Monday, February 28, 2005

Sean Young and Batman

Remember Sean Young? You may have forgotten about her. She was an A-list actor back in the mid 1980s.

In Blade Runner (1982) she played the Replicant android Rachel. This was a scene stealing part that made her the toast of Hollywood. By 'toast' I mean that she was the talk of the town, not that people drank when they mentioned her.

Or that she was a piece of bread that had been slightly burned on the outside.

After Blade Runner she had several notable films including the blockbuster thriller No Way Out (1987).

Sean was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 20, 1959. Oh, by the way, she is not a man. She just has a name that people associate with men but can be used for either sex.

Other names in this category are Terry and Robin. Isn't learning fun?

Before she hit the big screen, Sean Young trained as a dancer at the American Ballet in New York and worked as a model.

This led to much confusion.

PHOTOGRAHPER KEN: Did you hire the model I needed?
ASSISTANT JOE: Yes, Sean Young.
PHOTOGRAHPER KEN: Joe you idiot! I need a woman; this is an ad for feminine hygiene products!
ASSISTANT JOE: Sean Young IS a woman!
PHOTOGRAHPER KEN: Really? You mean Sean is one of those names like Terry?
ASSISTANT JOE: Yeah, or Robin.
PHOTOGRAHPER KEN: Robin? Name one man with the name Robin!
ASSISTANT JOE: Robin Williams.
PHOTOGRAHPER KEN: The girl who married Mike Tyson?
ASSISTANT JOE: No that was Robin Givens.
PHOTOGRAHPER KEN: Oh yeah! He was on 'Saved by the Bell'.
ASSISTANT JOE: No, SHE was, and it was 'Head of the Class'.
PHOTOGRAHPER KEN: You’re fired. Jerk.

Whatever became of Assistant Joe is still a mystery. Some say he moved to the jungle, some say he lived as a fisherman forever married to the sea. Still others say I just made him up to fill space.

In the late 1980s Sean had a romance with actor James Woods. Then something went wrong and Woods filed a harassment suit against her. Then Young took out full-page magazine ads to defend her name.

"IT'S NOT A MAN'S NAME" The ads read.

No, I'm kidding. The ads were in reference to the harassment suit. This all led to Sean Young being know as a crazy woman around Hollywood.

Still, she was in demand in the movie business. Soon she was cast in the mega budget film Batman as Vicki Vale. After she started shooting she broke her collarbone during a horse riding scene in the film. The scene was cut from the film and Sean was replaced.

Not willing to walk away from Batman, Sean petitioned Director Tim Burton to cast her as Catwoman.

'Petitioned' is a bit of an understatement.

She went on a mad quest to be cast in this film and refused to let anything stand in her way. She showed up with her entourage searching the Warner Brothers lot looking for Burton.


Burton said he hid from her in a bathroom.

Michelle Pfeiffer was cast in the part, but EVEN THAT didn't stop Sean. She went on The Aresenio Hall Show and Joan River's show wearing the Catwoman costume and doing the interview using the "purrrrfect" Catwoman voice.

So, Sean was considered difficult to deal with and possibly insane. She still worked consistently after that, but never in the same caliber performance.

Her most notable post-Batman part was Lt. Einhorn in Ace Ventura Pet Detective. You may remember this. She played a police officer who was actually a former male football player. It was hysterical.

By the way, there are at least three other Sean Youngs are listed in the IMDB and yes, they are all dudes.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Sacheen Littlefeather Refuses Brando's Oscar

The year was 1973.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was giving out their awards, the Oscars. The hall was full of artists. Across town a group of scientists were huddled around a 13 inch TV in a seedy bar.

Scientist One: Oh, I hope we win something this year!

Scientist Two: No, we won't. They only nominated actors and other "artist" types.

Scientist One: You know if why do they call it "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences" if they never give us SCIENTISTS a shot??!?!?

Scientist Two: I gotta go to the men's room and empty the 'old Bunsen burner'.
(Then they all laughed and laughed)

Marlon Brando was nominated on five previous occasions; bringing home the statue for the film "On the Waterfront". That was almost 20 years earlier, however, and Brando had become a whole lot weirder since then.

Brando was nominated on this night for his performance as Don Corleone in "The Godfather". Other best picture nominees were Peter O'Toole (The Ruling Class), Michael Caine (Sleuth), Laurence Olivier (Sleuth) and Paul Winfield (Sounder).

They were all losers.

Brando's name was called. What happened next would shock an entire nation. Michael Caine got up and slapped Laurence Oliver in the face saying "Feel the pain from Caine!" Then he gave Paul Winfield 'the finger' and started looking around the room for Peter O'Toole. When he spotted him he said "Don't worry, I like YOU. You smell like cinnamon. I like that."

No, I made that up. If ONLY it were THAT simple.

Instead, the other nominees sat quietly in their seats and a woman in traditional American Indian garb approached the podium.

She said:
Hello. My name is Sacheen Littlefeather. I am an Apache and I am the president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee.

I'm representing Marlon Brando this evening and he has asked me to tell you, in a very long speech which I cannot share with you presently, because of time, but I will be glad to share with the press afterward, that he must very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry. Excuse me. ... and on television in movie re-runs, and also the recent happenings at Wounded Knee.

I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon this evening and that we will, in the future, in our hearts and our understanding will meet with love and generosity.

Thank you on behalf of Marlon Brando.

The Wounded Knee event was when the Federal government took action on the American Indian Movement's (AIM) occupation of the area known as Wounded Knee. They occupied the site to protest what they "US government treaty violations."

It was a complex issue and certainly one worth discussion. But what did it have to do with Marlon Brando's Oscar?

The audience and home viewers were confused and some booed "Sacheen Littlefeather".

I put her name in quotes for two reasons:

1) I like quotes. I also like to use there symbols (&%^#@~*) but none of them were appropriate in that instance.

2) It wasn't her name. The woman who went to the stage was an actress named Maria Cruz. She had appeared in a number of B-movies, some of them being soft porn. In fact, many people still question her American Indian heritage.

Later that night Best Picture presenter Clint Eastwood said "I don't know if I should present this award on behalf of all the cowboys shot in John Ford westerns over the years." It received a huge laugh (even bigger than that Bunsen burner joke.)

It's unclear what Brando’s true motivation was. Actually, maybe it isn’t. Perhaps I just don't know and am too lazy to look it up. Either way, it remains one of the most interesting moments in Oscar history.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Wisconsin is the 23rd largest state of the United States, (54,314 square miles) and 18th greatest population (5,453,896 as of 2002). Oddly enough all of them say they are "tired of all this Sponge Pants Man nonsense."

The state's name is an English version of a French adaptation of an Indian word. The Indian word is Meskousing meaning "gathering of the waters," was written as Ouisconsin by the French, and changed to its current form by the English. Kinda like when you would play that game in grade school where you would whisper a sentence to the kid next to you and he would pass it down the line. By the fifth or sixth kid the sentence didn't make sense and now included the word "monkey". Remember that game?

In 1634, Frenchman Jean Nicolet became Wisconsin's first European explorer. He had first tried exploring Japan but had many problems.

