Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Greg Brady!

Barry Williams turns 54 today. 54!

This reminds me of my wife's infatuation with Christopher Knight (aka Peter Brady). I guess if I can be in love with Marcia, she can have Peter.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman, RIP

“The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jack LaLanne

The man is 94 years old and I have no doubt he could kick my ass if he wanted.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Ed McMahon Turns Gangsta Rapper"

Read all about it here.


One reason I don't watch shows like Ghost Hunters is because they never seem to find anything other than the occasional bump in the night ("Oooh look! The infra-red camera shows a cold spot!") This video was on CNN's website today. I'm not sure what to make of it but it does give one pause.

Happy Birthday, Potsie!

Triple-threat singer, actor and director Anson Williams was born on this day in 1949.

Anson Williams Fun Fact: He is the second cousin of Henry Heimlich, the American physician credited with the development of the "Heimlich Maneuver".

Other September 25 birthdays worth noting:

Cheryl Tiegs (1947) - the 70's Super Model who's iconic pink bikini poster was a source of endless fascination for Teenage Michael and will be forever burned in the my brain (I mean that in a good way).

Mark Hamill (1951) - American actor best known for his role as Luke Skywalker.

Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) - Late American actor who will forever be the real Superman to a generation of movie-goers (I"m talking to you, Brandon Routh).

Michael Madsen (1958) - American actor and king of direct to video movies.

Heather Locklear (1961) - American actress, model and staple of Aaron Spelling television shows (she appeared in 7 of them). If I were a producer I'd cast her in as many shows as possible too.

Michael Douglas (1944) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (1969) - Yes, both husband and wife in this May-December marriage share the same birthday.

Here He Comes To Save The Day!

Of Mice and McCain

I was browsing the CBS News website this morning and came across an article about John McCain suspending his Presidential Campaign to rush back to Washington to help solve the current economic crisis. At the end of the article were readers' comments. One struck me as particularly funny:

Mr. trouble never hangs around,
When he hears this Mighty sound,
"Here I come to save the day! "
That means that John McCain is on the way!
Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right,
John McCain will join the fight!
On the sea or on the land,
He's got the situation well in hand!

I'm cynical enough to see the move as a political ploy (Repubs and Dems both agree that they are close to reaching an agreement without input from McCain or Obama). It's not like the entire Senate is participating; its a small bi-partisan committee that is hammering out the details. The move definitely brings to mind the image of John McCain flying into Washington, bursting through the walls of the Capitol, landing on the negotiations table arms akimbo and singing "Here I come to save the day!" in the Mighty Mouse baritone.

In closing, here are two videos. The first features the real Mighty Mouse (from 1964's Mighty Mouse Playhouse). The second is the late Andy Kaufman giving us his take on MM from an episode of Saturday Night Live.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This Week's Political Quote

"The Americans will always do the right thing...after they've exhausted all the alternatives." - Winston Churchill

I hope he's right come November 4th!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hey Kids! It's time for jokes referencing obscure 50 year-old Television Shows!

Question: What did Paul Winchell say when the preacher asked "Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

Answer: "I Scaddy Waddy Do Do Do!"

Check out the clip below and it will all make perfect sense (you'll want to pay especially close attention starting at 1:12)

What This Country Needs Part 2...

More cape-wearing Presidents...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Morning TV 2

70's Saturday Morning Cartoon versions of Prime Time Shows...

The Brady Kids (The Brady Bunch)

The Addams Family

The New Adventures of Gilligan (Gilligan's Island)

Jeannie (I Drean of Jeannie)

The Partridge Family 2200 AD (The Partridge Family)

Tabitha & Adam and the Clown Family(Bewitched)

Star Trek: The Animated Series(Star Trek)

My Favorite Martians (My Favorite Martian)

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm Just Wild About Harry

And here's why...

"My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference."

Harry S Truman, thirty-third President of the United States, as quoted in the book Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S Truman by Merle Miller.

(BTW- that's Harry in the photo above, playing the piano for an extremely leggy Lauren Bacall.)

Orville, We Hardly Knew Ye...

Orville Clarence Redenbacher died on this day in 1997. Thanks to the miracle of modern science, his re-animated corpse (or is that a digital re-creation?) continues to shill the popcorn bearing his name.

There's U. S. Law and then there's Alaska...

I'm not a lawyer (although I play one on TV) so I'm not exactly certain what the legal ramification of being served a subpoena is, but I'm almost certain you're not supposed to ignore it. I mean, it's not like an unwanted (and unneeded) Viagra offer that turns up in your email inbox one day; you can't just disregard it, can you? At least I don't think you can in the United States of America. Apparently in the Frontier Justice world of Alaskan Jurisprudence, not only is it perfectly acceptable to ignore a subpoena, its proper form to announce it to the world (or have the Republican Party's Presidential Campaign spokesman announce it for you). Not only that, but Alaska's Attorney General said that state employees won't honor the subpoenas either. Hmmm...I was always under the impression that the Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the government. Apparently not in Alaska. Or in the Bush Administration either for that matter. It seems to me that the flagrant disregard for the law which has permeated the Bush Administration has oozed into the McCain Campaign. Is that what they mean by "trickle down"?

Norm and Jerry

Further Adventures in Internet Archaeology

I came across the above photo of classic American Illustrator and Painter Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) and classic American funnyman (and idol of Gallic cinemaistas) Jerry Lewis while doing some research for a totally different blog. My initial reaction was "not another photo-shopped image featuring Jerry". But further Internet archaeology revealed the following movie poster for Cinderfella, Jerry's version of the Cinderella story from 1960.

That is obviously a Norman Rockwell illustration. Don't believe me? Still further investigation lead me to the black and white original:

That is clearly Norman's signature below Jerry's left shoulder (for the record, that's Italian actress and singer Anna Maria Alberghetti standing behind Jerry, along with Ed Wynn as his fairy godfather and another image of Jerry before his transformation into the "handsome" prince.

I would say that the photo is authentic and was probably taken when Norman was visiting the set. I wonder what he and Jerry are looking at?

Fun Michael Fact: I work in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a small New England town nestled in the Berkshire Mountains. Norman Rockwell spent the last 25 years of his life here and it's a living monument to his memory. My office is actually in an 18th century building that once housed the Norman Rockwell Museum and old Good Ol' Norm's former studio is stone's throw up Main Street (of course there's a Main Street here!). Welcome to small town Americana.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Swinging 60's, Here We Come...

Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 - Mas Que Nada

The Mamas and the Papas - I Saw Her Again

I'm Voting Republican (not really)

47 days until Election Day...

In case you think this is all a bunch of leftist propoganda, visit this website . It explains just about all of the items covered in the film.

Special thanks to my buddy Bic for pointing this out to me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dilbert on the Economy

OK I exaggerated...

Actually, Dilbert creator Scott Adams (who I accidentally left off my Adams List - yes, I am hanging my head in shame even as I type this) commissioned a survey of 500 economists to get their opinions on the economic policies of Barack Obama and John McCain. The results are presented in an article appearing on CNN's website. I find it interesting, but I'm a geek about such things. If you're interested check it out here:
Dilbert Economy

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sarah Palin: Enemy of Bloggers

From a front page article in this morning's New York Times:

"And four months ago, a Wasilla blogger, Sherry Whitstine, who chronicles the governor’s career with an astringent eye, answered her phone to hear an assistant to the governor on the line, she said.

“You should be ashamed!” Ivy Frye, the assistant, told her. “Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now!” "

If you're interested, you can read the whole article here:
Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes

Sunday Funnies

I love Sunday Morning News Talk Shows

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Morning TV

What do you get when you mix a grown up Eddie Munster with an over-the-top Charles Nelson Reilly strained through the trippiest Children's TV show producers of the 70's?

When you're a kid, is there anything better than Saturday morning? Back before 24-hour cartoon networks, Saturday A.M. was prime TV viewing time. Ah for those guilt free hours spent rotting our minds, ruining our vision and diminishing our attention spans. I'm going to use Saturday entries of this blog to celebrate some of the more notable children's shows of my youth. Please note: these aren't necessarily the best shows, nor are they my particular favorites. Simply they are ones that have stood the test of time, whether through innovation or quality (or lack thereof) or just plain weirdness. Which brings us to today's subject.

Direct from the utterly bizarre minds of Sid and Marty Krofft comes the Koo-koo-kookiest, ki-ki-kickest, groo-groo-grooviest of Saturday morning Live Action Shows - Lidsville. Like many of Sid and Marty's productions, the opening tells you all you need to know about the show:

Did anyone do better theme songs than Sid and Marty? As you can see by the clip, the basic premise of the show is a teenage boy named Mark (played by Butch Patrick aka Eddie Munster) falls into a giant magician's hat and ends up in Lidville, a land populated by giant, living hats. Lidsville is ruled by the evil HooDoo the Magician (Charles Nelson Reilly in green makeup). Mark is aided by Weenie the Genie, and HooDoo has a henchman named Raunchy Rabbit (I kid you not). Either Sid and Marty were creative geniuses or heavy drug users or both.

Giant, sentient hats aside, I attribute the show's success to the ever-flamboyant Charles Nelson Reilly. Seriously, was there a television show that wasn't improved by a liberal dose of CNR? What would The Ghost and Mrs Muir have been without him? Just another in a long line of supernatural 60's TV shows. Match Game would have been just another 70's game show featuring long-forgotten celebrities in bad polyester clothing. In the early 70's CNR starred as The Big Banana in a series of commercials for the Bic Banana Ink Crayon. I'd like to close today's entry with one of those commercials. Sit back, relax and enjoy the wonderfulness that was Charles Nelson Reilly:

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Favorite People, Part 1

A is for Adams

Charles Addams

My favorite Adams is actually an Addams - this American cartoonist (1912-1988) known for his wonderfully twisted and macabre cartoons. His most famous creations, The Addams Family (pictured below), have been translated into two television series and three films (best Gomez and Morticia? Raul Julia and Angelica Huston of course).

Don Adams

American comedian and actor (1923-2005) responsible for two of my favorite 1960's characters. First as the voice of animated penguin Tennessee Tuxedo, then as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 in the Mel Brooks/Buck Henry satire Get Smart (would you believe, I'm actually going to mention Get Smart without making a "would you believe. . . " joke?)

Ansel Adams

American photographer and environmentalist (1902-1984) best known for his black and white photographs of the American West.

Douglas Adams

British author, humorist, technologist et al (1952 - 2001) best known as the creator of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. See my September 4 Blog for more info on this Adams.

Maude Adams

Swedish actress (1945-) so hot she played not one but two different Bond Girls; in The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy(in which she played the title role).

John Adams

Second President and first Vice-President of the USA (1735-1826). He doesn't look much like Paul Giamatti, does he? John Adams Fun Fact: He and Thomas Jefferson (who served as Adams' VP) died several hours apart on July 4, 1826 - the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

John Quincy Adams

Sixth U.S. President (1767-1848) and the first son of a President to follow in his father's footsteps (and unfortunately not the last). JQA Fun Fact: this is a daguerreotype taken of JQA by Mathew Brady in 1843 making it the first photograph ever taken of an American President.

Samuel Adams

American statesman and political philosopher (1722-1803). He was also a second cousin of John Adams, the fourth Governor of Massachusetts, and (according to the above label) a Brewer and Patriot.

Neal Adams

American comic book artist and illustrator (1941-) best known (at least among comic book fans)for his awesome late 60's early 70's work at DC and Marvel. As a boy I always hated buying a comic that had an awesome Neal Adams cover only to find that the inside was drawn by someone else.

Art Adams

American comic book artist and illustrator (1963-). One of the most influential illustrators of his generation, Adam's highly detailed work makes him a fan favorite. Unfortunately it's also time consuming and generally limits his output to shorter projects such as mini-series, annuals and covers.