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Streaker at Academy Awards 1974 Streaking was starting to become all the rage in 1974. It came to the forefront on Oscar night that year when 35-year-old Robert Opel streaked the Academy Awards. Opel, a photographer and art gallery owner, sneaked backstage posing as a journalist. (He had worked as a photographer for The Advocate, a gay/lesbian publication.) Opel ran naked past David Niven, flashing a peace sign while Niven was in the midst of introducing Elizabeth Taylor. Reactions from the audience members ranged from shrieks to gasps to laughter. Television audiences briefly saw only Opel's face and bare torso. Unfazed by the unprecedented disturbance, Niven turned to the audience and quipped, "Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen... But isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?" The episode made Opel something of a celebrity. Producer Allan Carr even asked him to streak at a party for Rudolph Nureyev. Opel was murdered on the night of July 7, 1979 during a robbery at his art studio.
Tags: streaker  Oscars  David  Niven 
Added: 15th August 2011
Views: 1506
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Posted By: Lava1964
Mr. T and Tina - 1976 Sitcom Flop Mr. T and Tina was a forgettable ABC sitcom that aired for just five episodes on ABC in the fall of 1976. (Four other episodes were made but never aired.) It starred Pat Morita who had played restaurateur Arnold on Happy Days. Morita had also appeared on an episode of Welcome Back, Kotter as eccentric inventor Taro Takahashi. ABC bigwigs thought the character had the strength to successfully carry a series. Nope. Viewers still associated Morita with Happy Days and never took a liking to the wacky inventor. Nevertheless, the show was the first American sitcom centered on a person of Asian descent. In the series Morita played a widowed Japanese inventor who hires free-spirited Tina Kelly (Susan Blanchard) to be a governess for his children. Also in the cast was Ted Lange who, thanks to this show's quick cancellation, was able to sign onto a more successful ABC series--The Love Boat. Morita went on to co-star in the equally short-lived series Blansky's Beauties a few months later, making him one of the few actors to star in two unsuccessful, unrelated TV series during the same season.
Tags: Mr  T  and  Tina  sitcom  ABC  flop 
Added: 18th August 2011
Views: 958
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Posted By: Lava1964
You Bet Your Life - Bill Cosby Remake One of the most enduring game shows of all time was the original You Bet Your Life. It was hosted by Groucho Marx first on radio in 1947 and continued well into the television era until 1961. The quiz game was clearly secondary to the superbly ad-libbed interviews Marx had with the contestants. A new version of You Bet Your Life, hosted by Bill Cosby, aired from September 7, 1992 to June 4, 1993 in syndication. Cosby was joined on this show by a female announcer and sidekick, Robbi Chong; she was referred to as "Renfield." Organist Shirley Scott contributed the jazzy theme music. The program was taped in Philadelphia. Three couples competed, each couple playing the game individually. After the couple was introduced, they spent time chatting with Cosby. When the interview was done, the game began. Each couple was staked with $750 and were then asked three questions within a category presented at the start of the game. Before each question, the couple made a wager, which would be added to their winnings if they were correct or subtracted if they were incorrect. The secret word in this version, worth $500, was represented by a blackbird wearing a sweatshirt from Temple University, Cosby's alma mater. The couple with the most money played for an additional $10,000. Although Cosby was renowned for ad-libbing funny exchanges with audience members as part of his stand-up comedy routines, he was no Groucho Marx. (Who, besides Groucho, was?) Low ratings prompted the cancellation of the series after just one season.
Tags: remake  You  Bet  Your  Life  Bill  Cosby  syndicated 
Added: 21st August 2011
Views: 769
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Posted By: Lava1964
Star-Spangled Banner Becomes US National Anthem - 1931 On November 3, 1929, Robert Ripley drew a panel in his syndicated cartoon, Ripley's Believe it or Not!, saying "Believe It or Not, America has no national anthem". This news startled a great many people who thought The Star-Spangled Banner, written as a poem by Francis Scott Key, had long been America's official national anthem. It hadn't. For years, Hail Columbia had served that purpose on official government occasions. My Country 'Tis of Thee was also frequently used. In 1931, John Philip Sousa published his opinion in favor of the Star-Spangled Banner, stating "...it is the spirit of the music that inspires" as much as it is Key’s "soul-stirring" words. By a law signed on March 3, 1931 by President Herbert Hoover, The Star-Spangled Banner was finally adopted as the national anthem of the United States.
Tags: Star-Spangled  Banner  anthem 
Added: 23rd August 2011
Views: 966
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Posted By: Lava1964
Ball Four - Sitcom Flop 1976 Ball Four was a situation comedy that aired on CBS in 1976. The series was inspired by the tremendously successful 1970 book of the same name by Jim Bouton. Bouton co-created the show with humorist and television critic Marvin Kitman and sportswriter Vic Ziegel. Bouton also starred in the series. Ball Four followed the Washington Americans, a fictitious minor league baseball team, dealing with the fallout from a series of Sports Illustrated articles written by Americans' player Jim Barton (Bouton). Like the book, the series covered controversial subjects including womanizing players, drug use, homosexuality in sports, and religion. The series included a gay rookie ballplayer--one of the earliest regular gay characters on television. The creative trio began developing the series in 1975, looking to groundbreaking series like M*A*S*H and All in the Family as models. CBS expressed interest and the creative team developed a script. CBS shot the pilot episode and ultimately bought the series. Ball Four aired at 8:30 PM Eastern time, which was during the Family Viewing Hour, an FCC-mandated hour of early evening "family-friendly" broadcasting. Consequently the writers had some trouble with the network's Standards and Practices in their attempt to portray realistic locker room scenes, especially the language used by the players. Pseudo-profanity such as "bullpimp" was disallowed, while "horse-crock" and "bullhorse" were approved. Ball Four debuted on September 22, 1976. Critics panned the series. One of the more charitable reviews called it "uneven in quality." CBS cancelled Ball Four after just five episodes.
Tags: sitcom  Ball  Four  baseball  CBS 
Added: 23rd August 2011
Views: 680
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Posted By: Lava1964
Holmes and Yo-Yo - Sitcom Flop 1976 Holmes & Yo-Yo was a disastrous, far-fetched sitcom that aired on ABC for 13 episodes during the 1976-1977 season. The series followed luckless Detective Alexander Holmes (whose partners always seem to get killed in the line of duty) and his new android partner Yo-Yo, on their adventures and misadventures. Meanwhile Holmes taught Yo-Yo how to be human while trying to keep his quirky partner's true nature a secret. The show was produced by Leonard Stern, a former staff writer for Get Smart--which featured an android character named Hymie who was a prototype for Yo-Yo. Richard B. Shull starred as Detective Holmes. John Schuck starred as his partner Gregory "Yo-Yo" Yoyonivich. Co-stars were Andrea Howard and Bruce Kirby. Jay Leno appeared in the pilot as a gas station attendant! The pilot episode introduced Detective Holmes as a down-on-his-luck veteran cop who constantly injures his partners. The department gives him a new partner, Gregory Yoyonivich. Yo-Yo, as he likes to be called, is good-natured, if a bit clumsy, and also surprisingly strong. During one of their first calls, Yo-Yo is shot and Holmes discovers his new partner is an android--a sophisticated new crime-fighting machine designed by the police department as their secret weapon on crime. "You're not a person!" is Holmes' stunned response. Besides super-strength, Yo-Yo's other abilities were speed reading, and the ability to analyze clues at the scene. Yo-Yo had a built-in Polaroid camera: Each time his nose was pressed, a Polaroid photograph of his view would be taken and ejected from his shirt pocket. Yo-Yo's control panel was built into his chest, which could be opened by pulling his tie. The level of Yo-Yo's batteries was critical, because if they ran down his memory and, effectively, his being would be erased. In one episode his batteries came very close to running down completely, and he was charged by being pushed against an electric fence with his arms extended. Yo-Yo weighed 427 pounds, and his heavy build could absorb the shock of a bomb. Much comedy was derived from Yo-Yo's constant malfunctions. Some of his common problems included uncontrollably spinning head over heels when near an electric garage door that was opening or closing; bullets causing him to break out dancing; magnets flying at him; picking up radio signals from Sweden; and repeating "Bunco Squad, Bunco Squad, Bunco Squad" over and over when his circuits blew. Another running gag involved Yo-Yo's ability to read an entire book by simply fanning its pages; his invariable comment after doing so: "I enjoyed it!" The show premiered in September 1976 and was axed before Christmas.
