Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kitchen Symphony (1961)

Musical short produced by Ernie Kovacs in which various objects in the kitchen come to life. The music they dance to is "Cherokee" by space age pop maestro Juan Esquivel.

Video: Ernie Kovacs Meets Esquivel in "Musical Office (1961)"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Elevator Psychology

s there a law somewhere that says we all have to face the same direction in an elevator? Apparently so, since we all obey that law. This old clip from Candid Camera is funny because we all understand it. In real life, the behavior is a little more ambiguous, as seen in the elevators of the London Underground that have doors on both sides of the elevator.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The *worst* version of Chuck Berry's Memphis Tennessee EVER

This was the first time John Lennon and Chuck Berry had met, on the Mike Douglas show in 1972.
as much as i like these two, their performance is *atrocious*!
what is icing on the cake is Yoko Ono in the background on a conga.... suddenly she decides to start shrieking into her mic -
take a look at the expression on Chuck's face at 1.21 when he first hears her "background vocals"

Alfred Hitchcock on Dick Cavett

Mr. Hitchcock shares some stories with Dick Cavett.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ernie Kovacs: Aesop Broadcasting Company

The late great TV pioneer, as a Roman Empire TV news host.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Wonderful Stories Behind 6 Classic TV Theme Songs

Many of today’s TV shows have dispensed with the traditional theme song in an effort to squeeze in more commercial time, which fills traditional television fans with a sense of melancholy. Does anyone out there still remember a time when a show’s theme song told the back-story of the series, or was catchy enough to become a Top-40 hit? As Archie and Edith might sigh, “those were the days.” Stroll down memory lane as mental_floss takes a look at the stories behind some of TV’s classic theme songs.
1. All in the Family: How Budget Restrictions Turned Actors into Singers

The cozy picture of Archie and Edith Bunker sitting at the piano singing “Those Were the Days” seems so in context with the series, it’s hard to picture All in the Family without that opening. However, that homey tableau that seemed so perfectly designed to set the tone for the series was concocted strictly out of necessity. Producer Norman Lear had used up his allotted budget by the time he’d filmed the pilot, leaving no money to hire professional singers or musicians to perform the theme song. Series stars Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton stepped in at the last minute to help him out.

2. Gilligan’s Island: Explaining a Show’s Premise in a minute (or less!)

Cheers, The Addam’s Family, and of course, Gilligan’s Island all after the jump.

When producer Sherwood Schwartz first showed network executives his pilot for Gilligan’s Island, the suits liked parts of it, but demanded some changes before they bought the series. By the time the first episode aired, new actors had been cast as the Professor, Mary Ann and Ginger and the group was already shipwrecked. In order to explain the premise of the series, Sherwood Schwartz jotted down some lyrics and worked with George Wyle, who came up with the melody and fine-tuned the words to “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island.” Their intent was to explain precisely why these seven disparate personalities had ended up shipwrecked on an uncharted tropical island. By the way, it was series star Bob Denver who went to bat for Dawn Wells and Russell Johnson and demanded that the theme song lyrics be revised for the second season from “and the rest” to “the Professor and Mary Ann.”

3. Happy Days: How Royalty Fees Changed the Show

Happy Days premiered in 1974 to the strains of Bill Haley & His Comets performing their classic “Rock Around the Clock” as the opening theme song. The show became a massive hit, and programmers expected it to have the legs to run in syndication for several seasons. Studio bean counters, however, quickly realized that they might lose money in the deal because of the steep royalties they had to pay for the song. The good news was that Paramount had commissioned (and owned the rights to) the show’s closing theme, written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. So beginning with Season Three, the familiar “Sunday, Monday, Happy Days….” song was repurposed as the opening theme for the series.

