Tag Archives: Boris Karloff

Mr. Blog Remembers Abe Vigoda

27 Jan

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.Vigoda plaque
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.)

Round Three
“Battle of the Lawmen”

BARNABY JONES VS. BARNEY MILLER’S FISH          

70f3b9f7bf424dc6

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:

person_jed_clampett

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.

untitled

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.

WINNER: FISH

Coming Soon:

FINAL THREE-WAY
WINNER-TAKE-ALL
BRAWL-FOR-IT -ALL:

Esther Rolle Vs. “The Man” Vs. The Fish

TV Then vs. TV Now (Classic Rerun)

18 Sep

September 18, 2013

Continuing our look at TV, here is a look back at some classic TV shows of the past.

from January 31, 2011

I don’t care what anyone says- TV used to be better. To prove it, all I have to do is say is say two little words- Jersey Shore. There ‘Nuff said. Want more proof? Real Housewives.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking- “But Mr. Blog! TV had crap like My Mother the Car, Manimal, and Supertrain! Not to mention Roseanne Barr.”

That’s all true, but none of them had the ratings of a crapfest like America’s Top Model, despite there being many, many less channels to choose from. Back them you had the stations between 2 and 13 plus some hazy UHF channels. Now your cable box goes into the thousands.

I have no excuse for Roseanne Barr.

I do, however, have proof that television used to be better.
Facts in the form of old TV Guide ads.

Aside from one of the milestones of classic TV- Who Shot J.R.?, this ad features one of the classic over the top shows, The Dukes of Hazzard. Why did I pick this particular ad? Because the Duke boys are using bows and arrows! In a show already totally silly, the Duke boys were not only expert drivers but also expert marksmen- with dynamite tied to their arrows! Does TV get any better than exploding arrows?

But not everyone liked the drama of Dallas or the shenanigans of the Dukes. for them there was family fare.

By “the whole bunch” they meant “everyone but Jan,” who was recast, and “no Alice either.”

And who better to kick off their show but such cheesy TV stalwarts Donnie and Marie? Everyone’s favorite fussy non-homosexual (though everyone thought he was) Tony Randall was along for the fun! Does it get any better?

It just got better.

So far we’ve had variety, action, drama, and jiggly women in tight t-shirts. What about the kids? Think of the children!

OK, I will.

Look at that lineup! Spider-Man! The Fantastic Four! The Beatles! King Kong! Casper! Bullwinkle!
And, uh, something called Milton the Monster.

Kids shows weren’t limited to Saturday mornings either. Remember these specials?

I ask you, where can you find Pac-Man on TV today?

Lest you forget, here is the most infamous TV special of all:

What a cast! All of your Star Wars favorites: Harrison ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, the guy who played Chewbacca, Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman, Art Carney, and Jefferson Starship. Because no one screams “Star Wars” like Bea Arthur and Jefferson Starship.

What else did TV air at night? TV movies!

Sally Struthers in Hey, I’m Alive! The jokes just write themselves, and it is a good thing because I can’t come up with one myself. But seriously, think about her career and make up your own.

And of course, the previously bloggged Wonder Woman!

There was Killdozer (great title!)

And there was Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan. This is an example of a simply great ad in a style that you never see nowadays.

And speaking of great ads, check this one out.

Now that is one great ad. Tales of the Gold Monkey was an action/adventure show in the Indiana Jones mold. Seriously, look at that ad. Who wouldn’t watch that show? Turns out a lot of people wouldn’t watch that show. It was cancelled after one season. In the pilot, they went after the fabled Gold Monkey idol and it turned out to be made of lead, which I guess is a parallel to the show’s ratings. However, I was a fan and trust me, it was a good show.

And speaking of shows that feature monkeys:

And speaking of shows that feature other apes:

I may be one of the few people who remember this show. Spun off from Hill Street Blues, it featured Buntz and one of his snitches moving to Beverley Hills, which also happens to be Standard Sitcom Plot number 14 (Fish out of water: low-class guy in ritzy neighborhood.) And notice the sneaky way they stuck in an ad for Cheers.

I have to admit that I never heard of this show, but I was hooked by the description- “St. Louis struck out in the World Series.. now it’s struck by KING TUT’S CURSE!” That is the exact kind of silly plot that my friend Marc and I came up with all the time when we were teenagers. That could be OUR lousy cancelled TV show!

On the other hand, here we have the opposite- a good TV show with a lousy ad.

Were there no photos available? Who came up with this? Gary Coleman looks like he is lost in some sort of romantic reverie. And read that description- “… all of his friends and some of his enemies…” What enemies? All I remember was the Gootch, played by Andrew Dice Clay, looking about ten years too old to be a teenager.

Lastly, TV used to be the home of cheesy movies and horror hosts. Anyone who grew up in New York remembers this Thanksgiving tradition:

Who didn’t stay up late at night to watch some of these?

The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy is a poorly dubbed Mexican film from the 50’s and it is pretty much what you’d expect from the title, just a lot less fun. It shows up on cable from time to time and you really should check it out.

On the face of it this seems like a funny mistake- Movies of the ’50’s featuring Frankenstein 1970. but once you realize that Frankenstein 1970 was made in 1958 it makes sense.

Who would not have stayed home to watch that? Before you say “not me” remember, this was before TiVo and DVRs, before cable, before even VCRs were common. You bet your ass you’d stay home.

So there you have it. Indisputable proof that the television of yesterday was better than the television of today. Want more proof? Turn on BRAVO.

%d bloggers like this: