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Now and Then

November 8, 2023 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

I don’t often do music reviews in this space nor offer many opinions on new releases, but in lieu of the Beatles first single released in 28 years (and probably the last, at least without “AI” intervention), I thought it would be appropriate to make an exception for this week.

(ATVN video customers can hear the music of the Beatles and also the solo career hits of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr on several “Music Choice” channels available – most often heard on channels 1932 and 1933.)

As a lifelong Beatles fan, I was excited to hear what was actually going to be released with the group’s “new” single.  There are many varying opinions about this song, “Now and Then,” written by Lennon in the late 1970s.  A “demo” he recorded on cassette tape was released in the early 80s, but the remaining three Beatles briefly toyed with the idea in the mid-1990s of making it into a completed song before Harrison decided to abandon the project.

Now, 28 years after that attempt and 52 years since the band members were in the same recording session together, comes their “final” song. 

While it won’t make many Beatles’ fans list of their top 10 songs ever produced by the “Fab Four,” I did believe there are several strong points that make this a significant contribution to the band’s legacy.

Here’s an objective listing of my thoughts – good and not-so-good –  on the release of this song:

LIKES
  • The fact that McCartney didn’t try to “overwhelm” the song with his tradition pop tools that he’s utilized very efficiently over the last half century and still tried to keep it similar to a “John song” (although both would wildly vary in their styles throughout their careers)
  • The inclusion of the band’s legendary producer George Martin’s son, Giles, in the recording, with a very classy symphonic string arrangement that would have made his dad proud, and is very reminiscent of many classic Beatles songs
  • Thanks to modern recording techniques, Lennon’s voice was “freed” from the track coupled with his upright piano recording and a low “hum” that was on the original tape, making his voice crystal clear. This was a refreshing change from the muffled voice and subsequent “tricks” that spoiled the release of previous posthumous Lennon solo songs that were made into the “Beatle” catalog like “Free As A Bird,” and, to a lesser extent, “Real Love”
  • The inclusion of snippets of previous Beatles songs like “Because,” “Here, There and Everywhere” and “Elenor Rigby”, all of which include Harrison in the vocals
  • Double-tracking John’s voice (something the singer asked for in many of his songs) and the subtle variances in the rhythm sections during the verses and percussion auditions near the end of the song. Also, Paul’s backing with a top harmony is very reminiscent of many great Beatles songs and is even something that John often ask Paul to do with his songs according to the “Beatles Anthology” 
  • The irony of a song sung by Lennon (in 1979) and by McCartney (in 2023) WITHOUT the use of AI, in effect singing about (to?) each other through the former’s tragic death AND the fact that this group’s last song is about each other and “making it through,” together 
  • Paul’s counting at the beginning is reminiscent of the first ever Beatles hit song in America, “I Saw Her Standing There,” but in a much softer tone, which provides an appropriate bookend to the groups first and last number one U.S. single
  • The “Now and Then” demo cassette was simply labeled “For Paul,” indicates he was writing about his former bandmate and the fact that the two got to sing “together” and provides an appropriate final chapter to the relationship between these two musical giants
NOT SO MUCH
  • The fact that Harrison didn’t care for the song when he was alive and refused to do more than provide a brief rhythm guitar bit and a side guitar contribution (which is present but enhanced by McCartney).  His estate (his wife and son) gave their consent to include his work in the production, but it’s somewhat difficult to imagine that Harrison would give his “ok” had he not succumbed to throat cancer in 2004. (The fact that Harrison HATED technology interfering with songs also suggests that he would not have approve of this release)
  • Although they tried to include Harrison by taking snippets of previous Beatles songs that included his vocals, the song still is missing the “magic” of the group–and it’s not hard to believe his creative absence (either instrumental or vocal) is part of that reason…which is why some die-hard fans don’t even consider this a “Beatles” song and, instead, refer to it as one of the better Lennon solo efforts further enhanced by McCartney and Starr.
  • The exclusion of both of the “I don’t want to lose you” refrains that was on the original demo recording.  Already, there’s people producing “alternate” versions of the song (a few quite good) that took the new officially released song and mixed it with the original bridges.  One could argue the song was “tighter” without it, but again, with two members of the group no longer with us to give their input, listeners are left to wonder their opinions…and what could have been

 

What are your thoughts on the new release? Should they even call it a “Beatles” song?  With emerging technology, I’m sure there will be many “new” songs (or different versions) of their work…but should there be?

 

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.

In Memoriam…David McCallum

October 11, 2023 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

To honor the recent passing of this Scottish actor and musician, we reflect on the life and career of David McCallum.

David Keith McCallum was born on September 19th, 1933 in Glasnow, United Kingdom.

His family, who came from a musical background, encouraged him to pursue music.  He learned to play the oboe and began doing voice work for the BBC at an early age.  At 17 he earned the role of Oberon at London’s famous Garden Stage Theatre (then known as the Play and Pagent Union) in an open air production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

His early film work included playing the Titanic radio operator in 1958’s retelling of the Titanic disaster in  “A Night To Remember.”  He played Judas Iscariot in the biblical epic, “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” and got a role in “Freud: The Secret Passion,” under the guidance of legendary film director John Huston.

On the set of the 1957 film “Hell’s Drivers,” McCallum fell in love with cast member Jill Ireland and the two married.

Among his musical contributions include four records for Capitol Records in the 1960s.  Among his best known works includes a track called, “The Edge,” which was later sampled by Dr. Dre and can be heard on the video game, Grand Theft Auto IV.  He would go on to record many albums while playing a variety of instruments.

He also appeared on television in the early 1960 with a guest starring role on an episode of “Perry Mason” and appeared multiple times on “The Outer Limits.”

He became a household name to American TV audiences with his recurring role as a Russian agent on the hit 1960s drama, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”  Despite the anti-Soviet Union feelings of the time, McCallum’s character, with his “Beatle-like” haircut, instantly struck a chord with younger audience members in 1964, just as Beatlemania was making its way to the United States.  His performances were so well received that his role was elevated to be on par with established star Robert Vaugh for the show’s final three years on the air.

During the show’s run he would frequently play the guitar and also song a duet with Nancy Sinatra.  His then-wife Jill guest-starred on “U.N.C.L.E” on several episodes, but the two divorced before the show ended its run.

McCallum won two Emmy Awards for his performance on the program and reunited with Vaugh years later in the television film, “Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

His biggest role in the 1970s occurred when he headlined the British-Canadian film production of “King Solomon’s Treasure,” which was based on the novel King Solomon’s Mines.  The movie features other notable stars including Patrick McNee (“The Avengers,” “A View To A Kill”),  Britt Ekland (“The Man With The Golden Gun,” “The Night They Raided Minsky”) , and Wilfred Hyde-White (“My Fair Lady,” “Let’s Make Love.”)

In the 1980s and 90s, he continued to star in plays in different countries, he had small roles in film and also guest starred on a few television programs (most noticeably “Murder, She Wrote,” and  “Seaquest DSV”), as well as starring in a TV mini-series with Diana Rigg called “Mother Love.” He also recreated a role similar to the one he portrayed in “U.N.C.L.E” for one episode of the TV action show, “The A-Team.”

Contemporary television viewers knew him best as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the hit forensic science program, “NCIS.”  After recently completing its 19th season this summer, McCallum was the only original cast member still starring on the program.

On September 15th of this year, David died of natural causes in a New York City hospital.  He had recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

In further tribute to this great actor and musician, the Astound TV Network will show McCallum in his starring role of “King Solomon’s Treasure,” this Thursday at 9 am.

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

 

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.

Richardo Montalban (Part 2)

September 28, 2023 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

This week here at the Classic Video Showplace, we continue our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month with part two in our series on the legendary and diverse career of Richardo Montalban.

 

After having over a decade of success in full length films, Ricardo Montalban had seen enough of stereotypical Hollywood roles and decided to make the potential career-killing decision to leave Hollywood and turn down any roles that featured Spanish or Mexican actors in a stereotypical or prejudicial way.

He left Hollywood to star in the Mexican produced films, Untouched and A Life in the BalanceHe traveled to Italy to make The Queen of Babylon and Desert Warrior.  He starred on Broadway in Seventh Heaven and co-starred with Lena Horne singing calypso in Jamaica, a role which earned him a Tony Award.

He even played the role of a Japanese dancer in 1957’s Sayonara, a role which he believed was worthy of an Academy Award.

Montalban would return to Hollywood to star in numerous movies and in television guest appearances, provided that he played roles that did NOT enhance a prejudice of stereotypes against Hispanic actors.

