Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Musical Interlude: Boogie Wonderland (1979)

Ever wonder why the dance trio The Emotions joined forces with Earth, Wind, & Fire on 1979's "Boogie Wonderland"?

For starters, the three women in The Emotions were cousins of EWF lead singer Maurice White. Second, "Wonderland" was originally meant to be an Emotions single, but for some reason turned into a group "duet", if ya will (both groups, IIRC, recorded for Columbia or one of its sister labels).

Now you can dance into Thanksgiving morning. We'll be back on Friday.

Dunce Cap Award: Johnny Manziel

I've said all along that Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel turned pro a little too early. So did Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston, but while Winston is an NFL rookie this season, Manziel is a second year pro who's running the risk of throwing his career in the trunk already.

You'll recall last year's lame Snickers commercial in which Manziel adopted the alias, "Johnny Jam-Boogie" as an aerobics instructor. He's still Johnny Boogie, as in Johnny Boogie Fever, hitting the clubs after telling people he'd take advantage of the Browns having extra time off after a Thursday night game (which they lost to then-undefeated Cincinnati) to "relax". Photos surfaced, which made coach Mike Pettine upset enough to bench Manziel and reinstall opening day starter Josh McCown as the starter for the Browns' next game, a divisional battle vs. Baltimore. Online wags are wondering if Manziel's days in Cleveland are numbered. I'd say, yes.

Once again, Manziel's immaturity has gotten in the way of his progress as an NFL QB. He left Texas A & M too early (he'd be a senior this year, and the Aggies need him, apparently) to chase the money. He expected to start right away, but that's not how it works. Unlike that other well known NFL frat boy, New England's Rob Gronkowski, there's little likeable about Manziel, who gets a Dunce Cap this week for his immature approach to his pro career. It's no wonder he didn't get any commercial endorsements this season. Madison Avenue doesn't want him, either.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

David Canary (1938-2015)

The last survivor of Bonanza's Ponderosa ranch has left for Boot Hill.

David Canary, who made his name as Ponderosa ranch hand Candy after Pernell Roberts left the show, passed away at age 77. However, the headline on most online sources refers to his more recent comeback gig on the soap opera, All My Children. Canary hadn't done much in between the two series, and his casting on Children did seem to come out of nowhere.

Baby boomers will remember him, however, as Candy, as exemplified in the episode, "Judgment on Olympus":

Rest in peace, David.

Rockin' Funnies: The Thanksgiving Song (1992)

During his time on Saturday Night Live, Adam Sandler was given plenty of room to perform musical numbers, usually during Weekend Update. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Sandler croons "The Thanksgiving Song", which was later released on his debut CD, "They're All Going To Laugh At You" (1993). Kevin Nealon provides the intro.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Forgotten TV: Wally's Workshop (1972)

Long before Bob Vila made his fortune teaching folks how to improve their homes, former newsman and What's My Line? host Wally Bruner was doing just that.

Bruner left Line after 4 seasons (1968-72) to create and host Wally's Workshop, aided by his 2nd wife, Natalie, whom he met when she was a contestant on Line. The redoubtable Johnny Olsen served as announcer, one of the rare times where he wasn't working on a game show.

Locally, Wally's Workshop aired on Sunday mornings, ahead of a locally produced bowling show. However, while research shows Workshop lasted approximately 13 seasons (1972-85), I don't recall it being on past the mid-point of the 70's, which suggests that the local station, now a CBS affiliate, dropped the show after about a year or three.

Here, then, is a sample episode.

I look at it this way. It was better than watching a variety show imported from Italy without subtitles.

Rating: A.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Musical Interlude: Wild, Wild Life (1986)

We talked before about the issues between Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and his label, Sire Records, as it related to Byrne's 1986 film, "True Stories". Byrne felt it best that a soundtrack CD featuring the film's cast would be released, but the suits at Sire opted instead for the Heads to record the same songs themselves.

The video for "Wild, Wild Life" is mostly movie footage, which includes the band members (Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Chris Franz, Tina Weymouth) joining in on the fun in quick cameos. The husband & wife team of Franz & Weymouth impersonated Prince and his then-squeeze, Apollonia, for example. Harrison dressed up as Billy Idol. Byrne appeared as himself and a couple of other "characters". Throw in John Goodman, and, well......!

Now, compare the video with the lip-sync parade as depicted in the movie. Latin musician Tito Larriva is among the performers.

Byrne later released "Sounds From True Stories", which was released on LP & cassette only, as it is not available on CD, which sucks.

Weasel of the Week: Ashleigh Wade

You're a 20-something African-American. You've convinced your boyfriend that you're pregnant with your first child. You see an old friend for the first time in what seems like forever, and she's 8 1/2 months pregnant. Rightfully, what you should be doing is wishing her well and praying for her.

Ashleigh Wade, on the other hand, killed her pregnant friend.

Wade had pretended she was pregnant, and had her boyfriend so snowed he didn't realize that the ultrasound pictures on Wade's Facebook page were phonier than a $4 bill. On Friday, she killed Angelikque Sutton, and stole the unborn fetus to pass it off as her own. We've seen this scenario before. While the tabloid media tries to paint Wade as being delusional, so trapped in her own web of lies, the truth is, and I can only speculate here, mind you, she was perhaps afraid her boyfriend would leave her for someone else. Seeing Sutton with child, and less than a month away from giving birth, then, made her jealous and desperate. Jealous because Sutton was soon going to be a first-time mom and she wasn't, and desperate because if it got out that she wasn't pregnant after all, Wade's elaborately created fantasy would crumble and fall apart. The boyfriend likely would have said goodbye, and Wade's parents would've turned on her for lying to them, too. Parents are like that, of course.

How many times have we seen this story unfold, both in the papers and in adaptations on, say Lifetime or on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit? In this writer's opinion, too many in the last decade alone. I shan't be surprised if Wade's lawyer tries to use the insanity defense, but that's the lazy man's way out.

When Wade was arrested Friday, she stuck to her lie, which made no sense, except that perhaps she wants the insanity defense. How much do you wanna bet there are also drugs in the equation?

Ashleigh Wade gets a set of Weasel ears, and, while in prison, we recommend that someone order a DVD of the Australian soap opera, Prisoner: Cell Block H. That should snap Wade back to reality.