Working Stiffs

Do You Recall 1979’s Working Stiffs Starring Michael Keaton?!

Well, to be completely honest, Working Stiffs didn’t just star Michael Keaton. No, this CBS comedy series also co-starred Jim Belushi.
Working Stiffs

The two portrayed Mike and Ernie O’Rourke – two men who have yet to find their true purpose in life. So naturally they do what they can to make ends meet, becoming your typical Working Stiffs of course.

For the O’Rourke brothers it turns out they do have some aces up their sleeves. For one thing – the apartment where the two can hang their hat is situated above a cafe. In addition Mike and Ernie are able to become friends with the owner of the eatery, Mitch Hannigan as well as the cafe’s waitress, Nikki Evashevsky.

Hannigan by the way is played by M.A.S.H.‘s Allan Arbus with Nikki portrayed by Lorna Patterson. I bet some of you might recognize Patterson from her starring role in the early 80’s TV version of Private Benjamin.

[Via] Jamie Gee

The other bit of good fortune for our Working Stiffs is they are able to secure employment with a relative. Their rich Uncle Harry who owns the building reluctantly agrees to put them on the payroll. However not as the businessman as the duo hope but as janitors in fact.

While I can certainly say in all honesty that I hadn’t seen Working Stiffs before today. I have to say that the short video below – from the pilot episode showed a lot of promise.

[Via] Greg Stanina

When Working Stiffs debuted on CBS back in 1979 it rather unwisely decided to compete against NBC’s CHiPs. It was also attempting to compete against ABC’s Three’s Company spin-off The Ropers. The series itself was created by Bob Brunner, who had a hand in the popular TV series Happy Days as well as Laverne and Shirley. In addition, the pilot episode was directed by none other than Penny Marshall. As well as having a rather catchy theme song in my honest opinion.

Sadly Working Stiffs just couldn’t stand up to the likes of Ponch and Jon nor even Stanley and Helen Roper. After a mere four episodes the comedy series was cancelled. However, once both Keaton and Belushi found success in films, the show was released on VHS. Having said that though, friends, in total there were nine episodes filmed – but only six present on the VHS release. I found that the show has been seen here and there since 1979. I’ve read that it’s appeared on the likes of retro-themed TV channels such as TV Land, Comedy Central, and the A&E Network. Although I haven’t found an actual DVD release as of yet.

Like I mentioned up above, I wasn’t aware of this TV series until today. I have fellow Retroist author, Phillip Cary, to thank for the heads up. For my birthday earlier this week he brought me a 1979’s TV Guide. A Fall preview issue that had this to say about the then upcoming television series.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about Working Stiffs why not check a stand-up comedy routine by Michael Keaton?


I am pretty positive this is actually from the TV show An Evening at the Improv.

[Via] A Blast from the Past

Toon In: The Lone Ranger – The Fly (1966)

Welcome back friends to another installment of Toon In, a point in the week we can shine the spotlight on an animated short or cartoon series worthy of your viewing. This week we present and episode from the 1966 animated The Lone Ranger TV series by Engel films entitled “The Fly”

To be absolutely honest I wasn’t aware of this CBS animated series until this morning. The Lone Ranger cartoon from my youth that I am familiar with was the 1980 Filmation produced The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour!

[Via] Nick J. Cort

The 1966 animated series has a wonderful sense of style to it and I would be willing to bet that the legendary Alex Toth had a hand in its design. It also appears to have taken a page from another popular 1965 CBS television program, The Wild Wild West. With our episode The Fly, we find Tonto and the Lone Ranger mixing it up with…well…when you get down to it they are kind of like Ninjas, who are attempting to steal the United States Government’s latest invention which happens to be a multiple rocket launcher.

The Lone Ranger - Ninjas

Can the Lone Ranger and Tonto put an end to the threat of The Fly? Toon In and find out for yourself!

[Via] Cartoon Jam

Wow…wait until you see what he finds at the bottom of that slide.

Warner Bros. Releases Filmation’s Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle: Season One On June 14, 2016!

