Friday, November 23, 2012

Blog Book Review: Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979 - A Complete Guide; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 26, 2012)

When somebody brings up sitcoms between 1948-1979, there are plenty of them that come to mind, from I Love Lucy to The Andy Griffith Show to All in the Family and more. There were plenty more, in fact, but no matter how many more you can name, there are probably very few that come to mind for you that were not-so-successful. Now, radio personality and author Bob Leszczak has written a book that is all about those less than successful sitcoms that lasted a season (or less) from that golden age of television, with his new book Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979 - A Complete Guide.

Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979 - A Complete Guide

Blog Book Review - Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979 - A Complete Guide
by skees53

Single Season Sitcoms, 1948-1979 - A Complete Guide (McFarland, $45.00) is the latest book to come out of McFarland publishers to chronicle some of the best (and the rest) of TV series of the past. Like many other books from the publisher, we have a book filled with information about series from the past. In this book, however, author Bob Leszczak takes a completely different approach compared to how many of these books are written, and opted to focus on as many single season sitcoms as possible (300, in fact) in just under 250 pages.

Leszczak begins the book with a very brief introduction, to explain the purpose of the book and the inspiration for it. He points out how great many of the successful series from the past are, and how they've been written about extensively over the years. One such popular book that he gives credit to, of course, is Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh's The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, which gives an excellent account of virtually every TV series out there. But when that book gets to some of the more obscure older sitcoms, it sometimes takes shortcuts and will only give a very brief description. In this book, the intention is to focus on sitcoms that last one season (and not an episode longer) and give a nice half-page overview of that sitcom.

The book does a very nice job of that. Without going into every single detail of every single sitcom that is included (it would be impossible to list all of them!), he creates a book that is very similar in style to the Brooks and Marsh book, except he narrows the focus down to single season sitcoms and goes into greater detail than most "encyclopedic" books of this nature. Among series for which you'll find entries in here are Growing Paynes (no, not Alan Thicke's series, but a 1948 sitcom from the DuMont Network), Hee Haw Honeys, Mrs. G. Goes to College (somewhat of an offshoot of The Goldbergs), Tabitha, and even one series that many would be surprised to recognize is a single season sitcom: The Honeymooners.

Most of the book is focused on these entries for all of these TV shows, with all of the series listed in alphabetical order. The beginning of each entry gives the reader information on when and where the series originally aired. Then, the entry goes into details about why the series came into existence (if there was any particular reason), what it was about, and why it didn't make it to a second season. The author even takes things a step further to talk about the "afterlife" of the series whenever appropriate, such as if the series is available on DVD or if it aired in reruns after the series was canceled.

The book concludes with two indexes. The first index is one of the more interesting ones in my opinion. It is a Sitcom Topical Index, where it goes through and lists different sitcom topics and discusses which series fall into that topic, along with a very brief description of the series. Of course, you can also find the full entry elsewhere in the book. For example, there is one category for "Gimmicks," and this category includes the series My Mother the Car. It goes further to explain why this series falls into that category. The second index is a much more standard index, where people and TV series are listed in alphabetical order, with a page number reference.

All in all, this is an excellent and well-researched book that sitcom fans are sure to enjoy. I tried my hardest to find "cracks" in the book, such as a sitcom that was missed, but as it turns out, every single one that I thought should have been included didn't fit the criteria (for example, they all had a second season or they aired after 1979). Some of the details that I read about some of the sitcoms in this book were much more detailed than anything I've read before, and I was impressed that anybody could know so much about some of these very rare series. It would be nice to see some follow up books similar to this one, such as perhaps a book on single season sitcoms after 1979... although understandably, these have become far too numerous in more recent years to write a concise book on all of them. In any event, Leszczak did an excellent job with this book, and I think that it is certainly worth it for any sitcom fan to pick up this book.

(5/5 stars)

To purchase this book, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Amazon.com

The book is also available at McFarland and Barnes & Noble.


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, so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of November 26-30, 2012, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

