Friday, June 29, 2007

It's True... The Spice Girls Are Reuniting

Old Spice anyone? Well whether or not you "really really want" them to, The Spice Girls are reuniting. On Thursday, the "Girl Power" quintet announced that they'll be getting together for 11 shows around the world in December and January. In addition to the concerts, the group also plans to make their first official documentary for TV broadcast and will be releasing their first greatest hits collection.

Like I said in an earlier post, I don't see a demand for a Spice Girls reunion. However, there might be a large segment of their original fans who want to relive their youth. That's the way I felt when The Monkees got back together in the 1980s and I know many of their non-fans were wondering "Why??" Who knows, maybe this crazy world we live in could use some spice... at least for a little while. Besides, things could be worse... just think if Color Me Badd decided to foist themselves on the world again!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #1: Favorite Childhood Toys/Games

For my debut list, I decided to recall some of the toys & games that I had as a kid. If I still owned half of the items on this list, I might be rich!
  1. Fonzie/Happy Days pinball machine
  2. Green Machine
  3. Talking View Master
  4. Six Million Dollar Man action figure
  5. Quiz Wiz
  6. Evel Kneivel action figure, motorcycle, and funny car
  7. Tyco racing set
  8. Play-doh Fun Factory
  9. Girder & Panel Building Set
  10. Merlin
  11. Mini Frogger arcade game
  12. Connect Four
  13. Tomytronic Electronic Tennis

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:

Frigga has some interesting questions for you

One Gal's Musings spotlights the biggest box office hits in movie history

Chris' lists some of the songs in high rotation on his Zen media player

Book Mama lets you take a peek at her grocery list... yummy!

Wylie's Words lists celebs you may not have realized are from The Great White North

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Larry King's Interview With Paris Hilton/The Stepha Henry Case

I caught the midnight replay of Larry King's interview w/ ex-jailbird Paris Hilton (I was getting my "pileup" on when it first aired). It was pretty much what I expected... a puff piece that didn't reveal much. Does anyone really believe that Paris rarely drinks and has never used drugs? Why didn't Larry ask her about some of her videotaped escapades? In addition to "the videotape", there's footage of her at a club w/ her sister where Paris uses a homophobic slur and the "n" word.

Maybe there were some topics that were off limits. If that's the case, what's the point in doing an interview? Hell, if Larry had asked her she probably would have lied about it anyway. I am glad that Paris is out of jail because now the news outlets can hopefully go back to covering stories that actually matter. I hear that there's a war going on... who knew?

Over the weekend I was reading a blog (Crucial Commentary) that talked about Stepha Henry. In case you haven't heard, Ms. Henry is the 22 year old black college graduate who has been missing since May 29th. Apparently, MSNBC put the kibosh on two interviews about the Stepha Henry case because they felt that the Paris Hilton story is more important. MSNBC isn't the only culprit, but their actions do shed light on the sad state of journalism. What does it say about our culture when a story concerning a useless heiress takes precedence over a missing person?

As I write this, Stepha Henry is still missing. America's Most Wanted has added Ms. Henry to its website so hopefully this will lead to a break in the case. It's reassuring to know that someone gives a damn!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another One From the Spin City Archives

The following playlist is from 3/18/06. Since March is Women's History Month, I decided to do a show devoted to female solo artists/groups or duos with female lead singers. For good measure, I also threw in a few theme songs to TV shows with female lead characters. How many of these do you remember?

4 pm hour

Cha, Cha, Cha- MC Lyte
Missionary Man- Eurythmics
What Can I Do For You?- Labelle
Remember Me- Diana Ross
Robert DeNiro's Waiting- Bananarama
Destination Unknown- Missing Persons
On & On- Gladys Knight & the Pips
Hit Me With Your Best Shot- Pat Benatar
I'll Set You Free- The Bangles
Can the Can- Suzi Quatro
Theme from Police Woman
Nutbush City Limits- Ike & Tina Turner
Once You Get Started- Rufus feat. Chaka Khan
Girls Just Want To Have Fun- Cyndi Lauper
Love In C Minor- Cerrone

5 pm hour

Back On the Chain Gang- The Pretenders
Just Like Jesse James- Cher
Look Into Your Heart- Aretha Franklin
Nathan Jones- The Supremes
Modern Girl- Sheena Easton
Like A Virgin- Madonna
Come Give Your Love To Me- Janet Jackson

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Magic- Olivia Newton- John

Sukiyaki- A Taste of Honey
Ladies First- Queen Latifah
Theme from One Day At A Time
Charity Ball- Fanny
I Love Rock & Roll- Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Kiss Me Deadly- Lita Ford
Fly Robin Fly- Silver Convention

6 pm hour

Love Is In Control- Donna Summer
He's So Dull- Vanity 6
How Do I Make You- Linda Ronstadt
Me & Bobby McGee- Janis Joplin
Magic Man- Heart
The Belle of St. Mark- Sheila E.
How Much More- The Go Gos (from the LP that was #1 on the Billboard Pop Album chart the week of March 18th, 1982: "Beauty and the Beat")
I Want Candy- Bow Wow Wow
Tramp- Salt & Pepa
One Monkey Don't Stop No Show- The Honey Cone
Dreamin'- Vanessa Williams
All Around the World- Lisa Stansfield
The Best Disco In Town- The Ritchie Family

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Movie Memories: The Idolmaker

"I got a story to tell...!" Sorry, but I cannot get that song (called "Baby") out of my head. If you're like me and spent many hours watching HBO/Cinemax in the early 1980's, you too may have caught the movie that contains that song... "The Idolmaker". Based on a true story, the 1980 drama stars Ray Sharkey as Vinnie, a hotshot with plenty of musical talent... but not the right "look" to make it as a teen idol. During the course of the film, he takes two guys with the "look" (played by Paul Land and Peter Gallagher) and molds them into pop superstars. The movie does a really good job of recreating the rock 'n' roll world of the late 50s/early 60s... the "Army Elvis" years, before the British Invasion and Motown dominated the charts.

Ray Sharkey is superb in the title role (he received a Golden Globe for Best Actor In A Comedy or Musical for his efforts). He really draws you into his performance of the New York hustler whose control freak-ishness eventually gets the best of him. The movie also features Peter Gallagher's film debut as Guido, the shy busboy who is transformed by Vinnie into "Caesare". He even does his own singing, performing "Baby" and "However Dark The Night". "The Idolmaker" also includes supporting performances by Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, Joe Pantoliano, Deney (Dance Fever) Terio, and "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!" herself... Maureen McCormick.

Along with the strong acting, "The Idolmaker" has a soundtrack that'll get your head bobbing and your feet tapping! In addition to the songs performed by Peter Gallagher, the movie also includes such tunes as "Sweet Little Lover" and "Here Is My Love". Paul Land (as Tommy Dee) lip synchs these two songs, but they are actually sung by Jesse Frederick. There's a good chance that you've heard Jesse's voice before because he sings the themes to such TGIF sitcoms as "Full House", "Family Matters", and "Step By Step". The closing theme to "The Idolmaker" (titled "Ooh-Wee Baby") is peformed by girl group legend Darlene Love (who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame... but that's a topic for another post). If they ever release the soundtrack on CD, I'm all over it!

I can't tell you how many times I watched "The Idolmaker" on cable during my early teen years. Over the past month or so, the pay channels TMC and Flix have been airing it on a regular basis. I hadn't seen it since those days in the basement watching cable as a kid, but I remembered most of it as if it were yesterday. If you haven't seen it and you're a fan of such movies as "Eddie and the Cruisers", "The Five Hearbeats", and "Hairspray", you should give "The Idolmaker" a spin.

Scenes from the "Idolmaker":

Here Is My Love- Tommy Dee (Paul Land)

Sweet Little Lover- Tommy Dee (Paul Land)

Baby- Caesare (Peter Gallagher)

However Dark the Night- Caesare (Peter Gallagher)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Funday Night At the Movies On TCM

All this summer, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is running "Funday Night At the Movies" Sundays at 8 pm. The purpose is to help adults introduce kids to classic films.

Before cable TV made them virtually obsolete, there were a bunch of local programs that featured hosts who showed and discussed old movies. As a kid growing up in Michigan during the 1970s, the two programs that I have fond memories of are "The Rita Bell Prize Movie" on Channel 7 and "Bill Kennedy At the Movies" on Channel 50. My mother used to watch both of these programs and I was often right there with her, soaking up movie gold from a bygone era.

I think that what TCM is doing is fantastic because to many kids, the terms "classic" or "black and white" when referring to movies are dirty ones. Hell, you even have some knuckleheaded adults walking around thinking the same thing! In addition to presenting classic films that can be enjoyed by the whole family, TCM is also offering all sorts of added fun on the program as well. The on-air host for "Funday Night At the Movies" is actor Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants). So if you mention "Funday..." to the kiddies and they turn up their noses, tell 'em that the guy who voices "Spongebob" is the host!

Some of the films that TCM has showcased on "Funday Night At the Movies" so far include "The Wizard of Oz", "Sounder", and "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein". On Sunday July 1st, they are screening "Oliver!", the 1968 film that won the Oscar for Best Picture. For the remaining lineup of films and more information about "Funday Night At the Movies", please visit:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Soul Food Season Two Coming To DVD

The 2nd season of "Soul Food", the only successful TV drama to feature a predominantly African-American cast, is scheduled to be released on DVD on 8/7/07. Based on the hit 1997 film of the same name, "Soul Food" was a TV rarity: a realistic portrayal of black family life. The fact that it's been the only successful black drama says alot (none of it good) about the mentality of many TV execs.

Because it's been four years since the release of the season one set of "Soul Food", it looked doubtful that any of the remaining seasons would ever be made available on DVD. Apparently, many fans spoke and Paramount Home Video listened.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

More From The Spin City Archives

As you may know, my radio show Spin City is on hiatus for the next few weeks. During that time, I will dig through the archives and post playlists from the pre-blog era. The following playlist is from a show I did Sunday, 11/19/06. Since the day before was the big Michigan-Ohio State football game, I didn't do my show in my regular timeslot. Just to mix things up, I decided to play music from the 1990s to the present. Let me know if some of your favorites made this playlist.

Noon hour

Dyslexic Heart- Paul Westerberg
Cut Your Hair- Pavement
I Am Not My Hair- India.Arie
How Many Ways- Heather Headley
Julianne- Ben Folds Five
She- Green Day
Crush On You- from the CD "Hidden Beach Recordings presents: Unwrapped Vol. 1"
Cream- Prince and the New Power Generation

Common Thread segment: songs from tribute albums
Under Pressure- Joss Stone (from the CD "Killer Queen")
Top of the World- Shonen Knife (from the CD "If I Were A Carpenter")
Roxanne- Fall Out Boy (from the CD "Policia!- A Tribute To the Police")

Soul Mate- Gerald Levert
Waiting For You- Seal
Winter- Bond

1 pm hour

What About Your Friends- TLC
Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand- Primitive Radio Gods
Your Mirror- Simply Red
Beautiful Life- Ace of Base
Ooh- The Scissor Sisters
Theme from Six Feet Under- Thomas Newman
Smooth Operator- Pru

Greatest Miss of the Week:
There She Goes- The La's

Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)- The Offspring
Type- Living Colour
Hoodie- Lady Sovereign
Hard Knock Life- Jay Z
Ghetto Child- Joe
I Wish- Fantasia, Patti Labelle, & Yolanda Adams

2 pm hour

You Get What You Give- New Radicals
Predictable- Good Charlotte
Appletree- Erykah Badu
What's Up?- 4 Non Blondes
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight- R.E.M.
Jump n' Move- The Brand New Heavies
Stay- Shakespears Sister
Why You Follow Me- Eric Benet
Groove Thang- Zhane
Renegades of Funk- Rage Against the Machine
Seether- Veruca Salt
Selling the Drama- Live
Suerte (Whenever, Wherever)- Shakira

Spin City videos:

I Am Not My Hair- India.Arie feat. Akon

Cream- Prince & the NPG

Under Pressure- Joss Stone

Beautiful Life- Ace of Base

There She Goes- The La's

Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)- The Offspring

Type- Living Colour

Hoodie- Lady Sovereign

Hard Knock Life- Jay Z

You Get What You Give- New Radicals

What's Up?- 4 Non Blondes

Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight- R.E.M.

Stay- Shakespears Sister

Why You Follow Me- Eric Benet

Seether- Veruca Salt

Selling the Drama- Live

Suerte (Whenever, Wherever)- Shakira

Shakira Parody

Girl Power Revisited

It was recently announced that The Spice Girls would make an announcement regarding their future plans to the world on June 28th. What could these plans be? Wiping out world hunger... developing a cure for cancer... filming a movie for The Spice Network (woo hoo!). Based on what some of the former members of the group have stated in the media, it appears as if Scary, Sporty, Ginger, Posh, and Baby will be announcing their reunion.

Luckily my fingernails are trimmed, because an impending Spice Girls reunion really has me scratching my head. Since their disappearance from the pop landscape in 2000, I haven't heard anyone clamoring for a Spice Girls reunion. Don't get me wrong... when the Spice Girls were dominating the world, I didn't mind them. Although I definitely wasn't their target demo and never bought any of their music, I actually found some of their tunes pretty damn catchy!

With that being said, who's anticipating a Spice Girls reunion? Their original fans who were all about "Girl Power" during the middle years of the Clinton administration? I have a niece who is 19 now and she was a big fan of The Spice Girls when she was a kid. However, she kicked them to the pop music curb back in 1998! The less than stellar sales of their last album two years later demonstrated that a majority of The Spice Girls' fan base were in lockstep with my niece.

What about today's females who are between the ages of 6 and 21? Since they have their own "Spice Girls" to worship (The Pussycat Dolls or The Cheetah Girls, take your pick), girls today probably don't have much use for the original product. When you throw in soloists like Avril Lavigne and Miley "Hannah Montana" Cyrus (I'm almost ashamed to admit I even know who she is), that makes a Spice reunion an even more iffy prospect.

Oh well... we shall find out the details of the announcement in less than a week. Too bad it won't involve a "Surreal Life"-like show starring Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, her soccer playing husband David, their pals TomKat, Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown, and Eddie "Watch Them Daddy Day Care Jokes" Murphy. Now that would be interesting!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Update: AFI’s 100 Years...100 Movies - 10th Anniversary Edition

After searching the web, I found that the list compiled by the AFI of the 100 Greatest American Films that I posted on Thursday was the original one from 1998. As many of you know, the AFI recently came out with an updated 10th Anniversary edition of the list. Please accept my apologies for the oversight.

As it did in 1998, Orson Welles masterpiece "Citizen Kane" once again came in at numero uno. You won't get any arguments from me with that choice. The fact that this was Welles' film debut makes it all the more amazing!

After comparing the 1998 and 2007 lists, there were a few things that stood out to me:

Spike Lee's in-your-face classic about race relations in America, "Do the Right Thing" debuted on the new list at #96. Although "Driving Miss Daisy" one the Best Picture Oscar the year that "Do the Right Thing" was released, which one would you rather watch today? In case you were wondering, "Driving Miss Daisy" did NOT make the list. Radio Raheem like a mofo!

One of Scorsese's many films to get dissed at the Oscars (The Raging Bull) jumped 20 spots to #4. Arguably the greatest boxing film ever made! Also, the black and white cinematography is magnificent!

"The African Queen" took a dive, falling from #17 to #65! Anyone who knows me well can tell you that Humphrey Bogart is my favorite actor... hands down. However, I wouldn't even put "The African Queen" in my Bogie Top 10. Although it has some good moments (Bogie's drunken rant directed at Hepburn's "crazy, psalm singing skinny old maid", Hepburn dumping Bogie's hooch into the river the morning after, etc.), it doesn't do all that much for me.

The Buster Keaton silent film "The General" was the highest ranking film that was new to the updated list, coming in at #18! Sad to say that I am sorely lacking in my silent film knowledge. Since TCM shows silent movies on a regular basis, I need to do a better job of checking these out.

Otto Preminger's 1944 classic "Laura" still didn't make the list. Since I deleted my previous post about the 100 Greatest Films, I wanted to include the comments left by The Gal Herself (she writes the blog One Gal's Musings) in regards to "Laura":

"It's one of the most beautiful black and white films ever made. And as a love story, it's romantic yet surprisingly dark at the same time. The cop falls for a dead chick's painting, Waldo loves obsessively, Laura's fiance is really no more than a gigolo ... Pretty intense stuff for the day, but handled in such a sophisticated manner."

I am in complete agreement with "The Gal Herself" concerning her take on "Laura". Below are a few of the other films that I think should have made the cut:

The original version of "All the King's Men"- A great political drama that features some dynamite performances, none better than Broderick Crawford's powerhouse Oscar-winning portrayal of Willie Stark. His transformation from the hick wannabe politician to ruthless, womanizing power broker is amazing!

"Stalag 17"- a precursor to "M*A*S*H", in that it combined comedic elements with the harsh realities of war.

"Airplane!"- Surely, you won't tell me that this shouldn't have been on the list?

For a look at the list, please check out the following link:

What films do you think should have/shouldn't have been included?

Angela Bassett Set To Star In Upcoming Tyler Perry Film

Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett is set to star in the upcoming film, "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns". The film is an adaptation of Perry's stage play "Meet the Browns." Bassett will play Brenda, a single mother living in inner-city Chicago who takes her family to Georgia for the funeral of her father, whom she never met. There, she meets the Browns, the fun-loving, crass relatives from her father's side of the family. Perry will portray Madea and Uncle Joe in the film. The movie is due to be released early next year. I think that Bassett's presence should lend some class to the project. To paraphrase J.J. Hunsecker, "We shall see what we shall see".

Although Bassett has worked steadily since her Oscar-nominated role as the lady from Nutbush, TN in "What's Love Got To Do With It?", her career hasn't reached the heights that I felt it should. When I saw her in "Vampire In Brooklyn", I wondered why an acclaimed actress such as Angela would sign on for such crap. When you're a Black actress and your name isn't Halle Berry, I guess you can't be too choosy about the roles you take. Please don't hold "Vampire In Brooklyn" against me... I was employed by Blockbuster at the time and got 5 free rentals a week. I beat myself up for a good while after that for wasting a free rental on that mess!

Whose on your list of performers (of any race or gender) who you feel haven't received the roles they deserve?

Anatomy of A Firing...the Saga Continues

Isaiah Washington, the erstwhile Dr. Preston Burke, has fired back in the latest on his firing from ABC drama "Grey's Anatomy". For the complete story, please click the following link:

I have a feeling that this story is far from over.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I Found A New Toy!

Thanks to Taj (who runs an excellent blog called Taj Wanders With Coffee In Hand), I found one of the coolest sites I've come across in awhile. It's called and it allows you to create your own 3-D self. Like I told Taj, it's like Mr. Potato Head for the digital age. In addition to choosing your physical characteristics, you can also select your clothing and the background in which you'll pose. Meez also has a chatroom, a message board and lots of other goodies!

I played around on the site for about an hour before I settled on a reasonable facsimile of myself that was satisfactory. For any of you less picky than I, it probably won't take as long. I liked my creation so much that I decided to use it as my "picture" on the front page of my blog. Dig those piercing brown eyes and that dentist's dream of a smile! Now if only I had a big screen TV for my place like the one in my animated universe!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

From the Spin City Archives

Since I won't be hosting Spin City for the next several weeks, I thought I would dig through the archives and post a playlist from the "pre-blog" era. This is from a show I did last November. Because I was competing in an Oldies Trivia contest on Saturday 11/11/06, the following playlist is from a show I did the next day. I used this opportunity as a chance to get out of the 70s and 80s bag and go back even further with a show featuring songs from the 50s and 60s. How many of these tunes do you remember?

Spin City Playlist For 11/12/06

Noon hour

I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night- The Electric Prunes
This Old Heart of Mine- Isley Bros.
I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday- Fats Domino
My Town, My Guy, and Me- Lesley Gore
Time Won't Let Me- The Outsiders
Little Demon- Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Saved- LaVern Baker
My Little Red Book- Love
Suspicious Minds- Elvis Presley

Common Thread segment (Twist tunes):
Teach Me To Twist- Chubby Checker & Bobby Rydell
Twistin' Postman- The Marvelettes
Twistin' the Night Away- Sam Cooke
Twist Twist Senora- Gary "US" Bonds
Bristol Twistin' Annie- The Dovells

Piece of My Heart- Big Brother & the Holding Company
Hey Bulldog- The Beatles
Everybody Needs Somebody To Love- Wilson Pickett
Nothing But Heartaches- The Supremes
Tall Cool One- The Wailers

1 pm hour

I Want Candy- The Strangeloves
Back In the U.S.A.- Chuck Berry
Slow Down- Larry Williams
Right Now and Not Later- The Shangri-Las
She'd Rather Be With Me- The Turtles
In the Basement- Etta James & Sugar Pie DeSanto
Memphis Soul Stew- King Curtis
Way Down Yonder In New Orleans- Freddy Cannon
Buzz Buzz Buzz- The Hollywood Flames
The Beat Goes On- Sonny & Cher

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Winchester Cathedral- The New Vaudeville Band

I Can Hear Music- The Ronettes
Where Were You On Our Wedding Day?- Lloyd Price
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher- Jackie Wilson
Who Do You Love- The Woolies
My Gal- The Lovin' Spoonful
Crosstown Traffic- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
The First Cut Is the Deepest- P.P. Arnold
Slippin' & Slidin'- Little Richard
Shake A Tail Feather- The Five Du-Tones
Memphis- Lonnie Mack

2 pm hour

You Were On My Mind- The We Five
Theme From the Monkees- The Monkees
For Pete's Sake- The Monkees (song used as the closing theme for their show's 2nd season)
Shake Rattle and Roll- Big Joe Turner
Pucker Up Buttercup- Jr. Walker & the All-Stars
In the Land of Make Believe- Dusty Springfield
Love Is A Beautiful Thing- The Rascals
Chicken Shack Boogie- Amos Milburn
Party Lights- Claudine Clark
Nobody But Me- The Human Beinz

The Greatest Miss of the Week:
Up Down Sue- The Luv'd Ones (an all-female band from Michigan)

Foot Stompin- The Flares
Boogaloo Down Broadway- The Fantastic Johnny C
Hallelujah I Love Her So- Ray Charles
Baby It's You- Smith
Eve of Destruction- Barry McGuire
Can't You See That She's Mine- Dave Clark Five
We're A Winner- The Impressions
Red Hot- Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
Monterey- The Animals

Spin City videos:

I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night- The Electric Prunes

My Little Red Book- Love

Hey Bulldog- The Beatles

Right Now, Not Later- The Shangri-Las

(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher- Jackie Wilson

You Were On My Mind- The We Five

Original Opening Credits From The Monkees Season 1

Up Down Sue- The Luv'd Ones

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bob Barker's Run Ends

Last Friday was Bob Barker's final episode as the host of The Price Is Right. It is definitely an end to an era. I read where fans waited in line for weeks just to get the chance to "come on down" during Bob's last show.

Although I hadn't watched TPIR on a regular basis since the Reagan administration, I had to check out Bob's farewell (you know me, I am a sucker for TV history). It was cool to see the audience give him a lengthy standing ovation when he came out.

I was surprised that the show still works as well as it does! I'm not sure if they featured them because it was Bob's final show, but the episode included such classic TPIR standbys as The Range Game, The Grocery Game, and perhaps my favorite... Plinko! Just as I did way back when, I found myself playing armchair contestant (Dude, you went last... why didn't you outbid the highest bidder by $1?, Aw come on lady... a box of Snore Stop and two bottles of Dial Liquid Soap won't put you between $20-$21!).

When not playing armchair contestant, I made a few observations:

1. The 3 women who made up Barker's Beauties (who were fine as hell by the way) probably were all younger than 30. You may be saying to yourself (or out loud), "So what?". However, think about this: Holly Hallstrom, Dian Parkinson, and Kathleen Bradley were all in their 40s when they departed TPIR. Hell, Janice Pennington was almost 60 when she was shown the door! It just shows you how our culture has changed.

2. With the exception of Bob's closing remarks thanking the viewers for allowing him into their homes, it was pretty much business as usual. No cake, no glowing sign or anything like that. However, there was a audience member who kept throwing confetti when an audience member got called to Contestant's Row.

3. Bob Barker was one of the all-time great game show hosts. When somebody has been around as long as Bob has, it's easy to take them for granted... I know I did. Also, it had never occurred to me until the final show that he had the perfect last name for a host of TPIR.

Some of the names that have come up as possible successors for Bob Barker include Todd Newton, George Hamilton, Mario Lopez, and John O' Hurley. Out of those four, I think that Newton and O' Hurley would be good choices. Apparently, Bob Barker endorsed Rosie O'Donnell as his replacement. However, I don't think the former "Queen of Nice" could revamp her image and host a show like TPIR.

Who would you like to see take over the skinny mike as Bob Barker's replacement?

Spin City Going On Hiatus

Kettering University (the home of WKUF) will be closed until July 16th. The following weekend (July 20th-22nd) I will be in New York for the Harlem Book Fair. My show will return to the air on Saturday, July 28th.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

In Praise of Picket Fences

A TV show whose DVD release I have been anticipating for years is finally coming out on Tuesday, June 19th... Picket Fences. My copy should arrive this week and I can't wait to catch up with the citizens of the fictional Rome, Wisconsin. When this show originally aired on CBS from 1992-96, I couldn't be bothered with it for a couple of reasons:

1. I had heard about some of the strange plotlines and assumed that it was just being quirky for the sake of being quirky.

2. I held a grudge against creator David E. Kelley because I felt that he helped to ruin one of my favorite shows... L.A. Law.

However, one of my friends (Cheri) watched it in reruns on FX in the late 90s and constantly raved about it. Unfortunately, I didn't have FX at the time (damn you Comcast Flint) so I couldn't watch it. When TNN aired reruns in the early part of this decade, I decided to give it a shot and was instantly hooked.

Picket Fences is one of those shows that could be hilarious, thought provoking, and heartwarming all in one episode! It dealt with such topics as transsexuality, school busing, belief in God, and cryonics. At one of my former jobs, I used to bring in tapes so that me and some of my co-workers could watch episodes in the breakroom. I remember that the combination of a heart-tugging scene and that soft piano theme music would get one of my co-workers every time.
Earlier, I made a reference to the strange events that took place in Rome, WI. When I tell people who have never seen the show about some of the things that happened on Picket Fences, you should see the looks that I get. These are a few of the weird things that happened:

A girl brought a severed hand in a jar for Show and Tell

A serial bather who snuck into people's homes and left rings in their bathtubs

The mayor who died of spontaneous combustion

A cow gave birth to a human baby

Yes, you non-watchers are probably saying what the hell (or something stronger). However, the writers for Picket Fences did an excellent job of making the craziest plot twists plausible.

In addition to the top notch regulars (Tom Skerritt, Kathy Baker, Fyvush Finkel, Ray Walston, Don Cheadle, etc.), over the years Picket Fences also featured guest appearances by James Earl Jones, Marlee Matlin, Jack Black, Terrence Howard, Della Reese, and a "blink and you would miss it" cameo by Michelle Pfeiffer (Mrs. David E. Kelley) just to name a few.

When David E. Kelley handed over the reins after the end of the 3rd season, many fans thought that it caused Picket Fences to slip a bit in quality for its fourth and final season. However, I think that it was still better than most shows. I can hear that soft piano music playing right now...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 6/16/07

4 pm hour

Ballroom Blitz- Sweet
Candy Man- Mary Jane Girls
Pop Goes the World- Men Without Hats
Boogie Fever- The Sylvers
My Kinda Lover- Billy Squier
September Gurls- The Bangles
Mercy Mercy Me- Marvin Gaye
Wet My Whistle- Midnight Star

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Disco Duck- Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots

I Wanna Be Where You Are- Michael Jackson
Goodbye Seventies- Yaz
Rock the Casbah- The Clash
Run's House- Run DMC
Private Eyes- Hall & Oates
Too Hot To Handle- Heatwave

5 pm hour

School's Out- Alice Cooper
Space Race- Billy Preston
Sister Fate- Sheila E.
Right On Track- The Breakfast Club
Hunting High & Low- A-ha
Mothership Connection- Parliament
You Are My Heaven- Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
Don't Stop Believing- Journey

Now & Then segment's featured artist: Belinda Carlisle
I Still Love Him (from the bonus disc included with her new CD "Voila")
Our Lips Are Sealed- The Go-Gos

Panic In Detroit- David Bowie
Heaven On the 7th Floor- The Mighty Pope
Tough- Kurtis Blow
Waterfall- Wendy & Lisa

6 pm hour

Cum On Feel the Noize- Quiet Riot
Cleveland Rocks- Ian Hunter
You Can't Hide From Yourself- Teddy Pendergrass
Hang On To Your Love- Sade
Black Cow- Steely Dan
I'm Your Boogie Man- KC & the Sunshine Band
Let Your Hair Down- The Temptations
This Time- John Cougar
Just Coolin'- Levert feat. Heavy D
We Connect- Stacey Q
Welcome Back- John Sebastian
Baby Blue- Badfinger
Walk the Dinosaur- Was (Not Was)

Thursday, June 14, 2007


While watching the 2007 NBA Finals I caught the promos "Cavemen", a sitcom that is set to debut this fall on ABC. As you probably know, this show is based on the characters featured in a series of television ads for Geico Insurance. This has all the makings of being a pretty funny show... or going down as one of the worst ideas in TV history. I have to say that the curiosity factor will get me to tune in at least once.

What are your nominees for some of the worst ideas in TV history?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tyler Perry's House of Payne

I watched the new TBS sitcom "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" for the 1st time tonight. Since its sister station TNT bombarded us basketball fans with commercials for the sitcom during the 2007 NBA playoffs, I felt compelled to give it a shot. "House of Payne" stars LaVan Davis and Cassi Davis as Curtis and Ella Payne, an older couple who take in his firefighter nephew CJ (Allen Payne), his wife Janine (Demetria McKinney) and their two children after their house burns down.

With a title such as "House of Payne", it would be too easy to use variations of the word "pain" to describe my thoughts on the show. However, I won't go there. I'll just say... it sucks! Badly written/acted, preachy, and with jokes so weak even the laugh track can barely muster a chuckle, "House of Payne" makes "Punky Brewster" look like "The Cosby Show"! When a script has a character spouting lines stolen from Diane Sawyer's 2002 interview with Whitney Houston ("crack is whack", "show me receipts"), you know it's in serious trouble.

TBS reportedly ponied up $200 million dollars for 100 episodes of "House of Payne". I'm being generous when I say that Tyler Perry owes TBS $199,999,999.

Did you happen to catch "House of Payne"? If so, what are your thoughts?

The Sopranos Finale

Although I was not a regular viewer of "The Sopranos", I did get caught up in the hoopla surrounding the series finale. From what I've heard/read from fans of the show, most of them fell into one of two camps... they either thought the final episode was brilliant or they were ready to "whack" series creator David Chase. When you combine the intense media hype with fans' raised expectations, it was next to impossible for "The Sopranos" finale to satisfy most of its fans. It reminds me of the disappointment that many felt towards the final episode of "Seinfeld" (I seemed to be one of the few who liked it). Which series finale did you love (or hate) the most?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Anatomy of A Firing

Late last week, it was announced that Isaiah Washington would not be returning to the hit ABC show "Grey's Anatomy". After months of speculation, the producers of the medical drama elected not to renew Washington's contract for next season. In a statement released by his publicist, Washington made the "Networky" comment "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" (If "Networky" isn't a word... it is now). One of the ironies of this controversy is that Washington played a gay man in the Spike Lee film "Get On the Bus".

Even if you are like me and don't watch "Grey's Anatomy", you had to have been on a deserted isle somewhere not to have heard what all the fuss is about surrounding the Washington controversy. In case you were living the life of Gilligan for the past several months, a fight involving Washington and one of his co-stars (Patrick Dempsey) took place on the set of the show. During the dustup, Washington used a term for "bundle of sticks" in reference to the sexuality of another co-star (T.R. Knight).

In the weeks that followed, Washington denied using the term and then admitted that he did. In addition to stating that he was seeking therapy, Washington also met with officials from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and filmed a public service announcement in which he said "words have power" to hurt or heal.

The bottom line is that Washington shouldn't have said what he said in regards to Knight's sexuality. He also didn't do himself any favors backstage at the Golden Globes when he denied his original comments while speaking to reporters... but uttered the slur again! However, I'm not sure if his comments are grounds for him getting the ax. After all, it did seem like he made a concerted effort to make things right. Of course it is human nature to question whether or not his actions to make amends were genuine.

This controversy does make me wonder how things would have been handled under different circumstances. I suspect that the producers of "Grey's Anatomy" feel that Washington is expendable and that the show can continue to have success without him. Let's say that everything happened as it did, but instead of Washington using the derogatory slur... it was Patrick Dempsey (aka Dr. McDreamy) or how about Ellen Pompeo (aka Dr. Meredith Grey). Do you think either of them would have been shown the door?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 6/9/07

4 pm hour

When I Think of You- Janet Jackson
Your Love Is A Miracle- AWB
I’m Qualified To Satisfy You- Barry White
Shake It Up- The Cars
Oh L'amour- Erasure
How Long- Lipps Inc.
Harry Hippie- Bobby Womack

Common Thread segment (songs orig. recorded by The Beatles):
You Won’t See Me- Anne Murray
We Can Work It Out- Stevie Wonder
Got To Get You Into My Life- Earth, Wind, and Fire
I Saw Him Standing There- Tiffany

Breaking the Law- Judas Priest
Wild Boys- Duran Duran
Body Heat- James Brown

5 pm hour

Venus- Shocking Blue
There’s No Me Without You- The Manhattans
Too Many Games- Maze feat. Frankie Beverly
Sultans of Swing- Dire Straits
Give Me Just A Little More Time- Chairmen of the Board
Cherish What Is Dear To You- Freda Payne
Wrap Her Up- Elton John

On the Flip Side:
Any Major Dude Will Tell You- Steely Dan (B-side to Rikki Don’t Lose That Number)

You Sexy Thing- Hot Chocolate
17 Days- Prince
Treat Me Right- Pat Benatar
Share the Land- The Guess Who
Full of Fire- Al Green
A Perfect Kiss- New Order

6 pm hour

Love In An Elevator- Aerosmith
Steamy Windows- Tina Turner
Shake- The Gap Band
Timothy- The Buoys
You’re the One That I Want- John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
She’s Sexy + 17- Stray Cats
Roxanne Roxanne- UTFO
So Fine- Howard Johnson
Edge of Seventeen- Stevie Nicks
Contact- Edwin Starr
Stuck In the Middle With You- Stealers Wheel
I Won’t Let You Down- PhD
Rockit- Herbie Hancock

Spare Us Paris

It is refreshing to see that sometimes justice is served. Friday morning, a crying and disheveled Paris Hilton was hauled into court and learned that she will be going back to the L.A. county jailto serve out the remaining days of her sentence for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. After Judge Michael T. Sauer laid down his gavel, Paris was led away by two deputies as she cried for her mommy.

When I started this blog earlier in the year, I tried to avoid writing about "celebs" such as Paris because they hardly seemed worth the space. People who are famous just for being famous normally don't move me. However, I was compelled to throw in my copper-plated Lincolns after this latest episode. For many of us who reside in what is known as the real world, the announcement on Thursday that Paris would be confined to the drab and dusty confines of her mansion because of a "medical condition" was further proof that being rich and famous means that you can do what you want when you want without any consequences. Repeatedly break the law and you get a sentence that basically amounts to being grounded... yeah, that seems fair.

The fact that Judge Michael T. Sauer saw to it that Paris wasn't allowed to skate and spend the remainder of her sentence chillin' at the crib makes me a little (just a little) more faithful in the judicial system. Who knows, maybe her time in jail will force Paris to get her "mind right" (whenever there's a chance for me to work in a Cool Hand Luke reference, I gotta bite). Hell, I am probably kidding myself... right?

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Death of A Local TV Legend

Welcome to the Dead Zone...aka Pop Culture Dish. Sad to say that this is the 3rd post (in as many days) related to the death of a celebrity. Scott, a friend and fellow member of the Oldies Trivia team on which I compete informed me that Lawson Deming had died. You may know Deming better as Sir Graves Ghastly. After looking it up on, I found that he died of congestive heart failure on April 27th at the age of 94.

If you grew up in the Metro Detroit/Ohio area during the period between the late 60s and early 80s, chances are that you spent many Saturday afternoons checking out Sir Graves Ghastly on WJBK-Channel 2. Right after Don Cornelius wished us "love, peace, and soul", Sir Graves would assault the airwaves with corny comedy (of which I am a huge fan) and some of the spookiest movies from yesteryear. I have fond memories of seeing such classics as the 1931 version of "Frankenstein", Lon Chaney Jr. in "The Wolf Man", and "The Werewolf of London" on Sir Graves Ghastly. If it was a bad weather day or during the winter when it gets dark early, that made the movie viewing experience all the better.

Although my mother couldn't stand Sir Graves (she had a low tolerance for silliness), I thought he was great! Sad to say that with the cable boom, Sir Graves and many other local TV hosts fell by the wayside. Kids today have no idea what they missed.

If you want to relive some of your childhood memories or if you want to get an idea of what you missed, check out this cool site that I found:

Happy Haunting, nyahhhh!!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Tony Thompson, R.I.P.

Just hours after my post on the late Charles Nelson Reilly, I learned about the death of another celebrity...Tony Thompson. Not to be confused with the late drummer for Chic and the Power Station who shares his name, you may remember Tony for his work as the lead singer of the teen group from the early 90s, Hi-Five. Their biggest single was the #1 R&B/#1 pop hit "I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)". Thompson died of an apparent drug overdose at the age of 31. In addition to the hits he scored with Hi-Five, Tony Thompson also hit the charts a couple of times in the mid 90s as a solo artist.

Although it had been awhile since Thompson had a hit on the charts, he was still active in the music biz. As a matter of fact, he was working on a new album that was scheduled to be released in the fall. I visited his My Space page and it's sort of sad to read the "About" section of his profile, because it sounded like he had high hopes for a musical comeback. When I scrolled down the page, I read some of the comments left by people whose lives were touched by him. I wonder if he knew?

News story on Tony Thompson's Death

Hi-Five performing I Like the Way on Soul Train

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Charles Nelson Reilly, R.I.P.

While channel surfing this morning, I came across an episode of "Match Game" on GSN. I then went to the digital cable guide and found that they were showing "Match Game" episodes all day. So I say to myself, "cool, I can work on my radio show and watch a little Match Game". When they went to commercial break, I found out why they were doing the marathon... because of the death of Charles Nelson Reilly. When I went on Wikipedia, I found out that he died on May 25th from pneumonia.

Chances are if you grew up in the 1970s like I did, one of things you looked forward to afterschool was catching the antics of Gene Rayburn, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers, Richard Dawson and the rest of the Match Game "ding-a-lings" (as Gene would say). One of the highlights of the show were the barbs that the cast (especially Brett and Charles) traded back and forth.

It's also fun to see if you can spot which episodes were taped after lunch. As some of you Match Game fans may know, they taped several shows a day with a break for lunch in between. During lunch, the celebs would often partake in potent potables (pardon the Jeopardy reference). This led to the last few episodes of the week having an even looser feel to them. Watching it now also makes it even more apparent that kids today are alot more sophisticated than most of us were back in the day. Although he certainly never tried to conceal it, CNR's sexuality never occurred to me when I was a kid.

In addition to his game show appearances, kids of the 1970s also may remember CNR for his contributions to Saturday morning TV. From 1971-73, he appeared as the evil magician Horatio J. HooDoo on "Lidsville". This Sid & Marty Krofft production also starred Butch Patrick (aka Eddie Munster) as a teenager who fell into the hat of Merlo the Magician and arrived in Lidsville, a land of living hats. The hats on the show would have the same occupations as the humans who would normally wear them (for example, a cowboy hat would act like a cowboy).

Unless you remember seeing this show, you might be saying to yourself "Malcolm, you are making this shit up!". In addition to the living hats, one of the things that sticks out in my mind about "Lidsville" is CNR's portrayal of Hoodo and the fact that he flew around in a big hat (his "Hatamaran" ).

CNR was also the star of "Uncle Croc's Block", which aired on ABC from 1975-76. Although I watched it on a regular basis when it originally aired, I don't remember much about it given that I haven't seen it since then. Given that "Uncle Croc's Block" was a spoof of children's TV (a forerunner to Pee Wee's Playhouse), most of it probably went over my head.

Some CNR-related links for you to check out:

Match Game: Time To Separate the Children

CNR Hosts Match Game

Match Game: Snow White Question

CNR appearance on Here's Lucy

The Opening and Closing Credits To Lidsville

Friday, June 1, 2007

It Was 40 Years Ago Today...

On June 1st 1967, arguably the greatest LP in rock history was released... "There's A Kind of Hush All Over the World" by Herman's Hermits. Seriously, I am talking about the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Because it has been 40 years since its debut, it's easy to forget just how innovative "Sgt. Pepper" was on so many levels. It was the 1st rock album to have its lyrics printed on the back cover. "Pepper" was also the 1st LP to have its tracks segue into one another, without the customary space in between.

Being great and influential does have its drawbacks. The success of "Sgt. Pepper" probably inspired many artists to make ill-advised jumps onto the psychedelic bandwagon. My guess is that The Stones prefer that we pretend that "Their Satanic Majesties Request"never even existed.

The 1st time I heard "Sgt. Pepper" in its entirety is when a college fling (thank you Shena!) gave me her copy. The funny thing is that I didn't even ask her if I could have it. I was in her dorm room checking out her record collection and came across "Sgt. Pepper". I think I let out something along the lines of "Ooh, Sgt. Pepper!" and she asked ME if I wanted it! My "Ooh" can probably be attributed to the fact that not only did I know the album was a classic, but I didn't expect to find "Sgt. Pepper" when her collection was littered with the likes of artists such as Barry Manilow and Shaun Cassidy. When she offered me "Sgt. Pepper", I did ask her if she had any idea what she was giving away. Come to think of it, the copy she had may have been given to her by her older brother so she didn't give a damn.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the vinyl copy that Shena gave me. Even though I have many of the "Pepper" tracks on other Beatle compilations, I might have to break down and buy the actual CD. It'll be cool to hear "Sgt. Pepper" again... from the opening crowd noise/band tuning up all the way through that final piano chord.
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