Monday, May 31, 2010
Among the marathons today are the marathons we have previously mentioned, such as Bewitched and Sanford & Son on TV Land and The Tracy Morgan Show on TV One. Festivities begin on TV Land at 8am, while TV One starts their sitcom fun at 12 noon. BET has a marathon of The Game starting at 10am through 11pm.
Other marathons include Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon on BBC America, Criminal Minds marathon on ION, Cops on G4, American Gladiators on MTV2, The Unit marathon on Sleuth, Law & Order marathon on TNT, NCIS marathon on USA Network, and TeenNick's marathons of Zoey 101 and Drake & Josh.
For the full times of these marathons and much more marathons we didn't cover (like Band of Brothers on Spike and Hoarders on A&E), check out the full list from our pals at TV Tango!
Next up we have a special book review for you on this holiday! See skees53's Blog Book Review of Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television:
Lost Laughs of '50s and '60s Television (McFarland Publishers, $35.00) is David C. Tucker's look at thirty different sitcoms of the first two decades on television that have, for whatever reason, become "lost." And when they say lost, they really do mean lost. We all remember some of the biggest hits of those decades, such as I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, Leave it to Beaver, Bewitched, The Andy Griffith Show, and many others. But does anybody truly remember, for example Hennesey or Pete and Gladys, or for that matter, even heard of them? Tucker gives us all of the details of thirty sitcoms that shaped and molded the genre, then completely disappeared, mostly to never be seen again.
The book begins with a brief introduction by Tucker where he admits, for the most part, there is a reason that we don't hear much about these series. Simply put, many of the series were awful, but at the same time, fun to watch for that very reason. Some of the series were good series, but couldn't really go on due to financial or artistic differences of the cast and crew. Tucker doesn't claim that these sitcoms deserve more attention than the more popular series of the dawn of television, but rather presents the thirty chapters of this book to give some attention to those series that have come and gone, only to be buried deep in the archives (or in some cases, destroyed).
The book dedicates approximately five to ten pages to each of the sitcoms covered in the book, with each chapter beginning with cast and crew details as well as network and time slot information for the series. He then proceeds to give a few lines of dialog from the actual series itself, after which he goes into a detailed synopsis and critique (although he doesn't try to necessarily form an opinion) of each and every series that is covered in the book. The series that the book covers include the following:
* Angel - This series was supposed to be the answer to the recently ended series I Love Lucy, except in this series, the wife was the foreign one with the accent (French, to be specific) and the husband was the American born half. The series focuses on Angie (Annie Farge) trying to adapt to life in America.
* The Bill Dana Show - Bill Dana plays a Mexican immigrant trying to adjust to life in America (clearly, series like this were a big theme at the time).
* The Governor and J.J. - Late '60s sitcom about the private and public life of a governor and his daughter.
* The Great Gildersleeve - A series about a man raising his niece and her young brother who is always seeking romance, but can't seem to get a wife.
* Grindl - Anthology-style sitcom starring Imogene Coco, a maid and housekeeper who takes different jobs every week, and ends up in different circumstances.
* Happy - Early '60s sitcom that brings viewers inside the head of a baby who can seemingly talk (although the world around him doesn't hear him talk, think of the movie Look Who's Talking.
Hennesey - Early '60s sitcom that showed both the funny and serious world of the Navy.
* Hey, Jeannie! / The Jeannie Carson Show - Musical comedy that tells the story of a young woman arriving to America from Scotland.
* How to Marry a Millionaire - Based upon the film of the same title, three women are going through any means necessary to find the man of their dreams, specifically a rich one. Barbara Eden is one of the golddiggers (for the lack of a better word) of this series.
* Ichabod and Me - A Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher written series that, in the style of Newhart or the '80s film Funny Farm, takes a big city newspaper writer and his five-year-old son to a small New Hampshire town.
* I'm Dickens... He's Fenster - Duo played by John Astin and Marty Ingels perform slapstick-style comedy in this series where they work in the construction business.
