kip_w: (miner)
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Q: What can possibly make this 1978 "Dating Game" clip even creepier?


A: The winning bachelor's conviction on charges of serial killing going back to 1971. But just barely.

(Not much of a mystery, with the title proudly emblazoned in the video.)
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kip_w: (company)
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One of my favorite TV stars has passed on. Sheriff Andy Taylor, Matlock, whatever you remember him as.

I first knew him from his comedy record, "What It Was, Was Football," which he recorded in 1953, and which was still being sold in the record store where Dad had his studio in the early 1960s. He broke through to fame with "No Time for Sergeants," first on stage and then as a movie (he teamed with Don Knotts for the first time in the stage show). In 1957 he was daring enough to star in <i>A Face in the Crowd</i>, which turned his folksy persona on his ear by making him an outwardly charming snake in the grass with a mean temper.

My favorite role of his might be the bad-guy rancher in <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewVwSrVSKS4">Rustler's Rhapsody</a>, where he was perhaps the only sane person in a movie full of western stereotypes. The scene linked shows some of what he did with the part, as well as setting up another classic moment later in the movie.

Griffith reprised his role as Andy Taylor in a couple of parodies. When Ron Howard hosted Saturday Night Live, he makes a cameo in a take-off on his old show (where Opie returns to find that Mayberry has become a sink of corruption and villainy), and they also harked back to Mayberry in a short political film from the last presidential go-round.

Well. Everybody dies, sooner or later. But I don't have to like it. And I don't.
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kip_w: (tree)
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Here's two minutes of, for me, pure unadulterated joy from an old LP of songs from the Mickey Mouse Club. Buddy Ebsen, just then working on the Davy Crockett series, teams with Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie in a homespun paean to the humble buckwheat pancake. Accordion and pedal steel guitar figure prominently in the accompaniment, along with clarinet, and unobtrusive rhythm.)

Buddy & Darlene:
Buckwheat cakes, buckwheat cakes, along with crispy bacon!
Yes it is your buckwheat cakes that sets my heart to achin'!

(The accordion echoes the word "bacon!" Buddy and Darlene sing in harmony.)

Buddy:
It can't be your chocolate cake, or your Irish stew
It can't be your chocolate cake that makes me fond of you!

(Listen to the warmth Buddy can put into a recital of foods. He twinkles with his voice, just enough that I can feel it in 2012, and not so much as to cloy.)

Both:
It's buckwheat cakes, buckwheat cakes, along with crispy bacon!
Yes it is your buckwheat cakes that sets my heart to achin'!

Darlene:
What about my girlish ways, and my purty hair?
What about my girlish ways, or maybe you don't care?

(Darlene's voice is clear, with a melodious hillbilly accent that doesn't interfere with her diction.)

Buddy:
No, it ain't your girlish ways, or your purty hair.
No, it ain't your girlish ways that makes me set and stare.

(It's not as if he's rejecting her here. He just has different reasons.)

Both:
It's buckwheat cakes, buckwheat cakes, along with crispy bacon!
Yes it is your buckwheat cakes that sets my heart to achin'!

(A sprightly instrumental solo follows, with some tasty work on clarinet and pedal steel guitar. It goes around twice.)

Darlene:
How about my friendly smile, 'specially for you?
How about my friendly smile? I see you're smilin' too.

Buddy:
No, it ain't your friendly smile, or your dimpled chin.
No, it ain't your friendly smile that brings me back again.

(Listen to Buddy: "nnnnNNNO!!" He finds something that's probably not in the music; a little moment where he can make something out of nothing, adding to the song without even slowing the flow. And he doesn't waste it in an early verse, either. The second "no" suggests, but doesn't repeat, the first snap. And it's still playful.)

Both:
It's buckwheat cakes, buckwheat cakes, because I'm only human.
I just love the buckwheat cakes, made by a purty woman!

Buddy:
I just love the buckwheat cakes, made by a purty woman!

Darlene:
(spoken) Aw, Pa, quit your kiddin'!

(And Darlene rescues the song from what could have been seen as creepy by a cynical 21st century listener, putting it back squarely into the heartwarming category. Darlene may be eclipsed somewhat by Buddy's innate talent honed by decades of experience, but make no mistake: these are a pair of pros at the height of their powers. How much time do you suppose they had with this? A quarter of an hour? A half hour, from the time they were given the music to when the director said it was a wrap? I'm guessing closer to the former. This is star power, and it works for me every time I hear it.)

Music, lyrics, performance and recording ©Walt Disney Studios. If you liked this sample, go buy something.
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kip_w: (Default)
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"We'll return to Disney's original comedy, 'Jesse'!"

Waaaaait a minute. Wasn't Disney's original comedy some sort of cartoon?
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kip_w: (Default)
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I saw in my online TV Guide that IFC is showing some Three Stooges shorts, so I clicked to read the descriptions. Oh boy! They're the ones with Moe Howard!

Okay, some of the descriptions specify Curly, but in others, they just tell us that Moe is in the cast. The sarcasm stands.

Ooh, Christian puppet show on in ten minutes.
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kip_w: (1971)
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On NCIS. Power is out, and they need to distribute a criminal sketch, so they have dug a mimeo machine out of storage and are poking gingerly at it.

Gibbs comes along and shows the youngsters what's what. You just zoom the roller into position, stick the drawing on it, and roll out copies. Hey presto! No styluses, stencils, or ink, just roll that original and watch the prints come out.

We had it easy. Not like the young people of today, who have to use non-occult means to make copies.
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kip_w: (Default)
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From the "I never noticed!" file, two Star Trek episodes that were shot on the Andy Griffith "Mayberry" set. The last page has a shot of Captain Kirk and Edith Keeler walking past Floyd's Barber Shop. (linkjacked from RASFF)
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kip_w: (Default)
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Keith Olberman has apparently been canned. I'm not sure why. Cathy just came in and said tonight was his last show. Or maybe it was the repeat of last night. His time slot seems to be one of MSNBC's endless series of prison porn shows. Odd.
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kip_w: (Default)
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BAT-MAN!!



All fourteen wall-climbing cameos from the TV series.
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superfan

Jun. 17th, 2010 09:50 pm
kip_w: (1971)
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I was recently pointed (sorry, forgot who by) at one of my two favorite Dragnet (1969) episodes. This one concerns the theft of comic books and movie posters for a made-up character, Captain Lightning. The episode moves along at a speed as slow and even as one of those battery-powered jeeps a kid can sit in and drive. Joe and Bill banter briefly, get the call, go look at some crime scenes, ask some questions, and then they get a call that the suspect has been picked up, so they go talk to him a while, and that's about it.

The suspect is a 23-year-old with self-esteem problems who dresses up as "The Crimson Crusader" (fashion note: apart from the letters CC and a cummerbund, nothing in his costume is red) and busts in to steal posters and memorabilia of his hero. Most of the movie posters — which would all seem to have been created for this episode — are somewhat weak and lacking in design quality, but there are two good ones of Captain Lightning that would be fun to find or duplicate. "I wish I were Captain Lightning," the perpetrator sobs at the end, leaving twin tears on the face of a poster, "Any time he wanted to, he could turn invisible."

In real life, Alan White wrote about a fan in California who shared many characteristics of the Crimson Crusader, though not the costume. He would get an invitation to visit somebody with a collection — Forry Ackerman was a prominent victim — and find ways to rip him off. For instance, he was able to leave a door unlocked on a visit to the Ackermansion, and he came back in the night to pilfer collector's items. It was in a fairly early issue in the series, which I can't seem to find online.

The acting and direction in the show was typical. Nobody except Stanley Stover — the Crimson Crusader — showed emotion at any time. All seemed like they were reading or perhaps sleepwalking. Any scene where Joe spoke to a suspect or witness was mostly filmed in that trademark Dragnet style where each actor is shown all by himself, giving the impression that their lines were filmed in different states, possibly in different years.

The episode is available with limited ads at hulu. I watched it today, at a comfortably large size and with only three brief commercial breaks within the show (and one before it). I tried to see if any of the actors in it ever went on to do any acting, but at the moment when production credits came on, it shrunk to the size of a wristwatch and would neither enlarge nor pause for me to squint at the actors' names, though I pressed buttons and tapped keys like the telegraph operator on the Titanic.

My other favorite Dragnet in that series also has a color-coordinated perp, the classic "Blue Boy" anti-drug lecture. Blue Boy is a smirking hippie dope pusher who knows they're coming for him at the end. Joe and Bill enter his smelly crash pad and have dialog with another member of his commune, and the dialog goes something like this: "It's Blue Boy, man. He just put every pill in the house into a big bowl and ate them all, and now he's like just been sitting in that corner for the last three hours. Is he flying, man? Is he way out?" "Yeah. He's way out, all right. He's so far out he'll never come back. He's... dead." (I was disappointed that they didn't come back after the break and tell us that Blue Boy's remains were serving ten to fifteen in San Quantin.) I could probably look it up as well and maybe find it, but I'll save that for another day.

All this puts me in mind of my favorite Bob and Ray quote: "The suspect apprehended at the intersection of LaBrea and Rossmore was found guilty of three counts of being apprehended and one count of being a suspect. Apprehended suspects are liable to a term of not more than ten years in the correctional institute at Soledad."

Domm da domm domm.
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