Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Welcome to Episode 53 of The Van Williams Show!*

Here it is! The latest episode.

Christin and I discuss The Green Hornet.
Mitchell and I chat Bourbon Street Beat.
Madelynn and I talk Ellery Queen Mysteries.

Please, listen and enjoy.




*I'm a jokester. It's Episode 53 of Eventually Supertrain.


  1. Finally - after three days.

    Guess I'll have to listen to the whole thing again. Oh well …

    Meanwhile, I decided to go back and listen to some of the earlier shows, starting with "Too Many Suspects" the pilot for Ellery Queen.
    Which, by the way, is the correct title of the series.
    I know the DVD case says Mysteries; the actual film on the screen says Ellery Queen - period.
    This DVD vendor is just a bit wonky; I know as a matter of fact that the TV movie starts with the Elmer Bernstein '40s theme music.
    So why does the DVD presentation begin with the "Mancini Siren", as we always called that Mystery Movie theme?
    Who knows?
    (By the way, the siren sound was Clare Fischer on the electronic organ.)

    A few fun items for the next time you watch this:
    - At that Simon Brimmer broadcast, note the booming-voiced announcer.
    That's Harry Von Zell, who filled that function for Burns and Allen for years.
    Also, the radio actors are Jimmy Lydon, who played Henry Aldrich in the '40s movies, and Rosanna Huffman, who was the longtime wife of Richard Levinson.
    OH, and since you've never mentioned it as far as I know, the teaser announcer at the start of all the episodes is Bill Woodson, who also filled that role during the first season of The Odd Couple (among many, many other things; he passed on just last year, short of his 100th birthday).

    - You made a passing mention of an unsuccessful EQ pilot movie from a couple of years before, "... which Levinson and Link had nothing to do with …"
    - except that they did.
    L&L had wanted to do EQ on TV for years, and finally talked Universal into greenlighting a script.
    They were so delighted at making the sale that hey took their wives on a European vacation.
    When they got back, L&L found out that their EQ script had been assigned to a Universal staff producer, who began by casting Peter Lawford as Ellery, which in its turn forced changing Inspector Queen to his uncle (Harry Morgan got that part).
    This and other alterations led Levinson and Link to pull their names from the script, in favor of their registered pseudonym, 'Ted Leighton' (so they got all the money they were entitled to).
    Come 1975, L&L had sufficient clout at Universal to run the new EQ production themselves; this they did for that whole single season - and but for the shotgun reconciliation of Sonny and Cher, it might have gone a season or two longer (but that's another story …).

    - Now I gotta go back and listen to all those other posts.
    Maybe next time I can tell you my theory that The Green Hornet is really the last of the Warner Bros detective shows (even though it was made by 20th-Fox).
    Or something like that …

  2. Forgive my procedural lapse here …

    I've been checking your back numbers, because I just got a DVD set of The Immortal (eight months late, I know), and your entries about "The Return" and "My Brother's Keeper" evoked memories which I have to share.
    I'm putting them here so you'll be more likely to see them.

    - Fun Fact about Don Knight, who played Fletcher:
    He had another career, which he pursued when he wasn't playing heavies in TV and movies - he was an ordained Methodist minister.
    Honest to God.

    - In "The Return", that is Ted Knight playing the very serious doctor.
    This was probably the last "serious" role he played before he started in on Mary Tyler Moore, which debuted that year.
    Before MTM, Ted Knight almost never played comedy; this sobersided doc was a typical part for him.

    - You're probably correct that "Brother's Keeper" was supposed to air before "The Return".
    Checking the overall credits, you'll note that The Immortal changed producers mid-run: the first producer, Howie Horwitz, produced "Brother's", while "Return" was made by his replacement, Richard Caffey.
    Best guess: ABC had given up on The Immortal early on (between Dean Martin and the CBS movie, they probably didn't put a lot of thought in what order the shows ran).

    - One more Fun Fact:
    Chris George had a brother in real life who was an actor.
    His name was Nick (or Nicholas) George, and he didn't quite match his brother's success in the business - but them's the breaks, I guess …
    The George brothers actually did appear together in an episode of Rat Patrol; when I saw the brother angle brought up in The Immortal pilot, I figured that was in the hopper from day one.
    I guess we'll never know, will we?

    So much for The Immortal.
    Next time, I'll try to put up something that has something to do with the current post - maybe …

    1. Thanks, Mike. All good stuff. It's mighty appreciated. I'm not sure why I said L&L had nothing to do with that Lawford Ellery TV movie. The moment you mentioned it, I knew that they had. And, I will call the show by its correct name now. Goodbye, Mysteries. (I think I liked the sound of it.) Oh, and I half feel like I should return to The Immortal and watch all of them on the official release, just to see what I missed on the syndicated (?) version I watched.

    2. Just saw this entry after putting in a term paper at the next one …

      One quick (if belated) note about Ellery Queen the Series:
      Most of the heavy lifting here was done by Levinson & Link's protégé, Peter S. Fischer, who was as big an EQ fan as they were.
      It was Fischer who created Frank Flannigan - and earmarked the role for an old friend, Ken Swofford - and you know the rest.

    3. I believe L&L's super entertaining Blacke's Magic was also run, more or less, by Mr. Fischer. That's a pretty fun show. Flannigan is awesome! I wish he was on more.