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Rick Geho

September 19, 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.

This blog regularly touches on some of the all time, world-renowned greats in the communications industry. We’ve written about James Stewart, Sidney Poitier, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Betty White, Jackie Robinson, Jose Ferrar, Audrey Hepburn, Buster Keaton, Cary Grant and other names that should stand the test of time.
But if some of you are not familiar with the name Rick Geho…that is a good thing!

Like most successful directors and executive producers in the television industry, by NOT knowing the name of someone behind the scenes, it’s about as big a compliment as you can get.

The people whose faces appear on your television screen are known as the “celebrities,” whose names, mannerisms and personas–real or created–are what viewers see and most likely remember. The only time you look to see who is the executive producer are the times when things go horribly wrong, or when you get so disgusted by what you are seeing on the screen that you take the time to find out who they are to send them an angry email complaint or phone call.

So if the name Rick Geho doesn’t ring a bell for you right away, I will thank you on his behalf.

For nearly 50 years, Rick has been the managing force behind our local television station, under the Twin County, C-Tec, RCN and now, Astound Broadband, brands. During his tenure, local programming highlights include, but are not limited to, the annual Dream Come True Telethon (36 years and counting), Lehigh Valley high school sports, Lafayette College sports, current in-studio productions such as “Nuestro Valle,” “SportsTalk” and “Community Spotlight,” and coverage of many community events, like the July 4th fireworks, Halloween parades, Christmas Light display shows and others.

Furthermore, nowhere else in the COUNTRY do you see the amount of local scholastic sports programming than you can in the Eastern Pennsylvania region. Rick has been at the forefront of that development, starting earlier and working longer than most people will ever work in this industry.

Rick’s education began with an associate’s degree from Electronic Engineering Tech, followed by a diploma from the Radio Engineering Institute. He also holds a General (First Class) Radiotelephone Operator license, issued by the FCC.

His many interests include trains (and older railroad stations), baseball, animal welfare, trains, arts and culture, civil rights, social action, human rights, trains, politics, science, technology…and did I mention a love of everything trains?

As someone who has known him for 26 years, I can tell you that Rick is someone who deeply cares about the people in our viewing area and has a passion for both its rich traditions as well as its quality well-being going forward. He frequently worked at all hours of the day, seven days a week, making sure that all the details of every production and every broadcast event would go off as seamlessly as possible. Whether it be sports, public affairs, concerts, parades or anything that is of interest to the people of the region, he worked tirelessly to try to bring it to people’s homes, and to make it a pleasant experience for viewers to watch.

Most importantly to the readers of this particular blog, Rick is one of the people responsible for collecting all of the great classic television shows and movies that you can enjoy on the Astound TV Network. He ultimately is the one to make sure all these programs and movies make it on the air and into your homes, so you can enjoy them at the time that they are scheduled to run–which Rick also had the chore to oversee.

After nearly 50 years of bringing quality local sports, original programming and some of the greatest video works of all time to television sets in the Lehigh Valley and beyond, he has decided to retire from ATVN.

Rick’s last day will be next Saturday, October 1st.

In typical “executive director” fashion, he has denied all in-house motions to do any on-air tributes, mentions or recognitions of his five-decades-long work. He has also declined a request to appear on our live sports show to talk about his career and discuss all that he has accomplished on our network and in the communications industry.
Whether he says it or not, you cannot deny the deep impact he has made on local television in our viewing area and that ATVN would not be what it is today without his hands on the controls.

To check out the fruits of one of Rick’s responsibilities, tune in to the Astound TV Network over the next week to check out our new fall lineup of shows, movies and diverse programming, with something for everyone.

There is a complete rundown here on our website of classic programming as well as lifestyle shows, community, news and cultural programs, local origination and live sports productions 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.

 

Polls, Highlights & Changes

By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We lead off this week’s blog with a quick programming note!

