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Neil last won the day on July 21

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  1. In the "Weird Oscar" category, I was talking about the high ratings for HL's 3rd season and the fact that it was CBS's top rated show and the only sitcom to make the top 14--in a year that saw the debuts of Mary Tyler Moore and All in the Family, though both would catch on later. I consider TLS and HL two different series but to the general public, they're the same. CBS ran reruns of TLS during the first 3 summers after HL and I don't think anybody really noticed (except me). Since HL's writing/production staff was virtually the same as the last season of TLS, there's not much change being offered, despite the title and the addition of the kids. What other series in its 7th and 8th years (I'm limiting this to sitcoms) stayed in the top 10 for 2 seasons opposite the most-talked-about #1 hit show of its time "Laugh-In"? HL has to hold some kind of ratings record: to remain in the top 10 against the #1 show; actually gaining ground: 1st as #9, then #6. And let's consider that 70-71 was the NINTH season of the new Lucy series started in 1962. Its real claim to fame was out-rating the still-popular Laugh-In in its 9th season (LI's third), the last season the shows were directly opposite each other. L-I had dropped out of the top 10 altogether coming in at #13 for that season 70-71. In 1974, the headlines blared "Lucy Bows Out After 23 Years". Well not exactly true. There were the 3 years of LDCH specials, which in total would make 26 half-hour shows (one season) and the 2 years 1960-62 where there was NO new Lucy on the air. But in fact CBS had run Lucy in some form for 23 years, if you count the 60-62 daytime reruns, started in 1959 and going strong until 1966. I don't suppose we'll ever know the true story of HL's demise. One side: CBS canceled it when the ratings declined from the 5th season's #15 to a still-respecible #29. The other side: Lucy herself pulled the plug simultaneous to CBS wanting her to come back for a 7th year. Remember that the last episode of the 5th season closed the office and seemed like a 'last episode'. But despite falling out of the top 10 for the first time, CBS talked her into a 6th season. In retrospect, CBS did better without Lucy on Mondays since its replacement, the 3rd season of Maude, made the top 10 (#9)
  2. The Oscars Make Terrible Changes

    I remember the year the Emmys introduced the superfluous category of separate "Actor/Actress of the Year" for Series, Special and Supporting, a category disbanded the next year. So the winner was among those that had already won in the respective category, Mary Tyler Moore was Actress of the year over Michael Leanred and Mildred Natwick; Actress of the Year (special) was taken from one category: Actress-Drama Special and the winner of both was Cecly Tyson ("Miss Jane Pittman"). So they gave 2 acceptance speeches. Another one-time category in 69-70 was "Best New Series" (any type) which went to "Room 222" over Bill Cosby's sitcom, The Forsyth Saga, Marcus Welby and Sesame Street! A bit strange since "Room 222" lost the Comedy Series award to the one-season "My World and Welcome To It', ALSO a new series that failed to get nominated in the "new" category! 69-70 was a dour year for comedy: "My World" (which I never saw) won over the Cosby sitcom, that laugh-fest The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Room 222 and Love American Style. Best Comedy Actors: William Windom and Hope Lange had their shows canceled despite their Emmy wins. "Actress: Drama Series" had slim-pickens: "NET" (pre-PBS)'s Forsyth Saga Susan Hampshire won over Peggy Lipton of the Mod Squad and JOAN BLONDELL from "Here Comes the Brides". Question 1: Was "Brides" a DRAMA? (I say "No") and Question 2: Was Joan really a LEAD in the show?? (I say "No" again). Hope Lange faced only 2 other nominees in Best Comedy Series Actress: Marlo Thomas and Elizabeth Montgomery (her last of 5 nominations for Bewitched. This was its 6th season, the first with Dick Sergeant). This was Marlo's 4th That Girl nomination of 5 in as many seasons, all losses. Marlo is one of the few that received a nomination for every season her show was on. For ILL Lucy did, but the categories bounced all over the place from "actress" to "comedienne" to "someone who essentially plays themselves" (??). If the Emmys had adopted the Oscars "most popular" category and based in on the ratings: in 70-71 the winner for "Comedy Series" would have been the never nominated "Here's Lucy". At #3, it was 1) CBS's highest rated show and 2) television's highest rated comedy. In fact HL was the ONLY sitcom to make the top 14 of the Nielsens. Mayberry --a comedy?, I suppose-- was #15. Based on this method, the 5 Best Comedy nominees would have been HL, Mayberry, My 3 Sons, Doris Day and Henry Fonda's "The Smith Family". Of those, I would have to pick HL strictly by default!
  3. Kathryn Card

    CBS has a hellava nerve blocking my videos when I continued to support their network even after they a-- nixed "Maggie Brown"; b--cancelled "Glynis" after only 13 episodes' c-- gave Judy Garland such a rough time and d-- foisted "It's About Time", "Pistols n' Petticoats" and "Me and the Chimp" on us.
  4. 2018 Kennedy Center Honors

    Are you telling me neither DICK VAN DYKE nor LIZA has not received one? Who are other glaring non-honored ones? And your question: "How long before the Kardashians get honoured?" is not as far-fetched as you think. It may be time to retire these Kennedy Honors. It'll eventually get down to Billy Mumy and the kids from the Brady Bunch.
  5. You have to admire the effort of whoever put this together and forgive them for their jumbled timelines and even more jumbled images. I knew something was amiss when after the "1931" banner (at 1:40) Maureen O'Hara appeared. And who knew that Vivian was only 29 when "L&V Install a Shower" was filmed---in 1938 (at 3:15)?
  6. Kathryn Card

    Try this download from my Dropbox account: https://www.dropbox.com/s/d01zyzhsjlmi173/KCard alone.mp4?dl=0 And make that "a scant THREE appearances in the 5th season" (not 2) But she was given very little to do in "Train Robbery" "Bon Voyage" and "Italy Birthday". Again WHY WHY WHY didn't they use her more when they realized what they had? She was brought on just as a utilitarian character, the on-vacation version of Mrs. Trumble---to get rid of Little Ricky, who between naps usually just cried or looked uncomfortable. It was nice to see them (Mathilda and whatever Mrs. M's first name was...do we ever know?) together in one episode "Bon Voyage". Kathryn Card brought SO SO much more to the character. When she's given something to work with, she all but STEALS the entire episode, not easy when you're working with 4 of the greatest. "California Here We Come" and "Hedda Hopper" being her high points. With few episodes under her belt, she became so well remembered that when Lucy wants to bring the 25 pound cheese home from Europe for "someone we all know and love", the audience knows exactly who she's talking about. That tepid 6th season could have used the boost of Kathryn Card energy. I'm not WILD about any of the NYC-based shows except for "Loving Cup" which only stands out among those but is not in the same league as earlier eps. Some NYC-6th eps are OK, but they were definitely off their game. Once they move to the country things improve, but several duffers mar that story arc as a truly classic one like Europe and (especially) Hollywood. Of the "6th seasons" of all her three series, I prefer "Here's Lucy"'s output which contains FOUR of my HL Top Ten, more than any other season: "Wandering Mother" "NG as RN" "Lucy Meets Lucy" and "Fights the System". In "System", HL has the best "last episode" of all three series. In retrospect, was there any reason to leave Hollywood at all? They barely get settled back in their E. 68th apartment before they got ready to set sail for Europe. But not leaving Hollywood would have robbed us of "Sells the Car" and "Train Robbery", two of my favorites.
