Long before they were on TV, they watched TV. Just like the rest of us, celebrities tuned in regularly to their favorite shows when they were kids. Perhaps they envisioned a day when they, too, might elicit a laugh or cleverly deliver a line that would live on in television trivia. Whether a character charmed them or a performance inspired their careers, celebrities can recall the stars and shows of yesterday with a clarity and fondness often reserved for favorite childhood desserts. TV Week asked a group of performers to share some of their favorite small-screen shows and memories. Their responses reflect the never-ending variety of the TV landscape:
William H. Macy
"I'd have to go with Toody and Muldoon [of 'Car 54, Where Are You?']. It always made me laugh. Fred Gwynne was one of the great American actors -- and it had the best theme song of any show going."
"We weren't allowed to watch TV most of the time, but once a year we were able to watch something, and the show I loved was 'The Waltons.' I loved the family togetherness."
"Probably 'Leave It to Beaver.' I could relate to being that age. It also kind of was an ideal world, at least at that time. I look at it now, and it wasn't very politically correct. But I felt all warm and fuzzy when watching the show. I used to read Little Lulu comics for the same reason. It was just a perfect world."
"'All in the Family.' I loved watching Carroll O'Connor play this despicable character and make him so hysterically flawed and charmingly vulnerable to where he could get away with saying so many off-color things and yet it endeared him to you."
"I loved all the Aaron Spelling shows, 'Beverly Hills 90210' and 'Models Inc.' I couldn't stop watching them. At that time, I had pet rats I was raising and I always named all the baby rats after the characters in the shows."
"'I Dream of Jeannie.' Everything about that show -- her outfits, the bottle she came out of, the idea of a genie -- it was all just very sensuous. I'd be in a remake of that show in a minute. I'd love to play Larry Hagman's role."
"The show that made the biggest impression on me was 'Sea Hunt.' I watched Lloyd Bridges in it, and that's how I decided to be an actor. I'd act out the whole show in the bathtub. I was 3 or 4 at the time. When Lloyd guest starred on 'Seinfeld,' I told him the story and he got such a kick out of it."
James Brown (sportscaster)
"My mom didn't allow us to watch that much television. I was involved in basketball and got home late, then would have homework to do. But I liked 'Sky King' and Bill Cosby and Robert Culp in 'I Spy.'"
"The Mouseketeers [from 'The Mickey Mouse Club']. I really liked Annette. I thought she was spunky and independent, and I thought she was a real role model. I also liked the original 'Candid Camera' and 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.' She was single, smart and independent."
Give Us Your Best!
What's your favorite television show today, and what makes it so great?