Howard Cosell is among the guest stars in this edition of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In"
With guests such as sports announcers like Howard Cosell and Vin Scully, football player Alex Karras, and Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz (who's IDed as "Dan Luckow" by Gary Owens during the closing credits!), we get quite a bit of sports sketches that are pretty funny. We also get the return of those "Adam-12" stars-Martin Milner and Kent McCord-doing amusing skits related to being stuck in a police car during stakeouts. Also brought back was "Robot Theater" with Ruth Buzzi and Dennis Allen doing the roles previously portrayed by former cast members Judy Carne and Arte Johnson. Not as funny as those Carne and Johnson did, however. As well as that Lisa girl also coming back who once again does some amusing jokes on the word "Whoopee!" In summary, this was a pretty entertaining ep of "Laugh-In".
Steve Lawrence and Steve Allen are the special guest stars of this edition of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In"
This is the last Christmas ep of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In". Guests are singer Steve Lawrence and comedian Steve Allen (though the above says Peter Marshall as an additional guest, he's nowhere in this one). Show is filled with many literal and obvious jokes but I laughed loudly, just the same. Gladys dreams she's married to Mr. Lawrence with the same hilarious result. I'll just now say that I highly recommend this episode of "Laugh-In".
Jack Klugman was the guest star in this funny ep of "Laugh-In"
The special guest star in this ep of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" is Jack Klugman, then-star of "The Odd Couple" along with cut-ins from Rich Little and Henny Youngman. And there's an added regular of Lisa Farringer who like Kathy Speirs from the last two eps seems to be on the show for what is now referred to as "eye candy" judging by her looks, shape, and her position in her cut-ins. Also, Lily Tomlin returns after being absent from the last few episodes. Ruth Buzzi's Gladys dreams of being married to Jack as his Oscar Madison character. Ernestine calls Oral Roberts. And the show musical number is about salesmen. Also, Spiro Agnew gets a couple mentions as well as Henry Kissinger, a rare moment of political humor this season. Overall, this was another funny ep of this late run of "Laugh-In" especially with the return of the Joke Wall (but this time, there was no Cocktail Party)!
Carol Burnett is among the guest stars of this episode of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"
Guests on this edition of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" include Carol Burnett, Ross Martin, Demond Wilson of "Sandford and Son", and Paul Gilbert as an inept juggler. Plus this is the second consecutive appearance of model Kathy Speirs, this time in a cut-in series of skits taking place in a steam room wearing nothing but a towel. Too bad Lily Tomlin isn't in this ep as it would have been interesting to see her and Carol do some sketches (though I know she subsequently appears on "The Carol Burnett Show"). This was mostly quite funny especially when the show celebrates the old-time comics which gave Richard Dawson a chance to not only once again do W.C. Fields and Groucho Marx but also Oliver Hardy to Dick Martin's Stan Laurel. Also, Ruth Buzzi does her Mae West impersonation. She also revives Gladys who's as funny as always. So on that note, this was another funny ep of "Laugh-In".
War and Pieces marked the last time Chuck Jones was involved with The Road Runner for a while
This Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoon short was the last helmed by Chuck Jones when he was at the Warner Bros. studio before its closing and also before he was fired for doing something at UPA without permission. He'd return several years later but not before then going to M-G-M for a last round of Tom and Jerry shorts. Anyway, as usual, the coyote and road runner have their scrapes courtesy of various spot gags that come into hilarious results. So that's a recommendation of War and Pieces. One more note, this marked the only time on a Jones series entry the score was composed by Bill Lava, previous composer Milt Franklyn having passed on after the last Road Runner cartoon.
While a little uneven, Inside Daisy Clover was a pretty compelling Natalie Wood vehicle
Just watched this with Mom. We both thought it was pretty weird with the changes in tone from full versions of happy-go-lucky musical numbers to the drama of the teen girl who performs them when her off-screen life is depicted. Natalie Wood plays the title character as she goes from a poor 15-year-old dreaming of movie stardom to becoming one but getting disillusioned by how heartless the people surrounding her are. She's compellingly dramatic during her trials along with her co-stars Christopher Plummer as her boss, Ruth Gordon as her mother, and Robert Redford as a fellow movie star who shares her attitude though keeps a secret from her as she falls for him. The movie's pretty long (they really didn't have to show those numbers complete) but the silences do make some compelling moments. The ending seems a cheat but I guess they didn't want it to be tragic...
