Monday, April 27, 2009


Little GTO, you're really lookin' fine
Three deuces and a four-speed and a 389
Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to her why-ee-eye-ine
C'mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out GTO


In just over a year, the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors will be no more, GM announced today.Starting in 1926, Pontiac has always offered vibrant, diverse car lines distinguished by the automotive adrenalin of the GTO and the middle class prestige of the Bonneville. In recent years, it has been overshadowed as a power player by imports like Toyota and BMW.

Television was key to shaping the image of Pontiac as a performance product with enduring street cred.

The mid-1960's was a golden age for Detroit Automakers , as a new generation of muscle cars rolled off the assembly line, into showrooms and onto the American highway.One of the most desirable street machines was the Pontiac GTO, and its many sub-brands like 1969's THE JUDGE.

From the drag strip to strip malls, you knew by the trademark, wide-track stance, the whine of the throaty carburetor and the screech of the slicks, that you were in the company of roadway royalty, the Pontiac GTO.

With Pontiac's new high performance, high octane dream machines came innovative,television advertising to bring a new generation of new car buyers to dealerships across the nation. Some spots extolled the virtues of Pontiac's masculine, muscular engineering. Other , socially aspirational commercials, sold the patina of hip status to young viewers with the pulsating sounds of pop recording artists like Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Here are three classic examples of how Pontiac used television to become a legend on wheels in the 1960's.Enjoy!!!!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Beatrice Arthur was tall and talented, austere and imposing, with a voice like sandpaper on shale , but above all she was incredibly funny.

She could deliver a sarcastic line with the ballistic impact of a .44 Magnum.True in aim ,searing at penetration and devastating upon impact.

Today, at age 86 she lost a long and difficult battle with cancer.Ms.Arthur was born Beatrice Frankel in New York City in 1922, was twice married and adopted two sons.

Bea Arthur leaves a legacy of accomplishment that includes a powerful body of work that spans six decades on stage, screen and television. She is an Emmy and Tony recipient.

Senior video viewers will recall her as Sid Caesar's distaff, comic sidekick on NBC-TV'S production of CAESAR'S HOUR in the 1950's.They will remember her textured work on Broadway in THREE PENNY OPERA AND FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.

To Baby-Boomers, Bea Arthur will always be the opinionated and outrageous MAUDE , breaking television's taboos on Norman Lear's spin-off of CBS-TV'S ALL IN THE FAMILY. She won a 1977 Emmy for her performance.

Ms. Arthur also won a Tony Award for her portrayal of 90 proof, society matron,Vera Charles in MAME on Broadway with Angela Lansberry. A role she took to the big screen, in the 1974, film version of MAME, starring Lucille Ball.

To Generation X , Bea Arthur was the sardonic and combustible Dorothy Sbornak, on Susan Harris's, exquisite, ensemble sitcom THE GOLDEN GIRLS. The sage sitcom about growing old with grace and giggles was long a Saturday night staple on NBC-TV.

Millennials have now discovered Bea Arthur as THE GOLDEN GIRLS has found new life and new audiences on cable and in syndication.

In the past few years, Ms. Arthur returned to Broadway in a tony-nominated, one-woman show,appeared as Larry David's Mother on HBO'S CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM and did a comic turn on FOX'S MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.

She also appeared as herself to do a hilarious, ribald reading on THE COMEDY CENTRAL ROAST OF PAMELA ANDERSON.

KINESCOPE HD venerates Bea Arthur's talent, celebrates her career and mourns her loss.

Posted, below, is a clip of her 2001 interview with the Archive of American Television.Enjoy!!!!!

Here is one of the most controversial episodes of CBS-TV's MAUDE series.
In this excerpt, 47 year old Maude Findlay discovers she is pregnant, and for the first time on Amercian,Prime Time television,the issue of abortion is at center stage in a situcation comedy.Enjoy!!!!!

In this clip, below, from NBC-TV's THE GOLDEN GIRLS, Ms. Arthur, and co-stars Rue McClanahan and Betty White ,confront the mechanics of sex among senior citizens by going to purchase condoms at the drug store.Notice that inventive and prolific comedy writer, Pat McCormick plays the store clerk. Enjoy!!!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009


With the global automobile industry scrambling for survival and desperately searching for advanced marketing strategies to move cars out of showrooms and into driveways,here are two examples of what happened in 1961 when Detroit's dominant car maker,GM, and Madison Avenue's most facile MADMEN teamed-up to find an innovative way to perform one of television's most basic functions: selling new cars to consumers.

First, here is a silent movie of sorts from Chevrolet. It is an animated piece, in LIVING COLOR, with a high voltage musical score, produced in the style of Saul Bass, the graphic designer who crafted the titles for some of Hollywood's most honored films from Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones to Martin Scorsese's CASINO.The animated frames were reportedly drawn by a former Disney artist.

It manages to aggressively sell the new "jet smooth" Chevrolet for 1961, without every uttering one word of narrative. Enjoy!!!!!

This commercial for the 1961 Chevrolet uses a unique visual metaphor for its time. This spot positions the new line of Chevy as evidencing "a kaleidoscope of style." Enjoy!!!!!

And this visually strike commercial for the 1961 Chevrolet uses innovative production and editing techniques to take an average American couple on a "magic ride" through town, but without a car.Well, at least, until the surprise ending, Enjoy!!!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Here is vintage video of two show business legends observing a key milestone in their iconic careers.Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra are seen taking their some of their earliest, halting steps into live television, in the early 1950's.

This kinescoped clip , features a high voltage Hope welcoming a fast and funny Sinatra to his NBC telecast . This excerpt was aired within a Hope ,career retrospective , seen on an NBC-TV BOB HOPE COMEDY SPECIAL , in the early 1970's.Enjoy!!!!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009


"THAT BALL IS OUTTA HERE!!!"... Harry Kalas, Hall of Fame Baseball Broadcaster

If you know Philly ... or like me were born and raised understand that it's a tough town. We have some self-esteem issues.

You can't trash us, but we've elevated inferiority to a high art form.

We need instant validation. We demand it from our sports teams.

In October ,2008. the Philadelphia Phillies were hailed as World Champions. A few nights ago when Fightin' Phils were losing in the early innings of the home opener, our world renowned, Philly sports fans began booing their champions. In other places, bringing home a World Series trophy buys you a few seasons of tacit respect.

Not here.

Yet, for 38 seasons, a community that doesn't always embrace strangers had a love affair with a friendly,exuberant transplant from Napierville, Illinois by way of Iowa and Hawaii. His Midwestern twang and luxe, baritone voice was one of the sweetest sounds that a Philadelphia baseball fan could ever hear.

From 1971, until his sad and surprising death this afternoon, Harry Kalas was the official, beloved and celebrated voice of the Philadelphia Phillies. For 38 years, in all of our pettiness and pique ,while we demanded that players be traded, coaches be fired and umpires be assaulted, we loved Harry the K.So did the players.So did his peers, who bestowed upon him the highest honor of his profession. In 2002, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Harry's voice was the sound of baseball in Philadelphia.

It penetrated the heavy, humid air of a summer night in Mayfair from a portable TV on the next porch over. You could hear it blast from a boom box on the boardwalk as crisp winds heralded the last days of summer at the Jersey Shore. It cut through he static of the old AM radio in the tollbooth as you crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge.

It was as recognizable as the crack of a bat, and often evoked the same emotions.

He voiced football highlights for NFL Films and national commercials. Yet, from his
position in the broadcast booth, he brought home the truth and the texture of the greatest moments in Phillies baseball At 73, he was in top, professional form.

We will miss his unique capture of the emphatic moments in the bottom of the ninth, the high velocity action when everything rests on a single play, or the simple, civil,pleasure of a Sunday afternoon at the ball park.

Here is the Associated Press account of his death

Twice in his tenure the Philles won the World Series. network rules kept him away from the mic in 1980. 2008 offered Harry Kalas his first and final opportunity to call a championship game.Here is that moment, reconstucted by JEANACHIP on You Tube. Enjoy!!!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Stan Freberg is one of the most inventive comic minds of the WWII generation. He disdained the conventions of comedy and axioms of advertising. Yet, it was in his agile and seamless combination of those divergent disciplines that he achieved show biz success and iconic, albeit cult , status. He had a distinctive voice and a jaundiced vision that made him a virtuoso in humor and an innovator in mass marketing.

Think of him in the same comedic league with tele-visionaries Ernie Kovacs and Steve Allen.

Freberg started his professional life performing voices on radio and in Warner Bros. cartoons in the late 1940's. By 1954, he had conquered the recording industry with a hit,comedy album satirizing TV's DRAGNET, entitled ST.GEORGE AND THE DRAGONET, a clip of which is posted at the bottom of this page.

In 1957, he became the self-proclaimed, "last comedian in network radio," after a 15 week run on the CBS Network.

It was after the cancelation of that series, THE STAN FREBERG SHOW, that he focused his considerable. madcap talents to create commercials for the real life, MAD MEN of the advertising community.

Here are just a few samples of his hilarious, alluring and intelligent efforts:

In the 1960's, after years of mortal combat, the film industry embraced the promotional power of television.In the clip posted below, Freberg orchestrates comic chaos among show business legends in these spots designed to market Producer/Director Stanley Kramer's high budget,high octane comedy, chase film IT'S A MAD , MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD in 1962.Enjoy!!!!!

Below is comic legend Jesse White, in Freberg's spoof of cigarette ads designed to sell Baltimore's own ESSKAY FRANKS.Enjoy!!!!

One of the best commercials of the Freberg advertising gallery is a spot introducing JENO'S PIZZA ROLLS.Yep. Pizza rolls. Like egg rolls , with a crispy shell, only filled with cheese and tomato sauce. You'll know the music and you'll be suprised by the cameo appearance of two beloved TV icons, in this LIVING COLOR commercial. Enjoy!!!!

It's no surprise that a nuanced thinker like Freberg would travel in smart circles. In the clip below, a brilliant, 1968 commercial selling SUNSWEET PRUNES, respected, science fiction writer Ray Bradbury is featured. The best selling author was a close friend of Freberg, who narrates this futuristic spoof. Enjoy!!!!!

Here is an appearance by the incomparable Stan Freberg on ABC-TV's, late night, DICK CAVETT SHOW from the early 1970's. One parenthetical note, at the end of this vintage clip,checkout the prop Cavett uses during the intro to a Pontiac commercial. Enjoy!!!!!

As a bonus, here is a cut from 1954's, ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGONET. Enjoy!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Bill Cosby was conquering America. In the early 1960's,the stand-up storyteller who generated honest laughter by holding up a high-buff mirror to our own family lives, was appearing on major television shows,packing fashionable night spots and making vibrant, vinyl,comedy albums that broke sales records in stores, while in heavy rotation on radio.

He was a portrait of a performer in ascent. A smart, new voice in comedy, who offered audiences personal observation instead of pallid punchlines, and was poised for , both, the first wave of fame and sustained success.

It was time to turn his attention to the Great White North: Canada.

In 1963, 27 year old Cosby sat down for an interview with the venerable Canadian Broadcasting Company.

The conversation was wide ranging, mature and focused on everything from the role of racial humor in the American Civil Rights Movement to the young entertainer's almost prophetic vision for the career ahead of him.

Even then it was obvious that Bill Cosby would be a force in show business and an icon in American culture.

Here, posted below,is an excerpt from that long, lost ,television interview. It is a "retro-bite" from CBC-TV's You Tube Site.Enjoy!!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


THE GUIDING LIGHT has shone brightly upon a loyal and appreciative audience, since it debuted on January 25, 1937, airing on the NBC Radio Network.

The 15 minute, radio program was one of the Great Depression Era's most successful daytime dramas. These kinds of shows are are more commonly known as "soap operas," because so many of them were , and still are, sponsored by ,or owned by, detergent manufacturers, who used them as an advertising device to reach women, listening at home.

THE GUIDING LIGHT, which was created by daytime doyenne Irna Phillps, premiered a video version on June 30, 1952, airing on CBS-TV. The same cast continued to perform on both television and radio until 1956, when the audio-only version was cancelled, as the audience for network radio declined.

In the ensuing years, fans stayed loyal to the daily travails of the Cooper, Spaulding and Lewis families, as the program expanded from 15 to 30 to 60 minutes length in 1977 and as it transformed , in 1967, from black and white to CBS COLOR.

The Guinness Book of Records hails THE GUIDING LIGHT as the longest running, television drama.

In recent years, as more women have left the home to join the workforce and to lead more active lives, the core audience began to erode. Ratings and demographics began to suffer.

In the past year, THE GUIDING LIGHT regularly left the studio and was being shot on location with lightweight,digital cameras, to give the program a look similar to the reality programs that are popular with younger viewers.

It was to no avail. The audience simply wasn't large enough to justify the investment made by the owner of the program, Procter & Gamble Productions.

CBS Television has now decided that it is time to extinguish THE GUIDING LIGHT.

After 72 years on the air and producing over 15,000 episodes that showcased controversial and groundbreaking,substantive storylines on relevant issues ranging from alcoholism to AIDS and teen pregnancy to sexual harassment, the last episode will air on Friday, September 18, 2009.

Here are two vintage clips in celebration of this venerable ,and now vanishing, soap opera:

First is a "telescoped" version of radio episode 793.

Next, here is the opening segment from a 1953, episode of THE GUIDING LIGHT, from CBS-TV.Enjoy!!!!!