Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

For the Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon : The Fugitive “Corner of Hell”

The Fugitive aired on ABC for 4 seasons, 1963-1967.  I was a mere tot then, only 2 years old when the show ended.  I recalled my Dad remembering how a lot of America tuned in for the last episode of The Fugitive, and I don’t think that record number of tv viewers for one tv episode  was broken until America tuned in to see the last episode of MASH, in 1983.   When I found out that A Shroud of Thoughts was hosting a Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon this weekend, I had to join in on the fun.  Be sure to visit the site to read about other bloggers favourite tv show episodes.   Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon

I was curious about The Fugitive.  So many Americans made sure they tuned in  each week to view it.   Checking out Youtube one day last year I was pleasantly surprised to discover that two folks had put all of The Fugitive episodes there.  I began watching and now I’m on Season 3.

The Fugitive poster 1

Why do I enjoy this show so much?  Various reasons!  The writing for this episodic tv show was excellent, with interesting story lines, that were bookended with a retelling of the show’s main premise.  The narrator-William Conrad.  Long before Conrad had his own hit tv show on CBS, Cannon, he did a lot of radio work-he was Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke , the radio show, before that Western made it to tv.  Conrad’s voice is wonderful, low and knowing, as he intones to the viewers what alias the fugitive has adopted for that episode, possibly what part of the country he is in, and a hint at the trouble he’s going to get caught up in.   The actors and actresses-just superb!  David Janssen was the show’s protagonist, aka the fugitive of the title, Dr. Richard Kimble.  Janssen played Kimble as a very serious guy and wouldn’t one be if they were on the run from the law?  British actor  Barry Morse was the show’s antagonist, police Lt. Philip Gerard.  Morse also played his character with lots of no nonsense and an obsessive gleam in his eye.  I don’t think the guy ever smiled in any episode he appeared in!  The guest stars were top-notch and many were just starting out in their careers, so that’s always neat to see.

Each episode of Season 1 begins with  Dr. Kimble and Lt. Gerard riding on a train as it makes its way to the penitentiary where Kimble will receive the death penalty.  William Conrad’s voice informs us  that Dr. Richard Kimble is an innocent man, innocent of the murder of his wife, and that he saw a one-armed man running from his home the night of the murder.  However, fate is about to throw Dr. Richard Kimble a curve.  Then we see the train derail and Kimble is on the run.  Girard  is obsessed with finding Kimble, who escaped on Girard’s watch.  An innocent man on the run each week, the relentless law man scouring the country for him, if this plot sounds vaguely familiar to you, it’s none other than French writer Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables redone with a modern 1960s vibe.

The Fugitive, each week showing that fateful train ride to the death house

The Fugitive, each episode of Season 1 opened with Janssen and Morse, as Kimble and Girard, on the train to the death house.

 

 

Season 2, episode 21, “Corner of Hell” is the episode that I watched a few months back and it had an excellent plot twist:  Lt. Gerard  needing Dr. Kimble’s help in order to survive!

Guest stars for this episode were: R.G. Armstrong as Tully, the partriarch of a moonshine making family, a family that the local law officers avoid.  Lt. Girard is appalled when he finds that fact out!    Bruce Dern, playing a mean, sneaky, and slightly crazed young man, Cody, in with the moonshiners gang.  Sharon Farrell, as Elvie, Tully’s mischievious daughter-she likes to lift wallets and keep the cash.  Dabbs Greer as the hapless Sheriff Claypool who refuses to look for Dr. Kimble with Lt. Girard due to the fact that Kimble might have run off into the moonshiners’ woods.

R.G. Armstrong as Tully

R.G. Armstrong as Tully

Sharon Farrell as Elvie

Sharon Farrell as Elvie

Barry Morse, as Lt. Girard, and a crazed Bruce Dern, as Cody

Barry Morse, as Lt. Girard, and a crazed Bruce Dern, as Cody

Of course, Cody,(Bruce Dern) finds Dr. Kimble running through the woods and takes him prisoner, courtesy of his shotgun.  After Kimble and Cody wrestle/fight in front of Tully(R.G. Armstrong), Elvie(Sharon Farrell), and the rest of the moonshiners, Cody injures his arm cutting an artery on some glass in the melee.   Dr. Kimble impresses them  with his medical skills in stitching up Cody’s wound and dressing it.   As Elvie is making the good doctor a meal he can take with him, Tully is notified about a stranger’s car coming down their dirt road.  Kimble watches from behind the front window’s curtains and is shocked when he sees that the “stranger” is his nemesis, Lt. Girard!

Lt. Girard makes the mistake of telling the moonshiners that he is a police officer looking for a fugitive, wanted for murder.  When Evie finds Girard’s wallet, steals the cash from it, and Cody hits her over the head to take the cash for himself, the trouble kicks into high gear.   Cody runs off, Lt. Girard finds the unconscious girl and Tully accuses him of harming his daughter.  Kimble has to come forward to provide Elvie with medical care in her unconscious state.  He sees that the moonshiners tie up Lt. Girard, taunt him, refuse to listen to his claims of innocence, and in a key scene, the fugitive and the law man are left alone for a bit in the shack.  They have enough time for Kimble to get Girard to see what it’s like to be accused of a crime that one says one didn’t commit, and no witnesses to back up the accused’s alibi.

Hanging Lt. Girard is next on the agenda!

Hanging Lt. Girard is next on the agenda!

With Elvie finally gaining consciousness, Kimble finally able to cajole her into telling the truth of who hit her, the vigilante justice that was about to be carried out is tamped down.   Here is the entire episode, courtesy of Youtube.  This episode was directed by Robert Butler and the teleplay was written by Jo Heims and Francis Gwaltney.  Roy Huggins was the creator of The Fugitive.   This is a very enjoyable episode and you just might find yourself seeking out this series via dvd or via Youtube again!

A fun TV Guide cover with Morse and Janssen smiling!!

A fun TV Guide cover with Morse and Janssen smiling!!

Season 4 was shot in color,

Season 4 was shot in color,

 

 

 

Hey, Madison Avenue, Lighten Up!!

From 1955-65, famed filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock hosted an anthology television show.  At the beginning of each show, he’d give a preview of the drama about to unfold, and then he’d make a biting, jokey jab at the slew of commercials that would soon air prior to the drama.  I think that many of the Superbowl ads from Sunday night would have made Sir Alfred roll over in his grave!

What was it that this year, the 49th Superbowl, American audiences saw ads that were sad, depressing, and just not the norm when compared to Superbowl ads of the past? I can recall many hilarious ads for Budweiser beer, snack foods, and myriads of other products but not as many hilarious ads were made this year.  Did Madison Avenue decide to put on it’s PC hat this year and focus on social issues instead of using humor to just sell products for their clients? On to the examination!

Downer Ads: The #1 downer ad, to me, was the one by Nationwide Insurance. Depicting a boy, age 8 or 9, smilingly going about his day and then informing us he won’t live to ride a bike  because he died in an accidental death, then we saw images: an overflowing bathtub, a toppled over tv, spilled household cleaners that contain caustic chemicals. Did Nationwide even think for one moment that parents who had actually lost a child to an accidental death wouldn’t be watching the Superbowl? Did these parents need a reminder of that awful event that took their child’s life?  As I read on a posted Twitter account about that ad, “Nationwide is not on your side!”    Nationwide has since gotten so much negative backlash about this ad that they’ve had to issue a statement about it, trying to explain what points they were trying to get across.   Nationwide

A second downer ad, and one I missed as I was in the kitchen and not viewing the tv, aired only in the St. Louis, MO tv market and was sponsord by the MO branch of National Council on Alchohol and Drug Abuse.  It depicted a mom going into her college-age son’s bedroom only to find him dead from a heroin overdose!!!  To many in the St. Louis market, that ad topped the downer Nationwide ad.

The third downer ad, and again I only caught snippets of it, was about a race car driver dad who has a horrible accident as his family watches the race on tv.  The driver survives and recovers, all an ad for Nissan.  I’m guessing that Nissan was suggesting that if the race car driver were driving their brand of car, he’d be safer? Does Nissan even make race cars? I don’t know.  Also, this ad featured a poor song choice, Harry Chapin’s hit song from the 1970s, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, since in real life, Chapin died at the age of 38 in a car crash!  Nissan

The fourth downer ad was sponsored by the NFL, an ad against Abuse of Women.   Again, I only caught glimpses of this ad, on my way to get a soda and only saw a messy looking bedroom, and missed the ad’s point. I guess this ad isn’t much of a surprise as the NFL has had to deal with players this season not treating the women in their romantic lives well, and an ad depicting the NFL against brutish treatment of women has to happen to keep the NFL’s image from being tarnished.

There were some weird ads, namely the one for Squarespace with actor Jeff Bridges sitting beside a sleeping couple’s bed, intoning weird chant-like sounds as he rubs a stick over the rim of a decorative, metal bowl.  Kim Kardashian’s ad for T-Mobile and the Skittles ad-funny, but weird.  Lastly, there was the awkward McDonald’s ad, stating that starting soon, across America(Europe and Asia, you’re safe!), random customers will have to perform an act of kindess or do a dance or sing a song, and if they do so, their order of food or drink is free.  As someone at the Superbowl party I attended said, this new push by McDonald’s could go horribly wrong.

SquarespaceT-Mobile    Skittles          McDonald's

Polling my kids and myself, we thought the following were the best Superbowl ads and I’m just listing them in a random order, not trying to say one was better than the others: Snickers ad using old Brady Bunch episode clip when Marsha gets hit in the nose with a football, Danny Trejo as Marsha, and the icing on the cake, Steve Buscemi as Jan.  Esurance ad depicting Breaking Bad character Walter White(Bryan Cranston) working as a pharmacist-I only wish they could have somehow gotten Jesse(Aaron Paul) to be in it as his pharmacy tech!  Anheuser-Busch’s ad, heart-warming; depicting the lost puppy being saved from a wolf attack by a team of the famous Clydesdale horses.  Doritos ad, where an airline passenger does a lot of disgusting things in his seat to make sure no one sits next to him on the flight, but when he sees a pretty lady, he flashes his smile and a bag of Doritos tortilla chips, and then discovers that the pretty lady is a mommy with a young child in tow.  Clash of Clans with Liam Neeson acting all tough, and playing his “Father who will get his revenge” character.  Since I’ve been rewatching the 1980s hit tv show, Remington Steel, I liked the Kia ad featuring Pierce Brosnan.  The BMW ad featuring a news clip from an old Today Show segment with Katie Couric and Bryant Gumble, not understanding what the internet is or will be, to their current situation, not understanding all the bells and whistles on the new BMW was very clever. Nationwide did redeem itself a bit with their funny ad of actress Mindy Kaling walking around NYC, thinking she’s invisible, but when she tries to randomly kiss actor Matt Damon, who is having lunch with some friends, she learns she’s not invisible.  Lastly, Loctite won me over with their funny and goofy ad proclaiming the wonders of their glue!  The ad even stated that it saved a marriage! The next time I need a stronger glue, I’m buying Loctite!

In conclusion of my and my family’s analysis of the ads, please, please, please Madison Avenue, lighten up and stop the depressing, downer ads!  We Americans want humorous ads to go with our Superbowl, heart-warming is great, too, but please, no more heroin overdoses or dead kids!!!

AB

DoritosKia

BMW

Loctite

My Hometown Blogathon : Defiance, Ohio

Let’s Go to the Movies decided to host her very first blogathon and the rules weren’t too difficult to follow:  one could write about films set in one’s hometown, films made in one’s hometown, famous people in film who were born in your hometown, famous people in film who grew up in your hometown, and famous film folks who now live in your hometown.  My hometown has actually been featured in two films and a popular television show, so let’s delve into my hometown, Defiance, Ohio and find out what it’s connections to the entertainment industry are.

 

My Hometown Blogathon

In 1996 a family comedy film came to theatres, House Arrest, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Pollack.   It was written by Michael Hitchcock, who was  born in Defiance, Ohio but then moved to Western Springs, Illinois as a child.  He wrote House Arrest, setting the story in Defiance and named the characters after families he had known in Defiance.  I haven’t seen House Arrest but I recognized the surname Beindorf, which is the one of the families in the film’s last name.  Beindorf was the last name of the principal at Defiance Junior High School when I was a student there, 1977-1980. (At that time, our Junior High consisted of grades 7-9.)  Instead of  filming the scenes in Defiance, another Ohio city, Chagrin Falls, in the NE part of the state, was used as a stand-in.

