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!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, August 3

The Goldbergs - "Alligator Schwartz" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Erica fears that Geoff has moved on from their breakup and started dating someone else. Meanwhile, Adam decides to find Dave Kim a date to prom, once he remembers his pact with Dave that they won’t go to prom if they both don’t have dates.

Home Economics - "Bounce Hospital Rental, $250" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Connor invites all the cousins over for an epic sleepover to cheer up his daughter, Gretchen. Meanwhile, Tom is determined to prove he can be a fun uncle too.

The Conners - "A Cold Mom, a Brother Daddy and a Prison Baby" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Ben’s mom, Barb, arrives in town after an unexpected death and unveils shocking information from the past. Meanwhile, Becky and Emilio spend more time together.

black-ish - "Snitches Get Boundaries" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After one of Dre’s secrets with Pops is spilled to Ruby, he realizes that his relationships with each of his parents have changed since they got married and he no longer knows in whom to confide. Meanwhile, Bow surprises Jack and Diane with a brand-new car and tries to teach the twins how to drive.

Miracle Workers - "Oregon Trail: What Happens in Branchwater" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
The wagon train stops in the sinful town of Branchwater, luring Ezekiel into a night of debauchery and temptation; Benny finds his favorite saloon has transformed into an inauthentic tourist trap.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 2)

Tuesday, August 3

  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Christian Slater (Breaking In) - Catch Christian on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen/The Ellen Show) - Ellen is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) and Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Kristen and Dax chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/United States of Tara/Lucky/Sex and the City) - John appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mr. Corman/3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph talks about his role in the new series Mr. Corman on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Kat Dennings (Dollface/2 Broke Girls/Raising Dad) - Kat appears on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Pooch Hall (The Game/Accidentally on Purpose) - Pooch is a guest on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tisha Campell (Outmatched/Dr. Ken/My Wife and Kids/Martin) and Tichina Arnold (The Neighborhood/Survivor's Remorse/Happily Divorced/Everybody Hates Chris/Martin) - A repeat of Tamron Hall celebrates the power of friendships with actresses and childhood friends Tisha Campell and Tichina Arnold, who co-starred in the classic sitcom Martin and are now working on a new talk show, so check your local lisitngs.
  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison appears on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Prepon (Are You There, Chelsea?/That '70s Show) - Laura talks about the joys and challenges of being a new mother of two, and makes a quick and easy Mediterranean salad on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April-August)

Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Re-Release)
07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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