Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Musical Interlude: Lying to Myself (1990)

Actor-singer David Cassidy made one last run on the pop charts in 1990 with "Lying to Myself", the first single from his self-titled CD. Unfortunately, Enigma, Cassidy's label, went belly up shortly after the album's release.

In memory of Cassidy, who passed away earlier today from dementia at 68. Rest in peace.

What Might've Been: The Tim Conway Comedy Hour (1970)

Just a few months after his self-titled sitcom bit the dust, Tim Conway returned to CBS, this time fronting a self-titled comedy-variety hour. Unfortunately, the realization hadn't set in yet that Conway was not meant to be a lead in primetime.

The Tim Conway Comedy Hour lasted just 13 weeks, but boasted a writing staff that included future Oscar winner Barry Levinson and future TV star Craig T. Nelson (later of Coach & Call To Glory). It was the last part of a 3-hour variety block on Sunday nights, airing behind The Ed Sullivan Show and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, but somehow lost the audience from those two shows. 1970, by the way, was the final season for Sullivan, as his show was a victim of the CBS overhaul of their schedule at the end of the 1970-1 season.

Ernie Anderson, better known to TV audiences for his many years as the voice of ABC and as horror host Ghoulardi, is the announcer, probably the only series he did for CBS.

In this sample clip, Tim is joined by Steve Lawrence and Carol Burnett, and, a few years later, Conway would join Carol's repertory company.

Part of the problem that existed, I think, was that McHale's Navy was in syndication at the time, and viewers couldn't get the image out of their heads of Conway as nothing more than a sidekick as a result.

No rating.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sounds of Praise: Take My Hand, Precious Lord (1988)

It is one of the most frequently recorded gospel songs of the 20th (and so far, 21st) century. "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" has been recorded by artists as diverse as Jim Reeves, Mahalia Jackson, Elvis Presley, Engelbert Humperdinck, and ex-Hee Haw regular Lulu Roman. Actress-singer-ordained minister Della Reese never recorded it as a single, but she did perform it live in 1988.........

In memory of Reese, who was called home by the Good Lord Himself today.

A little of this and a little of that

President Manchild (Donald Trump) is at it again, picking a fight for no other reason than to call attention to himself.

The object of the President's ire this time is Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch, who isn't exactly winning votes for comeback player of the year, based on what happened in Mexico City Sunday, prior to the Raiders' loss to New England. Lynch sat for the "Star Spangled Banner", but stood at attention for the Mexican anthem. That, of course, raised a red flag with the Ugly American-in-Chief, who took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with Lynch, demanding that the Raiders and/or the NFL suspend Lynch. Well, if the league isn't suspending anyone for perceived disrespect of the flag and/or our national anthem before this, why start now, just to appease a 70-something, petulant, narcissistic, in-way-over-his-head Chief Executive Officer in charge of stirring racial tensions in the 21st century?

Obviously, Lynch isn't going to be suspended, so President Manchild should keep his mouth shut on the subject and let the players put the focus of the protests back to where it was when this issue started a year ago, as a means of protesting racial injustice and other societal ills.
Meanwhile, Trump is further enabling another media parasite to extend his 15 minutes. You know who I'm talking about.

You'd think the President would find a kindred spirit in America's worst stage parent, LaVar Ball, but now I'm reading of Ball being an ungrateful parent after Trump had negotiated the release of Ball's son, LiAngelo, and 2 UCLA teammates last week from China. So Trump is now saying maybe he should've left the light-fingered hoopsters in jail. I've made references to Ball as this generation's Fred Sanford, but next to Trump, we're looking at the real-life Archie Bunker and Henry Jefferson (George's brother) from All In The Family.

Again, President Manchild, leave well enough alone and focus on what you're supposed to be doing. The White House is not a bully pulpit.
Troy High's opponent in the NYS Class AA championship game is now set. Troy will play Lancaster on Sunday at the Syracuse Carrierdome, with a 3 pm start. By then, we'll know if Section II's other remaining teams, Cambridge & Holy Trinity, will have won their state titles (Classes D & C, respectively), as their games are on Black Friday.
Death has been very, very busy this weekend.

In addition to AC/DC's Malcolm Young, the obituary list also included:

Jana Novotna, a former Wimbledon tennis champion, succumbed to cancer at 49. Taken too soon.

Terry Glenn, who played with New England & Dallas in the NFL coming out of Ohio State, was killed in an auto accident over the weekend.

Ann Wedgeworth, whose TV credits included The Edge of Night, Another World, Filthy Rich, Three's Company, & Evening Shade, passed away at 89. Her stint on Company was a short one, just nine episodes before being written out, and yet, the online scribes think that's all people will remember her for.

Charles Manson, perhaps the most infamous killer of the 60's, passed away Sunday at 83. He had been in ill health in recent days. Manson had aspirations of being a songwriter years ago, and one of his songs, "Look At Your Game, Girl", was recorded by Guns 'n' Roses in the 80's. The latent talent he possessed had vanished in a heartbeat when he was arrested and convicted in the murder of actress Sharon Tate nearly 50 years ago. Despite numerous attempts at parole, Manson was denied his release, the belief being that he was still too dangerous to be set free.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Musical Interlude: Moneytalks (1990)

AC/DC's "Moneytalks" (yes, that's how they spelled it out) was the 2nd single off the Australian metal band's 1990 CD, "The Razor's Edge", and, like the forerunner, "Thunderstruck", received heavy airplay on MTV.

In memory of guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Malcolm Young, who passed away on Saturday.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

One step closer to another title (Troy vs. Newburgh, 11/18/17)

If the Goldbacks of Newburgh Free Academy had one goal in mind going into tonight's Class AA semi-final vs. defending champion Troy High, it was to avoid getting blown out of the yard, the memory of last year's 50-27 demolition in the quarters refreshed in their collective memories.

Say this, then, for Newburgh. They came prepared to play to the final whistle.

Troy, though, took the opening kickoff, and marched down the field, culminating in a 5 yard TD toss from Joe Casale to Isaiah Burdette. However, Michael Fazio's extra point attempt was blocked, and Fazio wasn't heard from again the rest of the night, as fullback/linebacker/punter Lorenzo Brammer handled the kickoffs from that point.

Newburgh's first play from scrimmage looked like something out of the Troy playbook, as Jadon Munroe burst up the middle and outran the defense to give the Goldbacks their first lead at 7-6. In the 2nd quarter, Troy reclaimed the lead as Joey Ward raced down the sideline 50 yards to paydirt. The 2 point conversion failed, and Troy held a 12-7 lead at halftime.

Newburgh took the 2nd half kickoff and marched back into the lead. Their 2-point conversion failed as well, leaving the Goldbacks with a 1 point lead, 13-12, headed into the final stanza. With under 2 minutes to go, Dev Holmes put Troy up for good on an 11 yard touchdown run off a double reverse. This time, the 2 point conversion worked, as Ward hit Holmes on the halfback option, giving Troy a 20-13 lead. However, they left enough time on the clock for Newburgh QB Terry Anderson to try to bring his team back.

But, on the first play after the kickoff, Anderson fumbled the snap, and Matt Ashley recovered, putting Troy right back in the red zone with a chance to run out the clock. Troy turned the ball over on downs with less than 30 seconds left. Newburgh was left with time for one play, and the defense bottled up Anderson, sending the Flying Horses back to Syracuse with a shot at repeating as NYS Class AA champions.

Troy will be one of three teams representing Section II in Syracuse next week. Class C champion Holy Trinity beat Burke Catholic, 28-23, earlier today, and, on Friday, Cambridge blew away Millbrook, 56-8. However, Class B champion Glens Falls, which entered the day sharing the state's longest winning streak with Troy at 24, fell to Pleasantville in a rematch of last year's semi-finals, 20-7. No team in Section II has ever repeated as state champs in any classification in football. Cambridge & Troy have a chance to make history, then, while Holy Trinity's Cinderella story conceivably could have the happiest of endings.

In Theatres: Justice League (2017)

Nearly a decade ago, Marvel Comics enacted a long range plan to bring their large library of heroes and villains to the big screen. That plan reached fruition 5 1/2 years ago with the release of "The Avengers", and, well, with the notable exception of 20th Century Fox's epic mishandling of the Fantastic Four in three attempts in 10 years (2005-15), you might as well say Marvel has become critic proof, and given a license to print money with their movies.

DC, on the other hand, has been behind the 8-ball from the jump. When Marvel put "Iron Man" in theatres in 2008, DC answered with "The Dark Knight", but didn't have anything to respond to "The Incredible Hulk". The fans basically spoke with their wallets. If it wasn't going to feature Batman, it wasn't going to work. 2004's ill-advised reimagining of "Catwoman" being one example of creative stupidity at Warners.

However, WB may want to rethink who's in charge of their DC Comics adaptations going forward.

Zack Snyder's 3rd visit to the DCU, "Justice League", isn't quite as bloated as "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice", released more than a year and a half ago, but it isn't exactly a critic's delight, either. In fact, critics by and large have trashed the film, if for no other reason than to protest Snyder's insistence on a now-out-of-date idea that all heroes have to be dark & brooding. While that works for Batman (Ben Affleck), it doesn't fit for everyone else. What became a chic thing in the late 80's (thanks to Sylvester Stallone's take on "Rambo" and Marvel giving The Punisher his own book in response) is now best left in the history books.

The origin of the Justice League in this context draws its roots from DC's New 52 initiative from 2011, although Green Lantern is missing from the picture, save for an alien GL in a brief flashback. Oh, I'm sure there will be a few kiddo's who might be confused seeing Cyborg (Ray Fisher) as a member of the League when on TV, he's still a Teen Titan. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is all tatted up and loaded with an attitude that mostly comes from the 90's and an attempt to make him more of a clone of Marvel's Sub-Mariner. Flash (Ezra Miller) is a college student instead of the police scientist we know from TV and years of comics. Snyder's idea was to posit Barry Allen as DC's answer to Spider-Man. The closest analogue to this Barry would be from 2001's Justice League animated series, whose Flash was a clown and a bit of a tool, too.

Snyder co-wrote the original story with Chris Terrio (no relation to Denny of Dance Fever fame--we think), but the final screenplay was credited to Terrio and Joss Whedon ("Avengers", Buffy The Vampire Slayer, etc.), who actually took over directing when Snyder left the project after a death in the family. On the whole, DC/WB would've been better served if Whedon had been lured away from Marvel well before this. Snyder's been losing credibility points with each of his DC films, and this didn't help.

This trailer will help paint the picture:

Let's put it this way. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is the glue holding everything together, and keep an eye out for a mid-credit scene that recalls an iconic moment in DC history.

Other trailers include:

"The Greatest Showman" (Dec. 22): Hugh Jackman swaps Wolverine's claws from a top hat & tails as P. T. Barnum. It's not "Barnum", per se, but if you wonder why Jackman also has a Tony Award or two on his mantle, you'll see why.

"The Quiet Place" (April): A family on the run tries to avoid making noise, but an accident brings a worst case scenario to their door.

"The Commuter" (January): Liam Neeson has to find a particular person or innocents will be killed by a crackpot. Sound familiar?

"Rampage" (April): As if visiting the jungle of "Jumanji" next month wasn't enough, Dwayne Johnson's spring blockbuster looks to be a tale involving a mutated white gorilla named George.

"Samson" (February): The Biblical strongman's story is told for the first time in years.

"Black Panther" (February): Previously discussed.

"Ready Player One": Steven Spielberg's latest is based on a young adult novel, set nearly 30 years into the future.

"Pitch Perfect 3" (Dec. 20): Rebel Wilson & friends return.

"Justice League" gets a C.