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.

BLOG #437

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.

BEHIND THE MIC:

Covid Cruising
After 17 months of waiting, my wife and I were able to take a vacation that did not include staying home and cutting grass. Along with our daughter and granddaughter (my son-in-law still had to work), we booked a Royal Caribbean cruise. That was the good news – the bad news was that it was out of Florida on the brand new Odyssey of the Seas.

Florida was and is experiencing the worst Covid case numbers in the country and, unlike the other ports in the US, the state would not allow Royal to limit their passengers to “vaccinated only”. So the ship would have both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers.

The four of us met three times prior to the cruise to decide if we should go or not. Finally, with all of us vaccinated, we decided to take the trip. We were notified about one week before that we all had to be tested for Covid within 48 hours of boarding the ship. Here is how the “week” progressed:

Friday – I went on the internet in the morning, only to discover that the Bahamas had made a rule that ships with unvaccinated passengers would not be allowed to dock in their ports. The highlight of our trip was going to be a day at Coco Cay, RC’s private island which happens to be in the Bahamas. That was not news we wanted to hear, but the four of us went to LVHN to get tested for the virus anyway. Within a half hour, we were notified we were all negative and given an affidavit to prove it. We could get on the ship.

Saturday – Once again, the internet updated cruising information. It turned out that the “Bahamas rule” would not go into effect until September 4, one week after our return. The packing continued with a bit more pep in our step.

Sunday – We boarded an Allegiant flight to Miami a half hour late due to a mechanical problem with our plane. Allegiant switched us to another plane. The plane was full; everyone was masked up; and the trip was uneventful. We arrived at Ft. Lauderdale and took an Uber to the port. Check-in was a breeze with all documents being checked – affidavit, vaccination documentation, and passports. Vaccinated passengers were given a green bracelet to designate their status. We discovered that the ship only had 1400+ passengers, about 38% of capacity. We sailed @ 6. The rules were very simple – masks indoors; no masks necessary outdoors.

Monday – We spent the day at seas, relaxing and learning that unvaccinated passengers were not allowed in our dining room, in the lower level of the theater, nor were they allowed in the casino. Our bracelets were checked in all of these places to allow admittance.

Tuesday – Our first port was Cozumel, Mexico. Again, unvaccinated passengers could only leave the ship as a group and must be part of a tour group controlled by the cruise line. It was becoming obvious that the company was making it somewhat unpleasant for the unvaccinated. Cozumel was always one of our favorite spots, but the virus and a hurricane had changed the dynamic. The town was virtually empty with tourists and the shop owners desperate for your business. We did not stay off the ship for long. We did manage to buy some tee-shirts and vanilla.

Wednesday – Our next stop was Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico. We had never been there before and found it to be quite nice. There was a shopping area that you could walk to, off the ship, with quality shops, nice, but not pushy attendants, a swimming pool, bar, restaurant, and a dolphin show. It was a great experience.

Thursday – We spent a day at seas, relaxing by the pool. Trust me, that’s not a bad vacation day.

Friday – This was the highlight of the cruise. We docked at Coco Cay, RC’s private Island, which is like an island Disney World. There is a waterpark, a hot air balloon ride, three beaches, 3 dining areas, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, 5 bars, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, and shopping. We opted to not do any of those, but instead chose to pay a bit extra to spend the day at the Coco Beach Club. We were on a private beach, with an infinity pool, and a very exclusive restaurant. The down side was that we were only there for eight hours – we all felt we could stay there for days. Again, unvaccinated people could only go on a tour by themselves.

Saturday – We were back to reality as we made our way off the ship, with memories of great entertainment every night, exceptional meals, plenty of relaxation, and a week away from the everyday.

I know cruising is not for everyone – I just do not know why.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
Do you know the name – Matt Minister? I didn’t either. He is pro golfer’s Patrick Cantlay’s caddie. Patrick Cantlay is the golfer who just won the FedEx Cup. The previous week Cantlay won the BMW Championship. Cantlay won $1.7 million for his BMW win and $15 million for the FedEx title. If Minister received the normal “cut” that a caddie makes he got 10% of those winnings or $1.67 million. Minister wanted to be a pro golfer, but eventually switched to being a caddie. The 47-year-ol seems to have made the right decision.

You know the adage – “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” I watched Tom Brady lead the Bucs to a final possession field goal to win the game against the Cowboys on Thursday night. It was typical Brady – less than a minute to go; down by a point; no timeouts. Brady and the Bucs win 22-20 with last second field goal. Ho-Hum…

The Eagles certainly played well against Atlanta. They were extremely efficient in all aspects of the game – the total opposite of the way the Atlanta Falcons played. I’m sure the fan base is pleased for now.

The Phillies are fading very fast. With less than 20 games to go, they are 4 ½ games out of first. They have been unbelievably inconsistent this year. Every time they would get the fans’ hopes up they would go into a tailspin. It happened again this past week.

Our Lafayette football coverage begins this Saturday at 12:30 when the Leopards take on the University of New Hampshire. The independent schedule is a very tough one. The Leopards looked good in the first two weeks, but still lost the games. Join us for the game.

