Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Westinghouse Studio One, "The Play of the Nativity"

Hello all. I hope your December has been going much better than January through November did.

As we approach Christmas Day in just two days as I write this, I present from the 1950s, the production of "The Play of the Nativity" courtesy of Westinghouse Studio One.

Studio One was a weekly presentation of an adaptation or original play, and was noted for its distinguished subject matter. With the Nativity, you can't get more distinguished than that!


Friday, December 11, 2020

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear TV-Movie (1984)

Today's long-form program to round out the week is the 1984 TV-movie It Came Upon The Midnight Clear.

Clear stars Mickey Rooney as a retired New York City copy now living in California with his family. After Rooney's character suffers a heart attack, he begs the Powers That Be to give him just enough time to take his grandson (Scott Grimes) to New York to enjoy the grandson's first-ever white Christmas.

I've never seen the film, but I remember it airing annually for a number of years in syndication, and it always looked cute.

Enjoy! Have a great Christmasy weekend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Story of the Coca-Cola Polar Bears

Today I present a short clip documenting the origin of the Coca-Cola Polar Bears. They've been entertaining TV viewers since 1993, and I always look forward to their commercials. Here, a Coke historian details the beginnings of the holiday icons.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls


Today's feature is an oddball, but that's what makes blogging fun. Today I present the infamous animated TV special Deck The Halls With Wacky Walls!

The characters in this special are loosely based on the popular 80s toys Wacky Wallwalkers, the sticky octopus-like toys that would slowly creep down a wall or other upright surface when a child throws it at the surface. In this special, the Wallwalkers are given names and personalities, as aliens from another planet sent to Earth to discover the meaning of a special star seen in the sky. The star in question turns out to be the Christmas star, leading the Wallwalkers to learn all about Christmas.

The special aired on NBC on December 13, 1983, and was one of the lowest-rated TV programs that week. I know I almost certainly didn't see it, as I have no recollection of this special whatsover and didn't know about it until the past few years. I won't lie; it's not the greatest program in the world, but it's fun to see once as a curiosity, and it's harmless enough. It also has a good pedigree, as it's written by legendary comic book and animation writer Mark Evanier, and features the voice talents of Daws Butler, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, and Scott Menville among others.

I'll let you judge for yourself. Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Dean Martin Christmas Show (1968)


Hello everyone! Welcome to the second full week of the 2020 Holiday Season. And we're starting it off with a bang. Today I present The Dean Martin Christmas Show from 1968!

Dean Martin's variety show was a big hit, airing nine years on NBC. His Christmas episodes were special indeed, and this episode from 1968 is no exception, Dean croons Christmas classics and features plenty of guest stars, including Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, Dennis Weaver, Bob Newhart, and Dom DeLuise just to name a few. I know such programs can be schmaltzy, but I love stuff like this.


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Miracle on 34th Street TV-Movie (1973)


It's almost the weekend as I write this, so I'm posting a long-form program for your enjoyment. This weekend, I bring you Miracle On 34th Street. But not the version you're thinking of!

This version is a made-for-TV version that aired in 1973, starring Sebastian Cabot (Family Affair) as Kris Kringle, on trial for daring to believe he's the real Santa Claus. In his corner providing defense--David Hartman, most famous for being the original host of ABC's Good Morning America.

While this version is certainly not a classic, in fact it's mostly forgotten, this is the first version of the story I ever saw. I looked forward to its appearance on TV every year, and I was shocked when I learned it was a remake of a much older theatrical film!

Enjoy! Have a great weekend! Drink hot chocolate! Buy gifts! Wrap gifts! Buy gifts through my blog's ads! Put up your Christmas tree! Sing Christmas carols!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

B.C.: A Special Christmas (1981)


Today I present the first animated special of the holiday season, B.C.: A Special Christmas.

This is the second animated TV special based on Johnny Hart's caveman comic strip, but with different creators than the first special from 1973, B.C.: The First Thanksgiving. This special features classic comedy duo Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding as comic strip characters Peter and Wiley, who invent a new holiday, Xmas, to make money off of the other cave folks. By the end of the special, as with most Christmas specials, they learn the true meaning of Xmas, er, Christmas.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Newhart, "No Room at the Inn"


Today at the blog I present an episode from the first season of the 80s CBS sitcom Newhart.

In "No Room at the Inn," Dick Loudon and his crew celebrate Christmas while a snowstorm rages outside their Vermont inn.  Surprisingly, this season 1 episode is the only Christmas episode in the series' 8 years.


