Obit: James Shigeta

TV and movie character actor James Shigeta has passed away.

Shigeta appeared in numerous television classic series, including Ben Casey, Hawaii Five-0, Medical Center, Naked City, The Outer Limits and Perry Mason. Perhaps his best-known role was in the Bruce Willis movie Die Hard, where he played executive Joseph Takagi.

The Hawaiian-born Shigeta died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 81 years old.

Tuned In: MeTV Teases Fall Slate, TCM Honors Garner

  • Classic TV diginet MeTV has begun teasing their new fall programming lineup. Among the additions this September: The Adventures of Superman, The Andy Griffith Show, Baa Baa Black Sheep, CHiPs and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Returning shows include Cheers and Mission: Impossible. Stay tuned for more details…
  • Fellow classic TV digital network Antenna TV has found a new home in Charlotte. They had been on WJZY (FOX affiliate) 46.2 until July 1, when they were replaced by Movies! Antenna TV will launch on WCCB (The CW affiliate) 18.2 on August 15, right next to MeTV on 18.3.
  • New digital networks Escape and Grit are slated to go live in August. Escape will target a female audience with a mix of movies and off-network reruns. Grit will air a male-oriented schedule of action and western films. Owner Katz Broadcasting has already licensed movies from Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision will carry the new networks on their digital subchannels in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Miami. Other affilates are being added, with clearance already reaching over 50% of U.S. TV households.
  • Turner Classic Movies will be honoring the late James Garner with a 24-hour marathon of his big-screen work this Monday June 28:
    • 6AM Toward the Unknown (1956)
    • 8AM Shoot-out at Medicine Bend (1957)
    • 9:30AM Grand Prix (1966)
    • 12:30PM Cash McCall (1960)
    • 2:15PM The Wheeler Dealers (1963)
    • 4PM Darby’s Rangers (1958)
    • 6:15PM Mister Buddwing (1966)
    • 8PM The Thrill of it All (1963)
    • 10PM The Americanization of Emily (1964)
    • 12M The Children’s Hour (1961)
    • 2AM Victor/Victoria (1982)
    • 4:30AM Marlowe (1969)

Obit: James Garner

Veteran television and film star James Garner has died.

Garner’s first major starring role was as Bret Maverick on the classic TV western Maverick, which originally aired on ABC from 1957 to 1962. He reprised the role in the early 1980s revival series Bret Maverick on NBC.

An early 1970s western series Nichols lasted just one season, but Garner’s next role was probably his best-known. He played private investigator Jim Rockford in NBC’s The Rockford Files. The show aired from 1974 to 1980 and was later followed by a number of made-for-TV movies in the 1990s.

Garner also starred in over 50 films, including The Children’s Hour, The Great Escape, Support Your Local Sheriff! and The Thrill of It All. Some of his later credits included the TV series 8 Simple Rules and in the romance drama The Notebook.

James Garner died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 86 years old.

Hulu Adds Classic Comedies

Streaming website hulu has beefed up their classic TV lineup with a number of sitcoms from the CBS (Desilu/Paramount) library, including The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, I Love Lucy, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, The Odd Couple and Taxi.

Not all episodes are available for streaming and you’ll need to subscribe to hulu PLUS to watch on your TV and mobile devices.

Here’s the very first episode of Taxi, which originally aired on ABC back on September 12, 1978. Enjoy!

Tuned In

Some news and notes from the world of classic TV:

  • IFC (formerly The Independent Film Channel) is now airing the classic 1960s series Batman. The network airs back-to-back episodes in the morning (approximately 7:30 and 8AM) and afternoon (approx. 33:30 and 4PM), along with multi-hour marathons on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Click here for the complete schedule.
  • The long-running early western series Cheyenne is now playing on Encore Westerns. Cheyenne stars Clint Walker and originally aired on ABC from 1955-63 for a total of 108 episodes. Encore Westerns is running Cheyenne weeknights from 7:10-8PM Eastern. For more info, visit the Encore TV website.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati is finally coming to DVD, hopefully with much of the music intact. According to studio Shout! Factory, WKRP has a “complicated history of music rights restrictions. To make this the most comprehensive DVD release possible, we are doing our best to include every scene uncut and to license as much original music as possible.” The 13-disc set carries an MSRP of $139.99 but Amazon is accepting pre-orders at a 10% discount.

Obit: Bob Hastings

Veteran television character actor and voice artist Bob Hastings has died.

Hastings was the voice of comic book character Archie Andrews on radio, later joining the cast of 1960s TV sitcom McHale’s Navy. He guested on numerous classic shows of the 1960s and 70s, including Dennis the Menace, Green Acres, I Dream of Jeannie, Ironside and The Munsters.

In the 1970s, Bob Hastings was one of two actors to play the recurring role of bar owner Tommy Kelsey on All in the Family. He also did extensive voice work on cartoons, including roles on CB Bears, Challenge of the Superfriends, Clue Club and Fred Flintstone and Friends. Hastings voiced the character of Commissioner Gordon on several animated versions of Batman.

Hastings passed away Monday in California. He was 89 years old.