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, 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, March 16

Stuck in the Middle - "Stuck with Horrible Helpers" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Harley's latest invention causes havoc in science class.

Bizaardvark - "The BFF (Before Frankie Friend)" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Paige's childhood best friend, Izzy, comes to town; Paige becomes envious of how well Frankie and Izzy hit it off and starts to feel like a third wheel.

The Paynes - "Making Repairs" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
After Ella learns that Curtis is trying to make his own repairs at the laundromat, she makes plans to involve professionals; Kendrick visits Nyla to apologize; Nyla finally comes clean with Ella and has a heart-to-heart with her children.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 12)

Friday, March 16

  • Yara Shahidi (grown-ish/black-ish) - Watch Yara on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Donald Glover (Atlanta/Community) - Donald appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • J. J. Totah (Champions) - J. J. is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) - Josh appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly visits The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh visits Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew talks about Santa Clarita Diet on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.