Steven Franken “Chatworth Osborne Jr.” On Dobie Gillis Dies At 80

Steven Franken who portrayed Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on Dobie Gillis has died at the age of 80 in Los Angeles.

Steven Franken who is probably best known for his portrayal of Chatsworth Osborne Jr. in the Dobie Gillis series has died of cancer in Los Angeles. He was 80.

Franken made his film debut in 1958 in Stage Struck and then portrayed Willie on Playhouse 90, that same year in his television debut. 1959 would see Franken begin a five-year run in Dobie Gillis, as rich kid Chatworth Osborne Jr. His mom Clarice was played by  Doris Packer. He was in 32 episodes of Dobie Gillis. He replaced actor Warren Beatty on the show. Beatty’s character Milton Armitage was replaced by Franken’s Osborne character.

He appeared in either a television show or movie each year till 1997, then would not appear on-screen in 2008, 2011 and 2012. Those were only four years, in his 55 year career, in which he didn’t appear on either a television or movie screen at least once.

His last film Reach is in post-production and won’t be seen till 2013.

The list of films and television shows that Franken appeared in is a long one. He appeared in television shows from Perry Mason to Patty Duke Show to Marcus Welby. My favorite movie, that he appeared in was Hardly Working, a Jerry Lewis film that was one of the funniest movies, that I have ever seen, but is difficult to find in circulation.

Dobie Gillis is one of those shows that is seldom seen on any television channel today. It is sad how many television shows have disappeared from television screens today. Franken’s death was one more reminder of how much Dobie Gillis is being missed today.


In the Path of Tropical Storm Isaac


This latest tracking map indicates that Isaac will engulf almost the entire state of Louisiana. Now that we are living in a trailer, there is even more concern than usual about the impending storm, which is strengthening and should be classified as a hurricane soon.

We were fortunate to have missed Hurricane Katrina for the most part in 2005, but were hit by Hurricane Rita as it toppled several trees in the Cenla area of Louisiana.  Trees blocked several streets and roads in the area and I can remember my son-in-law, who managed the local Domino’s Pizza store at the time keeping the store open for people who had lost their power and were unable to cook a hot meal.

However, Hurricane Audrey hit Cenla with full force in 1957. That was the first hurricane that I can remember and it knocked down a very tall pine tree on our property. Audrey had already killed about 500 in Cameron, Louisiana area before reaching Alexandria and Pineville, Louisiana.

I can remember not having electricity for three days and my dad going to Jimmie Hoyt’s Truck Stop to purchase some dry ice. I was particulary worried about my baby sister, who had been born three months before Hurricane Audrey and how she would react during the storm, but as far as I can remember she handled it alright.

We don’t know what the future holds in store for us in the next two or three days, but right now we in the path of a storm that is out in the Gulf of Mexico gaining strength.

If the storm spawns tornadoes, there could be even more danger to people living in trailers, since tornadoes have lifted trailers off their foundation and sent them airborne. I don’t mind flying, but would rather not be flying around in a trailer.

Nothing is certain as of this minute, since storms can change course and go a different direction, but right now we have every reason to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

I remember when Hurricane Rita was first supposed to hit land at Corpus Christi, Texas, but it kept drifting eastward till it hit land around the Lake Charles, Louisiana area. The track of Isaac seems to be moving westward. It looked like the worst of it would hit Florida, but now it is on track to hit Louisiana later this week.

All we can do now is prepare for the storm and wait to see what happens when the storm or hurricane hits. We are about 100 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, so that may spare us the worst of the storm. Last month we were living 50 miles closer to the Gulf of Mexico, so we will see if the extra 50 miles inland makes a difference, when it comes to damage from the possible hurricane.

People living near the Gulf of Mexico know that during hurricane season, they have to be prepared to evacuate on short notice and this is one of those times. Those living further north in central Louisiana are also affected by the storm, as they buy generators and stock up on batteries, food and supplies in preparation for the storm. They may not be hit by the full brunt of the storm, but falling trees can knock down power lines, which causes homes to have no electricity.

It would be great if the storm goes off in another direction, but it doesn’t hurt to be ready for the worst.




Michael J. Pollard: Face You Never Forget

Michael J. Pollard may not be a household name, but anyone that ever saw him in a film or television show instantly will recognize his face.

He always reminded me of a kid that had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and his face said that he knew no excuse to extricate himself from the situation.

Pollard was born Michael John Pollack Jr. in Passaic New Jersey on May 30, 1939.  He has been acting since 1959 and is still active 53 years later in 2012.

He was married to Beth Howland, who television fans will remember her playing Vera on the Alice situation comedy. They were married from 1961-1969.

Since Pollard was only 5′ 6″ he had to play youthful roles into his 20’s.

One of the most hilarious shows I have seen him in is the April 30,1962 episode of Andy Griffith, when he played Barney Fife’s cousin Virgil who could do nothing right. He was 22 when this episode was filmed.

For more information on that episode:

Fate intervened when he was cast as Jerome Krebs the weird cousin of Maynard G. Krebs on the Dobie Gillis Show, portrayed by Bob Denver, when Denver was going to be drafted in the Army. However, Denver soon returned when he was classified 4-F, which resulted in the dismissal of Pollard from the series.

Once again fate handed Pollard more bad news, when after starring as Hugo Peabody in the Broadway version of Bye Bye Birdie the role was given to Bobby Rydell, when the role was changed to require a singer.

Pollard played a 14-year-old despite being 27 in a Star Trek episode, when he played Jahn in the “Miri” episode.

He played C.J. Moss in the Bonnie and Clyde film in 1967 and would receive an Academy Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Three years later he starred in Little Fauss and Big Halsey with Robert Redford. Another memorable role was when he played the homeless man who thought Bill Murray was Richard Burton in the 1988 film Scrooged.

Michael J. Pollard Picture

This more recent photo of Pollard shows he is the same Michael J. Pollard, just a little older. He is still very busy at 73 having released Sunburnt Angels in 2011, completed The Woods this year and is filming The Next Cassavetes presently.

Even though Pollard is not that well-known, actor Michael J. Fox inserted the J in the middle of his name out of respect to Michael J. Pollard.

He made his first television appearance in 1959 appearing in the DuPont Show of the Month in the “Human Comedy” episode. He made his film debut the same year in It Happened To Jane but was uncredited.

This list compiled by the Internet Movie Database shows that Pollard has been a prolific actor for many years and his resume will bring back memories of the television shows we grew up with and a few of the movies we remember seeing him in.

Pollard will probably always be known as the man, who has a familiar face but very few will be able to remember his name.

American Idol Nearing the End of Its Run?

Since Phillip Phillips became the current American Idol, the American Idol franchise is looking very shaky, as the music competition show can’t seem to get its act together.

The chemistry between judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, over the last two seasons was excellent, but now with Lopez and Tyler leaving the show and Randy Jackson’s status questionable the show seems to be in disarray.

Mariah Carey is the only judge confirmed for Season 12 and will reportedly be earning $18 million. I am not sure she is a good fit for the show and she is certainly not worth $18 million. It seems strange after the ratings decline of Season 11, that they would pay that kind of money to a judge.

Carey is not only making a lot of money, but is trying to influence who else is on the panel. She was furious to know Nicki Minaj could be on the judging panel. Carey apparently thought she was to be to the only female judge on the panel and at the age of 42, she would be 13 years older than the 29 year-old Minaj. In addition Carey seems to have had the impression that she would be the only female judge like Jennifer Lopez was in Seasons 10 and 11.

Meanwhile Carey is calling for Lenny Kravitz to be one of the judges in Season 12. There are all kinds of rumors, about whether Randy Jackson will return as a judge or as a mentor, plus there is a long list of names being mentioned as possible judges.

Kanye West, Alanis Morrisette, Keith Urban, Enrique Iglesias, Brad Paisley, Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood and even Charlie Sheen have been mentioned as possible judges.

Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley are the only possible judges, that I would like to see get the judging gig, but that probably won’t happen since they are both country music stars.

The question is how much longer the American Idol producers will continue to let this media circus go on. I think they made a huge mistake in signing Mariah Carey, especially at $18 million and since she is trying to influence which other judges will join the panel.

There is no way Carey is worth the extra $6 million, over what Jennifer Lopez was earning as a judge, when she signed her $12 million contract. Carey may surprise me, but I don’t see her having the emotional connection with contestants, that Lopez exhibited in her two years as judge.

Fox and the American Idol producers need to make their decisions soon on the judges for Season 12. Rumors are floating around that there may even be a fourth judge in Season 12.

The days as a ratings juggernaut for American Idol may soon be over. There were some chinks in the armor in Season 11, when almost 8 million fewer viewers turned in to see the finale, than had tuned in for the Season 10 finale.

Season 10 had Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina in their finale, while Season 11 had Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez, so that may explain the drop in the ratings.

I look for X-Factor to have a ratings spike in Season 2 with Britney Spears on the judging panel. Even though American Idol and X-Factor don’t compete directly against each other, there may be viewers who like X-Factor so much more, that they won’t bother watching American Idol next year.

It is time for American Idol to get their act together, assemble the rest of the judging panel and end the present chaos and show Mariah Carey, that she is not going to pick and choose who the judges will be on the panel.

Ryan Seacrest may not even be able to save American Idol, if something isn’t done soon to restore the luster of the American Idol franchise.


Phyllis Diller: Pioneer Stand-Up Comedienne Dies at 95








Phyllis Diller has died at the age of 95 in Los Angeles California. Diller died Monday, August 20 at her home.

Diller paved the way for female stand-up comediennes when she took up comedy at the age of 37.

She was born Phyllis Ava Driver in Lima, Ohio on July 17, 1917. Her mom Frances Ada Driver was born in 1881 and her father Perry Marcus Driver was born during the Civil War in 1862.

She pursued a career as a pianist attending Sherwood Music Conservatory in Chicago for three years, but eventually gave up on a career as a musician.                                              

Diller launched her career in an unlikely place, the neighborhood laundromat as she told stories of her life at home and eventually was asked to do her comedy act at PTA meetings.

When she made her comedy club debut in 1938 at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, her two-week engagement lasted a year-and-a-half.

She was seen in many television shows and movies over the years:

Phyllis Diller appearing on Ed Sullivan Show 43 years ago in 1969.

She has appeared with 100 symphony orchestras across the United States as a guest piano soloist.

Female comediennes today like Joan Rivers, Ellen Degeneres and others owe a debt of gratitude to Diller, since there were very few female stand-up comediennes when Diller hit the comedy circuit.

Plastic surgery became another source for comedy material, after she had fifteen surgical procedures done according to her 2005 autobiography.

Since Diller has been out of the spotlight for many years, we may have forgotten just how good of a comedienne that she was.

The world has lost another voice of laughter, at a time when the world could use more laughter, instead of less.

Catching Up

It has been 36 days since last posting, so will use this post to catch up on what has been going on for the last few weeks.

First of all I want to thank the visitors who visited the website averaging about 500 a day, despite not having any new posts.

July 20 was a day that will go down in infamy as we started moving 50 miles north of Sulphur, Louisiana to Merryville, Louisiana. Moving may the most stressful thing ever, especially since it took us 12 days to complete the move, making several trips to complete the move. July 20 and July 21 were the most stressful days.

Moving in 95 degree heat is not exactly a formula, for a smooth move. You really have no idea of how much stuff you have, till you try to fit it in a rental trailer.

There was one respite from the moving, when my daughter took me to see and my grandson to the Houston Astros game against the Cincinnati Reds on July 25.

We were fortunate to find $5 parking, relatively close to Minute Maid Park. Surprisingly the Astros ownership allows fans to bring their own food and drinks to the games. A hot dog and coke at the game would have cost almost $10, so my daughter fixed sandwiches, brought some cheese crackers, cookies and a one liter of water to the park, saving $20-$25. The gate attendants check each bag with food, to make sure fans are not sneaking Big Mac’s or Taco Bell tacos into the game.

We arrived extra early since they were giving away Houston Astros baseball caps to the first 1,000 fans and we knew ahead of time where to be to get in line for the caps. So between the cheaper food and free baseball caps we saved a lot of money.

My grandson was on the concourse in left field and the Reds were having batting practice and hit a ball in his direction, when his mom decided to call him, since we weren’t sure where he was and he reached to pick up the phone and the ball arrived at the same time and another fan jumped in front of him to catch the ball. So he at least came close to having a souvenir baseball.

The game itself was a typical Houston Astros game, with the Astros losing late in the game to the Reds, but just being in a major league ballpark made it worthwhile for me.

Then it was time for a reality check as the move to Merryville continued. Finally on the morning of August 1, we completed the move and are now living in a trailer in the country, almost halfway between Merryville and Deridder.

Rhonda and me have both had health problems since the move. Last Monday was a bad day for both of us, with Rhonda in bad pain from an intestinal blockage and me having an acute acid reflux attack.

It was far worse for Rhonda as she was admitted into the hospital on Monday night, but was released on Tuesday after the blockage had been cleared.

Tuesday was my worst day having thrown up ten times during the day. It may explain why my weight has dropped from 209 the last time  I went to VA to 179 pounds last night, since unexplained weight loss is a symptom of acid reflux disease.

Just wanted to update the readers on what has been going on and am planning to start making nostalgic and current posts in the next post.