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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Motor City Comic Con: Robert Hays

We learned one thing about Robert Hays at this year's Motor City Comic Con. Well, perhaps we learned a lot of things (we got to hear his great Helen Hayes story, for instance). But the first thing we learned about Robert Hays of the "Airplane" movies is that you can't take him too seriously! We had a great time doing this interview -- Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV and friend Andrea Melchiori -- as Hays discussed "Airplane," his much more recent project "Sharknado 2," and more. We're so glad to share it with you, in our continuing coverage of the event from the weekend before last ...

Thanks to Don for the assist with the camera!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Motor City Comic Con: H.M. Wynant

BRBTV was thrilled to discover the golden nugget of Mr. H.M. Wynant at the Motor City Comic Con the weekend before last. Not only has he been in a couple of the classic TV shows we cover, but he's been in a ton of other great classic television. Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV got the chance to chat with him on camera, and he talked about portraying Donna's literary agent Ed Chapman in the original "Dallas" series, as well as appearing in one of the best episodes ever of "The Twilight Zone" -- "The Howling Man," plus much more! Our BRBTV coverage of the con continues with this latest interview ...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Latest from "Dynasty" collector Bjørn is a very glamorous gold

In our September 20, 2013 post we told you about a "Dynasty" fan who has an amazing collection of items from the series -- wardrobe and otherwise. Well, Bjørn has made a new acquisition, and it's simply lovely. When we first saw this one, it reminded us of Fallon's red sparkle dress we love so much from the show (see the BRBTV "Dynasty High" guide for an interview with the owner of that precious piece). This dress is so much like the red one, except in glittering gold. So divine!

Bjørn tells BRBTV that this one is quite identical to the red sparkle dress except for the slit in the front. This gown was also worn by Sally Field for the PR for "Soapdish." Bjørn is actually looking for more photos of the dress -- if you've seen any, please comment on this post!

"I have also gotten Emma Samms' Fallon opening credits and PR shots in red dress necklace, and the pearls Blake gives Krystle when she loses the first baby," he tells us. Again, we're in awe!

Images courtesy of Bjørn; please do not copy without permission.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Motor City Comic Con: Jane McNeill

This author has had the great pleasure to talk to seven cast members (and three zombies) of AMC's wonderful "Walking Dead" series, so far, and that's mostly in just the past few weeks (look for the upcoming "Dead" interviews from Washington, D.C.'s Awesome Con on episodes of the "Fantastic Forum" TV show). At this past weekend's Motor City Comic Con, it was the lovely Jane McNeill that Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV got to chat with (along with Scott Wilson and Kyla Kenedy off-camera).  BRB and friend Don asked her about her experience on the "Dead," as well as the weekend's event, which was a first of a kind for her.

"It is not the first time I've been in Detroit," she told us, "but it is my first comic con, or convention. I've kind of done an appearance or something before, but I've never really done one of these, so it's been kind of exciting and different."

The role of Patricia on "The Walking Dead" was her first TV role. Nothing like starting things out with a bang! "I had started acting again in 2009 and I had an agent," she said, "and I had worked with a casting director and trained to be on camera, because I never really had done that. I quit acting for 15 years. Anyway, several auditions had come and gone, but this one came up and I just felt like I knew that character really well, even though I knew nothing about the show. And I mean literally nothing."

"I didn't even really know it was about a zombie apocalypse, to be honest with you. I just felt like I knew Patricia. It was the scene where I was stitching up T-Dog, and I worked with a bunch of nurses at my day job, so I kind of saw her as this one nurse in particular that was a friend of mine. So that was a sort of jumping-off point. And then I didn't hear about anything for three weeks, so it was just another one of those that came and went. And I was on a trip with my family and I landed in New York, and my agent called and said you have it, you have to be there Tuesday."

So be there, she was! "I live in North Carolina," she said, "so I was in New York, and then the flight was canceled, they lost my bags, I had to rent a car and drive to Georgia with nothing. I was completely wigged out. And the first day on set, I'm at the farmhouse, you know, to meet everybody, and they just kind of plopped me down, and I'm looking around like, omigod, and Andrew Lincoln comes over and kisses me and hugs me and says welcome, and I'm like, I think this will be OK."

Look for the video of our interview, as well as other video from the con, on the BRBTV YouTube channel.

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Motor City Comic Con: Richard Anderson

The first thing we had to ask Mr. Richard Anderson at this past weekend's Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan, is if he owns one of the 12-inch Oscar Goldman action figures Kenner did in the 1970s, to run alongside the popularity of "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman" TV shows on which he starred. Yes, he told us, he does. "And were you at all surprised that it's wearing socks?" we asked. "Very surprised," laughed the actor who became notorious on the set for not wearing socks himself. "What else do you have to say?" he quipped.

The actor, who took time out from signing at his table to talk to Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV and bud Andrea Melchiori, both lifelong fans of the two Bionic shows, elaborated a little more about how that no-socks thing came about in one scene of "Six Mill."

"The plane flew in. They opened the doors and several people come out. I think they cut to it. When I came out, I didn't have any socks on. So I came out, with just the feet, and it felt good, I did the scene without socks. And that next day, the place went crazy. They said you better come down for this new TV show ... And they said, how we gonna do this? They finally came up with the idea that you've got to mix in comedy, too. So I said I don't know how you're going to do that, too. Well, just do it, you know? It will get people more interested in the show."

Andrea asked Anderson what it was like to have to fight his "pal" Steve Austin on the episode of "Six Mill" with the Fembots, as well as about the Venus space probe and its different colors -- was it repainted for a later episode? Anderson wasn't sure about the probe, and laughed about the fight scene with Steve. He didn't mind having to go hand-to-hand with his pal. "I'll tell you, that guy can fight," he said of actor Lee Majors. All in a day's work, right?

We asked him if it was "The Big Valley," of which he did several episodes, where he and Lee first met, and he said yes. "That was a well-made show," he said. "It had Barbara Stanwyck. I'll tell you about Barbara Stanwyck. I came in a half-hour late. She was on the set. She saw me, and she said, 'Do you realize there are no scripts anywhere?' She wanted me to know she knew all of her lines. One of the best-known actresses."

He of course also worked with Linda Evans on that show, then worked with her again decades later on "Dynasty," when he played the legislator with an edge, Buck Fallmont. "I was only supposed to be on for one episode," he told us about the role of Buck. "I ended up being on there for two seasons."

When we asked about his experience working on the movie, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" Anderson kindly took out his wallet and took out two very well-weathered snapshots of the 1936 car he purchased while working on the movie." "I still have it," he said. He keeps it at the garage of a hotel on the West Coast.

Anderson told us one of his secrets -- seven hours of sleep. He goes to bed around 11 p.m. and gets up at 6 a.m. and says that works well with the sun's rising and setting and helps keep him in good health. OK, we've taken it under advisement! This classic actor was such a gentleman. We thank him for talking with us!

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

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Motor City Comic Con: Rachel Skarsten

One of the guests of the Motor City Comic Con that BRBTV had the pleasure of talking to this past weekend was the stunning Rachel Skarsten, who played Dinah Lance / the Canary on the "Birds of Prey" TV series that aired in 2002, chronicling the adventures of the Huntress, Black Canary and the wheelchair-using Barbara Gordon as Oracle. The show, which only lasted a season, also starred Dina Meyer as Oracle and Ashley Scott as the Huntress. Skarsten was just a young teen when she first got the role of Dinah.

"We filmed the pilot when I was 16, and then the show got picked up, and I turned 17," she told us. She learned a lot from that role, and she got a lot of support from her two costars.

"Actually specifically both Dina and Ashley were just really really lovely to me. I had many sleepovers at Ashley's house when I missed my mom."

If "Birds of Prey" had gone into a second season, how did she see her character of Dinah as evolving?

"I think there was a real innocence to Dinah," Skarsten said. "I would've loved to have seen her come into her own more."

Has she read any of the Birds of Prey-related comics? Well, actually, she what she has read are Archies comics, believe it or not, particularly after she lost her father. Reading the tales of the teens of Riverdale were a great comfort to her at that time, she said.

How does her portrayal of Canary differ from how the character has been portrayed more recently on the CW's "Smallville" and "Arrow"?

"I never saw the Black Canary on 'Smallville,'" she said, though she has watched a few episodes of "Arrow" and loves Katie Cassidy's performance as Dinah Lance.

"I feel that we took her back. She had really just discovered her powers. And really was becoming a woman, too. Whereas most of the other portrayals, they're a little bit older than I was. They're either just more self-possessed as females, whereas for me, Dina was actually a lot like myself." Dorky, she said. Dorky, really? Yes, she said it!

Skarsten currently plays Tamsin on "Lost Girl. She does have a film project coming up that she couldn't talk about. We should see it in early 2015, she says.

Thanks to Mike for the great photos!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Motor City Comic Con serves up the great stars once again

What a great first day at the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan. BRB and buds Andrea and Cuz Don talked to a bunch of great folks, saw some pretty fun stuff. And it's only Friday! Scott Wilson of "The Walking Dead" (and those fab "Shiloh" movies!!!!) swung by to say hello to his friend Robert Hays, above, and we chatted with Hays on camera, as well. Look for that video on the BRBTV YouTube channel soon. We also interviewed H.M. Wynant, who has the privilege of being the star of one of the greatest episodes of "The Twilight Zone" ever, "The Howling Man." Here are some other images from a pretty big opening day at an event that we've seen grow immensely in the past decade ...

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

Terrific TV Toys: Oscar Goldman doll (with exploding briefcase!!!)

Need to send a message to mission headquarters? Look up the perp hideout on the map? Check the specs of your Bionic charges in their secret files? Access something in the safe? You can do all that and more with the amazing (exploding!) briefcase! But only if you're Oscar Goldman. If you're someone else, you better watch out!

In honor of Richard Anderson's appearance at the Motor City Comic Con this weekend, the next installment in BRBTV's Terrific TV Toys (*of a vintage nature) series takes a look at the action figure he inspired ...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Terrific TV Toys: Steve Austin doll by Kenner

(Or should that be, "Steve Austin action figure by Kenner"? Because many folks out there consider them action figures. But to this little girl they were dolls!)

The Terrific TV Toys series by BRBTV continues with another figure from Kenner's 1970s Bionic line, Steve Austin, "The Six Million Dollar Man," as played by Lee Majors (who, incidentally, is appearing at the Motor City Comic Con this weekend!).

As with BRB's Jaime Sommers doll, this is not the original Steve Austin doll released by Kenner. The first one had a completely red outfit. The one you see above was released a little later and might even be a little harder to find. It was labeled as having a "Biosonic arm."

Also in this video, you'll see Steve's "Critical Assignment Arms" playset.

Next up, Oscar Goldman and Fembot!!!