Monday, October 01, 2007

A TELEVISION ICON GETS SOME LONG OVERDUE RECOGNITION!!!

There was a time when getting Robert Conrad to star in a television series or a movie for television, all any producer had to do was sit back and watch the money roll in. It wasn't a matter of if the money would be available, it was simply a matter of how quickly that money would be made available. Beginning in the late 50's when Conrad starred as Tom Lopaka in "Hawaiian Eye" through the 80's when Conrad starred in "High Mountain Rangers", Robert Conrad was television gold!

He had a little "baggage" he had to overcome along the way. He was considered to be "too good looking" to be taken seriously as a "serious actor", so roles he got, he had to fight for. I mean, really fight for! Which is something that Robert Conrad never had trouble embracing! Which, at times, was something that caused trouble for Conrad. The money guys didn't want their handsome leading man getting into brawls because of some "slight" or for any other reason, but Conrad was a guy who became quickly known as (arguably) the biggest "stand-up" guy in Hollywood, a reputation appreciated by his friends, but feared greatly by his enemies and people who considered hiring him. Like the great television producer, Stephen J. Cannell.

More on that in minute.

This past Friday, Robert Conrad was honored by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, a long time highly respected organization that I'm a proud member of. The event was held in a packed banquet hall at the famous Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California.

On the dais were (among others) actor Larry Manetti ("Magnum P.I."), proud son (and actor/producer) Shane Conrad, wife LaVelda Conrad, CBS executive and producer John Wilder ("Centennial"), producer, David Lansbury ("The Wild, Wild West"), Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters' President, Chuck Southcott, Stephen J. Cannell ("Baa Baa, Black Sheep" or "Black Sheep Squadron" and (of course) Robert Conrad.

Conrad's daughter/singer Chelsea Conrad was seated in the front rows as were other relatives, his long time agent David Shapira and long time friends. Many people who couldn't attend, sent apology messages that were read by Chuck Southcott.

Full disclosure: I met Robert Conrad when I was a nightly television sports anchor here in Los Angeles. For some strange reason, the two of us "I do it my way types" hit it off. He appeared with me on television (he wanted to fight Sylvestor Stallone for charity), he offered me a job in one of his films which I (sadly) had to turn down, he invited me to boxing events he was a part of and just before he had a bad automobile accident, I was going to be visiting with him in Bear Valley that weekend where he was scheduled to ski for a Gold Medal.

Yeah. I like Robert Conrad. I like his family and I like everything he stands for.

And I really liked the event at Sportsmen's Lodge where we heard some loving honesty expressed (with humor) by son Shane, some loving and cute observations from wife LaVelda and a terrific story from producer John Wilder about how Conrad was (reluctantly) hired to play Pasquinel in "Centennial" and how Conrad ended up being that show's shining star in what was an all star cast! Then there were the stories and the story told by Stephen J. Cannell who told how reluctant he was to hire Conrad to play Medal of Honor recipient Pappy Boyington in "Black Sheep Squadron" because he didn't think Conrad had the chops and because of one other problem. Cannell admitted he was afraid that if he did hire Conrad, he'd also have to get a new dentist because of Conrad's reputation as a brawler. Because of the constant calls and unannounced visits from David Shapira, Conrad's agent, Cannell finally agreed to meet with Conrad, hired him, became one of Conrad's best friends and the rest (as they say) "is history".

I could tell you a lot more about what was a wonderful day, but I'll end with this; Yeah, I'm proud to call him my friend, but what I'm going to write now is something I would have written without knowing him. Robert Conrad was a big bankable television star for a very long time!!! This honor he received from the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters was a lot of fun to attend, but it was also an honor Robert Conrad deserved!

Has Conrad retired? Nope. After succeeding in television and films, he's going to try something else. Radio! On CRN. I'll tell you more when I know more. CRN is something you can hear anywhere in the world.

THE REGULAR BASEBALL SEASON IS ALMOST OVER:

One little bit of business to take care of in the regular baseball season before we can begin to get ready for the playoffs. In a playoff game to get to the playoffs, San Diego's Padres will play at Colorado against the Rockies who are the hottest team in baseball. The game is scheduled to begin a little after 4:30, Pacific Time and it will be televised by TBS. The teams that will definitely be in the playoffs are the Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, Cubs, Diamondbacks, and Phillies.

POSSIBLE WEDDING BELLS FOR PAMELA ANDERSON:

If Pamela Anderson marries Rick Salomon, a lot of people will wonder when "the tape" will be available for purchase. Anderson's sex tape with former husband, Tommy Lee was a popular item on the internet and Salomon's tape with Paris Hilton, ("One Night in Paris") was a tape that made a lot of money.

Pamela Anderson works for a living. As does Tommy Lee. As does (in her own way) Paris Hilton.

Rick Salomon? Like Kevin Federline, he appears to be someone who has the ability to hook up with famous show business women. He was married to Shannon Doherty before she had it annulled and now (maybe) this marriage to Pamela Anderson.

Short Commentary: Pamela, you don't need my advice, but do the words, "Get a good prenuptial agrement", mean anything to you?

EDITOR'S NOTE: IF YOU READ THIS BEFORE PICTURES HAVE BEEN ADDED, COME BACK! PICTURES WILL BE UP SOON!

A new blog is written every morning, Monday through Friday and is posted between 7 and 7:15, Pacific Time. Sometimes earlier. Questions and comments can be sent to scottstjames@sbcglobal.net. I do write back.

TOMORROW: I'll tell you some comparisons made by Comedy Central to presidential candidates and comic book superheroes/villains. I hope you'll enjoy the comparisons as much as I do and my thanks (in advance) to some folks at Comedy Central for alerting me to this. I'll also tell you about a Republican candidate that I'm becoming more and more impressed with and anything else that makes me say, "Whaaaat?!?"

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