PODCAST: Pink Panther Animator & ‘Charles In Charge’ Grandpa.

Listen to this week’s Final Taxi:  Direct download MP3

Warren Batchelder, animator of well over 200 Warner Bros. and Pink Panther cartoons. Though uncredited, he was an animator for the main titles of the 1963 feature film The Pink Panther — which led to doing the cartoons. He was an animator for such TV series as Super President (1967), Here Comes the Grump (1969) and much more. For Marvel he was a sequence director for Transformers (1984) and G.I. Joe (1985).

James T. “Jimmy” Callahan, was an actor best known for playing the cranky grandfather on television’s “Charles in Charge,”Between 1959 and 2007, he appeared in more than 120 films and TV shows. He was featured in several episodes of “Dr. Kildare” on NBC in the early 1960s and played a press secretary on “The Governor & J.J.,” which aired on CBS from 1969 to 1972.


Forget Charles, James T. Callahan Was In Charge!

Many people will remember the 80’s syndicated TV show Charles in Charge. It was one that I didn’t watch that much since I was not a Scott Baio fan at all. The US  sitcom series broadcast on CBS which starred Scott Baio as Charles, a 19-year-old college student working as a live-in babysitter. It left the network and was syndicated from January 3, 1987 until December 8, 1990. 126 original episodes were aired in total.James T. Callahan

 One of the only reason I watched Charles in Charge was the rest of the cast.  One actor that shown brightest was James T. “Jimmy” Callahan, an actor best known for playing the cranky grandfather, Walter Powell, a retired Navy man, on the show. He is now a final taxi rider at 76.

 I remember Callahan when he played Doug Kirk on the episode #132c of the Twilight Zone called “Ninety Years Without Slumbering”.  This is the one where the old man believes that when a grandfather clock he has owned all his life stops, he will die.  I also remember him a Office Holt in the old Dennis the Menace TV show.

 He was featured in several episodes of “Dr. Kildare” on NBC in the early 1960s and played a press secretary on “The Governor & J.J.,” which aired on CBS from 1969 to 1972. In other roles he was in Wendy and Me (Danny Adams), Convoy (Lt. Dick O’Connell),& The Runaways (Sgt. Hal Grady).

He played in episodes of Perry Mason, Route 66, Have Gun-Will Travel, Stoney Burke, Ben Casey, My Favorite Martian, Twelve O’Clock High, The Time Tunnel, The Fugitive, Run for Your Life, The Invaders, The F.B.I., The Untouchables, Adam-12, Longstreet, Marcus Welby, M.D., M*A*S*H, Love, American Style, Barnaby Jones, Cannon, Police Story, The Rockford Files, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Bosom Buddies, Alice, Lou Grant, Simon & Simon, Quincy, Remington Steele, Fame, The A-Team, Knight Rider, Newhart, Highway to Heaven, Growing Pains, Amazing Stories, Doogie Howser, M.D., The Golden Girls, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Picket Fences, Caroline in the City, Cybill, The Practice, ER, Medium, 7th Heaven to name just a few.

 More recently, Callahan had appeared on several episodes of the medical drama “Body & Soul” on the Pax TV network.

 One of his favorite film roles was as the band leader in “Lady Sings the Blues” (1972), his wife said. He also portrayed a country-western singer in “Outlaw Blues” (1977) with Peter Fonda. I laughed when he played the role of the general who was out to destroy all the zombies in “Return of the Living Dead III” (1993)

I saw  recently as a jury foreman in one of my favorite shows called” Medium.”

 I look forward to seeing him in his final film, a horror movie called “Born,” that has not been released yet.

The Boots Are Walkin’ – Lee Hazlewood

As one of the most iconic figures in 20th century pop and underground music, Lee Hazlewood was a major influence on musicians of all genres. The reclusive songwriter and producer was behind a slew of hits by Duane Eddy, Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in the 1950s and 1960s. His most successful was the song by Ms. Sinatra that because her No. 1 smash “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.

That song has since been used in scores of movies, television shows and commercials, and performed or recorded by hundreds of artists.

Lee Hazlewood has taken his Final Taxi this week at the age of 78. In a diverse career spanning five decades, the legendary singer became widely respected as the pioneer of ‘country-rock’, as well as a major contributor to the sound known as ‘Cowboy Psychedelia’ or ‘Saccharine Underground’. His distinctive baritone voice told tales of society misfits, wonderers and damsels on death row, set to catchy but unorthodox melodies produced using groundbreaking recording techniques.

 Hazlewood was born in Mannford, Oklahoma, in 1929. He  served in the Korean War and after found work as a D.J. in Arizona, where he met the guitarist Duane Eddy.

 In 1955 Hazlewood  wrote  a rockabilly song for Sanford Clark called “The Fool,” his first hit as a songwriter.Meanwhile, as Mr. Eddy’s co-writer and producer, Mr. Hazlewood helped invent twang-rock  and  also helped develop country-rock; he released an album by Gram Parsons’s early group the International Submarine Band on his LHI label in 1968.

After an underappreciated solo album, “Trouble Is a Lonesome Town,” in 1963, Mr. Hazlewood, who had relocated to Los Angeles, found himself embraced by the Rat Pack.  He produced two hits for the teenage trio “Dino, Desi & Billy’ and a chart-topper for Dino’s father Dean Martin. At Frank Sinatra’s request, he began working with his daughter Nancy. Hazlewood told her to sing in a lower register, giving her instant success with ‘So Long, Babe’ in 1966. In the same year, he wrote ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking’, the song that established Sinatra as one of the hottest pop stars of the 1960s.

In 1970, at the peak of his career, Hazlewood made a shock move to Sweden, where he released almost two albums a year before retiring in 1978. But in 1993 he was persuaded to return to the US, where he was surprised to discover he had obtained cult status. His albums were reissued by popular underground bands, he toured again with Nancy, and in 1999 and 2002 he headlined The Royal Festival Hall in London. In 2006 – almost half a century after his debut record, Lee Hazlewood released his acclaimed final album, ‘Cake or Death.”