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“Bonanza” Origins

August 17, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

 

Hopefully you have been watching episodes of the legendary show Bonanza on ATVN, along with reading some of our earlier blog entries focusing on the show’s legacy and a few unique stories on two of its larger than life actors – Michael Landon (“Little Joe”) and Dan Blocker (“Hoss” Cartwright).

However, many people don’t know that many of the first-season episodes of this program are rarely seen…but YOU can see these unique shows this month on the Astound TV Network!

Bonanza, despite what turned out to be a very long run of successes, did not have the easiest time getting–and then staying–on the air.  This seems hard to believe, in retrospect, as it eventually became one of the most successful television programs in the 1960s and arguably the most beloved western show of all time.

First of all, the executive producers (Dan Dartort and Mark Roberts) of Bonanza faced a crowded field of shows with similar themes to pitch to network television studios.  Remember, in 1959, there were only three options.  CBS (first in the ratings the previous year with a very strong returning programming lineup), NBC and ABC all had plenty of options for new western shows.  Among the new shows with western backgrounds looking for a television home at this time included: Rawhide, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Man and the Challenge, Bandwagon, and Tales of the Riverbank … all were produced pilots that spring.

There was also pressure for networks to add other new shows like The Untouchables (produced by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who CBS wanted to keep happy to have them continue churning out I Love Lucy hour-long “specials”) along with soon to be favorites Dennis The Menace, Hawaiian Eye and Rod Sterling’s The Twilight Zone.

Once signed by NBC for the first season, Bonanza quickly saw resistance from network executives for its writing style.  It was different from other like-westerns for its storylines that focused more on the characters and how they related to each other and relied less on the typical “life on the range” stories and other usual dramatic themes of the old west.  Another concern was that–at the time of the show’s debut–none of the four central stars were well-established actors in Hollywood, and the network worried people wouldn’t “feel” for the characters.

Furthermore, Bonanza was atypical from other shows in that the early episodes dealt with issues like racism, bigotry and anti-semitism.

Other knocks against the new show included financial concerns.

It was one of the few shows broadcast in color (which more than tripled its expense compared to its black-and-white counterparts).  Plus, adding in the cost of renting horses for the show and the initial decision to choose the shooting locations in the expensive Riverside Country, California helped to make it one of the most expensive westerns of the time period.

NBC didn’t help matters with its scheduling.  Initially, Bonanza aired on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. opposite popular Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show on ABC, and, on CBS, a perennial Top-10 Favorite, Perry Mason.  While first year ratings for Bonanza were not poor, it still finished far behind CBS’s Saturday night lineup and NBC seriously considered canceling the show after just that first season.

Rumor has it that NBC kept the show because its corporate parent, Radio Corporation of America (RCA), used the show to spur sales of RCA-manufactured color television sets (RCA was also the primary sponsor of the series during its first two seasons).

After the first season, the shooting location was moved to the more fiscally responsible state of Nevada, which still allowed for grand, lavish landscapes that wowed the early 1960s TV-watchers who had the luxury of colorized viewing.

A year later, NBC moved Bonanza to a much more popular time slot  (replacing The Dinah Shore Chevy Show on Sundays at 9:00 pm). The new time slot saw Bonanza soar in the ratings and eventually reached number one by 1964.

The show held on to the honor of being television’s top-rated regular program until 1967 when it was seriously challenged by the socially provocative and, for its time, controversial variety show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, on CBS.   But by then, the show was already an established ratings “bonanza” (pardon the pun) and would still have success for several more years…and the rest of the show’s success is history.  It ultimately became one of the top 50 television shows of all time (according to a 2002 “TV Guide” special edition).

Be sure to tune in or set your DVRs to catch the rarely shown, first season episodes in the Bonanza show history – part of this summer’s sizzling ATVN programming lineup.  Bonanza airs every Sunday morning at 9pm.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Football Schedule ’22 Highlights

August 16, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We are closing in on the start of another school year and a busy 10-month stretch of high school sports productions coming up on the Astound TV Network.

We are also wrapping up a successful summer broadcast campaign.

First up…a look ahead.

Our first high school broadcast of the new season will be on Friday, August 26, with a doubleheader featuring four teams that competed in last year’s District XI playoffs–Freedom, Emmaus, Easton and Parkland.

We also will post our scholastic football schedule here on our website very soon.  I firmly believe ATVN customers will be pleasantly satisfied with a number of key elements for our slate this fall.

Some of our highlights include:

  • A significant increase in the number of Colonial League games
  • More Northampton regular season football games this regular season
  • A bigger variety of teams on our schedule than any other year
  • While the pre-season “teams to beat” appears to be Emmaus, Parkland, Nazareth and Freedom (our full “polls” will be released next week here on this blog and on our Thursday “SportsTalk” show), we still have 11 other teams in our coverage area on our schedule at least twice
  • All of the “large school” EPC-South teams are scheduled to be on at least three times (most will be on at least four times)
  • More live games than any other season in our network’s history

As always, there are still a variety of factors that may affect our schedule.  A good number of those reasons could be completely out of our control, which is why it will be important to bookmark our programming schedule pages and keep checking back to our website throughout the season to stay up-to-date with our sports programming on the Astound TV Network.

We’ll have more on the upcoming high school football season, along with continuing our month-long interviews with local non-football sports as teams prepare for the upcoming fall season, this Thursday at 7pm on ATVN.

 

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As we turn the page to the fall, we take our final look back at a very fun and busy summer season on our network.

Here are our final highlight melts from our sports productions over the last several weeks:

  1. Astound Sports: Liberty vs. Emmaus (5/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Blue Mountain vs. Saucon Valley (5/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Northampton Giants vs. Easton Falcons (6/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Avengers vs Hellertown Royals (6/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Northern Yankees vs. Hellertown Royals (6/22)

  1. Astound Sports: 2022 McDonald’s All-Star Football Classic (6/22)

All of these productions are still currently available to watch for free and “on-demand” at any time for ATVN customers.

You can also purchase DVDs and Blu-Rays of these and all Astound TV Network productions by calling (610) 443-2909.

Next week, we unveil our pre-season high school football polls along with more insights, predictions and details on the new season, as we approach the kickoff of our 2022 sports coverage in our Lehigh Valley area!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ATVN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

“Dickie” Jones

August 11, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

 

One of the great things about revisiting classic television programs is rediscovering people now primarily known for “other” roles.

Take, for example, Dick Jones–co-star of The Range Rider–one of the nostalgic shows which debuted on the Astound TV Network as part of our new summer programming schedule.  You may not remember the name, but we can pretty much guarantee that you have seen or heard his work.

Born Richard Percy Jones on February 27, 1927 in a small Texas town, “Dickie” (as he was called through his early years) literally grew up performing in rodeos and western shows, which helped prepare him for some of his biggest career performances as an actor.  His mother also encouraged him to take speech lessons and utilize his unique voice.

His family moved to Hollywood to allow him an opportunity to get a career in films.

Fans of 1930s and early 1940 films will remember him for his roles as Jimmy Stewart’s page in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, as “Killer” Parkins in the late 1930s Nancy Drew films, and as a frequent guest star on the popular Our Gang (The Little Rascals) shorts.  He was also a regular performer as Artimer “Artie” Peters in the popular B-western films starring Hopalong Cassidy.

Jones scored his most famous and well-known role at the age of 11 as the voice of the titular character in the original version of Walt Disney’s Pinocchio.  At the time of its release, it was initially considered a box-office bomb.  Filmed on a budget of $2.6 million, it has since gone on to become a classic–earning well over $160 million – and has since become one of the most beloved cartoon films of all-time.

“Dickie” then put his career on hold to fight for the Allies in World War II.

Upon his return to the states, he shortened his first name to “Dick” and once again became a familiar face to 1950’s audiences in a variety of western-themed programs, including classics like The Gene Autry Show, Annie Oakley, The Lone Ranger, The Blue Angels, Buffalo Bill Jr., Wagon Train, The Gray Ghost, The Night Rider and Pony ExpressHe also starred in the full-length film, Requiem Of A Gunfighter.

But his longest and most visible on-camera starring role was on The Range Rider, in which he co-starred with Jock Mahoney.  Although both actors were roughly the same age, Mahoney’s 6-foot-5 frame made it look like Jones’ character, Dick West, was that of a much younger, smaller sidekick. (Jones’ height was estimated to be about 5’4″ at this time).

The show attempted to feature leading characters who had a reputation for honesty and emphasizing fairness for ALL peoples, including Native Americans–which wasn’t often the case for westerns filmed in early 1950s’ television.

In a crowded field of similar genre-driven shows, “Rider” was a standout performer in the ratings and earned a full three-year first release run before going into syndication.       

The quality of the episodes never waned.  Even today, the episodes during the program’s final season are among the highest rated shows by viewers on the IMDB website.  In fact, its third-last show ever produced, titled, “Two-Fisted Justice”, is rated one of the program’s all-time best episodes.

The Range Rider show itself also provided a number of early television appearances for stars who went on to have success in the entertainment field, including Bob Woodward, Denver Pyle, William Fawcett and others.

Be sure to watch and set your DVRs for The Range Rider, airing for the first time ever on ATVN this summer, every Friday morning at 9:30am.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on the Astound TV Network, check out the weekly listings here.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

Need a Rest?

August 9, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Listen, I know sports fans love to complain. 

It’s what we do. 

It’s part of the passion that drives a fan base. Sometimes the griping is warranted. Other times it’s not.

Without taking a scientific poll, it seems like there has been quite a bit more complaining about pro sports of late. When special athletes are paid millions of dollars and don’t quite live up to the expectations, it is natural for people to call them out from time to time.

But I would like to take a moment to single out something that is getting a little ridiculous.

For over a century of sports action, it is not unusual for an athlete to temporarily take a tiny bit of time off to reflect, recover or just to refocus themselves during a tough stretch.

Baseball catchers usually get the afternoon day game off following a preceding night game. Centers might sit out the second game of a back-to-back NBA contest when the team had a long travel flight earlier that day. Hockey goalies might take the third game off if all three contests are played within six days.

But more and more, athletes are getting rather large stretches of time off for rather minor and, in some cases, inane, reasons.

There was a time when athletes would play through minor pain issues and felt an obligation to their fan base to give a quality effort each and every night. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gave several interviews after his career was over of what he would go through to participate in a big ball game during a tough stretch in his schedule, (which was much, much more gruesome than today’s NBA athletes have). Pete Rose would take offense if he didn’t play in at least 96% of his 162 games scheduled each year.  And I won’t even bring up the ironman accomplishments of Cal Ripken, Jr. and Lou Gehrig.

Over the last few months alone I’ve heard the following…

One of the Philadelphia Flyers’ top players requested six games (or two weeks) off because he needed time to “sort out his life.”  The Sixers’ Joel Embiid, who has never come close to playing a full regular season schedule, said he needed to take three or four WEEKS off just because of the “grind” of what was a normal basketball schedule this year.

Not to pick on Embiid, who throughout his entire career has never played more than 77% of his games, but when he returned, he did not play well. He blamed it on “having a hard time getting going,” according to 76ers’ beat writer Tom Moore.

Speaking of Philadelphia’s pro basketball team, they played one game in the middle of their season without four of their starters.  No significant injuries to any of them — they just needed a little break. It wasn’t even during a tough stretch of games nor was the team so far ahead in the standings that they could just miss four of their top five players and afford to pick up a loss while still battling for playoff positioning.

Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers said his players needed a little time off just to “sort some things out.”

But consider…

Imagine a family who works hard, saving enough money to take their family to see their favorite team, only to find out that practically 80% of the squad didn’t feel like showing up for work that day.

To look at this from an NBA perspective, Michael Jordan in his final year, at 39 years of age, played in all 82 games and averaged over 37 minutes played per night.

I could go on, but if you follow any of the major pro sports other than football, you probably have heard more than your fair share of similar excuses lately.

All the while, athletes garnish more and more money while playing less and less. And it’s hard to blame them!

If their bosses are going to let them be less productive and get far less out of their abilities, who am I to cheat them out of getting what amounts to a free ride?

It is the coaches, general managers and owners who are at fault for letting athletes’ minimum requirements per season spiral out of control to increasingly lower levels of efficiency. All the while they milk fans for their hard-earned dollars one way or another. Whether it’s charging insane amounts for tickets, let alone the absorbent prices for seating fees (for football and basketball), food, parking and even the smallest souvenir for a young fan.

If you can no longer afford to attend a sporting event in person, they’re making sports fans pay through the nose with excessive sports broadcast fees that have multiplied at ridiculous rates the last few years — all to help defray the cost of the record high amounts of money they are paying athletes…to play LESS than ever before!

There’s no easy solution to resolve this and lots of luck convincing the players’ unions in any professional sport nowadays of getting athletes to take a pay cut.

