BOB PEAK: American Illustrator Superstar

This piece was originally published June 1&th, 2013

Bob Peak Icon TemplateThere are times here at Mystery Box H.Q. when I set out to write about a subject that I feel is so undeniably a legend, so incredibly talented beyond mere words, and such a large influential part of the fabric of popular culture, that I start to feel…to say it in two words— humbly intimidated.

Bob Peak is one of those subjects.

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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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The Mystery Box: MY FAVORITE CARS OF TELEVISION

This piece was originally published August 13th, 2012.

HermanI love lists that mention fave thangs. 

It’s fun, although highly subjective, but you can usually come away with learning something new to add to your pop culture brain-file.
So dear readers, here then is a compiled list of my favorite cars from television. At first I was going to include films and also animated television shows, and have them all mixed up, but decided not to, as those can be part of future lists.
I’m sure that you will have your own favorite vehicles that did not make my list. 

Some folks worship KITT, David Hasselhoff’s modified ’82 Pontiac Trans Am co-star in Knight Rider. 

Others may drool over Magnum P.I.’s Ferrari 308 GTS—and for good reason, as that is a mighty sweet car indeed!

Yes, there will be plenty of vehicles that people like but I just find boring.

Here at The Mystery Box H.Q. I have a particular fondness for vintage hot rods and antique sports cars. Plus, I can never get enough of the unusual one-of-a-kind rides and weird hybrids that were prevalent on sixties and seventies TV shows. If you feel I left one of your faves out, then by all means let me know about it.

In no particular order, except for the very last car, here they are!
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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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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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WHY I MISS A GOOD LAUGH TRACK…

This piece was originally published April 25th, 2011.

Woman Laughing Post IconThe use of laugh tracks for television comedy has been the subject of derision since the early 1950’s.

So believe me folks, if you are not a fan when you run across a sitcom or animated series that has a laugh track, it’s not an original feeling you have there.

I however, not only appreciate a good laugh track and miss its proliferation these days (I’ll explain this later). I also am aware of the origin of it and how its fascinating history of this now considered unhip attribute of television, actually connects to The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever,” psychedelic music, The Moody Blues and King Crimson—in other words, here’s a history lesson for you young hipsters. Continue reading, please click here…

I Dream Of Shoedini…

This piece was originally published January 17th, 2011.

Gilbert Gottfried Post IconBy now the world of infomercials and As Seen On TV products have been written and talked about, goofed on and parodied endlessly.

Yet, there seems no end to the inventions that these shadowy wizards are able to come up with.

Like modern day snake oil salesmen, the ever growing LLC of the fast buck is a school of commerce that continues to pull the punters in.

 

Here then, are a few favorites that have been piling up in the viewing lounge at Mystery Box HQ, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do…
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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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JAMES HONG: He’s Probably In The Film You’re Watching Right Now

This piece was originally published May 10th, 2010

James Hong Post IconRecently while watching an episode of I Dream Of Jeannie from Season One (in glorious, non colorized black and white) I happened across an appearance by James Hong.

This got me thinking, wow, this guy really has been around forever and shows up in everything!

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Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1929, Hong spent school time until the age of ten in his family’s original home of Hong Kong, where he studied and then became an engineer for 7 1/2 years, eventually he abandoned this career and decided to devote himself to his hobby of acting and voice over work full time.

Hong’s first notable voice over was for the (uncredited) re dubbing of Dr. Serizawa (and the character Ogata) in the Japanese film Gojira (1954) when it was released for the American market in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

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IT’S…MONTY PYTHON’S INCIDENTAL MUSIC!

This piece was originally published April 19th, 2010.

Ever since I began watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus on PBS television in 1974 I was hooked and my obsession with Messrs Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Jones and Palin began…

1974 was the last year/fourth season for the Pythons, as well as the year that PBS began broadcasting the series (a bit of a happy accident when a PBS programmer in Texas decided to air a few sitting on his studio shelves, resulting in a snowball of laughs and in turn, PBS affiliates around the country running the show that year).

 
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