Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day

Will you see your shadow
From your little hill?'
Will you see your shadow
Punxsutawney Phil?
(Being married to an elementary school music teacher means I have a song for just about every occasion.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Favorite Bixby

Bill Bixby would have been 79 today.  Sadly, the talented actor, director and (by all accounts), genuinely nice guy, died in 1993 at the too-young age of 59.  Bill starred in some of my favorite TV shows and my formative years were spent "hanging out" with many of his incarnations.  In honor of his birthday, let's look at a few of them:           

My Favorite Martian - Bill starred as reporter Tim O'Hara in this mid 60's sci-fi comedy.  The great Ray Walston co-starred as Uncle Martin, the Martian.  How cool would it be to have a real-live martian as a roommate?
The Courtship of Eddie's Father - as widowed magazine publisher Tom Corbett, Bill was the hippest dad on TV in the early 70's.   
 The Magician -At one point during my early adolescence I wanted to be a crime-solving stage magician/playboy/philanthropist like Anthony Blake, the character Bill played on this crime drama that aired during the 1973-1974 season.  

The Incredible Hulk - Bill is probably best remembered for his starring role as David Bruce Banner, a guy who suffered from anger management issues in this long running drama.  "Don't make me angry.  You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Little Ricky (and Desi Jr. Too!)

Here's something I didn't know...

60 year ago today, on Monday, January 19, 1953, 44 million viewers (72% of all homes with televisions at the time) tuned into I Love Lucy to watch everyone's favorite redhead give birth.  On the same day in the real world, comedienne Lucille Ball (who played Lucy Ricardo of course) gave birth to Desi Arnaz Jr.  The real birth occurred  twelve hours before the TV show aired.  This was no coincidence;  in a move that would impress Don Draper,  Lucy and hubby Desi scheduled the cesarean delivery to coincide with the broadcast.  The episode, "Lucy Goes To The Hospital" was actually filmed on November 14, 1952.  America really did love Lucy and the sex of the Ricardos' baby was the subject of much speculation, but  remained a secret until the episode aired. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Today We Ask The Musical Questions...

What's Going On?

What's It All About, Alfie?
What's New Pussycat?
What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love And Understanding?
What's Love Got To Do With It?
What's New?
What's Up?
 What Kind of Fool Am I?
 What'll  I Do?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meet the Missus

A while ago (OK, it was September 2008) I did a couple of posts titled Mr. Mike’s Guide to Misters.  You can find them Here 1  and Here 2. We're all about equality of the sexes here at Mr. Mike's Museum, so now, a mere four years and four months later, we proudly present Mr. Mike’s Guide to Mrs. (the wheels of equality move slowly here, but at least they move).

Mrs. Beasley – Creepy doll belonging to little Buffy Davis (actress Anissa Jones) on the TV series Family Affair.   Look at the photo above – notice Buffy’s blank stare – you know Mrs. Beasley’s has complete control over her. 

Mrs. Brown – she’s got a lovely daughter (don’t believe me? Check out the link below).

Mrs. Butterworth Words cannot express the love I have for a lady made of artificially flavored syrup.

Mrs. C. – Marion Cunningham – 1950’s mother and housewife portrayed by Marion Ross on the long-running period comedy Happy Days.  Mrs. C. is also the nickname my wife's students have bestowed upon here every year since she married me.

Mrs. Calabash – Wife of the great Jimmy Durante, 20th century singer, actor, pianist, and comedian. Durante would end his 1940’s radio show with the cryptic tag line “Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.” He continued the practice when his show moved to television in 1950.  In 1966 Durante finally revealed that it was a tribute to his late wife Jean, who died in 1943.  “Calabash” was his pet name for her.  That is probably one of the sweetest show biz stories I’ve ever heard.

Mrs. Claus – She keeps the home fires burning while Santa’s delivering toys to all the good boys and girls. 

Mrs. Columbo – Title character of the short-lived TV spin-off series of the same name.  As played by actress Kate Mulgrew, the Mr. to her Mrs. was Peter Faulk’s famous police lieutenant.

Mrs. Doubtfire – Lovable cross-dressing nanny played by Robin Williams in the 1994 film of the same name.

Mrs. Fields – Refers to both the cookie company and its founder Debbi Fields, who sold the company in the early 90’s.  Mmm chocolate chip cookies.

Mrs. Howell – Aka Lovey, the socialite wife of Thurston Howell III the “millionaire” on the classic 60’s sitcom Gilligan’s Island, played by actress Natalie Schafer. Note: in the 1966 episode “Mr. and Mrs.??” it is revealed her maiden name was Eunice Wentworth.  Go ahead and check.  I’ll wait.

Mrs. King – Amanda King, a divorced housewife whose life gets tangled up with a spy in the 80’s series The Scarecrow and Mrs. King.  Former Charlie’s Angel Kate Jackson (she played the “smart” one) starred along with Bruce Boxleitner who played the Scarecrow of the title). Confession time – I’ve never seen a single episode of this show.

Mrs. Miniver – Academy award winning (Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress) 1942 film starring Greer Garson as the title character.  Mrs. Miniver started life in 1937 in a series of columns published by The Times of London.  The film was followed by a radio series, sequel (The Miniver Story) and television adaptation.

Mrs. Muir – Young widow who falls in love with a ghost (whatever floats your boat) in the 1947 film The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  She was portrayed by the absolutely stunning Gene Tierney in the film (co-starring Rex Harrison as Captain Daniel Gregg aka the ghost).  Hope Lange (opposite Edward Mulhare) portrayed her on the television series that followed twenty years later.  

Mrs. O’Leary – Catherine O’Leary, Chicago resident whose cow was wrongfully accused of starting the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  In 1893 the reporter for the Chicago Republican who started the rumor admitted he made it up because it made for colorful copy.  Although the O’Leary barn was the first to be consumed, the exact cause of the fire remains a mystery.

Mrs. PaulPurveyor of frozen seafood.  Yes, there really was a Mrs. Paul –she was the mother of John Paul who founded the company in 1946 with partner Ed Piszek (just think;   you could have been eating Mrs. Piszek’s fish sticks all these years). 

Mrs. Potato Head – wife of Mr. Potato Head of course (where do you think little spuds come from?)

Mrs. Potts – Anthropomorphic teapot as voiced by Angela Lansbury in Disney’s Academy Award winning Beauty and the Beast.

Mrs. RightSome guys spend their whole lives looking for her.  I’m one of the lucky ones who found her (isn’t that right honey?)

Mrs. Robinson – The original cougar (“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me”) as portrayed by Anne Bancroft in Mike Nichol’s brilliant 1967 coming of age film, The Graduate.  Mr. Mike Fun Fact:  In real life (as opposed to reel life) Anne Bancroft at 36, was only 6 years older than Dustin Hoffmann who portrayed the 21-year old object of her seduction.

Mrs. SmithAmanda Smith, a widow with nine children, started baking pies in the 1920’s to support her family.  From those humble beginnings grew one of the largest frozen pie companies in the world.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Birthday in TV Heaven

January 14 marks a number of television-related birthdays

 Hal Roach (1892-1992) – American Film Producer best remembered for Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang shorts. As a young vidiot growing up on suburban Long Island, I spent countless hours in front of the tube watching reruns of the Our Gang comedies which had been packaged for television as The Little Rascals.    Roach remained active late in life, appearing on Letterman when he was 90, and the Academy Awards at 92 and again shortly after his 100th birthday.  He died in 1992 two months short of his 101st birthday, outliving most of the children who starred in  his Our Gang shorts.  I can still hear Alfalfa crooning “I’m in the mood for love" (so can you if you click on the link below).



Mark Goodson (1915-1992) – Pioneering Game Show Producer.  Along with partner Bill Todman, Goodson was responsible for the most famous and longest running game shows in TV History including What’s My Line, To Tell the Truth, The Price is Right, Password, Beat the Clock, Concentration, Family Feud, and Match Game (my all time favorite).   I can still hear the announcer’s closing tag line “This has been a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Production”

Andy Rooney (1919-2011) – Journalist and author best known for "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" his long-running feature on 60 Minutes.  For 33 years the curmudgeonly commentator held forth on a series of diverse and mostly mundane subjects such as coffee cans, mixed nuts and pill bottles.  Andy could take the most prosaic topic and make it interesting and amusing. In addition to his talent as a writer and commentator, Andy is best remembered for having the bushiest eyebrows in broadcasting (rivaling Pierre Salinger).  He died at the age of 92 in November 2011, one month after his final broadcast.

Guy Williams (1924-1989) – American actor.  Another favorite of young Mr. Mike was Lost in Space which starred Williams as Professor John Robinson - father, husband, pilot, space explorer, astrophysicist and all around great guy (he even looked terrific in velour).   In addition to LIS Williams had the title role in Zorro for Disney.  This role made Williams especially popular in Argentina where he spent the last 17 years of his life living in retirement.   He died in 1989 of a brain aneurysm at the age of 65.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mr. Sandman

I came up with the idea for today's entry around 3 AM this morning.  And so I proudly present Mr. Mike's Comparative Musicology; the Insomniac's Edition... 

Chet Atkins

The Dapper Dans

Direct from Your Hit Parade Snooky Lanson

The Chordettes

The Four Aces
Emmylou Harris