Netflix Junkie For Three Hours A Day

Our DISH satellite was suspended for nine months recently, so are spending only $5 a month on DISH to keep the account open. We get to watch mostly infomercials for the $5, so we signed up for Netflix, which is much less than DISH was before the suspension. In fact one On Demand movie on DISH costs almost as much as the $7.99 a month charge for unlimited watching on Netflix. Not that we planned on watching any On Demand movies.

However, we can only use Netflix from 2AM to 8AM, because that is only time our DISH internet service allows us, to watch videos or listen to any music. So I now wake up at 5AM and watch Netflix till 8AM. I have found myself drawn to some shows more often than others.

The two shows that really stand out for me are The Rockford Files and Columbo. I will list those two shows, plus others that I have made a habit of watching.

The Rockford Files

I have watched 25 episodes of The Rockford Files. Have already seen all of Season 1 and have watched the first episode of Season 2. Netflix has 123 shows available to watch of the show, which was first seen in 1974.

It amazes me how much punishment James Garner as Rockford sustains in the show. He reportedly did his own stunts for the show, so that makes me respect him even more. One of my favorite parts of the show is when the telephone answering machine can be heard, with the caller leaving a very funny message at the opening.

Another highlight for me is the interplay between Dennis Becker a policeman portrayed by Joe Santos and Rockford. Becker is not a happy camper, when Rockford asks for a favor like running down a license number for Rockford. The show for me is a perfect mix of drama and comedy. This show has a lot of chase scenes, where it is usually Rockford trying to shake the bad guys, who are tailing him and he often maneuvers his way through the traffic, to lose the bad guys.

Imdb.com readers rate The Rockford Files 8.0 on a scale of 10.

Columbo

There are 43 episodes available on Netflix and am already into Season 4 with episode 2 next to be seen, for a total 27 episodes seen. Columbo shared its time slot, with some other shows, so that is why there were only 7 or 8 shows made a season. The first episode aired in 1968 and by the time the show left the air in 2003 Peter Falk had gray hair.

Falk was perfectly cast as Columbo. The crime was shown at the first of the show, so this was no mystery. It was more a case of watching Columbo catch the criminals, who always seemed to think they had committed the perfect crime. Columbo may have looked a little scruffy in his rumpled raincoat, but he was a very intelligent detective, who picked up on any clue in short order. It was fun watching the criminals squirm, whenever Columbo came around and they sometimes became very agitated, because of Columbo popping up unannounced so often.

Columbo may have been portrayed as a buffoon, but when it came down to solving a crime he always got his man or woman, depending on who was the guilty culprit, in a particular episode.

Imdb.com readers gave Columbo a 8.1 rating.

Dragnet 1967

I had preferred watching the 50’s version of Dragnet, but the more I watched this later version the more I liked it. So far, have watched 11 episodes of Dragnet and have come, to appreciate the comedic exchanges between Sgt. Friday played by Jack Webb and Officer Bill Gannon, who is portrayed by Harry Morgan. Sometimes you will see a familiar face on this show, as Friday and Gannon make their investigation. Dragnet 67 pulls down a respectable 7.8 rating at imdb.com.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

This show is another one that draws me back to it, since all of the 16 episodes I have seen have been outstanding. It is rated 8.7 by the readers of imdb.com, which is the best rating I have seen so far. It is amusing to see Hitchcock open and close the shows. Be prepared for a surprise turn of events at the end of the episodes. Just when you think you have it figured out Hitchcock throws his viewers a curve.

Alfred Hitchcock has 74 episodes on Netflix and skips Season 1 and I have watched 16 episodes. The show is in black and white, but that only makes the show more realistic for me.

Adam 12

Some have called Adam 12 the most realistic cop show on television. I have seen nine episodes of the show, with 174 episodes available on Netflix. The first show aired in 1968.

The first episode shows Officer Malloy portrayed by Martin Milner showing rookie Reed played by Kent McCord the ropes and the proper way to do things. The ninth episode in Season 1 features a man who is very upset, because someone stole his front lawn.

Adam 12 receives a 7.3 from imdb.com readers.

Twilight Zone

Netflix has only 65 shows available of Twilight Zone which started in 1959 and is rated an amazing 8.9 at imdb.com. I have watched nine episodes so far. One of my favorite episodes is about a man, who is always being told that he can’t read books by his wife and his boss. When a nuclear catastrophe occurs he is the only man left on earth. He happens to find the ruins of a library and sorts out books in piles to read in different months. However, he breaks his glasses and is unable to read any of the books. This is one of the most popular television shows ever.

Magnum PI, McMillan and Wife

Am having problems being interested in either of these shows. Have nothing against Magnum PI, ….just no interest in it. McMillan and Wife is a good show, but not the kind of show I would want to invest an hour and a half into. Matt McMillan portrayed by Rock Hudson is not realistic as a police commissioner. Seems unrealistic to me, that the commissioner of police is fighting thugs in warehouses, while realistically a real life commissioner is not likely to leave his office, except for a news conference.

Have not watched enough of either show to even count.

Law and Order – Criminal Intent

This show starts with Season 6 on Netflix and it runs through Season 10, with 83 episodes available to watch. The episodes have kept my interest so far. Season 11 for some reason is not available on Netflix, even though the show ended its run in 2011. Law and Order – Criminal Intent received a 7.2 rating from imdb.com readers.

Leave It To Beaver

I remember watching Leave It To Beaver at my grandpa’s farm in Missouri in 1959, which was two years after the show debuted in 1957. Interesting sidenote about this show is that Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, who created Leave It To Beaver had been writers for the Amos N’ Andy show earlier in the 50’s.

This show is rated 7.6 by the readers at imdb.com. Netflix has 234 episodes of Leave It To Beaver available for watching. So far have only seen 15 shows, so still have 219 shows left to watch. This show to me is television comedy at its best. It was smart of the producers to make Eddie Haskell a regular in the series after being a guest star. Ken Osmond, who played Eddie later became a Los Angeles policeman and was shot in the line of duty. Jerry Mathers who played the Beaver and Wally Dow and Osmond found little work in movies and television after the show left the air in 1963. It has been 21 years since Osmond has appeared in any production that didn’t have a connection to Leave It To Beaver.

Documentaries

I have watched part or all of several documentaries. Since there are multiple parts to some documentaries have watched a little at a time. Watched Hitler’s Children about children related to Nazi war criminals, who were in Hitler’s inner circle. One relative was shown as he visited Auschwitz many years after the holocaust. He was moved to tears, when a survivor of Auschwitz came up to him and shook hands with him telling him, that he didn’t blame the son for what his father did.

One of my favorites to watch was the 30-30 documentary from ESPN that told the story behind Michael Jordan playing minor league baseball in 1994, because he dad who had been murdered had wanted him to play baseball.

The Ken Burns documentary about World War II is particularly interesting, since I was only alive for the last two years of World War II. The episode I am watching now tells about soldiers from three American towns who joined the Army and about how the war affected the soldiers and those left at home. This is a seven part series, so will be watching this for a long time.

I also watched a documentary about Marilyn Monroe living in New York and another Ken Burns documentary about the history of jazz. Really enjoyed the part about pianist Art Tatum, who was almost blind, but was a piano virtuoso, who added a lot of notes to the basic melody.

Netflix Movies

Netflix also has movies, but I am interested mainly in the television shows and documentaries. I have heard that a lot of good movies never are shown on Netflix. One negative about Netflix is that a movie or television show may be available one day, but then gone the next day. That can be attributed to companies switching to other vendors, after fulfilling their contract with Netflix.

Vinyl Records Refuse To Die

A 45 vinyl single of the Beatle’s song I Feel Fine.

 

The first flat disc record was invented by Emil Berliner in 1888. 125 years later the technology may have improved, but vinyl records have survived, because vinyl fans continue to buy and play vinyl records today.

Singers are still making vinyl records today. The late Johnny Cash has a vinyl album American IV: the Man Comes Around, that will be released on February 4, 2014. The vinyl version is advertised for $33.89, while the audio CD is being sold for only $8.49.

Bruce Springsteen’s new album High Hopes will be released on January 14, 2014 and it will be released on vinyl for $29.46, while the audio CD will be sold for $15.99. Meanwhile the Beatles are releasing Live at the BBC, which will be sold for $49.99 on vinyl, but consists of three vinyl records, while at the present time no CD version is being released.

Vinyl was first used in 1948, after shellac had been used in the early years of record production. So vinyl records have been around now for 65 years and going strong. 1949 would bring music fans the 45 single records, which usually had one song on each side, which were sometimes called the A and B side.

 

This was one of my first vinyl record albums bought in 1967. I still have that same record album 45 years later.

 

The  popularity of vinyl records waned, after the invention of eight tracks, cassettes and compact discs. This was about the time, that I decided to sell my vinyl albums for a quarter each. At that price my collection of about 100 records was gone in a couple of days.

The Electro Brand phonograph which we currently own.

 

The Electro Brand phonograph has served us well, since my wife bought it for me in 2009. It doesn’t play cassettes or record, but it plays records and we can listen to the radio and can plug the MP3 player into the back and hear the old-time radio shows and music, that had been downloaded into the MP3 player.

 

We no longer had a record player, so decided to sell them, which was a huge mistake. One of my sisters found my Frank Sinatra album (pictured above) and returned it to me, about three or four years ago. My wife surprised me by buying me a $45 record player at Big Lots. Then a local book store in Knoxville, Tennessee had tons of vinyl albums for only a quarter each. Sometimes I would splurge and buy 10 albums at a time for a total of $2.50.

It didn’t take long to find that there were very few southern gospel or country music albums, among the vinyl records for sale. I found loads of Johnny Mathis albums in the bargain bin, along with the music of many orchestras. So I bought some Mantovani, Henry Mancini, Harry James, Guy Lombardo and Lawrence Welk albums.

So now my record collection is up to about 30 albums. It is great hearing Christmas music emanating from a record player.

 

This is one of many record players for sale today, that have a retro look.

 

You can buy a basic record player today, or you can buy the models, that not only play vinyl records, but have the ability to copy the music from the vinyl onto a CD. Some players also record from the radio and from cassettes. Some players also have docks for I-Pods or a connection for MP3 players. So those players are capable of playing the radio, records, compact discs, cassettes and the music from a MP3 player.

 

There is little chance of being stuck with vinyl records again, since so many manufacturers are not only making the vinyl records, but also are making the record players to play them on.

 

For instance, Amazon.com has a total of 1,338,799 vinyl records for sale as of today. Ebay.com has even more records listed with 3,857,050 vinyl records for sale. That is a total of over 5 million vinyl records for sale combined at amazon.com and Ebay.com. Over 493,000 of the vinyl records at sale at Ebay.com are new.

 

Remember Jimmy features Bob Eberly, Helen O’Connell and the great Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

 

I bought the Jimmy Dorsey album Remember Jimmy pictured above at a thrift store in Sulphur, Louisiana for $2.98. That same album is being sold on ebay.com today for $40.49.  The main reason I bought the album was because it included the classic song Tangerine, which was one of my all time favorite big band songs.

Helen O’Connell later would be known for being the host of the Today show.

 

It looks as if vinyl records will be with us for a long time to come. Ebay.com lists a 1982 John Cougar album for only 99 cents. Not bad for a 31-year-old vinyl record. The most expensive album for sale, at Ebay is a $125,000 Michael Jackson album that is autographed and is ultra rare, according to the description. 91 offers have been made for the album, but none have been accepted yet. It is listed at $125,000 or best offer. The album is the first album released by Michael Jackson and titled You Got To Be There.

 

Technology has changed over the years, but we can still hear music, from a phonograph 136 years, after Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, which was only 12 years after the Civil War ended.

 

 

Know the Face, But Can’t Think of the Name – Burt Mustin

Burt Mustin 1884-1977

 

Burton Hill Mustin was born February 8, 1884 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He made his acting debut in 1951 at the age of 67. Most people would have retired by that age, but Mustin would appear in motion pictures and television till the age of 92. In fact Mustin had retired and had moved to Tucson, Arizona. He was discovered by director William Wyler, who saw Mustin appearing in a stage production of Detective Story and his career in movies and television had begun at an age, when most people his age were living off their Social Security checks.

He married in 1915 and they remained married till her death in 1969 and they had no children.

Mustin appeared in his first movie Detective Story in 1951 and would appear in his last role in Phyllis in 1976. He has 178 acting credits in his 25 years in movies and television. He first appeared on television, when he was seen in an episode of the Adventures of Kit Carson in 1951.

Burt Mustin shown portraying Gus the fireman on Leave It To Beaver from ago of 73-77.

 

Leave It To Beaver featured Mustin in 14 episodes in which he played Gus the fireman. He also appeared in 14 episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. Mustin played six parts on the show including Jud Fletcher, the Townsman, Jubal, Sam Benson, Mister Crowley and The Old Geezer.

He appeared on many other shows, but never made more than seven appearances on any of them. His movie career kept him busy, but his name was seldom in the credits, in many of his movies. He made his last movie appearance in Train Ride to Hollywood and he was 91 years old at the time.

Mustin was one of the more prolific character actors in show business, as he was seen several of the top television shows, while he was an actor.  He had the kind of face, that you could remember, but it is unlikely, that most moviegoers and television viewers knew what his real name was.

Life came to an end for Mustin on January 28, 1977 in Glendale, California. He was born 43 years before the first talking motion pictures were made, but lived another 50 years, after talking movies became commonplace.

Burt Mustin’s gravesite is located at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills, California.