June Knight: 1930s Blonde Bombshell, Broadway and Film Star

A brief look at June Knight, dancer, singer and actress of stage and screen famous in the 1930s. Collected here is bits of trivia about her movies, marriages, romances, and life in general. Using various online sources as well as old newspaper and magazine articles, we get just a very brief look at her life and career.

  • Born Margaret Rose Valliquietto January 22, 1913.
  • She suffered from infantile paralysis from the age 22 months until age five.
  • At age four she was diagnosed with tuberculosis which was cured with time spent in Arizona.
  • She also suffered from double pneumonia, scarlet fever, whooping cough, chicken pox and mastoiditis. She was so sickly that doctor’s simply didn’t believe she would live.
  • She learned to sing to help strengthen her lungs and to dance to help build strength in her legs. By the time she was 15 years old, she was the picture of health and one of the best gymnasts at her school.

1930’s Broadway and Personal Appearances

  • Made her Broadway debut at age 19 in the Ziegfield Follies show Hot-Cha (1932).
  • June 1934 played a two-week engagement at the Beach and Tennis Club in Miami Florida. She also did appearances at the Rony Plaza Hotel courtesy of the Beach and Tennis Club.
  • Worked in two other Broadway shows during the 30s; Take a Chance (32), Jubilee (35).
  • In 1935 she studied under Samuel Krayzer who had been “building and polishing” stars since 1878. He said of her, “She possesses a thorough understanding of the mind and has a sincere purpose in pictures.” Some of Krayzer’s other pupils were Paulette Goddard, Fredric March and Edwin Booth (whose career would be over shadowed by his brother, John Wilkes, who would gain notoriety as the assassin of US President Abraham Lincoln).

June Knight’s 1930s Films

A listing of June’s 1930’s film credits with bits of trivia about the film, June, other actors and more where applicable.

  • (1938) Vacation from Love: June sangLet’s Pretend It’s True“.
  • (1938) Break the News: A long forgotten British B-movie
  • (1937) The Lilac Domino: A British B-movie one of several that June worked in. A rather obscure title.
  • (1935) Redheads on Parade
  • (1935) Broadway Melody of 1936: June sang I’ve Got a Feelin’ You’re Foolin with Robert Taylor. Buddy Ebsen dances with his sister Vilma, who would soon retire from show business. She and Buddy had been a popular vaudeville act in the early 30’s.
  • (1934) Wake Up and Dream: This was Russ Columbo’s first and only lead role in a film. He wrote all four songs used in the film’s score. June sings with him on “Wake Up and Dream”, “Let’s Pretend There’s a Moon”, “When You’re In Love” and “Too Beautiful for Words” which some Columbo biographer’s claim he wrote for Carole Lombard with whom he was involved romantically at the time of his death. He was killed in a freak shooting accident at age 26.
  • (1934) Gift of Gab: Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi have small roles.
  • (1934) Cross Country Cruise
  • (1933) Take a Chance: Vivian Vance had an uncredited role in the film. Vivian, of course would go on to gain fame as Lucy Ricardo’s landlord and friend, Ethel Mertz in I Love Lucy.
  • (1933) Ladies Must Love
  • (1930) Madam Satan: While she tested for the lead role, she was too young to play a thirty something woman. She did have an uncredited role.

Romantic Relationships/Marriages

  • Was rumored that prize fighter Max Baer had proposed to her in 1933, she admitted he had, but then laughed if off saying that “Max proposes to everybody”.
  • She and Texas oilman, Arthur A. Cameron, who married in August of 1938, divorced in September of 1943. Cameron stated that she was so jealous that it was almost like a phobia. Knight denied being the jealous type, but admitted she was possessive and very much in love with her soon to be ex-husband. She had been asking for $4,000 a month alimony, $10,000 for attorney fees and half of community property. She was eventually awarded a $50,000 settlement. The couple had met in a Galveston night club where June had been making a personal appearance.
  • After meeting in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1942 ,wealthy New York broker Paul Ames, age 32, (whose brother Stephen was married to actress Raquel Torres and who had been previously married to another actress Adrienne Ames) married June on November 30, 1943. He filed for divorce just thirteen (some sources state nine days) later siting cruelty. Knight complained that Ames always had his friend, Murray Stern who served as best man at their wedding, hanging around, so the couple had little time together alone. She also said that Ames was sullen and morose and continually allowed his family to interfere in their affairs. She was asking for $1,200 a month alimony. [1]
  • In 1949 she married Carl B. Squier, Lockheed Aircraft executive.Their marriage lasted 18 years, until his death in 1967.
  • In 1969 she married for the fourth and last time to Jack Buehler, another Lockheed Aircraft executive and close friend of her late husband, Carl. She remained married to Jack until her death on June 16, 1987.

Sources:

  • “13 Day Marriage.” The Milwaukee Sentinel 15 Dec. 1934: 22. Print.

June Knight Trivia

  • June stood 5’5″ tall and weighed 119 pounds. She had blue eyes and taffy-colored hair.
  • Around age 15, she adopted the name Marie Valli. She was visiting MGM and heard one of the great stars of the day trying out for a singing role. Knight rather boldly said out loud she could do better than that which caught the ear of director Cecil B. DeMille, who decided to test her. He was impressed and almost cast her in the lead. Although she didn’t get the lead, she did get an uncredited part in the film.
  • In 1931, she started a dance partnership with Jack Holland using her name of Marie Valli. Holland changed her stage name to June Knight. She liked it so much she legally changed her name to that. In 1933, when she split with Holland, he hired a new partner and gave her that same stage name.She sued Holland to gain complete rights to the name of June Knight.
  • In 1935 June and her maid were bound and gagged by two robbers in her apartment who stole $5,000 worth of jewelry from her. Stolen were a diamond ring, a diamond bracelet, miscellaneous pieces of jade and some coins. Knight reported that one of the men had called her on the phone claiming to be an executive who wanted a testimonial and who suggested a conference. She agreed, when the man came to her apartment, he pulled out a gun and proceeded to tell her that it was a stick-up and he wanted her jewels. A second man then joined them and they bound her by the ankles and stuffed a towel in her mouth and then took her jewelry.
  • In June of 1944, she was hospitalized to have a benign tumor removed.
  • In 1945 had her own line of perfume.
  • June was a bit of an inventor, coming up with the Widow’s Peak Coiffure Clip, a hair clip. She invented a garter belt with an attached small change purse, she also invented the June Chic, a collapsible camping toilet.

© 2015 Glory Miller

Ten Handsome Actors Who Have Played Cowboys!

 Cowboys whether they are outlaws, lawmen, gunslingers, are always fun to watch. This is a short listing of some of the actors who played cowboys in feature films and television.