  7. Kathryn Card

    Just for fun, I put together all of Kathryn Card's Lucy appearances into one video and found that the grand total of screen time was about 45 MINUTES, and that includes some discussion about her, her appearance as Minnie Finch and her brief return to the fold in the opening of "Japan". I've said this before but Mrs McGillicuddy was the MOST underutilized player outside the main 4 (close 2nd: Doris Singleton). Kathryn held her own and is the highlight of most of the episodes she's in. The mystery is WHY they didn't use her more. She did 8 half-hours as Mrs. M, her one LDCH and another half-hour as Minnie Finch. Her biggest cluster (4 episodes) was March and April of 1955 in the 4th season. A scant 2 appearances in the 5th ("Train Robbery" and "Italy Birthday"), completely absent from the 6th season. THREE YEARS between Italy and Japan. I love her sleepy phone conversation in Italy and the subsequent where they both end up crying. Those inconsistent youtube copyright officers sent me a note that this video was taken down (when someone's upload of the full episode of "Japan" remains up!). I clicked on it and it worked so maybe they haven't taken it down yet....or maybe they're not going to. So here's the link.
  8. "Fan Magazine Interview"---an underrated gem. Probably because there's no big comedy scene. but I'm still AMAZED that this Kathryn Card is the same one who played Mrs. McGillicuddy. Before we had reference books and wide-spread access to the shows, I had no idea this was Kathryn. Just shows what an untapped range she had. Every other sitcom performance of hers ("Burns and Allen", "Dennis the Menace") she's much more like the prim and proper Mrs. M. For Minnie Finch, she seems to be toothless! Only 2 line readings give her away her ties to Mrs. M (inflections in CAPS )"...and Ricky Ricardo came over n' kissed me. and today FIVE YEARS LATER, I get a card asking me for a date." and "(referring to her jealous husband Joe)....he ran out of here FIT TO KILL". (And I like the way Ricky pronounces "Elly-a-nor")
  9. I forgot one of Doris Packer's Lucy appearances. There were 3 that I know of, none of them using her talents to their fullest: Lucy's night in Town, Paul Douglas and the one episode I consider the "Drafted" of TLS's 1st season "Runaway Butterfly"*. Are there any others? This Dick Van Dyke episode is Doris at her peak, but she had wonderful moments as "Mrs. Sohmers" in several Burns and Allen shows during the show's last 2 seasons. "Millicent Sohmers" just can't deal with Gracie's logic (culminating in the episode entitled "Mrs. Sohmers Sees a Psychiatrist") The Sohmers' want to move to southern California, but fragile as Millicent is around Gracie, if Gracie lives in Beverly Hills, Millicent wants to live in Pasadena. Ever-loyal Blanche convinces her what a wonderful person Gracie is so she decides to buy the Bev Hills house...until confounded once more by Gracie's logic, with GREAT FLOURISH she turns around raises her arm and finger up in the air (not unlike her "Point Me to the Moon" gesture) and exits with the impeccably timed line "Well......BACK TO PASADENA!!' Doris was a semi-regular on Leave It to Beaver as the school principal, a relatively staid role considering she is probably best remembered as Mrs. Chatsworth Osbourne, the wealthy matriarch of the daffy "Dobie Gillis" show. I remember her entrance onto a set at the Osbournes, flank by "the help", delivering this line starting off-camera "Oh I LONG for the days when servants were indentured!" Like Reta Shaw, Eleanor Audley, Isabel Randolph and so many others: Doris had a speaking voice like no other. Doris was less active as the 60s progressed. Her "Mothers In Law" appearance (again not taking full advantage of her talents) was one of her last. There is just NO WAY she was born in 1906 making her only a mere FIVE YEARS older than Lucille Ball. And I don't care what her "Find a Grave" headstone says. Gracie herself stuck with 1906 as her birth year. News reports of her 1964 death stated her age as 58, when more likely it was 69. Her grave marker says 1902, but some researcher has proof it was 1895, making her a year older than George! Once Gracie made her last Burns and Allen episode in 1958, she never again appeared before a camera. Gracie is wonderful and probably the most underrated actress of the 50s TV era. She was so good that people took it for granted she was just playing herself. No Emmy for Gracie: blasphemy!! * "Butterfly" had a great supporting cast but I'll go so far as to say its my least favorite of the first TWO seasons of the 58 Bob and Madelyn episodes.
  10. WHAT??? I'm a CURSE. I mention someone in a post and the next thing you know they die: first Tab Hunter and now Wolders!!

    Were "Margo" and Eddie as a show-biz couple well-enough known that Harry's line from "Eddie Albert/Song & Dance": (quoted from memory) "Can't we just let MARGO take care of Eddie Albert?" made sense to a 1973-4 audience?
  12. I posted this video a long time ago and just ran across it again, marveling at the performance of Doris Packer in a 2nd season Dick Van Dyke episode (edited down to Doris's scenes only). Watch her stall for time when "Make that "You and Your Gallbladder" gets a big, sustained laugh that they obviously didn't anticipate. Her timing of the line was impeccable. Even her choppy reading of the lines introducing the donations (cue cards?) is endearing. Everything she does it great, including her grand gesture referring to the book "Point Me to the Moon!1". She was wasted on her 2 Lucy appearances (I think it was only 2). If Doris's bio is to be believed she was a mere 56 or 57 when this VanDyke episode was shot! (YOB: 1906) which I find hard to believe. Also I love the way the snooty woman walks off after she says her line "You see, I don't own a television machine." I wonder if it hadn't been for Beverly Hillbillies I wonder if we would have had 5 seasons of Dick Van Dyke. As you all probably know, it was cancelled at the end of its first season (61-62) and only pressure from Sheldon Leonard and others made CBS renew it for a 2nd season, scheduled after the surprise #1 hit of the 62-63 season "Beverly Hillbillies" and it shot to the top ten. The ranking for the 1st season was a dismal 72nd (if memory serves). It did not have a great time slot: Tuesday at 8, following the 7:30 "Marshall Dillion", reruns of the half-hour Gunsmoke episodes. It was not up against competition that made the top 30: ABC's Bachelor Father and the 2nd half of NBC's Laramie western. It fared no better when moved to the Wednesday 9:30 berth replacing "The Gertrude Berg Show" (aka "Mrs. G Goes to College" with Emmy nominated co-star Mary Wickes). It had a weak lead-in "Checkmate" and the disadvantage of being opposite the 2nd half hours of shows on the other networks. That all changed in the fall of 1962. Though the show and its stars won Emmys year after year, the last season of Dick Van Dyke, considered by many to be the best, had dropped out of the top ten for the first time since 1962, coming in at #16.
  13. In 1975, handsome Robert Wolders, age 29 married Merle Oberon, age 64 and stayed married until her death in 1979. Next he was the companion or married to Audrey Hepburn, Leslie Caron and Henry's widow Shirley Fonda...all older but not to extent of Merle. Robert played Mary's incredibly good-looking, but vapid ski-bum one-episode boyfriend on a "Mary Tyler Moore". At Mary's party, Robert's character cracked some joke at which Sue Ann laughs uproariously. Georgette: "Isn't he funny?". Sue Ann: "No, but WHO CARES?" ( I might be wrong about Wolders age in 1975.. He may have been 39, not 29. On MTM he looked younger than pushing 40. Either way he was substantially younger than Merle---who in photographs from the era looked so good it's surprising she died relatively young...for dying that is). )
  14. (I was wondering anyone would bet my "Mark Herron" reference) HERBIE RIDES AGAIN--part 2 (which precedes the above---brilliant--- "Nude Lease on Life" episode. Note to Mot: our ratings may not be huge, but we're pulling in a KEY demographic---or so we tell Proctor and Gamble with their itchy cancellation finger. And speaking of above episode. Were you planning on the liberal use of pixel-blurring or is this one running on HBO? Or both?!!! ) Vonda, Mary Jane and Viv's 'THREE GIRLS THREE" act becomes the unexpected camp hit of Sunset Boulevard bringing in the main stream crowd, much to the chagrin of Norman Bates who, along with his trench-coat wearing cronies (Bert Mustin, John Waters and Robert Wolders*) , can no longer afford nightly front row seats, so Norman slips each of the girls a coupon for a free night at the Bates Motel Cabin #1 while the girls sing "Ya Gotta Wear a Girdle": the lyrics printed here by request with apologies to Stephen Sondheim but let's see HIM come up with a (near) rhyme for "Sothern". It helps if you know Gypsy's You Gotta Have a Gimmick song. References come from "Lucy's Working Daughter" (Barbara Morrison), "Lucy and Arthur Godfrey"(Steamboat Bessie) "Good-by Mrs. Hips" (Iceberg Lewis) and any episode from the third season of "That Ann Sothern Show". Also apologies if this comes off as misogynistic or "body shaming", but this WAS the 60s (or 70s--our timeline varies) and Twiggy-like thin was IN. "You can pull your loose skin up.......And have Irma pin up knots, bloody clots ‘neath your wig But ya gotta wear a girdle.........So the crowd won’t know you’re BIG. You can be like Ann Sothern.........Who was always hoverin’ B’hind potted vines and large plants Ann, ya gotta wear a girdle.........If you’re wanna wear white pants. (cut to end part of original song starting with “I’m electrifyin’....) Strained seams make her dress pop...........Shopping at a dress shop Barbara Morrison makes a scene Buy a smaller girdle...........Or a larger size fourteen. (next: coinciding with "If ya wanna shake it...") If you make milk curdle ..............Wear a skin tight girdle Take a look how shapely we are. She is no Jane Fonda..........So strap one on Vonda Holding in her iceberg..........Gives MJ a nice curve If Viv wants her dreamboat, she’ll.........Batten down her steamboat! So get yourself a girdle and......You…..too’ll….dance at a BAR." *A coupon for a free night at Bates Motel AND a full buffet breakfast (should you make it through the night) to anyone who gets this reference!
  15. Submitted for your approval: ‘HERBIE RIDES AGAIN" (aka “WATCH MY RUDDERS SPIN”) Herbie Walton flunks out of UCLA and is ‘itching’ to return to the LA beatnik scene. Flush with his inheritance, now middle-aged Herbie re-enters the boulevard as an entrepreneur searching for a niche to penetrate the already saturated Sunset Strip exotic dancer clubs. He meets up with a meek taxidermist/motel owner who suggests Herbie tap into the small but loyal following of men attracted to the motherly-type with a yen for the bare bodies of “older women”. Herbie names his new joint in memory of his parents calling it “MAGGIE AND JIGGLES ”. Contacted by Flo the manicurist, a concerned friend of the late Waltons back in Danfield, Vanda, Mary Jane and Viv show up to talk some sense into Herbie, but instead he flatters them immensely when he suggests they become the floor show’s opening act. Viv quickly cobbles together their opening song based on the intro verse to the Volunteer Vanities number “Hello” “Three old dancing dames are we….. Vanda, Mary Jane and me We no ask and we no tell……….If you run the Bates Motel Come on in and get a full…………….Dose of Complex Oedipal We may need help with our zippers…..We’re the Sunset Age-Group Strippers!” Little does Viv Bunson know Betty Gillis, the Danfield Tribune society columnist and Flo have headed west to do a “Whatever Became Of…” story on Herbie. They are shocked to discover the three scantily-clad Danfield dowagers on stage doing a number from “Gypsy” with parody lyrics: “You Gotta Have a Girdle”. Gillis’s scandalous scoop moves her normal insert byline to the Tribune’s front page with blaring banner headlines “VANDA’S BARR-ASS & VIVIAN’S BUNS-ON DISPLAY— ICEBERG LEWIS REVEALS WHAT’S BELOW HER SURFACE--- IN HERBIE WALTON’S SUNSET STRIP STRIP CLUB” , much to the embarrassment of Danfield locals Vern Bunson and Lewis’s twin Audrey Simmons. GUEST CAST:…….Flo: Barabra Nichols…….Betty Gillis: Eleanor Audley……. Vern Bunson: Mark Herron….….”Maggie and Jiggles” Emcee Larry McAdoo: William Woodson ....Norman Bates: Anthony Perkins in a cameo