Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

For The Great Western Blogathon, 1953’s Hondo

portraitsbyjenni

Today’s blog post is for The Great Western Blogathon hosted by classic film fan and blogger Thoughts All Sorts.  Be sure to click on the link to read what other classic film fans have written!

I  remember many Saturday evenings as a kid, sitting with my parents and younger brother,  watching a Western on one of the three networks that at that time, in the 1970’s, were the dominant television channels an American could tune into.  My memories seem to tell me that it was NBC that usually aired these Westerns, and of course, the best ones starred John Wayne.   I have seen a lot of Wayne’s Western films over the years, but four years ago on Turner Classic Movies, they aired one I had never heard of before, 1953’s Hondo.   This technicolor movie was directed by John Farrow(father of actress Mia, husband to actress Maureen O’Sullivan), with…

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For the Bette Davis Blogathon, Bette’s Guest Starring Role on Perry Mason

The Perry Mason tv show, which aired on CBS from 1957-1966, was a top performing show.  The plot was straightforward, as defense lawyer Perry Mason would defend some unlucky fellow or gal who looked very guilty of murder and after nimbly battling with the prosecutor, Hamilton Burger, Perry would usually win the case, with the helpful confession of “I did it! I killed Sam!” emanating from another witness for the prosecution or witness in the courtroom.  With this show on the air, CBS had a ratings hit for a number of years, so when 1963 arrived, the producers and the network had a dilemma.  Star of the show, Raymond Burr, had to have a dental procedure done and was going to miss 4 episodes.  What a disaster! The network didn’t want to show reruns, so it was decided to cast special guest stars to take on a case for Perry, who was in the hospital; scenes with Perry checking in with his secretary, private investigator, or the guest stars, via the phone in his hospital room were filmed prior to Burr’s absence.

Bette, as lawyer Constant Doyle, arriving at the jail to meet her client.

Constant with her client, hoodlum Cal Leonard(Michael Parks)

The first guest star turn was done by none other than Academy Award winning actress Bette Davis.  For her role, Bette played lawyer Constant Doyle, a recent widow.  She takes the call from a potential client, a hoodlum, who was arrested after trying to steal goods from a factory.  He was stopped by the security guard but his two pals got away.  Somehow, this hoodlum knew of lawyer Joe Doyle and calls him for help.  What he doesn’t know is that Doyle died two months ago and his widow and fellow lawyer in the Doyle Law Firm, Constant, will be the lawyer who calls on him while he’s in jail.  Here’s a shot of that lawyer-client meeting, courtesy of YouTube.

Bette working with Della Street, Perry’s loyal secretary, played by Barbara Hale.

With the arrival of the medium of television, and a cadre of aging film actors and actresses, it was a logical next step for many in Hollywood who wanted to keep acting to accept roles in tv shows.  Davis, imho, did a great job on this episode of Perry Mason.  Even when Co-star Michael Parks, the young method actor playing the hoodlum got too loud or hammy, Davis stood her ground and brought the needed gravitas to the scenes.

Perry Mason cast: Barbara Hale as Della, William Hopper as PI Paul Drake, Raymond Burr as Perry Mason, William Talman as Prosecutor Hamilton Burger.

I know that the Perry Mason episodes are out there for the public to buy.  If you have access to ME-TV, FETV, or possibly some other cable or Dish or Direct tv channels, there’s a good chance one of those channels may be airing Perry Mason, it’s still that popular of a show!  So try to find season 6, episode 16, for a treat: Oscar winning actress Bette Davis guest starring on Perry Mason.   This post has been for the 3rd Annual Bette Davis Blogathon.  Be sure to read more wonderful posts about Bette and her fantastic acting career, at In The Good Old Days of Hollywood.

 

Bette was a huge fan of the tv show, Perry Mason., and was quite happy to fill in as the guest lawyer.

 

For the Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon: Rt. 66’s Legacy For Lucia



Terence at the great blog, A Shroud of Thoughts, is once again hosting his annual look at favorite episodes from Classic TV Shows.  I just had to participate with one of my favorite episodes, Legacy For Lucia, from the excellent tv show Route 66.

Route 66 was an hour- long drama that aired on CBS for 4 seasons, 1960-1964.  The show featured a cool, jazzy theme song by Nelson Riddle and his orchestra.  It also brought to the American public’s attention the Chevrolet Corvette Convertible, as that was the cooler than cool car the show’s two protagonists rode in as they drove across the country.

Todd Stiles, recent Yale grad, owner of that car, and recently orphaned, doesn’t know what he wants out of life yet.  He invites a family friend and former employee of his father’s, Buzz Murdoch, to travel around the country with him.  Their plan is to see the USA, in that cool Chevrolet, work odd jobs for the funds to buy food and shelter with, and just take life as it comes, preferably at an easy pace.  However, each episode sees the two young guys befriending someone,  in the town where they are currently working in, who has a dramatic problem that Todd and Buzz will help them solve.

season 1, episode 8, was a very moving episode.  I give the show’s writers and actors all he credit for a poignant episode that had me reaching for the tissues!

Stirling Siliphant(also the show’s creator) and Milton Levy wrote the story for this episode.  It revolves around a young Italian woman, Lucia Trapani, who has come to a small town in Oregon  that is devoted to the logging industry.  Alec Haymes, a young man from the town, had been stationed in Lucia’s town during WWII and despite helping Lucia and her family survive a bombing  and saving men in his platoon, the young man dies in Lucia’s village.  To keep Lucia from becoming hysterical with fear as the bombs dropped around the village, Alec  told Lucia about his country, his state and its fantastic forests and the lumber companies, and then he wrote out a will bequeathing to Lucia the legacy of all of Oregon!  Years go by, Lucia is now in her  20s, and her family and village has raised the funds for her to go to America and claim her legacy.  Lucia and her village have imagined the possible riches that she may get from selling her legacy, which Lucia wants to buy a new statue of Mother Mary for her village’s church from the proceeds of selling her legacy.  The main problem is Nathaniel Hobbs.  When Alec Haymes and Bill Morrison’s parents were killed leaving the two boys orphans, Hobbs took them in and raised both boys.  Bill became the lumber mill’s foreman.  Alec’s death hit Hobbs hard.   He doesn’t believe Lucia, never wants to talk about Alec,  and isn’t willing to part with any of his forested acres.  It’s going to be up to Todd, Buzz, and  Bill to help Lucia and Hobbs.

The cast is excellent, which was usually the case for  Route 66.  Todd, played by Martin Milner, brings the all-American boy grown to manhood, striving to do what’s right at all times, but never in an offensive, Mr. Know-It-All way.  Buzz, played by George Maharis, brings the tall, dark, and handsome element to the touring duo.  Buzz grew up an orphan in NYC.  He’s got street smarts that Todd never had to know while growing up and Buzz’s savvy comes in quite handy.  Buzz also loves Jazz and often talks in “jazz cool” idioms and slang, which gives a fun look into early 1960s pop culture.

John Larch played Bill.  Still grieving himself for Alec, he’s a practical guy and wants to help Lucia, even showing a gallant side as he’s a bit smitten with her.  Jay C. Flippen played Hobbs, full of bitterness, anger, and reclusiveness as a defense to not be close to anyone again. His wound over Alec’s death is still raw and he’s not grieved in any healthy way.  Arlene Martel played Lucia.  She is so earnest in her belief that Alec left her this legacy.  As she recites her story to Todd, Buzz, and Bill, her eyes are shining and she speaks with such sincerity, we can’t help rooting for her.

To see an excellent tv show and this episode, Route 66 is currently available via Amazon Prime and their streaming services.  So check it out, daddio!( Sorry, had to talk like Buzz for a moment!)

 

Lastly, I’m out of the country right now and typed my post up on my iPad, a new gadget to me, and I don’t know how to save an image of Route 66 to then put an image into my blog. 😔. So, non-pictures this week.

3rd Annual Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Shroud of Thoughts, a great blogger who I enjoy reading, announced weeks ago that he was hosting his annual blogathon, where classic film and tv fans could write about a favorite tv show’s episode.  Please be sure to visit his site to read all of the other great posts this weekend that dedicated and talented bloggers will be posting! Here’s the link, Shroud of Thoughts.

Two years ago  our cable tv provider began airing a new channel, ME-TV.  I love this channel as I can watch episodes of many classic tv shows.  Plus, it’s fun to spot an actor or actress when they were just getting their careers underway!  One of the tv shows I’ve been enjoying appeared on ABC, from 1964-1968, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.   This tv show came from movie and tv show creator Irwin Allen, the “king” of disaster films, which were all the rage when I was a child.  Firstly, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was a popular movie that Allen directed in 1961.   The film did well at the box office and Allen decided to bring a variation of the film to tv.  I wasn’t born until 1965, so much of the tv show was unfamiliar to me until last year, when I noticed it on ME-TV’s schedule, and I began to tivo the series.  It is an enjoyable show, a wild ride at times with zany plots, but the acting pulls the crazy all together for a compelling show.     

For those unfamiliar with VTTBOTS, the action mainly involved the crew of the Seaview, a nuclear submarine, designed and built by Admiral Harriman Nelson. The show is set in the future, the 1970s.  The Seaview’s home port was Santa Barbara, CA.  Admiral Nelson and his crew had two goals:  to explore the oceans and seas of the world, and to keep the world safe.  The show’s first season was in black and white, while seasons 2-4 were in color.  I also noticed that in the first season, the crew dealt with cold war intrigue, spies, evil dictators, etc.  However, by seasons 2 through 4, the intrepid Seaview and her crew were usually battling monsters, aliens, ghosts, and other crazy manifestations.

Admiral Nelson(Basehart), Captain Crane(Hedison), and their main crew around them.

The two main actors on the show, Richard Basehart as Admiral Nelson and David Hedison as Captain Crane, made their characters believable and riveting to watch.  I always catch myself thinking as I tune in to episodes I’ve recorded, “How are they going to get out of this mess?”  Basehart, with his unique, deep voice, brought a gravitas, if you will, to the show.  Hedison, younger and I am sure partly cast for his good looks, brought smarts and athleticism to his role.  The episode I would say is  my favorite is #7, from Season 2, and it’s entitled, “The Phantom Strikes.”

The Seaview crew is in the process of mapping the North Atlantic ocean floor when they  find a sunken German U-Boat, from WWI. The U-Boat mysteriously begins to rise in the water, and then disappears! A bit later, the Seaview finds a man in distress, lying amid the wreckage of some vessel, and they take him aboard.  He says he is Captain Gerhardt Krueger, of the S.S. Edelweiss, out of Hamburg, Germany.  He tells the crew that his ship was sunk by a U-Boat during WWI.  Krueger is definitely odd, mysterious, and imperious.  Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane don’t trust him so Crane orders Krueger be taken to a cabin and orders Kowalski(one of several trusted crewmen featured each week), to guard the cabin.  It turns out Nelson and Crane’s uneasy feelings about Krueger aren’t unwarrented, as Krueger, we soon learn, is a ghost! He is able to disappear from his cabin undetected and turns up in the Seaview’s passages, Nelson’s cabin, and somehow, the Seaview’s course has been changed but not by any crew member.  Captain Crane orders Krueger to be put in the brig, but he still keeps disappearing and once again, he enters Nelson’s cabin, telling Admiral Nelson about his evil plan:Admiral Nelson will kill Captain Crane so Krueger can enter into Crane’s body and live again!!!  If Admiral Nelson won’t do Krueger’s bidding by the time the Seaview reaches the 16th parallel, then Krueger will destroy the Seaview!

Great character actor Alfred Ryder as evil Capt. Krueger

As I said earlier in my post, VTTBOTS had some crazy plots, this being one of them.  However, the acting by Basehart, Hedison, and guest star Alfred Ryder as Krueger, made for one compelling episode.  Also,in this particular episode, director Sutton Roley employed more special effects than normally used which added to the “wow” factor.  This particular episode did so well in the show’s ratings, that ABC asked Irwin Allen for  a sequel episode, bringing back Ryder as Krueger, back with another evil plan to help him live again as a human.

If you don’t have access to ME-TV, the show has been put into a dvd format, and it is available to view at Amazon via their immediate rent program.  You can also visit the show’s imdb site and see how many times it was nominated for Emmy awards and what awards it won.

ORDER IN THE COURT! NOW…

My link to this awesome blogathon didn’t go through, so here it is, reposted for your reading convenience. Enjoy the great write ups by other classic film fan afficionados and bloggers!!

CineMaven's ESSAYS from the COUCH

HEAR YE! HEAR YE!
This weekend, our “ORDER IN THE COURT! The Classic Courtroom Movies Blogathon” is now in session.

COURTROOM BLOGATHON IS HERE

Lesley of  SECOND SIGHT CINEMAand myself, here atCINEMAVEN’S ESSAYS FROM THE COUCHare proud to present you with blog posts on all things courtside. For our joint blogathon, we have many movies you know…and some you may not. I love it when we can all learn at the same time. Both Lesley and I look forward to sharing these entries with you. For DAY ONE…let’s head over to Second Sight Cinema and see the entries posted there for today. I’ll see you back here tomorrow, Saturday ~ June 11th ~ for DAY TWO. Lesley will host DAY THREE ( Sunday ~ June 12th ) and I will bring up the rear with DAY FOUR  ~
( June 13th. )

I urge you to stop by here on Tuesday…

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Just Drop the Blanket

I read this post yesterday, written by fellow blogger Jason Soroski and thought his points were excellent. Having been a loyal Charlie Brown Christmas viewer for many years, I had never noticed Linus dropping his ever present blanket! Read on for a great message, especially this Christmas season.

The Way I See It

419244_1280x720This week “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired on national prime time television for the 50th time. In a world where the latest greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and social media trends come and go in a matter of days, 50 years of anything becomes quite meaningful.

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Announcement: WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon 2015

I’ll be joining in on this blogathon fun, and writing about English character actor C. Aubrey Smith. 🙂

Once upon a screen...

WE’RE BACK for number 4!

WAC2

WHAT A CHARACTER! a phrase borrowed from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) so that we could dedicate a blogathon to those whose names few remember – the players who rarely got leading parts, exhibiting instead a versatility and depth many leading actors wished they had.  Kellee, Paula and I never tire of seeing them or paying tribute and as the previous three installments of this event proved, neither do you.  So, here we are with the fourth annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon.
WAC3

To say we’re thrilled is an understatement and we hope you’ll join us in spotlighting the Edmund Gwenns and Spring Byingtons of the world, the oft forgotten names that never appeared above the title.  If this is right up your movie alley then give us a shout out…

Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled and (@IrishJayHawk66) and Kellee Pratt

Paula at Paula’s Cinema Club

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