Bruce Campbell in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.bruce-campbell-brisco

  • Plot: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr is a fun filled high energy Western series. Set in the American west during the 1890’s, Brisco is a Harvard educated lawyer and son of a slain U.S. Marshal, who has turned bounty hunter, and whose main goal, when not being interrupted by other issues, is to capture John Bly and his gang. He is helped in his adventures by Professor Albert Wickwire (John Astin) an eccentric scientist and inventor who supplies Brisco with some interesting gadgets.
  • Year: Ran on Fox from August 27, 1993 to May 20, 1994
  • Campbell had to audition five times before he got the part of Brisco.
  • Available on DVD: Yes

Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain The Riflemanchuck-connors-the-rifleman

  • Plot: In the New Mexico Territory of North Fork, Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) is a widowed father raising his young son, Mark (Johnny Crawford) alone. All he wants to do is tend to his ranch, but when things go to be too much for North Fork’s marshal to handle, McCain would often be called in to set things right, and it usually involved him using his self invented rapid cocking rifle. When the bad guys heard it being cocked, they had better take cover cause McCain meant business.
  • Year: September 30, 1958-April 8, 1963
  • Lucas McCain was listed at #32 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time list from their June 20, 2004 issue.
  • Connors initially turned down the role because the money was too low. Producers offered it to two other actors, John Anderson and James Whitmore, but decided that Connors was the best choice. They offered it to him a second time with a much higher salary and he accepted.
  • In the original story for The Rifleman written for an episode of Gunsmoke but rejected, the character of McCain had no son, was a dead shot with a pistol instead of a rifle and his first name was John, not Lucas.
  • Available on DVD: Yes

Gary Cooper as Marshall Will Kane in High Noongary-cooper-high-noon

  • Plot: Cooper is lawman Will Kane forced on the day of his wedding to face down a gang of outlaws bent on revenge against him. No one in the small town of Hadleyville will offer him a hand and the gang will arrive by train at high noon. All Will wants it to give up being a lawman, spend the rest of his life with his new bride, Amy (Grace Kelly) and open a store in some other place.
  • Year: 1952
  • This film was dismissed by critics because it wasn’t Western enough for them. It lacked gun fights, chasing the bad guys on horseback, and basic Western violence.
  • The film revitalized Cooper’s career and earned him an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
  • Available on DVD: Yes
  • In 1989, Polish graphic designer Tomasz Sarnecki took a Polish movie poster that featured Gary in this role and turned it into a political poster for the Solidarity party in Poland which was up against the Communist party in the elections. The image of Cooper, and the ideal of the cowboy as one who fights for freedom and justice and against evil propelled the Solidarity party to victory and paved the way for democracy in Poland.
  • Of course, Gary has a large number of Western films to his credit such as The Westerner, The Plainsman, The Cowboy and the Lady and Along Came Jones to just mention a few.

Ed Harris as Virgil Cole in Appaloosa

ed-harris1

  • Plot: Rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) is terrorizing the residents of the small town of Appaloosa, New Mexico. He has murdered the marshal, and the two deputies who came to his ranch to arrest him. So, the town, not knowing what else to do, hires peacekeeper Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and his deputy Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) to get things back under control. Cole agrees on one condition the little town must cede total control to him.
  • Year: 2008
  • This was Harris’ second time directing a film.
  • Based on the 2005 novel, Appaloosa, by Robert B. Parker.
  • Available on DVD: Yes

Lee Horsley as Ethan Allan Cord in Paradiselee-horsley-paradise

  • Plot: Ethan Allen Cord (Lee Horsely) is a gun fighter who has to take over as caregiver to his deceased sister’s four children. Realizing that his lifestyle is unsuitable for raising kids, he decides to give up his ways and settle down. He buys a home in Paradise, California and intends to lead a peaceful life, but he is constantly reminded of his violent past.
  • Year:October 27, 1988 – May 10, 1991
  • The show was renamed in the third and final season, The Guns of Paradise, in an attempt to remind viewers that the show was first and foremost a Western and in hopes it would bring up the ratings.
  • Available on DVD: No

Elvis Presley as Pacer Burton in Flaming Starelvis-flaming-star-publicity

  • Plot: Elvis is Pacer Burton, a young man whose mother is a Kiowa and his father is a Texas rancher. The family wants to just lead a peaceful life, but that peace is shattered when a nearby tribe of Kiowa begin to raid local homesteads. Pacer then finds himself torn between two worlds and not certain to which should go his loyalty. He lives in both worlds, but really belongs to neither.
  • Year: 1960
  • Most of us, when we think of Elvis and his film roles, tend to automatically think of his musicals. But, he did have some dramatic performances in King Creole and Wild in the Country and it was his desire to get a chance to do dramatic parts.
  • Originally, there were to be four songs performed by Elvis in this film, but using his influence, he was able to have two of the songs, Britches and Summer Kisses, Winter Tears removed. He does sing the theme song, and A Cane and a High Starched Collar.
  • The film was released just a short time after his big hit G.I. Blues and it didn’t achieve the same level of success as its predecessor, coming in at number 12 for the year in terms of box office successes. It seemed rather obvious to Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager that his fans didn’t want to see him in dramas, they wanted music and comedy, Elvis style so he went back to making those kinds of films.
  • Elvis also starred in another Western Charro! in 1969. While not a huge success, it is an example of Presley’s dramatic acting ability.
  • Available on DVD: Yes

Randolph Scott as Ned Britt in Fort Worthrandolph-scott-fort-worth1951

  • Plot: Scott is Ned Britt, a former gun fighter, who has decided to become a newspaper man, instead. He sets up shot in, Fort Worth, Texas and soon discovers that printing the news can be as dangerous as any gun fight. Cattle baron Gabe Clevinger (Ray Teal) wants to stop the railroad from ever reaching Fort Worth and will resort to any means necessary to do so.
  • Year: 1951
  • Scott was a multi-talented actor working in many different genres:dramas, comedies, musicals (although he never sang or danced in them), war, horror and fantasy, but he is most remembered for his numerous roles in Westerns.
  • Available on DVD: Yes

Tom Selleck as Mac Traven in The Shadow Riderstom-selleck-the-shadow-riders

  • Plot: In this TV Western, Mac and Dal Traven Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott) are brothers who fought on opposite sides during the Civil War. They both make their way back to Texas after the War’s end and discover that their brother and sisters as well as Dal’s sweetheart have been kidnapped by a band of Confederate rebels. It’s up to the brothers to go in search of them.
  • Year: 1982
  • Based on the 1982 novel, The Shadow Riders by Louis L’Amour.
  • This TV movie reunited Selleck with Sam Elliott and Jeff Osterhage who had starred together in the 1979 TV Western, The Sacketts.
  • Available on DVD: Yes

Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie in Cheyennewalker-cheyenne

  • Plot: Cheyenne Bodie,(Clint Walker) a loner who drifts through the American west after the end of the Civil War and took whatever work he could find; sometimes as a federal marshal, or a ranch hand, or a riding along with a wagon train. His many different jobs got him involved in a variety of conflicts.
  • Year: September 20, 1955 – December 17, 1962
  • There are only 108 episodes of the series, even though it ran for 7 seasons. This is because the show was on a revolving schedule with shows Bronco, and Sugarfoot, they would alternate the time slot. Also, during the 1958-59 season, Walker went on strike because he had to give Warner Brothers 50% of the money he earned on personal appearances.
  • Walker also had a pleasant singing voice and he was forced to record for Warner Brothers Records, he wanted the freedom to sign with the record company of his choice. Eventually, a settlement was reached and Walker came back to work.
  • Cheyenne was the first hour long US TV Western.
  • Available on DVD: Yes
  • Walker starred in many Western films including: Fort Dobbs, More Dead Than Alive, The Great Bank Robbery and more!

Patrick Wayne as Bob Barber in Rustler’s Rhapsodypatrick-wayne

  • Plot: A fun spoof of the old westerns of the 30s and 40s. Singing cowboy Rex O’Herlihan (Tom Berenger) rides into the one horse town of Wildfire to dispense justice (non lethal) to bad guy cattle baron Colonel Ticonderoga (Andy Griffith).
  • Year: 1985
  • Available on DVD: Yes
  • Patrick’s film debut was at age 11 in his father’s (John Wayne) film Rio Grande and he would work in more Western films with his father such as the popular The Searchers.
  • Patrick starred in a several commercials during the 1970s advertising Marathon candy bar as good guy cowboy, Marathon John who always warned Quick Carl (who did everything quick) that he couldn’t eat a Marathon bar quick.

Remembering Actor Larry Breeding

I thought it would be nice to write about an actor that I remember from back in the late 70s by the name of Larry Breeding.    There really isn’t a lot of information available on Larry and that might be because his career was so short-lived.

He was born Warren Lawrence Breeding in Jacksonville, Illinois on September 28, 1946.  Larry was an up and coming actor who starred in a few short-lived 70s sitcoms.  In fact he was called a “flop-up” actor by some which means that his career was progressing and not negatively affected by how bad his last show was.  I am not sure if that term is used anymore, though and to be honest, I had never heard of it before until I read a brief article from 1979 about Larry.  It was in the entertainment page/section of the Chicago Tribune.

His first television series was the horrific Who’s Watching the Kids, a sitcom produced by Gary Marshall that many say was simply a re-envisioning of another failed Marshall series from 1977 called Blanksky’s Beauties.  I can’t offer up an opinion on that as I never saw any episode of that series.   But, I did watch Who’s Watching the Kids and will say that I believe Larry was the only really good thing about it.  He played Larry Parnell, the aspiring journalist neighbor of Angie (Lynda Goodfriend) and Stacy (Caren Kaye), two Las Vegas show girls.  The two women shared an apartment and each had a younger sibling to care for; Angie had her 15-year old brother Frankie (Scott Baio) who was, in my opinion, more obnoxious than funny and Stacy had her 9-year old sister, Melissa (Tammy Lauren).  Parnell often acted as a baby sitter for the two keeping them out of trouble, or helping them get out of trouble, whichever the case may be.    The show ran on NBC from September 22, 1978 to December 15, 1978.  According to the article mentioned above, even Breeding thought the show was horrible.

His next series was The Last Resort which aired on CBS from September 19, 1979 to March 17, 1980. It was an MTM production and was a sitcom about a group of college students who worked as kitchen staff at a hotel. Larry was Michael Lerner a pre-med student working as a waiter.   The show lasted for one season with 15 episodes and as far as I know, has never been released onto DVD.

Larry went on to make appearances on other popular series of the time and his last work was on the series Laverne and Shirley in 1982, having worked in three episodes.

Sadly, Larry was killed on September 27, 1982 (some sources claim it was the 28th which would have been his 37th birthday) in a car accident when the vehicle he was driving struck a concrete pole on Franklin Avenue, a road beneath the Hollywood Freeway.  He was the only occupant of the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.    Witnesses to the accident said he appeared to be driving normally, and authorities had no idea what caused the accident.  It was to be investigated.  I have no clue what conclusion investigators came to about the cause of the crash or if it was ever reported in any news media.  Maybe someone reading this will have the answer and can enlighten me?

In the 1979 article I mentioned earlier, it stated that Larry had recently married a lovely woman named Anne Bloom.   But, sources state that prior to his death, he had been dating Penny Marshall whom he met by his work on her series Laverne and Shirley.  I suppose he could have gotten a divorce in the few short years between 1979 and 1982 as it certainly isn’t unheard of. (The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) does have an Anne “Annie” Bloom listed as an actress, but makes no mention of her ever being married to Larry, so she probably isn’t the right Anne Bloom.) Anyway, Larry’s last appearance on Laverne & Shirley aired after his death.

He is buried in, I believe, the Fallbrook Masonic Cemetery in Fallbrook, California.

Larry Breeding Filmography

This listing is possibly incomplete. If you know of any other shows that Larry was in, please feel free to let me know.

Laverne & Shirley (TV Series)
As Mike Bailey in the episodes Window on Main Street (1982) and The Fashion Show (1983)
As Hank in the episode An Affair to Forget (1982)

This Is Kate Bennett (TV Movie 1982)
As Seth Greenwald

It’s Not Easy (TV Series 1982)
As Neil Townsend. Breeding was to co star with Gerald McRaney of Simon and Simon , but when McRaney’s series was renewed he returned to it. It’s Not Easy was then put on hold and while waiting for a replacement for McRaney to be cast, Breeding was killed in a car accident. The series eventually went on the air with Bert Convy in the role originally to be played by Breeding and Ken Howard in the role meant for McRaney. It lasted for 10 episodes.   I believe, but I could be in error, that the original pilot with Larry and Gerald had been filmed, but it never aired, because of McRaney being called back to his old series.

