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The Paul Lynde Show (1972)
A One Hit Wonder That Should Have Lasted Longer
When I found out that Antenna TV was going to rerun The Paul Lynde Show, which hasn't been seen since it was canceled in 1973, i watched a rerun on YouTube and last night on the aforementioned diginet and to me it was a funny sitcom that should have lasted longer than one season.
In its original run, the show ran against The Carol Burnett Show and Adam 12 before it was moved to Saturday nights opposite CBS's comedy lineup where it wilted in the ratings.
But to me, the best part of the show was the byplay between Lynde and his genius son-in-law Howie, played brilliantly by John Calvin. Poor Howie. He was so bright and he couldn't get a job to help support his wife, who was also Paul's oldest daughter Barbara. This reminded me of the confrontations between Archie and Mike on All in the Family.
As for the rest of the cast, Elizabeth Allen was supportive as Paul's wife Martha and Jane Actman who played Barbara and Pamelyn Ferdin as his youngest daughter Sally rounded out the cast. There were also episodes with Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara as Howie's parents. I did not see any episodes with them yet but they likely added a lot to the show, long before Stiller's portrayal of Arthur on The King of Queens.
One other cast note. Look for an early appearance by Anson Williams before he went on to play Potsie Webber on Happy Days.
Check out The Paul Lynde Show. It could be hilarious.
A Valiant Attempt to Capitalize on the Video Game Craze
When Starcade made its debut in 1982 on Superstation TBS, it was the first game show to utilize a video game theme. The host was Mark Richards but he was replaced by a veteran who guided the show smoothly even though he didn't know about video games before he took the job Geoff Edwards. Edwards guided the show when it returned the following season in weekly syndication.
On the plus side, home viewers could test their knowledge of video games against the contestants, even during the "Name the Game" round. But on the minus side, it gets rather boring for the viewer when the teams play video games. The viewer becomes a spectator instead of an active participant.
Though Starcade didn't have a long run, it was a valiant attempt to capitalize on the video game craze. After two seasons, it was Game Over.
Little Big Shots (2016)
Little Big Shots a Big Hit
Steve Harvey is on fire. He saved the syndicated version of Family Feud from cancellation when he took over as host in 2010 and also hosts ABC'S summer hit Celebrity Family Family. He's also the host of his successful morning radio show, a daytime talk show, the Miss Universe Pageant and now NBC's showcase for talented youngsters Little Big Shots.
Airing Sunday nights on NBC, it is a refreshing and entertaining alternative to the investigative reporting on CBS'S 60 Minutes and the network's drama NCIS-Los Angeles. The kids are the stars of the show as they perform for Harvey and the audience. But it's Harvey who makes the show a hit. He doesn't talk down to the kids and brings plenty of humor like Family Feud to the proceedings.
There have been a number of young singers and dancers as well as a youngster who have an encyclopedic knowledge of US presidents. If you have never seen Little Big Shots, watch it and you'll see why it's a big hit.
To Tell the Truth (2016)
A Lot Looser and Funnier But True to its Roots
It's great to see another version of the classic panel game show To Tell The Truth. For the first time since the original Bud Collyer left the airwaves in 1967, the show is back in prime time with Anthony Anderson of Black-ish handling the hosting duties. He is really funny and steers the show away from the staid format of the previous versions into a looser and funnier version.
Let's not forget the panel. Casting Betty White as a regular was a great move by the production staff since she has played the game many times in its 60 year history and asks really good questions. Also contributing are NeNe Leakes and Jalen Rose with a guest panelist each week. Give an assist to Anderson's real-life mother Doris who serves as the scorekeeper and contributes to the comedy.
But the hallmark of the show is extraordinarily talented contestants. In the episode my girlfriend and I saw, there was a female competitive eating champion, a man who was struck by lightning twice, a seven time lottery winner and a couple who got married 50 times. Kudos to the casting director for the great spots.
If you haven't seen this version of To Tell the Truth, it won't be on very long since ABC ordered only six episodes. It pays homage to the original Bob Stewart creation as Anderson quotes the famous phrase "Will the real...please stand up!" Missing from this version is another familiar phrase "Number One. What is your name please?" It has potential to be another game show hit for ABC.
