Posts Tagged ‘television’

Rebecca Jade, Sheila E., Lynn Mabry

Three new discoveries in a month rock our African origins


Left-lean faith leaders are hungry to break the right’s grip on setting the nation’s moral agenda

Amy Biancolli: I yam what I yam by the grace of God

Social Capital and Inequality

Time for equal media treatment of ‘political correctness’

The toddler defense

American Ex-Pats Explain Why They Quit America

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brexit II

Dustbury has discovered not everyone he’s likely to meet is prepared to deal with someone who walks only with a bunch of equipment

The Short, Sad Tale of Allyn King of Albany

Arthur is 15 Years a Kiwi citizen

Baby boomers are downsizing — and the kids won’t take the family heirlooms

The Negro Motorist Green Book, which I wrote about here. Check out
the 1949 edition

The art of writing an obituary

An Interview With Author Kelly Sedinger

She returned from Iraq to a broken family. Then writing changed her life

Anne Lamott: 12 truths I learned from life and writing

Anita Pallenberg Passes Away at Age 73

In appreciation of an old-school journalist, the late Dan Lynch

HEATHER FAZIO: I spent two days with Dennis Rodman

The Tony Awards — rehearsals

Documentary producer Robert Weide interviewed Woody Allen live on Facebook

Gary Burghoff explains Radar

Bill Messner-Loebs and Jack Kirby to Receive 2017 Bill Finger Award

Night Court was the black sheep of NBC’s sitcom dynasty

Pete and Harry, two rabbits in commercials for Carnation Milk. I DO NOT remember this

Too Many People Still Think Chocolate Milk Comes from Brown Cows

Now I Know: Fighting North Korea in a Flash and The Counterfeit Money Which is Intentionally Worthless and The Green Versus the Eardrums and Why Mattresses Come With Warning Tags and There’s No Place Like 0,0

Adam West, star of the ‘Batman’ TV series, dies at 88. Here’s his Idaho phone listing. Some insights from Mark Evanier and reflections by Chuck Miller, plus Eddie’s elegy and Rob Hoffman calling him one of “most accomplished and revered ‘B’ level actors of all time”


The Absolute Authenticity of REBECCA JADE (niece #1) and CD REVIEW – PETER SPRAGUE & REBECCA JADE: Planet Cole Porter, available here. Recently, Rebecca has sung at least twice with percussionist Sheila E. and singer Lynn Mabry. Lynn, among many other things, sang backup on the Stop Making Sense tour, which I saw at SPAC in 1984

Coverville: Sgt.Pepper 50th anniversary plus Gregg Allman tribute and All 213 Beatles Songs, Ranked From Worst to Bestand The Final Beatles Concert

What is Life – Weird Al

K-Chuck Radio: The Mystery of Blueberry Hill

Bohemian Rhapsody – Vika Yermolyeva

Pieces about Bobby Vee and Brian Hyland, both apparently inspired by me

Wap Bap, the most hated song on YouTube

Song of the Volga Boatmen sung by the Red Army Chorus

Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens

Billy Joel on Self-Doubt and Finally Becoming Cool

For the longest time, I have been fascinated by what people are considered to be famous. The late Andy Rooney, who was best known for his commentary on the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011, did a special around 1979, where he mused who was noteworthy. To him, Paul McCartney was famous, but Michael Jackson was not. Of course, this was before the album Thriller came out; I suspect Rooney would have altered his opinion.

In the days prior to 157 cable channel, it was pretty easy in the United States to ascertain that whoever was on national television had a modicum of fame. That is no longer the case. A former contestant on 16 and Pregnant (that’s a show?) recently passed away, and it was reported in my local paper; of course, I never heard of her.

There’s a database called Datasets I belong to, and it put out, at the end of this past year, an international list of “celebrity deaths”. The roster for April 11, 2016 included:

Ed Snider, 83 – American sports executive (Comcast Spectacor, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers)
Doug Banks, 57 – American radio personality (The Doug Banks Radio Show)
João Carvalho, 28 – Portuguese mixed martial arts fighter
Hokie Gajan, 56 – American football player and broadcaster (New Orleans Saints)
Veenu Paliwal, 44 – Indian motorcyclist
Alan Hurd, 78 – English cricketer.
Alvin Lubis, 37 – Indonesian musician.
Miss Shangay Lily, 53 – Spanish drag queen.
Steve Quinn, 64 – British rugby league player (York, Featherstone)
Albert Filozov, 78 – Russian actor.
Emile Ford, 78 – Saint Lucian singer (“What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?”) and sound engineer.
Édgar Perea, 81 – Colombian politician and football commentator.
Tony Ayers, 82 – Australian public servant.
Peter J. Jannetta, 84 – American neurosurgeon (Allegheny General Hospital).
Huntly D. Millar, 88 – Canadian medical technology executive.
Yura Halim, 92 – Bruneian politician, Chief Minister (1967–1972) and lyricist (national anthem)
Richard Ransom, 96 – American businessman (Hickory Farms).
Anne Gould Hauberg, 98 – American arts patron, founder of the Pilchuck Glass School
Ruth Gilbert, 99 – New Zealand poet.2016-04-11
Dame Marion Kettlewell, 102 – British naval officer, Director of the Wrens (1966–1970)
Mohsen Gheytaslou, 25–26 – Iranian soldier (65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade).
A. R. Surendran, no data – Sri Lankan lawyer
Tibor Ordina, 45 – Hungarian track and field athlete

I know NONE of these 23 people, save for Ford, who I heard of only vaguely. I did read Ransom’s obit. Let’s try February 13.

Bořek Šípek, 66 – Czech architect and designer
Flakey Dove, 30 – British racehorse, winner of the 1994 Champion Hurdle
Trifon Ivanov, 50 – Bulgarian footballer (national team)
Slobodan Santrač, 69 – Serbian football player (Yugoslavia) and manager
Barry Jones, 74 – New Zealand Roman Catholic prelate
Giorgio Rossano, 76 – Italian footballer.
Antonin Scalia, 79 – American judge, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (since 1986)
Nathan Barksdale, 54 – American heroin dealer, dramatized in The Wire
Bud Webster, 63 – American science fiction and fantasy writer.
Angela Bairstow, 73 – English badminton player.
Robin Ghosh, 76 – Bangladeshi composer.
Avigdor Ben-Gal, 79 – Israeli general, GOC Northern Command (1977–1981)
Yvonne Barr, 83 – Irish virologist, discovered Epstein–Barr virus
O. N. V. Kurup, 84 – Indian poet, recipient of the Jnanpith Award (2007)
Mike Shepherdson, 85 – Malaysian Olympic hockey player (1956) and cricketer (national team).
Edward J. McCluskey, 86 – American electrical engineer.
Sir Christopher Zeeman, 91 – British mathematician.
Rafael Moreno Valle, 98 – Mexican military physician and politician, Governor of Puebla (1969–1972), Secretary of Health (1964–1968).

Of the 17 people, and one horse, listed, the only one I had unequivocally heard of was Scalia, the SCOTUS justice whose vacancy President Obama was not allowed to fill. I do remember reading the obituaries of Ghosh and Zeeman.

I thought to write this when Zsa Zsa Gabor died in 2016. While she was in some 30 movies, she was most famous for being famous, a precursor to Paris Hilton or those darn Kardashians.

In December, Arthur posted YouTube Rewind: The Ultimate 2016 Challenge plus some 2016 music mashups. I knew hardly anyone in these videos – I must be getting old – but I didn’t care at all.

ABC Wednesday – Round 20

I recently noticed that actor/comedian Jackie Gleason would have turned 100 on February 26, 2016, and will have been dead 30 years come June 24, 2017.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, I used to watch his Saturday night variety show on CBS fairly regularly. Gleason played a variety of characters, including the snobbish millionaire Reginald Van Gleason III, the put-upon character known as the Poor Soul, and Joe the Bartender, who always greeted the bug-eyed “Crazy” Guggenheim Read the rest of this entry »

rawhideHere’s a continuation of my favorite TV theme songs. These ones have words.

20. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
“Best Friend”, written and performed by Harry Nilsson. I was a sucker for Harry Nilsson songs, and Bill Bixby TV shows such as My Favorite Martian, The Hulk, and The Magician.
Listen here or here

19. Moonlighting – Music – Lee Holdridge, lyrics – Al Jarreau. Produced by Nile Rodgers
Performer – Al Jarreau. The single released in 1987 reached #23 pop, #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards
Listen here or here or here (full length)

18. Mister Ed – Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Opening theme sung by Jay Livingston, with Rocky Lane as Mister Ed
Listen here or here or here (end theme)

17. Rawhide – Ned Washington (lyrics) and Dimitri Tiomkin (music)
Sung by Frankie Laine. The series featured a young Clint Eastwood (above, right)
Could the tune have come from an old Russian tune?
Listen here or here or here (full length)

16. Happy Days -Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox
Jim Haas with a group of session singers, version only in closing credits, with an updated version of “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and His Comets used as the opening theme. “Re-recorded in 1975 with different lyrics for both the opening and closing credits for Seasons 3 through 10.”
Listen here or here; this must be a REALLY late version, after I stopped watching

15. Sesame Street Music by Joe Raposo, lyrics by Raposo, Jon Stone, Bruce Hart
“Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?” Raposo enlisted jazz harmonica player Jean “Toots” Thielemans, as well as a mixed choir of children, to record the opening and closing themes.
Listen here or here

14. WKRP in Cincinnati – written by series co-creator Tom Wells and Hugh Wilson
Sung by Steve Carlisle; long version got to #65 on pop charts in 1981
Listen here or here or here (long version)

13. The Golden Girls – written by Andrew Gold, who had previously recorded it
“Thank You for Being a Friend” sung by Cynthia Fee
Listen here or here

12. Friends – co-written by Friends producers David Serrato and Marta Kauffman; composer Michael Skloff (Kauffman’s husband); songwriter Allee Willis; Phil Sōlem and Danny Wilde (both of the Rembrandts)
“I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts. Single got to #17 in 1995
Listen here or here or here (single)

11. Scrubs – “(I’m No) Superman” written and performed by Lazlo Bane.
It was recommended by Zach Braff to Bill Lawrence to be used as the show’s theme.
Listen here or here or here (multiple versions)
10. Gilligan’s Island – “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle” by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle
One of those perfect story/songs for a very lightly-regarded show
Listen here (1st season) or here (later opening/closing) or here (later opening/closing)

9. The Muppet Show – Jim Henson and Sam Pottle
I loved that show.
Listen here or here

8. Batman – lyric and music by Neal Hefti
Performed by The Ron Hicklin Singers, a chorus of four tenors and four sopranos
Listen here or here

7. The Monkees – written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
Theme from the Monkees performed by The Monkees, lead vocals by Micky Dolenz.
Listen here or here or here, full length

6. The Beverly Hillbillies – Paul Henning
“The Ballad of Jed Clampett” -vocal by Jerry Scroggins, instruments by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs
Listen here or here (tag to Winston cigarettes) or here, single with Flatt on vocals, which went to #44 pop, #14 adult contemporary, and #1 for three weeks country

5. Maude – written by Marilyn and Alan Bergman and Dave Grusin
“And Then There’s Maude” performed by the late, great Donny Hathaway. Picture above features Bea Arthur (center) as Maude.
Listen here or here

4. All in the Family – Lee Adams and Charles Strouse
“Those Were the Days” performed by series stars Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton
Listen here (earlier iteration) or here (later version, when “Didn’t no welfare state” sounded more resigned and “Gee, our old LaSalle ran great” was more precisely enunciated)

3. Cheers – written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo
“Where Everybody Knows Your Name” performed by Gary Portnoy. Rather melancholy.
Listen here or here or here (the full song, which is not an improvement)

2. The Addams Family – written by Vic Mizzy
Actor Ted Cassidy, in his “Lurch” voice, punctuated the lyrics with words like neat, sweet, and petite.
Listen here or here

1. The Jeffersons – Ja’net Dubois and Jeff Barry
“Movin’ On Up” – performed by Ja’net Dubois, from another Norman Lear show, Good Times.
Listen here or here

The Addams Family and The Beverly Hillbillies en espanol

See also here or here for others’ best TV theme songs.

Related: Almost a TV theme

Take Two of These and Call the Bank in the Morning

fugitiveWhen I saw that Chuck Miller listed ten iconic TV opening themes, I knew I had to do likewise. I LOVE opening TV themes; I have SEVEN CDs with 65 themes each, plus some soundtracks. And I’ve obsessed on the topic before.

This list features those themes without words, mostly because the roster became SO long, I had to split it up.

20. I Love Lucy- H. Adamson/E. Daniel. A staple of my childhood.
Listen here or here Read the rest of this entry »

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