PALM SPRINGS - Can you believe that an article in the Washington Post can expose a problem and inspire a swift resolution? Last year Neely Tucker’s “Mannix Was the Man” questioned why this TV detective show wasn’t out on DVD. The story was picked up by numerous papers across the countries in the following week. Fans of the show wrote the studio demanding a Mannix fix. This groundswell of support has been rewarded with Mannix: The First season being released on June 3.
In celebration of this moment, Mike Connors, who played Mannix for eight seasons, called up The Party Favors for an exclusive chat about cars, basketball and Neil Diamond. For a guy about to blow out 83 candles on his birthday cake, Connors sounds like he can still strap on his blazer and beat down a mystery.
Connors is overjoyed that the media can positively motivate a Hollywood executive. “The article in the Washington Post talking about why there wasn’t a DVD started the whole ball rolling,” Connors says. He’s pleased with the studio’s recent treatment of Mannix, but still has a question. “I never got a straight answer as to why it wasn’t on DVD. I’m still not sure why it wasn’t, but it is now and that’s fine.”
The article prompted the studio executives to included plenty of bonus features on the boxset instead of a barebones release of other ’70s detective shows. They even produced a fresh conversation between Connors and the man who played his boss in the first season.
“I really enjoyed getting together with Joe Campanella and rehashing the old days,” Connors says. “And they were old days. I hadn’t seen Joe in a long time. He recalled some of the things I had forgotten. And I recalled a few things he’d forgotten. The bottom line is (the first season) never was much in reruns. They showed the last seven years because the premise was so different from a computer agency to a private agency.”
Connors is excited about getting the DVD since he hasn’t seen these freshman season since they were originally broadcast in 1967. “I don’t remember hardly any of the stories. I’ve haven’t seen the episodes yet. I only saw one episode. I’m dying to see them because it will all be kinda new to me.” Connors and Campanella provide an audio commentary on “Another Final Exit.”
A lot of actor talk about how they can’t stand to see their movies. Connors sounds like an excited fan eager to snag the boxset. “I wasn’t crazy about watching myself at the time I was doing things. You look at it and you get despondent in that you should have done something different. You shoulda, coulda done it better. But now I look at it and say, ‘Wow! God, we were young in those days. Look at that: I’m running.’”
While watching the pilot (”The Name Is Mannix”), Connors will also wince at the moments he received lifelong nagging injuries. “I dislocated my shoulder and broke my wrist. It was all worth it once the pilot got picked up. To this day my wrist hurts and my shoulder gets sore and stiff. It’s all coming back. All the injuries from all those years of doing stunts,” Connors sighs.
Did the show’s budget afford a stuntman?
“I had a very good stuntman, Dick Ziker. We would get together and decide how much I could do,” Connors declares. “We wanted the camera to be in close so that it would be much more believable if (the viewers) saw the actual actor doing the stunt. Without jumping off a cliff or driving a claw off a cliff, I would try to do as much as I could. Luckily I was fairly athletic and I could handle a lot of this stuff.”
Did he join the stuntmen association having gotten banged up so much for the sake of the series?
Like all great TV detectives, Mannix drove quite a few different boss cars in pursuit of closing a case. Did he ever think of buying a version of his TV car for driving around in his private life?
“I never did,” Connors declares. “The first year we had an Oldsmobile Tornado. They didn’t have convertible. They got George Barris and he made that car into a convertible. It was the most unwieldy car that I’ve ever driven. I wouldn’t want it if they gave it to me. Later on we got into the little green (Plymouth Barracuda) convertibles. They were great little cars, but I had my fill of driving those on the show.”
Fans of the show that might think twice before buying one of Mannix’s old cars if they intend on driving around the neighborhood.
“I pity anyone who bought any of those cars,” Connors says. “They might have had two or three thousand miles on them, but every week they were in the shop being repaired.
Mannix was produced by Desliu. The company was producing Mission: Impossible at the same time. Lalo Schifrin composed the iconic themes for both shows. How tight was he to crew that accepted those self-destructing assignments?
“We were on the same lot and very often used the same sets,” Connors said. “Peter Graves and I had dressing rooms right next to each other. We’re very good friends. In fact I was out to dinner with him the other night.”
