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Friday, May 19, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-7: Search, "The Murrow Disappearance"

*This episode premiered on NBC September 13, 1972, at 10:00 P.M.

*The TV movie that launched the series, Probe, aired February 11, 1972.

*Name of the Game (1968-1971) rotated Tony Franciosa, Gene Barry, and Robert Stack as its leads.

*According to Hugh O'Brian's interview for the Archives of American Television, Hugh O'Brian asked for the rotating leads situation because he didn't want to do the whole series. Other sources have indicated the network asked for it.

*TV Obscurities reported that the series was renamed Search to avoid conflict with a local TV news show called Probe.

In fact, check out these great pieces (and their comments) for more tidbits about the series:
http://senensky.com/ends-of-the-earth/
http://www.tvobscurities.com/articles/search/

The TV Obscurities article reprints excerpts from negative reviews of the first episode (what were they thinking?) and has some specific numbers about the show's ratings/lack thereof from the get-go.

*Doug McClure died of lung cancer at the age of 59.

*I believe it was the Warner Archive Podcast, a great pod with people who were truly committed to bringing Search to the modern world, that referred to Grover as a savant.

*Mary Frann guested in the episode "Operation Iceman" and later went on to play Joanna Loudon on Newhart.

*The theme music was composed by Dominic Frontiere.

*Hugh O'Brian was born in 1925, making him 47 when this episode aired. His swagger made him seem...well, actually, still about 47, but easily twice as cool as most men half his age.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Episode 2_7: Search "The Murrow Disappearance"

This week, we introduce you to one of the shows that inspired the podcast. In Search, private security agents use a high-tech approach to solve problems. "The Murrow Disappearance" features Hugh O'Brian, one of three rotating lead actors, as suave, unflappable Hugh Lockwood plus a crew of technicians led by the grouchy Burgess Meredith and the sassy Angel Tompkins. Plus, we say the word "cool," like, 300 times.



Check out this episode!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Guest Star Theatre: Silver Spoons - Bob Danish

A good show can't live on its main cast alone. Think of all the great supporting characters on shows like Seinfeld, Newhart, and The Simpsons, or even someone like Frasier from Cheers, who went from recurring character to main cast member to star of his own show. On Silver Spoons, dquare-jawed buffoon Bob Danish (John Reilly) has that same potential, although he only appears in two season one episodes "Falling in Love Again" and "Won't You Go Home, Bob Danish?"

In "Falling in Love Again," he shows up near the end as a foil for Edward as Kate uses him to make Edward jealous. Still, Reilly and Bob Danish make the most of it, and the audience learns the basic elements of Bob Danish. Bob Danish is a pilot, and that makes Bob Danish cool. Bob Danish takes everything in stride, even his romantic rival declaring his love in front of him and all of Carnegie Hall. If you're a kid, Bob Danish calls you Scooter.

"Won't You Go Home, Bob Danish?" gives Bob Danish the spotlight, and while all the Bob Danish basics remain intact, Bob Danish gets more room to move and, dare I say it, some depth. In this episode, Bob Danish buzzes Edward's house in his airplane, thinking Kate's there, only to crash the plane in the backyard. His parachute conveniently lands at the back of the set, but he injures his leg when Edward and Ricky cut him down. The plane belonged to his girlfriend, who shows up and dumps him, and Bob Danish becomes an unwelcome house guest (except to Scooter Ricky who invited him to stay in the first place).


Let's work through the episode by working through the Bob Danish Handbook.

PLAY IT COOL

When Edward asks what happened, Bob Danish says, "Well, Eddie, I'd say we had a, uh, bit of a plane crash."

When Bob Danish struggles to walk to his plane (before it explodes), Edward tells him he's hurt his leg. Bob Danish says, "It's all right. I've got a backup."

When Bob Danish knocks over a vase, he says, "First the plane crash, and now this. Ever have one of those days?"

When Edward yells at him about the chaos in the backyard--burning plane, debris everywhere, burning greenhouse, firefighters everywhere--Bob Danish says, "My goof, OK?"


When Bob Danish sees Kate...


When Kate rolls her eyes and leaves the room...


SCOOTER

Bob Danish continues to call Ricky Scooter, even after Ricky requests he call him Ricky, and this leads to a short vaudeville routine.

