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 (November)
11/03 - Californication - The Complete Series
11/03 - Getting On - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
11/03 - Hank (1965-66) - The Complete Series
11/03 - I Love Lucy - The Complete Series
11/03 - Men at Work - The Complete Second Season
11/03 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/03 - 'Til Death - The Complete Third Season
11/10 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Remastered Series (DVD)
11/10 - Maude - The Complete Third Season
11/10 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Final (Fourth) Season
11/17 - Cristela - The Complete First Season
11/17 - McHale's Navy - The Complete Series
11/17 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Fourth Season
11/24 - George Lopez - The Complete Sixth Seaon
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Wednesday, November 25
The Middle - "Thanksgiving VI" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Hecks agree to forgo Thanksgiving after Frankie finds out that she’s out of a job until January and must pick up a holiday position, which requires her to work on Thanksgiving in order to make ends meet. Much to her dismay, she ends up once again having to portray an overworked 19th century woman back at Heritage Village during the Harvest Feast and finds herself going face-to-face with Sheila (Faith Ford), a woman who definitely takes her job too seriously. Meanwhile, Sue goes back to work at Spudsy’s over her holiday break in the hopes that she’ll once again run into Logan – the dreamy Abercrombie guy, Axl finds himself in foreign territory when he starts becoming emotional over how his life has turned out, and Mike and Brick find themselves needing to find a bonding experience when the electricity goes out at the house and they are forced to interact with each other.
The Goldbergs - "A Goldberg Thanksgiving" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
As a bet, Beverly challenges Erica to participate in Jazzercise after she thinks her mom’s obsession is lame. When she wins, Erica decides to opt out of celebrating Thanksgiving, so Beverly must find a way to win her daughter back to celebrate the holiday with the family. Meanwhile, uncle Marvin shows up for his annual visit to the Goldberg home and unexpectedly bonds with Adam, which annoys Murray.
Modern Family - "Three Turkeys" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil is cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year with Luke as his sous chef, and Claire has no confidence in them and prepares a secret turkey of her own as backup. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria had plans to spend the holiday away, but when the trip gets canceled last minute, they decide not to tell anyone, which quickly becomes the worst idea ever since the family dinner gets suddenly moved to their house, and it turns into a mad scramble to cover their tracks. And Mitch is tired of always being the bad cop, so when Lily refuses to wear a nice dress to dinner, he forces Cameron to deal with it, and he comes up with a very unconventional approach.
black-ish - "30 Something" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Things begin to fall apart, in more ways than one, when Dre hurts himself playing basketball right before his 40th birthday. He hands the planning of his big party over to his much younger, hipper assistant, fearing he really is getting too old to be cool. Bow and Ruby face off over who can get Dre the best gift, and the kids try to figure out what to give their dad for his special day.
Talia in the Kitchen - "After the Storm" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After Will steals Talia's spices, she hides from the hurricane.until a mysterious boy discovers her.
Wednesday, November 25
- Nathan Lane (Encore! Encore!/Charlie Lawrence) - Watch Nathan on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- James Van Der Beek (Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Jay Duplass (Togetherness/Transparent) - Jay appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Vanessa Lachey (Truth Be Told/Dads) - Vanessa and FABLife stylists put audience members to the test with a Thanksgiving preparation trivia challenge and turkey bowling competition for prizes on FABLife, so check your local listings.
- Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo talks about the fight against cancer in children and her Thanksgiving tribute to her dear friend Robin Williams on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
- Greg Evigan (My Two Dads) - Greg and his daughter Briana talk about the new Hallmark Channel original movie Once Upon a Holiday on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- John O'Hurley (Seinfeld/The Mullets) - John talks about The National Dog Show on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Marlo Thomas (That Girl) - Marlo appears on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly talk about starring in the upcoming holiday movie Angel of Christmas on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
- Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) - Candace is tentatively scheduled to appear on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Maura appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.