Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arnold Stang 1918-2009

Entertainer Arnold Stang has died at the age of 91. His nebbish persona was a hit with movie and television audiences for decades. Even when you couldn't see him, you knew just what kind of body and face went with the voice. He began his voiceover career doing the voice of "Shorty" in Popeye cartoons, then also did "Herman the Mouse" for the same studio, and in the 1960's, Hanna-Barbera toplined him in "Top Cat", using a smoother variation of his voice to emulate Phil Silvers' Bilko routine. Here's a great example of Stang playing Shorty - the 1944 Popeye cartoon "Moving Aweigh" - please forgive the wrong main title card, music in the beginning, and the extremely annoying speed increase. This is one of the very first Famous Studios cartoons scored by Winston Sharples.

Arnold did have one interesting artifact in his career. He was teamed with a young European bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger for a 1970 film variously titled "Hercules in New York" and "Hercules Goes Bananas". Schwarzenegger's name was changed to Arnold Strong (to play off Arnold Stang) and his voice was dubbed since it was thought that people wouldn't understand his thick accent. Since I can't embed the whole movie here is a selection of clips.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Checking In With Lanny

We've talked before about Lanny Morgan. Regrettably we haven't checked in on the guy lately. We're pleased to report, among other things, he has his own website now at www.lannymorgan.com, and he's got a new sound - a sextet, in fact - and his album "6" has been nominated for almost as many Grammy awards as its title indicates - five is still pretty impressive.

If you didn't click back to what we said about Lanny five years ago, it still holds: HE IS THE BEST SAX PLAYER YOU'VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF.

And who you probably saw hundreds of times in the 1970's on television...

...as a member of the house band on "The Gong Show", always hanging out right over Chuck's shoulder. Even back then the cat could BLOW! And his four bar solos on the Gene Gene dance were NEVER enough. Good luck at the Grammys, Lanny!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Facebook Effect

I had no idea that opening a Facebook account - which I did on February 14 of this year - would cause a reduction in posts on this blog.

It's not that blogging is a lost art - perhaps it's that, as I've gotten more worldly-wise (read "older"), I'm not quite as cranky as I was when I started this blog and don't feel the need to comment on things that happen.

We could have done Tiger Woods' marital woes to a turn. I had a great line about "his wife has a better swing than he does", which I shared with a FB pal. But, I just let things sail by more.

We have a banner on top of the blog that we change every so often that says that we are guaranteed not to discuss x, y, or z, because every other blog talks about those people/things ad nauseum. Perhaps, at the end of the 00's, I'm taking Tom Kennedy's advice: it's not what you say that counts, it's what you DON'T say.

So stay tuned... I promise to be more faithful to my larger audience in the future!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bopin' Hood

Great 60's cartoon with animation from Irv Spector among others.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Bess' Plaque Gone For Good

I received an email from someone connected with the Atlantic City shopping district. She explains that all of the Miss America plaques were accounted for when the Rose Walk was reconfigured during the construction of the new shops along that street. Since then two have been stolen, one being Bess Myerson's. The other one I don't know; I'll try to take a closer look next time I'm down there (I'm supposed to be back November 28 for the Brian Setzer Orchestra holiday show).

It is my understanding that the artwork/plates for these plaques is nowhere to be found so the plaques will not be replaced when they're lifted, which is a damn shame.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Action May Be Taken

I notified the head of the Atlantic City Visitors and Convention Bureau and he has said he will look into the matter addressed in the previous post.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bess Mess '09

I didn't even have to take a new picture this year.

You will recall last year in this space, we bemoaned the disappearance of Bess Myerson's Miss America plaque on the Rose Walk and its replacement by a municipal garbage can. We spotted this on the Thursday of the NJEA Convention last year. The convention is still held in Atlantic City, while Miss America no longer calls the seaside town home.

Exactly one year later, the situation has not changed.

Bess Myerson was one of the more important Miss Americas. She is so far the only Jewish Miss America, and she later became a television personality in her own right, appearing as a model on quiz shows, then later as a valuable member of the panel on "I've Got a Secret" from 1958 to the program's cancellation in 1967. She's still alive, although semi-retired. Why, then, is her plaque gone from the Miss America Walk and a trashcan unceremoniously placed where Bess' rightful place should be? I mean, even Vanessa Williams has a plaque, and she posed for those dirty pictures.

I think this is the year I start digging for answers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Not every comment I receive gets published. You may have briefly seen a spam comment today. This is not allowed and I will sic my dogs on you.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Don Pardo Speaks...

Here is one part of the archive interview of Don Pardo, specifically dealing with "Saturday Night Live", a program to which Mr. Pardo has returned this season, in spite of his announcement that he was retiring at the end of last season.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

48 Years and Counting

From the first pitch of today's game, it was apparent that a no-hitter would not be in the New York Mets' future in 2009. We will continue our daily game counting in 2010. The count, which was advanced a few weeks ago, stands at 7644.

What's more intriguing at this point is what the Mets will be doing to make change to their coaching staff for the coming year. Current manager Jerry Manuel said that changes, if any, would be announced tomorrow. Don't be surprised, however, if Manuel is one of the outs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Have To Flip All The Cards...

I'm steadfastly convinced that with the personnel they currently have and at this juncture of a losing season, the New York Mets will not pitch a no-hitter this season. Therefore, I've advanced the No-Hitter count to its terminus for this season. See you next year.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

OCC Band, Part Deux

I am announcing my return to the Ocean County College concert band, now under the direction of Mr. Tony Tafrow. I will be playing baritone horn this time around. We start rehearsals next Tuesday and will have a Christmas concert in December. The music page will soon be updated to reflect this.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Blog on our Blogroll

We've added MetsBlog, a very informative and somewhat official blog about the New York Mets. Just came forth with the news 2 minutes ago that Billy Wagner, who just came back last night for the Mets after Tommy John surgery, has been claimed on waivers. We don't know by who yet. Bye Bye Billy... thanks for everything.

Monday, August 17, 2009

SNY Piece on Nonohitters

This week's "Mets Weekly" did a short piece on Dirk Lammers' Nonohitters.com website. Dirk, who lives in South Dakota (a hard place to live if you're a baseball fan), was in New York for a game and was interviewed about the site and its many features. Watch for some familiar names to show up on screen at some point in the video.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The CBS Children's Film Festival

Back in the days before federally-mandated children's programming, CBS was kind enough to expend some time each week for a presentation called "The CBS Children's Film Festival". Hosted by Fran Allison and Burr Tillstrom's famous puppets Kukla and Ollie, the show aired from 1967 to 1984. The show specialized in children's cinema from around the world. It must have been some coup for CBS to hire the services of Allison and the puppets away from their longtime home at NBC, where they appeared on and off from 1947-1966.

