This 60s quiz will test your expert TV watching skills!
In the Brady Bunch family's home-screen-home, the comedic power of the classic TV show came from combining a zany maid, two grown-ups, six kids, a dog and a cat.
Adam Rich, who rose to fame on 1977’s ‘Eight Is Enough’ reportedly died on Saturday, January 7 — read more
Wriggling her witch's nose, Elizabeth Montgomery was TV's sweetheart. But a new book reveals her far more salacious 'other' life.
Though I watch a great deal of television, I also read quite a bit. I'm mostly interested in pop culture non-fiction and I like to share some of the books I read with my readers here on the blog. You may remember my reviews of the Hollywood biographies of Raymond Burr, James Garner, Garry Marshall, Alison Arngrim and Melissa Gilbert. Click on each of those names for the link to see those reviews again. I've also reviewed two works of fiction with a Christmas movie connection: Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith and The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern. Click on those titles for the link to see the reviews again. Mary McDonough played middle child Erin on the 1970s family drama The Waltons. Another book I've recently finished is actress Mary McDonough's autobiography Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin Walton published last year. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to get my own personal copy of the book signed by the author last December. If you'll remember, I attended the 40th anniversary screening of the Christmas TV movie The Homecoming last year (click HERE for the link to The Homecoming) and I served as the moderator at that event for The Waltons cast reunion (click HERE for the link I wrote about that event). Aaahhh...The Waltons. Mary McDonough as Erin is in the bottom right corner, wearing the yellow dress. Waltons fans will be delighted to discover that McDonough's book is chock full of details about her experiences during the ten year run of the hit TV series. Approximately 150 of the 250 pages in the book are devoted to her experiences on the The Waltons. Mary, of course, played the character of the middle sister Erin which was based on Earl Hamner's real-life sister Audrey. I was especially interested in the details she reveals about the joy, boredom and hijinks of shooting those iconic scenes of the family gathered around the dinner table--scenes found in nearly every episode of The Waltons. I was also intrigued about what other television shows were being shot on the studio backlot near The Waltons set, such as the Shaolin Temple set from Kung Fu as well as the set for Eight is Enough. I can't help it--I'm a TV junkie! I was also touched by a story she retells explaining that it was actor John Ritter (who played the Reverend Fordwick for a couple seasons on The Waltons) who first suggested to Mary that she keep a journal to express herself--an act of encouragement and insight that she credits helped change her life for the better. More recently, McDonough can be seen on TV playing one of the meany moms on the sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. McDonough does discuss her work after The Waltons including the horror movies Midnight Offerings and Mortuary. She also shares about her work she's found very challenging but most rewarding: speaking out against the manufacturers and big business industry of dangerous silicone breast implants. Drawing from her own difficult experiences, she's working to change laws and help educate women about getting the accurate information they need to make decisions about their bodies and their health. McDonough on the set of Will & Grace. If you're looking to see Mary in a holiday program after The Waltons, you can find her in the 2002 episode of Will & Grace entitled "All About Christmas Eve"(Mary can be seen in the lobby at the performance of The Nutcracker that Will, Grace and Leo attend). Mary is also in the 2007 TV special Christmas At Cadillac Jack's, the third installment in a continuing story of two characters Rose and Joe, played by veteran actors Ruta Lee and Joseph Campanella. Christmas at Cadillac Jack's as well as the first two Christmas TV specials, 2005’s All is Bright! and 2006’s Love’s Pure Light, are re-broadcast every year on TBN. Waltons 40th Reunion in Los Angeles next week. In case you didn't already know, on Saturday, September 29th there is another Waltons reunion being held in Los Angeles in honor of the 40th anniversary of the TV series. It is being held as a fundraiser for Environmental Charter Middle School, the school where Kami Cotler now works as Principal (Cotler played the youngest sister Elizabeth on The Waltons). Click HERE for the link to the Facebook event. There is an extremely long list of honored guests and special guests attending the event--click here for the link to the website. It looks to be the Hollywood reunion of the year.
