Category: TV

RIP: Billie Hayes

Billie Hayes who performed on Broadway, in movies and on television died on April 29th at the age of 96.  Her death from natural causes was announced today by her family.

Mrs. Hayes first Broadway appearance was in Leonard Sillman’s New Faces in 1956. She was then cast as Mammy Yokum in the Broadway version of Li’l Abner.  When Li’l Abner was turned into a feature film, Hayes reprised her role as Mammy Yokum.

Billy Hayes first television role was on The Monkees.  Her next television role was the one she became best known for, as Witchiepoo on HR Pufnstuff (tv series) and in the Pufnstuff movie.  After that series ended Hayes appeared once again as Mammy Yokum in the Li’l Abner tv movie.  Hayes went on to make guest appearances on Bewitched, Lidsville (as a series co-star), Donny and Marie, Murder She Wrote, General Hospital and many other shows.  In 1981, Hayes also began doing voice work (on shows such as The Flintstone Comedy Show, The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, Darkwing Duck, Talespin to name just a few).  She continued doing voice work until she retired in 2016.

Not many performers have a career as long as Billie Hayes.  She was able to successfully transition between stage, feature films and television.  I, like many of her fans, knew her best from her role as Witchiepoo.  I was ten when the series premiered.  My brother and I got into trouble for calling my youngest sister, Witchiepoo.  It’s funny the things you remember.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Billie Hayes’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: Johnny Crawford

Johnny Crawford, best known as one of the original Mouseketeers and for his role on The Rifleman, died yesterday at the age of 75.  Mr. Crawford had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, COVID-19 and pneumonia, but his cause of death was not specified.

Crawford first rose to fame as one of Walt Disney’s original Mouseketeers.  He would then go on to play roles on The Lone Ranger, The Frank Sinatra Show, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Danny Thomas Show, Wagon Train and many other popular television shows before getting his co-starring role on The Rifleman with Chuck Connors.  At the age of 13, Johnny Crawford was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy for his portrayal of Mark McCain, on The Rifleman.  Crawford and Connors developed a friendship that would continue throughout their lives.  When The Rifleman ended, Crawford appeared on an episode of Connor’s follow-up series, Branded.  Johnny Crawford even spoke at Chuck Connors’ funeral decades later.

Johnny Crawford had a brief career as a singing star.  He had four top forty Billboard hits on Del-FI records.  Throughout his life Crawford acted in television and feature film roles, and in 1992, he formed the JCO (Johnny Crawford Orchestra) which performed at festivals and special events.  Johnny Crawford was an extremely talented individual with a career that spanned over 60 years of performances on stage, television and silver screen.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Johnny Crawford’s family, fans and friends.

The Best Prime-Time Line-Ups of All Time!

In these days of streaming with hundreds of cable channels and options specifically geared to taste, when we look back at the days of three basic network options, it is funny to think of how limited our viewing choices were.  It also brings to mind how difficult it must have been for television programmers to put together that magical line-up that would keep viewers on their network.

The fine folks at MeTV decided to look at all of the line-ups from the dawn of television through our current options to determine What was the Best Network Television Lineup Ever?  Looking at their top ten, here are my thoughts and choice for the best line-up ever.

10. CBS Friday 1979–1980: The Incredible HulkThe Dukes of HazzardDallas. (I’ve watched a couple of episodes of The Incredible Hulk and have never seen a complete episode of Dukes or Dallas. – Craig)

9. ABC Friday 1971–72:  The Brady BunchThe Partridge FamilyRoom 222The Odd CoupleLove, American Style. (I’d watch The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, occasionally The Odd Couple and usually Love, American Style. – Craig)

8. CBS Sunday 1956–57: LassieThe Jack Benny ProgramThe Ed Sullivan ShowGeneral Electric TheaterAlfred Hitchcock PresentsThe $64,000 ChallengeWhat’s My Line?  (Since I wasn’t born yet, I didn’t see any of them that season.  I am a fan of The Jack Benny Program and Alfred Hitchcock Presents which I’ve seen in reruns. – Craig)

7. ABC Thursday 1966–67: BatmanF TroopThe Dating GameBewitchedThat Girl.  (I never missed Batman, occasionally watched F Troup and The Dating Game.  I usually would watch Bewitched and occasionally That Girl. – Craig)