BOB: My dad used to call me Scooter, Scooter.

RICKY: Your dad used to call you Scooter Scooter?

BOB: No. He just called me Scooter, Scooter.

REFER TO YOURSELF IN THE THIRD PERSON

Bob Danish* does this on a fairly regular basis, but he doesn't stop there. He also has at least two nicknames for himself: The Great Dane and Roberto Danishero.

Along the same lines, he refers to his dad as "The greatest man who ever walked the Earth, my dad Dan Danish**," multiple times.

*Ricky almost always refers to Bob Danish as Bob Danish and not Bob or Mr. Danish.

**Sad but true, the greatest man who ever walked the Earth, Bob Danish's Dad Dan Danish, died after a piano fell on him.

This brings us to that "depth" I mentioned earlier, as we dig into the lesser known chapters of the Bob Danish Handbook.

BOB DANISH KEEPS MEMENTOS

He has a whole photo album but not just of photos. It includes parsley from the one date he had with Kate, and later he adds a handkerchief.

EVEN BOB DANISH HAS FEELINGS

After a few days, Bob Danish has made himself at home, eating a sandwich with "some kind of beef" on it (prime rib) and even taking a message about an urgent call for Edward. He can't remember the details but thinks Larry or Harry called. Then he finds a note his pocket. Frank called.

Edward has had enough and wants to kick him how...so he allows Kate to volunteer. She did cause this problem she argues, and Edward doesn't argue back even though she should. She can't help it if Bob Danish digs her.

Anyhow, Kate tells off Bob Danish, and his veneer of cool finally gives. What man's wouldn't if Erin Gray told him she didn't like him?

Crushed Bob Danish.

Kate feels bad about it and wants to fix it. Edward volunteers but only so someone else will, which Ricky does (technically, it is Ricky's fault).

REAL MEN DON'T CRY

Bob Danish has packed up most of his stuff when Ricky finds him. He's still feeling lousy about the whole week, what with the plane and Kate--"That gal's the greatest thing since Lava Lamps"--hurting him that he almost cries, but the greatest man who ever walked the Earth, Bob Danish's dad Dan Danish, told him real men don't cry. Well, the other greatest man who ever walked the Earth, Ricky Stratton's dad Edward Stratton III, told Ricky otherwise, that expressing your feelings and crying helps.

Bob Danish gives it a try, a real try, weeping with great sound and fury, enough to bring Edward and Kate out from the library. Bob Danish liked crying, and he's ready to leave.


EXIT COOL

Bob Danish gets his composure back, calls Ricky Ricky, and offers a romantic, near poetic exit line. Kate asks who wrote it. Bob pulls something out of his pocket and says, "Some clown at a match factory." Cool.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The writers and John Reilly do a bang-up job with Bob Danish. I'd like to think Reilly's performance in "Falling In Love Again" inspired them to write this episode, but I wish they'd brought him back (even if I can't readily see those episodes).  Sure he had a great exit, but characters don't change that much in sitcoms, and he could have lived to annoy again.

Imagine an episode where Ricky, Edward, and Bob Danish end up stranded on an island together after he crashes another plane. Imagine an episode where Ricky, Edward, and Bob Danish end up stranded in the jungle together after he crashes another plane. Imagine an episode where Ricky, Edward, and Bob Danish end up stranded in Denmark after a snowstorm grounds Bob Danish's plane.

Reilly has had a prolific, varied career as a primetime guest star and regular in soaps but far fewer comedy credits than this performance would suggest (multiple of episodes of Arli$$ and Son of the Beach among others). Too bad, but in this age of TV revivals, one can dream of a new show called...BOB DANISH.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Call this number on the telephone and get your subscription to ROLLing Stone

I remain unsuccessful in tracking down that Tom Selleck/National Review ad, but another favorite spot from my youth is on YouTube. It features Paul Shaffer, star of "A Year at the Top," as we discussed in a recent "What We'd Like to See."

Check out the advert below:



Shaffer is in top-notch "smarmy, sincere, both, or does it matter" mode.  There are two types of singing in this commercial: Paul's seemingly impromptu jingle at the end, which is great, and the Rolling Stone theme song that takes up much of this spot.  This song is horrible.

I saw this ad all the time back in the day, but I wasn't a subscriber. It's a good thing because not only does that song make me want to avoid signing up, but it is enough to make me want to cancel if I were a subscriber.

"I want to READ all there IS
about rock and roll"

Embarrassing. The way he sings "rock and roll" is cringe-inducing.

"Know about the people
who touch my soul"

Even worse. The overwrought "emotion" in the singing makes this instant appalling self-parody, as opposed to Shaffer's knowing self-parody.

Bless whoever is singing it because the guy is really trying to "rock out," but straining to rock out rarely brings positive results. It's one of the phoniest tunes I have ever heard, and it should have killed any cred RS had left after 20 years of publication.

I'm sure Shaffer knows how ridiculous it all sounds, but he doesn't care. His little half-assed rhyme at the end almost does the impossible: makes us forget about the other song.  It can't quite accomplish that.

On the bright side, it's 30 years later, and I remembered the Shaffer part, but I had totally forgotten the rest of it. So maybe all of you will get it out of your minds in the next couple decades or so.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Show Notes: Episode 2-6: Silver Spoons

*"Me and Mr. T" premiered Saturday, October 16, 1982, at 8:30 P.M. "Twelve Angry Kids" premiered January 15, 1983 in the same slot, and the series aired on NBC, of course.

*The daytime reruns of Silver Spoons aired weekdays on NBC in 1985.

*Arnold Jackson/Drummond's guest appearance was in Season 1's "The Great Computer Caper."

*Harry Reasoner was on 60 Minutes from its launch in 1968 to 1970, when he was lured to ABC to be an anchor before returning to CBS and 60 Minutes until 1991.

*The TV movie pairing Mr. T and John Navin Jr. is The Toughest Man in the World (1984) and is on Amazon Prime Video.

*The A-Team debuted January 30, 1983, after Super Bowl XVII (The Redskins beat the Dolphins).

*Correction: I referenced Bobby Heenan calling King Kong Bundy a walking condominium, but it was actually Gorilla Monsoon. I regret the error.

*Best as we can tell, here are the legit heights of the following performers:
Mr. T=5'10" (though I suspect he was billed as taller in his WWF appearances, I can't confirm it)
Joel Higgins=5'11"
Erin Gray=5'7"

*Two of my favorite long-neglected 80s sitcoms are Its Your Move (1984) with Jason Bateman and David Garrison, plus Best of the West (1981) with Joel Higgins and Meeno Peluce. The former is MIA except on YouTube, but the latter is slated for an MOD DVD release from CBS/Paramount in the future.

*Leonard Lightfoot, Edward's attorney and right-hand man in season 1, left the series because...? Unfortunately, we could not find out, and nobody seems to know, though there is apparently a rumor that he was fired for bringing a gun to the set one time  (!)

*We also are unable to confirm the persistent rumor that Ricky Schroeder's parents, jealous of Bateman's talents, had him removed from the show after the second season.

*IMDB runs this Schroeder quote without attribution:
When I turned 18, my agent was like, 'You should change from Ricky to Rick.' So I thought it was a good idea. Rick never really fit. I tried for 18 years to make it work, and no one wanted to call me Rick. It should always have been Ricky. That's what it always should have been, so I'm going back to it.

*The show's theme song, "Together," was written by Rik Howard and Bob Wirth.

*John P. Navin Jr., who stars as Ox in both episodes we cover, has the distinction of being the first ever bar patron on Cheers, as the IMDB reports. His last acting credit is in 1993! he won a "Young Artist Award" for his work on the short-lived sitcom Jennifer Slept Here, but will he win a Batty? Time will tell!

*Remember to check our YouTube channel for a playlist including good looks at some of the people we talked about who were not in these episodes, like Alfonso Ribiero and John Houseman and some of the series' notable guest stars.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Episode 2_6: Silver Spoons "Me and Mr. T" and "Twelve Angry Kids"

This week, we look at two episodes of classic eighties sitcom Silver Spoons. First, Ricky (Ricky Schroder) struggles to fit in at his new school and deal with a bully named Ox. Ricky's dad Edward (Joel Higgins) doesn't help matters by hiring a bodyguard for Ricky...Mr. T (Mr. T). After a different incident, Ox sues Ricky, and Ricky requests a jury of his peers--kids. Plus, the BOTNS return of Erin Gray and the BOTNS debut of Leonard Lightfoot!



Check out this episode!