Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Classic scene from “A Bronx Tale.”

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Violence in cartoons was intense back in the day, man. People thought it was the height of comedy to have cartoon characters blow each other up or blast each other’s heads off. And even movies cartoons could be emotionally intense. Check out this scene when Bambi’s mother got shot by hunters:

Hell, that scene can scar a 7-year old for life. It’s tough for even me to watch it right now. Guess we were a little more callous back in the day.

Don’t get me wrong, kids are probably exposed to more violence today, it’s just not disguised as humor. If you don’t believe me just take a look at video games like Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat or Postal. They’re blood orgies to put it mildly.

Like I said, the interesting aspect of the older cartoons is that they were contained within these cute little TV shows about, usually, talking animals of all things. We’ll take a look at just a few, but first, a video so you can get the vibe:

Sort of jarring when you see it all at once, ya know?

After perusing just a few Tom & Jerry cartoons on the YouTube I viewed the following:

  • Jerry stuffing a lit stuck of dynamite into Tom’s mouth, where it explodes.
  • Tom shooting himself in the head with a shotgun.
  • Jerry slamming a red-hot waffle iron shut on Tom’s tail.
  • Jerry getting impaled through the groin with a pool stick. Not kidding.
  • Jerry slicing Tom’s tail to shreds with a pair of scissors.

Check it:

I swear, what happens on these shows rivals any torture or murder ever seen on the show Criminal Minds. Those little scamps were evil, dude.

And everyone remembers Pepe Le Pew, right?  Little bro was a French skunk with an aversion to taking no for an answer, Le Pew’s adventures read like a “How To” book on sexual harassment. Narcissistic, creepy, and obsessed with every female prospect that crossed his path, Le Pew was the ultimate anti-role model for a society trying to make steps towards gender equality. Here’s a sample of Pepe sexually harassing a cat. Yes, I just typed that:

Finally, what about the morbidly obese Fat Albert? Hell, today those friends that called him fat would find themselves in Sensitivity Training, since obesity is now being called a psychological condition. And the callousness doesn’t end there, kids. Consider poor Dumb Donald, Mushmouth, Weird Harold, and Bucky. Poor victims were given cruel nicknames that mocked their greatest insecurities and handicaps, over which they have little or no control. Tragic really. Here’s poor Mushmouth, who clearly had issues:

Oh, and what about Popeye? Dude used to beat the hell out of everyone.

Sadly, many brutal scenes have been edited out when shown nowadays, and that’s sort of sad. I mean, we all turned out OK, right?

Right?

Pretty sure he was saying to get the hell out of there.

Before we begin, let us simply recall the iconic opening to every episode of one of the most amazing TV shows of all-time, The Twilight Zone . . .

Yes, there were variations of the same opening, but you get the gist.

I recorded the Twilight Zone Marathon recently, and I just finished watching nearly 70-episodes. There were 156 total, but these were deemed some of the best. I learned a few things while watching, and the most striking of these was that Rod Serling got away with a lot of crazy and outrageous stuff.  More on that later.

I also learned that lots of stars and future stars were on the show. People like Mickey Rooney, William Shatner, Ron Howard, Burt Reynolds, Carol Burnett, Buster Keaton, Robert Redford, Dennis Hopper, Leonard Nimoy, Lee Marvin, and Don Rickles all guest starred. The décor – early 60’s Mad Men style.

Another aspect that stood out was the introductions and closing remarks by Serling. Just incredible writing. Here’s a sample:

Nobody else, and I mean nobody, could pull that off like Serling. Love it. Here’s a sample of one of his closing monologues:

Again, so well done.

It was also amazing how Serling touched on political issues of the day. Some episodes even touched on World War II and the treatment of Jews.  This was just 15-18 years after the war, and the scenes were brutal. They spoke of the experiments done on prisoners and everything. Pretty incredible for such a conservative era.

That said, I’ll now give you my 12 favorite Twilight Zone episodes. Let us commence . . .

