Comedy Writers Laugh-In at Tonight’s Event

Barnes & Noble Burbank – Thursday Nov 5th – 7:00pm

Classic TV Preservation Society Presents

Great Moments in Television Comedy

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Herbie J Pilato moderates tonight’s event with several of the greatest television comedy writers, including:

Sam Bobrick

Sam Bobrick

Sam Bobrick, award winning playwright who from the late 1950s to the 1990s wrote for scores of television shows.  Click here to go to his website for a list of his shows and his biography.  He says about his shows:

” Most of them were on the air before many of you were born. I think some of them were on the air before I was born.”

He’s written and co-written over thirty-five plays, many of them performed throughout the world, including: Murder At The Howard Johnson’sWeekend Comedy, Getting Sara Married, and Hamlet II (Better Than The Original). Twenty four of them have been published by Samuel French.

Born in Chicago in 1932 he joined the Air Force after his first year in college following a futile attempt at accounting. It was in the Service that he commenced a writing career as the editor and sole contributor to “The Tribe Scribe” – a bi-monthly politically incorrect base newspaper which, while very popular with the troops, was not held in the highest esteem by the military bureaucracy. After three years, nine months and twenty eight days in the Air Force he was honorably discharged and attended and graduated from the University of Illinois.

He soon made his way to New York where after several years of living on hot dogs and jelly donuts he landed his first big job as a writer for the legendary Captain Kangaroo children’s program. His TV writing career is long and varied, and includes The Andy Griffith Show, Get Smart, and The Smother’s Brothers Comedy Hour.

It was while doing The Kraft Music Hall in New York that he became involved with theatre, co-writing his first play NORMAN, IS THAT YOU? which has been produced throughout the world.

A prolific talent, he has also composed songs which have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Brian Ferry, and Los Lobos. He also co-wrote all the songs for the two MAD Magazine albums, MAD Twists Rock ‘N’ Roll and Fink Along With MAD – both of which have become collector’s items.

Recently – he and his son Joey wrote and released a hilarious but wickedly rude CD called Totally Twisted Country sung by the great country and western group The Cow Pies.

He is married and lovingly-devoted to playwright Julie Stein with whom he co-wrote several plays (including THE OUTRAGEOUS ADVENTURES OF SHELDON & MRS. LEVINE and LENNY’S BACK (a one man show about the legendary comedian Lenny Bruce).

Besides his son he has two fantastic daughters Lori and Steffy, two wonderful son-in-laws, Caleb and Geoff, one magnificent daughter-in-law, Linda and two outstanding grand-children, Ariel and Joshua.

Ed Scharlach

Ed Scharlach

Ed Scharlach, another multi-talented writer who wrote for both television comedies and more serious stuff, like Mike Hammer.  Click here for a list of his extensive television writing credits.

He has written and produced more than 300 episodes of TV comedy, including: segments for classic shows such as “The Odd Couple,” “Happy Days,” “Mork and Mindy,” and “Love American Style.” He also penned pristine episodes of acclaimed variety shows like “The Dean Martin Show” and shows for Steve Martin, Bette Midler, and Jay Leno.

He is also worked for several TV hour mystery dramas include writing/producing for “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer” and writing for sci-fi classics such as “Quantum Leap.”

Scooby-DooHis writing/producing also include such acclaimed animated series as “Duckman,” “The Wild Thornberrys”, “Pinky and the Brain,” the pilot for the cult favorite, “Invader Zim, as well as producing the TV series revival of the famed “Scooby-Doo” franchise.

His work as been heralded in TV Guide’s “101 Best Written TV Series,” as well as in TV Guide’s “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.” He is an Emmy, Annie, and Writer’s Guild Award nominee and the winner of a Cable ACE award.

He also happens to be one of the kindest and most beloved human beings in the entertainment industry.

Arnie Kogen

Arnie Kogen

Arnie Kogen, another major comedy writer and producer joins the group tonight.  Mr. Kogen has written for many of the major stand-up comedians, including Don Adams, Soupy Sales, Jackie Gleason and Johnny Carson.  Not only did he write for many television shows, but he wrote for years for our favorite Mad Magazine.  Click Here for a list of his credits, and Click Here for the list of Mad Magazine pieces.

He’s written and/or produced for The Carol Burnett Show, The Tonight Show, Newhart, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Empty Nest, Mad TV, The Dean Martin Show, Sinbad, Donnie & Marie, The Jackson Five, Evening At The Improv, The Bob Newhart Show, Tim Conway, Candid Camera, The Golden Globes and The Academy Awards.

Has also written comedy material for Phyllis Diller, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Shelley Berman, Debbie Reynolds, Connie Stevens, Totie Fields, Jackie Vernon, Diana Ross, Flip Wilson, Ann Margret, Sammy Davis, Morty Gunty, Mal Z Lawrence and Freddie Roman.

Mad MagFor over five decades he has been one of the leading contributors to Mad Magazine.

He has won three Emmy Awards (seven nominations) and one Writers Guild Award (three nominations)

He has been planning on writing a novel but doesn’t have enough material. He feels he has a “leaflet” in him. 

Periscope fans:  We will broadcast live stream from time to time during the show.  Click on L.A on the map and find ottofocus44 between 7:30 and 9pm.

 

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Partially Streaming Live on Periscope -Classic TV Preservation Society Gala Event

We Will Stream Parts of the Event Live – Look for Ottofocus44 in Los Angeles Between 7pm-9pm This will be intermittent – not the whole show.

Bewitched TT

 

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Classic TV Preservation Society

Schedule for Television Stars at Barnes & Noble Burbank for Upcoming “Throwback Thursdays”

All Events start at 7 pm.  Seating is Limited.  Event is Free

Events hosted by Herbie J Pilato

Anson Williams

Anson Williams

September 24, 2015:  Happy Days star Anson Williams will be discussing and signing his new book Singing To A Bulldog.

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William Wellman, Jr

William Wellman, Jr

October 1, 2015:  William Wellman Jr. will be discussing and signing his book, Wild Bill Wellman, the biography about his iconic film director dad.

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Kathy Garver

Kathy Garver

October 8, 2015:  Family Affair star Kathy Garver will be discussing and signing her book Surviving Cissy.

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Ron Dante

Ron Dante

October 15, 2015:  Pop-icon Ron Dante (producer of Cher, Barry Manilow, and others) singing his legendary super hit Sugar Sugar (from The Archies) and singing selections from his new music CD.

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Dawn Wells

Dawn Wells

October 22, 2015:  The one and only Dawn Wells, star of Gilligan’s Island, who will be signing copies of What Would Mary Ann Do?

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October 29, 2015:  A Bewitched Night of Magic

Chris York

Chris York

Chris York, son of Bewitched actor Dick York (the first Darrin)

David Bloch-Mandel

David Bloch-Mandel

David Bloch-Mandel, who played little Adam Stephens (Samantha and Darrin’s warlock son)

Pop Haydin

Pop Haydn

Pop Haydn, the magician (and former Vice-President of the Magic Castle).

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A Message From Brentsville, Virginia

Saving History is a World-Wide Problem

WhatUpHollywood was pleased that part of our article on “Grandma Was a Script Girl” had struck a chord with an historian on the East Coast.  Mr. Morgan Breeden, the Editor-Publisher of Brentsville Neighbors – Preserving Brentsville’s History has had a similar experience in trying to preserve local history.  In the latest issue, which happens to be number 120, Mr. Breeden writes:

Brentsville Court House and Historic Center

Brentsville Court House and Historic Center

“For the past ten years I’ve been trying to put into words and actions why I feel it is important to preserve the history of Brentsville.  Not only the physical places but the people and events as well. I achieved small success but have never actually felt that there is a lot of heart in what I’m attempting by the general public.  And the reason for the mixed success is probably my approach. I just didn’t have the right message. Then on August 8th, I received an e-mail from Juliet Webster introducing me to an article written by “Uncle Paulie”  in “WHAT UP HOLLYWOOD,” an on-line publication that covers “What’s Happening in Hollywood.”  [See www.whatuphollywood.com]  Normally I’d read something like this with mixed interest and then go on to something more about Brentsville but this one struck a chord that makes me want to share it with you. With his permission, I’m using much of his article verbatim and modifying a little of it to fit my cause.”

A tip of the hat to Mr. Breeden, and we hope he finds and publishes a lot more of the fascinating local history of that area of Virginia.  You can look at his great newsletters by clicking here.  The newsletter is packed with history, check out the story of the Haunted Jail in the current issue.  Julie’s mother Agnes Webster wrote a column of local history back in the 1940s in The Manassas Messenger, which is reprinted in issues of the Brentsville newsletter.

The Challanges of Preservation

I remember talking to a librarian a few years back on the challenges of saving so much memorabilia.  She said “It’s a lot harder today than it was pre-1950.  In the past we had to deal mainly with papers, books, manuscripts, and other written material.  In today’s world, just think of the mountains of stuff that should be preserved:  cds, dvds, film, billions of photos, digital books, audio, and video.  It’s truly overwhelming.”

Millions of Records Lost From Floods and Fire

A lot of the material of the past is being scanned into digital files for preservation.  But that too has its limits and dangers.  Media is constantly changing, computers and storage becoming obsolete in a short period of time.  And who really knows how long a hard drive in a computer, or a dvd, or other tape media will really last?  I have personally had all of it go bad after a few years, and that is why I believe that it is prudent to save as much of the original material as possible, as well as scanning images and text into computers.

I remember reading a classic tale of U.S. Government document hell.  The Army had stored a large portion of their personel files of our troops serving in the Vietnam war in a Washington, D.C. warehouse.  The information was on the old IBM punch cards;  some of the older folks remember those antiquities that dated from World War 2.  (The Germans used IBM’s punch card system to keep track of inmates in their evil concentration camps).  The U.S. government dutifully put the Army records in the basement of a warehouse, which subsequently flooded due to bad water pipes.  The punch cards were ruined, turned into soggy heaps of mulch.  No problem, said one government official, we had microfilmed the punch cards.  I laughed out loud.  Having a microfilm of a punch card is useless.  Who knows what the punched holes even mean?  The massive IBM machines that could run those programs are long gone into the scrap heap, and finding a retired engineer who could run the machine, if you had one, is getting dicey due to old age.  The bottom line is that tens of thousands of records, including medical records, of our Vietnam War G.I.s may be gone forever.  A search for original papers was underway, but I never heard what happened after that.

Fire Damage - 18 million records lost.

Fire Damage – 18 million records lost.

Then there was the big fire in St. Louis at the Military Personnel Records Center on July 12, 1973.  It was estimated that over 80 percent of Army records of personnel discharged between 1912 and 1960 were destroyed, as were 75% of Air Force records of personnel discharged between 1947 and 1964. The fire was so intense that it took 4 days for it to be declared officially out.  In addition to the fire damage, millions of gallons of water was poured into the building, further ruining anything left.  It should be said that these were mainly the primary paper records, and unfortunately, none had been put on computers or microfilm, with copies stored elsewhere.

A New Definition of Cultural Stupidity

Isis Destruction of Mosque

Isis Destruction of Mosque

As our technology changes, all the past material has to migrate to the new systems, because leaving it on the old system is to invite disaster.  The destruction of records in recent times has given me new respect for our ancient ancestors, who left their records carved in stone, which has lasted for thousands of years. They knew that neither fires nor floods would likely destroy them.  But even so, none of us ever thought that some modern day thugs would come along and blow up these precious monuments, as is happening today in the middle east.  This might be a new definition of cultural stupidity:  a group obliterating all traces of its own history before it is itself destroyed.

Classic TV Preservation Society

Meanwhile, in the face of all of this, What Up Hollywood is doing its bit to save some scraps of old Hollywood history.  One of our latest projects is working with Herbie J Pilato and his Classic TV Preservation Society.  We are filming his weekly events at the Barnes and Noble store in Burbank, where Herbie presents the stars of classic television and film, live in person.  These events are held every Thursday night and deserve to be supported.  Attendance is free, so tell your friends.  If you can’t make it, then check out the video footage which is posted on youtube, linked through this website.  We all grew up watching television.  It is one of the main media of the 20th and now the 21st century, and is a reflection of a large part of American culture.  We urge you to support Herbie and the Classic TV Preservation Society, you can click here to make a donation to that effort.  We’ll be seeing you on Thursday nights in Burbank!

 

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Memories of old Hollywood

Grandma Was A Hollywood Script Girl

East of Java - Aileen Webster is probably the only woman on the set.

East of Java – Aileen Webster is probably the only woman on the set, background right.

