Video link: Here's an interesting little film called Bodega by online video artist Casimir Nozkowski, creator of the site crying while eating.
January 8, 2007 - 9:04pm
You can see yours truly on Bravo for a couple of hours starting at 4:00 or so on Tuesday afternoon - they're again running the 100 Funniest Movies shows I did last year. If I remember correctly, most of my segments start with the last 15 minutes of the second episode and continue until the last 15 minutes of episode four.
Fans of This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow are signing this petition to get him reinstated in The Village Voice. Won't you join them? Maybe someone could start a petition to get me back on Bravo...
January 7, 2007 - 2:14pm
Amazon is having a huge after-holiday's sale on TV show DVDs. Mary Tyler Moore, M*A*S*H, The Shield, Bones, Buffy, Time Tunnel, Mr. Ed and loads more - Check out the full list here!
January 5, 2007 - 2:19pm
ACTS OF BLANDNESS
Here's an amusing short film about the Bodega, a staple of life in the Bronx.
I'm watching the first season of The Adventures of Superman (I just now bought the DVD set) and enjoyed the commentaries and extras that feature Gary Grossman who wrote what I consider one of the best books ever published about a TV show - Superman from Serial to Cereal. Then comes the 'news' this week that there were 18 lost Adventures of Superman episodes with another actor (not George Reeves) in the title role. Sounds preposterous to me. Calling Gary Grossman!
The Black Dalia: Point. Less. How can you make a boring movie about early Hollywood?
Dick Clark should have retired after his stroke, at least as an on-camera personality. It was pathetic to watch this once great broadcaster demean his memory by appearing on his New Year's Eve show.
From You Tube - outakes from Nixon's resignation speech:
January 4, 2007 - 8:49am
a news release from Shout! Factory:
I watched this program as a kid, in reruns, but I'll be darned if I can remember if it was any good or not. One thing's for sure - this is a highly anticipated release. TVparty-ers have been requesting it for years and the cast reunion is something I wouldn't want to miss.
January 3, 2007 - 9:09am
SHOWS I'M WATCHING
Mason - Season One
I was especially surprised to discover how witty the show could be - Perry, his assistant Della Street, prosecutor Trask and investigator Paul Drake are a joy to watch together.
Shield - Season One
I like dramas with characters I can care about, relate to on some level - of course, that's the goal of any TV program, but few series can accomplish this or keep the characters interesting over an extended period. Shows like this one and Rescue Me are masterful at that; magnificently filmed with hand held cameras that give the shows an immediacy and intimacy unheard of before.
It takes a superior cast to pull something like this off. What makes The Shield worth watching hour after hour is the masterful casting. After seeing a film (the name escapes me) years ago about a lonely British gal, CCH Pounder became one of my favorite actresses and she provides The Shield with some stunning work. Truly one of the best actors working today; the same can be said of her series' costars.
Unit - Season One
When I told a friend I was about to start watching this series on DVD, and I didn't expect to like it, The Unit was described to me as "Mission Impossible meets Desperate Housewives." (That made me even more inclined to dislike it as Desperate Housewives left me stone cold.)
Of course, when one sees the name David Mamet in the credits (as creator and producer in this case) one wants to check it out. I'm glad I didn't give up on it after the first two episodes because the show got better but I'm lukewarm on it and probably won't finish out the first season DVD set.
January 1, 2007 - 9:33am
Born in Charleston, South Carolina on July 26, 1927, Gregory became a Captain and a first officer by proxy during WWII. When his ship, the USS Tolovana, had trouble getting safely through the enemy waters of Japan, Gregory navigated the vessel through the shores of the Ryukyu Chain following an enemy attack. His heroism earned him many honors from the US Military. Upon his return to the states, he enrolled into Seton Hall University in New Jersey with the hopes of starting a career in law. A growing interest in broadcasting and joining the college radio station as an announcer sidetracked his plans and he switched his major to communications.
After graduating from Seton Hall with a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Gregory joined WPAT radio (then situated in NYC) as an announcer. He worked for WPAT until 1955 when he joined WABD TV channel 5 (the NYC flagship station of the now forgotten Dumont network) where he worked as a booth announcer.
In 1958, he was assigned to co-host WNEW's weekday afternoon kid's TV series Cartoon Playtime with another channel 5 announcer Fred Scott, one of the regulars from TV's first space opera Captain Video & His Video Rangers.
Gregory was not enthralled with the idea of becoming a TV cartoon MC, he really wanted to be a news anchor and balked at the idea of hosting the program.
"I really wanted to become a news anchor," he said with some bitterness in a 1980's interview, "but the powers that be at the station forced me to do it."
