Posts Tagged ‘david janssen’

Writer/producer George Eckstein dies at age 81

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

If George Eckstein were just remembered for co-writing “The Judgment,” the record-setting two-part concluding episode of The Fugitive, that would’ve been enough to leave his mark in television. But Eckstein’s accomplishments beyond “The Judgment” were impressive in their own right. In addition to penning some of the best episodes of the Fugitive series (including “Ill Wind,” featuring Jeanette Nolan and John McIntire), Eckstein wrote for several other popular TV shows in the ’50s and ’60s, including Gunsmoke, Dr. Kildare, The Invaders and The Untouchables. He also went on to become a successful producer for Universal Television in the late 60s and 1970s, with credits including such series and TV-movies as The Name of the Game, Banacek and a taut little thriller called Duel that, besides being a really good movie, put a then-unknown director named Steven Spielberg on the map.

I had the pleasure of speaking to George Eckstein on several occasions throughout the 1990s, first for my book The Fugitive Recaptured, then for a history of The Untouchables that I wrote for Television Chronicles. He was also very generous with his time, not to mention very gracious.

The final episode of The Fugitive, of course, was seen by a whopping 72 percent of the television viewing audience when it originally aired on Aug. 29, 1967. That figure has has been topped just twice in the 42 years since, first by the “Who Done It?” episode of Dallas (aka the episode that finally answered the question “Who Shot J.R.?”) on Nov. 21, 1980, then by “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” the series finale of M*A*S*H, which originally aired on Feb. 28, 1983.

Read the obituary on George Eckstein from The Los Angeles Times:,0,305987.story

Ed Robertson
Author, THE FUGITIVE RECAPTURED and other books on television

William Schallert, Kay Kyser and More: This Week on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Character actor William Schallert, a familiar face (and voice) for anyone who’s grown up watching television, will be our special guest on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 11pm ET, 8pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,

Though often remembered for his regular roles as Patty Duke’s dad, Dobie Gillis’ teacher or the Admiral on Get Smart, William Schallert has played a wide variety of characters on stage, screen and film and television, in comedies and in dramas, for more than 60 years, including recent appearances in such top shows as True Blood, According to Jim, How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives and the HBO movie Recount. Along the way he has worked with some of the top names in the entertainment industry. We’ll be talking about that and more when Bill joins us in our second hour.

In our first hour, Andrew Lee Fielding will join us as we look back at the career of bandleader Kay Kyser. Andrew’s book, The Lucky Strike Papers, is a history of such early network TV variety programs as Your Hit Parade, The Freddy Martin Show and Kay Kyser’s College of Musical Knowledge; his mother, Sue Bennett, was a featured singer on the Kyser show, as well as other musical variety shows of that era.

Ed Robertson
Every other Tuesday at 11pm ET, 8pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio,
Also available as a podcast via iTunes and FeedBurner