Monday, April 30, 2018

Origin of a Classic: Operation: Heartbeat (1969-2010)

Later this week, we will take a look at Medical Center, which was one of the linchpins of CBS' freshman class of 1969. Like its immediate contemporary, ABC's Marcus Welby, MD, Medical Center ran for 7 seasons (1969-76), but what if Chad Everett never got to star in the show?

Five months before the series launched, MGM had released a pilot, originally titled "UMC" (University Medical Center), which was later reshot as the series opener. The pilot was later released on Warner Archive's MOD (Manufactured-on-Demand) service in 2010 under the title, "Operation: Heartbeat". Richard Bradford (ex-Man in a Suitcase) was the original choice to play Dr. Joe Gannon, fronting an ensemble that also included James Daly, Edward G. Robinson, J. D. Cannon (later of McCloud), Maurice Evans ("Planet of The Apes", Bewitched), and, while not shown in the following trailer, in one of his first acting jobs, O. J. Simpson. Somewhere along the way, MGM decided to recast the role of Gannon, making him younger. Exit Bradford, enter Everett.

Here's the trailer:

Bradford would never get the opportunity to headline a series again, and instead did a lot of guest roles.

No rating.

Sports this 'n' that

Could the latest incarnation of the Albany Patroons be one and done?

According to Leif Skodnick in Sunday's Albany Times-Union, it certainly could happen. "De facto" owner Herb Ellis has been quoted as saying the Pats might not make it back for a second season in the North American Premier Basketball League, even if they win the league title. They begin the playoffs later this week at home vs. Ohio, but attendance has been just as bad, if not worse, as their last runs a decade ago. Ellis and his partners have yet to realize that the nostalgia of having the team revived, and playing at the ancient Washington Avenue Armory, to boot, isn't drawing the fans in. Minor league basketball is not the draw it was 30 years. Albany is now a college hoops town, thanks to Siena & UAlbany, and if the Patroons are to survive, despite Ellis' poor-mouthing of the sitch, they might follow the Albany All-Stars women's roller derby down the hill to the Capital Center. It's not as cavernous as the Times-Union Center further down the hill, but putting the team in a shiny new box, with better promotion, would help.

Better promotion, you ask? Yep. As noted El Cheapo Press has refused to send reporters to cover games. Game stats aren't shared with the media for unknown reasons. The Times-Union had veteran writer Tim Wilkin covering some home games, but then they stopped using a beat writer. Given the night-to-night selective coverage of sports on Spectrum News, and channels 6, 10, 13, 15, & 23 here in the home district, the Pats, like a lot of high schools, are starving for coverage.

That said, Ellis' biggest mistake was trying to recapture the old magic in the Armory when the public told him a decade ago that it wasn't worth it. Now, he's paying for it. Everyone loses.
Meanwhile, the Albany Empire will limp back to Times-Union Center Saturday night at 0-2 after losing again on Saturday afternoon. The fans'll be there, unlike for the Patroons, but they also have to get used to the fact that the Empire is just another expansion team experiencing growing pains. They'll win. Eventually.
They tried rescheduling the Coaches vs. Cancer double-dip, postponed from Friday, today. Unfortunately, morning rains have forced another postponement, so Columbia, CBA, Mohonasen, & Shenendehowa will have to wait for another open date.

Likewise, Troy High has tried rescheduling road games vs. Burnt Hills (baseball) & Niskayuna (softball), but both of those games have also been postponed yet again.

What is supposed to be the final double-header at Bruno Stadium is this Friday (Cairo-Durham vs. Green Tech, Nisky vs. Bethlehem), but with the warped weather patterns, who knows? Even with temperatures racing up to the 70's & 80's the next two days, there's no guarantee the games will be played on time. All we can say is, stay tuned.
A co-worker of mine at my job questioned how a team can blow out an opponent one night, only to turn around and be blown out in kind the next day.

The simple answer in this case is, after the San Diego Padres blew out the Mets, 12-2, on Saturday, New York returned the favor, with interest, Sunday, collecting a receipt to the tune of 14-2. The NL East leading Mets won 2 of 3 from San Diego, but their lead is down to a game and a half over Atlanta & Philadelphia.

The Boston Red Sox still sit atop the AL East, but their lead is down to 2 games over the Yankees. Boston, like the Mets, has stumbled over the last few days, but the Yankees have won 9 straight headed into a series against the World Champion Houston Astros. If anything, Yanks-Astros won't be boring.
Finally, a moment of silence for little leaguers past & present.

If you're of a certain age, and were involved in some form with Central Little League in the 70's & 80's, you might remember a fellow by the name of Robert Zellweger. Robert was, in the eyes of fans, the de facto commissioner of the league, but in truth he was more like a goodwill ambassador. He had Downs Syndrome, but managed to live a full life despite it. Zellweger passed away on Friday after an illness. Since I wasn't at opening day at Central this year, I'm not sure if the people currently in charge of the league remembered and/or honored him. He now joins the league's PA announcer from the same era (1970's-early 80's), Carmen Muscatello, in little league heaven.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Forgotten TV: Caribe (1975)

It seemed that Quinn Martin was starting to lose his golden touch.

In 1975, Martin had The Streets of San Francisco nestled comfortably on ABC's Thursday schedule. Over on CBS, you could find Barnaby Jones & Cannon. However, the cookie cutter format was starting to wear thin.

Martin had tried to change things up with period pieces like Banyon at NBC and The Manhunter for CBS, but neither got past their first seasons. Then, Martin decided he wanted a piece of the Hawaiian action.

Caribe, as memory serves, didn't air anywhere near the original Hawaii Five-O, but it didn't last too long, either. Stacy Keach landed his first lead role, but most folks remember him more for his later work as Mike Hammer in the 80's. In a rare twist, his co-stars, Carl Franklin & Robert Mandan, were introduced after the guest stars, as you'll see in the intro below.

Franklin would return the next season with another short-lived series, The Fantastic Journey. Mandan, on the other hand, would fare much better with the soap opera spoof, Soap, reinventing himself as a comic actor.

Rating: B.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

In Theatres: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

For its 2nd entry in its 10th anniversary year, Marvel Studios threw in everything but the kitchen sink for "Avengers: Infinity War". In other words, almost everyone was shoe-horned into a 2 1/2 hour visceral thrill ride.

"Infinity War" is a loose adaptation of a sort of Jim Starlin's cosmic epics, involving particularly Thanos (Josh Brolin), whose warped idea of solving a cosmic population problem puts him at odds with not only Earth's mightiest heroes, but also the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, & Dr. Strange. To make a long story short, he's after a set of infinity stones, which, upon being attached to a gauntlet he wears on his left hand, gives him ultimate power.

This trailer may give you some idea of what to look forward to if you haven't seen it yet:

Speaking of trailers, they include "Ant-Man & The Wasp" (July), which brings back Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, & Evangeline Lilly for a 2nd go-round, and "The Incredibles 2", the long awaited sequel to Brad Bird's superhero satire from Disney/Pixar.

I won't go into too much detail, except to say that "Infinity War" has a little bit of everything, including comedy and romance, though the subplot of Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) & Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) wasn't advanced here, but if you've been faithfully following every Avengers & Guardians movie, you're probably up to speed already.

Rating: A-.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Musical Interlude: Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again (1971)

Word has just come down that tonight's Coaches vs. Cancer double-header at Joe Bruno Stadium (CBA-Columbia, Shenendehowa-Mohonasen) has been postponed due to---what else?---rain. No makeup dates have been set as of this writing. As of now, other games on the schedule (Shaker @ Troy, Albany Academy @ Catholic Central) are still on, but I would suspect those games will have been called off well before first pitch at 4:15. The rain ain't going away until later tonight.

For the players, coaches, & their families, a little soft music to ease the pain. Here's the Fortunes, from 1971, and "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again".

Update, 3:40 pm (ET): Albany Academy @ Catholic Central has indeed been postponed. They'll try again on Tuesday at Knickerbocker Park. Voorheesville @ LaSalle has been rescheduled for May 14, which would be the last day of the regular season. As of now, with little more than a half hour before first pitch, Shaker @ Troy, incredibly, is still on, but I doubt it'll actually happen.

The NFL Draft produces some shockers--and other things

The NFL Draft ain't what it used to be, oh no. The image-obsessed league is also about making the three day event as glamorous as the run up to the Super Bowl, to the point where this year's draft is originating from the Temple of Excess, aka JerryWorld, aka AT&T-Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Well, excuse me if I don't feel like watching and running the risk of falling asleep. I've better things to watch.

Anyway, some of those first round picks can be punctuated thus:

"Just when you think you've got all the answers, I change the questions!"--Roddy Piper.

Cleveland took the late wrestler-actor's words to heart, and stunned everyone by selecting Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma). However, not everyone is digging. Seems social media was abuzz with comments from armchair know-it-alls about Mayfield, whose on-field antics will remind many of another would-be franchise quarterback the Browns selected just four years ago, that being immature man-child Johnny Manziel (Texas A & M), who flamed out in 2 seasons, and claims he wants to make a comeback. At least Mayfield is a senior, and due to graduate in a few weeks.

"You can't fix stupid."--Ron White.

The Jets already have 4 quarterbacks on their roster, having picked up Teddy Bridgewater as a free agent over the winter. Two others, Bryce Petty & Christian Hackenburg, have barely seen the field since they were drafted (2015 & 2016, respectively). So why did the Jets, winners of this week's Dunce Cap Award, pick yet another quarterback, in this case Sam Darnold (USC)? They have, in this writer's opinion, a more pressing need in the offensive line with the retirement last week of center Nick Mangold. The Jets swapped picks with Indianapolis to get Darnold (The Colts picked offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame) with the #6 pick), and now have a difficult training camp awaiting them.

"You can't always get what you want."--The Rolling Stones.

UCLA's Josh Rosen reportedly claimed he didn't want to go to Cleveland, so the Browns went with Mayfield instead. Then, Arizona traded picks with Oakland to draft Rosen at #10 as the heir apparent, we think, to newly retired Carson Palmer. Reportedly, Rosen's not happy, and that could spell trouble for the Cardinals unless they can do a major sell job ASAP.

Super Bowl champion Philadelphia traded away their first round pick to Baltimore, and management must've felt like they were zonked on Let's Make a Deal as a result, as the Ravens, preparing for a future without Joe Flacco at quarterback, picked Lamar Jackson (Louisville), hoping the 2016 Heisman winner can be their franchise quarterback of the future. The man is the real deal, but he'll get a quick, brutal education, as will Mayfield, for that matter, in the brutal AFC North.

Meanwhile, the Giants got the man they wanted in Penn State's Saquon Barkley, filling a void at running back created when Big Blue let Rashad Jennings walk after the 2016 season, a mistake the team ended up paying for in spades last season.

But what stood out more than anything Thursday night in Arlington wasn't the usual shuffling of picks via late trades, but rather the apathy shown to commissioner Roger Goodell. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tried to mute the boo-birds by surrounding Goodell with a group of Cowboy legends on stage. It didn't work. The people have spoken, or, to paraphrase a line from Arrow in its early years, Roger Goodell has failed the public. It's that simple. Whether it's giving the Patriots slaps on the wrist for their alleged misdeeds, or doing nothing to stem the tide over player protests regarding racial inequality in society, which President Trump hijacked into a tirade over respect for the flag, since the protests were usually during the playing of the National Anthem, Goodell has gone from being a respected leader to a pariah over the last few years, and yet league owners are unwilling to remove him from office.

Right before the draft, Jacksonville owner Shaild Khan entered a bid to acquire legendary Wembley Stadium in London. Now, what could he possibly want with that? Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Musical Interlude: I'm a Believer (1966)

The Monkees were like a runaway train on the charts during the course of their sitcom's run (1966-8). One single right after another.

Take, for example, the Neil Diamond-penned "I'm a Believer".

35 years later, "I'm a Believer" gained new life, included on the soundtrack to the initial "Shrek" movie. Smash Mouth actually recorded two versions, one of which featured Donkey (Eddie Murphy) contributing vocals.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Weasel of the Week: Mike Francesa

He's baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

"He", of course, being New York's #1 gasbag, Mike Francesa, who has ended his retirement after four months, and reportedly has bullied his way back on to WFAN's afternoon schedule, effective next week. Why? The three-person crew hired to fill the gaping hole in the schedule created by Francesa's departure at the end of last year----ex-SNY gasbag Chris Carlin, ex-NFL player Bart Scott (played with the Jets & Ravens, most recently was with CBS as well), and Maggie Gray----aren't pulling in the same kind of numbers that Francesa had, losing ground to ESPN Radio's afternoon drive fest, simulcast on the Yes network, and anchored by Yankee play-by-play voice Michael Kay.

The issue is that Francesa went over the heads of station management and made his sales pitch to the head of WFAN's corporate parent, and basically scammed his way back on the air.

WFAN morning host and CBS studio analyst Boomer Esiason slammed Francesa on his show today, and Kay has already weighed in. Dubbed the "Sports Pope" by media columnist Bob Raissman of the NY Daily News, Francesa has proven time and again that he's more hot air than substance. NY Post media nanny Phil Mushnick, as well as Raissman, has ripped Francesa over the years for lying on the air about certain topics, when in fact he has contradicted himself on several topics, just to make himself look good, and perpetuate the big lie that, supposedly, he's never wrong. Now, who does that sound like?

Kay, according to an article in the Post, had sympathy for the Carlin/Scott/Gray team, noting that Carlin, who'd left SNY and a cushy radio gig calling Rutgers football for a gig in Philadelphia, left the city of brotherly love to return to New York. Carlin's former SNY series, Loud Mouths, hasn't been the same since he & Adam "Shoe" Schein, left (Schein is now at CBS Sports Network, which also simulcasts Esiason's show and employs Scott during NFL season), reducing the New York-centric series to being what it really is, a regional rip-off of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, and I'd not be surprised if SNY offered Carlin a chance to return should WFAN, which is chopping his show in half, ultimately cut him and his team loose.

I've read the horror stories spun by Raissman and Mushnick, and I've seen some of Francesa's now-defunct simulcasts when they were on Yes. He's as phony as a four dollar bill, and, yet, like a certain other gasbag from the Big Apple, has enough people snowblind to reality to think that he is all that and a bag of chips. No, he's not. Today, Mike Francesa is, and, in reality, always has been, a Weasel. Enjoy the weasel ears and tail, Mike. You deserve them.

High school this 'n' that

Well, they finally had round 1 of the annual Battle of the Cadets between LaSalle & Albany Academy Tuesday afternoon at Geer Field. Unlike last year, this was a one-sided affair, with the defending Section 2 Class B champs blowing out LaSalle, 19-0, to take their Colonial Council record to 8-0.

For LaSalle coach Jesse Braverman, the roller coaster of a 4 game homestand at 2 venues (Bruno Stadium and Geer Field) ended with a 2-2 ledger, the last three games, all at Geer, ending up one sided, one way or the other. LaSalle had similarly blown out Cobleskill-Richmondville, 15-1, on Monday, but all the momentum from that game was wiped away, thanks to the runaway train of Dave Rider's Albany Academy Cadets. The two teams will meet again next week, this time in Colonie on Academy's home field.

However, there is no rest for the weary. LaSalle has today off, and will start another string of three games in as many days Thursday (weather permitting) at Schalmont before returning home to play Voorheesville on Friday, and at South Glens Falls on Saturday. Academy returns home today to entertain Cohoes, then returns to Lansingburgh to play Catholic Central on Friday. In LaSalle's case, once business is concluded (we think) on Saturday, assuming all the games are played, they will have had 8 games in the space of 11 days.
As of press time, Tuesday's Troy-Colonie lacrosse game had not been reported, but I wouldn't put it past El Cheapo Press to have something within the next couple of days. Their roundups appear 3-4 times a week, and there are never any guarantees due to their lack of resources.

Similarly, Troy softball's trip to Whitesboro on Saturday has gone unreported, but the girls came home on Monday and dropped a decision to Colonie, dropping them to 1-5 in the Suburban Council. The baseball game between Troy & Colonie was not reported as yet, as there was no box score on the game in Tuesday's Albany Times-Union. El Cheapo Press confirmed our suspicions about Friday's baseball tilt at Columbia, won by the Blue Devils, 6-5. That leaves the boys also at 1-5 in league play, pending Monday's result. The teams are scheduled to be at Shenendehowa later today (weather permitting), with a lacrosse match scheduled for tomorrow night.
This latest round of "unsettled" weather reminds us again that starting the season in the first week of April is not a good idea. As teams have to scramble to reschedule games before sectional play begins in late May, Section 2 needs to realize that a 6-week, 3-games-a-week schedule will always have hazards of this nature.

Here's my idea.

I'd push back the start of the season about 2 weeks to the 3rd week in April, when temperatures won't revert to winter numbers, and schedule 4 games a week, with one game on either Saturday or Sunday afternoon as an early afternoon matinee for families.

Weekday games would still start at 4:15, except during Easter week, when they're moved to lunch time (noon) due to students being on vacation. Weekend games would start at 11 or noon. If games have to be made up, and we saw this happen during Easter week two years ago, some teams could find themselves traveling on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon instead of having to scramble to get to the next game on a weekday.

Part of the problem rests with Section 2's baseball committee. For them, and for school officials who for now can't afford the amenities that some teams (i.e. Troy) need, like lights and scoreboards, we offer a little ditty from John Mayer, circa 2006. Here's "Waiting on The World to Change":

Roughly translated for Section 2, it's past time to wake up to reality.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

YouTube Theatre: Hee Haw's 10th anniversary special (1978)

When Hee Haw prepared to return for its 10th season, NBC, not CBS, stepped up to the plate to give the cast their first network episode in 7 years (CBS dumped the show after the 1970-1 season), as part of the anthology series, The Big Event. Series co-creator John Aylesworth is the announcer, and had those same duties on another series he & producing partner Frank Peppiatt sold to CBS, the Saturday morning series, The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine (1974-5). For a change, as Aylesworth introduces the cast, he also acknowledges their hometowns.

Format Films handled all the animated material, so, yes, they were still in business well after they stopped producing their own shows in the 60's.

Rating: A.

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Modern Classic: Murphy Brown (1988)

In the 70's, the late Mary Tyler Moore returned to television with a self-titled sitcom, which took a look at her character's personal & professional lives. The Mary Tyler Moore Show lasted 7 years, and won a truckload of Emmy Awards.

Eleven years after the series ended, Mary Richards' spiritual successor arrived on the scene.

Murphy Brown didn't have a catchy, radio ready theme song. Instead, the producers opted to use a variety of classic Motown records. Murphy (Candice Bergen) was a veteran investigative reporter who was making a comeback as the series began. Yes, it was a workplace comedy. Yes, it also addressed Murphy's personal issues. Yes, it was a critical darling. Not only that, but the series also pushed the envelope in ways that Mary Tyler Moore couldn't, and also got the attention of the White House, particularly then-Vice President Dan Quayle, with a storyline that saw Murphy have a child out of wedlock.

Murphy Brown also outlasted Mary Tyler Moore, as it lasted 10 seasons before ending. And, yes, there were the Emmy Awards.

Future film star Haley Joel Osmont made one of his first appearances when he was cast for a time as Murphy's young son, Avery. Comedy legend Lily Tomlin joined the show in season 9, after Grant Shaud left. After a healthy run in syndication, Murphy Brown spent some time on Nick at Nite, but hasn't landed a berth anywhere in recent times.

That's about to change, I think, with the series returning this fall, an appropriate way to mark its 30th anniversary. I'd not be surprised if Nick at Nite or Me TV picked up the original series.

Let's take a look at a sample clip:

Joe Regalbuto (Frank) would turn up, via old clips of Happy Days, in Weezer's video for "Buddy Holly". Faith Ford has had one series at least since Murphy ended its first run.

Rating: A.

High school this 'n' that

We've reached the halfway point in the spring sports season in Section 2. Due to the cold weather during the first half, the schedules for some teams have become brutal.

Take, for instance, LaSalle Institute. The Cadets are in the middle of a ridiculous stretch. This week, they're playing five games in six days, four of them at home. The current homestand continues today at Geer Field (South Troy Little League) vs. Cobleskill-Richmondville, and they'll finally get to play Albany Academy tomorrow at the same location. Then, LaSalle visits Schalmont on Wednesday before coming home to play Voorheesville on Friday and South Glens Falls on Saturday. Coach Jesse Braverman's club opened the 2018 Coaches vs. Cancer series at Bruno Stadium with a 7-1 win over Watervliet on April 20, only to return to Geer Field 24 hours later and absorb a 14-4 loss to Queensbury.

Unfortunately, rain is in the forecast from Wednesday forward, so there's no guarantees.......!

Albany Academy, the reigning Class B champs, have rolled through the Colonial Council so far, thumping Schalmont on Saturday, 14-4, to go to 7-0 in league play. After tomorrow's game at LaSalle, Dave Rider's Cadets return home to play Cohoes on Wednesday, then return to Lansingburgh, this time to play Catholic Central at Knickerbocker Park, Friday afternoon. Weather permitting on both games, of course.

Conversely, at Troy High, it's already a lost spring.

The once mighty softball team ventured out to Whitesboro on Saturday, coming off a tough loss to Columbia in extra innings to drop their record to 1-5 overall (1-4 in the Suburban Council). 2nd year coach Sean Geisel might not be a distant relative to the late Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel), but he could use a little Seussian magic in the 2nd half of the season. Troy hosts Colonie today, then travels to Shenendehowa on Wednesday before returning to Troy (weather permitting, natch) to play Shaker on Friday.

Troy's lacrosse team is off until hosting Colonie tomorrow. As of press time, the result of Saturday's non-league home game vs. Scotia hadn't been reported, but they have just one win on the season as well. Likewise for the baseball team, which has the same schedule as the softball team (home vs. Colonie, at Shen, home vs. Shaker) this week. If I'm athletic director Paul Reinisch, I have to think about declining bids for the sectionals next month if things don't improve.

Speaking of Voorheesville, they were on the losing end of a 12-10 score at Bruno Stadium, losing to Cohoes in what reportedly was the longest game of the season so far. As it was reported on Upstate Sports Edge, the game took some three hours and change to complete seven innings due to all the scoring. Week 2 of the Coaches vs. Cancer series, weather permitting, sees a Suburban Council double-header (CBA-Columbia, Shen-Mohonasen). I recommend checking with the schools involved, or log on to or for up-to-date information come Friday. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A sort of homecoming: Marc Guggenheim returns to UAlbany, 4/20/18

Comic book fans come from all walks of life. In the case of award winning writer-producer Marc Guggenheim, he gave up a career as a lawyer to pursue his dream of being a writer.

Guggenheim, a 1992 graduate of the University at Albany, returned to the school earlier today, and was a guest speaker on the main campus prior to a scheduled appearance as a guest of the New York State Writers' Institute at Page Hall.

The evening began with a screening of the series premiere of the Emmy & Annie Award winning Netflix animated series, Trollhunters (reviewed at Saturday Morning Archives), followed by a generous helping of an episode of Legends of Tomorrow, particularly the conclusion of November's Crisis on Earth-X crossover.

Guggenheim, who is stepping down as show-runner of Legends & Arrow after this season to be a consultant instead, explained the structure of a season by stating that they create their ideas by equating portions of a season to acts in a play. In the course of his conversation with Writers' Institute frontman Paul Grondahl, Guggenheim also took questions from the small but interested audience. Seems the frigid weather kept a lot of people away.

After the program ended, I had a chance to ask Guggenheim a couple of questions. Satiating my curiosity, it seems they have discussed the prospect of developing shorter story arcs to build to their primary arc, and there may be some changes afoot, particularly for Arrow, with the creative changes taking effect in the fall. Also, for those of you who are fans of Arrow, and wondering how they came up with Overwatch as the codename for Felicity Smoak-Queen (Emily Bett Rickards), it comes from a novel of the same name that Guggenheim released a while back (copies were available for purchase and autographs), and internet fans encouraged him to give Felicity the handle of Overwatch on the show.

Guggenheim also has donated a grant of $100,000 to create an endowment for the Writers' Institute's Classic Film Series.

Update, 8/15/18: Following is an excerpt from the interview, from the Writers' Institute's YouTube channel:

What Might've Been: My Sister Sam (1986)

My Sister Sam served as a vehicle for star Pam Dawber's return to primetime, four years after the end of Mork & Mindy. Unfortunately, it couldn't hang on to its audience, and CBS kept moving it around as a result during the 2nd season, leading to a final cancellation in the spring of 1988, with 12 episodes unaired.

Not only did Dawber return, but it was the last series entry for David Naughton (ex-Makin' It, At Ease). The former Dr. Pepper pitchman played the neighbor to Sam (Dawber) and her teenage sister (Rebecca Schaefer).

Unfortunately, My Sister Sam is also remembered for the tragic murder of Schaefer, a year after the series ended. An obsessed fan who'd been stalking the young actress for three years, perhaps from the beginning of the series' production schedule for all we know, shot her down. There've been several more cases of obsessed fans stalking celebrities in the nearly 30 years since, mostly because some of these people get lost in the fabric of the shows they follow, and forget to separate fiction from reality.

Following is a sample intro:

Executive producer Diane English would rebound with her next CBS project, Murphy Brown, which reportedly is being revived to mark its 30th anniversary.

No rating. Never saw the show.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Classic (?) TV: It's a Living (1980)

It was essentially meant to be ABC's answer to CBS' Alice, which, in turn, was adapted from the movie, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore". However, It's a Living had trouble finding an audience, despite the fact that it came from two of the producers behind Soap and its spin-off, Benson. Getting a late start due to a strike at the beginning of the 1st season didn't help, and neither did changing its title to Making a Living for the 2nd season.

The series was about a staff of waitresses, but unlike Alice, this was set in a nightclub, not a desert diner. Susan Sullivan (ex-Another World) was not retained after the 1st season, and moved to CBS' Falcon Crest. Gail Edwards might be better known for a later gig on Full House. Ann Jillian, during the time Living was off, gave it a try with NBC's Jennifer Slept Here, but that flopped, and after she went public with her battle with breast cancer, Jillian may have spurred interest in Living, such that the series was revived in syndication. However, she left after the 1st syndicated season (season 3), replaced by Sheryl Lee Ralph. By that point, Crystal Bernard (ex-Happy Days) had joined the cast.

This video montage covers the opens to both the ABC & syndicated runs.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sports this 'n' that

Whatever momentum Troy High built from beating Albany High in lacrosse on Thursday dissipated amidst the cold weather Tuesday night in a 17-1 loss to Ballston Spa. The blowout defeat drops Troy to 1-5 on the young season. Derrick Cipriani had the only goal for Troy, his 7th in the last three games. Next stop is Columbia High tomorrow night. Troy plays Ballston Spa in tennis, baseball, & softball later today. Weather permitting, of course.
Would it be fair to suggest that the Mets might've been a little overconfident headed into a return match with Washington on Monday? I'd say so.

The defending NL East champions have taken the first two games of the series at Citi Field, rallying from a 5-run deficit on Monday, and handing ace closer Jeurys Familia his first blown save of the season. Last night, Gio Gonzalez ran his career record in Flushing to 11-1 in outpitching Zack Wheeler as the Nats won, 5-2. Bear in mind, these two series have seen the Mets avoid Washington ace Max Scherzer, whose next start will be on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Yankees split a 2-game interleague series against Miami, but Giancarlo Stanton's early season malaise has gotten so bad, he couldn't get a hit against his former club. It's easy to say that Miami manager Don Mattingly would have everything he needs to know about his former star slugger.

On the other hand, the impatient, spoiled fans in the Bronx want instant results, and when they don't get them, Stanton is getting booed out of the building. They don't understand the nuances of the game, nor do they care. They bleed Yankee blue, and that's all that matters to them. In the Bronx, it's a generational thing.

One more thing. I'm tired of ex-Yankee and current Marlin CEO Derek Jeter being blamed for the fire sale in Miami. He's the face of the ownership group, but I don't think he's the one making the final decisions. The media, on the other hand, has other ideas. Their loss.
You don't see this happen often in Arena Football, but the Albany Empire already has a bye week, sooner than planned.

You see, the Empire were to play Baltimore this Saturday night, but that game's been pushed back about three weeks due to a scheduling conflict involving the NHL's Washington Capitals and the NBA's Washington Wizards, both of whom are in the playoffs. One of those teams has priority on the arena for Saturday, so the Empire gets an unscheduled vacation. I'm not sure if that has happened to the once proud league before this.
If you're a wrestling fan who grew up in the 60's & 70's, chances are you grew up watching Bruno Sammartino as the champion of the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Today's generation only knows of him as a retired grappler turned announcer who had a falling out with Vince McMahon in the late 80's.

Either way, the wrestling world is mourning the passing of Sammartino at 82 in his home in Pittsburgh. Sammartino was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame a few years back after more than two decades of discord, and then inducted his former nemesis and protege, Larry Zbyszko, into the same Hall in 2015.

We'll leave you with a 1974 TV match between Sammartino and Mr. Fuji.

Rest in peace, Bruno.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Advertising for Dummies: An awards show for insurance? (2018)

Progressive's latest spot with their "mascots", Flo & Jamie, is a parody of awards shows. "The Safeys" are hosted by Alfonso Ribiero (America's Funniest Home Videos, ex-Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Catch 21, Silver Spoons). I wonder if this is the first in a series.......


A little of this and a little of that

Is John Cena afraid of commitment?

The former WWE champion, now starring in the movie, "Blockers", broke off his engagement to Nikki Bella (Nicole Garcia), according to US Weekly. The news broke Monday, more than a year after Cena made an in-ring marriage proposal at Wrestlemania. His relationship with Bella may have been the reason his first marriage came to an end six years ago, but now, some sources say he's getting cold feet about tying the knot again. Bear in mind, too, that the story will play out on Total Bellas, as well as in the public press, down the line.

My take? Cena's left a string of broken hearts, in storyline and in real life, in the 16 years he's been on the WWE's main roster. Since he already has one foot out the door due to his movie career, I'd say just one thing. Stay tuned.
Nearly 5 1/2 years after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, conspiracy maven and radio gasbag Alex Jones, who was embarrassed by Megyn Kelly on national television last summer, now faces lawsuits from parents of two of the Sandy Hook victims, just because he won't stop lying about the massacre. He also faces a lawsuit from a Florida man falsely accused of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida two months ago.

Jones is another blind-to-reality piece of human trash who can't accept the truth. Let's hope this is the end of him and Infowars.
Some sad news for classic TV fans.

Actor-comedian-magician Harry Anderson passed away over the weekend at 65. In the 80's, Anderson parlayed appearances on Saturday Night Live & Cheers into a headline gig of his own, starring in Night Court as Judge Harold "Harry" Stone, fronting a standout ensemble that did for small claims court what Barney Miller did for the police years earlier (Reinhold Weege worked on both series). Anderson followed that with Dave's World, a fictionalized account of the life of syndicated humorist Dave Barry, for CBS.

In recent years, Anderson had left Hollywood, and first relocated to New Orleans, leaving there in the wake of Hurricane Katrina for Asheville, North Carolina, where he passed away. While in New Orleans, Anderson opened a night club and a curio shop, the latter with ties to his interest in magic.

Following is a bit from Night Court:

Rest in peace, Harry. You'll be missed.

Monday, April 16, 2018

On The Air: MLB Network Countdown (2010)

How does MLB Network fill time when there's no games to be played?

One way is to run movies, which they do year-round, but the library is a little short on films, especially when they get played into the ground. In most markets, MLB Network is a basic cable channel, not a premium channel like HBO.

Another is with original programming, using MLB's archives to create shows to stir the memories of long time fans.

MLB Network Countdown is one of those shows, and, now in its 8th season, there's enough material to air it like a syndicated show during the off-season if you catch my drift. Various network personalities take turns serving as host. In this case, Hazel Mae, no longer with the network, MC's a countdown of classic ejections of managers, players, and even fans & mascots.

Rating: A.

When will Section 2 ever get it?

In NY's Section 2, high school baseball, softball, & lacrosse have very short seasons. While lacrosse teams can manage playing in adverse conditions more often than not, though some games scheduled for today have been postponed right along with the softball & baseball games on the docket, getting teams to fulfill their league obligations over the course of a 6 week-plus season has been very challenging due to the weather patterns fluctuating between spring & winter during the month of April, often a transitional period between seasons as a result.

Take for example Troy High. The softball team had their April 7 game at Niskayuna rescheduled to today, but it's already been washed out for the second time in 10 days. Likewise, the baseball team was supposed to have rescheduled a non-league match with Suburban Council foe Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake for today (originally April 3), but that's out, too.

The regular season ends May 14, supposedly, so Section 2 can begin planning the sectional tournament, the finals of which will be at Joe Bruno Stadium a week later. While I realize they can't hold it back any further due to final exams, and state tournament scheduling, there has to be a solution to the overarching problem that has plagued Section 2 for years. It's actually been there all along, but they just have been unwilling to use it.

Trying to reschedule games in April, as we've already seen, is problematic all by itself. It just happened to be bad luck that Easter has already come & gone, as Easter/spring break was two weeks ago, during the first week of the season. What about playing some games on Sundays? Some teams do schedule Saturday games, but just not often enough. I get that they want the players to rest on Sundays, but the only time there's ever any games on Sundays in Section 2 is when there are tournaments held outside the section that teams are invited to. Trying to get three games in per week over six weeks and change has been difficult. While it's been noted that some teams have had practices, or, in Albany Academy's case, games, out of state, like the local colleges do, that's not so easy to do for most public high schools, which require doing some fund raising in order to have those road trips to warm weather climates. Some schools, such as Troy & Lansingburgh, have turf fields, but that sometimes isn't enough, as evidenced by Troy cancelling today's game. Apparently, the schools don't have money in the budget for tarpaulin to cover the fields when it does rain.

That takes me back to my concern, particularly at Troy, for the lack of lights for night games. I get it, schools don't want to compete with major league baseball for fans' attention at night, but that's what they invented radio and the internet for, so you can follow your favorite MLB team (i.e. Yankees, Red Sox, Mets) on the radio or online on your phone while watching your children play.

Section 2 needs to understand that what might've worked 35-40-45 years ago doesn't work now. It's time to start thinking about resolving the present scheduling crisis. Here's my idea:

Four games a week, instead of three, with one of the games on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday). The season would start two weeks later than it has, but there's less chance of weather getting in the way if it works out properly. The schedule would be 4 1/2 weeks (the Coaches vs. Cancer series at Bruno Stadium would be a whole weekend of games the 1st weekend in May instead of three Fridays), with room for rescheduling before sectionals begin.

Now, what do you think?

And, while you're contemplating, consider this song, the Carpenters' "Rainy Days & Mondays":

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Classic Reborn: Lost in Space (2018)

50 years ago, Irwin Allen's galactic reimagining of Swiss Family Robinson, Lost in Space, ended its run on CBS after three seasons. What had been a straight-up sci-fi drama devolved into campy escapism almost overnight in the first season. You'll find none of that in the new version served up by the writers of "Dracula Untold".

Lost in Space has been reimagined for a new audience and began streaming on Netflix on Friday. A lot has changed from the original 1965-8 series to now. To wit:

Judy Robinson, the eldest daughter, is African-American. This is explained, per research sources, as the result of mother Maureen's first marriage. Meaning that current husband John, an ex-Marine, is Maureen's second husband.

Don West, an Army major in the original series, is a smuggler here. Don't ask.

Remember what I said about Dr. Smith being a woman (Parker Posey) this time around? That's really a McGuffin. She's actually a sociopathic thief whose specialty seems to be identity theft. She steals a jacket belonging to a man named Smith, and adopts the guise of Dr. Smith. Her real name, to be revealed as the story goes along, is a homage to two of the original cast. Likewise, another character is similarly christened. A Dr. Zachary Smith does exist on this show, but that's later on down the road.

The Robot isn't the same Robby the Robot knock-off you remember. Instead, it's more of a scary-creepy typical sci-fi 'bot who rarely speaks. As of now.

While the opening theme is new, the producers made sure to use the season 3 score from the original for the closing, although due to time constraints for binge-watchers, only a snippet of the peppy score composed by future Oscar winner John Williams plays as yet another homage to the past.

I realize some critics are having cows over this new version, coming as it does 20 years after the last attempt at a revival, albeit in the form of a feature film that featured Matt LeBlanc (Friends), among others. Since audiences only saw LeBlanc back then as the dimwitted Joey, they may have feared the worst, and bypassed the film, for all we know.

Let's take a look at a trailer.

The robot's design has a familiar look to it, but I seem to recall seeing it in a cartoon someplace. Can't place it right at the moment.

There's room for this series to improve. As the original reflected society and news of its period, so too does this reflect society as we know it today, with the Robinsons as more of a dysfunctional family. As if we needed another one of those.

Rating: B+.

Sports this 'n' that

"All good things must come to an end."--Geoffrey Chaucer.

This morning, the Mets remain atop the National League East at 11-2, their 9 game winning streak snapped by Milwaukee on Saturday night, 5-1. The Amazin's simply ran out of late game magic on this night, unable to overcome Matt Harvey's struggles. Harvey went 5 innings, gave up 4 runs. Thankfully, there's no panic in Flushing. Yet.
Well, the other shoe dropped at Siena College with the news on Friday that basketball coach Jimmy Patsos resigned after 5 seasons, just days after denying allegations of abusing players and a student manager who was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I had written here when the story broke that the fact that the Saints went 8-24 this past season had to be a determining factor in Patsos' demise in Loudonville. Patsos had done everything he could as a representative of the college, including doing commercials for local businesses.

Siena's not the only one looking for a new coach. The University at Albany is hanging the "help wanted" sign out again for a new women's basketball coach after Joanna Bernabe-McNamee resigned to take the same gig at Boston College. Sure, the Lady Danes' string of post-season appearances continued, albeit not in the NCAA's after their America East title run came to an end. Bernabe-McNamee lasted just 2 seasons in Albany, and the offer to go to BC, an Atlantic Coast Conference school the last few years, with a higher national profile, was too good to pass up. Just watch. In a few months, we'll be hearing about UAlbany's women getting home & home dates vs. the Lady Eagles......
The one thing that might keep the Times Union Center from selling out entirely when the Albany Empire plays is the fact that most of their home games will be on television. Last night's opener, a 56-35 loss to Philadelphia, was broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, which holds the rights to the Arena Football League. With just 4 teams in the AFL this season, everyone's going to get their share of exposure. I can remember when the Albany Firebirds were selling out the arena fairly regularly back in the day, but with another, lesser known indoor league operating, the novelty of the "50 yard indoor war on the floor" has faded.

With the hometown angle (ex-Troy High & Iowa star Jordan Canzeri), there's no way El Cheapo Press passes on the Empire.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Real men do laundry (Wally Cox for Salvo, 1964-5)

Underdog was flying across Saturday morning television screens when actor-comedian-singer Wally Cox was hired to pitch Procter & Gamble's Salvo detergent. Salvo was introduced in 1958, but left shelves sometime in the 70's or 80's. The fact that these were tablets, rather than the standard powder or liquid detergent, predates the popular pods that are available now.

Yes, despite his slight build, Wally was actually quite the athlete, as seen in The Adventures of Hiram Holliday a few years earlier. It's a pity he was taken too soon.

High School Fridays: Friday the 13th roundup

To say I was late to the party for Friday's Lansingburgh-LaSalle game would be an understatement. I've said all along that trying to make it for a 4:15 game after work would be a dicey proposition, and Friday was proof of that.

When I got there, Lansingburgh was up, 8-3, in the home 6th. What I missed was LaSalle's Jon Weber putting on a virtual one-man show for the visiting Cadets, hitting two home runs and driving in all 3 Cadet runs. However, what did in LaSalle was an uncharacteristically sloppy game on defense, as while Weber and the bullpen held the Knights to just 5 hits, three Cadet errors were the difference in the game, as Lansingburgh, now 4-2, handed LaSalle their first loss by that 8-3 score.

Meanwhile, in Albany, the Troy High softball team finally broke into the win column, beating the Lady Falcons, 6-3. Conversely, the Albany baseball team also got off the schneid, as they handed Troy their 3rd straight loss, 3-2. Both teams are now 1-3 on the young season.

Albany Academy for Boys continues to roll, as they ran their record to 4-0 by thumping Cobleskill-Richmondville, 11-3

Unlike in the Suburban Council, teams in the Colonial Council play home & home series, so LaSalle will have an opportunity to avenge yesterday's loss when Lansingburgh comes to Geer Field in a couple of weeks. Likewise, Academy will be visiting Cobleskill soon.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Spook Rock: He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) (1986)

Shock rock showman Alice Cooper contributed three songs to the soundtrack to "Friday The 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives" in 1986. Two of them, "Teenage Frankenstein" & "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)", were also released on Cooper's CD, "Constrictor", that same year. "He's Back" got a ton of heavy airplay on MTV when it was released.

The irony of it all, and I found this out recently, is that behind the imagery of his stage shows, Cooper, born Vincent Fournier, is actually a born-again Christian, which would explain his participation in NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar: Live on Easter Sunday.

Sports this 'n' that

El Cheapo Press (The Record/Saratogian) hadn't exactly been beating the drums promoting either the revived Albany Patroons or the East Coast Hockey League's Adirondack Thunder this season. Both have been largely ignored, though you could make a case for some Thunder results appearing in the Saratogian, but not The Record.

However, after the Thunder landed a berth in the ECHL playoffs, El Cheapo Press is acting like they've been supporting the team all along, and will likely do so again when it's officially announced that the Patroons, currently in 2nd place in their league, will also see post-season action. Like, seriously? We get that El Cheapo Press can't afford to have extra reporters available to cover both teams on a steady basis, and we're not digging their approach to high school sports with the "roundups" every 3-4 days. Whatever happened to timely reporting, guys?? Oh, yeah. Your corporate parent is too cheap to do right by this market.

For being late-to-the-party bandwagon jumpers, and trying to deceive the readers, El Cheapo Press gets a box of Dunce Caps this week.
Once upon a time, you could count on Troy High being players during softball season. Not so far this season.

Headed into a road game today at Albany High, Troy sits at 0-3 after dropping a 4-2 decision to Saratoga on Wednesday. Something tells me talent depth, or lack of same, is the problem. By the way, the record doesn't include a road game at Niskayuna last Saturday that either was postponed or not reported.

Meanwhile, Troy's baseball team avoided getting blown out by the Blue Streaks Wednesday, making a late rally, but falling short in a 12-9 loss to drop to 1-2. Next stop is also in Albany today, weather permitting. The lacrosse team is 1-3 after beaing Albany, 13-4, on Thursday. Derrick Cipriani, better known for his accomplishments with the 2-time Class AA state football champions, has registered a hat trick in each of his last two games. Much like LaSalle's Sebastian Geiger & Erik Zimmerman, Cipriani is quickly becoming known as a multi-sport star.
The Troy school board will soon put the 2018-19 budget to a vote, but said budget doesn't include any extra financial outlays for adding items like a new scoreboard and/or lights for the baseball/softball fields.

It seems appropriate, then, that Troy lags behind the other high schools in the city, save maybe for Catholic Central, which plays their home baseball games at Knickerbocker Field, when it comes to spring sports amenities. Kind of like El Cheapo Press having the #3 paper in the market......
Back to the Patroons for a moment. The Albany Times-Union doesn't always have a beat writer covering their games, as one recent home game was reduced to being on the bottom of a page because of a lack of available reporters. They have to scrape and scramble for road results. Well, at least they're trying.
We know there's been bad blood over the years between the Yankees & Boston. The brawl on Wednesday night at Fenway, while the latest chapter in the ancient rivalry, also slowed the game down to a snail's pace, worse than usual. When the final out was recorded, shortly after 11 pm (ET), the official time of the game was just shy of four hours, with the Yankees hanging on to win, 10-7. A furious 9th inning rally last night came up short, as Boston took the series with a 6-3 win. That game swelled over three hours as well. Nothing new, but in contrast, the Mets & Marlins were a model of efficiency, as their game, a 4-1 Met win, ended just shy of two and a half hours. Of course, the prospect of a no-hitter, even though it was foiled in the 7th inning, had a lot to do with it.
Albany Academy continues to roll merrily along in baseball.

On Wednesday, Academy blew away Watervliet, 17-0, in another lop-sided game that could've been stopped by the mercy rule if the Colonial Council had bothered to enforce it in the regular season. Watch. Next year, they'll change their minds. Today, the Cadets welcome Cobleskill-Richmondville. Expect more of the same.
This last item slipped through the cracks until just now.

Next season, the Suburban Council will have one less team. Mohonasen made an announcement during basketball season that the Mighty Warriors will shift affiliations to the Colonial Council, where they would have a territorial rivalry with Schalmont, beginning this fall. This won't, I think, change the alignments of the divisions in the Suburban at all, unless there are corresponding moves yet to be made. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Classic TV: The Jimmy Dean Show (1963)

Before he became a sausage baron, Jimmy Dean parlayed the success of hits like "PT-109" & "Big Bad John" into a couple of self-titled series, one on CBS, the other on ABC. It's the 1963-6 ABC series we'll be looking at.

Now, I was but a wee lad when the show first ran. I barely remember seeing any of it back then. Currently, RFD-TV (check listings) has the rights, and runs it usually on weekends. It was Jimmy who introduced America to a piano-playing Muppet named Rowlf (Jim Henson). Writers Frank Peppiatt & John Aylesworth would later develop Hee Haw, which was a far more successful series than either of Dean's.

Let's take a look at a sample clip, shall we?

Rowlf would later move on to CBS' Our Place, then disappear for a few years before Henson brought him back for The Muppet Show. Meanwhile, as previously documented, Dean would join the cast of Daniel Boone, but all of his previous endeavors seem to have been eclipsed by his reinvention as a businessman. What started as a simple sausage company mushroomed into a whole cottage industry that's still going today.

Rating: A.

Are the Mets for real already?

"Make a mistake, and we own you."---Kevin Kernan, New York Post, on the Mets, April 2015.

Two weeks into the 2018 season, and it does feel like 2015 all over again in Flushing. The Mets sit atop the NL East with a 10-1 (!) record after sweeping Miami on Wednesday night, having won 8 in a row since losing to St. Louis on Easter Sunday.

What helped the Mets out on Wednesday night was Miami manager Don Mattingly, erring on the side of caution, pulling his starter, Jarlin Garcia, after 6 innings and less than 80 pitches. It didn't matter that Garcia was 2/3 of the way to a no-hitter in his first major league start. Remember when the Dodgers' Ross Stripling was similarly pulled a couple of years back? Team owners are more paranoid than ever these days about the seeming fragility of young arms. Thus, Mattingly, Mets rookie skipper Mickey Calloway, and everyone else can't be concerned about milestones like no-hitters. The Mets learned this lesson the hard way six years ago when Johan Santana threw his lone no-no against St. Louis. Santana wasn't the same pitcher after that after throwing more than 130 pitches.

So Mattingly went to the bullpen sooner than he instinctively would've liked. The Mets pounced, breaking up the no-no with two out in the 7th, then scored 4 runs in the 8th en route to beating the Marlins, 4-1.

"Make a mistake, and we own you."

Four days earlier, in Washington, the Nationals flushed an early lead after third baseman Anthony Rendon was ejected for showing up plate umpire Marty Foster after a strikeout. It was all Mets after that. The very next night, on ESPN, the Nats ran themselves out of an inning after Yoenis Cespedes threw a runner out at second. Cespedes would later have the the game winning hit as the Mets won in 12 innings.

While the Mets are also protecting their pitchers, they're also making the most out of their bullpen without overusing their relievers. Ace closer Jeurys Familia was given the night off Wednesday, and ex-Marlin A. J. Ramos finished his former club. Calloway, remember, was the pitching coach under Terry Francona in Cleveland before this year. Another ex-Yankee, Dave Eiland, is the current Met pitching coach. So far, so good.

Calloway is also making use of having his pitchers hit 8th instead of 9th, an idea that started in St. Louis not that long ago, as memory serves, especially considering most of the starters can rake. This allows the 9th place hitter, Amed Rosario, to be a table-setter if he happens to lead off an inning.

It may not last all the way to the fall. The injury curse has reared its ugly head yet again, as catcher Travis d'Arnaud may be gone for the season after tearing a UCL ligament in his elbow. Tomas Nido was called up from Class AA Binghamton and got his first game action Wednesday when Kevin Plawecki, who'd been platooning with d'Arnaud, was hit on the hand by a pitch in the pivotal 8th inning. If Plawecki has to be put on the DL, then the Mets would have to make an extra move to put veteran backup Jose Lobaton, who came over from Washington as a free agent, on the 40 man roster.

Still, in his first 11 games, Calloway has found a way to make all the pieces fit. Contrast that with another rookie manager in the division, Washington's Dave Martinez, whose team sits 4 1/2 games behind the Mets, with a rematch looming in Flushing next week. Martinez has made his share of mistakes, which is especially galling considering most experts picked the Nationals to repeat as division champions. We've already documented the follies of Philadelphia's Gabe Kapler, whose offense woke up after getting schooled by the Mets last week.

Tomorrow, the Mets return home, and will play Milwaukee before the Nationals come in with revenge on their minds. Bear in mind, the Mets haven't played Atlanta yet, and the Braves, another surprise in the early going, are 3 1/2 back. The message, though, has been sent to the rest of the league.

"Make a mistake, and we own you."

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Celebrity Rock: Flop Eared Mule (1961)

From season 1 of The Andy Griffith Show:

Despite his suspicions of a visiting promoter possibly being a con artist, Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith) picks up his guitar and, aided by The Country Boys (later known as the Kentucky Colonels), performs "Flop Eared Mule":

The poster mistakenly labeled the song as "Whoa Mule", but that's only because those are the first words to the song.

Baseball this 'n' that

It's early, I know. Not even two full weeks into the season, and fans in different parts of the country are geeking out over their teams' early successes.

For example, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have stolen the headlines from the Dodgers, thanks in a very large part to Japan's Shohei Ohtani, and all he's done is live up to the hype after a subpar preseason. On the mound, he was 2/3 of the way to a perfect game vs. Oakland on Sunday before it was broken up with 1 out in the 7th. At the plate, he hit three home runs in as many games, and became the first two-way player in baseball history to be named AL Player of the Week. Small wonder, then, that the Angels are challenging defending World Series champ Houston for the top spot in the AL West.

As for the Dodgers, they're chasing Arizona in the NL West, but don't worry. If last year was any indication, the Diamondbacks may not have enough staying power to keep the Dodgers away from the division title.

Back in the Northeast, first-year managers Mickey Calloway (Mets) & Alex Cora (Boston) have their teams in first place with identical records. The Red Sox open a series with the Yankees tonight, and we'll see if the Yanks' Giancarlo Stanton can handle the added pressure of this ancient rivalry. Two five strikeout games last week reminded everyone that he's just another all-or-nothing slugger, and the fickle, spoiled fans in the Bronx are reminding him that they expect the same kind of production out of him that he gave Miami the last few years. At the same time, they need to remember, as I've noted before, that that's just the way he is. Part of the reason a lot of pitchers have flopped in the Bronx was because of too much pressure from the fan base, which thinks the championship is a birthright, not a luxury to be earned.

Across town, in Flushing, the Mets have served notice that they are, so far, to be taken seriously in the NL East. They swept defending division champ Washington over the weekend, and that was after the Nationals' ace, Max Scherzer, had pitched the night before the series began in Atlanta. Scherzer defeated the Braves Monday night, and his next start figures to be on Saturday, which means he'll miss the next round of Nationals-Mets next week in Flushing.

Calloway is making sure to keep his players happy. He has Michael Conforto & Juan Lagares sharing center field, and Lagares is back to being a Gold Glove caliber player on defense, as the Nats found out on Sunday. Brandon Nimmo is getting most of his at bats off the bench, but sooner or later Jay Bruce and/or Yoenis Cespedes are going to get a day off to allow him to play the outfield.

Consider, too, that with Zack Wheeler being called back from Las Vegas to pitch tomorrow vs. Miami, plus having Seth Lugo & Robert Gsellman in the bullpen, the Mets really have an embarrassment of riches in the starting rotation with seven potentially lethal starters.

But will any of these teams be contending in September? Stay tuned.
In reporting on Saturday's Albany Academy-Lansingburgh game, I referenced the fact that the Colonial Council opted against implementing a mercy rule for regular season games, and that the Cadets' 18-3 thumping of the Knights was evidence that maybe the league should change their collective minds.

Meanwhile, there is a mercy rule in softball. Loudonville Christian Academy needed it Monday to spare themselves further humiliation after getting pancaked by Emma Willard, 25-6. Ouch, babe!

Albany Academy's Ben Seiler, son of Albany Times-Union reporter Casey Seiler, fanned 13 in hurling a no-hitter vs. Ichabod Crane on Monday afternoon, as the Cadets ran their record to 2-0 in Section 2.

However, today's Times-Union only has box scores for both games, as no sports reporters were assigned to either contest. As with other papers in the market, the T-U is hampered by manpower constraints, else the no-hitter could've bumped its way to the front page of the sports section.

LaSalle, meanwhile, dispatched Cohoes in their first league game of the season. They'll make the first of two trips to North Troy on Friday when they play Lansingburgh.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chuck McCann (1934-2018)

He was a New York television legend who made kids and families laugh during the 60's with daily programs on first WPIX, then WNEW (now WNYW), before going to Hollywood. He also was a founding member of the global Laurel & Hardy fan club, the Sons of The Desert, named for one of the iconic comedians' films, and probably was one of the biggest fans of Laurel & Hardy on the planet, such that he spent much of his later career impersonating Hardy in commercials and a few TV shows.

It is, however, a sad day, especially in New York, with the passing of actor-comic Chuck McCann at 83.

McCann hosted three different shows each at channels 5 & 11, including Laurel & Hardy & Chuck, in which he introduced the legendary team's shorts they made for Hal Roach. WPIX, of course, was also the home of another of Roach's iconic comedy teams, Our Gang, aka The Little Rascals, which was a mainstay of WPIX's daytime lineup, usually in the morning drive block, during the 70's & 80's.

Upon relocating to Hollywood, McCann began doing commercials, mostly for Right Guard deodorant, at the time a Gillette property (now made by Dial), in which he shared a medicine cabinet with a next-door neighbor (Bill Fiore) who kept losing his can of deodorant to McCann. There was one spot, which we'll serve up another time, in which comedy icon Groucho Marx matched wits with McCann. In 1975, McCann, along with Earle Doud, developed a Saturday morning comedy-adventure series, Far Out Space Nuts, for Sid & Marty Krofft & CBS. McCann co-starred alongside Bob Denver, but the series lasted one season.

Over at Saturday Morning Archives, we're screening a 1974 episode of Run, Joe, Run, in which McCann guest starred as a diamond smuggler. He'd do another villainous turn a few years later, this time in primetime, on ABC's Matt Houston, where his Oliver Hardy impersonation was part of the gimmick.

Speaking of Laurel & Hardy, that brings us to a Standard Oil ad Chuck did with, I believe Jim McGeorge, back in the 60's.

Chuck's last series was Norman Lear's 1977 syndicated series, All That Glitters. Unfortunately, other than commercial promos, there's nothing available right now to post.

Rest in peace, Chuck. At least now you'll get to meet Stan & Ollie in comedy heaven.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Classic TV: Hill Street Blues (1981)

Jack Webb set the bar for police drama with Dragnet in the 50's & 60's. The sitcom Barney Miller raised the bar by mixing normal sitcom elements with realistic scenes in a police precinct.

Hill Street Blues raised the bar even higher.

The first dramatic series sold by MTM Productions to NBC, Hill Street Blues was a mid-season replacement series that bowed in February 1981. While it was not a ratings hit right away, it did strike a chord with critics and network executives. As you'll see, most episodes began with a meeting, with roll call having already taken place.

Hill Street treated its characters like real people you could relate to. People reacted when Michael Conrad (Sgt. Esterhaus) passed away during season 4. They wondered if Captain Frank Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) & public defender Joyce Davenport (Veronica Hamel) would eventually marry. The theme, composed by Mike Post, was released as a single, featuring jazz guitarist Larry Carlton, and peaked at #10 on the Hot 100.

Let's take a look at a sample intro from season 5. Robert Prosky had joined the show after Conrad's passing, and Ken Olin (later of thirtysomething) had also been added.

Currently, Heroes & Icons (check listings) has the rights to the series.

Rating: A.

High school this 'n' that

It was a tough first week of spring sports action for Troy High. To wit:

Baseball: The Flying Horses are 1-1 going into week 2. Troy had their road opener at Burnt Hills postponed due to rain on April 3, but it was a non-league game anyway, as the two teams are set to close the season at Troy on May 14. The home opener on Thursday saw Troy shut out Averill Park, 7-0. Poor field conditions in Niskayuna resulted in the defending Class AA champion Silver Warriors moving their game with Troy to the THS campus on Saturday morning, with Nisky remaining the home team. The two clubs will play at Troy next year unless things change. Niskayuna embarrassed Troy with a walk-off, 5-4 win.

Lacrosse: Troy is now 0-2 after blowing a 3-2 halftime lead Thursday vs. LaSalle. The Cadets scored 12 unanswered goals in the second half, while their defense shut down the hosts, en route to a 14-3 win. Hockey stars Erik Zimmerman, Sam Brendese, & Sebastian Geiger combined for 8 of the Cadets' goals. Geiger had 5, Brendese had 2, and Zimmerman had 1. Troy was to play Nisky on Saturday, but that result hasn't been reported as of press time.

Softball: After losing their opener at Burnt Hills on April 3, 11-2, the women have yet to see the field again, as it appears Saturday's game at Nisky was postponed due to poor field conditions. They'll make a 3rd attempt to play arch rival Averill Park on Tuesday. For some reason, this being the only meeting between the Lady Horses and the Lady Warriors, it's listed as a non-league game on the schedule.

Tennis: The struggles on the court continue, as the boys dropped their opener to Averill Park, 9-0, on Thursday. One match was forfeited, likely due to lack of players, and that was a frequent thing last year. Tennis used to be one of Troy's stronger sports back in my days as a student.
Back to Troy baseball. I wrote a few days ago about how the Horses no longer had senior pitcher David Judge on their roster. As El Cheapo Press (The Record) was unable to discern the reasons why due to their being barred from talking to coaches and players, I found out from a friend of the Judge family, who is not only a fellow THS alumnus, but also the parent of an Albany Academy player, that Judge transferred to a school outside of Section II. Particularly, all the way down in Florida. Seems Judge made the acquaintance of then-Yankees manager Joe Girardi and his son some time back, and is boarding with the Girardi family this season. It's almost the same as moving to a prep school to enhance his chances of getting a Division 1 scholarship. Seems another part of THS policy is not disclosing student-athlete or personnel (coaching) changes to the press, period, as this would've been good copy for a feature piece for at least one local daily.
After getting my first look at the Lansingburgh baseball field yesterday, I'm more convinced than ever that Troy has to do some serious fund raising in order to get the amenities they need (i.e. scoreboards) for their baseball & softball fields.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Remember when Mother Nature came to life? (1971)

Ah, the 70's. When just about anything imaginable could be used in a commercial without controversy.

Take, for example, Mother Nature (Dena Dietrich) shilling for Chiffon margarine. Over the course of about 5-6 years, beginning in 1971, there was a series of ads featuring Mother Nature, with a formula that went a little something like this....

Unfortunately, you can't get Chiffon in this country anymore. ConAgra Foods, the current rights holders, discontinued American distribution in 2002.

Oh, mercy, mercy, me!: Albany Academy @ Lansingburgh (baseball), 4/7/18

A week ago, Section II took a vote on whether or not to implement a mercy rule for baseball. Some leagues are putting it to use right away. Others, such as the Suburban Council, will save it for the sectionals next month. Guess which side the Colonial Council chose?

The Colonial opted to use the rule in the sectionals, too, but after today, they may want to rethink that strategy. Seriously.

After opening the season with 4 games in Myrtle Beach, SC, Albany Academy, the defending Section II Class B champs, made the first of what will be three visits to Troy today, paying a call on Lansingburgh in a mid-morning game. After getting rained out of a game yesterday at LaSalle, Dave Rider's club was hungry for some action. That said, the game felt more like a picnic lunch.

In the first inning, Cadets third baseman Brett Young, headed for Virginia Commonwealth in the fall, cracked a 2-run home run to start the scoring. Young finished 4-4 on the day, a triple shy of the cycle, with 4 RBI's and 5 runs scored. A ground rule double in the 4th was just inches shy of being a grand slam instead. In that same inning, Derek Bender, a freshman, opened the inning with a solo homer. In all, the Cadets racked up 9 runs in the frame, and led 13-0 after 4 innings. Knights pitching hardly slowed down the runaway train, and Lansingburgh's offense finally came to life in the home 7th, but it was too little, too late. When the highlights air tonight, parental discretion may be advised. The final score ended up 18-3, but had the mercy rule been in effect, the final tally likely would've been 14-0.

The mercy rule, by the way, would go into effect if a team is leading by 10 runs or more after 5 innings, or 4 1/2 if the home team is leading. I think there might've been some Knights coaches looking for white flags after the 5th.

Albany Academy's next trip into North Troy figures to be April 27 vs. Catholic Central at Knickerbocker Park, just a short distance from Lansingburgh High. The road game vs. LaSalle has yet to be rescheduled.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Classic TV: McHale's Navy (1962)

What if Sgt. Bilko was in a different branch of the military?

The answer came in 1962 in the form of McHale's Navy, technically a sitcom, but, like another World War II-themed series that came after it, Hogan's Heroes, it was really a comedy-adventure series due to the elements of the occasional missions woven into the plot.

The series' pilot, though, was a drama, "Seven Against The Sea", which had aired a few months before McHale was rebooted into the sitcom we all know. The only constant was Ernest Borgnine in the lead as Commander Quinton McHale, as steady as anyone in battle, but, to the permanent consternation of his boss, Captain Wallace Binghamton (Joe Flynn), he was also running some rather shady operations on his private island hideaway.

McHale ran for four seasons (1962-6), and spawned two feature film spin-offs, as well as another sitcom, Broadside, which, sadly, lasted just one season (1964-5).

Oscar winner Borgnine was joined by Tim Conway, Gary Vinson (ex-The Roaring Twenties), Gavin McLeod (later of the Mary Tyler Moore Show & The Love Boat) and Carl Ballantine as part of his band of merry misfits. Post-McHale, Vinson would remain on the Universal payroll for one more series, but Pistols & Petticoats, for CBS, ended after 1 season. Flynn would later parlay his role into a string of Disney movies, and reunited with Conway for a short-lived CBS series in 1970. His last TV gig, before his passing, was a short-lived revival of the comedy game, It Pays to be Ignorant, in 1973.

Borgnine would later reignite his career with a dramatic role in Airwolf, co-starring with Jan-Michael Vincent.

Here's the intro everyone knows:

After three seasons of being based in the South Pacific, McHale and his crew were reassigned to Italy in the 4th & final season. Unfortunately, it was the end of the trail. Then again, World War II also lasted for four years.....!

Rating: A.

Sports this 'n' that

You wanna know how fickle fans are in New York? Consider the last two days for Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

In the delayed home opener vs. Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Stanton struck out five times. In baseball parlance, a player gets a "golden sombrero" if he fans four times in a game. What would five K's mean? I don't know, and I don't think I want to find out. All I needed to read were headlines that noted that Stanton was booed out of the building in his first home game. The Yankee fans should've known what to expect from Stanton, who, like their own blossoming star, Aaron Judge, is prone to striking out more often than hitting homers.

Wednesday was a different story. Stanton homered, as did Judge & Gary Sanchez, in the Yanks' 7-2 win, and all was forgiven, at least for now. However, what would it take for the Bronx faithful to accept the good with the bad? Or are they only interested in the tape measure homers, like the one he hit Wednesday? Knowing these front-runners, it's probably the latter.
It's funny how things work. I picked Philadelphia to finish in between the Nationals & Mets. As New York visits Washington for the first time today, the Mets are in first place, with Washington tied with Atlanta for 2nd, a 1/2 game back, after sweeping a truncated two game set from the Phillies. At this rate, Gabe Kapler's club may be fighting to stay out of the cellar with Miami. Stay tuned.
You have to pity high school beat writers like James Allen of the Albany Times-Union & Spectrum News. Every year at this time, first week of the spring sports season, and along comes Allen to lament the fact that many high schools in Section II dread the winter-like weather the first month of the season. Some schools have the resources to train out of state and prepare for the season, while others, such as Troy High, don't. As noted yesterday, Troy's baseball team either didn't play on Tuesday, or the road opener vs. Burnt Hills wasn't reported. Today's games vs. Averill Park were moved from the original starting time of 12 noon (ET) to 4:15, which would be the regular starting time when classes are in session.

For what it's worth, the T-U hasn't updated its lacrosse standings yet to reflect games already played, and don't have pages up yet for baseball & softball.
Speaking of the Times-Union, a front page headline in today's edition reports that Siena men's basketball coach Jimmy Patsos is being investigated for verbally abusing a sophomore student serving as the team manager under Patsos. The youth has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which has some harsh side effects, and the article states that Patsos was aware of the youth's condition in the first place.

There's been cases across the country of coaches abusing players for various reasons. After a dismal 8-24 campaign this season, the abusive behavior demonstrated by Patsos may be his ticket out of Loudonville, whether he likes it or not. Again, stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Musical Interlude: Dreamin' (1980)

British pop icon Cliff Richard cracked the Billboard top 10 for the final time in 1980 with "Dreamin'", a track co-written with Leo Sayer, and the first single off Richard's EMI LP, "I'm No Hero". Richard would follow this with his duet with Olivia Newton-John, "Suddenly", from the latter's film, "Xanadu".

Sayer, ironically, was one of the artists who kept Richard out of the top spot, as his "More Than I Can Say" peaked at #2.

Another difficult spring begins at Troy High

I've said often in recent times that Troy High doesn't do enough to promote its spring sports, unlike football in the fall and basketball in the winter, the two major sports that make money for the school. It doesn't help that every year, when spring sports season arrives, Mother Nature gets in the way.

Case in point: Tuesday's baseball opener at Burnt Hills either was played and not reported to the local press, or was postponed due to mid-morning rains. The softball team opened at Burnt Hills, and left on the short end of a 11-2 score. This one, though, was a non-league clash, as the two teams will meet again in the Suburban Council finale for both on May 14 at Troy.

Curiously, while Spectrum News had cameras, presumably one operated by sports director-anchor Marissa Jacques, at the lacrosse team's home opener vs. Shaker, the game result didn't appear in today's Albany Times-Union. Go figure. For what it's worth, Troy lost this one, too, 16-4, to the defending sectional champions. Unlike in other sports, where they're a Class AA school, Shaker drops down to Class A for lacrosse because there is no Class AA for the sport. Again, go figure.

It won't get any easier. Thursday's calendar sees the baseball & softball teams taking on Averill Park. In another curiosity, those games are also denoted as non-league, but the schedule doesn't show any other meetings between the two schools in either sport this season. Averill Park is the opposite of Troy in that the baseball team was among the dregs of the league last year, while the softball team has been a league power----and a thorn in Troy's side---the last few years. With Troy moving back to Class A next season, the classic rivalry in softball may yet get a jolt of momentum.

Meanwhile, the lacrosse team wraps a 2-game season opening homestand with cross-town rival LaSalle Thursday night. Shane Hendry's club had a game scheduled last night, but the result of that game was also not reported as of press time, at least to Spectrum and the local papers. As it stands, Troy doesn't have it easy at all to start the season, as after tomorrow, they have a Saturday matinee at Niskayuna, with a 11 am (ET) start. The Cadets, per the Colonial Council site, have a Saturday matinee as well, albeit with an opponent to be named, at Hudson Valley Community College, also at 11.

By the way, we should be hearing about the complete 2018 Friday Night Lights series at Joe Bruno Stadium in about 2 weeks, right before the first games are to be played. Our High School Fridays feature will return well before then, on Friday the 13th.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Forgotten TV: Ichabod & Me (1961)

Robert Sterling (ex-Topper) returned to television in 1961's Ichabod & Me, a CBS entry from Revue. The show had a strong creative pedigree in executive producers Joe Connolly & Bob Mosher (Leave it to Beaver), whose Kayro Productions packaged the show with JaMco (Jack Benny's company), which also packaged Checkmate that same year.

Sterling played Robert Major, editor of the Phippsboro Bulletin, a weekly newspaper in the fictional New Hampshire town. George Chandler was Ichabod Adams, the owner, who was now a municipal commissioner, whom Major often sought for advice. Jimmy Mathers, the real-life brother of Beaver star Jerry Mathers, played Major's young son, Benjie. Hank Simms, later the voice of Quinn Martin Productions, is the announcer.

Spun off from a pilot episode that aired on GE Theatre, Ichabod lasted one season, despite having Red Skelton as a lead-in. Maybe this sample episode will explain why.

The 1961-2 season was also the 2nd & last for Checkmate, leaving Benny with just his self-titled sitcom on CBS for a couple more years. Connolly & Mosher followed up Ichabod with another 1-season wonder, the animated Calvin & The Colonel for ABC, before landing the cult classic, The Munsters (1964-6), also for CBS. Reta Shaw is better remembered for her later work on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. Burt Mustin was also appearing on Beaver, and was a reliable supporting player on countless sitcoms & dramas for years.

Rating: B.

Maybe George Orwell was right all along......

I'm sure you've heard by now how news anchors at Sinclair Broadcasting-owned stations across the country have to read a script denouncing "fake news". Let me give you an example, courtesy of WTVH in Syracuse:

Like, seriously?

WRGB's Liz Bishop, who has been with the station seemingly forever (more than 40 years, actually) had to read that same script the other night, and it had to be embarrassing for a veteran reporter like her. Sinclair supports President Trump's stance on "fake news", which means denouncing credible cable outlets such as CNN, while praising Trump's friends at Fox News Channel.

No less a news legend than Dan Rather invoked author George Orwell in slamming Sinclair Broadcasting's mandate that this script had to be read on every one of their stations. You know the critics are having a field day, condemning the company's decision. I can't wait to read about how late night yakkers like Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert address this.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Classic TV: Our Miss Brooks (1952)

A while back, we took a look and a listen to the radio version of Our Miss Brooks. Now, it's time to scope the more familiar television version.

Eve Arden reprised as Madison High teacher Connie Brooks, with Gale Gordon as principal Osgood Conklin, Richard Crenna as student Walter Denton, and Robert Rockwell as Mr. Boynton, Brooks' long suffering beau, who would eventually marry Brooks in the feature film version of the series.

On CBS TV, Our Miss Brooks ran for 4 seasons (1952-6), with the movie serving as the coda for the series. Curiously, while Desilu produced the TV show, the movie was distributed & produced by Warner Bros.. Go figure.

Now, let's scope the intro:

Post-Brooks, Eve Arden had two more series. The first was a self-titled sitcom that came along shortly after Brooks went off the air. We'll look at that another time. The other was the Desi Arnaz-produced The Mothers-in-Law, which ran for 2 seasons on NBC (1967-9). Richard Crenna, of course, moved on to The Real McCoys before turning to drama. Gale Gordon would stick with sitcoms, first joining the cast of Dennis The Menace before becoming Lucille Ball's go-to foil in The Lucy Show & Here's Lucy.

The fact that Eve Arden wore her hair similarly to Ball reminds that Ball had been considered for the lead on radio, but opted to remain with My Favorite Husband.

Rating: B.

A little bit of this & a little of that

So Fox News yakker Laura Ingraham decided to take a week off after catching major heat for throwing shade, as the kids say, at Parkland, Florida teen David Hogg last week after Hogg was turned down by four different colleges (Hogg is a senior). Hogg, in turn, called on advertisers via Twitter to boycott Ingraham's show because of her remarks. More than a dozen did so, and then Ingraham, whom MSNBC stupidly cut loose a few years back, decided to bolt.

Fox News Channel claims in their slogan to be "fair & balanced", but in truth are anything but. And they're President Trump's favorite channel. Gee, I wonder why. Anyway, Ingraham gets a set of Weasel ears for her ill-advised remarks, then rabbiting out of town to avoid the heat.
Earlier today, the CW announced that 10 of their primetime series were being renewed for next season. All 6 of Greg Berlanti's entries (Arrow, Black Lightning, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale, & Supergirl) will all be back, as will Supernatural, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane The Virgin, & Dynasty, the latter of which was originally thought not to return due to poor early performance. Moving it to Fridays may have saved the show. With CW expanding to 6 nights of programming next season, there's a better chance of going against network president Mark Pedowicz's edicts and having the Berlanti 6 checkerboard the lineup.

Meanwhile, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creator/star Rachel Bloom took the time to announce that the coming 4th season will be the last. Season 3 ended early to allow for Dynasty to move to Fridays. After next season, there should be enough episodes for Ex-Girlfriend to land on cable in reruns (i.e. TNT or TBS).

The jury's still out on Life Sentence, which bowed last month, iZombie, which has the night off tonight so CW can plug in a Penn & Teller special opposite the NCAA basketball championship game, and The 100, which will return later this month after Black Lightning finishes its freshman season.
As a player, Gabe Kapler was a reliable bench player for a few teams, including Detroit & Boston. As a manager? A work in progress.

You've probably heard by now about Kapler's first weekend as Phillies manager. Relying on analytics more than common sense, Kapler pulled his starter in Saturday's game vs. Atlanta, but the reliever he wanted hadn't started warming up. Opposing manager Brian Snitker of Atlanta complained, and was ejected. However, Snitker got the last laugh, as Atlanta won.

Kapler, this week's Dunce Cap winner, will have to wait an extra day to demonstrate his lack of managerial acumen vs. the Mets, as tonight's game was postponed due to inclement weather, which also wiped out the Yankees' home opener vs. Tampa Bay.
To illustrate just how little priority spring sports gets at Troy High, a quick check of the school's varsity lacrosse schedule on Sportspak Online shows that it does not include a non-league home game vs. city rival LaSalle, set for Thursday night. A check of LaSalle's page on the Colonial Council website is just the opposite, as the Troy game is the last of three road games in as many days.

I can't speak for other schools, though I may find out soon enough, but Troy can't be bothered to print programs for their spring sports or men's and women's soccer, which literally says you can't tell the players without a scorecard. Football & basketball are the only varsity sports which make the cash registers ring at Troy, and presumably everywhere else in Section II, but considering Troy won't be making an appearance at Bruno Stadium again this month, what does that say?

These are strange times at the old barn on Burdett Avenue.
Marvel Comics announced late last week that they are reviving one of their cornerstone titles later this summer. Yes, the Fantastic Four are being brought back together. That's the end game of the revival of Marvel Two-in-One, the Thing's team-up book from the 70's & 80's, but common sense says to keep Two-in-One in play after the current arc ends. The relaunch of the FF begins in August.
In other comic book news, fans of the original Charlie's Angels may be delighted to learn that the series is becoming a comic book. Dynamite Entertainment has added it to their ever-expanding line of licensed titles, beginning in June. It'll be the original Angels, Jill (Farrah Fawcett), Kelly (Jaclyn Smith), & Sabrina (Kate Jackson), rendered in pen & ink for the first time. Will it be worth the $4 per issue? We'll know for sure come June.