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: “Ozzie and Harriet” Origins

The views expressed in this blog arethose 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. 

When one talks about the show that’s the typical, quintessential 1950s “TV family,” you need to look no further than “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” program.

But do you know how this television show came to fruition?

Ozzie Nelson was an orchestra leader who sometimes teamed with Harriet (born Peggy Lou Snyder) for events before both were asked to appear at the same time on a national radio show called “The Baker’s Broadcast” in the early 1930s.  One of the initial hosts of the show was Robert Ripley (remember “Ripley’s ‘Believe It or Not?’ “)

Ozzie and Harriet married in 1935 and decided, as opposed to continuing to work independently, they would see more of each other by working the same gigs.

Featured appearances on some of the top radio programs in the 1940s included “The Red Skelton Show,” “The Fred Allen Show” and “Suspense,” which led to their own radio vehicle.

When Skeleton was drafted in 1944, Ozzie was left to create his own family situation comedy on Red’s program, giving him valuable experience he would need a couple years later to develop his own television show.

The Ozzie and Harriet radio program actually switched networks, from CBS to NBC and finally to ABC, who was significantly behind the other two networks in the Hooper ratings that were used at that time. In the late 1940s, all three networks started looking at existing radio shows that could successfully make the transition to television.  Because ABC was desperate to hold on to their talent and not lose them to the other two networks, they pretty much offered the Nelsons carte blanche when it came to creating their own television program.

First of all, Ozzie and Harriet never had to produce a pilot episode for ABC. Instead, the couple’s successful movie, “Here Comes the Nelsons,” was used to convince the network that America would fall in love with this real-life family.

Also, before a single episode aired, Ozzie convinced ABC to guarantee them a 10-year contract.  This meant that regardless of whether or not the series would ever be canceled, the entire family would still get paid for a decade–a virtually unheard of television contract concession, even to this day.

The contract actually turned out to be a godsend for the network and not as much for the Nelsons as the show became an instant hit and easily surpassed the 10-year contract, making it the first weekly prime-time scripted television program ever to last for more than a decade.

In all, the series would go on for a record-setting 14-year sojourn on television alone.

We’ll have more on this program’s legacy coming up in a future blog post.

In the meantime, you can visit with the Nelsons yourself.  “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” airs weekly on Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. on RCN-TV.

Plus…we’re hosting an “Ozzie and Harriet” mini-marathon this Monday evening starting at 9 pm on RCN-TV.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Hoops ’20 (Round 1)

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. 

Normally by this time every year, I have annually made my way out to at least a few dozen of the summer basketball league games and to two or three (or more) different tournaments that feature teams from the RCN coverage areas in Lehigh Valley, the Delaware Valley and even teams from the Washington, DC area.

Obviously, those plans have been put on hold, with a number of spring and summer tournaments canceling their usual events.

In speaking to several of the local summer basketball organizers, there remains some optimism that, while the full slate of “summer league” games will not be played, there could be some events over the next two months to give the kids a little bit of outdoor basketball activities in late July or August.

Thinking of these games made me look through my computer and discover there were quite a bit of “new” pictures that I took at last year’s summer games that never saw the light of day because of space and never made it to our website.

As fate would have it, I’d like to present a whole batch of these never-before-seen summer basketball pictures as we reflect on last year’s outdoor basketball action.  I will continue to be in contact with summer basketball league organizers over the next several weeks.  I very much hope that I will be able to pass along some positive news soon for summer hoops fans on “SportsTalk” and here at “The Shop.”

In the meantime, we look back on the action from last year…


Keep checking back to the “SportsTalk Shop” for the latest news – positive or negative – regarding summer basketball, or any other local sports, returning to action in the RCN viewing areas this year.

 

 

 

HS All-Stars 2020 (Round 2)

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 here at “The Shop,” we started to bring you all the All-Stars for the past sports season involving teams in the RCN-TV viewing area.