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

William Shatner (later to become Captain Kirk in Star Trek) stars in what might be the most famous and revered of all Twilight Zone episodes. He plays a man traveling aboard a commercial flight with his wife. He spots a monster on the wing, trying to damage it. He tries to alert the crew and other passengers to the potential danger lurking just outside his window seat. However, the clever being makes sure to fly out of view every time someone else peers through the glass, leaving Shatner to look foolish and delusional. In typical Twilight Zone fashion, the final shot is the killer. As Shatner is taken away on a stretcher, the camera pans away showing actual damage the monster has done to the wing. Awesome. On a related note, the shot where Shatner has closed the window, only to open it to see the monster’s face pressed against the window scared the bejesus out of me.

Note- Watching it now, the “monster” appears to have been created by a 5th grade art class. Still a classic episode.

Living Doll

This episode is always referred to as “Talking Tina” and it was the single scariest thing I’d ever seen in my life. Trust me, as a 6-year old this was just petrifying and life-altering to witness. I still hate dolls to this day because of this show. In this one Telly Savalas plays a man who isn’t a fan of his stepdaughter’s new “Talky Tina” doll, especially after the doll starts telling him she’s going to kill him. What follows is a twisted domestic drama powered by the actions of an evil toy. There have been dozens of TV shows and movies that have told stories about talking dolls since, but Rod Serling’s take is still the best by far. Believe me, I haven’t looked at a doll the same since.

The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street

Ah, another great one that asks the viewers to decide who the real monsters are, the alien invaders or their very own friends and neighbors? “Monsters” finds the residents of an unnamed town in a panic when they conclude an alien invasion is afoot, and it began because of a loud noise and a power outage. Rather than team up to combat the terror from beyond the stars, they succumb to paranoia and vigilante-like behavior, leading their invaders to conclude that the best way to destroy mankind is to let us do the deed ourselves. Rod Serling, who wrote the episode, summed it up best in the closing narration, making a social point as he often did:

“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, and prejudices — to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill. And suspicion can destroy. And a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own – for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, that these things cannot be confined . . . to the Twilight Zone.”

Wow.

The Invaders

In this one, a poor impoverished woman (Agnes Moorehead, who went on to play the mother on Bewitched) lives alone in a rustic cabin. She is dressed shabbily, and there are no modern conveniences in evidence. After hearing a strange noise above her kitchen roof, she is attacked by small intruders that come from a miniature flying saucer that has landed on her rooftop. Two tiny figures about 6-inches high, which may be robots or beings wearing pressure suits, emerge from the craft. As a kid this was creepy as hell. Anyway, the small figures attack the woman, using small, pistol-like weapons that leave radiation burns on her skin, and, after following her into her cabin, slashing her ankle and hand with her own kitchen knife. The suspense builds as the woman searches for the invaders. She eventually destroys one, wrapping it in a blanket and beating it until it is still, then throwing it into the burning fireplace. She follows the other to the saucer-ship on her roof, which she proceeds to attack with a hatchet. From within the craft, she hears a voice speaking in English. These are the first words we’ve heard the whole episode, and the intruder knows he’s about to die. He then proceeds to frantically warn other potential visitors that the planet is inhabited by giants and they are impossible to defeat. Then comes the kicker. The camera pans slowly away to reveal the markings on the side of the ship, which reads U.S. Air Force Space Probe No. 1. You see, the invaders were human astronauts from Earth, and the woman in the small farmhouse belongs to a race of giant humanoids native to another planet. Another shocking ending.

