Ginny Kneitel Mahoney has created a new blog titled Seymour Kneitel 1908-1964, a tribute to her father, who was an animator for the Fleischer Studios and later one of the partners and director for its successor company, Famous Studios, a/k/a Paramount Cartoon Studios. Kneitel survived the deaths of the other two partners, Sam Buchwald (in 1951) and Isidore Sparber (1958), but himself passed in 1964 after years of heart problems. Check it out!
No love for Bess Myerson - or, for that matter, Gretchen Carlson - in the reconfigured Rose Walk in Atlantic City. Our annual visit to the gambling mecca coinciding with the NJEA Convention reveals no new plaques (the Walk stops at 1999), and still no return of the missing plaques for Myerson, who was Miss America 1945, and Carlson, Miss America 1989.
Notice that a garbage can is no longer covering up the blank space where Myerson's plaque had been. There is now a jump from 1944 to 1946. The only other place where there's a skip year is 1949-1951, because there was no Miss America 1950 - beginning in that year, the winner's title reflected the year in which they performed most of their Miss America-type service. Hence, the year AFTER they were crowned. Oddly, the 1950 and 1989 positions on the walk are represented by a blank spacer. Perhaps when the walk was put back together, there was meant to be a blank in the 1945 position rather than the non-existent 1950 position.
Wouldn't it be easy to take one of the existing plaques, make a cast of it, then make new text for both Myerson and Carlson and all the other winners who were crowned in AC? Then the whole story of the pageant as it existed in its Atlantic City era would then be represented.
Paul Spector is planning on resurrecting his tribute blog to his father, noted animator and cartoonist Irv Spector (1914-1978). Spector was noted for a series of highly stylized cartoons at the Paramount Pictures Cartoon Studio in the early 1960's, which he wrote, storyboarded, and in many cases animated.
Paul Spector's blog has been dormant for the last two years until three days ago when he posted about his late cat Ollie. As such, we have moved the Spectorphile back into the stack of active blogs.
Going into today's final game of the season, one of the only things motivating Mets fans is the fact that Jose Reyes is in contention for the batting title, and would be the first Met to ever win the crown. His opponent is Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Going into today's play, Reyes has 180 hits in 536 at bats for a batting average to five places of .33582. Braun has 187/559, or .33452. Here are tables showing possible outcomes based on up to 6 at bats for each player. Columns represent hits, rows represent at bats.
UPDATE: After a first-inning bunt single, Reyes took himself out of the game, in what was a much-criticized decision. Reyes finished at .337. Braun had to go 3-4 or better to win the batting title, however, he went 0-4, finishing at .332.
New pictures and information on SNL's new musical director, Eli Brueggemann as well as keyboardist Tuffus Zimbabwe. And we bumped everyone else's numbers up, as we always do. 32 years for Pendarvis now, which might be a record.
This is a sad day for animation fans. Earl Kress died early this morning at the age of 60, from a combination of cancers.
Over the years we had featured Earl's blog on our sidebar, a blog that we now know because of health he had to lay aside from time to time. (We'll be putting it back in our Hall of Fame soon. Earl's blog is no longer available)
Kress had a diverse career. One of his first media jobs was as a puppeteer for a kids' show that aired on the four-station network that is now known as NJTV, which is now under the operational guidance of WNET. The puppets' human co-star was the former Miss New Jersey, Hela Young, who later became the hostess for the New Jersey Lottery and who herself lost a similar battle with cancer years earlier.
Cartoons came calling next. Friz Freleng gave Kress his first job in cartoons as a writer for the 1975 ABC series "The Oddball Couple", which was a Neil Simon-sanctioned takeoff on "The Odd Couple" featuring a neat cat and a slovenly dog who were roommates and best friends, with Frank Nelson and Paul Winchell. At 24, Kress found himself working alongside writers and animators who were at least 25 years his senior, if not more. Over the years Kress added several other animated series to his résumé, including "Transformers", "Pound Puppies", "Taz-Mania" and most recently "Baby Looney Tunes".
Kress was perhaps best known for his love of animation and his willingness to ply his considerable expertise to enhance several video and audio releases of animation. Kress wrote the liner notes for "The Hanna-Barbera Pic-A-Nic Basket", a 4 CD box set compilation of the best theme songs and sound effects from the studio's productions. He was a popular talking head on many DVD commentaries and with his friend Mark Evanier (here is his tribute to Kress) hosted panels of voice actors and actresses at San Diego Comic-Con International and other similar forums.
In Evanier's essay, he sums up the man that was Earl Kress quite nicely: "In an industry where jealousy and resentment sometimes seem as prevalent as nitrogen, Earl was utterly undespised. I don't know anyone who didn't like the guy. He was smart. He was funny. He had good, honorable motives for every single thing he did."
On a recent trip to Atlantic City, I noticed some renovations taking place on the Miss America Rose Walk. Now, as you know, Miss America now calls that other gambling mecca home, and Atlantic City has been quietly erasing all vestiges of it being the home of a bathing beauty contest that blossomed into a scholarship program for deserving young women. A number of the plaques have been removed, revealing the 2x4 frameworks beneath, and it appears the stonework around them is being redone. Are the plaques coming back? And if they do, will it be all of them, including the two that have been stolen? (We didn't even bother to look in November 2010. The plaque of Bess Myerson was still gone when I looked a few weeks ago, along with those that surrounded it.)
1985, Hurricane Gloria - I was at work during the brunt of the storm, such as it was. There were a lot of windows either boarded up or X'd over with masking tape. The hurricane came close to the Jersey Shore, but we did not suffer any damage to the radio station I was working at at the time. Our tower (and I don't remember if our new tower had been constructed at the time) continued to stand tall. We called it "the castrated feeble hurricane" thereafter.
1989, Hurricane Hugo - The hurricane affected me indirectly, because I was working at WOBM at the time, and the station organized a relief effort. Bekins/Sea Cure Moving donated their trucks and drivers to bring supplies down to South Carolina. I helped pack boxes. No, I didn't go down to South Carolina, because I had to stay behind and schedule the commercials for the station.
1992, Unnamed Noreaster - I spent most of that fall renovating a house that was flooded. Not a lot of happy memories for about a year or so afterward.
1999, Hurricane Floyd - I have no memories of that one, unfortunately.
The story of Hurricane Irene has yet to be written. I fear for the safety of friends and relatives close to the shoreline, and hope they can all find safe harbor. We are shoring up our house and making tentative plans to get out of Dodge if asked. Sunday should be the day. Several of our church committee chairs, myself included, made the unanimous decision to cancel services on Sunday. We'll report back later. Please stay safe.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association issued a press release yesterday, tersely stating in two neat, short paragraphs that Jerry Lewis has "completed" his duties as MDA National Chairman, and stated in no uncertain terms that he would not be appearing on this year's telethon, which has been cut from 21-1/2 hours to a mere six, and will be mostly tape-delay segments with live local cutins.
"Completed"? Exsqueeze me? An awful nice way of saying "clean out your desk" as an armed guard watches over you to make sure you don't take a few pads of Post-Its with you.
Twenty years ago this evening, I bid my mother and father goodnight on a hot Thursday evening. Little did I know that the next morning, I would only be greeting one of them.
Dad smoked rather prolifically until the time of his first heart attack at the age of 52 on April 15, 1974. Tax Day. Although he quit smoking the damage had already been done to his pulmonary systen, A second heart attack followed in 1983, on, of all days, the Fourth of July. Dad by this time had sold his gas stations and had been working as a mechanic at a local car dealership. I don't quite remember how long he hung on until he retired, or more to the point, had to quit because of his health.
Yes, he taught us all the dad-type things, including how to reasonably play baseball (in spite of my ineptitude, we managed a second place win with our Red Sox team in '69) and some rudimentary golf lessons, including a few tours around the Twin Brook par-3 course, which sat dormant for about a decade before being resurrected into the great teaching facility it is today. But all the health problems that Dad had, mostly with his heart, were not lost on the four younger Mackeys, who have strove to take better care of themselves.
So when Mom told us that "I can't wake your Daddy up" on that hot Friday morning, May 31, 1991, we were at once shocked and unsurprised. Dad had gotten up out of bed in the middle of the night to watch television, but at one point turned off the TV, very neatly put the remote on top of the TV, sat down in the Berkline Rock-A-Lounger chair that was a door prize from "Card Sharks", and slipped peacefully into the next world.
Mom soldiered on for almost another nine years without her beloved "Daddy Dick", as she liked to call him. The profound effect he had on his four children lingers on, twenty years after he left us here to fend for ourselves. Thanks, Dad.
... for Mets fans, at least. I begin my 45th year or so rooting for the Amazin's today, and we also call your attention to the No-Hitter Count, which will be somewhat meticulously updated whenever the first hit is achieved by the other team, which is always. In this, their 50th season, still no no-hitter for Mets pitching. As always, we refer you to Dirk Lammers' No No-Hitters website for more exhaustive coverage. (Dirk's day job is as a writer for the AP on energy issues, so the fact that he has time to do this and muse over why gas is headed toward $5 a gallon is in itself incredible.)
With about a week to go, it's high time we summarized the commercial parade that will be sprinkled throughout Super Bowl XLV, which this year will feature the Steelers and Packers. We're going to do it by placement in game rather than alphabetical by advertiser, since that will make for a handy checklist. As you can see many advertisers' plans are still up in the air as advertisers still jockey for last minute airtime buys from the NFL and traffic schedules are finalized. Some ads have already broken on YouTube and Facebook pages and we've ranked those in advance.
We really haven't gone over the ground rules of the methodology of late, so for those just joining us, we rate the ads using a letter grading system on entertainment value and their ability to sell the items intended.
Commercials that include a "DO NOT ATTEMPT" disclaimer are automatically given the grade of F. Lawyers do not make commercials. Ad agencies do.
In a world where movie trailers are a breed apart, we don't rank them.
If your spot tries to be funny, but isn't, I'll mark it down.
And just a reminder that we will be again "Covering It Live" so just log on to www.davemackey.com just before game time and we'll break it all down for you in real time!
