Category: TV

RIP: Gregory Sierra

Although Gregory Sierra died on January 4, 2021, from cancer, his death wasn’t made public knowledge until yesterday.  Sierra, who had a long career acting in television and movie roles was probably best known for his co-starring role on Barney Miller.

Sierra made guest appearances on dozens and dozens of television shows with reoccurring roles on The Flying Nun, Sanford & Son, Soap, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, Murder She Wrote and more.  Sierra’s major theatrical film roles were in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Papillon, The Towering Inferno, Vampires and Vic (written and directed by Sage Stallone).

I always enjoyed tv shows and movies a bit more when Gregory Sierra appeared.   Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gregory Sierra’s family, friends and fans.

Syfy’s “Day of the Dead” Limited Series Ties into the Romero Classic and Sounds Great!

John Squires at Bloody Disgusting broke the story that Syfy’s Day of the Dead Series Will Have Some Ties to George Romero’s Original Classic.  This is great news for Romero fans.  Not only will the 10 episode limited series tie in to Romero’s film, but will focus on…

 …six strangers trying to survive the first 24 hours of an undead invasion.

The thing I love about the best zombie (or any apocalyptic) movies is the interplay between strangers trying not only to figure out what is going on, but also how to best survive.  As you can guess, I’m looking forward to Day of the Dead.

For more details click over to Syfy’s Day of the Dead Series Will Have Some Ties to George Romero’s Original Classic at Bloody Disgusting.

Joe Dator’s Rediscovering “Columbo”

Over the last year I’ve posted about my wife’s and my renewed interest and love for Columbo starring Peter Falk.  Because the series is so popular it appears on several networks daily which makes recording episodes easy. My wife and I have been working our way through every episode.  Joe Dator is doing the same thing.

Joe Dator is an accomplished cartoonist whose work can regularly be found in The New Yorker, often be found in Mad Magazine and Esquire and believe it or not, at his personal website.  Joe was a winner of The National Cartoonists Society’s 2018 Silver Reuben Award.

I tell you all of this as a way of introduction into Joe Dator’s Rediscovering “Columbo” in 2020.  The cartoon strip first appeared in The New Yorker last October, but can be seen in full at Joe’s website.  I agree with everything Joe says about the joys of watching Columbo.  The one thing I would add is that while Columbo’s first name is never spoken it does appear to eagle-eyed viewers when Columbo shares his ID in a few episodes.

RIP: Peter Mark Richman

Peter Mark Richman died yesterday at the age of 93 from natural causes.  Richman was an accomplished actor who appeared in feature films, television and on Broadway, an author who wrote plays, short stories and novels, and an artist.  Talk about being a Renaissance Man.

I’d be willing to bet that you’ve seen Peter Mark Richman perform, even if you don’t recognize his name.  Richman has 159 credits on his IMDb resume.  I remember him best from the classic Twilight Zone episode The Fear, but that was one of well over 100 appearances Peter Mark Richman made on television.  In addition to Cain’s Hundred (which he starred in), you could see Richmond regularly show up on tv shows starting in the 1960s through the 1990s.  He had reoccurring roles on Longstreet, Three’s Company, Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210, and guest appearances on just about every other major television show.  

 Richman’s features films include The Strange One, Black Orchid, Naked Gun 2 and Friday the 13th, Part 8, and Vic (a short film co-written and directed by Sage Stallone).  Starting the in the 1990s, Richman began doing voice work for Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series.  

Mr. Richman appeared on Broadway, had several of his one-act plays, novels and short stories published.  He also had 17 one-man exhibitions of his paintings.  

Peter Mark Richman was married to his wife, Helen for 67 and they have five children.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Peter Mark Richman’s family, friends and fans.  What an amazing creative life he led.

RIP: Steve Carver

Steve Carver, best known for directing action films, died yesterday of a heart attack.  Mr. Carver was 75.

After graduating from college (BA from Cornell University and MFA from Washington University), Carver worked as a cameraman for the Wide World of Sports for the St. Louis Cardinals, taught at local colleges and made documentaries.  One of his documentaries earned him a spot in the American Film Institute.  Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, one of the short films Carver created there, was well received and led to Carver meeting and working with Roger Corman.

Carver cut trailers for Corman’s New World pictures and began writing scripts.  Corman then gave Carver the opportunity to direct The Arena starring Pam Grier.  The success of that film led Corman to give Carter the helm of Big Bad Mama starring Angie Dickinson, William Shatner and Tom Skerritt.  The success of Big Bad Mama led to Carver directing CaponeCapone starred Ben Gazarra, Harry Guardino, Susan Blakely, Sylvester Stallone and John Cassavetes.

The success of these films made Carver the potential director for Billy Jack Goes to Washington.  That fell through when Tom Laughlin decided to direct it himself.  Carver was instead hired to replace director Burt Kennedy on Drum which starred Warren Oates, Ken Norton, Pam Grier and Yaphet Kotto.  Although the film was successful, Carver didn’t enjoy the experience.

Carver had ideas for a couple of films but they fell through. Instead Carver went on to direct David Carradine and Brenda Vaccaro in Fast Charlie… the Moonbeam Rider and Steel starring Lee Majors and Jennifer O’Neal.

In 1981, Carver directed Chuck Norris, Christopher Lee and Richard Roundtree in An Eye for an Eye.  Two years later, Carver reteamed with Chuck Norris for Lone Wolf McQuade (co-starring David Carradine, Barbara Carrera and Leon Isaac Kennedy).  Both of these films were highly successful, but Carver was becoming less enchanted with Hollywood and more interested in photography.  Carter made six more films, but in 1995 opened his own photography studio and left directing behind.

Thanks to Steve Carver for many hours of entertainment.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

“Longstreet”, “The Immortal” & Other Classic TV Investigators

Keith Roysdon at posted A SHORT HISTORY OF CLASSIC TV’S MOST UNUSUAL INVESTIGATORS.  If you’re of a certain age, I’m sure you’ll remember some of these shows. Here are the shows (and my thoughts on each) that he covers…

  • Longstreet:  I was a fan of this show, mainly because of Bruce Lee.  Although Longstreet ran for just one year, the idea of a blind investigator was (and still would be) unique.  Sadly Bruce Lee didn’t appear in each episode, 

  • Coronet Blue:  I never remember even hearing of Coronet Blue.  The concept sounds like a cool one – a Russian sleeper agent is planted in the US, but wants to defect.  The agent’s true identity is a mystery and Russian agents are after him.  

  • The Immortal:  Of all the shows on this list, The Immortal was my favorite.  I was a regular viewer and disappointed when the series ended (after just 16 episodes).  I was the perfect age for a race car driver who is on the run from a billionaire and his many hired thugs because the driver has unique blood with properties that heal and prevent aging. (Wolverine, anyone?)  I haven’t seen any episodes in decades and wonder if it would still hold up.  It was must-see tv back in the day.

  • Nowhere Man:  This is the other show on the list that I never saw.  Nowhere Man sounds like a Twilight Zone plot but from the description Roysdon provides it was not as well executed.

  • Barnaby Jones:  I watched Barnaby Jones when I was visiting my grandparents… and remember it being okay.

  • Cannon:  Was another favorite of my grandparents.  Cannon was also okay.  Nothing special but not bad.

  • Ironside:  I remember seeing the pilot while on vacation with, you guessed it, my grandparents.  

Roysdon’s list is a good one and he provides info on each show in a concise manner. His piece is worth a read. Other shows I wish he would have covered include…

  • The Magician:  Bill Bixby as a rich, playboy magician who solved crime.  I used to watch this show regularly and really enjoyed it.  

  • Banacek:  George Peppard stared as an investigator who solved impossible crimes.  I really enjoyed this one.

  • A Man Called Sloane: Robert Conrad was an American secret agent.  I never saw an episode, but have heard good things about it and would like a chance to check it out someday.

“Walker” Teaser – “The Cowboy Way”

Here’s a teaser for Walker, the reboot of the Chuck Norris series.  I never watched Norris’ show, but for some reason plan to check out the new version.  I’m not expecting anything great, but hope that it is good.

Jared Padalecki is Cordell Walker, a widower and father of two with his own moral code, who returns home to Austin after being undercover for two years, only to discover there’s harder work to be done at home.

Craig’s Best of 2020: Novels, Movies and Blog Posts

End of the Year lists are fun and so I decided to compile a few of my own. I hope you enjoy them.


In 2020, I watched 453 movies. Most were streamed. I usually see a little over 200 movies per year so retirement and the pandemic helped increase my viewing. My favorite films released in 2020 included:

  • Arkansas: An under-rated, quirky crime drama.
  • Dracula: Technically a 3 part mini-series, but the first two episodes were near perfect and the third didn’t ruin the experience (but did fall off quite a bit).
  • Extraction: A surprisingly well done action film that had heart.
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: My favorite film of the year – the screenplay, acting and direction were top shelf. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom deserves a boatload of Oscars.Who’d have thought that two of my favorite films would star the Hemsworth brothers?


In 2020, I read 34 books. I usually read about 20 – 24 per year so retirement and the pandemic also worked to increase my novel consumption. My favorites from this year included:

My Most Popular Posts of the Year

I always find some surprises in the most popular posts from the year. Here are the top ten for 2020 and some thoughts for each…

10. David Fincher’s “Mank” – The Poster and Trailer are Here! Fincher is always a fan favorite, and Mank’s poster and trailer were no exception.

09. Facts About Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. The popularity of this post surprises me since it deals with a short story, but horror is always a favorite subject with many of our readers.

08. Peter Stults’ “28 Days Later” Starring Richard Burton. I love that this remains a top post. Stults’ alternative movie posters are a blast. He chooses great stars to recast in cool movies.

07. Jack Benny in “Casablanca”. This one makes me smile. I love that it made the top ten.

06. Sly Stallone Starring in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” Video! Sly Stallone makes the list!

05. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! I told you horror posts are popular.

04. Dracula Through the Ages. I wasn’t kidding. Horror posts are popular.

03. Jackie Daytona Commercial for “Lucky Brews Bar and Grill”! The popularity of this post surprised me. Sure, it has the horror connection, but mixed in is a great amount of humor. Add to that it is for an under-rated horror/comedy (that I hope you are watching) and we get our third most popular post of the year!

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer. Any post about the Zodiac Killer always get a lot of views. This one has even racked up the most comments. 

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”. This posts gets more hits than any other post on the site. It’s not horror, it’s not about a real life killer or Sly Stallone, but it is our #1 post again this year.

My All-Time Most Popular Posts

I thought it might be fun to close out with a look at our all-time most popular posts. Did any or most of 2020’s greatest hits make the all-time list? Let’s see…

10. The Life and Times of Deputy U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves. I’m glad that this post remains popular. Our post about Marshall Bass Reeves (a true life hero) went up years before a comic series and movie about him were made. Don’t you love it when we’re ahead of the curve?

09. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose. Of course two of the most popular movie stars in the world together in a candid would make our most popular list.

08. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! Our #5 most popular post for 2020 is our all-time #8 most popular post… and of course it’s horror.

07. Real Clown Or Horror-Movie Clown? This is creepy. Normally I don’t have a problem with clowns, but some of those real clowns were downright scary.

06. Joel Osteen in Jacksonville This has been popular one since it first appeared.

05. Steve Reeves as Superman Of course Steve Reeves never got the chance to play the Man of Steel, but if he had, he would have made a good one.

04. New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered This posts hits on crime and history with the chance of a new discovery. That’s a great combination of topics and popular with a lot of folks.

03. Zodiac Killer Code Cracked? Again we have crime, history, a new discovery and I would even argue horror to make for a popular post.

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer This was not only our #2 all-time favorite, but also the #2 favorite for 2020. And it generated quite a few comments and e-mails.

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”.01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The #1 post for 2020 is also our #1 all-time favorite. 

It’s always interesting to see which topics resonate with fans and continue to be popular longer after the initial post.  I wonder how many of our all-time favorites will make the list in 2021?  Time will tell… and so will I…. next year!  

R.I.P. – Dawn Wells

Dawn Wells, best known as Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island died yesterday from Covid-related complications at the age of 82.  

Wells went to Hollywood after she competed in the 1960 Miss America pageant as Miss Nevada.  There she found success making guest appearances on nearly every major television show including Wagon Train, Cheyenne, Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, Bonanza and others.  In 1964, Wells won the role of Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island.  The series ran for 3 years and 98 episodes. Surprisingly Gilligan’s Island gained even more popularity when the series ended and went into syndication.

After Gilligan’s Island, Wells continued to have success with guest appearances on other television shows including The Invaders, The Wild, Wild West and Bonanza.  Wells also appeared in theatrical releases including Winterhawk, The Town that Dreaded Sundown and Return to Boggy Creek.

