Category Archives: Television

RIP, Jim Nabors.

Jim Thurston Nabors
(June 12, 1930 – November 30, 2017)

Here’s Jim Nabors behind the scenes on The Andy Griffith Show episode “Barney’s First Car” — the one where Barney Fife (Don Knotts) buys a clunker from Myrt “Hubcaps” Lesh (Ellen Corby). Of course, Nabors was Gomer Pyle.

Nabors passed away on the 30th at 87.

That’s Andy in the black sweater vest in front of the Mitchell camera. I had no idea Barney’s car was blue — the episode’s black and white.

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Filed under 1963, Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Television

Happy Halloween.

Here’s the great Yvonne Craig as Batgirl, from TV’s Batman, of course, wishing us all a Happy Halloween.

Halloween was a favorite time for me as a kid, since each of the local TV stations would run monster movies all night. All those movies, all that candy!

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Filed under 1966, Television, Yvonne Craig

RIP, Adam West.

William West Anderson (Adam West)
September 19, 1928 – June 9, 2017

To me, Adam West is a big part of summer. Growing up, we typically spent the summer at my grandparents’ place in Texas. It was always a great time, with a particular benefit being that one of their local TV stations (out of either Dallas or Abilene, I guess) ran Batman every afternoon. Our Raleigh stations weren’t hip enough for it. I always looked forward to those few weeks of Batman. The chance to watch the Caped Crusader was a real treat, something special, and it still feels that way today.

Like so many other kids, to me, Batman was high adventure, not high camp. And as I got older and got the joke, I appreciated it all even more. Especially the fine work of Mr. West. The success of the whole enterprise rested on his shoulders. The colors, the camera angles, the sets, the cliffhangers — none of it mattered if he didn’t pull off his part of the whole affair. He was perfect and he’ll be missed.

Batman (Adam West, from the ’66 Batman feature): “Let’s go, but, inconspicuously, through the window… Our job is finished.”

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Filed under 1966, Adam West, Television

DVD News # 129: Decoy (1957-1958).

Film Chest Media Group has announced an upcoming set of all 39 episodes of Decoy (1957-1958). This cop show, starring Beverly Garland as policewoman Casey Jones, was shot on location in New York.

Like a lot of 50s TV, some outstanding character actors turn up each week. Decoy boasts Simon Oakland, Martin Balsam, Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Suzanne Pleshette, Vincent Gardenia, Clifton James, Colleen Dewhurst, Ed Asner, Miriam Colon, Al Lewis, Diane Ladd, Larry Hagman and Albert Dekker, along with many others.

I’ve seen a few episodes of Decoy over the years, and they’re really cool — with a bit of a Dragnet vibe. Of course, the 50s New York locations are terrific. Beverly Garland is one of my favorite actresses, so I’m really excited to see how this set looks. The release date is listed as May 30.

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Filed under 1957, 1958, Beverly Garland, Film Chest Media Group, Peter Falk, Television

Blu-Ray News #125: The Rockford Files – The Complete Series.

“Hello, this is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I’ll get back to you.”

Mill Creek has announced a Blu-Ray set of the complete run of The Rockford Files (1974-80), coming in June. To me, this is one of the greatest things to ever turn up on TV. Jame Garner was perfect for this show, or maybe it’s the other way around — the perfect show was put together around him.

There isn’t anything about this show that isn’t cool — Rockford’s trailer and Firebird; his dad, Rocky (Noah Beery, Jr.), and his GMC pickup; the answering machine and theme song.

The LA locations are always a lot of fun to study, so it’ll be great to see em in high definition. Not that I (or you) really need a reason to go through this show yet again. Essential.

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Filed under James Garner, James Stewart, Mill Creek, Television

Dialogue Of The Day: Adam-12 (1968).

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From the first episode of Adam-12, “The Impossible Mission,” which was actually directed by Jack Webb.

Pete Malloy (Martin Milner): “This black and white patrol car has an overhead valve V-8 engine. It develops 325 horsepower at 4800 RPMs. It accelerates from zero to 60 in seven seconds. It has a top speed of 120 miles an hour. It’s equipped with a multi-channeled DFE radio and an electronic siren capable of admitting three variables: wail, yelp and alert. It also serves as an outside radio speaker and public address system. The automobile has two shotgun racks, one attached to the bottom portion of the front seat, one in the vehicle trunk. Attached to the middle of the dash, illuminated by a single bulb is a hot sheet desk. Fastened to which you will always make sure is the latest one off the teletype before you ever roll.”

Felt like we were overdue for some Jack Webb. By the way, the patrol car Malloy’s referring to (and leaning on) is a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere.

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Filed under Dialogue Of The Day, Jack Webb, Kent McCord, Martin Milner, Television

Superman And The Mole Men (1951).

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Directed by Lee Sholem
Original Screenplay by Richard Fielding
Cameraman: Clark Ramsey

Cast: George Reeves (Clark Kent/Superman), Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane), Jeff Corey (Luke Benson), Walter Reed (Bill Corrigan), J. Farrell MacDonald (Pop Sheridan), Stanley Andrews (The Sheriff)

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Judging from what little I’ve seen of them, the comic book movies they churn out these days aren’t my cup of tea. Far from it. Superman And The Mole Men (1951) is more to my taste. (For what it’s worth, my other favorite comic book/strip movies are the first Blondie feature, Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome,  The Lone Ranger with Clayton Moore, the 1966 Batman feature, Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik and The Rocketeer.)

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Clark Kent and Lois Lane travel from Metropolis to Silsby to do a story on the world’s deepest oil well. Out of that hole come the mole men, a group of maybe-radioactive midgets in furry suits and bald wigs who live in the center of the earth. The frightened townspeople, led by Jeff Corey (who’d soon be blacklisted), try to get rid of them, but Superman saves the day (along with the mole men).

Superman: “You’re not going to shoot those little creatures. In the first place, they haven’t done you any harm. In the second place, they may be radioactive.”

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Superman And The Mole Men kinda served as a pilot for the Superman TV series — and it would be split in half to create a two-part episode to wrap up the show’s first season. The movie’s the first time we see George Reeves as Clark Kent and Superman, and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. Shot (in a hurry) on the RKO-Pathé lot, it made use of some oil derricks down the street. Lippert Pictures released the feature, and the TV show would go into production not long after. Director Lee Sholem did a number of the episodes, too.

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It’s a cheap affair, to be sure. The mole men’s weapon appears to be a vacuum cleaner (Electrolux, perhaps?) with a funnel attached to one end. Superman doesn’t have all that much screen time, with much of the picture’s 58 minutes devoted to a couple of mole men trying to outrun the citizens of Silsby. But, Superman And The Mole Men has the distinction of being the first feature film based on a DC comic book. (I’m not counting the Batman and Superman serials.) And there’s a ragged charm to it you’ll never see in the big-budget, computer-effects-laden movies of today.

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On DVD, Warner Bros. added Superman And The Mole Men to the first season of the Adventures Of Superman TV show, which also includes the two-episode version. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1951, George Reeves, Lippert/Regal/API, Phyllis Coates, Television