TV Draft Round 10 – Pick 4 – Liam Selects – BoJack Horseman

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

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BoJack Horseman (2014-2020) – Netflix

BoJack Horseman is a comedy series that satirizes the vapidity of Hollywood (or “Hollywoo” as it is known in one of the show’s running gags) and the Southern California lifestyle.  But it also is a deeply human show that realistically deals with depression, substance abuse, generational trauma, and other human vulnerabilities.  Oh, and it’s also an animated series about a talking horse.

Raphael Bob-Waksberg created the show and served as showrunner (as well as a writer and voice actor) while illustrator/cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt was the show’s production designer. BoJack Horseman ran for 6 seasons with 77 episodes on Netflix and was later syndicated on Comedy Central and MTV2. Every episode opens with a fantastic title sequence set to a groovy jazz funk tune.

Let’s meet the main characters!

Main Characters

bojack

BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett) – an anthropomorphic horse, BoJack became famous and wealthy starring in a 1990s sitcom about a horse who raises three human orphan children called Horsin’ Around.  As the series begins, BoJack is living on his past success while trying to revive his career.  He suffers from depression and alcoholism and his deep bitterness has made him cantankerous. I’ll be perfectly clear here that BoJack does some despicable things and it’s a testament to the show that he still manages to be a sympathetic character.

diane

Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie) – a human writer of Vietnamese origin but raised by an adoptive Irish American family in Boston. As the show begins, Diane is hired to be a ghostwriter for BoJack’s memoir.  Despite her introversion and repulsion at BoJack’s womanizing, they become close friends. They share a bond of suffering from depression and a neglectful upbringing.  A running gag in the show is that Diane’s ringtone is the voice of various public radio personalities.

mr-peanutbutter

Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) – an optimistic and outgoing Labrador retriever who starred in a 90s sitcom that was a knockoff of Horsin’ Around. He believes this makes him BoJack’s peer and never understands why BoJack resents him.  Mr. Peanutbutter is introduced as Diane’s fiancé and they eventually marry.  His character began as kind of one-note joke of the type of person who would irritate BoJack but evolved over the course of the show into a more complex character.

todd

Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul) – a human young man who has been living as houseguest on BoJack’s couch for several years before the show begins. BoJack verbally berates Todd but secretly considers him a close friend. Todd has a quirky personality and frequently comes up with various wacky ideas (often working with Mr. Peanutbutter), and a penchant for “failing up” when these ideas succeed.  He’s also something of the conscience of the show having a way of confronting BoJack in the most disarming way. In season 3 he comes out as asexual and over the rest of the series learns what asexuality means for him.

princess-carolyn

Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) – a Persian cat who is BoJack’s agent and a former girlfriend.  Princess Carolyn represents the struggle for women to “have it all” working hard to eventually start her own agency and adopt a child.  Sedaris’ voice work is particularly notable on the show especially when she’s frequently given tongue twisters in her dialogue.

Supporting Characters

sarah-lynn

Sarah Lynn (Kristen Schaal) – a human actress who portrayed the youngest child on Horsin’ Around.  Sarah Lynn falls into the former child actor trope of seeking pop music stardom and engaging self-destructive behavior.  It’s revealed that she looked to BoJack as a father figure and was traumatized by his antisocial behavior.  When they reunite when Sarah Lynn is an adult it unfortunately leads to a codependent relationship and a downward spiral to the worst thing that BoJack does in the entire show.

herb

Herb Kazzaz (Stanley Tucci) – a human who served as the initial producer for Horsin’ Around and a friend of BoJack’s.  When Herb’s homosexuality becomes public, BoJack does not support him when the network removes Herb from his job. At the beginning of the series, Herb is dying of cancer and is reunited with BoJack and they have to deal with their troubled past.

hollyhock

Hollyhock (Aparna Nancherla) – a teenage horse who believes she is BoJack’s illegitimate child and comes to Hollywoo to have BoJack help find her mother.  BoJack grows attached to Hollyhock as one of his few living relatives but as often happens in this show, there’s trouble in their relationship.

beatrice

Beatrice Horseman (Wendie Malick) – a horse who is BoJack’s verbally abusive mother. A lot of the trauma that BoJack deals with is traced to the cruel parenting from Beatrice and his father Butterscotch (also voiced by Will Arnett).  The show depicts BoJack and Beatrice’s hostile relationship in her final years with several flashbacks to BoJack’s childhood and even to Beatrice’s life before BoJack was born.

margo-martindale

Character Actress Margo Martindale (Margo Martindale) – a real life human actor voices a criminally insane version of herself who gets involved in absurd schemes with the main characters.

