Who is your favorite friend that you met in 1977 at a Halloween party in New Paltz?
The evil Tom the Mayor, who I know from FantaCo wants to know: Who is your all-time favorite Movie Star, Male and Female, one only apiece? Also Favorite TV Stars, same rule, one apiece.
First off, the line between television and film has blurred tremendously. You find performers easily bouncing between the two media. But OK.
Movie star (male): after considering Mark Ruffalo and George Clooney, I ended up with Denzel Washington. He’s the actor who I’ve seen both early on and relatively recently: Cry Freedom (1987), Glory (1989); Mississippi Masala (1991); Malcolm X (1992); Philadelphia (1993); The Pelican Brief (1993); Crimson Tide (1995).
Also, Devil in a Blue Dress (1995); The Preacher’s Wife (1995); The Hurricane (1999); Remember the Titans (2000); The Manchurian Candidate (2004); Unstoppable (2010); and Fences (2016). There were two or three others I might have caught if I had had the time.
TV star (male): the late James Garner, who played two iconic roles, Bret Maverick in the western Maverick, and private detective Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files. He also became the father figure in 8 Simple Rules after John Ritter died and lasted longer – a couple seasons – than any show losing its protagonist normally would.
TV star (female): excluding Betty White, I’ll go with the late Mary Tyler Moore, who was Laura Petrie in the Dick Van Dyke Show, a series I have on DVD. Then she was Mary Richards on her eponymously-named show.
I played the marbles video again, stopped watching it midway through, but continued to listen to it.
I came across this video of 11,000 marbles, and it made me happy.
I saw it a week after a committee at church was finishing the arrangement of speakers for the Adult Education class in February and early March. There was a special guest going to take the third slot, so we only had to work on three weeks. But then that person changed to the second slot, and eventually out of the month altogether.
Finally, we had nailed down A, B, C, and D. Phew! Then A had to drop out. Fortunately, I FINALLY got hold of someone else, the person I had actually pursued first, so it was set: E, B, C, and D.
Then midweek, another person had to reschedule, but was available for a week the committee wasn’t in charge of. I reached the pastors, and NOW the schedule was E, B, F, D and C.
I gained two pounds that week from stress eating. Seriously.
So watching marbles was soothing. Then I played the video again, stopped watching it midway through, but continued to listen to it. It sounded like waters rushing against the shore. It was surprisingly soothing, putting me almost in a Zen-like state.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before. One of my great pet peeves is when someone creates a project like this, or something more elaborate, in the Rube Goldberg tradition, naysayers will squawk, “They must have too much time on their hands!”
In my experience, what this REALLY means is that someone has created a project the squawkers wouldn’t – and probably COULDN’T – have spent their time doing. Which is fine until they belittle those who are doing that something.
At a point when I was starting to lose my marbles a little bit, I’m happy that someone had the skill and interest and sense of fun to move 11,000 orbs of various colors.
I’ve noted in the past that my JEOPARDY! viewing goes back to the 1960s, watching Art Fleming host the weekday show on NBC-TV. When the show returned in 1984, I was fine with the new host, Alex Trebek. I had seen him on a couple games shows, notably High Rollers. Given the fact that I was annoyed by the amount of luck involved in the play, that’s high praise.
When I was on JEOPARDY!, it represented a unique set of circumstances. It was recorded in September 1998 at the Wang Theater in Boston, the first time the regular show took place outside the Los Angeles-area studios. The Massachusetts city was very excited, and expressed in its stories the ‘appropriateness” of the show being recorded there, with all the smart people from Harvard, MIT, et al.
While I’m sure Trebek had agreed to the special venue across the country, I think it took him a while to warm up to the change in his rhythm. For one thing, he had to talk to the press quite a bit: the Boston Globe – in which my picture appeared!- and the Christian Science Monitor, for two.
Alex Trebek quite often says that the reason he likes doing JEOPARDY! is that he enjoys being around smart people. During a lengthy sitting around period for the contestants, we contestants got to watch, though not hear, him being interviewed. You could see on his face and in his body language when he was asked a question he thought was stupid and/or obvious.
Trebek was also reportedly annoyed by how difficult it was to get into the hotel that he and the contestants stayed in. There was a fundraiser for some Democratic candidates there, and Bill Clinton was among a wealth of politicians, reportedly including Vice-President Al Gore, and US Senator Ted Kennedy.
Of course, no one got close to that entrance. Earlier that day, there were massive protests and counter-protests regarding special prosecutor Ken Starr’s probes into Clinton’s behavior.
So it’s in that context that I can try to explain what happened on stage while I was getting a picture with Alex Trebek – he did the rabbit-ears thing on me. I knew it at the time because I could see him doing so in a monitor. Why me? Maybe because, at 45, I was the oldest contestant.
Weeks later, though, I got my photo from being on JEOPARDY! and it’s me alone. I will admit that I was quite disappointed at the time, but I’ve mostly let it go. Still, after hearing the frightening diagnosis, I felt melancholy. I wish I had my paired picture with who The New Republic in November 2014 referred to as The Last King of the American Middlebrow.