Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Television Quiz


Halloween is upon us and it's time and there has been a tradition of Halloween-themed television specials and episodes of your favourite shows.  Test your knowledge with this not-so-spooky ten-question quiz.

1.  In the celebrated 1966 Halloween special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Linus goes to the mail box to send his annual letter to the Great Pumpkin.  He can not reach the mail box and his sister, Lucy, refuses to assist him.  How does Linus manage to open the mail box?

A.  He uses a step ladder.

B.  He walks on stilts

C.  He uses his blanket to open the box.

D.  He opens it with a broom stick.

E.  Charlie Brown hoists him up.

2.  In an episode of The Cosby Show, Vanessa Huxtable (Tempestt Bledsoe) hosts a Halloween party. Her mother, Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad), dresses up as a well-known celebrity.  Name the celebrity.

A.  Oprah Winphrey

B.  Aretha Franklin

C.  Whoopi Goldberg

D.  Tina Turner

E.  Queen Latifah

3.  In a 2005 Halloween episode of The Office, Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) is ordered to downsize. While everyone at the office celebrates Halloween, Michael agonizes about whom to fire.  However, he still manages to wear a costume in the episode and dresses up as . . .

A.  Ebenezer Scrooge

B.  Pirate

C.  Wizard

D.  Robin Hood

E.  Two-headed Michael

4.  The long-running sitcom Home Improvement, starring Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson as Tim and Jill Taylor, is known for its Halloween episodes.  One of those episodes, "A Night to Dismember," revolves around youngest son Mark Taylor's (Taran Smith) attempt to do what?

A.  Make a horror film

B.  Win a prize for the best Halloween contest at a party

C.  Collect the most Halloween candy

D.  Imitate Dracula

E.  Knock on the door of a haunted house

5.  Not surprisingly, Bewitched always provided some good Halloween-themed entertainment.  The show's 1966 Halloween episode centres on a weird Halloween party that Endora (Agnes Moorhead) holds at the home of her daughter Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) and son-in-law Darrin Stephens.  What legendary athlete just happens to show up at the party?

A.  Arnold Palmer

B.  Willie Mays

C.  Micky Mantle

D.  Wilt Chamberlain

E.  Jack Nicklaus

6.  In another Halloween episode of Bewitched, something happens after Samantha reads a Halloween book to her daughter Tabitha.  What happens?

A.  Samantha disappears and becomes a character in the book.

B.  Tabitha's voice begins to sound like the voice of a scary old ghoul in the book.

C. Tabitha brings to life three spooks from the book. 

D.  Darrin becomes a ghost and only witches can see him.

E.  Tabitha is unhappy when Darrin takes the book away and she casts a spell on her father, turning him into a pumpkin.

7.  In the animated special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, poor Charlie Brown keeps receiving something other then candy when he goes trick-or- treating with his friends.  What does he keep getting?

A.  Coal

B.  Crumbled cookies

C.  Carrots and celery

D.  Acorns

E.  Rocks

8. Who played a hilarious version of Dracula in the 1979 Halloween special The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (This is your bonus question so give yourself an extra points if you answer it correctly)?

A.  Judd Hirsch

B.  Vincent Price

C.  Bela Lugosi

D.  Paul Lynde

E.  Ed Asner

9.  What was the title of the Dr. Seuss animated Halloween special?

A.  How the Grinch Stole Halloween

B.  Halloween is Grinch Night

C.  Halloween in Whoville

D.  The Scary Old Grinch

E.  The Spooks of Whoville

10.  What Hollywood actor appeared on a 2001 Halloween episode of Friends?

A.  George Clooney

B.  Robert Downey Jr.

C.  Sean Penn

D.  Johnny Depp

E.  Tom Cruise


1.  C

Linus uses his trusty security blanket to open the mail box and throws in his letter to the Great Pumpkin.

2.  D

Clair Huxtable dresses as Tina Turner at her daughter Vanessa's Halloween party in an episode of The Cosby Show entitled "Halloween" (Season 2, Episode 6).  She wears a miniskirt and sparkly top. The episode aired on October 31, 1985. 

3.  E

In the Halloween episode of The Office which aired on October 18, 2005, Michael, played by Steve Carrell, dresses up as a two-headed Michael.

4.  A

In the episode of Home Improvement which aired October 28, 1997 (Season 7, Episode 5), Mark informs his parents that he is in a film class and that he intends to make a horror movie.

5.  B

The Bewitched Halloween episode, "Twitch or Treat," aired on October 27, 1966.  Willie Mays made a brief cameo appearance as himself in that episode.

To watch "Twitch or Treat," click on the link below.

6.  C

In the Bewitched Halloween episode, "The Safe and Sane Halloween," Tabitha materializes three spooks from the pages of her book.  The spooks follow Samantha and Tabitha for an evening of trick-or-treating.  This episode aired on October 26, 1967.

7.  E

While his friends receive various Halloween treats during trick-or-treating, Charlie Brown gets a rock from every house he visits. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz said that when the show first aired, fans worldwide sent in candy "just for Charlie Brown."

8.  A

Judd Hirsch played Dracula in The Halloween That Almost Wasn't, a story in which Dracula hears rumours that Halloween may cease. He orders all the other monsters to become more scary or leave his castle.

9.  The 1977 Dr. Seuss Halloween special was titled Halloween is Grinch Night.  In this special, the evil Grinch comes down the mountain to terrify the Whos of Whoville when the "sour-sweet wind" blows.

To listen to the song "Grinch is gonna get you" from Halloween is
Grinch Night, click on the link below.

10.  C.

Sean Penn was a guest star on a Halloween episode of Friends that aired on November 1, 2001.  In the episode, Monica (Courtney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) hold a costume party and Penn plays a character named Eric.

- Joanne

Friday, October 14, 2011

Judy Carne: The Sock It To Me Girl's Sad Life

Judy Carne has two major claims to fame.  She was married to actor Burt Reynolds from 1963 until 1965 and she was the Sock-It-To-Me Girl on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, the influential sketch comedy television show of the late 1960s and early 1970s.  On the popular program, hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, Judy frequently wore bikinis and her body was often covered with graffiti.  With her trendy shag haircut and perky English accent, she popularized the catchphrase "Sock it to me!"

The daughter of a London fruit merchant, Judy was born Joyce Botterill on April 27, 1939 in Northhampton, Northhamptonshire, England.  Young Joyce displayed talent at an early age.  She received training at the Pitt-Draffen Academy of Dance and was accepted into the prestigious Bush-Davis Theatrical School for Girls in East Grinstead near London.  An instructor at the school began calling her "Judy," telling her that "Joyce" was not a good professional name.  The second part of Judy's stage name was taken from a character named Sarat Carn in the play Bonaventure by English playwright Charlotte Hastings.

In 1956, Judy Carne made her first television performance in a British program titled The First Day of Spring.  After building a respectable career on British TV, she was ready to seek fame and fortune in America.

Judy came to the United States in 1962, just ahead of The Beatles and the "British Invasion."  Producer Cy Howard brought her to Hollywood and cast her as Heather Finch in a new series called Fair Exchange.  While on a promotional tour for the show, she met an up-and-coming actor named Burt Reynolds. 

Judy married Reynolds on June 28, 1963.  Their marriage, however, was a disaster and they divorced acrimoniously in 1965.  Of her short-lived union with Reynolds, Judy made this comment: "Actors and actresses shouldn't be together.  Each is so involved in himself that there isn't room at the dinner table for the two of them."

Despite their failed marriage and bitter divorce, Burt was there for Judy in later years to help her overcome financial woes and drug abuse.  When he guest-hosted The Tonight Show, he invited Judy to appear with him.

Judy and Burt - wedding photo

By 1966, Judy had a leading role on an American television show, appearing in the romantic comedy Love on a Rooftop opposite the late Pete Duel.  She played the role of Julie Willis, an art student from a wealthy family, who marries David (Duel), a struggling apprentice architect.  They live in a small, walk-up apartment with a stairway leading to the roof where they enjoy a spectacular view of San Francisco.

