Friday, July 11, 2014

Blog Book Review - George Burns Television Productions: The Series and Pilots, 1950-1981; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 14, 2014)

George Burns Television Productions: The Series and Pilots, 1950-1981

Blog Book Review - George Burns Television Productions: The Series and Pilots, 1950-1981


George Burns Television Productions: The Series and Pilots, 1950-1981 (McFarland, $39.95) takes a deeper look at the George Burns that we all know and love. Many know Burns as the comedic actor who appeared on The Burns and Allen Show, alongside wife Gracie Allen, but he was much more than an actor. He was also a producer, who produced The Burns and Allen Show, along with several other comedies and even dramatic series. Author Richard Irvin, who found his inspiration for learning more about George Burns (the producer) through watching reruns of The Burns and Allen Show on Antenna TV, makes the producer career the focus of this book.

Of course, George Burns is older than television itself... much older, in fact, as he was born on January 20, 1896. The Burns and Allen duo first debuted on stage in 1922, was first heard on radio in 1932, and finally made it to the "new medium" of television in 1950, when Burns was already well into his 50s. Throughout those earlier days, Burns was already a producer, and his new television series would be no exception. In 1952, when The Burns and Allen Show switched from live TV to film, McCadden Productions (named after the street on which his younger brother lived) came into existence, and within a year, McCadden became one of the top production companies in Hollywood.

While the book does take a focus on the career of George Burns as a producer, it does not completely neglect his legendary TV series. In the second chapter of the book, we get a look at the first two seasons of The Burns and Allen Show. These were the live years, as that was how many TV series was done in the early days, and the book goes through each of the seasons in detail, but not necessarily exclusively focusing on the production role of Burns. The third chapter continues the discussion of the series, focusing on the filmed years (which continue to air on Antenna TV to this day).

The fourth chapter of the book switches to another completely different series that McCadden Productions produced, and one that actually turned out to be just as successful as The Burns and Allen Show, The Bob Cummings Show. Debuting in the middle of the 1954-1955 season on NBC (and also making history as the first mid-season replacement series), the series ran for five seasons and 153 episodes. Once again, the book goes into a season-by-season look at the series in general, and talks about the production changes made throughout the series. The fifth chapter takes a look at yet another series that Burns was involved in the production of in the same season-by-season manner, The People's Choice, which starred Jackie Cooper.

The sixth chapter gives fans a deeper view into the pilots that didn't quite make it. It is interesting to read about some of these that were new ideas that just completely died out when they weren't made, but two of the series actually did make it... just not with George Burns. The book talks about how George Burns had been given the rights to produce a TV series version of Dobie Gillis in 1955, but creative differences ultimately meant that he had no involvement in the series once it actually debuted in 1959, after Burns' option on creating the series had run out. Many do not realize, though, that McCadden was also involved in a few dramatic productions, including the series Panic! Although Burns was not taking a direct role as producer in those dramatic series, he did help with these series financially.

Gracie Allen eventually retired from show-business in 1958, but George Burns wasn't ready to give up. Unfortunately, his attempt to continue the series without his wife didn't work quite as well, but he did make other attempts that were more successful. A few years earlier, McCadden had produced a pilot for Mister Ed. That pilot didn't sell, but Filmways tried again later on (with some involvement from Burns, at least initially), and it became a hit series. Other projects were done with Warner Brothers and United Artists, all leading up to his last pilot in 1981, where he served as producer on a series that was essentially a remake of The George Burns and Allen Show. The series appeared to have a chance when ABC picked it up and gave it a timeslot, but things didn't quite work out as hoped, thanks to a last minute renewal of Mork and Mindy.

In the end, it is clear that George Burns was not necessarily as successful as a producer as Norman Lear or Garry Marshall (both of whom were capable of cranking out hit after hit with their names attached to them), but considering the success that Burns had as a comedian and actor, the fact that he was capable of even having a production career that included his series and many others that were successful enough to make it to television is a part of his career worth learning more about, and this book satisfies that goal.


(4/5 stars)

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

The book can also be purchased on the McFarland website or via their order line (800-253-2187).