Between 1960 and 1978, Ricardo starred in 27 films and was on over 50 television shows, including top hits like The Untouchables, Bonanza, Here’s Lucy, The Dinah Shore Show, Gunsmoke, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, The Virginian, Ironside, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, and Police Story.

For 13 years, he was the spokesperson for Chrysler motors and his pitches of the car’s “rich Carenthian leather,” struck a chord with the public.

In 1978, he was selected in one of his most memorable roles as Mr. Roarke on the ABC drama Fantasy Island.  A role which lasted seven years and made him a television icon.

In 1982, film director Nicolas Meyer was given the task of saving the Star Trek “enterprise,” after its first feature film disappointed critics and fans of the show.

Meyers and Executive Producer Harve Bennett went through the entire catalog of original episodes and selected Montalban’s performance on an episode called, “The Space Seed,” to build the movie that would eventually become, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

Ricardo revealed in interviews that he asked for the original tapes of that performance.  He said he wanted to build the anger his exiled character exhibited on that episode and add 15 years of frustration and revenge to recreate his memorable “Khan” for the film.

His performance not only made him one of the greatest villains in cinematic history but the movie, even today, is regarded as the greatest Star Trek film ever.  It saved the “Trek” franchise and spawned numerous television shows, webcasts, books, movies sequels and reboots, which are still being produced today.  (Ricardo’s legendary performance as Khan was recreated posthumously for the 2019 show, Star Trek: Short Treks.)

Montalban showed his versatility a few years later by starring as another memorable villain in the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker comedy classic, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!  (I personally think the last thirty minutes of that film is the funniest half hour in cinematic history.)

Ricardo would continue to be a popular television star on shows throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, in programs like Murder She Wrote, Dynasty, The Colbys and Chicago Hope as well as a voice-over actor on Kim Possible, Dora The Explorer, Family Guy, and American Dad.

Despite being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of life because of a birth defect that was triggered by a movie stunt accident (see “part one” of our blog for more on that), Ricardo continued to perform as a voiceover actor and had on-camera appearances on both the small and large screen, including being a part of the Spy Kids film trilogy.

Montalban died due to “complications from advanced age” at his Los Angeles home in November 2008–a little more than 14 months after the passing of Georgiana Young, his wife of 53 years.

Montalban was 88.

Ricardo Montalban’s work deserves iconic status, not just during Hispanic Heritage Month, but for all time.  His tremendous and diverse work on screen, the class he exhibited in interviews, the respect he showed his peers and his then-radical decision to risk his career in order to change people’s preconceived notions about Spanish and Mexican people, all put in a class by himself in the entertainment industry.

 

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.

Richardo Montalban

September 14, 2023 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Today, here at the Classic Video Showplace, we kickoff the celebration of Hispanic Heritage with a look at the legendary and diverse career of Richardo Montalban.

Richardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalban y Merino was born on November 25th, 1920 in Terreon to Spanish immigrants Genaro Montalban Busano and Ricarda Merino Jimenez.  

As a teenager he moved with his brother Carlos to Los Angeles and later to New York City, where he got his first role in a 1940 play titled, Her Cardboard Lover.   He started working as an extra or with small singing roles in short films (billed simply as “Ricardo”) and gradually began to build his screen time before his mother got ill and he returned to be with her in Mexico.

While in Mexico he began performing in Spanish-language films.  Between 1941 and 1947, he performed and later starred in 17 full length films–all produced in Mexico.

Former actor-turned-successful film director Norman Foster, who directed Charlie Chan films and worked with Orson Wells, Walt Disney and other Hollywood legends, was living in Mexico due to visa issues.  Forster saw Montalban’s work and featured him in several films, quickly making him a star.

During this time, Ricardo found the love of his life–Georgiana Young, who was half-sisters of movie stars Polly Ann Young, Sally Blaine and Lorette Young.  The latter became the star of her own television series and would later cast her brother-in-law frequently as a guest star in many different roles.  Georgiana and Ricardo were married in 1944, a bond that lasted until her death in November 2007.

Ricardo’s success in foreign films then caught the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayor producers, who were looking for an authentic looking/sounding Mexican bullfighter to play opposite Esther Williams in a movie called Fiesta.  The film was viewed as a success by both critics and movie-goers and MGM immediately signed Montalban to a long-term contract.

