Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Worst TV Show Ever?

I love Lynda Carter and I like Loni Anderson a lot. Then I should have really liked PARTNERS IN CRIME - shouldn't I have?From 1984, this "high concept" NBC mystery series told the story of Carole (Lynda) and Sydney (Loni), who had nothing in common but an ex-husband! Carole is a former society matron, who is now flat-broke and trying to make a go at it as a photographer. Sydney is a con-man's daughter, a thief and she also plays the bass! When their shared ex is murdered, he wills his private investigation agency to them both! Of course after they solve his murder, they decided to become private eyes together. What a wacky idea for a TV series - TWO fishes out of water and one Odd Couple! I remember being excited when this show was announced (I must have been high) - and then being embarrassed about watching it. Luckily the curvaceous co-stars escaped this mess to do better work. Lynda went on to great small roles in films like SUPER TROOPER and SKY HIGH and, er Loni resurfaced in continuing rolls on shows like NURSES, THE MULLETS and SO NOTORIOUS. Hmmm - "Dougsploitation Hall of Fame"... I think we have a nominee...after all she also starred in...
For much more info on PARTNERS IN CRIME go here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "huh?"

JULIA was a ground-breaking, but light-hearted NBC TV sitcom about a widowed African-American nurse played by Diahann Carroll. The show dealt Julia Baker and the difficulties of managing a career and raising a son, Corey (aged 6 at the series start). Corey's best friend was named "Earl J. Waggedorn", whom he addressed as such.
In this "authorized edition", Corey and Earl J. play Show and Tell. I'm not one to guess what exactly this game of Show and Tell encompasses, but Earl Jr. clearly is amused and satisfied, while Corey is looking back over his shoulder as if he's been caught showing something that he shouldn't have. It could be anything: mom's bra, a condom he found in his late father's nightstand drawer, a photo of Earl Jr.'s parents at a Klan rally...anything. I don't know, but there's just something creepy about this bookcover.

After doing a bit of research, I discovered that the book is about this: "Corey decides to take his good friend Earl to school for his Show and Tell". Okay, that is pretty creepy, but kind of cute, I guess.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

87% of Criswell's Predictions Have Come True!

The Amazing Criswell (1907-1982) was a psychic who was famous for his bizarre and inaccurate predictions...even though the back of his book claims that 87% have come true! Criswell also became famous for appearing in a few films by Ed Wood including the classic PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959), and the unwatchable  ORGY OF THE DEAD (1965). Criswell as also immortalized on screen by actor Jeffrey Jones in the brilliant Tim Burton biopic, ED WOOD (1994).
So, he may have predicted that Reagan would be governor of California and that JFK wouldn't finish his first four years in office–but he also claimed that Denver would be destroyed by aliens, Fidel Castro would be assassinated and there would be HOMOSEXUAL CITIES!!! Yee-haa! (He also prophecized that the world would end on his 92nd birthday - August 18,1999 - but, sadly, he died when he was pnly 75).
That's right, HOMOSEXUAL CITIES near Des Moines and Columbus! "Perversion will parade shamelessly" - did that ever happen? Oh yeah, they cities "will be complete with stores, churches, bars and restaurants which will ...(have)...organized orgies"! Wow, Criswell - maybe bars - but ORGIES in stores, churches, and restaurants?! It sounds like a uber-gay version of Walt Disney's original plans for EPCOT. Oh, Criswell if only you were 99% accurate...

PS- The Onion A.V. Club ran a great piece on Criswell back in 1999. Check it out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

can 2 depressed amphibians share a swamp without driving each other crazy?

One of my favorite childhood books was a little treasure called Frog and Toad Are Friends - a collection of short stories about an odd couple of male amphibians who spend ALOT of time together...
The sweet stories detail simple tales like Toad trying to convince Frog to get out of bed for the 1st day of Spring; Toad trying to convince Frog to get out of bed (again) because he's pretending to be sick; Toad losing a button; and Frog trying to convince Toad to get out of bed to get a letter. There's a lot of bed-hopping going on with these two green fellas. And then there's the swimming hole...
"I don't wear a bathing suit" said Frog. Is there any wonder why I loved this book?

THIS is the gayest thing I ever read - when I was 6. This collection was followed by 2 sequels: Frog and Toad Together (I'll bet!) and Frog and Toad All Year. Thanks to Arnold Lobel for writing and drawing a book that made me think, at 6 years old, that it's not unusual to have a same-sex partner and to enjoy swimming nude. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This is the story of three special girls...

The Angels are back! The LA sensation, Chico's Angels #3 : Chicas in Chains is returning for a limited run.  Join the hysterical Kay Sedia, Chita Parol, Frieda Laye and Bossman as they infiltrate a high school hooker ring, get thrown behind bars and look fabulous all through the action! Plus songs, dancing and super-fabulous costumes!Chico's Angels returns Sept. 26-Oct. 26 to The Cavern Club Theater/Casita Del Campo -1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake, CA 90027 - Thursdays and Sundays at 8 PM * Fridays and Saturdays at 9 PM

Also Premiering in SAN DIEGO @The Diversionary Theatre -4545 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92116 - November 7,8,9 * Fri. and Sat @ 9pm * Sunday @ 2pm and 7pm

To purchase tickets (for both cities) visit www.cavernclubtheater.com or call 1- 800-595-4849. Visit the angels at www.myspace.com/chicosangels
Tell 'em Dougsploitation sent you!

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "huh?"

I have no idea what this is...
CHERYL LADD IN JAPAN? Is it a coloring book? A cookbook? A poster? A menu? I just can't figure it out!!! Why would Cheryl Ladd be in Japan anyhow...and why should we care? If anybody has any theories about this product - let me know!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Remember when TV GUIDE magazine DIDN'T suck?

Well, another new TV season is here - and a another year of the putrid excuse for a magazine called TV GUIDE. I remember when the Fall Preview issue was an EVENT. Page after page of well-written profiles of new shows and actual accurate TV LISTINGS! Not just an impossible-to-read grid for primetime, but LISTINGS for 24 HOURS A DAY/SEVEN DAYS OF THE WEEK with episode descriptions and cast lists! Wow - imagine that. Luckliy I have my collection from the 1970s-2000s to reflect on from time-to-time, as the weekly magazine continues its downward spiral into an unreadable throwaway (recyclable) piece of crap.

Best Autumn cd Ever...

I don't know about you, but I personally only listen to certain music at specific times of the year. Autumn, being my favorite season of the year, is the time for folky, reflective and sentimental tunes. Over the years, I've owned thousands of LPs and cds, and about once a month a trade in a bunch that I don't listen to for new ones. One cd that always escapes my monthly purges is CHERYL WHEELER's DRIVING HOME. I'd had this disc since it first came out in 1993, and I've welcomed in each autumn since with a spin on my player. Today, being the first day of autumn was no exception.Cheryl Wheeler is an underrated singer/songwriter/storyteller who has a loyal fanbase and 11 albums to her credit. DRIVING HOME to me is like comfort food - each track a different flavor, but all comforting in their own way. I always liken the collection of songs on this disc to taking a road trip across America and meeting some interesting folks along the way. While I love the whole album, there are a few tracks that stand out.

The title tune, Driving Home is about just that - taking a long car trip from where you live now to where you came from. The tender lyrics are simple, yet poetic:
"I was driving home
Through the sunday bells
Through the trailer towns
Through the rolling hills"

Music is My Room reminds me of how I also would escape from "my so called (teenaged) life" through spinning 45s in my bedroom for an audience of no one:
"In my secret hideaway, I would play all night
So if you go out, hope you don't want me to.
I've got a rendezvous with a stack of forty fives"

Frequently Wrong But Never in Doubt is a sweet, and ultimately sad song about a boisterous family friend who touched her life. It features, a line that always kinda chokes me up.
"And I guess I've forgotten since I was a kid, 
I don't know why we loved him, I just know we did"

