Thursday, September 30, 2021

Musical Interlude: Missing (1994)

 Everything But The Girl peaked at #2 on the pop chart in 1994 with "Missing". The track, co-written by band members Ben Watt & Tracey Thorn, got tons of airplay on radio as well as on MTV & VH1 back in the day. However, this is the first time I've actually seen the video.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

What Might've Been: Assignment: Vienna (1972)

 Assignment: Vienna was one of three components of ABC's wheel anthology, The Men, which lasted but one season (1972-3), with each component getting 8 episodes, plus a pilot. Also, the three components were produced by different studios, instead of being under one roof, unlike NBC's anthologies.

For example, MGM produced Assignment: Vienna, which marked the second straight series failure for Robert Conrad (ex-The Wild, Wild West, The DA), and this would be the pattern for the balance of his career going forward.

For the record, WB packaged The Delphi Bureau, and Universal was in charge of James Wainwright's Jigsaw.

The series originally aired on Thursdays, opposite Ironside on NBC, and movies on CBS. ABC, then, moved their wheel to Saturdays, which wasn't much better. It was Carol Burnett who put the final nail in The Men's coffin. Thanks for coming.

Edit, 10/10/21: The video was deleted as the YouTube poster lost his account. In its place is a standard open/close.


No rating. Just a public service.

A little of this and a little of that

 Former White House aide Stephanie Grisham (she was a press secretary for a hot minute, then was Melania's Chief of Staff) is the latest to come out with a book that shreds more of the secrecy surrounding former president Donald Trump.

Among the tidbits:

An anonymous staff member was assigned specifically to play Trump's favorite Broadway show tunes to calm him down after a temper tantrum, which must've been pretty regular over the four years America's Oldest Baby ran the country.

Farron Cousins explains:


This revelation justifies this:


The voter base bought into the facade, created on The Apprentice, that Trump was this macho tough guy, when in reality he probably can't stand 10 lashes with a wet noodle!! He didn't want to be exposed as weak, but that horse left the barn a long time ago.

Speaking of The Apprentice, a former contestant on the show, Omarosa Maginault-Newman, won a court case against Citizen Pampers, in which a judge in New York ruled that Trump's infamous non-disclosure agreement with Omarosa was too vague & indefinite, and therefore, non-binding. Trump was railing about Omarosa's new book. Now, everyone else who's had those NDA's can go after the former president with impunity.


"WAAAHHHHH! You can't say anything bad about me! WAAAAHHH!"

Guess what, jackass? They can, and your political goose will soon be cooked!
=======================================
Jesse Palmer was a washout in the NFL with the Giants. He was The Bachelor for a season, then signed with ESPN as a studio analyst.

Now, Palmer is returning to The Bachelor as its new host, replacing scandal-scarred Chris Harrison, when the series returns this winter, after Dancing With The Stars finishes its current season. If memory serves me correctly, current Dancing host Tyra Banks (ex-America's Next Top Model, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) was a contestant on Dancing herself, years before taking the MC's job last year.
=======================================
Back to Citizen Pampers. Seems that current Arizona Governor Doug "Acey" Ducey is going to be primaried next year by former TV news anchor Kari Lake.

In a bid for national attention, Lake has contacted South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem about adding the ego-obsessed Trump to Mount Rushmore. I think the federal government might have something to say about that, ladies. Trump turned on Ducey after Ducey certified the 2020 election in favor of Joe Biden in Arizona.

And while we're discussing the Cactus State, it seems Cyber Ninjas, which waved the white flag five days ago, acknowledging that Biden won, has had to issue a statement denouncing a counterfeit report that, of course, favored Trump, issued by a group of brain-dead Trump Zombies. The silliness will not end until Trump goes to jail or Bellevue.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Empty-G thinks Congress doesn't need their daily traditions? She's definitely lost her mind!

 Just when you thought Washington was free from narcissistic political clowns, the Congressional Duchess of Dumb demonstrates yet again she has picked up an unhealthy habit from former president Donald Trump, calling attention to herself when she needs to go on the down-low.

I'm referring, of course, to Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, aka Empty-G. She must've woke up on the wrong side of the bed Monday morning for her to go into Congress and call for immediate adjournment before they can even do two traditional things. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance (which some GOPers like Empty-G betray on a daily basis) and hold a morning prayer.

Farron Cousins explains:


You can imagine the reaction went something like this:


The Pledge and a morning prayer have been Washington traditions for decades. Private schools, usually Christian or Catholic schools, have the same traditions. Empty-G can't backtrack from this since this was recorded by C-Span, and, the more she acts like a real-life Dumb Dora, the less likely it is she gets a second term.

Monday, September 27, 2021

A Classic Reborn: The Wonder Years (2021)

 History has shown us that when Hollywood decides to remake classic properties with African-American characters, the results have not been good.

1982: ABC commissions The New Odd Couple, with Ron Glass & Demond Wilson in place of Tony Randall & Jack Klugman. However, this lasted one season for the following reasons:

*--Glass was fresh off an 8 year run on Barney Miller, which was readily available in syndication.

*--The original Odd Couple was in syndication as well, as was Wilson's earlier hit, Sanford & Son.

Ballgame over.

2005: A urban remake of Jackie Gleason's legendary The Honeymooners hits theatres, with Cedric The Entertainer as Ralph. That there hasn't been a sequel in the 16 years since should tell you something. Later that year, Universal decides to reboot Kojak, with Ving Rhames ("Striptease", "Mission: Impossible") filling Telly Savalas' gumshoes. Another bomb.

2013: Undaunted, Universal tries again, and places a new version of Ironside on NBC, with Blair Underwood (ex-L. A. Law) in the wheelchair. It's gone by Thanksgiving.

2021 brings a new perspective to the 1988-93 series, The Wonder Years, with the focus shifting to an African-American family. The new Wonder begins in the spring of 1968, as Dean Williams (newcomer Elisha Williams) is turning 12, and his family---and the entire African-American community, for that matter, comes to grips with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis. The producers were able to acquire archived footage from CBS of Walter Cronkite confirming the reports of Dr. King's death.

Don Cheadle ("Space Jam: A New Legacy", "Avengers: Endgame") narrates as Dean's adult self. The supporting cast also includes Laura Kariuki, fresh from Black Lightning, and Dule Hill (ex-Psych). Original series star Fred Savage is an executive producer, and directed the opener.

Check the trailer:


ABC has placed the new Wonder on Wednesdays, where the original series also aired. That, too, doesn't always work. If you're wondering why the new series is coming from 20th Television, co-executive producer Lee Daniels is coming off the Fox series, Empire, also from 20th Television.

Rating: A-.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

When Legends meet: Barbara Stanwyck on The Joey Bishop Show (1961)

 The Joey Bishop Show, the 2nd of two spin-offs from The Danny Thomas Show, aka Make Room For Daddy (CBS' Andy Griffith Show had a backdoor pilot on Thomas' show), was part of NBC's experiment in color a few times in the first season. This first color episode was a doozy.

Barbara Stanwyck, who'd fronted her own Desilu-produced anthology series a while earlier, guest stars in "A Windfall For Mom", that mom being Joey's mom (Madge Blake). Series co-creator Louis Edelman served as executive producer for The Barbara Stanwyck Show, and helped develop The Big Valley, in which Stanwyck starred, four years later.


No rating. Just a public service.

It's time to stop the lying

 As reported on Friday, the Arizona GOP conceded that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in Maricopa County nearly 11 months ago, even acknowledging that the tally for Biden was undercounted by nearly 100 votes, and overcounted for Trump by some 300+ votes.


Composite image courtesy Associated Press/Yahoo!.

However, that report was ignored by the oldest baby in the world, as he lied to supporters in Georgia, claiming that he'd won Arizona. He'll say anything that isn't true, and his base of supporters will eat it up like candy. They've been conditioned not to accept the truth.

Here's the problem. Trump is still facing criminal investigations in Georgia and New York, and there could be more to come. He's also facing lawsuits up the wazoo that judges won't throw out, and that includes judges that Trump himself installed. For a man who claims to be a born-again Christian, Trump clearly isn't behaving like one. His lawyers are incompetent, tripping over themselves in court filings. 

If you want to put it in Christian terms, all you have to do is refer to the Bible itself. In the Old Testament, any time a King of Israel and/or Judah did bad things, God took his anointing away from those kings, and moved on to the next one. In modern times, it can be assumed, God saw what Trump was doing, blaspheming, if you will, and decided that He had been betrayed and mocked all along, and moved his anointing to Biden, a Catholic. We're all assuming Biden will be a one-term President because of his age & health, and Kamala Harris, if anything were to happen to Biden, would be the first female President in US history.

That, dear friends, is what's really bothering the GOPers. They can't stand how the Democratic Party has made history in the last thirteen years, and have been hailed by the mainstream media. Trump brought out the uglier side of the GOP, the closet racists and bigots, to the forefront, and they believe in him, not realizing that they're walking straight to the abyss. The Democratic kingmakers didn't want Bernie Sanders in 2016 or 2020, opting for name recognition (Biden, Hillary Clinton), but could stand to prepare for the future.

But as long as Trump decides to be this generation's Archie Bunker, and continue to con his base, the GOPers won't be moving forward. Instead, they're likely to get this if things don't go their way next year and beyond.....



Saturday, September 25, 2021

This wouldn't happen if he wasn't in New York (1978)

 "He", of course, being Reggie Jackson, who helped the Yankees end a decade-plus title drought in 1977 when the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the World Series, and Jackson clinched the title with a three-homer game in the finale.

Right before the 1978 season, Standard Brands, then the makers of Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, and other candies, introduced the Reggie bar, which was really a reconfigured Baby Ruth, shaped like a baseball. Same ingredients as Baby Ruth (chocolate & peanuts), but with caramel subbing for standard chocolate nougat. I think this was before the candies were sold to Nabisco.

Anyway, Jackson appeared in the commercial.


Unfortunately, the Reggie bar was gone before Jackson left New York after the 1981 season. Today, Baby Ruth and Butterfinger, which were acquired by Nestle some time back, now are under the Ferriero umbrella, along with Nestle's long running Crunch & 100 Grand bars.

Friday, September 24, 2021

After all the posturing and stalling, they've got nothing

 The Arizona GOPers hired a Florida firm run by a conspiracy nut to do an audit of the 2020 election in order to appease America's Oldest Baby, Donald Trump. On Thursday, and earlier today, they finally presented their findings, and, well......

All it was, at the end, was a bag of nothing burgers.

This should've been finished months ago, but Doug Logan and Cyber Ninjas stalled as much as they possibly can until they were put in a position where stalling was no longer an option. They even went so far to reveal that President Joe Biden had actually gained more votes than previously reported 10 months ago.

And, well, you know how well that will play with the defeated, spanked Trump.....


"WAAAAHHH! It was stolen, I tell you! WAAAAHHHH!"

Basically, in Arizona, they were like the Kinks, back in the day, tired of waiting Logan and his posturing, stalling tactics. This should send a message to GOPers across this country who want to copy these tactics.

YOU'RE WASTING YOUR TIME!! GIVE IT UP!! IT'S OVER!!! TRUMP LOST!! GET OVER IT!

But a recent poll shows that more than 40 million brainwashed GOPers still think the election was stolen, and 21 million of them think violence is still a solution. No, it isn't. Get it through your heads. It's over. Stop crying, and rejoin the human race!!

On The Shelf: Celebrating Batman Day 2021

 Last Saturday was Batman Day at comics shops, and some libraries, around the country. DC had a trio of specials to mark the occasion.


Batman-Fortnite: Zero Point reprints the first issue of the recent miniseries. If you're into Fortnite, and I know there are a lot of you, this would be a case of testing the waters for a possible spin-off series based more on the game itself, instead of integrating into the DCU. I like the artwork, but the combined efforts of comics & TV vet Christos Gage and Fortnite's Donald Mustard leaves me reaching for the Tums. There was a reason I wasn't interested in this when it came out earlier in the year.

Rating: C.

Batman: Knightwatch, which was also released earlier in the year, looks like a pilot for another Bat-book, as if DC needs another. Here, the Dark Knight and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) use networking to help trap Clayface. Yes, this is out of continuity, as Clayface became a hero a few years ago. Knightwatch is the new Bat-network that DC is trying out, but it is uncertain if it'll become canon. Wouldn't mind if it did, now that Alfred has been killed off----for now.

Rating: B.

Batman: The World previews a hardcover graphic novel showcasing the talents of artists from around the world, and how they interpret the Caped Crusader. From the same team (Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo) that kickstarted the Black Label line with the controversial Batman: Damned a couple of years back, plus talent from Germany & South Korea. I think. Worth the investment for hardcore Bat-fans.

Rating: A.
=================================
Halfway through, The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries hit its first speed bump, only because co-writer Sholly Fisch just had to do a story based on A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, which aired on ABC from 1988-91, and try to establish this as an early meeting between the Mystery Inc. gang and a pre-Batman Bruce Wayne, though they wouldn't know that. Fisch, who has been alternating with Ivan Cohen, figured to cover as much of Scooby's history as possible in the 12 issue series, but this was not a good idea by any stretch. I'd sooner have Daphne cosplaying as Batgirl.

Rating: C--.
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We were remiss in not discussing a recent bad acquisition last time, so we'll cover it this time.

A few years ago, Marvel tried out a different take on Blade, as seen through the creative eyes of comics & TV writer-producer Marc "Crazy" Guggenheim (ex-Arrow) and artist Howard Chaykin.

"Undead Again", however, just leaves me cold. Chaykin's detailed style is not a match for Blade, and I don't think they've done a sequel.

Rating: C--.
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Fans of Harley Quinn, waiting for season 3 to drop on HBO Max, now have something to tie them over.

Subtitled, The Eat, Bang, & Kill Tour, this six issue miniseries picks up where season 2 left off, with Harley and BFF-turned-girlfriend Poison Ivy on the run from Gotham Police commissioner Jim Gordon, who's going all Lt. Gerard (for you Fugitive fans), trying to put Harley back behind bars. It's fan-service for internet shippers who've been craving a more sexual relationship between two of Batman's sexiest enemies (after Catwoman, of course) ever since they met on Batman: The Animated Series nearly 30 years ago. The artwork isn't up to the lofty standards of the show itself or any DCAU book, and definitely not safe for kids.

In fact, one problem people have is why it's not a Black Label book, as it's designated for ages 17-up. The small print will evade the eyes of small children, and then their parents are likely to have a herd of cows. Fortunately, there's no nudity, which would ensured it was a Black Label book, but the language, on the other hand, isn't censored. What they're looking for is to capture the full essence of the TV show in print. Good idea, but it should be kept out of the reach of children.

Rating: A.
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If you've been craving a Teen Titans story with a distinct 80's bent, then Titans United would be your cup of tea, even though the current iteration of Raven is being used here. Like Harley Quinn, this is being used to help sell readers on the just-started 3rd season of Titans on HBO Max. This, however, takes me back to the 80's in a good way. And, yes, Beast Boy is also being used as he is now, with more animalistic facial features, and he's Raven's boyfriend. 

Rating: A.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

What Might've Been: The Case of The Telltale Trunk (The New Perry Mason, 1973)

 The New Perry Mason tried to recapture the spirit of the original series, but there was a huge problem.

At the time this series aired, reruns of the original were airing in syndication, and, coincidentally, the then-CBS affiliate here, now an ABC affiliate, ran reruns before the 6 pm news. Couple that with Raymond Burr having established another iconic sleuth in NBC's Ironside, and this show was doomed.

Monte Markham, a talented actor, had headlined two failed sitcoms for Screen Gems in the late 60's (The Second Hundred Years and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town). Mason was his first attempt as a dramatic lead after having appeared on dramas like The Bold Ones after Deeds was axed. Unfortunately, he had an uphill battle, made worse by the fact that this show had The F. B. I. and The Wonderful World of Disney for competition most weeks.

In this sampler, Richard Anderson (The Six Million Dollar Man), who joined the cast of the original Mason near the end of its run for a few episodes, guest stars, along with Keenan Wynn and Mary Ann Mobley. Not seen is Brett Somers (Match Game), who made a few appearances as Perry's oft-unseen secretary, Gertie.

Edit, 11/15/21: The video has again been deleted, as the poster lost his account. We'll wait for a new copy if at all possible.

On any other night, as long as it wasn't opposite Ironside, maybe this stood a better chance. Markham would continue on the guest star circuit, but never headlined his own show again.

Rating: B.

Dunce Cap Award: Empty-G

 The ongoing national embarrassment that is Marjorie Taylor Greene struck again on Wednesday.

Empty-G was on the House floor, and tried to sell the idea that the Green New Deal being promoted by Democrats only benefits China. As usual, Empty-G has no evidence to support her claims. Instead, it's just another means for this Georgia airhead to get attention, not realizing anything she does now usually gets mocked in record time on social media. To illustrate her stupid idea, Empty-G used a photoshopped image from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?:


Sorry, Marjorie, but those cartoon sleuths would have more on the ball than you have since taking office 8 months ago. You're proving every day that your election, unopposed as it was, was a fluke in the first place, a product of your hitching your wagon to a certain bloviating man-child.

And, for the 2nd time in as many months, Empty-G, you're getting one of these:


Deal with it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Alka-Seltzer's most famous jingle (1976)

 Today, Alka-Seltzer is part of Bayer's growing family of products, and was acquired, along with One-a-Day & Flintstones vitamins, from Miles Laboratories.

In the 70's, the ad agency for Miles came up with some iconic ad campaigns, including the jingle, "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz", written by former Cyrkle frontman Tom Dawes.

Here, a bowling team is lamenting heartburn. Featuring Michael Tucci (later of "Grease") & Morgan Freeman (The Electric Company).


Maybe Bayer should bring this back, since they're not promoting Alka-Seltzer too much these days.

Are the GOPers ready for Bush vs. Trump?

 Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, daughter of former VP Dick Cheney, is one of several GOPer lawmakers up for re-election in 2022. Citizen Pampers wants her gone, and is endorsing a no-name primary challenger. Then again, Pampers' winning percentage with his acolytes is well below .500. And, then, at least Rep. Cheney has a friend in her corner.


Photo courtesy Yahoo!.

Dick Cheney's old boss, George W. Bush, will be doing some campaigning as the 2022 election season begins. Of course, that set off Dumb Donald....


"He's a failure! WAAAHHH!"

That's pretty funny, coming from a 1-term political disgrace who makes "Dubya" look more like a Rhodes scholar, considering Bush served two terms. Donald Trump used the White House like it was another of his business holdings, and deceived millions of people, from evangelical Christians to common suburbanites. Bush was often characterized as being a little dim, but Trump makes him look like a genius by comparison.

Meanwhile, Trump is filing another pointless lawsuit against his niece, Mary, and the New York Times over the disclosure of his tax information.


"WAAAHHHH! It's none of their business! I don't want anyone to learn the truth! WAAAHHH!"

The truth hurts, doesn't it? This lawsuit will likely get thrown out of court. Trump's already destroyed his reputation, as well as those of associates like Mike Whinedell and Rudy Goofiani, just for them hooking their wagons to his. He is deathly afraid of going to jail, even if it's a country club prison (which, if we're lucky, won't happen), or even a more likely destination. Bellevue.

If Trump truly gave his life to Christ, as he supposedly did 5 years ago (and it's looking more likely he faked that), he should be consdering repenting his sins, but he doesn't know the meaning of the word.

Someone should make him sit down and watch "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" to give him an example.......

Monday, September 20, 2021

Musical Interlude: Seven Year Ache (1981)

 "Seven Year Ache" was not only the lead single from Rosanne Cash's 1981 album, but the album title as well.

At the time, Rosanne and father Johnny recorded for the same label, Columbia, though Johnny would leave not too long after, shifting over to Mercury.



Sunday, September 19, 2021

Dark Side of The Ring revisits one of WWE's darker days (2021)

 Season 3 of Vice's Dark Side of The Ring has resumed, chronicling one of the most controversial events in WWE history.

"The Plane Ride From Hell" took place in the spring of 2002, during the first of two tours of Europe that year. The fallout from this episode was swift and severe for two men.

Chris Jericho, now with All Elite Wrestling, is the series narrator and interviewer.


Now, for the post-show fallout:

Ric Flair, who didn't appear on the broadcast, has seen his past catch up with his present. Recently released from WWE, Flair, who has been doing commercials for CarShield, has had that ad campaign paused as of Friday, while the ad agency and CarShield figure out what to do with him and his over the top personality.

Tommy Dreamer (Thomas Loughlin) was suspended by his current employer, Impact Wrestling, indefinitely on Friday. That's just the first step. Termination of employment, despite the announcement of an apology on social media earlier today, may not be too far behind.

It wouldn't surprise me, either, if WWE decides to blacklist Dreamer and anyone else not named Flair from working for them again.

Rating: A-.

The son also whines

 We're referring, of course, to Donald Trump, Jr., who went on a Twantrum of his own earlier this week, after it was reported that the Department of Health & Human Services is taking over the distribution of COVID-19 treatments, ensuring that these treatments would be equally distributed across all 50 states.

Seems that currently, the distribution is unbalanced, favoring GOP-run states, including Florida & Texas, whose corrupt governors have shown to be even worse tyrants than Dumb Donald II's deranged dad. And, like Papa Pampers, Junior is having this artificially created tantrum to stir up the Legion of The Brainwashed.

Farron Cousins explains:


All the whining and posturing from Team Pampers is meant to undermine anything & everything the Biden administration is doing to reverse the damage done by America's Oldest Spoiled Brat. Twitter may want to consider banning Junior, too.

We're also learning that a group of hackers broke into the Texas GOP's website, and subbed in some fund raising materials for Planned Parenthood, before the GOPers got their site back. This is in answer to Governor Greg "Shakedown the public" Abbott's anti-abortion law, which claims that if you can hear an unborn child's heartbeat within 6 weeks, you can't have an abortion. Preserving life is one thing, but denying the mother a choice is another altogether. No wonder Alex From The Block schooled Abbott online the other day. He must've failed biology in high school.


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Would someone please send this man to Bellevue?

 Ten months after getting smacked down at the polls because of his own incompetence on COVID, Donald Trump still refuses to acknowledge the truth.

On Friday, a letter was released by Citizen Pampers' current press flack, Liz Harrington, to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking for decertification of the 2020 election. America's Oldest Baby is still claiming there was widespread voter fraud, despite the fact that there is no evidence of same. He continues to whine and complain about being robbed, unwilling to admit he cost himself the election.


"WAAAHHHH!!!! WAAAHHH!! I was cheated! WAAHHH!!"

No, you weren't, Dumb Donald. If there was any evidence, as you insist, why hasn't it been brought to light after all this time? Easy answer. There is none. MyPillow's Mike Lindell is on the verge of bankruptcy if he loses his defamation suits because he cast his lot with you. His reputation has been destroyed as a result, same as yours.

Do yourself a favor, Donald. Grow up, and STFU! No one wants to hear your whining about the election again.

Meanwhile, even some of Dumb Donald's most loyal drones, like DoorMatt Gaetz and Empty-G, are skipping the "Justice For J6 (January 6)" rally today in Washington, whose organizers are promising a peaceful event. Mindful of what happened 8 months ago, Capitol Police have tightened security, and have the National Guard on stand-by. The event organizers have bought into another lie, that the rioters on January 6 are now "political prisoners", or so Gaetz and Foghorn Cawthorn insist. We hear that there are similar rallies planned at 10 state capitals across the country.

Look, folks, hundreds of rioters have been arrested, some facing charges in pending trials, since the riot took place. There is video evidence that kills the whole "political prisoner" debate deader than a nest of roaches in a cloud of Raid.

What should be happening is getting rid of Cawthorn, Gaetz, Empty-G, and anyone else stupid enough to perpetuate this scam even further than it has. Problem is, they're afraid of this:


Citizen Pampers isn't happy unless he gets all the attention focused on him. It'll be big news when he's finally disconnected from public view, and sent to Bellevue, with Silly Sidney, Rudy Goofiani, Looney Woodchips, and the rest of the idiot squad following behind him. Just sayin'.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Like putting a band-aid on a too large wound. Why can't Jeopardy! commit to a full-time MC yet?

 As embattled, outgoing executive producer Mike Richards finishes his tour of duty on Jeopardy! tonight, Sony is still non-committal to a full-time host.


On Monday, Call me Kat star Mayim Bialik returns to begin what had been originally reported as a three week stint as guest host. One of the show's greatest champions, Ken Jennings, currently rotating with fellow eggheads James Holzhauer & Brad Rutter on The Chase, will take over once Bialik's stint is over, and it seems the two will alternate until the end of 2021, depending on Kat's shooting schedule.

But it doesn't solve the continuing problem of finding a full-time host.

Sony, it seems, remains non-committal, largely because they're afraid of picking someone that will offend the fan base, as the sordid details surrounding Richards taught us. LeVar Burton has taken his name out of consideration for a return gig. Somehow, Sony has passed, to this point anyway, Will Ferrell, who has impersonated the late Alex Trebek on Saturday Night Live, and Capital One pitchman Eugene Levy, who was SCTV's go-to game show host (as Alex Trebel) back in the day, the fear being that neither would be taken seriously because of their having done parodies.

Levy, I'd guess, would be more honored than anything to stand in for fellow Canadian Trebek, and, if you've seen him in movies (i.e. "American Pie"), Schitt's Creek, or in that Capital One ad with his daughter, he looks more like the distinguished type these days.

ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel might need a hall pass from Disney if he were asked, but he cut his teeth on quizzes (Win Ben Stein's Money), and is helming Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, now that Disney put it back on ABC on a seasonal schedule, thinking Kimmel would be the heir to Regis Philbin's throne.

If Sony doesn't make a full commitment, this season might be the last for Jeopardy!, which would mark the 3rd time the series had been cancelled, having been cancelled twice by NBC (1974, 1979) when Art Fleming was the show's original host.

The clock is ticking.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Classic TV: Silver Spoons (1982)

 Consider this. A man-child businessman is introduced to the son he didn't know he had in a short, one-week marriage that ended in divorce. Once father & son get to know each other, then things start to come together.

Silver Spoons ran for 5 seasons total, the first four on NBC. Joel Higgins, fresh from the mid-season flop, Best of The West, on ABC, was Edward Stratton III, the divorcee just getting to know his son, Ricky (Ricky Schroeder, "The Champ"). Smith Barney pitchman John Houseman (ex-The Paper Chase) appeared periodically as Edward's father. The show's producers made sure there'd be some romantic tension by having Edward III's personal assistant (Erin Gray, ex-Buck Rogers in The 25th Century) eventually marry him.

The supporting cast became a revolving door over the course of the five seasons. Jason Bateman left after season 2, given his own show, It's Your Move. Broadway star Alfonso Ribiero, before cementing himself in pop culture as Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, became Ricky's new BFF.

If the singer's voice on the theme song sounds familiar, it belongs to 60's pop icon Ron Dante (The Archies, The Cuff-Links), who by this time was tweaking the knobs in the studio for Barry Manilow.

From the 5th season, when the series moved into syndication, Ricky, Alfonso, and friends form a band for a competition. Ricky's on bass. Martika (Kids Incorporated) guest stars.


Rating: B.

These watchdogs need their eyes checked

 There's still some blowback from Monday's Met Gala, where NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended dressed in an Aurora James-designed gown with "Tax The Rich" emblazoned on it.


Seems a conservative watchdog organization calling itself the American Accountability Foundation raised a stink, and filed an ethics complaint against AOC, claiming she shouldn't have been there. Like, hello? She was invited by Vogue's legendary editor, Anna Wintour. The Met Gala benefits the Met's Costume Institute, so that kills the AAF's argument that this was not for charity, because it was.

I'd like to know who's in charge of the AAF, because I've a suspicion certain jealous GOPers put them up to this, and if you follow this blog, you know who I have in mind. In this writer's opinion, the AAF, which no one had heard of until now, wanted to piggy-back their 15 minutes off Alex From The Block. Get right in line to get smacked down, right behind the usual GOPer suspects and actor Michael Rapaport.

In other words, mind your own business, losers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Common sense takes California. Guess who's not happy?

 The Repugnants mounted a campaign to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom, whining about how Newsom violated his own mandates 10 months ago by attending a party without a mask.

However, because the Repugnants have decided to sacrifice innocent lives for political gain, their strategy backfired. 46 GOPers, led by radio personality Larry Elder, tried to unseat Newsom. You might as well have been in a virtual battle royal with the late Andre The Giant, because this morning, Newsom was declared the winner.

Prior to Tuesday's vote, Elder tried to play the GOPers' favorite card of late, claiming without evidence that the election was rigged. However, he conceded defeat this morning, acknowledging that while he'd lost a battle, the "war", as he put it, is not yet over. Elder's platform, which included helping the homeless, was undone by having to kowtow to a certain, well, you know............


"WAAAHHHHH! It's rigged! WAAAHHHHH!"

Thankfully, Elder came to his senses.

Unfortunately, Citizen Pampers has not. I think the last time California had a Republican governor, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even Jerry Brown came back for one last term.

Citizen Pampers can't go a day without making a headline. He has enslaved the GOPers by making them bow to him, even though he has all the strategic acumen of a tree stump. The sooner he gets sent to Bellevue, the better.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Musical Interlude: Love Will Find a Way (1978)

 I first discovered Pablo Cruise when I heard their 1981 single, "Cool Love", on the radio at the end of my high school years.

Three years earlier, they had a big hit, just missing the top 10 on the pop chart, with "Love Will Find a Way".

A little of this and a little of that

 Occasionally, a baseball umpire catches a foul ball upside the head while behind the plate. Until last night, I hadn't seen an ump get beaned on the field by a thrown ball from an infielder.

The case in question is the Mets-Cardinals game. Close Call Sports breaks down what happened to umpire Junior Valentine:


To his credit, Valentine stayed in the game, manning his position at first base. We'll know before first pitch tonight if he's able to work behind the plate.

Oh, by the way, St. Louis won the game, 7-0.
================================
Marjorie Taylor Greene is never going to learn. Attacking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is asking for trouble.


AOC, on the left, wore her "Tax The Rich" gown at the Met Gala Monday. Her "fashion statement", though, wasn't as unique as you'd think, as Empty-G helpfully pointed out, citing singer Joy Villa, a Trump supporter (of course), who wore a MAGA dress at the 2017 Grammys, then followed up with a "Build The Wall" dress at the same event two years later.

But, as Twitter critics noted, AOC wore hers better. One critic on Twitter pulled up a picture of Empty-G in something more akin to an iconic cartoon franchise:


If you're trying out for a remake of Fashion Police, Marjorie, it ain't working. Worse, Joan Rivers is turning over in her grave.

When are you going to learn? You don't mess with Alex From The Block!!
=====================================
Actor Michael Rapaport took a chance on sniping at AOC, too, and, oh, is he going to pay.

Rapaport whined that AOC, being a politician, should be working as a public servant. While that's technically true, she's entitled to attend events like the Met Gala.

Rapaport is just jealous that, yeah, AOC is a hottie. Hotter than anyone Rapaport's ever dated (twice divorced). Deal with it, Michael, and wonder why you haven't landed another series gig since The War at Home was cancelled by Fox.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Sports this 'n' that

 Well, that didn't take long.

USC dismissed head football coach Clay Helton earlier today, less than 48 hours after losing to state rival Stanford. Some are probably wondering why they kept him around to start the season in the first place, if there were issues last year. I may be wrong about this, but this may be the fastest firing in-season in school history.
======================================
Lost in the hoopla of the Yankees' comeback win over the Mets on Saturday were allegations that the Bombers were uncharacteristically using whistling to relay to their hitters that Mets starter Taijuan Walker might be tipping his pitches.

Walker gave up 5 runs in the second inning, but shut the Yanks down after that, lifted after six innings. The Mets fought back to take a brief lead late before Aaron Judge won it with his second homer of the game off reliever Trevor May.

Last night, the Mets' Francisco Lindor, while admitting he wasn't sure that there was any funny business, took matters into his own hands, slamming three homers of his own to lift the Mets to a 7-6 win. The Mets won the season series between the two teams, 4-2, winning two games at each park.

It's going to be interesting next year.
========================================
The San Francisco 49ers lost running back Raheem Mostert to a chipped knee cartilage in Sunday's win over Detroit. Unfortunately, the reality of the injury was lost on a bunch of racist fans who bombarded Mostert's wife, Devon, with some nasty messages on social media.


Photo courtesy Getty Images/Yahoo!.

I just don't get it. 
==========================================
The Niners used both Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Trey Lance at QB vs. Detroit, spoiling Jared Goff's debut with the Lions. Similarly, the Chicago Bears alternated between veteran Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields. The difference? San Francisco won. Chicago lost to the Rams. 

Three other rookie quarterbacks lost their debuts. Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville), Mac Jones (New England), & Zach Wilson (Jets) gave their fans something to think about in defeat. 
==========================================
I find it amusing that on Reddit, Mets fans just hate when the team appears on ESPN. Doesn't matter what night of the week. Mets fans believe the network is biased against the Amazin's, and will make up excuses to justify their haterizing. Of course, they absolutely hate Alex Rodriguez, who was also on Fox's pregame on Saturday, because he's employed by MLB despite his career-shortening suspension for PED's while with the Yankees. They feel he's biased because his bid to buy the Mets fell short last off-season.

I think most of these people spend their days on talk radio because it appears they don't have anything better to do. Like working.

If you're picking fights on Twitter, and keep getting smacked down.......

 You might be Ted Cruz.

Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy for adapting his redneck jokes, but it fits.

Cruz, the dimwitted Senator from Texas, got into another social media war last week, this time with actor-comedian and Caesars SportsBook pitchman Patton Oswalt (ex-The King of Queens, Happy!, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD) after Oswalt had to cancel a club date due to---what else?---COVID concerns.

Now, you'd think that after getting routinely flamed on Twitter by Jimmy Kimmel and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz would find something better to do with his time than pick fights he can't win. Unfortunately, he's cribbing from the Donald Trump playbook, and failing.

Farron Cousins explains:


Apparently, Cruz thinks he's a Timex watch. He keeps taking licking on Twitter, and keeps on ticking.

Of course, the next time we hear from Cruz, it's probably after AOC's smacked him down again......!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Musical Interlude: Gypsy (1982)

 "Gypsy", the 2nd single from Fleetwood Mac's 1982 entry, "Mirage", is a surreal time trip to the Depression years, as seen through the eyes of singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks and director Russell Mulcahy. Scope the period costumes on the band, not just Nicks. The black & white photography in those segments are sublime. And, then, in full color, is a more ethereal setting with Nicks.


Nicks had written "Gypsy" three years earlier with an eye toward including it on her solo debut, "Bella Donna", but after the loss of a friend, she saved it for "Mirage". "Gypsy" received a ton of heavy airplay on MTV back in those days.

YouTube Theatre: Never Forget: WWE Returns After 9/11 (2021)

 20 years ago, come tomorrow night, WWE, then known as the World Wrestling Federation, presented the first live event following the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, & suburban Pennsylvania. The company marks the occasion with a 35 minute documentary, Never Forget: WWE Returns After 9/11. If you watched the first live episode of Smackdown on September 13, 2001, as ye scribe did, you'd understand what the men & women of WWE were dealing with emotionally. The key storylines were put aside for a night, and Smackdown, more than usual, became comfort food for its audience, still reeling from the tragedies of two days earlier.

Today's WWE superstars took part in activities to commemorate the 20th anniversary yesterday, including Zelina Vega (Thea Trinidad-Bundgen), who lost her father on 9/11/01. Unfortunately, Zelina was not interviewed for this piece. Former ESPN anchor Trey Wingo joins Vince & Stephanie McMahon, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Edge, Paul "Triple H" Levesque (taped before his recent cardiac surgery), Kane, Sean "X-Pac" Waltman (dressed in nWo colors), Kurt Angle, Bruce Prichard, D-Von Dudley, and the Undertaker.

Fox's Tom Rinaldi narrates:



Video obtained from F4WOnline.com.

No rating out of respect to the memories of the victims of the tragedies.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

On The Shelf: Free Comic Book Day '21 revisited, and other things of interest

 Time to catch up on some reading.

Last month's Free Comic Book Day releases were a mixed bag. Your actual mileage may vary. We'll just do some thumbnail analysis to save space.

Marvel, for example, previewed forthcoming storylines for The Avengers and Hulk, coming in November.

In the case of the Avengers, a new iteration of the Masters of Evil, from a bizarre future, and led by Dr. Doom, who's been one busy fellow lately, emerges. Hulk, meanwhile, has decided to leave Earth again, this time by his own choice, declaring himself a,ah, Smashtronaut. Really clever, eh?

Ratings: 

Avengers: B-, Hulk A-.

And, then, you have Venom & Spider-Man.

In the wake of the King in Black event, Eddie Brock, the original Venom, has passed his symbiote down to his son, Dylan, which begs to ask where Eddie got the time to actually have a family, unless he had one before he met Venom. Eddie's the new King in Black, but don't think he won't be returning to Earth, because inevitably, he will.

The latest stupid idea with Amazing Spider-Man is to bring back Ben Reilly, the clone from the 90's, and put him back in the suit. Like, the next Spider-movie is not too far down the line, so why take Peter Parker out of play, even for a few months? Because it's a cash grab. Period.

Ratings:

Amazing Spider-Man: Beyond: C, Venom: B.

DC's heavy summer push of the Suicide Squad includes spinning off King Shark into his own miniseries, written by Tim Seeley, and illustrated by Scott Kolins. This is not the rumblin', mumblin' comedy relief voiced by Sylvester Stallone in the movie, but rather, a more definitive version. Instead of Ratcatcher II, he gets the Defacer, an old friend of Nightwing's, as a tag along for a homecoming trip. The timing of the 1-shot is a little off, coming as it does a week after the movie, and after a Black Label miniseries, Suicide Squad: Get Joker, had launched. That gets a delayed "preview" in the back-up feature.

Brian Azzarello and Alex Maleev send the Squad after the Clown Prince of Crime, another busy dude, and even with the Black Label format, Azzarello doesn't give up all of his inhibitions, else there'd be more reason to tout the 3-issue mini. He does send Harley Quinn and the Squad to a strip club, which seems to be a personal fetish of Azzarello's.

Ratings:

King Shark: B-, Get Joker: A+.

Valiant recently revived some of their OG heroes from the 90's, but with mixed results.

Ninjak is cover-featured in Valiant 2021, with a beautiful cover by Tyler Kirkham. That's the good news. The bad? Javier Pulido is the series artist, instead of Kirkham, and that is a mistake. Jeff Parker is a proven commodity as a writer (i.e. Batman '66), but a Parker-Kirkham team makes more sense. Pulido is the wrong artist on this book.

X-O Manowar has already relaunched, with Dennis "Hopeless" Hallum, a long time Marvel writer, on board to script the series. Aric isn't the fish out of water he was 30 years ago, which is a good thing.

They've rebooted The Harbinger, this time as a solo act. Nice art by Robbi Rodriguez, but I'm not digging the concept.

Ratings:

X-O Manowar: A, The Harbinger: B-, Ninjak: D.

American Mythology's World of Zorro collects material from recent miniseries, including a preview of the new Zorro: Flights, written by Don McGregor, who scripted the Zorro series for Topps Comics in the 90's. As you'd expect, it's a mixed bag.

Rating: B.

With Batman Day next week, DC's other FCBD entry previews John Ridley's I Am Batman, starring Timothy "Jace" Fox, Luke's brother, who hadn't been seen in comics in years. Also, there's a preview of the latest Bat-event, Fear State, which they're hoping to tie to the Future State event from the first part of the year, as if they think that will be a canonical future. It isn't, not in this business. The new villain created by outgoing Bat-scribbler James Tynion IV, Simon Saint, looks like another nerd on the order of Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow, who they're trying to make into more of a major player. Jorge Jiminez's artwork shines, but that's about it. Not digging the concept.

I Am Batman, drawn by Travel Foreman, looks like a better bet. Waiting on the trade paperback on this one.

Ratings: I Am Batman: A-, Fear State: B--. Invest in Fear State at your own risk.

Dynamite Entertainment has pushed some of their licensed properties to the max, overmilking the golden geese because they don't know any better, or that they think their target audience hasn't grown up.

For example, Vampirella, under the guidance of veteran Christopher Priest, is experiencing an identity crisis. And people think this is compelling drama?!? Not to me, it ain't.

Rating: C-.

Next year, the original movie version of "Blade Runner" turns 40. Titan Books has two series based on the franchise, which was born in a Philip K. Dick novel many moons ago. If you're already belt-deep into the franchise, you're already invested. Blade Runner: 2023 & Blade Runner: Origins stand on their own.

Rating for both: A.

Finally, Ablaze has the license for the comics version of Netflix's Philippines import, Trese. Drawn in noir-style black & white, the preview of a trade volume includes a central player in an episode of the anime miniseries (which we reviewed at Saturday Morning Archives). Meet Alexandra Trese:


Rating: A.
=============================
Now, for some current releases:

Archie Comics' lone regular series running these days is the bi-monthly Archie & Friends anthology, which has a #1 for each issue. The current issue, #15, comes way too early for its theme, as it's a Halloween number featuring Betty & Veronica in one new story, plus some recent reprints. Sabrina shows up in that lead feature, too, and the Sabrina-centric reprint had previously been used for Halloween Comic-Fest a few years back. The sight of girl-next-door Betty Cooper in a witch's hat and fishnet stockings on the cover, as drawn by Dan Parent, is worth the price of admission.

The traditional style has held out as the "New Riverdale", introduced six years ago, has hit too many bumps in the road, coupled with corporate issues.

Rating for the issue: B.
===============================
DC decided to revisit the animated universe, but it appears they're treating Justice League Infinity as an ongoing series. Series producer-director and sometime writer James Tucker teams with J. Marc DeMatteis for a DCAU spin on the just concluded Infinite Frontier miniseries, covering virtually the same ground. However, the tease for the 4th issue, due next month, will remind Super Friends fans of a plot line from the mid-80's that was cringe-worthy then, and still is. Ugh.

Rating: B-.
================================
Epix's Pennyworth, now in its 2nd season, finally merits a comics adaptation from DC, a 7 issue miniseries, which further posits young Alfred Pennyworth as DC's answer to James Bond, long before he ever met the Batman. Producers Bruno Heller & Danny Cannon (ex-Gotham) may very well have had Bond in mind when conceiving the show. Then again, after the trainwreck that Gotham became, anything is better.

Rating: A.
================================
In the tradition of Batman '66, DC has released two new miniseries that provide fan service for specific cinematic periods of two cherished, iconic franchises.

Superman '78, by Robert Venditti & Wilfredo Torres, continues the story begun in the first "Superman" movie. Torres tries to hew as close as he can to the actors (i.e. Christopher Reeve, Jackie Cooper) in his designs, while at the same time offering ideas on what would've followed, as Brainiac factors into this 6 issue set.

Meanwhile, Sam Hamm, whose last work for DC was helping to adapt his first "Batman" script for director Tim Burton, helms Batman '89, and teases that he & Burton had intentions of introducing Two-Face into the mix, but not in the way that Burton's replacement, Joel Schumacher did. Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) is a little rougher around the edges here, suggesting the influence of the Burton-influenced animated series that followed 1992's "Batman Returns". This is fun reading.

Ratings: Superman '78: B-, Batman '89: A-.
=================================
Other stuff: DC has recruited actor Danny DeVito (The Penguin in "Batman Returns") as the latest to dip into the waters of comics writing. DeVito is doing a Penguin-centric story for a villains anthology due in November. DeVito follows Natalie Maines (Supergirl) and Camrus Johnson (Batwoman) to DC.

Dynamite's latest licensing acquisition is Sheena, Queen of The Jungle, who debuts in November. Mind you, this is the pre-Gena Lee Nolin iteration, so that means no shape-changing. Hey, old school works if done right. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

A little of this and a little of that

 What is it going to take for the millions of unvaccinated citizens to realize they're on the wrong side of the COVID pandemic?

With new variants reportedly emerging overseas, and headed here, there are still a large number of adults that are behaving like children, refusing to take the vaccines available to them because they've taken bad advice from right wing media and politicians. Talk show hosts Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel, and Dr. Phil McGraw, the latter appearing on James Corden's CBS after hours yack-fest, have shredded the anti-vax crowd.

You have Florida Governor Ron DeSantis lying about the politicization of face masks and the pandemic. He's a poster child for the GOP's ambitions to reclaim control of Congress, and, ultimately, the White House. His counterpart in Texas, Greg Abbott, as we wrote before, was shredded by NY's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for his controversial anti-abortion policy and threats to eliminate rapists. 

President Biden is calling on large businesses to enact mandatory vaccine mandates, and Head GOPer Ronna McDaniel is already threatening a lawsuit that has no basis.

To those who think this is about personal freedom, no, it's not. It never has been. You've been played by the GOPers all along. 
==========================================
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley had some pointed words for the company earlier this week. Give a listen.


Kross, the former NXT champion, has been given a gladiator style red costume since losing the belt last month. A perfect illustration of what Mick referred to when he invoked the line that if it isn't broken, you don't fix it. This is the sort of bad idea Vince McMahon gets from his equally geriatric stooges, John Laurinaitis and Bruce Prichard. 

Another idea that surfaced earlier in the week had Adam Cole (Austin Jenkins), who has since signed with All Elite Wrestling, being called up to manage old nemesis Keith Lee in an attempt to recapture whatever chemistry existed between current WWE champ Bobby Lashley and his former manager, Lio Rush, a couple of years ago. Cole signed with AEW so he could reunite with some old friends, particularly the Young Bucks, and be under the same professional roof as his lady, women's champion Dr. Britt Baker, DMD, who is, in fact, also a practicing dentist in her spare time.

Speaking of Lee, he missed five months of action due to health issues earlier this year, most of it related to heart troubles. Turning him heel, and giving him Cole as a hype-man/manager was a bad idea, given their history, which main roster creative would rather you'd forget. Lee's done the heel thing before, back when he was in Ring of Honor a few years back. Apparently, Cole was insulted by the idea, which hastened his exit.
========================================
Meanwhile, Paul "Triple H" Levesque is on the mend after a "cardiac event" earlier this week, which required surgery. That it wasn't made public until after the surgery speaks to how tightly the McMahon family cherishes its privacy off-air. Our prayers are with Levesque as he continues to recover.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Dunce Cap Award: Sarah Palin

 Sarah Palin should've stayed quiet.

The former Governor of Alaska was back in the headlines today, taking aim at NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, after Alex From The Block shredded Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his anti-abortion law, not to mention the fact that Abbott demonstrated his own brand of ignorance when he claimed he was going to take rapists off the streets.


Throwing shade at AOC? Not a good idea, but then, news probably travels slower than the mail in Alaska these days. AOC's been turning Repugnants into shredded wheat since she took office. And I do mean shredded.

Palin's 1st mistake was calling AOC a "fake feminist". Them's fighting words, Governor Grizzly. 

AOC's response was to mock Palin and jokingly introduce a 800 number, 1-800-CRY-NOW, and open a website that has raised money for a number of pro-choice activists and healthcare workers in the Lone Star State.


When Saturday Night Live begins its new season in a few weeks, they may want to call Tina Fey to reprise her parody of Palin. I don't know who'd play AOC. 'Til then, Palin gets a Dunce Cap for even entertaining the idea---and doing it----of calling out AOC. That never ends well, as a number of male GOPers have already found out.

What Might've Been: Sirota's Court (1976)

 Sirota's Court might have been ahead of its time.

This short-lived NBC entry arrived as a mid-season replacement in December 1976, but lasted just 13 weeks. Viewers weren't ready for a sitcom set in a small claims night court. Night Court, which is being updated and revived, came a few years later.

Michael Constantine, 2 years removed from an Emmy winning role as principal Seymour Kaufman on Room 222, had the lead as Judge Michael Sirota. The ensemble also included Fred Willard and Ted Ross ("The Wiz"). Willard, of course, would move on to Fernwood 2-Night a few months later.

No episodes are available, and all we have is the intro:


In memory of Constantine, 94, who has passed away.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Classic TV: The Jeffersons (1975)

 The 2nd spin-off from All in The Family (after Maude), The Jeffersons became a Sunday night fixture on CBS toward the end of its run, and would, in turn, beget a spin-off of its own.

George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley) was as much of a bigot as ex-neighbor Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor), but unlike Bunker, George moved out the working class neighborhood in Queens in favor of a high rise apartment building in Manhattan. On top of that, George was now in the dry cleaning business. Changing boroughs also brought a new set of issues, particularly neighbors Tom & Helen Willis (Franklin Cover & Roxie Roker), Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict), and George's own tart-tongued maid, Florence (Marla Gibbs), whose zingers became a popular part of the show.

The series began as a mid-season replacement in January 1975, and ran for 11 seasons total, a full decade on the air (1975-85). The iconic theme, "Movin' on Up", was co-written & sung by Ja'net DuBois (Good Times), who co-authored the song with 60's pop songwriter Jeff Barry.

Isabel Sanford (Louise) had gone the guest star route years earlier, with guest appearances on shows such as Bewitched, before landing on Family

Let's check the intro from the first season, courtesy of Shout! Factory:


Rating: A.

Sports this 'n' that

 By now, I'm sure you've heard that former boxing champion Evander Holyfield is set to come out of retirement Saturday to fight MMA star Viktor Belfort in Florida. It's a PPV bout that will cost you $50. Just make sure you get the actual fight coverage and not some lame alternate take on the bout.

"Alternate take", you ask?

Um, yeah, and it involves this guy:


On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Donald Trump, Sr. & Jr., not exactly experts in boxing or MMA, but fans of both, will be providing "alternate commentary". You may need a bottle of Pepto-Bismol handy because...

WHAT IN THE NAME OF HOWARD COSELL IS GOING ON HERE?

Holyfield is a fan of Trump, and vice versa, and if that wasn't cringeworthy enough, this could go down in history as the worst call of a boxing match this side of that wannabe Cosell clone, Stephen A. Smith.

What Dumb Donald I & II are hoping for, of course, are enough suckers to buy the PPV just for their take on the fight. These two wouldn't know a left jab from a left turn.

Never has the phrase, "caveat emptor", been more appropriate.
===============================
What do NBA star Iman Shumpert, Olympic gymnastics champion Suni Lee, and WWE superstar/reality TV vet Mike "The Miz" Mizanin have in common?

All three are in the field for the fall season of ABC's Dancing With The Stars, beginning Monday. The field also includes actor Martin Kove (Cobra Kai) and recent Bachelor Matt James. Miz becomes the 4th WWE personality to compete on Dancing, after Stacy Keibler (3rd place, spring '06), Chris Jericho (now with AEW), & Nikki Bella. I'd bet that Lee would be an early favorite to win the mirror ball.
================================
Former NFL star Nate Burleson is being primed to be CBS' answer to ex-Giant Michael Strahan.

Burleson (The NFL Today) is now a co-anchor on the newly rebooted CBS Mornings, and, like Strahan, will be seen 6 days a week during football season.

All that's needed now is to revive an old game show, like, for example, What's My Line?, and give Burleson the gig (Strahan hosts the current iteration of The $100,000 Pyramid in addition to working on Good Morning, America for ABC).

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Apparently, GOPers have bad memories: The Repugnants sent a letter to the wrong CEO!

 The GOPers are going out of their way to downplay the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, even though some of the rioters have already pled guilty. What this tells us is that the GOPers are deathly afraid the select committee's investigation will reveal some damaging evidence that would ruin certain of these idiots' careers.

To that end, a group of GOPers, mostly the usual suspects, like Empty-G, Lauren Bow-Wow, Foghorn Cawthorn, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, and Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, sent a letter to Yahoo!, issuing a blanket threat to a number of telecom companies, as we discussed previously, including Verizon and T-Mobile.


Alabama airhead Mo Brooks on January 6. File photo courtesy of Yahoo!/Huffington Post.


The problem was, these morons had not been up on current events at Yahoo!. Former CEO Marissa Mayer left the company four years ago.

The bullying tactics of the GOPers reinforces the idea that they are just flat scared that they'll be tied to the insurrection for sure. They've got a lot to hide, and, in the cases of Empty-G and Foghorn Cawthorn, their political careers will be tanking if they're brought up on charges. And, trust me, they will, along with the Body Snatcher (Kevin McCarthy).

It's time to clean up Washington, starting with the dirtiest of the GOPers, sooner rather than later.

Monday, September 6, 2021

The family that acts together, shills together (2021)

 You've probably seen the short-form version of this next item virtually every day for the last few months.

Eugene Levy (Schitt's Creek, ex-SCTV) reinvented himself as a character actor over the years in films such as "American Pie", and in Schitt's Creek, was able to work with his son, Dan (who can be seen shilling for Citi with and without Rashida Jones, and M & M's), and daughter Sarah, who joins Eugene in this bit for Capital One. Following is the long-form version, courtesy of Capital One's YouTube channel:


I'm of the opinion that Eugene deserves some consideration for at least a guest host gig on Jeopardy!. Why? On SCTV, one of his most notable characters was a send-up of Alex Trebek. "Alex Trebel" was used for every game show parody that I've seen in SCTV clips on YouTube. What do you think?

Musical Interlude: Stranger in Town (1984)

 "Stranger in Town", the 1st single from Toto's 1984 CD, "Isolation", became a radio mainstay through the winter of 1984-5, mostly on adult contemporary channels.

Actor Brad Dourif plays the escaped convict at the center of the video.


Dourif will next reprise his most famous role, as the voice of Chucky as the serial killer doll from "Child's Play" gets his own series, starting October 12 on SyFy, with a simulcast on USA Network the same night.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Origin of a classic: The debut of Ronald McDonald (1963)

 In a sense, there's a certain amount of kinship between fast food icon Ronald McDonald and ye scribe. We were both "born" the same year, 1963, thousands of miles apart.

Ronald made his debut in a 3 minute video produced in 1963 in Washington, DC. Local TV personality Willard Scott, later of The Today Show, was a year removed from a stint as Bozo the Clown in the DC market, and, after seeing how there was some sort of connection between "The World's Most Famous Clown", as Bozo was billed, and fast food, Scott, so the story goes, developed the Ronald McDonald character. What you're about to see is that 3 minute video with a prototype costume.


The more definitive Ronald costume was introduced, designed by another party, two years later at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade in New York. Scott eventually gave up the gig, and debuted on Today a few years later. Among the actors to don the red & yellow wig & costume was Squire Fridell, who more famously was a pitchman for Toyota after Rosetti & Ryan tanked in the mid-70's.

We bring this forward in memory of Scott, 87, who passed away Saturday. Rest in peace.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

In Theatres: Shang Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings (2021)

 Nearly 50 years ago, Marvel Comics, inspired in part by the David Carradine series, Kung Fu, came up with a looser than loose adaptation of Sax Rohmer's legendary villain, Dr. Fu Manchu. The Hands of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, which featured Dr. Manchu as a primary villain for a good chunk of the run, was a Marvel mainstay in the 70's & 80's.

But, as time wore on, Marvel lost the rights to the Manchu story and its cast, and had to repackage Shang-Chi. At first, they attempt to link Shang to their own Manchu knock-off, the Yellow Claw, but that didn't work. 

As Marvel fans know, the "Ten Rings" in the new movie, "Shang Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings", are associated to a long time Iron Man foe, the Mandarin. Now, you'll recall how they parodied the Mandarin in "Iron Man 3" by using an out of work actor to pretend to be the villain. Said actor (Ben Kingsley) returns in "Ten Rings" in more of a sympathetic, supporting role as an ally of Shang (Simu Liu) and his presumptive girlfriend (Awkwafina) in their quest to stop Shang's father from unleashing some unholy hell, all because he thinks he can save his dead wife.

Magic & mysticism were not part of Shang's story back in the day, but Marvel Studios & Disney want to spend money like it was water on special effects. 21st century movies, folks.

Let's check this teaser:


After some ridiculous action in the first half, the movie starts to drag in the second half until it rights the ship at just the right time.

Trailers include:

"Eternals" (November): Marvel Studios' next film adapts Jack Kirby's 1976 Marvel series.

"No Time to Die": Daniel Craig's final adventure as James Bond.

"Dune": Delayed a year due to COVID, Denis Villaneuve reimagines Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic.with an all-star cast including Oscar Isaac and current Disney+ pitchman Dave Bautista.

"Shang Chi" gets a B.

Friday, September 3, 2021

NFL 2021 preview, part 2

 Everyone seems to think the road to the Super Bowl will run through Tampa Bay. But, as ESPN's Lee Corso is wont to remind, not so fast, my friends.

Let's take a look at the NFC.


NFC East:

Since Napoleon Snyder decided to make his team's name as plain as possible for a 2nd season after winning the division last year, we've decided to christen them the Washington Generics. However, there's no way they can win the division again. Sure, they had the only win in the division during the pre-season, but things could start changing quickly. The Giants couldn't close out the Jets or the Patriots. It's a mental problem for Big Blue, as they're waiting for Saquon Barkley to return from injury. Wayne Gallman was let go, and the former Clemson standout landed in Atlanta after being cut by San Francisco earlier this week. Apparently, talent evaluation is not a priority.

The big news in Dallas is, of course, the return of Dak Prescott. Andy Dalton left for Chicago, but this may be Prescott's last chance in Big D. Now that he's the starter in Philadelphia, Jalen Hurts will hope to recapture his mojo from his one season at Oklahoma in 2019.

Projected order of finish:

1. Philadelphia.
2. Washington.
3. Dallas.
4. Giants.

NFC North:

Green Bay is keeping Aaron Rodgers around for another season, but his would be successor, Jordan Love, didn't impress in the pre-season. Randall Cobb has returned to cheesehead country, which should help Rodgers immensely. As noted, Andy Dalton is in Chicago, but he'll be mentoring rookie Justin Fields (Ohio State), already a crowd favorite. The Bears still have a solid ground game, and a stout defense, despite rumors that Las Vegas wanted to get lineman Khalil Mack back. Detroit is hoping a change of scenery will help Jared Goff (Los Angeles) after sending Matthew Stafford west in the off-season. Minnesota needs a full, healthy season from Dalvin Cook to stay in the playoff conversation.

Projected order of finish:

1. Chicago.
2. Green Bay.
3. Detroit. 
3 (tie). Minnesota.

NFC South:

Tampa Bay begins defense of its Super Bowl title in six days vs. Dallas. Tom Brady might have the benefit of the league's power brokers to get to the playoffs most years, but it got out after the Super Bowl that he was playing with a sprained ligament in his knee the entire 2020-1 season. So now they want to recast him as a trouper. What it means is that time is trying to convince him to hang it up before he turns 45. Drew Brees retired, and signed with NBC, so New Orleans will go with Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill at QB, but they'll play their home opener in Jacksonville due to Hurricane Ida. Sixteen years after Katrina, so it's deja vu for Sean Payton and the Saints. Carolina picked up QB's Sam Darnold & James Morgan (Jets) in separate deals, but Darnold is all but washed up already. Dare we think the same applies to Matt Ryan in Atlanta? Ryan, entering his 14th season, all with the Falcons, can now hand the ball to Wayne Gallman (Giants/Niners), which should perk up the running game. Emphasize "should".

Projected order of finish:

1. Tampa Bay.
2. New Orleans.
3. Atlanta.
4. Carolina.

NFC West:

With Matthew Stafford coming over from Detroit, the Rams might just be players for the division title again. As long as Aaron Donald anchors the defense, they'll be fine. San Francisco needs to retool its defense with coordinator Robert Saleh gone (Jets). The road to the division, however, will run through Seattle. Again. If Russell Wilson can convince team brass to let his wife, Ciara, sing the national anthem before every home game, it might mean extra motivation. Arizona decided to let Larry Fitzgerald test the free agent market. He hasn't gotten any takers as of press time. Last year will be treated as an aberration as a result.

Projected order of finish:

1. Seattle.
2. San Francisco.
3. Los Angeles.
4. Arizona.

Of course, I could be wrong.


It's official: First Take has jumped the shark

 On Wednesday, Max Kellerman ended a 5 year run as co-host of ESPN's First Take. Rather than find a singular replacement for Kellerman, who picks up a solo series in the afternoon on ESPN to complement Max on Boxing on ESPN2, and joins Jay Williams and Keyshawn Johnson on their ESPN Radio morning show (heard locally on WTMM), ESPN suits catered to the growing ego of Stephen A. Smith, opting for a potpurri of co-hosts.

Sources say that behind the scenes, Smith wasn't too fond of Kellerman, thinking they did not mesh well together. Well, of course. Max is more knowledgeable about, say for example, boxing, which he has done commentary for on ESPN & HBO in his career. Stephen wouldn't know a right jab from a right cross or the Red Cross. Smith, who was a basketball beat reporter when he came to ESPN in the first place, is now the network's highest paid personality, sports' answer to Fox Shmooze's Tabloid Carlson. His elocution sometimes borders on a homage or a bad mimic of the late Howard Cosell, a former lawyer who swapped legal briefs for a microphone and an ABC blazer.

As for who has the daunting task of succeeding Kellerman?

Michael Irvin, the former Dallas Cowboys star, moves over from NFL Network, where he was a studio analyst the last few years, and will dicker with Smith on Mondays.

On Fridays, Smith had better bring his Bible. Tim Tebow slides over from SEC Network after his failed comeback in Jacksonville with the Jaguars. Remember, football is another sport that Smith has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of smarts in, and he's getting bombarded by these bookends.


Image courtesy New York Post.

In between, ESPN's Mina Kimes and former NBA star Kendrick Perkins are among the candidates to fill the void Tuesday-Thursday, as is ex-NFL lineman Damian Woody, who ESPN heisted from SNY a ways back after he retired from the Jets.

We attempted to get a statement from Smith's agent:


"Now, I say, now Stephen's going to be a true team player going forward. From now on, that is!"

I'll believe it when I see it.

The decision to remove Kellerman speaks to ESPN suits placating Smith, whose controversial comments on various subjects (especially the ones he knows nothing about) drive the ratings. They want controversy, and found Kellerman to be a little too bland, even though he's the more experienced "broadcast journalist", to use a phrase coined by the late wrestling personality Bobby Heenan.

Let's see how long it takes before Screamin' A. Cosell starts whining again, and gets either Irvin, Tebow, or, say, Woody, dumped. The clock is ticking.