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 July 14-18, 2014, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVRs (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Watch Michael on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Margaret Cho (All-American Girl) - Margaret appears on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Zachary Levi (Less Than Perfect) - Zachary visits on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ben Falcone (Joey) - Ben is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Jason Biggs (Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Ellie Kemper (The Office) - Tune in to see Ellie on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Angela Kinsey (The Office) - Angela is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Anna Faris (Mom) - Anna appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Donald Faison (The Exes/Scrubs) - Donald drops by The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Zach Braff (Scrubs) - Zach talks about his new film Wish I Was Here on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on Wake Up with Taylor on SiriusXM Stars Radio Channel 106 sometime between 7-10am.
  • Josh Gad (1600 Penn/Back to You - Josh discusses his new film Wish I Was Here on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Angely Kinsey (The Office), Andrea Savage and Tymberlee Hill - The cast of Hulu's The Hotwives of Orlando will be on HuffPost Live.
  • Rob Reiner (All in the Family) - Rob will be on SI Now at 1pm.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Catch Jason on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. He also chats about his new film Sex Tape on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Josh Gad (1600 Penn/Back to You) - Josh appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Zach Braff (Scrubs) - Zach is a guest on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. He will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nat Faxon (Married/Ben and Kate) - Nat visits The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew appears on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings..
  • Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) - Cynthia chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Café) - Whoopi talks about the addiction she's battled for 50 years on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
  • Danny Pudi (Community) - Danny will be on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Angely Kinsey (The Office), Andrea Savage and Tymberlee Hill - The cast of Hulu's The Hotwives of Orlando will be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. They will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Donald Faison (The Exes/Scrubs) - Donald is a guest on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show/Malcolm and Eddie) - Malcolm-Jamal talks about TNT's Major Crimes on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Wayans (In the House/A Different World) - Kim appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) - Lisa discusses her new Hallmark Channel original movie For Better or For Worse on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT. For Better or For Worse premieres on Hallmark Channel on Saturday, July 19 at 9/8c.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
  • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Café) - Watch Whoopi on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show/Newhart/Bob) - Bob appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry is a guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 11pm.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Zach Braff (Scrubs) - Zach visits LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke appears on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations. She will also be on 106 & Park at 6pm on BET. She is a guest on HuffPost Live.
  • Kim Wayans (In the House/A Different World) - Kim shares the inside scoop on her new role on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Anna Camp (The Mindy Project) - Anna will be on Pop Sugar Now on TVGN at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
  • The Cast of Silicon Valley - Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Martin Starr and Kumail Nanjiani are guests on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys) - D.L. will be on Pix11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:35am.
  • Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life and Kim Fields (The Facts of Life/Living Single) - Lisa and Kim talk about their new Hallmark Channel original movie For Better or For Worse on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. For Better or For Worse premieres on Hallmark Channel on Saturday, July 19 at 9/8c.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Catch Jason on Conan at 11pm on TBS. He will also be on Pop Sugar Now on TVGN at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Mary McCormack (Welcome to the Family) - Mary is part of the guest panel on Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
  • Mark Feuerstein (Good Morning, Miami/Fired Up) - Mark visits LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones/Mork & Mindy) - Robin is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ellie Kemper (The Office) - Ellie appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Cedric appears on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Jonathan Sadowski (Young & Hungry/$#*! My Dad Says) - Jonathan cooks in the kitchen on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • The Cast of Workaholics - Anders Holm, Adam Devine and Blake Anderson are guests on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) and Kim Fields (The Facts of Life/Living Single) - Lisa and Kim talk about their new Hallmark Channel original movie For Better or For Worse on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. For Better or For Worse premieres on Hallmark Channel on Saturday, July 19 at 9/8c.
  • Damon (My Wife and Kids, Marlon and Shawn Wayans (The Wayans Brothers) - Damon, Marlon and Shawn will be on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York in the 9am hour.
  • Melora Hardin (The Office/Wedding Band) - Melora is a guest on Pix11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:35am.
Friday, July 18, 2014
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) - Watch Melissa on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair (Playing House/Best Friends Forever) - Lennon and Jessica are guests on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Dan Aykroyd (Soul Man) - Dan stops by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Gabourey Sidibe (The Big C) - Gabourey appears on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Mila Kunis (That '70s Show/Family Guy) - Tune in to see Mila on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Let's Stay Together) - Kym appears on a repeat of The Steve Harvey Show, so check your local listings.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie visits ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. She will also be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Christina Applegate (Up All Night/Samantha Who?/Married with Children) - Christina discusses her passion for personalizing fashion through her Fabkids clothing line for children on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Greg Poehler (Weldcome to Sweden) - Greg will be on Pop Sugar Now on TVGN at 6pm and on the next day on their website at noon.
  • D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys) - D.L. is a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
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 (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, September 29

Superstore - "Back to Work" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin), the district manager from corporate, tells the Cloud 9 employees he is going to be around for the day to see what can improve in the store. Amy (America Ferrera) tries to impress him with a perfect day, but a workplace accident threatens her plan. Meanwhile, Glenn (Mark McKinney) tries to come off as a tough boss in front of Jeff, Jonah (Ben Feldman) attempts to help an unyielding Dina (Lauren Ash) win over the employees she betrayed in the strike and Mateo (Nico Santos) discovers something about Jeff in his pursuit to win him over.

The Good Place - "Jason Mendoza" (NBC, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Eleanor (Kristen Bell) faces her toughest test yet in her attempt to remain in hiding. Meanwhile, Michael (Ted Danson) enlists Tahani (Jameela Jamil) to help a fellow neighbor fulfill her true purpose.

The Big Bang Theory - "The Earworm Reverberation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon has a revelation when he realizes why a song was stuck in his head. Also, Amy invites Dave (Stephen Merchant) over for dinner despite their previously awkward date, and Wolowitz and Koothrappali become obsessed with a fan of their band, “Footprints on the Moon.”

Kevin Can Wait - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Kevin James stars as a newly retired police officer looking forward to spending carefree, quality time with his wife and three kids, only to find he faces tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.

Better Things - "Woman Is the Something of the Something" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam gets really looked at.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 26)

Thursday, September 29

  • Judith Light (Transparent/Phenom/Who's the Boss?) - Catch Judith on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Tim Meadows (Son of Zorn/Marry Me/The Michael Richards Show) - Tim appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 3pm.
  • Max Greenfield (New Girl/Modern Men) - Max drops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community), Dave Foley (Dr. Ken/NewsRadio) and Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken/Go On) - Ken, Dave and Suzy are guests on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight. Ken will also be on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January stops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce/Sex and the City/Square Pegs) - Sarah appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT. He will also be on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
  • Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men/The Powers That Be) - Holland talks about The Front Page on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Guys with Kids) - Jamie-Lynn is a guest on Good Day New York on WNYW-Fox5 in New York sometime between 7-10am and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.