Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Musical Interlude: Too Hot To Stop (1986)

The Cars' Benjamin Orr spun off on his own and released the CD, "The Lace", in 1986. Two videos came from that album--the soft ballad, "Stay the Night", and the up-tempo, dance-floor-ready "Too Hot To Stop", a personal favorite of mine........

I don't quite get the space theme, but, well........

Monday, January 26, 2015

On The Air: Father Brown (2013)

I was doing some channel surfing Sunday night, nothing better to do, and happened across Father Brown on the local PBS station.

For those who don't know, Father Brown was the subject of a series of short stories written by British author G. K. Chesterton many years ago, and has been adapted into movies and television series prior to BBC One bringing the crime solving priest back in a new series in 2013. I have to believe that the Chesterton books were part of the inspiration behind the development of an American series some years back, The Father Dowling Mysteries, with Tom Bosley, Tracy Nelson, & Mary Wickes.

PBS and its member stations have mined the BBC for quite a few series over the years, most notably, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Doctor Who, and a good number of entries for Masterpiece Theatre (since shortened to Masterpiece), with Father Brown among the latest imports. Brown has slipped through the cracks, while the critics fawn over Downton Abbey, currently running on Masterpiece. It doesn't help that locally, the program airs at 6 pm (ET) at the moment on Sundays.

The first season is available on DVD, at least in England, and so this DVD trailer will have to suffice.

Good stuff. Good show.

Rating: A.

Joe Franklin (1926-2015)

Joe Franklin was a New York City institution.

That's about the best way you can describe Franklin, who passed away over the weekend at 88. Franklin, whose talk show aired mostly on WOR up until its end in 1993, had claimed to have conducted more than 4,000 interviews with celebrities, politicians, athletes, and regular folks. He also claims to have invented the talk show format, though that might be disputed.

Franklin was such an icon in New York that Billy Crystal, when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in the 80's, would do skits impersonating Franklin on the show, raising Franklin's profile even higher.

Following is a sample clip of The Joe Franklin Show:

Let's see if Jimmy Fallon and/or David Letterman salute Franklin on their shows later tonight. Rest in peace, Joe.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What Might've Been: The Chuck Barris Rah Rah Show (1978)

The Gong Show, despite having ratings and/or schedule issues in some parts of the country, merited its first spin-off in the winter of 1977-8. Unfortunately, it only served as a vanity vehicle for host-producer Chuck Barris, more than anything else.

The Chuck Barris Rah Rah Show brought back past contestants from Gong, as well as some more serious acts. Frequent Gong panelist Jaye P. Morgan did some musical numbers from her cabaret act, but the show was on at the wrong time. On the wrong night. As a result, it was fed, if you will, to ABC's comedy juggernaut (i.e. Happy Days/LaVerne & Shirley), and done in a couple of months.

As Gong itself was a parody of The Original Amateur Hour, best remembered for its TV run, hosted by Ted Mack, Rah Rah, taped on the same stage, came across as a self-serving shrine to Barris. If any one person could "jump the shark", Barris did it here.

I never saw the show, so there won't be a rating, but Gilmore Box offers an open:

Note that the band, which was off to the side on Gong, was more front & center here. More's the pity.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Musical Interlude: Set Adrift on Memory Bliss (1991)

Remember PM Dawn? Prince Be and DJ Minute Mix released a few CDs in the 90's, then dropped out of sight before a greatest hits CD dropped in 2000.

Anyway, let's take you back to when it all began, back in 1991, with "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss", with a heapin' sample of Spandau Ballet's "True" in the backbeat. Dig it, yo'.

Ernie Banks (1931-2015)

I will admit I don't have any memory of seeing "Mr. Cub", Ernie Banks, play against the Mets at the end of his career. However, the Cubs could use a few more men like Banks to rejuvenate their current roster, as the Cubs have become near-perennial doormats in the National League Central.

Banks passed away Friday at 83. To honor his memory, I located a video montage of Banks hitting home run numbers 498-500.

I might've seen Banks at a few Mets Old Timer's Day events on TV, but that's about it.

Rest in peace, Mr. Cub. You've earned it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Musical Interlude: Down Under (1981)

G'day, mate.

Australia's Men at Work charmed American audiences with their first album, "Business as Usual", released between 1981-2. The first two singles, "Who Can it be Now?" and "Down Under", received heavy airplay on MTV, and hit #1 on the charts.

"Down Under" has the band on a road trip, and we learn exactly what a vegemite sandwich is. We think.