Wednesday, January 4, 2023

More Classic and Modern TV Happy Birthdays - January 8th - 1/8

Welcome to more classic and modern TV birthdays!

Elvis Presley - 1935-1977 - One of the most famous people of the 20th Century was born on this day in Tupelo, Mississippi. He would go on to be one of the most successful recording artists of all-time, but he also made several iconic television appearances over the years in three different decades. His appearance in the 1950's on The Ed Sullivan Show (don't show those hips) became one of the most watched programs of the era. His 1968 comeback special still resonates as pure Elvis in his prime and of course, his concert from Hawaii from the 1970's. He died young, but his music lives on.


David Bowie- Another rock star born this date in 1947. Bowie would eventually make multiple television appearances, including a well-known appearance singing with Bing Crosby in a 1977 Christmas special. His appearance in a tribute to Freddie Mercury had Bowie reciting the Lord's Prayer in front of thousands of people -- making it one of the most viewed Bowie appearances from television. From Golden Years to Fame to Heroes - a significant recording career.  A superb and noteworthy artist. 


Larry Storch - Storch gained fame on the 1960's comedy series, F. Troop. He was born in 1923 and lived until 2022. A long life. During his long career he made multiple appearances in television, on the big screen and in theaters. 


Stuart Martin - Martin is a masculine, manly Scottish actor who has gained quite a following with his appearance in the PBS series, Miss Scarlet & The Duke. He's a terrific actor, both skilled in drama and comedy. Born this day in 1986. He normally plays action types, but he is quite good playing the brains along with the brawn. 


Yvette Mimieux - The stunning Mimieux is one of those actresses who should have had a bigger career. She was gorgeous and talented. Her appearances in some 1960's films, Where The Boys Are and The Light in the Piazza proved she could act. Born in 1942 and passed in 2022. After her film career she made several appearances on various television dramas over the years.  


Robby Krieger - Another rock star born on January 8. He was born in 1946. He was the guitarist for the famed American band, The Doors. Krieger was also the songwriter behind many of their biggest hit singles, including Love Her Madly and Light My Fire. The Doors made several television appearances in their relatively short four year career, including a famous one time only appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. They also appeared on American Bandstand


Ron Moody - British actor Ron Moody made many television appearances in his long career. His appearances were all on British dramas and comedies. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1968 film Oliver. Born in 1924. He passed away in 2015.


Bob Eubanks - Easily one of the most famous game show hosts of all-time, including a long run as the host of The Newlywed Game. Born in 1938.


Soupy Sales - Mr. Sales was born in  1926 and he passed away in 2009. He is remembered fondly by many older baby boomers who laughed at his antics on series television from the 1950's and 1960's.

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Thursday, December 15, 2022

REVIEW: YELLOWSTONE ONE-FIFTY - CELEBRATING THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

 


Yellowstone One-Fifty is one of the finest documentary series on television this year. Dare I say, it is one of the best of any season. As a lover of nature shows, this spectacular four part series is mesmerizing. Scene after scene. Shot after shot. You just sit there entranced by the sheer majesty of God's creation. Bison, Wolves, Grizzly Bears, Badgers, Birds, Rabbits, Turtles (yes, turtles), Deer, Big Horn Sheep! The long list of mammal and bird biodiversity is extensive and it is all here in one absolutely sensational series.

Much of the drama is delivered by the downright poetic Kevin Costner. Costner, of course is one of the last living actual movie stars. He is currently starring in television's most popular dramatic series (Yellowstone), but his credibility in the arena of loving the land and everything good on it goes way back. Like Robert Redford before him, Costner has a significant history of loving on the land. This time around he hosts and narrates this four part photo journal reflecting back on the 150 years since Yellowstone's founding as a National Park. Famously, Yellowstone became America's first National Park and it remains to this day the most formidable of all the Parks in the system. If you have had the luxury and gift of travelling extensively in life you would have trekked across many of them and Yellowstone manages to be even more fanciful than even Yosemite and that's making a statement. 

Costner takes us on a wild yet subdued journey along the path of history and wildlife for the 150th anniversary of the National Park.  He retraces the steps of the Hayden expedition. Initially, this expedition was sent forth to try to figure out how to capitalize and exploit the park's riches. Once the team arrived in Yellowstone and started their exploration they became lovers of the land, the fauna, the flora and the amazing geological displays along the way. Yes, Old Faithful goes off like clockwork. It did then, it does now and it did so at the creation of it all. 

