5 Memorable Characters of Ernie Sabella

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

In my line of work, I rarely work with the same people more than once.  I often find myself explaining who I am and figuring out who I'll be spending the next few days with inside an office smaller than your bathroom.  As a get-to-know-you question hoping to spark more conversation, people will sometimes ask things like "What's your favorite movie?" or "Who's your favorite actor?"  

I can always answer the first one quickly.  My favorite movie is Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window."  

The second question is never easy.  

I don't have a favorite leading actor.  I've always had more of a fascination with character actors instead.  I often play a little game with myself when watching something and see how quickly I can place someone.  I'll often annoy my wife with commentary like, "Hey, that person was also in (fill in the blank.)"  Sometimes, the need to know where I've seen them before is so great I'll stop what we're watching and Google them until I'm satisfied that I know where I've recognized them from.  

By definition, according to Wikipedia, a character actor is a supporting cast member who plays unusual, engaging, eccentric, or memorable roles.  One of my favorite character actors in television may not have a household name, but I guarantee everyone knows precisely who he is.  

He's Ernie Sabella. 

Retro Scans: 1992 Topps Batman Returns Photo Stickers Wax Pack

Friday, April 16, 2021

Here's a fun little retro scan of five photo stickers taken from the great 1992 Batman sequel "Batman Returns" by Topps.  It's sort of disappointing there are only 5 stickers in this wax pack, but they are some great shots.  I think I may have to pick up some more!  

Without further ado, here they are:

Restaurants of YesterYear: Bennigan's

Friday, April 9, 2021

When my wife and I first started dating back in 2004, we would seek out places to spend some time together.  She lived at home with her parents, and I lived in a college dorm, and since we weren't the nightclub type, we'd often spend time in the afternoon and evening together walking around a store or mall.  Remember when you actually left your house to shop for things?  Quite often, we'd stop and have dinner at a restaurant rather than eat with her parents, or worse, the college cafeteria.  

We had several places we would frequent, but if you were to ask each of us separately what our favorite of that era was, the answer would be the same...


We must have gone to the Deer Park, New York location a hundred times.  When that closed and became a Buffalo Wild Wings, we started going to the Hauppauge franchise by the Long Island Expressway.  Unfortunately, a bad experience there with a manager who blamed us for his own staff's shortcomings caused us to never go back.  Shortly after, the location closed and became an Applebee's.  

As a young kid, I can vaguely remember my parents taking me to a Bennigan's, likely the one in New City, New York.  I remember it was a long drive (probably 20 minutes), and we had gone out for some other reason and stopped at the Bennigan's on the way home.  I remember it was cold and raining and I didn't feel well.  I didn't really want to be there, but I did go home with this great little promotional plastic Halloween witches cauldron.  I used that cauldron for years to hold candy and other knick-knacks. I also clearly remember the step up into the seating area and the brass and wood handrails. It's funny what sticks out in your mind all these years later, isn't it?  This had to be around 1991 or 92, and I would have been 7 or 8.  It's really the only time I can remember going to Bennigan's until college.  

So, with fond memories, let's take a deeper look as we start another journey into the history of another Restaraunt of YesterYear:  Bennigan's!  

The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour

Thursday, April 1, 2021

I've written a few times before about my love for the classic sitcom "I Love Lucy."  Growing up, my Dad introduced me to the show during the early years of Nick-at-Nite.  As I consider them, the "Golden Years" of Nick-at-Nite, "I Love Lucy" was a staple on the network.  The Block Party Summer's "Lucy Tuesday's" and the frequent "Whole Lotta Lucy" marathons during the year were integral to building my love for the show.

I had a pretty early bedtime when I was young, and even though in the summer my bedtime would be quite a bit later, I'd usually only get to see the first episode at 9PM, or if I was lucky, the 9:30 episode.  My Dad would record them on VHS for me, and I'd watch them the next morning before starting my day of summer-time fun.  

I was, and still am, a fan of sappy series finale episodes.  As a kid, I specifically remember seeing the Happy Days finale on a Saturday afternoon rerun.  After all of the storylines were wrapped up and the episode was over, the actors came back on-screen (out of character) and said thank you and goodbye.  It was sometime around 1993, and here I am, about 9 years old, upset that a show that ended 20 years prior was over.  What can I say?  I'm an old soul with a sensitive side that likes when things get a proper ending.

Knowing this, you can see why I was confused when "I Love Lucy's" final episode didn't say goodbye.  There was no mention that it was the end, nor did they conclude any storylines.  It ended just like any regular old episode.  Lucille Ball did include her two real-life children in the background as her own sort of goodbye, but I didn't know that at the time.

Then, in 1994, Nick at Nite started running something called the "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" along with regular "I Love Lucy" episodes.  At first, I thought this was just another programming block like the "Whole Lotta Lucy" marathon, but it would only be an hour marathon instead of all night.  That night, Dad and I sat down to watch the first episode together.  He knew what we were about to watch, and I guess since he never explained it to me, he figured I knew what it was too.  

I was amazed to find out it wasn't an hour of "I Love Lucy" but a continuation of the story of the Ricardos and Mertzes living in Westport, Connecticut.  Except, it seemed like they were hardly ever there.  They were always taking a trip somewhere, like Las Vegas or Alaska.  

Which, honestly, suits me just fine.  As I've mentioned before in other articles, I have real wanderlust and enjoy a good "vacation" story.  The Hollywood episodes of "I Love Lucy" were always my favorite, so why would a trip to Havana, Mexico, or Japan be any different?

So, what exactly WAS the "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour," you ask?

Long story short, it was a collection of 13 one-hour-long "specials" that aired between 1957 and 1960.  The show is considered a follow-up to "I Love Lucy" and featured the same cast of characters:  Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Fred and Ethel Mertz, and Little Ricky.  

Confusingly, the show was original billed as the "Ford Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show," and then the "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Presents The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show."  I much prefer the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour moniker that was used for syndication purposes.

You regular readers of this site know that try as I might, I can't just leave you with "long story short."  

So, what really happened?