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Right now, in the afterlife, Chuck Barris is meeting Chuck Berry.  Oh, if only David Letterman could have introduced them.  “Chuck Barris, Chuck Berry.  Chuck Berry, Chuck Barris.”

Crappy TV show creator, songwriter, novelist and possible CIA assassin, Chuck Barris, died at the spry age of 87.

Barris’ first game show was “The Dating Game” (precursor to the far superior “Love Connection”).

The show was a woman on one side of a wall asking questions to three men on the other side and her picking a date without seeing them.  There were always double entendres and dirty jokes and everyone hoped that she would pick the uggo just to see her expression when he was revealed at the end.

He next show was The Newlywed Game where three sets of Newlyweds were quizzed on how well they knew each other.  There were always double entendres and dirty jokes and someone would win a washer and dryer at the end.

Then there was “The Gong Show.”  Possible the worst TV show this side of Molly Dodd.

The show was basically the early episodes of an “American Idol” season.  You know, where

chuckbarris

Yeah, this guy was a national treasure.

you watch to see how awful people are.

Barris hosted the show because the planned host was treating the show as a talent show and not as a parody of one.

A bad act would perform and it was truly awful, someone like Jamie Farr would bang a giant gong to end it all.

They developed running characters in the show.  Like The Unknown Comedian who was a stand-up who told intentionally corny jokes while wearing a paper bag over his head.  And Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, the show’s prop master who would dance to “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” while people off stage threw random props at him.

But mostly, the show was just crap.

Baris wrote an autobiography called Confessions of a Dangerous Mind which was made into a George Clooney movie in 2002.

In the book, Barris claimed that he worked for the CIA as an assassin in the 1960s and the 1970s.

A CIA spokesman at the time said “It sounds like he has been standing too close to the gong all those years.”

Plus, they were too busy bugging the phones of Presidential candidates (as they are known to do).

This hit goes to: Josh!  Josh takes the lead with 120 points!  With seven months left, can he hold onto his lead?

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Josh: 120 – (Florence Henderson – 20, Grant Tinker – 10, Gordie Tapp – 10, Terry Edwards – 60, Chuck Barris – 20)

Jami: 100 – (Fidel Castro – 10, Bernard Frost – 20, Zsa Zsa Gabor – 10, George Michael – 50)

Wes: 90 – (Holly Dunn – 50, John Glenn – 10, Debbie Reynolds – 20, David Penrose Buckson – 10)

Morrigan’s Mirror: 60 – (William Christopher – 20, Mary Tyler Moore – 20, Moulton “Pete” Marston – 20)

Lee Kwang Soo!: – 50 (Alice Drummond – 20, Dr. Henry Heimlich – 10, Hashemi Rafsanjani – 20 )

Tailgating w/ Jesus: 50 – (Ralph Branca – 10, Craig Sager – 40)

M: 30 – (Sir John Hurt – 30)

Team Sushi: 30 – (Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka – 30)

Gianna: 20 – (Leonard Cohen – 20)

Mary: 10 – (Chuck Berry – 10)

Joanne: 10 – (Judge Joseph Wapner – 10)

…to DIE!

Judge Joseph A. Wapner, “The People’s Judge,” definitely died at the spry age of 93.

He definitely  died a full 5,431 days after his faithful bailiff, Rusty.  Wapner definitely never loved Rusty.  Yeah, definitely.

Wapner definitely presided over the syndicated “The People’s Court” (as opposed to the US courts which are clearly there for corporations and definitely not people) from 1981-1993.

Wapner proved himself to be a firm, reassuring paragon of fairness and efficacy in the application of the law.  And no, I did not write that sentence.  

In high school, Wapner definitely dated Lana Turner.

Wait-  WHAT!?!??!  He dated Lana Turner!?!?  

wapner

Boy, if drinking it is a sentence, it’s gotta be good!

The guys in law school probably thought Wapner was full of shit.  “Yeah, suuuuure you dated Lana Turner… and you were probably bangin’ Joan Fontaine on the side.”

