(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


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- - - T.H.A.T. , Edition No. 1 - - -

    Since 1972, I have been gathering information about television, particularly network television programs and syndicated television programs, and I now have about 102,600 index cards with information about television shows, which have, for instance, information about performers and members of technical crews.  When filing cards on shows, I sometimes discover television oddities of history, or I notice curious facts.  Let me show you.  CBS-TV aired a made-for-TV movie on March 14, 2004.  The movie was called Family Sins, and three of the performers in the movie were Deanna Milligan, Will Patton, and Kirstie Alley (who had become well known through her work on "Cheers").  Kirstie Alley played an "odd" character in the movie, but that is not the odd part about the program that I noticed.  The name of the movie is the same as the made-for-TV movie that CBS-TV aired on October 2, 1987.  The Family Sins movie of 1987 had such performers as Thomas Wilson Brown and James Farentino, who played a domineering father.  So, CBS has had, so far, two made-for-TV movies with the same title.  What also is interesting is: Both movies were aired under the same umbrella title: "CBS Sunday Movie".

    In the 1987 movie, a performer who is well known today for having been a regular member of the cast of Star Trek: Next Generation played a character named Ken McMahon.  In the next edition of T.H.A.T., I will report who that performer was.  Maybe, you already know who the performer is that I will name.

    PAX TV used "PAX Big Event" as the umbrella title for a movie that it aired on Saturday, October 27, 2001, and "ABC Premiere Event" was the umbrella title used by ABC-TV for the showing of a made-for-TV movie on March 8, 2004.  The movie on PAX TV had such performers as Enrich Lo Verso and Danny Quinn, and the movie on ABC-TV had such performers as Jonathan Scarfs and Johnathon Schaech.  Both movies were entitled Judas.

    People in the television industry are sometimes weak in how they define "mini-series," which is a type of made-for-TV movie.  I define a "mini-series" as a made-for-TV movie that airs in at least two parts, each part of which must be at least 90-minutes long (and the 90-minutes can include commercial minutes).  Sometimes, people in the television industry define a "mini-series" as a television series that has only a limited number of episodes, such as four, but that type of television series is better called a "limited run series.'

    On April 1, 1976, and April 2, 1976, CBS-TV aired a mini-series.  The main character of the movie was Charles Manson.  This mini-series was called Helter Skelter.  On May 16, 2004, another Helter Skelter made-for-TV showed up and showed up on CBS-TV.  In the next edition of T.H.A.T., I will report who played Charles Manson in the 1976 movie.  George DiCenzo played Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi.  The movie was based on a book by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry.

    By the way, Vincent Bugliosi, who was a real person (as you should realize), was played by Arliss Howard in a made-for-TV movie entitled Till Death Us Do Part, which NBC-TV aired on Monday, February 17, 1992.

    This entire document has focused on made-for-TV movies so far, and it will end with a thought about made-for-TV movies.  On April 3, 2004, Jan Berry died; he had worked with Dean Torrence in the music industry for many years, and, informally, Jan Berry and Dean Torrence were "Jan & Dean," who had had hit records in the 1950s and 1960s.  Jan Berry and Dean Dean Torrence were depicted in a 1978 made-for-TV movie, and the movie was called Dead Man's Curve, which was shown on CBS-TV on February 3, 1978 (under the umbrella title "The CBS Friday Night Movies").  Some of the performers in the movie were Dick Clark (who played himself), Mike Love (who played himself), Bruce Johnston (who played himself), Wolfman Jack (who played a disc jockey), and Pam Bellwood (who played Jan's girlfriend).  Of course, actors played Jan Berry and Dean Torrence in the movie, and the names of those performers will be mentioned in the next edition of T.H.A.T.

    By the way, it seems to me I should present some history about the start of the modern-day made-for-TV movie.   "Modern-day" may not be the best term to use, since I can note that the start of the "modern-day" made-for-TV was in 1964, and 1964 is 40 years past.  However, I shall wait till the next edition of T.H.A.T. to present that information.

Stay well!


Date: April 10, 2004

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