Sixty years ago, today, The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis aired on ABC. It was Elvis‘ first televised appearance following his military service in West Germany. This was also Frank Sinatra‘s fourth and final Timex sponsored outing for the 1959–60 television season. Other performers were Nancy Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and The Jordanaires.
After approximately eight minutes on screen and a quick promotional plug for his new film G.I. Blues, Presley was gone. The remainder of the special consisted of performances by the additional guest stars. Excerpts from this show appear in Warner Bros. 1981 documentary film This Is Elvis.
♦ Elvis got paid an at the time incredible sum of $125,000 for only a few minutes of onscreen time.
Elvis & Frank
Behind The Scenes
Twenty-five years ago, today, the television series The Wright Verdicts debuted on CBS. Created and executive-produced by Dick Wolf, it starred Tom Conti, Margaret Colin and Aida Turturro as the main cast (Variety also lists John Glover but, IMDB does not.). Notable guest stars were Candy Clark, Peter Facinelli, Allison Janney and Leslie Mann.
There were only six episodes that aired between March 31 and June 11 with a seventh episode intended for a May slot, never airing. It’s first episode was on a Friday, the second episode aired the following Wednesday, the third episode went back to Friday, the following week and the fourth episode showed up on a Sunday, the next week. The last two aired episodes were on Sundays in June. [No wonder it failed. ~Vic]
Legal drama with Charles Wright, an Englishman, working as a lawyer in New York City. Sandy Hamar is an ex-NYPD detective who serves as the mandatory private eye and Lydia is the super efficient secretary.
The Wright Verdicts is mature in the best sense. [I]t’s smart, has no false innocence and has the right amount of fun. Criminal lawyer Charles Wright (Tom Conti) will win juries over like clockwork and the series should likewise charm viewers. The character’s chief skill is blarney or, as his investigator puts it, shucking and jiving. Charles is bumbling and self-deprecating one minute, erudite and mischievous the next. Conti brings off Wright’s sense of humor and his status as a ladies’ man. The dynamic between Conti and his two female employees […] needs some work. [T]here’s so much flirtation that the relationships in this office triangle seem headed in only one direction.
The hour has a surplus of spectacular aerial shots of Manhattan.
With crimes revolving around designer drugs and cellular phones, the show poses itself as a Perry Mason for the ’90s. It’s about as conventional and formulaic as that old warhorse. The parlor-game plotting is more than passable but, the writing is undistinguished. Only Conti’s malty voice and trilling accent are enough to elevate the program’s mark a little.
Executive producer Dick Wolf has cannily combined two genres…Murder, She Wrote’s warm coziness and his own Law & Order’s cold, complex cases…and come up with a lukewarm show that’s nonetheless pretty irresistible.
Quick Promo Advertisement
Fifty years ago, today, the British crime-comedy, made-for-tv movie Mister Jerico aired on ABC. Directed by Sidney Hayers, it starred Patrick Macnee, Connie Stevens, Herbert Lom, Marty Allen and Bruce Boa.
A conman hatches a plan to swindle a corrupt millionaire out of his treasured priceless diamond by claiming to have discovered its twin. However, his plot is disrupted by a rival hustler who comes up with the same idea and, the two crooks must each convince their suspicious target that they can be trusted and the other is lying.
This disappointing comedy caper evidently got the green light due to the popularity of Patrick Macnee‘s dapper superspy John Steed in The Avengers. Unfortunately, this attempt to turn Macnee into an equally charismatic jewel thief just can’t compete with its bigger budgeted competition, despite the catchy title track from Lulu and the star’s stunning array of flowery shirts. Herbert Lom is good value as the object of Macnee’s felonious attentions (in a role similar to the one he played in the Michael Caine caper Gambit three years before) but, this lacklustre yarn, ultimately, can’t cut it in the excitement or suspense stakes.
Jeremy Aspinall of RadioTimes
Mister Jerico is one of those charming and fluffy capers that the 1960s did well, quite similar to the higher-budgeted Gambit or How to Steal a Million. The palette is sun-soaked, the plot buoyant and just this side of ridiculous. The second half of the film, in particular, moves along at a nice pace, complicating matters without making anything seem too serious. If you think too deeply about the story, it will all appear very nonsensical but, this is a stylized caper film not intended for deeper scrutiny. It’s a surface film and as such it’s quite enjoyable.
Lauren Humphries of Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out… Blog
A fun film with a very Avengers feel to it, which should be obvious given the cast and crew. Allen is a little out of place but, Macnee and Lom are great, as is Laurie Johnson‘s score. I’ll even admit, against that, Lulu‘s theme song is catchy. Apparently [it was] intended as a pilot for a Macnee series to follow The Avengers but, instead, [was] released theatrically (though, in the US, it only ended up as a TV movie of the week).
Dave W. of Actors Compendium
Video Link: (Late Update)
YouTube Link (Video will not embed as the owner of the account disabled embedding.)
Fifty-five years ago, today, the TV Special An Hour With Robert Goulet, a variety show, aired on CBS. Directed by Clark Jones (The Carol Burnett Show) and written by Arthur Alsberg (Herbie, the Love Bug & No Deposit, No Return), guest stars were Leslie Caron, Peter Gennaro, Phil Silvers, Ed Sullivan, Terry-Thomas, Fredd Wayne and Earl Wilson.
There is very little written about this special, save a New York Times Article, written the next day (No writer credited):
ONE of the tiredest gimmicks of variety shows was coupled last night with a fresh idea on “The Robert Goulet Hour.” When the tenor turned his profile toward the sun on a southern California beach and a light wind ruffled his perfectly groomed hair as he sang “Lost in the Stars,” his program consciously aimed for the creative touch. Few singers are willing to compete with the Pacific Ocean.
But when Mr. Goulet was on the sound stage of C.B.S. Television City in Hollywood, he was engulfed in that shopworn gag of pretending to be rehearsing a musical special for TV. Leslie Caron joined him in “Call Me Irresponsible” and then said “no,” she simply would not sing on his show. Peter Gennaro demonstrated a possible dance step and Fredd Wynne [sic] agonized over material for Mr. Goulet and sketches for Miss Caron. Even the ad‐libs were planned.
Visiting the University of California at Los Angeles, Mr. Goulet and company held a press conference for tanned Tammys and Gidgets, who watched Terry‐Thomas mug shamelessly as a fine arty professor. The atypical students acted like graduates of the Hollywood Professional School.
When the script permitted Mr. Goulet to forget the script, his show had possibilities. Still, the evening’s honors must go to Miss Caron, who, impersbnating [sic] Marlene Dietrich as the Blue Angel, tackled a chair with the finesse of an Olympic champion.
IMDB states that it was filmed at the Wilshire Boulevard Brown Derby. The second video, below, appears to be from a Robert Goulet channel that was set up by his widow, Vera Novak. Written below the video:
Robert Goulet Live From Sahara Hotel In Las Vegas was filmed as part of “An Hour With Robert Goulet” TV special in 1964 and produced by our company Rogo Productions, Inc. This is a rare gem and wonderful historical footage of a remarkable entertainer showcasing live entertainment in Las Vegas during 1960s. In this clip, Robert sings a “Medley Of Old Songs” written by Jerry Bresler and Lyn Duddy, which was also recorded in 1963 on Columbia Records “Robert Goulet in Person“.
Twenty years ago, today, the science fiction series Harsh Realm debuted on Fox. Created and developed by Chris Carter (The X-Files & Millenium), it starred Scott Bairstow, D.B. Sweeney, Terry O’Quinn, Rachael Hayward, Max Martini, Samantha Mathis and Sarah-Jane Redmond with Cameron K. Smith as a Republican Guard Soldier (Smith had fourth billing but, much of his acting history is uncredited) and, Vinnie as Dexter the Dog (seventh billing in the cast list). Filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, it was loosely based on the Harsh Realm comic book by James Hudnall and Andrew Paquette.
Tagline: Are you ready to play?
Harsh Realm is a virtual reality game created by the U.S. Army, programmed to minutely replicate the real world for training simulations. In the world of Harsh Realm, a small nuclear bomb is detonated in the program’s version of New York City, killing four million people and thrusting its participants into a post-apocalyptic disaster scenario. Lieutenant Tom Hobbes is unknowingly thrust into this world by his superiors with one mission: to kill “General” Omar Santiago. Along the way, he meets fellow soldiers sent into the game and alternate versions of people he knows in the real world (including Dexter, an alternate version of his real world dog). It is in this world that Hobbes must survive, defeat Santiago, save the real world and, somehow return to his real life and his fiancée, Sophie Green.
Lt. Hobbes, a young idealistic Marine who’s about to get married, is sent into a [virtual reality] war game simulation where he is to terminate a renegade General who has taken control of the program. [He] also learns that he is actually trapped in the game, along with numerous other soldiers previously sent to kill Santiago. Meanwhile, Hobbes real life fiancee investigates his disappearance with the help of a mysterious female ally with an agenda of her own.
♦ Notable director for one episode: Kim Manners (Supernatural)
♦ Notable writer for one episode: Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files)
♦ Notable composer for the series: Mark Snow (The X-Files & Starsky & Hutch)
♦ Gillian Anderson is the narrator of the Harsh Realm training video in the first episode.
♦ Thomas Hobbes is named for the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who believed in predestination and that people are inherently selfish and power-hungry.
♦ Hobbes’ dog, Dexter, is named after the protagonist from the Harsh Realm comic book series upon which the show is loosely based.
♦ Many [have] wrongly speculated that [the] widely-publicized lawsuit brought about the series’ sudden cancellation. It was actually a struggle between Carter and Fox that got the series cancelled (after nine episodes).
♦ The term “harsh realm” originates from the grunge speak hoax of 1992 […]
♦ The theme music contains samples of speeches given by Benito Mussolini.
♦ Music from artists Prodigy, White Zombie (Rob Zombie) and Moby are featured in some episodes.
Fifty-five years ago, today, the action–adventure series Daniel Boone debuted on NBC. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, it starred Fess Parker, Patricia Blair, Darby Hinton, Veronica Cartwright, Ed Ames & Dallas McKennon. Country singer Jimmy Dean was a guest star for fifteen episodes from 1968-1970 and NFL football player Rosie Greer had regular appearances from 1969-1970. The show’s first season was in black & white.
Daniel Boone was one of two significant historical figures played by Fess Parker. He previously appeared as Davy Crockett in a series of episodes of the Walt Disney anthology television series […]. Efforts had been made to secure the rights to Crockett from Walt Disney but, Disney refused to sell, so, the series wound up being about Boone instead. In contrast, Parker’s Boone was less of an explorer and more a family man than Parker’s Crockett. Parker as Crockett also generally wore a light beard, whereas his Boone was predominantly clean-shaven.
The series is set in the 1770s and 1780s, just before, during and after the American Revolution and, mostly centered on adventures in, and about, Boonesborough, Kentucky. Some aspects of the show were less than historically faithful, which, at one point, led the Kentucky legislature to condemn the inaccuracies. The series’ story line does not follow historical events. Instead, story lines run back and forth concerning historical events.
[Ed Ames] role as Mingo led to a famous tomahawk-throwing demonstration on The Tonight Show, that was rerun on anniversary clip shows for decades afterward, in which Ames threw a tomahawk at a target of a man and the hatchet landed between the cutout’s legs, much to host Johnny Carson‘s amusement.
♦ According to an interview with Veronica Cartwright, she left the series because the producers wanted to have her character of Jemima Boone involved in more mature situations, such as budding romantic relationships. Patricia Blair did not like this because it made her feel too old, so she threatened to leave the series if Cartwright was not let go from the series.
♦ Israel Boone was one of seventy-two killed at the Battle of Blue Licks, one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War, on August 19, 1782. He was twenty-three. His father Daniel was there and saw his son killed. Coincidentally, Darby Hinton, who played Israel, was born on the 175th Anniversary of Israel’s death, August 19, 1957.
♦ [The] Boones [actually] had ten children […].
♦ Unlike Fess Parker [6’5″ 1/2], the real Daniel Boone was only about 5’8″.
I’m trying something different. We’ll see how it goes. ~Vic
Sixty-five years ago, today, the sitcom Dear Phoebe debuted on NBC. Created by Alex Gottlieb, it starred Peter Lawford, Marcia Henderson, Charles Lane and Joe Corey. The first episode to air, Bill Gets a Job, included a young Chuck Connors and The Christmas Show episode included Jesse White (Maytag Man). The show’s theme music was composed by George & Ira Gershwin.
Bill Hastings works for a daily newspaper in a large city. His duties include a lonely hearts column, where he advises everyone on their problems, as “Phoebe”, while trying to deal with his own.
Lawford stars as Bill Hastings, a former college professor who becomes the writer of the advice-to-the-lovelorn column at the fictitious Los Angeles Daily Star. Hastings writes under the pseudonym “Miss Phoebe Goodheart”. Marcia Henderson portrayed Mickey Riley, the female sportswriter at the newspaper and Hastings’s own romantic interest. Charles Lane, who later portrayed J. Homer Bedloe in the CBS series Petticoat Junction, played newspaper boss Mr. Fosdick. Joe Corey played Humphrey Humpsteader, a copy boy trying to become a reporter.
♦ Peter Lawford’s wife, Patricia Kennedy Lawford (sister of John F. Kennedy), made a cameo appearance in one episode.
♦ This series was sponsored by Campbell Soup Company in its original prime time run.
The Christmas Show