(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


    The material provided on this page is a service of Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press.  The material may be used freely by a person, if the person does not use the material for commercial purposes.  The material may be used by persons employed in the media, such as staffers of radio stations, but persons employed in the media must announce that the material has been taken from the Web site of The Hologlobe Press, the main Internet address to which is www.hologlobepress.com.  Of course, the material is provided for fun.

- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 11 - - -

    I now give you an idea of what it was like to spend a pleasant afternoon in front on the television set, maybe only a black-and-white television set, in the 1960s and 1970s when in the Detroit area (Michigan) and when tuned to a television show hosted by Bill Kennedy.

    It is one o'clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday in February, and you are on the couch in the living room.  The television is on.  Children are at school.  The mailman is down the street.  The lawn is covered with snow, about three inches of new snow that fell last night on five inches of old snow.  The hour ID for the station is given.  The theme for Bill Kennedy at the Movies begins and you see the opening credits.  Soon, Bill Kennedy walks on to the set or onto the screen and sits down at a his big desk.  In the background, on a wall, is a somewhat large photograph of a woman.  Today, he is going show a popular black-and-white theatrical, "The Maltese Falcon", a film featuring Humphrey Bogart.  Bill Kennedy gives a brief description of the movie and notes what actors play what main characters.  He mentions the film was made in 1941.  Finally, while he swings his right arm out in a sweeping motion, he says, "And now Humphrey Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon."  And while the film begins, you pull a blanket close and settle in for a couple hours of something likable.

    The movie is shown in parts, and between the parts, commercials are shown, and Bill Kennedy talks about the film and other film matters.  During one break, Bill Kennedy answers question about Bette Davis and the making of All About Eve.  In another break, he answers several questions, and he shows photographs of Leslie Howard, an actor, and Mr. Howard's son, Ronald Howard, who played Sherlock Holmes in a television series entitled Sheldon Reynolds presents Sherlock Holmes, which was made in the 1950s, and he talks about the two actors.  Later, a big-name actor or performer shows up in the studio.  (On any given day, Bill Kennedy might talk with the likes of Charlton Heston, Ann-Margret, or Sharon Tate, who happen to be passing through the Detroit area, usually on a promotional tour.)  Bill Kennedy might even answer a question about something he did when he was in Hollywood.

    "Look!  Up in the sky!   It's a bird...."   These word and other words were spoken by Bill Kennedy when he did the recording for the opening narration for the television series entitled Adventures of Superman, which featured, for instance, George Reeves as Superman.

    Adventures of Superman, a syndicated series of the 1950s, puts an end to talk about Bill Kennedy in this edition of T.H.A.T.  You now have to imagine what it might be like to watch the remainder of Bill Kennedy at the Movies, a show in which you will not hear about husbands and wives who cheat, about children who are on drugs, about babies produced out of wedlock, et cetera.  Think about having a likable time watching television.

    Adventures of Superman leads to another subject, which was started in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.  In that edition, I mentioned actresses Kaley Cuoco, Nicole Paggi, and Megan Fox.  In the current season of 8 Simple Rules, which is a series on ABC-TV, Kaley Cuoco plays Bridget, and Kaley Cuoco reminds me much of Megan Fox, when I imagine Megan Fox with blonde hair.  Megan Fox plays Sydney in the current season of Hope & Faith, which is a series on ABC-TV.  After doing a little research of photographs, I determined Megan Fox looks more like Kaley Cuoco than Nicole Paggi looks like Kaley Cuoco.  Nicole Paggi played  Sydney in the first season of Hope & FaithHope & Faith is one of the series of television history that I know had one performer replace another performer in the part of a main character, as happened with Adventures of Superman, in which Noel Neill took over for Phyllis Coates in the part of Lois Lane, a reporter at The Daily Planet.

    Between 1946 and 2005, the producers of dozens of network television series had to recast the parts of regular characters or semi-regular characters while the series were in production, and some of the reasons why were an actor died or an actor quit.  Some of the series that had to make changes were The Adventures of Robin Hood (the 1955-1956 season through the 1957-1958 season), Dragnet (the first version, which was produced in the 1950s), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (the 1990-1991 season through the 1995-1996 season), The Lone Ranger (the 1949-1950 season through the 1956-1957 season), Martin Kane, Private Eye (the 1949-1950 season through the 1953-1954 season), Maude (the 1972-1973 season through the 1977-1978 season), Petticoat Junction (the 1963-1964 season through the 1969-1970 season), The Stu Erwin Show (the 1950-1951 season though the 1954-1955 season), That Girl (the 1966-1967 season through the 1970-1971 season), That '70s Show (a current series), and Wesley (the 1948-1949 season).  I am not going to mention all the series that had major cast changes, but I am only going to talk about a few more.

    Alias Smith & Jones was aired in the 1970-1971 season and the 1972-1873 season.  Peter Duel originally played the part of Hannibal Heyes in the series.  Peter Duel died and had to be replaced, and he was replaced by Roger Davis.  It is surprising to me that Roger Davis took over the part.  Geoffrey Duel was Peter Duel's brother, and Geoffrey was an actor and looked much like Peter, but Geoffrey did not take over the part of Hannibal Heyes.

    Bewitched ran from the 1964-1965 season through the 1971-1972 season.  This series had to make a big change.  Dick York was playing Darrin Stephens when a medical condition forced him to leave the series, and Dick Sargent took over the role of Darrin.  Two other main parts were recast while the show was in production.  Irene Vernon was replaced by Kasey Rogers as Louise Tate, and Sandra Gould took over for Alice Pearce as Gladys Kravitz.

    Eight is Enough was on prime-time television from the 1976-1977 season through the 1980-1981 season.  Mark Hamill was the first David in the series, and Grant Goodeve played David in most of the episodes.  Kimberly Beck was the original Nancy, and Dianne Day played the part for most of the run of the series.  And Chris English was the first Tommy, but Willie Aames played Tommy in most of the episodes.

    The Flintstones was an animated series (or a cartoon series) that was on ABC-TV from the fall of 1960 to the fall of 1966.  For the first few seasons, Bea Benaderet did the voice of Betty Rubble.  In the final two seasons, Gerry Johnson did the voice of Betty Rubble.

    The Munsters, the series that featured Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, was on the air for two seasons, the 1964-1965 season and the 1965-1966 season.  In the first half of the 1964-1965 season, Beverly Owen played Marilyn Munster, the "pretty one."  But for most of the episodes of the series, Pat Priest played Marilyn.  In later years, other actors would play "Munster" characters in other television productions, such as made-for-television movies, but those productions do not fit the main theme of this edition of T.H.A.T.

    Now I present a most unusual piece of trivia, and it involves an actress named Pamela Sue Martin.  On Sunday, January 30, 1977, the first episode of The Hardy Boys Mysteries was shown on ABC-TV, and, on Sunday, February 6, 1977, the first episode of The Nancy Drew Mysteries was shown on ABC-TV.  When the two series showed up, it was the middle of the 1976-1977 season, and, for the remainder of the season, the two series alternated in the same time slot.  Generally speaking, during the first half of the 1977-1978 season, the two series alternated in the same time slot, but in the second half of the season (starting in February 1978), the two series were combined into one series, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.  In the 1976-1977 season and the first half of the 1977-1978 season, Pamela Sue Martin played Nancy Drew, and, in the second half of the 1977-1978 season, Janet Louise Johnson played Nancy Drew.  When the 1978-1979 season began, the Hardy Boys were yet seen as characters in a television series, The Hardy Boys Mysteries, and Nancy Drew was gone.  Now, we move up in time.  On Monday, January 12, 1981, the series entitled Dynasty appeared on ABC-TV; it was a series, but the first episode was shown in TV-movie form (and was shown under The ABC Monday Night Movie umbrella title).  When the series began, Pamela Sue Martin played Fallon Carrington.  At the start of the 1984-1985 season, the character known as Fallon was no longer a regular, and Pamela Sue Martin was no longer a member of the regular cast.  On November 20, 1985, a spin-off series of Dynasty entitled Dynasty II: The Colbys began to be shown ABC-TV, and, in this series, Emma Samms played Fallon.  Dynasty II: The Colbys became known as The Colbys (in January 1986) and was off the air at the start of the 1987-1988 season.  During the final two seasons of Dynasty (the 1987-1988 season and the 1988-1989 season), Emma Samms played Fallon.  Pamela Sue Martin is the only person to perform as the main character in two different series and be replaced by other actresses.

    By the way, the 1970s series with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were shown on ABC-TV.

    If you want to do some research about cast changes, start by finding information about such other series as The Aldrich Family, Beulah, Big Town, Captain Video and His Video Rangers, Family, The Goldbergs, Green Acres, Happy Days, The Jeffersons, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Long Hot Summer, One Man's Family, The Partridge Family, Roseanne, and The Tony Randall Show.  (There are more.)

    By the way, it seems to me only people who regularly watched Hope & Faith last season noticed Megan Fox took over the role of Sydney from Nicole Paggi this season, and, maybe, some people who regularly watched the show did not notice the change.

    Since the last edition of T.H.A.T. was published, I hope you saw photographs of Jennifer Finnigan and Jane Krakowski and saw how each resembles the other.  Since the last edition of .T.H.A.T., I only was able to confirm that I cannot legally show any photographs of them or any performers in the editions of T.H.A.T. or on the Web site for The Hologlobe Press.  The reason that I cannot is related to copyright law.

    Now, let us go back to your favorite couch, maybe that couch that you would use if you were to watch Bill Kennedy at the Movies.  Do you call that couch your "Big Comfy Couch"?  When you are on it, does someone call you a "couch potato"?  Those are not questions that you really have to answer.

    In the fall of 1989, a weekday syndicated series entitled Couch Potatoes showed up, and Couch Potatoes was a television-trivia game show.  The show had a host, and it had an announcer who was called "the neighbor."  Who was the host on Couch Potatoes?  Who was "the neighbor" on Couch Potatoes?  Those two questions will be answered in the next edition of T.H.A.T.

    There was once a television series entitled The Big Comfy Couch.  It was a Canadian-produced show that showed up on PBS stations in the 1990s, such as on the PBS station in Detroit on May 6, 1996.  Some of the characters in the series were Molly (a doll), Major Bedhead, Granny Garbanzo, and the Dust Bunnies.  Who was the main character of the show?  And who played the main character?  Those two questions will also be answered in the next edition of T.H.A.T.

    Let me make something clear.  I talked about Leslie Howard and Ronald Howard in this edition of T.H.A.T.  The "Ronald Howard" who is mentioned is not the "Ron Howard" who played Opie in the series entitled The Andy Griffith Show (of the 1960s) and who played Ritchie in the series entitled Happy Days (of the 1970s).  The father of Ron Howard who played Opie and Ritchie is Rance Howard, who was an actor.  Rance Howard played Henry Boomhauer in the series entitled Gentle Ben (a series that was shown on CBS-TV from the fall of 1967 to the fall of 1969).  In Gentle Ben, Clint Howard played Mark Wedloe.  Clint Howard is the younger brother of Ron Howard (that "Opie" Ron Howard).

Stay well!


copyright c. 2005
Date: February 10, 2005

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