Monday, November 30, 2020

An Hour of Vintage Christmas Commercials from the 70s, 80s, and 90s


Hello everyone, and welcome to the holiday season at Me and You and a Blog Named Boo! I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving. We are now officially into the holidays, and they couldn't have come soon enough. This is an opportunity to cap off a terrible year by embracing the spirit of the season, so let's go all in and put this year behind us!

I start the season off as I usually start any holiday season, by showcasing fun commercials from years past. Normally I post individual commercials, but this time I've let YouTube user Retro Commercials 1990s do the work for me. This user has put together a full hour's worth of classic Christmas commercials. Feel free to put these on while you decorate your home or enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Enjoy! And stay tuned for holiday fun all month long!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Soundtrack

Before I go any further, Peanuts fans should rejoice!

Just two days after I posted my complaint about the lack of Peanuts holiday TV specials airing on broadcast TV this season, it's been announced that Apple has made an agreement with PBS to air A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas! The Thanksgiving special will air this Sunday November 22nd at 7:30pm, and the Christmas special will air Sunday December 13th at 7:30pm. This will be the first year that Peanuts specials have ever aired on PBS. Thank you Apple and thank you PBS!

Get warmed up for this Sunday's airing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with the soundtrack to the special below. It's Vince Guaraldi at his groovy 70s best. It's a good bit different from the sound of Peanuts specials from the 60s, but I dig it.


Monday, November 16, 2020

Good Grief! Peanuts Specials No Longer On Broadcast TV


Hello everybody! Sorry for the long time posting since the Countdown, but this is such a busy time of year. I'm glad to be back, even if it's to mention an unfortunate development in the world of entertainment.

As you likely know, ABC has lost the broadcast rights to the Peanuts TV specials to the online streaming service Apple TV+. The service is now the exclusive TV distributor of all of the previously created Peanuts TV programs as well as future specials and series. This is the first year since each special's debut broadcast that It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas will not air on free broadcast TV. Apple will make each of these three specials available to non-subscribers for a three-day window, but other than that, you must be an Apple TV+ subscriber to watch these specials.

Being a huge Peanuts fan in general and of these three specials in particular, I was heartbroken to learn this news. These specials are in fact very special, especially A Charlie Brown Christmas. To me, these specials have such innocence and heart that they should always be available to all people free of charge. I feel they are a right, like single payer healthcare. To lose these specials from broadcast TV so unceremoniously, especially without warning (the announcement was made halfway through October when we all were expecting an air date for Great Pumpkin on ABC), was just, well, crappy.

Having said that, I don't hold as much animosity towards Apple as you might think. In fact, I kind of admire their interest in the franchise. They realize that to be a major player in the streaming world, they need a big name family franchise to be competitive. Disney has their many classic characters, HBO Max has Looney Tunes, and Netflix has Dreamworks Animation properties. Having Peanuts exclusively on their service helps Apple TV+ be an attractive service for families. Apple's interest is a compliment to the Peanuts legacy!

So if there's any silver lining to the loss of Peanuts from broadcast TV, it's that. Plus, the holiday specials are readily available on DVD and Blu-Ray, so it's not like the specials are locked away in some private vault to remain unseen by anyone.

It's know. Different. Weird. Not right.

There's something about being on broadcast TV that makes viewing the specials a communal event. It's a different experience when you know that millions of other families are enjoying the programs the same time you are. Even having the commercials adds to the communal aspect. Yes, the commercials are trying to sell products, but they're also an acknowledgment that millions of homes are watching.

Oh well. We'll always have YouTube.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween 2020!


And that's a wrap!

Halloween is here! Thank you to everyone who visited my blog this season. I very much appreciate each and every reader. Please let me know in the comments what you liked, what you didn't, and what you'd like to see in the future.

I won't tell you what a terrible year this has been, you already know. It's times like these that holidays such as Halloween are even more important, as they give us the joy we need to overcome life's adversities and remind us what is important: family, friends, and love. I wish that for you this Halloween and every day thereafter!

Happy Halloween!

On to November!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Halloween Home Movies

When the Halloween season begins, my mind is on all the cool decorations, movies, TV episodes, and music that comes with the holidays. But as we get closer to the big day, my mind turns to more practical things: trick or treating, kids getting excited for the candy they'll collect, adults enjoying the kids' enthusiasm, and the warm feeling the holiday fills in our hearts. That's what today's post is about.