:60 Kia - One Epic Ride
:30 Pizza Hut - first time ever in Super Bowl
:30 Teleflora - Faith Hill
END FIRST HALF
:30 Salesforce.com - Ads bracketing the halftime show were developed by Will.i.am and feature animated characters called the Baby Peas.
HALFTIME SHOW - Bridgestone sponsors. Music act is the Black Eyed Peas.
END HALFTIME SHOW
:30 Best Buy - spot to feature Justin Bieber and Sharon Osbourne
:30 Disney Pirates of the Caribbean - to air right after Best Buy ad
:30 Careerbuilder - monkeys
:30 E-trade - babies
:30 HomeAway.com - The Ministry of Detourism
:30 Mars - Snickers continues last year's campaign with Roseanne Barr and Richard Lewis, two strikingly irrelevant comedians
:60 Mercedes Benz - Tweet Race features a Mercedes powered by Twitter - B
:30 Skechers - Ad for Shape-Ups will air at the two-minute warning and will feature Kim Kardashian.
PLACEMENT NOT YET DETERMINED
:?? InBev/five spots, 2 :60 and 3 :30 for Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Bud Light, throughout game
2:00 Chrysler (spot to feature Eminem; pending NFL approval for what would be the first ever 2-minute spot in the Bowl, thought to be the single largest spot rate ever at a potential $12 million)
:30 General Motors (five spots: Chevy Cruze has real-time Facebook status updates - C; Chevrolet Volt has images of historical events - B; Cruze Eco - old people mishearing the car gets 42MPG - A-; Chevrolet Silverado - "do not attempt" - automatic F; Camaro - looks like a local spot, very clever - A)
:30 GoDaddy.com - Danica Patrick, Jillian Michaels, and ?????
:30 GoDaddy.com - new .co domain
:30 Hyundai - would expect at least one spot to be for their new overly expensive Equus luxury car. Confirmed spots will include Sonata hybrid and Elantra.
:30 Paramount Captain America
:30 Paramount Rango
:30 Paramount Super 8
:30 Paramount Thor
:30 Paramount Transformers
:30 PepsiCo Doritos
:30 PepsiCo Doritos - user created
:30 PepsiCo Doritos
:30 PepsiCo Pepsi Max - user created
:30 PepsiCo Pepsi Max - user created
:30 PepsiCo Pepsi Max
(There are five finalists for each of the two brands posted. Doritos commericials: "The Best Part" - B; "Pug Attack" - B-; "House Sitting" - C; "Birthday Wish" - C-; "Adam Eve" - B. Pepsi Max commericals: "Love Hurts" - B; "Zero Calories? Psshhh" - C; "First Date" - B; "Torpedo Cooler" - C-; "Elevator Girl" - C. Underlying themes - pain as punchline, and the liberal use of Ponichelli's "Dance of the Hours" as subtle underscore.)
:30 PepsiCo Lipton Brisk (Eminem again)
:30 Universal - Cowboys and Aliens
:30 Universal - TBD
:30 Volkswagen - One ad to feature Passat, one to feature Beetle
One of my friends from church, Jessica Krajdel, is studying in Chile, where it's summertime down there. She is blogging about it in "Chilling in Chile".
As an old radio guy I've always had the deepest respect for one of the great DJ's and game show announcers, Charlie Tuna. He has a great blog at www.charlietuna.com, right on his home page. Charlie is one of those who is still embracing the new technologies.
When my wife and I decided to take up ballroom dancing, we found a great early mentor in Brittany Matthews, who tells of her very personal odyssey in Confessions of a Ballroom Dance Teacher.
All are accessible from the right hand side of the page.
Now, on a sadder note.... a while ago, we had on our page a couple of blogs from a very erudite member of our church choir named Case Wagenvoord. He was the author of the book Open Letters to George W. Bush: Letters to W from his ardent admirer Belacqua Jones. You can order this book from amazon.com by just clicking on the link. Sadly, Case passed away a few weeks ago, and even though we had some issues with his language at times, we liked what we had to say. RIP, Case.
Yes, it is only 28 days until "The Big Game" and davemackey.com will once again have you covered with LIVE commentary on all the ads, plus your input. We had fun doing this last year on a real-time basis so we're doing it again this year. Set your calendars for Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. as the XLVth renewal of football's biggest game unfolds, complete with hopefully creative advertiser inclusions.
I understand there's already celebrity backlash to one planned ad that will use primates. Best Buy will be a newcomer to the Bowl. And you can expect the usual parade of Anheuser-Busch commercials, mostly for Bud Light.
Come join us for all the fun. Will anything top last year's extremely well-received commercial for Snickers with Betty White?
We try desperately to steer away from blogs that take excessive liberties with language as I am, after all, a teacher of very small children who should not be exposed to bad language. A bad word once in a while isn't going to kill an otherwise entertaining blog. However, should one of these blogs ever turn into a filth-fest, it will be removed... and it has happened in some cases. Just be warned, fellow bloggers. Language originating from this blog will be always on the safe side. Thanks... --DM