Friday, July 29, 2011
Thirty years ago. Oh, boy, we all were a lot younger then, but I know that many of us can still remember getting up and watching the whole Royal Wedding proceedings on TV. There were viewing parties everywhere, and even today, three decades after the event, it's still possible to look at this bit of recent history and almost forget the tumultuous path from the storybook then to the more realistic now. July 1st of this year would have been the 50th birthday of Diana, and we can enjoy her 20-year-old loveliness and innocence in wedding footage much as we might enjoy our own home movies, with sentiment and possibly a tad of regret for time passed by so swiftly.
Here's a short segment of Royal Wedding coverage from that day, to remind you of what we all stopped everything for -- and it was worth it.
LIFE magazine has a terrific set of photos up on their site of Charles and Diana on their wedding day, and we highly recommend taking a few minutes to look back. The recent wedding of their son William to Kate Middleton was lovely, but to many of us it was a pale deja vu of 1981.
If you've become incoherently nostalgic, we can also highly recommend the entire proceedings on YouTube, with many thanks to user BenBronxNYY, who has twelve segments of wedding coverage up, in great quality, too. You might also like to take a look at the BBC's ON THIS DAY page which recounts the wedding and also has other info about Charles and Diana, including some historical context.
It's not often that you can remember exactly what you were doing on a certain day, beyond vague generalities. But for July 29, 1981, there's no doubt at all.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Every year the Nose likes to give folks a heads up that Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" is coming. Mark your calendars and set your alarms, the pointy teeth fest is coming our way this Sunday night, July 31st. Be sure and visit Discovery's blinking, pulsating, colorful Shark Week webpage by clicking the link above. There you can watch the FABULOUS "Show Me Your Teeth" promo video set to a Lady Gaga tune. Or you can see it right here by activating the video on The Flaming Nose. I must warn you that it is highly addictive, and I have suffered this song as an ear worm for 5 consecutive days.
And now, because I have already said plenty about Shark Week in past Flaming Nose posts; (see for yourself) 2010 or 2009, I'd like to add a few new random shark anecdotes.
First a Shark joke:
A man is swimming in the ocean when he happens upon a shark. He's so startled, he punches the shark right in the nose. "What did you do that for?" asks the shark. The man says, "I was so scared, I thought you were going to eat me!" The shark says, "Well I am now". Existential. Funny. And sort of true...for most sharks, if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. Discovery's Shark Week coverage has evolved over the years to include many segments on shark ecology and conservation. One hopes the message resonates so that the shameful slaughter of sharks for their fins (to make a Chinese delicacy) will end.
Do You Think the movie "Jaws" is very popular in the People's Republic of China?
Because if you really think about it, there is a subtle socialist manifesto running through this movie's main themes, especially if you look at the key characters. Maybe that's why they are so intent on wiping out sharks by turning them all into soup! First there's Captain Quint: a rugged individualist (anti collectivism) who endangers the others by destroying the boat's radio. He is punished by becoming shark food. Then there's Matt Hooper: a wealthy young capitalist who hides under a rock (imperialist coward!) to escape the giant shark. Mayor Larry Vaughn is the most despicable character, responsible for many deaths because he keeps the beach open (selfish profiteer!) choosing money over human life. Only Chief Brody, man of the people...public servant...is able to heroically vanquish the monster fish in the end. Voila!
Watch Shark Week starting this Sunday. It's nice to have a TV series about sharp teeth that doesn't involve vampires!
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I've been in a terrible funk over the end of the U.S. manned space program this week. The space shuttle Atlantis returned from its final voyage, and it felt impossibly sad. It was the end of an era for me, and represented the demise of something that I dearly loved and cherished about this country; the pioneer spirit. Citizen U.S.A. helped me break out of my pity party for a moment, and recognize that people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, China, Hungary, the Netherlands and (yes) even Canada, can still find ways to not take the freedoms we have in America for granted. And they prove it by forsaking their birth countries with an oath to become citizens of the U.S.A. They do it in all 50 states in ceremonies that are homespun, corny, delightful and uplifting. Citizen U.S.A. gives us a glimpse of the joy that is felt by people of all colors from all corners of the Earth, who raise their right hand for America. It's a chance to feel red, white and blue again, if only for an hour.
This documentary is part of the HBO documentary summer series, and it premiered (appropriately) on July 4th. I was traveling that week, so forgive me for providing this recommendation a few weeks late. You can still find Citizen U.S.A. on HBO on Demand in their documentary section.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The centerpiece of the event is the premiere tonight at 8pm of a brand-new documentary entitled The Captains, where Shatner interviews the select few actors and actresses who have played Captains over the life of the Star Trek franchise. From Patrick Stewart to Kate Mulgrew to Avery Brooks and beyond, The Captains is sure to be amusing and enlightening. In case you've missed it, William Shatner is enjoying quite a nice run lately as a tremendously gifted interviewer, with his great work talking with fellow celebrities and historic newsmakers on his two Biography Channel series Raw Nerve and Aftermath. He's incredibly good on both of them, exhibiting a keen intelligence, asking fascinating questions, and also coming across as an enlightened human being with a huge well of compassion. There aren't THAT many 79-year-old actors out there doing anything close to the level or quantity of work Shatner is -- are there any others? -- and if anything, he's just getting better with age.
Among the other treats of Shatnerpalooza are his classic The Outer Limits episode "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" as an astronaut whose mission to Venus has unintended after-effects, and episodes of the U.S. version of Iron Chef hosted by Shatner. TV fans will thrill to the inclusion of the rarely-seen 1979 TV movie Disaster on the Coastliner, co-starring Raymond Burr, E.G. Marshall, Yvette Mimieux, Pat Hingle and Lloyd Bridges. It definitely doesn't get any better than that! Also featured is a new special about the staging of a dance performance to Shatner's album with Ben Folds entitled Gonzo Ballet, and I see one airing tonight at 2am Eastern of the great and frequently filthy Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner, uncensored. Hilarious!
But wait, there's more! You'll also want to catch Shatner in 1974's sexy Bonnie-and-Clyde-ish action film Big Bad Mama co-starring Angie Dickinson and Tom Skerrit, and in his controversial race relations film from 1962 The Intruder, with Shatner giving a powerful and unusual performance under the director of Roger Corman, with a screenplay by frequent Twilight Zone writer Charles Beaumont. Also on tap is the really good and provocative 1961 film The Explosive Generation, co-starring Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed), Lee Kinsolving, Billy Gray (Father Knows Best) and Ed Platt in the story of a high school teacher who dares to introduce sex education into his classroom, and the hell he gets for it. (Obviously -- and sadly -- this is a plotline that would still be relevant today in some parts of the country.)
EPIX has a strong online presence, and also is presenting a couple of movies only on the web, including a couple more TV movies -- Pioneer Woman and Broken Angel -- and a really terrific event coming live from ComicCon in San Diego this afternoon, open to anyone (I think!). Director Kevin Smith will be talking live to William Shatner at 6pm EST (3pm on the West Coast), and you can tune into to it here at that time and watch. It should be fascinating -- Smith is smart and so is Shatner! (I'm sure this will be available later if you miss it and I'll be sure to post the details as soon as I find them.) Check the EPIX schedule for more information on the entire Shatnerpalooza line-up! EPIX is also allowing to many of these movies and definitely The Captains special free to everyone, so check it out even if you don't have EPIX on your system.
There's also an online challenge called "The Long Khan" which takes Shatner's famous "KHAN!" shout from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and asks viewers to upload their own versions. I haven't done it but I encourage it!
Shatnerpalooza continues on EPIX through the end of this month. Check out EPIX online for more information, and though it's not exactly intuitive to find what you want there's a lot there!
Monday, July 18, 2011
This is a great time to revisit the 1963 documentary The John Glenn Story, introduced by President Kennedy. You can watch it here, now, courtesy of the National Archives.
John Glenn wasn't about to miss out on NASA's Space Shuttle program, and to much fanfare became the oldest astronaut to fly into space when he boarded the Discovery in late October of 1988 for his mission. The seventy-seven-year-old then-Senator Glenn got some flack for going back into space, but doesn't that criticism seem absurd now? Imagine if NASA had buckled and not let him go on Discovery...how small-minded would that have been? Glenn was an Astronaut Hero and needed to be there, and he was.
This is a clip from The John Glenn Story by Michael Lawrence Films.
You might like also to take a look at these compiled TV spots from his Presidential bid in 1984.
Here's John Glenn giving a speech at an event celebrating NASA's 50th Anniversary in 2008. He has a charming self-deprecating quip at the beginning, and he's completely awesome throughout!
You'll also want to go to the website of the John & Annie Glenn Historic Site in New Concord, Ohio, and you'll probably want to make a physical pilgrimmage there after seeing the virtual version.
Paul Barosse, on his "Paul's Voyage of Discovery & Etc." blog had a wonderful post last week entitled "Growing Up in the Space Age". You should read it; it is superb and fascinating. He charmingly ties his own childhood in with the excitement of the space program, and it's terrific. Kudos to him! Read it!
We also love that John Glenn, as a character, was one of the most exciting parts of Phillip Kaufman's superb 1983 film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's non-fiction book The Right Stuff, about the Race to Space. As played by Ed Harris, Kaufman's version of Glenn is the ultimate clean Marine, a charming, self-effacing but proud over-achiever who becomes a media darling but remains a dedicated team player and makes all of America proud. Here's the trailer for the film, plus an amusing scene where Glenn's competitive spirit really comes out. If you haven't watched this film lately, you need to. It's exciting, biting, funny, and thrilling. Not a moment isn't amazing. Watch it!
What else can we say? John Glenn embodies all that we hope America is, was...could be. He's also a wonderful example of growing old with brilliance and fortitude.
Happy Birthday, John Glenn! We love you!
Sunday, July 17, 2011
1) The presence of so many movie talents working in television now continues to blur the line between the two mediums--more than ever, it seems TV is taking over the mantle of providing great entertainment for adults. In particular, the director categories are filled with an impressive line-up of mainstream, indie and foreign directors.
**Martin Scorsese got two nominations, one for directing the Boardwalk Empire pilot and the other for his American Masters documentary A Letter to Elia, co-directed by film critic Kent Jones.
**French director Olivier Assayas is probably the most highbrow director ever to be nominated for an Emmy, for helming the Spanish miniseries Carlos. In fact, Carlos is somewhat of an special case in that it was released theatrically in some markets before it was shown on IFC. By the way, Edgar Ramiriez (seen below) was, happily, also nominated as Best Actor in a Miniseries for Carlos.
**Canadian filmmaker Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Safe) was cited for his HBO adaptation of Mildred Pierce.
**American Splendor directors Shari Springer Burman and Robert Pulcini were honored for their direction of Cinema Verite.
**Monster director Patty Jenkins was picked for her pilot for The Killing.
**Irish director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Mona Lisa) got a nomination for his episode of The Borgias.
**L.A. Confidential director Curtis Hanson was nominated for his HBO movie Too Big To Fail, about the Wall Street debacle.
**Ridley Scott landed a spot in the Nonfiction Special category for being the executive producer on Bravo's production on Gettysberg.
**In the same category, Steven Soderburgh got a nod as exec producer on HBO's His Way.
2) Also, some big-time movie idols got some nominations this year: Kate Winslet, Melissa Leo, Guy Pearce and Evan Rachel Wood for Mildred Pierce; Kathy Bates for Harry's Law; Gwyneth Paltrow for guesting on Glee; Zach Galifinakis and Justin Timberlake, both for hosting Saturday Night Live; Matt Damon for guesting on 30 Rock; Kristen Wiig (the newest movie star on the block, after Bridesmaids), nominated once again for her SNL work; Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire; Paul Giamatti, William Hurt and James Woods for Too Big To Fail; Diane Lane for Cinema Verite; Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper and the forever terrific Tom Wilkinson for The Kennedys; Lawrence Fishburne in Thurgood; Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey; Peter Dinklage in HBO's acclaimed Game of Thrones; and Christopher Plummer as the narrator of TCM's Moguls and Movie Stars. Wow!