Renee Zellweger is fine as the legendary Ms. Garland in Judy
Mom and I both just watched Judy starring Renee Zellweger as the legendary Judy Garland during the last days of her life. It also shows Ms. Garland just as she was starting to get her fame as a teen while at M-G-M. It also mainly shows her spiral in drugs and drink in between her sold-out shows and her battles with her ex-hubby Sid Luft concerning their kids Lorna and Joey but we also see her joys when performing which Ms. Zellweger shows to great effect most of the time. In short, Judy as a musical bio can be both depressing and enthralling as entertainment and art.
The Hustle was a pretty good comedy vehicle for Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson
When my mom saw the movie Hustlers with Jennifer Lopez, she originally thought it was this one and was disappointed it wasn't. So now that we've both seen this one called The Hustle, she liked this one better. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson are pretty funny with their con artist roles though they're more highly amusing than truly hilarious. I know this was a remake of Bedtime Story and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but I've yet to watch either of those. Maybe sometime soon...
James Caan appears in this so-so ep of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In"
This ep of "Laugh-In" begins with Dan asking James Caan about how he handled the violent scenes in The Godfather. While Caan mentions all the relaxing techniques, he's constantly hit by various cast members as the tape speeds up. That was the best segment of the show as everything after that is uneven concerning laughs. Also appearing in cut-ins are Bob Crane, Nanette Fabray who does jokes while also doing sign language, and Della Reese. There's also a model named Kathy Speirs who appears in all her cut-in scenes nude while her naughty parts are hidden behind wooden fence bars! Oh, and The Farkel Family sketch continues from the previous show with the mother's pregnancy. Besides Lily Tomlin who's missed the last few shows, Richard Dawson also is missing among the cast. Also, while the Cocktail Party sketch returns after given short shrift the previous week, there's still no Joke Wall. Like I said, this "Laugh-In" ep was so-so.
Despite some missing characterizations, Prescription: Murder was a good start for the Columbo series of TV movies
Here it is, the very first TV movie in which Peter Falk plays his most iconic role-that of Lt. Columbo! As would happen in pretty much most eps of this character, we first see the murder being performed so we already know who done it but the fun was always seeing when the lieutenant figures it out. In this one, a psychiatrist-tired of his heiress wife-plots it with his young actress mistress and thinks he has it all figured out not counting on Columbo to keep on keeping on. Falk has already had some of his character's traits here-like his dithering off-topic and saying "Just one more thing..." but he's yet to wear his trench coat and his hair is not so mussed up. Also, when he gets closer to the case, he gets a bit more emotional. Still, this was as good a start for the series as it eventually came to be. So that's a high recommendation for Prescription: Murder.
Jack Benny and Sally Struthers were the guests on this uneven ep of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In"
Sally Struthers and Jack Benny were the special guests while Sue Ann Langdon did inserts of various one-liners. Ms. Struthers did good impressions of various sound effects while Mr. Benny did jokes meant for other celebs. Like Lucille Ball or John Wayne or Dean Martin or Henny Youngman. Laugh-In saluted being fat. Ruth Buzzi's Gladys made a couple of funny appearances. Overall, this was an uneven show with Ms. Struthers' impressions and Mr. Benny's jokes being the best parts. By the way, the Cocktail Party ended by the time Dan, Dick, and Sally arrived and there was no Joke Wall at the end this time...
This "Biography" ep of John Belushi doesn't completely show how charismatic he was onscreen and only partially shows how tragic his life became near the end
Managed to watch this "Biography" ep of John Belushi online just now. It traces his career from Second City to National Lampoon's Lemmings to "Saturday Night Live" to Animal House to The Blues Brothers to his career declines and eventual passing from an overdose. Among those interviewed were close friend and performing partner Dan Aykroyd, widow Judith Jacklin, brother and fellow actor James Belushi as well as some archive footage from their mom, Agnes and Animal House and Blues Brothers director John Landis, among others. Clips from John's TV and film appearances don't really do him justice as they're always too short and the interviews only hint at the person John was really like as it seems to partially gloss over how tragic his life became near the end especially when the name Cathy Evelyn Smith doesn't get mentioned once. It probably helps to have seen much of his work and read various accounts of his life to understand what's being said about him in this ep of "Biography"...
This "Saturday Night Live" special from New Orleans during Mardi Gras was a pretty entertaining mess
As a kid, I think I remember watching some of this Sunday primetime special ep of "SNL", specifically the part where John Belushi as trumpeter Al Hirt was hit with prop bricks. I have no idea if my family and I watched the rest of it but probably not since having just watched this online, I don't remember much else. Many pretty funny sketches abounded and it was pretty entertaining watching Paul Shaffer singing and Michael O'Donohue performing "The Antler Dance". But the part with Buck Henry and Jane Curtin trying to cover the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade was a disaster because of a drunken reveler being accidentally hit during it meaning it had to be halted during the entire length of this program and Jane and Buck ended up saying Mardi Gras means "No Parade"! N.O. native son Garrett Morris had a nice scene with then-mayor Moon Landrieu and Baba Wawa (Gilda Radner) interviewed Henry Winkler who was going to be in the aforementioned parade. Also, Randy Newman performed four songs of which two of them-"Louisiana 1927" and "Sail Away"-sound similar and another one was about legendary Governor Huey Long of the Pelican State. Oh, and Eric Idle also had an amusing sketch that seemed mostly improvised. Despite many missed cues, this was quite an entertaining "SNL" special. One more thing, filmmaker Gary Weis had a couple of interesting short films taking place in The Big Easy. Update-1/9/20: I just found out Buck Henry passed on the day I wrote this. R.I.P.
After 35 years, Eddie Murphy returns to "Saturday Night Live"!
After 35 years, Eddie Murphy returns to "SNL"! He appears in every sketch except the Cold Open which focuses on the Democratic Presidential debate with many current and former cast members playing the various candidates. While Woody Harrelson had played Joe Biden many times this season, since he just did Archie Bunker in Los Angeles live earlier in the week, this time Joe's portrayed by Jason Sudeikis. Oh, and Alec Baldwin also appears as Trump teasing how he'll beat them despite his impeachment. During the monologue, Eddie mentions who would have thought in 30 years he would have 10 kids and Bill Cosby would be in jail? He then mocks Cosby by saying in his voice, "Who's America's Dad now?" (That comment got Murphy into trouble with a rep of Cosby's who then called him a "Hollywood slave".) Then cameos from former "SNL" players from after Eddie's tenure show up like Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan. Also, Dave Chappell who previously performed with Murphy's late brother Charlie. Beck Bennett also shows up before Keenan Thompson pushes him away. Chris asks who that was before Tracy says, "Joe Piscopo!" (His jokingly saying that name made me think Piscopo wasn't gonna show up and, no, he didn't which is one of my few disappointments concerning this ep.) First sketch after that is "Mister Robinson's Neighborhood". Eddie plays him as a much older man with gray wig. He's now in a gentrified neighborhood surrounded by while tenants who he steals a big screen TV from. He leaves when he hears someone who may be his adult son talking behind his door. Next is a filmed piece about a black family (with one white son-in-law) celebrating Christmas with dysfunctional inserts of what happened beforehand. That is followed by a baking contest in which the contestants' cakes don't turn out well with Eddie's especially seeming possessed! This one ends with Eddie saying a bad word that went out on the air! Then comes "The Masked Singer" as someone comes in a corn costume. When I heard the voice speaking through that saying several malaprops, I knew it had to be Buckwheat and it was! He sings songs in his own language like "Feliz Navidad" and "Single Ladies". Musical guest Lizzo performs her first set. Then "Weekend Update" starts with several jokes about the Trump impeachment before Gumby interrupts throwing insults toward Colin Jost and Michael Che. (Besides Piscopo not appearing, my other disappointment was Eddie not wearing green makeup on his face when playing Gumby.) Pete Davidson then comments comparing his being young on the show to when Eddie was when he first arrived. And then there's Colin and Michael doing jokes neither had seen beforehand before "WU" ends with Cecily Strong's Jeanne Pirro vomiting wine on Colin! After that comes "Black Jeopardy" in which Velvet Jones makes an appearance still pluging books like "I Wanna Be a Ho" though host Keenan Thompson reminds him of MeToo at one point. Lizzo does her second set before one more skit about a polar bear attacking the North Pole with Eddie's elf seeming the only one believing it. Verdict: Eddie was back! This was perhaps the funniest ep of "SNL" I've seen all season though I have to admit, part of that may have been nostalgia. P.S. I saw a couple of the cut skits from dress rehersal one of which has Eddie in a band with Keenan as lead singer as they are performing and Eddie's discussing some of his bodily troubles. That one wasn't very funny. The other one was a filmed piece in which Aidy Bryant is suddenly becoming quite sexually brave with the men in the cast (including guest host Eddie) after being around Lizzo! This one was quite funny and I wished it had actually aired on the show.
This second recreation of Norman Lear shows was a little better this time
In a remarkable coincidence, this special aired at the same time articles of impeachment for President Donald J. Trump were being held so during commercials, we saw both of those articles being voted in and Jimmy Kimmel commenting on it. The "Good Times" segment had the real treat of having original James Evans-John Amos-this time portraying the alderman Fred Davis-who is treated friendly by James and J.J. but indifferently by the women and Michael. After that, Jimmy then introed the other surviving "GT" cast members who showed up: BernNadette Stanis, Ja'net DuBois, and Jimmie Walker, none of whom had time enough to say anything. "All in the Family" takes place on Christmas Eve with among the guests, a friend of Michael's who returns from Canada which he went to avoid the draft and a friend of Archie's whose son died in Vietnam. While I still think Woody Harrelson doesn't do Archie justice, he's a little better this time especially when trying to talk about what he goes through near the end. In the middle of this, Martin Short sings "The Facts of Life" theme before Jimmy tells him they're not doing that show! Verdict: I thought this was a little better than the previous take on Norman Lear shows done last May.
On the Basis of Sex was a good drama about Ruth Bader Ginsburg during parts of her life and career
This movie depicts future Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as first a law student with her husband also entering the profession during the '50s. Then it segues to the early '70s as she finally tries a case. This was quite a compelling drama of her life and career during those times I just mentioned. Especially when it explores some of their family life. My mom enjoyed this as well. So on that point, we heartily recommend On the Basis of Sex.
The version I watched of Grace Quigley was okay since it was pretty uneven
After a couple of decades of only knowing about this film, I finally saw this from a DVD I borrowed from the library. Katharine Hepburn stars in the title role as an elderly woman who witnesses a murder and makes a deal with hitman Nick Nolte to do the same for some of her friends who are lonely and depressed. I'll just now say there are some funny parts and some good dramatic ones but it's uneven especially when it gets to the end. I know there's an alternate version that might be better but this one was for the most part pretty okay...
I finally got to watch The Wizard of Oz on the big screen after years of only seeing it on TV!
Like I'm sure many of you reading this, I first watched this classic movie when it aired on CBS during the '70s when that network still had annual showings of it. Last month or so, I saw it in a theatre for the first time with my movie theatre-working friend as it celebrated it's 80th anniversary. When Professor Marvel mentioned Isis, we both cracked how that word now inspires dread and when the Scarecrow mentioned some jokes about brains, I mentioned a certain President. I also mentioned to my friend how the only part I didn't like about the movie was the Lion's singing about being the King of the Forest as it really stopped the movie and not in a good way. The role of Dorothy was perfect for then 16-year-old Judy Garland even though the girl in the book was originally a pre-teen. And Thank Goodness calmer heads prevailed and her signature song, "Over the Rainbow", was not cut out! It won that deserved Oscar as did Judy for that special miniature Academy Award she got (though I hope she later replaced that with the more standard size!) It was such a treat seeing it on the big screen after years of watching it on TV. Only wish we weren't the only ones in the seats that day, though....
Tom Hanks does another fine portrayal of a real-life person in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Just watched this with my movie theatre-working friend. We both were pretty enthralled by the way Tom Hanks portrayed the late kid show host Fred Rogers. It concerns Mister Rogers and his relationship with a reporter for Esquire magazine who's going through a rough patch when they meet. Now this reporter's name is changed for the movie so some of the events are dramatized for effect. Still, it's quite touching what is depicted on screen especially when Hanks as Rogers appears. Those silent pauses that happens throughout many scenes are also effective. I think I said enough so I'll just say I and my friend highly recommend A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
Mike Connors was the guest star of this ep of "Laugh-In"
Special guest star of this edition of "Laugh-In" was Mike Connors, star of "Mannix". He played mostly bad guys in sketches including a blind robber and a gangster in the Cocktail Party sequence which took place during the '20s. Also appearing were Totie Fields and the return of Charles Nelson Reilly. I'll just say this was another funny ep of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In".
This "Laugh-In" ep marked the return appearance of a certain comedian who's known for playing the violin
When the program begins, Gary Owens is dressed as if during the 18th century which is also the case when he intros the rest of the cast at the Cocktail Party. It's later found out that that segment takes place during the times of the Revolutionary War. Gary announces all the guests like the then-husband and wife team of Michelle Lee and James Farentino, Peter Marshall, Hugh O'Brien, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Frank Welker. One guest he doesn't mention is Jack Benny making a return to the show. Benny is looking for "The Dean Martin Show" but gets lost throughout the Burbank studio. He does some nice banter with Willie Tyler and Lester and also tries to talk to Oral Roberts (who doesn't appear). Welker this time impersonates Bill Cosby but not in blackface (Thank goodness!) when speaking to Lester. During the clown number, Ruth Buzzi asks Lily "Who's milk and cheese in Hanoi?" "Jane Fondue", Ruth answers. This was years before Tomlin teamed with Ms. Fonda in the movie Nine to Five. In summary, this was quite a pretty funny ep of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In".
Lucie Arnaz is the special guest star of this edition of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"
A few years after Desi Arnaz appeared on an ep of "Laugh-In", his daughter Lucie does the same thing. Both times it's opposite Desi's ex-wife and Lucie's mother's show "Here's Lucy" of which the daughter was still a cast member of. Presumably, that meant that a performer could now appear opposite programs she/he appeared on which wasn't the case previously. Anyway, she's quite the trouper when either doing physical comedy or talking to the dummy Lester. And her appearance resulted in another Dan & Dick number which they first did with Sandy Duncan the previous season. Ruth Buzzi seemed a little more boisterous this ep like when she did a Gypsy Rose Lee-type strip singing "Let Me Entertain You" in front of Rowan & Martin! And that segued to "Laugh-In Salutes Adult Books and Film" that had quite a bit of hilarity this ep. Also appearing were Rich Little and Ross Martin, the latter in a running skit about being a judge at a gladiator ring. This was another funny ep of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In".
William Conrad is the special guest star on this edition of "Laugh-In"
The special guest star on this edition of "Laugh-In" is William Conrad who was on the TV show "Cannon" at the time. Also appearing are Bob Crane who does jail skits with Dennis Allen, Henry Mancini the pianist who comments on music, Alexis Smith commenting on some movie stars, and Nanette Fabray who does her comments in sign language. Mr. Conrad is amusing whether playing a "superhero", trying to do various jobs at a news program, or playing a movie musical dancer who eats too much. Oh, and he also participates in The Farkel Family sketch. Overall, not hilarious but not too lame, either. Incidentally, only one joke is done at the Joke Wall. After that, the credits roll is filled with various people in sketches saying, "Good Night, Dick."
Michael Landon was the guest star of this edition of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"
A few years after this show previously had "Bonanza" star Dan Blocker as a guest, this ep has co-star Michael Landon as such. When Dan & Dick intro him, Michael gets doused with water. Twice. He's in an amusing running skit as the captain of the S. S. Burbank whose ship threatens to become like the Titanic. Also appearing are Steve Allen as one of a couple of hillbillies of which Dan Rowan is the other, Della Reese either commenting by herself or with Dan or Dick, and Henny Youngman in a sketch in which he and his wife get robbed and he keeps making jokes. Oh, also Mama Cass Elliot-of The Mamas and the Papas-making some comments as well as playing an assistant to a doctor at a hospital. And then there's Frank Welker-best known as the voice of Fred in the Scooby Doo cartoons-this time doing cat and dog sounds. That last bit was perhaps the funniest one in the show. The others I mentioned were amusing at best. Lily Tomlin is back with some pretty good Ernestine and Edith Ann stuff while Ruth Buzzi is once again funny as an aging movie star doing a peanut butter commercial. That last sketch was part of the Laugh-In Salutes Commercials segment of which others in that one weren't as funny. In summary, this was a pretty uneven "Laugh-In" ep. P.S. The sports celeb doing commentary on the "Laugh-In News" was Tom Harmon, father of Mark Harmon. Oh, and Lyle Waggoner also appears as Dick Martin's "stand-in" who keeps quiet until Dan & Dick leave then he says, "Welcome to Lyle Waggoner's Laugh-In!"
Dyan Cannon was the special guest star of this edition of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In"
For the first time since before the last show of 1969, Lily Tomlin is not in this edition of "Laugh-In". Special guest star is Dyan Cannon whose movie Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice is still the source of the show's jokes after the last few seasons. She's funny and entertaining whether playing a "seal" in a circus sketch or singing about the single life with newbies Donna Jean Young and Sarah Kennedy at a swimming pool sketch. Also appearing during the Cocktail Party sequence are Sebastian Cabot, Julie London, and the return of Janet Leigh. Then there was Hollywood columnist James Bacon who did a funny joke on Minnie Mouse and the rat from Ben! And The Farkel Family returned with Patty Deutsch taking over as Dan Rowan's wife previously played by Jo Anne Worley and Barbara Sharma, respectively. And then Laugh-In salutes guns making fun of both the pro- and anti- groups. This was quite a fun ep of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In".