Category Archives: Television

Blu-Ray News #309: The Abbott & Costello Show, Season 2 (1953-54).

The Abbott & Costello Show, Season 1 Blu-Ray set from The 3-D Film Archive and ClassicFlix was really something to see. It blew everybody away. Well, now they’re getting started with Season 2. The Kickstarter campaign has begun, and I encourage you to get in on it. The restorations/transfers (from the camera negatives) and extras will be incredible, as we’ve come to expect from these folks. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1953, 1954, Abbott & Costello, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Television, The 3-D Film Archive

RIP, Nichelle Nichols.

Nichelle Nichols
(December 28, 1932 – July 30, 2022)

Nichelle Nichols has passed away at 89. Much will be made of the fact that her role on Star Trek as Lt. Uhura, communications officer on the USS Enterprise, was one of TV’s first major roles for a black actress. (They say Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted this and convinced her to stay on when she was thinking about leaving the show.)

In a way, something like that just checks a box and discounts how good she was. What I love is the Howard Hawks vibe Ms. Nichols brought to the show. She was a perfect “Hawksian” (hate that phrase) heroine. You know, pretty, professional, part of the team and levelheaded when things get rough. (A sharp contrast to Scotty in the engine room.) Those have always been the women’s parts that appealed to me — and she was one of the best at it. All that, plus a red miniskirt and that cool thing she stuck in her ear.

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Happy Birthday, George Jetson.

George Jetson
July 31, 2022

Buried deep in the episodes, comics or whatever related to The Jetsons, is buried the “fact” that George Jetson was born today, July 31, 2022. That, of course, was way in the future back when the show began.

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Filed under Cartoons, Hanna-Barbera, Television

DVD/Blu-Ray News #377: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954).

Directed by Rudolph Cartier
Written by Nigel Kneale, based on the George Orwell novel
Starring Peter Cushing, André Morell, Yvonne Mitchell, Donald Pleasence

Boy, was I excited to hear about this one. BFI is bringing the 1954 BBC adaptation of Nineteen Eight-Four to DVD and Blu-Ray. It stars the great Peter Cushing as Winston Smith. It’s coming in April, restored from film elements from the BBC. Highly recommended — and a bit too timely for comfort.

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Filed under 1954, Donald Pleasence, DVD/Blu-ray News, Peter Cushing, Television

“I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.”

It’d been years since I’d seen an episode of The Prisoner. Happened upon one the other night, and not only was it even better than I remembered, but it now seems downright prophetic.

From constant surveillance to being afraid of saying the wrong thing to the horrors of bureaucracy, McGoohan and company had a creepy, cryptic feel for where we were headed. This isn’t meant to be political, just an observation.

Can’t wait to revisit the rest. Be seeing you, Number Six!

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Filed under 1967, Patrick McGoohan, Television

The Abbott & Costello Show, Season 1.

I’m hesitant to actually review a DVD or Blu-Ray title that I have something to do with. But I have to say something about this one.

It was a real honor to provide a commentary for an episode (“The Western”) of new The Abbott & Costello Show, Season 1 Blu-Ray set from The 3-D Film Archive and ClassicFlix. The restorations/transfers (from the camera negatives) are incredible and the package is first-class.

Of course, the series itself is terrific, one of my all-time favorite TV shows. So if you’re a fan of it, this set is an absolute must.

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Filed under 1952, 1953, Abbott & Costello, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Hillary Brooke, Television, The 3-D Film Archive

RIP, Shaaron Claridge.

Shaaron Claridge
October 1, 1938 – September 15, 2021


“One Adam-12, one Adam-12, 211 in progress…”

Shaaron Claridge was a police radio dispatcher with the Los Angeles Police Department, and her voice graced Adam-12 on TV. She appeared in one episode.

You can hear her in all but three episodes of Adam-12, along with episodes of Dragnet, Lou Grant and Columbo — and in the movie Blue Thunder (1983).

She retired in 1990 and passed away September 15.

