Monday, October 14, 2013

Strong Medicine (1986) TV Movie

Strong Medicine` A Potboiler Of Intrigue
April 28, 1986|By Bill Kelley, Staff writer

"Guilty pleasure" aficionados will have a good time tonight and Tuesday with Strong Medicine (8 p.m., WCIX-Ch. 6, both nights), an Arthur (Hotel ) Hailey potboiler about intrigue in the pharmaceutical industry in 1957. Pamela Sue Martin is the noble young heroine who uncovers a nest of vipers, and the spot-the-stars cast includes Patrick Duffy, Ben Cross, Douglas Fairbanks and Dick Van Dyke. Produced independently for first-run, off-network syndication -- which means it`s a little juicier than network fare.

Strong Medicine (1986)TV Movie
Cast: Alan Oppenheimer, Annette O'Toole, Ben Cross, Dick Van Dyke, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gayle Hunnicutt, Pamela Sue Martin, Patrick Duffy, Sam Neill

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

TV Guide's Truth Behind the Rumors (TV) (2001)

Recalling of the 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley, that focuses on rumors of the supposed tension between costars Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. Later, various cast members look back at the 1980s hit sitcom Cheers.

TV Guide's Truth Behind the Rumors (TV) (2001)
Host: Mark Thompson

Bob Hope's Funniest Out-Takes (TV) (2002)

NBC reminisces about Bob Hope's long history with network

By FRED SHUSTER Los Angeles Daily News
POSTED: April 29, 2002

He broke ratings records in radio and revolutionized television by perfecting the opening monologue.

Bob Hope's 60-year broadcast career at NBC was marked by more high points and memorable moments than anybody's. From his early years in vaudeville and radio to movies and television, Hope was an unparalleled success due to a carefully honed persona that included a sly, speedy delivery, relaxed personality and topical gags that let audiences feel they were in on the joke.

"He was a natural because he'd done vaudeville, Broadway, radio and movies, and by the time he got to TV, he was an expert," veteran comedian Phyllis Diller observes. "He was such a brilliant, brilliant showman. And he worked so easily. It was never work for him. Wanda Landowska, the great harpsichordist, once said, 'I never practice. I only play.' And with Bob, it was all play."

Hope, who turns 99 on May 29, still lives at his sprawling compound in his beloved Toluca Lake with wife, Dolores. Among the wealthiest and best-known entertainers and most savvy of property owners, the British-born, Ohio-raised Hope - initially billed as master of "song, patter and eccentric dancing" - conquered every show-biz arena.

Practically everyone agrees Hope was a scream, but just how funny was he when he departed from the script? You can find out tomorrow when Kelsey Grammer hosts "Bob Hope's Funniest Outtakes," an hour-long look at some of the best ad-libbed moments from the 284 variety programs the legendary comic taped for NBC. Along with never-before-seen footage, famous faces including Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis Jr., Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton discuss the impact of Hope's long and influential career.

"When NBC approached me to host the program, I simply said, 'Yeah, I'm in,' " Grammer said from the "Frasier" set. "I've been a lifelong fan of Bob along with all my family members when I was growing up. Not only is he a great comedian, he's also a great American. His contribution to the war effort is something to be honored and respected. So, to tip my hat to one of history's greatest comics and patriots was a real joy."

The Hope outtakes reveal the spontaneous and unrehearsed Bob, said Linda Hope, the entertainer's daughter and executive producer of the program.

"You get a good sense of the man behind the show," she says. "One of my favorite segments is a sketch Bob does with Jack Benny and Rosemary Clooney where they just break each other up."

The program is part of NBC's 75th-anniversary celebration in which a series of shows and reunion programs honor the country's first commercial broadcasting network. Hope's last special for NBC was in 1997.

"He's been with NBC almost as long as NBC has been around," says Ron Simon, a television curator at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York. "He started in radio there in the '30s and moved into TV when [NBC] did. His opening monologue where he kidded politicians and had fun with the news everyone was talking about was a direct influence on people like Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jon Stewart. He had a major, major impact on the medium and, of course, comedy."

With the age of 99 just weeks away, how is Hope doing?

"Like any of us, he has good days and bad days," Linda Hope says. "Some days we see a lot of the old Bob Hope, but otherwise he does a lot of sleeping."

She said the idea of Hope living to 100 "is something that really appeals to him," adding that he wants to beat longtime pal George Burns, who lived to be 100 years and 49 days.

Bob Hope's Funniest Out-Takes (TV) (2002)
Host: Kelsey Grammer

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser: The First 30 Years - (TV) (2000)

After all, an hour-long "best of" show to be telecast immediately after the Carnegie Hall performance is called Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser: The First 30 Years. This is that show.

Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser: The First 30 Years - (TV) (2000)
Host: Louis Rukeyser

Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser - 30th Anniversary (TV) (2000)

Louis Rukeyser celebrated 30 years of Wall $treet Week in November 2000. This story appeared in USA TODAY on Nov. 3, 2000 to mark that anniversary:

TV's financial dean celebrates 30 years

Louis Rukeyser brings markets home to individual investors

By Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

BALTIMORE — Louis Rukeyser is kicking back with a fat stogie and glass of burgundy at 2 a.m. in the Havana Club cigar bar. Judging by the fawning he's getting from several women, it's obvious that Wall Street's best-known financial commentator is one heck of a babe magnet.

Unwinding after the Friday wrap of Public Broadcasting's Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser, the show's courtly, white-haired star is resplendent in tailored navy blue suit, pale blue shirt and a yellow power tie. Gracious and charming, Rukeyser relishes the attention from several women, as any happily married, 67-year-old grandfather might. Two are shushed away by the bar manager, only to sneak back over to gawk and banter. Rukeyser smiles broadly, eyes a dinner companion but says nothing. The look, though, is pure "Ain't life grand?"

Comely young groupies adore him. Modern Maturity and People magazines have attested to his sex appeal. Viewer letters contend he's sexier than actor Brad Pitt. Clearly, though, Rukeyser has much more to feel good about these days. In the ever-expanding world of flashier TV, Internet and even print competitors, Rukeyser remains the biggest hottie of financial journalism. Wall $treet Week, already TV's longest-running program with the same host, celebrates its 30th anniversary tonight with a live show from New York's Carnegie Hall.

Two years past what many consider normal retirement age, Rukeyser shows few signs of slowing down:

• He'll host a four-hour program on election night for cable network CNBC, gauging the impact on the economy, business and stocks. Two more CNBC shows are planned within the next year.

• His investment newsletters on the stock market and mutual funds are the largest monthlies of the genre, with combined circulation of 400,000. Rukey-ser's Web site — now undergoing a revamp to offer expanded market advice and service — got nearly 500,000 hits in September.

• Rukeyser's twice-yearly investment seminars aboard European and Caribbean cruise ships sell out months in advance. His most recent annual Las Vegas financial seminar drew 11,000.

• As a public speaker, Rukeyser commands $80,000 to $100,000 a speech, fees typically reserved for former presidents and top-flight CEOs. He makes about two dozen a year. Based on demand, Rukeyser says he could book a couple hundred a year.

Casual observers may regard the sedate Rukeyser and his talking-heads format show as a charming anachronism in a high-octane media world of fast-flowing screen tickers and hyperkinetic financial reporters. But Wall $treet Week spawned the genre and cable TV networks devoted to investing, such as CNBC and Financial News Network. Without Rukeyser, some say, there'd be no specialized market programs for financial junkies, such as CNBC's Squawk Box and its glib, wisecracking commentators. Most were born long after Rukeyser began his journalism career in 1949 as a 16-year-old sportswriter for his hometown paper in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Rukeyser's enduring legacy is as the impartial champion of the individual investor — a prime reason about 3 million households continue to tune in Wall $treet Week. The audience is four times the combined average daily viewership of CNN's Moneyline and CNBC's News Center, Nielsen Media Research says.

"Despite the advent of all the expanded coverage and choices, Rukeyser's perspective remains important and relevant," says former Moneyline host Lou Dobbs. "You can't ask for a better emblem of what a business journalist and market commentator should be about."

Wall $treet Week has changed little in content and style since its November 1970 launch at Maryland's Owings Mills PBS station near Baltimore. While Owings Mills is an outpost from both Wall Street and Rukeyser's Greenwich, Conn., home, the station holds the rights to the program, and neither Rukeyser nor Wall Street heavy hitters seem to mind trekking there.

Being a guest on the show, in fact, is being a player in the financial world's version of the Super Bowl.

"People will try anything to get on the show. There's a backlog of good analysts, portfolio managers and economists," says Frank Cappiello, head of Maryland-based money manager McCullough Andrews and Cappiello and a panelist since the first show. "It's good for business, and it's a mark of esteem. When you can say you've been a guest, that's big stuff."

Rukeyser, as always, opens Wall $treet Week with a wry, pun-laden monologue, which he writes Friday afternoons, then fiddles with until the 7:45 p.m. taping. Many viewers consider the monologue the most entertaining part of the show, because Rukeyser deftly weaves the week's market action with economic news, topical items such as politics or the World Series, and an occasional oddball story. So predictable is the format that it was parodied on Saturday Night Live.

During the Oct. 20 taping, a klieg light blew midway through Rukeyser's four-minute monologue, popping with the intensity of a rifle shot. Unfazed, Rukeyser kept talking in sonorous baritone. Most of the 1,430 shows have been taped, but technical glitches and other snafus occasionally prompt live airings.

Monologues are followed by the "Elves Index," the show's only nod to what could pass for market timing. Ten market strategists track assorted market influences, predicting changes in the market's direction — or misdirection. Rukeyser then saunters over to a dining table, where he affably schmoozes with his three panelists about the market's weekly action and some of their latest stock picks. Panelists rotate each week from a group of about two dozen market sages, portfolio managers and technical analysts.

Rukeyser and his weekly threesome then amble over to two facing leather couches. From there, they greet and grill guests. Financial biggies such as Prudential Securities strategist Ralph Acampora and PaineWebber's Mary Farrell are regular panelists.

In recent years, both guests and panel members have skewed younger and expanded ethnic lines. Rukeyser brought women and minorities to the show long before they began breaking through Wall Street's gender and racial barriers that are still prevalent today.

Unwavering strategy

Rukeyser has delivered a consistent message to viewers the past 30 years.

"What I've tried to teach is no big secret: Buy good stocks. And don't get spooked every time the market panics," he says. "It sounds dull, but it's worked."

Rukeyser practices the same buy-and-hold strategy he preaches, and he's made himself, as well as many viewers, wealthy. On a May 1976 show, then-Wall Street analyst Ben Rosen — recently retired chairman of Compaq Computer — recommended semiconductor maker Intel. The stock, then trading at a split-adjusted price of 20 cents a share, has since climbed 23,000%. Microsoft, recommended by a 1989 guest, is up more than 5,000%.

"It may be more exciting to hear about the three hot stock picks of the week," Rukeyser says. "But the short-term predicting game is hopeless." Of the now-burst Internet bubble, he can barely hide his contempt. "I think a lot of people have awakened to the shallowness of the Internet's adolescence," he says.

Rukeyser maintains some basic tenets for Wall $treet Week: Keep it simple and understandable, and do it with flair. That means dialog free of the often-undecipherable market jargon bandied about on most market shows. And have some fun.

Rukeyser has dressed up as Superman, Dick Tracy, Bugs Bunny and a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger. Even without the superheroes, Wall $treet Week fits viewers like a comfortable leather chair.

"For me, the show is a way to relax at the end of the week," says Dave Peace, a Lincoln, Neb., stockbroker who rarely misses it. "Even if I have an invitation to something, I watch. I guess I need to get a life."

Ouch! Eek! Medic!

Viewership tends to jump after particularly grim weeks in the financial markets, with spooked investors tuning in for advice and reassurance that no matter how badly the market behaved, things will be OK. The evening of the Friday market crash on Oct. 19, 1987, Rukeyser refused to serve as Wall Street's somber undertaker.

"Let's start with what's really important tonight," he told viewers. "It's just your money, not your life. Everybody who really loved you a week ago still loves you tonight. And now that that's all fully in perspective, let me say. .. Ouch! And: Eek! And: Medic!"

Long-time panelists such as Farrell are amazed not only at Rukeyser's staying power, but at the enduring loyalty of viewers. Farrell says strangers still approach her to ask how her son is doing. Rukeyser announced the 1982 birth on air.

"You go to the Las Vegas financial show or one of the investment cruises, and what really comes through loud and clear is the strong feeling people have that Louis has been their champion, the defender and protector of the individual investor," Farrell says. "He's earned some extraordinary trust."

Indeed, when Rukeyser decided on tonight's Carnegie Hall show, he invited 2,000 viewers to attend. About 16,000 requests for tickets came in. Many were poignant, expressing deep, long-standing admiration for a droll raconteur who's been a longtime Friday ritual.

Rukeyser graduated from Princeton University in 1954, then spent two years in the Army. He later joined The (Baltimore) Sun newspaper, working in London and Asia. He joined ABC News in 1965, working as a Paris correspondent, then London bureau chief. When he returned to the USA in 1968, he became the network's first economics editor and commentator.

Wall $treet Week was a part-time gig for Rukeyser until he left ABC in 1973. At the time, he was 40 and wondered whether the warnings from friends that he was nuts to quit a network TV career would ultimately prove true. These days, he politely deflects questions about his income and personal investments. Between the newsletters and personal appearances, he's obviously made up for lost income.

Rukeyser could make some really big bucks shilling financial products. But he's spurned all offers, including one eight-figure deal with a company he declines to name, saying it would undermine his role as journalist and commentator.

"You better always be on the level with people," he says. "Not everyone is going to agree with you, but they better have confidence in you."

Rukeyser's list of more than a thousand guests includes Alan Greenspan (before he joined the Federal Reserve) and former Fidelity Magellan Fund manager Peter Lynch. But his favorite was his father, Merryle Rukeyser, a highly regarded financial columnist who wrote 10 business books over a career spanning more than 60 years.

The younger Rukeyser waited until Wall $treet Week had been on 14 years, hoping by then, he now quips, that the show had gained respectability and he'd avoid the appearance of nepotism. His dad, who died at 91, made appearances until 1988.

Rukeyser says he'll continue with Wall $treet Week "as long as it's still fun." That likely means 35th and 40th anniversary programs.

After all, an hour-long "best of" show to be telecast immediately after the Carnegie Hall performance is called Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser: The First 30 Years.

Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser - 30th Anniversary (TV) (2000)
Host: Louis Rukeyser

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tenth Month, The (1979) TV Movie

Robert Altman protégé Joan Tewkesbury called the directorial shots on the made-for-TV "The Tenth Month". After a whirlwind affair with famed concert pianist Keith Michell, middle-aged, unmarried Carol Burnett becomes pregnant. Rather than seek out the father, she decides to raise the baby by herself. Though she'd previously played comparatively "straight" roles in such films as "The Front Page" (1974), "The Tenth Month" represented Carol Burnett's TV dramatic debut, as well as her first post-Carol Burnett Show project (the producer was her husband Joe Hamilton). Adapted by Ms. Tewkesbury from a novel by Laura Z. Hobson, "The Tenth Month" premiered on September 16, 1979. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Tenth Month (1979) TV Movie
Cast: Carol Burnett, Cristina Raines, Dina Merrill, Keith Michell, Martine Beswick, Melissa Converse, Richard Venture

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Harmony: A New Way of Looking At Our World (2010) (TV)

Prince Charles' new documentary “Harmony: A New Way of Looking At Our World” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in London on April 28. The movie is a companion to the Prince of Wales' book of the same title, and makes a case for living in harmony with the environment, going small and local instead of global.

Prince Charles was there to watch his film premiere and said that he simply hoped most would stay awake for it, according to “The Guardian.” He need not have worried. Robert Redford said afterwards that the “Harmony” movie was “incredible.”

Redford was trying out a "premiere" of his own; “Sundance London” marks the first time the Sundance Film Festival has taken place anywhere other than the United States.

