Monday, December 29, 2008

Macho and "Marley and Me"

I took the family to see "Marley and Me" last night, the somewhat tear-jerking tale of a newspaper columnist and his yellow Labrador retriever. On its surface, the movie is marketed as a "what a crazy dog" sort of film. But once inside, you actually get a story full of heart as this crazy dog worms his way into the lives of the couple who adopts him and the three children they eventually add to their family.

Not to say that this movie should be construed as a dog training film. The characters played by Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston make many, many mistakes in raising a puppy. You bring home a puppy and leave him in a cardboard box in the garage rather than a crate? Your dog has something inappropriate in his mouth, and you chase him rather than luring him with a dog treat to get him to drop what he has in his mouth?

My emotional stake in the film was furthered that I owned a yellow Lab very much of the same temperament as Marley. His name was Macho and he was a wonderful pet. I had to give him up when I got married a year ago. I often think that Macho has been adopted into a loving home that would accept him, warts and all. Macho was adopted a few months before my first wife died, and for the couple of years afterward that I had him, he was probably the only dog I could truly say was mine and mine alone. I have a wonderful puppy now, but I'll always remember Macho and what his companionship meant to me in the months after my wife's passing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"It May Be Toxic, But I Don't Care"

From an early 2006 episode of "Dancing with the Stars", here is Jonathan Roberts and his amateur partner, Rachel Hunter, dancing the tango to an excellent adaptation of Britney Spears' "Toxic" by Harold Wheeler and the DWTS orchestra. And this dance was very well received by the judges. Lisa Canning is conducting the kiss & cry (as they'd call it in figure skating) interview; she was later replaced by Samantha Harris. Three years after the fact this is still one of my favorites from the show.

Merry (ACHOO!) Christmas!

Ever been sick at Christmas? It seems to be a recurring thing with me. Two out of the last three Christmases, including this one, I've had really bad colds. One time I had food poisoning from too rare meat at Christmas eve dinner. And when I was a child, all the Mackey children were quarantined with chicken pox at the Holiday season.

I think I stand a pretty good chance of getting in to see a doctor on Friday. Everyone else will be returning Christmas gifts!

Whatever your health, happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Signpost Up Ahead Is Calling

This is a strangely-staged song, but it well worth your time. The 1979 Manhattan Transfer song "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" in a live version. The guitar solo is Jay Graydon, coming nowhere near the overdubbed solo he did on the original recording. Janis Siegel is on lead vocals. That may be Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax. I like Janis' little embellishment at the end... "just you and I, here in the twilight". The other MT's are Cheryl Bentyne, Alan Paul and Tim Hauser.

Joanie Get Angry?

From 1985, here is k.d. lang, with a rip-snortin' take on the 1962 Joanie Sommers song, "Johnny Get Angry". lang does not change the lyrics of the song to suit her sexual preference, but gives an honest reading that really strips away the sugar-coated goodness of the sweet-voiced Sommers. The arrangement is an adaptation of the 1962 original by Tommy Oliver.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Looks Like It's Bye Bye Globat

For the second time in five weeks, our homepage redirect has been changed without our knowledge or consent.

Part of our mission at is to provide our readers with an environment free from ads and spyware garbage. Our site has recently been redirected to two sites that I feel do not provide this.

Globat, our hosting provider (and I feel that it's time to name names), has been advised that they must provide me with adequate security for what I pay them to host my sites, or they will no longer be hosting my sites.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting A Little Stormy Out

Here's the video I wanted to post when Dennis Yost's death was reported last week. This is "Stormy" - a lipsync of the recording. I had suspected for years that an organ was used on this song, and someone sitting at a B3 is all the confirmation I need.

I'd like to know what's up with the sax player's shirt.

"OMG! Someone Got The Showcase Right! What Do We Do Now?"

This clip has generated a lot of debate on Internet game show boards. It is from Tuesday's episode of "The Price is Right", where apparently a fellow with a great love of the show and a photographic memory shouted out a number (23743) to a contestant, which sounded reasonable enough to bid.

What's hacking people off his how Drew Carey really underplayed this moment. And whether Mr. Know-It-All belongs in the audience of "Price".

Your Weather Forecast

Sure, this is from the dark ages, but I really, really liked this weather forecaster.

Walter Monheit Lives!

Only now, he's cloned himself and changed his name to Peter Travers and Pete Hammond.

Bonus points if you even remember Walter Monheit, and which magazine he gave his reviews for. Fire off a comment if you know.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sen. Kennedy, Again?

There are two schools of thought regarding Caroline Kennedy's pursuit of the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

School of Thought 1: Mrs. Schlossberg is worthy of this seat, being the lone survivor of Camelot, and with her uncle Ted clearly not having a lot of time left, this Senate seat, once occupied by her late uncle Bobby, is her birthright.

School of Thought 2: What the hell?

What do I think? I've always admired Caroline for the dignity that she's shown staying out of the Kennedy family circus (like in the 70's, where tabloid headlines regularly screamed about Ted and Joan, and Jackie's activities). She has had a wonderfully happy marriage and three children and a prestigious Park Avenue address. Does all this entitle her for a Senate seat? As much as it entitles me. It sounded like a good idea when I first heard it, but I have to side with School of Thought 2.


Bob Sassone of TV Squad discusses "The Magnificent Marble Machine" and links to a YouTube presentation of what is possibly the only existing episode of the short-lived 1976 series.

Sassone gives all the facts correctly. The program was a concoction of the Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley production company, which had greater successess with stuff like "High Rollers" and "The Hollywood Squares".

At the time of the show, pinball was ruling the arcades, with Gottlieb (Surfer, Bank Shot, Buccaneer), Williams (Space Mission, Aztec), Bally (Black Jack, Night Rider, Old Chicago) and Chicago Coin (Cinema, Sound Stage) putting oustanding product on location. (Of those four companies, only Chicago Coin still is in the pin biz under the name Stern.)

So why didn't this game show work? Because of its size, the machine action is very clunky, and the camera angles favored by director Jerome Shaw did little to enhance the action. Celebrities included the likes of Florence Henderson, Gary Burghoff, Leslie Uggams, Earl Holliman... you know the type. And one wonders if host Art James was aware of the absurdity of the whole exercise and just played along because he was such a pro.

The one thing that was improved about the show since this episode - which I believe was the fourth episode produced - was that music man Mort Garson eventually came up with more cues for the front-game ticker. And I do believe that NBC eventually demanded the show convert to an all-star format, which proved that the network didn't learn their lesson from tinkering with "Baffle" in the same way several years earlier.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New On Our Blogroll

Our blogroll keeps getting bigger and bigger. Jill Pantozzi is our newest blogroll member who has an impressive blog about comic books, called "Has Boobs, Reads Comics". I was a comic collector back in the old days and still have an appreciation for those who ply the art today, as well as the living and departed legends of the field. Jill seems to like DC Comics best, and I would have to say I leaned more toward DC than Marvel in my collecting days.

Jill's not only a comic fan, but she's also a radio disk jockey for WJLK-FM. She's on from 10pm-2am. And her birthday is coming up soon or has passed (NOTE: it's today - born on 12/14/1982) - so happy birthday Jill and congrats for making the blogroll!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I don't want to hear... ads for films that HAVEN'T EVEN COME OUT YET that include the line, "...and now, (name of movie) has been nominated for (number) Golden Globe Awards!" THE MOVIE ISN'T EVEN OUT YET!

The Golden Globes are a total waste of my time! Who has time to go to the movies during the holidays?

Putz In The Eighth...

The Mets have traded with Seattle for J.J. Putz, who will primarily be setup to K-Rod. Among the players cast off are now-superfluous arms Joe Smith and Aaron Heilman (so you threw a one-hitter once... well, good riddance).

Putz should wear the number 20, which Howard Johnson should gladly yield to the setup man.

However, the Mets website is not letting me make a PUTZ 20 jersey, like I did for K-Rod. The website claims it's because of "past and present player names". Or is it because "putz" is a Yiddish word for a part of the male anatomy?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There Is Joy In Metville

So do I get the custom jersey, or wait for the production ones to come into the stores?

EDIT 12/14/2008 - Majestic Athletic has indeed released two T-shirts for Rodriguez, a black one that reads RODRIGUEZ across the back, and a light blue (?) one that reads K-ROD instead, both bearing his uniform number of 75.

New On Our Blogroll

The Dick Summer Connection. Ever hear/see TV or radio spots for Binder & Binder? Then you've heard Dick Summer's voice at least once, since his company produces those spots and he does the voiceovers. But before that, he was a radio disk jockey with some pretty big stations on his résumé like WBZ in Boston and the old WNBC in New York. Yes, I'm olde enough to remember Dick on WNBC. Well, he has a thoughtful, literate, and fun blog. So we're blogrolling it. Congratulations, Dick.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"ER" and "E/R"

Years before the NBC medical drama "ER", there was a sitcom called "E/R" (note the slash) that was set in an emergency room.

I can think of four performers who were on both shows. George Clooney is the only one who was in the regular cast of both, and Mary McDonnell (who is now on "Grey's Anatomy") was a cast member on slashy "E/R" and a guest star on no slashy "ER". Luis Avalos (always best remembered to me as a cast member from "The Electric Company") and Conchata Ferrell were cast members on the comedy and each did one episode of the drama.

Warner Bros., if they really want to mess with Sasquatch, should bring as many of the old "E/R" cast as they can to one of the final episodes of "ER", which is ending up its 15-year-run in March.


Details here. I weighed myself this morning. Remember Dave's Weight Loss Challenge? I'm down to 197 now. I officially weighed in 2 years ago at 234, but was probably close to 250 lbs. at my heaviest, which was just after Thanksgiving 2006.


You can have your A-Rod, Yankees. The Mets got their K-Rod today when reports surfaced that Francisco Rodriguez has signed to a 3-year, $37 million deal. The free agent closer will replace Billy Wagner, coming off Tommy John surgery, for the 2009 baseball season, the Mets' first in Citi Field.

Good show, Minaya. But you got to get to Rodriguez first. What's your plan then? The same panoply of tired arms that ruined our 2008 chances? Heilman? Schoeneweiss? Parnell? Smith (arguably the Mets' best arm right now, outside of K-Rod)? Or you still got a little money left for a good set up man?

Monday, December 08, 2008

An Earlier Late Night

The New York Times' Bill Carter on plans to move Jay Leno to a new 10 p.m. nightly time slot.

Needless to say, this is a good plan for NBC, which hasn't exactly set the 10 p.m. timeslot on fire in recent years. Acknowledging that basic cable and premium cable now seem to have the edge in producing quality TV drama, the network is going to put Jay Leno in a new 10 p.m. time slot, still doing his show from Studio 3 in Burbank.

Television has gone through many changes, but I really think we're going to see a sea change in how TV is programmed in the next decade, particularly if Jay Leno takes hold at 10:00 p.m.

My only problem with the whole Leno deal is that really undercuts and devalues Conan O'Brien taking over Leno's old time slot. What's the point of going on at 11:37 p.m. when you're still playing second fiddle to Leno?

NOTE: I posted this before I read this - Mark Evanier makes many of the same points, and even uses some of the same phraseology, including "sea change".

Dennis Yost 1943-2008

The lead singer of the 60's pop group The Classics IV died yesterday at the age of 65. He had been in ill health for some time.

Dennis' biggest hit with the group was "Traces", a video for which appears below. It was one of the biggest records of 1969. The group is also noted for such songs as "Spooky", "Everyday With You Girl" and "Stormy", recently adapted by R&B singer John Legend as "Save Room".

Saturday, November 29, 2008

King Features Syndicate Cartoons, 1960-1964

We are doing a comprehensive filmography of the King Features Syndicate cartoon series produced between 1960 and 1964. This includes the "Popeye" cartoons from 1960-1962 and the "Comic Kings" from 1960-1964. (Yes, some of the earliest pilots in this series were done in 1960.) Al Brodax, who was executive producer on all these projects, was involved with other animated projects in the 60's, including two other TV cartoon series, "The Beatles" and "Cool McCool", and the film "Yellow Submarine".

Check out the page here. filmographic stuff that I don't quite have will be entertained via comments to this blog post, or via e-mail if you are one of my regular correspondents. We have a good cross-section of Popeyes and Krazy Kats, most of the Snuffy Smith and all the Beetle Bailey cartoons.

Here's what we need on the Popeyes:

  • a smattering of the Jack Kinney and Paramount credits - these cartoons all carried episode-specific credits

  • directors on the Gerry Ray cartoons - all other credits are the same - the director is either Tom McDonald or Bob Bemiller

  • which Rembrandt Films (Gene Deitch) titles were subcontracted to Halas & Batchelor - these cartoons had no other credits

  • all the Larry Harmon cartoons carried the same credits so we have them all by default - yes, I know some of them did not carry Gordon Zahler's music credit

  • I also need confirmation that there was a total of 219 cartoons. The contract with Al Brodax was for 220 shorts.

We need two Snuffy Smith credits - "The Hat" and "The Method and Maw", both of which were Paramount theatrical releases. Beetle Bailey is complete, thanks to that series' recent DVD release.

The Krazy Kats are a mess. We're not even sure if the credits we have are correct, as there was great variation in the title cards as shown on the "Advantage Collection" DVD that is my source for this information. We did find some Gerry Ray titles in the mix and even one from Jack Kinney which may have been the first pilot.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Macy's Parade Broadcast (Including Birthday Wishes for Milton Delugg)

In the past several years, I've been increasingly turned off by NBC's telecast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, due to the increased amount of commercialism and promotion of NBC-owned properties. It's almost like watching something from Disney, in which nothing outside their universe matters.

I'll give the parade a try again today and let you know how long I last through it. (NOTE: I did make it to the end this year. The NBC pluggery was confined to the earliest part of the parade, when nothing much was actually happening in Herald Square.)

You can't, however, mention the NBC parade coverage with at least making note that its musical director is the legendary bandleader and composer Milton Delugg, who will mark his 90th birthday next Tuesday. Although he's mostly retired now, Delugg still provides musical backing for one or two new production numbers and has built up a library of background music cues for the parade, some of which date back to the 1970's. He has been aided in this task over the years by associates such as his wife Anne, George Brackman, and more recently John Rodby.

Born in Los Angeles on December 2, 1918, Milton Delugg was one of TV's first bandleaders on the landmark late-night show "Broadway Open House" beginning in 1950, acted as comedic foil to Paul Winchell on many of his programs, and was bandleader immediately before Doc Severinsen on "The Tonight Show". But he is probably best remembered as the leader of the "Band With A Thug" on "The Gong Show" from 1976-1980. On top of all that he wrote a few songs that have become standards such as "Hoop-Dee-Doo" (a collaboration with Frank Loesser) and "Orange Colored Sky" (with lyrics by Willie Stein).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New On Our Blogroll

"Spectorphile" ( is a new blog devoted to the life and works of animator and comics artist Irv Spector, featuring artifacts from a collection of his artwork curated by his son Paul. Irv Spector was most prominent in animation at the Fleischer and Famous/Paramount cartoon studios first as a writer and story sketch artist, then, in the 1960's, as an animator. He also has some twists, turns and anomalies in his career, such as the one cartoon he directed at DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, "Corn on the Cop" (a Warner Bros. release which, interestingly enough, was written by Friz Freleng). He also worked for Hal Seeger on comic books published under Seeger's Stanhall banner.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More on Dave Rose

Here is some more information on former Warner Bros. layout artist Dave Rose, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 95...

Meanwhile, at Shea...

The famous scoreboard takes its final bow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Must Be A Slow Day At The Home...

What makes this one funny is that Warner Bros. once actually had an artist on staff named Dave Rose, who later became a respected courtroom illustrator.

Apology To Our Readers

We want to apologize for some shenanigans that have recently occurred with our home page redirect. Apparently there was a redirect to something called "hosttracker" which had a whole bunch of crap links on the front page for about three seconds, then redirected to our correct page on blogspot. We pledge that this never happens again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Emru Townsend dies

Sad to report of the death of Emru Townsend, one of my old online acquaintances from back in the days of the old BIX. Emru died on Tuesday at the age of 39. He and Harry McCracken ran the BIX Animation Conference (as message boards there were called) and I was a frequent contributor. We were pretty much the Three Musketeers back then.

Last year, Emru was diagnosed with leukemia and a complicating condition called monosomy-7. Emru appealed through the internet for a bone marrow transplant - donors matching Emru's blood type and ethnicity are scarce. Although a match was eventually found and Emru did have the bone marrow transplant, it was pretty much too late for Emru.

Please read what Harry has to say on his blog about Emru. Then, consider signing up with a donor registry. You never know whose life you may save someday.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bess Mess '08

At first glance, this looks like any other garbage can in Atlantic City, in the middle of the city's new shopping district.

However, if you look carefully, you will see that it is actually sitting in an indented part of the sidewalk, alongside the plaque honoring Miss America 1946, Marilyn Buferd. If you walk back a couple of yards, you will find Venus Ramey, Miss America 1944.

The garbage can is sitting exactly where the plaque for Miss America 1945 would be.

You might have heard of her. Bess Myerson.

You might remember her from a little show she did called "I've Got A Secret", or perhaps as a ranking New York City official, who had to resign her positions when her lover was convicted of buying off a judge so her daughter could go work for Myerson in the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.

I'm outraged, I tell you.

I'll have to investigate further, if time permits.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Stuff

1. I'm okay with the election of Barack Obama. I voted for him because I felt that he has the right stuff to lead modern America.

What is interesting to me is that President-Elect Obama is the first President who is younger than me (by just a few months)... he's the youngest chief executive we've had in some time.

Now, about McCain... Yes, he is an American Hero. Presidential material? Maybe in any other non-Obama year. But I think what really dragged him down was the Sarah Palin sideshow. Gubernatorial? Yes. Vice-presidential? Not quite yet.

(Personal to Pres.-Elect Obama - you're going to get that puppy for your girls - have you considered a Cavatese? They are such wonderful, loving doggies... if my seven-month-old Cavatese is any indication.)

2. Negative campaigning will bite you right in the butt. Right, former Senator Elizabeth Dole? The Dole Family's service to Washington has come to a sad end, as Libby shot herself in the foot with this negative campaign ad and allowed Kay Hagen to pretty much slide into her Senate seat. It's presented by CNN reporter Campbell Brown.

3. Al Franken's in flux. The Democrat, a former air personality on left-leaning "Air America" and former apprentice writer for "Saturday Night Live" (sharing a salary with Tom Davis), ran for Senate in Minnesota, the state that has given us such political paragons as former governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Al is less than half a percentage point behind his opponent, incumbent Norm Coleman, so a recount will become necessary by rule of law. Neither man has conceded the election to his opponent, and the presence of a third candidate in the race (Dean Barkley) may changed the chemistry somewhat. Some pundit websites were actually calling this race in Franken's favor when I went to bed last night shortly after the Obama love-fest in Chicago ended. This one won't be over for some time, so why not grab some snacks and rent a movie? Perhaps "Stuart Saves His Family"...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Roger Ebert's Blog

We like Roger Ebert. We think he's an incisive film critic and someone who doesn't deserve the medical hell he's been through for the past several years. Lately, I've been taking to commenting on his blog, and he's been known to respond. Not only for that reason, but Roger is now taking his deserved place of honor on our Blogroll.

Roger's been taking a lot of heat lately for reviewing a film he only saw eight minutes of (he since saw the entire movie and revised his review). I did the same thing some 30 years ago, and if you look for the post where Ebert says he's done talking about the controversy, you can see for himself what he said.

I now vow I will never see "Last Year at Marienbad". Ever.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Baseball Season Is Now Over For Everyone Else

And I'm no happier than I was weeks ago when the Mets were eliminated. It's going to be a long, long winter.

Estelle Reiner Dies

Mother of Rob, wife of Carl, and responsible for one of the greatest punch lines in all of cinema...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Red Sox Nation, We Feel Your Pain

This Mets fan feels your frustration in leaving the bases loaded in the eighth inning. That was our season in a microcosm, and unfortunately that was yours too.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Website Update

We have now found and restored the final 36 posts from the earliest days of our blog. We are now complete going all the way back to the origin date of our blog, July 29, 2001. Happy reading!

Gov. Palin on SNL

Even though her chances of getting elected don't look that great, it was fun to watch Sarah Palin having a little fun last night on SNL. She appeared in two skits in the show, the "cold open" where she appeared with Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey, and walk-on guests Alec Baldwin and Mark Walberg, and again in Weekend Update with Amy Poehler (who looks ten months pregnant) and Seth Meyers. Here's her Update turn, courtesy of NBC. Of course, Amy steals the sketch, but it's kinda fun to watch Gov. Palin bopping around to the music.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Master Ninja Theme Song

Ignore the visuals - this is the original, as heard on MST3K.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Giants Leave Us...

Edie Adams.

Jack Narz.

Did these two titans ever occupy the same space on our mortal coil? Well, they now have something in common: an October 15, 2008 death date.

Alphabetically, Edie Adams is first. She was an actress, model, singer, comedienne, and trustee of the Ernie Kovacs video library. Edie wasn't Ernie's first wife, but she was his most beloved partner. Edythe often showed up on Ernie's television productions, including his early 1960's ABC specials which capped his career (and were for the most part preserved on black-and-white videotape). She continued her career after the horrible car accident in January 1962 that took Ernie's life. (Ernie spun out his Corvair station wagon, which didn't exactly prolong the life of the car that eventually became a Ralph Nader target.)

Jack Narz, from Louisville, Kentucky, was an influential early television announcer on shows like "Space Patrol" and "Life with Elizabeth", then branched out into game and quiz show hosting. His "Dotto" daytime show was the show that blew open the quiz show scandals, when a standby contestant was spotted studying a list of answers. There were a lot of people whose careers were either ruined or curtailed by the scandal, but Jack Narz was one of the few who continued his successes uninterruped, with shows like "Seven Keys" and "Video Village".

In 1969, Narz began a series of assignments for Goodson-Todman, including the newly-syndicated "Beat The Clock", then a syndicated version of "Concentration" (Gene Wood took over "BTC" for its final seasons), and a CBS network show, "Now You See It". Additionally, Narz still worked as an announcer, working such shows as "Card Sharks" and another CBS network version of "Beat The Clock" hosted by Monty Hall. He often appeared on other G-T shows' panels like "Tattletales" (with wife Doe, who was one of the first women to serve as a flight attendant), and "Match Game". Jack also did a lot of appearances with brother Tom Kennedy on shows both men hosted. Tom would pop in on Jack on "Beat The Clock" one week, then Jack would visit Tom on "It's Your Bet" the next.

Jack had been in extremely ill health, suffering two massive strokes in the last three weeks of his life, and suffering renal failure. But Jack fought to the end, and even with his glory days behind him, enjoyed telling stories of his successes and meeting fans enthralled by the GSN reruns of his 70's shows.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

CBS Promo for "Spin-Off"

Here is a selection of filmed CBS promos for game shows airing in the 1975 season. There are promos for "The Joker's Wild", "Spin-Off" and "Now You See It". What's especially significant about the "Spin-Off" promo is it's probably the only footage you'll ever see on the show.

Presumably, the tapes were found a few years ago for "Spin-Off"'s 55 or so episodes (the show only ran for 11 weeks) at WCBS in New York, but no one is jumping at the chance to air them again, presuming the tapes are in airable condition.

When "The Joker's Wild" went off the air in June 1975, "Spin-Off" was its replacement. One of the very few network game shows from the New York-based packager Nicholson-Muir Productions, it was said to be an early TV adaptation of "Yahtzee". Married couples competed, answering questions to win the right to spin five displays in front of them. The displays flashed numbers at the rate of 17 different numbers from 1-6 per second; I'm presuming that the displays weren't totally random, like "Press Your Luck"'s patterns on its game board which in one case were studied and conquered, but the faster flash rate of 17 per second probably thwarted any attempts at memorization. Whichever couple made the best hand won the game and cash, with two out of three earning the couple the chance to play the Super Spin-Off for $10,000.

"Spin-Off"'s pilot was shot at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York, with veteran game show producer Willie Stein as showrunner and veteran soap opera director Bob Schwarz at the helm. The series was produced at Television City, and Jim Lange hosted, fresh off his stint hosting "The Dating Game". However, the show was not able to overcome NBC's "Celebrity Sweepstakes" in the ratings, and after just a few weeks on the air, "Spin-Off" spun off into TV oblivion, to be replaced by a newer, more exciting show from Bill Carruthers Productions called "Give n Take", hosted by - surprise - Jim Lange.

While Nick Nicholson and Roger Muir blew their chance at network TV game shows, they had plenty of minor successes in syndication, with shows like "The Money Makers", "Pay Cards", "Super Pay Cards", "The Shopping Game" (perhaps their rarest show, hosted by Art James and produced for a little-carried early cable network named SPN that also aired public-domain movies from Poverty Row studios, reruns of "I Married Joan" and auction programming), and the later version of "Howdy Doody" (Muir was a producer of the show when it was an NBC property, and Nicholson briefly played Clarabell). Nicholson and Muir also were the credited creators of Chuck Barris' "Newlywed Game". Another hallmark of these N-M-P shows was their reluctance to tape in Hollywood or New York - "Pay Cards" was done in Cincinnati, "Super Pay Cards" in Canada, and "The Shopping Game" in Nashville.

Here are the promos - if you listen carefully at the very end of the "Spin-Off" promo you'll faintly hear the first few bars of Nicholson's appropriately whirling-dervish-like electronic theme for the show.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Time Out For A Popeye Cartoon

This is a 1945 Popeye cartoon called "Mess Production" directed by Seymour Kneitel. It's got an unbelievable (and unbelievably uncredited) music score by Winston Sharples, who by this time had totally supplanted Sammy Timberg as the musical director for the studio. The last minute has some great music cues including Popeye's romantic stupor and his final walk through the factory, a faster reprise of cues already heard in the cartoon.

It also benefits from the three regular performers of Popeye, Bluto and Olive - Jack Mercer, Jackson Beck and Mae Questel - at a time when various other performers were temporarily doing the Popeye voice like Harry Welch and even Mae Questel.

We haven't the foggiest idea what they're making in this factory, all full of dangerous gadgets which could kill any character at any time. The various scenes of Olive walking on suspended girders (and what are they doing in an already built factory?) call to mind one of the earliest Popeye cartoons, "A Dream Walking" (which was animated in part by Seymour Kneitel).

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Lloyd Thaxton 1927-2008

We mourn the loss of fellow blogger Lloyd Thaxton, who hosted a highly successful dance party show on TV in the 1960's and was also the producer of the NBC consumer-watchdog show, "Fight Back With David Horowitz". We will continue to have Lloyd's most entertaining blog in our Blogroll at right.

LA Times obit

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Manuel Marinade

From this article, covering the hiring of Jerry Manuel as permanent manager of the New York Mets....

We have to grow from every time that we get as close as we get and don't make it, and we have to review and kind of marinate on why we didn't make it.

See? He's already steeped (or marinated) in Mets tradition. He's talking like freaking Casey Stengel.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


As joyful as the fall can be, the month of October always comes in melancholy for me. It was three years ago today - October 1, 2005 - that I lost one of the most amazing ladies who ever found her way into my life, my first wife Nancy, to complications from breast cancer that metastasized into bone cancer, then brain cancer, over a period of several weeks. Nancy, who had been a teacher at DHS Regional School - Ocean Campus in Toms River, devoted her life to the mentally handicapped, as a teacher, respite care provider, and sponsor. Nancy eventually lost both breasts to cancer, and later her life.

In some cruel irony, Nancy passed away on the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is therefore recommended that you find out more about breast cancer and its insidious ways by reading up on the latest medical information at your favorite medical provider, then making a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It is also recommended that you get yourself checked. Men too!

(The picture above was one of the last pictures I ever took of Nancy, at the very first Toms River Fest in late July 2005.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Check This Out

I'm almost inclined to buy a Nikon camera, now. If you know me, you'll know why.


And I'm not sticking around for the Shea Stadium funeral.

For the second straight year the Florida Marlenes have been the ones to deny the Mets what is rightly theirs. Imagine. A team playing for NOTHING taking away from a team playing for SOMETHING.

The only thing I'm going to care about from now until pitchers and catchers report in February is who is going to take the fall for this.

And with that, good night.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Optimism Rears Its Head

The Brewers lost their game. (Thanks Cubs!) Now this means the Mets and Brewers are now tied for the Wild Card. Since the Mets cannot now win the division due to the Phils' clinch today, it's a little more cut and dried.

If both the Mets and Brewers win OR Lose tomorrow, there will be a playoff at Shea to determine the wild card. Should one team win and the other lose tomorrow, the winning team will be the wild card.

And one thing about today's game... THANK YOU JOHAN SANTANA for fulfilling your commitment to perform for this team throughout the season. It seems that the last two years we've gotten a pitching gem on the next to last day of the season... last year with John Maine's almost no-hitter (what you bet he goes tomorrow in a shocker move?), and today with Santana's 3-hit performance... just what the tired arms in the Mets pen needed. Good luck tomorrow guys!

Just a note regarding the No-Hitter count... any playoff game between the Brewers and the Mets scheduled for tomorrow WILL count as a regular season game and will be reflected in our No-Hitter Count.

R.I.P., Paul Newman

Paul Newman died last night after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 83. What were my favorite movies of his? Definitely "The Sting" and "The Color Of Money".

"The Sting" was Newman at his best with Robert Redford, then two of the three most bankable box office stars in the movies (the third being Burt Reynolds). It would be like putting Brad Pitt and Will Smith in the same movie today. "The Color Of Money" with Newman reprising his role in "The Hustler" (which would probably rank third on my listing) as Fast Eddie Felson, simply great acting.

Newman will also be remembered whenever I shop, as his Newman's Own brand permeates many supermarket aisles. With his pal A.E. Hotchner, Newman founded the Newman's Own brand in 1982 and daughter Nell will keep the brand viable after her dad's passing. And all the profits go to charity. Sweet deal.

Okay. I Lied.

Revised 9/27 4:10 pm

We promised not to blog about the Mets after the last pitch of the last game was recorded, but I want to let everyone know that the Mets still have a chance, albeit a small one, to win the division in a tie with the Phillies and make the playoffs.

The Mets cannot go to the post season if they lose both games Saturday and Sunday, so let's take this one game at a time.

The Mets have already won their game.

Phils Win (91-70), Brewers Win (90-71) - Phils win division; Brewers ahead in WC by 1 game. On Sunday, Mets would need to win and Brewers would need to lose to force a one-game playoff on Monday.

Phils Win (91-70), Brewers Lose (89-72) - Phils win division; Mets and Brewers tied for WC. If Mets and Brewers both win or both lose on Monday, there will be a one-game playoff on Monday. Sunday win-lose scenarios between Mets and Brewers will result in the winner going to the WC.

A Phillies loss sets up a myriad of possibilities for Sunday, including the possibility of a three-way tie; we will address those as needed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Mets

It's reached the point where I have to have a bucket by my side when I watch the Mets play down the stretch, as I sometimes become physically ill when doing so. Last night was another horrible night for Mets fans.

When you give up a grand slam home run to the opposing pitcher, that is a sign that something's wrong.

I'm not gonna wait until the end of the season to say this. Should the Mets not make the playoffs, Omar's gotta go. Jerry's gotta go. Dan's gotta go. Unload the talent not able to perform to standard anymore - that means you, Pedro. Shake up the bullpen. Is K-Rod available?

I promise you (as blogging only makes it more painful) - no more Mets talk (other than the no-hitter count) until the last game is in the books of the regular season. Then we'll talk more.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Yankee Sendoff

Wow. The Cathedral acted as its own casket yesterday as the final game ever was played at Yankee Stadium. Some great history in the pregame, with tons of Yankee greats and their heirs being trotted out (would have loved to see this on TV because the radio coverage was horrible thanks to Suzyn Waldman not knowing when to shut up), and even Bob Sheppard phoned in the opening lineup (kind of odd hearing him say "X-avier Nady").

Hey, Rudy, you going to be at Shea next Sunday? I hope the hell so.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Holmdel UCC "Steeples" Ad Cited For Best Narration

Since it's scrolled off our front page, we are very grateful to show you this again and inform you that the UCC has bought time to program the national version of the "Steeples" ad on CNN, Bravo, BET and TV One.

Cinematography by Mrs. Mackey.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We Only Ask This Every Five Years...

Last we trotted this one out was in '03... high time we pleaded with you all again. Back on January 1, 1995, I scribbled on the USENET group (don't even go there today, it's not worth your time):

How did Vanna White's singing debut on last night's pre-taped "Merv Griffin's New Year's Eve" go? To me, it was underwhelming. She sang "You Do Something To Me" from the roof of some hotel in Beverly Hills, then we found out who she was singing about: her son Nicholas.

More exciting than Vanna's singing was what came before it: Mort Lindsey and the band played the new version of the "Wheel Of Fortune" theme, "Changing Keys". It was the exact same arrangement used on the TV show beginning this season.

