Friday, November 30, 2012

Spotted: Jack Coleman

There we were, tripping around a con in New Jersey a few weeks back, delighting in the wonderful pop-culturific shopping as we always do at these things, and there's one of those bootleg-DVD booths. You know the kind. DVDs of every movie and TV show under the sun, whether it's been released "officially" or not, even some incredibly obscure or unaired stuff. Our eyes fell upon a little number called "Nightmare Cafe." Is that Jack Coleman from "Dynasty," we wondered? Sure enough, it was, along with Robert Englund of "Nightmare on Elm Street" fame, whom we adored in the 1989 big-screen remake of "Phantom of the Opera."

Turns out, just four years after he left "Dynasty," after bumping around a few TV movie roles, Jack Coleman signed on to this "Nightmare Cafe." It lasted all of six episodes, there in 1992. And it had some fun guest stars, like Carrie-Anne Moss, Justin Deas of "Santa Barbara," Coleman's wife Beth Toussaint, Angela Bassett, Vondie Curtis-Hall.

The Nightmare Cafe is a "Twilight Zone"ish place where your life flashes before your eyes, quite literally, as Coleman's character Frank Nolan learns shortly after encountering the blond Fay Peronivic (Lindsay Frost) there. Englund is the host on this nightmarish tour, where Nolan is led to make a stand on his job, then finds out that he, along with Fay, are really dead, but brought back to life in this cafe. They then take on the role of helping others who wander into the cafe, others who need to straighten out their own lives.

Coleman is still young and handsome here. And he seems to be wearing a little of that Steven Carrington idealism. It's fun to watch the gleam in his eye when he shares the first scene with his wife in the second episode, and even funner when things heat up between them in a later scene. Yummy. We've always thought they're a cute couple, the "Dynasty" star and the "Dallas" star.

Don't worry about hunting down that bootleg DVD -- we found the six-episode run on YouTube. And our one and only foray into bootlegs has sworn us off them for good, anyway! We don't recommend them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Southfork Ranch offers memorial service for Larry Hagman

If you can get to Parker, Texas, this Sunday, it would be a great time to do so ... From the Southfork Ranch Facebook page ...

Southfork Ranch mourns the loss of Larry Hagman along with his fans around the world. Southfork was considered the home of his longtime larger-than-life character J.R. Ewing, and Larry also considered Southfork his home away from home. He was always excited to come back to the ranch and even had a family outing planned the day of his passing.

Southfork Ranch will honor his life by offering the public complimentary tours from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, followed by a memorial reception where guests may leave cards, flowers and sign his memorial book and pay their respects to this legend.

Larry Hagman brought so much life and excitement to the show Dallas and his dynamic personality and great sense of humor will never be forgotten. The filming at the ranch has been like family coming home and we will all miss him.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A sad goodbye: The great Larry Hagman, gone at 81

Wow, what news to wake up to. We're a little besides ourselves here at BRBTV, signing on to hear the news about this most beloved star of one of our very most beloved TV shows. Mr. Larry Hagman. We knew he wouldn't live forever. We knew he was mortal like the rest of us. But we've joked over the years, as we've been covering "Dallas" and developing our reference guide to the TV show, "Long live the king" and "Long live J.R., and long live Larry Hagman!" Well, he did live long, he enjoyed a wonderful career, and he had a fabulous last hurrah, doing the thing that he loved most, playing the character that had changed his life, for one last time in the "Dallas" reboot.

It’s not hard to believe that the man who portrayed the unstoppable J.R. Ewing was Texas-born — Fort Worth, as a matter of fact, a town that got lots of mention on “Dallas.” As a young boy, he worked as a ranchhand, according to Wikipedia. And while “Dallas” was still airing, he even hosted a documentary series on the history of Texas, in celebration of its 150th anniversary as an independent republic.

Larry Hagman was born on September 21, 1931. His dad was an attorney and his mom, Mary Martin, was about to embark on a successful career on Broadway. In fact it was his mother, so well-known for her role as Peter Pan, who got Hagman into acting as a teen.

It was the stage where Hagman first got his acting chops. He spent five years in England as part of his mother’s successful production of “South Pacific,” according to his official website. He joined the U.S. Air Force, reportedly as a way to avoid being pulled into the fighting of the Korean War, and produced and directed shows for the military. While there, he met the gal who would become his wife, Maj Axelsson, a Swedish clothing designer. They married in 1954. That Hagman sustained a 50-plus-year marriage in Hollywood is certainly testament to his character and strength.

Along came the small screen for Hagman, back in the U.S. Besides his second-best-known role as Major Tony Nelson on Sidney Sheldon’s wildly popular comedy “I Dream of Jeannie,” he did stints on “The Edge of Night,” “Night Gallery” and “Love, American Style.” But then came the decision that would change his life, in 1977 — a decision to which he credits Maj. A lil’ ole show called “Dallas,” on which his J.R. Ewing wasn’t even planned as the main star but quickly became it. Hagman said the day the “Who Shot J.R.?” episode aired (“Who Done It?”, November 21, 1980) was one of the two dates he would never forget (the other was the day of his well-publicized 1995 liver transplant).

And we won’t forget, either. The man who defined J.R. for us also defined power, corruption, cunning, suaveness ... so many things. How ironic, as psychologist and author Lew Ryder put it, that the man we loved to hate was so well-loved around the country, and world. Wikipedia notes that Hagman was the only “Dallas” actor to appear in almost all of the show’s original 357 episodes (his contract negotiations kept him physically off the set for the fourth-season opener “No More Mister Nice Guy,” Part 1, though his character was present in the storyline).

Known as a hard worker since his days on “Jeannie,” Hagman was nominated for various Emmys, Golden Globes and Soap Opera Digest awards over the years, and he nabbed several of those. But while his career was skyrocketing, Hagman’s personal life was marked by the use of several artificial substances — alcohol, LSD, marijuana — and he spoke out about that very frankly. At the same time, though, Hagman’s life was also marked by some very close Hollywood friendships: co-star Patrick Duffy, Peter Fonda, Carroll O’Connor, the Who drummer Keith Moon.

In 1991, when “Dallas” left its original run on CBS, Hagman kept involved with not only screenwork (the “Dallas” reunion movies, of course, along with roles in big-screen stuff like “Nixon” and “Primary Colors”) but also with more charitable and civic endeavors. He has lent a hand to the American Cancer Society with antismoking campaigns. He has represented the National Kidney Foundation. And he adopted a “Don’t worry, be happy, feel good” way of living at his ranch in Ojai, California.

In October 2011, amid plans for the “Dallas” reboot on TNT, Hagman announced a cancer diagnosis. He told the Associated Press, “As we all know, you can't keep J.R. down!” Yea, we knew it. And Hagman spent the first season on the show, as vital and relevant as ever, basking in the glow that is "Dallas" one more time. We loved it. We ate it up. It wouldn't have been "Dallas" if J.R. wouldn't have been there. And should the show go on, as they say, his spectre will be there, even more sure and strong than the one of Jim Davis as Jock Ewing, who passed on early in the original show's run.

The July 27, 2012 cover of Entertainment Weekly was rather triumphant for a man who announced a cancer diagnosis less than a year earlier. The cover story noted that Hagman was pronounced cancer-free in the spring before the “Dallas” reboot’s premiere. TNT president Michael Wright said, “Larry looked me in the eye and said, ‘Whaddya think, 10 seasons.” So yes, long live Hagman, as BRBTV has always said. 

Magazine covers, diagnoses and show reboots notwithstanding, he will always live on.

BRBTV offers condolences to Hagman's wife, Maj, and his whole family. And we continue to admire this man who was smart, shrewd, wonderfully talented, and exceedingly kind.

First photo courtesy of Josh Eilberg of, depicting Hagman and his wife, Maj, in the midst of appearances for the TNT "Dallas" reboot. Second photo courtesy of Larry Hagman, a photo of his younger days used for the "Destination: Dallas" book. Third photo courtesy of Josh Eilberg, depicting the display of J.R.'s gun at Southfork Ranch. Thanks very much, Josh.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Congratulations to "Fantastic Forum" TV show for another Monty Award

Well, there he goes again, that Ulysses Campbell, nabbing another Monty Award for his "Fantastic Forum" TV show. It was just announced yesterday and posted today on the "FF" Facebook page, and we'll trumpet it here, because Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV is pleased as punch as punch to be a part of something so cool. The show has been awarded a 2012 MCM Monty Award for best program in the Arts and Humanities category for the second consecutive year.

As creator, producer, writer, editor, yes, even occasionally host, plus a whole lot of other stuff, Campbell assembles a great half-hour of Washington, D.C. television that delves into not only comic books but also science fiction, fantasy and pop culture in general. And he assembles a great team to pull that off, because he's a great person to work with.

