TUESDAY
JULY 9
2019

BIANCULLI’S BEST BETS

 

CBS, 8:00 p.m. ET

SERIES PREMIERE: Pay attention. The last times CBS saturated its airwaves with a new reality competition series, it was to launch Survivor, which changed the TV landscape in the year 2000, and Big Brother, which, like Survivor, is still around. I wish it weren’t, but that’s me. Anyway, this new series, stripped every weeknight beginning tonight, is CBS’s version of a hit reality dating show from England. And for a British account of that original Love Island, we have a new dispatch from our British correspondent, who is about to move stateside for a few years to teach TV in the States. So for her take on Love Island, and what we should prepare for and expect, see Kim Akass’s Aerial View.
 
  
 
 

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tuesdays in July, TCM is presenting “Out of This World,” its celebration of classic space exploration movies. And tonight’s lineup is so good, it’s like a time-travel trip through the. universe of seminal sci-fi films involving outer space. The voyage begins at 8 p.m. ET with The Day the Earth Stood Still (pictured) from1951. That’s followed by 1953’s War of the Worlds at 9:45 p.m. ET, then 1956’s Forbidden Planet at 11:30 p.m. ET, 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers at 1:30 a.m. ET, 1953’s It Came from Outer Space at 3 a.m. ET, and finishing off the night with 1951’s The Thing from Another World at 4:30 a.m. ET.
 
  
 
 
 
 
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1802 Comments
 
 
Matt Alpern
Matt If you have this streaming service (and want/need to avoid NBC's relentless commercial interruptions), "It's A Wonderful Life" is currently available on Amzon Prime. Both is black and white and color formats.
Dec 6, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Dave Brown
Might want to remove The Circus from TV We're Watching. It's on hiatus until Jan 26.
Dec 6, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
RandyR
No love for "Vikings"? Season 6 starts tonight. (IMDB: 8.6 out of 10)
Dec 4, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
jim
Denis Leary also stars in one of the best "Christmas" movies ever made, "The Ref" (1994). It also stars Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, Christine Baranski and Glynis Johns. I cannot recommend this hilarious movie enough. It's about a burglar who reluctantly ends up holding the world's most dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve and ends up acting as their therapist.
Dec 4, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Phillip R. Crabb
Ah, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. The 55th broadcast, and I was there for the first. Shows like this we talked about in school in the days leading up.

Happy to see this year they waited until December to schedule.
Charlie Brown Christmas in the wings, the best ever...

Best of the Season, David...

Phil
Franklin (Sussex County) NJ
Dec 3, 2019   |  Reply
 
Phillip R. Crabb
Mac-As you point out, interesting these ads are still remembered today, surely to a point that they are preserved on YouTube retrospectives. Perhaps hard to remember any show where both the presentation and it's respective ads had such staying power to the point of discussion.

It was probably a couple years later that Coca-Cola and Dolly Madison cakes became the referential ads for these specials.

About this time of year was when each series broadcast their "Christmas" episode. Of course, Red Skelton comes to mind, but even the short-lived series like "Hank" had a Christmas show taped..

Great days in Television, the must be because, as you say, they still resonate.

Phil
Dec 5, 2019
 
 
Mac
Phil-That's probably a mixture of two limited-action ads and shows how these ads resonate decades later. The ads with the shaver as sled were for Norelco and featured Santa zooming through the snow like those heads would zoom through Dad's whiskers. But,yes,the Dennis the Menace Dad Elf did indeed appear in the GE spots,just handling G.E. stuff. And,only speculating,that might have been no accident for the appearance the Rudolph special aired on Sun. evening,as Dennis The Menace aired just one year before and was then in syndication. Kids gobbled up all of this in a time of limited sources for product. Animation of any kind was an expensive,yet effective,way to get attention.Fred & Barney sneaking a Winston,then later vitamins. Light up,kids. And don't forget the drugs.The locally famous Hamm's Bear beer ads. Drink up,kids. And remember the dweeb who put a little dab of grease in his hair and the ladies dropped everything to touch him. Disturbing,mesmerizing,entertaining. Repeat.
Dec 4, 2019
 
 
Phillip R. Crabb
Mac,
I remember those commercials, especially the Rudolph elf (the one that looked like Dennis The Menace's Father) riding the cordless triple-head electric shave through the snow.

Thanks for the tip on YouTube.
Time travel....

Phil
Dec 4, 2019
 
 
Mac
If only the animated,singing commercials for GE appliances were included. A YouTube clip is copyrighted Rankin/Bass Productions;a big deal because thoughts were that GE held this material somewhere in a vault they had no idea about. Arthur Rankin Jr. & Rankin/Bass historian,Rick Goldscmidt have done outstanding restoration. Some stuff GE was peddling in 1964:mixers,vacuums,cordless electric knives,clocks,hair dryers,toaster ovens,can opener/knife sharpener,electric blankets,coffee makers,electric toothbrushes,skillets,irons and shoe polishers.All US made.The General Electric Fantasy Hour.NBC's promo lists 12/4 for the premiere,but it was Sun. 12/6/64,preempting,The GE College Bowl and Meet The Press-a 90 min. slot.
The 12/2 CBS airing was the last broadcast version for the season. ABC Freeform has 6 additional airings-a first.
Dec 3, 2019
 
 
 
jim
If anyone hasn't seen the silent version of Ben-Hur I highly recommend it. The chariot race is the equal of the 1959 version and the battle at sea may actually be even better than the one in the '59 version. It's also a pre-code film so you may be surprised by the very muscular naked man chained to the wall in one scene. I've gone full circle on the '59 version. I loved it as a kid when it first came out. Hated it as a young adult when I found it ridiculous and cliched and now I love it again in part because of the very things I once disliked about it.
Dec 2, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
T-giving TV-down memory lane. Remember when CBS had a parade round up? it included Philadelphia's Gimbel's,NYC's Macy's,Detroit's Hudson & Toronto's Eaton Santa Claus parade( that one taped). Captain Kangaroo & Co. hosted the first ones, I think following the Captain's regular gig,so it was a long day for the crew but lots of toy ads. Thanks to tvparty.com for jogging my memory and noting that the first Jubilee(as CBS titled this) was 60 years ago. Philly had hours of their parade on Ch. 6(who still broadcast a parade and now own the rights(Disney) and NBC had the Macy's parade (still do,sharing with CBS). All to keep the kiddies from going nuts before company came.
No sign of a War on Thanksgiving here,though the President seems to have no love for the homeless. I wonder if he knows that many are wounded veterans(some on the inside,some on the outside,some both). No pardons,no medals,no Navy SEAL pins for those forgotten.
Nov 28, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
11/26-TCM's Bette Davis tribute to Bette Davis ends with another 24 hours of possibly the greatest film star of all time. Sad,but one of the best,All About Eve,is buried @ 8AM and the spooky ones are in prime time. Eve is next scheduled 1/19/20 @8PM,so it gets the primetime slot it deserves. It shows up often for a reason.
Nov 26, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Proof how buoyant Dolly Parton's career has been(sorry),when nobody wanted her making records and country radio eating their young,she made a series of bluegrass records(most via Sugar hill Records) that are excellent and edgy. Sad,with Linda Ronstadt not able to perform anymore,there will be no more Trio material from Dolly,Linda and Emmylou Harris.
Nov 26, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
jan
I just found out last week that The Jim Jefferies show has been cancelled. I actually really liked that show, and I wanted to write to Comedy Central to complain, but I can't seem to find out how to contact them. Does anyone know? Thanks in advance.
Nov 25, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
The Jeffries ting is a done deal,save results that Comcast likes. NBC has to get edgier to compete with Amazon,Netflix,etc. FX & FXx-now under Disney. How extreme are they gonna go? Well,Hulu,which,once again,is Disney. The entire FX/FXx catalog goes to Hulu in a few months and at least four new series are now headed for "Fx on Hulu"(as Disney calls it). While some idiots talk of a physical border wall,here is a wall much more effective.
Nov 29, 2019
 
 
jan
Thanks for the info, Mac. I can't imagine how Jeffries will transfer to network TV, though. He's kind of "no holds barred" on the Comedy Central show. I really liked his other show--also not on network TV--FX maybe? I'm still not sure about the NBC thing, although I hope he gets more recognition.
Nov 28, 2019
 
 
Mac
Mr. Jeffries is jumping from Viacom to NBC to co-write and star in a three camera comedy. With NBC needing new comedy fodder to replace The Good Place,Will & Grace(Sean Hayes is part of the production team for this new sitcom), and Perfect Harmony bombing. Must See TV on NBC is pretty much Must Ignore TV. No date is set,but with such an early announcement,I don't think you'll see this till fall 2020,just weeks before the election,which may interfere with getting a foothold with an audience. Add to that Thurs. NFL would take a good size of his fan base. But Jeffries is certainly ready for his big time network close up and NBC is desperate for a Thursday night hit.
Nov 26, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
I didn't know about the connection between The Green Hornet and The Lone Ranger till a few years ago. Both created by Fran Striker and George W. Trendle. Britt Reid's father was Dan Reid Jr.,the nephew of John Reid,aka The Lone Ranger. So much for secret identities.Dan was featured lots in the radio serials and a few TV episodes. Fun fact-Dan Reid Jr. was voiced on the radio series by James Lipton-yes,that James LIpton from the Actors Studio show,recently retired but still with us at 94.
Nov 25, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Sorry if deja-vu attacks again. Whenever Richard Lester is mentioned, I think of his beginnings on City Line Ave.,Phila. Pa.,directing a live-action western from the backlot of WCAU-TV. I was a toddler when this happened,so,though I was aware of TV and watching this station,I have no recollection of it. But the idea of trucks zooming on the main road and airplanes flying overhead while,rain,snow or shine,the back was supposed to be a 19th century Montana town, just fascinates me. Add to the fun,future horror movie host,John Zacherle,was part of the crew.Wiki says he portrayed an undertaker at least once on the cowboy show. A few years later,ghoul make up and bad jokes,he became a area star first in Philly(as Roland)and later NYC. I did see a couple of those. That's a story I would love to see filmed.
Nov 22, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
Full circle for Phiily fans. As UHF stations gave viewers more choices in the '60s,Joe Zwislak got permission from Zacherle to portray a similar Roland character as Dr. Shock- bad jokes,puns and B horror movies. Dr. Shock brought onboard his real-life daughter,Doreen,named Bubbles Booth after sponsor Booth's soda. There was nothing scary about Bubbles-she was there primarily to let kiddies know it was all in fun. Dr. Shock adored Bubbles. Sad,Dr. Shock died at 42 of a heart attack.
WNEP,Scranton Pa.,had yet another horror movie host-Uncle Ted. While NE Pa fans loved Ted,his TV time is more well-known for a WNEP reporter hired to write jokes for Ted-Bill O'Reilly. Even back then, Billo was scummy-stories abound of his lying and mean-spirited practical jokes.
Nov 25, 2019
 
 
Matt Alpern
Mac:
Remember Zacherle very well from childhood days.. his show was hysterical. Zacherle's show was on WPIX (Channel 11), along with Officer Joe Bolton. Sonny Fox was on the old Channel 5 in NYC. Diver Dan and AquaBoy.. not sure. BTW.. Zacherle went on to a very successful career in NYC radio.. first on WABC-FM, and then, WPLJ-FM, when call letters were changed and the station went to a "progressive rock" format. John was also a very nice man (met him several times over the years). Matt
Nov 23, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
USA Network is the spot for Law & Order:SVU repeats. They often have a theme marathon on Suns. like episodes with award winning actors before they got big. 11/24 features episodes surrounding the fictitious Hudson University,the school even Betsy Devos wouldn't want you to go unless they bribed her. Rape,sexual assaults-110%,including profs,coaches and cleaning staff. Fun fact:the fictitious Hudson U. has been around before L&O,including Batman's Robin alma mater and the medical school for Bill Cosby's Dr. Cliff Huxtable(training grounds?)-this from scountingny.com. A favorite episode,@4PM,Gray, has a bit part with Aria Alpert. Aria's parents are Herb Alpert & Brasil '66 singer Lani Hall. Aria looks just like her mom, but has pretty much retired from film acting as this 2010 episode is her most recent Imdb. entry. Meanwhile, Herb(@ 84)& Lani still record and tour-recommended if they are in your area-currently @ Cafe Carlyle,NYC(pricey yet near sold out) till 11/30.
Nov 21, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mary B.
What was that excrescence about a half-hour ago on Turner Classic Movies about a naive American woman named "Benny Ford" with a bad haircut wandering alone in Mexico and practicing to become a bullfighter? The guide said "Cool Hand Luke" was supposed to be on.. Even in the '50s or '60s, doubtful U.S. women would travel alone like that. Loopy idea.
Nov 21, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
It was the short, Beauty And The Bull(1954),which was scheduled after Luke @ 7:40PM(this from TCM's full schedule). True story of Bette Ford,who went in the ring 200 times,killed lots of bulls and was befriended by Ernest Hemingway. Her resume included modeling before and,after hanging up the red cape, did extensive one-shot acting chores with two Emmy noms. Still with us at 92. Along the way,she married a much younger guy,a wise move as my wife will tell you when I'm on my meds.
Nov 21, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
Movies! is part of our overpriced cable set up(and it isn't Comcast) but to be avoided unless they are showing something unusual. System co-owned by Fox(not Disney)and Weigel. Weigel is involved with lots of retro channels. Problem with Weigel is how they toss ads with little human involvement,clip and speed up all of their fare and accept ads from many unsavory folks trying to empty old folks' wallets. "Arsenic" runs two hours-Movies! schedules it for 2 1/2 hrs. Filmed in 1941-released 1944. As great as this film is,know that TCM schedules it Wed. 12/11 @ 1:30PM,-uncut and free of Joe Namath annoying interruptions. TCM's daytime theme(6AM-8PM) for 12/11- comedic films centered about aunts.
Nov 19, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
11/16-the 50th anniversary celebration for Sesame Street hits PBS,a week after HBO.Philly has it scheduled for an hour,7PM,nearby Lehigh Valley outlet,as often happens,ignores things like this till a later date,even though the local paper gave the show an extensive write up a few days ago. The station recently did this with Ken Burns' Country Music,delaying it for a Sunday binge. Big Bird turned 50 11/10/69. Sesame Street premiered during my first college semester. Still the most educational thing I witnessed that semester,maybe during my brief time in higher academia,outside of working in college radio(Hey,it's how Terry Gross started-same time frame,different school.) I didn't see a color episode of Sesame Street till years later. There is a t-shirt reading:"Everything I know I learned on the Street". Truth on a tee.
Nov 17, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
Review-trying to balance original viewers,now in the 50s,and current audience of 3 year olds is difficult. Kids have no idea who the original cast grown-ups are,and many of the original viewers have no idea who Gonger is. But,in true Sesame Street tradition,inclusion is the word. Susan,Bob,Maria,Luis,Linda-nice to see these folk alive,kickin' & smilin'. Lots of original songs written by Joe Raposo still hold up,but these mean nothing to kids. Wonder what the negotiations with Disney were to feature Kermit-who straddled both the Muppet world and Sesame Street? Lots of Easter eggs(Mumford,the counting baker,ladybugs picnic) and remember the role Jim Henson played as the glue to hold it all together. Missing-counting intros with the Pointer Sisters. Sesame Street deserves a series of specials,some serious(Mr. Hooper's passing,the sad tale of David,Kevin Clash),some funny(Henson outtakes). There is a 2 DVD set celebrating the 50 years-the special is online for free till 11/24.
Nov 18, 2019
 
