Friday, February 25, 2011

Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy star in pre-"Dallas" TV flick

Special thanks to Will "the Voice Man" Rodgers, our collaborator in BRBTV, for uncovering this sweet little gem. Imagine a TV movie starring Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy, and it's not a "Dallas" reunion! In fact, it was filmed a few years before they saddled up to the "Dallas" train!

It's 1974's "Hurricane," and you can watch it in its entirety on YouTube. Jessica Walter, Will Geer and Michael Learned are also in the movie. The plotline, from the IMDb: "A relaxing weekend by the sea becomes a battle for survival when a killer hurricane strikes. Tidal waves over 30 feet high and thunderous, destructive winds batter the coastline." Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spotted: Lesley-Anne Down, Terri Garber and more

The "North and South" miniseries of the '80s, based on John Jakes' juicy novels of the Civil War era, had a dynamite cast. When Book 1 hit the airwaves in 1985, it certainly mined the vast talent of that classic decade, featuring many stars of the BRBTV shows.

It was a time in TV history when miniseries were king. Ahhhhhh ... do we miss the mighty miniseries! So it was with great pleasure that we indulged ourselves last month with a re-viewing of the 12 hours of Book 1, which we remember so fondly from when it originally aired as six two-hour parts. Among the star-spottin' bounty:

- Lesley-Anne Down, our own Stephanie Rogers of "Dallas," playing it sweet and so soft-spoken as Creole Southern belle Madeline Fabray.
- Terri Garber, that sly Leslie Carrington of "Dynasty" and Suzanne Collier of "Santa Barbara," in the amazing role that launched her career, the evil Miss Ashton Main. (We talked with Garber about her "North and South" work; see our BRBTV interview with the star in the current edition of "Send Me to Santa Barbara," as well as a coming update to "Dynasty High.")
- Morgan Fairchild, one of the three Jenna Wades on "Dallas," who gets just a smidgen of airtime as Burdetta Halloran in Book 1 but is back for more action in Book 2.
- Jonathan Frakes, our own Jamie Lee Hogg of "The Dukes of Hazzard," in a key part as Stanley Hazard (yes, only one "z"!), co-owner with his bro in the northern Hazard Iron.
- Bill Conti, composer of the strains of "Dynasty" and "The Colbys," who also did the music for "North and South."

Now on to Book 2 ...

Friday, February 18, 2011

TGIF Toys: Boss Hogg falls to pieces ... and back again

Spotted at the Gaithersburg Antiques Fest in Maryland last weekend, right next to a Penguin Mego (and a Riddler Mego, if you really must know! only $22 each, such a steal!):

A fun jigsaw puzzle featuring our own Boss J.D. Hogg -- Mr. Sorrell Booke -- of "The Dukes of Hazzard." This beauty was complete, no missing pieces, and $12.

Photo by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer talk about their "Dukes" days

Christopher "Chip" Mayer, who is a BRBTV double-shot as Vance Duke on "The Dukes of Hazzard" and T.J. Daniels on "Santa Barbara," was back in action this past weekend at the Hollywood Show in Burbank. BRBTV couldn't be more pleased, as this marks the actor's return to the spotlight after many years away. Mayer appeared with his Duke cousin, Byron ("Coy Duke") Cherry, at the event, and the two also got with Retro Radio Live for a fresh interview on the show floor. BRBTV has some highlights of the interview for you:

- Mayer on acting: "For so many people, it becomes like a rhetoric. Like we're standing here right now, you know, acting becomes listening. People think it's just like bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk, and I spit out my lines. Even Spencer Tracy says, 'Look them in the eyes, tell them the truth and don't bump into the furniture.' It's really acting like life. And acting like life is being in the moment. Be here right now. ... To listen, and then to respond. To take your moments, and not just regurgitate."

- Cherry told the story of originally auditioning for the role of Bo Duke back in 1979, when John Schneider was actually thought to be too young and was put on the "no-see" list. Schneider showed up later, essentially crashing the auditions, six-pack in hand and "introducing" himself as Bo Duke. "Sometimes as an actor you really have to go the extra mile," Cherry said.

