Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Classic Reborn: Press Your Luck (2019)

Fremantle Media acquired the rights to Press Your Luck, and sold a new version of the series to ABC last year. As with all of the other summer revivals, this iteration of Press is an hour-long show, but should not be.

Why? While you can get away with stretching shows like Match Game and Family Feud into an hour-long format, there's something about that where Press falls short.

Tonight, it begins its second season in its current incarnation, with actress-filmmaker Elizabeth Banks as host. It had been more than 15 years since the last version, Whammy!, had ended production on Game Show Network. As with the others noted, this version of Press is two episodes in one, neither connected to the other.

Let's take a look at a sample episode:

Edit, 1/30/22: The video's been changed to a more recent model.

Same game, same excitement, but ABC & Fremantle are better off if they fit another half-hour show in and chopped this back to its original 30 minute format.

Rating: B-.

Honoring a man's memory brings out the best----and worst----in us

To think that this all started over an arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit bill.

George Floyd, arrested on said charge on Monday, never made it to jail for booking. Instead, one of the arresting officers suffocated him to death, using his knee to apply undue pressure on Floyd's throat for nearly 10 minutes. Floyd's last words, saying he couldn't breathe, brought back the horrid memories of Eric Garner just a few years ago. Garner, you'll recall, was choked to death by a police officer.

The four officers in the case, as previously noted, were all terminated from their jobs Tuesday. The one officer directly responsible for Floyd's death was arrested Thursday. But that isn't even enough to quell the growing mobs, not only in Minneapolis, but across the country.

There have been reports of violent protests in New York & Los Angeles and elsewhere.

This is spiraling out of control. There are reports that, with little evidence to support the claims, left-wing groups are in part responsible for the out-of-control protests, accompanied in some places by looting, a crime of opportunity.

It has been said that there was a chance Floyd didn't know the money he had Monday was counterfeit, but there's been little or no follow-up. Instead, the issue is that he was killed by a police officer using unnecessary and excessive restraint. If you handcuff him, hands behind the back, as officers are taught, and the knee is on the back, then there's no issue.

While athletes and celebrities, including Grammy & Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, are supporting the peaceful protests, it is the rabble rousers who are getting the attention, raising the ire of President Trump and other officials. There is no need to burn the city down in Minneapolis, New York, or in parts of Los Angeles. That only makes the situation worse than it already is.

Prior to the start of the main card last night on ESPN, UFC posted a memorial photo of Floyd. Yes, Eric Garner's name has been mentioned in the narrative since Floyd's death. So has Rodney King, who was gang-assaulted by Los Angeles police some 30-odd years ago. We all know what happened in 1992. Riots in Los Angeles. It got to the point where rapper-actor Ice Cube cancelled an appearance on Good Morning America because he was tired of talking about things like this. Can you blame him?

There are those of us who pray and mourn for the family of George Floyd, who was denied due process of law, at the cost of his life, just because one officer overstepped his authority. And, then, there are those who think answering violence with violence is the only answer. It isn't. It never has been. It only makes matters worse. And it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Is Rensselaer County really ready to open?

El Cheapo Media's front page headline this morning served up a punch to Rensselaer County's collective gut.

County Executive Steve McLaughlin, while still emphasizing the social distancing guidelines, isn't waiting for Phases 2-up. He wants the businesses in the county open. Now.

Claiming he's tired of "games" from Governor Andrew Cuomo, McLaughlin, in his Friday presser, basically said he wasn't waiting around for an official "green light", if you will, from the state Capitol.

We can frame McLaughlin's message to Cuomo via an old Kinks record from 1965, "Tired of Waiting For You":

According to El Cheapo, Troy has a total of 171 cases of COVID-19. McLaughlin said that there are just 69 active cases county-wide, which means El Cheapo, predictably, didn't finish doing the math.

Hair salons & barber shops, because they're licensed by the state, remain on the sidelines until they get the go-ahead from the Governor's office. However, opening businesses en masse over the next week or two will put the city at further risk for a new wave of COVID-19 cases.

Let's give McLaughlin some credit here. Like everyone else, he's concerned about the economy, but unlike a certain Manchild-in-Chief in Washington, he's trying to do things rationally, despite the risk being taken. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt for now. The overall figure on coronavirus cases in the county is still roughly half of what Albany County has as of Friday. Most of the virus cases, of course, are down in New York City, so, somehow, upstate is doing something right.......

Friday, May 29, 2020

Videos of Summer: My Town (1983)

A week ago, we posted a clip from the Michael Stanley Band's appearances on American Bandstand & Solid Gold from the fall of 1983 over at Saturday Morning Archives. Rather than post it here, too, we found the actual video for "My Town", a slice of Americana, circa '83. The band members were childhood friends growing up in Cleveland, where the video was shot.

And, yes, the bit with the kiddo's is supposed to represent the band members' formative years as a band.

Prefaced with an MTV house ad.

Not to be confused with Montgomery Gentry's song of the same name from nearly 20 years later.

Would someone please give the President a clue, part 3

It is said that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

President Donald Trump doesn't have absolute power, but he thinks he does.

The man uses Twitter as a literal bully pulpit, posting whatever crosses his mind at a specific time.

Now, he has gone and signed an executive order looking to shut down his favorite social media site, in clear violation of the Constitution, just because they finally had the stones to flag some of his posts with fact checks and disclaimers because, you see, truth is not a priority with Trump.

He condemned the protesters in Minneapolis by calling them thugs, and claimed he would send in the National Guard with orders to shoot down any looters, protesters, et al.

Twitter said he was "glorifying violence", and this was after he'd signed the executive order.

Trump's response to Twitter?

Our daughter vs Donald Trump: The First 100 Days – Infinite ...

In his mind, Donald Trump is right, and everyone else either agrees with him, or they're an enemy. This is why most of the Republican Party bows to him. They know what they got themselves into when they decided to roll the dice with him four years ago. For all of his disparaging remarks toward women, his daughter, Ivanka, is one of his closest aides, a clear case of nepotism at work. Current press secretary Kayleigh McEnany keeps getting herself in trouble with critics for perpetuating Trump's misinformation, attempting to pass it off as fact. Suffice to say, she's on the borderline of being labeled a walking stereotype.

Trump's voter base in the suburbs, the Bible Belt, and elsewhere, have fallen for the con, too. They think the persona he generated on The Apprentice is what they wanted to see in the White House. He took advantage of their frustration over not so much the establishment of politics, but Trump's immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, being the first African-American elected President 12 years ago. They choose to gloss over the truth that is standing there before them in Trump.

That truth is a thin-skinned, short-tempered demagogue who has them all snowed under, blind to reality.

Sadly, the Democratic Party is not doing the voters any favors by casting their lot with former Vice President Joe Biden, whose campaign seems to be falling apart due to his advanced age. He's about four years Trump's senior. Neither candidate is really able to hit the trail now due to COVID-19, but in reality, there's a risk factor involved with both men.

The "third parties" aren't taking any chances. Yet. And this is for fear that they may be perceived as siphoning votes away from the Democrats to ensure Trump is re-elected.

Trump's not doing his base any favors, either, as his carefully created persona is falling apart, too. The more tantrums he throws, the more people are going to see this:

Our daughter vs Donald Trump: The First 100 Days – Infinite ...

And, then, they'll ask themselves why they even bothered to vote for America's Oldest Spoiled Brat in the first place.

Back to the issue at hand. Trump can't really do anything to Twitter, as they're a privately owned company based in San Francisco. They enabled him long enough, and they're sick of it. If his response is to continue to behave like a child, they'll likely terminate his account.

And then, what would he do?

Classic Soaps Week: One Life to Live (1968)

All Agnes Nixon wanted to do was break the usual daytime soap mold.

ABC hired Nixon away from NBC's Another World to develop a show for them. By focusing on other issues besides the usual family drama, One Life to Live was virtually an instant hit when it bowed in 1968, and began a 40-plus year run on ABC before moving online for a few months in 2013.

Set in the fictional Philadelphia suburb of Llanview, One Life did have the diverse families of different economic classes, but also, much like, say for example, The Edge of Night, was driven by crime drama at times, with some of the drama set at the Llanview Banner, the town newspaper.

One Life began as a standard half-hour show until 1976, when it expanded to 45 minutes, despite the fact that ABC had experimented and failed with a pair of 45 minute evening shows 7 years earlier (Music Scene & The New People). Two years later, One Life expanded again, as the hour long format became the standard for daytime drama.

When the series moved online for four months in 2013, rapper Snoop Dogg, then experimenting with reggae as Snoop Lion, became the show's musical director, emphasizing the direction the online version, now back in the original half-hour format, was taking, aiming at younger viewers.

The alumni list of One Life spans several generations of television. Some, like Philip Carey, who joined the show in 1980 (ex-Philip Marlowe, Untamed World), and David Canary (ex-Bonanza, in between stints on another Nixon show, All My Children), were no longer in demand for primetime. Others, such as James Noble (later of Benson), Colm Meaney (later of Star Trek: The Next Generation & Deep Space Nine), and, most notably, Judith Light (who moved on to Who's The Boss?) saw One Life as a springboard. The final cast in 2013 included the likes of Corbin Bleu ("High School Musical") and Hayden Panettiere (later of Heroes) representing today's generation.

Ye scribe would sit with mom and watch periodically while in high school or after work, before taking my current job. It was the drama at the Banner that tried holding my attention.

Here's a rare treat. A half-hour episode from 1969.

ABC acquired the rights to One Life to Live & All My Children, which bowed in 1970, from Nixon, effectively buying out her production company, in 1974, which would explain the expansions. In fact, since so few early episodes are available due to the then-common industry practice of "wiping" to recycle videotapes, Nixon insisted on preserving Children, and, we assume also, One Life, when they expanded to an hour. Tape collectors would love to get some of those vintage episodes. Yes, there are soap opera collectors, effendi.

Rating: B.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

On The Shelf: DC revisits old time radio, and other stuff

It's been a while since we did On The Shelf, but this edition has a little twist, which we'll get to shortly.

The popularity of DC's Giant size books at Walmart, as some of you know, has led to a separate set of Giants being made available to comics shops prior to the shops being closed pro tempore due to COVID-19.

The company took this opportunity to revive one of their war titles for a 1-shot special. Our Fighting Forces doesn't go all the way back to World War II for this volume, but instead goes only as far as the New 52 era (2011-6) with reprints from the short-lived Men of War series that came from that period, plus one-off stories with Batman (drawn by Jim Lee) and Batwoman, the latter focusing on Kate Kane's pre-vigilante life in the military.

The cover feature, however, is the Immortal GI himself, The Unknown Soldier, in a story set in modern times. This is the original Soldier, not the ill-advised reboots from the late 80's or later, as they're playing up how he's at least a century old. Good stuff. The Batman short is based on a true story from a real-life soldier.

Rating: A.
In 1946, the Adventures of Superman radio show was commissioned to do a 16-part serial that pitted the Man of Steel (Bud Collyer) vs. a hate group modeled after the Ku Klux Klan. "The Clan of The Fiery Cross" was suggested by members of the Anti-Defamation League.

The plot centers on a youth baseball team managed by Jimmy Olsen in his spare time away from the Daily Planet. A star pitcher on the team is cut after a racially charged confrontation with an Asian-American youth who has just joined the team.

Here's the complete serial, all 2 1/2 hours-plus:

73 years later, best-selling author Gene Huen Yang, who'd been writing for DC for a while, starting with New Super-Man, about a Chinese version of the Man of Steel, created a loose adaptation of the "Clan of The Fiery Cross" as a 3 issue, bi-monthly miniseries, Superman Smashes The Klan. The basic plot remains intact, and in the context of Yang's story, Superman is introduced to a certain remnant of his home planet. The Gurihuru studio collective's lush, Manga-inspired artwork jumps off the page. A friend recommended the miniseries, which I acquired in trade paperback form.

The question remains whether or not this story can be adapted again, this time for the screen. Hmmmm.

Rating: A.
Titan Comics' solicitations show that Adler will return in August to continue the current story. DC has pushed back Jeff Lemire & Denys Cowan's Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage, presumably to next month, as issue 4 is set for August. Archie Comics is revisiting the short-lived 1990 Explorers of The Unknown series with a trade paperback release, also in August. For those that don't know, this was a parody of DC's Challengers of The Unknown, with Archie and friends adopting new personas. The series lasted just 5 issues, and would later resurface as back-up features in various Archie books. I'd take this over Riverdale in a New York second.

A little of this and a little of that

It would appear New York City itself is the last region of New York State that will gradually reopen for business, per Governor Andrew Cuomo.

While Nassau & Suffolk Counties in Long Island will begin Phase 1 of reopening today, the five boroughs of NYC will lag further behind. You can't make this stuff up.

Here at home, I'm continuing to work from home. My employers feel they're not ready to open the office to the public just yet, per a virtual meeting yesterday. If I were a betting man, I'd say it'll be July-August before I start commuting to work again.
The National Hockey League is planning on going straight to the playoffs with a 24 team field this year in order to complete the season. Unwieldy? Yep. 12 teams from each conference instead of the usual 8, with the idea of making it fair for teams who were within shouting distance of a playoff spot when play was suspended in March. We'll see how this plays out, and, yeah, I'll watch.
Major League Baseball now is in a bit of a dispute over----what else?----money as far as getting the 2020 season underway. There is at least one online pundit who thinks there won't be a season, but that's pessimism for you.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay ace Blake Snell is upset over a prospective cut in pay, as are a number of other players, so he decided to dump his agent in favor of everyone's favorite leech, Scott "20 Mule Team" Boras. To tell you the truth, Snell should've considered J. G. Wentworth, but that's just me.

And if you don't get the joke, I'm embarrassed for you.
Speaking of things you can't make up, there's the story that broke earlier this week in Central Park's Bramble section. I'm sure you've heard about it by now.

A composite image showing Amy Cooper in an image from the viral Central Park video and Christian Cooper talking about the incident on NBC New York.

Amy Cooper (left), at the time employed by Franklin Templeton Investments, was "walking", and I use the term with quotes for a reason, her dog when she met Christian Cooper (no relation, obviously), and his sister, Melody. Christian is a former writer for Marvel Comics, and a bird watcher. Seems Amy mistakenly assumed Christian was going to do her harm. All he tried to do was remind her of the signs around them that say you need to keep your dog on a leash in the Bramble. Amy looked like she was abusing the dog. She called 911 and put on the act of being threatened.

The cops, thankfully, weren't buying. Franklin Templeton, on the other hand, first placed Amy on administrative leave, then terminated her Tuesday morning. She swears she's not a racist. Fellow blogger Chuck Miller included her in a piece on "Karens" on Tuesday at his blog, Chuck The Writer, but I don't think she feels like a "Karen" right now.

Christian Cooper feels the same way, and is "uncomfortable" with the fact that Amy lost her job. She also gave up her dog to a local shelter. None of this would've happened if she had "over-reacted" to the sudden sight of Christian & Melody, the latter of whom recorded the incident on Twitter.
In Minneapolis, there is some turmoil over a white police officer suffocating George Floyd, an African-American to death. Despite the fact that the officers involved in the incident were fired by the city, it isn't enough to silence the protesters demanding justice.

What you have here are white officers over-reacting in arresting Floyd for passing a counterfeit bill. The victim was unarmed, from what I understand.

In football, defenses are taught to "read & react" to what the offense is attempting to do. "Read & react" applies here, too, but, too often in these cases, the police misread the situation for whatever reason. We've had a couple of those kind of cases here the last few years.

The common motto of the police is "to serve & protect". That credo applies to everyone, not a select section of the populace. The sooner police departments root out the "bad apples" stuck in the mid-20th century, if you will, we'll all be better served.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Twitter does the right thing for once, but.......

If they kept post counts on Twitter, President Trump would be, far and away, at the top of the list.

However, he's made it clear that if the social media platform tries to actually, you know, punish him for slandering others, such as presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or dredging up old news to further a grudge with MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, he'll try to shut it down, which he has no legal right to do.

Our daughter vs Donald Trump: The First 100 Days – Infinite ...

So what brought this on?

The so-called "cold case" that Trump insists, wrongly, of course, was a cover-up.

When Scarborough was a Republican congressman from Florida, an assistant of his, Lori Klausutis, collapsed and died of a heart attack in Scarborough's office while Scarborough himself was in Washington. This happened several years ago, but Trump, with zero evidence to support his bogus claims, insists it was murder. Even the victim's husband is tired of this, and contacted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Twitter at first expressed regrets and condolences, but would not remove Trump's tweets on the subject.

The problem there, of course, is that Twitter can benefit from a public figure like the President using their platform, for better or worse, and, until Tuesday, was in no hurry to punish him, knowing what would happen if they tried.

So what they did was issue fact checks on selected tweets. Kind of like what the Associated Press does on a weekly basis to decipher Trump's misguided rambling claims.

Naturally, this was the President's response:

Our daughter vs Donald Trump: The First 100 Days – Infinite ...

To the average schmoe, it's just the ramblings of an old man who never has the facts in front of him, nor does he want them. Trump lashes out like an immature child because he can't handle criticism.

But, relax, people. Twitter's not going anywhere. Yes, Dorsey can be accused of enabling Trump to continue unfettered, and thus would be complicit. Trump resorts to these tactics to deflect attention from his bumbling response to COVID-19 and other matters, because he refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. Just like an immature child. His two oldest sons, Don, Jr., & Eric, play follow the leader and have similarly made false statements. There's a better chance of either one or both of those jackasses getting shut down by Twitter to send a much stronger message to their father.

We'll see if that happens.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A clear case of sacrificing lives to the altar of ego

The Republican National Convention is scheduled for August in Charlotte, where the GOP will formally rubber stamp President Trump's re-election campaign, or at least that's the plan.

However, three months before the convention takes place, Trump is threatening to move the event out of Charlotte because Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, isn't ready to lift shelter-in-place restrictions on his state.

I don't know for sure if Trump can legally do that, since I think the RNC has a contract with the arena being used for the event. Breach of contract much, Mr. President?

For now, gatherings in North Carolina are limited to 10 people. The convention is expected to bring in 50,000 Republican drones and bubble heads from all over the country. Trump would rather put innocent lives at risk in order to soothe his damaged ego.

His warped ideology is the equivalent of a certain ad campaign that made the rounds last year for a well known brand......

It's not quite the same, but when you have a clueless house-mouse feeding her friends D-Con, it's going to pale in comparison if/when there's another wave of COVID-19 coming out of the convention if Trump gets his way.

Even if the GOP has to move the event, they're going to run into the same problems no matter where they go. Even though Trump approved the Centers For Disease Control's guidelines, he won't abide by them when he needs attention. That said......

Our daughter vs Donald Trump: The First 100 Days – Infinite ...

Get a clue, Mr. President. Trading lives for votes to satisfy your selfishness isn't the answer, and never has been.

Right now, I feel sorry for Melania........

Classic Soaps Week: Search For Tomorrow (1951)

It was the first of Roy Winsor's soap operas to hit the air, and also the longest lasting.

Search For Tomorrow premiered on CBS in 1951, sponsored & produced by Procter & Gamble. As with all soaps of the day, Search ran for 15 minutes a day, then expanded to 30 minutes in the mid-60's, going to color in 1967.

However, CBS decided to pull the plug in 1982 after 31 years. Should've known better than play that game with P & G again, having seen The Edge of Night, another P & G soap, move to ABC 7 years earlier. This time, Search moved to NBC, which already was home to Another World and its various spin-offs. Search lasted four years before NBC ended the series in December 1986.

Following is a sample episode from March 1962.

Mary Stuart (Joanne Tate) was in the cast for the entire 35 year run, and even took the time to appear on the musical game show, Musical Chairs, as a musical guest, in 1975.

I actually did see some of the later CBS and early NBC episodes during summer breaks, just to have some background noise while I was doing other things.

Rating: B-.

Monday, May 25, 2020

What defines an "American fraud"?

The most infamous draft dodger to ever set foot in the White House since Bill Clinton is at it again.

President Trump, who gained five military deferments due to alleged bone spurs, lashed out today at Pennsylvania Congressman Conor Lamb, who rose to the rank of Captain in the Marine Corps.

Image courtesy of The Week, via Yahoo!.

On the stump for a Republican challenger to Lamb's re-election campaign, Trump went on another mindless Twantrum, calling Lamb "an American fraud".

No, Mr. President. The fraud is you.

You hid behind your family's money and refused to serve in the military, following the lead of your father & grandfather, as apparently, there's a family allergy to military service (Thanks to correspondent Mike Doran for the information on the Trump family). You had the gall to dance on John McCain's grave, still smearing him after he passed away a couple of years ago. You've been pampered so much, there's a rumor that Procter & Gamble offered you stock.

Your voter base is built around the disenfranchised, the disgruntled, tired of the status quo. They hoped you were something different, and, well, in a way they were right. Unfortunately, for a political neophyte, you're proving to be even worse than the average political lifer. You're jealous of your predecessors. The men who've sat in the same chair you have now did so with honor, dignity, and respect for the office and the people. It could be said that Barack Obama's inspiration was the late Martin Luther King, Jr.. Yours? Most likely Vince McMahon and Joe Isuzu (David Leisure). You trample upon the legacy, tarnished as it is, of the late Richard Nixon. You wish you had at least 10% of the late Ronald Reagan's charisma, if not also Jimmy Carter's. You made George W. Bush look like a Rhodes Scholar.

Former basketball coach-turned-executive Pat Riley, one of the 518's own, coined the phrase, "the disease of me". You might not have coronavirus, Mr. President, but you do have the "disease of me", that much is patently obvious.

I honestly hope that the Democratic Party sees your latest Twantrum, and decides that lightning can strike twice, this time with Lamb, a first-term Congressman, replacing Joe Biden as your opponent in November. Otherwise, we'll be waiting for Election Night sponsored by Depends, Philips' Milk of Magnesia, Ginkoba,.........

On DVD: McHale's Navy (1964)

Released in between seasons 2 & 3 of the series, McHale's Navy sailed into theatres in its first feature film adventure.

McHale's Navy (1964 film).jpg

While the series itself was always in black & white, this was the first appearance of the cast in full color, and it would be the last mission for seaman Joseph "Happy" Haines (Gavin McLeod), who left the series after season 2.

At 93 minutes, or slightly longer than a 3-episode block, it plays like a typical episode of the series.

Trying to raise money for a local orphange leads to disaster for the crew of the PT-73, leaving the crew in deep debt to the Marines who bet on a tape-delayed race broadcast by Gruber (Carl Ballantine). Ensign Parker (Tim Conway) draws the attention of a French woman (Claudine Longet, Mrs. Andy Williams at the time), and that leads to more trouble involving a local businessman (George Kennedy), and leaves McHale (Ernest Borgnine) to contemplate a reluctant marriage to an old flame (Jean Willis). All the while, Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn) is looking, as usual, to nail McHale and the crew for a court-martial, but you know how that works.

Unfortunately, no footage of the movie is available online, hence the poster above.

I've often discussed over in Saturday Morning Archives how some old cartoon shorts from the 60's could stand to be remade today with expanded plots. The movie version of "McHale's Navy" in 1964 shared the same problem as some movies derived from, say for example, Saturday Night Live in that a generic plot extended past its natural length often ends up falling flat. This could've played out as a 3-part episode of the series, and would've worked out just fine.

The crew, save for Borgnine and Ballantine, would return in a sequel, "McHale's Navy Joins The Air Force". Both movies would be in regular rotation locally during the 70's.

Rating: B--.

Classic TV: The Secret Storm (1954)

All this week, we're looking at classic daytime soaps. I know I was planning on following up on something else last week, but we'll get back to it another time.

We've done reviews on soaps in the past, but as there are now four daytime soaps on the air, and all but one unable to continue with original programming due to COVID-19, let's take a time trip.

First up is The Secret Storm, which ran for exactly 20 years on CBS (1954-74), usually buried at the bottom of the lineup. It's standard fare of the day, with all of the usual elements. Series creator Roy Winsor also developed Love of Life three years earlier, also for CBS, and Search For Tomorrow, which aired on CBS & NBC until it was cancelled by the latter network in the mid-80's. While Search was developed for Procter & Gamble's TV division, the others were made for rival American Home Products (later absorbed into ConAgra), the original makers of Chef BoyArDee canned pasta.

Some notable names associated with the series included Joan & Christina Crawford (Joan, in her 60's, subbed for her young daughter for a time in 1968, which had to be some feat), Linda Purl, Gary Sandy, and organist Eddie Layton, better known for his many years in the same role with the Yankees.

Following is a sample 15 minute episode, complete with commercials, from 1960:

Announcer Ken Roberts also handled the same chores on Love of Life until its cancellation in 1980.

No rating.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Of Recent Vintage: Loudmouths (2008)

Sportsnet New York (SNY) thought they could compete with ESPN with an afternoon talk block.

After 12 years, they've waved the white flag.

Loudmouths, the centerpiece of their afternoon drive block, was cancelled following Friday's broadcast. but by then, SNY's answer to ESPN's Pardon The Interruption, which it competed with, wasn't appointment television anymore, largely because original co-host Adam Schein left some years back for CBS Sports Network and his own show, Time to Schein. Co-host Chris Carlin, a radio veteran known to NYC area listeners as the radio voice of Rutgers football for so many years, had ceded his chair, as, per Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, there was a rotation of three hosts while Carlin had moved back to radio in recent years.

In this clip from July 2013, then-Mets GM Sandy Alderson is the guest during the run-up to the All-Star Game, as the show is emanating on location at Citi Field.

At a time when SNY is in need of original content, dumping one of their longest running shows makes zero sense. Then again.....!

Rating: B.

Videos of Summer: Sea Cruise (1959)

When Frankie Ford appeared on Dick Clark's Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show to promote his hit single, "Sea Cruise", it was in March of 1959. However, with summer right around the corner, "Sea Cruise" is still appropriate music.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dunce Cap Award: Kayleigh McEnany

On Friday, President Trump announced, via press shill Kayleigh McEnany, that he was donating a quarterly pay check in the amount of $100,000 to the Department of Health & Human Services.

That, for Trump, is the good news.

The bad news?

McEnany fumbled, flashing not only the check, but a pay stub containing the President's personal banking information, which means it was exposed to the whole world.

The photo above shows McEnany reading the check before turning it over to face the camera.

What she should've done was have one of those gimmicked oversized checks, like they use when public donations are made to charities, in hand, with a rep from the DHHS present. How simple is that?

And now you know why she's a press shill for Trump. Fallible, malleable, ready and willing to perpetuate the misinformation issuing from her boss.

I was going to quote a line from Don Henley's 1983 hit, "Dirty Laundry" (you know the one), but that would be piling on. All Kayleigh gets instead is a Dunce Cap. Like, even Trump would ream her out for her mistake. Right?

Wrestling loses two stars

Six days ago, former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard had disappeared after rescuing his young son on the beach in California. Three days later, Gaspard's body washed ashore, having died from drowning.

Gaspard had been on the main roster with WWE, first as 1/2 of Cryme Tyme, then as a solo act, from 2006-approximately 2011. More recently, he appeared in the movie, "Birds of Prey", as a henchman for the villain. Gaspard was credited only as a stuntman. A GoFundMe account has been set up for Gaspard's family to pay for the funeral.

WWE released this video compilation earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Japan is mourning the passing of Stardom wrestler Hana Kimura at the age of 22.

Ms. Kimura had been appearing on the reality show, Terrace House, which would be the Japanese equivalent of CBS' Big Brother or MTV's Real World here in the US.

There was an incident depicted on Terrace House where Kimura attacked one of the other housemates because he forgot to check to see if the washer was empty, and he accidentally ruined Hana's ring gear. Fans of the show were not happy, and roasted Kimura on social media, leading to depression, and, as it happened, suicide.

The Stardom promotion had been counting on Hana to be one of its cornerstones for years to come. It is said that this was the highest profile case of cyber-bullying in Japan. There've been numerous cases here in the US of young people committing suicide because of cyber-bullying, but in Hana's case, it didn't need to wind up this way.

Rest in peace.

Friday, May 22, 2020

A little of this and a little of that

As the country begins a gradual return to relative normalcy by reopening businesses in stages, this weekend will be a sort of litmus test to see if people are still willing to abide by social distancing guidelines

State beaches, for example, will be open at 50% capacity, per Governor Cuomo. Masks and social distancing are required. We know how creative people can be, and if you can fashion a mask to match your swimwear, then you're ahead of the game.
Add WWE superstar Sonya Deville's name to the list of potential candidates to replace Ruby Rose as Batwoman.

Deville (real name: Daria Berenato) has been with WWE since 2015, when she took part in the last arc of Tough Enough on USA Network. She currently appears on Smackdown & Total Divas, and has made no secret of the fact that she wants to follow in the footsteps of male stars like John Cena, Dave Bautista, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and make the transition to acting.

Does she have a realistic chance? For now, yes. Deville is openly gay, only the second wrestler in WWE history, and the first woman. If she lands the gig, and many believe that is extremely doubtful, she'd have to be away from WWE for extended periods, as Batwoman shoots in Vancouver. Stay tuned.
Speaking of WWE, Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and husband Paul "Triple H" Levesque may be shopping for pith helmets.

Well, not exactly.

The WWE's First Couple have signed on with A & E to do a docuseries that will have them locating lost company memorabilia. A & E is also planning on a series of bios on former WWE stars such as Hulk Hogan and the late "Macho Man" Randy Savage, as they may be bringing Biography back for that purpose.

The projects are supposed to start later this year.
The following may very well be a collector's item of a different kind.


Image courtesy of NBC via Twitter.

Yes, President Trump actually wore a mask as he toured a Ford plant in suburban Michigan on Thursday. However, when he faced reporters later, he shed the mask, which didn't sit well with state officials. Attorney General Dana Nessel, well aware that Trump has been an embarrassment to the entire country as President, stated that Trump is no longer welcome in Michigan.

The mayor of Baltimore is trying to convince Trump not to come to his city this weekend, as the cost will worsen the city's current financial burdens. The image-obsessed Trump refused to keep the mask on when addressing reporters largely because of his vanity, not because he didn't want the media hordes to have something for the front page, if you will.

Let's face facts, Mr. President. You're a public figure. You're setting a bad example in the midst of a health crisis you could've averted. Lose the ego, embrace responsibility, and, most of all, wake up to reality!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Musical Interlude: Ain't no Stoppin' us Now (1979)

McFadden & Whitehead had just one top 40 hit, and it was the bouncy "Ain't no Stoppin' us Now". The clip is set at a roller disco. Remember that?

Gene McFadden & John Whitehead also co-wrote & co-produced the track. 'Tis a shame they didn't land another pop crossover.

Withholding federal aid to states that need it? Yep, another tantrum from the President

When you get right down to it, President Trump's basic policy is this:

Do as I say, but don't do as I do.

In other words, while Trump, who now calls Florida his primary home, having gone all Benedict Arnold on New York, was able to send in an absentee ballot for the recent Florida primary, he is of the misguided, mistaken notion that if states like, say, for example, Michigan, which has a Democratic governor, wants to send applications out for absentee ballots for the general election on November 3, then it's wrong.

Guess what, Mr. President? It isn't. Not when your own party is doing the same thing in the states they are running, like Florida and Texas, for example.

So what does the President do? He threatens to withhold federal aid to Michigan, which could certainly use disaster relief with flooding earlier this week.

Our daughter vs Donald Trump: The First 100 Days – Infinite ...

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson became the man-child's latest target, and, like Governor Gretchen Whitmer, she fired back.

What Trump is angling to do amounts to voter suppression, in order to ensure that he is re-elected in November. What candidate in his right mind would do that?

Other than in the movies, none that I can think of. As usual, Trump, as well as his bubble-headed spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnany, couldn't legitimize any claims of wrongdoing by the state of Michigan. 7.7 million applications were sent out of the state as a precaution, just in case we're still dealing with the coronavirus in the fall. Trump mistakenly thought the ballots were being sent out, which would've been 5 1/2 months too early, since the nominating conventions haven't taken place yet, so the ballots wouldn't have been printed out anyway.

Given Trump's recent round of bizarre statements, including touting medicines that aren't designed to treat the coronavirus, and a Washington Post article which alleges that Trump doesn't read his daily briefings from his staffers at all, one wonders if he's got some real health issues that he's keeping from the public.

He's the poster child for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder and short attention span. He has repeatedly embarrassed us on the world stage. And, yet, when things don't go his way, what happens?

Our daughter vs Donald Trump: The First 100 Days – Infinite ...


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A little of this and a little of that

Two days after its freshman season on CW ended, Batwoman is now looking for a new lead actress.

Ruby Rose announced Tuesday she was leaving the series. While no definitive reasons were cited, Rose had suffered some injuries while filming the series in Vancouver, British Columbia over the last year. Warner Bros. & Berlanti Productions have said they are committed to finding another LGBTQ actress to fill the vacant role, so they can begin production on season 2, which is set to start airing on CW in January.

If it's a lengthy search (doubtful), CW may be forced to either bring Legends of Tomorrow off the bench sooner than planned (it's set to return next spring), or renew the under-performing Katy Keene and move it to Sundays to fill the void. Stay tuned.
Traditionally, the Belmont Stakes is the last leg of the Triple Crown in horse racing.

This year, it's the first leg.

The New York Racing Association announced Tuesday that the Belmont, which would've been run June 6 had racing not been suspended in New York due to COVID-19, will take place two weeks later than planned, on June 20, its distance cut to 1 1/8 miles. Racing fans would then wait 2 1/2 months before the Kentucky Derby (September 5), followed a month later by the Preakness (October 3).

For the organizers of the races, it's a test case to see if those who've advocated extending the lead time between races might actually have been right all along, which could lead to another change in 2021.
Johnson & Johnson, having had to deal with lawsuits the last few years, has announced that their Johnson's Baby Powder will no longer be sold in North America. The lawsuits were filed after it was revealed that some of the talc used in the manufacture of the powder was laced with asbestos, which has been known to cause cancer. Johnson & Johnson also makes an alternate version of the product, substituting corn starch for the talc.

CBS Radio News used an audio clip of an old commercial from 1976 featuring actress-singer Cheryl Ladd (pre-Charlie's Angels). Luckily, the commercial is available on YouTube......

Another piece of our childhood is gone.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

On The Air: Stargirl (2020)

Students of comics history will recall that the small town of Blue Valley was home to Wally West, aka Kid Flash, dating back to the Silver Age.

20-odd years ago, Geoff Johns, a relatively new writer at DC, introduced readers to a new generation Star Spangled Kid, later rechristened Stargirl (not to be confused with a forthcoming Disney movie by the same name), in Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E., which lasted 15 issues between 1999-2000, due largely to DC's overpricing ($2.50 was too expensive for a new title aimed at teens & tweens at the end of the 20th century, almost guaranteeing cancellation after a year minimum).

The timing was coincidental, since Frank Miller & Geof Darrow had introduced Big Guy & Rusty The Boy Robot at Dark Horse, which became a short-lived animated series for Fox. The books came out months before Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. landed on shelves. Rusty, a robot himself, was unaware his partner was really a human wearing an armored suit.

Not the case with Stargirl.

Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger, ex-Bella & The Bulldogs) is not a happy camper as she and her mother, Barbara (Amy Smart, Shameless) have relocated from LA to Blue Valley, where Barbara grew up. Barbara has married mechanic Patrick Dugan (Luke Wilson), formerly Stripesy, partner-in-peril to the Star Spangled Kid, later known as Starman (Joel McHale, Card Sharks, ex-Community). Dugan, a decade earlier, was the lone survivor of a Christmas Eve massacre of the Justice Society of America at the hands of the Injustice Society.

But when Courtney finds the cosmic staff, Starman's cherished weapon........!

Johns has cited "E.T." and "Back to The Future" as inspirations for his series. As Courtney learns to master the staff, I can't help but think of Stephen J. Cannell's Greatest American Hero from 40 years ago, except that the staff doesn't come with a user's manual for Courtney to lose.

Before I go any further, let's take a look at a trailer:

To the surprise of, well, no one, Stargirl is another Greg Berlanti production. Forget the 30 hour week. Berlanti needs 50 hours a week, so he can get some sleep. Stargirl airs Mondays on DC Universe, Tuesdays on CW, and streams on the CW website on Wednesdays for those who can't afford DCU. Airing on the CW allows the series to be a paid advertisement for the streaming service.

In the course of the season, veteran readers will recognize some characters introduced in Roy Thomas' Infinity, Inc. series in the 80's, including a 2nd generation hero, some of whom have been de-aged into high school students. Something tells me Berlanti and WB may be testing the waters for a crossover between Stargirl and the R-rated Titans down the road. I'm not just saying that to put it out there. Someone on a message board the other day asked if Titans and Doom Patrol would follow Stargirl and reruns of Swamp Thing to the CW. If they do, they'd have to be sanitized for gore and language.

Anyway, before I digress even further, Stargirl is a delightful breath of fresh air for CW and DCU, both of whom can use some lighter adventure fare, and, as long as Johns is very involved with his pet project (Courtney is named for Johns' late sister), it won't suffer from the same creative maladies plaguing other Berlanti shows.

Rating: A.

When MTV Meant Something: MTV Ultrasound (1998)

Today, you'd be hard pressed to convince Empty-V suits to actually put music videos on at an hour when it really matters. No, they'd rather spam the cheaply produced "reality" shows into the ground, hoping no one remembers the network's origins, a year before their 40th anniversary.

In 1998, the news department began MTV Ultrasound, a new docu-series that not only took on the challenge of revisiting previous subjects that had been covered on, say for example, Rockumentary, but also turning back the curtain on the channel's past.

Chris Connelly, now with ESPN, was the series host during the course of Ultrasound's run (1998-2001). The following sample is a December 2000 replay of a 1998 profile on the network's original 5 VJ's.

MTV debuted on most upstate NY cable systems six months after its debut. Meaning, the channel, which premiered on August 1, 1981, landed in the hometown in February 1982, along with WTBS, among others. VJ Alan Hunter had appeared in David Bowie video ("Fashion") prior to signing on with the network. The late JJ Jackson, who passed away in 2004, had been heard, but not seen, in the 1976 movie, "Car Wash".

In 1999, Ultrasound would do a follow-up, covering the 2nd unit (i.e. Downtown Julie Brown, Adam Curry, et al). Maybe we'll pop that in sometime.

Rating: A.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Forgotten TV: Dream Girl USA (1986)

 A weekly beauty pageant?

Yep, it happened, and unlike Chuck Barris' late 70's parody, The $1.98 Beauty Show, Dream Girl USA was a weekly version of the annual pageants that have moved off television in recent years and to online streaming.

Ken Howard (ex-The White Shadow) serves as host for this series, which lasted one calendar year. Veteran voice over announcer-actor Danny Dark, studio announcer for NBC at the time, was the announcer for this particular episode, but ABC studio announcer Ernie Anderson also worked on the show.

Here's a sample episode from November 1986, right around Thanksgiving or so.

As you could see, 20th Century Fox co-produced and distributed the series, but this was one of those cases where it wasn't readily available everywhere. I don't recall hearing of any auditions for the show in the home area, and I can't recall if it was picked up by a local station.

No rating.

Another piece of childhood is gone. Ken Osmond (1943-2020)

He felt typecast by the iconic role he'd played, and became a cop. However, he couldn't resist the lure of returning to television while still working for the police.

Today, Hollywood is mourning the passing of Ken Osmond at 76. Cause unknown as of press time.

Osmond began his career at age 9 in movies, and was already a show biz veteran when he was cast as duplicitous teen Eddie Haskell on Leave it to Beaver. However, despite a resume that included guest appearances on shows as diverse as Lassie, Wagon Train, & Petticoat Junction, Osmond felt trapped by typecasting because producers only saw him as Eddie. So he signed on to the Los Angeles Police Department in 1970 as a motorcycle cop. Osmond served with the LAPD until retiring in 1988. By that time, his acting career had already resumed with the revival of Beaver and a guest appearance on Happy Days during its final season.

In this scene, Roger Phillips (Ted McGinley) arrives at his new job as a school principal to discover a teacher trapped in a locker until a certain fellow arrives on the scene with a bolt cutter.....

Yep, same old, same old.

Rest in peace, Ken.

For Peyton Manning's next project, it shouldn't be in the broadcast booth

Given how Hollywood is so obsessed with pre-sold product in today's market, there's a fair number of movies and a TV remake that could be handed off to former NFL quarterback-turned-Nationwide Insurance shill Peyton Manning.

No, really, think about this for a second. He has the folksy Southern charm, even though he's about as telegenic as a dead tree, in this writer's opinion, to pull off a modern-day reworking of films like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" or "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town". As an actor, Manning ain't exactly the second coming of Gary Cooper or Jimmy Stewart, but then, but after a few years of Nationwide commercials being shoved down the viewers' throats, at the expense of co-star Brad Paisley's country music career, I'm beginning to see how Manning could manage to be like other former NFL players who transitioned to television, from Roosevelt Grier to Merlin Olsen to Fred Dryer. The diff being, of course, that he was a quarterback, not a lineman like the others. Like, Dick Butkus & Bubba Smith parlayed all those Miller Lite commercials into movies ("Police Academy" for Smith) and television (Blue Thunder for both, Hang Time for Butkus, etc.) in the 80's and 90's.

Manning & Paisley have transitioned from The Jingle Sessions, in which Manning tried to write insurance themed songs for Paisley, and failed miserably, to the self-indulgent Welcome to Peytonville, which premiered last year....

But think about this.

What about Manning in a remake of Gomer Pyle, USMC? Unlike the late Jim Nabors, who had the ace card of swapping out his Southern drawl for a powerful singing voice when needed, Manning can put more emphasis on the private's naivete. He has no problem with being humbled.

And, as previously shown on Saturday Night Live, Manning can do comedy.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, despite being in a potentially powerhouse Friday lineup on ABC in 1969, didn't survive the season, and there are more haters than supporters of Adam Sandler's remake. Again, Manning could hew as close as possible to the original. Seven years earlier, a pre-Daniel Boone Fess Parker tried a TV version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but that also failed.

Oh, wait. I just thought of something. Manning's version could combine elements of the movie and Gomer, in that we could see what happened to Gomer after the series ended. Maybe someone pitched that idea to Jim Nabors at one point, but it never got off the ground.

And, then, there's No Time For Sergeants. In order to counter Andy Griffith, ABC thought it might be a cool idea to do a TV version of the play & movie that helped make Griffith an icon. Yep, that bombed, too. I can picture the story being updated to present times, with Manning as Will Stockdale.

Here's my bottom line. In my day job, I work for an insurance agency. No, we don't represent Nationwide, and there are worse advertising offenders, which we'll look at this week. My boss is a Dolphins fan, and I don't think he'd be too thrilled if Nationwide sent him a stand-up of Manning if we signed on to represent them. If Manning doesn't want to do Monday Night Football, ok, let's find something else for him to do, even if network executives and his agents don't think of them.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Would someone give the President a clue, part 2

"If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen!"---Harry S. Truman.

On Saturday night, during the Graduate Together special, former President Barack Obama sent a subtle, veiled message in the direction of President Trump. It's not as if Obama is piling onto all of the criticism his successor has had to take since before his election in 2016, but the World's Oldest Baby responded the only way he knows how:

MSNBC on Twitter: "“This is the return of Trump the man baby,” Rep ...

Past presidents, from Lincoln to Truman to Obama, accepted criticism without incident, and with dignity. Even Richard Nixon, whom Trump sees as a role model (and not for any good reason, really), knew when he'd been put in a position where he had no choice but to resign in 1974.

In the wake of Obama's remarks, Trump, of course, continued his fabricated conspiracy theory against his predecessor, but offering no depth to his claims, as usual. "Obamagate" is just another scam perpetrated by a jealous Trump, who can't stand the fact that, nearly 3 1/2 years after taking office, he still takes a backseat to Obama in terms of respect.

MSNBC offers comments from both sides over the course of the last 24 hours:

Well, there's another old expression that fits here. Basically, Trump has made his bed, and has to lie in it. Problem is, he lies everywhere else but.

Sports this 'n' that

Now, the pieces are starting to fall into place for the Triple Crown.

With the Kentucky Derby already moved to Labor Day weekend (September 5), where it may compete not just with baseball, but college football, too, the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel, will be run October 3. The New York Racing Association (NYRA), having just gotten the green light from Governor Cuomo to resume racing at Belmont on June 1, is exploring an appropriate date for this year's Belmont Stakes.

Since it's usually 3-4 weeks in between the Preakness and the Belmont, the latter usually run during the 2nd Saturday in June, the feeling here is that the race could take place no later than Halloween (October 31), with the Breeders' Cup due to follow about 2-3 weeks later. We'll see.
Meanwhile, after weeks of virtual racing to give Fox some Sunday afternoon content, NASCAR will have its first live race since March this afternoon in Darlington, North Carolina. International soccer leagues are starting up their seasons. Some NBA teams are being given the go-ahead to re-open training facilities in an effort to finish the current season on time.

The Bundesliga soccer league is conducting their matches without fans, and today's NASCAR race will also be without fans. It'll be some time before paying customers will be admitted anywhere.
Some sad news to close out this edition.

Phyllis George, the 1971 Miss America who transitioned to television in the mid-70's before becoming a business mogul, passed away Saturday at 70 from complications due to a blood disorder.

George was hired by CBS to join the broadcast team for The NFL Today in 1974, breaking the gender barrier in sports journalism. Her other television credits included co-hosting Candid Camera with Allen Funt for a time, and contributing to People Magazine's CBS talk show. Her low point at CBS was an embarrassing stint on the CBS Morning News, crossing over from the sports department, trying to make the same successful transition that NBC's Bryant Gumbel had made a few years earlier to anchor Today.

Here's a sample of The NFL Today, covering the NFC title game in 1976:

George served as the First Lady of Kentucky while married to Governor John Brown, and made an unsuccessful bid for Congress. Had she won, there's no guarantee current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be in office now.

Rest in peace, Phyllis.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

You can save money adopting a pet....(2008)

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) usually get bad (for them) publicity with their public stunts. In 2008, PETA sought to change that by recruiting actor Fred Willard to do a PSA.

Think of the money you'd save by adopting instead of going to a pet store.

In memory of Willard, 80, who passed away overnight from natural causes.

Friday, May 15, 2020

What Might've Been: And Baby Makes Three (1965-6)

Bing Crosby's production company came up with a delightful little pilot during the 1965-6 season. Unfortunately, And Baby Makes Three went unsold, even though it was commissioned for ABC.

James Stacy, a couple of years away from Lancer, headlines as a pediatrician who's new in town. He quickly hires a secretary (Joan Blondell, two years away from Here Come The Brides), and finds a prospective girlfriend (Lynn Loring). His clinic is in the same building as a dentist (Gavin McLeod, ex-McHale's Navy), who welcomes him with flowers (???).

Movie veteran Blondell quickly establishes chemistry on screen with Stacy, and the same can be said for his scenes with Loring. Hal Smith (The Andy Griffith Show, Davey & Goliath) appears early on as a sign painter, and Pamelyn Ferdin plays a patient brought into the clinic by her grandmother (Madge Blake, who would appear on Batman). Keep an eye open, too, for an early appearance by Johnnie Whitaker (later of Family Affair) as a Little League ballplayer (billed as John Whitaker). Future Oscar winning composer John Williams, billed as Johnny Williams at the time, scored the music, and was also working for 20th Century Fox (Lost in Space) and Universal (i.e. Suspense Theatre) at the time.

Oh, and the sequence with Stacy and Ferdin is cute and adorable. To think she was only 6 when this was shot in 1965.

ABC passing on this might've been a mistake.

Rating: A.

Origin of the WWE: Heavyweight Wrestling From Washington (1956)

Today's WWE, under the stewardship of Vincent K. McMahon, is a far cry from the earlier incarnations of the company. If you took into account the fact that WWE, which began as Capitol Sports in 1956, and took the name World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1963, has had programming on television for over 60 years, you'd wonder why McMahon doesn't acknowledge the work of his father & grandfather, without whom, we wouldn't have WWE today.

Heavyweight Wrestling From Washington launched as a regional syndicated series in 1956, and continued until McMahon, often referred to as Vince, Jr., took the mic as announcer in 1970. At that point, the program split into two component parts, which could air any time during the day on Saturday or Sunday.

Following is a compilation of two episodes from 1966. Ray Morgan (ex-Gang Busters) is at the mic, and if you listen close, much of the patter of Morgan's commentary was picked up by the over-the-top Vince McMahon a few years later.

Forgive both the audio and video quality. The audio is a tad off most of the way.

Rating: B-. Points taken off for the audio & video defects.

The waiting is the hardest part......

The late Tom Petty had it right with his 1981 hit, "The Waiting". Waiting is hard, especially if you're a fan of the CW.

The network announced its 2020-1 schedule on Thursday, and the season for them won't start until January due to the coronavirus pandemic. They'll have an interim schedule in place in the fall, which will include the conclusion of Supernatural's final season. Comics fans, however, will have to wait until January for their favorites to return.

The schedule for 2021:


Charmed moves back to Sundays and its original air time of 9 pm (ET), airing in back of Batwoman. This is largely because Supergirl won't be ready to return until spring '21 at the earliest due to star Melissa Benoist's pregnancy. I would say that after Sunday's finale, it'll be 11-12 months before Supergirl begins season 6. Suffice to say, the series is the most adversely affected on the schedule.

Mondays (All American & Black Lightning) and Wednesdays (Riverdale & Nancy Drew) will remain the same.


Superman & Lois, for all intents and purposes a spin-off from Supergirl, fills the 9 pm (ET) slot, which housed Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, the latter of which wrapped its season on Tuesday. The Flash, of course, remains at 8 pm.


Jared Padalecki's new series, Walker, a reimagining of Chuck Norris' Walker, Texas Ranger, fills Supernatural's slot at 8, coupled with Legacies.


Penn & Teller: Fool Us!, which will air on Mondays in the fall, shifts to Fridays, coupled with Whose Line is it Anyway? in one hour blocks each. Dynasty will be held until spring.

Greg Berlanti's gender-flipped reimagining of Kung Fu is being held until spring, as well. However, the future isn't looking quite as rosy for Katy Keene, which finished its season last night, as CW is actually considering---gulp---cancelling the show, which would be two one-&-dones in a row for star Lucy Hale, whose last series, Life Sentence, bombed out two years ago.

As for Legends? That's also on the bench until spring. For Arrowverse fans, there will be a smaller than usual crossover this season, limited to Batwoman and Superman & Lois, likely in the spring. CW programming honcho Mark Pedowicz has said that their season will extend into summer because of the late start, meaning most series will have their usual order of 20-22 episodes, except for Black Lightning, which has topped out at 16 episodes each of the last two seasons. Newly acquired repeats of DC Universe's Swamp Thing, edited for language, will fill Flash's spot on Tuesdays.

It's going to be crazy.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Weasels of The Week: Jack Burkman & Jacob Wohl

This week's Weasels are a pair of conservative dirtbags who are also conspiracy theorists and, well, internet trolls.

Jack Burkman is the host of the podcast, Behind The Curtain. He & his partner in stupidity, Jacob Wohl, have repeatedly bribed people in an attempt to discredit people from former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren to prosecutor Robert Mueller to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

As Ring of Fire's Farron Cousins shares, these two clowns deserve to be in a rubber room after their latest scam went south.

Yep, the Weasels are in the tank for President Trump. Mentally ill? Questionable. Any enemy of Trump and/or his legion of dittoheads is fair game to them. And these fools are like the mythical Hydra. Take out one or two heads, three more take their place. They don't deserve Dunce Caps, by the way. They were born stupid.

