Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 78: WGA's Strike; Remembering Allan Melvin, Suzanne Pleshette, and More

Today is day 78 of the strike. Since today is a holiday, as we celebrate the great Dr. Martin Luther King, we don't have much news. We do know that ABC is bringing back the classic '80s fun series Circus of the Stars sometime this season. The show featured celebrities performing circus-type acts. The original aired on CBS as a series of 19 specials from 1977 to 1994. NBC is also developing its own circus show titled Celebrity Circus and will air it this summer. CBS and Fox are also working on similar series...wow, the writers' strike has caused this? One is enough. No need for three copycats!
The writers are still looking through the deal the Directors got. Let's hope they at least get back to the bargaining table. They haven't been there since early December.

As we mentioned yesterday, we will have full tributes today on all the sitcom passings. We will start with Allan Melvin.
Veteran actor Allan Melvin died in his home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, on Thursday, from cancer. He appeared on many sitcoms over the years but two characters stand out--he played Sam the butcher, the boyfriend of Alice the housekeeper, on The Brady Bunch and he also played the character Barney, Archie's friend, on both All in the Family and the continuation series Archie Bunker's Place. Melvin broke into the acting business on the '50s sitcom The Phil Silvers Show as the character Cpl. Henshaw, the right-hand man to Sgt. Ernie Bilko. Among his sitcom guest shots include Green Acres, Love American Style, Mayberry RFD, The Dick Van Dyke Show, My Favorite Martian, Gomer Pyle USMC, Make Room for Daddy, McHale's Navy, and The Andy Griffith Show. Melvin also did A LOT of work in cartoons. He was the voice of Magilla Gorilla in the Hannah-Barbera series. Additionally, he played the voice of Bluto on the cartoon series Popeye. Among the other many voice-overs he did over the years were on such animated series such as TaleSpin, DuckTales, The Flintstones, Smurfs, and many more. While his name is not a household name, everyone that is a TV fan knows who he was and he will certainly be missed. Let's hope TV Land does a little tribute at least with episodes of The Brady Bunch and All in the Family at least. The fine folks at Retro Television Network have been running a nice tribute spot for Allan and they have shared it with us for you all to see. Click HERE to view the tribute spot. Mr. Melvin was 85.

We are also mourning the loss of a TV legend today. Veteran actress Suzanne Pleshette has passed away. She was best known for her role as Bob Newhart's wife on television's long-running The Bob Newhart Show in which she earned two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She died Saturday, just days before she was to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Pleshette underwent chemotherapy for lung cancer in 2006 and she died of respiratory failure at her Los Angeles home. The beautiful, husky-voiced actress had a prolific TV career in such series in guest roles such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Ben Casey, The Fugitive, Love American Style, Gunsmoke, Courtship of Eddie's Father, Bonanza, 8 Simple Rules, Good Morning Miami and Will & Grace. She earned an Emmy nomination for her guest role on Dr. Kildare in 1962. She reunited with Bob Newhart on his '80s series in the series finale of Newhart in 1990. The series finale of Newhart was among the best of all-time with a shocking plot. She also appeared on Broadway and in films, such as the popular Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds. She was also nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her role in the CBS TV movie Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean which won its timeslot in the ratings. She married Tom Poston of Newhart in 2001 after knowing him for over 30 years. Unfortunately Tom passed away last year just months after she started chemotherapy. She will certainly be missed by the world of classic TV and her fans. She was gone way too soon. Let's hope TV Land does a big tribute for her as she appeared on one of the most famous sitcoms of all-time and one of the best series finales of all-time. Ms. Pleshette was just 70 years old and just days away from her 71st birthday (Jan. 31).

One of our readers named Frank informed us yesterday that we had missed the passing of Mala Powers back in June. We are sorry we missed this, but we will do a little tribute right now. Though certainly not a well-known name or a big time sitcom character actor, she was on Hazel for a season and appeared on Bewitched, Bob Cummings Show and Here Comes the Bride. Her work was mainly in TV dramas such as guest shots on Charlie's Angels, Ironside, Daniel Boone, Wild Wild West, Dr. Kildare, Perry Mason, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Rawhide, Surfside 6, Maverick, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Bonanza, and Wagon Train. So she was on quite a bit of 50s and 60s dramas, especially westerns. Mala died in June of complications from leukemia. She was 76 at the time of her death.

While we're at it, John Stewart has passed away on Saturday of a stroke. No, not of The Daily Show, but the one who wrote The Monkees song "Daydream Believer." He was mainly a song-writer. He was 68.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, May 25

Champions - "Opening Night" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Priya arrives unannounced as Matthew struggles with the new responsibilities Vince has given him.

Champions - "Deal or No Deal" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael prepares for his first date as Vince and Matthew prepare to expand the gym. But an unexpected offer threatens to change all their lives forever.

The Thundermans - "The Thunder Games" (Nickelodeon, 7:30PM ET/PT)
Max and Phoebe advance to the final tryout for a spot on an elite superhero squad, but a new supervillain with a surprise connection to the Thunderman family may force them to sacrifice their crime fighting dream.

Knight Squad - "Do the Knight Thing" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Warwick worries his fears will hinder the squad as Knight School quests begin; Warwick uses Fearless Fairies to make him immune to fear, but his decision puts the squad's quest in jeopardy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 21)

Friday, May 25

  • Jamie Lee (Crashing) - Watch Jamie on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Alec chats about hosting the series Match Game on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Sutton Foster (Younger) - Sutton is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Vivica A. Fox (Mr. Box Office/Getting Personal/Out All Night) - Vivica appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace stops by Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Peyton Elizabeth Lee (Andi Mack) - Peyton is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Craig Robinson (Ghosted/Mr. Robinson/The Office) - Craig makes a divine dessert with Carla Hall on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (March/April/May)

Atlanta - The Complete First Season Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season

03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
05/08 - Dear White People - Season 1
05/08 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Final (Eighth) Season
05/29 - I'm Dying Up Here - Season 1
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest