Saturday, March 19, 2022

Maverick: "Hadley's Hunters"

(This post is part of the 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Blogathon hosted by A Shroud of Thoughts)

(Ever since I started the 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Blogathon, I have written about an episode from a different show each year. This is the first time I am repeating myself. For the 3rd Annual Favourite TV Show Blogathon I wrote about the Maverick episode "Gun-Shy." I hadn't planned on writing about another Maverick episode this year. In fact, I had planned to write about a WKRP in Cincinnati episode in honour of the late Howard Hesseman. It was last week that someone much closer to myself and the classic film and TV community died than Mr. Hesseman. Patricia Nolan Hall, known to her friends as Paddy Lee and known for her blog Caftan Woman, passed on last week. Those of you who knew Paddy probably also know that both Maverick  and Perry Mason numbered among her favourite shows. I then decided to write about a Maverick episode for this blogathon. Paddy Lee, this one is for you.--Terence)

Bart Maverick and Bronco
Among the TV Westerns of the Fifties, Maverick was unique. The heroes of most Westerns of the era were brave, often humourless lawmen or drifters (who often differed from the lawmen only in that they weren't professionals). The heroes of Maverick were the Maverick brothers, Brett (James Garner) and Bart (Jack Kelly), who were gamblers by profession. The Mavericks preferred to get out of situations using their wits instead of their guns or fists, often with plenty of humour. And while both Bret and Bart were honest themselves, they were not below concocting a long con against those who were not honest themselves. Bret and Bart Maverick were then very different from the other heroes of Western TV shows in the Fifties. The tone of the show was different as well. Maverick was played tongue in cheek.

The episodes of Maverick usually centred on one brother or the other, with Bret and Bart teaming up in a few. The episode "Hadley's Hunters" is a fourth season episode, by which time Bart was the sole remaining Maverick.. In "Hadley's Hunters" Sheriff Hadley (Edgar Buchanan) has an ongoing scheme in which his deputies will commit various robberies and then the sheriff pins it on some innocent victim. Bart has the misfortune of coming upon a stagecoach robbery committed by one of Hadley's deputies. Sheriff Hadley then gives Bart an ultimatum. He has five days to capture the "bandit" behind the robbery (in this case, Cherokee Dan Evans, played by Robert Colbert) or face the gallows himself.

Maverick was one of several Westerns produced by Warner Bros. for the network ABC. What set Warner Bros.' Westerns apart from Western TV shows produced by other studios is that the Warner Bros. Westerns all took place in a shared universe. The "Warner Bros. Shared Universe" (for lack of a better term) was born when Bret Maverick appeared in the Sugarfoot episode "Misfire" on December 10 1957. Afterwards Warner's Western heroes would appear from time to time on the Westerns of other Warner Western heroes: Bart appeared on Sugarfoot; Tom "Sugarfoot" Brewster (Will Hutchins) appeared on several episodes of Cheyenne; Christopher Colt (Wayde Preston), the hero of Colt .45, appeared several times on Sugarfoot; and so on.

"Hadley's Hunters" went further than any episode of any Warner Bros. Westerns before in featuring very nearly every Warner Bros. Western hero except Bret Maverick. In tracking down Cherokee Dan, Bart seeks help from various characters from other Warner Bros. Western series. He visits Marshal Dan Troop (John Marshall) and his deputy Johnny McKay of Lawman in their office in Laramie. He catches Tom "Sugarfoot" Brewster reading a law book outside a building. Bart tries to catch Cheyenne Bodie (Clint Walker) of the show Cheyenne while riding to no avail. He catches Bronco Lane (Ty Hardin) of Bronco in the street after being thrown out of a saloon in a brawl. Bart then visits a dust and cobweb covered office where there is a briefcase belonging to Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. The scene is a clear reference to the TV show Colt .45. Its hero Sam Colt Jr. (Donald May) is apparently long gone. Here it must be pointed that Colt .45 had recently been cancelled.

The final cameo is perhaps the funniest. Bart visits a stable called "77 Cherokee Strip" and talks to a stable hand played by Edd Byrnes Of course, Edd Byrnes played Kookie on Warner Bros.' detective series 77 Sunset Strip. Much like Warner Bros.' Westerns, their detective shows also existed in their own shared universe, with characters from 77 Sunset Strip appearing on Hawaiian Eye and so on. Edd Byrne's appearance in "Hadley's Hunters" would seem to indicate that Warner Bros.' Westerns and detective shows take place in the same reality. Okay, the stable hand clearly cannot be Kookie (not unless he found the Fountain of Youth), but he could easily be Kookie's grandfather or great grandfather.

Warner Bros. shows weren't the only ones referenced in "Hadley's Hunters." Played tongue in cheek, it was not unusual for Maverick to make references to other TV shows, Indeed, several episodes were parodies of other TV series, including "A Cure for Johnny Rain" (a parody of Dragnet),  the aforementioned "Gun-Shy" (a parody of Gunsmoke), and "Three Queens Full" (a parody of Bonanza). In "Hadley Hunters" a weaponless Bart asks a bartender for any weapons, but the only thing he has is a sawed-off shotgun called "a  Mule's Foot or something like that" left behind by some bounty hunter. The scene is a clear swipe at the popular CBS Western Wanted: Dead or Alive, on which bounty hunter Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) used a rifle with a shortened barrel called a "Mare's Leg."

As interesting as the appearances of Warner Bros.' Western heroes are, "Hadley's Hunters" features another interesting bit of casting. Cherokee Dan is played by Robert Colbert, who would later be cast as the "lost" Maverick brother Brent Maverick. In the fourth season, after Roger Moore (who played cousin Beau Maverick) departed the series, Warner Bros. attempted to introduce another Maverick brother. Brent Maverick was played by Robert Colbert and was little more than a clone of Bret. Robert Colbert was not particularly anxious to play the role, knowing that the character would not be well received. As it turned out, Robert Colbert was right. Brent only appeared in two episodes.

Of course, beyond the various Warner Bros. Western characters and Robert Colbert, "Hadley's Hunters" featured some interesting casting. Edgar Buchanan excels as Sheriff Hadley, who is not only crooked but down right narcissistic. Indeed, not only is the town named for him, but he has his own biographer, Copes, played by Howard McNear (who had played Doc on the radio version of Gunsmoke and would later play Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show). George Kennedy, who would go onto a successful movie career, played one of Hadley's deputies, Jones.

While Maverick was not as good in its fourth season as it once was, "Hadley's Hunters" demonstrates that it was still capable of churning out fine episodes. "Hadley's Hunters" is a good combination of action and humour, precisely what one wants from a Maverick episode. And it certainly holds the record for the biggest crossover of any Warner Bros. Western TV series.

Friday, March 18, 2022

The 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon: In Memory of Paddy Lee

The 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon has arrived. For those unfamiliar with the Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon, it is a blogathon in which each blogger posts about one of their favourite episodes from a TV show. This year we have a wide variety of entries, spanning several decades and several genres.

I am dedicating this year's blogathon to the memory of Patricia Nolan-Hall, known to her friends as Paddy Lee. Paddy was well-known in the classic film and classic TV community, and her blog Caftan Woman was widely read in the classic film and TV community. She was known for her love and enthusiasm of classic film and television, and her posts reflected that love and enthusiasm. In addition to writing her own blog, Paddy read many blogs and often commented on them. She was known for her sunny disposition and was always supportive of her fellow classic film and TV bloggers and fans. Paddy was able to complete her post for this year's Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon and arranged to have her daughter Janet publish it this week.  Paddy has participated in every single Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon  from the beginning, and I know that she always enjoyed it. Sadly, her post for this year's blogathon (which is on the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Sausalito Sunrise") is her final blog post. Anyway, I am grateful to have known Paddy and grateful for her support all these years. I can safely speak for the entire classic film and TV show fan community when I saw that we all loved Paddy Lee.

For those of you who are participating in the blogathon, I ask that you link to this page. I will be updating this page with links to the various blog posts that are part of this blogathon throughout the weekend. If you want a graphic for your post, I have several on the announcement page here.

Without further ado, here are this year's posts.

Caftan Woman: Perry Mason: "The Case of the Sausalito Sunrise"

Realweegiemidget Reviews: TV… On a Tag Spin Off with a Prime Time, Soap Opera Style Twist…

By Rich Watson: The “Other” Wrigley Field Was the Setting For a Twilight Zone Episode

Cinematic Scribblings: The Adventures of Pete & Pete" "Grounded for Life" (1994)

Taking Up Room: The Wonder Years: "Shall We Dance?"

Another Old Movie Blog: Peter Gunn Meets Diahann Carroll--"Sing a Song of Murder"

The Caffeinated Fangirl: The 8th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon: Combat!--"Billy the Kid"

Moon in Gemini: The Odd Couple: "Password"

Silver Scenes - A Blog for Classic Film Lovers: The Avengers - "You Have Just Been Murdered ( 1967 )"

A Shroud of Thoughts: Maverick: "Hadley's Hunters"

Crítica Retrô: Retro Cartoon: Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks

Whimsically Classic: "Favorite TV Show Blogathon--"Rhoda, The Beautiful," The Mary Tyler Moore Show

: Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies – Volume 127: “The Rockford Files – Foul on the First Play”

Hamlette's Soliloquy:
"Good Old Reliable Me" (Five Mile Creek) 1984

Cinemaven's Essays from the Couch: The Golden Girls: “Isn't It Romantic?”

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2022

Okay, not being Irish, Montserratian, a New Yorker, a Bostonian, Puerto Rican, an engineer, or a paralegal, I have never celebrated St. Patrick's Day. That having been said, I know many people who do and I know many of them might appreciate some cheesecake alongside their corned beef and cabbage. Without further ado, here are some classic St. Patrick's Day pinups (well, except for one).

Here is the beautiful Olga San Juan watering a shamrock!

Here is Joi Lansing and a shamrock.

Toby Wing wearing a shamrock while smoking.

Nancy Carroll and a shamrock

Okay, this pinup has nothing in particular to do with St. Patrick's Day, but you can't have a holdiay without Ann Miller!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Late Great Emilio Delgado

Emilio Delgado, who played Fix-It Shop owner Luis on Sesame Street for 45 years, died on March 10 2022 at age 81 from multiple myeloma.

Emilio Delgado was born on May 8 1940 in Calexico, California. He spent much of his childhood in Mexicali, Mexico with his grandparents. He worked in his grandfather's bicycle shop and also shined shoes growing up. When he was a teenager his parents moved to Glendale, California. In high school he was president of the Thespian Club, acted in high school productions, and played trombone in the school's bands. He studied theatre at California Institute of the Arts. He also performed as a guitarist and singer with various Mexican trios.

Emilio Delgado began his professional acting career in summer stock. He was cast on the KCET drama Cancion de la Raza, which ran from 1968 to 1969. Early in his career he was the artistic director for the Barrio Theatre of East L.A. He made his commercial television debut in 1970 in a guest appearance on Storefront Lawyers.

It was in 1971 that Emilio Delgado was cast as Luis, a handyman and an aspiring writer, on Sesame Street. He ran the L&R Fix-It Shop with Rafael (played by Raul Julia). Raul Julia left Sesame Street after one year, after which Luis became the sole owner of the Fix-It Shop. In the Seventies Emilio Delgado also guest starred on the shows Police Story, Cannon, Hawaii Five-O, ABC Weekend Specials, Delvecchio, The Chilsholms, Born to the Wind, and Quincy M.E. Towards the end of the decade and into the Eighties, Emilio Delgado played  national news editor Rubin Castillo on Lou Grant.

In the Eighties Emilio Delgado continued to appear as Luis on Sesame Street and Rubin Castillo on Lou Grant. He guest starred on Falcon Crest. He made his film debut playing Luis in the Sesame Street movie Follow That Bird (1985).

In the Nineties Emilio Delgado continued to appear as Luis on Sesame Street. He guest starred on the shows Cosby, Law & Order, and Between the Lions. He appeared in the movies Reggie's Prayer (1996) and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999). In the Naughts he continued to appear on Sesame Street. He guest starred on the TV shows Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Blueblood, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Cupid. He was the voice of the King on the animated series The Bravest Knight.

Emilio Delgado ended his long run as Luis on Sesame Street in 2016 when the show was re-tooled and much of the long time cast released from their contracts. In the Teens he guest starred on the shows Person of Interest, The Michael J. Fox Show, House of Cards, and The Get Down. He appeared in the movies A Case of You (2013) and Peebles (2013). Last year he guest starred on Law & Order: Special Victim Unit and appeared in the movie in iGilbert (2021).

In addition to singing on Sesame Street and at various Sesame Street live events. He also preformed with the band Pink Martini at various concerts and sang on their album Splendor in the Grass.

Emilio Delgado was a true pioneer. At the time that Luis first appeared on Sesame Street the majority of roles available to Chicanos or Mexican Americans were either bandidos or cholos. Luis was a sharp contrast to these roles. He was friendly, tender-hearted, and happy. He often entertained the residents of Sesame Street with his songs. At at time when most Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Chicanos on television were outright stereotypes, Luis was a distinctly original character. He gave Mexican American children and Latinos in general a character with whom they had much in common. What is more, Emilio Delgado's roles on various other shows, such as Rubin Castillo, were not stereotypes either. He paved the way for Mexican Americans and Latinos in general in Hollywood, playing characters who were not at all stereotypical.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Godspeed Johnny Brown

Johnny Brown, perhaps best known as a regular on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and housing project superintendent Nathan Bookman on the classic sitcom Good Times, died on March 2 at the age of 84.

Johnny Brown was born on June 11 1937 in St. Petersburg, Florida. He grew up in Harlem. He won an amateur talent competition at the Apollo Theatre. This led to a nightclub act with his wife June Russell, as well as tap dancer Gregory Hines Jr. and drummer Gregory Hines Sr. It was while he was working in the Catskills that he befriended Sammy Davis Jr., who became his mentor.

Johnny Brown toured with saxophonist Sam "The Man" Taylor starting in 1958. In 1961 Mr. Brown's first single "Walkin', Talkin', Kissin' Doll" was released by Columbia Records. Another single, "You're Too Much in Love With Yourself," was released by Atlantic Records in 1968. It was through his mentor Sammy Davis Jr. that Johnny Brown made his Broadway debut. Sammy Davis Jr. was set to star in the production Golden Boy alongside comedian Godfrey Cambridge. Mr. Davis then got Mr. Brown a job as Mr. Cambridge's understudy. Godfrey Cambridge was not particularly eager to do the play and as a result began constantly arguing with director Arthur Penn. Only two days before Golden Boy was set to premiere, Godfrey Cambridge was fired and Johnny Brown took his place in the play. In 1968 Johnny Brown again appeared on Broadway in Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights.

Johnny Brown made his movie debut in A Man Called Adam in 1968. In the Sixties he also appeared in the movie The Out-of-Towners (1970). It was in 1970 that he became a regular on the TV show Laugh-In. He remained with the show through its fifth season. In the Sixties he also guest starred on the shows  Julia and Love, American Style. He also appeared on such variety shows as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Sammy Davis Show, The Leslie Uggams Show, Della, and The Merv Griffin Show.

He began the Seventies continuing to appear on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. It was in 1975 that he started playing Nathan Bookman on the sitcom Good Times. He remained with the show until it ended its run in 1979. In the Seventies Johnny Brown guest starred on Love, American Style; Night Gallery; Maude; The Rookies; Lotsa Luck!; Get Christie Love!; The Ghost Busters; The Lost Saucer; Chico and the Man; and Monster Squad. He provided voices for the Saturday morning cartoon The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. He was a guest on the variety shows Dinah!, Flip, and Sammy and Company. He appeared in the movie The Wiz (1978).

In the Eighties Johnny Brown guest starred on Gimme a Break!, Archie Bunker's Place, The Jeffersons, Insight, Fantasy Island, Punky Brewster, Moonlighting, and 227. He provided voices for the Saturday morning cartoon Alvin & The Chipmunks. He appeared in the movies Body and Soul (1981) and Hanky Panky (1982).

In the Nineties Johnny Brown guest starred on the shows Out All Night; Martin; Family Matters; On Our Own; Hangin' with Mr. Cooper; Sister, Sister; The Jamie Foxx Show; The Wayan Brothers; Touched by an Angel; Cousin Skeeter; The Parent 'Hood; and Keenan & Kel. He appeared in the movie Life (1999).

In the Naughts Mr. Brown guest starred on the shows The Parkers, Baby Boy, and Everybody Loves Chris. He appeared in the movies Town & Country (2001), I'm Through with White Girls (2007), and Man in the Mirror (2008). His final appearance on screen was in the movie In Da Cut (2013).

Chances are good that Johnny Brown will always be remembered as Bookman on Good Times, which is in some ways sad. It is true that he was excellent in the role, but it ignores the fact that he did so much more in his career. He shined as one of the cast members of Laugh-In and displayed his comic versatility on such other shows as Love, American Style. In addition to being a gifted comedian and actor, Johnny Brown was also a talented singer. His singles can be found on YouTube and they demonstrate that he had an incredible voice. While it seems likely he will always be remembered for Good Times, he did so much more.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

The Late Great Conrad Janis

Conrad Janis, who appeared on the TV shows Quark and Mork & Mindy and appeared frequently on Broadway, died at the age of 94 on March 2.

Conrad Janis was born on February 11 1928 in New York City. His father was Sidney Janis, a well known art collector. His mother was Harriet Janis, an author on various books on the fine arts. Conrad Janis made his debut on Broadway when he appeared at age 14 in Junior Miss in 1942. He went onto appear on Broadway in Dark of the Moon and The Next Half Hour. When he was 16 he went to California where he made his debut in the film Snafu (1945), playing a 16 year old who enlists in the Army. In the late Forties he appeared in the movies Margie (1946), The Brasher Doubloon (1947), That Hagen Girl (1947), and Beyond Glory (1948). He made his television debut in 1949 in an episode of Actor's Studio. In the late Forties he guest starred on the shows Starlight Theatre, The Philco Television Playhouse, and The Web.

In the Fifties he guest starred on the TV shows The Big Story, CBS Television Playhouse, Suspense, The Doctor, The Gulf Playhouse, Bonino, Omnibus, Studio One, The Man Behind the Badge, Kraft Television Theatre, Danger, Appointment with Adventure, Matinee Theatre, Zane Grey Theatre, Armstrong Circle Theatre, The Untouchables, The United States Steel Hour, and The Robert Herridge Theatre. He appeared on Broadway in The Brass Ring, Time Out for Ginger, The Terrible Swift Sword, A Visit to a Small Planet, and Make a Million. He appeared in the film Let's Rock.

In the Sixties Conrad Janis guest starred on the TV shows Stoney Burke, The Nurses, Get Smart, and My Favorite Martian. He appeared on Broadway in Sunday in New York, Marathon '33, and The Front Page.

In the Seventies he played Otto Bob Palindrome, the bureaucrat who ran the space station Perma One on the sci-fi comedy Quark and Mindy's father Fred on Mork & Mindy. He guest starred on the shows Banacek; Cannon; The Manhunter; Baretta; The Invisible Man; The Waltons; Maude; Happy Days; The Streets of San Francisco; Police Story; The Jeffersons; Dog and Cat; Kojak; Husband, Wives & Lovers; Barnaby Jones; California Fever; The Love Boat; House Calls; and Laverne & Shirley. He appeared on Broadway in No Hard Feelings and Same Time, Next Year. He appeared in the movies Airport 1975 (1974), The Happy Hooker (1975), The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976), Roseland (1977), The Buddy Holly Story (1978), and Oh, God! Book II (1980).

In the Eighties Mr. Janis guest starred on the TV shows Here's Boomer, Insight, Trapper John M.D., Mama's Family, St. Elsewhere, Remington Steele, V, Highway to Heaven, George Burns Comedy Week, You Again?, The Golden Girls, Shades of LA, and Murder, She Wrote. He appeared in the movies Brewster's Millions (1985), Nothing in Common (1986), Sonny Boy (1989), and Caddie Woodlawn (1989).

In the Nineties Conrad Janis had a recurring role as one of Frasier Crane's neighbours on Frasier. He guest starred on the TV shows Murder, She Wrote; Baywatch; Diagnosis Murder; and Family Law. He appeared in the movies He appeared in the movies Mr. Saturday Night (1992), Heung Gong wun fung kwong (1993), The Cable Guy (1996), and Last Night (1998). In 2009 he appeared in the movie Maneater. His last appearance on film was in the movie Bad Blood (2012).

Conrad Janis was also a talented trombonist and an aficionado of traditional jazz. In 1949 he formed a band with some of the jazz greats he idolized (pianist James P. Johnson, trumpeter Henry Goodwin, clarinettist  Edmond Hall, bassist Pops Foster, and drummer Baby Dodds). In the late Seventies he formed the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band.

Conrad Janis was a truly great talent. Over the years he played a diverse number of roles, from petty bureaucrat Otto Bob Palindrome on Quark to Mindy's overly conservative father on Mork & Mindy. He played Gladstone, the assistant to a Mormon patriarch in The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox and a game show host who was friendly on camera but hostile off camera on Maude. While he may be best known for his work in comedy, Conrad Janis also did drama well. In The Untouchables episode "The Mark of Cain" he played the drug addicted drummer Sticks. In the movie Beyond Glory, he played a West Point cadet, Raymond Denmore Jr., who accuses another cadet (Rocky Gilman played by Alan Ladd Jr.) of bullying him after Gilman reports him for lying. There were very few roles that Conrad Janis could not play.