Saturday, December 27, 2014

Are you looking for old and rare DVDs and Videos?

Hi Readers

Here is some good news for television fans and historians. If you are looking to obtain old and rare videos and DVDs, I have a suggestion for you.  Yesterday I received an email from a gentleman named Sydney P. Bloomberg.  Mr. Bloomberg worked at Fox/20th Century Fox and has a movie/theatre background.  He tells me he deals mainly with "rare, obscure, hard-to-find Foreign, 'Black,' Operfa, Theatre, TV Material, Silents-1965 Films,"  His clients include actors, film students, scholars, societies, librarians, archivists, seniors and authors doing research on worldwide cinema. He has a great deal of TV material on DVD and VHS such as U.S. Steel Hour, Playhouse 90, Climax! and more.

If you are interested in contacting Mr. Bloomberg regarding his videos and DVDs, you can email him with your "want list."  His email  address is   He "ships worldwide at N/Chg."

- Joanne

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Y&R Report (December 20, 2014): The Latest on the Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Christmas and the New Year are approaching and many of Geona City's citizens are in deep crisis. Nikki and Neil are both fighting the temptation to drink.  Faith has gone missing due to her father's stupidity and Michael is facing cancer.

As usual, the town is rife with secrets and lies.  Take Dr Stitch'em-Up, for instance. He wants to start fresh with Princess Victoria Newman, but he won't tell her about his little tryst with Ashley Abbott. Of course, we all know what that means.  Victoria will eventually discover the truth and suffer more heartbreak.

There are more secrets and lies too.  Queen Nikki is hiding her drinking from her family and King Victor is spying on Jabot.  Hillary is cheating on Neil . . . and the beat goes on!

Adam had multiple surgeries to make him resemble the dear, departed Gabriel.  Did he also have surgery to give him a new voice?  OOOPS!  We're not supposed to mention that.  If friends and family recognized his voice, they'd know his identity. If Chelsea recognized him, the storyline would be ruined.  I keep telling myself that soaps are not supposed to be logical and realistic.  Still, it's fun to point out all the unrealistic situations and the flaws in the plots.  Here's another one.  Can anyone tell me how Adam was able to enter the Abbott home and Chelsea's penthouse?  Are we to believe he had keys to both places?  Woops!

I have some sympathy for Adam because he never meant to harm Delia.  He didn't intentionally kill her.  It was an accident.  Yet everyone is treating him as if he were a cold-blooded murderer.  It's really driving him crazy to see Chelsea with Billy.  I don't think he'll be able to hold back much longer.  He's already revealed himself to Jack.  Jack won't tell Billy just yet because he doesn't want to interfere with Billy's attempts to put his life back together.  However, there will come a time when all of Genoa City will know the truth.

Sharon is in danger of losing custody of her daughter Faith.  Now Phyllis has made sure she has lost her job at Jabot too.  Nick Newman swears that he is not trying to get even with her.  He's about as believable as he was when he declared over and over that no secret would change his feelings about Sharon or destroy their relationship.  The man won't listen to reason.  Noah and Mariah have told him how wrong his is to provoke a nasty custody battle over Faith, especially at Christmastime, but he refuses to listen.  He continues to be a jerk.  As they said of the Grinch, your're a mean man, Mr. Newman!

Faith is missing due to Nick's childish behaviour, but never fear fans!  According to an Internet spoiler, Adam will locate the missing child and return her to her parents - just in time for Christmas. You didn't think Clueless police chief Paul Williams would be able to find her, did you?  Speaking of the Clueless One, I have to say he really made a pretty good Santa Claus.  He`s also going to be a daddy as Christine (aka the Cricketmeister) is going to have a baby.  However, I expect that there will be some complications in that storyline.  By the way, I enjoy watching Cricket`s facial expressions whenever Nikki is around.  She attempts to be cordial to Nikki, but inside she wishes that Paul`s old flame would stay out of their lives.  As for Clueless, he doesn`t help matters.  He`s always running to Nikki`s assistance and now he and Nikki are planning to co-host an engagement party for Dylan and Avery. Cricket is just thrilled about that!


