“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly…”
If you weren’t an avid viewer of WKRP in Cincinnati during its original four year run, you should have caught it in reruns. And if you didn’t do that, after you’re done giving yourself a swift swat on your own wrist, know that the line above was the coup de grace from the infamous Thanksgiving episode. Therein, station manager Arthur Carlson arranged to have the holiday birds dropped out of a helicopter as an advertising gimmick—the only problem being that domesticated turkeys fly about as well as pianos do. WKRP was known for solid comedy like that, but for other aspects as well. Back in the late 70’s, there weren’t a lot of true ensemble television shows out there, and there still aren’t a lot of shows that don’t follow any of their characters home at night. And most definitely, there aren’t many shows that ran for just four years and ended up so firmly planted in sitcom lovers’ affections.
The radio station WKRP played molasses slow music for a molasses slow older audience, and didn’t make much dough doing it. That’s when hotshot programmer Andy Travis slid in, sporting some tight 70’s era pants and some even bolder ideas about what the new musical direction should be. Though it angered the gray-haired viewers, Travis made WKRP a rock-and-roll station. And its eccentric staff made it a place for comedy.
There was station manager Arthur Carlson, an incompetent who kept his job only because his mom owned the station. There was receptionist Jennifer Marlow (played by bombshell Loni Anderson), who also wore things memorably tight—her sweaters—and dodged suggestive passes about as skillfully as she did her job, and she did her job extremely well. There was the slimy salesman Herb Tarlek and his white shoes, DJ’s Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap, program assistant Bailey Quarters, and the geeky and ever-bandaged newsman Less Nessman. In the best-case scenario of ensemble dynamics, each character was equally fun to watch, and even though we didn’t go home with them at night, we got to know them so well it almost felt like we did.
The opening credits feature the familiar theme song (with that lilting “I’m at WKRP in Cincinnatiiiiiii…”). The closing song, though plenty of people have tried to decipher its lyrics, actually contains no words at all—the vocals were what’s called a “scratch track,” which contains nonsensical filler noise that session musicians fill their recordings with to give a listener an idea of how it will ultimately sound with lyrics. WKRP producers liked the way that filler noise sounded, and the viewership’s deciphering debates suited them just fine.
Though the show’s ratings weren’t so stellar in the beginning, WKRP in Cincinnati caught on despite a time slot that switched around about as much as Jennifer switched sweaters. Nine years after the show left CBS, it came back to the air for a part-reunion, part-spinoff called The New WKRP in Cincinnati. Three of the original characters—Arthur Carlson, Herb Tarlek and news director Less Nessman—came back for the ride.
When we think of radio stations these days, we think of WKRP. All who watched the show wanted to work at the fictional station, but our day dreams were practical—if we couldn’t land a job there, we’d at least work in the same building as them, so we could meet the station’s assorted lovelies and oddballs in the elevator.
|9/18/78 – 9/20/82 CBS|
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Clochmerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)
Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochmerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)
Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017
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