CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: Michael Landon’s Later 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.

Last week we took a look at the early highs and lows in the life of classic TV star Michael Landon, who broke on to the entertainment scene with his breakout performance in “Bonanza.” This week, we will take a look at his “second act.”

After failing with the first series entrusted to him by the NBC Network, Michael Landon was approached to be the writer and director for an unusual new program–one that was based on a series of books revolving around a little girl growing up in the midwest in the 1870s.

Landon read the show’s synopsis and agreed to take the role, but with one provision…he would also portray the lead male/father character on the show. NBC initially wasn’t convinced the program would ever make it to air.

The television network’s initiative to limit or cancel virtually all “rural” programming in the early 1970s backfired. While some new programs like All In The Family, Good Times, Maude, The Jeffersons and a few others had great success, NBC and CBS came under critical fire for their decisions to cancel other popular programming based on their belief that people no longer wanted to see non-urban based shows. But with Landon agreeing to take responsibility for this new project, NBC relented and green-lighted the project.

Little House on the Prairie launched in 1973 as a two-hour movie and was an immediate hit, finishing 13th overall in the Nielsen ratings in its first year, and climbed as high as seventh overall a few years later.

When the show’s featured actress, Melissa Gilbert, lost her own father early during the show’s production, Gilbert said Landon stepped in and provided a much-needed patriarchal figure in her life–both personally and professionally.

Landon would go on to create, write and direct three additional shows — Highway To Heaven, (a Top 30 ratings show its first three seasons), the two-time Emmy nominated Where Pigeons Go To Die and the less popular Father Murphy in the 1980s, a vehicle for athlete-turned-actor Merlin Olsen, which ran for two full seasons.

Landon remained loyal throughout his projects, frequently using the same production people on all of his shows. Additionally for “Highway,“ he not only brought attention to previously discussed medical issues people were facing but also brought real-life cancer patients and disabled people to the set. His decision to work with disabled people led him to hire a couple of adults with disabilities to write episodes for him.

Tragedy struck again in 1991. CBS green-lighted a new Landon show called, Us, but before it got into full production, Michael was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April. He called a press conference revealing his condition was terminal and answered all the media’s questions. However, various media outlets and tabloid “journalists” printed outrageous stories about Michael, his wife and his family and his ordeal.

Landon succumbed to the cancer less than three months after the diagnosis. He was 54.

During his life and also posthumously, he was honored with various awards, from touching on his skills as a producer, writer, director and actor to his contributions to youth, people in need and the entertainment industry.

Keep checking back to The Showplace for interesting stories and unique accomplishments in the early years of the television and movie industries. 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 #438

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:

Winding Down

You may have read in Keith Groller’s column that I have stepped away from high school sports and I am focused on Lafayette football and basketball only. So, I am soon to be semi-retired. I love the word “semi” because it allows me to wean myself away from the microphone and not go cold turkey. After all, I have gotten used to hearing myself talk and it would be very hard to just stop.

In addition, I am down to my final four blogs. That’s right – I will stop after my 441st one. I cannot believe there have been that many, nor can I believe I was able to find that much to write about. I have been going through some of them and decided this week to bring out one I wrote back in 2012. It just proves the adage that “the more things change, the more they remain the same”. In nine years, nothing in this blog has changed.

Blog #12

Since I offered up my sports highlights for 2012 last week, I decided to venture into the world of New Year’s resolutions this week. Since I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile other than play more golf, I decided to check on the most common resolutions and see if I could fulfill those. In no particular order, I found these:

  1. Drink less alcohol. Check! No problem for me. I drink some red wine because I heard it is good for you, but only in moderation and not very often. Mixed drinks once in awhile. That’s it.
  2. Eat healthy food. Impossible! If you went from gym to gym and stadium to stadium, I defy you to find healthy food. By my count, I have devoured @ 8000 hot dogs on the job, 4000 Diet Cokes, and a 1000 or so candy bars.
  3. Get a better job. Unnecessary! If you exclude the eating problems (see #2), there is no better job.
  4. Get fit. See #2 (again).
  5. Lose weight. Ha! Have you seen #2?
  6. Save money. I can do that.
  7. Manage debt. Check! It’s managed.
  8. Manage stress. I was fine until I started to think about #2!! Now I am hoping to live through 2013.
  9. Quit smoking. Can’t. Never started.
  10. Take a trip. If you insist.