Phil of a Kukla, Fran and Ollie tribute site has been nice enough to put clips on YouTube of some of these films, many of which have become very hard to find over the years. These titles may sound familiar to people of my generation: "Skinny and Fatty", "Boy With Glasses", "The Magnificent 6-1/2", "On Snowhite" and "The Goalkeeper Also Lives On Our Street." Remember any of those?

Every so often, CBS would air a 1967 film from Czechoslovakia called "Lost in Pajamas" (original title "Tana a Dva Pistolnici"), in which a 10-year-old girl named Tanya (Dasa Pazderova) somehow leaves her sleeper train when a cow gets on the tracks and is stranded in the wilderness. There, Tanya meets up with two boys camping out overnight. I liked this one and always watched it whenever it was on. Unfortunately Dasa Pazderova didn't do too much more in the cinema, making only one other film, also in 1967. Here's a clip and if you click on the user name you will find more.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

AI Live 2009 Tour

As we did last year, we loaded up Tracy and the girls in the van and trekked down to Atlantic City for this year's version of the American Idols Live Tour. The 2009 edition featured winner Kris Allen and the nine runners up.

Loudest cheers (and female screaming) for runner-up Adam Lambert.

I was impressed with all the performances, we heard just enough of the lower-tier finalists - the Michael Sarver, Megan Joy type - to know why they couldn't go farther in the competition. But once we got to Lil Rounds, the performers started getting a little more face time with the audience. Lil was astounding. It's a shame the voting public was so done with her after about three weeks of the finals, because she was very impressive last night. The bottom six did a great first half closer of a lesser-known Frankie Valli song, "Beggin'".

Alison Iraheta, the night's youngest performer, blew me away. Belting out those songs at 17 isn't easy. She also came back out for a duet on Foghat's "Slow Ride" with Lambert.

I noticed a lot less fluff last year. Gone from this year's festivities was a presenting sponsor. No Pop-Tarts for you this year. There was also no halftime Guitar Hero competition. I missed neither.

The show promoters do need to make a longer reel to entertain audiences before the show. I must have seen the same Carrie Underwood, Daughtry and David Cook videos about half a dozen times each throughout the evening.

Can't say if I'll be back next year - all depends on the caliber of next year's field.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

I don't mind car companies using "Cash for Clunkers" as a way of getting people into their showrooms, but why do the auto companies make it sound like it was their idea? If you could think of such juicy incentives, maybe you guys wouldn't be all Chapter 11 on us.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Why The Mackey Family Needs A Reunion

Tomorrow, in Verplanck, NY, the descendants of William Mackey will be gathering for a cousins' reunion. William Mackey (1878-1943) is my paternal grandfather. He and his wife Ida had ten children from 1902 to 1921, the last of whom was my father, Richard Mackey. My dad, as well as all his brothers and sisters, are gone (a few stray aunts and uncles by marriage remain). However, all those brothers and sisters save one (Tex) had enough children whose own children have been able to make possible a reunion that may number in the hundreds tomorrow.

Verplanck, NY is significant in Mackey family history because of the family business that once thrived there, the Mackey Yards brick foundry. Many houses in Verplanck, Peekskill and thereabouts were built with Mackey bricks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Original "K-Jee"

I love posting YouTubes that are records because sometimes it's the only way to hear some of these songs. If you remember, one of the songs on the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack was an infectious instrumental called "K-Jee", recorded for the movie by the soul group M.F.S.B. However, I was a little surprised that the "SNF" version was not the original. A few years ago, while listening to XM radio's "IT" countdown of pop music, I stumbled upon the original "K-Jee" by a group called The Nite-Liters, from very early in 1971. It's a little less polished than the movie soundtrack remake and perhaps that's why I like it. The Nite-Liters were a group put together by Harvey Fuqua (producer who was at one time a member of the Moonglows), who co-wrote the song with Charlie Herndon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fre (as a) berg

I'm not at the San Diego comic convention this weekend, but if I were, I would certainly make time today for the first-ever convention appearance of Stan Freberg. Simply put, Stan is one of the geniuses of our time. He's spent a lot of the last 50 or so years entertaining the world in many different ways. We laughed at him growing up, whether he was doing the voice of Pete Puma in a Looney Tunes cartoon, or working the puppets on "Time For Beany", with his comedy records and radio show, or even when he wasn't on camera, engineering one of many award-winning TV ad campaigns in the 60's. This blog post from Mark Evanier explains his career better than I ever could.

Evanier is moderating the panel, entitled "Two Funny Frebergs" (the other being his wife Hunter), which is today at 3:30 in Room 6A, but they're going to be making appearances in the autograph section throughout the weekend. If you're at the convention, take time away from the heroes in spandex suits and make time for one of my heroes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jack Paar's WC Joke

Explaining a recent reference to "Wayside Chapel" on FB. Johnny Carson's immediate predecessor as host of "The Tonight Show" was Jack Paar, one of the more literate among the late night talkers. He hosted the show from 1957-1962, and this joke caused such a furor that Paar walked off the show the next night. This audio clip tells the story. NBC had censored part of this broadcast of February 10, 1960, covering over with a brief newscast. By today's standards, this joke is rather tame, but in 1960, network censors were upset.

The next evening, Paar walked on stage, talked for three mintues, walked off, and left Hugh Downs to run the rest of the show from the sofa. Paar returned to the show on March 7. This is audio only, no video is known to survive. This has just been posted on YouTube today.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Heart on "Fridays"

Here, preceded by some of the show's comedy, is a live performance from Heart, from the short-lived TV show "Fridays". The show couched itself as a one-night-earlier, hipper version of "Saturday Night Live". It aired on ABC and among its more notable cast members were Michael Richards and Melanie Chartoff (EDIT: and Larry David, too... how could I forget him?). Heart, led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, cover the Aaron Neville classic "Tell It Like It Is", with the Tower of Power horn section in very strong support (that very bushy haired guy on tenor sax is Lenny Pickett, who would later become music director for that other late night comedy program). The leather-jacketed, sunglassed man who introduces them "at five minutes before the hour on a very live and very hot Friday" is one of the show's writers/producers, Jack Burns. The show didn't last for more than a couple of seasons and was notorious for an Andy Kaufman incident in which he broke character during a skit and a brawl ensued involving both Richards and Burns. Enjoy this, it's a great performance.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bye, Ken Levine

Ken's blog is going into the penalty box for a while due to gratuitous profanity in recent posts. I love his blog, but right now it's a little too much on the raunchy side for me to comfortably link to it. Ken will be back.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another All Star Snoozer

Ho hum. AL wins again, Mariano closes it out, and NL fans are discouraged for another year.

But I'm heartened by the fact that the home field advantage that the AL has enjoyed for the past six seasons has only resulted in three World Series wins for the AL.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beach Vacation

Beginning tomorrow, I will be away for 11 days. There may not be too much in the way of new posts, and the Mets No-Hitter Count may not be updated as timely as I'd like - as always, Dirk's site is the first stop there. Think of him as DiamondVision, and me as an auxiliary scoreboard.

I am not bringing my notebook computer, but will have my BlackBerry and will be blithely checking my email on it. IN July, I'll be back. (Yes, always!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson 1958-2009 and Farrah Fawcett 1947-2009

Okay, Michael Jackson was a bit of a flake. Especially in later years. But absolutely no reason to characterize him as Jacko The Clown. I am very appreciative that the newsmedia, in general, have refrained from using this nickname in their news stories about his death today from a heart attack at the age of 50.

I would rather focus on his accomplishments as a songwriter and musician, and apart from the songs he made famous, this is perhaps my favorite of the songs he wrote. "Centipede" was the only record charted by his sister, Rebbie, who was eight years his senior. Michael sings backup on this along with one of his other sisters, LaToya. It was a big hit in 1985, and very frequently played on Y107 when I was working there and it was a hit music station, so I heard this song maybe four or five times a day. And it grew on me. The embed is to an audio capture, instead of the actual music video which unfortunately I cannot embed.

Now Farrah Fawcett. Spectacular embodiment of 70's beauty. Who didn't want to be Jill when playing "Charlie's Angels"? All flowing blonde hair, white teeth. And, as known to anyone who hung That Poster in their bedroom - me included - nipples. She did show acting chops later on, but in later years, like Michael Jackson, became a bit of a flake, as evidenced by a wild appearance on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" in 1997. Farrah had been fighting cancer for years, finally taking her today.

Whatever judgments you want to make about their personal lives, all we know is that two giants of entertainment have left us, cruelly on the same day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

One More Blogroll Addition

Drew Carey now has a blog. He's one of the most tech-savvy guys in Hollywood yet is using plain vanilla Blogspot to create his blog, called "Drew From TV". You may know Drew from his long running sitcom, or "Whose Line Is Is Anyway", or his current pet project, "The Price is Right", for which he's just begun taping his third season as host. Drew's taking it to the fans big time - imagine Barker doing that.

Now You Don't Have To Watch

The Gosselins have filed divorce papers today in Bucks County, PA.

That's all I have to say. From here on this is a Gosselin-free zone.

Changes To The Blogroll

We are making a few changes to the blogroll. We have added a thoughtful blog from Case Wagenvoord, who is a member of my church choir. We have moved Pastor Adam's blog to the taxi squad, as Pastor Adam Tietje will be leaving our church and will be on active duty as a chaplain at Fort Campbell, KY. It's going to be pretty much Landy and Tricia's call on a new blog for the youth ministry.

And we have totally removed "This Week In Milford". Yeah, we get the point. Gil Thorp sucks, and we're done with it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bowling For Dollars... Pittsburgh Style

Here's a taste of the Pittsburgh version of the venerable "Bowling for Dollars". The format was devised by Bert Claster, who specialized in creating formats then selling the production rights locally. Besides "BFD" Claster also marketed "Romper Room" in this manner.

Although people in my area would remember the New York "Bowling For Dollars" variously hosted by Bob Murphy and Larry Kenney, here is Pittsburgh handled by the late Nick Perry. Mr. Perry is notorious for the 1980 Pennsylvania Lottery scandal, in which he managed to rig a Numbers drawing by loading up some of the ping pong balls with paint so they wouldn't bounce as high in the air-powered mixing devices. By buying possible tickets with more limited outcomes (only the "4" and "6" balls were unpainted), Perry was able to clean up when one of those numbers - 666 - was drawn. Lottery officials noted unusual betting on that and other numbers, and an investigation resulted in a grand jury bringing charges against Perry. He did spend a couple of years of a seven-year prison term before being paroled. He died in 2003.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Mets

The Mets absolutely have to own the Yankees this weekend. No two ways about it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Gong Show All Star Special

In 1977, NBC gave its daytime hit "The Gong Show" a one-time-only shot in primetime. My guess is that Chuck Barris and crew filmed about an hour and a half of material for the show and cut it down to an hour's running time. There are extra disclaimers at the end of the show heralding this.

Big show with lots of people, in the filmed intros and on stage. You want music? (Alice Cooper, the UCLA band, Harry James and his orchestra) Comedy? (Rindercella, Tony Randall, the Bait Brothers) Action? (there's a crew fight) This show has it all. I am embedding the first part and you can find the rest yourself by clicking through to the YouTube page.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New On Our Blogroll

John K.

Need I say more? Check out his original johnkstuff blog and his new Funky HB blog. Hanna-Barbera filtered through the Kricfalusi eye.

John K. has actually visited my cartoon filmography pages, so that proves his discerning taste.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Sign Of The Times"

Petula Clark doing what she does best. This is a song from 1966. Petula, then 33, had just scored her second US #1 hit with "My Love", the latest in a string of collaborations with writer/producer Tony Hatch. "Sign Of The Times" is perhaps Petula's most boombastic hit, with loud brass (there's a bass trombone in there someplace) and big drums. A mod sound. Too bad the song only got to #11 on the Billboard charts. This should have been a top ten. She looks great in this video. In 2009, Ms. Clark is still performing in her mid-70's.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Music Doesn't Sound At All on WABC! (Bong)

Some Internet commentators are predicting that we could be seeing the end of the recent resurgence of music programming on otherwise all-talk WABC.

Since 1999, every Memorial Day has featured a program called "WABC Rewound", in which old airchecks (recordings from the radio or the station's audio board) of classic WABC personalities such as Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy and Cousin Brucie are "de-telescoped" - that is, the music being put back in, having been previously excised to allow easy critique on the air personality's performance. This allows listeners to hear the shows as originally intended. Classic-era WABC jock and longtime production director Johnny Donovan, Peter Kanze, "restorian" Rob Frankel and other station staffers were most instrumental in creating this presentation. However, the station announced this year that the former on-air presentation will not occur and that the show will become available on Memorial Day as podcasts.

Five years later, WABC premiered a Saturday Night Oldies show hosted by Mark Simone. The show is only minorly evocative of the old WABC presentation, since Simone does a lot of his own schtick like "fake breaks" and his constant reminiscing with a small cadre of callers. The show has also been supported by a message board on the musicradio77.com website. Now that site's webmaster, Alan Sniffen, as big a supporter of WABC as you'll find, has now publicly called for WABC to cancel the show. What's changed is the station's program director (no longer Phil Boyce, who supported these diversions into music) and positioning, now calling itself on air "WABC Radio Network" and now relying more on national or syndicated personalities rather than locally produced programming.

The next week or so should be interesting, but remember this: listening to AM radio today is about as quaint as listening to a gramophone. So be it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Frank Hughes Retiring

Here's a short video on the upcoming retirement of Frank Hughes, band director at Toms River North for the last 30 years. Although billed as his "final concert", tomorrow evening's band concert at North will not be his last school performance - that will be the Jazz Band concert on Monday, June 1.

I wish Frank well in his future endeavors. He's a very upstanding guy, and we've talked quite a bit about him on this blog over the years, both in his roles as TR North band director and Monmouth Park racetrack bugler.

Video is no longer available. Sorry.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pinball In Allentown

It's unfortunately going to have to go on without the Mackey Bros. this year, but the annual Pinball Wizards Convention is underway in Allentown, PA, at the Agri-Plex. Go there and play all the pinball you can.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What The Puck?

Whenever the great Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters are discussed, no one ever talks about Peter Puck. 36 years ago, the one- by three-inch cartoon superstar began appearing between periods of hockey games in both the U.S. and Canada (where he was a regular fixture on "Hockey Night in Canada", the Canadian equivalent of Monday Night Football). Peter did nine 3-1/2 minute essays explaining the rules of hockey and the nuances between major and minor penalties. I think it's pretty funny in one of the episodes where Pete mentions that fighting is not allowed. Yeah right. Here then is Peter Puck, Book I, giving the basic rules of the game.

I Can Lick You And Your Whole Family!

Hundreds of rabbits enter the scene. Hunter's befuddled. A little clarinet lick, and end title. So ended the 1938 cartoon "Hare-um Scare-um"...

...Or did it?

When Good Players Make Way For Great Players

What the ascent of Gary Sheffield in the Mets' fortunes meant to the player he ultimately replaced. This account is written by former major leaguer Doug Glanville, and the player in question is former Met Marlon Anderson.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Hollywood Squares", Old School

Has there been a game show with as many different theme music variations as "The Hollywood Squares", considering all the versions that have aired over the years? I generally don't link to these sorts of videos on YouTube, but this one is an exception. This is an end-of-show cut of one of the earlier versions of the show theme. Entitled "The Silly Song", it was composed by veteran television and film composer Jimmie Haskell and was used on the show from 1966-1969. It was supplanted by the composition more identified with that version of "Squares", which was called "Merrill and Bob's Theme" (honoring producers Heatter and Quigley) and was composed by William Loose.

There were maybe a half dozen more theme songs for "Squares" in the ensuing years, but this one seemed to be the most fun.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Forget Susan Boyle!

This guy is much better. Unfortunately I can't embed the player so here is the link...


If you want to see a similar guy do the same but with a tire tube (remember them?), here are two clips.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ed, Johnny, and Don

It's a little odd that the New York Lottery has resurrected its commercial with three classic voiceover announcers - one of whom is dead, another of whom is frankly not doing well, and another of whom is Johnny Gilbert. This spot promotes Mega Millions, with the NY lottery's nebbish narrator outranking Gilbert, Ed McMahon and the late Don LaFontaine in popularity while eating at a diner. I don't believe I've posted it before, but here it is.

Why is Ed McMahon saying "Hi-yo"? Well, it's something he did say on the Tonight Show, but not his most famous phrase - that would be "Heeeeeeere's Johnny". Johnny Carson had a trademark on the phrase (according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, it was cancelled in 2002), but I suspect that Ed simply does not do that line in public any longer out of respect for his old boss.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Mackey Mini Movies

Citi Field

Mr. Met (I may need to reupload this video)

Bob Interview (again)

Here are our pictures, posted on Facebook. You do not need to have a Facebook account to see these pix.

Game Over...

Little to cheer about from a Mets baseball standpoint today as the team lost its final exhibition game to the Boston Red Sox, 9-3.

But what a venue! As much as I've enjoyed my visits to Shea over the years, I really think the Mets have a winner here. Many seats very close to the action here, and the uppermost seats don't seem as lofty as they were at Shea. We'll soon be posting a link to the gallery of pictures I took today. However, we will most certainly learn more about this terrific ballpark on future visits.

Your New World Class Home

Greetings from Citi Field. Though we got here a little late the sun is trying to peek through. This is going to be a nice place to watch a game or two. We will have a more detailed report later. For now, LET'S GO METS!

Baseball Time

Tomorrow is the official start of the baseball season, but the new New York ball parks are having their shakedown cruises this weekend. Both the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are hosting games with the big-league clubs this weekend, and Robair and I will be at the Mets game today at Citi Field. We're really anxious to check out the new ballpark, even though it's going to be really windy and possibly showery. We'll have some pictures up here and maybe some Mini Mackey Movies up on YouTube.

The Mets won over the Red Sox last night, 4-3, at the first big-league action (albeit exhibition) in the park. Starting Monday you can watch the numbers on the no-hitter count start to rise again. Bring it on.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Happy Birthday

It's Aprll 2 and I would be derelict in my duties if I didn't wish a Happy Birthday to my good friend of two decades, Harry McCracken, former editor-in-chief of PC World Magazine and now operator of the Technologizer tech-info website.

Harry yesterday had an April Fool's piece on the site about the 45th anniversary of Technologizer. Back when it ran on mainframes and TRS-80's. There must be some reason he picked the number 45...

Additionally, Harry has been providing Technologizer-like content to his old home of PC World.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Solid as Santana

Great outing from Johan Santana today in a Mets pre-season game against the Braves. In five innings of work only gave up two hits, both of them in the fifth - a home run and a double.

For you newcomers (hello Facebook pals), both Mackey brothers have been Mets fans for the past 44 years or so. Optimistic old me thinks that this is the year we finally see a New York Mets no-hitter. This is a cause we've been taking up for the past several years, actually inspiring the creation by others of a more intensive site devoted to the quest, nonohitters.com. We will continue to update our counter on this website. I'm hoping this is the last year we even have a counter.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Three Little Bops Musicians

It took more than three of those little piggies to play Shorty Rogers' score for the 1956 Warner Bros. cartoon "Three Little Bops", which we discussed a while back. I found a credits listing on Wikipedia which you may take with a grain of salt as you should anything on Wikipedia.

The Shorty Rogers group was actually a sextet. At times the pigs are seen playing several different instruments depending on the scene.

Shorty Rogers is playing trumpet. That's the easy one.

Pete Jolly is playing piano, and Barney Kessel is definitely the guitarist.

The other instruments are a little more vague. The baritone sax is either Pepper Adams or Jimmy Giuffre (of "Four Brothers" fame). Drums may be Stan Levey or Shelly Manne; my money's on Manne just because of the whose West Coast Jazz brotherhood. (Manne's drumming is also heard on DePatie-Freleng cartoons of the late 60's.) Bass may be Red Mitchell or Red Callender, just call him Red.

And Milt Franklyn did slate the session - I finally tracked down the music-only tracks and he does indeed bellow "Production number 1429, the 'Three Little Bops'."

Monday, March 02, 2009

Dude, Where's My Blog?

Hi. Some of you may have noticed all my posts disappeared. Hopefully with this new post and republication we can get that fixed.

If you want to know how we did at the crossword tournament that wrapped up this weekend, please visit www.thepuzzlebrothers.com and see the whole report plus photo gallery.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Old UCC Commercial

I found this ancient commercial on YouTube. As you know, the United Church of Christ has been publicizing their "All The People" campaign, celebrating its status as an inclusive church where all are welcome. However, in the 1970's, the UCC wasn't quite as market-savvy as illustrated by this kiddie commercial that ran in many local avails that weren't already taken up by spots for Lite-Brite. The animation style probably inspired those Parker and Stone fellers to do their own version... ya think? Anyway here's the spot.

Aw, here's Lite Brite. They bought time. See the comments for a nice theory on who the voiceover for this spot is.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

There's Trouble In ... Boston?

Some Boston University students performing the opening number to "The Music Man" on the T.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Globetrotters Then And Now

I grew up watching the Harlem Globetrotters during their golden era in the 1970's. Back then, it seemed the Globies were everywhere, including Saturday Mornings when they headlined no less than three different shows.

Happily, the 2009 Globetrotters, who appeared at the Izod Center today, may be different players, but they are the same in the two most important ways - their basketball skills and their wonderful regard for our children. Some of the routines are exactly the same as performed by Meadowlark and the rest of the 70s gang, but that's OK. I had a great time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Frank Buxton On The Web

Mark Evanier so graciously pointed out that Frank Buxton, closest thing we have today to a modern-day renaissance man, now has his own website. Pursuant to this website, Frank Buxton is most notably the voice of Batfink.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Shea Stadium Almost Totally Gone

Construction crews continue the dismantling of Shea Stadium. In photos taken yesterday, you can see that there is only a small section of the old ballpark still standing, and lots of rubble yet to be carted away before the business of creating the new parking lot can begin. Meanwhile, the Atlas Van Lines truck took the Mets equipment away to the spring training headquarters, in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Pitchers and catchers report this week! Are you ready for some baseball?

UPDATE: Overhead pictures from Tom Kaminski again help make the scene complete.

UPDATE #2: All gone! (via No No-Hitters)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Trip To The City

Tracy and I spent a wonderful evening in New York, where I got to use my birthday present from her: a ticket to see the musical "Jersey Boys", about the formation and stardom of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The music was great. Jarrod Spector played Frankie and did a great job replicating his voice.

I don't talk too much about trains or buses on my blogs any more, but Tracy was very thrilled to ride on NJ Transit's new bi-level rail cars. I don't think she was too impressed with the run-of-the-mill MCI D4500 buses we rode into the city last time. But she enjoyed the way the new cars rode. Frankly I'm glad those old Bombardier cars that smacked of the 1970's are gone.

PATH equipment - desperately in need of an upgrade! When were those cars made, anyway? The 60's?

Get Out Your Dr. Martin's Dyes...

...time for a lecture on who colored the Marvel comics of the 1950's and 1960's. Mark Evanier reveals him to be the veteran Archie comics artist Stan Goldberg.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


You know the rules... now let's get to the spots!


First off, NBC, could we please get the virtual down markers the hell off the field? It does not add to my enhancement of the game.

Break 1 - 6:39 p.m. (all times Eastern)

Bud Light "Meeting": No beer at meetings. "We need ideas," they say. Amen to that. C

Sony "Angels & Demons": Not rated, film ad

Audi "Hot Cars": Automatic F (Do Not Attempt)

Break 2 - 6:43 p.m.

Pepsi "Forever Young": It's Bob Dylan! And lots of old footage. Bruce Lee. Lots of icons in this ad. Now here's Will.i.am reimagining the Dylan song. Gumby, Shrek, Blues Brothers. Lots of icons. Flag waving. Lots of icons. Easily the best spot so far. B

Doritos "Contest Winner": To get Doritos, break open a vending machine. Hmmm... I think you just saved yourself a million dollars. C

UPDATE: Pay the dudes, Doritos.

Break 3 - 6:51 p.m.

Bud Light "Conan": Conan O'Brien says he doesn't do commercials. (So what's he doing in this one?) He's going to do one for Sweden for Bud Light. Of course, this is the kind of stuff Conan's fans go for. B

Sony "Year One": Movie ad, not rated

Toyota "Venza": And this is the reason why you can't buy a 2009 Solara. C

Break 4 - 7:01 p.m. (END 1st QUARTER)

Bridgestone "Mr Potato Head": Two potato heads are riding along, and have to stop short. Mrs. Potato Head loses her lips, then changes her eyes to angrier ones. Great stuff! A

Universal "Fast and the Furious": Not rated, movie ad

Castrol Edge "Monkeys": What's with the chimps? That's what I want to know. I thought we were done with simians! D

Break 5 - 7:05 p.m.

Universal "Land of the Lost": Not rated, movie ad

Doritos "Runner Up": Crunching causes women to lose their clothes and cops to disappear. More monkeys. Better than the "winning" ad! B

Go Daddy "College Dudes": Danica Patrick again, with college guys. She's taking a shower, of all things. You need to go to the website to see the end of this. We will do that later and see. Incomplete

Update: The rest of the spot, which clocks in at 1:46, merits this a B grade. This was actually quite an entertaining spot, and not as bawdy as Go Daddy would have you believe.

Break 6 - 7:09 p.m.

Pepsi Max "I'm Good": Ouch! Lots of strange violent stuff. Great that the male market is being served with its own diet cola. B

Pedigree "Get a Dog": Strange pets! Rhinos, ostriches, boars. Maybe you should get a dog. They are encouraging adoption.A

Budweiser "Fetching Clydesdales": The dalmatian can fetch, why not the Clydesdale? He does! Does the AHA monitor commercials? B

Break 7 - 7:12 p.m.

Budweiser "Daisy": Bud back to back! A white horse falls in love with one of the Clydesdales. B

Paramount "Star Trek": Movie ad, not rated

At this point, Tracy is putting together (or taking apart, as the case may be) the 3-D glasses for the big 3-D break.

Break 8 - 7:21 p.m.

G "Testimonials": Black and white footage of athletes telling us how they like Gatorade, which I guess is now called "G", much like Sunny Delight is now called Sunny D. What you bet their logo is the only color thing in the commercial? Yep. Boring. D

Cars.com "Confidence": Genius baby manages to date older women and has a remarkable life, but needs to use cars.com to get himself a nice car. C

Break 9 - 7:34 p.m.

Hyundai "Genesis": Germans and Japanese and other nationalities are upset over the Car of the Year sleection. Hyundai also feels the need to tell us how to pronounce their name, after over 20 years of making cars for the U.S. market. C

E-Trade "Two Babies" Two talking babies! We don't know what they're talking about, but it's still clever stuff in an absurdist sort of way. B

Break 10 - 7:38 p.m.

Disney/Pixar "Up": Not rated, movie spot

Bud Light "Skiers" - Two skiers are drawing with their fingers on ski slopes to create moguls, trees and even fake casts ("Chicks dig this"). Cute! B

Break 11 - 7:41 p.m. - TWO MINUTE WARNING

H&R Block "Death": The Grim reaper visits an accountant. I think Death was funnier on "Family Guy." Especially when Norm Macdonald was voicing him. C

Teleflora "Boxed Flowers": They talk to you. How many guys watching this game actually have a sensitive enough side to think of sending flowers? C

Monster.com "Fandemonium": Harry Kalas narrates the commercial for "the NFL director of fandemonium". This isn't really ratable since it's promoting a contest, which is for some sort of non-existent position with the NFL.

Break 12 - 7:46 p.m.

Cheetos "Pigeons": Girl's talking on phone, but Cheetos attaract pigeons. Which is why I avoid eating outside. Chester is getting to be a bad guy. B

Break 13 - 7:57 p.m. - THE 3-D BREAK

This would be a great time for a Rickroll. Anyone thought to do that this year?

DreamWorks Animation "Monsters vs. Aliens": Not rated, movie spot

SoBe "3D Lizards": Lesson not learned from "Lumber Jack-Rabbit": just being in 3-D doesn't automatically make it a classic. C

Halftime Show Interlude

If you're from my part of Jersey, Bruce is a religion unto itself.

The years have been kind to Bruce and the band... Patti looks gorgeous... good to see Labamba Rosenberg in the horn section. I hate to think of all these kids who are asking, "Since when does Silvio Dante play guitar?"

Sad part: Danny Federici is missing. He'd have loved this.

Soozie Tyrell is there too playing guitar. That's how they get that big sound, lots of guitars. Bruce, Miami Steve, Nils, Soozie and Patti all playing guitar. And I just spotted Love Man Pender on trumpet.

"Working On A Dream" destined to become another E Street classic.

Jerry Vivino Jr. is there too playing sax. Never met him, but played with his dad at OCC.

Best ads so far: Bridgestone and Pedigree. Let's see what the second half brings.

MEMO TO NBC: Your Thursday night comedy starring Jason Lee is called "My Name Is Earl" - NOT "Earl". What's the use in naming a TV show if you're not going to call it by its right name in promos?

Break 14 - 8:35 p.m.

Coca Cola "?": - Everyone turns into avatars when drinking Coke. Goodness, since when does a soft drink turn you into a virtual reality character? C

Bridgestone "Aliens": AUTOMATIC F - Do Not Attempt. Bridgestone got an F last year for its Richard Simmons spot. Amazing how a company that had one of the best ads this year also had perhaps the two worst in the last two years!

Denny's "Real Breakfast": Obviously aimed at IHOP and their fruity pancakes, eaten by a bunch of tough-talking guys. Was that Martin Scorsese? B

Monster.com: If you do not get a new job, you will get crapped on by... what the heck kind of animal was that? D

Break 15 - 8:40 p.m.

Budweiser "Destiny": How the Clydesdales came to come to America. Including disastrous stints as carriage horses and racehorses. A

Disney "Race to Witch Mountain": Not rated, movie spot

Break 16 - 8:57 p.m.

DreamWorks/Paramount "Transformers" Not rated, movie spot

Career Builder "It's Time": The compounding of funny-at-first images got very annoying after the third or fourth time. C

Break 17 - 9:00 p.m.

Coca-Cola "Bugs": Ladybug lands on coke, and all-out insect warfare ensues. Prokofiev during the Super Bowl is a neat idea. B

Kellogg's Frosted Flakes "Fields": Tony the Tiger without Thurl Ravenscroft is unthinkable. Kellogg's helps build sports fields, apparently. C

Break 18 - 9:05 p.m. (END 3RD QUARTER)

NFL: Usama Young's story. (Not Rated)

The commercials following this one were local avails.

Now it's the fourth quarter. Kids are in bed. Wife is too. Just me and the spots now... may the best man win. And if Pittsburgh scores one more time, this game is ovah.

The spots at approx. 9:10 p.m. were local avails.

Break 19 - 9:16 p.m.

Hyundai "Assurance": Assurance program ensures that you can return your car without effect on your credit if you lose your job. Pretty straightforward, and that seems to be getting the job done this year. B

Coke Zero: Refry of the famous Mean Joe Greene spot. The Coke Brand Managers, a concept I just don't understand from all the other Coke Zero commercials, show up to disrupt the moment. Then it just becomes trite. D

Cash4Gold.com "McMahon/McHammer": Ed McMahon is just plain SAD. Hammer is just as sad. Sad all the way around. And the thought of this kind of commercial during the Super Bowl? What's next? Lefty's Pawn Shop? C

Break 20 - 9:22 p.m.

Vizio TV - Amazing how this spot wound up in Supes, especially when Samsung is the official TV of Supes. Dull, dull, dull.D

Taco Bell "Date": The girl gives a guy her digits and says, "Call me sometime." Next thing you know, he calls right away, takes her on a Taco Bell date, and meets her parents. What happens next is up to your vivid imagination. B

GE "Scarecrow": The Scarecrow from Oz (an old recording of Ray Bolger) is playing on the power lines! Of all the spots that need a "Do Not Attempt", this is one. C

Break 21 - 9:26 p.m.

Hulu "Alec Baldwin": You can watch lots of stuff on Hulu, including Alec's show. Alec's usually a funny guy but not here. C

Break 22 - 9:32 p.m.

GE "Wind Power": Kid catches air in a bottle. Goes to his house, and gives it to grandpa, who blows out all the candles. on his cake. C

Pepsi "MacGruber": This is a SNL character in a spot for Pepsi. MacGruber likes to drink Pepsi. It's official: SNL has sold out. F

Break 23 - 9:53 p.m. (TWO MINUTE WARNING)

Bud Light Lime "Summer": You drink this beer and it magically becomes summer around you. Definitely going for the Corona crowd.C

GoDaddy "Enhanced": - Is Danica Patrick enhanced? Find out at their website. Incomplete

Update: The complete 2:54 (!) version is not as sharp as the other spot, and not as titillating as the sponsor would have you believe. C

Final score: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23. And as the league's hired goon comes out on the field to hand the Steelers their hats which you can buy on the NFL website RIGHT NOW, we say good night. Pittsburgh fans, go wrap yourselves in your Terrible Towels and have a party! Thanks for reading!

Super Bowl XLIII Ads

Here are the ads that you will see tonight, with descriptions digested from the USA Today roundup. Be ready for some brutal commentary on some of these, if their descriptions are any indication.

  • Audi (:60) Hot cars
  • Bridgestone (:30) Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head
  • Budweiser (:30) Fetching Clydesdale
  • Bud Light (:30) Conan O'Brien
  • Bud Light (:30) No beer at meetings
  • Castrol (:30) Edge + animals
  • Doritos (:30) Internet submission
  • Doritos (:30) Runner-up
  • Gatorade (:30)
  • GoDaddy (:30) College fantasies
  • Pedigree (:30) Dogs rule
  • Pepsi-Cola (:60) Will.i.am performs
  • Pepsi Max (:30) "I'm good"
  • Sony (:30) Angels & Demons
  • Sony (:30) The Year One
  • Toyota (:30) Venza
  • Budweiser (:60) Clydesdale in love
  • Bud Light (:30) Skiers
  • Cars.com (:60) Overachiever
  • Cash4Gold.com (:30) Ed McMahon and MC Hammer
  • Cheetos (:30) Chester shows us the dark side
  • E-Trade (:30) Talking baby
  • Gatorade (:30)
  • Hyundai (:30) Genesis is Car of the Year
  • Teleflora (:30) Insult your Valentine
  • DreamWorks Animation (:90) Monsters vs. Aliens
  • SoBe (:60) 3-D Ballet
  • Plus added attraction, the Three Stooges in "Spooks" (jk)
  • Bridgestone (:30 3Q) Saturn
  • Budweiser (:60) How the Clydesdales came over from Scotland
  • Career Builder (:60) New job
  • Coca-Cola (:30) Monster gets glamour
  • Coca-Cola (:60) Bugs
  • Coke Zero (:30) Mean Joe Greene homage
  • Denny's (:30) Grand Slam
  • Hyundai (:30) Lose your job, lose your car
  • NFL (:60) Usama Young
  • Bud Light Lime (:30) Summer anytime
  • GE (:30) Scarecrow
  • Monster.com (:30)
  • Pepsi Max (:15) "I'm good"
  • SoBe (:15) Matt Light
  • Taco Bell (:30) Date
  • H&R Block (:30) Unhappy client visits accountant
  • Hulu (TBD) Video sharing
  • Kellogg's Frosted Flakes (:30) New playground
  • United Way (:30)
  • Universal Studios (:30) Fast & Furious
  • Universal Studios (:30) Land of the Lost
  • Universal Studios Theme Park (:30)
  • Walt Disney Studios (:30) Race to Witch Mountain
  • Walt Disney Studios/Pixar (:30) Up

Monday, January 26, 2009

"A Shot In The Dark"

If they ever decide to make new Inspector cartoons, this version should be the theme. It's the Naked City Plus featuring John Zorn on alto sax.

Monday, January 19, 2009

And In Other Radio News...

Big format change at WHTG went down today. No longer "G Rock Radio", it's now "Hits Now". I knew something was up when I heard them playing a Miley Cyrus record.

I was at WHTG at the dawn of their rock format (late 1984), and am a little sad to see it go after almost 25 years on the air.

From Inauguration To Inauguration: Four Years At Y107

January 21, 1985 was my first day at work at Y107 radio in Long Branch, New Jersey. The two things I remember about that day was that it was the beginning of Ronald Reagan's second term of office (the inauguration being moved from Sunday to Monday), and that the general manager sent everyone home early that day because there was no heat in the building.

January 19, 1989 - twenty years ago today - was my last day of work at Y107 radio in Long Branch, New Jersey. The station's new ownership had brought a security guard into the station shortly after midnight the next day, shut off the transmitter, and asked the only employee working at the time, "TJ The DJ", to leave the premises. This was in response to a plea by our afternoon disk jockey (who I think was still Willobee at the time) to have hordes of people come to the station on Friday morning and protest possible format changes being installed by the new ownership. We sat at a seashore bar - specially opened in the offseason to serve employees who wanted to drink to excess, myself included - and watched George H.W. Bush take the oath of office. My Y107 tenure lasted exactly four years, with all but two station employees being hired after me. At 27, I was one of the grizzled old vets.

What happened in between would make for one hell of a book, as Y107 was perhaps the most fun I ever had when I worked in broadcasting - and at the same time, made for some of the most stressful moments of my life. I value the experiences I had, and in the days to come, I will be sharing with you examples of the work I did while at Y107 as an air personality. Yes, I did save one aircheck tape. I may have others which are actually right now in Robair's possession, as he has the majority of my cassettes.

Here's Another Hero

Mark Evanier on the woman who saved Pat McCormick's life... and that ain't the end of it!

Super Bowl XLIII Ad Review Pre Game Show

One of the more fun things I do as proprietor of this weblog is to have a commentary on the Super Bowl advertising strategy. This usually goes up an hour or two after the game. This year, we're going to do it a little different: we are going to comment on the ads AS THEY HAPPEN. At the end of each break (or "pod", as they're sometimes called), we'll recap each of the commercials in that pod and discuss notable features of the ads, whether or not they were funny, whether or not they were intended to be funny, and like that. Now, to just familiarize you all with the ground rules:

1. This is my biggest pet peeve. Any commercial that shows an imposskible stunt with a big disclaimer DO NOT ATTEMPT on the screen will be given an immediate F without further discussion. Ad agencies make commercials, not lawyers.

2. Movie creative will not be considered for letter grades, as there is a set formula to movie ads, and we consider them to be a breed apart. We will miss the tobacco-soaked voice of Don LaFontaine this year.

The NBC traffic department as of a week ago had stated that the 67 30-second avails are at 90% sellout. The spots this year are going for as much as $3 million dollars for each of those avails. Imagine that scheduling headache! Even with my decade plus of experience doing radio and television traffic, I don't think I could do it.

Who's in and who's out: According to various press reports...

IN: Anheuser-Busch InBev (of course) with up to five minutes of creative for Bud Light, Budweiser (more Clydesdale spots), Bud Light Lime and Budweiser American Ale; Audi (:60 1Q, vehicle TBD); Bridgestone (also sponsoring the halftime performance by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band); CareerBuilder (:30 2Q and :30 3Q, this time, without the monkeys); Cars.com (:60 2Q); Coca-Cola (multiple); Denny's (:30 3Q); DreamWorks Animation (:60 end 2Q for "Monsters vs. Aliens"); E-Trade (:30 TBD with the talking baby); Frito-Lay/Doritos (:30 TBD with homemade ads being solicited; prize of $1,000,000 to be awarded if this ad ranks #1 on the USA Today Ad Meter); GE (one spot TBD); GoDaddy (:30 TBD and perhaps maybe another, featuring Danica Patrick); H&R Block (:30 2H, part of the "You've Got People" campaign, first Supes ad for the company in 5 years); Hyundai (two spots for the Genesis coupe); Monster (:30); The NFL (:60 halftime to be directed by ad legend Joe Pytka); Pedigree (:30, first Supes appearance for the pet food maker); Pepsi (various); SoBe (:30 end 2Q to be podded with the DreamWorks ad); Teleflora (:30 2Q); Universal (TBD)

OUT: FedEx, General Motors.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mighty Mouse's Triumphant Return

When Gene Deitch took over the day to day operations of Terrytoons in the mid-1950's, one of his radical decisions was to discontinue the studio's long-running characters like Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle. While many enjoyed the new concepts and ideas Deitch was trying out, 20th Century-Fox wanted cartoon stars for its releases. That's perhaps one of the reasons that Gene Deitch was let go, and Bill Weiss put in his place. The first thing Weiss did was order Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle back into production. The first result of this was the 1959 Mighty Mouse cartoon "Outer Space Visitor", which we present to you now, through the good offices of Robair who is starting to go through my old tapes and get this stuff up on YouTube.

This cartoon was directed (and probably also animated) by Dave Tendlar, who had just recently joined the Terrytoons staff after spending most of his career up to that point at Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios/Paramount Cartoons. Tendlar had been a valued animator and a gifted character designer, and most of the animators in his unit were top draftsmen.

Tendlar would soon be joined at Terrytoons by one of his lead animators, Martin Taras, who would help resurrect Heckle and Jeckle. The Heckle and Jeckle revival was significantly more successful than Mighty Mouse's, which only lasted for three films- this one, "Cat Alarm" and "The Mysterious Package". There were perhaps a dozen Heckle and Jeckle films made in the 1960's, with most of them being produced in the 1960-1961 time frame, with the last one, "Messed Up Movie Makers", being released in 1966, a project of longtime studio animators George Bakes and Al Chiarito.

After Terrytoons, Dave Tendlar would freelance for many other studios, including Ken Snyder, Filmation, Hanna-Barbera and Hal Seeger. He retired in the early 80's and died in 1993.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban dies

What was your favorite role? Mr. Roarke? Khan? For me, it was the car pitchman who always warned us about the soft Corinthian leather....

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Computer Woes!

My HP notebook is in for service. Three months after I bought the thing, it has trouble booting up and likes to crash when moved. This isn't good, so hopefully the geniuses at the store I bought it from will have it working again.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Totally 80's Clip

Here is a brief sequence from the 1989 Chabad Telethon. Soleil Moon Frye and Mayim Bialik, then both teen actresses headlining their own shows ("Punky Brewster" and "Blossom"), talk about anti-drug programs of Chabad. Briefly seen in the clip is the perennial host of the telethon, the late Jan Murray.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Weight Loss Update

Hi there. I'm speaking to you almost 60 pounds lighter! My weight this morning was 191. I've got bus drivers at my schools telling me how great I'm looking these days. I'm pretty much down to one chin now.

What's my motivation? Looking at the "Millionaire" I did almost two years ago and vowing that the next time I go on television, I won't be an embarrassment. I look at it now and say "who's that fat guy pretending to be me?"

Sunday, January 04, 2009

R.I.P., Animania

The HD network Animania, part of the VOOM suite of cable networks, is going dark on January 20. This network could have been a viable contender to Cartoon Network and Boomerang, but was not as aggressive as it could have been in acquiring classic product. At the end, Animania was running one hour of classic cartoons per day (several times), consisting of DePatie-Freleng cartoons (mostly Pink Panther, with some Inspector thrown in) and elements from "Totally Tooned In", a series devised by Jerry Beck using the Columbia color cartoon library.

Will I miss it? No, because I haven't watched in months. But I feel the network deserves a decent Viking funeral.

Putting the MAC in MACkey

Our family's Dell desktop computer has decided on being a cranky senior citizen, so we've scuttled it in favor of a new iMac. We got the 20 inch model with the 320GB hard drive. Right now the elves (me) are feverishly working on reinstalling many of our favorite applications. So far so good with the new computer. We got hooked on Macs when we saw one behaving quite nicely at Tracy's sister's house.

Now, the only Windows computer in the house is my recently-purchased HP notebook. All the Macs are getting along quite well so far.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009

I started 2009 at about 9:00 a.m. this morning, spending a few hours packing Christmas away and getting all our mid-winter/early spring (optimism rears its head) stuff out.

I am not watching the Looney Tunes thing on CN this afternoon. You think I'd be happy about this, but at 8:00 p.m. they start running "Mobile Monkey Suit" or "My Gym Partner Is A Teletubbie" or whatever it is they show in between episodes of "Family Guy". I tuned in during "Baseball Bugs", watched about a minute of the crappy print, then turned the cable box off and ran for my DVD set of beautifully restored specimens of the greatest cartoons ever made.

Watched the ABC New Year's show. Dick Clark is getting better with each year as he picks up more of his faculties lost in his stroke almost five years ago. The cameramen are starting to go more for closeups, and Dick had a lot of his usual spunk and charm and humor. Lots of laughter from the Dickmeister this year. He could probably be back hosting something again, if not for his thick, less-than-glib speech. But Dick, God bless him, soldiers on for another year, counts down the New Year (didn't miss a number this year), and gets his kiss from wife Kari.

Hope your 2009 is as happy as mine is starting out to be.