With the return of Trackdown and The Greatest American Hero to TV screens it seemed appropriate to post an updated listing of where you can view these shows and others.
Trackdown can be seen on MeTV and on Heroes and Icons. Check your local listings for times and availability.
I Spy is currently not running on any television networks (although RetroTV still has a page for it on their website), but can be seen online via Hulu, Yahoo View and on the PROClassicTV streaming service. Yahoo View is free (with occasional commercials during the episode) while Hulu and PRO require subscriptions. However, in the case of PRO, individual episodes can be viewed for .99 a piece.
The Greatest American Hero can be seen on Heroes and Icons and streaming on Hulu with subscription and for free on Yahoo View. Yes, the pilot episode is conspicuously absent from the online streaming services.
You can also check out JustWatch.com, which currently lists where you can find 17 Culp films and TV series’ that can be viewed online or purchased. I consider it my civic duty to warn you to NOT waste your money on National Lampoon’s Movie Madness. Just don’t. Trust me.
Fill my eyes, with that double vision…of not one, but TWO #ColumboTV events on Twitter!
The first on Saturday, August 17th, 2013 at 7pm EDT, 12am BST and 9am AEST. The second on Sunday, August 18th, 2013 at 2pm EDT, 7pm BST and 4am AEST.
As Lord Dastardly Deano would say, “for those of you with an inferior education” BST is British Summer Time or simply UK time! AEST is Australian Eastern Standard Time (for our Aussie friends in places like Sydney and Melbourne.)
Why two events, you ask? Am I crazy, you wonder? Are you kidding, Robert Culp twice, in honor of his birthday, which would be August 16th? Absolutely!
Actually, I know a #ColumboTV event typically takes place around 5pm EDT, but I just can’t swing that hour. So, since I can do earlier, or later, and knowing Columbo fans span the globe my hope is the two slots will work well for turnout.
As an extra bonus, there will be a selection of Best Tweet from both events with a prize for each!
So mark your calendars August 17th and 18th and join me on Twitter (@ConsummateCulp) for #ColumboTV and Robert Culp! And for those of you not familiar with how #ColumboTV works, click here to get the scoop!
Prior to watching the dreadful National Lampoon’s Movie Madness I had discovered that the TV movie The Blue Lightning from 1986 was given a proper DVD release earlier this year (2013). I had seen a few clips of Culp from this one on YouTube and, of course, loved the aviators, the Irish accent and the riding boots. I hoped to find the movie to see the whole thing some day.
I was very glad to find it on DVD and had watched it just before seeing the National Lampoon movie. To set things right in my world I figured to go back and wipe the memory of National Lampoon from my mind and take a look at The Blue Lightning again.
Besides, I needed to do some screen caps y’know…
The movie opens in Opal Ridge, Australia where Quinton McQueen is tied to a tree and is about to be left for dead by Lester McInally (Culp). (Lester’s last name, to note, is pronounced two different ways in this movie; the Australian pronunciation sounds like “McKinley” while the American way is like it’s spelled, Mac-In-Ally.) Quinton pleads to not be left tied to the tree where the wild dogs would get to him and eat him alive. One of McInally’s thugs, Mr. Words, asks for McInally to show some mercy. After some thought, McInally agrees and as Mr. Words starts for the tree to untie McQueen, McInally pulls his gun and shoots McQueen, killing him. “There,” he says to Words, “we’ve saved him from the dingos…”
(Clip courtesy of FedKidCounselor)
Hell of an intro for Culp’s character! And he’s just as merciless through the rest of the movie.
The Match Game (as it was called during the sixties) was resurrected in 1973 as “Match Game ’73” with subsequent seasons being denoted by year (Match Game ’74, Match Game ’75, ect…). Near as I can tell, Robert Culp made two appearances on Match Game in the ’70s, despite only this appearance from October 1, 1973 being listed in his filmography on the IMDB. I’ve only ever seen a screen shot of him from the other Match Game appearance but have no idea (yet) what year it’s from. But I intend to find out, somehow.
