Sunday, April 29, 2012

Domestic Smackdown 2012: Level One, Rounds 7-12

Continuing the first level of the Domestic Smackdown competition I ran on Facebook.
ROUND 7: Rosie the Robot of THE JETSONS demolishes MAUDE's Mrs. Naugatuck with 73% to 27%. Snaky commentary from a voter: "Rosie. Otherwise she'll send robot assassins back from the future to murder your mother before you were born."
ROUND 8; Lurch of THE ADDAMS FAMILY verses Tony from WHO'S THE BOSS? Lurch wins with an astounding 79%, sending Tony back to the dugout. "No one anticipates their employer's needs better than Lurch. Plus, I could listen to that harpsichord all day long... petite."
ROUND 9: Adelaide Brubaker of DIFF'RENT STROKES took on BEULAH (star of her own series...in the 1950s!). Sadly Beulah Brown didn't stand a chance with Adelaide scoring 66% to 34%. Notes a fan: "Adelaide! Extra points for Nedra Volz sitting in a urinal in the movie "Moving Violations."
ROUND 10: Another DIFF'RENT STROKES housekeeper, Pearl Gallagher took on upstart Mickey McKensie of WE'VE GOT IT MADE. Needless to say Pearl too this round with 85% verses Mickey's 15%. "Pearl, if only for her past life as the model for Chubby Chick hosiery."
ROUND 11:  Geoffrey of FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR vs. Mr. Charles Carson of DOWNTON ABBEY. No contest. Carson @ 90% verse 10% for poor Geoffrey. "Carson would have noticed and brought it to Mr Banks immediate attention when Vivian suddenly turned into that lady from Franks Place."
ROUND 12: Nlies of THE NANNY took on Rosario  Salazar of WILL & GRACE! Rosario sweeps with 80% to Niles' 20%. "The Members Only jacket may be the push that knocks her into the lead."
So there you have it - going on to LEVEL 2 are Benson, Mrs. Garrett, Florida Evans, Nell Harper, Mr. French, Lurch, Adelaide, Pearl, Caron and Rosario! To be continued...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Domestic Smackdown 2012: Level One, Rounds 1-6

After coming to the realization that I'm obsessed with TV maids, housekeepers and butlers, I decided to initiate a very un-scientific poll on Facebook to determine who the top household "domestic" in TV history is. Here are the first 6 (of 12) rounds of Level One.
ROUND ONE: Alice Nelson (63%) of THE BRADY BUNCH beat Hazel Burke (37%) of HAZEL A quote from a voter: "Alice! Six kids and a dog vs one kid? No contest...Alice should also get points for getting the Brady's a discount on meats. What did Hazel ever do except re-enactments from "Come Back Little Sheba"?"
ROUND TWO: Alfred Pennyworth (42%) of BATMAN gets bested by Benson DuBois (58%) of SOAP and BENSON. A voter notes: "Has to be Benson. I believe it's still the only spinoff that lasted more than twice as long as the series it spun off from."
ROUND THREE: Mrs. Livingston (45%) of THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER gets a beating from Mrs. Edna Garret (55%) from DIFF'RENT STROKES and THE FACTS OF LIFE.  A voter observes "Not much of a contest - few people under 50 know who Mr. Eddie's Father is. Mrs. Garrett in a walk."
ROUND FOUR: Florence Johnston (38%) of THE JEFFERSONS and CHECKING IN was sent packing by Florida Evans (62%) of MAUDE and GOOD TIMES. Another wise observation "I wouldn't want to take on Florida, I think she's gonna sweep the whole race!"
ROUND FIVE: Rose Buck (21%) of UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS was flattened by Nell Harper (79%) of GIMME A BREAK. A witty voter exclaims "Nell hands down! And if you're wondering, with Nell, those hands would be down in a box of donuts!!!"
ROUND SIX: Mr. Belvedere (37%) of his self-titled series loses out to Mr. French of FAMILY AFFAIR (63%). A bug shout out to French: "If you aren't voting for Mr French it's only because you're too young to know his majesty..."


Come back soon for the balance of the LEVEL ONE results.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Basket Full of Easter Cartoons

Here's a quick look at some network animated Easter specials from the 70s and 80s - from when the networks actually aired Easter specials.
A FAMILY CIRCUS EASTER (1982) Based on the beloved comic strip, this NBC special tells the unusual tale of young Billy, Dolly and Jeffy - as they actually trap the Easter Bunny to find out why he delivers eggs for Easter! Sounds a bit scary to me.

BERENSTAIN BEAR'S EASTER SURPRISE (1981) Based on the line of popular childrens books this NBC entry told the story of Papa Bear's adventure with Boss Bunny. Get your mind out of the gutter!

BUGS BUNNY EASTER SPECIAL (1977) 5 classic Warner Bros. cartoons (including "Knighty Knight Bugs" and "Robin Hood Daffy")surrounded by some new animation about Bugs and Granny auditioning replacements for the Easter Bunny. This ran on CBS through the 1980s.

DAFFY DUCK EASTER SHOW (1980) Daffy came to NBC with three new shorts, including "Daffy Flies North". The success of this special led to a Saturday morning series on the Peacock network. The special moved to CBS in the mid-80s.