Gary’s Guesses

NFL Picks – (LAST WEEK – 5-11; OVERALL- 5-10)

WEEK TWO
Giants
New England
San Francisco
Denver
Buffalo
Rams
Pittsburgh
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Orleans
Arizona
Tampa Bay
Seattle
Dallas
Kansas City
Green Bay

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.

Gary’s Guesses 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.

BEHIND THE MIC: Gary’s Guesses

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (LAST WEEK – 0-0; OVERALL- 0-0)

WEEK ONE

Tampa Bay

Jacksonville

Minnesota

Indianapolis

Tennessee

Buffalo

San Francisco

Washington

Carolina

Atlanta

New England

Green Bay

Kansas City

Giants

LA Rams

Baltimore

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.

 

“Sideline” Advice

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.

A few weeks back, I was surprised and thoroughly enjoyed a blog entry written by RCN’s Gary Laubach here on our website giving advice for broadcasters based on his years in the announcing business.

It was ironic to me because I had just come from a meeting involving some people who are relatively new to the broadcasting profession and I was sharing with them some of my own experiences and things I have learned.

At the risk of repeating some of Gary’s sage advice (and I would suggest any future broadcaster go back and read his article if you have not done so already), I wanted to focus on one aspect of broadcasting that I actually have a little more experience doing…that of sideline reporting.

Reporting from the sidelines (or “courtside” for basketball, “mat-side” for wrestling, et al), involves some distinct differences from broadcasting from a press box or a scorer’s table.

One big difference is paperwork. I have a reputation for bringing “the kitchen sink” when it comes to information, stats and stories for our broadcast. When I was roaming the sidelines, I didn’t have the luxury of carrying a bunch of papers or even putting a ton of information down on a cell phone, because often there wasn’t time to “page” through everything while giving reports.

Another big difference is being flexible. You can have several reports all lined up, prepared and ready to go when you have your opportunity, then an injury occurs, a fight breaks out, a couple quick turnovers and scores occur, and everything that you thought you were going to talk about just goes right out the proverbial window.

One’s personality also has a lot to do with sideline reporting. Because you are down on the field and are more visible to everyone at the arena, you, by nature, are interacting with people throughout the game. It’s important to be personable both while on-camera and while talking with coaches, players, athletic trainers, officials and anyone else who happens to be there (and you never do know who may show up from time to time!)

So without being overly preachy, here are a few of my general recommendations for new sideline reporters–with one important caveat.

It’s important to develop your own style! Go into a broadcast with a game plan, but mix in your own thoughts, opinions, suggestions, and also experiment a little from time to time. Re-evaluation is also important in ALL aspects of broadcasting, and going back to re-examine what works and what doesn’t is an absolute necessity.

Things to do pregame:
1) Develop a couple storylines and things to watch for (this may change during the game, but it’s always good to have something prepared going into the broadcast)
2) Talk to the head coach, assistant coaches, players (if available) and athletic trainer (more on this person later)
3) Go over your first couple talking points with the announcing team. Nothing is more frustrating than to be all ready for your first report only to hear exactly what you were just about to say coming in through your headsets just moments before the camera turns to you–TRUST ME!

During the game:
1) Follow your own storylines and keys to victory. Analyze appropriately as the game evolves. If you’re correct–say it–but don’t go overboard praising yourself. If you’re wrong or something changes, don’t be afraid to talk about why something changed–even die-sports fans might learn something from a perceived “mistake” on your part.

2) Give a brief and accurate but considerate injury report — if possible — and try to be very sympathetic to the players. Some trainers will be very accommodating, helpful and have told me they think it’s wonderful to highlight that aspect of sports. Others in more emergency situations will frankly tell you to get out of the way (which is why you try to set up a nice rapport with them BEFORE the game starts!). You’re not a doctor, but just give a few basics and let people know the playing status that the trainer gives you without giving your own speculation in this particular area. One of the most frequent types of emails I have received throughout my career is from the injured players’ parents, expressing thanks for my genuine concern talking about their child’s condition–sometimes if they’re watching from home, YOU will be the first person to give them news!

3) Look for emerging storylines, unique efforts and other positives for both teams.

4) At half-time ask the coach who is leading for a few thoughts on the first half going into the locker room. Then get to the trailing coach coming out of his half-time locker room and ask for a few things he’s looking to improve upon in the second half. When ready early in the third quarter, report your findings from both coaches. Anyone who has played any sport knows that the coach who is losing will not be in a better mood than the coach who is winning, and experience has told me you’ll get a much better response (and sometimes a more therapeutic experience for the coaches themselves) by talking with them in this order.

5) At the end of the game, interview the winning head coach with two or three questions about his team’s performance. Asking more takes away from the “moment” and most coaches are anxious to talk with the players, so limiting yourself to the most important and relevant questions works best (unless you’re talking about a championship game-which is a completely different experience.) Also, don’t get too bogged down in talking strategy at this moment and devote at least one question to focus on outstanding and/or underrated performances by his/her players.

6) Have fun! Nothing translates quicker to an audience if you are not having a good time–and this is even more evident when you are working the “sidelines.” Enjoy the experience and the audience will enjoy hearing/being with you, too!!