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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lennon: A John Lennon Tribute (1990) (TV)

Hosted by a hip yet dapper Michael Douglas, this is a passionate remembrance on the 10th anniversary of John's death. With live performances by; Elton John - Imagine, Natalie Cole - Ticket to Ride, Wet Wet Wet - I Feel Fine, Lou Gramm - Eight Days a Week, Terence Trent D'Arby - You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, Paul McCartney - P.S. I Love You/Love Me Do, Billy Joel - Back in the U.S.S.R., Randy Travis - Nowhere Man, Joe Cocker - Isolation, Lenny Kravitz - Cold Turkey, Dave Edmunds - Ballad of John & Yoko, Hall & Oates - Don't Let Me Down, Al Green - Power to the People, Dave Stewart - Instant Karma, Michael Jackson - Come Together, Cyndi Lauper - Working Class Hero, David Bowie - Fame, Ringo Starr - I Call Your Name, U2 - Help, Kylie Minogue - Help, Roy Orbison - Help, Ray Charles - Let It Be, Sean Ono Lennon - Dear Prudence

Lennon: A John Lennon Tribute (1990) (TV)
Host: Michael Douglas

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country (2011) (TV)

A fundraiser concert that will benefit ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music, which works to improve lives through music. Featuring a special all-star tribute to Loretta Lynn.

Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country (2011) (TV)
Cast: Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn

Johnny Cash: Live in London (1981) (TV)

Music from various Johnny Cash albums. Songs include: "I Walk the Line," "Big River," "Ghost Riders in the Sky," "Ring of Fire," "If I Were a Carpenter," "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," "Casey Jones," and many more!
Johnny Cash: Live in London (1981)
Cast: Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash

Later with Bob Costas (1988) (TV Series) 1988-1994

In his first television venture beyond the sports world, Bob Costas interviews celebrities, sports figures, politicians and other notables in a one-on-one format.

Steven Bochco

Sonny Bono
August 1989

Jim McKay Pt. 2
March 1991

Willie Nelson
Guest Host - Linda Ellerbee
August 1991

Debbie Reynolds
March 1992

Fred Silverman
April 1992

Paula Poundstone
Later in LA
7 May 1992

Darlene Love
April 1993

Later with Bob Costas (1988) (TV Series) 1988-1994
Host: Bob Costas

Princess Diana: The Secret Tapes (2004) TV Documentary

NBC to air Princess Diana's secret tapes
Friday, February 13, 2004 Posted: 1:20 PM EST

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- More than six years after her death, audio and videotapes Princess Diana secretly recorded during her ill-fated marriage to Prince Charles will get their first public airing next month on NBC, the network said on Thursday.

NBC said it would present excerpts of the audio tapes, the principal source for Andrew Morton's 1992 international bestseller "Diana: Her True Story," and separate video footage taken of her during the same period, in a special two-part broadcast set for March 4 and March 11.

The two-hour documentary, titled "Princess Diana: The Secret Tapes," also will feature interviews with some of Diana's closest friends and confidants, NBC said.

An NBC spokeswoman said the video comes from an hour of footage shot by a "professional associate" of Diana's with her permission between September 1992 and December of 1993, a period when details of her troubled marriage had already come to light in Morton's book.

NBC said the footage shows a "relaxed, candid Diana at times laughing and interacting with her young sons, illustrating the lighter side of a woman who maintained a very reserved public persona."

The audiotapes, by contrast, offer an exclusive account, in Diana's own voice, of her life before becoming a princess, her long struggle with bulimia, her suicide attempts, the heartache over her husband's infidelity and her strained relations with other members of the Royal family.

Those recordings, about seven hours of taped responses to Morton's written questions, were secretly made in Kensington Palace in 1991 during a series of interviews conducted through an intermediary.

They formed the basis of Morton's 1992 book, which demolished the myth of Diana's fairy-tale marriage to Charles and triggered a chain of events that led to their divorce in July of 1996.

But it was only after Diana's death in a Paris car crash in 1997 that Morton revealed she had collaborated with him on the biography. A revised version of the book, "Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words," was released weeks after the fatal crash containing edited transcripts of the recordings.

But NBC said those tapes, like the video footage the network has acquired, have never been heard by the public. The General Electric Co.-owned network did not disclose exactly how it acquired rights to the material.

Princess Diana: The Secret Tapes (2004) (TV Documentary)
Host: Jane Pauley

Most Fascinating Women of '99 (2000) TV Documentary

From the good people at The Ladies' Home Journal comes their annual attempt to laud a small handful of women whom they have once again deemed "fascinating" above all others. Presented by lovely Roma Downey, the profiles are; Jodie Foster, Susan Sarandon, Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilera, Mia Hamm, Linda Armstrong, Lisa Kudrow, and J. K. Rowling. Following the election year theme is a special segment on the candidate spouses; Laura Bush, Tipper Gore, Cindy McCain, and Ernestine Bradley.

Most Fascinating Women of '99 (2000) (TV Documentary)
Host: Roma Downey 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Most Fascinating Women of '98 (1998) TV Documentary

From the good people at The Ladies' Home Journal comes their annual attempt to laud a small handful of women whom they have deemed "fascinating" above all others. Presented with a smile by perky Mary Hart, the profiles are; Drew Barrymore, Mary Bono, Sarah Ferguson, Whoopi Goldberg, Mary Hart, Queen Latifah, Camryn Manheim, Judy Sheindlin, Rebecca Wells, and Trisha Yearwood. Lightly enlightening.

Most Fascinating Women of '98 (1998) TV Documentary
Host: Mary Hart

Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee (2004) TV Documentary

The life and songs of musical legend Peggy Lee as told in her own words through vintage interviews and performances along with new commentary by family, friends and colleagues, including Quincy Jones, Andy Williams, Margaret Whiting, k.d. lang, Nancy Sinatra, Johnny Mandel, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Max Bennett, Billy May, Cy Coleman and Lee's daughter and granddaughter.

Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee (2004) (TV Documentary)
Cast: Max Bennett, Cy Coleman, Nicki Lee Foster, Quincy Jones, k.d. lang, Peggy Lee, Jerry Leiber, Johnny Mandell, Dean Martin, Billy May, Nancy Sinatra, Mike Stoller, Andy Williams

From the Files of Joseph Wambaugh: A Jury of One (1992) TV Movie

Published: Friday, November 27, 1992

Heading the list of television genres due for a comeback is the police drama, the kind of precinct yarn that had its last burst of energy with "Hill Street Blues." It could happen, especially with Joseph Wambaugh deciding to try. A former Los Angeles cop, Mr. Wambaugh began putting his 1960's street experiences to creative use back in the 70's as a writer ("The New Centurions," "The Blue Knight") and as a television consultant, most notably for the NBC anthology series "Police Story," which ran from 1973 to 1977.

Mr. Wambaugh is now back on NBC, this Sunday at 9 P.M., with the pilot for a possible series of police movies, much like the network's occasional "In the Line of Duty" drama specials. "From the Files of Joseph Wambaugh" is described as having been inspired by the writer's experiences on the beat. But inasmuch as the pilot takes place some time after the Persian Gulf conflict, his files are apparently bulging with contemporary clippings.

The Wambaugh touch, though, is unmistakable in this portrait of a veteran police detective on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Five years earlier, while pursuing bank robbers, Mike Mulick accidentally shot and killed a plainclothes officer. Now he is drinking heavily, reeling from a marriage that lasted only eight months, and going through police partners like tissues. Portrayed grittily by John Spencer ("L.A. Law"), Mike is the quintessential cigarette-puffing tough guy living uneasily with his ghosts. He still parks secretly outside the home of the widow of the policeman he killed.

Now working with a younger partner, Tommy Alomar (Eddie Velez), Mike begins investigating a series of gang-related murders, wandering into neighborhoods and lives in which violence is common. The sympathetic Tommy sets up a date for Mike with his widowed sister-in-law (Rachel Ticotin). Mike's exasperated immediate boss (Dan Lauria) tries desperately to help his friend and former partner. Mr. Wambaugh keeps getting the details just about perfect, from the menacing camaraderie of a cop bar to the eyes of dead victims ("maybe they're looking into eternity").

This somewhat sketchy pilot does not compare favorably with the best of "In the Line of Duty," but the basic premise is promising. A police officer's lot is not generally conducive to the kind of upbeat punch preferred by prime time; but, hey, as Mr. Wambaugh puts it in a closing comment: "If you're looking for love, join the Fire Department."

From the Files of Joseph Wambaugh: A Jury of One (1992) TV Movie
Cast: Cheryl Paris, Dan Lauria, Eddie Velez, John Spencer, Rachel Ticotin

Fresno (1986) TV Mini-Series

Set in Fresno, California, the story focuses on the once-wealthy Kensington family, whose raisin-growing empire has fallen on hard times. The Kensingtons are led by widowed matriarch Charlotte (Burnett), who is locked in a deadly power struggle with rival raisin magnate Tyler Cane (Coleman).

Parodying elements from other prime time soap operas of the era, Fresno centers on the ruthless battle between the Kensingtons and Tyler Cane for domination of the Fresno raisin industry, and follows the marital conflict between Charlotte's scheming son Cane (Grodin) and his bitchy wife Talon (Garr), the travails of Charlotte's "sensitive" younger son Kevin (Heald), who at one point announces that he is becoming celibate as a protest against whaling, the appearance of a mysterious, perpetually-shirtless ranch hand named Torch (Harrison), and the gradual exposure of Byzantine hidden relationships between the main characters sparked by the quest by Charlotte's supposedly adopted daughter Tiffany to find her real parents. As the story reaches a climax, it is revealed that Tiffany is in fact Charlotte's biological daughter, fathered by her mother's arch-rival Tyler shortly after Charlotte's husband's had died in a tragic raisin dehydrator accident.

Fresno was created and co-written by Barry Kemp, Mark Ganzel, and Michael Petryni, and was produced for CBS Television by Mary Tyler-Moore's MTM Productions. The miniseries was directed by Jeff Bleckner, who previously directed episodes of some of the shows parodied in Fresno, include Dynasty, Knots Landing, and Falcon Crest.

The production shot for two days in the city of Fresno, California in July 1986, completing its remaining 53 days in Los Angeles. The music was composed by John Morris, and the Emmy-nominated gowns worn by the female leads were designed by the legendary Bob Mackie.

Fresno (1986) TV Mini-Series
Cast: Carol Burnett, Dabney Coleman, Gregory Harrison, Teri Garr, Charles Grodin, Luis Avalos, Pat Corley, Valerie Mahaffey, Anthony Heald, Teresa Ganzel, Bill Paxton, Jerry Van Dyke, Charles Keating, Melanie Chartoff, Michael Richards, Jeffrey Jones, Tom Poston, Louise Latham, Tammy Lauren, Natalie Gregory, James Staley, George Wallace, Nick Toth, Marianne Muellerleile, Peter Scolari

From Here to Eternity (1979) TV Mini-Series

It is late 1941 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Steve Railsback) is new to G Company. He is a skilled boxer who unintentionally severely injured a fellow soldier in an exhibition boxing match. As a result he refuses to be a boxer anymore. This places him at odds with his company’s commanding officer, Captain Holmes, who uses the reputation of many of the sergeants in his company as skilled boxers to further his military career. Captain Holmes has many of his sergeants harass and abuse Prewitt in an attempt to pressure him to join the company's boxing team. Prewitt is tough and refuses to bend to the pressure. The company's First Sergeant, Milt Warden, attempts to help Prewitt, but there is only so much he can do. Prewitt becomes involved with Lorene Rogers (Kim Basinger), a local prostitute. Prewitt's friend, Private Angelo Maggio, is sent to the stockade after being court martialed for getting drunk and fighting with MPs. Things take a turn for the worse when Pvt. Prewitt is sent to the stockade for a few months of what turns out to brutal mistreatment at the hands of the Sergeant of the Guard at the stockade, Sgt. Fatso Judson. Judson is a bully and a sadist. Angelo Maggio is nearly beaten to death by Judson. Maggio dies after panicking and falling out of the ambulance on his way to the hospital. After Prewitt is released from the stockade he tracks downs Judson and kills him in a knife fight. Prewitt is wounded in the fight and he takes refuge at Lorene's house while he heals. Captain Holmes is promoted to major and leaves the company. The new company commander does not care about the boxing team. The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and Schofield Barracks. First Sergeant Warden organizes the men of his company. He and the other sergeants of the company go to the armory and get Browning Automatic Rifles (B.A.R.s) and .30 caliber Model 1919 machine guns and return fire to the attacking Japanese warplanes. Warden and his men shoot down one of the Japanese "Zeros". Prewitt attempts to rejoin the company but is shot dead by a nervous sentry on the evening of December 7, 1941. Sgt. Warden takes charge of his body and makes sure that it gets a military burial. When asked by other soldiers at the shooting if Prewitt was a good soldier in his company, Warden replies, "Hell, he was the only soldier in my company."

The mini-series reused some footage from Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Natalie Wood won the 1980 Golden Globe for Best TV Actress - Drama

From Here to Eternity (1979) TV Mini-Series
Cast: Andrew Robinson, Andy Griffith, David Spielberg, Joe Pantoliano, Kim Basinger, Natalie Wood, Peter Boyle, Roy Thinnes, Salome Jens, Steve Railsback, William Devane

Fugitive Among Us (1992) TV Movie

TV REVIEW : 'Fugitive Among Us': Worst-Case Nightmare
February 04, 1992|RAY LOYND |

"Fugitive Among Us" (at 9 tonight on CBS, Channels 2 and 8) is a routine crime yarn with a dark twist. The action centers on an obsessive cop (Peter Strauss), an elusive rape suspect (Eric Roberts) and three women who stupidly leave their front doors unlocked and pay the consequences.

The production is a red-herring special. The close-up of an unseen rapist's bloodied hand first casts suspicion on Strauss' stressed-out detective with his inexplicably bandaged hand.

Next, the image of cowboy boots seen sneaking through a woman's living room--followed by a brutal sexual assault and four point-blank slugs into the terrified victim--throws likely guilt on Roberts' virile drifter with his fancy, pointy Texas boots.

Roberts, a brash con artist and reckless ladies man, is convicted of the crime, breaks out of the courthouse with the help of his lover (the delicious Lauren Holly), and is pursued by Strauss in a chase that stretches from Galveston to New Mexico to Nevada.

The vicious, blind-sided sexual assaults are not exploitative. The moviemakers (scenarist Gordon Griesman and director Michael Toshiyuki Uno) don't have it both ways. The battery, for female viewers, is a worst-case nightmare.

Roberts is charismatic as the wild fugitive, and he and the sexy Holly generate a smoldering chemistry with mere eye contact. Meanwhile, lawman Strauss, obsessed with a private agenda, effectively conveys a maniacal single-mindedness as life's implacable noose draws the two men tightly together.

Fugitive Among Us (1992) TV Movie
Cast: Elizabeth Pena, Eric Roberts, Guy Boyd, Lauren Holly, Peter Strauss

Four Days in November: The Assassination of President Kennedy (1988) (TV)

A two-hour broadcast of the 25th anniversary acknowledgement of one of our nation's most solemn occasions from the CBS news machine, then arguably the most insightful and immediate of the big 3 networks.

From Dan Rather's opening: "On November 22nd, 1963 the President of the United States was assassinated and for four days America went into an unparalleled state of grief and shock. That's why CBS news stayed on the air for 56 hours. The broadcast that follows is made from films and tapes from those dark days. Every fact and opinion you hear comes from our coverage at the time. For our part we make no comment on the past, we only bring it back. Four days in November, the assassination of President Kennedy."

Four Days in November: The Assassination of President Kennedy (1988) (TV)
Host: Dan Rather

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tube Test Two, The (1991) (TV)

Fun to watch but horrifically dated TV trivia show hosted by ubiquitous Canadian-American Alan Thicke. The trivia delivered then is now (as of this writing) 21 years older! Ironically, this show itself is now TRIVIAL. Mr. Thicke offers 30 questions with multiple choice answers. Indeed, on which program did Elvis Presley make his TV debut?

The Tube Test Two (1991) (TV)
Host: Alan Thicke

That's Incredible The Reunion (2002) (TV)

The second of two reunion shows from the "That's Incredible!" crew. This show or at least the concept could and should be airing today.  

That's Incredible The Reunion (2002) (TV)
Hosts: Fran Tarkenton, Cathy Lee Crosby, John Davidson

Monday, May 14, 2012

Great Television Moments: What We Watched (1993) (TV)


Putting together "Great Television Moments: What We Watched" was a daunting task for its producers.

"My big concern is this show will go on and people will look at it and go, 'Well, that was just two hours of clips,' " said producer-director-co-writer Michael Hirsh, who also produced the 1991 CBS retrospective "Memories of MASH."

"They should only know what goes into doing this."

Candice Bergen hosts the two-hour special on ABC tonight. The program is divided into six categories. Marlo Thomas looks at comedies from the past and present. Malcolm-Jamal Warner introduces great moments of laughter and variety. Louis Gossett Jr. recalls life-cycle events and memorable musical moments. Richard Chamberlain looks at miniseries. James Woods focuses on dramas and movies of the week. Barbara Walters looks back at news events.

Though the program was made under the auspices of New York's Museum of Television & Radio, the producers could only use the museum's archives for research purposes. That made for a long process to get the material to use for a clip: They had to find a usable copy and then track down the copyright owner in order to obtain the rights. Then they had to clear it with everyone in the clip.

Some rights owners wouldn't allow clips to be used. "Fred Astaire's widow would not allow us to use one foot of Fred Astaire," said co-executive producer Allan Burns, one of the creators of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." "Johnny Carson didn't really want to open up everything to us because he is going to do some specials of his own. So he gave us limited access, as did Carol Burnett, because Carol was doing her own (retrospective) show."

Noticeably missing from Barbara Walters' segment is footage of the late NBC newscaster Chet Huntley. Originally, Hirsh wanted to use clips with Huntley announcing the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. According to Hirsh, Huntley's widow "wouldn't let us use him unless we paid exorbitantly. I said we can't pay because . . . we are not paying anybody."