Thanks to the success of Wapner and the people’s court, we now have sayings like, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

Man, we’ve definitely gone down hill.

Wapner was one of the most trusted people in America.  He parlayed this into selling root beer.

I know, right?

This hit goes to: Joanne!  It’s been a rough year for Joanne so far.  This is her 1st hit!

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Jami: 100 – (Fidel Castro – 10, Bernard Frost – 20, Zsa Zsa Gabor – 10, George Michael – 50)

Josh: 100 – (Florence Henderson – 20, Grant Tinker – 10, Gordie Tapp – 10, Terry Edwards – 60)

Wes: 90 – (Holly Dunn – 50, John Glenn – 10, Debbie Reynolds – 20, Devid Penrose Buckson – 10)

Morrigan’s Mirror: 60 – (William Christopher – 20, Mary Tyler Moore – 20, Moulton “Pete” Marston – 20)

Lee Kwang Soo!: – 50 (Alice Drummond – 20, Dr. Henry Heimlich – 10, Hashemi Rafsanjani – 20 )

Tailgating w/ Jesus: 50 – (Ralph Branca – 10, Craig Sager – 40)

M: 30 – (Sir John Hurt – 30)

Team Sushi: 30 – (Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka – 30)

Gianna: 20 – (Leonard Cohen – 20)

Joanne: 10 – (Judge Joseph Wapner – 10)

Veteran character actor Bernard Fox died at the spry age of 89.

Bernie appeared as Dr. Bombay on 19 episodes of Bewitched, which ran from 1966-72.  He took a lot of credit for the role.  “If I’d just gone for an ordinary doctor, you wouldn’t have heard any more about it. But because I made him such a colorful character, that’s why they wanted him back.”

Yeah, it’s all about you, Bernie.  It’s not like the show had writers or anything…  Dude, you were in 19 episodes of a show that ran for eight seasons.

Fox reprised the role on the 1977 sequel Tabitha.  Tabitha was on the air for one season.  It

fox

“I can’t believe I’m being force to work with Billy-fucking-Zane!  I hate this movie!”

aired 10 years after the character was born but she was somehow in her 20s.  I guess her mom wiggled her nose through puberty.

He also reprised the role in 1999 for a few episodes of Passions.  [“Timmy’s down the bloody well!”]

His résumé also includes such awful movies as  Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), The Private Eyes (1980), Yellowbeard (1983) and Titanic (1997). He specialized in playing upper-crust characters.

Fox is noted for having appeared in two Titanic films released 39 years apart.  The 1st, vastly superior version A Night to Remember from 1958 and Jame’s Cameron’s epic boil on the history of cinema’s ass, Titanic.  

[Here I am assuming A Night to Remember is vastly superior.  I have not seen the movie.  But how can it not be vastly superior to Cameron’s piece of crap?   Move over rose, you selfish bitch!  There’s plenty of room on that door for the love of your life!]

This hit goes to: Jami!  Jami is now tied for 2nd place and is a mere 30 points behind the leader.

Bean is still at ten points.  Good times.

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Wes: 60 – (Holly Dunn – 50, John Glenn – 10)

Josh: 30 – (Florence Henderson – 20, Grant Tinker – 10)

Jami: 30 – (Fidel Castro – 10, Bernard Frost – 20)

Lee Kwang Soo!: – 20 (Alice Drummond – 20)

Gianna: 20 – (Leonard Cohen – 20)

Tailgating w/ Jesus: 10 – (Ralph Branca – 10)

Old Alan Young died at the spry age of 96.

Young starred in the 60’s sitcom “Mr. Ed” where he had a somewhat inappropriate relationship with a horse.

His character, Wilbur Post, kept this relationship a secret from everyone, including his wife.  Well… obviously from his wife.

George Burns financed “Mister Ed” and told his co-owner they should cast Young because “he looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to.”  Now there’s a compliment.

Born Angus Young, he decided that name was just a little too rock and roll for him, so he opted to change it to Alan.

His father was a mine worker and a tap dancer.  I’m not on intimate terms with the mining

alan-young

Fun fact: Mr Ed liked to snuggle after.

community, but I will guess that mining requires very little Fosse choreography.

For a while, Young served in the Royal Canadian Navy… which I assumed was another sit-com.  I mean, a Canadian Navy?  That’s comedy gold.  I mean how silly is that concept?  But it turns out that there actually is a Canadian Navy.  Boats and all.

Alan may have won an Emmy for his role in “Mr. Ed.”  But that performance will forever be eclipsed by his voice work as Keyop in “Battle of the Planets.”  It was from that roll that countless birds got their name.

This hit goes to: Nathaniel!  Nathaniel gets on the board in a big way with 10 points!  So, if you wish that you had more points this year, just think:  at least I’m not Nathaniel.

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Jami: 170 – (Scott Weiland  – 60, Pat Harrington, Jr. – 20, Umberto Eco – 20, Rob Ford – 60, Erik Bauersfeld – 10)

Lee Kwang-Soo (Giraffe): 100 – (Daniel Fleetwood – 70, Abe Vigoda – 10, Nancy Fucking Reagan! – 10!, George Martin – 10)

Occupy the Casket: 100 – (Natalie Cole – 40, Vanity – 50, Boutros Boutros-Ghali – 10)

Joanne: 90 (Joey Feek – 60, Joe Garagiola – 10, Julius La Rosa – 20)

Team Sushi: 80 (Chyna, aka Joanie Laurer – 60, Morley Safer – 20)

The Girl on Fire: 80 (Wayne Rogers – 20, René Angélil – 30, George Gaynes – 10, James Noble – 10, Doris Roberts – 10)

Age of Aquarius: 60 (William Guest – 30, Merle Haggard – 30)

Harmony: 60 (Harper Lee – 20, George Kennedy – 10, Frank Sinatra, Jr. – 30)

Mortician’s Daughter: 50 – (Justice Antonin Scalia – 30, Bud Collins)

Tailgating w/ Jesus: 50 (Dolph Schayes – 20, Meadowlark Lemon – 20, Monte Irvin – 10)

Mostly Mike: 20 (Marvin Minsky – 20)

Gianna: 20 (Robert Stigwood – 20)

Nathaniel: 10 (Alan Young – 10)

James Noble, known for playing Governor Eugene Xavier Gatling on the TV show “Benson,” died nobly at the spry age of 94.

Noble’s noble demeanor was tapped to play the noble governor of the noble state of California in a Nobel Prize nominated performance.  [They have that, right?]

Noble’s career really took off after “Benson.”  He went on to do great works in shows like  “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “The ABC Afterschool Specials,” “Perfect Strangers,” and, of course, his role that altered the history of mankind on “Father Dowling Mysteries.”  

But let’s talk about his seminal work: The NBC TV movie, “Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again.”  

The year was 1990.  Edward Scissorhands was cutting up shrubs, the world’s first web

Benson

Nobel with the cast of “Benson.”  (He’s the black one.)

server went online, people were being dazzled by the eeriness of “Twin Peaks,” Kevin Costner gave his wooden performance in “Dances With Wolves,” and Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory” was melting Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice, Baby.”

The stage was set to turn Archie comics into a live action movie!  It was about time we made a movie to chronicale the antics of these wacky teeneagers… or, better yet, make a movie about them all grown up instead!  (really?)

Apparently, the Archie gang became yuppies.  I’m trying to picture Jughead commuting in that stupid crown-lookin’ hat he wears.  

Jughead raps the song “Sugar, Sugar.”  Does this even need a punchline?  Isn’t that a punchline in itself.

All I know is, I must see this movie.  Lucky for me, it’s available in it’s entirety on YouTube!

Since his time with the Archie Gang, Noble is been in nothing that I have ever heard of.  (“Scene One”?  “Peak Practice”?  “City Central”?  Anyone?…  Anyone?…   Bueller?…  Bueller?…

…Bueller?

This hit goes to: The Girl on Fire!  Mary moves up to 70 points, tied with Joanne!

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Jami: 160 – (Scott Weiland  – 60, Pat Harrington, Jr. – 20, Umberto Eco – 20, Rob Ford – 60)

Lee Kwang-Soo (Giraffe): 100 – (Daniel Fleetwood – 70, Abe Vigoda – 10, Nancy Fucking Reagan! – 10!, George Martin – 10)

Occupy the Casket: 100 – (Natalie Cole – 40, Vanity – 50, Boutros Boutros-Ghali – 10)

The Girl on Fire: 70 (Wayne Rogers – 20, René Angélil – 30, George Gaynes – 10, James Noble – 10)

Joanne: 70 (Joey Feek – 60, Joe Garagiola – 10)

Harmony: 60 (Harper Lee – 20, George Kennedy – 10, Frank Sinatra, Jr. – 30)

Mortician’s Daughter: 50 – (Justice Antonin Scalia – 30, Bud Collins)

Tailgating w/ Jesus: 50 (Dolph Schayes – 20, Meadowlark Lemon – 20, Monte Irvin – 10)

Age of Aquarius: 30 (William Guest – 30)

Mostly Mike: 20 (Marvin Minsky – 20)

Gianna: 20 (Robert Stigwood – 20)

Long-time talk show host and man credited with creating the modern late night talk show, Joe Franklin, died at the spry age of 88.

Franklin started his talk show in 1950.  He was a fixture on late-night radio and TV in New York, working at WJZ and WOR, and recently at the Bloomberg Radio Network.  Wait… recently?  He was still working?!?

I used to hold Franklin over every year… until I realized that I was in a room full of people who did not know who Joe Franklin was, nor did they care.  So, I started drafting him around round 15 or 20.

No longer will fellow draftees have to hear the story about me shaking his cold-dead hand.

Franklin shown in his office on a special episode of "Hoarders" that aired 15 years after Franklin's actual death.

Franklin shown in his office on a special episode of “Hoarders” that aired 15 years after Franklin’s actual death.

That being said: I met Joe Franklin at a Senior Citizen trade show in Atlantic City in 2000.  He was being lead around by a handler because the man was a shuffling corpse.  I shook his hand and it, literally, was a weak, cold, dead hand that I touched.  I swore that the man was decomposing there on the spot.  I half expected flesh to come sliding off as I took my hand away.

“The last two weeks were the first time he ever missed a broadcast in over 60 years” friend and former producer Steve Garrin said in a statement.  The last two weeks?  How is this physically possible?!?

Franklin is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Longest Running Continuous On-Air TV Talk Show Host, more than a decade longer than Johnny Carson’s legendary run.  Everyone around New York knew who this guy was.  They even did a SNL skit in him (which was great).  He was a New York legend.

“Joe went unexpectedly and passed away Saturday night,” Garrin said.  “Unexpectedly?”  Are you fucking kidding me??!?!  Joe Franklin died in the 90s and you are just realizing it now!

If you said” Joe passed away Saturday night.  He was unexpectedly 88,” THAT I can believe!

I can’t believe that he was only 88 years old!  That’s fucking crazy!  As a teenager Franklin followed Al Jolson around.  Al-fucking-JOLSON!  Come on!  And he was only 88?  Now that shit is what one might call unexpected.

According to his website, he interviewed over 300,000 people.  But even more impressive was his cameo in “Ghostbusters.”  God, that movie is great.

This hit brings me up to 30 points!  Still far from Jami’s 70, but within striking distance of Bean!