Monday, November 26, 2012
  • Max Greenfield (New Girl) - Watch Max on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jim Parsons (the Big Bang Theory) - Jim appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Maggie Elizabeth Jones (Ben and Kate) - Maggie visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Lily Tomlin (Malibu Country) - Lily stops by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • T.J. Miller (Carpoolers) - T.J. is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Billy Connolly (Head of the Class/Billy) - Billy appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland/Just Shoot Me)- Wendie chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Tune in to see Ray on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
  • Peri Gilpin (Frasier) - Peri talks about the campaign to stomp out breast cancer on Marie on Hallmark Channel at 11am ET/PT.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/One Day at a Time) - Valerie is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Catch Alec on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie stops by The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Reba McEntire (Malibu Country/Reba) - Reba visits Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Tom appears on a repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Victoria Justice (Victorious/Zoey 101) - Victoria is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Guys with Kids) - Jamie-Lynn chats on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Anthony Anderson (Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony drops by Tavis Smiley on PBS, but check listings for time.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Kristen Schaal (30 Rock/Bob's Burgers) - Kristen appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced/The Nanny) - Fran chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Helen Hunt (Mad About You) - Helen is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Jim O'Heir (Parks and Recreation) - Jim stops by Marie on Hallmark Channel at 11am ET/PT.
  • Debi Mazar Entourage) - Debi chats on Joy Behar: Say Anything! at 6pm on Current.
  • Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland/Just Shoot Me) - Wendie gives us a sneak peek at the new season of Hot in Cleveland on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
  • Judy Greer (Two and a Half Men/Mad Love/Arrested Development) - Watch Judy on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland/The Golden Girls/The Mary Tyler Moore Show) - Betty chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced/The Nanny) and Tichina Arnold (Happily Divorced/Martin/Everybody Hates Chris) - Fran and Tichina are guests on Joy Behar: Say Anything! at 6pm on Current.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
  • Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies) - Catch Tom on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Tim Allen (Last Man Standing/Home Improvement) - Tim appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12am on ABC.
  • Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) - Kristin is a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Nat Faxon (Ben and Kate) - Nat visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Dick stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jim Belushi (According to Jim) - Jim chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Christina Applegate (Up All Night/Samantha Who?/Married with Children) - Tune in to see Christina on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
  • Teri Polo (Man Up!/I'm with Her) - Teri shows Marie how to make her favorite holiday decorations on Marie on Hallmark Channel at 11am ET/PT.
  • Janet Hubert (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Janet appears on Joy Behar: Say Anything! at 6pm on Current.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
Friday, November 30, 2012
  • Robin Williams (Mork & Mindy) - Watch Robin on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory/Blssom) - Mayim appears on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Max Greenfield (New Girl) - Max is a guest on a repeat of Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls) - Beth chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda continues to make the rounds on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea appears on a repeat of Katie, so check your local listings.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia stops by The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Helen Hunt (Mad About You) - Helen is a guest on Rachael Ray, so check your local 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 (April/May)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season Father Knows Best - Season Five The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season ALF - The Complete DVD Collection The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series

04/04 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fifth Season
04/11 - Father Knows Best - Season Five
04/11 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Third Season
04/11 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/11 - Veep - The Complete Fifth Season
05/02 - Red, White and Blue Collar Sitcoms - Make TV Great Again
05/09 - ALF - The Complete DVD Collection
05/09 - Divorce - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
05/09 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Second Season
05/16 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - The Complete Series
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, May 23

Downward Dog - "Boundaries" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Nan installs an automatic dog door so she can take away Jason’s key but still keep him as Martin’s dog walker, Martin is convinced he can suddenly open doors with his mind, and the new-found power goes to his head.  Meanwhile at work, Nan’s boss is unable to understand the new ad campaign Nan sold to the corporate bosses, and he spirals into confusion.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "The Bank Job" / "Crime & Punishment" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As Jake and Rosa continue their search for a bank-robbing operation with Lieutenant Hawkins (guest star Gina Gershon), they realize there’s more to her team than meets the eye. After discovering a dangerous secret, they call for back-up from Holt and Pimento (guest star Jason Mantzoukas). Meanwhile, Boyle objects to Gina’s new boyfriend (guest star Ryan Phillipe). Then, Jake and Rosa are framed for a crime they didn’t commit, it’s up to the Nine-Nine to find a way to bust them out.

Great News - "Carol Has a Bully" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Carol (Andrea Martin) has a midterm she must pass in order to keep her internship. Katie (Briga Heelan) needs to choose between helping her mom and focusing on her hacking story, which she can't seem to crack. Meanwhile, Greg's (Adam Campbell) wealthy estranged grandmother (guest star Christina Pickles) pays a visit to the office. Chuck (John Michael Higgins) finds her cold and cruel, but almost immediately falls in love with her.

Great News - "Carol's Eleven" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Katie (Briga Heelan) makes a huge discovery about the story she's been chasing and, with the help of Carol (Andrea Martin) and the rest of the staff, concocts a scheme to get the story out. Greg (Adam Campbell) struggles with balancing his conflicting loyalties to his family, co-workers and conscience.

Mann & Wife - "Mann, Shut Yo Mouth" (Bounce TV, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Struggling to solve a tough case, an exhausted Daniel falls asleep and wakes up in a 70's blaxploitation cop show.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 22)

Tuesday, May 23

  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Catch Terry on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Rob Huebel (Trasparent/Burning Love) - Rob appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Al Madrigal (About a Boy/Welcome to The Captain/Gary Unmarried), Andrew Santino (I'm Dying Up Here/Sin City Saints) and Erik Griffin (I'm Dying Up Here) - Al, Andrew and Erik are guests on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ari Graynor (I'm Dying Up Here/Bad Teacher) - Ari stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Ben Falcone (Nobodies/A to Z/Joey) - Ben drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens) - Abigail appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory/Blossom) - Mayim talks about her new book Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular and The Big Bang Theory on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) - William is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Kyle Chandler (What About Joan?) - Kyle teams up with Clinton Kelly to grill up a great entrĂ©e on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Nicole Byer ( Loosely Exactly Nicole) - Nicole is a guest on Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.
  • The Love Boat Cast - The cast of The Love Boat reunites on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Debra Messing (Will & Grace) - Debra chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Zoe Lister-Jones (Life in Pieces/Friends with Better Lives/Whitney) - Zoe talks about her new comedy Band Aid on the AOL Build Show 1pm.
  • Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie talks about Beat Shazam on AOL Build Show 4pm.