Category Archives: Television

We’d Like To Hear From Houdini (And Teddy Roosevelt While We’re At It)

On The 90th Anniversary of Houdini’s Death, We’d Like Some Advice From Houdini and His Friend Theodore Roosevelt

From left to right: William Hamlin Childs, Harry Houdini, J.C. Platt, Theodore Roosevelt, unidentified, Philip Roosevelt, L. F. Abbott

Aboard The Imperator June 23, 1914 – From left to right: William Hamlin Childs, Harry Houdini, J.C. Platt, Theodore Roosevelt, unidentified, Philip Roosevelt, L. F. Abbott

If there is an afterlife maybe Houdini is hanging out with President Theodore Roosevelt like he was in 1914. If so, I’d like to know what they think about the current state of our country.

October 31, 1926 marks the 90th anniversary of the death of the world’s most famous magician, Harry Houdini. Before he died, Houdini told his wife Bess that if there really was life after death, he would contact her. After all, Houdini spent a lot of his time showing how all people who claimed to contact the dead were charlatans. If anyone could prove that there was life after death it would be Houdini.

He never made contact with Bess. There are still seances held each year that try and contact Houdini.

So every so often we’ve asked the question: has Houdini made contact from other side like he said he would?

Of course not. Houdini is still dead and there’s no word from him. Continue reading

Obama’s Last and Boldest Act While In Office – Equalize Entertainment Television

President Obama Promises to Bring Change To Television Before He Leaves Office

President Obama with Jimmy Fallon photo NBCDuring President Obama’s recent visit to “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon on Friday, the president unveiled a final shocking and controversial plan to be implemented before he exits office in 2017.

President Obama declared he would drastically overhaul many segments of America’s television viewing habits beginning with entertainment and reality television programs, calling it “a painful but necessary decision.”

The president said that his plan, Change and Equalization for American Television (CHEAT), would allow television programs to be more inclusive and teach and inform rather than just have people be non-thinking couch potatoes. President Obama said, “Restructuring how people spend their free time has become a priority,” before he leaves the presidency.

“There is just too much useless information on television infiltrating young folk’s minds in the form of entertainment and reality programs,” the president told Fallon. “The Biggest Loser, Dancing With The Stars, The O’Reilly Factor, I mean the list of dangerous and uninformative programs is just too long,” President Obama said.

The president singled out a program that disturbed him greatly, not only because of its lack of diversity in the cast, but by the cruelty of the situation.

“There was one show on a few years ago, I think it was “Lost” President Obama recalled. “Well, when I tuned in a few times, I could not believe that the producers of this reality program had stranded seven people, who by the way were all white, on a desert island with no phone, no lights, no motorcar – not a single luxury. These fine brave Americans included a millionaire and his wife, a professor, and a movie star. It was clear to me they wanted to get off this island. Well it seems that one of the other islander’s, a Mr. Gilligan, must have been planted by the producers of the show to foil each rescue attempt, because he sabotaged every planned escape. It was heartbreaking”

Mr. Fallon started to explain to President Obama that the show he had watched was not Lost, when the president interrupted him by saying firmly, Continue reading

The GREATEST Muhammad Ali TV Appearance EVER!

Muhammad Ali Appearing on Candid Camera

Muhammad Ali Candid Camera 1974While every network is showing Muhammad Ali in boxing retrospectives, we wanted to show something completely different.

For those who do not remember Alan Funt’s Candid Camera, it was the first TV show to do what so many other shows would later try and imitate; capture regular people’s reactions to extraordinary, sometimes crazy situations.

The day Muhammad Ali shows up in a New York City school classroom is one of the greatest stunts the show ever did. The reactions of the children are priceless.

I remember vividly seeing Muhammad Ali on Candid Camera when this episode aired in 1974  and thinking “how come no celebrities appear at my school?”

This video just displays a totally different side of Ali. It also shows how popular Muhammad Ali was to an entire generation, especially kids. This clip is only five minutes long, but it is hilarious.

History Channel – Hunting Hitler (And Ratings)

History Channel Treads Ground Covered Ad Nauseum By Sensationalist Magazine 50 + Years Ago

National Police Gazette cover May 1964, One of many times Hitler was featured on the Gazette cover

National Police Gazette cover May 1964, One of many times Hitler was featured on the Gazette cover

The History Channel has been stretching a not very unique idea into an eight episode program with few surprises called Hunting Hitler.  The premise is that Nazi Fuehrer Adolf Hitler and his consort Eva Braun faked their suicides and fled Berlin in the closing days of the war.

Even before the show aired there have been many people (not just among conspiracy theorists), who believe it is possible that Hitler did not die by his own hand in an underground bunker on April 30, 1945 as widely reported.

Until definitive evidence surfaces on what happened to Hitler, there is only one thing that is certain, unless he is the Methuselah of vile dictators, Hitler is now definitely dead. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #46

Ruta Lee – Starring in Hootenanny Hoot 1963

Ruta Lee 1963Ruta Lee may not be a household name to the younger generation, but the actress, seen above in a forgettable starring role in 1963’s Hootenanny Hoot, has credits in over 155 movies and television shows over a  60 year career. Her official biography states that she has made over 2,000 television appearances.

She was born Ruta Mary Kilmonis in Montreal, Quebec on May 30, 1935 and moved to Hollywood when she was 13.

Ruta’s most notable films include Witness For The Prosecution, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and Funny Face. Her television career has been long and prosperous with appearances in The Adventures of Superman, The Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Hollywood Squares, Fantasy Island, Murder She Wrote and Roseanne.

The Best Sports Announcer – EVER!

Ray Hudson Commentator Extraordinaire

Let’s get one thing straight; I can’t bear to watch (football) soccer. Despite its worldwide popularity I find it to be the most boring game ever invented with typical 0-0 or 1-0 outcomes.

