Monday, July 16, 2018

CBS Fall Preview 50 years ago (1968)

It won't be long before a new television season begins, and that means we will start hunting for fall previews from the past again.

Today, we'll start with CBS' fall preview for 1968, designed for affiliates & sponsors. However, in the following video, only five of the seven new shows are featured. All seven have previously been reviewed.

Mondays: Mayberry, RFD picks up where The Andy Griffith Show leaves off, literally, as Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith) marries long time sweetheart Helen Crump (Aneta Corsault) in the series opener before passing the baton to farmer-turned councilman Sam Jones (Ken Berry, ex-F-Troop). Series would last three seasons (1968-71).

Tuesdays: Lancer tells the story of two brothers (Wayne Maunder & James Stacy) who don't even realize until they meet that they are in fact related. Co-star Elizabeth Baur later would appear on Ironside, and Maunder would get one more series (Chase).

Wednesdays: The Good Guys, from Talent Associates, brought Bob Denver (ex-Gilligan's Island) back after a year away, this time paired with Herb Edelman and Joyce Van Patten. Lasted two seasons.

Thursdays: Another Gilligan alumnus, Jim Backus, steps into the role of Julius C. Dithers, Dagwood Bumstead's boss, in the adaptation of Blondie. Patricia Harty has the title role opposite Will Hutchins (ex-Hey, Landlord, Sugarfoot) as Dagwood. Lasted just one season. On the other hand, Hawaii Five-O began a 12 year run (1968-80) with Jack Lord (ex-Stoney Burke) as Steve McGarrett. The revival is returning for its 8th season this fall, or 2/3 of the way to matching the original.

Missing are two more Monday entries, Here's Lucy, in which Lucille Ball is joined by her two children, Lucie Arnaz & Desi Arnaz, Jr., whose father, Desi, Sr., was over at NBC shepherding The Mothers-in-Law through its second & final season, and The Doris Day Show, with Doris joined by Denver Pyle (ex-Tammy, The Andy Griffith Show, and later of The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams & Dukes of Hazzard) and James Hampton (ex-F-Troop).

As a result, this video checks in at just shy of 22 minutes. Art Gilmore, Red Skelton's announcer and a frequent contributor to NBC's Dragnet, is the narrator.



This came from an area that for some reason was not interested in Lucy or Doris. Hmmmmm.

Rating: B.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What Might've Been: The Good Life (1971)

Here's a novel idea that should've worked, but didn't.

Take, for example, a wealthy couple, deciding they need to take a few steps back. They hire themselves out to another wealthy gentleman as his butler & maid. Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? Well, yeah, but viewers didn't think so.

The Good Life was a collaboration between Screen Gems (now Sony Pictures Entertainment) and Lorimar, which was finding its footing at the time. Lorimar collaborated with Filmation for the 1/2-live-action, 1/2-animated special, Aesop's Fables, also in 1971, but would hit the jackpot the next year with The Waltons.

Larry Hagman, a year removed from I Dream of Jeannie, and Donna Mills co-starred, along with David Wayne, in his first sitcom since the short-lived Norby a few years earlier. The Good Life lasted just half a season, and would be replaced by Jack Webb's Emergency! in the winter of '72. Hagman & Wayne would cross paths again when Wayne joined the cast of Dallas several years later, and Mills would also find greater success, co-starring in the Dallas spin-off, Knots Landing.

Suffice to say, I never saw the show, so there won't be a rating. However, I couldn't resist this intro video from the pilot. Don Messick is the narrator.

Sports this 'n' that

The Tri-City Valleycats maintain a 2 game lead in the NY-Penn League's Stedler Division after beating State College, 2-0, on Saturday night in Happy Valley. In case you don't follow sports too closely, State College is the home of Penn State University, and is nicknamed Happy Valley.

The downside is that the Spikes, affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, don't visit Troy this year, and neither do the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia affiliate), which won 2 of 3 from the 'Cats earlier this week. The bizarre quirks in the NY-P schedule are just mind-boggling.
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Speaking of the Cardinals, they dismissed manager Mike Metheny Saturday after a loss to Cincinnati. St. Louis is barely above .500, in 3rd place in the National League Central behind the Cubs and Brewers, but haven't made the playoffs in a couple of years. Hitting coaches John Mabry, like Metheny a former player for St. Louis, and Bill Mueller, were also cut. Bench coach Mike Shildt (Who, you ask? Exactly!) was named interim manager, but immediate speculation has Joe Girardi leaving his TV gig and taking over next year. Speculation also centers on Miami bench coach Tim Wallach.
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Call it karmic justice, tennis style.

