Summer Replacements

Every summer, when prime time TV shows went on hiatus, out came summer replacements.  One example, the John Gary Show filled in for the Danny Kaye Show.

The replacement show must not have made much of an impression.  I don’t remember much about John Gary–except that he was a singer.  It would be safe to say, it was of the variety show genre.

Guest lists would have included the likes of Lola Falana, Sergio Franchi, and Liberace.  These old TV shows can easily be accessed on Me TV or on You Tube.

Three entertainers passed away recently–Doris Day, Tim Conway, and Peggy Lipton.  I’m more familiar with the work of the first two.  Nevertheless, their styles of acting, entertaining, will never be replaced.

Sunday Morning Musings (Tossed Salads & Scrambled Eggs)

The waitress bantered about serious matters with the gray-haired gentleman in the next restaurant booth. He didn’t care that Bama won the NCAAFBC–only that his beloved Auburn Tigers, won the Iron Bowl. The aforementioned Tigers could lose every game, for all he cared, as long as they defeated Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Second breakfast at a restaurant new to us. Hate to sound like a perpetual pessimist, but what was going to go wrong and ruin this new hangout? The previous favorite, closed after the Holidays. Nothing ever seemed to thrive at that location.

Would the bill be figured wrong? Would the wait staff ignore us? What about pancakes? Could they deal with someone that didn’t like syrup and butter; preferred fruit toppings–especially strawberries. Would the bacon be the right thickness? Cooked to the verge of crispness?

Perhaps it was my due to my OCD tendencies that I listened at all?  The soundtrack of my life (greatest hits of the early seventies) played overhead. ELO, America, Eagles–thank goodness the anxieties from the seventies, were long gone.

It freaked people out when I recalled things from previous decades. “What happened to your gold ’88 Dodge pickup? Remember when it wouldn’t start in front of the Venture store? I pulled the air cleaner, freed the stuck choke butterfly, and it started right away. It as was cold then, as it is now.”

Fred didn’t remember. What were we doing in that old college dorm picture?  My college friend didn’t know and thought the question odd.  Nobody remembered such things.  Details such as these weren’t important to most people.  They were best left alone.

There have been some strange TV theme songs.  Perhaps, the Twilight Zone theme was one of the weirdest.  It did, however, seem to fit.  Most people weren’t old enough to remember the theme from Peter Gunn.  It was similar to the Twilight Zone theme–in that, it was bold, brassy, and to the point.  “Tossed Salad & Scrambled Eggs”–the Frasier theme, may have made a point–most of which escaped me.



Arnold Ziffel–More Than Bacon?

One of my favorite animal actors from the sappy sixties sitcom era.  There were many others.  A second look at a post honoring Arnold Ziffel, the charismatic pig, from Green Acres.


Fans of Arnold Ziffel, the famed Green Acres pig, are taking legal action to trademark the name “Arnold,” “Arnold the Pig,” and “Arnold Ziffel.”  Frances Gingham, president of the FAZ Fan Club, and Arnold Ziffel Enterprises, had this to say.  “We’re doing this to honor the original Arnold, and her descendants.  He was really a she–you know.”

“As true Green Acres fans would tell you–Arnold made the show.  What other show in television history featured such a charismatic, talented pig?  The only one that even came close, was Wilbur from ‘Charlotte’s Web.’  Wilbur may have been ‘some pig,’ but, he didn’t have a prime-time sitcom.”

“Future plans include filing suit against Arnold, MO–and any other ‘Arnolds’ as we see fit, for trademark infringement.  No other Chester White piglets–except those from the original bloodlines, should ever be named Arnold.  It’s the least we can do for Arnold,” Mrs. Gingham said.  “Until they cease-and-desist–we will do what’s necessary to achieve our ends.”

Arnold, MO mayor, Greg Fillmore, said in response, “Yes, I heard about it.  I think it’s ridiculous.  The city of Arnold existed long before there was an Arnold the Pig.  Arnold the Pig may have brought home the bacon for CBS back in the sixties; that doesn’t mean we have to kowtow to such unreasonable demands.”

“Tell Ms. Gingham and her group, that we’re nice people, here in Arnold, MO–but, we don’t like to be messed with!  Why was Arnold Ziffel, any more significant, than Mr. Ed, the talking horse?  Wile-E-Coyote and the Roadrunner were funnier.  They had me laughing from the jump.”

“As a conciliatory gesture, we’re not opposed to honoring the legendary porcine entertainer.  Instead of getting involved in a legal wrangle–maybe we should capitalize on our fair cities’ name?  We could bring everything here.  The Midwest has plenty of hog farms.  An Arnold the Pig statue in the center of town would bring in tourists.”

“A Green Acres Museum featuring Arnold Ziffel, as the centerpiece would be nice–too.  And while we’re at it–why not have a Hooterville theme park, with the Shady Rest Hotel, Sam Drucker’s store, a railroad, and steam locomotive?  We could also have an Arnold the Pig Day during Autumn Apple Festival.”

Mayor Fillmore was passionate–as was, FAZ president, Gingham.  I suppose all animal actors deserve their due.  Entertainers bring out the best and worst in people.  We’ll have to wait-and-see what happens with Arnold.

There once happened to be, an Addams Family, arachnid actor–Wednesday Addam’s creepy favorite spider, named Homer.  That was a little too much for me.  Professional performing pigs aren’t that unusual.  Carnivals, circuses, county fairs, have an extensive performing animal history.  And, there was, “Flipper,” a gregarious, sitcom dolphin.  However, I may pitch the theme park idea–when I’m back in Hollywood.


Dana Chalupa, “Entertainment Newsbit,” Imaginary News Network, Hollywood©


Inch-By-Inch, Step-By-Step…

She stalked my two dogs this morning.  A friendly little Manx cat wanted to make their acquaintances.  The friendship was not to be.  Maggie hated all cats, made no distinction between friendship and aggression.

Maggie, upon her arrival, convinced her brother canine, that he would be wise to follow suit.  Maggie growled, barked; disrupted the normally quiet neighborhood.  The little cat didn’t give up and followed our entourage for about a block.

An unplanned trip to the dentist lies ahead this morning.  All attempts to divert my attention, are welcomed.  Unfortunately, tooth pain has failed to squelch my appetite.  It’s made morning coffee less enjoyable–that’s unacceptable.

Do you remember, girls snipping loops from the backs of boy’s ivy league shirts; collecting them like trophies?  They called them “fruit loops.”  That could have been featured on a “Laverne and Shirley” episode?  Boys that wore shirt collars turned up were thought of as “hoods.” Of course that went along with greasy hair, “ducktail” haircuts, and “pegged” jeans.  I guess that was the predecessor of “gangsta” culture.

My Car’s a Star

Igor Kvanska, maverick founder/ CEO of the upstart ZBC Network, has a penchant for reviving moribund TV sitcoms.  Today, he announced plans to re-make, “My Mother the Car.”

For those that don’t remember–and that includes most of us–the series was about a 1928 Porter automobile; purchased as a second car.  The main character, David Crabtree, portrayed by Jerry Vandyke, discovered the car to be his reincarnated, deceased mother, Gladys.  Gladys talked through the car’s radio–voice synched with radio dial light.

The series distinguished itself as being the worst in television broadcasting history.  It lasted only one season.  The producer, Allan Burns, went on to bigger and better things–including, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Get Smart.

If all this doesn’t have you running for the hills–there’s more.  Fresh from his failed re-make of “Hello Larry,” Mr. Kvanska plans to call this rehash, “My Car’s a Star.” This time, the car’s reincarnated as fictional movie star, Gloria Starr, from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

How he will pull this off is beyond me.  Some moldy oldies should be left alone.  After the Hello Larry debacle, Igor Kvansky seems Hell bent on becoming the Ed Wood of television programming.

A Peanut’s Last Chance

It was a world away.  Fifties kids dressed in Sunday finery, arranged in polite rows; grateful for a chance to be in the audience.  In the days of black and white TV, every kid knew the curtains, behind the set, were the same color as balloons on Wonder Bread wrappers.  Then, one day, there came a mysterious phone call.

“Hello, is this the Adam residence, telephone number xxx-xxxx?  Is this the lady of the house?”

“Yes, this is Mrs. Adam.”

“Are you over twenty-one years of age?  Because, in order to be eligible, you have to be an adult of legal age.”

My mother grinned.  “That’s not a problem.  I’m the mother of four kids; the oldest is twelve.”

“That’s fantastic,” Answered Buffalo Bob.  “We’re broadcasting–you’re on the air right now.  Do your kids watch the Howdy Doody program?”

“Yes, I believe my oldest son, has.”

“This is Buffalo Bob Smith, from the Howdy Doody Show.  The reason I’m calling, we picked your name and telephone number at random.”

“Are you watching the Howdy Doody Show right now?”

“No, the television isn’t turned on,” Mom answered.

“Well, if you can answer the ‘secret word of the day;’ Clarabelle the clown held up earlier in the show, you’ll win some fabulous prizes, and a fantastic trip, to be in our television studio audience for one of our shows.”