6. ABC Thursday 1972-73:  The Mod SquadKung FuThe Streets of San Francisco. (I always watched Kung Fu but neither of the other two. – Craig)

5. Fox Sunday 1999–2000: FuturamaKing of the HillThe SimpsonsMalcolm in the MiddleThe X-Files. (I didn’t watch any of these shows. – Craig)

4. NBC Thursday 1993–94:  Mad About YouWingsSeinfeldFrasierHomicide.  (I always watched Mad About You, Wings, Seinfeld and FrasierHomicide was the show that kept this line-up from being a clean sweep for me. – Craig)

3. CBS Saturday 1959–60:  Perry MasonWanted: Dead or AliveMr. LuckyHave Gun, Will TravelGunsmoke. (I was too young to watch. – Craig)

2. NBC Thursday 1984–85:  The Cosby ShowFamily TiesCheersNight CourtHill Street Blues. (I always watched all of these shows.  This was a perfect line-up for me. – Craig)

1. CBS Saturday 1974–75: All in the FamilyThe JeffersonsMary Tyler MooreThe Bob Newhart ShowThe Carol Burnett Show. (I always watched all of these shows.  This was also a perfect line-up for me. – Craig)

So there were two line-ups that I stay tuned to for the entire evening, but which was the best?  I give the nod to CBS Saturday 1974-75

The Art of “The Walking Dead” Universe is Coming to Get You, Barbara!

As The Walking Dead heads into its final expanded season, fans are going to want to get their hands on TWD collectibles.  The Art of the Walking Dead Universe is a 240 page 9×12 hardcover that will be on many TWD fan’s wish list.

Published by Skybound & produced by AMC Networks Publishing, discover the behind-the-scenes pre-production & production art for AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD shows: The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and The Walking Dead: World Beyond, all in one incredible collection! Includes never-before-seen original sketches, concept art, storyboards, previs art, set concept and engineering art, promotional concept to completion key art, special product illustrations, in-world product art, and much more. Also includes a brand-new wraparound cover featuring over 50 characters from across all the shows. Features an introduction by Chief Content Officer, SCOTT M. GIMPLE, as well as other compelling anecdotes and fun facts from The Walking Dead creators and crew. A must-have for anyone who has ever shouted, “We are the Walking Dead!”

The Art of the Walking Dead Universe drops on October 5, 2021 and is available for pre-order now.

RIP: Jim Steinman

Jim Steinman, lyricist of million-selling hit records, died yesterday at the age of 73.  No cause of death was released.

Steinman is best known for his collaborations with Meat Loaf on the albums Bat Out of Hell (1977) and Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell (1993).  Bat Out of Hell produced two top ten hits: “Two of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and became one of the best-selling albums ever.  Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell released one single: “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” that spent five weeks at No. 1.  Steinman also penned the music and book for Bat Out of Hell: The Musical which ran from February through April in Manchester, England.

Steinman may have been known best for his two collaborations with Meat Loaf, but he composed and produced hits with many other artists including…

  • “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” performed by Air Supply
  • “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (which he also produced) performed by Bonnie Tyler
  • “Nowhere Fast” performed by Fire, Inc. for the Streets of Fire Soundtrack
  • “Left in the Dark” performed by Barbara Streisand
  • “Hulk Hogan’s Theme” for the WWE
  • “Holding Out for a Hero” (which he also produced and co-wrote with Dean Pitchford) performed by Bonnie Tyler
  • “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” performed by Celine Dion
  • and many more.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim Steinman’s family, friends and fans.

The All-Time Best TV Friendships!? C’mon, Man!


 Allison Keene and the Paste TV Writers posted a fun piece titled The 25 Best TV Friendships.  Their list isn’t a bad one and contains many of the tv friendships you’d expect to see including…

  • Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • Hap and Leonard from, uh, Hap & Leonard  
  • Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza from Seinfeld

But I have to question any list of The 25 Best TV Friendships that doesn’t find a spot for…

  • Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton from The Honeymooners
  • James T. Kirk and Spock from Star Trek
  • James West and Artemus Gordon from The Wild, Wild West

C’mon, man!

RIP – Felix Silla


Felix Silla, whose acting career spanned 55 years, died yesterday after after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  While you may not instantly recognize Felix Silla’s name, you’ll be surprised at the number of roles you saw him play.

