Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Art James Passes On...

One of my game show favorites, Art James, has died. He was either 74, if you believe the New York Times, obit, or 71, if you believe the IMDB entry under his name. Among his shows was a little trifle called "The Magnificent Marble Machine." In the first year of the Usenet group, I had this assessment of James and his career, and most of what I said still holds today, except for the opinion that "Pay Cards" taped in New York - he did that show in Cincinnati. In case you don't recognize "It's Academic", it was a high school quiz bowl show that aired in the 1960's in New York; the Washington, DC version still airs today on WRC with original host Mac MacGarry (since 1961!) still at the helm.
I saw weeks and weeks worth of episodes [of "Magnificent Marble Machine"] -- the show aired beginning in the summer of 1975, when most kids aren't in school -- and being somewhat of a pinball man, I thought it was a technological marvel defying every rule of pinball engineering. Did you ever see how slow that ball traveled on that machine? They really did have to keep it on the simple side for television purposes, but Heatter-Quigley's art director at the time, Romain Johnston, really made the machine look colorful. The arcade atmosphere carried through to the carnival-style music composed for the show by Mort Garson, who wrote some of the best themes of the early 70's. And, of course, there was lots of format and game play tinkering typical of HQ shows, eventually ending up as an All-Star version (like "Baffle" before it)

I really thought Art James was among the better hosts. It's hard to believe that "MMM" was one of only two shows he did on the West Coast -- the other being "Blank Check". All his other shows were done in New York ("Say When!", "Who, What Or Where Game", "It's Academic", etc.), Canada ("Super Pay Cards") or Nashville ("The Shopping Game"). I think he did the original "Pay Cards" out of New York too, since it was pretty close to Nicholson-Muir's home base of Larchmont, NY. But I think ol' Art will be best remembered for his Peter Pan Peanut Butter blooper. These days you can hear Art from time to time as announcer, on shows like "Family
Feud" and "Tic Tac Dough".

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Tighten That HTML!

Okay, so I went to a certain website to register to enter a contest. The legal on the contest read, "Open only to residents of New Jersey." I get to the drop down box for the state, and EVERY STATE IN THE UNION is listed there! Nothing like nice tight HTML.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Domain of The Century?

I just got an e-mail from Network Solutions, dispenser of domain names, and they are trumpeting the fact that you can now renew your domain name for 100 years.

Gee, I'm not sure there's even going to BE an Internet 100 years from now. By then, any information will be available on your own personal data port, installed by your doctor shortly after birth.

Besides, we're already locked up through the year 2016 for our domain name.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

There Goes The Neighborhood!

Won't you be my neighbor? These are some of the performers who populated Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and what they are doing now.

Some of them, unfortunately, have passed on, including the beloved Chef Don Brockett and Robert Trow/Robert Troll. Oddly, this article makes no mention of David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely. Like Betsy Nadas Seamans, he too was a younger performer playing a very old man, and he still works for Family Communications, the company that produced the Mister Rogers shows.

Name That Trombone Player?

"In the year 2000.... in the year 2000...."

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Frank Mantooth dies

JazzNews obituary of composer/arranger Frank Mantooth, who was a friend to music education, composing and arranging literally hundreds of music arrangements for young performers.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Come BlogRolling With Me

BlogRolling is now powering a links list living below the Mackey Brothers links on the left sidebar. It may move to a more prominent place, as we are thinking of some sort of redesign for this page within the next few months.

If I've championed your site in the past and the link's not there yet... patience, my friends.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Rudy Lapick dies

Death notice for comics inker Rudy Lapick, who was one of the mainstays of the Archie Comics bullpen for many years, inking the work of Dan DeCarlo, Stan Goldberg, Bob Bolling, and the other Archie pencillers.

Happy Birthday To ME

Happy Birthday... to my fellow blogger and gent I've mentioned at least several times on this blog, Mark Evanier, who's 52 today. Mark was born on the same day as Laraine Newman of SNL fame.