Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man




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3/14/2010


Peter Graves, ‘Mission - Impossible’ Star, Dies at 83

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 11:43 pm

From The New York Times: Peter Graves, ‘Mission - Impossible’ Star, Dies at 83

“Good luck, Jim.”

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Panic in Georgia After a Mock News Broadcast

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 6:03 pm

From The New York Times: Panic in Georgia After a Mock News Broadcast

An independent television station in the republic of Georgia panicked the populous by running a satirical “mocumentary” depicting a Russian invasion, drawing comparisons to Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast. Everything old is new again…

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3/10/2010


My New Shirt Playes My Theme Song!

Filed under: General, Television — Charlie Summers @ 5:44 pm

Ok for those of you not nerdy enough to be in love with the CBS television program The Big Bang Theory (a show, I must add, that my daughter brought me to kicking and screaming), last week’s episode dealt with Stan Lee signing autographs, and Roj wearing the coolest shirt I have ever seen:


So naturally, I had to have one. Last evening, I ordered one from Think Geek, and d*mned if it didn’t arrive today. Other than being thirty years older, three times as heavy, and that whole not-being-born-in-India thing, I look just like Roj!

I added my theme song (written and performed by Jill Sobule), and now I literally can play my theme song as I enter a room, accompanied by tumultuous applause.

Wonder how long it’ll be until my wife divorces me?

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2/8/2010


How the Letterman/Oprah/Leno SB Ad Came Together

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 11:13 am

From The New York Times’ Media Decoder Blog: How the Letterman-Oprah-Leno Super Bowl Ad Came Together

Ok, ok, so far, my favorite Super Bowl advertisement. However, I haven’t yet had the chance to cut that annoying sports thing out of the recording so I can watch all of the commercials as they were meant to be enjoyed.

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1/22/2010


Are the Days of Leno, Letterman and O’Brien as Polite Hosts Over?

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 12:59 am

From the New York Times’ TV Watch: Are the Days of Leno, Letterman and O’Brien as Polite Hosts Over?

Interesting article, this…from it: “The Leno-O’Brien fracas is both shocking — an explosion of incivility that burns through late-night bonhomie — and also reassuring. It turns out that the cliché that comics are angry, bitter people deep down is true.”

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1/14/2010


Don’t Cry for Me, Downtown Burbank

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 6:24 pm

From The New York Times’ ArtsBeat: Don’t Cry for Me, Downtown Burbank

From this highly-recommended comment piece: “…amid all the public vilification of Jay Leno and the NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker, no one seems to want to trace this slap fight back to where it began: the 2004 deal in which Mr. Leno agreed to step aside as “Tonight Show” host in five years.”

Indeed, Leno acted (as I mentioned in a previous post) as a lame duck for five years, and still maintained the number-one position in late night, something O’Brien couldn’t maintain. Blaming Leno for this disaster is foolhardy…blame the morons at NBC instead.

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1/13/2010


NBC - The Biggest Loser

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 8:01 pm

From The New York Times: Op-Ed Columnist - The Biggest Loser

From this opinion piece by Maureen Dowd: “In a town where nobody makes less than they’re worth, and most people pull in an obscene amount more, there has been a single topic of discussion: How does Jeff Zucker keep rising and rising while the fortunes of NBC keep falling and falling?”

Morons, I tell you. Morons.

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1/12/2010


Some comments on The Tonight Show kerfuffle…

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 7:06 pm

Like the rest of America, I am staring transfixed at the most recent NBC blow-up, a real-life drama vastly better than any “reality” program or scripted drama could possibly be and something closer to a train-wreck than a programming decision. And all of this is caused by a combination of simple factors…apparently every NBC executive is a complete and utter moron who thought the network could have it all.

It’s important to remember the seeds for this started five years ago, when Conan O’Brien’s contract was up for renewal. It was decided by the network to keep him from jumping to another network (FOX, ABC) by promising him the crown jewel of The Tonight Show that early, and kicking down-the-road what to do about the now-lame-duck Jay Leno, who accepted the firing (yeah, although he had one helluva long severance period) with barely-contained grace. Leno pushed the Sisyphean bolder to the top of the late-night hill, and it was clear to everyone he was being slapped in the chin as a thank-you.

Last year, when the end was clearly near, NBC had to deal with that can they kicked, and decided to bump Leno to prime time to keep him from bolting to another network (ABC, FOX) while the untested and untried O’Brien faced his toughest battle, one he has yet in seven months to win. Unlike a whole lot of people, I did not hate the idea of a prime-time Leno show; the pseudo-reality garbage cluttering up the airwaves runs a whole lot more than five hours a week, so blaming Leno for the lack of scripted television is idiotic. I admit after watching the first few programs, realizing it was nothing more than The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno in prime time was a little disappointing, since I figured something leaning more toward the variety shows of the past would work better, but I am also smart enough never to bet against Leno, whose work ethic and solid focus has consistently triumphed over those supposedly smarter, hipper, and funner than he. (Sorry, Dave, but you were supposed to win that battle handily and never really could. O’Brien must have been a refreshing change…someone who presumed to be hipper than you, yet someone you could handily knock off first place.)
(more…)

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12/12/2009


Gene Barry, Who Portrayed Suave Lawmen on TV, Dies at 90

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 12:06 am

From The New York Times: Gene Barry, Who Portrayed Suave Lawmen on TV, Dies at 90

From the article: “Gene Barry, who portrayed debonair lawmen on television but whose career of more than 60 years ranged from song and dance on Broadway to science fiction, died Wednesday in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 90 and lived in Beverly Hills until about a year ago.”

He portrayed many roles, but for me he will always be Amos Burke.

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11/13/2009


OTR Sighting from the Mailbag…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television — Charlie Summers @ 3:35 pm

This just in from our friend Jim Widner; a clip from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show where he (as usual) picks on Sean Hannity. What could possibly be old-time radio-related about that? Well, check out the “young producer” Jon introduces at the end of the bit…folks who attend the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention will certainly recognize him…

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Apologizes to Jon
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

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11/2/2009


MPAA Propaganda Hits 60 Minutes

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 6:21 pm

From TorrentFreak: MPAA Propaganda Hits 60 Minutes

From the article: “The MPAA scored a victory last night when millions of people tuned in to CBS’s 60 Minutes. The ‘investigative’ news magazine ran a propaganda piece on movie piracy yesterday, allowing the MPAA to insinuate once again that organized crime and BitTorrent go hand in hand.”

FWIW, TorrentFreak does its own propagandizing, so take its take with the same grain of salt you should give to the 60 Minutes piece. That said, I justify posting this link as a balance to last night’s skewed report.

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10/29/2009


Teaser for the New Season of 24

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 3:28 pm

The first teaser for the new season of 24 is available:

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8/13/2009


Guitar, studio wizard Les Paul dies at 94

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 12:53 pm

From CNN: Guitar, studio wizard Les Paul dies at 94

From the obit: “Les Paul, whose innovations with the electric guitar and studio technology made him one of the most important figures in recorded music, has died, according to a statement from his publicists. Paul was 94.”

From The New York Times: Les Paul, Guitar Innovator, Dies at 94

As I mentioned before, everyone has a Les Paul story, and here’s mine; A few years ago, Mr. Paul was a guest of the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention at one of the more…er…eclectic closing performances. He spoke for a bit, answered some pre-set questions, and accepted our applause. After the evening’s performances finally ended, I sought him out…I didn’t take anything for him to sign, I just wanted to thank him for taking the time out of his schedule to visit with us, and frankly I wanted to meet the guy, someone I’d appreciated for pretty much my entire lifetime, and particularly since I learned to play guitar after losing a finger on my left hand. I found him, and did so…while shaking his hand across a table, I held it for just a moment longer than customary (men know what I’m talking about), looked him in the eye and said, “I wonder if a lick will rub off?”

He got a huge grin on his face, grabbed my hand between both of his (they seemed so large to create such a delicate sound), rubbed it between them so I could feel friction heat, and with a soft laugh said, “I sure hope so!”

You can hear his interview with Bob Edwards from April, 2008 at the BobEdwards.Info website.

