Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Terrific TV Toys: Bionic Transport and Repair Station by Kenner

As you've seen previously on the Terrific TV Toys series, Andrea Melchiori loved the Bionic shows as a kid: "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman." In Episode 24 of Season 2 you saw the Bionic Action Club Kit she mailed away for as a child, along with her Bionic Woman beach towel and a couple others things. This time, on the latest episode of the series, Andrea shows you a very cool accessory for the Kenner Bionic action figures of the '70s: the Bionic Transport and Repair Station. Andrea has a few of these, and she tells you when she got each in this installment ...

This completes our Bionic Blitz 2016! What a way to start the new year!!! Stay tuned, because next up, we launch a larger series on a big heckin' set of (new) action figures on another vintage TV show so many of us love!

Friday, February 05, 2016

John Schneider has a new Hallmark movie coming up in April, among other things

Our ole Duke boy, John Schneider, aka Bo Duke of "The Dukes of Hazzard," has some new stuff going on right now (besides that guilty pleasure we've been indulging in the past couple years, Tyler Perry's "The Haves and Have Nots" on OWN, which we highly recommend!!! Hanna is hands-down one of the greatest characters on television right now!). Thanks to Phyllis for passing along these updates ...

John will be meeting fans at the FanBoy Expo Comic Con in Lakeland, Florida, on March 12-13. For more information go to http://fanboyexpo.com/lakeland

John will be meeting fans at the FanBoy Expo Comic Con in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 24-26. For more information go to http://fanboyexpo.com/knoxville/

John's movie "Smothered" will be released on DVD and on demand on March 29.

The movie "White Hot," which John recently filmed in Canada, will be shown on the Hallmark Movie Channel on April 17.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Terrific TV Toys: Oscar Goldman figure by Bif Bang Pow!

"Gentleman, we can rebuild him ... We have the technology ..."

If you're a child of the '70s, you know those words. And you might recall that they were spoken by Oscar Goldman, as played by Richard Anderson, on TV's classic "Six Million Dollar Man." It was Goldman's guiding hand that kept Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers on track as agents for the OSI.

Our special five-part series on the 2012 Bif Bang Pow! figures celebrating "The Six Million Dollar Man" concludes with this episode focusing on the Oscar Goldman figure of the set. But this is not the end of the 2016 Bionic Blitz for the Terrific TV Toys series! We've got one more special thing to show you next week, so stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Terrific TV Toys: Dr. Rudy Wells figure by Bif Bang Pow!

He was the guy who kept the Bionics working, Dr. Rudy Wells. He was played by three different men on the twin Bionic shows, "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman": Martin E. Brooks (who recently passed away), Alan Oppenheimer and Martin Balsam. As BRBTV continues its special Bionic Blitz on the Terrific TV Toys series, we take a look at a fourth figure in the 2012 collection by Bif Bang Pow!, that of Dr. Rudy Wells.

Special thanks to our bud Andrea Melchiori, as that goofy intro was shot at her place! Stay tuned for next week's conclusion of the five parts with the Oscar Goldman figure.

Friday, January 22, 2016

TGIF fun: A "Batman v. Superman" parody, courtesy of Will Rodgers!

We just love that great stuff Figures Toy Co. is churning out. The 1966 "Batman" series, the "Super Friends," the first comic book appearances of the major characters ... all great stuff in this large assortment of action figures patterned after the beloved Megos of the 1970s and 1980s. Will Rodgers, author of the brand-new "Ultimate Super Friends Companion" on Kindle, offers some fun for a Friday. How about a little representation of the trailers of the new "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" movie coming out in just a couple months, via Will's latest FTC acquisitions?

"Next time they shine your light in the sky, don't go to it. 
The bat is dead. Bury it. Consider this mercy."

"Tell me. Do you bleed? ... You will!!"

"She with you?"
"I thought she was with you."

Photos by Will Rodgers; please do not copy without permission.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Terrific TV Toys: Fembot figure by Bif Bang Pow!

It took us a while, but we finally found the reference for the outfit worn by the 8-inch Fembot figure by Bif Bang Pow! / EMCE Toys. We just couldn't wrap our brains around it -- it didn't seem like a '70s-era fashion at all. But there it was, in living color (see the clip at the bottom) ...

This 2012 action figure, part of Bif Bang Pow!'s series on "The Six Million Dollar Man," is the subject of the latest episode of Terrific TV Toys series, the third part in our 2016 Bionic Blitz. The Fembot character was first introduced in a three-part story arc spanning both Bionic series, then brought in later for some more episodes. She's sexy, she's oh-so dangerous, she's the Fembot!!!

So as an addendum to this week's episode, we'll point you to the clip on YouTube that shows this very Fembot in action, from the episode "Kill Oscar," Part 2 on "The Six Million Dollar Man."

Stay tuned for next week's continuation of the series with the Rudy Wells figure.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Royal Oak toy show had lots of TV-related goodies up for grabs

We love the toy show at the farmer's market in Royal Oak, Michigan. The yearly event happened again yesterday, and we're always amazed that no matter how many of these great toy shows we take in, we always manage to see some cool unique stuff related to the classic television shows we love ...

"Dallas," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "The Archies," even "Welcome Back, Kotter" and "The Six Million Dollar Man" and a more obscure show or two -- they were all covered ...

Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
Copying with credit is OK; a link would be grand.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Announcing "The Ultimate Super Friends Companion"

Mr. Will Rodgers, who's been a part of BRBTV for a few years now, has always loved the Super Friends. He used to have his own website dedicated to the classic cartoon, which ran from 1973 through the rest of the '70s and well into the '80s. Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Wendy and Marvin and Wonder Dog, the Wonder Twins ... They are an indelible part of our pop culture. Even the younger kids these days can understand the phrase "Wonder Twin powers -- activate!!!" right?

Now Will has blessed the BRBTV family of products with all of his expertise in print form (well, electronic form right now -- print edition to come later). It's the fifth big book in the main BRBTV fact book series. It's "The Ultimate Super Friends Companion," and it's an amazing, meticulous and very thorough analysis of all incarnations of this Saturday morning TV show. In this mammoth Kindle book, you'll find lengthy synopses and commentary to each and every one of the 208 episodes and lots of other goodies:

• A character profile of each hero and villain
• A guide to each one of the 47 Super Friends comic books
• A look at the toy lines associated with the series
• Biographies of the voice cast
• An index of the episode appearances for each hero and villain
• Retrospectives of superhero teamups over the years and the history of DC and Warner Bros. classic animation

You may recall that Will's moniker is "The Voice Man," and for good reason. "Dukes of Hazzard" cast members have even called him "The Voice of Hazzard" because of his extremely talented renditions of the "Dukes" characters. Will works as a radio host by day, but in his off-hours you can hear all kinds of cool TV-related characters coming out of his vocal cords. He's geeky-cool, and we're glad to welcome his "Super Friends" guide to the BRBTV family!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Terrific TV Toys: The Bionic Blitz continues with the Bigfoot figure by Bif Bang Pow!

We love Bigfoot lore here at BRBTV. Television of the 1970s gave us quite a bit of it, with the mythical (?) creature being featured in many an episode of that era. "The Six Million Dollar Man" series made a regular recurring villain out of the Sasquatch thing, and the part was played by two different actors, Andre the Giant and Ted Cassidy. The latest episode of the Terrific TV Toys series serves up the 9-inch Bigfoot figure from the 2012 "SMDM" series by Bif Bang Pow! This is definitely an update -- and a departure -- from the larger Kenner "SMDM" Bigfoot figure of the 1970s. Step inside this out-of-the-box experience with BRBTV, as our special five-part series on the Bif Bang Pow! figures continues in this new year ...

Special thanks to our bud Andrea Melchiori, as that goofy intro was shot at her place! Stay tuned for next week's continuation of the series with the Fembot figure.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The BRBTV News Blog turns 10!!!

