Sunday, October 17, 2010

Margaret: The Last Real Princess (1999) (TV)

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (Margaret Rose; 21 August 1930 – 9 February 2002) was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II and the younger daughter of King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth.

Margaret spent much of her childhood years in the company of her older sister and parents. Her life changed dramatically in 1936, when her paternal uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry the divorced American Wallis Simpson. Margaret's father became King in Edward's place, and her older sister became heir presumptive with Margaret second in line to the throne. During World War II, the two sisters stayed at Windsor Castle, despite government pressure to evacuate to Canada. During the war years, Margaret was not expected to perform any public or official duties, and instead continued her education. After the war, she fell in love with a divorced older man, Group Captain Peter Townsend, her father's equerry. Her father died at around the same time, and her sister became Queen. Many in the government felt that Townsend was an unsuitable husband for the Queen's sister, and the Church of England refused to countenance the marriage. Under pressure, Margaret chose to abandon her plans, and instead accepted the proposal of the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon by Elizabeth II. The marriage, despite an auspicious start, soon became unhappy; the couple divorced in 1978.

Margaret was often viewed as a controversial member of the royal family. Her divorce earned her negative publicity, and she was romantically linked with several men. Her health gradually deteriorated for the final two decades of her life; a heavy smoker all her adult life, she had a lung operation in 1985, a bout of pneumonia in 1993, and at least three strokes between 1998 and 2001. Margaret died at King Edward VII Hospital, London, on 9 February 2002. After a private funeral, her body was cremated. Two months later, after the death of her mother, Margaret's ashes were interred beside the bodies of her parents in the George VI Memorial Chapel at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Margaret: The Last Real Princess (1999) (TV)
Narrator: Philip Madoc

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame, The (1994) (TV)

Two hours of goodness from the same folks that brought us the First Annual Comedy Hall of Fame.

TV WEEKEND; Self-Mockery, Sincere Kind Of Flattery
Published: October 28, 1994

As award shows go, George Schlatter's "Comedy Hall of Fame" has the distinct advantage of not daring to take itself too seriously. Jonathan Winters, one of last year's inductees, insists the somewhat clunky-looking award makes a great doorstop. George Carlin, in this year's charmed circle, uneasily notes that the event is "the kind of thing comedians should make fun of." They do, albeit gently and sometimes sentimentally, on tomorrow's "Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame" on NBC.

Joining Mr. Carlin on the list of inductees are Sid Caesar, Bob Hope, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore and Richard Pryor. The presenters include Brett Butler, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers and Phil Hartman, formerly of "Saturday Night Live" but still doing his best-of-the-lot Clinton impersonation. Opening the show, Kelsey Grammer, who plays a psychiatrist on "Frasier," pointedly notes that "even a bad psychiatrist could make a fortune in this room."

There are odd couplings. Bob Newhart, for instance, gets to present Richard Pryor's award, as Robert Townsend wryly explains that "Bob and Richard grew up in the 'hood together." Mr. Newhart insists he was the obvious choice because he and Mr. Pryor "work so much alike." The show-stealing cup goes to wily Ms. MacLaine, who, to the tune of "If They Could See Me Now," sings a laugh-and-a-tear tribute to all the comics facing hecklers, getting old, watching young hotshots take over but, somehow, always managing to get the last laugh. That's the standing-ovation cue. The evening ends on a Catskills note with Milton Berle telling a Zsa Zsa joke. You were expecting Oscar Wilde? SECOND ANNUAL COMEDY HALL OF FAME NBC, tomorrow at 8 P.M. (Channel 4 in New York) Directed by Gary Halvorson. Written by Buz Kohan and George Schlatter. Christine Clark, associate director; Maria S. Schlatter, producer; Bob Keene, production designer. Produced by NBC Productions in association with Broadway Video. Gary Necessary, executive in charge of production; Mr. Schlatter, executive producer.

The Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame (1994) (TV)
Cast: Brett Butler, Red Buttons, Sid Caesar, George Carlin, Kelsey Grammer, Phil Hartman, Bob Hope, Jon Lovitz, Shirley MacLaine, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Paula Poundstone, Richard Pryor, Rob Reiner, Dick Smothers, Tom Smothers, Sharon Stone, Robert Townsend, Dick Van Dyke, Jonathan Winters

Peggy & Dorothy: A Dateline Olympics Special (2002) (TV)

Special event (via the NBC Dateline crew) broadcast just prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies. Two of the greatest in a long list of American figure skaters. Well done.

Peggy & Dorothy: A Dateline Olympics Special (2002) (TV)
Host: Stone Phillips

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Tribute The Test and The Triumph (1988) (TV)

Follows the conclusion of the 1988 Summer Olympics from Seoul, S. Korea. This is a 3 hour showcase outlining the final medal counts with video of some greatest moments.

The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were an all international multi-sport events celebrated in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. They were the second summer Olympic Games to be held in Asia and the first since the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan. They were also the fourth Olympic Games to be held in Autumn.

In the Seoul Games, 160 nations were represented by a total of 8391 athletes: 6197 men and 2194 women. 237 events were held. 27221 volunteers helped to prepare the Olympics. 11331 media (4978 written press and 6353 broadcasters) showed the Games all over the world.

These were the last Olympic Games for two of the world's "dominating" sport powers, the Soviet Union and East Germany, as both ceased to exist before the next Olympic Games.

North Korea, still officially at war with South Korea, and its allies, Albania, Cuba, Madagascar and Seychelles boycotted the games. For differing reasons, Ethiopia and Nicaragua did not participate in the games. However, the much larger boycotts seen in the previous three Summer Olympics were avoided, resulting in the largest ever number of participating nations to that date.

The Tribute  The Test and The Triumph (1988) (TV)
Host: Bob Costas

Muhammad Ali 50th Birthday Celebration (1992) (TV)

This is the black-tie celebration of the great man on his 50th birthday. Two hours of heartfelt reminiscence featuring everyone from Whitney Houston to Al Pacino to... Almost everybody is here and very happily so; the sincerity is obvious.

Muhammad Ali 50th Birthday Celebration (1992) (TV)
Cast: Laila Ali, May May Ali, Muhammad Ali, Dan Aykroyd, Renaldo Benson, Howard Cosell, Billy Crystal, Tony Danza, Charles S. Dutton, Abdul 'Duke' Fakir, Ella Fitzgerald, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, M.C. Hammer, Dustin Hoffman, Larry Holmes, Whitney Houston, Ingemar Johansson, Magic Johnson, James Earl Jones, Sugar Ray Leonard, Little Richard, Archie Moore, Ken Norton, Floyd Patterson, Lawrence Payton, Anita Pointer, June Pointer, Ruth Pointer, Raven-Symoné, Diana Ross, Wilma Rudolph, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Earnie Shavers, Sinbad, Michael Spinks, Sylvester Stallone, Levi Stubbs, Blair Underwood, Denzel Washington

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Third Annual NBC All Star Hour, The (1985) (TV)

It's back for a third time with all the fanfare one expects from a faux awards show. Arm twisting self-pats all around. Ms. Carter opens the show with style and flair and from there it's all downhill.

The Third Annual NBC All Star Hour (1985) (TV) 
Cast: Nell Carter, Don Johnson

Big Four-Oh, The - Channel 2 Birthday Party (1988) (TV)

In May of 1988, KCBS-2 the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles celebrated their 40th birthday. This is a definitive walk through of television history led ably by the late local legend Ralph Story. A live, daytime formal black-tie television broadcast from the site of the first Academy Awards ceremony, the role call is numbing. Almost everyone is in attendance, Morey Amsterdam AND Rose Marie are here, for instance. It's two hours of that, one surprise after the other and with classic and unique video and still photo archival footage the whole thing is excellent. There is a short color POV video clip of a car traveling east on Hollywood Blvd., as it passes the Chinese Theatre you can see the signage for the then-current feature "Trader Horn" from 1931.

For those in the Los Angeles markets, you might notice Steve Edwards and Dorothy Lucey of the Fox 11 Morning News among the co-hosts.

The Big Four-Oh - Channel 2 Birthday Party (1988) (TV)
Hosts: Ralph Story, Steve Edwards, Dorothy Lucey

Monday, October 4, 2010

Love Boat Fall Preview Special (1983) (TV)

A luxury ocean liner is the setting for the ABC Fall preview of 1983. Hosted by the crew of the Love Boat.

Love Boat Fall Preview Special (1983) (TV)
Cast: Joan Collins, Henry Winkler, Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Koppel, John Forsythe, Scott Baio, Erin Moran, Daniel Hugh-Kelly, Brian Keith, Assorted

Police Story: Monster Manor (1988) TV Movie

A two-hour installment of the brief 1988 revival of the old "Police Story" anthology series. The titular manor is an allegedly haunted mansion in the center of a large city. It is inhabited by a group of police officers who use the mansion as a "rave" site, where they can drink, smoke and party in their off-hours.

Police Story: Monster Manor (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Brian McNamara, Clayton Rohner, Scott Burkholder, Claudia Christian, Mykelti Williamson, Billy Zane, Lori Petty

Prime Times (1983) (TV)

Billed as "A fun-filled look at television". This may be a small piece of television history and it's very rare but it's dreadfully dated. Basically it's old TV clips with contemporary (for 1983) comics making funny on top of them. Bad jokes, stale clips and terrible writing define this show. Lackadaisically hosted by the great Leslie Nielsen.

Prime Times (1983) (TV)
Host: Leslie Nielsen

Wild West, The (1993) TV mini-series

Accurate, realistic and believable. The great Jack Lemmon leads us through the wild west.


The Wild West (1993) TV mini-series
Host: Jack Lemmon

Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid (1978) TV Movie

Comedy-Western about a turn-of-the-century lady investigator named Kate Bliss who goes to the wide-open spaces of the wild west to capture a gang of outlaws led by a charming Robin Hood criminal of the plains. His mission is leading a band of dispossessed ranchers against a stuffy English land baron who has cheated them out of their property. Dandy Don passed away last week, his lights are out, his party is over, his good thing has come to end.

Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid (1978) TV Movie
Cast: Suzanne Pleshette, Don Meredith, Harry Morgan, Tony Randall, Burgess Meredith, Harry Carey Jr., Richard Herd