Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thrilling Days of Convalescence (Part 3 in a series)

I got a call from the surgeon’s office this morning and they have scheduled my parathyroid gland surgery for April 28th. I still haven’t decided whether this is good or bad news, so I guess I’ll just classify it as news. The only relief I’m getting so far is that we’ve finally set a date.

I also received a call from the kidney doctor’s office—I had an appointment with her on Monday—that my lab work came back and that she’s going to put me on some medication…including potassium, which I got plenty of while in the hospital. The neat thing about this is that the office calls in what you need to the local pharmacy and all I have to do is stop by and pick it up.

I don’t know if I mentioned it yesterday but Mom and I sat down in front of TCM yesterday to catch The Blue Gardenia (1953). It’s not a particularly strong Fritz Lang picture but it’s kind of hard to dislike a movie with a cast that features Richard Conte, Anne Baxter, Ann “Maisie” Sothern, Raymond Burr, Jeff Donnell, Richard Erdman, George “Superman” Reeves and Nat “King” Cole. I forgot to mention that Saturday found us enjoying The Killers (1946)—my mother nearly fell off the couch when she saw William Conrad (“He’s so thin!”). (Faithful TDOY readers are probably aware that Conrad has one of my all-time favorite movie lines in Killers: “They eat the dinner. They all come here and eat the big dinner.”) I’m now trying to initiate Mom into the Charles McGraw cult after seeing Killers and Side Street (1950); we watched The Narrow Margin (1952) that same night and she got a kick out of it (as well as figuring out the plot twist) as well. Next up (when I can find it): Armored Car Robbery (1950).

In TV-on-DVD news, Shout! Factory will bring The Patty Duke Show to completion by releasing the third and final season sometime in August of this year, according to TVShowsOnDVD.com. The official release date is still pending, but I’ll certainly pass the news along once it’s officially confirmed. (I must figure out a way to acquire these sets, by the way—I thought someone in my family would have purchased at least one of them as a Christmas present but apparently I thought wrong.)

Last night, I had a dream that I went into a MacDonald’s and purchased two regular cheeseburgers and an order of fries and it cost me $2.64. So this morning when my father came over for breakfast, I asked him to play 2-6-4 in Georgia’s Cash 3 lottery. This is the very first time I’ve ever done such a thing, and while I’ll probably lose the dollar investment it’s something I simply had to do.

Finally, I want to thank Maggie of Silver Screen Dream profusely for bestowing upon my ‘umble little blog the prestigious “You’re Going Places, Baby!” award. Upon receiving this honor, I am required to choose ten bloggers that inspire me (some recipients whittled this down to five, but I’m pretty sure I can come up with ten)—which I am interpreting to mean those individuals who make me green with jealousy with their amazing writing talents (in no particular order):

Only the Cinema (Ed Howard)

Mondo 70: A Wild World of Cinema (“Uncle” Sam Wilson)

Vince Keenan.com (He’s not a philistine!)

Scrubbles.net (Matt Hinrichs)

Blog D’Elisson

Flickhead (Ray Young)

She Blogged by Night (Stacia)

Self-Styled Siren (Farran Smith Nehme)

World O’Crap (Scott C.)

Mardecortesbaja.com (Lloyd)

Apologies to any individual who may have already received one of these awards—I didn’t bother to check if they had, and to be honest some of them deserve multiple decorations. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if I cleaned up in the Cash 3…

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sitcom paradise

Confession time: I’ve been spending most of my copious free time sitting around watching television reruns than tackling the massive backlog of movies currently present in the dusty Thrilling Days of Yesteryear archives. This morning—I’m kind of ashamed to admit this—I sat through a TVLand mini-marathon of Beverly Hillbillies episodes from 1970, a time when the sitcom warhorse was running on fumes. My rationalization for watching these is that Phil Silvers guest-starred as a con man in several of them, and while he had positively nothing to work with it’s tres, tres difficult passing up the opportunity to watch him in action. (There was an added bonus: TDOY fave Kathleen Freeman was on hand as Silvers’ wife.)

One of these episodes, “The Clampetts in Washington” (09/22/70), had an actor playing a guard at the White House and I began to worry that my capabilities to spot character actors on a dime had diminished because I couldn’t come up with the individual’s name. Finally, it dawned on me—it was Richard Erdman, who you may have seen as “Hoffy” in Stalag 17 (1953) and the sleepy photographer in The Blue Gardenia (1953), which just wrapped up on TCM about a half-hour ago. (Erdman is also in the 1951 noir classic Cry Danger, where he has one of my favorite responses to Jean Porter’s query “You drinkin' that stuff so early?”: “Listen, doll girl, when you drink as much as I do, you gotta start early.”) The great news is that Erdman is still with us, and he’s even got a semi-regular role as an old codger named Leonard on NBC’s Thursday night sitcom Community.