The series delivers scene after scene of stunning beauty and life in the wild, but no shot is more breathtaking than the one of the young deer hiding from a hungry Grizzly Bear. We know predators have to eat, but the sustained and long close-up of the fawn's one eye as it hides from the bear is a near ache for the viewer. You want this baby to survive. You can almost feel the emotions of the baby deer. Then, in a win for the soul you see and hear the mom calling out for her calf. A mother and child reunion for the ages.  Better drama will not be seen in any fictional storytelling. 

The four part series delivers one of the best on-screen adventures you will witness in a lifetime. This series ranks up there with the great nature specials of the last twenty years. Yes, it is as amazing as Planet Earth, Planet Earth II, Blue Planet, Dynasties, and Life In Color

David Attenborough has hosted most of the best of the nature series in the last forty or so years, but he is 96 years old at this writing. Costner, who is 67 years old as of this writing will hopefully continue down the road of exploring our green and blue worlds. 

We are losing our biodiversity. We are losing our land. We are losing our wildlife. With each passing year, more mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians go extinct. The bottom line is we have too many people on planet earth. The earth now has eight billion people. Where will we get our food and water? Where will wildlife get its water? The current illegal immigration situation is troubling on many levels, but public welfare and open borders are not sustainable. We have allowed over five million to enter the nation illegally since January 2021. Can you imagine what the country's population will be like in ten years? Do the numbers. Bye bye to our national parks and forests. So long to our state parks and state forests. Farewell to public lands and forest preserves. Everyone will not be living in apartments in New York City and Los Angeles. We are projected to go from 333 million in 2022 to 400 million in the next thirty years.       

The episode titles are as follows: Magical Place, Rebirth Winter's Majesty, An Enduring Legacy 

I cannot recommend a documentary with a higher rating than this one. Five Stars are not enough.

Thank you to Kevin Costner for putting your heart, your power, your clout and your influence behind such a gigantic and admirable endeavor.


Copyright The Flaming Nose 2022 

              

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

More Classic and Modern TV Happy Birthdays --- December 14th - 12/14

Celebrating birthdays of some famous people who have appeared on our television screens over the years. Today, we focus on the birthdates for people born on December 14th.

Frances Bavier - An iconic figure from one of the greatest shows of all-time. Bavier played Andy's aunt and Opie's great-aunt on the The Andy Griffith Show. She was born in 1902 and passed away in 1989.  A wonderful actor who represented the very best of a loving family member. The Andy Griffith Show still works. It is one of the few series from another time that resonates with viewers. It's timeless and so is Aunt Bee. 


Natascha McElhone - British actress, Natascha McElhone was born this day in 1971. McElhone has worked consistently for the last 30 years. McElhone was recently in The Crown.


 Matthew McNulty - The British actor was born in 1982. He's got a killer smile and a downright perfectly featured face.  His meticulously superb performance in The Musketeers Season Three is epic. 


Vanessa Hudgens was born in 1988. Talk about time going by quickly. It seems like yesterday she was in Disney's High School Musical


Tori Kelly was born this day in 1992. Did she really annoy Simon Cowell? We may never know. What we do know is she is a terrific singer. Oh, and she has that sensational head of hair!

 

Morey Amsterdam - Morey Amsterdam was a comic actor who gained fame on the The Dick Van Dyke Show. He was born in 1908 and passed away in 1996. Trivia: He was a talented cellist! 


June Taylor - One of the most significant choreographers of the 20th century who had her own dance clan on television. Her dancers were featured on various shows, including the 1960's variety series starring Jackie Gleason.  She was born in 1917 and passed in 2004.

                    Taylor (second from left) directing from the control room.  

Don Hewitt - A legendary name in news. Hewitt gained fame as the long-standing executive producer of the longest running series on television, 60 Minutes. Hewitt was born in 1922 and passed away in 2009. 


Charlie Rich- "Hey, did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world?" What a line! What romance! Rich was a massive country star who crossed over on to the pop charts with several songs in the 1970's. Cool as ice! Rich was born in 1932 and died in 1995. 