The shame of the city, 2020

In the course of current events globally & nationally in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we hear and read about the woes being faced by small businesses.

Living in downtown Troy, I'm surrounded by businesses big & small. This is about one of those small businesses.

There is a mom & pop grocery on Washington Street that also functions as a bottle redemption center. The signs of change are evident on the front door. Revised weekday hours. New rules regarding bottle & can returns. But, as one of the owners shared, for some customers, habits aren't just hard to break, they're impossible, and it's causing hardships.

One customer refused to abide by the new rules, which include ensuring that bottles & cans being brought in for deposit are rinsed and cleaned at home before delivery, such that he spewed racial slurs at the owner, then slashed two tires on her car. Another dissenting regular customer threw her bottles at the owner, used obscenities, and was subsequently arrested by police on disorderly conduct charges.

How hard is it for people to adapt & adjust to what has been the "new normal" for the last couple of months? Seems to me they don't read the paper, don't watch the news, and, as noted, won't change their habits.

Long story short, I shan't be surprised if some of these dissenters were Trump supporters. He thrives on fear and distrust among the populace. However, I doubt you'd be able to vote from a jail cell.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Musical Interlude: Superstition (1972)

Today is Stevie Wonder's 70th birthday. In celebration, let's take a trip to Sesame Street. Wonder was the musical guest for an episode in 1972, in which he performed his classic, "Superstition". Future star Ray Parker, Jr., before he spun off to form Raydio, sits in on guitar. YouTube commentators have noted the presence of a very young Lenny Kravitz as one of the kids (mom Roxie Roker was still a couple of years away from The Jeffersons). Scope!

Happy birthday, Stevie.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A little of this and a little of that

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that New York will reopen in phases, starting Friday. Construction companies are among the businesses that will return at the end of the week. Other businesses, such as insurance agencies, would be eligible to reopen two weeks later, with everyone else following in mid-June, just in time for summer tourism season to begin.

Personal note: While ye scribe has seen a few stragglers walking the streets unmasked, most folks are complying with the orders. We know what we're doing, even if there are a few frustrated souls that don't understand the risks they're taking.
The WWE nursery is about to gain a new tenant.

Becky Lynch (real name: Rebecca Quin) vacated the Raw women's championship, which she's held for more than a year, last night, revealing that she is expecting her first child. Asuka, who won the women's Money in The Bank match Sunday, discovered that her briefcase didn't have a contract, but the belt itself, as it turns out she was competing for a vacant title. The rivals dropped character, and embraced, after Asuka had done her happy dance upon winning the title. The baby is due in December.

Baby daddy Seth Rollins (Colby Lopez), looking more and more like a dystopian Jesus wanna-be, refused to accept congratulations from Rey Mysterio later in the show, and, after their tag match, they did an injury angle to send Mysterio off on what amounts to summer vacation, likely leading to a match between the two former champions at Summerslam in August. I get that Rollins was trying to stay in character, but his "Monday Night Messiah" persona raises red flags with me, and I'm sure it does with other fans for various reasons.
The more President Trump bumbles & stumbles through his first term, the more he casts blame on scapegoats for no reason, and sycophants like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell play along.

View image on Twitter

On Monday, it was McConnell's turn to play the blame game, throwing shade at former President Barack Obama for speaking out against Trump. Well, what would you expect? Trump is inviting criticism from both sides of the aisle on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, even if he can't handle the heat. McConnell, from Kentucky, is no saint, either, but restricting speech of former rivals doesn't win points at the polls.

Trump has been trying, like an amateur, to reassure the public, but downplaying the severity of the virus was not a smart move. Instead, he comes off as a carny, like his pal, Vince McMahon.

In less than six months, the American people will vote for President. It will be interesting to see if Trump retains his primary voter base, or if they've finally sniffed the truth about Trump.....
In an effort to add content for the summer, the CW has picked up 4 shows that have been airing elsewhere. They include:

Coroner is a Canadian series starring Serinda Swan (ex-Inhumans).

Tell Me a Story, an anthology series which reimagines classic fairy tales with a darker beat, moves over from CBS All Access, which cancelled the series after 2 seasons. Kevin Williamson ("Scream", Dawson's Creek) is the show's executive producer.

And, then, there's Swamp Thing, which was torpedoed under questionable circumstances after it premiered on DC Universe 11 months ago.

Yahoo! commentators are under the mistaken impression the series will go back into production. If it performs as well on CW as it did on DCU, maybe, but don't get your hopes up.

Monday, May 11, 2020

WWE salutes the real heroes of COVID-19 (and they actually allowed someone to say pandemic!) (2020)

As we all know, WWE Chairman-CEO Vince McMahon is among the heads of sports leagues on a committee formed by his good friend, President Donald Trump, to figure a way to get fans back into stadiums and arenas, and getting sports (and sports entertainment) up and running full bore in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To that end, WWE is taking part in the Real Heroes Project in a series of PSA's currently airing. In this spot, Triple H actually utters the word, "pandemic", which his father-in-law doesn't want mentioned on WWE programming. Current NXT women's champion Charlotte Flair & John Cena are also featured.

A little bit of this and a little of that

The organizers of the French Open, which usually takes place in June, are hoping they can still mount the tournament, the second Grand Slam tennis event of the year, next month in Paris without fans in attendance. As previously reported, there won't be Wimbledon this year, as the All-England Club took things a step further, and cancelled this year's tournament altogether.

Meanwhile, the National Hockey League plans on going through with their annual entry draft, but they're unsure if they need to hold it earlier than normal, or leave it in its traditional June slot. Stay tuned.
After all the hype that surrounded his transition from Duke to the NBA, Zion Williamson is now facing a legal hurdle he didn't want or expect.

Williamson is involved in litigation with a former business manager, who now wants Williamson, drafted by New Orleans last year, to acknowledge his family received impermissible benefits from Duke, which, of course, would put the university in the NCAA's crosshairs.

We have seen three, maybe four, generations of athletes take the short path to glory, swapping education for instant riches by leaving school after 1 or 2 seasons, just because a few glad handing hangers-on and leeches sell the athletes on the idea that they're ready for the pros, and that college is just a stepping stone, and the leeches want in on the ride. For every Moses Malone or LeBron James, who went from high school straight to the pros, there's a bazillion kids who don't make it to the NBA, and have to ply their trade overseas in pro leagues there to fulfill their dreams, usually because they're discovering their talents aren't as fully polished as they'd been led to believe.

Any day now, we'll hear that the NCAA will take the predictable step of investigating Duke.....
You know what they say. Celebrity deaths usually come in groups of three.

That was certainly the case over Mother's Day weekend, as there were three in the past 48 hours.

First, it was Little Richard (Richard Penniman), as we documented on Saturday. Then, it was another R & B star, Betty Wright, who passed away at 66. Wright had some soul hits in the 60's & 70's, leading to appearances on Soul Train and elsewhere. We have a video up from Soul Train over at Saturday Morning Archives in her memory.

And, then, we're waking up this morning to learn that actor-comedian Jerry Stiller has passed away a month shy of his 93rd birthday. Stiller, pre-deceased by actress-wife Anne Meara (2015), experienced a career revival after landing a role on Seinfeld, which led to nearly a decade on The King of Queens opposite Kevin James.

Actor-son Ben Stiller announced that his father had passed away from natural causes.

Let's take a look back at Stiller & Meara from a 1968 appearance on What's My Line?:

In recent times, Stiller was one of a number of celebrity endorsers for Capital One, along with Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Garner. Rest in peace.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Look who's playing the Dating Game! (Laverne & Shirley, 1980)

From season 6 of Laverne & Shirley:

By this point in the series, the cast had been relocated from Milwaukee to Los Angeles, Hollywood in particular, with new career goals. Leslie Easterbrook, later of the "Police Academy" movies, and former NFL player Ed Marinaro joined the cast.

Penny Marshall (Laverne) directed this episode, in which the girls are hoping to audition for The Dating Game, but someone else lands the gig instead.

The episode aired in December of '80, 15 years to the month when Dating Game joined ABC's daytime lineup. Jim Lange appears as himself.

Edit, 4/21/22: The episode has been deleted. In its place is a screencap of Lenny & Squiggy waiting to play.

As the open indicates, the series was in fact now set in the year 1965, which is why the girls have those Beatles cutout standees.

New setting, same nonsense.

Rating: B.

On The Air: An experiment in virtual drama (All Rise, 2020)

As production on shows like The Flash, Wheel of Fortune, The Unicorn, Jeopardy!, The Late Show, and so on had to be shut down due to COVID-19, adjustments had to be made.

The late-night talk shows and daytime news programs were among the first to put together remotely produced programming. Saturday Night Live closed season 45 earlier this morning with the third virtual episode of the season.

Production on some of the above remains suspended, forcing adventure series like The Flash & Supergirl to carry over this season's story arcs into the fall season, whenever that will begin.

All Rise creator/co-executive producer Greg Spottiswood had other ideas.

The freshman courtroom drama closed out on Monday with a virtual episode that illustrated what real-life courts across the country are experiencing amidst the pandemic. Just days later, it was reported that All Rise was being renewed for its sophomore season. While it's not a high rated show, averaging over 5 million viewers a week who watch it as it airs on Mondays, not counting DVR's , online streaming, or On Demand replays, All Rise earned its renewal with the experimental episode.

Following is a promo for the episode:

Yes, that is Paul McCrane (ex-ER) in a recurring role as Judge Laski. McCrane also directed an episode. The growing supporting cast also includes Peter MacNicol (ex-Ally McBeal). Dorian Missick, husband of series star Simone Missick, turns up in this episode as DJ Tailwind Turner, who acts as a sort of tour guide through the show.

And I'll tell you right now. There are Flash fans who, if they tune in to this episode, will wish Jessica Camacho (Emily) never left the CW action series.

I'm making plans to get the season DVD when that comes out, so I can catch up on what I missed.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Musical Interlude: Good Golly, Miss Molly (1991)

He was one of the first inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Today, music fans around the world are mourning the passing of Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman) at 87 from cancer.

In 1991, nearly 35 years after it first charted, Richard revisited one of his earliest hits, "Good Golly, Miss Molly", for the soundtrack to the John Goodman film, "King Ralph". Goodman himself sang it during the movie, but Richard's modern take, produced by Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra & Traveling Wilburys fame, was played over the closing credits after Goodman's cover of Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl".

Seems Richard taught Goodman some of his tricks at the piano before the filming began.

Would someone please give the President a clue?

As he continues to spread false assurances to the American people, President Trump continues to demonstrate total ignorance to common sense.

As of yesterday, Trump is claiming that COVID-19 will just "go away" and "won't come back". Apparently, he closes his ears every time Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks to the contrary, that there's every possibility that COVID-19 will experience a resurgence, as early as the fall.

However, as Brian Williams explains on The 11th Hour, Georgia in particular is paying a heavy price for re-opening too early.

Worse, Katie Miller, press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Her husband, Steve, is part of Trump's inner circle of advisors. Coupled with a military valet for Trump also testing positive, one wonders if Trump has any idea of the danger he's in.

Here's Williams:

As usual, Trump is bluffing. He has no evidence to back up his claims. Apparently, he's just as restless as the protesters he's enabling to put themselves at risk by holding these protests in various cities, including Albany. We get that this is a different kind of cabin fever, if you will, but it still makes perfect sense to exercise caution. Trump is willing to trade lives for votes in order to be re-elected. For a man who claims to be a Christian, Trump is unwilling to check his ego. And that's why the blood of over 75,000 Americans is on his hands.

Friday, May 8, 2020

What Might've Been: Goldie & The Bears (1984)

Seems to me that ABC wanted their own A-Team. What they got was something else entirely.

Hulk Hogan was a few months into his first reign as World Wrestling Federation champion when he turned up in an unsold pilot, Goldie & The Bears, which cast Hogan as a football player recruited to become a detective to help the widow (Stephanie Faracy) of a former teammate solve the teammate's murder. NFL great Ben Davidson co-starred.

Edit, 10/17/22: Had to change the video. Now, we have an actual clip from the show. Watching Hogan & Davidson turn over a car and turn it around on its roof is worth the price of admission.

The show itself appears to be lost. What I do remember is that the intro to the program was narrated by no less than Howard Cosell (you were expecting maybe, Mean Gene Okerlund?).

Co-star Julius Carry would later resurface on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., co-starring with Bruce Campbell.

There is hope that a tape will surface. After all, a Minolta commercial with another WWE Hall of Famer, George "The Animal" Steele & Tony Randall has surfaced, and after that, anything is possible.

As for the show itself, the sight of Hogan's character learning how to use a computer is interesting to say the least.

Rating: B-.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Classic TV: Mork in Wonderland (Mork & Mindy, 1979)

If ABC made one mistake with Mork & Mindy, it was moving the show from Thursday to Sunday in season 2 to avoid Buck Rogers in The 25th Century on NBC, figuring the kiddo's would have a war with the parents over the remote, especially if the parents remembered Buck from the comic strips and serials.

So, for the season opener, Mork (Robin Williams) is transported to an alternate dimension where humor has been banned by a doppleganger of Exidor (Robert Donner). While Mindy (Pam Dawber) grows concerned for her spacey roommate, her twin, Mandy (Dawber), leads a resistance in the other dimension that includes analogues for Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, & Danny Thomas.

Tom Poston, fresh from The Bob Newhart Show, was elevated to series regular with this episode. Johnny Haymer (M*A*S*H) & Ronnie Schell (ex-Gomer Pyle, USMC, Good Morning World) guest star.

I honestly think this was where the writers started building the romance between Mork & Mindy, leading to the wedding in season 4. Moving the show to Sunday wasn't really the smartest of moves, and it was eventually reversed. If the programmers had any clues, they could've moved Mork down an hour, so that the sci-fi fans could follow Buck with Mork.

At least the season got off to a good start.

Rating: A-.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Dunce Cap Award. Nino Vitale

Ohio Congressman Nino Vitale declared he wasn't wearing a protective mask due to religious reasons.

Yes, he's a Republican and a Conservative. He claims that because we are molded in the image of God Himself, as the Bible teaches, he doesn't feel the need to conceal his face in the midst of COVID-19.

Image: Nino Vitale (Ann Sanner / AP file)

Now, we know he's walking in lockstep with President Trump, who has publicly stated he wouldn't wear a mask, either, but he's got image issues to concern himself with, more so than Vitale, who is simply declaring that his faith in God will protect him more than the guidelines that Trump and the Centers For Disease Control have mandated over the last two months. If Trump has as much faith in God as Vitale does, then I'd get the rationale behind Vitale's decision. Like, do I really need to invoke "Forrest Gump" here?

I have faith in God, too, but I'm not stupid. The masks are now mandatory until the pandemic ends. They're like American Express cards or house keys. You can't leave home without them. Ohio is one of those states that is gradually reopening to restore their economy. Vitale, however, is risking his health and those of his constituents by his open defiance of the law. That merits him a Dunce Cap. I'm pretty sure the President can loan him one of his.........

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The unstable genius thinks he's found a role model for female journalists........

In an interview with the New York Post, President Donald Trump took umbrage---again---at a pair of female CBS reporters, then compared them to the late actress Donna Reed, thinking that the "perfect housewife" Reed portrayed on her self-titled sitcom in the 60's was a reflection of the real thing.

It wasn't.

Instead, Reed, a Republican herself, crossed party lines to support Democrat Eugene McCarthy in a failed bid for the White House many moons ago. She was also an anti-war activist during the Vietnam War in the 60's & 70's.

For all intents and purposes, the interview was little more than Trump having another tantrum at the mainstream media that he seems to despise, but plays like a fiddle.

MSNBC on Twitter: "“This is the return of Trump the man baby,” Rep ...

Reed passed away in 1986. A fact lost on Trump if he thinks he's found a role model for women of today.

I suppose for his next trick, Trump will try to suggest that his Cabinet would do well to follow the lead of, say, for example, the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers.

Joking aside, as we've documented, Trump will allow Dr. Anthony Fauci to testify before the Senate, under the control of the Geezers on Parade (and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell IS a geezer), but not the Democratic-run House of Representatives, claiming the House is full of haters.

MSNBC on Twitter: "“This is the return of Trump the man baby,” Rep ...

I call BS. Trump is trying to control the narrative so he gets the happy ending he wants so badly in November, when his voter base gives him four more years. However, I think more of America has caught onto his act.

The Bible teaches us to turn the other cheek to criticism. Trump doesn't know how. Being a New Yorker, despite defecting to Florida, Trump embraces the confrontational approach of the blue collar average citizen. Problem is, the average citizen may be catching on to the poser in the White House, and COVID-19 will cost him the election, no matter how he tries to rig the game board.......

A Stooge family reunion: Hold That Lion! (1947)

"Hold That Lion!" was the 100th Three Stooges entry released by Columbia, and includes a slice of comedy history.

Shemp Howard had rejoined the Stooges after younger brother Curly was sidelined with a stroke. Curly makes a cameo appearance in this film, as a passenger on board a train while the Stooges are pursuing a shady con man who holds their inheritance. It's also the only time Curly was seen with a full head of hair, but there's no mistaking that distinctive face.

Eight years later, Shemp passed away, and the downward spiral of the Stooges began with the addition of Joe Besser (ex-The Abbott & Costello Show), who left the team after 2 years (1957-9).

Rating: A.