Baseball Toaster Screen Jam
Happy Birthday, Roots and Ernie
2007-01-23 14:31
by Jon Weisman

Debra Kaufman has a lengthy history of the making of Roots at TV Week. The miniseries turns 30 this year. I saw every minute of it when it first aired.

And speaking of birthdays, Ernest Borgnine will be 90 on Wednesday, notes Bob Thomas of The Associated Press.

At a recent reunion of the cast of the 1960s TV comedy "McHale's Navy," the actors were appalled at the arrival of their former commandant. A driver helped Ernest Borgnine from the car. The once-exuberant Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale was stooped over and walked haltingly, muttering gibberish.

His former ensign, comedian Tim Conway, rushed forward and exclaimed, "Ernie, what has happened to you?"

Suddenly Borgnine straightened up, threw out his massive chest and bellowed, "What's going on here?" followed by his signature high-decible laugh.

Prankster Borgnine shows little evidence of aging as he approaches his 90th birthday on Wednesday. His round, pudgy face is little changed. His only concession to age was abandoning the bus he used to drive around the country, talking with local folks along the way.

"I gave up the bus when I was 88," he said. ...

Marty and From Here to Eternity, anyone?

2007-01-23 14:54:02
1.   bhsportsguy
BTW - since you brought up Roots, I am surprised and pleased that no real comments I have seen or heard about "Studio 60's" use of the N word last night. (Okay, insert joke about number of viewers watching). Some may feel its the old double standard because it was used between 2 black actors but still.

My favorite recent appearance of Ernest Borgnine was in the episode of the Simpsons where Bart joins the junior scouts and Borgnine is the special celebrity guest dae/big brother.

2007-01-23 15:15:19
2.   Jon Weisman
Studio 60 is just ancient history for me.
2007-01-23 15:19:14
3.   Shaun P
A few years ago, after listening to my brother and I go through a few rounds of "What do you want to do tonight?" "I don't know, what do you want to do tonight?", my father suggested that my brother and I watch Marty. It was the classic he said it was. Being too young to remember McHale's Navy, I never knew Ernest Borgnine could do comedy - I just knew him as the old gruff guy on AirWolf. Thanks for bringing up a happy memory, Jon.
2007-01-23 15:20:30
4.   Jon Weisman
3 - Had the same experience with my brother and my father.
2007-01-23 17:38:42
5.   Bob Timmermann
The problem with "Studio 60" is why does the Amanda Peet character go and have casual lunches with Sarah Paulson's character?

Are their NBC execs who drop by the SNL set to just gab with Amy Poehler?

2007-01-23 17:49:09
6.   Jon Weisman
That's not so improbable.
2007-01-23 17:58:01
7.   Bob Timmermann
I thought network execs had to do, you know, ... work.
2007-01-23 19:54:38
8.   Jon Weisman
Keeping the talent happy is part of their job. So is sitting in on the occasional runthrough. After that, you know, folks have to eat.

Plus, all work and no play make Jack (Donaghy) a dull boy.

2007-01-23 21:50:09
9.   Disabled List
Studio 60 wasn't too terrible last night. The level of sanctimoniousness was down slightly from previous episodes. Bradley Whitford's character is starting to act like a real creep, though.

And my favorite Ernest Borgnine movie is The Wild Bunch. That's actually one of my favorite movies, period.

2007-01-23 21:55:23
10.   Bob Timmermann
I liked "Bad Day at Black Rock" for Borgnine, mainly because of this line:

"That's me all over. I'm half horse, half alligator. You mess with me and I'll kick a lung outta' ya'"

That film also has the line where Walter Brennan tells Spencer Tracy, "I feel for you, but I'm consumed with apathy!"

2007-01-24 08:23:52
11.   Benaiah
Marty is good, but The Wild Bunch is one of the best ever. When my dad tried to show Marty at my grandmother's retirement community, my grandmother politely refused saying: "I like my leading men good looking."

Then, I don't particularly like Kat Hepburn for similar reasons (Audrey though... wow).

2007-01-24 08:36:59
12.   Marty
The Wild Bunch and Emperor of the North are my two favorite Borgnine movies. Nobody plays a sadistic train conductor like Ernie.
2007-01-24 10:39:40
13.   Jon Weisman
12 - or a sadistic prison sargeant
2007-01-24 12:03:42
14.   dzzrtRatt
How about Marty II? Marty's grandson, portrayed by Ben Stiller, tries to get a date with Jessica Alba, and Marty gives him tips.

Or maybe "McHale's Navy: Reporting for Duty." McHale gets a notice that because of the military's manpower shortage, he has to go back into the Navy. Co-starring Tim Conway, Jr., David Copperfield as the Carl Ballantine character's nephew, and Florence Henderson as "Ms. Leadbottom."

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