Lee Remick - Remick was a lovely woman and a highly underrated actress. She starred in multiple films and television roles throughout the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. She was born in 1935 and passed away in 1991.


Patty Duke - Patty Duke was a young Academy Award winner with her superb performance as Helen Keller in 1962's The Miracle Worker. She went on to star in her own series during the 1960's and then placed her talents in many telefilms until her death. 


Happy birthday to everyone born on the 14th of December!

Copyright The Flaming Nose 2022


Sunday, November 27, 2022

THE CALLING - ONE OF THE BEST SHOWS OF 2022 - MUST WATCH TV - PEACOCK ORIGINAL


 I've written in the past that all of the content currently being produced is not sustainable. I stand by that thesis. You cannot have close to 600 series produced per year (that's domestic) and expect to have filmed entertainment survive this way. I'm not even counting what passes for a description of a movie. I repeat - series alone stands at a near 600 per year. 

To find what you may want to watch is difficult and in the "old days" one would rely on word of mouth and promotional trailers/ads/spots. That went out the proverbial window. Try going to lunch with a few people. None of the people you are breaking bread with have ever even heard of what you are watching and you haven't heard of anything they are watching. 

The best series of the year is Dark Winds on AMC and AMC+. Absolutely outstanding series. One of the few times this year or even in recent years where I sat back and thought I am looking forward to a second season. Dark Winds is great television and I write that knowing some of the acting was pretty second rate, but the writing and story were so good you let a few subpar performances go by the wayside. The question becomes - how many people have seen this great series? AMC+ only has eleven million subscribers and they all aren't watching Dark Winds.  

The other series that is so entertaining is the PBS mystery series, Miss Scarlet & The Duke. The first season premiered in 2021, but the second season just finished its run on Masterpiece Mystery and it is delightful. Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders, The Crown, The Aftermath) and Stuart Martin (Medici, Jamestown) are both terrific actors and in an earlier era they both would have become big stars. With all of the content today, no one becomes a big star. Not enough people view these series to catapult an actor to big stardom. Having written that, Miss Scarlet & The Duke is a big hit based on our current standards of what a big hit is. It managed to get nearly nine million viewers in the U.S alone and that is a near phenom in today's marketplace.

NOW WE GET TO THE CALLING...

The Calling is a Peacock original. Unfortunately, that is bad right out of the gate, since Peacock (Owned by Comcast/NBC Universal) is one of the weakest streaming services. Few covet having it, but Peacock managed to produce one of the best series of the year. 

Season One has eight episodes, but they are split into two separate stories with one of those stories hanging around for the back four. The first four episodes are epic. Superb writing and acting. The series has several executive producers and these aren't lightweights. David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies, The Practice, Boston Legal) is clearly one of the best scriptwriters of the last 30 years. Barry Levinson (Donnie Brasco, Rain Man, The Natural, Avalon, Diner) is one of the most gifted filmmakers of the last 40 years. Jonathan Shapiro, Peter Traugott and Avi Nir round out the EP team and all of them have worthy backgrounds, so it is no surprise they would all gather together to make one of the best series of 2022.

This is a surprisingly intelligent series, since much of what is available today is not in the least bit smart. The cast is terrific with the four leads all doing magnificent work. Jeff Wilbusch plays Avraham Avraham (that is correct, first and last name are the same). Avraham is a detective with the NYPD. He's a distinctively original character. He is a practicing Orthodox Jew who reads from the Torah, prays in Hebrew, mentions Job, Cain and Jesus in his musings. Wilbusch (Keep Breathing, Oslo) is absolutely fantastic in the lead role. Charming without trying and totally believable even in situations that seem out-of-place. Juliana Canfield portrays his partner (he never had one before). The always terrific Michael Mosley plays Detective Earl Malzone and Karen Robinson is Captain Helen Davies. Robinson, as always, just shines in the role of their boss. 

The Calling deserves a shot of airing on the big network in the Comcast/NBC Universal world. Hopefully, NBC (the original Peacock) will give The Calling a broadcast network try. If this show had a wider world opened for them, the audience would grow and this show deserves to grow! Network television isn't dead yet. We see with the wide popularity of ABC's Alaska Daily that network television still thrives if you provide a show people want to watch. 

Must see TV. Watch The Calling

Copyright The Flaming Nose 2022