TV Draft Round 7 – Pick 3 – Dave Selects – Downton Abbey

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Dave at https://soundday.wordpress.com/

The Brits seem to have a knack for making high-quality TV shows that stand the test of time. Max already looked at one of the funniest comedies of all-time, Fawlty Towers, and for my next pick I look at a British drama that I, like most of North America, fell in love with unexpectedly – Downton Abbey. Like Fawlty Towers, part of their secret of success was for it to not overstay its welcome, nor rush out vast quantities of inferior episodes.

When Downton Abbey first appeared (2011 in North America, a few months after its debut in the UK), there was quite a buzz about it. At the time, my sweetie and I were still a long-distance relationship and she talked about it enthusiastically every week; it had become her first “must-see” show since Friends ended, I think. But despite her great reviews and descriptions of it being believable and full of surprises, I was a bit skeptical. After all, it was basically a story about British nobility set a hundred years ago. That didn’t grab my fancy right away. Anyhow, when we ended up together, the series was midway through its run, and she wanted to keep watching, obviously. After a couple of episodes, I was not only hooked, but needed to go back to the start to find out how they arrived at their present “point B” – see what the “point A” was in effect. I’m very glad I did. It’s become one of my all-time favorite shows, and right now, she and I are trying to watch the series together again before it disappears off Netflix next week (I won’t mind buying a season or two on DVD since we likely won’t run through all six years of it before June.)

For those who somehow aren’t at least vaguely aware of the show (which might be difficult in this day and age given the media hype about the subsequent movies of it which have been made), Downton Abbey looks at one big British noble family in the early-20th Century, the Crawleys (who through the eccentricities of British protocol are also referred to as “Granthams”). I’m no expert on nobility, but to simplify, it would be fair to suggest they are like a lower-end royal family, living in a huge, stately erstwhile castle (the namesake of the show) on a huge estate, with a small village being part of their holdings. However, they’re also responsible for the upkeep of the land and village, so it’s not all a champagne and caviar carefree life for the Crawleys. The show involves the lives of their family, as well as the servants who work for them in the Abbey – a cast of cooks, maids, butlers, footmen and so on who are every bit as interesting as the landowners. And yes, it’s better than that sounds!

The Crawleys are headed by Robert, played by veteran actor Hugh Bonneville who seemed to be born for the part, a middle-aged, traditional man who is dubbed “Lord Grantham.”  He’s married to an American though, Cora, who brought a good deal of cash…and an air of comparative casualness… to the estate. They had three daughters, eldest Mary, middle Edith and youngest Sybil, who were all in their late teens or early-20s when the show began and each quite a handful for their parents in their own way. And the scene-stealer, and probably the real power in the family, Robert’s mother, termed the “Dowager”, played with some of the best lines in the entire series by superstar of the British screen, Maggie Smith.

Meanwhile, “downstairs”, the household staff is run with a stern frown and hand from Carson, the aging and ever-so traditional butler; and Mrs. Hughes, the softer and slightly more progressive head of the female staff. Under them are a host of various positions – head cook Mrs. Patmore, her assistant cooks, scullery maids, the conniving Mrs. O’Brien, the head maid and her bedroom maids, ladies’ maids, footmen and valets. Among the most interesting of them are Mr. Bates and Anna; Lord Grantham’s personal valet and the daughters maid and attendant. Bates comes in with a limp and a dignity second only to Carson…and the combination of impeccable discretion and devotion to the job paired with a murky background and a vaguely sinister air around him. Bates seems loyal to a fault but also a man you don’t want to get on the wrong side of. Robert once notes to Carson when they hear a rumor Bates had stolen silverware on another job, “I could more imagine Bates an assasin than a thief.”  He and Anna, sweet but sharing his devotion to the job, fall in love…with complications.

The show was created by Julian Fellowes, who’d won an Academy Award before for Best Screenplay for the loosely-similar themed Gosford Park. A stickler for detail, he hired a member of the Royal Family’s household staff (a historian in himself) as an advisor. As one actor, a minor character in the show pointed out “there were definitely a few times when I was told to sit differently or take my hands out of my pockets. And every meal, we’re reminded ‘You shouldn’t hold a fork this way’.” If an earl’s daughter had to know which fork and spoon to use for every course, and how to hold them precisely, so too did the Downton actors portraying them. One of the few complaints thrown at the show is that most of the staunchly Church Of England family seem somewhat anti-Catholic and the very few Black people who appear are tolerated, barely, only in a role as entertainers. As the Washington Post put it, Lord Grantham is “xenophobic…but at least historically accurate.”  There were coaches for accents, and historians deciding on accurate costumes for all, staff and nobility alike.

Fellowes’ attention to detail, as well as glorious cinematography, elegant sets and English countryside scenery, helped make the show popular. How popular? Well, in Britain, where it ran on ITV, during its third and fourth seasons, it averaged nearly 12 million viewers a week, or one in five adults in the land. Over here, despite being on PBS, it drew over five milllion a week, their biggest success since Ken Burns’ Civil War series. Since then it’s been seen in over 200 countries, sold in the millions on DVD and been a big draw for Netflix, besides launching the spinoff movies.

But the authenticity was only one of the minor selling points that make it a must-see. (The following few paragraphs do contain a few spoilers, beware if you haven’t seen the whole series.)  There were many others, many having to do with the universal themes it depicts. Fashions, slang, music, even common values change, but things like workplace backstabbing, marital discord and problematic children will always be with ut.  They might have been British, and living a century ago in either privilege (the Crawley’s and their friends) or servitude (the staff), but there was lots in their lot we can still relate to. Like the problematic kids.

Early on in the series, Lady Mary, all of 22 or 23 at the time, is seduced by a handsome Turkish ambassador visiting the estate…who happens to have the misfortune of dying whilst “with” her in her bed. A scandal like that could bring shame on the entire family and render her “un-marriageable”…so of course her jealous younger sister Edith sends off a letter spilling the beans to the dead man’s embassy. Sybil, the youngest is arguably the prettiest and definitely the kindest of the girls, but also a rebel who wants to work, vote and eventually falls for the family’s driver, a servant and worse, a common Irishman. The family has to reconcile whether their love for doing things properly – bluebloods marrying bluebloods – is more important than their love for their daughter and her spirit.

Robert and Cora have to deal with ups and downs in their marriage, and things like downsizing. So much an unwelcome catch phrase of the past couple of decades, even then it became a necessity in their household as revenue dwindles while staff numbers kept rising on the estate. The at times toxic workplace environment is all too familiar. Footmen scheme against each other, the kitchen maids waste time trying to attract the footmen who inevitably seem interested in someone else, some sneak out to smoke and gossip on the clock…change the décor and background music and it could believably be a modern hotel or office. Carson at times has to hold his nose and be pragmatic and advance less-qualified people just to quell in-house staff battles and keep the peace.

