Category: TV

RIP: Jay Sandrich

Jay Sandrich has died at the age of 89.  Mr. Sandrich was an award-winning director (5 Emmy Awards, 3 Director’s Guild Awards) best known for his work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Cosby Show.

Jay Sandrich began his career as an Assistant Director working on I Love Lucy, The Red Skelton Show, The Untouchables, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Dick Van Dyke Show and many others.  Once Mr. Sandrich moved into the director’s chair he stayed busy working on The Danny Thomas Show, That Girl, Get Smart, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Here’s Lucy, The Odd Couple, and The Bob Newhart Show just to name a few.   Often Mr. Sandrich would be hired to direct multiple episodes.

In 1970, Mr. Sandrich directed the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  He would go on to direct 119 of the show’s 168 episodes!  Jay Sandrich also directed episodes of the MTMS spin-offs: Rhoda, Phyllis and Lou Grant. After the MTMS ended Mr. Sandrich continued to direct some of the most popular shows on television including: Welcome Back Kotter, WKRP in Cincinnati, Benson and Soap.

In 1980, Jay Sandrich directed the feature film Seems Like Old Times starring Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Charles Grodin.  Mr. Sandrich then returned to directing television shows including Night Court and The Golden Girls. Mr. Sandrich was then chosen as director for The Cosby Show.  He not only directed the pilot but went on to direct 100 of the 197 episodes made! 

Jay Sandrich continued to direct television projects that interested him, even adding episodes of The Office and Two and a Half Men to his resume.  Jay Sandrich was named to the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2020.

It’s hard to imagine just how many hours I’ve enjoyed of programs directed by Jay Sandrich.  He directed some of the funniest episodes of several classic series.  That doesn’t happen by accident.  If you haven’t seen his lone feature film: Seems Like Old Times.  You should consider giving it a go.  I remember seeing Seems Like Old Times when it was first released and really enjoying it.  Jay Sandrich knew how to bring out the best in the performers he worked with.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jay Sandrich’s family, friends and fans.


“Invasion” – The 2nd Trailer is Here!

Invasion looks like it could be a fun ride.

We are not alone. Extraterrestrial beings have made their way to Earth from across the universe. Civilization could collapse. And survival is up to you. Feel what it’s like to live through an alien invasion starting October 22 on Apple TV+

Invasion follows a global cast – including Sam Neil, Golshifteh Farahani, Shamier Anderson, Billy Barrett, and Shioli Kutsuna – as they try to navigate a terrifying new reality infested by lethal aliens.

Song: “This Bitter Earth (Heavy Duty Remix)” by The Seshen

Bruce Lee’s Best Non-Kato TV Roles!

The fine folks at Me-TV decided to turn the spotlight on 5 Forgotten Television Appearances by the Legendary Bruce Lee.  After playing Kato on The Green Hornet, Bruce Lee made appearances on four other US television shows: Ironside, Blondie, Here Come the Brides and Longstreet.  Me-TV also snuck in Lee’s appearance in the feature film Marlowe since it played on television in 1972 (released to theaters in 1969).  Before you click over, here are my thoughts on each…

Ironside:  I used to watch this series with my grandparents.  Lee plays a karate instructor who teaches Ironside’s female associate a few tricks.  I’d like to see the episode now to see if it holds up.  I had just turned 9 when I saw the show originally.  I remember it being just okay (it needed more Bruce Lee).

Blondie:  This is one Bruce Lee appearance I’ve never seen.  I didn’t watch Blondie and didn’t even remember the show (which looks pretty bad).

Here Come the Brides:  I used to watch HCtB regularly, but barely remember the Bruce Lee episode or much of the series.  This is another show I’d like to check out to see how it holds up.

Longstreet:  I loved the idea of Bruce Lee training a blind investigator self-defense.  Lee appeared in four of the 24 episodes.  I liked this show (with Lee in it) quite a lot.

Marlowe:  Lee only has two scenes but they are the ones you will remember!  In the first he threatens Marlowe (James Garner) and in the second they fight to the death (although the way Lee dies is pretty lame).

Do You Follow MAD Artist Tom Richmond? You Should!

