Thursday, May 28, 2015

Check out "Dallas: The Ultimate Unofficial Fansite"

Thanks to our buddy Brian T.S. for tipping us off about this one as we chatted at the recent Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan. Brian is a big fan of TV's "Dallas," and he sent this link to a rather astonishing site of fan fiction that encompasses not only the original "Dallas" series but the TNT reboot, as well.

It's billed as "The Ultimate Unofficial Fansite" of "Dallas," and it includes virtual casting of characters we didn't get to see on the TNT reboot show but that we know are out there, such as John Ross' sister (Kristen Storms, fashionista Maxinista of "General Hospital" in this casting -- so cool) and Lucas Wade, Bobby's son by Jenna. The fan fic "episodes" pick up where the TNT reboot so unfortunately left off. And that sister John Ross was asking Bum to track down at the end of the series isn't Cally's long-lost child, as we would have surmised, in this proposed continuity: She's the daughter of Kimberly Cryder. Hmmm .... Interesting. We haven't read too far into it, but the fan fic looks to be quite creative and well-done.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: The Motor City Comic Con Edition!

Wow, what a week it was last week, covering all kinds of great stuff at the 2015 Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan. We would have been remiss if we hadn't visited the many, many vendor tables at this crowded convention hall to see just what kind of TV-show-related goodies they had for sale, particularly of the vintage variety. Thus is born the first ever episode of Terrific TV Toys series shot at a comic con ...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Motor City Comic Con: Glimpses and glances

BRBTV had a great time, as always, at this year's Motor City Comic Con at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan. That show is never not a good time. All this week, we have shown you our chats with John Wesley Shipp, Dawn Wells and other great stars. We've got one more video coming that will round out our coverage of the event, but for today, how about a few random shots snapped around the convention hall of more of the celeb guests, to celebrate the fact that it's Friday once again ...

On Saturday afternoon, when actor Chandler Riggs of "The Walking Dead" (Carl Grimes) was brought to his table, it was with a barricade of sorts. And when he got into position, legions of fans swarmed around him, many of them young females with their cell cameras flashing, lifted high in the air to get a view from the masses. It was like a boy band had entered the convention hall.

On Friday afternoon, Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher of "Star Trek: The Next Generation") and Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") held a panel. It was unfortunate that the panel Q and A couldn't be recorded, because man, did they dish. The two ladies look amazing, too.

Robert Englund of "Nightmare on Elm Street" fame had steady business at his table. We remember him well from a truly great movie version of "Phantom of the Opera" from the late '80s.

A "Dead of the 'Dead'" panel on Sunday afternoon featured several "Walking Dead" cast members whose characters have gone to the great beyond, including (from left) E. Roger Mitchell, Scott Wilson, Chad Coleman and Lawrence Gilliard Jr.

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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Motor City Comic Con: Michael Welch talks "Z Nation"

So with a number of zombie-related TV shows out there right now, what makes Syfy's "Z Nation" different? Michael Welch, who plays Mack on the series, tells us, as he talks with Don Covell Jr. at last weekend's Motor City Comic Con ...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Motor City Comic Con: Dawn Wells channels Mary Ann in her new book

We've talked with Dawn Wells before, and it's always a pleasure. She's just a nice gal. The one-time "Gilligan's Island" castaway now has a new book out, called "What Would Mary Ann Do?", and it's a sort of self-help compendium designed to help you navigate the rough waters of life. Wells tells us all about it, and she even answers BRB's truly girly questions about the fashions of Mary Ann ...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Motor City Comic Con: Daniel Bonjour talks "Walking Dead"

Daniel Bonjour portrayed Aiden, son of the mayor of Alexandria, in this past season of AMC's "Walking Dead." He now joins the ranks of the "dead of the Dead." As our BRBTV coverage of the Motor City Comic Con continues, we offer you our chat with Bonjour about auditioning for his "Dead" role and what's coming up next for him ...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Motor City Comic Con: Michael Rowe talks "Arrow"

Michael Rowe has had the cool role of Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot, on the CW's "Arrow." And just as his character seems to have an evolution of sorts, making some kind of weird piece with Diggle and the fact that he killed Diggle's brother, he goes and gets offed. But is anyone on "Arrow" ever really dead? Hmmm ... BRBTV had the opportunity to talk to Rowe at this past weekend's Motor City Comic Con about this role and what's coming up for him.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Motor City Comic Con: John Wesley Shipp talks to BRBTV about "The Flash" -- both old and new

We're big fans of continuity, here at BRBTV. That's one of the reasons we loved the new "Dallas" series, because it kept pretty heckin' good continuity with the original series, utilizing the same actors and making the characters (particularly those born during the original series) about the age they should be, in real time.

So as we've been watching the CW's "Flash" series, which just debuted this past fall, we've been chewing on a theory. It started when the CW show featured actress Amanda Pays in an episode a few weeks back. That's cool, we thought, they're paying tribute to the original "Flash" TV show that aired on CBS in 1990, in which she starred. But then we saw that she just happened to be playing the same character she played in that original "Flash" series, starring John Wesley Shipp. Hmmm. That's interesting. Couple that with the fact that the new "Flash" series also features John Wesley Shipp, and has from the beginning, as Barry Allen's dad, Henry.

OK, so then along comes the Trickster. Could this be a trick? Mark Hamill also reprising his role from the original series? Hold the phone. The Trickster kidnapped Henry Allen out of prison in that episode, and we were watching closely for every nuance between the two ... Was there some special back story there? Did the Trickster know him decades earlier? Are the show's producers going to tip their hand? And THEN (wait, there's more), the same actor who played Officer Tony Bellows in the 1990 series, Vito D'Ambrosio, shows up in the 2014 series, as Mayor Anthony Bellows. OK, now they're just messin' with us. Seriously.

We're not the only ones who are wandering down this speculation path, as John Wesley Shipp tells BRBTV in this interview, fresh off the presses, from today's Motor City Comic Con at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan ...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Burt Reynolds talks "Smokey and the Bandit" and more

Many thanks to our fellow author Brian Lombard, who kindly shares his experience (and photo) with us after meeting Burt Reynolds at an appearance in Philadelphia this past weekend. Us fans of "The Dukes of Hazzard" know Reynolds for not only the references to him during the series' run but also his portrayal of Boss Hogg in the "Dukes" remake movie in 2005 ...

I went to his panel session and got to ask him a question. I asked him to clear up an urban legend regarding "Smokey and the Bandit" Part 3. The film, as released, features Jackie Gleason as Smokey, and Jerry Reed, a sidekick character in the first two movies, playing “The Bandit.” Reynolds did not appear in the film. The legend, though, is that the film was originally shot with Gleason playing BOTH title roles, Smokey and the Bandit, but that test audiences didn’t like it all. To this day, no one involved in the production will confirm this setup, possibly out of embarrassment, but there is enough evidence that has survived, including this trailer released a year before the movie came out. Note that it gives the title “Smokey IS the Bandit.”

So I asked Burt if the legend was true. I’m paraphrasing his reply:

“I didn’t want to do a third one. I had had enough of the series. And they couldn’t get Sally (Fields) to come back, either. She was doing other projects. But the studio wanted to do it. And whenever Jackie Gleason is in a scene with someone else, the other person isn’t really there anyway.”

I was about the third or fourth questioner, and no one had yet said anything about Boss Hogg. I started my question by first saying I loved him in the part, which got a round of applause from the audience.

During the panel, I also learned that his favorite film (why is that question ALWAYS asked?) is "Deliverance," but he also likes "Sharkey’s Machine," which he directed. His favorite person to work with was Frank Sinatra in "The Cannonball Run." One fan asked him about the film he did with Dolly Parton, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” The questioner asked, quite shockingly, where Reynolds came down on the issue of legalized prostitution. To say you could hear a pin drop in the room would be an understatement. Reynolds would only offer that he had mixed emotions on the subject, suggesting that he was in favor of it, but he wouldn’t definitively say one way or the other.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: Superhero bean bag plush from the Warner Bros. Studio Stores

Ooooh, we love that it's Friday once again. Thank the Lord! And today, this means another episode of the Terrific TV Toys series. We're staying on the DC superhero theme, having looked at the "Batman: The Animated Series" Happy Meal toys last week. This time, it's a set of bean bag plush celebrating that animated TV show and its several spinoffs -- "Superman: The Animated Series," "Justice League" and more. These are the characters you love, in all their squeezable glory, from a collection dating 1998-2000.

Monday, May 04, 2015

We're thankful for the message of sweet Grace Lee Whitney

She was one of the first celebs this author met and interviewed, more than 15 years ago, while I was working for The Detroit News. She was kind, smart, effervescent, happy to be alive, having survived much. And really, her claim to fame all these years since "Star Trek" originally aired has been as the the turned-out "Trek" cast member, the one who was fired in a bit of disgrace for something she didn't do, the victim of a sexual assault. I've always had my own theory about who that high-ranking unnamed production exec was, but the more important thing is the message Grace Lee Whitney carried later in life, not in her earlier "Trek" days. Her most important message was as a recovering addict, which she wrote about in her autobiography, "The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy." I reviewed that book for "The Detroit News," then for the Amazon listing, as I was greatly affected by it. I loved what she wrote about her time in Detroit. So direct and unafraid, she even detailed a hit-and-run accident she was involved in on Grand River Avenue. To put it all out there, not fearing what people will think of you, because you think it's important and it will help someone, was a trait in Grace Lee Whitney that I greatly admired.

Whitney has died at age 85. ABC News and Chicago Tribune have more.

Whitney's book is smashing for its message of healing and recovery (it takes years to "cook" an alcoholic, she wrote -- I'll never forget that concept, as it has proved true in a lot of the people I've met), and the writing truly reflects the actress as I saw her, strong, capable, forgiving, resilient. When I first met her in person, having spoken to her on the phone a time or two, she greeted me with a warm hug and spoke with a low, almost-hoarse voice, the latter an irony that seemed to want to belie her sweet demeanor. (She told me the red-dress-clad "Star Trek" Barbie doll released at about that same time -- late 1990s -- was styled after her Janice Rand character -- loved that boldness.) But what she was most concerned about, at that point, more than any trip around the galaxy, was helping others with addiction. She was 17 years sober at the time, quite a feat.

She was kind enough to mail me the above signed picture, after I interviewed her, and it hangs on the wall of my Batcave downstairs. Thanks, Ms. Whitney, for doing more than embracing stardom -- for seeing it as a means to help others.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: "Batman: The Animated Series" Happy Meal toys

The Joker uses his battering ram on Batman. Robin takes off on his cool red cycle. Two-Face turns his car from white to black. Ooooh, the possibilities are endless with the set of eight McDonald's Happy Meal toys in the 1993 collection celebrating "Batman: The Animated Series." It was the early days of this landmark cartoon, just the year following its debut, and the folks at Warner Bros. already knew they had a hit on their hands. So why wouldn't us rabid Batfans clamor to our local McDonald's to grab these up? You get an up-close-and-personal look at each of the eight toys in the latest installment of the Terrific TV Toys series.