District XI Football Chair Jason Zimmerman will make his annual appearance on this Thursday’s ATVN SportsTalk.  There are a number of changes this year to the high school football playoff layout (especially for the 6A “largest schools” classification), as well as the site of the state championships and a number of other big issues that Jason will be speaking about.

You can email me, with your question or comment about local football and we may read it on this Thursday’s program.  I can tell you that Jason and our local athletic directors are very busy with a number of challenging issues that they are dealing with at the local scholastic levels and we deeply appreciate Zimmerman giving us his time to appear on our show again this fall to address issues that affect us all.

*******

We have had a number of great sports broadcasts over the last month, including last week’s high school football game (a 5-point game in the “Christmas City Rivalry”) that was broadcast across the state on the PCN Network.

Here are highlights of some of our recent broadcasts on the Astound TV Network

  1. Astound Sports: Easton vs. Parkland (8/22)
  2. Astound Sports: Emmaus vs. Freedom (8/22)
  3. Astound Sports:  Northern Yankees vs. Easton Falcons (7/22)
  4. Astound Sports: Iron Valley Orioles vs Martin’s Creek Creekers (7/22)
  5. Astound Sports: Iron Valley Orioles vs. Northern Yankees (7/22)

It’s a busy weekend for us coming up as we will broadcast the 2022 National Highland Games athletic championships as a part of ATVN’s coverage of this year’s Celtic Classic.

We will also be bringing you a big high school football game featuring undefeated (and the top team in our poll, see below) Emmaus taking on Bethlehem Catholic, who sports a 3-1 record coming into the contest and is also a top-ranked team in our EPC poll.  The game will be live Friday night at 7pm on ATVN.

 

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Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

 

EPC TOP 5

  1. Emmaus
  2. Nazareth
  3. Central Catholic
  4. Bethlehem Catholic
  5. (tie)  Freedom / Parkland 

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

 

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northern Lehigh
  2. Northwestern 
  3. Southern Lehigh
  4. Notre Dame-GP

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information throughout the season.

 

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.

HS Football Polls: Week 4

September 12, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Unlike the first two weeks when we had several surprises, things settled down as we stayed the course this past weekend…which was NOT a good thing for some of our local teams.

On the positive side, the top teams in both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and the Colonial League kept on winning, with Parkland handing Freedom its second loss of the season on the Friday night “ATVN” high school football broadcast.

Elsewhere, Emmaus, Northampton and Central Catholic stuck to their winning ways and all the top teams in the Colonial League posted wins.  Liberty got a much needed win against Stroudsburg after the Hurricanes had lost 10 games in a row dating back to last season.

On the negative side, teams like Whitehall, Allen, Dieruff, Freedom, Catasauqua, Pen Argyl and Wilson were among the teams that lost again last week, which already makes their playoff run chances that much harder.  Teams that have two or more losses before we get to September 15th rarely make the postseason.  In some classifications, the road to the playoffs will be even more difficult this year based on some changes to the District XI’s seating process (something we’ll be talking about in more detail on an upcoming edition of ATVN SportsTalk).

We have an interesting match-up coming up on Astound TV Network this Friday as “Christmas City rivals” Bethlehem Catholic and Liberty square off.  Both teams are making their first appearance on our network this fall.  A win by the Hawks over the Hurricanes (a bigger “sized” school) will give them more “power points” and greatly enhance their playoff chances.  Liberty also needs a “W” to avoid picking up a third loss early in the season.

The game will be simulcast statewide on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

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Before we unveil this week’s polls, a few details on how our listings are different from all other local media members.

We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on the Astound TV Network and available to watch at any time for free through ATVN on Demand.

This year, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the Astound broadcast area.  With the Colonial teams cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playing different “crossover” teams, our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not have the same opponents on their schedule.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Nazareth
  2. Emmaus
  3. Parkland
  4. Central Catholic
  5. Freedom

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

Parkland, Nazareth and Emmaus all scored wins again this week and remain as the top three teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.  Things got interesting after that as Central Catholic moved up a spot following their win over Easton, while Freedom dropped a spot due to their loss to Parkland.  

Also, Northampton is starting to get some consideration by our pollsters.  However, the fact that they elected to stay in the “North” division, thereby playing teams that are not nearly as strong as the teams in the “South” division, continues to work against them when voters factor in the team’s strength of schedules.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northern Lehigh
  2. Northwestern
  3. Southern Lehigh
  4. Notre Dame-GP

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

No changes in the Colonial League poll as Northwestern, Notre Dame-Green Pond, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh all looked good in victories last weekend.  Saucon Valley is making things interesting with a mercy rule win over Wilson but remains just outside the “top 4.”

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information throughout the season.

 

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.

Cathy Neelon

By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

There is a disturbing item on my “to-do” list from last week that I can’t bring myself to remove from my calendar.

I was supposed to meet with my long-time co-worker, Cathy Neelon, to go over the highlights and new additions to our new fall schedule on the Astound TV Network that launched this Monday, but tragically, that meeting never took place.

Cathy was killed in an automobile accident on her way home from covering a local high school football game we did together the previous weekend.

Cathy was 55-years young.

******

Cathy started her career as an intern with ATVN’s former company, Twin County Cable TV, in 1989.  Long-time Studio Manager Rick Geho recalls that for one of her first assignments, the production crew had to run multiple extension cords to telecast a soccer game.  Because so many power lines were used, the breakers kept tripping and it was Cathy’s chore to keep resetting the breakers through the game.

A short time later she asked if the station needed a graphic operator.  She was quickly hired for the role and occupied that position for the next 33 years.

Cathy was a pet lover and would retell many pictures and humorous stories about her beloved cats.  She enjoyed being creative with her drawing and liked the theater.  She was a frequently active participant during the heyday of the Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight performances at the Lehigh Valley.  According to Geho, one of her favorite ‘non-graphics’ duties was to run camera for the original local program, The Sturdy Beggars, an avant-garde sketch-comedy show.  She was particularly proud of an extensive camera move she incorporated during the show’s parody of The Godfather.

Among her favorite experiences with the crew were the pre-game dinners we frequently had when traveling outside the area and after the set-up was completed for an event to be broadcast the next day.  Geho recalls that she enjoyed the opportunity to sit down in a relaxed setting with all her co-workers and share stories with everyone.

Cathy was one of the first people I got to know when I started as a part-time employee in late winter of 1997.

Back then, she was still a “newbie” among the full-time staff members with many of the more tedious responsibilities falling to her.  Because of this, she was a “go-to” person for me in those early days, dealing with paperwork, learning new policies and just getting used to the procedures and the ways things ran at our studio around that time period.

I quickly learned that she held a love for all local sports and athletic heroes, but particularly for her alma mater, Allen High School. (She was thrilled that my first “story” was a feature on the-then new Allen Boys Basketball Head Coach, Doug Snyder).

I also learned that she was an amazing speller and had great success in scholastic competitions back in the day.  She was ecstatic that we had the opportunity to broadcast the spelling bees we used to do from the Farmerama Theater at the Great Allentown Fair (she was devastated when the Fair stopped hosting the event a few years later).

Cathy had a passion for horse racing (some years she even offered to write a blog right around “Triple Crown” time, recalling her memories of watching previous races with her family members).

Among her duties with the Astound TV Network was producing graphics for our local sports and original programming, coordinating messages seen on the ATVN Community Bulletin Board and putting together on-screen guides and television listings for all of our programming, including many of the classic shows and movies often featured here on this blog each week.

*****

So instead of meeting with her last week to finalize my notes on the new fall programming schedule, I spent that time planning a tribute we paid to Cathy’s memory on last week’s “SportsTalk” show, which you can see through ATVN on-demand, if you missed the program.

