Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

TV Trivia Thursday #5

Happy Chanukah, and welcome to this week's TV Trivia Thursday! So far I've been able to keep these going on a weekly basis, except for a holiday break for Thanksgiving. It may move to bi-weekly at some point, since as of this edition I've exhausted my backlog, but we'll see.

1) What were the three rotating feature shows of the "The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie" during its entire 1971-1977 run?
1a) What fourth rotating feature did it include from 1972-74?

2) "A Priest, a Minister, and a Rabbi..." sounds like the opening line of a joke - but this trio of clergymen were once actually hired by the producers of a sitcom to assuage network worries about an ongoing plotline. What were the show and situation?

3) Which two actors - one dramatic, one comedic - jointly hold the record for the longest time playing a single character on prime-time American television?

4) And speaking of those two categories, what is (AFAIK) the only case of a comedy show having a drama for a spinoff?

5) Who miserably failed his audition to join the original Saturday Night Live "Not Ready for Prime Time Players", only to emerge as a breakout star on another network's prime-time sitcom three years later?

6) Solomon found a woman of valor to be of great value, and as the respective titles of this show and its spinoff confirm, men do have their fixed worth, while women, indeed, are... priceless.

7) What TV theme song, voted #1 of all time by a wide margin in a TV Guide/TV Land poll, was reportedly first drafted in about 15 minutes by the show's producer, right before a pitch session?

8) Find the actor family ties between each pair (and one trio) of shows, starting with... "Family Ties" itself!
a) Family Ties / Arrested Development
b) Coach / Diagnosis: Murder
c) Cheers / Taxi
d) Days of Our Lives / Friends
e) Full House / Growing Pains
f) The Patty Duke Show / The Addams Family
g) Family / Sex and the City
h) Your Show of Shows / All In the Family / Laverne and Shirley
---Add some of your own!


At 12/6/07, 9:57 AM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

1)McCloud, Columbo, McMillan and Wife.
1a)the horrid Amy Prentiss.
Jessica Walter (I had to use IMDB to get the actress's name) who played Amy Prentiss once appeared on McCloud as a villain. That episode also featured a famous centerfold. Who was she?

3) Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane and Richard Belzer as Det. Munch?

4) MASH and Trapper John MD.
Mary Tyler Moore and Lou Grant

7) The Jeopardy theme by Merv Griffin

8)a) Justine/Jason Bateman (sister/brother)
b) Jerry/Dic Van Dyke (cousins?)
c) Rhea Pearlman/Danny DeVito (wife/husband)
d) David/Courtney Cox Arquette(?) (husband/wife)
e) Sweetin sisters (?)
h) Carl Reiner/Rob Reiner/Penny Marshall (father,son,ex-wife)

How about
i) Benson/Growing Pains
j) 24/Commander in Chief

At 12/6/07, 11:17 AM, Blogger trn said...

The actor who holds the record for playing the same comedic role is Kelsey Grammer, for Frasier Crane of first Cheers then Frasier.

The Six Million Dollar Man has his worth stated in the title, while The Bionic Woman doesn't.

Was the theme song the theme song for The Andy Griffith Show?

Family Ties / Arrested Development: Justine Bateman / Jason Bateman, sister of Justine. Jason was well-known before his sister was for his role on Silver Spoons.

Cheers / Taxi: Rhea Perlman / Danny DeVito, husband of Rhea. Taxi came first, though, and Rhea appeared on Taxi as a love-interest of Danny's character Louie.

Days of Our Lives / Friends: John Aniston / Jennifer Aniston, daughter of John.

Full House / Growing Pains: Candace Cameron / Kirk Cameron, cousin of Candace. Growing Pains came first. I think they are cousins, unless it is that they are siblings and one guested on the show of the other playing a cousin.

The Patty Duke Show / The Addams Family: Patty Duke / John Astin, husband of Patty. This pair can be expanded into a trio by the addition of The Facts of Life.

Your Show of Shows / All In the Family / Laverne and Shirley: Carl Reiner / Rob Reiner, son of Carl / Penny Marshall, wife of Rob.

The West Wing and Malcolm in the Middle are a more recent pair.

At 12/6/07, 11:39 AM, Blogger trn said...

Grammer tied the record of an actor who starred in a drama from an earlier era, so the actor in the dramatic role cannot be Richard Belzer. Both Grammer and Belzer, however, have played their respective characters in multiple programs.

Benson / Growing Pains: Missy Gold / Tracey Gold, sister of Missy. There is a third sister as well.

24 / Commander in Chief: Kiefer Sutherland / Donald Sutherland, father of Kiefer.

At 12/6/07, 11:53 AM, Blogger trn said...

Billy Crystal was disappointed not to have been able to be included in the original Saturday Night Live cast, but he then went on to become a hit in Soap.

