Monthly Archives: August 2008

From “The Bat-Man” to “The Dark Knight”: Thank you, Bob Kane (Segment #2)!

Bob Kane, Creator of Batman

Bob Kane, Creator of Batman

With “Dark Knight” still breaking box office records (even though it has slipped to second place in the rankings this week), the enduring popularity of the cartoon character Bob Kane created back in the late 1920’s has created a legacy for both Kane and “The Bat-Man” far beyond Kane’s wildest imagination.

We just added our Segment #2 with Bob Kane, titled “The Legacy.” In our interview, taped back in the early 1990’s just after the first “Batman” feature was released, Kane, himself, admitted that he had no idea where “this thing” would go.

It’s fascinating to watch.

There is even more of Bob Kane to come in the weeks ahead. If you’re a die-hard “Batman” fan, you won’t want to miss it. Keep checking back or, better yet, sign up for Rerun Alerts, which will get you an e-mail just before new content is added so you can be among the first to view our new video packages and comment on them here on the RerunIt Audience Page.

Previous content from the Now Playing section is always available in the RerunIt Library for you to RerunIt on-demand. That’s where you’ll find Bob Kane, Segment #1, “The Batman is Born.”

Thanks for being a part of our RerunIt community!

From Los Angeles, Brad Lemack.

Forever Weezy — and she loved it

Isabel Sanford

Isabel Sanford

Isabel Sanford was one of those actors who loved the fame and fan popularity that “The Jeffersons” brought her. Of course, she created the role of Louise Jefferson long before she and Sherman Hemsley got a series of their in own in Norman Lear’s landmark “All in the Family.” As she explained in my interview with her, she was brought in for just one episode. But, then, fate stepped in and, well, the rest in pop culture and television history.

You can hear Isabel talk about her early days, her “Jeffersons” days and the years that followed, in our three segments with her. She was a friend and a business colleague. I adored her — and her death, nearly three years ago, still leaves an empty spot in me. There were years and years of laughter together, those funny moments that happen between friends and, of course, those moments captured on film and tape in performances that we all can watch and cherish forever.

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I bought all of “The Jeffersons” DVDs right from the RerunIt Shop. No shame, but a proud collector.

Isabel truly embraced “Weezy” and why not? She waited long enough for the role of a lifetime to come her way. “Besides,” she would say, “Why wouldn’t I embrace Weezy? She made me a rich woman!”

Can’t argue with that.

I hope you enjoy our video clips with Isabel — and, coming soon, our clips with her “Jeffersons” co-star Sherman Hemsley. Oops. I gave it away. Well … Coming soon.

Do you have a favorite “Jefferson” episode? Isabel did — and I agree with her choice. It was the episode that guest starred Sammy Davis, Jr. in what has to be one of the funniest episodes of any comedy series ever. Well written, loaded with the physical comedy that Isabel so enjoyed playing … I’d say it’s my favorite, too. Have you seen it?

Have you a favorite? Post your comments here and share your favorite “Jeffersons” moments with our RerunIt Audience community. Thanks!

From Los Angeles, Brad Lemack.

“Beam me up,” Mr. Doohan!

James Doohan

James Doohan

I was a “Lost in Space” fan. There. I’ve admitted it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have tremendous appreciation, respect and admiration for the original “Star Trek” series and the franchise that has followed, and for the pop culture legacy created by actor James Doohan in his role as Scotty. I do!

When I interviewed James in the early 1990’s, I was struck — and impressed — by how deeply he embraced the fan following he had earned from playing that role. Often times, an actor who becomes so identified for playing one character can begin to distance themselves from that work in order to be seen (by “Hollywood”) as someone who can (also) play other roles. But that wasn’t the case for James. He loved his association with (and as) Scotty and that franchise. He also was able to do many other roles after “Star Trek,” which is a credit to his talent and his legacy.

He started his career in the early days of live television, as you’ll hear him talk about in our Segment 1. Hint #1: There are two more segments with James coming soon. In those, you’ll hear him talk about the enduring success of “Star Trek” and the fans that keep it an ongoing force in American pop culture.

Hint #2: Being a “Lost in Space” fan, we had to include an actor from that series in our collection — and we have. Coming soon. (No more hints! 🙂 )

Got a favorite “Star Trek” character or adventure? Tell us about it and share your love for the show with other fans.

From Los Angeles, Brad Lemack.

Robert Reed’s Mike Brady was a tough act to follow … even for him

The Brady Bunch cast

The Brady Bunch cast

When Robert Reed and I talked in the early 1990’s, a lot of that interview was about the legacy of “The Brady Bunch” and the double edge sword that often cames along with TV fame.

He set the bar high for a generation of kids and their parents. But, in doing so, Robert wondered, “At was price fame?” In an industry that is quick to pigeon hole actors for the kind of roles that bring them the greatest notoriety, Robert in many ways, became a victim of “The Brady Bunch” success. While he embraced the legacy the series gave him, he also wished he would later be remembered for his body of work, including, but not limited to “The Bunch.”

