Those Who Could Not Escape Their Character.

I’m not saying that these actors and actresses never acted in anything else but they ended up trapped in the role that ended up defining them good or bad. This list could have been much longer.

Bob Denver – Gilligan – I just picked Bob because he was the star of the show but a point could be argued that the entire cast of this show was eternally typecast. Bob Denver also played Maynard Krebs (which I loved) on The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis but Gilligan wins out.

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Mark Hamill – Luke Skywalker – After he auditioned for the title role in 1983 movie Amadeus the director dismissed the idea saying “I don’t want Luke Skywalker in this film.” He has broken a little out of the image by doing voiceovers like the Joker in Batman animated cartoons.

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Carrie Fischer – Princess Leia – Harrison Ford was able to break out more successfully than his other two co-stars in Star Wars. Carrie Fischer acted in a lot of movies but could never shake Princess Leia…she is forever frozen in time in the minds of teenage nerds at the time and now.

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Christopher Reeve – Superman – He is said to have stated that he spent his career trying to “escape the cape.”… When I think of Superman…I do think of Christopher Reeve’s version

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George Reeves – Superman – See Above

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Barbara Eden – Jeannie – She appeared in many TV  movies but nothing topped beautiful Jeannie. Larry Hagman did manage to escape his character in I Dream of Jeannie into another…J.R. Ewing.

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Elizabeth Montgomery – Samantha – Everyone’s favorite witch. Like Eden she did many TV movies…a lot of them really good but is known for Samantha.

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Don Adams – Maxwell Smart -Adams also provided the voices for the animated series Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales  and Inspector Gadget but was

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Anthony Perkins – Is Norman Bates and there is no arguing that.

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Robert Englund – Freddie Kruger – and I don’t believe he minds at all.

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The Mr. Bill Show

I was a kid in the seventies and I would stay up and watch Saturday Night Live… Mr. Bill got my attention right away. The hapless Mr. Bill would live in fear of Mr. Hands and Sluggo.

The poor guy and his dog Spot were kicked, punched, buried, burned, stabbed, stepped on, and dropped from the Empire State Building. At school, there was a lot of Ohhhh Nooooo…when someone fell or got hurt.

Walter Williams invented Mr. Bill in 1973 and after SNL had a contest for anyone to submit home movies…Walter and Vance DeGeneres made the first film with an 8mm camera. Lorne liked Mr. Bill and it premiered in the first season…Walter wasn’t paid anything for them for a while but he kept sending them in and Lorne Michaels kept airing them.

Walter eventually was hired as a staff writer in the 4th and 5th season and wrote skits and for the Weekend Update. After the 5th season, he left the show with the original cast but did make a couple of more Mr. Bill’s for SNL that aired in 1981 to bring the total number to 24 Mr Bill Shows.

Mr. Bill’s popularity never completely waned and Walter Williams has made episodes for Fox TV and commercials for different products.

Vance DeGeneres originated “Mr Hands” and helped William film a few of the first films and later sued Williams for part ownership. The judge awarded DeGeneres some money but ruled that the basic idea was Willaims.

From Wiki…SNL Appearances

  1. February 28, 1976 (The Mr. Bill Holiday Special)
  2. October 16, 1976 (Mr. Bill Goes To A Party)
  3. January 22, 1977 (Mr. Bill Goes To A Magic Show)
  4. March 25, 1978 (Mr. Bill Goes To The Circus)
  5. April 8, 1978 (Mr. Bill Pays His Taxes)
  6. October 14, 1978 (Mr. Bill Goes To New York)
  7. October 21, 1978 (Mr. Bill Moves In)
  8. November 18, 1978 (Mr. Bill Goes Fishing)
  9. December 2, 1978 (Mr. Bill Is Late)
  10. January 27, 1979 (Mr. Bill Goes To Court)
  11. February 24, 1979 (Mr. Bill Shapes Up)
  12. March 17, 1979 (Mr. Bill Is Hiding)
  13. May 12, 1979 (Mr. Bill Runs Away)
  14. May 19, 1979 (Mr. Bill Goes To The Movies)
  15. May 26, 1979 (Mr. Bill Visits Saturday Night Live; cold open)
  16. October 13, 1979 (The All-New Mr. Bill Show)
  17. November 3, 1979 (Mr. Bill Stays Home)
  18. November 17, 1979 (Mr. Bill Builds A House)
  19. January 26, 1980 (Mr. Bill Gets Help)
  20. April 5, 1980 (Mr. Bill Strikes Back)
  21. May 10, 1980 (Mr. Bill Gets 20 Years In Sing Sing)
  22. December 20, 1980 (Mr. Bill’s Christmas Special)
  23. April 11, 1981 (cold open with Chevy Chase)
  24. October 17, 1981 (Mr. Bill Goes To L.A.; final appearance)