One of the strange things about American family culture is that most families spend almost no time talking about their relatives, even immediate family members.  Everyone is so busy trying to survive, go to school, work, participate in sports, dating and social activities, that the history, disappointments, achievements, and life stories of other family members are never dealt with.  When most kids are growing up, they might hear a few snippets, usually by accidental eavesdropping at the dinner table, about old grandpa Fred, who invented something or other,  or old aunt Betty who was a famous high-school athlete.  Rarely does a family take the time to get together every so often and give updates on what other members of the family, sometimes living in distant locations, are doing with their lives.  In some other cultures the dead family members are honored, as are the memories of what they did.  Most Americans have lost this.  Maybe it’s the result of the dis-integration of the so-called atomic family structure.  Ask a lot of young folks today, and many just don’t care about their past relatives, they are focused on themselves and immediate surroundings only.

Putting the family history in the trash.

Over the years I have been to thousands of estate sales and yard sales.  One thing that I began to notice is that family photo albums, documents, papers, history, and other memorabilia is frequently discarded- usually to be found in the trash cans.  The typical scenario is that the old folks die, the “kids” zoom in from out of town and dump everything out in the trash or estate sale, sell the house and pocket the money and any other valuables like jewelry, cash, paintings, and then scoot back to where they came from.  Save the family photos albums?  Naw, just keep one or two photos of mom or pop, that’s enough.  It makes you think that our culture must be so shallow that it’s not worth even giving it a second thought.

Charlene (left) with her mother Aileen Webster

Charleen (left) with her mother Aileen Webster

A few of us, though, as we age, realize that it sure would have been nice to be able to talk to Grandma about her life, but she lived on the other side of the country and died 20 years ago.  My friend Julie has recently had that “moment” when she unearthed some old boxes of photos and letters that she had rescued from the trash from one part of her family.  Julie’s family has a lot of Hollywood connections.  It started with her Grandmother, Aileen Webster, whose husband died at an early age and left her with two children, Charleen and Nicholas.  To make ends meet she somehow got a job as a script girl, and ended up working with director Tod Browning for 9 years.  Her daughter Charleen also worked in Hollywood as a showgirl, and was a friend of many Hollywood folks, including William Saroyan.

Filmmaker Nicholas Webster

Filmmaker Nicholas Webster

 Her son, Nicholas, became a filmmaker, winning awards for documentary films.  He wrote an entertaining book on his life filming documentaries called “How To Sleep on a Camel“.  One of Nick’s daughters, Cynthia Webster, owns a movie studio in Glendale, California, covered by WhatUpHollywood in a previous article (click here).  His daughter Julie, a teacher, helps out filming videos at WhatUpHollywood.

Who is left to sing my song?

Beach Babes - Showgirl Charlene with her mom Aileen Webster

Beach Babes – Showgirl Charleen (left) with her mom Aileen Webster

Looking through the box of old photos that Grandmother Aileen Webster had saved, brought up a mountain of questions.  What stories she could have told.  She worked on Dracula.  She worked on Freaks.  She was with Mr. Browning for years, and his life was really tumultuous.  She was there with him at many of the key moments.  Sadly, unless we can get someone to do a seance, we will never hear her stories- she died years ago.  We don’t have a diary.  Both her children, Charleen and Nicholas are dead. Like some of the Native American Chiefs said after their defeat in the so-called Indian wars: “Who is left to sing my song?”   Many of their stories were lost forever. So let this be a lesson to all who read this.  Get the facts and photos from your relatives as soon as you can, because nobody lives forever.  At least in this case we do have some pretty interesting old photos to share with our Hollywood fans.  So here goes:

Dracula (1931)

Bela Lugosi signed this to Aileen Webster

Bela Lugosi signed this to Aileen Webster

A great photo signed to Aileen by the master of the horror movie.  Imagine being on the set with him during the filming of Dracula!

Freaks (1932)

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Script Supervisor Aileen Webster is in the background at right, behind Mr. Browning in this wonderful set shot.

 

A Hurrell photo of Leila Hyams, one of the stars in "Freaks"

A Hurrell photo of Leila Hyams, one of the stars in “Freaks”

A nice signed photo to Aileen.  Her son Nicholas Webster worked for photographer George Hurrell probably after graduation from Hollywood High School.  He learned about photography and lighting from one of the greatest Hollywood photographers of all time.

 

The great, mysterious director Tod Browning

The great, mysterious director Tod Browning

Aileen Webster was his script supervisor for 9 years.  Unless a diary turns up, the stories, the secrets, the drama of this man’s life as they related to her, are lost forever.

East of Java (1935)

Director George Melford

Director George Melford

He also Directed the famous Valentino epoch “The Sheik” (1921)

 

Charles Bickford and George Melford

Charles Bickford and George Melford

A great shot of Charles Bickford talking things over with director George Melford, East of Java.