F Troop (1965)
Deserved a Longer Run
i remember watching F Troop and to me it was a very funny satire of the Old West that took place in the post Civil War era. The first season theme song with vocals did a great job in explaining the premise on how Parmenter became captain of F Troop. Unfortunately, when the show went to color in the second season, they canned the vocal theme and went to an instrumental.
Also, the show had an outstanding cast, anchored by Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch, Ken Berry and Melody Patterson. Patterson actually lied about her age to get the role of Wrangler Jane. There were also Frank De Kova as chief Wild Eagle and Don Diamond as Crazy Cat. Also adding to the mayhem was James Hampton as the inept bugler Dobbs.
But it was Storch who stood out as he played a number of dual roles including cousins Lucky Pierre and Russian Agarnoff. It showed his true talents as an impressionist.
There were numerous guest stars, including Henry Gibson, prior to Laugh- In as jinx Wrongo Starr. Though F Troop was still getting good ratings, ABC canceled the show after two season because of high production costs. It deserved a longer run since it was a very funny sitcom. Sound the "Charge" call that was heard at the end of the closing credits to end this review.
A Classic Ensemble Comedy
When Jim Brooks, David Davis, Ed. Weinberger and Stan Daniels left MTM to form their own production company, they applied what worked well for them on shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda to create and produce their own show and it would become Taxi.
The show was a true ensemble comedy like The Mary Tyler Moore Show with outstanding writing and a great cast with nobody dominating the story lines like Fonzie on Happy Days and Urkel on Family Matters,
The cast was anchored by Judd Hirsch, who played career cabbie Alex Rieger. He's the father figure of the bunch and supportive to would be boxer Tony Banta, played by Tony Danza, aspiring actor Bobby Wheeler, played by Jeff Conaway and the lone female driver Elaine Nardo, portrayed by Marilu Henner.
Also adding to the hysteria was Andy Kaufman as mechanic Latka, who comes from an unidentified foreign country. He created his mannerisms and language that brought a lot to each episode he was in.
But to me, the best character on the show was Louie DePalma, the nasty dispatcher that turned out to be the role that put Danny DeVito on the map. DeVito's portrayal of Louie turned to be the meanest boss on TV since Mr. Slate on The Flintstones. One the other side of the coin, Taxi was also the show that he worked with the woman who would become his wife, Rhea Perlman.
Another character who to me was very funny was Reverend Jim, the Christopher Lloyd character who became a regular in the second season after Randall Carver was let go. His portrayal of a burned out hippie, especially in the episode where he took his driver's test was outstanding.
One other character who came along later in the run was Simka Dahblitz, played by Carol Kane. She would later marry Latka.
The show would also be the launching pad for brothers Glen and Les Charles, who would later team up with James Burrows to create and produce another classic comedy, Cheers. Though Taxi won 18 Emmys and had a healthy five year run, it was sent to the garage after moving to NBC in the 1982-83 season. I'll close with the tag line that was heard after the closing credits "Thank you Mr. Walters."
The Lucy Show (1962)
Lucy Doesn't Miss a Beat
Five years after I Love Lucy ended, Lucille Ball returned to TV in her second sitcom, titled The Lucy Show. Unlike Lucy Ricardo, she played a widowed mother of a daughter named Chris, played by Candy Moore and a son named Jerry, portrayed by Jimmy Garrett. Also adding to the hysteria was her former I Love Lucy sidekick Vivian Vance, a divorced mother of a son named Sherman, who was played by Ralph Hart.
As the show progressed, the kids were no longer seen on the show and Vance left after the third season. Also adding to the mayhem were Gale Gordon as Mr. Mooney and Mary Jane Croft. Ball and Gordon had outstanding chemistry that would last until Here's Lucy went off the air in 1974.
Just like I Love Lucy, the show featured the slapstick and physical comedy that made ball one of the funniest female sit=com actresses of all time. I saw Lucy Gets Caught Up in the Draft and she constantly gives her commanding officer a hard time. It was also a very funny episode. There were also numerous episodes with guest stars, including several with Ann Sothern as The Countess.
From the cute animated opening in the first season to the full color episodes in it's sixth and final season, the Lucy show is laugh out loud funny and Ball doesn't miss a beat.
A Successful Teen Sitcom
Two years after Leave it to Beaver became the first show to look at life from a child's view, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis becomes the first sitcom to focus on a teenage perspective of life.
What made Dobie Gillis stand out was Dwayne Hickman's portrayal of the title character. His clean cut, good looks attracted lots of female viewers to the show. Also, he had one of the great TV sidekick as well as one of the most offbeat, Maynard G. Krebs, played by Bob Denver.
Denver, who would go on to greater success on Gilligan's Island would portray not only TV's first beatnik but also one of the first breakout sitcom characters. He wore a goatee and a sweatshirt and shuddered when anyone said the work "Work." I should also point out that Maynard's other catch phrase was "You rang?" The line was also used by Lurch the butler in The Addams Family.
The show wasn't just about Dobie and Maynard. There were also Dobie's parents Herbert and Winnie, played by Frank Faylen and Florida Friebus. Winnie was a patient, understanding mom like June Cleaver and Herbert would sometimes say in the early episodes "I gotta kill that boy." Let's not forget an early TV appearance by Warren Beatty, who played Dobie's rival in the first season Milton Armitage. When Beatty left the show, he was replaced by Steve Franken, who would play one of the most popular characters on the show Chatsworth Osborne.
And there were the girls. The actresses who appeared as Dobie's girlfriends would make some of their early TV appearances such as Michele Lee, Sally Kellerman and Marlo Thomas.
Even though I haven't seen a lot of episodes, I did watch a few on the new Decades channel and I though it was a pretty funny sitcom. Unlike Beaver, Hickman breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience. It was an added dimension to a successful teen sitcom. And that was Dobie with a "b".
The Odd Couple (2015)
Not as Good as the Original 70s Sitcom
I remember watching the 70s incarnation of The Odd Couple with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman and to me it was one of my favorite sitcoms.
I also remember with the New Odd Couple with Ron Glass and Demond Wilson and it wasn't very good since many of the episodes were remakes of the Randall-Klugman series.
Now, more than 30 years later, The Odd Couple is back, with Thomas Lennon as Felix and Matthew Perry (who is also the executive producer) as Oscar. It doesn't look a lot like the first two versions since there is a different supporting cast. Instead of the poker gang of Speed, Vinnie and Roy and also the Pigeon Sisters, there's Dani, Oscar's assistant played by Yvette Nicole Brown and Lindsay Sloane as their upstairs neighbor Emily.
The one character that's absent from this version is Murray the Cop. Al Molinaro made the character famous in the original and John Schuck took over the role in the Glass-Wilson version.
Also, Oscar is no longer a sportswriter, he's a sports radio talk show host. Felix is still a commercial photographer.
On the plus side, Lennon and Perry have good chemistry as Felix and Oscar. On the minus side, the episodes have a lot raunchier humor than the Randall-Klugman version.
The one thing the producers did right was bringing in Garry Marshall, who produced the first two versions as a consultant. With The Big Bang Theory as a lead in, it has been even more successful in the ratings than the first two versions. But can it sustain itself without Big Bang?
Garfunkel and Oates (2014)
A Funny, Sometimes Dirty Reality Comedy
If you're a fan of The Big Bang Theory, then you probably heard of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, who have played guest roles on the show. Micucci played Raj's girlfriend Lucy in a number of episodes.
But if you haven't heard of Garfunkel and Oates, the group that consists of Lindhome and Micucci, then the IFC show is your introduction to the funny female folk duo.
I have seen every episode so far, and to me their songs are funny and sometime dirty. I also like the avant-garde style videos that appear in each episode. It adds a lot to the comedy.
Even though IFC ordered only eight episodes, it's a show that deserves to be back for a longer run next season. It's a show that would also work on HBO since there are no restrictions on language. Give the show a chance, you'll see two outstanding and funny female comedy singers.
Mayberry R.F.D. (1968)
Didn't Miss a Beat After Andy Griffith's Departure
When Andy Griffith decided to leave his own show in 1968 to focus on a movie career, the show continued on under the title Mayberry RFD. Instead of Griffith, Ken Berry, a year after F Troop ended, portrayed a similar character Sam Jones. He was also a widower with a young son, played by Buddy Foster, the brother of actress Jodie Foster.
