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 Espinoza; 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.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: It's the Halloween special with even more Scooby plush!

Nothing says Halloween like Scooby-Doo, so we're marking this great holiday with a whole batch of Scoobies. And it's a magical Scooby week, anyway, with the premiere of a brand-new Scooby-Doo show, "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo," on Cartoon Network!

In Season 1 of the Terrific TV Toys series, you saw a heap of Scooby-Doo plush from the collection at BRBTV headquarters. Checkered, polka-dotted, pink, yellow and what-have-you, one even bigger than this author, they are a varied and wondrous lot. But we weren't done showing you stuffed Scoobs -- we've gotten more since then!

Most of the Scoobies you'll see in this Halloween special were nabbed at a booth at the Taylor Town Trade Center in Metro Detroit last December. Another one was just procured last month at a Goodwill store in Paw Paw, Michigan. (yes, you read that right -- what a great place to find a Scooby!!!!).

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Charles Cyphers recalls his time on "Isis," "Wonder Woman" and "The Dukes of Hazzard"

Special thanks to guest blogger Brian Lombard!

Halloween is almost here, and among the many annual traditions is Monster Mania, a horror and sci-fi themed convention In Hunt Valley, Maryland. Last weekend saw the likes of such masters of horror as George Romero, Dee Wallace Stone and Meg Foster, among many others.
While horror has never been my go-to genre, the convention always allows for the opportunity to meet with the actors and discuss some of their other roles, the ones that the con organizers don’t necessarily advertise on the flyers. Early roles in television and film, before they made it big.

Dee Wallace Stone was amazed that I brought up her 1977 episode of Sid and Marty Krofft’s TV series "Bigfoot and Wildboy," as most fans were interested in discussing "Cujo" or "E.T." Meg Foster was equally amazed that anyone remembered her trilogy of episodes on the series "Quantum Leap," rather than her role in Rob Zombie’s "Lords of Salem." But inevitably you’ll find a role on their IMDb page that’s just ripe for a BRBTV guide. Enter Charles Cyphers.
Most famous for his role as Sheriff Brackett in the "Halloween" movie franchise, Cyphers began his career like any other actor, taking roles in television and film hoping to establish a name for himself.  And fans of BRBTV are sure to have seen his work.

Charles Cyphers as Sheriff Leigh Brackett in "Halloween" (1978).
In 2012, BRBTV released "Superchicks: A Guide to TV’s Wonder Woman and Isis." Cyphers has the distinction of having appeared in both series.  So I asked him to discuss those two early roles.
“'Isis,' that was one of my very first roles,” he said. “And I got to play a car thief.” 

Cyphers and I had been discussing his roles and their availability on DVD. He was not aware that "Isis" was released until I mentioned it. 

“That really shocks me. I had no idea that that series was still around. Just the other day, I got a royalty check, a BIG one, for 'The Six Million Dollar Man.' For the DVDs. 'Isis'?  Never saw a thing.  I don’t know who owns it, but we shot it for Filmation.”
On "Wonder Woman," Cyphers played Kurt in the first-season episode “Wonder Woman in Hollywood,” one of the episodes in which a very young Debra Winger played Wonder Girl.
“That was a great episode for me. The director (Bruce Bilson) was a friend of mine, and while we were shooting that episode, he was also directing me in a play. He would tease me about that for a long, long time. And Lynda Carter, yes, she was great to work with.”
A few years later, Cyphers would appear in two different roles on "The Dukes of Hazzard," as chronicled in "Them Dukes! Them Dukes!" He appeared in one of the very first shows shot in Hollywood, “Limo One is Missing.” Five years later, he would return to Hazzard in the sixth season’s “Dead and Alive.”
When asked about the experiences, Cyphers says that he had a lot of fun filming "The Dukes," but he adds that “those boys were full of themselves. I had more fun on 'Wonder Woman.'”

Monday, October 05, 2015

Some more "Dukes" art to fascinate fans

We told you about the fabulous "Dukes of Hazzard"-themed paintings by Jim Wilson of Ontario, Canada, in not only our May 29, 2013 and January 28, 2015 blog posts but also in the newest edition of the "Them Dukes! Them Dukes!" reference guide to the show. Well, Jim is at it again, just painting another beauty last week ...

It's a General he painted from his 1:18 model car. We asked if this was inspired by an episode, like several of Jim's other paintings, and he said no, and that he painted it with a nighttime scene "because u never see dukes at night." Yea ... might have a point there! Anyhow, here's another painting Jim has done this year ...

AND ... as if that's not enough!!!! Check out this truly special specialty item ... a stool fashioned like a guitar fashioned like a General Lee! When have ya'all ever seen one of those before? Jim made this by hand for his friend, Jason Darling, a fellow artist we've profiled on this blog and in the book! That's Jim and Jason in the photo below.

The stool is made of wood and took Jim about a week to craft. Did he use any kind of model for it? Nope, Jim says, it's all in his head. And aren't we glad it is!!!

Images courtesy of Jim Wilson and Wilson Estate Photography; please do not copy without permission.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: Bionic Action Club Kit

Ahhh, remember those days of youth, when you could mail in like $1.25 or something and receive a membership card and certificate and whatever else to some cool club. This author became a member of the Archie Club that way, ya know! That membership card is still rattling around in some wallet or purse up in the closet (yes, I carried it for a while)! Well, our friend Andrea Melchiori became a member of the Bionic Action Club back in the 1970s, when she loved "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman" TV shows. Andrea takes over hosting duties of Terrific TV Toys for this latest episode, where she shows you the precious items she received in the mail for this oh-so exclusive club, as well as some other items in her Bionic collection.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con: James Rosin

From in front of the camera to the printed script, to the pages of a book ... James Rosin has experienced all of that -- and sometimes he has experienced all of that centered around the same show! ("Quincy M.E.") Rosin has appeared on several TV shows, from "Love, American Style" through "Sleepers." He has also written books about the shows "Quincy," "Route 66," "Wagon Train" and more. Here, he talks with Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV about his career.

This rounds out our coverage of the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con a couple weekends ago in Maryland. What a good time! Special thanks to our fellow author Brian Lombard for the assist with the camera!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con: Stanley Livingston

It was our first time at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con, a show brimming with stars of classic TV, a show that we've had our eyes on for years. And what a good day to go to this event, which ran September 17-19 -- this author was there the last day of the show, when things were a little quieter. When I could chat a bit with those said stars, and not keep them from the swarming throngs. Take Stanley Livingston, who played one of "My Three Sons." Loved that show!!!! Livingston talked about what it was like to grow up on the show -- and what little pranks he may have accidentally played with his bro and castmate, Barry ...

Keep tabs on Stanley on his website, StanleyLivingston.com, and watch for a new companion guide to "My Three Sons," which you see a draft of in this interview!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Profiles in History auction offers classic "Dynasty," "Dukes," "Star Trek" goodies and much more

Ever wanted a tunic just like Spock's in the original "Star Trek" series? How about Spock's actual tunic from the original "Star Trek" series? The possibility is even more meaningful since we lost Leonard Nimoy recently. The Profiles in History auction has that tunic, along with some other stuff from classic TV shows. 

The auction, Hollywood Auction 74, starts at 11 a.m. PDT on September 29, and continues September 30 and October 1 and will feature almost 1,900 noteworthy lots. The three-day event has items from a range of TV shows. Invaluable.com is hosting this auction on their website. They are the largest online auction marketplace with several live auctions running daily. If you're interested in other prop or collection auctions be sure to keep your eyes on their collectibles page

Behold these two offerings for next week, from the auction's press materials:

Lot 1590: Leonard Nimoy “Spock” tunic from "Star Trek: The Original Series"
Estimated Price - $70,000 - $90,000
This velour science division Starfleet duty uniform tunic was worn by Leonard Nimoy as the mixed human-Vulcan first officer, “Mr. Spock”, in the second season of Star Trek: The Original Series. Complete with original rank braiding on the sleeves and insignia, this incredible piece has been stored in a dark closet since 1968 and the color remains exceptionally vibrant. What is truly remarkable is the iron-clad accompanying provenance. This Nimoy Spock tunic was the first prize in a 1968 “TV Star Parade’s Star Trek--Design-a-Costume Contest.” Never before have we encountered such a prized wardrobe piece from the Original Series with such exceptional documentation. Mr. Spock remains as the overwhelming favorite and most highly desired Star Trek character by collectors. This second season tunic is beyond reproach. Tiny 2 mm. hole on the left breast with slight staining under the arms; very fine overall condition.

Lot 1591: Star Trek: The Original Series script signed by cast and Gene Roddenberry
Estimated Price - $1,000 - $1,500
Star Trek: The Original Series script signed by cast and Gene Roddenberry. (Paramount TV, 1966-1969) Vintage original studio bound and bradded 113-multi-color revision page final draft script written by Jerome Bixby. Originally the personal shooting script of Vic Perrin who guest starred in the episode as “Tharn.” In vintage very good condition. 

The array of "Trek" items on the third day of the auction is quite stunning.

There's also a "General Lee" 1969 Dodge Charger from The Dukes of Hazzard going up for bids.

And if that didn't already float your boat, a "Dynasty" cast-signed script. 

Among the other classic TV offerings:
Images courtesy of Profiles in History; please do not copy without permission.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con: David Pollock

Remember on "All in the Family" when Edith got that mink? And it had to go to the cleaners (cue Mr. Jefferson!)? Well, David Pollock remembers it, because he wrote it! Pollock also wrote for other classic TV shows like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "M*A*S*H." Comedy writing is his specialty, and he also has a new book out about the comedy team Bob and Ray. Pollock talked with Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV at last weekend's Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con in Maryland, just as things were winding down a bit on the last day of this fun show ...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con: Jon Provost

For his role on the classic TV series "Lassie," actor Jon Provost had to establish a rapport with this lovable collie off-screen as well as on-screen. In the midst of his seven-year run on the show -- where he started at the tender age of 7 -- he established more than that, however. He established a sort of a calling that would stay with him for decades. Provost talked to Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV at this past weekend's Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con about not only his time on "Lassie," but the special visits he made to hospitalized children, and the important work he does with animals to this very day.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con serves up some classic TV fun

It was our first time at this past weekend's Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Con in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and we had a lot of fun. Not only did we behold some fabulous stars of classic television, but we got to indulge our love for some terrific TV toys of the 1970s and '80s, as well ...

It was a Bionic reunion as Lindsay Wagner, above, star of "The Bionic Woman," appeared, as well as Lee Majors of "The Six Million Dollar Man" and their costar Richard Anderson, below, with his manager.

Action figure cosplay? Believe it! This couple did a dynamite redeaux of the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman 12-inch figures of the 1970s by Kenner (see the real things in the first season of the Terrific TV Toys series, by the way!). And wow, yes, there were action figures for "The Love Boat." Seriously ..

"The Dukes of Hazzard," Donny and Marie Osmond's variety show, "Charlie's Angels," "Mork and Mindy" and more ... We saw all kinds of tempting TV toys!!!!

Stay tuned, because we're bringing you four great interviews from the event in the coming days ...

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

Monday, September 14, 2015

TV-themed goodies get us ready for the holiday season ... but just not quite yet

I know, I know -- how frustrating is it to see Christmas stuff in the stores in September? We don't like it much either. We like to hang onto summer in September, embrace our pumpkin spice lattes and Batgirl costume only in October, love Thanksgiving in November, THEN (and only then) enjoy the Christmas season. Still, we couldn't help but snap photos of what we saw in the Hallmark store over this past weekend. So many fun Christmas tree ornaments related to beloved classic TV shows, from the Six Million Dollar Man to the Muppets and Mork from Ork and more ...

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

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

"Dukes of Hazzard" creator Gy Waldron weighs in on the Confederate flag

Much has been said in recent months about the Confederate flag that sits atop the General Lee car on "The Dukes of Hazzard." We were delighted, however, to read these words from Gy Waldron, the creator of the beloved 1980s TV series. Mr. Waldron is kind enough to let us reprint them here ...

Waldron is still at his writing craft, by the way. He has written a book, a romantic thriller called "Twist of Time." See GyWaldron.com to learn more.


The General Lee

My grandfather, Franklin, of whom Uncle Jesse was based, said, “Never debate with one whom you must first educate; you’ll both lose.”

The discussion about the Confederate flag is impassioned and acrimonious, and I don’t want to heighten the tension or offend, defend, preach or justify.

Growing up in the South, I had an experience with the Confederate flag that perhaps those who reside outside the South may not understand. Family, friends, neighbors and local business owners had no attachment to racism or white supremacy, but many – most – did fly the flag from their porches. Seeing the flag flying was ordinary and uneventful yet seeped in culture. It represented not slavery nor racism, but Southern heritage—much like sweet tea, cobbler, playing country music on the back porch, or multiple dialects. It was unique to its setting, found almost everywhere, and most definitely not a symbol of racism.

To have it placed on the roof of the General Lee was not politically profound; it defined the culture of Hazzard County, which had nothing to do with racial superiority. And while “Southern lifestyle” is entangled with controversial definitions, the one referred to here crosses racial lines—I shared this experience with black and white friends throughout my lifetime.

My family history is entangled; two brothers fought on opposite sides of the Civil War and my great, great grandfather, Anthony McGill, owned slaves. One year before the war started, McGill became a Baptist Abolitionist, and as such, no longer had slaves under the dictates of his faith. Two of the then former slaves moved north, while another two, a couple, chose to stay on the plantation with McGill. They were sharecroppers, the first in the county, and were buried in our family graveyard after a long life of farming with my family. Generations later, we were active in the Civil Rights movement.
None of this is to mark my place with a particular opinion. I’m laying out my experience, not for an expiation of wrongdoing, because I am not a racist; it is merely to establish discourse and personal clarity. I hope you’ll join me in conversation and help deepen my understanding of all angles and thoughts on the matter.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Terrific TV Toys on Wheels: KITT of "Knight Rider"

We have had a great time this week and last week showing you some Terrific TV Toys on Wheels, as a special set of episodes in our regular web series. For the fourth installment, we turn our attention to the classic '80s TV show "Knight Rider," starring David Hasselhoff. Little boys everywhere (including this author's cousin, Jimmy!) were once enthralled by Michael Knight and his talking car KITT, and perhaps still are, and in this episode, we talk to one of those boys all grown up: David of Clio, Michigan. David loves taking his KITT car to shows all across Michigan, like this one, the Cruisin' Hines show that happened last weekend in Metro Detroit. His KITT has a working dashboard full of gizmos and gadgets and a voice of KITT that just doesn't quit! Thanks so much, David, for taking the time to talk to BRBTV!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Terrific TV Toys on Wheels: The General Lee

In the past week, the Terrific TV Toys series delivered up a couple great TV star cars: the Munsters Koach and the Batmobile. Well, now, how about a little "Dukes of Hazzard" action? In the newest episode, it's another great Terrific TV Toy on Wheels as we talk to Kevin of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, about his General Lee. He bought it from our buddy Billy in Tennesee, and it was bright and gleaming as it took in the fifth annual Cruisin' Hines event in Livonia, Michigan, this past weekend. Kevin even weighs in on that whole Confederate flag business as he tells us about some of the details of this car.

