966. In all a total of 143 black and white episodes were produced. The series was produced through George Burns' production company McCadden Productions and Filmways Television airing from 1961 to 1966. The show's sponsor throughout it's entire run was The Studebaker Corporation where you got the see the actors driving around top notch Studebaker cars during the closing credits.
Out of all the cast members that were associated with this series only actors Alan Young, Connie Hines and the horse Bamboo Harvester(Mister Ed) along with the voice of Allan Lane were with the series throughout it's entire run of 143 episodes. The supporting cast were Larry Keating(appearing in 81 episodes from Seasons 1 thru 3); Edna Skinner(appearing in 86 episodes from Seasons 1 thru 4); Leon Ames(appearing in 40 episodes from Seasons 4 thru 5); Florence MacMichael(appearing in 40 episodes from Seasons 4 thru 5); Jack Albertson(appearing occasionally in 6 episodes from Seasons 2 thru 4);and Barry Kelley(also appearing occasionally in 11 episodes from Seasons 3 thru 5 and in the show's sixth and final season). Interesting note about some of the writers who were behind this series...Lou Derman wrote 129 episodes of Mister Ed while Larry Rhine wrote 52 episodes. Other writers were Ben Starr(40 episodes), Robert O'Brien(33 episodes),Bill Davenport(12 episodes),and Walter Brooks(3 episodes). Arthur Lubin directed 131 episodes of this series. Other big time directors were Ira Stewart(6 episodes), Jus Addiss, Rod Amateau, John Rich, and Alan Young. Arthur Lubin also served as director-producer of some episodes. "Mister Ed" won the Golden Globe in 1963 for Best Comedy Series. The show throughout its entire run never received an Prime Time Emmy.
Several celebrity guest stars appeared as themselves during the course of the series ranging from Clint Eastwood, Jonathan Harris, Mae West, George Burns, Leo Durocher, Jon Provost, Sebastian Cabot, Irene Ryan, Max Baer,Jr.(Jethro from "The Beverly Hillbillies"), to Neil Hamilton, Jack LaLanne, Richard Deacon, Raymond Bailey, Sharon Tate, Les Tremayne, Butch Patrick, Darby Hinton, William Bendix, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Johnny Crawford, Hayden Rorke, Donna Douglas, Alan Hale,Jr., Hans Conried, and Harold Gould, Iron Eyes Cody, Nancy Kulp,and Bobby Buntrock just to name a few of the guest stars that were with the series. Donna Douglas appeared in three episodes of Mister Ed of "Busy Wife", "Ed The Jumper",and as Clint Eastwood's girlfriend in "Clint Eastwood Meets Mister Ed".
Even after its debut more than 55 years ago it was one of the few television shows that good ratings as a kids show that adults could watch too with some of the episodes either side-splitting funny or just totally off the wall antics with Ed getting Wilbur into all sorts of trouble in just about every episode. Alan Young is no longer with us and neither is Connie Hines or Bamboo Harvester who made the show a bonafide classic of 1960's television that was surely unforgettable. Happy 55th Golden Anniversary Mister Ed!!!!
Star Trek (1966)
To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before...Remembering the original Star Trek television series on its 50th anniversary
As we celebrate the golden 50th anniversary to one of the greatest science fiction television shows ever created "Star Trek" was a 23rd- century tale of exploration and hope that became the seminal space saga of the late 20th century. With a cast that was startlingly diverse of its time and pie-in-the-sky technology we can hold in our hands today, "Star Trek" and the voyages of the Starship Enterprise have left an indelible mark on our culture,inspiring many young scientists and a supportive base of die-hard loyal fans of the original television series that has evolved into today's powerful fan culture. The initial mid- 1960's NBC series which centered on the able crew of the Enterprise as it explored strange new worlds and new civilizations, led to five more television series based on the original show("Star Trek:The Next Generation",1987-1994; "Star Trek:Deep Space Nine",1993-1999; "Star Trek:Voyager",1995-2001; "Star Trek:Enterprise", 2001-2005; "Star Trek:Discovery",in 2017), it's very own animated Saturday Morning cartoon show that also aired on NBC from 1973-1975; and thirteen theatrical feature films that is still going strong to this day.
The original "Star Trek" television series was viewed as producer- created Gene Roddenberry's answer to "Wagon Train In The Stars" and set in the frontier spectacle of outer space. The series was suppose to live longer than expected that was guaranteed at the beginning. In an era when science fiction was viewed as a not-so-desirable niche, it took two pilots to get "Star Trek" on the air,and low ratings sparked fears of cancellation. That arrived after three seasons-two years short of the Enterprise's five-year mission-despite the efforts of passionate,letter writing viewers who pleaded with network executives at NBC helped win the show in its final season. "Star Trek" during its three season run was moved around in different time slots with the third and final season of the series that proved fatal. The series premiered on NBC's Thursday prime-time schedule on September 8,1966 where it was placed at the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot where it preceded "Daniel Boone" and before "The Hero" where it went opposite "My Three Sons" and "Bewitched" for all 29 episodes in its first season until April 13,1967. On September 15,1967 the network moved the series from Thursday nights to Friday nights at the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot preceding "Tarzan" and was opposite "Hondo" and "Gomer Pyle" for all 26 episodes in season two until March 29, 1968. Then in its third and final season, Gene Roddenberry pleaded with network executives at NBC to move the series to Monday nights in an earlier time slot in order to attract a larger audience and improve ratings. The network rejected its offer. "Star Trek" was moved to a later time slot on Friday nights at the 10:00 eastern/9:00 central for all 24 episodes where it preceded the 90-minute "The Name of the Game" and was opposite "Judd for the Defense",and CBS' Friday Night Movie that clobbered it in the ratings from September 20,1968 until the final episode of the series on June 3,1969. "Star Trek" was produced from September,1966 to December,1967 by Desilu Productions and the Norway Corporation. From January,1968 to June,1969 was produced by Paramount Television and the Norway Corporation. The series produced 79 episodes in color.
Out of the actors that were with this series only actors William Shatner along with Leonard Nimoy and Deforest Kelley were the only cast members that appeared in all 79 episodes. Nichelle Nichols appeared in 70 episodes while James Doohan appeared in 66 episodes. George Takei appeared in 52 episodes and Majel Barrett appeared in 36 episodes. Walter Koenig didn't come onto the series until Season 2 and appeared in 36 episodes. Grace Lee Whitney was with the series for Season 1 only and appeared in eight episodes.
"Star Trek" during its original three season run on NBC explored science fiction conundrums, such as the effects of changing the past("The City on the Edge of Forever",Season 1, Episode 28)while dealing with modern issues-including racism("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield",Season 3,Episode 15);nuclear arms("The Doomsday Machine",Season 2,Episode 6);the fear of technological dominance("The Ultimate Computer",Season 2,Episode 24 and "The Changeling",Season 2,Episode 3),and social inequality("The Cloud Minders",Season 3,Episode 21),not to mention dealing with mutiny and treason("Court Martial",Season 1,Episode 20 and the two part episode "The Menagerie",Season 1, Episodes 11 and 12)not to mention dealing with space villains("Space Seed",Season 1, Episode 22),and other great episodes("Mirror,Mirror",Season 2, Episode 4), ("Balance of Terror",Season 1,Episode 14),("Amok Time",Season 2, Episode 1),("Journey to Babel",Season 2,Episode 10),and ("Errand of Mercy",Season 1,Episode 26). Let's not forget other great episodes that made "Star Trek" the must watch series of the mid-1960's ranging from "The Man Trap", "Arena", "The Naked Time", "The Enemy Within", the controversial "Plato's Stepchildren", to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" to "Devil In The Dark","Taste of Armageddon","This Side of Paradise", "The Corbomite Maneuver","Wolf In The Fold","The Tholian Web',the only time it venture into comedy like "The Trouble With Tribbles",and "Metamorphosis" just to name a few of the great episodes this series had even though it remained on the air for three seasons.
Even though it never won a Prime Time Emmy,"Star Trek" was nominated for an impressed 13 Prime-Time Emmy nominations(Leonard Nimoy was nominated twice for Best Supporting Actor in a Television series and won the Prime-Time Emmy for Outstanding Special Effects) and in 1967 won the NAACP Image Award for its most critically episode that was written by Harlan Ellison. Even after 50 years since its original broadcast on NBC,and to this day still airing in syndicated repeats around the world "Star Trek" still holds themes that remained relevant today...this coming from a science fiction television show that didn't do well in the ratings but became a phenomenon when it first aired in 1966. And still lives long to prosper. Happy 50th Anniversary "Star Trek"......
The Felony Squad (1966)
Excellent crime drama series....Remembering The Felony Squad television series on its 50th anniversary
Premiered on September 12, 1966 the television series "Felony Squad" was the created brainchild of two producers that were associated with Quinn Martin even though the series was not associated with Quinn Martin Productions but through a different company. Two of the producers of this series consisted of Walter Grauman(who was a producer and director of several Quinn Martin produced shows like "The New Breed", "The Fugitive", "Twelve O'Clock High", "The FBI",and "The Invaders" to name a few),and producer Phillip Saltzman(who was one of the writers for several Quinn Martin produced shows),along with creator Richard Murphy who also served as executive producer of this series along with Walter Grauman and Richard Newton, the police crime drama series "Felony Squad" was a half-hour television cop show that premiered on ABC's Prime-Time schedule that lasted three seasons and produced 73 episodes in color until January 31,1969. For the first two seasons of the show's run it aired in Prime-Time on Monday nights with 30 episodes each for both Seasons 1 and 2. For its first season, the series aired at the 9:00 eastern/8:00 central time slot where it preceded "The Rat Patrol" and before "Peyton Place" and went opposite against "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Perry Como Kraft Music Hall". The second season also went opposite "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Danny Thomas Comedy Hour" where it preceded "The Rat Patrol",and "Peyton Place". In the fall of 1968, ABC moved the series from Monday nights to Friday nights, a move that proved disastrous where it scheduled to the 8:30 eastern/7:30 central time slot where it preceded "Operation:Entertainment",and before the short-lived "The Don Rickles Show" and it was opposite "The Name of the Game",and "Gomer Pyle, USMC" that killed it in the ratings that produced 13 episodes in its final season until January 31, 1969.
This crime drama series starred Howard Duff(as Sergeant Sam Stone),and Dennis Cole(as Detective Jim Briggs)as investigators in a major crimes unit based on modern-day mid-1960's Los Angeles that were associated with the Los Angeles Police Department. Howard Duff's character was the veteran who was teaching his younger partner the facets of police work while teaching him the life lessons of detective work within the police department. Another main character was the desk sergeant Dan Briggs(portrayed by former "Dragnet" actor Ben Alexander)who was the father of Dennis Cole's character. The cases the squad handles deals with the regular procedures that they encounter while on the beat which gave way to some great episodes this series had even though it lasted a half-hour. Big name directors like George McCowan, Allen Reisner, Lawrence Dobkin, Robert Butler, Lee H. Katzin, Gene Nelson, Tom Gries, to Richard Donner, Gerd Oswald, Laslo Benedek, Vincent McEveety, Jud Taylor, Walter Grauman, William Hale and even Howard Duff contribute to some of the excellent episodes.
Big name writers from Richard Murphy, Don Brinkley, Franklin Barton, Harold Gast, Robert Heverly, Phillip Saltzman, Mark Rodgers, Jack Turley, Lee Erwin, Howard Gast, Ellis Kadison, John Kneubuhl, to Don Tait. Big name guest stars ranging from Barney Phillips, Kevin McCarthy, James Daly, Harold J. Stone, Lynda Day George, Vic Tayback, Joe Don Baker, Roddy McDowell, Ricardo Montalban, James Best, Lloyd Haynes, Darren McGavin, Kevin Hagen, Patricia Barry, Beau Bridges, Ed Asner, to Marj Dusay, Fritz Weaver, Robert Duvall, Cleavon Little, Martin Milner, Simon Oakland, Gerald S. O'Laughlin, Brock Peters, Pat Hingle, Harold Gould, Lana Wood, Scott Brady, Mark Lenard, Jack Hogan, Will Kuluva, to Carl Betz, Diana Muldaur, Joanne Linville, Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., Ellen Corby, Beah Richards, Paul Mantee, George Takei, Eric Shea, Susan Flannery, Ivan Dixon, Cicely Tyson, Joanna Moore, Russell Johnson, to Joan Van Ark, Richard Dreyfuss, Andrew Prine, Roy Jenson and Michael Callan.
The best episodes that came from this short-lived police drama series let me started with the show's pilot episode "The Streets Are Paved With Quicksand" to the two-part episodes "The Night of the Shark", "An Arrangement With Death", "The Flip Side of Fear", "The Nowhere Man" to "A Conspiracy of Power". Other great episodes from "Felony Squad" were "Target!", "A Blueprint for Dying", "The Immaculate Killer", "Let Him Die!", "The 30-Gram Kill", "A Date With Terror",and "The Law and Order Blues" When this series was abruptly canceled in early-1969 the series was replaced by two comedies that were placed on ABC's Friday Night schedule that included the short-lived "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town" and by the winter of 1970 was replaced by "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."....even though it lasted three seasons and 73 episodes the short-lived "Felony Squad" was a great cop show with excellent episodes and great acting even though it remains one of the "under-rated" of the astounding police dramas of the mid-1960's on the eve of its 50th anniversary.
Lord of the Jungle...Remembering the original "Tarzan" television series on its 50th anniversary
In commemoration of the show's 50th Anniversary Edgar Rice Burroughs' character was played by several different actors over the years not to mention a series that has it's origin going back to Johnny Weissmuller, Lex Barker, Gordon Scott, Jock Mahoney,and Mike Henry. Producer Sy Weintraub(who took over the "Tarzan" franchise in the mid-1950's after Sol. L. Lesser) was trying to bring "Tarzan" to television as early as 1958,but the project never got off the ground. By the early-1960's the "Tarzan" films were still theatrical releases,but it wasn't until the mid-1960's when the franchise went into a new medium. Gordon Scott was replaced by Jock Mahoney who abandoned the role in 1963 who lost out to football player turned actor Mike Henry. Henry made three theatrical "Tarzan" films between 1966-1968 and was originally cast for the television version of the series,but declined after some bad experiences while shooting the 1967 theatrical picture "Tarzan and the Great River". In a desperate search,the producers along with Sy Weintraub finally was able to bring "Tarzan" to television as a weekly series by casting Ron Ely in the title role. Ron Ely who was 28-years old when he got the part of playing the 14th "Tarzan" on television while Mike Henry still played him in the movies. Ron Ely had a strong resume of several films and television series to his credit including the films "South Pacific", "The Fiend That Walked The West", "The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker",not to mention "The Night of the Grizzly", and in the TV-series "How to Marry a Millionaire" from 1957-1959. Ron Ely was cast in another series "The Aquanauts" that lasted one season from 1960-1961.
The television version based on Edgar Rice Burroughs character retained many of the trappings of the classic movie series including Cheeta The Chimp and a boy sidekick(Manuel Padilla,Jr.) leaving the character Jane on the cutting room floor. Under the production of Sy Weintraub who also served as executive producer under his production company Banner Productions and Starring Ron Ely as "Tarzan" made its television premiere in prime-time on NBC's Friday Night schedule on September 9,1966 for 57 episodes and two seasons,filmed on location in parts of Central America and Mexico in full color until April 5,1968. After NBC canceled the series in 1968,"Tarzan" enjoy a resurgence in summer repeats for CBS airing from May 22, 1969 until August 30, 1969. "Tarzan" the television series on Friday nights faced strong competition during its two seasons on the air opposite "The Wild Wild West" and "The Green Hornet" in Season 1 and in its Second and final Season opposite "Off The See The Wizard","Hondo" and the wildly popular "The Wild Wild West". Several episodes of the "Tarzan" television series were two part episodes that were strung together and actually shown in theaters as feature length films that were released under Banner Productions and National General Pictures. The "Tarzan" television series produced 57 episodes all in color with 32 episodes in Season 1 and 25 episodes in Season 2. Actors that had recurring appearances on this series were Maurice Evans, Julie Harris, along with Chips Rafferty and Woody Strode appear in numerous episodes.
Even though this series was attacked by critics,"Tarzan" was indeed a series that was action-packed throughout with breathtaking excitement and high adventure each week. Basically throughout production, Ron Ely did all of his own stunts and took it seriously. But yet check out the big name directors that were associated with this series from William Witney, Robert Day, Barry Shear, Anton Leader, Robert L. Friend, Charles S. Dubin, William Wiard, R.G. Springsteen and Hollingsworth Morse along with Paul Stanley,James Komack, Alan Crosland, Jr. and even Ron Ely himself directed an episode. Big name writers ranging from Jackson Gillis, Richard and Esther Shapiro, Wells Root, Carey Wilber, Don Brinkley, Samuel Newman, John Hawkins and Lawrence Dobkin.
The guest star roster for this series consisted of James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Don Mitchell, Don Marshall, Raymond St. Jacques, Brock Peters,Rosie Grier, Diana Sands, Rafer Johnson, Clarence Williams III, Hari Rhodes, to William Marshall, Bernie Hamilton, Lloyd Haynes, Yaphet Kotto, Nichelle Nichols, George Stanford-Brown, Diana Ross(and the Supremes),to James MacArthur, Jock Mahoney, Sam Jaffe, Michael Witney, Simon Oakland, Ethel Merman, George Kennedy, Sally Kellerman, Russ Tamblyn, John Dehner, Antoinette Bower, Fernando Lamas, Peter Whitney, Pat Conway, Michael Dunn, James Whitmore, Warren Stevens, Neville Brand, Morgan Woodward, Ted Cassidy, Barbara Luna, Judy Pace, Jan Merlin, Michael Ansara, to Ralph Meeker, Jeremy Slate, Leslie Parrish, Rockne Tarkington, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Helen Hayes.
