TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 8 – Max Selects – The Gong Show

Drinking out of a garden hose, learning math and grammar from Schoolhouse Rock, playing pong, walking on the shag carpet in our bare feet, wearing mood rings, walking through beads instead of doors, and watching the Gong Show. That is what a lot of us were up to in the 1970s as kids and adults. 

I watched this show and Dialing for Dollars on our local NBC affiliate when I was around 10 years old. Only in the seventies could this show happen. It was like amateur hour at a high school with celebrities judging the event for laughs. This show was so bad it was good. That is the heart of the show…so bad it’s good… If an act was bad…which many were the judges would bang a gong to show their dislike.

The winner would win $516.32… union scale at the time. It wasn’t about winning…it was about being in front of millions of viewers. The show ran from 1976 to 1978 and was in syndication for years and years. The show had a total of 501 episodes. 

Chuck Barris was the emcee of this grand extravaganza. Some of the acts were bad and they knew it, some really thought they were good but were bad and a very few were actually good.

A few talented people appeared on the show at different times. Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman), Steve Martin, Cheryl Lynn, Oingo Boingo, Michael Winslow, The Unknown Comic,  and more. It’s fun spotting a future star in reruns. 

The judges included  Jamie Farr, Jaye P Morgan, Arte Johnson, Rip Taylor, Phyllis Diller, and Anson Williams. Jaye P. Morgan was fired off the show near the end of the show’s run. She often attempted to strip on the show, and usually got stopped. Except for one time, when she unbuttoned her shirt and flashed everyone while the camera was on her. 

My favorite part of the show for some reason was a stagehand who would dance named Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. I also remember the popsicle twins. How the censors let the Popsicle Twins get through I don’t know… they were shown on the east coast but their segment never made it to the west coast. 

The Gong Show was finally canceled because NBC warned Barris to tone down the racy elements of the show…he never did. The popsicle twins and Jaye P Morgan’s flashing didn’t help.

In the last show, Barris played in a country band called the “Hollywood Cowboys” and sang a modified Johnny Paycheck song “Take this job and shove it” and gave NBC the finger…which they blocked out of course. 

Barris had his hand in a lot of shows. In 1965, he launched “The Dating Game,” which revolutionized TV game shows. Next came “The Newlywed Game,” “The Game Game” and a Mama Cass special, among others.

Chuck Barris, in his book, Confessions of a Dangerous MindAn Unauthorized Biography, claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA. His wife said:  “After I met Chuck, I read the book and I didn’t really place any judgment on it one way or the other. Chuck and I never talk about whether he really did it.” He would never answer when asked if it was true or not. In 2002 George Clooney directed a movie about the book.

Maxene Fabe wrote in TV Game Shows, that Barris was “the first man in America to realize how desperately ‘ordinary’ people want to be on television.” Hmmm…sounds like it holds true today with all of the reality shows that are on. 

In 1980 “The Gong Show Movie” was released and it was written, directed, and starred Chuck Barris. The TV show was revived in 2017 and 2018 for twenty episodes with Mike Myers as host.

Chuck Barris passed away in 2017 at the age of 87. 

When you think back on shows you watched when you were younger and you get a chance to watch them now…it’s usually different than you remembered…not this one. This one is exactly how I remembered.

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 5 – Keith Selects – Get Smart

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Keith at https://nostalgicitalian.com/

It’s time for my next pick in the Hanspostcard TV Show Draft. My next pick is sort of a guilty pleasure. So many of the gags are ones you see coming a mile away, but they still crack me up. It is another one of those shows that was loaded with great guest stars and a solid cast. My next pick is Get Smart.

In the early 1960’s, America got their first look at James Bond and the secret agent/spy genre took off in full force. In 1965, Daniel Melnick, who was a partner in the production firm of Talent Associates in New York City, decided that it was time for a TV series that satirized James Bond. He approached Mel Brooks and Buck Henry to write a script about a “bungling James Bond-like hero.”

mel and buck

Mel said that Talent Associates had a pool table. He and Buck met at the pool table and while playing discussed the show. Mel says, “I knew we could do this thing together because we couldn’t stop babbling about things like the Shoe Phone and the Cone of Silence. These things just rolled out of our mouths.”

Henry said they created the script for the pilot in about three months around the pool table. “We decided on a secret agent named Smart – Maxwell Smart – and gave him, as his most sterling quality, a remarkable lack of insight. Nevertheless, since he was our hero, he would always win out despite his inspired inefficiency. We also gave him a number, which all operatives must have.” The number they chose was 86, which was chosen by Melnick and derived from the slang expression “to eighty-six someone.”

The show was pitched to ABC. The pitch was pretty much exactly what the show ended up being: Max would work for the Chief, the head of the Washington-based US intelligence agency Control. He would have a beautiful and brilliant young partner known only as Agent 99. Loaded up with gadgets, they would fight against the evil agents of Kaos, an international organization seeking world domination.

Originally, Mel Brooks considered playing Smart himself. Orson Bean was also considered. ABC decided that if it aired the show, Tom Poston (best known for his work on the Steve Allen Show and Newhart) would star as Agent 86. ABC liked the pilot, but wanted to change things up. They wanted Max to have a mother and a dog on the show. Brooks hated the idea of Max coming home to his mother at the end of every show and explaining everything to her. When they told ABC “no,” they passed on the show calling it “un-American.”

They took the script to NBC. NBC had already spent all the money allotted for making pilots. Grant Tinker was contacted about the show and was told that he “had to” read the pilot. “I read it and I just loved it. It was exactly the kind of thing that makes me laugh.” He called the head of programming at NBC and convinced him to come up with the money for one more pilot. They did so one one condition – Tom Poston, who was not under contract at NBC, would be replaced by Don Adams, who was.

The Cast

s-l400

Maxwell Smart – Agent 86

You have to wonder how Max keeps his job! He is extremely clumsy and forgetful. He’s forever on the Chief’s last nerve, yet he always wins. He is a proficient marksman, skilled in hand to hand combat, and incredibly lucky. Believe it or not, he is one of the top Control agents!

Once Don Adam’s was brought in as Max, many of his routines from his stand up act were incorporated into the character. He had used his “Would you believe…” before, but it became a staple on Get Smart.

Smart: At this very moment, 25 Control agents are converging on this building.

Kaos Agent: I don’t believe it.

Smart: Would you believe 2 squad cars and a motorcycle cop?

Kaos Agent: No

Smart: How about a vicious street cleaner and a toothless police dog?

Agent 99

e25e819b3d06dee354505946e6d1efb7

Played by Barbara Feldon, whom Buck Henry says he fought for from the beginning. Despite some sources, the creators of the show and Feldon herself say that 99’s real name is never mentioned. Originally, they wanted her to be Agent 69, but Henry says, “We knew it would never get past the censors. So 99 was our little joke.”

99 is another of Control’s top agents and often works together with Max. One had to wonder what an intelligent and sensible woman like 99 sees in a goofball like Maxwell Smart!

The Chief

36c1d166f3793f32ae9ddbde2dd0dfb5

For the Chief, Mel Brooks and Buck Henry wanted someone who would “personify authority and grave intensity all while delivering ludicrous information with a stern voice and fatherly demeanor.” They had seen Ed Platt in North by Northwest and Rebel Without a Cause and knew he was their Chief.

He is the head of Control. He oversees all of Control’s activities and missions. He frequently speaks to the President over a direct line. He considers 86 and 99 to be Control’s best agents and his best friends, even though Max seems to be a continuous thorn in his side.

Chief: All we know is that they threaten to wipe out the city containing our finest intellectual minds and greatest leaders!

Max: Well, at least Washington is safe.

Larabee

cd648b6cd5cb7758082c19e4cc56a1e7--the-chiefs-vintage-tv

Larabee (played by Robert Karvelas) is the Chief’s right hand man and assistant. In all honesty, he is even more slow-witted and incompetent than Max! Don Adams said that they used Larabee for the jokes that were “too dumb for Max.” Despite his stupidity, his unwavering dedication and extremely simple mind make him an indispensable government employee.

