July 2, 2021

Around the dial

Decades has always been one of my favorite retro digital channels, and so it's been nice to have it back on in our area after a long absense. Over at their website, there's an interesting article on Ida Lupino, whom, as you probably know, was not only a terrific actress but also a pioneering female director, and the only person—male or female—to both star in and direct episodes of The Twilight Zone

One of the staples over at Decades is The Ed Sullivan Show, and the Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland links to this article at the New York Times looking back at some of the greatest moments of the show, 50 years after the airing of its last episode.

John, at Cult TV Blog, is wondering if he's found another show I haven't heard of. John, you've done it again: it's Bognor, an early 1980s British series, based on a series of novels by Tim Heald, and starring David Horovitch as an investigator for the Board of Trade. It's a show that's completely of its time, and while (like John) I've never been a big fan of 1980s TV, based on his description this sounds like it might be worth a look.

In the latest installment of Flipside: The True Story of Bob Crane, which you can listen to at the Bob Crane: Life & Legacy site, Carol and Linda review the recent Starz documentary Autopsy: The Final Hours of Bob Crane. It's well worth your time listening to it; we may do just that while we're on the road this weekend.

Robert has his lastest Internet finds at Television Obscurities; I always enjoy seeing what clips and shows he's come up with, and for June he's got a nice collection, including: an episode of The Original Amateur Hour from 1948, Mike Wallace interviewing Miyoshi Umeki in 1959, and something I might have mentioned a few years ago—a five-minute commercial for Chevrolet's 1965 lineup that ran at the end of a Bonanza episode that otherwise aired without commercial interruption.

The figures from the past continue to pass away, and at A Shroud of Thoughts, Terence remembers Stuart Damon, who died this week aged 84. He's best known for his long run as Alan Quartermaine on General Hospital, not to mention starring as Craig Stirling on the 1968-69 British series The Champions. 

Martin Grams has an interview this week with Jeff Thompson, author of the book The Television Horrors of Dan Curtis. The book covers Curtis's television and film output, including his two best-known shows: Dark Shadows and The Night Stalker, as well as shows you might not at first glance associate with him, such as The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. What an output.

At the website of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, my Twitter frined Herbie Pilato has a terrific article on the day commercial television started, which just happens to be July 1, 1941: 80 years ago today. How far we've come—or fallen—since then.

At The Horn Section, Hal's into Get Christie Love!, and the 1975 episode "A Few Excess People," with a great guest star lineup including Phil Silvers and Rose Marie! I have to admit, though, that it's the title that appeals to me—many's the time when I feel like I'm surrounded by the same. 

Finally, it's part two of the Hitchcock Project study of Levinson and Link at bare•bones e-zine, and this week Jack's focus is on 1962's "Profit-Sharing Plan," an "an entertaining, lightweight half-hour" that's an improvement on their own original short story. But then, when it comes to TV, I'd expect nothing less from L&L. TV  


  1. Funny how time slips away ...

    The passing of Stuart Damon has gotten quite a bit of notice, as it well should have - 30 years on General Hospital and all, plus Cinderella, The Champions, and all.

    However, it seems to have only just now come out that Ray MacDonnell, who held a similar position on All My Children for 40 years, passed on nearly a month before.
    (That may have been a family privacy thing; MacDonnell had been long retired from the business.)
    Two things I feel I ought to mention:
    - There was the Dick Tracy pilot that Bill Dozier made for NBC in 1967 (about a year too late): Ray MacDonnell certainly looked more like Tracy than any other actor who played the part, before or since.
    You can see the Tracy pilot on YouTube; it falls between the two stools of camp (Batman) and serious (Green Hornet), so we'll never know exactly how it would have come across.
    It's all academic anyway; once Ray MacDonnell got to Pine Valley in 1970, he was home.

    - Before that, though, Ray MacDonnell spent most of the '60s on (here he goes again) The Edge Of Night, as 2nd-string hero Phil Capice.
    These were the CBS days, when Irving Vendig was still running the show he'd created, and they were staging shootouts live on the rooftops of Manhattan.
    Ray MacDonnell's moments of Glory came on Edge in the early '60s, when he got to play a dual role.
    The main villain, Scofield Kilborn (Logan Ramsey - you'd know the face), kidnapped Phil Capice and replaced him with a snarling thug named Jack Something, to whom he'd given plastic surgery.
    Later on Kilborn murdered Jack and framed Phil's father-in-law Winston Grimsley (Walter Greaza), and it fell to Mike Karr (Larry Hugo) to settle everybody's hash in court - great stuff in the early '60s (especially for kid watchers like my brother and I).
    Edge was normally a live show, but they had to go to videotape to do sequences where nasty Jack confronted noble Phil, via split-screen - something that daytime soaps never did back then; Sean and I were 13 and 11, and we were impressed. (A portion of today's program was previously recorded - the first time we ever heard that phrase on the air.)

    Anyway, RIP to Ray MacDonnell and Stuart Damon.
    We shall not see your likes again.

  2. Thanks, Mitchell! Happy 4th of July!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!