- The boys were asked if they felt their time on the "Dukes" set was limited. Cherry said, "We met at the screen test, and I figured if we did one, or maybe got one or two shows in, it would be really good. So we ended up doing a whole season." Mayer added, "When we went to the screen test, they put like five brunet guys and five blond guys in a van, and they take us out to Valencia where they do the exterior shots, then you're doing your screen test with Cathy Bach, with Daisy, while these other #$%^& are sitting there watching you do your work. And eventually they made the call, and we got on the show. But you also had a feeling like, in a way, we're keeping like 35 families in life, because they're like text editors, sound guys. ... There was a tenuousness to it. ... We had a lot of guys that were very cool and a lot of other people that felt they couldn't really align themselves because it would kind of be betraying their allegiance to the original guys."

- Cherry remarked how he has witnessed the fan sentiment changing in recent years toward these "replacement Dukes." Now people come up to them and tell them they saved the show, etc. Mayer said, "It's like in football, if somebody goes down, the star quarterback goes down. And I come off the bench, and I win the Super Bowl, but he's still No. 1. And so those guys came back, and it was like the two girls at the prom with the same dress on. So, they were cool, and the environment, and the executive producers were cool. ... It was fun just being something that was such an icon, culturally. Like 'Gilligan's Island' or whatever. And yet, like right before Christmas break, Paul Picard called us into his office with pink slips and he goes, 'You guys are doing a great job,' and this and that, 'The boys are coming back, merry Christmas.' ... But dude, I'm in L.A., and I'm an actor, and I'm in the land of lost dreams, and for me to come out here and get my feelings hurt, and be in show business is a paradox. That's an oxymoron."

- "Whoever drove the car got more fan mail," Cherry mused, quite seriously! "That was the thing, so they made it 50-50. We split the driving."

- Mayer commented on his overall time on the show, "We came in there with good attitudes. We were humble. We worked hard. ... We had people cutting attitude on us, but we didn't give the attitude back. ... 'He who humbles himself will be exulted.'" Amen!

- When Cherry was about to get the role of Coy Duke, he explained, John Schneider actually advised him not to tell the producers that he knew him, so it wouldn't hurt his chances, as Schneider and costar Tom Wopat were out on their contract dispute.

- Cherry's favorite NFL team: Atlanta Falcons. Mayer's: Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cherry is booking appearances for these two good ole Duke boys. He might even give you a ride in his General Lee. Contact him at

Look for BRBTV's own interview with Christopher Mayer soon here on the BRBTV News Blog ...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Charlene Tilton chats about new TNT "Dallas" project and more

Charlene Tilton, our own Lucy Ewing Cooper of "Dallas," just chatted live with fans this evening at, and BRBTV has a few highlights for ya:

- She has not been asked to participate in TNT's "Dallas" pilot project, which begins filming in the spring and which just cast Julie Gonzalo and Jesse Metcalfe as Rebecca Sutter and Christopher Ewing. "As of now, unfortunately I have not. I am hoping to be," the star said. "I know that Larry (Hagman) and Patrick (Duffy) are in it. I only know two of the names of the young people. I'm sure they'll be wonderful." 

- She does have an idea or two for the project's treatment of Lucy, however, should she be signed on. "When we last saw Lucy she had 25 percent of Ewing oil stock. So I think Lucy to be a force to be reckoned with. John Ross and Christopher would have to listen to her. I think Lucy should also come back with a daughter. With my actual daughter actually. Lucy should come back with her daughter played by Cherish."

She continues, "I read the script for the pilot. I personally thought it was wonderful. I think the fans will love it if they keep up the quality of writing...they will love it."

- She just filmed a new show for Comedy Central (which was where she was just before arriving for the chat, which began at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

- If she had her choice of shows, Tilton says, she would love to appear in ABC's "Desperate Housewives."

- What was happiest time and darkest moment she remembers on "Dallas" and in life? "Happiest time on 'Dallas,' I have to say, was the whole experience in general," Tilton says. "We worked hard, but we had a lot of fun. Larry was the ringleader. He brought us all together from the very first day. Everyone was extremely professional and worked very hard. The darkest time on the set was when Jim Davis passed away. I was very close to him. And his wife Blanche passed away last year just after her 90th birthday."

- A boo-boo corrected? Tilton noted how she recently watched the first episodes of "Dallas" on CMT and saw that the scene with Lucy and Ray in the hayloft was edited out. Of course, this early-days storyline presented a bit of a problem for the writers later, when Ray was revealed to be Lucy's half-uncle. "Such an iconic scene," Tilton laments. "It was great, so hot. I was really upset they edited it out."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Woo-hoo! A Martinez is back in the game!