Just when you think Cheryl's gone all sappy, along comes Don't Forget The Guns - an hysterical hillbilly parody about America's obsession with road trips and weapons with brilliant lines like:
"Now don't forget the guns you know exactly what I mean
Bring the pistols, bring the uzi and the old AR-15
We don't look for trouble but by golly if we're in it
It's nice to know we're free to blow nine hundred rounds a minute"

75 Septembers is a loving tribute to her Dad, and how many things he must have seen in his long life, with the touching refrain:
"Cause now the fields are all four lanes
And the moon’s not just a name
Are you more amazed at how things change
Or how they stay the same
And do you sit here on this porch and wonder
How the times flies by
Or does it seem to barely creep along
With 75 Septembers come and gone"

Listening to When Fall Comes To New England is like looking at a beautifully detailed painting...
"When fall comes to new england
The sun slants in so fine
And the air's so clear
You can almost hear the grapes grow on the vine"

If you are a fan of intimate, textured songwriting, checkout DRIVING HOME.
All lyrics © Cheryl Wheeler

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Guess Jesus WAS a Friend Of Mine...

The last time I was back home for a visit, I decided to look through some boxes of books that I had as a kid. Among the books were several that I "re-designed". You see, even as a kid I was an art director–If books were missing a cover or if I didn't like a particular cover, I'd just make a new one. No problem. Give me some scrap paper and some markers - and viola - a new cover! I also remember once getting "in trouble" for color-correcting the skin of a caucasian police officer on a Little Golden Book  (and drawing an Afro on him) because I wanted him to look like Linc from THE MOD SQUAD! Yes - I was THAT progressive as a child. Well here's my "new'"cover for a little book called THE STORY OF JESUS! I think I did this when I was 4 or 5 years old, possibly making this the first piece of graphic design by little Doug.Look how fancy I made it too! Jesus is on the cross - smiling and wearing a PINK gown with RED sleeves. Notice the cute little sandals and yellow glow. Wow - what was in my Kool-Aid? Also, notice how I credited the publisher (larger font size than the title) - and the author's name is given a rare verical type treatment. Very clever if I do say so myself. If only the artwork inside was as good as the cover...

Friday, September 19, 2008

This Blog Turns 1 Today!

Wow - time really does fly when you are having fun! One year ago today I launched this blog. Originally called MOVIES THAT MAKE YOU SAY "HUH?" - the focus was mainly on bad movies that I love. That first day alone, I posted 5 reviews that first appeared on my other blog, VELVET CANDY ENTERTAINMENT (which was created mainly to promote projects that I produce or work on, like SOCKET, SCREENING PARTY and REUNION).The five first "Huh?" reviews were 1) POOR PRETTY EDDIE - famous for poor pretty Leslie Uggams getting raped while scenes of dogs copulating are intercut. Just plain nasty! 2) THE TEACHER - in which DENNIS THE MENACE star Jay North goes nude. Yikes, Mr. Wilson! 3) THE FAT SPY in which Phyliss Diller shares the screen with Jayne Mansfield! Zoinks! 4) SOMETIMES AUNT MARTHA DOES DREADFUL THINGS which must be seen to be believed and 5) THE GARDENER featuring sexy Joe Dallesandro naked, as usual.Also on that first day, I counted down my TOP TEN MOVIES THAT MAKE YOU SAY "HUH?". That was fun to do.In December 2007, I introduced the concept of the "HUH?" HALL OF FAME - and soon inducted the legendary Liz Taylor and fantastic Faye Dunaway into the membership. In August 2008, I decided to expand my scope and include all of pop culture into my blog - and so DOUGSPLOITATION was born – starting with a look at the Peignot font and how the opening titles of the MARY TYLER MOORE Show and THE ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK shaped me into the blogger I am today. (See my DOUGSPLOITATION logo for reference)On Sunday, August 25 everything changed when I decided to post a video of a band named "Sonseed" performing "Jesus is a Friend of Mine". As I've said before I've owned this videotape for 25 years and NEVER thought it would catch on the way it did. The rest is history. The best part about the whole experience (other than gaining 4000 readers each day) is that I've been instrumental in reuniting the lead singer Sal with many of his former bandmates and friends. Which, I think, is the coolest thing about this here internet -it brings people who belong together - together! Looking forward to sharing my silliness with you folks for many years to come! - peace, Doug

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lynda Carter on the topic of Sarah Palin...

