Category Archives: TV

“Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts” lives to being called “an urgent wake-up call”

PBS Distribution will be releasing a DVD that has been dubbed being called “an urgent wake-up call” about the national threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease. Many know the unique tragedy of this disease, but few know that Alzheimer’s is one of the most critical public health crises facing America. The powerful documentary Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts illuminates the social and economic consequences for the country unless a medical breakthrough is discovered for this currently incurable disease.

Save the date: The documentary will be available on DVD February 21; the program will also be available for digital download.

There are more than five million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. Because of the growing number of aging baby boomers, and the fact that the onset of Alzheimer’s is primarily age-related, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is projected to rise by 55% by 2030; by 2050 the Alzheimer’s Association estimates the total number could explode to nearly 14 million.

This “tsunami” of Alzheimer’s will not only be a profound human tragedy, but an overwhelming economic one as well. Because of the length of time people live with the illness and need care, it’s the most expensive medical condition in the U.S.  Future costs for Alzheimer’s threaten to bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid and the life savings of millions of Americans. It is estimated that if the number of patients increases as projected in the years ahead, the costs to care for them will exceed $1.1 trillion.

With power and passion, the program weaves together the sobering statistics about Alzheimer’s, expert commentary and compelling personal stories filmed around the country that represent previews of the future happening today.

“16 for ’16” features candidates in the most contentious political campaigns of the last 50 years

The dreaded day comes Friday, but we found a great new PBS Distribution two-disc DVD that trumps it all: 16 for ’16: The Contenders. The multi-part documentary features candidates in the most contentious and compelling political campaigns of the last 50 years and includes interviews with candidates and their inner circles that offer unexpected human moments and new insights into political battles for the U.S. presidency.

Each part in the program features two candidates whose stories appear vastly different on the surface but share common elements that changed the outcomes of campaigns and the course of history.

16 for ’16: The Contenders will be available on DVD January 24; the program will also be available for digital download.

The program kicks off with one such unlikely pair: 1972 presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm, the first black American and first female to run for the country’s top post, and Senator John McCain, who ran against George W. Bush in the 2000 primaries and against  Barack Obama for the presidency in 2008. Despite extraordinarily different backgrounds, Chisholm and McCain both ran as plain-spoken outsiders. Chisholm’s slogan, “Unbossed and Unbought,” was underscored by a grassroots approach that saw her teams collecting cash in the streets, while McCain’s image as an outspoken maverick often led him to speak off-the-cuff.

The show depicts game-changing moments in both campaigns: Chisholm’s betrayal by a friend in the House of Representatives who, at the last moment, decided he would not officially nominate her; and a revealing off-camera show-down between McCain and George W. Bush just prior to a live debate.

The second part revisits the campaigns of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and conservative insider Pat Buchanan—men of two divergent perspectives who were seen as insurrectionists within their own parties. Dean provided a voice for furious Democrats who opposed the war in Iraq and brought “participatory democracy” innovations to his campaign, such as the introduction of Internet fundraising that is now a standard part of campaigns.

Buchanan—a so-called “paleo-conservative” insider who served several American presidents and advocated a strong move rightward for the Republican Party—ran twice for the Republican presidential nomination (1992 and 1996) and on the Reform Party ticket in 2000. Despite the strategies, scripts, data analysis and marketing that went into these campaigns, it was, again, the human moments that led to their unpredicted outcomes. For Dean, it was the excitement (and problematic acoustics) that gave rise to his infamous, campaign-imploding “scream.” For Buchanan, who had barely recovered from heart surgery at his first convention in 1992, a decision to go off the party script and detail his concept of a “cultural war” for the soul of America resulted in a speech that many believe divided Republicans and propelled Bill Clinton to the White House.

Pairings for the balance of the series include: Mitt Romney and Michael Dukakis; Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson; Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan; Ross Perot and Ralph Nader; Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin; and George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Featured alongside the candidates, their families and their friends are a who’s who of campaign managers, observers and Washington, D.C., insiders such as Susan Estrich, Karl Rove, Donna Brazile, Karen Hughes and dozens more. Through background stories of groundbreaking campaign moments, fatal missteps, behind-the-scenes insights and lessons learned by each candidate, the series explores deeper questions such as “Can a positive campaign be a winning campaign?” and “Should a single misstep define a campaign and a candidate?”