On September 11th, 1976 Filmation debuted Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle on CBS where it lasted for four seasons. Now on June 14th we will get the first 16 episodes of that animated series when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases the Complete Season One to DVD.

Tarzan Lord of the Jungle

The classic Filmation version of Tarzan skews closer to the the stories that Edgar Rice Burroughs penned back in 1912, when Tarzan of the Apes was first published in The All-Story magazine and then in book format in 1914.

Tarzan_all-story_Oct_1912

[Via] Chad Pittman

In total the Filmation Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle had 36 episodes produced and I bet if this first volume does well we will most certainly see the remaining episodes released. In fact this year is the 40th Anniversary of the animated show and of course arrives a month before the new live-action film The Legend of Tarzan hits the big screens this Summer!

Warner Bros. Pictures

From the Warner Bros. Press Release:
“Just in time for Father’s Day and the theatrical release, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the long awaited animated series that aired when Saturday Morning Cartoons reigned supreme. Available on DVD on June 14, 2016, Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle: Complete Season One was created by the Filmation Studio for CBS and follows the animated adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ape man from the 1970’s. The two-disc collectors set includes all 16 episodes from the series’ first season, and is priced to own at $19.98 SRP.

As the opening narration explains: “The jungle: Here I was born; and here my parents died when I was but an infant. I would have soon perished, too, had I not been found by a kindly she-ape named Kala, who adopted me as her own and taught me the ways of the wild. I learned quickly, and grew stronger each day, and now I share the friendship and trust of all jungle animals. The jungle is filled with beauty, and danger; and lost cities filled with good, and evil. This is my domain, and I protect those who come here; for I am Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle!”

“Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle was animated the old fashion way, with many hours of hand drawn stills,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Vice President Family & Animation Marketing and Partner Brands. “They don’t make animation like this anymore, and we are really proud to be releasing this timeless classic just in time for the July release of Tarzan in theaters.”

‘Struck By Lightning’ Struck By Failure

StruckByLightning

As a fan of Frankenstein I remember being excited for “Struck by Lightning.” It sounded like a fun take on the character. It’s kind of like “Newhart” with George played by Frankenstein’s monster. It starred Jack Elam as the monster and Jeffrey Kramer as Ted Stein, a descendent of the original Dr. Frankenstein. Ted inherits an old New England inn that comes with the monster who coincidentally needs a serum recreated to keep him alive.

Unfortunately, it didn’t make it past three episodes even though 11 were filmed. Jack Elam was perfect casting to play Frankenstein’s monster. And similar to “Young Frankenstein,” I like the idea of a descendent of the doctor having to deal with the monster.

StruckByLightning2

Debuting in September 1979, “Struck by Lightning” was slotted on Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m. EST following “The Last Resort” and up against “Eight is Enough” on ABC and Real People on NBC. The latter two programs were ranked in the top 20 for that TV season. Wednesday night wasn’t CBS’s night.

Sitcoms with a fantasy element seem to be a hard sell. For the time only “Mork & Mindy” was successful. The TV sitcom ratings were dominated by M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Three’s Company, The Jeffersons and others. Still, it would be nice to see if the showed established itself with a style during those 11 episodes.

Visit the Otherworld (1985)

Otherworld

For years and years I’ve had a suspicion that some of the shows I watched as a child were in fact figments of my imagination. One such show was Otherworld, a 1985 sci-fi series that aired on CBS for only 8 episodes. Until recently I’ve had only small elements floating around my head, I recall a family holidaying in Egypt and I remember that they somehow ended up in a futuristic parallel universe, but besides those small tidbits, I’ve remained largely clueless about what these memories were.

Thankfully, my young self didn’t imagine these events, and thanks to the internet and sites such as Otherworld Online, I can learn all about the adventures of the Sterling family as they ventured around a parallel Earth called Thel, chased from zone to zone by Commander Kroll, looking for a way home. And thanks to Youtube, you can watch the episodes too:

An interesting fact about this show is that much of the information on the internet refers to their being only 8 episodes but apparently there were 13 created and the additional 5 episodes were aired in the UK. Who knows if that is true?