Morty's Fun Facts

Monday, October 02, 2023
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Where did Murray L. Slaughter Meet his wife, Marie?
Maybe it was in the Navy.

Gavin MacLeod played Seaman Joseph "Happy" Haines on "McHale's Navy." Joyce Bulifant, who played Murray's wife, Marie on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," also played Nurse Georgianna Comstock on "McHale's Navy."

Gavin MacLeod
 Murray L. Slaughter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"

Gavin as
Seaman Joseph "Happy" Haines with Joyce as Georginna.

Joyce Bulifant
Nurse Georgianna Comstock on "McHale's Navy."

William Asher
Joyce Builifant's husband.

Here's a couple other facts about Joyce you may not know:  She was originally cast as Carol Brady in "The Brady Bunch," but was dropped. She Married William Asher, Elizabeth Montgomery's ex-husband in 1976. They adopted a son, John Mallory Asher who played Gary Wallace on "Weird Science." Joyce Bulifant played Emily Wallace (Gary's mom) on "Weird Science."

Every time I hear those little pieces of Our Television History trivia on Nick at Nite I start talking back to the TV,  they always leave out the really cool facts.  If you're a fan,  you've heard how ABC wanted the Fonz in a cotton jacket instead of leather,  and how Garry Marshall justified the jacket as motorcycle safety gear.  But did you know that Henry Winkler was terrified to ride the motorcycle?  When exterior footage was shot, it was shot,  re-shot and re-shot.  The problem was that Henry was so afraid to dropping the bike,  that he'd put his feet down when ever he leaned into a turn,  like while entering Arnold's parking lot.  The directors would always be following him yelling "feet on the pegs,  feet on the pegs."  In later episodes when Fonzi would ride fast,  or do jumps,  they used a double.  When they cast the part of Fonzi,  they didn't worry too much about the skills of the actor playing him,  Fonzi only got seventh billing in the early episodes.  It was originally thought that Potsie (Anson Williams) would be the brains that Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) would run to for advice.   One last thing,  creator Garry Marshall (Penny's brother) was going to name the character Arthur Marsharelli,  can you guess why...

Only His Hair Dresser Knows For Sure: Dwayne Hickman played Chuck MacDonald on "The Bob Cummings Show" for five seasons.  When he went  to CBS to play Dobie Gillis,  the network was afraid the audience would confuse him with his former character.  CBS asked him to bleach his hair,  and he did.  After Dobie's character was established,  Dwayne  went back to his natural brown locks.

How long does it take to get a show on TV?  Would you believe it took nearly three decades to sell a network on the idea of Mr. Belvedere?   On April 18th, 1956 CBS aired a 60 minute pilot for a new sit-com based on the popular movie Mr. Belvedere.  Reginald Gardiner starred as the quick-witted,  intellectual butler that Clifton Webb had created in the movie.  The show wasn't picked up,  but was re-tooled and pitched again in 1959.  This time Hans Conried starred in the title role,  still no sale.  The series was pitched several more times before ABC picked it up in 1985 with Christopher Hewett playing Mr. Lynn Belvedere.  Mr. Belvedere served as butler to the Owens' family until 1990 when ABC gave up on the series that never made it to the Neilson top 25.

All in the Family  was inspired by a British sit-com called "Til Death Do Us Part."  Norman Lear bought the American rights to the show in 1968.  He wrote and produced two  pilots,  calling it "Those Were The Days" and tried to sell it to ABC,  but they rejected it.   A year later CBS ask to see them.  CBS loved the pilots and put them on against  ABC's Bewitched and All in the Family soared to number one in the Neilson ratings,  and stayed there for five years.  The previously high rated Bewitched was canceled.

What do the following shows have in common:   "The Brady Bunch," "Dark Shadows,"  "M*A*S*H," "Family Affair,"  "Space 1999,"  Happy Days,"  "Lost in Space," "Family Matters," "Adam-12," "Lassie," "The Munsters,"  "Laugh-In," "Bonanza," "Full House," "Time Tunnel," "Rocky and Bullwinkle," and about a dozen others?  They were all featured in 3-D View-Master reels!   If you happen to have some of the older titles stashed away in your toybox,  you might what to dust them off.  The set of three "Dark Shadows" reels in the original envelope is worth about $75 in good condition.  I went through my toybox and found I have a lot of odd reels in poor condition. It is still neat to see "The Addams Family" in color and 3-D.   Who would have guessed that mom was right when she said  I should take better care of my toys?

Want to play another?  What do the following shows have in common:  "Dragnet,"  "Happy Days,"  "Hawaii Five-O,"  "Makin' It,"  "Hill Street Blues,"  "Welcome Back Kotter," "Miami Vice," "Zorro,"  "Batman,"  "The Dukes of Hazzard,"  "Route 66,"  "Moonlighting," and about a dozen others?  The themes to these shows all make it to Billboard Magazine's top 40 pop singles.  Most shows made the charts during their original prime time run.  The "I Love Lucy" theme made it to the charts in 1977 when The Wilton Street Band recorded it as "Disco Lucy."  Unlike my View-Master reels,  my copy of "Disco Lucy" is in top condition,  and worthless.

One last time...  What do the following have in common: "The Lone Ranger,"  "Star Trek," "Welcome Back Kotter," "Dark Shadows," "The Wild Wild West,"  "All My Children," "Car 54 Where Are You?", "The Love Boat,"  "Route 66," "Lost in Space," "The Beverly Hillbillies,"  "Family Affair," "Gomer Pyle," Hopalong Cassidy,"  "Dr.Who," "Captain Video," and scores of others?  They are all board games,  based on TV shows.  If you took good care of your board games,  they can be worth hundreds of dollars.  One avid  collector of TV board games is director Quentin Tarrentino. Quentin actually sat on the floor and played  the "Welcome Back Kotter" game with John Travolta when they made "Pulp Fiction."    Anyone up for a rousing game of "Green Acres?"

Jerry Mathers was discovered at age 2 by a department store manager who used Jerry's photo on the store's Christmas calendar.  In 1954,  at age 2.5 Jerry made his TV debut on The Ed Wynn Show.  In 1955 his made his movie debut in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Trouble With Harry."
Tony Dow is the son of an Our Gang Star.  He got his first job by accident when he accompanied a friend to an audition to lend moral support.  But Tony got the job instead.

Everyone keeps asking why I never write anything about Star Trek.  My answer is:  Why?  So much has been written about Trek,  more than any other show.  And the fans;  try to find something they DON"T know about the show...  OK Trek fans,  Don't get mad but,  believe it or not,  the highest Star Trek ever ranked in the year-end Neilson ratings was #52!  Star Trek lost in it's time-slot to such unremarkable shows as: Mr. Terrific, Iron Horse,  Hondo,  Judd For the Defense and Lancer. It took three years to get a network to air Star Trek.  Why did  NBC finally give the Enterprise a test-drive?  They wanted to cash in on the space craze generated by the race to the moon and CBS's popular Lost in Space.  Star Trek was the first regular acting job Leonard Nimoy was able to land in 17 years.    Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics to the Alexander Courage theme,  however they were never used,  here they are:
Beyond the rim of the star-light
My love is wandering in star flight
I know he'll find
In star-clustered reaches,
Love, strange love
A Star-woman teaches.
I know his journey ends never.
His star trek will go on for ever.
But tell him while
He wanders his starry sea,
Remember me.

On the "Dick Van Dyke Show,"   Rob & Laura's phone number was 914-636-9970, and the Petrie's address, 124 Bonnie Meadow. This was creator Carl Reiner's real phone number and real address in New Rochelle, NY only with a digit added to the address and a number switched in the phone number. The exterior of the the Petrie estate was never shown. Sally Rogers'  phone number was 212-PLaza 3-0398 I don't know who's number that could have been,  maybe it belonged to Selma Diamond,  she was the inspiration for the Sally Rogers character.

ONCE A CLOWN...  In 1954 Buffalo Bob Smith suffered a heart attack. Gabby Hayes hosted "Howdy Doody" while Buffalo Bob was recovering. Another name not usually associated with Doodyville was Bob Keeshan. Bob played Clarabell the clown for $100 a week until he became Captain Kangaroo in 1951. Bobby Nicholson took the role for three years until Lew Anderson took over, Lew was still appearing with Buffalo Bob as Clarabell in 1994.

