Question: We are going bonkers trying to get to the bottom of this. When Eddie Murphy was on Saturday Night Live, he did a sketch called "Buckwheat Sings" in which he sang several songs as Buckwheat (i.e., virtually incomprehensible). We recognized most of the songs ("Three Times a Lady," "Bette Davis Eyes"), but there is one that we just can't figure out — "Oona Panoona Bonka." This has caused a major disagreement: My friend says that it is a song that Murphy made up, and I say that it is a real song from the '50s, but I just can't put my finger on it. Can you enlighten us? We have resorted to the Bet: The prize is a tasty adult beverage at our favorite watering hole. Please, wise Televisionary, quench my thirst for knowledge so that I may be rewarded with a tasty beverage.
Answer: All right, everybody. At the risk of turning poor Mike
It's only one day into the summer Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, and already we've seen one of the best shows (albeit not on TV) that we're likely to get in the next three weeks of hype and schmooze.
The occasion: a panel late Tuesday afternoon promoting Pioneers of Primetime, a PBS special (airing Nov. 9) about the legendary vaudevillian clowns who first made TV popular. Several gave their final TV interviews for this documentary, including the late Milton Berle, Steve Allen and Red Skelton — who turned down producer Steve Boettcher's interview requests at least half a dozen times before relenting and rewarding him with three and a half hours shortly before he died.
At TCA, this all-star panel of 80-something golden-age talent, which at first glance promised to be an exercise in fawning nostalgia, quickly turned into a rollicking display of classic shtick, as Red Buttons and Carl Reiner me