Friday, April 17, 2020

Love, Sidney

Love, Sidney is an American sitcom television series which aired two seasons on NBC, from October 28, 1981 to June 6, 1983. It stars Tony Randall as Sidney Shorr (a single, closeted gay man), Swoosie Kurtz as Laurie Morgan (a single mother with whom he shares his home), and Kaleena Kiff as Patti Morgan (Laurie's young daughter). It was the first program on American television to feature a gay character as the central character, although his sexual orientation was carefully downplayed for most of the series' duration.

The series was based on a short story by Marilyn Cantor Baker, which was adapted as the TV movie Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend, which NBC aired a few weeks before the series premiered. It was produced by Warner Bros. Television.

The storyline begins with the television movie Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend. Randall plays the title character, a well-to-do gay New Yorker in his 50s, who befriends a single woman, Laurie Morgan (originally played by Lorna Patterson) and Patti, her young daughter. Laurie is an aspiring actress, and at the end of the movie, Sidney is brokenhearted when she and Patti move to California. Patti is played in the later stages of the movie (once time lapses to her being five years old) by Kaleena Kiff, who retains the role in Love, Sidney.

With the debut of the series, Laurie Morgan (now played by Swoosie Kurtz) and Patti return to New York, following the failure of Laurie's marriage in California. The three characters return to sharing Sidney's Manhattan apartment. Laurie has established herself as an actress in commercials and television roles, and resumes her career in New York, appearing as vixen "Gloria Trenell" on the (fictional) daytime soap opera As Thus We Are. Sidney continues to be a doting father figure to precocious Patti, whose innocence fills his life with sunshine, and provides him with the child he has never had.

Although it is openly acknowledged in the TV movie that Sidney was gay, and had previously been in a relationship with a man, in the series these facts are not stated directly. Instead his sexual orientation is ambiguous and only hinted at, and the "couple" of Laurie and Sidney behave platonically, with only fleeting displays of affection that might be interpreted as romantic.[citation needed]

Sidney speaks at times about his long deceased mother, consistently referring to her as "that terrible woman".

The series depicts Sidney's career as a professional illustrator; his frequent business deals are made with young ad agency director Jason Stoller (Chip Zien), who works at Graham & Ludwig, Sidney's biggest account. Another recurring character in the first season is Sidney's friend and neighbor judge Mort Harris (Alan North). In the second season, their most prominent neighbor is busybody Mrs. Gaffney (Barbara Bryne), wife of the building's superintendent, who seeks to gain Sidney's affections. Also added to the cast that season is Nancy (Lynne Thigpen), Jason's secretary at Graham & Ludwig.

Lewis & Clark

Lewis & Clark is an American sitcom television series that aired on NBC for one season from October 29, 1981 to July 30, 1982. The series stars Gabe Kaplan (who also created the series) and Guich Koock.

For a native New Yorker, Stewart Lewis (Gabe Kaplan) has a strange—some would say twisted—ambition: he wants to own a country-music club. His wife and kids hate the idea. Despite their misgivings, Stewart moves his family to Luckenbach, Texas, where he bought the Nassau County Cafe, a joint that has had nine owners in the last six years and sports a sign that says "Always Under New Management". While his sidekick Roscoe Clark (Guich Koock) stands by, Stewart lets fly one-liners and bad puns.

The series featured an episode with guest appearances by Robert Hegyes and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, who were two of Kaplan's co-stars on Welcome Back, Kotter. At one point during the episode, Hegyes' character tells Lewis, "You should have been a teacher."

The Kwicky Koala Show

The Kwicky Koala Show is a 30-minute Saturday-morning cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions that aired on CBS from September 12, 1981, to September 11, 1982. This series is notable for being among cartoon director Tex Avery's final works; he died during production in 1980. As it was produced in Australia, the Cartoon Network and later Boomerang broadcasts were sourced from PAL masters, rather than NTSC masters like many other Hanna-Barbera productions. Each segment has also been shown separately as filler between shows on Boomerang.

The Kwicky Koala Show contained the following four short segments: Kwicky Koala, The Bungle Brothers, Crazy Claws and Dirty Dawg.

The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!

The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! is an NBC Saturday-morning cartoon produced by Filmation Studios in 1981. The half-hour show included two cartoon stories, with a variety of live-action wraparound segments.

Hero High featured a group of students attending a high school for superheroes. This was a comedy originally planned to feature the characters from Archie Comics, but during development, production company Filmation terminated their relationship with the publishers, and the characters were turned into more generic versions of the same roles.

Shazam! was based on the DC Comics series of the same name, the adventures of Captain Marvel and his Marvel Family, including Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Uncle Marvel, and their tiger, Tawky Tawny. In the show, the team fights enemies like Doctor Sivana, Mister Mind, Black Adam, Mister Atom, Ibac, and more.

From time to time, the characters of one show would appear in the other. Isis from The Secrets of Isis also made a guest appearance in animated form on Hero High.

Jessica Novak

Jessica Novak is an American drama television series that aired on CBS from November 5 until November 26, 1981 and was written by Ira Steven Behr. The cast includes Helen Shaver, Kip Gilman, Erik Kilpatrick, and Lara Parker.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Gimme a Break!

Gimme a Break! is an American sitcom television series created by Mort Lachman and Sy Rosen, that aired on NBC for six seasons from October 29, 1981, until May 12, 1987. The series starred Nell Carter as the housekeeper for a widowed police chief (Dolph Sweet) and his three daughters.

The sitcom takes place in Glenlawn, a fictional suburb, located in either central or northern California. Nellie Ruth "Nell" Harper (Nell Carter) agrees to look after the Kanisky household as a special favor to her dying friend Margaret Huffman Kanisky (played in flashback by Sharon Spelman), who was the wife of police chief Carl Kanisky (Dolph Sweet), serving as a parental figure to the Chief's three teenage daughters, Katie (Kari Michaelsen), Julie (Lauri Hendler), and Samantha (Lara Jill Miller). A foster son, Joey (Joey Lawrence), was added to the Kanisky household in Season 3.

Five episodes into the sixth and final season, the show changed locales from Glenlawn to New York City, when Nell, concerned for Joey's welfare after he moved there with his absentee father, traveled there to check on him. She subsequently assumed guardianship of Joey and his younger brother Matthew (played by Joey Lawrence's real-life brother Matthew Lawrence) at their father's request and was forced to permanently relocate there after Chief Kanisky's father Stanley (John Hoyt) sold the family's Glenlawn home.

Over the six-year run, a number of celebrities appeared on the show, including singers Whitney Houston, Andy Gibb, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ray Parker Jr., and The Pointer Sisters. More often than not, the guest singers would perform a song with Nell on the episodes. During the third season, Pat Sajak guest-starred as himself when Nell and her friend Addy (Telma Hopkins) were contestants on Wheel of Fortune. Other notable guest stars included Milton Berle, Danny Glover, Rue McClanahan, Tony Randall, Helen Hunt, Don Rickles, Gwen Verdon, Dennis Haysbert, Ernie Hudson, Gary Collins, and Elizabeth Berkley.

The episode "Cat Story" was performed and broadcast live on March 2, 1985, as a promotional gimmick, which the cast performed without major incident. An earlier episode (from the 1984–85 season), "Baby of the Family," ranked No. 38 on TV Land's list of "The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments;" it depicted Joey dressing and performing in blackface at Nell's church benefit, a plan hatched by Samantha to retaliate for Nell forbidding her to go on an unchaperoned camping trip.

The location of Glenlawn is never fully clarified, and various contradictory location information is presented during the series. Season 3 episode "James Returns" states that Glenlawn is "over 300 miles" from Santa Barbara, and "The Mayor", an episode from the same season, shows the chief boasting that a new police car could make it to Sacramento in 23 minutes. These would place Glenlawn somewhere near Stockton. However, another episode from Season 3, "Flashback", placed the town an hour away from Fresno, in the direction of Bakersfield. In another episode where exterior shooting took place, GlenLawn is on the ocean with palm trees. The proximity to the Bay Area is supported by later season episodes where Katie moves to San Francisco and Julie moves to nearby San Jose.

The Great Space Coaster

The Great Space Coaster is about three young singers (Francine, Danny, and Roy) who are brought to a habitable asteroid in space called Coasterville by a clown named Baxter who pilots the "space coaster", a roller coaster-like spaceship. The asteroid is populated by strange-looking, wise-cracking puppet characters such as Goriddle Gorilla, Knock Knock the Woodpecker, Edison the Elephant, and Gary Gnu (host of newscast "The Gary Gnu Show"). Baxter is forever on the run from M.T. Promises, a nefarious ringmaster who plans to re-capture Baxter and return him to the circus he worked at before he escaped. Each episode ends with a different life lesson, and various celebrity guest stars (such as Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame and composer Marvin Hamlisch) occasionally dropped by.

In each episode, Roy shows a short film on his portable, fold-up television. Most often, the segments came from La Linea, an Italian animated series about a little man who is drawn (using a single line) at the beginning of the segment and then springs to life, communicating with his animator through high-pitched Italian mixed with gibberish. Other animated shorts from the National Film Board of Canada, Weston Woods Studios, Jim Thurman, and others were shown, usually broken up into two or more segments within an episode.

Francine, Roy, and Danny sing a song together as the Space Coasters in each episode (sometimes originals like "Wacky Talk", sometimes older songs like "Be a Clown" or covers of '60s and '70s hits), and the various puppet characters often sing songs as well.

A few years into the show's run, the MTV-like "Rockin' with Rory" segment began where a VJ named Rory introduced "Danny and the Space Coasters" performing cover tunes. There were also other additions to the show including Baffle, Big Jock Ox, and the Huggles. While the action was mostly videotaped on the space set, it was not unusual for the characters to venture down to Earth for filmed musical numbers.