Ray HudsonThat is unless former soccer player Ray Hudson is on TV calling the game.

I was part of a captive audience at a pub recently, so there was no way of avoiding the Peru vs. Chile game playing on ten TV sets and blasting over the sound system of the bar.

As unexciting as the game was, the commentator was not letting it affect him. Every play was exciting. With lyrical metaphors, alliteration, vague poetical and pop-culture references and pure bombast, this man was making what was on the TV a spectacle not to be missed.

Here was my discovery of Ray Hudson.

Ray Hudson made every minute of a nothing nothing game among the most entertaining sporting events I have ever witnessed.

I don’t know all that much about soccer and its announcers, but doing a quick web search I discovered that Hudson is either loved or hated; there is little middle ground among fans. Continue reading

Nicholas Winton Dies At 106, Saved Hundreds From The Holocaust

The Extraordinary Life Of Nicholas Winton

Nicholas Winton at 105 photo David Levene for The Guardian

Nicholas Winton at 105 photo David Levene for The Guardian

Nicholas Winton who saved hundreds of children from the Holocaust and didn’t tell anyone about it for over 50 years died Wednesday, July 1 in Maidenhead, England at the age of 106.

With all the chaos and hatred that permeates today’s news, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are real humanitarians in this world who have accomplished extraordinary things. Nicholas Winton was one of those truly good people who remind us that good deeds can come out of bad events.

How Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II is an amazing story told on the BBC 27 years ago and in America in 2014 on 60 Minutes.

Here is a portrait of humanity at its best with 60 Minutes telling Winton’s story.

Chimps and Actors In Publicity Photographs

Bettie Page, Jayne Mansfield, Gary Cooper and Other Celebrities Posing With Chimps

Bettie Page with chimp. photo Bunny Yeager

Bettie Page with chimp. photo Bunny Yeager

Previously we showed some news photographs of chimpanzees. Because there were so many to choose from, we put these aside until now – publicity photographs of famous personalities with chimps.

Some of these posed photographs may have been related to whatever production the star was doing at the time. Others were just good photo opportunities.

The original news caption or a brief explanation for the photo is provided if we have one. Either way, here they are. Click on any photo to enlarge.

Herb Alpert April 21 1968

Herb Alpert April 16, 1968

“Herb Alpert teaches a friendly chimp at the Los Angeles zoo how to play a few notes at a stopover on a musical tour of America featuring the Tijuana Brass to be televised on Channel 7 at 7 p.m. on Monday. The program is called ‘The Beat of the Brass'”

Jayne Mansfield 1965

Jayne Mansfield 1965

Jayne Mansfield holding Laconia 1965

Dom DeLuise 1966

Dom DeLuise 1966

Dom DeLuise appears with one of The Marquis Chimps (probably Candy) on the Dean Martin Show 1966.

Stymie (Matthew Beard) of the Little Rascals (Our Gang)

Stymie (Matthew Beard) of the Little Rascals (Our Gang)

The Little Rascals Stymie (Matthew Beard) thinks Spanky has turned his brother Cotton into a chimpanzee through the power of a magic lamp in the 1932 Our Gang short ‘A Lad An’ A Lamp.

Gary Cooper 1932. photo: Acme

Gary Cooper 1932. photo: Acme

“Gary Cooper and baby chimpanzee as they arrived in Hollywood after an absence of more than a year.” Acme News Photo 4-27-1932 Continue reading

Batman As 007 – Twelve Actors Who Turned Down The Role Of James Bond

Batman’s Adam West Is One Of Many Actors Who Were Offered The Role Of  Agent 007 James Bond, But Turned Down The Part

Adam West Batman

“The name’s West, Adam West”

There is a little of James Bond in every actor. That does not mean that every actor wants to play James Bond.

Bond is an expert in a wide range of subjects, an outstanding athlete and fighter, can drive any vehicle, land, air or sea and seems to have a way with the ladies. There are some critics who have complained that James Bond is a misogynist. If so, he has rarely used his “license to kill” on women. Out of 370 people Bond has killed on screen, only three have been women.

Recently while watching Diamond’s Are Forever (1971), the extra features on the DVD mentioned that before Sean Connery agreed to return to the role of James Bond, several actors were considered to play 007 and some turned it down. The reasons varied, but I doubt that any of the actors regretted their decision.

The most surprising decline to me was Adam West who had brilliantly played the campy title role on Batman, ABC’s hit series which ran from 1966-1968. I can see how the producers considered him for the role, but I cannot imagine Adam West being James Bond. But then again neither could West and he was smart enough to pass on the part. On the other hand, some of the actors who turned down James Bond, I could see playing 007.

So here is a slideshow of just some of the actors who turned down the role of the world’s most famous secret agent.

A little more about Patrick McGoohan who had he accepted the role may have been the best actor to ever play the part. But it was not only the womanizing McGoohan objected to; he truly despised the character, calling Bond “contemptible and simplistic.”

McGoohan, a man of very strong ethics said in a 1960’s interview Continue reading

Part 2 – An Interview With Avery Corman “My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir”

Avery Corman Talks About: Dating, Restaurants, High School in The Bronx, The Advertising World, Getting Published and Having His Books Adapted To Film

We continue our interview with Avery Corman, author of the new book My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir (Barricade Books) 2014, and his story of growing up in the Bronx during the 1940’s and 50’s.

Divided into 5 parts the first two parts of the interview can be seen here.

In part 3 Avery Corman discusses dating, blind dates, sex, going to the movies, the differences between eating out and restaurants, dessert havens like Krum’s, Addie Vallins and Jahn’s and the coming of television.

Part 4 Avery Corman recalls his high school years at DeWitt Clinton High School and his decision to go to New York University. Upon graduating Continue reading