Monday, September 01, 2014

Step into the "Munsters" Dragula! It even drives, Tony says!

Tony Greco of Pittsburgh has a hot replica of the "Dragula" coffin car featured on "The Munsters," and in this video from last month's Steel City Con, he gives Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV a glimpse inside and out! This thing even drives, he says. Nice. We do still love the gold-colored Dragula replica built by our buddy Mike here in Metro Detroit, but hey, this one will do, too!

Thanks to Brian for the assist with the camera.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Butch Patrick talks "Munsters" a paranormal house (what?) and more with BRBTV

Buying a paranormal house? Riding around on a Harley? Working on a new book that will initially have only a 100 or so copies? These are the elements of Butch Patrick's life right now. Hear all about it in this video of the "Munsters" star chatting with Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV at the Steel City Con near Pittsburgh earlier this month.

We had mock-threatened him before, when we spoke to him on the phone for this interview regarding the proposed new "Munsters" series, that we were going to get him on camera! Thanks, Butch, for chatting with us. Thanks to Brian for the assist with the camera! (And please pardon the fact that we were flying without a mic that day!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tony DeGuide talks with BRBTV about his movie with Mickey Rooney

Tony DeGuide is an actor and a filmmaker, and he's done some modeling over the years, too. Based in Chicago, he's got a movie project coming up that he discusses with BRBTV, plus he gives us the goods on the movie he did with Mickey Rooney, which was one of that legendary actor's last projects. Enjoy his comments below, at this video shot at the Hollywood Show in Chicago in August 2014.

This rounds out the BRBTV coverage of the Hollywood Show -- now on to those Steel City Con videos from earlier in the month!

Thanks, Tony! And thanks to Don for the assist!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Diane Franklin tells BRBTV all about her new book

Diane Franklin was just adorable back in the day, when she was making '80s movies like "Better Off Dead," "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," and "The Last American Virgin." She's still adorable, BRBTV learned as we chatted with her at the Hollywood Show the weekend before last on a sunny day in Chicagoland.

Franklin has also done some television over the years, like "Matlock," "Charles in Charge" and the "Dallas: The Early Years" movie, where she played the young Amanda (Ewing). Now Franklin has released an autobiography, "The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s," which you can find on Amazon. She's quick with a dainty little accent -- French or English -- and she's a delight to talk to. Thanks, Diane, for chatting with us.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Parker Stevenson talks "Hardy Boys" with BRBTV

Let's get frank, shall we? Because that's what we tend to do here on the BRBTV News Blog. When this author was a little girl, it wasn't Shaun Cassidy she was watching on the 1970s hourlong drama "The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries," based, as you know, on the popular kids' books. Though I loved Nancy Drew, and had probably read each and every one of my yellow hardcover Nancy Drew books at the time and never missed an episode of the series starring Pamela Sue Martin, when it came to the Hardy Boys installments of that series, I wasn't a Shaun girl. That was my best friend Julie. She couldn't get enough of Shaun. Shaun posters, Shaun issues of Tiger Beat, Shaun everything. Da-Do-Run-Run. But me? It was Parker Stevenson for me. He was the hunky one, as far as I was concerned. He was the real man of the two, the older, rather stable brother. And just so hot. OK, that's pretty frank.

Last weekend's Hollywood Show just outside of Chicago offered up a nice selection of stars of the classic TV shows we grew up with. You saw the John Amos interview on Monday. Well, how about none other than Parker Stevenson? This longtime actor, who we also loved in the 1980s "North and South" miniseries, was kind enough to chat with us for a few minutes toward the close of the show on Sunday. He reminisced a bit about "Hardy Boys," as well as his role on "Baywatch," and gave us a tidbit on his very recent "Longmire" episode -- he'll be coming back to the show! Fabulous!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We love TV books!

Wow, what a nice find! This is a big part of the reason we go to shows like this past weekend's Hollywood Show at the Hilton in Rosemont / greater Chicago. We've been reading about Hollywood Shows for years and have been wanting to go to one, seeing list after list of wonderful guests from classic TV shows. Finally, we got to experience one of the shows, and if we could characterize the vendor offerings of this particular event, it would definitely be TV and movie books. Just about every vendor had them on their table, and the choices were marvelous. Here's what we snagged on Sunday ...