Okay, I have a feeling that the description of the characters makes the show sound kind of like a bummer.  But it is also wildly funny with clever dialogue and endless sight gags.  And the characters who are animals frequently exhibit their animal characteristics in creative ways. The show also pushes the boundaries with what an animated show can do.  Some of the standout episodes include:

  • “Hank After Dark” (Series 2, episode 7) – a thinly-veiled take on Bill Cosby that involves the way that media and the entertainment industry collude to protect sexual predators.
  • “Fish Out of Water” (series 3, episode 4) – a brilliant experimental episode where BoJack attends a film festival under the ocean that is done almost entirely in pantomime with fantastic visuals.
  • “The Old Sugarman Place” (Series 4, episode 2) – BoJack visits his mother’s dilapidated family vacation home and flashbacks of Beatrice’s childhood trauma are shown.
  • “Stupid Piece of Sh*t” (Series 4, episode 6) – We hear BoJack’s inner monologue as he goes about his daily activities offering insight into his depression and self-destructive behavior.  This episode hit me hard.
  • “Free Churro” (Series 5, episode 6) – the entire episode is BoJack delivering a rambling eulogy at his mother’s funeral, and it’s powerful.
  • “A Quick One, While He’s Away” (Series 6, episode 8) – none of the main characters appear in this episode where an investigative reporter unearths BoJack’s hidden secrets by talking to various ancillary characters.
  • “The View From Halfway Down” (Series 6, episode 15) – BoJack has a near-death experience which results in a surreal, nightmare vision of meeting with several deceased family members and friends.

One more thing I have to point out is that an incredible amount of talented people who lent their voices to this show. A selection of celebrities who provided voices to one-time or recurring characters:

Patton Oswalt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Matthew Broderick, Jane Krakowski, Olivia Wilde, Ilana Glazer, J.K. Simmons, Aisha Tyler,  Maria Bamford, Adam Conover, Keith Olbermann, Wyatt Cenac, Kristin Chenoweth, Cedric Yarbrough, Ken Jeong, Keegan-Michael Key, Jason Beghe, Brandon T. Jackson, Lisa Kudrow, Abbi Jacobson, Ben Schwartz, Philip Baker Hall, Lake Bell, Andre Braugher, Angela Bassett, Stephanie Beatriz, LaKeith Stanfield, Hilary Swank, Stephen Colbert, Anjelica Huston, Chris Parnell, Fred Savage, Amy Schumer, Tatiana Maslany, Garry Marshall, Ali Wong, Liev Schreiber, Ricky Gervais, Jeffrey Wright, Mara Wilson, Lorraine Bracco, Candice Bergen, “Weird Al” Yankovic, RuPaul,  Kristen Bell, Whoopi Goldberg, Randall Park, John Leguizamo, Eva Longoria, David Sedaris, Daveed Diggs, Issa Rae, Wanda Sykes, Audra McDonald, Gabe Kaplan, Richard Lewis, Stephen Root, Samantha Bee, and Alan Arkin.

Some celebrities who provided voices to animated versions of themselves:

Naomi Watts, Wallace Shawn, Henry Winkler, Paul McCartney, Scott Wolf, Daniel Radcliffe, Lance Bass, Jessica Biel, Leonard Maltin, Zach Braff, Felicity Huffman, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Laura Linney.

If you’re interested in reading more about BoJack Horseman, I wrote a review of each season at the time they were released.

