Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rocky & Bullwinkle

 Alex Anderson died today.  Alex is the creator of Rocky & Bullwinkle, one of my old Saturday morning cartoon favorites.  Note that he also created Crusader Rabbit (1948), which was the first made for television animation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

goodbye TV mom

Barbara Billingsley died last weekend, October 16th.  She was 94 years old.  For baby boomer's she'll always be our T.V. mom, June Cleaver.  She was the perfect 'ideal' mom because her character was seen through the eyes of a her youngest son, Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver.  Barbara Billingsley was a class act.

This is how most of us saw our mothers growing up.  It's how I saw mine.  I guess a lot of mom's tried to live up to that image.  I know my mother wasn't watching the show, or trying to keep up with the Jone's or the Cleaver's.  She had her hands full with six kids.  She did alright though.

I remember about twenty years ago talking to a local artist about my mom.  Leo Reynolds grew up around my mother's folks.  I was video taping him for a commercial at the time when he found out that I was her son.   He said of mother, "That Esther is a real lady."  He said that at least three times while we were there at his house.  I agreed with him and I still share his opinion.  My mom is a real lady - a class act.

I'm glad we all had an ideal TV mom, better yet, I'm glad to have an ideal real life mom.   My mom, like Barbara has a funny side.  Maybe I can get my mom to learn how to speak jive.  Here's the Barbara Billingsley clip from the movie Airplane! 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

my favorite samurai

I don't watch Saturday Night Live anymore.  I watched it back when it first aired and through much of the eighties.  I'll catch it every now and then, but it's not what it used to be.  I'm really not the SNL fan that I used to be, yet still fondly remember some great cast members, and great sketches.  

In this sketch is John Belushi and Buck Henry in Samurai Delicatessen.  I'm glad to see Hulu revisiting the classics.

Friday, October 15, 2010

pffft, you were gone

 The classic HEE HAW aired between 1969 and1971.  The concept of the show was inspired by the hipper "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.  HEE HAW, like Laugh-In was a comedy variety show.  HEE HAW replaced the Smother's Brother's Comedy Hour on CBS.

It was actually a better show than Laugh-In and lived longer than Laugh-In in syndication.  HEE HAW ran 20 years in syndication.  Kind of funny that CBS canceled the show during a so called 'Rural Purge' of that time. Shows like Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Mayberry RFD were dropped but still rule in syndication.
"Like Laugh-In, the show minimized production costs by taping all of the recurring sketches for a season in batches— setting up for the Cornfield one day, the Joke Fence another, etc.  At the height of its popularity, an entire year's worth of shows would be taped in two separate week-long sessions, then individual shows would be assembled from edited sections. Only musical performances were taped with a live audience; a laugh track was added to all other segments."
- Wikipedia

The show did well in ALL markets, not just here in the south.  The show had a strong following in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.  I guess the television execs got a little high brow and shot themselves in the foot.  It was a funny show, shot on a shoe string, and dog-gone-it, people liked it.  With HEE HAW the jokes were bad, but we still laughed.

The corn worked.

Monday, October 4, 2010

when men wore hats

When I was a kid, men wore hats.  Actually, women wore hats too.  My dad had lots of hats in his closet.  I like hats.  I have lots of hats too.

Before the mid-1960s almost no man would venture out in public without wearing a hat.  I once was told that it was John F. Kennedy that put an unwitting stop to it.  I heard that Kennedy didn't like to wear hats and so men started leaving their houses with naked heads.  I have also read that it was probably a coincidence...that Kennedy was also following a hat-less trend.  Sean Connery wore a hat as James Bond in Dr. No, but soon left it in his closet for following missions.  So what happened to the hat?

I do know that I am sorry that it happened.  I like the  fedora.   I liked it when men once considered hats as a necessary accessory.  Hats are both functional and stylish.
The weather turned cool this past weekend.  I pulled my Stetson from my studio wall hook.  My bald dome needs cover  during the colder months.  I went for my fedora.  Gina gave me my stylish Stetson the Christmas before last.  It replaced my tattered old fedora that I had worn since 1988.  The old hat is just too old and has shrunk...or my head has grown.  It's now wall decoration.

I guess I am old school.  I'll always have a fedora or two on my hat rack.  I'll keep wearing them.

"Cock your hat - angles are attitudes."
- Frank Sinatra

Friday, October 1, 2010

touch of mancini

I've written about old radio here at Boomerville before.  Back in the 60's, we weren't just listening to The Beatles.  We were on the receiving end of all kinds of music.  The song that came to mind this morning was a a song from the movie Hatari (1961).   The Baby Elephant Walk was scored by non other than Henry Mancini.  It's a quirky number, but quite popular when it came out.

Hatari is a John Wayne romatic/comedy/adventure which was a loosely scripted movie by Howard Hawks.  Hawks originally intended to cast both John Wayne and Gable Gable...that is until Gable's death.  As you know I love John Wayne movies, but Hatari isn't one of my faves.  Perhaps if Gable had lived to make it - it would have been memorable.  I am also a Clark Gable fan.

Though the movie isn't one of Wayne's best, Mancini's song is unforgettable.  For you younger whipper-snappers who have never heard the name of Henry Mancini, he's the guy that brought you the theme song to The Pink Panther.  My favorite tune of his is the theme to television series Peter Gun (1958).
One of his first outstanding scores was for the Orson Welles film  Touch of Evil (1958). Touch of Evil was unique in that it was one of the first films to use source music, or music that didn't just play in the background but actually came from a visible source in the film story, such as a radio or a nightclub.  This movie by the way is unforgettable.

I once had one of his greatest hits LPs in my album collection.  Mancini was great.