The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 12, 1976 · Page 204
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December 12, 1976

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 204

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Sunday, December 12, 1976
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Page 204
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TV2 Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, December 12, 1976 Christmas From TV 1 There also is a family band, another tradition. John's mother explains: "Everyone played a sawing instrument (for the school orchestra) and a blowing instrument (for football games), and we all sang." At 10 p.m. on the same channels we have the ho-ho-ho "Mac Davis Christmas Special. . . When I Grow Up". Mac will be joined by Raquel Welch, who looked fully grown last time I saw her, and Richard Fortunately, there will be 16 youngsters In the program fortunate because the program's premise is to look at Christmas through children's eyes. Lots of carols are scheduled plus dance and comedy routines, all geared to raising a smile and stimulating good weal. There are plenty of other Christmas-theme programs this week, including some popular encore features. And so, happy Christmas until next week, when we can start all over. 'We Ran the Squad By Our Own Rules, 9 Boyington Recalls .-sis iJ;,' i V. A - C A He admits his methods for running a fighter squadron were unorthodox. "This was our thing. We ran the squad by our own rules." Boyington said he's pleased the new television show appears to be a success. But he admits being in the limelight "isn't all fun. With everything good, there's a few things that are damn unpleasant." He thinks the show appeals to viewers because it "is timely. This is about a romantic era in aviation that will never happen again." mated Christmas special 'The Little Drummer Boy Book 11 which will have its first colorcast Monday night at 8 on Channels 5 and 7. The Little Drummer Boy, with some of his animal friends, follows the Wise Man, Melchior, to spread the news about the birth of the Christ Child in the new ani Beard Occupational Hazard for Birney It's an occupational hazard with actors. His 18-month-old daughter didn't recognize him at first; his wife, actress Meredith Baxter, laughingly refused to comment on the subject. Then, of course, there are the hygienic considerations. If one is not careful, food can collect in it. "But if you have to live with it every day, it's better to grow your own than paste it on," commented David Birney, referring to the luxurious beard and moustache he grew to play the title role in NBC-TV's "Serpico" series (Fridays, 10-11 p.m. on Channels 5 and 7). Birney scratched his hirsute chin reflectively, then added uncertainly: "I think." SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - World War II ace Gregory (Pappy) Boyington says his flock of Marine Corps "misfits" did all right for themselves. Boyington, a Medal of Honor winner credited with shooting down 28 enemy aircraft in the South Pacific, and his unit of fighter pilots are subject of the television show "Baa Baa Black Sheep." The show depicts the exploits of men the corps branded misfits. Boyington said many of his "black sheep" have been successful since the war. The unit's alumni include two judges, seven lawyers, three physicians, seven career corps officers and "a couple" of stockbrokers, he said. Boyington, 63, a Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, native, works as a technical consultant for the television series. He called the show "completely gratifying." The series, based on Boyington's story of his war exploits, is about 90 per cent accurate, he said. "We're making dramatizations. This is not a documentary." Most members of his squadron who have seen the show were "delighted" with the production, he said, though some pointed out minor inaccuracies such as the use of different model aircraft and lights on runways. Boyington said "there are some things we actually have to tone down" to make the fighter squadron's exploits suitable for television. Some salty language and derogatory terms for the Japanese were deleted, he said. Some of Boyington's men gathered in Honolulu last month for a reunion, and there were those who suggested the show is more fantasy than fact. "You think of history a lot differently when you're a distinguished grandfather and a peer in your community," said Boyington. The retired officer said the series isn't out to glamorize combat. "We are not in the slightest promoting war," he said. Boyington said he didn't fight in World War II under the illusion that it would be the war to end all wars. He said he joined as an aviation cadet in 1935 not to "shine shoes and polish brass, but because of the reputation of the corps " and mannerisms which reflect the role, can be much more demanding. "Such things are important to an actor; they can be a matter of life or death to an undercover agent," Birney commented. "He can't afford to make a mistake. If he does, if he blows his cover, it could mean his life." Added to this constant threat on the job, the real Frank Serpico lived in double jeopardy after he fearlessly exposed corruption in the police department itself. "After that, he couldn't be too sure of his own people, either," Birney explained. Birney has never met the real Frank Serpico, who has lived in Europe since his retirement from the police department in 1972 on a service-connected disability pension (he was shot in the face during a narcotics raid), but he would like to. "Serpico was a man of many contrasts. He was at home working the streets. With his beard and his long hair and the clothing he wore, he might have been called a hippie." But in the privacy of his own "pad," Serpico read poetry and listened to classical music, according to Birney. He held a master's degree in sociology. He spoke six languages. "This man was confronted with a system that allowed corruption to function, and he dedicated himself to doing something about it. Toward that end, he risked both his career and his life." Birney paused again to scratch his hairy face. "I guess policemen have occupational hazards, too," he concluded with a wry grin. Birney grew the beard to avoid spending hours each week in make-up. He prefers to devote his time to developing the character he portrays, the New York Police Department undercover agent who battled corruption both in and out of the department. He finds the role both exciting and challenging. "It isn't just a matter of putting on a beard and weird clothing we're not doing a disguise show," he explained. "Undercover agents don't work that way. Since I've been working with this show, I've learned that your real-life undercover policeman actually assumes another identity, very much like an actor does." According to Birney, looking right for a part is only a small bit of the actor's or the undercover agent s stock-in-trade. Character adjustments, the appropriate speech patterns, the walk David Birney . . in Serpico's role

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