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Occasional Wife - Failed Sitcom For the 1966-67 season NBC introduced a new sitcom titled Occasional Wife. Here was the premise of the show: Peter Christopher (played by Michael Callan), an eager employee of a baby food company, is not allowed to progress up the corporate ladder unless he has a wife. He solves his problem by having a female friend, Greta Patterson (played by Patricia Harty)--who lives two floors up in the same apartment building--pose as his wife whenever necessary to fool his boss. Many humorous sequences occurred on the fire escape where a nosy neighbor--known only as Man-in-the-Middle (played by Bryan O'Byrne)--observed the deceitful goings-on. Occasional Wife started out well in the ratings but had slid into 64th place by the end of its only season. It was axed after 24 episodes. In real life Callan and Harty fell in love while making the show and were married during its short run. They eventually divorced, however. The narrator heard in the opening sequence should be recognizable to baseball fans: It's longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully!
Tags: sitcom  NBC  Occasional  Wife 
Added: 17th October 2015
Views: 1075
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Elusive Andy Griffith Show Character - Mr. Schwump The Andy Griffith Show has some of the most fanatically devoted watchers of any sitcom in history. Despite their zeal, no one has been able to positively identify the actor who played 'Mr. Schwump' in at least 26 episodes from 1964 through 1968. Actually, fans of the show can't even agree on the character's name. The late Everett Greenbaum, who wrote many of the scripts, claimed the character was actually written as 'Mr. Schwamp,' but it seemed to be pronounced as 'Schwump' whenever he was acknowledged. Whatever the case, Mr. Schwump was the classic background character: He can be seen in crowd shots at Mayberry's social gatherings, at public meetings, at private parties, at church services, sitting on a public bench, as a customer in stores, etc. He never once uttered a single line in any episode nor was he given any screen credit. He is only noteworthy at all because in several episodes Andy Taylor passes by him and says, "Hello, Mr. Schwump." It is generally acknowledged that he appears to be about 60 years old and wears a hairpiece. Efforts by zealous fans to find out who the actor was have proven fruitless. On April 1, 2012 an elaborate post was made on the Facebook page of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club declaring that researchers had determined Mr. Schwump was an actor named Patch S. Wimmers originally from Camp Threw, MS. Although it was supposed to be an obvious April Fools Day prank, many die-hard fans did not realize the information was bogus and still accept the Patch S. Wimmers story as gospel. None of the surviving cast members ever remembers learning Mr. Schwump's real name. One theory claims the mysterious actor was a friend of Andy Griffith and his occasional appearances in the show were an inside joke. Mr. Schwump's true identity remains unknown.
Tags: Mr  Schwump  Andy  Griffith  Show  sitcom 
Added: 4th March 2015
Views: 6965
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Vanishing TV Character - Bub OCasey My Three Sons was one of televisions's longest-running sitcoms, airing 380 episodes over 12 seasons. It first aired on ABC from 1960 through 1965 and then on CBS from 1965 through 1972. The premise of the show was that Stephen Douglas (played by Fred MacMurray) was a widowed aeronautical engineer with three sons whose ages spanned about 12 years. We never learn much about his deceased wife--not even her first name. With Stephen Douglas often busy, his father-in-law, crusty but good-natured Bub O'Casey, was brought into the family fold to be the equivalent of the 'mother': the person who would cook, clean, shop, do laundry, mend clothes, and so forth. Bub was played by William Frawley who had earlier gained TV fame as Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy in the 1950s. The show was immediately popular but never quite managed to crack the Nielsen top 10 in ratings. Fred MacMurray, who was once the highest paid actor in Hollywood, only agreed to be in the show if he could shoot all his scenes in three months. ABC agreed to this unusual demand. This meant the scripts for an entire season had to be prepared so MacMurray's scenes could all be shot over the space of three months and then pieced together with scenes involving only the other cast members who had a standard shooting schedule. Four seasons into the show, a problem arose: Frawley's health was declining to the point where ABC could not get him insured in case it had to pay for an entire season of episodes to be re-shot with a replacement if Frawley died or was incapacitated by illness. Thus ABC felt it was financially prudent to unceremoniously drop Frawley from the cast midway through the 1964-65 season. (It was explained that Bub had gone to Ireland to look after his 104-year-old Aunt Katie.) Enter William Demarest, who took on the role of Charley O'Casey--Bub's seafaring brother. He was persuaded to become the new Mr. Mom at the Douglas home and proved to be even more grumpy than Bub, but just as lovable deep down. Bub was seldom mentioned again once Uncle Charley entered the scene. Apparently Frawley resented Demarest for replacing him in the cast. Because only the 1965 to 1970 episodes are widely syndicated, many newer fans of My Three Sons are utterly unaware of Bub O'Casey. The insurance concerns were very valid: Frawley died suddenly in March 1966 at age 79.
