Who Was Kenneth Williams?

Who was Kenneth Williams? Kenneth Williams was a much-loved British actor and comedian. But somehow, he was so much more than that. It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that he was an institution. He was certainly an original, that’s for sure. Starting his career in the theatre, he first found fame on the radio in the nineteen fifties. And one absolutely hilarious character he portrayed in the early sixties...

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Vintage Television: Bill Cullen

Vintage television: Who was Bill Cullen? Bill Cullen was a well-known and very popular television personality during the sixties and seventies in the USA. He was a game show host and was often featured as a panellist on other shows, once of which was his appearances as part of the panel on I’ve Got A Secret. But Bill Cullen had a secret of his own When he was just a small child, he contracted polio. This meant that he had...

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Cilla Black

Liverpool’s Cilla Black. When the Mersey sound of the Beatles started to dominate the hit parade in the early nineteen sixties, there was only one girl singer who was part of this phenomenon. Young Priscilla White started working as a cloakroom attendant at the now famous Cavern Club in Liverpool; the venue where the Beatles played their early gigs. And it was the Beatles who discovered that the red-haired Cilla  should have...

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Eva, Zsa Zsa and Magda Gabor

Three sisters, twenty marriages, nineteen husbands and one child. The Gabor sisters were all born during the First World War. They were born in Hungary, all three ended up in the States and between them they married twenty times. There were fifteen divorces, a couple of annulments yet only one child resulted from these many unions.   Zsa Zsa Zsa Zsa Gabor was probably the most famous of the three sisters — and she was the...

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Was Dorothy Kilgallen murdered?

Was Dorothy Kilgallen murdered? She died in 1965 so it’s likely that you don’t remember her. But in the middle of the twentieth century, Dorothy Kilgallen was a true media star. She was a journalist with many more strings to her bow. And it may be that her journalistic investigations were the cause of her untimely death. What’s My Line? Despite being a well-known journalist, gossip columnist, crime reporter, actress...

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Agnes Moorehead

Do you recognise those eyes? If you know your television history you might, especially if you were watching in the 1960s or 70s. This shows Agnes Moorehead who played the witch Endora in the TV show Bewitched. You’ll remember that the comedy series was about a beautiful young witch (Samantha) who had married a mere mortal and live a normal suburban domestic life. Endora, her mother, deemed that Samantha had married so far...

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Pregnant Women on Television in the 1960s

Why Lucy was ‘enceinte’ in the nineteen fifties. One of the most popular TV shows in the nineteen fifties – if not the most popular – was I Love Lucy starring married couple, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. At the time, they were the most powerful people in the world of television. In 1952 the couple discovered that they were expecting a baby. This was great news for them. They already had a small daughter, born...

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Kitchen Nightmares UK: The Ship & Anchor

The Best of Kitchen Nightmares UK: ‘Shrek in a Frock’. If you’ve watched USA episodes of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, you’re missing out if you haven’t seen the UK versions. They are so much better – and funnier. And it’s hard to choose a favourite but after much deliberation, I’ve decided on the episode featuring Mike and Caron Ciminera of the Ship and Anchor pub in Wales is...

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Ed Sullivan

If you were growing up in the 1950s and 60s then I’m sure you remember Ed Sullivan. Ed was a victim to many critics in the beginning of his television appearances, such as he has no talent, he is awkward, and my favorite “His smile is that of a man sucking on a lemon”. Despite the critics The Ed Sullivan variety show was the longest running variety show in television history. Starting in 1948 the show was broadcast as The Toast of the...

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Who Remembers Columbo?

Who Remembers Columbo? It was 1989 when I packed up my family and moved to Western New York to start a new and exciting job. My new job was only 2½ hours from where we lived, but it seemed like the other side of the world. We had to make a lot of adjustments, leaving our family and friends, getting the kids settled into a new school, finding our way around a new town. 1989 was also the year that ABC picked up the series, Columbo that...

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Nancy Kulp

 Who was Nancy Kulp? Nancy Kulp starred in a television show that is still being shown worldwide. Do you recognise her? Does the face look familiar? There were two hundred and seventy four episodes of the television show made and their aired in the nineteen sixties and seventies. She won an Emmy for the part she played and in 1999, her characters was deemed to be number thirty nine in the top fifty ‘greatest characters on TV of...

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Lucille Ball

About Lucille Ball. Didn’t you love those old television shows with Lucille Ball? She was one of the most popular actresses of her day and won just about every professional award you can imagine. I thought that today I’d get together a few facts and tidbits about her fascinating career and  her life. Her career was long and varied but no-one doubted her genius or her business acumen. Although she was best known as a...

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George Cole

Actor George Cole. George Cole started his acting career when he was fifteen and continued until 2015. At the time of his death in that year, he had just finished making a movie. His first break came along in 1940 when he was cast in a film that was released the following year. George had been given up for adoption at birth and the British actor Alastair Sim took him in along with his adopted mother. George first came to the attention...

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ISIS Flag at London Gay Parade

US reporter gets it wrong ….. again. Oh dear. Poor Lucy Pawle. This CNN reporter happened to come across the Gay Pride Parade in London and saw an ISIS flag. Horrified, she immediately reported this to one of the parade’s officials and to a police officer. To her dismay, they were unconcerned. Shock, horror. The inept London police are unconcerned about ISIS. So she took photographs, called CNN where she and an anchor...