So I have an alternate plan.

If athletes truly need to take more than one game off due to the “mental fatigue” of playing a game or claim they need to take over 20% of their work schedule off in order to play their best, how about those players make a donation to a local charity equal to the corresponding amount of that portion of their salary?

To make it fair, each sport establishes a consistent level of expectations for all teams but each organization can set up how these donations can be distributed.

Negotiations can also take place to which charities receive this gift. 

A majority of athletes do donate either their time or money anyway but this rule would make it mandatory for all athletes to give something back to their communities if they have to miss significant time for anything less than a reasonably excusable absence.

And who knows…it might just make an athlete think twice if they really need that 17th consecutive day off just because of all the hard work that goes into playing a game that thousands of others would love to participate in?

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Ghosts on the Loose

August 4, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

 

If you want a little scary movie-going experience mixed with a lot of comedy, you need look no further than the 1943 tongue-in-cheek spooktacular, Ghosts on the Loose.

The film features an eclectic mix of movie stars from the 1940s.

The East Side Kids was popular with many “tweens” in this area who would regularly flock to the theaters on Saturday afternoons during this decade to see the entertaining group of youngsters work their way in and out of quirky adventures.  The Kids, who came from the poor side of the tracks, starred in 21 films between 1940 and 1946 and “Ghosts” premiered at the height of the young actors’ popularity.

To play the villain, Co-Producer Jack Dietz made the wise decision to get perennial scaremaster Bela Lugosi for the part.  Lugosi made such a perfect antagonist while fitting in nicely with the light-heartedness of the film, that he reunited with the East Side Kids for several other movies over the next few years.

For the role of Betty the bride, the producers also struck gold by asking Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer if they could “borrow” an actress and received a then-unknown actress by the name of Ava Gardner.  Gardner, (The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Night of the Iguana) of course, would go on to star in dozens of films over the next several decades and received multiple Academy Award nominations throughout her career.

Originally called Ghosts in the Night, the production got off to a rocky start as days before shooting Dietz was convicted of tax evasion.  Co-Producer Sam Katzman, who was the regular producer for all of the “East Side Kids” movies, took over the full reins of the project and immediately changed the film’s title.

The movie starts off with one of its funniest bits as the “Kids” are preparing for a wedding.  Among the early film hijinx includes the gang trying, but humorously failing, to rehearse the often used “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes” while also taking other “unique” approaches to have traditional wedding elements ready for the big day.

The film dips into more serious territories as the group tries to fix up what they believe will be the happy couple’s new home–not realizing it’s a “haunted” house that is actually occupied by Nazi propagandists.  

Lots of light-hearted moments ensue as the “Ghosts” (aka the Nazis) try to scare the kids out of the house, only to have the youngsters repel every effort to be scared away and eventually to teach their adversaries a lesson. (The “Ghost in the Mirror” skit is my personal favorite!)

While not one of the highest-grossing films overall in 1943, it did mark one of the biggest highlights during the “Kids’” popular run in films and is a frequent favorite during the month of October for film fanatics anxious to experience some Holloween-based storylines while enjoying good humor and not getting overly spooked!.

Be on the lookout for Ghosts On The Loose on ATVN this Friday at 9:30pm (or set your DVR, if you’re afraid to watch it later in the evening). 

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Boys Lacrosse All-Stars ‘22

August 1, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We are wrapping up our listings of the top student athletes in our Astound TV Network’s coverage area for the 2021-22 school year, while also making the transition to the upcoming scholastic seasons (more on that later in this blog entry).

This week we take a look at the top boys lacrosse players from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

ATTACK:
1st Team – CCHS, Ben Scandone, Senior
1st Team – Freedom, Connor Bevan, Senior
1st Team – Easton, Trent Griffin, Senior
2nd Team – Emmaus, Connor Flok, Senior
2nd Team – Parkland, Jake Hurd, Senior
2nd Team – CCHS, Augustine Barr, Senior

MIDFIELDER:
1st Team – Freedom, Alex Hume, Junior
1st Team – CCHS, Michael Driscoll, Senior
1st Team – Easton, Bryce Billings, Senior
2nd Team – Parkland, Jake Parker, Sophomore
2nd Team – Nazareth, Broc Bender, Senior
2nd Team – CCHS, Nick Pomajevich, Junior
2nd Team – Liberty, Carson Vella, Senior
2nd Team – Parkland, Chase Kusko, Junior

DEFENSE:
1st Team – Easton, Nino Rizzolino, Senior
1st Team – CCHS, Chuck Kuczynski, Senior
1st Team – Emmaus, Ben Thomas, Senior
2nd Team – Liberty, Brennan Mckeown, Senior

LONG STICK MIDFIELDER:
1st Team – Easton, Ryan Mayer, Senior
2nd Team – CCHS, Jack Keenan, Senior
2nd Team – Parkland, Jack Wieder, Senior

SHORT STICK MIDFIELDER:
1st Team – Easton, Tyler Stem, Senior
1st Team – CCHS, Cade Shaffer, Junior
2nd Team – Parkland, Will Kerrick, Senior

FACEOFF:
1st Team – Parkland, Marr Barraco, Senior
2nd Team – Freedom, Jared Karabinus, Sophomore

GOALIE:
1st Team – Easton, Nathaniel Hudgins, Senior
2nd Team – Parkland, Zayd Afif, Senior

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: CCHS, Chuck Kuczynski, Senior

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Also, we have a compilation of the Colonial League boys All-Stars featuring the teams in the ATVN viewing area (we did not receive the official list from the boys basketball coordinator but thank those in the individual school districts’ representatives who did respond to our requests for information):

First team: Brendan Boyle (Notre Dame)–League MVP Award; Na’Shawn Jones (Wilson); Sean Howlett (Notre Dame); Josh Giaquinto (Bangor); Max Pristas (Southern Lehigh)

Second team & Honorable Mentions: Kyle Aris (Salisbury); Shamel Gibson (Wilson); Matt Tankred (Southern Lehigh); Noah Denton (Southern Lehigh); Dominik LIsicky (Southern Lehigh); Abhi Patel (Moravian Academy); Chris Ray (Moravian Academy); Zach Rodgers (Notre Dame); Anthony Shaw (Wilson); Brayden Strohe (Bangor); Damian Tyminski (Pen Argyl).

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We now look ahead to the fall sports season in which the autumn’s first “official” practice date is coming up this Monday.

This Thursday, we’ll begin to look the new season with the first of four “preview” shows on our “SportsTalk” show, with interviews from different teams and sports over the next month.  Make sure you tune in or set your DVRs to get all the insightful information from many different viewpoints as we prepare for the fall!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Girls Lacrosse All-Stars ’22

July 25, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We’re continuing to recap the top teams, players and games from the past scholastic sports season.

This week we will put the spotlight on the top girls lacrosse players of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference from our viewing area (we’ll feature the boys next week)…

LOW ATTACK:

1st Team: Easton, Ava Milia, Senior

1st Team: PV, Brielle McInaw, Senior

1st Team: Emmaus, Julia Cote, Senior

2nd Team: CCHS, Lauren Nelson, Junior

2nd Team: Emmaus, Emily Hollinger, Junior

LOW DEFENSE:

1st Team: Emmaus, Marybeth Smith, Senior

1st Team: Easton, Eran Gleason, Senior,

1st Team: Freedom, Paige Jenkins, Junior

2nd Team: Easton, Kierra Smith, Senior

2nd Team: Parkland, Morgan Napolitano, Senior

2nd Team: Parkland, Mariana Aubele-Gonzalez, Senior

2nd Team: PV, Candyce Fougere, Senior

MIDFIELDER:

1st Team: Freedom, Paige Telatovich, Junior

1st Team: Pleasant Valley, Alexandra Bush, Senior

1st Team : Nazareth, Sarah Osmun, Senior

1st Team: Emmaus, Mikayla Viola, Senior

1st Team: Parkland, Gigi Leonzi, Sophomore

2nd Team: Emmaus, Jordyn Poll,Sophomore

2nd Team: Easton, Lea Krieger, Senior

2nd Team: Easton, Reese Krieger, Junior

2nd Team: Parkland, Nikki Boyer, Senior

2nd Team: Freedom, Kailey Turpening, Senior

GOALIE:

1st Team: Easton, Kylee Hager, Senior

2nd Team: CCHS, Riley Horoshko, Senior

UTILITY:

1st Team: Emmaus, Kameron Watkins, Senior

1st Team: Easton, Meghan Vizian, Senior

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER MVP:  Emmaus, Julia Cote, Senior

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Also, we want to get you caught up on some of our ATVN production highlight videos, featuring our local sports coverage.

  1. Astound Sports: Boys 5A Semifinal Southern Lehigh vs. East Stroudsburg South (3/22)
  2. Astound Sports:  Northwestern Lehigh vs. Southern Lehigh (2/22)
  3. Astound Sports: Dist. XI 6A Girls Consolation Round. Easton vs. Nazareth (3/22)
  4. Astound Sports: Dist. XI Girls 5A Bethlehem Catholic vs. Blue Mountain (3/22)

  5. Astound Sports: Northampton vs. Plymouth-Whitemarsh (3/22)

 

Last but not least, if you missed last week’s “SportsTalk” show, our special guest was Mike Kopp–the all-time winningest coach in ANY sport in Pennsylvania.

Well, we surprised him–on-air–with several special people in Mike’s life; from his first assistant coach from nearly 50 years ago to the star on this (his last) year’s Allentown Central Catholic girls basketball team.

If you missed the surprise and all the great stories about his career–both on and off the court–along with highlights of our recent sports productions, Astound video customers can watch all our locally produced programs for free at any time for up to two months, through our On-Demand services!

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Summer ‘22 Trivia Edition

July 21, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows, key names in the “Golden Age” of entertainment history and legendary cinematic performances.

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I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer and have enjoyed reading background insights and little known information about our classic programs and watching them on the Astound TV Network!

Now it’s time to test your knowledge by taking our Classic Video Showplace “summer 2022” edition of our quiz. 

See how you do answering the following questions and then check out the answers listed below. 

Have fun!

  1. Which former professional sports star played himself in a motion picture based on his own courageous journey to break baseball’s color barrier?
  2. Name the actress who played the lead in television’s first successful female-driven comedy program? (Hint: The answer is not Lucille Ball)
  3. What former US Olympic gold medalist starred in the show featuring real life stories based on the French Foreign Legion?
  4. What innovative technique created in 1953 was used to enhance visual images for motion pictures and was utilized in films like The 12 Mile Reef ?
  5. Which early television Western was one of the first programs to treat Native Americans fairly and equally when distributing justice?
  6. What country was the “All-American Comedian” Bob Hope born in?
  7. Ernest Borgnine burst on the scene with his Academy Award-winning portrayal of the titular character in 1955’s Oscar for Best Picture, Marty.  On what show was his final television appearance? 
  8. Veteran actor George Kennedy served under what legendary war hero, who’s life was later made into a 1970 Academy Award winning motion picture and was portrayed in the film by Academy Award Winner, George C. Scott?
  9. Speaking of Scott, which of his co-stars in 1959’s Anatomy of a Murder flew bombing raids missions during the last two years of World War II? (This pilot/actor also won an Academy Award).
  10. What is the unofficial term used to describe a hit show, taking a drastic change in plot lines just to create a ratings grabber – only to have the ploy backfire and lead to the eventual cancellation of the program?

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Answers:

  • Jackie Robinson
  • Gracie Allen (The Burns and Allen Show premiered a full year PRIOR to I Love Lucy)
  • Buster Crabbe
  • CinemaScope
  • The Range Rider
  • England
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Patton
  • James Stewart 
  • “Jumping the Shark”

You can see all of the above-mentioned actors and many of these classic films and television shows during this summer’s programming lineup on the Astound TV Network.  To see the full listing of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.

Don’t forget to keep checking back to the Showplace for more classic trivia and little-known bits of information about some of the greatest shows and movies of all time.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Baseball Highlights 2022

July 18, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We want to get you caught up on some ATVN production highlights featuring our full-game baseball coverage.

  1. Astound Sports: Liberty vs. Nazareth (5/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Emmaus vs. Nazareth (5/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Southern Lehigh vs. Notre Dame (5/22)

 

  1. Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Emmaus (5/22)

  

These full games are still free to watch OnDemand for Astound Broadband video customers over next few weeks.  Be sure to check out our local student-athletes in action!

More highlights of recent full-production sports broadcasts will be coming up over the next several weeks.

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We want to let you know about a special program coming up on this Thursday’s “SportsTalk” show.

Pennsylvania’s all-time winningest head coach in ANY sports–Mike Kopp, who recently announced his retirement from Allentown Central Catholic’s historic girls basketball program–will be our special guest.

We will be talking with Mike about his nearly 50 years in coaching, discussing all his many wins, his league, district and state titles, his most memorable moments and thoughts on some of Eastern Pennsylvania’s greatest girls basketball players who came through his system (a few of his players made names for themselves on a national stage with stellar careers in the NCAA and WNBA).  Plus we’ll have a few surprises on Thursday’s show as well.  Make sure you tune in!

Also, if you missed last week’s annual Blue Mountain League Baseball show featuring League Commissioner Robert Varju and Historian/Treasurer/Secretary Tim Fisher, ATVN video customers can watch the entire program again On-Demand.

Among the topics discussed on the show included:

  •  A record season for the BML in terms of the number of home runs this season
  • Several milestone accomplishments by some of the league’s longest-tenured veterans.
  • Thoughts on the top teams, pitchers and hitters this season
  • A discussion on how the league has evolved over the last several years, and…
  • Predictions for the final two weeks of the regular season and thoughts on who everyone thinks will reach the post-season and the championship playoffs.

 

Check it out to hear their insights!

  

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Dennis Day

July 14, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

The return of The Jack Benny Program to the ATVN lineup also includes the reappearance of one of television’s most beloved entertainers of the 1940s and 1950s.

Dennis Day was born Owen Patrick Eugene McNulty to Irish immigrants in The Bronx, New York on May 21, 1916.

After graduating from Manhattanville College, Day entered and won a national competition orchestrated by bandleader Larry Clinton.  Shortly thereafter, he recorded his first single, “Goodnight, My Beautiful.”

At the same time, singer Kenny Baker had decided to leave The Jack Benny Radio Show–which was the number-one ranked comedy program at that time.  (Baker would resurface one year later on the radio show of Benny’s on-air nemesis, Fred Allen.)

Day was one of hundreds of tenors who auditioned, featuring singers from all around the world.  What got Dennis the job?

According to the book, Sunday Nights at Seven, Day was so nervous when they called his name to audition, that his immediate response was to blurt out, “Yes, please.” Benny and his writers were caught off guard by the unusual response (one they incorrectly thought was an attempt to interject some humor into the role) and gave the 23-year old the job.

Unbeknownst to Benny and the writing staff, Day was also a great mimic and voice actor who would fill in for legendary voice man Mel Blanc when he missed time due to a serious car accident.  Day would also impersonate other legendary film actors and famous people of the time in both the radio and television versions of the program (one of his best mimics was that of Winston Churchill on the TV episode guest-starring Raymond Burr).

Day not only made a smooth transition to the cast of the nation’s most popular program, but his own fame spawned his very own radio show which ran for several seasons.  Day would later host his own television show at the same time that Benny’s show ran.  There would be frequent jokes on the latter’s program that the young tenor has “two shows to Benny’s one.”

Day’s youthful appearance was also utilized frequently as the target of many jokes–his naive approach often frustrated Benny, culminating with the host yelling for “that crazy kid” to get off his show.

In fact, Day’s attempts at a television show actually preceded Benny’s. A Day In The Life of Dennis Day tried to transition his radio show to television, but the pilot was never picked up.

A second pilot, The Dennis Day Show, in which he hosted a variety program, also failed to get momentum on the CBS Network.

In 1952, a third attempt, The RCA Victor Show (later renamed The Dennis Day Show), succeeded on NBC and ran for three seasons.  Unlike his first attempt, the newer version had Day portraying a more mature character without the naivete he exhibited on the CBS show.

Even so, Day continued to appear on the Benny show posing as “that crazy kid” even through its final year in 1965, when Dennis was nearly 50 years old.

Day would continue singing and making appearances on popular television comedy and variety programs off-and-on over the next decade.

Day’s last two major on-air appearances were as voice animations for two popular annual cartoons.  In 1976, he was the voice of “The Preacher” in the Rankin-Bass production, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, and again worked with them in 1978, when he voiced Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, in The Stingiest Man in Town, which was their animated version of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Christmas Carol.

On June 22, 1978, Day died from ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease.  He was surrounded by his wife of 40 years, Peggy Almquist, and his 10 children.

Be sure to set your DVRs and watch Dennis’s original role on The Jack Benny Program on the Astound TV Network’s programming lineup, every Wednesday at 12 noon.  Also, you can binge-watch a number of great early “Benny” episodes as part of a mini-marathon this Monday starting at 8pm on ATVN. 

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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