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!

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

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, January 24

The Middle - "A Tough Pill to Swallow" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When a devastated Sue discovers that she has been kicked out of college because she forgot to renew her financial aid, Mike tries to come to her rescue and convince a tough college bursar to reinstate her. Meanwhile, having only taken oral liquid medication all of his life, a frustrated Frankie does everything in her power to teach Brick how to swallow a pill when he gets an ear infection; and Hutch becomes angry with Axl after he keeps driving the Winnebago without permission to Orson to visit new girlfriend April – leaving Hutch without any means of transportation to get to class.

American Housewife - "Art Show" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Anna-Kat draws a super plus-sized portrait of Katie for the school art show, Katie sets out to retrieve it by any means necessary. Meanwhile, with Katie away, Doris is left in charge of Oliver and Taylor. She’s determined to whip them into shape with her Tiger Mom skills, but she may have met her match.

Fresh Off the Boat - "Coming From America" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louis flies the entire family to Taiwan in an effort to make things right with Gene (Ken Jeong). Upon meeting Gene’s beautiful fiancĂ©, Margaret, and seeing the wonderful life he has built for himself, Louis questions whether his life in Orlando is just as great as it could be in Taiwan. Meanwhile, Jessica takes Eddie, Emery and Evan to her favorite childhood locales, including Dihua Street and Shilin Night Market.

The Real O'Neals - "The Real Match" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Jimmy recruits a reluctant Kenny to join his wrestling team for a one-time match, a surprise victory gives him the confidence to join the team full time to become the first, openly gay athlete at St. Barklays. Kenny’s newfound stardom makes Jimmy feel a bit replaced, but when an opponent refuses to wrestle his brother, Jimmy puts his feelings aside and rallies the team around Kenny. Meanwhile, Pat injures his back trying to help Eileen prepare for a weekend getaway, but things only get worse when she tries to be the perfect caregiver to impress VP Murray but fails miserably.

New Girl - "The Hike" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
While on a day hike, Jess and Robby (guest star Nelson Franklin) discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly (guest star Nasim Pedrad). Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.

The Mick - "The Master" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
All hell breaks loose, as the kids fight over who will take the master bedroom. Also, Mickey pursues a wealthy businessman who quickly discovers that she is not the prize he thought she was.

Teachers - "Stranger Danger" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
There’s a trespasser at Fillmore and a new security guard is hired. Ms. Snap and Ms. Bennigan hold a “Women Empowering Women” workshop, Mrs. Adler takes stranger danger too far, and Ms. Watson purchases a male safety dummy.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 23)

Tuesday, January 24

  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Catch Retta on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Claudia O'Doherty (Love) - Claudia is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) - John talks about Patriots Day on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette visits Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Jennifer Esposito (Samantha Who?/Spin City) - Jennifer appears on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. She will also be on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.
  • Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) - Justina talks about the new Netflix series One Day at a Time on the AOL Build Show at 12pm.