Wow!!! How many regularly fed 10-year-old blogs do you know out there???? We're talking regular posts on all kinds of yummy classic-TV news over the course of a whole decade!!!! Just look at all those posts on the right rail of this page!

Yes, it was 10 years ago, on January 10, 2006, that this blog launched, and what a fun ride it has been. We first set out to inform and entertain you on all things "Dallas," "Dynasty" and "Dukes of Hazzard," with lots of animated series and a few more live-action ones along the way. We're happy to have made it thus far. In Internet terms, 10 years is like an eternity, right?

Thanks for reading!!!

Friday, January 08, 2016

Behold Will's latest beauties from Figures Toy Co.

Will Rodgers, voice man extraordinaire and author of the BRBTV Reports on "Superman: The Animated Series" and "Justice League / Unlimited," as well as a BIG new book we're going to announce to you next week, just loves action figures. Here, he shares with us this year's Christmas gift to himself, a few of the goodies he nabbed from Figures Toy Co. that celebrate some of the TV shows we love, such as the 1966 "Batman" series, the "Super Friends" and "The Dukes of Hazzard." Enjoy!!!

BRB is also collecting the 1966 "Batman" figures, so you'll see a whole big bunch of them as out-of-the-box experiences on this season of the Terrific TV Toys web series.

Figures Toy Co. has been churning out these lovelies at breakneck speed the past couple years, but we're waiting patiently for one figure we haven't seen discussed ... the mighty Isis of our Saturday-morning lore!!! Please, FTC, please!!! Don't let the new association of that word in the recent news headlines prevent you from making this gal! The Mego original is hard to find and expensive -- make us that repro!!!!

Photos by Will Rodgers
Please do not copy without permission

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Terrific TV Toys: Season 3 blasts off with a Bionic Blitz!

Call it a blitzkrieg, really. It's a five-part series, to begin with, on the Bif Bang Pow! action figures celebrating TV's classic shows "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "Bionic Woman," then it's a special secret sixth part thrown in (we'll tell ya about that when the time comes). And it all starts right now, to kick off the third season of the Terrific TV Toys series. Part 1 of the five-parter gives you the Steve Austin figure from the series ...

Special thanks to our bud Andrea Melchiori, as that goofy intro was shot at her place! Stay tuned for next week's continuation of the series with the Bigfoot figure.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: Episode Guide for Seasons 1 and 2

It's hard to believe it's already been 50 episodes across two seasons of Terrific TV Toys. And while we're loving every minute of examining these toys that celebrate the classic TV shows we love, we also hope you have enjoyed these trips back through time with us! We've had two guest hosts on the series so far (thanks, Brian and Andrea!) and hope to have more guest-hosting in the coming years. Here, for posterity and convenience and whatever else, is your episode guide to the first 50 of T3 ...