4. How Cheers got its Theme Song

The first collaboration between Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo began in 1981, when they were brought in to write the songs for a proposed Broadway musical called Preppies. One of the first tunes they churned out was “People Like Us.” Months later, out of the blue, a Hollywood producer contacted Portnoy; he’d somehow heard a demo tape of “People Like Us” and wanted to use it as the theme to a new TV show scheduled to appear on NBC. Unfortunately, the song contractually belonged to the Preppies folks, and they refused to let it go, especially for use on a [derisive snort] sitcom. Time was running out – the airing of the show’s pilot was quickly approaching – and the duo frantically wrote and submitted five more songs before NBC finally decided “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” was the perfect fit for their new show, Cheers.

5. Snapping to It: The Addams Family opener

Vic Mizzy is a legend when it comes to TV and film songs; he’s the man responsible for everything from the Green Acres theme to the spooky organ theme from the Don Knotts film The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. But his most popular composition is undoubtedly the theme song for The Addams Family. Filmways was tight with their production dollars, so Mizzy ended up not only composing the tune, but also singing it. (He recorded his vocals on three separate tracks and then blended them together in the final mix.) Once the song was in the can, it was time to film the opening credits. Mizzy approached director Sidney Lanfield and explained his vision of close-ups of finger-snapping cast members. He added that a “click track” (the steady beat of a metronome on tape) would be required so that the actors could snap on cue. Lanfield basically replied, “What do I know from click tracks? Do it yourself.” So Mizzy ended up directing the opening scenes where the cast members impassively stared at the camera while snapping their fingers when prompted.

6. How a pair of Monkees Wannabe’s Turned Lemons into Lemonade

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart had a successful track record as a songwriting duo; they’d composed the 1961 hit “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” as well as the theme song for the soap Days of Our Lives. Boyce & Hart were not only songwriters; they were also performers. That led them to audition for parts in a new NBC sitcom based on a rock and roll band. Neither Tommy nor Bobby made the final cut for The Monkees, but their musical ability impressed producers enough for them to be brought on board for a steady gig as the show’s chief songwriters. The duo composed the show’s theme song “(Hey Hey) We’re the Monkees,” as well as “Last Train to Clarksville,” “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” and 20-some other tunes for the Prefab Four.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Alfred Hitchcock Presents with guest stars Bill Mumy and Alan Soule (1961)

A recognizable young face and a recognizable old face in this excellent episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. You've got to love the design of the grocery store set in this one. Bill Mumy, other than appearing in Lost in Space and The Twilight Zone, went on to form one half of Barnes & Barnes famous for their novelty hit FishHeads.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Steve Allen Show featuring Don Knotts (1960)

Don Knotts performs a very funny routine that, as far as I know, he also wrote. This bit is also featured on his only comedy LP (and unfortunately, Don Knotts doesn't make an appearance on Capitol Records' The Andy Griffith Show album) An Evening with Me on United Artists. I think I'll try and upload both of those records sometime very soon.

To Tell the Truth with guest William M. Gaines

I've always wanted to see this! Mad Magazine publisher, William M. Gaines on To Tell the Truth! I imagine that panelist Gene Rayburn may have had the upper hand here, seeing as how the head writer of Match Game was Dick Debartolo, one of Mad's most prolific contributors. So perhaps Gene was acting coy when he delivered the wrong answer. Debartolo makes a rare public appearance without his moustache at the end of the show.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Steve Allen_The_Diamonds.

The Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney Variety Show (1954)

It's ridiculous how many different names the exact same show had, but it never lets you down. And it's another full episode.

Paul Winchell & Jerry Mahony

The Steve Allen Show with guests Jonathan Winters and Phil Harris (1960)




Dean Martin Volume 5

Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts - Frank Sinatra

Dean Martin Volume 10

Dean Martin Volume 12

Nat King Cole Show -Cab Calloway

Nat King Cole Show -Johnny Mercer

Nat King Cole Show -BillyEckstine

Nat King Cole Show -St. Louis Blues

Nat King Cole Show with Mahalia Jackson

Nat King Cole Show with Ella Fitzgerald