Chris Michael

About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: Michael Landon’s Early Years

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

Michael Landon was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz on October 31, 1936 in Forest Hills, a neighborhood of Queens, New York.

He was placed under a tremendous amount of stress as a youth. His mother suffered from deep emotional problems and frequently attempted suicide, with Michael as the lone person there to try to save her. Because of the stress, Landon had issues with excessive vomiting and bedwetting. According to an unauthorized biography, Michael Landon: His Triumph and Tragedy, his mother would often hand the stained sheets outside on their front porch, and Michael would have to run home to try to remove them before his friends would see it.

Landon excelled at track and field, earning a college athletic scholarship before a torn shoulder ended his experience at the University of Southern California. He turned his attention towards acting and worked at a gas station to pay his bills. While working there, he came across a talent agent. He decided to change his name and found his nom de plume in the phone book.

1957 was a big year for Landon. After getting a job as an off-screen voice actor, he quickly received offers to be the lead on both a television show (Telephone Time: The Mystery of Casper Hauser), and a film, I Was A Teenage Werewolf. In the same year, he recorded singles that were issued because of Landon’s success in the movie. More of his songs were released a few years later as part of a Bonanza soundtrack.

Michael was kept busy the next two years appearing in various films and TV guest spots. In 1959 at the age of 22, he landed the role of Little Joe Cartwright as part of an ensemble cast on the long-running western Bonanza.

The show and Landon’s popularity gained momentum throughout the 1960s. The program finished several years rated as the number one television show in the Nielsen Ratings, and Landon wrote and directed a number of episodes during its run.

In 1972, he penned what was planned as a two-part episode that would see his longtime television brother, Hoss, played by the gregarious Dan Blocker. However, Blocker died unexpectedly just weeks before the new season was set to start filming.

Bonanza never recovered from the loss of its popular cast member, and the program’s ratings slowly declined throughout its final season. Upon its cancellation, Landon was asked to write and direct an ambitious new romantic anthology series, Love Story for NBC.

However, that show never found an audience. At 37, the one time heartthrob who hada near 20-year run of successes in films, television and in song, found himself out of work.

But a man by the name of Ed Friendly had an idea, and wanted Landon to play a major role in it.

We’ll examine the second half of Michael’s career–one filled with more triumphs…and tragedies…next week, here at The Showplace.

In the meantime, tune in for Michael Landon’s breakout role on Bonanza this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. on RCN TV.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN-TV check out the weekly listings here on our website.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

HS FB POLL: 9/13/21

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Here are three local sports observations before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1
We were happy to bring home a very special ceremony at halftime of the Liberty / Whitehall game last Friday, which featured the official retirement of Saquon Barkley’s high school jersey.

The current New York Giants running back gave a speech thanking his high school coaches, administrators and classmates and seemed genuinely touched by the event, which also  featured his brother and parents. The halftime ceremony included many former Zephyr coaches and players, including former New England Patriots center Dan Koppen, who won a Super Bowl ring with Tom Brady.

The RCN crew did a great job broadcasting the event. If you missed it, RCN customers can check out the ceremony for free through RCN On Demand!

#2
Covid reared its ugly head cancelling or forcing the rescheduling of four teams’ games in our viewing area.

That being said, it was great to be out and about broadcasting games from the stadium this past weekend for the first time in one and a half years. A big thank-you to the crew for doing a great job while observing Covid protocols to bring you the sights and sounds of this weekend’s RCN broadcasts. Also, thanks to the local athletic directors and personnel from the various school districts for welcoming us back to their stadiums!

#3
In local soccer, the Emmaus boys team was not too thrilled when the local papers published their high school soccer polls for the fall and the Hornets were NOT picked as the team to beat.

Emmaus was the defending district champion and came within a whisker of winning a state championship last fall (losing to perennial power Neshaminy, 2-1, in double overtime).  Even with a number of talented players returning from that squad, a few teams ranked higher than the Hornets in the pre-season polls.  Both their players and longtime head coach John Cari were very vocal about those predictions and made a few claims of their own.

You can hear their comments for yourself on this week’s edition of RCN SportsTalk, Thursday at 7pm on RCN-TV.  (We’ll also have more Emmaus-related sports news next week here at “The Shop!”)

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce or release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

Below, we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Parkland
2) Central Catholic
3) Whitehall
4) Emmaus
5-tie) Freedom/Nazareth

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Notre Dame-GP
2) Northwestern
3) Wilson
4) Bangor
5) Northern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

HS FB POLL: 9/7/21

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Here are 3 local sports observations, before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1  Hats off to our “SportsTalk” pollsters again–already shining through the first two weeks of the season!

While every other Lehigh Valley media outlet had Freedom or Easton as the “teams to beat” in 2021 in the EPC or in the entire region, our voters had Parkland in the number one spot and Emmaus third.  Both the Trojans and the Hornets were victorious last weekend, beating the Red Rovers and the Patriots respectively.  Great job RCN football voters!!

#2  The Colonial League also had some very entertaining contests last weekend.  

Northwestern had a thrilling 34-33 win in a Thursday night matchup, and Bangor and Wilson have jumped out to impressive 2-0 starts this year, winning in landslide fashion.  The league looks as balanced as ever through the first two weeks of the regular season.

Also, Notre Dame, the team we saw last week on RCN, continued to earn its #1 ranking in our poll beating last week’s #4 team Southern Lehigh, and, for the moment, knocked the Spartans out of our “Top 5” spots. 

#3  RCN broadcast the first ever Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South game from the “new” Cottingham Stadium last week–a broadcast that was picked up and shown across the state on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.  

Hats off to the crews of both RCN and PCN to bring home the historic game to audiences across the Commonwealth.  By the way, if you missed the Easton coaches and players talking about all the new aspects (and their favorite parts) of their new digs, check out last week’s RCN SportsTalk show..it’s available for free for RCN customers through RCN on demand.

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1) Parkland

2) Emmaus

3) Nazareth

4) Freedom

5) Whitehall

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton


COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame

2) Northwestern

3) Northern Lehigh

4) Bangor

5) Wilson

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades


Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

 

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE:  My Little Margie

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.  Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

My Little Margie was a quality sit-com that sometimes gets lost amongst the bigger “names” in 1950s television.  But it’s also a show that has seen new life over the decades in syndication.

The show centers around a widowed father and his adventures with his 21-year old daughter, Margie, in their New York City apartment.

The show starred Gale Storm in the title role.  Storm was featured in a number of successful film vehicles, including the holiday classic, It Happened On 5th Avenue, the western Stampede, the romantic-comedy G.I. Honeymoon and the film noir The Underworld StoryGale was also a hit on several radio programs during the 1940s.

Charles Ferrell starred as her father.  Ferrell appeared in various films from the 1920s through the 1940s, including 7th Heaven, The Man Who Came Back, Street Angel, The Plumber and the PrincessHe would also guest star in several popular episodes of The Jack Benny Show during “Margie’s” run.

The program began as a 1952 summer replacement for I Love Lucy and had similar characteristics.  

First, Storm copied Lucille Ball’s popular “Spider” expression and sound effect by making a strange noise when she got into trouble.  Also, Gertrude Hoffmann co-starred as Margie’s next door neighbor.  She possessed more than a striking resemblance to Vivian Vance’s “Ethel” character, and would frequently be Storm’s foil and sidekick on her various hijinks that often went awry.

My Little Margie was able to sustain its initial success by taking over the I Love Lucy timeslot and posted consistent ratings despite time slot changes.  The program also withstood not one, but TWO network changes…from CBS to NBC, and then back again to the Columbia Broadcasting System.

In fact, the show actually gained in popularity throughout its initial four-year run, reaching the 29th position in its second last year.  The final season saw its’ viewership climb all the way up to the sixth most-watched episodic program on TV, according to the 1956 final Nielsen Ratings.  

Strangely, CBS decided to cancel this show at its zenith, although the network quickly presented a new program, The Gale Storm Show, and used a different format. That new show would go on for another four years and produce 143 episodes until it changed networks and then was cancelled one year later by ABC.

Storm was one of the early television stars to participate in conventions featuring “old time TV” personalities and would frequently appear at events to sign autographs, do “Q & A-s” with fans and speak at convention centers about her days as “Margie.”

She was also a frequent guest star on television shows from 1960 through the later 1980s…her last major television appearance was on Murder, She Wrote.

Tune in or set your DVRs to see My Little Margie every Sunday at 2pm and Wednesday mornings at 10:30am on RCN-TV.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

 

 

HS FB POLL: 8/30/21

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Here are three local sports observations, before we take a look at week one of our “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1
COVID news entered the high school sports picture last weekend as two games–one of them less than 48 hours before kickoff–were scrapped because of a reported case of the outbreak.  While many coaches were pretty much told to “proceed as normal” a couple months ago, they spent a good portion of the last several days going back and revamping team procedures, how practices are conducted, implementing mandatory mask-wearing and other practices that we were all hoping we would not need to discuss during the sports calendar year.

#2
As usual, the EPC-South dominated the opening weekend of high school football with only one “North” team securing a victory. Many victorious teams won their game by over 50-point spreads. Things figure to get much tighter this weekend.  Easton will host its first Lehigh Valley opponent–Parkland–at their new stadium this Friday night.  The game will also feature the #1 and #3 ranked teams in our poll (see below) and should be a good contest to watch on  RCN-TV this weekend.

#3
A great idea to follow local sports action this fall is to bookmark the RCN-TV broadcast schedule posted here on our website.  Before the season even kicked off last week and the COVID-cancelled events occurred, there were multiple changes to this fall’s schedule due to school district changes, stadium occupancy issues and other factors.  Therefore, it is very important you keep checking back to our schedule as things change more than ever!

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That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools within the RCN broadcast area.  This season will be unique in which Colonial teams will be cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League, so our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not be playing the majority of teams within their own leagues!

So below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1) Parkland

2) Freedom

3) Easton

4)  Emmaus

5)  Nazareth 

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton


COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame

2) Northwestern

3) Northern Lehigh

4) Saucon Valley

5)  Bangor

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

On this week’s “SportsTalk”…

Our guests will include members of the Easton football team talking about their fall sports program and also giving their thoughts on a special night this Friday–the first EPC-Lehigh Valley Division game at the “NEW” Cottingham Stadium.  Construction was completed a few weeks ago on the exact same spot as the “old” stadium–that same block has been holding high school football games for nearly 100 years.  Friday will be a special night for local sports fans, and RCN will have the historic game live at 7pm!

A New Season!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

High school football season is nearly here!

Much like last year, the emphasis on the preseason activities over the last few weeks has been less “X-s and O-s” and more talk about COVID protocols, adjustments made this preseason, “possible” changes for the fall (and staying “flexible”) and the increased emphasis on keeping everyone safe.

That being said, it should be an intriguing year on the field for high school football as the current plan for this fall looks more “normal” than in 2020 — but that could change.

One of the things I’m most looking forward to in the upcoming sports year is welcoming new on-air personalities to our sports broadcasts. You’ll be seeing and hearing more about them in the coming weeks and months, but here’s just a little bit of information about the new members of the RCN TV sports family…

Megan Kane: A multiple league and district winning head coach at Southern Lehigh High School and an assistant coach with the multiple-MAC champion DeSales University women’s basketball team. Known as one of the best prepared coaches in the area, she will be the first woman to broadcast a men’s game in Lehigh Valley history.

Okezie Alozie: One of the top Lehigh Valley running backs in the early 2010s. Okezie went on to have an outstanding Division I college career at the University of Buffalo and earned tryouts for several NFL teams. He was named an All–American Honorable Mention by Pro Football Focus and an All–MAC selection in 2015 as a Safety & Linebacker. Okezie returned to the Lehigh Valley in 2016 to reside with his family in Bethlehem while coaching 7on7 football for Diamond Athletics. 

Josh Young: A three-sport standout at Freedom High School and a two-sport athlete at Franklin and Marshall College. He earned the NAACP student-athlete award in high school and was on the diversity council in the Bethlehem School District. He’ll be working the sidelines this fall in-between his commitments to attend games to cheer on his younger brother, Joe, for Harvard University football games (his brother is the team’s starting quarterback.)  A former wrestler, you may also see him giving his opinions “on the mats” for RCN telecasts in the winter months.

Dante Terenzio: Local wrestling coach and sports writer for The Morning Call. He has been a frequent contributor on the “RCN SportsTalk” programs and will be handling football play-by-play this fall.  When available, he will also assist with our basketball and wrestling broadcasts, in-between coaching, teaching and chasing after his two young baby girls (his second was born this past February).

Please welcome these new announcers and their unique viewpoints, experiences and insights on local sports.  Be on the lookout for more new faces joining our family in the months to come!

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Before the high school football season gets underway it’s time to unveil our preseason top five teams for both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and the Colonial League.

Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5

1) Parkland

2) Freedom

3) Emmaus

4) Easton

5) Bethlehem Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5

1) Notre Dame

2) Northwestern

3) Northern Lehigh

4) Southern Lehigh

5) Saucon Valley

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to bookmark our high school football broadcast schedule here on the website and check it frequently as, with several games already postponed or canceled so far this season, there could be changes from day to day.

On this week’s “SportsTalk”…

We’ll have our official high school football preview show, featuring observations and predictions about the upcoming season, as well as interviews with local coaches and players as we get ready to kick off the season this Friday night.  Tune in this Thursday at 7pm on RCN-TV and get ready for the fall season!

 

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE:  The Mickey Rooney Show

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.   Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

A television show that probably should have been more successful than it turned out to be is not a rare occurrence in the entertainment industry.

A prime, early, example of this was The Mickey Rooney Show (also known as Hey Mulligan).

Mickey Rooney agreed to star in a mid-1950s NBC sitcom as a studio page for a fictional TV company who aspires to one day become a big movie star.

In addition to having a major film star like Rooney play the lead, the creator and executive producer of the program was future legend, Blake Edwards.  Edwards would go on to produce major film successes in the 1960s and 1970s with Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Victor/Victoria, The Days of Wine and Roses and the Pink Panther film series.

The show also had a surprisingly good (for a TV comedy) soundtrack that was produced by then unknown Van Alexander, who was an arranger for Capitol Records.  He was hand-picked for the assignment by Rooney’s co-producer Maurice Duke.  Alexander would go on to score major motion pictures, including future films for Rooney himself.

Mickey, in real life, had already been a huge star in movies for almost two decades and scored hits in the early 1940s with his iconic “Andy Hardy” movie roles.  He was also frequently in the news for his rumored, off-screen relationship with Judy Garland and other stars of the era.  The decision to cast him as an “early 20ies, up and coming” performer was a little hard to swallow for American audiences, who already had become very familiar with him as an established actor.

The chance to accept him in this role was further hampered by his age (he was 35 for the show’s first season). Rooney’s reputation had also taken a bit of a hit before the program started production because of his high profile, not-so-smooth divorce proceedings that had taken place with no less than three major actresses.  Rooney had moved on and was married to “wife #4” by the time this show premiered.

NBC also didn’t do the Rooney cast and crew any favorites with scheduling.  The network placed the show on the dreaded Saturday night lineup and pitted him opposite the popular CBS variety-comedy vehicle, The Jackie Gleason ShowRooney’s reputation took a further hit before his show even debuted when his agent went to the media to say some disparaging things about the iconic Gleason, in an effort to promote Mickey’s show.

Rooney tried to quickly correct the PR blunder.  According to David Tucker’s Lost Laughs of the 50s and 60s Television, Mickey was quoted as saying, “I don’t want to knock off anybody.  All I want to do is put on a nice, funny show that people will like.”