Lou Grant (TV Series)
As Burton Cary in the episode Friends (1981)

It’s a Living (TV Series)
As Stan in episode Boys of Summer (1981)

Street Music (Feature film 1981)
As Eddie

Hart to Hart (TV Series)
As Frank Jordon in the Murder Takes a Bow

The Love Boat (TV Series)
As Johnny Gilmore in the episode Black Sheep/Hometown Doc/Clothes Make the Girl
As Jack Strander in the episode No Girls for Doc/Marriage of Convenience/The Caller/The Witness

A Matter of Life and Death (TV Movie/1981)

The Love Tapes (TV Movie/1980)
As Peter Barnes

Eight is Enough (TV Series)
As Gary in the episode A Little Triangle

The Last Resort (TV Series 1979-80)
As Michael Lerner (15 episodes)

The Bad News Bears (TV Series)
As Elliot Carson in the episode Save the Bears (1979)

Alice (TV Series)
As Mark in episode My Fair Vera (1979)

Larry did some stage work, too, so if anyone has a listing of some of the plays he worked in and where they were performed, that would be great.

With One Magic Word…SHAZAM!

shazam-captain-marvel-jackson-bostwick-cover

Shazam was one of my favorite kids shows from the 70s. I watched it faithfully every week (and its companion show, Isis/The Secrets of Isis, as well).     It starred Jackson Bostwick as Captain Marvel with Michael Grey as Billy Batson and Les Tremayne as Mentor. Billy and Mentor traveled around in an RV, getting involved in the trials and tribulations of ordinary folks.  When trouble reared its ugly head, Batson had but to utter “Shazam” and Batson would transform into Captain Marvel and save the day.

Sure the show looks campy and corny now, but back then it was lots of fun to watch.  One of the things that did confuse and disappoint me was Bostwick being replaced by John Davey.   I didn’t mind too much, I guess, as I kept watching the show, but admit, to this day, I still prefer Bostwick’s portrayal of the Captain. (For all you Davey fans, there is no hating here on my part, Davey did a fine job considering he was taking over an already established role!)   It wasn’t until years later, that I discovered that Bostwick had been fired from the show because producers thought he was holding out for more money when he didn’t show up for filming one day.  Turns out he was at the hospital seeking medical attention for an injury he had sustained on a previous days’ filming.   He sued Filmation and they had to pay him for his entire contract plus residuals.    I guess this is a good reminder to always get the facts about a situation before doing something that ends up costing a lot of extra money.    Anyway, the injury story is always the one that I read when someone offers up the reason for his departure.  Maybe there is more to the story than was ever released.  But, no matter, it is history.  Lol, I was just thinking, wouldn’t that concept make a cool exit scenario for the ending of an episode, remember when, at the end of each show, Captain Marvel would come on in a 30 second (maybe longer, maybe shorter, I can’t remember, really) “moral of the episode” message; “So, remember kids, gather all of the facts before deciding to fire someone.”   Filmation did a moral of the story message at the end of Isis as well, which I think was standard for most, if not all, of their shows.

Old newspaper article talking about the transition from Bostwick to Davey.

If you want more information about the show, I am sure a Google search will provide you with more information that you can shake a stick at.  :)  Although, why you would want to shake a stick is a little beyond me.  :)   The real reason for this post is the over sized comic book that was published in 1975 that had Bostwick on the front cover.  I only recently added this to my magazine collection (after having known about its existence for years and years!) and I have to say I was a little bit disappointed when I received it.  I was hoping to have a magazine that had a lot more material in it about the television series but it really is just a collection of four Captain Marvel stories from the comics and not based on the TV show at all.   But alas, not all is lost, it does have the great color photo of Bostwick on the front cover and a few black and white photos of the cast on the inside back cover, so, I guess that is better than nothing.  :)

You can check out Bostwick’s own web site (jacksonbostwick.com),  and see what he has been up to in recent years. You can also buy autographed material from there if you are so inclined. I have no idea whatever became of John Davey, the last film/TV credit for him on IMDB is from 1987.  I know that doesn’t mean much as they aren’t always as up to date with their information as one would like.

The show has been out on DVD since 2012 and usually sells for a  fairly reasonable price on Amazon, unlike some other DVD releases of 70s live action and cartoon shows, when can get pretty steep price wise.   The companion series, The Secrets of Isis, with Joanna Cameron usually sells for well over $100 on Amazon.

Anyway, ramble over, until next entry….

Peace, love and bacon grease.

Charlie Brown/Peanuts Television Specials of the 1970s

Charlie Brown is probably the best known “lovable loser,” of all time and is a creation of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. His first appearance was in Schulz’s 1948 comic strip, Lil Folks. Two years later on October 2, 1950, Charlie Brown would star in the newly created Peanuts comic strip.

On December 9, 1965 the very first animated television Peanuts special aired, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Some were concerned that it’s message of the true meaning of Christmas, might prove to be too religious for some, but the program was a huge success in the ratings, coming in second to the well established TV western, Bonanza. The success of this special opened the doors for more Peanuts specials.During the 70’s, good ole “blockhead” would star in 12 Peanuts animated television specials. Let’s take a little bit of a closer look at those shall we.

Play It Again, Charlie Brown

Plot: Featuring piano playing Schroeder. For years, Lucy has suffered unrequited love for Schroeder and this time around with some help from Peppermint Patty, she thinks she has found a way to win his heart. She encourages him to give his first piano recital at the P.T.A. Benefit Show, but when he discovers that Peppermint Patty has axed Beethoven in favor of rock and roll, he isn’t so sure he wants to proceed. But, with a little coaxing from Lucy who suggests he try something a little more to his liking musically, he agrees to rehearse with his backup group: Charlie Brown on banjo, Pig-Pen on drums and Snoopy on bass. After a bit of practice he simply can’t take it and throws up his hands in defeat saying that he has “sold out like everyone else.” Will he stick to his guns and play his beloved Beethoven?

  • The seventh prime time animated Peanuts special.
  • Pianist/harpsichordist Lilian Steuber plays the Beethoven sonatas for the special.
  • Premiered on CBS March 28, 1971.
  • Available on the DVD collection:Peanuts: 1970’s Collection, Vol. 1.

You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown

Plot: This is a special involving school politics. When Sally’s locker won’t open, she decides to never go to school again. Charlie Brown decides to help her and discovers that the problem is something simple, she is just too short to reach it to open it. She then she uses him as her “Show and Tell” project which embarrasses Charlie greatly.

Then, Linus decides that Charlie Brown would make a good candidate for class president, but Lucy, who has already taken a poll, nixes the idea because Charlie Brown would never get elected. The next choice for candidate is Linus who will run against Russel Anderson. Lucy is in charge of the platform which includes a promise for better lockers, lower drinking fountains and fourth-grade dancing parties. But, Linus blows his chances for the position when he mentions the Great Pumpkin during a campaign speech. With only one vote left to be cast, that of Russel Anderson, it’s easy to see who gets to be class president, right?

  • Premiered on CBS on October 29, 1972.
  • The eighth prime time Peanuts special.
  • The television debut of Woodstock.
  • Joe Cool gets his own theme in this special.
  • Plot for this special was taken from a Peanuts comic strip that ran in 1964.

a-charlie-brown-thanksgiving-vintage-tv-guide-adA Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

 Plot: This special provided one more opportunity for Charlie Brown to mess things up. Charlie has to go to his grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving but ends up in a bind when Marcie, Peppermint Patty and Franklin invite themselves to his house for Thanksgiving dinner.

Hapless Charlie is at a loss as to what to do, when Linus comes up with a plan. There will be two dinners, one for the Peanuts gang and with help from Snoopy and Woodstock, the food peanut butter sandwiches, popcorn and jelly beans. Patty is outraged about the meal and Charlie is deeply saddened because he believes he has ruined everyone’s Thanksgiving. But that proves to be untrue, when all are invited to his grandmother’s house for a “proper” Thanksgiving meal.

  • Theme song Little Birdie.
  • Emmy Award winner for Charles Schulz Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children’s Programming 1974.
  • Premiered on CBS November 20, 1973.

There’s No Time For Love Charlie Brown

Plot: Charlie Brown needs to write an essay that will be worthy of an “A”, if he wants to salvage his grades for the final marking period. When it’s announced that a field trip to the local art museum, he realizes that this is his only chance. But, some how he and his friends, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, and Marcie, along with his sister, Sally end up at the local super market and mistakenly believe it is the museum.When he discovers, thanks to Linus, that he was indeed in a supermarket and not the local museum he believes his chances of getting the grade he needs is doomed, but is very surprised when he gets his essay back; its an “A”, the teacher was very pleased with his creative way of writing about his field trip. It seems something good has finally worked out for our lovable “loser” Charlie Brown.

  • This is Marcie’s first appearance and she kisses Charlie Brown for the first time.
  • This special reveals Peppermint Patty’s crush on Charlie Brown.
  • Premiered on CBS March 11, 1973.
  • The ninth animated Charlie Brown special

It’s a Mystery, Charlie Brown

 Plot: The big mystery in this special is who stole Woodstock’s nest. Snoopy decides to find the answer and dons his Sherlock Holmes coat, calabash pipe and magnifying glass. He then proceeds to interrogate Charlie Brown, look for finger prints at Lucy and Linus’s home. Marcie doesn’t have much to say, he gets a nose full of dust when he visits Pig-Pen, and Peppermint Patty was into playing a game of cops and robbers even going so far as to don a mask! It appears that the case is too difficult to solve, right? Wrong. As it turns out, the culprit is none other than Charlie’s little sister Sally, who simply borrowed Woodstock’s nest for her science project on prehistoric birds. When she has to give it back, she is in a panic and has to come up with a new project which comes in the shape of Snoopy helping to prove Pavlov’s experiment that if you ring, you can get a dog to drool when promised food.

  • Premiered on CBS on February 1, 1974.
  • Lucy’s booth now contains a sign Legal Aid 7 Cents.
  • Snoopy’s pipe blows bubbles instead of smoke.

It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown easter-beagle

 Plot: Leave it to Lucy to think of Easter as just another way for boys to give presents to pretty girls. Schroeder’s didn’t like her “gimme, gimme, gimme” attitude and saw Easter as a time for renewal and the start of spring.

Peppermint Patty was having trouble getting the eggs prepared as Marcie used three dozen…frying them, cooking them and boiling them, all without their shells. But, Linus was positive that the Easter Beagle would save the day, but Sally was rather skeptical about that claim considering her non encounter with the Great Pumpkin.Snoopy spied on Lucy as she hid her eggs and then went about gathering them and distributed them from his basket of goodies as the Easter Beagle, but sadly, when he came upon Charlie Brown, the basket was empty. All Charlie Brown could do was sigh.

  • Premiered on CBS April 9, 1974.
  • This original airing marked the 50th broadcast of a Peanuts special (including reruns).

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown be-my-valentine-charlie-brown-ad2be-my-valentine-charlie-brown-ad2

Plot: It’s getting close to Valentine’s Day at Birchwood School and the Peanuts clan are getting ready for Cupid’s visit. Linus has a crush on his teacher and buys her a box of chocolates. Sally, believing them to be for her makes Linus a hand made card. Snoopy makes a homemade heart for his buddy Woodstock, who of course gives a card to Snoopy in return.Lucy demands affection from Schroeder, who only has feelings of love for his music and in a temper tantrum Lucy destroys his toy piano. Of course, Charlie Brown is waiting and waiting for a Valentine card to arrive, but when no cards arrive, he lets his frustration get the best of him and kicks his mailbox post, succeeding only in hurting his toe.At the school Valentine’s Day party, Charlie brings a briefcase along, in great hopes that he will get enough cards to fill it, but sadly as the party progress and Valentines are exchanged, he gets none, and Lucy sums it up by saying “Who would waste a valentine on stupid ol’ Charlie Brown“. Violet feels sorry about how badly Charlie has been treated and gives him a recycled Valentine the next day and Charlie happily accepts it thinking that, even though it was given in pity and guilt, that perhaps it will change his luck for the coming years.I have to admit that this special was a little bit of a downer if you ask me, but I guess Charlie Brown had the right attitude, to hope that the getting of one, even in pity, might just be the one thing that changes his luck for the better in coming years.Oh, and to answer Lucy’s question from above— I would send Charlie Brown a Valentine, how about you?

  • Premiered on CBS January 28, 1975.
  • Every time this special aired, hundreds of Valentines poured in for Charlie Brown!

You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown

Plot: This special opens with Snoopy on the tennis courts, showing off his skills and also showing he isn’t the greatest at sportsmanship (maybe this is where John McEnroe learned his “on-the-court” social skills?) especially when he is bested by his pal, Woodstock.But, soon another challenge arises in the form of Peppermint Patty who is recruiting folks to race in the charity motocross. She invites Snoopy to participate and then the rest of the clan. Charlie Brown and Linus (who agrees to be his pit crew) pool their money together and get a bike that looks as thought it is on its last legs, its smokes and backfires, but at least it runs. When the race starts, The Masked Marvel (Snoopy in disguise) and Charlie Brown have a wipe out. A mixup of some sort puts Snoopy in the hospital and Charlie Brown at the vets, but once he gets his bearings back, Charlie goes and gets Snoopy and together they head back to the race. Charlie discovers that he wont be able to continue without a helmet and Linus creates one out of a pumpkin that he hollows out. Back in action, it’s soon down to three riders, The Masked Marvel, Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown. Due to some mishaps, Charlie ends up crossing the finish line first, he has done it, he has won his first race. His prize turns out to be a gift certificate for five free haircuts and he isn’t impressed as he has very little hair and most importantly, his father is a barber.The next day, Charlie Brown is back at the baseball field, filled with the “winning spirit” and is determined that he will win this game, but of course, he pitches and a line drive goes right by him, taking with it his clothes! Poor Charlie Brown just can’t win, eh?

  • Premiered on CBS October 28, 1975.
  • According to Charlie Brown his baseball team has had 980 straight defeats!
  • This special won an Emmy in 1976 Outstanding Evening Children’s Special.
  • The inspiration for the Moto-Cross storyline came from Schulz’s own son, Craig, who was into motorcycling at the time.
  • Peppermint Patty’s bike number was 7, Snoopy’s was 1 and Charlie Brown was 13.

It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown

Plot:This special starts out with Sally addressing her class telling them about Arbor Day, “the day when all the ships sail into the arbor”. Well, it sounded good, right? What Sally learns, as well as viewers is that Arbor Day is really about beautification and conservation. by the planting of trees.The gang decides to get into the act, by planting trees and then moving onto to just about anything that will grow including vines and vegetables. The only one left out of this was Charlie Brown who was busy cleaning up the baseball field for the upcoming game. He is totally unaware that a large tree will soon be planted on the pitcher’s mound, which, by the way does nothing to improve Peppermint Patty’s pitching style or temperament. But, it seems that all the vegetation in the ballpark works in the favor of Charlie Brown’s team, they just might be able to win a game, but the game is called on account of rain. Sigh, poor Charlie Brown.

  • Premiered on CBS March 16, 1976.
  • Rerun is seen for the first time.
  • Vince Guaraldi, long time composer for these Peanuts specials, died of a heart attack while putting the finishing touches on the soundtrack for this special.
  • Sally closes the special by quoting Arbor Day founder, J. Sterling Morton.

its-your-first-kiss-charlie-brownIt’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown

Plot: It’s homecoming at Birchwood, Charlie Brown’s school, and it is traditional that the celebration can not official begin until the home coming queen receives her kiss. This year the tradition falls on Charlie’s shoulders (or is that lips) and as fate would have it, the queen is the Little Red-Haired Girl, Heather.When the homecoming game begins, Snoopy is referee and Charlie is on the team as kicker and Lucy as the placekick setter. But even with so many watching, Lucy just can’t seem to let go of the desire to humiliate Charlie Brown and she pulls the ball away from him when he tries to kick it. The teams loses the game by one point and Charlie loses his one chance to be a hero.But, Charlie isn’t one to shirk his duty, he escorts Heather to the dance and summons up the nerve to kiss her. His is euphoric, his dream has come true, the only bad thing is that the next morning he has no memory of the event.

  • This is the 16th prime time Peanuts special, premiered October 24, 1977 on CBS.
  • Charles Schulz didn’t really want to draw the Little Red-Haired Girl because he felt he could not draw her to his or his reader’s satisfaction. He didn’t want to give her a name, either. But the plot of the special made these things necessary.
  • When Peppermint Patty blames Charlie Brown for losing the game, many viewers wrote angry letters saying that it was Lucy’s fault. When the special was shown again in rerun, Patty’s comments were dubbed over.

What a Nightmare Charlie Brown!

Plot: This special takes a break from the usual in that it presents the pantomime fantasies of Snoopy. It’s a snowy day and Charlie Brown wants Snoopy to pull his sled, but he won’t have any of it, he is a pampered pooch and not one who has to work for his supper. Thinking that all he needs to do is show Snoopy what he wants, Charlie hooks himself up to the sled, only to have Snoopy jump on it and begin to have him pull the sled around the neighborhood. Snoopy has a fun time cracking the whip high above Charlie’s head.After indulging in too much pizza, Snoopy decides to go to bed and he has a nightmare. He dreams that he has been harnessed to a team of sled dogs in the Arctic and is forced to drive across to frozen tundra being mistreated and denied food and water. The other dogs bark loudly at him reminding him that he doesn’t fit in. He manages to find refuge in a root beer saloon where his piano playing skills enable him to get some food. Stepping into another room to get away from a brawl that has broken out, he finds himself on a stage where he entertains the crowd but gets booed off the stage and tossed back out into the cold.Soon, though, a change over comes him, he is now willing to fight for his share of the raw meat, fish and water, and he even challenges the lead dog for that position and wins! Snoopy has finally become a little less civilized.When the nightmare ends, much to his relief, he bangs on the door of the house and when Charlie Brown answers, he acts out the dream. Charlie let’s him come in, where he makes himself an ice cream sundae and then snuggles next to Charlie Brown on the bed.

  • Premiered on CBS February 23, 1978.
  • Theme song Over Civilized.
  • Schulz was inspired to write this special after reading about the life of Arctic sled dogs. He wondered how a dog like Snoopy would measure up if placed in that situation.

You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown

Plot: As a member of his school’s Junior Olympics team, Charlie has trained hard with Peppermint Patty as his coach and hopes that his hard work will pay off, because he is up against Freddie Fabulous, the last year’s winner who wasn’t the least bit humble about his athletic skills.In the first few events, Charlie comes in last, but as the day progresses, he begins to show some improvement in his performance and even manages to win the seventh event. His chance to redeem himself and to win the decathlon hinges on the 1,500-meter race. Lucy tries to encourage him and, sadly, true to form, Charlie isn’t looking where he is going and runs off the track and ends up losing the race.

  • Premiered on CBS March 19, 1979.
  • Bruce Jenner worked as a consultant on this special.
  • Snoopy (as the Masked Marvel) enters the decathlon to represent Ace Obedience School.

Charlie Brown Specials

  • Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown (1976): A TV documentary that takes a look back at the first 25 years of Charlie Brown. This special was hosted by Carl Reiner
  • Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown (1979) This special celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strip as well as the 15th anniversary of Peanuts specials airing on CBS. This was hosted by Phyllis George

80s Television Memories

Just a quick visit again to television entertainment of the 1980s with a look at some of the series, TV movies, actors and actresses and more from that decade.

Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine in Airwolf

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  • This CBS television series ran from 1984-86 on CBS and starred handsome Jan-Michael Vincent, Ernest Borgnine and Alex Cord.
  • Airwolf was the code name for an advanced supersonic military helicopter. It was financed by The Firm, a branch of the CIA and built by a genius Dr. Charles Henry Moffet (David Hemmings), who eventually stole the aircraft and flew it to Libya where he used the helicopter to perform all kinds of nasty terrorist type activities for the Libyan government.
  • The Firm’s deputy director, Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III (Alex Cord) better known as Archangel, wants it back and enlists the aid of former Airwolf test pilot, Stringfellow Hawke (Jan Michael Vincent) who goes to Libya and with the help of fellow pilot Dominic Santani (Ernest Borgnine) the duo recover the craft and take care of Moffet by blowing up his lair.
  • But, now Hawke won’t return the aircraft until his long lost MIA brother, Saint John (pronounced Sinjin) is found. Hawke keeps Airwolf in a large remote cave in the Valley of the Gods. So, while Archangel searches for information about Hawke’s missing brother, he agrees to fly dangerous missions for The Firm.
  • The show suffered from low ratings in its second season so producers thought adding a female character might spruce things up a bit; it didn’t.  Finally CBS cancelled the show in it’s third season.  USA  Network then picked it up, changed some of it’s back store and aired the series for another 24 episodes in 1987.  Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine did not return for the USA Network version.

Jim Carrey in The Duck Factory

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  • Jim Carrey’s first lead role in a television series came in the guise of The Duck Factory.
  • Produced by MTM Productions and airing on NBC from April 12 to July 11, 1984.
  • Carrey starred as Skip Tarkenton an inexperienced young man who moves to Hollywood in hopes of getting a job as a cartoonist. He ends up at Buddy Winkler Productions, an animation studio whose owner has just recently died. The company needs some new talent in order to stay afloat and Skip gets a job. The studio is nicknamed The Duck Factory because they produce The Dippy Duck Show.
  • Real-life cartoon voice over artist, Don Messick had a role as Wally Wooster and provided the voice for Dippy Duck. Real-life comedy writer Jay Tarses starred as Marty Fenneman. Teresa Ganzel was Sheree Winkler, the widow and new owner of The Duck Factory.

Polly Holiday as Flo

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  • Flo “kiss my grits” Castleberry (Polly Holliday) charmed viewers on the comedy show Alice for four years before being given her own spin-off aptly titled Flo. The series began on March 24, 1980 and ran until July 21, 1981 with a total of 29 episodes.
  • When on her way to Houston, Texas to assume role as a hostess at her new job, Flo makes a stop in her home town of Fort Worth Texas. While there she decides, instead, to buy a run down old road house that she had fond memories of from her youth. She renamed the place Flo’s Yellow Rose.
  • Not used to being a boss, she had her share of problems to deal with and characters to interact with, like Earl (Geoffrey Lewis) the bartender who didn’t like being bossed around by a woman. Farley (Jim B. Baker) who was a bit of penny-pinching miser and who just happened to own the mortgage on the bar. Also helping to dish out the laughs was Les Kincaid (Stephen Keep), the resident piano player, Randy (Leo Burmester) the mechanic from the garage next door, Fran (Lucy Lee Flippin) Flo’s shy and klutzy sister and of course, Flo’s mama Velma (Sudie Bond).

Barbara Eden stars in Harper Valley PTA

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  • Jeannie C. Riely’s 1968 hit song, Harper Valley P.T.A. was the inspiration for a 1978 feature film, Harper Valley PTA that starred Barbara Eden. Her film was then the inspiration for the television series that aired from January 16, 1981 to August 14, 1982 on NBC.
  • Eden was Stella Johnson, the single mother of teenage daughter, Dee (Jenn Thompson) and the lived in they small fictitious town of Harper Valley, Ohio. The first season had Stella elected to the board of directors for the PTA and she enjoyed disregarding many of the small town’s “established” way of doing things.
  • The series was retooled for the second season, Stella was no longer on the PTA board and the show was given the new name of Harper Valley. Character actor Mills Watson joined the cast in the first episode of the second season as Stella’s eccentric inventor uncle Winslow Homer Smith (AKA Buster) and much of that season’s comedy relied heavily on his inventions.
  • Even though the series seemed to do fair in the ratings, NBC had a habit of pulling the show from their schedule for several weeks at a time, something that concerned star Eden a great deal. She complained that the show could not establish a loyal audience if they couldn’t be sure when the show would air.

Jon-Erik Hexum: Star for the 80’s!

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  • Hexum made his television series debut in the short-lived Voyagers, a science fiction show that aired on NBC from October 3, 1982 to July 10, 1983. His character, Phineas Bogg, was a time traveler known as a Voyager. With the help from a young boy, Jeffrey Jones, (Meeno Peluce) the duo made sure that history unfolded as it was meant to. Sounds a tad bit like Quantum Leap that would air 1989, eh?
  • In 1983 he made headlines again by being cast with Joan Collins in the television movie, The Making of a Male Model.
  • In an interview done with Modern Screen editor Mark Bego, Hexum talked about wanting to be able to get beyond his “hunk” status and prove that he was a good actor. He wanted roles that had depth and substance. He cited Brubaker,Ordinary People, and The Verdict as three films that had the kinds of roles he hoped to be able to play as his career progressed.
  • In 1984, he was cast in Cover Up, starring with the lovely Jennifer O’Neill who played photographer Dani Reynolds. She found out her late husband had been working undercover for the CIA. When asked to help find his killer, she was teamed with Special Forces solider Mac Harper (Hexum) and the duo traveled the world using the cover of photographer and model.
  • On October 12, 1984, just seven episodes into the series, Hexum suffered an accident on the set of the series when he shot himself with a prop gun. He was flown to Beverly Hills Medical Center where doctors performed a five hour surgery in an attempt to save his life, but sadly just six days later, on October 18, 1984, he was pronounced dead. He was only 26 years old.

Ann Jillian Popular 80’s Actress and Television Sex Symbol

jennifer-slept-here-tv-guide

  • She was Cassie Cranston on the comedy series, It’s a Living, about the lives of several waitresses working at a posh restaurant called Above the Top.
  • She won an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for her work in the 1982 television biopic of legendary actress Mae West.
  • In 1983, she was the seductive neighbor, Joan, out to nab Michael Keaton’s character in the feature film Mr. Mom.
  • Starred in the short-lived series (13 episodes airing from October 21, 1983 to September 5, 1984 on NBC) Jennifer Slept Here, as the ghost of blond bombshell actress Jennifer Farrell who haunted her old Hollywood home which is bought by the Elliot family. She decides to befriend their oldest child, son Joey (John P. Navin Jr.) who has a tough time getting anyone to believe he can see her. Critics hated the show calling it a Topper knock-off and few critics called it one of the worst new shows of the 1983 television line-up.
  • In 1988, she starred as herself in The Ann Jillian Story and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.
  • And rounding out the decade, she starred in Ann Jillian a short-lived series in which she played Ann McNeil, a woman who after the death of her husband, moves herself and her daughter Lucy (Lisa Rieffel) to Marvel, California where she and her late husband had honeymooned years before. Anyone think this sort of sounded a little bit like the plot line from 70s sitcom, Alice?

