Encore Podcast: The Rise and Fall of "Dragnet"

In the summer of 1949, "Dragnet" premiered on NBC radio. It was a show that sounded like no other thanks to creator-star Jack Webb's obsession with authenticity. "Dragnet" then moved to TV and ran for most of the 1950s. Its theme song and opening disclaimer -- "The story you are about to see is true; the names have been changed to protect the innocent" -- became part of pop culture history. During the turbulent late 1960s, "Dragnet" was revived, and it hadn't changed -- but the world had, and authority was something to be questioned rather than celebrated. We look at the influence of "Dragnet" and Webb's evolution into an outspoken advocate of police officers.

Who Shot J.R.? The Plot Heard Round the World

On this podcast, we review the hottest TV story during the summer of 1980, and how it introduced the season-ending cliffhanger to series TV. Also: "Funkytown."

"Lou Grant" Meets Old Hollywood

My favorite episode of "Lou Grant" is this one: "Hollywood," which first aired in early 1980, written by Michele Gallery.

The guest cast alone would make any old movie fan perk up:

As city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune, Lou (Edward Asner) leads his reporters (Robert Walden, Linda Kelsey, Daryl Anderson) in an investigation of a long-unsolved Hollywood murder. The guest stars each have a scene or two, except for Foch, as the reclusive owner of the restaurant where the murder occurred. Foch was Emmy-nominated for her performance; composer Patrick Williams won an Emmy for the episode's haunting theme. 

Encore Podcast: Elvis Presley -- Year One

Elvis Presley wasn't born in 1956, but his career was. He began the year barely known outside the south, but under the management of Col. Tom Parker he spent the year making his mark on TV variety shows hosted by Milton Berle, Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan; and his recordings for RCA, beginning with "Heartbreak Hotel," dominated the pop charts. By the end of the year he was arguably the best-known entertainer in America, with broader fame still to come.

New Podcast: Life According to "Hey, Arnold!"

My daughter Nora joins me to talk about what was probably her (and my) favorite Nickelodeon animated series when she was a kid -- "Hey, Arnold!" We talk about the show's philosophy of diversity as strength and review some memorable episodes, including "The Stoop Kid," "The Pigeon Man," "Ghost Bride" and "Helga on the Couch," detailing the life of' Arnold's truest love/fiercest enemy, Helga Pataki.