There was a time when movie stars swore off TV. It was considered beneath them; a lesser creative genre more appropriate for working class actors or those in a career nosedive.

That has changed over the years – though not as much as you might think. Even into the seventies and eighties, the divide between movies and TV rarely got breached. But when it did, it was a TV event worth recalling:

SAMMY DAVIS JUNIOR (ALL IN THE FAMILY) – This legendary meeting between Sammy and Archie Bunker is a classic. Despite his good intentions, Archie can’t quite keep his inappropriate thoughts from seeping out. Rat Packer Sammy eventually gets his revenge on Archie with a closing kiss:

MAE WEST (MR. ED) – Glamour Queen West on a sitcom about a talking horse? It happened. I guess West was a friend with the producers and decided it would be a great vehicle  to come out of retirement. West does her familiar sexy shtick in fur and gown, sauntering around the stable awkwardly. “Believe it or not, I’ve got to see a man about a barn,” she coos. Very strange:

FRANK SINATRA (WHO’S THE BOSS) – I chose this clip (I could have chosen Frank’s role on Magnum P.I.) only because Sinatra in a tuxedo seems more appropriate than a Hawaiian shirt. Frank is himself while Tony (Tony Danza) is reduced to a blubbering idiot. Come to think of it, that’s every episode of Who’s The Boss:

JOHN WAYNE (THE LUCY SHOW) – Hollywood actors lined up to be on I Love Lucy (and its inevitable spinoffs). William Holden. Bob Hope. Harpo Marx. Still, stars didn’t get much bigger than The Duke, seen here in his full western regalia:

BURT REYNOLDS (GOLDEN GIRLS) – Burt is not exactly opposed to TV (he did star in Evening Shade, afterall). But, during his heyday, a TV appearance was something of an event. In this episode, Burt only appears in the final scene – I suggest fast-forwarding – but what a scene! That closing line he delivers is a classic:

ADAM SANDLER (UNDECLARED) – This is a weird one. Sandler plays himself in this failed 2001 Judd Apatow series – which was actually pretty good. Sandler – and his familiar entourage – have an awkward encounter at a university residence, sharing a conversation with soon-to-be-movie-star Seth Rogen. One of the entourage even gets laid!  Fun stuff:

BUSTER KEATON  (FORD COMMERCIAL) – The legendary silent film star’s career was long dead by the 1960s. He still worked, but the work was never as fulfilling as his classic movies. Still, this Ford ad is pretty good – and taps into Buster’s absurdist humour:

HENRY FONDA (MAUDE) – Fonda would occasionally appear on TV in his later years, but never more memorably than this 1970s sitcom. In it, a manic Maude becomes convinced Fonda should run for the Presidency. Fonda is not so sure:

JACK NICHOLSON (THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW) – To be fair, this one doesn’t quite fit. Nicholson was still a struggling actor at this stage in his career. Movie stardom wouldn’t come for another year in Easy Rider. But, as a final entry, I couldn’t resist including this oddball appearance as Jack is accused of a robbery and Aunt Bea is his jury! Rather weird to think of Jack hanging out in Mayberry: