Friday, May 27, 2011

Catch Signy Coleman in "River Ridge"

We have to say ... Signy Coleman, our own Celeste DiNapoli of "Santa Barbara," is looking just gorgeous in her new web series, "River Ridge." Coleman is executive-producing the soap, for which there is not yet a launch date but which has a trailer online for your viewing pleasure at its official site,

Coleman portrays one of two rather-tensely-feuding sisters in this drama, which follows the lives of the residents of a fictional small town on the East Coast. And even while she's deeply agonizing in the trailer clip, she sure looks like she's having fun. It's also delightful to see among the cast Shannon Sturges, the blond part of the blond-brunette-redhead trio of the '90s primetime soap "Savannah."

We certainly love the trend of web-based soaps such as "River Ridge" and "The Bay," as it gets our beloved classic TV stars out there and working.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Next Hollywood Show includes Pamela Sue Martin, Monte Markham, Stella Stevens and more

Ooooh, we're a big fan of this show we haven't actually yet gotten a chance to go to! It's the Hollywood Show, and it happens several times a year, always brimming with great classic TV stars. The next one is July 15-17, in Burbank, and here's who's on the roster:

  • Catherine Oxenberg, Amanda Carrington of "Dynasty"
  • Ed Asner, voice of Roland Daggett in "Batman: The Animated Series"
  • Herb Jefferson Jr., Walden in "The Dukes of Hazzard" two-parter "Undercover Dukes"
  • Monte Markham, Clint Ogden of "Dallas" (a rare treat for "Dallas" fans!)
  • Pamela Sue Martin, the original Fallon Carrington of "Dynasty"
  • Ronnie Schell, Frank Armsted of "Santa Barbara," as well as Lester Starr in the "Daisy's Song" episode of "The Dukes"
  • Stella Stevens, Phyllis Blake of "Santa Barbara" and Mama Joe Max in "The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!" movie

Saturday, May 21, 2011

John Jakes' third Bicentennnial miniseries serves up a different feast of classic stars

In our March 15 and May 18 posts, we've been following the John Jakes Bicentennial novel series and the TV miniseries adaptations of the first three books in the series. Today we turn our attention to No. 3, "The Seekers," and the 1979 TV movie version of Jakes' 1975 book.

Andrew Stevens is not back as Philip Kent in this one. That's the bad news. BRBTV would have loved to see him, being such big fans of that continuity thing and all, but the producers evidently felt it wouldn't make sense to try to age him two decades for this third installment. Rats. OK, so bye-bye to Casey Denault of our beloved "Dallas."

But "Dallas" still gets some representation, wouldya believe. Enter Randolph Mantooth, who played Joe Don Ford, as the lead character in the first half or so of the four-hour drama, Abraham Kent, son of Philip. Then, as a special treat (and this is the "good news"!), there's Timothy Patrick Murphy, credited as "Timothy P. Murphy" in the opening credits. Our own Mickey Trotter, the troubled youth so wonderfully tamed by little Lucy Ewing. (Of course, we know it was a mutual taming!) Oh, how we loved Mickey Trotter! Cut down so soon, on the cusp of an upturned life, by the horrible boozing habits of Sue Ellen's!!!! Ugh. Anyhow ... Murphy takes on the role of Jared Kent, son of Abraham and the lead character of the second half of the miniseries. As Jared, Murphy is a polite and  honorable young man -- a kid, really, who is forced to grow up very quickly as he encounters some of the many catastrophes of this third, acutely depressing installment in the series. (And if you want to read more about how much of a veritable downer this third book was, read BRB's review on Amazon.) Murphy was just three years away from his stint on "Dallas," and an unfortunate nine years from dying at age 29.

But wait, there's more! Picture George Hamilton, our suave and cunning Joel Abrigore of "Dynasty," as a suave and cunning and just-as-evil Lt. Hamilton Stovall, who has it in for poor young Jared in more ways than one. He's arrogant, he's indignant, he's got a nasty pointed tongue. We just don't like him very much, do we???? And Hamilton shines in the part, years before he tormented Krystle Carrington with her "body double" of sorts on our beloved show.

Throw in other great stars like "Brady Bunch" dad Robert Reed as the heavily accented Daniel Clapper, who befriends Abraham, and Ross Martin of "Wild, Wild West," the exceedingly patient editor at the Kent and Son printing company. A fluffy, strawberry-blond-tressed Delta Burke -- fresh as a daisy -- is the fiesty Elizabeth Fletcher, wife (and stepsister -- don't ask) of Abraham and mother of Jared. She begins the miniseries promising the cunning evil of Ashton Main of Jakes' "North and South" trilogy, but she's cut off too quickly to do much damage. Alas and alack. Jakes himself, an aspiring actor at one time in his life, even shows up as the character Alex Elphinstone. All in all, though the events of the miniseries are gruesome, in terms of classic TV fare, it still gets BRBTV's stamp of approval.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Andrew Stevens takes to the battlefield in John Jakes' "The Rebels"

In our March 15 post, we told you about a pre-"Dallas" Andrew Stevens taking his star turn in the TV adaptation of the first novel in John Jakes Bicentennial series, "The Bastard." Well, BRBTV is blissfully making our way through all eight books of Jakes' fine series, along with the TV versions of the first three books, and we just plowed through the second of each, "The Rebels."