One of his most famous was as Cousin Itt in the tv series The Adams Family.  That wasn’t the only popular show that featured an appearance by Felix Silla.  He also had roles on: Bonanza, The Monkees, Petticoat Junction, The Girl from UNCLE and Star Trek.  Sila appeared in the movies Point Blank and Planet of the Apes.  He followed those roles as a regular cast member of HR Puffinstuff.

Other television highlights include: Bewitched, Night Gallery, Mary Hartman, Battlestar Gallactica, a regular role on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Mork & Mindy, and Married with Children.  Movie highlights include: The Black Bird, Demon Seed, Kentucky Fried Movie, Under the Rainbow, The Sting II, Meatballs II, Spaceballs and Batman Returns.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Felix Silla’s family, friends and fans.

“Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” Trailer – Zombies in the White House!


I almost missed the trailer for Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness.  That’s because it is animated in the style of a video game and I don’t play video games.  With that said, I did watch it and plan to tune in when Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness shows up on Netflix.  What’s not to love — zombies in the White House.  ; )

The world of Resident Evil that intertwines horror, action and suspense is presented with beautiful and realistic visuals in this brand-new entertainment epic on a unprecedented scale!

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness releases worldwide in July 2021, only on Netflix.

John McClane & Jack Bauer – “Die Hard 24/7” (Proposed Film or Fan’s Dream Team-Up?)


I’m not one to usually report rumors from anonymous sources, but this one is too good not to discuss.  Robert Curran at CBR.com wrote an article about a proposed Jack Bauer/John McClane team-up for a feature film that would have been titled Die Hard 24/7.  While the source of this tidbit was indeed anonymous, the story was intriguing enough to initially get space at Ain’t It Cool News and then at CBR.com… and here.

Curran has doubts about the accuracy of the anonymous source because…

If work went into the potential film, it hasn’t leaked to the Internet. After more than a decade, it stands to reason that someone involved in the project would have revealed more details about the movie if they existed.

Yet, Curran also points out that in A Good Day to Die Hard, McClane’s grown son was a CIA agent named  John “Jack” McClane Jr..  Calling John’s son Jack could have been a nod to the proposed team-up with Jack Bauer.  So perhaps there is something there.

Curran concludes and I agree that…

…Unfortunately, a McClane/Bauer team-up is likely to remain in the realm of fan fiction…

Before you click over to read Robert Curran’s Die Hard’s John McClane ALMOST Crossed Over With 24’s Jack Bauer let me end by saying that I agree that the McClane/Bauer crossover is unlikely… but, man, it sure would be cool!

“The Mosquito Coast” starring Justin Theroux and Melissa George – The Trailer is Here!

I like this trailer for The Mosquito Coast starring Justin Theroux and Melissa George.

The Mosquito Coast is adapted from Paul Theroux’s best-selling novel of the same name and in 1986 had been made into a movie directed by Peter Weir, starring Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren and River Phoenix.  I’ve never read the book or seen the 1986 movie, but I’d be interested in seeing the latest mini-series adaptation.  Check out the trailer below and see if you don’t agree.

A brilliant rebel (Justin Theroux) and his wife (Melissa George) take their family on the run to protect them, but end up exposing them to more danger than ever. At every turn of their adventure, they encounter increasing threats and intensifying moral choices from which there’s no turning back. Watch April 30 exclusively on Apple TV+ https://apple.co/_MosquitoCoast

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Paul Theroux, Mosquito Coast is executive produced by Neil Cross, Rupert Wyatt, Paul Theroux, Justin Theroux and Edward L. McDonnell. Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen and Bob Bookman also serve as executive producers for Veritas Entertainment Group. The series was developed by Neil Cross and Tom Bissell, created for television by Neil Cross, and is a Fremantle Production for Apple TV+

The Twilight Zone: “It’s a Good Life” Trivia

The Twilight Zone is one of my all-time favorite shows.  Some of the original TZ episodes rate with the best television has ever had to offer.  One of the most popular Twilight Zone episodes is “It’s a Good Life” which starred Billy Mummy as a little boy who could read minds and would destroy anyone or anything that displeased him.