That’s all for now folks, hope you liked Julie’s family photos.  We may post some more photos of the fascinating Webster family in the future.

posted by uncle paulie.

 

 

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Lydia Cornell and “Too Close For Comfort”

Sweet, sexy comedian Lydia Cornell Joins Fans in Burbank to Share Memories of her Show Business Career.

Lydia Cornell

Lydia Cornell

The fourth in the Barnes & Noble Pop-Cultured series at the giant Burbank Store showcased comedian Lydia Cornell.  Hosted by Herbie J Pilato, fans got a chance to interact with the famous blond beauty of “Too Close For Comfort”.  She related lots of behind the scenes antics, as well as her sometimes troubled relationship with Ted Knight.  Describing herself as a “recovering sex-symbol” having “withdrawal from cleavage”, she believes that “all human suffering is caused by Victoria’s Secret.”  Her opening remarks drew gales of laughter from the fans, especially when she said she was working on a book to be called “my brain is in my bra.”

The fans were also able to celebrate Lydia’s birthday, and two scrumptious cakes were brought out.  There’s a Starbuck’s inside the bookstore, so everyone was set for a birthday bash!

Sorry you couldn’t attend the celebration, no cake for you!  But you will soon be able to watch the event on youtube.  Keep checking this site for further information.

 

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Cindy Williams and Larry Mathews with Herbie J Pilato

Early Television Stars Discuss “Laverne & Shirley” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”

Cindy Williams

Cindy Williams

(l to r) Cindy Williams, Herbie J Pilato, Larry Mathews.

(l to r) Cindy Williams, Herbie J Pilato, Larry Mathews.

Barnes & Noble Burbank was the setting for the second in the series of Pop-Cultured events that ran through the month of July every Thursday night.  July 9th was the night for the topic of the 1960s.  Hosted by Herbie J Pilato, the evening was spent with a bubbly Cindy Williams recounting some hilarious moments from her career on “Laverne & Shirley”, and Larry Mathews, the funny guy who played the kid Little Ritchie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”  Sitting in the cozy events space in Barnes & Noble, fans were whirled back to the 1960s  era of early television.  Herbie J Pilato, the ever-charming host, has created a little time machine for fans, in this case with co-pilots Cindy Williams and Larry Mathews.  The present day of “reality” shows is discarded, and the enchanting stories of yesteryear’s television programs turns back the clock to the days of the wonderful sitcoms we all loved.

You say you’re sorry you couldn’t make it to the event?  No problem, What Up Hollywood was there to film it for you.  Just click on the box below to enter into the time machine.

 

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The Soup Nazi From Seinfeld

If You Want Soup,

You’d Better Listen To This Message!

Click on the box below to hear this blast from Larry Thomas:

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Gala Event Set For Thursday July 30

Barnes and Noble, Burbank Store, Invites You to the Next Thursday Night Event.

The Soup Nazi

The Soup Nazi

Invited Guests include:  Larry Thomas, the famous Soup Nazi from Seinfeld;  Michael Stern, Lucille Ball’s Number One Fan; Frank Gorey, Lucille Ball’s chauffeur for 30 years; and actress  Jackie Joseph, star of many television shows and films.

Jackie Joseph

Jackie Joseph

The Event begins at 7pm, and will be hosted by Herbie J Pilato, from the Classic TV Preservation Society.  Seating is limited. This looks to be quite an amazing night!

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Barnes & Noble Burbank Hosts Pop Culture Celebration

Every Thursday in July Brings Fans and Stars Together to Share Memories

Under the leadership of Diane Brooks, B & N Community Relations Manager for the big Burbank Store, the five Thursdays in July will bring movie and television stars, fans, and historians together.  The time is 7pm, mark your calendar.

Helen and Mark Richman

Helen and Mark Richman

The first meeting, July 2, was hosted by Herbie J Pilato, an author, screenwriter, actor, and head of the Classic TV Preservation Society.  The guests were well-known pop culture and television historian Joel Eisenberg and Peter Mark Richman, one of Hollywood’s most well-known and recognized actors.  Mr. Richman is a long time veteran of television and is himself a writer and playwright.

Our friends at BigFunVideo are filming the events, and the links to youtube videos will be posted here on the What Up Hollywood website.  To see the first event, on July 2, click on the box below:

Check out the Classic TV Preservation Society, click here.

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