I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Monday, January 02, 2017

"The Joey Bishop Show" (1961-1965; NBC, CBS)

When I go on YouTube, it's easy for me to find video on Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Peter Lawford.  But I never find much on comedian Joey Bishop, who was also part of that famed group.  Recently, Antenna TV ran a marathon of Bishop's early 1960's sitcom.

The first season of the show had Bishop playing Joey Barnes, an assistant to a press agent.  His family assumed he had access to celebrities, and Barnes often was in trouble for misrepresenting his job status.  When the second season came along, the show was revamped completely.  Barnes' mom (Madge Blake), brother (Warren Berlinger), two sisters (Marlo Thomas, Virginia Vincent), and brother-in-law (Joe Flynn) were gone.  Barnes had a new job as a New York-based talk show host, he had married Ellie (Abby Dalton), and they lived in a posh apartment building taken care of by Mr. Jillson (Joe Besser).  The plots focused on Barnes' domestic life and his showbiz career.

Bishop had a deadpan, sarcastic way about him.  It worked especially during exchanges between the Barnes' character and his writers, his manager Larry (Corbett Monica), and Hilda (Mary Treen), who was initially hired as a baby nurse when Ellie became pregnant.  She stayed on as the maid after Joey Jr. (Michael David Smith) was born.  The talk show host premise also allowed for plenty of guest stars (Jerry Lewis, Buddy Hackett, Jan Murray, The Andrews Sisters, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bobby Rydell, etc.) to appear on the sitcom.

NBC canceled the show after the 1963-1964 season and CBS picked up the last season.  The first season was in black and white, then NBC switched to color broadcasts.  But CBS hadn't quite gotten on the bandwagon, so the last season was broadcast in black and white.

The sitcom isn't knock down funny to me, but it is amusing, and Bishop's barbs went a long way.

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