Friday, November 30, 2007

Retro Commercial: Happy Holidays From Burger King

In this spot from 1982, five young spokeswomen for Burger King spread some holiday cheer. This commercial is interesting because it features 3 performers who went on to fame and fortune after they cut their ties with "The Home of the Whopper". To me, it's cool to look back on a commercial that I remember and discover that someone soon-to-be famous starred in it.

Do you recognize the 5 yr. old songstress and the two "BK employees" in the forefront? For the identity of the 5 yr old performer, click here. If you can't place the faces of the two actresses upfront, click here for the identity of the one sitting in the comfy looking chair and here to find out the name of the one who's kneeling. As for the two actresses standing behind the chair, I don't know what became of their careers. For all I know, they might actually be working at Burger King. If so, that's OK... at least they have a job. Plus, the unis aren't nearly as crappy as they were 25 years ago.

Postscript: According to, the 5 yr old actress who stars in this commercial was sued by McDonalds. As she did in this spot, she mentioned McDonald's by name in a previous Burger King commercial as well (apparently, this was the first time a competitor was mentioned by name in an ad). Because of the lawsuit, she couldn't enter a McDonald's unless she was in disguise because of truth in advertising. Damn, the burger wars ain't no joke!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #23: 13 actors/actresses whose nationalities may (or may not) surprise you

Thirteen actors/actresses famous for playing characters outside their own nationality.

A common strength of many stage and screen performers is the ability to pull off an accent. Sometimes they do it so well and so often that we forget that it isn't their natural talking voice. Below are 13 actors/actresses
whose nationalities may (or may not) surprise you. You can click on their name to check out their profile.

1. Mark Addy- Best known as Chicagoan Bill Miller on the sitcom "Still Standing", Addy was born in York, England. When watching "Still Standing", you can sometimes detect that English accent trying to seep out.

2. Paul Benedict- The actor, who played British neighbor Harry Bentley on the long-running series "The Jeffersons", isn't from England at all... he was born in Silver City, New Mexico.

3. Olivia d'Abo- Best known as Kevin Arnold's hippie-chick sister Karen on "The Wonder Years", d'Abo would probably prefer tea and crumpets instead of tofu and bean sprouts. She was born in Paddington, an area near the city of London, England.

4. Anna Friel- Currently starring as All-American girl Charlotte "Chuck" Charles in my favorite new series (the ABC fantasy "Pushing Daisies"), Friel was born in Lancashire, England. To hear her natural accent (from a UK commercial for Pantene), you can click here.

5. Rachel Griffiths- Unless you've seen her in movies such as "Muriel's Wedding", it's easy to forget that Griffiths (famous for her American roles in the series "Six Feet Under" and "Brothers and Sisters") is from Melbourne, Australia.

6. Marianne Jean-Baptiste- Currently starring as American FBI agent Vivian Johnson on the CBS drama "Without A Trace", Jean-Baptiste (who received an Oscar nomination for her role in the British film "Secrets and Lies") was born and raised in London, England.

7. Hugh Laurie- Because the American accent he uses as the title character on "House, M.D." is flawless, some might forget that Laurie (who also starred in several UK productions) is from Oxford, England.

8. Melanie Lynskey- Best known as Rose, the helium voiced sweet-natured stalker on the CBS sitcom "Two and A Half Men", Lynskey was born and raised in New Zealand. Lynskey once recounted Charlie Sheen's reaction when he heard her talk in her natural accent for the first time: "He turned around and said, "What's this, uh, voice? What are you doing?" I said, "I'm just talking." Then he said, "Hmmm. Is that some kind of actor-y thing?"

9. John Mahoney- The actor, who for 11 seasons played Martin Crane on the Emmy-winning sitcom "Frasier", was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England. He lost his British accent after joining the U.S. Army in the late 1950s.

10. Poppy Montgomery- Along with Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Montgomery also plays an American F.B.I. agent on "Without A Trace". Montgomery was born and raised in Sydney Australia.

11. Michelle Ryan- Currently starring as Jamie Sommers in the NBC remake "Bionic Woman", Ryan was born in Middlesex, England. If you want to hear what she really sounds like, click here. She is the actress with her back to the camera at the beginning of the clip.

12. Nicolette Sheridan- I had completely forgotten that Sheridan (best known for her roles in "Knots Landing" and "Desperate Housewives") is actually from England. When she moved to America at the age of 10, she was teased by classmates because of her British accent (they called her "English Muffin"). She responded by calling them "American Cheese".

13. Alan Young- The TV icon (he's best known for playing Wilbur Post on "Mister Ed") was born Angus Young in North Shields, Tyne-and-Wear, England.

Since my TV/movie soundtrack-related TT for last week was later than normal, this week you can get two for the price of one. In case you missed last week's, you can check it out by clicking the following link:

TT #22

Leave your link in comments so that others can visit you.

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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ultimate Cheesy Ballad Playlist

On Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog, readers recently selected songs for the Ultimate Cheesy Ballad Playlist. Here are some of the songs (in no particular order) that they feel will leave Velveeta stains all over your CD player/iPod/computer, etc.:

Open Arms- Journey
Glory of Love- Peter Cetera
Could've Been- Tiffany
Lost In Your Eyes- Debbie Gibson
Mandy- Barry Manilow
Somewhere Out There- Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram
Crazy For You- Madonna
Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman- Bryan Adams
All My Life- K-Ci & Jo Jo
Against All Odds-Phil Collins
We're Going All the Way- Jeffrey Osborne
Iris- The Goo Goo Dolls
Hold On- Wilson Phillips

Are you suffering from an overdose of the dairy stuff yet? I never considered "Crazy For You" or "All My Life" as cheesy, but to each his/her own. I did notice that 6 of these songs came from movies. Cheesy ballads and Hollywood seem to go hand in hand.

For commentary on the songs selected (along with photos and "bonus tracks"), you can click on the link below to get to the first page:

Ultimate Cheesy Ballad Playlist

What songs would make up your playlist of cheesy ballads? What are your thoughts on the choices by the readers?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Final Results of the Breakfast Club Poll

Who ever said that basket cases finish last? In the recent "Breakfast Club" poll, Allison Reynolds (played by Ally Sheedy) was selected as your favorite detention denizen from the 1985 Brat Pack classic. At first, the results surprised me. However, after I thought about it, I could see why many others would have also voted for Allison (for me, it was between her and John Bender). Even though Allison was "dipped in different" (Cap'n Crunch/Pixie Stix sandwiches are murder on the teeth baby), you could see that she was a caring and likable person who just needed a little love. Plus, she was creative as hell. Although it was a bit on the gross side, I have to give Allison props for her use of dandruff flakes as "snow" on the picture she drew.

If you are a fan of "The Breakfast Club", you may have also done the same thing as me... wonder what happened to the characters when they grew up. I imagine that Allison grew up to be either an artist or a psychologist. Although she received a makeover from Claire at the end of the film, I think that style-wise she reverted to a modification of her original look ... after all, Allison did say that she "likes that black shit".

Here are the final results:

Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy)- 44%
John Bender (Judd Nelson)- 29%
Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald)- 14%
Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall)- 7%
Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez)- 3%

Below is a montage of clips from "The Breakfast Club" that spotlight Allison in all her quirky glory. The clip doesn't include any dialogue, but it does have the title track "Don't You Forget About Me" playing over it. If you've seen the film as many times as me, chances are you have the dialogue memorized anyway. Congratulations to You Tube user Javier Bautista for an outstanding job of putting this clip together.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quiet Riot Singer Kevin Dubrow Dead At the Age of 52

From Reuters - Kevin DuBrow, lead singer of the popular 1980s heavy metal band Quiet Riot, has been found dead from unknown causes at his home in Las Vegas, authorities said on Monday. DuBrow, 52, was found dead at about 5:20 p.m. on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Clark County Coroner's Office said. She said an autopsy would be conducted to determine the cause of death.

When my good friend Amy emailed me the news just awhile ago, I was taken aback more than I expected to be. Although I wasn't familiar with many songs by Quiet Riot, I really liked the few that I did know ("Cum On Feel the Noize", "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)", "Mama Weer All Crazee Now", and "The Wild & the Young"). I guess Kevin's death affected me the way it did because it's like losing a part of my youth. Even today when I hear those tunes, I am magically transported back to my teenage years spent watching MTV in the basement of my house.

Below is the video for the song that made them famous... their 1983 remake of the Slade tune "Cum On Feel the Noize". This is one of those songs/videos that I never get tired of hearing/watching. The song and video are both reminders to me that Kevin Dubrow was a helluva heavy metal vocalist and frontman. "Girlz rock your boyz!!"

People Come Up With the Craziest Searches

Something that has been a continuous source of amusement for me is the keywords that some people type in that lead them to my blog. When I check my stats at Blog Patrol, I sometimes wonder why someone would type (fill in the blank) in the Google or Yahoo search engine. Below are 10 of the funniest/strangest keyword searches I have seen over the past couple of weeks:

1. Joey Heatherton naked
2. house of payne sucks
3. pet shop boys arthur fonzarelli
4. Lean On Me 1989 Bathroom scene with the singers
5. what do the music is my hot, hot sex lyrics say during the portuguese part
6. millie jackson centipede youtube
7. mary gallagher luv'd michigan
8. adam levine NAKED
9. ellen hula hooping
10. william zabka is bringing sexy back

For all of you bloggers, what are some of the funniest keywords that people have used to get to your spot?

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Current Breakfast Club Poll... thank you.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 11/24/07

4 pm hour

Show Me the Way- Peter Frampton
I'll Be Good- Rene & Angela
Color of Success- Morris Day
Makin' It- David Naughton
Charity Ball- Fanny
What Is Hip?- Tower of Power
To Be A Lover- Billy Idol

Double Retro segment's feat. artist: The Beach Boys
You're So Good To Me (1966)
Getcha Back (1985)

Don't Ever Be Lonely (A Poor Little Fool Like Me)- Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose
Fantasy- Earth, Wind, & Fire
The King & Queen of America- Eurythmics
Party All the Time- Eddie Murphy
Some Girls- Racey

5 pm hour

Love Her Madly- The Doors
Ain't No Half Steppin'- Heatwave
Somebody For Me- Heavy D & the Boyz
Lost In Emotion- Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
The Love Cats- The Cure
Will It Go Round In Circles- Billy Preston

Now & Then segment's feat. artist: Debbie Harry
School For Scandal (from her new CD "Necessary Evil")
French Kissing In the U.S.A. (1986)

Sail On- The Commodores
Happy- The Rolling Stones
I Can Understand It- Bobby Womack
Walk This Way- Run DMC
Edge of A Broken Heart- Vixen

6 pm hour

Rich Girl- Hall & Oates
More Than A Woman- Tavares
Voyeur- Kim Carnes
Perfect Way- Scritti Politti
Two Occasions- The Deele
Who I Am- David Ruffin
What A Fool Believes- The Doobie Bros.

On the Flip Side segment:
In A Different Light- The Bangles (the B-side to "Manic Monday")

Space Age Love Song- A Flock of Seagulls
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)- Sylvester
The Whole Town's Laughing At Me- Teddy Pendergrass
Atomic Dog- George Clinton
Little Red Book- Toni Basil
Love Rollercoaster- The Ohio Players

Did any of your "jams" make this week's playlist?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Retro Commercial: Charmin Tissue

This past Sunday Dick Wilson, best known as Mr. Whipple in the long-running series of commercials for Charmin Tissue, died at the age of 91. I have to call myself out because I was surprised by the news... I mistakenly thought that he had already passed away.

Although he did several guest shots on TV (including multiple appearances as a drunk on "Bewitched"), Dick Wilson is probably best known as "Mr. Whipple", the grocer who warned shoppers not to squeeze the Charmin... but of course couldn't resist doing so himself. The commercial below is from the 1970s and promotes a newer, fluffier Charmin. I never in my life want to see shoppers rubbing toilet tissue on their face in awe of how soft it is on their skin.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 22: TV/Movie Soundtracks In My CD Collection

This week's TT is all about the music. Below are 13 soundtracks that are in my CD collection.

1. Amelie- Along with the whimsical story, picturesque cinematography, and the striking beauty of Audrey Tatou, the music featured in this 2001 French film really stood out. Although many of the tracks were not composed specifically for the film, the music (largely accordion and piano driven) blends with the story perfectly.

2. Anatomy of A Murder- Back in the late 90s I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of this soundtrack to the 1959 film starring James Stewart, Lee Remick, George C. Scott, and Ben Gazzara. The jazzy soundtrack is performed by Duke Ellington and his orchestra. Ellington also has a cameo in the film (as "Pie-Eye", the owner of a roadhouse juke joint).

3. Claudine- This soundtrack to the 1974 film starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones features Gladys Knight & the Pips performing the songs of Curtis Mayfield. Arguably, both the artist and composer were at their best. Sadly, this soundtrack is out of print (the asking price on Amazon is about $70). If you do come across a reasonably priced copy, snatch it up... you won't be disappointed.

4. Clerks- The soundtrack to this 1994 indie film classic about a day in the life of two foul-mouthed register jockeys features music by bands such as Stabbing Westward, Bad Religion, and Soul Asylum. Along with the music, the soundtrack also includes sound clips from the movie.

5. Eddie and the Cruisers- I picked up this soundtrack to the 1983 cult film a couple of years ago at my company's annual tent sale. The producers of the film did a good job of finding a vocalist whose singing voice matched the speaking voice of the actor playing Eddie. Because of this, many people are still convinced that the vocals are sung by actor Michael Pare' (who plays Eddie in the film) even though it's been well documented that the music in the film is performed by John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band.

6. Happy Feet- Although I have never seen this 2006 film, I did like the collection of songs and artists on the soundtrack. My favorite song on the soundtrack is the one below, a remake of the Stevie Wonder classic.

7. Jungle Fever- Speaking of Stevie Wonder, he performed the soundtrack to this 1991 Spike Lee film starring Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra. With the exception of one tune, he also wrote all of the songs as well. Putting in guest appearances on the soundtrack are R&B singer Keith Washington and Boyz II Men.

8. Open Season- Although the soundtrack to this 2006 movie includes songs by a few other artists, it mostly features the music of Paul Westerberg. As the lead singer of The Replacements, Paul was responsible for some of the best post-punk anthems of the 1980s. If you ever thrashed around to songs like "Bastards of Young" and "Alex Chilton", did you ever (even in your most beer bong-induced state) think that Paul would contribute songs to an animated children's film?

9. Rocky- In addition to being included in the original film, the song below is also briefly featured in Rocky III. The latter film has a scene where Rocky is trying to teach Adrian how to sing it.

10. TCB- This is the soundtrack to the 1968 NBC special starring Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations. It features both groups doing show tunes, songs by other artists (such as The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and Dionne Warwick), as well as their own hits.

11. Touch of Evil- Composed by Henry Mancini, this soundtrack to the 1958 Orson Welles classic was one of the first to feature music that was predominately from the jazz and rock & roll fields. The way the music is used in the film is also unique in that it mainly comes from visual sources (playing from car radios, jukeboxes, from the pianola in the brothel, etc.).

12. Trouble Man- Marvin Gaye composed and produced this soundtrack to the 1972 film starring Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, and Ralph Waite. Although it consists mainly of instrumentals, the soundtrack's highlight is the title track... one of my favorites by Marvin.

13. You're A Big Boy Now- The soundtrack to this 1966 Francis Ford Coppola film was composed by John Sebastian and features the work of his group, The Lovin' Spoonful. Along with a few instrumentals, the soundtrack also contains one of the group's last big hits (Darlin' Be Home Soon).

Leave your link in comments, so that others can pay you a visit

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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!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Final Results of the Norman Lear TV Theme Poll

By a narrow margin, the theme to the Norman Lear produced sitcom "Maude" emerged victorious in the recent poll. The sitcom, starring Bea Arthur as the outspoken Maude Findlay (cousin of Edith Bunker), also featured one of the best and most memorable TV theme songs... period. Performed by the late Donny Hathaway, the song name checks some of the most famous women throughout history (Lady Godiva, Joan of Arc, Isadora Duncan, and Betsy Ross).

Coming in a close second was the theme to "The Jeffersons", which features lead vocals by Ja'net DuBois (aka Wilona Woods of "Good Times"). Although it made a late surge, the theme to "All In the Family" didn't have enough steam to overtake the themes to "Maude" or "The Jeffersons". Archie would not be pleased!

If it had come down to a tie, it would have been a difficult choice for me to make. When I was chatting online with my niece Pjazzy yesterday, I told her that my vote would have gone to the theme for "Maude". However, when I hear Ja'net's strong lead vocal and those hand claps, it's hard for me to resist "Movin' On Up".

There were a few things that surprised me about the poll. I didn't expect the lack of love for the themes to "Sanford and Son" and "Good Times" (both shows tied for last place). The other thing that surprised me was the support that the theme to "One Day At A Time" received. Early on in the poll voting, it actually held the lead for a brief time. Although I wasn't wild about the sitcom itself, I did enjoy the bouncy theme song.

Here are the final results:

The Jeffersons- 24%
All In the Family- 18%
One Day At A Time- 12%
Good Times and Sanford & Son- 9% each

Below is one of the opening credits sequences of the winner. Right on Maude!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sunday's American Music Awards

Last night I watched the American Music Awards for the first time in awhile. To say that I have lost touch with much of the current music would be an understatement. I recognize many of the artists by name... but when it comes to knowing some of the actual songs, I am like the survivors of Oceanic flight 815. However, thanks to the Internet and magazines like Entertainment Weekly, I am able to stay up to date a little with what's happening in the music world.

Because the AMAs are determined by a poll of music buyers, it's fairly easy to predict the winners. Even I could tell you that Carrie Underwood was going to walk away with multiple trophies and that "High School Musical 2" would win Favorite Soundtrack.

Since who will win and won't win an AMA isn't much of a mystery, the host and the music performances have to make the show. For the most part, host Jimmy Kimmel did a good job of keeping the pace moving while staying out of the way. He did a routine where he had two "American Idol" alums (Kellie Pickler and Jordin Sparks) join him onstage to perform the "Soulja Boy Dance". Another skit had him and Kid Rock doing a take off on Mr. Rock's beat down of Tommy Lee at the VMAs that happened earlier this year.

As for the musical performances, there were a few interesting moments/highlights:

1. Fergie opened the show with a medley of some of her hits (getting a little help from her Black Eyed Peas buddy on the first portion). The second tune in the medley (Clumsy) caught my attention because it samples the Little Richard classic "The Girl Can't Help It".

2. A teen trio of siblings known as the Jonas Brothers performed. Apparently, they are a big deal with the Disney set. As they were being introduced by Jordin Sparks, a swarm of screaming teenage girls ran up the aisles towards the stage. One of the brothers tripped as they came out from behind 3 shattered glass partitions. I give him props because he played it off pretty good.

3. Mary J. Blige was her usual outstanding self. Looking very sexy in an all-black skin tight outfit with thigh-high boots to match, Mary J. performed "Just Fine" (the first single off of her upcoming album "Growing Pains").

4. Although it's been several years since Queen Latifah revealed to the world that she can sing her ass off, her vocal prowess still has the power to amaze. The artist formerly known as Dana Owens performed "I Know Where I've Been" (a song that's included on the "Hairspray soundtrack as well as her latest CD "Trav'lin' Light").

5. Duran Duran performed two songs during their set. They opened with "Falling Down" (the 1st single from their just released CD "Red Carpet Massacre"). The second song that they were to perform was determined by voters who participated in an online poll at their 1983 smash "Hungry Like the Wolf".

6. Of all the music performances during the AMAs, my favorite was the one that featured bluegrass duo Sugarland performing a countrified version of the song "Irreplaceable" with a surprise special guest. The performance was proof that if a song is good, it can transcend genres. Below is the clip from the performance. "To the left, to the left..."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blog Readability Test

I found an interesting test after reading the Field Negro's blog. Last week, he did a post about the reading level required for certain blogs. In it, he included the link to The Blog Readability Test. By entering your blog's URL in the appropriate field, you can determine the level of education required to understand your blog. According to the test:

cash advance

Personally, I wouldn't mind if the reading level of my blog was lower. If a bright 12 yr old wants to swing by and weigh in on whether or not their favorite show did Jump the Shark or if they want to give their thoughts on the CSS song in the new iPod Touch commercial, I want them to feel welcome. For any of you bloggers that happen to submit your URL to determine your blog's reading level, feel free to stop back and share with the rest of us.

Be the Blog Award

Be The Blog award

I recently received the "Be the Blog" award from Barbara over at Writing From the Inside Out. This award goes out to: "those bloggers that are showing time and again that they are true to themselves and that they ARE their blog." This award is the creation of Mark (who writes the blog "Me and My Drum").

To continue the spirit of giving, I am awarding this to Thembi, who authors the blog What Would Thembi Do? Note to Thembi: if you aren't into the color "Creamy Cavernet", you can go with either "Midnight Oil" or "Pink Smoothie" instead. You can click here to pick out one of the other colors.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 11/17/07

4 pm hour

The Breaks- Kurtis Blow
I Could Be Happy- Altered Images
Love Is the Drug- Roxy Music
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood- Santa Esmerelda
Proud Mary- Ike & Tina Turner
Must of Got Lost- J. Geils Band
Freedom- Wham!

Double Retro (new segment where I play two songs by an artist w/ longevity. First, one of their songs from the 50s or 60s followed by one of their 70s or 80s tunes)
Today's featured artist: James Brown
Tell Me What I Did Wrong (1958)
Living In America (1986)

The Right Stuff- Vanessa Williams
In the Street- Big Star
Shout It Out Loud- KISS
M.P.E.- Public Enemy
Uptown- Prince

5 pm hour

Jet- Paul McCartney & Wings
Hey Deanie- Shaun Cassidy
How Long- Lipps Inc.
Good Thing- Fine Young Cannibals
How Good Is Your Game- Billy Paul
Family Affair- Sly & the Family Stone
This Is the Right Time- Lisa Stansfield

Now & Then segment's featured artist: Duran Duran
Skin Divers (from their new CD "Red Carpet Massacre")
Hungry Like the Wolf

The Gigolo- O'Bryan
Gloria- Enchantment
Boogie Oogie Oogie- A Taste of Honey
Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through- Jim Steinman

6 pm hour

Black Cat- Janet Jackson
Yankee Rose- David Lee Roth
Little Green Bag- The George Baker Selection
Love Jones- The Brighter Side of Darkness
Rockin' Soul- The Hues Corporation
Walls Come Tumbling Down
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)- Sly & the Family Stone

On the Flip Side Segment:
Jailbreak- Thin Lizzy (the B-side to "The Boys Are Back In Town")

Sweet Hitch-Hiker- CCR
Square Biz- Teena Marie
Turn This Mutha Out- M.C. Hammer
Suburbia- Pet Shop Boys
Club At the End of the Street- Elton John
Dance With Me- Peter Brown & Betty Wright

Did any of your faves make the list? Also, feel free to share any memories that any of these songs bring back for you.

Note to Susan: you can limit it to just one song memory if you want. Inquiring minds (read: me) want to know.

Friday, November 16, 2007

File Problems

At the moment, I am experiencing problems with the music I had uploaded to Media Fire (the free file hosting service that I use). As a result, the links to songs that I have on various posts (the Norman Lear sitcom themes, the Thursday Thirteen on B-sides, the birthday tribute to Marilyn McCoo, etc.) are not working. I have notified Media Fire of this problem and hope to get it resolved ASAP. Thank you for your patience with this matter.

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Norman Lear Poll... thank you.

Originally I was going to ask you to choose your favorite Norman Lear sitcom. Since a couple of the shows ("Maude" and "One Day At A Time") are rarely seen in reruns today, that would put them at a slight disadvantage. As a result, I decided to ask you to vote for your favorite theme song from a Norman Lear sitcom. The links for you to listen to each theme song are below:

All In the Family

Good Times

The Jeffersons


One Day At A Time

Sanford & Son

Thursday, November 15, 2007

100 Greatest TV Icons

Earlier this week, TV Land and Entertainment Weekly unveiled their list of the 100 Greatest TV Icons of All-Time. According to TV Land's website, these 100 TV stars are the champions, the trailblazers, the game changers. More than TV Stars, they are the legends.

For the most part, I feel that TV Land/Entertainment Weekly did a pretty good job. However, as with any list, there is never going to be a consensus in regards to the rankings or who made the list... but that's part of the fun! After looking at the list, here are some of my observations:

1. I can't really argue with the placement of Johnny Carson at #1. After all, he was the king of late night TV for 30 years. However, I would have put either Lucille Ball or Bill Cosby in the top spot instead.

2. How can the man that many call the father of the TV talk show (Steve Allen) not be on the list at all?! I understand that many Elvis fans will never forgive Allen for having "The Pelvis" wear white tie and tails as he sang "Hound Dog" to a basset hound (click here to see the performance), but Allen should be on the list.

3. I was glad to see the cast of "In Living Color" make the list (#94). Because of the diversity of its cast (not to mention the writing staff), "In Living Color" went places that SNL never could.

4. How in the hell is Larry Hagman only ranked at #50?! If the only TV character that Hagman ever did was J.R. Ewing, I'd rank him higher than that.

5. Arsenio Hall should have made the list. Some people might say "Why?", but think about it... the TV stars were chosen because they are "champions, trailblazers, and game changers." Arsenio may not have been the funniest stand-up comic, but he showcased guests on his late night talk show (The Minister Louis Farrakhan, Tupac Shakur, Spike Lee, etc.) that you generally weren't going to see on Carson, Letterman, or Leno back in the day.

6. Susan Lucci (#44) rightfully made the list. Even if you've never watched "All My Children" or any other daytime soap, chances are that you know Lucci and her most famous character (the one and only Erica Kane).

Below are links to the list of the 100 Greatest TV Icons. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts.



Thursday Thirteen #21: "Dallas" Quotes

Thirteen Quotes From the TV Series "Dallas"

One of my all-time favorites shows is the long-running prime time soap "Dallas" (1978-91). During most of the 1980s, me and millions of others tuned to CBS on Friday nights at 9 to check out the saga of the Ewing family. Below are 13 of my favorite quotes. Without a doubt, my favorite character on the show was the man that Time magazine referred to as "that human oil slick"... J.R. Ewing. Although I wouldn't want to spend a minute with someone like J.R. in real life, he was fun to watch from the safe distance of my living room couch.

After his younger brother Bobby has brought his bride (Pam) to Southfork for the first time
1. J.R.: [referring to Pam] I asked her how much she'd take.
Jock: You did what?
J.R.: I tried to pay her off.
Jock: You jackass.

2. Lucy waits in J.R.'s office so that she can ask for his help in getting Jock (her granddaddy and J.R.'s daddy) to support her interest in a singing career. While waiting for J.R., Lucy discovers a record contract on his desk for country singer Garnet McGee (who's engaged to foreman Ray Krebs, but also sleeping with J.R.). Lucy implies that she might show Jock, Sue Ellen, and Ray the contract.
J.R.: Why Lucy Ewing... are you trying to blackmail old J.R.?
Lucy: No, I just want your help
J.R.: Alright honey go on you take these. Take 'em home show 'em to anybody you like.
J.R. tosses the contract towards Lucy
What's it gonna prove? Ewing Oil is branching out into the entertainment business... lot of money in that. Well what it will prove is that you are your mother's daughter... a scheming, blackmailing little tramp.

3. J.R. (referring to their brother Gary): Let's face it... he's weak, he's just weak
Bobby: You'd label any man weak who wouldn't stab another man in the back to make an extra buck

4. After finding out from Jock and Miss Ellie that Bobby, tired of all the wheeling & dealing and backstabbing by J.R., has left Southfork
Sue Ellen: You drove Gary away and now Bobby. You tried to bribe Valene. You cheated your friends. You've done everything in your power to get what you wanted... well you did it. Congratulations J.R., you are now the Ewing's only son.
J.R.: Mama... I don't want Bobby to leave... you know that.
Miss Ellie: All I know is J.R.... he's gone.

Miss Ellie and Jock leave the dining room

J.R.: You've had your last say in this house Sue Ellen. You think you can get away talking about me in front of my mama and daddy like that? You've caused me enough humiliation. You're a drunk, an unfit mother and I honestly think you've lost your reason. I'm gonna call Dr. Rogers. The sooner we have you put away in that sanitarium, the better off you're gonna be.

5. Gary and Bobby paying a visit to J.R., who is in the hospital after being shot
J.R. (weakly): Hi Gary
Gary: J.R... I was just telling Bobby I hope you'd wake up soon.
J.R.: Don't tell me you're gonna fly off to California already.
Gary: I gotta get back to my job.
J.R.: Yeah, I guess I'd rush home too if I was living next door to a pretty little bundle like Karen Fairgate.
Bobby (laughs): You're beginning to sound like the J.R. I used to know
J.R.: Well when they take out these tubes I just might take you two boys on in a little touch football, what do you say?

The three of them laugh

Gary: Yeah, we did have some great games
J.R.: Yeah, old Bobby was the powerhouse. If he couldn't outrun you, he'd try to bite you on the knee.
Bobby: Well, you had the best hidden ball trick in Dallas.

6. J.R. (to Lucy): Lost another one, did you, sugar? Hell, I got to hand it to you, you sure can pick them. A pansy, a crook, and an up-and-coming pauper. You are a veritable magnet for losers and failures.
Lucy: I can't do much worse than Sue Ellen can I?

7. After learning that J.R. (with their daddy Jock's approval) closed down oil wells in which family nemesis Cliff Barnes had a share, Bobby leaves J.R. and Jock and enters his bedroom (where his wife Pam awaits)
Bobby (to Pam, who is also Cliff's sister): Five minutes in the same room with J.R. I feel like I've been in a pig sty.

8. J.R. (referring to Cliff): Well, last night we went to the Oil Baron's and we ran into that termite brother of yours!
Pam: Are you talking to me?
J.R.: Anyone else in here gotta termite for a brother?

9. Banker Vaughn Leland enters J.R.'s office on the weekend. Due to his ulcers, he declines J.R.'s offer of a slice of pizza.
Vaughn: Don't you ever have trouble with your stomach J.R.?
J.R. (looks down at his stomach and laughs): Only when there's too much of it. I once did business with a man who said, "J.R. Ewing doesn't get ulcers... he gives 'em." (J.R. laughs)

10. Bobby confronts Jock at the Cattlemen's Club after learning that Jock withdrew 10 million dollars from the Ewing Oil account without consulting him first.
Jock: Obliged?! Are you telling me that I'm obliged to ask you how to spend my own money any damn way I see fit!
Bobby: That's right. You gave me the power to run that company and damnit I intend to run it!
Jock: So I gave you power huh? Well let me tell you something boy if I did give you power you got nothing! Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take!

Miss Ellie, warning J.R. not to persecute Sue Ellen during their divorce proceedings
11. Miss Ellie: I just want you to remember J.R. you're only President of Ewing Oil by my graces. One step out of line, such as dragging Sue Ellen through the dirt and I'll change my vote so fast it'll make your head spin.

Bobby is at his ex-wife Pam's house to pick up their son. Pam's brother Cliff and his girlfriend Mandy are also there
12. Cliff (introducing his ex-brother-in-law Bobby to Mandy): Mandy Winger
Mandy (to Bobby): It's really nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you.
Cliff: None of it good though (Cliff laughs). No I'm just kidding really... I mean for a Ewing he's not really a bad guy
Bobby: Cliff, I'd hate for my boy to see me unscrew your head so why don't you just be quiet
Cliff: Bobby, come on lighten up, I'm joking

13. Sue Ellen: Tell me J.R., which slut are you gonna stay with tonight?
J.R.: What difference does it make? Whoever it is has got to be more interesting than the slut I'm looking at right now.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Leave your link in comments, so that others can visit you.

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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!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Final Results of the Batman Poll

When it comes to Batman, it looks as if most people prefer the campy Caped Crusader over the Dark Knight version as Adam West "Powed" and "Zowied" the competition to emerge victorious. If my comic book loving best friend Gary (pronounced Jerry) is reading this, he is probably shaking his head in disgust... he had zero love for the campy 1960s TV show starring West.

I find the results funny because shortly after I posted the poll, I was slightly concerned that Adam West would receive only a few votes. My reasoning was that these days the "Batman" movies of the past 18 years are shown more than the TV series (which ran from 1966-68) and as a result, voters would go with what was most likely more fresh in their minds. This concern of mine quickly faded as Adam West took the lead by the middle of the first day of the poll and never relinquished it. Because I grew up watching the TV series in reruns on WXON Channel 20 based in Allen Park (man what an awesome channel that was), I have to side with the majority of you who voted in this poll.

Not too surprisingly, the actor (George Clooney) who appeared in the least critically acclaimed film of the franchise ("Batman and Robin") received the least amount of votes. I normally don't go for the big-budget blockbuster type movies, but I admit that I got sucked into seeing "Batman & Robin". The term "sucked" is appropriate because that's pretty much what the movie did. Although I thought Clooney did a good job in the title role, I felt that the movie as a whole was a disappointment.

Here are the final poll results:

Adam West- 32%
Christian Bale- 21%
Michael Keaton & Val Kilmer- 18% each
George Clooney- 8%

Back in the summer of 2000, I actually saw Adam West while I was in New York. I was there to judge "TV Land's Ultimate Fan Search 2000" competition and he was one of the many classic TV stars who made guest appearances on the shows that we taped. One morning, he walked by my dressing room. Since the door was open, he briefly stopped to look in with a curious "who the hell is this guy" look on his face... which was totally understandable. Just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone. Holy pop culture icons!

Below is a montage of promos for the Adam West series in all its campy glory. I am hoping that Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox can work out their legal issues so that this show can finally be released on DVD.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What's That Song In the New iPod Touch Commercial?

The marketing team at Apple has a knack for finding catchy tunes to use for their commercials. Earlier this year they featured the song "1 2 3 4" by Canadian singer/songwriter Feist in their ad for the iPod Nano. In their current spot for the iPod Touch (based on a commercial created by an 18 year old English student named Nick Haley), they feature a song that contains the lyrics "music is my boyfriend, music is my girlfriend". The tune is titled "Music Is My Hot Hot Sex" and it's by the Brazilian group Cansei De Ser Sexy (pictured above). For short, they are also referred to as CSS. According to Wikipedia, their name means "I'm tired of being sexy" in Portuguese and was taken by a quote attributed to Beyonce'.

For anybody who stumbles upon my blog because they are looking for "hot sex", I can't help you there. However, feel free to stick around. Although I can't guarantee that you will want to smoke a cigarette after visiting my blog, you still might find something that interests you.

Below is the music video for the tune. I dare you to sit still during this tune. I'm listening to it as I type this sentence and I've got the whole head bopping/foot tapping thing going!

Please take a moment to vote in the current "Batman" poll. Thank you.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 11/10/07

4 pm hour

Message In A Bottle- The Police
One Monkey Don't Stop No Show- The Honey Cone
Look What You Started- The Temptations
I Wanna Be Your Lover- Prince
Soldier of Love- Donny Osmond
Time Is Time- Andy Gibb
Remember Me- Diana Ross

Common Thread segment: Duets
No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)- Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
Don't Fight It- Kenny Loggins & Steve Perry
There's Nothing Better Than Love- Luther Vandross & Gregory Hines
Yah Mo B There- James Ingram & Michael McDonald

Can the Can- Suzi Quatro
The Logical Song- Supertramp
Right On Time- The Brothers Johnson

5 pm hour

Rock Me Amadeus- Falco
Criticize- Alexander O'Neal
The Best Disco In Town- The Ritchie Family
How Much I Feel- Ambrosia
Wild Wild West- Kool Moe Dee
The Sign of Fire- The Fixx
Angel In Your Arms- Hot

Now & Then segment's featured artist: Bruce Springsteen
Radio Nowhere (from his new CD "Magic")
Prove It All Night

This Little Girl- Gary "U.S." Bonds
Sweetheart- Franke & the Knockouts
Lido Shuffle- Boz Scaggs
Tonight- Kool & the Gang
Inside My Love- Minnie Riperton

6 pm hour

Saturday In the Park- Chicago
At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)- Rufus feat. Chaka Khan
My Secret (Didja Gitit Yet)- New Edition
Goody Two Shoes- Adam Ant
Breaking the Law- Judas Priest
Too Late- Junior
I'll Take You There- The Staple Singers

On the Flip Side segment:
The Lady Wants Your Money- Wild Cherry (the B-side to "Play That Funky Music")

Don't You Get So Mad- Jeffrey Osborne
Kelly's Eyes- Andre Cymone
Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)- Edison Lighthouse
I Love Making Love To You- Evie Sands
Turning Point- Tyrone Davis
I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up & Dance (Oops Upside Your Head)- The Gap Band
Blister In the Sun- The Violent Femmes

Did any of your faves make this week's playlist. Also, feel free to share any memories that any of these songs bring back for you.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Retro Commercial: Alpha Bits

In this commercial from 1973, the Jackson Five sing about the virtues of Alpha Bits cereal. This one takes me back to the days of cereal box records and when the networks actually aired programs on Saturday morning that was for kids. I know that many kids have The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon in their households, but is getting up to watch children's programming a Saturday morning ritual anymore?

Anyways, the Jackson Five did a series of commercials for Alpha Bits back in 1973. One of the things that I like about these commercials is that you get the chance to see Michael act like a kid. From what Michael and others have said about his childhood, he didn't get many opportunities to do so while growing up.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Asa Buchanan Makes A Brief Return To One Life To Live

Billionaire patriarch Asa Buchanan (played by Philip Carey) makes a brief return to "One Life To Live" starting on November 9th. As many of you know, Carey chose to leave the ABC soap back in April instead of going off contract and appearing on a recurring basis. In a move that angered many fans, the producers decided to kill off the character of Asa Buchanan (he died offscreen in mid-August).

For his return, Asa will appear on videotape to read his last will and testament to the rest of the Buchanans. In addition to the November 9th episode, Carey will also appear on November 12th and 13th.

Sweep the Leg by No More Kings

Thanks to a caller on Sports Radio 1130 WDFN, I discovered the video "Sweep the Leg" by the band No More Kings. Apparently, this video came out back in March of this year. Since I'm more of a VH-1 Classic guy, I had no idea.

If you are a fan of "The Karate Kid", you should get a kick out of this extended video. It stars William Zabka, Daniel-san's nemesis Johnny Lawrence in "The Karate Kid". Along with Zabka (who also wrote and directed the video), this clip features some of the other male cast members of the original film, as well as Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding from "Saved By the Bell") and Liza Snyder ("Sirens" and "Yes, Dear"). Besides me, who else wanted to crane kick/punch/inflict some form of bodily harm on that punk who yelled "Get 'em a body bag Johnny... yeah!" near the end of the movie?

Sorry, but Elisabeth Shue doesn't make an appearance in the video. I'll cut her some slack and assume she wasn't asked to participate. I'd hate to think that Elisabeth felt she was above hanging out with the Cobra Kai one more time.

Thursday Thirteen #20: Some of My Favorite B-Sides

Thirteen of my favorite B-sides... plus one.

Back in the day, the 45 rpm single was one of the most popular methods of purchasing music. Although the B-side of a single was sometimes considered a throwaway track, there were quite a few instances where you could find audio gold if you flipped over the 45 and gave it a listen. On my weekly radio show, I periodically do a segment called "On the Flip Side" where I spin a B-side to a hit from the 70s or 80s. Below are 14 of my favorite B-sides (it was hard to narrow it down to 13). Along with some of the B-sides that I've played on my show, I have also included some earlier ones from the 50s and 60s.

1. Any Major Dude Will Tell You- Steely Dan: One my favorite tracks by Fagen & Becker, this 1974 tune was the B-side to their biggest hit "Rikki Don't Lose That Number".

Around and Around- Chuck Berry: This 1958 rocker was the flip side to Berry's classic "Johnny B. Goode".

3. Baby You're A Rich Man- The Beatles: They were one of those acts that had so much quality material that their B-sides often could have been A-sides. This was the flip to their 1967 anthem "All You Need Is Love".

4. Everybody Is A Star- Sly & the Family Stone: This smooth groove was the B-side to their 1970 #1 hit "Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin". For anyone asking themselves, "You ever heard of Spell Check Malcolm?", that's the actual spelling of the A-side.

5. Fields of Clover- The Box Tops: This Memphis group had a string of hits in the late 60s (The Letter, Cry Like A Baby, Soul Deep, etc.). I discovered this song earlier in the year and it quickly became one of my favorite Box Tops tunes. It was the flip side to their 1968 Top 30 hit "Choo Choo Train".

6. Funkier Than A Mosquita's Tweeter- Ike & Tina Turner: The flip side to their 1971 version of the CCR tune "Proud Mary", this song is also included on a best of compilation of theirs that I own. When I saw the title of this tune, I said that even if the song sucks, that is an awesome title!

7. Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose- Teddy Pendergrass: The B-side to one of his earlier solo hits (the 1978 ballad "Close the Door"), you may know this tune if you are a fan of the sitcom "What's Happening!" The instrumental track was featured in the episode where Rerun entered a dance contest and went up against Danny Domino.

8. The Girl I Knew Somewhere- The Monkees: Written by Wool Hat himself (Michael Nesmith), this tune was the B-side to their 1967 hit "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You". This B-side is notable because it was the first Monkees' release on which all four members were allowed to play their own instruments.

9. In A Different Light- The Bangles: This driving rocker was the flip side to their 1986 hit "Manic Monday".

10. 17 Days- Prince: His Royal Badness is another performer who had such a wealth of quality material that his B-sides were usually top notch. I remember this 1984 tune (the flip to his first #1 pop hit, "When Doves Cry") getting a lot of airplay on the R&B station in Flint.

11. Shoo-Bee-Doo- Madonna: In addition to being included on her "Like A Virgin" album, this tune was also the B-side to her 1985 hit "Dress You Up".

12. Stand On It- Bruce Springsteen: I loved this rocker from the first time I heard it on the album rock station in Flint. It was the B-side to the Boss' 1985 top 10 hit "Glory Days".

13. Sunshine- The O'Jays: This ballad, the first song that I featured in the "On the Flip Side" segment, was the B-side to their 1972 smash "Backstabbers".

14. You've Got To Earn It- The Temptations: Typical of the major Motown acts, The Tempts had access to some of the best tunes at Hitsville. This 1965 song, the flip to "Since I Lost My Baby", could have easily been an A-side.

Leave your link in comments, so that others can visit you.

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!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blackboard Jungle Airs On TCM

Get your DVR/VCR ready because on Thursday morning at 4 am EST, the 1955 film "Blackboard Jungle" airs on Turner Classic Movies. This is one of those movies that I practically know by heart, which makes sense because I have seen it well over 50 times. For those who aren't familiar with it, "Blackboard Jungle" tells the story of Richard Dadier (played by Glenn Ford), a new high school English teacher who tries to reach his students despite opposition from them and members of the faculty.

The movie is notable for many reasons in my opinion. The thing that "Blackboard Jungle" is perhaps most remembered for today is its use of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & his Comets as its theme song. Up until then, films mainly used Tin Pan Alley tunes for their theme songs. Through a twist of fate, director Richard Brooks decided to go with "Rock Around the Clock" (which was a flop when it was first released in 1954) and as a result, movies and music were never the same.

"Blackboard Jungle" also set the standard for films about idealistic teachers faced with a classroom full of uncooperative, disinterested students. Over the years this formula has been used so many times (To Sir With Love, Stand & Deliver, and Lean On Me, just to name a few) that it's practically a sub genre now.

Two other aspects of "Blackboard Jungle" that I find interesting are the ethnic makeup of the student body and the role of the intelligent classroom leader. Although Dadier's students are predominately Caucasian, his classroom also includes Blacks, Hispanics, and an Asian. In addition to this, the aforementioned intelligent classroom leader is one of the black students (Gregory Miller, played by Sidney Poitier). Although these two things may not seem like a big deal now, they were a rarity in mainstream films of the 1950s.

Along with Poitier, "Blackboard Jungle" also features as high schoolers other actors who went on to have successful careers in Hollywood. They include Vic Morrow as Artie West, future director Paul Mazursky as Emanuel Stoker, and Jameel Farah as slow-witted student Santini. Farah later Anglicized his name to Jamie Farr.

Final Results of the Celebrity Arrest Poll

In the recent poll in which I asked which celebrity did you think would most likely be arrested again first, former Mouseketeer Britney Spears "won" by a narrow margin. Based on the votes, it looks as if most people feel that Paris Hilton has turned over a new leaf because she received the least number of votes. If it turns out that Britney is the next of these celebs to fight the law and lose, maybe I'll do a poll on what hair color (extensions optional) goes best with an orange jumpsuit. Here are the final poll results:

Britney Spears- 26%
Bobby Brown & Lindsay Lohan- 20% each
Amy Winehouse- 16%
Kid Rock-10%
Paris Hilton- 6%

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bloggers With Integrity Award

Mama Pajama has given me the Bloggers With Integrity Award. This award was started by The Little Aussie Cynic to give props to those bloggers who stay true to themselves. The following paragraph, which explains the basis of the award, is taken from her blog:

"After looking, reading and watching many many Blogs and bloggers I decided to issue some recognition to those fellow bloggers I feel maintain integrity in the Blogs. All these bloggers incorporate within their wonderful sites, an integrity not always seen. They share terrific stories, topics, discussions and images. All Well worth a look."

What's different about this award is that she has broken it down into several categories. I am awarding it to the following bloggers:

For Creativity:

Susan Helene Gottfried

For Staying True To Their Beliefs:

Cindy Swanson

For Keeping It Real:

Mistress of the Dark at A Little Night Music

For Social Consciense:

Barbara (aka Layla) at Writing From the Inside Out

Although I didn't include one of the categories (For The Spirit of Giving), feel free to include if or when you pass this award on.

Anniversary of the Debut of "The Nat King Cole Show"

On November 5th 1956, the musical variety program "The Nat King Cole Show" debuted on NBC. Although it wasn't the first network show to be hosted by an African-American, it was the first of its type to headlined by an artist with Cole's star power. The program, which originally aired for 15 minutes, was expanded to a half hour during the summer of 1957.

During its brief run, "The Nat King Cole Show" never had a national sponsor. Depending on who you ask, this was due to either the less than stellar ratings of the show or the reluctance on the part of the companies to sponsor a program headlined by an African-American. Perhaps it may have been a combination of both.

To help "The Nat King Cole Show" financially, many of the top stars in show business (Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Eartha Kitt, and Peggy Lee just to name a few) worked for the minimum fee. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to save the show. Because both Cole and NBC were operating the show at a financial loss, he decided to pull the plug. The last episode aired on December 17, 1957. Although "The Nat King Cole Show" lasted for little over a year, it does occasionally turn up in reruns on channels such as PBS and BET J.

Below is the link to a 1957 clip from the show that features Cole performing with a 10 yr old Billy Preston. About a year after this performance, the two appeared in the W.C. Handy biopic "St. Louis Blues". Cole portrayed Handy as an adult and Preston played him as a kid. At the end of their duet on the show, Nat predicted that Billy had an excellent career ahead of him. Considering that some of Billy's career achievements included a string of solo hits as well as performing with such artists as Little Richard, Ray Charles and the Beatles, I'd say that Nat was right on the money.

Nat "King" Cole & Billy Preston

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 11/3/07

4 pm hour

Roam- The B 52s
Wrap It Up- The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Show Bizness- Gil Scott-Heron
Show & Tell- Al Wilson
Never Marry A Railroad Man- Shocking Blue
Lawyers In Love- Jackson Browne
Hey Nineteen- Steely Dan

Common Thread segment: Songs from Blaxploitation films
Theme from Foxy Brown- Willie Hutch
Theme from Cleopatra Jones- Joe Simon
Are You Man Enough- The Four Tops (from the film "Shaft In Africa")
Freddie's Dead- Curtis Mayfield (from the movie "Superfly")

If She Knew What She Wants- The Bangles
Statue of Liberty- XTC
Pop Muzik- M
Way Back Home- Jr. Walker & the All-Stars

5 pm hour

Simply Irresistible- Robert Palmer
Roxanne Roxanne- UTFO
Satisfaction Guaranteed- Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
Sweet Seasons- Carole King
I Like It- DeBarge
Fly Robin Fly- Silver Convention

On the Flip Side segment:
61 Seconds- The Outfield (song is the B-side to "Your Love")

Kiss & Tell- Bryan Ferry
Dazz- Brick
Stage Fright- The Band
Work To Do- The Isley Bros.
The Glamorous Life- Sheila E.
I Don't Wanna Be A Hero- Johnny Hates Jazz

6 pm hour

Hot Blooded- Foreigner
Messin' With My Mind- Labelle
Walking On the Chinese Wall- Philip Bailey
Gold- John Stewart
Rock & Roll Is King- ELO
Dance Little Sister- Terence Trent D'Arby
How Will I Know- Whitney Houston

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Clair- Gilbert O'Sullivan

Mama's Pearl- The Jackson Five
I Ain't No Joke- Eric B. & Rakim
Turn the Beat Around- Vicki Sue Robinson
Whenever You're On My Mind- Marshall Crenshaw
Bring It Back Again- The Stray Cats
Special Lady- Ray, Goodman, & Brown

Did any of your favorite songs make this week's playlist?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Retro Commercial: The Viewmaster

Back in the day, the View Master was one of the coolest toys around. One year for Christmas, me and my sister got Talking View Masters... ooh!! I remember that mine was blue and that one of the reels I had was for Scooby-Doo. The Scooby gang (aka those meddling kids) were trying to solve the mystery of the Snow Ghost. I watched that reel so many times that I still have the culprit's name ingrained in my memory, but I digress...

Below is a 1971 ad for the GAF View Master. In addition to Henry Fonda, this commercial also features another future Oscar winner. If you have trouble spotting the soon-to-be star, click here.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Duane "Dog" Chapman's Costly Racist Rant

As you may already know, a private phone conversation between Duane "Dog" Chapman (the star of the hit A&E reality series "Dog the Bounty Hunter") and one of his sons (Tucker) was recorded and posted online by The National Enquirer. The conversation consists of Chapman voicing his displeasure over his son's choice of an African American girlfriend. Chapman added that he would not jeopardize his career on the chance that the girlfriend would go to the National Enquirer and report his use of the N-word.

During the portion of the call that was posted, Chapman uses the N-word six times. Using a super-sized shovel with which to dig, Chapman goes on to say that if one of his daughters was dating a black man (aka the N-word) the family would say "f*** you". He continues by implying that although the way they use the N-word is harmless, America would take it the wrong way if this was ever made public. To listen to the recording, click here.

Chapman has issued a statement in which he apologized and said that he has the utmost respect for black people. Sure you do "Dog", that's why you use the N-word on a regular basis when referring to us. I'm surprised that he didn't pull out the old "some of my best friends are..." card for his statement.

He also has said that the conversation was taken out of context. Huh?! After listening to the recording several times, to me there is no mistaking that Chapman meant what he said. His claim that it was taken out of context reminds of when a character in a movie/TV show is caught in the act of cheating on their significant other and the cheater says, "Honey, this isn't what it looks like."

In the statement, Chapman also says that his concern over his son's choice of a girlfriend was due to her character not her race. However, in the clip made public, Chapman never provides any examples to his son as to why the girlfriend is of questionable character. His main concern is that the public doesn't find out about how often the N-word gets used at his house.

In the aftermath of Chapman's rant, A&E has halted production of his series pending an investigation. I wouldn't blame them if they eventually washed their hands of him completely. Even if they don't, I would imagine that sponsors of the series will be hopping off the "Dog" bandwagon as fast as they can. As for the person responsible for pulling the proverbial white sheet off of Chapman, the National Enquirer won't provide their name. However, Chapman's lawyer says that his son Tucker is the culprit.

It's ironic that the very thing that Chapman was worried about may end up happening anyway. Somewhere, Alanis Morissette is smiling.

Thursday Thirteen #19: TV Shows That "Jumped the Shark"

Thirteen TV Shows That I Think "Jumped the Shark"

Back in the mid 1980s, a term was coined that has become one of the most used in the pop culture lexicon: Jump the Shark. It refers to a defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now's all downhill. The term was derived from an infamous 1977 episode of "Happy Days" when the Fonz (on water skis) literally jumps over a shark. There is even a website (Jump the Shark) that serves as a forum where people can comment on when a show did or didn't go downhill. Below are 13 instances when I knew that a favorite program of mine strapped on the skis and therefore would never be the same.

All In the Family- When Mike and Gloria moved into the house next door (which had been vacated by The Jeffersons) during the 1974-75 season. I realize that the change was plausible (given that Mike had graduated from college and got a job as a professor). But the show was at its best when the 4 main characters were all living under the same roof.

The Andy Griffith Show- The exit of deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts) after season 5. One of the funniest characters in TV history, Barney made the show come alive. The producers clumsily tried to make up for his absence by introducing the character of deputy Warren Ferguson in season 6. They realized their mistake and dropped him before the season ended. Although Barney did return for 5 guest appearances over the last 3 seasons, the series as a whole never recovered.

Chico and the Man- The death of Freddie Prinze (who played Chico). The producers tried to fill the void by bringing in a new "Chico" (in the form of 12 year old Raul), but they would have been better off if they had just ended the series.

Dallas- The "death" of Bobby Ewing (played by Patrick Duffy). With the departure of Duffy, "Dallas" lost one of its best elements (the conflict between brothers J.R. and Bobby). Larry Hagman saw the writing on the wall and pleaded with Duffy to rejoin the show. Although Duffy returning was a must in my opinion, I wish there could have been some other way to accomplish this instead of the "dream season" that the writers devised.

The Dukes of Hazzard- Actors Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) and John Schneider (Bo Duke) temporarily leave the series from 1982-83. Because of a dispute over their salaries and merchandising royalties, the pair understandably walked away from the show. This forced the producers to bring in two other Duke cousins (Coy and Vance). When the ratings took a nosedive, the producers quickly patched up their differences with Wopat and Schneider. Even with their return, the show never recovered.

The Facts of Life- The departure of Mrs. Garrett. The loss of Mrs. G (coupled with the fact of life that Blair, Jo, Natalie, and Tootie were outgrowing their roles) was the beginning of the end.

Get Smart- Would you believe that having Max and 99 become the parents of twins during the 5th and final season of the show was the greatest plot development in TV history? Would you believe the 2nd greatest? How about a lousy idea that effectively killed one of the most original sitcoms on TV?

Good Times- When they killed off James Evans in 1976, the series not only lost a strong black male who was the head of the family, but a fine actor as well (John Amos). "Good Times" continued its decline in 1977 when Esther Rolle (who played the mother Florida Evans) left the series for a season. Although Rolle did return to "Good Times" in the fall of 1978, it was a case of too little too late and the show was cancelled at the end of the season.

Happy Days- The increasing prominence of the Fonzie character. Don't get me wrong, the Fonz is one of the all-time great TV characters. But I think he was most effective in the early years when he was just a supporting character. As the series went on, he not only became the focus, but was almost superhuman. I could handle Fonzie banging on the jukebox to get it to play or stop. But some of the feats they had him performing (defeating a world class fencer, riding a killer bull, and getting the wildlife to be quiet by yelling "Cool It!" just to name a few) were downright silly.

Laverne and Shirley- The relocation of the setting from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Burbank, California at the beginning of the 1980-81 season. One of the charms of "Laverne and Shirley" is that its Milwaukee setting gave it a blue-collar feel, which was lost when the show moved out West. To have the characters of Laverne and Shirley move would have been bad enough, but having the entire cast relocate made absolutely no sense.

Melrose Place- "Special Guest Star" Heather Locklear joins the cast as Amanda Woodward at the end of the 1st season. I know that I am in the minority, but I prefer the pre-Amanda era of "Melrose Place" when it was a similar in tone to "Party of Five". After Heather joined the show, "Melrose Place" morphed into "Dynasty" on acid (the unexplained personality changes of characters such as Michael and Kimberly being one of its main offenses). Also, anyone who stays with a show for 6 years is no longer a "Special Guest Star" in my book.

Moonlighting- For the 1st few seasons, "Moonlighting" was one of the best shows on TV. However, when David (Bruce Willis) and Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) hit the sheets, the show hit the skids.

Scooby Doo- The addition of Scrappy Doo in 1979. Luckily, his addition to "Scooby Doo" came shortly before I reached the age when I thought I was too old to watch cartoons. Therefore, his presence didn't scar me too badly. "Puppy Power" my ass!

If a TV show didn't make my list, it's due to one of the following:

a. There are only 13 slots.
b. I'm not very familiar with the show and therefore have no opinion on whether or not it jumped the shark
c. I don't think the show did jump the shark

With that being said, did a series that you watch ever "jump the shark"? If so, at what moment do you think it happened?

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