Monday, November 12, 2018

Deconstructing The Beatles' White Album

Now that the huge White Album boxed set is out, everyone is trying to find ways to whittle the original 30-song double-LP to a single disk (as some people said it should have been, then and now).  If they had done so, then I think they should have also put some of the more outlandish/experimental material on a Yellow Submarine soundtrack LP, but released it in June, 1968 (to coincide with the movie).  That would have shown the logical progression of their music before they pulled back for WA.  Then put out the single-disk White Album on 11/22.  This assumes that they wouldn't mind putting instrumental cuts on the soundtrack (as with MMT), and also assumes they weren't ready to put out "You Know My Name," nor to include singles on albums (Lady Madonna/The Inner Light and Hey Jude/Revolution).  "Across the Universe" is still earmarked for some unknown purpose, and "Revolution 9" gets rejected by George Martin and Paul.

Yellow Submarine
Only a Northern Song
All Together Now
Hey Bulldog
It's All Too Much
All You Need Is Love

Pepperland (from original side 2)
Don't Pass Me By
What a Shame Mary Jane (excerpt)
Martha My Dear
Not Guilty
Why Don't We Do It in the Road?
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

Back in the U.S.S.R.
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Wild Honey Pie
Helter Skelter
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness Is a Warm Gun

Yer Blues
Everybody's Got Something to Hide...
Savoy Truffle
I'm So Tired
Good Night

Orphaned songs... are any of these your favorites?
I Will
Revolution 1
Cry Baby Cry
Rocky Raccoon
Mother Nature's Son
Sexy Sadie
Long, Long, Long
Honey Pie

Sunday, September 30, 2018

WKYC commercials, October 1, 1983

Thirty-five years ago tomorrow (October 1, 1983), NBC aired a rerun of “Saturday Night Live” with host Stevie Wonder (original airdate: May 7, 1983).  Click here for the spots that would have aired exclusively on WKYC Cleveland, at that time an NBC-owned-and-operated station.

-end of the 11pm news with a story on the Tri-C Jazz Fest (with Leon Bibb and Kevin Cokely NBC5)
-WGAR-AM John Lanigan/Walt DisneyWorld contest (with shout out to Stop ‘n Shop)... actually makes EPCOT seem futuristic, right?
-“This Is Your Life” bumper (announcer: Jay Miltner)
-WMMS Music Marathon commercial – EPIC. With Kid Leo, Matt the Cat, Denny Sanders, Jeff Kinzbach, Ed Flash Ferenc, Dia Stein. Background music includes David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance" and Duran Duran.  BTW I cannot make out the album cover Jeff is holding.
-Latchkey Kids series from Tappy Phillips on “Action 3 News”... sad, but this family must have been loaded to have a Trinitron IN THE KITCHEN.
-promo for the WKYC show “5:30” with Asa Aarons and Ann Mulligan
-end of a promo for the Michael Caine/Richard Gere film “Beyond the Limit” with announce by Jay Miltner... “Check your newspaper for feature times” – so quaint.
-end of a Columbia Records commercial for two LPs: Billy Joel’s “An Innocent Man” and Journey’s “Frontiers.”  SO much to say about this… I like the “Uncle Bill’s” tag (with the CG that comes in too early).  I don’t understand why the Journey album is being promoted – it had been released eight months earlier, and its final single was already slipping back down the charts at this point.  Conversely, Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It” was ending its one and only week at #1 on the day this aired (October 1, 1983).  It’s also interesting they say “available on records and cassettes” since these were among the last hit albums that were ALSO available on 8-track and reel-to-reel tape.  (See my blog post about pre-recorded reel tapes).  Ironically, the VERY last reel tape ever made (the Fall, 1984 compilation “Gold & Platinum”) included both “Tell Her About It” as well as the big hit from "Frontiers" ("Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” -- which is gross).
-AM Cleveland Linda Hirsch bumper
-WMJI promo (I apparently LOVED this commercial when I was little… and now I have thousands of records to get rid of. Oops.)  One gotcha: when “Billie Jean” floats down, the record is clearly sporting a “Motown Yesteryear” label, which was their branding for reissues of songs that were several years old.  Except Michael and his brothers had famously left Motown for Columbia/Epic Records, seven years before.  Boy, I really hope there were some FCC fines for that one.
-Charlie’s Angels (syndicated rerun) promo. Interesting that I only see exactly one, very brief shot of Tanya Roberts.  Well edited to Curtis Lee’s “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”
-Next, a non-local snippet from the end of a Ground Round commercial. But look at the actress on the far right – is that Charlayne Woodard, aka Sister Peg on SVU (and also Janice on the Fresh Prince, or Vonda on Roseanne)?  Also, second from right, is an actress that looks like Ann Jillian, but it’s not Ann Jillian.  Who is it?  I also included this because it seemed like The Ground Round was EVERYWHERE in the 1980s.
-Gray Drug commercial, starring the love child of Howard Hesseman and John Moschitta, Jr. – both of whom presented segments during the “Motown 25” special... which Stevie Wonder was promoting during this episode of SNL!  OMG! COINCIDENCE?!?!?!?!?!  Cute gag with the telephone at the end of this spot (which would make no sense today)
-Al Roker for the Black Media Workers of Cleveland.  Classic.
-Man on the street promo for Jim Mueller and WKYC sports… I’m guessing he left soon after and was replaced by Jim Donovan?  The shot near the beginning where he says “The Browns have made a major decision…” seems staged.  Also, the lady at the end, and the guy before her (like Donald Sutherland eating a lemon) look very familiar. Anyone know who they are?
-AM Cleveland promo with Scott Newell and several people whose names I am likely misspelling… Linda Hirsch, Alan Hurt, Judy Earnest, Jeff Peacock, Stephanie Newman, Sandra Lee Serio
-Action 3 News promo: Leon Bibb, Kevin Cokely, Paul Edmunds, John Hink
-Jack Lemmon PSA for American Liver Foundation.  Not sure if this was national or not, but it’s localized at the end.  It also looks as if someone ran into his living room with a camera and begged him to read a cue card, just as he was sitting down to dinner
-SUPER CREEPY promo for the Cleveland White Elephant Sale at the Convention Center… this still scares me when I see it

