Wednesday, February 29, 2012

R.I.P. Davy Jones


Davy Jones, former TV star and vocalist for the 1960s rock group The Monkees, took the last train to Clarksville this morning at age 66.

He will be missed.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pop Song of the Week: "Grey Matter"

Just because you're too young to vote, that doesn't mean you're too young to think.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Movie Song of the Week: "That's Entertainment"

From the 1953 musical The Band Wagon, it's a musical number I have often heard on CD but never really seen until today. I hope you all like it. For some reason, it just seemed like the right number for the Monday after Oscar night.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Castle: “Always Buy Retail”

I'm still not as much a fan of this show as most people on the Net seem to be but I'm beginning to understand why it has such a big following. Indeed, I could swear my mother's calendar had a notation for the premiere episode for the most recent season -- and my mother has not publicly admitted to being a fan of this show.

If anything else, I wish I had more money in my pocket right now because this episode really makes me want to own a flak jacket with the word “writer” on it in place of “police.” Not that I expect to ever have to use it -- especially since I'm unpublished. But, hey. You never know.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Modern Family: “Game Changer”

Oh, cool. A TV episode which is also an infomercial for iPads. And when the writers of this episode can spare the time, there are also a few good jokes.

Seriously, this episode would be a lot more exasperating if it did not make fun of early adopters as often as it did late adopters. Besides, as I have noted before, I'm really beginning to warm up to the characters to the point that I'm not sure what I'll do for an entertainment fix if this show ever goes off the air. I mean, it's bad enough that they took away Buffy, Ugly Betty and Veronica Mars. Worse yet that the powers that be are fixing to put an end to Desperate Housewives and House M.D.. I don't know what I'll do if this show bites the dust as well.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Trailer of the Week: Wings (1927)

Not only was this film the first movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture but it was also the only silent movie to win that award as well. Of course, that last part could very well change tonight if the right movie wins.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hey I Remember This Show: Yes Minister

The classic British political sitcom that once inspired a mental parody in my imagination called Yes Commissar. Once one of the most highly praised British shows to be ever shown on American TV, it has been often dismissed in recent years by political southpaws who prefer a more black-and-white approach than the show's morally gray attitude.

Ironically, one of the many things I admire about the show is its refusal to stoop to a black-and-white approach. In some ways, it is more realistic than most of its American equivalents and I suspect anyone who has ever had to deal with a bureaucrat on either side of the Atlantic would find more truth in the show than most lefties would like to admit. Besides, the chief conflict in the show is not so much between goodies and baddies, liberals and conservatives or even hawks and doves. It's most often between those who would change the status quo and those who would keep it as it was. And every time I think the show is out of date, the latest newspaper headlines convince me that I'm wrong.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Comrade Dad

Back when I was still watching PBS on a regular basis, I used to joke about one day writing a parody of Yes Minister called Yes Commissar, in which a clever British bureaucrat loosely based on Yes Minister's Sir Humphrey Appleby would regularly pull the wool over the eyes of his immediate Soviet superior while living in a Russian-occupied version of Great Britain. I never went through that concept, of course, which is just as well since this show seemed to have topped my idea without even knowing about it. Perhaps the creators of this show were psychic. Who knows?

Anyway, I would have never thought anyone on either side of the Atlantic would have tried seriously to find humor in the idea of a fictional Soviet occupation but apparently I was wrong. So is this show yet more proof that reality really is stranger than fiction? Or perhaps 1984 and A Clockwork Orange were more influential on British TV writers than I thought.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Community: “Regional Holiday Music”

Here we are in February and I finally have discovered the most memorable Christmas special of last year: Community's 2011 holiday episode. Adding to the fun of the episode was a splendid parody of Glee, an even more splendid parody of "Santa Baby" and a classic parody of Doctor Who. And oh, yeah, I hear Community is a fun sitcom about a community college even when its writers aren't parodying things. Who ever thought that actor Chevy Chase would ever be on a funny TV show again?

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Modern Family: “The Incident"

Actress Shelley Long of Cheers fame is now not only old enough to play a mother but also a grandmother. Now I really do feel old.

On the plus side, Modern Family has turned out to be one of the smarter and funnier sitcoms on primetime American TV. So that's a good thing.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Movie Quote of the Week

The only people who make love all the time are liars.
--Louis Jourdan, Gigi (1958)

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TV Quote of the Week

Where my heart is concerned, I am God.
--Louise Sorel, Night Gallery, “Pickman’s Model”

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pop Song of the Week: "Down at the Twist and Shout"

Mary Chapin Carpenter may not have been born in Louisiana but she got there as soon as she could.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Movie Song of the Week: "Me Party"

Too late for Valentine's Day but just in time for Mardi Gras, it's a cute song from Disney's The Muppets featuring Amy Adams and Miss Piggy on vocals. And yes, you did read that correctly but you better not be expecting any beads because neither Ms. Adams nor Miss Piggy is that kind of girl.

Anyway, it is too bad that this number is not a political song because I'm pretty tempted to vote for a Me Party right now. After all, it couldn't be any worse than the two parties we already have.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Trailer of the Week: The Bodyguard (1992)

In honor of the late Whitney Houston.

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Hey, I Remember The Show: Here Comes the Grump

This short-lived show is the first made-for-TV cartoon show from DePatie-Freleng Enterprises that I actually remember watching as a child. It only lasted one season (1969-1970) but its odd-even-by-Saturday-morning-standards animation definitely made an impression in my young mind.

Oddly enough, it wasn't until I was much, much older that I realized that the red-haired Grump character was really a thinly disguised version of Bugs Bunny's old nemesis, Yosemite Sam. Of course, Freleng directed his share of Yosemite Sam cartoons when he was working for Warner Brothers so this should not have been entirely unexpected. But for some reason, I never realized it when the show was in its original run. (Apparently I was so young back then I wasn't yet all that familiar with Bugs Bunny.)

Even more surprising was the fact that Terry Dexter was voiced by Jay North of Dennis the Menace fame and Princess Dawn was voiced by Stefanianna Christopherson, the same actress who originally voiced Daphne Blake on Scooby Doo, Where Are You!. Rip Taylor, the voice of the Grump, was ironically the one person I don't really associate with any other show -- though I do seem to remember his making frequent appearances on The Tonight Show and various game shows.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: The Super 6

Believe it or not, there is life after Bugs Bunny. Noted Looney Tunes animator Friz Freleng used to be one of Warner Brothers' most famous directors of a certain cartoon rabbit but after the WB closed their animation studios in 1963, Freleng and his partner, David H. DePatie, had to found their own animation company (DePatie-Freleng Enterprises) in order to continue working. Their first big hits were the theatrical Pink Panther cartoons which would be later shown on Saturday morning TV. Their first big hit made specifically for the small screen was this rather unusual cartoon show, followed by the short-lived Super President, whose intro I posted last week.

The Super 6 lasted from 1966 to 1969 but for some reason, I don't remember it. Perhaps because I was way too young to remember its original run. Or maybe it was not particularly widely syndicated in my part of country. Whatever the reason, it was definitely before my time.

By the way, if the voices behind that theme song sound familiar, it is because that song was sung by Gary Lewis and the Playboys of "This Diamond Ring" fame. And yes, I was also very young when they were popular.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Movie Quote of the Week

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
--Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge (2001)

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TV Quote of the Week

Well, you must understand, Major Trevor. South American men are forever trapped by the romantic lover image. But you must be careful. It is we South American women who are really dangerous.
--Maria Grimm, Wonder Woman, “Formula 407”

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pop Song of the Week: "How Will I Know"

One of my fondest musical memories concerns the time I was working in a drugstore stockroom back in the mid-1980s and one of my co-workers started singing along with this song when it came on the radio. Granted, moments like that didn't happen too often but they did happen and I prefer to associate the late Whitney Houston with moments like that rather than with more recent events.

Of course, your mileage may vary. Then again, it is Valentine's Day.

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¡Feliz Día del Amor y la Amistad!


Or as Daisy Fuentes would say here in the U.S.: Happy Valentine's Day!

I sincerely hope that all my readers are having a pleasant holiday today.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Movie Song of the Week: "I Will Always Love You"

In honor of the late Whitney Houston.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Trailer of the Week: The Jetsons: The Movie (1989)

*Sniff!* Apparently this was the last film for both veteran voiceover artist Mel Blanc and not so veteran voiceover artist George O'Hanlon -- the latter, of course, being more commonly known as the voice of George Jetson.

Despite an attempt to provoke the interest of Bush-era teens by hiring then-popular teen star Tiffany to voice Judy Jetson, this film was never much of a success at the box office but it was supposed to be quite popular on VHS. Not that VHS means a lot nowadays.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Super President

Apparently there really are no new ideas under the sun. Try and think of the silliest idea one could possibly come up for a Saturday morning cartoon show and the chances are that somebody has already thought of it.

In this case, they thought of it in time to air the result on NBC for the 1967-1968 season, only to change their mind after the show's premise provoked protests. And somehow I doubt all the protests came from Republicans.

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Hey, I Remember This Show: The Jetsons

Back in the 1960s, this and The Flintstones were considered popular enough to be viewed during prime time. Then prime time cartoon shows fell out of fashion until 1989, when the popularity of The Simpsons revived interest in the genre.

Oddly enough, the main question this show seems to provoke from today's online generation is: where are all the black people? An interesting question which inevitably begs the question: why are not people similarly curious about the odd absence of Asians and Hispanics on this show as well?

Oh, well. It seems way too easy to poke fun at this show's un-PC assumptions -- especially when no one seems all that concerned about similar assumptions when they show up in more modern shows like Mad Men. At least the people who made this show weren't pretending to be especially edgy or fashionable in their view of the future -- though it is interesting to compare Hanna-Barbara's view of the future with the actual 21th century and see how much they differ.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

R.I.P. Whitney Houston


American singer and actress Whitney Elizabeth Houston, best known for countless singles and her role in the movie Waiting to Exhale, sang her final note today at age 48.

She will be missed even though she was too damn young to have to worry about being missed.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Movie Quote of the Week

Well, I've given that a lot of thought, y'know. Now that I'm being ostracized by my friends, I've had plenty of time to think about it. And what I've come up with is really simple. I came to this on my own terms. Y'know, I didn't just heed what I was taught: men, women should be together; it's the "natural" way -- that kinda thing. I'm not with you because of what family, society, life tried to instill in me from Day One. The way the world is -- how seldom it is that you meet that one person who just gets you. It's so rare. My parents didn't really have it. There's no examples set for me in the realm of male/female relationships. And to cut oneself off from finding that person... to immediately half your options by eliminating the possibility of finding that one person within your own gender -- that just seems stupid to me. So I didn't. But then you came along You, the One Least Likely. I mean, you were a guy.

And while I was falling for you I put a ceiling on that, because you were a guy. Until I remembered why I opened the door to women in the first place: to not limit the likelihood of finding that one person who'd complement me so completely. So here we are. I was thorough when I looked for you. And I feel justified lying in your arms, 'cause I got here on my own terms, and I have no question there was some place I didn't look. And for me that makes all the difference.
--Joey Lauren Adams, Chasing Amy (1997)

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TV Quote of the Week

I think the most rewarding relationships, the ones that last, are born from friendship. One day you look at the person & see more than you did the night before, like a switch was flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is suddenly the only person you can imagine yourself with.
--Gillian Anderson, The X-Files, “The Rain King”

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Pop Song of the Week: "Don't You Want Me"

Vexed, lied to and videotaped.

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Fantasy Quote of the Week

I didn’t know if it was any good or not, but that didn’t matter. I had written something new and fresh I hadn’t written before, and it felt wonderful.
--Neil Gaiman, “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories”

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Science Fiction Quote of the Week

It must be the case that, under the inspiration of extreme suffering, everyone becomes multilingual.
--Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Movie Song of the Week: "Brotherhood of Man"

I kinda wish I had thought about singing this song when they closed down my department. Not that it would have worked in real life, but hey, you never know...

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Trailer of the Week: Husbands (1970)

All those accolades from film critics and yet this film is almost unknown today to all but the most hardcore film buffs. What a depressing comment that makes on the power of film critics. On the plus side, it is nice to see yet more proof that there was always more to the late Peter Falk than what we saw on Columbo.

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Hey, I Remember This Show: Run for Your Life

In honor of the late Ben Gazzara, I post the opening and closing credits from the 1960s TV show which first made him known to people of my generation. This was probably the first and last series to center around a person who was terminally ill. If there has been another show with a similar premise, I have not heard of it thus far.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Dan August

I had heard that Burt Reynolds once had his own TV show before he hit big in the movies but I never realized that he had people like Mr. Roper and Oscar Goldman on his team. And yet this show never lasted more than one season. Imagine that.


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R.I.P. Ben Gazzara


Italian-American actor Ben Gazzara, best known for his starring role on the TV series Run for Your Life, finished his run Friday at age 81.

He will be missed.

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Friday, February 03, 2012

Movie Quote of the Week

Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today.
--Bill Murray, Groundhog Day (1993)

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TV Quote of the Week

Maybe when you go back, Martin, you'll find that there are merry-go-rounds and band concerts where you are. Maybe you haven't been looking in the right place. You've been looking behind you, Martin. Try looking ahead.
--Frank Overton, The Twilight Zone, “Walking Distance”

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