The publicity stunt backfired and Rooney soon fired his agent but the damage was done.  His television show was cancelled after just 34 episodes.

Still, it’s a program that is quite underrated and has some really funny moments.  Also, many members of its production staff went on to have lengthy and successful careers in Hollywood. 

Without all the negative publicity that surrounded the show when it first aired, it certainly deserves a second look and a new evaluation based on its own merits, including quality acting and solid production values.

Tune in or set your DVRs to see the 1950s-style comedy, The Mickey Rooney Show, Tuesday evenings at 8pm and Wednesday mornings at 10 am on RCN-TV.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

 

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: “Space Patrol”

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.  Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows, legendary cinematic performances, key names and intriguing storylines from the “Golden Age” of entertainment history.

One of the key attributes to have a long-lasting television series is demographics.  The more demographic groups a show “hits” (or appeals to), the larger the audience and, often, the longer running the success.

Such was the case in the early 1950s with the science-fiction drama, Space Patrol.

The show appealed to both kids and adults with its themes and its storylines became a popular morning staple on ABC television–one of the first successful shows on America’s “third network” (ABC’s overall ratings were well behind rivals CBS and NBC in the early years in television history).

Some other advantages “Patrol” had over other, similar shows during this era include…

The show’s creator, William Moser, was a World War II Naval Aviator and tried as much as possible to make the flying sequences look and feel as genuine as the technology of the day would allow.
The studio stage they were given was one of the largest ones in the world. While other shows had noticeably cramped space and many locations easily spotted as being reused within the same episode, “Patrol” had an abundance of room to perform both acting scenes and “special effects.” This became even more critical to the show’s success when the program transitioned to a live, 30-minute program.

While money in television production was extremely scarce in the early 1950s, the early success of the show allowed for greater earnings potential and the budget was allowed
to dramatically increase by “Patrol’s” second season, allowing for higher quality performers, sets, props and costuming.

Marketing was also a key element of the program. Corporate sponsor Chex Cereal would often include special Patrol motifs on its packaging boxes. Not only were there “Space Patrol Clubs” built in and around the television show, but they were elements that made it one of the first “interactive” TV programs. They frequently asked for mail-in suggestions for the show to make the audience feel like they were directly participating in the show’s production. Later, contests were created with special prize giveaways, further enhancing the connection viewers had with the show.

One of the narrators of Space Patrol might sound familiar to more modern day audiences. Jack Narz was the show’s first narrator and went on to be an announcer for many popular games shows in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s and also hosted shows himself, like Concentration, Now You See It, Beat the Clock and Video Village.

Another interesting aspect of the program: the actors themselves would “step out” of their roles during the show and pitch the main sponsor’s product during the half hour. These entertaining commercial spots are saved and presented in their entirety during our airings of these episodes on RCN TV.

Tune in or set your DVRs to see Space Patrol on Sundays at 12 noon and Friday mornings at 10am on RCN-TV.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

SUMMER “MELTS” 2021

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Despite much uncertainty and a few local organizations hampered by possible health issues, we were able to bring many of our regular summer sports activities to our RCN TV audience over the last couple months.

While a couple annual events were canceled because of COVID, we did bring you to high school baseball championship games, the McDonald’s all-star football classic and, with the exception of two rainouts, a full slate of Blue Mountain League baseball “game of the week” contests.

Below are the melts (aka, “highlights”) from all of these events. If you missed the broadcast or wanted to see them again, many are still available for RCN viewers to watch for free through our on-demand services. To purchase a copy of these games, you can call 610-443-2909 to order DVDs.

