Friday, May 24, 2019

FRIDAY HALL OF FAMERS - REMEMBERING LAVERNE DEFAZIO



From Variety:
[December 18, 2018]
Penny Marshall, who starred alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley” and then became a successful director, died on Monday night at her Hollywood Hills home due to complications from diabetes, Variety has confirmed. She was 75.

Marshall was the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million, the first woman to direct two films that made more than $100 million, and she was only the second woman director to see her film Oscar-nominated for best picture.

“Laverne & Shirley” ran from 1976-1983 and proved an enormous success for ABC. It was the No. 3 show on television in 1975-76, No. 2 in 1976-77, and No. 1 in 1977-78 and 1978-79, spawning ancillary revenue in the form of merchandising, a record album, and an animated series based on the show.



As you may have noticed starting with last Friday’s Hall of Famer induction ceremony for Doris Day, we had five straight days of memorial blog posts – three for Miss Day as a member of the League of Themselves, one for Peggy Lipton’s Norma Jennings from ‘Twin Peaks’, and then a “Two for Tuesday” salute for Tim Conway (one for himself and one for his first breakout character of Ensign Chuck Parker.)


All of those followed on the heels of the news about their passing.  Laverne DeFazio is a powerful enough TV icon that she should have been a monthly showcase, but I was already committed to making this a theme year for the Hall’s 20th anniversary with TV adaptations of superheroes and villains.


We also could have had her as a Friday Hall of Famer at any point ealier this year, especially in January for the Classic TV theme.  However, I thought it appropriate to save her for this month as one of the Queens of May.


Here are the credits which locked her in as deserving of the TVXOHOF membership.





Happy Days
(1975-1979) 

5 episodes








Laverne & Shirley
(1976-1983)

178 episodes



Blansky's Beauties

- Nancy Remembers Laverne (1977)


Mork & Mindy

- Pilot (1978)


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She can also be found in The Tooniverse:


Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour
(1982)

8 episodes

Laverne & Shirley in the Army
(1981-1982) 

13 episodes

Here is some of the information… information… information… about Laverne from her show’s wikia:



FAMILY:
  • Frank DeFazio (father)
  • Unnamed mother, deceased 
  • Antonio DeFazio (cousin)

ABOUT:

Tough-talking type, she's the rather gutsier of the two, being she and longtime roommate Shirley, both in Milwaukee, where she also grew up, and in California

Laverne DeFazio is one of the main characters on Laverne & Shirley who appears in 177 of the 178 episdoes of the series. The character was played by Penny Marshall, who also played the character in five guest appearances of its parent TV series, ABC-TV's Happy Days. Laverne also appears in the pilot episode of another popular Happy Days spinoff, Mork & Mindy, as well as the short-lived spinoff ABC-TV's Blansky's Beauties in the episode "I Remember Laverne". 



About Laverne

Laverne is known for being a tough-talking tomboy. She was born and grew up in Brooklyn, NY with her Italian immigrant parents. Laverne's parents later moved to Milwaukee when she was about 11 years old, where her mother later died. 


Friendships

Laverne worked alongside best friend and roommate Shirley Feeney, whom she's known since moving to Milwaukee as a child. They attended high school together, and worked together as bottle-cappers at Shotz Brewery there in Milwaukee, before packing up and moving to California, along with her father Frank DeFazio and his new wife, Edna Babish, who was the landlord of the apartment building in which they shared an apartment together for 5 years. Her other friends included Lenny, Squiggy, Shirley's boyfriend Carmine, Rhonda, and even good ole Rosie Greenbaum (although it's more of a "frenemy" relationship as they often feud with each other). The same thing can be said about her and Shirley's relationship with Rhonda Lee, a tall, blonde buxom actress/model whom they meet upon their move to Burbank. 

Laverne and Shirley soon would find jobs as gift wrappers at Bard's Department Store in Burbank, CA, where she would meet a stuntman and aspiring actor named Sonny St. Jacques (Ed Marinaro) and begin dating him for several episodes. 



Milk and Pepsi is Laverne's favorite drink. Her trademark is the script letter "L" monogrammed on her shirts and sweaters, an idea Marshall got from seeing a vintage sweater in the wardrobe department with an initial sewn in the upper left corner, something that would help the audience remember that she is Laverne. 


Laverne came close twice to marrying; she almost married a sailor named Sal Malina, although she didn't love him. Another was a fireman named Randy (also played by Marinaro), whom she began dating while in Milwaukee, but he died in the line of duty.

Unlike her friend Shirley, who winds up marrying an Army doctor named Walter Feeney, Laverne's never been married.



I’d like to think that Ms. DeFazio lived in Toobworld as long as Ms. Marshall did in both the Real World and the main Toobworld.  I did a little (very little) research into her first appearance on ‘Happy Days’.  That was broadcast in 1975 when Ms. Marshall was 32 years old.  In that first episode (“A Date With Fonzie”), Potsie Webber sang “Great Balls of Fire” which Jerry Lee Lewis recorded and released in 1957.  I’m thinking Potsie was singing that by at least 1958, so I’m going to claim that Laverne – being the same age as Penny Marshall at the time she made that episode, was born in 1926.  That means she was 92 years old when she passed away last December.


Good night and may God bless, Laverne.  


Welcome to the Hall.    


Thursday, May 23, 2019

THURSDAY THEORY OF RELATEEVEETY - THE WILLES WOMEN



‘McHale’s Navy’
“Send Us A Hero”
&
‘The Twilight Zone’
“Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?”



Submitted for your approval: Congresswoman Clara Carter Clarke, visiting elected official from Massachusetts, came to Taratupa when she was forty years old.  She left her husband and their daughter Ethel to find a PT boat commander whom she could bring home to the States in order to make speeches to bolster the war effort.



Back home, her young daughter, Ethel, would grow up with dreams of becoming a dancer, only to be disillusioned by Life, men, and what being a “professional dancer” would entail. 



She would marry a man named McConnell, which would prove to be the first of the misjudgments she would make in Life. The last one would be getting back on a bus to cross a rickety bridge on a snowy night.  She was only 38 at the time.



As for her mother the Congresswoman, Representative Clark would have a lasting impact on History by introducing a young PT boat skipper from her home state of Massachusetts to the people of America. 


That young man would eventually become the President of the United States.


Former Representative Clarke died in 1989 when she was 87 years old....

[Jean Willes played both roles.]

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

WIKI TIKI WEDNESDAY - MEGGAZONES


When they show newspaper front pages in a TV show, I look for more than just the key headline.  Usually it's the masthead for the paper which sometimes I can use to link one series to another.


This time around, it's an advert that filled the corner of the page....

'Father Brown'
"The Great Train Robbery"



I never even heard of Meggazones before, but reading up on them, I realized I just knew them by other names.....

From Caroline's Miscellany
Meggezones are menthol pastilles (they also used to contain peppermint, licquorice, chloroform and benzoin), whose strange name comes from the firm's founder, a Mr Meggeson. He started the company in 1796, and by the early nineteenth century it was making a range of syrups, sweets and lozenges for coughs and colds at its Bermondsey factory. Other products included dyspepsia tablets and lemon barley water. Today, the brand is owned by multinational Schering Plough.


From Wikipedia:
A pastille is a type of candy or medicinal pill made of a thick liquid that has been solidified and is meant to be consumed by light chewing and allowing it to dissolve in the mouth. They are also used to describe certain forms of incense.

A pastille was originally a pill-shaped lump of compressed herbs, which was burnt to release its medicinal properties. Literary references to the burning of medicinal pastilles include the short story "The Birth-Mark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the poem "The Laboratory" by Robert Browning, and the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. They are also mentioned in the novel McTeague by Frank Norris, when the title character's wife burns them to mask an unpleasant odor in the couple's rooms. In Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, "a half-filled package of violet pastilles" are among the items found in Joel Cairo's pockets. They were also widely used during the eighteenth century in Western cultures to take herbal curatives and medicines, which eventually were developed into candies.


Pharma News Online
Meggezones pastilles contain menthol. They provide a soothing effect for sore throats through the promotion of saliva secretion. The preparation contains glucose as excipients and therefore should not be recommended to diabetic patients.

KEEP A PITCHIN' IN
George Meggeson was a London chemist (pharmacist), in business as early as the 1790s. One authority says that Meggeson was a “pioneer in sugar-based lozenges and was one of the first to make medicated pastilles” – in other words, he invented the cough drop, by adding menthol to a candy base that, according to a contemporary advertisement, lasts “long enough to release [its] numbing effect on very dry tickles and hoarseness. [This helps] to soothe the inflamed larynx which can be the cause of voice loss.”