The best "Tarzan" episodes out of this series from it's first season "The Pearls of Tanga","The Day The Earth Trembled", "The Ultimate Duel", "The Deadly Silence:Parts 1 & 2", "Faces of Death", "A Life For A Life", "The Perils of Charity Jones:Parts 1 & 2", "The Ultimatum", "A Pride of Assassins", "The Fire People", "Jungle Dragnet", "Village of Fire", "Man-Killer", "The Prisoner","The Mask of Rona",and "The Prodigal Puma". The best episodes out of this series from it's second and final season were "Tarzan's Jungle Rebellion", "Last of the Supermen", "Alex The Great", "The Convert", "Mountains of the Moon:Parts 1 & 2", "Jungle Ransom", "The Four O'Clock Army:Parts 1 & 2", "End of a Challenge", "Trek to Terror","Tiger,Tiger", "The Blue Stone of Heaven:Parts 1 & 2","Hotel Hurricane", "The Thief Catcher" and "The Muguma Curse"....
TV Guide reported in June of 1968 that the "Tarzan" television series had a 31 share and finished in the top 40 during the 1967-1968 season,but NBC felt its demographics made it unappealing(due to the show's violent content) and it was abruptly canceled after 2 seasons after NBC rejected a renewal for its third season. Popular demand brought it back in repeats as a summer replacement over at CBS in 1969(on Saturday nights as the summer replacement for CBS' The Jackie Gleason Show). For the 1968-1969 season, NBC replaced "Tarzan" after 2 seasons on Friday nights in prime-time with the Western adventure series "The High Chapparal".
What's Happening!! (1976)
The Adventures of Roger, Dewayne and Rerun: Commemorating What's Happening on it's 40th Anniversary
On the commemoration of the show's 40th Anniversary,the television series "What's Happening!" remains a bonafide staple of the great African-American comedies of the 1970's. Interesting note about this series that was well received with the critics,but not with the powers that be over at ABC-TV(which aired it for three seasons). "What's Happening!" was loosely based on Eric Monte's 1975 theatrical picture "Cooley High" about a group of teenagers who lived in mid-1960's Chicago that became a huge box office hit on which Eric Monte wrote the screenplay and was directed by Michael Schultz. Eric Monte was also the co-creator of another successful television series "Good Times" and was also the creative force behind this series "What's Happening!" along with the executive production team of Saul Turtletaub, and Bernie Orenstein("Sanford and Son"),and Bud Yorkin("All In The Family")who served as executive producers of this series under there production company T.O.Y. Productions which was Bud Yorkin's second series after he ended his partnership with Norman Lear in Tandem Productions.
"What's Happening!" premiered on ABC's Prime Time Thursday night schedule as a summer replacement series for "Barney Miller" on August 5,1976. From the pilot episode and excellent reviews and astounding ratings the series was given a prime-time slot on Thursday nights preceding "Welcome Back Kotter" on November 13,1976. A total of 65 episodes were produced for this series until its final episode on April 28,1979. During it's three seasons on the air it faced strong competition of CBS' Powerhouse Drama "The Waltons" on it's Thursday night schedule. Throughout the series entire three season-run of "What's Happening!" only actors Ernest Lee Thomas(Roger),Fred Berry(Frederick "Rerun" Stubbs), Haywood Nelson(Dewayne),along with Shirley Hemphill(Shirley),and Danielle Spencer(Dee)were the only cast members that stayed with the series for all 65 episodes. Mabel King was with the series for Seasons 1 and 2 only for 42 episodes(1976-1978). Mabel King left the show due to creative differences with the producers and left the series at the end of its Second Season. "What's Happening!" during the first 2 seasons provided hilarious hijinks and big laughs each week as the lives of three working class African-American teens living in mid-1970's South Los Angeles and the adventures and mischief they get into while learning the lessons from their mistakes. Recurring characters of this series included Rob(Earl Billings)who owns Rob's Place where Shirley is a waitress and where the teens are regular patrons. Other recurring characters included Miss Collins(Fritzi Burr),a sarcastic high school history teacher and was the sponsor of the high school newspaper. Thalmus Rasulala appear in seven episodes of the series as Roger and Dee's father and Mabel's ex-husband. Other characters in recurring roles were Ray Vitte(Gene Walker),Jonathan Welsh("Big Earl" Barnett), David Hollander("Little Earl" Barrett),Leland Smith("Snake"),and Bryan O'Dell("Marvin").
Unlike Eric Monte's other series "Good Times","What's Happening!" only rarely and mildly ventured into social commentary. Most of the episodes focused of meeting girls, finding after school jobs, and planning for the future. All of that would changed dramatically by the show's third and final season when the main central character was written out of the show and replaced by Caucasian characters that really brought the series down in the ratings. The guest star appearances on "What's Happening!" were seasoned actors like Chip Fields, Vernee Watson, Debbi Morgan, Henry Robinson, Greg Morris, Tim Reid, David White, Dick Van Patton, to notable guest stars like Sorrell Brooke, Nathaniel Taylor, Judy Pace, Wolfman Jack, Stu Gilliam, Rosalind Cash, Percy Rodriguez, Malachi Throne, Theodore Wilson, Alice Ghostley, Joe Morton, Irene Cara, Renn Woods, Raymond Allen, Kene Holliday, Harold Sylvester, Alan Oppenheimer, to other guest stars Richard Deacon, Hal Williams, Faye Hauser,and Mark Warren. Not to mention "The Doobie Brothers" featuring Michael MacDonald appearing as themselves in a two-part episode "Doobie or Not Doobie"(Season 2,Episodes 16 and 17).
The best episodes from the first two seasons of "What's Happening!" are considered classics and I start with the show's pilot episode "The Runaway"(Season 1, Episode 1),and "The Birthday Present"(Season 1, Episode 2),"The Burger Queen"(Season 1, Episode 6),"The Christmas Episode"(Season 1, Episode 9),to notable others including "When Daddy Comes Marching Home"(Season 1, Episode 3),"My Three Tons"(Season 1, Episode 4),"Roger and the Older Woman"(Season 2,Episode 19),"The Testimonial"(Season 2,Episode 12),"Going,Going,Gone"(Season 2,Episode 14). Third season episodes include "Shirley's Fired"(Season 3,Episode 15),"Disco Dollar Disaster"(Season 3,Episode 1)and the final episode of the series "The Benefit Show" (Season 3, Episode 22). The phenomenal success of "What's Happening!" spawned continue repeats in national syndication after its three season prime time run at ABC.
A spin-off "What's Happening Now!" airing in first-run syndication from 1985-1988 with most of the major cast members in reprising roles. Even after 40 years this is a grand series that still entertains so Happy Anniversary to Roger,Dewayne and Rerun!!!!
That's My Mama (1974)
That's My Mama Starring Clifton Davis and Theresa Merritt
Out of the successful African-American sitcoms that graced the 1970's,the comedy series "That's My Mama" basically held its own against the quality of the other sitcoms like "Good Times", "Sanford and Son", "The Jeffersons","What's Happening!",and also the sitcoms that lasted a mere season like "Baby I'm Back",and "Rollout", just to name a few.
Created by Dan T. Bradley along with Allan L. Rice with Chris Bearde and Allan Blye as executive producers along with Walter Bien,Gene Farmer,and David Pollock along with Elias Davis as producers,the series "That's My Mama" lasted two seasons and 39 episodes airing on ABC's Prime Time Schedule from September 4,1974 until December 24,1975. Season 1 produced 26 episodes that aired from September 4,1974 until March 26,1975. Season 2 produced 13 episodes that aired from September 10,1975 until December 24,1975. The show was rated one of the least watched by the Nielsens since the series was scheduled on Wednesday nights opposite the variety- musical series "Tony Orlando and Dawn" over at CBS,and the powerhouse family drama "Little House on the Prairie" over at NBC. Out of all the cast members that were associated with this series only actors Clifton Davis, Theresa Merritt and Ted Lange were the only cast members that stayed throughout its entire run of 39 episodes. Teddy Wilson was a guest star in the pilot episode as a shady lawyer but appeared in 38 episodes of the series. Actress Lynne Moody appeared in 23 episodes from September 4, 1974 until March 26,1975. She left midway during the first season and was replaced by Joan Pringle in Season 2. Lisle Wilson appeared in 29 episodes of Season 1. "That's My Mama" in spite of the Nielsens provided some good laughs and some hilarious moments with the focus more on Clifton Davis' character and Ted Lange's comical support as the boisterous college student. Other characters were Wildcat(Jester Hairston),and Josh(DeForest Cowan)who were two senior citizens that hung out in the barbershop just for conversation and occasional mischief.
"That's My Mama" was the foundation of the "Barbershop" movies with more character development. By the show's second season,the series started with a new look and the opening theme music was done by Motown legend Lamont Dozier as the backdrop setting of Washington, DC was introduced. New characters like Helen Martin were added the episodes. And speaking of who were behind the forces of this show the writers consisted of creators Dan Bradley, Allan Rice, Larry Siegel, Mike Milligan and Jay Moriarty, Rick Mittleman, Winston Moss, Walter Bien, Ron Friedman, Al Gordon, Lloyd Garver, Thad Mumford,and Ilunga Adell. Bob LaHendro directed more than 20 episodes of the series along with other directors like Stan Lathan, Norman Abbott, Mort Lachman, Alan Rafkin, Arnold Margolin and Herbert Kenwith. The guest stars that appeared on "That's My Mama" were Mel Stewart, Bernie Hamilton, Tracy Reed, Jeannie Bell, Judy Pace, Gordon Jump, Slappy White, Belinda Tolbert, Tierre Turner, Vernee Watson, Lillian Randolph, Tim Reid, not to mention appearances by Jayne Kennedy, Alfonso Williams, Lance Taylor and Irene Stokes.