Kids vs the Parents

Kids vs the Parents

Notice on Kevin Pollack's t shirt it says, "Defiance"! There is a college in the town so perhaps it was one of their t-shirts?

Notice on Kevin Pollack’s t shirt it says, “Defiance”! There is a college in my hometown,  so perhaps it was one of their t-shirts.

House Arrest is a cute movie, the premise is that four families are suddenly facing the fact that all of  their  marriages are on the rocks and  may end in divorce so the kids of these families somehow get their parents into the basement of the Beindorf family’s home, and lock them in there and tell their parents that they won’t be released until they agree to stop the various divorce proceedings.

Defiance, Ohio’s next brush with Hollywood came in of  April of 2001.   A book came out, The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio.  It was written by Terry Ryan, and it was the true story of how her mother entered many contests sponsored by advertisers in the 1950s and 1960s and won many of those contests.  She entered these contests  in order to find a way to keep an income coming into the home as she and her husband had 10 children to support and raise, and despite her husband, Kelly’s job, he often drank away much of his paychecks.    Many of these contests were jingle writing ones,  sponsored by advertisers of popular radio and television shows.   Mrs. Ryan, Evelyn,  used  her brains and  her strong writing skills,  and often won either money  or actual prizes  that she could sell for money to keep her family above water.  One contest was held by the local grocery store, Chief, and Evelyn  had to run through the store in a set amount of time  and load up her cart with free groceries-wish grocery stores had contests like that one today!   Terry had no idea how her book would be accepted by the readers of America but it did quite well, well enough for  screenwriter and director, Jane Anderson, to show interest in turning Terry’s book into a movie.

One of the movie's advertising posters

One of the movie’s advertising posters

The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio with a picture of the Ryan Family on the cover

The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio with a picture of the Ryan Family on the cover

My mom went to St. Mary’s Catholic School with Terry.  She said the Ryan kids were all really good kids, and yes, the town knew their dad had a drinking problem.  Their mother, Evelyn, was a nice lady.  Needless to say, when Terry’s book came out lots of folks in Defiance bought copies of it to read. When word got out that it was going to be made into a movie, lots of people were hoping it would actually be filmed in Defiance.  However, the favorable factor that filming in Canada would be cheaper to the studio won out and the movie was shot in various places in the province of Ontario!  Oh how disappointed the citizens of Defiance were, hoping for a movie to be filmed in their beloved town!  The stars of The Prizewinner of  Defiance, Ohio  are Julianne Moore, as Evelyn Ryan, Woody Harrelson as Kelly Ryan, and Laura Dern as Dortha Schaefer, a friend of Evelyn’s.  Terry Ryan and one of her sisters, , Betsy, make cameo appearances in the film.  Terry got to see the finished film but sadly passed away in 2007 from cancer.

My hometown, Defiance, Ohio has also appeared on the hit ABC television show, Scandal.   My dad is a huge fan of the show and during season 2’s run, he’d tell me how the  Defiance, Ohio voters were using illegally rigged touchscreen machines, and the unknowing citizens’ votes  gave the election to  President Fitgerald  Grant!  I had to laugh and laugh and laugh about this plot!  Out of curiosity, and thanks to our Roku box and Netflix, I began to watch Scandal, season 1 and then the infamous season 2 with it’s Defiance, Ohio storyline.  I laughed when I saw the high school(that’s  not what our high school looks like!), and the fact that the voting machines were stored in some utility building near a baseball field!   I still tease my Dad a bit about this “voting” scandal that highlighted my  hometown for a couple of months, on a fictional television show.

 

Scandal

My last bit of Hollywood fame for my hometown was that Bob Hope’s son  married a local girl there, at the church I grew up attending, to boot!   A young woman from Defiance, OH, Judith Richards, went to Wellesley College and after graduation, went to Harvard Law School and earned her law degree.  Sometime in the pursuit of her degrees, she met and fell in love with Bob Hope’s son, Anthony.  The Hope’s were Catholic and the wedding was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in December of 1967.   Defiance was all agog as celebrities descended to attend the wedding ceremony: Bing Crosby and his wife, Katherine, Liza Minelli, Toots Shor, and Phyllis Diller, to name a few.  Mrs. Crosby even went to one of the downtown’s local drugstores to purchase something and had no cash on her so she wrote a check, which the store proudly displayed for several years!

Settled in the flatlands of NW Ohio, a small city of 16,000 with tinier towns nestled around it, fields of corn or soybeans dotting the area during the Spring and Summer, a General Motors foundry town, Defiance, Ohio has done remarkably well in being tapped for Hollywood mediums of entertainment.

Health Insurance: Past and Present Day

I like to watch an old television show, The Fugitive, via Youtube.   The television show ran on ABC from 1963-1967.  The show’s  plot was really a borrowing  from the  classic novel, Les Miserables, by French writer Victor Hugo.  The plot:  a man convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, having escaped from a trip to the death house, trying to find the man he suspects really murdered his wife, all the while dodging in and out of the shadows to avoid the relentless police lieutenant pursuing him to bring him back to face his punishment.   I’ve been enjoying the well-written show, with interesting storylines, plus seeing the work of some  famous actors and actresses of today who guest starred, when they were young, starving artists, so to speak.

The Fugitive

A recent episode  got me to pondering about health care and health insurance in the US.    The show’s protagonist, Dr. Richard Kimble(David Janssen) was  working for a wealthy family, under an alias; as their estate’s new gardener/caretaker.  The family’s son, age 9, was walking on top of a high garden wall, despite being told not to walk on it, and he fell to the sidewalk, hurting his arm.  Kimble  knew  the boy needed medical help.  He convinced the boy’s mother, and they  drove  the boy  to the family’s doctor.  I sat incredulously watching as Kimble carried  the boy with  the boy’s mother right behind him into the clinic.  They  walked  to the  receptionist’s desk and told her  that the child had injured his arm and  needed an x-ray.  Then they   just kept on walking  back to the examining rooms where the doctor was!  Not one peep from the receptionist about insurance, no forms to fill out, nothing!  The added kicker, for me, was  when the doctor announced that after the x-rays were negative for a broken bone, he felt the child needed some extra care at the hospital for the injured arm and he said he’d drive the child there himself!!!  No ambulance called for transport, the doctor did the driving!

When did housecalls go the way of the dinosaur and why?

When did housecalls go the way of the dinosaur and why?

When was the last time your doctor offered to drive you to the hospital?  When have you ever been able to walk right in to the doctor’s office, be seen immediately, and not have to produce insurance information, pay a co-pay upfront, and not have forms to fill out or update?   This depiction of healthcare in the U.S. from The Fugitive, circa 1963, led me to wonder when did health insurance arrive in the US, and what has it’s impact been on those who provide health care services?

From what I’ve read, health insurance as we know it, didn’t really exist in the same format when it began in 1850.  Prior to 1850, people who needed a doctor’s services paid the costs out of their own pockets.  In Massachussetts, the Franklin Health Assurance Company, which began operating  in 1850, offered  Accident insurance to employees who worked for the railroads and steamboats.  The idea caught on and by 1866, there were 60 different organizations offering Accident insurance in the US.   Jumping forward to 1911, the first employer-sponsored disability policy was issued, but only for covering lost wages due to sickness causing an employee being unable to work.  This plan didn’t cover medical costs.

In the 1920s, some hospitals began to offer pre-paid  services to their patients.  That led to the creation of the Blue Cross companies in the 1930s.    Teachers in Dallas, TX successfully created the first employer-sponsored health care plan which only covered the member teachers’ medical expenses and only at one specific hospital.

medical prac. cartoon

Jumping to the 1940s and WWII, the government had put into place price and wage controls: workers were fewer, demand for products was high, and this caused a very tight labor market.  To appease the workers with no wage increases happening, many manufacturers began offering benefits-health care, especially, since the War Labor Board had decided that benefits to employees wouldn’t contribute to a wage increase.   President Truman wanted to pass public health insurance, a program that would be open to all who wanted to participate in it, but participation would be optional, not mandated or forced.  His plan was shot down by the Chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Association, and the American Medical Association.  Labor Unions had liked Truman’s plan but decided to put all of their might behind employer-offered health insurance and by 1958, 75% of Americans had some form of health insurance.

In 1965, President Johnson signed into law Medicare and Medicaid, government run health insurance for the elderly and the poor and in 2010 the Affordable Care Act(Obamacare) was signed into law.

2010-President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act bill into law.

2010-President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act bill into law.

1965-President Johnson signing the Medicare bill into law as President Truman looks on.

1965-President Johnson signing the Medicare bill into law as President Truman looks on.

So that’s the history of health insurance in the US, but has it always been a boon for the health care providers?   I was at a Candidate’s Forum Monday night, in Rolla, to listen to the various Judges present themselves to we, the voters, for the upcoming election.  I also heard the two candidates speak, who are running for the Clerk of Courts office.  One of those candidates is a doctor and something she said I thought was very true, and very telling. She said that as much as she has loved being a doctor, she went into medicine to serve others, to help others, and increasingly in the medical profession, she has seen that old saying come true, He who pays the Piper calls the tune.  In her meaning, since the Federal Government is increasingly paying the doctors, the hospitals, and in turn through the hospitals, the nurses and other employees, the Federal Government can increasingly dictate to all in the medical field how everything should be run, and should be done.

Health care in the US still is fraught with problems and perhaps, sometime in the future, common sense methods can be used to take away or create better solutions to  some of those problems.  Gone are the days of health care as it was   depicted in that 1963 The Fugitive episode, but ease in obtaining affordable health  insurance,  ease in seeing a doctor that one has  chosen, is that too  much to ask for  and hope for?

Information for this blog was found through  the following:

“How did America end up with this health care system?”, Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 27, 2014.

Wikipedia

 

Get to Know a Home School: Jenni of Portraits by Jenni

jennifromrollamo:

I was so happy to be contacted by nerdinthebrain.com to be a part of an ongoing series about homeschooling. Here’s my answers to her questions. :)

Originally posted on Nerd in the Brain:

I’m ever-so-pleased to welcome Jenni from Portraits by Jenni to the “Get to Know a Home School” feature! She has a lot of great and interesting information to share with us about her views and methods of homeschooling. Check it out…

Why did your family choose to home school?

We chose to homeschool for two reasons.  One, we met two homeschooling  families at our  church who had the most delightful, yet well-behaved kids.  That impressed my husband and I and made  us think about homeschooling.  Two, the school district we lived in decided to make kindergarten an all day class instead of a half-day program.  That was the year our oldest would have begun school.  I had taught kindergarten one year as a teacher and I know a full day program is a long day for 5 year olds and I didn’t agree with this change.  So, we decided to…

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“Take Me Out to the Ballgame…”

After a harsher winter than I have experienced in quite a while, signs of Spring are finally in evidence.  The  buds have been  appearing on our Bradford Pear tree, tulips have pushed up through the dirt to warm in the sun, crocuses are blooming, robins are hopping about  the yard looking for worms, and at the  creeks  I can hear the peepers-chorus frogs-chirping their presence in loud unison.  One final sign that “Spring has Sprung”, for me,  is Opening Day of Major League Baseball and that day was yesterday, March 31, 2014.

STL CArdinals

My favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, began the season in Cincinnati, OH by taking on the Cincinnati Reds and winning, 1-0 during 9 innings of play.  As I watched the game on tv  the camera would periodically scan the audience and there in the stands sat Pete Rose, former great baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s.  He was wearing a big, red ball cap with the words “Big Red Machine” emblazoned on it.   The Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s were the best team in baseball and that was when I began to pay attention to the sport.  I was 9 or 10 and my favorite player was Johnny Bench, the Reds’ catcher.  I also had a Hank Aaron baseball card and I don’t know what happened to it…wish I still had it!   Cincy Reds

