We'll close out 2021 with a trip back to 1944 with The Great Gildersleeve (Harold Peary). Seems Gildersleeve is feigning an illness to get out of a previous commitment.
Friday, December 31, 2021
17 Emmy nominations. 7 Emmy Awards. A television career that spanned 8 decades. Betty White was 2 1/2 weeks away from her 100th birthday. News came over the wires earlier today that Betty had passed away at 99.
Like many of her contemporaries in the 50's, Betty began her career in radio, then transitioned to television. A pair of self-titled sitcoms. Life With Elizabeth. A Date With The Angels. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Pet Set. Just Men. The Golden Girls. Hot in Cleveland. A zillion game show appearances, usually on Password (with then-husband Allen Ludden) or Match Game. Just Men, her only daytime game show hosting stint, was also producer Rick Rosner's first game show, in 1983. Rosner went on to revive The Hollywood Squares three years later, after Mark Goodson's fusion of Squares & Match had bombed on NBC.
Pet Set, a syndicated weekend series, highlighted Betty's animal rights activism, as she and her Hollywood friends shared their pets. Ludden served as an executive producer, and guested on the show. Betty also made some movies, including "Lake Placid", a horror movie, which would be the last thing her fans expected, and 2009's "The Proposal".
She kept working, and was working on something to mark her centennial when she passed.
In her memory, we present a 1975 episode of Password, from its ABC run. The series had been tweaked some during its 4 years on the Alphabet Network, as you'll see.
Rest in peace.
Ah, the 70's, when commercials could be cheesy and entertaining.
Take, for example, this Canada Dry bit with Father Time.
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Credit goes to fellow blogger Chuck Miller for inspiration.
Five years after they first performed their "Maharajah" sketch in front of the cameras in "Time Out For Rhythm", the Three Stooges brought the bit back in "Three Little Pirates". The boys start off as sailors, wearing modern naval attire of the period, but they're in the 17th century.
Curly's health was in decline at this point, but they protected him, and he shined brightest as the "Maharajah".
The skit would later be reprised in later years, if memory serves me correctly, with Joe DeRita.
The fall from grace of the man formerly known as America's Mayor 20 years ago continues unabated.
Rudy Giuliani went on Steve Bannon's podcast to whine that Fox Shmooze doesn't want him on their programming anymore, and claims they've turned fascist, even going so far as to name-drop George Soros, the wealthy financier that the right wingers insist on tying to every left wing activist group under the sun.
The truth is, aside from what Farron Cousins will share in the following video, that Giuliani is not a good look for Fox or Newsmax or One America or even NewsNation. It's not just because he's a reason Fox News is being sued for defamation, a suit they can't get out of, by the way. It's the simple fact that time has eroded Giuliani's communicative skills to next to nothing. Yes, fellow geriatric Donald Trump is headed in that same direction, but at a slower pace.
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
He walked away from coaching after winning a Super Bowl in Oakland, and forged a 30 year career in broadcasting with four networks. His boundless energy and straight-forward analysis put him in the Hall of Fame.
Today, we remember John Madden, who introduced "terducken" into the American Thanksgiving lexicon, inspired a long-running video game series, and was the gold standard for NFL game analysts. Madden passed away suddenly at 85.
It was Madden who was coaching the then-Oakland Raiders when they fell victim to the infamous "Immaculate Reception" against Pittsburgh. However, the Raiders would eventually recover from that, and won the Super Bowl following the 1976 season, beating Minnesota.
Madden made his broadcasting debut for CBS sometime after, and, at first, was assigned a regional game. One of his first broadcast partners was another sports icon in Vin Scully. After Tom Brookshier left CBS, Madden was promoted to succeed him as Pat Summerall's broadcast partner, turning their headline games on CBS & Fox into must-see TV. Madden eventually left Fox, and signed with ABC/ESPN, working with Al Michaels on Monday Night Football until they were signed away to NBC for the launch of Sunday Night Football. Michaels will certainly have something to say in memory of Madden on the season finale of SNF on January 2.
It was Madden who introduced America to a bizarre hybrid of turkey, duck, & chicken----terducken---one Thanksgiving. Amazingly, no one has ever tried to market it. Madden also did commercials for Tinactin, and appeared in a music video with Paul Simon, who reissued one of his 70's classics, "Me & Julio Down by The Schoolyard". Madden was actually parodying his own coaching style, trying to draw up a play for some kids playing playground basketball.
Rest in peace.
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Last week, right before Christmas, Donald Trump appeared to offend his own base when, while on tour with fellow geriatric Bill O'Reilly, he revealed that he was in support of people being vaccinated against COVID-19 and its current variants, Delta & Omicron. He is just opposed to mandates making it mandatory to get the vaccines.
The crowd in Orlando booed. They felt betrayed.
Later that week, he was interviewed by right wing commentator Candace Owens, and repeated his support for the vaccines. Owens has since moved on to touting another phony treatment, claiming collodial silver, whatever the blue hizell that is, is preventive medicine against COVID, claiming she takes a teaspoon a day. Right, sure, and cows can actually jump the moon. Research tells us that use of this ersatz "cure" can turn a person's skin blue. In the case of Owens, an African-American, I'm not sure what the result would be from repeated usage.
Conspiracy theorists, like those in the Q-Anon cult, went bananas. They felt betrayed.
But, there are those who considering the long game with Trump, a con artist who has had millions of people snowed under for so long. He knows he's in major legal trouble and if he can snake his way out of the various lawsuits brought against him, the road clears for him to run again in 2024. As if he'll actually run. It's more likely he'll end up in prison or in a psychiatric hospital by then.
For those of us who are looking for positives, we can say he's trying to repair an image irretrievably shattered over the course of the last several years, between his support of the birther movement during the Obama years, and being exposed as a misogynistic, whiny man-child who throws major tantrums when things don't go his way.
After losing his re-election bid nearly 14 months ago, Trump tried to claim that 5,000 dead people voted in Georgia. The Georgia Board of Elections found just four votes from deceased voters, and, to the surprise of absolutely no one, those votes were for Trump. Every time Trump has tried to claim fraud, it gets debunked so easily, it's a waste of time to go back to the well again. He got drunk on power in Washington, and, because he was pampered for so long, conditioned to believe he's never wrong by his late father, he can't reconcile himself to the truth. He conned the evangelical Christians into believing he is one of them, but in truth he is not. Son Donald, Jr. proved to be just as Biblically illiterate the other day, and it was revealed a short time prior to that debacle that Ivanka helped arrange that now-infamous church photo op last year.
No matter how much work Trump does to try to repair his image going forward, there are going to be those stories and revelations about what really happened on January 6, 2021, and the image of Trump we'll see is the one that has been ingrained in our collective psyche.
Leopards can't change their spots, and 70-something man-babies are forever stuck in an eternal second childhood.
Monday, December 27, 2021
From The Late Show With David Letterman:
The Jayhawks earned a ton of radio airplay with 1995's "Blue", the first single off "Tomorrow The Green Grass". Musical director Paul Shaffer appears to be lending some assistance on the keyboards off to the side.
After tonight's Miami-New Orleans game, there will be two weeks left in the NFL's regular season. Remember, it's a 17 game, 18 week schedule now, so the playoffs now start in the 3rd weekend in January.
In the AFC, only one division title has been decided, and, of course, it was Kansas City, which beat Pittsburgh, 36-10 to wrap up its 6th straight division crown. Andy Reid's club wants to reach the Big Game for the 3rd consecutive year, and wouldn't mind facing anyone other than Tom Brady and Tampa Bay. In all, four games separate the four teams with two to play. Denver, Las Vegas, & the Los Angeles Chargers are all jockeying for 2nd place. The Chargers & Raiders are tied at 8-7, with Denver, at 7-8, having an outside chance, should they beat the Chargers next week.
Week 17: Home finale vs. Denver, Week 18 at Las Vegas.
Week 17: @ Indianapolis, Week 18 vs. Los Angeles.
Week 17: @ Los Angeles, Week 18 vs. Kansas City.
Prediction: None of the three will advance. The Chargers are fading. Indianapolis is hot right now, and if the Raiders can't stop Jonathan Taylor, fuhgeddaboutit. Denver could get a charity win if the Chiefs wrap up the #1 seed and a bye. Only the top seed gets a bye this season in a new playoff format.
Raiders: Most likely will finish tied with the Chargers at 9-8, and would claim 2nd on a tiebreaker.
Chargers: 3rd place at 9-8.
Broncos: Most likely will finish 8-9 if they get the charity win over KC. Otherwise 7-10.
In the AFC South, Tennessee holds a slim one game lead on the hard charging Colts, who have beaten New England & Arizona the last two Saturdays. The Titans will close the home schedule next week vs. Miami, and finish at Houston, which upset the Chargers on Sunday. The Colts, after hosting Las Vegas, finish with luckless Jacksonville.
I see Tennessee going 1-1 in the final two weeks, but the Colts will sweep the final two games, and both teams will finish at 11-6. Tennessee will claim the division title based on sweeping the Colts in the regular season, and Indianapolis will claim a Wild Card berth.
Two games separate the four teams in the AFC North. Cincinnati holds a one game lead over Baltimore, which needs Lamar Jackson and/or Tyler Hundley back ASAP after getting blown out by the Bengals on Sunday. Cleveland has faded, and will play Pittsburgh & Baltimore the next two weeks. The Steelers will close with the Ravens. Cincinnati will play AFC West champ Kansas City next, then Cleveland. Baltimore will play the Rams, followed by Pittsburgh.
The Bengals will clinch the division, as they & the Ravens will each go 1-1 the final two weeks. Cincinnati will finish 10-7, Baltimore 9-8.
In the East, Buffalo reclaimed 1st place via tiebreaker (better division record) in beating New England to gain a season split. Both are 9-6 heading into the final two weeks. Buffalo closes the season at home against Atlanta and the Jests. New England will get a breather next week, as they're next up for Jacksonville, and close with Miami. A Dolphins win tonight puts them within a game of the leaders heading into a Week 17 meeting at Tennessee.
Buffalo will claim the division title for the 2nd straight season, finishing 11-6. New England will finish 10-7. Miami, including tonight's game, could go 2-1 and finish 9-8, stuck in 3rd place.
In contrast to the AFC, 3 NFC titles have been decided already, with two weeks left.
Dallas wrapped up the East by destroying the Washington Generics, 56-14, in a game that was over after the 1st quarter. The Cowboys can still play for the top seed in the conference and that all-important bye. They'll finish the home schedule against the fading Arizona Cardinals, then finish at Philadelphia.
Projected finish: 12-5. Philly always plays Dallas tough, and will cost them the #1 seed.
North champ Green Bay will finish the season with divisional play against Minnesota & the pathetic Detroit Lions. It's going to come down to Green Bay & Tampa Bay for the #1 seed, so the Packers will finish 14-3.
Defending champion Tampa Bay, after winning the Super Bowl as a Wild Card last season, clinched the South, and after routing Carolina on Sunday, will have a rematch with the Panthers in the home finale, but before that, they get the Jests at the Meadowlands, and Tom Brady has owned the Jests for years. Tampa will finish 13-4.
The only divisional race left in the conference is in the West. As noted, the Cardinals are choking away any chance of making the playoffs. They will be at Dallas next, then finish at home against Seattle, which can play spoiler. The Rams will play Baltimore next, then finish with San Francisco. Should Los Angeles run the table, they will edge out Tampa for the #2 seed by virtue of beating the Bucs in the regular season.
Of course, I could be wrong.
Sunday, December 26, 2021
"The Southern Gentleman" Sonny James doesn't get a lot of airplay on oldies channels these days, even on country stations. More than a decade after his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Sonny returned in 1969 with a cover of The Seekers' "A World of Our Own", which would hit #1 on the country charts.
Saturday, December 25, 2021
This tuneful Planters ad premiered last month, starring Reginald VelJohnson (ex-Family Matters). Equal parts commercial and music video, an ordinary schlub is pulled into his TV set and onto the set of "Together, Together".
Friday, December 24, 2021
From the short-lived The Muppets:
Mindy Kaling joins the gang for a rendition of "The Most Wonderful Time of The Year". Kermit is content with being behind the scenes until being prompted by Scooter to join the party.
It must've been a slow news day somewhere on Thursday.
A story came out on Yahoo!, alleging that two well known brands of deodorant contain cancer-causing chemicals, to the point where the company is facing---get this---17 different lawsuits.
Old Spice, now part of Procter & Gamble, and Secret, a long time P & G staple, are the brands in question.
Before we go further, let's take a trip back in time to before P & G acquired Old Spice from Shulton. The latter company commissioned this Christmas ad many moons ago.
What he is, of course, is a dunce. And, so, we're making sure this gets rushed to the desert.......
The GOPers are mostly false patriots, willing to exploit a kid like Rittenhouse, and piggy-back off those 15 minutes. Spare me.
Thursday, December 23, 2021
With Christmas Eve right around the corner, let's spend some time with Sonny & Cher, with guests Bernadette Peters, William Conrad (Cannon) and Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo.
In one sketch, Conrad shows his flair for comedy as he & Freeman King play rival sidewalk Santas. Announcer Peter Cullen, now better known as a voice actor (i.e. Transformers) had the same gig on another of Allan Blye & Chris Bearde's series, The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Comedy Show two years later.
The poster mistakenly labeled this as airing in 1976, but by then, Van, King, & Cullen weren't on the show anymore. In fact, when Sonny & Cher decided to revived their series after Cher ended her solo series, Frank Peppiatt & John Aylesworth (Hee Haw, The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine) took over as producers.
Here's a simple truism of officiating that fans don't often comprehend.
If your team is having a bad season, you're not going to get the benefit of late game calls from the officials. It's that simple. I pointed this out a ways back when the Giants seemed to get screwed in a home loss to Tampa Bay.
This selective officiating came into play again on Tuesday, and this time the Seattle Seahawks were the victims. The beneficiaries? The Los Angeles Rams, who are grappling with the Arizona Cardinals for first place. Seattle, meanwhile, in a down year, is trying to avoid falling into the division basement.
Late in the game, a defensive pass interference call wasn't made against the Rams, who went on to win the game, 20-10. Seattle coach Pete Carroll and his players were, understandably, upset. It's been nearly six years since the Rams benefited from a no-call in the playoffs against New Orleans.
Of course, the Seahawks were called for a penalty after the play, when receiver DeeJay Dallas booted the ball, drawing a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The referee? Second generation zebra Shawn Hoculi (Ed's son). In reality, the fouls should've offset, if Hoculi's crew had seen fit to get the initial play called correctly.
Dallas' post-play stupidity aside, we saw a similar scenario in the NFC title game last season between Green Bay & Tampa Bay, and it was clear then that the league office was directing preferential treatment to the eventual Super Bowl champions. This bias needs to be expunged from the league yesterday, but it won't, because there's advertising dollars involved (i.e. endorsement deals for "protected" players), as well as, of course, television ratings.
We've known for some time how wrestlers are also comic book fans.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Speaking at some conservative conference last weekend, hosted by conservative pundit Charlie Kirk, Georgia Misrepresentative Marjorie Taylor Greene, or, as we refer to her in this space, Empty-G, told the audience that there was a bill being passed here in New York where unvaccinated people could be forcibly detained.
As usual, Empty-G got it wrong. The bill, sponsored by Brooklyn Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, has been brought up for a vote 4 times, but has not been passed. It's in the political equivalent of turnaround in Hollywood. In other words, it's being held in committee.
Farron Cousins explains:
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
"Jingle Bell Rock" was made famous by Bobby Helms back in the 50's, and has been covered by a zillion different artists over the years, including Hall & Oates in 1983.
In 2008, Billy Idol took his turn, using an old school microphone in the following video.
Monday, December 20, 2021
From season 2 of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries:
An elderly drifter (Dan O'Herlihy) who thinks he really is Santa Claus, shows up in River Heights, pursued by two gunmen. Nancy (Pamela Sue Martin) and her father (William Schallert, ex-The Patty Duke Show) pick up the case. John Ericson (ex-Honey West) and Rick Springfield are among the guest stars, which also includes early roles for a pair of child actors, Sparky Marcus, later of The Bad News Bears and the 1st Richie Rich cartoon, and Missy Gold (later of Benson).
That, of course, would be former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was at a conservative conference over the weekend, and brazenly declared that she wasn't getting the COVID-19 vaccines, or that she would, 'over my dead body".
Let Farron Cousins break down the Eskimo Airhead's latest gaffe:
We attempted to get a statement from her publicist:
From season 11 of The Red Skelton Show:
Freddie the Freeloader (Skelton) is in a normal (for him) position at Christmas. Homeless, sleeping on a park bench. He soon finds a Raggedy Ann doll, which magically comes to life in the form of guest star Cara Williams (Pete & Gladys).
Here's "Freddie & The Yuletide Doll".
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Red Skelton had been off primetime television for seven years when he was hired by US Tobacco to do some commercials for House of Windsor cigars. Thanks to some video trickery of the day, Red appears in these three ads as himself, as well as Freddie the Freeloader, George Appleby, Sheriff Deadeye, and Clem Kadiddlehopper.
We also have this over at Saturday Morning Archives, as this episode of Here Come The Brides is back in circulation. "A Christmas Place" was taken down some time back when the YouTube poster lost her account. She's since started a new one, and edited off the open & close, so you won't hear "Seattle".
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Countdown to Christmas: Donald Trump says he "saved" Christmas. No, he didn't. It was never in danger
We are one week away from Christmas. Unfortunately, one man lives in a fantasy world where he thinks he thought the holiday was imperiled, and "saved" it.
Ol' Pecos Pampers himself, Donald John Munchausen Trump spun his latest fairy tale in an interview conducted by former Arkansas Governor-turned-Christian talk show host Mike Huckabee.
Here's the reality. Everyone alternates between saying "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays". The latter, conservatives claim, "replaced" Merry Christmas. No, it didn't. The reason there's "Happy Holidays" on Christmas cards is because Hallmark, American Greetings, et al, want to market their product for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc., to cover all of the cultural holidays during the month of December, not just Christmas. The cards are being marketed for everyone, regardless of religious preference.
Of course, a faux "Christian" like Trump doesn't comprehend any of that. He's pandering, as usual, to his low information base.
Here's Brian Tyler Cohen's take:
Friday, December 17, 2021
Florida's power-drunk governor, Ron DeStupid, is at it again.
Pandering to his low information base, DeStupid signed a law that intends to ban the teaching of "critical race theory" in public schools. But, as Farron Cousins explains, that really isn't happening after all, because "critical race theory" is a college-level program.
Like most social media outlets, Tik Tok has become a magnet for unsubstantiated rumors and troublemakers.
We're learning this morning of a threat or challenge issued that suggests copycats of the shootings at Oxford High in Michigan last week.
I mean, do you really, really want to go there???
Some are dismissing the "threats" as being fake, a sick practical joke. I wouldn't be so sure about that, as there are quite a few kids with issues similar to that of Jacob Crumbley in Michigan, whose unrepentant parents virtually enabled & empowered his actions last week.
Closer to home, the Troy school district issued this notice to parents:
And, then, there is this, courtesy of the New York Post:
If this is someone's idea of a sick joke, it really is sick, and not in a positive way, either. How morbid can you get to do something this heinous?
Thursday, December 16, 2021
When will NFL owners stop hiring coaches from the college ranks? It hasn't worked in recent years, and, this morning, Urban Meyer may be looking more for another TV gig, if he can find one.
Meyer was cut loose by Jacksonville Wednesday, with four games left in the season. The Jaguars are 2-11, not even close to where they thought they should be after hiring Meyer and drafting Trevor Lawrence to be their franchise quarterback. Allegations by a former player that Meyer kicked him were the final straw.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Alex Jones doesn't want to get it.
The head InfoWimp was at it again, this time claiming that the tornados that tore through the midwest over the weekend were the creation of---get this---weather weapons in the control of the government.
BOLLOCKS & BALDERDASH, MAN!!!! HASN'T LOSING FOUR LAWSUITS OVER YOUR SANDY HOOK LIES TAUGHT YOU ANYTHING???
Jones is trying to claim the government sees the public as gullible. Well, they'd have to be to listen to garbage dispensers like Jones. The late Rush Limbaugh knew how to balance his conservative commentary with humor. Jones is just a poser, a dime store ripoff of Limbaugh.
Why does he persist with conspiracy theories that are easily debunked? Because his audience is the same that is attracted to Fox Shmooze, Newsnax, and other right wing junk farms. He's doing his part to help gin up the "low information" base to give them another reason to hate on President Biden. It's going to be hard to do that if/when Jones ends up going to jail, right along with his buddy, Citizen Pampers.
Enjoy your Weasel ears, Jones. You deserve them.
Monday, December 13, 2021
After years of association with Kraft & NBC, Perry Como switched networks to CBS in 1974. By this point, Como was also shilling for GTE, which sponsored his Christmas show, featuring guests Rich Little, Peggy Fleming, and the Carpenters. Hee Haw producers Frank Peppiatt and John Aylesworth wrote the show, having marked their return to the network three months earlier with the Saturday morning series, The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine, but that explains the animated penguins giving Fleming a double kiss after a skating routine.
Little's all over the place, with impersonations including Raymond Burr, Jack Benny, Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, Howard Cosell, & Jean Stapleton (as Edith Bunker).
Caution: The audio may be a bit off.
Two disgraced television personalities walked out on stage at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, home of the NHL's Panthers, Saturday night. At as much as $135 a head, did they really think they'd sell out the arena?
Unfortunately, one of these two men is a bloviating bag of jello that won't go away, and that's what turned people away.
Former cable host and author Bill O'Reilly, formerly of Fox Shmooze, had largely been out of the public eye since Fox was forced to dump him a few years back due to allegations of sexual misconduct, which led to the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor. At least he knew enough to take a few steps back and reassess his career options, unlike his traveling partner, one Donald John Joseph Isuzu Trump, aka Pecos Pampers, Bloviator General of the Republican Party.
Ticket-holders who had seats in the upper tier at FLA Live were moved to the lower tier, since so few tickets were sold. Remember, O'Reilly had claimed he'd file suit when it got out that ticket sales were slow back in the summer. Well, it seems, Politico wasn't wrong, Bill.
The problem, of course, is they overcharged for tickets. At least they were able to get some people in to see the show, unlike Empty-G & Matt Gaetz's grifter tour over the summer, when they couldn't even draw flies and crickets, and cried about it. And, then, there's the whole idea of booking large sports arenas like FLA Live.
"Those who fail to remember history are condemned to repeat it."-George Santayana
I invoke Santayana here, because, if you recall LaVar Ball's failed JBL a couple of years back, La Loudmouth wanted to use NBA arenas, and overcharged for tickets as well. The JBL died a quick death.
Now, you & I know Trump will try to spin his way through this because truth is foreign to him, but facts are facts. He & O'Reilly couldn't sell out an NHL arena. Good luck trying to get into an NBA arena in, say, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, or even in New York, because it's going to be the same thing. The message being conveyed so far is that not everyone wants to spend over $100 bucks to hear a grifter recycle the same tired lies and fallacies over and over again. They've read & heard enough about it.
Bill, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Your career is over.
Sunday, December 12, 2021
Bryan Adams originally released "Christmas Time" as a stand-alone single in 1985, with "Reggae Christmas", which got some significant video airplay on MTV, as the B-side. It took Adams 34 years before he finally shot a video for "Christmas Time", and you'd be forgiven if you thought that, with the snow flying, it was shot on the same set as his clip for "Run to You".
Georgia doesn't want a troll screwing up next year's Governor's race. They've got it anyway (One guess).
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who cheated his way to the state house three years ago, is up for re-election next year. Former Senator David Perdue is leaving his chicken farm to challenge Kemp in a primary. Perdue has gone on record as saying that had he been governor last year, he would not have certified the Georgia election, which is what America's Oldest Baby, Donald Trump, wanted Kemp to do.
However, there are reasonable people among the Republicans in Georgia, and, as Farron Cousins explains, they don't want Citizen Pampers getting involved.
No, it isn't, Geritol breath. You've got more important things to worry about than a primary outside your territory. Like avoiding jail and/or Bellevue.
Saturday, December 11, 2021
Current Congressman Jim Jordan is no relation to the actor of the same name who brought Fibber McGee & Molly to life with his wife, Marion, back in 1935. To be sure, Jim Jordan probably would disown the Washington weasel that shares his name were he still alive today.
Fibber McGee & Molly premiered on NBC radio in 1935, shifting from NBC Blue to NBC Red the next year, and continuing for another 23 years after that, the last two as part of NBC's anthology series, Monitor. As we've previously discussed, Fibber also begat a spin-off, The Great Gildersleeve. The Jordans had started with a 15 minute series, Smackout, based, as was Fibber, out of Chicago. By the time Fibber ended, the series' operations had moved West to California.
As part of this year's Countdown to Christmas, let's go back to December 1945......
After leaving The Monkees, Mike Nesmith forged a solo career, but only landed one hit on the charts, 1970's "Joanne", which crossed over, as memory serves, between the pop & country charts.
Nesmith also wrote Linda Ronstadt's 1967 hit with the Stone Poneys, "Different Drum". Here, though, is Mike at the 1992 Britt Festival with "Joanne":
Friday, December 10, 2021
Two Classics Reborn: Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Diff'rent Strokes & The Facts of Life (2021)
The third installment of Live in Front of a Studio Audience, hosted & co-executive produced by Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel, dropped on Tuesday, revisiting Diff'rent Strokes & The Facts of Life. While there is much crowing over the casting of (much) older actors to essay the roles of the youth characters from the original shows, that's the point of the joke!
For years, in radio, and in cartoons, a practice still in effect in the latter today, youth characters have been played by adults. Youth-centric shows in more recent times, from Welcome Back, Kotter & Happy Days to today's Riverdale, have used this casting method. Kimmel & Lear decided this was the running gag for the entire show.
Take, for example, Facts, which went on first. While original cast members Lisa Whelchel (last seen on Survivor a few years back), Mindy Cohn, and Kim Fields (ex-Living Single) made bookend cameos, including being interviewed by Kimmel, and with Whelchel singing the show's theme song (originally sung by co-author Gloria Loring), their "successors" were in on the joke, with Jennifer Aniston (ex-Friends) as Blair, Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision) as Jo, Alison Tolman as Natalie, & Gabrielle Union (LA's Finest) as Tootie. As Fields observed, at least this time, Tootie was not zipping around on roller skates. Ann Dowd (The Handmaid's Tale) filled the late Charlotte Rae's apron as Edna Garrett. If they decide to reboot Facts and/or Strokes with a more youth-centric cast for today's generation, Dowd would be perfect to reprise.
Facts revisits a Season 3 episode about a charity auction, and the usual squabbling among the girls over---what else?---boys, with guests Will Arnett (Lego Masters, ex-Arrested Development), Jason Bateman (ex-Silver Spoons, The Hogan Family, Arrested Development), and Jon Stewart, who had a wig over his gray hair, held in place by the retainer his character wears. Arnett & Bateman chewed the scenery. Stewart, asked to play a nerd, went a little too low-key.
Here's Kimmel's post-Facts interview:
Proof that celebrities are not above the law came in two cases on Thursday.
In Chicago, actor Jussie Smollett (ex-Empire) was convicted on charges he faked a hate crime mugging, then lied to the police, and subsequently, in the minds of the jury, perjured himself on the witness stand. He claims the two brothers he hired were supposed to help with his personal training or some such thing. Smollett, through his lawyer, plans to appeal.
Thursday, December 9, 2021
For years, the Republican party's mascot was an elephant, while the Democrats would answer with a donkey.
Today, however, no self respecting elephant would be caught anywhere near a GOPer event.
Proof of this is the latest round of tall tales & lies being told by the Repugnants of late. Fox Shmooze wants to con you into thinking the Democrats are somehow responsible for the current Omicron variant of COVID-19. All Fox Shmooze is about these days, save for some responsible journalists like veterans Chris Wallace and Geraldo Rivera, is selling fear to their viewers.
And, then, there is Senator Cheesehead, aka Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Proving once again he has all the medical credibility of a medicine show huckster of a bygone era, Johnson is claiming that an ordinary, everyday item could be a solution for COVID.
Mouthwash. You know. Listerine. Scope. Lavoris. That kind of thing. Listerine's website has a disclaimer that says it isn't designed to treat COVID. I'd imagine Procter & Gamble, makers of Scope, is doing the same thing.
The problem with Repugnants like Senator Cheesehead is that they're willing to sacrifice innocent lives to push their political agendas. While Fox Shmooze garbage dispensers like Spam Hannity and Tabloid Carlson are vaccinated, per network mandate, they insist on selling the idea that their viewers don't need the vaccines.
There's only one answer to that:
Repugnants and their media partners think their voters are stupid, but, in truth, there are more responsible people in the voting base than there are in the GOP.
And as for what should be the new mascot of the GOP? Well, this'll help:
A reportedly homeless man is in custody on charges of arson, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and reckless endangerment, among other charges, in connection with the fire. Given how the network's primetime garbage dispensers have created antipathy the last few years, you'd think the arsonist had a reason for his action, but, learning that he is homeless, one isn't sure what his motive is after all.
Otherwise, we could chalk it up to karma, and move on.
The committee on Wednesday decided to hold Meadows in contempt when he pulled a no-show. Meadows, earning his 2nd straight Weasel of The Week award, decided to sue the committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another Repugnant stall tactic that won't get very far. With Crazy Steve Bannon's trial now set for next summer (WHAT?), Meadows and his legal team are thinking the same thing, but it would be in the committee's best interest to try the case before neutral judges ASAP. Citizen Pampers and his acolytes are so afraid of what will come out, that they'll stall as long as they can until the mid-terms in 11 months, hoping the GOPers reclaim control of Congress.
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
A long running tradition on the radio version of The Jack Benny Program, which would carry over to the TV version until it ended in 1965, was the annual Christmas show. A running gag was Jack frustrating a department store salesman (Mel Blanc) by making constant exchanges, largely due to his indecisiveness, which would drive the poor salesman crazy.
In this 1954 episode, Sheldon Leonard also appears as the track tout.
The infamous "rural purge" in television in 1970-71 swept shows like Hee Haw and Green Acres off the air, but claimed two shows that had nothing to do with rural/country living, too, those being Lawrence Welk's & Red Skelton's variety shows.
Welk and Hee Haw went into syndication in 1971, and reruns of Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies, etc., followed suit. The 1970-1 season was the last network season for Skelton, who'd moved from CBS to NBC, his original TV home.
The Red Skelton Museum, a YouTube channel devoted to Skelton, compiled a Silent Spot from December 14, 1970, introduced by a pre-Kojak Telly Savalas, with a half-hour Christmas episode airing a week later, with guest Leslie Nielsen (Bracken's World). Freddie the Freeloader's attempt at conducting the orchestra, and the priceless reaction of Freddie, are worth the price of admission as much as the rest of the show(s).
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
The New England Patriots went old school----literally----in beating Buffalo, 14-10, on Monday.
With all due respect to baseball Hall of Famer Casey Stengel, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, because he's been around so long, could be hailed as the NFL's "Old Professor". A historian when not coaching, Belichick took note of the wintry conditions in Orchard Park, and prepped accordingly, opting to run, run, run the ball all night long against the Buffalo defense. Rookie QB Mac Jones only threw the ball three times the entire game, which might be a modern NFL record for fewest attempts, and it was enough on a cold night in Western NY.
New England extended its lead to 1 1/2 games over Buffalo, and the two teams will meet again later this month in Foxborough.
The Power 5 conferences (ACC,. SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12) have their cushy television contracts with Fox & ESPN/ABC, with the SEC moving their Saturday game of the week away from CBS soon, and have become too arrogant to show any respect to a team from a "Group of 5" conference, which includes the American Athletic Conference (AAC), which crowned Cincinnati as champion on Saturday.
Monday, December 6, 2021
From season 1 of That Girl:
Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas) recounts a time when she was a teacher at a boarding school, where she met a young boy (Christopher Shea, the voice of Linus in the Peanuts specials at the time), and helped him learn about Christmas, which, of course is ironic considering Shea, as Linus, had recited a passage from the Gospel of Luke in A Charlie Brown Christmas a year earlier. John Fiedler also guest stars.
Writer James L. Brooks, billed here as Jim Brooks, also wrote "Christmas & The Hard Luck Kid II" for season 1 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show four years later, as we served up a few days ago.
Flags are flying at half staff in Washington, and, we assume, Federal offices across the country, today in memory of former Kansas Rep. & Senator Robert Dole, who passed away Sunday at 98.
To say that Dole lived a full life might well be an apt description. He served in the Army in World War II. Post-war, he became a lawyer until his first election to Congress, specifically, the House of Representatives, in 1960. After four terms in the House, Dole was elected to the Senate in 1968, and would remain there until he ran for President in 1996, losing to Bill Clinton. Dole retired after the 1996 campaign.
Dole was also frank and honest about his physical health, accepting an offer from Pfizer to do an ad to educate viewers about erectile dysfunction.
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Donny & Marie's 3rd and final Christmas show, taped in their home state of Utah, is literally a family affair. By this point in the series, Donny had gotten married, and wife Debbie is among the guests.
Saturday, December 4, 2021
It's been nearly 2 months since we first reported that America's Oldest Baby, Donald John Fauntleroy Trump, threw a temper tantrum over the fact that the New York Times & Washington Post earned Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting in 2018 in the investigation of possible Russian interference in 2016.
As Farron Cousins tells us, Citizen Pampers is now threatening litigation.
Yes, Trump is a petty little man-baby, and it's his own fault. He's used so much spray tan over the years, it's seeped into his tiny brain, and he can't comprehend that he is not in a position to dictate diddly squat to the Pulitzer Board.
As Farron points out, the Pulitzer Board is a private organization, much like the social media platforms Trump has also threatened to sue, like Twitter and YouTube, for example.
Do us all a favor, Fauntleroy. Grow up, and STFU! Go away!
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is the latest to come out with a book, due in stores next week, but he sank his chances of it topping the best seller list. Why? Because he is loyal to Pecos Pampers, aka Donald Trump, and as soon as an excerpt was released to the press that Trump had contracted COVID-19 prior to his first debate last year with Joe Biden, Trump wigged out, had a tantrum, and, well.....!
Farron Cousins addresses this in two videos. First, he talks about the excerpt that upset America's Oldest Baby:
What a surprise. The revelation that Trump may have actually had COVID prior to the first debate, prior to a party honoring Supreme Court Justice Amy Barrett, and a meeting with some Gold Star families, would've brought the anti-Trump crowd to the bookstores in droves. Instead, Meadows' backtracking, claiming the excerpt was taken out of context, shows us again how much of a simpering fool he is to remain loyal to a 75 year old man-baby. Enjoy the Weasel ears, Meadows.
Friday, December 3, 2021
Former WWE women's champion Beth Phoenix is leaving the NXT broadcast team after Sunday's War Games show on Peacock to spend time with her husband, Adam "Edge" Copeland, and their two daughters. But that might not be all.
Phoenix (Elizabeth Kocianski-Copeland), an Elmira native, is following the path of another former champion, current Impact champion Mickie James, and turning to country music. Western New York's gift to WWE has a little Nashville to her, too. And while WWE hasn't done much aside from their YouTube channel to promote Beth's debut EP, the reactions to her first single, "Find Your Why", have been overwhelmingly positive. Give a listen, and I think you'll agree.
A Michigan judge has set down a ruling on fines levied against deranged legal weasels Silly Sidney Powell and Looney Lin Woodchips, along with others, in relation to frivolous lawsuits filed last year in a vain attempt to overturn the presidential election.
Judge Linda Parker's ruling was posted on Twitter thus:
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Just when you thought things couldn't get crazier, now comes word that there are people so adamantly against the COVID-19 vaccines, such that they're now trying to convince people who've been vaccinated to "de-vaccinate". As Farron Cousins explains, this is not a thing that can actually happen.
What a surprise. Are these people that far out of their minds that they would sacrifice themselves and others to prove a non-existent point? Seems that way. Psychiatric hospitals have to open a special wing for these nuts, and have room for GOPer screwballs like Empty-G, Tabloid Carlson, Foghorn Cawthorn, Lauren Bow-Wow, Goofy Gosar, Fibber Jordan, and Screwy Louie Van Gohmert, not to mention the head screwball at Mar-a-Lago.
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
60 years ago, Screen Gems acquired a license to adapt Ted Key's Hazel strip from the Saturday Evening Post. From the first season comes the first holiday episode as Hazel (Shirley Booth) goes Christmas shopping:
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
As many of you probably know, Gunsmoke began, like many of its contemporaries, as a radio series, launching 3 years before the TV version.
The first radio "season" lasted well over a year, and includes the series' 1st "Christmas Story". Keep an ear open for the twist ending to Antony Ellis' story.
Elder earned his first tour card for the 1968 season. In 1970, he was invited to appear on Shell's Wonderful World of Golf with George Archer and Canada's George Knudson......
Monday, November 29, 2021
From season 1:
Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) ends up working alone on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, but watch for a familiar scene, used in the opening credits in later episodes, unfold toward the end of the show.
So why is this titled, "Christmas & The Hard Luck Kid II"? Because the title is borrowed from a similarly named episode from That Girl, and the producers added the "II" to avoid confusion, since That Girl was already in or about to enter syndication.