JEAN: I am Jean Nicolet.
JAPANESE MAN: Oh, like the gum?
JEAN: What?
JAPANESE MAN: The one that makes you quit smoking. Nicoret.
JEAN: No, my name is Nicolet.
JAPANESE MAN: Right, Nicoret.
JEAN: Good god! Is THAT the punch line? Wow, that was so not worth it.
JAPANESE MAN: My car is a Transformer.

The French controlled the area until 1763, when it was ceded to the British.

After the Revolutionary War, Wisconsin was part of the Northwest Territory. Wisconsin became the 30th state on May 29, 1848. They had a big old cake and sung the state song, changing the last verse to "You look like a monkey and you smell like one too."

Speaking of the state song, it is called "On, Wisconsin!" and was written by J. S. Hubbard and Charles D. Rosa.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Grand old badger state!
We, thy loyal sons and daughters,
Hail thee, good and great.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Champion of the right,
"Forward", our motto
God will give thee might!

Hmmm, I was about to tell you that the states nickname is "the Badger State" and that their motto is "Forward", but that was all explained in the song. I must say I like that motto. It is much better than the one in New York "Keep lookin' over yer shoulder, buddy."

As for the whole "the Badger State" nickname, the badger has been closely associated with Wisconsin since territorial days. It was declared the official state animal in 1957. An irate opossum was so upset over not being chosen that he moved to Utah where he, ironically, moved in with that Jean Nicolet fellow. Together they manage a Bed, Bath and Beyond. I am not sure why, but no one ever asks about the "Beyond" part after meeting them.

The State Bird is the American Robin, this is also the same State Bird as Connecticut and Michigan.

To learn more about Wisconsin, visit your local library... unless you live in Wisconsin. Then just take a walk... and watch out for the badgers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Shriners in little cars

Parades are fun. Probably the most famous is Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade where giant balloons travel down the New York City streets to the delight of children everywhere. Also there's the Columbus Day Parade when the streets fill with drunken Italians mispronouncing "sausage". Plus, every day the Disney theme parks have at least one parade of costumed characters strolling past the attractions.

But, no parade is complete without one thing:


The Shrine is a legendary philanthropic organization that has created many hospitals to help all kinds of people with many different ailments. The Shrine members are called Shriners.

In order to raise money and awareness they go to parades and drive little cars.

Most of these cars have a 5 HP gas engine or better and are made by companies that specialize in cars for Shriners. Sometimes they don't even look like cars. Often they will drive little vans or tractor trailers. Heck, if it's small and it has wheels on it it's either part of a Shriner parade or a midget on roller-skates (forgive me, that sounded much funnier in my head.)

Usually these cars have a fiberglass body. That is fitted to a go cart
Frame. The cost of a Shriner car can range from just over $1000 to more than a real car (a really cheap car, but a real car nonetheless.)

When you see a Shriner behind the wheel of one of these cars, it is most likely his own car. The cars are never purchased by the Shrine, only individual Shriners. They also pay for all expenses involving maintenance and transporting the car.

Shriners also wear an interesting hat.

The red fez with a black tassel is the Shrine's official hat. It gets its name from the holy city of Fez, Morocco where it was created.

The practice of naming headgear after the city of its creation is rather common. The 'Bolwer' hat was named after Bowler, Ohio, and the 'Derby' after Derby, Wisconsin and the 'Beer Helmet' after Beer Helmet, New Jersey.

If you ever see a Shriner in a parade, give him a wave and be thankful that guys like him are out there. Then stand next to his car and pretend to be Andre the Giant. It's fun.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Redd Foxx: Liquorman

Redd Foxx was a legendary comedian, TV star and actor.
His success was monumental, which is stunning considering that most of his stand up act was dirty, he had a terrible drug addiction and a stage name that was (lets face it) just plain silly.

Redd Foxx? How did he ever get anyone to take him seriously with that moniker? Why didn't he call himself Greenn Frogg or Pinkk Jellyfishh? Somehow the name "Redd Foxx" worked.

Being a phenomenal success on TV with the show 'Sanford and Son', Redd decided to take the next logical step:

Liquor commercials!

Yup, Redd was a booze-peddler, a juice-giver, a brew-pusher, a pub-filler, a belly-wash barker, a barley-sandwich chef- in short he was "The Pops with the Hops".

One of these ads was for 'Teacher's Scotch Whiskey'. It's an interesting name for a bottle of hard liquor. I suppose Babysitter's Bourbon and Protestant Nun's Pure Grain Alcohol weren't available.

The Teacher's ad was a print ad, found in men's magazines like Playboy, Sports Illustrated and I Have An Adam's Apple Monthly. It was an essay written by Foxx that started with the phrase "I told the scotch people I don't drink anymore. Then again, I don't drink any less either."

Throughout the ad Redd spouts material like "Don't get the impression that I am a heavy drinker. I only way 150 pounds." and "Marry an ugly woman... when she leaves you'll be happy." Towards the end of the page Redd finally talks about Teacher's.

Redd explains that after he became a success he started to buy the finest cars and spending money like a rich man.

But he kept drinking Teacher's because it was the best.

The ad is a good ad. It looks like an article and reads like comedy routine. I am not sure that the photo of Redd was a good choice, however.

It shows him wearing GIANT glasses (the #1 sign of old age) and holding a glass. Behind Redd is a GIANT photo of himself wearing GIANT glasses! If I was looking for a scotch and I saw this photo I would think "wow, I'm seeing double already! I must be high on life, no need for liquor." Then I would have giggled until I sneezed.

Redd was also spokesman for Colt 45. Going in the opposite direction as the Teacher's ad this goes for simplicity. The words "If unique is what you seek" appears above a photo of Redd holding a can of Malt Liquor.

"Holding" is a bit of an understatement. Redd is cuddling with the can. Like two lovers taking a carriage ride through Central Park. It's a beautiful thing.

It also should be noted that Redd looks drunk. I am pretty sure that is intentional. I must say, in all honesty, I look at the ad and I think "I want to be drunk, too." I would have to say this is a great ad as well.

I guess Redd was as good at hawking hooch as he was at anything else. God bless him for that.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Grip and Flip Till it Hurts

Yeah, if you watch TV late at night you know EXACTLY what I am talking about. Heck, if you watch any kind of syndicated program I am SURE you have seen this.

It's a commercial that won’t go away.

This product plays off the simple truth that spatulas suck. I know this to be fact because the commercial told me so. Apparently humans throw most of the food we cook onto the floor because we dare to use a standard spatula. The commercial shows a hapless cook flinging eggs around wildly you would think he was having a seizure.

Then we meet Cathy Mitchell. She looks like she could be your grandma, or an elderly aunt. Soon she will haunt your dreams forever.

Cathy tells us of the trauma we have ALL experienced at the hands of that fickle mistress Miss Spatula. Hamburgers falling through the cracks of the grill, hotdogs rolling out of the pan and eggplant parmesan dropped on our finest tuxedos.

It's a wonder there haven't been more spatula related injuries in the home.

Now, I know what you are thinking, "Cathy, cooking techniques have been the same for over a million years. No one, I mean NO ONE, would dare mess with them."

Well stop thinking and start dialing.

Cathy is smarter than anyone that walked the earth before her. She could have chosen to cure cancer or make a robot that could smoke cigars.

Instead she re-invented the spatula.


She made the spatula into a half spatula, half tongs, and half pitch-fork "poking thingy". I know, that’s three halves, but this thing is THAT amazing. She calls it the "Grip and Flip".

You would expect Cathy to stop there. Heck, I pretty much assumed she would poke herself in the brain with the "Grip and Flip" just to end her life. What more could she live for???? She has already done so much for humankind!

Well, there is more.

You know how when you try to get soup out of a pot you always get too much broth and not enough vegetables? Me neither. But, according to Cathy it happens. Perhaps she just can't accept soup the way it is.

And WHY should she?

So she revolutionized the ladle! How you ask? She drilled a few holes in it. It's called the "Scoop and Strain" and it’s a bit of a let down. But hey, Babe Ruth didn't hit 'em all over the fence either.

I am sure this disappointment wouldn't keep you from putting an extra $19.95 in Cathy's pocket, but she isn’t finished.

She also has the "6 in 1 Kitchen Utensil". The name is dull, but she used to call this one the "Chef Wizard". Now she calls changed the name (I assume) because people wouldn't buy it assuming it was only good for casting wicked spells on ham.
The "6 in 1" she says is "so precise, it'll even pick up a thin dime."

A thin dime you say? Do we have fat dimes? Plus why would you want to use a kitchen tool to carry change? Plus, I am a little bothered by the use of the word "precise". I just stuck some used chewing gum on the end of a plunger and used THAT to pick up a dime. Is that precise?

You know what I am not sure I stick by my original assessment of Cathy. Of course my opinion will probably change again when she introduces a cheese grater that will also detail my car.
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Order these fine items AND view the commercial by clicking here.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A Very Special Dear bunchojunk

This is a special edition of “Dear  bunchojunk”. I know, that is about as necessary as a directors cut of "Gigli". But lets face it, I ran out of ideas for this site way back before Christmas.

Today, rather than the usual fake advice column, I want to take a look at REAL junk mail. Yes, as if you didn’t get enough spam in your inbox, now I am making you read mine.

I get TONS of spam. I probably get more than most people because my email account is linked on the website and email bots scroll through the web spamming every address they can. Let us take a look.

Letter #1
hey folks,
You can now be the house just like Vegas or Atlantic
Your fortune is in setting up a cas!no, go now
Dial 1 - 8 77- 7 99- 2192 Ext: 85 (24 x 7)

Cas!no Deus. popularidade surgir, entanto,
e multid=F5es -
abra=E7o para Tereza um e
ben=E7=E3o abra=E7o categorias: Desta
ok, bye,

WHAT? I assume this is not the same Nettie that posts on this site. I never knew "Nettie" was a common name.
Perhaps the clever machines also pick names off of the site.
“hey folks” what a great opening! It’s informal, a bit down home and plural for my tastes, but a great opening. I am also happy to hear that I can be the house like Vegas or Atlantic. Not the dumpy city in New Jersey, but apparently the ENTIRE Atlantic.
I must buy a bigger home if I am going to be able to house all of those chain smoking senior citizens.
! have no !dea why they used an exclamat!on po!nt !nstead of the letter “i” but ! l!ke !t.
As for the foreign stuff I assume it says “cas!no, twice as popular as sugar ESPECIALLY when multiplied by the F5 bomber that the government is secretly creating to turn the real casinos into a mushroom cloud. Then cas!no will rule the world. We categorically detest the poor.”
ok, bye,

Letter #2

Abra=E7os", Amrita" de
ela pessoas boca, se a
pode Ao duas faz
- de construir primeiras =C9
shop dot . info / r
best regards,

Thanks Lessie, what would I do without my

Letter #3:

T!red of making a "Salary"
A New business in the form of Caassino for yoouuu
Get going buddy, Call now 1 - 877 - 799 - 21 92 Ex t:85
a de pessoas ap=F3s
demonstrando Amma =E0
seguidores. intenso que se Eu
mente." ao cada do


No Mario, I should be THANKING YOU! I am tired of making a “Salary”.

This whole “getting paid money on a regular and consistent basis is for losers." If only I could “Get going buddy” and decide whether I want a “cas!no” or a “Caassino”!!!!! What should I do!

Letter #4:
hey friend,
my father found this site on net

que "Uma Oceano
uma 3 perguntam. faísca
Espiritual. de -
ou na inauguração Ela Mas

best regards,

Thanks, friend. You father sounds like a wise man. He must be, to have raised you to be such a good letter writer. Ask him about my “cas!no” or “Caassino” dilemma. Maybe he can find an answer on the net.
By the way, Daphne, can’t we be more than just friends? I want to be closer to you, and if the stars align right, your father can be MY father-in-law and he can give me more of that great medical info he finds on the net.

Also, tell your dad about
I found it on the net.
We could buy lab coats and stethoscopes and pretend to be doctors as we give each other medical info.
One more thing, ironically I found this site: about the New Jersey Nets. You will never guess WHERE I found it- on the net! Is there nothing this net can’t do?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Members Only

It was the greatest and most exclusive club of the 1980s.

It wasn't Studio 54.

It wasn't the Columbia House Record Club.

It wasn't that wooden club Captain Caveman carried.

No, this club was FAR greater. Non-members were, obviously, not allowed. Still, anyone could JOIN. All they needed to do was buy the jacket.

The Members Only jacket. Behold its beauty! Look at its majestic and almost military styling. From the elastic lined sleeve cuffs to the odd straps that buttoned over the shoulders it was a designers dream.

In the recent film Million Dollar Baby Morgan Freeman's character is seen sporting a tan Members Only jacket. At first I thought "Oh, this film must take place in the 1980s!"
Later, I realized the film took place in present day and I thought "Wow, all these years later and he is still a member. Good for him."

Even later I realized it was a boxing film and I thought "Million Dollar Baby is about BOXING? I thought this was the third film in the Baby Geniuses series. What a rip off."

But I still enjoyed seeing the jacket. I must say, he isn't the only member I have seen lately. Go to any race track or bar and I am willing to bet that two thirds of all men over the age of 50 still hold a membership. Heck, about half of the men over 50 have a jacket in the closet. When the weather is just right you will see them wear it.

Sadly, today’s youth show no interest in joining. Twenty years ago it was the jacket that brought us all together. Back then it was not just the jacket of choice for middle aged men. Young men would sport the coat since it looked so good with the popular "parachute pants" of the day. These pants were not known for looking like parachutes in any way, instead they just had tons of pockets. I assume one of them was designed to hold a parachute.
Older men would wear the Members Only jacket because people believed it resembled a sport coat (it didn't) and it would look good with a shirt and tie (it did, in fact it looked good with anything.)
Its popularity was universal. Men would wear them, their kids would wear them, and Grandpa would wear them. There were even pink and white jackets that were popular with the ladies in the family.
And the regular black men’s jacket was popular with that Aunt who never married and would always be vacationing with her roommate.

The coat itself was thicker than a windbreaker, but thinner than a winter coat thus making it the perfect February and March jacket. This made the jacket so popular that knock offs were produced with a vengeance. Everyone from Jordache to K-Mart made their own jacket. Some even improved upon the formula by adding stripes or more pockets and things to button. It didn't matter if they served a purpose, it was STYLE.