GARAGE BAND:   The "Gilligan's Island" theme was recorded in a garage! Sherwood Schwartz was working hard to get the new pilot ready to show CBS executives. He wrote the theme on Saturday with composer George Wyle. It had to be ready Monday and there were no recording studios open on Sunday. Three folk singers known as the Wellingtons:  George Patterson, Kirby Johnson, and Ed Wade,  recorded the ballad in one afternoon in the garage of Sherwood's friend Mel Shavelson. The Wellingtons' recording was replaced in second season by the Eligibles. The Wellingtons did return to the isle when they guested with actor Les Brown Jr (Bingo)   as the "Mosquitoes" in the episode "Don't Bug Our Mosquitoes."

SOME FANCY CYPHERIN' :  Jerry Seinfeld is paid one million dollars perepisode,  and his co-stars earn $750,000.   Max Baer Jr. was only paid $500 per episode for playing both Jethro and Jethrine on "The Beverly Hillbillies."

AND HE SINGS TOO:   Carroll O'Connor wrote words to the closing theme of "All in the Family" and got paid a royalty for every episode it was played, even though the words to "Remembering You" were never sung.

TONY SAYS: IT'S GRRREAT!   The "think music" on Jeopardy was written by the show's creator Merv Griffin.  Contrary to the common belief that the music is called "Think Music" or "Jeopardy", the tune is called "Time, For Tony."  He wrote it to represent the sound of a ticking clock and dedicated it to his son Tony.

ALICE, AN AQUARIAN:  Ralph Kramden's mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Warton. Alice Kramden's maiden name was Gibson. Alice and Audrey Meadows share the same birthday, February 8th. Although Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph are the most popular actresses to play Alice and Trixie (respectively) in "The Honeymooners,"  they weren't the only ones. Among others who have played the role of Alice are Pert Kelton, Sue Ane Langdon, and Sheila MacRae. Others who have played the role of Trixie include Elaine Stritch, Patricia Wilson, and Jane Kean.

The Simpsons'  hometown of Springfield was named after series creator Matt Gronig's hometown of Springfield Oregon.

HEY ROCKY,  WATCH ME ...   June Foray, the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel and Natasha Fatale, provided the barking for little Ricky's dog on "I Love Lucy."

AND HIS NAME IS MR. HARVESTER:  Mr.  Ed's real name was "Bamboo Harvester".  Many people wonder how they got Mr. Ed to talk.   Some say peanut butter,  others claim electric shock,   but  Alan Young says his trainer would just tap him on his leg,   and Ed would start moving his mouth.  Ed's voice was provided by veteran cowboy actor Allan "Rocky" Lane.  Mr. Ed was so used to "talking" to Wilbur that he would begin moving his lips as soon as Wilbur stopped talking,  before his trainer would signal him to begin.

Speaking of actors that were tapped on their leg to deliver their lines...  Hank Patterson, the 80 year old actor, who played Fred Ziffel on "Green Acres" was deaf. The dialogue coach , Phil Gordon, would lay on the floor and tap him on his leg with a yardstick when it was time for him to deliver his line.

Lucille Ball was very unhappy that her hubby Desi Arnaz hired Walter Winchell as the narrator on Desilu's "The Untouchables."  It was Walter Winchell who reported that Lucy was a communist.

Many TV books report that "Julia" (starring Diahann Carroll) in 1968 was the first TV show to feature an African-American in a starring role. Carl Reiner claims that he and Sheldon Leonard were the inovators when they cast Bill Cosby as Alexander Scott in "I Spy" (1965). The truth is there were three men who broke the color barrier with their own show in 1951, Alvin Childress, Spencer Williams Jr., and Tim Moore. TV's beloved "Amos 'n' Andy" and George "Kingfish" Stevens. The "Amos 'n' Andy" Show on radio was a big hit in the 1940's, but the actors that played the famous duo on radio (and produced the TV show) were not cast to play them on TV. This was certainally a case of racial bias since the two actors on radio were white.

THAT THING YOU DO:  Ever wonder whose hand was in that box on "The Addams Family?"   The credits say:  " Thing. . . . . . . . . .Itself ,"   but the truth is Ted Cassidy (Lurch) was on the other end of " Thing ".   When both Thing and Lurch were in the same scene, the assistant director,  Jack Voglin,  would,  well,  lend a hand.  Was Thing right or left handed?  In most scenes Thing is right handed,  but,  if you watch carefully,  you can spot a lefty here and there.  It was a good gig for Cassidy,  he even signed a separate contract to perform his handicraft.

