Herbie J Pilato on ‘Alias Smith & Jones’

Pete Duel, Ben Murphy, Roger Davis

Still Charming After 50 years
by Herbie J Pilato

In the history of television westerns, Alias Smith and Jones stands out from the pack.

The small screen answer to the 1969 Paul Newman/Robert Redford feature film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Alias Smith and Jones combined a seriocomic premise and tone, entertaining stories, witty dialogue, ground-breaking cinematography, and likable performances.

The one-hour series presented a new form of TV western which was generated by the 1970 ABC TV-movie The Young Country produced by Universal Studios. read article

Herbie J Pilato Reflects on Dawn “Mary Ann” Wells

Forever Mary Ann
by Herbie J Pilato

“By the dawn’s early light…”

How fitting that such a musical patriotic pledge of allegiance would include even the slightest reference to the first name of an actress who for decades represented the All-American dream girl.

Dawn Wells, who died at 82 from complications of Covid-19 on December 30, 2020, was from day one as American as apple pie, or more specifically, of the Coconut Cream of the crop selection. That was her dessert of choice when playing the beloved castaway Mary Ann Summers on the TV classic Gilligan’s Island, which originally ran on CBS from 1964 to 1967. read article

Peak Comfort: The triumph of brazenly uncomplicated entertainment.

TV as elevator music. Why didn’t we think of that?

by Kathryn VanArendonk

One of the best new TV shows I’ve seen lately is the Netflix adaptation of the beloved YA book series The Baby-Sitters Club. I like the show for lots of reasons, but chief among them is how genuine it is about the things that matter to its group of young protagonists. Creating a show like that — one that can confidently deliver a warm, sincere, thoughtful tone without coming off as simplistic or self-congratulatory, that will appeal to multiple age groups, and that can pull off a “girl’s first period” plot without feeling gross or pedagogical — is impressive. It takes skill. It’s an excellent season of TV.

There’s a different version of that first sentence, one I might have written if I were reviewing The Baby-Sitters Club even a few years ago. Rather than best, I would likely have swapped in the word favorite. It’s a small but meaningful distinction. Best is always a bit of a lie in criticism, a way to pretend a critic’s subjectivity can be removed from the equation, but it is an important signifier nonetheless. It’s an indicator of quality. The term means “I think this is good, not just for me but objectively for lots of people.” Favorite may be truer, but it also comes off as a qualification: “I enjoyed this show. Maybe you will too?” read article

Keith Telly Topping’s ‘The From The North TV Awards (2020)’

by Larry Brody

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping

The Most Honourable Keith Telly Topping His Very Self is the sole proprietor and writer of “From the North,” which is, hands down, my favorite blog written in the English language.

The blog might well be my fave written in any language, but inasmuch as I only read and understand English blogs, I guess I’ll never know. (At least I believe I understand them. Hard to be sure what one is ignorant of when one is, you know, ignorant.)

Anyway, Keith has this terrific blog that you all should be reading regularly, or to be more accurate, “irregularly” because that’s the interval at which it comes out. read article

When Herbie J Pilato Met Charlton Heston’s Family

by Herbie J Pilato

(LB’S NOTE: We’re so tickled to have found another Herbie J Pilato article that we didn’t know about that we’re bringing it to you today as mate to the one below. How tickled am I? Well, I actually used the word “tickled” without shame, didn’t I? Now if we could only get HJP to send us something new we would be, hmm, how about this? We’d be over the moon! Meanwhile, please enjoy the following:)

In 2011, I was privileged to attend the world premiere and special screening of Paramount Studio’s newly-restored and quite stunning edition of Cecil B. Demille’s 1956 feature film classic, The Ten Commandments, which just so happens to be my favorite movie of all time. read article