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The Retro Report: Jack Larson x 2, Saturday Night Hall of Fame, Spelling’s Fav & More!

There are two different actors named Jack Larson in the world of classic entertainment. The more famous Jack Larson played Jimmy Olsen on the Superman/George Reeves TV series, and later made guest appearances on shows like Gomer Pyle, USMC (as well as cameos in the Superman/Christopher Reeve (without the “s”) feature film from 1978 and the Lois & Clark TV adaptation from the 90s).

Then there’s the Jack Larson who had a featured role on an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, titled, “Big Max Calvada” (which guest-starred Van Dyke producer Sheldon Leonard).

The fake “Flaky-Wakeys” cereal box that is displayed in the “Lucy Wants a Career” episode of The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour, was later showcased on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Brady Bunch. 

The fabricated cereal carton was farmed out and found in the prop department at Desilu Studios (formed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz), which produced all three of those classic sitcoms (and which was later acquired by Paramount Studios). 

The Partridge Family celebrates it’s 45th Anniversary this September.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature film is failing at the flop office because it’s missing the heart and soul of the beloved and original 1960s TV series from which it sprang.

Best Saturday TV line-up ever. All in the Family (Bridget Loves Birney), M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show (The NEW Dick Van Dyke Show), and The Carol Burnett Show).

Alternative Second-Best Saturday TV line-up ever: The Jackie Gleason Show, Petticoat Junction (The Governor & J.J.), Arnie, and Mission: Impossible.

The Sally Jesse Raphael Show was one of the first daytime talk shows (before they went wild) to embrace and appreciate the classic TV community of stars.

Early segments of the chat fest featured Barry Williams, who was promoting his then-new (now famous) best-selling book, Growing Up Brady: I Was A Teenage Greg, as well as segments on TV dads, with classic Brady father Robert Reed sharing the stage with then-contemporary TV patriarchs Bill Smitrovich (Life Goes On) and Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years).

Many believe producer Aaron Spelling regarded ABC’s 1970s Emmy-winning drama, Family, as the personal favorite from his staple of hit TV shows. But that’s not true. Family, which starred the super talents of Sada Thompson, Kristy McNichol, Gary Frank, Meredith Baxter-Birney (then-married to former Bridget-Loves-Bernie co-star David Birney, and daughter to Madge Blake, who co-created Norman Lear’s One Day A Time), and James Broderick (father of Matthew), was Spelling’s second best.

His first favorite was The Mod Squad (which was co-produced by Danny Thomas and Harve Bennett). Mod, which recently “binged” on the Decades network this past weekend, was dear to Spelling’s heart because of the issue-oriented and ground-breaking stories presented on that show (which originally starred Michael Cole, Peggy Lipton and Clarence Williams III, and Tige Andrews).

The opening credit sequences for Naked City (without the “The,” and based on 1948 feature film, The Naked City, with the “The”) or Police Squad! (based on the 1988 feature film The Naked Gun, also with the “The”)? You pick.

Peace to lovers of all things classic.

Writer/producer Herbie J Pilato has worked for Bravo, Syfy, A&E, E!, TLC, NBCUniversal, Sony and Warner Bros.  
He’s also the author of several critically-acclaimed pop-culture books, all available at

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