(Television History and Trivia)
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Victor Edward Swanson,
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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 22 - - -
Some people who enter the television business as performers give up performing (or give up performing regularly) to take up working in the production side of the business, such as as directors and producers, and, over the years of television history, some of the people who switched or have switched to working "behind the scenes" (which is opposed to working in front of the camera) are Bill Bixby, Linwood Boomer, Dick Clark, Charles Haid, Sheldon Leonard, Jerry Paris, JD Roth, Daniel Schneider, Betty Thomas, and Henry Winkler. If you watch the credits of series, movies, or whatever--if you possibly can--you might see the names of production people that might make you think you have discovered people who were once doing acting work regularly. I have done sampling of credits for many of the new series shown on television during this current season, and I thought I should through this edition of T.H.A.T. show you some examples of production people who have names that are like performers.
If you watch CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, or CSI: NY, you might have seen "Jason Alexander" listed in end credits. This Jason Alexander is not the "Jason Alexander," an actor, who, for instance, appeared in The Seinfeld Chronicles (in the summer of 1989) and Seinfeld (from the 1989-1990 season through the 1997-1998 season). The "Jason Alexander" who is involved with the "CSI" franchise has been listed as a "music supervisor" on episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY. The "Jason Alexander" of the "CSI" franchise is not the "Jason Alexander" who has been seen on the television screen. However, Actor Jason Alexander has been involved with "music" on television, such as by appearing in Bye Bye Birdie, a TV-movie that was a musical shown on ABC-TV on December 3, 1995. In Bye Bye Birdie, Jason Alexander played Albert Peterson, and the plot of the movie focused on the relationship between Albert Peterson and Rosie Alvarez. What actress played Rosie Alvarez in this 1995 movie?
If you were to see the name "Kristy Swanson" listed in the credits of a new television program and if the "Kristy Swanson" referred to is the actress, the name would probably be listed prominently--being shown in big letters at the beginning of the program. (By the way, I am not related to Kristy Swanson, as far as I know.) If you were to see the name "Chips Swanson" listed in the credits of a new television program and if the "Chips Swanson" referred to is the music editor, the name would probably not be listed prominently--being shown quickly in the end credits of the television program with the credits for other production positions and for other production personnel. (By the way, I am not related to Chips Swanson, as far as I know). This season, two different men named "Adam Goldberg" have been listed prominently in the credits of episodes of television series. One "Adam Goldberg" is an actor, as you should be able to guess, and the other "Adam Goldberg" is a "co-producer." What series for this season has had an actor named Adam Goldberg listed prominently in the opening credits, and what series for this season has had a man named "Adam Goldberg" listed prominently as a "co-producer" in the credits?
This season, if you see "Christopher Lloyd" listed in the credits of a prime-time television series, you will see the name is listed prominently. For example, if you watch Stacked, a weekly series that Fox TV usually airs on Wednesday evenings, you should see "Christopher Lloyd" is listed as the actor who plays "Harold." This "Christopher Lloyd" became well known for appearing in the prime-time series entitled Taxi, which was originally shown in new form in the late 1970s and early 1980s (at first on ABC-TV and then on NBC-TV), and in that series Christopher Lloyd played "Jim Ignatowski," and I think one of the funniest episodes of that series focused on Jim's trip home to see his father (played by Victor Buono). This season another "Christopher Lloyd" has been seen prominently in the credits of a television series, and it is a television series on which he receives a "created by" credit with a man named Joe Keenan, and Joe Keenan and Christopher Lloyd are two of the "executive producers" for the series. What is the name of the television series to which I refer?
Let me take up the topic of "Don Mitchell" here. In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, "Don Mitchell" was seen regularly in the opening credits of a prime-time television series, and in the television series, this Don Mitchell played a character named Mark Sanger (the actor also had played Mark Sanger in the pilot for the series, and the pilot had been a made-for-TV movie). This season, you might be able to see "Don Mitchell" listed in the credits (the end credits) of a syndicated television series featuring Tom Joyner, and that television series is entitled The Tom Joyner Show, and if you see "Don Mitchell" in the credits, you will see Don Mitchell is listed as a "key grip." Because of what television stations you have in your area and what programming that the stations air, you might be able to see The Tom Joyner Show regularly and see the television series of the late 1960s and early 1970s that featured Don Mitchell. What was the television series of the late 1960s and early 1970s that featured Don Mitchell as Mark Sanger?
Let me take on the case of "Tom Snyder." On at least one episode of Commander in Chief, a weekly series shown on ABC-TV this season, "Tom Snyder" has been listed as a "first assistant director." If you watched late-night television in the 1970s and early 1980s, you were probably aware "Tom Snyder" was the name of a well-known talk-show host for NBC-TV, and this Tom Snyder hosted a show that had two different names during the period. What were the two names of Tom Snyder's show for NBC-TV that existed from October 1973 to January 1982?
To make a dramatic fictional television program, a production company has to have such persons has actors and sound editors, and this season Wolf Films and NBC Universal Television Studio (as a team) have used a man named "Steven Williams" to do sound editing (and have listed the man as a "supervising sound editor"), and during the 1987-1988 season (at least), Patrick Hasburgh Productions and Stephen J. Cannell Productions (as a team) used a man named "Steven Williams" to play a regular character in a police-type weekly series. The series for which Steven Williams has been listed as a "supervising sound editor" this season in relation to this paragraph is Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which is normally shown by NBC-TV on Sunday evenings. The series on which Steven Williams was paid to work by, in essence, Patrick Hasburgh Productions and Stephen J. Cannell Productions was aired in first-run form on Fox TV from the 1986-1987 season through the 1989-1990 season and in first-run form in syndication during the 1990-1991 season. What was the name of the series, and what was the name of the character played by Steven Williams?
To answer the question that will be posed in this paragraph, you will have to know something about "Deb Adair" and "Deborah Adair." "Deb Adair" is a woman who has been listed as a "re-recording mixer" on, for instance, at least one episode of Medium this season; Medium is a series that features Patricia Arquette as a crime-solver and that is shown on NBC-TV. "Deborah Adair" is an actress who had a heyday on television in the 1980s, such as by regularly playing Tracy Kendall during the 1983-1984 season of Dynasty. Deborah Adair, the actress, was a featured performer on a weekly television series during the 1984-1985 season, and the fictional series was about the main characters' work and efforts to reunite loved ones. In what series did Actress Deborah Adair appear regularly during the 1984-1985 season?
Since 1970 at least, I have seen "Lee Grant" listed in credits of television productions, either listed as an actress or a person involved in behind-the-scenes work. In the 1970s, for example, I saw an actress named "Lee Grant" in television movies and series, such as Fay, which was a television series that was shown on NBC-TV for a few weeks during the 1975-1976 season (the actress would go on to be known as a maker of documentaries), and this season, I have seen "Lee Grant" listed as a "first assistant director" in the credits of a television series created by Diane Burroughs and Joey Gutierrez. What is the name of the weekly prime-time series created by Diane Burroughs and Joey Gutierrez on which "Lee Grant" has done assistant-directing work this season?
I have to admit I am sometimes stretching the likeness of the names of people a little bit in this edition of T.H.A.T., and this paragraph has the biggest stretch. Since the 1950s, Dick Van Dyke has often done work in television programs, such as The Dick Van Dyke Show (a weekly sitcom of the 1960s) and Diagnosis Murder (a dramatic series shown weekly from the 1993-1994 season though the 2000-2001 season). This season Richard Van Dyke (maybe informally called "Dick Van Dyke") has worked as a "production sound mixer" on a series "Inspired by the Life of Forensic Anthropologist and Author Kathy Reichs." What is the name of the 2005-2006 series to which I refer in the previous sentence?
Since the 1940s, television viewers have often seen magicians or illusionists on their television screens (and, maybe, have wondered if illusions shown involved camera trickery), and one illusionist or magician who was popular with television viewers in the late 1970s and early 1980s on network television was "Doug Henning," but Illusionist "Doug Henning" is not the only "Doug Henning" that you might see on the credits of television shows. I have seen "Doug Henning" listed in the end credits of at least one episode of the prime-time series entitled Nanny 911, which is a series on Fox TV, and the type of "credit" that that Doug Henning received in the episode that I saw was a camera-operator credit. In the late 1970s and early 1970s, Doug Henning received a top-billing credit for appearing in several television specials that were called Doug Henning's World of Magic, and on November 14, 1984, NBC-TV showed a television special featuring Doug Henning. What was the name of the 1984 television special featuring the magic of Doug Henning? The program featured such other performers as Erik Estrada, Andrea McArdle, Tony Randall, and Ann Reinking. The performer named "Doug Henning" died on February 7, 2000.
I now return to the "CSI" franchise because, on at least one episode of CSI: Miami this season, I saw the name "David Brenner" listed in the end credits, and, immediately upon seeing the name, I thought of a stand-up comedian. Of course, the stand-up comedian that I had in mind had nothing to do with putting the episode of CSI: Miami together. Since the early 1980s, you may have seen Comedian David Brenner on television talk shows, especially late-night television talk shows, and, during the 1986-1987 season, you may have seen David Brenner's syndicated talk show, Nightlife, and you may have seen the television special entitled David Brenner: Back with a Vengeance, which was shown on Comedy Central for the first time on August 26, 2005. If you watch the credits for CSI: Miami this season, you might see "David Brenner" listed in the credits, but if you do not watch any episode of the series, you might yet be able to answer this question: "What credit has David Brenner received on at least one episode of CSI: Miami this season?
And I have "Richard Lewis" to talk about, and my talking about "Richard Lewis" comes about by my having seen the credits of some episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation this season. Since the 1980s, a man named Richard Lewis has been a prominent stand-up comedian in the country; for example, he has headlined such television specials in the past as Richard Lewis: The "I'm in Pain Concert" (shown on Showtime for the first time on October 16, 1985), Richard Lewis: "I'm Exhausted" (shown for the first time on HBO on June 18, 1988), Richard Lewis: I'm Doomed (shown for the first time on HBO on July 7, 1990), and Richard Lewis: The Magical Misery Tour (shown for the first time on HBO on December 14, 1996). What has a different Richard Lewis done for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation this season? You must come up with what Richard Lewis is credited as having done on the show.
And that ends the main topic of this edition of T.H.A.T., which focuses on production people and actors with the same names.
Because I wanted to use a lot of space to cover well the main topics that I had chosen as the main topics for the two previous editions of T.H.A.T., I put off reporting some history--"for the record." One topic that I put off noting is that actress Andrea Roth appeared in two new made-for-TV movies in the same week (remember, it is rare when an actor or an actress gets seen in two new made-for-TV movies in the same week); on November 28, 2005, viewers saw Andrea Roth in Crazy for Christmas, which was a movie that appeared on the Lifetime network, and on December 4, 2005, viewers saw Andrea Roth in Chasing Christmas, which was an ABC Family movie that also featured such performers as Tom Arnold and Leslie Jordan. Another topic that I put off noting is a TV-movie entitled Pope John Paul II was shown on CBS-TV on April 22, 1984, and a TV-movie entitled Pope John Paul II was shown on CBS-TV on December 4, 2005, and that notes another example of two different made-for-TV movies that have had the same title.
Here I have more history information to pass along, but it is not information that I have been holding back. On November 28, 1972, Walter Brennan, Eleanor Parker, Julie Harris, and Sally Field were three of the actors who appeared in the TV-movie entitled Home for the Holidays on ABC-TV. (By the way, on December 22, 1996, ABC-TV would air The Christmas Tree, a TV-movie that was directed by Sally Field and that had Julie Harris as one of the performers.) And the Lifetime network aired a movie entitled Home for the Holidays on December 26, 2005, and it was a movie that featured such performers as Sean Young, Perry King, John Novak, and Lucia Walters. (Incidentally, Jessica Walter was one of the other performers in the 1972 movie entitled Home for the Holidays.)
The previous edition of T.H.A.T. focused on CKLW-AM, a real radio station in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and a program--a documentary--that was made about the radio station, and the previous edition of T.H.A.T. also had one trivia question for you to answer. The question was related to a television series focusing on a fictional radio station called WKRP, or, really, the question focused on a television special that focused of the fiftieth anniversary of WKRP. The question was--"What was the name of the retrospective special about 'WKRP' that was shown in syndication?" For example, the special was shown in syndication in the Detroit area on September 7, 1991, on the CBS-TV affiliate, WJBK-TV Channel 2. The show was WKRP, in Cincinnati: 50th Anniversary Special, and new footage featured such actors as Gordon Jump (as Mr. Carlson), Richard Sanders (as Les Nesman), and Mark L. Taylor (as Bernard Rosser, a reporter).
To conclude this edition, I must pass along more information about TV Guide, which was the main subject of T.H.A.T. #20, which was really a review of the new format for TV Guide. In T.H.A.T. #20, I could have talked about how I wondered why the managers of TV Guide had decided to put a daily "highlights" section for each day after the program grid for each day, which was opposed to what had been done through the old format (which had had a daily "highlights" section before the program grid for each day). Now the "highlights" section for each day now appears before the program grid for each day, which started with the eleventh edition of TV Guide in the new format. I wonder why it took eleven issues for the managers of TV Guide to decide to make the "highlights" section lead off each day. (Incidentally, in T.H.A.T. #20, I noted how, lately, I have been seeing more writing errors/editing errors in TV Guide than in days past. If you look at the listing for Country Boys, a show on PBS on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 (page 66), you will see the line: "Also, Chris's parents separate; Cody wonders about his his inheritance money.")
P.S.: I could have made the same-name section of this edition of T.H.A.T. much longer. For example, I could have talked about "Christopher George" (the actor who appeared in The Rat Patrol series and other television productions in the past and the "location manager" for The Apprentice: Martha Stewart for this season), "Dave Thomas" and "David Thomas" (the former of whom is an actor and comedian who appeared, for instance, on SCTV Network in the 1980s, and the latter of whom was listed as one of the composers of the title music for the fifth cycle of America's Next Top Model), and "Johnny Gilbert" and "John Gilbert" (the former of whom was the host of Music Bingo in 1958 and has been an announcer for game shows, and the latter of whom has been one of the "field producers" for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition this season). I did not make the same-name section of this edition of T.H.A.T. longer, because the section does have 12 questions for you to answer, and that is a higher number of questions than what I ususally give in an edition of T.H.A.T.
copyright c. 2006
Date published: January 10, 2006
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