If you’re a fan of Tom Richmond and follow his posts, you may have already seen this wonderful sketch of The Great One, Jackie Gleason.  If you don’t follow Mr. Richmond, this my opportunity to point you to his site where he regularly shares stories from his long career as a caricaturist, discusses his gig as a regular MAD magazine artist, answers questions from fans and posts his art.

“Midnight Mass” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

First off, bonus points to Midnight Mass for having a painted movie poster.  Check out the trailer and let me know, if like me, you plan to attend Midnight Mass.

This little island, so sleepy it might be dead. The isolated community on Crockett Island experiences miraculous events – and frightening omens – following the arrival of a charismatic, mysterious young priest. An original series from Mike Flanagan come to Netflix on September, 24th.

Watch Midnight Mass, only on Netflix.

From The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan, MIDNIGHT MASS tells the tale of a small, isolated island community whose existing divisions are amplified by the return of a disgraced young man (Zach Gilford) and the arrival of a charismatic priest (Hamish Linklater). When Father Paul’s appearance on Crockett Island coincides with unexplained and seemingly miraculous events, a renewed religious fervor takes hold of the community – but do these miracles come at a price?

RIP: Michael K. Williams

Michael K. Williams died today.  He was 54.  No cause of death was given. 

Michael K. Williams is probably best known for his breakout role as Omar on the HBO series The Wire or perhaps it is as Leonard Pine on Hap & Leonard.  Then again you may know him best as Chalky White from Boardwalk Empire.  Of course others may have just discovered Mr. Williams with his role as Montrose Freeman on HBO’s Lovecraft Country (for which he received a 2021 Emmy nomination; his 5th).

Michael K. Williams has over 100 acting credits on his resume.  He appeared in The Sopranos, Boston Legal, Law & Order, with recurring Alias, :Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Community, and When They See Us to name just a few tv series.  Some of Mr. Williams work in feature films included Bullet, Bringing Out the Dead, Gone Baby Gone, Twelve Years a Slave, Triple 9, Ghostbusters, Arkansas, and Motherless Brooklyn.

My favorite Michael K. Williams role was a Leonard Pine on Hap & Leonard, but he was excellent every time he appeared onscreen.  In addition to acting ability Michael K. Williams had charisma.  It’s sad that he left us at such a young age.  We can only imagine the roles he’d yet to entertain us with.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michael K. Williams’ family, friends and fans.

“Mayor of Kingstown” Starring Jeremy Renner, Dianne Wiest and Kyle Chandler – The Trailer is Here!

The poster of Mayor of Kingstown is nothing to crow about, but the trailer is!  Taylor Sheridan the writer behind Sicario and Hell or High Water brings us Jeremy Renner, Dianne Wiest and Kyle Chandler in what looks to be a series worthy of our time.

Mayor of Kingstown has earned my vote.

From Academy Award nominee Taylor Sheridan, co-creator of Yellowstone, Mayor of Kingstown follows the McLusky family – power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.

Stream Mayor of Kingstown, starring Jeremy Renner, November 14!

RIP: Ed Asner

Ed Asner, the actor best known for playing Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970 – 1977) and Lou Grant (1977 – 1982), died today at the age of 91.  Mr. Asner is one of the few actors to play the same character in a comedy and a drama.  He also is the male actor to have won the most Primetime Emmy Awards with seven.

Mr. Asner began his career with uncredited roles on the series Studio One in 1957.  His IMDb resume now contains over 400 acting credits with several that were lined up for the future.  That shows amazing popularity in a career lasting over 60 years. The demand for Mr. Asner’s talents had not diminished despite him being over 90!

Before his career defining role as Lou Grant, Ed Asner regularly guest starred on popular tv series such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents; Route 66; The Untouchables; The Outer Limits; Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; The Rat Patrol; Gunsmoke; The Fugitive; The Wild Wild West; The Invaders; Mission Impossible; and many, many others.

In 1970, Ed Asner shot to fame for his role as the gruff but loveable, Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Mr. Asner and his character were popular to earn a spin off series moving from a half hour comedy to a full hour drama titled Lou Grant. His portrayal of Lou Grant earned Ed Asner five of his seven Emmy Awards.  Mr. Asner also played Lou Grant on two other series (Rhoda and Roseanne).  Mr. Asner’s other two Emmy Awards were for his work on Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man.

Ed Asner also appeared in feature films with his best known probably being the lead voice actor on Up or the bad guy in El Dorado starring John Wayne.  Mr. Asner was in high demand for voice work and he did quite a bit of it as well.  

When not acting, Mr. Asner was involved in activities that he felt strongly about.  He twice served as President of the Screen Actors Guild and was involved with many non-profit organizations and charities.

Watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a weekly family event and a large (no pun intended) part of that was Ed Asner as Lou Grant.  Everyone was able to play off of him and his reactions were classic.  I was impressed at how easy it was for his character to move from an award-winning 30 minute comedy to an award-winning 60 minute drama.  That couldn’t happen without an excellent actor. 

I think what I loved most about Ed Asner was his attitude toward life.  He spoke up for his beliefs, was positive in his posts (yes, at 91 he was active on Twitter!) and was able to stay popular and relevant in an ever-changing world!

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


“Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol” – The Trailer for the New Series is Here!

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol could be good.  .I plan to check it out.

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is streaming September 16th on Peacock with new episodes every Thursday:

Synopsis: Based on Dan Brown’s international bestselling thriller “The Lost Symbol,” the series follows the early adventures of young Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Ashley Zukerman), who must solve a series of deadly puzzles to save his kidnapped mentor and thwart a chilling global conspiracy.

“Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like the poster (dig that shadow) and trailer for Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster.  Deal me in!

Beginning just before his debut as Frankenstein’s creation, BORIS KARLOFF: THE MAN BEHIND THE MONSTER compellingly explores the life and legacy of a cinema legend, presenting a perceptive history of the genre he personified. His films were long derided as hokum and attacked by censors. But his phenomenal popularity and pervasive influence endures, inspiring some of our greatest actors and directors into the 21st Century – among them Guillermo Del Toro, Ron Perlman, Roger Corman & John Landis all of whom and many more contribute their personal insights and anecdotes.

Video: Orson Welles Interviewing Burt Reynolds

What we have today is an excerpt from the unsold and unaired pilot for The Orson Welles Show.  The show was planned for a 90 minute time slot and would feature Orson Welles interviewing/interacting with guest celebrities.  While Mr. Welles was a fantastic director and actor, I’m not sure his strong suit would also include interviewing others.  I also find it somewhat funny that both Burt Reynold and Orson Welles appear to be wearing the same outfit.

Source: WrongReel.

RIP: Pat Hitchcock

Patricia (Pat) Hitchcock, an actress, producer and writer, died on August 9th at the age of 93.  Pat Hitchcock was the only child of director Alfred Hitchcock.

Her very first role was an uncredited part in her father’s 1936 film Sabotage.  As a teenager Pat Hitchcock performed on stage in summer stock productions.  When she graduated high school Pat Hitchcock attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed on stage.

Before deciding to marry and raise a family, Pat Hitchcock appeared in three films.  The two most famous were Stage Fright and Strangers on a Train, both directed by her father.  In 1956, Mrs. Hitchcock had an uncredited role in The 10 Commandments.  In 1960, she appeared in one of her father’s most famous films, Psycho.  Pat Hitchcock also appeared in ten episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Pat Hitchcock also worked on Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.

Alfred Hitchcock was the first director I knew by name.  As a child I loved watching his movies and looking for his cameos.  When I was older I learned that his daughter appeared in some of his films and his television series and I enjoyed looking for her appearances.

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

“Midnight Mass” – The Trailer is Here!

The trailer for Midnight Mass has me interested in seeing more, but what really sold me was this exchange:

“Who are you?”
“You know who I am.”

But we don’t know!  I want to find out so I’ll tune in to Netflix starting September 24th!

From the producers of The Haunting of Hill House, MIDNIGHT MASS introduces Crockett Island, an isolated island community that experiences miraculous events – and frightening omens – following the arrival of a charismatic, mysterious young priest.