Our deepest condolences to Cathy’s immediate family as well as the extended family she generated through her decades of dedication and hard work in the local sports community.

She will be missed!

 

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.

 

The Nelson Kids

September 7, 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 the Astound TV Network with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

 

In an earlier blog entry we examined the lead characters in the popular, long-running 1950s and early 60s television family sitcom, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet program.

But the Nelson children had an interesting history as well!

Ozzie Nelson was an orchestra leader who sometimes teamed with Harriet (born Peggy Lou Snyder) for events before both were asked to appear at the same time on a national radio show called “The Baker’s Broadcast” in the early 1930s.  One of the initial hosts of the show was Robert Ripley (remember “Ripley’s ‘Believe It or Not?“)

Ozzie and Harriet married in 1935 and decided, as opposed to continuing to work independently, they would see more of each other by working the same gigs.  After appearing on some of the top radio programs in the 1940s, included “The Red Skelton Show,” “The Fred Allen Show” and “Suspense,” which led to their own radio vehicle.

When Skelton was drafted in 1944, Ozzy was left to create his own family situation comedy on Red’s program, giving him valuable experience he would need a couple years later to develop his own television show.  It was there that Nelson “created” a pair of boys for his radio family.

Contrary to popular belief, Ozzie and Harriet did NOT use their real sons at the start of the program.  Instead they auditioned many established child actors for the part, hoping to keep their real children out of show business–at least initially.

Using the names of his real-life children, Ozzie hired Henry Blair to play the role of “Ricky.”  The role of “David” was shared by Joel Davis and then later Tommy Bernard for the first five seasons of their radio program.

Itching to get into show business, the “real” Ricky and David persuaded their parents to let them take over “their” roles during the fifth season of the radio program in 1949.

When the show made the jump to television in October 1952, the entire family was on board.

By 1957, Ricky had become one of the most sought after heartthrobs on television–it is widely believed that the first use of the term “teen idol” was used for him.  During the show’s run, they frequently featured Ricky’s singing talents and he launched a very successful singing career, placing 53 songs on Billboards “Top 100” charts during his career.

David, meanwhile, preferred to hone his acting skills and accepted more dramatic roles in films, starting with the 1959’s thriller, The Big CircusHe also showed an interest in directing, manning several later episodes of “Ozzie and Harriet” and eventually directed motion pictures.

Many of the “kids” real-life stories were used as the basis of “The Adventures…”  episodes’ plots.  As both Ricky and David got older and married (Kristin Harmon and June Blair, respectively), their wives then joined the cast as well.

In all, the series would go on for a record-setting 14-year sojourn on television alone and all four family members would become household names–which didn’t exactly sit well with Rick (who tried to shed his childhood persona by dropping the “y” from his first name).

As time wore on, Rick looked to move past his wholesome image of the “Ozzie and Harriet” days and be taken seriously as a  rock-and-roll performer of later 1960s and 1970s style music, but many fans of the television show wanted to hear his hits made famous during the 1950s program.

One one occasion at Madison Square Garden, when Rick insisted on playing more modern music, “oldies” fans booed him off the stage.  The humiliating experience inspired Rick to write the song “Garden Party,” which ended up being his final hit song, placing 6th on the pop charts.

Rick died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1985.  He was just 45.

David continued to act and direct films until making his last appearance in the 1990 film, Cry Baby.  He was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion picture industry in 1996.  In 2011, David died at the age of 74 from colon cancer.

You can revisit the Nelson children in their early years in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which airs weekly on Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m and Wednesday mornings at 9am on ATVN.

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.

Polls Week 3: Eagles Flyin’ High

September 6, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For most of the last dozen or so summers, I run into Nazareth Football Head Coach Tom Falzone and ask him how good his team is going to be the following autumn. Every other summer he downplays his team’s expectations and says his team isn’t going to be that good this season…and most of the time, his team exceeds expectations and finishes near the top of the pack.

