Monday, February 26, 2007

DVD Recommendation of the Day

G.E. Smith: 50 Watt Fuse is a new documentary about the session guitarist and one-time bandleader on "Saturday Night Live". He's played with practically everyone in the business and he has some great stories he'll share with you on this DVD. If you click on the link you'll be whisked right to and we'll get a couple of cents for each one sold through here.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

One (or rather, five or six) Brief Shining Moment

Phoenix Productions is going to be staging Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot" at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey, for the next two weekends, and yours truly will be contributing to the music of this production. Come out and see it!

UPDATE: We had our first rehearsal yesterday. We had the whole cast in and were running most of the major numbers. Some good players in the pit for this one, including violinists Tina Kovacofsky (my North Dover colleague) and Allison Flynn (former student of mine at TR North) as well as John Urspruch Jr. on trumpet. It was nice to play with at least a few people I know.

Our performance schedule is this Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m., then the following Friday is a school performance at 10:00 a.m., then Saturday at 8:00, and we close Sunday at 3:00.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Now This Is Weird?

Take a look at this promo for "Matty's Funday Funnies", a 1960ish ABC compilation of Paramount cartoons, narrated by... Johnny Olson?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fresh Bloggage

Besides the restoration of Earl Kress' blog, we've added a couple new blogs to our Blogroll. Visit them all!

  • Besides being an actress, Lisa Jane Persky is an accomplished photographer and designer. She exhibits some of her work on her weblog and also has other essays. You might remember Ms. Persky from such films as "The Coneheads" and "When Harry Met Sally..."

  • J. Keith van Straaten is one of those "talking heads" you see a lot on those VH1 type shows, plus he hosted up until last year a live version of "What's My Line?" that regularly sold out a 99-seat theatre in Los Angeles. He's moved on to some exciting new projects.

  • And finally, Lloyd Thaxton, perhaps the last guy on earth I ever expected to have a blog, has a blog. He was responsible for a show I actually watched as a child, "The Lloyd Thaxton Show", which was a syndicated dance-party show that used the Herb Alpert tune "So What's New?" as its theme song (and I'll bet HE doesn't even remember that bit of minutae!), plus a number of quiz and other TV shows. He's won five Emmy Awards for his work.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Forty years ago, the late Hal Seeger did one of the very few authorized parodies of the "Batman" character, "Batfink". We have a wealth of information on the cartoons here.

But the real reason for this post is to welcome that bat with supersonic sonar radar and wings like a shield of steel back to TV! Boomerang has brought the Bat and his pal Karate back for another TV go-round, airing Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00 noon for a half hour. Each show features six Batfink adventures and they are going in episode order.

We're still waiting for the DVD release here in the US... we'd love to give you more favorable news on that, but now you folks in England will have to settle for your deluxe box set.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Platinum Blondes

Jean Harlow, dead at 26.

Marilyn Monroe, dead at 36.

Jayne Mansfield, dead at 34.

Anna Nicole Smith, dead at 39.

You consipiracy theorists are invited to take this over.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Amazing Race All Stars

Just three words: Charla and Mirna. I'm there. Even though the overexposed, annoying Rob and Amber are a part of this, I hope that those two irresistable cousins walk all over their butts.

The Second Annual Super Bowl Ad Review (Incorporating a Biggest Loser Update)

Yes, it's the moment you've all (some?) been waiting for. What did Dave think of the Supes ads this year?

Just a little disclaimer: I went from watching the bowl on a 50" LCD HDTV last year to a smaller set in my girlfriend's TV den. I did not have access to a DVR this year to play back any commercials that either grabbed or stupefied me, so everything's on the fly this year. (Note: all spot titles are mine and unofficial.)

The best Super Bowl spot of the year is... (Drumroll...)

Bud Light "Wedding Auctioneer" (A)

The best Bud Light ads (and there were six in this year's Bowl, making it the most advertised item) start with the smallest ideas. How do you speed up a wedding to get to the Bud Light quicker: Answer: hire an auctioneer to officiate.

The other Bud Light ads ranged from just as good to "Ehhh.." in this order:
  • "Face Slapping" (A-), with face slapping replacing fist bumping as a custom. I didn't count, but there must have been more slaps to the face in this one spot than in a whole week of MyNetwork TV.
  • "Hitchhiker" (B+), another funny idea with a guy looking for a ride, armed with an axe and a case of Bud Light.
  • "Talking Apes" (B)
  • "Rock Paper Scissors" (B-)
  • "ESL Class" (C+) - I marked this down due to some sad stereotyping.

FedEx "Names" (B); FedEx "Moon" (B)

FedEx ranks high because of their ideas, and "Moon" would have been a contender due to its odd length (45 seconds), but the use of tired old pop music in the background cut this one down a grade. Spots losing points for this reason also included Budweiser "Dalmatian Wannabe" (B), General Motors "Fired Robot" (D), InfoUSA/ (D), and Coca-Cola "Fountain of Youth" (C)

Hewlett Packard "Chopper" (C)

TLC's Paul Teutul, Sr. shows us how computers figure into his Orange County Choppers operation, everything from bike design to bookkeeping. "And my sons download a ton of music!" This spot would have been an A if not for the annoying, gratuitous, co-op requirement at the end. "Marketing" (F)

I go to Network Solutions for my domain names. When you buy a domain from GoDaddy, they make you buy other stuff as well (per a disclaimer). Probably adware. And the ad was horrbile. Where do they find these skanky chicks? And GoDaddy gets an F- for repeating the same spot later on. Hey, if you're gonna spend $2.6 million to be in the Bowl, BRING A DIFFERENT PIECE OF CREATIVE FOR YOUR 4Q SPOT!

Sprint Power Up Mobile Broadband (D)

Disguising your commercial as a pharmaceutical ain't funny anymore. It'll probably be grounds for an automatic deduction, like....

Toyota Tundra Pickup (C, both ads)

These two and the Doritos homemade ad (also C) automatically lose one grade for "DO NOT ATTEMPT" - proving the ultimate creators of these ads are the lawyers.

Disney "Meet The Robinsons" (D)/Lions Gate "Pride" (F)/Touchstone "Wild Hogs" (C)/MGM "Hannibal Rising" (C)

Movie trailers are actually a breed apart because they're not actually created for the Bowl, and as thus will not be considered for the Super Bowl XLII roundup. "Pride" sounds awfully deriviative, a true-story movie about black college sports. "Meet The Robinsons" - Disney, go back to cel animation, PLEASE! The others, ehh. At least they're not for movies you won't actually see until mid-August. Also in the "existing creative" department were Flomax, Snapple Green Tea (which has corn syrup as its second ingredient, so that's their deal), and T-Mobile (Barkley in an ad was a great idea).

Chevrolet "HHR" (D)

And this is what you send you kids to college for? To make sorry ads like this? In the age of YouTube, we now have rank amateurs doing the commercials, people taking their clothes off over an SUV. (Jesus God.) The NFL has similarly announced that next year's halftime entertainment will be Brookers.

Emerald Nuts "Robert Goulet" (B)

Easily Emerald Nuts' best creative yet, because they aren't trying to force their initials on us in some new "clever" way. Raise your blood sugar by eating Emerald Nuts, or else Robert Goulet will show up. (Funny, when my blood sugar is low, I get visited by Jerry Van Dyke.)

Nationwide Insurance "Kevin Federline Loses His Cred And Winds Up Working In A Fast-Food Joint, Demeaning The Entire LEGITIMATE Restaurant Industry In The Process" (D)

If only it were a good ad.

Bud Select "Shula vs. Jay-Z" (C)

Thankfully rap stars weren't as in evidence as in years past, as the NFL seeks to distance itself from that element. Jay-Z gets off Beyonce for 30 seconds so he can play a neat football game with Don Shula.

Honda "CR-V" (F)

The Bullymobile as Vegas act. It's not the second coming of Elvis. Honda did have a much better ad later in the game, its (B) effort showing cars doing the old obstacle course weave around gas pumps, effectively showing their economy.

Garmin "Mapzilla" (D)

The only ad for a gee-whiz gadget (no Wii? No Windows Vista?) should have been much better executed than it was. It looks cheap (on purpose?)

Revlon Colorist "Sheryl Crow" (F)

Damn, they got the addresses for CBS and Oxygen's traffic departments mixed up AGAIN!

Taco Bell "Taquitos" (C)

Now that it's apparently safe to eat at Taco Bell again (where's those coupons luring us back in, guys?), they give us talking lions. Ooooo-kay.

At least the game was pretty good, if one sided this year (the Colts won, in case you didn't hear), and Tracy's homemade chicken fingers (my only Super eating, considering I'm at -8 for the diet now) really hit the spot! So it wasn't a total waste of times. But clearly, Madison Avenue has to BRING IT next year, or I won't watch at all.