He wasn’t alone. Isabel Sanford was long regarded as a comedic actress whose casting ability was limited to the kind of role she created and portrayed as Weezy on “The Jeffersons.” Many a casting director and producer forgot — or never knew — about her amazing dramatic work and the true scope of her talent. She made her motion picture debut in 1967 in Stanley Kramer’s now classic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Nothing funny about that.

You’ll hear Isabel talk about this in one of our interview clips with her.

Robert Reed will always be first remembered for his role as Mike Brady. But, let’s also give him a “hat’s off” for the range of other work he did. If you’re interested in seeing that list, go to our Links page and click on the IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) button to read his extensive resume of television and film credits.

“The Brady Bunch” remains one of my all-time favorite shows. How about you?

From Los Angeles, Brad Lemack.

Desi Arnaz was so much more than Ricky Ricardo

Desi Arnaz

Desi Arnaz

Desi Arnaz was responsible for changing the face of American television comedy. “I Love Lucy,” which started production back in the 1950’s, was the first television show to be filmed before a live studio audience. It was a revolutionary concept that is still in use today. You’ll hear Desi talk about how that came about in one of our three interview segments with him.

No doubt, he was a comic genius in his own right. But, he was also a pioneering force in the business of television that has forever helped shape and define American pop culture.

He didn’t do many interviews. It was usually Lucy who got most of the attention, which is why I was so happy to get to meet him and interview him back in the 1970’s while he was on a promotional tour for his autobiographical book, A Book. It’s a fascinating read about his life with and without Lucy. It’s available for purchase in the RerunIt Shop, by the way, if you want to check it out.

As for my favorite episode from “I Love Lucy?” It was every episode where Ricky came through the apartment door and yelled, “Lucy, I’m home!” You always knew something funny was about to happen soon thereafter.

Got a favorite “I Love Lucy” moment? Tell us about it!

From Los Angeles, Brad Lemack.

“Holy legacy, Batman!” – Thank you, Bob Kane!

Bob Kane

Bob Kane

When I interviewed Bob Kane in the early 1990’s, he was still beaming from the runaway success of “Batman Returns,” starring Michael Keaton. As you watch our interview clips with him from that conversation, you can also see his surprise, in many ways, over the legacy he created for himself.

It all began back in the late 1930’s when he first put pencil to paper and created “The Bat Man.” As he said in the interview, “I had no idea where this thing would have gone.”

Although he is no longer with us, the enormous success of yet another “Batman” movie would have pleased him beyond his wildest dreams. “Dark Knight” just saw another stellar weekend at the top of the box office charts. “Holy legacy,” indeed.
I loved talking with Bob Kane and I treasure the original drawing of Batman he sketched for me during our interview. With tremendous respect for the “Batman” films that followed, I still love the 1960’s TV series version, with Adam West and Burt Ward. Yes, it was campy. But that was the order of the day. So was “Lost in Space.” It was a sign of the times.

What I loved most about the TV series were the guest villains. Burgess Meredith as the Penguin has to be my favorite. Although Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman is pretty high up there, too.

How about you? Got a favorite Batman or villain? Tell us about it!

In the meantime, “To the Batcave!”

From Los Angeles, Brad Lemack.

Estelle Getty: A Personal Appreciation

Estelle Getty

Estelle Getty

I met Estelle Getty on several occasions. I regret never have had the opportunity to interview her. Although I knew she had been ill for several years, I was sad to hear about her death last week. She was a remarkable actress who, with her creation of her interpretation of Sophia Petrillo, endeared herself as pop culture’s favorite “Golden Girl” to many, many fans.

She fought hard to get the role. At first, she “read” as too young to realistically play the part. But, add a wig, the right wardrobe, the perfect handbag and little (or no make up) and Getty’s Sophia was, after her third audition, finally signed by NBC for the series.

Like Jean Stapleton’s Edith, Isabel Sanford’s Weezy or Bea Arthur’s Maude, it’s hard to imagine any one else being able to create and play a role so brilliantly.

Television success came later in life for Estelle Getty (and the “rewards” that come with it) — and she earned it. As a grateful fan, thankfully, her contribution to television shall endure along with her legacy.

How lucky we fans are to have such fond memories of her work and “Shady Pines.”

From Los Angeles, Brad Lemack.

Thank you for joining us!

I can’t believe how many people have written in to us with their comments about — Thank you!

We’re not even through our first week yet and already we have established the beginnings of a terrific online community of fans of “classic” television and the actors who have forever become a part of our lives. I’m a little partial to “The Jeffersons” and “Lost in Space” (video segments featuring one of the stars of that series are in the RerunIt collection and are coming soon … pass it on!). But more about that another time.

I’m looking forward to reading your comments and sharing more of mine with you.

From Los Angeles, Brad Lemack.