Tuesday, August 31, 2010
However, thanks to YouTube and the Internet, many of the catchy tunes that kept our toes tapping and our brains in a dizzy auditory loop, are still there to be enjoyed. Or endured.
Once of the most unforgettable ditties from the 60's was actually a TV and radio commercial for the unforgettable Palisades Amusement park. Any boomer who grew up in the Northeast remembers this place. It was on the cliffs of Jersey, just over the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan. For a delightful blast from the past, here's the tune that made you beg your parents for a (pre-Disneyland) trip to roller coaster heaven. I went to PAP as a kid, and I saw a real animal freak show. We were lured inside by a dwarf standing on a box. I remember being utterly transfixed by the two headed cow. One head ate 90% of the cow's food and the other small head chewed all day on a damp piece of straw. It was awesome.
I don't believe that TV theme songs and jingles are entirely dead. The opening sequence for the "Sopranos" on HBO, while not an original tune, certainly had a morbid and riveting attraction that one could never tire of, even after hundreds of viewings. Who could forget the pounding grind of the blues (woke up this morning...) and Tony's desolate drive through the industrial moonscape of Northern Jersey.
How about you? Any favorite TV theme songs or jingles to report? There are hundreds of them!
2010 Emmys Red Carpet Arrivals - OrlandoSentinel.com
(In pic#26, it looks to me like the va-va-voom Christina Hendricks is channeling Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke, but it's all good!)
Who are your favorites? I'm thinking Sofia Vergara is just about perfect...
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
It's impressive to see how immersed in animal rights and protection the Discovery owned Animal Planet channel has become. Always a destination for cute programs about cats, dogs and meercats, AP has become much more activist in its approach to educate viewers and preserve the environment
Programs such as Whale Wars, Pit Boss and now Blood Dolphins go a long way towards alerting people to the dangers these animals face. And the website linked above, offers suggestions on how people can help.
This will be the first time I've made a post on The Flaming Nose for a program I have not (and will not) watch. I care about dolphins too much, and I'm afraid I would be haunted forever if I viewed the terrible images of their murder in Japan. For the same reason, I never saw the movie The Cove, although I applaud its existence and the recognition it has brought to the world about this barbaric practice. I will not watch dolphins being clubbed to death, but I will help spread the word, so that more people can condemn, and hopefully eliminate another cetacean holocaust. Check the website link above for air times in your market. Beware of the video below, there are some violent scenes.
Friday, August 27, 2010
I love Karl; he's got a wonderful sense of whimsy and absurdity -- listen to some of those radio shows and if you don't laugh at his contributions the most, I'd be surprised -- plus a hangdog non-extrovert persona that should prove a welcome contrast to the usual TV travelogues with their perky "I'm going to this resort for free so of course I'm loving it!" hosts.
Roloffs, we'll miss you!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Mad Men airs on AMC Sunday nights at 10pm, following Rubicon.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Star's rise to fame began as a standout contestant in the CBS reality show Rock Star: Supernova in the summer of 2006. Although he didn't win that competition, he caught the attention of the show's executive producer, Mark Burnett, who set up Star and the show's house band to record a live album, to help jump start his career. He returned to the show on week 11 (with the help of his fans through voting), to do an encore performance of the song "Back of Your Car." He was awarded a Honda CRV.
Star grew up in the Long Island, NY, town of Dix Hills. When he was 14 he formed his first band, Stage. When the band parted ways, Star went solo. A year before Rockstar: Supernova Ryan put out an album called "Songs From the Eye of An Elephant." It's a sensational collection of mostly stripped down piano and guitar backed vocals.
After Rock Star: Supernova Star signed with Atlantic Records and began working on 11:59. The label wanted to develop Ryan as an artist with a fanbase before releasing the ablum - a process that took nearly four years. During that time, several of the songs found life on television and in the movies. "Brand New Day" became the theme song for the Fox hit series Lie To Me, "Last Train Home" appeared on the soundtrack of the movie P.S. I Love You, and "This Could Be the Year" was used by HBO to promote the network's 2010 season. To get these songs to fans in 2009, Atlantic released an EP containing those three songs plus the hit radio single "Breathe" and ultimate up-tune "Right Now."
