Saturday, July 25, 2009

Merch: Sweathogs Bop Bag

Most children's bop bags I don't understand, why would you want to punch your idols like Batman (considering he'd mess you up) or Mr. Spock (he's got crazt super strength) but this one I get. Not only does the Welcome Back Kotter Bop Bag allow you to smack the smarmy face of John Travolta but you can also kick Gabe Kaplin in the throat while you're doing it.

That'll teach them for trying to entertain me....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Syndicated: The Munsters Today

In the 80s John Schuck bounced around guesting on a lot of popular shows and movies, also playing Murray the cop for a brief time on "The New Odd Couple". The he did this, a syndicated remake of the 60s classic series "The Munsters" (duh).

This continuation of the original series has one of the most douche chilling startings I've ever seen, where the cast warbled along to the theme song "we're the munsters tooooday!" Ech.

I'll admit that if you have to find a replacement for Fred Gwynne, Schuck is the best "fake Herman" but Howard Morton (the gentle voiced Officer Ralph Simpson from "Gimmee a Break") is no Al Lewis and their chemistry isn't there. Lee Meriwether is another decent choice to play Lily but the series itself just suffers from that "Syndicated Sitcom" smell, where you know it would be torn to pieces in prime time. Essentially it was a D Student.

Well, when you're up against "Bowling for Dollars" and followed by "Small Wonder" on some awful Rochester TV station at 3pm on Sunday, you can indeed go very far. This D Student ran for three seasons and actually made more episodes than the (Superior) original.

This concludes John Schuck week, I hope you enjoyed as I'm quite sure we shant see it's like again in our lifetime.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shortlived: Turnabout

It's officially John Schuck week here at Sitcom Diablo, mostly because I wanted to be the first blog in history to hold such an event (take that Aquaman shrine!) and I'm kind of fond of the guy.

After Holmes and YoYo got yanked, Shuck returned to the dreary final season of McMillan and wife now just called "McMillan" and soon found himself on another sitcom with fantastic elements in Turnabout.

I couldn't find anything relating to this 1979 mid season replacement series, no youtube link or even a still photo so I used all my photoshop might to give you an idea of what it kind of looked like, so voila!

Turnabout starred Schuck and Sharon Gless as a husband and wife who accidently switch bodies thanks to a statue or gypsy curse, I forget. He's a big ol' sloppy sportswriter who subscribes to Oscar Madison monthly and she's a dainty housewife, oh the hilarity of seeing their lives face when they do the freaky friday.

I actually did watch this show every week but it started to grind for two reasons:

a) All the humour seemed to be based on that "let's not get caught" concept, like when Sharon Gless starts puffing on a cigar in front of a girlfriend or that she knows a lot about sports.

b) The fact that it skirted the bigger (and more hilarious) issue of a gender swap. If I woke up with a vagina tomorrow, it would likely be something I would mention on a regular basis until I no longer had it. Not so with Turnabout and that's likely the fail aspect of this series.

Turnabout disappeared after only 7 episodes but the concept lived on and was made into about 385 different movies during 1987-1989.

The 1940 film version of the same novel, is superior to this series and just about as risque.

I have one more "Schuck-com" in the bag for this week and yep, it's another fantasy based show.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ShortLived: Holmes and YoYo

I think if you remember this show you were likely a kid in the mid seventies as that had to be it's biggest audience. Premiering on my birthday (classy!) in 1976, the series followed the adventures of Alexander Holmes, a man luckless with partners until he's teamed up with YoYo (John Schuck), who just happens to be a robot.

The show had the same producers as "Get Smart", so it's essentially the "Hymie the Robot" show without the crisp writing. Many of the episodes as I recall had some laughs based on YoYo mechanics, one episode had him stuck in reverse during the climax. John Shuck actually left MacMillan and Wife for this and after it was yanked, he tried another fantasy sitcom with 1979's "Turnabout" more on that later...

The ending of the show is actually quite clever.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Merch: Room 222 Comic Book

I spent much of my frosh year in college watching midnight reruns of this light hearted show and remember being excited by the episode where a mustachioed Deforrest Kelly played a concerned parent but for the life of me can't think of a duller afternoon than reading this. I think I would prefer to get this CGC'd so I wouldn't have to read it.
Also, it's a Dell comic, a company known mostly for bland comics produced in a workmanlike fashion occasionally breaking to do some of the most fantastically terrible Superhero books known.

Although, I am curious to see how they drew Bernie's huge white guy afro...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DUI 70s Edition

Two stars from classic ABC sitcoms getting pulled over for DUI in the same week, above, in case you didn't recognize him is Eddie Mekka AKA Carmine "The Big Ragu" from Laverne and Shirely.

And of course, Joyce Dewitt from Three's Company made (page16) headlines on the fourth. This is an awful picture of her BTW, I saw her upclose this spring and she's aged very gracefully.

My point was not to circulate celebrity gossip (although I guess I did that too) but to ask a question. Given that these things often happen in 3's, what 70s sitcom star do you think will next get pulled over ?

Here's my pick:

I'm going to go with Max Gail AKA "Wojo" from Barney Miller. I'm not basing this assumption on any knowledge of his private life, for all I know he's a lifelong teetotaller. What's your guess?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Merch: Happy Days Comic

Funny that there's a phone on that cover because the whole thing was pretty much phoned in by the good people at Western Publishing. Not that I expect hyper detail in my sitcom based sequential art but everything in these comics was brand weak. I was a sucker for this kind of item as a kid, even had more than one issue, guess I craved blandness...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another Look at TV"s Fabulous Faces

Another selection from the 1976 Scholastic book "TV's Fabulous Faces" by Peggy Herz. I would have done this sooner but I accidently misplaced the book, here now is a little known fact about "One Day at a Time"' star McKenzie Phillips.

MacKenzie likes to go to parties "Not school parties," she explained "Hollywood parties!" she laughed.

None of that "pop and chip" crap for her....