 

Interview with Walter Williams

http://www.mrbill.com/WWInterview.htm

 

Night Gallery – “Tell David” a look into the future

I was watching this Night Gallery episode (Tell David) from 1971 a few months ago and was surprised at some things they showed. It was about a woman who got lost in the rain and ended up at a stranger’s home. She went in to use the phone and the house was in the future…Actually in the future. There is a twist but that doesn’t matter.

A few things caught my attention. I started to research it and Me-TV had a page dedicated to it. Almost looks like Rod Serling knew something…or the set designers did…

One was a video phone…reminded me of Skype.

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Her dialing a number

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Techno Music

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GPS or Google  Maps

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Non-Tar Cigarettes… Current Vape?

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From IMDB

“Tell David…” is an odd episode. A woman loses her way, trying to find her house, and ends up getting help from some odd people. They have technology beyond that which she is used to. David, the young man (who has the same name as her little boy) is a master at repairing devices she’s never seen. When she returns to her husband, he is dressed as a monster and nags at her and chases her. It is obvious that this is the way he sees her. She is monumentally jealous. She comes to realize that she has an opportunity to change her history, to prevent herself from doing a deadly thing. As it goes along, it becomes nonsensical. It also gets caught in the problems with the mutation of time.

Top 10 Favorite TV Themes 1-5

Some TV Themes can be annoying but many can be very catchy. I’m listing my top 10 on two posts. There are so many that narrowing it to ten was almost impossible. I’ve stuck with older ones for the post. I left out cartoons…

5. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father -Harry  Nilsson sang this one staring the one and only Bill Bixby.

 

4. It’s Garry Shandling’s Show – The most brilliant theme…straight to the point.

3. Munsters – Cool sixties guitar driven theme.

 

2. Welcome Back Kotter – John Sebastian’s song Welcome Back peaked at #1 in 1976.

 

1. Monkees – Whenever I hear it I’m 5 again.

 

 

 

 

A quick look at Gomer Pyle USMC and Frank Sutton

I watched a few episodes this weekend. The show has a local connection for me because of Frank Sutton.

The show ran from 1964 to 1969 and was a spinoff from The Andy Griffith Show. The character of Gomer Pyle was portrayed by Jim Nabors and he left The Andy Griffith Show in the 4th season in an episode entitled Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

Gomer was a naive country boy from Mayberry North Carolina who joined the Marines and Andy went with him for the induction and helped the clueless Gomer get accepted. Frank Sutton played quick tempered Sgt Carter who would be tormented by Gomer Pyle for five seasons. I would watch the show as a kid and I thought Sgt Carter was mean to Gomer…as an adult I could understand if Carter would have choked him.

The show was a major hit. It never placed lower than 10 in the Neilson ratings. In 1969 Jim Nabors wanted out because he wanted to do a variety show. No one could understand why he wanted out of a hit show but he wanted to be in a program where he could sing, dance, and do different bits.

CBS offered Nabors a variety show so he was happy. They also offered Frank Sutton his own show Sergeant Carter–USMC. It would employ a black recruit who, unlike Gomer, would always be one step ahead of the Sergeant. It could have been a big hit but he turned it down because he felt like he did everything he could do with the character.

Sutton ended up co-starring with Nabors on his variety show and Sutton worked well in the comedy bits but was not a dancer or singer. CBS told Nabors he had to fire Sutton but Nabors refused and the show was canceled.

The local connection with Sutton is he was born in Clarksville Tennessee, a few miles from where I live. Sutton appeared in movies and shows from the 50s thru the 70s. The Twilight Zone, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Route 66 and many more.

He took acting in East Nashville High School and graduated in 1941.

After high school, Sutton returned to Clarksville to become a radio announcer. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and served in the South Pacific, taking part in 14 assault landings. Sutton was a sergeant who served from 1943–1946 in the 293rd Joint Assault Signal Company. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart; he had been medically rejected by the Marine Corps.

Frank, a heavy smoker,  would only live to be 50. He would die of a heart attack in 1974 just a few months shy of his 51st birthday. In 2017 a statue of Frank Sutton was unveiled in Clarksville Tn. Here is a link to the story of the unveiling. Statue of Frank Sutton in Clarksville.