In a recent interview in Philadelphia Magazine, writer Victor Fiorillo asked TV's sensational WONDER WOMAN (and fabulous cabaret performer) Lynda Carter what she thought about the Republicans and certain media outlets comparing wretched VP nominee Sarah Palin to Wonder Woman.

This is Lynda's incredible response:

"Don’t get me started. She’s the anti-Wonder Woman. She’s judgmental and dictatorial, telling people how they’ve got to live their lives. And a superior religious self-righteousness ... that’s just not what Wonder Woman is about. Hillary Clinton is a lot more like Wonder Woman than Mrs. Palin. She did it all, didn’t she?

No one has the right to dictate, particularly in this country, to force your own personal views upon the populace — religious views. I think that is suppressive, oppressive, and anti-American. We are the loyal opposition. That’s the whole point of this country: freedom of speech, personal rights, personal freedom. Nor would Wonder Woman be the person to tell people how to live their lives. Worry about your own life! Worry about your own family! Don't be telling me what I want to do with mine.
I like John McCain. But this woman — it's anathema to me what she stands for. I think America should be very afraid. Very afraid. Separation of church and state is the one thing the creators of the Constitution did agree on — that it wasn’t to be a religious government. People should feel free to speak their minds about religion but not dictate it or put it into law.

What I don’t understand, honestly, is how anyone can even begin to say they know the mind of God. Who do they think they are? I think that’s ridiculous. I know what God is in my life. Now I am sure that she’s not all just that. But it’s enough to me. It’s enough for me to have a visceral reaction. And it makes me mad."

Wow. It's about time someone said it. I love Lynda Carter more than ever.

"Jesus is a Friend of Mine" -parodies, covers & more...

Hello Dougsploitation readers - just thought you'd like to check out some of the many YouTube craziness that "Sonseed" has inspired. First off the brilliant "Reefer is My Friend" . If you survive that - there's a cover by a band called Oddwalk Ministries and even a remixed Marilyn Manson video. Lots of fun. I'm waiting for the Pussycat Dolls cover version. In the meantime, check out The Way International performing that classic "The Renewed Mind Is the Key". Thanks to Sherri for finding this one.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "cool!!"

On man, why didn't I know about these back in the 70s? I would have saved my allowance for months just to buy these incredible BIONIC MAN sneakers. I mean, imagine leaving footprints everywhere that read "bionic"...how cool would that have been? Plus they look awesome, like Keds. Wonder if they made a BIONIC WOMAN version for girls? Did anybody own these as a kid? Steve Silverman, lover of all things bionic, I'm sure you must have...no? Let us know...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Friendly Ones

Okay, years ago - before SOUTH PARK, before CRANK YANKERS, before AVENUE Q - my friends Tara and Rob and I got together and made a TV special for public access called THE FRIENDLY ONES. It's a totally offensive and politically incorrect puppet show for "adults", and I think it's still pretty damn funny. The show aired on Staten Island Cable for a few years - to much protest of concerned parents. The original plan was to do a series of episodes, but sadly, we never had the time. Tara has finally converted it to digital and now - almost 20 years later, here it is. Part 1 introduces our main characters Eva, Blanca, The Countess, Muffy and their lesbian friend Ida. Part 2 follows the gals as they prepare to compete on "The Mother-Daughter Pageant" . Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

BEST WEEK EVER, SPIKE TV and the "Sonseed" phenom

My head is spinning, now VH-1's BEST WEEK EVER and SPIKE TV have joined the "Sonseed" bandwagon. Who's next??? THE VIEW???
My original post of the video from August 24th is here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

THE SOUP discovers "SONSEED"!!!

