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Madman Muntz - Eccentric used car king Earl William "Madman" Muntz became famous for introducing an affordable TV set in Chicago in 1949. The set featured a built-in antenna, one knob picture control and a low price which helped bring down the price of televisions nationwide (a cost of ten dollars a screen inch-$170 for a seventeen-inch screen-measured diagonally). Owning 72 stores, he sold over $20 million sets by 1950. He was forced to sell his TV business when a plan to sell an automobile (The Muntz Jet) failed in 1953-54. He later went into the stereo business and created the Muntz stereo chain. The concept for "Madman" originated when Earl Muntz was selling cars. He wanted an advertising gimmick that got people's attention, and so he hired artist Mike Shore to come up with an idea. He designed a caricature of Muntz dressed in long red flannel underwear and sporting a Napoleon hat. Muntz was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1914. See also - "Crazy Eddie"

Mahavishnu - High school nickname of Kevin Eubanks, the bandleader on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO/NBC/1992+. According to his 10th grade teacher Ms. Lynn Dixon (who made a surprise visit to the show) when Kevin Eubanks was in high school he wore a skull cap and called himself "Mahavishnu." Ms. Dixon said of him "He was very quiet, (with a Buddha-like presence), he never smiled and he always told the truth."

Mama Bear - Radio code name used by prisoners from German POW camp Stalag 13 to secretly contact WWII Allied submarines on the military comedy HOGAN'S HEROES/CBS/1965-71. Papa Bear and Red Fox were the code names for American POW Colonel Robert Hogan (Bob Crane). Code name "Goldilock" was used to communicate with the underground resistance fighters.

Man in Black, The - Because he always performed in a wardrobe of black clothing, weather-worn country western singer Johnny Cash earned the nickname of "The Man in Black." Among his many accomplishments was a successful musical variety program THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW/ABC/1969-71/CBS/. The program opened with a rendition of "Folsom Prison Blues" and closed with his classic 1950s hit song "I Walk The Line." Baby Boomers will remember that it was Johnny Cash who sang the opening theme song "The Ballad of Johnny Yuma" for the western adventure series THE REBEL/ABC/NBC/1959-62. The "Man in Black" was also the nickname Joe Kearns, the host of the radio program SUSPENSE.

Man of a Thousand Voices, The - Hollywood's virtuoso of the voice is the one and only Melvin Jerome Blank. Dubbed "The Man of a Thousand Voices" by newspaper columnist Carroll Van Court, Mel Blanc (his stage name) was probably the single most heard voice in the history of television. Reportedly, Mel Blanc once started to count the amount of voices he had in his repertoire and got to 400 before falling asleep. He is responsible for doing the cartoon voices on over 3000 plus Warner Brother Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated features created during the 1940s and 1950s including the Road "Beep, Beep" Runner, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Pie, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepe Le Pew, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales and Yosemite Sam. His television credits featured the voices of cave man Barney Rubble, and pet dinosaur Dino on THE FLINTSTONES, and in later years the voice of Twiki, the dwarf robot companion on BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY/NBC/1979-81. Mel Blanc honed his vocal skills on such radio programs as THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE, BABY SNOOKS, and MAJOR HOOPLE. But perhaps, his most famous memorable characters appeared on the radio version of THE JACK BENNY SHOW where he performed as Carmichael, the ill-tempered Polar Bear who guarded Jack's underground vault; a railroad conductor who echoed the now classic line "Anaheim, Azuza and Cu-ca-munga"; the squealing, belching sounds of a Maxwell automobile; Sy, the nasal Mexican gardener who spoke in a flat, expressionless voice; and Monsieur Le Blanc, Jack Benny's French violin instructor. Melvin Jerome Blank was born in San Francisco on Memorial Day, May 30, 1908 and died at the age of eighty-one. His tombstone reads: "Th-uh-th--uh-th-That's all Folks!" The Hollywood Walk of Fame honored his talents with a sidewalk star located at 6385 Hollywood Boulevard. Character actor Alan Swift, who provided voices for numerous TV and radio commercials, was also billed as the Man of Thousand Voices.

Man of Many Hats, The  See - MUSIC - VOCAL GROUPS: "Riders in the Sky"

Man of Many Moods, The - British actor Charles Laughton was known as "The Man of Many Moods" when he hosted a series of dramatic readings selected from the Bible, Classical and Modern Literature on the syndicated program THIS IS CHARLES LAUGHTON/SYN/1953. The series marked his American television debut.

Man on the Street, The  See - "Steverino"

Man with the X-Ray Eyes, The - Kuda Bux (real name: Khudah Bukhsh) was a popular mind reader/magician who starred in his own series KUDA BUX, HINDU MYSTIC/CBS/1950. Hailing from Kashmir, India, Kuda Bux did a specialty act while blindfolded with bandages, tin foil or lead. He then proceeded to "see through them" and performed such inordinate feats as hitting bulls eyes, threading needles, etc., thus living up to his show business nickname "The Man with the X-Ray Eyes."

Manny the Hippie - Street name of Micah Papp, a 19-year-old long-haired street dweller who reached instant celebrity status when he appeared as a summer movie critic on segments of the LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN during the show's visit to San Francisco in 1996 doing movie reviews and taking Letterman on a tour of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. If Mannie liked a movie, he ranked it with a "dank" (good) rating or "diggity dank" (quite good). If he didn't like the movie, he called it "schwag" (dag). Unfortunately for Mannie, his 15-minutes of fame came quickly to an end when authorities in Ohio recognized Mannie as a felon wanted for breaking parole on a marijuana charge. He was extradited back to Ohio to serve a sentence of 18 months in prison. He was released from jail on June 12, 1997.

Marcel Marceau of Television, The - For 20 years the comic genius of Red Skelton entertained America. One of the regular features on THE RED SKELTON SHOW/NBC/CBS/1951-71 was "The Silent Spot" where Red skillfully performed pantomime sketches which made us laugh and made us cry. From a staggering drunk, to a man trying to lift a heavy suitcase, to an old man at a parade (a classic skit he often performed), he truly was the Marcel Marceau of Television.

Masked Magician, The - Hidden behind a black mask of wriggling white lines, the Masked Magician exposed to the world the secrets behind the world's most exciting magical tricks in a series of TV Specials entitled BREAKING THE CODE: MAGIC'S BIGGEST SECRETS FINALLY REVEALED/FOX/1997-98. This Benedict Arnold of the Houdini set revealed the secrets like teleporting a woman from one cage to another (Just use Twins) to "challenge magicians to come up with new ideas, to push magic into the 21st century." Newspapers like USA Today, Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Los Angeles Times suspected that the masked man was in reality a magician named Valentino. On the fourth installment (aired 10/29/98) of MAGIC'S BIGGEST SECRETS No.4: THE FINAL REVEAL we learned the name of the mysterious magician. It was none other than....Valentino.

Masked Maniac, The - On the sitcom LEARNING THE ROPES/SYN/1988-89 high school history teacher Robert Randall (Lyle Alzado) lead a double life to make extra money for his family. By day he wore a suit and taught history at Ridgedale High School; by night he became "The Masked Maniac," a professional wrestler. Steve "Dr. Death" Williams doubled for actor Lyle Alzado in the role of The Masked Maniac.

Masked Rider of the Plains, The  See - "The Lone Ranger"

Masked Singer, The - Romolo De Spirito was known as "the Masked Singer" a mysterious road agent featured during the 1949 season of the musical variety show VILLAGE BARN/NBC/1948-50. The country music program originated live from New York's Village Barn Nightclub at 52 West 8th Street.

Master of Disaster, The - Showbiz nickname bestowed on Irwin Allen, the producer of such films as The Towering Inferno (1974) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and such television shows as the sci-fi series VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA/ABC/1964-68 and LOST IN SPACE/CBS/1965-68.

Master of the Adversary Interview, The - Tom Snyder, the host of the late night talk show TOMORROW/NBC/1973-82 was called "The Master of the Adversary Interview" because of his prosecuting techniques used when interviewing his guests. Despite being called arrogant, belligerent, intimidating and opinionated, by 1976 over 6 million Americans regularly stayed up to watch Tom Snyder host topics and guests dealing with suicide, witchcraft, prostitution, a face-to-face meeting with convicted mass murderer Charles Manson direct from his prison cell and a broadcast from a California nudist colony. Tom Snyder later hosted a more laid back interview program THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH TOM SNYDER/CBS/1995-99 that featured an 800 telephone number for listeners to call in and ask questions of Snyder's guests.

Master of the Atrocious Pun, The - Nickname of radio and television personality Clifton Fadiman who hosted a number of programs during the 1950s including THIS IS SHOW BUSINESS/CBS/NBC/1949-56, INFORMATION PLEASE/CBS/1952, THE NAME'S THE SAME/ABC/191-55, WHAT'S IN A WORD/CBS/1954, and QUIZ KIDS/CBS/1956.

Master of Their Domain  See - CONTESTS: "The Contest"

Matinee Lady, The - The buxom, blonde Carol Wayne earned this title when she appeared as a member of the Mighty Carson Art Players on the Tea Time Movie sketch, an occasional segment of THE TONIGHT SHOW/NBC/1962-92 starring Johnny Carson. Hosting this fictional late night movie show was the lecherous hustler, Art Fern (Johnny Carson) who sold anything to anybody during intermissions. Assisting his rapid fire sales pitch was "The Matinee Lady" whose job was to stand next to Art Fern, act dumb, look beautiful, and be the recipient of his many obvious sexual innuendo's. When the commercial spot ended Art grabbed the Matinee Lady and kissed her until the next commercial interruption. Tragically, this wonderful female second banana drowned in Manzanillo, Mexico on January 11, 1985. She was forty-two. Her performances can be seen on the syndicated THE BEST OF CARSON and CARSON'S COMEDY CLASSICS (excerpts from THE TONIGHT SHOW). In the late 1950s Carol Wayne and her sister Nina were professional ice skaters with the Ice Capades and later worked as Las Vegas showgirls at the Folies Bergere. Zany blonde actress Teresa Ganzel replaced Carol Wayne as The Matinee Lady from 1986-1992.

Mayday Malone - The nickname of bartender Sam Malone (Ted Danson) on the sitcom CHEERS/NBC/1982-93. A former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox baseball team, Mayday (No.16) could pitch with both his right or left arm. Sam's claimed batting average was 211; his actual batting average was 149. He began his career in Medford, Massachusetts where he played ball in sandlots, and later for the Wilderbeests at Medford Vocational High School. Spotted by a scout for the Red Sox baseball team, he was snatched from the Cape Cod League a few years later to become an "A" league ball player at West Haven, Florida for $400 a month. He finally arrived at Fenway Stadium in 1974 but, his best year was in 1975 when the Red Sox battled the Reds in the World Series. There he was on the mound for nearly an hour without giving up a pitch. Only when Pete Rose kept switching his batting stance back and forth from left to right did Sam collapse from dizziness. His last game was played in Tiger Stadium in 1979 where the effects of alcoholism and a sore arm brought down the curtain on his career. He left the team and later became the proprietor of a tavern known as "Cheers" located in Boston. One of the reasons he started to drink was because his pitch known as the "Slider of Death" often pooped-out in mid-flight and was fair game for sluggers like Boog Powell, Harmon Killebrew and Dutch Kincaid, an obnoxious Yankee baseball player who homered whenever he came up against Sam (a total of 27 times). Though his career in baseball was over, Sam did "score" in another field of endeavor-womanizing. When Sam was about to put the "make" on a woman, the regulars in the bar chanted "May-DAY!, May-DAY!, May-DAY!" For more career information on Mayday Malone check out the article written by Steve Rushin entitled "Everybody Knows His Name: Cheers for Sam Malone, the ex-Bosox reliever who served 'em up both on and off the field" Sports Illustrated 5/24/93 p. 62-70. TRIVIA NOTE: Black rock star Grace Jones played a vicious assassin named Mayday in the James Bond film A View To A Kill (1985).

Mayor of the Zone - Phrase heard on the episode "The One with the Blackout" on the sitcom FRIENDS/NBC/1994-2004. The term was used by Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) who elected his friend Ross (David Schwimmer) to this fictional office when he informed his friend Ross that he'd been in the Friend Zone too long to ask out his friend Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) on a date. Despite Joey's negativity, Ross and Rachel eventually did get together.

Meanest Dog in the USA, The  See - DOGS:"White Fang"

Meathead - Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) called his unemployed son-in-law Mike Stivic (Rob Reiner) a "meathead" on a regular basis on the sitcom ALL IN THE FAMILY/CBS/1971-83. Mike stayed with his in-laws while going to college. The cramped quarters and the volatile tempers of both Mike and Archie often put them at odds with each other resulting in Archie calling Mike a "Meathead" which was once explained to mean "dead from the neck up." Archie once commented to his wife (Jean Stapleton) "We lost a daughter, Edith, but we gained a meathead." Archie also called Meathead a "Knucklehead!" During the 1982-83 season Mike Stivic divorced his wife, and ran off to a commune with a flower child, thus fulfilling Archie's opinion of him. In high school Archie was also called Meathead. TRIVIA NOTE: The son-in-law counterpart on the British sitcom TILL DEATH US DO PART/BBC/1966-75 that inspired ALL IN THE FAMILY was referred to as a "git." See also -"Shoebootie"

Men in White - In the early days of television actors impersonated doctors in commercials and hawked their sponsors medical products. In 1958 these "Men in White" commercials were outlawed. In 1984, the "Men In White" format was slyly resurrected by the makers of Vick's Formula 44 who produced a commercial where an actor said: "I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV."

Merchant of Venom, The  See - "Mr. Warmth"


 

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