Was there ever talk of a crossover episode? Did they discuss Mannix being a very special agent for the Impossible Missions Force? “No. Not really,” Connors says. “Some of the Mission: Impossible cast did guest shots on my show especially after their show went off the air a year ahead of mine.” Peter Lupus, Greg Morris and Barbara Anderson popped up needing Mannix’s help.
Working on a Desliu production, did the producers ever use old Star Trek sets like they did on Mission: Impossible?
“No,” Connors said. “Those were completely different type sets. Mission was a little more futuristic than our show so they could get away with some of that stuff in their stories.”
?The first season of Mannix was semi-futuristic. Intertect, the detective agency that employed him, used a massive computer fueled with punch cards to assist him on a case. Even Connors gets a laugh while watching the Jurassic technology in action.
“They filled a whole wall with those computers. It was so completely different. I don’t think the public was ready to accept that computer premise. It was beyond belief of most people that a computer could be so intelligent.” The computer and Intertect only lasted this one season. The second season featured Mannix as a solo act who worked with his guts and fists.
A Star Is Born
How Mike Connors got into the acting game is an amazing story that involves an Oscar-winning director and the greatest college basketball coach of all time. It was on the hardwood of UCLA that Connors was discovered. But it took numerous bites before he realized his destiny was in front of the cameras.
“That was the first time I got the idea that there was anything in the way of acting in my life,” he said. “William Wellman (director of The Ox-Bow Incident) was with his son at a UCLA basketball game. The coach introduced all the players to his son. After the game was over, Bill Wellman said to the coach, ‘Ask that kid if he’d be interested in being an actor.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ He said, ‘The next time I do a picture, I’ll give you a call.’”
Days later, the acting bug bit him again. His speech teacher who was head of the drama department at UCLA asked him to stay after class. “I’d like to ask you a question,” she said. “I’m having tryouts for some plays. Have you ever thought of trying out for a play?”
“No,” Connors replied. “Not really.’
Then fate stepped in. About two weeks later the coach says, “Ruth Birch called and wanted to know if there was an athlete here. They’re replacing Tarzan. I mentioned Will Wellman was interested in you.”
Connors went to see Birch who said he wasn’t right for Tarzan but encouraged him to get into acting and set him up with a coach. “I started taking acting classes at UCLA. I gave up basketball to try and become an actor.” His try has lasted over 50 years including appearing on Two and a Half Men last season.
Wellman lived up to his word. Connors soon found himself on the set of Island in the Sky alongside John Wayne.
Who was the coach that chalked up Connors’ career direction?
“My sophomore year, I played basketball during John Wooden’s first year,” Connors says.
Being a Bruin alumni while having a hit network series gave Connors a good seat when UCLA was in full dynasty mode under Wooden.
Was it a glorious time for him?
“It was terrific,” Connors confirms. “As a matter of fact, Gail Goodrich and Kareem Abdul-Jabber guested on one of the Mannix episodes. We had a lot of fun doing little basketball bits.”
For those poking around for Mike Connors’ name in UCLA basketball scorecards, you’ll have to look for Krikor Ohanian. That’s his real name. Although in his early films, you’ll see him listed as Touch Connors.
How did he end up with such a strange stagename?
“When I first became an actor, I was signed by Famous Artist Agency,” Connors explains. “One of the agents there was a man named Henry Wilson. He was responsible for Rock Hudson’s name, Rory Calhoun, Race Gentry and Tab Hunter.”
So when Connors signed with the agency, they put him with Wilson who told him he had change his name. “Do you have any nicknames?” Wilson asked.
Connors explained the guys at UCLA used to kid him about having a soft touch.
“Touch!” Wilson exclaimed. “That’s it. You’re going to be Touch Connors!”
“I hated it from day one,” Connors says.” The jokes were ridiculous. Here’s Touch and Go! They called my wife ‘Go.’ The minute I got the Tightrope series, I told them, I’ve got to change that name.” Thus Mike Connors became a TV star.
Mannix had 194 episodes over its eight season run from 1967 to 1975. At what point did Connors realize that this show was going to last a while?
