Monday, December 10, 2012

Terror on Highway 91 (1989) TV Movie

In this police drama, a rookie cop finds his idealism nearly destroyed when he discovers that most of the officers in his new precinct are corrupt. This is based on a true story. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Terror on Highway 91 (1989)TV Movie
Cast: Bonnie Johnson, Brad Dourif, Chuck Bibby, George Dzundza, Lara Flynn Boyle, Michael Burgess, Richard Brooks, Rick Schroder

Two for the Money (1972) TV Movie

In this drama, two private investigators must find a serial killer after the 12-year investigation of the police fails miserably. Intended as a pilot that never sold, it aired as part of the ABC Movie of the Week. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Two for the Money (1972) TV Movie
Cast: Anne Revere, Catherine Burns, Mercedes McCambridge, Neville Brand, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Hooks, Shelley Fabares, Stephen Brooks, Walter Brennan

Friday, December 7, 2012

Three Kings, The (1987) TV Movie

The made-for-TV Three Kings stars Jack Warden, Lou Diamond Phillips and Stan Shaw as three patients in a Los Angeles-area mental institution. Dressed as the Three Wise Men for a Christmas pageant, the trio is suddenly struck with the delusion that they are really their Biblical counterparts. As TV cameras grind away, the three ersatz Kings ride out of the Pageant--on camels--and into the mean streets of LA. As the story draws to its conclusion, the three escapees find themselves providing Christmas cheer for a group of homeless people on the outskirts of the city. Aaron Spelling's original story veers dangerously close to being devoured by its own cuteness at times, but Stirling Silliphant's script for Three Kings keeps the whimsy in check and the sillier events reasonably credible. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Three Kings (1987) TV Movie
Cast: Tiana Alexandra, Jane Kaczmarek, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charles Nelson Reilly, Pepe Serna, Stan Shaw, Tori Spelling, Vic Tayback, Jack Warden

Good King Wenceslas (1994) TV Movie

Wenceslas, the young king of Bohemia, lives trapped between the wisdom of his Christian grandmother and his tyranical stepmother. Only when he sees the suffering of the people does Wenceslas conclude that his stepbrother should never rule.

Good King Wenceslas (1994) TV Movie
Cast: Charlotte Chatton, Joan Fontaine, Jonathan Brandis, Leo McKern, Oliver Milburn, Perry King, Stefanie Powers, William Morgan Sheppard

Tony Bennett: A Family Christmas (1992)

Tony Bennett has been entertaining generations of audiences since 1950, performing a variety of hits with various internationally renowned bands; he has had a career filled with music awards and chart-toppers from all around the world. Songs include "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, The Christmas Waltz, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Where Is Love?, I Love the Winter Weather", and a medley that features "We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Jingle Bells, O Come All Ye Faithful, and Silent Night." ~ Forrest Spencer, Rovi

Tony Bennett: A Family Christmas (1992)
Cast: Tony Bennett, Manhattan Transfer

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blake Shelton's Not So Family Christmas (2012) (TV)

For three seasons of "The Voice" now fans have known that Blake Shelton is brilliantly hilarious and incredibly charming. But how would it translate to his very own holiday special? Many celebrities have tried in recent years, but few have succeeded as well as Shelton did with "Blake Shelton's Not-So-Family Christmas" on NBC.

The hour special was littered with musical guests like Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson, not to mention his mother and his wife Miranda Lambert. He also had comedy bits throughout the special, with most of them hitting the right note -- even if he admitted his Larry the Cable Guy sketch might have been a little dark.

In it, he and Larry were in the claymation style of classic Christmas specials like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman." It was a hunting trip in the North Pole that went all wrong, with the pair ultimately killing or destroying virtually every beloved Christmas character.

He went dark again in a sketch where he traumatized children with twisted answers to their questions about "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." At other points he was getting beaten down by a cast of little people or trying to hawk a cheap knock-off of his swiveling chair from "The Voice."

Now that Shelton's got a laugh-filled Christmas special under his belt, fans can start counting the days until he's announced as an upcoming host on "Saturday Night Live." If he doesn't want to pull double duty, he could always invite his wife along to join in the fun as the musical guest.

Blake Shelton's Not So Family Christmas (2012) TV
Cast: Christina Aguilera, Kailee Bauer, Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Dorothy Shackleford, Blake Shelton

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Girl Crazy (1997)

A 1997 American comedy film written and directed by noted Mormon film maker Richard Dutcher. Dutcher's first feature film, it was initially shown on HBO's Cinemax service, and never received theatrical distribution.

Girl Crazy (1997)
Cast: Richard Dutcher, Linda Bon, Tim Hansen, Kiki Margiotta, Lisa Manulkin, Chelene Ward, Diane Weiss

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Track of the Giant Snow Bear (1970)

An Eskimo boy frees a polar bear cub from a trap and raises it, until it threatens his village.

Track of the Giant Snow Bear (1970)
Cast: Laura Itta, Steve Kaleak, Rossman Peetook

Thursday, August 9, 2012

American Film Institute Salute to Clint Eastwood, The (1996) (TV)

Tribute to Clint Eastwood, the 24th recipient of the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.

The American Film Institute Salute to Clint Eastwood (1996) (TV)
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Jim Carrey, Rene Russo, Don Rickles, Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty, Pierce Brosnan, Nicolas Cage, Faye Dunaway, Francesca Eastwood, Ed Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Quincy Jones, Dylan McDermott, Jack Nicholson

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies, The (1993) (TV)

Hosted by Mac Davis, this "mockumentary" features the original cast members appearing in character, with many of the show's guest stars recalling their experiences with the Clampetts.

The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies (1993) (TV)
Cast: Hoyt Axton, Max Baer Jr., Ray Charles, Mac Davis, Donna Douglas, Buddy Ebsen, G. Gordon Liddy, Reba McEntire

Alien Autopsy: (Fact or Fiction?) (1995) (TV)

This provacative FOX Network "prime time" television special investigates the purported "Alien Autopsy" footage that was allegedly filmed by the United States military after the legendary UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
Alien Autopsy: (Fact or Fiction?) (1995) (TV)
Host: Jonathan Frakes

Space: Last Frontier or Lost Frontier? (1994) (TV)

TV Review : A Journey Into Past and Future of 'Space'
July 14, 1994|RAY LOYND

Outer space.

Remember how those words captivated and intrigued us in the '50s and '60s?

Now, 25 years to the week after Neil A. Armstrong walked on the moon and "took one small step for man," the luster is off NASA and the space program. The moon seems much farther away than it did when Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent 22 hours scooping up moon rocks.

"CBS Reports," anchored by co-writer Connie Chung, tonight takes us on a 25th anniversary space journey, assessing the extraordinary history and cloudy future of the U.S. space program in "Space: Last Frontier or Lost Frontier?"

Interviews and archival footage catch what Chung calls the "singular joy" of the early pioneer space days, when the whole nation was enthralled. Walter Cronkite, who broadcast the July 20, 1969, moon landing, puts the thrill of that day best: "It's as if you could have stood on the dock and waved goodby to Columbus."

But as the program documents, Vietnam and a host of other events gradually took the bloom off the space lily.

We live once again NASA's self-made failures, notably the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger and recent disappointments like the malfunctioning Hubble telescope, designed to peer into the fantastic edges of the cosmos (although, in a conspicuous achievement, Hubble was surgically repaired in space).

Ultimately, the production gives space flight a divided report card. The glory days are over and skeptics on the show carry more bite, particularly given budget deficits and the sky-high price of world leadership in space. But, as someone remarks, "We can be on Mars 25 years from now. If we are able to do it--let's do it!"

"Space: Last Frontier or Lost Frontier?" airs at 10 tonight on CBS (Channels 2 and 8).
Space: Last Frontier or Lost Frontier? (1994) (TV)
Host: Connie Chung

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Victory & Valor: Special Olympics World Games (1991) (TV)

August 13, 1991|RICK DU BROW

TV or not TV. . . .

ABOUT TIME: TV is finally opening its doors to enlightened portrayals of the mentally retarded and disabled.

The recent drama series "Equal Justice" was a notable example. So is "Life Goes On," which stars Chris Burke, who has Down's syndrome.

Thus, the timing of Thursday's two-hour ABC broadcast, "Victory and Valor: A Special Olympics All-Star Celebration"--built around the joyous competition of mentally retarded athletes from more than 100 nations--couldn't be more appropriate.

"This Olympics has been an important part of my life," Burke says in the show, which is not really a sports program at all, but a celebration of the spirit. Yes, there's a star-studded opening ceremony in a colorful, Olympics-style extravaganza before 60,000 fans at the Minneapolis Metrodome last month. But the special tries to avoid this single dimension by focusing in part on the individual tales of four competitors, including a young Navajo man from Arizona and a boy from Nepal, following them from their homes before the Games right through the weeklong Olympics.

Singer Bob Seger, who, like the other participating stars, worked for free, went to Nepal, as did the show, which also taped sequences in Greece, home of the Olympics.

Burke, clearly moved in his appearances, is a past competitor in the Special Olympics, having won a medal for broad jumping.

In the new age of TV, with Larry Drake playing retarded office worker Benny Stulwicz in "L.A. Law" and Marlee Matlin portraying a hearing-impaired prosecutor in the fall series "Reasonable Doubts," the approach of ABC's Thursday special adds to the healthy trend.

It is decidedly upbeat, feel-good TV, blending the stars, the sports events and the mini-documentaries of the athletes, which include some hilarious passages--especially about a "unified" softball team of retarded and non-retarded players from Connecticut.

The team seems straight out of "The Bad News Bears." After they get slaughtered in their first game, 18-4, the coach observes: "I wouldn't count us out." After they lose again, he notes: "This game was probably the worst we played." One of the retarded players has the solution: "Base hits, base hits."

Viewers who enjoy the spectacle of an Olympics will see the usual rituals--the running of the torch, the opening parade of the athletes and the accompanying entertainment. And there are a few eye-openers, including the 68-year-old man who is the oldest Special Olympian.

"Some people think this is a telethon," says executive producer Bobby Shriver. "Well, it's not. It's a show. No one's going to feel sorry for anybody. You don't have to be delicate. It's like 'Animal House' sometimes. And we treat this like the Super Bowl."

Adds director Steve Binder: "We tried to capture the entire week and see it through the eyes of the Special Olympians, not just the stars."

The lineup of stars is imposing, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Warren Beatty, Jon Bon Jovi, Gerardo, Prince, Kirstie Alley, Fred Savage, Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith, Florence Griffith Joyner, Debbie Gibson, Patti Austin, Frank Gifford, Wayne Gretzky, Richard Dean Anderson, Randy Travis, Bob Saget and Herb Alpert.

But the real stars, of course--an antidote to the age of overpaid professional jocks--are the young athletes from around the world having a great time. And Burke, as a former Special Olympian, bridges the world of the stars and athletes. Says one person connected with the production: "He was such a hero to these kids."

Victory & Valor: Special Olympics World Games (1991) (TV)
Host: Frank Gifford

Monday, August 6, 2012

Inside 'NYPD Blue': A Decade on the Job (2002) (TV)

A behind the scenes look celebrating NYPD Blue's 10th year on the air as shown through clips and interviews of cast and crew past and present.

Inside 'NYPD Blue': A Decade on the Job (2002) (TV)
Host: Joe Mantegna

Friday, August 3, 2012

In A New Light (1993) (TV)

Patti Austin, Pat Benatar, Clint Black, Michael Callen, Melissa Etheridge, Elton John and Silk are among the artists who perform against a haunting background of names embroidered on the AIDS Memorial Quilt, commemorating men, women and children who have died of the disease.

In words and graphics, information is given without equivocation and underscored through repetition: how a condom is used, how it can prevent transmission of HIV, what bodily fluids transmit it, where vulnerable mucous membranes are located, ways you cannot get the virus. Abstinence is stressed; in the absence of abstinence, "safer sex," not "safe sex," is the operative term.

Entertainment and statistics are interspersed with memorable segments spotlighting people working in AIDS education and/or living with HIV and AIDS.

A few of the stars who speak their piece and urge viewers to call for information are Hollywood's leading AIDS spokeswoman Elizabeth Taylor, Chad Lowe, Judith Light, Rosie Perez and Luke Perry ("I've been tested three times").

Memorable comic moments and candor are provided by Lily Tomlin as Ernestine, answering questions on an AIDS hot line.

Worth tuning into? You bet your life.

In A New Light (1993) (TV)
Cast: Patti Austin, Pat Benatar, Clint Black, Michael Callen, Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, Silk, Elizabeth Taylor, Chad Lowe, Judith Light, Rosie Perez, Luke Perry

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Echo of Thunder, The (1998) TV Movie

The Echo of Thunder is an Australian family drama movie, released for television in 1998. It is based on the novel Thunderwith by Australian children's author Libby Hathorn. It was aired on CBS in the United States as a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation.

The story of a man who lives with his second wife and three kids on an Australian farm in the Wallingat Forest NSW. He learns about the fatal illness of his first wife which leaves his eldest daughter, Lara, alone in the world. Lara seeks solace with a mysterious dog she names Thunderwith that appears from time to time on the property. The story concentrates on the relationship between mother Gladwyn and stepdaughter, as Lara is slowly accepted into the family.

The movie was shot in Mount Beauty, Victoria and directed by Simon Wincer. Hallmark Channel produced the movie and the story undertook several changes for example the four Ritchie children became only three on the set. Judy Davis, who played the mother Gladwyn was nominated for an Emmy for her performance.

The Echo of Thunder (1998) TV Movie
Cast: Judy Davis, Jamey Sheridan, Lauren Hewett, Chelsea Yates, Michael Caton, Emily Browning, Jamie Croft

For All Time (2000) TV Movie

This made-for-TV fantasy was based on Rod Serling's "A Stop at Willoughby," a 1960 episode of Serling's classic anthology series Twilight Zone. The story begins in the year 2000, with advertising executive Charles Lattimer (Mark Harmon) escaping his hectic professional life and increasingly dissatisfying marriage to wife Kristen (Catherine Hicks) by obsessively tinkering with his elaborate model-train set. Through the aid of a magic stopwatch, Charles boards a real train and is whisked back to 1896, where he inaugurates a romance with attractive widow Laura Brown (Mary McDonnell). Traversing back and forth through the years, Charles ultimately finds that he will never truly be happy until he chooses between the "real" world and the world fashioned by his nostalgic imagination. Filmed in Alberta, For All Time made its CBS network debut on October 18, 2000. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

For All Time (2000) TV Movie
Cast: Mark Harmon, David Lereaney, Mary McDonnell, Catherine Hicks, Philip Casnoff, Bill Cobbs

Shaggy Dog, The (1994) TV Movie

In this television remake of Disney's zany feature, a teenager under a magic spell keeps turning into a sheepdog, much to his father's chagrin. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
The Shaggy Dog (1994) TV Movie
Cast: Ed Begley Jr., Sharon Lawrence, Jon Polito, James Cromwell, Jeremy Sisto, Natasha Gregson Wagner, Bobby Slayton, Rick Ducommun, Scott Weinger

Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole (1972) TV Movie

In her final acting appearance, Susan Hayward is ironically cast as a research doctor who can no longer face up to the notion of dealing with death on a daily basis. Recently widowed, Dr. Maggie Cole is on the verge of giving up her job and going into seclusion. She is shaken back to reality by crusty but lovable "street doctor" Lou Grazzo (Darren McGavin), who coerces Maggie into accepting a job at a Chicago slum clinic. At first adjusting admirably to her new surroundings, Maggie undergoes a devastating assault to her emotions when she befriends a teenaged leukemia patient. Written by real-life M.D. Sandor Stern and originally telecast by ABC on September 27, 1972, Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole was supposed to have been the pilot for a weekly series, but plans for this project were abandoned after the death of star Susan Hayward. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole (1972) TV Movie
Cast: Susan Hayward, Darren McGavin, Michael Constantine, Michele Nichols, Dane Clark, Beverly Garland, Jeanette Nolan, Richard Anderson, Richard Carlyle

Season of Giants, A (1991) TV Movie

A Season of Giants succeeds more in ambition than in execution. This 195-minute TV movie proposes that a great professional rivalry existed between Renaissance geniuses Michelangelo (Mark Frankel) and Leonardo da Vinci (John Glover). While the Florentine and Roman scenery is authentic, certain elements of the story cause the viewer to doubt its credibility. For starters, both Michelangelo and Da Vinci weather several years' time without either aging or changing their clothes; also, the "creative process" is minimized, with both artists going from inspiration to final product in what seems to be a matter of hours (maybe Michelangelo used a roller on the Sistine Chapel). A Season of Giants was originally shown in two parts over the TNT Cable service, with a surprising paucity of advertising fanfare. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Season of Giants (1991) TV Movie
Cast: F. Murray Abraham, Vittorio Amandola, Steven Berkoff, Mark Frankel, John Glover

TV Guide: Truth Behind the Rumors (2001) (TV)

The stars from "Growing Pains" and "Dynasty" reveal behind the scenes secrets and controversies that occurred while shooting their respective shows. This is considered the third in the series from TV Guide.

TV Guide: Truth Behind the Rumors (2001) (TV)
Cast: Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Jeremy Miller, Tracey Gold, Joan Collins, John Forsythe, Linda Evans

Deliver Them from Evil: The Taking of Alta View (1992) TV Movie

This made-for-TV film was based on a real-life, nail-biting hostage situation. The incident began when a deranged gunman, disgruntled for a variety of reasons, burst into the maternity ward at the Alta View Hospital in Sandy, Utah. Holding mothers, babies and nurses captive, the gunman clearly intended to kill as many people as possible before he himself was subdued by the police. Harry Hamlin, light-years away from LA Law, plays the psychotic intruder, while Terri Garr co-stars as the maternity nurse who struggles to act as the voice of reason. Filmed on location in Salt Lake City, Deliver Them From Evil premiered April 28, 1992. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Deliver Them from Evil: The Taking of Alta View (1992) TV Movie
Cast: Harry Hamlin, Teri Garr, Terry O'Quinn, Gary Frank, Joycelyn O'Brien, Georgia Emelin, Keith Coulouris, Britt Sady, Michael Flynn

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

35th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (2000) (TV)

Live coverage of the 35th annual Academy of Country Music Awards presentation from the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, California. Hosted by Dolly Parton.

35th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (2000) (TV)
Cast: Dolly Parton, George Strait, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Asleep At The Wheel, Billy Gilman, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Naomi Judd, Wynonna Judd, Lonestar, Gary Allan, Chad Brock, Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Hank Williams Jr., Jessica Andrews, Julie Reeves, Shalie Tenison, Chely Wright, Sawyer Brown, Collin Raye, Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Montgomery Gentry, SHeDAISY, Yankee Gray

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story (1988) TV Movie

This is the true story of Los Gatos (California) high school football coach Charlie Wedemeyer (Michael Nouri). At 31, onetime football pro Wedemeyer is living the American dream; a winning team, a happy marriage and public adulation. Then in 1977, Charlie is diagnosed as suffering from ALS, a degenerative neurological ailment better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Given only one year to live, Charlie determines to continue leading his Los Gatos Wildcats to a state championship -- which he eventually does, despite losing all powers of speech and movement. Several notches above the usual "disease of the week" TV movie, Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story was directed by ROY CAMPANELLA II -- himself the son of a physically disabled pro athlete, baseball star Roy Campanella. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Pam Dawber, Michael Nouri, Bess Meyer, Peter Berg, James Handy, Dan Lauria, Reginald VelJohnson, Noble Willingham, Stephen Dorff, Betty Carvalho, Amelia Burnette, Kyle Chandler

Live! From Death Row (1992) TV Movie

On the eve of his televised execution, a serial killer (Bruce Davison) takes a TV newswoman (Joanna Cassidy) hostage. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

Live! From Death Row (1992) TV Movie
Cast: Joanna Cassidy, Bruce Davison, Art LaFleur, Calvin Levels, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Martha Velez, Kathleen Wilhoite

Kidz in the Wood (1996) TV Movie

When a wise teacher takes eight troubled, aimless kids on a re-creation of a wagon train journey along the Oregon trail, the youths learn important lessons from the past while enduring the struggles and strife suffered by the pioneers who settled the West. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Kidz in the Wood (1996) TV Movie
Cast: Dave Thomas, Julia Duffy, Tatyana Ali, Candace Cameron Bure, David Lascher, Darius McCrary, Alfonso Ribeiro, Sam Vincent, Don S. Davis, Garry Chalk

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Plymouth (1991) TV Movie

An unsold television movie pilot that traces the story of the people of a small town who become the first human inhabitants of the moon.

Plymouth (1991) TV Movie
Cast: Cindy Pickett, Richard Hamilton, Perrey Reeves, James Rebhorn, Brent David Fraser, Lindsay Price, Dale Midkiff

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mystery of Natalie Wood, The (2004) TV Movie