Many congratulations to Ulie for yet another fine milestone in the life of the show.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A look at "DeVanity," which has Gordon Thomson, Maxwell Caulfield and Charlene Tilton all queued up

It's a show about a jewelry family, and we adore that, because fab jewelry is fairly dripping off every female character. It's quite the farce. And it's all beautiful people, all the time. Yes, the comparisons to our beloved "Dynasty" are inevitable. So don't be surprised that "Dynasty" alum Gordon Thomson shows up here, along with Maxwell Caulfield of "The Colbys" and a brunette Charlene Tilton of "Dallas." We're talking the web series "DeVanity," mentioned previously on this blog but examined a little more in-depth here ...

It starts out clunky in the first episode but gets better, we have to say. Innocent-eyed Michael Caruso as the lead character Jason DeVanity is far from your Hollywood pretty boy -- a welcome change -- and he fairly devours his role. So does his on-screen wife, Alexis Zibolis as the evil Lara. He calls her a crazy scheming b*tch and generally treats her like crap as he untangles some ugly family secrets. Somehow, it works. Doesn't hurt that Caruso is one of the folks producing this shindig.

Katie Caprio as Jason's sister Bianca, with a lean look and a dimple that arrives on the scene a full 30 seconds before her, seems more the Alexis Colby of this show, though she's not going to be wrestling that pleasure away from vixen Zibolis anytime soon. The dialogue is fairly snappy. There are jeggings, tight minis, martinis, violin music and deep solid colors everywhere. What's not to like? Did we mention the catfight in the pool? Not quite the lily pond with Alexis and Krystle, but it'll do.

Things get waaaaay farcical in Season 2. Fantastic necklaces both in bed and in the pool. The ole plastic surgery trick to change actors for a character. The sister who marries her abortionist, and the sisters who seem to keep sleeping with their brother (don't worry -- they're adopted). The sister-in-law's wedding-night body-part revelation. It was better in Season 1 when it seemed it was almost taking itself seriously. Still, we're not afraid to call it: Zibolis is the standout in this group. We'll give Mike Dirksen as Alex an honorable mention for his significant -- ahem -- heat factor.

Alana Stewart is well-cast as the mom of the show's two blondes, Zibolis' Lara and Katie Apicella's Dr. Portia, in the seventh episode of Season 2. But wait -- here come Thomson, Caulfield and Tilton to show 'em how it's done. OK, wait is the operative word. You can see them in the trailer for Season 3 now, but the episodes themselves begin on January 10.

Prep now by watching the first two seasons in one sitting like we did. As with many online-based series, this one has short eps. Six or seven or even 10 minutes is just not enough!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Staying on the radar: Leann Hunley, Diahann Carroll, Joan Collins and more

Leanna Hunley, whom we know as Dana Waring on "Dynasty," coming to "Raising Hope" this month. Nancy Lee Grahn and her onetime "Santa Barbara" costar (on-screen nephew, actually!) Jack Wagner both coming to "Castle" in January. Diahann Carroll of "Dynasty" coming back to "White Collar" in 2013. Wanda De Jesus of "SB" checking in to "Sons of Anarchy." The stars of the classic shows we love are nailing the roles -- guest or recurring -- right and left. We love to see that.

We could go on ... Ray Wise of "Dallas" on "Criminal Minds" (now that sounds like a great matchup for this "Twin Peaks" alum!) as well as "Body of Proof." And Joan Collins, whom we were thrilled to see live and in person at an appearance in New Jersey a couple weeks back, guesting on "Happily Divorced" -- much touted across Facebook right now.

Catch the latest at the listing at We Love Soaps.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

'Pioneers of Television' features some of our fave stars of classic TV

It was Lynda Carter who drew our attention to this one in her Facebook post: She's one of many great stars of classic TV who will be featured in PBS' upcoming "Pioneers of Television." Other BRBTV faves who will be interviewed for the series: Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Joan Van Ark and Patrick Duffy of "Dallas"; Joan Collins, Linda Evans and Diahann Carroll of "Dynasty"; and Carter's "Wonder Woman" costar Cloris Leachman.

Season 3 of the PBS series premieres on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 8 p.m. Eastern. The second episode, "Primetime Soaps," is scheduled to air on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at 8 p.m. Eastern, and that's the one to watch for all us "Dallas" and "Dynasty" fans!

Learn more at the Sitcoms Online blog.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Coming up for John Schneider in 2013: Appearances, concerts, maybe a flick or two!

Special thanks to Phyllis for passing along these upcoming appearances and dates for John ("Bo Duke") Schneider of "The Dukes of Hazzard":
On screen
  • John recently did some taping for the TV show "Mistresses," so watch for that on TV in 2013.
  • This coming week, John will be in Wilmington, North Carolina, shooting the movie "Adrenaline."