Friday, February 7, 2014
Pop Quiz: Channeling More Movies
1. The year 1982 brought to the screen a rustic one-hour drama based on a classic Hollywood musical from 1954. The primary star of the show had made a splash on a TV soap opera from 1976 to 1981 before trying to get this series rolling. It only lasted for one season (and in homage to its cinematic forefather, there was usually one song per episode.) In 1985, he'd finally have a hit prime-time show that lasted until 1992. A co-lead in this mystery show was making his on screen debut and in a reverse from the star of the show, would proceed to success on daytime, playing a primary role on Days of Our Lives for more than twenty-five years. Other regulars included Peter Horton, who later found success on Thirtysomething from 1987 - 1991 and young River Phoenix, making his on screen debut.
2. A far faster turnaround from movie to series came for our next program. 1987 had seen a smash hit comedy come from the premise of a successful, high-pressure careerwoman whose life is turned upside-down when a long-lost cousin suddenly passes away. The series was on the air the next year, but wasn't able to gain a foothold, getting taken off after only seven episodes with one more airing six months later. The series star had already headed the casts of two hit series, but floundered here. In fact, it could be argued that her career has never been the same since. The show also contained an outspoken female stand-up comic who later successfully broke into the talk show arena.
3. A similarly swift transition from the screen to the tube happened with this next show. A hit science-fiction movie from 1988 was on the air as a TV show in 1989. Where the film had starred an established movie star, the series had to make due with a far lesser known personality in the lead (though it wound up with a pretty sprawling cast of characters.) As with many sci-fi shows, a devout following sprang up, but it was cancelled after only one 22 episode season. The irony was that the show was actually successful, but the fledgling Fox Network simply couldn't afford to continue making it. Later, a series of five TV-movies helped to resolve the storyline.
4. A staggering comic hit in 1986, one that continues to have a strong following, including catchphrases, inspired a sitcom in 1990 that was only able to run for 13 episodes before being yanked. The movie made a star out of its lead, who still works steadily today, while the TV series featured a young man named Charlie Schlatter who, while he has continued to enjoy continued work, never gained an ounce of his predecessor's fame. A female costar (playing the lead's sister) later became a household name thanks to her part in a mega-hit ensemble sitcom. The television series title was a shortened version of the cinematic one, which described the main character's circumstance at the time of the story.
5. In 1989, Walt Disney put forth a family comedy that was an astonishing success, making back over twelve times its cost and inspiring two sequels. After the third movie was produced (which was direct to video), the TV series was aired on The Disney Channel in 1997. It ran for three seasons and starred Peter Scolari (who was Tom Hanks' costar on Bosom Buddies from 1980 - 1982) as the father who is constantly coming up with new inventions that puts his family in a variety of challenging scenarios. The television version was called the same thing as the movie, but with ": The TV Show" added to the title.
6. In 2002, the world was taken by storm thanks to one of the most profitable movies of all time. The independent film, a romantic comedy made for $5 million saw a 6150% return!! It raked in $368 million at the box office. It's star, who'd previously been practically unknown, was suddenly everywhere and the very next year starred in a sitcom based on the extraordinary hit film (with a new, lesser-known, costar.) Whereas people had flocked to see the movie in droves, the TV show was off the air within 7 episodes. The series title was the same except for the last word being changed (the film's "event" was now in the past, making the title inappropriate for the series.) Since this, the star has been seen scarcely, though with the money that was made, there is surely no fiscal need to work ever again!
7. This next show was based on a 1963 comedy focusing on romance and parental relationships. The star was an established Hollywood leading man who, in the movie, romanced a series of knockout dames played by Shirley Jones, Stella Stevens and Dina Merrill, all observed by his child, a notable young actor who even then was costarring on a popular series. The television rendition of this story came along in 1969, running for three seasons. The star of it had already enjoyed on successful sci-fi sitcom (1963 - 1966) and would later star in a well-received sci-fi drama series (1978 - 1982.)
8. 1980 brought a comic smash to the big screen about a quirky female who finds herself in a major fish-out-of-water scenario. The film's star wasn't about to return to TV after significant success in the cinema, but the next year in 1981 a series version came about with two of the movie's costars on hand to help bolster the presence of a relative newcomer in the lead. The TV actress had figured into a hit film in 1980 as well, but not as a primary star. The series was reasonably successful, lasting until 1983, when one of its Emmy-winning stars was severely injured and forced to leave. Soon afterwards, it was cancelled.
9. Another hit comedy (yes, there's a pattern here. For a while, most any cinematic comedy success was reworked for TV!) that hit screens in 1995 became a television show. The film starred a young lady who was previously unknown apart from having played an obsessed fourteen year-old two years prior. She proceeded to a brief, but healthy, movie career. In 1996, a child actress now grown named Rachel Blanchard took on the primary role in the series version. ABC prematurely cancelled the series before burning off episodes on a different night where it suddenly became successful! UPN then picked it up where it limped along until 1999.
10. In 1976, a Walter Matthau hit comedy led to two sequels (in 1977 and 1978), each with a different male star, but all focusing on a collection of misfits. In 1979, the concept was brought to television, this time starring Jack Warden. The show ran for two abbreviated seasons, ending in 1980. Among its cast were Meeno Peluce, who would later star in Voyagers! with Jon-Erik Hexum, Corey Feldman, who went on to movie success, and Kristoff St. John, who grew up to work successfully on The Young and the Restless.
11. An early example of a buddy movie was this hit action comedy from 1974 about two San Francisco detectives going up against racketeers and hit men. Later, in 1980, the concept was reworked into a series starring Tom Mason and Hector Elizondo. The show was yanked after only 9 episodes never to be seen or heard from again for all practical purposes.
12. This one should be quite a surprise, I should think. In 1944, one of America's most revered singers won acclaim for his role in a movie (the highest grossing picture of that year, in fact.) In 1962, one of America's most revered dancers starred in a series based upon that film. The show only lasted for one season, ending in 1963 and its star never worked in television again except for two miniseries appearances and the obligatory (in this case, two-part) episode of The Love Boat.
13. 1973 brought a monster hit comedy, set about forty years in the past. The very next year in 1974, a version was developed for television. The star of the TV series had once played the brother of the actor who starred in the movie from 1964 to 1969 when they'd costarred on a prime-time series together. The TV version of the smash film was unable to find an audience and was cancelled after just 13 episodes. One of the stars, however, went on to considerable Oscar glory.
14. Another buddy movie, this one from 1980 (and the second of four that the stars made together, all unrelated), had been a terrific success and spawned a television rendition. The 1985 series was a flop almost from the start. The pilot had included Polly Holliday (Flo of Alice), but she was fired and replaced with a younger, sexier actress after testing the pilot with audiences. It was pulled after six episodes, then brought back briefly, barely lasting into 1986. One star, Joe Guzaldo, kept working and still does, but remains unknown. The other, Larry Riley, proceeded to a stint on Knots Landing from 1988 - 1992, but died from AIDS at only age thirty-nine.
15. Our final TV series in this quiz was based on a modest hit comedy from 1986 about culture clashes in the automobile industry. Beating a path to television airwaves, a series debuted that very same year! The movie had starred a comic actor who scored several hits in the 1980s and maintained a leading man career into the 1990s, but the series starred a total newcomer. The newcomer later scored two sci-fi TV success (one from 1989 - 1993 and another from 2001 - 2005) as well as several movies. This show, however, was off the air after just nine episodes.
And now, here come the answers! (Photographic was easier to come by for some of these shows than for others, hence a few of them only have one picture to represent them.)
1. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was based on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and starred Richard Dean Anderson (of General Hospital and, later, MacGuyver fame.) Drake Hogestyn proceeded to play Roman Brady/John Black on Days of Our Lives.