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THE RETRO REPORT: Cagney & Lucie, M:I Redux, Three Little Girls Turn 40 & More!

Anna and the King (starring Samantha Eggar and Yul Brenner), Funny Face (and its subsequent re-do, The Sandy Duncan Show) were well-done short-lived sitcoms from the 1970’s that were never given a fair-shake.

Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, once appeared in an episode of Murder, She Wrote that was a spoof of Cagney & Lacey.

Mike Connors, formerly of Mannix, once starred in a remake of the 1960’s drama, The FBI.

During the Writer’s Strike of the late 1980’s, ABC remade Mission: Impossible with old scripts from the original series (and the same cast!).

At the time, there was talk of the then-nicknamed “Alphabet Web” (which today would clearly have a different connotation) also remaking Bewitched.  But that never transpired (or should we say, “materialized”?).

It was Andy Griffith who insisted that The Andy Griffith Show (on CBS) be filmed like a movie without a studio audience.  As a result, that sitcom went on to become a classic.

It was director Jerry Paris who suggested Happy Days, filmed like a movie for the first two seasons, be presented in front of a live studio audience in the third season.  That same year, ABC executive Fred Silverman resituated Henry Winkler as “The Fonz” into a more prominent role.  Years before, Paris had not only directed The Dick Van Dyke Show (on CBS), but he also played next door neighbor Jerry Helper (with an “e,” opposite Van Dyke’s Rob Petrie).  Around the same Sid Melton played Charley Halper (with an “a”) on Make Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show…while both of Danny’s shows and the Van Dyke series were co-produced by Thomas and Sheldon Leonard).

Doris Day will NOT be emerging from retirement to star in Clint Eastwood’s next movie.  Alas, the rumors were false (sigh).

While Elizabeth Banks is developing a new big-screen edition of Charlie’s Angels that she will also direct, ABC should consider regrouping Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd for a small-screen reunion of those original TV show stars…to help commemorate this year’s 40th Anniversary of their beloved series.

The Angels in 1977

William Wellman, Jr. (who has guest-starred on some of classic TV’s most notable shows, including The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Brady Bunch) will sign and discuss copies of his new book, WILD BILL WELLMAN: HOLLYWOOD REBEL, a biography of his father and the iconic classic film director this Throwback Thursday at the Burbank Barnes & Noble, October 1, from 7 to 9 PM (PST).

The opening credit sequence for the first two seasons of Lost in Space or the final third season of Lost in Space?  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 Founder of the Classic TV Preservation Society, and the author of several critically-acclaimed pop-culture books, all available from Barnes & Noble
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