And then, who stops by, but President Abraham Lincoln? Or a guy who looks a whole lot like him?! Ron is from Livonia, and this is the second year in a row we saw him stop by the star cars and pose for pictures at Cruisin' Hines.

Finally, at the end of this episode, you will behold the beautiful array of "Dukes" cast and crew signatures Kevin has on the trunk lid of his General. He tells BRBTV he regrets not being able to have Christopher ("Vance Duke") Mayer sign the trunk, too, before the actor passed a few years ago. But it's a good collection, besides!

Stay tuned, because we've got one more TV star car to show ya this week ...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Terrific TV Toys on Wheels: Munsters Koach

Whew, it's been a busy week on the BRBTV News Blog, and we're glad it's Friday! Let's celebrate with another great Terrific TV Toy for grown-ups, shall we?

At last weekend's Woodward Dream Cruise, the Munsters Koach replica that calls Metro Detroit home was on a mission. It desired a particular signature on its dash, and the particular person to provide that signature was appearing at the Dream Cruise, most specifically near Nine Mile and Woodward at the Ferndale stretch of the cruise. That particular person was Butch Patrick, aka Eddie Munster of classic TV's "The Munsters."

Patrick owns his own Munsters Koach replica, actually, but don't be confused. The Koach you see moving along Woodward Avenue in the latest installment of the Terrific TV Toys series is the former, and the Koach you see sitting next to Patrick's signing table is the latter. Oh, and then there's a fab reproduction of Grandpa's Dragula car from "The Munsters," to boot. That's Patrick's too. It makes for a fine display at events like this!

This is the second episode in our special Terrific TV Toys on Wheels series -- look for more in the coming weeks and months.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Woodward Dream Cruise: The Red Baron shows up, but Snoopy's nowhere in sight

The Red Baron, of course, is a real historical figure, Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, respected by comrades and enemies alike for his piloting prowess for Germany during World War I. But c'mon ... can you look at this thing of beauty from last weekend's Woodward Dream Cruise and not think of Snoopy???

The owner is from St. Clair Shores, The Detroit News reported, and the plane (a red tri-plane, like the Red Baron actually flew) runs on a lawnmower engine. The propeller is powered separately by a battery. It may not fly, but it did drive down Woodward Avenue, at about 10 miles an hour, as you'll see in this video.

(We came thiiiiiiiiisssss close to making this into a Terrific TV Toys on Wheels episode, since Snoopy did battle the Red Baron in that creepy-cool fantasy sequence in 1966's "It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," the third Peanuts TV special and the second one to be holiday-themed. But that's a bit of a loose connection, right? Hmmm ...)

BRBTV votes this one best in show for the Woodward Dream Cruise!!!! But hang on, we've got one more great vehicle to show you from the cruise (actually, three, if you really think about it), coming up for the next episode of Terrific TV Toys on Wheels. And this one has a definite classic TV connection!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rest in peace, Yvonne Craig, who blazed a beautiful Bat-trail for many other females

CNN's report calls her a "pioneer of female superheroes" and even mentions our fair "Superchicks" Lynda Carter and Joanna Cameron in the first breath. Indeed, Yvonne Craig was the first real live-action TV superheroine, before the Wonder Woman and Isis of the 1970s, as she donned that lovely purple and yellow Batgirl costume for the 1960s "Batman" series. But more than that, she showed true girl power, and she was a wonderful role model for little girls everywhere.

This author first interviewed Ms. Craig back in the late 1990s for a story for The Detroit News in advance of her appearance at the Motor City Comic Con. She returned to the con over the years, like this appearance in May 2012, when I got to see her again and chat with her -- and buy her book, which is a wonderful examination of early Hollywood. This actress lived those years before she ever did "Batman" or "Star Trek," and had great stories to tell.

Read the lovely words from her family on her official website, as well as her obituary.