Soupy Sales: 1926-2009

Soupy Sales was–believe it or not–a bit before my time. Growing up in Toronto in the ’60s, I was all over local kiddie shows like Professor’s Hideaway, Schnitzel House, Uncle Bobby, Kiddo the Clown, Captain Kangaroo on CBS and especially Buffalo’s Commander Tom. I should have been watching Sales, too, who was huge in Cincinnati… Read on

Comedy Giant Larry Gelbart Dead at 81

There’s something funny about the fact that Larry Gelbart died on Sept. 11. His best work spoke to all that was right and wrong about America, no punches pulled. Gelbart, who died Friday at 81 after a brief battle with cancer, was part of that golden circle of writers who worked on Sid Caesar’s TV… Read on

McMahon, Carson, Together Again

In October of 2006, I headed out to the Music Hall in Toronto to see Tonight Show legend Ed McMahon. I had interviewed the veteran sidekick on the phone a few days earlier for the Toronto Sun (read that story here). He sounded excited to be coming to a place called the “Music Hall,” and… Read on

Paul Newman 1925-2008

Paul Newman, who died Friday after a long battle with cancer (read the well-prepared Associated Press obit here), was one of those iconic film stars who rarely bothered with television. One memorable cameo came during the very first Late Show with David Letterman in 1993. New to CBS and the Ed Sullivan Theatre, Letterman playfully… Read on

Middle of the Night Memories of Fred Allen

Frequent readers of this blog (you know who you both are) already know my nerdy little secret. The one show this bleary-eyed TV critic PVR’s every night and watches the next day isn’t Hole In The Wall or America’s Got Cramps or whatever the hell else they’re sticking us with this fall. It is a… Read on

Tim Russert: 1950-2008

Sad, shocking news about Tim Russert, the NBC News correspondent and Meet The Press host who died Friday of a heart attack at 58. Russert was a proud native of Buffalo. N.Y., and boasted that he attended the famous 1969 Woodstock concert “in a Buffalo Bills jersey with a case of beer.” Before he went… Read on

TV Music Man Earle Hagen Dies at 88

Earle Hagen, composer of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show themes, died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 88, which is a sweet number to reach if you are a composer, especially if you play the piano (88 keys). Read his L.A. Times obit here. A former big band trombonist, Hagen… Read on

Say Goodnight, Dick

I have a real affection for comedy duos. Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello always make me laugh. Wayne & Shuster were the dudes in Canada, while the Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise and Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were a stitch in England. Stiller & Meara and Nichols and May, took things in… Read on