The Odd Couple was a television series that aired from 1970 to 1975 and starred Jack Klugman as Oscar and Tony Randall as Felix. The original story was a Neil Simon play that was performed on Broadway. The Broadway production had Walter Matthau as Oscar. Matthau would later reprise his role as Oscar in the 1968 film with the same name and opposite Jack Lemmon as Felix. Jack Klugman had seen Walter Matthau perform Oscar on Broadway and when Matthau suffered a heart attack while filming Fortune Cookie and couldn't continue also performing Oscar on Broadway, Klugman took on the role. Klugman performed the role for a year and for less money than Matthau had earned. Matthau and Klugman weren't the only actors who played Oscar. Mickey Rooney did too! With the hit of The Odd Couple (1968), it was inevitable that the popular film would produce a spin-off TV series. Lots of '60s films did especially if they were comedies. Garry Marshall produced the show and brought Jack Klugman on board, even though Tony Randall encouraged him to pick Mickey Rooney instead. The basic premise of the story is that Oscar Madison and Felix Unger are friends. Oscar is a messy sports journalist who loves to drink, gamble and chase women. Felix is an uptight neat freak (on the TV show he's a photographer) who loves to clean, organize and cook. Oscar has been divorced for a while and Felix is recently separated from his wife. Oscar takes Felix in and with their opposing personalities they clash and hilarity inevitably ensues. For the first season, they kept somewhat close to the original film. They filmed on the same set that was used in the movie and they even reprise the roles of Pigeon Sisters as well as the circle of Poker playing buddies (same actresses but different actors). During the filming of the pilot, the wardrobe people had a very difficult time finding appropriate clothing for Oscar's character. So someone had asked Jack Klugman that if in exchange for $350 he could give them his entire personal wardrobe. Klugman was more than happy to oblige. The first season was comprised of 15 episodes and shot with one camera. It did poorly in ratings and the show was canceled after the first season. Jack Klugman and Tony Randall both thought the first season was crap. Klugman went as far as saying only one episode out of the 15 was decent according to his opinion. They begged ABC for more cameras and for another shot at a new and better season. Klugman and Randall worked with the writers, improvised a lot and came up with a lot of their own dialogue and plot. They fed off each other's energies and became great working partners. The ratings improved with each season and the format changed greatly. The poker buddies all but disappeared except for Al Molinaro who played Officer Murray. They added actress Penny Marshall as Myrna Turner and got rid of the Pigeon Sisters. They changed the set and Klugman and Randall became more and more involved in the storyline of each episode. It was filmed in front of a live studio audience because Klugman and Randall both hated the laugh track and they enjoyed the energy they got from doing the show in front of an audience. However, the show was canceled after each and every season. It would be revived with begging and pleading until it was canceled for good in 1975. For a show, which is still well-known to so many today over 40 years later after it first aired, it's a wonder it was canceled so many times! The TV show is well-known for it's fun theme song. Tony Randall hated it but Klugman was okay with it. Originally, the intro showed Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. Simon was horrified and asked for them to remove his name. He hadn't even seen an episode! When he did, he saw how true it was to the concept of The Odd Couple but his name was not associated with it nevertheless. Randall, Klugman, Garry Marshall and the writers had a difficult time with the whole two-men-living-together plot. They were under constant scrutiny and felt pressure to make it very clear to audiences that the were not a couple in the romantic or sexual sense of the term and they were both clearly interested in women. You'll see in many episodes Oscar is a big-time skirt chaser. In the early episodes, Felix is a bit of a womanizer himself however he is later given the goal of getting back his ex-wife. I don't agree with Jack Klugman. I think the first season was wonderful. I didn't like the shift away from the Poker player group and the addition of Penny Marshall. However, the show continued to be as funny as ever. One of the big flubs of the first season is that they have a 12 Angry Men (1957) inspired episode in which Oscar and Felix meet for the first time while on Jury duty. Felix plays a Henry Fonda-like role and Oscar is like Lee J. Cobb. Later on in the season, they added some voiceover to the intro and the narrator mentions that Oscar and Felix were childhood friends. How could they be childhood friends if they met during Jury duty?! Oops! I find this kind of mistake happens a lot on TV shows especially when new writers are introduced and those new writers perhaps are not familiar with all the details of the show when they come on board. The Odd Couple is definitely one of my favorite shows of all time. The dynamic between Oscar/Klugman and Felix/Randall is hilarious and continually entertaining. Both actors were so talented and so well-suited for their roles that it just made that show just the more fun to watch. My favorite episode is from Season Four. It's called "The New Car". Oscar wins a radio contest of Opera trivia, to which all the answers come from Felix, and his prize is a car. Oscar is determined to keep the car but he has to share with Felix who is half-responsible for the prize. The problem is, they live in New York City (the interior shots were all filmed in L.A.) and parking is tricky. Very tricky. Hilarity ensues. Do you like The Odd Couple? Are you an Oscar or a Felix? Which is your favorite episode? If you have fun trivia facts about the show I'd love to read them!