After President Trump dissed German counterpart Angela Merkel the other day, Germany's Angelique Kerber captured the Wimbledon ladies' singles title, defeating Serena Williams on Saturday. The more the President tries to treat the rest of the world like it's one gigantic corporation, of which he sees himself as the CEO, the more likely it is we'll see more results like this.

On the other hand, I'd rather that Trump dumped the Ugly American act, pulled out his Bible, and started governing this country as a good Christian president should. Problem is, while former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, to name two, were open about their faith, their decisions often left them open to ridicule and scorn, and Trump has been ridiculed ever since he took office. Now, if Ms. Kerber could duplicate her success in New York during the U. S. Open in late August-early September, we might have something......
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The Albany Empire are a win away from reaching the Arena Bowl in their very first season, duplicating the Las Vegas Golden Knights' run to the Stanley Cup finals last month. The Empire needed overtime to beat Washington, 57-56, on the road Saturday night. The scene shifts to Times-Union Center next Saturday, but be warned. Should Washington finally win one over Albany by two points or better, the last place Valor would advance, and this is because it's about total points in the two-game playoff. The Valor, counting last night, are 0-5 vs. Albany this year. It would be totally embarrassing if Washington does advance.....
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The Albany Dutchmen may be in 3rd place in the Eastern Division of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, but they're just 1 1/2 games behind first place Amsterdam, whom they beat, 8-0, on Saturday night. Albany has played three fewer games than Amsterdam, and four fewer than second place Saugerties. It's going to be interesting in the final weeks.
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Come Friday, horse racing fans will descend upon Saratoga for the start of the thoroughbred season, which runs until September 3. City and track officials are hoping Triple Crown champ Justify can make at least an appearance, but it doesn't look like Justify will race at all this summer after suffering an ankle injury recently. Trainer Bob Baffert brought the previous Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, to Saratoga three years ago, only to see him lose.
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El Cheapo Media has brought back Sound Off!, but only in the sports sections of The Record & The Saratogian. This time, though, they'll take comments not only over the phone, but on their Facebook page. The topic du jour today is the ongoing debate over player "protests" during the national anthem. Most folks who submitted comments put on their patriotic best, with at least one dissenting voice reminding that the kneeling during the anthem was originally about protesting police brutality toward African-Americans in particular.
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Monday's baseball Home Run Derby is slanted toward the National League, with only Alex Bregman of the World Series champion Houston Astros representing the American League. Defending champion Aaron Judge of the Yankees chose not to compete this year, and the same for teammate Giancarlo Stanton, who won for Miami in 2016. Whatever happened to evening things out? Should be four from each league in the eight man tournament.

The real drama for the television audience is whether or not ESPN will bring Chris Berman out of hibernation for the event......

Saturday, July 14, 2018

You'll never see this kind of commercial again (1968)

Today, Dolly Madison pastries are marketed under the Hostess brand, after both were acquired by Apollo Global six years ago. Back in the day, however, the snack company was largely associated with Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters, most of whom appeared on wrappers of Gems donuts and Zingers creme cakes. At the time, Charlie Brown and pals also were associated with Millbrook bread.

Anyway, here's a rare ad that doesn't feature the comic strip icons. Future game show host Geoff Edwards is the narrator.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Musical Interlude: Never My Love (1967)

From The Ed Sullivan Show:

The Association scored a huge hit with 1967's "Never My Love", and, like so many hits from that era, still gets airplay today on oldies channels.



You might've seen this with reruns of the show airing on Decades a couple of times a day......

Thursday, July 12, 2018

On DVD: Destry (1964)

Some genius at Universal decided that the tale of Destry could be retold on the small screen, except that this time, this would not be about Tom Destry, who'd been played in movies by Jimmy Stewart and Audie Murphy. No, this was his son, Harrison (John Gavin), who was fronting a short-lived mid-season entry for ABC.

The problem? Westerns had peaked, and were gradually fading away. Destry got 13 weeks, and no more. Gavin narrated the episodes in character, the idea being that a first-person narrative, which worked so well for crime dramas such as Dragnet (not yet a Universal property) and Richard Diamond, might work in a Western. Uh, not here, though you could understand if you knew going in that Harrison Destry had been a sheriff before being framed for a crime he didn't commit.

Here's a sample clip:



Gavin later became an ambassador to Mexico, long after his acting career had ended. I don't think he was given another TV series, but I could be wrong.

Rating: B-.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Videos of Summer: Surfin' Bird (1987)

Two years after he was boppin' to the beat of the Champs' "Tequila", Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) decides to cover the Trashmen's 1-hit wonder, "Surfin' Bird", in the movie, "Back to The Beach".




On The Shelf: A few random news items

There are quite a few comics characters from the Golden Age that hadn't had a regular home in recent years for one reason or another. Dynamite Entertainment is doing something about it.

First, they gathered some characters like Black Bat and Miss Fury as part of a pair of Masks miniseries, co-starring the Green Hornet and the Shadow a few years back. Those were fun to read. Ten years ago, Dynamite introduced Project Superpowers, which presented more forgotten heroes who were now in the public domain, like, for example, the Fighting Yank. The third volume of Project Superpowers launched with a 10 cent 0 issue 2 weeks ago, and is a good jumping-on point for readers discovering this on-again, off-again series for the first time. That's all I can say for right now, considering that the low price also brought with it a smaller page count. Issue 1 drops on August 1.

Grade: Incomplete.
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Max Allan Collins is the executor of the estate of crime novelist Mickey Spillane, and, as such, has access to unfinished manuscripts of Mike Hammer by the legendary Spillane. A brand new Hammer mini dropped from Titan Books 2 weeks ago as well, and the painted artwork is just flat out gorgeous to behold. Predictably, someone's out to whack Hammer, and he's looking to get to the killer first.

Rating: A.
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Archie Comics, after teasing the return of the Superteens in the pages of Jughead a couple of years ago, finally brought the heroic personas of Jug, Archie, Betty, and, yes, Veronica, in a 2-part miniseries that sees them teaming with, and briefly fighting, The Mighty Crusaders, the company's premier superteam of the 60's. It's just 2 issues, and the Crusaders' membership includes the Black Hood. This Hood is in the original black & yellow gear, so it's probably Kip Burland under the mask, not Greg Hettinger, who was introduced in the Dark Circle series 3 years ago. Given how Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has corrupted the Hood and mishandled him on Riverdale, a heroic Hood is a welcome sight. Co-author Ian Flynn wrote a zillion Sonic The Hedgehog stories for Archie over the course of 20-plus years, and, while Archie & co. are drawn as they have been of late, this is fun.

Not only that, but the transformation sequences for the Superteens look like they were ripped off from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, dating back to 1993. At least it's better than PH factors and other goofy ideas 50 years ago....!

Rating: Incomplete. We'll talk more about this when the conclusion hits stores in 2 weeks.
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Speaking of Archie, the current Archie series launched in 2015 will end with issue 32, out now. In September, there will be a short miniseries set during the Golden Age, but written with modern sensibilities. Also, dropping later this month is Archie Meets Batman '66, which answers the question of what pop culture icon would the campy caped crusader would meet next.

At the end of the year, however, Archie will do what DC & Marvel have done for milestone issues in recent years, and will tie up all the current storylines in Archie #699, with issue 700 kicking off a new run, written by controversial writer Nick Spencer, the new scribe for Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man. I think the idea is that Aguirre-Sacasa wants the core Archie book to be geared more toward Riverdale in terms of direction, but not quite as dark. Here's a better idea, Roberto. Why don't you take some time, figure out fans are waiting for the next issues of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina & Afterlife With Archie (it's been a year), and assign a writer like Spencer to the books so they can be back on the shelves. Then you can spend all the time you want shuttling between Vancouver (where Riverdale is shot) and Hollywood. Is that too much to ask?

As for Spencer, he's looking to undo Joe Quesada's ill-advised decision to end Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane Watson in the books (they're still married in the daily comic strip). Quesada made a lot of enemies when he made that move a decade ago.

As if that wasn't bad enough, DC's Dan DiDio, derisively known as DiDiot to some fans, has a similar archaic policy, which explains why Batman & Catwoman's wedding didn't come off as planned last week. Two years or so ago, DiDio did the same thing over in Batwoman, unwilling to take a chance on a same-sex marriage of the title heroine and Gotham PD's Maggie Sawyer (who was brought to life by actress Floriana Lima during seasons 2 & 3 of Supergirl as a love interest for Alex Danvers, played by Chyler Leigh), and that storyline was squelched. Since Marvel broke the ice with same-sex marriage over in X-Men a few years ago, you'd think this wouldn't be happening, but I think DiDio is more afraid of offending retailers in the Bible Belt, while Marvel clearly wasn't.

Batman writer Tom King is unfairly being maligned online, and it's not his fault. The 50th issue of his run, which came out last week, is being looked at now as a cash grab by DC's marketing department, knowing they were really doing what amounted to a bait & switch, something Marvel had done in X-Men Gold two weeks earlier. Marvel promised that Kitty Pryde would marry her on-again, off-again flame, Peter "Colossus" Rasputin, but backed off of that and instead married off Gambit (Remy Lebeau) and Rogue, spinning them off into Mr & Mrs. X, due in the fall.

At least Marvel had a fall-back plan. DC didn't. Their loss.

Finally, belated condolences to the family, assuming there was one left, of comics icon Steve Ditko, who passed away nearly 2 weeks ago at 90. Ditko's resume includes co-creating Spider-Man and Dr. Strange for Marvel, The Creeper, The Hawk & The Dove, and Shade The Changing Man for DC, and, at Charlton, he helped introduce future DC heroes Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, & The Question. Ditko's political views led to the development of independently published characters like Mr. A, but Ditko's distinctive art style began to change during the 70's, when his work regularly appeared at DC, Charlton, & Marvel.

It's amazing, really, that Stan Lee, who wrote all those Dr. Strange & Spidey stories for Ditko, will have outlived all of his primary artists (i.e. Ditko, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane). If Stan lives to be 100, that should be news all by itself.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Musical Interlude: Young Love (1957)

Ric Cartey co-wrote "Young Love" in 1956, but failed to chart with the song himself. However, three others hit #1 with it. Donny Osmond topped the charts in England in 1973. Sonny James' version, the one I'm most familiar with, topped the country charts.

Actor Tab Hunter also hit #1, but on the Hot 100, in 1957. Here's his version, as performed on The Perry Como Show:



In memory of Hunter, who passed away on Sunday.

Forgotten TV: Filthy Rich (1982)

During the 70's & 80's, the networks were not afraid to poke fun at the soap opera genre that was dominating daytime television. ABC was the most successful with Soap, which lasted four seasons (1977-81). NBC flopped with 1979's Highcliffe Manor. The syndicated Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman didn't last as long as you'd think, just a couple of years, and it copied the five-days-a-week format of the daytime sudsers.

CBS entered the picture in 1982 with Filthy Rich, which centered on the squabbling Beck family, who were hoping to gain an inheritance after their father, Big Guy Beck, had passed on. Only 15 episodes were produced before CBS pulled the plug.

Film vet Slim Pickens was originally cast as Big Guy, but health issues forced him out after the first pilot, replaced by Forrest Tucker (ex-F-Troop, Ghost Busters). Big Guy would appear via videotape, while the family was divided into factions. The cast also included soap veterans Ann Wedgeworth (ex-The Edge of Night, Another World), whose last foray into primetime was a brief run on Three's Company a couple of years earlier, and Charles Frank (ex-All My Children). Nedra Volz came over from Dukes of Hazzard to play Big Guy's first wife, who was now dealing with age issues (i.e. senility). 

Here's a sample episode:



Creator-producer-writer Linda Bloodworth would later reunite with Delta Burke & Dixie Carter in developing the more successful Designing Women, and brought back Wedgeworth to co-star with Burt Reynolds and friends in Evening Shade.

So why did it fail? Soap had been gone for a year by the time CBS green-lit Filthy Rich after its second pilot, and since the former was in syndication by this point, viewers preferred it to the new kid on the block. Even airing in front of M*A*S*H on Mondays didn't help during the 2nd season.

No rating.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Classic TV: Dallas (1978)

Lorimar Productions was known mostly for family-oriented-&-friendly dramas during the 70's (i.e. The Waltons, Apple's Way). That all changed in April 1978, when they sold CBS a miniseries that ultimately became the first primetime soap opera since Peyton Place signed off more than a decade earlier.

Dallas rewrote the rules for primetime drama. It was one hour, as opposed to Peyton, which was a half-hour, airing 2-3 times a week at its peak. It boasted an ensemble cast led by Jim Davis (ex-Stories of The Century), Barbara Bel Geddes, and Larry Hagman (ex-I Dream of Jeannie), who cemented his icon status with his portrayal of John Ross (J. R.) Ewing, Jr., a morally-challenged weasel who was business first, much to the sorrow of his wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray).

Dallas became a national sensation with its season 3 cliffhanger, "Who Shot J. R.?", which had fans speculating all through the summer of 1980. Six years later, the ninth season was written off as an eight month dream sequence of Pamela Barnes Ewing (Victoria Principal), after her husband, Bobby (Patrick Duffy, ex-Man From Atlantis), had supposedly died at the end of the eighth season. Now, you'd think the series had jumped the shark at that point, but Dallas soldiered on for another few years before finally shutting down in 1993.

Nearly 20 years later, Dallas returned, this time on cable's TNT, for 3 seasons. The death of Hagman was the final nail in the coffin for the franchise.

Dallas also birthed a spin-off series, Knots Landing, after Ted Shackleford (Gary Ewing) and Joan Van Ark left the parent series, and Knots had a healthy run of its own. It was also one of the first primetime series for future film star and political bloviator turned game show host Alec Baldwin. Victoria Principal cashed in on her fame in multiple ways. She became a 1-hit wonder on the charts with then-beau Andy Gibb, covering the Everly Brothers' "All I Have to do is Dream", and landed a national bestseller with a series of health & exercise books. I'll bet you anything at all more teenage boys than girls bought The Body Principal when it was released in the early 80's.

Pianist Floyd Cramer covered the show's theme song, and it climbed the country charts. Following is the season 1 intro:



I wasn't much of a soap opera guy, never was, and only tuned in occasionally when channel surfing. No emotional investment, no rating.

Sports this 'n' that

Congratulations to the Albany Empire upon clinching the Arena Football League's regular season title Saturday night after beating Philadelphia. Due to a convention of Jehovah's Witnesses having been previously booked for Times-Union Center, the first year club's next game may not be until this time next week, with the convention in town this weekend. Have to pray it's not a portent of things to come for the Empire.

Meanwhile, El Cheapo Media apparently couldn't be bothered to send a reporter to the game on Saturday, as a report in today's edition was credited to "sports staff". Ditto for the Tri-City Valleycats' win over Aberdeen, also on Saturday. El Cheapo's parent company is more concerned about its bottom line than properly serving its readers. Small wonder it's the #3 daily in the market.
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Even though she's currently in the WWE, Ronda Rousey was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame prior to going on the road with WWE this weekend. The other shoe between the two promotions dropped Saturday night when former UFC and current absentee WWE Universal champion Brock Lesnar showed up at the latest UFC PPV for a confrontation with Daniel Cormier. Reportedly, he's entered the drug testing pool, making him eligible to fight again for UFC in January. First things first, though, Lesnar, who should've dropped the Universal title long ago, has to decide when his next WWE fight will be, and soon, as fans are getting antsy. The ratings aren't where they should be, due largely to a number of factors, including Lesnar's prolonged absence between matches. This is the result of the contract Vince McMahon negotiated with Lesnar six years ago, allowing Lesnar to pick & choose when he appears. It's not good for business, no matter how WWE tries to spin it.
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Speaking of Ronda, here's her commercial for Twizzlers licorice candy.

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The 2018 baseball All-Star teams have been announced. Your average mileage, of course, may vary:

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

Starters:

C: Wilson Ramos, Rays
1B: Jose Abreu, White Sox
2B: Jose Altuve, Astros
3B: Jose Ramirez, Indians
SS: Manny Machado, Orioles
OF: Mookie Betts, Red Sox
OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Aaron Judge, Yankees
DH: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox

Reserves:

C:
Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Mitch Moreland, Red Sox
2B: Gleyber Torres, Yankees
3B: Alex Bregman, Astros
SS: Francisco Lindor, Indians
OF: Michael Brantley, Indians
OF: Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers
OF: Mitch Haniger, Mariners
OF: George Springer, Astros
OF: Nelson Cruz, Mariners

Pitchers:

RHP
: Trevor Bauer, Indians
RHP: Jose Berrios, Twins
LHP: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees
RHP: Gerrit Cole, Astros
RHP: Edwin Diaz, Mariners
LHP: J.A. Happ, Blue Jays
RHP: Joe Jimenez, Tigers
RHP: Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox
RHP: Corey Kluber, Indians
LHP: Chris Sale, Red Sox
RHP: Luis Severino, Yankees
RHP: Blake Treinen, Athletics
RHP: Justin Verlander, Astros

Final Vote candidates (fan ballot):

OF
: Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
OF: Eddie Rosario, Twins
SS: Jean Segura, Mariners
SS: Andrelton Simmons, Angels
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

Starters:


C:
Willson Contreras, Cubs
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves
2B: Javier Baez, Cubs
3B: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
SS: Brandon Crawford, Giants
OF: Nick Markakis, Braves
OF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
OF: Bryce Harper, Nationals

Reserves:

C:
Buster Posey, Giants
C: J.T. Realmuto, Marlins
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
1B: Joey Votto, Reds
2B: Ozzie Albies, Braves
2B: Scooter Gennett, Reds
3B: Eugenio Suarez, Reds
SS: Trevor Story, Rockies
OF: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
OF: Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
OF: Christian Yelich, Brewers

Pitchers:

LHP: Patrick Corbin, D-backs
RHP: Jacob deGrom, Mets
LHP: Sean Doolittle, Nationals
RHP: Mike Foltynewicz, Braves
LHP: Josh Hader, Brewers
LHP: Brad Hand, Padres
RHP: Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
LHP: Jon Lester, Cubs
RHP: Miles Mikolas, Cardinals
RHP: Aaron Nola, Phillies
RHP: Max Scherzer, Nationals
LHP: Felipe Vazquez, Pirates

Final Vote candidates:

1B
: Jesus Aguilar, Brewers
1B: Brandon Belt, Giants
INF: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
INF/OF: Max Muncy, Dodgers
SS: Trea Turner, Nationals

Of course, people will gripe about certain players being snubbed (i.e. Blake Snell of the Rays, the Mets' Brandon Nimmo). The fact that the Nationals, the host team, only have three players on the roster at the moment, tells you something about the state of fan support in Washington, and the fact that the fans aren't as passionate as you'd think.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

In Theatres: Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018)

Father's Day was two weeks ago. Still, parental bonding was the underlying theme apparent in "Ant-Man & The Wasp", Marvel Studios' attempt to lighten things up after the depressing finish to "Avengers: Infinity War" a couple of months back.

Since the events of 2016's "Captain America: Civil War", Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) was sentenced to house arrest, and is routinely visited by government agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park). The upside to house arrest is that Scott gets to spend time sharing custody of his school-age daughter, Cassie, with his ex-wife and her current beau. What Scott assumes is a dream is really the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) contacting him, and, ultimately, using him as a conduit to contact husband Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

On the run since the last film, Hank & Hope have been trying to develop a quantum tunnel, obtaining their tech from a black market businessman, who looks more like a generic sleazy villain right out of 80's TV (i.e. The A-Team. Now, the sleazebag wants the tech for himself. And, then, there is the Ghost, an orphan whose parents were killed in a lab accident, and whose father was a former associate of Pym. Factor in another ex-associate of Pym, Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne, black-ish), whom comics fans will remember as Black Goliath, and, briefly, Giant-Man, dating back 42 years or so, and things get crazy, including a wacky car chase involving a Pez dispenser, among other things.

Scope the trailer:



Yes, they are building toward Hope & Scott as a couple, despite Scott continuing to be presented as a klutz, The comedy relief is in overdrive, literally.

Trailers include "The Darkest Things", a new "Nutcracker" movie from Disney, and Jack Black as a warlock in "The House With a Clock in Its Walls".

Rating: B.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Musical Interlude: Only The Young (1985)

The soundtrack to "Vision Quest" was loaded with hits. Tom Cochrane & Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe" was reissued, as was Foreigner's "Cold as Ice" and John Waite's "Change". Madonna made her first film appearance, performing two singles from the soundtrack, "Gambler" & "Crazy For You", the latter of which got heavy airplay on MTV (of course). Journey's "Only The Young" should've gotten a similar amount of airplay, in this writer's view.

The video may or may not be the actual video, as it's movie footage, including a quick shot of Madonna.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Advertising For Dummies: No, you won't melt in the heat, but they'll sell you soda anyway (1991)

Diet Coke had an interesting idea for an ad campaign with NFL players in 1991.

A random group of players are working out in 104 degree temperatures. Next thing ya know, some of them, particularly Randall Cunningham and Chris Spielman, are starting to melt, thanks to CGI. That leaves Boomer Esiason to grab some Diet Coke off the sidelines....



I think the reason they didn't do this with cartoon characters was because it might scare the kiddo's.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Musical Interlude: God Bless America (1938)

If you've been to Yankee Stadium to see the Bronx Bombers play, you've probably heard this next item during the 7th inning stretch.

"God Bless America" was written by Irving Berlin in 1938, and was recorded by Kate Smith, whose recording plays at the Stadium seemingly every night. It was a favorite of the late George Steinbrenner, and the tradition has continued under his sons, Hal & Hank, in recent times.

As the US turns 242 today, let's turn back the clock.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

On The Air: Drop The Mic (2017)

James Corden figured that if Jimmy Fallon can spin a segment from The Tonight Show into a cable hit (Lip Sync Battle), so can he.

Drop The Mic is a segment from The Late, Late Show that bowed last year on TBS, coupled with Snoop Dogg's remake of The Joker's Wild (previously reviewed). Corden, like Fallon, serves as an executive producer, but not the MC. He leaves that job to Hailey Baldwin (Alec's niece) and rapper-actor Method Man, with Josh Silverstein providing the beats. The 2nd season is winding down, if it hasn't ended already, but episodes have been split up on YouTube.

A recent episode saw wrestler-singer-aspiring mogul Chris Jericho take on boxer-turned-cable personality Laila Ali, but the warm-up act saw cast members from GLOW serve up some serious burn to a WWE quartet featuring the Bella Twins (Total Bellas, Total Divas) and Carmella.



Hys-freakin'-terical, man, and Carmella got the worst of it.

Rating: A.

Classic TV: Flipper (1964)

After making some inroads in syndication (i.e. Sea Hunt), writer-producer Ivan Tors made his first network sale in 1964 with Flipper, which spent 3 seasons on NBC (1964-7).

Set up as a follow-up to the feature film of the same name, released a year earlier, and a sequel that came out earlier in '64, Flipper, shot on location in Florida, centered on not only the titular dolphin, but also Park Ranger Porter Ricks (Brian Kelly, who took over the role from Chuck Connors in the second film) and his sons, Sandy & Bud (Luke Halpin & Tommy Nordren). Bud was actually added to the mix for the TV show.

Flipper was co-created by actor-turned-author Ricou Browning ("Creature From The Black Lagoon"), based on his book. The series has made the rounds of cable, with stops including Nickelodeon and Antenna TV since ending 51 years ago. In the 90's, a remake of the original feature film, starring Paul Hogan ("Crocodile Dundee") led to a new, hour-long version of the series, which lasted two years itself.

Let's revisit the intro, along with a clip from the series.



Rating: A.

Forgotten TV: Hearts Afire (1992)

The husband & wife team of Harry & Linda Thomason blessed CBS with a trio of sitcoms in the late 80's and early 90's.

Hearts Afire may actually be the lesser known of the three series (Designing Women & Evening Shade, the latter a return to series TV for Burt Reynolds, were the others), and also lasted the least amount of time, three seasons (1992-5). Hearts brought John Ritter back to CBS after having his last three series (Three's Company, Three's a Crowd, Hooperman) all on ABC. Ritter (ex-The Waltons) and Markie Post (ex-Night Court) headed up an ensemble that included future film star Billy Bob Thornton and TV vets Edward Asner (ex-Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and Conchata Farrell (later of Two & a Half Men), and future stars like Beth Broderick (later of Sabrina The Teenage Witch).

Here's a network promo.



Before turning to acting, Markie Post was a producer for Goodson-Todman, and worked on their 1976 series, Double Dare. Hearts Afire gets its title from the first line in Earth, Wind, & Fire's 1975 song, "That's The Way of The World", which was also used as the theme during the first season.

No rating.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Remember Kayo Chocolate Drink? (1974)

When this next ad was produced in Chicago, Kayo Chocolate Drink had been around for 45 years. Today, the Kayo brand exists only as powdered hot cocoa.

The product was inspired by and featured Kayo, from the comic strip Moon Mullins, on its label.



