‘Gilligan’ & ‘Brady’ Creator, Sherwood Schwartz, Final Taxi At 94

Mash-ups have become very popular in modern music. They’re created when a DJ mixes two popular songs together to make one new song. This is accomplished by seamlessly overlaying the vocal track of one song over the instrumental track of another. This has been used quite a bit in the TV show ‘Glee’ where they’ve even done an entire show based on mash-ups. Recently I played one of my favorites to my girlfriend, Lesa. Imagine Led Zepplin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and the theme to the TV show ‘Gilligan’s Island’ melded into one song. (This was recorded by Little Roger and the Goosebumps.)

Most everyone can sing the theme to ‘Gilligan’s Island’ if they’ve ever watched any of these shows. Remember these lyrics?

“Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip.
It started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three-hour tour.”

The music and lyrics for the song, “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle,” were written by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle. The TV show was also created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz.

Sherwood Schwartz has taken his Final Taxi.

Schwartz guided the little show through three seasons and garnered solid ratings during its run. It later appeared in syndication in the 70’s & 80’s making Gilligan a television icon and Bob Denver (who played the main character) a recognizable face.

Schwartz later took aim at the American family after hearing that in 1965 nearly one-third of American households included at least one child from a previous marriage. He then wrote the story of the marriage between a “lovely lady” with three daughters and “a man named Brady” with three sons. The series was called “The Brady Bunch”. It became the first sitcom to feature a family blended from two previous marriages. The show ran from 1969 to 1974 and had a theme song which, again, featured catchy lyrics written by Schwartz.

The show was so popular that it spun off a Saturday morning cartoon, a variety show, a reality show, TV movies, and several TV sitcoms. There was even a stage production called “The Real Live Brady Bunch” in the 90’s. A reboot in the movies came about in 1995 with “The Brady Bunch Movie” followed by “A Very Brady Sequel” (1996) and “The Brady Bunch in the White House,” a 2002 TV movie. Schwartz had his hand in all these projects in some form or another.

Schwartz also worked on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” “I Married Joan,” “The Red Skelton Show,” and “My Favorite Martian” early in his career.

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You Can’t Do That on Television Actor – Les Lye

One of trademarks of Nickelodeon, the children television network, is green slime. Does anyone remember why?

It all started with a little show called “You Can’t Do That on Television.” The program started in 1979 for a Canadian television station but was picked up by Nickelodeon in 1981. It ran on the network till 1994. Whenever anyone during the show said the words “I don’t know” a bucket of green goo would pour over their head. It soon became a popular skit and was a staple on the children’s program. So slime was born.

The Many Faces of Les Lye

The Many Faces of Les Lye

I enjoyed watching the show not for the slime but for the sense of humor that was in all the skits. “You Can’t Do That on Television” reminded me of a kid’s version of Monty Python at times.

It was not just the comedy writing but the actors who were in the cast of regulars on the show. One of the adult cast members was Les Lye who played everything from a tyrannical schoolteacher to a bumbling football coach. It is Les Lye who has taken his Final Taxi.

Many may remember Lye’s most popular character Ross, the studio director, who gave bad advice to the child actors. He had a trademark clipboard and studio headset and was featured on the show’s opening credits. Another character was the dirty and disgusting burger chef named Barth whose catch phrase was “I heard that!”

Lye started working in television in 1958 and moved to children’s programming in 1961. His show “Uncle Willy and Floyd” lasted for 22 years on Canadian TV. It was there that he met a young actress and singer who he would bring back later on “You Can’t Do That on Television”, Alanis Morissette.

In 2003, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Alliance of Canadian Cinema. Les Lye was 84.

A Nun helps even after death

 

 

 

Sister Carmen Burg of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato, Minn., found a unique way for her nuns to continue to help others — even after death.

In 1986, she gave a researcher the go-ahead to begin a study in which the nuns would agree to be studied as they aged, then would donate their brains when they died.

Final Taxi Logo

Sister Carmen, 84, took her Final Taxi last week after complications from diabetes at the Good Counsel Convent .

The nun was one of 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the U.S. are participating in the Nun Study, a longitudinal study of aging and Alzheimer’s disease initiated in 1986. The homogeneous life style of the nuns makes them an ideal study population. Convent archives have been made available to investigators as a resource on the history of participants.

The study has found that nuns who expressed more positive emotions lived significantly longer — in some cases 10 years longer — than those who voiced fewer positive emotions.

For the study, researchers drew the nuns’ blood, pored over their medical histories, studied their upbringing, read their journals and even autopsied their brains — all in an effort to unlock clues to the cause and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sister Carmen had said the nuns saw the study “as a way to continue their lifelong mission of helping others, of educating others.”

The Catholic nun held a variety of leadership posts for the order and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But her most lasting legacy may be what is caled “The Nun Study,” which originally consisted of 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame religious order from all across the country. All were between 75 and 106 years old.

School Sisters of Notre Dame is a worldwide order of Roman Catholic nuns devoted to primary, secondary, and post-secondary education.

The order was founded in Bavaria in 1833 during a time of poverty and illiteracy. Its founder, Mary Theresa of Jesus, formed a community with two other women to teach the poor.

In 1847 Mother Theresa and five companion sisters went to America to aid a group of German immigrants in rural Pennsylvania. That same year the sisters staffed schools in three German parishes in Baltimore, Maryland: St. James, St. Michael, and St. Alphonsus, as well as opening the Institute of Notre Dame, a private school for German girls. Eventually the sisters traveled as far west as Mankato, MN, establishing several missions for their order..

The Minnesota sisters began the study in Mankato in 1986 and expanded in 1990.