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8/7/2009


So I’m playing 24: The Game, and…

Filed under: General, Television — Charlie Summers @ 7:55 pm

…while playing as Chase Edmunds, I started getting yelled at by Madsen, one of the master bad guys. Now I’ve played 24: The Game hundreds of not thousands of times, but today, suddenly, I realized who owns the voice of Madsen - it’s Christian Kane, who plays Eliot in one of my favorite summer series, TNT’s Leverage.

Nothing earth-shattering here, just a pleasant realization that an actor whose work I enjoy every Wednesday night has been a companion longer than I realized. And I have to admit, I now feel the slightest pang of guilt when I dust Madsen’s *ss on that speedboat… ;)

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7/29/2009


How I Spent My Summer Television

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 12:22 pm

It’s summer time, and other then spending about a month of it suffering from the flu, it’s been a beautiful season. Around here, it’s been warm but not too hot days, cool nights, and delicious raspberries to enjoy, at least earlier in the season.

But when it comes to television, things are a little less promising, generally. So let me tell you what I watched so far on my summer vacation…

Dollhouse: I finally forced myself to watch all of the episodes (including the original pilot and unaired 13th episode)…and for the record, the only reason I did was because the silly thing was renewed. I can’t understand why any intelligent person would watch this show, nor why any intelligent network executive would renew such a boring, rambling, confused, and frankly idiotic program. Oh, right…”intelligent” and “network exec” so very rarely belong in the same sentence…truth is, the only episode I can say I honestly enjoyed is the unaired “final” episode. Could be because it had some really fine acting; yeah, the regular cast was by-and-large missing. (Truth in Advertising: I think Eliza Dushku is a beautiful girl who couldn’t act her way out of a wet paper bag…and for a show which is set up to be basically an anthology series al la Quantum Leap, having a lead actress who can’t handle one role let alone a different one every week is an unmitigated disaster, even with talent like Reed Diamond and Harry Lenox backing her. Surely there are many actresses out there with beauty and chops?)

Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles: I also forced my way to the end of this one, which blissfully has not been renewed. By the time I finished watching all those episodes, I swear I was ready to go back in time myself to smother John Conner in his crib, just so this series would never see production. At least someone had the sense to kill this before it could insult the viewer’s intelligence again…

The Unusuals: This is absolutely the best show you didn’t see last year. I really liked this show…a cop procedural with a twisted sense of humor, populated by characters somewhere right out of the Island of Misfit Toys. Yet, for all their over-the-top eccentricities, somehow they all got under my skin, and I looked forward to every episode until the final one, which was in my opinion the best of the entire short-lived series. In the unlikely event you get the chance, watch this series, and cry with me that it wasn’t picked up.

Primeval: I’m miffed at the United Kingdom right now, what with their over-reliance on “reality” television crowding out all of the excellent dramas. Granted, Primeval this season lost its driving force in Douglas Henshall’s Nick Cutter and in doing so became considerably less interesting, but that’s no reason to cancel the series. Nope, it was money that killed this one. There’s a rumor of a Primeval movie, but you know they’ll go so far all-out for it that they’ll lose the human drama the show really focused on…instead, it’ll be little more than Jurassic Park on steroids. (Other brit series are also biting the dust, with ITV refusing to air any dramas before ten and the BBC cutting way back, too. Too bad…some of my favorite shows came from the U.K., like Hustle and the amazing UK series and mostly-unseen US film, State of Play.)

Cupid: I’m confused. When is the last time a major network re-worked a failed series, using basically the same lines coming from the lips of an inferior cast? Please don’t misunderstand, I like Sarah Paulson as much as the next guy and she should find a series sometime, but she’s no Paula Marshall…and pity anyone who needs to follow Jeremy Piven in the role of the god of love.

The only thing watching the remake did is force me to find copies of the original 1998 series, just to see if it was as much better than the lastest incarnation as my memory insisted. It is, it really is. If you ever get the chance, watch the original series with Piven literally firing his words like a machine gun, and Marshall the perfect Psyche with both strength and vulnerability. Even my eleven-year-old daughter, who saw episodes of the 2009 version first, prefers the original. ‘Nuff said.

Burn Notice: Oh, c’mon, it’s a fun little show. If you’re looking for Shakespeare, look elsewhere; if you want a fun forty-minutes every week, this is the place for you.

The Closer: One of the best series anywhere on television…thank heavens it isn’t on a “big-four” network, or Brenda Lee would have a chimp as a sidekick. One week, the episode is one of the funniest shows on television, and the next week it ripped my heart out over the murder of two police officers. Amazing cast, solid writing, what more could anyone ask for?

Most Idiotic Rebranding: The SciFi channel, which gave up Science Fiction a long time ago with the decision to run wrestling, has rebranded itself, now calling itself SyFy. I have decided that should be pronounced around here, “SIF-fee,” hopefully just to tick them all off. Seriously, kids, why don’t you rebrand yourself honestly; call your channel “Irrelevant.” I mean, other than the repetitious Stargate and the still-fresh Eureka, what exactly do you have anymore? The glory-days of Farscape are long frelling gone…

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7/1/2009


Actor Karl Malden dead at 97, manager says

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 4:00 pm

From The CNN Wire: Actor Karl Malden dead at 97, manager says

Actor Karl Malden died Wednesday at age 97, his manager said. Links to obits will be added once they are posted. Anyone know if Mr. Malden had any OTR credits?

Edit: New York Times Obit.
CNN Obit.

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6/4/2009


Fox News reports David Carradine Dead at 73

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 10:16 am

From Fox News: “‘Kill Bill star David Carradine was found dead in a Bangkok hotel room Wednesday, his manager told FOX News Thursday.

His manager told FOX News that it is believed the actor died of natural causes.

Carradine, 73, was staying in Bangkok while shooting a movie. The film crew became aware of his absence when they went to dine out at a restaurant yesterday. When a producer went to his room, he discovered that the actor had died.

Carradine was best known for his role in the television series ‘Kung Fu.’”

It’s finally happened; I learned about something by watching the trending topics cloud on Twitter via Twitscoop. CNN doesn’t have confirmation of this as of this writing.

Edit 10:29am: AP now reporting the death a suicide, according to unnamed Bangkok police sorces, as per The Nation’s web site.

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5/11/2009


To Boldly Go…or not.

Filed under: General, Television, Films and Video — Charlie Summers @ 12:48 pm

Anyone who has known me since my misspent youth is asking me if I’m going to go to the Star Trek movie opening in theaters nationwide. So to put this at rest once-and-for-all, the answer is a definitive no. But let me take a moment to explain why I’m not going to be in the theater, and why I probably won’t bother watching it on DVD, either, even if it ends up in the $1/night Redbox.

First off, I do not go to movie theaters anymore. There’s no point. I mean, c’mon, the “communal experience” of going to the movies of my youth is long gone, replaced by louts talking loudly throughout the film, cell phones ringing, and annoyances of every shape and size. Children are no longer taught to be quiet and respectful, and their children are even less well-behaved - “feral” would not be too harsh a description for some of the children I’ve experienced. I think the last film I saw in a theater was the original Superman when it returned to the Hiway Theater (no longer in existence) for a nostalgia release. You can get me to go to the legitimate theater, but movies? Not bloody likely, since I like to actually see and hear the film, not the audience.
(more…)

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4/27/2009


Eddie Carroll on All in the Family

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television — Charlie Summers @ 3:46 pm

As I mentioned Saturday, there was a bit of serendipity - Eddie Carroll guested in a number of sitcoms over the years, and an episode of All in the Family he appeared in was on TV Land this morning. Herewith are a couple of screen-grabs from the program, first with Sherman Hemsley and Carroll O’Connor, and then in close-up.

Gotta love that powder-blue tux jacket…

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4/1/2009


CBS Turning Off ‘Guiding Light’

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 2:31 pm

From the New York Times’ ArtsBeat Blog: CBS Turning Off ‘Guiding Light’

From the article: “CBS announced Wednesday the cancellation of the longest-running scripted program in broadcasting history, the soap opera ‘Guiding Light.’ It has been on CBS radio and then television for 72 years and was the last program to have made the transition from radio to television. The last broadcast is scheduled for Sept. 18.”

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