“Harmony” highlights Prince Charles' efforts in the environmental field and his hopes for a sustainable future. Stuart Sender and Julie Bergman Sender made the film, but Prince Charles narrates.

Harmony: A New Way of Looking At Our World (2010) (TV)
Host: HRH Prince Charles

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time (2011) (TV)

The top five films are counted down in various genres, as determined by an online poll and selected from lists of nominees chosen by film industry experts.

most comprehensive collection of clips from decades of feature films deemed to be "the greatest movies of our time" by the ABC television network. Ultimately boring and redundantly superfluous, hosted by the two great film historians, Tom Bergeron and Cynthia McFadden. He of the "funny videos" show and she of the severely compromised late night newsish program. One big Hollywood ass kiss from the most liberal of networks.

Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time (2011) (TV)
Hosts: Tom Bergeron, Cynthia McFadden

Friday, July 5, 2013

100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994) (TV)

TV REVIEWS : Tip of the Hat to 'The Hollywood Western'
November 25, 1994|KEVIN THOMAS

Jack Haley Jr.'s "100 Years of the Hollywood Western" manages to survey with some insight and admirable comprehensiveness a genre with more than 20,000 titles, spanning footage taken of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show a century ago to a spate of Westerns currently in production.

Sure-fire entertainment, it's deeper on research--the clips are terrific--than on thought. The special's hosts are Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner, Gene Hackman, Robert Mitchum, Kurt Russell and Jane Seymour.

Haley points out that the "Old West" lasted only a few decades but captured the popular imagination enduringly with its endless possibilities for tales of high adventure. He and co-writers Aubrey Soloman and Phil Savenick touch many bases, and they constantly keep us aware of the movies' peerless capacity to turn sometimes sketchy history into potent myth; in doing so, they also manage a tip of the hat to the most famous Westerns.

What they might have made clearer is that the Western became America's morality play, and that the difference between John Wayne and Clint Eastwood is that, in the 1960s, Sergio Leone and the spaghetti Western injected an existential quality to Westerns, blurring the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys.

Once past a nod to pioneer Bronco Billy Anderson, William S. Hart, who brought realism to the Western, and Tom Mix, who brought glamour to it, Haley gives the silent era short shrift; surely, "Covered Wagon" and "The Iron Horse" rate at least mentions. (Serials--silent and talkie--aren't dealt with at all.)

There are apt discussions of the treatment of legendary historical figures, and there are entire sequences devoted to cliche expressions, lawmen, gunslingers, saloons, singing cowboys, Native Americans, frontier women and the eradication of the buffalo.

John Ford and John Wayne were so inextricably linked that Haley is able to deal with Ford's career in the context of the Wayne homage. Most other major directors of Westerns barely rate a mention, however, even though their films are glimpsed. You'll not hear the names of Budd Boetticher, Raoul Walsh, Michael Curtiz or Anthony Mann; perversely, Haley credits the direction of Mann's 1960 remake of "Cimarron" to his former father-in-law, Vincente Minnelli.

100 Years of the Hollywood Western (1994) (TV)
Hosts: Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner, Gene Hackman, Robert Mitchum, Kurt Russell and Jane Seymour

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

20 Years of Must See TV (2002) (TV)

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; The Sincerest Form of Flattery: The Networks' Self-Commemoration
Published: May 8, 2002

Try not to weep if you missed ''CBS: 50 Years From Television City,'' the network's loving tribute to (get out your handkerchiefs) its studio building. There are plenty more chances to get choked up during this emotional television month. In ''20 Years of Must-See TV,'' NBC will celebrate something dear to the hearts of all viewers, the network's ratings dominance on Thursday nights. (The program doesn't flinch from the traumatic moment when ''Frasier'' moved to Tuesdays.) ABC will look back at ''That's Incredible!'' letting us relive those exhilarating moments that disappeared from our lives back in 1984 along with the show's believe-it-or-not tidbits. We're promised another look at a 2,000-person human domino chain.

Maybe the networks think we all own stock in them and care, but one thing's for sure: Carol Burnett has a lot to answer for.

It was ''The Carol Burnett Show: Show Stoppers,'' a cast reunion and compilation of clips from her old variety show, that became a surprise ratings hit in November and set off this ludicrous deluge of nostalgia. NBC had already been planning specials to celebrate its 75th anniversary (if you count back to radio days), but the Burnett show made the networks act more sheeplike than ever, offering at least 17 clip shows and 4 cast reunions during the May sweeps. A recent Fox special celebrated four whole years of ''That 70's Show,'' which amounts to nostalgia about nostalgia.

These shows serve a purpose: they offer an irresistible opportunity to keep up with celebrity surgery. So many unnaturally wide eyes are on screen this month that it looks like E.T.'s relatives have taken over television. But there are more practical reasons for the overload of clips and reunions. The recycled shows are cheap to produce and presumably foolproof, offering entertainment that audiences have already embraced. And as many people in and outside the networks have observed, they are comfort food for a nerve-racking time.

But the soothing appeal of the shows is not assured; most of the ratings have been middling. And their place in the television landscape is more complicated than it might seem. These televised security blankets offer a counterpoint to the cutthroat reality shows that are still thriving and moving to further extremes, like the recent naked edition of ''Fear Factor.'' When Ralph Kramden ate dog food on ''The Honeymooners,'' it was by accident; now worms are a delicacy on reality shows. Clips and reunions function as extreme unreality shows.

The most surprising recent hits, ''The Bachelor'' and ''The Osbournes,'' work because they satisfy both extremes at once. ''The Bachelor,'' with two dozen women competing for a marriage proposal from one man, has a retro soul. Yet, its up-to-the-minute veneer features ruthless competition and sexual freedom. And beyond all the bleeping on ''The Osbournes'' there is a tight family in which Ozzy Osbourne warns his children about the evils of drugs. (''Just look at me,'' he says, his hands perpetually shaking.) When he goes on tour and the family shows up to surprise him on his birthday, he asks his wife, the now-famous Sharon, if ''the babies'' (their teenage children) have come along. What could be sweeter? It's that tension between the manners of today and the longing for a simpler past that best captures the present moment, when so much seems askew. Few shows pull that off.

No wonder the nostalgia shows, looking backward in such a blinkered way, fail to generate much excitement. Most are triumphs of packaging, with bogus claims of something new. A reunion of the ''Cheers'' cast playing their old characters on that show's spinoff, ''Frasier,'' was a lamely written partial reunion. (Ted Danson wasn't there; he was competing against ''Frasier'' in the dreadful but successful CBS mini-series ''Living With the Dead.'') A ''St. Elsewhere'' reunion on ''Scrubs'' meant a couple of scenes in which actors from the old hospital series turned up as doctors, though not their old characters.

Even the fresh material seems old, like Michael Jackson's performance on the ''American Bandstand'' 50th anniversary special or Cher's on the 10th anniversary celebration of ''The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.''

The promised glimpses of long-unseen moments from ''The Honeymooners'' on its 50th anniversary special on Monday included a horrible musical number; it was kind to keep the clip short. Otherwise, there were classic scenes we can catch every night on reruns. And if we don't need a ''Honeymooners'' retrospective, there's no excuse for ''Everybody Loves Raymond: The First Six Years,'' a recent tribute to a show available six times a week.

So far, the one major ratings success for a nostalgia show this month almost deserved it. Sunday's three-hour extravaganza, ''NBC 75th Anniversary Special,'' was a mix of live appearances and clips that until its floundering final hour was funny and brisk. Produced by Lorne Michaels, it included a touch of the irreverence of his ''Saturday Night Live.'' As Jerry Seinfeld said opening the show, ''Our mood is festive, our tone is self-aggrandizing."

More typically, NBC and the other networks take themselves and their branding more seriously than any viewer ever would. When you see a promo for this Thursday's ''E.R.,'' a flashback to Dr. Green's last days, and hear the solemn announcer promise ''an 'E.R.' to cherish,'' what can you do except laugh, even if you're sorry to lose the guy? When is the last time you heard anyone in real life say, ''I think I'll watch a little must-see TV''?

You will hear plenty of platitudes from the other side of the screen, though. ''I loved going to work,'' Phylicia Rashad, who played Bill Cosby's wife, recalls at the start of the two-hour ''Cosby Show: A Look Back'' (one of the few available in advance for review). We can make a reckless assumption that the same will be true when the cast reminisces on ''M*A*S*H: 30th Anniversary Reunion Special'' and ''Mary Tyler Moore Reunion.''

''L.A. Law: The Movie'' is the only genuine, fully original reunion in sight, and it's a perfectly pleasant if unexciting diversion. Harry Hamlin holds the film together and demonstrates that he can still charm as Michael Kuzak, who has stopped practicing law but goes back to help a man he unsuccessfully defended for murder a decade before. Nearly every actor from the old series is worked into the plot (except Jimmy Smits), and they spend a lot of time on dialogue like this:



And, ''Hey, Douglas.''

''Michael Kuzak!''

Or, ''Hey, Leland.''


Like ''Hill St. Blues,'' ''L.A. Law'' was fast, tough and groundbreaking, but this mild, efficient movie reveals how much those qualities have been overtaken by series like ''The Practice.'' Before he created ''The Practice,'' David E. Kelley was an ''L.A. Law'' writer; he had nothing to do with this reunion. More important, Steven Bochco, a creator of both ''Hill St.'' and ''L.A. Law,'' was not directly involved with the movie and is called ''an unseen cheerleader'' in the production notes. The truly creative people in television have better things to do than look back.

But as programmers search for sure things, that's exactly where they're looking. The so-called new shows being considered for the fall include remakes of ''The Twilight Zone,'' ''The Lone Ranger,'' ''Family Affair'' and ''The Time Tunnel.'' If we did land in a time tunnel, who could tell the difference?

More Nostalgia Coming Soon

''L.A. Law: The Movie,'' Sunday on NBC

''Mary Tyler Moore Reunion,'' Monday on CBS

''NBC's Funniest Outtakes,'' Tuesday on NBC

''M*A*S*H: 30th Anniversary Reunion Special,'' May 17 on Fox

''The Cosby Show: A Look Back,'' May 19 on NBC

''20 Years of Must-See TV,'' May 20 on NBC

''That's Incredible: The Reunion,'' May 21 on ABC

''The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments,'' May 22 on NBC

20 Years of Must See TV (2002) (TV)
Host: Eric McCormack

Monday, July 1, 2013

Funniest Comedy Duos (1996) (TV)

Special salutes great comedy duos, featuring clips from television and film.

Funniest Comedy Duos (1996) (TV)
Host: Jeff Foxworthy

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Spy Magazine's Hit List: The 100 Most Annoying and Alarming People and Events of 1992 (1992) (TV)

Based on "Spy" magazine's annual feature, the year-end summary of top 100 most annoying, appalling and alarming people, events, and trends.