This spring he admitted to me, “We’re going to be very good.”

And two weeks into the season, his Blue Eagles have taken over the top spot in our Eastern Pennsylvania Conference poll standings.

As you saw on ATVN last weekend, we had two outstanding high school games, all involving the top teams in our EPC Poll. Nazareth posted a strong win over Parkland and Emmaus scored a five-point victory over Central Catholic.

Nazareth still has a number of tough games coming up, but they cleared their first big hurdle of the season.

Emmaus, meanwhile, has five more very winnable games coming up and should be in good shape for quite a while.

Not to be outdone in the Colonial League, there was a great Thursday night football contest in which Northern Lehigh upset Northwestern. On Friday, Southern Lehigh edged Notre Dame-Green Pond in a one-point win. The close victories will force a complete “flip” of our Colonial poll–below–involving the same four teams but in different positions.

But first, here are the details on our weekly polls.

We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material. Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on the Astound TV Network and available to watch at any time for free through ATVN on Demand.

This year, we are breaking the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the Astound broadcast area. With the Colonial teams cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playing different “crossover” teams, our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not have the same opponents on their schedule.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Nazareth
  2. Emmaus
  3. Parkland
  4. Freedom
  5. Bethlehem Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northern Lehigh
  2. Southern Lehigh
  3. Northwestern
  4. Notre Dame-GP

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for our weekly polls and check our upcoming broadcast information frequently for any changes for our ongoing sports schedule throughout the fall season.

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.

Jack & Mary

September 1, 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 radio and television editions of The Jack Benny Program ran almost without interruption from 1932 to 1965.  There are a number of classic episodes that received high ratings and a lot of individual “Benny” shows that are regarded as some of the top programs in the early history of television.

But only a few are as memorable and poignant as the television episode, “Jack Dreams He’s Married to Mary” (which will be shown on ATVN this Sunday at 12 noon).

First, a little history about this famous real-life married couple.

Jack was first introduced to a teenage Sadie Marks (his wife’s original real-life name) before Benny even thought about a career in radio, much less TV which wasn’t even invented yet.

There were not exactly fireworks during their first meeting at Marks’ family dinner.  While touring in vaudeville, Jack was invited to dinner by a fellow Jewish man who had two daughters (at that time, not all eating venues were “Jewish friendly” during special holidays).  Benny admitted in his biography, Sunday Nights at 7, that at that time, he was interested in Sadie’s older sister, Babe (someone who would become the butt of Jack’s jokes throughout his series and would guest star frequently to “return the favor”).

A few years later, Jack’s and Sadie’s paths would cross again although Benny initially didn’t even recognize the “adult Sadie,” and quickly asked his then-future wife on a date.  Jack would visit Sadie at her job for the May Company (another source for jokes throughout Benny’s show) and Sadie would later accompany Jack to watch him perform his own radio show live.

Shortly after the program started, Jack’s regular female sidekick “ghosted” him by not showing up for his live show and so Sadie filled in, using the on-air name, Mary Livingstone.  Even when the regular actress returned, Benny and his writing staff agreed that Sadie was the better “Mary” and preferred the on-air chemistry between the two.

Even though the couple was now married in real life, it was deemed more “entertaining” that the two stay single on the program, which allowed for more comedic situations regarding the troubles of dating, a unique rotation of girlfriends and Benny’s quirky life as an eligible bachelor.  They also thought it would be more original to stay away from the typical married couple routine that was already employed by other show business real-life couples at that time (most notably, their best friends, George Burns and Gracie Allen).  Plus, the contact back-and-forth, boss/employee, verbal shots Jack and Mary took towards each other seemed to work better on-air. 

That faux “bitter” relationship between the two continued for nearly all of the 33-year history of the program.

Except for this one episode.

In this particular show, which initially aired in 1954 (by this time Sadie had officially had her legal name changed to “Mary Livingstone”), Jack “imagines” what life would be like if he was, indeed, married to his longtime assistant, Mary.  Without revealing many of the spoilers for your viewing pleasure, this episode does include a number of tongue-in-check references to his “alternate” life, in addition to real-life references throughout the program, which even included a guest appearance by their real-life adopted daughter, Joan.

Once the dream sequence was over, Jack and Mary returned to their more “normal” relationship, with Jack poorly paying Mary, and his “assistant” returning the favor with some sharp-tongue digs at Benny’s shortcomings.

The real relationship between Jack and Mary was quite different.

There is a YouTube clip from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, which paints a much different picture of their marriage.  Mary tells the story of a single red rose that she received shortly after her husband’s death in 1972.  For a while there was no note and she didn’t know who was sending it to her.

When she tracked down the delivery man she eventually discovered that in Benny’s will, he set up a trust that Mary would receive a red rose every day for the rest of her life, as a reminder of the undying love Jack had for her.

Mary survived Jack’s death until June 30, 1983 when she was 83…and a rose came to her doorstep every day for those 11 years.

Tune in and set your DVRs for this classic episode of The Jack Benny Program this Sunday at 12 noon on the Astound TV Network.  You can also see the Benny program weekly on ATVN on Wednesdays at 12 noon.

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

Polls Week 2: Surprise, Surprise

August 29, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

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

Those of us in the media often say that we are not surprised when a certain team beats another team.

But, quite frequently, we can be surprised by the WAY one team defeats another team.

That was the case with many of our week-one contests.

Previously second-ranked Parkland, a team that normally dominates teams with their rushing attack, took to the air to deliver some long (and amazingly athletic) catches, to defeat Easton–last week’s number-five team.

And other teams like Bethlehem Catholic, Northwestern and Northern Lehigh, to name a few, not only won their games, but won by surprisingly huge margins.

Last but not least (as you saw on ATVN last Friday), the rematch of last year’s district championship game lived up to the hype.  But it was Emmaus–the team that lost in last fall’s title contest–that surprised Freedom, a squad that most people thought would be the best team in the area.

What does it all mean?  

It should be a very interesting fall.

And now, for this week’s polls…

We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on the Astound TV Network and available to watch at any time for free through ATVN on Demand.

This year, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the Astound broadcast area.  With the Colonial teams cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playing different “crossover” teams, our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not have the same opponents on their schedule.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Parkland
  2. Nazareth
  3. Emmaus
  4. Freedom
  5. Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

Parkland, Nazareth and Emmaus all scored wins and moved up in the poll, while Freedom’s loss to Emmaus brought them down from number-one to number-four.  Central Catholic, who was tied for the fifth spot with Easton in our pre-season poll, takes over that spot by itself with its exciting come-from-behind win over Liberty on Saturday night.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northwestern
  2. Notre Dame-GP
  3. Northern Lehigh
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

No changes in the Colonial League poll as Northwestern, Notre Dame-Green Pond and Northern Lehigh all posted solid wins, while Southern Lehigh lost a close out-of-the-league contest last Friday, but holds on to its “fourth” spot in the rankings.

Be sure to check back to our website and check it frequently for any changes for our ongoing broadcast schedule information throughout the season.

 

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.

Fred MacMurray

August 24, 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.

It’s funny how time–and television–can change people’s lasting impressions!

For many generations, Fred MacMurray is known simply as the calm, wise dad who solved most of his constantly growing family’s problems for 12 years on the long-running TV sitcom, My Three Sons.

But MacMurray actually had a very long and successful career as a businessman, a talented musician and singer, in addition to both playing leading men and supporting characters in motion pictures, inhabiting a variety of different personas through his various films…and next week would have been his 114th birthday!

Born Frederick Martin MacMurray on August 30, 1908 in Kankakee, Illinois, Fred came from a family whose father taught music and his aunt was a vaudeville performer. He attended Carroll College in Wisconsin but did not graduate. Instead, he played saxophone in numerous bands in the late 1920s.

