(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 29 - - -

    If you have stumbled across this Web page, through some accident caused by the Web or through some other means, you have stumbled across one of the Internet-only editions of T.H.A.T. (which stands for "Television History And Trivia," which I began to use in the late 1980s for a proposed series of books about television), and this edition of T.H.A.T. is the twenty-ninth edition.  This edition of T.H.A.T., like the other previous twenty-eight editions of T.H.A.T., contains information about television, and it has answers to television-trivia questions that were posed in the previous edition, and it has questions related to television that should be answered in the next edition of T.H.A.T. (which will be the thirtieth edition).  I use "should" in the previous sentence, because I am not sure whether or not the next edition will have the answer to one question that is going to be asked within this edition, since I do not know the answer at this time, and I may not find the answer to the question before I publish the next edition.  The question that will be asked is about Hawaii Five-0, a television series that was shown on CBS-TV in the late 1960s, the 1970s, and very early 1980s, and the question comes about from my having heard recently on a radio station based in the northeastern region of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan the theme from the 1971 movie called Shaft, which featured Richard Roundtree as "John Shaft," who was a private investigator.  Shaft had a good theme, and the movie was fun, and the movie was followed by two theatrical sequels and seven made-for-TV movies, and the theme from Shaft was one of numerous television theme songs that were "hits"  (hit songs) on radio in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and another hit song was the theme from Hawaii Five-O.  Do you see a tie-in between Shaft and Hawaii Five-O?

    Okay, let us go on with the show.

    In the previous edition of T.H.A.T., I talked much about Aaron Spelling and TV-movies that he was involved with in the early 1970s, and I also posed questions about some of the TV-movies.  (If you have not seen the previous edition of T.H.A.T., you might want to see it now by clicking on this link: T.H.A.T.; a link to the previous edition is also provided at the end of this edition of T.H.A.T.)   The first question asked in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. focused on a movie featuring such performers as Herschel Bernardi and Shirley Jones, and the answer to the question is: But I Don't Want to Get Married.  The movie of the previous sentence was directed by Jerry Paris (who was a featured performer in the 1960s television series entitled The Dick Van Dyke Show), and, by the way, Jack Bernardi, who was an actor and was Herschel's brother, also appeared in the movie.   The answer to the next question that you had to answer (which was related to a movie called Love, Hate, Love) is Leslie Warren (you may known her as "Leslie Ann Warren").  The third question that I posed was related to a movie entitled The Reluctant Heroes, and the answer to the question is Ken Berry.  Incidentally, the prominent North Korean character in The Reluctant Heroes was played by Soon-Taik Oh, who played various characters in a number of television series over the years, even Hawaii Five-0.  And that covers what answers had to be given.

    Usually, I do not present many questions in my editions of T.H.A.T., and this part of this edition of T.H.A.T. has no question for you to answer since it is "commentary" of sorts, and this part deals with the new fall television season and TV Guide.  The edition of TV Guide for September 11-17, 2006, is the "Fall Preview" edition, which gives highlights of the new series that networks, such as the broadcast networks, are going to air this season, and from page 30 through page 61, TV Guide focuses on the new series that are being offered viewers by the networks (the two new networks of which are MyTelevison Network and The CW).  Get a copy of that edition of TV Guide and look over the pages from page 30 through page 61, and see if you notice what I have noticed.  (I subscribe to TV Guide, and I am not promoting your buying TV Guide, especially the edition that I am talking about here.  Buy a copy or do not buy a copy, and if you do not buy a copy, look for it at a library or a bookstore or wherever.)  Look at the photographs only!  Forget the text of the articles.  Most of the photographs have the same feel--sort of lifeless.  Some are lifeless because they are dark, such as the photograph on pages 32 and 33 and the photograph on 38 and 39, and some are lifeless because they seem washed out, such as the photograph on pages 50 and 51.  Many of the performers in the photographs do not attract the eye, and many seem as if they are in a stiff pose, and many have facial expression that make them seem as if they are statues.  When I first looked at the pages, I found the most interesting photograph to be the photograph on page 60, which is a photograph of Tia Mowry, who will be seen in the series entitled The Game (on The CW), and in the photograph, Tia Mowry is pretty and shows off a pleasant personality (not that Vanessa L. Williams does not show off prettiness in the photograph on pages 52 and 53).  The main reason for you to look at the pages is to see whether or not the collection of photographs really makes you think about seeing any of the shows.  I think the presentations of the new series in TV Guide lack "pizzazz" (an informal word) and do not make me interested in seeing the shows.  It is not the duty of TV Guide to sell the shows to viewers--that is the job of networks and others.  Through what TV Guide has done, I am not sold.

    Showmanship--that is what Isaac Hayes displayed on television by presenting his song known as the theme from Shaft on the 44th annual presentation of the Academy Awards on April 10, 1972, and it is a presentation that I fondly remember, and if given the opportunity, I would rather have a radio station play the long version of the theme from Shaft than the short version.  Shaft came to television as a series of made-for-TV movies (or even "mini-movies") during the 1973-1974 television season, and the first movie--or episode--was shown on CBS-TV on October 9, 1973, and was known as "The Executioners," and some of the guest performers in the movie were Robert Culp, Richard Jaeckel, Kaz Garas, Rafael Campos, Noah Keen, and Dean Jagger, and the story was about a small group of citizens that took justice into its own hands.  By the way, Shaft was considered a rotating series, since the time slot was also used by a series called Hawkins and television movies that were presented under the The New CBS Tuesday Movies.  On October 30, 1973, an episode entitled "The Killing" was shown, and it had such guest performers as Leonard Frey, Ja'Net DuBois, Ron Soble, Michael Ansara, and Henry Beckman, and in this movie, Shaft tries to help a prostitute who was once his girl friend.  John Shaft was involved in a murder case related to illegal gambling in the third movie, and some of the guest performers in this movie, which was shown on CBS-TV on November 20, 1973, were Tony Curtis, Howard Duff, Percy Rodrigues, Judy Price, Nicky Blair, and Don Matheson.  A man who has been a regular performer on General Hospital (a soap opera on ABC-TV during the day) since the 1970s was in the third movie, and I now ask: "Who was that actor?"   George Maharis, James Watson, Jr., and Darren McGavin (who once was known as the "King of  the Mini-movies") appeared in the fourth episode of Shaft, which was entitled "Cop Killers" and was shown on January 1, 1974.  "The Capricorn Murders" was shown on January 29, 1974, and it featured such guest performers as Arthur O'Connell, David Hedison, Don Knight (who I know played in at least one episode of Hawaii Five-O), Cathy Lee Crosby, and Robert Phillips.  "The Murder Machine" was shown on CBS-TV On February 19, 1974, and it featured such guest performers as Julie Stein, Joe Warfield, and Mills Watson, and the story was about a businessman who was also a professional killer.  What actor played the killer in the seventh edition of Shaft?  In the Shaft television series, there was a regular character called Lt. Al Rossi.  Who played Al Rossi in the television series entitled Shaft?

    Up to this point, I have given you three questions to answer, and the answers will be presented in the next edition of T.H.A.T.

    A lot of new series are going to show up on television over the next few weeks--coming from broadcast networks and cable channels (or whatever you might call them), and I wonder whether or not any will have memorable themes, like the theme from Shaft and the theme from Hawaii Five-O.  To me, the opening title sequence of Hawaii Five-0 is more memorable than the opening sequence to the Shaft series, even though I cannot say that the theme from Shaft is a better song than the theme from Hawaii Five-0 or that the theme from Hawaii Five-0 is a better song than the theme from Shaft is.  The reason I think the opening title sequence of Hawaii Five-0 is more memorable than the opening sequence of Shaft is is the opening sequence of Hawaii Five-0 presents more interesting visuals than Shaft does, especially when Hawaii Five-0 shows the very short clips of the Hawaiian gal with long hair (around the time the jet is shown).  Since the late 1960s, I have yet to run across information about who that Hawaiian gal was--probably the most pretty Hawaiian gal to be shown on a network television.  Who was that gal?  If you know, then you know something that I do not know.  I wonder if I will find the answer by the time I publish the next edition of T.H.A.T.

Stay well!


copyright c. 2006
Date published: September 10, 2006

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