We left the price tags on so you could see them, but these were all half-price at this particular table. That "Mod Squad" is a hardcover, a Whitman Book copyright 1970, and sitting next to it on the shelf were similar books for "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "My Favorite Martian," "Dr. Kildare" and others. There were three of those "Welcome Back, Kotter" paperbacks, produced by Tempo Books (and we could've glutted out and gotten all three, but you should see the BRBTV book collection already). This one is copyright 1976 by the Wolper Organization Inc. and the Komack Co. Inc. We couldn't tell how the three editions were numbered and wanted to get the first in the series if at all possible, but this one evidently ain't it. No. 1, it says on the inside pages, is called "The Sweathog Trail." The author is William Johnston.

The "TV Super Stars '81" tome very much reminded us of the "TV Time '78" paperback this author got as a child. It has a little chapter on each of a bunch of different stars of the era, including Patrick Duffy of "Dallas," above. Larry Hagman and Linda Gray are also featured, as are John Schneider and Catherine Bach of "The Dukes of Hazzard." The recently passed Robin Williams, starring in "Mork and Mindy" at the time, is in there, interestingly enough, as well as a bunch of the "Eight is Enough" stars, the original Big Three of "Three's Company," Valerie Bertinelli, Erik Estrada and more. In all, 29 stars have chapters, which give little bios and snippets of their lives at the time, plus a black-and-white photo and vital stats that include birthplace, birthdate (not year), hair and eye color, height and weight.

Great TV reading, man!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

John Amos talks to BRBTV about "Good Times" and "Roots"

Once in a while you talk to someone you've always really-really-really wanted to meet, and for this journalist that was yesterday, that was the Hollywood Show in Chicago, and that was John Amos, star of "Good Times" and "Roots" -- both history-making television series and so important from a cultural standpoint.

As James Evans, Amos was strong, solid, wise, protective of his children, faithful and devoted to his wife, and a man who felt a strong sense of responsibility as a father, both in providing for his family and imparting values to them. To this little girl growing up in a small town in the Midwest, he was the ideal dad. You just didn't mess with James Evans. As he talks about his experience on the popular 1970s sitcom, Amos describes just who was his inspiration for this portrayal of this iconic dad, as well as how he felt about the social responsibility in helping present this classic TV family of color that was so real and unapologetic amid struggles with rough times in inner-city Chicago.

Amos also played the older Kunta Kinte in the groundbreaking 1977 TV miniseries "Roots," based on Alex Haley's novel, while Levar Burton was the younger version of Kunta Kinte. This TV event -- busting out viewership records -- rather brutally brought this era of American history alive like no history book could.

I watched both of these TV series when they originally aired, and I'm so thankful to have met and talked to Mr. Amos!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Terrific TV Toys: The Mego figures of "Star Trek"

Mego Corp. ruled the action figure world back in the 1970s, and we're not just talking superheroes. Not by any means. They did tons of great figures from TV shows, like our beloved "Dukes of Hazzard," "Happy Days," many others. But one set that was pretty popular was the "Star Trek" collection of Megos. This author owns a few of them and shows them to you in the newest installment of the regular BRBTV series, "Terrific TV Toys (*of a vintage nature)."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We all will miss the sweet Jo McLaney

It's a sad day when we have to say goodbye to such a sweet friend. And indeed, the rest of "The Dukes of Hazzard" world mourns with us. Miss Jo McLaney of Covington, Georgia, whose flower shop originally supplied flowers to the "Dukes" filming in Georgia, an avid fan of the show who was such a fixture in its world, and whose collection of "Dukes" memorabilia wowed fans for years at the A Touch of Country shop in Covington, has passed away.

Jo was more than a friend to this author. She was a sweet presence, an inspiration. She loved others, and others loved her. She was very active in the "Dukes" community, an advocate for the show and an important keeper of a slice of "Dukes" history. But more than that, she was a gentle soul and a kind person. I first met her at A Touch of Country, at one of the Saturday meetings she would hold there for fans of the "Dukes" or "In the Heat of the Night," which also filmed there in Covington. She was so helpful in the production of the "Them Dukes! Them Dukes!" reference guide. I saw her often over the years and kept in touch. We chatted at the first Hazzard Homecoming, 2011, and I was able to shoot a little video of her. Jo talked about her "Dukes" collection, and showed us all of the "01" items she was wearing -- earrings, bracelet -- even fingernails!

Rest peacefully, dear one.

And BRBTV offers prayers of peace and comfort for Jo's family.

Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
Copying with credit is OK

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rest in peace, James Garner, gone at age 86

You wouldn't think that "The Rockford Files" would appeal to a little girl of the 1970s, but indeed it did, with this author, as she watched from the 13" black-and-white television atop her bedroom dresser, the TV she had just gotten for Christmas or a birthday and the TV which had significantly broadened the horizon of childhood. All of a sudden, I didn't have to watch what anybody else in the house was watching. I had control, autonomy. I could explore any new world that the Big Three networks (and perhaps one or two independents) would afford me from my post in rural mid-Michigan. And one world I happily explored was that of James Rockford.

He was strong and assured, smart but ordinary, that James Garner. The role wasn't his first but definitely one of his most noteworthy. Did he remind me of my dad? Yea, probably. And my dad liked him and watched the show, too. But James Rockford was just so interesting in his own right. A solid, manly build. Strong features. Not pretty-boy handsome, but more ordinary-guy handsome, and it's the latter that this girl prefers. Hot without trying to be. It was his very indifference that seemed to have such an appeal. The wit, the sarcasm, the tolerant disgust with the workings of the world around him. Piecing together an existence here and there, with his private-detective business, basically down on his luck but getting by. The underdog, I guess. And the rough-hewn background of James Rockford mirrored, in a sense, that of James Garner. It all added up to such a nice package. He wore it well.

I loved James Garner and followed his career through the years, after those days of viewing in the 1970s. I felt a certain kinship with him, as we had an important date in common, though regrettably I never got to meet him. And seriously, did he really sustain a decades-long marriage -- since 1956, the year my mom graduated from high school? Garner deserves a gold medal for that. Nobody in Hollywood does that. "Marriage is like the Army," Wikipedia quotes him as saying, "everyone complains, but you'd be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist."

BRBTV offers condolences to Garner's wife and family. The actor was found dead at his home of apparent natural causes last night. Read more about Garner's career at Wikipedia, Fox News and CNN.

Photos from Wikimedia Commons, public domain, and Alan Light, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Lynda Carter talks "Wonder Woman" on "Katie"

Classic TV's "Wonder Woman" made an appearance on the "Katie" show this week. Lynda Carter, looking good as always, talked with host Katie Couric on Monday about her time on the superhero series of the '70s. She said she can't believe sometimes that people still recall her as "WW."

In talking about the iconic outfit she wore on "Wonder Woman," Carter admitted that she asked for the waist to be loosened up. "My mother had that waist, and it just made me look like somebody had yanked (hand motions), and then it made my hips look big."

Carter discussed the end of the "WW" series and the transition in her life.

"I eventually decided to move to Washington. I was still doing a series at the time, and Maybelline Cosmetics at the time and a lot of work, but fell in love with a great guy from your area," she told Couric, "a native of Washington. You were from Virginia, right?" she asked the host.

Did Carter miss acting, at that point? "I actually did a lot of work in acting. I did a lot of different movies during that time and guest appearances. A couple of series. But I did this series in Vancouver and I missed my daughter's fifth birthday, and I said I'm not doing it again. I'm not committing to something long-term. And I really gave up singing because the road is no place for a child. It's a terrible place for a child."

Couric showed a clip of Carter's recent appearance in "Two and a Half Men" (where Carter said she felt like giggling every time she got close to her co-star, Ashton Kutcher: "You remind me of my son, and this is too weird!" she quipped). Carter has also embarked on a new tour, "The Time of Your Life." Couric showed a clip from Carter's last tour, singing the Queen hit "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."

How does Carter feel about passing on the lasso of truth to Gal Gadot, who will soon appear as WW on the big screen? "Well, they didn't ask me," she joked. "I kinda wanted to keep it, but ..."

Kidding aside: "The truth is that I wish her well. I think to play a superhero is kind of thankless in a lot of ways, and as long as they don't write it for a guy and put a girl in there, you know, grrr, because that's not Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman's about heart, about kindness, about righting wrongs. It's like all of us, right? It's where we live. It's all of the places we live. And that's really who Wonder Woman is. All of the things we do. And then there's still that secret self that wants to come out and act every now and then. So we come in all shapes and sizes, and I really do hope that she can bring that kind of heart to the character."

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Fourth of July from BRBTV!!!!

Perhaps you've seen the recent holiday photos on this very blog celebrating the collection of plush Scooby-Doos at BRBTV headquarters. There was the Halloween photo, the Christmas, the Valentine's Day, even the Easter photo. And if you've seen any of those, you of course realize that this collection keeps growing!!! We are most definitely Scooby-Doo fans here at BRBTV, seeing this character and his TV show as among the most marvelous ever on television. We also happen to have someone around who is mighty good at that whole claw / crane game thing at the grocery store, at the mall, at the local carnival, at our friendly neighborhood Dave and Busters ... And that mighty, mysterious Claw Game Avenger Who Shall Remain Unnamed has set out to rescue Scoobies everywhere (at least from many parts of Michigan, with a little darts and coin-pusher assistance here and there from BRB) ...

So here's what we're looking at now, for this special Fourth of July edition of the BRBTV News Blog. And yes, they all do have names. And yes, we're going to give you those names!!!!!

OK, so ... (we can't believe we're doing this) ... starting from the arm of the sofa on the left, the Christmas Doos: Nutcracker-Doo, Candy-Doo, Santa-Doo, Antler-Doo, Candy-Too, Rudy-Doo, Santa-Too. Then the checkered Doos: Justice-Doo, Honor-Doo, Equality-Doo (aka Ebony and Ivory Doo), Courage-Doo, Valor-Doo. Then the Valentine Doos: Sweety-Doo, Hearty-Doo, Lovey-Doo and Mama-Sweety-Doo. On the right arm: Floppy-Doo with Squirty-Doo on his back.

Moving to the back row of the soft, left side, the Marley family: Papa Marley and Uncle Doobie, with Marley-Doo, Doobie-Doo and Hippy-Doo. Jingle-Jangle-Doo and Manhattan-Doo are in front of them. Then along the back, it's the Fruity Doos: Limey-Doo, Apple-Doo, Grape-Doo, Blue-Doo, Kiwi-Doo, Cherry-Doo, Blueberry-Doo. To the right of Blueberry is ole Grampa-Doo, then the other brown Doos: Smiley-Doo, Bucky-Doo and Chippy-Doo.

In the bucket is Scrappy-Doo, and next to him the recently added Rocky-Doo. Moving back across the sofa from the bucket, across the front it's the Gangsta Puppies, G-Doo, O-Doo, B-Doo and P-Doo (the brand-new neon Doos -- we're right on the claw-game cusp with these!). Next to P-Doo is Old Yeller Doo. Then in back of the puppies we have the spotted Doos: Spotty-Doo, Snotty-Doo, and close sisters Dottie-Doo and Diva-Dottie-Doo. Just in back of them is Pinky-Doo.

OK, front row now!!!! From left, it's My Big Boy and My Bigger Boy (not in that order), plus the Easter Doos: Baby-Bunny-Doo and Bunn-Ana-Doo with Hoppy-Doo and Bunny-Doo in front. Then it's King Kong Doo with Fuzzy-Doo in front (another most recent acquisition, whom we discovered during this very photo shoot actually talks when you press his ear!!!!). Finally, it's Delivery-Doo, Isotope-Doo, Radioactive-Doo with Scooby-Boo in front of him, and THEN ... the one that's in front of Isotope-Doo???? You'll never guess!!!! It's .... Scooby-Doo.

Were you counting? That's 61. And that won't be all. We just have no idea how we're going to take the next photo.

Have a wonderful Independence Day celebrating the freedoms we are blessed to have.

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Dukes" cast members will appear at Indiana event in August

Catherine ("Daisy Duke") Bach and James ("Rosco P. Coltrane") Best of "The Dukes of Hazzard" are among the guests at a charity event in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on August 9. The one-day event happens at the Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds and will also feature Sonny ("Enos Strate") Shroyer, Byron ("Coy Duke") Cherry, Don Pedro ("Sheriff Little") Colley and Rick ("Cletus Hogg") Hurst.

The event will benefit the C.H.A.R.G.E Syndrome Foundation. Proceeds will go toward the foundation and to get Madison Carroll Kremer, 12, a lifetime membership.

The fun will include a Daisy Duke look-alike contest, Uncle Jesse cook-off and other stuff. The night before, August 8, Best will be doing his one-man show at Lawrenceburg High School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m., showing clips from shows and movies he has done and telling about his life.

Read more about the event at this website. Thanks to Brian for the heads-up!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Take a look at the Jersey General

One of the cool folks that BRBTV got to talk to in Philadelphia last weekend was the owner of a very nice General Lee replica (yea, it's true -- all roads lead back to Hazzard, wherever we go in this great nation of ours!).

Tom Felice lives in New Jersey and calls his car the "Jersey General." The car was the General featured on an episode of AMC's "Comic Book Men." Felice told us that he was approached at a show just like this one last weekend by folks from the show and asked to appear on it. Check out, also, AMC's video clip of the episode to see Tom offering up his "Dukes" merchandise. Yea, we recognize that stuff!!!

Thanks to Tom for taking the time to talk to us last weekend. (And catch Brian's tribute to "Comic Book Men" with his staff T-shirt in our video! The guys from the show also had a table at this event.)

You can see more info about the car at the Jersey General's Facebook page. This car is available for birthdays, weddings and other events!

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

From one voice actor to another: Remembering the great legacy of Casey Kasem, by Will Rodgers

"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

That was the famous sign-off for legendary radio personality Casey Kasem, who sadly passed away at the age of 82 after a long battle with both dementia and Parkinson's disease. Kasem left this world on Sunday, June 15, 2014. He was among the last of the all-time radio greats and for many years was the host of America's Top 40 Countdown. When he retired in 2009, he handed the reins over to Ryan Seacrest.

While Casey Kasem's top claim to fame was in the world of radio, he was also an accomplished voice actor. If you were a child watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, his voice was definitely heard on many cartoon shows, whether it be by Filmation, Hanna Barbera, or Sunbow Animation. Also during those days, when studios operated on limited budgets and voice actors consisted of three or four people in the cast, each voice actor would voice several characters as well as the main role they were playing. As for the characters he played, there were quite a number of them. If Dick Clark was the world's oldest teenager, then Casey Kasem was the ageless teenage voice since most if not all of the characters he's played were teenagers. So it's hard to believe he was 82 when he passed.

I recall that Casey Kasem was the voice of the Autobot Cliffjumper in the "Transformers" animated series by Marvel/Sunbow in 1984. By that time, his voice was very distinguishable. He also portrayed Mark in "Battle of the Planets." A series I never saw, but I recall people mentioning it after his passing.

Kasem was Alexander in the 1970 cartoon series "Josie and the Pussycats." While I never saw this Hanna-Barbera series, I have seen the episode of the "New Scooby Doo Movies" where Scooby and the gang met up with the female rock group. If I can recall, Alexander was the Shaggy of that series.

Coming down to the two voice roles I know him for best, I must say "Zoinks!" for my next tribute. My second favorite voice he played is the role that everybody knows him best of all, Shaggy on "Scooby-Doo." (Or Norville Shaggy Rogers.) Shaggy is the owner and sidekick of Scooby-Doo and has been on all incarnations of the show. However, Casey Kasem voiced over Shaggy from 1969 to 1985 on Saturday mornings, and on "A Pup Named Scooby Doo." Beyond that, Kasem only voiced over Shaggy on a couple of direct-to-DVD movies and was the voice of Shaggy's father from time to time. Don Messick, the original voice of Scooby-Doo, had passed away some time ago, and now Kasem is gone, too. The girls, Daphne and Velma, are interchangeable and various women have voiced them over, which leaves Frank Welker, who is still the voice of Fred (Freddie) Jones (and is now the voice of Scooby-Doo).

Kasem will be sorely missed since he originated the beatnik character of Shaggy. It's interesting to note that Shaggy at one time would eat anything and everything. When Casey Kasem was a vegetarian, it was written into the modern animated series and movies that Shaggy is a vegetarian, too.


"Holy departing voice guys! So long, old pal. We'll never forget you."

Casey Kasem can also be remembered for bringing an iconic teenage superhero to life in the form of animation, Robin, the Boy Wonder. In an interview with Starlog magazine in 2004, Kasem revealed that Robin was his very first voiceover gig. While Superman was first animated by Fleischer Studios in 1941, it was the fledgling Filmation Studios who first animated Batman in 1968 as part of the "Batman/Superman Hour." While Ted Knight narrated the cartoons and voiced over Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and the villains, and the late Olan Soule was the first to voice over Batman, it was Casey Kasem who first voiced over Robin as well as voicing over various other male characters. He even donned an Irish accent and voiced over Chief O'Hara, as well. While Shaggy is his best known voice gig, Robin gets my vote for second best remembered role.

In 1970, he and Soule voiced over Batman and Robin on a few PSAs that Filmation made for "Sesame Street." In 1972, Kasem played both Shaggy and Robin when the Dynamic Duo guest appeared in two episodes of the "New Scooby Doo Movies" in the episodes "The Dynamic Scooby Doo Affair" and the "Caped Crusader Caper." Olan Soule reprised his Batman role and Ted Knight was already part of that voice cast, voicing various characters. In 1973, all three of them would become part of the "Super Friends" by Hanna-Barbera. Ted Knight narrated this one version only. And Olan Soule portrayed Batman on the "Super Friends" until Adam West took over the role in 1984 on "Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show." However, Casey Kasem loyally stayed with the role of Robin throughout all the "Super Friends" incarnations from 1973-1985. Kasem voiced over Robin one more time on a Cartoon Network promo, which has Robin hanging out with other cartoon sidekicks. He still sounded good in the role.

There are two kinds of Batman fans. There are those who like the Dark Knight and prefer Batman to be a loner. The other category are Batman and Robin fans, which I am one of. While most of the Robin haters look down upon the Boy Wonder as a scrawny little kid or a queezy little punk or a brat in a bright red and green costume, Casey Kasem portrayed a Robin who was a very intelligent, competent teenager or college kid who I thought was super cool, and Kasem's performance commanded respect. While I have enjoyed the performances of Burt Ward, Chris O'Donnell, and Loren Lester as the Dick Grayson version of Robin, it was primarily Casey Kasem who has made me a proud Robin fan.

So if you are a fan of the "Adventures of Batman" by Filmation, Shaggy on all the incarnations of "Scooby-Doo," Robin on the "Super Friends," Alexander on "Josie and the Pussycats," Mark on "Battle of the Planets," Cliffjumper on the "Transformers," or musicwise, if you were a longtime fan of America's Top 40 Countdown, then Casey Kasem will be truly missed by all his fans. In fact, Kasem was one of the reasons I went into radio and am pursuing a career as a voice actor.

Farewell, Casey Kasem. You will be missed. and again, as Casey used to sign off his radio show, "Keep you feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

Will "The Voice Man" Rodgers, who has been called "The Voice of Hazzard County" by members of the "Dukes of Hazzard" cast, is also the author of the BRBTV guides to the "Superman" and "Justice League" animated series.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rest in peace, Mr. Kasem

With the news of Casey Kasem's passing this weekend, the Doos that were added to the BRBTV plush Scooby-Doo collection on Saturday -- just hours before his death -- stand at attention in tribute. We, of course, know Kasem as the voice of Shaggy on "Scooby-Doo." Kasem died at age 82 yesterday, after suffering from Lewy Body disease, a form of progressive dementia, for several years.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

We're wowed by the collection of

Thanks to Joe Johnson at, BRBTV is now the proud owner of the beautiful vintage Peanuts vehicles below. There's Charlie Brown in the No 25 red-and-white racer, Lucy in the little yellow No. 15, Snoopy in the red (love that), and Woodstock in the green No. 7. These beauties were produced by Aviva Toy Co. in Hollywood.

BRBTV now also has the brand-new Snoopy HW City doghouse vehicle by Hot Wheels. Thanks, Joe! Check out Joe's site for your guide to any kind of die-cast car, particularly the ones celebrating classic TV shows we love. For instance, being a "Dukes of Hazzard" fan, he's sure got that show covered, including BRBTV's fave "Dukes" car, the 00 Mustang ...

Joe's collection of signed items is very impressive -- he's gone to many cons and other events to meet the folks involved with these TV shows. Check out the cars on his "Dukes" page, as well as his page for "Dallas." Can you believe there were that many cars released for the original "Dallas"? This includes Ewing Oil tankers and individual character cars.

Plus, Joe helped solve the mystery we'd wrestled with since seeing Greenlight Hollywood's new "Dallas" vehicle, just released this year, which we posted about on February 6. We were thinking that thing was supposed to be a Southfork pickup truck, but it's not noted as such anywhere on the packaging. Well, check out, where you will find a guide to every car used on any kind of TV show or movie!!!! Wow, we're really impressed that someone has taken the time to put something like this together. When you check out the page for the original "Dallas" series, you'll see that 1970 blue Chevy C-10 truck shown in screenshots, being driven by Ray and used in the first few episodes of the show (note the snow at Southfork). Love that!!!!

We checked out what there was for the "Wonder Woman" 1970s show, and wow, there's a ton of cars there, including that powder-blue Mercedes of Diana's that we remember so well. The IMCDB even has a "Dynasty" page, though it needs some info. C'mon, hard-core fans, dial in ...

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

New Facebook page documents the "real" General Lees

Every "Dukes of Hazzard" fan knows there's a big difference between a General Lee replica and a real General Lee. There's a whole bunch of beautiful replicas out there, and the owners of those cars will tell you that when they take them to events, there are folks outside of the show's lore (and some inside) who will assume that's the "real" car from the TV show.

Well, there wasn't just "one" General Lee, of course, and that's a whole other story. But we have to admire a new Facebook page, just launched yesterday, that sets a goal of chronicling the story and details of each of the "real" General Lees, meaning each car used in the production of the TV series and surviving in a small number after the show went off the air (and preserved thanks in part to the fine Mr. Wayne Wooten).

