Monday, October 26, 2015

M.C. Gainey, Noel Guglielmi, Kim Richards reminisce about their time in Hazzard County

Guest blogger and avid "Dukes of Hazzard" fan Brian Lombard may seem to be on a mission to meet each and every one of the folks involved in the "Dukes"! He's making great progress, following up his October 7 report with this one from a show in New Jersey this past weekend.

The Chiller Theatre con is the biggest on the East Coast. Held twice a year in Parsippany, New Jersey, each show offers more than 100 stars and draws thousands of fans. If you go, don’t even bother looking for parking.

With that many stars in attendance, it’s hard to NOT find someone associated with "The Dukes of Hazzard." And this weekend, I found three.

First up was M.C. Gainey. Gainey is a member of a very unique fraternity – one of only two actors to have appeared in both the original television series and the 2005 feature film. So his is a unique perspective. I asked him what he remembered about filming the 1982 episode “Bad Day in Hazzard,” in which he played a hired gun holding the cast hostage at the Boar’s Nest.

Actor M.C. Gainey, left, and author Brian Lombard.

“I was using Daisy as a human shield when Bo and Luke first walked in. I picked her up and swung her around, and the director yelled ‘Cut.’ Catherine Bach ran off the set in a hurry, and I found out that when I was swinging her, her top had come undone! That was one of my first acting jobs ever, and I was afraid that they were going to fire me.”

He needn’t have worried. More than 20 years later, Gainey would be cast in the remake as none other than Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, a character he had tormented in the original series (see Gainey in his original role below).

“Warner Brothers, they wanted me to play him goofy, just like James Best had," Gainey said. "Now, Best was a friend of mine, but I made the decision to play him tough. I modeled him after a police officer who used to pick on me when I was in high school.”

When asked what he remembers about the film, Gainey added, “that dog (Flash). We were shooting the courtroom scene on a Friday. The script called for the dog to yawn, but he just wouldn’t do it. The trainer assured us that when we returned to set on Monday, the dog would yawn on cue, and sure enough he did. I don’t know what he did to make that happen.”

Next up was Noel Guglielmi. In 2000, he appeared in the second made-for-television movie "Hazzard in Hollywood."  It was an early role for the actor, one for which he wasn’t even credited. In fact, he has no lines in the film at all. But he is almost always seen standing side-by-side with Amaury Nolasco’s character of Cypriano, one of the many folks who befriended the wayward Dukes.

Eagle-eyed fans may recall that in the previous film, 1997’s "The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion," all of the General Lee’s jumps were recycled from the original series, due to the unavailability of 1969 Dodge Chargers. By 2000 however, enough had been procured to shoot an original jump for the second film, and Guglielmi (shown below) was on hand for the fun.

“It came down hard!" he said. "It was done. They jumped like 1,500 of those on the TV show, Bro." (Most actually estimate this number at around 300.) "But once it’s jumped, you can’t use it anymore. Ever.”

When asked what it was like working on the film, Guglielmi offered nothing but praise.

“It was the final film with the original cast. It was a great to be a part of that.”

Finally, I got to speak with Kim Richards. These days, she’s most famous for "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and for being the aunt of Paris Hilton. As a child star, she made a name for herself in the classic Disney film "Escape to Witch Mountain," and was a regular on the television series "Hello, Larry."  But it was her role as Nancy Lou, Cooter’s estranged daughter in “Cooter’s Girl,” that I most wanted to talk to her about. We didn’t have that much time, as an aggressive handler was moving her line along as quickly as possible. She did, however, say that it was a fun experience, and she was surprised that I remembered it. I suspect it’s not a role that people often mention!

Actress Kim Richards with author Brian Lombard.

Brian Lombard is the author of "Bradypalooza: The Unauthorized Guide to TV's Favorite Family."

Images are courtesy Brian Lombard; please do not copy without permission.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Lynda Carter dons her "satin tights" again on a lovely printed page

Have you caught DC Comics' new take on the classic "Wonder Woman" TV show yet? The Wonder Woman '77 Special issues 1 and 2 are out and bringing you new tales based on the popular 1970s series. The series follows the successful Batman '66 title based on the Adam West TV show, and the Wonder Woman art is even more amazing -- especially that of Nicola Scott, Annette Kwok and Jason Badower. Sooooo much like a photograph of Lynda Carter.

Each volume collects a couple tales, which were initially released electronically. Issue No. 1 has "Disco Inferno," where Steve and Diana go undercover at Studio 52 to protect a defected Russian scientist who's in danger. The second story is "Who is Wonder Woman?", a lively romp back in time that offers up images of Debra Winger as Drusilla / Wonder Girl and an earlier TV Wonder Woman with blond hair and the red-and-blue skirt costume with leggings who strangely does not actually look like Cathy Lee Crosby. This is an alternate reality that Diana has to figure out.

In the second special issue, "The Cat Came Back" takes place at the "Madisonian" Institute in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Minerva is upset that her work is being shoved aside for a new Wonder Woman exhibit. It's wonderful because it's a Cheetah origin story, going to where the TV show for the most part never did -- with WW battling an actual comic book villain. And it's a supernatural alteration, a mutation for Dr. Barbara Minerva that changes her into Cheetah. Then, in the second story, "Celsia 451," our hero investigates the murder of the CEO of a nuclear energy provider whose plant explosion caused a radioactive disaster in Ohio. A new villain is introduced, named Celsia, a victim of the disaster who now has radioactive powers. And the story makes reference to more villains in WW's "rogues gallery," again taking the printed page where the TV screen did not go. A bonus story in that second special issue, "Wisdom of Solomon," features DC villain Solomon Grundy in a case highlighting domestic abuse.

These tales occur in the continuity of the second and third seasons of the show -- the 1970s seasons, of course, as WW is adorned in her updated costume rather than the '40s version. There is a reference to her battling Hitler, though. (Thanks; we were always partial to the first season.) And Steve Trevor is featured -- now a director at the IADC -- whereas he was being written out of the show as it coasted to its stop at the end of the third season.

Monday, October 12, 2015

See BRB's latest episode of "Fantastic Forum"

This author takes on hosting duties once again in the latest episode of the "Fantastic Forum" TV show airing in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philly and New York! The topic is movie adaptations of comic books, and we had a lot of fun taping this one at Awesome Con in D.C. Thanks to show producer Ulysses Campbell for his great editing job, because you don't see all the fun geeky stuff we're trying to remember and all the out-of-control laughing we're doing as we're taping this one! It turned out quite nice, even though it was recorded after-hours so you couldn't see the day's massive crowds behind us!

Look for more Awesome Con location episodes of the show in the weeks to come. And here's your guide on where to catch the show if you're on the East Coast:
  • Manhattan Neighborhood Network, New York, NY; Time Warner Cable MNN Lifestyle channel 2
  • PhillyCam,  Philadelphia, PA; Comcast channel 66/966; Verizon FiOS channel 29/30.
  • MCM  Montgomery County, MD; Comcast channel 21; RCN channel 21; Verizon FiOS channel 21.
  • Arlington Independent Media (AIM), Arlington County, VA; Comcast channel 69; Verizon FiOS channel 38.
  • FPA-TV,  Fairfax County, VA; Cox channel 10.
  • DCTV, Washington, DC; Comcast channel 95; RCN channel 10; Verizon FiOS channel 10.
  • Prince George’s Community Television (CTV), Prince George’s County, MD; COMCAST channel 76; Verizon FiOS channel 42.
  • Community Media of Baltimore City (CMBC), Baltimore, MD; Comcast channel 75.
  • Herndon Community Television, Cox channel 23, Verizon FIOS channel 28.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: It's the Halloween special with even more Scooby plush!

Nothing says Halloween like Scooby-Doo, so we're marking this great holiday with a whole batch of Scoobies. And it's a magical Scooby week, anyway, with the premiere of a brand-new Scooby-Doo show, "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo," on Cartoon Network!

In Season 1 of the Terrific TV Toys series, you saw a heap of Scooby-Doo plush from the collection at BRBTV headquarters. Checkered, polka-dotted, pink, yellow and what-have-you, one even bigger than this author, they are a varied and wondrous lot. But we weren't done showing you stuffed Scoobs -- we've gotten more since then!

Most of the Scoobies you'll see in this Halloween special were nabbed at a booth at the Taylor Town Trade Center in Metro Detroit last December. Another one was just procured last month at a Goodwill store in Paw Paw, Michigan. (yes, you read that right -- what a great place to find a Scooby!!!!).

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Charles Cyphers recalls his time on "Isis," "Wonder Woman" and "The Dukes of Hazzard"

Special thanks to guest blogger Brian Lombard!

Halloween is almost here, and among the many annual traditions is Monster Mania, a horror and sci-fi themed convention In Hunt Valley, Maryland. Last weekend saw the likes of such masters of horror as George Romero, Dee Wallace Stone and Meg Foster, among many others.
While horror has never been my go-to genre, the convention always allows for the opportunity to meet with the actors and discuss some of their other roles, the ones that the con organizers don’t necessarily advertise on the flyers. Early roles in television and film, before they made it big.

Dee Wallace Stone was amazed that I brought up her 1977 episode of Sid and Marty Krofft’s TV series "Bigfoot and Wildboy," as most fans were interested in discussing "Cujo" or "E.T." Meg Foster was equally amazed that anyone remembered her trilogy of episodes on the series "Quantum Leap," rather than her role in Rob Zombie’s "Lords of Salem." But inevitably you’ll find a role on their IMDb page that’s just ripe for a BRBTV guide. Enter Charles Cyphers.
Most famous for his role as Sheriff Brackett in the "Halloween" movie franchise, Cyphers began his career like any other actor, taking roles in television and film hoping to establish a name for himself.  And fans of BRBTV are sure to have seen his work.

Charles Cyphers as Sheriff Leigh Brackett in "Halloween" (1978).
In 2012, BRBTV released "Superchicks: A Guide to TV’s Wonder Woman and Isis." Cyphers has the distinction of having appeared in both series.  So I asked him to discuss those two early roles.
“'Isis,' that was one of my very first roles,” he said. “And I got to play a car thief.” 

Cyphers and I had been discussing his roles and their availability on DVD. He was not aware that "Isis" was released until I mentioned it. 

“That really shocks me. I had no idea that that series was still around. Just the other day, I got a royalty check, a BIG one, for 'The Six Million Dollar Man.' For the DVDs. 'Isis'?  Never saw a thing.  I don’t know who owns it, but we shot it for Filmation.”
On "Wonder Woman," Cyphers played Kurt in the first-season episode “Wonder Woman in Hollywood,” one of the episodes in which a very young Debra Winger played Wonder Girl.
“That was a great episode for me. The director (Bruce Bilson) was a friend of mine, and while we were shooting that episode, he was also directing me in a play. He would tease me about that for a long, long time. And Lynda Carter, yes, she was great to work with.”
A few years later, Cyphers would appear in two different roles on "The Dukes of Hazzard," as chronicled in "Them Dukes! Them Dukes!" He appeared in one of the very first shows shot in Hollywood, “Limo One is Missing.” Five years later, he would return to Hazzard in the sixth season’s “Dead and Alive.”
When asked about the experiences, Cyphers says that he had a lot of fun filming "The Dukes," but he adds that “those boys were full of themselves. I had more fun on 'Wonder Woman.'”

Monday, October 05, 2015

Some more "Dukes" art to fascinate fans

We told you about the fabulous "Dukes of Hazzard"-themed paintings by Jim Wilson of Ontario, Canada, in not only our May 29, 2013 and January 28, 2015 blog posts but also in the newest edition of the "Them Dukes! Them Dukes!" reference guide to the show. Well, Jim is at it again, just painting another beauty last week ...

It's a General he painted from his 1:18 model car. We asked if this was inspired by an episode, like several of Jim's other paintings, and he said no, and that he painted it with a nighttime scene "because u never see dukes at night." Yea ... might have a point there! Anyhow, here's another painting Jim has done this year ...

AND ... as if that's not enough!!!! Check out this truly special specialty item ... a stool fashioned like a guitar fashioned like a General Lee! When have ya'all ever seen one of those before? Jim made this by hand for his friend, Jason Darling, a fellow artist we've profiled on this blog and in the book! That's Jim and Jason in the photo below.

The stool is made of wood and took Jim about a week to craft. Did he use any kind of model for it? Nope, Jim says, it's all in his head. And aren't we glad it is!!!

Images courtesy of Jim Wilson and Wilson Estate Photography; please do not copy without permission.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Terrific TV Toys: Bionic Action Club Kit

Ahhh, remember those days of youth, when you could mail in like $1.25 or something and receive a membership card and certificate and whatever else to some cool club. This author became a member of the Archie Club that way, ya know! That membership card is still rattling around in some wallet or purse up in the closet (yes, I carried it for a while)! Well, our friend Andrea Melchiori became a member of the Bionic Action Club back in the 1970s, when she loved "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman" TV shows. Andrea takes over hosting duties of Terrific TV Toys for this latest episode, where she shows you the precious items she received in the mail for this oh-so exclusive club, as well as some other items in her Bionic collection.