And of course, the world is changing. It was changing in 1922 just as it is in 2022. During Season 2, World War I is raging and Lord Grantham’s son-in-law and heir to the estate is in the trenches with a previously disliked footman from his estate. Then the Spanish flu wipes out people on the estate as well as in the town. Sadly, when the show first came out around 2013, many assumed pandemics were as much ancient history as the hand-cranked phonographs they listened to music in Downton with. Robert and Carson hate change and have trouble dealing with the reality of the new world, brought to their doors by newcomers like Matthew (the middle-class lawyer who ends up marrying Mary) and worse, Branson, the Irish chauffeur reluctantly brought into the family fold. Most of the female staff seem a little more pragmatic and reluctantly open to the inevitable. Even telephones are viewed with suspicion – “is this an instrument of communication or torture?” the Dowager scowls while looking at the household’s first one, noticing the young people’s fascination with it.

Speaking of which, the old Dowager had some of the most memorable lines of this or any other series of late; the master of the subtle insult and way of putting things in proportion despite her displeasure – when the man dies in Mary’s bed, she notes “it could only happen to a foreigner. No Enlgishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.”  When Cora smiles at her after one of her other comments and says “I’ll take that as a compliment,” the dowager sniffs “then I must have said it wrong.”  Little wonder she won three Emmys on her own for the Best Supporting Actress role in it.

But most importantly, it was well-written and the characters realistic. Rather like All in the Family that Paula covered this week, it was fairly written and the characters, rich and poor alike had both redeeming and negative traits…although some had more of one than the other!  And they’re full of surprises. Bates can’t stand Thomas, the footman who has tried to force him out (to make room for his own promotion) by trying to implicate him in some household thefts. The valet threatens to punch Thomas’ pearly teeth out the back of his head when he toys with a kitchen maid he has no interest in. But when another footman tries to blackmail the household and force Thomas out without any reference for the “crime” of being gay and not concealing it well enough, it’s Bates who rallies to his defence. Few saw that coming. He’d just spent time in prison for a crime he’d not committed but was set up for and feels for others who are being punished for things for which they’re not guilty, and that overrides his personal dislike for Thomas. As the years go by, we see the characters grow (except for the unfortunate ones killed off along the way – another factor in its unique success,Fellowes wasn’t afraid of rocking the boat and eliminating even popular characters…did we mention Sybil was the most popular of the daughters?) – and weather storms they face, dealing with a new world they’re not quite prepared for. Which might make them very much like us and those we know, work with and love.

A history lesson, well-written, well-acted, well-shot, and with enough cliffhangers and unexpected twists to make it a roller-coaster. No wonder the show, through its six seasons and 52 episodes, won at least 15 Emmys, was named by Elle the “best TV show” around and has resulted in two popular big screen movies so far (by the way, I saw the first, and while a perfectly nice-looking and interesting film, it was a bit pedestrian and lacked much of the intrigue of the TV series.)

A great show, and a great reminder to me that sometimes great things come in unexpected places.

Dwight Twilley Band – I’m On Fire ….Power Pop Friday

You know…I haven’t been living up to my page’s name. I’ve had very little power pop on powerpop.blog lately. I hope to solve that coming up. Here is a song I’ve always liked from the mid-seventies. Dwight Twilley is one of those artists who had great songs but only had 2 hits in his career…and this is one of them.

This is a great power pop song from 1975. It peaked at #16 in 1975 on the Billboard 100. The band was formed by Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour. I always thought Twilley should have been more popular.

This was his first single from the album Sincerely. The song was released in 1975 and it did quite well.  There was one big problem… the label he was on was Leon Russell’s Shelter Records and they were barely making it. Shelter Records could not release the album until a year after this single was out which killed the momentum of the single.

Shelter Records was formed by Leon Russell and Denny Cordell in 1969 and ran until 1981 but Leon Russell left in 1976 as it was falling apart. Tom Petty was also part of the label for a while. It seems like many power pop artists are accompained by a story similiar to this.

Dwight Twilley: We thought we were indestructible. And we were proven
wrong really quick! We had so many problems right from the get-go. The album
didn’t even come out until a year after “I’m On Fire,” and it would have gone
gold if it had come out then. They believed in it so much they were going to
release two more singles before it came out. They released the second single
and then the company went under. 

Dwight Twilley on knowing Leon Russell: “I learned a lot from Leon. We were a Tulsa-based band when we were originally signed, and Leon lived here. And we ended up being signed to his label. A lot of people thought that Leon was the driving force behind it. But we didn’t really meet Leon until after we’d had our hit single ‘I’m On Fire.’ And I guess the surprising thing was just what a kind man he was, and how generous he was. He invited us into his own home studio and had us recording in his 40-track studio. And for little kids who six months ago had only been in a 4-track studio, that was a big deal. He was very kind and super talented, and he really didn’t say much. Just by following and by example we could see some of the things that he did that were just amazing. And I think he’s a terrific talent. I’m really proud of the way that he has sustained, that he’s out there still doing it.”

I’m On Fire

Got your lady on the line
Got your name on the cover
Though your friends are ninety-nine
Honey you ain’t got no lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other

I remember the feelin’ that I could be free
Now I know it could never ever be me
‘Cause I’m on fire
Got myself on fire 

Got your joker on the table
You’ve been told from time to time
I’ll be willin’, I’ll be able
You could read between the lines

But you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other

I remember the feelin’ that I could be free
Now I know it could never ever be me
‘Cause I’m on fire
I’m-a I’m on fire

But you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover, lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other, other, other, other
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover

I’m on fire
I’m on fire (and you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover)
I’m on fire (lover, lover, lover, lover)
I’m on fire (lover, lover, lover)

TV Draft Round 7 – Pick 2 – Lisa Selects – Trailer Park Boys

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Lisa at https://tao-talk.com/

TPB1

l.-r.: Julian, Bubbles, Ricky

I know that originally I was going to write about the mixed martial arts series, Kingdom, but it had too much of a Ray Donovan vibe, so I decided to write about Trailer Park Boys, a beloved series that I haven’t watched all episodes of but have watched dozens of them. The series started out with a movie pilot first in 1999, where the boys are introduced. Between 2001 and 2018, twelve seasons were made. Set mostly in Nova Scotia, Canada with also some in New Brunswick; but to be honest it doesn’t matter what geographical location it is set at because what matters is that it is set a trailer park. There is a wealth of very cool trivia on the show at imdb. This is one piece about “the” trailer park :

The first 4 seasons were filmed in different trailer parks in Nova Scotia, Canada. The pilot was filmed in Spryfield, Nova Scotia. The first season was filmed in Sackville, the second in Dartmouth, the third in Lakeside, the fourth in Dartmouth again (in a different park than the second). For the Christmas special and season 5 and onward, they have used a park they purchased in Dartmouth.

OK, where do I begin to talk about the varied residents of the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park?It’s probably best to introduce the three main characters, Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles, best friends from way back, all of them pretty shiftless petty criminals who love to smoke weed and scheme their harebrained schemes. Around them revolves an endlessly entertaining cast of characters. You wouldn’t think life in Sunnyvale could sustain a pilot movie and twelve seasons, but the comedic genius of creator, Mike Clatterburg, and through the comedic skills of the cast, its shine has not only been sustained but rebooted for new audiences to love and laugh with when Netflix added it to the roster.

Characters
John Paul Tremblay plays Julian. Dark hair, handsome, and always carrying a glass of rum and coke with clinking ice. He often comes up with ideas that sound like they might work if he had a crew that wasn’t so bat-sh*t crazy in their various ways. Inevitably, the plan goes awry, and if he and the crew are lucky all they get out of it is caught. Several times though, Julian is sent back to prison. He knows his boys will wait for him to get things going again once he’s out. Julian is fairly unlucky in love. He’s tried a few relationships but they aren’t sustained.

Rob Wells plays Ricky. Ricky is hands-down the most outrageous and shifty one of the three guys. Ricky has a potty mouth, and I’ll admit it took me a bit to get used to his profanity. Another bit of trivia from imdb about that:

Throughout Season 1 to Season 7, including the Christmas Special, but not the movies, the word “fuck” is said a total of 1,284 times (averaging 46 times an episode). The word “shit” is said a total of 967 times (averaging 31 an episode). From all uses of the words, 74.3% of the time, it is said from Ricky.

TPB2

l.-r.: Lucy, Sarah (in the back,) Mrs. Leahy, and Trinity

Ricky is the only one of the three that has a family. His on again, off again girlfriend, Lucy, played by Lucy Decoutere, lives most of time with her friend, Sarah, played by Sarah Dunsworth, who is always trying to talk Lucy out of having anything to do with Ricky; yet the chemistry is strong between Ricky and Lucy and they always keep getting back with each other, if only for a night. Ricky and Lucy have a daughter, Trinity, played by Jeanna Harrison. Ricky adores Trinity and makes it his mission – when he’s not scheming with his buddies or in prison – to teach Trinity the ropes about life in the trailer park. The things he teaches her are wildly inappropriate for a child or anyone who hopes to lead a law-abiding lifestyle. Ricky’s dad, Ray, played by Barrie Dunn, also lives in the park. Ray is in a wheelchair and collects disability checks from the government, but at some point you begin to wonder just how disabled Ray is. Another aspect of Ricky is his educational aspiration. Ricky has only made it to Grade 6, and his dream is to go on and get his Grade 7. Finally, Ricky is a smooth talker extraordinaire. You will be amazed at the things Ricky is able to talk his way out of!

Mike Smith plays Bubbles. I think part of the reason Bubbles has the nickname he does is his thick coke bottle bottom glasses which look like big bubbles over his eyes; the glasses give the effect of blowing his eyes way out of proportion to his face through magnification. He has a particularly humorous and endearing way of talking. Bubbles lives in a garden shed in somebody’s yard and has two great passions: shopping carts and kitties. He nabs the beat up carts that have rolled into the gully from the edge of the mall parking lot. I know he fixes them up and I think he sells them back to the mall. Bubbles is a soft touch for kittens and has turned his shed into both a sanctuary and a shrine to them. Bubbles has a strict moral sense about things and often speaks the voice of reason when it comes to some of Ricky and Julian’s schemes. Even so, he can be convinced to bend a little, and when he’s in, he’s in all the way. His love for his buddies is consistent and unshakable. In a later season, we meet Bubbles’ alter ego in the form of wise-cracking and cruel ventriloquist puppet named Conky.

Now that the three “boys” and a few others are introduced, it is time to meet some of the other residents of the park.

TPB3
Randy and Mr. Jim Leahy

John Dunsworth (Sarah’s real-life dad) plays Mr. Jim Leahy. Jim is married to the owner of Sunnyvale, Mrs. Barb Leahy, played by Shelley Thompson. Jim is a “whole hog” functional alcoholic that is seldom, if-ever, sober. Jim is the manager of the trailer park, who is ever-vigilant about trying to bust the boys while they are carrying out their schemes, but is also extremely unsuccessful in doing so. They are just too wily for him. Jim is also gay. Jim’s somewhat younger lover is Randy, played by Patrick Roach. Randy has been a gigolo in the past, regardless of gender. He’s an opportunist. Randy’s trademark is white pants that ride under his big beer gut, which is always in view as Randy seldom (never?) wears a shirt. I can’t remember if Randy drinks, and it seems he’s trying to get Jim to slow down. Randy gets very sexually adventurous with Mr. Leahy. He also acts as Mr. Leahy’s joined-at-the-hip (in more ways than one!) sidekick in trying to bust the boys. When Mrs. Leahy catches on about Jim and Randy, they break up and she starts a relationship with Sam, played by Sam Tarasco. Sam is a veterinarian that can be handy to patch the boys up when they get into scrapes. Sam likes to grill out and have picnics.

TPB4

Cory and Trevor

Just when you think Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles have reached the bottom (or is it the top?) of the trailer park food chain, there is Cory, played by Cory Bowles, and Trevor, played by Michael Jackson. Cory and Trevor idolize Ricky and Julian and are on stand-by to assist in carrying out scams with them. Most of the time they don’t question their roles; yet even when something tells them it’s not a good idea, it doesn’t take much convincing to get their help.

TPB5

Tyrone and J-Roc

Aspiring rappers J-Roc, played by Jonathan Torrens and Tyrone, played by Tyrone Parsons, have their own entrepreneurial side schemes going on which are usually separate from the boys’ but sometimes they intersect.

Last but not least are law enforcement who keep getting called by Mr. Leahy, who used to be a police officer and so has somewhat of an “in” with them, to investigate the crimes the boys are involved with, but again, the boys are too slick for the law. Officer George Green, played by George Green is one; Detective Ted Johnson, played by Jim Swansburg, is another.

The format of the show is that a camera crew follows the boys around to document what living in a trailer park is like. Without going into the nitty gritty of the plots, now that you’ve met the characters you can imagine what kinds of hilarious plots they get engaged in. Although the show clearly is making fun of people who live in trailer parks, and with the folks in this show, they are definitely worthy of being made fun of, you also get to love each and every one of them.

I don’t think you can find these DVDs at your local library. They are being streamed on Netflix. You can probably find some out on YouTube. They are well-worth hunting down.

Genre: Comedy
Grade: 10
Etc.: Warning: extreme profanity; drug (weed) and crime-oriented themes; LGBTQIA+ friendly; some crazy gun play
Awards: 4 wins and 22 nominations

Warning: lots of profanity in the video

Sources:
imdb trivia
Julian, Bubbles, Ricky image
Lucy, Sarah, Mrs. Leahy, Trinity image
Randy and Mr. Leahy image

John Lennon – Isolation

Many people posted this song during the lockdown and I can see why.

I always liked the song and understood that isolation doesn’t equate to loneliness. You can be in a crowd of people and yet feel isolated or alone. You can be physically isolated from others yet still feel very much connected to others.

The bass player on this track was Klaus Voormann, who was a friend of the Beatles from their Hamburg days. He was also an artist… he is the artist who designed the cover of Revolver. Ringo Starr also lends a hand with drums on this track.

JLPOBCover.jpg

The song was released on his true debut album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in 1970. Arguably one of if not his best album. Like Paul’s debut this one was not big in production but unlike Pauls…this album was not light pop songs. You can feel John releasing his inner feelings for everyone to see on this album. Not an album to play to get a party going. You can hear John’s disillusionment with life, fame, and his three former bandmates.

This was during the time John Lennon went to see Doctor Arthur Janov in scream therapy. A way to bare his soul for his feelings like his mom that was killed when he was a teenager.

John Lennon: ‘Isolation’ and ‘Hold On John’, they’re the rough remixes. I just remixed them that night on seven-and-a-half [inches per second tape] to take them home to see what else I was going to do with them. And then I didn’t really, I didn’t even put them onto fifteen [IPS], so the quality is a bit hissy on ’em too. By the time I’d done everything, I started listening. I found out it’s better that, with ‘Instant Karma’ and other things, you remix it right away that night. I’d known that before, but never followed it through.

I usually don’t pay much attention to covers. I ignore actors turn singers but I did find a very good version of this song out there. In 2020 Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp recorded this song and Beck’s guitar work is great. Depp also does the vocals justice in this.

Isolation

People say we got it made
Don’t they know we’re so afraid
Isolation
We’re afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home
Isolation

Just a boy and a little girl
Trying to change the whole wide world
Isolation
The world is just a little town
Everybody trying to put us down
Isolation

I don’t expect you, to understand
After you caused so much pain
But then again, you’re not to blame
You’re just a human, a victim of the insane

We’re afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

TV Draft Round 7 – Pick 1 – Paula Selects – All In The Family

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Paula at http://paulalight.com

I’m extra-excited to do this write-up because not only was All in the Family one of my favorite shows way back when, but it’s also one of the few that stands the test of time. So many other shows that I enjoyed in my youth are impossible for me to watch now because they are so full of sexism and jokes that just fall flat. AITF was unique in that it took the common bigotries and stuffed them into the character of Archie Bunker so the rest of us could see how ridiculous they were. (Sadly, many of them persist regardless.) But in his way, Archie was lovable, and he did end up changing, especially after his wife Edith died and he went on to the spin-off Archie Bunker’s Place.

AITF was a sitcom created by Norman Lear. It debuted on CBS on January 12, 1971 (over 50 years ago!) and ran for nine seasons. The show was based on a British sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, and it was produced by Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin. Carroll O’Connor played the main character Archie Bunker, Jean Stapleton played his wife Edith, Sally Struthers played their daughter Gloria, and Rob Reiner played Gloria’s husband Michael Stivic. Most people will recognize the opening theme song “Those Were the Days,” which Archie and Edith warbled off-key, thus beginning each episode on a funny note. [My source for this post is Wikipedia.]

The writing touched upon many issues that had previously been avoided on network comedy: abortion, anti-Semitism, homosexuality, rape, religion, cancer, menopause, etc. Due to its bravery in tackling these topics, AITF has been regarded as one of the greatest series in history. It also went from meh Nielsen ratings in the first season to No. 1 during summer reruns and afterward. The Writers Guild of America ranked it as the fourth-best written TV series ever.

The premise of the show is that Archie, a middle-aged working-class white man in Queens, NY, has the perpetual grumps toward his family, his neighbors, and the world in general. He is narrow-minded and conservative, and he views people strictly through his prejudices and stereotypes. One of the most frequent targets of his snide asides is his son-in-law Michael, a graduate student with a Polish background. Archie calls him “Meathead,” and Michael earnestly tries to enlighten Archie about new cultural ideas resulting in much hilarity for the audience.

To save money, the Stivics live with the Bunkers, so there are plenty of opportunities for the two men to butt heads, over topics major and minor.

Gloria is often exasperated with their arguments, but since she’s a feminist, she’ll take a stand on issues relating to women’s rights. She also gets particularly incensed at the inconsiderate way Archie treats her mom. For her part, Edith tries to keep the peace in their home by ignoring Archie’s nasty comments.

Another frequent target of Archie’s snark is a family of black neighbors, the Jeffersons. George Jefferson (played by Sherman Hemsley) is hilarious in his own right and ends up successful and wealthy enough to move out of the neighborhood to a posh place. The Jeffersons is a spin-off of AITF (there are many!), with George and Louise living in a luxury building (kinda similar to the one in Only Murders!).

If you’ve never seen AITF, I highly recommend checking out a few eps. Personally, I never get tired of stumbling across a clip here or there. This is one of my favorites, and it never fails to make me laugh.

~*~

Paula Light is a poet, novelist, flash fiction fan, cupcake connoisseur, mom, grandma, cat mommy, etc. Her blog can be found at http://paulalight.com.

Triumph – Magic Power

I always liked trios and the Canadian band Triumph was a great one. I’ve come to appreciate Rik Emmett’s guitar playing more and more through the years. Whenever I post a Canadian band…I can’t help but think of my Canadian friends Dave and Deke. Deke has this review of the 40th anniversary of Allied Forces, the album this song was on. Deke also hosts a video show Scotch on the Rocks with some great authors, musicians, producers, and everyone else in between. Check it out if you can.

You know this song has some age to it when a person in the song is waiting for their favorite DJ to play their favorite song. Those days have been gone for a long time with streaming music, unfortunately…but the spirit remains. This song makes me feel 16 again listening to it.

This song was written by the band… drummer Gil Moore, bassist/keyboard Mike Levine, and guitar/singer Rik Emmett. Along with Rush and Saga, Triumph was one of the big Canadian rock bands with progressive leanings. Triumph was popular in America and Canada in the 70s and 80s. In some parts more popular than Rush.

This song was on their fifth studio album Allied Forces. The song peaked at #14 in Canada, #51 in the Billboard 100, and #8 in the Mainstream Rock Charts. The album peaked at #13 in Canada, #23 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #64 in the UK. This was the highest-charting song in the US and Canada.

Rik Emmett left the band in 1988 and it took 20 years for the trio to play again, which took place in shows in Sweden and Oklahoma in 2008. They did reunite for an invitation-only three-song reunion show in 2020, which will be featured in the documentary Triumph: Rock and Roll Machine… it was released on May 13th…I have a trailer below.

Rik Emmett: “I wrote it about myself as a 9-year-old with a transistor radio, and then I changed the pronouns to ‘she’ and ‘her.’ If there hadn’t been a John Sebastian ‘Do You Believe in Magic?’ and a Pete Townshend ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’/Who’s Next, ‘Magic Power’ might not have ever been born.

Magic Power

Something’s at the edge of your mind, you don’t know what it is
Somethin’ you were hopin’ to find but your not sure what it is
Then you hear the music and it all comes crystal clear
The music does the talkin’ says the things you want to hear

I’m young, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me
I’m young, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me

She climbs into bed, she pulls the covers overhead and she turns her little radio on
She’s had a rotten day so she hopes the DJ’s gonna play her favorite song
It makes her feel much better, brings her closer to her dreams
A little magic power makes it better that it seems

She’s young now, she’s wild now, she wants to be free
She gets the magic power of the music from me
She’s young now, she’s wild now, she wants to be free
She gets the magic power of the music from me

If you’re thinkin’ it over but you just can’t sort it out
Do you want someone to tell you what they think it’s all about
Are you the one and only who’s sad and lonely, reachin’ for the top
Well the music keeps you goin’ and it’s never gonna stop
Never gonna stop
Never gonna, never gonna, never gonna stop

The world is full of compromise, and infinite red tape
But the music’s got the magic, it’s your one chance for escape
So turn me on turn me up it’s your turn to dream
A little magic power makes it better than it seems

I’m young now, I’m wild now I want to be free
I got the magic power of the music in me
I’m young now, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me

Blackfoot – Train Train

How many grandfathers write your biggest hit song? This one was written by Shorty Medlocke and later covered by his grandson Rickey Medlocke’s band Blackfoot. Shorty was a bluegrass and Delta blues musician and played the blues harp intro on the track. This song doesn’t play around…it’s straight seventies boogie rock and comes straight at you.

On a side note…train songs. There are so many great ones. Big Train From Memphis, Love Train, Midnight Train to Georgia, Peace Train, Train In Vain, Downbound Train, Train Kept a Rollin’ and I could go on and on but I’ll stop.

Before founding Blackfoot, Rickey Medlocke was also an early member of Lynyrd Skynyrd as a second drummer. Blackfoot had a number of hit albums but proved to be more popular in Europe than in the United States. Blackfoot Strikes was their first platinum album and produced their only Top 40 hits: “Highway Song” and this one.

They named themselves Blackfoot because they decided to change their name to represent the American Indian heritage of its members. Jakson Spires had a Cheyenne/French father and a Cherokee mother. Rickey Medlocke’s father was Lakota Sioux and Blackfoot Indian, and his mother’s side is Creek/Cherokee, Scottish and Irish. Greg “Two Wolf” Walker is part of Eastern (Muskogee) Creek. Charlie Hargrett was the only one without Native American heritage in the original, classic line-up.

Train Train peaked at #38 in the Billboard 100 in 1979. While this song was in the Charts, they opened up for the Who in 1979. The album Blackfoot Strikes peaked at #42 in the Billboard Album Charts.

The group disbanded in the early 1980s but has reunited a few times since then, the second time including all the original members except Medlocke, who had rejoined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996. 

This song has been covered by hard rock band Warrant and… Dolly Parton.

They did go through different names as many bands do… Fresh Garbage, Hammer, and Free.

Charlie Hargrett (guitar player): The band found out there was another Hammer already in operation. We needed a new name quick, Since we were moving up north to start a big recording career, we thought, ok, we’ll call it ‘Free’, because we’re free now. And then All Right Now came out, and we were like, ‘Shit’. So Jakson came up with Blackfoot, because of his Native American heritage.”

Train Train

Oh, here it comes

Well, train, train, take me on out of this town
Train, train, Lord, take me on out of this town
Well, that woman I’m in love with, Lord, she’s Memphis bound

Well, leavin’ here, I’m just a raggedy hobo
Lord, I’m leaving here, I’m just a raggedy hobo
Well, that woman I’m in love with, Lord, she’s got to go

Well, goodbye pretty mama, get yourself a money man
Goodbye, pretty mama, Lord, get yourself a money man
You take that midnight train to Memphis
Lord, leave me if you can
Oh, take that midnight train to Memphis
Lord, leave me if you can
Oh, take that train, baby

Canned Heat – On The Road Again

Such an underrated band.  What made this band real to me was their live album with John Lee Hooker called Hooker ‘n Heat…it is incredible. They also represent part of the Woodstock era well. When I think of Woodstock…this song and Going Up Country come to mind.

Their appearance there raised their stock higher. They had two hit singles Going Up Country and  On The Road Again. They were both written by Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and based on old blues songs. His unusual voice came from him trying to mimic the voice of old blues singers. Wilson was not the lead singer of Canned Heat but did sing on some songs.

Wilson’s nickname, “Blind Owl,” was bestowed upon him by friend John Fahey during a road trip in 1965 from Boston to Los Angeles and was a reference to the extra-thick lenses Wilson wore.

He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the blues. Wilson and Bob Hite founded the band in 1965. Lead singer Bob “The Bear” Hite was extroverted and a terrific 300lb showman. Wilson was just the opposite. He was very intelligent, awkward, suffered from depression, and was not a prototypical rock star. He was a great guitar and harp player.

Alan Wilson and Bob Hite, 1970. : r/blues

Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite

The song peaked at #16 in the Billboard 100, #8 in the UK and #8 in Canada in 1968. This song was on Canned Heat’s album “Boogie with Canned Heat.”Alan Wilson played a tamboura on this song to get the droning effect. Wilson’s falsetto was in the style of Skip James. The song was written by Alan Wilson and Floyd Jones.

Alan Wilson died on September 3, 1970. No one knows if it was a suicide or an accidental overdose of Seconal… Later in 1981 Bob “The Bear” Hite would also die of an overdose in 1981.

The band is still touring. They have drummer Adolfo de la Parra who has been with them since the sixties as the only long term member.

On The Road Again

Well, I’m so tired of crying
But I’m out on the road again
I’m on the road again
Well, I’m so tired of crying
But I’m out on the road again
I’m on the road again
I ain’t got no woman
Just to call my special friend

You know the first time I traveled
Out in the rain and snow
In the rain and snow
You know the first time I traveled
Out in the rain and snow
In the rain and snow
I didn’t have no payroll
Not even no place to go

And my dear mother left me
When I was quite young
When I was quite young
And my dear mother left me
When I was quite young
When I was quite young
She said “Lord, have mercy
On my wicked son”

Take a hint from me, mama
Please don’t you cry no more
Don’t you cry no more
Take a hint from me, mama
Please don’t you cry no more
Don’t you cry no more
‘Cause it’s soon one morning
Down the road I’m going

But I ain’t going down
That long old lonesome road
All by myself
But I ain’t going down
That long old lonesome road
All by myself
I can’t carry you, baby
Gonna carry somebody else

Skydog – The Duane Allman Story: by Randy Poe

After re-reading Gregg Allman’s biography My Cross To Bear  I noticed this book about his brother Duane… the founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. It’s a good read and an informative book. Its forward is written by one of his friends…ZZ Top’s guitarist Billy Gibbons.