Hymie The Robot

Hymie-e1638322712559

Hymie (played by Dick Gautier) was a robot originally designed by Kaos to battle against Control. However, in his first appearance on the show, Max mistakes him for a rookie Control agent and takes him under his wing. When Hymie is ordered to kill Max, Hymie shoots his creator instead. Max then reprograms him to work for Control.

Hymie often takes things literally. When told to get a grip on himself, he grabs himself. Many jokes of this type were Hymie oriented (“Kill the lights,” “Grab a waiter,” “Hop to it,” “Knock it off,” and so on.

Agent 13

getsmart

Agent 13 (David Ketchum) is forever spying from odd places. You will find him in washing machines, in mailboxes, file cabinets, lockers, fire hydrants, and other small places. He is loyal to Control, but often complains about his assignments. Though he complains, he always gets the job done intercepting messages, overhearing plans, and often coming to Max’s rescue.

From 1965-1966, Agent 44 was played by Victor French and was also confined to small spaces like Agent 13.

Professor Carlson

MV5BM2E3Yjc4MDktMGFkNC00Y2IwLWFiNzQtZWJhYjBjNDI2MmZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjA3MTcwMzc@._V1_

Carlson (Stacy Keach Sr.) is a Control scientist and inventor. He often presents Max with gadgets that will be used on his assignment. Carlson succeeded Professor Parker who was played by Milton Selzer.

KAOS

2971765847_6a84c9d07c_z

Maxwell Smart calls Kaos “a monstrous organization of evil dedicated to the destruction of the free world and the systematic subjugation of every man, woman, and child on this planet. Kaos Agent Omar Shurok describes it as “the international organization of evil formed in 1904 in Bucharest , designed to foment unrest and revolution throughout the world.”

Ludwig Von Seigfried

Bernie-Kopell-and-Don-Adams-e1473733166271

Seigfried (played wonderfully by Bernie Kopell) is described as “the merciless, fiercely conceited, preeminent Kaos kingpin” who “considers himself vastly superior to his underlings and his adversaries.” He is also described as “undeniably sinister, shrewd, underhanded, conniving, contemptuous, haughty, scornful, and explosive. He considers all Kaos agents thick-witted, nitwits, fools, incompetents, bunglers, dummkopfs, dunderheads, and sissies, and he is easily angered by the slightest display of incompetence or silliness.”

Seigfried (on the phone with Max): Your Chief was just silenced by a pistol butt.

Max: That’s a little drastic, wasn’t it, Seigfried? Couldn’t you have just shushed him?

Seigfried: We don’t SHUSH here!

Shtarker (or Starker)

c2c40de05e3936fba37a30673d5ccbc2

(King Moody) He is Seigfried’s ruthless, but often inept henchman. Shtarker is the Yiddish word for a “strong-arm man” or a “tough guy.” He certainly is a towering bodyguard, but he is nothing more than a goofball.

Gadgets

Throughout the show there are many gadgets. No doubt, many of these were inspired by the James Bond series. There are too many to list here, but there are a couple that have become synonymous with the show.

Shoe Phone

backdrop-1920

Mel Brooks is credited with coming up with the idea for the Shoe Phone. It came to him one day when every phone in his office started ringing and he took his shoe off and began speaking into it.

In 2002, the prop shoe phone was placed on display in an exhibit called “Spies: Secrets from the CIA, KGB, and Hollywood” which featured real and fake spy gear in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Cone of Silence

Buck Henry claims to have come up with this recurring gag.

Whenever something needed to be discussed that was sensitive, Max would insist on Control’s protocol of using the Cone of Silence. It was designed to keep whatever was discussed audible to whoever was in it. However, it almost never worked. Many times the people under it could not hear each other, or couldn’t understand what the other was saying. Sometimes they had to yell so loud that the people outside the Cone of Silence could hear better than the ones under it.

Catchphrases

cf277eca5bc9b072fcf5f635a09653af--smart-quotes-tv-quotes

Get Smart contributed many catchphrases that were popular among viewers. “Would you believe…” which I already mentioned was just one of them. Others were:

  • “Missed it by that much.”
  • “Sorry about that Chief”
  • “I asked you not to tell me that”
  • “….and LOVING it!”
  • “Of course, the (such and such). Just one question. What’s the (such and such)?
  • “The old (such and such) trick”

Passwords

Sometimes a password was needed to enter Control buildings. Other times a sign and counter sign was needed.

Passwords include:

  • Ricardo Montalban hates tortillas
  • Herb Alpert takes trumpet lessons from Guy Lombardo

Signs/Countersigns include:

Sign: Camptown ladies sing this song

Countersign: Doo-dah. Doo-dah.

Sign: Camptown racetrack five miles long

Countersign: Oh Doo-dah day.

The Show

Get Smart aired for 5 seasons. The first four seasons were on NBC and when faced with cancellation, it moved to CBS for it’s fifth and final season. In the final season, the show “jumped the shark” and 86 and 99 got married and had kids, which many say is what killed the show.

get-smart-wedding

Afterward

In 1980, Don Adams starred in the theatrical film, The Nude Bomb. It lacked much of what made the show so good. Max is not working for Control, 99 is not present, and it lacked all the fun of the show.

In 1988, many of the original cast reunited for Get Smart Again, a TV movie that aired on ABC. It reunited 86, 99, Larabee, Hymie, and Agent 13. Seigfried and Shtarker return as Kaos agents. It was more true to the original series and it helped spawn a short-lived weekly series on Fox in 1995.

Why I Picked It

Today, we are bombarded with all kinds of shows on TV that try to push a political or social message. Get Smart makes me laugh. It is one of those shows that I wish didn’t have a laugh track (the only thing I hate about it). I love to watch the interaction of the characters and enjoy the guest stars. It’s one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

The theme song is one of my favorites, too! When I worked at one hospital, I used to have to walk down a long hallway and I would often find myself humming the theme! Silly, yes! Incidentally, it is interesting to note that in 2010, TV Guide ranked the opening title sequence at number 2 on its list of Top 10 credits sequences as selected by readers. It’s classic!

Thanks for reading!!

TV Draft Round 5 – Pick 6 – Max Selects – The Andy Griffith Show

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Max at https://powerpop.blog

There has been so much written about this show and the writing will never stop. It was a show about the quirky citizens of a fictional town called Mayberry. The Andy Griffith Show is not just another show. The series will be around long after we are gone and still being discovered by future generations.

Some of the love I have for the show is about escapism. The low pressure of living in Mayberry is attractive. A place where you are allowed to live slowly and friends are only a few miles away. Nowadays our lives are so full of technology and rush that it would be tempting to walk through the screen to join Andy and Opie fishing out on Meyers Lake.

andy1.jpg

Mayberry was based on a small North Carolina town called Mount Airey where Andy grew up. Griffith has also said that although the show was in the sixties, Mayberry had a 1930s-1940s feel to it. When I’m asked where I grew up, I’ll say in a town kind of like Mayberry and they get what I’m saying.

The episode that best explains the show is… Man In A Hurry. A businessman’s car breaks down two miles from Mayberry on a Sunday. He has a business appointment in Charlotte the next morning. He walks to town and finds it deserted until church lets out. The garage is also closed on Sunday. Gomer is working but can only pump gas and Wally refuses to repair the car until Monday. The stranger can’t believe the pace of life in Mayberry and everyone’s lack of urgency. Andy tries to talk him into spending the night and getting the car fixed on Monday… he won’t have any of this non-sense… first but then he slowly realizes what great lives these people lead and ends up staying a little while longer than he could have.

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were a great comedy team. I wish they would have made a few movies together. Knotts wanted to do that but Griffith always backed away from it. You can put them up there with other great comedy teams. Andy was a great straight man and Don played off of him well.

I’ve seen parents play episodes to their kids for lessons, schools play episodes for students, and heard of preachers writing sermons around episodes. The humor wasn’t dirty but it wasn’t sterile either. Most if not all of the first 5 season episodes are classics. It’s a show that you can catch at any time. During a rainout, between movies, and a binge-watch.