The Bewitchin’ Pool

In my mind, one of most unforgettable of all the Twilight Zone episodes. A young girl and her little brother live in a beautiful suburban home, complete with a large swimming pool. Their parents are cold, short tempered, and forever fighting in front of their children. One day, a boy pops up from the deep end of their pool and invites them to follow him. Wait. What? The children then follow by diving underwater and surface in a beautiful countryside. It is simple and plain, and unlike their spectacular home. There are no adults except for a kindly woman who bakes desserts and offers kind words. The children go back home through the swimming pool because they’re worried that their parents have missed them. They break through the water to find that their neglectful parents haven’t even noticed that they were gone. The children return again to the idyllic countryside by diving through the pool, and this time, they stay. Their parents search for them in the pool, but never find them. The children remain happily ever after, cared for and loved, in this paradise. It wasn’t until I watched this episode as an adult that I saw that it could be perceived as legitimizing childhood suicide in response to bad parenting, and a child’s simple wish to get the hell away. No way this would be broadcast today.

The Hitch-Hiker

Another terrifying example of the plot twists Twilight Zone was known for. We begin with a young woman traveling alone cross country trip. She blows a tire and when she takes her car in for repairs, we get a hint that something is amiss when the mechanic tells her she should have called a hearse, not a car repair service. She drives on, but keeps seeing a man hitchhiking no matter how far she drives. Shaken, she finally stops and calls her mother, only to be told that her mother had a nervous breakdown when her daughter was killed in a car accident 6-days ago. She is in disbelief, but returns to her car, where the hitchhiker awaits her. She ultimately realizes that the hitchhiker is death, patiently waiting for her. What I see now that I didn’t see then is that you can’t outrun fate. In the unforgettable final scene, Nan returns to the car and looks in the vanity mirror on the visor. Instead of her reflection, she sees the hitchhiker. He looks at her and asks, “I believe you’re going my way?” Jeebus.

After Hours

There is another episode I can directly blame for one of my phobias and that is my fear of mannequins. In a department store, there is a 9th floor for no one else but the store’s mannequins. Once a month, they take turns living as humans in the real world. When their time is up, they return to the 9th floor, except for the day that Mannequin Marcy decides she likes being human too much and is not going back. My older and wiser take on it now? Serling was telling us that, sometimes, a small taste of honey is worse than none at all.

Time Enough at Last

What a great, great episode that is often ranked as the best Twilight Zone ever. Burgess Meredith stars as Henry Bemis — a man who just wants to get away from the everyday world and bury his nose in a good book. Henry gets his wish one day when the rest of humanity is wiped out in a nuclear attack. He soon discovers an untouched library — a place where he can read in peace for the rest of his existence. Thrilled with his discovery, Bemis settles in. As he gets ready to crack open his first book, the worst happens – he breaks his glasses. Virtually blind, Bemis is now stuck in a world with all the time and books he could ever want and no way to enjoy them. Damn you Rod Serling!

To Serve Man

Another classic. In this episode, mankind has seemingly found a kindly alien savior in the form of the Kanamits — a race of towering space travelers who are all too willing to help Earth get rid of the problems of hunger and war. But their personal manifesto, a book entitled To Serve Man, isn’t the guide for peace that everyone thought it to be. As the woman who figured it all out yells at the end of the episode, “It’s a cookbook! IT’S A COOKBOOK!” Ah, to serve man. It all made chilling sense in the end.

It’s a Good Life

Bill Mumy was absolutely terrifying as the 6-year-old Anthony Freemont, a boy with incredible psychic powers who holds everyone around him under his power. Little Anthony could simply think you out of existence for displeasing him. He was some sort of godlike child with the ability to read minds, make people disappear, mutate other living beings, and control the weather. The adults obviously tiptoe around the temperamental kid, but it never really matters, because he’s six, and six-year-olds aren’t particularly rational in the first place, amirite? Here’s Serling closing quote:

No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville in a place that used to be Ohio. And if by some strange chance you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony, you can be sure of one thing – You have entered The Twilight Zone.”

The Eye of the Beholder

I watched this as a kid and it terrified me for weeks. A young woman undergoes surgery to improve her appearance and look like everyone else. She spends most of the episode swathed in head bandages as shadowy doctors and nurses talk around her. She’s terrified they won’t be able to make her beautiful. When the wraps are removed, the doctors proclaim the procedure a complete failure — but the audience sees the lovely Donna Douglas and wonders what the holy hell they’re talking about. It all becomes clear when the doctors and nurses are revealed. In one of the most memorable Twilight Zone endings of all time, the docs and nurses all look like some sort of mutant pigs. “Eye of the Beholder” indeed.

