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

Wednesday, January 16

The Goldbergs - "The Pina Colada Episode" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Murray and Geoff team up to pull Beverly, Barry and Erica out of their shared misery that Lainey has left town. Adam’s dread of gym class is amplified when Coach Mellor’s brother, Coach Nick (guest star Bill Goldberg), arrives and uses fear as a motivator. Meanwhile, Coach Mellor (guest star Bryan Callen) prepares for the next step of his life.

Schooled - "Lainey's All That" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Hoping to gain respect among her colleagues at school, Lainey comes up with a misguided plan to give an awkward and insecure student a full makeover. Meanwhile, Principal Glascott and Coach Mellor take friendly competition to a new level when they are both romantically interested in the math teacher.

Modern Family - "Blasts from the Past" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Phil and Claire decide to take a cycling tour through Italy before they become grandparents, and Dylan (guest star Reid Ewing) introduces them to his mom who has an interesting past. Meanwhile, Cameron and Mitchell discover some interesting reading material in Lily’s room and decide to confront her about it, while Gloria and Jay discover their respective great uncles may have fought on opposing sides of a war.

Single Parents - "All Aboard the Two-Parent Struggle Bus" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Will’s ex, Mia (Vanessa Bayer), shows up unexpectedly for Sophie’s birthday, Will gets frustrated that she undermines his rules with Sophie. Angie tries to help Will cope by having a fun girls’ night at her place and by giving some co-parenting advice, but Poppy reveals and Will quickly learns that Angie isn’t the best advice giver. Meanwhile, inspired by Mia’s humanitarian work, Miggy and Graham decide to give some items to charity but regret it immediately and seek out help from Douglas to get the items back.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Grant Allocation Derivation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Leonard is caught between a rock and a hard place when he’s responsible for distributing extra grant money. Also, Bernadette turns the backyard playhouse into a hideaway from her husband and kids.

Young Sheldon - "A Mother, a Child, and a Blue Man’s Backside" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mary bans Sheldon from reading a mature comic book, and Sheldon decides it’s time to stop living under Mary’s thumb.

Schitt's Creek - "The Crowening" / "Love Letters" (Pop, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Moira films a movie in Bosnia, hoping to revive her career, while David tries to take his relationship to the next level; Moira loses sleep stressing over old love letters, while David and Stevie get held up at the store.

grown-ish - "In My Feelings" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The gang waits for the mysterious drop of a modern-day musical genius.

You're the Worst - "The Pin in My Grenade" (FXX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Jimmy and Gretchen reveal that they're forgoing a traditional wedding, opting instead for a courthouse elopement.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 14)

Wednesday, January 16

  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Watch Lily and Jane on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Don appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He also talks about Black Monday on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/The Ellen Show/Welcome to New York) - Jim visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Frankie Shaw (SMILF/Blue Mountain State) - Frankie stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. Frankie and Rosie O'Donnell (Gimme a Break!) also talk about Showtime's SMILF on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Cobie Smulders (Friends from College/How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Keegan-Michael Key (Friends from College/Playing House/Gary Unmarried) - Keegan-Michael stops by Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm.
  • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Andy drops by E!'s Busy Tonight at 11pm.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens/Anything But Love/Operation Petticoat) - Jamie Lee chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Molly Ringwald (Townies/The Facts of Life) - Molly talks about All These Small Moments on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. She will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam/Instant Mom/Moesha/It's a Living) - Sheryl visits The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • The Cast of Schitt's Creek - Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Sam Richardson (Champaign ILL/Detroiters/Veep) - Sam talks about the YouTube original Champaign ILL on the BUILD Series at 5pm.

New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December/January)

Step by Step - The Complete Third Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series

11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
11/28 - The Great Indoors - Season 1 (The Complete Series)
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest