Posted in tv

TV Reruns – 1950s – 1990s

Over the decades, we’ve all watched a lot of memorable television shows.  Some of the shows may have been before our time but thanks to reruns, we are able to watch shows that we weren’t around for. Much of my TV viewing as a kid was in the form of reruns. I can remember loving shows like Leave it to Beaver, I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show….the list goes on. I think having such a wide variety of television shows from different years helped give me a love for television. 

Back in the early years of television broadcasting, shows were live and not recorded.  The time zone difference between the east and the west was one reason for studios deciding to record shows.  For example, if a network broadcast a television show in New York at 7pm eastern time, people on the west coast may not get to see it because they’d still be at work at 4:00.  They were out of luck. 

The other day I thought to myself, I wonder who even invented the concept of reruns? Well, I found the answer. Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball are who we have to thank for reruns.  According to Entrepreneur.com, “Arnaz and Ball offered a simple solution: produce the show on film and dispense with kinescopes altogether. CBS wasn’t exactly thrilled with this suggestion. Using film would double production costs. To offset the added cost, Arnaz and Ball agreed to cut their joint weekly salary from $5,000 to $4,000 on the condition that Desilu retained all rights to the show. CBS agreed, and in one fell swoop Arnaz and Ball invented reruns, paved the way for syndication, and pulled off what would become one of the most lucrative deals in television history.” 

The article goes on to say “By insisting that “I Love Lucy” be recorded on film, which could be easily stored and broadcast over and over again without any degradation of picture quality, Desi Arnaz initiated the industry practice of airing reruns, which made summer hiatuses possible and opened up a new market for the sale of film rights.” The first television series to be rerun was I Love Lucy. Thanks to Desi and Lucy for paving the way!

Today, thanks to streaming services, we have quite the menu of shows we can watch from every decade of television. Imagine a few decades ago someone telling you that in the future, you could watch TV shows on a telephone that fits in your hand while on the go. We’ve come so far!

In this episode of Trivia Rewind, I have 10 trivia questions for you about television shows that aired between the 1950s and the 1990s.  Maybe you watched them in real time. Maybe you watched them as reruns. Whatever the case, these were some great shows. After I ask you the ten questions, I’ll go back and give you the answers plus some fun facts. The fun facts are always my favorite part!

In our fun facts segment, find out which actor recently made the news touting his “stay-awake-spray” and commenting that it may have helped Tiger Woods avoid his recent accident.  Find out which TV couple couldn’t stand each other in real life and why that was.  I’ll tell you which young actress’ controversial film role and topless photos got her in trouble with her TV dad. Those are just a few of the fun facts I will tell you about in this episode. 

And as promised in the episode, here’s the trailer for the new series Bel-Air. I’m looking forward to this new television show where Will Smith is one of the producers.

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Trivia Rewind – Episode 41 – TV Reruns – Shows from the 50s to the 90s

[00:00:00] Debi Jenkins: [00:00:00] Hey there, I’m Debi Jenkins, the host of Trivia Rewind. Over the decades, we’ve watched a lot of memorable television shows. Some of the shows may have been before our time but thanks to reruns, we are able to watch. In this day and age, the concept of reruns is definitely taken for granted. Back in the early years of television broadcasting, shows were live and not recorded.

[00:00:39] The time zone difference between the East and the West was one reason for studios deciding to record shows. For example, if a network broadcast a television show in New York at 7:00 PM Eastern time, people on the West coast may not get to see it because they’d still be at work at [00:01:00] 4:00 PM and they would be out of luck.

[00:01:04] Well, thanks to Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, they came up with a solution. According to Entrepreneur.com, “Arnaz and Ball offered a simple solution. Produce the show on film and dispense with kinescopes altogether. CBS wasn’t exactly thrilled with this suggestion. Using film would double production costs.

[00:01:29] To offset the added cost, Arnaz and Ball agreed to cut their joint weekly salary from $5,000 to $4,000 on the condition that Desilu retained all rights to the show. CBS agreed and in one fell swoop Arnaz and Ball invented reruns, paved the way for syndication, and pulled off what would become one of the most lucrative deals in television history.”

[00:01:59] The first [00:02:00] television series to be rerun was I love Lucy. The article goes on to say, “By insisting that I love Lucy be recorded on film, which could be easily stored in broadcast over and over again without any degradation of picture quality, Desi Arnaz initiated the industry practice of airing reruns, which made summer hiatuses possible and opened up a new market for the sale of film rights.” So thanks to Desi and Lucy for paving the way.

[00:02:33] In this episode of Trivia Rewind, I have 10 trivia questions for you about television shows that aired between the 1950s and the 1990s. Maybe you watched them in real time. Maybe you watch them as reruns. Whatever the case, these were some great shows. After I ask you the 10 questions, I’ll go back and give you the answers and some fun facts. In our fun facts segment, find out which [00:03:00] actor recently made the news, touting his stay-awake spray and commenting that it may have helped Tiger Woods avoid his recent accident.

[00:03:09] Find out which TV couple couldn’t stand each other in real life. I’ll tell you which young actress’ controversial film role and topless photos got her in trouble with her TV dad. Those are just a few of the fun facts I’ll tell you about in this episode. Well, if you’re ready, let’s get this started with the first question.

[00:03:33] Question one. On the 1960s sit-com The Andy Griffith Show, what town was Andy Taylor the sheriff of?

[00:03:43] Question two. On the 1970s series Happy Days, what was the name of Richie Cunningham’s best friend?

[00:03:54] Question three. On the 1950s series I love Lucy, [00:04:00] what were the names of Lucy and Ricky’s landlords?

[00:04:04] Question four. On the 1970s series The Mary Tyler Moore Show, what was the name of Mary’s boss at the TV station?

[00:04:16] Question five. On the eighties series, Magnum PI, what kind of car did Thomas Magnum drive?

[00:04:26] Question six. On The Love Boat, a series that started in the 1970s, what was the name of the ship’s bartender?

[00:04:38] Question seven. On the 1970s series, Little House on the Prairie, what was the name of the former professional football player that played the character Jonathan Garvey?

[00:04:52] Question eight. On the nineties sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, from what city did Will [00:05:00] Smith’s character move from in order to live with his aunt and uncle?

[00:05:06] Question nine. On the late sixties, early seventies series, The Brady Bunch, what was the name of Alice’s boyfriend?

[00:05:16] And question 10. On the 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show, what was the name of the college that Denise attended?

[00:05:26] Those were our 10 questions. Let’s go back and review, I’ll give you the answers and the fun facts.

[00:05:34] Question one. On the 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, what town was Andy Taylor the sheriff of? Well, everybody knows that he was the sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina. Andy Griffith had the role of Andy Taylor and from the looks of it, being a sheriff in Mayberry was about as easy as drinking lemonade on the front porch. [00:06:00] According to Andy Griffith, the show’s creator Sheldon Leonard didn’t want the show to be set in North Carolina. He wanted it in the South, but not there. Griffith didn’t like the town names they were tossing around. One of the ideas was to call the town Mt. Pilot. Many say that Mayberry is meant to be Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Things were quite laid back in Mayberry, well for the men at least. When the show started, none of the female characters wore pants, just dresses or skirts.

[00:06:33] The first character on The Andy Griffith Show to wear pants was Andy’s  love interest, nurse, Peggy McMillan. The show ran for eight seasons with a total of 249 episodes. Only seasons six through eight were in color. And the show always ranked very high in the ratings. In 1991, actor Andy Griffith was inducted into The Television [00:07:00] Hall of Fame. In 1997, he won a Grammy Award for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album. He even has a highway named after him. In 2005, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The list goes on. Sadly in 2012, Andy Griffith died of a heart attack.

[00:07:24] Question two. On the 1970s series Happy Days, what was the name of Richie Cunningham’s best friend? Well, his best friend was Potsie Weber. On the show, Ron Howard had the role of Richie and Anson Williams had the role of Potsie. We all know that Ron Howard today is an award-winning film director, but what is Anson Williams up to? After he left Happy Days, he started a career in directing television shows. Coincidentally, when I was doing the research for this [00:08:00] episode, I saw that he was just in the news for something totally unrelated to entertainment.

[00:08:05] It turns out he is the second cousin to Dr. Henry Heimlich, the man we credit for what’s known as the Heimlich Maneuver. Heimlich is also Anson’s real last name. Well in a Page Six article, it says “Six years ago, his cousin told him to keep awake during long drives, a squeeze of lemon juice acts as a bolt of instant adrenaline. They quote him as saying, “I called Henry and I said, Why don’t we put citric acid in a spray, and he said that would save more lives than the Heimlich Maneuver. I promised him we’d get it done. He passed away four years ago and he made me promise to get it out.” Then the topic of Tiger Woods’ accident came up and they quote him saying With Tiger Woods, the forensic experts feel that he fell asleep.

[00:08:58] I’m so glad he is going to be [00:09:00] okay, but he’s bringing attention to this major problem. He continued. If you take this little spray (Alertdrops), you’re up, you’re alert, it’s safe. It’s natural. It’s really Dr. Heimlich’s legacy. He was a beautiful human being.” The article said that Anson Williams is still close with his Happy Days friends and even recently dined with 92 year old Marion Ross, the actress that played Mrs. Cunningham.

[00:09:30] Question three. On the 1950s series I love Lucy, what were the names of Lucy and Ricky’s landlords? Their landlords were Fred and Ethel Mertz. William Frawley had the role of Fred and Vivian Vance had the role of Ethel. While the two meshed together well on the show, in real life, not so much. Supposedly they hated each other.

[00:09:58] Why? [00:10:00] Well, a MeTV article says “It all started on the first day of rehearsals when Vance found that Frawley, 22 years her senior had been cast as her husband. He’s old enough to be my father, she complained. Unfortunately, Frawley had been within earshot when she made the remark and the battle lines were drawn.”

[00:10:21] Both William Frawley and Vivian Vance were nominated for multiple Primetime Emmy Awards for their roles on the show. Frawley was nominated five times for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy and Vivian Vance was nominated four times and won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

[00:10:43] Question four. On the seventies series The Mary Tyler Moore Show, what was the name of Mary’s boss at the TV station? Her boss was Lou Grant. Actor Ed Asner played Lou Grant on the show. [00:11:00] After The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ed Asner went on to star in a spin-off of the series called Lou Grant. In 1996 he was inducted into The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

[00:11:13] From 1981 to 1985, he was the president of the Screen Actors Guild. Ed Asner holds the record for being the male performer with the most Emmy Award wins. He has a total of seven Emmys. Ed Asner is still going strong. In 2020 he had several roles in television and film. This year Asner will be 92 years old.

[00:11:40] Someone else that auditioned for the role of Lou Grant was Gavin McLeod. It ended up that he was better suited for a different role on the show. He played Murray Slaughter, the head writer of the news.

[00:11:53] Question five. On the eighties series Magnum PI, what kind of car did [00:12:00] Thomas Magnum drive? I’m sure we can all picture it in our minds, but it was a Ferrari 308.

[00:12:08] Actor Tom Selleck starred as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator. According to ScreenRant.com, Tom Selleck was too big for the sports car and some modifications had to be made. They said that the car “had to have padding removed, tops cut into, and seats permanently removed so that he could fit in comfortably.” Ferrari experienced a big boost in sales after the series began gaining popularity. The show was set in Hawaii, but that wasn’t always the plan. In 1980, CBS ended production of their show Hawaii Five-O. They had a great production facility created for the show and didn’t want to shut it down. I’m thinking maybe some executives wanted an excuse to be in Hawaii.

[00:12:54] So it was decided that Magnum PI would be shot in Hawaii and utilize the production [00:13:00] facilities that CBS had there. The series went on for seven seasons and had a series finale where everyone assumed Magnum died. Supposedly fans were so upset, that Tom Selleck agreed to come back for a short eighth season where we find out he really didn’t die. In 2017, Insider did a piece about The 20 Most Watched TV Show Finales of all Time and Magnum PI ranked fifth.

[00:13:29] Tom Selleck was nominated for multiple awards for his role and he took home one Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. And here’s an interesting fact. Tom Selleck could have been Indiana Jones, but he was already contractually committed to the Magnum PI series.

[00:13:51] Question six. On The Love Boat, a series that started in the 1970s, what was the name of the ship’s [00:14:00] bartender? That popular bartender was Isaac Washington. Actor Ted Lange had the role of Isaac. In addition to acting, Ted is also a director and screenwriter. He even directed some of The Love Boat episodes and was a screenwriter for some as well.

[00:14:17] According to Mashable.com, “When Ted Lang’s agent told him he should play the part of a bartender on a new television series set on a cruise ship, he thought it sounded boring. And that part, which was minimal in the beginning, wasn’t worth it. My agent says, have you ever been on a cruise? Well think of it as a vacation, you’ll get a chance to see Mexico, Lang told Mashable. And it was fantastic.”

[00:14:44] The Love Boat had 250 episodes and Ted Lange was only one of three actors to appear in every single episode. Ted Lang’s Isaac Washington character went well beyond the series. His character [00:15:00] appeared in Charlie’s Angels, Martin, Weird Science and Love Boat the Next Wave. I imagine this show did a lot for the cruise industry. I can remember watching the show as a kid and dreaming about what it must be like to go on a cruise.

[00:15:15] Question seven. On the 1970s series, Little House on the Prairie, what was the name of the former professional football player that played the character Jonathan Garvey? That person was Merlin Olsen. Merlin Olsen played in the NFL for 15 seasons. He was a defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams. He even played in the Pro Bowl for 14 of those years. He’s a member of The Pro Football Hall of Fame. After his football career, he appeared in a few films and TV series when Michael Landon approached him to be on Little House on the Prairie. Olsen had the role of Jonathan Garvey, the father of one of Laura’s friends. Olsen [00:16:00] appeared in over 50 episodes.

[00:16:02] A close friend of Michael Landon, Merlin Olsen gave the eulogy at Landon’s funeral. In 2010, cancer took the life of Merlin Olsen.

[00:16:13] Question eight. On the nineties sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from what city did Will Smith’s character move from an order to live with his aunt and uncle? He moved from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

[00:16:29] Actor Will Smith had the role of the character named Will Smith on the show. On the show, he played a fictionalized version of himself. The show ran for six seasons and had 148 episodes. In real life, Will Smith was part of a hip hop duo called DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. They too hailed from Philadelphia.

[00:16:53] When Will Smith started his role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he was way over his head in [00:17:00] debt and owed the IRS $2.8 million in back taxes. According to the book Will Smith: A Biography, for the first three years he was on the show, the IRS took 70% of his paychecks. The book quotes Will Smith saying, “There’s nothing more sobering than having six cars and a mansion one day and you can’t even buy gas for the cars the next.”

[00:17:27] Things have definitely improved for Smith. According to WealthyGorilla.com, in 2021 his net worth is $350 million. I have a feeling he is much better at budgeting money now. And did you hear that a new Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is on the way? The new series is called Bel-Air and one of the executive producers is will Smith. This version leaves the comedy behind and it will fall into the drama category. I’ll post a [00:18:00] trailer for it on triviarewind.com.

[00:18:03] Question nine. On the late sixties, early seventies series The Brady Bunch, what was the name of Alice’s boyfriend? Well, his name was Sam Franklin. Actor Allan Melvin had the role of Sam the butcher on the show. While it feels like we all know Sam so well, did you know that he actually only appeared in eight episodes? While appearing in hundreds of various television episodes over the years, many remember him for his role as Sam. That innocent butcher even made his way into the lyrics of a Beastie Boys song. You’ll hear him mentioned in the lyrics to their 1989 song Shake your Rump. Allan Melvin also had several roles doing voice work. One of those roles was the voice of Magilla Gorilla on the sixties animated television series, The Magilla Gorilla Show.

[00:19:00] [00:19:00] And question 10. On the 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show, what was the name of the college that Denise attended? Well, she went to Hillman. On the Cosby show, actress Lisa Bonet had the role of Denise Huxtable. When the storyline of the show sends Denise off to Hillman, supposedly there was a reason for sending her off. There came a point when Lisa Bonet got on the bad side of Bill Cosby. She co-starred in the movie Angel Heart, a horror film that almost had an X rating.

[00:19:36] Then Bonet appeared in topless photos, leaked to the media. According to MentalFloss.com, “Cosby had her much younger TV siblings to consider. Denise was the most popular Huxtable according to the fan mail so Cosby solved the problem by spinning her off into A Different World, a series set at Hillman College. Bonet [00:20:00] only appeared for the first season of A Different World.

[00:20:03] In 1987, the year A Different World started, Lisa Bonet married musician Lenny Kravitz and in 1988 announced she was pregnant. The producers of A Different World didn’t want a pregnant college freshmen so she was let go. She later appeared back on The Cosby Show during season five, where her character left the country to go on a photography assignment. In 1993, Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz divorced. In 2017, she married Aqua Man star Jason Mamoa.

[00:20:41] That’s it for this week’s episode. The next time you watch a rerun, think of Lucy and Desi. We owe it all to them. For more visit Triviarewind.com on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and at triviarewind.com. Thank you [00:21:00] for listening and be back next week for another episode.

Posted in tv

The Brady Bunch

If I say the words Groovy and 1970s, what television show comes to mind?  The Brady Bunch of course. I was born in the early 70s and this was one of my favorite shows growing up.

The Brady Bunch was created by Sherwood Schwartz, known for creating shows like Gilligan’s Island.  So how’d he come up with the idea for The Brady Bunch?  A New York Post article lets us in on the story.  They say, “In 1966, he happened across a newspaper article stating that 29 percent of families now included a child from a previous marriage. The stat got Schwartz, who had created 1964’s ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ thinking. He began crafting a show about a blended family that would serve as a parable for his personal belief that different people could always learn to live together.”  When he shopped the idea around, networks weren’t really crazy about it and it was shelved. Then, in 1968 along came a Lucille Ball film called Yours, Mine and Ours, a film about a blended family.  The ABC network called Sherwood Schwartz and gave him the go ahead for The Brady Bunch and the rest is history.  

The Brady Bunch premiered on the ABC network on September 26, 1969. The show could be seen on Fridays during its five season run.  It may be hard to believe but when the show was in its first run, it didn’t get the greatest reviews and it wasn’t even nominated for any awards.  The series ended on March 4, 1974 after 117 episodes.  In September of 1975, the series went into syndication and that propelled it into a new found popularity. Between 2003 and 2007, the show was both nominated for and won several TV Land Awards in various categories. 

One thing that makes The Brady Bunch so iconic is that opening theme song.  Who could forget all the character’s faces in a checkerboard grid looking around at each other.  That was called a Multi-Dynamic Image Technique, a technique created by Canadian filmmaker Christopher Chapman. Some have referred to this as the “Brady Bunch Effect”.  This opening was so popular that in a 2010 issue of TV Guide, the show’s opening title sequence ranked number eight on a list of TV’s Top-10 Credits Sequences, as selected by readers.  The theme song lyrics were written by show creator Sherwood Schwartz.  The opening musical sequence for the pilot was performed by The Peppermint Trolley Company. Then, a trio of session singers sang the theme for the rest of the first season. When the second season rolled around, the Brady kids took on the theme for the rest of the show’s run. 

Another recognized part of the show was the house seen in exterior shots. The house was built in 1959 and is located in Studio City, California.  One reason show creator Sherwood Schartz chose this house was he thought it looked like the kind of home an architect would live in. (Remember, Mike Brady was an architect)

In 2018, the Brady house hit the market and HGTV purchased the home for what would become their original series A Very Brady Renovation. The HGTV show aired in September of 2019 coinciding with The Brady Bunch’s 50th anniversary.   

When The Brady Bunch was made, the interior shots were not filmed in that house we see in the exterior photos. (As a kid, I never liked hearing that. I wanted to believe that house really was where they were filming the show.) Interior shots were filmed on a soundstage.  When HGTV bought the home, they did a complete renovation on it to make the interior look like what we all pictured it to look like based on what we saw on the show. All six of the Brady kids were part of this HGTV series and it was really quite cool to watch.  It really made for a special reunion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show.

So were you a fan of the Brady Bunch?  In this week’s episode of Trivia Rewind, I have 15 trivia questions for you that span the five seasons of the series.  After I ask you the questions, I’ll go back and give you the answers plus some fun facts about the stars of the show.

Find out which actor was about to be written out of the show because he couldn’t get along with the producers. Find out which child star’s parents hated The Brady Bunch. Plus, find out about some hair drama that took place with more than one of the stars!

During the episode, I mention some things that I send you here to find. Those items are:

  1. Maureen McCormick in one of the commercials she did
  2. Christopher Knight’s Furniture Products
  3. The Brady Kids singing “Sunshine Day”

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 


Listen on Apple Podcasts

Trivia Rewind Episode 40 – The Brady Bunch

[00:00:00] Debi Jenkins: [00:00:00] Hello Trivia Rewind listeners. I’m Debi Jenkins, your host. If I say the words groovy and 1970s, what television show comes to mind? The Brady Bunch of course. That’s the topic of this episode of Trivia Rewind. The Brady Bunch was created by Sherwood Schwartz known for creating shows like Gilligan’s Island.

[00:00:40] So how’d he come up with the idea for the Brady Bunch? A New York Post article lets us in on the story. They say, “In 1966, he happened across a newspaper article stating that 29% of families now included a child from a previous marriage. That stat [00:01:00] got Schwartz who had created 1964’s Gilligan’s Island thinking. He began crafting a show about a blended family that would serve as a parable for his personal belief that different people would always learn to live together.”

[00:01:15] When he shopped the idea around, networks weren’t really crazy about it and it was shelved. Then in 1968 along came a Lucille Ball film called Yours, Mine and Ours, a film about a blended family. The ABC network called Sherwood Schwartz and gave him the go-ahead for the Brady Bunch and the rest is history. The Brady Bunch premiered on the ABC network on September 26th, 1969. The show could be seen on Fridays during its five season run. It may be hard to believe, but when the show was in its first run, it didn’t get the greatest reviews and it wasn’t even nominated for [00:02:00] any awards.

[00:02:01] The series ended on March 4th, 1974 after 117 episodes. In September of 1975, the series went into syndication and that propelled it into a new found popularity. Between 2003 in 2007, the show was both nominated for and won several TV Land Awards in various categories. One thing that makes the Brady Bunch so iconic is that opening theme song. Who could forget all the characters faces in a checkerboard grid, looking around at each other?

[00:02:38] That was called a Multi Dynamic Image Technique, a technique created by Canadian filmmaker, Christopher Chapman. Some have referred to this as The Brady Bunch Effect. This opening was so popular that in a 2010 issue of TV Guide the show’s opening title sequence ranked number eight on a list of [00:03:00] TV’s Top 10 Credit Sequences as Selected by Readers.

[00:03:04] The theme song lyrics were written by show creator Sherwood Schwartz. The version for the pilot was performed by The Peppermint Trolley Company. A trio of session singers sang the theme song for the rest of the first season. When the second season rolled around the Brady kids took on the theme for the rest of the show’s run.