Tags: Holmes  and  Yo-Yo  sitcom  ABC  flop 
Added: 30th August 2011
Views: 1042
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Posted By: Lava1964
Cafe Americain - Sitcom Flop 1993 A ratings disappointment for NBC in the 1993-94 TV season was Café Americain, a sitcom starring Valerie Bertinelli. Bertinelli played a young American woman, Holly Aldrige, who finds a job working as a waitress in a small café in France even though she speaks no French. The cast consisted of an assortment of eccentric characters from around the world who regularly visited the café, generating comedic circumstances. One, Madame Ybarra, a former dictator's wife, was a thinly veiled spoof of Imelda Marcos. Another was Fabiana Borelli, a tempestuous Italian model, and her perpetually jealous Italian lover Carlo. They regularly sparred and reconciled. The show never garnered a following, even with a favorable timeslot change. It was yanked from NBC's regular schedule in February 1994 after just 16 episodes. In May two previously unaired episodes were shown on one night.
Tags: Valerie  Bertinelli  Cafe  Americain 
Added: 8th September 2011
Views: 715
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Posted By: Lava1964
Donald Haines - Our Gang War Casualty Donald Haines was a supporting character in the Our Gang comedies just after the transition from silent movies to sound. Haines's tenure began during the early talkies up through the "Miss Crabtree episodes," when he would leave for feature films at Paramount only to return a few months later. His tenure continued through 1933. Haines's first short was Shivering Shakespeare, which featured the youngster giggling his way through his lines. On the next short The First Seven Years, he was a main character, playing opposite Jackie Cooper. After that, he was a recurring character with a few small speaking roles until 1931. At that time he was offered a contract with Paramount, which would begin with a role in a feature called Skippy. Jackie Cooper also was offered a role on that feature and a contract. Cooper would remain at Paramount. Haines, on the other hand, would quickly leave Paramount to return to Hal Roach Studios just in time for the 1931-1932 season. At that point, several major characters had left the series because they were perceived as too old. This left a depleted Our Gang of only three regulars and a few recurring characters. Haines would resume his role as a recurring character with an occasional speaking role for the next two seasons. Shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, Haines joined the Army Air Force and rose to the rank of lieutenant. He was listed as missing in action in February 1943. His body was never found.
Tags: Donald  Haines  Our  Gang  MIA 
Added: 10th September 2011
Views: 1042
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Posted By: Lava1964
Tell It To Groucho - 1962 After hosting the hugely successful You Bet Your Life on TV from 1950 to 1961, 70-year-old Groucho Marx was persuaded to return to the tube with Tell It To Groucho--a short-lived game show that aired for just five months on CBS in 1962 before being axed. The show was similar to YBYL, where the ad-libbed comedic banter between Groucho and the contestants was far more important than the game. This time the game portion was almost an afterthought. To win $500, contestants had to identify celebrities whose pictures were only shown for a split second. The show had a rotten time slot. It was directly pitted against Dr. Kildare on NBC and My Three Sons on ABC. Early in the show's run, Groucho wrote to a friend and described his on-air assistant, Patty Harmon, as "a sprightly young doll with oversized knockers who leaps around the stage with all the abandon of a young doe being pursued by an elderly banker". (Harmon was a onetime runner-up in the Miss Connecticut pageant and had been a contestant on YBYL. She later got some acting gigs as Joy Harmon. Her most famous role was in Cool Hand Luke; she's the busty blonde who provocatively washes her car within eyeshot of the aroused chain-gang prisoners.) Groucho never had another regular TV show after the last episode of Tell It To Groucho aired on May 31, 1962.
Tags: Joy  Patty  Harmon  Groucho  Marx  Tell  It  to  Groucho  game  show 
Added: 5th October 2011
Views: 1878
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Posted By: Lava1964
Salute to Tim The Toolman Taylor Tags: Tim  Allen,  Home  Improvement,  comedies,  comedy,  grunts 
Added: 13th October 2011
Views: 644
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Posted By: Cliffy

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