Dillards

The show offered a little of everything… One of the things I liked was the bluegrass music of The Dillards who appeared on the show as the Darlings. Denver Pyle played Briscoe Darling Jr. and played the jug with the Dillards. They were and STILL are a bluegrass band that tours and releases albums.

Andy had many girlfriends throughout the show. There was Ellie and she gave Andy all he could handle. Ellie, unfortunately, left after the first season. He saw the county nurse Mary Simpson (My favorite), Peggy McMillian, and then he met Helen Crump. Personally, I never liked Helen as much. Her nickname from some fans was Helen Grump because she could be a grump quite often. Andy ended up marrying Helen in the last season.

Thelma Lou was one of my favorite characters of the show. She put up with Barney’s shenanigans but was always there for him. Barney was foolish for letting her go but they finally got married. It didn’t happen on the show’s original run but they finally tied the knot in the reunion movie.

Aunt Bee

Then there was Aunt Bee Taylor. She took care of Andy and Opie and made sure they were fed well and came home to a clean house. Aunt Bee had a smile for everyone unless you got on her bad side. She could be stubborn and formidable when angered and she commanded the utmost respect from everyone. She was in a way, everyone’s Aunt.

Gomer and Goober

The two characters from Wally’s gas station were Gomer Pyle and Goober. Goober was a great mechanic and Gomer mostly filled your tank up with a story to go along with it. They were not the sharpest tools in the shed but both had hearts of gold and added to the show’s comedy.

Opie

Andy’s son from his only marriage was Opie Taylor. You never found out how Opie’s mother passed away but she did before we got to meet the Taylors. Opie is a super kid and Andy raised him the right way. He is kind and polite and when he does something wrong he usually had the sense to recognize that and correct the problem.

Otis Campbell

Otis Campbell… Otis was a good guy with only one problem. He was the town drunk. Andy and Barney knew him so well that they let Otis grab the jail key and let himself in when he was a bit intoxicated. During the reunion movie made in the 80s, he had given up the booze and was selling ice cream.

Seasons 1-5 were in Black and White with Don Knotts as Barney Fife. Don’s last season was the 5th season and seasons 6-8 were in color.  I have all of the Griffith Show episodes but I will admit…I don’t really watch the color episodes as much as the black and white ones. Yes, there are some good later episodes but it’s Andy. He walks around Mayberry like he is owed money. Andy later admitted on many of the later episodes he was going through the motions.

He started to get a little tenser on screen in the 5th season but Barney was still there and kept things light. In the 6th season with Barney gone, Andy acted impatient with his fellow quirky citizens where at one time he enjoyed them. The show just changed dramatically with color. It remained at number 1 but it just wasn’t the same.

It was one of the most successful television shows ever. The Series went out on top and had a successful spinoff called Mayberry RFD.

In the early 70s Mayberry RFD and other shows such as  The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Mister Ed, Lassie, Petticoat Junction, and Hee Haw were canceled because of the rural purge the network did… everything that had a tree got canceled it seemed. More important shows were coming like All In The Family and others but there was always room for others. In syndication these shows do great.

So follow me to Mayberry and don’t look back.

TV Draft Round 4 – Pick 6 – Dave Selects – Friends

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 7 rounds will be posted here. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Dave from https://soundday.wordpress.com/

Some of our other participants have picked highly excellent, but “boutique” shows. Ones which are brilliant, and critically-praised, but not hugely viewed, often due to appearing on pay cable stations or obscure streaming services. This is actually great because it’s giving some of us insight into shows we’ve heard about but not seen. But for my second pick, I’ll stick with the 1990s and stick with a show of mass appeal…more mass appeal now than back then, one might guess: Friends. It was a show I sometimes watched, and quite liked back in the day but have watched a good deal more and come to enjoy more in the years since it ended. (In that it was somewhat like one of its companion shows on NBC, Seinfeld, looked at by Music City Mike already.)

NBC’s Thursday night lineup in the ’90s was a TV equivalent to baseball’s ’61 Yankees… a seemingly unstoppable powerhouse that kept throwing superstar after superstar at you. By 1993, it was already a juggernaut in the ratings and with critics with the combo of Seinfeld and Frasier. But they needed something to keep the momentum throughout the night and had had some difficulty finding another prime-time comedy to keep viewers on the Peacock network. Enter Marta Kauffman and David Crane,a couple of, well, friends who were writers. Struggling ones at that.

“We wanted to write something we would watch,” Kauffman said. They were in their early-30s and Crane says “not long before, we’d been living in New York, not doing TV. We’d been living it.” So they set upon the idea of a group of people like themselves who were out on their own but single, starting to find their way in the world with little but their close friends to help them through.

They came up with the basic idea and a few test scripts and pitched it to Fox, who said “it’s funny, but it’s not Fox funny. Can you make it more adult?” Instead, they landed at NBC, who saw some potential with it. Which was prescient of them, since like so many shows, the pilot was…well, not great. It was OK, but only hinted at the depth of the characters and the laughs that it would soon create. It might have been unwatchable if Rachel had stayed the spoiled princess, Ross the always sadsack downer or Joey the macho stud. Happily the characters and dialog evolved and quickly found their stride only a few weeks in.

As most know, the show revolved around a main cast of six “friends”…an unusually large ensemble for a sitcom that didn’t have one main star, ala say Bill Cosby on his eponymous show. There were the guys – Joey, the proudly Italian ladies-man and struggling actor; Chandler, the sarcastic and oft-frustrated office “suit” and Ross, the nerdy and awkward professor – and the girls. They were Monica, Ross’ sister, a compulsive neat freak and talented cook; Phoebe, the artsy-fartsy ’60s throwback hippie singer, and Rachel, the rich fashionista cut off from her family money and learning life lessons. With a “heart of gold” would be a modifier applied to all six. Through ten seasons, 1994- 2004, and 236 episodes they struggled with ordinary problems like so many of their fans – finding romantic partners, or at least dates, getting a good job, trying to keep afloat financially, and the like. All the while talking a lot and hanging out at the Central Perk, a local coffee shop. (Jennfier Aniston, “Rachel” once commented that it would be impossible to set it in the present day because it would now just be six people sitting staring at their phones.)  At times they’d fight, but in the end, like the famous Rembrandts theme song (“I’ll Be There For You”) suggests, they were always there for each other.

Time magazine noted “the well-hidden secret of the show was that it was called ‘Friends’ and was really about family.” Or to put it another way, that when you get to be an adult, your friends can be your family, the rock you can rely on. In that it rather duplicated Seinfeld, or Frasier’s predecessor, Cheers. And like those shows, a good deal of the appeal was how perfect the actors chosen were for the roles. Unlike those two, by a few episodes in you were always rooting for those characters.  It seemed like lightning struck in the casting. The creators had written the Ross part specifically with David Schwimmer in mind… they actually figured he would be the break-out star of the series. The others all came about by chance. They envisioned Courteney Cox to be Rachel, not Monica, but she liked the other role better. They liked Jennifer Aniston, but she was under contract to another, thankfully short-lived show at the time so they figured she wouldn’t be available. She was. Nancy McKeon was their first choice for Monica, but that fell through, and so on and so on. Now it seems impossible to think of Monica being anyone but Courteney, or anyone but Matt Leblanc being Joey, etc. And Jennifer Aniston? So intertwined with her character was she that her haircut swept the nation and was called “the Rachel.”

All six of the characters were flawed, and often not good at their jobs. The only thing as bad as Phoebe’s singing might be Joey’s on-stage acting chops or Ross’ attempt to win over students by speaking in a fake British accent. But their flaws made them seem like people we all knew and loved…or maybe, like ourselves. As years went by, they became our friends. We wanted Joey to keep that role on Days of Our Lives, we wanted Chandler to find a way not to be transferred to Tulsa, and of course, we wanted Ross and Rachel to figure out that they were in love with each other and just get together! I mean, come on – Ross said Rachel’s name instead of the girl he was supposed to be marrying (Emily) during his wedding vows!