Still the Members Only jacket was the best of the lot.

Once, they ran an election day commercial for the jacket. Instead of telling the finer points of the coat they just showed pictures of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. The commercial ended with them telling you to vote so "idiots" like these are never elected.

Yes, it was more than about keeping warm. The Members Only jacket was about freedom.

Sadly, the last generation of jackets is aging with no generation following them. The jackets are no longer being sold, and as soon as the last one wears out the dream will die.

I must go now and cry myself to sleep.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Rocky Statue

One of the most pivotal scenes in 1982’s Rocky III occurs on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After having run up the steps in the first two films, the city bestows a statue to Rocky, placing it at the top of the steps.

As Rocky goes to accept the statue, in steps Clubber Lang (played with unabashed fury by Mr. T).

“Getting out while you can? Don’t give this man no statue give him guts.” Clubber exclaimed.

So, the Mayor had the statue removed and in its place a platter of fish guts was displayed. The mayor then turns to Clubber and asks “what should I do now?”

“How about working on the pollution?” said Clubber.

“Nah, I’m saving that for the sequel.” replied the mayor.

Then the film faded to black and Rocky III went on to win 19 Academy Awards including Best Picture and World Greatest Golfer.

The statue on the other hand did not fare so well. Stallone and company initially left the statue on the steps as a gift to the city.
The Art Museum curators were not thrilled with the present. They scoffed at the statue pronouncing it a mere “movie prop”. Then they puffed away on a pipe as they read a George Will column and watched Frasier through their monocles.

Others believed that the Museum was a fine home for the statue. Every single day dozens of people run up the steps and raise their arms in the air like Rocky. Many of them had never been to the museum and only were interested in it because of the movie.

After some debate the statue was moved to the Philadelphia Spectrum sports arena where some of Rocky’s fights took place. The statue still stands at the Spectrum being removed only for the filming of Rocky sequels.

Inside a glass display case holds a note from Stallone thanking the Spectrum for “giving Rocky a home.”

Still, the Spectrum hardly seems like a suitable home any more. Once a respectable arena, the Spectrum is now dwarfed by the other, newer arenas that have sprung up around it. Today a major sporting event at the Spectrum is a distant memory as it is used mostly for rodeo, Sesame Street Live and Indoor Lacrosse.

Recently a new wrinkle in the statue’s saga arose.

The original sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg's actually made three "Rocky" statues. This is a very common thing to do in the movie business. This way if the statue fell off a truck, was stolen or became the object of affection of an amorous llama they could simply use one of the back up statues.

Schomberg recently agreed to sell the other two statues – if the price was right. In a convoluted deal, a buyer would bid on the statue (a minimum of $1 million bid), then the International Institute for Sport and Olympic History would pay Schomberg $70,000 for the two statues. The bidder would get one and the non-profit institute would keep one for a (yet to be built) museum.

Originally offered on eBay, it seems the statue remains unsold.

However, that pile of guts was sold on eBay in 1999 for a cool $3.2 million.


As has been the case with previous Rocky sequels the statue was moved from the Spectrum to the Art Museum for the shooting of the sixth Rocky film, Rocky Balboa. To hold it's place in front of the Spectrum is a large hunk of metal featuring a Rocky cutout and a note saying "The Rocky Statue is being used by the Rocky Balboa film."
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I was pretty sad when I saw the sign. After all, I like that statue and I hate to think that it's being "used." They should really have more respect for it.

I bet that llama would.

As filming commenced again a push was made by Stallone and company to keep the statue on the steps of the Art Museum.

But they still didn't want it.

To be fair to the Art Museum, they had commemorated Rocky on the steps of the art museum. Up at the top of the steps the word Rocky is engraved right an imprint of Rocky's feet.
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Eventually, the board of "people who decide about Art Museum statues" caved and Rocky was granted a home... by the bottom of the steps.

The compromise was OK with Stallone who showed up to dedicate the statue in it's new home. He said that it was in keeping with the spirit of Rocky that he is at the "bottom" where he started.

Here is a photo I took at the dedication ceremony:

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Notice Stallone at the podium and the wall of police officers who I can only imagine was there just to keep ME away from Sly.

After the ceremony I stepped on the stage to take a photo with the statue in it's new home:

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Then the group of police officers beat me senseless.

When I regained consciousness I headed over to the Art Museum steps to watch Rocky on a giant screen.
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It was pretty surreal. Here I was sitting on the steps of the museum watching Rocky run up the steps of the museum then watching him turn around and look out at the city... AS I LOOKED OUT AT THE CITY.

If it wasn't for the concussion it would have been perfect.

The History of Valentines Day

Many people know Valentine's Day started in the Roman Empire. What they do not know is that it was founded by the same man who invented the greeting card.

That man was the Bard of Hallmarkacus, William "Fats" Hallmark. Hallmark believed that people of the day spent far too much time engaged in swordplay rather than matters of the heart.

He often said "If thou would stoppeth fussin' and a fuedin' we could learn to love each other."

One day, to celebrate the birthday of his wife, Elisabeth, Hallmark took a scroll and wrote upon it the following words "I loveth thou and thinkith of thou often. In the morn and morrow I thinkith of thou's fine hair. When I eatith and drinkith I still am reminded of thou and thou's warm smile. When I sit in yonder outhouse I thinkith only your sweet embrace (excepth when thy flies are a plenty. Then I just hurry up and get out of the outhouse.) Yes, it is thou I loveth, too bad thou is dead."

It is important to note that Elisabeth was NOT dead. In ancient Rome, the word "dead" had two uses. It could mean "one who has passed away" or "one who is unable to wear shoes." Elisabeth had notoriously large feet and her toes each pointed in a different direction.

Hallmark was so pleased with his scroll that he decided to make others to sell.

In those days the date of February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses, and a damn good soccer player. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. She was often called by the abbreviation Miss GOWAM (Goddess of women and marriage). Unfortunately at the age of 28 (because of low life expectancy in Roman times this was like living to be 132 years old) Juno was unable to defend her title and the title was broken up into two separate titles: Goddess of Women and Goddess of Marriage. After this an unscrupulous promoter named Don Kingus all but destroyed the sport with his corrupt ways.

Still, Hallmark thought February 14 would be the perfect day to sell his scrolls. So he used the power of guilt to get every man to pay $3.99 for a scroll for their wife.


Friday, February 11, 2005

Kevin James' Big Sceen Debut

Kevin James has a new movie opening just in time for Valentines Day. It has been billed as his first movie. This isn't ENTIRLY true.

I have been a fan of "King of Queens" since I first caught it (in syndication) in 2003. The show is witty, the cast is great and the title is hysterical.

GET IT? King of Queens? It sounds like a gay tough man competition. They could run it on Bravo in between "Queer Eye" and "Boy Meets Boy". (As a side not when did Bravo become the 'gay channel'? I don't mind of course, some of my favorite channels are gay... I'm talking about you, CSPAN 2, come out of the closet!)

See, the comedy in the title "King of Queens" is that he lives in Queens, NY and being that there is no monarchy in any of New York's five boroughs, he couldn't POSSIBLY be King.

On the show Kevin plays Doug a package delivery guy with a super hot wife played by Lea Remini. Last season Leah got pregnant and had a baby. She is still carrying quite a few extra pounds and so the dynamic of the show has changed to 'he's fat, she is also fat but wears a big coat so you aren't supposed to notice.'

This past week Doug had their neighbor, Lou Ferrigno (played by Lou Ferrigno) tried to get them both in shape but ended up becoming addicted to video games. Yes, it is the greatest show ever aired on television.

Anyway, back to that whole movie debut thing. Ahhh wait, I have another story.

A few years before he got the "King of Queens" gig I saw Kevin do stand up in a club in Princeton, NJ. I even got to meet him afterwards. He seemed like a really nice guy, but the reason I remember his set so well was because IT WASN'T FUNNY!

I am a lousy judge of talent.

Anyway, after I saw "King of Queens" I realized Kevin was a comic genius, and I couldn't get enough of him.

One day I saw the trailer for the Adam Sandler movie "50 First Dates". In the trailer a series of women tell excuses that Sandler gave to them so that he could get away from them.

One segment featured Kevin and went (sort of) like this:

WOMAN: He told me he was gay.
KEVIN: He told me he was straight.

Actually, that isn't really how the line went. It was actually cut together so that all you heard Kevin say was "straight" and then it cut to the next shot.
I couldn't wait to see this movie! Was Kevin going to be Sandler's wacky gay friend? Would there be some odd gay innuendos between him and Sandler? Would he watch a lot of Bravo?

No. In the movie, just like in the trailer, he just says the word "straight" THAT IS IT. Moreover, the scene is played at the start of the movie in a montage of women we are led to believe actually slept with Adam Sandler. It is also assumed that so did Kevin's character.

Now WHAT could Lou Ferrigno do to fix that?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mmmmm Beefy

A few years ago wrestling was EVERYWHERE. You couldn't turn on the TV without seeing it in some form or another.
The WWF had a Superbowl commercial, A&E did a week of "Biography" that featured "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Andre the Giant (among others), "That 70's Show" did a wrestling episode and wrestling themed eateries were everywhere.

Perhaps the best star of that time period was Mick Foley. Mick had wrestled most of his career under the name Cactus Jack. Jack was a mean guy who wore a flannel shirt and beat people up. When Mick entered the WWF in the late 1990s they came up with a new gimmick for him. Mankind.

Mankind was an odd character to begin with. He came out to the ring to piano music and wore a tattered leather mask and a brown suit. He would pull his own hair out and act like a lunatic. Over time someone decided that Mick could also wrestle as Cactus Jack in the WWF and a NEW character Dude Love. Dude was like a bizarre hippy relic who would come to the ring in a tye dyed shirt and bandana.

Then as a result of a bizarre storyline Mankind began to wear a shirt and tie. His catchphrase was "have a nice day!" and he would talk to a sock puppet he wore on his hand.

He called the sock "Mr. Socko".

This isn't the strange part of the story.

Somewhere at Chef Boyardee headquarters executives sat around a table discussing thier newest pasta dish "Overstuffed Beef Ravioli".

EXEC 1: Who should we get to act as spokesman for this?
EXEC 2: Ted Koppel.
EXEC 1: You always suggest Ted Koppel.
EXEC 2: Ted Koppel is always a good suggestion.
EXEC 3: How about that wrestler who talks to his sock.
EXEC 2: Theres a wrestler that talks to Ted Koppel's SOCK?!?!?!?

His body was never recovered.

The ad campaign ran (mostly) during wrestling programs and cartoons. It featured Mankind eating tons of the stuff. The tagline was "mmmm beefy!"

Soon after there were billboards and grocery store standees. Mankind would even say "mmmm beefy" during some of his wrestling matches.

It was a golden age.

Sadly, Mankind was eventually replaced by The Rock who appeared in an uninspired rap video/commercial for the pasta. He even rhymed 'jabroni' with 'ravioli'.

I would have preferred Ted Koppel.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Tonight Show's Cheers Final Episode Party

"Cheers" is one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. After an eleven year run the cast said goodbye in 1993.
Jay Leno was still relatively new in his job as host of the "Tonight Show". With the "Tonight Show" following the May 20th broadcast of the final episode it seemed like a natural fit to tie the two together. So, NBC announced that the "Tonight Show" would be the setting for the "Cheers" after party.

What followed was one of the single most bizarre broadcasts in television history.

This isn't to say it wasn't a success. The show drew the largest audience Leno has EVER been able to pull for the "Tonight Show". I guess it was like a car wreck, people WANT to look away, but they just can't.

The episode was broadcast LIVE from the Cheers Bar in Boston. This is the bar that the bar in the show was BASED on. It also was used as the establishing shot, but NOT the interior. The interiors are in Hollywood.

(For more about these bars and Norm's Nuts click here for BOJ's offbeat attractions.)

The show kicks off immediately after "Cheers" ends with Jay and Branford Marsalis standing outside the bar. A large audience is also outside and they are ready to party.

Almost IMMEDIATLY Jay apologizes for the "Cheers" cast being drunk. Jay continues to say this again and again throughout the show. You know, this tape would make an excellent drinking game! You could drink every time Jay says "They're totally wasted!”

Of course your liver would explode before you got to the 40 minute mark, but you would give all the emergency room workers a great story to tell their friends.

After a brief opening monologue Jay enters the bar. Unfortunately is so FULL of VIPs that Jay and the cameraman can hardly move around. One of the first people Jay runs into is Bob Costas. Apparently, Bob heard that the bar had every type of person in it but an "obnoxious dwarf" so he raced to the rescue.
Bob decides to become Jay's tour guide and lead him through the bar. Jay hints that Bob should stop "trying to take over my show" but Costas refuses to listen and instead treats Jay (and the audience) to the names of every athlete in Boston and their wives.

Suddenly someone jumps in to the rescue. It's none other than JOHN KERRY!
Jay slings the witty remark "wouldn't it be great to go into a bar and NOT have to say 'hello Senator?'
Kerry smiles and tries to respond but Jay is distracted by George "Norm" Wendt drinking a beer.

JAY: You must be making up for lost time after having to drink all those fake beers on the show.
NORM: The FCC won't allow you to drink real beer on TV. (Norm chugs the beer and then laughs hysterically.)
JAY: They are so drunk!

Then we meet every member of the Kennedy family you NEVER heard of. The only reason we know they are Kennedys is because Jay told us they were. For all I know they could be related to the MTV VJ and not the President.
Jay quips "I have made so many jokes about your family I thought you would be mad."
Some anonymous Kennedy clan member says "We Kennedys don't get mad..." then he pushes Jay into a closet "...we get even." had he ended the show there it would have been the greatest television show ever. Instead Jay is shown inside the closet with comedian Steven Wright. Steven talks about how he used to park cars in Boston and still has some people's keys. He hopes to find them so he can get them their cars back.

I know it doesn't sound too funny, but it was the funniest part of the show.

Jay then tries to interview the entire cast and guess what: THEY ARE DRUNK! They are shooting spitballs at each other and shooting each other with a water gun.
A drunken Ted Danson keeps trying to grope Rhea "Carla" Pearlman. Then he refers to Woody Harrelson as "one of the greatest fighting men of all time." No one (including Danson) could explain what he meant.

Jay asks if there were any affairs among the cast. Everyone says that Wendt and Pearlman had an affair in Seattle, and then they all make gay jokes about each other.

Trying bravely to salvage the few minutes remaining, Jay puts together a trivia contest. My favorite answer was when Rhea cursed on air.

Jay: What did Frasier do for a living?
Rhea: Shrink sh*t.
Ted: She swore!

By the way, if you turn on the close captioning it says "shrink ship." Perhaps the caption people were drunk as well.

Kirstie Alley was not at the bar because she was hard at work on some other project. So, she sent a video. The video shows her hanging out with cast look-alikes so that she could adjust to life off the show. It sounds funnier than it is.

To close the show, Jay interviews the singer/composer of the theme. He plays the song outside on the piano with the cast to close the show.

The cast did not reunite again until many years later when they formed "Cheers Veterans for Truth" an organization dedicated to keeping John Kerry out of the White House.

What's My Line: Episode 207

I am an insomniac. I don't sleep easy and I suppose I am also a "light sleeper." It's nothing the occasional shot of Nyquil can't cure, but it does keep me up sometimes.

There is some good in this, LATE NIGHT TV!

I'm not talking about Letterman or even Carson Daily I mean LATE.

Some of the strangest television comes on after 2pm. Infomercials are shown for products so stupid that no one could ever have any use for them. I suppose the idea is that at 2am ANYTHING sounds like a good idea. It's true. I have been sucked in myself.

INFOMERCIAL: You flip but they flop, you flip but they flop. Now your pancakes are a mess!
ME: Oh my god you're right! My pancakes are never perfectly symmetrical! I am so ashamed of the life I led before. Thank you for saving me Perfect Pancake Maker.

One of the other things I like to watch at night are old black and white game shows shown on GSN.

GSN used to be called the game show network, but now they just say GSN: The Network for Games. During the day they rarely play game shows instead they have become ANOTHER network showing people playing poker all day. I hope this fad doesn't die out before Animal Planet decides to do the inevitable "Dogs Playing Poker" show.

Anyway, at least good game shows can be found at night... LATE AT NIGHT.

One of my favorites is the show "What's My Line". It's a really fun show that ran for almost 18 years starting in 1950. Here is an episode that was shown recently:


The show was sponsored by "Poof" a deodorant product made by "Stopette". I am pretty sure "Stoppette" is long gone today, but they introduced a groundbreaking idea in antiperspirant: THE SPRAY BOTTLE.
Before this deodorant was available in three forms; lotions, powders and "keeping your arms at your sides."

The sponsors name was displayed on the large desk that the panel sat behind. The panel on this night featured Dorothy Kilgallen, Steve Allen, Arlene Francis, and Bennett Cerf. You probably all know Steve Allen, as for the rest of them just keep in mind "they were really famous before you were born."

The host was Mr. John Daly. I am not sure when we stopped calling game show hosts "Mr." but it was a good touch it made him seem so important.

The show was pretty simple. A contestant would come out and the panel would try to guess their occupation. For every "no" answer the contestant gave, he/she won $5 (which was enough money to buy a new home in 1950.) The maximum prize (if you stumped the panel) was $50. With that much money you could buy a controlling interest in "Poof" and then sadly watch your money disappear as you curse the name of "Right Guard".

The first contestant Mrs. Wilma Sacremento came out and signed in on the chalk board. (You may have heard the phrase "will our mystery guest enter and sign in please" used satirically in a film or TV show. THIS is where that phrase came from.)

Wilma is pretty hot and so wolf whistles come from the crowd and Steve is almost drooling on the desk. REMEMBER: it would be considered rude NOT to be a sexist pig back then.
Wilma is a "traffic cop", an occupation the panel is able guess before she bankrupts the network by taking the $50. Wilma then walks off the show, but INTO my dreams as the sexy, black and white police officer.

I've been a bad boy Wilma, you'd better handcuff me.

Contestant two is Jack Sirkin he "Makes Hair Growing Lotion". Jack is from Newark, NJ and is BALD.

Yup, the audience laughs at him. Jack you are a fool. We pity you. Jack sells 'HAYR for HAIR', a product that worked so well that Jack figured when the show is re-run 50 years later at 3:30am millions of hairy people would watch the show thinking of him as their patron saint. Yes, Jack expected children to ask their parents "what was baldness?" and the parent would say "I don't know, but I bet Jack Sirken would know. He was the greatest man that ever lived that is why we put him on the dollar bill."

The panel guesses the occupation again (once again it's Arlene Francis that gets it) and after a few jabs at his hairline we have our MYSTERY GUEST.

The mystery guests on this game were always HUGE stars. I can't stress that enough. This wasn't like a Hollywood Squares line up; these were the top names in show business.
Lucille Ball, Alfred Hitchcock, Roy Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope, Tony Curtis and Sammy Davis, Jr. all appeared as mystery guest at some point. Today, it was Art Carney.
For this segment the panel is blindfolded.

Art does (as most mystery guests did) a fake voice to make him harder to guess. For some odd reason Art is wearing his Ed Norton get up for the show (the sewer worker, not the guy from Death to Smoochy.)

It is Bennett who finally guesses that it is Carney, but he calls him Al Carney. Everyone laughs at Bennett (except Jack Sirkin- he's still crying in the corner.)

With just a few minutes left in the 30 minute broadcast they bring out Timothy J. Turpin he is a "Pizza Pie Factory Manager".

Turpin also looks like Joe McCarty, a fact the panel finds amusing. Unfortunately they run out of time and give Turpin the entire $50 prize. Sadly they show ends before we see Turpin rolling around covered in money. I know that's what I do whenever someone hands me money (that's also why I am not allowed at the bank.)

So, any other "What's My Line" fans in the hizz-ouse?

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Puppy Bowl

If you watched the Super Bowl last night, rather than Animal Planet, you missed out. Sure you saw a close game and the amazing comeback of the most obnoxious player since Milton Bradley, but you didn't see any puppies.

Animal Planet took the idea of niche programming one step further and showed nothing but puppies. FOR 12 HOURS.

Starting at 3pm (and running until 3am-in case you are bad at math) they showed a faux football arena full of puppies.

It started off with the line up being announced by the great Phillies announcer Harry Kalas. Harry tells us the stats of such superstars as Amos, Ruthie and, my personal favorite, Hooter.

Then some soft music starts and the puppies fight with each other. The field was covered in dog toys and dog treats and they fought over them.

That was IT.

Occasionally a dog would "tackle" another and we would get a slow motion replay. One dog took "did his business" on the field. Then the referee came out cleaned it up and announced a "10 yard penalty."

I'm not sure what that meant, should he now go and relieve himself in 10 people's yards? I guess so because the penalty couldn't have been in football terms because they weren't actually playing football.

I'm not sure why I watched this for as long as I did. I started to watch just because, admit it, puppies are cute. Perhaps I kept watching it because of the total insanity of it.

They had a water bowl in each end zone. In the bottom of the bowl was the "bowl cam" I had never seen a dog drink out of a water dish FROM THE BOTTOM before. It was like living inside Robert Downey Jr.'s head.

On the Animal Planet's website you can watch a trailer, buy the DVD and you can vote for the MVP - not the Most Valuable Player but the Most Valuable PUPPY!

Now, you must excuse me I have to laugh at that until I pass out... preferably at the bottom of a water dish.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Donavan McNabb's Mom

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Donavan McNabb has two things going against him as he prepares for Sunday's Superbowl. First, his team is a 7 point underdog (I have no idea if that is true I just made it up. If you were looking for sports statistics you are in the wrong place.)
Second Donavan is in the shadow of Bubby Brister. In two VERY important categories Donavan McNabb finishes second to Bubby.

You may not remember Bubby. He was a journeyman quarterback that played in the NFL for 5 teams over fifteen years.

Bubby also edges out Donavan for THE WIMPIEST NAME IN FOOTBALL HISTORY.

Sure, you may not naturally associate "Donavan McNabb" with wimpy, but take a look at his name again.

DONAVAN MCNABB sounds like the name of the captain of the chess team, not the football team. Still, it is no match for Bubby's name.

"BUBBY BRISTER" That is not a typo. The man's name is BUBBY! It HAS to be the wimpiest in football history, and possibly in all of sports! This is truly saying something since many tough, hard as nails football players have been saddled with unassuming monikers.
Take Lynn Swann for example. He sounds like he should be a female podiatrist.
How about Orenthal Simpson? It sounds like an ointment for foot fungus. Even his nickname O.J. is hardly a "tough guy" name.

O.J. might possibly be the wimpiest of all juices, too. I bet pineapple and grape just mock orange juice all day. But not strawberry, he really doesn't have room to talk.

Nonetheless, no sports name can top Bubby Brister. It makes you wonder what kind of woman would give their son such a name.

THAT brings us to the SECOND list that Bubby tops Donavan, CRAZIEST MOM.

You may remember Bubby's mom, she would always sit somewhere towards the top of the stadium. The cameraman always found her and she ALWAYS wound up on TV.

Decked out in every piece of team memorabilia she could possibly wear, Bubby's mom would attract as much attention as possible to her son. She would hold signs, she would cheer, she would dance and she would give viewers some of the best TV in NFL history. She was truly a one of a kind fan.

This is not to say Donavan's mom is a slouch. On the contrary, she is a celebrity and her son's #1 booster.

Just about EVERYONE with a TV has seen her. She stars in a great series of Chunky soup ads, usually with Donavan.

Oddly enough, she wasn't the first choice to play herself. REALLY!!! For the first year that the commercials ran an actress played Donavan’s mom. Then, Donavan's mom Wilma McNabb lobbied for the job.

The commercials generally revolve around Wilma mothering Donavan and the rest of the team. In the current spot she knits gloves for the players and makes them Campbell's Chunky soup. The commercial ends with the players dumping a bucket of Gatorade on her. Sorta like a wet T-shirt contest. I sure found it sexy! If she wasn't married, I would be making my move at becoming Donavan's step dad.

Ahhhh, the love that will never be.

Anyway, I am sure Wilma will be cheering Donavan on Sunday as he tries NOT to finish second. Good thing Bubby isn't playing.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Kiss My Grits

Who didn’t love the show Alice? It had everything anyone ever wants in a sitcom; a fat fry cook, a teenage boy and a sassy country gal (wait! That’s not everything anybody wants in a sitcom, that’s everything they found in Elton John’s dressing room at the Staples Center.)

I loved Flo. She made me laugh and laugh. I can honestly say I can’t remember a single plotline, but I do remember waiting for her to say her catchphrase: KISS MY GRITS!
Thank about it, has there ever been a better catchphrase?

1. Kiss my grits
2. I pity the fool
3. Time to make the doughnuts
4. Some of my best friends are Republicans
5. It hurts when I jog, but it stopped oozing
6. You can’t handle the truth
7. I’ll be back
8. Snootch to the nooch
9. They’re magically delicious
10. Sorry dude, the zipper is still broken

“Kiss my grits” rules. Let’s take a look at that phrase.

First, what does it mean to kiss? It means touching with the lips as an expression of affection, greeting, respect, or amorousness.

Secondly, what are grits? They are a ground, usually white meal of dried and hulled corn kernels that is boiled and served as a breakfast food or side dish. I like to eat them at Waffle House. I have never kissed them.

But Flo asked people to KISS her grits. This is not the proper use for grits, thus the comment is rather funny. Actually, it is unclear what Flo wanted people kiss. Although she worked in a restaurant and would have access to grits or any other product I think it was code for something else. Yup, I think “kiss my grits” and “kiss my behind” mean the same thing.

Why then, did she choose grits? They don’t LOOK like the behind! They don’t sound like any slang word for the behind! I just don’t know.

Here are some alternatives to “kiss my grits”

Kiss my Asian Cucumber Salad!
Kiss my Backwoods Taters

Kiss my Tortellini and Broccoli Salad

Any of these would have been just replacements for GRITS, but none have the same magic.

It was the magic in THAT phrase that propelled Flo to the forefront of the series. “Alice” debuted in 1976 and soon Polly Holliday (as Flo) was the breakout star. She was the shows Fonzie or Urkel or Willy’s brother Neal Tanner. Audiences LOVED her and tuned in week after to week just to see Flo sass the customers and put Mel (the cook) in his place. It was perfect television.

As Flo she won two Golden Globes, was nominated for a third and received three Emmy nominations. It is said that all the attention Flo received was irritating to the shows titular star Linda Lavin.

After four seasons, the inevitable happened; Flo was granted a spin-off.

The premise was that Flo Castleberry was passing through her hometown of Cowtown, Texas, on her way to a job in Houston. She then made a career change and bought a bar she used to frequent. Flo renamed the bar “Flo's Yellow Rose.” Earl, the bartender, was a sexist who now had to work for (gasp) a woman, and Farley was the penny pinching mortgage rep. Regulars also included a piano player and a mechanic that worked next door.

Flo still used her salty wit and feminine charms on every man that came through the door as she struggled to maintain the bar.

The show ran for just 27 episodes spread over 2 seasons before it was cancelled.

Grits remain un-kissed to this day.

The theme song lyrics were:

Rowdy red-head headin' for the big time.
Lookin' like a Texas sequined star.
Making eyes at every tight jeaned cowboy.
Sassin' good old boys around the bar.
Flo's Yellow Rose...flashing neon every trucker knows.
The door is always open and the beer is always cold,
At Flo's Yellow Rose...Flo's Yellow Rose.

Try singing it to the tune of Amazing Grace, its wild! Now sing it to while watching "The Wizard of Oz." You will notice that it synchs up with the movie several times:

When you sing “tight jeaned cowboy” a farmhand is onscreen (sadly his pants fit him fine and they aren’t jeans.)
When you sing “beer” you see a horse drinking something from a bucket.
“Flo's Yellow Rose” synchs up with “yellow brick road” several times.

It's more fun than watching "Flo," that's for sure!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Carousel of Progress 2: Electric Boogaloo

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is considered (by some) to be in need of an update. I like the old show, but perhaps it IS truly time for a change. So, I have decided to create my own script for a new, updated Carousel starring ME!

As you approach the building the familiar Carousel logo has been altered to read “Sweetie’s Carousel of Progress” and has been adorned with a big photo of me wearing a cowboy hat and sporting a giant mustache.

Oh yeah, in the show I will be portrayed by a robot pretending to be Ted Turner.

Once you enter the theater, everything looks pretty much the same as it does today. A Disney cast member comes to the front of the theater.

CAST MEMBER: Hello and welcome to the Carousel of Progress. This show was originally created by Walt Disney back in 1964. Today, due to budget cuts, Walt Disney World has been forced to sell the Carousel of Progress to famous Billionaire Sweetie Guy Hutchinson.
You may remember from his famous business decisions such as; colorizing classic movies, destroying the cable industry and marrying Jane Fonda.
As a special treat he is here today to guide you through the show.

Curtains open to reveal (ROBOT) SWEETIE.

(ROBOT) SWEETIE: Hello ya’ll. Ready for a rootin’ tootin’ good time?

CAST MEMBER: We sure are. Now, there is no smoking or eating or drinki-

SWEETIE: Like rawhide there aint! See here, I own this here show and I own a large tobacco company and a liquor conglomerate. So in this theater smoking and drinking are MANDITORY!
Now on with the show!

We hear FATHER singing and begin to see him as the theater rotates. He is in the same setting as the original show; sitting in his chair in the kitchen. The date is just before the turn of the century.

FATHER (SINGING): There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day.
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow's just a dream away.

SWEETIE: Whoo doggies, I dig that tune.

FATHER: Well, the robins are back. That's a sure sign of spring. What year is it? Oh, just before the turn of the century. And believe me; things couldn't be any better than they are today.
Yes sir, we've got all the latest things: gas lamps, a telephone, and the latest design in cast iron stoves-

SWEETIE: Blah, blah, blah. Who cares? No one wants to hear about the stove, tell us about the car!

SWEETIE: Oh right, you don’t have any cars yet. Let’s skip ahead.

FATHER: Skip ahead?

SWEETIE: Start singin’ the song, buddy.

FATHER (SINGING-FAST): There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day.
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow's just a dream away.

The stage rotates revealing an updated, but still old fashioned kitchen.

SWEETIE: Okey dokey. Here’s the 1920’s!

FATHER: Whew! Hottest summer we've had in years. Well, we've progressed a long way since the turn of the century, twenty years ago. But no one realized then that this would be the age of electricity. Everyone's using it: farmers, factories, whole towns!

SWEETIE: Less is more, friend, less is more. Just tell us about the car.

FATHER: You know, the young folks have their own ideas about entertainment. For instance, Jane, our teenage daughter, is gettin' ready to go to a trolley party on one of those new electric streetcars.

SWEETIE (TO AUDIENCE): Wait till you see this car, I bought it from Disney, too.

Suddenly HERBIE THE LOVE BUG crashes onto the stage and into father, squashing him. Sweetie has not noticed this yet.

SWEETIE: Lookie at that! That is some STAR POWER! Alright, Pal, now you can go back to babbling about electric lights. Buddy?

Sweetie turns around to see the lifeless robot body under the wheels of Herbie. Sweetie turns back to the audience.
SWEETIE: Uh we better continue on to the next scene.

Sweetie begins to hum the song as the stage rotates to the next scene. Herbie starts beeping his horn to the tune. The stage rotates to the 1940’s scene. Father sits at the table. His head is bandaged and his arm is in a cast.

FATHER: Well it's autumn again, and the kids are back in school. Thank goodness! Now we're in the frantic forties, and it's amazing how today's household appliances are helping to take over the hard work, like our new electric washing machine. It does about everything but hang up the clothes-

SWEETIE: Sorry to interrupt, but I have added a bit of star power to this scene, too. Call for your wife.

FATHER: Uh, OK. Mother!

SWEETIE: You call your wife “mother?” What a weirdo.

The curtain rises on stage left. MOTHER is bound and gagged being held a knife point by some PIRATES.

PIRATE ONE: I say we make her walk the plank, what do you say matees?

PIRATE TWO: I say we let me try on her dress so I can look pretty.

PIRATE ONE: Arrrgh, and you thought that guy was a weirdo.

FATHER: Good Lord! My wife is being held hostage by PIRATES?

SWEETIE: Not just any pirates, these are the Pirates of the Caribbean. Star power baby! Let’s move on to the next scene.

FATHER: No, I have had enough. This show is over!

SWEETIE: What? I’m calling the shots here.

Scrooge McDuck enters.

SCROOGE: Not anymore. I just bought the show from you in a leveraged buyout.

SWEETIE: What!?!?!

SCROOGE: Security!! Get this man out of my theater!

Donald Duck enters in a security guard outfit. He grabs Sweetie and pummels him, knocking his mustache off. Donald then drags Sweetie offstage.
FATHER: What a beautiful ending!

SCROOGE: It’s not over yet! We still have to sing our song!

FATHER AND SCROOGE: There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day.
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow's just a dream away.

Man has a dream, and that's the start.
He follows his dream with mind and heart.
And when it becomes a reality,
It's a dream come true for you and me.

So there's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day.
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Just a dream away.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Carousel of Progress

In Tommorowland in Walt Disney World a stage show takes place many, many times a day. Moreover, this show has had more performances than any stage show in the history of American theater.

It's the Carousel of Progress and it's stars are all robots. The Carousel was created in 1964 by Walt Disney as a attraction for the World's Fair. General Election sponsored the show and it's purpose was to show the history of technology and the American family. More specifically GE's technology.

The show starts around the turn of the century. Dad sits in his chair accompanied by his dog and gives us an update on all the electric items they use. A few minutes later the theater slowly rotates. It stops in the 1920's . Wow, have things changed. A few laughs and we are off to the 1940's. After that era, we rotate to the final scene.

When the show first debuted, this scene was in the present day 60's era. Later it was updated to the 1980s. Today it is supposed to be the near future. Time has made the future full of anacronisms. The scene features references to "car phones" as well as a stove you can talk to.

Oddly enough the stove has it's own show on Radio Disney.

Today, the Carousel of Progress opens most days, but has been presumed to be a target of upcoming demolition. The show has been a staple at Magic Kingdom since it opened in 1971. Before that it ran at Disneyland in fabulous Aniehiem California. You already know it was at the World's Fair before that because I told you. I also told you a stove had a radio show. Remember these sentences, then I can use you as a witness if I plead insanity at a future trial.

Perhaps the concept of the show has become dated (the Carousel, not the stove's. She combines the best of todays pop music with references to Disney films in a very hip way.)
In 1964 the whole concept of audio animatronics were facscinating to people, and the rotating theater was something that could only be provided through the magic of Disney (or the dark work of Satan, btu I would rather not think of that.)

I take in the show every chance I get, never knowing which will be my last turn. It is a nice peice of nostalgia, made even more nostalgic with A Christmas Story's Jean Shepard providing narration.

If you are ever in the Magic Kingdom, make sure to give it a twirl.

And call up the stove. I would request the Disney version of Mambo #5, it's a hoot.