FAT ALBERT EASTER SHOW(1982) Bill Cosby's Saturday-morning kids came to primetime in this CBS outting as the chubby dude and pals spread good cheer throughout their neighborhood.More to come tomorrow...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Basket Full of Easter TV Treats

Here's a timely pastiche of old posts dealing with Easter-themed television. It seems like Easter was once a much bigger deal on TV back in the 1970s. Not only did the three major networks air a slew of animated specials, but regular series also aired special Easter-themed episodes!
THE LIFE & TIMES OF GRIZZLY ADAMS was one such series. This NBC family adventure series about a hairy dude (play by future drug afficinando Dan Haggerty) who lived with bears was quite popular during it's two-year run. Grizzly was loosely based on a real person, a bear handler in P.T. Barnum's circus during the early 1980s. This 90-minute holiday episode guest-starred Western legend John Wayne's less than legendary son Patrick. This show should not be confused with BJ AND THE BEAR - which starred Greg Evigan and a monkey named "Bear."

From bears to killer whales...Perry Como, the famously bland singer, hosted a batch of holiday specials on the networks through the 1970s. Joining Perry for this splashy outting - taped at San Diego's Sea World (nothing says Easter like killer whales) are the equally bland duo Grammy-winning Grizzly Adams lookalike Kenny (The Gambler) Rogers and Debby (You Light Up My Life) Boone. The fact that this snoozefest aired at 10PM must have alienated the elderly and grammar school audience that it was meant to attract. I mean who else loves water parks and squeaky-clean easy-listening music but people who are in bed by 9PM?

Speaking of easy-listening, regular readers of Dougsploitation know that when I was a kid I was obsessed with The King Family. The King Family was this humongous group of clean-cut, mostly-blond, well-dressed white folk who sang cover versions of songs made famous by other people. These were mostly showtunes, spirituals and patriotic songs like Climb Every Mountain, He's Got the Whole in His Hands and America the Beautiful. Sometimes they all dressed alike and sometimes they even dressed like royalty!
The King Sisters (Donna, Yvonne, Louise and Alyce) and their extended musical family had their own ABC prime-time variety series from 1965-66. It was sort of like THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW if Lawrence had fathered everyone.

In all, some thirty-seven members of the King family, ranging in age from seven months to 79 years, were featured on the show. I wanted to be one.

A short-lived 1969 revival, also on ABC, focused on the younger, hipper King Cousins. Don't they look cool?
This special, HAPPY EASTER WITH THE KING FAMILY may have just been a syndicated repeat of an Easter-themed episode of their weekly show, or it may have been an all-new hour-long King-fest. I'm not sure, There was a great King Family Christmas clip show that airs on PBS each holiday season. I heard a follow-up on their non-Christmas shows will be made as well.
Wow! What a star-studded eggstravanga this was! Poor Frankie, first THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR now an Easter Special from around the same time with an unimpressive line-up of guest stars. Very sad. Brings to mind one of my favorite lines from GREASE, "Would you pull that crap with Annette?"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Small Fry Easter Paraders

Easter used to be fun. I think.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Letter From The Easter Bunny

From 2009: It's finally Easter season, and time for the holiday that tries so damned hard to be another Christmas - but I personally just can't get past all the ugly pastel decorations. While going through a box of old cards and letters recently I came across this curious artifact from my sordid  past...an actual letter from the Easter Bunny - addressed to me from a P.O. Box in Wilkes-Barre, PA.Apparently, this rabbit (aka my good friend) lives in Bunny Land and can take time out from his duties–preparing for this long trip–to write to ME. He knows I've been good? He also dispenses free medical advice as you can see for yourself below.

Well, I never did get baskets of candy after I figured out it was all a lie - but somehow this letter has magically stayed with me throughout the years as a reminder of that childhood innocence and gullibility that we all lose somewhere along the way to adulthood. Happy Easter season, kids – enjoy the Peeps and the hollow rabbits. It's gonna be over before you know it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's the Easter Beagle (again) Charlie Brown

Premiering on CBS in April 1974 - this popular Peanuts holiday special, like all in the series, features several subplots: Peppermint Patty tries to teach Marcie how to decorate eggs; Snoopy dances with the popular and adorable Bunny-Wunnies,Yes, the Bunny-Wunnies; Woodstock gets a new birdhouse; Lucy decides to throw her own egg hunt; and Linus, not defeated by the disappointment of the Great Pumpkin - tells Sally she doesn't need to color eggs because the Easter Beagle will bring them.
IT'S THE EASTER BEAGLE, CHARLIE BROWN moved to ABC in 2000,
where it has aired more or less every year. I believe it's padded with newer, inferior material to fill an hour timeslot. Not sure if ABC is even airing it this year, but you could always buy it on DVD.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools...

Here's something I originally ran for April Fool's Day 2009 - When I decided to go against the trend and answer a serious question truthfully. People often ask me, "Doug, what's the single worst movie you've ever seen?" and after I answer "SHREK", then I usually ask them: "Do you mean worst movie ever made? Worst movie disappointment? Or worst movie, but I love it so much I've seen it hundreds of times?" In the case of the third question, it could only be:
Yes, THE BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL - which my friend Tara discovered over 20 years ago in the African American Studios section of her local video store.

Yes, THE BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL - which features an entire soundtrack performed on a Casio keyboard.

Yes, THE BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL - which features a bravura, gutsy performance by Shirley L. Jones as a devoted church-lady who purchases what she thinks is a quaint, harmless puppet. But then is harassed by, brutalized by and finally falls in love with this demonic ventriloquist dummy (play in several action sequences by a small child).
Yes, THE BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL - which features the classic line "I've been with many men, several to be exact".Yes, THE BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL - which features the aforementioned Shirley L. Jones masturbating in the shower.
Yes, the one, the only, the original BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL - accept no substitutes. No foolin'!