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This is an interview with Frank Sutton that was never published around the time of the variety show.

 

 

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

 

Remembering The Waltons

In the early 70s Television was going through a bout of criticism by the public because of its violence, there was the fear of government intervention and censorship. CBS decided to make the “Homecoming” into a series. Their reasoning was that once this family-oriented series aired and if it proved a failure, they would have shown they tried to put out a show that the public wanted. But the show did not fail. It took a little time, but it found its audience and CBS unexpectedly found itself with a smash hit on its hands.

The Waltons have been made fun of through the years. Other shows such as Good Times took shots at it for being too wholesome. I watched it when it was originally on. I liked the show and my mom thought I loved the show so she got me a Waltons Lunchbox. So while my buddies had the Superfriends, Evel Knievel, and cool lunchboxes I had the Waltons…yea my buddies got some mileage out of that but it was ok…I would love to have that lunchbox now.

A few years ago I got the complete DVD set and started to watch them again. The series had such quality scripts and the children were believable but the ones who made the show to me were Will Geer and Ellen Corby.

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Will Geer’s grandpa was a grandpa everyone would love to have. Johnboy (Richard Thomas) was the lead to the show but when he left it remained solid to me. When Will Geer died the show missed him terribly. Ellen Corby’s grandma could be spicy and cantankerous and she helped balance the show from the sometimes sugary episodes.

The show ages well because it was set in the depression era and that is what you get until later on in the show’s run. The show remained a quality show in part because writer Earl Hamner Jr. remained with the show the nine years it was on. The show ended up winning 11 Emmy Awards…Good Night Johnboy became a catchphrase that you still hear today.

 

 

The Wonderful World of Sid and Marty Krofft

Growing up in the seventies watching shows on Saturday morning was a wonderful experience and Sid and Marty Krofft could really be on the strange side….but a great strange.

It has been rumored that the brothers were inspired by hallucination drugs such as LSD and or pot. The brothers have always denied this claim. Shows with titles H.R Pufnstuf and Lidsville (Puff and a Lid) and the lyrics led to accusations.

H.R. Pufnstuf, who’s your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf, can’t do a little, ’cause you can’t do enough!

A quote from them…”We screwed with every kid’s mind,” says Marty Krofft of the loopy shows — such as H.R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville, and Land of the Lost — that he created with brother Sid in the early 1970s. “There’s an edge. Disney doesn’t have an edge.”…from Hollywoodreporter.

H.R. Pufnstuf – A boy with a talking flute got in a boat and then the skies turned gray and there in the sky was Witchiepoo… He ended up at a place with H.R. Pufnstuf (who has to be seen) his friends and talking trees…terrorized by Witchiepoo…. with a hint of psychedelic threw in…as was most of the shows they created. It’s awesome to know that kids watched this strange show… Give me this over Barney…

Lidsville – A boy falls down a large top hat at an amusement park and ends up in a land of Hats…there was also a genie named Weenie…who played Witchiepoo in HR Pufnstuf. The bad guy was Charles Nelson Reilly the magician and he would go around zapping people. The show is just plain bizarre…for me, it is the strangest show they did….and besides Land of the Lost my favorite.

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters – A couple of boys find a friendly sea monster hiding from his mean family of sea monsters. the boys hide Sigmund from everyone else. This is probably the most normal one of them all…It was a popular Saturday morning show.

The Bugaloos – Singing insects…Watch it…Most boys had a crush on the Butterfly Caroline Ellis.

The Banana Splits – An animal rock group with a catchy theme song…which all of the earlier shows had a catchy theme. This show was made by Hanna-Barbera but the costumes were made by the Krofft brothers.

The Land of the Lost – The best-written show of them all.  Land Of The Lost post.

There were other shows like Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, The Space Nuts, The Lost Saucer and Wonder Bug but they were not in the same league as the top group. In these shows, the Krofft brothers moved away from the puppets…which they were known for… and the wild themes.

Sid and Marty Krofft also had an inside theme park in Atlanta

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In 1976, a developer asked the Kroffts to develop a very cool amusement park for the new Omni International complex in downtown Atlanta. The World of Sid and Marty Krofft was the world’s first indoor amusement park, but due to poor attendance, it was closed after just six months. The Omni International building that contained the amusement park was renamed the CNN Center when the site was converted to the present CNN headquarters.

 

The brothers sued McDonald’s and won for ripping off H.R. Pufnstuf and Living Island. I can see a resemblance…

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The Bugaloos

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Lidsville

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Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

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The Banana Splits

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