There are very few moments from the 1950s, save for clips of the dramas "Marty" and "Requiem for a Heavyweight," and such comedies as "I Love Lucy" and "Your Show of Shows."

"We didn't think people would sit still for them today," Burns said. "What you try to do is give (the audience) a flavor of it. Some of them, honestly--I don't want to name the ones, but certain of those shows from those days just seem very dated."

"One thing we realized is that an awful lot of the audience wasn't around to see the '50s television," said co-executive producer Grant Tinker, former head of MTM and chairman of NBC. "While it may be interesting to some of us who were, we didn't want to turn off a whole part of the audience with too much of that. We mostly wanted to present stuff the bulk of the audience has some ability to remember."

The program, Tinker said, isn't just nostalgia. "It is a little celebratory in that we didn't go for awful television, but better television," he said. "The medium is not always that good, so it is kind of fun to concentrate on the good things."

Hirsh said he tried to give the audience "moments they remember but haven't seen all the time. What we have is the very first moment on 'Gunsmoke.' People may not remember it, but the moment will trigger a lot of thoughts about the show. On the other hand, there are some moments you can't avoid. We have a scene from the 'All in the Family' pilot that set the tone for the series."

Great Television Moments: What We Watched (1993) (TV)
Host: Candice Bergen

Spice Girls: Too Much Is Never Enough (1997) (TV)

Spice Girls Too Much Is Never Enough: First US television documentary about the Spice Girls, focusing on their reaction to their sudden rise to fame around the world. Candid interviews of each of the group members are interspersed with performances, music videos and behind-the-scenes documentary footage of them. The finale of the program is their video "Too Much," which makes it's US premiere.

Spice Girls: Too Much Is Never Enough (1997) (TV)
Cast: Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Melanie Brown, Victoria Beckham

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stars in the Making (1995) (TV)

Holiday special spotlighting stars in their earliest on-camera roles, including commercials and walk-ons in movies and television. Also included is a segment featuring rarely-seen footage of stars in soap operas. 

In this hour you'll see early appearances from some of your favorite film and television performers like; Candice Bergen, Michael Douglas, Kurt Russell, Tom Cruise, Jodie Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, Phobe Cates, Jay Leno, Dan Rather, Richard Dreyfuss, Shelley Long, Tom Skerritt, Carol Burnett, William Shatner, Burt Reynolds, Susan Sarandon, Wesley Snipes, Jane Seymour, Vanessa Williams, Cybill Sheperd, Kelsey Grammer and your host, Joe Regalbuto.

Stars in the Making (1995) (TV)
Host: Joe Regalbuto

Funniest Families of Television Comedy, The: A Museum of Television & Radio Special (2004) (TV)

Rob Reiner, Tim Allen, Florence Henderson, Ray Romano, John Ritter in his final TV interview, and others offer insights, anecdotes and clips of some of the most beloved TV families of all time.

The Funniest Families of Television Comedy: A Museum of Television & Radio Special (2004) (TV)
Host: Faith Ford

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bob Hope's Christmas Cheer from Saudi Arabia (1991) (TV)

The Road to Arabia : Bob Hope's Mideast Show Will Air Tonight

During a whirlwind Christmas visit to Saudi Arabia, Bob Hope did 10 different shows in almost as many locations--but never knew where he was.

"I don't know where anything was--they won't tell you, they won't give you the location," Hope, 87, said over lunch at his expansive Toluca Lake home earlier this week.

Hope spent several days, including Christmas, entertaining American troops in the Middle East, where he and his entourage were mysteriously whisked from location to location by two military helicopters.

"I'm not sure who knew where we were going. You just go ," he said. "But when you see the film, you'll see the tanks and the guns, and you'll realize how close we were to Kuwait, you know? They didn't have to tell me where we were--we had to be pretty damn close."

Plenty of tanks, guns and endless miles of sand make up the backdrop for "Bob Hope's Christmas Cheer From Saudi Arabia," a USO show that will be telecast at 9:30 tonight on NBC. Despite battering winds and blowing sand, Hope said that Saudi Arabia was a little bit like home: "The first troop I met was from Twentynine Palms--that's right next to Palm Springs," he said. "And I went halfway around the world to see them."

A few other entertainers--including Steve Martin, Jay Leno, Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney--have visited the troops to shake hands and tell a few jokes; cable TV's Financial News Network recently filmed a special on boxer Thomas Hearns' visit. But Hope's tour marks the first big entertainment show staged for the troops since they landed in Saudi Arabia.

It also marks the last--at least for a while. The USO confirmed this week that the Department of Defense has placed a ban on all USO shows following Wednesday's failed peace talks in Geneva.

"We're still getting calls from celebrities who want to go over, and we're told to hold off for now," said Iona Sherman, producer and tours manager for USO Celebrity Entertainment. "We're not told whether or not it's permanent.

"We are not stopping tours to other areas of the world. Billy Joel is going to the Philippines next week."

The USO ban will close a door to the Middle East that had barely cracked open. Sherman confirmed Hope's report that the Department of Defense was extremely skittish about sending large numbers of performers into Saudi Arabia, preferring to start small with handshake visits by individual performers.

Hope's visit sparked a controversy Dec. 25, when the Pentagon announced it would restrict media coverage of Hope's Christmas Eve show at a site near a military installation.

Hope's daughter, Linda, who produced the special, said that the Department of Defense did not ask for control over the final product, but requested cooperation in obscuring identifying landmarks. The Hopes complied.

"Obviously, there were panoramic shots we would like to have gotten, but we just determined we were not going to do that," Linda Hope said.

Hope said that when the group arrived at a hotel in Dhahran--one of its stops--guards checked under the beds for terrorists before the Hope entourage could enter their rooms. And "when we left, a security dog checked our luggage, looking for bombs," Hope cracked. "I'm glad he didn't find our cue cards."

Hope's act also received substantial editing from a cultural adviser to avoid offending the Saudis. "I took things out about the women, about their clothes--you know, 'They wear so many clothes that by the time you you get through them, it's not worth it,' " Hope said.