Tags: Bub  OCasey  My  Three  Sons  William  Frawley 
Added: 9th March 2015
Views: 2952
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Failed Spinoff - The Tortellis In the early seasons of Cheers, some of the funniest episodes centered around the antics of Nick Tortelli, the sleazy ex-husband of Cheers barmaid Carla. Played by Dan Hedaya, Nick was a TV repairman who eventually married ex-showgirl Loretta (played by Jean Kasem and described by Total Television as "statuesque but dippy"). NBC figured the duo of Nick and Loretta had the potential to be comedy gold, so in January 1987 they were given their own sitcom titled The Tortellis. The show's premise was that Nick and his trophy wife had already split up and Loretta had returned to Las Vegas. They reconcile in the pilot episode and remain in Nevada in a crowded household. The couple lived with Nick's oldest son and his teenage wife--and Nick's pragmatic sister and her young son. The show never caught on, despite occasional special appearances by Cheers cast members. The Tortellis was dropped by NBC after the 13th episode aired on May 12, 1987 less than four months after its debut. Nick and Loretta made one more appearance on Cheers in which it was explained that Nick's TV repair business had failed.
Tags: NBC  failed  sitcom  The  Tortellis  Cheers  spinoff 
Added: 1st April 2015
Views: 1329
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Harold Lloyd Bomb Mishap - 1919 On August 24, 1919, ascending silent movie comedian Harold Lloyd arrived at Pathe Studios to begin a publicity campaign to celebrate his new contract. He was posing for some publicity stills--unaware that such a seemingly benign activity was about to dramatically change his life. In one posed shot Lloyd was supposed to light a prop bomb with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. (The image supposedly played up Lloyd's typical devil-may-care attitude in his films.) Unbeknownst to anyone in the studio, some actual bombs from another film--which had been rejected for being too dangerous--had been placed in a box among some dummy bombs. The photographer innocently handed Lloyd one of the live bombs. When the fuse was lit, Lloyd sensed something was mildly wrong because it produced excessive smoke that would surely ruin any photographs. Just as Lloyd discarded the bomb on a nearby table, it exploded. Miraculously Lloyd was not killed as the blast ripped open a a 16-foot swath in the room. Nevertheless, Lloyd suffered numerous facial injuries and temporarily lost his eyesight. Only when extreme pain set in did Lloyd become aware that his right thumb and forefinger had been severed. He spent six weeks in a hospital recovering. He was overwhelmed by the number of fan letters which he said helped him overcome his depression about the accident. In all his subsequent films Lloyd wore a special prosthetic device concealed within a white glove to make it look like his right hand was absolutely normal. Lloyd did not want to dwell on his injury as he did not want moviegoers to watch his films due to pity. Lloyd continued to engage in very active physical comedy routines despite the handicap. His famous building-climbing scene in Safety Last occurred after the bomb accident--making it all the more incredible. Some years ago I posted Lloyd's 1953 mystery guest appearance on What's My Line. His deformed hand can clearly be seen when he shakes hands with the WML panelists as he departs.
Tags: Harold  Lloyd  bomb  injury  hand 
Added: 20th April 2015
Views: 4504
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Oregon Poisoned Eggs Accident - 1942 On Wednesday, November 18, 1942 a horrible mistake killed 47 patients at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem--a facility housing those afflicted with mental illnesses. An evening meal of scrambled eggs was being prepared by the two-person kitchen crew. The cooking staff had been much larger, but the manpower demands of the Second World War had reduced it to just head cook Mary O'Hare and her male assistant A.B. McKillop. Against hospital policy, McKillop designated a trusted patient, 27-year-old George A. Nosen, to go to a downstairs storage room to get a scoopful of powdered milk to add to the frozen egg yolks. Nosen entered the wrong room and brought back a six-pound scoop of roach poison from an unmarked bin. The roach poison contained huge amounts of sodium fluoride. In very tiny amounts, sodium fluoride is harmless. It is found in most toothpastes in minuscule amounts to strengthen teeth. However, even an amount as small as an aspirin can be deadly to a human. Within a short time of the eggs being served, patients became violently ill, some vomiting blood. By midnight 30 patients had died. The death toll eventually rose to 47. About 460 patients in total suffered some ill effects. McKillop quickly suspected something had gone terribly amiss because of the powdered milk. This was confirmed when Nosen showed him the bin where it had come from. Investigators were perplexed as the kitchen staff initially reported that nothing outside the norm had happened in preparing the meal. Beyond the hospital theories abounded about what may have caused the deaths. Some people blamed them on a deliberate act of malice by a homicidal patient. Others thought it was an extreme case of salmonella due to improper food storage. Still others thought it might be war-related sabotage as the frozen egg yolks were the same type that were being sent overseas to feed American troops. Eventually McKillop's conscience bothered him and he told the truth about Nosen mistaking the roach poison for powdered milk. McKillop wanted to be held solely responsible for the mishap, but he, O'Hare and Nosen were all arrested. They were never charged as a Grand Jury ruled the incident to have been merely a tragic accident--one that killed nearly four dozen innocent patients. Nosen remained an inmate at the hospital--where he was looked upon as a pariah--until his death in 1983 at age 68. He suffered a fatal heart attack while scuffling with a 75-year-old patient.
