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The Abbott & Costello Show

Many of the classic movie comedy teams from Laurel & Hardy to The Three Stooges scampered across the TV screens of our youth, but only one actually appeared in a brand-new, made-for-TV series. That was Abbott and Costello.

Actually, to say the series featured brand new material is a bit misleading. What The Abbott and Costello Show accomplished is something far more significant. It preserved for future generations a portion of American theatrical history that might have been lost to the ages without them.

Read more: The Abbott & Costello Show

The TV That Time Forgot: How to Marry a Millionaire

How to Marry a Millionaire is a classic Hollywood comedy of the 1950’s.  How many remember that there was a short-lived TV version of the film, one that co-starred a young actress named Barbara Eden?

The How to Marry a Millionaire TV series was one of the first times they made a hit movie into a weekly TV show. Frankly, it’s not remembered today because it was slightly less successful than M*A*S*H.

The movie came out in 1953. It wasn’t until 1957 that National Telefilm Associates (NTA) got around to producing their TV version. While the show was not carried by the three major networks, NTA did manage to sell it to 115 local stations around the country.

Read more: The TV That Time Forgot: How to Marry a Millionaire

Bill Murray as the Human Torch?

Yes, it really happened! Bill Murray has portrayed a Marvel super-hero. The year was 1975 and Marvel was trying to expand from Saturday morning TV into the world of radio. So they spent $47,000 on a Fantastic Four radio series.

Murray was a struggling comic who had migrated from Chicago to New York. He was already working on The National Lampoon Radio Show, but picked up extra work when he was cast as Johnny Storm a.k.a. The Human Torch!

The shows were all adaptations of the very early issue of the Fantastic Four comic books of the early 1960’s. They were narrated by none other than Stan Lee himself. They are the cheese fest you would expect with all of Lee’s breathless, over-the-top prose and Murray faithfully shouting the Torch’s catchphrase “Flame on!” in every episode.

Sadly, the series lasted only 13 episodes and earned a paltry $22,000.

Oh, John Belushi was up for the part of the Thing, but was turned down.

A year later, Murray replaced Chevy Chase on the second season of NBC’s Saturday Night (it wouldn’t become Saturday Night Live until near the end of the second season). And the rest is show biz history!

Gun Crazy (1950)

If you love gangsters movies and haven’t seen this film, stop what you’re doing and buy, rent, stream or in any way possible see this movie!

If you saw the Oscar-nominated Trumbo (2015) and are curious about the films Douglas Trumbo wrote while blacklisted, see this movie!

Gun Crazy may be the greatest film most people have never heard of!

Read more: Gun Crazy (1950)

Return to Mayberry

It's been awhile since we looked in on our friends in Mayberry. Here's how they're doing:

The Beatles had 7 consecutive #1 albums. Two other bands had 8. Name them.

Led Zeppelin & ABBA
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