 

 

Idina Menzel and Nia Long star in a Lifetime remake of the sob story “Beaches”

You gotta have friends. Sometimes you gotta have remakes. It will be interesting if Idina Menzel and Nia Long can stir up more (read = better) memories and deeper sobs when they star as lifelong best friends in the remake of the Bette Midler-Barbara Hershey flick Beaches. The new flick, an Original Lifetime movie, premiers on Saturday, January 21 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

https://youtu.be/NuKOIHqPuWM

Want an earlier taste? Warner Bros. Records.  has already released a five-song soundtrack EP performed by Menzel. The disc features new takes on the classic songs “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “The Glory of Love,” as well as “I Can Hear the Music,” “I’ll Stand by You,” and “Last Time” recorded specifically for the movie. 

In this contemporary remake, Beaches follows the serendipitous meeting of two young girls on the Venice Boardwalk, who, though worlds apart in lifestyle, embark on an unexpected and lifelong friendship. CC (Menzel) is an aspiring singer trying to make it in Los Angeles until she is discovered by a director who gives her her first big shot. Hillary (Long) is the daughter of a prominent civil rights lawyer who struggles to find her own destiny. Their friendship—even with its ups and downs—sustains them for decades.

What does Bette think? She’s too busy preparing for the Broadway run of Hello, Dolly!,  revival opening in March and long sold-out.

Grin (or grimace) and bear it: “Polar Bear Town” is a fascinating documentary

I may live in Churchill (PA), but I can’t bear the though of not visiting Churchill (Manitoba, Canada). Every fall, about 10,000 tourists from around the world descend on Manitoba, “The Polar Bear Capital of the World.” This community of about 800 people on Hudson Bay in Northern Canada is home to the annual migration of more than 1,000 hungry polar bears that pass through town as they wait for the bay ice to return.

Polar Bear Town (Public Media Distribution) documents a season in Churchill, following this extraordinary migration of human and four-legged animals as they collide in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways. The Smithsonian Channel original series will be available on DVD on January 24.

The program takes viewers close to the enormous creatures known as the “Lords of the Artic.” These polar bears can grow to be 10 feet tall and more than 1,300 pounds. They are also skilled hunters that can detect the presence of seals beneath three feet of snow and ice and can pick out scents from nearly 20 miles away. Ouch!

Churchill is one of the few human settlements where polar bears can be observed in the wild and prime viewing happens in October and November. The program captures that moment when tourists from around the world fly into town in hopes of getting up close and personal with a polar bear. Professional guides Dennis Compayre and Kelsey Eliasson have a delicate mission: To get their clients close, but keep them safe.

A look at the segments on the two disc set:

Welcome to Churchill
The town prepares for the fall migration. As the season opens, tensions are higher than usual. Last Halloween, a surprise late-night encounter with a polar bear left a local woman seriously injured and the bear dead, the nightmare all in Churchill strive to avoid. Officer Bob Windsor of Manitoba’s Department of Natural Resources, who leads a team of conservation officers, is stepping up efforts to make the town safer, even if it means increasing challenges for guides like Dennis and Kelsey. Among the bears closing in on Churchill is a Polar mom with two cubs to protect and a 1,000 pound male known as Big Bear. Churchill resident Brian Ladoon, who owns and operates the Miles 5 Dog Sanctuary, braces for bear interlopers who try to poach food from his pack of endangered Canadian Eskimo dogs.

Papparrazi Alert
A mother bear is leading her nine month-old cub back from his first hunting season on the ice. Now, they’ll face an even more daunting challenge: Throngs of tourists descending on Churchill, which could put the cub and themselves at risk. Veteran guide Compayre takes his apprentice, but an aggressive client might complicate her “baptism by bear.” And fellow guide Kelsey Eliasson flips the script and takes up a camera himself to assist in a groundbreaking research project that identifies bears through their unique whisker patterns.

Rumble on the Tundra
Polar bear season has reached its peak and Brian Ladoon is looking for help at his Mile 5 Dog Sanctuary. Brian can’t be in two places at once–feeding his Canadian Eskimo dogs and on the lookout for polar bears. Luckily, volunteer Russell Hausler has traveled from Australia to give Brian a hand. Meanwhile, bear guide Dennis Compayre and regular client, California photographer Andrew Bazeley, are looking for the perfect shot to complete Andrew’s book. They encounter a pair of polar bears that locals call the Scrappy Brothers, because they wrestle each other to hone their skills for mating battles to come. And a cub called Curious ventures away from its mother and finds itself on a dangerous collision course with a hungry but elderly male known as St. Pete.