In the meantime, it looks like RTV has become my best friend again: The Jack Benny Show, Bachelor Father, McHale’s Navy—it appears I’ll watch anything with a laugh track. I’ve embarked on a project in the evenings involving my mother’s portable DVD player (which she brought over to the house for my use) in which I’m watching every single episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show from the Image Entertainment box sets.

Speaking of Dick Van Dyke, Georgia Public TV had an interesting installment of Pioneers of Television on last Friday that dealt with situation comedies that Mom and I sat down and enjoyed. The show had to resort to some public domain footage for some of the shows (notably the clips of The Lucy Show and Make Room For Daddy) but for the most part the material was fresh; I enjoyed seeing Pert Kelton in an early Honeymooners sketch and the Dick Van Dyke and Andy Griffith Show excerpts just provide prima facia evidence that both series remain the gold standard for sitcoms today. I’m not certain why they included the Danny Thomas show at the expense of other family comedies (Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, etc.) but I suspect it was because it provided an easy segueway to the Griffith material. Check your local public television listings if you missed this; I have a feeling it will probably be on again.

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R.I.P, June Havoc

June Havoc, the actress and child star who enjoyed a successful stage and film career despite occasionally being overshadowed by her sister—stripper Gypsy Rose Lee—has left us at the age of 97, due to natural causes. Both Havoc sisters’ lives were dramatized in the hit musical Gypsy, which opened on Broadway in 1959…and became a feature film three years later.

Among Havoc’s best known turns on the silver screen: Four Jacks and a Jill (1942), My Sister Eileen (1942), Hello Frisco, Hello (1943), Brewster's Millions (1945), and Red, Hot and Blue (1949). My personal favorite is Gentleman's Agreement (1947), the Oscar-winning Best Picture based on the novel by Laura Z. Hobson. Havoc also headlined a short-lived, self-titled television variety show in 1964 and appeared as a guest star in countless series, notably Willy, Robert Montgomery Presents, The Untouchables, Burke’s Law, The Outer Limits and Murder, She Wrote.

R.I.P, Ms. Havoc. You will be missed.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Well, if you bitch about something long enough, something will eventually happen…

In June 2005, Universal Home Video released the first season of Dragnet: 1967 to DVD and like a dutiful Joe Friday fan, I quickly snapped up a copy for the dusty Thrilling Days of Yesteryear archives. I watched all seventeen episodes and anxiously awaited the arrival of Season 2 (or Dragnet: 1968, as it was originally called during its run).

But alas, the second season was not to be. Universal made it clear that the sales of the Dragnet revival’s first year were pretty dismal and, ergo, a follow-up would not be forthcoming any time soon. Faithful TDOY readers are no doubt familiar with the fact that I have been pissing and moaning about this for a good many years now.

So to prove that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, the folks at Shout! Factory have picked up where the people at Universal left off (a not-uncommon occurrence) and—according to TVShowsOnDVD.com—will release the second season of the 1960s camp crime drama classic on July 6th (the set will contain all twenty-eight episodes from the sophomore season). Naturally, this news has made me very happy and as such, I will do my best to hold back the snark when discussing some of the other upcoming TV-on-DVD releases in this post.

Shout! Factory is also going to finish out the 1969-71 run of The Bill Cosby Show with the release of the sitcom’s second season April 20th. The only cloud to this silver lining, however, is that the Cos set is part of the company’s online exclusive program, so you won’t get the opportunity to shop around and get price comparisons. So all you Cosby completists will have to fork over $39.99 (plus s&h) and believe me, you have my sympathy.

MPI has delayed the release of The Mothers-in-Law to later this year, but you certainly can’t accuse them of goldbricking when it comes to Here’s Lucy, whose third season will hit the streets June 15th. TVShowsOnDVD.com has the skinny on the bodacious extras that will be included with the set—which includes one of the series’ all-time funniest episodes, the one where Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding ring gets stuck on Lucy’s finger. (This episode has been released before, on Shout! Factory’s Best-Loved Episodes collection.)

CBS DVD-Paramount will release My Three Sons: Season 2, Volume 2 on June 15th. Since I promised to behave myself, I won’t say anything more.