Since Culp is in the first chair at the top row, he’s the first introduced. Um, pay attention, Bob…
Although this episode is early in the Match Game run, the familiar feel of the show is well established already. What would become the familiar cast of misfits are here, with Brett Sommers and Richard Dawson. Charles Nelson Riley was not yet a regular, but in what would be his chair is Mr. Brett Sommers, Jack Klugman. Frequent visitor Jo Ann Pflug is here and the “new blood” are Robert and actress Pat Carroll. Gene Rayburn promises the newbies they’re gonna have fun. Culp asks when. Heh. Carroll complains something about missing a PTA meeting for this. Honestly though, I’m not sure Culp really wanted to be there at first, it’s hard to tell.
The two contestants are Allen and Diane. Allan picks the first question, which is…
Gene: “Molly fed Jake nothing at all but chicken soup until he finally BLANKED.”
The usual shot of the stars writing their answers down. Nice close up of Culp. May I add that he looks very sharp in that blue suit?
Allan answers that Jake “cackled.” The audience likes this one.
Robert: “Well, it was close…he croaked.”
Most of the rest of the answers are similar, that Jake died. Klugman figures the soup might be like Brett makes it…thus, Jake vomitted. Anyway, Allan gets no matches from any of the stars. Culp says something about “no chicken soup jokes here…”
Next question for Diane… “When little Maybel dances with Big Wilt, her nose touches his BLANK.”
Now, by this point if you’re not familiar with Match Game you may have noticed the questions could sometimes be suggestive in some way. The answers, however, could not violate FCC rules. But you know everybody, including the audience, are thinking the same damn FCC violating answer. They just can’t say it. Gene tells everyone not to be influenced by this “evil audience” who are hooting and snickering. Since they’re all thinking the same answer, Culp is heard saying something like “nobody is that short.”
Diane keeps it clean and says that Maybel’s nose touches Big Wilt’s chest. Obviously the audience isn’t fond of the answer as they’re pretty much stone silent.
Robert: “Well the only Wilt I know is a lot taller than that. Belt buckle.”
Although Culp doesn’t match with Diane, he and Jack Klugman are on the same wavelength. Klugman’s answer was also belt buckle. “I think Robert and I dance with the same Wilt, I said belt buckle… “
Jo Ann and Pat also say belt buckle. Brett and Richard say navel. Diane does not get a match but by this point Culp seems to be loosening up. On to the next question.
Gene: “Robinson Crusoe said to Friday, ‘We’ve been on this island together for 20 years. Let’s BLANK.’”
Yeah. You’re thinking all kindsa naughty answers aren’t you? So’s everybody else. Allan, who just can’t help himself, answers: “Get married.”
Gene: “He’s such a shy guy too.”
Robert: “I told you he was a vision in blue!” (Allan is wearing a bright powder blue sport coat.)
Your answer, Bob?
“I really wanted to play it very straight, because they’re cold up there and they wanted to build a fire.”
Build a fire? No, I’m sure that’s not what he first thought. (And if I was stuck on an island with Robert Culp for 20 years, I would hope we built a fire long before then!) Brett says “dance.” Klugman’s answer he figures will get him thrown out of the business…he matches Allen with “get married.” Jo Ann’s answer was that they should leave. Richard also matches with Allen for “get married.” And Pat figured as Jo Ann did, that they should just get out.
After a commerical break we return with the next question, which is, “Herman flew all the way to Brooklyn to look up Janet’s BLANK.”
The audience gets a good snicker along with some of the celebs on the panel. Culp asks Gene to repeat the question, saying, “I dare you to say it again.” Gene repeats it, unruffled, everybody chuckles and the close up of Culp shows…
Yeah. He’s thinking, “Geeze…” I’m also willing to bet Culp is thinking a particular answer but he plays it straight.
Brett is giggling like a mad woman as she writes her answer down. Everybody puts their cards in, Culp being the last one.
Diane’s answer is a disappointing “phone number.”
Robert: “You guys are too tough for me, I had to start out easy with this. I said ‘address.’”
No match. On to Brett who just stares at Gene for a long moment, looking innocent. Finally she snaps out of it and pulls her card out. The viewer and the audience can’t see it, but Culp does and you hear him burst out laughing.
That answer Culpmight’ve been thinking of? Brett had no shame and proudly displays her card. “HER SKIRT!” After a good laugh, Brett then apologizes for her complete lack of taste. Culp can be heard saying “it’s allright…” Heh!
Once again Jack Klugman matches Culp with “address.” None of the other celebrities match with Diane so Allan wins the round. He goes on to win $500 in the super match with Richard but doesn’t win the $5000.
Round two with a new player, Barbara. Barbara picks question B, which is, “The morning after the party, Harry said, ‘Boy my mouth tastes like somebody left their BLANK in it.’”
Barbara’s answer: Socks
Good answer. Culpalmost has it. “Very, very close!” he says, “But! It was shoes…”
Barbara would match with Brett and Richard to get two points. Unfortunately, that would be all the time they would have for this day’s game.
Now I dunno about you, but I would have loved to have been a contestant on Match Game just for the heck of it, but particularly if Culp was on the panel. If I had won a round and made it to the supermatch I would’ve picked him. I wouldn’t have cared if I won or lost at that point, I would’ve been happy just to have stood on that stage, with Culp not 15 feet away and try to see if I could match him.
And see about building that fire.
You can watch the Match Game ’73 episode on YouTube in five parts (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five) which is where I grabbed my screen caps from. As always, with the fickle existence that is YouTube, check it out sooner rather than later as there’s no guarantee on how long the video will remain posted.
Now if I can just find this other Match Game appearance…
Anybody recognize it? Know it? Have a video of it???
NBC Movie of the Week, Originally aired May 21, 1977
One of the last gems I found on YouTube in the ‘08/’09 period was this tv pilot which I thoroughly enjoyed. As a more casual Star Trek fan I was also intrigued by the fact that this was created and written by Gene Roddenberry and it’s unfortunate it didn’t make into a series.
Robert Culp plays William Sebastian, a brilliant and well known criminologist who has been dabbling in and researching the occult. His theory is that the more heinous murders committed by humans that had no definable logic in motive must have been committed due to other more powerful and unseen forces. As a result of his flirtations with the dark side and backing out of a deal with the devil, he has just one minor problem: He has a hole in his heart, like a dagger or some object has been shoved through it.
A little healing black magic from his housekeeper, Lillith (Mrs. Gene Roddenberry – Majel Barrett), Sebastian is able to continue to live and walk around. But the spell does not offer a permanent fix. Sebastian has to find the doll that the object is impaled in.
He has been asked to look into a case in England at the request of Anitra Cyon (Ann Bell), who believes her brother, Geoffrey (James Villiers), is under the influence of evil supernatural forces which has contributed to his sudden and extensive wealth. In order to proceed with the case, Sebastian will need help from his former partner, Dr. “Hamm” Hamilton (Gig Young.) The movie opens with Hamm’s arrival at Sebastian’s home – having been requested there by telegram – and this great voice over to set the tone for the movie.
“I come here to meet a man I vowed never to see again. He was vain, arrogant, selfish, but his brilliance was still irresistible. He was also dangerous – never to me – but this evening began for both of us, a slide into horrors unimaginable, a descent into a corner of hell….”
Sebastian explains about the hole in his heart and asks for Hamm’s help with the case in England. Initially Hamm says no, after all, he has some issues of his own going on including a more than casual drinking habit and is facing an inquiry by the hospital he works for. He reconsiders after learning about Sebastian’s condition but suggests that Sebastian didn’t need a compulsive drinker as an assistant. The good doctor’s drinking habits, however, were corrected by Lilith.
Here’s another one of those miscellaneous clips I found on YouTube back in 2008 that just fueled my growing interest in Robert Culp. This clip amused me to no end and I still get a good laugh from it when I go back and watch it. This particular episode of Get Smart was a spoof of I Spy and although Culp is not credited for this appearance, the scene is totally his.
So! Kind gentlemen and lovely ladies, it would please me to have you to watch this clip…
In the early exploration of All Things Culp, I mined my way through YouTube. Back in 2008 there wasn’t a whole lot of stuff posted, a couple episodes of I Spy , one or two made for tv movies and various miscellaneous vids that I’ll cover in other posts. Amongst the miscellaneous stuff, however, was a vid that single handedly sold me on Bill Maxwell and The Greatest American Hero series. This vid is brilliant.
I was sold. I bought all three seasons in fairly short order.
I was especially sold on Culp’s Bill Maxwell, the calcified, old school Fed who freaked out and took off in the pilot after the visit with the “green guys” and the bequeathing of the suit to Ralph. He returned, however, out of a sense of duty and curious to see what the fuss was all about. By the end of the pilot, he was becoming quite comfortable with the idea of this supersuit and with this first regular season episode, he was ready to run the whole show, much to Ralph’s chagrin. Honestly, if the pilot for The Greatest American Hero didn’t sell you on watching this show, The Hit Car should have. This is by far my favorite episode.
So what’s the fuss all about? Read on…
Starlet Wilde has agreed to testify against Johnny “The Dancer” Diamante, the biggest “dope dealing slug” that FBI agent Bill Maxwell has been trying to nail for 15 years. After another Fed attempts to drive Starlet to LA from San Francisco and is shot in the process, Bill decides to go to San Francisco and bring her down himself – with help from Ralph and the suit.
Ralph, meanwhile, is trying to organize his class to do a Shakespeare play which will get them some credits for English Lit (which nobody seems to particularly care about). During the first meeting for the play, unfortunately, Bill shows up, tells Ralph they have a flight to San Francisco at 7 o’clock and it was go time.
No sooner had I been introduced to Robert Culp through the Columbo: Death Lends a Hand episode, I set out to find anything and everything I could of his work and material. Roaming through YouTube one day I discovered there were a couple of episodes of I Spy that had been posted (this was before the more official posting of the episodes that now run in their entirety and are uncut on both YouTube and formerly on Hulu). The first episode I found was this one, “A Cup of Kindness.”
We all know the expression, “You had me at hello?” Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened here. I loved this episode at first viewing and thoroughly enjoyed viewing it again when I went back to do my caps for this post. I won’t say how many total screen caps I ended up doing because…um…well, it was a lot. Waaay more than I can use in this post. (And the number I use in this post is…erm…a lot.)
But suffice it to say, not long after viewing this episode (along with the very first episode of I Spy, “So Long Patrick Henry” also posted at YouTube at the time) I bought all three seasons of I Spy. In one shot. Wham, bam, thank ya sir.
So here we go, the episode that introduced me to Kelly Robinson, Alexander Scott, tennis, Hong Kong and ascot ties!
Kelly and Scotty return to their hotel room only to realize from the shadow showing in the door vent that somebody is sneaking around within. They dismiss their busboy and, always being prepared, remove weapons from their sports bags. They then enter the room, which appears to be empty. They both notice two feet showing from behind the floor length curtain by the window. They get the drop, only to find it’s just a pair of shoes. They immediately turn to the closet next to them but their visitor is actually across the room, watching them from behind a book shelf. He announces himself, with gun drawn.
The intruder turns out, is not really an intruder at all. His name is Russ Conley and he’s Kelly’s former instructor from spy school. The intrusion turns to a nice reunion and Kelly introduces Scotty to Russ. Russ, turns out, did have a reason for seeing the boys, as he had a message to deliver to them from “the department.”