We continue to honor those student-athletes this week. We’ll start in the DMV area by taking a look at those recognized for high school basketball.

First, here’s the DC State Athletic League releasing their girls and boys list, followed by teams identified by “Major Moves” spotlighting players from Virginia.

Next, here are the scholar-athlete award winners for District 11 for this past school year:

2A Scholar Athlete Winner
Harrison Bernhard- Northwestern Lehigh HS

3A Scholar Athlete Winner
Kenny Herrmann- Bethlehem Catholic HS

2A Essay Winner
Andrew Cerniglia- Notre Dame Green Pond HS

3A Essay Winner
Caden Wright- Emmaus HS

Here are the wrestling student-athlete award winners from each school in both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and the Colonial League:

2019-20 DXI WCA Scholar Athlete Information

And last but not least, the EPC girls and boys Sportsmanship Award Winners for the 2019-20 school year:

Avery Francis (Stroudsburg)
&
Sheamus McConnell (Pocono Mountain West)

Remember to keep checking back here at “The Shop” for more recognition of our local high school student-athletes’ achievements throughout the year and congratulations to this year’s honorees!

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: Victory At Sea

The views expressed in this blog arethose 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. 

For the many people who will be staying home for this year’s Fourth of July or for people who have RCN’s TiVo and DVR products, a tremendous way to spend the holiday would be to watch the documentary series marathon, “Victory at Sea” (followed by an encore performance of the 2019 Allentown Fireworks Spectacular).

This Emmy-Award Winning, limited-run series on NBC recounts historic battles and key moments in the United States victory over the Axis powers in World War II.

The idea for the show came from United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Harry Salomon.  While working on writing a historical review of World War II, Solomon uncovered millions of feet of actual newsreel footage, covering the wars’ darkest moments and the Allied Forces’s greatest victories.

After leaving the Navy in 1948 Solomon and fellow Harvard grad Robert Sarnoff, who was the son of NBC President David Sarnoff, approached the network about making a documentary series based on this footage.

The series was green-lighted by NBC for a whopping $500,000 budget (one of the largest of the time period) and was an instant hit.

The scenes were accompanied by legendary songwriter / composer Richard Rodgers, who was coming off several huge Broadway hits and is one of just two people ever to win an Emmy, a Tony, a Grammy, an Academy Award and a Pulitzer prize.

Excerpts from this soundtrack have been used for many movies, television shows and special events ever since.

After its network run, the footage was re-edited again with a brand new narration and was released as a self-contained hour and a half long featured film.  A few years later, NBC re-edited the footage a third time for a television movie showing. Its success had also included a successful spin-off show called, “Project Twenty.”

See the best moments of the “Victory at Sea” saga as part of a special Independence Day marathon on RCN-TV, followed by the Allentown Fireworks Show.

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

 

 

 

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: “The Lucy Show” Legacy

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.

Last week here at the Classic Video Showplace, we took a look at the origins and beginning of “The Lucy Show,” the first series starring Lucille Ball after her record-setting role in her nine-year run as Lucy Ricardo with real-life husband, Desi Arnaz.

(The cast of “The Lucy Show” through the first three seasons)

Like her initial TV series, “The Lucy Show” was well-received by critics and fans alike and quickly became a top 20 staple in the Nielsen television ratings.

By the end of the show’s first season on the air, Arnaz, tired of the business aspect of the entertainment industry, asked Ball to buy him out as co-president of the show’s production company, Desilu.

Lucille took full control of the show’s direction from season two onward, and later named her new husband, Gary Morton, as co-executive producer.

After its first three, rather smooth years on television, this series was in for a rocky, yet equally successful run during the rest of its years on TV.

During the summer hiatus between the series’ third and fourth seasons (back when television seasons actually lasted nearly an entire year), Vance decided to step away from the project (more on that in a moment.)

Vance was initially replaced by Ann Southern (who then left because she demanded, but was denied, sharing top-billing with Lucy).  Joan Blondell, who was also a friend of Ball’s, was then brought in as her sidekick.  Despite the friendship, Lucille realized the on-camera chemistry was not working between the two and quickly replaced her with Mary Jane Croft, appearing in a different role than she had performed earlier in the series.  (Croft also played several characters on the original show, including the role of Lucy’s neighbor during “I Love Lucy’s” sixth season – the last of the 30-minute editions of this program.)

Vance’s departure from the show evolved from a continuing rift between her and Ball–one that started over miscommunication between both actors’ agents, studio executives and the show’s producers.  Vance would later return to appear on the show on a part-time basis and, eventually, the long-standing friendship between the two was renewed.

An argument between Ball and her longtime “Lucy” writing staff (two of which had worked with Lucy since her radio show, “My Favorite Husband”, in the 1940s) led to their dismissal. Lucille’s on-camera children were also fired from the show (despite Candy Moore becoming a very popular teen idol at that time) and the setting for the program shifted to a new location, with no mention of her children again for the rest of the show’s run.

One of the reasons for the show’s move to California: to make it more realistic when special guest stars would happen to cross paths with Lucy in her adventures.

Ball made another shrewd business decision as executive producer:  despite less than 5% of Americans having color television sets in 1963, she insisted on filming the episodes in color, pointing out they could make more money in syndication with colorized episodes.  Even so, CBS rejected that idea and continued to broadcast these shows in black-and-white for two more seasons, even though they were filmed in color.

Also, unlike most shows that were being produced in the early 1960s, “The Lucy Show” was filmed in front of a live audience (with a laugh track added only for jokes that did not get a good response).  The studio audience became a staple for many sitcoms in the decade that followed.

While Ball rarely ad-libbed lines during this production, there were several episodes in which mishaps occurred during filming that made it to the final cut.

One example included Lucy getting trapped in a shower filled with rapidly rising water, and Vance, without breaking character, was left to improv and create lines in order to buy time for Ball to recover from her unintentional misadventure. The scene, with a mistake and all, made it to the final version of the episode.

Another famous experience included fellow legendary comedians Bob Hope and Jack Benny trying to outdo each other with one liners while the cameras continue to roll without interruption.  While the live audience never seemed to catch on to these unexpected lines and occurrences, it’s fun to go back and watch an episode like this to see how these talented actors responded when things went off script.

The show itself was never canceled. Instead, Ball, tired of running the large Desilu Productions, sold the company to Paramount, and with it the rights to this incarnation of her show. The very next year she formed a new, smaller production unit (with herself as the creative head) and launched the equally popular “Here’s Lucy” sitcom, which ran for six additional seasons. 

You can see “The Lucy Show,” every Wednesday morning at 11am on RCN-TV.

To see the full listing of classic programming on RCN, check out the weekly listings here on our website. 

 

 

SportsTalk’s Top 10 — Part 2

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 other agency, organization, employer or company.

As part of the 15-year anniversary of the RCN SportsTalk program we are celebrating this month, I started compiling a list of the top 10 shows that come to mind when looking back at the show’s history (see our previous blog for entries #1-#5).

Here are entries #6-#10, in no particular order:

6) Joe Craig, Gary Laubach & Dick Tracy – the pilot show

You never forget your first show…although, it seemed if you blinked, this one was over in a flashAlthough a lot has evolved since that first program, one of the first — and biggest — changes since the first few shows was that the program was only 30 minutes long back then.  With these three legendary sports personalities on for just a half hour, this program seemed to end shortly after we started.  Subsequent weeks revealed that, because of the outstanding talent we have as guests each week, the show had to expand to a 60-minute format, which we have continued to this day. Unlike most television shows now-a-days that are reducing their shows’ length to try to improve their pacing to meet people’s shortening attention spans, I’m proud to say that when our hour is up, guests and viewers alike always say, “Hey, I wish we had another hour to talk more.” 

7) Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs

I’m cheating here as we have been honored to have this international star on a few times over the years. She has discussed everything from her time in the Olympics to raising her daughter, Talitha, to topical social issues, to her story with her dad’s career, on which the movie “Lean On Me” was based. If I find out in advance that Keith Groller will not be with us and we’re discussing a topic I know she feels strongly about, she’s the first person I call to see if she’s available to fill in as a co-host.  Joetta is always a joy to speak with about all of her areas of expertise.

8) The Lumberjack Show at the Fair

SportsTalk Executive Producer Rick Geho has had some very good suggestions for me and the show over the years. One idea that I didn’t think was so great at the time involved one of our shows from the Allentown Fair. We were sharing the Farmerama Stage with a gentleman from Minnesota who performed a lumberjack show and Rick suggested that we have him on as a guest.

A lumberjack show…really?

But not only did this gentleman produce some wonderful stories and made for an entertaining show, but he bid me — live on the air — to participate in some of his show activities.  This included me throwing an axe over my head to try to hit a target 40 feet away.  Without any practice, I hit the target – a feat Mr. Craig and our RCN crew members still say to this day was one of the most shocking things they’ve seen in their careers (I tried to think of that as a compliment from them, but I’m not so sure).

9) The Dick Tracy “surprise” tribute show

This is actually the first show that came to mind when I sat down to do this … and will probably be one of the greatest SportsTalk episodes that I will ever be a part of. Coach Tracy was a mentor to me – I looked up to him as a kid watching Whitehall HS basketball games, he was my journalism and yearbook teacher as a high school student and a colleague and the most helpful person to me when I started announcing games in the Lehigh Valley as a radio announcer. Then later I had the honor to announce games with him for RCN-TV. When Coach “retired” from broadcasting I remembered a conversation from years earlier in which I asked him: if there was one day in which he could relive any of the great experiences in his life, what would it be?  His response was that he would actually enjoy a couple hours sitting around with his state championship Zephyr basketball team and just shoot the breeze with them.  I contacted everyone on that team along with some other special people in Dick’s life who came in and surprised him live on the air. Coach HATED tributes and the fact that we were able to bring his entire team back and keep this a secret from him while pulling off a successful show on LIVE TV is truly one of the most amazing accomplishments I will ever have achieved as producer of this program.

10) ???

Now I’m really taking an easy way out. Probably even if I had the rundown of all of our shows in front of me I couldn’t name a final entry in this list.  I’ve been blessed to have so many wonderful people volunteer their time to come in and share their stories and opinions with us. I’d like to think every show is a little unique from the previous ones so I am just going to keep the spot open for now and call it a tie between practically every other show we’ve done.

Thanks to all for the memories!!!

 

 

 

 

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: “The Lucy Show” Origins

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.

According to legend (aka, “The ‘I Love Lucy‘ Book” by Bart Andrews) when “The Lucy Show” pilot was being filmed, co-star Vivian Vance and Executive Producer (and Lucille Ball’s former husband) Desi Arnaz were watching high above the stage on the catwalk, both in tears with Vance proclaiming, “It isn’t the same, is it?”

This, of course, was a reference to the impossible task of trying to repeat the amazing success of one of television’s all-time greatest comedies, “I Love Lucy,” which share ratings numbers that have rarely ever been matched, even to this day.

Still, the follow-up to the initial Lucille Ball-starred TV show had a tremendous run in its own right, packed with trend-setting elements and interesting storylines – both on and off screen.

First of all, it was one of the first shows to feature two divorced women living without their husbands while successfully raising young children.

The show was successful both in terms of popularity and critical acclaim, capturing several Emmy awards and nominations throughout its six-year run.  This, despite numerous cast, setting and show format changes, including its controversial switching from black-and-white to color photography.

