Obit: John Cacavas

Longtime film and TV composer John Cacavas has died at 83.

Cacavas wrote music for such classic series as Hawaii Five-0, Mrs. Columbo and Quincy. He also composed a new theme for the final season of Kojak.

Mr. Cacavas worked on the music for the Airport 1975 and ’77 big screen pics, as well as some made-for-TV movies. His later works included The Equalizer and Matlock.

Cacavas passed away Tuesday in Beverly Hills.

Classic TV Birthdays: January 31

First up on today’s classic TV star birthday list: Carol Channing. The stage film and screen star turns 93. Best known for her role in the Broadway musical Hello Dolly!, she also guested on such classic TV series as The Flip Wilson Show, The Love Boat, The Muppet Show and What’s My Line?

Other January 31 birthdays: character actor Jonathan Banks (guested on Barnaby Jones, Lou Grant) is 67, Glynn Turnan (Centennial, Peyton Place, currently on the Showtime series House of Lies) turns 68, British actress Connie Booth (Fawlty Towers) hits the big 7-0, Jessica Walter (Amy Prentiss, For The People, Trapper John M.D., recently Arrested Development) is 73, Stuart Margolin (The Rockford Files) is 74 and Lynn Carlin turns 76. Carlin appeared on such 1970s staples as Emergency!, Insight and The Waltons, but her best-known role was as the mom on the coming-of-age drama James at 15/16.

There’s a long list of celebrities born this day but no longer with us. It starts with John Agar, an actor who appeared in several John Wayne movies but later wound up starring in a series of sci-fi and western B movies (The Mole People, anyone?). He later guested on Charlie’s Angels, Family Affair, Police Story and Rawhide. Agar’s other claim to fame? He was the first husband of former child star Shirley Temple.

Also on the list: stage, screen and radio star Tallulah Bankhead. She also appeared on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Tonight Show (Jack Paar and Johnny Carson versions) and was special guest villainess The Black Widow on Batman. Singer-comedian-actor Eddie Cantor guested on The Jack Benny Show and Playhouse 90. He lives on as a featured character on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Others born this day: actor-stuntman Carey Loftin (BJ & The Bear, Movin’ On, The Rockford Files), TV host Garry Moore (I’ve Got A Secret, To Tell The Truth), Suzanne Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show), Filmation Studios co-founder Norm Prescott (The Archies, Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids) and British actress Jean Simmons (guested on Hawaii Five-O, The Odd Couple).

Wrapping up the list of classic TV stars born January 31 is James Franciscus (pictured above). According to our research, he starred in 6 series in the 60s and 70s, including Doc Elliot, Hunter, The Investigators, Longstreet, Mr. Novak and Naked City (the first season half-hour version). Hunter was a short-lived 1976 espionage series co-starring Linda Evans, no connection to the 1980s crime drama Hunter.

A classic TV star also passed away on this day. Lee Bergere appeared in shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mannix, Perry Mason and Wagon Train. He was also a regular on Hot L Baltimore and later, Dynasty.

Classic TV Birthdays: January 30

Celebrating birthdays today: Gene Hackman (84) and Dorothy Malone (89). Hackman is best known for his film work, but he also appeared in many classic TV shows including The F.B.I., I Spy, Naked City and The United States Steel Hour. Malone guested on Cimarron City, The Untouchables and Vega$. She was also a regular on Peyton Place.

Classic TV stars born January 30 but since passed include Canadian actor-director John Ireland. He starred in a mystery series called The Cheaters, also appearing on classics like Gunsmoke, Little House on the Prairie, Quincy M.E., Rawhide, Schlitz Playhouse and Thriller. Ireland was also a regular in the short-lived Angie Dickinson detective series Cassie & Co. (1982).

Also born today: Dick Martin (Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In), financial journalist Louis Rukeyser (Wall $treet Week) and David Wayne. The veteran character actor starred in a 1950s series Norby, later he was in the cast of Ellery Queen, The Good Life (a Larry Hagman sitcom) and House Calls. Wayne also guested on many classic shows, among them Batman (he was The Mad Hatter), Hawaii Five-O and The Twilight Zone.

Celebrities passing January 30: Pierre Boulle (author of the Planet of the Apes novel, later a movie franchise which also spawned a short-lived TV series and cartoon), Huntz Hall (starred in Dead End Kids/Bowery Boys movies, later he guested on TV shows Chips, Diff’rent Strokes, Flipper), Ed Herlihy (Tonight Show announcer, Kraft Foods spokesman) and Aaron Ruben (director of The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle USMC, Sanford & Son).

Veteran actor John McIntire also died on this day. He starred in the first season, half-hour version of Naked City and replaced Ward Bond as the lead on Wagon Train. McIntire appeared in numerous classic TV shows including Daniel Boone, The Twilight Zone and The Virginian. He was also in the cast of Shirley, a 1979 comedy-drama starring Shirley Jones.

Classic TV Birthdays: January 29

Ann Jillian leads off today’s classic TV birthday list. The 64 year old Jillian guested on 1960s classics Leave it To Beaver and The Twilight Zone, then joined the cast of Hazel in its final season. She later starred in a pair of sitcoms: It’s A Living and the self-titled Ann Jillian.

Other January 29 birthdays: Canadian actor Marc Singer is 66 (guested on Barnaby Jones and Hawaii Five, starred on V) and Tom Selleck is 69. Selleck appeared on such classics as Charlie’s Angels, The F.B.I., Lancer and Marcus Welby M.D. He achieved his greatest fame as Magnum P.I. and currently stars on the CBS crime drama Blue Bloods.

Also marking a birthday is film and TV star Katherine Ross (74). She guested on shows like Ben Casey, The Virginian and The Wild Wild West, later becoming a series regular on the Dynasty spinoff The Colbys. Ross had breakout movie roles in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Graduate.

Classic TV stars born January 29 but no longer with us include John Forsythe. He appeared on such shows as Lights Out, Studio One, Suspense and The Love Boat, plus starred in a number of sitcoms (Bachelor Father, The John Forsythe Show, To Rome with Love). Forsythe was later seen but not heard as the voice of Charlie on Charlie’s Angels, then as the patriarch of the Carrington family on Dynasty.

Also born this day: Anthony George (Dark Shadows, One Life To Live, Search for Tomorrow, The Untouchables), British actor Noel Harrison (guested on Ironside, Love American Style, Mission: Impossible, starred on The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.) and Ed Shaughnessy (long time drummer on The Tonight Show).

Celebrities passing away on January 29 include Freddie Prinze (Chico and the Man), Leif Erickson (The High Chaparral) and Jimmy Durante. The actor-comedian was well-known for his gravelly voice and big nose…he called it his schnozzola.

Jimmy Durante guested on Make Room for Daddy and numerous variety shows (The Andy Williams Show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour). He also headlined The Jimmy Durante Show in the 1950s and Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters in 1969-70. One of his most enduring roles is as the narrator of the perennial Christmas special Frosty The Snowman.

Classic TV Birthdays: January 28

Kicking off today’s list of classic TV birthdays is Barbi Benton. The one-time girlfriend of Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner had multiple guest appearances on 70s’ staples Fantasy Island and The Love Boat, and also headlined short-lived sitcom Sugar Time! Benton turns 64 today.

Other January 28 birthdays include Susan Howard (70), who guested on dozens of classic shows, and was later a regular on Petrocelli and Dallas). John Beck (71) appeared on shows like Bonanza, I Dream of Jeannie and The Mod Squad. He was a regular on James Garner’s quickly- cancelled western Nichols, later he was seen on primetime soaps Dallas and Flamingo Road.

One more “major” birthday, or should we say Captain…as in Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce. Actor Alan Alda played that role on the long-running comedy-drama M*A*S*H and turns 78 today. Alda guested on 1960s classics Naked City and Route 66, then followed M*A*S*H with a hosting role on the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers. He also had a major role on The West Wing.

Classic TV stars also sharing a January 28 birthday but since passed: John Banner (guested on classics including The Lone Ranger, Mister Ed and The Partridge Family, regular on Hogan’s Heroes), Joel Crothers (Dark Shadows, later on Santa Barbara), Maurice Gosfield (The Phil Silvers Show, Top Cat) and Arnold Moss (guested on Bonanza, The Rifleman, Star Trek.)

A number of classic TV favorites passed on this day, including the aforementioned John Banner. The actor who played Sergeant Schultz (I know nothing! I see nothing! I hear nothing!) on Hogan’s Heroes died on his 63rd birthday. Henry McGee was an announcer and cast member of the British comedy-variety series The Benny Hill Show.

Another January 28 passing was character actor Hal Smith. The versatile Smith had an impressive 6 decade career, including guest appearances on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, The Brady Bunch, Green Acres and I Married Joan. He also did extensive cartoon voiceovers on Clutch Cargo, The Flintstones and Space Angel.

Hal Smith was the voice of Goliath on the Christian stop-motion animated series Davey and Goliath too. His best known role? Many would say Otis Campbell, the town drunk on The Andy Griffith Show.

Obit: Pierre Jalbert

Former Canadian champion skier turned actor Pierre Jalbert has died at age 89.

Jalbert was captain of the 1948 Canadian Olympic team and later worked as a ski instructor. He then turned to acting, guesting on such classic series as Mission: Impossible, The Name of the Game and Night Gallery.

Pierre Jalbert’s best known role was as PFC Paul (Caje) Lemay on the 1960s war drama Combat! The show ran on ABC for 5 seasons. He also worked behind the scenes as a film and sound editor.

MeTV Upgrades in NYC and Philly


Chicago-based classic TV programming service MeTV will be changing affiliates in two of the nation’s top four media markets, moving from secondary to primary channel positions.

This change to primary channels means that the new affiliates will be considered “must carry” stations, so cable and satellite companies will be obligated to carry them. Secondary digital channels are not “must carry”, so their viewers often have to rely on an over-the-air antenna to receive those channels.

MeTV’s current New York City affiliate is WWME-TV 43.1, a station licensed to Bridgeport, CT. They actually pre-empt a lot of overnight and early morning MeTV programming.

The new Big Apple affiliate will be KVNV, which airs on digital channel 3. Interesting story here is that KVNV’s license was “moved” from Ely, NV to Middletown Township, NJ. The MeTV affiliation change is scheduled for this spring.

In Philadelphia, MeTV will move from WFMZ 69.3 to KJWP 2. The same company that owns KVNV owns KJWP, which also “moved” from Jackson, WY to Wilmington, DE. The Philly MeTV switch will take place March 1

I know that a lot of this technical stuff is confusing, but this sounds like good news. The bottom line is classic TV fans in New York and Philadelphia will have improved access to MeTV on cable and satellite.

We will update our Classic TV Affiliate Guide when the changes have taken place.

Classic TV Birthdays: January 27

Actor-comedian John Witherspoon leads off today’s birthday list. Witherspoon guested on 1970s classics Good Times, The Incredible Hulk and What’s Happening!!

Also celebrating a birthday: James Cromwell. The veteran film and TV actor played Stretch Cunningham on All in the Family and had regular roles in 2 short-lived 1970s sitcoms: Hot L Baltimore and The Nancy Walker Show. Cromwell has appeared in many movies (including Babe) and guested on dozens of TV shows since the 70s. He’s currently a regular on the ABC drama series Betrayal.

Classic TV stars born this day but no longer with us include Troy Donahue (Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6), Jerry Haynes (portrayed Mr. Peppermint, longtime children’s TV host in Dallas), Skitch Henderson (the original bandleader on The Tonight Show), Howard McNear (Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show) and Donna Reed. The lovely film and TV star appeared in the holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life and later had her own long-running TV series: The Donna Reed Show. Reed also took over the role of Miss Ellie on Dallas for the 1984 season.

A number of classic TV favorites passed away on January 27. The list includes Claude Akins (B.J. and The Bear, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, Movin’ On), Tige Andrews (The Detectives, Mod Squad), Jack Paar (2nd host of The Tonight Show) and Sally Starr (early Philadelphia children’s host, died 2 days after her 90th birthday).

One more January 27 death was Don Stansauk (shown above), also known as pro wrestler Hard Boiled (H.B.) Haggerty. Stansauk had quite a career, playing pro football for the NFL’s Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. He followed that with professional wrestling, then acting. Haggerty guested on classic TV series including Adam-12, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Happy Days.

Classic TV Affiliate Guide

If you love classic TV and are thinking about cutting the cord (dumping cable/satellite), here is something for you.

I’ve put together a directory of where you can find classic TV programming services on your local over-the-air broadcast stations. Those services include Antenna TV, Cozi TV, MeTV, Retro tv and This TV.

The list includes station call letters and digital channel numbers for the top 50 media markets in the USA. Check it out!

Classic TV Birthdays: January 26

A pair of classic TV stars are celebrating birthdays today. Character actor Scott Glenn is 73. He guested on such classics as Baretta, Ironside and The Patty Duke Show, later landing successful big screen roles on Urban Cowboy and The Silence of the Lambs.

Actress Anne Jeffreys appeared in the early sitcom Topper, then guest starred on Bonanza and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Later in her career, she was a cast member of Baywatch, Falcon Crest and General Hospital. Jeffreys turns 91 today.

Classic TV celebrities born January 26 but since passed: Zara Cully (Mod Squad, Night Gallery, Playhouse 90…best known as Mother Jefferson on 1970s sitcom The Jeffersons), William Hopper (Paul Drake on Perry Mason), character actress Mary Murphy (The Outer Limits, Perry Mason) and film critic Gene Siskel.

Also born this day: Charles Lane. The bespectacled character actor appeared in countless classic TV shows and movies, including It’s A Wonderful Life where he played Potter’s rent collector.
On the small screen, Lane guested on shows like Bewitched, Dennis the Menace, I Love Lucy and Soap. Perhaps his best remembered TV role was as Homer Bedloe on Pettiocat Junction. Lane’s lengthy showbiz résumé spanned 6 decades and he passed away at the ripe old age of 102.

Film legend Paul Newman was also born on January 26. Few may realize his career started on the early days of television, including appearances on The Aldrich Family, The United States Steel Hour, The Web and You Are There.

Today also marks the anniversary of the passing of a number of classic TV stars. Ian Abercrombie guested on Battlestar Galactica and Fantasy Island, but his most recognizable role may have been as Elaine’s boss Mr. Pitt on Seinfeld. José Ferrer guested on Columbo and Kojak, then later played maid Stephanie’s billionaire father on the sitcom Newhart. Another bit o’ trivia: Ferrer was once married to crooner Rosemary Clooney, making him actor George Clooney’s uncle.

Other stars passing on January 26 include character actress Margaret Hayes (Flipper, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Robert Montgomery Presents), Ethelreda Leopold (appeared in mostly uncredited film roles, later guested on Hart to Hart and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and big screen heavy Edward G. Robinson. The well-known film star also showed up on the small screen, including appearances on Batman, Night Gallery and the pilot for Medical Center.