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.

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-browns-70sepcialsCharlie 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-thanksgivingA 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

airwolftvguideads

  • 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

1984-duck-factory

  • 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

1981-polly-holliday-as-flo

  • 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

harper-valley_eden

  • 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!

making-male-model-hexum

  • 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

bionic

  • 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

return-to-mayberry

  • 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

webster-tv-series

  • 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

you-again-stamos

  •  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

stevens-the-sexsymbol

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.

stevensconniethesexsymbol

 

70’s Whiz Kid (Alvin Fernald) Television Movies

I recall two television movies (actually airing as two part episodes of The Wonderful World of Disney) that starred Eric Shea as Alvin Fernald, a character created by science and technology writer, Clifford B. Hicks.  Hicks’ first book (The Marvelous Inventions of Alvin Fernald) was published in 1960 and he would write 9 more Alvin adventures between 1960 and 2009.

Alvin is a 12 year old boy who uses his “magnificent brain” to solve problems, invent cool things and solve mysteries.  Helping or hindering him in his endeavors is his little sister, Daphne, often called “The Pest” and his best friend, Shoie.

The Alvin Fernald Television Movies

Supposedly, there were three movies, the first airing in 1973 as Alvin the Magnificent and I can’t find much info on that film and I am of the opinion that it is really just an alternate title for the 1974 movie The Whiz Kid and the Mystery at Riverton which had elements of several of Hicks’ books (Alvin Fernald, Mayor for a Day and The Marvelous Inventions of Alvin Fernald).   The students in Alvin’s civics class each has to write an essay about the “betterment of city government” and the prize for the best essay is getting the chance to be the mayor of Riverton for a day.  Alvin wants to win and he decides to interview the mayor to get some ideas for his essay.  While waiting in the mayor’s office, Alvin accidentally over hears a city official and a few shady looking characters talking about a “swindle they pulled off” and Alvin realizes he has a mystery on his hands and of course, he and Shoie set about solving it.

The second television movie, The Whiz Kid and the Carnival Caper,  from 1976 wasn’t based on any book that Hicks had written but instead was a new creation.    Alvin decidesto use his inventing skills to create a robotic man (a Wangdoodle, I’m not making this up, honest that is the name!) for Abner Debney (Jack Kruschen) who works at the local carnival.  With the addition of a Frankenstein-like monster mask, the robot becomes a bit hit.  Also involved in the story are bank robbers and car chases.  It has been years since I have seen this film, but I do remember the newspaper cannon that Alvin invented to shorten the delivery time of his newspaper route.   🙂

I did find a publicity photo for the movie that gives you an idea of what the Wangdoodle looks like with the mask on and really bad screen capture of a scene from the movie that shows the robotic creation without the mask.  And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you,  that is a young Kim Richards as she plays Alvin’s little sister, Daphne. Also, as a note, you can download the movie in parts from Youtube and it is by no means a perfect copy of the movie.  I downloaded all the parts, combined them together (I used Freemake Video Converter to do that, it’s freeware) which makes it much easier to watch.  As mentioned, it isn’t in any way perfect, but if you overlook all the imperfections, it is still a fun way to pass a few minutes watching this Disney gem.  I wish Disney would get busy releasing a lot of their old TV movies, but maybe there isn’t as much of a demand for them as I think.

whiz-kid-carnival-caper

There are two books for this movie with different titles, but they use the same cover graphic.  I have no idea which was published first or why the name changes. I suppose the artwork with the Frankenstein like monster just fit better with the name Frankenstein in the title, eh?  🙂

whizkidcarnival_crume

The Whiz Kid and the Mystery at Riverton Trivia:

  • Aired in January of 1974.
  • Long time character actor Edward Andrews as Mayor Massey.
  • Character actor John Fiedler who does the voice of Piglet for many of the Winnie the Pooh cartoons as Charles Blackburn, the city official involved with thieves.
  • Clay O’Brien who played Shoie gained fame for his role of Hardy Fimps in the feature film The Cowboys starring John Wayne.  O’Brien gave up acting in the late 70s and went back to his first love, the life of the rodeo.  As of this writing, he has had career in professional rodeo for over thirty years, holds seven championship titles.  Check out his webpage.
  • O’Brien also starred in the Disney feature film The Apple Dumpling Gang as Bobby Bradley, one of three orphans adopted by Bill Bixby’s character.