This three-hour TV biopic of actress Natalie Wood emulates Citizen Kane by beginning at the end -- the tragically ironic drowning death of the water-phobic actress in 1981 -- then recounts her life story in flashback. Justine Waddell plays the adult Natalie, with younger performers Elizabeth Rice, Candice Moore, and Nadia Scappa portraying the actress in various stages of childhood, adolescence, and puberty. Although little Natasha Gurdin's Russian-born mother and father (here played by Colin Friels and Alice Krige) had drive and ambition, it was the girl herself who energetically and enthusiastically promoted her career as a child star named "Natalie Wood," and it was Natalie herself who demanded that producer stop casting her in cute-kid and ingenue roles and take her seriously as an adult -- even before she technically was one. Naturally, the film recounts Natalie's marriage to actor Robert Wagner (Michael Weatherley), the breakup of the union as she pursued affairs with the likes of Warren Beatty (Matthew Settle), and Wood and Wagner's ultimate reconciliation and remarriage. One might assume that the "mystery" of the film's title is Natalie's death by drowning -- to this day, no one quite knows how she managed to end up in the water -- but it also manifested in the enigma of Natalie herself, a woman who despite her aggressive and unending pursuit of fame and stardom might well have willingly given it all up just to be a wife and mother. In fine old Hollywood-biography tradition, the movie boasts an endless parade of celebrity lookalikes impersonating such friends and colleagues of Natalie Wood as James Dean, Edmund Gwenn, Marilyn Monroe, and directors Irving Pichel, Elia Kazan, and Nicholas Ray, as well as several real-life celebs offering their reflections on the film's protagonist, notably Margaret O'Brien, Robert Vaughn, and Henry Jaglom. Directed by no less than Peter Bogdanovich, The Mystery of Natalie Wood first aired over ABC on March 1, 2004. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Mystery of Natalie Wood (2004) TV Movie
Cast: Justine Waddell, Michael Weatherly, Matthew Settle, Colin Friels, Elizabeth Rice, Grace Fulton, Robert Taylor, Alice Krige, Malcolm Kennard, Christopher Pate, John Noble, Barry Langrishe, Steven Vidler, Sophie Monk, Nathalie Roy

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Andy Griffith Show Reunion, The (1993) (TV)

Cast members from "The Andy Griffith Show" gather to reminisce about the classic 1960's TV series. The program is a series of interviews conducted by Andy Griffith. He interviews the other cast members and questions them about their favorite episodes and other memories. It also includes clips from select episodes as well as home movies taken on the set. Present are Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, George Lindsey, Jim Nabors and Jack Dodson. Sheldon Leonard and Aaron Rubin also gave interviews. The sets used were not the originals. The designer used only set pieces to offer the feel of the show. Also included are a series of celebrity comments about the show, including journalist Charles Kuralt, baseball player Nolan Ryan, musicians Randy Travis, Kenny G, Reba McEntire and Clint Black, actors Burt Reynolds and Lisa Hartman, and football players Bob Golic, Howie Long and Steve Wright.

The Andy Griffith Show Reunion (1993) (TV)
Cast: Andy Griffith, Charles Kuralt, Nolan Ryan, Randy Travis, Burt Reynolds, Lisa Hartman, Kenny G, Reba McEntire, Bob Golic, Howie Long, Steve Wright, Clint Black, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, Jim Nabors

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mega Stunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls Live (2012) (TV)

Niagara Falls banks on Wallenda's tightrope stunt
By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – More than a century after stunters, hucksters and daredevils were banned from desecrating the world's most famous waterfall, a Flying Wallenda will walk a tightrope across the cataract in prime time on live national TV — with official permission and support.

It happens Friday night. Nik Wallenda, seventh-generation scion of the first family of the high wire, will try to become the first person in 116 years to walk over the Niagara River, and the first ever to cross so close to the mighty falls' thick mists and gusty winds.

In a testament to the economy's sluggishness and tourism's allure, the USA and Canada granted Wallenda an exception to the no-stunts policy. The supposed beneficiary is this beleaguered city of 50,000, which shares the falls' name and little else.

Once a scenic wonder, industrial colossus and honeymoon capital all wrapped in one, the city has over the past 50 years lost much of its industry, half its population and almost all its glamor. Yet now it's the site of the biggest high-wire act since Phillippe Petit walked between the World Trade Center towers in 1974.

"We've done it — boom! — a shot heard 'round the world," New York State Assemblyman John Ceretto said when the walk was approved this year. "Somebody might be out there and say, 'I want to invest in this city. They're on the move, they're thinking outside the box.' "

Wallenda himself is on message. "Not even Marilyn Monroe brought the attention here that I've brought," he says, referring to the star of the 1953 film Niagara. "Anyone who says this doesn't help Niagara Falls, they're fools."

He means critics such as Paul Gromosiak, a local naturalist and historian whose books include one on Niagara daredevils. He calls Wallenda's walk a step backward: "It's a distraction from an experience of nature. It reduces Niagara Falls to a backdrop."

In a nation whose basic economy is at best changing and at worst declining, Niagara Falls is one of many communities that have seen their future in the past:

•The legalization of gambling in Atlantic City in 1978 failed to alleviate urban blight in the faded resort. The city is betting on yet another casino, the Revel, which cost $2 billion and opened last month.

•Connersville, Ind., known a century ago as "Little Detroit" because of its importance to the auto industry, hoped to return to prosperity as the site of a plant where 1,500 workers would make high-tech police cars. But this year, the Energy Department denied Carbon Motors a $310 million loan, possibly killing the project.

Niagara Falls' own history includes wire walkers such as the Great Blondin, who crossed the Niagara Gorge in 1859 with his manager on his back. Maria Spelterini (1876) walked across backward wearing wicker peach baskets on her feet. Charles Cromwell (1884) sat on a chair on the wire. Clifford Calverly (1893) raced across in a record two minutes, 35 seconds.

None crossed anywhere near the falls itself. Yet Wallenda, whose wire is strung directly over them, may be hard pressed to enter this pantheon.

For months Wallenda promised a death-defying feat — "He's conquered fear!" Assemblyman Cerreto proclaimed. But a few weeks ago, ABC, which will televise the walk, insisted that Wallenda wear a harness tethering him to the wire. Wallenda says he'll go along because he needs sponsors to cover his costs, and sponsors generally don't want to be associated with the sight of someone falling to his death.

The dilemma is vintage Niagara Falls, where — because of the competing demands of industry, tourism and conservation — things often are not as they seem. A public power authority carefully modulates the flow of water over the falls, depending on the season or time of day, to suit visitors; the falls themselves, shaped by man as well as nature, are lit at night, sometimes in garish colors to mark an occasion.

From Canada, the view across the gorge is relatively natural. From America, there is a panorama of hotels, casinos, restaurants, pop museums, observation towers and a Ferris wheel.

"There's an Oz-like quality to what happens here," admits the mayor, Paul Dyster. "What's real? What's fake?"

Niagara Falls is a sucker for saviors. Nik Wallenda is not the first.

On the afternoon of Feb. 13, 2008, Eliot Spitzer, then governor of New York, came to talk with local leaders about how to revitalize the city.

Dyster was waiting when the governor's black Suburban pulled up outside the site of the meeting, Shorty's Ultimate Sports Bar and Grill. The governor's party came in and shook hands, but there was no governor. "He's still in the Suburban, making a call," an aide told Dyster. "He'll just be a minute."

After the meeting, Spitzer invited Dyster to come to Albany to discuss a menu of projects. A month later, Dyster's bags were packed when he heard the news: A federal prostitution investigation had led to Spitzer, known to the Emperors Club VIP escort service as "Client 9."

Soon Dyster learned the rest of the story: Just before the meeting Feb. 13 in Niagara Falls, according to wiretap logs, Spitzer called the escort service for an assignation that night at a Washington hotel. After the meeting, he called again and was told a woman would be waiting. "Great, OK," he said.

"What a disappointment!" says Gromosiak, the historian. "We were so happy we hugged him when he came here. We thought he was the right kind of governor for Niagara Falls."

There is no place like Niagara Falls. The nation's first state park was created here in 1883 to protect the falls from tourists and developers, but the city boomed on cheap water power and heavy industry.

After 1950, as its electro-chemical industry faded, the city began to fold. Attempts to reverse the decline, including the bulldozing of much of downtown and a series of white-elephant urban renewal projects, made things worse.

Then came Love Canal, the dumpsite-turned-residential neighborhood that was evacuated and declared a national disaster area after toxic chemicals started oozing from the ground in the late '70s.