Interestingly, just before Season 8 was about to begin, the world was shaken by 9/11. This posed a dilemma for the series, set in Manhattan. They didn’t know how to approach it. Finally, NBC decided “9/11 did happen in the World of Friends, but it would be acknowledged only by visual clues”… Joey sometimes wore an “NYFD” t-shirt, newspapers appeared on tables, the etch-a-sketch on Joey and Chandler’s door had more patriotic images on it but “no one would want to see ‘the one with the terrorist attack.’”  It hit the actors hard, like everybody else, and they had to reconcile their job with the reality of the world. Lisa Kudrow, “Phoebe,” said “we’re not curing cancer. It’s not a big deal. But you know what? When you can offer people a break from some such a devastating reality, that is a big deal.” Aniston echoed, “this was the one place in the world it was still OK to laugh.”  It was a big deal. The show, already a top 10 ratings hit, became the most-watched on television that season (the last sitcom to earn that distinction) and won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy. The series finale, in which yes, Rachel didn’t get on the plane (and leave for France, rather, coming back to be with Ross) was the most-viewed regular TV episode of this century so far.

Like I said, I watched it at times then but appreciate it more now. Actually, thinking back, I was often too busy living my own version of Friends when it was on to tune in. Hanging out with buddies, looking for a lasting love, working late in the store, you name it.  When I was fortunate enough to find my lasting love, it turned out Friends was one of her all-time favorite shows. She used to tell people back then not to call on Thursday until after 7:30 (it aired at 7PM in Central time, 8 in the East where I was watching) because she was tied up…with “friends”.  We love watching reruns together, and when it left Netflix, I got her the set of DVDS. Or got us the set. I laugh at Ross’s consternation at his boss eating his Moist-maker sandwich or barista Gunther’s longing for Rachel (I guess I could relate to Gunther on that one!) as much as my sweetie does. If grilled cheese sandwiches might be a “comfort food”, Friends is “comfort watching” to us.

A couple of parting thoughts about Friends. First, to me it seems rather like most sitcoms these days have a tendency to copy it, but not as successfully. Groups of funny, inseparable friends.  How I Met Your Mother… group of late-20-something friends who hang out together in a neighborhood bar and have little to do with their biological families. The at times cloying Big Bang Theory? Don’t get me started. Friends who are family to themselves, the nerdy professorial type destined to be with the super-sexy but sweet blonde (who like Rachel struggles as a waitress but finally finds success in a professional career), guys with no musical talent but abundant arrogance playing in the comic book store (much like both Ross and his keyboards and Phoebe’s bad songwriting)… they even stole the story of the male character who tried to get a spray on tan to impress a woman and ended up bright orange by accident.

And secondly, the show got back together in the right way. That is to say, by not regrouping. As much as they were being pressured to do a reunion, like so many other comedies from Will and Grace to Gilmore Girls had done, Friends decided to leave things as they were. There was the much-hyped reunion show last year,of course, but it was dealt with smartly… the six actors got back together and reminisced, showed a few classic clips and talked about what it was like back then. Brilliant restraint, because the magic of Friends was the characters remain forever young, and then left on high notes …they were happy, moving away from their New York apartment building to start new lives, full of love and optimism. Just as NBC realized we didn’t need “the one with the terrorist attack”, the cast understood we didn’t want “the one where Ross needs viagra now” or “the one with Gunther’s funeral.”  They knew not to overstay their welcome, and leave us laughing.

TV Draft Round 4 – Pick 5 – Lisa Selects – Shameless

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 7 rounds will be posted here. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Lisa from https://tao-talk.com/

from l – r: Deb, Fee, Frank (with Liam on his lap,) Lip, Carl, and Ian (reading Mag)

Round 4, Tuesday, 4/26/22, “Shameless” (US version)
2011-2021 originally on Showtime

Writing credits and number of episodes credited with: Paul Abbott and John Wells (134,) Nancy Pimental (26,) Dominique Morrisseau (23,) Sherman Payne (14,) Etan Frankel (13,) LaToya Morgan (12,) Sheila Callaghan (12,) Corina Maritescu (12,) Lisa Morales (11,) Krista Vernoff (8,) Nathan Louis Jackson (7,) Davey Holmes (7,) Joe Lawson (7,) Molly Smith Metzler (6,) Philip Buiser (6,) Alex Borstein (5,) Mike O’Malley (5,) Cindy Caponera (2,) Mark Steilen (2,) Daniel Brocklehurst (1,) Stan Frankel (1,) William H. Macey (1,) and Steven Schacter (1.)
Directors: 55 different directors, with Iain B. MacDonald directing the most episodes, with 17.
Genres: comedy, drama

STARRING
The Gallagher Family
William H. Macy at Frank Gallagher – faux patriarch and the addict you grow to hate – and love.
Emmy Rossum at Fiona Fee” Gallagher – Oldest child and steps into maternal role young when mother abandons the family.
Jeremy Allen White as Phillip Lip” Gallagher – Oldest brother and serves in paternal role as Frank is a non-functioning – other than to f*ck things up – parent
Cameron Monaghan as Ian Gallagher – in the closet gay who hopes to become a career soldier in the beginning of the series
Emma Kenney as Deb Gallagher – immature and air-headed in the beginning of the series
Ethan Cutkosky as Carl Gallagher – none too bright, but always scheming in the streets to help his family out
Brenden Sims as Baby Liam and Christian Isaiah and Child Liam Gallagher – the child Frank had with a different mother; Liam’s mom also abandoned him and left him for Frank (I.e Fee and Lip) to raise

Kevin (Kev) and Veronica (V)

The Neighbors
Shanola Hampton as Veronica V” Fisher – V and Kevin are a couple that live a couple doors down and are like family with the Gallaghers. They are always ready to help. V’s mother lives nearby.
Steve Howey as Kevin Ball – Kevin was raised in foster care, and he turned out OK. V and Kevin both work at a neighborhood bar in the first season.

Noel Fisher as Mickey Milkovich – a violent young man from a violent, criminal family.

The Bar Patrons
Michael Patrick McGill as Tommy
Jim Hoffmaster as Kermit – There are a lot of patrons that come and go in the bar, but Tommy and Kermit are permanent fixtures there.

The Gallagher Kitchen

SETTINGS
The home
The Gallaghers are an Irish-American family who lives in a large, ramshackle home on the Southside of Chicago, right near where the L passes. There is a smallish living room, a decent-sized kitchen with a laundry area off the kitchen, and bathroom on the main floor. There is an unfinished basement. There’s a winding staircase that leads upstairs just off of the front door; there’s a more functional staircase leading upstairs off of the kitchen. Upstairs is another bathroom and several bedrooms. Out the back door is a vacant lot that they use to store vehicles, camp out on, put an above-ground pool on, have bonfires on, etc.

The bar
The bar is non-descript and looks like any other small, urban, neighborhood bar. It has an upstairs apartment where the owner, an old guy, lives. A lot of the plot lines for V and Kevin take place here.

Synopsis: Shameless is a situation comedy that fully develops storylines for each of the above-named characters, (with the exception of bar patrons, Tommy and Kermit.) Frank, the drunk junkie that has seldom worked an honest day in his life, pulls the family into all kinds of jams when he tries to flim-flam the vulnerable and keeps trying to scam those that are well on to his games. Fee and Lip fill the parent roles, with the other kids chipping in as they are able to. There is a shared jaded disappointment that alternates with rage at their father and an easy bonded relationship between the siblings. Each occasionally verbalizes a wish that their mentally ill, addict mother, Monica (Chloe Webb) might return someday.

Impressions: If I had to choose one adjective to describe the situations The Gallagher Realm finds itself enmeshed with each week, it would be outrageous, or, as the title suggests, shameless. The family and the satellite characters who orbit them operate on a different set of morals and ethics, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t functional or that they don’t love each other (when they aren’t hating their father for his ongoing dumb sh*t.) As the series covers 11 years, we get to see all of the kids except Liam grow to adulthood and some to parenthood. We get to watch them mature and grow into decent human beings, despite the painful, often traumatic learning experiences that they are routinely pulled into through their dad’s actions or their own choices.

