Friday, May 18, 2012

Television with Antenna, Friday-Night Style

**Updated 8:01PM 10/29/2016 to remove embedded YouTube clips -- as all of them had long since ceased to work, and I'm not feeling up to finding other clips of them. Thanks, Wall-P, you little stooge-bot of corporate overclass intrigue.**

An old pair of Zenith TV sets circa 1955, source image here.

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Friday evening / early night and I am home watching Antenna TV, specifically, loooooong ago reruns of Bachelor Father following two episodes of Father Knows Best.

Noreen Corcoran and John Forsythe in a publicity picture for the TV show Bachelor Father, 1961.

As for Sammee Tong playing "house boy" Peter Tong*, this is a stereotype that only exists today on obscure cable TV stations such as this Antenna TV.

*Peter Tong, not to be confused with famous British club DJ Pete Tong.

As for Father Knows Best, there is something just odd about Elinor Donahue's "Betty" character.

Elinor Donahue in 1960.

In the episodes I've seen, she always seemed a depressive neurotic on the verge of hysteria. But how could that be? I mean, her TV mom was played by Jane Wyatt, who was also Mr. Spock's mom in Star Trek!

Donahue and her counterpart on the Bachelor Father, Kelly Gregg, played by actress  Noreen Corcoran, were vaguely similar looking except the latter had a somewhat rounder face that seemed less stressed / ready to freakout.


The two shows were concurrent for several seasons of their respective runs (1957 - 1960)**. Of note, according to Wikipedia, Bachelor Father holds the honor of being the only American sitcom ever to be on all three major networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) during its run.

**Father Knows Best actually started out as a radio show from 1949 - 1954 before being on TV from 1954 - 1960. Bachelor Father was on TV from 1957 - 1962.

Both Corcoran and Donahue are still alive, as is Billy Gray (Bud on Father Knows Best). All are in their late 60s or 70s.

In the 1959 episode on while I was writing this ("Kelly's Idol"), Forsythe's character Bentley Gregg (orphaned Kelly's uncle) tells her boyfriend / recurring character Howard Meechum (played by the late singer Jimmy Boyd, pictured left) to say, "The winters are getting warmer because the polar ice caps are melting."

Interesting.

Of note, Jimmy Boyd may be best known for the earliest rendition of the song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."

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By the way, Antenna TV shows Sanford & Son and Good Times on Monday - Thursday around this time, and unlike the TV Land or on other major cable networks, "N"-word references are not deleted.

The other night featured the episode "Legal Eagle" in which Lamont gets a traffic ticket he feels he does not deserve and he fights it in court. The following YouTube clip takes place in the courtroom scene when Fred pretends to be his son's legal counsel.

The part in question occurs between 5:45 and 6:32, culminating in the show stopper when Fred makes the Tarzan movie reference to the white police officer.

The first 45 seconds when Fred ponders whether judges are [hand gesture for] gay -- because of their black "skirts" (robes), "chambers," and (in England) "powdered wigs" -- is also extremely funny.

The other episode was "The Party Crasher" and features two memorable scenes. The first is when Lamont and Rollo's dates (Angel and Della) show up and find out there is no food or liquor (in particular, Ripple).

Here Della gives back the beaujolais wine ("French furniture polish") in disgust and asks for, no, demands instead Ripple. I love the leisure suits and bell bottoms.


OK, Chester, you and me: "YEAH! BRING ON THE RIPPLE!" "RIPPLE?? WE AIN'T GOT NO RIPPLE!" ... "HE AIN'T GOT NO RIPPLE!" ... "AIN'T THAT NUTH'N!" ... "AIN'T NO PAH-DEE WIT' NO RIPPLE!"

Ripple was a fortified wine (bum wine) sold by Ernest & Julio Gallo back in the 1970s that no longer exists.

Above: A picture of a bottle of Ripple I found here on Flickr.

The two young women are Angel and Della played in real life by Angela Elayne Gibbs and Della Thomas, respectively. Of note, Ms. Gibbs is the daughter of Marla Gibbs, who played Florence on The Jeffersons and Mary Jenkins on 227. As for Della Thomas, I could not find any information about her.

Here is Fred dancing with Angel and Della, YouTube screen shot at 5m 33sec. (Fred ends up impressing them because he has onion soup and a bottle of Ripple, and Lamont and Rollo end up going on the overnight fishing trip to Santa Catalina Island.

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The second scene is when Fred dances with one of the two giant women who come over for a double date with him and Grady. I could not find their names in the credits -- and, in fact, I was thinking the larger woman that Fred tries to dance perhaps was actually a man.

Here the two women arrive and sit down while Lamont looks on incredulously.

Here Fred tries to pull up one of the two women in order to dance and "let's work up a little light appetite."

Here Fred dances with the aforementioned lady, just seconds before she "bumps" him on a "boogie woogie" ...

... and knocks him clear across the living room into the kitchen.

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As for Antenna TV, it features a farrago of cheap commercials for the lower half of society plus the elderly and near-elderly waiting to collect Social Security and get on Medicare. Among the ads for joining class-action lawsuits for this or that medication gone wrong, life insurance for the elderly, and credit "counseling" agencies run by credit card companies, are ads for Everest College, one of those "for-profit" colleges for the unemployed.

Here is a parody ad I found on YouTube for Everest College for "I Know a Guy U."


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I was going to continue this entry with a long-delayed geographic trivia component but instead I think I'll post that in another entry.

Tonight, I am planning on going to Nellie's. On Sunday, I think K. and I are supposed to go to the annual Greek Festival and St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral here in D.C. Maybe they'll serve up an edible euro on a falafel or an Angela Merkel gyro. Right.

My next planned update will be Sunday or Monday night.

--Regulus

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