Also returning were the familiar characters of Goober, Emmett, Howard Sprague and Aunt Bee. Also returning was Arlene Golonka as Sam's love interest Millie. She brought beauty to the show. After the second season, Frances Bavier, who played Aunt bee since The Andy Griffith Show began in 1960, left the show and was replaced by Alice Ghostley as Aunt Alice.
Even without Griffith and Ron Howard, Mayberry RFD didn't miss a beat and turned out to be a very popular rural sitcom. Unfortunately, with ratings still high, CBS canceled the show as part of the Rural Purge in 1971. It's a show that hasn't had a long run as Andy Griffith and it deserves to be rerun on a network such as METV. Mayberry RFD continued the tradition of wholesome, rural sitcoms and shouldn't have been canceled while it was still on top of its game.
Kid Power (1972)
Ground Breaking Cartoon Doesn't Last
Seven years after Morrie Turner became the first African-American cartoonist to launch a comic strip with Wee Pals, ABC debuted an animated version titled Kid Power.
The show was the first to featured a multi-racial group of children as they learned lessons and solved problems in daily life. Some of the characters included Jerry, Nipper Sybil and Ralph the bully. They were members of the Rainbow Club.
I also remember there was a song in each episode sung by The Curbstones. They also sang the theme song, accompanied by outstanding and colorful animation from Rankin-Bass, best known for the holiday classic Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer. But unfortunately, the show didn't have any ratings power and after one season, the network moved the show to Sunday morning and showed only reruns. I should also point out that one of the voices was the son of the actor who played Tonto on The Lone Ranger, Jay Silverheels Jr. Turner recently passed away but his memory will live on with a show that tried to break racial barriers in Kid Power.
The Millers (2013)
CBS has Another Sitcom Hit
After watching TV's top rated sitcom The Big Bang Theory, CBS has another sitcom hit it the new show The Millers. Greg Garcia, the man behind such shows as Yes Dear and My Name is Earl, not only created and produced The Millers, he also wrote the pilot.
The pilot turned out to be a very funny episode, though it resembled Everybody Loves Raymond with the bickering parents premise.
The casting is outstanding. Will Arnett, a sitcom veteran from Arrested Development and Up All Night is great as Nathan, recently divorced from his wife and trying to adjust to singlehood. But then, his mother Carol, played by Margo Martindale, moves in and brings a Doris Roberts with a southern accent touch to the show. It's Martindale's first sitcom and she handles the format well. She is also very funny, especially in the scene where she tries to eat ice cream with a spatula. She could be considered for an Emmy nomination if the show stays on the rest of the season. I hope it does.
Beau Bridges is also hilarious as the dad, who has trouble with the remotes in Nathan's sister's home. He also handles his first sitcom well. Also contributing to the hilarity are JB Smoove and Jayma Mays, who also plays Emma on Glee.
Big Bang Theory fans don't need to change the channel when the episode ends. Stick around for The Millers. It's going to be a hit.
Back in the Game (2013)
Back in the Game Hits a Home Run
As a long-time baseball fan, I have been watching Back in the Game since it debuted and to me, it has the makings of a hit. It's the first sitcom about little league baseball since The Bad News Bears struck out on CBS in 1980.
What makes this show better than the show based on the movie series are the solid performances of Maggie Lawson, who ends up coaching her son's little league team and in his first sitcom role as her alcoholic father, James Caan. Caan seems to handle the sitcom format really well.
Let's not forget the actor who plays Lawson's son and the other members of The Angles. The add a lot to the show.
Back in the Game also reminds me of a boon i read when i was a youngster, The Year Mom Won the Pennant by Matt Christopher. Could Lawon's character lead The angles to the pennant? Watch this show. It hits a home run.
A Fun Kids Game Show
In 1964, Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley revived their first game show Video Village by changing the title to Shenanigans and putting the show in ABC's Saturday morning kids line up.
Sponsored by Milton Bradley, the show featured two kids playing the role of pieces on a game board as the played versions of the sponsor's games and collected shenanaganzas to be redeemed for prizes.
