The Carol Burnett Show
In fact, to this day, those characters are still hilarious. Last week, my sister and I recalled the Mrs. Wiggins sketch, with Tim Conway as Mr. Tudball. We both laughed at the memory.
Sadly, 'The Carol Burnett Show' today is like a relic from the past. It was in many ways the end of an era. Like Carol herself said in USA Today, the cost of those shows would be too much today. But when she was doing her show, CBS Television City was also producing 'The Sonny & Cher Show,' 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' and 'The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.' That was a lot of variety, something that's non-existent today .
Well, I'm not alone in missing Saturday TV; Oscar-winner Barry Levinson feels the same. Levinson is also a TV producer -- he did Homicide: Life on the Street and The Philanthropist -- and he thinks the networks are making a big mistake by not seizing on Saturday primetime. He knows the business pretty well and he's confused by the networks' strategy.
"I don't think the answer is to retreat," he told the New York Daily News. "When you give up Saturday night, you open the door for people to go somewhere else. Basically, they're shrinking their own audience."
Well, nobody can accuse Kate Winslet of not being courageous. The actress -- also an Oscar-winner for The Reader -- is going to do a remake. Right now Mildred Pierce is slated as a miniseries starring Kate Winslet with Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) writing and directing. HBO is first in line to broadcast the mini, but the contracts haven't been signed yet.
Remakes always make me a little queasy. After all, for every success like The Fugitive, there's a debacle like The Wild Wild West. But this time around it's not a television series being remade, it's a famous and semi-classic Oscar-winner, Mildred Pierce. The name alone evokes images of Joan Crawford with shoulder pads you could die for and a horrible teenage daughter played by Ann Blyth.
Our list of the best shows of the '70s features many of the best shows of all time (here's looking at you, 'Mary Tyler Moore Show,' 'M*A*S*H' and 'Taxi'). Take a gander and let us know if you agree.
- George Furth: He was a veteran character actor who appeared in tons of TV shows over the years, including L.A. Law, All in the Family, Murder, She Wrote, Happy Days, The Odd Couple, Bonanza, Green Acres, Adam-12, Night Gallery, I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees, The Good Guys, That Girl, Batman, F Troop, McHale's Navy, The Defenders, The Nanny, and Wings, as well as movies such as Blazing Saddles, Shampoo, Airport '77, The Boston Strangler, Bulworth, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He was also an acclaimed playwright, writing the play Twigs and collaborating with Stephen Sondheim on Company, Merrily We Roll Along, and Getting Away with Murder. He died at age 75.
I never cared for Passions. It turned me off in the first season, 1999, but it wasn't because of the outre elements. I was actually interested in the gothic stuff because I'd grown up enjoying Dark Shadows with Barnabus and Quentin and Angelique and all those horror classic reinterpretations on a next-to-nothing budget -- furniture provided by Stern's Department Store, as I recall -- including werewolves, Frankenstein's monster and The Innocents, and parallel universes. Dark Shadows remains a vivid, happy memory.
A roundup of TV people from in front of the camera and behind the scenes who have passed away.
- Christopher Allport: He was a veteran actor who most recently played Pete's father on Mad Men. He was a regular on such shows as Felicity, Days of Our Lives, and Commander-In-Chief, and also appeared in many other shows, including Without A Trace, Shark, NCIS, ER, 7th Heaven, Judging Amy, The Practice, JAG, Chicago Hope, Party of Five, Walker, Texas Ranger, Picket Fences, The X-Files, The Pretender, Quantum Leap, Hunter, China Beach, and many others. He died in an avalanche while skiing in California. He was 60.
For whatever reason, the name Chuck has turned out to be very popular this year. On TV, Pushing Daisies has a major character named Chuck and, of course, there's the new series Chuck. in the theaters, Chuck and Larry were happily married and Dane Cook was a Chuck with extraordinary luck. All these Chuck's got me thinking (not to mention craving a hamburger) some of the greatest people on television have been named Chuck. Here are a few.
Chuck Cunningham (Happy Days)
When the Cunningham family first made their appearance, Chuck was clearly the funniest part of the family. Unfortunately as the show progressed, it became clear that there simply wasn't enough room for Chuck in the house or on the series. Chuck Cunningham lives on, however, as the most famous forgotten character of all time.
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