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In came along in 1968 and Judy became an instant celebrity on one of the hottest shows on television.  The fast-paced show was right in tune with the Swinging Sixties and it made household names of Judy and the other performers including Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worley and Goldie Hawn.

On Laugh-In, Judy Carne usually found herself at the receiving end of numerous pranks such as being doused with pails of water whenever she mouthed her signature phrase, "Sock it to me!." She was a good sport and audiences like her for it but eventually she had enough of the endless pratfalls.

Judy with Goldie Hawn on Laugh-In

Judy in her Laugh-In Days

After only two years on the show, Judy decided not to renew her Laugh-In contract.  Tired of the grind, she feared being typecast and wanted to showcase her singing and dancing talents in a more serious manner.  Her decision to leave the show did not turn out particularly well.  With the notable exception of her role as Polly in a Broadway revival of The Boyfriend, Judy's post-Laugh-In career was rather lacklustre.  She appeared in a couple of mini-movies and an unsuccessful Las Vegas music act.  She also did the TV talk show circuit and guested on game shows.

Things might have worked out better for Judy if the pilot for a sitcom produced by Sheldon Leonard had been picked up in 1970.  She was poised to star as a journalist in a television series tentatively titled Poor Judy.  It never happened.

In May of 1970, 31-year-old Judy Carne married for a second time, this time to television producer Robert Bergmann, 23.  According to Time magazine, they were wed at dawn in a Unitarian ceremony in Manhattan's Cenral Park before some 100 witnesses.  Unfortunately, Judy's marriage to Bergmann proved to be even more short-lived and disastrous than her marriage to Burt Reynolds.  They divorced in 1971.

During the 1970s, Judy's career declined severely and her personal life became a hellish nightmare filled with pain, heroin addiction and degradation.  On June 16, 1978, she was involved in a near-fatal car crash along with ex-husband, Robert Bergmann. The two had been celebrating Judy's recent acquittal on charges of heroin possession. 

After stopping to eat near Bergmann's mother's cottage in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Robert was determined to drive back to his mother's house despite his inebriated state and slurred speech.  A frightened Judy pleaded with him to let her drive.  Threatening to leave her stranded, he began speeding down the narrow country road.  He lost control of the vehicle and it plunged down a steep hill. 

Bergmann was thrown from the car and escaped safely.  Judy, on the other hand, was thrust into the windshield and suffered serious injury.  She broke her neck and was laid up in a "halo" traction for  months.  After being released from the hospital, she returned to England with her parents who had come to visit her.

Judy returned to the United States in 1981 to sue Robert Bergmann for her medical expenses.  She was awarded a total of $95,000 - $45,000 for lost wages and $50,000 for pain and suffering. 

In 1985, Judy Carne's harrowing autobiography was published.  Titled Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside: The Bittersweet Saga of the Sock-It-To-Me Girl, the book explicitly chronicled her descent into a life of drug addiction and debauchery.

In 1993, Judy attended the 25th anniversary of Laugh-In and appeared on a televised Laugh-In Christmas show.  Now 72 years old, Judy hasn't been in the spotlight for many years.  She resides in her hometown of Northhampshire, England and there have been unconfirmed reports that she married twice more.


* During her Laugh-In heyday, in July of 1969, Judy appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed "American Moon," a tribute to the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.  Sullivan, who had a penchant for mispronouncing names, introduced her as "Judy Crane."

* Pete Duel, Judy Carne's co-star on Love on a Rooftop, went on to star on his own television series, Alias Smith and Jones.  Judy guest- starred on an episode of the series.  Sadly, Pete Duel committed suicide on December 31, 1971.  He was 31 years old.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE (September 8, 2015): Judy Carne passed away on September 3, 2015.  She died in hospital at Northampton, Northamptonshire England, the place of her birth. Her passing on September 3rd was confirmed today by a spokeswoman from Northampton General Hospital.  

