Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Musical Interlude: The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (1983)

"The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" was one of two singles to crack the charts off Asia's 1983 album, "Alpha". Looks like the band is recording for a soundtrack for a French movie, if you go by the video.



Dedicated to the memory of bassist/lead singer John Wetton, who passed away at 67.

Monday, January 30, 2017

What Might've Been: Cimarron City (1958)

Among the highlights for old school Western fans of Get TV's Saturday Western block is 1958's Cimarron City, which starred George Montgomery (doubling as a producer, as his company co-produced the show with Revue) and John Smith, among others. Three weeks in, Dan Blocker, still better known for Bonanza, which came after Cimarron had been cancelled,  joined the cast as Tiny, a ranch hand.

So why did it fail? It aired opposite CBS' 1-2 punch of Have Gun...Will Travel & Gunsmoke. Enough said. Didn't help that the 3rd lead, Audrey Totter, left the show because the writers didn't create enough storylines where she would be the lead.

Edit, 2/10/17: YouTube has deleted the video due to copyright infringement. If/when someone else posts a video, we'll bring it back.

Rating: B.

Sports this 'n' that

Fresh off blowing out Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake on Friday night, Troy High's women's basketball team went downstate for a twilight game against Long Island Lutheran on Saturday. The fact that the score hasn't been reported to local papers suggests that Troy is looking to avoid some major embarrassment, as it turns out they were blown out, 61-29, not quite the dramatic game it was last year.

The loss drops Troy to 7-8 overall on the season with 4 Suburban Council games left in the regular season, and the Murderer's Row portion of the schedule continues tomorrow, as Shaker awaits, seeking payback for a loss last month at Zotto Gym. However, if the Lady Horses can find their game again, a win over Shaker, coupled with an expected Shenendehowa win over Albany, would alter the divisional landscape. Shen is a game behind Shaker in the Blue Division. Troy trails Albany by four games, as the Falcons have clinched a tie for the division title. Albany & Troy will swap opponents on Friday, as Shen visits Troy, and Albany meets Shaker.
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No amount of network-induced tweaking will make the NHL All-Star Game more attractive to casual fans. A series of 3-on-3 games? Seriously?  The NFL learned a hard lesson when they messed with the AFC vs. NFC format of the Pro Bowl, and went back to the traditional arrangement last night, with the AFC winning, 20-13.

What the league and their television partner, NBC-Universal-Comcast, need to understand is that hockey is much more popular in Canada than it is here, at least at the pro level. By that same token, a lot of American sports junkies won't hunker down in front of the set, remote in hand, for soccer on NBC. To the rest of the world, soccer is known as football, for obvious reasons. We call it soccer to differentiate from the football we know and love.
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The Australian Open, the first of tennis' Grand Slam events on the calendar, wrapped over the weekend as if the field took a time warp. Serena Williams bested sister Venus in the women's final, while Sweden's Roger Federer finally won a Grand Slam final over Rafael Nadal away from Wimbledon on the men's side of the draw.

The odd part of this Grand Slam configuration is that the other three events (French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) are contested over a three month period (June-September). Since ESPN has television rights to all four events now, I'd not be surprised if they suggested to the Aussies to move their event a little closer to the US Open. Network suits are crazy that way, you know.
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Speaking of the same old, same old, that brings us to the WWE's Royal Rumble. The 30th annual renewal took place Sunday in San Antonio, and once again, there was a repeat winner. Randy Orton, who last won the Rumble in 2009, outlasted the field. Meanwhile, long time frenemy John Cena captured his 16th WWE or World title, dethroning A. J. Styles.

All this says to me is that the head nutcase, Vince McMahon, thinks going back to old hands like Cena & Orton will juice the ratings for Smackdown Live! on Tuesday nights leading up to Wrestlemania in April. Ratings fluctuate for a reason. Folks get tired of the same old, tired routine, and want changes, but McMahon refuses to cave in unless it suits him in some bizarre way. Conversely, Monday Night Raw's top champion, Kevin Owens, needed illegal help from Braun Strowman, taking advantage of the No-DQ stip added to his Universal title defense vs. Roman Reigns, to retain the title. This is the sort of thing that WWE should not be doing with Owens, who needs a signature win without outside help of any kind to gain some much needed credibility. He isn't getting it largely because of where he was before he came to WWE (Ring of Honor, where he was their World champ from 2012-13), and Dr. McNutty will hold that against guys like Owens just because he can.

As long as he's signing executive orders to fulfull campaign promises to his dittoheads, maybe someone should slip President Trump a piece of paper to sign, then have that paper be used on Raw to send Vince off to Bellevue...............

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Musical Interlude: Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone (1980)

The Manhattan Transfer paid homage to a classic sci-fi series with 1980's "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" (both titles are in the lyrics), not to be confused with Golden Earring's "Twilight Zone", which would turn up a short time later.

Vocalist Alan Paul sets things up in the video, doing his best Rod Serling impression........



The track was recorded for the group's 1979 album, "Extensions".

Old Time Radio: The Adventures of Superman (1940)

The Adventures of Superman bowed on radio in 1940, initially as a syndicated series based out of WOR radio in New York before being picked up for national syndication by Mutual.

What most of you don't know is that some of the familiar supporting cast, such as Jimmy Olsen and Daily Planet editor Perry White, and certain elements of Superman lore, such as Kryptonite, originated on the radio show, which ran for 11 years here in the US, while a separate series aired in Australia. The series began as a 15 minute show airing 3-5 times a week, then expanding to a full half hour, three times a week, beginning in 1949.

Bud Collyer, who'd voiced the Man of Steel in 17 animated shorts produced by Paramount & Famous Studios, essayed the part here, joined by Joan Alexander as Lois Lane. Narrator Jackson Beck was the 2nd man to fulfill those duties, and would also handle the role of Alfred, Batman's faithful butler, when the Caped Crusader made guest appearances, and Beany, a copy boy at the Planet. Beck would later reprise as Beany and the narrator, in addition to Perry White & Lex Luthor, in the 1966-70 Filmation animated series. Another Filmation cast member, Jack Grimes, was the 2nd radio Jimmy Olsen, but is better known to animation fans as the voice of Speed Racer, another 60's icon.

Collyer left the show in 1950 to move to television (Beat The Clock), with Michael Fitzmaurice in the unenviable role of succeeding Collyer as Superman/Clark Kent. If there was a jump the shark moment in the series, that was it. Collyer would return to the role for the Filmation series in 1966.

Right now, here's "The Silver Clipper", part 6 of a 10-part story arc, courtesy of Internet Archive.


You'll forgive the skips. Apparently, it was a faulty copy.

A little too much expository dialogue for my tastes. Your actual mileage may vary.

Rating: B--.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Forgotten TV: Nashville 99 (1977)

The suits at CBS thought merging country music with a police drama was a great idea. Unfortunately, viewers outside of the South disagreed, which is why Nashville 99 lasted just 4 weeks in April 1977.

Nashville 99 was a collaboration between producer Ernie Frankel and 20th Century Fox, coming 3 1/2 years after Frankel had shepherded Fox's ill-fated reboot of Perry Mason, also for CBS. Claude Akins (ex-Movin' On) was cast as police detective/farmer "Stoney" Huff, whose new partner (Jerry Reed) was looking ahead to a future in country music (of course). Reed also co-wrote and sang the show's theme song. For Reed, this was his 2nd and final series for CBS, having previously fronted a short-lived variety show built around his 1971 hit, "When You're Hot, You're Hot".

The series also saw the acting debuts of country music superstars Charley Pride and Johnny Paycheck, among others, not counting comedy sketches they'd have done on, say, Hee Haw. As noted, though, Nashville 99, despite the theme by Reed and veteran composer Earle Hagen being chart-worthy (it was that good), didn't finish the month.

Another singer, Tony Wells, guest starred in the sample episode, posted to YouTube under his name.



Akins, of course, would rebound as corrupt Georgia sheriff Elroy P. Lobo, first on B. J. & The Bear, and then, its spinoff, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, but would not land another series after Lobo ended its run. He would spend the 80's as a pitchman for Aamco Transmissions.

Rating: A.

On Stage: Around the World with Lilac 94 (Troy NY, 1/28/17)

Harps in music are often associated with "chamber" or classical music. However, in the Golden Age, comedian Harpo Marx was proficient enough with the instrument, such that it was worked into at least a couple of Marx Brothers movies. The Beatles used harps on some of their later records, but harp is also a slang term for harmonica, and that's what the Fab Four used.

Lilac 94 are a pair of young ladies, one from New York, one from North Carolina, who met at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, a few years back, and found a common ground with the harp. Their current tour brings them to the home town today for a matinee that is part lecture, part concert, total enlightenment.

In the course of 45 minutes, Lilac 94 took a nearly full auditorium at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on a world tour through Ireland, Japan, South America, India, Africa, and, of course, back home in the good ol' USA. It should be pointed out that the harps Lilac 94 and other artists use should not ever be confused with simple harmonicas, which blues and folk artists often refer to as, ahem, harps.

Unfortunately, the Arts Center didn't provide programs for today's event, and ye scribe wasn't smart enough to bring a notebook, so I could have everything written down. Yeah, a sign I'm getting old. Whatever.

Let's give you a sample of what these ladies can do. The clip comes from a 2015 show in Albany, as Lilac 94 performs the Indian track, "Tum Hi Ho".



There was a 5 minute Q & A session, and, as I left, some folks decided to take a closer look at the harps. Not enough kids in attendance, mostly older folks my age and up.

Rating: A.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mike Connors (1925-2017)

Ever wonder why Mike Connors was nicknamed "Touch"? The actor actually earned the nickname playing college basketball at UCLA before turning to acting, and went by Touch Connors in early film roles. He was billed as Mike "Touch" Connors when he starred in Tightrope in the 50's, but by the time he was cast in the lead for Mannix 8 years later, he'd dropped the nickname professionally.

Connors passed away Thursday at 91. We've previously reviewed Tightrope, Mannix, and his last series of note, Today's FBI. What I was hoping to do was locate a crossover episode of Here's Lucy in which Mannix crossed paths with Lucy Carter (Lucille Ball), but it's not available online in its entirety at present.

Edit, 2/10/17: The Mannix episode previously posted has been deleted. In its place is an episode of Tightrope.



Rest in peace, Mike.

High School Fridays: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake @ Troy (boys' basketball), 1/27/17

With a week's rest after beating Averill Park last Friday, the Troy High boys' basketball team was back on the court, mid-term Regents exams behind them, to welcome the Spartans of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. Two weeks ago, the tip-off time of the varsity game vs. Bethlehem was a full half hour after the advertised time of 7 pm, as the JV game ran long, likely due to a freshman game going to overtime ahead of it. Not so tonight.

After Burnt Hills won the JV game, the estimated tip-off for the varsity was around 7:05. If you're accustomed as I am to the later starts, this had to be a surprise.

An even bigger surprise was that tonight, Daniel Buie wasn't Troy's leading scorer. Fellow junior Joe Casale had a career high 23 points, 10 of them in the 1st quarter. Buie finished with 14, as the Spartans concentrated on him, and Buie ended up in rare foul trouble, finishing with 4 fouls. Burnt Hills hung around, thanks to Ben Keppler's game high 28 points. Unfortunately, the senior guard also ran into foul trouble, and fouled out with under a minute to go, and Troy pulled away for a 76-64 win to run their winning streak to 3 in a row.

Even more surprising was that the game was over before 8:30 pm, as the total time of the game, halftime included, clocked in at 80 minutes. However, the crowd was sparse because it was mid-term week.

Next for Troy will be Shaker on Tuesday, as they try to pick up some ground on Grey division leader Schenectady.
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The Troy women feasted on the winless Lady Spartans, as the senior duo of Shallie Frierson and Sabrina Wolfe combined for 35 points en route to a 65-33 rout, giving the Lady Horses some momentum headed into their final non-league game of the season tomorrow at Long Island Lutheran, before finishing the road trip at Shaker on Tuesday. Troy finds itself back in 2nd place, 4 games behind Grey division leader Albany, which beat Averill Park tonight, knocking the Lady Warriors back to 3rd place with 4 league games left. The Lady Falcons have clinched at least a tie for their 2nd straight division crown.
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Meanwhile, on the ice, LaSalle keeps rolling along, getting two more goals from Kevin Mainello, as the Cadets defeated Saratoga, 3-1. Ryan Murray had the other goal for the Cadets, now 10-1 in league play (12-1-2 over all). Next up for LaSalle is a rematch vs. Niskayuna-Schenectady tomorrow evening, before coming home to play Bethlehem Tuesday night. If LaSalle can run the table, they can clinch the regular season title.

On The Air: Riverdale (2017)

Kids, this ain't the Riverdale your parents and grandparents grew up with, assuming, of course, they read Archie Comics. Not even close.

Archie's Chief Creative Officer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, has spent the last couple of years developing Riverdale for television, such that he has neglected his work on Archie's horror line, causing interminable delays that we've discussed before. The fruits of his labors were brought forward Thursday night with the latest addition to the CW roster, and the 5th CW series from producer Greg Berlanti (Supergirl, Arrow, etc.). Aguirre-Sacasa's dark take on the town is so radically opposite of the saccharine, treacly, continuity-free books of the past, and so very much the type of show CW prefers for its target demographic.

A few quick notes:

*--Archie Andrews (newcomer K. J. Apa) has been bulked up, explained away with a summer job working for his father's construction company. In the books, Fred Andrews (Luke Perry, ex-Beverly Hills 90210), as memory serves, ran a hardware store, so a business upgrade isn't the problem. What is a problem for Archie is that, in addition to the eternal juggling of long time girlfriends Betty Cooper & Veronica Lodge, you add not Cheryl Blossom, but rather teacher Geraldine Grundy, rebooted from a senior-age English teacher to a 30-something music teacher who's not above a forbidden relationship with a student.

The ripped-from-past-headlines (i.e. Mary Kay Letorneau) after dark encounter between Archie and Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) in the latter's VW bug was a turn-off. Did they really need to go there?

*---Archie's parents are separated, although mother Mary (Molly Ringwald) will show up soon. Likewise, Veronica's parents aren't together, as papa Hiram (not yet cast) is facing criminal charges, forcing Hermoine and the family butler, Hubert Smithers, to raise Veronica. The Lodges won't have the mansion from the books, it appears.

*---Betty's mom, Alice, for some reason, has Betty on a prescription for Adderall. Another case of WTF? for this show.

*---The season-long storyline centers on the murder of Jason Blossom, and is the reason for comparisons to David Lynch's 1990's soap, Twin Peaks.

*---Josie McCoy, lead singer of Josie & the Pussycats, has, as previously reported, been rebooted as an African-American with a diva attitude.

Bearing in mind that Aguirre-Sacasa killed off Jason in the pages of Afterlife With Archie, that suggests that Aguirre-Sacasa didn't have any plans for him at all, and rebooted Jason & Cheryl as Riverdale students instead of attending Pembrooke Academy as in the books, although at one point Cheryl actually attended Riverdale, which is what Aguirre-Sacasa decided to go with.

Here's a trailer:



So not digging this at all. I wonder, though, if it was too hot for Fox, to whom the series was originally pitched three years ago.

Rating: D+.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Musical Interlude: Subdivisions (1982)

While I was in high school, a friend turned me on to the Canadian trio, Rush. The concert clip of "Limelight" was getting decent airplay on MTV when the channel debuted in the home district in the winter of 1982. Later that year, Rush released "Signals", and the first single off that album, "Subdivisions", gained some heavy airplay during the summer.

The societal themes prevalent in the video are still relevant today.

Sports this 'n' that

It's being reported in today's Albany Times-Union that the current owners of the New Jersey & Albany Devils (NHL & AHL, respectively) are looking to move their top minor league franchise out of Albany, citing poor attendance, which wasn't so much an issue when former GM Lou Lamoriello was in charge in New Jersey. If the deal is finalized, the Albany Devils will move to Binghamton to replace the Binghamton Senators, Ottawa's AHL club, which is moving closer to the parent club's base in Canada's Ontario province. The same article also says that the Times-Union Center is soon to be picking up a new minor league franchise---not in hockey---to share the cavernous facility with Siena College's men's basketball team.

The departure of the Devils would end more than 2 decades of AHL hockey in Albany. Siena outdraws the Devils by a comfortable 3-4 to 1 margin in average attendance, even when they're not playing well. That speaks to the priorities local fans have and pro hockey has never been a priority ever since the Detroit Red Wings moved their AHL club out of Glens Falls several years ago.
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Once the college basketball season ends in early April, Brent Musburger will call it a career, the latest to walk away from ESPN. Musburger has been with ESPN since the 90's, after an unceremonious exit from CBS. Musburger has called college football & basketball, and has contributed to the Little League World Series while with ESPN, and parlayed the gig into a cameo appearance on Tim Allen's current series, Last Man Standing, a couple of years back.
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WWE fans will get a double barrel of wrestling action in the home district over the next two months. First, NXT makes its 3rd annual visit to the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany on February 11. Expect tickets to be sold out the very first day, thanks in large part to online sales. Shows at the Armory each of the last two years have had lines curling around the corner and down the hill from the Armory on the night of the show. The only drawback seems to be the Armory's poor sound system, as the acoustics don't match the volume, making for a murky mess. I should know. I've been to enough events at the Armory in recent years.

There will be a main WWE roster show at Times-Union Center five weeks later on March 18, where the minimum price for tickets has gone up to $20 (it had been $15 in previous years). Inflation, you know. You actually have a better chance of getting tickets at the T-U Center, since they won't pack the joint if they don't bring the television cameras.
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Mother Nature may have wiped out high school sports on Tuesday for the 2nd straight week, but then, it wasn't quite a full schedule anyway. Most schools have mid-term exams this week, and in the Suburban Council, that means most basketball teams get a week between games. There was some action earlier in the week to make up for last week's postponements. Troy High's bowling team, last in the Suburban Council, returns to action today, while the basketball teams are back on the court tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017)

 Actress. Activist. Icon. Those words define Mary Tyler Moore, who passed away at 80.

Moore's first brush with fame came as Happy Hotpoint in a series of ads for Hotpoint appliances in the 50's. She was also one of two anonymous actresses (Roxanne Brooks was the other) who essayed the role of Sam, the mysterious "secretary", if you will, to David Janssen in Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Moore lost the part when it got out that she was on the show, something Four Star, the show's producer, didn't want known.

And, then, there was The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Moore was cast as perky, adorable Laura Petrie, whose husband, Rob (Van Dyke) was a comedy writer for Alan Brady (Carl Reiner). In a way, the series was 2 shows in one over the course of its 5 seasons (1961-6).



By 1970, Moore made her return, not only starring in her own self-titled sitcom, but the production company was hers, too, in conjunction with her second husband, Grant Tinker, who later became president of NBC. Seven years and several Emmy awards later, the series ended, and Moore was unable to land another hit series.

Let's go back to season 1 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.



Ignore the episode title on the screen. The poster changed the titles to get around the copyright police. The above episode is "Divorce Isn't Everything".

Mary Tyler Moore was immortalized in the lyrics to Weezer's 1994 hit, "Buddy Holly". She also appeared in films as diverse as "Change of Habit" (w/Elvis Presley) and "Ordinary People". Like one of her co-stars, Betty White, she was also an animal rights activist, which became her primary gig in later years. Her last TV role was guest starring opposite White on Hot in Cleveland.

Rest in peace, Mary.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Forgotten TV: The Young Lawyers (1970)

The early success of NBC's The Bold Ones, particularly the New Lawyers portion of the anthology, prompted CBS & ABC to try to copy. Unfortunately, neither succeeded.

ABC's attempt was hooking up with Paramount to produce The Young Lawyers, which lasted 1 season (1970-1). It marked the return to television of Lee J. Cobb (ex-The Virginian), who had gone from playing a judge to a government agent in James Coburn's "Flint" movies to a senior lawyer in a Boston firm. CBS' Storefront Lawyers, later rechristened Men at Law, as memory serves, was a network production using the same creative personnel as Hawaii Five-O, but it also was a 1-year wonder. We'll look at that another time if we can.

Right now, let's take a look at the episode, "Is There a Good Samaritan in the House?", with guest star Frank Converse (ex-Coronet Blue, N. Y. P. D.).



Co-star Zalman King is better known now as the creator of Red Shoe Diaries. Go figure.

No rating.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Modern Classic (?): Love Connection (1983)

Imagine, if ya will, a video personals column after a sort.

Love Connection wasn't exactly a reincarnation of Chuck Barris' seminal Dating Game, and it technically wasn't a game show, either. What producer Eric Lieber had in mind, it would appear, was to have contestants submit videos, and couples were matched by the producers on a number of common themes. 

Chuck Woolery (ex-Wheel of Fortune) was tapped to host, and, as it happened, had greater success with Connection than he did with Wheel. Love Connection ran for 11 seasons (1983-94), then made a brief comeback in 1998 with comic Pat Bullard taking over as host. Bullard's version lasted just the one season.

Let's take a look at a sample episode from 1988.



It wasn't long after this that the series was immortalized in rap lyrics. Tone Loc mentioned Love Connection in the lyrics to his spring 1989 hit, "Funky Cold Medina".

Would another revival work? Nope. These days, with online dating an in thing to do, the only place a revival would go is on Netflix. Maybe.

Rating: B.

The biggest diva in the NFL gets to the big game----again!

I didn't watch a single second of the AFC title game Sunday night. I just don't have any respect for the New England Patriots and their petulant child of a quarterback, Tom Brady, and haven't for years.

A quick check of the box score of the game, won by the Evil Empire, 36-17, shows that the hosts were only flagged for penalties twice. Gee, what a surprise! The Pats' legion of detractors would take a worse tack than I and claim the fix was in. I read some online comments during the game (I watched Time-Life infomercials and wrestling instead of the game otherwise), and at least one party said a holding penalty should've been called on New England's Eugene Chung, but wasn't. Of course not.

Why is this? Being the team everyone loves to hate because of SpyGate and DeflateGate, as well as Brady's diva behavior at times (see last weekend's game vs. Houston) means the Patriots bring big ratings to the league's television partners and their own network, and you know the saying. Money talks. Patriots owner Robert Kraft is on at least one or two influential league committees. You can do the math from there.

In other words, despite a number of media types, and ye scribe, picking Pittsburgh, who lost to New England in the regular season with Landry Jones at QB, subbing for Ben Roethlisberger, to advance to the Super Bowl, it can be argued that the shadowy power brokers in the league wanted New England to win to ensure big ratings on February 5.

The real money match-up, however, would've had either the Steelers or Patriots facing Green Bay. However, State Farm agent Aaron Rodgers ran out of magic, and the Atlanta Falcons closed the Georgia Dome in style with a blowout win over the Packers. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan (no relation to the Constantine star), a 2008 draft pick out of Boston College, finishing his 9th season, now gets to play against Brady for all the marbles. Atlanta has played inspired football the last two weekends in blowing out Seattle & Green Bay. They may yet be destiny's children. Unfortunately, it may require divine intervention to deny Crybaby Brady his 5th ring. The storyline all season has been the Patriots playing with a chip on their collective shoulder, going 3-1 without their diva QB, who served a 4-game suspension for DeflateGate, and the most you could charge him with in that case would be hindering the investigation, and 13-1 with Brady.

In my mind, Tom Brady is not the greatest quarterback in the history of the game. That would be Joe Cool himself, Joe Montana, who led the great 49ers teams of the 80's and early 90's. Anyone that thinks Crybaby is the "G.O.A.T." is delusional. End of story.

Some will argue, getting back to the AFC title game, that an overzealous Patriots fan, Dennis Harrison of Boston, wanted to give the home team an unfair advantage, at the risk of his own freedom. What does this moron do? He finds out where the Steelers are staying, then goes to the hotel, and pulls the fire alarm at 3 am (ET) on Sunday, or 15 1/2 hours before game time. It didn't really have an effect on the outcome, because not even the Patriots would've sanctioned something that stupid. However, as Harrison takes home a Weasel of the Week award for his actions, we must remember that the success of the Patriots over the last 15 years has generated a level of fanaticism that neither the Celtics, Bruins, or Red Sox have engendered over that same span, even though those three teams won 5 championships between them in that time frame.

A Yahoo! headline this morning noted that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is now in an untenable position where he could be forced to give the Lombardi Trophy to Crybaby and Kraft on February 5. If there is justice in this world, he won't have to.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Classic TV: Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (1963)

NBC found the definition of anthology by matching comedy icon Bob Hope with Chrysler. The end result saw Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre run for 4 seasons (1963-7), although Hope would continue with a series of specials every year even after the series ended.

The benchmark of Hope's NBC run, of course, were his annual Christmas shows for US armed forces overseas. The Chrysler Theatre, meanwhile, offered a mix of comedy, drama, and adventure, pausing every few weeks for Hope to headline one of his comedy specials.

In the summer of 1972, NBC repackaged Chrysler Theatre and their other 60's anthologies under new titles, and with new hosts, including Art Fleming (Jeopardy!), Jack Kelly ($ale of the Century, ex-Maverick), and Peter Marshall (Hollywood Squares). Unfortunately, those repackaged shows have been lost.

Let's take you back to October 1966 for one the Hope comedy specials. "Murder at NBC" featured an all-star team of comics, including Don Adams (Get Smart), Jimmy Durante, Wally Cox (Hollywood Squares, Underdog), Bill Dana, Jack Carter, and, two years away from getting their own show, Dan Rowan & Dick Martin.



Takes ya back, doesn't it, commercials and all?

I remember growing up watching the post-Chrysler Theatre Hope specials, and laughing myself silly at the monologues. Today, many of those specials are now available on DVD through Time-Life, with the requisite infomercial running periodically (check listings).

No rating. Never saw the Chrysler Theatre.

What Might've Been: The Ben Stiller Show (1990)

It was the winter of 1990, and there were changes at MTV. Remote Control was winding down, and would begin its final season. The network realized that The Half Hour Comedy Hour was not a strong enough bridge to their primetime video block, which at the time started with an oldies block hosted by original VJ Martha Quinn (Classic MTV was rechristened Martha's Greatest Hits and expanded to a hour-long, twice daily format), so they needed some fresh programming.

The checkerboard block, as memory serves, went a little something like this:

Mondays: Colin Quinn's Manly World
Tuesdays: Kevin Seal: Sporting Fool
Wednesdays: Just Say Julie (the only survivor)
Thursdays: The Ben Stiller Show
Fridays: Pirate TV (hour-long show)

As noted above, Just Say Julie was the only one that remained after the others were cancelled, but not for much longer, as "Hollywood" Julie Brown eventually left for Fox.

Second generation comic Ben Stiller, son of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, was given his first chance to star in his own series. Skewering pop culture icons and trends both past and present, Stiller and his on-air collaborator, Jeff Kahn, by all rights, should've been the breakout stars of the Class of 1990. Instead, the series lasted the minimum 13 weeks, and was gone. Undaunted, Stiller followed Brown to Fox, and rebooted, with Andy Dick and Janeane Garafolo joining him. However, his Fox run met the same fate.

Luckily, Stiller has fared very, very well since then, thank you, thanks to making the transition to movies such as "Zoolander", "Meet The Parents", and the "Night at the Museum" series. We'll look at the 1992 Fox series another time, but right now, we can finally finish MTV's Class of 1990 with this sample clip.



It can be suggested that Stiller believed he was ready, but MTV suits and viewers saw things differently. Maybe if his parents had appeared at least once on either his Fox or MTV show, things could've been different.

Rating: B-.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Celebrity Rock: Driven to Tears (2011)

On Thanksgiving Day, my brother & I were watching one of the broadcasts of the Macy's parade. The CBS version featured some pre-recorded performances by Sting, the leader of the Police. We concluded that he wasn't at his best, and that his singing voice was gradually betraying him.

Five years earlier, Sting (Gordon Sumner) was feted with a lavish birthday party/concert at New York's Beacon Theatre, with guests ranging from Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen to Lady Gaga and......Robert Downey, Jr..

Downey had done some singing on Ally McBeal several years earlier, and has recorded at least one CD. A lifelong fan of Sting and the Police, Downey fulfilled a childhood dream sharing the stage with Sting in an episode of McBeal.

Here, Downey joins Sting for a rendition of the Police's "Driven to Tears". Downey's vocals fall somewhere between Springsteen and Dave Matthews. Don't believe me? Scope for yourselves, pilgrims.



Righteous!

High School Hockey: Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa @ LaSalle, 1/21/17

Having absorbed their first loss of the season three nights ago at Shenendehowa, the skating Cadets of LaSalle Institute were back home at Conway Arena on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College tonight, hosting the Spartan Scotties of Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa. The one question that anyone had was how the Cadets would respond after the loss.

Less than a minute into the game, we got our answer.

It took just 27 seconds for sophomore defenseman Jack O'Bryan to find the net and give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Half a minute later, junior forward Christian Rudd dribbled one past goaltender Trevin Tidmarsh to make it 2-0. Before the frame was completed, however, Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa senior Geordan Buffoline one timed a shot past Kyle Rentz to cut the lead in half at 2-1.

In the second, LaSalle upped its lead back to two goals as senior forward Kevin Mainello beat Tidmarsh with a one-timer of his own. Back came Buffoline and the pesky Spartan Scotties. Buffoline netted his 2nd goal of the game to make it 3-2 going into the second intermission. However, LaSalle slammed the door shut in the third period, as junior forward Ryan Murray lasered two insurance goals, one an empty netter, to make the final margin 5-2.

Four of LaSalle's final six regular season games are on the road, starting next Friday at Saratoga, the only time in the regular season that the Cadets and Blue Streaks will meet. Likewise, Bethlehem will play the Cadets just once, a rare Tuesday night game at HVCC on January 31. LaSalle would have to win out to ensure home ice for the playoffs, which begin next month.

Sports this 'n' that

Mother Nature wreaked havoc with local high school sports on Tuesday, wiping out the entire slate of basketball games. Some were played Thursday, creating an untenable situation for some schools, which now were being asked to play back-to-back games.

Troy High's boys team last played on consecutive days during the Holiday Classic last month, and finished last (Lansingburgh won the tournament). So what happens? Their game at Guilderland was moved to Thursday, and, with coach Richard Hurley back on the bench after missing last Friday's loss to Bethlehem, Troy blew out the Dutchmen, to the tune of 80-50. Guilderland is one of a few teams that are in rebuilding mode this season. The Flying Horses came right back Friday, and knocked off Averill Park, despite the Warriors' Anthony Germinerio, cousin of Troy football star John Germinerio, lighting up the defense for 22 points, sharing game high honors with Troy's Daniel Buie.

Last year, the Warriors made their first regular season visit to Troy, and were blown out of the gym. Not quite so bad this time. Conversely, the Averill Park women made their first regular season trip to Zotto Memorial Gym, after Troy had snapped a 4 game losing streak in beating Guilderland on Thursday, and continued their dominance of the Lady Horses, 67-51, holding leading scorer Sabrina Wolfe to just 9 points. Shallie Frierson led Troy with 18. Coach Paul Bearup's team has now lost 5 of 6, and, aside from a breather next Friday at Burnt Hills, the Murderer's Row portion of the schedule will decide the Troy girls' sectional fate.

The road ahead for the Troy teams:

January 27: Girls @ Burnt Hills, boys are home vs. Burnt Hills.
January 28: Girls @ Long Island Lutheran for their final non-league game of the season.
January 31: Girls @ Shaker, boys are home vs. Shaker.
February 3: Boys @ Shenendehowa, girls are home vs. Shen.
February 7: Senior night for the girls vs. Albany, boys @ Albany.
February 10: Senior night for the boys vs. Schenectady, girls @ Schenectady in their regular season finale.
February 14: Boys close @ CBA.

The girls, again, have the tougher road. For the 2nd straight year, at least, they're going downstate, as LIL hasn't come to town yet, and probably can't for financial reasons. They're below .500 again at 5-6 in the Grey division, one game behind Averill Park for 2nd, as both teams are again chasing Albany. The boys are chasing Schenectady, but the Patriots have stumbled of late, having lost 3 of 4 before winning Friday. It could be that Eric Loudis' club may have peaked a wee bit too early, and if so, Troy will be looking for a receipt in 3 weeks. The Troy boys are now 7-4 to Schenectady's 9-3 in the league. Remember, Troy was the only team that wasn't blown out by Shen last year, losing by just 8 points, so if they can find a weakness in Shen, that could allow them to run the table.

Projected finishes: Looking at the boys finishing 11-6, while the women will limp home at 7-10.
====================================
Speaking of Shen, their hockey team stumbled out of the gate this season, but they have coach Juan De La Rocha back on the bench, which could still turn their season around. The skating Plainsmen avenged a road loss last month in beating LaSalle, ending the Cadets' bid for a undefeated regular season with a 5-3 verdict on Wednesday night. One local reporter erred in claiming that LaSalle hadn't avenged a home loss last season to Shen when they did exactly that on December 14. See what happens when you don't check your facts? The Cadets are back home tonight to face Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa.
====================================
The NFL has reached its final four, with the conference championships taking place on Sunday. Chalk goes out the window this week, especially in Foxborough, where Tom "Crybaby" Brady and the Patriots would have to resort to more than the usual chicanery if they want to reach their 7th Super Bowl of the Bill Belichick era (4-2). Not gonna happen. It's a little too convienient, some would say, that the Pittsburgh Steelers have to deal with a flu bug going through their locker room in the run-up to the game, but as long as it's not any of their front-line players, they should be fine.

Both teams have players with local roots. As mentioned previously, New England picked up running back-kick returner Dion Lewis (Albany Academy for Boys) off the scrap heap after injuries curtailed previous stops in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and he has produced. If you live in upstate NY, as I do, and wonder why folks wear replica Antonio Brown jerseys, well, his father, "Touchdown" Eddie Brown, played Arena football here in the 90's, and won an ArenaBowl with the Albany Firebirds, giving the Steelers a fan base in the home district more visible than before.

Pick: Steelers, 27-24.

NFC South Champion Atlanta welcomes the red hot Green Bay Packers and State Farm agent Aaron Rodgers. Folks have slept on the Falcons, if only because their stars don't have commercial endorsements, unlike Rodgers and Clay Matthews, Jr. of the Packers. The final NFL game at the Georgia Dome will end up with a home loss.

Pick: Packers, 38-35.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Classic (?) TV: World's Strongest Man competitions (1977)

Originally developed for CBS Sports Spectacular in 1977, the World's Strongest Man competitions, created by a pair of Scotsmen, now air periodically on ESPN's family of networks.

CBS carried the annual tournament for the first 6 years (1977-82) before turning it over to the BBC, which in turn sold it to Trans World International, a unit of IMG, which brokered a deal not only for the annual event to air on ESPN at last check, but the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" also acquired the original CBS tapes with current ESPN announcer Brent Musburger as host. If you wanted some escapist entertainment on a Saturday afternoon before the 6:00 (ET) news, well, here it is.

Let's take a look at the 1978 edition, a mix of former Olympians, football players, bodybuilders, and then-World Wrestling Federation star Ivan Putski (Ken Patera represented the WWF the previous year).



The fields in recent years have had more of an international flavor than they did back in those days. Declining ratings prompted CBS to sever its ties to the event. By the early 80's, rival ABC had stopped sending camera crews for Wide World of Sports to cover lumberjack competitions and such, so CBS followed suit.

Rating: B.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Classic TV: Hennesey (1959)

Everyone knows that M*A*S*H was originally a straight-up sitcom before morphing into what we now call a dramedy (drama & comedy hybrid). As it turns out, it wasn't the first one to do so.

That distinction belongs to Jackie Cooper's 1959 series, Hennesey (yes, the spelling is correct), which spent three seasons on the same network that would be home to M*A*S*H, CBS (1959-62). Cooper doubled as executive producer, and that experience behind the camera would prove valuable down the road, as Cooper would later concentrate on directing.

The supporting cast included former silent screen star Roscoe Karns, whom Cooper had befriended when both worked for Hal Roach years earlier, and Abby Dalton, who presumably was posited as a romantic interest for Cooper.

Seeing as how this was out of syndication, assuming it was ever syndicated after its network run, I never saw it, so there won't be a rating. We'll leave you with "Hennesey & the Lady Doctor", with guest star Phyllis Coates (ex-Adventures of Superman).

Musical Interlude: My Father's Eyes (1998)

Eric Clapton had actually written "My Father's Eyes" around 1992, which is when he began playing it in concert. It wasn't until six years later that it was released as a single, off the CD, "Pilgrim". "Eyes" peaked at #33 on the Hot 100, and #2 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart.

Still gets healthy airplay today, just because it's Clapton at his introspective best, as the song is about the father he never met or knew.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Musical Interlude: Pictures of Matchstick Men (1968)

Status Quo's 1-hit wonder, at least here in the US, "Pictures of Matchstick Men", peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in 1968. The following clip comes from Top of the Pops:



Kinda makes ya wonder what might've been had it gone to #1 here.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Forgotten TV: Nakia (1974)

Every so often, someone comes up with the idea of using Native Americans as positive role models. However, aside from Tonto, the Lone Ranger's partner in peril, Native American heroes are few and far between. Way too far.

In the 50's, DC Comics, inspired by Lone Ranger, came up with their own Native American heroes, including police detective Pow Wow Smith. Four Star spun off Law of the Plainsman after two guest appearances by Michael Ansara on The Rifleman in the latter series' 1st season. Unfortunately, Law lasted one season.

In 1974, ABC gave it another try, working with Columbia Pictures Television (now Sony Pictures Television) and producer David Gerber, who came over to CPTV from 20th Century Fox, with Nakia.

Nakia Parker (Robert Forster, ex-Banyon) was a 30-something Navajo working as a deputy sheriff in New Mexico. There were two problems that led to the show's quick demise after 4 months. One, it was airing on Saturday nights, opposite The Carol Burnett Show at 10 (ET). Secondly, it should've been on at an earlier time, perhaps on a different night (like, airing opposite NBC's Emergency! would have led to the same result). I never got to see the show as memory serves, so there's no rating.

We'll leave you with a sample episode, "No Place To Hide":

Monday, January 16, 2017

Celebrity Rock: Don Knotts sings! (1970)

After leaving The Andy Griffith Show, Don Knotts turned his attention to movies, with films like "Shakiest Gun in the West" and "The Incredible Mr. Limpet". In 1970, he fronted his own variety show, not on CBS, but NBC. Around that same time, Knotts had landed a commercial endorsement deal with Dodge, and we'll show you some of those ads another time.

Here, though, is a small clip from the 1970 Don Knotts Variety Hour, as Don sings to his daughter, Karen, who also uploaded the clip to YouTube. Just don't know what the title of the song is.



There are instances where Don sang with Andy Griffith, and we'll get those up soon.

Now we're down to four

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs had everything you could've wanted. Unfortunately, that included a certain crybaby pulling the diva card mid-game.

On the NFC side, West division champion Seattle sought to take one  more step toward their third Super Bowl berth in four years. The South champions, the Atlanta Falcons, had other ideas. Erstwhile beef jerky salesman Richard Sherman ended up looking like a prize chump against Atlanta star Julio Jones, and QB Matt Ryan outplayed his counterpart, Russell Wilson, as the Falcons avenged an earlier loss on the road in eliminating Seattle.

I think we all knew that the Green Bay-Dallas game would be a shootout from the get go. Not quite, but awfully close, as Dallas clawed back from an 18 point hole and took the lead at one point. Late in the 4th quarter, Packers kicker Mason Crosby hit a career long--and team postseason record--56 yard field goal. Dallas' Dan Bailey answered with a 51 yarder to tie it at 31, but the Cowboys left just enough time on the clock for Aaron Rodgers to make one last rally. Crosby nailed the game winner as time expired, and the top seeded Cowboys, who lost their regular season finale two weeks earlier, fell, 34-31.

In the AFC, weather forced the Chiefs-Steelers game to primetime. NBC, covering the game, said thank you very much, and so did a nationwide audience treated to another thriller. Chris Boswell kicked six field goals for all of the scoring for the North champs. Kansas City thought they had tied it with a 2 point conversion, but that was negated by a holding penalty that left Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce fuming at the officials. Replays clearly showed, however, that it was a legitimate foul, and Pittsburgh escaped with a 18-16 win.

That for Steelers fans was the good news. The bad? The AFC title game is in Foxborough.

Everyone expected New England to blow out Houston again in a repeat of a week 3 game. For more than a half, that wasn't the case. Albany product Dion Lewis scored three touchdowns, one on a 98 yard kickoff return, but the shine of Lewis' achievement was dulled by the diva antics of his spoiled child of a quarterback, Tom Brady.

In the 3rd quarter, Brady was fortunate to get a pass off before getting hit by Houston's Jadeveon Clowney. Brady popped up and whined to the referee. Later in the quarter, when Clowney laid another hit on Brady, he ended up getting flagged for "roughing the passer". Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, last seen on ESPN, reminded Brady via Twitter what game he's playing, clearly disgusted by Brady's childish complaining.

Star players and their coaches often work the refs to get calls going their way. That, too, is part of the game in football as well as in basketball. However, for someone like Brady, who has the reputation for being a spoiled brat, win or lose, that luxurious privelege should be taken away. All he did, in this writer's opinion, was make a case for the league to strip New England of their home field advantage and force the title game to a neutral site, making the Patriots have to actually earn their 7th Super Bowl berth in the Brady era. As if.

Picks later in the week.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Death has been busy

Inasmuch as people began complaining about how a lot of famous persons were passing on during the last year, 2017 has started off with more of the same.

Author William Peter Blatty, the man who not only wrote The Exorcist, and shepherded its transition to the big screen in the 70's, passed away earlier this week. So did Tony Rosato (ex-Saturday Night Live), whose career went on a downward spiral after leaving SNL. Buddy Greco was 90 when he was called home more than a week ago.

And the WWE has known loss as well. First, Timothy Smith, who worked as Timothy Well, 1/2 of the 90's team of Well Dunn, and as Rex King in other areas, had passed after a lengthy illness. Now comes word that Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has lost his battle with stomach cancer and other illnesses at 73.

Last month, Snuka was declared unfit to stand trial in the death of his ex-girlfriend, which happened in the 80's, during his first go-round with the then-World Wrestling Federation. Today, Jimmy's daughter, Tamina, works for WWE, and is training to return to action after being out with an injury for much of 2016.

As Vince McMahon himself would say, let's take you back to Snuka's debut on Championship Wrestling in the winter of 1982, as a heel managed by fellow Hall of Famer Lou Albano. McMahon & Pat Patterson are at the mic's, and Howard Finkel does a voice-over promo for live cards in Utica & Syracuse, so this may have aired on WKTV.



Back in Hollywood, Dick Gautier, best known as Hymie the Robot on Get Smart before landing the lead in Mel Brooks' 1975 sitcom, When Things Were Rotten, left us at 83. Here's a clip:



Finally, as I'm sure you've heard, there is a different kind of passing, and that is the long running Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is folding its tents due to rising operating costs after the current season, which does not include a visit to Albany this year.

From 1966, here's a highlight reel of that year's tour, hosted by Roy Rogers & Dale Evans:



May our stars and Mr. Blatty rest in peace.

On the Shelf: A new age Nancy Drew and other things

One of the best things about Free Comic Book Day last May was my first exposure to Hope Larsen's teen sleuth, Goldie Vance. Already, comparisons have been made between Goldie, a 16 year old African American, and Nancy Drew, who will be on comic shelves in March via Dynamite Entertainment.

The first four issues of Goldie Vance have been collected by Boom! Studios in a sweet little trade paperback that does capture the essence of the Drew classics credited to "Carolyn Keene", with an urban spin, aided by a healthy dose of Disney. How, you might ask?

Goldie and her father work at a Miami hotel, where Goldie aspires to become the house detective when she gets older. The artistic style is a blend of DC's Batman Adventures of the 90's and Disney's Proud Family, among other influences. The hotel setting suggests The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, but without the twins. Goldie's first adventure follows all the predictable tropes of amateur teen sleuths, plus a willingness by Goldie to go against the law to find pertinent clues. Older fans will think it's a more saccharine, watered down, juvenile clone of 70's sleuths John Shaft and Christie Love, but it really isn't. It's safe and family friendly.

Rating: A.

On the other hand, former Marvel executive Bill (Pa) Jemas is back with a new company, DoubleTake. A collected miniseries, Soul, happened to pop up the other day, and the local shop owner was giving copies away, if but because the publisher dropped off a bundle for a test run. I couldn't wrap my head around the plot. Not enough dialogue, not enough real story. It may have carried a $10 cover price, but it'll be in the remainder bins very shortly if there are copies left.

Rating: D.

Ever since the Crisis on Infinite Earths rewrote the rules for comics writing in the 80's, DC has repeatedly rebooted Justice League of America, due in part to the perception that there is still a hysterical market for first issues, and a generation of executives who just don't have clue one.

When the series was relaunched in 1987, it was known simply as Justice League, and turned into a modern day festival of camp craziness mixed with adventure, courtesy of writers Keith Giffen & J. Marc DeMatteis (currently on Scooby Apocalypse). Eventually, a spinoff series, Justice League Europe, led to the parent book being rechristened, Justice League America, leaving "of" off the title.

When DC launched the infamous New 52 in 2011, having learned nothing, they stuck with Justice League, then added Justice League of America as a spin-off title, not once, but twice. The 2nd time around, the book was entrusted to writer-artist Bryan Hitch, whose penchant for being deadline-challenged left the series at a glacial pace.

And so it is that after Rebirth and a new Justice League #1, Justice League of America is spun off again, and returns in February, preceded by a series of 1-shot specials featuring the Atom, the Ray, and Vixen, among others.

On an impulse buy, I picked up Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth the other day, having seen both seasons of the animated Vixen on CW Seed. Bear in mind that this would actually be the first first issue of a Vixen comic book to see the light of day. Mari McCabe, aka Vixen, was originally meant to be introduced as part of the infamous DC Explosion in 1978, but her book never came out, and subsequently was issued as part of something called Cancelled Comics Cavalcade (good luck finding that). In current DC continuity, Mari is a supermodel-turned-social worker who goes through a bit of personal introspection to get her careers back on track. Nothing like the cartoons, which is a good thing, because if they tried to adapt the animated series, there would be some comparisons to how Marvel is using Black Panther these days. The artwork, however, looks a little too busy for my tastes.

Rating: B--.

In the post-Crisis era, DC gave three of Charlton's best known heroes their own books. Of these, Blue Beetle, written by Len Wein, had the shortest run, and presented a more serious Beetle than the one appearing at the time in Justice League. Denny O'Neil & Denys Cowan were given The Question, which gave O'Neil a bully pulpit for his interest in martial arts and Zen. Veteran writer Cary Bates, best known for his work on The Flash & Superman in the pre-Crisis era, teamed with co-author Greg Weisman and artist Pat Broderick to completely reboot Captain Atom, where we were introduced to General Wade Eiling before he became a totally corrupt military wackjob.

Nathaniel Adam's story is retold by Bates & Weisman in the new miniseries, The Rise & Fall of Captain Atom, nearly 30 years after DC's launch of the series. There's some backstory that will be covered beginning in issue 2, but if you're familiar with the series during its run in the late 80's-early 90's, you may be ahead of the game. There is a reason Captain Atom has that metallic blue bodysuit instead of the standard costume that Steve Ditko gave him, and I think that origin will be revisited next month. Me? I'll wait for the trade paperback.

Rating: Incomplete.

Oh, by the way, Weisman went on to a successful career in television animation, with credits including Gargoyles & Young Justice, that has made him more of a fan favorite than when he was at DC.

Scooby Apocalypse artist Howard (Pret-a-) Porter has been pulled away from the series to work on a crossover project involving The Flash, so Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold are filling in beginning with issue 9 (out now). Dale Eaglesham drew the back-up feature, and wait until you see what Giffen & DeMatteis have done to Scrappy-Doo. Bigger, meaner, but still a smart cookie with some compassion. His story will finally move to the front in short order.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Musical Interlude: Can't Stop Loving You (1995)

Van Halen's 1995 CD, "Balance", landed at #1 right out of the chute. It also marked the end of Sammy Hagar's tenure as the band's vocalist after 4 albums over a 8 year period.

I just happened to flip on MTV Classic (formerly VH1 Classic) earlier today, and this nugget of joy came on. I was originally going to save this for next month as a Video Valentine, but since it's still fresh in my head, I figured, why wait? This was the end of Van Halen as a "pop-metal" band, as "Can't Stop Loving You" appealed to the adult contemporary crowd just as much as the hard rock/heavy metal audience that had been with the band from day one.

What Might've Been: The Celebrity Game (1964)

Many say that Heatter-Quigley's 1964 entry for CBS, The Celebrity Game, was a forerunner to the much more successful Hollywood Squares, which launched on NBC two years later. However, Celebrity was actually the second step in an evolution of what would become Squares.

In 1963, H-Q had sold People Will Talk, a daytime game show, to NBC, with Dennis James as host. There were 15 celebrities on the panel for that short-lived series, way too many by today's standards, so after People was cancelled, H-Q went back to the drawing board.

The basic concept of Celebrity Game had three contestants trying to read the minds of nine stars on simple Yes or No questions posed by host Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show). Unfortunately, this didn't last very long, either.

Let's take a look at an episode from June 1964. The panel includes Mickey Rooney, Louis Nye, Lee Marvin, and Connie Stevens.



Rival Goodson-Todman would co-opt the Yes/No line of questioning for a short lived 1979 daytime game, Mindreaders (previously reviewed), which landed at NBC. Seemed as though the contestants were getting almost as many laughs as the panel.

Rating: B.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Musical Interlude: A Hazy Shade of Winter (1966)

Time for some seasonally appropriate music from Simon & Garfunkel.

"A Hazy Shade of Winter" was first released as a single in the fall of 1966, and peaked at #13 on the pop chart. However, it was not included on the "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme" album. Instead, it was later issued on 1968's "Bookends".



In 1987, the Bangles recorded an edited cover of "Winter" for the movie, "Less Than Zero". Fittingly, both groups recorded for the same label (Columbia).

High School Fridays: Bethlehem @ Troy (boys' basketball), 1/13/17

Fittingly for Friday the 13th, there was a full moon out. Unfortunately, that spelled trouble for Troy High.

The Flying Horses welcomed back senior point guard Ryan Carmello, who missed the last 4 games with an ankle injury. Troy went 1-3 over that span, but tonight, they still had someone important missing. This time, it was coach Richard Hurley, as assistant coach Greg Davis ran the team in his stead. Not sure what the story is, be it illness or something else entirely. Just the same, it was a bad omen.

Bethlehem provided the opposition for Troy tonight, making their 2nd regular season visit to Zotto Gym. The Eagles won here in 2014, when Troy was an independent. After Troy jumped out to an early 10 point lead in the first quarter, the Eagles chipped away, then, in the second period, applied a full court press that Troy had trouble breaking. Bethlehem took the lead during the second period, and never looked back. Daniel Buie led Troy with 18 points. Brandon Holmes chipped in 11 before fouling out late in the fourth quarter, Joe Casale added 7, and Carmello, in his first game back, had 4. Bethlehem led by as much as 14 in the fourth, but left with a 63-56 win, as Troy has now lost four of their last five to fall 3 1/2 games behind front running Schenectady in the Suburban Council's Grey division.

Next week, the boys are on the road at Guilderland and Averill Park before returning to Zotto Gym in 2 weeks to host Burnt Hills. Five of Troy's final eight regular season games are on the road.
====================================
Meanwhile, the girls' struggles continued, as the Lady Horses dropped their 4th straight, 75-52, to Bethlehem. Shallie Frierson returned after missing the last two games, and led Troy with 20 points in a losing effort. The Lady Eagles are now 4-0 against Troy over three seasons. The girls are home next week vs. Guilderland and Averill Park. The Lady Warriors moved ahead of Troy in the standings, as Troy falls to 3 games behind Albany. Second place, then, will be on the line when Averill Park makes its first regular season visit to Zotto Gym next Friday. The only time I've seen them play is when they beat Troy in an overtime thriller in the Class A title game 2 years ago at HVCC.
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On the ice, LaSalle ran their winning streak to 9 in a row, blowing away Niskayuna-Schenectady, 8-3. The Cadets remain undefeated (10-0-2), and will be on the road to visit Shenendehowa on Wednesday night. The Mohawks will get one more crack at LaSalle when the Cadets return to Schenectady on January 28. With 8 games left, the race may actually be for 2nd place in the Capital District High School Hockey League.

Revenge is a dish best served cold or warm: NFL Divisional Playoff predictions

All four divisional round games this weekend are rematches from earlier in the season. My heart's telling me one thing, my brain another. Your actual mileage may vary......

AFC:

Houston @ New England (Saturday, CBS): The oddsmakers, noting that the Evil Empire pitched a 27-0 shutout earlier in the season, also at Gillette Stadium, made the Patriots a 15 1/2 point favorite. Please. Houston QB Brock Osweiler has beaten the Pats before----while with Denver. There's no reason to think he can't do it again. New England didn't have Tom Brady the first time (suspension), and you can bet that there are some Texans supporters who think their team wasn't just outplayed on a Thursday night in September, but screwed. I didn't see the game that night, so I can't judge. Very few outside of New England believe the Patriots can win without some kind of shortcut. I'd rather see a more competitive game, but I won't be watching. Why should I?

The pick: Patriots, 27-17.

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City (Sunday, NBC): In October, the Steelers blew out the Chiefs. Because of that, the homestanding AFC West champs are a 1 point favorite, the diametric opposite of their likely next opponent. It's guaranteed to be tight. Kansas City gets defensive lineman Justin Houston back from injury, and that may make all the difference in the world. As much as I'm a Steelers fan from way back, I can't see them beating KC a 2nd time.

The pick: Chiefs, 28-24.

NFC:

Seattle @ Atlanta (Saturday, Fox):
This is the time of year when the Seahawks are at their most dangerous, regardless of where they're playing. They'd like nothing better than to get to their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years, and a possible rematch with New England, whom they beat earlier this season, handing the Patriots one of their two losses. You don't sleep on Atlanta at home, but I can't see the Falcons overcoming Seattle's defense.

The pick: Seahawks, 24-20.

Green Bay @ Dallas (Sunday, Fox): The absolute game of the week. In October, the Cowboys came to Lambeau Field and had a field day with the Packers. This time, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack are on a 7 game winning streak, headed to the Temple of Excess in Arlington. Cowboy rookie Ezekiel Elliott knows all about the post-season environment, having won a national title with Ohio State two years ago. This will be another tight seat-squirmer, right down to the wire and the kickers.

The pick: Cowboys, 44-41. Yes, they'll light up the scoreboard all day long.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

On The Air: Upstate Sports Edge (2015)

Regular readers of this blog know I wear my affection for my home district virtually on my sleeve. I began covering the Tri-City Valleycats a few years ago, then added high school sports on a full-time basis two years ago.

Up until the summer of 2015, upstate New York didn't have a nightly sports show. Now, they have two. Time Warner Cable's news channel has a 15 minute program, sponsored by Toyota, that barely scratches the surface. In August of 2015, WRGB, through its step-sister channel, WCWN, got into the fray with Upstate Sports Edge, which airs Monday-Friday only, at least for now, but you have to believe there will be a bit of a clamor for extended coverage down the road as winter sports sectionals begin next month.

Host Kelly O'Donnell was recently promoted to sports director and lead sports anchor when Doug Sherman left for ESPN. Sherman's predecessor, Joe Tessitore, had gone the same path a few years earlier. Now, though, comes word that O'Donnell won't be hosting Sports Edge much longer. In one week's time, he'll be leaving to take a job in the communications department at Siena College, which will keep him close to the pulse of local sports, but now he'll be on the other end of phone conversations with current co-workers Jason Lewis & Brittany Devane, who will share hosting duties on Sports Edge beginning with the January 20 episode. Lewis has already filled in at least one night, and Devane has been a regular contributor-de facto co-host.

Following is a clip from September, with 518 Sports founder Dylan Rossiter, provided by 518 Sports' YouTube channel.



As Sports Edge approaches the 18 month mark wondering who would be a good fit as full-time host, maybe Rossiter should consider sending in an audition tape. Same goes for the local radio hosts who've been guests. It wouldn't hurt.

Rating: A.

Weasel of the Week: Brandy Jaymes

I've read of a lot of child abuse cases over the years, but this one literally is a case of the shiznit hitting the fan.

Brandy Jaymes, 36, was arrested Tuesday by local police in Utah on charges that she locked one of her three children in a darkened bathroom, and kept him there, investigators say, for as much as 2 years. The child, when retrieved by his father, who is separated from his wife, weighed just 30 pounds.

SAY WHAT??

There are few details as to why this child was being kept locked away. His siblings communicated with him through a locked door up until six months ago, and Jaymes had a baby monitor hooked up in the room where she could check on him through her smart-phone.

Online commentators on Yahoo!, predictably, are calling for Jaymes to take the same kind of abuse she heaped on her own child (the brother & sister are in the custody of child protective services), but that only exacerbates the situation, in this writer's opinion. The child was pulled from school a while back, presumably for disciplinary issues, which suggests a learning disorder that Jaymes chose not to address. One has to guess that she wouldn't understand that her actions further imperiled the boy because she might not have finished school herself.

I don't know if Weasels actually roam in Utah, but a two-legged one certainly does.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Might've Been: GE True (1962)

In 1962, General Electric had ended the long running anthology series, GE Theater, which had been hosted for most of the run by future President Ronald Reagan. The following fall, GE joined forces not with Revue Studios, which packaged GE Theater, but with Warner Bros., to create a new anthology series, GE True, and entrusted the project to Jack Webb and his Mark VII production company. Most of you might think that Webb's most closely associated with Universal, but he started at WB, which distributed the original Dragnet. After GE True ended its 1 year run in 1963, Webb then switched studios.

So why did GE True fail? One word. Bonanza. CBS placed True on Sundays ahead of Candid Camera, as memory serves, and What's My Line?, but it was opposite the 2nd half of Bonanza. Ballgame over.

Webb would sell two more series to CBS in later years, but both of those series, O'Hara: US Treasury (1971), and Sam (with Mark Harmon) also lasted just 1 season, proving that Webb's greatest success was at NBC.

From October 1962, here's "V-Victor-5". The poster used a different title, presumably to throw the copyright police off track.



There were plenty of anthology shows on the air at the time, so maybe that also had something to do with the cancellation of this series. Oh, by the way, GE True used source material from True, a now-defunct magazine from Fawcett Publishing.

Rating: A.

Dunce Cap Award: President-Elect Donald Trump

With 10 days to the inauguration of the most deranged President in history, Donald Trump has added another Dunce Cap to a growing list of "awards" from this desk. Why? Read on.

On Monday, the incoming Commander-in-Chief told a New York Times reporter that "all of the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It's hard to find a great dress for this inauguration."

A Vice President for a Washington-area Neiman Marcus begs to differ, telling the Washington Post that the store still has plenty of dresses available. Krista Johnson, owner of Ella Rue, located in the Georgetown section, acknowledged that her store always has dresses in a separate interview with the Post.

Translation: Dumb Donald should've done some due diligence, or at least had any number of his New York based assistants do that for him. On the surface, one can assume he meant to say that he couldn't find a suitable dress for wife Melania or daughter Ivanka, then painted all of Washington's dress shops with a overly wide brush just out of sheer stupidity.

The delusions that our incoming President is living under are cause enough for concern. What also gets him in trouble is his needless critique of Golden Globe winner Meryl Streep's comments on Sunday night, calling Streep "overrated". So he read between the lines of her comments, and found another excuse to waste Twitter space with mindless, delusional twaddle. Big freakin' whoop. Once he takes office on January 20, Mr. Trump needs to settle into his new job and suspend his 3 am (ET) Twaddle-storms, as boneheaded as they've become.

If Trump has to rent a DVD before the 20th, I'd like to recommend one specific movie. "The President's Analyst", starring James Coburn, because, friends, he's going to need one. Yesterday.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Musical Interlude: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (1969)

You've probably heard the chorus at sporting events. It's been used in the WWE on occasion when an unpopular performer is leaving and loses a final match. What you don't know is that Steam was another one of those trendy pre-fabricated studio bands that popped up like so many pimples in the 60's.

"Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" spent two weeks at #1 in 1969, fueled largely by the fact that the record company, Mercury, bought thousands of copies of the single themselves after the song began playing on AM radio stations in the south.

As it happened, Steam split up the very next year.

Football this 'n' that

First off, let me apologize for not posting my picks for the NFL Wild Card playoffs the last couple of days (if anyone cares, I went 3-1, losing only on Oakland). I've been busy with other matters not pertaining to the blog, and I had totally forgotten about it prior to Saturday's games.
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Around here, we refer to the New England Patriots as the NFL's Evil Empire. Folks also have a tendency to haterize the Seattle Seahawks for whatever reason. Go back to the NFC title game vs. San Francisco a few years back, and Richard Sherman's impersonation of a pro wrestler in terms of talking trash at then-Niners wideout Michael Crabtree (now with Oakland). Sherman was rewarded (?) with 2 years of having to do beef jerky ads with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith as a "voice in the pit of Sherman's stomach".

During this season, online commentators on Yahoo! whine repeatedly about how the Seahawks are getting the benefit of poor officiating at home. On Saturday night, that certainly seemed to be little more than an error of omission, as replays clearly showed Seattle receiver Paul Richardson grabbing the face mask of a Detroit defender with one hand while catching a TD pass with the other. The students of Mr. Magoo went to Detroit coach Jim Caldwell at the end of halftime and sheepishly admitted they goofed for the zillionth time this season. Even NBC's Cris Collinsworth noted that the TD should've been taken off the board had the knuckleheaded zebras actually witnessed the infraction.
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The Giants were torched by their own local press today in the wake of yesterday's loss to Green Bay, all because some players spent part of last week partying in Miami. In a major media market like New York, where scandal is just as much a part of commerce as panhandlers busking for change, this was a big no-no. In my eyes, the Packers exorcised the ghosts of post-seasons past at Lambeau vs. the Giants (2007 & 2011 playoffs), and now will play top seeded Dallas. Seattle, oh, by the way, is headed to Atlanta to battle the Falcons. A comforting thought for the 'Hawks is that if they beat Atlanta, and Green Bay beats Dallas, the NFC title game will be in Seattle, sparing Seattle the frozen tundra of Lambeau.
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Once the season ends, an era will end at ESPN, as senior anchor Chris Berman is leaving Sunday NFL Countdown, and will take on a reduced role at the network. His detractors have been calling for something akin to that for years, tired of his schtick, although he did retire the "Swami" turban for his Friday 2:00 Drill feature on SportsCenter. Someone else, presumably Karl Ravech, will MC the Home Run Derby in July, and I'm guessing either Suzy Kolber (who's looking hotter than ever lately) or Trey Wingo will succeed Berman on Countdown.
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Actually, ESPN would be better served (not by Applebee's) if they got rid of Stephen A. Smith, once and for all. He failed hosting a talk show (Quite Frankly was a bomb for a reason), but he somehow still is doing radio, which perhaps fits with the idea that he makes him sound like the late Howard Cosell, and probably thinks he's Cosell reincarnated. Lord save us from that. Smith is re-upping with ESPN Radio after trying satellite radio, doing his lame schtick on Chris Russo's Mad Dog Radio channel. Smith is and always has been a poser as a journalist. Is it any wonder that when Skip Bayless signed with FS1, his First Take ripoff, Undisputed, has him making ex-NFLer Shannon Sharpe (ex-The NFL Today) look even more minor league than before? Bayless only wishes he got that same kind of leverage over "Screamin' A", else he'd still be at ESPN.
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Submitted for the C'mon Man! feature on Countdown next week: Pittsburgh's Ryan Shazier, a 3rd year linebacker (Ohio State), on the field with no shirt in below-freezing temps prior to Sunday's game vs. Miami. Someone get him some cold pills.
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25 years ago, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney won a national title as a player with Alabama. Tonight, for the 2nd straight year, he's hoping to lead Clemson to the promised land. The Tigers, representing the Atlantic Coast Conference, haven't won a national title in 36 years. All I see is another shootout, like last year, and the end result will be the same. The Tide will roll again, 45-42.

Memo to David Ortiz: This is not how you play tennis! (2016)

I don't find this TurboTax commercial the least bit funny.

A couple of months into retirement, and David Ortiz is back on our television screens. Apparently, no one's told him you don't hit tennis balls the same way you hit baseballs. Seems he's never played tennis.



To me, this sends the wrong kind of message, even if this is meant to be comedy----which it isn't.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Musical Interlude: Sooner or Later (1971)

The Grass Roots peaked at #9 on the charts in 1971 with "Sooner or Later", which still gets plenty of airplay to this day on oldies channels.

The following clip is taken from the short-lived Rollin' On The River, and one of the show's regulars, Mary Arnold, sits in with the band.

Different, Yet The Same Week: Blankety Blank (1979)

On a recommendation from contributor Mike Doran, we close "Different, Yet The Same Week" with the BBC version of Blankety Blank, which launched in 1979, right around this time of year, in fact, and outlasted its Australian & American forebears, as the first series ended in 1990.

Again, the series is modeled after the 1973-82 Match Game, but with the format tweaked ever so slightly. You'll see what I mean. Now, let's meet host Terry Wogan and the panel.....



Wogan lasted six "series", and was succeeded by Les Dawson. A subsequent revival helmed by Lily Savage bowed in 1997, but didn't have the staying power. They are, however, attempting another relaunch, perhaps emboldened by the return of Match to American screens last summer, as a Christmas special aired last month. Wogan, however, is no longer with us.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Forgotten TV: Checking In (1981)

After 7 seasons on The Jeffersons, some genius decided that Florence, the tart-tongued maid (Marla Gibbs), deserved her own series. If memory serves, Checking In, which lasted just a month in the spring of 1981, either filled in for Jeffersons or shared space on the Sunday schedule for CBS.

Only 4 episodes made it to air, as viewers sent a message. Even though Florence was a beloved, popular character, the audience felt she wasn't meant to be fronting a show of her own. Gibbs was given a supporting cast that included Larry Linville (ex-M*A*S*H), Liz Torres, and Robert Costanzo, the latter better known for his later cartoon work (Batman: The Animated Series in particular).

Here's the open:



No rating.

When MTV meant something: Headbangers Ball (1987)

I've often mentioned that I grew up in a household that favored country music over pop-rock and other genres. If I wanted to listen to something else, I had a transistor radio handy in my youth. I wasn't much for heavy metal at first, but since as a teen I had friends who were either into the genre and/or played in metal bands, I started giving it a listen. I've been to a small number of concerts, but as I'd discover, I was more comfortable with the soft "power ballads". Easier on the ears, you know.