1.  Mego Batgirl figure 
2.  Mego Supergirl figure 
3.  Mego 8-inch Wonder Woman figure 
4.  Mego Catwoman figure 
5.  Jaime Sommers doll by Kenner 
6.  Steve Austin doll by Kenner 
7.  Oscar Goldman doll by Kenner 
8.  Fembot doll by Kenner 
9.  Bionic Beauty Salon by Kenner 
10.  Wonder Woman / Diana Prince doll by Mego 
11.  Farrah Fawcett doll by Mego 
12.  "Star Trek" Mego figures 
13.  "Batman: The Animated Series" Colorforms 
14.  Dolly Parton doll by Eegee 
15.  Scooby-Doo kids' meal toys 
16.  Shazam Mego 
17.  Underdog figures and plush 
18.   "Twilight Zone" figures by Bif Bang Pow! 
19.  Scooby-Doo plush, Part 1 
20.  Scooby-Doo plush, Part 2 
21.  Scooby-Doo plush, Part 3 -- the talkies! 
22.  "A Charlie Brown Christmas" figures 
23.  "Brady Bunch" View-Master set 
24.  "Dukes of Hazzard" Hallmark ornament -- an out-of-the-box experience
25.  Batgirl plush doll from 1960s "Batman" series -- an out-of-the-box experience
26.  "Batman Beyond" Kids Meal toys 
27.  Archie Comics dolls by Marx 
28.  Natasha bendie from "Rocky and Bullwinkle" 
29.  "Dallas" card game by Mego 
30.  Scooby-Doo and Daphne Barbie doll by Mattel 
31.  "Star Trek" claw-game plush, 10-inch 
32.  Cher doll and dressing room set by Mego 
33.  Batgirl Cycle by Eaglemoss -- an out-of-the-box experience
34.  "Charlie's Angels" dolls and fashions by Hasbro 
35.  "Batman: TAS" Happy Meal toys 
36.  Superhero bean bag plush from WB Studio Stores 
37.  Motor City Comic Con Special! 
38.  Archie cars from Burger King Kids Meals 
39.  "Star Trek" Andorian figure from Diamond / EMCE  -- an out-of-the-box experience
40.  "Star Trek" Keeper figure from Diamond / EMCE  -- an out-of-the-box experience
41.  "Star Trek" Scotty figure from Diamond / EMCE  -- an out-of-the-box experience
42.  Terrific TV Toys on Wheels: The Batmobile 
43.  Terrific TV Toys on Wheels: Munsters Koach 
44.  Terrific TV Toys on Wheels: The General Lee 
45.  Terrific TV Toys on Wheels: KITT car 
46.  Bionic Action Club Kit 
47.  Halloween special with the Scooby-Doo plush! 
48.  Dusty doll by Kenner 
49.  Nöelle and her merry band of Christmas Scoobies! 
50.  Episode 50 with Snoopy's plush siblings Olaf, Andy and Marbles 

Here's to a great Season 3 in 2016! Look out, we're blasting off with a Bionic Blitz, first thing in January!

In the  meantime, Merry Christmas from BRBTV!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: A special 50th episode for a 50th anniversary ...

Did you know Olaf has a full-time job? And Marbles is the smartest one of the group? How about that Andy -- he plays some mean drums! Yes, each one of Snoopy's beagle siblings has his (or her -- there are two girls) own personality. Meet three of those siblings in the latest installment of the Terrific TV Toys series. These are lovable plush toys nabbed at the gift shop at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, where a Snoopy theme prevails.

This special 50th episode of T3 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Peanuts characters' debut on television. It was December 9, 1965, when the world first saw Charlie Brown and the gang animated in primetime on the small screen, and so many other wonderful cartoon specials followed through the years. The one that relates in particular here, for this special 50th episode, is "Snoopy's Reunion," which gave us eight little beagle puppies altogether, including Snoopy, and gave us a wonderful glimpse inside our favorite dog's back story.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Tom Wopat and John Schneider plan December performances

From the Wopat web crew ...

Our good ole boys Tom ("Luke Duke") Wopat and John ("Bo Duke") Schneider of  "The Dukes of Hazzard" are making several appearances this month.

Dec 5: Tom Wopat and John Schneider at John Schneider Studios - Holden, LA
Dec 16: John Schneider and Tom Wopat at Lyric Theatre (Early Show) - Stuart, FL
Dec 16: John Schneider and Tom Wopat at Lyric Theatre (Late Show) - Stuart, FL
Dec 20: Al. Ringling Theatre (Early Show) - Baraboo, WI
Dec 20: Al. Ringling Theatre  (Late Show) - Baraboo, WI
Feb 25: Ellie Caulkins Opera House - Denver, CO

Image courtesy of the Wopat web crew

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: Nöelle and her merry band of Christmas Scoobies!

A few weeks ago, you saw BRBTV's Halloween-costumed Scooby-Doo plush toys on our Terrific TV Toys series. Now we turn our attention to that other great holiday, Christmas, with a special episode highlighting several more Scoobies. In fact, with this episode, we are now up-to-date with the Scooby collection -- you now will have seen each and every Scooby housed at the BRBTV headquarters!!! Have you been counting? There have been 95 of them profiled across six episodes of the series. (It seems like more, doesn't it?)

Nöelle, Dancing-Doo, Snowy-Doo, Holly-Jolly-Doo, and the most recent and oh-so-unique Eggnog-Doo bid you a fine Christmas season!

Check out the addendum to this episode -- call it episode 49.5 -- that reveals what Eggnog-Doo has to say!!! Join us as we open up the little guy on camera! It's better than Al Capone's vault -- we actually find something in there!!!!

Stay tuned, because we've got one more episode for Season 2 of Terrific TV Toys. It also happens to be the 50th episode of the series, so we'll be celebrating a very special 50th anniversary ...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Our fave Kalamazoo toy show serves up the good TV-related stuff, once again

Heeeeaaaaa-ven ... we were in heaven ... This past weekend's Circus Maximus Toy Show at the fairgrounds in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was again a big blast for BRBTV, as we saw a whole lot of cool toys related to classic television shows. Behold ...

A J.R. Ewing-themed "Dallas" jigsaw puzzle, above, and a nice assortment of TV show board games below. "The Six Million Dollar Man," "The Flintstones," "The Partridge Family," "Welcome Back, Kotter," "Emergency," "The Fall Guy," "Mork and Mindy" and more ... Did you have any idea there was a "General Hospital" board game????

You see that small Mego Luke Duke figure from "The Dukes of Hazzard"? That sticker in the corner says "80." We didn't ask!

We saw quite a few of the Hasbro "Charlie's Angels" dolls at the show. This is a wonderful set of the first three of the four dolls, for $85. We saw the others loose and reasonably priced. This author showed you her two -- Farrah and Jaclyn -- in Episode 12 of Season 2 of the Terrific TV Toys series.

Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
Copying with credit is OK; a link would be grand

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Own a "Dynasty" gown: Joan Collins' property stars in a December auction

It makes us a little nervous when a megastar from one of our beloved classic TV shows decides to auction off her belongings. But Julien's Auctions is featuring a collection next month that you won't want to miss, as it includes an item or two from Collins' time on "Dynasty." The catalog itself is lovely and a great keepsake for fans. Included in the collection are quite a few pieces worn on-screen from "Dynasty," its reunion movie, and other productions -- even her slinky blue number from the Snickers commercial with Stephanie Beacham. For convenience, we're including the official press release for Collins' auction here ...


Beverly Hills, California – Julien’s Auctions, auction house to the stars, announces The Collection of Dame Joan Collins, an exquisite collection of fashion, jewelry, decorative arts and personal items representing her life and career. Joan Collins, first and foremost, is an actress but she is also a best-selling author, an accomplished producer and a successful entrepreneur. Nominated for an Emmy Award and winner of a Golden Globe Award and People’s Choice Award, as well as numerous other awards worldwide, Collins has appeared in more than 60 films and dozens of television programs.

When Alexis Carrington appeared on the hit primetime television drama, “Dynasty,” women from all over the world dreamed of being her and living the life of luxury and high stakes as only Carrington could have lived. It was Dame Joan Collins who brought the cunning and beautiful Alexis to life on the screen from 1981 to its end in 1989. The ABC award-winning drama featured Joan Collins alongside John Forsythe, Linda Evans and others.

Stage Worn Corset
The tale of Colorado oil tycoon Blake Carrington and the women he loved and wronged captivated America each week for eight years. The show was also nominated every year for a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Drama.

Collins won the Golden Globe in 1983 for her role in the show.
Versace Choker
The legendary Collins has worked aside some of Hollywood’s most popular stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Bette Davis, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas and numerous others. Some of her most memorable films include “The Girl in The Red Velvet Swing,” “Rally Round the Flag Boys,” and “The Virgin Queen.”  Her work in television has included TV shows such as “Starsky & Hutch,” “Mission Impossible,” “Love Boat” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” just to name a few. Since Joan made her stage debut at the age of nine and signed her first film contract at the age of 16, she has gone on to become one of the most iconic and recognizable Hollywood stars of our time.