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Jami: 70 – (Diem Brown)

Nikki: 60 – (Stuart Scott – 60)

Tailgating with Jesus: 40 – (Jean Béliveau – 20, Ernie Banks – 20)

Fearless Ghoul Pool Administrator: 30 – (King Abdullah – 10, Joe Franklin – 20)

Anne: 30 – (Joe Cocker – 30)

Team Sushi: 30 – (Marion Barry – 30)

Mostly Mike: 20 – (Ralph H Baer – 10, Edward W. Brooke III – 10)

The Girl on Fire: 20 – (Mario Cuomo – 20)

I-Steve (a.k.a: The Arch-Bishop!): 20 – (Fiorenzo Angelini – 10, Jorge María Mejía – 10)

The Mortician’s Daughter:  10 – (“Little” Jimmy Dickens – 10)

“All in the Family” actress, Jean Stapleton, died at the spry age of 90.

In a statement, her husband said, “Aww, geeze, wouldja stop with the dyin’ already and get me my beeya?”

Image

Stapleton’s reaction upon learning about her death

Stapleton will be fondly remembered as Edith Bunker, the innocently naive dingbat to counterbalance Archie’s ignorant racist.  The show was known for addressing hard-hitting issues that other TV shows of the time (and even today) were afraid to touch. 

We will never forget the funny yet poignant episode where Archie and Meathead went to the Soup Nazi.  Or the time when Gloria didn’t have a square to spare.  And, of course, the classic where Edith won the contest. 

In 1980, Stapleton asked to be written off of “Archie Bunker’s Place,” the sad, sad spin-off from a once great show. So Edith Bunker died of a stroke.  As a testament to her acting, it is because of this, most people thought that the actress herself was dead.

Besides being the dingbat wife in “All in the Family,” she will be remembered by friends as one who pined for the old days.  “She loved the way Glen Miller played songs that made the charts.”  Added a family friend, “She longed for a time when girls were women and boys were men.”

Her son, John, remembered how she “could clean the floor by using that Hoover again.”

She lived in the EmpireState. 

She never felt the need to loose her weight.

Her long-time friend and mechanic pointed out how well her old LaSalle ran, “It ran great.”

For years, Jean has been a staple to us in the Ghoul Pool.  Picked by: ME!  and held over by: ME!  Yes, I may not win this year, but I have TWO new holdovers next year!

I’m on fire! (for me)  I am kickin’ ass!  (comparatively)  I am only 20 points behind Bean!  Woo-hoo!

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Dawn-n-Mike – 140 (Oscar Niemeyer – 0, Norman Joseph Woodland – 10,Patti Page – 20, Reg Presley – 30, Hugo Chavez – 50, Frank Thornton – 10 – George Jones – 20)

Babysitter – 120 (Clive Dunn – 10, Ravi Shankar – 10, Margaret Thatcher – 20, Chi Cheng – 60, Pat Summerall – 20)

The New Dick in Town – 120 – (Jack Klugman – 10, Mindy McCready – 70, Jonathan Winters – 20, Jeanne Cooper – 20)

Joanne – 80 – (Freddy Schmidt – 10, Robert Bork – 20, C. Everett Koop – 10, Moon Mullen – 10, Virgil Trucks – 10, Dr. Joyce Brothers – 20)

Gianna – 80 – (Lucille Bliss – 10, Bonnie Franklin – 40, E. L. Konigsburg – 20, Deanna Durbin – 10)

Tailgating with Jesus – 70 – (Marvin Miller – 10, Earl Weaver – 20, Jerry Buss – 20, Gus Triandos – 20)

Sean P. McFeeley I – 50 – (Patty Andrews – 10, Dick Trickle – 30, Jean Stapleton – 10)

Council of Geeks – 50 (Richard Griffiths – 40, Ray Harryhausen – 10)

Jami – 50 – (Larry Hagman – 20, Annette Funicello – 30)

The Girl on Fire – 50 – (Dear Abby – 10, Ed Koch – 20, Milo O’Shea – 20)

Team Sushi – 50 – (Conrad Bain – 20, Roger Ebert – 30)

 “Imaginary” Steve – 40 (Al Neuharth – 20, Ken Venturi – 20)

Nikki the Bad-Ass – 10 – (Stan Musial – 10)

“Sister” Mary Sheila – 10 (Lee MacPhail – 10)