Since The Flaming Nose focuses on TV rather than music, I won't give a full review of 11:59, except to say that it is superb and I highly recommend it. If you like rock, pop-rock and rock ballads, with passionate vocals and brilliant lyrics, then this album is for you. The themes range from optimistic to sexy. And they are sung from the heart, with deep conviction. I highly recommend the deluxe version on itunes since it contains three additional tracks plus three music videos.
"Enjoy The Silence" cover from "Rock Star: Supernova"
"Breathe" live at 11:59 CD Release Show in NYC, 8/4/10
"Start A Fire" live at 11:59 CD Release show in NYC, 8/4/10
"Last Train Home" official music video
"Breathe" official music video
"Right Now" official music video
11:59 is available at all major retailers (Target, Best Buy, Walmart etc), on amazon.com and on itunes.
Ryan's website has an activie community forum and provides up-to-the-minute news and information about Ryan, his appearances and his tour. Tons of great photos too.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
We apologize for the delay in paying our respects to David L. Wolper, one of television's most accomplished producers, who passed away this last Wednesday. Wolper was a NYC kid who ended up attending USC in sunny Los Angeles, where he was bitten by the show business bug and ended up making television history. Anybody who grew up watching TV couldn't avoid being pleasantly influenced and entertained by Wolper's prodigious output.
In his early TV days he specialized in documentaries such as 1959's Race for Space, for which he had to cobble together an ad-hoc network of stations to air the special when the Big Three refused to run an independently-produced special, and which subsequently picked up an Oscar nomination. Many more followed throughout his long career -- docs about Hollywood, politics, history -- and Wolper was also busy trying his hand at features films like the daffy sightseeing comedy If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (even if people haven't seen it they seem to know the title), The Bridge at Remagen, the insect documentary The Hellstrom Chronicle, and a film that has become a bonafide classic, 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder.
More documentaries followed, and also more dramas, including the six-part Lincoln starring Hal Holbrook as the Man from Illinois, and the butt-kickin' private eye series featuring Teresa Graves as a stereotype-busting private eye in Get Christie Love!. Next came a batch of classic National Geographic specials which we all remember, including the one which introduced most of us to Jane Goodall, but it was in 1977 that Wolper indelibly changed television forever.
In 1977 David Wolper produced Roots, the epic 12-hour mini-series (one of the first, in fact Wolper basically birthed the form) taken from Alex Haley's best-selling novel. The young LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte brought home to all Americans the shame of slavery and opened the hearts and minds of everyone who watched. It was a television game-changer -- incredibly timely, amazingly entertaining, and yet searing and intelligent enough to truly affect the audience in a very real way. Unforgettable, Roots had an all-star cast consisting of well-liked TV names alongside lesser known talents, a combination that helped ensure big ratings yet never got in the way of the honest storytelling that is the heart of the production. Roots ended up getting a record 37 Emmy nominations and spawned a sequel.
So many other triumphs followed, including the stupendously popular and unforgettably steamy mini The Thorn Birds in 1983, which won veteran actress Barbara Stanwyck a much-deserved Emmy for her role opposite Richard Chamberlain, and introduced us to Australian newcomer Rachel Ward. The Civil War romance North and South followed -- cast also with veterans and new talent like young leading man Patrick Swayze -- and many other memorable productions (such as sequels to The Thorn Birds and North and South) including the astonishing Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Wolper could do anything.
But now he is gone, but most certainly not forgotten. His television work will live on, and what isn't on DVD now the studios holding it need to dig in and release it. We highly recommend that you read some of the wonderful articles that were written about David L. Wolper last week, including this remembrance from his long-time publicist Dale Olsen at The Huffington Post, this appreciation from Los Angeles Times TV critic Robert Lloyd, his interview at the Television Academy's Archive of American Television (which he helped found), this charming article by The Daily Breeze writer John Bogert about a day long ago when he spent a day with Wolper during his preparations for the 1984 Olympics, this excellent obituary from The Hollywood Reporter by Duane Byrge, and others that you can find online. (I have a thick commemorative publication from one of the trades from many years ago at my Nova Scotia house; I'll try to bring it back here and scan some material and post -- it was great and I've kept it all these years. Wolper also wrote his autobiography in 2002.)
David L. Wolper was a giant of television. The Flaming Nose salutes him and wishes his family and friends well at this difficult time.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Here is the ID Channel's promo for their presentation, which starts at 9pm tonight:
Cropsey seems the perfect Friday the 13th fare, unfortunately all the more eerie and ultimately more affecting for being a true story with every element of a perfect urban legend -- frightening hermit, abusive mental institution, missing kids never found, abandoned public buildings -- that couldn't be put down. Much more than just an exploitative look at a cruel murder and its unsavory details, Cropsey is an unblinking look at our need to peek into the scary dark corners and explain them away, either with bravado or thru the law.
