"Convicts At Large" - My Favorite Episode of The Andy Griffith Show

Monday, January 31, 2022

When I was pretty young, one of the many things I remember fondly was laughing with Mom and Dad at television late into the night.  Well, for me at that age, late was about 8pm.  In the summertime, the windows would be open, and several times, Granny (who lived next door) would ask what we were laughing so hard at the following day when I went over to play.  

Frequently, what we'd be laughing at would be The Andy Griffith Show.  

A staple of TBS during its early days, The Andy Griffith Show, or "Andy" as we called it, was just pure wholesome fun.  As Americana as Aunt Bea's apple pie, the show depicted the widowed Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), the Sheriff of a fictional small town of about 2500 people called Mayberry, North Carolina.  Other characters include Andy's cousin, the well-meaning and enthusiastic deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts); Andy's aunt and housekeeper, Bee Taylor (Frances Bavier); and Andy's young son, Opie (Ron Howard).

My wife rolls her eyes when I put the show on some nights, but just as my Dad watched it because he remembered it fondly from his childhood, so do I.  In the crazy world that we live in today in 2022, it's nice to just sit back and picture what I envision the quiet, calm, small-town 1950's America was like.  I'm sure it's just Hollywood-level quaintness, but it's nice to dream about what could have been... and what I think still ought to be.

This one's a long one, so without further ado, please click "Read More" and join me on a look back at my favorite episode of The Andy Griffith Show,  Convicts at Large.

Retro RePost: Scorch: The Short Lived Show About A Dragon

Friday, January 28, 2022

With my last article about television shows from the 90s, I was reminded of a feature I wrote for The Retro Network about a year ago.  The article covered a short-lived show most people have forgotten, or never knew existed, from that time period.  Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed this program, it didn't last long and eventually disappeared into the dustbin of television history.  

In 1992, I was in 2nd grade.  I saw a commercial one evening for a new show about an adorable-looking dragon puppet and was hooked instantly.  Excitedly, I made sure I was watching TV that night when "Scorch" first aired.

Retro Scans: 1995 Fox Kids Network by Fleer

Monday, January 24, 2022

For anyone who has read more than one article on this site, you'll know that I watched a lot of television growing up.  One of the cool things growing up during the time I did, was that I got to see a ton of memorable programming blocks and channels made just for kids.  Disney Afternoons or TGIF comes to mind, but FOX Kids was one of my favorites during the mid to early 90s.

The story behind Fox Kids is for another article another day (coming soon, I promise!).  Still, I felt this one would be appropriate with the recent passing of comedian Louie Anderson.  

Unfortunately, there weren't any "Life with Louie" cards in this pack, so I'll admit this whole thing is a bust... but I still wanted to pay some sort of tribute to the life of Louie Anderson anyway.  I'll have to honor Life with Louie in an article of its own, but for now, I'll add an episode of Life with Louie or two to the Video Drive-in for you to enjoy.  

"Life with Louie" was an animated series based on the childhood of well-known stand-up comic Louie Anderson.  Viewers watched along as he grew up with his family in Cedar Knoll, Wisconsin, during the early 1960s, even though Anderson himself is from Saint Paul, Minnesota.  

Anderson provided the voice for the child version of himself as well as his father.  Legendary character actor Edie McClurg voiced his mother.

The first two episodes aired in primetime on Fox in late 1994, before moving to Saturday morning on Fox Kids.  The show ran from 1995 to 1998, where it achieved little critical success but developed a large fan base from its mostly child audience.  After Louie's passing, despite his extensive body of work, one of the most mentioned on social media by fans was "Life with Louie."

Various merchandise was released based on the show's popularity, including apparel, VHS tapes of multiple episodes, a comic book, and a book series for children.  The book series was based on various show episodes and contained six books in total. 

Kids' meal toys were also produced for several fast-food restaurant chains, including Taco Bell (1996), Hardee's (1997), Jack in the Box (1997), and Dairy Queen (1999).

For a time, Life with Louie-branded Spaghetti-O's, in character shapes, were available.

There have not been any DVD sets released in the United States of these shows, but some episodes are available on YouTube and Daily Motion.  

In tribute to this show, I figured I'd open up a pack of these Fleer 1995 Fox Kids Network trading cards, but unfortunately, a "Life with Louie" card was not included, so it's a bit of a bust.  This pack did have some great cards from memorable tv shows like "X-Men," "Bobby's World," "The Tick," and "Spider-man!"

Click "Keep Reading" to be blasted with some nostalgia from 1995 and the Fox Kids Network!

10 Sitcoms From the 90s I Still Enjoy

Thursday, January 20, 2022

As my family recovers from the virus that's been making news for the past two years, please excuse the lack of recent articles.  Enjoy this list-style post while I put more effort into my next full-length feature.  

Thank you!

The 1990s was a decade filled with outstanding television programs, including many classics in the sitcom genre.  I've waxed poetic several times on this site about my love for the folksy and occasionally cliched type of television programming.  These days, I would gladly watch a rerun of a sitcom I've seen hundreds of times before than most new shows broadcast today.

Out of the sitcoms that made it to air during the 90s, only a handful of them made it past the first season, let alone into all-time fan favorites.  These sitcoms in the 90s, often geared towards children or families, would endear viewers with funny, emotional, and sometimes educational storylines.  Sometimes the family-friendly series would try to teach us important life lessons.  The series that were meant to entertain adults and teens would do just that; entertain us as we followed along with our favorite characters by peeking into their wacky, crazy everyday life.

Most modern television just doesn't suit me, and I often seek out old programming from my childhood.  As I type this, I'm in a hotel room with the television on in the background.  Playing is an episode of a sitcom I've seen maybe 15 times. 

It's safe and comforting in its familiarity.  It doesn't require any attention, and I can do other things while watching.  It brings back memories of times gone by.

It's television's comfort food.

Join me as I look back on the Top 10 Sitcoms from the 90s that I Still Enjoy watching.  

"Dinner & a Movie" on TBS

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

"Beans and Cornbread had a fight... Beans knocked Cornbread out of sight!"

All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the main competitor to WWE and preferred wrestling brand of yours truly, recently announced that tonight, January 5th, 2022, the company would be moving its flagship show from TNT to TBS.  AEW Dynamite will bring wrestling back to TBS, which fans of the NWA/WCW days know is historically significant.  To celebrate this move, they posted the below image on their official Instagram page, paying homage to the glory days of TBS in the early to mid-90s.  

The caption on the image sparked a long-lost memory of mine.  "Gotta imagine Dinner & A Movie would follow up #AEWDynamite, right?" 

Man, I spent many a Friday night watching that program, and I had completely forgotten its existence.  

Dinner & a Movie wasn't the first television program to combine a full-length feature movie with comedic scripted interludes wrapped around either side of the commercial breaks.  Nor was it the only one of its kind on television during the 90s, but it is likely the one my generation remembers most fondly.  It's undoubtedly the one I watched most.

Growing up, I found myself right in the middle of the high school political mine-field.  I was a Varsity athlete and had many friends that were jocks and popular kids.  I also had many friends that were the loners, nerds, and part of the unpopular crowd.  I didn't get invited to many places, and those I did get invited to, I often didn't go because I'd usually rather be at home on the computer or watching television.  I spent many Friday nights watching tv and chatting on AIM, perfectly happy.

The Superstation, or TBS, was always one of my favorite channels growing up.  TBS was often the first channel I'd search for when the lineup would change on our cable box, and it seemed like it did pretty often back in the early days.  I'd then update it on the list of channels Dad had Scotch-taped to the back of the remote control (yes, remotes used to be that big you could do such a thing.)  We'd use the list to flip to the correct station number without having to guess.  This was also before the channel name was displayed on the TV screen (a horrific thought, I know), so if you didn't know the number, you'd have to rely on the logo on the bottom corner of the screen.  Back then, it wasn't always on-screen like it is these days.

When we first got cable, TBS was where my Dad, Brother, and I would always watch "The Andy Griffith Show" together.  We'd laugh at Andy and Barney and the loveable town drunk Otis after dinner right before being sent to bed.  On Saturday nights, TBS is where I'd always watch pro wrestling... at 6:05PM, of course.  

As I grew, it was also where I could watch syndicated reruns of classic sitcoms like Gilligans Island or The Brady Bunch.  I could find "comfort food" sitcoms like Saved by the Bell or Everybody Loves Raymond to watch or just have on as background noise at nearly any hour of the day.  These days, at work when I'm spending one of my many nights in a hotel room, I can pretty much guarantee the channel lineup includes TBS.  I can always find Seinfeld or Friends for some other mindless viewing on the channel.

When I was in the 6th grade, TBS started something new on Fridays that introduced me to many old and (relatively) new movies.  There are several big movies that I've only ever seen through this program.  The comedic interactions of the hosts helped shape the way my naive adolescent brain thought adults hung out together or how dinner-date conversations go.

I spent some time googling, and there isn't as much coverage on the internet as I thought.  So, I thought it'd be a good reason to look back and honor TBS' classic dinner date of the 90s:

"Dinner & a Movie."