He co-hosted Cartoon Playtime with Scott and Ed Ladd as "Uncle Tom" from Monday, April 27, 1959 until Friday January 19, 1962. Gregory would also MC Cartoon Theater on WNEW TV Saturday mornings from October 27, 1962 to Saturday, December 22, 1962.
Cartoon Playtime screened reruns of the Merrie Melodies, Looney Tunes, Betty Boop, Gabby, Max Fleischer Color Classics and Terry Tunes movie cartoons.
Fred Scott's "Uncle Fred" MC'd the show from Monday, June 30, 1958 to Friday, September 4, 1964. Another channel 5 announcer, Ed Ladd, followed Gregory as the show's third host on Monday, January 22, 1962 and continued to host the program until Friday June 5, 1964. Fred Hall (who was finishing his stint as the host/performer and instructor of Felix & The Wizard / Hall In Fun) would serve as the last host of Cartoon Playtime from Monday, September 7, 1964 to Friday, January 29, 1965.
Gregory also produced, staged and MC'd personal appearances with many of NYC's most popular kids TV hosts/performers at many venues in NYC and in NJ. during the late 1950's and early-mid 1960's.
Mr. Gregory left kid's TV following his stint on Cartoon Playtime to work at WNEW channel 5 as a booth announcer, his only on-camera appearances had been on PSA's inviting viewers and FCC officials to review the station's programs during Ch. 5's annual broadcast license inspection period.
He also became famous for uttering these words for the introduction to channel 5's Ten O'Clock News: "It's 10:00pm. Do you know where your children are?"
Gregory also did newscasts in the early morning hours on channel 5. He continued working at WNEW until the late-1980s when the station was bought out by Rupert Murdoch's Fox network. Gregory left WNEW 5 and became a freelance announcer for many radio & TV sponsors. He continued to do VO's for radio and TV commercials until seven years ago when he began to suffer from heart disease and he and his wife moved to Sarasota, Florida.
December 29, 2006 - 7:53am
Why is it this guy only tells the truth inadvertently?
December 28, 2006 - 9:10am
NIGHT I MET BARBRA STREISAND
Back in 1976 (when I was 23 and Spider was 25), Spider was playing guitar on a Delaney Bramlett record, and Clydie King (one of the Oreos) was singing back-up on the same album. Clydie took a liking to Spider and told him she would be entertaining at the after-party for the A Star Is Born premiere in Westwood and she asked Spider if he would play guitar with her band. As it turns out, Delaney had offered Spider a chance to meet and jam with Ringo Starr (of The Beatles) that same evening, but Spider chose the Clydie gig instead, knowing what a huge fan I was of Barbra.
I was not one of the performers and not on the invited guest list, but I entered the nightclub where the party was being held by pretending to be with Clydie's band (carrying Spider's guitar). The party was themed "A Spectacular Evening in White" We spend the first part of the evening on the third floor of the club talking with both Clydie and Venetta Fields (the other Oreo) about their experiences working with Barbra in the film (they both couldn't say enough wonderful things about her). Then Clydie and Spider and the band performed. Of course, the whole time was I looking around hoping to spot Barbra among all the guests, but there was no sign of her, and I was beginning to feel depressed that I wasn't going to get to see my idol in person.
After the performance, I overheard Clydie say that she was going up to the fourth floor to say hello to Barbra and we asked if we could join her and she invited us and others in the band to come along. I was so nervous! We took an elevator up to the top floor, and when the doors opened, it was like being in movie star heaven, all these famous people walking around and sitting at various tables in this large banquet room, everyone dressed in white. We passed through this room to a much smaller room at the back, a room guarded by security people. I was the last one to enter and one of the security men stopped me, but Clydie turned around just in time to see me being stopped and pulled me out of his clutches (although he did take away my small instamatic camera). At first I looked to the right of the room and there was Jon Peters and Kris Kristofferson sitting at a table having a discussion. Then I turned to the left, and there, surrounded by a small group of people was Barbra, all dressed in black. We walked right up to her and Barbra greeted Clydie with a hug and asked her if she was happy with the movie. Then Clydie introduced each of us one by one and Barbra greeted us warmly with a handshake. Then Barbra and Clydie chatted for a few minutes but I can't tell you what was said. I was too busy just standing there (like a big star-struck geek) staring at Barbra, trying to drink in every moment of this once-in-a-lifetime experience I was having.
Here in front of me was this woman I had idolized since I was ten years old (the woman who had recorded all those incredible albums, the concert and Broadway star, the woman who I had watched on the Ed Sullivan Show and in Color Me Barbra, the woman who had held hands with Judy Garland and sang "Happy Days Are Here Again", the woman who had starred in Funny Girl and On A Clear Day and Up The Sandbox and The Way We Were), and I had just been personally introduced to her and had shook her hand! I wanted to tell her how much she meant to me, how much I admired her work as a singer and an actress, how beautiful I thought she looked, but I was too nervous and afraid... and then the meeting was over... and it all seemed like a dream to me.
p.s. Having just written the above, I must be honest with you and tell
you that A Star is Born is one of the few Streisand movies that
I dislike. I think it's corny and overwrought and badly acted and I never
believed Streisand as a "rock" singer for one moment in this
film. The only good part is when she sings "Evergreen" (which
isn't even a rock song, and all the other songs are god-awful). I worship
Streisand, but this film sooooo doesn't work for me.
December 28, 2006 - 7:18am
December 27, 2006 - 2:08pm
A LOST HOLIDAY SPECIAL
Cricket Crockett (voice of Roddy McDowall,) narrates the tale of Caleb Plummer, toymaker and father of lovely daughter Bertha. Despite the cricket's presence, ill fortune still makes its appearance. Upon hearing that her naval officer fiance Edward Belton (Ed Ames) has been lost at sea, Bertha suffers traumatic blindness. Caleb impoverishes and indebts himself trying to cure her, and winds up employed for the ugly, stingy, avaricious toy company owner Tackleton (Hans Conried). Working and living in misery (in the factory), Caleb spins a web of illusions to sustain Bertha. A bleak Christmas season finds the two sharing their meager lodging with a bearded derelict...and the announcement that Tackleton wishes to make Bertha his bride. Bertha is willing to accept, as Caleb's exaggerations has made Tackleton a better person in her mind than he really is. Crockett is not willing to accept this, and procedes to hinder Bertha's acceptance of Tackleton's proposal.
He orders his pet crow, Caleb Caw (Paul Frees) to get rid of of the cricket, so he and two confederates kidnap Crockett, planning to sell him to a sea captain who will take him to China (in a most shocking turn of events for a holiday special, the captain shoots the trio, albeit seen only as a flash of light from the porthole of his ship). Crockett plays dead and the captain tosses him overboard--fortunately, kind creatures of the sea and air bring him back to land, returning at midnight Christmas Eve, "the one hour of the year when magic things is supposed to happen."
And they do... the toys in the factory come to life, and reveal that the derelict is, in fact, Edward Belton in disguise. After being shipwrecked, then rescued, Edward did not want to force his way back into Bertha's life. Crockett reunites the two - and while Tackleton is aggrieved at being left at the church on Christmas Day, Bertha's respect for the man she thinks he is, makes him into the man she thinks he is, which provides a very happy ending for all.
While Rankin and Romeo Muller handled the story, Bass and Maury Laws provided a musical score, with a title song chronicling the luck a cricket offers, ballads such as "Through My Eyes" and "Could It Be Christmas", which Cabel uses to keep Bertha hopeful, and even a comic number, performed by Abbe Lane as a music hall cat, performing in a waterfront dive for animals.After the show, Danny (after honoring his guest stars), adds his own spiritual message, that "The holiday season has changed, but the reason we celebrate remains" quoting this poem by Edmund Cooke:'Tis not the weight of jewel or plate Or the fondle of silk or fur 'Tis the spirit in which the gift is rich As the gifts of the Wise Men were And we are not told whose gift was gold And whose was the gift of myrrh.
Obviously, this show was tucked away after the series was clobbered in the ratings... ANDY GRIFFITH (and FAMILY AFFAIR) being Thomas' competition, instead of his lead in. After all this time away, it has been restored and offered by American Public Television - a clearinghouse for PBS stations that provides programming beyond the product created by the big affiliates like WNET and WGBH. You can go to their website - www.aptonline.org - to download a promo file of additional information.
Finally, it's fitting this item resurfaces for 2006 Christmas... as it is surely the only piece of animation to have the name Aaron Spelling on the credits (being Thomas' production partner at the time, teaming with Rankin/Bass' Videocraft entity).
December 27, 2006 - 6:38am
when I got home I realized - how can PORK be ANGUS BEEF?
Last year when I filmed Great Things About the Holidays for Bravo, they asked me what I thought about people celebrating Festivus. I was flabbergasted - people were actually celebrating that made up Seinfeld holiday? Yep, this year more than ever. Christmas is dead!
Did you know there was a cola flavored liquor? Gross - what would you mix it with?!?
Guess who has the top two spots on the Ringtone charts? It's Christmas crooner Perry Como.
I worry about our airports: "It has... come to my attention that the Dulles Management decided it would be a nice idea to DEEP FRY A TURKEY in the Dulles administrative quarters, surrounded by carpet, linoleum, an airport, aircraft, a control tower, thousands if not millions of gallons of jet fuel and thousands of passengers and employees," Kieron Heflin, an air traffic controller's union representative, complained in a letter to management.
Some joker brings pot cookies for the office break room. Like you wouldn't be able to taste it!
December 23, 2006 - 11:24am
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