Vanna White Was The Goddess of Love

vanna-white-the-love-goddess

  • When The Wheel of Fortune’s regular hostess, Susan Stafford, left the game show in September of 1982, producers had to come up with a fix. They alternated between three substitute hostesses, Vanna White, Vicki McCarty and Summer Bartholomew and in December of 1982, White was chosen to take on the duties of full-time regular hostess.
  • Her popularity was at it’s height when The Wheel of Fortune went into syndication and it seemed she was everywhere with interviews in magazines and on talk shows. She had several posters, wrote a best selling autobiography (Vanna Speaks in 1987) and even was given a starring role in a television movie The Goddess of Love portraying Venus. The television movie airing on NBC November 20, 1988, was White’s first starring role and was heavily panned by critics.
  • White spent several months with a private acting coach preparing for the role. Even though she had been approached to do different kinds of projects, she decided to take the role of Venus because she felt the script was right for her.
  • White acknowledged she was a perfect target for mean-spirited jokes and put downs because she turned letters on The Wheel of Fortune, but she never allowed any of that to dampen her happiness. She realized that it didn’t take a brain surgeon to do her work and she found it enjoyable and did it to the best of her ability.

The Return of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman

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  • It’s been 10 years since Colonel Steve Austin, better known to 70s TV viewers as The Six Million Dollar Man (Lee Majors) and Jamie Somers AKA The Bionic Woman, had to use their special skills and abilities to thwart the bad guys.
  • On May 17,1987, one of the first television movies to reunite Austin and his true love, Jamie Somers (Lindsay Wagner) The Bionic Woman aired on NBC.
  • In The Return of The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, Steve is approached by his old boss, Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson) who wants him to track down an group of criminals. He is hesitant to do so because he is having issues with his estranged son, Michael (Tom Schanley), who is a pilot in the Air Force and he has to deal with left over feelings for Jamie. But, when his son is seriously injured in a plane crash, Austin makes a deal, he will go after the criminals in exchange for Dr. Rudy Wells (Martin E. Brooks) saving his son’s life by fitting him with bionics.

Return to Mayberry

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  • Airing April 13, 1986, fans of the classic The Andy Griffith Show were treated to Return to Mayberry, a reunion movie with many of the original cast (Andy Griffith,Ron Howard,Don Knotts, Howard Morris, Jim Nabors, George Lindsey, Aneta Corsaut, Betty Lynn and Jack Dodson) returning to their roles. Other series regulars Howard McNear (as barber Floyd Lawson), Hope Summers (as Aunt Bea’s best friend and sometimes rival, Clara Edwards), Hal Smith (as town drunk Otis Campbell noted for allowing himself into the town lock up when he had had too much to drink), had all passed away years earlier. Frances Bavier who had played Aunt Bea was too ill to participate and to explain her character’s absence was said to have passed away.
  • In this movie, Barney is running for sheriff, Opie is about to become a father for the first time, Thelma Lou and Barney finally get married and Goober and Gomer go in search of a lake monster.
  • While critics weren’t all that impressed with the movie at the time it aired it was still a wonderful treat to catch up with these characters that many of us had grown to love and to discover that they had retained much of their original personalities and character history.

Webster with Emmanuel Lewis

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  • Ran for six season on ABC from September 16, 1983 to May 8, 1987.
  • Webster Long (Emmanuel Lewis) was a sweet little five year old boy whose parents had died in an accident. He is then adopted by retired football star George Papadopolis (Alex Karras) his godfather.  George had played football with Webster’s father.  George had recently married socialite Katherine (Susan Clark) who had zero skills when it came to housekeeping  and certainly none to mention of when it came to being a parent.
  • Karras and Clark were married in real life.
  • Produced by Georgian Bay Ltd which was the production company started by Karras and Clark.
  • Show was similar in plot line to NBC’s hit Diff’rent Strokes starring Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges and Dana Plato.

You Again with John Stamos and Jack Klugman

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  •  This sitcom aired for two seasons on NBC ( February 27, 1986 to March 30, 1987).
  • Was based on a British sitcom Home To Roost.
  • Jack Klugman was Henry Willows, a man left very embittered by his divorce some 10 years earlier.   His quiet life comes to an end when his son, Matt (John Stamos) comes to live with him. The two have very little in common and are virtual strangers as Willows had made very little effort to have contact with Matt since the divorce.
  • The show changed time lots at least 4 different times in order to find an audience, which didn’t happen.

The Sex Symbol: Connie Steven’s Classic 1974 Television Movie

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The Sex Symbol was a television movie shown as an ABC Tuesday Night Movie of the Week venture.  It starred Connie Stevens as a 1950’s self destructive, blond sex symbol actress by the name of Kelly Williams.   Many critics saw this film as merely a thinly veiled (and highly fictitious) look at the life of the late Marilyn Monroe.   The television movie was shuffled around on ABC’s schedule several times over a 6 month period because of some “adjustments” that needed to be made.  The network also hinted that they had been threatened with legal action, but never revealed the specifics about it.  Anyway, things apparently calmed down and the movie aired on September 17, 1974 and then again in the summer of 1975.  (An article The Movie That Was Too Hot For Television in the September 14, 1974 issue of TV Guide has a nice in depth interview with Connie and she talks about the film).

Don Murray (who starred with the real Monroe in the 1956 comedy drama Bus Stop) played a powerful senator who became involved with Kelly.  Shelley Winters (who was a real life friend of Monroe’s) played a gossip columnist who was determined to make life as miserable for Kelly as possible.  Winters’ character was patterned after the likes of Hedda Hopper (who at one time was an actress) and Louella Parsons. These two old gals held tremendous power in the movie industry in the 50s being able to make or break just about any film or actresses or actor they chose to.  Why the studios ever allowed these two old bitties to have such power is really beyond me.

Anyway, back to Steven’s movie.  William Smith, a prolific character actor, played a football player involved with Kelly, and of course, most everyone who knows a little something about Monroe knows she was married to one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Joe Dimaggio.

The movie was released in Europe and had some naughty bits (nudity and such) that would never have been allowed to have been shown on television in the USA in the 70’s. So audiences here had to be content with the watered down, viewer safe, movie that ran about 74 minutes without commercial breaks (and 90 minutes with commercials).

connie-stevens-8x10-photo-g2141The story wasn’t all that bad, but many suggest that Stevens should have just stuck with her light, airy, fluffy comedy that she seemed so good at.  High drama just wasn’t her thing.  But, I will say this, she looks absolutely lovely in the many publicity photos she posed for advertising this film. They are reminiscent of photos taken of the late Monroe shortly before her death with photographer Bert Stern. Some of those photos had Monroe in bed wrapped in a sheet. Stevens does her version for the film or at least for the publicity photos.   I don’t think this TV movie has ever been released onto DVD, but you might be able to find snippets on Youtube.

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