"That's My Mama" was the starting point for two of its actors in which Clifton Davis and Jester Hairston would star together in the series "Amen". Actor Ted Lange would go on to do "The Love Boat" as Issac and would make himself a producer-director of several TV shows and movies. Interesting to note as well that actress Joan Pringle would go on to do "The White Shadow",and later appeared in the NBC daytime serial "Generations". It is to note as well that actors Theresa Merritt along with Jester Hairston, DeForest Cowan,and Teddy Wilson are no longer with us. There memories of this series will live on since "That's My Mama" lasted two seasons and 39 episodes. The series was canceled on Christmas Eve of 1975 due to poor ratings. ABC replaced it with "The Bionic Woman" in January of 1976.
The Bad News Bears (1979)
The Bad News Bears Television Series was a great sitcom that had potential but it never fully developed due the time changes it faced during it's run
"The Bad News Bears" was made into a movie in 1976 that became a sensational box-office hit Starring Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal that was written by Bill Lancaster(who was the son of the legendary Hollywood actor Burt Lancaster)that won the Writers Guild of America award that same year for Best Original Screenplay not to mention got an Oscar nomination also. The phenomenon success of "The Bad News Bears" spawned two sequels "The Bad News Bears Go To Japan"(1977) with Tony Curtis??? and "The Bad News Bears In Breaking Training" (1978) with William Devane. After the success of three theatrical versions,the powers that be over at Paramount Television and the CBS Television Network decided to green-light it's own weekly prime-time sitcom based on "The Bad News Bears" that would air on CBS' prime-time schedule. The series had a great premise throughout with interesting characters and a outstanding cast,but with a hitch...Who would have thought that one of the great character actors in cinema history Jack Warden would step into Walter Matthau's persona? The sad part was how do you follow Walter Matthau's Buttermaker character and eventually pulled off the character in the television series where as in the movie version actually worked and become successful? Interesting point.
About the "Bad News Bears" television series. The series premiered on CBS' prime-time schedule on Saturday nights on March 24,1979 for 13 episodes as the mid-season replacements for "Good Times" and "Rhoda". on it's prime time Saturday night schedule. "The Bad News Bears" after 13 episodes was picked up for the fall season. The problem was that CBS began moving the show around in different time slots during it's original prime-time run. First the series was originally scheduled on Saturday nights in the 8:00pm Eastern/7:00pm Central time slot. By September of 1979 when the network picked it up for the fall season it was moved to a different time slot at the 8:30pm Eastern/7:30pm Central time slot. Three episodes into the series' second season forced CBS to abruptly canceled the series on July 26,1980 after 26 episodes due to low ratings. When CBS broadcast the last three episodes that never aired during its original prime-time run in June of 1980 it went back to the 8:00 time slot,but by July of 1980 it moved again back to 8:30 in which then audiences were confused by the frequent time changes that they stopped tuning in. And after that the series was history. The competition it faced during it's short run on the air? It was placed on it's prime time Saturday night time slot where it faced strong competition from NBC's powerhouse action/adventure cop drama "CHiPS", and the ABC spin-off of Three's Company "The Ropers" that kill it in the ratings.
Based on characters created by Bill Lancaster(who served as executive producer of the series)along executive producers Bob Brunner and Arthur Silver and along with producers Jeffrey Ganz, Ron Leavitt, Norman Stiles,along with producer John Boni the series had an outstanding cast headed by Jack Warden who took over the Walter Matthau role as Buttermaker and Catherine Hicks,years before her career skyrocketed with "7th Heaven". The series was a launch pad for some outstanding young actors many of them would go on to bigger careers after this show which included actor Kristoff St. John(Ahmad) who would go on to become a huge daytime serial actor on "The Young and the Restless" along with actress Trisha Cast(in the Tatum O'Neal role as Amanda) years before her career found success also on "The Young and the Restless". The series also was the television debut of actors Corey Feldman(Regi),along with Meeno Peluce(Tanner) of "Voyagers!" fame. Also with the cast were Shane Butterworth(Timmy), Billy Jayne(Rudi),and Sparky Marcus(Leslie). With a cast like it had the show had potential until CBS kept moving the show around confusing viewers and fans of the hit movie and after three episodes into its second season it went off the air with only a whisper. In the fall of 1980,the powers that be in the programming department at CBS found a replacement for the series when "WKRP in Cincinnati"(which was on Monday nights)moved to Saturday nights in it's time slot along with the short-lived "The Tim Conway Show". By December of 1980, another replacement took over CBS' Saturday night schedule when the spin-off of "The Dukes of Hazzard" titled "Enos" replaced both "WRKP In Cincinnati"(which went back to Monday nights),and "The Tim Conway Show"(which was canceled after 12 episodes) that replaced "The Bad News Bears" in prime time.
Glamour, Glitz and High Drama..Commemorating "Dynasty" on it's 35th anniversary
The television series "Dynasty" originally premiered as a mid-season replacement for ABC's Monday Night Football as the "three hour special event" that aired on prime-time on January 12,1981. "Dynasty" was the brainchild of creators Richard Alan Shapiro and Esther Shapiro and was under the production of Douglas S. Cramer and powerhouse television producer Aaron Spelling(who also served as executive producer)became one of the biggest prime time hits of the 1980's that ran for nine impressive seasons producing 220 episodes in color running from January 12, 1981 until the final episode on May 11,1989. The series actually premiered on the Monday night prime time slot as the seasonal replacement for ABC's Monday Night Football for all of Season 1 producing 15 episodes airing between January 12,1981 until April 20,1981. In the series' second season the show moved from Monday nights to Wednesday nights in prime time for Seasons 2 thru 8 running from November 4,1981 until March 30,1988. Then for it's ninth and final season, "Dynasty" moved from Wednesday nights to Thursday nights in prime-time from November 3,1988 until the final episode of May 11,1989.
"Dynasty" was a colossal prime time hit that was nominated for an impressive 24 Prime-Time Emmys winning the Prime-Time Emmy in 1984. It was nominated for 5 Golden Globes every year from 1981 to 1986 winning three Golden Globes respectfully in 1982,1983 and 1984. By the show's second season saw the ratings enter the top 20 of the Nielsens which by the fall of 1982 was one of the top-ten highest rated shows on television,and by the Spring of 1985,"Dynasty" was the Number One Show on television with it's competition "Dallas" becoming Number Two. Interesting to note that actor John Forsythe(of "Bachelor Father", "From Rome With Love",and "The World of Survival")was the only cast member to appear in all 220 episodes throughout it's entire nine season run. Actress Linda Evans(of "The Big Valley" fame)appeared in 206 out of the 220 episodes leaving the series after appearing in only six episodes of the ninth and final season. Actress Joan Collins appeared in 197 episodes of the series in Seasons 2 thru 9. Joan Collins made her debut as Alexis Carrington in the Season 2 opener "Enter Alexis" airing on November 4,1981. The phenomenal success of "Dynasty" spun the spin-off series "The Colbys" that ran for two seasons and 49 color episodes airing from November 11,1985 until March 26,1987. Actors Charlton Heston,Barbara Stanwyck,Katherine Ross,Stephanie Beacham,and Ricardo Montalban were regular cast members of "The Colbys" but also made guest star appearances in various episodes of "Dynasty".
The notable cast members and special guest stars that made "Dynasty" the top-rated series(prime-time soap opera for ABC)were some of Hollywood legends like Rock Hudson, Lloyd Bochner, and others like Pamela Sue Martin, Heather Locklear, Ted McGinley, Michael Nader, Paul Burke, Emma Samms, Billy Dee Williams, Diahann Carroll, Al Corley, John James, Gordon Thompson, Dale Robertson, Bo Hopkins, James Farentino, Kathleen Beller, Pamela Bellwood, Ali MacGraw, George Hamilton, John Saxon, Richard Anderson, Ken Howard, Brian Dennehy, David Hedison, Bradford Dillman, Troy Beyer, Richard Lawson, Anthony Zerbe, Hari Rhodes,and many more. Even former President of the United States Gerald Ford,and the former first lady Betty Ford appeared in one episode,as well as the former National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger portraying themselves in a special episode titled "Carousel"(Season 4,Episode 11)that aired in prime time on December 21,1983.
When the show moved from Wednesday nights to Thursday nights in the fall of 1988 the ratings for the show were dropping. In the last ditch effect to save the show the final episode of the series which aired on May 11,1989 ended with the credits reading as "To Be Continued...." left audiences in a cliffhanger that was never solved. The series that eventually replaced "Dynasty" after nine seasons and 220 episodes was the ABC News magazine series "Prime Time Live!" that premiered a summer replacement on August 3,1989 with Diane Sawyer and Ted Koppel(of "Nightline"). ABC aired a four hour miniseries titled "Dynasty:The Reunion" that aired in two hour slots in prime time with Part One airing October 20,1991,and Part Two airing October 22,1991 that picks up where the series ending cliffhanger left off featuring the original cast. "Dynasty" as a series during the 1980's spawned a fashion trend of luxury products not to mention a look at the "gay" lifestyle that was not even mentioned and was daring for 1980's Prime Time TV with it's groundbreaking story lines and memorable catfight scenes that will go down in television history. "Dynasty" actually paved the way for future prime time soap operas to follow. Happy 35th Anniversary!!!