For some 50 years, George Meggeson, assisted by his unmarried daughters, lived above his chemist’s shop on Cannon Street, described as then “being so narrow that one could almost shake hands across the street,” dispensing the syrups and pills he manufactured at his factory on Bermondsey. The firm eventually passed out of family hands, but continued to thrive through much of the 20th century. It is now owned by the multinational company Schering Plough, and its lozenges, marketed under the brand name Meggezones, can still be ordered online (I’m wary of linking to online pharmacy sites, but they’re there).



BCnU!


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

TWO FOR TUESDAY TVXOHOF TRIBUTE TO TIM CONWAY





From Variety:
Tim Conway, the agile comedian who was a core member of the “The Carol Burnett Show” troupe and starred in a string of Disney film comedies in the 1970s, died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. He was 85.

A rep for Conway tells Variety he died from water on the brain.

Over his long career, Conway was nominated for 13 Emmys and won six. For “The Carol Burnett Show,” he was nominated six times as a supporting performer in a variety or comedy series, winning in 1973, 1977 and 1978. He was also nominated as part of the writing staff for the show, drawing three nominations and winning in 1978. In addition to those four Emmy wins, he won in 1996 for outstanding guest actor in a comedy, “Coach,” and in 2008 for guest actor in a comedy for “30 Rock.”


“I’m heartbroken. He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being,” said Burnett in a statement obtained by Variety. “I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He’ll be in my heart forever.”

Thomas Daniel "Tim" Conway (December 15, 1933 – May 14, 2019) was an American comedic actor, writer, and director. He portrayed the inept Ensign Parker in the 1960s World War II situation comedy McHale's Navy, was a regular cast member on the 1970s variety and sketch comedy program The Carol Burnett Show, co-starred with Don Knotts in several films in the late 1970s and early 1980s, starred as the title character in the Dorf series of sports comedy films, and provided the voice of Barnacle Boy in the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants. He was particularly admired for his ability to depart from scripts with spontaneously improvised character details and dialogue, and he won six Prime-time Emmy Awards during his career, four of which were awarded for The Carol Burnett Show, including one for writing.  



Earlier today, Toobworld Central inducted Ensign Charles “Chuck” Parker of ‘McHale’s Navy’ into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  And now we’re inducting the televersion of the man who portrayed the fictional life of that fictional Navy man during WWII. 



The televersion of Tim Conway is more than just the comic actor in fictional settings.  There were aspects of his life in Toobworld that couldn’t have happened in the Real World.

Sesame Street
- Episode #2.49
(1971)

... Himself



O'Bservation - They should have invited him back.  It just doesn't seem right that we never saw him interact with a Muppet on that show.


Newhart
- Dick and Tim
(1990)
... Tim Conway


From the IMDb:
Dick inadvertently drives Tim Conway away from his regular poker game.  


O’Bservations:
  • Tim Conway goes overboard with paprika when making his dip.
  • In the regular poker game among the “men” of Stratford, the players are George Utley, Michael Harris, Larry, Darryl, and Darryl, and Tim Conway (who had been coming to Stratford, Vermont for a year to play poker.) 
  • The Darryls first met Conway when they were producing ‘The Carol Burnett Show’. 
  • Tim proved to be so cheap, he stole Dick’s car.

This was the most revealing look at Tim Conway as his televersion in any TV show, but it was as a dream version of his televersion.  The splainin then is fairly simple in disabling the Zonks caused by the shows that were mentioned.



The entire series was a dream triggered by Japanese food eaten by Dr, Bob Hartley just before bedtime.  That Tim Conway probably showed up in that dream could mean that Bob saw a ‘Carol Burnett Show’ rerun on local TV while he was eating that Japanese food.  (One of the leftovers could have been a lobster dish….)  After all, that variety program came up during that segment of the dream. 


As for Tim Conway being tight with a buck, maybe that’s the fault of Buck Benny.  ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ of Toobworld might not be the same as the show seen in the Real World, as is often the case with other TV series which get mentioned but with non-existent episodes.  So perhaps Bob Hartley saw an episode of ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ with both Tim Conway and Jack Benny as her guest stars, something that never happened in the Real World.




Because his appearance as a near-as regular member of the cast of 'The Carol Burnett Show' is mentioned by a fictional character, then it counts as a valid entry in Tim's tally for membership requirements.

Dick:
I’m a big, big fan of yours. 
I think I’ve seen everything you’ve ever done.
Tim:
Really?  Okay. 
You seen my TV series ‘Rango’?
Dick:
No.
Tim:
‘Turn-On’?
Dick:
No.
Tim:
Some fan….

Let’s de-Zonk these references….


