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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I've been watching a lot of old television lately, thanks to dollar DVDs and You Tube. I bought dollar DVDs of Jack Benny, Red Skelton, "Love That Bob," "Ozzie and Harriet" and "Burns and Allen."

The Red Skelton DVD has a terrific early Carol Channing performance. She plays a hillbilly girl (sort of like Ellie May on "The Beverly Hillbillies" or Daisy May in "Lil Abner") who is in love with Red's character Clem Cadiddlehopper. He wants to marry her, but her dream is to go to New York to become a famous actress. Clem later strikes oil, becomes a millionaire, founds Cadiddlehopper Enterprises in New York and meets up with Carol again. She sings a comic version of "Heartbreak Hotel," which I'm guessing was a hit at the time by Elvis Presley. On the same DVD, there's an episode with Vincent Price and Jackie Coogan. It's wonderful to see Henry Jarrod work with Fester Addams.

The Ozzie and Harriets are cute. These are later episodes, when Ozzie and Harriet are ancient and not doing very much. The heavy lifting is being done by Ricky OR David, who have both married and moved out of the house. The girl who plays David's wife is a doll.

"Love That Bob," starring Bob Cummings, really has its moments. I never realized how "adult" the show was. It's all about That Skirt-Chasing Bob. He photographs models, so there are a lot of jokes about models' "figures." One episode was like a "Who's Who of TV Comedy." It had Bob, Ann B. Davis (Alice on "The Brady Bunch"), Dwayne Hickman ("The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"), Rose Marie (Sally Rogers on "The Dick Van Dyke Show") and Nancy Kulp (Miss Hathaway on "The Beverly Hillbillies"). That's ONE episode!

But I learned from You Tube that not EVERY television show from the '50s is a timeless classic. I saw one You Tube posting from the '50s that teamed Jackie Gleason and Groucho Marx. Well, this historic teaming would have to be the funniest thing ever, wouldn't it? Nope. It was just a lazily written variety number resting on the laurels of both men's careers. And Boris Karloff singing on a monster-themed "Dinah Shore Show" was, frankly, a little embarrassing.

Old television -- watch some today!


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