In my hometown of Defiance, OH, being that it is in the northwest part of the state, there were three baseball teams the citizens followed in the 1970s, and still  follow today: Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, and the aforementioned Reds.  My mom told me that when she was a child in the 1950s, the Indians were really good and that was the team my grandpa paid attention to.  My husband’s late father grew up in Detroit, so my husband grew up in a Detroit Tiger household.  When husband and I were dating, it was a common thing to hear the radio playing at his house on a sunny afternoon, set to WJR-The Great  Voice of the Great Lakes- and Ernie Harwell’s voice could be heard broadcasting a Tiger’s game.  It was also fun to attend a couple games at Tiger’s Stadium.   We were so happy when they won the World Series in 1984.   My brother’s 2 sons are Tigers’ fans and when the St. Louis Cardinals beat them for the World Series title in 2006, we treaded lightly and didn’t mention the win as we didn’t want to add to their sadness.  One of my nephews sweetly told me at a later family gathering  that his second favorite team is the Cardinals-awwww!

D Tigers

I have also been to some minor league baseball games.  When we lived near Augusta, GA, circa 1988,  husband and I went to an Augusta Pirates game(farm team for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but now a farm team for the San Francisco Giants) and we watched future major leaguer Moises Alou shine in a game with his athletic skills.   Now that we live in Rolla, MO the minor league team of choice is the Springfield Cardinals, in Springfield, MO.  Attending their games is a lot of fun.  They ballpark management has a variety of amusing games with audience participation planned for every break at the end of an inning, and some games appear on the video screens, too.

Springfield CardinalsAugusta Pirates

Some historians would say that baseball was derived from the British game of Rounders.   Some have given credit through the years  to one man, Abner Doubleday, a career U. S. Army officer who supposedly invented the game in Cooperstown, NY, in 1839.  Whichever way the sport was begun, to me it is an enjoyable way to while away a summer afternoon, with the radio on and while puttering about the house, I can listen and imagine the plays in my mind.  The battle of one batter against one pitcher, to see who will be the winner of each at bat, to see if one player can get to base, advance, and try to get that run to count.  To know if a double-play or even a triple play will happen.   At an actual ballpark, it’s always fun to people watch, eat a hotdog in the park, explain aspects of the game to one of my kids when it’s been their first time to be at a major or minor league game.  To laugh at the antics of Fredbird, the Cardinal’s crazy mascot.   Before I sign off of this week’s post, I’ll include a funny meme I saw last week.  There are three Major League Baseball Teams named after birds: Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, and my St. Louis Cardinals.  Of those three teams, the Cardinals have had the most successful seasons of play through the years and the meme depicts two birds comparing their teams’ records; obviously the cardinal has the last word!

Cardinal putting an Oriole and Blue Jay in their places.

Cardinal putting an Oriole and Blue Jay in their places.

 

Have Gun Will Travel Featuring Vincent Price

Today’s blog is for a great blogathon, Big Stars on the Small Screen,  and it’s found at  How Sweet it Was.  Be sure to click on the link to read great posts about Hollywood stars who decided to brave the world of television.

Big Stars on the Small Screen   In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, television was making it’s entrance into American homes.  Movie studios were understandably worried that this new medium would cut into their profits and keep potential movie goers from coming to the theatres.   Aging movie stars,  neglected or let go by their longtime studios, as well as up and coming stars,  gladly turned to this new medium as another way to keep on working in their chosen field of acting.

Vincent Price( who’s movie career began in the late 1930’s) by the 1950’s had begun to play in horror films which would become his trademark.  When I was a kid, I thought horror movies were the only movies Price appeared in.   From becoming a fan of classic movies I now know how wrong I was!   Price was quite a versatile actor.  Beginning with stage roles and branching into film, it was a logical step for an actor of his abilities  to enter  the medium of television with ease.  He did just that with the Season 2, episode 15 of the Western television hit, Have Gun Will Travel.

Vincent Price

Vincent Price

In 2011, my older kids and I watched the movie Stand by Me.  When the boys in the movie began to sing the theme song for Have Gun Will Travel, my kids asked me about the song.  I knew enough to tell them that  it was the theme song for a popular weekly western tv show that aired in the 1950s.  I decided to do an internet search on Youtube for the song and discovered that some kind soul had put episodes of Have Gun Will Travel on Youtube.  I began to watch the  episodes when I could and got hooked!

Have Gun Will Travel is all about a mysterious man named Paladin.  He lives in a fancy hotel, The Carleton, in San Francisco, circa 1870s.  He dresses in fine clothes, knows gourmet foods, wines, is well-read,  is a very clever man, and appreciates beautiful ladies.  He is also a gun for hire.  Paladin, played with exceptional skill by Richard Boone, would scan the newspapers from around the country, or would receive a letter, asking him for help.  The next scenes would revolve around Paladin, now dressed all in black, on his horse, with his guns, and a hidden derringer, riding into the countryside to his destination in order to solve a person’s problem, for a  fee.  Even though Paladin was a hired gun, he always used wisdom, common sense, logic, and made sure justice was done.  He wasn’t afraid to also quote famous poems or lines from Shakespeare’s plays to help him get a point across.

Richard Boone as Paladin

Richard Boone as Paladin

Have Gun will Travel card

Have Gun Will Travel aired on CBS from 1957-1963, making  the top 10 of television shows during those years.   Season 2, episode 15, The Moor’s Revenge, was the one that starred Vincent Price.   Vincent portrays Shakespearean actor Charles Matthews.  He is successfully touring the western part of the U.S. performing  Shakespeare’s Othello.  Miss Victoria Vestris(Patricia Morrison) is his co-star, his Desdemona, and his wife.   Paladin is at their performance in San Francisco and enjoys it immensely.  Later, at a dinner he has invited Matthews and his wife to, Paladin finds out that their next stop is a small, southern California town called San Diego. Paladin warns them not to go there as it will be the big Cattle Round-Up and the town will be full of cowboys who just want to drink, gamble, and be around the dance hall gals.  Matthews and Vestris scoff at Paladin.  After they leave the dinner, Paladin mails his business card to the owner of San Diego’s Opera House, a Mr. Bellingham(Morey Amsterdam, before he ever appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show) and offers to protect the actors during their San Diego run.

Price on Have Gun Will Travel

Price on Have Gun Will Travel

Matthews and Miss Vestris arrive in San Diego and are shocked and dismayed when they see that the “Opera House” is really a saloon and that the  marquee advertising their performance conveys the following message:  See ALL of Victoria Vestris…Beauty Unadorned!  With Comical Charlie Matthews.  That wasn’t what they were planning on presenting to the citizens of San Diego!  What will they now do?  Also, thrown into the plot for good measure is a surly, hulking cowboy, Ben Jackson(Richard Shannon)who is obsessed with Miss Vestris.  When he overhears that she and Matthews are refusing to perform their show in a saloon, he threatens to kill Mr. Bellingham.  Will Paladin be able to save the show, save the saloon from being torn apart by drunk cowboys, and protect Matthews, Miss Vestris, and Mr. Bellingham  from a cowboy stalker?

Patricia Morrison as Victorica Vestri

Patricia Morrison as Victorica Vestri

Morey Amsterdam as Mr. Bellingham

Morey Amsterdam as Mr. Bellingham

Richard Shannon as Ben Jackson

Richard Shannon as Ben Jackson

As I mentioned earlier, someone has put episodes of Have Gun Will Travel on Youtube and The Moor’s Revenge is one of those.  Click on this link Have Gun Will Travel Season 2 Episode 15 -The Moor’s Revenge and you can view the episode in its entirety.

Price is great as the sort of hammy Shakespearean actor who is stubborn, insisting that the works of the great Bard of Avon will soothe rowdy, drunken cowboys.  Morrison is also good as his “drama queen” of a type wife.  Amsterdam plays the bewildered owner of the saloon well, and Shannon is great as the menacing cowboy.  Of course, Boone is great too, as the very capable Paladin.  I also want to add that this episode was directed by Andrew McLaglen, son of the actor Victor McLaglen, who often appeared in John Ford’s western films, and won an Oscar for Best Actor in  1935 for The Informer.  I am assuming  Andrew probably grew up on movie sets and was drawn into the career of directing.  He directed some western films himself and a lot of the Have Gun Will Travel episodes.

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