[00:03:26] Another recognized part of the show was the house seen in exterior shots. The house was built in 1959 and is located in Studio City, California. One reason show creator Sherwood Schwartz chose this house was he thought it looked like the kind of home an architect would live in. Remember, Mike Brady was an architect.

[00:03:48] In 2018, The Brady Bunch house hit the market and HGTV purchased the home for what would become their original series, A Very Brady Renovation. The [00:04:00] show aired in September of 2019 coinciding with The Brady Bunch’s 50th anniversary. When The Brady Bunch was made, the interior shots were not filmed in that house we see in the exterior photos, they were filmed on a soundstage. When HDTV bought the home, they did a complete renovation on it to make the interior look like what we all pictured it to look like based on what we saw on the show. All six of the Brady kids were part of this HDTV series and it was really quite cool to watch.

[00:04:33] It really made a special reunion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show. So were you a fan of The Brady Bunch? In this week’s episode of Trivia Rewind, I have 15 trivia questions for you that span the five seasons of the series. After I ask you the questions, I’ll go back and review and give you the answers plus some fun facts. Are you ready to get started?

[00:04:59] Here’s [00:05:00] question one. In season one, which Brady kid nominated their father for the Father of the Year Award?

[00:05:10] Question two. In season one, Cindy’s doll Kitty Karry-All goes missing. Who does she discover the culprit is that took her doll?

[00:05:22] Question three. In season two, what does Alice win after entering a contest?

[00:05:31] Question four. In season two, which Brady breaks Carol’s vase?

[00:05:40] Question five. In season two, which Brady sister wore a wig to a party only to be laughed at?

[00:05:51] Question six. In season two, which Brady is upset because they are the only person in the family to have [00:06:00] never won a first place trophy?

[00:06:04] Question seven. In season three, Marsha is the president of her school’s fan club for what musician?

[00:06:14] Question eight. In season three, what character said the line “pork chops and apple sauce?”

[00:06:24] Question nine. In season four, what happens that causes Marsha’s nose to get bruised and swollen?

[00:06:34] Question 10. In season five, Bobby tells his friends that he knows which football star?

[00:06:43] Question 11. In season five what does Bobby save Peter from in their backyard?

[00:06:52] Question 12. In season four, the Brady kids enter a talent contest. [00:07:00] What do they call their group?

[00:07:03] Question 13. In season five after thinking she has no talents, what does Jan find that she’s actually good at?

[00:07:14] Question 14. In season five, what is the high school mascot that Greg helps steal and then hide in his bedroom?

[00:07:26] Question 15. In the series finale, Bobby sells Neat and Natural Hair Tonic to Greg and it turns Greg’s hair what color?

[00:07:38] Well, those were our 15 questions. Let’s go back. I’ll review them, give you the answers and a whole lot of fun facts. Question one. In season one, which Brady kid nominated their father for the Father of the Year Award?

[00:07:55] Well, that was Marsha. Actress Maureen McCormick played Marcia on the [00:08:00] show and actor Robert Reed played her step-father, Mike Brady. Maureen McCormick got her television start in TV commercials in the 1960s where she appeared in Barbie commercials and Chatty Cathy commercials, just to name a few. I’ll post one of the commercials on triviarewind.com if you want to take a look.

[00:08:20] Before being cast as Marcia, Sherwood Schwartz considered casting her in the role of Jan Brady. However, he ended up changing his mind and giving her the Marsha role on The Brady Bunch. The Father of the Year episode was one of Maureen McCormick’s favorite episodes. In a New York Post article, she said, “I always looked up to Bob as a father figure and my father was just such an important part of my life. So that meant a lot to me.”

[00:08:48] Actor Robert Reed was not happy in his Mike Brady role. In the book, Brady Brady Brady, the Complete Story of The Brady Bunch as Told by the Father Son Team Who Really Know, written [00:09:00] by Sherwood Schwartz and his son Lloyd Schwartz,

[00:09:02] it was mentioned that Robert Reed was reluctant to even be in the series. In the book, Sherwood Schwartz said, “He objected to just about everything. Bob saved his anger and resentment for me and my son Lloyd, who was the Producer of the series. We both shared the brunt of Bob’s constant anger and resentment for as long as we worked with him.” While Robert Reed didn’t get along so great with Sherwood and Lloyd Schwartz, he did love the kids and they loved him, according to Sherwood Schwartz.

[00:09:34] When I hear stories like this, I often wonder why actors take roles like this in the first place. Surely he had read the script before agreeing to be Mike Brady. Well, I’ve read that he only expected the show to last half a season and I’m sure in his mind, he thought he could stick it out for a small amount of time.

[00:09:52] However, it went well past half a season. Things got so bad that he was written out of the script for the [00:10:00] season five finale. If the show had been renewed for a sixth season, Lloyd Schwartz said that they would have written Robert Reed out of the show. The kids have nothing but good things to say about their TV dad though.

[00:10:14] Robert Reed died in 1992 after being diagnosed with colon cancer. Robert Reed’s biographer, Ted Nicholson said that in 1991, Robert Reed was diagnosed with colon cancer and being HIV positive, attributed to his early death.

[00:10:32] Question Two. In season one, Cindy’s doll, Kitty Karry-All goes missing. Who does she discover the culprit is that took her doll? Their dog Tiger took the doll. Actress Susan Olsen played the role of Cindy on the show. Who could forget that cute little curly haired blonde girl. She was one of the very first actors to be cast for the show. A New York Post article says “Susan Olsen was [00:11:00] chosen out of 454 hopefuls Schwartz personally interviewed to play youngest daughter, Cindy.

[00:11:07] She won the part because of her charming lisp that had her pronouncing “horse” as “horth” in her audition.” In a different New York Post article, Susan Olsen talks about how the show influenced her career. She said, “The whole attitude was, Oh, you were on that show? Like, as if I had written it. It just wasn’t taken seriously. It was totally disrespected and as a result, we were disrespected.” In an interview for “Oprah: Where are They Now” Susan credits her good parents and her strong family foundation for getting her through the child star phase. Like many child stars, she had her ups and downs with drug addiction, but she came out on top.

[00:11:51] After her time in acting, Susan Olsen went on to become a graphic designer. She’s also an artist and at one point around [00:12:00] 2011, had a curated collection of art designed with Marshmallow Fluff. That sounds like a pretty cool thing to see. In 2005, VH1 released their list of the 100 Greatest Kid Stars of Television and Film and Susan Olsen ranked number 34.

[00:12:20] If you’re interested in hearing the backstory on the Brady’s dog Tiger, check out my recent Trivia Rewind episode, titled Famous TV Pets. You’ll find out about Tiger’s tragic death on the studio back lot.

[00:12:36] Question three. In season two, what does Alice win after entering a contest? Well, Alice wins a stereo system.

[00:12:47] The character Alice is portrayed by actress Ann B. Davis. Ann grew up in the Northeast and had a twin sister. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann first majored in pre-med [00:13:00] with aspirations of being a doctor. But after seeing her brother perform in the musical Oklahoma! She switched her major to drama.

[00:13:09] She had rolls and film, television, and on stage. She even had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame years before The Brady Bunch. While we may know her most for her role as Alice, Ann B. Davis had previously won two Emmy Awards for her role on The Bob Cummings Show. Did you know that Ann B. Davis was only one of three to appear on every single episode of The Brady Bunch?

[00:13:35] After The Brady Bunch was over, Ann moved from Los Angeles to Denver. Once in Denver, she joined an Episcopal community and devoted much of her time to her religion. Ann B. Davis died on June 1st, 2014 and received a standing ovation at her own funeral. A Morning Call article talks about her Memorial service, where Lloyd Schwartz says, [00:14:00] “Dad didn’t create Alice. She was Ann B’s own creation,” he said. “He just wanted a funny housekeeper, but he got a whole lot more. America got a whole lot more. I got a lot more. I got a lifetime friend.” In the article, William Frey, retired Episcopal Bishop and friend of Ann B. Davis talked about Ann’s faith and how her pastor in Hollywood expanded her faith and she started paying more attention to the Bible.

[00:14:29] The article said “She accompanied Frey for a few years on his visitations to do ministry in hospitals and other settings, including churches, where members stopped her for autographs. Her rule was she’d only sign her name on church bulletins. If people wanted to show the autograph off, they had to admit they’d been to church.”

[00:14:52] Davis was never married because she never found a man who was more interesting than her career. She told the Chicago Sun [00:15:00] Times, “By the time I started to get interested in finding someone, all the good ones were taken.”

[00:15:07] Question four. In season two, which Brady breaks Carol’s vase? Well, that person was Peter. Actor Christopher Knight played Peter Brady. In an interview for Oprah: Where Are They Now? Knight revealed that his family hated The Brady Bunch. He said his parents believed that real actors didn’t do television and that television was just a place you had to go to earn money because real actors worked on stage.

[00:15:37] He said his family was financially unstable and when he took on the role of Peter Brady at the age of 10, he became the breadwinner for the family.

[00:15:47] Florence Henderson played Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch. Florence Henderson was the youngest of 10 children so being mom to six on The Brady Bunch probably looked like a piece of cake.

[00:15:59] Florence [00:16:00] Henderson’s father was a tobacco sharecropper and by the age of eight, she was helping her father in the fields. At two years old, she could sing. The Brady Bunch came along and soon Florence Henderson would be known as everyone’s favorite TV mom. According to deardoctor.com “When Henderson took the role in 1969, she wanted to make Carol a bit more realistic, begging the studio to let the character have a job. But her request was refused.” Yes, that was probably very unrealistic in the seventies to expect normal moms to have a live-in maid. Moms everywhere probably wondered what they had to do to get a live-in maid like Carol Brady had. Florence Henderson was only one of three people to appear on every single episode of The Brady Bunch.

[00:16:50] In an article with Fox, Susan Olsen discusses Florence Henderson and says, “She not only got along well with the cast members, but everyone on the [00:17:00] set- electricians, makeup, everyone was a respected team member and one of her goals was to get everyone home to their families as soon as possible.” Over her career, Florence Henderson not only shined on television, she had a successful Broadway career and had some film roles as well.

[00:17:19] She was also widely recognized as the spokeswoman for Wesson Cooking Oil between the years of 1974 to 1996. The article in deardoctor.com says “Florence attributes much of her success to hard work and lessons from her childhood. From her mother, she learned how to be a survivor and from her father, well, the faith he instilled in her, plus his words of wisdom that still guide her today. Joseph Henderson taught all of his children that a person’s character and reputation can never be taken away but rather you give that away.”

[00:17:55] On Thanksgiving day in 2016, Florence Henderson died of a heart [00:18:00] attack. The death was completely unexpected and a shock to everyone as she had not been sick. Just a few days prior, she was at a Dancing With the Stars taping, where she cheered on her TV daughter Maureen McCormick, a contestant on the show.

[00:18:16] Question five. In season two, which Brady sister wore a wig to a party only to be laughed at? That person was Jan. The role of Jan was played by actress Eve Plumb. Actress Eve Plumb started her career at age six, acting in commercials and on television. In The Brady Bunch, she played the character that will be forever known as the sister that said Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

[00:18:44] Sound Clip: [00:18:44] All I hear all day long at school is how great Marsha is at this or how wonderful Marsha did that. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.

[00:18:52] Debi Jenkins: [00:18:52] In an interview with The New York Post, Eve Plumb credit’s a Saturday Night Live skit for making that line become a viral [00:19:00] catchphrase for the show. While that line from The Brady Bunch is so iconic, did you know that it was only said one time during the series run? That line was said in season three, episode 10 in the episode titled My Sister’s Shadow.

[00:19:17] And here’s something you don’t hear every day. At the age of 11 Eve Plumb, with the help of her parents, bought her first home, an ocean front property in Malibu, California. And talk about a good investment. When she purchased the house in 1969, it was just over $55,000. In 2016, she sold it for $3.9 million.

[00:19:44] Question six. In season two, which Brady is upset because they are the only person in the family to have never won a first place trophy? That person was Bobby. Actor Mike Lookinland had [00:20:00] the role of Bobby Brady on the series. Before landing his role on The Brady Bunch, Mike appeared in various television commercials. Lookinland as a huge fan of The Grateful Dead and has been to over 100 of their concerts. In an interview with Convention Junkies, Lookinland said that the very Brady renovation on HGTV was by far his favorite reunion show that he’s ever done. He commented that way back in the day, they were worked hard and not paid well, but with HGTV, it was the opposite. He said they were treated like royalty.

[00:20:38] So what’s he up to now? Well, Mike Lookinland runs a company that makes decorative concrete. Thanks to all the publicity from his appearance on HGTV, he said business is booming.

[00:20:51] Question seven. In season three, Marsha is the president of her school’s fan club for what musician? [00:21:00] That was Davy Jones. In 1997, this episode titled Getting Davy Jones was ranked number 37 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. Over the years, Maureen McCormick had roles on many television shows. She even made her Broadway debut in Grease in 1994. In 2008, she released an autobiography titled Here’s The Story, Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice. The book made it to the number four spot on the New York Times Bestseller List.

[00:21:39] In the book, she revealed her addiction to drugs and how she turned her life around. In a Us Weekly article, she credits her parents and her now husband Michael Cummings for helping her get clean. In the article, she also gives advice to those suffering with addiction and says, “I recommend anyone who’s struggling is to throw [00:22:00] that phone book out and do not, do not hang out with anyone who’s using”, she said. “I had to literally say goodbye to so many people that I was hanging out with.” Her addiction even interfered with one audition that could have resulted in a role in one of Steven Spielberg’s films.

[00:22:18] A Fox article mentions how she reportedly turned up to an audition for Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, completely messed up after being awake for several days on drugs. “If there was coke, I had to stay up and do every last flake even if it meant going without sleep for days,” she wrote. “Nothing else mattered.” It is so great to see the Maureen McCormick has turned her life around and can offer a message of hope to people suffering with addictions.

[00:22:47] In March of 2021, McCormick will have been married to her husband Michael Cummings for 36 years.

[00:22:55] Question eight. In season three, what character said “Pork chops and apple sauce?” . Well, [00:23:00] that was Peter Brady. Actor Christopher Knight had the role of Peter Brady. In addition to Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, this is one of the most remembered lines said by the one of the kids in The Brady Bunch. In an article with Forbes Magazine, Christopher Knight says, “I’m asked to say it once a month or twice a month,”

[00:23:19] he admits. “As I’ve gotten older, I think it’s become a little less comfortable for individuals to ask a 60 year old man to say pork chops and apple sauce. But when I was younger, it would be requested of me quite frequently.”

[00:23:33] Question nine. In season four, what happens that causes Marcia’s nose to get bruised swollen? Well, Peter’s football accidentally gets thrown at Marsha’s nose. That sounds pretty painful. According to MeTV, “When Christopher Knight couldn’t throw the football at the target, producer Lloyd Schwartz said he stepped in and threw a perfect spiral, right at Maureen McCormick’s [00:24:00] nose.” So, what has Maureen McCormick been up to in recent years?

[00:24:04] In 2016, it was announced that she would be one of the celebrity dancers on the 23rd season of Dancing With the Stars. She and her dance partner came in eighth place. Just this year, McCormick has a new show on Discovery+. Designer Dan Vickery and Maureen McCormick overhaul homes stuck in a time warp.

[00:24:24] According to HGTV, “Dan brings the structure up to date while Maureen decorates with decade specific pieces to give the homes a refreshed, look with a nod to their original era.”

[00:24:38] Question 10. In season five, Bobby tells his friends that he knows which football star? Well, that football star was Joe Namath.

[00:24:50] If you can remember that episode, it was titled Mail Order Hero. In one scene, we see Bobby in bed dreaming of playing football in his backyard with Joe [00:25:00] Namath. Joe Namath throws him a strong pass, one that he catches for a touchdown. Well, back in the seventies, Joe Namath was quite famous and episode director Bruce Billson knew he couldn’t pull one over on football fans.

[00:25:15] So he had to make the throw look realistic. But how was he going to do that on a stage that was way too small for a Joe Namath pass? In an interview with The Archive of American Television, Bruce Billson said “There was not enough room. So I sent the prop man way up in the rafters and I said, throw it to him. Namath did as directed, chucking the football with full force skyward.” In an article with Fox, Susan Olsen shared a funny story that took place when filming this particular episode. She said, “When Joe Namath was our guest star, we were filming the scene where he says goodbye to the Brady family. In one take, Florence threw her arms around him [00:26:00] and shouted, Joe, please take me away. I’m so sick of these kids. Joe didn’t miss a beat. He picked her up and carried her off screen.”

[00:26:10] Question 11. In season five, what does Bobby saved Peter from in their back yard? Well, he saved him from a falling ladder. So what is Christopher Knight, the actor that played Peter up to nowadays? Well, he is the successful business owner of Christopher Knight Home.

[00:26:31] According to his business website, “Christopher stays closely connected to his brands by converging his interests in business with his life as an actor and celebrity. In November of 2012, this purposeful effort took shape as Christopher Knight Home, Christopher’s introduction to the world of his online furniture brand. Over the past eight years, Christopher Knight Home has grown into a leader in online sales of indoor and [00:27:00] outdoor home furnishings.” You can find his products at places like Target and Amazon. Visit triviarewind.com for a link to his website, where you can find out more about his products.

[00:27:12] Question 12. In season four, the Brady kids enter a talent contest. What name do they call their group? They call their group the Silver Platters. How’d they come up with that name? Well, for several months, the kids had saved up to buy their parents, a silver platter for their parents as an anniversary gift. Jan, without telling her siblings takes the silver platter to get it engraved and misreads the price. In order to pay for it, she enters them into a talent contest, hoping they can win the $100 prize. So the Silver Platters turns out to be the perfect name for this little scenario they’re dealing with.

[00:27:56] When they auditioned for the talent show the kids sang [00:28:00] Sunshine Day. I mean, who didn’t love that song? If you want to hear it over again, I’ll post a link to it on triviarewind.com. And yes, those Brady kids did sing.

[00:28:11] Over the years, a few different albums were made by the Brady kids. Their debut album came out in 1970 and was called Merry Christmas from The Brady Bunch. Their second album was released in the spring of 1972 and titled Meet the Brady Bunch. Album number three was called Kids From The Brady Bunch and it came out in the winter of 1972.

[00:28:35] A compilation album came out in 1993 and was called It’s a Sunshine Day, The Best of The Brady Bunch. Their fourth and final album came out in 1973 and was titled The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album. Eve Plumb, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, Maureen McCormick and Barry Williams all dabbled in music without the group.

[00:28:59] Currently [00:29:00] Barry Williams, AKA Greg Brady lives in Branson, Missouri, and has his own musical group, Barry Williams and the Traveliers. Previously, he produced and wrote a live variety musical show called Seventies Music celebration, starring Barry Williams, which ran for six years in Branson, Missouri.

[00:29:21] Question 13. In season five, after thinking she has no talents, what does Jan find that she’s actually good at? Well, she found out she was good at painting. And how ironic, because in real life, Eve Plumb is an accomplished artist. Her work can be found at various galleries across the United States.

[00:29:44] According to her website, eveplumb.tv, she works out of her home and studio in New York City. For the HGTV special, A Very Brady Renovation, Eve Plumb painted a replica of one of the pieces of art found on the wall in the [00:30:00] girl’s bedroom on The Brady Bunch. When finished, she signed the painting Jan B.

[00:30:06] And Eve Plumb should also be flattered that Eve’s Plumb, a New York grunge band named their band after her. According to bandnamesexplained.com, “The actual source of inspiration is from tame television series The Brady Bunch. In this series, the role of Jan is played by Eve Plumb. One of the band members is said to have been in Eve’s circle of friends.”

[00:30:33] Question 14. In season five, what is the high school mascot that Greg helped steal and then hide in his bedroom? Well, that was a goat named Raquel. Actor Barry Williams had the role of Greg Brady. In a New York Post article, he discusses what his favorite episode is. He said, “When we went to Hawaii for the trilogy episode, Hawaii bound. [00:31:00] The only thing I’ve been longer than a Brady is a surfer. I had to talk them into letting me do my own surfing. That was an extraordinary teenage experience, which has become a lifetime memory.”

[00:31:13] It’s also probably well-known that Barry Williams was romantically interested in co-star Maureen McCormick. TV brother Christopher Knight addressed this topic in a Forbes Magazine article. The article says, “The middle brother also found himself caught in the middle of a budding romance between Williams and McCormick. Knight would spend another hour or two a day with McCormick in the car since his mom drove them both to the set. Most of those conversations were about what Barry had said that he wanted Maureen to hear or she was telling me that I needed to tell Barry, Knight reminisces. Barry was doing whatever he could to get Maureen’s attention.”

[00:31:53] In his memoir Growing Up Brady, Barry Williams admits to also having a crush on his TV [00:32:00] mom, Florence Henderson. They even went on a little date with Barry’s brother driving the two. However, the rumors that they were romantically involved were completely fabricated. An Outsider article says, “The whole thing with Barry got blown way out of proportion. Henderson wrote on her website, I guess, in a sense it was a date because Barry thought it was, but of course I had no idea that his intentions were to date me. It has made for a good story though.”

[00:32:31] In 1989, Barry Williams was honored with The former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th Youth in Film Awards.

[00:32:41] And question 15. In the series finale, Bobby sells Neat and Natural Hair Tonic to Greg and it turns Greg’s hair what color? Well, it turned Greg’s hair bright orange. How ironic that in this episode they have Bobby [00:33:00] be the one to sell the hair tonic. Mike Lookinland, the actor that played Bobby had a hair color that didn’t match the hair of his TV brothers. So the production team died and straightened his hair for the show. It wasn’t until the last two seasons of the show that they allowed his natural hair color to show.

[00:33:19] Interestingly enough, Susan Olsen also had her hair colored. According to mentalfloss.com, “they ordered eight year old Olsen’s hair to be bleached regularly to give her that adorable toe head look. When her hair began falling out in clumps during the second season, a tearful Susan complained to Sherwood Schwartz who immediately ordered the staff to leave Cindy’s hair alone.” And more hair drama. According to mentalfloss.com Florence Henderson “was forced to wear a wig during the first season because her own hair had been cropped short when she co-starred in an off-Broadway revival of South Pacific.”

[00:34:00] [00:33:59] Well, that’s it for this week’s episode. That was a lot of Brady. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re interested in keeping up with the actors that played the kids on the show, most have a strong social media presence. Just yesterday, I saw a Maureen McCormick post an Instagram photo where she was having dinner with a few of her Brady’s siblings.