Today, the city is old and poor; two of three residents subsist largely on welfare or Social Security, according to Census studies.

Even the Falls District, next to the state park, is pockmarked by empty lots, closed businesses and abandoned houses. Can Wallenda help change the city's luck? "For a weekend," Dyster says, "the world's attention will focus on Niagara Falls."

The world may not like what it sees, according to Ginger Strand, a cultural historian who has studied Niagara. "Everyone already knows all about the falls, but they don't realize how bad the city is," she says. "An American who arrives there is immediately appalled and embarrassed for the nation and hurries to the Canadian side."

Wallenda's walk will have one bit of unfortunate symbolism. Like many tourists, he'll start on the American side but wind up in Canada.

Nik Wallenda was 6 when he first saw Niagara Falls. He recalls his reaction: "I told my sister how amazing it would be to walk a tightrope across it."

Twenty-seven years later, he's perched on a practice wire 8 feet above a gambling casino parking lot in downtown Niagara Falls, talking about his falls' walk as if it were a fight and the falls was the opponent. "One of the things I enjoy is the challenge of Mother Nature," he says. Not only is he "battling this natural wonder," he says, "what I'm doing is a natural wonder. If not, there'd be 150 people behind me on the wire."

The wire is a 2-inch diameter steel cable, so much thicker than the 5/8-inch one Wallenda usually trods that "it feels like a sidewalk." He wears soft suede shoes made for him by his mother that are designed to grip the wire. He holds a 30-foot-long metal balancing pole.

Wallenda expects to take 30 to 40 minutes to cross the 1,800 feet from the American to the Canadian side of the falls, starting about 200 feet above the churning water at the base of Horseshoe Falls. Officials expect a crowd of at least 100,000. Four thousand free tickets to a viewing area in the state park were snapped up online in four minutes. Most people will watch from Canada, which has a better view of the falls. The Sheraton in Niagara Falls, Ont., has "wire walk packages" starting at $499.

Conservationists such as Gromosiak worry that Wallenda's walk will encourage other daredevils. Several who previously went over the falls in a barrel have indicated an interest in trying again, legally or illegally.

The sponsors of the bill that allowed the walk said it was a one-time affair. Anyway, Dyster says, "If we tried to do this every month, it would lose its special character." Stunting, he says, isn't sustainable — the crowd expects bigger and bigger risks.

The Wallendas are famous for working without a net. Two troupe members were killed in 1962, when a seven-person chair pyramid collapsed, and patriarch Karl (Nik's great-grandfather) died in a fall in 1978 at age 73. Only now it turns out that on Friday Nik will be leashed like a toddler to a parent.

Buffalo News columnist Rod Watson says the public was "duped" and hotels "should offer full refunds to anyone who cancels after finding out the death-defying feat they thought they were coming to see will be nothing of the sort."

No one is more dismissive of the tether than Wallenda, who says he will wear it because he has to, even though "I feel like I'm cheating" and the device invites failure: "If you think you can fall, you're more likely to. You have a different attitude." And it's not what his audience expects: "People don't watch NASCAR just to see a car race."

Of course, Wallenda could be setting the stage for an even more dramatic feat: to detach the tether once he's out on the wire, finish without it and dare ABC to do anything about it. He's said he'd have to be able to jettison the tether if he feels it's compromising his safety. "I have never in my life walked with a harness," Wallenda says. The weight of the tether, he jokes, "makes it feel like I'm dragging an anchor behind me.''

Some are rooting for him to drop the harness, TV contract or not. "I think as soon as he gets out there, he'll take it off," says Freddy Arnold, 49, a construction worker who was one of hundreds who came to watch Wallenda practice in the parking lot. "He can't let television tell him what to do." Wallenda says no. "I don't foresee that happening at this point. I have given ABC my word," he says

Wallenda says he needs the TV money to cover costs such as rigging, insurance and security. He's also trying to raise $50,000 online, offering to have lunch with $5,000 donors and to give a private tightrope walking lesson for $10,000.

But he says he's walking for challenge, not the money. No one ever made a fortune on a stunt at Niagara Falls.

Annie Taylor was the first person to ride over the falls in a barrel. She took the plunge on her 64th birthday in 1901, hoping to get rich or die trying. She failed on both counts, dying 20 years later in the county poorhouse, without enough money for a gravestone.

Mega Stunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls Live (2012) (TV)
Hosts: Hanna Storm

Great Wallendas, The (1978) TV Movie

Lloyd Bridges stars as stubborn high-wire artist Karl Wallenda in the made-for-TV "The Great Wallendas". The famed family aerialist troupe suffered a tragic setback when, during a performance in Detroit on January 30, 1962, an accident caused the death of Karl's son-in-law and nephew, and the crippling of his own son. With grim determination, Karl insists that the Wallendas recreate their fatal "pyramid" routine. Despite several near-disasters, the Wallendas make a triumphant comeback in Fort Worth, Texas on November 19, 1963, which is faithfully recreated in this film under the supervision of the real Karl Wallenda. Also starring in this 2-hour film are Britt Ekland, Taina Elg, and genuine gymnast Cathy Rigby. "The Great Wallendas" premiered (in the timeslot usually reserved for The Wonderful World of Disney) on February 21, 1978. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

The Great Wallendas (1978) TV Movie
Cast: Britt Ekland, Bruce Ornstein, Cathy Rigby, Lloyd Bridges, Lucinda Bridges, Michael McGuire, Stephen Parr, Taina Elg, William Sadler

Friday, June 15, 2012

Some Enchanted Evening: Celebrating Oscar Hammerstein II (1995) (TV)

Musical tribute to lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth, through performances of songs he wrote with composers Jerome Kern and Richard Rodgers. Includes archival footage. 

Hosted by Julie Andrews, this episode of Great Performances is from Season 23, Episode 10 originally broadcast on March 6, 1995.

Some Enchanted Evening: Celebrating Oscar Hammerstein II (1995) (TV)
Cast: Julie Andrews, Peabo Bryson, Keith Carradine, Patti LaBelle, Audra McDonald, Lonette McKee

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Willie Nelson: The Big Six-0 (1993) (TV)

Willie Nelson Reflects On 60, With A Little Help From His Friends
By David Tarrant
Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN, Texas - Relaxing on his bus outside an Austin television studio, Willie Nelson sits at a small dining table, looking less like a legend and more like a man who just slipped into a truck stop to order the No. 3 special. It is April 27. In two days Nelson turns the Big Six-O. He seems to be taking the event philosophically.

So, is there life after 60 for a long-haired, self-styled outlaw? Nelson grins. "Well, I don't know. I never figured I'd get this far. "Not only has he gotten this far - he is still shooting down a career path as twisting and turning as the Rio Grande.

In the last two months, he has released his promising new album, "Across the Borderline," which includes celebrity duets with Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan. He has also completed his sixth Farm Aid benefit, hosted "Saturday Night Live," and taped two concerts for a CBS special tribute to his birthday, which airs from 9-11 p.m. tomorrow. In the works are another album and possibly a movie role. All that, and a grueling 1993 concert schedule crowded with more than 200 dates, makes it easy to overlook the fact that Willie will soon be eligible for senior citizen discounts. "I never really thought that much about 60. But as you get closer to it, you start thinking more about it, especially since it's always been called `The Big Six-O.' It's supposed to be some goal you reach, and by the time you get there you're supposed to be. . . just about dead," he says with a soft chuckle. "And it's real funny when you get there and you're not." Nelson is one of the most famous and prolific singer-songwriters in history. Even if he had never recorded a single song in his life, he would have gone down in history as a legendary songwriter for penning classics such as Patsy Cline's "Crazy" and Ray Price's "Night Life" more than three decades ago. Songs like "On the Road Again" and "Always on My Mind," are among the most enduring and recognizable in American contemporary music.

