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Friday, May 3, 2013

The OTN. 3.

I'm offering up two nominees for your consideration, which I would put on the OTN in a New York minute.
Both series took place in California.

The first is "Slattery's People", which starred Richard Crenna as a state legislator in Sacramento.
They made thirty-six episodes that ran in 1964-65.
The writing muscle was James E. Moser, who several years earlier created and was the writing muscle for "Ben Casey".
"Slattery's People" had the same dramatic tone as "Ben Casey", which I thought was also a class act.
The scripts were uniformly intelligent, and quite interesting and informative about a subject that I was totally ignorant about.
This was Crenna's first real opportunity to speak in his natural voice.
Not the high-pitched hilarious squeal he used on "Our Miss Brooks", or the hillbilly twang he used on "The Real McCoys"
Crenna was a wonderful actor, and was his usual wonderful in this.
Bing Crosby Productions produced both "Ben Casey" and "Slattery's People"
Der Bingle demonstrated very good taste in producing dramatic series.
Sitcoms, not so much.
"The Bing Crosby Show" was at best mediocre, at worst a waste of talent.
And "Hogan's Heroes" was a travesty which I will write about at length at a future date.

One of the supporting actors on "Slattery's People" stood out to me, and he was made aware to me for the first time on "Slattery's People"
I'm referring to Edward Asner.
The IMDB indicates that he was only in three episodes, but I could swear that it was many more than that. And that's why I remember him, and no other supporting actor from the show.
He was just simply interesting.

This leads me to my other nominee, "Lou Grant"
The dramatic spinoff from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
Great writing, compelling storytelling, and wonderful acting from the ensemble cast.
I'm amazed that this show has vanished.

I'm also amazed that most of the series regulars have also vanished.
The only one to have resurfaced was Nancy Marchand, who played the owner of Lou's Los Angeles newspaper.
She became Mama Soprano, and died during its run.
But all of the reporters have fallen off the face of the earth.
Linda Kelsey had a try at a short-lived sitcom, for which she was ill-suited.
Jack Bannon, who is the son of the late, great, Bea Benaderet---I have no idea what happened to him.
You'd think from his genes alone, someone would have tossed him into a sitcom.
No dice.
Robert Walden, the feisty reporter Joe Rossi, showed up on a sitcom that lasted a couple of seasons, but that was quite a while ago.
Darryl Anderson, who played the photographer, Animal, graduated only to Soap Opera Land.
Mason Adams, Lou's boss, worked up until his death, but not a whole lot, and will still be remembered primarily as the voice of Smuckers jelly.
This is an example of how life, and particularly show business, is not fair.
Because each of these actors, and each of the characters they played in this series were INTERESTING.
And deserved better.
As does "Lou Grant"
There is a time slot waiting for "Lou Grant" on the OTN.

'Til next time,

Mark Rothman, CEO of the OTN.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
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    You didn't mention the main reason that this show didn't get ratings.
    The competition on ABC creamed it.
    This is what could happen when you sell shows to competing networks.

    Ed Asner's talent is acknowledged.
    So also is his incrdedible skill at pissing people off.
    Especially at the management level.
    This, more than anything else, led to LOU GRANT's cancellation after only four seasons.
    It also did much to hinder syndication sales.
    Maybe enough time has passed that LG might get another shot at syndie.
    You never know ...

    For a while, I was seeing Jack Bannon on shows like MURDER SHE WROTE and the like, now totally bald and bearded (he looked like a whisk broom).
    He always turned out to be the killer.
    Such is TV life.
    I did happen to catch an early appearance of his on PETTICOAT JUNCTION, playing a rich twit that one of the girls picked up on an out-of-town trip.
    His one line, repeated endlessly: "Smashing!"
    After a while, that's what you wanted to do to him.
    By now, Jack Bannon's baldness should be complete and his beard white as snow.
    And if he turns up again, he'll still turn out to be the killer.

    More later.

  2. Robert Walden shows up on TvLand's "Happily Divorced" as Fran Drescher's dad. It's a living.

  3. Jack Bannon also abetted David Morse's prison rape on St Elsewhere.

  4. Nancy Marchand was the girl, Clara, opposite Rod Steiger's Marty in the original TV version of the script.

  5. A belated follow-up for this post:

    Ed Asner (who's done promos for MeTV before) just added a new one, which is part of a subseries they've started over there.
    In it, "Lou Grant" tells what he did before he became "news director for WJM-TV and MeTV".
    Then he shows clips from many of his guest shots (mostly heavies) from other MeTV shows, such as GUNSMOKE, HAWAII FIVE-O, THE UNTOUCHABLES, and the like.
    This total could easily quadruple just from shows in the MeTV inventory; if Neil Sabin goes on another shopping spree it could grow even more.
    Other MeTV promos from the same series feature Richard Anderson and Peter Mark Richman; Lord knows how many more they could have gotten if they'd just gotten started maybe five years ago, when so many more of them were still alive.

    There's a rumor being spread that MeTV is considering SLATTERY'S PEOPLE for future use.
    Apparently there's nothing to it; SLATTERY isn't for sale at this time.
    Still, rumors have to get started some way ...

  6. There's a chance you're eligible for a complimentary Apple iPhone 7.

  7. You might be eligible to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."