Linda Hope said that viewers will see ragged edges rather than a slick production; often the "shows" Hope and his wife Dolores put on for the troops took place on a flatbed truck with one hand-held mike or a lowly megaphone for amplification. She added that they were often required to set up in less than 10 minutes.

The biggest inconvenience was the Saudis' refusal to allow single American women into Saudi Arabia, forcing the group to film performances by guest stars Ann Jillian, the Pointer Sisters and Khrystyne Haje only during the shows staged in Bahrain, a country adjacent to Saudi Arabia.

The special is due to be broadcast in its entirety Monday on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Network, Hope said.

Hope said that his own political beliefs have not--and will not--keep him from visiting the troops anywhere in the world.

"All of (the wars) were the same," he said. "You were there to entertain the kids, you know--no difference if you were in Sicily or Vietnam.

"Vietnam--it was such a sad affair, that war," Hope said. "About the fifth year (of the conflict), one of the biggest laughs I got was when I told them: 'Guys, 50% of America is behind you.' Because I remember the papers kept saying, 'Get out of Vietnam, what the hell are we doing in Vietnam?' There were people who said I shouldn't go, which is ridiculous."

Hope said that the atmosphere is completely different in Saudi Arabia. "There is no war--they're camping out now," he said. "They're up, and they're high."

Upon his return, Hope began relaying messages to the families of the troops--including making a call to one young soldier's father, who is dying of cancer.

"I stand up there and I look at those faces, and I don't want them to go to war," Hope mused. "I want them to have a good life. I wish they (the other Arab countries) could just converge on (Iraqi President Saddam Hussein), where he is, where he lives, and just knock him out. That would be the thrill of my life."

Bob Hope's Christmas Cheer from Saudi Arabia (1991) (TV)
Cast: Anita Pointer, Ann Jillian, Bob Hope, Dolores Hope, Johnny Bench, June Pointer, Khrystyne Haje, Marie Osmond, Ruth Pointer

Velvet Dreams (1988)

Straight to video erotic thriller starring the Playboy Playmate of the Month for May 1985 and Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1986, Kathy Shower. Italian production dubbed in English, no subtitles.

Velvet Dreams (1988)
Cast: Alicia Moro, Brett Halsey, Ezio Prosperi, Kathy Shower, Raquel Evans, Susana Egea

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The: The 20th Reunion (1988) (TV)

TV Reviews; The Smothers Brothers
Published: February 03, 1988   

TOM AND DICK SMOTHERS are in a helicopter that is taking them to their ''20th Reunion'' show at CBS. ''Don't forget,'' one says with evident satisfaction, ''this was the network that fired us.'' Suddenly, outside the studio below, a bunch of what look like suit-and-tie network executives man an antiaircraft gun and start firing at the chopper. We are back, happily, in the gently goofy but often pointed world of the Smothers Brothers, a world that was virtually banished from prime time in 1969, when CBS's censors seized and held the day.

Pre-empting ''The Equalizer'' tonight at 10 is ''The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 20th Reunion Show.'' The title is, of course, meaningless. There have not been 19 previous reunions and, technically, this year marks only the 19th anniversary of the original show's demise. No matter. Looking remarkably untouched by the passing years, Tom and Dick are back in their stained-glasslike set, standing on their circular podium, Tom with his guitar, Dick with his bass, and pattering their way into inspired silliness.

Just to illustrate how times and attitudes have changed, the brothers waste no time in getting to sensitive material. ''You are not responsible,'' says sensible Dick. ''Right now,'' counters Tom, ''I'm wearing a condom - I call that responsible.'' Dick: ''It's comments like that that got us fired.'' At that point, they launch into a duet of ''Those Were the Days, My Friend,'' recalling that ''Our shows were much too hip, so we got censorship.'' Clips from past shows flow across the screen, providing a clever album of familiar faces from the 1960's.

Several of the regulars join the brothers for this reunion. Pat Paulsen is still running for President and still getting off some mean cracks about his opposition. Vice President Bush, he says, is ''kinda like Jerry Ford without the pizazz.'' Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts, he says, must have got his name off the bottom of an eye chart.

Also on tap: Jennifer Warnes singing, quite seriously, a soppy ditty called ''Song of Bernadette''; Bob Einstein looking at himself as Traffic Officer Judy in a sketch that had him giving a summons to Liberace for playing the piano too fast; Leigh French doing a ''Tea With Goldie'' skit, promising her fans future discussion on such topics as ''Sexual Dyslexia'' and ''What to Do When You're Hipper Than Your Kids,'' and Glen Campbell singing two of his big hits, ''Wichita Lineman'' and ''By the Time I Get to Phoenix.''

Steve Martin makes an appearance because way back then he used to be a writer for ''The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.'' This reunion was written by Robert Arnott and Mason Williams, directed by David Grossman and produced for Comedic Productions by Ken Kragen. The hour is smooth and engaging. In an era when foul-mouthed comics are commonplace, Tom and Dick Smothers are as comfortable as an old hippie sandal. If anything, their routines together are tighter and sharper than ever. The timing is now just about perfect. And they are surprisingly relaxed about themselves. Wondering if Tom would do anything CBS tells him to do, Dick asks if he would jump off a bridge. Pausing to think a moment, Tom smilingly replies: ''Not again.'' Welcome back.

