Wednesday, December 23, 2020
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
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Monday, December 7, 2020
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
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
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
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
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Monday, November 16, 2020
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 just...you 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
Friday, October 30, 2020
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
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Monday, October 26, 2020
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.
Friday, October 23, 2020
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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
Monday, October 19, 2020
Friday, October 16, 2020
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
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Monday, October 12, 2020
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."
Friday, October 9, 2020
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
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Monday, October 5, 2020
Friday, October 2, 2020
Sure, why not?
Thursday, October 1, 2020
WELCOME, MERE MORTALS, TO THE 2020 COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEEEEEEN!!!!
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!
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Friday, June 12, 2020
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Monday, June 8, 2020
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
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!