Tag Archives: Emmy Awards

Person: Dick Clark

The World's Oldest Living Teenager made his mark as host of American Bandstand. The dance show ran weekly through most of four decades. Uploaded by picklehead.com.

It would be easy to pigeonhole Dick Clark as a dance show host or a game show host, or a New Year’s Eve host. And he is all those things, but he is so much more than that. He’s also an entertainment mogul whose company, Dick Clark Productions, produces the Golden Globes telecast, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and even So You Think You Can Dance. (Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, purchased DCP in 2007.)

Of course, everyone got to know Dick Clark through American Bandstand (Great American Things, July 7, 2009) which began its national run in 1957 and stayed on weekly until 1987. During that time he also started his $10,000/

Uploaded to Flickr by dtramos.

$20,000/ $25,000/ $50,000/ $100,000 Pyramid shows which earned him three Emmy Awards as best game show host. He also had a top 40 countdown show on radio in addition to the syndicated Rock, Roll & Remember.

These are just the highlights of a long and distinguished career in broadcasting that culminated in membership in these halls of fame: Rock and Roll, Broadcasting Magazine, Radio, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, as well as a Peabody Award and a Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Because he retained his youthful looks forever, a long-running joke held that he was “America’s Oldest Living Teenager.” As we all know, that myth was shattered by a devastating stroke in 2004. Though rumors of his death continue to circulate, he is still alive as of this posting and recently celebrated his 81st birthday.

TV Show: The Amazing Race

An indication of the show's quality is its Emmy Awards history - it's won Outstanding Reality - Competition Program every year since 2003. Uploaded by cdn.jeffreyland.com.

The Amazing Race is a combination of beautiful travelogue, ignorant American comments, with just a touch of the Jerry Springer show. As reality programs go, it’s definitely the most watchable. No wonder it’s won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality – Competition Program every year since 2003.

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Eleven teams of two race around the world, the team that avoids elimination and finishes first wins a million dollars. Along the way they battle transportation nightmares such as taxi drivers who get lost, have to do a series of roadblocks that usually are indicated by the local culture they happen to be in, and get to snipe at their competition and, often, at each other.

There have been some memorable teams on The Amazing Race through the years. Usually the teams get nicknames based on their traits: The Lesbians, The Cowboys, The Cheerleaders, The Beauty Queens. And they say the funniest things. Each episode has some inadvertently hilarious moments:

Cubans Danny and Oswald in Season 11
Danny: “Do I look like Rambo?”
Oswald: “You look like a faggy raccoon.”

Mel, Season 14, while paragliding:
Mel: “I could stay up here all day if I had a sandwich.”

TV Show: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

On CBS Saturday night during the 70s, the lineup included The Mary Tyler Moore Show, MASH, All in the Family, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. Wow. Uploaded by nytimes.com.

When Mary Richards showed up in our homes, we didn’t quite know what to make of her. A single woman in her 30s? Not widowed or divorced? Not dependent on a man? Happy with her career? Credit not only Mary Tyler Moore, but show creators James Brooks and Allan Burns with bringing something completely new and original to American TV.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was for many years a part of the Saturday night lineup on CBS, the strongest night of television ever. Consider this lineup – All in the Family, M*A*S*H (Great American Things, Nov. 5, 2009), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. A TV hall of fame all one one night.

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The titles said the show was about Mary Tyler Moore, but this was the epitome of sitcom by ensemble. What a remarkable cast of characters: the irascible Lou Grant (Ed Asner), the long-suffering Murray (Gavin MacLeod), the pompous Ted (Ted Knight), the buddy Rhoda (Valerie Harper), the two-faced Sue Ann (Betty White), the snobbish Phyllis (Cloris Leachman), and the naive Georgette (Georgia Engel). What a cast.

Mary worked in the newsroom of WJM TV in Minneapolis, an unusual workplace in a city not known to most viewers. She had an office family we enjoyed getting to know, and a roommate we identified with. The characters grew and developed during the show’s seven-year run, and the humor was more character-driven than was typical at the time.

The show earned lots of awards, both during and after its run. It won 29 Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1975, 1976, and 1977. The show received a Peabody Award in 1977 for having “established the benchmark by which all situation comedies must be judged.” In 1977, TV Guide ranked the “Chuckles Bites the Dust” episode as number one on their list of the Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2002, the magazine named the show as number 11 on its 50 Greatest Shows of All Time.

If you remember the show, one scene that will always stay with you occurred during the opening credits, as Mary tossed her hat into the air. The theme show was right: “You’re gonna make it after all…”

TV Show: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In

The original Laugh-In cast album. Uploaded to Flickr by barney russel23.

The original Laugh-In cast album. Uploaded to Flickr by barney russel23.

First, there was the sit-in. Then the hippies came along, and we had the love-in. This usage reached its highest (or lowest, depending on your perspective) point when two journeymen comedians captured the spirit of the age. And Laugh-In was born.

If you look at episodes of the show now, you come to an inescapable conclusion: It’s not funny. And it wasn’t all that funny at the time, either. But it was visually unlike anything that had been on TV before. It featured an extremely talented cast, including future stars Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin. And it pushed the envelope of what was allowed at that time, particularly in innuendo and in political humor.

Uploaded to Flickr by Johnny Illustrated.

Uploaded to Flickr by Johnny Illustrated.

Foreshadowing Saturday Night Live’s (Great American Thing No. 10) success a few years later, Laugh-In featured a weekly “news” segment that lampooned the political and social stories of the day. But to make sure people didn’t think the show was too highbrow, that would be followed by girls dancing in bikinis with jokes and sayings written on their bodies. Also like SNL, Laugh-In contributed a number of catchphrases to the national vocabulary, including “Verrry interesting…but dumb.” “And that’s the truth. Pbbbt.” “You bet your sweet bippy!” “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.” “Here come da judge.” And, of course, “Sock it to me.”

Laugh-In was on from 1968 to 1973, and claimed the number-one spot in the ratings for its first two seasons. The show was nominated for ten Emmy Awards during its run and won four, including Outstanding Musical or Variety Series in 1968.

Singer: Tony Bennett

Think of all the people who lose it as they get old. Not Tony. Uploaded to Flickr by General Erin.

Think of all the people who lose it as they get old. Not Tony. Uploaded to Flickr by General Erin.

Anthony Benedetto turned 83 in August, and here’s a news flash: The man can still belt a tune. My wife and I went to see him in Atlanta a couple of years back, figuring we might not have another chance. But he’s still touring, and still “has it.”

Tony is one of “The Greatest Generation”, a World War II veteran who began his singing career after the war. He was discovered by Pearl Bailey, and signed to his first major record contract by Mitch Miller. He recorded his first number one song and million seller, “Because of You,” in 1951.

1951. As in 58 years ago.

Uploaded by alscenter.org.

Uploaded by alscenter.org.

Tony has always stayed true to himself and his style, even when rock music seemed to sweep away all the attention from those who sang jazz standards. He went through some difficult years, a divorce, financial hardship, and finally no recording contract. Oddly, the person who helped change his life was his son, Danny. He booked Tony on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien so he could be seen by a younger audience. And they liked him. Tony remembered, “I realized that young people had never heard those songs. Cole Porter, Gershwin – they were like, ‘Who wrote that?’ To them, it was different. If you’re different, you stand out.”

Over the years he’s received the recognition he’s due. Fifteen Grammys, two Emmys, recognition by the Kennedy Center Honors, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s an incredible talent, and no less a critic than Frank Sinatra said of him, “For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business. He excites me when I watch him. He moves me. He’s the singer who gets across what the composer has in mind, and probably a little more.”

Bingo. Benedetto.