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Bewitched Switches Darrins A great many TV sitcoms have experienced cast changes during their runs. None, however, was more startling to the average viewer than when the role of Darrin Stephens on Bewitched went suddenly from Dick York to Dick Sargent in 1969. York had portrayed Darrin since the series premiered in 1964. However, York had suffered a severe back injury while filming a movie in 1959. He became heavily dependent on pain killers for sleeping and getting through the day. By 1968 York's back injury was so crippling that he had to be written out of several episodes and/or the show's shooting schedule had to be changed to accommodate his absences. Often, when York was able to work, his scenes were structured so he could lie down on a couch or a bed. Finally in January 1969 he passed out during a taping and had to be rushed to a hospital. During York's hospitalization, producer William Asher asked York if he wanted out of the show. York knew he couldn't continue so he reluctantly agreed. He was replaced by the much taller Dick Sargent who played a more assertive version of Darrin. How did the show account for the dramatic change in appearance of its leading male character? One idea was to have Darrin the victim of a spell that made him grow. Eventually it was decided that nothing would be said; Sargent just assumed York's old role without explanation. Sargent played Darrin until the show's run ended in 1972. Bewitched fans constantly debate which actor played Darrin better. Sadly, York fell on hard times after leaving the series. Bad investments drained his savings. He died in poverty in 1992.
Tags: Bewitched  two  Darrins 
Added: 21st October 2009
Views: 1520
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Posted By: Lava1964
TVs Worst Sitcom The Trouble With Tracy Canadian television has been responsible for some of the worst sitcoms ever. The nadir is probably The Trouble With Tracy. To satisfy new Canadian content requirements, there were 130 episodes produced for CTV during the 1970-71 season. That's right, 130! It was a daily sitcom set in New York City. Because the episodes came off the production line so quickly and CTV was cash-strapped, quality control was minimal. Flubbed lines often stayed in the shows because retakes were too expensive. Rumor has it that all the master tapes have been destroyed. Here are the opening credits that some masochist recorded.
Tags: Trouble  With  Tracy 
Added: 3rd April 2009
Views: 2344
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Posted By: Lava1964
Me And The Chimp One of the worst sitcoms ever to grace the American TV airwaves was 'Me And The Chimp.' It ran for 19 painful weeks on CBS from January 13 to May 18, 1972 before being yanked. Ted Bessell starred as dentist Mike Reynolds. Anita Gillette played his wife Liz. The plot revolved around the Reynolds family taking in a runway chimpanzee, and the primate's subsequent misadventures. This TV turkey was created by Garry Marshall and Tom Miller. Both later worked on major hit shows Happy Days and Laverne And Shirley.
Tags: Me  and  the  Chimp 
Added: 21st May 2009
Views: 1262
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Posted By: Lava1964
Karen - Forgotten Sitcom Anyone remember a 1964 NBC sitcom titled Karen? Here's the opening montage--which looks remarkably similar to what Happy Days used to open its show a decade later. The theme song was sung by The Beach Boys! According to Total Television, Karen was one of three rotating 1964 NBC sitcoms set in 90 Bristol Court--an apartment complex. The other two (Against the World and Tom, Dick and Mary) were cancelled quickly. Karen lasted a full season until August 30, 1965. Pretty Debbie Watson played typical teenage girl Karen Scott. Richard Dreyfuss--who would go on to much bigger and better things in Hollywood--occasionally appeared as one of Karen's many friends. After Karen was cancelled, Debbie Watson was given the title role in another sitcom--Tammy. Like Karen, Tammy lasted just one season before getting the ax. Watson retired from acting in 1971 at age 22 after making an appearance on Love, American Style.