According to “The Lucy Book” by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman, the show was never meant to last beyond one season and was a tool by Desilu Productions (owned by Arnaz and Ball) to try to reverse the production company’s trend of producing struggling television shows. The idea was to try to force CBS to buy a bundle of failing Desilu shows in order to have “The Lucy Show” on their schedule. (This technique is now employed by most major networks, forcing outlets to carry smaller, less-watched channels while holding highly successful network(s) as bait.)  

Ironically, Ball first balked at the idea of such a ploy, only to use this strategy in renewing this series in its later years.

Ball was initially hesitant to get back into television and only would do so after insisting that the original “I Love Lucy” writers, co-star Vance and other regular guest stars (Mary Jane Croft, Gale Gordon) would be involved in this production.

The show’s airing network, CBS, had some reservations before green-lighting the show. The TV executives felt that Ball would have trouble carrying the series without her husband on screen with her, like on “I Love Lucy.”  In another ironic twist, back in 1949, the same network wouldn’t believe that Arnaz could carry off the role of being Lucy’s husband – even though they were married in real life. It took Lucille’s ultimatum that Desi would play her husband or she wouldn’t do the show before CBS gave its approval for the original series.

Vance also needed persuasion to return to the small screen to become Lucy’s sidekick.  Tired of being called “Ethel” in public, she insisted on using her real name on the show and also demanded more glamorous clothes as opposed to the ones Lucille forced her to wear repeatedly on the original series.

With some of her most trusted friends, long-time colleagues – both on and off screen – and even her former husband serving as the show’s executive producer, Ball’s “The Lucy Show” was primed to be a major hit on CBS. 

However, this was just the beginning of a tumultuous relationship for many of the people involved, including ripping apart one of television’s best loved friendships.

More on this show in next week’s blog entry….

You can see “The Lucy Show,” every Wednesday morning at 11am on RCN-TV.

To see the full listing of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

 

 

“Breaking Exclusive” News

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 other agency, organization, employer or company.

 I know this week I had teased part two of our SportsTalk Top 10 list, but I really think it is imperative I address something else in this week’s blog entry.

From time to time I feel called upon to blow our own horn just a bit. Yes, it may be self-serving and, to be completely honest, it’s not one of my strengths. But as I do represent a talented and hard-working group of people who work on the RCN Sports staff, I do feel the need, from time to time, to point out a few truths to sports fans.

For the record, I don’t do this every single time I notice, but there are some occurrences where I do feel obligated to point some things out and set the record straight.

And this is one of those more extreme examples that I often see.

Back in mid-April when I did my first “all remote access” edition of RCN SportsTalk, Notre Dame Head Baseball Coach Mike Bedics was on our show and revealed that nearly all of the local high school baseball coaches in the RCN viewing area – 32 of them – had gotten together and put a plan in place to participate in a high school baseball tournament in August.

Granted, there were still a lot of unknowns at that time as everyone – including our state government – had no idea how long the coronavirus would last.  Nor did anyone have any idea on what the “return to normalcy” and resulting regulations would look like.

Still, it was noted that a solid plan was in place, along with locations that would host games. All of them would be able to accommodate spacing out issues in cooperation with social distancing, Bedics explained, that if it was all possible and permissible under Department of Education regulations, the tournament would be played. It was also explained this was a way to give seniors who missed out on their final high school season a chance to play the sport they love one more time.

It was a great scoop we had, as the meeting had just taken place a few hours before we recorded the interview and it was an opportunity, once again, to let the RCN viewers in on something before anyone else in eastern Pennsylvania had any idea about it.

Fast forward to this past weekend.

Another local news agency came out with “breaking exclusive news,” citing local high school coaches have put together a plan to have a high school baseball tournament in August.  The story then pretty much repeated everything that was on our program – TWO MONTHS PRIOR – with of course the repetition of the phrase “breaking exclusive story” a few more times.  It ended with a codicil noting that it still needed local and state government approval (as we had stated on our program) but that local coaches were optimistic the games could be played.  Again, the exact same information that was on our show … over 8 WEEKS before.

