Let's be honest here: yes, the telethon is a great event that has raised billions for the fight against muscular dystrophy – but, those are a lot of hours to fill every year and most of those hours are filled with, well, filler. But! Over the course of the last 45 years, there have been many, many memorable moments. Look: John Lennon! KISS! The Jackson 5! Joan Crawford and her daughter – a daughter who would in the future write 'Mommie Dearest.'
So, to commemorate Mr. Lewis's contribution to society (and popular culture), here are five memorable moments from his telethon.
In the interview, the 1960s-era bombshell discusses some of the many men she's had relationships with, from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan to Dean Martin to Burt Reynolds.
Watch the video after the jump.
Answer: Sure, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Rob Lowe.
No, that was the Brat Pack. American Idol is honoring the original Rat Pack, which is actually not the Las Vegas Rat Pack. The Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop pack of the 1960's Sands Hotel was in fact an outgrowth of the Rat Pack that Humphrey Bogart and Sinatra first formed in the late 1940s.
Question: is there anyone out there who still thinks that Robin Williams is funny?
I ask this because he's the very first guest (well, after the adorable niece and her drawings) on The Bonnie Hunt Show, the new talk show from the veteran actress/comic, and he pretty much ruins the episode. The first half anyway. The guy just can't shut up, and I suppose that would be rather great if he was funny, but with Williams, quantity doesn't equal quality. There are very few moments to breathe when Williams hits a talk show couch, and I think the only reason I get through his segment was because halfway through Joe Mantegna showed up with pizza for the audience.
Ah, Christmas music. A lot of people hate it. Those people are called "Scrooges."
I love Christmas music. The classic stuff, that is. Sinatra, Clooney, Como, instrumental music. If I hear Bruce Spingsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" or anything by Mariah Carey or U2 or McCartney or any rock band (though I love "Jingle Bell Rock," "Christmas Wrapping," and Darlene Love, which are all great), I'll strangle an elf, I swear.
After the jump I've posted many classic moments from TV specials and Christmas episodes of shows. You'll find everything from Dean Martin to a classic soda commercial and even a part of the male anatomy, placed in a square receptacle.
It must have been hard to put a set together for a show like The Tonight Show. It's not the type of show you can do by season (way too many episodes), and Johnny Carson was host for 30 years (1962-92). A set like this is bound to disappoint some fans. But you know what? The set is just individual DVDs that have already been released in another form, and now they're packaging them under the Definitive DVD Collection title. That might tick off some fans who already bought the discs, but the set is well-done and has a variety of material to recommend it.
The last of the Rat Pack is dead.
Joey Bishop, who along with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Lawford comprised the Rat Pack in the late 50s and early 60s, died of multiple causes in Newport Beach this morning.
Besides several movies, including the original Ocean's Eleven and The Naked and the Dead, Bishop starred in two different TV series titled The Joey Bishop Show.
While we all mourn the demise of the celebrity Roast, I thought this might be a good time to reflect back on a time when the master, Don Rickles, used just the right combination of acerbic wit and what would today be called "political incorrectness" for hilarious results.
All comedians, in their own way, are skilled at keeping an audience engaged, but very few can match the likes of Don Rickles. There are a lot of angry comedians out there, and even some who aren't afraid to take a few shots at the audience, but Rickles' act was only ostensibly about insults. At its core, it was about creating a kind of communal moment in which no one was the butt of the joke because everyone was the butt of the joke.
As most people know, there is very little about being an alcoholic or a drug addict that is funny. For most people who suffer from addiction the best they can hope for is to live "one day at a time" and do their best not to screw up their life and those around them. However, in the world of TV comedy, the addict is often the funniest person on the show. Many characters throughout TV history have given us all a belly laugh while they were under the influence. Here is my list of the funniest of those with this particular problem.
1. Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd) - Taxi
What could make a young Ivy League undergrad from a rich, influential family become a burned out reverend/cabbie with questionable judgment and a terrible memory? I doubt that even Jim could compile a complete list? At least his driving isn't any less safe than most New York cabbies.
One day when I was visiting the Museum of TV & Radio here in LA, I decided to go up to the library and watch a few shows. I saw that they had quite a few episodes of Dean Martin's Celebrity Roast available so I ordered up a couple. It was hilarious. Bob Newhart, Nipsey Russell, Phyllis Diller and Dean himself were as funny as ever and clearly having a great time.
When Comedy Central decided to bring back the celebrity roast I was elated. I couldn't wait to see today's best comics having a great time just like in the old days. For awhile it was great. Jeff Ross emerged as the new heir to the dais on great roasts of Drew Carey and Jerry Stiller, and the Hugh Hefner roast was a treat. Then something happened.
There are drinkers, and then there are drinkers. The ones that always seem to have a drink in their hand. It's a social thing, it's a private thing, but most of all, it's an everyday thing. Here are five TV characters who drank. A lot.
1. Larry Tate (Bewitched): Sure, it was the 60s and drinking was everyone and not frowned upon like it is in a lot of situations today, but mother of God Larry used to drink a lot. Every single time he came over to the Stephens' home he rushed over to their bar and made himself a drink, or Samantha gave him one. He seems like a prime candidate for alcoholism: a harried advertising guy, always on the go, and an ad exec who works for him that seems to vanish or have odd things happen to him all the time. That couldn't have been easy to deal with. This guy drinks a lot. In fact, if you play the Bewitched drinking game (take a drink every time Larry takes a drink), you probably won't make it past an episode.
Hey kids, it's time to break out that ol' guitar, trombone, washboard, monkey trumpet, or whatever the heck else you play and join me in listing the best bands to ever grace the small screen. Today we're going to focus on real bands, but don't worry, there's another "The Five" right around the corner where we'll discuss the best fictional bands on television. But for now:
The Tonight Show Band (under Doc Severinsen): The Johnny Carson era of The Tonight Show came to an end when I was a sophomore in high school, and while I never had the same loathing for Jay Leno many others did, I don't think the show will ever be able to duplicate the vibe created by Carson, Ed McMahon, and bandleader Carl H. Severinsen (his friends call him "Doc"). Don't get me wrong, Kevin Eubanks and the current musicians on the show all have chops to spare, but Doc and his fellow bandmates had a kind of old-time classiness about them I couldn't help but admire. And who could forget those glittery, kitschy suits he used to wear?
Perhaps "Short-Lived Segment on A Longer-Running Program" would have been a more appropriate title, but I'll take any excuse to talk about one of my favorite cartoons of all time.
The Ant and the Aardvark was created by Friz Freling and aired as a segment on The New Pink Panther Show and The Pink Panther Laff And A Half Hour, two shows which followed the original Pink Panther cartoon and consisted of made-for-TV shorts rather than the theatrical shorts which made up the original Saturday morning cartoon. The Ant and the Aardvark segments aired from 1969 to 1971, totaling seventeen cartoons in all. Each episode would pit a dimwitted aardvark (almost always referred to as an "anteater") who sounded like Jackie Mason against a clever and resourceful ant who sounded like Dean Martin. Both characters were actually voiced by actor John Byner.
While the set up was similar to Chuck Jones' Coyote and Road Runner shorts, The Ant and the Aardvark had the benefit of being a "talkie," which made it a lot more hip and clever than the slapstick of Jones' tribute to the animal kingdom. And I say that as a huge Looney Tunes fan, myself. Also, the Aardvark's mumbling cadence was hilarious, even if you didn't know who Jackie Mason was. When I was young the Pink Panther never really impressed me much, but I always looked forward to the Ant and the Aardvark. If you want to check out some episodes, YouTube has a few. Unlike a lot of the animation found on that site, these are actually pretty decent quality.
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