MacMurray actually started in show business as a singer, recording several singles in 1930 and 1931.

He also appeared on Broadway with a role in Three’s A Crowd in the early 1930s before signing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures in 1934.

Fred was quickly paired with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, normally playing “nice guys” in musicals, melodramas and light-hearted comedies. Some of his earliest co-stars included Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, Katherine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert and Barbara Stanwyck. His fellow male acting co-stars included Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, Bob Hope, Van Johnson and Jose Ferrer.

By the turn of the 1940s decade, MacMurray had become one of the highest paid actors in the entertainment industry. In fact, his 1943 annual salary of $430,000 not only made him the HIGHEST paid actor in Hollywood, but he was the fourth highest paid person in the United States.

The fewer roles he got in which he portrayed a “not so nice a guy” brought him even bigger fame and better critical reviews.

After starring in darker films like The Apartment, Borderline, The Caine Mutiny and the film noir classic, Double Indemnity, MacMurray was one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood.

But instead of continuing to star in major motion pictures, he took a different course of action.

He became a businessman.

MacMurray bought large areas of land and invested in cattle ranches and agricultural communities…all sustaining his claim as one of the top four richest men in America for many years.

He remained a popular figure with occasional guest-starring appearances on a few 1950s television shows, including I Love Lucy and Cimarron City.

Those successful appearances paved the way for his own TV show in 1960, but it did not come without MacMurray’s star power ensuring some major benefits for himself.

In order for Fred to concentrate on his business enterprises (and his golf game), his contract insisted that all his scenes for the entire season be shot first and must be completed within a two-month timespan.

While “….Sons” became a perennial favorite for audiences throughout the decade and into the early 1970s, MacMurray did shoot a few more films resonating favorably with audiences, like The Shaggy Dog, The Happiest Millionaire, The Absent Minded Professor and, its sequel, The Son of Flubber.

Fred was diagnosed with throat cancer in the 1970s, which he thought he recovered from, only to have it return in 1987. He also suffered a stroke and battled leukemia for over a decade before he succumbed to pneumonia on November 5, 1991.

Upon his passing, his large agricultural estate was sold to winemaker Gallo, who issued wines marked with the “MacMurray Ranch” label that people can still buy to this day.

Be on the lookout to watch MacMurray’s various television and movie work like the 1950’s flick, Borderline, seen frequently on the Astound TV Network. To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly television 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.

HS FB Preseason Polls ’22

August 22, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

The kickoff of the high school football season is here!

This Friday, the season begins with a pair of great matchups that we will be featuring on the Astound TV Network, featuring four teams that qualified for the district tournament a year ago.  The EPC South Champion Parkland will take on Easton, while the two teams that played for last year’s district title–Emmaus and Freedom–will rematch against each other this Friday.

Not surprisingly, all four of these teams will begin the season ranked high in the ATVN pre-season polls.

Several of the other teams ranked in both our polls will be seen on ATVN later in the season (we’ll have Nazareth and Allentown Central Catholic on our channel next week).

Not familiar with our annual scholastic football polling?

I’m glad you asked.

I’m proud to say (and no, I don’t vote myself) our football polls have proven to be among the most accurate, year after year, among all media organizations that attempt to rank teams in our coverage area each fall.  (Check out our archived polls from previous years if you’d like proof).

We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on the Astound TV Network and available to watch at any time for free through ATVN on Demand.

This year, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the Astound broadcast area.  With the Colonial teams will be cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playing different “cross-over” teams, our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not have the same opponents on their schedule.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Parkland
  3. Nazareth
  4. Emmaus
  5. (tie)  Easton/Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northwestern 
  2. Notre Dame-GP
  3. Northern Lehigh
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to  the “upcoming events” section here on our website and check it frequently for any changes and for our ongoing playoff broadcast schedule information throughout the postseason.

 

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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