Spy Magazine's Hit List: The 100 Most Annoying and Alarming People and Events of 1992 (1992) (TV)
Host: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Best TV Shows That Never Were, The (2004) (TV)

Finally airing after two years on ABC's shelf, this summer special turns a bunch of lemons into refreshing lemonade. 

Best TV Shows, based on the book Unsold Television Pilot by co-executive producer Lee Goldberg, is a breezy hour of clips from sample episodes of series that the networks decided against ordering. Not surprisingly, most of them stink—which is why the special is such a good time. 

You'll slap your head in disbelief—try not to hurt yourself—at the idea of John Denver as a singing FBI agent. You'll wonder whether Joe Penny as a samurai district attorney would have been funnier—unintentionally—than John Belushi's samurai character on Saturday Night Live. And you'll think Scott Bakula is pretty down-to-earth in Star Trek: Enterprise after you see him in a busted pilot as a wacky scientist who accidentally merges with a satellite. For tube historians, this is a must-see.

The Best TV Shows That Never Were (2004) (TV)
Cast: Craig Bierko, Jane Leeves, Rome Romanne 

Good, the Bad & the Beautiful, The (1996) (TV)

Documentary celebrating the history of women in film -- using film clips, historical footage, contemporary interviews and the fictional journey of a woman from the inception of the film (1895) to the current movie world.

Film clips and interviews show how female stars have helped shape the dreams Hollywood sells to movie fans.

The Good, the Bad & the Beautiful (1996) (TV)
Cast: Laura San Giacomo, Kathy Bates, Nora Ephron, Rosie O'Donnell, Natasha Richardson, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sally Field, Whoopi Goldberg, Daryl Hannah

Friday, June 28, 2013

1968: 25th Anniversary (1993) (TV)

Hosted by Martin Sheen this is a special looking back on the events of 1968, including the Vietnam War, civil rights marches, riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

1968: 25th Anniversary (1993) TV)
Host: Martin Sheen

Thursday, June 27, 2013

50 Years of NBC Late Night (2001) (TV)

Special that celebrates 50 years of late night television on NBC. The program presents highlights from "The Tonight Show" and features the four great hosts through the last half-century: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. In addition, there are clips from landmark NBC late-night series such as "The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder," "SCTV," "Later With Bob Costas," "Later With Greg Kinnear," "Late Night With David Letterman," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "Saturday Night Live."

50 Years of NBC Late Night (2001) (TV)
Host: Conan O'Brien

Saturday, June 22, 2013

60 Minutes, 25 Years (1993) (TV)

Celebrating 25 Years of '60 Minutes' : Television: The show's stars and New York notables attend a party honoring the newsmagazine's longevity.

NEW YORK — "This is so much better than the 'wrap' party for 'South of Sunset,' " quipped Howard Stringer, president of the CBS Broadcast Group.

No fooling. The CBS detective series was canceled after one episode last month. The party Stringer was attending here Wednesday night was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of "60 Minutes."

Some 600 New York notables, from Beverly Sills to Mayor-elect Rudolph Guiliani, ate dinner in the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and heard David Letterman offer a special Top 10 list ("No. 2: Like Lassie, there have been three different Mike Wallaces") at the event thrown by CBS Chairman Laurence Tisch to celebrate the longevity (and the ratings and profits) of "60 Minutes," the Daddy Warbucks of TV newsmagazines.

The stars of the evening were the stars of "60 Minutes": Mike Wallace, who was shown in a recent film clip hiking up a hill after a story at age 75; the show's 70-year-old creator and executive producer, Don Hewitt; Andy Rooney; Morley Safer; Ed Bradley; Lesley Stahl and Steve Kroft, at 48 the youngest of the "60 Minutes" correspondents.

"My voice hadn't changed when I started watching '60 Minutes,' " Kroft joked before dinner. "I'm celebrating 25 years of '60 Minutes' after having worked only five years here--and Mike and Don aren't letting me forget that."

The correspondents were "sound-bited" by TV crews and photographed together by a clamor of still photographers before they went into the party. In a medium that has few national institutions among its current programs, "60 Minutes"--still going strong as TV's third most popular program this season--is practically the news equivalent of Johnny Carson.

Hewitt, who based "60 Minutes" on Life magazine, said the program was less dependent on ratings-grabbing subjects than many of the prime-time newsmagazines that have sought to imitate its success.

"I really think that we could have Michael Jackson on one week and it might not make that much difference in the weekly ratings," Hewitt said in an interview.

"A '60 Minutes' story can be an essay, a profile or an investigation. It's the stories and the mix that people tune in for."

Wallace, who said he intends to keep working on "60 Minutes" "till my toes turn up," paid tribute to the producers who work in the shadows of the correspondents. "This is a producer's broadcast," he said.

"It's the producers in the field who are out there working before we get there."

Diane Sawyer, who left "60 Minutes" to join ABC's "PrimeTime Live," recalled that competition there for high-profile stories was intense.

"It was like waking up and finding yourself in the middle of an Olympic relay," Sawyer said. "All of these other people were running past, with their Olympic medals flying, while you'd barely had time to (suit up.)"

Viewers will be invited to join in the anniversary celebration Sunday night when "60 Minutes" serves up a two-hour collection of highlights from its 25-year run at 7 p.m.