Long Distance Call

This episode frightened me so much that I promised myself I would never see it again. I lied. After his grandmother dies, a little boy is mysteriously given a phone. On this phone, only calls from his deceased grandmother can come through. Grandma then tries to convince Little Billy to kill himself to join her. And so he tries, several times in several ways. I can say without a doubt that today, this storyline encouraging childhood suicide would never be allowed to be aired. Just normal prime time entertainment for the Twilight Zone, though.

So there ya go, my personal favorite Twilight Zone episodes. What are yours? Let’s hear it!

Many members of the cast of Seinfeld have done well for themselves. Here’s the estimated net worth of 7 of the co-stars:
Jerry Seinfeld – 870-million
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) – 200-million
Jason Alexander (George) – 50-million
Michael Richards (Kramer) – 48-million
Jerry Stiller (George’s dad) – 12.5-million
John Hurley (J Peterman) – 8.5-million
Wayne Knight (Newman) – 8-million

 

ÒSeinfeld: Season 7Ó (Sony, 24 episodes, four discs, $49.95) has, among others, ÒThe Maestro,Ó ÒThe Sponge,Ó ÒThe Soup NaziÓ and ÒThe InvitationsÓ (that is, the unfortunate stamp-licking end of George’s fiancee Susan).(Handout/MCT)

To hell with the game, man.

Man, that’s a happy nerd.

Listen, I like Fallon and Kimmel and all, but they’re all huggy and kissy with  their guests. I miss Dave calling people out. Guess those days are gone. At least we still have reminders like this . . .

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shares a laugh with David Letterman during an interview on the Late Show in New York City on June 13, 2011. DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

So I read somewhere the other day that Seinfeld’s last episode aired 19-years ago and I was sort of shocked. Anyway, it got me to thinking, which often leads to something like you’re about to read. What follows are 10 things that will turn 30-years old in 2017, and some are pretty surprising. Read on . . .

Full House

Yep, the TV show with the obnoxious, mouthy little girl began 30-years ago. I blame Michelle for all the little disrespectful punks that have come since. Damn you Michelle Tanner. Damn you to hell.

The Princess Bride

If you don’t recognize the line, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die”, well then, you need to rent this movie poste haste because you’re living a life unfulfilled. Anyway, 30-years old.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Yessir, Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael kicked off with their cartoon back in ’87. Since then we’ve seen toys, TV shows. movies, and a ton of other stuff.

Disposable Contact Lenses

Yes kids, there was one a day when people had to carefully take out there contact lenses, put them in a little container, and repeat the exercise every night. Barbaric, I know.

Panera Bread

If you’ve never had their Pasta Primavera with Shrimp you’re a dirty rotten communist. Again, seems like yesterday.

Red Bull

Yep, some dude from Austria mixed some caffeine, sugar, taurine, niacin, jackal urine and some other stuff and came up with Red Bull. Fun Fact: According to the exhaustive research done by my crack staff, the energy drink biz exploded in 2005. I have no idea why. Anywho, I’m a Rock Star guy myself.

The Simpsons

Yep, it all started on the Tracey Ullman Show. Memba her? Bart and his family were featured in short cartoons during that show.

Dirty Dancing

Nobody puts Baby in a corner, man. The Swayze at the peak of his powers.

Congressional Ban On Inflight Smoking

Hard to believe it now but there once was a time when people smoked everywhere – in airplanes, on TV, in restaurants, bars, even hospitals. Crazy times fo sho.

“The Drive”

Sorry, Cleveland fans, but this Fall is the anniversary of John Elway’s drive to beat you in the playoffs. Good thing all those Super Bowl wins have made up for it since then though.

Bonus:

A Bunch of Famous People

Yep. Ronda Rousey, Kesha, Lil Bow Wow (was he the first of the “Lils”?), Kendrick Lamar, Blake Lively, Wiz Khalifa, and Zac Efron were all born in ’87. Man, that was a shitty year for celebrity birthdays, wasn’t it? Good Lord.

Where was I, you ask? Teaching Reading, and a few other things, to Greenfield McClain to bunch of unsuspecting Junior High kids.

Howzabout you?

You all know my love for the old TV series The Rifleman. Lucas McCain fights for all that is righteous, man. On a whim I decided to research how many bad guys Lucas killed in the 4 1/2 year duration of the show. The answer? 120. That’s 2.5 per episode. And of course, somebody documented them all in the video below. Yikes! Other Rifleman fun facts:

Chuck Conners, who played The Rifleman, played both professional baseball and basketball.

Johnny Crawford, who played the son of his widowed father Lucas in the show, began his career as a Mouseketeer.

Finally, I owned the Rifleman toy as a kid. Thanks Mom and Dad! 

Anyway, check out all of The Rifleman’s kills. Wild stuff.

Just imagine. You finally get word that your dream has come true. You’ve been chosen to appear on your favorite game show, Wheel of Fortune. The Wheel, man! And then, just when you’re on the brink of greatness, you think the answer is “Streetcar Naked Desire” rather than “Streetcar Named Desire”. Sad really.


Came across these gems on the worldwide interweb today. Great stuff. Be sure and watch all three.

Damn immigrants.

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Here’s an example of what made her great.

960

Attaboy, Kentucky.

mapnetflix

Just an outrageous move by Julie Snook here. How dare she wear white like the other women! Everyone knows the news will get drowned in a sea of white if this act of egregiousness goes unchecked. And what a brazen move, claiming that her obviously white top was blue. Just a desperation move right there. Thankfully Amber Sherlock took charge and calm was restored in Australian News Land when a black jacket was brought forth. Whew. Crisis averted.

threeway

Man, I miss The Office.

kristen_wiig_steve_carrell_golden_globes_2017

Get that bear some paws with treads.

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[NPR]: Cindy Stowell was a 41-year-old science content developer from Austin, Texas battling Stage-4 cancer when she fulfilled her dying wish to go on “Jeopardy!” Sadly, she died Monday, before she could see the episode, which will air next week.

Man, that’s a sad story, huh? Cindy Stowell fulfilled her dying wish to be on Jeopardy, only to pass away a week before the show aired. This is a story that deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, amirite? Of course, the New York Daily News went another direction, tweeting out this hilarious headline:

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PS – Final Jeopardy indeed.

PPS – I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. I hate myself right now.

saved-by-the-bell-producer-reveals-cocaine-weed-pills-and-sex-fueled-the-show-image-1

So Peter Engel was Executive Producer of the television classic Saved By the Bell, a show that anybody over the age of 35 recalls with fondness. It ran from 1989 to 1993 on Saturday mornings (I think), and it was always sort of a weird show that felt like a high school play or something. The acting was suspect and the plot lines were juvenile, but there was something oddly engaging about the show.

That said, the aforementioned Peter Engel has written a book which may explain some of the show’s, uh, weirdness. Here’s the money quote:

“Monday through Friday, I would wake up and smoke two joints, pop speed to get through work, snort a gram of cocaine, and take a handful of Quaaludes to fall asleep.”

Ah. Everything makes sense now.

This video shows a bunch of people reacting to last week’s Walking Dead. If nothing else, it shows what incredible feelings people have invested into this show. If you’re not a fan you simply can’t understand, but I basically felt the same as a lot of these people. The death of Glenn was absolutely gut-wrenching as you’ll see if you watch.

[WARNING: Extremely bad language]

glenn-walking-dead-season-6

Dyin’ over here.

harry

Fun Fact: I’ve eaten in Harry Caray’s restaurant a coupla times. The Truffled Arancini is amazing. 

twd

Whew. Well, that was difficult.

Anyone who’s a Walking Dead fan will tell you that last night’s Season 7 Premiere was absolutely gut-wrenching. I swear I felt as if I’d been punched right in the stomach. I was a little sleepy before the show started, but afterwards I was wired for hours. Just a brutal, emotional show that was difficult to get over.

You know a show has hit you hard when it’s the last thing you thought about before falling asleep and the first thing you thought about when you woke up.

Surprisingly (at least to me), it seems most of the reviews were pretty poor, with complaints about the negativity, the killings and the overall “bleakness” of the premiere. W-h-u-u-u-t? Uh, newsflash, folks. People are always dying in this show. It’s always had a lot of death followed by characters immersed in grief. If that’s not the definition of bleak I don’t know what is. And what the hell did you expect, for the characters to build a makeshift stage and start performing showtunes?

Good Lord.

But back to a couple observations about the show. Honestly, I only have a couple questions, and those are these:

  • Honestly, who sits there and lets somebody club them over the head with a barbwire-wrapped baseball bat? I know Negan had threatened them and told them not to move, but wouldn’t you go down swinging?
  • Was it me or did Rick have more than a couple chances to take Negan out in the RV? I guess we’re supposed to believe he was so distraught from the killings he was crippled mentally? Seems a little bit of a stretch, especially knowing Rick as we do. I know he witnessed a lot that night, but hasn’t he been through worse? I mean, he watched his son kill his best friend, watched his son get shot (twice), and experienced his son kill his wife Beth.

Finally, just a couple quick observations. It’s always pissed me off when I excitedly tell people about The Walking Dead and they come back with this:

“Ah, I’m not a fan of zombie shows. Sorry.”

Really? If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, the brilliance of The Walking Dead is not about zombies and it’s not about the violence, although both of those are an integral part of the show. From the beginning it’s always been about the characters. Real TWD fans know and understand this.

Perhaps the most amazing thing longtime fans have come to realize about The Walking Dead is that the true monsters are not the dead walking the earth, but instead, man. Chilling really, but in an apocalyptic world it makes perfect sense, right?

Bottom line? I loved the Season 7 Premiere. If you read the graphic comic this didn’t come as a shock. Hell, the death of Glenn last night was a mirror image of the comic. As a friend of mine messaged me a bit ghoulishly, the TV producers “hit it right on the head.”

glenn

Yep. Pretty much.

So, if you’ve a TV junkie but have never watched this show, I strongly encourage a Netflix binge party as soon as possible.

You’ll catch up in no time.

 

Yeah, this pretty much was a combination of my emotions as well. On a related note, if somebody I was with yapped like that dude on the right I’d throat punch him.

mood

I was doing some research for another blog I was going to write when I came across several videos regarding the beginning of the internet, and I have to say they’re fascinating as hell. It seems like only yesterday when we actually had to write letters to communicate and go to the library to do research, ya know? And in the beginning, the internet was also known as “The Worldwide Web” or “The Information Superhighway.” Naively, there was no mention of the porn boom that was to come.

Anyway, what follows are the videos I found. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Let’s start in 1969, when people thought we’d all be living like The Jetsons by now. Honestly, this video wasn’t far off.

Next up we have this CompuServe commercial from 1989 that tells us we can “shop in an electronic mall!”. Priceless, man.

Next we have a video that actually features that screeching, whiney noise we all use to hear as our computer connected to “INTERNET.”  Ah, the cluelessness of the people in this video.

In this gem we have some doofus explaining that we can actually “get an electronic address for our computer.” They even talk about an “electronic mailman.” Good stuff.

And here’s a mention of that “Information Superhighway.”

Here’s a great commercial for Hotmail from 1999. You can access your mail from anywhere! You youngsters may not believe this, but we used to have email addresses that were only accessible from our home computers. Barbaric, I know.

And finally, I give you this absolute classic from The Today Show in 1994. It features Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric trying, in vain, to understand what this newfangled internet was all about.

Man, we’ve come so far so fast. Boggles the mind really. If you liked that last one, get a load of my last video submission.


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