[00:34:23] Well, thanks for listening to this episode. You can find Trivia Rewind on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Visit triviarewind.com to find links mentioned in the series as well as transcripts for each episode. I’ll be back next time with another episode of Trivia Rewind. [00:35:00]

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It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life warms the heart of movie watchers each winter. As a child, my family watched this film every Christmas. We always thought my grandfather resembled Jimmy Stewart and maybe that’s why it made the movie even more special. Over the years I have grown to appreciate the film even more. Yes, it’s a long movie. Yes, it can be pretty depressing. No, my kids don’t beg to watch it. I mean come on, how can it compete with Elf (as I put words in the mouth’s of my kids)? Regardless, this movie has become a Christmas staple.  

The movie was produced and directed by Frank Capra and released in 1946. Frank Capra’s production company Liberty Films produced the film.  The film is based on a short story titled, “The Greatest Gift” written in 1939 by Philip Van Doren Stern. Philip Van Doren Stern sent out this short story as his Christmas card in 1943. It’s a Wonderful Life didn’t do so well at the box office.  It fell $525,000 short of breaking even. Frank Capra’s reputation took a hit and his production company went bankrupt.  

So how did It’s a Wonderful Life become the Christmas classic it is known as today?  Well, you can thank Republic Pictures, the motion picture production-distribution corporation for failing to renew the copyright in 1974.  That allowed the movie to become part of the public domain and television studios had the opportunity to pick it up which they did and it started airing yearly on television. That yearly airing drew television audiences in and made the movie a Christmas classic.

According to the website Slate.com, “Republic regained control of the lucrative property in 1993 by flexing a new Supreme Court ruling that determined that the holder of a copyright to a story from which a movie was made had certain property rights over the movie itself.”  According to the American Film Institute, “Unauthorized video copies of the film were destroyed, and the NBC network acquired exclusive television rights.”   In a Medium.com article it quotes the Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain as saying, “Ironically, a film that only became a success because of its public domain status was pulled back into copyright.”

Most people have no idea about this behind the scenes history of how It’s a Wonderful Life went from box office flop to Christmas classic. 

In this week’s episode, I will give you ten trivia questions about It’s a Wonderful Life.  After I ask you the questions, I’ll go back and give you the answers and some fun facts.  Find out about Jimmy Stewart’s impressive military career and which scene of It’s a Wonderful Life made him nervous to shoot. Find out why Jimmy Stewart is seen sweating in the movie, in the middle of a snowstorm! Those are just a few of the fun facts I’ll discuss in this episode of Trivia Rewind.

As you’ll hear me mention in the episode, fans of It’s a Wonderful Life will be excited about an event taking place this week! On Sunday, December 13, 2020 Actor Ed Asner is hosting a star studded virtual gala and table read of It’s a Wonderful Life. Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will read the role of George Bailey.  Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Ed Asner Family Center, which is dedicated to promoting mental health and enrichment programs for special needs children and their families.  The virtual event is taking place on Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 5 p.m. PST and 8 p.m. EST. Visit the Ed Asner Family Center Website to order tickets and see what other actors are taking part in the table read. This is an event you won’t want to miss.

Below, you will find the transcript for this episode. You can listen to Trivia Rewind on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please tell a friend, leave a positive review and 5 star rating if you like Trivia Rewind. Thank you for listening and supporting Trivia Rewind! 

The background Christmas Music heard on the episode is by JuliusH from Pixabay

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Here is the transcript. Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve already listened to the episode, don’t look below because you’ll find the answers.

Trivia Rewind Episode 26 – It’s a Wonderful Life

[00:00:00] Trivia Rewind.

[00:00:05] Debi Jenkins: [00:00:05] Welcome to this episode of Trivia Rewind. I’m Debi Jenkins. In this episode, I’m taking you back to the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. The movie was produced and directed by Frank Capra and released in 1946. Frank Capra’s production company, Liberty Films produced the film. The film is based on a short story titled, The Greatest Gift, written in 1939 by Philip Van Doren Stern. Philip Van Doren Stern sent out this short story as his Christmas card in 1943.

[00:00:43] It’s a Wonderful Life didn’t do so well at the box office.  It fell $525,000 short of breaking even. Frank Capra’s reputation took a hit and his production company went bankrupt. So how did It’s a Wonderful Life become the [00:01:00] Christmas classic it is known as today? Well, you can thank Republic Pictures, the motion picture production and distribution corporation for failing to renew the copyright in 1974. That allowed the movie to become part of the public domain and television studios had the opportunity to pick it up, which they did and started airing it yearly on television. That yearly airing drew television audiences in and made the movie the Christmas classic that it is today. According to the website Slate.com, Republic regained control of the lucrative property in 1993, by flexing a new Supreme court ruling that determined that the holder of a copyright to a story from which a movie was made had certain property rights over the movie itself.

[00:01:53] According to the American Film Institute, unauthorized video copies of the film were destroyed and the [00:02:00] NBC network acquired exclusive television rights. In a medium.com article it quotes the Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of Public Domain as saying, “ironically, a film that only became a success because of its public domain status was pulled back into copyright.”

[00:02:20] Most people have no idea about the behind the scenes history of how It’s a Wonderful Life went from box office flop to Christmas classic. In this week’s episode, I will give you 10 trivia questions about It’s a Wonderful Life. After I ask you the questions, I’ll go back and give you the answers and some fun facts.

[00:02:43] Are you ready? Let’s play Trivia Rewind.

[00:02:46] Question one. What is the name of the character that actor Jimmy Stewart plays in the film?

[00:02:56] Question two. What is the [00:03:00] name of the town where the story takes place?

[00:03:05] Question three.  When George was a child what happened that caused him to be deaf in one ear?

[00:03:16] Question four.  During World War II why was George Bailey ineligible to serve?

[00:03:24] Question five? What is the name of the angel that was assigned to Jimmy Stewart’s character?

[00:03:33] Question six. Which character misplaces $8,000 before he is able to deposit it at the bank?

[00:03:44] Question seven. What is the name of the cantankerous character that makes life hard for Jimmy Stewart’s character?

[00:03:56] Question eight. Who threw a rock at the [00:04:00] old Granville house and broke a window?

[00:04:04] Question nine. What does George say he’s going to lasso for Mary?

[00:04:12] And question ten. What gift does Clarence leave for George at the end of the film?

[00:04:21] Those were our 10 questions. Let’s go back, review, get the answers and fun facts.

[00:04:27] Question one. What is the name of the character that actor Jimmy Stewart plays in the film? Jimmy Stewart plays the main character George Bailey. Instead of Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant almost played George Bailey. On the American Film Institute’s 2003 list of The 50 Greatest Screen Heroes, George Bailey ranked ninth. Jimmy Stewart’s role as George Bailey earned him an Oscar nomination.

[00:04:59] This was the [00:05:00] third time in his acting career that he had been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category. Growing up, Jimmy Stewart was a shy child who loved working on model airplanes and dreamed of one day being an aviator. He attended Princeton University and it was there that he started acting.  Stewart’s major burst of stardom came out when he took the lead role in Frank Capra’s  You Can’t Take it With You, a film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

[00:05:35] Question two. What is the name of the town where the story takes place? Well, It’s a Wonderful Life takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, New York. Seneca Falls, New York claims that Bedford Falls was modeled after their town.

[00:05:54] Seneca Falls has embraced It’s a Wonderful Life and even has a museum [00:06:00] dedicated to the film. In 2021, the city will hold its 75th anniversary “It’s a Wonderful Life Festival” celebration. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 events will be held virtually. I will post a link to information about these events on triviarewind.com. It’s a Wonderful Life was filmed both on the RKO Radio Picture Studios lot and the RKO Movie Ranch in Encino, California. One of the largest sets in Hollywood history was built for this movie. The crew made use of sets from the 1931 movie Cimarron when building Bedford Falls. The entire set took up four acres and included 75 stores and buildings. They even transplanted 20 full grown oak trees. Those were just a few of the things that made up this magnificent set. Would you believe that [00:07:00] this Christmas movie full of snowy cold scenes was actually filmed in the middle of a July, 1946, California heat wave. When watching the movie, it’s hard to even comprehend that.

