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Sonny and Cher's Long, Strange TV Trip

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Dec 7, 2018

The career odyssey of Sonny and Cher began in a recording studio, led to an abortive attempt at movies and finally to TV, where their comedy-variety show was one of the most popular of the 1970s. At the same time, it shaped Cher as a showbiz and fashion icon and led to the breakup of their marriage read more

Encore podcast: "The Hopalong Cassidy Magical Marketing Machine"

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Nov 30, 2018

In 1948, William Boyd made a large bet on television, and on demographics. He had an idea that the first wave of the baby boomers — kids born to newly affluent parents — would be a large and untapped audience for the 66 “Hopalong Cassidy” movie westerns he’d starred in, read more

Seven and a Half Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About "The Dick Van Dyke Show"

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Nov 23, 2018

It's been over 50 years since "The Dick Van Dyke Show" ended its run, but the show has really never left the airwaves -- its blend of sophisticated and slapstick humor set a sitcom standard that has rarely been matched. What else is there to say? We attempt a few things, including which cast member read more

The Marlon Brando-Wally Cox Connection

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Nov 3, 2018

  One man was one of the most iconoclastic and controversial actors of the 20th century -- the other was the voice of Underdog on a Saturday morning cartoon show. But once they met on an Illinois schoolyard, nine-year-olds Marlon Brando and Wally Cox became lifelong friends -- and even lovers, read more

Encore Podcast: "Liz and Dick and Lucy and the Ring"

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Oct 19, 2018

In 1969, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were arguably the world's most famous married couple, and they became even more well known when Burton bought his wife a 69-carat diamond ring that cost over a million dollars. At a Hollywood party, their paths crossed with Lucille Ball and an unlikely id read more

New Podcast Alert! "What We Saw at the Movies"

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Oct 12, 2018

Once again, my brother Steve and I toddle down memory lane and reminisce about movies we saw as kids in the 1960s and '70s. Included are looks at the drive-in cheeseball classic "Eegah," "The Sound of Music," "How the West Was Won," "Mary Poppins," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "Blazing Saddles" and ma read more

Encore podcast: "The Stormy Success of 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' "

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Oct 5, 2018

In early 1967, folksinging comedians Tom and Dick Smothers kicked off their own variety show on CBS. Their competition was stiff -- NBC's "Bonanza," the one show that CBS could never seem to dislodge from its top-10 spot in the ratings. But the brothers beat "Bonanza" with a combination of topical c read more

Encore podcast: The 1960s -- What We Watched

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Sep 21, 2018

David Inman and his brother Steve remember what it was like in the dark days when many cities only had three TV stations, and the shows they would watch, from “Batman” to “Lost in Space” to “Davey and Goliath.” They also discuss their fears (the Joker on “Ba read more

Encore podcast: "The Keefe Brasselle Story, or Godfather Knows Best"

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Sep 14, 2018

Keefe Brasselle's show business career includes a few movies, some TV work, probable arson, extortion, kickbacks, assault with a deadly weapon and lots of threats of bodily harm. His unholy alliance with a CBS executive led to the executive's downfall, and his repeated boasting about his mafia conne read more

Encore podcast: The Variety Show Skirmishes of 1963

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Aug 31, 2018

In the fall of 1963, the big TV news was that three bonafide movie stars were going to host weekly variety shows — Judy Garland, Jerry Lewis and Danny Kaye. By the end of the season, only one of them would still be on the air — the other flamed out spectacularly and the third, after bein read more

Encore podcast: In Godfrey We Trust

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Aug 24, 2018

In the late 1940s and early '50s the biggest moneymaker on CBS radio and television was Arthur Godfrey -- at one point he reportedly brought in 12 percent of the network's income. He had an unpretentious style of communicating with his audience, and a smooth manner of selling products that sponsors read more

Encore podcast: The Jack Benny-Johnny Carson Connection

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Jul 27, 2018

In 1949, Jack Benny took advantage of new capital gains laws and moved his popular program from NBC to CBS, an immense boost to that network in ratings and prestige. At about the same time, a senior at the University of Nebraska named Johnny Carson was putting together his thesis, “How to Writ read more

A Very Short History of TV Shows with Very Short Histories

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Jul 20, 2018

What can you say about a TV show that dies after just one episode? We can think of a few things. Here’s a look at some of the most notorious examples, including a show that forced Jackie Gleason to apologize to America, a “Laugh-In” ripoff that was cancelled midway through its only read more

Encore podcast: "The Rise and Fall of 'Dragnet'

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Jul 13, 2018

In the summer of 1949, “Dragnet” premiered on NBC radio. It was a show that sounded like no other thanks to creator-star Jack Webb’s obsession with authenticity. “Dragnet” then moved to TV and ran for most of the 1950s. Its theme song and opening disclaimer — R read more

The 1960s: What We Listened To

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Jul 6, 2018

New podcast alert: David and his brother Steve and reminisce about the music we grew up listening to, from Duke Ellington to Sarah Vaughn to the Monkees to Allen Sherman's 1963 megahit "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah." With special appearances by Jackson Browne, Louis Armstrong and the Guess Who.  read more

The Hopalong Cassidy Magical Marketing Machine

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Jun 22, 2018

In 1948, William Boyd made a large bet on television, and on demographics. He had an idea that the first wave of the baby boomers — kids born to newly affluent parents — would be a large and untapped audience for the 66 “Hopalong Cassidy” movie westerns he’d starred in, read more

The Unsinkable Betty White

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Jun 8, 2018

At age 96, Betty Marion White Ludden has had the longest television career in history. She made her TV debut in 1939 and in the late 1940s she co-hosted a local Los Angeles series that ran five hours each day. When the Emmy Awards added the "Best Actress" category in 1951, she was one of the nominee read more

The Stormy Success of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on May 28, 2018

In early 1967, folksinging comedians Tom and Dick Smothers kicked off their own variety show on CBS. Their competition was stiff -- NBC's "Bonanza," the one show that CBS could never seem to dislodge from its top-10 spot in the ratings. But the brothers beat "Bonanza" with a combination of topical c read more

Liz and Dick and Lucy and the Ring

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on May 11, 2018

In 1969, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were arguably the world's most famous married couple, and they became even more well known when Burton bought his wife a 69-carat diamond ring that cost over a million dollars. At a Hollywood party, their paths crossed with Lucille Ball and an unlikely id read more

Fade to Blacklist: Part 2

The Man on the Flying Trapeze Posted by David on Apr 27, 2018

In our last episode, we looked at the East Coast blacklist triggered by "Red Channels" -- which listed the "Communistic activities" of supposed radicals -- and the lives that were ruined by it. In this episode we look at the pushback -- the positive results of people standing up to a small number of read more
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