Tags: Karen  NBC  sitcom   
Added: 10th March 2014
Views: 1539
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Traci Lords Scandal 1986 One of the more salacious scandals of the 1980s involved pornographic movie star Nora Louise Kuzma, better known to skin-flick aficionados as Traci Lords. In July 1986, during a comprehensive federal investigation into the pornography industry, authorities received an anonymous tip: Traci Lords, the hugely popular actress, had just turned 18 years old--meaning her meteoric two-year porn career had begun at the illegal and tender age of 16, perhaps even 15. It was true. Her mother's ex-boyfriend had provided Traci with a fake ID that added more than five years to Lords' age, giving her a November 1962 birthdate instead of May 1968. (Her physical attributes so belied her true age that Lords was also able to illegally obtain a California driver's license and a passport.) Mom's ex arranged some nude modelling gigs for Lords, including photos for Penthouse. Within a short time, Lords was Penthouse's Pet of the Month--an issue that outsold all others in the publication's history. She quickly graduated to hard-core films at a time when the home video market was exploding. Lords appeared in about 80 porn flicks and became enormously popular for her enthusiastic performances. 'I get paid for doing things I like,' Lords told an interviewer. Lords claims she only made 21 films (and earned about $35,000 for her services), but dozens of other movies were created from outtakes and reused footage. According to porn industry insiders, however, Lords was making six movies a month, demanding and getting $1,000 per day from producers (about twice the going rate for hard-core porn actresses at the time). Some sources claim Lords made over $1 million from her XXX-rated movies--and even had video companies give her $10,000 a month and provide her with a furnished apartment and a Mercedes. Before the scandal broke, her movies were outselling her nearest rival's by a 10:1 ratio. One film, 'Traci, I Love You,' was made in Europe a few days after her eighteenth birthday by her own newly formed production company, and is thus the only porno movie of hers that can be legally obtained or viewed in North America. Some of her 'banned' films are still available in Europe where laws and the age of sexual consent vary. (In France, for example, it is illegal for someone under the age of 18 to appear in a pornographic movie, but the film itself is not illegal.) The huge scandal resulted in more stringent age verification for porn participants that still exist today. Because of accusations that producers had lured Lords into the business knowing she was a minor, the entire adult film industry verged on collapse. However, Lords had also fooled the federal government with the same fake I.D. to get a U.S. passport, so prosecution efforts were halted. Suspicion lingers that it was Lords herself who tipped off authorities to her true age in order to increase her fame and eliminate her old films from the marketplace once she began her own production company. Lords, shown here in a 2008 photo, has pursued a career as a 'serious actress' since 1986. She has appeared in various films and TV sitcoms, usually typecast as 'the bad girl.'
Tags: Traci  Lords  scandal  underage  pornography 
Added: 30th September 2009
Views: 11881
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Life With Lucy - 1986 Lucille Ball had 23 years of successful sitcoms from 1951 through 1974. During the next dozen years, Ball appeared only in specials and did the occasional game show. In 1986, after some serious negotiating, ABC persuaded the 75-year-old Ball to come out of retirement and do another sitcom, Life With Lucy, alongside 80-year-old Gale Gordon. Lucy would be paid for 22 episodes even if the series was cancelled before they aired or were even made. She also insisted that Bob Carroll and Madelyn Pugh--her two primary writers from I Love Lucy--would have final script approval. Lucy played a widow who moves in her with daughter's family. The first episode aired on Saturday, September 23, 1986. It ranked 23rd for the week. The reviews were not kind. Critics felt the scripts were old-fashioned and predictable. Some Lucy fans cringed watching the elderly Lucy and Gale perform stunts they did years earlier. Lucy’s timing was a bit off as well because she now needed cue cards to remember her lines. As the weeks went on, Life With Lucy steadily fell in the ratings. Within two months, it was among the lowest-rated shows on television. Lucy was shocked because she had never failed in a series before. There were occasional bright spots, though: Lucille Ball was likely at her personal best in an episode featuring John Ritter. (Each was a huge fan of the other.) An episode titled 'Mother of the Bride,' in which Audrey Meadows (of The Honeymooners) appeared as Lucy's sister, probably was the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, nothing could save what was becoming a major disappointment for ABC. Even though 13 episodes were filmed, only eight made it to the airwaves before the series was axed. 'Mother of the Bride' was the last one to air on November 15, 1986. Lucy was apparently devastated by the show's cancellation, tearfully declaring to longtime friend Ann Sothern that TV viewers only accepted a younger Lucy--not Lucy as a grandmother. ABC never aired any reruns. Life With Lucy has not yet been made available on DVD.
Tags: Life  With  Lucy  Sitcom 
Added: 21st March 2010
Views: 2170
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Posted By: Lava1964
CBS Rural Purge From 1969 through 1972, a 'rural purge' of American television networks (in particular, CBS) dramatically changed the prime time television landscape. The majority of cancellations occurred at the end of the 1970-71 television season. While cancellations have always been part of the television business, the fact that many of the cancelled shows were still quite popular made the move very controversial. Basically, the rural-themed shows lacked the young, urban-demographic audiences that CBS desired. Pat Buttram, who played Mr. Haney on Green Acres, famously noted, '[It was] the year CBS killed everything with a tree in it.' The first rural-themed show cancelled by CBS was Petticoat Junction. (This came as no real surprise as Petticoat Junction had lagged in the ratings since Bea Benaderet's death in 1968.) In September 1970 The Mary Tyler Moore Show premiered on CBS. All in the Family premiered in January 1971 as a mid-season replacement. Both series provided the urban demographic and ratings that CBS sought. These successes prompted the network to cancel Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mayberry RFD, Hee-Haw, Lassie, and The Jim Nabors Hour at the end of the 1970-71 season. The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour lasted until the end of the 1971-72 season. Non-rural themed shows cancelled included sitcoms Family Affair and Hogan's Heroes in 1971, with the long running My Three Sons ending in 1972. Variety shows that had been around since the late 1940s and early 1950s, The Jackie Gleason Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, were cancelled in 1970 and 1971 respectively. The Red Skelton Show was cancelled by CBS at the end the 1969-70 season. Skelton never forgave CBS.