Certainly someone has this on tape somewhere.... if so, YOUTUBE the damn thing. I'm particularly interested in the WOF theme music rendition, which is not only my favorite version of all those of the Merv Griffin "Changing Keys" theme, it's also the rarest. The complete theme is not available. Just a 30-second loop of part of it taken from a video game or something like that.

Little Men Watching Movies includes a wonderful explanation of the Little Man rating system, all the way from the cheering man to the empty seat.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Catching Up with Jim Abbott

What baseball's foremost one-handed participant is doing now. Jim Abbott was a pitcher for the Olympic baseball team, then had an nine-year career in the majors, despite being born without a right hand. He would rest the glove on his stump, throw the ball, put the glove on to field if he needed to. When he caught the ball he somehow got the glove off his hand into his left armpit, rolled the ball out into his good hand, and flipped the glove back over his stump. It was quite interesting to watch. The best moment for Abbott in the majors was the no-hitter he threw in 1993 while with the Yankees. Granted, my loyalties are with that other team from New York, but you could bet I was rooting for Abbott that day.

That Late September Uncertainty

It's kicking in, particularly with the Mets now 1 game in first, thanks to some awful baseball yesterday. I wince at the Braves, a team with absolutely no post-season aspirations at this time, acting as spoiler. If the Phillies wind up taking the East, I'm going to be terribly heartsick. But no postseason berth for the Mets could turn into a Manager of the Year award for Jerry Manuel, who really turned this team around in spite of the injuries. (Trot Nixon ever coming back?)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"And Starting At The Thomas Organ..."

A Filip Bondy New York Daily News article, from back in April, about Jane Jarvis, the house organist at Shea Stadium from 1964-1979. Jane recently visited Shea Stadium on a trip to New York City, was caught on camera and projected on the Diamond Vision board, and received a very warm round of applause from the old-timer baseball fans who remember her work for the team in its earliest days.

The ballpark organist is a dying occupation. There are some ballparks that still have them, most notably Nancy Faust for the Chicago White Sox and Ed Alstrom for the New York Yankees (who replaced the legendary Eddie Layton). But now it's all deejay work, at-bat songs, and wacky sound clips. Too bad.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Animation Pages...

If you're looking for our Animation pages, we are having a major problem (again) with our webhost. We are going to be investigating what's going on with our hosting, and hopefully we'll have better news to report this weekend.

UPDATE: It has been fixed and the pages are all still there. Whew.

Happy Birthday, Steve Turre

60 candles today for the trombone wizard, who starts his 24th season in the house band on "Saturday Night Live" tomorrow night, with host Michael Phelps and musical guest Lil Wayne.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yeah, We Were ALL Kaiser Bill's Batman

Not Whistling Jack Smith - some rummy pretending to be the guy who actually recorded the thing - on Beat Club, in the bad old days.

Part of me thinks this became a hit because of that last word in the title, much like Lorne Greene's "Ringo" did at the height of Beatlemania. Bear in mind, that in the strict British usage, a "batman" was kind of like your right-hand man in the military. The guy you sent in to do your dirty work...

Mets Take A Well-Earned Breather

It's been quite exciting - if a little nerve-wracking - following the rollercoaster-type games the Mets have been playing of late. Last night's game against the Nationals only cemented that reputation, with the Mets building a 7-1 lead, blowing it (THANKS TO AARON HEILMAN, WHO MUST FIND THE FIRST BUS OUT OF QUEENS), then more back and forth until David Wright's coda in the eighth, a 2-run homer. (Wright was 4-4 and made some great defensive plays. You think Delgado's got a lock on the MVP, think again.)

On September 11 last year, the Mets enjoyed a 6-game lead over the Phillies - and we all know what happened in the ensuing three weeks. The Mets simply cannot let it happen again, and with no guarantee that the second-place NL East team will have the wild card, every game is crucial from this point out. It's pennant race baseball, kids. Hope the Mets are playing somewhere in October.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I'm Done Watching Football On TV

Under the following condition: I will absolutely NOT watch a football game on a TV network that continually insults my intelligence by plastering a huge virtual arrow showing me the down and yardage.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Mo Rocca on Sarah Palin

The frequent VH1 contributor discusses the Republican veep candidate.

Chris Russo Update

Well, he's joined Sirius... sort of. Chris Russo will actually be developing his own channel for XM called "Mad Dog Radio", but first, on September 15, he will begin a five-hour daily show on XM 144 that will air pretty much at his old time period - 2-7 p.m. Eastern.

It's gonna sound just like his old WMCA show... just him and the masses. No Francesa to keep him in check.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Heard Us Lately?

We are now using a Blogger plug in from Odiogo which will read our blog posts aloud, either streaming or as MP3 files. You can listen to individual posts or a stream of the entire blog. Hope you find this a useful addition to our blog.

Whatever Happened To...

The Happy Little Wheel Alignment Bear? (Warning: Article is 13 years old.)

UPDATE - He's alive and well and also in Canada now.

A Gaspar Saladino Love-In

Todd Klein, a pretty decent comics letterer himself, on the king of 'em all, Gaspar Saladino. His lettering graced the covers of DC Comics for years. If I had known yesterday was Gaspar Saladino day, I would have joined the fray myself, noting the one bit of Saladino trivia no one else knows - he was the letterer on the "Superfan" comic strip that appeared in "Pro Quarterback" magazine. The strip was crafted by writer Nick Meglin and artist Jack Davis, both MAD Magazine stalwarts, and thus the quality showed through.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Don LaFontaine Dead At 68

Hope y'all said your prayers and held good thoughts for the voiceover master. Don LaFontaine died this afternoon, from complications from pneumathorax (gas in the pleural cavity, usually caused by a collapsed lung).

LaFontaine had recently gotten some face recognition, thanks to commercials for GEICO Insurance (standing in a lady's kitchen describing her experiences with auto insurance) and the New York Lottery, where he's sitting in a diner having coffee with fellow voice guys Ed McMahon and Johnny Gilbert. (LaFontaine's speaking part is sometimes edited out of the commercials to promote specific lottery games, but you can definitely see him sitting in the booth.) He was also part of an all-star team of trailer announcers (which also included Al Chalk, Nick Tate, John Leader and Mark Elliott) who made a short film shown at the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards. This is actually funny stuff and you don't have to know all that much about the guys - if you know the kind of schtick they do, then you'll laugh at them all poking fun at their image. Note LaFontaine's hair. I don't know if that is LaFontaine's real hair or a rug.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Al Brodax Toons

Thanks to Charles Brubaker for corrections to this post.

On our Paramount Cartoon Studios 1960's page, we have a major update on the Al Brodax-produced Beetle Bailey cartoons. We got our hands on the DVD release that came out last year and have the credits now for all but two cartoons. Paramount produced 30 of the 50 Beetle cartoons (all directed by Seymour Kneitel), with Gerry Ray/Geoff Pike's unit based in England doing 18 cartoons, one from Gerry Ray made in Hollywood in 1961, and one from Joe Oriolo, the first pilot from 1960 (as noted earlier on this blog).

On our page, we also now have all the titles listed for the "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith" cartoons, all 50 of which were produced at Paramount and again directed by the indefatigable Kneitel.

A lot of the English crew from the Ray/Pike version of Beetle Bailey were involved with the 1965 "Beatles" cartoon series, which was also produced by Al Brodax, such as Peter Gardiner, Cam Ford, Lief Gram, and Aubrey Stapleton. However, even the "Beatles" series had some oddball moments. A few of the early cartoons were produced in Hollywood and directed by a man more remembered as a cartoon writer, John W. Dunn (with help from Tom McDonald, on loan from Format Films). Animators included Dale Case, an acquaintance of John Dunn from the DePatie-Freleng studio (and Dale is the son of Disney animator Brad Case, who also later wound up at DePatie-Freleng). Here's an example of a US Beatles cartoon, "I'll Follow The Sun".

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Strahan: "No Thanks, I'll Stay Retired"

Michael Strahan put the rumors to bed when he disclosed that he will not return to the Jets to supplant an ailing teammate (see several posts below this one).

Say A Prayer...

for voice over legend Don LaFontaine, in Cedars Sinai with a blood clot in his lung.

Life Is One Big List

When we celebrated the 100th anniversary of John Wayne's birth, we ran a quote by the New York Daily News' resident commentator on just about everything, David Hinckley, the gist of which was that men treat life as one big to-do list and the adventure is crossing things off. Dave Freeman knew that and authored a book called "100 Things To Do Before You Die".

We wonder if Dave Freeman himself had a similar list, and how much of it he accomplished, now that we've gotten this shocking and tragic news.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vote for Me!

Or, you can elect someone more worthy of the title...

Stage Set For Strahan's Return?

According to reports, the New York Giants are trying to lure Michael Strahan out of retirement. The defensive great for the Giants retired just after the team's Super Bowl XLII win last February. But Osi Umenyiora, heir apparent to Strahan at defensive end, is going to be down for the season with damage to one of his knees. I heard a weekend sports guy on one of the New York stations just casually mention after reporting on Umenyiora's injury, "Wouldn't it be something if Michael Strahan came back?"

My initial reaction was, "You're already in Canton, Michael. Don't push it." But, I think squeezing another year out of Strahan would be a great move for the Giants, who really need star power back on their team, now that the balance of power in the Meadowlands has shifted over to the Jets with their acquisition of Brett Favre (there are already #4 jerseys for $80 in the Sports Authority). And Strahan knows the position, knows the Giants system... it's their best bet.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ken Levine's Place In Jingle Lore

Ken Levine is an Emmy-winning writer for television, writing shows like "M*A*S*H" and "Cheers". He also has a blog which is quite fun to read and as such is on our blogroll. He's also a baseball fan and broadcaster. But he also has a lot of radio in his blood, and I ran across something interesting last night. Levine participated in one of the greatest jingle demo tapes of all time.

For the uninitiated, jingle production companies like JAM Creative Productions, Inc. would create new packages of jingles to syndicate to radio stations, usually piloted at a certain station. In 1978, JAM created its first custom package for WLS in Chicago called "Class Action", featuring its star deejay of the time, John "Records" Landecker. JAM's owner and founder, Jon Wolfert, created one of the most entertaining demos ever made, mixing the cuts in with phone calls purportedly from listeners. Much of it was adlibbed, and one of those callers was Ken Levine. He's the guy who's asking what the jingles would sound like for stations whose call letters began with "K" (usually indicating a station west of the Mississippi, but there are exceptions like KYW in Philadelphia). There's a great bit at the end with "your local announcer" (actually WABC's Dan Ingram!), crafted entirely from outtakes and cut number calls taken from other packages (perhaps Pro Mod?)

Anyway, here is the link to more info on the Class Action demo, including a link for download

One Final Word On The Olympics

From Star Spangled Canuck

And that's really all I have. No more Olympics for me until 2010. Good night, Beijing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


One of you Mets wanna get a hit? Please? I would really hate to see Backe get a no-no right in the middle of this Mets hot streak.

Thanks, Ryan Church!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Latest Olympics Controversy

Perhaps goaded into it by NBC's rah-rah USA coverage of the games, the International Olympic Committee is asking for an investigation of members of China's women's gymnastic team, which is rumored to include athletes who are well under the age limit of 16. (I don't hear a lot of hue and cry from NBC for someone, anyone to check 16-year-old Shawn Johnson's paperwork.)

If the China team members are stripped of their medals, the USA would be bumped to team gold. Individually, so would Nastia Liukin, who technically tied with He Kexin (one of those under scrutiny) on the uneven bars, but was awarded the silver medal on the basis of a tiebreaker.

Makes a doping scandal seem quaint, now, doesn't it?

Mets Sweep Braves

Five years ago, this headline would have meant a lot more than it does now, simply because the Braves are just not the team they used to be. Well, there are a few familiar faces still there from the team's glory days like Chipper Jones, but these guys simply are not up to the standard that won them the division title for many years in a row. The Mets have bigger things to worry about like the Phillies and (my sister hates when I call them this name) the Marlenes.

Also, Monday is the day that Shea Stadium seats go on sale for $895 the pair. It's been speculated that Yankee Stadium seats will go for at least double that, if not more.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Professional Bowlers' Tour Opening Titles

Ah, Saturday afternoons in the winter when I was a kid. Back when we tributed Chris Schenkel at his September 2005 passing, we talked a little about the "Professional Bowlers Tour" TV show wich aired on ABC. This was the version of the main title used from 1974-1976. Dave Diles is reading the billboards, music by Edd K.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Christina Applegate's Double Mastectomy

Hopefully, she's made the right choice, but as all readers of this blog know, a double mastectomy is no guarantee that the cancer will never recur. She made the same choice my first wife did, and hopefully it will work for her. I wish Christina all the best and hopefully she will continue to have a long, healthy life and career.

Perhaps the last high-profile celebrity to have had similar surgery was Ann Jillian, who had appeared in sitcoms like "It's A Living" and "Jennifer Slept Here". I don't think Ann underwent reconstruction surgery like Christina plans to, which meant less daring waitress costumes for her when she returned to "It's A Living" after her surgery.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Well, Here It Is

Eat and enjoy.

Back In Time

Our Blog Archives have now been officially married. There were two different archives at one point, with January 2003 being the cutoff point. We now have merged all the archives thanks to the Import and Export functions in Blogger In Draft. And the process of titling and adding comments and checking pictures begins anew...

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Here's a new way for the MDA to raise money for Jerry's Kids... auctions! Don't know if they tried it this year, but hopefully it will work for them.

Or else Jerry Lewis will hold a gun to your head!

Yet Another Newish Look Update

We have finished the task of "titling" our posts and all the archives are solid. We are still looking for some missing graphics. The one that's eluding us the most is the picture of the Mets fan holding up the sign saying FIRE ART HOWE. If you know of one, point us to it. (Art Howe was three managers ago, so that will give you some idea of how long ago that was.) We have all the vacation pictures from last year somewhere, so that's the only other major thing that's missing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Things I Will Not Miss About Chris Russo

WFAN announced yesterday that Chris Russo has left the station, presumably to go work for Sirius Satellite Radio. My WFAN listening is not as constant as it was in my single days; however, I have had an inkling that Mike and The Mad Dog were not going to be a team any longer. Mike Francesa has signed a new contract to continue as a solo act on the station.

However, here's what I won't miss about the Mike and The Mad Dog Show.

1. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYBODY!" This opening made it seem like it was Chris' show and Mike was just along for the ride. At least they could have taken turns opening the show.

2. The Giants. Not the New York Giants, but the San Francisco Giants, which Chris was so enamored of. Yeah, that plays really well on a NEW YORK sports station. If you're going to work in a market, get behind that market's teams, "will ya please?" (to borrow a Russo catch phrase).

But what will I miss? The unique chemistry these two brought to the air. The best radio partnerships have some yin and yang to them. Mike Francesa was all about connections (right, Bill Parcells?) and knowledge. Chris Russo was all about noise. But in more civil times, these two really clicked and made for listenable radio.

Another Newish Look Update

We're in the process of converting our blog posts to Actual Titles, rather than the old "h2" at the start of the body of each post. In so doing, the only content changes we are making is that prior to the 7000th game, we are incrementing the numbers of games in which the Mets have participated by eight, to account for the fact that our no-no-hitter counter was off by eight games through game 6999. There is a post somewhere that addresses why.

We will try to locate missing graphics and videos, but in some cases where a video is unavailable due to a rights issue, we will insert a comment so saying, rather than leaving the carcass of the YouTube player up on the post. Some of the replaced graphics may not match the original graphics but will be in the same spirit as those replaced.

Thank you and happy reading!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So True

Here's a blog post from Matt Roush, who seems to swallow the NBC Olympic line hook, line and sinker.

However, scroll down the page, where a user comment rings truer than anything else on the page:
The coverage of the Olympics on NBC is a disgrace. Whole swathes of sports are ignored while primetime NBC shows almost 24 hour old footage of women's gymnastics qualifying.

Swimming is billed as live despite it happening 5 hours ago. The Chinese have already arranged the swimming finals to co-incide with U.S. prime time viewing. At least show them live.

As for the little "heart warming" stories go, who cares? Save them for when there is no live sport to show.

It would have been nice to have watched the opening ceremony with the rest of the world too.

Thank heavens for the BBC and their excellent, jingo free, live Olympics service on their sports website.

The Olympics are meant to be a celebration of the world coming together in the spirit of competition and peace. NBC manage to change it into another "America against the world" event instead.

"Millionaire", For The Last Time

In markets that get two episodes of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire", you should be able to see my episode this coming Thursday, for hopefully the last time in syndication until GSN picks it up in the year 2014.

Newish Look Update

We found a lot of the missing graphics and have restored them to the blog posts. I will try to find the vacation photos from last year.

Also, you may notice some funky formatting on some old posts - we're trying to catch as many of those as possible. More tweaks to come!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Church, Steeple, People

My church's version of the ad that the United Church of Christ hopes to raise funds to air nationally. This was shot by my wife Tracy and edited by our Youth Pastor Adam Tietje, whose blog now is part of our blogroll.

Our Newish Look

Hey, it's a Blogger template, but that's just the start.

YOU CAN NOW COMMUNICATE WITH DAVE THROUGH COMMENTS! Huzzah! Be advised that you have to be a registered Google/Blogger user, you may have to type in some nonsense words like DYSKJDS and I will sift through your comments. If it is cogent, even if I don't agree with your opinions, I will post it. But be concise. "Your blog sucks" just doesn't cut it with me.

We are going to be tarping up some of our other pages as well to bring them up to standard. And we are going over our old pages and fixing broken links and maybe including some updates as comments! Keep watching.

And yes, Earl, I took pity on you and added you back to my blogroll.

Monday, August 04, 2008

What a Weekend for Music!

Saturday, I took the family to Atlantic City to see the American Idols tour. Strange that they can say American Idols but cannot use the show's logo - perhaps some sort of legal thing with Fremantle. Who did I like the best? Carly Smithson, of course. The reactions to the Idol top ten only intensified as each one got closer and closer to Your American Idol, David Cook.

Sunday, I volunteered at Toms River Fest, working the north gate. Believe it or not, the gate is a pretty good place to hear the music. Avril Lavigne was pretty good but only gave her fans 40 minutes of music instead of the advertised 85. Daughtry is a true talent and he and his band gave a very well received performance.

When TR Fest premiered three years ago, in 2005, it was four days, all day, and just a bloated presentation. The 2006 version slimmed each day down somewhat, but the new streamlined two-day format is much better. I think the ticketing aspect was much better managed this time out, and processing people into the festival was a lot easier with barcoded tickets and hand scanners. Only those people wishing to come back needed to be wristbanded. It was a pleasure working the North Gate with my new boss at North Dover Elementary, Ed Keller, and other volunteers from my school as well as High School South. Can't wait to do this again next year - and please don't make us wait until 2010!

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Blogroll

As time permits, I am going to be making some changes to the Blogroll. I hear that Blogger now has a built-in tool to manage the Blogroll, so I will try that. I am looking to have something that will rank the blogs for freshness.

That means you, Earl Kress, aren't going to be that far up on the blogroll unless you get off your butt and start posting a little more.

The Puzzle Brothers Will Be Back

We are on a brief vacation (we forgot to renew the domain) - we will be back very soon.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Faster Service Coming Soon!

As I prepare to finally get cable modem access (a freebie from my employer), the one thing I won't miss about dial-up (besides paying for it) is ISP's that take your money and give you no level of service. I used to do a ton of Usenet, but I'm down to one newsgroup now for the very reason that the news server I am presently using likes to poop out after reading about four messages. So maybe I can go back to those obscure groups I used to haunt.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Carlos Delgado has just been playing some amazing baseball. Just socked another home run. I'm now sorry I gave Robair my Delgado shirt.

And we have learned that Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher John Lackey is no better than any pitcher who ever played for the Mets, as he failed to convert his no-no against Boston with one out in the ninth.

Closed For Good Department

Bennigan's and Steak and Ale have filed for Chapter 7 and have closed their restaurants nationwide.

Weird, because on Sunday I passed by the closest unit of theirs to my house - a Steak and Ale in Middletown - and remarked to my wife how I've never in my life eaten at a Steak and Ale. Now, I never will.

I blame Applebees and that damn apple voiced by Wanda Sykes that sounds like Gary Coleman 30 years ago.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beetle Bailey

Would you believe that Joe Oriolo was one of the producers of the Comic Kings cartoons? I had not an idea until I saw this Beetle Bailey cartoon called "Labor Shortage" (which is not presented here in English). It's directed by Steve Muffatti, animated by George Rufle, and scenics by Frank Dorso. It carries a 1960 copyright date, but I think that may be in error. I would love to see an English-language print of this.

Somehow, Pat Sullivan's name is also on the credits. As the elder Pat Sullivan died in 1933, I'm guessing it's probably his son.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yes, It Was A GREAT Day For A Ball Game!

My wife woke me up at 6:00 a.m. to tell me it was raining.

"You're still going to try to go to the game?" Not wanting to eat the tickets, I said, "Yes."

Weathercasters on channels 11 and 5 were predicting a total washout. Boomer Esiason on WFAN was talking in terms of "if the game were to be played today", and were even predicting an early call to the game due to the swarm of day campers due to take advantage of the 12:10 first pitch. Nevertheless, Robair and I boarded the 8:28 train out of Long Branch. We shared a lot of our experiences today with a wonderful mother-daughter duo, both Mets fans. The daughter impressed me with her Tidewater Tides commemorative shirt.

We got to Shea roughly an hour before Oliver Perez threw the first pitch. With Citi Field rising majestically beyond the outfield fences, we took our loge seats.

The game was a very tight pitcher's duel, with few big bombs from the bats of either team. The Mets only got four hits, but the last of those four mattered the most - a massive double by Carlos Delgado, which turned out to be the Mets' last AB, as Delgado was thrown out trying to go to third on the play. Billy Wagner shut the door, getting out the final batter - pinch-hitter Jimmy Rollins, pulled from the lineup just 15 minutes before game time.

This is just the way I want to remember Shea. Next time we get to a Mets game, we will most likely do it at Citi Field, which is a ball park that is going to truly rock.

Great Day For A Ball Game... Maybe

We have tickets for today's Mets game. The weather is downright crappy, but Robair and I are going to make a stab at it. We have pretty good seats (Loge 13), so we're looking forward to seeing the Mets go into first place (they're tied right now with the Phillies).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two Chips and a Miss

This is a nice cartoon. It's from 1951, featuring Chip, Dale, and their friend Clarice. Apparently, it starts with Chip and Dale feigning going to bed when each wants to sneak out on the other to meet up with Clarice at a nightclub. There are some good Tex Avery-type arousal gags, and it ends with a real ho-yay moment. Clarice, Chip and Dale are all in good voice in this cartoon, and one can't help thinking of Ross Bagdasarian watching this cartoon in a theatre in the mid-1950's and hearing the wheels turning in his head.

Directed by Jack Hannah, who was responsible for Disney's best short cartoons of the 1950's, when Donald Duck pretty much supplanted Mickey Mouse as the studio's star character (Hannah would later work his same magic for the Walter Lantz studios). But Chip and Dale came a pretty close second.

End of A TV Era

Roger Ebert announced today via his website that he is leaving "Ebert and Roeper" after over 33 years of thumbs, mostly with late partner Gene Siskel, but more recently with Richard Roeper (UPDATE: Roeper turned down Disney's renewal offer, so there's pretty much no more show). The last two years of cancer surgeries have made it impossible for him to continue in an on-camera role (most notably, he can not speak), so he's simply saying ta-ta to the format. (Ebert had to miss his film festival this year, because of, of all things, a broken hip.)

I think Disney would be best served by hiring A.O. Scott, the film critic for the New York Times, to soldier on in Ebert's absence.

Speaking of film critics, has Peter Travers ever seen a movie he didn't like?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All Star Home Run Derby

I would think that in the future, there should be some sort of minimum threshold for hitters in this contest, none of this "it hurts my swing" babyishness. Seeing Eva Longoria with her 14 career home runs trying to beat some of these other guys just doesn't cut it for me.

Oh, it's EVAN Longoria. Sorry.

But how about this Josh Hamilton guy and his septugenarian pitcher? He could have wound up hitting more home runs last night than in his entire career (40 so far)! And some of those shots were massive. But he used up all his dingers in the first round, it seems, and was runner up to Justin Morneau. It was most impressive to see those moon shots of his trying to make it over the famed Yankee Stadium facade.

My money (figuratively) was on Dan Uggla and Grady Sizemore, both of whom hit six home runs but didn't make it out of the first round.

Personal to RG: You really need one of these on top of that balding head of yours.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

STILL too early for Back To School!

So I got my first issue, post-McCracken, of the PC World magazine in the mail, about a week ago (only now am I out of shock enough to blog about this), and the very first page I turn to has an ad that prominently features the phrase that appears in the heading that I dare not type again, for fear of foreshortening my summer vacation more than it already has.

