Thursday, January 26, 2017

Terrific TV Toys: Some goodies from "The Lion King"

OK, wasn't "The Lion King" a movie not a TV show, you're thinking???? Well, it's been both over the years, with a second TV show, "The Lion Guard," even launching just last year. So Andrea Melchiori takes the helm of Terrific TV Toys again this week to show you an awesome collection of stuff from "The Lion King." She loves Simba and Co., and you'll see a little bit of everything in this assortment.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Zonkers! Look what just arrived!

(That was the subject line of the email from Will Rodgers, and it warranted use as the headline!)

Will is at it again! The author of "The Ultimate Super Friends Companion" has just loaded up on some more Figures Toy Co. action figures celebrating that great '70s-'80s cartoon with the heroes we all know and love. The key thing is that there's now Wendy and Marvin! So cool. No Wonder Dog, but we can forgive that! "I also got the new Robin figure in the Teen Titans line and photographed him with the Neal Adams style Batman," Will says. "I might buy another figure and transfer the head and costume to an 8-inch body."

Photos by Will Rodgers; please do not copy without permission.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Terrific TV Toys: Mystery Machine ceramic bank by FAB NY / Starpoint

Clink-clank goes the spare change when you're banking on this beauty -- a model of the Mystery Machine, set in ceramic! It's the latest item up for review on the Terrific TV Toys series. Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, too, and the rest of the gang are riding inside, ready to solve the latest mystery...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Terrific TV Toys kicks off Season 4 with a very special anniversary

We've been celebrating anniversaries a lot recently on the Terrific TV Toys series. Last year, we marked the half-century point for "Star Trek" and "The Green Hornet," and we celebrated same for the 1966 "Batman" series all year long with the Figures Toy Co. figure set. Now, another 50th anniversary emerges, this month, actually, and it's for the character we hold in our highest esteem ... Batgirl, specifically the Batgirl whose alter ego is Barbara Gordon, daughter of police commissioner James Gordon.

It was January 1967 when she first came on the scene, in Detective Comics No. 359, set to coincide -- roughly -- with her addition to the "Batman" TV series later that year, for the show's third season. Played by Yvonne Craig, she was forthright and bright, deftly landing her pointed kicks on criminals like Penguin and Joker and assisting the not-at-all-begrudging Dynamic Duo. She lit fanboy dreams everywhere, and she had this author dreaming of becoming her someday.

Diamond Select Toys crafted a wonderful statue in 2015 capturing the essence of Craig's portrayal of Batgirl, and it becomes the first episode of Season 4 as well as the launch of another year-long anniversary celebration. There's lots of Batgirl stuff down in the Batcave at BRBTV headquarters, so you'll be seeing one item a month or so all year long.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

From a starship captain to a family Bunch -- TV worlds collide at L.A's Franklin Canyon Park

Many thanks to guest blogger Brian Lombard, who offers this closeup look at a fun filming site on the West Coast.


Franklin Canyon Park is a public park in the hills of Los Angeles. While you may have never heard of it, you’ve most likely seen it, as it has been used in countless films and television series. The iconic introduction to “The Andy Griffith Show,” wherein Andy and young Opie head out for a day of fishing, was filmed in the park. But it wasn’t Andy Griffith that drew me there on a recent visit to L.A.

My interest in the park was twofold, the first involving the final frontier, the second involving a very lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls. Yes, both “Star Trek” and “The Brady Bunch,” two of my favorites series, filmed memorable episodes in the park, so I knew I had to see it firsthand.

In June 1968, “Star Trek” came to the park for production of an early third-season episode entitled “The Paradise Syndrome.” The story finds Captain Kirk joining a tribe of Native Americans after losing his memory on a doomed planet that the Enterprise has been sent to intercept. Much of the story was shot on the shores of Franklin Lake, including a specially designed set piece involving an obelisk. The piece is infamous among “Star Trek” fans, as its cost overruns resulted in the series ending location shoots with this episode. As a result, the third and final season would shoot exclusively indoors back at Paramount Studios, using pre-existing sets over and over (and over) again.

Finding the area where the obelisk once sat is fairly easy to do. Today, it's home to a picnic table and a trash can (below), belying its more popular position in pop culture history.

Look across the lake and you’ll see the area where the Indian village set once was, though it was only used for exterior shots. This is also the area where, just a year later, the Bradys would set up camp in the first-season episode “A Camping We Will Go.” (See the black box in the third photo below.)

Didja notice? Captain Kirk performs CPR on a boy who was pulled from the lake, and Cindy Brady is seen soaking wet after having fallen in herself. But no one is ever actually shown in the lake itself. That’s because back in the '60s, the lake was used as a backup water supply, and park rangers were quick to tell the productions no swimming. In the case of “Star Trek,” canoes were rented for the express purpose of filming on the lake, but instead were shown merely being cleaned on shore.

Today the park is home to locals out for a jog or letting their dogs stretch their legs. Even if you’re not a fan of these classic series, it’s still a scenic and beautiful way to spend an afternoon. But like the Bradys, better bring your own lunch, as there’s no fish to be found in that lake!

Brian Lombard is the author of "Bradypalooza: The Unauthorized Guide to TV's Favorite Family," and a really big fan of classic TV!


Screenshots and photos by Brian Lombard; please do not copy without permission.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Announcing the print edition of "The Ultimate Super Friends Companion"

Once in a while a book comes along that the author was truly meant to write. "The Ultimate Super Friends Companion" is just such a book, because author Will Rodgers is a lifelong fan of the animated kids' TV show, which originally aired from 1973 through the 1980s, and he is no less than an expert on it. In early 2016, BRBTV announced Will's book as the fifth book in its fact book series, released on Amazon's Kindle format and readable on any mobile device. Now we are more than pleased, a year later, to unleash the print edition of "The Ultimate Super Friends Companion"!

Because Will wrote so long and hard on the subject, what was an e-edition that encompassed 800 pages in Microsoft Word has now become two big print volumes bursting at the seams (seriously, it would have translated to one print volume at nearly 1,000 pages -- actually too big to bind for a 6-by-9" paperback!). Volume 1 at 530 pages covers the 1970s run of the show, and Volume 2 at 448 pages covers the 1980s.

Volume 1 offers up goodies like these:
  • Lengthy commentary and analysis of each episode of the 1970s series
  • Character profiles of the heroes and villains
  • A rundown of the DVD content for each '70s series
  • Features on the history of the five main heroes in comics and other media and on the writing style of the "Super Friends"
  • Retrospectives of superhero teamups over the years and the history of DC and Warner Bros. classic animation

Volume 2 gives you this:
  • Lengthy commentary and analysis of each episode of the 1980s series
  • Character profiles of the heroes and villains
  • A rundown of the DVD content for each '80s series
  • An index to every character's appearances in the episodes
  • A look at the toylines pertaining to our heroes
  • A guide to all of the Super Friends comic books

At the same time that these two print volumes have been released, the Kindle edition has been updated to reflect them. And you still get all of this great content in one volume with the Kindle edition.

As a special treat to readers, Shannon Farnon, the original voice of Wonder Woman, writes the foreword of "The Ultimate Super Friends Companion," and talented Baltimore artist Dale Cuthbertson offers his own interpretation of our heroes for the book's cover!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year! We celebrate this blog's 10th anniversary with BRBTV's top 10 all-time iconic TV moments

We here at BRBTV love television. We always have. We love how it reflects who we are as human beings, how it moves us, motivates us, makes us get all emotional in a variety of ways, often provides simple mindless escape, and just plain entertains us! This author is thankful to have witnessed several truly history-making moments live, as they originally aired, on that thing that's been called a Boob Tube over the years. These key moments were all water-cooler talk the next day, for sure.

So as a special New Year's Day celebration, and to mark one full decade for this continuously operating news blog, we've assembled what we consider the top 10 iconic television moments, almost all of which this author witnessed as they originally aired (can you guess which one I didn't?) ...

Sinead O'Conner tearing up the photo of the Pope on "Saturday Night Live."
What the heck??? That's what we were all wondering, right? Ah, the marvel of live television ...

Farrah getting loopy on Letterman.
This author cringed for poor Farrah -- I've always loved her.

Sally Field: "You like me!" Oscar speech.
Quoted so many times since then, and often inaccurately, Field's acceptance speech nevertheless lives forever.

Geraldo Rivera opens Al Capone's vault ...
... and there's nothing there! Ooops, did we spoil that for you? Can't believe there could be somebody out there who hasn't heard the jokes about this one over the years. Don't need to explain it much more, because Geraldo does a pretty good job in this clip.

Alien Autopsy
All the more chilling because it's silent, this footage -- supposedly from the U.S. government's examinations of alien bodies after the 1947 Roswell, New Mexico, UFO crash -- was unleashed on the TV viewing world in the mid-'90s. We remember Jonathan Frakes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" hosting this primetime special, and boy, did we eat it up. Everybody knows that something did happen in Roswell back then, and whether or not it has been debunked over the decades since, this footage sure makes you wonder, doesn't it?

O.J. Simpson fleeing in the white Bronco
It's another one of those news moments -- like the Challenger crash or the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Tower, which would have made this list if it were longer! -- that you remember the physical place you were when you heard or when you saw it live on TV. O.J. Simpson, an all-American athlete, revered by so many, fleeing the law in the wake of some ugly charges.

Sophia coming out of the barn on "The Walking Dead."
Maybe there's some of you brainiacs out there who saw it coming, but this author sure didn't. Blown-the-heck-away. One of the best moments of scripted television, hands down.

Bobby's in the shower on "Dallas."
"Dallas" has to have two moments in this list because it showed every other TV series how it was done, as far as cliffhangers and bringing a character back from the dead. Continuity, schmontinuity! We don't need no stinkin' continuity -- we make our own!!!! Soooooo ... we forgave "Dallas" quite wholeheartedly for this major rewrite to resurrect Patrick Duffy's beloved Bobby Ewing. And because of that, this moment became a pop-cultural landmark. This plot point is continually cited, in terms of TV plot history. Plus, you've got to consider the fact that it was a grand TV production cover-up that would be a whole lot harder nowadays in the social media age.

Mary Lou Retton nailing a perfect "10" vault to win the gold in women's gymnastics in the 1984 Olympics.
Friggin' amazing, and my favorite gymnast forever. That moment lit the viewing world on fire, as we knew she'd clinched the medal.

AND FINALLY ... our vote for top 10 iconic moment of all time ...

J.R. getting shot on "Dallas."
You could argue that the big reveal of "Who Shot J.R." was the iconic moment here, as it got record-breaking viewership, but really, it was the moment the old dog slumped over the doorway to his office that really got us, thereby touching off the fervor in the ensuing months. A truly groundbreaking moment for the TV cliffhanger and the TV soap in general, from a historical perspective ...

What have been your own landmark or favorite TV moments?

And once again ... Happy New Year! Here's to a great 2017!