christmas records and christmas cheer

Posted by Whitmore, December 21, 2007 02:57pm | Post a Comment

Lorne Green
’s greatest claim to fame is starring in the long running western Bonanza, playing the role of the family patriarch Ben Cartwright and being the first man most people ever saw in color on television. But Green’s oddest credit is that he had a number one single in the middle of the English Invasion in 1964: his talking ballad “Ringo”, (which ironically is not about the Beatle, but a Western gunslinger: Johnny Ringo).

This 7 inch record, “Must be Santa,” is his contribution to the subgenre of “annoying kids singing Christmas songs”, (of which I have somehow become a leading collector!?!), featuring some fine shrill warbling of the Jimmy Joyce Children’s Choir. Oddly enough the flip side, “One Solitary Life”, is the polar opposite; a morose, bleak, 2000 year old tale of loneliness, social deprivation and the ultimate execution of a doomed unnamed man (hint, hint) which is probably a more telling song of Christmas than we’d like to acknowledge. Loren Green really plays the fate card well.  Then again, years before Bonanza, Lorne Green was known to his fellow Canadian citizens as "The Voice of Doom", a nickname he earned as a radio announcer for CBC radio from 1939 to 1942, where his distinctive baritone painted the grim news of World War II in deep somber tones. Listening to such a desolate voice, especially on a Christmas record, is just a plain and simple holiday cheer killer …  that miserable tingling in your soul, its not unlike that vacant stare when you’re trying to find parking at the Glendale Galleria the weekend before Christmas, and you have an exhausted, yet frantic, raging, sugar-doped child in the back seat screaming that he wants to see Santa -NOW!- meanwhile babbling on a badly deteriorating cell phone connection is your employer going on about something trivial and asinine, and while looking at that pink parking ticket still stuck under the windshield wiper blades from the last failed attempt at shopping, you rear-end a new Lexus ...  

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Granada Hills

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 30, 2007 06:05pm | Post a Comment
Today's Los Angeles neighborhood blog is about Granada Hills. To vote for another Los Angeles neighborhood, vote here. To vote for a Los Angeles County Community, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

I drove to Granada Hills today to buy a rug for Lush Floral Design head-honcho, Ngoc Nguyen. To get there I used the Ronald Reagan Freeway, named after an actor from Illinois who made some films which are widely regarded as being universally unmemorable. The ex-actor, after retiring from Hollywood, went on to sell weapons to the Iranian dictatorship using the profits to arm death squads in Central America. He also used funds designated for cleaning up toxic waste to fund instead the campaigns of sympathetic politicians and he closed institutions for the mentally ill, which flooded the street with hundreds of thousands of crazy new homeless people that now fill our jails, sidewalks and parks.


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Newhart - the rumor mill

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 29, 2007 10:22am | Post a Comment

My spies have told me that season 1 of Newhart is going to be released in the winter of 2008. Of all the shows based around Bob Newhart (the others being The Bob Newhart Show (1961-1972),
The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978),


and the bizarrely-named George & Leo (1997)...

...Newhart (1982-1980) remains my favorite. Dick Loudon (Newhart) is a writer from New York City who buys an inn in a rural Vermont town populated by colorful locals who exist to exasperate Dick. I like Bob Newhart in all of his roles, which are essentially the same -- a mild-mannered, stammering straight man. A bit like Droopy Dog (minus Droopy's explosions of anger and muscle). As David Hyde Pierce observed, "The only difference between Bob Newhart on stage and Bob Newhart offstage – is that there is no stage."

Trivia -- the last two times that I flew, actress Julia Duffy and celebrated beauty Ngoc Nguyen were on the plane! Imagine my joy!

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Chrissy Plain & Simple

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 18, 2007 10:40pm | Post a Comment
Chris Elliott

The other night I went (blessed with the company of the amazing Ngoc em and her cousin, Bao -- and my co-worker Hiland) to see the filming of the pilot for a Chris Elliott vehicle called Chrissy Plain & Simple. I like the name and concept. Just pure, unadulterated Chris Elliot, without any bells and whistles and jangles and bangles and be-bops and re-rops and flee-flops... or something to that effect. If you're a fan, you know how he just stupidly starts rambling to that effect.

On the downside-- it's sketch comedy with pre-filmed satirical segments that we had to watch a couple of times and force some laughter for the second time around. At one point I looked up at a monitor and the entire frame was filled with my chin and some teeth laughing at nothing but the instructions of the episode's director, Bobcat Goldthwait.

The show takes place on a stage cluttered with Chris Elliot cut-outs of Chris in different poses, always wearing socks regardless of the character being portrayed and, I have to say, his stupid expressions forced me to smile over and over before filming whilst Jimmy Kimmel cracked jokes-- and talked about the fact that he, I and some other guys were all coincidentally wearing maroon shirts.

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Posted by Billyjam, August 2, 2007 01:00pm | Post a Comment
In all of the tributes written about skilled American television host Tom Snyder,  who passed  this week  at age 71 - a victim of leukemia,  one common accolade was how the TV host with the personal yet tough interview style, really knew how to listen to his subjects - something very rare in most television talk show hosts, especially today.  Additionally, unlike most commercial television interviews which never seem to ow to delve deep, his interviews were conducted with enough time for the able host to really allow him, and us, to get to know his guests.

But of all of the interviews he conducted on his NBC program The Tomorrow Show the clip below (in my opinion) is one of the most compelling to watch.  It is Snyder's 1980 interview with both John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten) and his Public Image Limited  (PIL) band-mate Keith Levene. Bear in mind that by this stage that Rotten as main spokesman of the Sex Pistols had earned a justified reputation as one of the most difficult and unpredictable interviewees for any  radio or  television host.  But watch it and witness how brilliantly Snyder handles his tough subject and how Lydon, used to knocking over - especially older generation - interviewers seems to have finally met his match and has to struggle a bit to keep in character and try to maintain an upper hand. 

The end result is a perfect sparring match, with both Snyder and Lydon puffing away on cigarettes, that makes for the most engaging type of TV.  Do me a favor: watch it and in the COMMENTS box below rate (on a scale of 1 to 5)  both Snyder's and Lydon's performances. EG:   Tom = 3,  John = 3.

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