Wednesday, January 23, 2019



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Classic TV Dynamic

A reboot of Murphy Brown (with essentially the same cast) is headed for the fall on CBS, along with a remake of Magnum P.I. (with Jay Hernandez, pictured above, and not Tom Selleck, on the right).   The original Roseanne was recently rebooted then booted off the air and will be replaced with The Connors (a spin-off of a reboot!).

What’s the dealio?  What’s with the classic TV craze?  Why are the original classic TV shows and their redos so remarkably popular? 

A few reasons:   

1]   A good idea is a good idea, whether it was created and aired in the past or whether it’s reimagined or rerun in the present.

2]   The original shows are just as popular as their subsequent new editions (MacGyver, Hawaii Five-O, etc.) because of the quality in storytelling and presentation.  All good stories have a beginning, middle, and an end, no matter how lengthy a time it may take to tell that story.  Back in the day, the story for a one-hour drama or a half-hour comedy was told within that given time-frame.  Today, it may take five or six episodes of a contemporary series, half-hour or hour, to complete one storyline, or sometimes, even an entire season.  So, there’s that: the appeal of a classic TV show’s ability to tell its story in one full scoop.

3]   The “look” of classic TV shows, including sixty-minute ‘60s/‘70s detective/crime-shows like Mannix and The FBI, are nothing but of the highest of quality and caliber regarding production values.  If anything, the actual color-settings of these original series were vibrant.  For example, none shone so bright as the variant hues presented on The Brady Bunch, certainly in the way of primary colors of the wardrobe or the Brady’s kitchen counter-tops.

4]   The characters of classic TV shows were presented as unique unto themselves, as opposed to contemporary shows when all of the characters look alike, and everyone is beautiful and physically-toned and fit for beach-wear.  But more than that, not all of the characters in classic TV shows talked alike, as do their modern counterparts.  Today, mostly, not all, but mostly all characters are sarcastic in tone; mostly all new characters roll their eyes, and speak with quippy, witty words every two seconds, frequently spewing phrases that could easily be spewed by any other character on a given show (their own, or otherwise).

For a remake of an original show to work extremely well, which was the case of Roseanne (before its star went into full-self-destruct mode with a racist, mentally-disturbed rant) the original mythology of the initial series must somehow be retained.  As with the upcoming new Murphy Brown, the briefly-redone Roseanne, and its soon-to-be The Connors spin-off, have been fortunate enough to have retained most of the original actors who portrayed the original characters.  As such, Murphy Brown and Roseanne, in particular, can be classified as direct reboots.

But whether it’s a direct reboot, a remake, a redo or a reimagination, any retro-based new show should retain a timely-twist on the original material, but not so much as to distance itself from the original material.

Long story, short:  Everyone loves classic TV shows because classic TV shows have always been lovable – and likable…and easy to understand and to watch.

There is no dark lighting…no murmuring characters or dialogue spoken by diction-less actors.  There is no sound quality imbalance, and the story-telling is solid.

Best advice to any network or movie studio for that matter, that is interested in remaking a classic TV show for the small or big-screen (i.e. - Mission: Impossible which made the small-to-big-screen transference successfully, mostly due to the big-draw and appealing wide jaw and chiseled chin of Tom Cruise - and following a short-lived 1980s reboot on television)?

Go back to study what made the original a hit, and if you can’t remake it properly, or if you want to remake it to the point of completely reinventing it, then just come up with your own, brand- new idea and don’t try to ride the classic TV shirt-tails of what countless millions have loved for decades and, in the process, destroy that original concept – and what it’s become in the eyes of those countless millions, to the point of an utter and complete failure.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Chuck Harter's New "Mr. Novak" TV Book is Epic

When Mr. Novak debuted on NBC in 1963 it broke new ground in the arena of television drama.

Today, Chuck Harder's new book about the series breaks new ground in the arena of literary television companions.

Thoroughly researched, and expertly written, MR. NOVAK: AN ACCLAIMED TELEVISION SERIES (BearManor Media, 2017) is one of the most remarkable entertainment, media-related, and pop-culture books to come along in quite some time.  In the vein of Bart Andrew's I LOVE LUCY BOOK, and Marc Zicree's TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION, Harter's MR. NOVAK takes the entertainment reader to a new level.

The book features an Introduction by director Richard Donner (who guided episodes of the series, and later feature classics like Christopher Reeve's Superman from 1978), a Foreword by Martin Landau (Mission: Impossible), an Afterword by Walter Koenig (Star Trek), and commentary from a plethora of guest-stars on the show, including Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Tony Dow (Leave It To Beaver), Beau Bridges (Stargate), June Lockhart (Lassie, Lost In Space), and Sherry Jackson (The Danny Thomas Show), all of whom later found uture fame in shows of their own.

In a word, MR. NOVAK: AN ACCLAIMED TELEVISION SERIES by Chuck Harter is epic.


Click on the link below to order MR. NOVAK: AN ACCLAIMED TELEVISION SERIES by Chuck Harter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

A Delicious Classic TV "Dinner at 5"

There is something tremendous about seeing classic TV legends Kathy Garver (Family Affair), Fred Grandy (The Love Boat), Caryn Richman (The New Gidget) and Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch) on stage performing live and together in the new play, "Dinner at 5," written and directed by Lloyd J. Schwartz (Gilligan's Island/The Brady Bunch).

The cast's combined years of experience in film, on television and in the theatre becomes immediately and abundantly clear as each performer proves their comedic flair with this delightful "Dinner."

One-liners, zingers, a raised eyebrow here and there, and surprises galore are presented with entertaining ease by this repertoire of pros who recite with both rapid and at times perfectly timed reserved repore both the prose and poetry of Schwartz's clever words.

The talent from on and behind the stage, along with the charming nostalgia of just seeing these actors live, combined with the added mix of a contemporary twist, makes "Dinner at 5" a feast for the eyes and ears.


"Dinner at 5" is playing at the Parker Pace Center in Denver, Colorado from November 14th through November 19th, and from January 17th-20th, January 24-27, and January 31 to February 2 at the Indian Wells Theatre in Palm Desert, California.  For more information, please visit

Thursday, July 07, 2016

The All-New Official Website for the Classic TV Preservation Society!

Hello Everyone -
I am delighted to announce and invite you to visit the all-new official website for the Classic TV Preservation Society.
Different layers, pages, designs, images, and general aspects will be added over time.
But in the meantime, just click on the link below - and enjoy!
Always kind,
Herbie J Pilato
Founder & Executive Director
The Classic TV Preservation Society

The Classic TV Preservation Society

Friday, June 10, 2016

SPECIAL OFFER: Donate $100 to the CTVPS, and receive One FREE Book by Herbie J Pilato!

Receive One FREE Book written by Herbie J Pilato (from the list below) with every $100 Tax Deductible Donation to the Classic TV Preservation Society [via PayPal and

TV'S TOP MALE ICONS FROM THE 50's, 60's, AND 70's.







Thursday, June 02, 2016

Classic TV Stars Shine in Winning "Conversation" at Wallis Annenberg Center

What a show.  What a cast.  What a "Conversation"!

Such sums up "The City of Conversation" - the winning play on life and politics written by Anthony Giardina, and directed with diverse poignancy, educated insight, and wit by Michael Wilson (and running through Saturday June 4 at the beautiful Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills).

This telling "Conversation" plays more like a slice of life, than a live stage play.  Realistic at its very core, "City" delivers top performances by its stellar groups of actors, including classic TV icons Christine Lahti ("Chicago Hope"); David Selby ("Dark Shadows"); Michael Learned ("The Waltons"), and classic TV-related new legends like Jason Ritter (son of John Ritter/"Three's Company").  Into this eclectic mix, we find a no-nonsense performance by Georgia King, the always-impressive Steven Culp, and solid support from Deborah Offner, Johnny Ramey, and Nicholas Oteri, all of whom deliver the goods.

Lahti holds it all together, as she lets loose as Hester, the liberal voice and heart of the matter who never shies away from setting everyone straight, including her Ann-Coulter-ish daughter-in-law Anna (King).  Ritter, funny, smart, and likable, charms with triple the energy for a double take as Hester's carefree-turned-conservative son Colin, and later, conflicted grandson Ethan.

Selby takes the stage by storm each second he's on it with a commanding performance as the devil-may-care George, while Learned (with whom he once performed on "The Waltons" in a guest-spot from the 1970s) once more presents a nothing less than pitch-perfect-in-timing-and-delivery-performance as the devoted, discreet and all-knowing senator's wife Carolyn.

Under Wilson's guided panache, each actor displays a natural and never stilted ability, as if they were indeed their characters and not party to a play, political or otherwise.  The three-dimensional set both lends and represents the various in-house perspectives, as "Conversation's" timely yet retro-feel, succinctly combines its perpetually hot topics, while seamlessly mingling yesterday with today.

Spanning three decades from 1979 to 2009, "The City of Conversation" addresses, awakens, and revisits multiple issues of race, gender, sexuality, and war, some of which though never fully-resolved are somehow at least brought to light with a measure a peace to if just a few of its characters.

A pulsating visual and audio track of the alternating global climate appears above the stage, accentuating each subsequent act with applicable music and images of the changing eras.

"City" keeps the conversation going with more than just music to the ears, but becomes a feast for the eyes, and every good sensibility, becoming in the process what every live production should be and present in - and on - any stage of life.


Cast:      Christine Lahti, Deborah Offner, Jason Ritter, Georgia King, Steven Culp, David Selby, Michael Learned, Nicholas Oteri, Johnny Ramey.

Director:  Michael Wilson
Playwright:  Anthony Giardina
Set designer:  Jeff Cowie
Costume designer:  David C. Woolard
Lighting designer:  Lap Chi Chu
Sound designer:  John Gromada
Projection designer: Hana Sooyeon Kim

Click on link below for more information about "The City of Conversation," presented by Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, by special arrangement with Samuel French.