Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Modern Classic (?): Sister, Sister (1994)

Imagine, if you will, an inner-city remake of Disney's "The Parent Trap". Twin sisters, brought together after being separated at birth.

Motown executive Suzanne DePasse must've been a fan, because she came up with that urban remake in 1994.

Sister, Sister started off as a mid-season replacement at ABC as part of their Friday block in the spring of 1994. A year later, the show was cancelled after two seasons due to declining ratings. The fledgling WB network took a chance, and, once again, Sister, Sister was a mid-season replacement. This time, however, it was a hit, at least by WB standards.

The show was a star vehicle for twin sisters Tia & Tamera Mowry, so there was no need for trick photography, unlike in the two "Parent Trap" films (Hayley Mills, and, later, Lindsay Lohan), or, in The Patty Duke Show, where Duke played twin cousins. Tim Reid (ex-WKRP in Cincinnati, Simon & Simon, etc.) and Jackee Harry (ex-227) were the parents.

Cable reruns have aired on ABC Family (now Freeform) and MTV2, among other places.

Let's take a look at a sample episode.

The twins' brother, Tahj, made a few appearances, the last of which was a crossover with his own series, Smart Guy, which we'll look at another time. Tia & Tamera have kept busy in recent years, and there's word that Sister, Sister may be the latest to be revived or rebooted.

Rating: B.

Sports this 'n' that

After a day off on Monday (they probably would've been rained out otherwise), the Albany Dutchmen travel to Glens Falls tonight, with first place on the line. The Dutchmen are coming off a brutal 10-2 loss to Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon at Siena College, and are now tied with Glens Falls at 7-5 in one division of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

In contrast, the Tri-City Valleycats are in Aberdeen, Maryland for a series with the Ironbirds, the Baltimore affiliate of the NY-Penn League, owned by former Orioles star Cal Ripken, Jr.. The 'Cats snapped a 2-game losing streak Monday with a 6-1 win in the series opener. Tri-City returns home for a quick 3-set with Lowell on Thursday night before going back on the road.

Interesting scheduling quirk this year in that the 'Cats are home on Friday & Saturday each of the first four weekends, and only have two other home weekend series. Both Camp Day matinees are in July this year, as opposed to having one each in July & August.
While I've not been able to ascertain the entirety of Troy High's football schedule in Class A for 2018, what I do know is that they have Schalmont, Amsterdam, & Averill Park on the docket. They'll travel to Amsterdam, seeking revenge for the loss in the 2015 Class A title game, on September 7. As for Averill Park, they'll be the ones seeking revenge for the beatdown administered by the Flying Horses in that same 2015 campaign. Stay tuned.
The Mets may have finally gotten out of their offensive funk.

Mickey Calloway's club split a 4-game weekend series in Arizona, and clinched the season series vs. the Diamondbacks, 5 games to 2. On Monday, it was on to Denver, and red-hot Brandon Nimmo led the way, with family & friends making the trip from Wyoming. Nimmo had 4 hits, including 2 homers, as New York thumped Colorado, 12-2. Jacob deGrom snapped a personal 2 game losing streak to run his record to 5-2. With any luck, he'd be among the league leaders in wins.
Condolences to the family of Around The Horn moderator Tony Reali. On Father's Day, Tony and his wife were expecting twins, but one of the two sons, Amodeo, died in childbirth. On Monday's episode of Horn, Reali was granted the "Face Time" segment normally awarded to the winner of each day's game:

Monday, June 18, 2018

No, they're not cops: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)

The Three Stooges are firemen in 1938's "Flat Foot Stooges". Silent film star Chester Conklin appears as their boss, and the film was written, directed, and co-produced by Charley Chase, a long time star for Hal Roach. Co-producer Hugh McCollum had worked on a number of Stooge shorts, and also worked for Roach, as memory serves.

Rating: A.

Matt "Guitar" Murphy (1929-2018)

The Blues Brothers knew what they were doing when they recruited ace blues guitarist Matt "Guitar" Murphy in 1978 for their debut album, "Briefcase Full of Blues". Murphy, whose career started all the way back in the 40's & 50's, had played with artists such as Etta James, Muddy Waters, and, in this clip, Memphis Slim.

It would've been too easy to pull another clip from the "Blues Brothers" movie from 1980, where, in the storyline, Murphy and soul legend Aretha Franklin played husband & wife and ran a diner. That clip will come at a later time. Murphy passed away over the weekend at 88.

Rest in peace.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Forgotten TV: The Ames Brothers Show (1956)

In the early days of television, it was common for some shows, including newscasts, to air for just 15 minutes, a practice that Cartoon Network revived several years back with Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast, the forerunner of their [adult swim] division.

In 1956, Revue Studios took a chance with a 15 minute show featuring the Ames Brothers, sponsored by Royal Crown Cola, at the time positing themselves as a legitimate competitor to Pepsi & Coca-Cola. Mostly musical numbers with a short dramatization of their career trajectory, this is the sort of music your parents and grandparents listened to in the 40's & 50's.

Ed Ames, the youngest of the four brothers, is the only one still around. Better known, of course, for his four year run on Daniel Boone (1964-8), Ed is still performing at 89. There is an audio clip on YouTube of Ed performing a full-length version of the Daniel Boone theme, and one of him and co-stars Fess Parker and Darby Hinton reuniting to do the shorter, more familiar version. I'll have those up soon.

Rating: A.

Rockin' Funnies: Hello, Muddah! Hello, Faddah! (1963)

Humorist Allan Sherman landed a novelty hit that put him on the Kraft Music Hall in 1963. With summer camp right around the corner, Allan takes us to Camp Granada in "Hello, Muddah! Hello, Faddah!":

The song's chart success led to Milton Bradley marketing a Camp Granada board game. Sherman, speaking of games, created another TV legend, I've Got a Secret, and was the original voice of Dr. Seuss' Cat in The Hat.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

These 'Cats have claws (Valleycats 11, Vermont 1, 6/15/18)

Wednesday's exhibition win over the Albany Dutchmen might as well have been a warning shot to the New York-Penn League.

The Tri-City Valleycats carried the momentum from their annual Education Day game into Friday's regular season opener at Bruno Stadium, in front of a packed house, and bludgeoned the Vermont Lake Monsters, 11-1.

Tri-City starter Chad Donato gave up a run without a hit in the top of the first. He had Vermont's Jeramiah McCray struck out, but catcher Oscar Campos couldn't contain the baseball, and McCray reached safely on a wild pitch. He'd come around to score on a sacrifice fly by Payton Squier, but that was the extent of the Lake Monsters' offense for the evening.

It didn't take long before the hosts answered.

With two out in the home first, Enmanuel Valdez drew a walk from Vermont starter Rafael Kelly. Then, Luis Encarnacion, cousin of Cleveland star Edwin Encarnacion, showed he has some power, too, cracking a two run homer over the left center field fence, just shy of the Valleycats' bullpen.

In the fourth, with Tri-City leading, 4-1, Kyle Davis, one of the holdovers from last year's team, crushed a Kelly pitch into the berm in left, making it 5-1. Then, in the fifth, two of the Astros' draft picks got into the act. Third round pick Jeremy Pena, out of Maine, stroked a double. The next batter was Houston's first round pick, Seth Beer, out of Clemson. The Suwanee, Georgia native slammed a two run homer into the same area in left center where Encarnacion parked his big fly earlier. That should've finished Kelly, but he stuck around to get two outs before plunking Ramiro Rodriguez and walking Davis, That finally brought a pitching change, as Kelly departed after 4 2/3 innings, charged with seven runs while walking three, hitting one, and striking out just two.

Donato, meanwhile, was brilliant. He went six in his season debut, giving up just the one run while walking one, and fanning six Lake Monster batters. In all, 'Cats pitchers racked up thirteen strikeouts on opening night.

The Valleycats are wearing memorial patches in memory of Millie Gladstone, wife of team president Bill Gladstone. Mrs. Gladstone passed away last month. It was opening night, so former Senator Joe Bruno, for whom the stadium is named, showed up to throw out the first pitch. The way Tri-City has played so far, their playoff draught may be coming to an end, but it is still early, and a lot can happen.