I think this was a regional-only product, as I never saw this in my area.

Sports this 'n' that

Well, that didn't take long.

LeBron James decided to chase the money again, signing a 4 year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

There are rational reasons why James would bolt Cleveland a second time.

For one, he has property in Los Angeles, and a namesake teenage son who's blossoming into a high school hoops star, just like him.

Two, he owns a small, independent studio, and likely would like to land some deals to expand his portfolio, if you will.

Three, he can be more of a rational mentor to Lonzo Ball, assuming Ball remains with the Lakers when the season begins, than Lonzo's loudmouth father, LaVar, could ever hope to be. While the Fred Sanford of stage parents will say, "I told you so", when it comes to LeBron, he's way off base if he thinks he can take credit for this decision.
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The sins of his past reputation came back to haunt Tampa Bay Bucs QB Jameis Winston the other day when the NFL decided to suspend him for the first three games of the 2018 season due to an off-field incident involving a Uber driver. There were questions about Winston's maturity, just as much as there were about that other celebrated party boy, Johnny Manziel, when Tampa Bay drafted Winston in 2015. However, there are rumors that if there's another arrest on Winston's record, he may be banished from the league.

It's three strikes, and you're out, or is commissioner Roger Goodell again kow-towing to President Trump?
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The Mets haven't been this wretched in years. A loss to Miami on Saturday resulted in the Mets' record for June falling to a pathetic 5-21. Luckily, they've started July on a good note, beating the Marlins, 5-2, on Sunday. I still believe that making trades to appease an impatient fan base isn't the solution. Trading away a front-line starter like a Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard is not the answer, because then you're setting the team back a few extra years.
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The Tri-City Valleycats recovered from a 9th inning loss to Hudson Valley Friday by beating the Renegades, 9-2, on Saturday night. However, they began a six-game, hone-&-home series with Vermont by dropping a 9-8 decision in 11 innings Sunday night. That puts the Lake Monsters back in sole possession of first place in the Stedler Division. Still plenty of time left, though, but one wonders if Jason Bell is making too many moves when he doesn't need to......
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Another night, another win for the Troy Fighting Irish, which blew away Auburn, 47-6, on Saturday night. However, you won't see any box scores for this one, since the local press ignores semi-pro football nowadays, unless it's a slow night. El Cheapo Media did a pre-season preview, but haven't sent reporters to cover home games at Lansingburgh High, and that's a shame. Their next home game is Saturday, July 7, but the Valleycats and Albany Empire will be home, too, making the Irish a third option for fans, assuming anyone remembers the team is even playing......
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WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon is sinking $500 million into his revival of the XFL, due to start in February 2020. With Charlie Ebersol's Alliance of American Football launching this coming February, McMahon is already behind the 8-ball, but the mindset seems to be that he's trying to lure disgruntled NFL fans away with an improved product. Sounds like he's trying to curry favor with his pal, President Trump, whose relentless Twantrums against NFL players, in turn, sound like more hyperbole to stir up his base of closet bigots.

The plan is $500 million over three years. The original XFL barely got through its lone season in 2001, so what makes McMahon think it'll work differently this time, aside from not being associated with WWE?

To paraphrase an old cliche, a fool and his brains are soon parted......
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Finally, some sad news from WWE.

Tough Enough season 3 co-winner Matt Cappotelli, 38, passed away late last week due to brain cancer. Cappotelli was forced to retire just three years into his wrestling career, then became a trainer and motivational speaker himself. Let's take you back in time to the night Cappotelli earned his developmental contract.....



Co-winner John Hennegan, now known alternately as John Morrison, Johnny Mundo, or Johnny Impact, depending on where he is on a given night, will be in town at Bruno Stadium with NorthEast Wrestling on July 14.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sounds of Praise: Battle Hymn of The Republic (1969)

In this clip from his self-titled ABC variety show, Johnny Cash, backed by wife June and the Carter Sisters and the Statler Brothers, performs the patriotic anthem, "Battle Hymn of The Republic":

Suicide prevention for career preservation: Three Stooges in Rhythm & Weep (1946)

The Three Stooges, in one of Curly Howard's last films, are struggling actors who can't land a steady gig. Coincidentally, three dance hall girls are in the same pickle. All six are looking to end it all, but a twist of fate may change everything. Here's "Rhythm & Weep":



Rating: A.