Crackle: It’s On

If you love classic TV and don’t want to pay for it, check out Crackle.

Crackle is a free streaming service owned by Sony. It launched in 2007 and you can watch it online, on video game consoles, smart TVs and other devices.

I choose to watch Crackle on my Roku and really enjoy it. Sure, you have to endure a few commercials but it’s no biggie. They have a decent selection of movies, along with classic TV shows (All In The Family, Barney Miller, Bewitched, Good Times, I Dream of Jeannie, The Prisoner, Sanford & Son).

Crackle serves up a number of more recent shows too, including Rescue Me, Seinfeld and The Shield. They also have Jerry Seinfeld’s original series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

CICGC is a fun short-form series where Jerry drives a classic car to pick up one of his comedian friends. They stop for coffee and a heaping helping of yucks. So far he’s met with former Seinfeld alums Larry David and Michael Richards, along with late night rivals David Letterman and Jay Leno. I particularly enjoyed his meetings with classic TV/movie legends Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Don Rickles.

Give Crackle a try and see what you think.

DVD Deal of the Week: Mannix

For 8 seasons between 1967 and 1975, private investigator Joe Mannix was shot, beaten and knocked unconscious over and over again. Yet he always survived and beat the bad guys!

Mike Connors starred as Mannix, aided by his loyal secretary Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher). Notable recurring characters were played by Joseph Campanella, Robert Reed (The Defenders, The Brady Bunch) and Larry Linville (M*A*S*H). Guest stars included Norman Alden, Hugh Beaumont, Victor French, Beverly Garland, John Hellerman, J. Pat O’Malley, John Randolph, Marion Ross, Loretta Swit, John Vernon, Jessica Walter, Fritz Weaver and William Windom.

Mannix has the distinction of being the last TV series produced by the DESI Arnaz/LUcille Ball production company Desilu. The company also created such hits as I Love Lucy, Star Trek and The Untouchables.

This week you can own the complete collection of Mannix on DVD, all 194 episodes on 48 DVDs, for just $119.99. That’s a 68% discount over the $374.99 list price.

Classic TV Birthdays: February 2

Bo Hopkins leads off today’s birthday list. The veteran character actor appeared on such classic shows as Gunsmoke, Mod Squad, The Rat Patrol and The Rockford Files. Hopkins is 72.

Other birthdays: Tom Smothers (The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour) is 77, Robert Mandan (Soap) turns 82 and Elaine Stritch is 89. Stritch played Trixie in the pilot for The Honeymooners, then starred in 1960 sitcom My Sister Eileen. She later moved to the UK and starred in the 70s comedy Two’s Company. More recently she appeared on Law & Order and 30 Rock.

Classic TV stars born this day but since passed on include character actor Frank Albertson (guested on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Andy Griffith Show, Sugarfoot), Farrah Fawcett (Charlie’s Angels), actress-producer Bonita Granville (wife of Jack Wrather, producer of Lassie, The Lone Ranger, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon), Brit actor Geoffrey Hughes (UK soap Coronation Street, Onslow on Britcom Keeping Up Appearances) and Charles Correll.

Correll was the creator of the 1950s Amos ‘n Andy Show, having voiced the Andy character on radio. He also created and provided the voice of Calvin on the animated 1961-62 series Calvin and the Colonel. Correll’s son Richard followed in his father’s show biz footsteps, playing Beaver’s friend Richard on Leave It To Beaver before moving behind the camera. Richard Correll directed the sitcom Family Matters and currently works on the Scott Baio series See Dad Run on Nick at Nite.

Several classic TV stars passed away on February 2: legendary dancer-actor Gene Kelly (he actually starred in a short-lived 1962 TV series Going My Way, based on the Bing Crosby movie), actor-turned-lawyer John Kerr (12 O’Clock High, The Streets of San Francisco), Bert Parks (emcee of The Miss America Pageant from 1955-79), Barry Morse (The Fugitive, Space: 1999) and Donald Pleasence (The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, later appeared in the Halloween movies).

Also passing on this day: Boris Karloff. The London-born Karloff became a film star playing classic horror movie monsters Frankenstein and The Mummy. He later made numerous appearances on such classic TV shows as Route 66 and The Wild Wild West, also hosting the 1960s anthology series Thriller. Karloff’s distinctive voice continues to entertain new generations, as he was the narrator of the classic holiday cartoon How The Grinch Stole Christmas.