Here's the original theatrical trailer for Cropsey, twice as long as the TV promo:
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Flaming Nose has many great memories of Stan Chambers -- some of worked at KTLA in the ol' days -- and to know Stan is to love him. And to respect him, most of all.
Stan's announcement today received a lot of coverage in industry publications and local newspapers, and it's easy to understand why. In a town where scandals reign and the biggest mouth may get the glory, Stan Chambers has been the epitome of class and professionalism his entire career. Many of us may aspire to such a descriptions, but few attain it. Stan Chambers has.
We're happy to read that he might be back for occasional stories on KTLA, but we also think that retirement will suit Stan Chambers. A man with such a zest for the next story or the happening that might happen tomorrow will have no trouble keeping involved with the city that loves him.
To read more about Stan's momentous announcement and to get a sense of the high esteem in which he's held by fellow journalists, read today's article by Cynthia Littleton in Variety ("Stan Chambers signs off from KTLA"), the L.A. Times story by Greg Braxton entitled "KTLA's Stan Chambers to announce retirement", the coverage on Business Wire (from a KTLA press release), and a nice interview and story on the Southern California Public Radio site by KPCC's Steve Julian and Mike Roe. Also check out the L.A. Observed site's article from yesterday by Kevin Roderick -- "Standing Ovation: Stan Chambers to retire". (On an almost related note, I found a great essay by Nathan Callahan about Stan Chamber's role in KTLA's coverage of a little-remembered 1951 murder in Southern California; read it here.)
Stan Chambers compleatists will want to watch the excellent four-hour interview with Stan at the Archive of American Television, from 1998, in which he discusses his career and his place in the world of Los Angeles newsgathering. We also hope that you've devoured his excellent autobiography from a couple of years ago "KTLA's News at Ten 60 Years with Stan Chambers"; Jane wrote about it here when it came out, and loved it!
Best of all is that KTLA is producing a one-hour special "Stan Chambers -- NEWSMAN" which will air on Monday, August 23rd at 8pm, with an encore on Sunday, September 5th at 11pm. This will be must-watch TV for all of us at The Flaming Nose, and we hope you'll tune in, too. Visit KTLA's site for more great info and photo features on Stan Chambers!
Monday, August 9, 2010
We always like to give shout-outs to our favorites, and today's the birthday of Sam Elliott, the talented and oh-so-appealing actor whose been a staple of movies and TV for over forty years. In his younger days he was a staple on classic television series like Felony Squad, Land of the Giants, Mission:Impossible (he was a regular in the 5th season), Bracken's World, The Mod Squad and more, all the big ones. He easily transitioned to great TV movies and miniseries like The Sacketts, Wild Times, A Death in California, The Shadow Riders and so many others, often playing Western heroes with the dash befitting a movie star from the golden age, and sometimes stretching and playing villains with the same consummate skill and charisma.
He's also had a tremendous theatrical career, from the much-loved Lifeguard to his great turn as one of the Earp Brothers in Tombstone, and everything in between. We love Sam Elliott around here at The Flaming Nose, and wish him a very Happy Birthday!
We salute Sam with the trailer to a great TV movie Conagher he did in 1991 for TNT. I was there at the time and we always pleaded for a sequel, but it never happened. Too bad, because he was amazing and even better it co-starred his wonderful real-life wife and tremendous actress Katharine Ross. The trailer wrongly emphasizes all the fisticuffs and almost forgets to mention that there's a charming romance in there, but it's still good to see Sam Elliott up there in those captivating Western duds.
For a change of pace we're going to leave you with the trailer for the theatrical film Frogs from 1972, where Sam, along with Ray Milland and Adam Roarke, battles Mother Nature's minions gone mad!
Sam Elliott, you continue to rock our world!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Some, like the great White shark in this picture, can swallow you whole. Others, like the creepy, crawly parasites on the new Animal Planet show Monsters Inside of Me, are almost too tiny to see, but they can crawl in through your pores and grow like crazy until one day you just might give birth to a giant worm! Just like out of the movie Alien! C'est tres terrible!
Animal horrors large and small await the not faint of heart this summer. Shark Week is playing all week long on the Discovery Channel. Be sure to visit the website for a look at the wonderful live shark webcams. Shark Week has been returning to the airwaves for decades. It's as much a part of an American summer as hotdogs, Popsicles and the beach that you'll be too scared to visit after you watch it. And there's plenty of new footage this year too, for those who might think they're playing the same old stuff. I watched some wing nut drag a fake seal behind his floating sled while he lay on top of it with a camera. Of course a 3,000 pound Air Jaws in the South African sea launched himself about 8 feet into the air to bite the seal stuftie. The shark nearly landed on top of the photographer! It was awesome.
And check out the Animal Planet website for more on the parade of parasites from Monsters Inside of Me. Here you'll find captivating true life stories about flesh eating hookworms, tapeworms and amoebas that like to eat your brains.
When the weather is hot, it's nice to scare yourself silly with these cable reality shows.
The Flaming Nose is very sorry to hear today of the death, at age 99, of television choral conductor and music industry pioneer Mitch Miller, most famous in pop culture circles for his multi-year run (1961 - 1964) as the host of NBC's variety show Sing Along With Mitch.
Miller's goatee and his male chorus' cheerful and full-throated renditions of old favorites was a favorite around my house when I was growing up. My dad was a big Mitch Miller fan, and up until the end of his life he enjoyed listening to Miller's cassettes, even when he wasn't interested in hearing much of anything else. The combination of nostalgic songs and the good-hearted singing of them was irresistible and also comforting, and there's a part of that feeling still alive for many of us who've been fans over the years.
You might enjoy reading more about Mitch Miller's life other than as a TV empresario, too. He was crucial in the rise of the music producer as the driving force guiding the music industry's hit-making machine, and not without controversy for doing so. Wikipedia's entry on Mitch Miller is very interesting, and we also highly recommend Bruce Eder's fantastic write-up on the All Music Guide; it's amazing. The Mitch Miller obituary from The New York Times by Bruce Severo is full of great anecdotes, Yahoo has the Associated Press article available here, and The Los Angeles Times has Mitch Miller's obituary here, but the formatting appears to be messed up right now. (Also, the Library of Congress evidently has a large collection of 16mm Sing Along With Mitch episodes which are going into their permanent collection.)
My father especially like Mitch Miller and the Gang singing "Heart of My Heart" --
Our condolences to the legendary Mitch Miller's family, friends and fans on this sad day.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Yikes. We love that the show is about a super-smart guy, Will Travers (played by James Badge Dale -- 24, The Black Donnellys,The Pacific), who knows everything, a super braniac who can find patterns where others see gibberish. Very appealing and we've got to support that, but Rubicon is beginning to sound like 24 without the chases and with lots of talk, if what we're hearing has merit. (I'm watching the pilot right now, and so far I'm not going to disagree.)
Nobody's more paranoid or conspiracy-minded than I am -- I'll listen to a good theory anytime -- but when the things Rubicon is being compared to are the extremely convoluted (but admittedly smart) movies like The Parallax View, or Three Days of the Condor, I've got to start freaking out a little. It's hard enough to keep track of clues and red herrings when you're on a magical island with smoke monsters, let alone on the drab streets of NYC we're seeing in Rubicon. I almost like the look of Rubicon -- it's like the brainy version of Rescue Me's gritty and hyper-masculine NYC (and Dale appeared on that show as a Gavin) -- but it'll grind you down.
Maybe it's just me, or maybe it was just snowing too much while they were filming the pilot, but Rubicon is really dark and understated, so much so that fine actors like Arliss Howard (Medium) and Miranda Richardson can't even register a spark. It's also the kind of series where a phone rings and the mysterious voice on the other end quotes a chess move, and then we see lots of chess boards in the subsequent scenes. Nothing against chess, but it's complicated and slow and if we're unlucky a metaphor for the entire show.
Maybe I'm reading this all wrong. Let's hope AMC has another winner with Rubicon, but so far I'm seeing it has neither the sexy veneer nor Baby Boomer-centric historical intrigue of Mad Men (which helps us get over the fact that often not much happens in the show), nor the X-ray accurate yet always unexpected twists of human nature of Breaking Bad.
Rubicon starts tonight on AMC at 8pm with two episodes, followed by Mad Men at 10pm. You really might want to visit AMC's Rubicon website for more insight and behind-the-scenes information, here.