The Ventures were originally formed as the Versatones in 1958, but changed their name to the The Ventures in 1959. Don Wilson on rhythm guitar is the only surviving member of the group and has remained with the group, during their entire 56 year run.
What really sets the The Ventures apart is that they have sold 110 million albums, which is the most sold by any rock instrumental group. My favorite song recorded by The Ventures is their 30th anniversary recording of Wipeout on their Super Sessions with their drummer Mel Taylor and guest drummer Max Weinberg being featured. I can’t recall ever hearing any two drummers sounding better on one recording.
You may want to watch this video of Mel Taylor of The Ventures and guest drummer Max Weinberg having their own battle of the drums:
With Jay Leno retiring soon from his hosting duties on the Tonight Show it reminded me, that it was only 22 years ago, when Johnny Carson left the show in 1992. Even if you count Conan O’Brien’s short stay of 143 episodes, then Jimmy Fallon will be only the fourth host of the show in the last 46 years, since Carson debuted in 1962, when he is new host in February of 2014..
I still consider Johnny Carson the best of the many personalities, that have appeared on late night television. Many tried to topple Carson, but failed like Joey Bishop, Joan Rivers, Merv Griffin and Arsenio Hall and others. It is sad that very few if any, of the Tonight shows with Johnny Carson have been shown in their entirety.
There have been some collections of the best and/or funniest moments from the show that have been released. Carson reportedly owns the shows, so it is questionable if the shows will ever be seen again. It would be fun to relive those days again, especially like the shows of October 1962, when the Cuban missile crisis was going on and I was wondering if the Cuban missile crisis was mentioned on some of those shows. It sure wasn’t monologue material, but if he had any political guests they may have mentioned the crisis.
Joan Rivers learned the hard way, that Carson was not the kind to take loyalty lightly. Despite being his permanent fill-in host she neglected to tell Johnny, that she was going to Fox to compete directly with him, on another late night show. She finally called Johnny, but he hung up on her and never talked to her again. He gave a lot of young comedians and comediennes their first big break and expected their loyalty in return, so was upset that Rivers didn’t let him know she was signing with Fox, to do another late night show.
Ed McMahon not only appeared with Carson on the Tonight show, but had also appeared with him on Who Do You Trust quiz show, from 1957-1962. McMahon and Carson were a team from 1957-1992, so they teamed together for 35 consecutive years. We will never forget McMahon announcing the guests for that night’s show and then he would say “Here’s Johnny” in a way only he could say it.
Carson knew how to poke fun at politicians, but never was one to push his own political agenda. He was smart to not alienate half his audience.
One of the most memorable moments, in the history of television was when Bette Midler sang One For My Baby to Johnny Carson as he completed 30 years, as the host of the Tonight Show.
Watching the Tonight show became a habit for many television viewers, since celebrities knew an appearance on the show would generate a lot, of publicity for authors who were releasing books and for actors and actresses plugging their latest movie.
I missed the first four years of the Tonight show for the most part, since I was in service and it was lights out before the Tonight show came on and most servicemen back then didn’t have a television.
There have been many books written about Johnny Carson and the book Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin may not have been written, if Carson was still alive since he was infuriated with Bushkin’s financial dealings, which eventually ended their friendship. Bushkin is the last person that Carson would want to be writing a book about his life.
If you want the inside scoop on the life of Johnny Carson this is the book to read.
423 readers of the book at Amazon.com give the book 5 stars, while only 34 give it one star.
There are many other books, that have been written about Carson, but don’t know if there is an authorized biography out there.
The most remarkable aspect of Carson’s time, on late night television is that his show was No.1 for all 30 years. We may never see another show prime time or late night, that can hold on to the top spot for so many years.
The Tonight show with Johnny Carson was more than a television show. Johnny Carson had become like a family member, who made a nightly visit, into our homes for an hour and a half and later one hour.
The Real McCoys debuted on television on October 3, 1957. The show ended its run on network television on June 23, 1963. It has been 51 years since the last show aired on a major network.
I have been watching it in the last week on Cozi Network at 5PM Central time and have enjoyed watching the show again, after not seeing it for at least 30 years, if not longer than that.
The show centers around the McCoy family, who had traveled from Virginia to settle down in California. Walter Brennan, who has one of the most recognizable voices on radio and television plays Grandpa Amos McCoy. He plays the part of an old codger set in his ways. He can neither read or write, which provides many storylines in the series.
Richard Crenna is Luke McCoy the son of Grandpa and his wife Kate McCoy is portrayed by Kathy Nolan. Their two children Little Luke and Hassie are played by Michael Winkleman and Lydia Reed respectively. Their farmhand Pepino is portrayed by Tony Martinez.
Walter Brennan 1894-1974
Walter Brennan was heard on 35 old-time radio programs, according to radiogoldindex.com, while Richard Crenna was heard frequently on both Our Miss Brooks and the Great Gildersleeve programs.
Brennan made his first movie appearance in 1925 in Lorraine of the Lions, but it was an uncredited role. He was uncredited in eight of his first nine movies. Brennan was seen in 27 movies before 1930 and would appear in 19 movies in 1932 alone. One of the highlights of his movie career was when he appeared in Pride of the Yankees in 1992.
After Real McCoys left the air he starred in two other television programs, which included appearing in 30 episodes of The Tycoon and 50 episodes of Guns of Will Sonnett. He made his last movie appearance at the age of 80 in the movie Smoke in the Wind which was released in 1975.
Brennan made an amazing 242 appearances on television and in the movies.
Richard Crenna 1926-2003
Richard Crenna was a veteran of old time radio, television and the movies. He made his first radio appearance in 1945 in an episode of Great Gildersleeve and first was heard on Our Miss Brooks radio program in 1948. He also appeared in the television version, of the show and played high school student Walter Denton in both versions.
His career spanned 58 years from 1945 to 2003, when he made his last appearance in the television movie Out of the Ashes. He appeared as the star of Slattery’s People, which debuted in 1964 the year after after Real McCoys left the air, but the show only lasted one season.
Crenna is well-known for portraying Col. Sam Trautman in both Rambo: First Blood Part 2 in 1982 and in Rambo III in 1988.
Real McCoys is 1950’s television at its best. The shows would often show the ornery side of Grandpa Amos, in the first part of the show, but by the time the show ended he had mellowed and the family was happy again.
Yesterday’s episode featured Grandpa Amos letting a man promoting a gambling place in Las Vegas paint his barn. Only catch was that the man would put up a sign on the roof of the barn. However, Grandpa Amos had no idea that the barn would be promoting gambling in Las Vegas, so consented to letting the barn be painted.
The pastor visited their home, so they covered up the offending part of the sign to have it read better. Then the wind kicked up and the canvas uncovered the sign, so that the pastor could see they had a sign on the roof promoting gambling, but the pastor wasn’t upset saying they had painted his barn for free too and had made a sign he didn’t like either.
Real McCoys for some reason has not been seen much, since it left the air 51 years ago, so was tickled to see it on MeTV last week.
Some shows were never meant to be brought back, in later years and Hawaii Five-O is one of those shows. The original Hawaii Five-O show debuted on September 26, 1968.
I can identify with the show, since I was stationed in Hawaii, at Schofield Barracks while serving in the United States Army, from June 1963 to January of 1966. Have watched the first three shows, of Season 1 on Netflix and they have reminded me of how much I enjoyed the show, which aired in parts of three different decades. Hawaii Five-O debuted about two years after I left Hawaii for Vietnam.
Jack Lord was meant to be Detective Steve McGarrett and fit the part perfectly. His sidekick was James MacArthur who portrayed Dan Williams, on the show and McGarrett calls him Danno and most of us can remember the familiar phrase “Book him Danno”.
I may be prejudiced, but I think the new Hawaii Five-O show airing currently is not close, to being as good as the original show.
Richard Denning starred on old-time radio as the husband of Lucille Ball’s character in My Favorite Husband and later co-starred on television in Mr. and Mrs. North.
Last week was the first time to see a Hawaii Five-O show in too many years to remember. It didn’t take long to recall why I liked the show so much, because the combination of the story and the Hawaiian scenery captured my interest.
I watched Season 1 Episode 3 Tiger by the Tail which guest starred Sal Mineo and Harold J. Stone. Mineo portrayed a singer who planned his own kidnapping, in order to draw attention and hopefully get more bookings for singing gigs. However, when his father offered to pay the kidnappers, whatever they wanted they made a change of plans. The two kidnappers asked for half a million dollars from his father and when it was evident that they were going to get the money they decided to kill Sal Mineo’s character. That plan didn’t go well, as McGarrett stopped one of the kidnappers from killing him. It was a good story from start to finish.
Today I watched the Season 7 Episode 20 Hawaii Five-O and the title of the episode was And the Horse Jumped Over the Moon, with Ed Flanders and Bruce Boxleitner as the guest stars. I watched it on ME-TV and it can be seen on weekdays at 12:00 PM ET.
The stars of Hawaii Five-O are dead now with Jack Lord dying first in 1998 at the age of 77. Kam Fong who played Chin Ho on the series died next in 2002 at the age of 84, then James MacArthur died in 2010 at the age of 72.
Jack Lord only acted one more time, after Hawaii Five-O ended its run, when he appeared in the TV movie M Station: Hawaii.
His only other starring role on television, was when he starred in Stoney Burke from 1962-1963.
Interesting trivia about Jack Lord from imdb.com:
He was being considered for the role of Captain Kirk on Star Trek, but the producer didn’t approve of him asking to be co-producer and take a percentage of the profits.
His estate donated $40 million to the Hawaii Community Foundation.
Lord had Alzheimer’s disease for two years, before his death from congestive heart failure.
He died in Honolulu, Hawaii on Oahu and his ashes were scattered near his Kahala condominium.
Jack Lord always insisted on using as many Hawaiian actors, as possible and all scenes were shot at Hawaiian locations.
Simon Cowell had dreams of his X-Factor USA becoming the top-rated singing competition show, but instead it has been solidly in third place behind The Voice and American Idol. Cowell predicted that X-Factor USA would draw 20 million viewers a week. Instead the show has never attracted less than 13 million, in its most watched episode in the three-year history of the show. The Fox network will make a decision in May, on whether to bring the show back for a fourth season.
It has been recently announced by Examiner.com, that even if X-Factor returns for a fourth season, that the hours will be greatly reduced. The show which has aired for four months in the first three seasons may be cut back to one or two months due to the low ratings garnered by the show.
Cowell is even selling his mansion in LA, which is another sign he will be spending less time with the show. Another option is that the show may cut back to one night a week. Fox only has two hours of programming, for each night of the week, so when X-Factor takes up both hours and delivers low ratings, so Fox will have to make some tough decisions.
There is speculation as to whether Cowell even be a judge, if X-Factor does return. The judging panel has shown no continuity at all. Cowell is only judge that has been on judging panel the first three seasons. The show has already used nine judges in the first three seasons.
Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger left the show after the first season, then Britney Spears and L.A. Reid left after Season 1. Demi Lovato a holdover from being a Season 2 judge returned for the third season, along with new judges Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland.
Demi Lovato has already announced she will not return for Season 4, if there is a Season 4 and Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland may not be returning either. It may be that Cowell is waiting to see if the show is renewed in May, before making any decisions regarding the judges.
Melanie Amaro Mystery
Season 1 winner Melanie Amaro still has not released her debut album, even though she was declared the Season 1 winner, in December of 2013. The original advertising for Season 1 promised a $5 million recording contract to the winner. Evidently X-Factor USA producers didn’t think her album Truly would not generate much income, so its release has been postponed indefinitely. Meanwhile Season 2 winner Tate Stevens, who won in December of 2012 released his debut album four months later in April of 2013. His album has received very good reviews at Amazon.com with 61 five-star reviews and only 2 one star reviews. However, the album is listed 33,133rd in music sales at Amazon.
So right now Amaro is in limbo waiting for her album, to be released 25 months after winning Season 1. It would be interesting to know the back story on the delay, in releasing her album.
It will be interesting to see how soon Season 3 winners Alex and Sierra release their album and if it does well in sales.
Steve Jones who hosted Season 1 was an unmitigated failure as host, as he looked on edge most of the time he was on-screen. Then Season 2 had Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian sharing hosting duties. Kardashian was apparently given the ax, after Season 2 ended.
Season 3 found Mario Lopez taking over the hosting duties alone. I look for him to return if the show is renewed for another season.
X-Factor USA has been a ratings disaster of the first magnitude. The show averaged 12 million viewers the first season, then fell to 9 million in the second season, then tumbled to 6 million in the third season. The show has lost half of its viewers from Season 1 to Season 3.
The ultimate insult was when A Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon show aired for the 46th time, but still attracted 6.5 million viewers, while the Season 3 finale of X-Factor drew only 5.8 million viewers, during the time both shows were on the air. Season 3 finale showed a drop of 50 percent in viewers compared to the Season 1 finale.
Ratings For The Voice, American Idol and X-Factor USA On Finale Night
American Idol…….14.31 million
The Voice…………..14.01 million
X-Factor USA……..6.22 million
American Idol narrowly won the battle of the singing competitions, when comparing number of viewers on finale night. The Voice lost approximately 1.5 million viewers for the Season 6 finale, when comparing it to Season 5 finale numbers.
Future of Singing Competitions
American Idol starts Season 13 on January 15 and the judging situation should be much better, than that of Season 12. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were constantly at each other’s throats during Season 12 and it distracted from the contestants. American Idol has three judges who should get along well this season with Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. comprising the judging panel. We will miss Randy Jackson’s judging comments. No more comments like “You blew it out of the box”, “Yo-dawg”, ‘That was too pitchy for me”, That didn’t do it for me” and “You are in it to win it”. However, he will still be on the show replacing Jimmy Iovine as the mentor.
The Voice had their best season, for me at least in Season 6 and will be returning for Season 7 in February. The judging situation has been stable with Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo and Blake Shelton being seen as the judges in five of the six seasons. Shakira and Usher are apparently returning for Season 7 after being on the panel for Season 5. Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will be on the panel for the seventh straight season.
X-Factor USA really has no future, until Fox discloses in May if the show will return for Season 4. Nothing can really be decided, until the announcement is made in May, since we may have seen X-Factor USA for the last time.
The Who’s Alive and Who’s Dead website lists Ron Howard 59 and Jim Nabors 80 as the only surviving stars of the Andy Griffith Show. Howard McNear who portrayed Floyd the Barber was the first cast member to die, since he passed away in 1969 the year after the show left the air. He died at a comparatively young 63. Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) died 20 years later in 1989 at the age of 86.
Two actresses who played Catwoman are the only other surviving members of the cast. Yvonne Craig is now 76 and Julie Newmar is 78. Madge Blake who portrayed Aunt Harriet died in 1969 at the age of 69. The next one on Batman to die was Stafford Repp who played Chief O’Hara, who died in 1974 at the age of 56.
Irene Ryan who played Granny on Beverly Hillbillies was the first to die, at the age of 70 in 1973. Raymond Bailey who portrayed banker Milburn Drysdale died next at the age of 75 in 1980.
Dan Blocker who portrayed Hoss Cartwright died before the show finished its run dying, at the age of only 43 in 1972 due to a pulmonary blood clot. Michael Landon who played Little Joe Cartwright died at the age of 54 in 1991 from pancreatic cancer.
Ann B. Davis 87 who played Alice on Brady Bunch is one of several Brady Bunch actors and actresses still alive. Florence Henderson is now 85 and portrayed Carol Brady. Barry portrayed Greg Brady and is now 59. Maureen McCormick who played Marcia Brady is now 57. Christopher Knight is now 56 and was Peter Brady on the show. Eve Plumb played the part of Jan Brady and is 55 years old. Mike Lookinland is now 53 and played Bobby Brady. Susan Olsen is the youngest surviving Brady at the age of 52. She played Cindy Brady on the show.
To check to see what other celebrities are alive and which ones have passed on:
Doris Day may be one of the most likeable motion picture and television actresses, that has graced the silver screen. However, she was first known as a singer, as she sang with the Bob Crosby and Les Brown bands. One of her first hit songs was Sentimental Journey.
She was born as Doris Mary Anne Von Kappelhoff on April 3, 1924 in Evanston, Ohio and will be 93 this year. She would later change her name to Day, with her name coming from her song Day by Day.
Her career included 99 old-time radio shows, which included appearances on the Bob Hope Show and her own radio show.
I have the Golden Girl: Columbia Collection 1944-1966 in my compact disc collection. 27 Amazon reviewers give the album 5 stars, while only one gives it one star and no reviewer gives the album no stars. The album is on two discs with a total of 48 songs in the album.
Her rendition of It Had To Be You alone makes the album worthwhile. Again is another one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is good to hear music, that you can understand the words, as you listen to the album. She also sings the classic I Only Have Eyes For You. I listened to the entire album last week and was mesmerized to hear Doris Day at her best.
Amazon.com has short clips of all 48 songs and the album can be bought used for as little as 30 cents as of January 2, 2017.
Day married trombonist Al Jorden in 1941 and their divorce became final in 1943. Her only child Terry was born during this marriage. Her next marriage to saxophonist George Weidler was in 1946 and that marriage was over by 1949.
