Friday, June 29, 2018

Retro TV Friday

On a recent episode of ABC's To Tell The Truth 2016, Alex Trebek became the second former regular host of the Goodson-Todman franchise to serve as a panelist; previously, Bill Cullen, who hosted the 1969-78 version of the show on occasion when Garry Moore was absent, and hosted much of the 1976-77 season after Moore's retirement, was moved back to panelist for the final season. Trebek was the third host of the 1990-91 NBC series that was short-lived because it faced a notorious CBS ratings juggernaut in daytime that still holds its own today.

When I learned Mr. Trebek was appearing on the 2016 version of the classic, ABC made a slight blunder because they did not want to viewer to know the history of the show; the 1969 version's theme song, complete with vocals, was to have been used in the 1990 version. In fact, Score Productions went to Nashville for Take 6 (a black gospel group originally) to record the vocals of the 1969 theme for use in 1990. For some reason, NBC did not approve of Take 6's vocals, and for the broadcast version, it was removed. The 1969-78 theme would have been a nice touch for Mr. Trebek's appearance. Let's enjoy the Take 6 version of the 1969-78 To Tell the Truth theme, and note how that version also used many principles of the classic logo and an updated version of the crossed-finger logo.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

And just like that...

That sign of our "absence" reminded me of some interesting things that caught my attention,

What You See at a Fishing Magnate's Golf Course.  When I saw the "Gone Fishing" sign, the last thing most would expect to see at a fishing magnate's resort was a PGA Tour Champions golf tournament, and to make it even more absurd, it is a 67-hole tournament over "five" rounds.  Two of the courses are par-three only courses, with one being a nine-hole course, and the other a thirteen-hole course.  The nine-hole course, Top of the Rock, is played four times (three for over-65 teams), and has the oddest flag you would see flying above the clubhouse, the flag symbolising a friend of course owner Johnny Morris, whose Bass Pro Shops is the tournament sponsor.  To top it all off, the man (and his grandson) whom a former Pennsylvania newsman calls "Hizzoner" associated with that person whose flag flies above that clubhouse participated in the Sunday shootout between players over 65 and celebrities in a "skins" format.  It doesn't hurt that the pro-am features morning golf and afternoon fishing, shooting, or archery.  Can you spot the flag you'd least likely to see on a PGA Tour event that Johnny Morris hangs on his clubhouse?

They're Taking Our Churches Away.  The state and federal courts have ruled against the Anglican Church in North America in their efforts to keep the property belong to the Diocese of South Carolina, primarily consisting of the 24 eastern counties, that the Episcopal Church has the right to seize 29 parishes' properties from the Anglican Church in North America diocese in question and hand them over to a newly created diocese of The Episcopal Church, which claims, has all the makings of the Soviet boycott of the 1959 FIBA Basketball World Cup in a political stunt during the medal round that had FIBA punishing the Soviets.  (The Soviets refused to play the Formosan Team because fellow Communist nation the People's Republic of China claims Ihla Formosa belongs to them, so they refused to recognise Chiang's government.  The Soviets eventually won the dispute by 1980.)  With the decline of the liberal Protestant congregation, they could sell the buildings and convert them to mosques, malls, or other types of buildings as an in your face attack on opponents, while leaving numerous congregations without any buildings because of the courts.  Worse yet, it was discovered one member of the state court system that ruled in favour of the heresy group (The Episcopal Church) is involved with the Episcopal Church herself along with her husband, which should mean automatic recusal.

A few years ago, I drew the ire of church members for a written statement I submitted during the vote for a minister when I stated my inability to vote on this election was a byproduct of my association with the candidate's sister through Sanctity of Human Life groups.  Now the courts are saying they ignore the conflict of interest in order to force one group that lost control of its denomination and faces expulsion from the Anglican Communion to seize the churches that have sided with its bishop and moving to the Anglican Church in North America, which is not facing trouble because it still stands on principles, as the Lariseys wrote years ago.

It's All About Me.  I have grown tired of seeing an excessive amount of sexual perversion marketing campaigns by the major athletic companies and businesses everywhere this month.  This seems to be an in your face slap at the majority of Americans, forced on us by an Executive Order and pushed by elite courts because they believe nobody has rights except themselves to make the law.  Isn't this why we rose up against the King of England in 1776?  So it's OK to throw Christians to the lions, but it's not permissible to read the Bible and cite that area in question.  What type of dictatorship have we become?  Look at Hollywood and even "Auntie Maxine," as our County Council calls her, wanting physical attacks against the President and his types.  The Left is trying to win a debate over anything with force.  But emotionalism is their calling card, and a sob story always works.  On every issue they have an entire playbook, Marshall Kirk's After the Ball.

Hisense Has No Sense.  We are in the middle of football, and the one thing that caught my attention, and forced me to report it to the clerk at the store.  The Hisense packing for television has images and sponsorship of the now-defunct United States National Men's Football Team.  That team disbanded in October and we are in June, why are those boxes being sold with pictures of that failure that forced us to disown our own country?  In the true spirit of the other blog, the secretary will disavow the United States, disown the country, and we must renounce our citizenship in a nation that does not exist.   The consequence, as Wells Fargo is showing in ads, is similar to that of NBCSN's Grudge Race, where the loser is shamed.  "Captain America" is waving a Mexican flag.  And I've made it clear of the consequences.  Fox is relegating the World Cup to just two broadcast teams, with other games being done in a Los Angeles studio, while the two teams in Russia are the established Dellacamera and Meola as the number one, and Strong and Holden as the number two.  John Strong has told the media that the classic Vin Scully storytelling style influenced him, as as the video games of John Motson being involved, as he is only 33.  Like the NFL and MLB when they started, Fox has decided to bring in a young voice and you can see he has been trained in the "rules" of broadcasting where goals are to be silent, and you celebrate by letting the player's celebration take charge without any wild "GOL" screaming.  It's the old "let the action do the talking" adage.

Meanwhile, NBC is adding simulcast of Telemundo games on the NBC Sports Network.  Says much about fans wanting the screaming and shouting, and Telemundo's coverage is now being expanded by its parent.  Seems the Spanish calls are now the most popular this year, and they want emotion, not the style of US sports broadcasting that gave us Vin Scully, Verne Lundquist, and Pat Summerall where you can take a book and think over an entire game.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Missing in action

Yes, it does seem as if I’ve been away for awhile, doesn’t it? Long enough, perhaps, that you wouldn’t be blamed if you thought the blog had closed up shop for good.

Well, that may yet happen, one of these days, but not yet. An explanation is in order, however, for those of you wondering about the silence.

If you’ve been reading the TV blog, which is alive and well, you know I’m in the process of putting the finishing touches on my newest book, The Electronic Eye: An Opinionated Look at How Classic TV Explains Who We Were and Who We Are (and Everything In-Between!). The due date is by the end of August, which explains the sense of urgency accompanying my work; a man has only so many hours in the day, you know. And even at It’s About TV!, I’ve been forced to resort to the occasional repeat when the time crunch gets the better of me. I’ll also be making a presentation at September’s Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, and while it doesn’t take as much time to prepare a 35-minute presentation as it does to write a book, it’s still something that takes a fair amount of time if I’m going to look and sound as if I know what I’m talking about.

In addition to The Electronic Eye, I have another book in the process of being wrapped up: The Car, the second novel from the Hadley stable. You can also expect that to appear in the next couple of months, although that’s much closer to completion.

The end result of all this has been that, with the exception of my TV writing, everything else has had to take a back seat. Even Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday, easy as they may seem, consume time that is best used elsewhere. I feel bad enough about this that I’ve finally forced myself to take a few minutes to write this, so that you’ll have at least something that’s new.

That’s not to say everyone’s gone. Bobby, bless his soul, continues to bail us out with his occasional contributions, and David and Drew stop by from time to time. Come October, I’d expect us to be fully back to normal, at least until I start on my next project, overseeing a short documentary film. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, I am crazy. However, you only live life once, right?

At any rate, I hope this explanation – apology, really – will suffice until we’re either going full steam ahead or have decided to wrap it up, concentrate on the TV side, and make this available through the archives with only the occasional new content.

I promise I’ll try and be back between now and September 15 with something new. I can guarantee Bobby will be back before then. And in the meantime, keep the faith and thanks for your patience!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wish I'd written that

In a world of fugitives, the person taking the opposite direction will appear to run away”

- T.S. Eliot, The Family Reunion

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Opera Wednesday

This week it's a quick look at soprano Marilyn Horne, one of opera's all-time greats, in one of her signature roles: Rossini's charming comedy L'italiana in Algeri  (The Italian Girl in Algiers) This is from a 1986 performance at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine.

Friday, May 18, 2018

A friend's time in Afghanistan with the Prince

A local attorney and friend of mine served in Afghanistan with Prince Harry. Some of Bill Connor's stories of being in the battle fields with the prince are found here for your reading through the Royal Wedding:

Stories of Prince Harry in the Afghan war zone.

The Prince Harry video: Perspective on his videotaped words

Christmas in Helmand with Prince Harry

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Wish I'd written that

Whenever you read a good book, it's like the author is right there, in the room, talking to you - which is why I don't like to read good books.

Jack Handey

Not really - I read good books all the time.  I just like the smartass way it sounds.

Originally published April 17, 2015

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Opera Wednesday

Here's the great American baritone Robert Merrill in one of his signature roles, the charming schemer Figaro from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) singing "Largo al Factorum." No credit given, but my best guess is that this is from NBC's Bell Telephone Hour in the late 50s or early 60s.

Monday, May 7, 2018

What gear is that sportscar in, Mr. Clarkson?

Fans of a very popular British motoring programme in its best known form will be excited to hear he is back on terrestrial television in the UK fronting the revival of a very well-known Sony Pictures Television programme.  ITV and Sony had this video released for this legendary hit's return to the UK airwaves.

Friday, May 4, 2018

More races on air at the Kentucky Derby

As we looked through our television blog, we noticed how early Derby broadcasts were simply 45 minutes to 90 minutes prior to NBC taking over in 2001.  Whereas the Derby would start around 4:30 PM (see Faulkner's 1955 report) and many times the race would start at 5:30 PM, since NBC took over and Churchill Downs added lights, the start time is creeping closer to primetime hours.

The 2018 Derby post time is 6:50 PM EDT, meaning with the loading, the race could finish at 7 PM EDT. NBC's coverage starts at 2 PM for a two-minute event.  The schedule for the NBC broadcast includes five races (all times Eastern):

2:45 PM Churchill Downs Stakes (4 and up, dirt, 7F)
3:37 PM American Turf Stakes (3 and up, turf, 1 1/16 miles)
4:28 PM Pat Day Mile (f/k/a Derby Trial) (3, dirt, 1 mile)
5:25 PM Old Forester Turf Stakes (4 and up, turf, 1 1/16 miles)
6:50 PM Kentucky Derby (3, dirt, 1 1/4 miles)

And for those fans who are still at Churchill Downs, there are two more races to be run with lights, a 1 1/16 mile allowance and a one-mile maiden race that will start at 8:20 PM, which is less than 18 minutes from legal sunset, guaranteeing that lights will be used at Derby Day.  For the record, the Stephen Foster Handicap, an older horse race inaugurated in 1982 and has provided three Breeders' Cup Classic winners, is now run as a night race in June.  The Foster is when the Kentucky Derby winner officially receives his trophy.
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