The Allman Brothers Band formed in 1969 and they lost their leader Duane Allman in 1971. They continued on to be one of the most successful American bands ever. They finally called it quits in 2014.

I saw this book about Duane and I was excited to read it. Going in… I had read Gregg’s bio, Duane’s daughter’s (Galadrielle Allman) book Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman, and One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band so I was well rounded on the Allman Brothers. Duane lived a short life but Poe seemed to find many of the musicians he played within the 60s and 70s.

Duane believed in brotherhood…not just with his brother but the band and the entire cast around them. Phil Walden was the president of Capricorn Records, The Allman Brothers record label. He would call for a meeting with the band…he really only wanted to see Duane. Duane not only brought everyone in the band but he brought the roadies also. He told Walden flatly.. .you will not talk with just me but with all of us. Walden would reply …but Duane why are the roadies in here? Duane said they were just as important as the band…without them, we can’t play. The roadies would stay. Duane’s lack of ego in his vision for the Allman Brothers Band made them who they were even after he was gone.

He created a family atmosphere with the Allman Brothers organization. Their 3rd album At Fillmore East was their breakthrough…the album cover shows the band against a brick wall. On the other side of the album shows the roadies in front of the wall also…and a picture of one roadie Twiggs Lyndon who couldn’t be there that day. Another band that shared that same philosophy was the Grateful Dead where the roadies were family. Modern businesses would be wise to take this philosophy and use it.

Duane worked with many musicians and touched their lives. Many that drifted in and out of his bands were not forgotten. The original keyboard player for the Allman Brothers was Reese Wynans until Greg joined. Duane broke it to Reese that the band didn’t need two keyboard players.

In a short time, Duane met Boz Scaggs and recommended Reese to play with him and he did. That started his successful career and he would play with many musicians in his career and was the keyboard player in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band Double Trouble.

This book doesn’t stop at Duane’s death. It follows the band all the way up to their end in 2014. In the end, he gives a good discography of Duane’s studio recordings. It’s really incredible how many sessions the man was on and he didn’t even reach the age of 25.

The book goes over why he turned Eric Clapton down on joining Derek and the Dominos. This was before the Allman Brothers had made it. He remained loyal to his band because it took him so long to find the right mix of musicians to get the sound he wanted. They didn’t have a hit until the Live At Fillmore East album was released in July of 1971. It would go gold 5 days before Duane was killed. 

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about Duane and The Allman Brothers. It is full of great information. After you read it you will want to look up all of the recordings he was on. His playing was edgy, tasteful, and like great jazz…takes you on a journey.

At the end of the book, you have to wonder how far he would have gone if he would have lived.

One passage from the book: “In September 2003 ‘Rolling Stone’ published its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, placing Duane at #2 just behind Jimi Hendrix. Gregg Allman commented that he thought it was a very wonderful gesture and said “…I thought ‘You made your mark man. You didn’t make any money, but you made your mark.”‘ Rounding out the top five were B.B. King, Eric Clapton and Robert Johnson—pretty impressive company for a kid from the South who didn’t even live to see his 25th birthday.”.

If you want to read about the Allman Brothers I would recommend these books also.

My Cross To Bear by Alan Light and Gregg Allman

One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band by Alan Paul

For a more personal view and her journey to know her dad…

Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman by Galadrielle Allman

Elmore James – Dust My Broom

I first heard about Elmore James from a Rolling Stones book…Brian Jones was a huge fan of the blues artist. The song also helped bring Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Brian Jones together to form the Stones.

On November 23, 1936, Robert Johnson was in San Antonio Texas for his debut recordings. The first song he did was “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” in two versions, his second song was “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” and his third was “Sweet Home Chicago.” Johnson is usually credited with writing all three songs. Elements of this song can be traced back to several other blues songs. In 1934 Kokomo Arnold was in the studio in Chicago. He recorded Sagefield Woman Blues at a session, which contains maybe the first mention of the phrase “Dust My Broom” in the lyrics.

Elmore recorded and released his version in 1951. On the single, the song was credited to Elmo James. The song peaked at #9 in the R&B Charts in 1952. Elmore James’s version is probably the most popular version of the song. James’ “Dust My Broom” was inducted into the Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame in 1983… it was stated that it received more votes than any other record in the first year of balloting for singles.

Artists who have covered this song include Johnny Winter, Derek Trucks, ZZ Top, Ike and Tina Turner,  Robert Jr. Lockwood, John Littlejohn, Hound Dog Taylor, Homesick James and Frank Zappa.

Bill Wyman (bass player for the Rolling Stones): “The very first time Brian heard it, he played Elmore James’ ‘Dust My Broom.’ And Brain said the earth shattered and seemed to go off its axis, it was such an important moment in his life. He just went away and just tried to learn to play like Elmore James. And he sat in with the band, the Alexis Korner band, and played ‘Dust My Broom.’

By pure chance, that day Mick and Keith and a couple of their mates who’d been trying to put a band together in Dartford – unsuccessfully – went to see the Alexis Korner show as well, after reading about it in the music press. And they saw Brian Jones sitting onstage, this little white cat, sitting onstage and doing Elmore James, and it blew them away! So that was the Stones. Elmore James was a very, very important part, and if that hadn’t happened – that moment – maybe the Rolling Stones wouldn’t be here.”

Derek Trucks: “You can remember almost every Elmore James solo by heart because he was playing songs. Nothing’s wasted. Nothing’s throwaway. It doesn’t feel like somebody’s practicing in front of you, or running scales; these are melodies that are pouring out, and those are the players that I listen to. They move me.

Dust My Broom

I’m gettin’ up soon in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom
I’m gettin’ up soon in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom
Out with the best gal I’m lovin’
Now my friends can get in my room

I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know
I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know
If I don’t find her in Mississippi
She be in East Monroe I know

And I don’t want no woman
Want every downtown man she meets
No I don’t want no woman
Want every downtown man she meets
Man, she’s a no good doney
They shouldn’t allow her on the street, yeah

I believe, I believe my time ain’t long
I believe, I believe my time ain’t long
I ain’t gonna leave my baby
And break up my happy home

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 8 – Max Selects – The Gong Show

Drinking out of a garden hose, learning math and grammar from Schoolhouse Rock, playing pong, walking on the shag carpet in our bare feet, wearing mood rings, walking through beads instead of doors, and watching the Gong Show. That is what a lot of us were up to in the 1970s as kids and adults. 

I watched this show and Dialing for Dollars on our local NBC affiliate when I was around 10 years old. Only in the seventies could this show happen. It was like amateur hour at a high school with celebrities judging the event for laughs. This show was so bad it was good. That is the heart of the show…so bad it’s good… If an act was bad…which many were the judges would bang a gong to show their dislike.

The winner would win $516.32… union scale at the time. It wasn’t about winning…it was about being in front of millions of viewers. The show ran from 1976 to 1978 and was in syndication for years and years. The show had a total of 501 episodes. 

Chuck Barris was the emcee of this grand extravaganza. Some of the acts were bad and they knew it, some really thought they were good but were bad and a very few were actually good.

A few talented people appeared on the show at different times. Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman), Steve Martin, Cheryl Lynn, Oingo Boingo, Michael Winslow, The Unknown Comic,  and more. It’s fun spotting a future star in reruns. 

The judges included  Jamie Farr, Jaye P Morgan, Arte Johnson, Rip Taylor, Phyllis Diller, and Anson Williams. Jaye P. Morgan was fired off the show near the end of the show’s run. She often attempted to strip on the show, and usually got stopped. Except for one time, when she unbuttoned her shirt and flashed everyone while the camera was on her. 

My favorite part of the show for some reason was a stagehand who would dance named Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. I also remember the popsicle twins. How the censors let the Popsicle Twins get through I don’t know… they were shown on the east coast but their segment never made it to the west coast. 

The Gong Show was finally canceled because NBC warned Barris to tone down the racy elements of the show…he never did. The popsicle twins and Jaye P Morgan’s flashing didn’t help.

In the last show, Barris played in a country band called the “Hollywood Cowboys” and sang a modified Johnny Paycheck song “Take this job and shove it” and gave NBC the finger…which they blocked out of course. 

Barris had his hand in a lot of shows. In 1965, he launched “The Dating Game,” which revolutionized TV game shows. Next came “The Newlywed Game,” “The Game Game” and a Mama Cass special, among others.

Chuck Barris, in his book, Confessions of a Dangerous MindAn Unauthorized Biography, claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA. His wife said:  “After I met Chuck, I read the book and I didn’t really place any judgment on it one way or the other. Chuck and I never talk about whether he really did it.” He would never answer when asked if it was true or not. In 2002 George Clooney directed a movie about the book.

Maxene Fabe wrote in TV Game Shows, that Barris was “the first man in America to realize how desperately ‘ordinary’ people want to be on television.” Hmmm…sounds like it holds true today with all of the reality shows that are on. 

In 1980 “The Gong Show Movie” was released and it was written, directed, and starred Chuck Barris. The TV show was revived in 2017 and 2018 for twenty episodes with Mike Myers as host.

Chuck Barris passed away in 2017 at the age of 87. 

When you think back on shows you watched when you were younger and you get a chance to watch them now…it’s usually different than you remembered…not this one. This one is exactly how I remembered.

Don Williams – I Believe In You

We are going in a different direction today…some older country from 1980. Don’s voice is just so good…he doesn’t have an exaggerated southern drawl…it’s just quality.

My friend Matt (observationblogger) posted two songs (Amanda and I Recall A Gypsy Woman) by Don Williams and it reminded me of my memories of meeting Don Williams as a pre-teen and teenager. His popularity was much more international than I ever knew at the time. This song for instance was very popular in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. During that time I thought country music was only popular in the southern US.

I was around 10-12 and I played baseball at the city ballpark. I would go there after school and practice. There were days I would just hang around and talk to people. I saw this man mowing the grass that had this old cowboy hat on. After a little while, he stopped and talked to me and asked me how I was doing. I knew the guy’s face and it came to me… I was talking to Don Williams. The reason I knew him was because of my mom’s country albums. I wasn’t into country music but some songs I did like.

I would see him off and on throughout my teenage years and he always was as nice as can be. I went to school and played baseball with his son. Don would mow the city park and the high school field. I’m not sure if he was bored or just wanted to help the community…he was a super guy either way.

This song was released as the first single and title track from Don Williams’ I Believe in You album, this became his 11th #1 on the Country chart. It also peaked at #1 in Canada on the Country Charts. It ended up being Don Williams’ only Top 40 song on the Billboard 100, the song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100, #4 in New Zealand, and #20 in Australia.

All together Williams had 21 #1 singles on the Country Charts and a total of 25 studio albums and 62 singles.

Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend were admirers of Don Williams and both covered his songs. Eric Clapton would cover Tulsa Time and take it to #30 in the Billboard 100.

I Believe In You

I don’t believe in superstars
Organic food and foreign cars
I don’t believe the price of gold
The certainty of growing old
That right is right and left is wrong
That north and south can’t get along
That east is east and west is west
And being first is always best

But I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you

Well I don’t believe that heaven waits
For only those who congregate
I like to think of God as love
He’s down below, he’s up above
He’s watching people everywhere
He knows who does and doesn’t care
And I’m an ordinary man
Sometimes I wonder who I am

But I believe in love
I believe in music
I believe in magic
And I believe in you

I know with all my certainty
What’s going on with you and me
Is a good thing
It’s true, I believe in you

I don’t believe virginity
Is as common as it used to be
In working days and sleeping nights
That black is black and white is white
That Superman and Robin Hood
Are still alive in Hollywood
That gasoline’s in short supply
The rising cost of getting by

But I believe in love
I believe in old folks
I believe in children
I believe in you

I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 7 – Mike Selects – The West Wing

The West Wing

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Mike at https://musiccitymike.net

The West Wing

Binge-watching The West Wing (1999-2005) was the best Social Studies lesson I have ever received. Episode-after-episode, I learned more about the inner workings of the US Government through the realism depicted in this series than any classroom lecture or textbook could ever have taught me. It’s been a while, and with all of the crazy politics our nation has recently seen, maybe it’s time for a revisit to see how this television series seemed to make it work better than it has been lately!

Created by the brilliant Aaron Sorkin, the show gives such a detailed look inside the working wing of the White House that you feel like you labor there along with the all-star cast. It also doesn’t take long to realize how dedicated and committed of a profession it is and why many staffers fail to survive the full four-year (let alone eight) term of their president. I know I wouldn’t buy too many tickets for concerts or baseball games since it’s a given that some foreign or domestic crisis is gonna have you working late or on the weekend.

However, giving credit where it’s due, as well-written as each episode was (especially the Sorkin ones), the true success of The West Wing came from its incredible roster of talented actors.

Marin Sheen is absolutely perfect as the much-loved President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet. Playing a Democrat, he never shows an overt partisan disdain for the “other side” that is too commonplace in Washington these days. It’s said that he was modeled somewhat after Bill Clinton who is often claimed to be our last true “moderate” in the White House. On the silly side, I also just loved how Jed would step outside onto the patio and relax with a smoke. It somehow made him seem more real. Was this inspiration for Barrack Obama who was said to have done the same?

Over the show’s seven seasons, we see the nation and the world go through all sorts of wild stuff and watch how the president and his team get into action. Voting matters were most interesting. There’s usually first the strategy for developing the solution followed by creating to the path to get the necessary votes in Congress. How the staff keeps the tabs on the later was always fascinating. Then there is the communications part where we see the influence of the communications director adeptly played by Richard Schiff who works with his lead speech writer, first played by a surprising at the time, amazing Rob Lowe, and later by an equally fine Joshua Malina. Seeing the speech writer in action reminds the viewer that some of those great presidential quotes came from someone else’s pen.

