Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Coming Next Week!

I’ll be participating in a blogathon dedicated to films that were released to movie going fans in the year 1947.  My pick is  They Won’t Believe Me!,   a romance/crime/drama of all things, starring Robert Young (famously known for playing Jim Anderson of Father Knows Best and Dr. Marcus Welby of Marcus Welby, M.D.-nice guy characters all around) playing a guy with lots of women trouble that he brings upon himself.  The women trouble are ably  supplied by: Rita Thompson, Jane Greer, and Susan Hayward.




Delving “Into the Darkness” with #TCM #NoirSummer

Calling all Classic Film Fans! A free, college class is being offered via Turner Classic Movies and Ball State University beginning June 1st-via online. Be sure to read Aurora’s fabulous blog about it all, and be sure to tune in to TCM Fridays in June and July for Film Noir Movie greats!!!

Once upon a screen...

It’s a bitter little world and I want all in!

Double-dealing dames, amoral cops, cynical, hard-hearted heroes all set against dark and dreary backdrops.  That is the world of film noir and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is offering us a chance to lurk in its shadows.

In conjunction with the “Summer of Darkness” festival during which TCM will air more than a hundred film noir classics as part of its Friday Night Spotlight series that will run through the end of July, the network has partnered with Indiana’s Ball State University and Canvas Network, an open online educational platform to offer a nine-week, free, online Film Noir course set to begin on June 1st.


The “Summer of Darkness” series was first introduced by TCM in 1999 and as one of film’s most popular and entertaining genres, the scheduled film noir line-up this year will not disappoint.  The series will be hosted by “The…

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Star in the Night, an Award Winning Holiday Short

This post from Dec., 2014 is my contribution to Movies, Silently’s wonderful Shorts: A Tiny Blogathon Be sure to visit Fritzi’s sight to read about more of these pithy, witty, some funny, and some more serious-minded short films that were shown by movie theaters before the featured attraction.


With Christmas Day right around the corner, two meals to prep for, gifts to wrap, stockings to stuff,  and more goodies to bake, this will probably be my last post until January 2015.  I decided it would be right and fitting to write about a short film that I saw on Turner Classics last year in December, Warner Brothers 1945 Star in the Night.

Star in the NIght

Star in the Night, is a modern(1945 modern) re-telling of the Nativity story.  It was written by Robert Finch and Saul Elkins, produced by Gordon Hollingshead, and directed by Don Siegel.  It was Siegel’s first film to direct and it touched so many audiences and the Motion Picture Academy that it won the Oscar for Best Short Subject in 1946.  Siegel went on to direct more films, including the first Invasion of the Body Snatchers, several Clint Eastwood starring movies, such as Dirty Harry, and John…

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Really, Bubble Guppies?

I care for  a preschool aged child a couple mornings a week.  A tv program the preschooler likes to watch is Bubble Guppies.  If you don’t know what the tv show is, don’t worry, you’re not missing much.  It’s a cartoon where the viewer has to throw logic out the window.  It is about  a group of half-fish, half- child creatures, more like “mer-children” instead of true guppies, that swim around in their undersea location, and they learn lessons about life: sharing, caring, some educational lessons once in a while, at their school taught by their beloved teacher, Mr. Grouper, who is an actual fish character.  He does have a catchy song that he sings to get the class to line-up in order to go outside and I do find myself singing along to that tune once in a while!

Bubble Guppies

A week ago the show happened to be on while I was folding laundry, my preschool charge enraptured with the episode.  I noticed that the episode was all about Mr. Grouper, the guppies beloved teacher being absent for the day and their being a substitute teacher in their classroom.  “What’s a substitute teacher?”, one guppy nervously asked another guppy.  After the definition was given, in swam the substitute teacher.  He was the blandest colored fish the show has ever shown.  He had a frowny face, and his voice was a boring monotone!  To every question from one of the cute, colorful guppies, he gave a negative answer:”No, we cannot go outside, it’s too cold.” “No, we cannot get out the puzzles, they’re too difficult.”  “No, we cannot paint today, it’s too messy.”  On and on this nonsense went and I became a bit teed off at this show aimed at preschoolers!

I have been a substitute teacher.  When mu husband was laid off for 16 months, I dusted off my teaching certificate and was hired to substitute for the Hazelwood School District.  It’s not at all easy being a substitute teacher and I resented a silly preschool cartoon show making fun of substitute teachers.

Hazelwood had their subbing system nicely set up online for the planned teacher/staff absences they knew they’d be having for each upcoming week.  One could stipulate in the subbing contract if one was willing to sub at only the elementary, middle, junior high, or high school level, or if one wanted to sub at all the grade levels.  However, I often got a call the night before a job when a teacher had become ill, or even an emergency call to come in half an hour before a school day was to start, or a call at 11 am to come in for an afternoon, for an emergency reason.

The teachers would have a folder for me in their desk, outlining the day, tips were given for handling the class, and the assignments were usually planned out.  Also a note to  not use the “Smartboard” which usually made the students groan as they liked to play class games of Sudoku on it.  I subbed for regular classroom teachers, resource teachers, pe teachers(a fun day!), inschool suspension teachers(really shocked me that an elementary school had inschool suspension, but it did), preschool aid, aid at the special needs school, and librarian( my favorite subbing post-all of those books to explore!)

When subbing, you are mostly unknown by the rest of the staff so lunch time is a bit lonely.  Eating in the teachers lounge as sort of the person non grata; the other teachers talking amongst themselves about various topics, but not including you as they don’t know you.  The students, most behave themselves, but the typical troublemakers, you know, the Usual Suspects, will be especially sure to misbehave.  Then there are the rules one has to follow in the school and make sure the students follow them too, and for an independent minded homemaker like myself, I had to watch myself and not make comments outloud about rules that I found confusing or nonsensical.

It’s not an easy job being a substitute teacher, and one bonus is that I didn’t have to take home all of those worksheets and grade them!  So, hey, Bubble Guppies, stop airing the episode that denigrates substitute teachers!  Stop putting nonsense into preschool tots heads that substitute teachers are downer, negative individuals to be feared.  Stick with the lessons on caring and sharing, colors, counting, and the ABCs.  I can ignore the illogical premise of your program, but I can’t ignore the recent disparaging of substitute teachers!  I challenge any of you that make this tv show to try subbing sometime, go on, I double-dog dare you!!

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!!!





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.



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.