Our astute observer, Patsy from Sarasota, Florida, has written me with some of her observations.  She notices everything!

Talking about architectural details of house, we've all noticed that Young and Restless is using outdoor shots of downtown and cast homes.
The exterior of Victoria's house does not match the interior front door pictures. It shows a trellis to the side of the door. Such details!!
Jack's exterior home shot also does not match his front door. Just saying.

Rosie from Richmond Hill, Ontario isn't convinced that Adam was the one who ran down Delia.  She thinks Kelly may have done the deed.  I think that may be a possibility because there is much we still don't know about Dr. Stitch's sister.  She was pretty torn up about losing her own son, Sam, and she may have lost it.


Y&R has sent out a casting call for a 20-something male named "Matt Wilkins."  "Matt" may be a cover for the character of Kyle Abbott.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if that turns out to be the case. Now that it has been determined that Kyle and Supergirl Summer are not brother and sister, I expect Kyle to return from New York.  Oh yes, and I wouldn't be surprised if he still hasn't gotten over the Supergirl.  There will likely be a new Kyle in the New Year.

Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) has been ill due to a reaction to some medication.


On Sunday, December 7, I attended a Young and Restless high tea and auction at Toronto's Westin Harbour Castle Hotel.  The annual event is in support of the March of Dimes, a very worthy charity. It is sponsored by Global TV and the driving force behind it is Kate Linder, Genoa City's favourite maid, Esther Valentine.

Leslie Roberts of Global News hosted and other Y&R stars in attendance were Sean Carrigan (Dr. Stitch), Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) and Mishael Morgan (Hilary Curtis).  There was a silent auction to raise money for March of Dimes.  In addition, some of the clothing worn by Y&R actors on the show was auctioned off.  There was a shirt worn by Dr. Stitch, the dress worn by Esther at Mrs. Chancellor`s funeral, sweaters worn by Devon Hamilton and Nick Newman, and a dress worn by Hilary.  A trip to Los Angeles to visit the set of Y&R was also auctioned off.

Kate Linder is warm and wonderful.  She does so much to support the March of Dimes. She said her character, Esther, was only scheduled to make one appearance on Y&R.  She was referred to as `the maid`in the script.  Viewers responded well to her and she remained on the show.  She was given the name "Esther" and then fans chose the name "Valentine" as her last name.

Kate strongly emphasized that if you have any comments and suggestions about the show you should go the CBS website.  She said the powers that be listen to the fans and she encouraged people to write in with their opinions.

Sean Carrigan was constantly joking around, so I was not surprised to learn that he is a stand-up comedian (He's also a former professional boxer).  I also got the impression that, like his Dr. Stitch character, Sean is a ladies' man.

Mishael Morgan, I discovered, is Canadian.  Although born in Trinidad, she was raised in Mississauga, Ontario and attended York University in Toronto.  Mishael was able to come home for the event and her husband was in attendance.

During the autograph session, I spoke briefly with Kate, Bryton and Mishael.  I asked Mishael why Tyler and Leslie have not appeared on the show regularly for quite a while.  She replied that their status is still unclear.  A decision has not been made yet about them.  Then I talked to Bryton about the possibility that Neil would regain his sight without HIlary and Devon knowing and catch them together.  He said that that could still happen.  He also revealed to me that there is going to be an upheaval in the Winters family in the New Year.

Sean Carrigan - Stitch

Autograph Signings

Kate Linder - Esther

Bryton James - Devon

Bryton James - Devon

Bryton James - Devon

That's all for now.  It's always fun to watch Y&R during the holiday season.  A very Merry Christmas to my readers and I hope you have a happy and healthy New Year. The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, January 3, 2015.  See you next year.

- Joanne

Friday, December 19, 2014

50th Anniversary of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special

This Christmas marks 50 years since Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was first broadcast on television.  The classic Yuletide special originally aired on the NBC network on Sunday, December 6, 1964.  It was sponsored by the General Electric and produced by a New York-based animation company called Rankin/Bass.  Arthur Rankin, Jr., the producer and director behind the Rudolph Christmas special, passed away on January 30, 2014 at the age of 89.  The New York-born Rankin partnered with Jules Bass to form an organization  known for its use of stop-motion animation and celebrity voices.

Rudolph is the longest-running Christmas special on television  (A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted in 1965, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas originally aired in 1966).  The beloved holiday tale is based on the song composed by American songwriter, Johnny Marks. Marks took his inspiration from the story of an outcast reindeer, created by his brother-in-law, Chicago retail employee Robert L. May in 1939 as a department store promotion.  The song was recorded by cowboy singer Gene Autry and became a huge hit in December of 1949.

The 1964 television special added several new aspects to the story of Rudolph and also characters that do not appear in either Robert L. May's poem or the song by Marks.  For example, in the TV movie, it is established that Donner is Rudolph's father and that Comet is the coach of the Reindeer Games.  In the special, there are new characters such as prospector Yukon Cornelius, Clarice, the doe who is sweet on Rudolph, Bumble, the Abominable Snowman and Hermy, the elf who yearns to be a dentist. Another addition to the original story is the Island of Misfit Toys, a place of refuge for unwanted toys.  Among the misfit playthings are Charlie-In-The-Box, a misnamed jack-in-the -box, King Moonracer, the winged lion who rules the island, Spotted Elephant, the polka-dotted elephant who the footman in King Moonracer's castle, a train with square wheels, and a bird who swims instead of flies.

Here are the opening lines of the Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer special, as spoken by its narrator, banjo-playing Sam the Snowman.

If I live to be 100, I'll never forget that big snow storm a couple of years ago. The weather closed in and, well you might not believe it, but the world almost missed Christmas. Oh, excuse me, call me Sam. What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a talking snowman before?

Sam the Snowman was voiced by and strongly resembled American folk singer Burl Ives.  Ives, who died in 1995 at the age of 85, sang one of the most popular songs from the special, "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," That song, also written by Johnny Marks, has become a perennial holiday standard in its own right.

Burl Ives with Sam the Snowman puppet

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has a decidedly Canadian flavour about it. Although the stop motion animation was filmed in Japan, the complete soundtrack was recorded at the RCA studios in Toronto.  Most of the singing and speaking was provided by the voices of Canadians, under the stewardship of Canadian actor Bernard Cowan.  Vancouver-born Cowan, who died in 1990, was an announcer on many CBC TV series such as Front Page Challenge and Wayne and Shuster.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was voiced by a woman, Toronto-born voice artist Billie Mae Richards.  Richards died of a stroke in Burlington, Ontario on September 10, 2010.  She was 88 at the time of her passing.  Billie Mae was the mother of Canadian pop singer and songwriter Judi Richards.

Billie Mae Richards, 

Toronto-born Paul Soles, now 84 years old, provided the voice of Hermey, the misfit elf who wants to be a dentist.  In an article that appeared on the CBC News website on December 5, 2014, Soles gives interviewer Janet Davison his opinion as to why the popularity of the Rudolph TV special has endured in this age of computer-generated animation.  Soles believes the main reason for the special's timeless appeal is that "Everybody's been to some degree separated out, found wanting, not quite fully fitting in.  Either you're too tall, you didn't make the team, or you were too short or something like that. That's one of the universal elements of the show."  Soles himself did not feel completely accepted growing up Jewish in Toronto.

In her December 11, 2014 piece in the Toronto Star ("Rudolph's Toronto connection"), reporter Barbara Turnbull quotes Paul Soles on the reason why so many of the major voices for Rudolph were recorded in Toronto.  "In Toronto, explained Soles, we had the very best pool of English-speaking radio actors in the world. They came here because we were great and we worked cheap.  We had no union protection."  It's not surprising that Rankin/Bass took note of the Toronto talent pool.

