This week, we look at the TV screen (but not too closely, you'll ruin your eyes). Starting back in the 1950's and on through the 80's, when the record industry saw an opportunity to cash in on a hit TV show's success, you know they did it. The list of TV actors who recorded singing?? albums is a very long one...it includes: Three Star Trek (the original series) cast members - Nicelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner recorded albums (who could ever forget Bill's version of The Beatles' song "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"). Both stars of "Miami Vice", Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas, had LPs released. Alyssa Milano ("Who's The Boss"/"Charmed"); Tony Randall & Jack Klugman ("The Odd Couple"); Jim Nabours ("The Andy Griffith Show"/"Mayberry R.F.D."/"Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C."); Scott Baio ("Happy Days'/"Joanie Loves Chachi") all ventured into the recording studio to warble a tune or two. John Travolta of "Welcome Back Kotter" fame, had a successful recording career even before he teamed up with Olivia Newton-John in the movie "Grease". "Bonanza" star Lorne Greene (a former newscaster at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation during World War II) even made it to number one with his 1964 hit, "Ringo". Telly Savalas, star of movies such as "The Dirty Dozen" and the hit TV series "Kojack", had a number one hit in England with "If". So, how many questions about TV stars who became recording artists can you name? Good luck.
1. This televison performer had a successful weekly TV show that was mostly sketch comedy and some variety. It ran for 11 years from 1967 until 1978. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has recently turned in great dramatic performances on such TV series as "Law And Order: Special Victims Unit". At the end of every one of her own shows, she'd tug her earlobe. Can you guess this star's name?
2. This TV star played a cop on a hit series from the 1970's and did actually have a siccessful singing career for a while. Although he wasn't really a 'soul' singer, he did manage to score 3 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, including a number one hit in 1977. Don't give up on this one, I know you know who this actor is, don't you? If not, how many hints do you need?
3. Someone at Atlantic Records decided that these two stars from a hit TV show should record a singing album. Their show was extremely successful, but the album certainly wasn't. They began as characters on "Happy Days", then spun off to star in their own weekly show about two female roomates who worked at a beer bottling plant, hung around a pizza/bowling alley and had two weird male neighbours with strange sounding names. One of the actresses went on to have a successful career as a film director and is the sister of another famous director. Who are they?
4. This TV star was an in demand character actor in movies before jumping to the small screen to portray a lovable bigot. He later starred as a southern Police Chief in another long running TV series based on a movie starring Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier. The living room chair he famously sat in for 12 TV seasons is in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Who is this Emmy Award winning actor?
5. This actor co-starred for 3 years on the long running western TV series "Gunsmoke". He went on to have a hugely successful movie career and was known for dating some of Hollywood's hottest actresses. He later infamously posed nude for Cosmopolitan Magazine. His hit TV series, "Evening Shade" aired during the first half of the 1990's. Who is he?
1. Carol Burnett is the star we were looking for. Carol was born in 1933 in San Antonio, Texas. Her hit CBS weekly series, "The Carol Burnett Show" featured Vicki Lawrence, Tim Conway and Harvey Corman. In 1959, she successfully starred in the Broadway play, "Once Upon A Mattress". Also in '59 she became a regular on "The Gary Moore Show". She won an Emmy for that series and 23 Emmy Awards for "The Carol Burnette Show". Carol's solo album featured such songs as "It's Too Late" (originally sung by Bobby Goldsboro);"Rainy Days And Mondays" (The Carpenters); "Rose Garden" (Lynn Anderson); "Those Were The Days" (Mary Hopkin) and "Who's Sorry Now" (Connie Francis)
2. David Soul is the star in question. Soul starred as Kenneth "Hutch" Hutchinson in the hit TV series "Starsky & Hutch" that aired on ABC from 1975 until 1979. His 1977 hit, "Don't Give Up On Us" was his only number one. In the mid 1990's, Soul moved to London, England where he acted in a number of plays, including the part of Jerry Springer in "Jerry Springer: The Opera" (seriously). He's also had a successful career acting on British television. David became a British citizen in 2004 although he retained his U.S. citizenship.
3. That hit TV show was "Laverne & Shirley" starring Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. Marshall later directed such hit movies as "Big", "Awakenings", "A League Of Their Own" and "The Preacher's Wife". Her brother Garry Marshall was the director of movies such as "Beaches", "Pretty Woman" and "The Princess Diaries". Cindy williams continues to act. She co-starred in 1973's "American Grafitti" and she has appeared in recent TV series such as "Girlfriends", "Drive" and Law And Order". The "Laverne & Shirley Sing" album included such '50's and '60's hits as "All I Have To Do Is Dream","Da Doo Ron Ron", "Easier Said Than Done" and "Chapel Of Love". You might find some of these songs on itunes, but why bother? Stick with the originals, they're so much better
4. The man who made the words 'dingbat' and 'meathead' famous, Carroll O'Connor, starred as Archie Bunker in "All In The Family". Carroll's album was titled "Remembering You" and features the title song, which Carroll co-wrote, along with 40's big band hits such as "So Rare" and "Sweet And Lovely".
5. Burton Leon Reynolds, aka Burt Reynolds, starred in such movies as "Deliverance", "Smokey And The Bandit", "The Longest Yard", "White Lightning", "Gator" and "Boogie Nights" among many others. He dated Sally Field, Adrienne Barbeau ("Maude") and Loni Anderson from "WKRP In Cincinatti". His "Gunsmoke" career ran from 1962 until 1965. The movie "Boogie Nights" won Burt a Golden Globe statue as well as an Academy Award nomination for "Best Supporting Actor" but lost to Robin Williams for "Good Will Hunting". Burt's album, titled "Ask Me What I Am", is probably not worth looking for on eBay.