Archive for February, 2013

A Review of the 1973 TV Guide Fall Preview Issue

Posted in fall tv premier, nostalgia, pop culture, reviews, TV, TV shows with tags , , , , , on February 27, 2013 by Paxton

TV Guide Fall Preview reviews

Welcome to the second installment of my TV Guide Fall Preview reviews.  This is a feature that I sort of “borrowed” from my good friend Shawn Robare over at Branded in the 80s.  He covered mostly the issues from the 1980s, I’ll start taking a look at issues from the 70s as well as the 90s.

I previously reviewed the 1974 Fall Preview issue for my birthday last year. I love looking back at these old Fall Preview issues to see the debut of popular shows when they were brand new as well as see well known actors in TV shows that have long since been swallowed up by time.  These issues also provide great full page ads for some of the new shows as well as some great vintage ads for products that haven’t been seen in years.

So, let’s dive right into this installment with the Fall Preview issue from 1 year before the previous installment.  This article is going to run long.  There’s just so much information and ads to show you, so prepare for a ton of information to come your way.  Starting now:

Here is the cover to the 1973 TV Guide Fall Preview issue.

1973 TV Guide Fall Preview

There are several very popular shows that debuted this year.

Like last time, I’ll divide this article into three parts.  In the first part I’ll look at all the new shows that are debuting in 1973.  Following that I’ll look at full page ads for TV shows and movies and at the end I’ll show you some awesome vintage advertising from this issue.  It should be lots of fun.

So, let’s begin by taking a look at all the brand new shows for the 1973 TV season (which, technically, began in Sep 1972).

Bob Newhart The Waltons
The Bob Newhart Show (left) first debuted during the 1973 fall season.  This is a great show and one of my favorites. The Bob Newhart Show would become immensely popular following The Mary Tyler Moore Show for its first three seasons. The show would eventually last 6 seasons and air its final episode on April Fool’s Day, 1978.

Another very popular show, The Waltons (right), would debut this season as well.  Again, this show would become extremely popular and last for nine seasons before bowing out in 1981.  I remember this show but never really liked it.  I thought it was boring as balls.

MASH Anna and the King
The TV show M*A*S*H (left) was based on the 1970 Robert Altman movie.  M*A*S*H would become a ratings phenomenon and go on 8 seasons before airing its final episode in Feb 1983.  That final episode garnered the highest ratings of any single episode of a TV show then or since.

Yul Brenner was probably most closely associated with the role of the King of Siam from the stage and movie musical versions of The King and I than any other of his roles.  He toured in the traveling stage production until just before his death.  The non-musical television adaptation, Anna and the King (right), was an attempt to repeat that success.  It didn’t work and the show was cancelled after 13 episodes.

The Men NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie
The Men (left) was an umbrella title for three separate TV shows made by three different studios. It was a spinoff of the weekly NBC Mystery Movie.  Each installment of the anthology series would rotate and air every third week.  The first series in the rotation was called Assignment Vienna and starred Robert Conrad as Jake Webster, an American agent in Austria posing as a bar owner. He’s real job, though, was tracking down spies and criminals for the US government.  The second series was called Jigsaw and featured a Police Detective that disliked proper police procedure and protocol but was effective in “piecing together” crimes like a puzzle.  The final series was called The Delphi Bureau and starred Laurence Luckinbill (Sybok from Star Trek V).  Luckinbill starred as an American agent with a photographic memory who works for an obscure anti-espionage department in the US government.   That last one actually sounds like a show that would air today (See The Mentalist, White Collar, Suits, etc).

The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie (right) began its life the previous season as just The NBC Mystery Movie. It’s where the TV show Columbo got its start. After its success, the group was moved to Sunday and The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie was born with three more shows.  Those shows were Banacek, starring Hannibal Smith himself (George Peppard) as a Polish-American insurance investigator (?) in Boston.  Cool Million featured a security/retrieval expert whose fee was $1 million per job.  Madigan, the third show, featured Richard Widmark reprising his role from a 1968 movie he had made about an NYPD detective.  This particular incarnation of the NBC Mystery Movie would only last a season.  Both Madigan and Cool Million would be canceled by the end of the season to be replaced by three more detective shows.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 74: Catering a Nerd Lunch Party

Posted in food, podcast with tags , , on February 26, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This week we are joined by Jasmin from the awesome food blog, One Fine Cookie.

One Fine Cookie

The goal? To cater a nerdy yet tasteful get-together for the Nerd Lunch crew and their closest friends.  Imagine tasty yet geeky dishes with awesomely dorky names.  It’s all in here.  If it sounds like I’m being vague, I am because, unfortunately, I was unable to join the fellas for this episode.  But I am told it is EPIC.  So bake yourself some Wookie Cookies, crack open a can of Yoda Soda and listen to CT, Jeeg and Jasmin make preparations for a Nerd Lunch party.

Cause ain’t no party like a Nerd Lunch party cause a Nerd Lunch party don’t STOOOOOOOOOP!

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online, here.

The Grammys + a rant against modern rappers

Posted in Beastie Boys, music, pop culture, rap with tags , , , on February 21, 2013 by Paxton

I Love Rap

I love music, but TODAY’S music mostly leaves me cold. And not just the music, the artists themselves feel like used car salesman  They only want to sell me their product, not actually entertain me with a good song. And the s**t that goes on the radio is 90% crap.

Now, I realize I sound like an old man, but you can’t tell me that vintage Van Halen, Motley Crue, Run-DMC and Beastie Boys aren’t better than anything else out right now.  Plus, there really isn’t any “rock and roll” on the radio anymore. It’s all R&B riffs and hip hop filled with astonishingly not subtle euphemisms for sex.  And as a rap/hip-hop fan since the early-to-mid 80s, I will unequivocally say that today’s rappers are f**king terrible.  Can I get that off my chest?  TERRIBLE.  Lil Wayne may be the worst rapper I’ve heard in my entire life and the 80s were filled with bad rappers (I’m looking at you Tim Dog).  And don’t get me started on Drake, or Kanye West, for that matter.  That could be a whole other article.

And how unoriginal are all of these modern rap songs?  Where are all the storytellers in hip-hop?  The Slick Ricks, the Rakims, the KRS-Ones, the Chuck Ds?  There is no one of their skill rapping today.  Check out this video from 1991, The Piper by MC Cheba.  It’s better than literally 99% of hip-hop released today.  It tells a story with a very smooth and slick rhyme and a funky bass line   He’s not spending the entire song telling me how much weed he smoked or chicks he’s banged or how much  money he has.  Which I don’t personally have a problem with rappers doing, but it gets OLD after 300 rappers talk about it on all their songs.  Another good story based rap, The Mission by Special Ed.

But I’ve digressed…

Now that this article was high jacked by my rant against modern rappers, let me try to steer this ship back on course.  The Grammys.

Grammys

For the reasons above, I’ve sort of become jaded with the music industry in general.  However, did anyone else watch the Grammys? I didn’t.  I haven’t watched it in YEARS, but my wife DVR’d it and I wound up watching it with her a few days ago.  Wow, I really liked the new format where they mashed up artists into different performances.  For the first time in a LOOOOOONG time I felt like the artists were actually on stage having fun performing and not just doing it as a commercial for their song.

The highlight of the night, for me, was probably the closing number with LL Cool J performing his new song with CHUCK muthaf**king D!  Chuck is 50+ years old and still gets after it better than any other rapper on the radio (however Cool J should have given him more to do than yell the hook).  Cool J was also joined by Travis Barker from Blink-182 and Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine.  It’s actually a pretty great song.

Here’s the performance.  If you want to hear the actual single, listen here.

And how cool was it that Cool J gave a shout out to MCA, the recently deceased member of the Beastie Boys?  Cool J got his start around the same time as the Beastie Boys on Def Jam records.  You can see them together in the movie Krush Groove.  I’m surprised they never collaborated, to be honest.

Anyway, while Cool J was the highlight, there were several performances that totally surprised me in how much I enjoyed them. Here are a few of them.

This was a memorial tribute to Levon Helm, the deceased drummer of The Band. This group probably had the least star power of any of the other performances, but damn, it might be the best performed song on the whole broadcast. Elton John, Zac Brown, Mavis Staples, Mumford & Sons and Alabama Shakes singer Britney Howard brought the house down with an awesome performance of “The Weight”. This was definitely an eclectic collection of talent but the end result was bonkers it was so good. I’ve actually been looking up Zac Brown and Alabama Shakes songs on YouTube because of this.  And this performance in particular is the blueprint for why this new “mash up” format works.

Bruno Mars’ performance was fantastic.  He normally does, but he looks like he’s having so much fun.  And then Sting comes out and does his thing, then out comes Rhianna and the Marley brothers for a tribute to Bob Marley and it just looks like everyone is happy and really enjoying the performance.  I know I was.

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Continuing my journey down the yellow brick road…

Posted in books, Classic literature, movies, Wizard of Oz with tags , , , , , , , on February 20, 2013 by Paxton

Following the Yellow Brick Road

On January 31, 2012, I made a resolution to read all of the original L Frank Baum Oz books in 2012. I completed that goal on Dec 20, 2012, just under ten months later.  You can visit my Oz Archive to see the reviews of all 14 of those books.

Oz checklist

It was a fun ride and I’m really glad I finally did it.  I have such an affection for the original movie, which led me to read the original book and even through reading these 14 books, I have kept that love.  The books were mostly good.  Yes, there was some bad, but nothing was just terrible.   I would have thought that by the end of this challenge I would be a little “Oz’d out” if you know what I mean.  But, honestly, it’s just kindled that flame a little bit more.  I think I don’t want this column to end.

While I don’t plan on making another year long resolution, I do plan on reading more Oz and L Frank Baum books.  After Baum, Ruth Plumly Thompson took over Oz for another 19 books.  Will I read all of those?  Maybe.  Eventually.  But not next year.  There are also other movies like 1974’s Journey Back to Oz and the upcoming Oz the Great and Powerful which will be released in March 2013.  I will continue to consume this media and review them under this banner.  I’ll even continue to read some of Baum’s other non-Oz writings like The Sea Fairies, Dot and Tot in Merryland and Father Goose: His Book.

I just have enjoyed myself so much experiencing this challenge that I want to keep it going.  And I plan to.

Thank you for experiencing it along with me.  Stay tuned for more to come.

Nerd Lunch Episode 73: Drilldown: Pirates of the Caribbean movies

Posted in pirates, podcast, pop culture with tags , , , on February 19, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Welcome to episode 73 of the Nerd Lunch podcast. This week we are again joined by fellow Jacksonville-ian Robert Zerbe from To The Escape Hatch. And since we are again without Jeeg, we call on Jay from Sexy Armpit to fill in. This week we begin our drilldown of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.

Pirates of the Caribbean 1 Pirates of the Caribbean 2 Pirates of the Caribbean 3 Pirates of the Caribbean 4

We talk about the movies that we think worked. We talk about the movies that didn’t work. We discuss why we think they did or didn’t work. We talk about our favorite characters and scenes. We even ponder what we think would make a good fifth movie now that has been officially announced. It’s lots of good pirate-y fun.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online here.

Review of Oz Book 14: Glinda of Oz (1920)

Posted in books, Classic literature, movies, nostalgia, pop culture, Wizard of Oz with tags , , , , , on February 18, 2013 by Paxton

Following the Yellow Brick Road

L Frank Baum’s fourteenth and final Oz book was published the year after his death in 1920. It was called Glinda of Oz.

Glinda of Oz

It has been said that Baum only barely finished the manuscript for this book before his death. I’ve also read where he didn’t finish it and either an editor at Reilly & Lee or one of his daughters finished the book. It is unclear which is the truth. But the majority of the book was indeed written by Baum before he died. The very next book, The Royal Book of Oz, was actually originally credited solely to Baum with the publishers saying it was written from Baum’s final notes. However, this isn’t true, The Royal Book of Oz is entirely a story written by Ruth Plumly-Thompson and this book was Baum’s last.

In this story, illustrated again by John Neill, Ozma and Dorothy travel to some of the outlying lands of Oz to settle a dispute between two peoples, the Skeezers and the Flatheads.  Both people are set to go to war and Ozma wishes to stop it before it gets to that point.  However, Ozma and Dorothy are trapped by the Skeezer queen in her glass covered city which is magically submerged under the lake on which it previously sat.  A group of Oz’s greatest citizens band together to figure out how to raise the city and save Ozma, Dorothy and the other trapped Skeezer people.

