January 27, 2016
Today, the world mourns the loss of Abe Vigoda. It is our great honor, in this time of sadness, to induct him into Mr. Blog’s Hall of Fame. We will forever remember this icon.
Mr. Blog had actually met Mr. Vigoda, and in his honor, the Editors and Staff of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride present this Classic Repost from 2010. This was the penultimate round of Mr. BTR’s contest to determine the best role model of the 1970’s. In round one, Esther Rolle (Florida Evans from Good Times) beat Mabel King (Momma from What’s Happening?). In the second round, Jack Alberston (The Man from Chico and The Man) knocked out Robert Hegyes (Juan Epstein from Welcome Back Kotter). Round three came down to The Battle of The Lawmen. Please enjoy!
From January 8, 2010
Who is the best 1970’s television role model?
Round two was a hard-fought battle of the unlikely, with “The Man” coming out of retirement to win a Charo-fueled win over Sweat Hog Juan Epstein. What did it prove? Sadly, that “The Man” can still keep a Latino down. (Just ask anyone whose bank turned them down for a loan.)
“Battle of the Lawmen”
BARNABY JONES VS. BARNEY MILLER’S FISH
Barnaby Jones was a Quinn Martin production. Quinn Martin was a prolific TV producer who had the idea to cast an old man in a detective show. Unfortunately, the actor was a bit too old, as evidenced by the picture above, where Barnaby is not quite sure which is the phone and which is the gun. In the picture below, a gun-wielding thug has almost talked Barnaby into buying into his time-share.
The casting of the lead role was controversial from the start. Quinn Martin wanted an established television star for the role. After a long and deliberate casting process, he settled on this man, currently starring in the autobiographical Beverly Hillbillies:
It was never explained just how Barnaby made the jump from hillbilly to cop, but in a strange twist, both of this round’s contestants served together in an elite peace-keeping force:
Detective Phil Fish was born well over one hundred years ago, yet no matter how old he was, he never looked his age. He looked at least twice his age.
Early on it was noted that Detective Phillip “Abe Vigoda” Fish bore an eerie similarity to another television personality, Richard Simmons.
However, as he lost his hair, he became a dead ringer for Boris Karloff.
As you can tell from these rare photos, the resemblance was uncanny.
Fish went on to star in a series of films with Bela Lugosi, whose main claims to fame were that he played Dracula, became a drug addict, and he played Dracula.
This particular still is taken from 1935’s Universal release, The Cramped Fingers of Evil, starring Detective Fish as Professor Barnabas Lennsing and Bela Lugosi as Dr.Vampire J. Hammitup.
The battle was very close, but the win has to go to Fish. Why? Check out this very rare comic book from 1979. Barnaby Jones never had a view-master reel, let alone his own comic book.