He is a genuine Texas folk hero whose long reddish-gray hair, rolled head bandanna, crinkly, kind face and snowy beard seem as familiar as the carvings on Mount Rushmore. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was the Lone Star of country music - a colossus straddling pop and country charts strumming his battered 30-year-old Martin classical with the hole worn in it. He led young rock-'n'- roll fans out of the disco desert, and he was the spiritual leader of an old-guys brat pack with pals Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, who made movies and mischief together. His legendary carousing, bacchanalian Fourth of July picnics and sneakers-and-T-shirt lifestyle fueled the vicarious dreams of fans who ranged from rednecks, hippies and homemakers to urban cowboys and office workers.

Then he hit an ugly patch of road. In 1990, the Internal Revenue Service smacked him with a bill for $16.7 million in back taxes, and he saw most of his property and possessions sold on the IRS auction block. He lost his son, Billy, who committed suicide on Christmas Day 1991 at age 33. Martha, his first wife and Billy's mother, had died in 1989. Even the National Enquirer ran a cover story reporting that he was considering suicide. Instead of being diminished by those personal tragedies and swings in fortune, Willie says he feels a sense of redemption for having survived them. "Those are some of the worst things that can happen to you. And they've already happened to you. "It's sort of like, what can you do to me now? And once you reach that point where it seems like you've been through the fires and you're still here, then that in itself is a miracle that you survived all these things. There's enough reason there for jubilation, I think, whether it's on your 20th birthday or your 60th, that you've made it that far." Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

Willie Nelson: The Big Six-0 (1993) (TV)
Cast: Tom Arnold, Clint Black, Edie Brickell, Gary Busey, Ray Charles, Bill Clinton, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris,     Waylon Jennings, B.B. King, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Lou Diamond Phillips, Sydney Pollack, Willie Nelson

Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert (1993) TV Movie

And then, tomorrow night on NBC, there's "Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert," Mr. Wambaugh's adaptation of his own novel. The scene is Palm Springs, Calif.; the time: the present. The style: laid-back cynical. Breda Burrows (Teri Garr), just retired from the police force and putting a daughter through Stanford University, is opening a detective agency. Needing help on her first case, which involves a wife suspicious about her husband's dealings with a sperm bank, she enlists the help of a police detective, Lynn Cutter (Sam Elliott), an alcoholic marking time until medical retirement and pension.

Fastidiousness is obviously no longer of the moment. Lynn is usually hung over and spends a good deal of time vomiting. His conversation is curiously riddled with goofy allusions to current events: "I've got legs that function like Yugoslavia," or "This phone call has gone on longer than a Lebanese war." Breda is seemingly immune to his attempts at charm. "That's the most insincere smile this town has seen," she says, "since Tammy Faye Bakker moved out."

There is no great chain of being and authority in Mr. Wambaugh's world. Privilege as a concept doesn't sell. Second and third marriages are commonplace. Has-beens sit around bars talking about the golden age of movies ("Maybe my liver remembers," says Lynn). Good cops with bad luck commit suicide. Loneliness and old age loom menacingly. Working with an eager young cop (Thomas Haden Church of "Wings"), Lynn moans, "That kid makes me feel my age; around him, I'm polyester."

Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert (1993) TV Movie
Cast: Sam Elliott, Teri Garr, Thomas Haden Church

Tale of Two Bunnies, A (2000) TV Movie

Just in case anyone thought that the life of a Playboy Bunny was all toothy smiles and heavy tipping, this made-for-TV movie is a prime vessel of disillusion. Set in the early 1960s, the story follows a brace of small-town cuties, Holly (Marina Black) and Ruby (Julie Condra), who are among the first of well-endowed young ladies to land jobs as Bunnies (waitress dressed in revealing costumes, replete with rabbit-ear headgear and cotton tails) in the many Playboy "key" clubs dotting the landscape of the era. Our starry-eyed heroines are soon made to realize that the rules and regulations of the profession are strictly enforced--for example, woe betide the hapless Bunny who is caught chewing gum, or who forgets to point her tail in the direction of the person she is serving. While one of the girls becomes the protegee of tough but protective "Bunny mother" Miranda (Marilu Henner), the other buckles under to the temptations of wealthy customers and free-flowing liquor. One observer labelled this one as Valley of the Bunnies, while for cable-TV exposure the film was rechristened The Price of Beauty. Under its original cognomen, A Tale of Two Bunnies made its ABC network bow on March 20, 2000. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Tale of Two Bunnies (2000) TV Movie
Julie Condra, Marilu Henner, Marina Black, Mark Famiglietti, Rhea Perlman

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Country Music Crossroads (1988) (TV)

Great music knows no boundaries. CMT Crossroads shows the far-reaching roots of country music by pairing country artists with musicians from other genres. Each episode will feature a different set of stars playing together, swapping stories and sharing their common love of music.

In this compilation episode jointly hosted by The Oak Ridge Boys and Marie Osmond you'll see professional opera singer and soap opera actor Gary Morris prove that fashion is a bitch. Two nice ballads then on to Texas rocker Steve Earle, long hair and headband with a sleeveless black t-shirt making nice with the multi-generational country music audience by singing about a '66 Chevy. In another segment the legendary songwriter Harlan Howard introduces one of his proteges, Nancy Griffith who sings, "Never Mind", a new song by Mr. Howard. A couple of songs later Lee Greenwood sings a cover of The Four Tops hit, "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" and it's white like a snowstorm. Next is a little "Touch and Go Crazy" and then the great Ricky Scaggs takes the stage and it's "Bluegrass Time". After an intermission the young and beautiful Marie Osmond takes the stage with her band and sings a ballad called "I Only Wanted You" and it's just as pretty. Ms. Osmond is a '59er as am I (and my wife also) so I pretty much grew up with her and she's always been a big crush. After her stint she introduces one of the "new" country music stars, Randy Travis. Funny thing about Randy, he still looks the same today! Over 20 years later and his boyish good looks still ring true. Fun stuff even if the songs aren't recognizable, at least by this guy. The band Restless Hearts plays two of their hits before the boys from Oak Ridge take the stage to close the show with some of their four part harmonies. Good stuff and great nostalgic fun.

Country Music Crossroads (1988) (TV)
Hosts: The Oak Ridge Boys, Marie Osmond

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Concert for the Queen: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration (2012) (TV)

1.5 million cheer the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee celebration
By Mark Kennedy, Postmedia News June 5, 2012

LONDON — Boisterous celebrations marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee came to an end Tuesday as Her Majesty appeared on a balcony at Buckingham Palace and waved her thanks to a cheering sea of an estimated 1.5 million people.

The ceremonial avenue known as The Mall leading up to the palace was packed with revellers — many waving the Union Jack and hoisting umbrellas to guard against the rain.

The Queen was joined by other members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, her grandsons, princes William and Harry, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge — but not her husband, Prince Philip, who is in hospital.

It was one of the few grand state occasions in her life when he has not been present, taking some of the gloss off what has widely been seen as a triumphant diamond jubilee.

