Dr. Joyce Brothers, the "mother of mass media psychology", has died

Dr. Joyce Brothers, whose soft voice, clear explanations, and preference for pastels calmed generations of anxious, questioning Americans, has died.

In 1955, Dr. Brothers was a wife and new mother. Her doctor husband was paid $50 a month as a resident. Looking for a way to pay the bills, Dr. Brothers studied the popular game show The $64,000 Question and realized that the most popular contestants were the ones with the most improbable interests. At 5', with delicate features, Brothers, who had a PhD from Columbia and a near-photographic memory, became a self-taught expert on boxing before becoming a contestant. The result of her astute analysis and hard-charging studying was that, after riveting weeks on the show, she became the first woman to win the big prize.

That national attention led to a multi-pronged media presence as a straight-shooting advice expert. She had several TV shows that bore her name, a call-in radio show, a column in Good Housekeeping magazine, and she enjoyed frequent guest appearances on television. She also authored several books, including the 1981 What Every Woman Should Know about Men.

Dr. Brothers, who was 85, died in Fort Lee, NY of respiratory failure.

TV Spotlight: Homeland

Are you looking for a new TV show to get sucked into? Look no further. In Showtime’s Homeland, US Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) returns home after spending eight years in Iraq as a prisoner of war, where he was found and rescued on a compound belonging to terrorist Abu Nazir. During an unauthorized mission in Iraq, CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) was warned by an informant that an Amerian POW was “turned” by al-Qaeda, and Mathison now believes that Brody is the "turned" POW and that he's plotting an attack on the US. Thinking her superiors wouldn’t believe her and wanting immediate action, Mathison takes it upon herself to set up surveillance on Brody watching him 24/7.

The suspenseful and intense television show focuses on Brody’s reunion with his family after being MIA for so long and now being thought of as a war hero, as well as with Mathison’s obsession with finding intel on Brody. Mathison is dealing with her own mental health issues and this helps fuel her manic search for evidence.

The critically acclaimed Homeland has aired two seasons, winning a 2012 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as Outstanding Actor/Actress In A Drama Series awards for Lewis and Danes. As well as Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Drama in both 2011 and 2012. A third season premieres this fall.

New TV shows on DVD @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new DVDs on their way to AADL:

St. Elsewhere, Season 1
The medical drama features the doctors and nurses of the fictional St. Eligius hospital in South Boston. The show was known for it’s gritty, realistic style, and interweaving storylines.

The Big C, Season 1
The show follows suburban mom and teacher Cathy Jamison, who finds out she has melanoma. At first she keeps the news of her cancer from her family, but as the show progresses she lets them in and learns to live for the first time.

Shameless, Season 1
Meet the fabulously dysfunctional Gallagher family. William H. Macy portrays a single father of six, between the ages of two and twenty one. The father struggles with alcoholism while trying to keep his family from falling off the deep end, while also letting them fend for themselves.

Mr. Selfridge, Season 1
Jeremy Piven stars as American entrepreneur and colorful retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge. Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, Harry Selfridge created a theater of retail for early 1900s Londoners where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining-or sometimes just eccentric-was showcased. Based on the book “Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge” by author Lindy Woodhead.

Tiny Toon Adventures

“We’re tiny, we’re toony, we’re all a little loony…”

So begins the theme song for the quintessential 90’s cartoon classic Tiny Toon Adventures. Featuring youthful versions of the arguably more famous Loony Tunes characters, Tiny Toons follows the wacky antics of Babs and Buster Bunny (no relation), Plucky Duck, Hampton Pig, and a slew of other characters during their time studying at Acme Looniversity and on their various misadventures.

Full of wacky humor, celebrity impressions, and brilliant music videos, Tiny Toon Adventures is sure to please new child audiences and the nostalgic adults!

Frank Bank, aka Lumpy on Leave It to Beaver, has died

Frank Bank, who played Lumpy Rutherford in the popular 1950s sitcom, Leave It to Beaver, died yesterday.

In a role that today probably would not be played for laughs, Lumpy was a large overweight friend of Wally Cleaver (played by Tony Dow), Beaver's aka The Beav's (Jerry Mathers) older brother. Even then television made the connection between being bullied at home (Lumpy's father often berated him -- ("big oaf " and "big boob" were two favorite insults of Mr. R.'s)) and passing it on to the outside world (Lumpy often targeted The Beav).

In real life, Bank was a very successful California municipal bonds broker who was known for his generosity. He and another Beaver actor, Ken Osmond who forever immortalized the slimy suck-up to grown-ups, Eddie Haskell, raised lots of money for veterans' charities.

Mr. Banks died just one day after his 71st birthday.

Jonathan Winters, genius improv comedian, has died

Jonathan Winters, he of the malleable face and rapid fire ad lib wit, died Thursday, April 11, in Montecito, California.

Winters, a veteran of World War II (Marine Corps), first developed his unique comedic style as a teenager, talking to himself. Later, as a morning DJ for WING (Dayton, OH), Winters had trouble rounding up guests so he just invented his own, and became an instant hit. Winters honed a wide, and wild, range of characters. Among his more memorable creations was Maude Frickert, a sweet-natured, sharp-tongued granny with a healthy libido. Johnny Carson, who invited Winters back over and over again as a guest on the Tonight Show, ended up stealing Maude and morphing her into his Aunt Blabby.

Robin Williams, whose explosively funny style is often compared to Winters' spontaneously combustive hilarity, credits Winters with inspiring his own funny riffs -- "Jonathan taught me that the world is open for play, that everything and everybody is mockable, in a wonderful way." (interview with the late Ed Bradley on CBS's 60 Minutes). In fact, in Season 4 of Mork and Mindy (Williams plays an alien from outer space with a human roommate, Pam Dawber, whom he later marries ), Winters plays their son, Mearth.

Winters also gave particularly memorable performances in two of the movies in which he had roles -- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966). He also found time to pen Winters' Tales, Stories, and Observations for the Unusual in 1987.

Winters, who was quite candid about his struggles with, and hospitalization for manic depression, died of natural causes at age 87.

Former Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello, has died

Annette Funicello, who, as a child, turned to acting to help deal with her shyness, died this moning in California.

In 1955 at a dance recital in Burbank, CA, where she was the Swan Queen in Swan Lake, she was discovered by Walt Disney who immediately added her to his stable of child actors for his new TV show, The Mickey Mouse Club.

Her popularity with children sent her acting career in many directions. She had a role in the second and third seasons of The Spin and Marty Show and in the short-lived Walt Disney Presents: Annette, which lasted just long enough for her performance of the song How Will I Know My Love? to be released as a single.

When she got older, she appeared in several Disney movies, including The Shaggy Dog (1959) and Babes in Toyland (1961). From there, she and Frankie Avalon became the darlings of the Beach Party movie scene.

In 1992, Ms. Funicello went public with the fact that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, only after rumors persisted that her unsteady gait was due to a drinking problem. She was named a Disney Legend that same year. A few months later she opened her Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders.

Ms. Funicello was 70 years old.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

If you haven't seen My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic yet, stop everything you're doing and put a request on The Friendship Express or Princess Twilight Sparkle now!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an animated TV series developed by Lauren Faust and based on the long-running Hasbro My Little Pony toy franchise. But don't let its overtly commercial roots fool you - MLP:FiM is a whip smart show for both kids and adults, hilarious and heartwarming at the same time, with an excellent sense of comedic timing and a commendable moral compass. Bright, engaging visuals and upbeat musical sidebars will have you hooked on this charming show in no time.

The Friendship Express is a collection of five non-contiguous episodes from season 1 and 2 of the show, while Princess Twilight Sparkle is a collection of five non-contiguous episodes from seasons 2 and 3. Episodes of the show air at 10:30 AM EST on The Hub, and Netflix currently streams seasons 1-3.

New TV shows on DVD @ AADL

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new DVDs on their way to AADL:

The Love Boat, Season 1: Volume 1 & Volume 2
See you on the Pacific Princess, where romance blossoms on the way to tropical and exotic ports of call with Captain Stubing, Doc, Gopher, and Isaac the bartender. (The show ran from 1977-1986.)

The Patty Duke Show, Seasons 1 & 2
They laugh alike, they walk alike, sometimes they even talk alike, what a crazy pair! Cousins Patty and Cathy are identical in appearance but not in personality, and they find themselves in wacky situations. (The show ran from1963-1966.)

Hawaii Five-O, Seasons 1 & 2
Book ‘em, Danno! Follow Detective Steve McGarrett, Danno, and the rest of the Five-O squad. McGarrett heads an elite state police unit investigating organized crime, murder, assassination attempts, foreign agents, and felonies of every type. (The show ran from 1968-1980.)

The Killing, Season 1
Following a shocking murder, the lives of the police, suspects and victim's family are intricately woven together in this spellbinding series. Fans of Twin Peaks or The X-Files might dig it. It’s an American drama based on a Danish TV show. (Season 3 is in production now.)

Roger Ebert, beloved Chicago movie critic, has died

Just one day after announcing he was taking a 'leave of presence' from his 46-year gig as movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and his 31-year career on TV reviewing films, Roger Ebert lost his long public battle with salivary and thyroid cancer.

His announcement yesterday said he would just review the movies HE wanted to see and leave the rest of the reviews to his trusted colleagues at the paper. When he lost part of his jaw and thus his ability to eat or speak, he used his good humor and courage to write about his experience fighting, and often triumphing, against, his devastating illness.

Ebert's long career resulted in a 1975 Pulitzer Prize, the first movie critic to receive this honor. The Webby Awards named him their 2010 Person of the Year. And Hollywood, which lived and died by Ebert's laser-beam ethical demand for excellence in all things film, honored him with his own Walk of Fame star in 2005.

Ebert's career took off in a new direction when he and Chicago Tribune movie critic, Gene Siskel, took their 'point/counterpoint' routine to television in 1975. Originally titled Coming Soon to a Theater Near You, PBS picked it up and renamed it Sneak Previews three years later. There were two more name-changes: In 1981, it morphed into At the Movies. Five years later, accompanied by their signature 'thumbs up, thumbs down' rating system, it settled on Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.

Sadly, Siskel died in 1999. He had had brain surgery for brain cancer but it was complications from another surgery that ended his life.

Despite his long fight with illness, Ebert wrote almost seventeen books on movies, the internet, his life (Life Itself: A Memoir, 2011), and yes, even a cookbook for rice cookers (The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, 2010).

Ebert, who was 70, died today in Chicago.

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