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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Gilligan’s Island

I posted this in 2017 when not many people knew I was here.

The questions:

Why did the professor bring that many books? Why did the Howells bring that much cash on a 3-hour cruise? How many dresses did Ginger pack? How many red/blue/white shirts did Gilligan, Skipper and the Professor own respectively? Why did they let Gilligan participate in getting rescued ploys? The Professor was a Macgyver times 20… He could make anything out of coconut shells, vines, and a spare part off of the SS Minnow…but he couldn’t build a raft or boat?

You tend to overlook that and just have fun. The network and critics hated the show. The public liked it and it has never stopped being broadcast because of syndication. Every day after school this was always on and I was always hoping as a kid for them to get off that island. I had no clue it was filmed years before I was watching it. They finally were rescued in some TV movies in the 70s long after the show had gone off the air. When I was a kid I went to a muscular dystrophy telethon and there she was…Dawn Wells standing there and I was 10 years old. She gave me an autographed picture and shook my hand…I didn’t wash that hand for at least a week…until mom made me. Sadly I lost the picture but I will never forget meeting her. She was down to earth and really kind.

Gilligan’s Island was a fun slapstick comedy show. My favorite episode is the one with The Mosquitos rock band. The Mosquitos were really a group called the Wellingtons… they are the group that sang the theme song to Gilligan’s Island and Davy Crockett.

My son’s 14th birthday party happened a few years ago and we had a projector set up for a giant screen…what did 14-year-old kids want to see in 2014? Gilligan’s Island. One thing I noticed about the color shows…they are very vivid….the color jumps out at you.

And THE question that gets asked… answer…Mary Ann!

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Mary Ann

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The Mosquitoes…Bingo, Bango, Bongo, and Irving.. love the glasses that Irving is wearing…in real life…the Wellingtons.

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The Mosquitoes “live”

 

“Champagne, for everyone!”… Fred and Ethel Mertz

I Love Lucy was huge in the fifties and helped start the modern sitcom. It is still popular to this day.

William Frawley and Vivian Vance portrayed Fred and Ethel Mertz on screen the landlords to Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. Ethel was Lucy’s friend and Fred was Ricky’s cheap best friend.

In real life, things were not smooth at all between the two. The age difference between Frawley and Vance was 22 years. Vivian was overheard telling Lucy that no one would believe that she would be married to that old coot. Frawley overheard this and the relationship was born.

Desi Arnaz had wanted Frawley to play Fred but he had a drinking problem so Desi had to lecture Frawley about always being on time etc.

Vance was professional, had her lines learned, and was always on time. Frawley would learn his lines at the last minute while locked away in a hotel listening to a baseball game. He also had it in his contract that if the Yankees were in the World Series that he would get time off.

They would argue while rehearsing and the director would have to settle it. Lucy and Desi would usually just ignore it.

After I Love Lucy went off the air CBS offered Frawley and Vance a chance to star in a spin-off series called either Fred and Ethel or The Mertzes. Frawley, always in need of drinking money, was willing, but Vance refused, never wanting to work with him again. This supposedly infuriated Frawley.

While Vance was working on the new “The Lucy Show”, Frawley would sneak to the soundstage and drop film canisters loudly, deliberately ruining Vance’s scene and causing a re-take.

I will say this… whatever feud or dislike they had…their performances will be forever be remembered.

Here are some quotes they gave about the other.

Frawley: “She’s one of the finest gals to come out of Kansas, and I often wish she’d go back there. I don’t know where she is now and she doesn’t know where I am. That’s exactly the way I like it.”

Vance: “I loathed William Frawley and the feeling was mutual. Whenever I received a new script, I raced through it, praying that there wasn’t a scene where we had to be in bed together.”

William Frawley died of a heart attack in 1966 at the age of 79. When she heard the news, Vivian Vance was dining in a restaurant. What she supposedly said after hearing the tragic news was: “Champagne for everybody!”

To be fair… Vivian Vance also said this when Frawley died… “There’s a great big amusing light gone out of this world.”

You do get the feeling while they argued they did respect each other.

Vivian Vance would pass away in 1979.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1966

The cartoon was released in 1966 and has been shown every year since. This one along with Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and a few more were a part of Christmas. These specials would prime you for the big day.

One cool thing about the cartoon was that Boris Karloff was the narrator. Thurl Ravenscroft (voice of Tony the Tiger) sang the great song “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch. ”

The citizens of Whoville looked and acted like the others of Dr. Suess’s universe. They were all getting ready for Christmas while a certain someone…or thing looked down from Mt. Crumpit. The Grinch has hated Christmas for years and sees the Whovillians getting ready for Christmas and is determined once and for all to put an end to it.

He dresses up as Santa Clause and makes his poor dog Max act as a reindeer to swoop down and steal Christmas. The Grinch sleds down the hill almost killing Max and they soon reach Whoville. He is busted by one kid…Cindy Lou Who, who asks him questions as the Grinch took her family tree. He lies to her and sends her to bed.