Finally, a series long sought out by vintage TV collectors will be winging its way to DVD—though not in the fashion that everyone expected. TVShowsOnDVD.com announces that the first season of the crime drama chestnut Highway Patrol—starring Broderick “10-4, 10-4” Crawford—will be released to disc as part of MGM’s MOD (manufacture-on-demand) program. I took a look at some of the titles available through this program and there’s a few—Cold Turkey (1971), The Landlord (1970), The Best Man (1964), Between the Lines (1977)—that I wouldn’t mind adding to the dusty TDOY archives…but my current state of finances vetoed that notion pretty darn quick. Flipper fans who were hungry for more adventures with “King of the Sea” will be stoked to learn that not only will the complete second season (1965-66) will be released but the 1995 revival series (Flipper: The New Adventures)—with some dame named Jessica Alba—will be made available as well.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Movies and stuff I’ve stared at recently during my convalescence

"I'm hoping he is using his "lay low" time to rest up and on, what we all know must be, piles and piles and piles of movies." -- Pam R

I’d like to be able to report that I’ve been diving into the aforementioned piles and piles and piles of movies…but that would be a falsehood. You see, my mother is staying with me at Rancho Yesteryear during my recuperation, and what entertains me doesn’t always tickle her fancy, so I try to find something we can both enjoy.

As I’m typing this, Mom’s in the other room watching Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943). She positively adores the Rathbone-Bruce Holmes films, and since I acquired her MPI DVD collection through shrewd guile and deceit she insists that I “put one on” for her at least once a day. (This is cool with me, as it allows me to collect my thoughts and whip up something for the blog.)

I caught Side Street (1950) this morning, even though I have it on DVD—it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, however, and it’s a capable little noir starring the hapless Farley Granger as a postal carrier who stupidly steals $30,000 from a crooked lawyer (Edmon Ryan) and then finds himself…wait for it…in big trouble. Cathy O’Donnell—Granger’s co-star from They Live by Night (1948)—plays the devoted spouse here (though she’s given bupkis to do) and there are plenty of TDOY faves present and accounted for, like Jean Hagen (as a torch singer who can lap up the booze), Charles McGraw (as one of the detectives working the case), Adele Jergens, Harry Bellaver (as a crooked cabbie), Whit Bissell and uncredited contributions from James Westerfield, Herb Vigran, Sid Tomack, Ransom Sherman, Sarah Selby and King Donovan. I particularly enjoyed director Anthony Mann’s use of close-ups in this one, as well as the climactic car chase through Washington Park.

I also watched Warren William, Mary Astor and star of the month Ginger Rogers in a curio entitled Upperworld (1934) that was certainly worth the hour-and-thirteen-minutes I invested (though the ending is a bit weak). William is surprisingly likeable as a railroad tycoon who gets involved with Rogers when wife Astor has no time for him. The supporting cast is particularly engaging in this concoction as well: Andy Devine, Our Ganger Dickie Moore (as William and Astor’s son), J. Carrol Naish, Sidney Toler (and not as Charlie Chan), Robert Greig and John Qualen…who was a bit scary-looking in his youth. Later that afternoon, I introduced Mom to the wonder that is Hobson's Choice (1954; I wanted to see if she recognized Prunella Scales as the youngest of Charles Laughton’s daughters…and she did not) and to my surprise, she enjoyed it.

Monday night, Mom and I sat down to watch one of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s favorite movies (well, he was hosting the program along with Bobby Osbo), The Big Sleep (1946). Maybe it was because I’ve seen the movie so many times or maybe I was just antsy but I didn’t enjoy Sleep as much as I have in the past. If you really look at the movie, I think you’ll find that the only purpose it serves is to allow Bogie and Bacall to flirt with one another for two hours. The plot is confusing and at times just plain dull; the characters uninvolving—I remain convinced that Murder, My Sweet (1944) is the best cinematic representation of Philip Marlowe (and Mom and I watched it the next day so I could prove it to her); Bogart is aces as Sam Spade but as Marlowe he leaves a lot to be desired. After Sweet, we sated our noir appetites with Gun Crazy (1950)—which, again, I was surprised that Mom took to even though the only person she knew in the movie was Russ Tamblyn.

Yesterday, I opened up one of the I Spy box sets from Image Entertainment and watched three episodes as a mini-tribute to the late Robert Culp: “Carry Me Back to Old Tsing-Tao” (09/29/65), “Danny Was a Million Laughs” (10/27/65) and “Affair in T’Sien Cha” (12/29/65—actually the series’ pilot). The episodes confirmed for me just how great an actor the man was and how truly devastating is his loss—though Mom was a bit underwhelmed by the presentation (Mom: “Where are they supposed to be?” Me: “Hong Kong. In fact, I think all these episodes are set in Hong Kong.”) (And Bill Crider made me laugh out loud this morning when he reminisced about the “Hobie, Hobie, Hobie” joke.)

While I was scribbling down these thoughts, I was delighted to receive a dozen red roses from my friend Maureen. I couldn’t close out this post without mentioning this generosity—thanks, Doll.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

R.I.P, Robert Culp

I don’t know why the Grim Reaper is heckbent on dispatching my television heroes to the Great Beyond of late, but we lost another television icon yesterday in Robert Culp, who died from a head injury sustained by a fall outside his Hollywood Hills home at the age of 79. I saw the news about Culp on last night’s edition of The Brian Williams Show—though TDOY cub reporter Larry Shell and current TDOY editor Pam R did send me heads-ups about Culp’s passing.

Williams remarked that Culp will best be remembered as the co-star of NBC’s tongue-in-cheek espionage series I Spy (1965-68), which featured Culp as a spy who masqueraded as a tennis player and comedian Bill Cosby as his partner/trainer. The show was really a breakthrough for Cos, who demonstrated that it was possible for a black performer to star in a weekly series to the point of winning three Best Actor Emmys during the show’s run. Though Culp was shut out of the Emmy race (he was nominated but never won) he was every bit as integral to the show’s success as Cosby; their by-play made even the weakest episodes entertaining and the actor cemented his importance as Cosby’s “straight man” in the tradition of Bud Abbott and George Burns. Culp and Cosby later co-starred in an underrated film entitled Hickey & Boggs (1972) which is as about as un-I Spy as you can get—but in 1994, attempted to recreate the old magic with a reunion movie entitled I Spy Returns. (Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this—though I have seen the “My Spy” episode of Cosby that featured Culp as guest star—I thought that was hilarious.) I Spy still remains enjoyable today; all three seasons of the show have been released on DVD and reruns of the series can currently be seen on RTV (the Atlanta affiliate runs them weeknights at 9:00pm).

Culp’s first television series was a spin-off of Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater (“Badge of Honor,” 05/03/57) entitled Trackdown, which ran for two seasons over CBS-TV from 1957 to 1959; Culp played mythical Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman whose stories were culled from real-life events in the files of that august law enforcement organization. In turn, an episode of Trackdown entitled “The Bounty Hunter” (03/07/58) featured a guest shot by a then-relatively unknown actor named Steve McQueen…and essentially became the pilot for the successful oater Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958-61).

While Culp’s television immortality has been guaranteed by I Spy, I’d like to take a quick moment to single out his other great television role—that of sardonic FBI agent Bill Maxwell on The Greatest American Hero. Hero may have had a troubled production history—and its leads (William Katt, Connie Sellecca) were as exciting as a milkshake with two straws—but Culp owned Hero, and I think it’s quite possibly his best TV showcase. (I also enjoyed his semi-regular role as Patricia Heaton’s dad on Everybody Loves Raymond.)

Most of the Culp obituaries I’ve glanced at have mentioned that he received kudos for his performance in the 1969 Paul Mazursky comedy Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Culp didn’t make a whole lot of movies, but I think my favorite—and, to me, the one that sums up the actor’s essence as a guy who could play a complete bastard (Turk 182! [1985], The Pelican Brief [1993]) and yet still be charming about it is The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday (1976), a rib-tickling Western comedy that I haven’t seen in ages. I’d love to get the opportunity to see this one again—but something tells me that I might regret the decision because I fear it may not be as good as I remembered.

R.I.P, Bob. You’ll never know how much you’ll be missed.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“Perzactly.”

My father mentioned to me the passing of Fess Parker last night after we saw an obit on The Brian Williams Show for pilot Robert M. White, who made history in 1962 with a test flight into space. Parker, the popular TV actor who played both the heroic Davy Crockett (on a three-part “mini-series” on ABC’s Disneyland) and Daniel Boone on NBC (from 1964 to 1970 on NBC) was 85; his passing attributed to complications from old age.

The title of this post is an expression I have a tendency to use both in my online scribblings and real-life conversation—and one night, Pam R asked me where I picked it up. To be honest, I thought I had gleaned it from Amos ‘n’ Andy but I was pretty surprised to learn that it was a Daniel Boone-ism (according to Parker’s interpretation, anyway). I don’t remember watching Boone much as a kid but I do manage to catch the show every now and then on RTV, where it lives on in reruns.

Parker had a stab at another television show during his cathode ray tube career: a short-lived adaptation of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which was seen on 1962-63 as a sitcom on ABC. (Smith faced stiff competition from CBS’ The Defenders on Saturday nights…though I personally think changing the main character’s first name to “Eugene” didn’t do the show any favors.)

Although Parker’s TV fame as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone sort of curtailed his movie appearances, he still made some memorable features in Them! (1954; as the pilot who’s purposely grounded so as not to cause a panic about the giant ants), Old Yeller (1957), The Light in the Forest (1958), The Hangman (1959) and Hell Is for Heroes (1962).

I also missed the news of the passing of Peter Graves, another one of my television heroes who’s gone on to his rich reward at the age of 83. There’s a mortgage-refinancing commercial (AAG) that runs on some television stations featuring Graves in which he’s introduced as a “legendary actor”…and while I mean no disrespect, I think they padded his resume a tad. Graves appeared in two pretty important films—Stalag 17 (1953) and The Night of the Hunter (1955)—but I really don’t think that qualifies him to be “legendary” (unless you’re counting his late-career turn towards comedy in Airplane! [1980]). Don’t get me wrong; Graves made his mark in quite a few feature films: The Raid (1954; a very underrated Civil War film that shows up on Fox Movie Channel every now and then and which you should see if you haven’t done so already), The Long Gray Line (1955) and The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955), to name a few of the better ones I’ve seen.

But for me, Graves was a creature of television—possibly even more so than Fess Parker. The brother of Gunsmoke’s James Arness, Graves starred in several series beginning with Saturday morning kid (and Linda of Yet Another Journal) fave Fury (“the story of a horse, and a boy who loved him”) in 1955; he played Jim Newton—owner of the Broken Wheel Ranch and father to adopted orphan Joey Clark Newton (Bobby Diamond), who owned the titular stallion. (The series was retitled Brave Stallion in syndication.) Graves then starred as a businessman attempting to set up a stage line in Australia’s “Old West” in the otherwise unmemorable Whiplash (1960-61). The actor’s third series was seen in 1965-66; a British-produced outing entitled Court Martial that paired him with television perennial Bradford Dillman as JAG lawyers during WW2.

But when Mission: Impossible star Steven Hill quit the hit spy series after its first season; Graves found the show that would be his meal ticket for his entire career. As Agent Jim Phelps, the actor appeared in 143 episodes of CBS’ popular “caper” series from 1967-73—and reprised his role when ABC revived the show in 1988-90. His last regular series role was on 7th Heaven, in which he played the recurring part of John “The Colonel” Camden.

R.I.P. Messrs. Parker and Graves. To two of my television heroes, you will be sorely missed.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thrilling Days of Convalescence (Part 2 in a series)

I know—two posts in two days…who’d-a thunk? (I must have more energy than I thought.)

So I’m in my room at the hospital and the attending nurse is assigning me a bunch of meds that consist of potassium pills that are so gi-normous I halfway expect to leap out of bed and do 1:15 around the track (they give these to elderly people, by the way—I don’t know how they manage to swallow them, they’re so huge) when this other nurse walks into the room. She works at the hospital, though she’s not on duty right now, but she takes one look at me and practically swoons. “I remember when they brought you in here—my God, you look tremendous!

I should point out here that I have never been described in my entire lifetime as looking “tremendous” but I decided to take the compliment as it came. The attending nurse then decides to burst the bubble by telling her colleague that she’s thinking of someone else who was in this room.

The visiting nurse takes a beat, and then remarks: “Well, when I see that other patient I still think he won’t look half-as-good as you…”

Just an attempt to add a little levity to all this somber hospital talk, by the way. My family tells me I was nothing but one laugh after another when they brought me in because my electrolytes were so out of whack. Apparently I threatened to drown my sister Kat at one point if she didn’t stop trying to stop me from pulling the IV out of my arm (I had convinced myself that I had some used coffee grounds in my pocket)—which would have been quite a feat, since she has almost as many lifesaving badges/citations/awards as Tom Sutpen has seen movies.

The funniest incident involves my sister-in-law, who came by the hospital to see me but unfortunately walked into the wrong room. Without breaking stride, she started fluffing the patient’s pillow and started a spiel about welcoming her to the hospital and hoping she enjoyed her stay.

(Okay—I exaggerated on the pillow-fluffing part. But she really did shift into Welcome Wagon-mode.)

In the meantime, I received an e-mail from cub reporter Larry Shell re: the Sam’s Club status of Timeless Media’s first season The Virginian release that he’s graciously allowed me to share with you:

Went to my local Sam's Club today to snag THE VIRGINIAN, Season 1, Parts 1 and 2. Was very surprised to see Season 2, Parts 1 and 2 were ALSO available. They're all $19.88 each.

Amazon has a complete Season 1 tin set for $71.99 and its not coming out until May 25 soooooo $19.98 each is one heck of a deal!

Larry also goes on to say:

Timeless is putting out some interesting stuff. I'm intrigued by a couple of these but can't find
samples on YouTube to check out on
Frontier Circus and Whispering Smith specifically.

Frontier Circus
http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Frontier-Circus-The-Complete-Series/13490

Whispering Smith with Audie Murphy!
http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Whispering-Smith-The-Complete-Series/13458

Oregon Trail
http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Oregon-Trail-The-Complete-Series/13459

Still no news re: surgery status—my mother called the surgeon’s office yesterday but they’ve yet to call her back. In the meantime, I thought I would provoke a little discussion by asking this question?

“What beverage would you recommend that I can drink on a regular basis without fear of it seriously threatening my health? (excepting the usual suspects, like water)”

I’ve pretty much sworn off all and any sugary soda/pop/soft drinks with the exception of a few items: Fresca and Sprite Zero (Mom adds just a touch of cranberry juice to give this a little kick.) I’ve tried the Fanta Zero but it tastes like water with orange food coloring. I also drink a little Crystal Light from time to time—it’s a shame they stopped selling it in the pre-mixed bottles. If anyone has any suggestions as to any type of refreshment that I might be missing out on, feel free to use the comments section for your own nefarious purposes.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Checking in, or Thrilling Days of Convalescence: Part 1

Hi, all…I just thought I’d take a bit of time to log in and change a few things, cosmetic-wise, that I thought Pam might not get to right away. (Speaking of which, I think you’re going to approve of her administration of TDOY while I’m on my sabbatical—she’s particularly strong in the area of celebrity passings, often sending me the info before I’ve had the opportunity to see it online.) I thought people might be a little tired of the melting nitrate film banner, so I changed it to something a bit more upbeat (I had to go through quite a few “medically-themed” images before I finally found the one that I figured would make me smile when I came across it…hopefully I won’t have to put up with it too long).

At the risk of running this into the ground, I just wanted to thank you all again for the uplifting e-mails, comments, well-wishings, etc. you all sent while I was in hospital. I don’t know precisely when I’m scheduled to return for an operation on my parathyroid gland (I have to call later today to schedule this with the surgeon) but the more I read up on this the more panicky I get. (Particularly the part about the potential nicking of the vocal cords, which could render me Roger Ebert-less.) So I’ve decided the best medicine is to simply…not read anymore on this subject. The way the doctors are talking, this gland of mine is the biggest they’ve ever seen (I can’t seem to do anything in moderation) so they don’t see how anything can possibly go wrong—as my sister Debbie (who’s in town to see me) remarked—“If it’s that big, it shouldn’t be too hard to find.”

If you glance at the section “Available at Radio Spirits” you’ll find the latest RS collection I contributed the liner notes to—a nice little four CD-set featuring Ronald Colman and wife Benita Hume in The Halls of Ivy. If you’re a Colman fan but know him only through his movies you should really check out the collection (those of you who may have heard the Colmans on The Jack Benny Program will know what I’m talking about); The Halls of Ivy, though relatively short-run on radio, is one of the finest, best-written situation comedies in the history of the aural medium.

Okay, I may be back a bit later once I recharge the batteries. Thanks for staying with me.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Bit of News

Greetings Thrilling Days of Yesteryear fans. I'm sure you are all wondering about the lack of posts. Our always witty and brilliant host, Ivan Shreve, Jr, called me on Saturday and asked that I let you all know that he has not been able to post recently. Unfortunately, Ivan has been ill. He is in Phase I of recovery mode at the moment and needs to take it easy. He probably won't be able to post for a while. I'm hoping he is using his "lay low" time to rest up and on, what we all know must be, piles and piles and piles of movies.

I am a novice blogger and will muddle my way through -- posting your comments, etc. I will post any updates I get from Ivan.

I'm sure you will all join me in wishing Ivan a speedy recovery.

Pam R