Sunday, September 26, 2010

This is What I Call Heaven

Don't forget, Dark Night of the Scarecrow comes out this Tuesday!!! It's got a great TV spot and commentary by the director and writer! Some say support your local sheriff, but I just say support your TV Movies!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harold Gould (1923 - 2010)

Harold Gould was always one of the most welcome faces in television.

Although he preferred the stage to the screen, his face became a mainstay during the 60s, 70s and 80s on such shows as SOAP, Rhoda and The Golden Girls. Crowned with beautiful white hair (his look hardly varied, even through three decades of television) and ferociously likable, Harold even originated the role of Howard Cunningham when Happy Days was just a sketch on Love, American Style! His work also brought him five Emmy nominations!

Harold helps out Rhoda on her wedding day

I always think of Gould as the sweet Dad type, but he sometimes played badasses such as when he portrayed Honore, the patriarch of a mobster family on several episodes of Hawaii 5-0. Well, at least he's still a dad! He also put in a fun, and surprising turn in a great TVM called The Red Light Sting, which also starred Farrah Fawcett and Beau Bridges. Again, Gould is a mobster type in this crazed little nugget about the LA Police buying a brothel (!) to set up an elaborate sting! Gotta love it!

Before he was Miles, he played Rose's other boyfriend, Arnie on the 1st season of the Golden Girls

Gould appeared in many TV movies. Here's a list:

A Death of Innocence (1970)
Double Solitaire (1974)
Judgement: The Trials of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (1974)
Medical Story (1975)
Flannery and Quilt (1976)
How to Break Up a Happy Divorce (1976)
Never Con a Killer (1977)
Actor (1978)
Better Late Than Never (1979)
The 11th Victim (1979)
The Man in the Santa Claus Suit (1979)
The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980)
The Silent Lovers (1980)
Born to Be Sold (1981)
Help Wanted: Male (1982)
The Skin of Our Teeth (1983)
The Red Light Sting (1984)
The Fourth Wise Man (1985)
Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (1986)
I Never Sang For My Father (1988)
Tales From the Hollywood Hills: Closed Set (1988)
Get Smart, Again! (1989)

And that's just the 70s and 80s!

Harold also made a movie in 1996 called For Hope, which got some buzz because it was the movie Bob Saget made about his sister who died from a rare disease. Harold plays, you guessed it, the father, and the film is so heartbreaking and moving. Well worth seeking out if you ever get in a tear-jerker mood...

Harold in his Emmy nominated performance for Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry

Harold's impressive TV series career is too lengthy to even attempt to go into, so I suggest visiting Harold's IMDb page. I have to wonder, with so many TV credits, when did ever find time for theater? But he did and was playing Morrie in Tuesdays with Morrie in 2005. His last television performance was on Nip/Tuck.

For me, he'll always be Miles Webber, Rose's sweet natured boyfriend on The Golden Girls. One of the funniest episodes features Miles living as an Amish man while he's hiding out in the witness protection program. There's lots of funny jokes about windmills and buggies! Harold's impeccable comic timing was a force to be reckoned with and he was always a great addition to any show he appeared in.

Gould puts the bad in badass in Hawaii 5-0

Harold started out as a professor (with a doctorate no less!) of theatre who decided to venture into the real world of acting. We have all lived in a better place because of it.

My thoughts and condolences go out to this family and friends.

Read more about Harold at The Washington Post.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Larry Hagman!

That's right, my favorite cut-throat oil tycoon just turned 79 years young today! And I'm celebrating by... well, I didn't get to celebrate too much at all (thank you intense school semester), but I have been thinking about all things JR today and remembering what a wonderful and talented actor Mr. Hagman truly is.

Oh Sue Ellen, of all nights to get blitzed... Why'd ya pick JR's' birthday?!?

Not only was he Tony Nelson, the beleaguered owner turned hubby of the hot sexy genie on I Dream of Jeanie, but he was, as we all know, the greatest love-to-hate-'em bad guy that ever graced the small screen. Yup, that JR makes me smile while making my blood boil. There are many, many reasons to watch Dallas, which is simply one of the greatest shows of all time, but what would it have been without Larry? A bit of a let down, I suppose. I can't imagine anyone else in those horrible fitted ascots and safari jackets (oh, late 70s how you haunt us). He was always tipping the scales in his direction as he tipped that awesome 10 gallon hat. With a wink and a smile and a shot of bourbon, he was the go-to-guy for prime time entertainment.

I wrote a little profile on good ol' JR Ewing awhile ago (in fact I have a whole gaggle of Dallas themed stuff that is yours for the taking!), and I also wrote a review of a TV movie he made with Barbara Eden called A Howling in the Woods.

This one's for you, sir!

Is it odd that he's had so many roles in his career but when I hear his name I instantly think of not just Dallas but also his small, but pivotal part in Harry and Tonto, which is one of my all time favorite movies. It just goes to show what a memorable presence he was, is and continues to be.

Here's to you Larry! I hope it was the most wonderful day ever!

This is a pic from the short lived 70s TV series Here We Go Again. Must find... must find...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Must See Streaming Movie of the Week: Night Terror (1977)!!!

Lo and behold, Netflix added an awesome 70s TV movie to their streaming roster this month! For some reason Night Terror is playing under the title Night Drive, and apparently it has also recently aired on MGM HD! Wow, where have I been?

Scary but hot... just how I like 'em!

For those of us who saw Night Terror... sorry, Night Drive way back when it originally aired in 1977, it was an enthralling suspense thriller. It features Valerie Harper as the way beyond hapless housewife taking a solo trip across the desert. She runs afoul of a very scary loony (Richard Romanus credited as The Killer on IMDb) and witnesses him murdering a police officer. Yikes. He might have been one of those crazy-sexy-cool bad guys had he not had that creepy electronic voice box apparatus! Now he's just totally uncool. Because Harper's character comes off as so helpless in the beginning, it made her all the more relatable to my little six year old brain. I remember being right along with her as she drove into the depths of hell. No joke. This movie scared the bejeesus out of me! As an adult, it's a bit more slow paced than I remembered, but still gripping. Of course Harper turns ye' old tables on The Killer and he gets his where-for-art-thous (well kinda, this is a made for TV movie after all), and the film ends with what I think was one of the most disturbing conclusions ever shot for the small screen. It's not shocking - not in the least - but like many of my favorite slashers, you get the feeling Harper is not ever going to be the same. Heavy duty...

The spotlight is on Valerie! Ha! I'm here all week...

The score by Fred Steiner is positively unnerving and I think its just as integral as the actors and the premise. It sounds as unhinged as our dear Killer, setting the tone early on for what we're about to see.


I had christened The Killer awhile back as one of the Top Ten Creepiest Characters in a TVM, and while I rewatch Night Terror, uh, Night Drive now I feel that I was completely correct!

You can also download Night Terror, er, Night Drive on Amazon!

Read more about the movie at Kindertrauma.

Super nerd moment: The guy on the right is also in Jaws 2!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Love Boat: The Deacon Dark Files

As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of The Love Boat. I am such a big fan, I even watched Love Boat: The Next Wave. Yes sir, it's true. If I had to narrow down my favorite episodes, I'd be hard pressed because I just adore them all. However, there is one that keeps popping up in my forever clouded childhood memories that I think is probably the best episode. Ever.

On March 17th, 1979, Love Boat unleashed Deacon Dark on an unsuspecting audience. The Deacon is a culmination of Alice Cooper and KISS mixed with a whole lot of TV sensibility towards the then-current pop culture crazes. In effect, Deacon is thought to be a dark rock and roll soul, but underneath his satanic pantomime makeup, he's just dying to write a ballad.

Deacon Dark is a bad ass performing his hit song Smash It:

Deacon Dark is in fact, just a character played to the hilt by his far gentler counterpart Phil Backstrom (Sonny Bono!). His manager (Artie Johnson) wants Deacon to keep it crazy cuz it's all about the gimmick, but when Backstrom falls for a deaf girl named Sara (Sheila Lenham, who apparently only appeared in this one episode of Love Boat before disappearing into obscurity) he decides it's sappy love songs all the way.

And you know what? He's right.

Why on God's green earth would Deacon write a love song for a deaf girl? Because she can feel the music! I was about 8 when this episode originally aired and I distinctly remember being blown away by that revelation. Other shows and films have used the device of deaf people feeling music (Crazy Moon is the first to come to mind), but it's here you get to see Deacon's soft side when he finds that Sara gets his style! **sniff sniff** The Deacon of Dark is a big ol' softie!

That sappy love song called "Now That I've Found Sara" has gone on to become one my favorite songs ever written for a schmaltzy television show or movie (with "Sensitive You're Not" in This House Possessed taking top honors). I love every second of it and apparently I'm not the only one. Just today I discovered a Deacon Dark fan page on Facebook! The Deacon lives folks!

Deacon Dark has not left the building!