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If Jeremy Clarkson offends you, don’t watch him

If Jeremy Clarkson offends you, don’t watch him Have you heard about the current Top Gear malarkey? Just a quick explanation – Top Gear is a British television show which combines humour with information about cars.(Do not confuse this with the watered-down US version). It has been described as ‘edgy’. This is because its presenters, the foremost of which is Jeremy Clarkson, are normal blokes. Their so-called...

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Down With Kurt Cobain

Down With Kurt Cobain By Andy Royston Montage of Heck, a documentary film about the rock star Kurt Cobain, begins and ends with film of an adorable little boy, aged around eighteen months old. The film’s executive producer, Kurt’s daughter Frances Bean, was around the same age when her father was found dead at his Seattle home. He’d taken his own life. As a viewer one is left to contemplate the nature of...

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George Burns

The Day I Met George Burns How Did I Manage to Meet George Burns? Read on….. In the 1980s I met Entertainer and Legend George Burns at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He was signing his book, “Gracie: A Love Story,” and as the Assistant to the Entertainment Director of the Las Vegas SUN, I went to greet him and have a chat. My department did all the SUN newspaper advertising for Caesars, and we wanted to give the red...

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British television in the 60s & 70s

British television in the 60s & 70s Looking back at the television programmes some of us watched when we were growing up is like looking into another world. For one thing, almost everyone smoked. Almost everyone went to the pub. But what is really astonishing today looking back is how incredibly ‘politically incorrect’ everything was. Probably the most extreme example of this was the highly popular and successful...

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Who Lost His Address Book from a Helicopter Over the Greek Islands?

Dorothy Kilgallen’s famous question on What’s My Line. It’s no secret that I am obssessed with watching old episodes of What’s My Line on You Tube. I mean, the old versions from the late fifties and early sixties. They are simply brilliant. And one of my favourite panellists was Dorothy Kilgallen. She was very astute. especially when it came to guessing the identity of the mystery guest. If you’re...

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In praise of sensational women – Debbie Allen

Andy Royston introduces a new series of articles on the women in popular culture who made his  world quake. “I don’t have time for prima donnas. You want to become a dancer? You’re going to have to work.You’ve got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here’s where you start paying in sweat. I want to see sweat. And the better you are, the more sweat I’m going to demand. So if you...

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Vintage TV: What’s My Line

Hooked on What’s My Line from the nineteen fifties and sixties. I truly could spend hours watching old videos of the 1950s and 60s television show, the panel game What’s My Line. It’s like another world. Well, I guess 1950s New York was another world. Take a look at this great photograph.   The panel and the host would dress as though they were going out for the evening. Bow ties were usual for the men and the...

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Sesame Street

Today is a day that everyone under the age of 100 will be able to relate to in some way or another……what has lasted this long or made such an impact that almost everyone has heard of it? None other than your favorite characters on Sesame Street! Today is the anniversary of the very first episode of Sesame Street that aired on November 10, 1969. On that day, Cookie Monster, Ernie and Bert, Big Bird, Grover and Oscar the...

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Hollywood Redheads – Wilma Flintstone

Andy Royston pays tribute to one of the original Hollywood Wives. Wilma Flintstone. Television’s image of the American woman, 1964, is a stupid, unattractive, insecure little household drudge who spends her martyred, mindless, boring days dreaming of love – and plotting nasty revenge against her husband. Betty Freidan – Television and the Feminine Mystique.  I love thee Wilma, with hair like silk, Lips like cherries,...

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Carol Burnett

Carol Burnett: America’s Laughter Queen The Laughter Queen In America’s Living Rooms America tuned in by the millions to the Carol Burnett Show on CBS television from 1967 to 1978. If you weren’t fortunate enough to own a TV, you managed to “accidentally” drop in on friends who did, on the night her show was televised. Laughter was rampant both at home and at the studio. The living rooms of America were...

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James May leaves Top Gear

Is this the end of Top Gear? It’s certainly the end of the show as far as many of us are concerned. To recap, in case you don’t know what I’m blathering about, Top Gear is one of the BBC’s most popular television programmes. Or was. Probably. You see, in March 2015, the BBC in its ‘wisdom’ decided that they wouldn’t renew the contract of one of the presenters, Jeremy Clarkson. (And you can...

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Will you still watch Top Gear?

Will you still watch Top Gear? You have probably heard that  Top Gear presenter, ‘bad lad’ Jeremy Clarkson, has been fired by the BBC. Or, as they put it, they are ‘not renewing his contract’. If you missed the original story, I wrote about it here. This popular and controversial presenter was in what was described as ‘fracas’ in a pub (not at work) with another BBC employee. The latest reports say...

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TV presenter chooses to have a double mastectomy

Tv presenter Claira Hermet chooses to have a double mastectomy Claira is a British television presenter in  her twenties. Because of her family history – both her mother and her sister died because of breast cancer – she has decided to have both her breasts removed. This is because she carries a mutated BRCA 1 gene – as had her mother and her sister. This gene indicated that a woman has an eighty-five  to...

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Political incorrectness?All in the mind

Jeremy Clarkson, the Porsche and the Argies Whoops. I’m probably not supposed to say ‘argies’ am I? Is that politically incorrect? I have no idea any more what is and isn’t. ‘Argy’ is a four-letter shortened version of Argentinian. ‘Brit’ is a four-letter shortening of ‘British’. Most people are happy to call me a Brit (and I’m not going to object) so therefore I...

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