Oh my god - my friend Sherri just sent me this!!! The online version of my favorite TV show - THE SOUP has discovered "Sonseed"!!! Holy crap! I'm speechless! Joel McHale and Sal of "Sonseed" together - I think I need to lie down...

Newcomers - scroll down for tons of info about Sonseed!

Worst TV Show Ever?

She's British! He's Yiddish! They're in love! Oy vey...From the people who brought you the top two shows on TV - ROSEANNE and THE COSBY SHOW - comes the next big hit comedy - CHICKEN SOUP starring Jackie (CADDYSHACK 2) Mason and Lynn (THE HAPPY HOOKER) Redgrave! Imagine them having sex...HOT!!! What were they thinking? Gone in 8 episodes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A cup of ambition...

Well, it wasn't "opening night" and Dolly Parton wasn't in the house (that I know of), but I can't think of a way I'd rather spend 9/11 than in a theater full of people cheering on three secretaries as they get revenge on their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" of a boss. Of course, I'm talking about the rollicking stage musical adaptation of 1980's classic comedy 9 TO 5.With music and lyrics by the enormously talented Dolly Parton and a book by Patricia Resnick (who wrote the film), 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL is a big, bawdy, brassy Broadway-bound musical starring the wonderful Allison Janey (THE WEST WING) in the Lily Tomlin role, the incredible Stephanie J. Block (WICKED) in the Jane Fonda role, the amazing Megan Hilty (also from WICKED) in the Dolly Parton role, and the outrageous Marc Kudisch - channeling Burt Reynolds- in the Dabney Coleman role. The rest of the cast is outstanding, with Kathy Fitzgerald's Roz being a standout.
The story, set in 1979, is basically a very ambitious retelling of the film, with virtually identical dialogue and some new (and funny) jokes thrown in. A few scenes from the film are missing and there are some slight changes in Mr. Hart's story - but otherwise it's a pretty faithful adaptation that should please fans of the film.The music is quite good with several versions of "9 to 5" (with new lyrics) blending seemlessly with some great new show stoppers. Who would have thunk that our little Miss Dolly Parton from Pigeon Forge, Tenn. would one day be churning out showtunes! Is there anything this woman can't do?  "Backwoods Barbie" which debuted on Parton's latest cd is well at home here and new tunes "One of the Boys" (performed by Janney) and "Get Out and Stay Out" (Block) are amazing and "Heart to Hart" (Roz's ode to her boss) is a hoot. You know Dolly was probably tickled to death to write dirty song lyrics!The direction and production design are awesome as well, and the few technical glitches were overcome with some cute ad-libbing from the actors. I'm glad to say the "pot-smoking sequence" is even more fun than in the film. While I'm not a "theater queen" per se (I've never even seen RENT, WICKED, THE PRODUCERS or HAIRSPRAY on stage) - I know a good show when I see one - and 9 TO 5 is a damn good show. If you are in LA now through October 19 - see it, or wait till it hits New York next spring. If you are anywhere else in the world, watch the film, it's still as good as it gets!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "huh?"

Seriously. WTF? Why is there a kangaroo in Beverly Hills? Why is Jed just setting there while his frail, elderly mother abuses a rare and exotic animal? Where is Jethro and Ellie May? Is the kangaroo one of her "critters"? Why is there an ad for laser eye surgery beneath this post? Am I asking too many questions? After all, it's just a coloring book cover. Or is it? Maybe it's a hoax...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Emrys Is A Friend of Mine

Tired of Christian ska? Well then check out my buddy Emrys.

