Sunday, February 28, 2021

Of hypcrites and deviants

 Study the face of the man in the picture below.

Stephen Miller is the jackass who advised Donald Trump on his immigration policies, which tore apart hundreds of families. Children were being left in cages while their parents were sent back to Mexico, and now the government, under President Biden, is having trouble locating those missing parents.

Now, Miller goes on Fox Shmooze and whines that Biden's the one who's being cruel and inhumane. Wrong again, dirtbag. All he & Fox Shmooze are doing is inciting the Legion of The Brainwashed all over again.

All this proves is that GOPers will whine and complain about anything the Democrats are doing while trying to pretend to be innocent as the driven snow. Only as long as the "driven snow" is cocaine, right?

And speaking of America's Oldest Baby, some morons brought a papier mache statue of Trump, with his face painted gold instead of, as some people perceive him, orange, for the CPAC conference which ends today. We have read and heard numerous articles redefining the GOP as a cult worshiping Trump as if he was, oh, I don't know, Jim Jones or David Koresh?

And Trump claims to be a Christian? Go back and read the book of Exodus, jackass.
Maybe Governor Cuomo should never have split with Food Network personality Sandra Lee a couple of years back.

In recent days, a pair of former members of Cuomo's staff have come forward alleging sexual harassment. In the most recent case to come to light, courtesy of the New York Times, the claimant interpreted some innocent questions posed by Cuomo as unwanted advances. I'm guessing he was asking for advice, probably after he broke up with Lee. Cuomo defended himself, stating it was not his intention to make the aide uncomfortable. We'll see how this plays out, but I shan't be surprised if the NY tabloids are already making with "Randy Andy" headlines, in comparison to England's Prince Andrew. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already calling for Cuomo to resign. You'll recall that just a few years ago, Eliot Spitzer was forced out due to similar, if not lewder allegations.

If anything, this would kill Cuomo's chances of running for President dead, at least for now, and, all of a sudden, the man who was portrayed as a white knight to New Yorkers in the early months of the pandemic, in opposition to Trump, has had some paint wiped off his armor.

And I'll bet anything at all Trump is having a few laughs about this at Mar-a-Lago.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Musical Interlude: Handyman (1960)

 Most folks associate "Handyman" with James Taylor, who charted with it in the 70's.

However, Taylor actually recorded a cover of a 1-hit wonder for a not-as-well-known R & B singer, Jimmy Jones, who released "Handyman" in 1960, which got him on Dick Clark's Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show. Clark does the intro:

Both versions get regular airplay on oldies channels to this day, but you can tell the difference.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Advertising For Dummies: Hypocrisy in the workplace over toilet paper (1972)

 Oh, this is just to rich to pass up.

Seems that Mr. Whipple (Dick Wilson, ex-Bewitched) wasn't the only one caught in a web of hypocrisy when it came to Charmin. In this 1972 ad, a factory worker gets caught by a supervisor (Charlotte Rae, ex-Car 54, Where Are You?), but then, the supervisor, in turn, gets ratted out, and has a meeting with her boss (Sorrell Booke).

For those that wonder, Dick Wilson played a variety of drunken characters in cameos on Bewitched during its run.

A little of this and a little of that

 Talk about over-reaction!

Just days after he'd made the decision to step down as host of The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Chris Harrison turned up last night on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, and viewers weren't having it, complaining about it on Twitter.

Reality check time! The episode was taped well before Harrison made his decision to leave Bachelor, a fact not included in the article appearing this morning on Yahoo!. Because it's a sweeps month for ratings, ABC decided to leave Harrison in, and he raised over $60,000 for Feeding America in winnings.

With the Bachelor scandal still fresh in people's minds, it's easy to forget to read between the lines.
The way Geraldo Rivera sees it, classifying migrants entering this country improperly as "illegal aliens" means they're being pre-judged.

Appearing on Spam Hannity's Fox Shmooze show Thursday, Rivera tried to get his point across that he believes if you're labeling people as "illegal aliens", then you're adjudicating a case before it even gets to court. Spam wasn't having that, and, along with another guest, kept shouting down Rivera until he was given an opportunity to speak freely.

"He didn't want to hear it, did he?"

No, he didn't, Mortimer, you're right. Spam has his agendas to push on behalf of the Legion of The Brainwashed, and a common sense argument from a legit journalist like Rivera doesn't fit with Hannity.

On the same show, Dumb Donald II (Donald Trump, Jr., of course) ranted about how GOPers should do more pushing back against the Democrats. This while President Biden is encouraging a more bi-partisan government. Anything to ensure America's Oldest Baby remains at the forefront for the GOPers.

As if you couldn't guess, Spam Hannity, for ignoring common sense arguments and having a world class moron on his show, gets the Dunce Cap.
Locally, radio station WROW has had a daily promotion with Dolce & Biscotti, a bakery in Clifton Park, where the bakery gives away a birthday cake to a lucky listener.

After a customer mistakenly crashed into the bakery the other day, WROW was forced to suspend the cake giveaways until Dolce & Biscotti can reopen later this year. Morning host Ben Patton made it as clear as possible on the air. He'll still read local & celebrity birthdays Monday-Friday, but it'll be some time before the bakery reopens.
President Biden is visiting Texas today to survey the damage from last week's storms. However, Senator Ted Cruz will not be there to greet him. Instead, Cruz is a featured speaker at the CPAC conference in Orlando, where Citizen Pampers will speak tomorrow. Once again, Cruz is running away from responsibility. Sure, he finally did something last weekend, packing bags of food for needy families, but that was to try to save what little dignity he has left, having already been shamed for fleeing to Cancun, and then seeing Alex From The Block (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) raise over $5 million in relief funds via social media.

"You mean, uh, he's like Trump? Can't deal with smart women?"

That's about the size of it, dude. They say you don't mess with Texas. Texas messes with itself.

Yeah, Cruz is getting another Dunce Cap.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

On The Air: Punky Brewster (2021)

 Punky Brewster is all grown up.

Peacock's latest revival sees Punky (Soleil Moon Frye) now divorced and raising her three kids on her own, although her ex-husband (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) drops by periodically.

The concept is not too dissimilar to Disney Channel's recent Raven's Home, the follow-up to That's So Raven, but how far it goes remains to be seen.

The original Punky spent 2 seasons on NBC before going into syndication for 2 more. Since the series ended, George Gaynes (Henry) had passed away, so Punky honors Henry by keeping his picture on her living room wall., and, judging by the opener, everything could be coming full circle for Punky when an orphan enters her life.

Let's scope the trailer:

10 episodes make up the first season, and Peacock is hoping lightning strikes twice, as Saved by The Bell has been renewed for a 2nd season on the streamer. For what it's worth, Sony owns the rights to the original series, since Columbia Pictures Television handled distribution for the series when it was syndicated.

Rating: B.

Weasel of The Week: Jim Jordan

 Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan probably thinks he's, well, someplace else.

Wednesday, Jordan tweeted that former President Donald Trump was still the leader of the Republican Party.

As they used to say back in the day in Wistful Vista, Mr. Jordan, "T'ain't funny, McGee!".

The GOPers loyal to Citizen Pampers can't seem to see the exit sign to their real-life twilight zone, and predictably, Jordan got roasted on Twitter. Keep in mind, too, that Jordan formerly was a wrestling coach at Ohio State, until that program was mired in scandal over allegations of sexual abuse. Somehow, he has been elected to Congress, where all he's done is declare his loyalty to another alleged deviant in Trump. And the GOP claims to support family values??

For continuing to support America's Oldest Baby, and declaring him to be the head GOPer, Jordan gets the Weasel ears this week. I wonder if Wistful Vista was actually in Ohio......!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

On The Air: Superman & Lois (2021)

 With Black Lightning & Supergirl (the latter due to return later this year) finishing their runs, the CW has found a replacement that fills the voids created by both shows.

Superman & Lois spins out of 2019's Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries, with Tyler Hoechlin & Elizabeth Tulloch returning in the title roles. Now, though, DC's ultimate power couple are leaving the big city behind, a la Green Acres back in the 60's, except that the farm they're moving into is the same one where Clark Kent (Hoechlin) grew up. After his foster mother, Martha Kent passes suddenly, Clark packs up Lois (Tulloch) and twin sons (!) Jonathan & Jordan, and returns home to Smallville. Ex-flame Lana Lang has gotten married, too, and her daughter, Sarah, is an old friend of the twins.

Now, you're wondering, Jonathan is being posited as a Superman of the future in the comics, but where does Jordan fit? He doesn't. He was created for the show, although a previous DC continuity gave Clark & Lois another son, Christopher (named for Christopher Reeve), some years back, but he was ret-conned out.

Inevitably, Clark crosses paths with a "Captain Luthor", but it's not the same Lex Luthor we know from the books or Supergirl. This Luthor has a European accent (Wole Parks moves over from All American, another Greg Berlanti production, to play Luthor), and has more knowledge of Clark's history than you'd think.

To avoid any further spoilers, let's take a look at a trailer from DC's YouTube channel:

The last time Luthor spoke with a Euro accent, it was the 1966-70 New Adventures of Superman cartoon from Filmation & CBS, where Jackson Beck gave Lex a distinctive accent. Partly because in the Golden Age, Luthor apparently was of European descent, but that seems to have been changed in recent times.

The only downside is that starting next week, Superman & Lois airs in back of the returning Flash. Then again, I said the same thing about Supergirl & Batwoman's schedule positioning last season. More proof that Mark Pedowicz and his programmers don't get some things right.

This is appointment television.

Rating: A.

What Might've Been: Howie (1962)

 Howie started as a Broadway play created by Phoebe Ephron, which later became a feature film. CBS commissioned a pilot for a potential series from Peter Lawford's production company and Ziv-United Artists.

But what you might not know is that this would've been green-lit at the expense of The Dick Van Dyke Show if network executive James Aubrey had his way. Seems he had friends at UA, but Van Dyke executive producer Sheldon Leonard met with his sponsor, Procter & Gamble, and, after securing alternate sponsorship for his show, Howie ended up getting torpedoed.

Ten years later, William Asher and star Paul Lynde would revisit the concept in Lynde's self-titled ABC sitcom, which we've previously discussed. At least it lasted a season. Missing from the equation in 1972 was producer Sidney Sheldon, who made up for Howie's failure by developing The Patty Duke Show the next year for UA & ABC, then went to Screen Gems with a little gem of a fantasy-com, I Dream of Jeannie for NBC two years after that. Since then, he became better known as a best selling author more than as a producer.

Lynde is joined here by Will Hutchins (ex-Sugarfoot) as Howie. Sherry Alberoni (ex-The Mickey Mouse Club) co-stars.

Hutchins landed two more sitcom gigs, but neither got past one season, Garry Marshall's Hey, Landlord! in 1966, and an adaptation of Blondie, which brought Hutchins back to CBS in 1968.

No rating. Just a public service.

Monday, February 22, 2021

On The Air: Kenan (2021)

 NBC's new Tuesday sitcom, Kenan, has been compared to an old ABC series, Full House, except there's two fewer kids at the start of the series.

Kenan Williams (Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live) is a widower raising his two daughters with the help of his brother, Gary (Chris Redd, Saturday Night Live), and his father-in-law (Don Johnson, ex-Miami Vice, Nash Bridges). But because the loss of his wife is still fresh in his memory, it's threatening to tear Kenan's life apart both at home and at work, where he hosts a morning show.

NBC is hoping that Kenan, coupled with Young Rock, will give them a formidible 1-2 punch in their Tuesday block, ahead of This Is Us, which, oh, by the way, gets referenced in the opener.

Now in his 18th season on SNL, Thompson is branching out, as he doubles as executive producer for the new series, along with SNL frontman Lorne Michaels, whose production company, Broadway Video, produces both SNL & Kenan, along with the outgoing Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Let's take a look at a trailer:

With modern comedies eschewing the laugh track, it's hard to gauge if a gag works on this show. You tend to feel some sympathy for Kenan as he struggles to adjust to life as a single father.

After more than 25 years on television, starting with Nickelodeon's All That, we've watched Kenan Thompson grow up before our eyes. What we're seeing now is a demonstration that the modern sitcom dad is human, after all.

Rating: B.

Found: Texans dumber than Ted Cruz!

 As Texas recovers from a week of uncharacteristically cold, freezing temperatures, and Senator Ted Cruz was predictably parodied on Saturday Night Live, leading to his joining relief efforts, which he should've been doing in the first place, more morons are emerging with conspiracy theories that sound like they came out of a bad B movie.

These goobers are posting on Tik Tok that they think the snow & ice were faked last week, a grandiose scheme by President Biden to keep Texas from seceding from the US.

While Hollywood can create disasters with special effects, real life weather events cannot be faked. They tried to claim that the snowballs they found were fake, but according to a scientist who's seen this sort of thing before in Atlanta a few years back, the morons didn't complete the experiments. They only stopped short to make a false case for themselves. How much ya wanna bet some of these geeks are remnants of the Legion of The Brainwashed?

Trust me, I know extreme cold.

True story. Before moving into my current abode in 1979, my family had to gather snow and boil it into hot water for almost a month. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't fun, but we had no other choice.

They used to say, "Don't mess with Texas". I don't know about today's generation.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

YouTube Theatre: The Great Radio Comedians (1972)

 In the early 70's, a local radio station began airing reruns of a number of old radio shows. WQBK morning host Bill Edwardsen would play The Bickersons, for example. After school brought a block of classic dramas, including The Shadow, Lone Ranger, & Gang Busters. WROW was the home of the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre, at the time hosted by E. G. Marshall (The Bold Ones).

What brought on the interest in the oldies? One answer is likely a PBS documentary, "The Great Radio Comedians", which takes a fond look back at the radio years of Burns & Allen and Jack Benny, as well as Fibber McGee & Molly, Allen's Alley, and Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy.

Ken Roberts, at the time the announcer for Love of Life on CBS and its parody, the Love of Chair skits on PBS' original Electric Company, is our host.

Roberts' career dates back to The Shadow, among other radio legends.

Rating: A.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Jackie Gleason shills for RCA (1973)

 Jackie Gleason had ended his CBS variety show in 1970. Three years later, he resurrected one of his sketch characters from the show, Joe the Bartender, to do a commercial for RCA. The inestimable Johnny Olson, who was Jackie's announcer for most, if not all, of Jackie's CBS run, has those chores at the end of the ad.

The clock is ticking on Texas Republicans......

 While Texas Senator Ted Cruz was shamed into cutting short a hastily scheduled vacation to Cancun, putting his dog at risk in doing so, fellow Republicans Greg Abbott & Dan Patrick are also suffering from a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease.

Patrick, the Lieutenant Governor, and Abbott, the governor, have tried to reassure citizens at home, but then go on national media outlets, such as---where else??----Fox Shmooze, to make excuses about windmills and climate change.

Patrick will never be confused with his namesake, the former SportsCenter anchor-turned-talk show host, whose daily chat-fest is simulcast on NBC Sports Network for now. Likewise, Abbott won't be mistaken for a 80's R & B singer whose biggest hit was "Shake You Down".

But, it begs to ask. Why are these prominent GOPers making like groundhogs running from their shadows after February 2 while Democrats, including those from out of town, are doing everything they can to help?

Take Beto O'Rourke for example. If Cruz's Senate seat was on the line this fall, he'd lose it to O'Rourke based on O'Rourke's work this week, helping care for starving, frozen citizens.

And, as for fundraising? Even Scrooge McDuck would've written a phat check for disaster relief, something the GOPers haven't had the nerve to do as of this writing.

Enter Alex From The Block.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, from the Bronx, raised over a million dollars in less than 24 hours for disaster relief for Texans. But that isn't enough to shame the GOPers, oh, no.

Dumb Donald II (Donald Trump, Jr.) had to open his big mouth. He posted a video on social media trying to defend Sea Cruz, and accidentally, without mentioning his name, mislabeled Abbott as a Democrat.

Farron Cousins has the video, and a commentary:

As usual, Trump led with his mouth without bothering to fish for facts. I'd happily lay some cheddar to see AOC lay the verbal smack down on this dimwit in person. Yo, DDII. Leading with your mouth might've worked for Muhammad Ali back in the day, but for a career moron like you, you're only digging the grave deeper for your fellow GOPers. Just not deep enough to elude Deputy Dawg, mind you.

Musical Interlude: The Twist (Yo, Twist)(1988)

 Chubby Checker took "The Twist" to the top of the charts twice, which is why the song is more associated with him than with Hank Ballard, who originally recorded it.

More than 20 years after "Twist" last ascended the top 40, Chubby was back, this time supporting the Fat Boys.

The Fat Boys had previously teamed with the Sultans of Summer, the Beach Boys, to cover the Surfaris' "Wipeout", following the hip-hop-meets-rock fusion first forged in 1986 by Run-DMC & Aerosmith ("Walk This Way").

Here's "The Twist (Yo Twist!)":

In memory of Prince Markie Dee (Mark Morales), who passed away earlier this week, leaving Damon Wimbley as the lone surviving member of the Fat Boys.

Friday, February 19, 2021

A little of this and a little of that

 Texas Senator Ted Cruz is in hot water again, and even Fox Shmooze called him out on it.

Cruz, you see, with his home state of Texas dealing with what for them is unseasonably cold temperatures, decided, at the request of his daughters, who had no school this week, to take a vacation trip to Cancun. Keep in mind we're still in the middle of a pandemic, and the Cruz family would've had to quarantine as soon as they reached Cancun.

Shamed, Cruz returned home, and started making a bunch of excuses. After ice and snow plagued the Lone Star State, Cruz's 1st priority should've been to coordinate relief efforts. Torn between the responsibilities of a family man and a politician, Cruz made a bad choice

This is what happens when you sell your soul to support a now-deposed demagogue.
Former TV newsman John McLaughlin, who was an investigative reporter for two stations in the 518 for years (WNYT & WTEN), is now doing radio spots for a local assisted living facility. He's not the first ex-reporter to take commercial endorsements after leaving the news desk, and likely won't be the last. At least we know he's still with us.
Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow has given up his dream of playing in major league baseball, and retired from the Mets earlier this week after 5 seasons in their organization. At least Tebow still has a job, as he's working for ESPN, primarily on the SEC Network.
We're finding out just how much of a self-serving jackass Donald Trump is and always has been.

As America mourned the passing of talk radio legend and conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh, who passed away earlier this week from lung cancer at 70, Yahoo! is reporting that Trump befriended Limbaugh only after he was assured that Limbaugh, who'd probably forgotten more about politics than Trump ever cared to learn, was 100% on board with America's Oldest Baby. 

See how this plays? Trump is, and always has been, a user of people as if they were disposable commodities.
As for Limbaugh, let me get personal for a bit.

At my day job, we had a salesman who listened to Rush's daily radio show back in the late 80's-early 90's. Now, Limbaugh mixed comedy skits with his political commentary, and one skit that stuck out for me was "Kennedys in Jeopardy" (italics mine), which used the "Think" music from the game show as background music while Limbaugh poked fun at the William Kennedy Smith murder case. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are no archived tapes of these skits available online at present.

Around 1992, Rush landed a daily, syndicated TV talk show, which ran for four years. It was a half hour show, five nights a week, likely posited opposite The Tonight Show, then hosted by Jay Leno, and Arsenio Hall's yack-fest.

Following is a compilation of Limbaugh comedy bits:

A best-selling author, and very popular on radio, Limbaugh made only one misstep in broadcasting, and that was signing on to be a commentator on Monday Night Football. Lasted one season.

And you thought Tony Kornheiser, who lasted two seasons, was a bad fit.

Rest in peace, Rush.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Classic TV: The Wonderful World of Color/Disney/Disney's Wonderful World (1961-81)

 Disney moved its weekly anthology series from ABC to NBC in 1961, and shifted it to a Sunday night berth, making it must-see TV for the whole family, that is, until ratings began to decline in the late 70's, and 60 Minutes was installed in its current berth.

Wonderful World of Color was rechristened The Wonderful World of Disney in 1969, but that only lasted a few years before then-NBC programming head Fred Silverman persuaded Disney to change the show's title again, this time to Disney's Wonderful World. This lasted just 2 seasons, and the series ended up moving to CBS, where it became simply, Walt Disney, moving to Saturday nights.

Back in the day, my folks would alternate between this anthology and other series, especially if Disney aired a rerun.

From 1970, here's "Disneyland Showtime", with the Osmond Brothers, Kurt Russell, and E. J. Peaker.

To think that 2 years later, the youngest of the brothers, Jimmy, would join the act in time for a Saturday morning cartoon for ABC, which lasted one season. Donny, I think, is the only one of the guys still active, and even did an infomercial recently.

Rating for the series: A.

Celebrity Rock: A Hammer & A Nail (1967)

 Before Joe Frazier took up singing as a side gig, Ernie Terrell was able to juggle his twin careers as a boxer and a musician.

Terrell wrote his own songs, and it was this talent, plus the opportunity to promote a WBA title fight vs. Muhammad Ali two nights later, that brought Terrell and his family band, the Heavyweights, to The Hollywood Palace on February 4, 1967. Terrell's sister, Jean, would later succeed Diana Ross as the lead singer of the Supremes.

The Heavyweights perform "A Hammer & A Nail" after an introduction by host du jour Jack Benny. After an interview with Benny, Ernie goes solo for a song about Ali.

Sad to say, Ali demolished Ernie in their fight to reclaim the WBA title, ending a lengthy chase after Ali had been stripped of the title a couple of years earlier.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

A little of this and a little of that

 The Mets dumped major league hitting coordinator, not the same as an on-field batting coach, apparently, Ryan Ellis last month after allegations surfaced of----wait for it----sexual harassment. Ellis had been with the team the last few years, and just when you thought the story was over after GM Jared Porter was let go last month, it turns out Ellis was cut the same day. It just didn't get out until today. 
At the end of the 70's, CBS suits decided that the "Tiffany of The Networks" didn't want to be pigeon-holed as a "superhero network", so Wonder Woman and Amazing Spider-Man were cancelled, and Incredible Hulk soldiered on for 3 more years, since that series was an amalgam of The Fugitive, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, & Les Miserables, and was at the front of the network's powerful Friday lineup with Dukes of Hazzard & Dallas behind it.

More than 40 years later, the CW, a half-sister to CBS, is starting to feel some comic book fatigue.

First, their adaptation of Archie Comics' Katy Keene was cancelled after 1 season. Then, it was decided that after a back-door pilot aired a year ago on Arrow, the proposed spin-off, Green Arrow & The Canaries, is not moving forward. Neither is Wonder Girl, which would've showcased DC's newest Amazon, Yara Flor, in adventures that predate her debut in DC's Future State event.

This I don't get. CW already has three series with female leads (Batwoman, Nancy Drew, Supergirl), one of which is ending later this year (Supergirl). Batwoman is also on the list of series with African-American leads, the others being All-American & Black Lightning, the latter also leaving after the current season. So what was the thinking in this case?
Ever since Fox Shmooze convinced a judge that Tabloid Carlson's nightly lie-fest is an opinion program, Carlson is leaning more toward amateur night comedy in an attempt to be a primetime rip-off of Comedy Central's long running Daily Show. The difference, of course, is that Carlson's idea of "fake news" might as well be written for the National Enquirer.

The latest example of Carlson's idea of yellow journalism came Tuesday when he tried to suggest that President Biden's marriage to wife Jill, 44 years and counting, was a PR stunt of some kind.

Yeah, I feel the same way.

But, actually, we have to ask Carlson this pertinent question:

Jealous much?

What he was trying to sell his audience wasn't an opinion, but a poor attempt at satire. I don't know what journalism school Tabloid went to, and I know he has all the entertainment value of bread mold, but unless he offers a disclaimer at the start of his show, he's risking a defamation suit.

"His audience doesn't care, do they?"

No, they don't. Between them and Tabloid, the collective IQ is in negative triple digits.

That being said, Carlson gets the Dunce Cap this week.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

A lunatic lawyer is in danger of being disbarred. Now, he wants help to dig up dirt on the state board trying to discipline him.

 Looney Lin Woodchips is at it again.

On Sunday, it was reported that the Georgia board of law, or whatever it's called, was considering disciplining Woodchips for violations of state bar laws in relation to his pushing long debunked conspiracy theories regarding the presidential election 3 1/2 months ago. Yeah, that's not dying out any time soon thanks to morons like Woodchips.

So it gets out this morning, within the last half hour, in fact, per Yahoo!, that Woodchips is calling for help on social media from his supporters to dig up dirt on the board in order to save his law license.

This is the perception people have of Woodchips, by the way:

They also want Woodchips to undergo psychiatric evaluation to see if he is actually fit to continue to practice law, but this clown isn't having it, as he's denying any mental issues. Woodchips is defending fellow lunatic ambulance chaser Silly Sidney Powell, who is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion may be looking to up the ante on Powell, by the way, since a report got out saying that their process server had to chase Powell across state lines.

What all this tells me is that Powell and Woodchips are running scared, can't reconcile themselves to reality and truth, and have sacrificed their careers supporting another geriatric nutcase (guess who?), only now they're paying the price for their subservience.

People like Woodchips, Powell, Tabloid Carlson, Spam Hannity, and Rudy Goofiani, all in the business of selling lies and ignoring reality, are giving the mental health system a very bad name.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Video Valentine: For All we Know (1971)

 Oldies channels are loading up on The Carpenters this weekend, and with good reason. Richard & Karen Carpenter produced some of the best soft rock on AM radio in the 70's. 1971's "For All we Know" still gets airplay 50 years later, which is a testament to the talent of the siblings.

A Classic Reborn: The Equalizer (2021)

 It wasn't too long ago that the 80's series, The Equalizer, had been rebooted as a feature film with Denzel Washington taking over the role of Robert McCall, originally portrayed by Edward Woodward in the original series.

After two feature films, Equalizer returns to CBS with an additional change. Robert McCall is now Robyn McCall (Queen Latifah), divorcee and ex-CIA operative, who is persuaded to return to action by her former boss, Robert Bishop (Chris Noth, ex-Sex & The City, Law & Order), now the head of a security firm. 

Robyn's first case involves a young woman looking to get into college, but who makes the mistake of witnessing a murder, then gets framed for same. Robyn's also got issues with her teenage daughter, who feels neglected to a point. Lorraine Toussaint, most recently in Into The Badlands, plays Robyn's mother, who has to help care for her granddaughter.

Here's the trailer:

The Equalizer represents Latifah's 1st primetime series since Living Single ended its run more than 20 years ago. She's done a talk show since then, but the way critics talk, they're having a hard time buying her as an action hero. CBS, really, isn't doing her any favors by slotting Equalizer opposite Batwoman on CW, whose new star, Javicia Leslie, appeared on CBS' God Friended Me, which Equalizer is essentially replacing on Sundays. Still, the series falls into the same type as Batwoman and some of its Arrowverse kin over on CW, as the title hero has some backup that communicates with her remotely while she's in the field. Not digging the idea of Robyn running into problems with the police. That sort of thing didn't happen in the original series.

Rating: B.

Retro Reads: Marvel's Monster of Frankenstein (1973)

 Marvel Comics leaned heavily into the classic Universal monsters in forming a line of all-new horror titles in the 70's. One of their own creations, Ghost Rider, had the longest run, at 81 issues, up until its cancellation in 1982, and this doesn't include his appearances in Marvel Spotlight (1st series), which also was an incubator for Werewolf by Night (45 issues in its own series).

The critically acclaimed Tomb of Dracula produced 70 issues up until it was cancelled in 1980, replaced by a short-lived black & white magazine that, without Comics Code inhibitions, allowed the late Gene Colan, the series artist, to take the series into "R"-rated territory.

Unfortunately, Monster of Frankenstein, later rechristened The Frankenstein Monster, got the Rodney Dangerfield treatment. Just 18 issues between 1973-5, plus 7 issues of Monsters Unleashed, a black & white magazine (issues 2, 4, 6-10). Despite some solid storytelling by writers Mike Friedrich and Doug Moench, the latter moving over with artist Val Mayerik from Unleashed, the series lost its way after Dracula paid a visit in issues 7-8. Artist Mike Ploog, who also helped develop Ghost Rider and did some solid work on Man-Thing, left Frankenstein after 6 issues, replaced by John Buscema, Bob Brown, and Mayerik.

A Marvel Epic Collection trade paperback collects all 18 issues, plus the Unleashed serial, and a meeting with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up (1st series), leaving off appearances in The Avengers and a cloned version of the monster meeting The Invaders. Having acquired most issues second hand back in the 80's, the memories came rushing back. Oh, this was some good reading.

Rating: A.
Our final analysis of the new Werewolf by Night leaves us pretty cold. Written by Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, our Native American lycanthrope gets mixed up with a wacked out genetic scientist, and the door is open for a sequel, pending final sales figures. I would've preferred the new wolf meeting Jack Russell, the protagonist in the original series, but that's just me.

Final rating: B-.
Gene Luen Yang's treatment of Shang-Chi has him with a family that didn't exist in his original run in the 70's & 80's. Alternatively known as Brother Hand as part of a clan, and no longer a lone wolf adventurer, Shang will return in a follow-up miniseries later this year.

Meanwhile, The Legend of Shang-Chi, a 1-shot with no ties to the miniseries, hews closer to the old days as Shang battles an old X-Men nemesis, Lady Deathstrike. About what you'd expect, except that this wasn't written by Yang, who's still working mostly for DC.

Rating for the 1-shot: B-. Miniseries final rating: B-.
DC gathered together some reprints from the Golden, Silver, & Bronze Ages for DC's Greatest Detective Stories Ever Told, but it's a mixed bag of elements, some of which don't belong.

After opening with Golden Age tales of Slam Bradley and The Sandman, the latter of which has been reprinted a few times since the 70's, we have a Elongated Man short from the 60's which wasn't worth writing home about.

Where the book slips is inserting a "origin" story for Detective Chimp, currently part of Justice League Dark, but this short was done for laughs in the 2nd series of Secret Origins around 1990 or so. The cover image of The Batman and Sherlock Holmes, by the great Mike Kaluta, comes from Holmes' appearance in Detective Comics in the late 80's, in which Batman, Elongated Man, & Robin (Jason Todd) travel to England on a case. The 3rd Robin, Tim Drake, gets his initiation in a chapter of the Lonely Place of Dying arc that crossed between Detective, Batman, & New Titans, and for this reason, the ending of this final tale is edited off. Shouldn't have bothered if you had to do that, when there were better stories to be had.

Rating: B-.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Yeah, this guy is nuts: Lin Wood is getting his cases mixed up

 Not too long ago, Georgia ambulance chaser L. Lin Wood (the first L, you can imagine, stands for Looney) claimed that he was on the verge of being disbarred if he didn't submit to a psychiatric evaluation.

Now, Woodchips is involved in a defamation suit against MSNBC anchor Joy Reid dating back nearly 3 full years, but uses the opportunity to get in front of a camera on Thursday to accuse former Vice President Mike Pence and Chief Justice John Roberts of being traitors. He claims to have evidence to this point. The brief was filed, actually on Tuesday, but we're only finding out about this three days later. Ehh.

In return, Reid's attorney, John Reichman, is calling for the revocation of Wood's Pro Hac Vice (This Occasion Only) status. The case, by the way, is being tried in New York instead of Georgia.

So why is Woodchips making these claims about two men not connected to the case at hand? Because he wants to get the attention of former president Donald Trump.

We ventured to get a comment from one of Woodchips' closest friends:

"No comment!!"

Woodchips is putting his career further at risk by recklessly continuing to make false accusations. We've heard it all before from the sycophants associated with Trump. They had evidence of voter fraud, but wouldn't show what they had. Woodchips claims to have evidence, but this is another case of deflecting from the truth. That is to say, Pence & Roberts don't answer to Trump, and instead did what was best for the country, not a 70-something man-child with psych issues of his own.

The lawsuit against Reid is likely to be thrown out for lack of evidence, and whatever BS Woodchips is selling on Pence and Roberts isn't going anywhere except to the nearest dumpster. I hear Bellevue has plenty of rooms available for mentally disabled attorneys like Woodchips and Rudy Goofiani......

What Might've Been: Nero Wolfe (1981)

 The late Rex Stout never liked the idea of his greatest creation, Nero Wolfe, being adapted for other media. There had been two radio shows with Sydney Greenstreet in the title role. We've seen failed pilots with Kurt Kasznar & William Shatner (1959) and Thayer David (1979). Wolfe finally went to series on TV in the winter of 1981 for ratings-challenged NBC.

William Conrad (ex-Cannon), at the time also the voice of The Lone Ranger for a CBS Saturday morning series, landed the title role, paired with a relative newcomer in Lee Horsley as Wolfe's chief operative, Archie Goodwin. I know a few comics publishers that probably had some fun with that, as there was a real-life fellow by that name who was a prolific writer in the comics business at Marvel, DC, & Warren in the 70's & 80's. Robert Coote (ex-The Rogues), in his final role, played Wolfe's greenhouse nurse, as Wolfe was a botanist in his spare time.

Fourteen episodes were produced, half of which were adapted from Stout's novels. The series aired initially on Fridays, but that was, at the time, Dukes of Hazzard territory. Then, NBC moved Wolfe to a later slot on Tuesdays. Problem there was another detective show over on ABC. Hart to Hart, with Robert Wagner & Stefanie Powers, anchored ABC's powerhouse Tuesday block.

Suffice to say, the game was over. The series resurfaced in reruns on TV Land between 1996-9.

With Valentine's Day this weekend, here's "Death & The Dolls". Wolfe is hired by the granddaughter of an old flame.

Rating: B.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A troubled classic: Valerie/Valerie's Family/The Hogan Family (1985-91)

 In the mid-80's, NBC had turned the corner in the ratings with the addition of The Cosby Show to a powerhouse Thursday slate that already had Family Ties & Cheers. However, Little House on The Prairie, one of the few steady hits they had in the 70's, had come to an end, with Michael Landon moving on to his next series, Highway to Heaven. Little House's departure left a void on Mondays to be filled, and the network thought they'd succeeded.

Valerie Harper returned to television in Valerie, some seven years after Rhoda had ended. This time, Harper was a mom with three sons, and it was a loving family. Jason Bateman (ex-Little House, Silver Spoons, It's Your Move) became a teen mag favorite as the eldest son, with Jeremy Licht & Danny Ponce as his brothers. Christine Ebersole came over from Saturday Night Live in a supporting role, but was gone after one season.

And, then, the trouble began.

Harper was in negotiations to renew her contract as season 3 was starting, but the network decided, after it seemed as though things had been settled, that changes needed to be made. Exit Harper, and enter Sandy Duncan. The series was rechristened Valerie's Family: The Hogans for the rest of the season. In the meantime, Edie McClurg (ex-Harper Valley PTA) replaced Ebersole, playing a new next door neighbor. In time, the producers were able to convince Today Show weatherman Willard Scott, the fan favorite who celebrated viewers' centennial birthdays, to make his TV acting debut in a series (he was the original Ronald McDonald).

The series underwent one final name change, to The Hogan Family. Added to the cast was Steve Witting as the stereotypical nerd. Essentially, producers Miller-Boyett decided Witting would be to Bateman what Marc Price was to Michael J. Fox over on Family Ties, the sidekick. Josie Bissett, later of Melrose Place, joined the show in its final season when Hogan Family changed networks from NBC to CBS. That change also brought John Hillerman (ex-Magnum, P. I.) aboard as the kids' grandfather. Unfortunately, it was perhaps, one change too many, and the series ended after 6 seasons and 2 networks.

I only caught the show during the Duncan era, and missed the CBS run. Following is a collection of intros spanning the 6 seasons:

No rating. Didn't see enough episodes.

It's time the FCC took this nut off the air

 By that, I mean Tabloid Carlson of Fox Shmooze, who is now trying to peddle the false claim that George Floyd died of a drug overdose last May, instead of being killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

Carlson made this ridiculous claim on Wednesday, thinking that, 8 1/2 months later, people will forget the circumstances surrounding Floyd's death. Not only that, but Carlson is trying to dispute the truth surrounding last month's insurrection at the Capitol, and, like most Republican apologists, is trying to blame the Black Lives Matter movement, which had nothing to do with it. Like, it's on film, Tabloid. You had Trump supporters storming the Capitol. You can't lie about that, but you're trying anyway.

Right now, let's hear from Tabloid's agent:

"No comment!!"

However, Tabloid did get roasted on Twitter, with actors George Takei & Patton Oswalt among those weighing in. Takei went so far as to suggest that Carlson be given the boot, just days after Fox Shmooze sacked Lou Dobbs. Others are calling for boycotts of sponsors, a tactic that doesn't always work.

Meanwhile, Fox Shmooze is getting slammed for cutting away from coverage of the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump at 5 pm (ET) so they can avoid pre-empting The Five. Rival CNN is claiming that Fox Shmooze doesn't want to give their viewers the truth, even though there are pundits, such as Farron Cousins, who believe America's Oldest Baby will be acquitted again.

As someone who actually took a journalism course in high school many moons ago, it's easy to say that this is irresponsible on the part of Fox Shmooze. They don't want their viewer base to see the evidence that could actually surprise everyone, even all the doubters, and shut down Trump for good. To the idiot savants at Fox Shmooze, we offer this unsolicited comment:

So there.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Classic TV: Insight (1960)

 Insight was a staple of Sunday morning programming in many cities, though some would also air the show in late night, for 23 seasons (1960-83). A religious-themed anthology series that attracted a host of well known stars, including John Astin, Edward Asner, Patty Duke Astin, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Jack Albertson, Ron Howard, and so many more.

Father Elwood Kieser was the show's executive producer and host for most of its run. Kieser also attracted two well known writers in Michael Crichton and Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, one of the most prolific writers of his era.

We have one episode over at Saturday Morning Archives from 1975 with Bob Hastings (ex-McHale's Navy; he was recurring on All in The Family by '75). Here, though, is "Leroy", from 1977, with Albert Salmi (ex-Daniel Boone) as an illiterate homeowner who's lost his house because of his inability to read a medical bill. James Doohan (ex-Star Trek) is the buyer, a real estate mogul. Co-starring Roscoe Orman (Sesame Street).

Rating: A.

Video Valentine: Love is Here & Now, You're Gone (1967)

 Diana Ross & The Supremes could fill a whole Valentine's Day playlist with love songs.

One such example is 1967's "Love is Here & Now, You're Gone", one of the last recordings with Florence Ballard, who would later be replaced by Cindy Birdsong.

If anyone can tell me what TV show this is from, I'd appreciate it.

In memory of Mary Wilson, 76, the only one who was in the group the entire time, starting with their early days as the Primettes, up to their final dissolution in 1977, who passed away on Monday. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Classic TV: This is The Life/The Fisher Family/Patterns For Living (1952-88)

 The long running anthology series, This is The Life, began life as The Fisher Family when it premiered on DuMont in 1952. However, the series was cancelled by DuMont after one season, and went into syndication, retaining the Fisher Family format for three more years before changing formats to the anthology format for which it is best known, and the name change to This is The Life.

Many of the same actors who appeared on other religious anthologies such as Insight and Crossroads also appeared on Life between 1956-88, when the series came to an end after 36 years total on the air. Earlier episodes were reissued under the alternate title, Patterns For Living.

From season 2 of the Fisher Family era comes "The Neighbor Next Door":

I'd imagine the show is currently in the vaults of either TBN, Daystar, or other Christian networks.

Rating: A.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Musical Interlude: Living in America (1985)

 The soundtrack to "Rocky IV" in 1985 produced two hit singles. Robert Tepper had a 1-hit wonder with "No Easy Way Out". Soul legend James Brown got the most attention with "Living in America", which he also performs in the movie.

Super Bowl LV: It couldn't be more blatant or obvious........

 The uniform colors may change, but the result remains the same.

The NFL still thinks a 43 year old Tom Brady is a more important player, in terms of marketing, than a younger quarterback who won his first Super Bowl last year, was expected to be the first one to repeat since Brady did it in New England, has more endorsement deals than Brady ever has, and stands to be the face of the league, injuries aside, for years to come.

Brady won his record-setting 7th Super Bowl, giving Tampa Bay the championship for the first time in nearly 20 years, but the game, which ended with Tampa earning revenge for a stunning loss on the same field on November 29, was a farce.

Everyone assumed this was to be a passing of the torch, from Brady to Mahomes. Someone in the NFL office decided, nope, not yet. Fittingly, with the game in Tampa, Brady was posited as the NFL's answer to Tampa's most famous citizen. Some guy named Hogan.

I wrote on Saturday that Todd Bowles' defense had to make more adjustments to slow down, if not stop, Mahomes, and they did that. By all rights, Bowles, or at least one of his defensive stars, like, for example, Jason Pierre-Paul, who earned his 2nd ring, should've been named MVP. Yes, I'd get on the stump for Bowles, who has redeemed himself after a disastrous run as head coach of the Jests from 2016-18, becoming the first coach to be named MVP. But, just like Malcolm Butler, who made a game saving interception vs. Seattle, just like James White, who did more to lead New England past Atlanta, Brady was given another MVP trophy he doesn't deserve.

Brady & Mahomes were expected to light up the night sky in Tampa, just as they did in November. Brady held up his end of the bargain. Mahomes couldn't, shackled by the Buccaneer defense. Kansas City couldn't get into the end zone, and were baited into some irresponsible penalties in the first half. Worse, the officials' disparity in calling penalties in that first half favored Tampa, which had only one flag against them to eight on Kansas City. Typical of a Tom Brady team.

And as far as the Bucs' younger stars, such as Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette, who actually scored the last touchdown, were concerned, this was more about Old Home Week for Tampa. Brady threw three touchdown passes, two to his BFF, Rob Gronkowski, the other to Antonio Brown.

No, in the final analysis, Brady didn't deserve the MVP, and he knows it. He can say all the right things about the Bucs believing in themselves, and all that, but just like Hulk Hogan, Brady, the aging star, went over again when no one wanted him to. You can blame NFL director of officiating Alberto Riveron for that.

The irony of it all here, though, is that referee Carl Cheffers also was the referee three years ago when Brady's Patriots fell to Philadelphia. It makes you wonder if Riveron didn't sell Cheffers on the idea that it was "in the league's best interests", or whatever excuse you can find, that Tampa Bay, the first team to be be a legitimate home team in the Super Bowl, would win the game. I don't know who works in the marketing department of the league that would be working hand-in-glove with Riveron, but they're just as complicit. The league office had to have seen the television ratings for the November 29 game, and decided they just had to have this rematch for the Super Bowl. No, what you're supposed to do is let the players decide the games leading up to the big dance.

Too often in recent years have the Super Bowls been more of a marketing creation than a legitimate matchup that the public wanted to see. Instead of what we would've called the State Farm Bowl between the Chiefs and Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers, we get an ego-stroking insult of a game. The ego, of course, being Brady's.

I've said this before, and it bears repeating. Tom Brady is not the greatest of all time at his position. Every one of his Super Bowl wins has been tainted by some sort of tomfoolery involving the officials, including this one. Tampa Bay may have won, 31-9, but if Brady had any remorse, he'd return the MVP trophy. He needed it like you or I needed tooth decay.

The Chiefs & Bucs will meet again. Preferably on a more neutral, level playing field.

As for Alberto Riveron, he gets the Weasel ears for manipulating the NFC playoffs to favor Tampa Bay and ensure they would not only host the game, but have the Bucs play. History is tainted because of this unrepentant rogue, and he must be held accountable.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Video Valentine: Sara (1985)

 Starship hit #1 on the Hot 100 with the ballad, "Sara", in March 1986. "Sara" was released to radio three months earlier as the follow-up to "We Built This City".

Actress Rebecca De Mornay ("Risky Business") plays the title character in the video, as Mickey Thomas relays the tale of lost love.

Today, "Sara" is still getting some airplay on oldies radio channels.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Super Bowl LV preview

 The most diehard of fans wanted a Super Bowl matchup that was relatively fresh, whether it was Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo or Green Bay vs. Kansas City in a rematch of the 1st Super Bowl in 1967.

What they're getting instead, however, is a rematch of one of the most exciting games of the 2020 regular season.

Kansas City defeated Tampa Bay earlier this season, and the tone was set when the Chiefs' Tyreek Hill torched the Buccaneer secondary for over 200 receiving yards in the first half alone. Tampa QB Tom Brady led a second half comeback, but it fell short. The Bucs haven't lost since, and have since avenged a regular season sweep at the hands of NFC South champion New Orleans.

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd "Salad" Bowles will have had plenty of time to make adjustments in order to prevent a repeat of that earlier game. He has ex-Giant Jason Pierre-Paul, who earned his ring at the expense of Brady and the Patriots, to motivate the defense. Ndamakong Suh played with the Los Angeles Rams and lost to the Pats two years ago. This may be his last chance at a ring.

On offense, of course, you have Brady and his best friend, Rob Gronkowski. Antonio Brown returns after missing the NFC title game. It has been nearly 20 years since the Bucs won their only title. If that isn't enough incentive, what else could be there?

I honestly think that if Tampa wins, Brady AND Gronk will retire. Brady has nothing left to prove. Gronk is old, damaged goods. Brown has become too much of a diva.

On the other side, Kansas City returns most of the same cast that outlasted San Francisco last year. They haven't really had to play from behind all that much in this post-season, unlike last year. Patrick Mahomes may well be 100% come Sunday night, and that spells trouble for the Tampa defense. Add Hill, Travis Kelce, and rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Hillaire, a year removed from a NCAA title with LSU, and the Chiefs' offense is still scary. The Chiefs are looking to be the first team since---wait for it---the Patriots to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

Brady's legacy, tarnished though it is, is secure. Mahomes is building his legacy. If anyone from KC is retiring after this game, it may be Andy Reid, who finally won a title last year. He wants to avenge a defeat Brady and the Patriots inflicted upon Philadelphia 16 years ago. That would be the last item on his bucket list.

The pick: Kansas City. Of course, I could be wrong.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Dunce Cap Award: Eric Trump

 Friends, we have another example of people being stupid.

Take, for example, Eric "Stupid-E" Trump, 36, who proves time and again that he's never been the smartest guy in the room. Any room.

Stupid-E went on Spam Hannity's Fox Shmooze yack-fest the other night, trying to claim his father was "the most beloved President in history". Barf me out!

"He doesn't read the news, does he?"

Nope. Takes his father's delusional rantings as gospel. Donald Trump's approval rating was plunging faster than usual before the end of his administration last month, and Stupid-E thinks people love his dad?  Apparently, the only ones who do are the tin-foil hat crowd, and they're not exactly brain surgeons, either.

And speaking of those conspiracy nuts, the newest delusion is that Trump is secretly still President and holding executions on the White House lawn. This is the product of some doctored video by some dork with no life that the QAnon crowd is buying as truth. Hate to break it to these morons, but America's Oldest Baby is currently holed up at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

"They don't know the truth, do they?"

No, they don't, and they don't want it. Their loss, as usual. This is what 5 years of lies from the Trump family has wrought.

Stupid-E, more so than the conspiracy idiots, gets the Dunce Cap this week. Something tells me he and older brother Dumb Donald II had lobotomies when daddy announced his candidacy.

Citizen Pampers doesn't want to be an actor anymore......

 Former President Donald Trump, with his sense of reality still skewed due to his over-inflated ego, decided to resign from the Screen Actors Guild earlier this week, after someone tipped him to the news that SAG was going to expel him from their august body due to his many presidential sins, specifically inciting a riot at the Capitol last month.

SAG President Gabrielle Carteris (ex-Beverly Hills 90210) tweeted her thanks on behalf of the group.

Basically, America's Oldest Baby opted for one of the oldest cliches in the book, unwilling to let SAG have the last word with him, although they did. Remember, this delusional geriatric doesn't like anyone telling him he's wrong. Spoiled children that never grow up are like that.

Nearly 40 years ago, Blotto had the perfect song for this sort of scenario. Many thanks to fellow blogger Chuck Miller for the inspiration:

And you wonder why they wanted to excise his scene in "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York".......!

Update, 12:39 pm (ET): Farron Cousins offers his take:

Yeah, he said it. Trump channeled his inner child, as usual.....!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

YouTube Theatre: Ellery Queen: Too Many Suspects (1975)

 Ellery Queen returned to television in the spring of 1975 with "Too Many Suspects", the pilot for the subsequent series that bowed the following fall. This NBC TV-movie establishes the format for the series. To wit:

Announcer Bill Woodson (ex-The Odd Couple, The Invaders) explains that the victim we see on the screen will soon be killed, and the audience is challenged to figure out the mystery before Ellery (Jim Hutton) does.

Ellery, with some assistance from his father, Inspector Richard Queen (David Wayne), gathers the clues, while at the same time narrowing down the list of suspects, or stumbling onto some important clues. "Suspects" was an adaptation of a 1965 novel by the literary Queen.

Periodically, radio detective Simon Brimmer (John Hillerman, ex-The Bob Crane Show) will try to outwit Queen, more out of spite or professional jealousy, and the reason for that is laid out in "Suspects".

Consider that four years earlier, Richard Levinson & William Link, using a pseudonym due to a producer tampering with their script, had produced another NBC pilot, "Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You", with Peter Lawford as Ellery, and Harry Morgan as Inspector Queen. We'll look at that another time. I can tell you already that "Suspects" is a major improvement.

Here's "Too Many Suspects".

Edit, 11/15/21: Had to replace the video again. This time, the theme music has been muted, likely for copyright reasons, but Bill Woodson's opening teaser is intact.


And that little graffiti artist? That's Jimmy Baio, Scott's brother, in one of his first roles.

Rating: A.

You wouldn't see this kind of ad today (1965-6)

 This one is for fellow blogger Hal Horn at The Horn Section.

Today, you don't see ads like this, touting Medicare and/or Social Security, not with certain politicians trying to destroy those programs for no real reason.

In 1965, F-Troop star Forrest Tucker made this PSA.

While certain of today's politicos are behaving like Daffy Duck from the same era as this ad, more people should be made aware of the benefits of Social Security and Medicare, programs that, supposedly, the Trump administration tried to shut down.

Forgotten TV: The Shameful Secrets of Hastings Corner (1969-70)

 Peyton Place had ended its primetime run on ABC. Still, the series was ripe for parody, so Screen Gems comedy boss Harry Ackerman, in one of his last projects, gave it a shot.

The Shameful Secrets of Hastings Corner starts by copying the opening to Place, but as the show goes on, Hastings Corner promises far more sinister doings seem to be afoot, at least, if you believe narrator Alan Oppenheimer, who plays a psychologist. Our cast also includes Madge Blake (ex-Batman), Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch; this was filmed before Brady), Woodrow Parfrey, and Hal Linden in a dual role as a district attorney and his evil twin. Karen Black, in one of her first roles, also appears.

I think you can see why this failed.

Rating: C.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Weasel of The Week: Stephen A. Smith

 ESPN bloviator general Stephen A. Smith put his foot in his mouth again.

Appearing on Larry Wilmore's podcast, Smith wandered off the reservation, if you will, during a discussion on women making strides in coaching/management positions in sports.

After discussing the Miami Marlins' hiring a female GM during the offseason, and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon becoming a temporary head coach after her boss, Gregg Popovich, was ejected from a game earlier this season, Smith went off on a tangent tirade about women in UFC. America's Idiot thinks the ladies shouldn't be fighting in the octagon.

Like, hello?

Amanda Nunes landed an endorsement deal with Modelo beer. Ronda Rousey left UFC for the WWE, and is on indefinite hiatus in the hopes of starting a family with husband Travis Browne. Gina Carano is now an actress. Dana White and UFC created opportunities for women, which has led to other career pursuits, same as the men. Smith, as usual, just doesn't get it. He forgets that his network, ESPN, is UFC's current media partner, and UFC just began a series of Fight Night specials on step-sister network ABC.

Now, Smith has had WWE guests on First Take (i.e. The Miz, Triple H), and has played fanboy for them. We'll see how quickly he changes his tune when his broadcast partners, Max Kellerman, who knows more about combat sports than Smith ever will, and Molly Querin-Rose, call him out for his lame, out of touch remarks. ESPN keeps him employed because the controversy he generates brings ratings, but in this case, I'd not be surprised if he suddenly has a target on his back. Smith is best suited to covering basketball, and even there, he usually puts his foot in his mouth.

For his last century remarks about women in the UFC, Smith gets the Weasel ears this week.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Sports this 'n' that

 Not even two weeks after Jared Porter was bounced as GM, the Mets have to deal with another sexual harassment scandal, this time involving a former manager.

Mickey Callaway, now the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, reportedly hassled five different female sports media reporters during his two seasons in Flushing according to published reports.

File photo courtesy of Yahoo!

I know what you're thinking. The accusers may be coming forward a little late, considering Callaway was dumped after the 2019 season, and is plying his trade for the moment in Southern California. However, this could still result in his leaving Anaheim, and baseball altogether. Stay tuned.

Update, 2/3/21, 4:53 pm (ET): As of Tuesday afternoon, the Angels have suspended Callaway.
In the course of Monday's 108-99 win over Atlanta, Lakers star LeBron James had a showdown with some drunken hecklers. Seems he stared down one of the male fans, and the guy's wife was not having it.

Juliana Carlos, dubbed "Courtside Karen" by the press, let loose with a tirade that turned the air blue. Suffice it to say, Mrs. Carlos' whining isn't worth repeating here.

Let's just say there's something in the water in Georgia, and be done with it. James even deduced that the Carloses and their party had too much to drink......
Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has gone on record stating that NBA players should "cut the line" to get COVID-19 vaccines.

No, Kareem, it doesn't work that way. Sure, they're on the road, and they are undergoing testing on a regular basis, but cutting in front of ordinary folks waiting for their first doses? Nope. Being a star athlete does not give you those privileges. I'm assuming Kareem got his vaccine, but for the younger guys currently playing, their turn will come, probably around the playoffs.
Major League Baseball made a pitch to the Players' Association to delay the regular season, cutting the schedule to 154 games, and, for the 2nd straight season, utilize a universal designated hitter and an expanded playoff format.

The union said no. They want spring training and the regular season to start on time.

Stay tuned.

Classic TV: Roots (1977)

 ABC took a chance with its first major miniseries, Roots, based on Alex Haley's best-selling novel, in the winter of 1977. The network, and producer David L. Wolper, were rewarded with several Emmy awards the following fall.

Personal note: As an 8th grader, I was assigned to watch the first episode, at least, and report on it. Difficult to do, since Roots aired past my bedtime, but I tried my best.

Wolper assembled an all-star cast, including Georg Stanford Brown (The Rookies), Leslie Uggams, John Amos (ex-Good Times, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Lorne Greene (ex-Bonanza), Chuck Connors, Ben Vereen, Scatman Crothers (Chico & The Man), Robert Reed (ex-The Brady Bunch, The Defenders), Sandy Duncan, Todd Bridges, Louis Gossett, Jr., Cicely Tyson, and Edward Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), and introduced LeVar Burton to American audiences.

The success of Roots spawned a sequel, which completed Haley's story, a few years later. In 2016, Wolper and A & E, with Burton serving as a producer, presented a remake of Roots, shorter in terms of length than the original, to mark the 40th anniversary of Haley's novel.

Following is a short trailer that set up the opening chapter:

I didn't watch the complete miniseries for reasons described above. No rating.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Video Valentine: Could it be I'm Falling in Love (2016)

 After more than 40 years of rocking out with KISS, Paul Stanley decided to try something different.

He reached back to his youth, and his love of soul music. The end result was Paul Stanley's Soul Station, and five years ago this month, at a live show in Pasadena, Soul Station served up a tasty cover of the Spinners' "Could it be I'm Falling in Love".

A commentator on YouTube noted that Gene Simmons is a Beatles fan, and original KISS drummer Peter Criss is a fan of big bands & jazz, so it fits.

While Pat Boone was rightfully mocked for trying to rework Metallica's "Enter Sandman" to fit his singing style a few years back, there's no problem with Stanley doing some Philly soul.

A collection of passings

 This is not a good way to start a new month.

Four celebrity passings in the last three days (or more) gets this week started on a major downer.

*---Allan Burns, 85, was a prolific writer-producer during the 50's through the 80's, with a resume that includes shows as diverse as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rocky & His Friends, the latter in collaboration with Chris Hayward. Burns & Hayward also developed The Munsters of Universal & CBS (1964-6).

*---Jamie Tarses, 56, was the daughter of comedian and comedy writer Jay Tarses, but made her mark as a network executive at NBC & ABC in the 80's.

*---Marc Wilmore, 57, was a writer and occasional performer on In Living Color, and also wrote for The Simpsons, among his many credits.

*--Dustin Diamond, 44, succumbed to stage 4 lung cancer. Best known for the original Saved by The Bell and its spinoffs, Diamond did not contribute to the revival, which debuted on Peacock right before Thanksgiving.

Following is a compilation of clips, also available at Saturday Morning Archives, of Diamond as Screech, and his on-screen romance with Violet (Tori Spelling):

Rest in peace.