It was a banner week for fans of the classic daytime soap "Santa Barbara," as kingpin A Martinez, who played Cruz Castillo, returned to the daytime airwaves. He's got a role on "The Bold and the Beautiful," and he's also got a fresh new interview with Soap Opera Digest that gives a little hint of what he's been up since his days on "SB" and more recently "General Hospital," where he was the ever-hunky Roy DeLuca:

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

We will certainly miss Peggy Rea

Fans of "The Dukes of Hazzard" everywhere are mourning the loss of Peggy Rea, our own graceful Lulu Hogg, as news broke this week of her passing. Though nothing is official online yet, John Schneider paid tribute via Twitter. Rea would have turned 90 next month.

To us here at BRBTV, Lulu was the finest character in the regular recurring cast of the show (we've also always been partial to Abraham Lincoln Hogg in his one brief appearance). And that use of the word "graceful" to describe Lulu -- as well as Rea -- is key. Lulu was married to that ole rascally J.D., after all, and the virtues of her patience and grace, her tolerance and compassion, cannot be overstated. From the moment she first appeared in one of the original five Georgia episodes, "Repo Men," giving Boss the what-for about wanting that Rolls-Royce, we were in deep admiration. She was more than Rosco's "fat sister"; she was our big, lovable, all-knowing, all-seeing mom in shift dresses with an even bigger heart. She did the right thing, she said the right thing, she could melt your heart with a whimper and drive like a maniac, and she was the one true restraint of the horrendous hot mess that was her hubby.

Peggy Rea was already a TV veteran by the time she got this role. She didn't need to be forever endeared to "Dukes" fans to have notoriety and respect in Hollywood. Fans of "The Waltons" already knew her as Rose Burton, and she carried that role through a few of her "Dukes" years, too. She got her start way back in the '50s as a ladies club member on "I Love Lucy," and had a prolific career for decades with roles on "Gunsmoke," "Have Gun, Will Travel," "The Wild Wild West" and so many others. She played the early days of another one of our fave shows, the sitcom "Step By Step," and continued acting through the '90s with shows like "Grace Under Fire."

From a feminine perspective, Rea was a titan in the most important way: She blatantly flew in the face of the Hollywood ideal. She dared not to be thin, blond, cosmetically altered, etc. As Lulu, especially, she was a strong female, a female whose fine characteristics walked into the room 10 minutes before she did, a character who couldn't help but command an audience of acceptance.

As with Sorrell Booke and Denver Pyle who passed on before her, most "Dukes" fans didn't get to meet Peggy Rea, as she was unable to do all the appearances that her younger castmates have been doing in the show's resurgence of the past decade or so. But if she's remembered now as an American "character actress," it's because she had the kind of character we could truly admire.

Friday, February 04, 2011

An update on James Best's "Shrews" project

What's better than writing and shooting a sequel to a delightful B movie you made decades ago? Recruiting a bunch of your friends to star in it!

We reported in our January 17, 2010 post about James Best's upcoming sequel to the 1959 film, "The Killer Shrews." The movie now has an official website to keep you updated on its progress: Fans of "The Dukes of Hazzard" will be delighted to know that they'll see not only the aforementioned Rosco P. Coltrane in the film, but also Bo Duke (John Schneider), Cletus Hogg (Rick Hurst), and Burl Tolliver of the "Dukes" episode "The Rustlers" (Mel Tillis).

In the film, Best will reprise his character from the 1959 movie, Captain Thorne Sherman. Hurst, appropriately enough, plays the captain's first mate. Schneider is a "two-fisted animal expert" and part of a reality TV show film crew that enlists the captain to take them to a deserted island where they'll no doubt encounter (da-da-DUN!) ... the Killer Shrews!

Shooting is set to begin in L.A. in the next few months.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Turner issues official release on new "Dallas" project

Oh, we've been geekin' out for weeks -- months, perhaps -- in anticipation of TNT's new "Dallas" project, set to begin shooting this spring. Today the Turner Newsroom churned out a new official press release for the updated series featuring our beloved Southfork clan:

Not only did the news break the other day of Jordana Brewster as a love interest of our two main boys, John Ross and Christopher, but this official news also includes the casting of Josh Henderson of "Desperate Housewives" as John Ross. We also have heard the rumor that hunky Justin Hartley was being considered for either John Ross or Christopher (such timing, since his "Smallville" will wrap its final season just as this one starts filming).