There is a large and varied circus of characters that wander in and out of episodes and seasons that are always entertaining. Throughout all 11 seasons, the plots remain fresh. There are several political themes that are covered, including gentrification, LGBTQIA+, homelessness, mental illness and inpatient care, corrections (prison life,) sex addiction, agoraphobia, the public service underbelly, human trafficking, drug dealing, grifting, and so much more.

Shameless Gang Season 11

Grade: 10
Etc.: There are 48 items of trivia at imdb on the series.
Awards: 16 wins and 69 nominations

Bedazzled… 1967

Dudley Moore is probably best known in America as Arthur and Peter Cook is not known much at all which is a shame.

This is one of my favorite comedies. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were always a great team and in this movie, they work very well together. It’s the old story of selling your soul to the Devil for wishes…but as always the wishes are not exactly what the wisher has in mind.

Dudley Moore plays Stanley Moon who is a shy and pathetic figure who pines for a waitress (Eleanor Bron) who works at Wimpy’s Burger and is employed as a cook. Peter Cook is the devil… He is perfect for this part. He is a hilarious devil and at times likable but does the most annoying things like tearing the last page out of mysteries, scratching LPs, and just petty things to aggravate people.

The movie is very British and very funny. The chemistry is great between Moore and Cook and by this time they had been together for a while. There was a version of this movie released in 2000 but it is not as smart and subtle as this one. This is an offbeat quirky film.

This film also features Raquel Welch appropriately as Lust. She is only in it for a few minutes but she plays Lust to the hilt. The film had no name at first and in an interview, Peter Cook said he wanted to name the movie “Raquel Welch”…when asked why he wanted to name it after the actress when it wasn’t about her he said because the Marquee would read “Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in Raquel Welch”… The producers didn’t like that.

Eleanor Bron plays Margaret the waitress and the object of Stanley’s desire…she was also in HELP! with The Beatles.

Check this film out if you can. Personally, I think it beats the remake by a mile.

If you want to hear something else by them…check out Peter and Dudley as Derek and Clive.

Below is the trailer…this is the link for the complete movie. 

TV Draft Round 3 – Pick 7 – King Of The Hill

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 8 rounds will be posted here. We will have 64 different TV Shows by 8 different writers. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Dave from https://soundday.wordpress.com/

First I’d like to thank Max for keeping this project running, and for inviting me to take part. There are so many good TV shows to choose from, it’s hard to know where to begin, but I’ll opt for one that seems to hit close to home for me (LOL – literally)… King of the Hill.

King of the Hill was a long-running animated prime-time cartoon that somehow had characters a lot more “real” than most of its contemporaries made with real actors. It ran on Fox Network for 259 episodes from 1997- 2010, and has been seen in re-runs in syndication and on some of the streaming services. I’m not a gigantic fan of Fox overall, but one thing they do well is cartoons!

It typically ran on Sunday nights after The Simpsons, – itself a hilarious and ground-breaking show – at 8:30 Eastern time. Fox seemed to clue in on how much of a good thing they had going with Sunday night cartoons aimed at adults and forever were searching for ones to lineup with their corporate flagship show and its yellow-skinned Springfielders. Some of them caught on (e.g. Family Guy or, though I can’t fathom why, Bob’s Burgers), others were come and gone faster than you could say “Eat my shorts” …anyone remember Border Town? Although a few of the post-Bart and Homer series might have now topped King of the Hill in episodes, I don’t think any have topped it for humor and creating characters we felt we could relate to. No wonder Time magazine once called it “the most acutely-observed and realistic sitcom about American life, bar none.” Perhaps all the more surprising since its main creator was Mike Judge, whose previous claim to fame was Beavis and Butthead.

King of the Hill revolved around Hank Hill and his family – wife Peggy, tween son Bobby and their dog, a lazy hound called Ladybird. And the niece who lived with them, to Hank’s mild disapproval, Luanne. They were a typical, middle-class Texan family living somewhere in the suburbs, in the city of “Arlen.” Hank sold propane, and propane products and was proud of it. Peggy was a substitute teacher, specializing in Spanish classes (although her knowledge of the language was barely functional) who loved Boggle and making green bean casseroles; a woman described as “confidant, sometimes to the point of lacking self-awareness.”  Like most Texans, they loved things like rodeos, pickup trucks and Dallas Cowboys football – in one memorable episode Hank tries to get together a movement to move the Cowboys training camp to Arlen, but they pick Wichita Falls. To which Hank replies that city which claims to be “north Texas! More like south Oklahoma if you ask me!” a pretty stinging insult in the Lone Star State! Bobby, to his dad’s chagrin, is chubby, has little interest in sports and wants to be a stand-up comedian or worse yet, a clown.

Joining Hank is a supporting cast of neighbors we all seem to know in real life. There’s Bill, balding, overweight veteran who’s lonely and cuts hair on the nearby military base for income and amusement. Boomhauer, the suave, thin ladies man with the weird hillbilly accent who always seems to have female companionship and little to do outside of that but drink beer with the other guys and watch the world go by. (In the final episode’s surprise twist, we see his wallet lying open and find he’s a Texas Ranger – the elite branch of the state police.)  And there’s Dale, a man ahead of his time. Chain-smoker, exterminator by day, full-time conspiracy theorist and paranoid political commentator at night. Somehow he’s married to the lovely Nancy, the local TV weather girl and they have a son, Joseph… who looks nothing at all like him nor the blonde Nancy…but suspiciously like John Redcorn, the Native “healer” who has been giving her lengthy massages for her migraines for years. Dale has trouble figuring out why Joseph looks like that…but thinks maybe his wife was abducted and impregnated by aliens.  And we can’t forget Cotton, Hank’s cranky old father, lacking the bottom of his legs due to a war injury, nor the Khans. The Khans are from Laos, and while their daughter, Kahn Jr. (Connie to her friends) has assimilated well and is Bobby’s erstwhile girlfriend, and mother Mihn tries, Kahn Sr. fancies himself a successful businessman and can’t believe his bad luck landing up on a street full of hillbillies and rednecks. Somehow, the men all seem to get along and bond over things like appreciation of a good garbage can or love of (in Khan’s case, grudging acceptance of) Alamo Beer.

For the most part, the stories were fully relatable. They never starred in freaky Halloween episodes nor a big Broadway show (although ZZ Top did guest star once and put Hank unwillingly into a reality show following him around) or get abducted by aliens, perhaps to Dale’s surprise. Instead there were events like Hank trying to get the city to rescind it’s bylaw necessitating water-conserving toilets, or camping out in the local Megalomart with Dale (which bears a lot of resemblance to another American big box department store)  trying to catch a rat. In one episode, Bobby gets picked on by bullies leading Hank to try to get the boy into a boxing class. Instead of that, Bobby ends up in a women’s self-defence course and learns to kick anyone he’s mad at in the testicles…Hank included. And one of the final episodes really amused me … I was born and raised near Toronto, if you didn’t know that already. In it, Boomhauer decides to take a vacation in Canada and temporarily trades houses with a Canadian family. Hank and the Canadian dad take an instant disliking to each other, with them competing over who brews the best beer and whose brand of lawn mower rules. End result? Both get arrested for DWI while mowing their lawns; Hank and his buddies eventually sell a “keginator” beer-pump to bail the Canuck out of jail, because that’s what neighbors do. “We’re Americans,” Hank declares “we’re the world’s welcome mat. It doesn’t matter if they’re from Canada, Laos, or God forbid, even California!”

The show had Greg Daniels co-writing early on, a good pedigree since he’d worked on Saturday Night Live, the Simpsons and co-wrote the Seinfeld episode “The Parking Space”… Music City Mike probably remembers that one.  When it first came on, I liked it and often watched it, but it took years for it to really grow on me and come to appreciate how fully nuanced the characters were and how much attention to detail of human nature it showed…all the while being hilarious. There was a great sense of humanity in it all. People like Hank were trying their best, having a hard time keeping up with the changing times (he was the holdout on the office’s love of Facebook, for example) but doing his best to understand and be better. Nancy had her ongoing affair, but called it off eventually when she realized it was wrong to do to her husband, wacky as he was. And Luanne, sweet as pie and about as dumb as one too, with her little Christian puppets trying to teach kids right from wrong, boyfriend Lucky in tow. Lucky got his nickname when he slipped on pee at a Walmart and sued them for hundreds of thousands! (That makes watching it a tiny bit sad as both of the voice actors are gone – Brittany Murphy who did Luanne, and the one and only Tom Petty who was ‘Lucky’). They were all good people and the shows funny. But once I came to Texas…boy howdy, it took to another level for me.

