Category Archives: Television

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

It’s Time For Day Baseball Games To Return To The World Series

It’s Been 30 Years Since The Last Outdoor, Daytime World Series Game Was Played – Who’s to Blame? MLB, FOX & “TV Research People”

World Series baseball the way it used to be played - during the daytime. Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon awaits the first pitch from Yankees ace Whitey Ford to begin game 3 of the 1960 World Series at Yankee Stadium, October 8, 1960.

World Series baseball the way it used to be played – during the day. Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon awaits the first pitch from Yankees ace Whitey Ford to begin game 3 of the 1960 World Series at Yankee Stadium, October 8, 1960.

30 years ago on October 14, 1984 the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres played game 5 of the World Series at Tigers Stadium under what used to be normal circumstances – they played a day game.

Three years later in 1987 the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals also played a day game in the World Series, but you would not have known it because the Twins played their home games indoors at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

Since then, every World Series game has been played at night. Continue reading

Gilligan’s Island Cast Related Albums

The Skipper’s Orgy Album and Other LP’s

album cover Alan Hale's Roman Orgy

This year September 26, marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of one of television’s all-time classic shows.

Gilligan’s Island originally ran on CBS from September 26 1964 until April 17, 1967 and will be seen forever in re-runs. It spawned an unforgettable theme song and a cast of actors that for better or worse became synonymous with their characters.

Nowadays merchandising and licensing for nearly every quasi-celebrity is the norm. But Gilligan’s Island never took advantage of the popularity of the show and issued albums on behalf of the cast members.

But looking around the web you will find a few albums related to the cast of the show.

Alan Hale’s incredibly titled album, Skipper Alan Hale’s Roman Orgy, would not inspire many of the eleven-year-old fans of the program to purchase it.

Unfortunately it is not a real album, but just one of a series of fake album covers by animator Chris Shapan.

album cover Bob Denver Maynard Krebs fake albumGilligan star, Bob Denver, Continue reading

When Grandmama Was Young

And This Glamorous Young Actress Is…

Blossom Rock Marie Blake Grandmama Addams Family

Well the signature on the photo says Marie Blake.

But you probably do not know who that is.

Marie Blake was the older sister of famous movie star Jeanette MacDonald. Yet more people today probably know Marie Blake than her famous sister Jeanette, because Marie later went under the stage name of Blossom Rock, better known as…

Blssom RockGrandmama from The Addams Family TV series.

Marie Blake / Blossom Rock appeared mostly uncredited in dozens of films from 1933 through 1964. When she landed the role of Gomez Addams’ mother on The Addams Family it granted her small screen immortality.

She was with the famed sitcom for its entire run from 1964 until 1966.

Marie Blake / Blossom Rock died January 14, 1978 at the age of 82.

Classic Hollywood #31

Julie Newmar, Barbara Eden and Tina Louise (Catwoman, Jeannie and Ginger) Before TV Super-Stardom

In the mid 1960’s three television shows debuted that have achieved pop culture immortality status: Gilligan’s Island; I Dream of Jeannie and Batman. The beautiful women associated with these shows are forever young in TV re-runs.

Before they went on to become pop-culture legends, Julie Newmar, Barbara Eden and Tina Louise each posed for cheesecake photos in the 1950’s that displayed their natural assets.

Julie Newmar had appeared in films, television and on Broadway winning a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Marriage-Go-Round. Everlasting fame came to Julie Newmar playing Catwoman on Batman.

Barbara Eden starred in a number of television shows and some movies throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s before landing the title role in I Dream of Jeannie in 1965. The show ran for five seasons on NBC and is still seen today in syndication.

After modeling and appearing on Broadway in the 1950’s Tina Louise became a movie star in her film debut God’s Little Acre (1958) . When she took the role of Ginger Grant in Gilligan’s Island, Louise mistakenly thought via her agent that she would be the lead in the ensemble cast show according to series creator Sherwood Schwartz. Tina Louise believed Gilligan’s Island ruined her acting career and forever typecast her as a sex symbol rather than a serious actress. The show has been broadcast all over the world constantly ever since its CBS network run ended in 1967.

It’s hard to believe all three glamorous women are now in their early 80’s. Ironically, Tina Louise who believed her career was ruined by her participation in Gilligan’s Island, is the only one still actively seeking and getting acting roles.

Batman TV Series – Celebrity In The Window Cameos

Do NOT Be Alarmed Citizen! Batman Series To Finally Be Released On DVD

Sammy Davis Jr., Robin & Batman

Sammy Davis Jr., Robin & Batman

In January it was reported that the long awaited release of the original Batman TV series is finally coming to DVD/Blu Ray sometime in 2014.

Batman which originally aired on ABC from 1966-1968, has been wrapped up in licensing, clearance and legal tangles for years and a whole generation knows Batman primarily from the most recent set of movies and DC comic books.

But for anyone who grew up in the 1960’s or 1970’s, Batman meant the campy TV series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin, along with many guest star villains and celebrity cameos.

Presented here on Youtube (until it is ordered taken down by some corporation) is a compilation of all the cameo appearances of celebrities who happened to coincidentally  look out the window just when Batman and Robin were climbing up or down a building. They then would proceed to have a bizarre conversation with the dynamic duo. Bat Climb photo via www.bat-mania.co.uk:This simple stunt was accomplished by having Adam West and Burt Ward walk on the floor hunched over while the camera was tilted on its side as the celebrity pops out of the floor disguised as a window.

Some of these celebrities like Dick Clark, Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr. are still recognized by younger audiences today, but many are forgotten such as Suzy Knickerbocker. Take a look for yourself.

The celebrity cameos are in order of appearance on the video:

1. Jerry Lewis

Continue reading

The Brilliance Of Sid Caesar – Five Of His Great Comedy Sketches

Sid Caesar, Master Of Sketch Comedy Dies At 91

Sid Caesar Feb 9 1953When certain celebrities pass away it hits me hard. Sid Caesar was always one of my favorite comedians. His death at the age of 91 in Beverly Hills, CA on February 12, 2014, closes the book on the big TV comedy stars during the golden age of prime time television of the 1950’s. Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Red Skelton, Ed Wynn, Jackie Gleason, Ernie Kovacs, Phil Silvers – they’re all gone now.

Sid Caesar’s meteoric rise at breakneck speed from 1950-1954 on Your Show of Shows and from 1955-1957 on Caesar’s Hour was offset by a steep fall into depression with drug and alcohol problems, which took him many years to recover from.

To modern audiences Caesar may be best known for his movie appearances in Grease (1978) as Coach Calhoun and It’s A Mad, Mad Mad, Mad World (1963) as one of the treasure pursuers. But I would say for most people under the age of 40, the name Sid Caesar will draw a blank stare when mentioned. That is a shame.

Here is a sketch that pre-dates the current health food craze by sixty years.

What Sid Caesar accomplished besides entertaining millions with his hilarious sketches that the common man could relate to, was to bring together a staff of talent that influences modern comedy to this day.

The writing and performing staff included Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Lucille Kallen, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, Danny Simon, Mel Tolkin and Larry Gelbart. It is no exaggeration to say the annals of comedy would not have been the same without Sid Caesar.

As the New York Times pointed out in its obituary of Sid Caesar:

A list of Mr. Caesar’s writers over the years reads like a comedy all-star team. Mel Brooks (who in 1982 called him “the funniest man America has produced to date”) did some of his earliest writing for him, as did Woody Allen. Continue reading