Judy was 76 years old.  According to newspaper reports, she had suffered from pneumonia. Her cousin, Marnie Butcher, announced her death on Facebook with the words, "RIP Judy Carne, you're not suffering anymore."

Friday, October 7, 2011

On Reality Television, Candid Camera and Allen Funt


Yes, I know, reality shows are wildly popular.  Yes, I know that many people find them extremely entertaining.  I'm just not one of them.  It's not that I have a universal dislike for them.  Some are all right.  Others, however, are very distasteful and quite egregious.  Let's just say I'm just not that into reality television. If that takes me out of the loop, so be it!

I prefer well-written situation comedies and dramas with a good plotline and decent acting performances.  I also enjoy viewing documentaries, biographies and political satire.  Nevertheless, I recognize that reality shows are probably here to stay.  It's a matter of economics.  They are not costly to produce since they don't have to include big-name stars who demand huge salaries.

Reality shows did not start with the Survivor series.  The genre has actually been around for quite awhile.  One can even argue that it goes back to the days of radio.  After all, Alan Funt's Candid Camera began on radio as Candid Microphone on June 28, 1947.

Allen Funt brought his concept of a hidden camera reality series to television on August 10, 1948.  The first television version was also called Hidden Microphone, but the title was changed to Candid Camera in 1949 when the show moved to NBC. 

Funt was the creator, producer and host of this long-running series based on practical jokes and pranks. The premise of the show was to eavesdrop on unsuspecting people and discover how they would react to unusual or unexpected situations. Allen himself participated in many of the gags.  

The reactions of the "victims" to these unexpected situations was the source of the show's humour.  Their reactions were often quite hilarious, although often embarrassing to them.  Here is an example of one of the pranks.  A patron at a bowling alley would roll the ball, and it would return back down the chute without finger holes.  The befuddled bowler would try to figure out what was going on.  Some of Allen's other ploys consisted of talking vending machines, restaurants that served ridiculously small food portions and actors who got into bizarre predicaments and then asked passersby to come to their aid.

Some of the funniest situations on the show were not set-ups, but natural occurrences, such as as the burly police officer who seemed to perform a classical ballet while motioning to direct traffic. 

Allen's biggest coup was his foray into Moscow without the permission or knowledge of the Russian authorities.  He smuggled himself, cameramen and hidden cameras over the then-Soviet border.  Then he brazenly staged many of his favourite stunts on the streets of Moscow - and this was during the days of the Cold War!

Candid Camera was on and off the air for many years and Allen worked with four different co-hosts: Arthur Godfrey (1960 to 1961); Durward Kirby (1961-1966); Bess Myerson (1966-1967) and his son Peter Funt.  In the 1970s, Funt introduced a syndicated version of the show that included both old and new material. 

Peter Funt

CBS aired several Candid Camera specials during the 1989-90 season and Allen's son, Peter, began serving as co-host of the program.  When Allen suffered a stroke in 1993 and became incapacitated, Peter Funt took over as host.  Allen Funt died in Pebble Beach, California on September 5, 1999.  He was 84 years old.

Peter Funt, was raised in New York and worked on the set of his father's show during summers.  He made his first appearance on Candid Camera at the age of three when he posed as a shoeshine boy who charged $10 for a shine.  In 1986, Peter married Amy Suzanne Meltzer.  They have two children, Stephanie and Daniel, and they reside in central California.

In 1996, Peter Funt produced and hosted Candid Camera's 50th Anniversary special.  In 1997, Peter co-hosted the show with Suzanne Somers.  The show later moved to PAX TV where Peter was partnered with Dina Eastwood until 2004.

Editor's Update:  February 12, 2013

I have had difficulty in finding Peter Funt's exact date of birth. However, a spring 2010 article in the University of Denver Magazine states that he is 62 years old (Peter is an alumnus of the  university.  In 1967, he interviewed Martin Luther King on his DU radio show).  

A further online search, shows a Peter T. Funt, born in 1947, who is related to Amy Funt.  That's the one.  He is listed as 65 years old and currently lives in Pebble Beach, California.  

- Joanne