Here are some real life Halloween home movies that evoke what I'm talking about. No fantastic monsters or ghosts here, just the innocence of children and their families enjoying the day. Really, this is the coolest part of Halloween.

Enjoy! See you tomorrow for the finale!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Siskel and Ebert review Halloween (1978)


The late Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were the leading movie critics of their day for most of America. When they voiced their opinions, people listened, even if they didn't agree with the men.

One film both Siskel & Ebert and the public agreed on--Halloween was an awesome movie!

Here, Gene and Roger praise the film for being a scary movie that doesn't treat its characters as simple fodder for the villain. They appreciate the film's artistry and craft, making for a horror film far above so much of the grindhouse releases of the time. Siskel and Ebert recognize Halloween as a true cut above the rest!

Just for fun, here is Halloween's trailer. Who would have guessed it would become the movie that defined the scary part of the holiday for decades to come!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Halloween TV Commercials 2020 Edition Part 2


Today I offer a few more Halloween TV commercials. There are only a few days left to go, so let's get to it!

Here are a few McDonald's commercials. I may have featured a couple of these before, but what are commercials if not repetitive?

Next is a commercial for two tasty Halloween classics, Witchy the Witch and Dumpy the Pumpkin, two ice cream cakes from Carvel!

Here is a fun one for Hostess Fruit Pies. I love the blend of animation and live action in this one!

Finally, here is a quick one for Kit Kats starring a sleepy vampire. This one is brand new this year!


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Peanuts Halloween Compilation


Today is the second of two Peanuts-themed articles this year. This is a compilation of several short Peanuts cartoons created by current Peanuts IP owners Wildbrain Entertainment. The lead cartoon features Snoopy, who develops a fear of the dark after watching a scary movie with Charlie Brown and Linus. Several other characters face their fears in this compilation.


Monday, October 26, 2020

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Soundtrack


It's the last week of the Countdown to Halloween! Make it a great one!

There was some majorly disappointing news announced last Monday--previously aired Peanuts specials will now air exclusively on the streaming service Apple TV+ and will no longer air on broadcast television. This includes It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I plan to write a full article about this situation after the Countdown, but suffice it to say, I am not happy with this development.

Every year, I always include one article related to Peanuts and Halloween during the Countdown. To help fill the void left by the absence of Great Pumpkin from broadcast television this year, I will be doing two Peanuts-related articles this year. Me, you, and two other people will be the only ones that notice, but I need to do my part!

Today I offer the Great Pumpkin soundtrack. Although this is an official release, the quality is not great, as the soundtrack contains some sound effects from the special, which is unusual for a TV soundtrack. Still, it's lovely music. Please especially enjoy "The Great Pumpkin Waltz," which is one of the most warm and soothing pieces of music I've ever heard. Perfect for fall, perfect for anytime.


Unless you're an Apple TV+ subscriber, you might want to get yourself a copy of the special as well as the soundtrack.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1972)

Closing out Week 3 of the Countdown to Halloween is a film adaptation of the Ray Bradbury classic Something Wicked This Way Comes...but not the version you expect!

This version from 1972 appears to be a British production and is 11 years older than the more famous version by Disney released in 1983. I saw the Disney version for the first time this year, and possibly due to all the hype I've heard about it over the years, I was disappointed in it. Maybe this more obscure version will do me better.

Have a great weekend! It's the last one before Halloween, make it count!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Vincent animated short film by Tim Burton (1982)


Today's presentation is the animated short film Vincent, created by Tim Burton.

Vincent is a stop-motion animated film based on a poem Burton wrote that he originally intended for a children's book. This was created while Burton was still a Disney animator. It features a young boy named Vincent Malloy, who has a macabre personality and pretends he is in fact Vincent Price. His imagination has him believing he is a mad scientist who does experiments on his dog and who yearns for his deceased wife. Despite his mother's efforts to snap Vincent out of his head, he proceeds to be consumed by his morbid fantasies. Oh, the narrator of the film is the real Vincent Price.

Yep, it's a Tim Burton film, all right.

I didn't know this film existed until this month, which is another reason I love doing the Countdown. I love finding this stuff.


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Suspense, "Ghost Hunt" (June 23, 1949)


Today I have an especially fun treat. Today I present an episode of the classic radio drama Suspense.

Suspense was a top-notch radio drama with A-list writers and actors that ran on CBS radio from 1940 to 1962. Most episodes featured stories of crime and danger, with the occasional dive into the fantastic. This is one of those episodes.

"Ghost Hunt" features Ralph Edwards, most famous for being the host of This Is Your Life, as a disc jockey who enters a supposed haunted house as a stunt for his radio show. He of course doesn't believe in such things so he enters the house willingly with an expert in the paranormal.

Let's just say the jock shouldn't be so skeptical.

I loved this episode when I first heard it years ago, and I hope you enjoy it too. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Looney Tunes, Happy Hare-lloween!


Today I feature a collection of clips from scary-themed cartoons from Looney Tunes. I've featured some of these before, but my links to those videos keep breaking. This collection should be OK though, as these are directly from the official WB Kids YouTube channel. And these are in great quality.

Enjoy, doc!

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Muppet Show Guest Starring Alice Cooper


Hello! We are now more than halfway through the Countdown to Halloween! Time to crank things up and get to the good stuff!

And today is definitely the good stuff! Today I feature an episode of The Muppet Show with guest star Alice Cooper. It wouldn't be Halloween without the father of goth rock, and why not throw the Muppets into the mix? Most Generation X kids like myself learned who Cooper was thanks to this episode.

Enjoy! And look below the episode for a clip with Cooper discussing the making of the episode!

Friday, October 16, 2020

An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe starring Vincent Price


It's Friday, which means a long form program, and this week, we are paid a visit from our old friend Vincent Price.

An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe features Price acting as Poe reading four of his classic tales: "The Tell-tale Heart," "The Sphinx," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Pit and the Pendulum." Price performs in front of a live audience, which gives the program a theater-like feel. A great way to spend an October weekend.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Halloween Music Videos


Today I offer a few music videos with either a direct or indirect Halloween connection.

First up, indie rock band Wallows sings "Drunk on Halloween." I'm sure at least a couple of you have been there.

Next is "It's Almost Halloween" by Panic! At The Disco. They're not wrong!

Lastly is a piece that's not really related to Halloween or is technically a music video, but at the same time is also both of those things. Longtime readers will know that I am a devout Schoolhouse Rock fan, but this cartoon is a part of the series I hadn't seen until I was an adult.

"Little Twelve Toes" is Schoolhouse Rocks' installment designed to teach multiples of 12 with the help of a twelve-toed space alien. It's well meaning, but also weird and surreal at the same time, which I think makes it perfect for Halloween. Also, the alien looks like the late Tom Petty.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Every 90s Commercial Ever (Uncensored)


You know those commercials for kids' junk food that have been airing since the 90s where the kids eat the advertised food and they turn into weird, goofy things and everything looks so cool and fun?

Well, this is the dark side of that.

It's a parody and not an actual commercial of course, and the project is in good fun, but a word of warning, this is gross and disturbing, so please proceed with caution. There's a reason I'm including this in a Halloween countdown.

Afterwards, check out the making of the project. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Elvira Show Unsold Pilot


Today's edition of the Countdown to Halloween is the unsold pilot for the CBS sitcom The Elvira Show.

Hot on the heels of the success of the movie Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, a sitcom was conceived for CBS starring Cassandra Peterson as her wisecracking alter ego and Who's The Boss's Katherine Helmond as her Aunt Minvera. CBS eventually passed on the series, but at least we have this pilot to enjoy. And being an Elvira project, it goes without saying that this is not for the kids.


Monday, October 12, 2020

The Smurfs, "All Hallowseve"


The start of the second full week of the Countdown to Halloween brings you a Halloween episode of the classic 1980s Saturday morning cartoon The Smurfs.

In "All Hallowseve," according to the official Smurfs YouTube page, "While out on a mischief-making mission to destroy the Smurfs Happy Halloween Party, Gargamel and Hogatha catch Lazy, who has accidentally been turned red by Mother Nature. Papa and the Smurfs help Lazy escape while Mother Nature has Father Time turn Lazy’s red into blue just in time for the Halloween party."


For more Smurfy Halloween fun, consider the DVD below!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Mad Mad Mad Monsters (1972)


Wrapping up the first full week of the Countdown to Halloween is the Rankin Bass TV special Mad Mad Mad Monsters.

In this special, Dr. Frankenstein invites all of the famous monsters to the wedding of his monster and newly created bride, but the doc's assistant Igor is jealous and attempts to stop the proceedings. Hilarity ensues.

