Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

TMQ Watch: November 24, 2015.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Old man yells at cloud!

This week’s TMQ, after the jump…


Obit watch: November 2, 2015.

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

My two favorite Fred Thompson moments:

Obit watch: October 20, 2015.

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Irwin Schiff, noted tax protester.

In essence, Mr. Schiff argued that the Constitution had established that the value of the dollar was based on a certain amount of gold or silver, and that after the so-called gold standard was phased out, starting during the Depression, citizens no longer earned dollars, or income.

His second basic argument was that since all information in a tax return can be used against the taxpayer in a criminal proceeding, filling out a return — he called it a “tax confession” — violated the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

Mr. Schiff was serving a 14-year prison sentence when he died.

Pat Woodell, aka “Bobbie Jo Bradley” of “Petticoat Junction”.

Obit watch: October 16, 2015.

Friday, October 16th, 2015

There’s a really nice obituary in today’s NYT (written by Bruce Weber, one of the paper’s best obit writers) for Sybil Stockdale.

Mrs. Stockdale was the wife of James B. Stockdale. You may remember him as Ross Perot’s vice presidential candidate in 1992. But before that:

A captain when he was shot down over North Vietnam on Sept. 9, 1965, Admiral Stockdale was listed for several months as missing in action before the Pentagon learned he was being held in Hanoi at Hoa Lo prison (the so-called Hanoi Hilton). He survived seven and a half years there, subject to torture and held in leg irons and solitary confinement for long periods, before he was released, returning home in February 1973.

During his captivity, Mrs. Stockdale became a leading advocate for the POW/MIA cause. She also worked with the CIA to gather information. This story brings a smile to my face:

In one [letter -DB], she sent a cheery note about his mother along with a picture of a woman bathing in the Pacific Ocean. Admiral Stockdale’s mother loathed swimming, however, and the picture was not of her; the note said she had come to visit because she wanted to have a good “soak,” a code word that instructed him to soak the photograph in urine. When he did so, he discovered, hidden behind the backing of the photograph, a small swath of special carbon paper that could be used to press messages in invisible ink into his own letters home.

Speaking of the CIA and other bits of history, Ken Taylor has also passed away. Mr. Taylor was the Canadian ambassador to Iran during the hostage crisis:

When the U.S. embassy in Tehran was stormed by Islamist students and militants, six American diplomats escaped and found sanctuary in the homes of Taylor and his first secretary John Sheardown. In addition to shielding the Americans from Iranian capture, Taylor also played a crucial role in plotting their escape.
Working with CIA officials and Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, Taylor obtained for the Americans six Canadian passports containing forged Iranian visas that ultimately allowed them to board a flight to Switzerland. He undertook all these covert actions at a high personal risk, as he and his team would have been taken hostage themselves in the case of discovery by the Islamist militants.

Last, but by no means least: “fresh-faced ingénue” of the 1940s, Joan Leslie.

At 9, touring with her sisters, she played Toronto. Their act included her impression of Durante.
One night after the show, her dressing room door opened to reveal a man armed with nothing but criticism. Her Durante was all wrong, he told her. Unbidden, he showed her the right way to do it.

Read the obit for the punchline, if you haven’t already guessed it.

TMQ Watch: September 29, 2015.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

We apologize for the delay. We had a dinner engagement last night at Rocco’s Grill in Bee Cave. Some things are just more important than TMQ blogging, like dinner with family.

After the jump, this week’s TMQ


Short random notes: September 24, 2015.

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

James Mee has his job back.

I feel sure I’ve written about this before, but I can’t find the post now. Mr. Mee was a deputy with the LA County Sheriff’s Office. He was fired because of his alleged involvement in a police chase that ended when the vehicle he was supposedly chasing crashed into a gas station.

At least, that was the claim. So why was he really fired? Well, Mr. Mee was also one of the officers who arrested Mel Gibson back in 2006.

Mee’s lawyers argued that sheriff’s managers falsely blamed Mee for leaking details of Gibson’s 2006 arrest and the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade to celebrity news site Mee, his attorneys alleged, was repeatedly subjected to harassment and unfair discipline in the years that followed, culminating in his firing over the 2011 crash.

This one’s for Lawrence: Frank Gehry is working on a project to rehabilitate the Los Angeles River. This has some people upset.

(Obligatory. Plus, the video I’ve linked to before has been taken down, so call this a bookmark.)

Obit watch: September 14, 2015.

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Moses Malone, legendary NBA player with the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs (among other teams). NYT. HouChron.

Frank D. Gilroy. Interesting story. He knocked around television for a while in the 1950s and 1960s, then had a huge Broadway hit with “The Subject Was Roses”…and then was unable to replicate that success, and spent the rest of his life knocking around movies and theater.

Obit watch: September 8, 2015.

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Judy Carne. WP. She’s just at the fringes of my memory: I remember watching “Laugh-In” with my parents, and I remember “sock it to me”, but she left the show when I was four…am I inventing these memories?

Martin Milner. “Route 66″ went off the air a year before I was born, but I loved “Adam-12″ when I was a wee lad. I have the first season on DVD, and you know, it still holds up well.

The FARK thread is actually pretty respectful, and worth reading if you were a fan of “Adam-12″, “Emergency”, and “Dragnet”. It reminds me that I want to write a re-evaluation of both “Dragnet” and “Adam-12″, arguing that what Jack Webb was trying to represent was his vision of how policing in general, and the LAPD specifically, should work. Not the way it really did work, but the ideal that he felt they should strive for; in a way, you might say that Webb was trying to represent on television Peel’s Nine Principles of Policing.

Obit watch: August 10, 2015.

Monday, August 10th, 2015

I was too young to remember Frank Gifford‘s playing days, but I do have fond memories of him from Monday Night Football in the 1970’s.

Interesting bit of trivia:

While at U.S.C., he developed a persona, however modest, beyond the football field, gaining Hollywood bit parts. In the 1951 Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis football movie “That’s My Boy,” it was Gifford who kicked the winning field goal as the stand-in for Lewis. A handsome campus hero, Gifford made his mark in contemporary literature as well, serving as the glittering object of envy for one of his classmates, Frederick Exley, whose 1968 memoir, “A Fan’s Notes,” is a staple of the genre (although the author freely acknowledged that some of it was fiction).

Obit watch: July 20, 2015.

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Interesting fact about the late Alex Rocco: he was also the voice of Roger Meyers Jr. (A/V Club.)

The A/V Club is also reporting the death of George Coe.

He went on to to appear in films like Kramer Vs. Kramer, and in 1968 was nominated for a Best Live-Action Short Film Oscar for “The Dove,” a satire of Ingmar Bergman films, which he both starred in and co-directed.

I have a copy of “The Dove” somewhere on my MacBook…

Mr. Coe was perhaps best known to contemporary audiences as the voice of Woodhouse in Archer.

Finally, Aubrey Morris has also passed away.

In a career of more than five decades, Mr. Morris brought a memorable touch of eccentricity to films including the cult thriller “The Wicker Man” (1973), Woody Allen’s “Love and Death” (1975) and Ken Russell’s “Lisztomania” (1975).

He was perhaps most famous for playing Mr. Deltoid in A Clockwork Orange.

Obit watch: July 8, 2015.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Author John Maxtone-Graham.

Safe Return Doubtful: The Heroic Age of Polar Exploration is the book that sparked my ongoing interest in polar exploration.


Mr. Maxtone-Graham married Katrina Kanzler in 1955; they later divorced. Survivors include their daughters, Sarah Francois-Poncet and Emily Maxtone-Graham; their sons, Ian, a longtime writer and producer for “The Simpsons,” and Guy, also a television and film comedy writer who worked on “Beavis and Butt-head”; two grandchildren; and a twin brother, Michael.


He also claimed a more unorthodox cultural credit: an appearance as a lecturer on the fictional Royal Valhalla in Episode 505 of “The Simpsons” in 2012.

Random notes: June 26, 2015.

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Obit watches: Patrick Macnee. A/V Club. LAT.

Phil “Nick Danger” Austin, founding member of the Firesign Theater, passed away on the 18th, but the paper of record just got around to running his obit.

Shepard Fairey has been charged with two counts of “malicious destruction of property” for tagging buildings in Detroit.

The police say he tagged as many as 14 buildings with his signature images, which include the face of Andre the Giant. Nine of the building or business owners were interested in pressing charges.

Two things from the WP that kind of tickled my fancy:

1. How much water do California pot growers use? The answer is: well, that’s hard to quantify, for obvious reasons. But a group of researchers have made an attempt to come up with a number, and their estimate is that pot growing uses about the same amount of water as almond growing.

2. Don’t let your pet goldfish loose in the nearest pond, because they will become gianormous and screw up the ecosystem.

(Do I need a “Fish” category?)