Tom Snyder – The Tomorrow Show

People seem to have really liked Tom Snyder or really disliked him. I’ve watched many of Tom’s interviews and he is quirky and quick to laugh (and laugh) at his own jokes but many of his interviews are remembered. The show lasted from 1973 to 1982. It was canceled to make room for David Letterman.

This was no Tonight Show. You didn’t see skits or monologues, you only saw Tom interviewing his guests and joking with his off-camera assistants. He wasn’t hip nor was he completely square. Someone called him at the time a hip square. It was just him and his guest on a dark set.

I liked Tom because he seemed real and genuine. He could laugh at himself and conducted some really good interviews. After this show ended he did a radio show out of Los Angeles, a few tv guest appearances and he guest hosted the David Letterman Show a few times.

David Letter quote

“Tom was the very thing that all broadcasters long to be — compelling,” “Whether he was interviewing politicians, authors, actors or musicians, Tom was always the real reason to watch. I’m honored to have known him as a colleague and a friend.”

One of the many SNL skits I liked was Dan Aykroyd imitating Tom Snyder…this is Aykroyd as Tom interviewing Mick Jagger.

Image result for dan aykroyd tom snyder impression

The John Lennon interview in 1975. This would be the last TV interview he gave. John is battling his immigration status and has his lawyer Leon Wildes with him to explain what is going on. John comes off open and honest in this interview.

 

The Saturday Night Live cast before the first show. This is a partial look at the interview.

 

This is one a good one. Tom has KISS as guests and I just love how a drunk Ace Frehley (The Trout Player) takes over the interview and infuriates Gene Simmons. You can see Gene’s eyes shooting daggers at Ace and Peter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Snyder

 

Adam 12

I watched this in syndication in the mid-seventies. I never thought much of it at the time. When I started to watch it as an adult I was surprised at how good this show was. I couldn’t believe how realistic it was for that time. They covered subjects like child pornography, drug addiction, and everything else criminally related.

It was on 7 seasons from 1968 through 1975.

Sometimes as an adult and you watch shows or movies you did as a kid you think wow…how did I like this? Now I’m thinking why didn’t I like it more?

The show starred Martin Milner as Officer Pete Malloy and Kent McCord as Officer Jim Reed. The show was created by Jack Webb and Robert Cinader. The pair also created a spinoff from Adam-12…Emergency. Jack Webb also created Dragnet.

They wanted to capture a typical day in the life of a police officer. There was no Dirty Harry on this force. These officers went by the book even if it would have benefitted them at times not to.

Some of the guest stars were… Tony Dow, Willie Aimes, Ed Begley Jr, Karen Black, David Cassidy, Micky Dolenz, Tim Matheson, Ozzie Nelson and many others. It was odd seeing Robert Donner…who played Yancy Tucker on The Waltons a few years later…playing a heroin addict-informant.

The episodes were written around actual police cases to add some realism. The showed all that the censors would allow.

Reed is happily married and Malloy is the happy bachelor. The interplay seems natural and not forced. The one big thing I like about the show is the continuity from beginning to end. You see a raw rookie in Jim Reed and Malloy slowing training him up and eventually both becoming friends as seasons past by.

 

 

The Incredible Hulk

On Friday nights in the late 70s and early 80s there was nothing else I wanted to do but watch The Incredible Hulk. Today we have an awesome looking CGI Hulk but back then we also had an awesome looking Hulk named Lou Ferrigno who could do some damage. Bill Bixby who starred as Dr. David Banner was a good actor who was good at anything he did.

The writing was smart and Bixby explored David Banner’s character to great lengths.

David Banner was looking for hidden strength all people can have if they get into an emergency situation. Frustrated by not being able to save his wife in a car accident he thought he found the key to strength but he accidentally gave himself an overdose of gamma radiation. Now, whenever he gets angry or upset he turns into the Hulk.

Jack Colvin played Jack McGee a reporter would stop at nothing to find out more about the Hulk. The most famous line in the show was an annoyed David Banner telling the persistent reporter Jack McGee “Mr. McGee don’t make me angry…you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Versions of this have made it into the current Marvel movies.

Banner would hitchhike all over looking for a cure for his…problem… constantly hounded by Jack McGee who thought the Hulk killed Banner but of course, the Hulk was David Banner.

David would always find someone in trouble and in need of help. The story’s bullies would then come and harass the person that befriended David and then pick on David. Wrong choice…out comes the Hulk and the mayhem starts and Jack McGee would be just a little late missing David Banner. As the show progressed Jack did find out that someone was turning into the Hulk and that the Hulk wasn’t just roaming the countryside like Bigfoot. David had to keep this from him and keep on the move.

The show had well-written stories and a good actor in Bill Bixby. It was just as much about David Banner as the Hulk. The show balanced the two well.

The one thing I remember is the eyes…When David Banner changed into the hulk those eyes were frightening. The special effects for this show were very good considering the time it was made.

davidb eyes.jpg

The intro…

Dr. David Banner, Physician/Scientist, searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation interacts with his unique body chemistry. And now, when David Banner grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs.

The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter.

The most iconic part of the show is David hitchhiking away at the end of each episode with a piano melody named “Lonely Man” playing in the background.

 

 

The Dick Cavett Show

 

The Dick Cavett Show on ABC  was a smart alternative to the Tonight Show with  Johnny Carson and Cavett frequently booked intellectuals for extended and in-depth conversations

You actually got to really know the guests. He took more than 10 minutes, unlike today…there were no distractions, no busy sets just great conversations.

The knock on Cavett was….snob, name-dropper and controversial guests. All three were correct and I loved it. Yes, he attended Yale and yes he was/is a name dropper…If I got to hang out with people like Groucho Marx I would be a name dropper also… you better believe it. He would book John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and many more. He welcomed the counterculture and Nixon hated him…that is a seal of approval for me.

He would mix and match guests….Janis Joplin, Raquel Welch and Gloria Swanson on the same show…together!

His ABC show in the early 70s was the best out of all of his different shows (PBS, CBS, USA Network). If he had a special rare guest he would only have that one guest for the entire show or sometimes two…

He had Norman Mailer and. Gore Vidal going at it… One show featured Salvador Dalí, Lillian Gish, and Satchel Paige. He took chances and it paid off… Johnny Carson once said that Dick Cavett was the only one that could have given him a serious challenge…but ABC then was a distant 3rd in the network race. 

This is not knocking Johnny whatsoever. Johnny’s show is the blueprint of today’s talk shows…Cavett just gave you a smarter show.

Watching the shows now it’s like watching a time capsule. Not everything is topical though. To hear Marlon Brando and Katherine Hepburn who hardly ever did talk shows is very interesting.

It was NOT… hey my name is Miss fill in the blank and my favorite color is blue…bye until next time I need to plug something… You really got to know the person and Dick could usually bring out something interesting. My favorite interview of George Harrison is by Dick. It didn’t look promising at first but George finally warmed up to a very relieved Cavett… this one was right after John and Yoko were guests.

Cavett and the 72 Rolling Stones Tour

Cavett and Woody Allen