Saturday, November 30, 2019

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas with Danny Thomas (1953)

From season 1 of Make Room For Daddy:

Danny is separated from his family on Christmas Eve. Or is he? Jean Hagen played Danny's wife for the first few years.

All the commercials, and Danny's closing message, are intact, and you just don't see that often online.

Rating: B.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Countdown to Christmas: Carol of The Bells, Muppets style (2009)

We all know "Carol of The Bells", but you haven't heard a straight up wacked out version until you hear from the Muppets, particularly Animal, the Swedish Chef, and Beaker.

Universal translator not included.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Countdown to Christmas: The earliest Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade footage

This year marks the 95th anniversary of a November tradition.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924. In those days, there were no balloons "flying" above the parade, guided by a group of volunteers. No television coverage, of course, that was still 25 years away at the minimum.

We see the parade as the beginning of the countdown to Christmas, and it just happens that we've located this video, which collects newsreel footage of the parades from 1927-29.

Ok, so there were balloons, but not as many as are commissioned on a year-to-year basis now. We see volunteers wearing character masks, like the mascot heads Lee Corso gets to model on ESPN during college football season. I would venture to guess that it is television, naturally, that has allowed the parade to swell to a 3 hour time frame for as long as you and I have been alive or sooner.

Savor the history. Happy Thanksgiving. We'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Musical Interlude: Over The Rainbow (1939)

Everyone knows about Judy Garland's definitive rendition of "Over The Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz", 80 years ago. This clip is open captioned to include the lyrics on your screen.

One of my ex-girlfriends used to sing this a cappella as part of her solo bar act in the late 80's, but never gave any consideration to trying to play it with her band in the early 90's. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Classic Reborn: Mad About You (2019)

You've seen the commercials all summer and fall, if you're a Spectrum Cable subscriber.

Now, it's back.

20 years after ending its run on NBC, Mad About You continues the story of Paul & Jamie Buchman (Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt), whose daughter, Mabel, is now headed off to college, but, in the opener, her parents are finding out how difficult it is to deal with their child leaving the nest.

Here's a trailer:

Paul Reiser & Helen Hunt double as executive producers, along with Peter Tolan (Rake, Rescue Me, The Job), and the trio collaborated on the script for the opener, directed by Hunt. Much of the supporting cast from the earlier series, including Richard Kind (recently on Gotham), return as well, helping create a seamless transition from then to now.

Rating: B.

Musical Interlude: Crimson & Clover (2017)

Tommy James & The Shondells reached #1 in February 1969 with "Crimson & Clover". 12 years later, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts peaked at #7 with their cover.

36 years later, Jett sits in with James for a duet version in concert.

"Crimson" was one of three James hits to be covered in the 80's, the others being "Mony Mony" (Billy Idol) and "I Think We're Alone Now" (Tiffany), the latter pair achieving chart success in 1987, with Idol's version getting some airplay during the Minnesota Twins' 1st World Series title run.

Monday, November 25, 2019

A little of this and a little of that

Yahoo!, if not frustrated football fans themselves, is accusing the game officials of Sunday's Patriots-Cowboys game of making phantom penalty calls on the visiting Cowboys to ensure New England won the game.

Fans complain every week on Yahoo! and other message boards about the officiating, but the league is in no hurry to actually address the issue. We know this. Director of Officiating Al Riveron is a stooge for Patriots owner Robert Kraft, which explains why there's been a lack of enforcement of the league's new rules on pass interference. Riveron won't overturn calls on the field, especially in AFC games, because they want to rig the playoffs to benefit the Patriots.

It's way past time this was taken out of the hands of the NFL and to a higher authority. Like the Federal Government. Kraft and President Trump ain't exactly seeing eye to eye on the latter's faux jingoistic stance on player protests over social and racial inequality, and it'd be better to keep Trump's nose out of it. Period.
Back at home, we're mourning the passing of former WRGB & WNYT news anchor Ed Dague, who passed away over the weekend at 76.

Dague began his career at WTEN, working behind the scenes, and I'm not sure if he ever appeared on camera at Channel 10. Dague retired in 2003 after spending nearly two decades at Channel 13, serving as co-anchor and managing editor of their 6 pm (ET) newscast.

During his run at WNYT, Dague doubled as a weatherman for a day when meteorologist Bob Kovachick was injured at home and couldn't work......

Rest in peace, Ed.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sports this 'n' that

For all of the hype surrounding Saturday's Ohio St.-Penn St. game, you'd think the Nittany Lions, at the time ranked 8th according to the College Football Playoff rankings, didn't stand a chance. The oddsmakers, proving again they're not always right, installed the Buckeyes as an 181/2 point home favorite in Columbus.

What happens? Ohio St. has to rally in the second half after giving up two third quarter turnovers to put down Penn St., 28-17. What that result says is that despite the return of defensive star Chase Young after a 2 game suspension, the Buckeyes may actually be vulnerable going into their annual regular season closing game with Michigan next Saturday. Regardless of the result of that game, though, Ohio St. is assured of a spot in the Big 10 title game the following week.
Later that night, Oklahoma punched its ticket to the Big 12 title game, and, like Ohio St., sweated it out vs. Texas Christian, winning, 28-24. The Sooners will have a rematch vs. Baylor, whom they beat 8 days ago, in the title game. Vulnerable? I think so.
Here's an idea for ESPN to justify the phat salary extension they gave Screamin' A. Cosell (Stephen A. Smith). Buy the rights to the old radio & TV comedy game show, It Pays to be Ignorant, last seen during the 1973-4 season in syndication. It fits Smith like a glove. Just sayin'.
WWE's latest NXT: Takeover event, the third annual War Games, came & went Saturday night, but the only one from either Raw or Smackdown to show up was former NXT champion Kevin Owens, whom Triple H was attempting to recruit just 5 days earlier before being ambushed by the Undisputed Era. Despite keeping the identity of the last man on Tomasso Ciampa's team a secret, viewers should've connected the dots.

As it is, NXT champ Adam Cole will sell being banged up going into a title defense tonight at Survivor Series vs. Pete Dunne. Owens, on the other hand, could see his teammates from last night on the opposite side, since he's scheduled to be a part of Raw's men's team in a 3-way elimination tag. Expect shenanigans.
A high school wrestler in California who was named the captain of his school's team, won't be able to go to the mat any time soon.

Brett Winters, born without tibia bones in both legs, had his prosthetic legs stolen the other day, and while one leg was recovered, the process of getting a new set of legs fitted on Winters will take up virtually the entire season

The average fan's reaction?

Commentators on Yahoo! are assuming an envious or jealous teammate stole the legs out of spite. Just the same, it's a bush league move. There are others, however, who feel Winters shouldn't be on the team anyway because of his disability. That, though, reeks of a lack of sensitivity.

Impact Wrestling recently did an angle where a guest referee, another double amputee, worked a match, and after the match ended, did some moves, including a 450 splash off the top rope, onto the defeated heel wrestler. WWE had Zach Gowen on their roster, a single amputee, for a few months in 2003, but never really gave him a chance to shine.

Now, you tell me if Winters deserves to continue his mat career.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Musical Interlude: In The Air Tonight (1981)

Genesis drummer-vocalist Phil Collins released his first solo album, "Face Value", in February 1981. A few weeks prior, Collins rang in the year with the first single from the record, the haunting "In The Air Tonight":

Friday, November 22, 2019

Sports this 'n' that

It's been over a week since the late-game dust-up between AFC North rivals Pittsburgh & Cleveland. So why are we still talking about it?

Because Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett, suspended for his part in the incident, claimed earlier this week that Steelers QB Mason Rudolph used a racial slur against him, allegedly provoking the use of Rudolph's helmet as a weapon.

The league, on the other hand, found no evidence to support Garrett's claims, as he was hoping for a reduced sentence. There are people griping that Rudolph virtually got off scot free for his part. Conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this one, if you get the drift.
Nearly 25 years ago, then-WCW President Eric Bischoff famously dismissed "Stunning" Steve Austin via telephone call (urban legends say Austin was fired by FedEx letter), prompting Austin to leave for ECW, and, eventually, icon status as "Stone Cold" in WWE.

Just to illustrate how Ring of Honor has fallen off the cliff over the last year, current women's champion Kelly Klein has been told that her contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of next month. Klein's husband, former ROH wrestler-producer BJ Whitmer, now a producer for AEW, posted on Twitter that his wife was fired by e-mail, but ROH suits are saying that they are simply non-renewing Klein's contract.

Former producer Joey Mercury (Adam Birch), who's had a couple of go-rounds with WWE dating back to 2005, and whose career dates back to ECW in the late 90's, was released earlier this year, and has released some damaging tweets at certain ROH management personnel. Resentful much?

ROH has lost a ton of talent in the last few years thanks to wrestlers leaving for either WWE, the fledgling AEW, Impact, or Japan. Veteran wrestler Bully Ray (Mark Lomanaco), whose lady in waiting, Velvet Sky, signed with ROH earlier this year, is gaining more power backstage. This is what happens when you let the inmates run the asylum, and you'd think ROH would've learned from WCW making those similar mistakes 20-plus years ago.
We'll have a review of NWA Powerr up this weekend, but when tapings resume next month, play-by-play announcer Joe Grilli will have a new analyst to work with.

Veteran manager-promoter-producer Jim Cornette resigned Wednesday after a comment of his about Trevor Murdoch on Tuesday's show was branded racist, despite the fact that Murdoch is a white wrestler. Cornette made a joke about Murdoch having a bucket of chicken strapped to his back while riding a motor scooter across an African country. You can assume the implication of racism in the context of the remark, but at the time it aired, because it was directed at a white athlete, how could it be racist, unless the Africans were chasing the scooter, which Cornette never implied was happening?

The NWA, under the stewardship of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, isn't taking any chances, with their show not yet two months old. Can't blame them for that. If Cornette didn't hand in his resignation, he likely would've been terminated anyway.
You've probably noticed that on Fox's Thursday & Sunday NFL pre-games, they've got a contest going where analyst Terry Bradshaw is giving away about a quarter of a million dollars for players who pick six correct games. Like, yo. Win Ben Stein's Money was 20 years ago. I don't think anyone's won the money yet.

Next thing ya know, Bradshaw will revive Stein's old show, but for Freeform rather than Comedy Central. Not.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Musical Interlude: Into The Fire (1987)

Dokken's "Into The Fire" was originally released in 1987, and included in the movie, "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors", along with the film's theme song, "Dream Warriors".

32 years later, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) obtained a license (they're owned by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan) to use "Fire" as the theme to their online series, NWA Powerr, airing on YouTube on Tuesdays. We'll look at Powerr another time, but let's warp back to 1987.

A little of this and a little of that

We talked about this over at Tri-City SportsBeat the other day.

Under a proposal put together by executives from the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, & Baltimore Orioles, 42 minor league teams would be contracted or eliminated in a cost-saving measure under the cover of some of these clubs not having "adequate facilities" that don't measure up to major league standards.

Understandably, New York lawmakers, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are raising cain, and so are their counterparts in other states. The New York-Penn League, home to the Tri-City Valleycats, has been spared, one of five teams in the NY-P League to avoid the cut list. Speaking of which.....

  • Appalachian League (advanced Rookie): Bluefield Blue Jays, Bristol Pirates, Burlington Royals, Danville Braves, Elizabethton Twins, Greeneville Reds, Johnson City Cardinals, Kingsport Mets, Princeton Rays
  • California League (advanced A): Lancaster Jethawks
  • Carolina League (advanced A): Frederick Keys
  • Eastern League (Double-A): Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Erie SeaWolves
  • Florida State League (advanced A): Daytona Tortugas, Florida Fire Frogs
  • Midwest League (full-season A): Burlington Bees, Clinton LumberKings, Quad Cities River Bandits
  • New York-Penn League (short-season A): Auburn Doubledays, Batavia Muckdogs, Connecticut Tigers, Lowell Spinners, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, State College Spikes, Staten Island Yankees, Vermont Lake Monsters, Williamsport Crosscutters
  • Northwest League (short-season A): Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Tri-City Dust Devils 
  • Pioneer League (advanced Rookie): Billings Mustangs, Grand Junction Rockies, Great Falls Voyagers, Idaho Falls Chukars, Missoula PaddleHeads, Ogden Raptors, Orem Owlz, Rocky Mountain Vibes
  • Southern League (Double-A): Chattanooga Lookouts, Jackson Generals
  • South Atlantic League (full-season A): Hagerstown Suns, Lexington Legends, West Virginia Power 
Yes, each of the teams that are at the forefront of this proposal would lose some of their minor league teams, and, of course, it's all about the dolla-dolla bill.

There are some people that don't see this happening, and baseball as a whole would be better if it didn't.
It's not as if producer Greg Berlanti has enough content on the CW already, but WarnerMedia, which co-owns the network, might as well offer him some stock shares, because they're adding another of his shows to the roster next year.

Stargirl, set to debut in the spring, will be repurposed on CW, airing the day after each episode drops on DC Universe, according to published reports, meaning that it will also stream on the CW website, and air On Demand on your cable system.

Based on a character created by co-executive producer Geoff Johns 20 years ago at DC, the story revolves around Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bessinger, ex-Bella & The Bulldogs), who discovers that her stepfather, Pat Dugan (Colgate pitchman Luke Wilson), is the former Stripesy, partner to the Star Spangled Kid. Originally, Whitmore adopted the SSK monicker before shortening it to Stargirl in the books.

Series also co-stars Joel McHale (Card Sharks, ex-Community, The Soup) as Starman, the grown up SSK, Lou Ferrigno, Jr. (S.W.A.T.), and Henry Thomas ("E.T.", The Haunting of Hill House).

Expect a new Stargirl comic book from DC to go along with the show when it debuts, probably in April or May.
Everyone agrees that 2003's Birds of Prey, from the producers of Smallville, was a bust. DC still believes in the franchise, which is why it's being relaunched again in 2020, but not in the way anyone thought. 

What was planned as an ongoing series for DC's new Black Label imprint was sliced down to a 1-off, out in January, followed by a Harley Quinn-centric miniseries, five issues in length, out in February, timed to coincide with the movie, "Birds of Prey (and The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" (whew). Yes, it's pricey, but DC's not taking too many chances, even though Harley's become rather overexposed of late, as DC is making the same marketing mistake with her as Marvel and DC have with other "hot" characters over the years.

By the way, Rachel Skarsten, one of the stars of the 2003 Birds, has resurfaced on CW's Batwoman.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What Might've Been: Slattery's People (1964)

After supporting roles in Our Miss Brooks & The Real McCoys, Richard Crenna made a bold move into drama with Slattery's People, which spent a season and change on CBS over the course of 14 months (September 1964-November 1965).

Crenna had the title role, but Slattery didn't have a first name until the short-lived season 2. Slattery was a lawyer and legislator, juggling two important jobs as some politicians are wont to do at the local level.

So what was the problem? CBS slotted Slattery's People on Mondays, directly opposite Ben Casey on ABC, with both shows coming from Bing Crosby's production company. CBS heard the flak from the Crosby camp, and ultimately moved Slattery to another night. However, despite critical acclaim, viewers stayed away, and the series didn't make it to a 2nd Christmas.

Let's take a look at a sample episode, "Children of Calamity":

Creator-executive producer James Moser wrote a fair number of episodes of Dragnet for both radio & television in the 50's.

No rating.

Weasel of The Week: John McNesby

We hear all the time about how NFL and other pro athletes give some of their free time to the communities in which they play.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins, in his 11th season in the league, and 6th with the Eagles after New Orleans drafted him out of Ohio State in 2009, wrote a guest editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday, asking for a "culture shift" in the police department, which entailed breaking down a plan for Mayor Jim Kenney to find the next police commissioner.

You see, in Philadelphia, they're having the same issues with police using "stop & frisk" tactics with minorities as there are in New York City. As Jenkins wrote, police have made arrests in less than 50% of murder cases, and less than 25% of non-fatal shootings, while spending more time stopping more than 3,000 drivers in the first quarter of 2019 alone, looking for the "smell" of marijuana, and a large percentage of those were African-Americans.

Philadelphia Police Union President John McNesby isn't buying. In fact, he disparaged Jenkins, claiming he's "washed up", even though the Eagles are in position for a possible wild card or division title, a game in back of Dallas in the NFC East, and likened Jenkins to a drug dealer.

Now, that's low.

Kenney has come out in support of Jenkins' proposals, demonstrating that he's at least willing to listen and work with the community. So what's McNesby's problem? Of course, he sees Jenkins' remarks, and perceives it to be, for one thing, racist in nature, and, in a broader sense, disrespectful of the police.

Look around you, Mr. McNesby. In different parts of the country, including here in the 518, the perception of the police has changed, and not for the better. When a professional athlete, especially one with the college background that Jenkins has, speaks, the people will listen. You're not helping matters by painting a false picture. That doesn't instill confidence in the police department.

That having been said, Mr. McNesby gets the Weasel ears this week.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Musical Interlude: Send in The Clowns (1978)

From season 2 of The Muppet Show:

Judy Collins recorded "Send in The Clowns" twice in the space of three years. The first time, she barely cracked the top 40 in 1975. Two years later, she just reached the top 20.

"Clowns" was one of four songs Collins performed in this episode, which didn't air until January 1978. It'd been written by Stephen Sondheim for his 1973 Broadway production, "A Little Night Music".

It's also a rare occurence where the musical guest at this point in the show, since this is the last number, wasn't introduced by Kermit.

A lot of folks on YouTube have credited the hit movie, "Joker", as an inspiration for checking out this vintage clip. "Clowns" has also gotten some airplay on local oldies channels of late.

Monday, November 18, 2019

A little of this and a little of that

The New England Patriots got back on the winning track Sunday, avenging a Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia by holding off a late Eagles rally to win, 17-10, but the story here is that, in what might be a first, Tom Brady went the entire game without throwing a touchdown pass.

Instead, receiver/kick returner Julian Edelman, on an option play, threw the game winning TD pass. Brady, in his 19th season out of Michigan, was only too happy to let someone else be a hero. The problem is that everyone assumes he'll win the game every time, but as has been demonstrated in recent Super Bowls, other players, such as Malcolm Butler (now with Tennessee) and James White were the real heroes ignored by the mass media.

It's not going to get easier, not with Dallas coming to town next week.
Sam Darnold threw a career high 4 TD passes, to four different receivers, as the Jests beat the Washington Trumpets, 34-17. Ex-Trumpet Jamison Crowder, one of New York's off season acquisitions, caught the last of the four TD's.

At least the Jests can say they're not tanking.
ESPN bloviator Stephen A. Smith is whining about Colin Kaepernick, and how the ex-San Francisco QB-turned-social activist moved a public workout on Saturday to a less glamorous location because of NFL questions about liability insurance or some such. You never played the game, Screamin' A, so shut up already.
Kanye West's first hit single was "Jesus Walks". He'd like you to believe his career has come full circle.

West now claims he's given his life to Christ, and his "Sunday Service" tour brought him to Joel Osteen's megachurch in Texas on Sunday. A scheduled 7 pm (CT) program ran late, predictably, though an 11 am service ran smoothly. West is touring to promote his new CD, "Jesus is King", his first Christian record. However, he can't let go of his ego, proclaiming himself as the greatest artist God has ever created.

I'm pretty sure there are more than a few folks who are looking at this with a side eye, thinking that West is working the masses. Well, let me give West some advice, through the Good Book itself.

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up."--James 4:10 (King James version).

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."--Proverbs 16:18 (King James version).

And, then, there is the wisdom of football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, whose credo was, "The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third". The last part of that statement was the title of Sayers' 1970 autobiography.

Current athletes, such as injured Trumpets QB Case Keenum, are also Christians, and follow the same credo. It would really be a miracle if West did the same, and got wife Kim to follow suit.
While police are still searching for a gunman who cut down five men at a NFL watch party in Fresno on Sunday, another jackass showed up in a Walmart parking lot in suburban Duncan, Oklahoma earlier today, and reports have at least three people dead. No one's sure if the shooter was one of the three.

Couple these two incidents with a school shooting in Santa Clarita, California a few days ago, and you wonder when this nonsense will ever stop. It won't, sadly, until school administrators and law enforcement officials begin looking into the psychiatric profiles of some of these shooters, and what their motivations are. Trying to pin the blame on the NRA (which isn't doing anyone any favors) isn't helping, but rather, hindering the cause.

"The mind is a terrible thing to waste."--United Negro College Fund slogan, dating back to at least the 60's.

This is so true, and yet, so many people are so willing to go ahead and waste their futures because of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, etc., and an unwillingness to seek help when it's available to them.

The Bible teaches children to obey their parents in the Lord, for it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, that homily is lost on a lot of today's families.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Celebrity Rock: Devil Woman (2005)

You probably know the story by now. Before hitting it big with Moonlighting in the mid-80's, Bruce Willis was a musician first. Moonlighting gave him an avenue to bring his music to the forefront.

In 2005, at the premiere for the movie, "Sin City", Willis put his band, Bruno & The Heaters, back together for a concert performance. Here, he serves up a blues number, "Devil Woman", not to be confused with songs of the same name by Marty Robbins or Cliff Richard.

Friday, November 15, 2019

A rivalry out of control

By now, you've probably seen this.....

8 seconds remaining in the game. Cleveland's already won. And Myles Garrett, who'd later claim he'd lost his cool in the heat of the moment, decides to all but go postal on Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph?

That hissing sound you hear is the momentum balloon losing air after the Browns won their second straight, a hard fought (no pun intended) victory that will be remembered for Garrett's bout with immaturity more so than the performance of his defensive teammates.

We'll see later on if Browns superfan, and Cleveland area native, The Miz has something to say on Smackdown. Unfortunately for Miz, his pulpit will be in Philadelphia, but that's neither here nor there at this point.

Anyway, it was announced this morning that Garrett has been suspended indefinitely without pay. The Browns couldn't afford to have that happen, especially after DB Morgan Burnett went out with an ankle injury late in the second quarter, having already made an impact on the game by picking off Rudolph.

There were a couple of yo yo's on YouTube who said that if this was in a game against the New England Patriots and uberdiva Tom Brady was the victim instead of Rudolph, Garrett would likely have either been lucky to leave the building or be hauled off to jail. They do send hockey players to jail for similar incidents.

Earlier in the day, the Browns cut ties with receiver Terrence Gallaway. As noted, Burnett was injured during the game, and Garrett was one of three Browns ejected in the second half.

I've heard of winning ugly, but this takes the grand prize.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Musical Interlude: Danny's Song (1973)

This is also at Saturday Morning Archives.

"Danny's Song" was a hit twice over, first for Loggins & Messina (authored by Kenny Loggins), and then, as shown here on The Midnight Special, for Anne Murray in 1973.

Sports this 'n' that

While it's still more than a year away, there was some news related to the 2021 World Baseball Classic Wednesday with the announcement that Hall of Famer Mike Piazza was named manager of the Italian team. Could this be a case of Piazza, who played for the Mets, Dodgers, Marlins, A's, & Padres in his 16 year career, testing the waters toward a major league managing job? One only wonders.
After a 2 year run in Philadelphia, Gabe Kapler has quickly found a new home, hired by San Francisco on Wednesday to succeed the retired Bruce Bochy. Somehow, I've a feeling the Giants will regret this move.
Proving once again that ownership of a major league sports franchise is treated more as a hobby than a serious business venture, Jests CEO Christopher Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, announced Wednesday that Adam Gase will return next season.

So the Jests have won two games this season, and could've won a couple of others.. They do have a winnable game this week against the Washington Trumpets, but it'd be in character for the Jests if they blow that one.
Former beef jerky salesman and Niners DB Richard Sherman is sounding the warning that the NFL Players Association could go on strike after the 2020 season if the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement don't meet with the union's seal of approval. The owners want to expand the season for the first time in more than 40 years, cutting the preseason down to 2-3 games, but the wear & tear, physically and mentally, the current schedule creates for players is enough of a problem. Expanding the season should not be an option. If it ain't broken, don't fix it, but it seems some owners are looking to fatten their wallets when it isn't necessary. Stay tuned.
Later today, the Most Valuable Players in baseball will be announced. It's been a big week for a couple of teams. If you're keeping score at home, here's what you've missed.

Rookies of The Year:

AL: Yordan Alvarez, Houston.
NL: Pete Alonso, Mets.

Manager of The Year:

AL: Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota.
NL: MIke Shildt, St. Louis.

Cy Young Awards:

AL: Justin Verlander, Houston.
NL: Jacob deGrom, Mets.

In the case of each of the Mets' winners, the voting was not unanimous. Atlanta's Mike Sirotka prevented Alonso from matching Alvarez's unanimous vote, for example. The Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu likewise had the one Cy Young vote that prevented deGrom from being a unanimous pick. Sirotka also had a top 5 finish in the NL Cy Young balloting.
While it may be some time before he tries the octagon again, former WWE champion CM Punk (Phil Brooks) is back in the fold, but under contract to the Fox networks.

Punk will be a recurring contributor to WWE Backstage, airing Tuesdays on FS1, and made a cameo appearance on the 11/12 episode. One gets the feeling that if all the broken fences can be mended, Punk, who was previously with WWE from 2006-14, could turn up at the Royal Rumble in January, which, coincidentally, was the last time he was in a WWE ring. Wife April Mendez-Brooks is making her debut as a comics writer with the release of GLOW vs. The Babyface for IDW next week, and you wonder if that, along with Punk's own comics resume, will be brought up at some point. Again, stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tabloid rock: I Heard a Rumour (1987)

I forgot that Bananarama had one more hit here in the US after their cover of Shocking Blue's "Venus".

"I Heard a Rumour", off the group's 1987 CD, "Wow!" and the "Disorderlies" soundtrack, peaked at #4 on the Hot 100. After that, Siobhan Fahey (Mrs. Dave Stewart) left the group to form Shakespeare's Sister.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Is NBC washing out the last soap suds?

NBC's lone remaining daytime soap opera, Days of Our Lives, is marking its 55th season this year, but, due likely to declining ratings, among other things, the network is suspending production of the series at the end of the month.

The classic intro, spoken by MacDonald Carey for so many years, certainly rings true here:

Episodes are taped as much as 8 months in advance. In other words, what you're seeing now was recorded back in March, for example. The cast and crew have been released from their contracts, per Yahoo!, but there is always the idea of everyone being brought back, provided they'd accept pay cuts in their new contracts.

It's not like Sony or NBC-Universal-Comcast are hurting for money, but these are the times we live in. A likely solution is to reboot, move the show off NBC proper if everyone returns in 2020, and over to the incoming Peacock streaming service, which I'm told is meant to be free for all, but we'll see.

Soaps are a dying breed, with only four on the air now in daytime, and who's to say Sony won't also listen to a request from CBS to do the same with the other soaps they own, The Young & The Restless and The Bold & The Beautiful? All we can say is, stay tuned.

What Might've Been: Collector's Item (1958)

Here's an obscure, unsold pilot that was produced for CBS by 20th Century Fox in 1958.

Collector's Item was the first TV series vehicle for movie legend and art collector Vincent Price, had it actually gone to series. Price plays Henry Prentiss, who appraises rare works of art.

However, the plot of the pilot plays out like a compacted B-movie. Prentiss and his associate, Muncey (Peter Lorre), have to thwart a weasel (Thomas Gomez) who covets "The Left Fist of David". Whitney Blake, later of Hazel, co-stars.

It would be 20-odd years before Price would finally land a series of his own, co-starring with wife Coral Browne in Time Express, also for CBS. Lorre, as we know, would settle into television, landing a co-starring role opposite Gertrude Berg in Mrs. G. Goes to College, and otherwise would make a few guest appearances (i.e. Checkmate) toward the end of his career.

Rating: B.

Monday, November 11, 2019

A cable classic: Fandango (1983)

By the time the original Nashville Network (now Paramount Network) arrived on local cable systems, the network was experimenting with game shows.

The first was Fandango, a quiz game that spent six years (1983-9) on the network, hosted by singer Bill Anderson, who was no stranger to game shows, having co-piloted ABC's Better Sex a few years earlier. The gimmick was a talking jukebox named Edgar, who told jokes, provided, of course, that Anderson didn't spoil the punch line.

Gary Quick, the son of one of the contestants in this video, posted the clip to YouTube:

Anderson also co-produced the talent contest, You Can be a Star, and we'll take a look at that another day.

Rating: A.

Football this 'n' that

Of the eight division leaders in the NFL, two had a bye week (New England, Houston), one plays tonight (San Francisco), and five were in action on Sunday. The results? Ehhh.

AFC North leader Baltimore shredded the last place Cincinnati Bengals.

NFC North front-runner Green Bay survived a late rally from Carolina to defeat the Panthers at snowy Lambeau Field.

NFC East leader Dallas fell to Minnesota as their late rally fell woefully short.

NFC South kingpin New Orleans was upset by Atlanta, ending a six game winning streak for the Saints, and a six game losing streak for the Falcons.

AFC West leader Kansas City, with the returning Patrick Mahomes, dropped a decision to Tennessee, as the Chiefs' special teams failed them when they were needed the most. The resurgent Oakland Raiders, ending their 2nd run in the Bay Area after this season, are now a half game back.

The 49ers play Seattle tonight in a game that could have playoff implications. Seattle has not had a bye week yet this season, and will get one soon, but they're a game and a half behind the undefeated Niners, and can trim that lead to just a half game with a win tonight.

It's been a crazy week.
Break up the Miami Dolphins. Tied for third in the AFC East with the Jests, Miami made it two in a row, upsetting Indianapolis. The Jests kept pace by beating the Giants, who now have lost six in a row, have a bye week, then have to play Chicago next, while the Jests will entertain the Washington Trumpets next week.
One week after Jests coach Adam Gase was getting shredded by the Valley of The Stupid, 2nd year Giants coach Pat Shurmur is on a hot seat now with the six straight losses, but it's easy to see where the Giants made mistakes.

1. Team management stubbornly stuck with an over the hill Eli Manning to start the season, and couldn't afford another bad start.

2. While Daniel Jones got off to a fast start, he's come down to earth, and one wonders why the Giants didn't draft Shurmur's son, Kyle. Had they done so, they could've assured the elder Shurmur that he'd be safe beyond this season. Instead, color him gone after the holidays.

3. Offensively, the Giants were in a hole early when receiver Golden Tate started the season with a 4 game suspension. Injuries to receiver Sterling Shepard and bringing running back Saquon Barkley back too early from injury haven't helped.
After the first College Football Playoff rankings came out, two of the top four teams fell, and fell hard, on Saturday.

First, Penn State stunk it up against Minnesota. That was hard to watch. Then, the heavily hyped "Game of The Century" between Alabama & LSU, with President Donald Trump in attendance, lived up to the hype, and then some. That was the good news for Crimson Tide Nation. The bad news? LSU defeated Alabama, 46-41. Trump might've gotten the loudest ovation in Tuscaloosa, aside from the home team, and he's almost assured of attending at least one more football game this season, that being Army-Navy next month. But don't you think that in the back of his mind, he might feel like he's a jinx? After all, the Nationals lost when he attended a World Series home game, and now, Alabama falls.

There are also questions as to whether or not LSU, which entered play Saturday at #2 in the CFP rankings, could overtake top ranked Ohio State, which crushed Maryland, 73-14. The argument might involve the Terrapins similarly shredding Syracuse back in September, and raise issues about the Buckeyes' strength of schedule. Stay tuned.

Of Recent Vintage: Normal, Ohio (2000)

Three years after Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet, both in real life and on her ABC sitcom, Fox decided to try an original idea about a gay man returning to his hometown.

Unfortunately, Normal, Ohio ran into a roadblock that Fox should've considered, that being the runaway train known as Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, which was airing multiple nights on ABC.

John Goodman reunited with producers Marcy Carsey & Tom Werner for this ensemble comedy, and had spent his time after Roseanne ended its first run in movies (i.e. "Blues Brothers 2000", "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"), and doing commercials for Save The Children. Goodman is joined by Joely Fisher (ex-Ellen), Orson Bean (ex-To Tell The Truth), Charles Rocket (ex-Saturday Night Live), and Anita Gillette (ex-The Baxters, Quincy, M. E.). A fairly good ensemble, it's just a case of the show being on the wrong night, and its premiere was held back to November due to Fox's commitment to the World Series. Sadly, it didn't make it to Christmas.

Bean would later move on to Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and Fisher resurfaced on another Fox series, 'Til Death, with Brad Garrett.

Here's the Thanksgiving episode:

No rating.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Forgotten TV: Black Omnibus (1973)

We're rolling back to the 70's again with another PBS series many of you might've forgotten for one reason or another.

Black Omnibus lasted just 12-13 episodes, taped in 1972 in Los Angeles around the time of the Wattstax festival. A mix of interviews and live performances, the series featured a diverse lineup of comedians and musicians. Actor James Earl Jones ("The Great White Hope") is the series host.

In this clip, we'll see ventriloquist Richard Sanfield and his puppet, Willie.

Now, I'd never heard of Richard & Willie until today. Most of us know about Willie Tyler & Lester, who were either contemporaries of or influenced by Richard & Willie.

No rating.

Friday, November 8, 2019

A Classic Reborn (again): Nashville Squares (2019)

Hollywood Squares has gone country. Unfortunately, Merrill Heatter may be turning over in his grave.

After MTV2 jettisoned Hip Hop Squares, which went through two hosts (Peter Rosenberg & DeRay Davis) in its run, step sister network CMT has picked up the baton with Nashville Squares, which bowed a week ago.

Actor-comedian Bob Saget, fresh from Fuller House, and looking like he'd spent too many nights at the buffet, is the host. However, the pace of the game has slowed almost to a crawl with gimmicks such as visual aids accompanying the questions, each of which, save for the Hidden (formerly Secret) Square, has dollar values attached. Members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, who, at last check, still have a reality show on CMT, provide a bit of a distraction from the silliness.

This time around, contestants don't play. Instead, they have celebrities, such as country legend Tanya Tucker and her daughter, Presley, as representatives. Bad idea. I'd sooner be watching reruns of the classic Hollywood Squares on YouTube than sit through another installment of this farce.

Edit, 3/4/20: Had to remove the video due to a Viacom copyright claim. In its place is a screen-cap:

I grew up with the Hollywood Squares and its initial spin-off, the short-lived Storybook Squares. The three tiered grid of the new show doesn't measure up to the original. Not even close.

Rating: C--.

Sports this 'n' that

Florida State wasn't waiting for the football season to end.

The once mighty Seminoles dismissed head coach Willie Taggart earlier this week, as Florida State has fallen on hard times since Jimbo Fisher left a couple of years back.

A surprising candidate, however, has stepped forward, according to Yahoo!, and that is none other than former Seminoles star and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, now with NFL Network. Sanders has no coaching experience, and would be another TV guy getting a coaching job on name recognition alone.

Shoot, I'd have recommended another ex-Seminole, former linebacker-turned-pro wrestler (now retired) Ron Simmons, who actually had his number retired in Tallahassee several years ago. However, it's more likely Simmons is serving as an ambassador for WWE these days, but I don't think he'd turn down an offer to return to Florida State if a coaching job came his way.
Fox/ESPN baseball analyst Alex Rodriguez turned up on Fox's Thursday NFL pre-game show to plug his new MSNBC show. You probably knew this already, but Rodriguez was a quarterback in high school, but chose baseball as his primary sport once he hit college.

At least the man stays busy, and has singer-actress Jennifer Lopez to keep him motivated, if you know what I mean.
Speaking of ESPN, it probably doesn't surprise anyone that they decided to give Screamin' A. Cosell (Stephen A. Smith) a new $8 million a year deal, which has already gotten Smith roasted on Yahoo!

Get Up co-anchor Mike Greenberg, who actually has a clue or three, is getting paid $6.5 million a year, and gets lapped by a controversy magnet who demonstrates time and again his ignorance of any sport other than basketball. As several Yahoo! commentators noted, Smith is getting paid to turn people away from ESPN, because they're tired of his act. Gee, y'think?
The Yankees poached Matt Blake away from Cleveland to be their new pitching coach, replacing Larry Rothschild, who was let go a couple of weeks back. This came after there'd been speculation that David Cone would leave the YES network booth to fill the vacancy. Well, the Yankees have too many rotating yakkers surrounding Michael Kay anyway.....
Fox has sacked Cris Carter from their FS1 morning talk show. Apparently, money might be the prevalent issue. Carter could wind up heading back to ESPN, or to NFL Network, the latter especially if Deion Sanders takes the Florida State job. Seems FS1's First Things First has been floundering in the ratings....
As if tomorrow's LSU-Alabama game wasn't already over-hyped as another "Game of The Century", now comes word that the First Bloviator will be in Tuscaloosa to see the game.

President Donald Trump, who was roundly booed at the World Series, and received a mixed reaction at a recent UFC event, figures to at least get some cheers from supporters in Alabama. After all, he carried Alabama & Louisiana in the 2016 election. Despite a Yahoo! article's suggestion, Trump likely won't indulge in any pre-game tailgating rituals. He and his motorcade will cause traffic & security issues anyway.
Meanwhile, Ohio State will play the skidding Maryland Terrapins tomorrow without star defensive lineman Chase Young, who is sitting out while the school investigates whether or not there were fiscal improprieties involving Young last year. He's likely to be among the top picks in next spring's NFL Draft. There are reports that he'd already paid off in full a loan from a family friend, so the Buckeyes are hoping there are no NCAA sanctions.

Personally, I'd file that under wishful thinking, given the archaic, out of touch, august body will look to punish Young just the same, but then, they'd be under fire for trying to fix things for Alabama. Just sayin'.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

A pre-iconic moment: Yvonne Craig on McHale's Navy (1965)

From season 3 of McHale's Navy:

Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn) gets an eyeful of a newly arrived nurse (guest star Yvonne Craig),who left her former life as an exotic dancer to enter the Navy. Unfortunately, Mrs. Binghamton (Ann Doran) arrives to give her husband a severe case of buzzkill, especially after how he's embellished his accomplishments.....

Roy Roberts also recurred on Bewitched (he played Darrin's dad). Imagine this, though. Don't ya think the producers of Batman: The Animated Series blew an opportunity to bring Yvonne into the fold to work with Bob Hastings again?

Rating: B.

Musical Interlude: I'm Not Satisfied (1987-8)

This is the Fine Young Cannibals hit that most folks have forgotten, largely because the following video was not included on any compilations.

"I'm Not Satisfied" was the 5th & last single off 1987's "The Raw & The Cooked", and is a concert clip, with the band joined by some backup singer-dancers, who move in step with singer Roland Gift.

The band would contribute to the soundtrack of the movie, "Tin Men", as "Good Thing" was reissued, and then they wouldn't crack the charts again.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Forgotten TV: America Alive (1978)

In the summer of 1978, NBC decided they'd had enough of Chuck Barris' cult classic, The Gong Show, and experimented with a live, hour long talk-variety show, America Alive, which ended up having a short shelf life itself.

Producer Woody Fraser had worked on Mike Douglas' show, and was tasked as show-runner for this lunch hour entry, hosted by Jack Linkletter. However, viewers tuned Jack out again, even though it was his first series since The Rebus Game in the 60's. He just didn't have the charismatic appeal that his father, Art, had.

NBC was desperate for a hit of any kind in those days, but this wasn't it, despite the star power exhibited in this episode with Lucille Ball......

No rating. I didn't watch this enough to merit a fair rating.

You'd think they'd learn by now, but......!

"Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it."--George Santayana.

Ever since Harry Tutunjian was term-limited out as Mayor of Troy, the Geezers on Parade have tried three times, and failed all three times, to retain control of City Hall. And it's mostly their own fault.

The party's betrayal of endorsed candidate Tom Reale virtually gift-wrapped a second term for Mayor Patrick Madden Tuesday. As of 6 am this morning, however, Rodney Wiltshire had not yet conceded the race. Reale? He only generated 18% of the vote, a week after resuming his campaign, which had been sabotaged by the bullying of Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, Finance Director Richard Crist, and, surprisingly, Jim Gordon, whose 2015 campaign for Mayor was torpedoed by a shadowy smear campaign by an anonymous Democratic operative, but has cast his lot with McLaughlin, which could end up a big career mistake in the long term.

It's almost as though city GOP can't get out of its own way.

Before Gordon's ill fated run, current City Council President Carmella Mantello's 2011 mayoral campaign was deep-sixed by a 11th hour attack ad aimed at Louis Rosamilia, the Democratic candidate, who gave up his seat in the county legislature, which he'd won two years earlier. All that did was galvanize the voters to elect Rosamilia, still at the time a political neophyte, as is Reale. Rosamilia walked away from politics when he decided not to run for re-election in 2015, sickened by the back-stabbing and in-fighting.

"You knew the job was dangerous when you took it."--Super Chicken, 1967.

Reale, who otherwise is an employee of the State Senate GOP, fell into disfavor for some reason, and McLaughlin decided, for whatever reason, to be a bully. He's a career poltician. Reale isn't. That doesn't give McLaughlin the right to dictate who should represent the party in a mayoral or any other local election.

For Mayor Madden, it'll be four more years of Dr. Phil jokes from this desk, in addition to being represented in the Tri-City Valleycats' Mayors' Race.

Reale will either drift back into obscurity, or he'll make another run for a different office, provided McLaughlin, Gordon, & Crist get out of his way.
Sam Wilson at the Think 3 Institute found this nugget of joy on Tuesday.

It's a cheeky way of trying to convince folks to accept Jesus as their Savior, and go to church, particularly the church that came up with this clever campaign, Arise Church at Colonie Center. I'd be willing to bet that sign will still be up around Thanksgiving in three weeks, after all the election signs have been taken down.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Old Time Radio: The Adventures of Sam Spade (1946)

Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade made his debut on radio in 1946 on ABC Radio, then shifted over to CBS for a couple of years, then, finally, to NBC.

Growing suspicions of Communist activities, however, resulted in Hammett's name being removed from the show, and star Howard Duff being replaced in the final NBC season by Steve Dunne. Lurene Tuttle played Effie, Sam's secretary. As we know, both Duff & Tuttle would find plenty of work on television in later years.

The radio show took a lighter tone than Hammett's novels. Still, if you're only familiar with Spade from "The Maltese Falcon" and Humphrey Bogart, give a listen to Duff's interpretation of the detective in "The Wheel of Life Caper", from July 1948, during its CBS run.

Yes, there was also a Sam Spade comic strip back then.

Rating: A.

Monday, November 4, 2019

What Might've Been: The Cowboys (1974)

The Cowboys, a 1974 mid-season replacement series for ABC, was spun from a 1972 movie of the same name, which starred John Wayne & Roscoe Lee Browne. It was a rare instance of Wayne's character getting killed off, particularly by the film villain.

Still, Warner Bros. sold a series version to ABC, and that's where the trouble began.

The network, for whatever reason, decided to trim the series from an hour-long show to a half-hour. Four of the boys in the movie crossed over into the series, but only two of the actors---Robert Carradine & A. Martinez---reprised their roles from the movie, while Clay O'Brien & Sean Kelly were given different roles. Moses Gunn replaced Browne as the lads' mentor. Clint Howard (ex-Gentle Ben) was added.

So why did it fail? The network tampering all but doomed the show before it started. I remember sitting at home with my folks watching the show, as they'd watch just about any Western.

No clips are available, but, via Wikipedia, we have a still shot of the cast of the series.

Cowboys 1974 241x208.jpeg

It ain't much, but it'll do.

Rating: A-.

Sports this 'n' that

To follow up on something we wrote about yesterday, President Trump, while booed at Saturday's UFC event, did have some supporters at the event, as one later headline said he entered to a mixed response.

Trump should be expecting that kind of entrance, though his sons, Dumb Donald II and Sleazy E (Eric), claimed dear old dad was not booed at all, as the idiots are trying to spin the reaction for the benefit of the President's equally brainwashed fan base. You have to remember that while Trump is friends with UFC honcho Dana White, he's also broken bread with fellow geriatric Vince McMahon and the WWE, and is even in their Hall of Fame. This sort of bizarro theatre is up his alley.

Look at it this way, his oldest sons will never make it onto To Tell The Truth......
There's only one undefeated team left in the NFL at the halfway point, and it's not the New England Patriots.

The reigning Super Bowl champs fell to Baltimore, 37-20, Sunday night. Critics have cried foul over the soft first half of the schedule for New England, which can be chalked up to owner Robert Kraft's political influence. However, the road's about to get tougher. New England still has to play Dallas, for example, and has divisional games left with Miami and Buffalo, the latter of whom now sits a game out of first after beating the Washington Trumpets, 24-9. Miami won their first game of the season, but then again, of course it had to be the Jests, who flushed an early 7-0 lead down the tubes against former teammate Ryan Fitzpatrick, as the Dolphins won, 26-18.

That puts the Jests, 0-4 in the division, in the basement of the AFC East. They've already been swept by New England, and also have rematches coming up with Miami and Buffalo next month. However, the Jests also play fellow have-nots Cincinnati and Washington, in addition to Baltimore and the resurgent Steelers & Raiders.

For all the talk about Miami tanking, I don't think they'll get that #1 draft pick after all. It could fall to the Jests.
To the surprise of no one, Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg opted out of his contract so he can chase some extra money.

There wouldn't be opt out clauses in player contracts if it wasn't for Strasburg's pet leech, Scott Boras, who may be angling to move Strasburg closer to home on the left coast.

Meanwhile, another Nationals pitcher, reliever Sean Doolittle, has made it known he will not be with the team for a visit to the White House. Chalk up another player with no desire to break bread with President Trump, just because of the perception of what Trump represents as President.
The tail-spinning Cleveland Browns cut defensive back Jermaine Whitehead earlier this morning due to some racist statements Whitehead issued on social media.

Will these guys ever learn? In this day & age, you don't want to broadcast your feelings on racial issues on social or traditional media. Once it gets out, your goose is cooked.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Forgotten TV: The Phil Silvers Special: The Slowest Gun in The West (1960)

Phil Silvers teamed again with writer-producer Nat Hiken, the creator of You'll Never Get Rich, aka The Phil Silvers Show, aka Sgt. Bilko, for a primetime CBS special that skewered the Western genre. Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam, Jack Albertson, Marion Ross, Bruce Cabot, and Jack Benny join Silvers in "The Slowest Gun in The West".

The epic "showdown" between Benny & Silvers gets the most laughs, of course, but we've seen better gags in Looney Tunes. I'm not sure about this, but I think Silvers was working with Revue for the first time with this one. Revue, of course, was home to Benny's CBS series.

Rating: B-.

Sports this 'n' that

These are dark times for horse racing, specifically in wildfire-ravaged Southern California.

Santa Anita hosted the Breeders Cup this weekend, and, during the running of the Breeders Cup Classic, Mongolian Groom suffered a leg injury, and had to be put down on the track after the race.

In all, 37 horses have died at Santa Anita, dating back to December 2018, and track officials are still at a loss to figure out how.
Evan Holyfield, son of 80's boxing icon Evander Holyfield, made his debut Saturday night, and scored a 1st round TKO in just 16 seconds.

Shades of Mike Tyson? Maybe, but there are online critics who believe that the referee's decision to stop the fight without a standing 8 count to the opponent suggests a fix was in. There's no way of proving that, really, but I recall no one complaining about Tyson making quick work of his opponents early in his career, usually in the 1st or 2nd rounds.
To update something we wrote about on Friday, it appears the Mets will hold a press conference sometime this week to announce the hiring of former star outfielder Carlos Beltran as their new manager, the first Latino manager in team history. Rumors have former manager Terry Collins possibly returning as Beltran's bench coach, as the two were good friends for a number of years, despite the fact that Beltran was traded halfway through Collins' 1st year as manager in 2011.
President Trump decided to make his primary residence in Palm Beach, Florida, instead of New York. The thin skinned Trump has fallen into severe disfavor with the Big Apple's residents, and evidence of this came when he attended a UFC card in New York Saturday night. Trump was booed, just as he was at the World Series in Washington last weekend. There's also a legal battle over Trump's New York tax returns, which the President has steadfastly, perhaps stubbornly, refused to turn over to the IRS, contrary to other political candidates.

The boos in Washington and New York tell that the average citizen is tired of the relentless rhetoric coming from the White House. I'd imagine it's a matter of time before Trump also wears out his welcome in Florida, too. The only way that changes, friends, is if Trump changes the way he conducts himself.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Of Recent Vintage: Behind The Blank: The Real Match Game Story (2006)

If you're a real fan of Match Game, GSN commissioned what amounted to a love letter with a hour-long special, Behind The Blank: The Real Match Game Story, which aired in 2006. Jamie Farr (ex-M*A*S*H, The Gong Show) narrates:

Today, GSN & Buzzr share the rights to Match Game, as GSN won't relinquish their share any time soon.

One quibble. Gene Rayburn had his own show before Match, the Saturday morning game, Choose Up Sides, also a Goodson-Todman entry for NBC, but that was ignored, as was Rayburn's post-Match work.

Rating: B+.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Musical Interlude: 634-5789 (Soulsville USA)(1998)

From "Blues Brothers 2000":

Elwood is getting the band back together, sans Joliet Jake (John Belushi passed away a few years after the first film). He also recruits a blues guitar playing wunderkind (Jonny Lang), an orphan (J. Evan Bonifant), and a Chicago cop (Joe Morton) who is the son of Curtis (Cab Calloway, who'd also passed on).

Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, and Lang join the Blues Brothers for a cover of "634-5789 (Soulsville USA)". Pickett had previously worked with Dan Aykroyd (Elwood) on "The Great Outdoors" soundtrack a few years earlier.

Eddie Floyd passed away shortly before the film's release. I remember reading they needed a voice double for Bonifant's musical numbers.

Sports this 'n' that

The Mets, entering today, could be welcoming back former star slugger Carlos Beltran to Flushing, this time as their manager.

Beltran, of late in the Yankees' front office, was with the Mets from 2005-11, when he was traded to San Francisco for Zack Wheeler. While the Mets will make every effort possible to retain Wheeler, having another first-time manager in the dugout isn't what the fan base wants, but making it someone like Beltran, still beloved in Flushing following his 6 1/2 year stint there might just be a case of appeasement, since the Wilpons are unwilling to spend the big bucks for an experienced pilot, especially after Joe Girardi ankled them for Philadelphia (good luck massaging Bryce Harper's ego, Joe) a couple of weeks back.

The other candidate is another ex-player, Eduardo Perez, currently with ESPN. Can we send the Wilpons a copy of Santayana?
The World Series despite the late inning drama in most, but not all, of the seven games, wasn't exactly a ratings hit outside of Houston & Washington and their respective suburbs.

Part of the problem is the snail's pacing of the games. Had Fox had any gumption or common sense, they'd move the first pitch to 7 pm (ET), and put pressure on Major League Baseball to actually do something about pace of play, since all the rules changes implemented the last couple of years haven't exactly worked. It's all about ad revenues to the network, never mind the next generation of players. Well, they should care about that next generation.....
WWE's 4th voyage to Saudi Arabia ended with travel delays that have left several personnel, including wrestlers, stuck in hotels until a flight can leave at 3 am (ET) Saturday morning.

Everything is sketchy right now, but it doesn't paint a very good picture when CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon and Executive Producer Kevin Dunn left early, as did WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and his advocate, Raw Executive Director Paul Heyman, the latter of whom also is gainfully employed away from wrestling.

The worst case scenario? Some folks might've been forced to stay back because of unforeseen issues with the Saudis, and if that were the case, which it isn't, insofar as we know, that would be grounds for a breach of contract that would end WWE's contract with the Saudis, two years into a 10 year deal signed in 2018. Stay tuned.

Of Recent Vintage: Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn (2002)

After leaving Saturday Night Live, Colin Quinn did one more project for NBC, a self-titled weekly talk show that lasted just three weeks.

Then, Comedy Central came a'callin'. Viacom, in essence, wanted their prodigal son back.

Quinn, who'd scored his first break on Remote Control, brought his new concept to Comedy Central, giving the network something similar to Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, which had left for ABC some time before. Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn started with 2 weeks (4 nights a week) of "test episodes" before settling into a regular berth behind The Daily Show in 2003. Former Control MC Ken Ober and Quinn were among the executive producers.

Quinn has kept busy since the series ended, between his stand-up act, movies, and other series gigs, more recently, for example, on HBO's Girls with Lena Dunham.

With Thanksgiving less than 4 weeks away, let's try out a Thanksgiving episode. Guests include Patrice O'Neal and Lea DeLaria:

Rating: A-.