He's a boy from the Bronx who's had a hand in some of film and television's most memorable moments. Carl Reiner turns 95 years young today, and he's spent over 80 of those years entertaining people in one medium or another, from stage plays, to radio, to the small screen and the large.
In 1985 at The University of Michigan, a term was quietly coined that would one day enter the lexicon and forever change the way we talked about television. Sean Connolly, Jon Hein’s roommate, invented the phrase “jump the shark” to describe that heretofore undefined moment when a television show you love starts going downhill.
Lucy accidently destroys a newly sculpted Revolutionary War statue in the town square. A grenade temporarily blinds Eliot Ness. Perry Mason successfully defends an eccentric actress in a murder case. These describe three episodes of the most successful shows of the ‘50s and ‘60s. What do they all have in common? They’re all the final episodes of their respective series.
June Gloom hung in the sky as I frantically paced back and forth at the foot of a driveway of a beautiful home in Brentwood. I was supposed to be interviewing Garry Shandling for the Archive of American Television, and he was late. Very late.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I figured I’d write about some of television’s famous relationships. But let’s face it, happily ever after is not all that interesting, especially when it’s in a series that is running 100+ episodes. To make it compelling you need some acrimony, some yelling, some break ups.
One thing remains constant in the ever-changing landscape of American Television: where there’s a successful series, there is always the possibility of a spin-off. The temptation to remove a supporting character and give him/her a series of their own is always strong. But it can be a dangerous proposition.