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THE RETRO REPORT: Jessica Fletcher Rides Shotgun, James Dean Rarities, Potsie Pens Memoir & More!

On Murder, She Wrote, how important was it for Jessica Fletcher, as played by the incomparable Angela Lansbury, to not have a driver license? Very important.

According to Ms. Lansbury’s commentary on the DVD release of Murder, if Jessica drove, she wouldn’t have been able to ask various individuals for a ride, thus limiting her key access to those she sought to question about the given heinous crime at hand.

Actor, director and Happy Days TV icon Anson Williams will appear at this week’s Throwback Thursday live event at the Burbank Barnes & Noble, September 24th for a book signing and discussion of his new memoir, Singing to a Bulldog: From Happy Days to Hollywood Director, and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There.

Les Perkins is an award-winning producer, editor, writer, director, and cultural commentator extraordinaire of some of the finest DVD and Blu-ray “Special Features” releases in history, including those for Disney movie classics like: Mary Poppins, Parent Trap, Swiss Family Robinson, among countless others.

Perkins has also served as an editor for several independent fiction films and, across the board, his Les is More Productions is one of the most respected production houses in the industry.

Perkins’ most recent project involves rare television appearances of James Dean that were recently rediscovered.

On Friday evening September 25th, Turner Classic Movies will air eight TV shows from 1953-1955 starring Dean (5:00 PST, 8:00 EST), followed later by the release of a DVD box set of 22 programs and surviving excerpts through TCM Shop.

The tragic death at age 24 of this revered superstar left behind just three feature films (including Rebel Without A Cause). But, largely unknown, Dean had been on television in more than 30 productions from 1951 until his untimely demise.

For more than 15 years, producer Michael Sheridan, who produced the 2005 documentary, James Dean Forever Young (for Warner Bros. Home Video), gathered surviving kinescope films of the iconic actor.  Using digital technology, Les Perkins has cleaned up both picture and audio trying to recreate the look and sound of the original broadcasts. Perkins explains, “What I discovered is that his best work was on television. The movie roles were just not as interesting. You can really see his stature as an actor grow during these four years. Now I understand what a sensation he was.”

Click HERE for more information about the TCM James Dean television event.

The opening credit sequence for Rhoda or Phyllis? 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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