MeTV posted 9 Little Details You Never Noticed in the Twilight Zone Episode ”It’s a Good Life” I was surprised by some of the facts listed.  Here are three and my thoughts on each before you click over.

It has the longest opening narrative in Twilight Zone history.  (Serling’s intro clocks in at 2 minutes which doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that is 10% of the episode’s running time, it is quite a bit.  Still I wouldn’t change a word. – Craig)

They made a sequel in 2003. (The sequel appeared on the rebooted Twilight Zone tv series.  Both Billy Mummy and Cloris Leachman, as his mother, returned to reprise their roles.  I had no idea that there was a sequel!  I need to find and watch it. – Craig)

Rod Serling was working on a feature film adaptation when he died. (Sadly, Rod Serling died at such a young age.  I wonder if there is a surviving script?  It would be cool to at least know how he planned to handle the story for a feature length film. – Craig)

“Shadow and Bone” – Posters and the Trailer are Here!

Shadow and BoneHere are several character posters and below is the trailer.  I’ve never read any of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, but will give Shadow and Bone a try.  It looks interesting, although not my normal viewing/reading genre.  Who knows, maybe Shadow and Bone will change that.

There are no others like her. And there never will be. Get ready to enter the Grishaverse. Shadow & Bone premieres April 23, only on Netflix.

RIP: Jessica Walter

Jessica Walter, star of stage, television and movie screen for over 60 years died in her sleep on March 24th at the age of 80.  No cause of death was given.

I probably saw Jessica Walters for the first time in the premiere episode of Flipper.  I would have been five.  After that she appeared with regularity, guesting on many shows that I enjoyed: The Fugitive, The FBI, The Name of the Game, Mannix, The Immortal, Love American Style, Mission Impossible, Alias Smith & Jones and Medical Center — and those are just the shows I regularly watched, she appeared in many others.

Then in 1971, Jessica Walter appeared in the role that always comes first when I think of her.  She played Evelyn Draper, the psycho woman who becomes obsessed with Clint Eastwood in Play Misty for Me.  That role and that movie was well ahead of it’s time.  There’s a scene (and if you’ve seen the movie or the poster you know the one) where Walter literally caused me to yell out loud.  Thankfully, we were at the drive-in with just my family.  Walter was nominated for a  Best Actress Golden Globe for her performance.

Had Mrs. Walter’s only role been that in Play Misty For Me, it would have still warranted notice here.  After Play Misty For Me, Jessica Walter continued to alternate between television, feature films and stage roles always making everything she was in better for her being there.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jessica Walter’s family, friends and fans.

“Dad Stop Embarrassing Me” – The Trailer for Jamie Foxx’s New Series is Here!

Here’s the trailer for Jamie Foxx’s new Netflix series, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me.  It doesn’t look great, but it doesn’t look bad.  I’ll tune in to check it out.  I’m glad to see David Alan Grier has a part.  Truthfully, I’m surprised that Jamie Foxx is doing a series.

Family. Fatherhood. Facepalms. Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! starring Jamie Foxx premieres on April 14, only on Netflix

RIP: Yaphet Kotto

Yaphet Kotto, whose acting career spanned 50 years on television and in feature films, died Sunday, March 14, 2021, at the age of 81.  No cause of death was given.

Kotto began his career in 1962 with a role in the feature film Nothing But a Man.  After that he alternated between roles in television and feature films.  It is hard to say which was Kotto’s best known role because he had so many.  Some would say it was when he played the villain, Mr. Big, in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die.  Others would point to his starring role as President Idi Amin in Raid on Entebbe.  Who can forget his standout performance as Parker in Alien?  Others would know Yaphet Kotto best from his role as Al Giardello in Homicide: Life on the Street.

I probably first saw Yaphet Kotto in one of his many guest starring roles on television.  Mr. Kotto appeared on many of my favorite tv programs: Tarzan, The High Chaparral, Mannix, Daniel Boone, The Name of the Game, Gunsmoke, and Night Gallery.  Keep in mind, those were just the shows I watched, Yaphet Kotto appeared on many others.  Some of my favorite feature film performances by Yaphet Kotto include: Live and Let Die, Brubaker, The Running Man and of course, my all-time favorite Yaphet Kotto role, Parker in Alien.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Yaphet Kotto’s family, friends and fans.