The Facebook page is just starting out and doesn't have a lot of info on it yet (like the recent commercial starring John "Bo Duke" Schneider and Tom "Luke Duke" Wopat in fine form along with one of the original cars), but we're curious to keep an eye on it and see how it develops.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bo Hopkins talks to BRBTV at Canadian event

We're just going to come out and say it ... We had a bit of a crush on Bo Hopkins when he played Matthew Blaisdel on "Dynasty." He struck us as a sort of Marlboro Man -- tough, smart, strong, with an ethic or two amid an unethical biz. Matthew believed in hard work. He was hunky. We liked that. Quite a lot.

So it was with great pleasure that this author got to talk with Hopkins as he greeted fans at the Fleetwood Country Cruize-In, a yearly car show held at the Steve Plunkett estate in Ontario, Canada. Hopkins was one of several celeb guests, along with Candy Clark and car designer George Barris, appearing at the event last weekend.

Hopkins talked about working with Farrah Fawcett on "Charlie's Angels" (they went jogging together), as well as his "Dynasty" days -- both in the early days of the series and later when he made his shocking return in the siege of the Carrington mansion at the end of Season 7. He also gave his views on how the industry has changed over the decades.

Hopkins doesn't make very many appearances like this -- as he says in this video, he's not part of the comic con / autograph show circuit. We're honored to have gotten a little of his time!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Terrific TV Toys: Farrah Fawcett doll by Mego

She was a true 1970s icon, a natural beauty with free-flowing charisma. She was at ease in front of the camera, and the small screen certainly was her forte, whether in series television or made-for-TV movies. She was Farrah Fawcett (with the -Majors tacked on back then), and she was the undeniable star of "Charlie's Angels."

Yea, once in a while you'll hear someone say Jaclyn Smith was their favorite Angel, and once in a lifetime you'll hear say Kate Jackson was, but c'mon -- let's face it -- for the zillion or so rest of us, it was 100-percent Farrah. Farrah of the hair-ah, the blond beauty who was friendly and fun and had a slice of brains when she needed one, too. Farrah who had her ups and downs over the years but whose star still shone brightly until her passing far too soon in 2009, fated to have her death date overshadowed by another cultural icon, though that one draped in considerable infamy.

This author lived Farrahdom back then, amid the sensational '70s. Watched "Charlie's Angels" as it originally aired. Wanted to be Farrah like every other little girl out there. And now is sharing a small piece of that world with you in the latest installment of the BRBTV Terrific TV Toys video series ...

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Terrific TV Toys: Diana Prince / Wonder Woman by Mego

She could thwart evil with a magic spin (as our BRBTV television spot for the "Superchicks" book says), and every little girl wanted to be her back in the 1970s. She was Wonder Woman, as portrayed by Lynda Carter in the amazing live-action TV series. And she was celebrated by a 12-inch doll by Mego at that same time -- one of several 12-inch female dolls Mego produced with that same body mold.

This author owned the doll as a little girl and shows it to you here in the latest installment in the Terrific TV Toys (*of a vintage nature) video series. Marvel at how the doll transforms from Diana Prince in her War Department uniform (1940s first season of the show!) to Wonder Woman in the familiar, ever-popular "satin tights" (well, a form of polyester, actually, in this case, but stunning nonetheless!).

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Terrific TV Toys: Bionic Beauty Salon by Kenner

Every Bionic gal needs a place to get a tuneup now and then, do a little diagnostic on the artificial parts, you know, and perhaps get a mani and pedi! For Jaime Sommers, "The Bionic Woman," that place was the Bionic Beauty Salon made by Kenner in the 1970s, in celebration of that great classic TV show and its amazing super-spy character.

BRBTV's Terrific TV Toys (*of a vintage nature) video series continues with this installment taking you up-close and personal with this blast from the past, part of BRB's own childhood collection ...

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Terrific TV Toys: Fembot doll by Kenner

Every good female hero needs a bad female villain, and for Jaime Sommers, "The Bionic Woman," that was the Fembot. On the classic 1970s TV series, this was a robot with a decidedly feminine flair. The androids were introduced over a story arc that spanned "The Bionic Woman" and "The Six Million Dollar Man." Never watch the shows? Consult the Bionic Wiki and you can read all about those lovely but deadly creatures.

As Kenner was cranking out the cool toys in celebration of the two shows in the '70s, it certainly bet wisely on a Fembot doll. This is a nice one. Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV shows you her own copy of the Fembot from childhood, which has all parts except (we figured after this video was shot) the little stun gun. (See the Fembot's packaging and details at

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Motor City Comic Con: BRB in costume!!!!