His debut cd (designed by me, by the way) has just been released and it's pretty damn awesome. Emrys is a multi-talented individual (singer, songwriter, musician, etc.) who I know is gonna hit it big one day very soon. Knowing him for the past few years has enriched my world - his enthusiasm is contagious, and his unique perspective on the world and the people in it is inspiring. Plus he's pretty easy on the eyes. He's like a modern-day pied piper, and we're all his adoring rats. :) So check out his MySpace page and listen to his amazing tunes, and one day you'll be saying "I've been an Emrys fan for years!"

When Pixar Movies Collide

Hello, are you still there, darling?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Am I for Real?

Wow! I can't believe this - but the world is starting to question my very "truthiness"... and I'm loving it!
Go here and here for an "expose" about the "Sonseed" hoax(!), and me & my Photoshop skills. Wow. I guess I've arrived. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "huh?"

Ever wonder what did Sister Bertrille did when she wasn't flying around Puerto Rico, outwitting grumpy Reverend Mother Superior and being pursued sexually by creepy Latin lothario Carlos? Well it looks like she spent much time "looming"! Well, now you too can make pot holders, purses and placemats just like the perky airborn bridge of Christ played by future Emmy and Oscar winner and anti-war activist Sally Field! This kit from Habro is adjustable and fully assembled - and comes complete with a generous supply of fine jersey loops, yarn and instructions! Apparently it also comes with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices! 
She flies! She prays! She weaves! She gives Carlos "blue balls"! Gotta love her. Not to be confused with THE SINGING NUN!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dougsploitation Welcomes New "Sonseed" Fans!

Hey "Sonseed" fans- My ORIGINAL posting on Vimeo of "Jesus is a Friend of Mine" was deleted due to copyright concerns. So it is now hosted on YouTube. Meanwhile...in less than two weeks the phenom known as "Sonseed" is officially out of control. With two postings on YouTube by other fans - now thousands of people have experienced their wonder.
Scroll down for my original web premiere of "Jesus is a Friend of My Mine" as well as my theories about the band "Sonseed" and it's members, my fantasy of joining the band, my discovery of their album "First Fruit" and finally my real live EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with the lead singer Sal Polichetti.

Enjoy and stick around for other Dougsploitation items! :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "huh?"

She's a frightened young maiden pursued on a haunted moor by a wrathful wraith. Would you believe she's THAT GIRL?
Um, frankly, no. A novel based on the popular ABC-TV series starring Marlo Thomas...that sounds nothing like the series whatsoever. I guess it was a trend to take popular sitcoms like THAT GIRL or THE PATTY DUKE SHOW and force them into "mystery" type stories - I'd love to see them do crazy shit like that today. THE OFFICE: THE MYSTERY OF PAM'S ANTIQUE LOCKET  or MY NAME IS EARL AND THE CURSE OF L. RON HUBBARD'S GHOST. Could be interesting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wife Swap?

I swear this is an actual photo of my TV screen. Now we know what McCain was planning all along...

Bill Melendez 1916-2008 :(

TV tie-in merchandise that makes you say "huh?"

We're the Brady Kids known for their "brain power"? I don't think so. Then why pray tell were these "strong metal puzzles" packaged as a BRADY BUNCH product?
I used to have a few of these fun-to-solve "Brain Teasers" - but mine came in a tiny ziploc bag, not a shrink-wrapped cardboard peg hanger. Poor Mrs. Brady, she got the unfortunate position of being smack-dab in the center, so the peg would go directly through her left eye socket. Ouch! Where's Alice when you need her?

Monday, September 1, 2008


Burbank, CA - We here at Dougsploitation News have tracked down the real Sal Polichetti from "Sonseed" and have filed this exclusive report:
Doug: Hi, there Sal. I just want to start off by thanking for for talking to me...and thank you for entertaining me & my friends for the better part of 25 years!

Sal: I am totally stunned at the attention this thing has drawn. I was very amused with all the blog entries.  Absolutely hysterical!