My Three Sons (1960)
The second longest running family sitcom series in television history...The Legendary series "My Three Sons" 1960-1972
Also known as "The Fred MacMurray Show",the television series "My Three Sons" was the cornerstone of the situation family shows that came out during the 1960's and continued onward into the early 1970's. "My Three Sons" was creator-executive producer Don Fedderson's most successful series(along with producers Edmund H. Hartmann, George Tibbles,and Peter Tewksbury),that was second only to "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" as the longest-running family situation comedy sitcom in television history producing 380 episodes and it was telecast on two major television networks running from September 29, 1960 until April 13,1972 with repeated episodes running from April 20, 1972 until August 24,1972. First,it aired on ABC's Thursday night prime-time schedule running for five seasons and 153 black and white episodes airing from September 29,1960 until May 20,1965. After it was abruptly canceled in the Spring of 1965 by ABC,"My Three Sons" was picked up by CBS for the next seven seasons and 227 episodes in color for the remainder of it's run from September 16,1965 until April 13,1972 and it also CBS that repeated various episodes from it's final season airing from April 20,1972 until August 24,1972. CBS also aired daytime re-runs of "My Three Sons" for one season in September of 1971 that had various episodes from past seasons in color. "My Three Sons" won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series in 1962 and was nominated for three Prime-Time Emmys in 1961,1968 and 1969 and nominated for four WGA Awards in 1961,1963,1964 and 1968.
Out of the actors that were with the series,only actors Fred MacMurray and Stanley Livingston were the only cast members that remained with the series throughout it's entire 12-year run and 380 episodes. William Frawley(aka Fred Mertz of "I Love Lucy" fame)who played the maternal grandfather Bub O'Casey was with the black and white episodes for the first five seasons of the show appearing in 165 episodes from September 29,1960 until his final appearance on January 7,1965. William Demarest who played the boys-live in maternal guardian Charley O'Casey(who was Bub's older brother)join the series midway through it's fifth season appearing in 215 episodes. Demarest remained with the series when the show was canceled by ABC and stayed with the show when it went to CBS. Demarest appeared in 26 of the black and white episodes of Season 5 for ABC from January 17,1965 until May 20,1965 and also in the 189 color episodes for CBS from September 16,1965 until April 13,1972(Seasons 6 thru 12). Tim Considine(Mike Douglas)appeared in 185 episodes of the series(which also included the opening color telecast of the series for CBS which was Tim Considine's final association with the series); Don Grady(Robert "Robbie" Douglas)appeared in 357 episodes for the series from 1960-1971; Barry Livingston,brother of Stanley Livingston(Ernie Thompson-Douglas)appeared in 206 episodes of the series from 1963-1972; Tina Cole(Katie Miller Douglas)appeared in 134 episodes from 1964-1972; Meredith MacRae(Sally Anne-Morrison Douglas)appeared in 14 episodes of the series which also appeared in the first color telecast of the series for CBS; Beverly Garland(Barbara Harper- Douglas)appeared in 74 episodes of the series from 1969-1972; Dawn Lyn(Dodie Harper-Douglas)appeared in 73 episodes of the series from 1969-1972; actress Ronne Troup(Polly Williams-Douglas)appeared in 36 episodes of the series from 1970-1972. Tramp was the family dog in all 380 episodes.
"My Three Sons" survived numerous changes during the twelve seasons it was on the air. During the first five seasons and especially the 153 black and white episodes for ABC, the show was centered around widower and aeronautical engineer Steven Douglas(Fred MacMurray)and his three sons Mike(Tim Considine),middle-child Robbie(Don Grady),and the youngest one Richard "Chip" Douglas(Stanley Livingston)and their maternal grandfather and housekeeper Bub O'Casey(William Frawley)and their suburban household in fictional Bryant Park. When the show went to CBS in the fall of 1965 several changes were made and the series was in color with the opening episode of the marriage of Mike and Sally(which would be Tim Considine's final association with the series); the family's adoption of Ernie Thompson(Barry Livingston),and the family's moving in the eighth season from Bryant Park to North Hollywood; and midway audiences saw the marriage of Robbie marrying his college sweetheart Katie,and in the show's tenth season saw the marriage of widower Steven Douglas to Barbara Harper. Even Chip Douglas in the show's final season married his high school sweetheart Polly Williams.
"My Three Sons" enjoy the first five seasons in black and white as one of ABC's powerhouse Thursday night line-up of shows from 1960-1965,and when the series went to color on CBS in the fall of 1965 remained on the Thursday night schedule for the next two seasons(Seasons 6-7 from 1965- 1967). In the show's eighth season on CBS,the series was moved to a new time slot from Thursday nights(in favor of "Cimarron Strip") to Saturday nights preceding "The Jackie Gleason Show" where it remained from 1967 until 1971(Seasons 8 thru 11). Then CBS moved the series again in it's 12th and final season for 1971-1972 where the series was moved from Saturday nights to an later time slot on Monday nights at the 10:00pm Eastern/9:00pm Central Time Slot where the show was placed opposite ABC's Monday Night Football which in turn decimated it in the Nielsen ratings. By January of 1972 the series went back to it's original Thursday night time slot. When the show went into syndication only the 227 color episodes were given as part of it's deal with network after it's association on CBS. The series that replaced the long-running "My Three Sons" in the fall of 1972 was CBS' decision to move Doris Day's sitcom to "My Three Sons" old time slot on Monday nights preceding "The Bill Cosby Comedy Hour" for the remainder of the 1972-1973 season. When "My Three Sons" ended it's astounding 12 year-run, it was the last of the great situation family shows of it's era where the landscape of prime- time television during the 1970's saw numerous changes in it's programming with gritter cop shows and urban dramas.
Alias Smith and Jones (1971)
Commemorating "Alias Smith and Jones" on it's 45th anniversary
Under the creation of Glen A. Larson and Roy Huggins(who serves as executive producer)along with Jo Swerling, Jr., the television series "Alias Smith and Jones" premiered on ABC's Thursday night schedule in prime time on January 5,1971 producing 50 episodes until January 13,1973. Out of the 50 episodes that this series produced,Season one produced 15 episodes airing from January 5, 1971 until April 22,1971.Season two produced 23 episodes airing from September 16,1971 until March 2,1972. The third and final season of the series saw it's move to Saturday nights in an earlier time slot produced 12 episodes airing from September 16,1972 until January 13,1973.(Where it was placed opposite "All In The Family",and "Emergency!). The Western-adventure laced comedy series starred Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes and Ben Murphy as Jedediah "Kid" Curry who were outlaw cousins trying to reform. The governor offers them a conditional amnesty,aiming to keep the pact a secret. The "condition" in which they had to follow was that they were still wanted by the law until it becomes advantageous for the Governor to sign their clemency.
"Alias Smith and Jones" was modeled after the phenomenal success of the 1969 theatrical feature "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford that was a colossal box office hit. So the powers that be over at Universal(which produced the series) along with network executives at ABC though it would be a great idea to cash in on the success of the film. On March 17, 1970, the origin of "Alias Smith and Jones" began with a two hour made for television movie titled "The Young Country" about two con- artists in the Old West premiered as a special presentation on the ABC Movie of the Week. It was produced and directed by Roy Huggins(who also served as the executive producer) that also starred Walter Brennan and Joan Hackett. The two leads played by Roger Davis and Pete Duel were in the TV-Movie version with special guest star James Drury(of "The Virginian" fame). The TV-Movie version was indeed a smash hit and along with creator and producer Glen A. Larson on board gave the greenlight for the series. In fact both "The Young Country" and the series pilot originally aired as ABC Movies of the Week.
"Alias Smith and Jones" was made in the same spirit as his other American produced TV-series from Huggins' own shows such as "Maverick","Cheyenne", "The Fugitive", "Run For Your Life" to "Renegade" just to name a few. "Alias Smith and Jones" was next to the last of the great American television Westerns which dominated the prime-time schedule with "Gunsmoke",and "Bonanza" still standing among the last of the dinosaur of Westerns. The problem was that the network put this great Western series on it's prime time Thursday night schedule for the remainder of it's first two seasons(1970-1971 and 1971-1972) where it went opposite NBC's top-rated variety series "The Flip Wilson Show",and went neck in neck in competition with CBS' "Bearcats!". In fact "Alias Smith and Jones" held it's own on it's Thursday night time slot...an astounding feat in prime time television until the sudden death of actor Pete Duel which almost brought the show to a halt in production. Series writer-director,and producer Roy Huggins contacted actor Roger Davis(who was the narrator in the opening credits of the series' first season) to replaced Pete Duel in both Season 2 and Season 3. The rest they say is history. Actor Ralph Story became the main narrator for Seasons 2 and 3 of the series .
"Alias Smith and Jones" brought in big time directors, big time writers not to mention big time guest stars as well. Actress Sally Field appeared in two episodes of the series as the character Clementine Hale(Joan Hackett portrayed the character the TV-Movie Version). Other guest stars that were on the series included Burl Ives, Pernell Roberts, Alan Hale, Jr., Jack Cassidy, Cesar Romero, Neville Brand, John Russell, Rory Calhoun, Susan Oliver, Chill Willis, Slim Pickens, Claudine Longet, Denver Pyle, Susan Saint James, Jack Elam, Earl Holliman, Dennis Fimple, Michele Lee, Alejandro Rey, Sam Jaffe, and J.D. Cannon.
