Friday, February 15, 2008

“What’s Happening!!”

“What’s Happening!!” was a comedy that ran from 1976 to 1979. It revolved around Roger “Raj” Thomas (played by Ernest Thomas) and his buddies Dwayne “Hey, hey, hey” Nelson (played by Haywood Nelson), and Fred “Rerun” Stubbs (played by Fred Berry).

Other characters were Dee Thomas, Raj’s younger sister, played by Danielle Spencer; and Mabel Thomas, Dee and Raj’s mother, played by Mabel King. It also starred Shirley Hempphill as Shirley Wilson, a waitress at the hangout of Raj, Dwayne and Rerun.

My favorite character on the show was the Dee, the wisecracking, younger sister. The episode that sticks out in my mind is the one where The Doobie Brothers guest starred, and “Rerun” got caught trying to tape them when they were performing.

Here’s the show’s second season opening, found on

Here’s a clip featuring Dee and Raj:

Here’s a clip featuring The Doobie Brothers:

For more details, go to

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

“Big Brother: Till Death Do You Part”

This season's “Big Brother” house features 51 cameras and 74 microphones. This year, there are 16 houseguests competing for food, luxuries and power. The final houseguest will receive $500,000.

For the first time in “Big Brother” history, all the houseguests are single and looking for love. Each houseguest is being paired up with someone who could be their soul mate.

Among the houseguests, we find that Sharon and Jacob dated on and off for about 12 years. Neither Sharon nor Jacob know that the other one will be there in the house.

Jen and Ryan have been dating for about 9 months, and living together for 7 months. They are playing this game “in cahoots,” as Julie Chen tells us.

Sharon just about has a panic attack when she sees Jacob.

Everything the houseguests do they will do with their soul mate, including sleeping in the same bed. Irony of ironies, Jacob and Sharon wind up getting paired together.

Sharon reminds me of Allison from a past “Big Brother” season.

Sheila, who will be turning 46 in April, is paired with 29-year-old Adam. They not a match made in heaven. When they are paired up, Adam tells her, “It’s me and you ma.“ She retorts, “Do not call me ma.“ This team should be interesting.

At the first competition, they learn that the winning couple will be able to evict another couple in just a few hours. The competition is called, “Falling for You.” The couples decide which one of them will be suspended in the air, the other one lies on the honeymoon bed below. When the suspended partner is lowered, they have to grab on to each other, and hold on tightly. They will be then be lifted back into the air. If their partner falls, both houseguests will be eliminated.

After half of the houseguests are eliminated, the rest learn that the heart pillows below them could be worth cash. They have 10 minutes to try to pick up their pillow from the air using only their hands. If they succeed in getting their pillow, and winning the competition, they will also win $10,000.

Jen and Parker are the first “power couple” and have won $10,000.

Tune in Wednesday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 8 p.m. and next Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Friday, February 8, 2008

“The Partridge Family”

“The Partridge Family” was a comedy that starred Shirley Jones as Shirley Partridge, a widowed mother of five. The family comes together and forms a singing/musical group, called, OK, this is a stretch … The Partridge Family.

The Partridges drove around in a psychedelically-painted bus, with the words: “Caution: Nervous Mother Driving” painted on the back door of the bus.

During the show, which ran from 1970 to 1974, David Cassidy, who played Keith Partridge on the show and was Shirley Jones’ stepson in real life, rose to meteoric, teen idol fame.

Others in the cast were Danny Bonaduce as wiseacre, red-headed Danny Partridge, who was a constant thorn in the side to the group’s manager, Reuben Kincaid (played by Dave Madden); Susan Dey as older sister Laurie, and Suzanne Crough as the tamborine-playing Tracy. Brother Chris, who played the drums, was first portrayed by Jeremy Gelbwaks and then Brian Forster.

OK, I admit it … I had a “Partridge Family” toy bus, and a coloring book, too, when I was a kid.

You can watch The Partridge Family perform “I Can Feel Your Heartbeat” on here

Listen to The Partridge Family sing “Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque” and watch a montage of stills from the show. (“Point me … in the direction of Albuquerque …bubachat bubachat bubachat….)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Some more memorable TV commercials

Here’s some more television commercials. Enjoy another stroll down memory lane.

And now another word from our sponsor …

I’ve always wondered what women were thinking after leaving Madge’s after a manicure. Madge would tell them they’ve been soaking their hands in Palmolive dishwashing detergent. Here’s a Palmolive clip featuring Madge:

Remember the 1970’s Coca-Cola commercial where people all banded together to sing, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke”? You can check it out here. Groovy, man.

Remember the Cadbury bunny, used to hawk Cadbury Creme Eggs? I remember cracking up the first time I saw the Cadbury bunny. (OK, it STILL makes me laugh). Remember, if it looks like a bunny, and sounds like a chicken, it’s got to be the Cadbury bunny.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

“The Addams Family”

Here’s another television classic—“The Addams Family.” The show revolved around, as the theme song described them, the “creepy and kooky” Addams family.

The show ran from 1964 to 1966 and starred John Astin as Gomez Addams, who enjoyed crashing model trains and went wild whenever his wife, Morticia (played by Carolyn Jones) spoke French.

The show also starred Jackie Coogan as Morticia’s Uncle Fester. Uncle Fester had the knack for lighting light bulbs simply by putting them in his mouth. (Kids, don’t try that at home …)

Ted Cassidy played the incredibly tall butler, Lurch, who would respond whenever the Addams’ rang a bell attached to a noose-like rope, with a low, “You rang?”

Ken Weatherwax and Lisa Loring starred as, respectively, Pugsley and Wednesday, Morticia and Gomez’s two children. And there was also Grandmama Addams, played by Blossom Rock (whose birth name was Edith MacDonald. Edith was the sister of Jeanete MacDonald, who movie buffs will remember starring in a string of movies with Nelson Eddy.)

I think my two favorite characters were Cousin Itt, played by Felix Silia, a relative covered completely in hair who wore sunglasses and a hat and spoke unintelligible gibberish. (Kind of like me at 6 a.m.). And then there was Thing, a hand who would appear out of a box to deliver mail or any other needed items. (I’ve looked all around for one of those, but I can’t seem to find one.)

Here’s “The Addams Family” intro from Bet you can’t go the whole day without snapping to it.

Check out an interview with some of the cast from the series:

For more details on “The Addams Family,” go to

Monday, February 4, 2008

Readers poll: What's worse, a character being replaced or killed off?

OK, blog readers everywhere, time for a readers poll: What’s worse: When an actor/actress replaces another in a role, or when the character is killed off completely in a series?

First example of same character, different actor I thought of was Darren on “Bewitched,” who was played by Dick York and Dick Sargent. Other examples include “the two Beckys” on “Roseanne,” the two Chris Partridges on “The Partridge Family” and the two Lionel Jeffersons on “The Jeffersons.”

And, then we have characters who are simply killed off. Such as Valerie on “Valerie,” which became “Valerie’s Family” and then “The Hogan Family,” and Edith Bunker on “All in the Family.” But, of course, in TV Land, death is never a certainty. (Remember, Bobby Ewing’s resurrection on “Dallas”? Or how about Lesley Webber’s return from the dead on “General Hospital”? (Lesley was supposedly killed in a car crash, but was actually kept in a drugged state by Stafan Cassadine of that pesky Cassadine family.)

So, blog readers, here’s your chance to sound off on which is worse.

For more on “Same Character, Different Actor,” go to here:

Friday, February 1, 2008

"Green Acres"

As I started to pack up my desk this morning in preparation for my move over to our sister paper, The Home News Tribune in East Brunswick, the theme song to “Green Acres” popped in my head.

Now, normally (and people rarely use this word with me), that’s not a big deal for me. Theme songs (and other snippets of useless trivia) whip through my head faster than an Oz-bound tornado in Kansas.

But, back in 1990, when I started working here full-time at the Courier News (back when I was younger and skinnier, and the Courier News was hyphenated), on my first day in the Features department, they broke out into the theme song from “Green Acres.”

I knew I was going like it here.

While I’ll be moving over to The Home News Tribune as Data Desk Editor, I’ll still try to post as much as I can on the “Totally TV” blog.

Now, on to “Green Acres” (because it’s the place to be … )

“Green Acres” ran from 1965 to 1971. It starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as Oliver and Lisa Douglas.

Albert plays a lawyer who moves his wife to a farm just outside of Hooterville. Lisa, a socialite who loves to shop, is none too happy. Both try to adjust to their new surroundings, which include Arnold Ziffel, a pig that watches TV.

For more details on “Green Acres,”

You can watch the opening of “Green Acres” on here (but don’t blame me if you get the song stuck in your head):