Saturday, November 27, 2010


Recently I've been watching DVDs of early episodes of The Donna Reed Show which aired on ABC from 1958 until 1966.  The show centred around the adventures of the Stone family - Dr. Alex Stone, a pediatrician, his wife Donna, and their two children, Mary and Jeff.  Daughter Mary was played by Shelley Fabares who left the show in 1963 to pursue a movie career.  She co-starred with Elvis Presley in three movies - Girl Happy (1965), Spinout (1966) and Clambake (1967).

Shelley was born Michelle Marie Fabares on January 19, 1944 in Santa Monica, California.  She is now 66 years old and has enjoyed a long and successful acting career.   Here are some of her notable television appearances and roles.

* She appeared in a 1964 episode of The Twilight Zone entitled "Leather Jackets."

* She played Joy Piccolo in the 1971 television movie, Brian's Song.

* From 1981 until 1984,, she portrayed Francine Webster on One Day at a Time.

* From 1989 until 1997, she played the role of Christine Armstrong on Coach.

Shelley Fabares sang "Johnny Angel" during the fourth season of The Donna Reed Show.  She performed the teenage love ballad on a February 1, 1962 episode of the series entitled "Donna's Prima Donna."  "Johnny Angel" became a huge hit and reached the top of the Billboard charts on April 7, 1962.  It sold more than a million copies and earned Shelley a gold record.

Watch a video of Shelley Fabares (as Mary Stone) singing "Johnny Angel" on the The Donna Reed Show before her adoring television mother.  Just click on the link below.

To watch a Good Morning America interview with Shelley (circa 1991), click below.

Here are some interesting tidbits about Shelley Fabares.

* Shelley is the niece of singer/dancer Nanette Fabray. Nanette Fabray's real name is Ruby Bernadette Nanette Fabares.

* Sheley has been married to actor Mike Farrell (best known for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt on M*A*S*H.) since 1984. 

* In October of 2000, at the age of 56, Shelley underwent a liver transplant in Los Angeles.  Her liver had deteriorated as a result of an autoimmune disorder. 

- Joanne

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I recently discovered that the late heavyweight boxing champion, Rocky Marciano, once hosted his own television show.  Many people contend that Marciano was the greatest heavyweight of them all, greater than even Mohammed Ali.  He never lost a bout in his career.  His record was 49-0.  Of his 49 wins, 43 were knockouts. 
Marciano was heavyweight champion of the world from September 23, 1952 until his retirement in April of 1956.  After his retirement, he started to appear on television.  He hosted a ten minute weekly weekend program called The Main Event.  The show originated on the long-defunct Du Mont television network and was eventually syndicated and shown on CBS.
Click on the link below to watch a video of Marciano interviewing “The Great One,” Jackie Gleason, in 1960.  It’s a gem.  I really enjoyed watching it and I hope you do too.
Rocky Marciano made an appearance in an episode of Combat! entitled “Masquerade” which originally aired on October 1, 1963.  He played a soldier who greets a Red Cross truck.  His role was uncredited.  In 1963, Marciano also appeared on some episodes of The Keefe Brasselle Show, a short-lived musical/variety show.  According to The Complete Directory of Prime Time Network TV Shows, its main claim to fame was that a young up-and-coming singer named Barbra Streisand belted out Soon It’s Gonna Rain on its premiere episode.
Sadly, Rocky Marciano was killed in a plane crash in Iowa on August 31, 1969.  His death occurred on the eve of his 46th birthday.

- Joanne

Friday, November 19, 2010


Former talk show host Dick Cavett turns 74 years old today.  Born Richard Alva Cavett in Nebraska on November 19, 1936, Cavett was a gold-medal gymnastics champion in his home state.  He began his career as a stand-up comic and eventually wrote for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  He hosted The Dick Cavett Show on ABC from 1968 to 1975 and on public television from 1977-1982.  He is the author of a recent book entitled Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets.
A diminutive man with a deep, rich voice, Cavett gained a reputation as the thinking man’s talk show host.  He had the ability to engage his guests in witty and intelligent conversation.  His ratings were not as high as those of Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson, but he was a favourite of the critics.
Dick Cavett currently writes a blog for the New York Times.  To view Cavett’s blog, click on the link below.

To watch a video clip of Dick Cavett talking to Orson Welles, click on the link below.

I have begun a new page on this blog in which I have compiled a list of American and Canadian television shows and the cities or towns where they were located.  To view my list, just click on the "Where Does That Show Take Place?" tab above.
- Joanne

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ed Asner!

Happy Birthday to Edward Asner, a television great.  Ed is 81 years old today.  He was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 15, 1929.  His parents, Lizzie and Morris David Asner, were Russian immigrants who raised their son in a Jewish Orthodox household.  The young Ed attended the University of Chicago where he was active in student drama.

