Friday, January 4, 2013

Answers for Baby Boomer TV Shows

     I'm not saying these shows were by or about Baby Boomers. And, as at least one reader pointed out, many of our parents watched some of these same programs. Back when the networks reigned supreme, and TV channels were not so scattered and specialized, we all sat down and watched many of the shows together.

     I know that people like me, who are getting older, typically think things were better back then. But wasn't Dick Van Dyke, or All in the Family or The Waltons more wholesome, more relevant and more entertaining than Two and a Half Men, or Honey Boo Boo?

     Anyway, let's look back . . . and answer the questions about those old shows.

     1)  Earle Stanley Gardner, a practicing lawyer and prolific novelist, created the character of the famous defense attorney. William Hopper played Perry Mason's trusty private detective Paul Drake. But it was the incomparable Raymond Burr who won two Emmys playing Perry Mason (and who also went on to star as a wheelchair-bound detective in Ironside, from 1967 to 1975).

     2)  Bonanza, 1959 - 1973, was branded the second-longest running western. The longest was Gunsmoke, starring James Arness, which rode the airways from 1955 to 1975.

     3)  Rob and Laura Petrie, and their son Richie, lived in the suburb of New Rochelle, NY.

     4)  Vince Edwards was Ben Casey. It was Richard Chamberlain who played the impeccably handsome Dr. Kildare. He later went on to mini-series fame in Centennial and The Thorn Birds, and devoted much of his time to stage acting. Ironically, in his 2003 memoir Shattered Love, the former heartthrob revealed that he was gay.

     5)  Dick Cavett wrote for Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. Regis Philbin wrote for his own local talk show in San Diego, only because he had no budget for writers. It was Woody Allen who worked for Candid Camera, as well as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show, before going on to standup comedy and his storied movie career.  

     6)  Ed Sullivan happened to be passing through London's Heathrow airport in 1963 when he saw the crowd's reaction to the Beatles, who were arriving from a gig in Sweden. He signed the group for three consecutive shows in America, beginning with their live performance on Sunday night, February 9, 1964.

     7)  Everybody who was anybody at the time appeared on Laugh-In, from Tiny Tim to Richard Nixon, from Bing Crosby to Flip Wilson. But the record shows no appearance by Bill Cosby, who may have been too busy doing standup comedy, making movies and studying for an education degree at the University of Massachusetts.

     8)  Laverne & Shirley took over top TV ratings from All in the Family in 1977, starring Penny Marshall as Laverne DeFazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney.

     9)  Fonzie, of Happy Days, used the men's room at Arnold's as his "office," but he lived in a room over the Cunningham's garage. However, he did rent his own apartment in the last season of the show, so give yourself full credit if that was your answer.

     10) A trick question? Actually, I made a mistake. John Boy was the oldest Walton child, born in 1916. Then Jason, Mary Ellen, Ben, Erin, Jim-Bob, and the youngest was Elizabeth. Oops, count 'em. That's seven.

     11)  Mary Tyler Moore moved from New Rochelle, NY, in The Dick Van Dyke Show, to Minneapolis, MN, for the Mary Tyler Moore show. In real life, she was born in Brooklyn, grew up in California, and currently lives in Manhattan, where she is active in diabetes issues and animal rights.

     12)  Shirley Jones was the mom in The Partridge Family. Shelley Long played the mom in the much-maligned Brady Bunch Movie in 1995. It was Florence Henderson who starred as the mom in the hit TV show.

     13)  M*A*S*H (which stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) said its final goodbye on February 28, 1983.

     14)  In the final scene of Dallas in the 1979-80 season, J. R. was shot twice by an unseen assailant. The next episode, called Who Done It? aired on November 21,1980, and revealed that sister-in-law and mistress Kristin Shepard (played by Mary Crosby) shot him in a fit of anger. The episode ranks second only to the M*A*S*H finale as the most-watched TV program of all time. 

     15)  Cameron Diaz played one of Charlie's Angels in the 2000 movie, and in the 2003 sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. But she was not in the original TV series which aired from 1976 - 1981.

     Bonus)  TV Guide rated Seinfeld the greatest TV show of all time. Number 2 was I Love Lucy, No. 3 was the Honeymooners and No. 4 was All in the Family. See cbsnews for a complete list of the top 50.


Stephen Hayes said...

This was a fun read and I enjoyed recalling these great TV shows from my childhood. Great minds must think alike; my post this morning is also about a vintage TV show--The Twilight Zone.

schmidleysscribblins, said...

Somewhere along the line I stopped watching commercial TV. I was in graduate school for years, working fulltime, and taking care of kids (cooking, etc.) I never even watched Laverene and Shirley. My TV experiece with sitcoms ends in the early 1970s.

Today, David and I watch mostly PBS and BBC material with the odd news show from FOX or CNN. Otherwise, I get my news from reading papers, magazines, etc. If its worth hearing about it will end up in a magazine or book.

For example, just today, I learned that old Joe Kennedy did not make his fortune running booze. He was a Wall Street financier who cashed out just before 1929.


Edie Dykeman said...

Got three wrong, but would have thought I Love Lucy was the greatest series. Great questions! Brought back a lot of memories.

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