Joan Collins Mink and Fox Fur Cape
Highlights from The Collection of Dame Joan Collins include outstanding couture dresses from the 1960s, costumes, designer fashions and accessories, jewelry, career memorabilia, decorative art, furniture and personal items. These highlights include two vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunks, a 1961 beaded event worn couture dress, a couture halter dress worn to the “Doctor Doolittle” premiere, costumes from “Dynasty” including event worn gowns designed by Nolan Miller, a custom made white fox and mink cape designed by furrier Edward Lowell, a collection of costume jewelry dating from the 1960s to present and a gold perfume bottle gifted to Collins from Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. Other highlights include furnishings and many personal items.

Collins is also a tireless humanitarian and patron of worldwide charities including the International Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities, The Shooting Star/Chase charity and others. In 1997 Dame Joan Collins was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the Dramatic Arts and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2015 for her services to charity.
The Collection of Dame Joan Collins will be featured in a full-color collectible catalog. The catalog will be available at www.juliensauctions.com.

Monday, November 23, 2015

People mag features power women of classic TV in its special issue

Yea, they certainly are power females, and People magazine recognizes that in the special thick issue on sale at the newsstand now (yea, the paper copy -- some folks still buy that!!!). It's all a celebration of the "women who rule TV," with plenty of fresh faces from current TV shows, but we just love seeing the classic gals ...

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, above, talks about her iconic role and how she did all of her own stunts at first, but then when the show became huge, the producers and crew were much more protective of her. And Joan Collins, below, talks about her just-as-big gig as Alexis Carrington Colby Whatever-Whatever on "Dynasty."

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: Dusty doll by Kenner

We're trippin' back through time once again, circa 1974 or 1975, for the latest episode of the Terrific TV Toys series. The lovely Dusty doll -- an alternative to Barbie back then and a bit huskier in her tomboy demeanor -- is the subject this time. She was a golf champ, she was a tennis champ, she rode a horse named Nugget, and she even had her own sports trophy! Come explore with Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV the appeal of the vintage Dusty doll! And what connection does this lovely toy have with television? Tune in and find out ...

This is episode 26 of the show's second season. Stay tuned -- we've got two more episodes to round out this year, one of them being a very special 50th episode overall!!!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Condolences to the family and friends of George Barris

He was a true pioneer -- maybe the pioneer -- where TV star cars were concerned. And now George Barris, creator of the Batmobile and other fabulous cars from classic television shows, has, as our buddy Mike put it, "gone on to that great Batcave in the sky." BRBTV offers condolences to Barris' family and friends. This author had the pleasure of talking with him at this past summer's Fleetwood Country Cruise-In hosted at the Steve Plunkett estate in Ontario, Canada. Barris was friendly and exceedingly sweet, chatting about some of his work over the years, for an upcoming BRBTV project.

Photos by Grigg; please do not copy without permission.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Rita Lakin talks about her writing work on "Dynasty" and more in her new autobiography

Rita Lakin once wrote for our beloved "Dynasty" TV series. She had a longstanding relationship with powerhouse Aaron Spelling, working for him on several of his projects. As she worked her way up in the biz in the 1960s and '70s, she even was offered another little TV show that she didn't think would become much. "This one sounded so dull and cliche'-ridden," she writes in her new autobiography, "The Only Woman in the Room." "I could just imagine my good-old boy heroes riding around in their pickup trucks with a dead buck deer with huge antlers tied on their hoods. Drinking hard liquor, talking about oil as they brought their trophies home to their trophy wives."

Yea. "Dallas" actually wasn't anything like that.

Yes, that's right -- Lakin was offered the chance to help create the "Dallas" TV series in the late '70s. And she muses in her book how she turned down something that became such a smash hit. "Not my cup of tea," she said at the time. "Who would watch? Who would care? Certainly not me."

Ah, the ironies of life.

But hey, Lakin did great, just the same, doing not only that "Dynasty" gig, but also "Peyton Place," "Mod Squad," "Dr. Kildare," some assorted TV movies. She worked her way up in a business dominated by men. She is to be admired for her diligence, despite being that only female in the room, building such a wonderful, successful career.

I got the chance to review Lakin's new book for Foreword Reviews. Catch the review in the next quarterly magazine or online at the Foreword site.

And by the way ... that whole "Dallas" thing? Well, do you recognize the name Howard Lakin from the credits? That is Rita's son -- he's the one who ended up working on "Dallas." Guess they've got their own family "dynasty" going on!

-- BRB

Photo by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
Copying with credit is OK; a link would be grand

Monday, October 26, 2015

M.C. Gainey, Noel Guglielmi, Kim Richards reminisce about their time in Hazzard County

Guest blogger and avid "Dukes of Hazzard" fan Brian Lombard may seem to be on a mission to meet each and every one of the folks involved in the "Dukes"! He's making great progress, following up his October 7 report with this one from a show in New Jersey this past weekend.

The Chiller Theatre con is the biggest on the East Coast. Held twice a year in Parsippany, New Jersey, each show offers more than 100 stars and draws thousands of fans. If you go, don’t even bother looking for parking.

With that many stars in attendance, it’s hard to NOT find someone associated with "The Dukes of Hazzard." And this weekend, I found three.

First up was M.C. Gainey. Gainey is a member of a very unique fraternity – one of only two actors to have appeared in both the original television series and the 2005 feature film. So his is a unique perspective. I asked him what he remembered about filming the 1982 episode “Bad Day in Hazzard,” in which he played a hired gun holding the cast hostage at the Boar’s Nest.

Actor M.C. Gainey, left, and author Brian Lombard.

“I was using Daisy as a human shield when Bo and Luke first walked in. I picked her up and swung her around, and the director yelled ‘Cut.’ Catherine Bach ran off the set in a hurry, and I found out that when I was swinging her, her top had come undone! That was one of my first acting jobs ever, and I was afraid that they were going to fire me.”

He needn’t have worried. More than 20 years later, Gainey would be cast in the remake as none other than Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, a character he had tormented in the original series (see Gainey in his original role below).

“Warner Brothers, they wanted me to play him goofy, just like James Best had," Gainey said. "Now, Best was a friend of mine, but I made the decision to play him tough. I modeled him after a police officer who used to pick on me when I was in high school.”

When asked what he remembers about the film, Gainey added, “that dog (Flash). We were shooting the courtroom scene on a Friday. The script called for the dog to yawn, but he just wouldn’t do it. The trainer assured us that when we returned to set on Monday, the dog would yawn on cue, and sure enough he did. I don’t know what he did to make that happen.”

Next up was Noel Guglielmi. In 2000, he appeared in the second made-for-television movie "Hazzard in Hollywood."  It was an early role for the actor, one for which he wasn’t even credited. In fact, he has no lines in the film at all. But he is almost always seen standing side-by-side with Amaury Nolasco’s character of Cypriano, one of the many folks who befriended the wayward Dukes.

Eagle-eyed fans may recall that in the previous film, 1997’s "The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion," all of the General Lee’s jumps were recycled from the original series, due to the unavailability of 1969 Dodge Chargers. By 2000 however, enough had been procured to shoot an original jump for the second film, and Guglielmi (shown below) was on hand for the fun.

“It came down hard!" he said. "It was done. They jumped like 1,500 of those on the TV show, Bro." (Most actually estimate this number at around 300.) "But once it’s jumped, you can’t use it anymore. Ever.”

When asked what it was like working on the film, Guglielmi offered nothing but praise.

“It was the final film with the original cast. It was a great to be a part of that.”

Finally, I got to speak with Kim Richards. These days, she’s most famous for "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and for being the aunt of Paris Hilton. As a child star, she made a name for herself in the classic Disney film "Escape to Witch Mountain," and was a regular on the television series "Hello, Larry."  But it was her role as Nancy Lou, Cooter’s estranged daughter in “Cooter’s Girl,” that I most wanted to talk to her about. We didn’t have that much time, as an aggressive handler was moving her line along as quickly as possible. She did, however, say that it was a fun experience, and she was surprised that I remembered it. I suspect it’s not a role that people often mention!

Actress Kim Richards with author Brian Lombard.