The Whiz Kid and the Carnival Caper Trivia:

  • Aired in January of 1976.
  • Jaclyn Smith has a role in the film, later in March of 1976, she would premiere on one of the most popular TV series of the 70s, Charlies Angels as Kelly Garrett.
  • Shea gave up acting in 1978 with his last role as bully “Red” Doyle in the TV movie When Every Day Was the Fourth of July.

(c) Glory Miller/Graple is Starstruck 2015-2017

Remembering Farrah: A People Tribute Memorial Magazine

Farrah TributeMag_People-tile

When Farrah came on the scene in the 1970s, thanks to her poster and her work on Charlie’s Angels, she took everyone by storm it seemed. Every where you looked—there she was, on the cover of magazines, on talk shows, variety shows, and so much more and as a kid I (and millions of others, too) witnessed this making of an icon first hand.  Sadly, I was around to witness (of course, not personally) her death as well. It just seems strange, yet it is the way of life, right?   Anyway, her passing didn’t seem to cause the same frenzy as her beginning all those years ago, but it was nice to see People magazine offer up a memorial magazine for her.  (I’m sure other magazines offered tribute articles as well, but I don’t think there were too many issues devoted just entirely to her.)

This magazine offers nice full color and black and white photos, many we have seen before numerous times, a few that are kinda new or at least not seen as often. I picked just a few to share. It also offers up little bits of commentary on her career, life, marriage, and more.  It’s a nice little synopsis of her life and career.

14 Popular Television Stars of 1981

TV Superstars 81Inspiration to write this blurb came from an old paperback book I found at a yard sale, TV Superstars ’81, written by Ronald W. Lackmann and published by Weekly Reader. It lists 28 popular celebrities from the 1981 television season. I thought it would be a fun walk down memory lane to offer up 14 of those stars for this page.

I use the information from the book to give mini bios of the stars and yes, I admit that some of it doesn’t really seem to jibe with some of the other more detailed bios you can find online and in other books.

It is also a little bit bittersweet reading the names from Lackmann’s list as we can see 34 years later just how some of careers of these celebrities played out.

So, let’s get started shall we?

Catherine Bach: Daisy Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard

Catherine Back TeenidolCatherine knew she wanted to be an actress when she was just eight years old. She had just watched her uncle perform in a play in Los Angeles and she knew the actors life was for her. From that day on, she worked toward her goal, acting in every play she could get a role in. She took acting, dancing and music lessons.

In 1974, she had a small role in the film The Midnight Man, followed by Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. She also landed parts in television series, too working in Matt Helm and Police Woman.

In 1979, she was cast as Daisy Duke in the series The Dukes of Hazzard. A role in which she is closely identified with.

Just as a side note here. The mini biography from the book states that one of Catherine’s earliest roles was in a film called The Widow with Leslie Caron and it was this appearance that lead to her getting roles in The Midnight Man and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. However, details for The Widow indicate that it was filmed in 1978 so it couldn’t have had any impact on her early career. I suppose it is possible that the movie was filmed in the early 70s and not released until 1978, but I haven’t read any information that verifies this theory. Oh, and this film is known under different titles; Crazed, The Widow’s Revenge and Nicole. It’s is classified as a thriller and Catherine does have a few nude scenes. It is available on DVD and the cover art makes it obvious that Catherine stars in it.

Valerie Bertinelli: Barbara Cooper on One Day at a Time

Valerie Bertinelli Pinup Teen magValerie always wanted to be an actress and things seemed to fall into place when her father was transferred from Wilmington, Delaware (where Valerie was born) to Van Nuys, California. Soon after arriving in California, Valerie attended the Tami Lynn Academy of Artists in Sherman Oaks where she studied acting, singing and dancing. She seemed like a natural and it wasn’t long until she was finding work in commercials and eventually making appearances on TV shows with her first appearance being on the short-lived series Apple’s Way. That paved the way for her being cast as Barbara Cooper, the youngest daughter on the successful series One Day at a Time with Bonnie Franklin and Mackenzie Philips.

Valerie enjoys skiing, swimming and playing tennis. Being single, she finds the time to date many of film and TV’s most handsome and eligible bachelors.

Gary Coleman: Arnold Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes

Gary Coleman Scouts Honor 80Gary, only thirteen years old, is the popular star of the comedy series Diff’rent Strokes where he plays wise cracking and diminutive Arnold Jackson. Gary began working in commercials when he was six years old and this experience led to his being cast as Arnold on the popular series.

His parents, Willie and Sue Coleman, report that he has always been a rather creative child, and his mother believes that if he hadn’t become involved in the entertainment business that he would probably have become an artist, writer or musician. Gary loves to read books and will read just about anything he can get his hands on, but he admits that his favorites are mysteries. But, reading isn’t his only hobby, he has decorated his bedroom that shows off just some of his many interests like having a miniature electric train sets and a writing studio and he reports that was is busy writing a mystery book about a lost hamster. He also enjoys drawing and is quite talented at it. He shares his bedroom with his best friend, his German Shepherd, Champion.

Tony Danza: Tony Banta on Taxi

Tony DanzaOne day Tony was working out at Gleason’s Gym in Manhattan, when a man approached him and asked if he would like to have a role in a film he was producing about boxing. Thinking it was just a joke, he agreed and was really surprised to discover that it was not joke at all. He was given a screen test and offered a contract, unfortunately, the film was never made. An ABC executive saw his audition and felt that he would be perfect for a role in the television movie, Fast Lane Blues.

Jim Brooks, co producer of a new sitcom, Taxi, saw Tony in the film and knew that he would be right for the role of Tony Banta in the series and offered him the part, which he readily accepted.

The sitcom has made Tony a star, but he isn’t content to play Hollywood star. He continues to work out and believes that if the fickle life of Hollywood ever comes to an end, he has his boxing talents to fall back on.

He has a son, Marc Anthony and is divorced from the boy’s mother who lives in Chicago.

Pam Dawber: Mindy McConnell on Mork and Mindy

Pam Dawber1 (2)Looking at lovely Pam it is hard to imagine that as a child she was “plain, awkward and chubby”. She was also a notorious practical joker, a habit that often got her into trouble. Aside from the practical joke “issues”, Pam described her childhood as being fairly ordinary and it wasn’t until she entered into high school, that the idea that an acting career might be her calling. She performed in many different high school plays. While attending Oakland Community College, she studied voice and drama. She was able to get work in commercials and decided to leave college and move to New York City where she soon began to make a name for herself as a model. But even though she was a successful model and commercial performer, what she really wanted to be was a stage actress and she kept up her voice and acting training and eventually landed a role in the comedy play Sweet Adeline that was being produced at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut. It was there during a performance of the play that director Robert Altman saw her and offered her a role in his 1978 film The Wedding. Her role in the film brought her to the attention of a Hollywood casting agent who had her audition for the role in the short lived series Tabitha (she lost the part of Lisa Hartman). But her audition did allow for her to get a role in an ABC comedy special Sister Terri as the lead character.

The officials at ABC were very pleased with Pam’s work and offered her the role of Mindy in the series Mork and Mindy co-starring Robin Williams.

Joyce DeWitt: Janet Woods on Three’s Company

Joyce Dewitt_Janet ThreesCompanyJoyce showed an interest in becoming an actress at an early age and her parents encouraged her ambitions. She appeared in many theatrical productions all over her hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana.

After graduating from high school, she attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana majoring in drama and minoring in education. When she graduated from college, she had a teaching certificate to her credit, which she intended to use in case her desire for an acting career didn’t pan out and she needed a way to support herself. She went to California where she attended UCLA and studied drama under coaches Delia Salvi and Rudy Solari. She received the Clifton Webb scholarship and earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in theater.

Believing that she had all the professional training she needed, she began to make the rounds in Hollywood visiting casting agencies and producers. Most of her acting experience had been in theater and she had no problems getting work in plays and eventually, she started to get work on television doing guest stints on shows like Baretta, The Tony Randall Show, and The Manhunter.

When producers were looking for the third member of the Three’s Company trio, they knew their search was over when they saw Joyce.

Joyce doesn’t intend to let success spoil her or change her simplistic lifestyle. She enjoys jogging, watching old movies, yoga, horseback riding, photography, water skiing and reading about mysticism.

Greg Evigan: BJ McKay on BJ and the Bear

Evigan Greg Teen beatAlways interested in acting and music since he was a small child, it seemed only natural that Greg would find a way to get into the entertainment business. He studied classical piano from the time he was a small child and when in high school, he took an interest in eight other instruments and learned to play each of them well. Greg isn’t just content to play music, though, he loves to write songs and has over 300 to his credit.

When he was 13 years old, he joined a rock band called The Royal Plums and the group was very successful playing at parties and school dances around his home town of South Amboy, New Jersey.

It was as a whim that Greg decided to audition for a role in the Broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar. He had been in New York City seeing the Broadway play Company when he noticed an ad looking for actors for the musical. He was really shocked when he was asked to come back for another audition, in fact, 15 auditions later, he was finally cast in the production. After he left Jesus Christ Superstar, he got the role of Danny Zuko in the Broadway musical Grease and joined the national touring company on the road, too.