Hermey the Elf

Paul Soled - the voice of Hermey

Canadian actor Larry D. Mann provided the voice for Yukon Cornelius, the high-spirited prospector in search of silver and gold.  Mann died earlier this year, on January 6, 2014, at the age of 91.   Mann started out as a disc jockey at CHUM Radio, a then-popular station in Toronto,

Yukon Cornelius

Larry Mann

Carl Banas, a longtime Toronto radio personality and actor, voiced the Elf Foreman and various misfit toys.  Banas also co-starred alongside John Vernon, as police detective Byron James on the Canadian television drama Wojeck.  Wojeck aired on the CBC from 1966 to 1968.

The unnamed Elf Foreman is the chubby and leader at Santa's Workshop.  He conducts the elves in their rendition of "We are Santa's Elves" and his goatee makes him resemble conductor and recording artist Mitch Miller of "Sing Along with Mitch" fame.

Elf Foreman

Carl Banas

The Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special was released in the VHS format by Sony Wonder in 1998 and on DVD in 2000.  Classic Media released a 50th anniversary edition on Blu-ray in November of 2014.


* Television viewers were so touched by the plight of the unfortunate misfit toys that they complained that Santa Claus had not been shown to keep his promise to deliver the misfits in his yearly Christmas sleigh ride.  As a result, a new scene was added to subsequent broadcasts in which Santa makes his first stop at the Island of Misfits to pick up the toys.

* Whatever happened to the original puppets from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special?  In 2006, Kevin Kriess, the owner of the Time and Space Toys store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, purchased the original Santa Claus and one of the Rudolph puppets from the TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and had them restored.  Kriess obtained the the puppets from a private seller whose aunt had been Arthur Rankin's secretary for many years.  The original puppets were not considered valuable at the time and were eventually discarded.  The secretary, who has remained anonymous, was granted permission to take them home.  They were stored in the attic of the her home and were damaged by her children..  Only Santa and one the three Rudolph puppets survived all the wear and tear.  According to Rankin/Bass historian Rick Goldschmidt, the Yukon Cornelius figure melted.

The puppets are not large and they are made of wood, wool and wire.  The restored Santa puppet is only about 5.7 centimetres (5 inches).in height.

Kevin Kreiss, who agreed not to disclose what he paid for the puppets as part of the deal, had this to say about the appeal of the Rudolph special:in a 2006 article by Phil Kloef in the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "It goes back to a time before there were a lot of entertainment options, [before] you could watch anything you wanted on DVD.  The airing of a Christmas special was an event you looked forward to. You marked your calendar, and the whole family sat down together and it became a Christmas ritual."

- Joanne

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Y&R Report (December 6, 2014): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Did you enjoy the episode in which a drunken Nick Newman dreamed about facing all the women in his life?  I certainly did.  I called it a Nicholas Newman extravaganza.  Maybe the experience will help Mr. Dimples recognize that his behaviour hasn't been so great and that he's a hypocrite to condemn Sharon so harshly. I wouldn't hold my breath for that to happen, though.

Meanwhile, Nick's sister, Princess Victoria Newman, has named her new baby daughter Katherine (Katie for short) after the late Katherine Chancellor.  That was a good choice, in my opinion.  The big news, however, is that the little girl's father has finally been revealed.  The proud daddy is Billy Boy Abbott, which doesn't sit well with Billy's former father-in-law, The Great Victor Newman.

Victor is once again a fan of Stitch.  However, I don't think Stitch'em-Up realizes what it would be like to have The Big Man as a father-in-law if he should ever marry Victoria.  He doesn't yet understand how controlling Victor can be.  J.T. and Billy sure found that out soon enough.

Now that it has been determined that Billy Boy is Kate's biological father, I certainly hope we don't learn later that Stitch is actually the daddy.  We've already had enough tampering with DNA tests in relation to Summer's paternity.

How do you like Justin Hartley as the new Adam?  He's definitely the male model type - but can he act?  That remains to be seen.  I'll reserve judgment until I see more of him.  However, I'm doubtful he has the acting range and ability of Michael Muhney, the former Adam.