I realized that not every single person in eastern Pennsylvania watches the RCN SportsTalk Show every week.  I also know that people may not be able to see every single episode … even though all of our shows are available to RCN customers through video on demand and/or DVR or TiVo the show.

However, if you do want to stay ahead of the curve and find out information before it is revealed elsewhere, you might want to schedule watching the show – in some way, shape or form – each week, so that you are not left out  nor have to wait a couple months to get local sports news.

*******

Speaking of RCN SportsTalk, we have some great new programs coming your way over the next several weeks…

… Former playing great & retiring Allen Head Basketball Coach Doug Snyder, stepping down after 24 years

Washington Nationals Beat Writer Jesse Dougherty with the latest on MLB’s attempt to restart their season

… Retiring Liberty Head Basketball Coach Chad Landis, stepping down after 12 years as head coach and eight more years as an assistant

… This fall’s incoming class of head football coaches in Easton, Pennsylvania

… New Allen High School Athletic Director Randy Atiyeh and new Head Basketball Coach Darnell Braswell

… New Dieruff High School Athletic Director David Stout and new head basketball coach Marlon Randall

… This fall’s defending District XI champions (in multiple sports)

… League and district administrators to talk about the Department of Education’s guidance and protocols for high school sports regarding the Coronavirus

… & more!!!

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: Roy Rogers- “The Movies”

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.

Roy Rogers starred in a television show which successfully ran for several years and had some unique stories of its own (which we will address in another blog entry).

But this week, we’ll focus on his early career and successful cinematic performances, many of which are airing this month on Monday mornings on RCN-TV.

Contrary to what you may think, one of the most popular cowboys of all time, Rogers was born in the non-western town of Cincinnati, Ohio. He traveled to different cities and toiled in several jobs before eventually starting his entertaining career as a musician in Inglewood, California.  His first gig was as a member of a short-lived musical group called “The Rocky Mountaineers” in 1931.

It took three more years (and participating in several additional failing musical groups) before Rogers, now a part of a group called “The Sons of the Pioneers,” recorded his first successful song, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.”  More musical successes soon followed which gave Rogers the start of his movie career in 1935.  However, once again, it took Rogers several years before he found success on the big screen.

In 1938, Republic Pictures held a contest looking for a singing cowboy; the contest included several established movie actors of the time. However, Rogers, still relatively unknown in the film industry, won the contest and soon hit it big with several successful movies.

(Rogers with Lynne Roberts in “Billy the Kid Returns“)

Two of his first big movie hits were the 1938 films “Billy The Kid Returns” (starring alongside the popular Smiley Burnette) and “Shine On, Harvest Moon” (co-starring with Mary Hart).

(Rogers and Hart in “Harvest Moon”)

Both of these films will be shown in the “RCN Movie Vault,’ airing on Monday, June 15, starting at 9 a.m.

By 1940 his surging popularity allowed him to rewrite his contract and included owning the rights to his likeness, leading to the sale of the popular Roy Rogers action figures.

Along with Gene Autry, Rogers became one of the most popular “B movies” Western stars in the 1940s and early 1950s.

He supported John Wayne in the 1940s classic, “Dark Command”, and for 16 consecutive years won the ‘Motion Picture Herald Top 10 Money Making Western Stars’ poll.

While his trademark song, “Happy Trails”, did not come along for several more years (the song was written by his future wife, Dale Evans), Rogers continued to cross-market his movie and music successes throughout the 1940s, resulting in a number of popular Western films still reviewed by film students to this day.

A unique aspect of Rogers’ films was that it would often spill out of the atypical Western genre. For example, sometimes his trustee horse, Trigger, would go off for several minutes on an animal adventure. It was a rarity in many Hollywood films to go several minutes without a single bit of dialogue nor hardly any musical accomplishments.

You can see the many different elements of Roy Rogers’ classic films on Monday mornings over the next several weeks on RCN-TV.

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

 

SportsTalk’s Top 10 — Part 1

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 other agency, organization, employer or company.

I thought I had a really cool idea for this week’s SportsTalk Shop blog entry.

Since this week marks the 15th anniversary of our first ever RCN SportsTalk program, I thought it would be interesting to go back and pick out the top SportsTalk shows that come to mind when I think about our 15 years on the air.

I really got excited when I started brainstorming all the great shows that came to mind, the wonderful people we’ve had on, and the tremendous conversations and stories we’ve heard. I thought it would be best if I put a cap on the number of episodes I recollect, otherwise we might be taking up far too much bandwidth than we’re allotted on the website.  But before I got too deep in the process, I thought I better check my files to make sure I don’t leave off an important show that might be slipping my mind.

I could say my memory is not what it used to be – although since I’m constantly writing things down, I could also argue my memory has never been as good as it should be.

So I went to my computer to get the full rundown of all the shows we’ve done and, as bad luck would have it, the link to the file that stores all of our show episodes is not available. So I’m going to continue with my original thought (for now) of writing down the first SportsTalk shows that come into my mind when I look back on the history of the program. Keep in mind this is purely based on my recollections and no statistics or official barometer was used in its compilation.

I do want to apologize in advance if I’m missing an obvious choice that should make this list and I reserve the right to do this list again to make changes or to insert something that should be on this list in the first place.

So here we go, in no particular order:

  • Saquon Barkley
    He only gets one spot on our list but the New York Giants star running back has actually made a few appearances on our program over the years.  As I’ve said frequently over the last ten years — since he was a sophomore in high school, his tremendous work ethic is amazing and it’s paid off, making one of the biggest personalities currently in sports.

  • Dick Tracy & John Donmoyer
    I have no shame in admitting that sometimes our best shows are the ones in which I say very little, and this show was certainly one of them.  They are arguably two of the biggest high school basketball coaching names in the Lehigh Valley, and I didn’t have to do much prodding to get these two sports geniuses to start recalling stories of their heydays – both great memories playing against each other and other wonderful recollections brought back from decades of coaching excellence.

  • Doug Snyder & John Donmoyer
    Another show where I didn’t have to ask too many questions…the wonderful stories flowed freely as the 25-year head coach of the Allen boys basketball team and his prodigy-turned-successor recalled the Canaries basketball program’s greatest moments, some very personal moments and rarely told recollections of the school’s most triumphant victories over the last four decades.  Incidentally, Snyder just retired after his 24th year (out of respect he quit one year before Donmoyer did) and we will have an entirely new show with Doug coming up on SportsTalk later this month.

  • Freedom football team
    I knew the basic idea for Sports Talk would be a success, given the popularity of sports in this area. However, I’ve frequently been shocked at times by the outpouring of feedback that I receive, and this particular episode was one that really blew my mind.  Head Coach Jason Roeder, starting Quarterback Joe Young (now playing at Harvard) and his teammates had some great stories recalling the hurdles they had overcome four seasons ago, the challenges students face and on turning their program around while overcoming massive injuries in this particular year (at that time, they set a school record for wins in a season – recently surpassed by the team from two years ago). Furthermore, I remember the people who contacted me for WEEKS after the show aired, thanking me for having them on – I’m pretty sure the number of IN PERSON responses from Freedom fans alone were well over 300!
  • Nazareth girls & boys basketball & wrestling teams
    I’m cheating here because we’ve had the pleasure of having several Blue Eagles teams on SportsTalk over the years.  The student-athletes have always impressed me — not only being great on-camera speakers but also in revealing some wonderful personalities. Head Coaches Dave Crowell, Joe Arndt and Rich Bickert have not only won a lot of sporting events but have produced some great kids which is always evident when they make an appearance on our show to talk about, literally, everything. From discussing their love of classic movies to the Bridgeforth twins singing “Roll Out The Barrel” live on air, these Nazareth teams always make for incredibly entertaining TV.

We’ll continue our look back at some of the top moments in the history of the RCN SportsTalk program next week!