Category: TV

“Star Trek: The Animated Series” Trivia

I’m a fan of the original Star Trek series that ran on NBC from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969.  79 episodes aired before it was cancelled.  Dedicated fans of Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and the rest of the crew made Star Trek so popular in syndication that Star Trek: The Animated Series was created in 1973.  The animated series ran for 22 episodes over two seasons.   

The fine folks at MeTV have posted 12 Fascinating Facts about Star Trek: The Animated Series.  Before you click over for the full story, here are my thoughts on three of my favorite facts…

Leonard Nimoy demanded that Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were cast.  (The budget for Star Trek: The  Animated Series, like most cartoon series of this era wasn’t huge. There wasn’t enough in the budget to bring back Walter Koenig who played Chekov.  Some members of the cast had to provide the voices for multiple characters.  Hats off to Leonard Nimoy for taking a stand to keep Nichols and Takei on board. – Craig)

It was the first Star Trek series to win an Emmy award. (This is surprising since most folks would figure that the original series would have won at least one Emmy along the way. – Craig)

Filmation originally wanted the series to be about adolescent Starfleet cadets. (I’m really glad that this idea didn’t win out.  Star Trek: The Animated Series provided more proof that the original series was still popular with fans and helped pave the way for the big budget Star Trek feature films with the original cast returning. – Craig)

RIP: Joan Weldon

Joan Weldon’s family announced yesterday that the singer and actress, died on February 11, 2021, at the age of 90.  No cause of death was given.

Weldon was best known for her co-starring role in the sci-fi, horror classic Them!  Weldon’s career began her singing in the San Francisco Grand Opera Company. She later sang in the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera and on Broadway,  Weldon’s acting career began in 1953.  She appeared in eleven films and made eleven guest appearances on television shows including roles on Cheyenne, Perry Mason, Have Gun Will Travel and Maverick.

After her acting career, Weldon returned to her first love, singing. She appeared in many road show productions including The Music Man and Oklahoma.  Joan Weldon retired in 1980.

I had no idea that Joan Weldon was a singer.  I knew her best from her role in Them!  I thought she was excellent.  I appreciate that she came off as smart (if not smarter) than the men in the movie and she wasn’t there to be saved.  Weldon’s career in movies and television was relatively short, but what an impact she made.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and fans.

“Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan” – The Trailer is Here!

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan is another documentary coming to Netflix.  It is also another documentary that I plan to watch.

As a brutal civil war rages across 16th century Japan, powerful samurai warriors rise up to crush their rivals and become the first leader in almost a century to reunite the nation and rule all of Japan. Many will rise, most will fall, and one will build a dynasty that will stand for over two centuries.

RIP: Peter S. Davis

Peter S. Davis, best known as the producer of the Highlander movie, television and video game franchise died on February 21st.  Mr. Davis was 79.

Peter S. Davis was CEO and President of Davis-Panzer Productions (DPP) and Davis Merchandising.  He was a former lawyer on Wall Street as well as an  entrepreneur who owned several business’ outside of movie-making.  Davis began his Hollywood career in 1976 as an Executive Producer of The Death Collector which featured Joe Pesci in a co-starring role.  Davis followed that up as Executive Producer of the movie Stunts starring Robert Forester and Ray Sharkey.  Peter Davis was producer of Sam Peckinpah’s last film (The Osterman Weekend) as well as one of Brad Pitt’s first films (Cutting Class), but it is the Highlander series where Davis made his biggest and best contribution.

Davis pushed to get Highlander to the big screen.  He is also credited for getting Sean Connery in the co-starring role that gave the film gravitas.  The success of Highlander created a franchise that included a sequel, an animated series, a television series, tv movies and video games.

The original Highlander film is one of my all-time favorite films.  Everything from the screenplay to the acting, direction and soundtrack/score came together.  Although I wasn’t a fan of the sequel and didn’t get into the other Highlander ventures, I am such a fan of the original Highlander film, if that was the only contribution that Peter S. Davis made in his career, it would be worth noting here.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Peter S. Davis’ family, friends and fans.

“Murder Among Mormons” – The Trailer is Here!