I saw the show for the very first time on youtube.com and i thought it was a fun kids game show. Stubby Kaye, best known for his roles in the musical comedies Guys and Dolls and L'il Abner, did an outstanding job in hosting what would turn out to be his only game show. He brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the proceeding and more important, he had very good rapport with the young contestants. He also sang the show's theme song. It's a shame that any game show producer never offered him another hosting job. He would have also done well hosting an adult game show.
It was also one of the few times veteran Heatter-Quigley announcer Kenny Williams appeared on camera. He portrayed "Kenny the Cop" and added a lot to the show.
If you never seen or heard the show, view it on youtube. You'll have a shenanaganza.
A Very Funny Game Show That Didn't Click
i remember The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour and to me it was a very funny game show that combined to classic comedy games into one format.
Fortunately, Gene Rayburn was brought back to host the Match Game segment. Even though he didn't have the trio of regulars in Brett Somers, Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly, he still handled the show he hosted in two previous incarnations very adeptly.
But wait, There's more. After Match Game ended, three more celebrities came on for Hollywood Squares, hosted by Jon Bauman. Even though I really enjoyed the original Peter Marshall version, this version was weaker than Rayburn's Match Game because Bauman, aka "Bowzer" in Sha Na Na, was not much of a straight man than Marshall and lacked experience hosting a game show. Also, Mark Goodson, who was never a fan of the show, didn't allow the stars to bluff, so all the questions were multiple choice.
After time expired in Hollywood Squares, the winning contestant played the Super Match for a chance to win up to $30,000. The Head to Head Match to me, was done the right way, minus the Star Wheel and each panelist had a card ranging from 10 times their winnings to 30.
Unfortunately, the show suffered from low affiliate clearances due to local or syndicated programming and competition from long-running soaps General Hospital and Guiding Light. After nine months the show was canceled. It just didn't click with viewers.
The Patchwork Family (1972)
One of the Last Memorable New York Kids Shows
In January 1972, WCBS-TV replaced their long-running Sunday morning kids show Around the Corner with a show that also aired on Saturdays titled The Patchwork Family. The show was hosted by Carol Corbett, who I remember from the mid 60s when she hosted a lunchtime show on Channel 11. She had a puppet sidekick named Rags, who was voiced and operated by Cary Antebi. He also handled the puppets Flap and Sherlock on another successful kids show The Magic Garden.
Getting to the show, it was a nice mix of entertainment and education. The were exercise and musical segments as well as a rebus puzzle. Unfortunately, I didn't see a lot of episodes because I moved that summer from New Jersey to Minnesota but I also remember an instrumental in one of the episodes that was also used on the Jack Barry game show Hollywood's Talking as well as in commercials.
The Patchwork Family was one of the last memorable New York kids shows before most of them left the airwaves in the late 70s and 80s. Interesting note, after both Patchwork Family and Magic Garden left TV, Antebi dropped out of show business and became a rabbi.
I'll always remember the theme song that ended with this line: "It's certified and stated, That everyone's related in The Patchwork Family."
The Bob Newhart Show (1972)
Bob Newhart's First Hit Sitcom
Two years after launching the groundbreaking Mary Tyler Moore Show, MTM Productions debuts The Bob Newhart Show. It becomes part of CBS' hit Saturday night lineup, thanks to Newhart's trademark double take, stammer and blank stare persona that was also part of a number of successful comedy records.
Newhart carries the show well but it's the core cast that also makes the show a hit. Suzanne Pleshette as Bob's wife Emily, Peter Bonerz as Jerry, Marcia Wallace as Carol, the receptionist and Bill Daily as divorced neighbor Howard. The ensemble remained together for the entire run. Nobody was spun off and there were no contract disputes and it led to one of the most stable sitcom casts of all-time.
Also in the mix was Bob's therapy group, including Jack Riley as neurotic Elliot Carlin, Florida Friebus as Mrs. Bakerman, John Fiedler as Mr. Peterson and Renee Lippin as Michelle Nardo.
I also remember several episodes with Tom Poston as Cliff (The Peeper) Murdock. He also brought hilarity to the show.
One thing I remember about The Bob Newhart Show that Bob and Emily were the first DINK (Double Income, No Kids)sitcom couple. Emily was not a housewife,she was a grade school teacher (and later vice principal).