Among the provisions of the study: the sisters agreed that upon their death they would donate their brains for storage and research at the University of Minnesota.

Sister Mary Joyce Pietsch of the School Sisters of Notre Dame said Sister Carmen approved the study because it was a great way for the nuns to educate and serve even after death.

“She started out as a teacher, like we all did,” Pietsch said. “We’re all interested in education and helping others.”

What a way to continue with your calling from God.

Listen to Mom: Don’t Run With Scissors

Final Taxi LogoBack when I was in school we were made to watch some of these old 1950s made films that were to teach children safety. They taught safety by scaring the hell out of you into you becoming safe.

No wonder so many of the kids from my generation are obsessive/ compulsive.

One film that we were made to watch was called Live And Learn. It was made by educational film producer Sid Davis who I did a Final taxi podcast on a few months ago (http://www.wildvoice.com/RonNasty/Posts/Sex-Education-Films-Sid-Davis )

In the film Live And Learn there are several kids who do things that they should not do. Pouring gas on the fire, playing with matches, walking to close to cliffs and shoot a BB gun at someone are just a few of the things children do in the film and are taught they should not.

There is also a girl who runs with scissors in the film and is impaled on them.

It is unfortunate that life had to imitate art as a 6-year girl has died from playing with scissors.

Kayleigh C. Cochis had gotten gum stuck in her hair and need a way to get it out. So like any 6 year old she thought should cut it out. Kayleigh knew a pair of scissors were on top of the refrigerator. She was standing on a wheeled, office-style chair when it moved and she lost her balance after grapping the scissors. As she fell she was impaled in the neck.

The girl’s parents and her 5-year-old brother were in the house at the time and she died on the way to the hospital.

Maybe it’s time for children to be scared back into being more careful.

Watch the film Live And Learn online : http://www.archive.org/details/live_and_learn

A Sesame Street and Electric Company Writer

When I was younger we only had 3 channels. The CBS channel was fuzzy so we had ABC, NBC and PBS.

As a kid, the closest I got to see cartoons on a weekday was watching the educational show that were on the PBS channel. So I watched Sesame Street because it was funny. Much of it was well below me but still it was animated. The Big Bird and Mr. Hooper bickering back and forth was fun. This was also before we thought anything about Burt and Ernie’s relationship. I bought Erine’s Rubber Duckie single when it came out on 45.

But the one show that really floored me was one called The Electric Company.

I will still sing songs from that show. “Yeah we would all be in a mess, if we didn’t have “S” to put at the end of a word..” or “I like fish food; you do, too, Don’t look now, your hair is blue” or even “ Your rich Uncle died and left you all his M—–“ Comedy was the way to educate on the show as you had Jennifer of the Jungle, the Six dollar and thirty-nine cent man, or the adventure of Letterman. They even had Spider-man and the Blue Beetle on the show ( Not the DC comic hero) .

The original cast included Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno (it was Moreno who screamed “Hey, you guyyyyys!!” to open the show) Bill Cosby, Judy Graubart, Lee Chamberlin, and Skip Hinnant. Most of the cast had done stage, repertory, and improv work, with Cosby and Moreno already well-known from film and television at that time.
Can you believe Morgan Freeman as a character called Easy Reader?

The reason I am remembering that show is because the writer for “The Electric Company and “Sesame Street “ has taken his Final Taxi .

Jim Thurman was an Emmy-award winning children’s television writer. He was one of a team of writers for Children’s Television Workshop during the early years.

Besides “Sesame Street,” & “The Electric Company,” Thurman wrote for “321 Contact.” He also wrote sketches for Jim Henson’s “The Muppet Show,” and performed voices such as “Sesame Street’s” Teeny Little Super Guy.

Thurman helped kids have fun with math as co-creator of “Square One TV.” As senior producer and head writer, he helped create the Mathnet segments, a parody of “Dragnet” featuring calculator-toting detectives.

Joan Ganz Cooney, founder and former president of Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) said, “Jim was a stalwart spirit within the Workshop. He was important not only for what he produced but for the positive spirit he had as he did it. He was an utter joy to work with, and was truly funny.”

Jim Thurman began his career in advertising in Los Angeles where he and writing partner, the late Gene Moss, formed a boutique ad agency, Creative Advertising Stuff. His comedy writing ability soon led him to television comedy, where he wrote for Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby and Bob Newhart.

With Moss he also wrote and provided voices for “Shrimpenstein,” a satirical children’s television program that aired in Los Angeles during the late 1960s. The two also wrote all 156 episodes and provided voices for the syndicated cartoon, “Roger Ramjet.”

If you have never seen a episode of Roger Ramjet go to YouTube and find one. If you are a fan of the comedy of the carton show Rocky and Bullwinkle and the like this is a must watch!

I found a VHS of it years back and loved it. I bought the DVD when it came out. It’s fantastic. I think Cartoon Network aired it at on point.

If you don’t think Jim Thurman touch people lives, your wrong. One thing he wrote that is still being used today in comedy bits is the “Soft Shoe Silhouettes.”

Two cast members of the Electric Company would appeared in silhouette, one giving the prefix of the word, the other the suffix, to form a new word (e.g., “th-” and “-ing” to form “thing”). Done twice through, sometimes with the viewer trying to read the word the second time through. The song usually ended with the two saying a soft “yeah!”

On MadTV they depicted Big Bird catching and spreading avian flu (Bird Flu) on the street. The silhouetted characters sounded out the words “flu,” “fever,” and “fatal.”

And in a recent Family Guy, Peter was one of the silhouetted characters reading the words. He quickly became frustrated at his inability to keep up with the other character, and attacked him.