Although I've seen the stop-motion animated Rankin Bass theatrical movie Mad Monster Party before, this is the first time I've seen this. Let's check it out together.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Halloween Movie Locations in Real Life


John Carpenter's Halloween is arguably the quintessential Halloween holiday viewing experience. No other project has brought such horror to the holiday in such effective measure. Yet the making of the film has such humble qualities that can be overshadowed by the movie's artistry.

Here is a documentary showcasing the real-life locations of the movie. Although set in the Midwest, the movie was filmed in Pasadena, California right in one neighborhood. I've featured similar looks at the locations before, but no matter how often I see these locations, I'm still astounded that such a terrifying movie was shot at these unassuming places.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Zombie in a Penguin Suit

Today's subject of the Countdown to Halloween is pretty straightforward. This is a 7-minute film about an aquarium employee, dressed as a penguin for a promotion, who has died and been resurrected as a zombie during an apocalyse.

That's it, that's the film.

It's as disturbing as any zombie film you've seen, with the one humorous addition of the zombie wearing a penguin suit.

Zombie in a Penguin Suit. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Night Court, "Halloween, Too"


The last few years I've liked to post Halloween-themed episodes of classic TV series from the 70s and 80s, and I continue the tradition today.

Here is an episode of the hilarious 80s sitcom Night Court. In "Halloween, Too," Judge Harry is dating a free-spirited woman who claims to be a witch. On this show, anything is possible.


Monday, October 5, 2020

Halloween TV Commercials 2020 Edition!


Welcome back to the Countdown to Halloween at Me and You and a Blog Named Boo!

Today we begin the first full week of the Countdown, and in annual blog tradition, I feature this week a small collection of TV commercials related, however tangentially, to Halloween. They may be scary, usually they're funny, but they're always enjoyable. Here is this year's batch!

In this commercial from 2015,  a young lady wants to eat her Doritos in peace, and not have to contend with her vampire boyfriend for a nibble. Doritos are a very personal thing!

Staying with the vampire theme, a concerned dad goes to clever measures to warn his daughter about her "goth" boyfriend. It's Delisso Pizza and its garlic-filled crust to the rescue!

Here is a short but "sweet" commercial for my favorite candy of all time, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. It wouldn't be Halloween without them!

Frankenstein can be awfully grouchy without a hearty breakfast. Fortunately for all of us, Bee comes through with a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios!

This is a fun one for a Dracula electronic game from the early 80s. The legendary Matt from Dinosaur Dracula did a great video review of this game that you can see here.

Finally, we have an, ahem, "interesting" commercial for Hamlet cigars. It involves Frankenstein and...well, I'll let you see for yourself.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more monstrous fun all month long!

Friday, October 2, 2020

Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters Halloween Episode


Here it is, the first article of the Countdown to Halloween after the initial kick-off, and we already find ourselves at a Friday. Fridays during the Countdown mean long-form programming, and the first program of this year finds us celebrating Halloween with--Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters?

Sure, why not?

This is a Halloween episode of the sister act's popular NBC variety series that aired from 1980 to 1982. The entire hour isn't completely Halloweeny, but there's enough early 80s kitsch to make it fun. Plus, Gladys Knight and the Pips guest star, which is pretty awesome.

The audio quality isn't that great I'm afraid, so you'll want to crank the volume up as high as you can.

Enjoy the first weekend of the Halloween season! Scare somebody (responsibly)! Make Halloween treats! Decorate! Watch a monster movie or four!


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Welcome to the 2020 Countdown to Halloween!



And oh what a Countdown it's going to be! There'll be thrills, chills, spills, and other things that rhyme with ills! There'll be cartoons, movies, commercials, songs, and spirits of every kind. There'll be things you won't forget, things you CAN'T forget, things you'll WISH you'd forget! And most of all, there will be FUN!

Soak it all in, Halloween lovers. Savor every day, every minute, every treat this month has to offer, because in the bat of an eye, it'll be gone.

Special thanks as always to the curators of this multi-blog event, and this year we have new blood in the mix! Welcome to Michelle, aka Naila Moon, and Michael May, both longtime Countdown participants who are now helming this great event. Thanks to them for all of their hard work this year! Also thanks to John Rozum, the previous Countdown master, for his great work these past years. Be sure to check out all the great blogs here and leave comments letting my fellow bloggers know how awesome they are!

Once, again, welcome one and all, to the 2020 Countdown to Halloween!


Thursday, September 17, 2020

The 2020 Countdown to Halloween is Almost Here!


Hello everyone! After a long hiatus, I'm back! Well, almost back. I'm just stopping by to remind you that the blog exists and that, exactly two weeks from today, I will once again present the Countdown to Halloween!

I'm sorry to have been away so long, but as everything this year, life has been very crazy. My mother-in-law passed away this summer, which was a devastating loss to our family, and we have been very busy getting back to school. But there was no way I could let a Halloween season go by without the Countdown being a major part of it.

I don't know how often I'll be posting this year, but I will definitely post more than once every week with something creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky. No matter how often I post, the Countdown will be altogether ooky!

*snap snap*

Please remember to be back Thursday, October 1st for the kickoff. See you then!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Dick Tracy Special (2010)

Our fifth and final day of Dick Tracy Week brings us an item that is actually related to the 1990 Dick Tracy movie that inspired this week!

This is a half-hour special that aired in 2010 for the 20th anniversary of the movie's release, in which Warren Beatty, in character as Dick Tracy, is interviewed by movie critic Leonard Maltin. The only reason for this special's existence is for Beatty to retain the rights to the character, which is odd considering that Beatty seemingly hasn't attempted to make additional Tracy movies that I know of. But hey, as a fan of the movie, I'll take any Tracy material I can get.

I learned of this special's existence via the pop culture blog The Retroist. Check out their article on this special here.

That's it! If you enjoyed Dick Tracy Week, please let me know in the comments.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dick Tracy 1960s Unsold TV Pilot

Today we revisit TV once again for Dick Tracy Week, this time showcasing an unsold pilot for a new, color TV series created in the late 60s by William Dozier, developer of my beloved Batman 1966 series. After Batman's run, Dozier tried to strike gold again with other comic properties. In addition to his unsold Wonder Woman pilot, Dozier missed out with the networks on this Dick Tracy pilot, starring Ray MacDonnell as Tracy and Victor Buono, Batman's King Tut, as the villain.

In the late 60s, taste in entertainment was changing from the high concept programs of the decade and toward more realistic fare that would succeed in the 70s, so it's no surprise the networks passed on this pilot. It's still an interesting TV and comic property artifact.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Dick Tracy, "Shaky's Secret Treasure"

Our third installment of Dick Tracy Week is an episode of the 1950 Dick Tracy TV series, "Shaky's Secret Treasure."

The series starred Ralph Byrd as Tracy, and was considered the definitive Tracy at the time. Byrd had starred in the role in two previous movie serials and two of the four feature-length films of the 40s. When Byrd died unexpectedly during this series' run, the producers decided to cancel the series rather than recast the role because they didn't believe the public would accept anyone else but Byrd in the role.


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Dick Tracy, Detective (1945)

Hello again. Day 2 of Dick Tracy Week brings you the first of four feature-length Dick Tracy films of the 1940s, Dick Tracy, Detective.

Dick Tracy, Detective features actor Morgan Conway as Tracy, looking for a hardened murderer named Splitface. Although not from the comic strip, Splitface is very much a typical Tracy villain with an unusual physical feature and bloodthirsty intentions. Like the cartoon series I discussed in my previous article, these films were syndicated to television upon the release of the Warren Beatty film in 1990. I watched every one of these when I was 15 and enjoyed each of them.


Monday, June 8, 2020

The Dick Tracy Show Animated Series

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing as well as you can under these extremely brutal circumstances. Please know that I care about all of you and wish you peace, healing, and love during these times.

Monday, June 15th is the 30th anniversary of the release of one of my favorite movies, Dick Tracy, starring Warren Beatty, Madonna, and a list of celebrities. I worked at a movie theater when Dick Tracy was released, which allowed me easy access to it. Being high on the Batman movie the year before, I was looking to put the same amount of energy and enthusiasm into enjoying Tracy, and I wasn't disappointed in the least. In fact, I'd say it's superior to Batman.

In celebration of the film, I'm declaring this week "Dick Tracy Week," showcasing a different aspect of the character's life in media Monday through Friday. Today I bring you a couple of features from The Dick Tracy Show, an animated series from the 1960s.

This series featured Tracy not apprehending criminals himself, but delegating the task to various comical underlings. Each detective would seek to arrest a pair of classic Tracy villains. Unfortunately, a couple of these detectives were racist caricatures, such as the character Joe Jitsu in the example below. Still, these cartoons are an undeniable part of Dick Tracy's history and shouldn't be overlooked.

These cartoons were re-syndicated when the movie was released. Take a look! Stay tuned all week for more Dick Tracy material!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

How I Spent My Pandemic Vacation

Hello everyone! I hope everyone is safe, healthy, and happy out there. The pandemic has affected every person on the planet in different ways, and I hope we can finally put the virus in its place as soon as possible. The time apart from our loved ones and our favorite places will hopefully inspire us to never take them for granted. Once this is over, and it WILL be over eventually, let's all get out there and celebrate our lives and each other!

In the meantime, we're all doing what we can to keep in touch with our family and friends and passing the time in creative ways. Some are learning new skills, some are creating art and writing stories, songs, and poetry, and others are fighting on the front lines against the virus and making sure essential services continue. My hats off to all of you!

What have I been doing during the pandemic?

Not much, actually.

I certainly haven't been blogging much, as you can see. I work at home during the day, and at night it's time for dinner, some light chores, and TV. Here are some of the things I've been watching.

DCTV on The CW: Several of the shows had been on hiatus for most of March and April, but they've finally come back the last couple of weeks. I enjoy Batwoman, Supergirl, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow (although the silliness of Legends goes too far sometimes). I'm looking forward to the new Stargirl series starting May 19th on the CW, with new episodes debuting one day earlier on the DC Universe streaming service, to which I subscribe. Speaking of which:

Harley Quinn on DC Universe: This is an original animated series featured exclusively on DC Universe, and it is NOT for kids! This TV-MA rated series is filled with curses, extreme violence, and rude humor. I was a bit put off by the first episode of season 1, but I've been a big fan from the second episode right through the recently started second season. These are different, highly comedic versions of the characters we know and love, but the creators make it work as long as you're open to the outrageousness of it. A new episode debuts every Friday.

The Midnight Gospel on Netflix: Wow. This is a difficult show to describe, but I'll do my best. This is another TV-MA animated series, but goes in a completely different direction than Harley Quinn. Gospel features a character named Clancy, who uses a computer and "simulator" that carries Clancy's consciousness to parallel universes, which are usually on the brink of destruction, where he meets strange characters that he interviews for his "spacecasts" (podcasts that are broadcast through space). Clancy is voiced by comedian Duncan Trussell, host of the podcast The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, and the interviews Clancy conducts are largely edits from Trussell's real life podcast. Guests from the podcast that appear on Gospel include Dr. Drew Pinsky, Damien Echols, and Trussell's own late mother Deneen Fendig, who passed away in 2013. The discussions are highly philosophical and existential, and the quiet dialogues between Clancy and his guests are contrasted by chaotic events surrounding them, told in wild animation. The series is co-created by Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time. The show isn't for everyone, and even I had to blink my eyes a few times at the images in front of me, but I enjoyed the series. If nothing else, I'm inspired to check out Trussell's podcast.

DCI Banks: This is a British series that is available on Amazon Prime. The title refers to the main character, detective Alan Banks, a stern, devoted cop who leads a dedicated team of detectives to solve grisly murders and bring justice for the late victims. The series is well written and acted, and while many may compare it to police procedurals here in the U.S., Banks is much less sensationalistic than most American police series. This is one of the few series my wife and I both enjoy equally. Highly recommended!

Much to my own surprise, I haven't listened to much music since sheltering at home, which is odd considering it seems like something that would increase under these circumstances. Right before the quarantine I started listening to Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia, a box set of great 70s soul music released on Philadelphia International Records, home of Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, The Delfonics, The Three Degrees, and other great R&B acts from the 1970s. Every Philadelphian and/or lover of music should give this a listen!

Just a week or two ago, I became eligible to receive a 90-day free subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited. I began subscribing to a bunch of their playlists, one of which was a collection of '80s New Wave Hits, which I enjoyed a lot. Get out a can of Aqua Net and spray your hair to these great tracks!

There are a couple other things I may mention in a future article, but I don't want this one to get too unwieldy, so I'll save them for another time. I need to change things up and really take advantage of the extra time. If you have any recommendations for movies, TV series, music, books, comics, or hobbies, please let me know in the comments. Or simply let me know how you've spent the time inside. I always love to hear from you!

Be smart, Stay safe. Stay sane. Love one another!