[00:07:13] Some people have said that you can see sweat on Jimmy Stewart’s head during the scene on the bridge, near the end of the film. Supposedly there were times during the filming of the movie that Frank Capra would have to shut down filming just so that they could get out of the heat. So how did they make the snow look so real in the middle of a heat wave?

[00:07:34] Russell Shearman the films special effects artist came up with a new way of making snow for movie sets. He used was called Foamite and mixed it with soap and water and some have said sugar. Then they’d put that mixture in front of really big fans which made it look like falling snow. Shearman and the RKO Radio Studio special effects  department won a Technical [00:08:00] Achievement Award at the 19th Academy Awards for the development of a new method of simulating falling snow on motion picture sets. That’s a big step up from the painting cornflakes white, something they had done to create snow on movie sets before. Imagine stepping on crunchy cornflakes. That’s definitely louder than the sound of walking on crunchy snow.

[00:08:24] Question three. When George was a child, what happened that caused him to be deaf in one ear? In 1919 George and his friends, as well as his brother Harry were sledding on a frozen lake and the ice broke. Harry fell in and George went into the icy water to save his brother. After being in the frozen water George developed an ear infection, which caused him to go deaf in that ear. The child that played the role of George Bailey was Bobby Anderson.  Remember the [00:09:00] scene when the pharmacist Mr. Gower slaps young George in his ear causing it to bleed?  In a Los Angeles Times article, Bobby Anderson said his ear actually did bleed. H.B. Warner, the actor that played Mr. Gower really did hit him in the ear. The article quotes Anderson as saying, “We rehearsed and as the day progressed, the louder and more demanding H.B. got. We’d rest for a little while.  I’d go back to school. They’d bring me back out and we’d spar a little more.” However Bobby Anderson did have fond memories of working with H.B. Warner. He said,  “I was a baby, he says. At the end, when it was all over, he was very lovable. He grabbed me and hugged me and he meant it.” When you start watching It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Gower’s voice is the first voice you will hear in the film. He says the words “I owe everything to George [00:10:00] Bailey. Help him, dear father. “

[00:10:03] Question four. During World War II why was George Bailey ineligible to serve? Well, the answer is he was ineligible to serve because he was deaf in one ear. Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey may have been ineligible to serve in World War II, but in real life, Stuart had quite the military career. This was his first film after returning from serving four years in World War II. According to military.com “When the U.S. entered World War II, Stuart was drafted into the Army, but was rejected because he was underweight for his height.

[00:10:43] He worked with colleagues to put on the necessary pounds and successfully enlisted with the Air Corps. According to the National Museum of the United States Air Force,  “he began flying combat missions and on March 31st, 1944 [00:11:00] was appointed operations officer of the 453rd bomb group, and subsequently chief of staff of the 2nd combat wing, 2nd air division of the 8th Air Force. Stewart ended the war with 20 combat missions. He remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and was promoted to brigadier general on July 23rd, 1959. He retired on May 31st, 1968.”

[00:11:30] Question five. What is the name of the angel that was assigned to Jimmy Stewart’s character? The name of the angel was Clarence and he was played by English actor, Henry Travers. In the movie his angel rank was angel second class. He hadn’t earned his wings yet. Did you know that the character Clarence was only visible on screen for 15 minutes of the entire movie? [00:12:00] Before his role in It’s a Wonderful Life, Henry Travers was nominated for a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for the movie Mrs. Miniver. Seven of the movies he appeared in were nominated for Best Picture Oscars. Travers died in 1965 and would never know that his role as Clarence would become his most memorable role or that It’s a Wonderful Life would become the Christmas classic it is today.

[00:12:29] Question six. Which character misplaces $8,000 before he is able to deposit it at the bank? That unfortunate character was uncle Billy. That Christmas Eve scene is really hard to watch. Here’s an extra trivia question about uncle Billy. Do you remember what his phone number was? It was Bedford 247.  Actor Thomas Mitchell had the role of uncle Billy.  In [00:13:00] his acting career, Thomas Mitchell was the first actor to win what’s called The Triple Crown of Acting. He won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award. He had an extensive career in both film and television. He has not one but two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame; one for his work in television and one for his work in films.

[00:13:26] Question seven. What is the name of the cantankerous character that makes life hard for Jimmy Stewart’s character? Well, that grumpy guy’s name was Mr. Potter. Actor Lionel Barrymore played Mr. Potter and I can’t think of one nice thing to say about this character. Supposedly the Mr. Potter character was based on the Ebeneezer Scrooge character from A Christmas Carol. The Mr. Potter character was so unlikable that on the 2003 American Film Institute’s list of the 50 Greatest Villains [00:14:00] in American Film History, he ranked number six. Actor Lionel Barrymore comes from a long line of actors. He is the great uncle of actress Drew Barrymore. In the movie, Mr. Potter is in a wheelchair due to polio.  In real life Lionel Barrymore was in a wheelchair due to severe arthritis.

[00:14:22] Question eight. Who threw a rock at the old Granville house and broke a window? That character was Mary, played by actress Donna Reed. While she already had quite the career this was Donna Reed’s first starring role in a film. The old Granville house is where Mary and George spent the first night of their honeymoon and then fixed it up to live in. This is the house that George later refers to as a drafty old house. He says, “gosh, it’s this old house. I don’t know why we don’t all have pneumonia. This drafty old barn. Might as well be [00:15:00] living in a refrigerator. Why did we have to live here in the first place and stay around this measly crummy old town?”  Here’s an extra trivia question about this house. Do you remember the house’s address? It was 310 Sycamore Street.

[00:15:18] Question nine. What does George say he’s going to lasso for Mary? He says that he’s going to lasso the moon. He says, “what is it you want Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.”  Remember the scene when George and Mary both have their ear up to the telephone and then they kiss? Supposedly Jimmy Stewart was very nervous about this scene. This was his first on-screen kiss since he returned to Hollywood after serving in World War II. The scene was done in one take. A 2014 Huffington Post article lists this [00:16:00] kiss as one of the Top 11 Classic Hollywood Kisses that Will Send Shivers Down your Spine.

[00:16:06] And question ten. What gift does Clarence leave for George at the end of the film? Clarence leaves George a copy of the book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  Inside the book is a note that says, “Dear George, remember, no man is a failure who has friends? Thank you for the wings. Love, Clarence.” Then we all know what happens in one of the movie’s most famous scenes. A bell on George and Mary’s Christmas tree rings and what does their daughter Zuzu say? “Look, daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”  It’s a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Oscars and Frank Capra won the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture Director. In [00:17:00] 1947, the movie was listed as one of the top 10 films by the National Board of Review. In 2006, It’s a Wonderful Life topped the list of  AFI’s 100 Most Inspiring Films of all Time. Watching George Bailey give up all his big dreams for the betterment of Bedford Falls is definitely inspirational.

[00:17:23] And here’s something fans of the movie will be excited about. Actor Ed Asner is hosting a star studded virtual gala and table read of It’s a Wonderful Life. Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will read the role of George Bailey. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Ed Asner Family Center which is dedicated to promoting mental health and enrichment programs for special needs children and their families. The virtual event is taking place on Sunday, December 13th, 2020 at 5:00 PM pacific time and 8:00 PM eastern time. Visit [00:18:00] triviarewind.com for a link to tickets and see what other actors are taking part in the reading.

[00:18:07] Well, that’s it for this week’s episode. Make sure before 2020 is over you take the time to watch this holiday classic and end your year with a little inspiration. Please subscribe to Trivia Rewind and leave a positive review wherever you listen to podcasts. You can visit us on Twitter and Instagram. All the links mentioned in this episode can be found at triviarewind.com. Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next time for more Trivia Rewind.