Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Weasel of the Week: Arthur Gannon

On Tuesday, this week's Weasel was sentenced to spend virtually the rest of his life in prison. Why? He spent a decade sexually molesting two young girls, beginning when they were as young as 4.

Arthur Gannon, according to press accounts, showed no remorse, and at sentencing on Tuesday, quoted Biblical scripture as well as passages from the American Bar Association's guidelines. His morals have been compromised, but I find it a little unsettling that he would resort to using the Bible to justify his actions.

The saddest part about all this was that Gannon's wife, Heidi, who was arrested along with Gannon earlier this year, didn't try to stop him. Apparently, to Gannon, this was a bizarre, sadistic, ah, hobby, for lack of a better description. Apparently, the Gannons had no children of their own, insofar as we know, but does that give a middle-aged man the right to abuse someone else's kids? Of course not.

The two victims, now teenagers, are scarred for life. One, according to today's Albany Times-Union, sees herself as a survivor. The other expressed anger in her statement, wishing that Gannon would suffer in prison the same way she did at his hands. Something tells me I doubt that will happen, although it is said that convicts don't take too well to sexual predators preying on children.

If you really believe in the Bible, Arthur Gannon, maybe you should consider studying it a little more closely. It will be your best defense in prison. Otherwise, enjoy the Weasel ears.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What Might've Been: Garrison's Gorillas (1967)

In the wake of "The Dirty Dozen", Selig J. Seligman, a programming executive at ABC, commissioned a series in the mold of the "Dozen". Unfortunately, Garrison's Gorillas lasted just 1 season, and deserved to go longer.

Seligman's production company, Selmur (named for Seligman himself and his wife, Muriel), had also produced Combat!, Shindig, & General Hospital, and by 1967, only the latter, a daytime soap, was still on the air, and remains to this day. Seligman must've assumed that Garrison was a worthy successor to Combat!, considering that it started with a back-door pilot on that series.

Ron Harper, who'd bombed out previously with The Jean Arthur Show and 87th Precinct, led an ensemble that also included Cesare Danova, Rudy Solari, and Golden Globe winner Brandon Boone. Sure, there were just the six of them, counting Garrison himself, just to avoid accusations of an out-and-out ripoff of "Dozen". In truth, it was really a WWII version of CBS' Mission: Impossible, which was entering its 2nd season.

Let's take a look at a sample episode:

As with a lot of television shows from this period, there was a comic book version of the series, published by Dell. Lasted just a couple of issues.

No rating. I cannot recall seeing an episode.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Musical Interlude: A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)

I don't think there's anyone who hasn't heard this next entry on radio. The video you're about to see, though, is another rare bird, as I have no recollection of seeing this on MTV or VH-1.

Procol Harum's seminal 1967 hit, "A Whiter Shade of Pale", hit #1 in England and #5 in the US that fall, and still gets airplay today, nearly 50 years later.

Three sports, three passings

They say that death often comes in threes. It certainly did in the sports world on Sunday.

Let's start on the local tip. Former Bishop Maginn football coach Joe Grasso, serving as an assistant at Christian Brothers Academy this season, passed away on Sunday morning following a heart attack at 66. Grasso was on the sidelines for CBA's last game two nights prior, and from all accounts appeared to be in good health.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, lost his life in a boating accident. The news of Fernandez's death stunned not only the Marlins, but all of baseball, to the point that Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz asked the homestanding Tampa Bay Rays to cancel a pre-game ceremony in his honor, as he was playing his final game at Tropicana Field. The Marlins and Atlanta Braves cancelled their Sunday game for obvious reasons. Mets star Yoenis Cespedes, like Fernandez a Cuban emigre, had a special Mets jersey with Fernandez's name and uniform number (16, worn by Alejandro De Aza on the Mets) hung in the dugout during the Mets' 17-0 demolition of Philadelphia at Citi Field.

Fernandez was taken way, way too soon. Period.

Finally, golf legend Arnold Palmer passed on at 87. The "King" of golf won 7 major titles, including 4 Masters tournaments between 1958-64. After retiring from full-time competition, Palmer took on more commercial endorsements than the average active PGA Tour player. He lent his likeness and name to Arizona's Half & Half (lemonade & iced tea) soft drink, promoted video games and medicines, and might still be best known for pitching Pennzoil as far back as the 70's....

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What Might've Been: Instant Recall (1990)

While "tabloid television" was starting to take over syndicated daytime, there was a news magazine series of a different kind swimming against the tide.

Instant Recall lasted just one season (1990-1), and deserved a better fate. The goal of producer-packager King World was to create a series that appealed to baby boomers, who were otherwise shunned by advertisers who targeted younger viewers.

Former NBC newscaster John Palmer was tapped as host/narrator. Part of the reason the show failed, one might guess, would be that it wasn't fixated on one particular day per episode, but rather cris-crossed the timestream. One such example is in this sample episode.

King World would also enter the "tabloid television" business with Inside Edition, which is still going strong today. As you're doubtlessly aware if you are a fan of Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy! or even Inside, King World was absorbed by CBS some time back.

Rating: A.

God appreciates co-ed sports. Too bad they didn't teach that in Arizona

Let me start with a personal note.

I attended a Christian school, long since closed now, in the hometown for 2 seasons before transferring to Troy High. In 1978, the school initiated what would be a short-lived athletic program based on merit and "priveleges" which would fill out the all-male rosters. The female students were cheerleaders. We played at least one game against a school that fielded a co-ed (men & women playing together) roster. The girls would cross their arms over their chests for protection. All we boys had to do go around them to avoid a collision. I know I did.

I've also played on a co-ed community softball team fielded by a local charity. We only had one or two women play in the course of the 5 years I was on the team (1983-6, 1990), and only one was a regular (1986). Growing up in the North Central section of Troy, it was normal for the kids on the block, men & women both, to play pick-up games of softball or kickball after school or during the summer.

My point? A poster on Google Groups posted a link to a Deadspin article that tells of an Arizona Christian school that decided to forfeit a soccer match because the opposing team has two women on their roster. Those two girls were benched in an earlier game, but the team voted to play the full roster this time.

Now, what could be so wrong? Seems to me the forfeit was a coward's way out to avoid the likely embarrassment of either one of the two ladies scoring a goal in the game, were it played. I keep reading online stories about how some young ladies are being forced to adhere to absurd dress codes, especially in the South, because parents and administrators there think that all boys, once they reach puberty, have to avoid the temptation of impure thoughts. In sports, you're taught to have respect for your opponent, regardless of gender. God would tell us the same thing.

Maybe they need to add classes in sportsmanship.......!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

What Might've Been: Fantasy (1982)

It was billed as a game show, where contestants were offered a chance to make their dreams come true.

But what might've hurt Fantasy, which spent a year as part of NBC's daytime lineup, was that it was a sacrificial lamb fed to the then-white hot General Hospital. Game, set, & match.

Fantasy marked the return of co-host Peter Marshall to NBC after 2 years away, one year removed from the ending of the original Hollywood Squares, which had ended its run in syndication after 14 years on NBC (1966-80). Marshall this time was joined by actress-singer Leslie Uggams, who would go on to win a Daytime Emmy award for her work on the show. Coincidentally, Fantasy, Merrill Heatter's first series without now-retired partner Bob Quigley, was a collaboration with Columbia Pictures Television, which was co-producing a similar, yet fictional series about people realizing their dreams over on another network---Fantasy Island. I think you can see just about all the reason that's there for why this show flopped.

Let's check out a sample episode.

No rating. At the time, we had one set in the house, and it was tuned to----wait for it----General Hospital.