60 Minutes, 25 Years (1993) (TV)
Host: Charles Kuralt

Friday, June 21, 2013

Freedom Festival '89 (1989) (TV)

An Independence Day special hosted by Patrick Duffy and featuring a lineup of song and dance performers at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the Constitution.

Freedom Festival '89 (1989) (TV)
Cast: The Oak Ridge Boys, Nell Carter, Frankie Avalon, Ann Jillian, Patrick Duffy

Everyday with Joan Lunden (1989–1990) (TV Series)

One of the prettiest of the co-hosts of "Good Morning America" branches out and takes her crack at daytime talk show hosting. Awkward and clumsy, fawning yet disingenuous, she was still able to recruit some surprising guests.

Joan Collins, Vanessa Redgrave, Will Smith
June 1989

Everyday with Joan Lunden (1989–1990) TV Series
Host: Joan Lunden

Sixty Years of Seduction (1981) (TV)

A USA network special, this documentary focuses on sixty years of romance on the silver screen. This program features clips of some of Hollywood's stars in romantic moments, covering the 1920s to the 1970s. ''60 Years of Seduction,'' was a two-hour essay on love and romance as seen through the movie camera. The hosts are stars of the ordinary variety - James Garner, Angie Dickinson, Robert Urich and Victoria Principal. The ''guests,'' though, courtesy of movie excerpts, include just about every superstar that ever stepped out of a celluloid dream, from Dietrich and Bogart to Redford and Taylor. 

It is a ''cozy, lighthearted look'' at sex symbols created by the movie business. Mr. Garner notes that while the East Coast may have its Statue of Liberty, the West Coast has its Hollywood, urging the world to ''give me your young, your fresh, your wide-eyed beauties yearning to be stars.'' 

The film clips are arranged in neat categories. Set to the sound of Dooley Wilson singing ''As Time Goes By,'' one sequence explores the kiss, going from torrid contemporary scenes back to coy beginnings. Then, as Marlene Dietrich sings ''What Am I Bid for My Apples?'' another sequence looks at the concept of sex as forbidden fruit. 

There is the male star, a category including exotic Rudolph Valentino, macho Marlon Brando and gentle Gary Cooper. The female star list encompasses such types as Mae West, Katharine Hepburn, Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe. Arguing that, despite surface differences, Hollywood themes do remain remarkably the same, the program points up the similarity between a Valentino tango and John Travolta's famous dance scene in ''Saturday Night Fever.'' 

Surrounding these glimpses of the superstars is a good deal of ''special material'' that has the hosts strutting about in assorted costumes for sketches loosely related to the film sequences. One production number features a dancer named Sandahl Bergman in a seemingly interminable version of ''Fame.

Sixty Years of Seduction (1981) (TV)
Hosts: James Garner, Angie Dickinson, Robert Urich, Victoria Principal, Sandahl Bergman

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Being With John F. Kennedy (1983) (TV)

A documentary combining rare personal footage and well-known archive footage of President John F. Kennedy. AKA "A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy" and "A President to Remember (2008)". There is a simple mention elsewhere on the internet that Alec Baldwin is the narrator, this is NOT accurate as this is evidence. The hosting duties are entirely handled by the late newswoman Nancy Dickerson who is also credited as a Co-Producer. Both on-camera and voiced-over, all narration is Ms. Dickerson.

Being With John F. Kennedy (1983) (TV)
Host: Nancy Dickerson

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Glenn Miller: A Moonlight Serenade (1984) (TV)

Glenn Miller and his music on the 40th anniversary of his death, shot at Glen Island Casino and narrated by Van Johnson, with guests Johnny Desmond, Tex Beneke, Marion Hutton, Julius La Rosa, Anita Gillette, Sylvia Syms, plus film extracts.

Songs include: "In the mood" by Andy Razaf, Joe Garland (TB); "Chattanooga choo choo", "I’ve got a girl in Kalamazoo" (MH, TB), "At last", "Serenade in blue" by Mack Gordon, Harry Warren (JD); "Elmer’s tune" by Elmer Albrecht, Sammy Gallop, Dick Jurgens (JLaR); "Skylark" by Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael (AG); "Little brown jug" by Joseph E. Winner, arr Bill Finegan (JD); "A string of pearls" by Eddie De Lange, Jerry Gray (TB); "The anvil chorus" by Giuseppe Verdi, arr Jerry Gray (JD); "Fools rush in" by Johnny Mercer, Rube Bloom (JD); "Long ago and far away" by Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger (JLaR); "Perfidia" by Milton Leeds, Alberto Dominguez (SS); "Stairway to the stars" by Mitchell Parish, Matty Malneck, Frank Signorelli (SS, JD); "St. Louis blues march" by W. C. Handy (MH, TB); "Pennsylvania 6-5000" by Carl Sigman, Jerry Gray; "Moonlight cocktail" by Kim Gannon, C. Luckey Roberts (JD); "I’ll be seeing you" by Irving Kahal, Sammy Fain (MH); "Don’t sit under the apple tree" by Lew Brown, Charles Tobias, Sam H. Stept (TB, MH); "Moonlight serenade" by Mitchell Parish, Glenn Miller.

Glenn Miller: A Moonlight Serenade (1984) (TV)
Host: Van Johnson

James Stewart: A Wonderful Life (1987) (TV)

A retrospective on the life and career of actor James Stewart with the star himself and hosted by his longtime personal friend Johnny Carson. With clips from many of the films of Mr. Stewart and interviews with some of the people that worked with him during his long, long career. One of the last of the good guys from old Hollywood, there was a time when Jimmy was everywhere. Talk shows, holiday specials, gala events, TV and film, Jimmy Stewart was always a pleasant addition. Stoic, calm and quieting, let's hope his humanity lives on through his efforts.