“It was after the second year because our ratings started to climb,” Connors says. “The network was very happy with it. Each year the ratings got better. As a matter of fact, we would have been on another year if Paramount and CBS didn’t get into a disagreement because our ratings were still in the Top 20 when we went off the air. Paramount wanted to put reruns of Mannix on at 11 o’clock at night. CBS said, “No. Not as long as you’re on network first run. We’re not going to let you compete with the first run.’ Paramount said, ‘Well, we want to sell and get our money out of this thing.’ Paramount chose not to continue.
“A year or two later it was a common practice to put a show on in reruns while it was still going in first runs.”
One of the highlights of the first season boxset is Neil Diamond performing “Solitary Man” on “The Many Deaths of Saint Christopher.” How did the singer in the sparkling shirts end up on the set of Mannix?
“The producer came to me and said, ‘You know Mike, we need somebody to play in a nightclub scene. My kids say there’s a young guy named Neil Diamond that’s very good.’ I said, ‘I’ve never heard of him, but whomever you want is fine with me.’ So Neil Diamond came on the set. He did a short number and I walked through the bar. And (the director) said, ‘That’s it we’re finished.’ Neil said, ‘What? You mean you hired me to work and that’s all I have to do on this show?’ He was furious. They came to me and asked me to calm Neil down. ‘He’s very upset.’ So I went over and said, ‘Neil, I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware of what went on. If I had known, I would have explained to you that it isn’t a major part in the show.’ He was very upset about it and left.
“About three years later he was a the top of his career and doing a one man show at the Greek Theater. A friend of mine had tickets and we went to see the show. During the intermission, an usher came up to me and said, ‘Mr. Diamond would like you to come back after the show and be his guest and have a drink. The two ladies with us were: ‘Oh God, we want to meet him.’ So we went backstage. Neil came over and said, “Well, things are a little different now, aren’t they Mike?’ And I said, ‘Yeah. Congratulations, Neil.’ He wanted me back there to give a little zing.”
As our conversation near the end, I ask about Gail Fisher. She joined the series during the second season to play his secretary, Peggy Fair. How was she received by the fans of the show at the time?
“She was really accepted in a great way. The funny thing is the network didn’t want her to be on the show because they were worried what the South would do with a black actress on the show. Bruce Geller and I fought to get her on the show. We had to agree if there was a lot of bad mail, Geller would figure out a way to write her out of the show. The show became so popular and we got so many good letters about her that she went on to win the Emmy and be a big important part of the show.”
Reports are that Paramount has already done High-Def transfers of the first three seasons. This is always a good indicator of what’s coming on DVD. With any luck, the second season should be out before Christmas.
As we say goodbye, it feels good to know that soon Mike Connors would sit back in his favorite chair and watch Mannix knock back Scotches, kick ass and mock computers. He’ll be enjoying his show as much as the rest of us (like “Senator” Brad Honeycutt) who’ve waited so long for it to appear on DVD. The case of the Missing First Season has been solved.
Did you know that Tim Robbins is a major Mannix fan?
THE DVD SHELF
The Odd Couple: The Fourth Season brings us another 22 episodes of the best damn sitcom that wasn’t overplayed in syndication. The set up is simple with two roommates clashing over their lifestyle choices. Felix (Tony Randall) is an anal retentive, neatfreak. Oscar (Jack Klugman) is a blissful slob. Can they survive in a Manhattan apartment or is this the set up for a murder-suicide special. This fourth season brings quite a few guest stars. My childhood idol Wolfman Jack appears in “The Songwriter” while Oscar is giving his mallet to The Gong Show’s Jaye P. Morgan. “The Exorcists” spooks Felix into swearing their air conditioner is possessed by a trapped spirit. Victor Buono (King Tut from Batman) has to help them release the ghost. “The Pig Who Came to Dinner” brings us Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs during their tennis match hype. “One for the Bunny” has Hugh Hefner playing himself when he was merely middle-aged. Felix is hired to photograph the Playboy Centerfold. The Fourth Season proves that The Odd Couple wasn’t even close to jumping the shark. Bring on the fifth and final season boxset!
Hawaii Five-O: The Fourth Season shows us how Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) kept the law in the tropical paradise. Mostly by intimidating them with his bold haircut. This was the final season of the original Five-O crew since Det. Kono Kalakaua (played by Zulu) was “transferred out” of the unit. This might be the worst career move in showbiz. Hawaii Five-0 continued for eight more seasons and Zulu didn’t have to do too much heavy lifting to pick up that paycheck. His final shift proved to be exciting with major crimes mixed with outlandish investigations. There’s a science fiction storyline in the two-part “The Ninety-Second War.” The evil Wo Fat has made a “clone” McGarrett as part of a fiendish plan involving Chinese missiles. The guest cast includes Roger C. Carmel (Star Trek’s Harry Mudd), Tim O’Connor (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’s Dr. Huer) and Donald Pleasence (You Only Live Twice’s Blofeld). Can McGarrett save the world from nuclear annihilation? McGarrett also keeps the mob out of Hawaii in “No Bottles….No Cans….No People.” You just don’t mess with the Five-O.
The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume One continues the greatest man hunt in television history. Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) stays one step ahead of Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse). Kimble isn’t merely fleeing from the law, but searching for the one-armed man who really killed Kimble’s wife. The highlight of the 15 episodes on this collection is “Escape Into Black.” The recently departed Ivan Dixon (Kinch on Hogan’s Heroes) plays a doctor treating a severely injured Kimble. He recognizes Kimble and thinks his fellow physician is guilty. A social worker at the hospital thinks he’s innocent. They battle over the fate of the woozy-headed Kimble. The One-Armed Man also appears in the story.
7th Heaven: The Sixth Season is perfect viewing for when Ned Flanders drops by the estate. The only reason I even remember this show is Jessica Biel. From my encounters with minister’s daughters, I was expecting this show to have been a Showtime sensation. But she’s not nearly as hedonistic as my realities. For Season Six of the 7th, she moves back with her preaching father (Stephen Collins). It’s tame TV for those who think Gilmore Girls is a pit of sin.
Holocaust was a major mini-series and now its out with a 30th Anniversary edition. The nearly 8 hour long show follows the Weiss family from their happy lives in Berlin to the concentration camps. The miniseries brought the Holocaust into the national dialogue when people spoke about World War II. A very young Meryl Streep and James Woods bring this chilling time to celluloid.
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets is better than the original for only one reason: Helen Mirren. What is it about Helen Mirren that makes me think she could lure me into a cave beneath Mount Rushmore? Nicolas Cage has to prove his great grandfather didn’t help kill Abraham Lincoln. He must find the mythical city of gold that supposedly the presidents have been hiding from us. Helen Mirren plays his mom who can read an ancient language. And this film claims the City of Gold isn’t where Indiana Jones found it in Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.
Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection is a new boxset of the first three films that’s out just in time for the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie. You can get each of the films separately. This means you can skip over Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Even after all these years, the film is such an amazing letdown. Raiders of the Lost Ark rocks. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is fun by merely having Sean Connery play Indy’s dad. They produced new documentaries for the DVDs. You’ll adore the examination of the melting faces from Raiders.
Ringside Rivalries takes you back to that time when boxing was bigger than mixed martial arts. I can’t get into the whole UFC business because the two guys in the cage wearing those baggy swim suits remind me of drunk guys at the beach. Every time I turn on the UFC show on Spike, the UFC fighters are dry humping each other into submission. What’s the point of a bloodsport when it devolves into hardcore cuddling? Give me nostalgic boxing matches for power, pounding and personality. That’s what this DVD set does. Ringside Rivalries contains bouts featuring Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Graziano, Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraizer. Burt Randolph Sugar and his crew of experts establish the context and breakdown the various fights. Fans of Raging Bull should rejoice at the complete Jake LaMotta vs. Sugar Ray Robinson in Chicago fight. Gander at what Martin Scorsese recreated. There’s even vintage footage of Rocky Graziano breaking down the fight. For fans of Ali, there’s the complete Thrilla in Manila battle against Joe Fraizer. It’s knockout series for the punching fan.