Wow! My resolutions could all be resolved if I would just eliminate the hot dog! No hot dog – no need for the Diet Coke – no need to take a trip to the snack bar – therefore, no candy bars.

I have four games this week – I’ll get back to you on that NO hot dog thing!

These resolutions are as true today as they were back then only now I have the opportunity to cut back on the hot dogs (I’m guessing I must have eaten around 4000!), the diet sodas, and the candy bars. The result could be that I could accomplish #2, #3, #4, #5, and #8. That would mean I would not only be semi-retired, but, also, only semi-happy.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. The Eagles had many opportunities to win Sunday’s game against the 49ers and didn’t. The Birds were not able to score touchdowns. They moved the ball and they defended, but in the Red Zone, they were totally ineffective. Let’s hope this game does not come back to haunt them. They should be 2-0.
  2. The Phillies are doing it to their fans again this week. After a dismal previous week, they are winning again and building up the hopes that they just might win the NL East. Bryce Harper is playing MVP baseball right now and the Braves are not having a very good week. As I write this, the Phils are two games out of first place. They have two games with the Braves on September 28 and 30. Those two games might decide their post-season fate.
  3. I suffered a bit of déjà-vous on Saturday night watching Penn State beat Auburn. The SEC officiating crew cost Penn State a down on an offensive series when they inadvertently took two downs away on an intentional grounding penalty. When it should have been third down, they said it was fourth and Penn State punted. The same thing almost happened in the 2019 LafayetteLehigh game, but after a punt and a 15-minute delay to discuss it, the officials got it right. It was not corrected in the Penn State-Auburn game.
  4. Speaking of Penn State, in the first poll out on Sunday, they moved up from being ranked 10th to #6. Nazareth’s Jahan Dotson was the best player on the field against Auburn (78 yards receiving and a TD, a 22-yard pass, and a 16-yard punt return).
  5. Our Lafayette football coverage continues this Saturday at 3:30pm when the Leopards take on the University of Pennsylvania. Lafayette has yet to win against three very formidable opponents, but they are playing good football. Join us.

Gary’s Guesses

NFL Picks – (LAST WEEK – 10-6; OVERALL- 16-16 50%)

WEEK THREE
Carolina
Giants
Denver
Tennessee
Kansas City
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Baltimore
New England
Arizona
Buffalo
Las Vegas
Seattle
Rams
San Francisco
Dallas

HS FB POLL: 9/20/21

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.

Before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area, I want to give people a heads-up of some “can’t miss” episodes of the RCN SportsTalk show over the next few weeks!

Our guests and show topics will include…

Coaches and players from this year’s PIAA State Champion  Allentown Central Catholic Vikings

Legendary Emmaus Field Hockey Head Coach Sue Butz-Stavin, who is closing in on 1,000 coaching victories for her career

Good Counsel Head Football Coach Andy Stefanelli of the DMV, discussing MaxPrep’s declaration that he’s playing one of the top five most competitive schedules in the country

Doctors and athletic trainers discussing the continuing concerns and issues in playing sports and suggested precautions to utilize to stay healthy in the COVID-10 era

Last but certainly not least, RCN’s Gary Laubach will talk Lafayette football, local sports issues and will also reveal some personal news about himself and his great career

Make sure you set reminders, schedule your DVRs and check out the shows through On-Demand (free for RCN customers) for some of the biggest shows and very important interviews!

Each new show will debut on Thursday evenings at 7 pm on RCN-TV!

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Now, it’s time to look at this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members.

Our preseason #1 team — the Parkland Trojans — are now the ONLY Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South’s undefeated team through the first four weeks of the season. Parkland defeated Freedom, 19-15 last Friday night. If you missed the game, RCN customers can watch it for free through RCN On Demand!

Our #2 and #3 teams (Freedom and Nazareth) face off against each other this Friday. You can watch that game live on RCN TV at 7pm.

Our preseason top Colonial League team — Notre Dame also remains undefeated, after a hard-fought win over Northern Lehigh. Northwestern, our number two preseason team, also is 4-0.

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) Nazareth
4) Emmaus
5) Central Catholic

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) Bangor
4) Wilson
5) Catasauqua

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: 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!

**********

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!