Saturday, November 3, 2018

Episode 57: Hello, Ernest!

It's Episode 57!

And, whether you like it or not, Dan's talking about 1977's Future Cop with Ernest Borgnine, John Amos and Michael Shannon.

Plus, Christin and Dan talk about The Green Hornet.

And, Mitchell and that guy discuss Bourbon Street Beat.

Please, listen and enjoy.


  1. Re-listening to 57:

    -Green Hornet:
    First off, "Hornet Save Thyself" got to the floor at the exact point when the first producer, Richard Bluel, left the series, to be replaced by Stan Shpetner.
    According to the two books I have, the reason for no producer credit is that the various guilds have rules for how credits are apportioned.
    In this case, Bluel bought the script, but Shpetner did most of the actual producing; "no credit" was the quick'n'easy solution.

    -As I might have mentioned in an earlier comment, Green Hornet was what would come to be known as a "bubble show" - in the lower-middle third of the overall Nielsen list.
    From the get-go, Bill Dozier wanted to do an hour-long show, preferably at a later time slot.
    One of those Hornet books I mentioned has as an appendix, a memo Dozier wrote to ABC late in the season, pleading for a full hour. (Semi-spoiler: he didn't get it … and this is before ABC ordered up the Batman/Hornet crossover).
    Oh, by the way: regarding 'Dale Hyde' - didn't you recognize the guy who thought he might have been Chris George's brother in that late episode of The Immortal?
    You really ought to look into this whole "short-term memory" business …

    Those two books I keep mentioning contain many memos written by Green Hornet's creator George Trendle, whom Bill Dozier kept in the production loop for the whole run of the show.
    Trendle's memos are pretty voluble: he had certain ideas that he wanted done in certain ways, which would have seemed old-hat in '67 (Dozier was usually able to talk Trendle out of these). Also, there's evidence that he didn't get along with Richard Bluel, and was at least initially favorable to Stan Shpetner - at least until he saw the script for the last two-parter (but that's another story …).

    - I can't add much to the Future Cop part, beyond providing an ID for Michael V. Gazzo (the manager); he came to acting after success as a playwright (A Hatful Of Rain, which won some awards). His big splash was in Godfather Part II, where he was Frankie Five-Angels (but that's another story …).

    The History of Future Cop:
    The pilot (working title: Cleaver And Haven) was made in 1976, bought by ABC, and put on the shelf for future use (this was ABC's flush period; they had far more series in development than they really needed).
    ABC began a program wherein they would buy "short-flight" series of six episodes, to see whether they would work as weeklies.
    The Future Cop six-pack was bought for use during the '76-'77 season; ABC didn't find room for it until spring '77.
    Long story short: the Future Cop six-pack came and went, and ABC didn't renew.
    But Somebody (likely Ernie Borgnine, who co-owned the property) took it to NBC, which ordered up Cops And Robin as a possible pilot for its own future use.
    It's the same show; the only difference is that the Asian lady scientist is suddenly Carol Lynley.
    Longer story shorter: NBC passed, and Future Cop was no more.

    - I may have mentioned above somewhere that I'm missing this episode and the next one of Bourbon Street Beat.
    So I'm waiting for #15, "Inside Man", in a month or so.
    I definitely want to see how you and Mr. Hadley handle that one.

  2. This Just In:

    Ken Swofford passed away on November 1, aged 85.
    As I expected, his three-year stint on the Fame TV series got the main play in his obit; those are the breaks.
    As far as I'm concerned, though - Frank Flannigan Forever!
    (If you need me, I'll be at the Old DVD Wall.)

    1. Oh no. Thanks, Mike. Sigh. You will be missed, Flannigan!

  3. Mop-up Time:

    - It occurs to me that I keep mentioning those two books about the Green Hornet TV show, but never gave you details.
    Therefore, here goes:
    - "Let's Roll, Kato": A Guide To TV's The Green Hornet, by Billie Rae Bates (self-published).

    - The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comics, and Television, by Martin Grams and Terry Salomonson (also self-published - obviously not the same self).

    Self-publishing has upgraded rather spectacularly in recent times:
    Both of these volumes are really good-looking and well-designed (pricey as all get-out, but there you are).
    The Grams book is a full scale Hornet encyclopedia, covering all media aspects of the character, while the Bates book concentrates on the TV series; there's some overlap of material, but the two volumes will answer whatever questions you might have about anything.

    - I can't resist this, from the Grams book:

    … We know little about Casey, Britt's secretary. We don't know where she lives, whether she lives alone or with another girl. We don't know whether she has a steady boyfriend or whether she freelances …
    … Likewise, Kato. If we could know more about him as a human being we would be more interested in his exploits as a crime fighter …

    The above is excerpted from Bill Dozier's "renewal memo" to ABC, pleading the case for expanding Green Hornet to an hour (and moving it to a later time slot).
    The entire memo echoes so much of what you and Kiki have been saying about the series in your comments - well, if you get the chance, you both ought to read it.

    - This is about the Polish-American Guy blog, which for unknown reasons I can't seem to get through on.
    Those comments you put up about the final days of B.J. And The Bear led me to post comments about the memoir of Tom Sawyer, who had some things to say about his staff days on B.J..
    But for reasons unknown (and perhaps unknowable), my comments weren't allowed through.
    I should note here that I have gotten through to Polish-American in the past: When you wrote up Chris George's Escape pilot, I sent along a cute anecdote about the extra effort I had to put in in order to see it (I checked, and it's still up over there; check it out if you like).
    Anyway, there's the matter of the Lost B.J. posts; maybe you might look into that …

  4. Pre-cognition (after a fashion):

    Just listened to the E=58 (or is it E=59?) podcast, which you recorded in bits and pieces well in advance.
    Obviously, you hadn't seen the Green Hornet segment in the first comment, in which I went into mildly excruciating detail about the transfer of power on GH between Richard Bluel and Stan Shpetner (you're supposed to say the 'h', expectorant aftereffect and all).
    That said, you're probably in the majority in considering Stan as the designated scapegoat for the Hornet termination.
    Network worked like that back then: Stan had come to GH almost directly from a contentious stint as producer of Rat Patrol that was written up in TV Guide, in an article that seemed to make Stan look quite the incompetent.
    Shpetner had many friends in the business who jumped to his defense in the wake of the TVG story, and GH was his first landing, courtesy of Bill Dozier.
    As I believe I said in an even earlier comment, Green Hornet was already circling the drain by the time Stan got there; this was the "Hail Mary" that was not so full of grace (OK, so I used the line before; I like it, so there too).
    Assuming that you haven't yet recorded the "Grand Finale" yet, you and Kiki ought to try and check out those two books I recommended above: the Bill Dozier memo is in the Martin Grams book (Appendix G, page 777), and is an education in itself.
    Oh by the way (in my annoying mode): Fred Freiberger the show-killer - it's FRY-berger (like what you do to the meat).
    (Handy hint: in German names, EI is pronounced with the long I, while IE is pronounced with the long E; one of the few things I remember from four years of high school German.)

    Anything else can wait until the next official post.
    'Til then …