Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If you’ll all turn to page two in the church bulletin…

I wanted to take a brief moment to profusely thank everyone who’s phoned in with a pledge to Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s The Dick Van Dyke Show blogathon, which will unfurl at this very space on October 3, the golden anniversary of the television premiere of what I consider the greatest situation comedy of all time.  And judging by those who have declared their intent to participate, I’m not alone in this hyperbole…not including myself, I’ve counted thirty blogs and websites who have asked to be dealt in—and honest to my grandma, I hadn’t really expected that many so I’m completely bowled over by the response.  The latest commitments have come from Cynthia at The Slip Stitch and my pal Millie at The Stupendously Amazingly Cool World of Old TV (you got a witness, Mill)…and because the last post about the blogathon was a little over a month ago, I thought I’d recap for those of you who left the room in search of more Fritos:  you can write a review (or as many as you like) on a particular Van Dyke Show favorite…you can pen an overview of the series or (if you’re considerably more daring) one of DVD’s follow-ups like The New Dick Van Dyke Show (or as we used to call it at my house, “The Host and Mrs. Muir”) or Diagnosis: Murder.  You can even spill forth thoughts on a film you saw Mary Tyler Moore in (Change of Habit, anyone?) or any of the other DVD regulars…you’re only limited by your imagination.

Just make sure that you have your essay ready to post by October 3, and you can either send it to me via e-mail at igsjrotr(at)gmail(dot)com (please stick something like “DVD blogathon” in the header because you’d be amazed at how many missives I receive from lonely Internet gals looking for a three-way) or you can post the link in the comments section of the Official Dick Van Dyke Show Blogathon post that I will have up on the 3rd listing all those who participated and links to their various contributions.  So without further ado, here’s an updated list of everyone who’s said “aye”:

Anthony Balducci's Journal – “My Blonde-Haired Brunette”
Caftan Woman – “The Return of Happy Spangler”/”The Return of Edwin Carp”
Cinematic Opinions You Didn't Know You Had – “What’s in a Middle Name”
ClassicBecky’s Brain Food – “Coast to Coast Big Mouth”
Classic Film and TV Café – “My Blonde-Haired Brunette”
Fedoras and High Heels – "Bupkis"/"The Life and Love of Joe Coogan"
The Flaming Nose – “I’d Rather Be Bald Than Have No Head at All”
The Forty Year-Old Fan Boy – “Uhny Uftz”
Gonna Put Me in the Movies – “The Redcoats are Coming”
The Horn Section  Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title
I Am a Child of Television – TBD
Inner Toob – Several Toobworld posts, including "Buddy Can You Spare a Job" and "Sam Pomerantz Scandals"
in so many words… - “A Day in the Life of Alan Brady”/”Long Night’s Journey Into Day”
In the Balcony  Never a Dull Moment
Java's Journey – TBD
The Lady Eve’s Reel Life – TBD
The Land of Whatever – Overall view of series
Laura's Miscellaneous Musings - TBD (and she'll also post hers in advance 'cause she's going to the 50th anniversary celebration that will have Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke in attendance...lucky duck!)
Micro-Brewed Reviews (W.B. Kelso) – "That's My Boy"/"The Ghost of A. Chantz"
My Reader’s Block – TBD
A Mythical Monkey Writes About the Movies – “My Part-Time Wife”
The Nervous Purvis – TBD
Pretty Sinister Books – "The Sound of the Trumpets of Conscience Falls Deafly on a Brain That Holds Its Ears...Or Something Like That"
Resilient Little Muscle – "Buddy Sorrell, Man and Boy"
She Blogged by Night – “The Masterpiece”/"The Man from My Uncle"
A Shroud of Thoughts – TBD
The Slip Stitch – TBD
The Stupendously Amazingly Cool World of Old TV – Overall view of the series
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear – “Never Bathe on Saturday”
True Classics: The ABCs of Classic Film – “It May Look Like a Walnut”
Wide Screen World  Cold Turkey

I didn't see the notice on this until just now but Sophie at Waitin' On a Sunny Day ("...sweepin' the...clouds away...") will throw a blogathon bash on September 30th in honor of the ninetieth natal anniversary of her favorite actress, Deborah Kerr.  (The odd thing is, I wasn't aware Deborah was Sophie's favorite, he said, trying to keep a straight face.)  Interested blogs are invited to participate and though I can't say for certain that I'll be able to throw something in the hopper I will make every effort to do so...and if I do, you know which movie I'm going to do.  (Hint: it's the one with the nuns.)

And while I’m on the subject of golden anniversaries, it was fifty years ago on this date that The Joey Bishop Show premiered on NBC—not the late-night gabfest that the Rat Pack comedian hosted in an attempt to overthrow Tonight Show ruler Johnny Carson, but the situation comedy that starred Bishop as talk show host Joey Barnes (wait…I’m getting a little confused here) who lived in NYC with his wife Ellie (Abby Dalton).  The Bishop Show’s inaugural year featured Joey as a personal assistant to a L.A. press agent (John Griggs) whose family (Joey’s, not the press agent’s) was always pressing upon him to cash in on his “connections”…non-existent as they were.  Future Batman Aunt Harriet Madge Blake played Joey’s madre, his older sister Betty by Virginia Vincent (her husband Frank was played by a pre-McHale’s Navy Joe Flynn) and younger sis Stella was portrayed by Marlo Thomas.  (Yes…That Girl!)  Joey also had a younger brother, Larry—played by one of the “I know that guy!” kings, Warren Berlinger—but by mid-season the network decided that Bishop’s character had too much family and a lot of them vanished from the show.  By Season 2, everybody had scattered save for Joey Barnes…who had suddenly found both a wife and fame in the Big Apple.

I mention this only because for some reason the first season of The Joey Bishop Show was carefully excised from its syndication package—and it was syndicated; the series played on TV Land for many years to an appreciative audience of insomniacs and night auditors (I know this because it usually came on at about 4 or 5 in the a.m.) but if you wanted to see Joey Barnes’ life before he made it big in show business you were SOL.  Maybe it was because the first season was in black-and-white (the explanation for missing Petticoat Junction and My Three Sons episodes, for example) or maybe it was a thorny legal/copyright issue, I can’t say—I used to joke that it was because those shows featured Marlo Thomas before she had her nose job (obviously this is not true, as you can tell from the photo on the left).  It did seem odd to me, though, because in the only DVD release of the series (the second season) the pilot for the show (an episode of The Danny Thomas Show entitled “Everything Happens to Me”) is included but it’s one of those heavily-edited syndication prints and Marlo’s character is nowhere to be seen.

With the second season of the Bishop show underway, the program focused on both Joey’s travails at work and home—the two sort of blended together and in many ways the revamped version bore an uncanny resemblance to The Danny Thomas Show (which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since Thomas was the executive producer).  Thomas also appeared in several episodes of the series, usually as his Make Room for Daddy character, Danny Williams (as did Marjorie Lord, Sid Melton and Rusty Hamer), but sometimes also as his real-life self. The Joey Bishop Show also welcomed guest appearances from such stars as Jack Paar, Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Silva, Bill Bixby, Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef, Oscar Levant, Milton Berle, Edgar Bergen, Andy Williams, Zsa Zsa Gabor and many others.

Featured in a few of the early NYC episodes was Joey’s manager Freddy, played by comic Guy Marks…but he was replaced (Marks just vanished from the show without explanation—my theory is that Joey Barnes is a murderer) during the second season by comedian Corbett Monica, who played “Larry Corbett.”  Perhaps the most memorable character on the show was the building superintendent J.J. Jillson (whose wife, though occasionally seen on the show, was generally just heard yelling at him through the ventilator), who was portrayed by TDOY fave Joe Besser (“I’ll harm you!”); the Barnes also had a maid in Hilda, played by Mary Treen.  In 1963, Abby Dalton found herself great with child and so it was decided to write the birth into the series (Lucy paves the way!)—the part of “Joey, Jr.” was played by Dalton’s real-life infant son.  When the show switched over to CBS for its fourth and final season in the fall of 1964, the program added another character in neighbor Dr. Sam Nolan (Joey Forman)—and it was fortunate that Nolan was a pediatrician by trade because the Barnes family added one more addition before they signed off the air in 1965…a baby girl in the penultimate episode.

It probably seems like I’m making a fuss over a show that really wasn’t anything too remarkable (I liked The Joey Bishop Show, though—it’s a pleasant way to spend a half-hour) and while I originally entertained the idea of running the idea of a tribute past Edward Copeland I figured this was something best kept over in my backyard.  Sadly, the number of DVD releases for the series has stopped at one season—and since I don’t know of any stations or cable outlets rerunning the show at this present date I guess that collection will have to make do.  Happy fiftieth anniversary, Joey…you son of a gun!

Oh…just one more thing.  One of TDOY’s loyal followers, Mike “Mr. Television” Doran, has had to leave messages for me over at Copeland’s because he’s unable to do so here.  I tweaked the comments rules to allow him access; and I couldn’t recall why I did this in the first place but in checking the e-mail box this morning it all came flooding back to me—allowing Mike to put in his two cents via the Name/URL option has also brought forth a torrent of spambots hiding out in the woods of the Internets…and the only thing more annoying than they is those little popcorn hulls that won’t dislodge from my back molars when my Mom pops up a batch.  So this to let Mike know that he’s welcome at anytime.  (As apparently the people selling coach bags, famous hats and Canadian goose coats.)

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Laura said...

Hi Ivan, you can count me in for the blogathon too, if it's OK if I post a day or so early...I've got a good idea for a post now, seeing as how I'll be seeing Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner in person at the Egyptian Theatre at a 50th Anniversary celebration for the show on October 1st!

Just got THE OFFICIAL DICK VAN DYKE SHOW book for that night's book signing. :)

Best wishes,

Mike Doran said...

Jeez, Ivan, I swear I had no idea that I attracted spam (or at least that my sole option did...).

This is one of the perils of giving an old coot like me one of these dad-blamed newfangled "confusers" (as Uncle Bobby Collins, a Chicago radio guy of beloved memory, always called them).

Anyhow it is nice to be back here at TDoY. I miss you during your all too frequent absences.
Now that you get MEtv down where you are, I'm curious about your reaction to Svengoolie, who's been an institution here in Chicago for more than 20 years.
If your area starts to get MEtoo, you should know that Rich Koz (Sven's other self) hosts the popular Saturday night Stooge-a-palooza, introducing Three Stooges shorts in a sort of modified Robert Osborne style. There's talk that Rich may be adding shorts by other comics to the mix (nothing definite yet, but we all live in hope).

I imagine that you'll soon be tied up with an updated obit column, which with all your recent away time could take days, so I'll back off for a while.

And if I attract Spam,I hope you might find my little notes to be a Treet.
(Canned meat joke.)

Toby O'B said...

Featured in a few of the early NYC episodes was Joey’s manager Freddy, played by comic Guy Marks…but he was replaced (Marks just vanished from the show without explanation—my theory is that Joey Barnes is a murderer) during the second season by comedian Corbett Monica, who played “Larry Corbett.”

Thanks for that, Ivan! I looked at the dates for his 19 episodes on the show, and the date for his one episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', and I can now make the theoretical claim that his Freddy was Freddy White in the "Jilting The Jilter" episode.

That'll be a little extra juice for the DVD Show chronology I'm working on for the blogathon. (I've also decided that the reason Kolac of Twilo looked like Danny Thomas is because he was played in that schlock movie by Danny Williams!)

I've wanted to do the Dick Van Dyke Show timeline for years, spurred on by that episode with Uncle Hezekiah. Thanks for giving me the impetus to get started on it. (Although it's becoming so lengthy now, I may not be able to complete it by the Third. But I will post what I have by then.)

Nihil euge!

Caftan Woman said...

"The Host and Mrs. Muire" - that's perfect.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Laura rapped the podium for emphasis:

if it's OK if I post a day or so early...I've got a good idea for a post now, seeing as how I'll be seeing Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner in person at the Egyptian Theatre at a 50th Anniversary celebration for the show on October 1st!

Oh, you have no idea the degree I had to restrain myself when I read about this over at your blog...mainly because I am so Wilson green with envy that if this comment were vocal you'd be hearing it through gritted teeth. But that's fine and dandy re: the posting -- the link is the important thing, and I'm pleased to have you aboard. And I know you're going to have the best time!

And Mr. Doran bared his soul:

And if I attract Spam,I hope you might find my little notes to be a Treet.
(Canned meat joke.)

Rimshot! Fortunately, my television-learned friend, Blogger does have a spam filter that catches most of it before it's displayed for all to see in the comments section...what makes me so grumbly is that I have to clean it out on occasion, as if I were skimming a swimming pool. But it's good to have you back.

ClassicBecky said...

Hey! I had forgotten that Bishop called himself Joey BARNES in the show. What an intelligent choice!

SO looking forward to the DVD blogathon. And as for sending emails to you with the right wording in the subject line, I can't say what I would think, but if YOU would "...be amazed at how many missives I receive from lonely Internet gals looking for a three-way", then I won't contradict you. In public.