Editorial review of McHale’s Navy – Season One
Something of a cross between MASH (it’s set in wartime) and Sgt. Bilko (the emphasis in on ensemble acting, with a ringleader and his band of merry pranksters), McHale’s Navy isn’t on a level with those two immortal sit-coms. But this amiable show, debuting on DVD with all 36 black & white episodes from its first season (1962-63) on five discs, stands the test of time surprisingly well. Not that there’s any important new comedic ground broken here. These half-hour episodes are pretty much all about the same thing: Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale (the always reliable Ernest Borgnine), skipper of Navy PT boat #73, and his crew are stationed “somewhere in the South Pacific, 1943.” They’re capable sailors, engaging the Japanese enemy when duty occasionally calls, but most of the time they hang out on their own private island and have a good time–much to the chagrin of their blustery commander, Capt. Wallace Binghamton (Joe Flynn), who’s constantly trying to rid himself of the regulation-defying McHale and his fun-loving band of miscreants.(more…)
Once Upon a Time – Twilight Zone episode starring Buster Keaton
In a very funny episode of The Twilight Zone, Buster Keaton stars as Woodrow Mulligan, a grumpy janitor living in the year 1890 – as Rod Serling says in the introduction to the episode:
Mr. Mulligan, a rather dour critic of his times, is shortly to discover the import of that old phrase, ‘Out of the frying pan, into the fire,’ said fire burning brightly at all times in the Twilight Zone.
Biography of Sid Caesar (September 8, 1922 – )
Sid Caesar was born on September 8, 1922, in Yonkers, New York, U.S.A. to a family of Jewish immigrants. Growing up, young Sid spent time at his father’s lunch counter, where immigrant workers came to eat. Observing them, Sid Caesar learned to mimic their accents and languages, a skill that he used years later – in fact, he can fool people into thinking that he is actually fluent in a variety of languages, where in reality he only speaks English and Yiddish.
He had a gift for music and originally began his career as a saxophone player. However, World War II interrupted, and Sid Caesar served his country in the Coast Guard, where he organized entertainment for enlisted men. This eventually led him to Los Angeles, where he got a part in the film Tars and Spars, based on an original comedy sketch, and in The Guilt of Janet Ames. (more…)
Imogene Coca (November 18, 1908 – June 2, 2001) was an American comic actress.
She was born Imogene Fernandez de Coca in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of José Fernandez de Coca, a conductor, and his wife Sadie Brady, a dancer and magician’s assistant. She had Spanish and Irish ancestry.
In her youth, she received piano, dance, and voice lessons. She moved from Philadelphia to seek a living as a dancer, while still a teenager, starting in the chorus of the Broadway musical When You Smile. She came to be featured as a headliner, appearing in Manhattan nightclubs, with music arranged by her first husband, Robert Burton. She came to prominence when she began to combine music with comedy: her first big critical success was in New Faces of 1934. (more…)
Harvey Korman (February 15, 1927 – May 29, 2008)
Harvey Korman, famous TV clown, was born Harvey Herschel Kormen in Chicago, Illinois. He gained much of his initial experience at Chicago’s well-known Goodman Theatre, working as a door-to-door aluminum siding salesman while trying to break into the ‘big time.’ He had minor Broadway roles, as well as appearing in television commercials and cartoon voice-overs (notably on the Flintstones cartoon as the voice of ‘The Great Gazoo’). In fact, this has led to a rather strange distinction for Harvey Korman. He is the only actor to appear in all of the Flintstone movies and cartoons. (more…)
Charlie Cairoli (1915-1980)
Charlie Cairoli (February 15, 1910 in Milan – February 17, 1980 in Blackpool) was a famous British clown, impressionist and musician. Born to a travelling circus family of French origin, he began his performing career at the age of seven, and, after visiting the Blackpool Tower Circus in 1939, chose to stay. Cairoli was distinguished by his red nose and bowler hat, and came to prominence in the UK in the 1970s owing to his frequent television appearances. He was possibly the best known clown on TV at one time, and had a career that spanned well over forty years. (more…)