Strange Wilderness would have been a really great SciFi Channel original movie. A nature show is about to get canceled so the stoner crew pursue Bigfoot to capture ratings gold. The film gets bonus points for starring Ernest Borgnine and Joe Don Baker. McHale and Mitchell are a dynamic duo. You know what this film is missing? Pauly Shore. The comedy comes up a little short unless you get as stoned as the guy from the “I’m a Mac” commercials. This reminds me of MTV’s Wild Boyz. Strange Wilderness will be competing with Shrimp on the Barbie for time slots on Comedy Central.
Mission: Impossible: The Fourth TV Season has Leonard Nimoy replacing Martin Landau as the master of disguise and magic tricks. Straight off the set of Star Trek, Nimoy attempts to overcome his old Spock haircut. They also had to replace Landau’s wife, Barbara Bain. Shame they didn’t use Lee Meriwether more in their revolving cast of female agents. The producers attempted to twist around the series by not having everything go according to Mr. Phelps’ plans. They even have a three part adventure. This fourth season is better than all three of Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible movies.
Ballroom Bootcamp is TLC’s Dancing Without The Stars. Three couples intensively train to fancy dance for a competition. The bonus features include lessons on how to Jive, Cha-Cha, Waltz, Tango and Rhumba. It’s a sweet gift for your partner if they just can’t stop watching those dancing shows. Get off the couch and show me your Passa Doble!
Muppet Show: The Complete Third Season has Liberace!!!! Can there be any greater reason to rush out and embrace this boxset? The greatest variety show of the ’70s hit its stride on these discs. Major stars were begging for a chance to show off their song and dance skills with the felt and furry. The big names include Sylvester Stallone, Roy Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Alice Cooper, Roy Clark and Gilda Radner. Raquel Welch’s opening number may inflict drooling. She is in her prime and slinking around in a very revealing outfit. Fozzie Bear won’t be the only one tongue-tied.
Kenny the Shark, Volume 3: Catch a Wave sets a dangerous mindset that somehow a tiger shark can make a sweet family pet. This is an animated kids show that wants you to forget the lessons of Jaws. Remind your children that this is only a cartoon and they should never bring back stray sharks from the beach. Even if they don’t eat your family, they’ll cost a fortune in meat for their lunch. Does Purina make a Shark Chow?
Walk All Over Me promises Leelee Sobieski in a corset. Sold! Grandma knows what she’ll be getting for Christmas this year. Unfortunately this is not merely Leelee strutting around in fetish latex for two hours. There’s a crime and double crossed loot. Poor Leelee finds herself in the middle of this chaos. Everyone thinks she’s holding the bag. The movie could have been so much better if it just focused Leelee becoming a full-time domme. What’s wrong with an old fashioned Education of Mistress Leelee flick? If you can stomach the crime plot, you’ll be pleased with her time in heels.
Gomer Pyle USMC The Fourth Season is the year Duke went AWOL. But when Gomer loses a barracks buddy, he gains a girlfriend in crappy voiced Lou Ann. Will this woman bust up the unspoken bond between Gomer and Sgt. Carter? This season is best known for when Gomer goes to Washington D.C. to deliver a knock out performance of The Impossible Dream in his dress blues. Grandma loved that episode. There’s only one more season of Gomer left to be released. So get too watching, maggots!
The Invaders: The First Season revives this cult show that never got any syndication action in my neighborhood. After reading about Invaders hype in SciFi books for decades, I feared the major letdown that came after watching Land of the Giants and Time Tunnel on DVD. However all the gushing of The Invaders fanatics is true. This is an engrossing series. David Vincent (Roy Thinnes) is an architect who sees a UFO landing one night. He quickly discovers that aliens are in the process of taking over the Earth. He tries his hardest to expose this fact without being written off as a nutjob by the mainstream media - which is controlled by aliens. Thinnes makes the show. He looks good when he’s extra paranoid. This is a tense drama that doesn’t rely on special effects. “Vikor” has Jack Lord as an industrialist who has made a deal with the aliens.