The series continued for two more seasons,but within the show's third and final season(which moved from Thursday to Saturday nights in an earlier time slot) it never regained it's popularity after the tragic loss of actor Pete Duel. "Alias Smith and Jones" was indeed the next to the last of the Western genre that was giving way to gritty police dramas brought the show to an end on January 13,1973. Three days after "Alias Smith and Jones" was canceled by ABC,another long-running popular Western series "Bonanza" aired it's final episode after 14 seasons and 431 episodes for NBC on January 16,1973. Leaving the eighteen year-old "Gunsmoke"(which ended it's 20-year run on March 31,1975),and the syndicated comedy Western series "Dusty's Trail" and "Kung-Fu" as the only Westerns scheduled for the 1973-1974 Fall Season.
The rest were cop dramas when "Alias Smith and Jones" was replaced on the ABC prime time scheduled by the police drama "Griff" starring former "Bonanza" member Lorne Greene and former "Alias Smith and Jones" member Ben Murphy.
Green Acres (1965)
The Beverly Hillbillies In Reverse. Commemorating Green Acres' 50th Anniversary
"Green Acres" when it premiered on CBS' Wednesday night prime time schedule opposite "The Beverly Hillbillies" on September 15,1965 was one of the trilogy of "rural comedies" that were created and produced by Paul Henning(who was also behind the success of "The Beverly Hillbillies", and "Petticoat Junction"). The overall premise of "Green Acres" started on radio under the title "Granby's Green Acres" that was broadcast on CBS Radio as a replacement for the Lux Radio Theatre that aired for 13 episodes from July 3, 1950 until August 21,1950. Created and produced by Jay Sommers and starred Gale Gordon and Bea Benederet.
The television version that it was based on was also created and produced by Jay Sommers and Paul Henning(who served as executive producer) the series lasted six seasons and 170 color episodes until April 27,1971. The overall premise was built around a big city lawyer Oliver Douglass(Eddie Albert),and his fashionable wife Lisa(Eva Gabor)that abandon their upscale Manhattan Park Avenue penthouse and affluent and hectic lifestyle for the rustic and more "civil" world of farming in the fictional Midwestern town of Hooterville. Though Oliver is happy to make the transition to farm life,his upscale wife Lisa is less enthusiatic,though she adapts the best she can in spite of her thick Hungarian accent. Of all the running gags that this series had involves her inability to prepare anything other than "Hotcakes", and even those leave much to be desired. The other running gag centers around the frequent visits by Oliver's mother(Eleanor Audley) who begs with Oliver to go back to Manhattan to the law business but in turn sides with her daughter-in-law in regards to her son's desire to live the simple life.
Having the series set in the same locate as Henning's "Petticoat Junction"(which there were several crossover episodes)that allowed frequent appearances by Edgar Buchanan, Frank Cady, and others. Frank Cady did double duty on "Petticoat Junction",and was a guest star on "The Beverly Hillbillies" before he became a series regular on "Green Acres". Oliver's assistant and Farmhand Eb(Tom Lester)was "The Beverly Hillbillies" version of Jethro, a doofus who was shorthanded on brains and no muscles. The other mixed bag of weirdoes were The Monroe Brothers(Sid Melton and Mary Beth Canfield)were the carpenters from hell,forever causing chaos wherever they had a project to do but would never quite finished it. Then there was the biggest scam artist of them all,the slimy and unpredictable Mr. Haney(played by veteran cowboy sidekick Pat Buttram who was a regular of the Gene Autry movies of the 1940's and 1950's) who was forever pulling a fast one or con scam out of Mr. Douglass who was forever plying his oily wares at unreasonable prices. Other characters were the County Extension Agent Hank Kimball(played by veteran actor Alvy Moore)who was always giving Oliver Douglass fits when it came agricultural things which the agent had no experience about.
Another inspired bit that was also part of a running gag of jokes was the opening credits of one installment and this went on in several episodes where the names of the episode's writer, producer, creator, and director were listed. One of the directors,veteran Richard L. Bare was part of this. Bare,who was a director of "B" movie 1950's standard fare and his work on several television shows,directed more than 166 episodes of "Green Acres" that aired between 1965-1971. The writing and production of Jay Sommers(170 episodes) and Dick Chevillat(152 episodes) were also listed on the opening credits as well. Other directors that contribute to "Green Acres" episodes were Ralph Levy, Bruce Bilson,and Vincent Sherman. Comedical writing came from Al Schwartz, John L. Greene, Elroy Schwartz, Phil Leslie, Joel Kane, Bob Marcus, Dan Beaumont, Lou Huston, Buddy Atkinson, Joel Rapp, Larry Scott Anderson, along with Stan Dreben and Bobby Bell just to name a few.
Big name guest stars appeared on "Green Acres" too. From Al Lewis, to Parley Baer, Bea Benederet, Melody Patterson, Lyle Talbot, Anthony Caruso, Regis Toomey, Peter Whitney, Johnny Whitaker, Ketty Lester, Doris Packer, Ray Kellogg, Virginia Sale, John Stephenson, Henry Corden, Ray Teal, Bernie Kopell, J. Carroll Naish, Alan Hale, Jr., Francine York, Rusty Hamer, Allan Melvin, Pat Morita, Rich Little and Don Porter. Even theme composer musician Vic Mizzy had a guest starring role in one episode.
The best episodes from the series I will start with the premiere episode "Oliver Buys A Farm"(Season 1,Episode 1),and "Lisa's First Day On The Farm"(Season 1,Episode 2),and "The Decorator"(Season 1,Episode 3). The other episodes included "The Case Of The Hooterville Refund Fraud" (Season 5,Episode 21); "I Didn't Raise My Pig to Be A Soldier"(Season 2,Episode 3);"My Husband,The Rooster Renter"(Season 1,Episode 5),and "An Old Fashioned Christmas"(Season 2,Episode 13); "The Beverly Hillbillies" (Season 2,Episode 23);just to name a few.
"Green Acres" for the first four seasons had solid ratings where it was placed between "The Beverly Hillbillies" on CBS' Wednesday night schedule from 1965-1969. By the 1969-1970 the network moved the series from Wednesday nights to Saturday nights in an earlier time slot opposite "Adam-12" and the long-running "The Lawrence Welk Show". And in it's sixth and final season for the 1970-1971 season saw the show moved again from Saturday nights to Tuesday nights where it was opposite "Julia", "The Don Knotts Show",and "The Mod Squad" where it was clobbered in the ratings. The series that replaced "Green Acres" for the 1971-1972 season was "The Glen Campbell Show" aka "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Country Hour",and "The John Byner Comedy Show". "Green Acres" when it was abruptly canceled in the Spring of 1971 was the victim of CBS' "rural purge" of shows that also included "Hee Haw"(2 seasons), "The Beverly Hillbillies"(9 seasons); "Petticoat Junction"(7 seasons), "Lassie"(17 seasons); "The Ed Sullivan Show"(23 seasons); "Mayberry RFD"(3 seasons); "Hogan's Heroes"(6 seasons); "Family Affair" (5 seasons),"The Jackie Gleason Show"(19 seasons), and "The Red Skelton Show"(18 seasons). The shows that were canceled by the network were replaced with shows to attracted an urban audience.
Hogan's Heroes (1965)
Commemorating "Hogan's Heroes" on it's 50th anniversary
"Hogan's Heroes" followed a group of prisoners of war inside fictional "Stalag 13". Using the camp as a base to coordinate resistance groups,Colonel Robert Hogan(Bob Crane of "The Donna Reed Show"),and his group of American,British,and French soldiers(Played by Ivan Dixon, Richard Dawson, Robert Clary,and Larry Hovis) were unintentionally assisted by incompetent camp leaders Colonel Klink(Werner Klemperer),and Sergeant Schultz(John Banner)who regularly said "I See Nothing," to avoid trouble. The duo's ineptitude often caused Hogan to defend their roles,lest skilled soldiers to replaced them most of the time causing chaos and hilarious mischief throughout. This was basically "Mission:Impossible" with a laugh track set in World War II. Created by Albert S. Ruddy and Bernard Fein and loosely based on the 1953 theatrical feature "Stalag 17" starring William Holden,the series "Hogan's Heroes",ushered in a new way of thinking about the conflict(that took place during World War II) and the absurd comic situations that could arise.
"Hogan's Heroes" also made milestones as well. It was the second series produced under Bing Crosby Productions for CBS(after the success of "Shattery's People")and it was the first series under Bing Crosby's production company that was produced and filmed in color at Desilu Studios where the series was produced. Only the first episode of the series was in black and white. Episodes 2 through 167 were in color. A total of 168 episodes were produced. Premiered on CBS' Prime-Time schedule on September 17,1965, the series remained for the next six seasons ending on April 4,1971.