At 12/6/07, 12:33 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Don't want to give away any answers this soon, but just to note that TRN's last comment found an alternate answer (more or less - details a bit different) to question 5! I had another actor in mind, so keep guessing!

At 12/6/07, 12:53 PM, Blogger LEL said...

1.McCleod, MacMillan and Wife,

5.Tom Hanks?

At 12/6/07, 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7. I think it's Gilligan's Island. I saw that on a cable tv special on tv theme songs.

At 12/6/07, 4:37 PM, Blogger trn said...

Right, "miserably failed" didn't seem to describe Billy Crystal's experience. Also, it turns out that Soap began in 1977, only two years later.

Bosom Buddies aired in the 80s, so the actor in question cannot be Tom Hanks.

Was it Robin Williams?

At 12/7/07, 1:26 AM, Blogger LEL said...

I remembered that after I posted the answer. But Hanks was the first to pop into my mind.

At 12/10/07, 5:53 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Nice job all! Here are the full set of answers, most of which were at least partially supplied:

1-1a) Soccer Dad correctly IDed the three main rotating shows. The fourth feature that ran from 1972-74 was called "Hec Ramsey", and starred Richard Boone as a former old-West gunfighter who developed a strong interest in the then-new field of forensics.

2) This relates to Lucy Ricardo's pregnancy on "I Love Lucy" (see related question in the first TTT!) Back in those days, pregnancy was a taboo topic on TV, but Desi and Lucy really wanted to incorporate her real-life pregnancy into the series' storyline. So to prove to CBS that it would work, they hired the abovementioned clergy to review and approve the script for each episode, thus making absolutely sure that nothing offensive to "any major religion" would be aired!

3) SD and TRN correctly IDed the comedic actor: Kelsey Grammer played Dr. Frazier Crane for twenty tears, nine on Cheers and eleven on his own show. The dramatic actor who shares that two decade record is James Arness, for his role as Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke from 1955-1975.

4) SD got the answer I was thinking of, The Mary Tyler Moore Show's spinoff of Lou Grant. MASH and Trapper John, MD are arguably another example, but I consider MASH more of a "dramedy" than a pure comedy.

5) OK, good guesses all, but the answer I had in mind is Andy Kaufman. His flopped in his audition for the original SNL cast, reportedly rather creeping out Lorne Michaels and the other producers – though they did bring him in for a guest spot or two. Three years later, Andy bought his ongoing "Foreign Man" character to ABC's ensemble sitcom "Taxi" as Latka Gravas, and the rest was (an all too brief!) history.

6) TRN showed Solomon-like wisdom by reading my riddle correctly!

7) Anonymous got this one – it was "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island". Great song, especially the Stairway to Heaven version.

8) Between SD and TRN almost all of these were answered. Couple of additions:
b, e) Dick and Jerry Van Dyke are siblings, as are Kirk and Candace Cameron.
g) SatC's Sarah Jessica Parker is married to Matthew Broderick, whose father James played the lead on Family.

At 12/11/07, 7:17 PM, Blogger trn said...

In fact, Andy Kaufman was apparently featured on the very first Saturday Night Live.

Elie showed Solomon-like wisdom by crafting such a riddle! (I like what you wrote about me; thanks!)

There's a Stairway to Heaven version of the theme to Gilligan's Island?

Shall I give the solutions to 1) the addition of The Facts of Life to the pairing of The Patty Duke Show and The Addams Family and 2) the pairing of The West Wing and Malcolm in the Middle?

At 12/11/07, 8:38 PM, Blogger Elie said...

TRN: Kaufman did get a couple of guest SNL shots early on, but didn't make the main cast. Interestingly, he never considered himself a comedian; he felt he was a performance artist.

For the StH version of the GI Theme, a Dr. Demento classic, see here.

Yes, please do post your answers!

At 12/14/07, 1:24 PM, Blogger trn said...

I realize now that my earlier phrasing was poor, that what I wrote could be read as an attempted correction. I apologize for that. My intention was to add to the information about Kaufman having been featured in guest spots, not to contradict that he hadn't been a member of the original cast.

This was a clever and advanced question, Elie! Because he was featured occasionally in the early seasons of Saturday Night Live, even before he found fame through Taxi, Kaufman was unlikely to come to mind as the failed audition.

Thank you so much for the pointer. That is really cool. The computer I use unfortunately doesn't have sound capabilities, so I can't listen to the audio clip. Too bad that version isn't #1 on the Thanksgiving countdowns!

For later seasons of The Facts of Life, Mackenzie Astin, son of Patty Duke and John Astin, was included in the cast.

The West Wing starred Bradley Whitford, and Malcom in the Middle starred Jane Kaczmarek. Whitford and Kaczmarek are married, and the series finales of their respective shows aired against each other.

At 9/21/08, 6:41 AM, Blogger Chus said...

This is what I think: Penny Marshall


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