Rango (1967)    
.
In Toobworld, their version of ‘Rango’ would be an historical series based on an actual lawman in the old West and his “true-life” adventures.  The Televersion of Tim Conway was hired to play the role because he bore a resemblance to the actual Rango.


Turn-On (1969)

I think everybody who saw this piece of schlattershit knows that it never should have been allowed on the air, no matter what world where it was seen!  (I can say that.  I saw it that night in 1969. I was just barely a teenager and I survived it.)

The show is mentioned by name in Toobworld by other citizens of that world, like Harry from ‘Mad Men’.  So Dr. Hartley was probably familiar with the tele-travesty. 


Ace Crawford... Private Eye (1983)

I don’t remember hearing this reference at all.  But it would be a similar situation to ‘Rango’.  It just wouldn’t be an historical drama; instead the real Ace Crawford probably sold the rights to his story to a TV producer who saw the comedy potential in Ace’s investigations.



The Larry Sanders Show
- The Matchmaker
(1997)

... Tim Conway

From the IMDb:
Larry has trouble firing a staff member that is consistently messing up. Hank does something nice for his assistant and it results in a rumor that he might be gay.

This was another example of how the televersion of Tim Conway was different from the real life original.  I don't want to think that Conway would be as mean to a show's assistant in the Real World as he was to MaryAnn in this episode.




Here are the references made by Tim Conway, but all of them to movies that exist as such in Toobworld.  Which is good - that way we don't have to splain away any Zonks.



The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
Tim Conway jokes he hasn't had any sex since filming the movie.
 

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Marylou pre-interviews Tim Conway and asks if anything funny happened between him and Sandra Bullock in the movie.  


O’Bservation – So there were aspects in the life of Tim Conway’s televersion which hewed closely to the life of the  real Tim Conway... at least as far as his movie credits go.  But definitely not personality-wise!


Ellen
- Ellen: A Hollywood Tribute: Part 1
(1998) 

... Comedian


From the IMDb:
A "mokumentary" hosted by Linda Ellerbee hosts a tribute to a 75-year career of Ellen, which traces her career as a vaudevillian, ventriloquist and hostess of the 1950's game show called "Who's the Commie?" to her show with spoofs from the TV shows 'I Love Lucy', the Dick Van Dyke' and Mary Tyler Moore shows too, as well as interviews with celebrities Jennifer Anniston, Glenn Close, Woody Harrelson, Helen Hunt Ted Danson, Phil Donahue, Tim Conway, and many others.  


Conway was one of the talking heads in the mockumentary, speaking about how he used to work on the road with Ellen & Dave, until the day when Dave headed to Hollywood to work in television which Ellen thought was a passing fad.
 


Two and a Half Men
- Bite Me, Supreme Court
(2014)

... Tim


From the IMDb:
After multimillionaire Marty Pepper proposes to Evelyn, Walden and Alan throw him a bachelor party with several of his old friends (comedy legends Tim Conway, Steve Lawrence and Garry Marshall) who help him celebrate his last days of bachelorhood.  


O’Bservation - According to the cast list at the IMDb, Conway is only listed as “Tim”.  He’s played other Tims in the past, twice on ‘Diagnosis Murder’ as “Tim Conrad”.  But since Garry Marshall is listed as “Garry” and Steve Lawrence is listed as “Steve”, I think the odds are good that they are all playing themselves.  And it’s believable that a multimillionaire like Marty Pepper would have celebrity friends around his own age.


By the way, Conway was wearing those dark glasses because he had just come from seeing his eye doctor who had given him drops to dilate his pupils.  Conway claimed that the doctor was robbing him blind, but O’Bviously it was all in service to the joke.


Tim Conway also exists in The Tooniverse….


The New Scooby-Doo Movies
- The Spirited Spooked Sports Show
(1973)

... Himself (voice)


The Simpsons
- The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase
(1997)

... Himself (voice)


O’Bservation - Despite the difference in artistic style, these depictions are of the same Tim Conway in the Tooniverse.


If he ever had another appearance in a cartoon series as himself, then he could be inducted yet again for his tooniversion.  


If you know of another appearance in a cartoon by Tim Conway as himself, let me know!  (Apparently Barnacle Boy in 'SpongeBob Squarepants' was an actual character.  I thought he was fictional with that fictional world.)



Welcome to the Hall, Mr. Conway.  On the same day, you’ve been inducted with the man you played in Toobworld and in Toobworld movies, Ensign Chuck Parker.  It’s a rare honor.

Good night and may God bless…