There may be a few others I left out that were regional (such as ones for Speedy Muffler and Servistar Hardware), but I thought the spots listed above would be of particular interest.  These were recorded by my Father on our first VCR (a Panasonic PV-1320), which he bought at Steve’s Video in downtown Hudson on July 16, 1983.  The space is now Dave's Cosmic Subs.  They threw in a box of Mark II brand VHS tapes, which sounds like a scam but they actually turned out to be excellent.  They also loaned us a pair of rabbit ears until Adelphia Cable came to install our Scientific Atlanta cable box.  Hence the picture quality you see (good tape + cable signal + new VCR).

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hawaii Five-O turns 50

The original Hawaii Five-O premiered on September 20, 1968.  I have only occasionally seen episodes, but the theme is, of course, embedded in everyone's minds.
But what about the great musical score by Morton Stevens?  One piece of it, titled "Call to Danger," was skillfully edited to be the music for the "CBS Special" bumper used from the 1960s through about 1990.  The piece of music is at 1:18 within this suite...

And here's the CBS special bumper; judge for yourself...

As a bonus, here's a post on Sammy Davis, Jr. covering the theme song.

Friday, September 14, 2018

WKRP in Cincinnati turns 40

WKRP hit the airwaves on September 18, 1978 (this coming Tuesday)... I have written so many posts about this show, I decided to encapsulate them all here to celebrate the premiere of one of my favorite shows on this date in 1978.

-The History of WKRP
-A guide to the DVD music changes
-WKRP theme song explained
-Outtakes from WKRP... this post also has a link to Gary Sandy (Andy Travis) looking back at the show, but it seems to have been taken down
-A classic scene featuring Pink Floyd's "Dogs" (which is excised/altered in syndication and on DVDs)
-History of MTM (Mary Tyler Moore) Productions, which produced WKRP
-A pre-fame Howard Hesseman (Johnny Fever) on The Dick Cavett Show
-Frank Bonner (Herb) in a commercial for the 1971 Toyota Corolla
-Rod Daniel directed many episodes of WKRP... here's a look at one of the films he later helmed, "Like Father, Like Son"

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Law & Order: BEFORE The Early Years