“Mrs. Adam, can you tell us ‘secret word of the day?'”

“Was it buffalo?” Mom guessed.

“Sorry, Mrs. Adam–that’s incorrect.  Thanks for playing and keep watching.  It pays to watch and maybe we’ll call you again?”

Fate wasn’t kind to an eleven-year-old boy, that day, back in 1959; who’d never again have the chance to be in the Peanut Gallery on the Howdy Doody Show.

For we three brothers, at that time, Howdy Doody, was an unhip, didn’t want to be associated with, uncool, show for little kids.  The real kicker-we didn’t have a television.

The show disappeared somewhere in the dusty archives of early television kiddie fare.  “Quiet in the Peanut Gallery.  No comments from the Peanut Gallery.”  Those two hated, overused phrases, lived on well into adulthood.


Coffee Thoughts For Today #humor #classictv

  • Blog threat level today is neutral or ecru (guys, you’ll probably have to look this up).
  • It is strawberry season once again–Yay!
  • Is there such a thing as bad memory foam?
  • There are an awful lot of comic book heroes.
  • It’s not always a good idea to share annoyances with readers.
  • Today’s weather forecast: “Sum, Sum”–autocorrect is on the loose.
  • You’ve seen the movie–waiting for the book to come out.
  • Do ants have picnics?
  • Did ear trumpet virtuosos exist in the old days?
  • Dream sequences are sometimes too weird to share.
  • To the “Meathead’s, Gloria’s, Edith’s,” with nothing good to say–“Stifle yourselves–You’s!”
  • Everybody fights hidden battles–be nice to each other.


Smackdown: Michael Rennie vs. Keanu Reeves

“I thought he’d run away with another woman; he was gone for so long,” Said Mrs. Angie Farnsworth from rural Sandcliff, Kentucky.

“It took me the better part of a week to convince her otherwise,” Husband, Bernie Farnsworth replied.

“Nobody believed me at first.  Most of the folks in town still don’t believe I was held captive by  extraterrestrial beings.  If you want people to run the other way when they see you coming–tell them you was abducted by aliens.”

“How did you convince your wife?

“I just told her the truth over and over.  She believed my story when she saw the  burned paint on the hood of my pickup.  That was exhaust burns from the space craft.”

Did the aliens look and act like aliens portrayed in movies?

“No, it wasn’t exactly like in the movies.  None of ’em looked like E. T.  Don’t you dare ask me if they was little green men–or this interview’s over.  I didn’t ask you to come over to be a laughingstock.  There’s been too much of that already.”

“That’s why I’ve secured the services of Don Handy, a local lawyer, Bernie continued.  I can’t risk mine, or my wife’s character, being defamed.  People don’t have to believe me.  They have to prove that I’m not telling the truth.”

“What was the abduction like?”

“It was scarier than Hell.  I’ve never been grabbed up like that.  First, my pickup stopped running right in the middle of the road.”

“They had two arms with spindly fingers and two legs.  We communicated with our minds.  Nothing weird went on–that I remembered.  They put me in something like a giant ice chest.

“If they weren’t green–what color were they?” 

No, their skin–body covering or whatever you want to call it, was rough like elephant hide.  It was the color of tobacco spittle.”

“I  woke up, unharmed in my truck, after it was over.”

“What’s the most unusual thing you remember?”

“My captors made it a point to remind me that extraterrestrials are portrayed wrong in movies and on TV.  That didn’t surprise me much.  Remember the original “Lost In Space?”  I promised to relay the information and then they let me go.”

“Them extraterrestrial fellas laughed–if you could call it that–because they didn’t have mouths; when I called fifties Sci-Fi movies “teakettles-on-strings movies.”

“The aliens liked Michael Rennie in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” more than Keanu Reeves in the remake.  My wife’s the same way.

“That’s true,” Angie answered.  “There’s a coincidence for you.”

“Tell your readers we’re just ordinary people,” Bernie pleaded.

“Except that you like syrup on scrambled eggs.”  Bernie gave Angie the stink eye.

So there you have it–according to Mr. Farnsworth’s eyewitness account, extraterrestrials preferred the original “Day the Earth Stood Still” with Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal and others.  Which version did you prefer?



“Are you OK in there?”

“Yes, I just need time–to

Make a few adjustments”

For nine to fivers

It’s the beginning

Of the weekend

Two whole days, away

From the wonky, wacky

Workday grind

And what a week it was

Packed with extreme

Pendulum swings

And that’s about the size of it

From here behind the mask