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: The 20th Reunion (1988) (TV)
Cast: Glen Campbell, Bob Einstein, Leigh French, John Hartford, Steve Martin, Lorenzo Music, Pat Paulsen, Rob Reiner, Dick Smothers, Tom Smothers, Jennifer Warnes, Mason Williams

Fatal Judgement (1988) TV Movie

A Massachusetts nurse is accused of exercising fatal judgment in this made-for-TV movie. While tending a seriously ill cancer patient, the nurse administered a generous dose of morphine. The patient died, which is why the woman is now on trial for murder. Joe Regalbuto and Tom Conti co-star as, respectively, the nurse's loving husband and a two-fisted defense attorney. Based on a true story, "Fatal Judgment" first aired October 18, 1988 - precisely one half hour after the debut of Roseanne, which proved not to be a case of fatal judgment. ~ Hal Erickson

Fatal Judgement (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Crystal McKellar, Dana Gladstone, Jo Henderson, Joe Regalbuto, Patty Duke, Tom Conti

Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac (1984) TV Movie

On a bitterly cold January day in 1982, Air Florida flight #90 crashed into the Potomac River while approaching Washington DC. Though many passengers were killed, many more were rescued. Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac is the story of the survivors, the rescuers, and the anxious friends and relatives of both the living and the dead. The crash itself is never shown, while the icy Potomac is represented by a heated Hollywood pool and chunks of Styrofoam (the actors do their best, however, to appear to be chilled to the bone). Thankfully, the cast is comprised of character actors rather than stars or "celebrities," adding an air of authenticity to the proceedings. Made for TV, Flight No. 90: Disaster on the Potomac was first telecast April 1, 1984. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac (1984) TV Movie
Cast: Jeannetta Arnette, Barry Corbin, Stephen Macht, Richard Masur, Donnelly Rhodes, Jamie Rose

Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon, The (1998) TV Movie

In this lively sports outing, a Philadelphia garbageman with a natural gift for football ends up the star of his city's pro-football team. Life is good until he gets a swelled head and has to be taught a few lessons in humbleness. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon (1998) TV Movie
Cast: Tony Danza, Jessica Tuck, Art LaFleur, Julie Stewart, Ray Wise, Chris Berman, Dan Dierdorf

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Special (1990) (TV)

A variety special on the occasion of Disneyland's 35th anniversary. Features a rededication ceremony led by hosts of the original 1955 Opening Day telecast: former President Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter and Bob Cummings. Also features comedy sketches, vignettes of celebrities' encounters at Disneyland, musical numbers, vintage film clips and a parade down Disneyland's Main Street.

Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Special (1990) (TV)
Cast: Robert Cummings, Tony Danza, Michael Eisner, Kelsey Grammer, Woody Harrelson, Art Linkletter, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, Ronald Reagan, Will Smith, Jim Varney

Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered, The (1994) (TV)

Seeing this simply described around the internet as "A retrospective of the 1961-66 sitcom starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore" is inadequate. Much more fun than you might expect (especially from that description) and hosted by the stalwart Charles Kuralt, this will be a fun watch for anyone who has ever crushed on MTM.

The Dick Van Dyke Show Remembered (1994) (TV)
Cast: Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, Mary Tyler Moore, Sheldon Leonard, Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Charles Kuralt

Return of Ironside, The (1993) TV Movie

No Rust for 'Ironside'

It seemed like old times for the cast of the NBC series "Ironside" (1967-75) when they reunited last winter in Denver to film Tuesday's NBC movie "The Return of Ironside."

"This might sound real strange and corny, but it is just like I saw them all last week," says Elizabeth Bauer, who played policewoman Fran Belding for four seasons. "Everybody looks a little older, but it was exactly the same. No one has changed."

"It was like your entire life was flashing in front of your eyes," quips Don Galloway, who played Det. Sgt. Ed Brown. "It's sort of like when you don't see somebody for 10 years and you suddenly run into them and you pick up with the last conversation you had."

"The Return of Ironside" finds Robert Ironside (Raymond Burr) in his wheelchair but as a retired special consultant for the San Francisco Police Department. No sooner does he retire than his old pal Ed (now deputy chief of the Denver Police Department) asks him to come to the Mile High City to help in the search for a new chief.

While in Denver, the daughter of former associate Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson), who now works for Ironside, is accused of fatally shooting two police officers. Ironside calls on Brown, Whitfield and Belding, as well as his former bodyguard-turned-judge Mark Sanger (Don Mitchell), to solve the killings.

Galloway, who has done two "Perry Mason" TV movies with his friend Burr, believes the "Return of Ironside" retains the flavor of the original series. "I think it's a very good script and beautifully directed," he says.

Anderson, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Eve, says all the cast members were eager to reprise their roles. "I think we were all pretty much adjusted in our own lives at this point in time," says Anderson, who has retired from acting and lives in Santa Fe, N.M., with her husband. "We all came back for some kind of ending of cycle or closure."

"You just look at each other and you have flashbacks of having been together," says Mitchell, who has been involved in politics since his "Ironside" days, serving on the U.S. Office of Education's Commission of Presidential Scholars. The nice thing about reuniting, Mitchell explains, was "once you were on the set and rehearsed a couple of times and they said, 'action,' you could look into everybody's eyes and remember how they were going to move and talk and act before they did it."

Bauer retired from acting after "Ironside," married a surgeon and has a 14-year-old daughter. "I am very happy," she says.

But she was thrilled when Burr called her about doing the movie.

"This is what a gentleman Raymond Burr is," Bauer says. "He called and said, 'I am going to do 'Ironside,' Elizabeth, but I am only going to do it if you come back and do it with me.' Of course I knew he was just being a gentleman."

"The Return of Ironside" airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

The Return of Ironside (1993) TV Movie
Cast: Raymond Burr, Don Galloway, Barbara Anderson, Don Mitchell, Dana Wynter, Perrey Reeves, Jeff Kaake, Derek Webster, Cliff Gorman, Robin Sachs, Scott Patterson, Ed Lauter

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother's Courage, A: The Mary Thomas Story (1989) TV Movie

The story of Mary Thomas, the mother of Detroit Pistons star player Isaiah Thomas. As portrayed by Alfre Woodard, Mary is a tireless, feisty single mom, struggling successfully to free her large family from the influence of the poverty and crime surrounding her West Side Chicago neighborhood. Isiah is played at various stages in his life by Garland Spencer and Larry O. Williams. This TV movie builds to an inspiring conclusion as Mary fights city hall to keep her family from being forcibly moved to a violence-ridden housing project. A Mother's Courage: The Mary Thomas Story was originally a two-part presentation of The Disney Sunday Movie, and as such is not always as realistic as its story material warrants. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Mother's Courage: The Mary Thomas Story (1989) TV Movie
Cast: Alfre Woodard, A.J. Johnson, Leon, Garland Spencer, Chick Vennera, Larry O. Williams Jr., Jamey Sheridan

Max Q: Emergency Landing (1998) TV Movie

Nov. 16, 1998

You might think of "Max Q" as "The Real World" in a space shuttle capsule. It's that dumb, that contrived, that directionless.

Jerry Bruckheimer's maiden voyage into the black hole of primetime TV is long on bathos and woefully short on script. This is how far Bruckheimer reaches to bring his distinctive brand of adrenaline-pumping action to the small screen: the climax finds the shuttle skidding to a halt at a Los Angeles freeway overpass during rush hour. And there are no cars at the point of impact.

Compared with this, "Armageddon" is vividly realistic.

Just what Bruckheimer was trying for in "Max Q" isn't entirely clear, but authenticity wasn't part of the equation. He and helmer Michael Shapiro, along with scribes Marty Kaplan and Robert J. Avrech, push hard to create human characters whom we'll care about once everything begins going terribly wrong. But these people are all such sniveling, overreactive, anal-retentive martyrs that it's enough to turn what there is of John Glenn's hair ... well ... whiter.

There's little in the film we haven't seen before. Bill Campbell stars as Clay Jarvis, your basic "Right Stuff" flyboy heading a seemingly routine shuttle mission with Endeavor that turns ugly and hopeless when an explosion cripples the craft so completely that it can't return to Earth without an engine being fixed. Next time, you can bet they'll take along a decent mechanic.

With Mission Control woefully impotent, Clay's crew begins to snipe. Hotshot rookie Scott Hines (Ned Vaughn) gets all hostile and fatalistic. Mission specialist Karen Daniels (Tasha Smith) yells at everyone to behave. Worst of all , there's Jonah Randall (Geoffrey Blake), a cloying, dopey documentary filmmaker who's part of some "first journalist in space" program (go figure), and who is now recording their descent into hell - a fine PR coup for NASA - on a tiny camcorder inside the capsule.

But as Kaplan and Avrech's doltish teleplay illustrates again and again, "Max Q" (the title refers to a period of maximum aeronautic stress) isn't about making sense. Otherwise, the final half of the film wouldn't focus primarily on Clay's butt being saved by a NASA techie named Rena Bartlett (Paget Brewster) who just happens to be his ex-girlfriend. Will she jilt him in his hour of need to avenge that time when he stood her up at the restaurant?

The other painful subplot involves Emmy-winning filmmaker Jonah (you'd have thunk they could have at least taken an Oscar winner) and the tightly wound corporate dweeb Elliot Henschel (Christopher John Fields). As the wounded shuttle drifts lifelessly through space, the two joust like children over Jonah's pay and duties on board. Of course, both seem to forget that dying wasn't in his contract, either.

It gives away little to note that all involved emerge with scarcely a scratch in "Max Q," which is marked by scattered camerawork and porous editing.

For Bruckheimer's next TV act, he should probably choose a story that doesn't feel like it's been told a thousand times before - and with significantly more flair.

Max Q: Emergency Landing (1998) TV Movie
Cast: Billy Campbell, Paget Brewster, Ned Vaughn, Geoffrey Blake, Tasha Smith, Denis Arndt, Christopher John Fields, Kevin McNulty, Leslie Horan, Chris Ellis

Side by Side (1988) TV Movie

Three lifelong buddies, instead of being put out to pasture as senior citizens, decide to pool their resources and create a clothing line designed for seniors by seniors. When they run up against a ruthless competitor, they come up with a madcap plan to keep their business.

Side by Side (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Danny Thomas, Morey Amsterdam, Marjorie Lord, Georgann Johnson, Richard Kline, Edith Fields, Michael Lembeck, Gina Belafonte

Like Mother Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes (2001) TV Movie

In one of the most startling examples of "playing against type" in TV history, beloved sitcom icon Mary Tyler Moore stars as Sante Chamber Kimes, a woman who was accurately described during her trial for murder as "...a sociopath of unremitting violence, the most remorseless degenerate ever to appear in this courtroom..." Based on a true story, this CBS TV movie details the events leading up to the killing of wealthy, lonely socialite Irene Silverman, a murder orchestrated by the evil-incarnate Sante and carried out by her loving son Kenny. The film is unsparing in its depiction of the coldblooded, sexually promiscuous Sante, who throughout her life managed to wheedle and manipulate other people to do her bidding, no matter how odious and repellant that bidding was. Without giving away the film's ending, it is a matter of record that, as of this writing, Sante and Kenny Kimes are serving prison terms with a combined total of 246 years. Like Mother, Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes was originally broadcast on May 20, 2001. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Like Mother Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes (2001) TV Movie
Cast: Mary Tyler Moore, Robert Forster, Gabriel Olds, Jean Stapleton, Ken Radley, Arianthe Galani, Mark Mitchell, Wayne Hope

Miracle Child (1993) TV Movie

TV REVIEWS : 'Miracle Child' Revisits the Magic of the Family Movie
April 06, 1993|RAY LOYND

Mix a little baby-abandoned-on-doorstep with a touch of Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" and you have the family movie "Miracle Child" (9 p.m. tonight on Channel 4).

The unexpected pleasure is that even adults without kids should find it watchable. Produced by Disney Family Classics, the movie returns the TV-movie genre to the long-dormant world of fantasy and a vine-shrouded small town so mythical it's almost dreamy.

As Disney movies for the networks go--remember those 20-plus years of "Disney's Wonderful World" and "The Disney Sunday Movie"?--"Miracle Child" is much less cloying and better made than the garden variety Disney TV movie. Gerald DiPego's script (adapted from the book "Miracle at Clement's Pond" by Patricia Pendergraf) weds a kind of Huck Finn-inspired baby caper to an adult romance between characters who have both squandered parenthood and thus have much to learn from each other.

Drawn ever tightly together are the despairing young widow (Crystal Bernard of "Wings"), who abandons her baby at pond-side among bulrushes that are almost biblical, and a travelin' man (the affable John Terry) who's fighting to reclaim his own son (Graham Sack as a likable, latter-day Huck).