Judge spent time in the Dallas Metroplex when young and said he based it on the suburbs like Arlington and Garland, Texas. Once I saw Waco, it seemed like Waco was Arlen…or vice versa. There are so many details that ring true like the Bush’s beans at dinner or love of Whataburger. When Peggy wants to have a serious talk with Bobby, she’ll treat him to one of those burgers…leading him to suspiciously note last time she took him there, she told him about Doggie Heaven!

I started this thinking I wouldn’t have enough to say about King of the Hill. Turns out I have too much to say for one column really. So one more thing – I just reminded myself how funny the show was. I think I’m going to go watch a few now!

Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton

Back in the 90s I got into silent films. I would send off for VHS tapes of 1920s classics. The one actress I wanted to see was Clara Bow. After reading about her I started to learn more about Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. I did know of Chaplin but had never seen one of his films. I still love silent cinema from that era.

Charlie and Buster were two of the best screen comedians ever to walk the earth. They both had similar upbringings. Buster and his family in American vaudeville. Charlie worked in British music halls. Charlie rose to stardom in silent movies in the 1910’s beginning with Keystone, Mutual (where he made his best short comedies) Essanay and then he confounded United Artist with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and W. D. Griffith. After that Charlie went into full feature films.

Buster started silent shorts in 1917 with Roscoe Arbuckle. After Roscoe broke out on his own so did Buster….he did some more short films which were brilliant. He then went into full features. Buster was just so different than anyone else. He was so still while the world moved into chaos around him. He was a brilliant actor-director and also writer which he often didn’t take credit for doing. If Buster would have just made “The General” his place in film history would be cemented. The same can be said of Charlie Chaplin and his masterpiece “The Gold Rush.”

There was no competition between the two in popularity. Charlie won hands down over Buster and probably everyone else in comedy and drama. His character “The Tramp” was internationally loved. All in all, I’ve always thought Keaton was a better filmmaker but Chaplin the better character. The most recognized character in movie history.  They were two different comedians. Chaplin would reach for pathos…sometimes a little too much. Keaton seemed much more real.

Keaton’s sight gags were incredible and sometimes dangerous to his health…like have a front of a building that weighed a ton (so it wouldn’t twist in the wind) fall on him with the upstairs opening clearing him around 2 inches on each side. He never smiled because it would have ruined his character. Both are worth watching and with Keaton’s films like Sherlock Jr…you wonder how he did some of the things he did with the primitive camera’s they used.

Both were funny men. The other big comedian was Harold Lloyd but he was more of an actor playing a comedian….he was really successful though… second to Chaplin in making money.

Charlie and Buster older both appear in Charlie’s Limelight. This is the only time they ever appeared together in a movie.

Fawlty Towers…TV Draft

This is my second selection in the first round of the SlicetheLife TV Draft. And my choice is Fawlty Towers.

A great BBC sitcom…some have rated it as the best BBC sitcom ever.
The series is quick, well written and well-acted. The show was made in the mid and late seventies after John Cleese left the Monty Python TV series. I watched it when our PBS station carried it in the 80s.

There is not a bad episode of Fawlty Towers. John Cleese and his wife Connie Booth wrote all of the episodes. The scripts are solid and there is some physical comedy blended in with Sachs and Cleese. Cleese and Booth spent two-and-a-half weeks working out each plot before they wrote a single line of dialogue, generally spending the time most sitcom writers used for a whole series on a single episode.

There was a four-year gap between season one and two. That was because Cleese and Booth had divorced. They still wrote the second season together. The first season aired in 1975 and the second season in 1979.

Fawlty Towers centered around Basil… a rude, class-conscious hotel owner with a domineering wife Sybil a commonsense maid Polly, a Spanish waiter Manuel who could not understand English and took Basil’s abuse, and a retired senile military officer Major Gowen.

Cleese and Booth were inspired by the manager of a real Torquay hotel, Gleneagles, where they had stayed while filming Monty Python. They found the manager, Donald Sinclair, to be entertainingly rude. There were only 12 episodes made…two seasons with six episodes each. Instead of milking it dry they stopped at 12 because Cleese and Booth didn’t think they could write anymore up to the standards they set.

My favorite episode is the 6th episode of the 1st season called The Germans. The episode is a classic.

The Characters:

Basil

Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) – Basil seems to spend most of his life alternating between fawning over any guest who he perceives as being worthy of his attention, and then trying to berate them when they didn’t quite have the social standing, he first thought they had. Basil’s trouble is that he thinks his hotel is a higher-class establishment than it really is. The real thorn in his life is his wife Sybil. For all of his bluster, Basil can quickly be brought into line with a curt “Basil!” or two from Sybil. Basil never could stand up to his evidently better half.

Sybil

Sybil Fawlty (Prunella Scales) – She spends her time keeping a tight rein on her husband Basil. She never misses an opportunity to close off an avenue of pleasure for Basil, such as betting on the horses.  She can be domineering and controlling but with Basil you can’t blame her.

Polly

Polly Sherman (Connie Booth) – She probably has more common sense than anyone in the hotel. She struggles to calm down Basil, placate Sybil, and to instruct Manuel.

Manuel

Manuel (Andrew Sachs) – Poor Manuel takes Basil’s abuse constantly. He was the waiter, bell-boy, porter, and all around do anything guy. Basil hired him with the intention of teaching him English because he’s cheap, but due to Basil’s only rudimentary grasp of Spanish it goes wrong.

Major Gowen

Major Gowen (Ballard Berkeley)- A very forgetful retired Major who is a constant guest at the hotel.

Miss Gatsby and Miss Tibbs

Miss Gatsby and Miss Tibbs (Gilly Flower and Renee Roberts,) – They are two sweet natured spinsters who have taken a fancy to Basil, feeling that they need to take care of him.

….

Barney Miller… TV Show Draft

This is my first selection in the first round of the SlicetheLife TV Draft. And the envelope says……..Barney Miller.

I’ve watched Barney Miller at least 7 times through. Why is it my favorite show? It would be the writing, the acting, and that glorious dirty set that only got dirtier as the show went along. Another reason would be the continuity of the show. My pet peeve with shows is when you would meet someone’s “Uncle Joe” as his only uncle…and a season or two later…the same person never had an uncle. That is lazy writing and research…Barney Miller doesn’t have that. The show ran from 1975 to 1982 for 171 episodes.

You will see the same actor play different criminals (great 70s-character actors and actresses) but the storyline is set. Barney Miller was a comedy but also would dip in drama at times. Whatever was going on…the characters stayed true. It doesn’t hurt that the show had one of the best…if not the best theme songs. Dig that bass!

Many real life detectives were asked about the most realistic police show on television. Barney Miller was picked because they showed the drudgery parts like the paperwork involved that is a part of every policeman’s day. I’ve read where some officers today still say it is accurate in that way.

The guests on the show every week were usually the criminals they captured. They never had serial killers or anything like that (save for one episode when they were switched to homicide for that one show) …usually just people who caused a disturbance. You had every known petty criminal in the world on that show. Pickpocket, prostitute, madams, thieves, white-collar crime, and etc.

The jail cell in Barney Miller encapsulated the seventies and its times. The show could be topical about New York in the seventies. One episode has the squad listening to an actual speech given by President Ford only a few weeks before the show aired, in which he refused to bail out a near-bankrupt New York City while still committing aid to essential services like the police.

The show was ahead of its time. Barney Miller had diversity in the cast and guests. The diversity wasn’t there just to have diversity…it fit the story…it was never forced.