There seems to be a connection between Devon and Gwen, his not-so-pretend girlfriend.  At least Gwen is falling for Devon. Devon doesn't seem to mind Gwen's attention either.  In fact, this charade appears to be backfiring on Hilary.  She's jealous of Gwen already and she's trying to discourage her from becoming too interested in Devon.  Yet, the impact of Neil finding out about Devon and Hilary would be lost if he actually got together with Gwen.

Dylan has an engagement ring for Avery - but will they ever get married?  I don't think so.  I think their relationship is doomed.  Joe Clark will see to that.  The real estate man is very slick and I wouldn't trust him.

Ashley has it bad for Stitch'em-Up.  He's definitely a ladies' man and he doesn't need any love potion perfume to be attracted to her, as we saw on yesterday's episode.  However, I hope Abby doesn't fall for him too.  We don't need another story about a mother and daughter competing for the affections of the same man.  Stitch wouldn't mind the attention though.

Victor Newman just has to stick his nose into everything.  Now he's paying some guy named Tobias to spy on Ashley and to find out about the new product she's developing.


Here are some comments from regular contributor CC from Etobicoke, Ontario:

Phyllis is still the crafty one, isn't she.
She knows what Jack and Kelly are up to and knows exactly what she is doing when she sets those situations up and comes out with the verbal digs.
Jack is just reduced to being a bumbling, stumbling idiot as all this happens to him.

CC also suggests the possibility of a future plot with Nick and Adam falling for the same woman . . . again

There's no doubt, CC, that Phyllis is crafty.  However, I'm still trying to figure out her end game.  Does she really want Jack or is she just setting him that he'll end up with neither her nor Kelly?  Phyllis is quite vindictive and I doubt she'll let Jack get away with what he's done.  She has already made him squirm by requesting Kelly as their wedding planner, but I don't think that's good enough for Phyllis.

Your are absolutely right, CC, that Jack has been reduced to, as you put it so eloquently, "a bumbling, stumbling idiot"  As I pointed out in my last Y&R Report, Jellyfish Jack has been behaving like a spineless wimp.

As for the possibility of Nick and Adam falling for the same woman . . . again, I'm not so sure. Nick will probably become involved with Sage, once he finds her and thanks her for rescuing him from the bear trap, but Adam's mind is on Chelsea right now.  He may eventually become involved with Sage, but it doesn't look that way to me right now.

Nick is finished with Sharon for the time being, but don't rule out the possibility that they will get together . . . again sometime in the future.  The Genoa City merry-go-round keeps turning and turning.

I also heard from Fifi from Collingwood, Ontario:

Fifi says that she enjoyed the "touching scene" between Phyllis and Michael at the Katherine Chancellor Park. 

Y and R honours friendships over time.
Also, I think the actress who plays Chelsea looked better with her natural darker brown hair.
I am also impressed with the way they are developing the relationship between Kevin and Mariah.

Well, Fifi, I have to agree with you about Chelsea's hair.  She definitely looks better with her natural brown hair.  Speaking of hair colour, what do you think of Supergirl Summer's as a brunette?  I think the Supergirl looks more attractive with blond hair.

As for Mariah and Kevin, I am also impressed with they way her relationship with Kevin is developing gradually.  It will take a while, but they will eventually get together.  By the way, I like Mariah more than I used to, especially since she's started to look upon Sharon as her mother.


Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) has suffered a devastating loss.  His 24-year old son, Julian St. John, passed away on November 23, 2014..  Julian, an artist, took his own life after a long battle with severe depression and addiction.  He would have turned 25 on December 5th.

Julian's mother is Kristoff' St. John's ex-wife, Mia St. John, a professional boxer. She has vowed to continue to promote mental health issues.

That's all for now.  I would like to remind you that the next Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, December 20, 2014.  I'm looking forward to all the Christmas happenings in Genoa City.  

- Joanne