In the show's best and keynote scene, the baby literally (and even plausibly) plops like an angel out of a rainy, stormy sky into the arms of the town's beloved, vaguely addled spinster (Grace Zabriskie, in top form). Miracles suddenly reverse the town's misery index. Drought and unemployment disappear--only to be replaced by boosterism and greed.

Director Michael Pressman manages an unstressed momentum. And the plot's inevitability is triggered by the return of the anguished mother in the guise of a nurse to the local Mother Teresa-like doctor (Cloris Leachman).

In the wake of a slew of TV movies pulled from newspaper headlines, "Miracle Child," as formulaic as it is, is a welcome change of pace.

Miracle Child (1993) TV Movie
Cast: Crystal Bernard, Cloris Leachman, John Terry, Graham Sack, Grace Zabriskie, George Wallace, Lexi Randall, Gary Grubbs, Barnard Hughes

Gilda Radner: It's Always Something (2002) TV Movie

TELEVISION REVIEW; Remembering the Laughs, Succumbing to the Tears

Who knows what emotion ABC was hoping to stir in the audience with tonight's made-for-television movie about Gilda Radner, the comedian who shone so brightly on "Saturday Night Live" and died of ovarian cancer at 42. Perhaps sympathy. Perhaps nostalgia. Almost certainly not annoyance. Yet annoying is the word that best describes this clumsy biography, "Gilda Radner: It's Always Something," based on Radner's autobiography. A story that should have power and pathos instead seems like just one long cliché, drenched in saccharin and syrupy music.

Gilda Radner: It's Always Something (2002) TV Movie
Cast: Jami Gertz, Tom Rooney, George Wyner, Eric Siegel, John Viener, Danilo Di Julio, Patrick Fischler, Marcia Bennett, Maureen Ross Neilson, Jennifer Irwin, Dixie Seatle, Kathryn Winslow, Ari Cohen, Lisa Messinger, Mather Zickel

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes, A: The Annette Funicello Story (1995) TV Movie

This made-for-television biography paints a moving portrait of the extraordinary life of Annette Funicello, a former Mouseketeer who grew up to be America's sweetheart and Queen of the Beach Blanket movies of the 1960s. The story not only covers her professional rise to stardom both as an actress and a recording star, but also provides a look into her private life, notably her romance with Paul Anka, her two marriages, and her life after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1980s. Eva LaRue Callahan plays Funicello. The subject herself also makes a cameo appearance along with former co-star Frankie Avalon. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

 A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story (1995) TV Movie
Cast: Eva La Rue, Len Cariou, Frank Crudele, Jack Gilardi, David Lipper, Don S. Davis, Louis Ferreira, Andrea Nemeth, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Linda Lavin

On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story (1990) TV Movie

As indicated by the title, this made-for-TV movie charts the rise and fall of Olympic figure skater Tai Babilonia. Partnered since childhood with Randy Gardner, Tai skated her way to the 1979 World Championship. Her hopes for Olympics success in 1980 are scuttled when her partner Gardner suffers a groin injury and is unable to compete. Tai responds to this disappointment by descending into drug abuse, culminating in an attempted suicide. The plucky skater recovers from all this, and the film ends on a hopeful note. "On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story" stars Rachel Crawford as Tai and Charlie Stratton as Randy, but that's the real Babilonia and Gardner recreating their classic routines in the long shots. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story (1990) TV Movie
Cast: Charlie Stratton, Chuck Shamata, Denise Nicholas, Michael Phillip Edwards, Nicole Lyn, Rachael Crawford, William Daniels

Delphi Bureau, The (1972) TV Movie

Delphi Bureau was the pilot film for a short-lived TV espionage series. Lawrence Luckinbill plays an operative for a secret agency that answers only to the US President. His current mission is to locate an entire fleet of obsolete Air Force planes that have vanished without a trace. Very ordinary cold-war fare, The Delphi Bureau contains one or two neat touches, notably the cryptic poems that appear on-screen just before the commercial breaks. Celeste Holm, playing the Washington social leader who acts as Luckinbill's contact, was replaced by Anne Jeffreys when this TV movie graduated to a weekly series. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

The Delphi Bureau (1972) TV Movie
Cast:  Bob Crane, Bradford Dillman, Cameron Mitchell, Celeste Holm, Dean Jagger, Joanna Pettet, Laurence Luckinbill, Pamelyn Ferdin

Beauty (1998) TV Movie

This made-for-television romantic fantasy is based on author Susan Wilson's novel-length, updated version of Beauty and the Beast. The beauty is talented painter Alix Miller. Her father Alexander was scheduled to paint a family portrait for the reclusive author Lee Crompton, but he fell ill and could not. Alix decides to take his place. Much to her shock, Lee is horribly disfigured. Still, she has an obligation and so continues with the painting. As time passes, she finds herself increasingly drawn to the enigmatic Lee, who in spite of his own fears, finds himself equally interested in her. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Beauty (1998) TV Movie
Cast: Janine Turner, Jamey Sheridan, Linden Ashby, Shirley Broderick, Malcolm Stewart, Kevin McNulty, Hal Holbrook, Lossen Chambers

Submerged (2001) TV Movie

On 12 May, following a yard overhaul, Squalus began a series of test dives off Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After successfully completing 18 dives, she went down again off the Isles of Shoals on the morning of 23 May at 42°53′N 70°37′W. Failure of the main induction valve caused the flooding of the aft torpedo room, both engine rooms, and the crew's quarters, drowning 26 men immediately. Quick action by the crew prevented the other compartments from flooding. Squalus bottomed in 243 ft (74 m) of water.

Submerged (2001) TV Movie
Cast: Sam Neill, Shea Whigham, Emily Procter, Hugh O'Conor, Raymond Waring, Jenna Harrison, James Sikking

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fifth Corner, The (1992) TV series

A man with no recollection of his identity whatsoever learns that he may be a deep-undercover special agent.

Trio (1)
Season 1, Episode 1
17 April 1992

Trio (2)
Season 1, Episode 2
17 April 1992

Season 1, Episode 3
24 April 1992

The Fifth Corner (1992) TV series
Cast: Alex McArthur, Anthony Valentine, J.E. Freeman, James Coburn, Kim Delaney