Even though the show ran for six seasons before Newhart decided to go back to stand up comedy, it's still one of the best 70s sitcoms. It's well-written and well performed and it also gave Bonerz an opportunity to direct, which he still does today. If you have not seen this show, as Newhart's pet phrase from his records "Same to you fella!" Tune into an episode on ME-TV and see why Newhart is a 70s sitcom classic.
Excellent Blend of Entertainment and Education
I have seen very few episodes of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids because i bowled in a league when the show aired but in the shows I saw, it was an excellent blend of entertainment and education. Bill Cosby was a true genius behind the show as creator, host and voice of several characters, including the main title character. Not only did the show have a long run on Saturday mornings, it also helped Cosby earn his doctorate in education. That's why viewers saw the credit on his next big hit The Cosby Show William H. Cosby Jr. Ed.d.
Another key to the show's success was that the characters were based on real-life friends and relatives of Cosby from his days growing up in Philadelphia. It showed a lot of realism and helped viewers learn about important subjects such as health, TV addiction and respect for authority. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was one of TV's best cartoons of all time. Hey hey hey!
Chico and the Man (1974)
A Hit Show Takes a Sudden Shark Jump
In 1974, NBC capitalized on the success of its Friday night sitcom Sanford and Son with the debut of Chico and the Man. Veteran actor Jack Albertson portrayed Ed Brown, the grouchy garage owner who drank heavily and constantly insulted people. Then along came Chico, played by then newcomer Freddie Prinze and he came in to try to turn around The Man's failing business and move into a van in the parking lot.
The show became a huge success due to the chemistry between Albertson and Prinze and featured a classic exchange that went like this:
Chico: I want my day in the sun. Ed: Then go to the beach.
Unfortunately, Prinze couldn't handle his new found fame and at 22, he shot himself. I felt the show should have ended right there because the rising star was a definitive key to the show's success. Instead, producer James Komack and NBC let the show continue and replaced Prinze with you Gabriel Melgar as Raul. He wasn't as good as Prinze but the show survived on the shoulder of Albertson and the supporting cast, including Scatman Crothers as Louis the Garbage man. His memorable line was "I'm the man who empties your can!" There was also Della Reese as Ed's landlady.
I remember episodes with guest stars such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Jose Feliciano, who wrote and sang the show's theme song.
I really enjoyed Chico and the Man. It was a very funny show but it took a sudden shark jump after Prinze took his life.
The $10,000 Pyramid (1973)
TV's Most Durable Word Game
Since Bob Stewart left Goodson-Todman in the mid 60s to form his own production company, he has had successes such as Eye Guess, Personality and Three on a Match. But in 1973, he had the biggest hit of his career with The $10,000 Pyramid.
Derived from Password, Stewart loosened up the main game by allowing a player descriptive clues to get their partner to guess the word without revealing part of the answer. The winning team goes to The Winner's Circle where the clue giver faces the giant pyramid and gives clues to their partner so they can identify six subjects in 60 seconds. This is what makes Pyramid one of TV's greatest game shows. It is the best bonus round of any game show ever invented because it's 60 seconds of drama and suspense, two important elements needed for a successful game show.
Another element that made Pyramid a hit was host Dick Clark. The American Bandstand host brought to the proceedings something no other host has done. If a contestant loses the big money, he would give clues that would have helped the contestant win. He was the type of host who cared about the players and wanted them to win. Also hosting the various versions were Bill Cullen, John Davidson, Donny Osmond and Mike Richards. They did a really good job as hosts.
Also, there were many celebrities who were outstanding at the game. Some of the best Pyramid players were Soupy Sales, Anita Gillette, Betty White, Nipsey Russell and Henry Polic II.
Since its debut in 1973, the top prize has risen to 25, 50 and 100 thousand and there was also a version simply titled Pyramid and also The Pyramid. It's TV's most durable word game and it will put you in The Winner's Circle.
CBS News Sunday Morning (1979)
A Diverse Blend of News, Features, Arts and Nature
I have watch CBS News Sunday Morning for many years and to me it's a diverse blend of news, features, the arts and nature. Since it's debut in 1979, two men have presided over the show in a low-key and comforting manner, Charles Kuralt and Charles Osgood. They keep the show moving and set the viewer up for the upcoming feature. There are also some moments when Osgood sings and plays the piano.
All of the elements resemble a Sunday newspaper's magazine section and offer the viewer something for everyone. There have also been commentaries from people over the years such as Jeff Greenfield, Ron Powers and Ben Stein.
One feature I enjoy is at the end of each episode when there is a nature scene. Usually running about a minute, there is no dialogue, just views of mountains, waterfalls or other outdoor scenery. It's one of the best uses of the visual aspect of TV.
Though Osgood recently tuned 80, Sunday Morning is a show that could go on for many years to come, even after he decides to retire. It's a timeless show that never gets stale and one of the few spots on network TV today that spotlights classical music since the demise of shows like Omnibus and The Bell Telephone Hour.
If you're looking for something to watch after sleeping late on a Sunday Morning, give the show a shot. from the opening trumpet theme to the closing nature scene, you will be informed and enlightened.
Hip Hop Squares (2012)
Updated Version of Hollywood Squares Lives up to its Name
I watched an episode of the new MTV2 game show Hip Hop Squares and though I'm not into rap and hip hop music, it turned out to be an updated version of the classic comedy game Hollywood Squares that lived up to its name.
The basic tic-tac-toe format hasn't changed as two contestants still try to determine if a star has the correct answer to a question or a bluff. There's also a variation on The Secret Square called "The G-Square", which earns a contestant a bonus of $1000 if they get the square.
New York DJ Peter Rosenberg does a good job as host, in the role originated by the original "Master of the Hollywood Squares" Peter Marshall. It was also a good move to have Nick Cannon as the Center Square. He is also the show's producer and he bring humor and enthusiasm to the proceedings.
The one thing Hip Hop Squares has got right is the bonus round, where the winning contestant picks a row and tries to guess the one star who has the correct answer for $2500. On the last version, hosted by Tom Bergeron, it was a major flaw because there were three different bonus games throughout his version's six year run.
To me, Hip Hop Squares is a fresh take on a classic format created by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley in 1966 and it's one of the few non GSN game show that's a success. It gets the square.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)
Hitchcock's Openings and Closings Set the Scene for Success
The "Master of Suspense", Alfred Hitchcock was the host of the long-running drama anthology "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." It ran for 10 years in both half hour and hour episodes and to me Hitchcock's opening and closing remarks set the scene for success.
What I remember the most about the show was the opening sequence with just an outline of Hitchcock's profile on the screen followed by the veteran director filling the profile. Then they cut to a bizarre location where Hitchcock delivered his opening monologue that concluded with a lead-in to the commercial. One that I remember was when he said "It will follow this one minute anesthetic." Following the commercial began the story and then the show concluded with a wrap up from Hitchcock.
Many veteran actors and actresses appeared in episodes,though too numerous to mention. Even though I didn't get into a lot of the episodes since I'm not much of a suspense fan, I really enjoyed Hitchcock's opening and closing sequences. Fortunately, Antenna TV is rerunning the shows, so viewers can relive one of the great all-time drama anthology shows. Good night.
The Andy Griffith Show (1960)
Best Known Rural Show of All-Time
I remember The Andy Griffith Show well from its days as a Monday night staple on CBS to long-running reruns since the network first reran the show in daytime under the title Andy of Mayberry. To me, it was a very down home piece of life in a small southern town that is definitely the best known rural show of all-time.
Griffith's folksy appeal was one key to the show's success. But the main reason the show became a hit was Don Knotts portrayal of deputy Barney Fife. His hyper tense mannerisms and comedic timing have made the character one of the funniest in sitcom history. When he left the show after five years, I felt the show jumped the shark. His replacement, Jack Burns wasn't as good as Knotts and he had a much shorter run.
The show was also the spring board to Ron Howard's career. he started at age six as Opie and grew into his teens when Griffith quit the show in 1968. Also, there was Frances Bavier as Aunt Bee, best known for her cooking. The show also became the launching pad for Jim Nabors' career. After a season as Gomer Pyle, he got his own show, Gomer Pyle, USMC.
The Andy Griffith Show is a true cult classic and a show that will never leave reruns on cable or local channels. From the whistled theme song to the closing credits, viewers can get a slice of small town life via Mayberry each day.