Due to the popularity of Gilligan’s Island in syndication, Over a decade after the series was cancelled, Wells returned to play Mary Ann in three made-for-tv movies (Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island).  Wells even voiced Mary Ann (and Ginger) on the cartoon series Gilligan’s Planet.  Wells continued to stay active appearing on tv shows and movies through 2019. 

By all accounts Dawn Wells was really as sweet and loveable as her character Mary Ann.  Its funny to think that when I was a kid, you liked either Mary Ann or Ginger and I was always on the Mary Ann bandwagon.  So were most of my friends.  That’s because we were on the Dawn Wells’ bandwagon.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dawn Wells’ family, friends and fans. 


RIP: William Link

William Link, best known as co-creator of Columbo, passed away on Sunday, December 27th from congestive heart failure.  Mr. Link was 87.

William Link often partnered with Richard Levinson to write, create and produce everything from radio scripts to teleplays and feature films.  In addition to co-creating Columbo, Link along with Levinson and Peter S. Fischer created the popular and long-running television program Murder, She Wrote.  Link and Levinson also created Mannix in addition to other tv series.  Link and Levinson’s television movies included My Sweet Charlie, That Certain Summer, and (my favorite) The Execution of Private Slovak starring a young Martin Sheen. Their scripts for feature films included The Hindenburg; Rollercoaster; and Steve McQueen’s last film The Hunter.

Link and Levinson won numerous awards throughout their long partnership including two Emmys, two Golden Globes, four Edgar Allan Poe Awards and many others.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to William Link’s family, friends and fans.

“The Capote Tapes” Poster and Trailer

I’m not a fan of the poster but I do like the trailer for The Capote Tapes.

Truman Capote became famous for his writing with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood.  The fact that they were turned into very well received movies added to his fame.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s was nominated for 5 Oscars and won two.  In Cold Blood was nominated for four Oscars.

Although Capote would go on to write other shorts stories, novels and teleplays, he became best known for being famous.  Capote was popular on the talk show circuit.  He was flamboyant and loved telling stories.  I look forward to seeing The Capote Tapes and someday pulling In Cold Blood off my to-be-read bookshelf and reading it.

In the 35 years since his death, Truman Capote has remained a source of curiosity to many. His works, including ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘In Cold Blood’, have maintained their place in the literary canon of great twentieth century American literature and still appeal to readers across the globe today.

‘Answered Prayers’ was meant to be Truman Capote’s greatest masterpiece, an epic portrait of NYC’s glittering jet-set society. Instead, it sparked his downfall. Through never before heard audio archive and interviews with Capote’s friends and enemies, this intimate documentary reveals the rise and fall of one America’s most iconic writers.

New Year’s Eve Twilight Zone Marathon Has Been Expanded – Revised / Updated Schedule is Up!

The Twilight Zone New Year’s Eve Marathon schedule has been revised and updated.   Shadow & Substance (an excellent Rod Serling fan site) has the full schedule.  The TZ Marathon now runs from December 31, 2020 starting at 6:00am est through 6am est on January 2, 2021.  Before you click over to check it out, let me suggest some favorite Twilight Zone episodes…

Thursday, December 31, 2020
6:50pm – Time Enough At Last
8:05pm – The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
9:45pm – The Howling Man
10:10pm – Eye of the Beholder
11:25pm – The Invaders

Friday, January 1, 2021
2:00pm – The Shelter
3:30pm – The Grave
6:30pm – Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
8:00pm – The Midnight Sun
9:00pm – To Serve Man
10:00pm – Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

“The Twilight Zone” New Year’s Eve Marathon is Coming! Schedule is Up!

The Twilight Zone New Year’s Eve Marathon has been a tradition for years at the Zablo house.  We’ve alternated binge watching to checking in on favorite episodes depending on our mood.  Shadow & Substance (an excellent Rod Serling fan site) has the full schedule.  Before you click over to check it out, let me suggest some favorite Twilight Zone episodes…

Thursday, December 31, 2020
6:00pm – Time Enough At Last
7:30pm – The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
9:30pm – The Howling Man
10:00pm – Eye of the Beholder
11:30pm – The Invaders

Friday, January 1, 2021
2:00pm – The Shelter
3:30pm – The Grave
6:30pm – Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
8:00pm – The Midnight Sun
9:00pm – To Serve Man
10:00pm – Nightmare at 20,000 Feet