Archive for the ‘Television’ Category
Check out this Jack Davis treatment of Laverne and Shirley — from left, Cindy Williams (Shirley) and Penny Marshall (Laverne) – on the front of the June 18, 1977, issue of TV Guide. I bought this used, but I remember when this issue first came out. I can picture it sitting on our big Motorola at our old house on 21st Street Northwest in Canton. (Click on it for a larger version.)
Hi and welcome to Steve Wiandt’s monthly blog. Just kidding. I’ve been bad about keeping up with my blog. And there were some technical difficulties that prevented me from blogging when I wanted to. But we’re back now and hopefully in the coming weeks I can add some interesting notes and pictures to brighten your day.
Did anyone see the TV Land Awards the other night? I’m not a big fan of the show but I usually watch at least part of it. I am not happy with the way TV Land network has added new programs including reality shows to their schedule. And the awards show always has current stars and they never give enough time for the old guys and gals. What was that tribute to Johnathan Winters — a bicentennial minute? I also have to admit I get a little sad when I see how my old favorites have aged.
Did anyone see Laverne and Shirley on the TV Land Awards? I used to watch that show every Tuesday night. That and its predecessor Happy Days. Keep an out on this blog for a cool picture of L&S from “back in the day” (I hate that saying).
If you like classic TV comedy with snappy dialogue and colorful characters, then you’ll love “Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show 50th Anniversary Edition.” This is a treat for those who have seen the show, and for those who haven’t. Released in 2006, this three-disc DVD set has 18 half-hour episodes plus special features. Audio includes an introduction to each episode by the late Allen Melvin, who played Cpt. Henshaw.
One of my favorite espisodes in the set is “Bilko Joins the Navy.” Larry Storch, in his first TV guest-starring role, appears as “The Crying Sailor” who keeps losing his money playing craps. This makes him cry and holler, ”What am I going to tell my wife?” What makes the episode especially enjoyable is it has audio commentary by Storch and Mickey Freeman (Zimmerman). Storch tells some great stories about other shows he’s been on: “Car 54, Where Are You?” on which he guested a couple times as a lovable drunk who gets inebriated just thinking about booze, and “F-Troop” where he co-starred with Forrest Tucker in what Storch said was “Bilko on horseback.”
I never saw more than a couple episodes of F-Troop. When I was growing up, it was always on a station we didn’t get, like Channel 35 in Erie, Pa., or somewhere. I first saw Larry Storch on Saturday morning’s “Ghost Busters.” To me this will always be the original. Storch and Forrest Tucker, along with a gorilla, hunted spooks and monsters. It was a goofy sitcom for kids, but I liked it. (Maybe that’s when I started to like fake gorillas …)
“Car 54″ is one of my all-time favorite shows. I watched it religiously when it was on Nick at Nite back when Nick and Nite showed classic TV and there was no TV Land. Nat Hiken produced both Bilko and Car 54, and used many of the same actors. Joe E. Ross was Mess Sgt. Ritzik on Bilko then he was Gunther Toody on Car 54. Ross was famous for his raspy voice and his “Oo-oo” noise when he was thinking. In Phil Silvers’ final interview (one of the DVD’s special features), Silvers explains Ross used to have trouble learning his lines and he used say, “Oo-oo, wait, I know it!” when he was rehearsing. Silvers thought it was funny and made him do it in front of the camera. The noise became his catch phrase and, according to Silvers, it tripled Ross’s salary.
In later years, Ross did voice work in cartoons including “The Hair Bear Bunch” and “Hong Kong Phooey.” There again, I first became aquainted this actor’s work watching Saturday morning TV when I was a kid. I heard recently that Saturday morning cartoons may become a thing of the past. Is that true?
I found this glossy 8×10 my friend Joel McGonnell gave me a few years ago. Someone gave it to him. I think Dick Van Dyke’s autograph is legitimate, but I don’t know for sure. The guy pictured with Dick is Allan Melvin, one of the best supporting actors in television who passed away Jan. 17. Melvin was also an accomplished cartoon voice actor, providing the voices of Sarge Snorkel and Hanna-Barbera’s Magilla Gorilla. You can go here for a nice tribute to Allan Melvin on Mark Evanier’s weblog.
I was thinking about “M*A*S*H.” Remember “M*A*S*H”? The TV sitcom that was on in the 1970s and 1980s? It starred Alan Alda and Loretta Swit the entire run. It also starred at various times McLean Stevenson, Harry Morgan, Wayne Rogers, Mike Ferrell, Gary Burghoff and Jamie Farr. It was about a mobile Army surgical hospital, or something, in the Korea War. Despite the specific time in which it is set, the show is timelessly funny. I never watched it or knew how funny it was until I married Debbie, a huge M*A*S*H fan.
Well, when I think of M*A*S*H, I think of Mad Magazine. Do you know why? I’ll tell you why. The only time I had a letter printed in Mad was when M*A*S*H was being cancelled and Mad did a special issue with a cover drawn by my favorite artist, Jack Davis. My letter had nothing to do with M*A*S*H, but that is the issue in which my letter appeared. Some time I’ll scan it and plop in here. (Hmmm, Plop. Does anyone remember Plop comics? Another time.)
So in looking for M*A*S*H art by Jack Davis I found this video of the great Southern cartoonist. The video concentrates on his work for the Georgia Bulldogs, but also reveals a couple things I didn’t know about the man. I didn’t know his drawing style was inspired by Walt Disney or that he is a Sunday school teacher. It’s very cool to see him and hear his voice in the video (it’s not the greatest quality, but still fun to watch).