Brian Lombard is the author of "Bradypalooza: The Unauthorized Guide to TV's Favorite Family."

Images are courtesy Brian Lombard; please do not copy without permission.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Lynda Carter dons her "satin tights" again on a lovely printed page

Have you caught DC Comics' new take on the classic "Wonder Woman" TV show yet? The Wonder Woman '77 Special issues 1 and 2 are out and bringing you new tales based on the popular 1970s series. The series follows the successful Batman '66 title based on the Adam West TV show, and the Wonder Woman art is even more amazing -- especially that of Nicola Scott, Annette Kwok and Jason Badower. Sooooo much like a photograph of Lynda Carter.

Each volume collects a couple tales, which were initially released electronically. Issue No. 1 has "Disco Inferno," where Steve and Diana go undercover at Studio 52 to protect a defected Russian scientist who's in danger. The second story is "Who is Wonder Woman?", a lively romp back in time that offers up images of Debra Winger as Drusilla / Wonder Girl and an earlier TV Wonder Woman with blond hair and the red-and-blue skirt costume with leggings who strangely does not actually look like Cathy Lee Crosby. This is an alternate reality that Diana has to figure out.

In the second special issue, "The Cat Came Back" takes place at the "Madisonian" Institute in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Minerva is upset that her work is being shoved aside for a new Wonder Woman exhibit. It's wonderful because it's a Cheetah origin story, going to where the TV show for the most part never did -- with WW battling an actual comic book villain. And it's a supernatural alteration, a mutation for Dr. Barbara Minerva that changes her into Cheetah. Then, in the second story, "Celsia 451," our hero investigates the murder of the CEO of a nuclear energy provider whose plant explosion caused a radioactive disaster in Ohio. A new villain is introduced, named Celsia, a victim of the disaster who now has radioactive powers. And the story makes reference to more villains in WW's "rogues gallery," again taking the printed page where the TV screen did not go. A bonus story in that second special issue, "Wisdom of Solomon," features DC villain Solomon Grundy in a case highlighting domestic abuse.

These tales occur in the continuity of the second and third seasons of the show -- the 1970s seasons, of course, as WW is adorned in her updated costume rather than the '40s version. There is a reference to her battling Hitler, though. (Thanks; we were always partial to the first season.) And Steve Trevor is featured -- now a director at the IADC -- whereas he was being written out of the show as it coasted to its stop at the end of the third season.

Monday, October 12, 2015

See BRB's latest episode of "Fantastic Forum"

This author takes on hosting duties once again in the latest episode of the "Fantastic Forum" TV show airing in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philly and New York! The topic is movie adaptations of comic books, and we had a lot of fun taping this one at Awesome Con in D.C. Thanks to show producer Ulysses Campbell for his great editing job, because you don't see all the fun geeky stuff we're trying to remember and all the out-of-control laughing we're doing as we're taping this one! It turned out quite nice, even though it was recorded after-hours so you couldn't see the day's massive crowds behind us!

Look for more Awesome Con location episodes of the show in the weeks to come. And here's your guide on where to catch the show if you're on the East Coast:
  • Manhattan Neighborhood Network, New York, NY; Time Warner Cable MNN Lifestyle channel 2
  • PhillyCam,  Philadelphia, PA; Comcast channel 66/966; Verizon FiOS channel 29/30.
  • MCM  Montgomery County, MD; Comcast channel 21; RCN channel 21; Verizon FiOS channel 21.
  • Arlington Independent Media (AIM), Arlington County, VA; Comcast channel 69; Verizon FiOS channel 38.
  • FPA-TV,  Fairfax County, VA; Cox channel 10.
  • DCTV, Washington, DC; Comcast channel 95; RCN channel 10; Verizon FiOS channel 10.
  • Prince George’s Community Television (CTV), Prince George’s County, MD; COMCAST channel 76; Verizon FiOS channel 42.
  • Community Media of Baltimore City (CMBC), Baltimore, MD; Comcast channel 75.
  • Herndon Community Television, Cox channel 23, Verizon FIOS channel 28.