He then took on a variety of roles and starred with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  Montalban danced in a Frank Sinatra vehicle, The Kissing Bandit, he was Lana Turner’s love interest in Latin Lovers, he sang in multiple films with Williams, he served as a soldier in the wildly successful 1948 film Battleground, and was the lead in several film noir films around the turn of the decade.

Montalban was born with arteriovenous malformation in his spine which was aggravated when he was thrown from his horse and trampled on during the filming of the 1951 film Across The Wild Missouri.  Despite being in constant pain, he continued to work.  The condition never healed and later left him paralyzed below the waist down for the last 15 years of his life.

Instead of lashing out, Ricardo said in various interviews and speeches that he thanked God for the opportunity to use his physical disability to inspire him to create an organization to help support and promote people with handicaps.

In an article entitled “Dignity First” written by Jim Bawden for the Toronto Sun on February 22nd, 1986, Montalban revealed that he was disgusted with many of the Hispanic stereotypes he was either forced to play or refused to play–only to have them go to other actors who would take the role.

He felt so strongly about this that he later teamed with other Hispanic actors to form the Nosotros Organization, which means “We” in English.  Among the organization’s work included forming the Golden Eagle Awards, which identifies outstanding contributions by Latino actors.

By the mid-1950s, he had had enough of the stereotypes and decided to make the potential career-killing decision to leave Hollywood and turn down any roles that featured Spanish or Mexican actors in a negative or prejudicial way.

Montalban was just beginning to make his mark in both Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole.  In addition to changing many people’s views on Hispanic actors, he was about to impact the film industry in a way few others had ever done.

We’ll have more on the life and legacy of Montalban in two weeks here at “The Showplace.”

In the meantime, be on the lookout for Ricardo Montalban’s early television work on programs like The Loretta Young Show, Bonanza and other shows and movies, seen on the Astound TV Network.

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

 

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.

Petticoat Junction “Returns”

August 23, 2023 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.

 

On September 3rd, the Astound TV Network will officially launch our fall programming schedule.  Among the changes to the ATVN broadcast lineup includes the return of a classic 1960s sitcom to our schedule – Petticoat Junction.

The “Junction” was somewhat revolutionary for its time in that it featured a single, widowed mother raising three kids on her own.

Veteran radio and television character actress Bea Benaderet, after three decades of small roles and guest-starring on some of the most classic programs of all time, finally got her first chance at a leading role. (She actually played the role of Lucille Ball’s trusted neighbor on Ball’s radio show that would later become the Ethel Mertz role on the TV version of the program, I Love Lucy.)  

Benaderet’s character on “Junction,” Kate Bradley, was the anchor of a creative collection of zany characters that made up the fictional town, Hooterville, the show’s main setting.

Plot lines relied on feel good situations and familiar family issues with Benaderet often solving the problems of her daughters and their neighbors.  

One of the highlights of the cast was their live-in Uncle Joe, played by Edgar Buchanan, who became one of the more popular sit-com figures of the early/mid-1960s television landscape.

Another popular pairing of characters were the train conductors, Floyd Smoot and Charlie Pratt, played by Rufe Davis and Smiley Burnette.

Burnette wasn’t the only actor smiling after the first several seasons of the program. Petticoat Junction became one of the most successful comedies on television for the first several years of its run.

However, the cast and crew were in for more twists and turns than anyone ever found on the Cannonball’s train tracks over the next few years.  Tragically, the end of the 1960s not only started a decline in popularity for the “Junction” but some of the show’s most beloved characters met a dubious fate in real life.

We’ll have more on Petticoat Junction in a future blog entry here at the Showplace.

In the meantime, check out this program’s popular episodes making their return to the ATVN Wednesday programming schedule, starting on September 6th.

 

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

 

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.

Walter Matthau

June 8, 2023 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.

 

 While he may not be the most dynamic actor of the latter half of the 20th century, it’s hard to dismiss the acting contributions of Walter Matthau.

Walter John “Matthow” (he would later change the spelling of his last night once he got into show business) was born on October 1st, 1920 in New York City’s Lower East Side.  Matthau attended a Jewish summer camp as a boy where he first performed on stage.

After graduating from high school he briefly worked as a Montana forester, a gym instructor and a boxing coach before enlisting in the Air Force during World War II.  He served in the same squadron as James Stewart and flew bombing missions across Europe during the Battle of the Bulge.

Upon the completion of the war, Matthau returned to the States and decided to become an actor.

After playing bit parts in summer stock, Matthau’s first role on Broadway was an understudy to an 83-year-old English Bishop in Anne of the Thousand Days.  He shortly thereafter became a leading star on Broadway before making his film debut as a villain in The Kentuckian, a radio staff writer in 1957’s A Face In The Crowd (also starring a pre-Mayberry Andy Griffith) and a drunk in the 1958 Elvis-vehicle King Creole.

Matthau returned to the stage to win the first of many acting awards–a Tony for best lead actor in Broadway’s A Shot in the DarkHe then starred in Lonely Are The Brave (with Kirk Douglas) and teammed with Cary Grant, Audrey Heburn, James Colburn and others in the suspense-thriller Charade, before playing his most memorable role as the sloppy Oscar Madison in the stage play, The Odd Couple, winning his second Tony Award.

“Every actor looks all his life for a part that will combine his talents with his personality,” Matthau said in an interview with “Time” magazine in 1971. “The Odd Couple was mine. That was the plutonium I needed. It all started happening after that.”

Matthau then captured his first Academy Award in the 1966 film, The Fortune Cookie, playing shady lawyer, “Whiplash Willie.”  

He continued to excel in all different types of roles across all genres on the stage and big screen.

Matthau would receive Oscar nominations for best actor in the films, Kotch and The Sunshine Boys (he won a Golden Globe for Best Lead Male Actor for the latter film). He played the lead in the musical Hello, Dolly! and in the comedy, Cactus Flower.  He played a detective tracking down a mass murder in The Laughing Policeman, a bank robber on the run from the mafia in Charlie Varrack, a wise-cracking transit official in the action drama, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, he played three separate roles in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite and as the coach of an overachieving baseball team in  The Bad News Bears.

…and that was just between 1972 and 1976!

 

Matthau would continue to have success in films throughout the 1980s, including another Academy Award nominations for his roles in Hopscotch and First Monday in October.

While movie roles started to become scarce for the veteran actor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Matthau hit his stride again with three comedy blockbusters, Grumpy Old Men, its sequel, Grumpier Old Men and Out To Sea.  He also appeared in the controversial Oliver Stone political-thriller, JFK and as Mr. Wilson in the movie version of Dennis The Menace.

Walter’s son Charlie became a filmmaker and directed his father in 1995’s The Grass Harp. 

In Walter’s last film, Hanging Up, Matthau gave a powerful performance as a dying screenwriter. Charlie appeared in his father’s last film as the younger version of his father’s character.

Matthau died of a cardiac arrest after filming wrapped.  He was 79.

Check out Matthau’s masterful performance in the classic suspense film Charade and many others 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.

 

Mary Tyler Moore

May 4, 2023 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.

 

Later this month on HBO Max, a documentary will air on one of the most iconic women in television history – Mary Tyler Moore.  

  

Mary Tyler Moore born on December 26, 1936, to Irish-Catholic parents in the Brooklyn Heights district of Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood and was the oldest of three children.

At the age of eight, Moore’s family moved to California to give Mary greater access to working in television.

At 17, she auditioned and was the producers’ choice for the role of Danny Thomas’s daughter in the hit sitcom Make Room For Danny, but was later turned down for the role by Thomas himself who didn’t believe anyone with a nose that small would be a believable daughter of his (Thomas later regretted that decision).

At 19 she landed her first on-camera job as “Happy Hotpoint,” a tiny dancing elf on the Hotpoint commercials that aired on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet television show.  For shooting 39 different commercials she received $6,000 but was fired when she became pregnant and could no longer fit into the elf costume.

Instead, Moore got the role of the secretary on the radio hit-turned-TV show Richard Diamond, Private Detective.  During her pregnancy she was often shot behind a desk or not seen on camera at all, to cover her condition.  She also guest-starred in a number of popular television shows throughout the rest of the 1950s.

While with child, she married Richard Meeker in 1955 but the family was soon hit with tragedy when Mary’s only sister was found dead from a combination of alcohol and painkillers.