Danny Arnold created this show. He also wrote and produced some of Bewitched, That Girl, McHales Navy, and more.

Hal Liden has mentioned that they would film until 2-3 in the morning with script changes at the last minute. That was normal, not the exception. They had a studio audience at first but soon dropped that partly because of the script changes. The show never went down in quality. It was never a big ratings show because frankly, it was written well with subtle humor that it wasn’t as accessible as other shows.

If you haven’t given Barney Miller a chance…it’s worth one.

I’m going to list the characters in this show because it is such a character-driven show.

The characters are:

Barney Miller (Hal Linden) The man that leads with common sense and wisdom over his squad of quirky detectives and officers. Hal Linden has said that his character could not get as crazy as the other ones because the audience had to identify with him and have someone to compare the others to.

Det. Stan Wojciehowicz..”Wojo”(Max Gail) – An ex-Marine who fought in Vietnam who is sometimes naive and childlike but really looks to Barney as a mentor. Wojo is not always tolerant of people with different views than him but is a good detective but highly emotional.

Det. Ron Harris (Ron Glass) – A well-dressed man who lives beyond his means at times. He wants the finer things in life and can be a little snobbish at times but he is a good guy. As the show continued, he was trying to establish a writing career and he wrote the best-selling book called “Blood on the Badge” that sometimes disrupted the station but he would stay loyal to Barney even through their differences.

Sgt. Nick Yemana (Jack Soo) – A Japanese Detective that always had an answer, loved gambling and he would call his bookie often… and he made the coffee for the office…and supposedly the worse coffee ever…To me, he was one of the funniest characters on the show. Actor Jack Soo passed away while the show was in its 5th season in January of 1979. During that season the cast did a tribute show speaking as themselves and showed clips of Jack.

Sgt. Arthur Dietrich (Steve Landesberg) – A one-of-a-kind character and my favorite on the show. Dietrich was a know it all…not in the usual way. He really knew about every statistic on any subject that came up. He was an intellectual but also could have fun with it. One of the funniest and deadpan characters I’ve ever seen on television. He never lost his cool in any situation.

Sgt Philip Fish (Abe Vigoda) – The senior member of the crew who was played by Abe Vigoda always looked older than he was at the time. It was a running joke about him having hemorrhoids, needing to go to the bathroom, being old, and delivering many marriage jokes. He would leave the show for a spinoff “Fish” officially in the 4th season. He would come back and make guest star appearances. He was the break-out star of the show.

Sgt. Chano Amenguale (Gregory Sierra) – He was Puerto Rican and would be very talkative and emotional. Whenever he was really upset, he would start speaking Spanish loudly. I really liked Sierra’s character, but he left after the second season.

Officer Carl Levitt (Ron Carey) – Levitt was a short overachiever and kept hounding Barney for a promotion. He would not be too subtle to Barney about his hard-working habits. The rest of the station would pick on him but all of them respected his hard work. He would fill in when a Detective was out. He finally got promoted at the end of the show’s run.

Deputy Inspector Frank Luger (James Gregory) – A totally old school superior who would drop by “the old one two” to talk with Barney. Luger never even tried to keep up with the times. He would tell Barney of the good old days…sometimes to Barney’s annoyance. Overall Luger was a great character who was brilliantly played by James Gregory.

Elizabeth Miller (Barbara Barrie) She was Barney’s wife who always wanted him to quit the force because she worried about his safety. She was on regularly at first but the show started to concentrate on the station rather than their home. She was involved in a story later on in the series when Elizabeth and Barney separated for a while…they eventually got back together.

Det. Janice Wentworth (Linda Lavin) She was a detective in the squad room who had a romantic interest in Wojo. Prone to excitement trying to prove herself in a room full of men. The writing for her character was great…it was realistic and always suited Lavin’s character. The character would have stayed on the show but Linda Lavin got her own show…Alice.

Ben Scanlon(George Murdock) – Scanlon worked in Internal Affairs and was the one bad guy in the show. He would try to find trouble when he visited…always wanted to find some wrongdoing to bring down the 12th Precinct because they had a perfect record.

I’ve searched on youtube for some different scenes…most of what they have is the “best of” each character. The good news is… youtube has many full episodes. I’m including the full episode of one the best….It’s called Hash. I’m also including the super theme song…again you gotta love that bass!

The theme song to Barney Miller

….

….

Comedian Quotes II

I did this last week with the earlier comedians….this week I’ll concentrate on the 60s-70s.

George Carlin to Receive Two-Part Documentary From HBO and Judd Apatow -  Rolling Stone

George Carlin

Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.

Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit

Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity

That Richard Pryor Biopic Is Back, And Headed To Netflix |  Birth.Movies.Death.

Richard Pryor

Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?

I’m not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells

I had to stop drinking, ‘cause I got tired of waking up in my car driving ninety

Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings… and lawyers

There’s a thin line between to laugh with and to laugh at

No Respect: The Rodney Dangerfield of the Investment World | Core Compass

Rodney Dangerfield

I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio

My marriage is on the rocks again. Yeah. My wife just broke up with her boyfriend

My wife has to be the worst cook. In my house, we pray after we eat

When I was born, I was so ugly the doctor slapped my mother

Marriage. It’s not a word. It’s a sentence

When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them

Remembering Lenny Bruce, 50 years after his death - Los Angeles Times

Lenny Bruce

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God

Alright, let’s admit it, we Jews killed Christ – but it was only for three days

I am influenced by every second of my waking hour

It’s the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness

Emmys history: One-season winners starring Bob Newhart, Julie Andrews -  GoldDerby

Bob Newhart

I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down’

Stammering is different than stuttering. Stutterers have trouble with the letters, while stammerers trip over entire parts of a sentence. We stammerers generally think of ourselves as very bright

I think you should be a child for as long as you can. I have been successful for 74 years being able to do that. Don’t rush into adulthood, it isn’t all that much fun

Phyllis Diller "Mother-In-Law" on The Ed Sullivan Show - YouTube

Phyllis Diller

The reason women don’t play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public.

I spent seven hours in a beauty shop… and that was for the estimate.

I’ve tried Buddhism, Scientology, Numerology, Transcendental Meditation, Qabbala, t’ai chi, feng shui and Deepak Chopra but I find straight gin works best

I never made `Who’s Who,’ but I’m featured in `What’s That?’

I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them

Redd Foxx | Walk of Fame

Redd Foxx

If you can see the handwriting on the wall… you’re on the toilet

I feel sorry for people who don’t drink or do drugs. Because someday they’re going to be in a hospital bed, dying, and they won’t know why

You make me wish that birth control was retroactive

Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.

Lily Tomlin Biography - Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline

Lily Tomin

The best mind-altering drug is the truth.

The road to success is always under construction.

I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.

I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.

Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.

Comedian Quotes

I’ve been watching some older comedy movies…I thought I’d pick out some quotes by these early great comedians.

W. C. Fields (Creator) - TV Tropes

W.C. Fields

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.

Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.

I like children. If they’re properly cooked.

I never hold a grudge. As soon as I get even with the son-of-a bitch, I forget it.

I was in love with a beautiful blond once. She drove me to drink. That’s the one thing I’m indebted to her for.

The Case for Duck Soup as the Greatest Monologue in Movie History | Den of  Geek

Groucho Marx

A man is only as old as the woman he feels.

Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.

Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?

I married your mother because I wanted children, imagine my disappointment when you came along

Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member

Stan Laurel (Comedian and Actor) - On This Day

Stan Laurel

You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be led.

If any of you cry at my funeral I’ll never speak to you again.

I had a dream that I was awake and I woke up to find myself asleep.

Humor is the truth; wit is an exaggeration of the truth.

Off The Rails: When Buster Keaton Pulled Off Silent Film's Most Expensive  Stunt - Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Buster Keaton

A comedian does funny things. A good comedian does things funny.

Charlie Chaplin and I would have a friendly contest: Who could do the feature film with the least subtitles?

If one more person tells me this is just like old times, I swear I’ll jump out the window.

Harpo Marx | American actor | Britannica

Harpo Marx

The passing of an ordinary man is sad. The passing of a great man is tragic, and doubly tragic when the greatness passes before the man does.