 
 
Mac
Question-"What is a friend?" Answer-Uhh,give Disney eight bucks every month and they'll let you in on the secret. Maybe Forky will give you an answer,maybe even continue to be your friend for about a hundred bucks a year. Mister Rogers asked the viewer(note:not "viewers",he was always on a one-to-one basis):"Won't you be my neighbor?" He asked via free broadcasting at the beginning of every episode. IMDd lists 895 episodes of Fred's Neighborhood;337 episodes of MisteRogers-1232 times he asked that question-you only needed to be near a TV to hear him ask,with hopes that you would return next time. I suspect Forky won't respond unless the bill is paid up.
Nov 15, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
11/13 TCM already has a fantastic double bill today. Before The Red Shoes,@ 6:15PM,Michael Powell's previous film,Black Narcissus,airs. I think they have put these together before-either as an Essentials evening ,or when saluting directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger or cinematographer Jack Cardiff. Thanksto tCM I now know about both of these masterpieces. For me,Black Narcissus begs for as many repeated viewings as The Red Shoes. Nuns and lust in the late afternoon-whew!
Nov 13, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mac
Disney. ABC.Philly Ch. 6,an O&O channel. Freeform. Disney Channel. Disney Jr.ESPN.ESPN 2. ESPN Classic. ESPN News.Disney XD. National Geographic Channel. FX. 1/2 of A&E Networks. 2/3s of Hulu. That's just the U.S.,just TV and I'm probably missing parts. And now Disney+. Sorry, ODed on Disney. d-Con for The Mouse in this house.
Nov 12, 2019   |  Reply
 
 
Mary B.
Does Chicago P.D. have something against pizza? In two recent episodes, screenwriters have put words in characters' mouths that associate pizza with crimes.. interesting. Is the reason snobbery or flinching at the proportions in the formula for a radius or diameter? Are the writers on diets, or did they have bad experiences with pizza?
Nov 9, 2019   |  Reply
 
Mac
I'm a regular Chicago One franchise junkie,but have missed since the 10/16 crossover(World Series),so I have no specifics. But in keeping with Dick Wolf projects having local flavor(these shows are actually filmed in Chicago),pizza is an obvious subject. Pizza=crimes? I'm a pizza addict and diabetic,so personal crimes are committed every time I grab a slice.
I grew up nearby Pica's,outside Philly-Tina Fey's favorite(she is also from the neighborhood) so I know how dramatic pizza can play in one's life. Chicago? NYC? Other Philly spots? Sorry,Pica's thin crispy crust square pie-cheese on the bottom,gravy on top- beats them all. Tough guy Hank Voight cannot intimidate me otherwise. I'll lawyer up.
Nov 12, 2019
 
 
 
 
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David Bianculli

Founder / Editor

David Bianculli has been a TV critic since 1975, including a 14-year stint at the New York Daily News, and sees no reason to stop now. Currently, he's TV critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and is an occasional substitute host for that show. He's also an author and teaches TV and film history at New Jersey's Rowan University. His 2009 Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour', has been purchased for film rights. His latest, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific, is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV.

 
 
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