Gunsmoke The Second Season, Volume 2 takes us back to Dodge City when it was only twenty six minutes in black and white. Here’s the final 19 episodes of the sophomore outing. “Bloody Hands” has Russell Johnson (the Professor from Gilligan’s Island) threaten Matt Dillon (James Arness) to a gunfight. This is still the time when Miss Kitty’s Saloon had an unspoken brothel upstairs. You don’t think those girls are hired to merely have drinks with the customers? The bonus features include the old cigarette promos with Arness saying, “Live Modern. Smoke L&Ms.”
Rawhide The Third Season, Volume 1 returns us to the unending cattle drive. Clint Eastwood knows how to punch them doggies. Each week the drovers ran into another adventure along the trail. “Incident at Rojo Canyon” has Julie London and Bobby Troup pop up. Guess this is how they made their way west to work on Emergency! Woody Strode (Spartacus) rides high in “Incident of the Buffalo Soldier.” Proving that hard drugs at work are not a recent phenomenon, “Incident at the Top of the World” has a new drover that’s hooked on morphine. Robert Culp (I Spy) gets extraordinarily serious in his role. Another fine batch of tails from the trail.
Cheers Season 9 has finally arrived. It’s been two years since season 8 came out. Season 9 was the year that Sam Malone regained his bar from the evil corporation. No more ferns in the best little booze joint in Beantown. “Cheers Foul Out” is my favorite of this batch. In order to win a basketball game against Gary’s Old Towne Tavern, Sam suckers Kevin McHale to be a ringer on the Cheers team. The Boston Celtic great looks good and loose while exchanging lines with the cast. There’s also the whole business of Rebecca getting married to her old boss. But what about her feelings toward Sam?
Beverly Hills 90210: The Fourth Season lets the world’s oldest teenagers go to college. Brandon (Jason Priestly) turns out to be a big man on the new campus. Dylan (Luke Perry) is still a little bit troubled. This is best known for being the last full season with Brenda (Shannen Doherty). The Peach Pit gets expanded into a nightclub. Luke and Dylan’s sideburns are still sharp and impressive.
The 4400: The Fourth Season is unfortunately also the final season. In the middle of the writer’s strike, USA network canceled the show. Luckily the final episode of this season works as a finale. We’re not left completely hanging about the future with these people with super powers in control. The nice part about this boxset is plenty of Summer Glau. The wife will watch anything with Summer on the screen. It’s a shame they couldn’t just move this series over to the Sci-Fi channel, but at least it didn’t completely gas out by going a season too far.
Romulus, My Father has Eric Bana trying his best to prove Hollywood hasn’t destroyed his soul. He returns to Australia to take on the heavy role of a dad raising his son around his wife’s new boyfriend. Bana’s a cuckolded man. This isn’t quite a return to his master performance of Chopper. Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) doesn’t quite have enough of a devious streak for her wayward wife. This isn’t a happy film. Bana needs to do a project that lets him show his comic chops.
The Adventures of the Young Indiana Jones: Volume Three, The Years of Change arrives just in time for the fourth film. This boxset contains the final batch of TV movies elaborating on the education and experiences of Indiana Jones. There’s plenty of World War I action along with early treasure hunts. Sean Patrick Flanery shines as the young Harrison Ford during these prequels. The bonus features are as entertaining as the films. For folks who aren’t quite sure about the historic characters and events, you’ll get educated fast. Documentaries that accompany “Hollywood Follies” will appeal to fans of early films. “Erich von Stroheim - The Profligate Genius” should have been a bonus feature on Sunset Boulevard. This is a gold standard for how a TV show DVD need to be presented.
Sick Nurses brings a fetish dose of Asian nurses to the world of horror. Turns out a hospital in Thailand is doing evil things with the bodies. The young nurses on staff must pay a harsh deductible to an evil spirit. For those with a fetish for an Asian nurse on the toilet using a pregnancy test wand, you get your dream. It is nice to see that the folks in Thailand are closing the Gore-cinema gap with Japan and South Korea.
The Steve Wilkos Show is the best damn talkshow on TV. You might know him best as the bald head of security on The Jerry Springer Show. But he’s better than his boss when it comes to tearing into a screwed up guest. Wilkos is an ex-Chicago cop. He brings all his badge badgering skills to the show. He’s not going to take crap from any of his guests. He doesn’t back off when he senses that he can break a guest. He’s not there to make everything look pretty. He’s not Dr. Phil trying to spread cute Texan sayings as a balm for problems. “You’re damned right, I’m judging you!” Steve says. He’s a pitbull holding his own chain.
There’s no need for security lurking around the set. Although half the time it seems like a guard might be needed to keep Steve from attacking his guests. During “I Burned My Baby,” a father is accused of abusing his child including burning her with a cigarette. Steve offers a Marlboro to the father. The father acts like he’s going to burn his own arm to understand what his daughter felt. Steve extends his arm and demands the father burn his arm. It’s a fierce moment. Think Oprah would stick her arm out to prove a point? Who can top Wilkos’ intensity? How about a matching of wills between Steve and Judge Mathis?
The one thing this show lacks is a proper set. Why the post-industrial factory decay decor? Steve ought to be interviewing his guests in a confining interrogation room. We need to see these people cornered and sweating in a bullpen as Steve tears apart their denials. Forget saying that this is the best talkshow, now that The Wire is off that air: The Steve Wilkos Show is the best cop show on TV.
Steve ought to be working in the White House press corp. “You’re getting back to me, now!” he’d scream at Dana Perino’s dodge. He ought to at least get to moderate a Presidential debate. Bet we’d get some truth out of those beauty contests with Wilkos between the candidates.
TALKING IT TO NIPPON
The Japanese version of Iron Chef is now running on the Fine Living Network. I enjoy this version since they had to make meals with shark fin, eel scrotums and oyster rectums. The American version on the Food Network is too easy with secret ingredients such as Milk, hamburger and Farmer’s Market. What could Bobby Flay possibly make using hamburger? Flay needs to see if he can make walrus noses into an ice cream worthy of Joel McHale.
BLAH COMES IN PAIRS
What’s the point of the cam-mob following Paris Hilton since her hook up with the other putz from Good Charlotte? He’s unleashed her inner-snore. Of all the upward screwing she’s done over the years, she settles for a guy whose band’s rise was linked directly to a major payola scandal. Couldn’t she scrogg it up with the singer from Ugly Kid Joe?
I pride myself of only experiencing The Hills through clips shown on Best Week Ever and The Soup. But I can’t escape the faux-ality stars at the Supermarket checkout counter. Can some explain to me why the tabloid media cares about following the exploits of this Heidi and Spencer? You could pick two random people on a subway car and turn them into more compelling celebrities than this skank duo. They’re degraded the concept of “fame whores.” The Party Favors has contacted Bob Barker to see if he’ll pay to have Heidi and Spencer spade and neutered. We’re hoping Bob will just do the job himself. I’ll buy that issue of In Touch magazine.
RAREST HEADLINE EVER
Man collects millions of dollars from unsolicited foreign email!
SET A COURSE TO LOVE
Congratulations goes out to Brad Altman as winner of the biggest Star Trek geek of all time. How geeky is he? He’s marrying Sulu. Are they registered at Klingon and Barrel? Only way you’re going to top Brad is to find a bigamy town that will allow you to legally hook up with Kirk and Mr. Spock with a Romulan speaking minister. You’d have to be like that gal that almost “married” Tom Arnold and Roseanne. Why did I have to bring up that image? I’m sorry - especially for those who just puked up their lunch at the vision of a threesome with Tom and Roseanne. I’ve been assured that this is a ring of Hell.
Normally I avoid watching infomercials past the three minute mark. But I’m always in it for the long haul when they run The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show DVD offer. I’d even consider buying these DVDs if they were complete season sets and didn’t cost a small fortune after you bought each volume for $29.99. I can get the entire three seasons of Gilligan’s Island for that price if I hunt around. So these highlights from the greatest hits package will suffice for now. Any clips of Raquel Welch are welcome on my TV. But like any infomercial, there’s got to be a completely annoying element. In this case it is Regis Philbin inflicting a “from the grave duet” with Dean. Does anyone really need to be reminded that Regis sings? Must he stamp on Dean’s “Babyface?”
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