Saturday, May 29, 2010


If there was one of those pesky S.A.T. questions about the giants of American Media, it might read like this:

1. Edward R. Murrow was to electronic journalism as _____ _____ was to nuclear physics?
a. Albert Einstein
b. Enrico Fermi
c. Niels Bohr
d. All Of The Above

Of course, the answer is "D."

Like scientific trailblazers Einstein, Fermi and Bohr, the man born Roscoe Egbert Murrow on April 25, 1908, was a true innovator, who pioneered new paths to better serve society, even when those roads were fraught with potential danger.

Murrow revolutionized radio news coverage as he brought home the terrifying sounds of the German Blitzkrieg , when CBS Radio dispatched him to cover World War II in Europe. Night after night, he stood, alone, on the roofs of London and , in the most eloquent marriage of narrative and natural sound, Murrow chronicled the Nazi terror that rained from darkened skies , while detailing the courage of the British people, who refused be dominated or defeated.

The team of facile, erudite journalists that he collected during the war, later known as Murrow's Boys, set the standard for insightful reporting of global issues that hit home for every American.

Murrow made the transition to the infant medium of television with panache and perspective, by launching television's first, news journal, SEE IT NOW on CBS-TV. Using primitive, LIVE, video technology to show his audience the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, simultaneously, Murrow and his team offered viewers an image that had never been seen in human history.

His meticulous reportage on the dangers of Senator Joseph McCarty's capricous and vitriloic attacks, recklessly accusing innocent people of being communist agents, all but sealed the fate of the junior senator from Wisconsin.

It was Murrow, who, in 1958, warned television professionals and the audience they were supposed to serve, that unless the young medium was focused on, and committed to, a more noble purpose in the public interest,the most powerful communications tool mankind had ever developed would be little more than "wires and lights in a box."

It did not endear him to the CBS executives who championed his career and signed his paychecks, but Murrow believed that truth and context were due to any citizen who received their news on radio or television.

So, why was this paragon of journalistic integrity and scion of public service broadcasting spending Friday nights in a CBS-TV studio, asking Liberace what he wanted in a wife, listening to Dick Clark wax philosophical about the hot hits he was spinning on American Bandstand, or asking Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall about their group of Hollywood chums called "the Holmby Hills rat pack?"

Murrow was hosting a show that he hoped would revive the art of American conversation, in spite of television.

The LIVE, B&W program was called PERSON TO PERSON and it was a staple of the CBS-TV , prime time schedule from October 1953 until 1961. Murrow launched the show and stayed with it until 1959, when one of Murrow's Boys, the urbane and elegant Charles Collingswood, assumed hosting duties.

It was an instant hit which brought with it the technological challenges of doing remote broadcasts from across the country before fiber optic lines or satellites made it pretty easy for television signals to traverse the continent. The CBS crews worked media miracles, jury-rigging microwave transmission paths, as they deployed miles of cable and trudged heavy camera equipment into Hollywood mansions and Manhattan penthouses.

Yet, some derided the series as too gossipy, too tabloid, too intimate and , above all, beneath the dignity of it's respected and venerable host. Read enough about PERSON TO PERSON and you'll discover that there was much speculation centering on Murrow's motivation in hosting the show. Some said that Murrow may have done the show to fortify an anaemic salary package from the Tiffany Network's news division.

Critics and colleagues spoke volumes on the nature of the show itself, and how it reflected on Murrow's professional stature and on his formidable body of work. Some referring to his work on SEE IT NOW as "high-Murrow" and his efforts on PERSON TO PERSON as "low-Murrow."

It can't be denied that Murrow wasn't always comfortable sitting in front of a giant, electronic window, peering into the homes and into the private lives of celebrities. In light of our current obsession with the famous and near-famous, the whole debate over Murrow's participation in PERSON TO PERSON, and if the show was worthy of the host, is almost quaint.

Here from the MARILYNFAN YOU TUBE site, is a 1955 interview with the vivacious and tormented Marilyn Monroe, from PERSON TO PERSON with Edward R. Murrow. Enjoy!!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


HAWAII FIVE-O was a classic American crime drama and a complex, morality play, all set in a tropical paradise, where the sun and the guns blazed.

The high voltage saga of an elite, crime fighting unit of the Hawaii State Police was a top 20 rated, fan favorite , running on CBS-TV from 1968 until 1980.

Shot on location across the fiftieth state, with interiors filmed in a warehouse that was converted into a sound stage , the show starred the intense and emphatic Jack Lord,as the stoic head of FIVE-O, Steve McGarrett.

He was paired with the affable James McArthur in the supporting role of Danny " Danno" Williams, McGarrett's second in command.

Lord's lacquered hair was impervious to the trade winds that breezed across the islands, but the catch phrase he used when the criminal of the week was captured at the end of so many episodes blew-up, big time:


Today, CBS-TV announced that a contemporary vision of HAWAII FIVE-O was coming to the Tiffany Network, this fall, airing Monday night's at 10PM EDT, with CSI:MIAMI moving to a Sunday ,10pm EDT, time slot.

The previews indicate that the classic, high-octane, DNA of the series that creator/ executive producer Leonard Freeman devised in the late 1960's will be restored , but super-charged with a dose of 21st century, CSI adrenaline.

The updated, FIVE-O team is an elite task force fighting crime and terrorism on the Elysian islands of America's Pacific playground.

refugee,Alex O'Laughlin, is a casually attired McGarrett (2nd from right, above), with OCEAN'S ELEVEN co-star, Scott Caan (wearing a tie)cast as an ironic Danno Williams.Sleek and sylphen Grace Park,from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA,(far right)essays the role of Kono (once a lumbering , Hawaiian Hoss, played by Zulu), as a police siren with martial arts moves. Finding his way from LOST, Daniel Dae Kim (2nd from left)plays Chin Ho Kelly as a scientific slueth who helps FIVE-O crack, complex crime-solving clues.

The show will again be based on the island of Oahu, which the original McGarrett often referred to as " this rock."

There is , as always in television, history to this decison.

CBS-TV invested in an abortive pilot for a revival of the cops in paradise premise for the 1997 Prime Time season. The production team was impressive and included super-producer Stephen J. Cannell.But, the program didn't make the network's Fall schedule.KINESCOPE HD isn't sure that version, which starred Gary Busey, ever aired.

We posted the opening titles for that pilot on our site just a few weeks back. The sequence is an excellent attempt at updating a timeless classic.

We hope the scripts are as solid and engaging as the original show's were during the network run , and surviving through decades in syndication.We also hope that the new production team has the same offbeat sense of casting which used to result in a diverse collection of guest stars,who brought distinctive performances to even standard plot lines. We know the location shooting will sumptuous,all the better for producing the new effort in HD.

But, you know the question you really want answered.

Yes, Morton Steven's original ,pulsating, chart-topping, theme music will be re-orchestrated and re-issued to open and close the updated HAWAII FIVE-O.

It is hard to think of a title sequence that could replace the original vision , executed by the multi-talented director, Reza S. Badiyi. So that sequence is gently updated with a contemporary graphic treatment.

Here , from the CBS YOU TUBE SITE, is a clip with the new title sequence for the 2010version of HAWAII FIVE-O Enjoy!!!!!

Of course - Here , from the BFELTEN YOU TUBE site, is an early 1970's version of the original.Enjoy!!!!!!

Yeah- You need to see the 1997 version, too, from the VIDEOHOLIC90sA YOU TUBE site. Enjoy!!!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


In one of his innovative ABC-TV specials, and speaking from the recesses of a darkened control room, video visionary and satirist superlative, Ernie Kovacs, took laser-accurate aim on the the dearth of westerns that flooded network television as America entered the space-age.

Kovacs, who was candid in his comic commentary,shot holes in the sometimes simplistic, sometimes saccharine tales of the old west that popped up in prime time.When every cathode ray cowboy had a "gimmick" that ranged from hidden derringers to sawed-off shotguns, and wore everything from buckskin chaps to bowler hats, Kovacs gunned down the genre and blasted the network executives,who then, as now,copied every successful horse opera on the air in hopes of a hit.

Here, from the ROLKO52 YOU TUBE site, is a fast and funny clip of Ernie Kovacs showdown at the sixties corral. Enjoy!!!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010


NBC-TV'S SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE is a bastion of youthful viewers , with teens and millennials constituting a significant component of it's late night audience, and members of generations X & Y well represented in the celebrated, but crowded, writers room.

But, last Saturday Night, it was a radiant, raucous 88 year old host, Golden Girl Emeritus, Betty White, who delivered platinum ratings and sterling reviews for the peacock network. The high octane, comic offering served up the show's largest audience in the last 18 months, besting a November, 2008 episode hosted by another super senior, Arizona Republican John McCain. The former presidential contender was a lad of 72 when he shared the SNL spotlight with Tina Fey, portraying his then-running mate,Sarah Palin.

Executive Producer Lorne Michaels mounted a fast and furiously funny, Mother's Day Episode, in which the wondrous Ms. White , who made her LIVE television debut in 1949, was supported in vibrant fashion, by the show's current, comic cadre and supplemented by six amazing, SNL alumnae. Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Anna Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph and Molly Shannon brought fierce funny to the stage of the vaunted STUDIO 8H.

Here's how HULU.COM telescoped Betty White's Saturday Night star turn:

Betty White wasn't the first octogenarian to successfully host NBC's risky, satirical show that was designed to target and tag younger viewers.

Early in SNL's history, an 80 year old, senior citizen named Miskel Spillman, won a contest to host. She was a silver-haired sensation, who shared her 1977 episode with comedian/actor/writer Buck Henry, an SNL stalwart, as her co-host

But in 1976, a legend with one of the most inventive minds ... and most indecipherable accents ... of early, network television, Desi Arnaz, emerged from semi-retirement to gave a tour de force performance on the stage of STUDIO 8-H, with his son Desi Jr. as his co-star.

Here are three clips from the DESIARNAZFAN1951 YOU TUBE SITE, including an amazing musical finale to this episode from February 21, 1976.