Actor John Spencer plays the chief of staff and gives insight into what is likely the most important role in the White House. Sadly, his untimely real-life death had to be worked into the storyline. He was replaced by actress Allison Janey’s character who we previously got to know in the equally important, and highly visible role of the press secretary.

And you will also love the First Family, albeit a small one, with Stockard Channing as the First Lady and Elisabeth Moss in her television debut as their daughter Zoey. The young lady gets a good share of screen time when she gets into a relationship with her dad’s aide Charlie played by the delightful Dulé Hill who would later star on the series Psych.

Since we are dealing with politics, there are of course a scandal or two as well as everyone’s favorite time of year, the elections! After making it through Bartlet’s eight years, we do see someone new get into the Oval Office, but I won’t spoil that for you. But be sure to watch for one of my favorite television scenes of all time when the unrecognized losing candidate of the Presidential Election on the morning after his loss is asked to give them his first name at Starbucks! The series then ends on the hopeful reconciliatory note whereby this member of the opposing party’s cup of coffee is followed by an offer to join the new Cabinet. If things could only be more like this today in the real D.C.

Alarm – Sixty Eight Guns

I saw The Alarm open up for someone and I think it was Dylan in the late eighties. At that time I didn’t know who they were but I liked them right away. I kept up with them after that concert. This song stood out from all the ones they did.

When they first started out…like most rock bands they were rebellious. “Sixty Eight Guns” was their battle cry, a call to arms against the establishment. This attitude was formed in their hometown of Rhyl, North Wales, where they grew up in bleak economic times and fought naysayers who saw no need for another rabble-rousing rock band.

The song was written by bass player Eddie Macdonald and lead singer Mike Peters. Many reviews at the time compared them to U2…also calling them U3 at times. The Alarm gained a huge audience by opening up for…guess who? They opened for U2 on a large 1983 tour. This song was released in 1983 and peaked a #39 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks and #17 in the UK.

In 1991 The Alarm was doing a concert and lead singer Mike Peters suddenly said “We’ve shared some great moments in time over the last ten years and tonight I would like to thank all the people who have supported me from the beginning to the end. Tonight this is my last moment with the Alarm, I’m going out in a Blaze of Glory – my hands are held up high”…… It would have been nice if he would have shared this little bit of info with his bandmates before the concert!

They did regroup occasionally and they have switched up members but have continued to release albums in the 21st century under the name The Alarm MM++.

Mike Peters: “It was about young people at that difficult age where you’re too cool for school, but not wise enough or eligible enough for adult life, So, it’s about people like that – like I was, once. We hung around on street corners, we started bands, we bought clothes, we identified with each other, and we credit these very bonded groups of individuals. And that’s how the Alarm grew.”

“It was a gang that made The Alarm special, ‘Sixty Eight Guns’ is really the description of the feeling that you could make change for yourself and make your life a better place to be in.”

Sixty Eight Guns

And now they’re trying to take my life away 
Forever young I cannot stay
Hey
On every corner I can see them there
They don’t know my name they don’t know my kind
They’re after you with their promises
(Promises of love)
They’re after you to sign your life away
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
Oh, the Sixty-eight

Living in the backstreets 
That’s our home from home
The painted walls were all we’ve ever known 
?he Guns Forever’ that’s our battle cry
It is the flag that we fly so high 
For every day they’ll try and drag us down
(Drag us down and down)
I cry with anger I have done no crime
No
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The Sixty-eight

Up on the terrace I can hear the crowd roar 
Sixty Eight Guns
And in the subway I can hear them whisper 
Sixty Eight Guns
Through all the raging glory of the years 
We never once thought of the fears 
For what we’d do when the battle cry was over . 
Nothing lasts forever is all they seem to tell you when you’re young 

(I, I do swear
To unbreak the promise
To unbreak the vow

Unbreak it)

When you’re young
Have no illusion, no disillusion

Unbreak the promise
Unbreak the vow
Uphold the promise

SIXTY EIGHT GUNS

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The sixty eight guns
Sixty eight guns
The sixty eight guns

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 6 – John Selects – The Unicorn

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by John from https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com

    A short-lived but very enjoyable show was The Unicorn, which aired 31 episodes over two seasons on CBS. Walton Goggins played Wade Felton, a widower with two daughters, 14-year-old Grace (played by Ruby Jay) and 12-year-old Natalie (played by Makenzie Moss). As the pilot opens, Wade is digging through a chest freezer, looking for an approprite dinner among the many that were prepared for them during his wife Jill’s hospitalization and death a year earlier. The house is a mess, dogs are sleeping on the counter, and the girls are sitting in the living room, watching TV and playing with their phones, saying “yes” or “no” toi whatever their father digs out of the freezer. Two of Wade’s friends, Forrest (played by Rob Corddry) and Delia (played by Michaela watkins) are watching the disorder in the Felton home and are worried about their friend, who seems to be living life on autopilot.

    They discuss this with another couple, Ben (played by Omar Miller) and Michelle (played by Maya Lynne Robinson) and come to the conclusion that Wade needs to get back out into the world and start building a social life, specifically that he needs to dating again. A fortyish widower with an established career (he’s a landscape designer), a home, and two daughters make him a “unicorn,” considered a prime catch on the dating scene, a rare established and stable man.

    Wade is reluctant at first, then on the evening he pulls the last prepared meal out of the freezer, the enormity of his situation catches up with him and leaves him practically catatonic. He agrees to complete a profile on a dating site, and when he submits it he’s bombarded with messages from women. When he tells his daughters that he intends on starting to date again, Natalie freaks out, thinking that he’s going to replace their mother. Grace calms her down, saying that their father deserves a life.

    Thus begins Wade’s saga of trying to balance being home for his girls and finding love in a dating scene that has changed significantly in the twenty years he’s been out of it, all while carrying the grief that losing his wife has brought about. At times poignant, at times hilarious, we see him deal with trouble at home, disastrous dates, his struggles with introducing himself to women he sees and would like to date, breakups, being fixed up, navigating the bar scene, and so on.

    One thing I appreciate is that, unlike a lot of sitcoms, Wade isn’t treated like an idiot by his daughters. He’s believable as their father, and they’re believable as sisters. In one episode, Grace is giefvn the lead role in her school play, Little Shop of Horrors, by a director who was simply trying to be nice because her mother had died. Wade at first tells her that if she wants to quit the play, it’s all right, not wanting to see his little girl look like a fool, but then reminds her that her mother would make her see it through. Naturally, she does a fantastic job as the female lead.

    You can find the show on the Paramount+ application and website; I purcheased it on the Amazon Prime website. That might be the only way to see it, at least until one of the classic TV stations picks the show up, if in fact they do that. Perhaps one weekend it’ll air on the “Decades Binge.” We can only hope…