Tags: CBS  rural  purge  television 
Added: 22nd January 2011
Views: 10216
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Debralee Scott Debralee Scott was an actress best known for her role as Rosalie 'Hoty' Totsie on the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. Her first film appearance came shortly after her 18th birthday in 1971. It was an uncredited role as a nude corpse in the Clint Eastwood cop flick Dirty Harry. At age 22 she found fame on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, playing Mary's sister, Cathy Shumway. In 1975-76 Scott appeared on the first season of the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter as the lone female sweathog. Later she had a role in the Donna Pescow sitcom Angie, playing Angie's younger sister, Marie Falco. Among her other credits were the 1973 feature film American Graffiti and the 1974 film Earthquake. Scott also regularly appeared as a celebrity panelist on Match Game between 1976 and 1982. Scott continued to act, appearing in two Police Academy movies, but she later retired from acting and became an agent for a company in New York City called Empowered Artists. The last few years of Scott's life were replete with tragedy: Scott's fiancé, Port Authority police officer John Dennis Levi, died during the 9/11 attacks. In March 2005, Scott moved from Brooklyn to Amelia Island, Florida to care for her ailing elder sister, Carol Anne, a producer who had worked on many Robert Altman films. Soon after her arrival in Florida, Scott collapsed and lingered in a coma for several days before waking. Since doctors could not ascertain what caused the coma, she was released two days later. Three days later, on April 5, 2005, she took a nap and never woke up. She was three days past her 52nd birthday. Despite an autopsy, the cause of death remained uncertain. Scott's body was cremated. Her sister died of heart failure on July 13, 2006. In an interview shortly after Debralee's death, her mother attributed her daughter's passing to alcoholism that sprang from her despondency over her fiancé's death.
Tags: Debralee  Scott  actress  sitcoms 
Added: 27th February 2011
Views: 6491
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Posted By: Lava1964
Sanford Arms - Sitcom Flop Here is the opening sequence to one of the most pointless sitcoms ever attempted: Sanford Arms. The popular NBC sitcom Sanford and Son had ended in September 1977 after a run of five-and-a-half years. Star Redd Foxx (who played Fred Sanford) had left NBC to do a variety show for ABC. Demond Wilson (Lamont Sanford) was supposed to continue on as the star of Sanford Arms. However NBC balked at paying his demands for more money for being the star of the show, so Wilson bailed out. Undaunted, NBC produced the show using secondary characters from Sanford and Son. The first episode explained that Fred and Lamont had moved to Arizona for Fred's health. Their old house plus the place next door had been bought by Phil Wheeler. Wheeler would use the Sanford house as his business office and home while the next-door property would be converted into a rooming house christened Sanford Arms. The public was utterly uninterested. Sanford Arms debuted on September 16, 1977 and aired just four times (although eight total episodes were made). Atrocious ratings caused NBC to abruptly axed the show following the October 13 broadcast.
Tags: Sanford  Arms  NBC  sitcom 
Added: 29th March 2014
Views: 1081
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Blanskys Beauties - 1977 Sitcom Flop After being part of two successful TV series in the early 1970s, Nancy Walker had two sitcoms in which she played the starring role cancelled in the same 1976-77 TV season. In September 1976, The Nancy Walker Show premiered. In it Walker played talent agent Nancy Kitteridge who was learning to live with her husband who had been away at sea for most of their 29-year marriage. The show bombed and was cancelled before New Year's Day. Undeterred, ABC cast Walker in another sitcom. This time she played Howard Cunningham's visiting cousin Nancy Blansky from Las Vegas on the February 4, 1977 episode of Happy Days. Blansky's Beauties premiered eight days later. In this show Nancy Blansky was a Las Vegas showbiz vet and current den mother to a bevy of beautiful showgirls. In addition to keeping order in the chaotic apartment complex where they all lived, Nancy staged the girls' big numbers at the Oasis Hotel. (Strangely, the Happy Days episode on which Nancy first appeared took place circa 1960, yet Blansky's Beauties was set in 1977.) Sixteen-year-old Scott Baio played the role of a "12-year-old going on 28." Eddie Mekka from Laverne and Shirley was also part of the cast. Blansky's Beauties ran for just 13 weeks before being axed. Recalled once critic, "This show had every 1970s teeny bopper element aimed to appeal to the lowest intellect and thus make it a hit--except this time cute boys and inane, jiggly, dumb blondes were not enough to cover for horrible scripts, contrived situations, bad acting, and unbelievable plots. The show tried to be a spin-off/tie-in to Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley (or at least ride on their successes) by utilizing actors - most notably Eddie Mekka and Scott Baio - from those shows and making the title role the cousin of Happy Days' Howard Cunningham. Having Nancy Walker as its star, scantily-clad bimbos wiggling around the set, and pretty boy co-stars to elicit screams from young girls in the audience, however, could never have saved it from itself. This show is a best-forgotten footnote to bad television."
Tags: Blanskys  Beauties  sitcom  flop  ABC  spinoff   
Added: 20th August 2011
Views: 2917
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964

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