Tag Archives: The Andy Griffith Show

The Movie That Launched a Thousand Television Careers

2 Jul

Last week, my family was traveling, and I spent a lot of time watching movies with my dad. I write that because I have been working on a post about those movies. However, another movie has interrupted the process.

This afternoon, I visited my parents, and my dad was watching a Western that I had never seen. There was a scene with a man and woman talking in a restaurant. The woman looked familiar, and I asked my dad to hit the Info button.

The movie was The Hangman, which was released in 1959, and the cast listing confirmed my suspicions. The woman was Tina Louise, who, in a few years, would gain fame as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.

It is always cool to find familiar faces in old movies. It is almost like telling someone’s fortune. Do you know that you will soon become famous for being stranded on an island after a three-hour boat tour gone wrong?

Then, the waitress walked up, and she looked familiar. Yep, it was Betty Lynn, who, in a few years, would gain fame as Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show.

At this point, soon to be famous television actors were popping up everywhere. Jack Lord was in jail. In a few years, he would gain fame as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O.

Fess Parker was the sheriff. At this time, he was once and future famous. In the 1950s, he helped start the coonskin cap craze as Davy Crockett. After this movie, he would attempt to relive the magic as Daniel Boone.

Then, there was Lorne Greene who played the marshal. The same year that The Hangman was released a new television show called Bonanza debuted. In a short time, he would be known throughout as Ben Cartwright, the patriarch who owned the Ponderosa.

As the title of the post says, The Hangman is the movie that launched a thousand television careers. Well, maybe not a thousand, but it came close.

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Movie Wisdom – Bernard Fox Edition

16 Dec

Bernard Fox passed away. Most people probably remember him as Dr. Bombay on Bewitched, but I have always been a fan of The Andy Griffith Show. That is where he played Malcolm Merriweather, the Englishman who showed up on a few episodes to take care of the Taylor family.bernard-fox

He appeared in a ton of great television shows, but he also appeared in some great movies. In honor of Bernard Fox, here is some words of wisdom that can be found in his movies.

By the way, can you find the similar trait of two of the movies.

From A Night to Remember

People first, things second.

From The Longest Day

Anything mechanical, give it a good bashing.

From Big Jake

You shouldn’t butt into things that aren’t your business.

You know what the problem with money is? Somebody’s always trying to take it from you.

From The Rescuers

Faith is a bluebird, we see from far. It’s for real and as sure as the first evening star, you can’t touch it, or buy it, or wrap it up tight, but it’s there just the same, making things turn out right.

From Titanic

Our choices are never easy.

From The Mummy

No harm ever came from reading a book.

 

Watching the Blob – A True Learning Experience

25 Jan

The other night, I was skimming through the television guide and came across The Blob, the 1950s Sci-Fi/Horror movie. I have never seen a 1950s Sci-Fi/Horror movie that I did not like, so I tuned in to see what this one was all about. I had heard of it but, honestly, had gotten it mixed up with The Thing, which starred James Arness in the title role.

The movie was almost over when I turned it on. A group of people were trapped in a diner as the Blob engulfed it. Police and a group of teenagers were watching helplessly. It was typical 1950s Sci-Fi/Horror fare. That is when I started noticing some things that I did not anticipate.

The young man trapped in the diner was taking charge of the situation and seemed to be a major character in the movie. Then, the realization hit that he looked familiar. He looked like a young Steve McQueen. Hitting the Info button, I found out that it was Steven McQueen. I never knew that he was in The Blob or that he ever went by Steven.

With that information out of the way, I settled in to see what was going to happen to Steven and the rest of the group. There was a little kid; the owner of the diner; a woman who looked like the owner’s wife; and Steven’s girlfriend. At some point, the girlfriend said something, and I thought, “I have heard that voice before.”

It was Aneta Corsaut, who played Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show.

Here is the cute couple.The Blob

For those who do not know, The Andy Griffith Show is my favorite show of all time. I own a model of Mayberry and was a member of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club. Heck, I even shook hands with Don Knotts. As you can probably tell, seeing Helen Crump in The Blob was pretty cool.

That is when I started thinking. Helen Crump went from being Steve McQueen’s girlfriend in high school to being Opie’s teacher in Mayberry, North Carolina. She also went from being Steve McQueen’s girlfriend to Andy Taylor’s wife.

Getting back to the movie, the people trapped in the diner are saved when Steven figures out that the Blob is afraid of the cold. He sprays it with a fire extinguisher and yells to the guys outside that they need to get more extinguishers. the high school principal hops into a hot rod with some juvenile delinquent looking dudes and heads to the school. This brings us to the most dramatic scene that I saw.

As they rush to the schoolhouse door, the principal cannot find his keys. Everyone looks at each other trying to figure out what to do. Nevermind that a cop is standing there with a gun and could shoot the lock open. Instead, the principal picks up and rock and stares at it. With lives at stake, should he dare break the glass to open the door? After a dramatic pause, he does, and the schoolhouse gang comes to the rescue.

The people trapped in the diner are saved, and the Blob is completely frozen. Steve realizes it is not dead, and the police officer tells him that the military is going to take it to the Arctic.

Police Officer: At least we’ve got it stopped.

Steve: Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.

I am sure this movie had some deep, underlying meaning from the time period. Probably something about how authority figures should listen to young people and not view them as a bunch of troublemakers. However, I learned a few more things.

1. You never know where life is going to lead. One day you are dating Steve McQueen, and the next day you are marrying Andy Taylor.

2. For many reasons, 1950s diners do not last forever. We have a great one in my town that could be on its way out. I promise that there will be a future post about that.

3. In the 1950s, juvenile delinquents drove some nice cars. These hot rods were top of the line.

4. Like them or not, principals have to make tough decisions – like saving lives instead of saving a pane of glass.

5. If Al Gore is right about global warming, then we are screwed. Stop worrying about a heat wave and start worrying about the return of the Blob!The Blob Ending

That dot landing behind the big question mark could thaw out at any time.

Those Oldies But Baddies

25 Sep

I picked up another magazine. This one was put out by the good people at Globe and is called Shocking Secrets of America’s Favorite TV Shows of the 50s and 60s. Short title. I figured it would be filled with juicy tidbits about the television stars of yesteryear, but it was actually filled with stuff that I already knew. For example, Andy Griffith was difficult to work with. As an ardent fan of his show, I knew that. Heck, he even wore a cast in a few episodes after he put his fist through a wall.

I found out that one actor on Gunsmoke walked with a fake limp while another one had to hide a real limp. Of course, everyone knows that Dennis Weaver was faking it as Chester, but I had no idea that James Arness couldn’t walk that well.

I also found out that three of the Cartwright’s wore hair pieces, and the other one wore stacked shoes. Bonanza will never be viewed the same.

Anyway, I thought that I would share some other “secrets” of the oldies. I’ll narrow it down to the shows that I have seen more than once.

The Honeymooners – A lot of drinking went on. Hey, it was Jackie Gleason. He liked a good time.

You Bet Your Life – Here’s a shocker. Groucho Marx liked women as well as the Secret Word.

I Love Lucy – Fred and Ethel hated each other.

The Munsters – In real life, Herman Munster went to Harvard.

The Addams Family – Uncle Fester was married to Betty Grable. Think about that for a second. This guy…Uncle Fester

was married to this woman.Betty Grable

My Little Margie – I had to watch these reruns because it was my mom’s favorite show. It turns out that Margie liked the sauce.

Davy Crockett – Walt Disney wouldn’t let Fess Parker play a role in The Searchers. This is one that I actually found interesting.

Gunsmoke – Here is where a scandal really hits. While everyone was waiting for Miss Kitty to hook up with Matt, she was hooking up with Doc behind the scenes.Gunsmoke

Have Gun, Will Travel – Paladin was one of television’s coolest characters, and Richard Boone was pretty cool, too. Unfortunately, that cool lifestyle of drinking killed him.

The Andy Griffith Show – This is one thing that I didn’t know about my favorite show. It was pre-empted by the debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

Hogan’s Heroes – Everybody knows about Bob Crane.

The Monkees – Charles Manson auditioned to be a Monkee.

There is a lot more, but you’ll have to buy the magazine for that. It’s the least I could do for the good people at Globe.

Childhood Memories – TBS

16 Nov

When this blog was in its infancy, there were a couple of posts called Childhood Memories. One was about my parents taking me to an Elvis concert. Another was about the cross-country trips that my family took every summer. Yet, another was about our weekend excursions to Gatlinburg. It’s been a while since Childhood Memories made an appearance, and I felt it was time to bring it back out.

I remember how great it was when we first got cable television. No longer was I limited to three real channels and a fuzzy PBS. There was much more television to explore. Australian Rules Football on ESPN. Cheap looking news sets on CNN. Slime pouring from the sky on Nickelodeon. It was a potpourri over never before seen material.

However, a lot of cable channels were filled with before seen shows. Reruns of shows that had faded into off air oblivion only to be revised as time fillers. Some, like My Little Margie, went back to my mom’s formative years, but most were the shows that my older brother grew up with. Gilligan’s Island. The Munsters. The Andy Griffith Show (my all-time favorite). The list goes on and on.

Everyday brought adventures that had been replayed countless times, but my favorite cable watching time was Sunday mornings. Before getting ready to go to church, I would hop in a chair; cover up in a blanket; and turn it to TBS. First, I watched The Three Stooges beat the crap out of each other. People talk about violence on television these days, but I don’t think anything is like seeing a guy get hit over the head with a crowbar.

Going against the grain, I liked the Shemp version of the Stooges a lot better than the Curly version. Curly worked at being funny, but Shemp brought it naturally.

The best of the Stooges.

Moe was just meaner than Hell, and I am not sure what role Larry was trying to play. Whatever the case, I watched The Three Stooges religiously on Sunday mornings.

However, that was just the opening act for the true reason to watch TBS. When the Stooges got out of their jams, it was time to watch the Robinson family never get out of theirs. I was fascinated by Lost in Space. Will and Robot. Don and Judy. John and Maureen. Penny. Dr. Zachary Smith. Heck, the Jupiter 2 was a character all its own.

They are not Swiss, but they are the Robinson’s.

It was an awesome show, but here is the thing. Just as I liked Shemp better than Curly. I liked the black and white Lost in Space better than the color one. The black and white version had a seriousness to it. The first episode was a realistic glimpse into the space program. There was suspense as Dr. Smith and Robot were out to destroy to mission. When the family found themselves lost on unknown planets, danger faced them at every turn. A trip in the Chariot meant avoided whirlpools, earthquakes and giant aliens. I can’t describe how cool it was.

Then, the show changed. It went to color and the aliens became pastel colored vegetables and interplanetary carnival barkers. Dr. Smith became a comedic character who constantly fought with Robot. Each episode was filled with lines like:

“You bubble-headed booby!”

“Oh, the pain, the pain.”

In short, it went the way to The Three Stooges. I read that the show changed because it had to compete with Adam West’s campy version of Batman. It wasn’t a good decision, but hindsight is 20/20.

When Lost in Space was over, it was time to get ready for church. As I sat in the pew drawing on offering envelopes, I though about Stooges poking the eyes out of each other and Robot saying, “Danger, Will Robinson!” The whole time I was wishing that I was back home watching TBS. I remember many episodes from those shows, but I don’t remember much about what I heard in church.

In Memory of Andy Griffith

3 Jul

Yesterday, I watched the last episode of Centennial, which featured Andy Griffith. This morning I woke to the news that Andy Griffith had died. Everything that can be written will show up on the Internet in the next several hours, and there is not much that I can add. Except, The Andy Griffith Show is my favorite television show, and he portrayed my favorite television dad.

In the early days of this blog, I wrote a post about my fascination with his show, and I feel that it is appropriate to link it here.

Rest in Peace Mr. Griffith. You provided millions with laughter and enjoyment.

Movie Wisdom – Don Knotts Edition

12 Jun

Before proceeding, I have an important announcement to make. The “Mystery Reader”, who spiked my View statistics a few days ago, has been found. She is one of the cool librarians on our campus and has a great blog of her own. So, head over and check it out.

Now, to our regularly scheduled blog post, a continuation of my goal to find words of wisdom in movies that star certain people. To read the rules that I placed upon myself, you may want to skim through the last Movie Wisdom post. This one delves into the cinema classics of Don Knotts, one of my all time favorites. He is best known for The Andy Griffith Show and Three’s Company but starred in several movies as well. Without further delay, here is the wisdom within the works of Don Knotts.

From It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

“Everybody pays taxes! Even businessmen, who rob and cheat and steal from people every day. Even, they have to pay taxes!

From The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

“When you work with words, words are your work.”

From The Shakiest Gun in the West

“Just because I’m rough and dirty and don’t wear underwear, doesn’t mean I’m not creative.”

“Brush your dentist twice a day. Visit your toothbrush twice a year.”

From The Love God?

“When will the government stop interfering with private business?”

“The public want sex, sex and more sex!”

From The Apple Dumpling Gang

“Well, there’s one good thing about luck – it always changes.”

“You don’t thank a man for hanging you.”

From Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo

“Sometimes a comeback comes second.”

From Hot Lead and Cold Feet

“Something good is bound to happen when love is in your heart.”