Then two years later she married Martin Melcher her agent, who later became her husband in 1951. Melcher produced many of her movies from 1956-1968. Melcher died at the age of 52 in 1968.
It was after his death, that she learned he had gone through her $20 million fortune and leaving her in debt. She may have been even deeper in debt, if not for his death. His business partner Jerome Rosenthal was sued by Doris Day for his financial dealings that burned through her fortune. Day has stated that she didn’t think her husband realized what Rosenthal was doing. She was awarded $22 million in damages in 1974.
Day found out after the death of Martin Melcher, that he had her lined up to do a television series and a couple of special shows. She still completed her obligation in the contract and she never acted again after the Doris Day Show ended in 1973. It has been 41 years since she last acted on television or on the screen.
Between the income from the television shows and her financial settlement there was no reason, for Day to ever act again. She did appear in some shows which didn’t involve acting.
Her son Terry Melcher, who had been adopted by her husband Martin Melcher was a successful record producer. He was introduced to Charles Manson by Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. Melcher was considering signing Manson to a recording contract but never signed Manson, which angered Manson. He did use two songs penned by Manson with the Beach Boys singing those songs.
Melcher was living with his girlfriend Candice Bergen at 10050 Cielo Drive house he was renting. Melcher and Bergen moved out of the house after Melcher and Manson had parted ways. Manson went to the house asking to see Melcher, but by then Melcher had moved.
It was on August 9, 1969 that members of the Manson family entered the home and murdered Sharon Tate, who was the wife of Polanski was eight months pregnant. Four others were murdered in the house including coffee heiress Abigail Folger and hairdresser Jay Sebring.
There has been much speculation about whether Manson knew Melcher was no longer living in the house. One thing for certain is that if he wanted to get Melcher’s attention, then he was so successful, that Melcher hired a bodyguard.
Doris Day had lost her husband one year before and now her only son was apparently being targeted by Charles Manson.
Some trivia about Doris Day from imdb.com:
Did not like swear words and required anyone using a swear word to put a quarter in the “Swear Jar”. She would not even allow her songs to be used in movies, in which there was swearing.
Her mother named her after her favorite silent film star, Doris Kenyon. By coincidence, in the mid 1970’s when Day wrote her autobiography, Kenyon was her neighbor on Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills.
Son Terry Melcher was born February 8, 1942. She named him after the character in a comic strip she loved as a little girl, “Terry and the Pirates”. Sadly, he passed away of cancer on November 19, 2004.
Was a two-and-a-half pack a day smoker until about 1951.
She has two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6278 Hollywood Boulevard and for Motion Pictures at 6735 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
In 1976, Doris married Barry Comden, 12 years her junior. They met at the Beverly Hills Old World Restaurant where he was the maitre d’. In the 1970s, Comden opened an Old World restaurant in Westwood and supervised the construction of another restaurant, Tony Roma’s, in Palm Springs. It was Comden who came up with the idea for a line of pet food that would feature Doris’ name. Doris Day Distributing Co. unraveled mainly because of a pyramid-type scheme that the couple had been unaware of. They lived in Carmel but Comden complained that Day preferred the company of her dogs more than him and they divorced in 1981.
Underwent a hysterectomy during the filming of Julie (1956) after being diagnosed with a tumour the size of a grapefruit that was growing into her intestines.
Some quotes attributed to Doris Day:
I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.
[on Rock Hudson] I call him Ernie, because he’s certainly no Rock
[about Elizabeth Taylor‘s diamonds] When I see Liz Taylor with those Harry Winston boulders hanging from her neck I get nauseated. Not figuratively, but nauseated! All I can think of are how many dog shelters those diamonds could buy.
[dismissing allegations that she “stole” husband Martin Melcher from his former wife, singer Patty Andrews] A person does not leave a good marriage for someone else.
Doris Day at the age of 89 is still involved with protecting animals from abuse. She may not have acted in the last 41 years, but her legacy of films in her 25 years of acting will keep us entertained for years to come. It is sad that her television show is seldom seen in reruns, but it can be seen on DVD. It might even be the best way to watch the show, as the show was known for its many season to season changes in its five-year run. In addition she has recorded many albums during her recording career.
I watched Move Over Darling last week, in which James Garner appeared with Doris Day. It was a hilarious movie, in which a husband is marrying a new bride, after his wife who “died” in a plane crash five years before and was now legally dead. Only problem was that she was rescued and comes back home to find her husband married to another woman. Chaos ensues as she and the character played by James Garner try to get back together again.