Overhead, the skies thundered with the flypast of 18 Royal Air Force planes in honour of the Queen. As the Queen's Guard shot their rifles into the air, the crowd joined together to sing God Save the Queen.

Soon thereafter, a pre-recorded address to the nation by the Queen was to be broadcast throughout Britain on TV and radio.

The finale came shortly after Queen Elizabeth's procession returned to the palace in a horse-drawn state landau Tuesday afternoon, as thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse.

Earlier in the day, she participated in a religious service of thanksgiving attended by guests and foreign leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The service was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, gave a sermon honouring Queen Elizabeth for her 60 years on the throne.

"What we are marking today — the anniversary of one historic and very public act of dedication," he said.

"A dedication that has endured faithfully, calmly and generously through most of the adult lives of most of us here. We are marking six decades of living proof that public service is possible and that it is a place where happiness can be found."

Also in his homily, Williams made note of how the Bible stressed the importance of selflessness and sacrifice — qualities that the Queen had shown over the years.

"In all her public engagements, our Queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others," he said.

The Queen, wearing a mint green dress, sat in the front row with other members of the Royal Family, with her husband, Prince Philip, notably absent. He was taken to hospital Monday as a "precaution" due to a bladder infection.

The couple's youngest son Prince Edward, who visited Philip in hospital, told reporters that his father was "getting better."

The palace said the outspoken prince will remain in hospital for several days and was "disappointed" to miss the celebrations, which he watched on television.

U.S. President Barack Obama also paid tribute to the Queen, describing her as "a steadfast ally, loyal friend and tireless leader."

"While many presidents have come and gone, your majesty's reign has endured," he said in a video message. "That makes your majesty both a living witness to the power of our alliance and a chief source of its resilience."

The monarch insisted on attending Monday's spectacular concert in front of the palace — which featured stars including Paul McCartney, Elton John and Stevie Wonder — despite Philip's ill health.

After the final set, Prince Charles urged the crowd to show their support, and they responded by raising a huge roar and chanting "Philip, Philip."

On Tuesday morning, the crowds began building up in London to watch the Queen as she made the trip in her Bentley vehicle from the palace to the cathedral. From her car seat, she waved to the crowds and smiled.

As she arrived at the cathedral, crowds chanted "God Save the Queen."

Inside, trumpets rang out and a choir sang as she walked into the cathedral — to be met by her son, Prince Charles, and grandsons William and Harry.

A wide array of Britain's leading politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, had already been seated — as had other members of the royal household.

Harper and his wife, Laureen, who arrived on the weekend for the celebrations were also present.

Also in the cathedral for the service were Canada's governor general, David Johnston and his wife, Sharon.

The service was held on the fourth day of celebrations throughout Britain. The highlights have included a rain-soaked flotilla of 1,000 boats down the River Thames on Sunday and a star-studded concert for the Queen on Monday evening at Buckingham Palace attended by thousands of people.

Concert for the Queen: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration (2012) (TV)
Host: Katie Couric

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Neil Sedaka in Concert - (1980) (TV)

From the days of the legendary SelecTV comes what must have been a very special in-home presentation. The year is a guess but it's got to be close, the star is simply odd or more accurately the star's wardrobe. With the man-cut jumpsuit in electric blue hiding who knows what, he leaps to the stage and the packed house goes crazy. Tons of good clean fun, like watching your dad sing.

Neil Sedaka in Concert - (1980) (TV)
Cast: Neil Sedaka

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Days Reunion Special (1992) (TV)

Reunion Days

There was a lot of hugging and crying when the cast of the long-running sitcom "Happy Days" reunited recently for "The Happy Days Reunion Special," airing Tuesday on ABC. "I was very moved because people said so many nice things about me," said Anson Williams (Potsie), who is a successful TV and film director. "I was just teary-eyed. I didn't realize how much they cared."

"It was like we never had left," said Tom Bosley, who played Mr. Cunningham.

"Happy Days" began 20 years ago as a sketch on ABC's "Love American Style." Created by director-writer Garry Marshall ("Pretty Woman"), the series premiered in January, 1974, and continued for 11 seasons. Reruns have been airing ever since in syndication.

Set in the 1950s, the comedy centered around an all-American family who lived in Milwaukee--Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham (Bosley and Marion Ross) and their children Richie (Ron Howard) and Joanie (Erin Moran). Henry Winkler was their leather jacketed friend Fonzie, the tough guy with a heart of gold. Williams and Donny Most played Richie's friends, Potsie and Ralph Malph; Scott Baio was Joanie's boyfriend, Chachi. After a shaky start in the ratings, "Happy Days" became the No. 1 show in 1976. The series also spawned the equally popular "Laverne & Shirley" and "Mork & Mindy," as well as the short-lived "Joanie Loves Chachi."

The 90-minute special, hosted by Winkler, features Marshall and several cast members, including Howard, who went on to become a successful feature film director ("Cocoon," "Parenthood"). The show will have the requisite clips from the series, plus Winkler's behind-the-scenes home movies.

Also included will be footage of the "Happy Days" softball team in action. "Our softball team is what kept us going for so long," said Ross, who stars on CBS' acclaimed "Brooklyn Bridge."

"We played all the National League fields," she said. "We played softball on the East German border and we played in Okinawa for eight days with the U.S. Marines. We beat the Marines. They had no idea we took it so seriously."

Baio, who stars in ABC's sitcom "Baby Talk," recalled when he first joined the series in 1977, he decided he didn't want to play baseball. "I wanted to sleep, to be perfectly honest," he said. He recalled that Marshall called a meeting with Baio and his father, who manages his career.

"I was petrified," Baio said. "I didn't know what he wanted. He sat behind the desk and very seriously said (to my father), 'The reason I like to do this show is that I get to play ball. Your son won't play with me.' I said, 'That's it?' Garry said, 'That's it.' I said, 'Of course, Garry. I would love to play.' He loved to play. He was our leader."

Though "Happy Days" was a success, the critics dismissed the series. "It never got any awards," said Bosley, who was most recently seen in "The Father Dowling Mysteries" series. "I think we won an Emmy for editing."

So why has "Happy Days" endured for nearly two decades?

"It was timeless," Bosley said. "It was about a time 20 years before and now it is coming up on 40 years before."

"It makes people think of what it must have been like at a very innocent time," Baio said. "It was fun. There was no crime and no war. Now (TV) is about shooting, killing, murdering and stabbing. I think people get fed up with it."

"The Happy Days Reunion Special" airs Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. on ABC. Reruns of "Happy Days" air Sundays at 6:35 a.m. and weekdays at 2 p.m. on TBS and Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KTLA.

Happy Days Reunion Special (1992) (TV)
Cast: Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Ron Howard, Don Most, Anson Williams, Scott Baio, Pat Morita, Al Molinaro, Garry Marshall

Sammy Davis, Jr. 60th Anniversary Celebration (1990) (TV)

Hosted by Eddie Murphy this is a tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr., as the entertainer celebrates his sixtieth anniversary in show business. Taped before a live audience at the Shrine Auditorium in Hollywood. Includes clips of some of Davis's past appearances on television and film.