THE SCANDAL AT FORT COURAGE:  Did you ever wonder why Captain Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry) kept rejecting the amorous advances of the beautiful blonde,  Wrangler Jane (Melody Patterson)?  Maybe he knew Jane's secret.   If you look at Melody Patterson's resume you'll see she was born in Los Angeles California in 1947,  but she wasn't.  Melody was only 16 when she started playing Wrangler Jane on "F-Troop,"  she lied about her age to get the part.   Although she now admits the deception, most bios still give her year of birth as 1947.   I wonder if her husband, James MacAurthur (Detective Danny Williams on "Hawaii Five-O"),  knew the truth.   BTW:  While we're visiting Fort Courage,  the lyrics to the theme song are:  "When drilling and fighting get them down down"  not "killing and fighting"  as the captions read during its run on Nick at Nite.  No killing,  because "nobody takes a lickin',  where red skin and paleface both turn chicken..."

Separate Beds,  Please...

The question of which TV sitcom was the first to feature a husband and wife sleeping in the same bed (rather than twin beds) has been asked many times.  For years Florence Henderson claimed that Mike (Robert Reed) & Carol (Florence Henderson) Brady were the first.  Then she announced that she was incorrect;   it was Herman & Lily Munster.  The correct answer:  The first time a sitcom husband and wife got in the same bed was on January 17, 1955 when Fred (William Frawley) & Ethel (Vivian Vance) Mertz demonstrated their unique way to cope with a sagging mattress in the "I Love Lucy" episode entitled "First Stop."   Many people reject this account as Fred was pretty much a prisoner of the bed and it was a one-time occurrence. The first time a couple shared a bed on a regular basis came nearly a decade later on September 17 1964 when Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) and Darrin Stephens (Dick York) went on their honeymoon (beating Herman & Lily to the sheets).  Samantha & Darrin (both Darrins) continued to share a common bed throughout the eight years "Bewitched" ran on ABC.  Correction:   "Mary Kay and Johnny" were the first in 1947, Mary Kay also was shown pregnant on this early sit-com. And since "Mary Kay and Johnny" was TV's the first sit-com, I don't think I'll ever have to correct my answer again!

Each week viewers would turn in to watch Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman) chase the love of his life,  Thalia Menninger (Tuesday Weld).   While Dobie was chasing Thalia,   Zelda Gilroy (Sheila James) was chasing Dobie and stealing scenes.   Eager to cash in on Zelda's popularity,  the network decided to spin her off in her own series, "Zelda."   You say you never saw her show?   Only four episodes were shot,  and they were never aired.  Rumors began to circulate that Sheila was a lesbian.  The rumors were true and she did very little additional acting work after.  After leaving show business,   she was passed over for a promotion in favor of a man with less experience.   Sheila began to see major obstacles for women in the job market.   She went back to school,  got a degree in law and became an attorney specializing in Feminist causes.  Sheila James,  now Sheila Kuehl, lives in Sacramento and in 1992 was elected to California State Assembly to represent the 41st district.   In 1995 she became California State Assembly Democratic Whip.  From time to time you can see Sheila on "Politically Incorrect."

What do you do after you create what's considered the worst show in TV history?    Allan Burns is that person.  He created and wrote "My Mother The Car" in 1965.   MMTC star Jerry Van Dyke says the series was so bad he didn't work for years after it.   Allan Burns,  on the other hand,  went on to produce "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" for Grant Tinker.   Allan's work on the show contributed to the show's numerous Emmy awards.  His success didn't stop there.    He went on to write "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days" in 1979 and got an Oscar nomination for his screenplay "A Little Romance" also in 1979.   Not all of his work is Oscar worthy,   for example: "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie" (Allan teamed up with Rod Amateau, the director of MMTC for this masterpiece) and "Swimsuit" are also among Allan's credits.   It just goes to show you;  no matter how horrendous your mistakes are,  everyone deserves a second chance.



More Kewl Stuff:

Survivor - The Complete First Season (2000)

Survivor All-Stars - The Complete Season (2004)

Survivor The Australian Outback - The Complete Season (2001)

Survivor: The Official Soundtrack to the Hit CBS TV Series [SOUNDTRACK] 


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