Murder Among Mormons looks to be another interesting documentary on Netflix.  I plan to tune in.

Murder Among the Mormons is the first comprehensive look at one of the most shocking crimes to have ever taken place among the Mormon community and the criminal mastermind behind it all. The three-part documentary series directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) and Tyler Measom (An Honest Liar), examines a trio of bombings in 1985 that killed two people and shocked Salt Lake City. The murders send further shockwaves through the community when a trove of early Mormon letters and diaries are found destroyed in the vehicle of the third victim, a renowned collector of rare documents, including the infamous White Salamander Letter — an artifact whose contents threatened to shake the very foundations of Mormonism. As he fights for his life, investigators race to uncover the truth.

“Debris” – The Full Trailer is Here!

We saw the Debris teaser trailer here.  Now we have the full length trailer.  Yep, Debris looks interesting and I’ll give it a shot.

Every piece holds the power to change our world. Jonathan Tucker, Riann Steele, Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip star in Debris, a new mystery premiering Monday, March 1 at 10/9c on NBC.

“The Lost Pirate Kingdom” Trailer is Here!

The Lost Pirate Kingdom trailer is below.  Honestly, it doesn’t look great, but there is something about it that makes me want to see the documentary series.  I’m not sure why.  I’m not overly fond of Pirates.  I’ve seen the Johnny Depp movies (most of ’em, anyway… I think).  I guess it is the documentary aspect that appeals to me.  I want to know more about how pirates really were.

The real-life pirates of the Caribbean violently plunder the world’s riches and form a surprisingly egalitarian republic in this documentary series.

Sybil Danning / Paul Gulacy / Bill Black and Me

The Black Diamond comics shown above each feature a cover drawn by Paul Gulacy.  A fan of the series and actress Sybil Danning recently posted the covers on Twitter with this response…

I responded to his Tweet with, “Funny story – I was Bill Black’s connection for both Paul Gulacy & Sybil Danning!”

I thought I had told that story here before but a search of the site indicates I didn’t… until now.  Let me take you back to 1980…

It’s about 10 at night and I’m watching tv.  The phone rings and I answer.  The voice on the other end asks to speak to “Mr. ZAB-blow.”  Dead giveaway that he doesn’t know me since he mispronounces my name. (For the record it sounds like ZAY-BLOW.)  I think he’s a nervy sales guy and am ready to hang up when he says, he got my name from a Bill Black publication that listed me as an editor.  The guy wants to get in touch with Bill Black.

Little does this guy know, my editing amounted to either putting Bill in touch with artists or copies of convention sketches.  My biggest contribution in this area was that I introduced Bill to Paul Gulacy.  Paul was my favorite artist, we talked fairly regularly and I had commissioned a few pieces from Paul.  Bill wanted to get Paul to do some art for him.

Ah, but back to the Sybil Danning phone call.

The guy says that he couldn’t find any phone number for Bill, but he was able to locate mine.  I tell the guy, that I can’t give out Bill’s number but would be glad to take a message for him.  The guy proceeds to tell me he is Sybil Danning’s manager.  He asks if I know who she is.  I do.  He says that they want to do a comic with Sybil as the main character.  They want Bill to publish it.  I take his number and tell the guy I’ll pass Bill the info.  We hang up and I go back to watching whatever I was watching.

I’m pretty sure it was the next day that I reached out to Bill to let him know that I had received a call from a guy saying he was Sybil Danning’s manager and they wanted to do a comic with him.  If you know Bill, you know how enthusiastic he gets.  Bill begins rapid fire asking questions, “When did he call – do I have his number – why didn’t I call him last night to tell him – etc.”  I explain to Bill it was late, I don’t know if the guy is on the level, etc.

Needless to say, Bill was able to contact Danning’s manager and the rest is history.

Seung Eun Kim – Check Out This Artist’s Work!

I can’t remember the last time I came across a new (to me) artist whose work excites me as much as Seung Eun Kim.  Check out Kim’s childhood heroes drawing above.  Not only does he have excellent taste in heroes, but man, that art!

Usually I will post one piece of art with a link to the artist’s site, but there were so many candidates for posting on Seung Eun Kim’s Instagram that I just had to post two… and which two to post was a tough decision.  Click over and you’ll see what I mean.