In the morning after he has everything including “The Roast Beast,” he listens for the sorrow to begin.

You need to watch the rest or rewatch…

A live action remake came out in 2000 but I still like this one the best. You cannot replicate Boris Karloff.

The Budget – Coming in at over $300,000, or $2.2 million in today’s dollars, the special’s budget was unheard of at the time for a 26-minute cartoon adaptation. For comparison’s sake, A Charlie Brown Christmas’s budget was reported as $96,000, or roughly $722,000 today (and this was after production had gone $20,000 over the original budget).

You’re a mean one Mr Grinch The famous voice actor and singer, best known for providing the voice of Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, wasn’t recognized for his work in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Because of this, most viewers wrongly assumed that the narrator of the special, Boris Karloff, also sang the piece in question. Upset by this oversight, Geisel personally apologized to Ravenscroft and vowed to make amends. Geisel went on to pen a letter, urging all the major columnists that he knew to help him rectify the mistake by issuing a notice of correction in their publications.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/72593/13-spirited-facts-about-how-grinch-stole-christmas

 

A Charlie Brown Christmas

The Peanuts were my favorite cartoon growing up and I would never miss their Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas specials. Everyone can relate to Charlie Brown because we lose more than we win in life. He doesn’t get to kick that football, his dog has more things than he does and he is forever trying to get the elusive little redhead girl to notice him.

The Peanuts inhabit a kids world where grownups are felt but not heard. At least not in English.

This 1965 special has everything good about them in one show.

The gang is skating and Charlie Brown is telling Linus that despite Christmas being a happy time he is depressed. Linus tells Charlie that is normal and Lucy pipes in with “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.” That sums it all up.

Charlie gets to direct the Christmas play and his main job was to get a spectacular Christmas tree under Lucy’s orders. …He picks the only real tree there…more like a branch but he is sure it will do the job. Most of the gang do not agree when he comes back with the tree but Charlie persists. Linus gets up and reads from the Bible and the inflection he lends to the reading is great.

After that, you will need to watch because it will be worth it.

Aluminum Christmas trees were marketed beginning in 1958 and enjoyed fairly strong sales by eliminating pesky needles and tree sap. But the annual airings of A Charlie Brown Christmas swayed public thinking: In the special, Charlie Brown refuses to get a fake tree. Viewers began to do the same, and the product was virtually phased out by 1969. The leftovers are now collector’s items.

Actors and Actresses The early Peanuts specials made use of both untrained kids and professional actors: Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown) and Christopher Shea (Linus) were working child performers, while the rest of the cast consisted of “regular” kids coached by Melendez in the studio. When Schulz told Melendez that Snoopy couldn’t have any lines in the show—he’s a dog, and Schulz’s dogs didn’t talk—the animator decided to bark and chuff into a microphone himself, then speed up the recording to give it a more emotive quality.

Love the Christmas Dance.

 

 

 

 

 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer every year is the same as setting up the tree. Every year I would look forward to seeing this along with the others but what a fantastic durable show this has been. When I hear Burl Ives in anything…I think of him as the narrator Sam the Snowman of this program.

 

The characters are wonderful. Well except those other young reindeer who really come down on Rudolph when his nose lights up.

Hermey the elf who wants to be a dentist
Clarice – The reindeer who likes Rudolph just as he is red nose and all.
Yukon Cornelius the prospector who loves silver and gold and has a tongue that can find his silver and gold.
Abominable Snowman – The bad guy of the show who only needs a dentist to make him a good guy.
Head Elf – He leans on Hermey to get his elf self-act together and discourages him from being a dentist…I never liked him too much.

Throughout the special, Yukon Cornelius is seen throwing his pickaxe into the ground, taking it out and licking it. It turns out that he is checking for neither gold nor silver; Yukon was actually searching for an elusive peppermint mine. In a scene right at the end of the special’s original broadcast, deleted the next year to make room for the Misfit Toys’ new scene, Cornelius pulled his pick from the ground, licked it and said, “Peppermint! What I’ve been searching for all my life! I’ve struck it rich! I’ve got me a peppermint mine! Wahoo!” The scene was restored in 1998 and has been reinstated in all the subsequent home video release except for the 2004 DVD release. However, this scene is still cut from recent televised airings.

The Island of Misplaced Toys got to me when I was a kid. I really felt sorry for these lonely toys. King Moonracer was over the island and tried to convinced Rudolph to tell Santa about them so he could pick them up and find kids who would play with them.

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The original 1964 airing did not include the closing scene where Santa picks up the misfit toys. That scene was added in 1965, in response to complaints that Santa was not shown fulfilling his promise to include them in his annual delivery.

The stop animation in this works really well.

The songs are really good. Silver and Gold, Holly Jolly Christmas, Jingle Jingle Jingle, We Are Santa’s Elves, There’s Always Tomorrow, We’re a Couple of Misfits and The Most Wonderful Day of the Year.

https://christmas-specials.fandom.com/wiki/Rudolph_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer_(Rankin/Bass)