3) Two theatrically released films were nominated in the Best Nonfiction Program category--Josh Fox's anti-fracking doc Gasland and PBS' Oscar-nominated doc The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg And The Pentagon Papers.
4) I was glad to see that the two HBO projects I'm most excited about--Todd Haynes' Mildred Pierce miniseries and the retelling of the Loud family saga, Cinema Verite, got scads of nominations. In fact, Mildred Pierce leads the pack overall with 22 nominations.
5) Somehow, even though it continues to rarely be funny, Saturday Night Live landed 16 nominations--more in one year than it has ever received. Are Emmy voters really WATCHING this show?
6) I'm wondering if this year's sentimental choice for Best Actor in a Comedy Series will be Steve Carrell, whose final episode as The Office's Michael Scott aired this year. He certainly deserves the Emmy, after losing six times in a row; his contribution to the show has been indelible. But, in my opinion, though, the award should really go to...
7) Louis C.K. Though his astounding FX show Louie got him nominations for Best Actor and Best Writing in a Comedy Series, the show as a whole failed to land in the top spot for Best Comedy Series (they should have thrown out the terminally unfunny Parks and Recreation to make room for it). Still, C.K. arrives as a 4-time Emmy nominee this year (he got two other nominations, for writing and editing (!) his comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious). Yay for Louis C.K. We adore him here on the Nose!
8) As always, I'm happy with the justified domination of Mad Men (17 nominations) in the Drama Series categories (and I'm especially happy that Elizabeth Moss--the show's Peggy--has moved up into the Lead Actress category). But, while I like Modern Family just fine, its 15 nominations in the Comedy categories feels like overkill.
9) Boardwalk Empire landed 16 nominations in its first Emmy year, including just ones for series lead Steve Buscemi and supporting actress Kelly MacDonald. I only wish I loved the series more than I do, or else I'd be rooting for it.
10) Nice to see that Pee-Wee Herman is back on the Emmy rosters. His Pee-Wee on Broadway special for HBO garnered a few nods, including one for Best Variety Special (interestingly, he's competing against Lady Gaga for her HBO Monster Ball concert offering).
11) It looks like The Big Bang Theory has finally arrived. As well as getting chosen as one of the six Best Comedy Series nominees, the show got two lead actor nominations, for Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki. Somehow, though, that's the best the show could do--it missed out on any of the writing and direction nominations, because Modern Family is hogging up the categories.
12) In the reality programming categories, I have to protest the exclusion of two of my favorite shows: the History Channel's Pawn Stars and Discovery's Oddities. But I DO like the inclusion of PBS' Antiques Roadshow and Discovery's Mythbusters. So I suppose it's all a trade-off.
13) I still think Gordon Ramsay should be an Emmy nominee for hosting Kitchen Nightmares (another of my current favorite shows). I think he's smart, empathetic, tough and hilarious.
14) Six years into its run and the Emmy board once again couldn't even deliver ONE nomination to the consistently hysterical It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Even for the always reliable Charlie Day? Somethin' ain't right here...
15) Finally, I look askance at the numerous nods rained down on both the controversial miniseries The Kennedys (which sounds to me like a histrionic disaster) and on the HBO movie Too Big To Fail (which looks as dry as two-day-old toast). But I'm thrilled that Julian Fellowes and company got so much love for their PBS series Downton Abbey. Again, I guess it's all a trade-off.