We had to round out our coverage of this year's Motor City Comic Con, which you've seen on this blog over the past couple weeks, with something a little goofy. Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV had the privilege of experiencing for the very first time that whole concept of con cosplay at this event. She was interviewed by a few different folks on the convention floor that day, because this costume got quite a bit of attention -- there seemed to be no one else at the con wearing this one! One of the folks who interviewed her was Mac Kelly, who once hosted the nationally syndicated "Wolf Man Mac's Chiller Drive-In" TV show and who was at the show with Joseph Johnson of ONTV. Thanks, guys, for this great clip, and this is wonderful coverage of the show!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Motor City Comic Con: Terry Kiser

Terry Kiser liked BRB's hair. We're talking the hair she wore on Friday of this year's Motor City Comic Con, a look that friend James once politely referred to as "Swiss Miss" (she's got the red plastic Swiss Miss mug, too, so look out!!!) Yea, the braids over the top of the head. Kiser was a bit bummed she wasn't wearing it in this interview on Sunday, after he saw it on Friday. We're pretty sure it will catch on, but in the meantime, it definitely has one fan in this actor, star of just about every classic TV show you could ever name if you spent all week trying ... except one. Can you guess the one? Hint: It's one of the very shows BRBTV has had the pleasure of covering for the past decade and a half.

Mr. Terry Kiser was kind enough to talk to not only Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV at said comic con, but also buds Andrea Melchiori and Don Covell Jr.. And when we say he was charming, we mean it. He was just adorable. Once BRB got to chatting with him, and had a look at the photo offerings at his table, she gained a whole new appreciation of his body of work. Kiser has a distinctive look about him. The eyes, the mannerisms. You've seen him in lots of things. Notably, he was in "The Six Million Dollar Man," "The Bionic Woman," and at least one of their reunion movies. How did he like that Bionic thing, we had to ask at the outset????

"I liked it at a lot," Kiser said. "I ended up being best man at his wedding." Really? "Yes, Mr. Lee Majors and Faith Majors. When I first came out to Hollywood from the New York stage I guest-starred on 'The Six Million Dollar Man.' And he was very gracious to me, because I was dying on his show, and I was dying like I was in New York, watching the balcony of 1,500 people. I died big," he said with a flourish. "And he said, 'Get down, it's television.' So I appreciate that wonderful gesture by Mr. Lee Majors, and he has been a friend ever since."

One of Kiser's episodes of "Six Mill" also starred Cathy Rigby, popular gymnast of that era. "She was very nice. She was a lovely lady," Kiser said. "This was kind of her first acting debut, so she was very nervous. But we were very gentle with her. And she was polite. Very nice lady."

Kiser's memories of "The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries" series were not quite as pleasant, when thinking of the producer, but, he said, he turned out to be that producer's "good luck charm." "So every time he did something, he put me in it," he joked. "So that turned out to be good."

Kiser did a fun episode of "Three's Company," portraying, as he said, "a head of the mafia trying to eat spaghetti like his mother used to make. And so they made it very hot, and it turned out to be the longest take in television history without saying anything." What? Really???

We had to ask Kiser, given his resume spanning the decades, how he feels television has changed over the years. "I'm not proud of this, but I haven't watched television in 30 years," he said. "I'm a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which I vote for the Academy Awards, so they send me movies. So I get like 75 movies a year. So between movies, and I love sports, and a little bit of news, that takes up my time. So I admire the makers of television series, but there are too many commercials for me now." Yea, surely the hour of television is shrinking in actual story minutes all the time. "And a lot of our cable and Netflix and things like this are changing this."

We had to ask about the "Weekend at Bernie's" movies, where Kiser got to "play dead." "It was a very live experience," he joked. "I was very happy that none of the checks bounced. That was very thoughtful of them. No -- it was a wonderful experience. Here you play a dead guy and you're recognized all over the world, which is kinda kooky. But I was very proud of that movie, because it wasn't schtick; it was real, honest-to-goodness comedy, out of situations. And so you could watch that movie 100 times and you'll still laugh. Like slipping on a banana. The ninth time is funnier, watching some guy slipping on it, than the first time. So yea, 'Bernie' 1 and 2, thank-you."

And that single classic TV show he wasn't in? It was "The Dukes of Hazzard," we jokingly note. OK, maybe that wasn't the only one, but it sure seemed like it! Kiser had no idea why he never got to do that show -- he said he would've loved to have driven the car!

"I love acting," he said to sum up his longtime career. "And so every time I'm on a set, I feel happy and it's a good experience."

And with that, BRBTV has just about have wrapped up our coverage of this year's Motor City Comic Con! There's just one more installment, in two days, and it's a special one ...

Screenshots by BRBTV;
copying with credit is OK; a link would be grand