RCN Sports: Northampton Giants vs Limeport Dodgers (7/21)

RCN Sports: McDonald’s All-Star Football Classic (6/21)

RCN Sports: Orioles vs Limeport Bulls (7/21)

RCN Sports: Orioles vs Northern Yankees (7/21)

RCN Sports: Pleasant Valley Bears vs. Emmaus Hornets (5/21)

RCN Sports: Parkland Trojans vs. Emmaus Hornets (5/21)

RCN Sports: Northampton Giants vs. Hellertown Royals (6/21)

We will continue to get you ready for the fall sports season on our Thursday night RCN SportsTalk show.  On this week’s show, we’ll continue featuring some of the new head football coaches in our viewing area by introducing you to the new Liberty coach along with several of his players on this year’s team.

Next week, we will interview the new athletic director at Wilson Area High School…a man who was on our program almost 10 years ago as a star player on that same school’s district winning football squad.  We will reminisce a little with him along with talking about a few key, and somewhat controversial, issues heading into the fall scholastic sports season.

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: Paulette Goddard

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.   Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows, key names in the “Golden Age” of entertainment history and legendary cinematic performances. 

Paulette Goddard is remembered by many as the third wife of cinematic legend Charlie Chaplin.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss her acting career and contributions to filmmaking throughout her life, both before and after Chaplin entered her “picture.”

Born in Queens, New York, the future actress was born Marion Levy. Or Marion Paula Levy. Or Pauline Marion Levy or Marion Goddard Levy — depending on what source you use.

Another of the many disputed claims of Paula’s life includes her birth year. According to biographer Julie Gilbert, she was born in 1910 while various legal documents and passports listed her birth year as either 1905, 1908, 1910 or 1914. In an interview in “Life” magazine years later, she clearly states she was born in 1915.

Contrary to some opinions, Goddard appeared in pictures well before she ever met Charlie Chaplin.

She appeared in two films in 1929 before MGM signed her to her first film contract, appearing in six movies within the first 18 months before a conflict with producers slowed her working opportunities.  While under contract she began dating Chaplin, who starred her in his 1936 classic, Modern Times.

The pair was married that same year and Chaplin reportedly had planned other films featuring his wife, but by this time in his career, the Little Tramp’s method of producing films had slowed to the point where several years went by between his pictures.  Fearing the lack of acting appearances would hurt her career, Goddard signed her next contract with David O. Selznick, who immediately cast her in three films in 1938 and early 1939, including an all-female cast in 1939’s The Women.

Another hotly debated topic about Paula’s life is her potential role as “Scarlett” in the 1939 Academy award-winning film, Gone with the Wind.

Some sources say producers preferred her to Vivien Leigh, the actress who eventually won the role.  Others said that she would have needed “acting training” in order to be seriously considered for that role.  Still another outlet said Goddard was a finalist for the role with Leigh listed as being a “dark horse.”

In the 1992 cinematic biopic, Chaplin, Paulette (as played by Diane Lane) says that she passed the first round of auditions but laughed it off as it was clear the producers wanted Katherine Hepburn for the role.  The film, Chaplin, was largely based on accurate accounts from both Chaplin’s primary biographer and from Chaplin himself. However, it is clear that, in some instances, dramatic license was used.

She appeared in various films throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, including Chaplin’s The Great DictatorShe also appeared with many elite Hollywood actors like Fred Astaire, Lawrence Oliver, Bob Hope, Fred MacMurray, John Wayne, James Stewart, Olivia de Havilland, Charles Boyer and Burgess Meredith, whom she later married following her divorce from Chaplin.  Goddard received an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress in 1943’s So Proudly We Hail.

She also formed her own production company with John Steinbeck, Monterey Pictures. After marrying her fourth husband, Erich Remarque, in 1957, she moved to Switzerland…the same country Chaplin had moved to following his exile from the United States four years before… and, in fact, lived within a few miles of her former husband’s estate.

She only appeared in a handful of films the rest of her life and passed away from heart failure on April 23, 1990.  Her obituary listed her age at 79 at the time of her death.

Tune in or set your DVRs to see one of Paulette Goddard’s best reviewed roles in Second Chorus, airing this Monday at 1:00 p.m. and next Thursday at 9:00 a.m. on RCN-TV.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.