Sammy Davis, Jr. 60th Anniversary Celebration (1990) (TV)
Cast: Debbie Allen, Anita Baker, George Bush, Diahann Carroll, Nell Carter, Bill Cosby, Tony Danza, Sammy Davis Jr., Clint Eastwood, Lola Falana, Ella Fitzgerald, Goldie Hawn, Gregory Hines, Bob Hope, Whitney Houston, Jesse Jackson, Michael Jackson, Magic Johnson, Quincy Jones, Paula Kelly, Jerry Lewis, Shirley MacLaine, Dean Martin, Liza Minnelli, Eddie Murphy, Gregory Peck, Richard Pryor, Chita Rivera, Frank Sinatra, Mike Tyson, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder

Evening at Pops - Sammy Davis, Jr. Tribute (1990) (TV)

This program is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Sammy Davis, Jr. 1925-1990.

A tribute to one of the finest entertainers of the last century. This was broadcast shortly after his passing.
Evening at Pops - Sammy Davis, Jr. Tribute (1990) (TV)
Cast: Sammy Davis, Jr., John Williams, Boston Pops Orchestra

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Joan Baez in Concert (1990) (TV)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Joan Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice.

Baez has a distinctive vocal style, with a strong vibrato. Her recordings include many topical songs and material dealing with social issues.

Baez began her career performing in coffeehouses in Boston and Cambridge, and rose to fame as an unbilled performer at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She began her recording career in 1960, and achieved immediate success. Her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. 2, and Joan Baez in Concert all achieved gold record status, and stayed on the charts for two years.

Baez has had a popular hit song with "Diamonds & Rust" and hit covers of Phil Ochs's "There but for Fortune" and The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". Other songs associated with Baez include "Farewell, Angelina", "Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word", "Joe Hill", "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "We Shall Overcome". She performed three of the songs at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, helped to bring the songs of Bob Dylan to national prominence, and has displayed a lifelong commitment to political and social activism in the fields of nonviolence, civil rights, human rights and the environment.

Joan Baez in Concert (1990) (TV)
Cast: Joan Baez, Jackson Browne

Neil Diamond: Special Moments In Concert from Ireland (2003) (TV)

Neil Diamond is one of the most successful and prolific singer/songwriters of all time. His songs (whether recorded by him or other artists) have become an essential part of the American pop music songbook. Nearly four decades after entering the music business, he remains unchallenged as one of the rock era's greatest live solo performers. He is a true original.

Now Neil Diamond is coming to PBS. Taped in Dublin in July 2002, NEIL DIAMOND: SPECIAL MOMENTS IN CONCERT FROM IRELAND is a rousing one-hour music special featuring concert highlights from one of Diamond's sold-out shows. The television special features performances of some of his most beloved hits, including "Sweet Caroline," "America," "September Morn," and "Cracklin' Rosie." From the opening strains of "America," Diamond is greeted by a wildly cheering Irish audience, including Ireland's Prime Minister at the time, Bertie Ahern.

Neil Diamond: Special Moments In Concert from Ireland (2003) (TV)
Cast: Neil Diamond

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Country Music Celebration, A (1988) (TV)

A long list of stars perform in "A Country Music...
January 23, 1988|By Barbara Szul

A long list of stars perform in ``A Country Music Celebration: The 30th Anniversary of the Country Music Association,`` a two-hour special airing at 8 p.m. Saturday on CBS-Ch. 2. That list includes Alabama, Charlie Daniels, Emmylou Harris, the Judds, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson, Ricky Scaggs and Hank Williams Jr.

The show also includes segments on the role of women in country music and the influence of Memphis on the industry. Also featured are an exploration of the roots of country music, a tribute to the field`s legends and a look at the contributions Texas has made to country music.

A Country Music Celebration (1988) (TV)
Cast: Barbara Mandrell, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, assorted

Secrets Women Never Share (1987) (TV)

Merv was the man, for decades he practically owned Hollywood. Only Johnny and Bob could match his heavyweight status. As far as the personality and sparkle it takes to pull people in and make them feel warm and special, this was certainly Merv's territory. Watch him work his magic with Lauren Bacall, Carol Burnett, Joan Collins, Shelley Long, Brigitte Nielsen, and Raquel Welch. Merv was the man and Hollywood was dimmed when he passed.

Secrets Women Never Share (1987) (TV)
Host: Merv Griffin

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hee Haw's 20th Anniversary Show (1988) (TV)

20-Year-Old, Syndicated 'Hee Haw' Has the Last Laugh 
April 09, 1988|BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE | Associated Press GUTHRIE, OK

There is a special blend as potent as Tennessee moonshine that is responsible for the 20-year success of the syndicated country variety show "Hee Haw."

The Nashville-produced program, ridiculed by national TV critics after its first broadcast, has survived cancellation by CBS, the loss of major cast members and the general decline of network variety show. In fact, "Hee Haw" has outlasted every other variety show in television history, surpassing "The Lawrence Welk Show" in September with more than 1 billion viewers in two decades.

Cast members who were with the show in the days when it was taped in a one-room Nashville news studio say it has exceeded all expectations because of its down-home, country hospitality.

"I don't think the public cares if we do the same thing over and over again," said Minnie Pearl, an original cast member. "I think they're more interested in visiting with us."

"The audience knows we like them," said George Lindsey, a 16-year "Hee Haw" veteran who brought his popular "Goober" character to the show when "Mayberry R.F.D." was canceled. "They know that we're their friends. I think they're almost doing it with us."

Lindsey and Pearl are featured with other cast members and fellow country music entertainers in a special two-hour 20th-anniversary tribute to the series to be broadcast between April 15 and May 8.

Other cast members appearing on the special include Cathy Baker, Marianne Rogers, Misty Rowe, Grandpa Jones, Gailard Sartain, Gordie Tapp, Dub Taylor and Buck Owens, who left the show two years ago after 18 years as co-host.

Featured guests include George Jones, Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrell, Kathy Mattea, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and Highway 101.

The special, taped before a live audience March 30 at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, gave original cast members and fellow country music artists a chance to catch up on each other's lives.

"It's really like a family reunion," said Roy Clark, who has been co-host of the show since its first broadcast. "We see how fat everybody's gotten and how many new babies there are."

During rehearsals for the show, Tanya Tucker, who first appeared on the program at age 14, got autographs from performers and cast members. Loretta Lynn, who was featured on the first "Hee Haw," had pictures taken with many fellow artists. And Clark spent much of his time between stage calls exchanging stories with guests and cast members.

Sam Lovullo, the program's producer since its pilot in 1969, believes that there is a simple reason "Hee Haw" has been successful: "The people on the show make it fun. It's got a little bit of everything for everybody in the audience."

There were no formalities and no tempers lost when taping the anniversary special, despite the complexity of weaving 15 major country music acts into the program's basic format of hillbilly humor.

Clark found time between sketches to rattle off jokes to the live audience or to coerce the band into joining him in a song to pass the time, Minnie Pearl rushed to kiss a man in the audience after he complimented her performance in a sketch, and Ray Stevens cast off problems with his song by stopping in mid-verse with a joke.

The concept for "Hee Haw" was developed by Canadians John Aylesworth and Frank Peppiatt, who offered the series to CBS when their "Jonathan Winters Show" was canceled in 1968.

CBS asked for a 12-week pilot of the show to air in the summer of 1969 and put it in its regular season lineup in 1970. But the network canceled "Hee Haw" and several other top-rated country-oriented programs in 1971 to make room for shows aimed at a younger, urban audience.

Six months later, "Hee Haw" went into syndication, and its 26 shows a year are now carried by 220 stations.

Hee Haw's 20th Anniversary Show (1988) (TV)
Cast: Roy Clark, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrell, Kathy Mattea, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs