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.