Friday, September 19, 2014

"The Judge" features a couple stars of classic TV

They had us at Vincent D'Onofrio, because we looooooooves us some Vincent D'Onofrio, but the rest of the cast of the upcoming "The Judge" is quite a lot to crow about, too!

Besides Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role (yea, a plus), and Vera Farmiga, whom we love on "Bates Motel" (yes, BRB watches it faithfully! not afraid of the name!), there's Ken Howard popping up, whom we know, of course, as Garrett Boydston on "Dynasty." Then there's Grace Zabriskie, not only Laura Palmer's mom on "Twin Peaks" but also the mom of another troubled teen, Christy Duvall, as Theda Bassett on "Santa Barbara." Love that. Zabriskie is Mrs. Blackwell, while Howard portrays Judge Warren.

The movie is due October 10. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Baltimore Comic Con serves up TV-related delights

One thing we really liked about this year's Baltimore Comic Con (this author's sixth in a row), besides hanging with friends and having a lot of fun, was the great shopping. The shopping was just really good this year at the event, held the weekend before last at the Baltimore Convention Center downtown. We found lots of stuff related to the TV shows we love. Plus, the con was held in a different area of the convention center this year, causing many guests we talked with to remark that there was more elbow room. Sure enough, that con had been beyond packed in recent years. Here's a little photo glimpse of some of the sights and sounds of this year's event.

Above, wrestler Jerry ("The King") Lawler and Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca of "Star Wars," were among the guests. 

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" gets new life with animated web series, live-action movie

The only reason we knew what the heck a mongoose was in our formative years was because of the animated TV special, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi." The 1975 cartoon, narrated by Orson Welles and based on Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Books," was a fixture on network television for quite a few years. This author watched it faithfully every time it aired, always newly enthralled by the heroic mongoose who dispatched two evil, plotting cobras with such skill -- and a fervent love for his adopted family.

So imagine our delight when we happened upon a table for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi at the Baltimore Comic Con a week or so ago. Yes, this is a seemingly forgotten property that is now being revisited. There will be a new animated web series in the next year or two, along with a live-action movie. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi in live action!??? Yes, we said it. Look for our interview with the mongoose's PR rep on an upcoming episode of the Washington, D.C.-based "Fantastic Forum" TV show.

And hop over to for more info. You can download an app on GooglePlay or the Apple App Store and see the premiere video.

Now this is a classic worth revising -- we can't wait! Meantime, catch the original below. June Foray provided voices, and Les Tremayne of our beloved "Shazam!" and "The Dukes of Hazzard" voiced the father!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Terrific TV Toys: Dolly's doll is a keeper, and so is the star herself

Once in a while, what looks the most fake is actually the most real. Funny how that works. But when it comes to Dolly Parton, her "more" has always been much more, and her honesty has also been front and center, in your face. She's refreshingly frank about who she is. We like that about her. So it was very timely when she appeared on "The Wendy Williams Show" a few weeks back to talk about her latest album, "Blue Smoke," and about her "Auntie"-ship to pop star Miley Cyrus, and just about herself and who she is. That quote from the "Oprah" show a few years back popped up again: "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!" Wendy loved it, and we love it, too.

When this author was a little girl, Dolly Parton had a TV variety show on the air and a related doll on the store shelves. Remember those variety shows? Dolly was a household name, so she seemed a good fit, though the show lasted only one season. The doll lasted longer, even if it is a little rough around the edges. You'll see it in the video below, the latest installment in the BRBTV series, Terrific TV Toys (*of a vintage nature) ...

In her couchside chat with Wendy Williams, Dolly was as bubbly as ever and still going strong. After a whole lotta years in show biz. Rock on, girl.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vintage tabloid is a treasure trove that takes us on a little trip back in time

Wow, what a find. Our buddy Andrea had this out on the table for her garage sale last month. Yes, she was going to part with it! BRBTV grabbed that up, forthwith, on the merits of its cover alone! And really, there's just so much other stuff to grab onto, in this August 17, 1982 issue of the National Enquirer, it would make this blog post waaaaaaayyyyy too long to cite it all. It's an extravaganza as far as '80s television is concerned, particularly for "Dynasty," "Dallas" and "The Dukes of Hazzard," which were all in their original airings at that point.

So what are these shocking childhoods of Linda Evans, Pamela Sue Martin and Joan Collins that the cover screams about? Well, Evans, it says, was a "sad and skinny wallflower raised in poverty." Quoting various sources (many of them named, believe it or not), the story says Linda wore hand-me-downs and dreamed of one day living in a world of Ferraris and champagne. Her high school rival for a boy she liked was none other than Stefanie Powers.

For Pamela Sue Martin, the mag says, as a teen her world was filled with lots of boys, beer, cigarettes and  mischief. Unlike Evans, Martin had no aspirations to act at a young age. She started in the business as a model.

Joan Collins, on the other hand, barely had a childhood, the story says, her family dodging German bombs in World War II when she was a child. Collins (apparently) spoke to the Enquirer herself, quoted as saying, "I remember huddling in the basement, hearing the tremendous roar of exploding bombs. I used to pray to God, just sitting there in the dark, wondering if the bombs were going to hit us. Ever since, I've been unable to sleep in the dark."

Collins was 49 at the time of this publication. As a teen, the story says, she wrote an explicit sex saga, starring the teachers at her school, and passed it around to her female friends (shades of her later life as a novelist?). She married her first husband, who it says raped her on their first date, at only age 17. (The IMDb says she was 19.)

It's interesting to note whether or not certain "predictions" the magazine makes came true. For instance, the story, "Tony Curtis is Killing Himself with Cocaine." The actor was 57 at the time, and the story claims "show business insiders" feared he would be dead in a year. Well, actually, Curtis died much later, in 2010, at the age of 85. Then there's Linda Lavin of "Alice," getting her own screaming headline on the cover. The story said she would marry her live-in love, Kip Niven, later that month. Indeed, she did, on August 22, 1982. Then she divorced him in 1992.

The "TV -- Behind the Screens" section is just a goldmine. Love that one. It mentions Melissa Sue Anderson of "Little House on the Prairie" being offered $17,500 a week to play "the daughter of the Carringtons' butler" on "Dynasty" (whom we know as Kirby, the role that went to Kathleen Beller). Linda Gray of "Dallas" got tormented by a guy with a gun at the Ed Sullivan Theater. Heather Locklear of "Dynasty" was evidently talking marriage with L.A. disc jockey G.W. McCoy. And yes, the aforementioned Joan Collins "hit the roof" when Gordon Thomson was cast to play Adam Carrington on "Dynasty," since he was only 12 years younger than her. Producers ordered him to say he was 27 rather than 37. Yea, we'd heard that one before.

This issue also has a feature story on Tom Wopat and John Schneider, who were in the midst of their walk-out on "The Dukes of Hazzard." Wopat's career was failing and he was trying to talk Schneider into going back, the story says, as Warner Bros. told him the two had to come back as a package deal. Schneider was (reportedly!) telling Wopat no, because he had offers coming out of his ears at the time. The story also gives a look at their two replacements, Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer. So fun.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Terrific TV Toys: "Batman: The Animated Series" Colorforms

Batman knocking out the Joker, then Catwoman, then hopping a Batwing out of the Batcave? And how did all those villains even get into the Batcave in the first place? Step into the world of Colorforms, where you create the action on the shiny canvas! Yep, Colorforms are still around, and they've marked quite a few decades of play in our pop culture, but for the latest installment of Terrific TV Toys (*of a vintage nature), we'll take a look at a Colorforms set celebrating the 1990s "Batman: The Animated Series" ...

Friday, September 05, 2014

Margot Kidder offers her thoughts on Richard Donner's cut of "Superman II" and working with Richard Pryor

Last month's Steel City Con near Pittsburgh sure was jam-packed. BRBTV concludes its coverage of the event with this video shot during Margot Kidder's panel discussion with fans. In it, she addresses questions about Richard Donner's cut of "Superman II," as well as what it was like to work with the late actor Richard Pryor, her co-star in "Superman III." And wait for Brian's question about "Superman IV" at the end -- it's a nice kicker.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Dean Cain discusses "Lois & Clark" and Scott Peterson

We're not done yet! Our coverage continues of the Steel City Con a few weeks ago. We showed you Butch Patrick of "The Munsters," then we showed you a cool replica of the Dragula vehicle from the show. Now, actor Dean Cain talks about his experiences on the 1990s ABC hit, "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," as well as the character of Superman in general and his portrayal of convicted killer Scott Peterson in the TV movie.

In Part 1 of this video coverage of Cain's panel discussion with fans, the actor comments on working with Lane Davies, who played Tempus on "Lois and Clark," what happened with Season 5 of the show, his part in "The Daly Show," and how he felt about his role as Scott Peterson.

In Part 2, Cain talks about just how he approached the role of Superman (who inspired him), the switch of Jimmy Olsens on "Lois and Clark," and the casting process he went through for the role.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Step into the "Munsters" Dragula! It even drives, Tony says!

Tony Greco of Pittsburgh has a hot replica of the "Dragula" coffin car featured on "The Munsters," and in this video from last month's Steel City Con, he gives Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV a glimpse inside and out! This thing even drives, he says. Nice. We do still love the gold-colored Dragula replica built by our buddy Mike here in Metro Detroit, but hey, this one will do, too!

Thanks to Brian for the assist with the camera.