This is episode number 309 of "The Great Performances" anthology series.

James Stewart: A Wonderful Life (1987) (TV)
Host: Johnny Carson

Off Ramps: L. A. STORIES - The Second City - Inside the World's Largest Jail (1996) (TV)

As we take a visit to Los Angeles' Twin Towers Correctional Facility, also referred to in the media as Twin Towers Jail, Lisa Ling is front and center ably assisted by Mitchell Koss and together they bite off quite a bit for a simple two man crew in "The Second City - Inside the World's Largest Jail" or what most would consider a day in hell. The amount of scary access given and taken is surprising, I'm not sure if I would be willing to go and do as these two. As this is a production from 1996 it needs to be updated if for no other reason than contrast. Very eyeopening watching 3 unarmed correctional guards (sheriffs) walk amongst the population and keep order in a crowded lunchroom with 100 of the baddest types. This is the best way to take the tour when the alternatives are considered.

Off Ramps: L. A. STORIES (1996) (TV)
Cast: Lisa Ling, Mitchell Koss

The Century (1999) TV Mini-Series

An attempt to chronicle the 20th Century through the eyes of the ABC network news machine. Far in reach and bursting with footage this is an example of a program that will be relevant and watchable for years into the future.

Heaven and Earth
Season 1, Episode 1
29 March 1999

Ultimate Power
Season 1, Episode 2
April 1999

No Man's Land
Season 1, Episode 3
April 1999

The Fall
Season 1, Episode 6
3 April 1999

Nothing to Fear
Season 1, Episode 7
8 April 1999

Picture This
Season 1, Episode 8
8 April 1999

The Race
Season 1, Episode 9
April 1999

The Evolution of Revolution
Season 1, Episode 10
April 1999

The Century (1999) TV Mini-Series
Host: Peter Jennings

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Memorial Service for the Sailors of the USS Cole (2000) (TV)

Officials, relatives, and injured shipmates of 17 sailors killed in a terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Yemen gathered on pier 12 at the Norfolk Naval Station for a memorial service. While the crews of the ships moored at the pier manned the rails, President Clinton and other officials honored the sailors as heroes and vowed that those responsible for the attack would be brought to justice. The ceremony concluded with the Navy Hymn and the playing of Taps.

Memorial Service for the Sailors of the USS Cole (2000) (TV)
Host: Tom Brokaw

NBC 75th Anniversary Special (2002) (TV)

Originally broadcast on May 5th, 2002 this is a 3 hour celebration of NBC's 75th anniversary. From Studio 8-H in New York City.

NBC 75th Anniversary Special (2002) (TV)
Host: Jerry Seinfeld

Mike Wallace: Then & Now (TV) (1990)

In a CBS special broadcast on September 26, 1990 Mike Wallace recalls 40 years of reporting and interviewing, recapturing some of his top stories and most provocative interviews.

Mike Wallace: Then & Now (TV) (1990)
Host: Mike Wallace

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hi Honey, I'm Home (1991) TV series 1991-1992

A 1950s American sitcom family participates in the Sitcom Relocation Program, and are transported to 1990s suburbia. Anyone recognize Julie Benz? And yes, that's the Pina Colada guy, (Escape).

Season 1, Episode 1
Meet the Neilsens
19 July 1991

Season 1, Episode 2
Make My Bed
26 July 1991

Season 1, Episode 4
Hi Mom, I'm Not Home
9 August 1991

Season 1, Episode 5
Grey Skies
16 August 1991

Season 1, Episode 6
23 August 1991

Hi Honey, I'm Home (1991) TV series 1991-1992
Cast: Charlotte Booker, Danny Gura, Eric Kushnick, Julie Benz, Peter Benson, Stephen C. Bradbury, Susan Cella

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Danger Down Under (1988) TV Movie

This feature-length TV pilot stars Lee Majors as an American horse breeder who tries to make a go in New South Wales (shades of Man From Snowy River). Accompanying Majors "down under" is his son (William Hughes); father and son entrench themselves in the ranch of Majors' ex-wife (Rebecca Gilling), who lives with her younger sons. Just when it seems a reconciliation is possible, the woman is killed, forcing Majors to take over the ranch and work it with the help of his three sons and his former father-in-law (Martin Vaughan). Danger Down Under was telecast in March of 1988, where it lost out in a Monday-night ratings battle to Newhart. The film has since been syndicated under two alternate titles: Austral Downs and Reed Down Under. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Danger Down Under (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Lee Majors, Rebecca Gilling, Martin Vaughan, William Wallace, Bruce Hughes, Morgan Lewis, Paul Chubb, Natalie McCurry, Robert Taylor

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Twice Upon a Time (1983)

Animated film directed by John Korty and Charles Swenson. This film had an unusual history in terms of release and editing, but it has been named one of the most important films in the history of stop-motion animation. This was also the first animated film George Lucas produced.

The film uses a form of cutout animation, which the filmmakers called "Lumage," that involved prefabricated cut-out plastic pieces that the animators moved on a light table.

Twice Upon a Time (1983)
Cast: Lorenzo Music, Julie Payne, Marshall Efron, Hamilton Camp, James Cranna, Paul Frees, Judith Kahan