Reprising his role as Philip Kent, Stevens is gentle and distinguished in this 1979 small-screen version of the 1975 book. He does say "aye" a lot, which is annoying, but we can forgive him for that. He spends almost the entire story on the battlefield, fighting for his brand-new country. He's wiser than he was in the first movie, and at turns heartbroken and excited as prescribed by the writers of this screenplay. He has no problem in the role.

The disturbing thing, however, is that while the miniseries of Jakes' first book follows the printed page faithfully, this second TV adaptation takes the author's masterful plot and essentially tosses it out the window. Ugh. Missing in this mangling are a few key characters, along with too many events and twists to list here. Big among them is a different outcome for Philip's new wife Anne: We're not spoiling the miniseries by telling you she dies in childbirth early on. If you read the book, however, you'll be far more horrified at what Jakes does with her.

Plus, whereas the book presents the stories of the two leading men in a parallel but separate fashion until the very end of its 533 pages -- Philip Kent and the Virginia plantation son Judson Fletcher -- in the movie the two meet right away and remain fast friends (something like Jakes' "North and South" series portrayed the friendship of its own two leading men, we note). But this really spoils the fact that Jakes so handily pulls off the technique of making you wonder what the heck these guys have in common (or will have in common) until the very end of the book when he gracefully connects their lives. Still, though the miniseries disappoints anyone who has read the book, one redeeming fact is that both book and miniseries end up at the same place, so at least things are set up nicely and consistently for the third book.

We have to admit that after reading "The Rebels," we were very anxious to see who portrays Judson Fletcher in the miniseries. Judson steals the novel away from Philip, we feel, with his drinking, self-loathing, obnoxious-but-determined-to-do-better characterization. We couldn't get enough of the guy. So when we saw a pre-"Miami Vice" Don Johnson in the role, we were at least glad to see he played Judson's sober moments appropriately stern and self-assured. His character is smart and a bit arrogant despite his failings, and Johnson communicated that, though the direction the character was taken in just -- again -- so deviated from the book.

This second miniseries serves up the other classic TV stars, though not to the degree of the first. Tom Bosley of "Happy Days" returns as Benjamin Franklin. William Daniels, voice of K.I.T.T. in the original "Knight Rider," gets to show his face again as John Adams. And we were rather captivated by "Mission: Impossible"'s Peter Graves' portrayal of George Washington. We have never seen him look so much like his big bro James Arness (one of the hottest. Actors. EVER!!!!!!). He's tall and commanding, with such a similar voice and facial features below his powdery wig.

Country music star Tanya Tucker steps in as a frontierswoman who reluctantly takes in an ailing Philip. She's predictably atrocious, only redeemed a touch by the fact that she gets to sing a few lines from "Amazing Grace." And when her obligatorially sexy character throws herself at to Philip, you see how this poor girl was typecast, being the Lindsay Lohan of her generation and all. This character, which doesn't exist in the book, was clearly thrown in to amp up the sex quotient. Geesh.

All in all, if you take this TV miniseries, produced at a time when miniseries were far more valued than they are now, of course, independently of the book, then you'll be thoroughly entertained. Especially if you enjoy these classic TV stars (Anne Francis, Doug McClure, Kim Cattrall, Macdonald Carey also appear). And if you're curious, you can read BRB's review of the book on Amazon.

Coming up in a few days ... a look at the third movie, "The Seekers" ...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Make sure you catch Ian McShane this weekend, and read about Catherine Oxenberg's royal experiences in her blog

While his former "Dallas" castmates are shooting brand-new scenes for TNT's pilot project scheduled for release later this year, Ian McShane, who portrayed Don Lockwood on our beloved '80s classic, is doing just fine. That filmmaking love of Sue Ellen Ewing has gone from one good role to another over the years, notably on the series "Deadwood" and "Kings." Now, he's got the juicy role of Blackbeard in Disney's " Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," opening this Friday. He gets some good star billing in the trailer, so it looks to be a nice thing.

Catherine Oxenberg, meanwhile, that sweet princess of "Dynasty," has got some royal reminiscing you won't want to miss on her blog. Our former Amanda Carrington who married a prince on the show, Oxenberg talks about meeting Lady Diana Spencer back in 1981, as well as her "almost royal wedding" to the guy that Fergie would nab just a few years later, Prince Andrew. Fun stuff.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tom Wopat and his band perform live in N.Y. in June

Thanks very much to the web crew at for keeping us informed on the career of our own Luke Duke of "The Dukes of Hazzard" ... This is their latest ...

Tom Wopat and his band will be performing live at the legendary Birdland Jazz Club in New York City on Monday, June 20! Enjoy this intimate setting and hear Tom perform songs from his current album "Consider It Swung" and more. Order your tickets and get more information from this TicketFly page.

Tom appeared recently on "Good Day New York" to talk about his music and performing in "Catch Me If You Can" - watch the video below! And for even more, read this great interview he did recently with

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Announcing the BRBTV Report on "The Secrets of Isis"

Ahhh, we love to announce additions to the family. Some people have children -- well, our "kids" are of the published variety! This time around, BRBTV welcomes into its family of products a report on the classic '70s TV show, "The Secrets of Isis."

When Joanna Cameron stepped onto our Saturday-morning small screen in that smart white tennis dress with Egyptian touches, she made history as the first female superhero to have her own weekly live-action series. As Andrea Thomas, she was a kindly high school science teacher. But after discovering the amulet of the ancient goddess Isis on an archaelogical dig, Andrea was able to transform into the powerful heroine Isis with just three magic words, "Oh, mighty Isis!"

BRBTV celebrates this wonderful half-hour kids' series, which was a companion Filmation show for the popular live-action "Shazam!", with the seventh in its series of BRBTV Reports on Amazon's Kindle format. This report includes original feedback from all three of the series' leading stars: not just Cameron as Isis / Andrea Thomas, but also Brian Cutler as Rick Mason and Joanna Pang as Cindy Lee! We also got some great insight from Andy Mangels, the man behind the rather-incredible assortment of features on the DVD set, himself a lifelong fan of the show, and fervent fan Lisa Everetts, who had interesting insight into how this show represented a different era in Saturday-morning kids' television.

Like the other Kindle reports in this series, for a ridiculously low price you'll see a magazine-length feature story as well as detailed (original) episode synopses. Because we've found it's physically impossible for us to watch a classic TV show we love without writing episode synopses. Seriously. We've tried. (Why do you think that "Bionic Woman" first-season DVD set is sitting on our shelf unopened? Talk about a time commitment!)

We so much enjoyed doing this "Isis" BRBTV Report, because we absolutely adored the show back then more than words can express. Watching the episodes again on DVD in the past year or so -- the first time we'd seen them since they originally aired -- was like a sweet trip back in time! We hope you dig this look at the show as much as we did writing it.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A peek inside the "Archie's Weird Mysteries" trade paperback

We first told you in our December 9 post about the "Archie's Weird Mysteries" paperback coming this August, a compilation of stories from the comic book that accompanied our beloved animated DiC show originally airing on PAX-TV in 1999-2000. Today we're giving you a little look at a few of the stories you'll see in that 128-page book:

- "Shriek," from issue 2, a parody of the "Scream" movies, with script by Paul Castiglia, pencils by Fernando Ruiz and inking by Rich Kozlowski.
Alone in the house, Betty Cooper settles in for popcorn and a scary movie on cable. But her TV starts malfunctioning, and soon a dark, hooded, ghoulish face is talking to her from the screen, looking just like the spooky one in those "Shriek" movies. The next day at school, Archie is determined to investigate. But then the TV ghoul shows up running the halls at Riverdale High! Meanwhile, Archie wants to score an interview with a Hollywood costume designer who's visiting town -- who just happens to be the one who designed that long, ghoulish mask for the "Shriek" movies. The designer quickly becomes embroiled in the kids' investigation of this strange movie ghoul on the loose.

- "UFO Uh-Oh," from issue 7, with script by Paul Castiglia, pencils by Fernando Ruiz and inking by Rich Kozlowski.
In a galaxy kinda far away, a brawny race of aliens named the Brawnux challenge another race of aliens, the brainy Smelltoids, to a baseballl game. Trouble is, the Smelltoids don't even know what baseball is. They gaze into their satellite dish and spy, on Earth, Archie and the gang on the Riverdale High baseball team winning the playoffs. The Smelltoids head to Earth in their ship, finding a snoozing Mr. Weatherbee "guarding" the team equipment. Since the aliens just saw the 'Bee bragging to a reporter about his former glory days in baseball, the aliens nab him and the equipment and head back to their planet to learn the game. That doesn't go so well, since the 'Bee's bragging was just hot air. He talks the Smelltoids into returning to Earth to benefit from the "real" players, and a plan is hatched to put the brainy aliens on top of their game.

- "Bigfoot on Campus," from issue 10, with script by Paul Castiglia, pencils by Fernando Ruiz and inking by Rich Kozlowski.

A new student shows up at Riverdale High, and he has all the girls swooning. He's Sam Squatch, a mammoth of a guy with mounds of wavy hair. The other guys like Arch and Reggie decide if they can't beat 'im, they're going to join 'im -- they borrow some of Sam's magic shampoo to grow their own long, luxurious locks and beards. But then those beards won't shave off, and all of a sudden the girls at school have hairy backs! Yowza! Sam Squatch explains the woodsy encounter that's behind this shampoo -- as well as his own motivations.

The book will also feature Scarlet, the vivacious redheaded vampire who charms Archie, introduced in the TV episode "Scarlet Night" and debuting as a side story in issue 10 of the comics, then moving on to the spotlight in issue 12. She's featured on the cover of the book.