Ed Asner starred in two of television's best shows, The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977) and its spin off, Lou Grant (1977-1982),  His portrayal of the crusty Lou Grant is unforgettable.  Asner is the only actor to win an Emmy award for playing the same role in both a sitcom and a drama. 

During the course of his impressive career, Edward Asner has appeared in some popular and very highly-regarded mini-series.  Most notably, he earned an Emmy for his portrayal of Captain Davies, the man who sold Kunta Kinte into slavery in Roots.  He also played another villainous role in Rich Man, Poor Man as Axel Jordache. 

Most recently, Ed Asner provided the voice of Carl Fredrickson in the acclaimed Oscar-winning animated film Up.

To watch a video of an interview with Ed Asner, click on the link below.

- Joanne

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How old was Lucy when Little Ricky and Desi Jr. were born?

All right, let's banter!

QUESTION: A reader wants to know how old Lucy was when she had her baby on I Love Lucy

ANSWER:  Lucille Ball was born on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York.  She gave birth to Little Ricky on the show and to her own son in real life, Desi Arnaz Jr., on the very same day - January 19, 1953.  So, to answer the question, Lucy was 41 years old when she gave birth. 

Thanks to the reader.  I hope to hear from you again.

By the way, Lucy's sidekick, Vivian Vance, was born on July 26, 1909. She was only two years older than Lucille Ball although her character, Ethel Mertz, was supposed to be somewhat older than Lucy.  William Frawley, who played Ethel's husband, Fred Mertz, was born on February 26, 1887.  That means that William Frawley was over 22 years older than Vivian Vance.

- Joanne

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Television Quiz #1

I have a challenge for you today.  From time to time, television quizzes will appear on this website.  Here is the first one. There are ten questions.  Good luck.


1. On The Beverly Hillbillies, how was widower Jed Clampett related to Granny?

A.  She was his great-grandmother.

B.  She was his late wife's grandmother.

C.  She was his late wife's mother.

D.  She was his great aunt.

E.  She was his stepmother.

2.  On The Beverly Hillbillies, what was Granny's real name?

A.  Pearl Bodine

B.  Loretta Clampett

C.  Alice May

D.  Daisy Moses

E.  May Bodine

3.  Buddy Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, was the original choice for a famous movie role.  What was that role?

A.  Gene Kelly's part in Singin' in the Rain

B.  Jack Haley's role as The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz

C.  Gene Kelly's role in An American in Paris

D.  Leslie Howard's part as Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Wind

E.  The James Mason role in the Judy Garland version of A Star is Born

4.  On I Love Lucy, what was the hometown of Ethel Mertz, Lucy's best friend.

A.  Albuquerque, New Mexico

B.  Jamestown, New York

C.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

D.  Newark, New Jersey

E.  Phoenix, Arizona

5.  On I Love Lucy, the original name of the nightclub where Ricky Ricardo performed was The Tropicana.  When Ricky took ownership of the club, what did he rename it?

A.  Club Cuba

B.  Club Babalu

C.  The Havana Club

D.  Ricky's Mambo Palace

E.  Club Ricardo

6.  On I Love Lucy, when Lucy returned from Europe, what food item did she try to smuggle on the airplane in a baby blanket?

A.  cheese

B.  salami

C.  ham

D.  sausage

E.  baloney

7.  Which famous baseball player appeared on an episode of Leave it to Beaver?  

A. Mickey Mantle

B.  Willie Mays

C.  Don Drysdale

D.  Sandy Koufax

E.  Yogi Berra

8.  Who played Lucy Ricardo's old school teacher in an episode of I Love Lucy entitled "Lucy Meets Orson Welles" (Season 6, Episode 3, Air date: October 15, 1956)?

A.  Barbara Stanwyck

B.  Bette Davis

C.  Ellen Corby

D.  Jane Wyman

E.  Tululah Bankhead

9.  Beginning in 1957, Marjorie Lord played Kathy, the second wife of nightclub entertainer Danny Williams on Make Room for Daddy (The Danny Thomas Show).  Jean Hagen played his first wife from 1953 to 1956.  In 1956, Hagen quit the show.  Rather than replacing her, Danny Thomas had her written out of the show by having her die.  What was the name of Danny Williams' first wife?

A.  Betty

B.  Susan

C.  Doris

D.  Margaret

E.  Jane

10.  What was the fate of Edith Bunker of All in the Family?

A.  She was run over by a car and died.

B.  She left Archie and moved in with her daughter Gloria.

C.  She had Alzheimer's disease.

D.  She was poisoned.

E.  She died of a stroke.


1.  The answer is C.  Granny was Jed's mother-in-law, the mother of his late wife.  

2.  The answer is D.  Granny's real name was Daisy Moses.

3.  The answer is B.  Buddy Ebsen was the original choice to play The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.  He had to forgo the role because he was allergic to the silver make-up required for the part.

