Friday, November 17, 2017

Ackerman Anniversary

Ever noticed how many fondly remembered 60s sitcoms sport the credit line, "Executive Producer, Harry Ackerman"? Born 105 years ago, Mr. Ackerman's successful career hit its peak when he served as Vice-President of Production for Screen Gems, the TV subsidiary of Columbia Pictures. During that fertile period, Screen Gems boasted a multitude of hit shows, including Bewitched, Hazel, The Flying Nun, and Bachelor Father. 

Not every Ackerman show rang the ratings bell -- in Lost Laughs of 50s and 60s Television, I covered two that never saw a second season -- Grindl, starring Imogene Coca, and the romantic comedy Love on a Rooftop. But, overall, his batting average was one most other producers would envy. Off-screen, he raised a family during his long marriage to actress Elinor Donahue.

Though he passed away in 1991, Mr. Ackerman left behind an impressive body of work that pays tribute to his taste, intellect, creativity, and tenacity. And whenever you find yourself reading this, you can be pretty sure that, somewhere in the world, a Harry Ackerman show is making someone laugh.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Music to Remember ... and Remember ...

You know how it is when you get a piece of music stuck in your head? For more than a week now, the seemingly unlikely object of my brain's affection has been the theme from the 1970s sitcom The Tony Randall Show, as composed and conducted by Patrick Williams.

Even TV buffs may not remember much about this relatively short-lived series from the prolific folks at MTM. But something about Williams' lovely, graceful music seems to have taken up short-term residence in my mind. If you don't mind risking the same, have a listen in this YouTube clip.

As I learned from a little quick-and-dirty Googling, Dr. Williams (the possessor of at least two honorary doctorates) has racked up multiple Emmy and Grammy awards in a career spanning several decades. His multitudinous accomplishments are fully documented at his official website. That made me feel a little better about my predicament. Turns out my brain has better taste in music than I gave it credit for.