Tags: poisoned  eggs  Oregon  1942 
Added: 27th April 2015
Views: 1810
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Herb Washington Pickoff - 1974 WS In 1974 Oakland Athletics' owner Charlie Finley signed 22-year-old Herb Washington to an MBL contract. Washington's baseball experience was minimal, but he did hold the indoor world record in the 50-yard dash. Throughout the 1974 season, Washington never once batted or played a defensive position. His sole task was to pinch-run. He stole 29 bases in 45 attempts--which is not really a good success rate for a fast MLB baserunner. In Game #2 of the 1974 World Series, Washington was brought in to pinch-run for Joe Rudi in the top of the ninth inning with one out and the A's trailing the L.A. Dodgers 3-2. To the delight of baseball traditionalists who viewed Washington as an unqualified interloper, Mike Marshall decisively picked off Washington in front of a huge NBC television audience. Curt Gowdy and Vin Scully call the play. Washington's out effectively squelched an A's rally. (They had scored twice in the top of the ninth to make the game close.) The Dodgers won the game 3-2. Washington was cut by the A's in May 1975 and never played baseball again.
Tags: Herb  Washington  MLB  runner  pickoff 
Added: 30th April 2015
Views: 1709
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Toma - Forgotten TV Show In March 1973 ABC aired a 90-minute made-for-TV movie called Toma, based on the real-life exploits of David Toma, a New York City detective who was a master of disguises. The feedback was positive enough for ABC to make Toma a regular cop-show series during the 1973-74 TV season. Tony Musante starred as the title character. Here is the opening montage. The real David Toma never once had to fire his gun, but the TV series named for him was replete with violence and gun play. The real Toma made a few cameo appearances in minor roles. Critics generally liked the show, and it pulled in decent enough ratings for ABC to plan for a second season. However, Musante surprisingly decided one season was enough for him. Accordingly, ABC created Baretta, an entirely different cop show but one with a similar feel to Toma. Baretta lasted for four seasons. The 22 episodes of Toma have never aired in syndication.
Tags: Toma  Tony  Musante  ABC  cop  show 
Added: 10th May 2015
Views: 1172
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Polio Ward Photo This photo from the 1930s shows a hospital's polio ward where children were placed in iron lungs to assist their breathing. Polio epidemics were a frequent occurrence in the first half of the 20th century in industrialized countries. They were actually a strange bi-product of affluence. By the beginning of the 20th century, a significant amount of babies were being born in the antiseptic conditions of hospitals rather than at home. This meant that many infants were not exposed to the polio virus and thus did not build up an immunity to it. Therefore when they were exposed to it later in life, they were vulnerable. Although the disease mostly afflicted children, adults were not necessarily immune. (President Franklin Roosevelt was crippled by polio at age 39.) The polio virus moved from one person to the next via human bodily fluids. Children who sneezed and coughed were the main culprits. The first symptoms varied. Sometime people had runny noses, sore throats, or aches. However, the minor discomforts could quickly change to partial paralysis if it struck one's central nervous system. Whenever a major polio outbreak hit, many public facilities such as swimming pools and parks would shut down. The last major outbreak occurred in 1952. By the mid-1950s the Salk and Saban vaccines had done much to eradicate the virus from North America.
Tags: polio  ward  photo 
Added: 16th June 2015
Views: 1278
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
William Frawley-Vivian Vance Feud As any good sitcom fan knows, from 1951 to 1960 William Frawley and Vivian Vance played Fred and Ethel and Mertz--Lucy and Ricky Ricardo's landlords and best friends on I Love Lucy and the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Frawley and Vance performed comedy magic on the set, but they truly detested each other. Problems began on the first day of shooting when Vance commented that no one would believe her character would be married to 'that old coot.' (Vance, who was 42 in 1951, was 22 years younger than Frawley.) Frawley overheard the remark and never forgave Vance for that barb. Often when Vance suggested even the smallest change in dialogue in the script, Frawley would storm off the set--solely because it was Vance who made the suggestion. Long before I Love Lucy began, Frawley had a reputation for being a difficult actor to work with due to his mercurial temperament and love of the bottle. Perhaps his hatred of Vance gave the exchanges between the two co-stars some extra zing. When The Lucy Desi-Comedy Hour ended, CBS proffered the idea of Vance and Frawley co-starring in a spinoff titled Fred and Ethel. Apparently Frawley liked the idea because of the potential money in it, but Vance swiftly quashed the idea, saying she wanted nothing to do with Frawley ever again. Frawley's next TV role was Bub O'Casey on My Three Sons. Tim Considine, who played eldest son Mike Douglas, recalled Frawley exploding into profanity-laced rages whenever someone innocently asked him about Vance. Considine further recalled that Frawley would occasionally disrupt the shooting of The Lucy Show by tossing noisy objects near the sound stage if Vance was trying to do a scene. Frawley suddenly died of a heart attack in 1966. Upon hearing the news, Vance reputedly shouted, 'Champagne for everyone!'
Tags: Vivian  Vance  William  Frawley  feud 
Added: 24th June 2015
Views: 5691
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964

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