Doug: Thanks Sal, I'm so happy to find that you have a sense of humor about  "Jesus is a Friend of Mine" and your former band, "Sonseed". I have so many questions, I hardly know where to start! 
Sal:  I would love to give you the whole "Sonseed" saga.

Doug:  Sal, you don't know how long I've wanted to hear those words! Okay, first of all, what was the name of the TV show you guys were on? I get the feeling it was some cable access show...

Sal: The name of that TV show was "The First Estate".  It used to air on WNBC (channel 4 in NY) on Sunday mornings at 11AM.  It dealt with religious issues and , yes, was multi-denominational.  The host was Dr. Russell Barber.  They had never had a musical act on before; usually priests or rabbis discussing what ever the hot topic of the day was.  They weren't quite sure how to shoot us or how it was going to work out.  By the way, we had no say about what songs were going to be taped for air.  "Jesus is a Friend of Mine"  was selected by Dr. Barber because it was different.Doug: Yes I grew up watching WNBC - I actually remember that show. There were always those weird Sunday-morning religious shows with strange names like "The First Estate" or "Lamp Unto My Feet." The titles seemed scary to me, especially "Sunday Mass for Shut-Ins" - it sounded like hostages were being held or something. I'm glad that Dr. Barber selected  "Jesus is a Friend of Mine", because not only is it the best song on the album, it's one of the few where you actually do lead vocals!

Sal: I wrote the song in about 10 minutes.  We were getting ready to record the album and I was not singing any of the songs initially selected for it.  I thought, "Damn, if I want to get to sing on this record I'd better write something".  The rock n' roll portion of the group (guitarist Frank Franco and drummer Nick Sciarra) liked the song - so I was in.

Doug: Wow. That's amazing. To think, if you didn't write "Jesus is a Friend of Mine" there would be a lot less happier people in the world! I think another outstanding track on the album is the cover of "Oh Happy Day". I am not a religious person at all, but somehow that song makes me wanna believe.

Sal: Our white-boy-R&B version of "Oh Happy Day" was not part of the original session but decided upon at the last minute.  Both vocals, by the way, ("Jesus.." and "Happy Day") one take!  Hoo-wee!

Doug: One take? I'm impressed!  Oh, before I forget - what was "Salvation Army" and "Punch & Judaism"- were they other topics coming up on "The First Estate"?Sal: Yes.  First there was an officer from the S.A. touting their accomplishments and asking for money.  "Punch and Judaism" referred to this troupe of puppeteers who used puppets dressed like Bible characters to teach moral and biblical lessons.  Sort of like "Godspell" on strings.  It was interesting but it got a little creepy after a while.
Doug: Okay, I need to know about the band. Did I match everybody's name up correctly? I know I got you, Frank and Nick correct, but what about "Sleepy" - is that guy Brother John? What about the two back up ladies? We all totally love the woman in the glasses who I called "Inez" - Is that Melody?

Sal: It sure is.  And a real sweetheart as was the other older woman Anne Lessing.  "Sleepy" was indeed Brother John.Doug: And "Groovy Guy" is ________?

Sal: Wait for it.....wait....Jim Archer.Doug: Now I can sleep at nights! So how did you all get together? Did you belong to the same church in Brooklyn? Were you guys all Catholic? With all those Italian names...Sal: Sheer coincidence.  Joseph Ciccone was the one who got us all together.  He was involved with his church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn) and was put in charge of the music for some special ceremony.  He called in all his markers and Frank, Nick, Patricia, Anne, Karen and Jimmy Archer and myself (and a few  others) met for the first time and rehearsed for this special Mass.  It went so well and we got along so well before too long we met once a week at varied locations to hang out.  Being Born Again Christians at the time there was usually a bit of praying going on.  Someone suggested we form a group (Frank, Nick, Steve and myself had been in various bands for years, so we knew what was involved) and travel to different churches playing Rock-type versions of church songs.  We would pass the hat for donations.  With about 20 members originally we weren't going to make any money, so we pooled our income to buy equipment and pay for gas.  We became pretty popular, selling out church halls and college lunch rooms all over Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.  Eventually more and more original music became part of our shows.
Doug: Was there only one album? And how long did you all stay together?

Sal: The album came about because people wanted something to take home with them after the concerts.  Joe Ciccone, who at the time was an Art Director for Dancer-Fitzgerald Ad Agency designed the album cover as well as the "Sonseed" logo (with the cross inside the heart) which we had been putting on tee-shirts for years.  I was not involved in much of the album other than playing and singing on it.  I have no idea how many were printed or sold but it must have been quite a few.  I believe I still have five or six of them un-opened.  We were together from the late 70's until around 1983.  It got to be a lot of work.  It was impossible to replace departed members as we couldn't offer any money, just prayerful support (which, as you can guess, didn't buy much even then).  It was simply too much for the few members we had left.  We booked Xavarian HS auditorium for a huge farewell concert.  We charged $1 just so we could have an idea how many people would show up.  We sold out in two hours so we added a matinee.  I do have the original VHS recording of that concert.  We really were something.Doug: I may need to borrow that VHS tape! Joe's logo is brilliant. Okay, I need to know. Do you keep in touch with any of the other band members? Do you have any idea what they are up to now? I hope they're all still around.

Sal: One, unfortunately, is not.  Our dear friend Nick Sciarra passed way around 15 years ago.  Frank Franco is now a grandpa and is a computer programmer.  He also still plays guitar in an oldies band (Reparata and the Dell Rons I believe).  Joe Ciccone left the ad game some time ago and became a Paulist priest.  Last I heard he was stationed at Clemson University.

Doug: I'm sorry to hear about Nick. What about the organist lady?

Sal: Oh yeah, and Patricia Costagliola.  We were married from 1978 to 1989 (no kids, thank God).  After Sonseed Frank, Nick and myself became Patricia's back up band as we continued for the next few years playing her original inspirational music.  Although we didn't do the "married" thing well  we always got along professionally.  Patricia recorded two albums "Walk Forward" and "Give Your Love Away" which were pretty amazing.  I can't believe she didn't "make it".  She is now a Professor at The University of Washington (Doctor Patricia Costa) and is doing well.

Doug: Wow - you married the organist! Who knew? So since "Sonseed" has disbanded you've done a lot of musical theater. I expected to see "Godspell" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" on your resume, but I actually found shows that I like - "Cabaret" and "Annie" are among my alltime faves. Are you acting full time? Are you in a new show at the moment?

Sal: Funny you mention Godspell.  From 1972 to 2000  I've been in 13 different local productions of it totalling around 150 performances.  I've done 85 shows, all locally (being a big fish in a small pond isn't so bad!).  I was John Adams in "1776", the Engineer in "Miss Saigon" and the Baker 3 different times in "Into the Woods".  I'm currently playing Charlemagne in "Pippin" which opens mid-September.  All this while working full- time for Verizon as a field tech and playing off-weekends in a 60's-50's rock band.  Yep, we manage to stay pretty busy.Doug: Is there anything you'd like to say to any old or new fans out there. You know performance artist/singer/actress Ann Magnuson once commented that your skin was "flawless".

Sal: In case anyone's interested, I'm 56 years old now.  A little heavier and a little thinner up top. But my skin is still flawless.Doug: And you still have that bad boy attitude. Are currently single?

Sal: Sorry. I met a beautiful young lady doing "Pippin" 19 years ago.  She's 14 years younger than me but let's face it; with all the gay guys hanging around the theater there wasn't much competition.  Donna and I were married in 1991 and have two lovely, talented children.

Doug: See how we gays help bring people together! I met my partner John around the same time you met your wife and we have two adorable mutts. Not married yet, though. :)

Sal: Hey, anyone that names a Russ Meyer film in their top 10 (Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill)! is OK in my book!

Doug: Just the fact that you know about Russ and Pussycat will impress a lot of my readers! Be well, and thanks so much again for being a good sport. I still can't believe that we connected!