LikeTelevision Blog

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sharon Tate as Janet Trego

Back when I was a kid growing up in Milwaukee, I loved to watch the Beverly Hillbillies. As a Wisconsin yokel, one could easily relate to the Tennessee hillbillies who were all too often taken as rubes by the hoitey toity of Beverly Hills, California. In truth, all too often, Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) was as wise as old King Solomon. The show was a huge hit, in spite of the supercilious critics who loved to hate the show.

Well, as a young boy (age 6-8 years old) - I loved the episodes with Miss Jane's assistant Janet Trego, played by Sharon Tate. She was really pretty and had a wonderful innocence about her that I found especially appealing. I was way too young to understand all the sexual innuendo jokes and I was a big fan of her white rain helmet hair, a style worn by many of the young women and mothers of the day. And though I did not really know what it meant, I always thought she was really cool. I had no idea who Roman Polanski was or anything, I was just a kid.

And I will never forget the news one day (August 9, 1969) - when I learned that a lady named Sharon Tate, the actress who played Janet Trego on the show, was murdered. And worse - she was very pregnant when it happened, so her soon to be born baby was also killed in the murder. It is hard to describe how awful such things are in the mind of a young boy, but I remember it to this day. And I was a huge fan of The Beatles too, but for a long time, The White album, filled with songs like Helter Skelter and Little Piggies gave me the creeps for several years. Till I was a teenager - and had grown as creepy as the society I lived in. (for a sample of the times, check out Angels as Hard as They Come, Maybe I'll Come home in the Spring, or Born to Win) - Lots of people thought the "new age" of the 1960s with free love (see Harrad Experiment) and all the new way of thinking was really cool, but as a young kid, I am awful glad my parents were squares.

Anyway - Susan Atkins, the woman who killed Sharon Tate died today of cancer. She was 61. That is all the ink she is going to get from me today. Personally, I would rather remember Sharon Tate, and how I thought she was really pretty when I just a seven year old kid. Nothing nasty like so much of today's world. I just thought she was really pretty, and as one often does at that age, I imagined she was also quite a nice person. Of course I never knew her, but I am happy to remember her today.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

William Bonney - Billy The Kid

William Henry Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid was born in New York and as a young boy, moved out west with his family, which was more dysfunctional than most. The history on this man, who died at the young age of 21 is so difficult to unravel because most of what is known about him comes from the sheriff, Pat Garrett who killed him. Garrett's book, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid was published after Garrett shot Billy with four other guys after Billy escaped his first arrest by Garrett by killing four guys on the break-out. Garrett completely sensationalized the young gunslinger punk and made him out to be a legend, when in fact he was much closer to a nobody, than a somebody in the Wild Wild West. He was more likely from the Mild, Mild West.

And then there's that weird picture which a actually a mirror image of the young outlaw. (here's an even bigger photo of Billy the Kid, who knew there was a color version available?)

Hollywood, as is often the case, made history even weirder. The first big movie about Billy the Kid was a result of Howard Hughes having the hots for Jane Russell. She started in the film, The Outlaw as a sympathetic young girl who was in love with Billy. In an effort to boost publicity, Hughes aircraft engineered a special cantilevered bra for Ms. Russel's ample bosom and provided promo 8x10 glossies of Jane Russell to the newspapers with more cleavage than all the Leave it Beaver episodes combined. She wore one of those floppy peasant girl blouses that have come back in and out of style since time began. As you might expect - the press was outraged, and huge lines formed outside theaters for a simply dreadful movie - just the kind we often like to feature at LikeTelevision. The movie just begs for a mystery science theater treatment.

Wanna get weirder? Well how about Billy the Kid versus Dracula? Huh? yes, John Carradine as Dracula no less. And the film even features Mrs. Olsen, of Folgers coffee fame as a concerned mother - who makes no java for anyone. As I recall, she does die near the mountain grown area, where the flavor of coffee beans is richest. And while the authorities searched for Juan Valdez, the real killer was of course, Carradine. Got it?

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September 1, 1939 - WWII Begins

On September 1, 1939 - World War II begins as Germany invades Poland. Hard to believe it was only 70 years ago, when the 2nd war to end all wars did not end all wars after all. I mean, my dad is older than that, and I don't consider him to be that old - so in truth, it is not really that long ago after all. As a simple search for WII reveals - there's a lot of movies, tv shows and even cartoons related to World War Two, so we thought it best to highlight some of the best content to watch and save some precious time for our cherished viewers.

For movies - we recommend Roberto Rossellini's Open City, Escape From Sobibor, Forbidden Games and Orson Welles' The Third Man. There are also a bunch of WWII movie documentaries that are quite good but we thought it best to create another short list as there are a bunch to sift through. The top three would probably include - The Battle of Britain, December 7, 1941 and The Battle of Midway, with War Comes to America and The Secret Life of Adolph Hitler as honorable mentions.

In the TV Shows related to World War II, our top picks include - 3 episodes of One Step Beyond, Dream, Emergency Only and Prisoner.

In the cartoon category - we'd like to suggest, Scrap Happy Daffy, The Ductators and Superman in Eleventh Hour. In all honesty - there are a ton of war related cartoons, too many great ones to even list. But allow us to add a few more choice toons to check out. Boom Boom, Superman's Japoteurs (incorrect PC, big time) and Superman's Destruction Inc. Even though it is pre WWII, check out this Popeye classics, I'm in the Army Now. Okay - that should keep you busy for a while. And don't forget to Buy US Bonds.

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