I knew it had been a while, but 13 months? That's how long it's been since the end of the last round of AMC's riveting and award-winning series Breaking Bad, and now it's back for its fourth season! That 13-month hiatus explains why BB isn't up for any Emmy Awards this year, but no doubt we can expect them back in line next year. Breaking Bad just keeps getting better, and this season -- according to reports -- is extra-dark and guaranteed to thrill and shock us.
If you've missed any episodes, it's never too late to catch up via DVD, and the 3rd season episodes are on AMC's On Demand menu at this time -- not sure when they will be going away, so better get to them as soon as possible. You should also visit AMC's terrific and info-laden Breaking Bad website, which expertly summarizes each episode in great detail, and though it's not the same as watching, you'll get the pertinent plot points at least.
The real pleasure in Breaking Bad is precisely in watching it -- no other show looks, especially in High Definition, so hypnotically beautiful, and yet most of the settings are stark, perhaps even ugly. However, with that brilliantly blue New Mexico sky overhead and a countryside that looks more like Mars than this planet, it's completely hypnotic. Also, lab equipment and tubes and vials never looked more efficient that on this show, especially now that Walter White is cooking his meth in a spiffy new lab.
Does Breaking Bad in any way glorify the drug trade? Oh, I don't think so. I was just re-watching some of the episodes with Jessie and his late girlfriend, and they were about as grim and unappealing as any anti-drug PSA any ad maven could dream up. I'd safely say you get the impression that drugs are for losers -- and for those without enough sense or money to stop using them. Very sad life, very grungy, and we're right in the thick of it with Breaking Bad, as we watch our cast of characters getting kicked around and changing in not always desirable ways.
You won't find any better acting duo onscreen or TV now than Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as Walter and Jessie, comrades in meth-cooking, strange bedfellows indeed, but one of the most fascinating relationships you'll ever enjoy seeing brought to life. Every actor in Breaking Bad is superb, chilling, touching, terrifying, multi-faceted and utterly real. This show has everything.
Breaking Bad and its 4th season premieres tonight at 10pm on AMC. Visit the Breaking Bad website here for plenty of interesting info.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
--Breaking Bad: OK, it doesn't officially start until this Sunday (July 17th) but the anticipation is almost making me high. This show is so good, it would be nearly impossible for them to screw it up at this point. Furthermore, it is most likely the last season, so I can imagine the producers will want to go out with a bang. It's a Southwest existential morality tale on AMC. I will be there with bells on.
--Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations: Premiered this past Monday at 9pm on the Travel Channel, this is my favorite food/adventure/travel show in the whole world. Anthony Bourdain is perfect. He's handsome...he's funny...he's adventurous. I think he makes it cool to be American these days (God knows we could use it). At the very least, he makes it extra cool to be a traveling New York Foodie. This week's new season opened with a trip to Cuba. Light on politics, heavy on baseball and black beans. Mmmmm, the tastiest treat on TV.
--Louie on fX: Season two kicked off a couple of weeks ago (Thursdays at 10:30pm). I am so very happy to say that it still enthralls. Brilliant, uncomfortable, tragic, beautiful and sometimes (because yeah, technically it is a comedy) balls to the wall funny. There is absolutely nobody like Louie ck on television. Nobody. I have to hand it to Fox for not meddling with this gem so far. Maybe they forgot it was on. It is mesmerizing. Last week's pregnant sister episode gave a whole new spin on the good Samaritan neighbor theme. This show is my obsession.
Rescue Me: Rescue Me returns tonight (July 13th) on fX at 10pm. This is the last season for Denis Leary's firehouse opus and it is timed perfectly to coincide with the 10th anniversary of 9-11. I want to see how he resolves his ghosts and demons and I think Leary's Tommy Gavin character is always interesting and funny, although incredibly messed up. I have never doubted the sincerity of Rescue Me and have great faith that they will do something profound before the FDNY crew is closed down forever.
--True Blood: Everybody knows how much I love HBO, but this series has seriously gone bonkers. Someday I will write of Alan Ball's Six Feet Under saga about the L.A. Fisher family and how it was the greatest television show in the history of the universe. But he's gone crazy with True Blood and I'm about to abandon ship. I don't care about the over the top sex or violence or the fact that in the season premier they used a fake boulder and sand desert background set that looked like it was straight out a 1960's episode of Star Trek. What I care about it that I'm bored. Bored to death with Sookie and Tara and Bill and Eric. Well maybe not so much with Eric. Don't want to see Jason raped by a pack of trailer trash zombies. I like Marnie the witch's dead parrot...I hate Marnie the witch. You know how every year you have to sort out the Christmas lights that have mysteriously mated like a pile of snakes in the garage? That's what this feels like. The story line is a hot tangled mess.
--Falling Skies: I had high hopes for this TNT series. Sci Fi, original, Steven Spielberg, lavish production, cool scary aliens taking over (we'll call them Skitters). I've watched the first couple of episodes and I don't think I'll be coming back. It's just not compelling. We never get to see the aliens, so the threat seems very remote. And the survivors in this post apocalyptic world are way...way too clean. Why would they all be so fashion model clean? Even the kids look like they've been air brushed! I don't know why but it really bothers me. I can't go on a day long road trip without looking like a refugee, and these people have been without electricity, washing machines and running water for quite some time. They should at least be a little smudged. Note to Falling Skies producers...watch the movie Road Warrior. You can make your end of the world characters stylish AND dirty! And show a few aliens eating little kids with their tentacles or something!
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Larry has a long conversation with a 13 year old girl scout about her first period and tampons. Really? What planet is this creepy scene even remotely funny on? Anyway, I only like Jeff Garlin and Susie. If someone wants to make a clip show of them, I'll still watch. Otherwise...buh bye Larry!
Here's a little taste of Breaking Bad. Oh my, can't wait for Sunday!
If Sherwood had done nothing more than strand Gilligan and the Skipper on that island, it probably would have been enough, but Schwartz' comic mind never stopped. In 1966 he created the short-lived but peppy astronauts-meet-cavemen sitcom It's About Time, with its peppy theme song that has lingered in fan memory longer than the series itself. Sherwood wrote the theme songs to all his big hit series; they're all charming and unforgettable, so chalk up another talent for him.
In 1969 Sherwood Schwartz again hit the motherlode -- he created the blended family sitcom The Brady Bunch, leading to five years of hilarious childhood angst and giving babyboomers of a certain age a universal touchstone. (I was too old for TBB, never watched it -- except when Davy Jones did a guest gig -- but I get its appeal!). If Aaron Spelling supplied the "jiggle" for a generation, Sherwood Schwartz gave us the "giggle". With his gentle humor, appealing casts and an appreciation for slapstick that has kept his most popular series on top, Schwartz didn't aim too high but neither did he stoop low. Middle America loved him, and he earned it.
Creating two of the biggest success in sitcom history didn't mean Sherwood Schwartz took his shingle in; he continued to create series -- Dusty's Trail, Harper Valley PTA -- and remain vitally connected with Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch as they found pop culture immortality. Gilligan had two TV movies in the 1980s; the Brady family, especially, spawned lots of spin-off series (including variety shows) and of course his characters made it to the big screen twice during the 1990s as nostalgia for the series hit an all-time high.
Making millions of TV viewers happy for decades defines a life well-lived; Sherwood Schwartz had that life. In a wonderful gesture he also wrote a final letter that he asked be published in The Hollywood Reporter after his death. It's completely charming and shows what a nice guy he was. You can read it here. You might also enjoy watching his multi-part interview at the Archive of American Television.
The Flaming Nose joins Schwartz' family, friends and fans in remembering and honoring this wonderful icon on classic TV.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I grew up in a home surrounded by music. My mom loved the big bands and standards, but most notably, she loved Frank Sinatra. My dad loved Eddy Arnold, Patti Page and Connie Francis; and and my older siblings loved the Four Seasons and the Beatles. My deep rooted passion for music goes way back to my childhood.
I will admit to this - I loved Rob Grill. Even as a little girl I knew he was a cutie pie! He was the voice of The Grass Roots and this kid loved that voice and that face. Over the course of my career in the entertainment industry I've had the privilege (although, sometimes not such a privilege) to meet lots of famous people. Unfortunately, I never met Rob Grill. In a way, that may have been a good thing. He might have been a jerk and then I would have disliked him and his music and I wouldn't want to have gone through all these years without listening to their music.
Yesterday morning at 11:00am Rob Grill died in a Florida hospital. I heard the news for the first time late last night. Then this morning WBBM AM 780 News in Chicago did a nice tribute to him in their top of the hour network news break . He died in the arms of his wife, Nancy listening to "Let's Live for Today." I'm near to crying as I write this post.
Rob Grill (who had several hip replacement surgeries) took a horrible fall a few weeks back and that led to a massive stroke. He had his first stroke three years ago and he learned to walk with a cane. He pretty much couldn't sing like Rob Grill anymore, but he still could play that bass guitar, but the recent stroke ended up putting a hold on that bass playing.
I take this story even more personally since I had my own health story close call 18 months ago. Out of nowhere I developed a severe internal carotid artery occlusion on my left side. I was completely healthy (ate right, exercised, never smoked, rarely had alcohol and never used drugs) and yet here I was being told I would be dead shortly if I didn't do what they wanted to do. The medical team decided to place a stent in my artery since my occlusion was trickier and more deadly than most. I didn't want to stroke out, but their fear was I would stroke out and die. I am all too aware of the fact that I am at greater risk for stroke than the average Joe or Mary, but I am so aware of my body that I am hopeful I will see a sign before it strikes. Although, as we see with the death of Rob Grill, sometimes it's our time. Everyone who lives will die. It's just the one pure fact of living a life.
My life has changed a great deal in the last couple of years. My wonderful career in television was literally given up and walked away from when my dad passed away after struggling with Alzheimer's disease for many years. I decided to move home to be with my now aging mom. I haven't regretted the decision once. Life is indeed brief and fragile.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Lyrically, This Loud Morning shows great progression on the part of Cook. Musically, it further establishes his style and voice, but it is far superior to anything he has created in the past. Producer Matt Serletic (Ryan Star, Matchbox 20) took these great songs and worked magic on them. The instrumentation and arrangements are brilliant, but best of all, Serletic did what he’s known for: he let the singer’s voice remain front and center. With Cook’s last album, my only (minor) complaint was that too many of the tracks had a wall of sound that didn’t let his amazing voice shine through. This time, David’s voice is the star, and the instrumentation and effects are superb supporting players.
Standout tracks for me are Circadian; Right Here, With You; Take Me As I am; Paper Heart; Goodbye to the Girl; Rapid Eye Movement and bonus track Let Me Fall For You. I’m just waiting for NBC to use “We Believe” for the Olympics (the way they’ve used Cook’s “Heroes” on NBC Sports for the last two seasons).
Those of us who spent our childhood glued to our TV sets -- in other words, all of us here -- were saddened to hear of the death of veteran comedy writer Sam Denoff on July 8th. Especially close to my heart for his contributions to The Dick Van Dyke Show and for his co-creation of Marlo Thomas' That Girl, Mr. Denoff most often paired up with fellow writer Bill Persky to create some of the cleverest and most intelligent humor on TV at the time. He won two Emmy Awards for his work on TDVDS, and was nominated for two others, and no doubt deserved a lot more than that.
You may not know that he also wrote the lyrics to the That Girl theme, featured in at least one version of the opening credits throughout the run of the program. Here's an early title sequence, and then one with Mr. Denoff's charming lyrics!
Here's the opening credit sequence to Good Morning World --
Sam Denoff and his contributions to classic TV will live on as audiences continue to appreciate well-crafted comedy writing.
Where to Watch: Episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show are available on Hulu, there is some That Girl on YouTube and the seasons are available on DVD.