A Few of My Favorite Television Show SPIN-OFFS!

This piece was originally published January 2nd, 2013.

J.J. Walker Post Icon jpgThe history and “family trees” of television series spin-offs can be as complicated and intricately detailed as a giant spider’s web in a dark cave.

We are all familiar with a typical spin-off of a popular sitcom or drama series.

For instance, Happy Days giving us Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy or Buffy the Vampire Slayer providing us with Angel, but those are the obvious, things can get more convoluted and far less easy to spot sometimes.

Some shows that we take for granted as always being around, such as The Tonight Show, with all of the many hosts and longevity that show has had, is technically a spin-off of a show called Broadway Open House which ran from 1950 – 1951, and was NBC’s first late night series—with The Tonight Show making its debut in 1954. 

A series may spin-off of itself, as in the case of say Rowan Atkinson’s brilliant Black Adder, which would then give the world Black Adder II and Black Adder The Third, etc.

There are shows, especially of the variety or anthology type, that would spin-off something much greater than the original, with the most famous example of all being The Tracey Ullman Show providing the world with The Simpsons.

To really get detailed, the fun, goofy comedy anthology series Love, American Style (which ran from 1969-1974) is the show that originally spawned Happy Days (which gave us many spin-offs, mostly terrible, aside from Laverne and Shirley), as well as Wait Til Your Father Gets Home (1972-1974), the first prime time animated series to last more than one season since The Flintstones and before The Simpsons.

So in thinking about spin-offs, and the complexities involved in sticking to what constitutes a true spin-off (a re-boot of a series such as with Battlestar Galactica is not a spin-off) here, in no particular order, are a few of my faves.

Unpredictable are some, while others, perhaps not so much. 

I will only be listing television shows that are with live actors, so no animated shows this time around, but I promise that Mystery Box column will come in the near future, and with something to look forward in this column, you would be amazed if you knew just how many spin-offs a few animated series like The Flintstones or The Archie Show spawned!

Lastly, I’m also not going to mention anything from the Star Trek world on this list, as it would take up several columns to discuss these shows. To put it simply, I worship the original classic series, loved Enterprise, really liked Next Generation and found the other two spin-offs to be a chore.
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Will Ferrell’s Casa de Mi Padre: Muy Divertido Multiplicado Por Diez!

This piece was originally published April 9th, 2012.

Casa de mi Padre Post TemplateIn his earlier Saturday Night Live days, Will Ferrell was among my more disliked cast members.

I can recall those of us watching referring to him as “that annoying guy.”

The dreaded Spartan Cheerleaders sketches he used to do with Cheri Oteri, another cast member I was never too fond of, were overly long and never that funny. For myself, the continuing antics of “Craig and Arianna” brought the show to a stand-still, despite some great guest hosts (Robert Downey Jr., Jim Carrey) appearing in the sketches.

 

Ron Burgundy 

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Funny how my thinking about Will turned around about the time his bare naked ass was running down the street in a brilliant performance in Old School (2003). With Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004), Ferrell’s status as a comedy force was complete.
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GENIUS BEFORE THE ARTIST: Michel Hazanavicius And His OSS 117 FILMS

This piece was originally published January 30th, 2012.

OSS117 Post TemplateMichel Hazanavicius’ The Artist has been garnering award after award and may very well end up sweeping the upcoming Academy Awardswell it should in any case.

Easily one of the best films that I have seen recently, I can honestly add it to the list of my favorite films of all time.

 

Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Béjo in The Artist

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This story of a great fan fave silent film actor facing the oncoming changes that came with the new talkies era, is such a wonderful, skillfully crafted and entertaining homage to cinema’s past, that it will doubtlessly continue to snowball into a huge mainstream success, and deservedly so.

The genius of Hazanavicius’ filmmaking did not begin with The Artist however.

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MAURICE GOSFIELD: From Private Doberman to Benny The Ball

This piece was originally published June 7th, 2011.

Maurice Gosfield TemplateThere are few character actors in the history of television that can equal Maurice Gosfield.

He had a screen presence that is still unmatched and a voice so distinctive as to lend itself to that of a timelessly beloved cartoon character.

Maurice Gosfield, is the 3rd selection for this installment of a regular Mystery Box feature called Great Comedians Of The Past.

Without hesitation, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you:

GREAT COMEDIANS OF THE PAST #3: MAURICE GOSFIELD


With his 5’4″, 200 lb. stature, and devil may care good looks, Maurice Gosfield took over Hollywood and became a man that women swooned over, children called their hero and men dreamed of emulating.
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SIRIUS RADIO: SATELLITE OF LOVE

This piece was originally published July 26th, 2010.

Sirius Radio Post IconI finally had the chance to dive into Sirius Satellite Radio this year after my girlfriend gave me one of their personal players as a birthday present.

Little did I realize just how much I would love Sirius.

I know, this thing has been around for years now, but really, I haven’t seen much written about it that pinpointed my listening tastes, so it has been on my wishlist for some time.

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THE THREE STOOGES CHRONOLOGICAL COLLECTION…COMPLETE!

This piece was originally published June 7th, 2010.

Curly Post IconThere was a time in the mid nineties when I was attempting to collect every short made by The Three Stooges. 

I sat patiently every evening with my snappy VHS recorder while tuned to WSBK Channel 36, the local independent UHF station out of Boston, which not only ran a nightly serving ofStooge laughs, but also held their annual Three Stooges New Years Eve “Countdown” all night marathon, and most of the time a healthy dose of afternoon Stooges shorts as well.


For as long as I could recall, from my childhood, on into my teens and beyond, The Three Stooges were a part of my family’s television viewing.

I grew up knowing that this was the creme de la creme of timeless laughs who easily beat out any other comedy team that came up against them. Gratefully, there must have been some heavily devoted knuckleheadaficionados at Channel 38 as well, since they had always been a part of the station’s programming for as long as I could remember, all the while helping to feed my Stooges obsession.
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Hey Arnold Stang!

This piece was originally published January 25th, 2010.

Arnold Stang IconIf ever there was a legend worthy of writing about here at The Mystery Box, then Arnold Stang is one of those legends.

On December 20th, 2009 Arnold Stang left the world for that great comedy club in the sky.

I grew up with such admiration for Stang that I felt the indebted to include Arnold Stang, the 2nd selection for this installment of a regular Mystery Box feature called Great Comedians Of The Past.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you:

GREAT COMEDIANS OF THE PAST #2: ARNOLD STANG

Arnold Stang migrated from his 1918 birthplace of Chelsea, MA to Brooklyn and grew up as as a young kid chasing showbiz, stardom and everything else that a lifestyle in the big city could offer him. He was savvy from the get go, winning an audition for a children’s radio show at the age of nine.

Unlike say, the naive child actors who would become the Brady Bunch kids, Stang had drive, focus and adult ambition.

 

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The Film That Rocked

This piece was originally published November 16th, 2009

Radio Caroline IconRenowned Director Richard Curtis (Blackadder, Mr. Bean, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and A Funeral to name only a few) brings to life the exciting, colorful and often madcap world that was revolving around the zeitgeist of mid sixties Britain in his latest feature, Pirate Radio (U.K. title: The Boat That Rocked).

Forget the usual tepid remakes, uninspired adaptations, disappointing ideas and lousy sequels to films that were never so hot to begin with, this is easily my favorite original fun film of the year.


The story takes place during 1966.
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FRANK NELSON: Comedy’s Original Yeeeesssss Man

This piece was originally published October 5th, 2009

Harpo IconWelcome to a new column feature that I will be often revisiting here at The Mystery BoxGreat Comedians Of The Past.

With this feature, I look forward to paying tribute to the many wonderful actors and actresses of comedy who have helped me to laugh throughout my life, with the hopes that you may find a particular one that you may have not known of before and will add to your own list of favorites.

Warning: Obscure and yet, not so obscure, comedic character actor alert!
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Rube Goldberg + The Three Stooges = 1930’s SOUP TO NUTS

This piece was originally published August 10th, 2009

Larry Fine IconMost folks are familiar with the famously talented Rube Goldberg.

Goldberg’s iconoclastic comic strip drawings for his character, Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts’-better known simply as his “Inventions”-still delight, bemuse, entertain and provide the inspiration for competitions worldwide for their attempt to make complex, the very simple.

The Three Stooges comedy team need no introduction.

What is not often known is that these two famous names came together in a 1930 Goldberg scripted feature film entitled, ‘Soup To Nuts.’

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