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Reviews

Ironside: Who'll Cry for My Baby
(1972)
Episode 11, Season 6

There's a song with a vocal in this one!
There's something very cool for Credits Readers (like myself) about Season 6 of Ironside. Besides the great Raymond Burr (who is in the cast of ALL of them, seeing as how HE'S "Ironside"), the ones from around this season have some pretty good songs in them. Songs, whether good or bad, don't just come out of nowhere. Someone has to write them! And if you ever noticed the writers of the songs in Season 6 (or even if you haven't) they were mostly written by Marty Paich and David Paich. "So what?" You say. Well, if you pay attention to stuff like that, you'd know that the Paich Brothers were the major creative force behind the band "Toto"! Ever hear "Hold The Line" or "Roseanna" or "Africa" for example? Those were major HITS, recorded by the Toto! In the 1980's and 1990's, Toto came up with a string of hit records, and Radio played them. A LOT! I should know, since I was a Radio. Personality when those songs came out, and at the stations where I worked, we got TONS of requests for Toto's songs. And if YOU were one of those people who paid attention to where the folks who made the tunes they really liked came from, you already knew that Toto was formed from several Studio Musicians who just happened to write GREAT songs - including the Paich Brothers!

77 Sunset Strip: The Disappearance
(1962)
Episode 32, Season 4

Race Bannon Shows Up In Person!
Yes, fans of Hanna-Barbera's ORIGINAL ANIMATED ACTION-ADVENTURE SERIES, "Jonny Quest"! The one and only voice of the guy that ALWAYS SAVED THE DAY for Dr. Quest, Jonny, Hadji and Bandit, RACE BANNON, actor Mike Road plays a Fed on 77 Sunset Strip! He has a good deal of screen time in this one, too. I've seen shows in which he was on camera for YEARS, but never knew it until the end credits. This time, though, Mr. Road was actually listed in the cast on the Dish Network program listing! I don't know about you, but I'd always wondered what the guy looked like, after hearing that powerful voice of his on so many animated shows as a kid. Road was a good-looking actor, and in fact, could have easily played Paul Drake on the "Perry Mason" series - he was working at the time it was made, and at least in this "77SS" show, in which Road plays a Federal Agent, he looks a bit like William Hopper on "Mason", although Road looks to be a bit shorter than Hopper. But there's sure no mistaking that voice! Especially in one of the final scenes. This was a good 77 Sunset Strip outing, but having Mike Road in it is just the icing on the cake.

Off to See the Wizard
(1967)

The Best Voice Talent in the Business
I remember "Off To See The Wizard" - not because of ANY of the stories in ANY of the episodes - but because of the voice talent in the animated segments. After all, Daws Butler was in EVERY "Fractured Fairy Tale" that was part of "Rocky And His Friends" and "The Bullwinkle Show", and even "Cap'n Crunch" for Jay Ward Productions. And Daws played everyone from Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Super Snooper and Blabber Mouse the detectives, to the ever-popular Snagglepuss for Hanna-Barbera Productions. The forever wonderful June Foray was the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel" himself on "Rocky And His Friends" and was in all but one of the "Fractured Fairy Tales" for Jay Ward, and Tweety's "Granny" and many others for Warner's, and "Witch Hazel" for BOTH Warner Brothers AND Walt Disney Productions! Anything those two were in would forever stick in my memory, regardless of whatever else was around what they did in any particular program.