Greg’s television debut came in the short-lived series A Year at the Top, which was produced by Norman Lear famous for producing All in the Family. Greg went on to make appearances in shows like Dallas, One Day at a Time, but it was the role of BJ McKay in the series BJ and the Bear that has brought Greg his greatest success.

At the time of the book’s publishing, Greg was happily married to his lovely wife Pam, the couple live in Los Angeles and share their home with their dog, Chewie.

Linda Gray: Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas

Linda Gray DallasWhen Linda was as school girl, her school was right across the street from MGM studios and at lunch time, she and her friends would often stand outside the studios waiting to get autographs of the celebrities who worked there.

Linda admits that being an actress was never something that she dreamed of, in fact, she didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up.

While in college, she was spotted, sitting at a fashion show, by a photographer who believed that she had the beauty to be a fashion model and offered her a job which she accepted. Before long she was one of the most popular models in the Los Angeles area and it wasn’t long until her work led her into the world of television commercials. She would make over 400 of them before deciding that she wanted to be a serious actress. She began studying with acting coach Charles Conrad and soon she met and married art director Ed Thrasher. Together they had two children and while she worked hard on her marriage and family life, she also found time to take roles in television series like Switch, McCloud, and Marcus Welby, M.D. Which paved the way for her to be cast as Sue Ellen Ewing on the mega hit nighttime soap, Dallas.

Howard Hesseman: Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP In Cincinnati

Howard HessemanHoward Hesseman makes his role of Dr. Johnny Fever, a popular disc jockey at WKRP in Cincinnati,so believable because he had worked as a DJ for KMPX a radio station in San Francisco.

Howard credits his uncle, Logan Foster, as the inspiration for his wanting to become an actor. Logan encouraged and tutored Howard. After Howard graduated from college, he moved to San Francisco to find work as an actor, but parts weren’t that easy to get. So, he worked at odd jobs during the day and worked in theatrical productions at night.

In 1965, he joined The Committee, a group of actors who honed their skills by improvising comedy sketches. Howard stuck with the group for nine years and in 1974, he decided to head to Hollywood and try his luck there. It wasn’t long until he was getting work in TV shows and films and making a name for himself as popular comedic actor working in series like Soap, The Bob Newhart Show, Rhoda, Switch and more.

Howard lives in a small apartment that is only slightly more elegant than Johnny Fever’s, but he says that it fits him just fine.

Lani O Grady: Mary Bradford on Eight is Enough

Lani O GradyLani was cast as serious and studious Mary Bradford on the hit series Eight is Enough and when she received the news she stated that she was one of the happiest girls in California. Prior to her role in the series, much of her work found her being cast as a misfit, or heavy or unhappy characters. The role of Mary was a refreshing change of pace and allowed her to be more balanced and to show off her feminism.

Lani and her brother Don (who was probably best known for his role as one of the Mickey Mouse’s Mouseketeers and as Robbie Douglas on My Three Sons) began their careers in their early teens and by the time that she had reached her late teens, Lani was getting tired of the entertainment scene and decided to take some time off. She got a job, first as a waitress and then as a clerk so that she could learn about life and living. After some time went by, she decided that she did want to be an actress and returned to the business and was soon starring in commercials and making guest appearances on popular shows.

Adam Rich: Nicholas Bradford on Eight is Enough

Adam RichAdam and Gary Coleman, were the only two child superstars to grace a television screen in 1981. Adam, enjoyed success playing, Nicolas, the youngest member of the Bradford family from Eight is Enough.

Wanting to be an actor since the age of five, Adam’s parents encouraged his interest and took him around to casting agencies where he began to get work in commercials and eventually television roles in series such as The Six Million Dollar Man, The City, Prime of Life, and of course, Eight is Enough.

Even though he is busy with his role as Nicolas on the popular series, he still has to attend school like any other kid and does so at Tulsa Elementary where his teachers report that he is an excellent student. But, Adam, like just about every kid would rather be out playing games like baseball, swimming, riding his bike or skateboarding than attending school.

John Schneider: Bo Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard

John Schneider_Dukes of HazzardFrom the time John was eight years old, he knew he wanted to be an actor. While other kids his age were playing football or baseball or cops and robbers, John was busy taking guitar and voice lessons and loving every minute of it!

Born in New York, but at age 14, his family moved to Georgia where at school he became involved in the drama club. He had a beautiful singing voice and was a natural actor and he got the lead in many school plays including Fiddler on the Roof, Annie Get Your Gun, The Odd Couple.