* It's a Great Life - Francis Bavier plays a widow who rents a room in her home to two young men who have just returned home from the Army.
* It's About Time - Sherwood Schwartz sitcom about two astronauts who made a bad turn and ended up back in the days of cavemen, leading to confusion and chaos, much like his earlier series, Gilligan's Island.
* The Jim Backus Show: Hot Off the Wire - Series about a two-bit newspaper wire staff that will do almost anything to stay ahead of the game.
* Love on a Rooftop - A series from Screen Gems, produced by Harry Ackerman, about a young couple that finds love, despite her wealthy background and his poor background.
* Margie - A sitcom in the vein of Happy Days or The Wonder Years that goes back in time, to the 1920s to be specific, to tell the story of a 17-year-old girl growing up.
* McKeever and the Colonel - This series was The Phil Silvers Show meets Dennis the Menace, as it tells the story of three mischievous adolescents in military school.
* Meet Mr. McNutley / The Ray Milland Show - A simple sitcom about a college professor and his wife, created by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher.
* The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey Mulligan - Before 30 Rock's Kenneth the Page, there was the IBC studio's page, Mickey, who is just as clumsy as the similar character on 30 Rock.
* Mr. Adams and Eve - Ida Lupino and Howard Duff, husband and wife in real-life, play a husband and wife who play a husband in the movies.
* Mr. Terrific - An ordinary man is recruited by the government to take a pill that gives him extraordinary strenth.
* Mrs. G. Goes to College / The Gertrude Berg Show - Series where Gertrude Berg plays a woman in her 60s going to college for the first time.
* My Hero - A real-estate salesman who can never seem to make his quotas manages to keep his job because he saved his boss' life a few years ago--his hero.
* O.K. Crackerby! - An Oklahoma billionaire and his family strive to make it into high society by any means necessary.
* Occasional Wife - A man and woman create a phony backstory and pretend to live a married life to go further in their own lives.
* The People's Choice - A sitcom about a man who travels the country for his job and has a talking dog (voiced by Mary Jane Croft).
* Pete and Gladys - Harry Morgan and Cara Williams star in this spinoff of December Bride.
* Peter Loves Mary - A married couple from the entertainment business in New York City settle down in a small Connecticut town.
* The Tom Ewell Show - A sitcom about a suffering father in a female world with his wife and three daughters.
* Wendy and Me - An attempt by George Burns (he also stars in the series) to recreate a sitcom similar to Burns and Allen after his wife Gracie Allen retired from the previous series.
These are very rare series, as I myself had only heard of less than five of them. Tucker provides interesting insight into each series, complete with quotes from episodes and still photographs from each of the series. He gives details of specific episodes, behind-the-scenes information, audience reception, impact on future television, and more in his insights. The series peaked my interest in many series, although given the "lost" nature of each of these series, it is unlikely that I will ever be able to see most of them (although an episode of Mrs. G. Goes to College did show up on Shout! Factory's release of The Goldbergs).
Everything in the book is carefully sourced, with a complete bibliography in the back of the book. There is also an index in the back of the book to help you find anything that you may be looking for, and an appendix with a chronological listing of the series (the chapters are presented in alphabetical order by the series titles).
Fans of sitcoms of the golden age would want to read this book. Never before has anybody compiled so many details about these truly lost series, and the book is a very interesting read. Of course, I'm sure that there are more than just thirty series that Tucker could have written about, and he also hints in the introduction that a future book may come along some day about lost sitcoms beyond the decades covered here. I would love to read such a book, and hope that he (or somebody) writes a book of that nature in the future.
Reviewed by skees53
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New on DVD/Blu-ray (February)
02/16 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series
02/16 - The Brady Kids - The Complete Animated Series
02/16 - Girls - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
02/16 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Complete Series
02/16 - Togetherness - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Wednesday, February 10
The Middle - "Film, Friends and Fruit Pies" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While Frankie and Mike try to figure out which household appliance a piece of plastic belongs to, Brick becomes a tyrannical director when he casts Cindy and Troy to re-enact scenes from “Knots Landing” for a school project; Sue’s excitement over having new friend Lexie become her college dorm roommate quickly sours when she finds herself being charged for half of the new things that Lexie is spontaneously buying for the room; and Axl finds himself becoming stressed out when his boss (Alan Ruck) befriends him and tells him that the fruit pie division is on the verge of being shut down.
The Goldbergs - "Lainey Loves Lionel" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Beverly forbids Adam to see the R-rated movie “Porky’s,” so Murray pushes him to break the rules. But the plan backfires when Beverly forbids Adam to use the phone for Valentine’s Day. As a result, he takes the rule breaking to a whole new level. Meanwhile, Barry tries too hard to impress Lainey for the holiday using the legendary music of Lionel Ritchie.
Modern Family - "Clean for a Day" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Before Claire officially takes over Jay’s closet business, she decides she must get the house in order and make the family clean out the clutter; unfortunately, Phil and Luke can’t bear to part with anything, and Alex digs up old feelings when she finds Sanjay’s sweatshirt. Newly into retirement, Jay decides to get a new hobby – piloting a plane – but the danger puts Cameron into a tailspin of worry. And elsewhere, Gloria wants to connect with Jay more and decides to pick up his favorite game of golf, and ropes Mitchell into teaching her.
black-ish - "Sink or Swim" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After Dre notices that his neighbor Janine has never invited his family to any of her pool parties, he assumes she is racially stereotyping them as a family that doesn’t swim. The kids are shocked to find out that, in fact, Dre doesn’t know how to swim. At work, Dre shares the story with his colleagues, and Daphne Lido is not convinced it’s a race thing, so Dre confronts Janine directly. Meanwhile, Jack and Diane are a part of the Girls’ and Boys’ Rovers Organization, and they envy each other’s activities.
2 Broke Girls - "And the Booth Babes" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Max and Caroline sign up to be “booth babes” in order to get into a huge gaming convention for free. Once inside, they’re shocked to see that Han’s friend has created video game characters based on them, and demand compensation.
Mike & Molly - "The Good Wife" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Molly’s leisure activities between novels become an issue with Mike as he wants her to be the perfect homemaker.
Young & Hungry - "Young & Coachella" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Gabi brings her food truck to an outdoor music festival; miserable Sofia seeks new company.
Baby Daddy - "Reinventing the Wheeler" (Freeform, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Ben feels it is time to settle down; Danny's sleeping troubles affect his hockey performance.
Younger - "Un-Jaded" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
When their first author proves to be more trouble than she’s worth, Liza and Kelsey worry their imprint might be over before it ever gets started.
Teachers - "Jacob" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Ms. Watson deals with the fact that her ex may have moved on; Ms. Cannon tries to put a stop to teacher cliques.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "Being Frank" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
A day in the life of Frank Reynold's as he tries to keep up with the gang's newest scheme.
Man Seeking Woman - "Honey" (FXX, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Josh tries to prove to Rosa (Rosa Salazar) that he's a better option than her current boyfriend (Fred Armisen).
Wednesday, February 10
- Zendaya (K.C. Undercover) - Catch Zendaya on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Malin Akerman (Sin City Saints/Trophy Wife) - Malin appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory/Blossom) - Mayim drops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Jason Mantzoukas (The League) - Jason visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Alison Brie (Community) - Alison appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Debi Mazar (Younger/Entourage/Working) - Debi talks about TV Land's Younger on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
- Charlie Sheen (Anger Management/Two and a Half Men) - Charlie is back to set the record straight about that experimental HIV treatment he tried and responds to the controversial doctor who told him he was cured on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings. He also opens up about a new, game-changing HIV treatment he’s excited about.
- Colton Dunn (Superstore) - Colton is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. talks about Deadpool on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore at 11:30pm on Comedy Central..
- Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced/Living with Fran/The Nanny) - Fran is a guest on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) - Kim talks about her series Sensitive Skin on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Joe Morton (Grady) - Joe is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.