Friday, August 12, 2011

Blog Book Review: Living Room Legends: Chats with TV's Famous Faces; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 15, 2011)

There are many authors out there who write books about classic television, and Eddie Lucas is not new to the game. In 2007, he wrote the book Close-Ups: Conversations with Our TV Favorites (see our review), where he had conversations with classic TV stars from series from the 50s all the way into the 80s. The conversations were very thorough and detailed, and the book was the text of the actual conversation, and not just a paraphrasing. Now he has a new book, with even more conversations, with Living Room Legends: Chats with TV's Famous Faces. Here is our review of his latest book.

Blog Book Review - Living Room Legends: Chats with TV's Famous Faces

Living Room Legends: Chats with TV's Famous Faces (Serendepity Media Group, $22.95) is Eddie Lucas' latest book of conversations with the famous faces of TV. If his name sounds familiar to you, that is likely because you remember Lucas' earlier similar book, Close-Ups: Conversations with Our TV Favorites. In this book, Lucas brings us eleven more raw interviews with TV stars including Jim Nabors, Donna Douglas, Rose Marie, Tom Lester, Janet Waldo, Phyllis Diller, and more.

Much like his previous book, this one is also divided into a chapter for each star featured in the book, with eleven chapters in this book. This book has a strong emphasis on stars from the 60s and early 70s. In this book, chapters are featured for the following:
  • Jim Nabors (The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.)
  • Donna Douglas (The Beverly Hillbillies)
  • Pat Carroll (The Danny Thomas Show)
  • Rose Marie (The Dick Van Dyke Show)
  • Shelley Morrison (The Flying Nun and Will & Grace)
  • Ronnie Schell (Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.)
  • Tom Lester (Green Acres)
  • Lucie Arnaz (Here's Lucy)
  • Janet Waldo (The Jetsons)
  • Pat Priest (The Munsters)
  • Phyllis Diller (The Pruitts of Southhampton)
Each chapter of the book begins with a brief introduction and biography (about two pages or so) about the star, then, like his previous book, it dives straight into conversations. We get the raw and unedited authentic conversations with the stars, and while there are no major bombshells dropped anywhere in the book, we do get a very nice lighthearted (and modern) view of each of these stars. Along the way, we get to see some photos of the stars in their heyday as well as modern photos of the stars.

In the chapter on Jim Nabors, we learn that it was decided very early in his run on The Andy Griffith Show that a spinoff was in the works. In fact, many people don't realize it, but his tenure on The Andy Griffith Show was very short, and only about a year and a half long. Donna Douglas talks about beating out over 500 other girls auditioning for the role of Elly Mae on The Beverly Hillbillies and the store of the Clampett family dog Duke--there were actually four separate Dukes! I couldn't place a face with a name for Pat Carroll prior to reading her chapter (the table of contents only lists The Danny Thomas Show), but then she became very recognizable to me when she talked about her role as Henry Rush's boss, Hope Stinson, on the final season of Too Close for Comfort (originally retitled The Ted Knight Show). She easily qualifies as one of the more unsung stars of television that you see everywhere, but just don't know her name, as her chapter demonstrates. Rose Marie, of course, is well known for her role on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and in her chapter, she talks about that series (and how she almost left the series), as well as other series that she appeared in, and even her younger days as a child actress.

Shelley Morrison was another name that didn't immediately ring a bell, but it became very obvious who she was when the introduction indicated that she played the English-mangling Sister Sixto on The Flying Nun. She is currently doing voice work for a Disney cartoon series targeted to preschoolers. Ronnie Schell, of course, was all over TV in the 60s, playing in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and working on That Girl (both filmed on the same lot). His experiences of working with Bea Arthur on an episode of The Golden Girls are an interesting read. Tom Lester talks about the aborted spinoff of Green Acres that would have starred him and Arnold the pig, and how he really didn't enjoy doing the Return to Green Acres movie, is it just wasn't the same. We learn from Lucie Arnaz that Here's Lucy worked on a very tight production schedule and that, even though Lucille Ball was a forceful boss, she actually hated being the boss and just wanted to be Lucy.

We all know Judy Jetson, but not all of us know Janet Waldo, the voice behind her. She talks a lot about her work with Lucille Ball and about being replaced on Jetsons: The Movie (and the hate mail that Joe Barbera's secretary had to hide from him in response). Pat Priest talks almost exclusively about The Munsters and her surprise at how young Al Lewis was at his death. The book ends with a chapter on Phyllis Diller, who never really had any major roles on any scripted TV series, but is still recognizable from so many series.