After graduating from school he wasted no time and began to sing and play guitar at various clubs around Atlanta, Georgia. He also supplemented his income by being a male model for print ads for various local Atlanta department stores. He also worked in local community theater productions, too.

He made the decision to move from Atlanta to New York City, believing that the opportunities for work would be more plentiful there. He had a small and uncredited part in Smokey and the Bandit in 1977 and a small part in the Disney production The Million Dollar Dixie Deliverance (although, I can’t verify this!) which eventually helped him be cast a Bo Duke in the series The Dukes of Hazzard.

At the time of the book’s publishing, John was single, having never been married, with no intention of settling down any time soon and loved relaxing at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Suzanne Somers: Chrissy Snow on  Three’s Company

suzanne somersHer outgoing and flirtatious personality is what made Suzanne a popular student in high school. When she graduated from school, she attended Lone Mountain College to study drama for a year. She decided to quit college when she met and married fellow student Bruce Somers. The couple had a son, Bruce Jr, but sadly the marriage didn’t last. They divorced and Somers found herself alone with a young son to raise. She worked at various jobs and finally began to model and she did some writing, too. One of her first breaks came when she was hired for the syndicated talk show, Man Trap. One episode featured writer Jacqueline Susann, who encouraged Somers to seek out a publisher for her book of poems she had written. She did just that and “Touch Me” was soon published and she began to go on the talk show circuit talking about her book. A second book of poetry, “Touch Me Again”, was published, too. (Both of these books were combined into one tome in 1980 as “Touch Me; The Poems of Suzanne Somers”.)

While working on Man Trap, Somers found herself getting acting roles in Bullet, Daddy’s Gone a Hunting, Magnum Force. She eventually moved to Los Angeles and found herself cast in what would become a very important part, as the beautiful blonde in the Thunderbird in the film American Graffiti.

Not long after, she began to get parts in popular 70s shows like The Rockford Files, Starsky and Hutch and One Day at a Time. But her big break came when she was cast as Chrissy Snow in the successful ABC comedy series Three’s Company co starring John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt.

Robin Williams: Mork on Mork and Mindy

Robin WilliamsThose who knew Robin as a child often described him as “quiet and unassuming”. He spent much of his early childhood alone (he did have two much older half brothers) and contented himself playing with his favorite toy, a collection of tin soldiers.

At the age of 16 his family moved to California and after graduating from high school, Robin entered college and was pursuing a degree in political science as he had hopes of having a career in government. When he appeared in his first college play, his mind was changed and he moved from wanting a career in politics to wanting to be an actor.

He eventually found himself studying in New York City at Julliard and his roommate was Christopher Reeve (who would go on to become best remembered for his role in the 1978 big screen film Superman). The two men got along well even though they were opposites in most every way. Robin studied at the school for three years and decided to try his hand at acting and soon discovered that getting acting roles it wasn’t as easy as he had hoped. So, he began to do stand up around clubs in San Fransisco. It was at one of these clubs that he was discovered by a talent agent for the Laugh-In series (an attempt to revive the classic series from the late 60s and early 70s) which gave him his first television exposure. But Robin’s big break came with his guest starring role as space alien Mork in the series Happy Days. That episode brought in a lot of fan mail and it was decided that Mork would have his own series which debuted as Mork and Mindy on September 14, 1978 on ABC. Co-starring lovely Pam Dawber as Mindy.

When Robin isn’t working, he enjoying running, roller-skating, dancing, and yoga.

The 14 Other 1981 Stars Listed In the Book!

Name
TV Show
Character
Willie Aames
Eight is Enough
Tommy Bradford
Loni Anderson
WKRP in Cincinnatti
Jennifer Marlowe
Betty Buckley
Eight is Enough
Sandra Sue “Abby” Abbott Bradford
Patrick Duffy
Dallas
Bobby Ewing
Erik Estrada
CHiPS
Frank “Ponch” Poncharello
Melissa Gilbert
Little House on the Prairie
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Grant Goodeve
Eight is Enough
David Bradford
Larry Hagman
Dallas
John Ross “J.R.” Ewing
Dianne Kay
Eight is Enough
Nancy Bradford
Connie Newton
Eight is Enough
Elizabeth Bradford
John Ritter
Three’s Company
Jack Tripper
Susan Richardson
Eight is Enough
Susan Bradford
Dick Van Patten
Eight is Enough
Tom Bradford
Laurie Walters
Eight is Enough
Joanie Bradford