Sunday, September 21, 2008


subtitle: Don Rickles Averts Total Emmy Disaster

Those who did live Emmy blogging had a lot to talk about, as much of it was disastrous. It's sad that five individuals whose job it is to host television proved terribly inept at entertaining, but perfectly able to fill/kill time. Many younger viewers may be shocked to learn that Howie Mandel once made a living as a comedian. Tom Bergeron proved to be the one most up to the task, and perhaps they should have let him fly solo, or with Heidi as a foil. I think next year they should get Ricky Gervais, whose presentation early on turned out to be the highlight of the broadcast.

One part of the show I always pay close attention to is the "In Memoriam" montage. If you don't know already, I've been obsessed with death for quite awhile. Here's my list of TV deaths for 2007. I wanted to highlight a few people who were left out. The most egregious omission was Tony Snow. Tim Russert was included, put near the end of it, in fact, for greater impact. The exclusion of a peer makes no sense and there's no excuse for it.

ALLAN MELVIN died this year at age 85. He was in a bevy of sitcoms, showing up as a regular or day player on "Sgt. Bilko", "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Andy Griffith Show". He also spent many years as Barney Hefner, Archie Bunker's neighbor and best friend on "All in the Family" and "Archie Bunker's Place". He was also the voice of Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Magilla Gorilla. He'll probably be best remembered for the six episodes of "The Brady Bunch" where he played Alice's boyfriend, Sam the butcher.

DAVID GROH died in February at age 68. He worked in television as a guest or series actor for almost 40 years. He was the male lead for the first three seasons of "Rhoda", a popular sitcom that broke TV ground by showing a marriage break down into divorce. I don't think having had a recurring role on Pam Anderson's "V.I.P." should disqualify you from the Emmy montage.

Maybe it's Emmy nominees and winners that made the grade? I don't have time to imdb everybody, but where was Earle Hagen, who scored music for numerous shows and won an actual Emmy for "I Spy". They even used a bit of "The Andy Griffith Show" theme, penned by Hagen, in that ill-conceived TV theme medley. Where was writing nominee Bill Idelson, who also had a recurring acting role on "The Dick Van Dyke Show"? What about Dick "Mr. Whipple" Wilson? He doesn't have an Emmy, but he's as memorable a TV character as Bozo the Clown.

No other complaints, other than the political jabs got old. It may have been more refreshing for someone to say, "Vote Obama!" rather than have a coy turn of phrase. And Mary Tyler Moore might want to stick to outfits with sleeves so as not to creep everybody out. Just sayin'.

And hey, did you know at they made a big deal about voting for the top five clips from comedy and drama and that the winners would be revealed on the Emmy broadcast? You know, the contest where the death of Henry Blake in "M*A*S*H" was one of the memorable comedy clips? Ha ha, Henry, how we all laughed when your plane was shot down. Well, somehow smarter heads prevailed and the winning clips weren't talked about or seen on the Emmys at all. Instead, they decided to let five people who aren't funny talk a lot and ruin the show.


Matt Tauber said...

P.S. - It's late and I'm not 100% sure, but I think only one of my picks from the post below won.

Joy said...

Ricky Gervais always cracks me up. All that babbling by the hosts at the beginning was a waste of time. I agree with you about Tom Bergeron and Gervais.

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I hadn't thought about Katy Keene and used to play with paperdolls.

You might be interested in my son's comic book blog: Or not - just thought I'd mention it.

Joy said...

Oh, and I wondered why they didn't mention the ones you listed in the memorial section.

Matt Tauber said...

I like your son's blog, especially since the latest entry deals with one of my pet subjects - 'Terry and the Pirates'!

lawroark said...

It was unbelievably inept. Seriously, the five of them looked like they'd never hosted a show before. And that whole Jimmy Kimmel, dragging out an aware that should have been given out last week thing . . . horrendous.

Also, Laugh-In seemed about as funny last night as it did back in the 1960s, which is, it was not funny at all.

John Trumbull said...

Matt, hate to correct a fellow ex-Comic Quest employee like this, but I believe that's Joi Lansing in the photo you posted there.

Good to see you on blogspot! Evanier's site is a daily stop for me, too.

Matt Tauber said...

John, thanks for the correction! I should have realized that wasn't the innocent face of Sigrid Valdis. I just thought she had on heavy makeup.

In a bit of stunt casting, Joi Lansing has been replaced by Mr. Whipple.

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