Fans of television, particularly fans of 60s television, are sure to enjoy this book. At just under 350 pages, it is a book that one can read through very quickly, or just skim through the chapters that they are interested in. Like his previous book, this is definitely worth having in your classic TV book collection.

(5/5 stars)

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It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of August 15-19, 2011, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

Monday, August 15, 2011
  • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland/The Golden Girls/The Mary Tyler Moore Show) - Watch Betty on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC and then on a repeat of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan) - Catch Kathy on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Nick Jonas (JONAS L.A.) - Nick appears on a repeat of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days) - Henry visits LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development) - Tune in to see Portia on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
  • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Tina stops by The Gayle King Show at 6pm on OWN.

  • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Watch Jada on an encore broadcast of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.

  • Mila Kunis (That '70s Show) - Catch Mila on a repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie is a guest on an all-new Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
  • Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick - Watch the ladies of Hot in Cleveland on a repeat of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (Community) - Joel stops by LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Sinbad (A Different World/The Sinbad Show) - Sinbad visits The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Alec appears on a repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
  • Louis C.K. (Louie) - Catch Louis on a repeat of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Joel McHale (Community) - Joel continues to make the rounds on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia chats on The Gayle King Show at 6pm on OWN.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
  • Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Watch the legendary Mr. Van Dyke on a repeat of Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Louis C.K. (Louie) - Louis stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jerry O'Connell (Carpoolers/Do Not Disturb) - Jerry guest hosts an encore broadcast of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
Friday, August 19, 2011
  • Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) - Jane guest co-hosts LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.
Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, March 20

The Middle - "Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s the Orson showdown of the century when the Hecks – along with the Donahues and Bill Norwood – wage a war against the Glossners after they steal Sue’s car.

Fresh Off the Boat - "King in the North" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Honey plans a relaxing vacation before the baby comes, but Jessica turns the trip into a crazy quest to get Stephen King’s endorsement for her novel. When Grandma Huang decides to move out, Louis panics and does everything he can to make sure she knows how welcome she is. Meanwhile, Eddie, Nicole and their friends plan to wear matching suits to the school dance until a dress code demands that the girls must wear dresses, leading Eddie and Nicole to rebel.

black-ish - "Things Were Different Then" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre reluctantly helps Junior plan Pops’ 65th birthday party and starts to see his dad’s past in a new light. Meanwhile, Bow decides to say “yes” to everything for a whole year and Jack & Diane take advantage of her.

Modern Family - "The Long Goodbye" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil and Claire realize that Alex may be more self-sufficient in college than they give her credit for when they drop in for a quick visit. Meanwhile, Manny is determined to avoid a long tearful goodbye after Gloria and Jay move him into his college dorm. Finally, Mitch may have accidentally accelerated a planned renovation, and Hayley gets an unexpected opportunity when she befriends a wealthy female member at the country club.

LA to Vegas - "Overbooked" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The crew is forced to figure out how to get the passengers to give up their seats when the flight is overbooked; Nichole makes good money selling snacks while the flight is kept on hold; Artem has an argument with an surprise seatmate.

The Mick - "The Car" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy and Mickey mistakenly lock Ben inside an old car Jimmy purchased at a police auction; Alba discovers that Chip has been assuming the identity of Sabrina's online crush in secret, but Alba decides to actively encourage his actions.

Baskets - "Basque-ets" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Chip laments becoming a fake Christmas tree person.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Tuesday, March 20

  • Bob Saget (Fuller House/How I Met Your Mother/Surviving Suburbia/Full House) - Catch Bob on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also talks about Santa Clarita Diet on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour with Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo.
  • Bryton James (Family Matters) - Bryton and the cast of The Young and the Restless are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Patti Labelle (Out All Night) - Patti drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Carly Chaikin (Subrgatory) - Carly is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) - Tisha visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Sam Lerner (The Goldbergs) - Sam visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Sex and the City) - John talks about his movie God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam talks about Game Over, Man on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia talks about Roxanne Roxanne on the BUILD Series at 10am.
  • The Cast of You Me Her - Greg Pohler, Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia are guests on the BUILD Series at 12:30pm.