RIP: Mike Henry

Mike Henry, best known for his roles as Tarzan in three feature films and Sheriff Bufford T. Justice’s son in three Smokey and the Bandit movies has died.  Henry died at age 84 on January 8th, from chronic traumatic encephalopathy after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Henry was a standout linebacker at USC and went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1958 – 1961) and the Los Angeles Rams (1962 – 1964).  Henry had played a few minor roles prior to his retirement from football and in 1966 he got the lead as Tarzan in three feature films.  

After playing Tarzan, Henry alternated between guest spots on television and co-starring roles in feature films.  Mike Henry appeared in an episode of Burt Reynold’s series, Dan August and also had a role in Reynold’s feature film, The Longest Yard.  Henry also appeared twice in Charlton Heston films (Soylent Green and Skyjacked) and twice in John Wayne movies (The Green Berets and Rio Lobo).  Most fans may know Henry best as Jackie Gleason’s sidekick in three Smokey and the Bandit films where Henry played Sheriff Bufford T. Justice’s dimwit son, Junior Justice.

I first saw Henry in his Tarzan trilogy which was a new take on the King of the Jungle.  Now Tarzan was an educated, almost James Bond type character.  It was a shocking change, but one that was interesting.  Henry definitely had the physique to play Tarzan.  After the three films, Henry was offered the chance to play Tarzan in the television series that was being developed, but he declined.

In 1988, Henry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and he retired from acting.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Henry’s family, friends and fans.

 

The “Tribes of Europa” Trailer is Here!

I think the Tribes of Europa trailer gives us hope for an interesting, fun series.

2074. In the wake of a mysterious global disaster, war rages between the Tribes that have emerged from the wreckage of Europe. Three siblings from the peaceful Origines tribe – Kiano (Emilio Sakraya), Liv (Henriette Confurius) and Elja (David Ali Rashed) – are separated and forced to forge their own paths in an action-packed fight for the future of this new Europa.

Tribes of Europa premieres on Netflix on February 19, 2021.

RIP: Hal Holbrook

It has been confirmed that Hal Holbrook, award-winning actor, director and author died on January 23, 2021 at the age of 95.  Holbrook is best known for his one man show portraying Mark Twain which he began in the 1950s and continued well into this century.  In 1966, Holbrook’s portrayal of Twain won him the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.

In addition to his stage work, Holbrook could often be found adding class to television and movie roles.  Holbrook was a 5 time Primetime Emmy Award winner.  Holbrook’s IMDb resume includes 136 acting credits.  Some of my favorite Hal Holbrook roles were in Magnum Force, All the President’s Men, Capricorn One, The West Wing, Lincoln, and Sons of Anarchy.  Whenever Hal Holbrook appeared on the screen the tv show or movie got at least a little bit better.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Hal Holbrook’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman, whose acting career spanned over 70 years, died yesterday of natural causes at the age of 94.  It is hard to say the role that she was best known for since she had so many memorable and award-winning parts.  Leachman was nominated for 22 Primetime Emmy Awards (earning her the record for the most nominations).  She won 8 Primetime Emmy Awards (tying her with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the most actress wins in Emmy history.)  Leachman also won an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award!

My first memory of Cloris Leachman is from her role as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Her character was so popular that Leachman played her in two spin-off series; first on Rhoda and then in her own show simply titled Phyllis.  Although my first memory of Cloris Leachman is from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, there is no doubt that I’d seen Leachman in many other television guest appearances.   Her tv credits include dozens and dozens of appearances on popular shows… everything from Lassie to The Twilight Zone.

Cloris Leachman wasn’t just limited to television roles.  Her appearances in Mel Brooks’ films were always funny, welcome additions. Her role as Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein is a classic.  Who can forget her first major movie role as Christina Bailey in Kiss Me Deadly?  Leachman also appeared in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Last Picture Show (where she won the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress), High Anxiety and many other features.

Cloris Leachman has nearly 300 acting credits on her resume and she made everything she was in better by her presence.  She will be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go our to Cloris Leachman’s family, friends and fans.