If things get too much for you and you feel the whole world’s against you, go stand on your head. If you can think of anything crazier to do, do it.

The Real Charlie Chaplin' Review: A Telling Look at the Tramp - Variety

Charlie Chaplin

It isn’t the ups and downs that make life difficult; it’s the jerks.

You’ll never find rainbows, If you’re looking down…

A day without laughter is a day wasted.

Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.

Mojo Nixon – Don Henley Must Die!

I had to post this song. Even Eagle fans will admit Henley can be a bit pretentious…that’s not a put down…it just is.

You and your kind
Are killing rock and roll
It’s not because you are O L D
It’s cause you ain’t got no soul!

Don Henley Must Die released in 1990 and it’s off of his album Otis.  The song peaked at #20 in the Modern Rock Charts.

According to Nixon, Henley joined Nixon onstage one night in a small club before the Eagles reunion and helped Nixon sing it. This is a quote from Nixon: “There I was, the king of bullshit, completely flabbergasted,” “I took my guitar off, put it back on, did that like three times, then got on the mic and said, ‘Don, do you want to debate? Do you want to fist fight?’ He was shit-faced and he goes, ‘I want to sing that song, especially the part about not getting together with Glenn Frey!'” 

When the chorus hit, Nixon let Henley take the lead: “Don Henley must die, don’t let him get back together with Glenn Frey!”

“He was beltin’ that shit out, screaming like he was Johnny fuckin’ Rotten,” 

..Don Henley Must Die…

Don Henley Must Die

This is the sound of my brain.

Then I said, this is the sound of my brain on Don Henley!

Then I said, 1 2 3 4…

He’s a tortured artist
Used to be in the Eagles
Now he whines
Like a wounded beagle
Poet of despair!
Pumped up with hot air!
He’s serious, pretentious
And I just don’t care
Don Henley must die!
Don’t let him get back together
With Glenn Frey!
Don Henley must die!

Turn on the TV
And what did I see?
This bloated hairy thing
Winning a Grammy
Best Rock Vocalist?
Compared to what?
But your pseudo-serious
Crafty Satanic blot
Don Henley must die!
Put a sharp stick in his eye!
Don Henley must die!
Yea yea yea

Quit playin’ that crap
You’re out of the band

I’m only kidding
Can’t you tell?
I love his sensitive music
Idiot poetry, swell
You and your kind
Are killing rock and roll
It’s not because you are O L D
It’s cause you ain’t got no soul!
Don’t be afraid of fun
Loosen up your ponytail!
Be wild, young, free and dumb
Get your head out of your tail
Don Henley must die!
Don’t let him get back together
With Glenn Frey!

Don Henley must die!
Put him in the electric chair
Watch him fry!
Don Henley must die
Don Henley must die
No Eagles reunion
The same goes for you, Sting!

Mojo Nixon – Elvis Is Everywhere

We are gonna lighten up today with a song from Mojo Nixon. Hope all of you are doing well on this holiday weekend… look around…Elvis is everywhere.

I was commenting with Paul and he  brought up Mojo Nixon and it’s probably been since the 1980s that I heard him. A popular Nashville rock station WKDF in the 80s would play this song and a few more by Mojo.

Mojo Nixon (Neill Kirby McMillan, Jr) started in the early eighties and he teamed up with  Skid Roper (Richard Banke). Mojo and Skip Roper wrote this song.

This song was released in 1987 and it was on his album Bo-Day-Shus!!!. Mojo has some fun music. I forgot about his songs until Paul pointed me toward him again and they came back to me. I’ll post one tomorrow also.

Nixon announced that he retired from the music business in 2004, playing his last live show in Austin, Texas. In 2009 he announced his “unretirement” and for a short time let anyone download his albums for free with this statement:

Can’t wait for Washington to fix the economy. We must take bold action now. If I make the new album free and my entire catalog free it will stimulate the economy. It might even over-stimulate the economy. History has shown than when people listen to my music, money tends to flow to bartenders, race tracks, late night greasy spoons, bail bondsman, go kart tracks, tractor pulls, football games, peep shows and several black market vices. My music causes itches that it usually takes some money to scratch

Elvis Is Everywhere

When I look out into your eyes out there
When I look out into your faces
You know what I see?
I see a little bit of Elvis
In each and every one of you out there

Lemme tell ya…
Weeeeeeeeeellllllll…
Elvis is everywhere
Elvis is everything
Elvis is everybody
Elvis is still the king

Man o man
What I want you to see
Is that the big E’s
Inside of you and me

Elvis is everywhere, man!
He’s in everything
He’s in everybody…

Elvis is in your jeans
He’s in your cheesburgers
Elvis is in Nutty Buddies!
Elvis is in your mom!

He’s in everybody
He’s in the young, the old
The fat, the skinny
The white, the black
The brown and the blue
People got Elvis in ’em too

Elvis is in everybody out there
Everybody’s got Elvis in them!
Everybody except one person that is…
Yeah, one person!
The evil opposite of Elvis
The Anti-Elvis

Anti-Elvis got no Elvis in ’em
Lemme tell ya

Michael J. Fox has no Elvis in him

And Elvis is in Joan Rivers
But he’s trying to get out, man!
He’s trying to get out!
Listen up Joanie Baby!

Elvis is everywhere
Elvis is everything
Elvis is everybody
Elvis is still the king

Man o man
What I want you to see
Is that the big E’s
Inside of you and me

Man, there’s a lot of unexplained phenomenon
Out there in the world
Lot of things people say
What the heck’s going on?

Let me tell ya!

Who built the pyramids?
ELVIS!
Who built Stonehenge?
ELVIS!

Yeah, man you see guys
Walking down the street
Pushing shopping carts
And you think they’re talking to allah
They’re talking to themself
Man, no they’re talking to ELVIS!
ELVIS! ELVIS!

You know whats going on in that Bermuda Triangle?
Down in the Bermuda Traingle
Elvis needs boats
Elvis needs boats
Elvis Elvis Elvis
Elvis Elvis Elvis

….

Modern Times

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my comedy entry.

This was/ the first feature length Chaplin movie I ever watched. It was his last “silent” movie. The year was 1936 and “talkies” had been around for almost a decade and certainly the most popular movie format in the 1930’s. Chaplin stubbornly decided to carry on with another silent movie and I’m glad he did.

Chaplin was a smart man…he knew the little tramp could not talk on screen…the character was over with if he did…finished. That was part of his mystic. Another reason was the beauty of silent film at the time. He had perfected the art and talkies were full of clumsy lines delivered with immobile cameras and primitive microphones. They were improving but when silent movies ended…an art was lost forever.

Other actors at the time didn’t have the power or clout to try this but it worked brilliantly for Chaplin.  It was one of the top-grossing films of 1936. This after being told no one would want to see a silent movie in 1936…Charlie was once again right.

Chaplin did like the fact that he could insert sound effects into the movie with the technology. He wrote, directed, acted,  produced and also wrote the music for this movie. Modern Times has Chaplin’s finest music score. His most recognizable and commercially viable song, “Smile,” emerged from a melody used by him in this movie.

The film is very relevant today. Charlie takes on the machine age as humans are treated like cattle. Chaplin takes a swipe at  capitalism , industrialization and human exploitation.

The little tramp is finding it difficult to survive in the modern mechanized world. Failing as a worker on a factory assembly line, he gets into a series of adventures and misadventures, which leads him meeting a young recently orphaned “gamine” who ran away rather than end up in an orphanage. They try to survive in the world together, both on the run from the law, although his previous stints behind bars… were to him more appealing than life outside in the cold modern world.

The question becomes… can Charlie and the gamine individually or together  find their place in the modern world with all the odds against them?

Some famous scenes are in this movie. Chaplin in the automatic feeding machine, Chaplin and his boss in the gears of the machinery, and Chaplin going insane trying to tighten bolts on every thing.

It is a great film to start watching Chaplin if you haven’t seen any of his previous movies. One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin is that his films continue to hold up, to attract, and entertain audiences…you will enjoy this one!