In 1960, Danny Thomas’s production company was looking to recast following a failed pilot for a Carl Reiner television show based on his own experiences while working as a television comedic writer on Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.  For the part of the star’s wife, Thomas remembered a talented young actress who had auditioned for his show, but only remembered that she had “three first names.”  After a search, they extended an invitation to Moore to be teamed with Dick Van Dyke as Laura and Robert Petrie on the program that would become The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Despite an 11-year gap in ages, the pairing of Moore and Van Dyke worked so well that Reiner abandoned his original idea to have most of the show focus on Rob’s “work life,” and instead wrote more lines for Moore and centered more stories around the couple’s home life.

During the show’s run, Moore married the man who would become her agent, Grant TInker, who would later play a huge role in another popular television show led by his wife.

Mary’s “Laura” character struck a chord with audiences and critics alike, earning her several Emmy nominations (winning twice) and became a cultural icon, emulating styles similar to Jackie Kennedy in the early 1960s.

The show was a ratings hit for all five years it was on, but both creator Reiner and star Van Dyke said they wanted to end the show “while on top” and pursue other projects.

For Moore, she took roles in several Broadway plays, including one as the lead in a story based loosely on the hit film Breakfast At Tiffany’s.  The production, however,  received such horrible reviews in Boston and Philadelphia theaters that the production closed before it ever reached New York.

Mary’s publicist claimed her singing performance had been hampered by a bout with bronchial pneumonia.  However, acting opportunities for Moore in the later 1960s were fewer and far between (save three movies in which she starred with Julie Andrews, Robert Wagner and Elvis Presley).

For Moore, both tragedies and even greater success in the entertainment industry awaited her.  We’ll look at the second half of Mary Tyler Moore’s legacy as an actress, an activist and a humanitarian, next week here at “The Showplace.”

In the meantime, you can see Mary Tyler Moore in her first iconic role as “Laura Petrie” on The Dick Van Dyke Show, as part of a steady rotation of classic television shows on ATVN’s Classic TV Showcase.  Tune in or set your DVRs for it each week at 9 am on Tuesdays mornings on the Astound TV Network. 

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

To watch the upcoming documentary on Moore’s career, call 1-800-Astound to add HBO Max to your video service package.

 

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.

New Spring ‘23 Programming Lineup

April 21, 2023 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.

  

With the return of the warmer weather, it’s time to announce a few of the new and returning additions to the Astound TV Network’s programming lineup – premiering April 30!

Our new lineup features the return of several popular classic shows, but first, we’re proud to announce a couple new additions to ATVN!

  • Hudson’s Bay
    This popular show stars Barry Nelson and George Tobias. It’s a member of the popular western genre that emerged in the 1950s dealing with stories connected to the Hudson’s Bay Company and its fur trade shortly after North America was colonized. Trappers, explorers, Native Americans, French and British alike all traveled the territory seeking their fortunes and finding fame and adventure. Hudson’s Bay will launch next Sunday morning at 9:30pm and air each week on Sundays and Friday at 9:30am.
  • Flash Gordon
    This serial is widely regarded as the best of the TV versions of this popular superhero genre, which was released in 1954. Here is the program’s description:  space hero Flash Gordon and his crew of the Galaxy Bureau of Investigation patrol space, battling space monsters, power-mad alien dictators and other threats to the stability of the universe. Flash Gordon will air on the ATVN schedule on Tuesdays at 11pm and Fridays at 9pm.

Among the most popular shows returning to the Astound TV Network lineup include:

  • Bonanza
    The Wild West adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they run and defend their Nevada ranch while helping the surrounding community. Bonanza airs Sunday and Friday mornings kicking off our programming day at 9am.
  • I Married Joan
    This American situation comedy initially ran on NBC from 1952-1955.  It starred Joan Davis and Jim Backus (who later played Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island and was the voice of Mr. Magoo) and featured the adventures of a scatterbrained wife and her husband, a mild-mannered community judge.  I Married Joan airs each Wednesday at 12pm on the Astound TV Network.
  • Dragnet
    This long running, real-life detective show follows the exploits of dedicated Los Angeles Police Department Detective Joe Friday and his partners, created by actor and producer Jack Webb.  While names were changed to protect the innocent, the stories are based on real police files. Dragnet airs on Wednesdays at 10am on ATVN.

Other popular shows returning to the Astound TV Network include: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Tate, Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicians, Adventures of Champions and The Buccaneers.

Be sure to check out all the other new shows to the Astound TV Network when our weekly schedule comes out next week

And be sure to bookmark the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN 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.

Spring ‘23 Trivia Edition

April 14, 2023 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 RCN TV 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 our readers are enjoying the nicer weather recently after this past winter season. We also hope that everyone has been enjoying reading background insights and little-known information about our classic programs, specials and movies on the Astound TV Network over the last several months.

Now it’s time to test your knowledge by taking the bi-annual Classic Video Showplace “Spring 2023” edition of our quiz.

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

Have fun!

  1. Boxer-turned-actor Coley Wallace portrayed what legendary heavyweight fighter, who held the championship title longer than any other boxer in history?
  2. Who is regarded as being the first African American television show host in history?
  3. Who was regarded as the most popular comedic actress in films in the 1930s, only to have her life tragically cut short in a plane crash during World War II?
  4. Jack Palance held the record for longest “drought” between winning Academy Awards for 39 years before that “honor” was broken by what actor in 2006?
  5. Speaking of Palance, what was the nickname of his Oscar winning role in “City Slickers?”
  6. What controversial, yet legendary, performer won the 1945 Academy Award for best actress for her portrayal as a divorced mother in the title role of “Mildred Pierce?”
  7. What actress starred in “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane” who was later immortalized in a song written by Kim Carnes?
  8. What unlikely “horror comedy” film acted as a springboard to launch the long cinematic career of Ava Gardner?

 

 

 

Answers:

  1. Joe Lewis
  2. Ethel Waters
  3. Carole Lombard
  4. Alan Arkin
  5. Curly
  6. Joan Crawford
  7. Bette Davis
  8. “Ghost on the Loose”

You can see many of the above mentioned classic films and television shows on our current programming lineup here on ATVN. To see the full listing of classic programming on the Astound TV Network, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

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.

Rose Marie (Part 2)

March 23, 2023 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.

 

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Showplace is featuring prominent female-driven classic programs and women who “changed the game” and made a lasting impact in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

  

As we featured last week here at “The Showplace,” Rose Marie’s career started while performing on a vaudeville stage at three years of age and then made her national radio debut singing less than a year later.

For several decades she had successes in various mediums and entertainment venues.  In 1960, she thought she realized her biggest accomplishment when TV creator/writer Carl Reiner asked her to star in a television sit-com show, later to be titled, The Dick Van Dyke Show.  However, after the first several episodes Marie quickly learned that her on-screen character would not be the featured role she was promised and, instead, would be a more supportive role to a relative newcomer to television, Mary Tyler Moore.

On the channel “TV Land’s” website which features a number of “legend” interviews, Reiner recalls a conversation in which he told Marie that the audiences “wanted to see Mary Tyler Moore’s legs and not [Rose’s] legs” as to the reasoning why the change in the direction of the show.

Though she felt betrayed and considered quitting the program, Rogers reasoned that she was still serving as a landmark character, portraying a woman working in a traditionally male-dominated profession.  Marie decided to continue working on the show to serve as a societal gamechanger and to provide a role model for women to look up to on television.

Following that show’s five-year run, Marie quickly found more work as another formidable on-screen female presence on The Doris Day Show, which ran for another five seasons.  Rose also became a regular (and frequently earned the honor of being a “center square”) on the wildly popular Hollywood Squares game show, hosted by Peter Marshall for 14 years.  She also continued performing and singing for several years back in Las Vegas while also touring around the world with Rosemary Clooney and others.

Rose continued to make guest-starring appearances on popular TV shows throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, including S.W.A.T., Adam-12, Kojak, Remington Steele, Wings, Suddenly Susan, The Hughleys, The Tracey Ullman Show, The Love Boat and Caroline In The City as well as guest starring in the Cagney and Lacey reunion show.

Her voice talents were used again later in her career, portraying the “voice” of the infamous (and still deceased) Norma Bates (Norman’s mother) on Gus Van Sant’s version of Psycho and also as a regular on the cartoon series Garfield from 2008-2013.  She also appeared with a number of her Dick Van Dyke castmates in various television roles, including The Alan Brady Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show: Revisited.

It was also on the Dick Van Dyke: Reunion show in 2004 in which she revealed she had been approached by many women who said her “Sally Rogers” character inspired them to work in many male-dominated fields or to go into jobs in which hiring a woman was “unthinkable.”

You can see Rose Marie in her classic role of “Sally Rogers” in episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, which is part of a regular rotation of classic television shows on ATVN’s Classic TV Showcase, seen every Tuesday at 9am on the Astound TV Network.

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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