Saturday, January 31, 2009

Know Your Crisis, Part 2

DC Comic's FINAL CRISIS finally ended this week. Thank Darkseid! What started out as a promising epic adventure turned out to be a convoluted, confusing, confluence of conundrums. In other words–what the fucking fuck?
In preparation for FINAL CRISIS, I've previously recounted all the other major DC Universe crossovers from the best to the worst-and at least I was able to explain briefly what happened in those stories.
Ask me what FINAL CRISIS was about and I can only tell you what I think happened, but I'm not really sure. But maybe I'm too stupid to understand what Grant Morrison was trying to say???
I think it was about the dead New Gods coming back to life in the form of regular folks and an Anti-Life virus infecting the human race. Along the way, Martain Manhunter gets cooked alive by an old JLA villain from the 70s named Libra, Lois Lane gets blown to bits (she gets better), the Flash known as Barry Allen returns to the land of the living and Batman gets either killed or sent back in time to become Captain Caveman.
There's also some nonsense involving a group of obnoxious Japanese heroes called Super Young Team, a "fight club" for teen age super-heroes, some drama involving the Green and Alpha Lanterns, the introduction of a mysterious new Aquaman, an ugly punked-out makeover for Mary Marvel and poor Wonder Woman's transformation into a hideous beast along with Batwoman, Catwoman and The Doom Patrol's Elasti-Girl! Whew!
Oh yeah - Darkseid's son Kalibak gets reincarnated as a tiger and has a battle with Shazam sidekick Mr. Tawny, Superman goes on an acid trip and meets about 50 other Supermen from different worlds, the Monitors stand around talking a lot and lots of important people, places and things get blown up.
Other stuff happens too, but I'm sure you're already as confused as I am. Don't even get me started on where all the tie-ins fit in. ROGUE'S REVENGE? RESIST? SUBMIT? REVELATIONS? LEGION OF 3 WORLDS? Maybe I just need to sit down and reread everything and it will all make sense. But I feel like why should I have to work so damn hard to enjoy a comic book story? Ugh!
With BLACKEST NIGHT looming on the horizon, my event fatigue is getting even stronger. What will it take to make me start loving comics again??? 
Yeah, it would take something really special–like the return of LADY COP.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday, Betty White

Damn! I totally intended to run this on Ms. White's birthday on January 17 - but I guess something suddenly came up. Well, here it is, two weeks late. Happy Birthday to our favorite old broad. Whether she's baking pies and acting all sexy on MARY TYLER MOORE or dumb and dumber on GOLDEN GIRLS-Betty is a real class act. We love her on soaps (ANOTHER WORLD, BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL) , game shows (PASSWORD), talk shows (ELLEN), even in movies (LAKE PLACID). I wish more old people would be as cool as Betty White. I wonder if Fox will ever release her short-lived, fondly-remembered 1970s THE BETTY WHITE SHOW on dvd. Well, cheers to Betty - 87 years young and still making us smile! Here a fun clip from before the election. The set up here is that Betty is John McCain's speechwriter.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The MISMATCH GAME Returns This Weekend Only

The weekend, I'll once again be the contestant wrangler for The MISMATCH GAME–A live, on-stage parody/homage to TV's Match Game! 
If you're in LA this weekend, come out and play.
METROSOURCE LA calls it "A low-tech screamer...not to be missed." 
With your host, Dennis Hensley, and an All-Star Cast.
Jack Plotnick as Paul Lynde
Ted Biaselli as Miss Piggy
Tony Tripoli as Charles Nelson Reilly
Jackie Clarke as a mystery guest
Felix Pire as Ricardo Montalban
Madeline Long as Shelley Winters
plus John Carrozza as Greg Evigan
Jack Plotnick as Paul Lynde
Tony Tripoli as Charles Nelson Reilly
Tom Lenk as Margot Kidder
Oscar Quintero as Charo
Madeline Long as Shelley Winters
plus John Carrozza as Greg Evigan
Drew Droege as Karen Black
Tom Lenk as Heidi Klum
Tony Tripoli as Charles Nelson Reilly
Nadya Ginsburg as Cher
Felix Pire as Ricardo Montalban
plus John Carrozza as Greg Evigan
For clips and more, visit:
The Renberg Theatre • 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood
(One block east of Highland, just north of Santa Monica Blvd.)
Tickets $15 • Call 323-860-7300 • By tickets online 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Friends of the Environment?

And you thought that "going green" was something new...
Here we have 5 of Hollywood's top stars and Olivia Newton-John (oh come on, you know I love Livvy, but she's no Meryl Streep!) appearing on a one hour-long network special to promote environmental concerns. Apparently Lily Tomlin was also on the show, but not even mentioned in the ad. This special aired in 1990, which is almost 20 years ago. Isn't that depressing?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday Morning Revamps

It has long been a television tradition to take a hit prime-time series and adapt it into a Saturday morning cartoon series or animated special. Through the years, I've been fascinated by this concept and have finally compiled a list of these shows. Note: I've left out shows based on comic book superheroes (BATMAN, SUPERMAN, etc.) and comic strip adventures (TARZAN) since they were based on the original source material and not the primetime TV shows. Also, shows based on films that were also TV shows (like PLANET OF THE APES for instance) and primetime animated specials based on shows THE NANNY, THE CONEHEADS and RHODA will be examined at a future date. (Though I already covered THE NANNY here.)After appearing on an an episode of CBS's NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, originally based on the Charles Addams one-panel cartoon, had two runs as animated series, the first aired on NBC from 1973-75, and in 1992 a revival aired on ABC, though this was spun-off from the theatrical film version. Inerestingly, Jackie Coogan and Ted Cassiday reprised their prime-roles of Fester and Lurch on the original version (where Jodie Foster voiced Pugsley!), while John Astin returned to voice Gomez for 1990s series! I'm 
NBC's wise-cracking alien sitcom ALF, had two animated shows, ALF (1987-89) and ALF TALES (1988-90). The second series retold classic fairy tales, kinda like SHREK from outer space.THE BIONIC SIX (1987) This syndicated had nothing to do with Steve Austin or Jamie Somers other than it's title. Jennifer Darling, who played Peggy Callahan (Mr. Goldman's assistant) on THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and THE BIONIC WOMAN voiced a villainess named  Madame-O. Imagine how cool a real Bionic cartoon show would have been!
THE BRADY KIDS - ABC (1972-74) The classic example of the primetime-to-Saturday morning format. Here the kids appear (unexplained) sans parents and Alice–but with the assistance of two pandas named Ping and Pong and a magical mynah bird named Marlon! The original cast recreated their roles-for at least the first season. Wonder Woman and Superman made guest appearances. The pilot originally aired on the amazing ABC weekly anthology series THE SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE.THE COMPLETELY MENTAL MISADVENTURES OF ED GRIMLEY - Canadian comedian Martin Short brought his SCTV and SNL character to this NBC daytime show. (1988-89). Even Count Floyd was featured!
DENNIS THE MENACE (Syndicated/CBS 1985-88) Based on Hank Ketchum's comic strip as well as the classic 1960s TV series. Dennis later was featured in a string of theatrical and TV-movies. Crabby Margaret was surely a stand-out.THE DUKES (CBS 1983) The Hazzards brought their white-trash clan to Saturday mornings via this short-lived Hanna-Barbera effort. I was never a fan of either version of this show. In  fact, I don't think I ever sat through an entire episode of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. Now, BJ AND THE BEAR was another story!EMERGENCY + FOUR - NBC's primetime hit came to Saturday mornings. Gage and Desoto took in four kids to help them save cats and put out fires. (1973-76) Unfortunately Julie London's fabulously sexy Nurse Dixie McCall was left out. Darn, she would have made a great transition to animation!
FONZ & THE HAPPY DAYS GANG - ABC's hit 1950s era becomes a time-travel adventure featuring the new character named Cupcake! Featuring the voices of Henry Winkler, Ron Howard and Donny Most. What, no Anson Williams???(1980-82). I think I was too old to watch most bad cartoons at this point. Thankfully.
THE GARY COLEMAN SHOW (NBC 1982-83) Not based on DIFF'RENT STROKES, but on a TV-movie called THE KID WITH THE BROKEN HALO - in which Gary Coleman dies-and becomes an angel. Creepy.GIDGET MAKES THE WRONG CONNECTION (ABC, 1972) was a SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE from Hanna-Barbera based on the girl surfer series of films and TV series starring Sally Field. Moondoggie still looks pretty dreamy even in cartoon form.GILLIGAN'S ISLAND returned to TV twice in animated form. First on ABC from 1974-77 as THE NEW ADVENTURES OF GILLIGAN and then on CBS from 1982-83 as GILLIGAN'S PLANET. In the first series, Gilligan had a pet monkey named Snubby and on the second show he had a pet alien named Bumper. Filmation, you guys were just sick.THE HARDY BOYS - After two MICKEY MOUSE CLUB serials in the 1950s and a failed CBS primetime pilot, ABC and Filmation brought the boy detectives to Saturday mornings from 1969-71. this time out they had a rock band. A fun ABC live-action primetime series followed in 1977-79 and a Canadian syndicated series ran in 1995. The Cartoon Network's VENTURE BROS. was surely inspired by this show.The beautiful genie named JEANNIE came to CBS in 1973-75 without her supporting cast. Instead of Tony the astronaut, her "master" this time around was a teen teen surfer named Corry (voiced by Mark Hamill). And her friend Babu was such a giant queen! ("Yapple Dapple!")
LASSIE'S RESCUE RANGERS (ABC 1973-75) followed the new adventures of the canine film and TV star. The pilot aired on THE SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE. Poor Lassie. Skip this and watch the recent film version. It's a tear-jerker.
LAVERNE & SHIRLEY IN THE ARMY came to ABC daytime in 1981-82 transforming into LAVERNE & SHIRLEY WITH THE FONZ in 1982-83 and THE MORK AND MINDY/LAVERNE & SHIRLEY/FONZ HOUR in 1982-83. Cindy Williams left this series too. Who can blame her?LOST IN SPACE returned to the airwaves via ABC in 1973 via SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE. Dr. Smith was back, but the Robinsons were a completely different family! Not to be confused by the Space Family Robinson comic book or the futuristic Disney cgi animated film MEET THE ROBINSONS . So little space, so many Robinsons.M*U*S*H was a canine-themed parody of M*A*S*H from the minds of Filmation. It aired as part of the sadly overlooked satiric  show UNCLE CROC'S BLOCK starring the late, great Charles Nelson Rielly. It ran on ABC 1975-76.
MINI-MUNSTERS was another SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE on ABC 1974. Only Grandpa Al Lewis returned. From the title it sounds like they were younger versions of the misunderstood TV family–but the screencap does not indicate that.MUPPET BABIES (CBS, 1984-92) was the hit show that started the trend of infantilizing existing characters. This was followed by FLINTSTONE KIDS, A PUP NAMED SCOOBY-DOO and a slew of other annoyingly bad ideas that populated Saturday mornings throughout the 1980s and 90s.MY FAVORITE MARTIANS ran on CBS 1973-75 with a totally different cast, but the same basic premise of the prime-time hit. I could not fin any actual artwork from this Filmation series. Instead, a fun cover of the Gold Key comic book series.
Juliet Mills, Richard Long and Kim Richards lent their voices to two SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIEs -NANNY & THE PROFESSOR (1972) and NANNY & THE PROFESSOR AND THE PHANTOM OF THE CIRCUS (1973). Phoebe Figalilly is an awesome character! Maybe the two shows will be included when the primetime show is finally released on dvd!THE ODDBALL COUPLE brought Felix and Oscar to kids TV-transformed into a cat and dog: Spiffy and Fleabag. This ran on ABC on 1975-77, after THE ODD COUPLE had ended its five-year run.THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY 2220 AD (CBS 1974-75) took the musical family into space - and Shirley Partridge was renamed Connie!!! It's like THE JETSONS if George died and Jane started a rock band.IT'S PUNKY BREWSTER (NBC 1985-89) Before her breast-reduction surgery, Soleil-Moon Frye and her friends shared animated adventures!STAR TREK (NBC 1973-75) Considered by many to be the all-time best animated series based on a prime-time show. (If not the all-time best animated series!) This effort was intelligent and featured the best Filmation animation ever. A true labor of love.TABITHA AND ADAM AND THE CLOWN FAMILY (ABC, 1972) The BEWITCHED kids are now magical teens and their parents are nowhere to be found in this SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE. This, of course led to the wickedly awful TABITHA prime-time series.And finally we have THAT GIRL IN WONDERLAND (ABC, 1973) - Yet another SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE. Marlo Thomas dreams her way into various fairy tales in this ambitious Rankin-Bass production. This I'd really love to see again!
Well - that's all I have. If there's any you recall, that i haven't touched on, just let me know! A special thanks to all the fine folks out there whose images I've borrowed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Big Post Coming

My friend and Facebook sparring partner Mike had suggested a topic for me to blog about last week. The topic is so huge, that I've spent most of the week researching it and finding images. Thanks, Mike. Here's a teaser image to hold you over for now...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rainy Days and Fridays

A perfect song for today.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Linda Blair Turns 50!!!

My friend and personal hero Linda Blair turns 50 years old today. Linda is not only one of the greatest teen actors and scream queens ever - but she is one of the most devoted and tireless animal rights activists and rescuers that you could ever imagine.
Following the success of her challenging Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning role in the horror classic THE EXORCIST (1973) and an appearance in the camp classic ARPORT 1975, Linda starred in several highly acclaimed, high-rated and controversial television films.BORN INNOCENT (1974) and SARA T. -PORTRAIT OF A TEENAGE ALCOHOLIC (1975) and SWEET HOSTAGE (1975) were among NBC's most memorable TV-movies of the decade.In 1977, Linda returned to theaters in the ill-conceived EXCORIST II: THE HERETIC, which was poorly recievied, though it earned her a Saturn Award Best Actress nomination for her performance.
In 1979, Linda won our hearts again in the cheesefest called ROLLER BOOGIE, a fun and ridiculous cult film which secured her in our hearts as a B-movie goddess. This lead to 1981's slasher epic HELL NIGHT, the 1983 women-in-prison film CHAINED HEAT and 1984's gang war yarn SAVAGE STREETS. Dozens of TV and film appearances followed. In 1990 she spoofed her EXORCIST fame character in the Leslie Nielson comedy REPOSSESSED and in 1996, Linda had a brief uncredited cameo appearance in the box office smash SCREAM.Always an animal lover, over the years, her passion for animals has grown, culminating in her establishing The Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, which helps animals in need through adoption and fostering services as well as public education on the plight of homeless and abused animals.If you are a fan of Miss Blair's work–and I know you are–the best way to wish Linda a Happy 50th is not by sending her a gift, but to send a much needed donation to the her wonderful charity. In the past year, LBWF has seen donations decline dramatically due to the strained economy. Linda has worked so hard building the Wellness Center for the animals and contributions are needed now more than ever. This week we saw the beginning of what hope and change can bring. As our new President has stated, volunteering and community service can help change our country. If you are able to volunteer with LBWF, please email them by clicking here!Also, if you live in Southern California and want to adopt a wonderful rescued pet, go here. Among the many awards Linda has won, she also recently received a City of Los Angeles Proclamation for her work with abandoned and abused animals. We love you Linda Blair, Happy Birthday!