As metal began dominating MTV's Dial MTV daily countdown, the network created a weekly show devoted to the genre. Headbangers Ball launched in 1987. Kevin Seal, who looked nothing like your average metal-head was the first host, but then was swapped out for Adam Curry, who certainly had the hair for the job (and parlayed the gig into a guest role on Swamp Thing). Ultimately, LA club owner Riki Rachtman was tapped as permanent host until the series ended its initial run in 1995.

That, in fact, still has fans a little peeved to this day. MTV suits offered no explanation or warning for the decision to end the show. Rachtman would later take a gig working for WCW (!), which would signal the end of his time as a TV personality, insofar as I know.

MTV2 revived the series in 2003, and went through a host-of-the-week format until Jamey Jasten of Hatebreed was tapped as the new full-time host. Since 2011, the series has been a online-only entity. Lord only knows why, but with MTV Classic (formerly VH1 Classic) now playing music videos 24/7 (YAY!), there's a good chance the Ball could be back on your TV screens in 2017.

Let's go back to 1991. Riki brings the cameras to his club, the Cat House, where Megadeth performs a "secret" concert, which somehow wasn't so secret after all. Mind the video quality, and the fact that a few seconds were left out, in addition to any videos that were on the playlist that night between Megadeth songs.



Megadeth would eventually appear on WCW Monday Nitro, likely the result of a booking brokered by Rachtman and Eric Bischoff. By then, however, ye scribe was losing interest in metal.

Rating: B-.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Different, Yet The Same Week: Blankety Blanks (1977)

G'day, mate.

Take a looksee here at this Australian game show, Blankety Blanks, and try to tell me if it doesn't look the least bit familiar.......



Yes, this Blankety Blanks, produced by Reg Grundy, is based on the popular Match Game, right down to the matching stage set. Unfortunately, it lasted a year and a half, launching in January 1977 and finishing in the fall of 1978. The series would return twice, each for about the same length of time, in the 80's and 90's. With the current revival of Match Game having begun a 2nd season earlier this week, I thought this might be worth a look. Host Graham Kennedy wasn't close when it came to interaction with the panel to emulating his American counterpart, Gene Rayburn.

By the way, this won't ever be confused with a Bob Stewart-produced Blankety Blanks, which predated this series by 2 years, and ran for 2 1/2 months in 1975 on ABC, hosted by Stewart's go-to MC, Bill Cullen.

Rating: B.

High School Fridays: Shaker-Colonie @ LaSalle (hockey), 1/6/17

It has been 10 days since LaSalle Institute had won the annual Mohawks tournament at Union College. The one burning question heading into tonight's home game vs. Shaker-Colonie was whether or not the Cadets could sustain the momentum, having spent those 10 days holding practices every day.

About 1/3 of the way through the first period, we got our answer, as Kevin Mainello lit the lamp to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. In the second period, Mainello took a pass from Logan DiScanio and one-timed it into the net to increase the lead to 2-0. The Jets answered as Joe Molloy stuffed one past Casey Boone to cut the lead in half at 2-1. However, Mainello completed the hat trick just a few minutes later, and LaSalle led, 3-1, after 2 periods.

In the final frame, Molloy one-timed a shot past Boone to bring the guests within one again at 3-2. However, with about five minutes and change left in regulation, DiScanio took a feed from Mainello and jammed home a power play insurance goal, making the final score 4-2, as LaSalle remains undefeated, running their current winning streak to eight in a row.

The Cadets now have a full week of practice before their next game, right back at home at Hudson Valley Community College on Friday the 13th vs. Niskayuna-Schenectady, with the return match on the road 15 days later. In between, LaSalle will be at Shenendehowa (1/18), at home against Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa (1/21), and at Saratoga (1/27). In a normal year, it'd be a killer gauntlet, and as it is, it will be a litmus test for the Cadets to prove they've come all the way back after two lean seasons in a row.
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Turning to the hardwoods, Troy High's women's basketball team began the week in first place in the Suburban Council's blue division. They end it one game out of first, having now dropped three of their last four after a 60-59 heartbreaker at Saratoga tonight. The Lady Horses were without one of their leading scorers in Shallie Frierson, but it was still a two-woman show on offense, as Alaina Holmes & Sabrina Wolfe combined for more than half of the scoring for Troy. Holmes had missed the last two games. Troy led by 15 going into the final frame, but were outscored, 23-7, as Saratoga came storming back to escape with the win. Troy had lost to Albany earlier in the week to fall into a tie for first at the time. The Lady Falcons now lead by a game after running their winning streak to six in a row by beating Niskayuna.

Meanwhile, the Troy boys aren't faring much better. In fact, after finishing last in their own tournament last week, the last thing they wanted was to start 2017 with another loss. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened, as their losing streak is now at 3 after dropping a 74-67 decision to Saratoga. Senior guard Ryan Carmello missed his 3rd straight game with an ankle injury, and his absence has had a damaging effect on the Flying Horses, who visit Niskayuna on Tuesday before returning home next Friday to play Bethlehem. The reverse holds true, of course, for the girls (home vs. Niskayuna, on the road at Bethlehem).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Musical Interlude: Incense & Peppermints (1967)

Strawberry Alarm Clock had just 1 hit record, and it was a doozy.

"Incense & Peppermints" was released in 1967, and 30 years later was included in the soundtrack to "Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery".



Radical, man.

Different, Yet The Same Week: The I've Got a Secret/To Tell The Truth switcheroo (1965)

I misspoke when I said we'd see the panel of To Tell The Truth on I've Got a Secret. The way CBS structured their schedule in the winter of 1965, Truth aired first, followed by Secret, not the other way around as I had seemed to imply.

That said, let's take a look at To Tell The Truth with Henry Morgan, Bess Myerson, Bill Cullen, and Betsy Palmer.



If you're keeping score at home, Bess was a perfect 3-for-3, and Bill, who seemed to have it all figured out a week earlier, as we showed last time, was 0-for-3.

Ehh, let's just jump to I've Got a Secret, with special guest Alan King.



Ok, so the triplets even fooled Steve Allen. The three Helen Luths was also a nod to the Truth panel's normal environment. Playing Secret isn't quite as easy as it looked, was it? Of course not.

Ratings for these episodes:

To Tell The Truth: A.
I've Got a Secret: B+.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Different, Yet The Same Week: I've Got a Secret/To Tell The Truth crossover (1965)

Now, this is how you do a crossover.

In January 1965, CBS, seeing the ratings of its primetime game shows begin to fall, came up with a unique crossover event. Bud Collyer and the panel of To Tell The Truth, were guests on I've Got a Secret, and the final game of the January 11 episode was a hybrid of the two shows. Collyer co-moderates with Steve Allen, who'd taken over Secret nearly 7 months earlier from Garry Moore, and Truth regulars Orson Bean, Tom Poston, Kitty Carlisle, & Peggy Cass sit in with Betsy Palmer, Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson, & Henry Morgan. The flirting between Poston & Palmer is only the beginning of this bonding experience.



As it turned out, Cullen figured out the whole shebang, even if he couldn't vote in the Truth half of the game.

Cullen would, in fact, guest host Truth a few years later, when Moore was away, and, as documented previously, MC'd the 1976 revival of Secret as a summer replacement when the series returned to CBS.

Notice that Secret is credited as a "Telecast Enterprises" production, but with the usual Goodson-Todman crew (i.e. Gil Fates, Paul Alter, Chester Feldman, etc.). Hmmmmmmm.

Rating: A.

Tomorrow, we'll look at how the Truth team played Secret after the on-the-job-training.

Sports this 'n' that

Less than 48 hours after beating Washington in the College Football Playoff semi-finals, Alabama bade farewell to "Wisteria" Lane Kiffin on Monday, as he begins his new job as head coach at Florida Atlantic. Steve Sarkisian, like Kiffin a former head coach at USC, will replace Kiffin as offensive coordinator when Alabama meets Clemson for the national championship on Monday.

Kiffin has been a lightning rod for controversy at previous stops at USC, Tennessee, and his lone NFL coaching job with Oakland. One wonders, then, if trying to juggle finishing the season with the Crimson Tide and preparing for his new role at Florida Atlantic became too much to handle, and it got him in the crosshairs of Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
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As expected, Gary Kubiak resigned as head coach of the Denver Broncos after a season-closing win over Oakland on New Year's Day for health reasons. I think GM John Elway and ownership are waiting for the rest of the dominoes to fall before making a move. AFC West rival San Diego parted company with Mike McCoy on Monday, and a headline today suggests that former Atlanta coach Mike Smith might be interested. More heads figure to roll, and soon. One commentator on Yahoo! went so far as to suggest the Jets bring back Rex Ryan----as an offensive coordinator----after Chan Gailey retired on Tuesday. I don't think so. If Ramblin' Rex isn't doing television, he'll be in the mix for jobs with either Jacksonville, San Diego, or anyone else, and soon.
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High school beat: Troy High's women's basketball team is no longer alone atop the Blue Division of the Suburban Council (the league flips the division every other year, it seems) after losing to resurgent Albany on Tuesday night. The Lady Falcons have won four in a row in league play to draw even with the Lady Flying Horses, who have lost two of their last three overall.

Part of the problem for Troy, based on reading the box scores online, is the same one that plagued them last season. Senior stars Shallie Frierson and Sabrina Wolfe are the only consistent scorers coach Paul Bearup has, and each tallied 25 points in the loss to Albany. Only two other players cracked the scoring column for Troy. In contrast, Albany, which has now beaten Troy something like seven or eight times in a row, had 10 players collect at least 2 points, led by Imani Harris with 14. The balanced attack is something that Troy is lacking on the women's side, and that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Troy will play at Saratoga on Friday, but I'd not be surprised to find that this was the game that ultimately costs them the division crown. Troy's boys team, after the humiliation of losing both games in their own tournament last week, will host Saratoga's boys on Friday.