Monday, September 28, 2015

Charlton Arrow # 4 Is Out!

The Charlton Arrow #4 (featuring my article on Bobby Sherman) is now available! $1 off the cover price for a limited time! See more at 

Thursday, September 24, 2015


You've probably seen it and yes, it's a blatant publicity trick for the upcoming CG PEANUTS movie but, hey, it's also pretty cool on its own. Above and below are myself, Rene and David "Peanutized."Here's where you can play with it yourself--

I even did friend Dee, below!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

R.I.P. Jay Scott Pike

Sorry to hear of the recent death of Jay Scott Pike, one of the great unsung glamour artists and an innovative comic book artist whose work remains largely unknown, even as it was in 1968 when the clipping below appeared in DC Comics. If remembered at all today, he is fondly recalled fro DOLPHIN and little else.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Booksteve Reviews: Andy and Don by Daniel de Vise

I've got a couple of books on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW from back in the 1980s already but this new book, ANDY AND DON, looks at it through its stars and gives a whole new take on it. And while the book certainly doesn't shy from some gossipy, less flattering bits of behind-the-scenes info, neither does it spread them exploitatively or judgmentally.

At its heart, it's a platonic love story between two men who become fast friends and yet also rivals on several levels. We get quite a bit of background information on the separate childhoods and early careers of our stars, all leading to what seems an almost TOO pat first meeting, precipitated by--of all people--Maurice Evans, the great Shakespearean actor and orangutan orator!

Once they meet, though, Andy and Don click right away to the point where, when Andy is about to start his self-titled sitcom and Don was recently put out of work, they reconnect and the magic that is the first 5 years of Mayberry happens.

There's lots of "making of" details in the section on the show as well as little-known relationship secrets about the actors. For instance, Andy didn't get along with George Lindsey or Francis Bavier and--while he could be said to have discovered Jim Nabors--was always a bit jealous of his success.

Both Andy and Don had substance abuse issues. Andy drank and Don got hooked on pills. Both men cheated on their wives and Andy was abusive to his first spouse.

But they always made room for each other, even when Knotts' film career took off for a couple of years and Andy's was rather stillborn. Andy would appear on Don's TV specials and Don would turn up in various Griffith projects.

The book leaves out a few of Andy's post-Mayberry projects such as his turn as a host on the Mutual Radio Theater in 1980 and the well-done ADAMS OF EAGLE LAKE pilot, and gives only brief mention to others like SALVAGE but for the most part, it's a good career retrospective, paralleling Andy's with Don's as his film career waned and he returned to TV on THREE'S COMPANY. Then came MATLOCK for Griffith and the hit reunion movie, RETURN TO MAYBERRY, for both men.

Through it all, we're shown sides of our heroes that we've never seen before, although rumors and hints had popped up everywhere from THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER to TV GUIDE. But since these less than flattering sides are presented so matter-of-factly, they serve to humanize the actors more, making them seem--somehow for the first time, really--like real people. At this point in my life, I've had the privilege to meet quite a few actors I grew up watching and I've learned that while they are never their characters, they are also rarely their images, either. But that this does not make them bad people!

Two young men meet and whatever else goes on throughout their lives, they always keep coming back to each other until, inevitably, two old men die and their connected story ends. But when the two men are ANDY AND DON, they create a lifetime of love and laughter and folksy wisdom in between  and enjoy each other as friends should.

ANDY AND DON by Daniel de Vise is a very good, very readable, and very eye opening addition to the annals of TV history, being revealing and admiring all at the same time. It's a tough line to balance but the author does it well every step of the way.

The book is due out in hardcover in November but can be pre-ordered now.

Booksteve Recommends!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Johnny Mack Brown

This 1931 article seems determined to drive Johnny Mack Brown out of Hollywood after Clark Gable replaced him in a film opposite Joan Crawford. Instead, Brown went in to be quite a prolific and popular cowboy star.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Kathy Coleman and Herbie J. Pilato at Barnes and Noble

Click to YouTube to see this better since it's widescreen but I wanted to share it here, too. Herbie, author of THE BEWITCHED BOOK (amongst many others) and the head of the Classic Television Preservation Society, had Kathy as his guest at his weekly Barnes and Noble celebrity event this past Thursday discussing her life and career and our book!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Roger Corman and James H. Nicholson

Click to embiggen these two early sixties trade articles about American International co-founder Jim Nicholson and Roger Corman.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

But I Don't Want to Get Married!

I sat and watched this TV movie when I was 11 in October of 1970 and I seem to recall enjoying it. Looking at it now is a whole 'nother thing. Ostensibly a comedy, it isn't really very funny and, in fact, the title doesn't even really apply as no one seems to be actually trying to marry our hero off except possibly his late wife's sister.  The film's sitcom premise is that Herschel Bernardi's wife has died 18 months earlier, leaving him with two boys. For no apparent reason, he suddenly becomes a chick magnet. Old pros Aaron Spelling and Jerry paris are the ones responsible, Paris being also the writer. As one of the folks behind THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW and a dozen other comedy classics, Paris--who also acts here--should have known better.

The premise is, of course, very similar to that of THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER which had premiered the year before on TV. As if there was a need to drive this home, Brandon Cruz, who played Eddie, is also one of Bernardi's kids here. His other son is Teddy Eccles, a prolific child actor of the period who now produces cooking shows.

If it plays like a pilot, it didn't need to as Bernardi--a brilliant stage actor and a TV veteran who's just amazingly bland throughout most of this film--already had a sitcom going that year called ARNIE. The joy of this movie is the fact that literally almost every role is played by a recognizable actor!

Kathleen Freeman and Florence Halop are the nosy neighbors for instance.

Shirley Jones is radiant in full Mrs. Partridge mode--her series had premiered a month before--as a divorced woman in the same building who hits on our hero.

Kay Medford is the sister-in-law.

Here's Jerry paris as the best friend, used mainly for exposition.

Nanette Fabray is a surprisingly horny blind date.

Harry Morgan runs a call girl agency where Bernardi thinks he's hiring a maid. Penny Marshall is one of Harry's girls.

And Joyce Van Patten is the call girl who shows up!

Character actor Peter Hobbs is the boss, whose secretary...

Sue Lyon, quite literally throws herself at our protagonist and tricks him into accompanying him to a low-budget stage version of Cyrano de Bergerac.

In the play, Cyrano is played by Aaron Spelling's brother whilst Roxanne is played by an unbilled Cissy Colpitts (later Cisse Cameron) in what was most likely her first film, coming a year before her memorable appearance in BILLY JACK. She has no lines but looks lovely and has some funny physical bits. Eight years later, I would write her for an autograph and she would send me several signed photos.

That's Herschel Bernardi's brother Jack as Kathleen Freeman's husband.

Shirley looking the way her recent autobiography made her sound!

Tina Louise in a throwaway cameo as the son's prim, proper teacher who lets her hair down leading into a commercial.

And then we quite randomly meet June Lockhart at a PTA meeting in the last few minutes of the film. There has been no plot, just a series of situations. 

And the narrator refers to the happy ending here as they discuss her having two girls to his two boys and the concept of a BRADY BUNCH style sequel seems likely.

Seriously, it's much fun to see all these folks in their prime but there's NO substance at all to BUT I DON'T WANT TO GET MARRIED!