Only actors Bob Crane, Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis,and John Banner along with Werner Klemperer and Robert Clary were the only regular cast members that stayed with the series throughout it's entire six year run. Actor Ivan Dixon appeared in Seasons 1 thru 5 for 141 episodes. He left the series at the end of the fifth season to pursue other interests. He was replaced by actor Kenneth Washington at the start of the sixth and final season for 26 episodes. Interesting note about this show. Out of the impressive 12 Emmy nominations it received the series won 2 Prime- Time Emmys for Werner Klemperer as Outstanding Supportive Actor in 1968 and 1969. Other nominations went to Actor Bob Crane in 1966, 1967, and 1970,and Actress Nina Talbot(Outstanding Supportive Actress in a Comedy Series) in 1968,along with cinematopgrapher Gordon Avil in 1968 and 1970.
Throughout the series run,it's first two seasons(1965-1967) were telecast on Friday nights where it was opposite ABC's "The Addams Family",and NBC's "The Man From UNCLE". Seasons 3 and 4(1967-1968 and 1968-1969) saw "Hogan's Heroes" moved from Friday to Saturday nights opposite NBC's "Get Smart",and ABC's long-running variety series "The Lawrence Welk Show". The fifth season(1969-1970)of "Hogan's Heroes" saw the series move again back to Friday nights opposite NBC's "The Name of the Game",and ABC's "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir". But what killed it in it's sixth and final season saw the show move to Sunday nights in an earlier time slot for the 1970-1971 season opposite NBC's "The Wonderful of Disney",and ABC's "The Young Rebels".
The sudden cancellation of "Hogan's Heroes" in the spring of 1971 saw a dramatic change of CBS' programming to bring in a more urban audience with the debut of "All In The Family" that premiered on January 12,1971. The result brought down the axe on several shows that were abruptly canceled by the network which were "Lassie"(17 seasons),"Green Acres"(6 seasons),"Family Affair"(5 seasons),"The Ed Sullivan Show"(23 seasons),"The Beverly Hillbillies"(9 seasons),"Hee Haw"(2 seasons), "Mayberry RFD"(3 seasons), "The Jackie Gleason Show"(19 seasons),and "The Red Skelton Show"(18 seasons). The series that replaced "Hogan's Heroes" after 6 seasons was the crime drama "Cade's County" starring two-time Oscar nominee Glenn Ford(that also replaced the long-running "The Ed Sullivan Show" on that same Sunday night timeslot for the 1971- 1972 season).
"Hogan's Heroes" was criticized for it's farcial interpretation of significant events,but the actors playing the German soldiers were actually Jewish(Werner Klemperer and John Banner) and fled Germany in World War II during the rise of Hitler. Actor Robert Clary spent three years in a concentration camp during World War II. The other actors like Bob Crane, Larry Hovis, Ivan Dixon, Richard Dawson, and Kenneth Washington did not serve in any branch of the United States military.
The longest running Western in television history. Commemorating the legendary "Gunsmoke" on it's 60th anniversary
For many,"Gunsmoke" remains the ultimate Western series, if only by virtue of it's longevity. At it's peak no other prime-time scripted,live action drama ran for longer than it did and alongside "Wyatt Earp",and "Cheyenne",it ushered in a veritable gold rush of television Westerns for adult viewers. Central to the show's success was James Arness' earnest performance as craggy faced Marshal Matt Dillon of Dodge City who was a hero and a paternal figure who held law and order in the West whose relationship with saloon owner Kitty Russell(Amanda Blake) was implicit but chaste. Alongside his trusted deputy Chester Goode(Dennis Weaver),and the dependable town physician,Doc Adams(Milburn Stone) the series from the first episode became one of the bonafide hits of the mid-1950's becoming during the first couple of seasons the Number One show on television between 1955- 1961,and again was back in the Top Ten of the Nielsen during the late- 1960's and throughout the early-1970's. The astounding success of "Gunsmoke" spawned seven Emmy nominations and won four Prime-Time Emmys in 1958(Best Dramatic Series);1959(Best Supporting Actor Dennis Weaver);1968(Outstanding Actor in a Support Role Milburn Stone);1970(Outstanding Achievement in Film Sound Editing). It was nominated for four Golden Globes with actress Amanda Blake nominated for Best Actress in a Dramatic Series three times in 1970,1971,and 1972 and Milburn Stone for Best Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series in 1972.
John Wayne,who legend has it,was considered for the role of Marshal Dillon,and recommended his good friend James Arness for the job,and subsequently introduced viewers to the pilot episode("Matt Gets It" on September 10, 1955). Created by John Meston and Norman MacDonnell(for Seasons 1-9) along with producers John Mantley and Phillip Leacock(for Seasons 10-20),the series "Gunsmoke" began on radio in 1952 with William Conrad as Dillon,then made the transition to television. The series premiered on CBS' Saturday night schedule on September 10,1955 producing 233 half- hour episodes in black and white until June 17,1961(Seasons 1-6). On September 30,1961 the show expanded to a hour long format producing 176 episodes in black and white until May 7,1966(Seasons 7-11)Then the show evolved into color for 266 episodes from September 17,1966 until March 31,1975(Seasons 12-20). Only actors James Arness and Milburn Stone were the only cast members that stayed with the series throughout it's entire 20-year run.
Actress Amanda Blake(Kitty Russell) was in Seasons 1-19 only,while other actors such as Dennis Weaver(Chester Goode)was in Seasons 1 thru 9 only. Weaver was gone at the end of the show's ninth season and was replaced by actor Ken Curtis(Festus Hagen) in 1964 and remained with the series throughout it's run until 1975(Seasons 10 thru 20). Ken Curtis actually appeared in several episodes as a guest star. Actor Burt Reynolds(Quint Asper)appeared in Seasons 8 thru 10 for 50 episodes until the end of the show's 10th season when he was replaced by Actor Roger Ewing(Thad Greene) for Seasons 11 thru 13 only. Buck Taylor(Newly)replaced Roger Ewing when he left at the end of Season 12. Taylor also appeared as a guest star in Season 12 episodes,but became a regular in Seasons 13 thru 20 until 1975,when the show ended it's triumph run.
"Gunsmoke" during it's first eight seasons was in the Top Ten of the Nielsens,but when the ratings were slipping during the mid-1960's, a sudden move of the schedule sent the show from Saturday nights where it had been for the past 12 seasons to Monday nights at the beginning of Season 13,sent the show surging back into the Top Ten of the Nielsens becoming one of the top five shows on television from 1967-1975. When it was abruptly canceled on March 31,1975 after 635 episodes and 20 seasons the cast has no warning and learned their fate from press reports. On September 8, 1975, the two shows that replaced "Gunsmoke" were two spinoffs of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" which were "Rhoda" and "Phyllis",to fill that Monday night schedule. The phenomenal success of "Gunsmoke" helped established a standard for adult Western storytelling that has rarely been matched on the small or big screen. "Gunsmoke" spawned a spin-off called "Dirty Sally" starring Jeannette Nolan(who was a guest star in several episodes of "Gunsmoke" appearing in numerous roles)that lasted one season in 1974. James Arness did reprised the role of Marshal Dillon again when CBS aired five made for television sequels based on "Gunsmoke" that aired from 1987 until 1994. "Gunsmoke" held the title as the longest running prime time drama on television which has now been eclipsed by "Law and Order",and the animated "The Simpsons" for its longevity.
The Phil Donahue Show (1967)
The Godfather of the daytime talk show....commemorating "Donahue" on its golden 45th anniversary
Even though it was abruptly canceled in 1996,the fact that it ran in national syndication for 26 years should tell you that "Donahue" was the godfather and the innovative pioneer of the modern day talk show. Let's face facts here. The majority of the shows that are on today would not exist if it weren't for Phil Donahue. Today's talk shows are nothing but utter garbage with nothing but chocolate pudding formats and whipped cream topics that basically kills an hour in their time slots(the prime examples of this are "Jerry Springer", "Maury", "The View", "Wendy Williams",not to mention the trash that comes from "Live with Micheal and Kelly", "The Real",and the worst of them all basically coming from either CNN or Fox News)that have no subject matter or appeal to their audience. The reason? Because the hosts rarely go after the serious topics that affect people in their everyday lives,and today's talk show hosts don't even know how to handle the hard, tough in-your-face- questions. They're basically nothing but gossip headlines that don't even make sense. Phil Donahue's fire and desire was way ahead of its time when his daytime talk show premiered in national syndication on January 5, 1970. But in the early-1970's at the height of the Vietnam War,the Watergate scandal with President Nixon,and the struggle for equality for minorities,nobody else on television wasn't even thinking about this especially for daytime television. Think about it. The talk shows at that time were still left over with musical and celebrity guests that were outdated junk from the late-1950's and early-to-mid- 1960's style to sugarcoat what was happening in the real world and make people feel good. For example,during the Civil Rights Movement and the Cuban Missile crisis of the early-1960's,there was no talk show on television that kept the people informed to what was happening in society. The television industry sugarcoated these topics by showing people constant repeats of "My Three Sons", "Donna Reed",and "Bewitched". Imagine if "Donahue" came on the scene at that time. You can bet he would have been on the air and tackle these issues head on with the hard,tough-in-your-face questions along with the open dialogue.
Phil Donahue's daytime syndicated talk show was a breath of fresh air when it premiered in 1970 that was informed and not to mention tackling controversial issues that were considered taboo for television at that time. At the time "Donahue" premiered the daytime television landscape was filled with candy coated talk show hosts ranging from "Merv Griffin", to "Mike Douglas", "Dinah Shore", "John Davidson",and "Dick Cavett". Not to mention an array of children's programming, daytime game shows and weekday serials(daytime soap operas) that basically filled the daytime television line-up during the 1970's and 1980's. Most of the topics "Donahue" had were very controversial with the straight up hard in-your- face-questions and open dialogue with his guests and his studio audience not to mention the important topics that many people were interested in that became the discussion of the day. Along with the hard questions and tough answers "Donahue" would walk around with his microphone so that the audience can ask questions to the guests. Sometimes intense and sometimes straight to the point that made this daytime talk show stand out from the competition.
Some of the topics that "Donahue" discussed ranged from "Missing Children",to "Suicide","Homosexuality","The Adult Film Industry","Drug Addiction","Abortions","Civil Rights","Polygamy",to "Interracial Marriage", "Same Sex Marriage","Bigotry",and so forth that were not only controversial but at the time too intense for television but the man knew how to get his guests to answer the tough questions and get the answers with the most important dialogue his audience wanted to hear and more. No matter how his style of questioning was to his guests "Donahue" set the bar for what was to come and his daytime talk show surpass all expectations.
His guests ranging from top-name celebrities like Sammy Davis, Jr., to Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Burt Reynolds, John Wayne, to Lucille Ball, Muhammad Ali, Dolly Parton, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, to Ann-Margret, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, Dick and Tom Smothers, to Carroll O'Connor, Audrey Hepburn,Dick Clark, and Gore Vidal not to mention guest journalists like Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Mike Wallace, Jane Pauley, Connie Chung, Lesley Stahl, Barbara Walters, to Geraldo Rivera and Morton Downey,Jr. not to mention the founder and creator of Turner Broadcasting and CNN's own Ted Turner. Future talk show hosts themselves like Arsenio Hall, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman, Jay Leno,and Oprah Winfrey were some of his guests. One episode had the entire family of the "Jacksons" too. And there were the controversial guests that included Minister Louis Farrakhan, Dick Gregory, political activists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Novelists Ayn Rand, and Jacqueline Susann and gossip columnist Rona Barrett. One episode had adult film stars Ron Jeremy, Annette Haven, Nina Hartley, Vanessa Del Rio, Georgina Spelvin, and Jamie Gillis. Even having U.S. Presidents come as guests ranging from Richard Nixon, to Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and future Presidential candidates at the time Bill Clinton and Al Gore for there 1992 elections. And more controversial subject including one episode that involved the Rodney King incident in Los Angeles that pushed the envelope not to mention the trial of "O.J. Simpson" in a explicit filled 1994 episode.
The phenomenal success of "Donahue" won 12 Emmys for Outstanding Talk Show and was nominated for an impressive 18 Emmys during its astounding 26-year-run. When the "Donahue" show ended its run on September 13,1996 it paved the way for Oprah Winfrey, Sally Jessy Rapheal and a host of others that would follow. And Phil Donahue made that possible. Thank you.
Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958)
The series that launched Steve McQueen's career that became one of the best of the Four Star produced Westerns to come out of the late-1950's
"Wanted: Dead or Alive" was one of the "greatest" if not the "best" of the Four Star produced television Westerns to come out of the late- 1950's and continued into the early-1960's that made an unknown actor by the name of Steve McQueen into a bonafide star. This was his first and only attempt to star in a weekly series before he went on to become a huge theatrical star in his own right. His first big exposure in either film or television. Long before "Wanted:Dead or Alive" went into production,Steve McQueen was already making headway as a huge star in the 1958 theatrical release "The Blob"(which was released in theaters by Paramount Pictures on September 12, 1958)that became a runaway box office hit. But it was McQueen's performance in "The Blob" that caught the attention of Founder and Executive of Four Star Television Dick Powell. It was here that Steve McQueen made his television appearance as bounty hunter Josh Randall in an episode of another Four Star produced series "Trackdown" starring Robert Culp titled "The Bounty Hunter"(Season 1, Episode 21 of the series)that aired on March 7, 1958. His performance was the greenlight for the spin-off to the series "Trackdown" titled "Wanted:Dead or Alive" that premiered on CBS' Saturday night schedule in prime-time on September 6, 1958. It was sometime after "Wanted" premiered on television that his movie debut in "The Blob" was released in theaters a week after his television series premiered. By that time McQueen was already a star and with his success as bounty hunter Josh Randall on "Wanted:Dead or Alive" the series became one of the biggest hits of the late-1950's and a huge ratings boost for the CBS Television Network.Out of the eight television Westerns that premiered in 1958(which included "Northwest Passage"-one of the earliest short-lived series that was produced in color,and the ones that were in classic black and white included "The Texan","Bronco", "Bat Masterson","Cimarron City","The Rough Riders",and "Yancy Derringer" not to mention the premiere of another successful Four Star produced Western "The Rifleman" which became a huge colossal hit for ABC)only "Wanted" had a premise,and it worked.
"Wanted:Dead or Alive" for the three seasons that it aired on CBS, was placed on it's Saturday night time slot in prime-time between the courtroom drama "Perry Mason",and "The Gale Storm Show",and it faced strong competition against NBC's "The Perry Como Show In Color",and also the variety series "Jubilee USA" over at ABC. "Wanted:Dead or Alive" aired from September 6, 1958 until March 29, 1961 producing 94 episodes all in classic black and white and was produced by Malcolm Enterprises in association with Four Star Television and the CBS Television Network. Steve McQueen was the only actor that starred in all 94 episodes but during the show's second season McQueen's Josh Randall had a sidekick or assistant bounty hunter named Jason Nichols(Wright King) that appeared in 11 episodes from 1959-1960. Some of the best writers were in hand for some great episodes of this series ranging from D.D. and Mary Beauchamp, Don Brinkley, Calvin Clements, Christopher Knopf, Fred Freiberger, to Richard Matheson, Dan Ullman, Frank Gilroy, David Lang, Richard H. Landau, Tom Gries, Cy Chermak, Samuel A. Peeples, John Robinson, to Wells Root, George Slavin,and Tony Barrett to Ed Adamson contribute to some of the stories. Great directors ranging from Thomas Carr, George Blair, to future film director Richard Donner. Others included Harry Harris, to Murray Golden, Gene Reynolds, Don McDougall and actor-director-producer R.G. Springsteen just to name a few.
The guest stars that appeared on in this series were some of Hollywood's best ranging from future "Bonanza" television stars Michael Landon and Pernell Roberts,to future box office superstars Warren Oates, James Coburn, and Martin Landau. Others were Fay Spain, Mala Powers, Nick Adams, Cloris Leachman, Paul Burke, Constance Ford, Susan Oliver, Mara Corday, to Frank Silvera, Dyan Cannon, Royal Dano, Denver Pyle, Clu Gulager, along with Mary Tyler Moore, Vic Perrin, J. Pat O'Malley, Lee Van Cleef, Claude Akins, Jay Silverheels, John Carradine, Stafford Repp, Ed Nelson, Gerald Mohr, John Lupton, Wayne Rogers, Harold J. Stone, Beverly Garland, to Howard Morris, Stephen Talbot, Jay North, Jay C. Flippen, Regis Toomey and R.G. Armstrong(who directed and star in several episodes).
The best episodes from the series ranged from "Desert Seed"(Season 2, Episode 11), "Three For One"(Season 3, Episode 13), "The Prison Trail" (Season 2,Episode 31), "The Voice of Silence"(Season 3, Episode 20), "The Sheriff of Red Rock"(Season 1,Episode 13), "Eight Cent Reward:The Christmas Story"(Season 1, Episode 16), "Twelve Hours to Crazy Horse" (Season 2,Episode 12), "The Bounty"(Season 1,Episode 3) and from the premiere episode that started it all "The Martin Poster"(Season 1, Episode 1). Others included "Bounty on Josh"(Season 3, Episode 17), "The Bad Gun"(Season 2, Episode 8), "The Hostage"(Season 2,Episode 6), "The Choice"(Season 3, Episode 12), "The Trial"(Season 3, Episode 1),to "Death Divided By Three"(Season 2, Episode 29), "The Empty Cell" (Season 2, Episode 7),to the comedial "The Twain Shall Meet"(Season 3, Episode 5).
The phenomenal success of the "Wanted:Dead or Alive" television series propelled Steve McQueen's career as a bonafide Hollywood superstar. And it showcased his great talent in such great theatrical films as "The Magnificent Seven","Baby,The Rain Must Fall", "Soldier In The Rain","Nevada Smith","Love With The Proper Stranger","The Reivers", "Junior Bonner", "The Getaway","The Cincinnati Kid",not to mention the movie that cemented his status as a top box office star "Bullitt"(who became one of the top ten highest grossing pictures of 1968). Not to mention his Oscar nominated performance in "The Sand Pebbles"(Oscar nominated for Best Actor in 1966),and also for his work in "Papillion" (Oscar nominated for Best Actor in 1973). And to also mentioned his work opposite Paul Newman in Irwin Allen's "The Towering Inferno",and the movie that would be his last theatrical feature was 1980's "The Hunter"....the lists goes on and on.