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Filed under Jack Webb, Kent McCord, Martin Milner, Television

Texas 6.

The newest we get on this blog is 1980. That’s a limit I set when I started this thing, and to my mind, it sometimes feels too new.

Well, why make a rule if you can’t have the fun of breaking it? Texas 6 is an eight-episode documentary series about the six-man high school football team in Strawn, Texas.

Strawn’s a tiny town about two hours west of Dallas. My grandparents lived there, and I spent a lot of summers and Christmases there growing up. It’s one of my favorite places on this earth. My grandpa, Flint McCullough, trained cutting horses. My grandma, Zelma McCullough, worked at the bank and the grocery store.

Six-man football is plain old American high school football, adapted for just six players — since little bitty towns don’t have enough kids to field a regular team. It’s fast and it’s fun. The Friday night lights burn just as bright, and the good people of Strawn take their Greyhounds very seriously. 

I just became aware of Texas 6. Haven’t seen anything but the trailer. But I felt compelled to plug it anyway. It’s a Paramount+ show, and it can be tracked down somewhere somehow. I’ll be figuring all that out real soon.

And if you find yourself in Strawn, or even somewhat near it, try Mary’s Cafe. You won’t regret it, I promise.

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Filed under Television

Blu-Ray News #347: The Abbott & Costello Show, Season One (1952).

Bob Furmanek of The 3-D Film Archive has announced their most ambitious and labor-intensive effort yet — working with TCA Television Corp. and the Lou Costello Estate to restore and preserve The Abbott & Costello Show from its original 35mm camera negatives! This mammoth project is being propelled by a Kickstarter campaign. Click the title card above to participate.

What we see today comes from standard-definition transfers done back in the 80s, that have been “sharpened” and monkeyed with over the years for DVD release. (My old 16mm prints were better-looking!)

For this new release, the 26 Season One episodes will be scanned from 35mm master elements in 4K resolution — and each episode will be digitally cleaned, frame by frame.

These shows are terrific — it’s still considered one of the greatest TV shows ever, and I’m so stoked The 3-D Film Archive is giving them the four-star treatment they did for Africa Screams (1949) and Jack And The Beanstalk (1952). Can’t wait to see Stinky, Mike The Cop and Hillary Brooke in all their 4K glory. Essential.

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Filed under 1952, Abbott & Costello, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Film Preservation, Television, The 3-D Film Archive

Adam-12 And Ahna Capri.

Saw the first-season Adam-12 episode “Log 172: Boy…The Things You Do For The Job” for the 743rd time the other day. It’s one of my favorites. Ahna Capri plays Penelope Lang, a free-spirit rich girl pulled over by Reed (Kent McCord) and Malloy (Martin Milner). 

Miss Lang takes a real shine to Pete, but he’s not amused. She keeps calling the cops for one thing or another, hoping Malloy and Reed will be dispatched to help. She turns up at the station. She even sends him a 1969 Porsche 911S with a Targa top. But Pete’s just not interested, and he does the slow burn throughout the episode. Eventually, in order to get all this to stop, Malloy gives in and sets up a date with her. The episode ends and we never know how it went. 

 

Ahna Capri was great, one of those actresses you get excited about when they turn up in the credits. On TV, she was on about every cool show of the 60s and 70s — shows like The Wild Wild West, Mannix, The Mod Squad, The Invaders, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (above), Dan August, The F.B.I., Baretta, Ironside, Cannon, Police Story and Kojak.

She did some cool movies, too — The Girls On The Beach (1965), Darker Than Amber (1970, above), Payday (1973) and The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars And Motor Kings (1976). But the one she’ll always be remembered for is Enter The Dragon (1973) with Bruce Lee and John Saxon.

 

Ahna passed away on August 9, 2010. A truck hit her car in North Hollywood. She was on life support, in a coma, for more than a week before she died. What a shame.

She’s lovely, she’s funny and she’s a joy to watch. Keep an eye out for her.

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Filed under 1969, Bruce Lee, Jack Webb, Kent McCord, Martin Milner, Television