Monday, January 21, 2019

Musical Interlude: Lost in The Fifties Tonight (In The Still of The Night)(1985)

In 1983, Billy Joel recorded "The Longest Time", which would be the last single off his album, "An Innocent Man". The video showed Joel returning to his high school for a class reunion.

While the theme isn't quite the same, Ronnie Milsap provided Nashville's answer two years later.

"Lost in The Fifties Tonight (In The Still of The Night)" is the title song of Milsap's CD, released in the summer of 1985. Like clockwork, it hit #1 on the country charts in the US & Canada, and peaked at #8 on the adult contemporary chart.

In the video, Milsap isn't playing the piano for a change. Instead, he's fronting a band at a high school prom.

Today, Ronnie Milsap is still recording, but he's more likely to be found on the gospel charts these days.

It's time to let someone else represent the AFC in the Super Bowl

As a rule, I will not watch New England Patriots games unless the Evil Empire is in the Super Bowl. That said, I didn't see a single second of Sunday's overtime win over Kansas City, earning the Pats their 3rd straight AFC title.

I'm sorry, but the only ones who aren't suffering from Patriot Fatigue are the team's devoted fans in and outside of New England.

Since the 200 season, six teams have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl:

New England (This will be their 9th trip in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick-Robert Kraft era; record is 5-3).
Baltimore (2-0).

Kansas City has not been to the big game in nearly 40 years. Not since Super Bowl IV. Sunday was the closest they've been in that span. However, the corporate mentality of the NFL and its advertising partners in New York seems to be that the Super Bowl is all about which NFC team can beat New England, never mind anyone else that represents the AFC.

For the Los Angeles Rams, this will be their first trip since returning to California. When the team was in St. Louis, they reached the big dance twice in three years, with Baltimore's first of two titles in between. For those keeping score, "The Greatest Show on Turf", led by Kurt Warner, won a thriller over Tennessee, then lost to New England two years later.

Thus, the Rams will again have revenge on their minds when they go to Atlanta on February 3. Los Angeles can consider themselves fortunate for the referees being stupid enough to ignore a helmet-to-helmet pass interference penalty that should've been called late in the 4th quarter on Sunday, enabling them to force their game at New Orleans into overtime, and then win it.

In the case of the Chiefs and their phenom QB, Patrick Mahomes, I am reminded of a promo a pre-Stone Cold Steve Austin cut when he was in ECW in 1995, explaining why WCW gave up on him so soon. Austin did a brilliant, spot-on mimic of Dusty Rhodes in insinuating that WCW higher-ups, Rhodes included, felt Austin wasn't ready to be a main event star. We all know the rest of that story, of course.

The implication I get from New England winning yet again is that the NFL's power brokers, despite the fact that they had a money game right in front of them in Chiefs-Rams II after the two teams did their impersonation of a Big 12 college game on Monday Night Football, felt they couldn't let both Mahomes and the Rams' Jared Goff play on their biggest stage together. No, they think there's more money and drama in the NFL's pre-eminent drama queen, Tom Brady, continuing to play like a man possessed, and with Patriot owner Robert Kraft sending over cases of macaroni & cheese and whatever else he can come up with to influence the power brokers to see things his way, this nonsense will continue.

Brady is never going to be thought of as the greatest of all time in my eyes, not when his entire run has been tainted by questionable officiating in his favor, starting with the "Tuck Game" vs. Oakland 17 years ago. He was never great shakes at Michigan, and, remember, he was a 6th round pick back in 2000. That chip on his shoulder ain't an Eveready battery, and he ain't Robert Conrad, circa the 70's. Brady & the Patriots have hogged the post-season in the AFC, by hook & by crook, for far too long.

Take the hint, Tom. You've peaked. It's over. Take your lumps like you should in Atlanta, and walk away.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Celebrity Rock: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (1976)

From Pop! Goes The Country:

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw had started moonlighting as a country singer, and hit #17 on the country charts in the US & Canada in 1976 with a cover of Hank Williams, Sr.'s "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". So it doesn't come as much of a shock as you'd think when Bradshaw, now a buffoonish studio analyst on Fox NFL Sunday, was unmasked on Fox's Masked Singer the other night. And I don't think he's the last Fox personality going undercover.....

What Might've Been: The Neighbors (1975)

Before Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, before he became a beloved talk show host, Regis Philbin was given his first game show gig by ABC in 1975, a few years after he'd been Joey Bishop's sidekick.

The Neighbors ran for almost a full calendar year (1975-6), ending in April of '76. Online commentators have said this was a knockoff of Chuck Barris' Newlywed Game, which ended its ABC run a year prior to The Neighbors.

The concept leads to such speculation. Two contestants have to deduce what their neighbors said about them for cash & prizes. The set did look like they were aping Newlywed on a smaller scale.

Here's a sample episode.

A quiz show built around neighborhood gossip hasn't been done since. This was a good reason why.

Rating: C.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

What Might've Been: Bullseye (1980)

The beauty of syndication for game shows is that, more often than not, it expands the lifespan of the show. What would last anywhere from 6-13 weeks on a network can go as much as 2 years, as Jack Barry & Dan Enright's Bullseye did (1980-2).

The producers were looking for something that would complement Tic Tac Dough, which enjoyed a healthy syndicated run well into the mid-80's. Bullseye was just another variant on the modern Dough and other B-E gimmicked games.

Jim Lange (ex-The Dating Game) served as host. Two seasons, nearly 400 episodes. About halfway through season 2, with ratings declining, B-E switched to a celebrity format to boost ratings. All that did was prolong the inevitable cancellation. Bullseye would land rerun gigs on cable (CBN, USA, GSN) as recently as 2007 following cancellation.

Following is a sample episode, complete with commercials:

Rating: A.

Championship weekend: new blood or the same old, same old?

Shortly after 3 (ET) on Sunday, the NFL's final four will commence with the NFC title game. By the time the AFC title game ends, roughly about seven hours later, we'll know who'll be going to Atlanta for the Super Bowl two weeks later.

NFC: Los Angeles @ New Orleans: The Saints won the first meeting between these two teams, and some think there's no reason to believe the script will be flipped.

The league has two storylines to choose from here. In one, Saints QB Drew Brees is looking to get back to the Big Game, 10 years after New Orleans won its only championship, and it would be a fitting coda to a storied career if he got there, won again, then retired, a la John Elway and Peyton Manning. On the other side is one of the NFL's young guns in Rams QB Jared Goff. Even though the Rams play on the grass at the LA Coliseum, their offense has seemed to be a reimagining of the "Greatest Show on Turf" that won it all nearly 20 years ago when the team was in St. Louis. Sean McVay, in his 2nd season, has already begun to build his own legacy as one of the brightest coaching minds in the game.

Revenge is also on the menu, as the Rams are looking to even the score. From a marketing standpoint, the NFL would benefit more if they put more emphasis on the youth movement, which would make the league that much more relatable to the youth demographic. This also applies to the AFC nightcap, which may be delayed just a wee bit since the league doesn't want the games overlapping each other, unlike in the regular season. Brees & Goff will light up the scoreboard, and it will come down to the final play. New Orleans has won any number of ways this season, be it blowouts or late escapes. It may be the latter this time, but it won't be enough.

Pick: Los Angeles.

AFC: New England @ Kansas City. The Patriots beat KC in Foxborough earlier this season, and for some odd reason weren't flagged for any accepted penalties. To New England's legion of detractors, that of course suggests something shady.

However, the Patriots rediscovered their running game last week vs. the Chargers, as rookie Sony Michel ran for three scores, and Rex Burkhead, whom the Pats heisted from Cincinnati two years ago, added another. Offensive diversity is essential to most teams, and the Patriots have been the last team you'd expect, what with Tom Brady's penchant for padding his stats and ego at the expense of the running game. The recent suspension of receiver Josh Gordon only means more catches for Philip Dorsett, who was let go by Indianapolis out of stupidity. However, the temperatures may be colder than the Pats are accustomed to back at home, as they're talking about an arctic vortex hitting KC in the wake of the snowstorm that is making its way to the home district as I write.

The Chiefs, of course, are happy to be the #1 seed, and are looking for payback. The cold temperatures may mean more of the running game for both teams. I don't think you're going to see Brady or Patrick Mahomes air it out all that much, and if Mahomes is allowed to roam free, the Patriots are in trouble. New England was 3-5 on the road this season, as opposed to 9-0 at home. Brady wants another trip to the Super Bowl. Not this time.

Pick: Kansas City.

Why am I going against the grain? Did you see the Rams & Chiefs on Monday Night Football? Sequel, anyone?

Of course, I could be wrong.

Dogs are also a little girl's best friend (1960's)

Back in the day, Ken-L Ration was one of the bazillion brands of Quaker Oats. Today, a lesser known company, Retrobrands, holds the rights to not only Ken-L Ration, but also Puss 'N' Boots cat food, another product Quaker gave up years ago.

Check out this adorable bit with a little girl and her dog. Actor Olan Soule (The Andy Griffith Show) is the narrator.

Awwww, isn't that cute?