Maybe I'll get over it enough to keep from cancelling.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Baseball...Then And Now

1991: "Hey, Jose Canseco! How's Madonna?"

2008: "Hey, A-Rod! How's Madonna?"

This just in: Madonna is now scouting out the Little Leagues.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cartoon Time!

Some of the Warner Bros. cartoons of the early-mid 1930's are interesting at best. This one is actually on the good side. It's called "Sittin' On A Backyard Fence" and it's a 1933 Merrie Melodie, produced by Leon Schlesinger shortly after the departure of Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising as producers. It's only the second Schlesinger-produced MM, after "I've Got To Sing A Torch Song". By this time the song "I Think You're Ducky" became the Merrie Melodies signature tune (replacing "Get Happy"), and this cartoon features a much longer arrangement of same.

Jerry Beck and Will Friedwald, in the "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies" guidebook published some 20 years ago (really!), took special note of the girl cat in the closing title, saying "So Long Folks" with what was described as "grotesque" mouth action. It's not all that bad, actually, and she does pose quite cutely at the end of her brief recitation. Thanks to Matthew Hunter, one of the Net's flamekeepers of WB cartoons, for posting this one.


It rhymes with apologizer.

But we wish HMcC great luck in this new endeavor.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Joan Rivers Late Show

This is the first several minutes (and some of the closing) of the first episode of the Joan Rivers Late Show that launched the Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986. I'm posting it here because my wife and I had a little discussion minutes ago about Michael Sembello, whether he was more famous for the song "Maniac" or for co-writing the theme song to this talk show with bandleader Mark Hudson (one of the Hudson Brothers of 70's kidvid fame). Only musicians I can pick out of this clip are baritone sax player Beverly Dahlke-Smith (known as "Bev The Tramp" on the show), and tucked almost out of sight in the back row is bass trombone player Lew McCreary.

Prior to her taking this show over, Rivers acted quite frequently as Johnny Carson's guest host, and I believe the two never spoke again when Rivers basically double-crossed the King of Late Night and decided to compete against him. Alas, Joan Rivers and Fox parted ways a few years later, and after a succession of guest hosts (including Howie Mandel), the time slot eventually went to Ross Shafer and eventually Arsenio Hall, who spun off into his own syndicated offering for Paramount. Fox floundered in late night with garbage such as "The Wilton North Report" and "The Chevy Chase Show" and finally gave up on the daypart altogether.

Friday, June 27, 2008

When IMDb Is Most Annoying

Today, when they suck up to corporate sponsors' dollars and frame their site in an ad for some movie that's going to make a billion dollars anyway.

And don't get me started about WENN.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Seen within a few feet of each other in a LBI sign shop:




Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin Dead

The news of George Carlin's death yesterday at age 71 solicited mixed reactions from those staying at our beach house. Some of the West Coast types who "got it" were almost in tears, while the older, Eastern folk just focused in on his filth.

Among his many accomplishments in the comedy field were this "Baseball vs. Football" routine - very funny, and 100% devoid of those "seven dirty words" that brought him such notoriety. This clip is from 1990; George had been doing this routine for many years and in fact did it on the very first episode of "Saturday Night Live" in October 1975.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beachin' It

This next week, I will be ensconced at our family's beach house on Long Beach Island. Though we have ready Internet access, sitting at a computer is a task simply not done at the beach. We'll try to update that No Hitter count, because we can again. But we'll be super active once back from our week at the shore. Bye for now!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bye, Bye, Willie

BUT, the Mets could have figured out a much more dignified way to axe him. His 3:15 a.m. (ET) dismissal seems like he was being thrown out with the empties at the end of a long, drunken night.

I'm glad Rick Peterson is gone too. When you have no idea that your starting pitchers can actually go 8 or 9 innings and take some pressure off the bullpen once in a while, then it's time to go.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Well, That Lasted Long

Due to the fact that we couldn't make Movable Type do what we needed it to do, we are back using Blogger. We will try to recover the posts that appeared under the Movable Type version of our blog.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Now That "American Idol" Is Over

The finale last night was quizzical. There were a lot of things on there that didn't have to do with AI, such as that faux-1972 "audition" for Gladys Knight's Pips, featuring Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. (looking very good for an ex-junkie). But we were most impressed with the musical performances. Really liked Michael Johns and Carly Smithson teaming up, and that shot at the end of the show with Carly snuggling up to David Cook was precious. We are looking forward to seeing them in performance when the AI tour comes our way in August. But so much of it seemed to be selling something - commerce trumping art. (And Fox, like I've said, the end of the May Sweeps is way to early to be flogging your Fall crap.)

Congrats to David Cook - the "word nerd" did it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


In the last two days, I have seen ads for fall shows - and I certainly won't mention which ones - on Fox and CBS. Is it too much to ask, oh mighty TV networks, for us to have a SUMMER first?

Monday, May 19, 2008

McCracken Hangs It Up -- Again

Lest you think that the resignation from Harry McCracken from PC World Magazine is becoming an annual event, this time he means it. Last year, Harry (my very good friend of almost two decades) resigned in a dispute with upper management at the magazine, but later recanted the decision after powwwows. Now he's about to launch his own venture - we're not quite sure exactly what it's going to be but we know that Harry knows his way around HTML. We'll let you know when it launches! Good luck, Harry.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh Boy! Videos of Records Playing!

This guy direct-outed a couple of goodies. First, the Cold Blood version of the Donny Hathaway tune, "Valdez in The Country"...

And, Lighthouse's "One Fine Morning", played off the vinyl as it should be. Warning: Do not play any version of this song from a CD, as the remastered version is horrible. All you kiddies, this was like Canada's answer to Chicago, and it even had Howard Shore in the sax section.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

7359: UGLY

Sadness of the day, more so than the Mets dropping the third game of four to the Nationals (so full of Mets castoffs it's embarrassing), was Mike Pelfrey's no-hit bid being broken up in the 7th.

Come on, dude. We need that no-hitter.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pinball in Allentown This Weekend!

If you love the pin and ball as do the Mackey Bros., check out the Pinball Wizards Convention this weekend at the Agri-Plex, in Allentown, PA. We'll be there Saturday; any more time spent there and my wife would have my head. It's $15 a day to get in, and you can play pinball all day for free. Our hands are usually aching by 5 or 6 p.m., but it's a happy day well spent (and afterwards, we eat at the Waffle House off the Interstate, which is the nearest one to my house). It's also a great place to buy or sell your machine. We are planning on bringing my three machines next year, all Gottliebs: Mayfair (1966), Roller Coaster (1971), and Spin Out (1975).

The Mayfair was a machine I picked up last October intending it to be a surprise Christmas gift for my wife and stepdaughters, but lack of suitable space in the house nixed that idea, so the machine is currently in storage. I won it on an eBay auction for $200, priced low because it wasn't working. (It turns out the guy I bought it from is employed by the same school system I teach in, as a bus driver.) Within a day or two of bringing it to my old house, I had the thing running again. I put about $200 worth of new parts on it, including new rubbers and some new lane guides, and it looks and plays like a champ. The playfield on this one is in outstanding shape. Roller Coaster and Spin Out were purchased in the late 1980's-early 1990's and were on location in arcades near me - the Roller Coaster was at the old Palace Amusements in Asbury Park, while the Spin Out was purchased from Buccaneer Bill's arcade in Lavalette. They haven't been set up lately, so I'm just wondering what they're going to do once under power again.

All-Stars Already?

Voting has been opened for this year's All-Star Game, which is being held this year at the soon-to-be-demolished original Yankee Stadium. Go to the MLB website and vote. Back in my day, you had to send in punch cards which had the most likely candidates. If you wanted Bobby Pfeil on the team, for some odd reason, you had to write him in. The online ballot works much the same way.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

When Irish Eyes Are Voted Off By The Great Unwashed

The Los Angeles Times' Richard Rushfield on the unfortunate voting-off of Carly Smithson on "American Idol".

I had Carly to win. Really. The more I saw her, the more I liked of her performances and her feisty and fun Irish attitude. (If they ever decide to remake "The Commitments", here's your girl.)

UPDATE: The Idol Tour Dates have been announced. Carly and the gang will be rolling into Atlantic City on Saturday, August 2nd, with an on-sale date of Saturday, May 17 at 10:00 a.m.