There are parts of this story that are pretty good, and there are parts that aren’t very good.  One of the things that seemed completely ridiculous were the amount of people that traveled to help Ozma and Dorothy in the end.  There were like 20 people traveling over land to try to raise the submerged city.  The only people that absolutely needed to go were Glinda and The Wizard.  That’s it.  They are the only two people in Oz who can legally work magic and since the city is, you know, magically submerged, they are the most logical ones to go.  Woggle Bug didn’t need to go.  What the hell was he going to do?  And Shaggy Man?  Was he going to use the Love Magnet to make the city love him so much that it raises above the lake’s surface?  Absurd.  The whole of the Oz council went.  Jack Pumkinhead was there for some reason.  Why did all of these people need to go?  They didn’t.  Glinda and The Wizard wound up needing help from three other ancient wizards to fix the entire mess anyway.  Just seemed a little excessive to me.  Like using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.

Glinda of Oz art
(Via My Delineated Life)

While I only kind of liked the book, it’s a bittersweet ending knowing that this is the final Baum Oz book.  After this Ruth Plumly-Thompson writes like 19 or 20 books in a row.  All illustrated by John Neill.  So while this isn’t the best of the books, it’s still an okay read.  I’ve just thoroughly enjoyed reading this entire series.  I hate to see it end.  But, it doesn’t have to end there.  There are still some other Oz goodies I can read/watch/review.  I may even start delving into Plumly-Thompson’s archive.  I honestly would love to read John Neill’s three Oz books that he wrote and illustrated, but they are long out of print.

Below is my checklist of Oz books.  I’ve crossed off all of the books.  I was able to finish all 14 of the original L Frank Baum Oz books in 2012, which concludes the challenge I set for myself and started back in February 2012 with the very first Oz book.

Oz books checklist

Bionic Review: The Solid Gold Kidnapping (1973)

Posted in movies, pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by Paxton

Bionic Review
SMDM Movies

The third and final TV movie starring Lee Majors as the Six Million Dollar Man was called The Solid Gold Kidnapping and aired on Nov 17, 1973.

smdm_sgk_title1

Like Bond movies and the previous TV movie, this movie begins with Austin on an assignment.  He’s in Mexico rescuing a US Ambassador from some revolutionaries in the mountains.  After Austin successfully resuces the Ambassador, we meet the sinister group known as “The Company”.  It’s an organization similar to Bond’s SPECTRE.  They, unfortunately, would make no more appearances outside of this movie.  The Company kidnaps international negotiator William Henry Cameron and demands $1 billion for his return.  OSI and Oscar team up Steve Austin with Dr Erica Bergner to rescue him.  Dr Bergner’s specialty is the brain and she’s developed a procedure to transplant brain cells from one patient to another with the result being that the transplantee gains the transplanter’s memories.  So Bergner takes the brain cells from a captured henchman of The Company and transplants them into her brain.  She uses this henchman’s memories to help Steve find their headquarters.

Silly?  Yes, it is.  But they treat it fairly good in that she can’t just pluck whatever information she wants from the new memories.  Her brain needs time to adjust and process the new information.  She is constantly having random memories that aren’t her own and has to make sense of them before they mean anything.  I sort of liked that even if I thought the procedure was a bit hokey.

Overall, however, this final TV movie wasn’t the greatest.  I’m surprised that with the upcoming release of the first episode of the series, that these last two movies still hadn’t really nailed the “look and feel” of the series yet.  They really aren’t my favorites.  I’m also surprised that neither of these two TV movies adapted the second book in Caidin’s Cyborg series.  Well, I am and am not surprised because that second book is not very good.  It would have had to have been re-written.  But the third book, High Crystal, was excellent, however it wasn’t released until the following year in 1974.  But Caidin should have had most of the story, they could have used that.  Interestingly, the early Mexico scenes of The Solid Gold Kidnapping do actually echo the setting of that third Cyborg book.

But I honestly can’t recommend these movies to anyone but hardcore bionic fans.  We still don’t get any of the signature bionic sounds, so watching Steve do these feats with no audio cue is still a little weird.