The Thin Man: The Lost Last Chapter
(1958)
Episode 4, Season 2

Lost Television - Now Found
You may have seen "The Thin Man" movies of the 1930s, but THIS is the TV series of the 1950's, produced by MGM Television starting in 1958. Peter Lawford makes a pretty fair Nick Charles - not quite William Powell, but pretty fair. However, in my opinion, Phyllis Kirk is no Myrna Loy, who incidentally graduated high school just under 2 miles from where this review was written, and who made the "Thin Man" movies with William Powell less than ONE mile from here. Don't get me wrong - Ms. Kirk was quite capable as an actress, just not quite right for the role of Nora. The scripts for these shows aren't bad, Jack Albertson as the requisite Police Lieutenant is great (as he was in just about everything he ever did) and the Direction is rather interesting from show to show. This one was Directed by John Newland, the man who brought you "The Outer Limits" (after Rod Serling had such a big hit with "The Twilight Zone"). Be all that as it may, I've now seen three episodes of this series, and they really DO manage to have a bit of the "feel" of the original "Thin Man" theatricals. In this episode, Nick and Nora find themselves involved in the case of a publisher (played by Gavin McLeod). Naturally, where Nick and Nora are involved, murder ensues. I won't tell you who. But if you have access to "Get TV", SONY's 24/7 channel filled with old (mostly) Columbia movies and LOTS of old TV programs - this one is from 1958 and there are some interesting uncredited cameos, such as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope. This review, such as it is, was written in October, 2016. And of course, there's no telling what SONY will do when they change their schedule. After all, they own pretty much ALL of MGM's old TV product, as you can easily find right here on IMDb. But if you find this review in time, and you're not doing anything in the dead of night (or there's space on your DVR), I highly recommend you check out this fun late '50s detective show.

7 Faces of Dr. Lao
(1964)

Genuine Hand-Made Movie Magic
If you've seen TV's "The Odd Couple" starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman and you think you know Tony Randall, BOY, have YOU got something to see!

"The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao" is quite a showcase for the amazing talents of Mr. Randall, thanks to its Director, a man extremely well-versed in the techniques of True Movie Magic, the one and only George Pal. If Mr. Pal's name is not familiar to you, look up his Filmography on IMDb. One look at the films he either Directed, or was the Special Effects Master for, and you'll know what I mean.

Since there are SO many user reviews for this film, I won't get into the intricacies of the plot and the other little things that happen in the film. But I will say that if you have NOT seen this movie, you are in for a real treat! Mr. Randall (who was a terrific guy when I met him at the old NBC studios in Beautiful Downtown Burbank, California - he was there for an appearance on The Flip Wilson Show - which shows you how long ago THAT was), plays quite a number of parts in "7 Faces", and you're likely not to recognize him in most of them, thanks to the deftly applied makeup of William Tuttle, and Randall's fine acting. These things and the exceptional Direction and effects of George Pal make for a great film. Personally, I find it hard to believe that "The 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao" was somehow NOT a huge hit. It certainly had every right to be when it played in theaters. MGM's Publicity and Advertising people at the time MUST have dropped the ball somewhere along the line. This was not a cheap movie to make. It was done LONG before computer effects, and the special effects in this film are nothing short of brilliant for their time - or ANY time - especially when you remember that they were ALL DONE BY HAND!

If you get the chance, or you're a member of Amazon Prime, I highly recommend that you see this VERY well-made movie. It'll be worth your time and then some. And if you're not MADLY in love with the lovely Barbara Eden by the end of this movie, check yourself for a pulse!

No Orchids for Miss Blandish
(1948)

No Crumpets for Bogie
After reading all the existing reviews there's not much I can add. Some of my fellow reviewers have, in my opinion, unduly savaged this film. To them I say, "Let's see YOU make a great movie and we'll see what this same group of people have to say about it". Not that this was great movie by any stretch, but as a former television director (whose company was swallowed by a corporate behemoth that runs TV commercials trying to convince you that "We're GOOD guys!! REALLY"... That company makes and sells many things, but the TV's with their name on them ARE NOT MADE BY THEM AT ALL! I refuse to even have one of their light bulbs in my home. After they bought my company and fired me and 1500 of my closest friends, I went through my house and looked at EVERY LIGHT BULB! Every one with their name on it met my ball pien hammer, up close and personal! But I digress...I'm only saying that if you think it's easy to put ANYTHING on ANY screen, big or small, let's see YOU do it. It's no problem to rip someone else's hard work to shreds from your computer, but it's something else altogether to actually DO SOMETHING CREATIVE AND GET IT DONE! Trust me - I know! But back to THIS movie. It struck me as an attempt by this group of Brits to turn out the type of film made by Warner Brothers... only 15 years too late. Despite the fact that a local accent peeks through the cliché-riddled dialogue here and there, having ACTUALLY WORKED IN FILM PRODUCTION AS I HAVE, I'd call "No Orchids For Miss Blandish" a pretty valiant effort. Sure, it could have used, say, Cagney, Bogey or even Eddie G., but on THIS budget? Not a chance! Even so, my hat's off to the lot of these people, with their Wayne GAS (NOT PETROL) pumps, and Champion Spark Plugs. This film, ladies and gents (if I can even call some of you that after what I've read here), was an excellent attempt.

Felix the Cat
(1958)

Righty-Oh!!!
I've seen good reviews and horrible reviews here. Everyone has their points about this late '50s/early '60s version of Felix. But it's hard for me NOT to like these cartoons. Sure, their budget should have been higher. However, if you consider some of the true heavyweight talent that started with a blank screen and silence, these cartoons come with a pretty GREAT pedigree. Grim Natwick, the true creator of Betty Boop and chief animator of the character "Snow White" (in the 1937 feature of the same name - Walt Disney's FIRST FEATURE, by the way) animated a number of these. ALL the character voices were performed by Jack Mercer (who was the voice of Popeye The Sailor for FOUR DECADES+, no matter WHO was producing Popeye cartoons at the time).

Felix cartoons were first made as SILENTS in 1918, and ALL Felix cartoons that came after that, right up to the "acid-trip" Felix cartoons made by Film Roman bear the fingerprints of whoever made them. In whatever period they were made. So whatever YOU may think of these early TV Felix cartoons, you're entitled to your opinion. I'll just say "Righty-Oh!!!!"

Whirlybirds
(1957)

Hey, Viacom - WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?
There's no way I can top Corfman's review above, so I'm not even going to try. That review already says absolutely everything I wanted to say. So instead, I WILL use this space to ask one simple question: WHAT ON EARTH IS THE MATTER WITH THE IDIOTS AT VIACOM? Aren't you Bozos a BUSINESS? And don't BUSINESSES exist to MAKE MONEY??

Viacom OWNS Paramount, the successor to Desilu Productions, and just happens to OWN CBS, the TV network where "Whirlybirds" made its debut. So I shall ask as loudly as I can: WHICH OF YOU JERK-MEATS IN THE HOME-VIDEO DIVISION IS ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH? Why isn't there a DVD or Blu-Ray box set of ALL 111 "Whirlybirds" shows? If you BONEHEADS would just bother to read everything on this page and the previous one, YOU (or someone who can read them to you) SHOULD be able to figure out that the first run of copies would sell out almost INSTANTLY!!!!!!!

Get the picture? Just go back to the original 35mm negatives, strike new prints, digitally restore them, make up a spiffy-looking package, and then get ready to make money hand over fist!

Columbo
(1971)

He even fooled the critics.
There are a few "Columbo" episodes which were panned by some critics. I DISAGREE WITH THEM ALL. There is one VERY important reason for this. Regardless of the plot, regardless of any script, there is one irrefutable fact. Peter Falk OWNED the role of Lieutenant Columbo. The way only HE could and did that part made any other criticism of the show completely IRRELEVANT! As the ostensibly "bumbling" homicide cop, Falk was always believable as the policeman whose first name no one ever heard. He consistently fooled the murderer into a sense of false security, making them think he would never be able to pin the crime in question on them. But it never mattered WHAT the perpetrator might have thought - he ALWAYS got his man (or woman)!

The Monkees: Case of the Missing Monkee
(1967)
Episode 17, Season 1

Great Episode (if you're a Monkees fan, which I am)
The amazing Vito Scotti guests in this episode (and if you'd like to know just HOW amazing, check out his filmography on IMDb). Without giving anything away, Scotti plays the Bad Guy with aplomb. He seems to really enjoy being the Bad Guy.

In this episode, Peter Tork (Thorkelson is his real last name), who always played the "dumb guy" actually complains about being the dumb guy! And for a moment, in a hospital scene, he actually plays "smart". But that moment is very short. There's only one song featured in this episode, the "flip side" of their recording of Neil Diamond's "I'm A Believer", (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone, written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Some years later, when Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart went on tour, since Columbia Pictures owned the name "The Monkees", the tour was billed as T.G.H.O.T.M.B.T.G.W.W.E.A.T.G.W.S.E. (Which stood for "The Greatest Hits Of The Monkees By The Guys Who Wrote 'Em And The Guys Who Sang 'Em".) Anyway, if you like The Mokees, you'll love this episode.

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