Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fun with vintage TV

My dad and I eat dinner relatively early, in part because he's a senior citizen and it's what seniors do, and in part because I get up at 4:30 every morning. Anyhow, on the weekends we eat at a time when digital subchannel MeTV is running The Rifleman on Saturdays and The Love Boat Sundays. The Rifleman only has the cast members (other than Chuck Connors) in the closing credits, so I have fun trying to figure out whether anybody among the guest stars was either famous before, or would go on to become famous. Last night, I was watching, and one of the ranchhands looked surprisingly like a young James Coburn, only without the graying hair. He sounded even more like Coburn, and sure enough, it was, only in the closing credits he was listed as Jim Coburn. IMDb says he actually appeared a second time. That particular episode also has Ted de Corsia among the guests, but I didn't recognize him.

The Love Boat has the guest stars right at the top, usually (I think the first season is an exception) shown with a bit of video the way a lot of mid-30s Warner Bros. movies showed the cast. That having been said, we eat just late enough that I don't turn the TV on in time for the opening credits. The Love Boat had a much higher number of famous people show up; presumably they liked the idea of getting to do some acting again and get a free cruise to boot. Some people are unmistakeable, such as the time Ernest Borgning and Shelley Winters played a bickering couple. But then there are times where I have trouble recognizing people. There was an episode in which Carol Channing was unmistakeable, since she sounded and looked like she was 70 regardless of what her real age was. Van Johnson was easy to spot, too. But then an actress did an entrance dancing and while I felt I should recognize this actress, I couldn't. It turned out to be Ann Miller:

Amazingly, I also failed to recognize Ethel Merman, in what turned out to be her final performance.

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