4.  The answer is A.  The hometown of Ethel Mertz was Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

5.  The answer is B.  Ricky Ricardo changed the name of The Tropicana to Club Babalu.

6.  The answer is A.  Lucy Ricardo tried to smuggle cheese back from Europe.

7.  The answer is C.  Pitcher Don Drysdale appeared on an episode of Leave it to Beaver entitled "Long Distance Call" (Season 5, Episode 37, Air Date: June 16, 1962).  He later made another guest appearance on The Brady Bunch.  To view a clip of Drysdale on those two shows, click on the link below.

8.  The answer is C.  Ellen Corby, better known as Grandma Walton on The Waltons, played Lucy's former teacher in that episode in which Orson Welles appeared.

9.  The answer is D.  Margaret was the name of Danny Williams' first wife.

10.  The answer is E.  Jean Stapleton, who portrayed Edith Bunker, on All in the Family, wanted to leave her role.  In the first episode of the 1980-81 season of Archie Bunker's Place (the successor to All in the Family, Archie was seen grieving over Edith's unexpected death from a stroke.

- Joanne

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tribute to Art Carney

Carney is a champ.

- Jackie Gleason
1960 interview with Rocky Marciano on The Main Event
Art Carney passed away on November 9, 2003, seven years ago today.  He died in Connecticut at the age of 85.  He is best remembered for his role as Ed Norton on The Honeymooners.  Norton was Ralph Kramden’s best friend and everybody’s favourite sewer worker.  He always wore his trademark rumpled fedora and and dressed in a plain white t-shirt with a vest over it. He liked to call his friend “Ralphie boy.”
Although he made his reputation playing Ed Norton, Carney was a terrific actor and gave some fine performances outside of The Honeymooners.  He won an Academy Award in 1974 for his role in Harry and Tonto.  He played a retired teacher in the film.  As a fan of The Twilight Zone, I also remember Art Carney’s touching performance as a drunken, down-and-out Santa Claus of that show.  He starred in an episode entitled “The Night of the Meek.”
To watch a video tribute to Art Carney, click on the link below.

All right, I admit it.  I watched The Partridge Family in the 1970s.  David Cassidy, who rose to stardom as Keith Partridge on the show, was the Justin Bieber of that era, although he was not quite as young as Bieber.  The teenyboppers would swoon when he sang I Think I Love You.  Unfortunately, Cassidy never found much success after the Partridge Family went off the air.  He is now 60 years old and recently he joined the growing list of actors who have had their mug shots plastered all over the Internet. On the night of November 3, 2010, he was arrested in Florida for driving under the influence.
-  Joanne

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Betty White and Mary Tyler Moore

Soon after writing about Betty White in my last blog entry, I read that Mary Tyler Moore is set to appear on Betty’s current sitcom, Hot in Cleveland.  On January 19, 2011, MTM will be a guest star on the second-season premiere of the popular show.  The two television stars have not appeared together on screen in 33 years.  I’m looking forward to watching that reunion.  They were so great on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Actually, it would be wonderful to see all the cast members of that show together again.  Are you listening Oprah Winfrey?  That seems to be your specialty since you recently reunited the casts of Love Story and The Sound of Music.  Sadly, Ted Knight who played pompous news broadcaster Ted Baxter, is no longer with us.  He died of cancer on August 26, 1986 at the age of 62.

To watch a video of a 1986 news broadcast announcing Ted Knights’s death, click on the link below.

Hey, Little Mosque on the Prairie fans (yours truly is a fan), our show will be returning on CBC for a fifth season in January.  There will be 13 new episodes for us to enjoy.  In the season finale, Ammar and Rayaan finally admitted their feelings for each other.  Their romance should shake things up in Mercy, Saskatchewan.
By the way, remember when networks produced 26 or 27 episodes per season of a series?  Due to rising production costs, those days are gone.

- Joanne

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Betty White

As an octogenarian, television pioneer Betty White has seen a resurgence of her career.  She has recently hosted Saturday Night Live and a younger audience has become acquainted with her.  Betty Marion White was born in Oak Park, Illinois on January 17, 1922.  She is a sprightly 88 years old and busier than ever.
Click on the link below to watch a video clip of Betty White singing in the opening sequence of The Betty White Show in 1954.
To watch a 1954 video clip of Betty White in the old Life with Elizabeth series, click below.
Life With Elizabeth was a syndicated series.  65 episodes were produced from 1953 to 1955.  It was the first starring vehicle for Betty White.  Each program consisted of three separate incidents in the life of Elizabeth and her husband Alvin.  Alvin was played by Del Moore.
- Joanne