Halloween Horror Story
Halloween has arrived in Polar Bear Town. It’s the worst day of the year for bears in Churchill and the busiest for conservation officers. Children are trick-or-treating and people like Erin Greene are attending parties. Last year, Erin was on her way home from a party when she was attacked by a polar bear. Erin survived the attack but is afraid that it could happen again. Erin enlists her friend; bear guide Karine Genest, to confront her fears by getting close to a polar bear for the first time since the attack. While humans are understandably fearful, the bears are even more at risk. New Mom follows her nose into a bear trap and separates herself from her cub, whose very survival may depend on Kelsey’s intervention. And a roaming Big Bear is headed directly toward the army of guards protecting town.

Parole Day
Winter has settled in on Churchill. It’s the time of year when conservation officers release bears from its polar bear holding facility, which the locals call “Polar Bear Jail”. A special release sees a mother polar bear and her cub airlifted out of town, to be safely released in the wilderness. Kelsey has special access for the release and follows along in a chase helicopter. But the tranquilizers that conservation officers use on bears wear off quickly and the helicopter pilots need to find a place to land before the bears wake up. Meanwhile, Compayre enlists some friends to help him find a special bear called Dancer, who he’s known for over 20 years.

Quest for Cubs
It’s spring in Churchill. While most polar bears are now hunting for seals on the frozen Hudson Bay, pregnant females have migrated south to their ancestral dens to give birth. The race is on for guides, photographers and scientists to find hidden denning sites outside of Churchill, in hopes of seeing mothers and cubs emerge. Inside one of those dens, a mother bear has spent three full months nursing her cubs. At around 20 pounds each, they’re nearly ready to leave the den and embark on the epic trek to their icy hunting grounds. And a team of biologists, including Don Moore of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, make an astonishing discovery–a maternity denning complex that a group of polar bears has used for generations.

 

Time Life celebrates Johnny Carson, his late-night gem and his friends in a new DVD series

Before the Seinfeld sitcom success, it started with Johnny’s couch.
Revisit that time with The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends featuring Jerry Seinfeld. This DVD includes three classic ’80s episodes, complete with commercials! Jerry Seinfeld is on Carson chum; other shows include Arnold Schwarzenegger, an 18-year-old named Andre Agassi and Oprah’s first Tonight Show appearance. Save the date: The recollections begin on January 10.
Featuring the best episodes from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the Johnny and Friends series will include some of the best loved guests from The Tonight Show. Each DVD features full episodes-including original commercials-that showcase an amazing talent and true American icon who, across 30 years and 4,000 shows, paved the way for a late night TV revolution in memorable fashion.
The inaugural release stars Jerry Seinfeld before his eponymous sitcom rewrote TV history.  After his first appearance (May 6, 1981), Carson was impressed and Seinfeld became a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. In 1989, Seinfeld debuted on NBC, and by its fourth season, it had become the most popular and successful sitcom on American television.  This Johnny and Friends release features  pre-Seinfeld episodes, allowing home audiences to watch the evolution of the iconic comedian.
Episodes include: 
  • Show 1 (June 27, 1985) A true classic is now released from The Tonight Show Vaults!  Not only does this show feature an appearance by Jerry Seinfeld early in his career, but it also includes one of Johnny’s most famous sketches by The Mighty Carson Art Players: Mr. Rambo’s Neighborhood.
  • Show 2 (February 21, 1986) In this historic show from 1986, Seinfeld is joined by drag racer Shirley Muldowney, and that’s not all, watch as the future “Queen of all Media” meets the “King of Late Night” during the first appearance of Oprah Winfrey on The Tonight Show.
  • Show 3 (June 9, 1988) A star studded evening closes this DVD as Johnny’s guests include Seinfeld, Schwarzenegger and Agassi. 

Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds are still in “Bright Lights”; the highly-acclaimed HBO documentary airs this month

Carrie is dead. So is Debbie. The mother-daughter duo died just 24 hours apart. What better why for HBO to cash in than by airing the documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds? It  debuts Saturday, January 7 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

HBO calls Bright Lights “an intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty, in all its eccentricity.” Carrie and her mother, Debbi, lived in the same Beverly Hills compound. The 83-year-old grand dame still has a Las Vegas act, but performing was taking its toll.

Carrie’s response is both hilarious and heart-rending. “Mother and I live next door to each other, separated by one daunting hill,” Carrie explains. “I usually come to her. I always come to her.” Featuring vintage family films that bring iconic old-world Hollywood to life, as well as extensive vérité footage, the film has been directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens.

Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds has already received audience and critical acclaim at many prestigious film festivals, including the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. The documentary holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes; The Hollywood Reporter called it “warmly engaging” and a “tender tribute to two iconic women”, and compared it favorably to the Maysles Bros classic 1975 mother-daughter portrait, Grey Gardens.

The film was reportedly Fisher’s idea, who wanted to document Reynolds’ final live performances in Las Vegas two years ago, aged 82.

Not enough?

HBO’s 2010 special Wishful Drinking will receive an encore presentation on January 1 at 9 (ET/PT). This feature-length adaptation of Fisher’s hit autobiographical stage production tells the intoxicating tale of her life, combining her raucous one-woman stage performance, interviews with family and friends, and archival footage.

Three broads (Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer and Hillary Clinton) and their “Broad City” (mis)adventures

Think of them a 2 broke girls.

Broad City is an odd couple comedy about two best friends navigating their twenties in Madhattan. Their (mis)adventures always lead down unexpected and outlandish paths. They’re broke, flawed and don’t shy away from the sticky situations NYC throws at them . . . they dive right into the shi…, er, muck. But no matter how bad it gets, these young broads are always down with whatever hits them.

Think of it as comedy central.

Upright Citizens Brigade alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer came up with the idea for the show; the gals also star and their dynamic relationship, combined with their impeccable comedic timing and chemistry, has been described as “passionate, funny and sometimes raunchy” by The New York Times.

Broad City: Season 3 hits stores on January 10. The two-disc set brings back TV’s baddest BFFs for a whole new set of adventures. Join Abbi, Ilana and a lineup of special guests as they find true love (or one-night stands), get high on life (among other things) and show New York City how it’s done. Just ask one of the season three’s guest stars, Hillary Clinton. 

Have the Time of Your Life with “The Red Skelton Show in Color,” not seen for more than 50 years!

Leave it to Time Life to make the New Year the time of your life. And in color! And with such guests as Clem Kadiddlehopper and Freddie the Freeloader!

Welcome, with open arms, The Red Skelton Show in Color. Home audiences will be entertained by America’s Clown Prince with brilliant full-color episodes of The Red Skelton Hour, some of which have been unseen for more than 50 years.

After purchasing an old movie studio and converting it for TV productions, Skelton was the first CBS host to begin taping his weekly programs in color. And now Time Life brings viewers back to a simpler time, showcasing never-before-released shows as they were originally broadcast more than five decades ago.

One of the country’s most treasured comedians, Skelton kept TV audiences in stitches for 20 groundbreaking seasons on The Red Skelton Show. The son of a circus clown, Red always had a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step (often accompanied by a cowbell sound effect); his heart was pure gold, his jokes were silly and his gifts for physical comedy remain priceless. And from his inimitable comic mind also came a memorable lineup of zany characters including the country bumpkin Clem Kadiddlehopper, the lovable hobo Freddie the Freeloader and Sheriff Deadeye.

The Red Skelton Show in Color is available in two configurations. The three-disc collector’s set features 12 never-before-released episodes, including best-loved sketches with Freddie the Freeloader joining a love-in with hippie Tim Conway; Sheriff Deadeye facing off with Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne); and Clem Kadiddlehopper being mistaken for a robot by mad scientists Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. Other fan favorite sketches include classics such as “Dial M for Moron” with Phyllis Diller, “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Dumb” with George Gobel, and “Eenie Meenie Minee Schmo” with Mickey Rooney. The single disc release includes 4 complete episodes. Additionally, both releases include exclusive new interviews with Bobby Rydell and Vicki Lawrence.

Boris, Red and Vincent. Boo!

You thought it was easy being green? Think Red!

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Year’s Best from PBS Distribution

A Downton Abbey fan? That’s number 567,340,027. This holiday season will be the ultimate celebration for those millions. PBS Distribution has released two all-new complete box sets of the series, as well as a stocking full of officially licensed Downton Abbey merchandise. Visit shoppbs.org for deals that will dazzle fans.

First we tease you with a clip. How many times have you seen this episode?

Downton Abbey: The Complete Limited Edition Collector’s Set is the ultimate gift. All six seasons–52 episodes–of the Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG-winning program are offered. The set contains 13 hours of bonus content including 5 all new hours as well as exclusive collectible keepsakes that lovers of the series will cherish forever. This is the ultimate Downton Abbey box set and a must-have for every fan.download
The beautiful gold keepsake box contains a working Downton Abbey pull-bell, ready to hang on the wall or stand on a shelf. There’s a collectible set of six elegant cork-based coasters featuring the official Downton Abbey crest. There’s The Costumes of Downton Abbey, an exclusive photo-filled booklet featuring a forward from executive producer Gareth Neame. Then there’s a collectible hardcover book with 22 discs featuring the 52 episodes, including each season finale Christmas special, video extras from each season, full color photography and favorite quotes from iconic characters.

Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection
Led by Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith, the acclaimed ensemble cast brings to life all the drama and intrigue of the inhabitants of Downton Abbey, the lavish English country manor, home to the Earl of Grantham.22409e5a802cdc22a0635db35c15d72e This complete collection set, available just in time for the holidays, includes all 52 episodes of the series of this Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy-winning series, following the Crawley family and their servants through all of the splendor and romance, desire and heartbreak, scandal and rumor that Downton Abbey viewers across the globe have grown to love.

Downton Abbey Resin Castle Ornament
Honor the history and elegance of the grand architectural style of Downton Abbey (actually Highclere Castle) withppbs3-16163847reg this beautifully detailed ornament made of high-quality resin that will allow you to enjoy Downton Abbey’s classic style for years to come. It stands 3.5 inches tall.

 

Downton Abbey Trio Pull Bell Ornament
Whether you spent your days upstairs or down, the ringing of bells was a constant sound. This replica of the trio pull bells used by the family and staff of Downton Abbey will help you ring in the holidays year after year.0fe9d670-fc4b-4816-a7dd-d15a695ae81b_1-50d68b43b789808346331535f9f509f2

Downton Abbey Rotating Musical Glitter Dome
This elegant glass glitter dome features a detailed look at the castle and with the flick of the wrist you can see the magic at Downton. This collectible is perfect for every fan in the family.ppbs3-21792925reg

Downton Abbey Porcelain Teacup LED Night Light
This stylish teacup and saucer night light will illuminate your hallway or any room with its bright LED light and easy ppbs3-24064145regon and off switch. It’s the perfect gift for tea enthusiasts and Downton Abbey fans alike.

“9/11 Inside the Pentagon” offers first-hand accounts of the attack we must never forget

America marked the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., a nightmare we just never forget. PBS Distribution offers 9/11 Inside the Pentagon on DVD, a documentary which reveals new, first-hand accounts of the attack that took place at the heart of the country’s military headquarters–an attack in which 184 people from inside the building and on board American Airlines flight 77 perished.

While most of the media coverage of the events of September 11 focused on New York City and United Flight 93, the story of what happened inside the Pentagon on that tragic day has never truly been told. Until now.

Produced by Lone Wolf Media, 9/11 Inside the Pentagon revisits the events of 9/11 from the perspective of those who were in Washington, DC, working at or near the Pentagon. Using exclusive first-person interviews with Pentagon personnel, first responders, aviation experts and journalists, as well as rarely seen Department of Defense footage taken from inside the Pentagon after the attack, the special tells the story of heroism and perseverance in the face of unimaginable, life-threatening obstacles.

Unlike those in New York City who were completely taken by surprise, those in Washington, DC, followed the news coming out of New York and realized than unaccounted-for flights still in the air would likely target significant, symbolic and strategic sites in the nation’s capital–including the Pentagon.

In the chaos that followed after Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, a group of workers inside would crawl through black smoke and pools of jet fuel looking for an exit, only to find themselves trapped behind a newly installed blast-proof window that was impossible to break open; emotional clashes over jurisdiction would break out between Pentagon personnel and first responders trying to find survivors in the wreckage; smoke would threaten to incapacitate the National Military Command Center; and an unaccounted-for plane would pose the threat of yet another strike.

Among those interviewed in the film are those who experience the attack first-hand: Steve Carter, assistant building operations manager at the Pentagon; first responders Mike Regan, Alan Wallace and Ed Hannon; Pentagon personnel Captain William J. Toti (U.S. Navy, retired) and Colonel Marilyn Wills (US Army, retired); air traffic controller Colin Scoggins; structural engineer Leo Titus; and Washington Post reporter Steve Vogel.