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!