Max Baer Jr, The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies' Jethro Bodine would fall somewhere between Barney Fife and Kramer on any list of great TV sidekicks. Part buffoon and part beautiful dreamer, Jethro was a childlike mind plopped into the body of a backwoods Hercules. These days, the man who played the slack-jawed Jethro, Max Baer Jr, is pleased people still love the Hillbillies and that TV Land is running an all-you-can-watch Jethro marathon on, appropriately, April Fools' Day. Baer, however, is not a foolish man — he made millions with his own brand of country-fried entertainment in the '70s (Macon County Line and Ode to Billy Joe), and is currently working on a dream project: a hotel and casino based on The Beverly Hillbillies that he hopes to open in Nevada in 2010. We chatted with him about his famous character and the latest on h
Barry Manilow, Songs from the Seventies
When he burst onto the music scene with "Mandy" in '74, Barry Manilow invented the power ballad and in the process changed prom songs forever. The rest of the Me Decade would prove the singer unstoppable (even by critics) as he produced a string of hits and created a loyal following of fans who found in his lush music an escape from the hard rock of the times. These days the Brooklyn boy is still making good, with a new CD for the holidays, In the Swing of Christmas (available at Hallmark stores), and a TV special, Barry Manilow: Songs from the Seventies (premiering Dec. 3 on PBS, check TV Guide listings), proving that much like the power ballad, Manilow will never go out of style.
TVGuide.com: It seem like you're busier than ever.
Barry Manilow: Just when I think I'm done it explodes again, I'm just amazed. I g
Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
It was the series that brought a bit of Bond into the American living room. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was the hip spy show long before Jennifer Garner put on a wig or Chuck got embedded. Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and his mop-topped Russian compadre, Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), beat up villains, heated up vixens and captured a nation of crazed teenage fans in the swinging '60s. But the series would go out on a fizzle rather than a bang as its fourth season ended early due to lackluster scripts and changing times (it was replaced in the lineup by Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In). There was one TV reunion movie that gained high ratings, but no sequel. Today both actors enjoy ongoing success: Vaughn in his AMC series Hustle and McCallum with NCIS.
The Captain and Tennille
In the '70s the Captain and Tennille reigned supreme in the world of pop music with high-sheen tunes like "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Muskrat Love." The quirky husband-and-wife team of Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille were even positioned to be the next Sonny and Cher with a wacky variety series in '76, but after squabbling with ABC about the direction of the show (C&T wanted more music, execs wanted more comedy), the two decided to sail away after one season and leave the lowbrow yuks to Donny & Marie. The couple would soon return to TV with specials that had
Ron Palillo (second from left) in Welcome Back, Kotter
From Mr. Peepers to Mr. Cooper, classrooms and comedy comprise a favorite TV pairing, but no show combined the two with its era better than Welcome Back, Kotter. From floppy hats and bell-bottoms to the slightly stoned-out look on the students' faces, Kotter became the 1970s for most kids. Products such as lunch boxes, board games and dolls (including a perfectly coifed John Travolta) solidified the iconic stature of the series and its cast. Ron Palillo, who played lovable schnook Horshack, took some time to raise his hand (with a quick, "Ooh-ooh-ooh!") and answer a few questions about Kotter's new Season 1 DVD (available now;
Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland
Recently, Ben Affleck seemed to be better known for his romantic involvements than his talents on screen. But with Hollywoodland (available now on DVD), the actor is changing all that. The fact-based flick, detailing the mysterious death of ‘50s Superman George Reeves, earned Affleck great reviews and a Golden Globe nod (for best supporting actor). More importantly, this dark Tinseltown tale reminds audiences that Affleck was delivering fine performances — in films such as Chasing Amy and Good Will Hunting — long before
George Takei, Star Trek: The Animated Series
William Shatner may get more attention for his exploits as a nutty attorney and a gyrating game-show host, but these days the hippest Star Trek vet is, inarguably, George Takei. The former helmsman of the USS Enterprise has gone boldly where no man has gone before as the "official" announcer of Howard Stern's uncensored Sirius Satellite Radio show. There, as a guest, he fields some good-natured jokes relating to his recent coming out of the closet. But the actor often turns the table on the shock jock by moving the chat to loftier concerns like gay rights, the war in Iraq or modern architecture. Star Trek fans, of course, want more of Takei as Sulu, and they got it this week with the DVD release of Star Trek: The Animated Series. This '70s c
Mr. T, I Pity the Fool
Unlike Monchhichis, acid-wash jeans or New Coke, Mr. T survived the '80s and even emerged as an iconic figure to those who thrilled to his outrageous adventure series, The A-Team. The hard man with a soft side returns to the tube with TV Land's I Pity the Fool (premiering tonight at 10 pm/ET), a reality show that has the former bouncer dropping knowledge on average folks in need of guidance in today's mixed-up world. Think of it as Dr. Phil with a Mohawk, fatigue pants and a lot less jibber-jabber.
TVGuide.com: This is a reality show with a very sweet side.
Mr. T: Thank you. In this "Reali-T" show, as we like to call it, I want to entertain and also get a meaningful message across. We're really trying to inspire people and motivate
Didi Conn (with Frankie Avalon) in Grease
As kids head back to school, it seems fitting that the class of Rydell High returns with a newly remastered, extras-packed and "leather"-clad DVD release of Grease, out this week. The over-the-top ‘70s musical that waxed nostalgic for the cool ‘50s only grows in popularity, especially with younger viewers who go giddy for the catchy tunes and colorful costumes but who take little note of the hormone-fueled humor. TVGuide.com got a chance to chat with Didi Conn, who plays the pinkest Pink Lady and "Beauty School Dropout," Frenchy, about summer lovin' on the set, why she's hopelessly devoted to John Travolta and
Carlos Alazraqui, Reno 911!
From Barney Fife to Barney Miller, cops and comedy have made hysterical bedfellows. Comedy Central's cult hit Reno 911! is proof that the bumbling-police shtick remains in fine hands. The mostly improvised series plays its Cops-like parody for plenty of white-trash gags and silly sexual innuendos. Comic Carlos Alazraqui, who plays dim-witted deputy James Garcia, took a few moments away from World Cup action to lay down the law with TVGuide.com about his screwy series arriving on DVD this week, what the new season promises, and what's up with these modern Keystone Kops hitting movie screens.
TVGuide.com: So, Reno 911! — The Complete Third Season is here on DVD.
Carlos Alazraqui: Yeah, and fans will love the