I’m not sure what I wrote this for, but it’s tidbits about the cast of “Law & Order,” and NOT the unsettling and stupid SVU.  L&O premiered on this date in 1990, so enjoy...
Michael Moriarty – who played the original DA, Ben Stone – left the show after clashing with producers and JANET RENO over possible censorship!  He became a political exile in Canada and releases jazz piano albums.
Richard Brooks (original Asst. DA) is from Cleveland!  He was let go from the show when the network said to either add women or be cancelled.  He was also the only male Asst. DA.  Previously, he played a mentally challenged man on “Hill Street Blues” who threatens the cook at a diner when she won’t give him bones for his dog.
Dann Florek – in the 1980s -- while sporting a delightful head of hair -- he played a crooked loan shark on “Hill Street Blues.”  He was let go for the same reason as Richard Brooks, but directed a few episodes of the series before landing on SVU.
Everyone knows Paul Sorvino from “Goodfellas”; he left L&O because he thought the NYC weather would wreck his singing voice.
Annie Parisse played Alexandra Borgia, one of the stunning assistants to Jack McCoy.  Her real-life sister-in-law is Sam Waterston’s daughter!  That means HER niece could look like HIS daughter!  Everyone will be suspicious!  Weirdly, she is the shortest-serving Asst. DA, and the only one to be killed on the show.
Steven Hill (Adam Schiff) was the original team leader on season one of “Mission: Impossible,” before being replaced by Peter Graves.
Jerry Orbach not only played a defense attorney on the show before joining full-time, but he also played a sleazy hitman alongside real-life weirdo Woody Allen in “Crimes & Misdemeanors.”
Vincent D’Onofrio previously played a big jerkface who gets pinned by a subway car on “Homicide.”
George Dzundza has seemingly disappeared since he left the show, for some reason.  But in 1982, he was on a short-lived but revered sitcom, "Open All Night," featuring a great cameo (halfway down this post) from David Letterman.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

TAXI turns 40 years old

One of my favorite shows, “Taxi,” debuted 40 years ago today (September 12, 1978).  The show won numerous Emmys during its 5-season run, launched several stars (Judd Hirsch, Tony Danza, Marilu Henner, Christopher Lloyd, Carol Kane, Danny DeVito) and had high ratings for seasons 1 and 2… then it got moved to a new time slot, ratings plunged, and it was canceled by ABC after season 4.  But that fall, the show was given a new lease on life at NBC, running on Thursday nights between “Cheers” and “Hill Street Blues” (billed as “The Best Night of TV on TV” in promos).  Sadly, by the spring of 1983, “Cheers” ranked 75th and “Taxi” was 73rd.  The former got renewed for a second season, but “Taxi” was dead.  Which is too bad… “Cheers” jumped in the ratings over the summer of ’83 and during season 2, ratings continued to climb.  In the fall of 1984, the Thursday night lineup added “The Cosby Show,” and ratings went through the roof.  If “Taxi” had hung on just two more years, it would have been a ratings powerhouse again... and it’s weird that this article from The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t mention that.
And here is the SNL monologue that is mentioned in the HR article, when the cast took what turned out to be premature curtain calls for the series.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Tracing old phone numbers from WMMS, 1976

Since it's Saturday night, what better activity than tracking down decades-old phone numbers? Full disclosure, we did other stuff first.

The flyer below popped up online and is likely from the mid-1970s... the Buzzard didn't have it's vulture-like look anymore, so I'm thinking maybe 1976?

I like old stories and I like math, so I decided to cross-reference all the numbers and find out which ones still worked.

Lots of prank-calling involved here.

I called one number and a lady answered, meaning it was now residential. I sternly said, "ma'am, for your own safety, it's imperative you get out of the house NOW." And she said "but I just got home!"

I called another number, and flat-out asked the current owner of the number, "did you know your number used to be the one for the Painesville Agora?" He sounded horrified. "What the heck? Oh my GOD! I am NOT hearing this." So I shouted into the phone really loud, "your phone number -- it was for a concert club. Is this loud enough?!" He asked me to stop yelling and said he was upset because he once had tickets for ABBA at the Painesville Agora, but couldn't go. "Why?" I asked. He said because he had gotten punched by a meter maid the day before the concert, and "nothing matches a black eye!"
I asked him, "so back then, since the band was new, did you say 'AB-uh' or 'AW-ba'"? He replied, "I just said TURN THAT SH-T UP!"

Yet many of the numbers are still valid and do not come with crazy make-em-up stories:

Community Information Services is now the Great Lakes Science Center

The Free Clinic number still works!

The RTA number may still go to someplace at RTA, but doesn't appear to be the main number

The Legal Aid number is now a dental clinic?

The WMMS "Business Line" is now the main iHeart phone number

The WMMS Cleveland Listener Line, CWRU Film Society, Karamu House Theatre, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) are all unchanged (though with slightly different names in the last two cases).

The Lakewood Little Theater has the same number, but is now the Beck Center for the Arts.

The Holden Arboretum is the same number but with a 440.

Everything else appears to be personal phone numbers... ironically, the one for Ticketron pops up as someone with the last name Jester!