TV Draft UPDATE

Tomorrow morning we will kick off our last TV draft round! We have 8 more TV Shows coming…we all want to thank you… the readers who have made this possible and a fun experience. I also want to thank the bloggers who have reviewed all of these shows and we have covered every decade from the 1950s until now. Below are the picks that began in January and will end on July 3. Thank you… Paula, Lisa, Dave, John, Keith, Mike, Liam, Vic, Hanspostcard (who started it), and Kirk for all of the reviews below.
Round 1 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1. Doctor Who Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
2. The Sopranos Mike https://musiccitymike.net
3. Bozo’s Circus John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
4. Barney Miller Max https://powerpop.blog
5. The Wire Kirk https://slicethelife.com/
6. Police Squad Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
7. Only Murders in the Building (OMITB) Paula http://paulalight.com
Round 2
1. The Odd Couple Mike https://musiccitymike.net
2. Cartoon Town John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
3. Fawlty Towers Max https://powerpop.blog
4. Rockford Files Kirk https://slicethelife.com/
5. Mission Impossible Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6. Firefly Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
Round 3 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Hogan’s Heroes John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
2 Seinfeld Mike https://musiccitymike.net
3 Starsky & Hutch Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
4 Perry Mason Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
5 Upload Paula http://paulalight.com
6 Lovecraft Country Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
7 King Of The Hill Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
8 Adam 12 Max https://powerpop.blog
Round 4 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Breaking Bad Mike https://musiccitymike.net
2 The X-Files Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
3 Columbo Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
4 Six Feet Under Paula http://paulalight.com
5 Shameless Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
6 Friends Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
7 Monkees Max https://powerpop.blog
8 JAG John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
Round 5 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Sisters Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
2 30 Rock Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
3 One Day At A Time Paula http://paulalight.com
4 Ray Donovan Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
5 Emergency Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
6 The Andy Griffith Show Max https://powerpop.blog
7 CSI: Miami John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
8 Mad Men Mike https://musiccitymike.net
Round 6 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 The Twilight Zone Max https://powerpop.blog
2 Tell Me Your Secrets Paula http://paulalight.com
3 My Name Is Earl Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
4 Ed Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
5 Get Smart Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6 The Unicorn John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
7 The West Wing Mike https://musiccitymike.net
8 The Gong Show Max https://powerpop.blog
Round 7 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 All In The Family Paula http://paulalight.com
2 Trailer Park Boys Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
3 Downton Abbey Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
4 Life On Mars Max https://powerpop.blog
5 Burn Notice John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
6 Friday Night Lights Mike https://musiccitymike.net
7 The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
8 The Honeymooners Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
Round 8 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 New Tricks Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
2 SCTV Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
3 WKRP In Cincinnati Max https://powerpop.blog
4 The Two Ronnies John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
5 Star Trek: Voyager Mike https://musiccitymike.net
6 Siskel & Ebert Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
7 Sherlock Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
8 Curb Your Enthusiasm Paula http://paulalight.com
Round 9 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Jeopardy Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
2 Saturday Night Live Max https://powerpop.blog
3 Riverboat John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com
4 Suits Mike https://musiccitymike.net
5 The Kids In The Hall Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
6 Arrested Development Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
7 L.A. Law Paula http://paulalight.com
8 Resident Alien Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
Round 10 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Max https://powerpop.blog
2 John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com
3 Mike https://musiccitymike.net
4 Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
5 Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6 Paula http://paulalight.com
7 Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
8 Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/

TV Draft Round 9 – Pick 2 – Max Selects – Saturday Night Live

I wanted to do a more modern show other than Life On Mars…and this would qualify as it…kinda. It has been on the air since 1975… a whopping 47 years. It’s been on life support at times but has always pulled through. It’s an institution at this point. There is not enough room on a post to go over every cast. Everyone has their favorites some were extremely funny and some were extremely bad (1980 – 1981 cast) and they all make up the history of this show. 

I’m going to concentrate on the original cast and how the show became SNL. Most of you have favorite different casts…usually, the one you grew up with. 

Even if you don’t like this show or what it’s become…it was a cultural landmark and no one can deny that. It changed television forever. The show started because Johnny Carson wanted more time off. NBC had been airing reruns of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show on the weekends to fill space in their lineup. This allowed them to double-dip on profits from Carson’s outrageously popular show without spending another dime on production costs. He told NBC he would only be making four shows a week, which meant that best-of Carson shows that had been airing on Saturday nights would now need to be moved to a weeknight.

 NBC executive Herbert Schlosser sought to create a new show with an old format…a variety show to fill the slot on Saturday Night. He picked Lorne Michaels, a Canadian writer who only had a handful of credits to be the producer. Michaels started a show that was far different than Schlosser imagined but to his credit… Schlosser was behind it and pushed for it to be on the air. The first two shows were experiments but by the third show, they found the format they would keep to this day. The funny thing is…Johnny Carson never liked the show. 

Lorne Michaels made the show to appeal to baby boomers with a touch of Avant-Garde and “guerrilla-style comedy.” It was a game-changer much like All In The Family was to sitcoms. Late-night was never again a wasteland. This show helped open the doors for David Letterman and other shows to follow it. 

It started out as “Saturday Night.” The Saturday Night Live title belonged to ABC for a show hosted by Howard Cosell who was out of his league. After Cosell’s show was cancelled, ABC let Saturday Night have the “Live” part.

Who was the best cast through the years? This is a question that is debated over and over again. People argue and usually pick the cast they grew up with. I grew up in the Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo era. Personally, I always thought the original cast was the best era of the show. Yes, I thought the Murphy and Piscopo casts were very funny along with later casts that had Dana Carvey, Michael Myers, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, and many others that followed. The first five seasons had something extra that others would not and could not have. It had an underground feel that vanished after it became a pure comedy show. They had a massive amount of talent in that first class. 

John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase (though I liked his replacement better…Bill Murray), Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, and my favorite overlooked cast member Laraine Newman. They were the perfect cast for that time. 

Why do I like the original cast the most? They tried new things and went out on a limb. Some of the skits succeeded some fell flat but they were different from anything on TV at that time…and also at this time. That cast pushed the envelope and made the network executives worry. The host each week was usually under the radar actors, writers, comedians musicians, and sometimes athletes. The musical guests were mostly rarely seen performers that weren’t on tv…prime time or otherwise. Frank Zappa, Leon Redbone, The Kinks, Patti Smith, Ry Cooder, Kinky Friedman, and others. You would have more popular musicians like Paul Simon but the show gave you a great variety. 

No way would Michaels ever dream of that now…he usually gets whoever is the most popular to draw in ratings. He can no longer do what he did in the 70s because of that. He also used the complete ensemble. It was not Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, and everyone else of the early eighties. It was about building an unknown cast and all of them having a shot…not a star-driven show that gave all the best bits to the big names. He made sure the entire cast had a lead in skits and parody commercials. Dick Ebersol who followed Lorne Micheals, was famous for getting stars in the cast and the show revolving around them.

A lot of the skits are now famous… Ackroyd’s Bassomatic, the Samurai, the uncomfortable but funny Word Association with Richard Pryor, The Killer Bees, The Mr. Bill Show, Weekend Update, Roseanne Rosannadanna, Land Shark, Bag of Glass, The Wild and Crazy Guys, the Coneheads, The Lounge Singer, Mr. Mike, The Blues Brothers and many more.

The writers for the show were not in the variety show comedy vein..they were not in the current SNL vein either. The style was more aggressive, especially with Michael O’Donoghue. He was a comedy trailblazer with National Lampoon and added black humor to SNL. Other writers were Franken and Davis, Rosie Shuster, Alan Zweibel, Marilyn Miller, Anne Beatts, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, and also Ackroyd and Chase.

The original group also did some serious skits along with comedy and trips into the bizarre (See the ultra-dark “Mr. Mike”). …It separated the original from any other cast.

I like the feel of the underground the first five years had but you can only be that for so long…popularity takes over. Those first 5 years (the first four were great…the fifth very good) set the foundation that holds to this day…just without the daring and danger.

Ann Beatts was one of the original writers who saw the popularity of the show rise beyond anything she ever imagined. She knew the risk-taking traits in the show would have to end because of it. “You can only be avant-garde for so long until you become garde.”

By the 5th season (1979-1980), it was a circus grown out of proportion. The cast by that time were usually bigger stars than the guest hosts.  Everyone left after that season along with Lorne Michaels. The show went on without him until 1985 when he rejoined. It was never the same again. Sometimes it was funny and sometimes not but it was never the same experimental show it was at the start. 

What other show would introduce “Acapulco Gold” and “Orange Sunshine” to a national television audience?

SNL2.jpg

The Bassomatic…something you cannot explain with words.

The best Star Trek parody…

TV Draft Round 9 – Pick 1 – Dave Selects – Jeopardy

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

Today I’ll take “Great TV Shows” for $400. As you might have guessed the answer, and my next show to cover for this event, is Jeopardy!

Jeopardy! is a show so familiar it seems to hardly need any description. After all, it’s been around longer than many of its contestants, and longer than I (or many of the other columnists taking part here) have been. It’s been parodied on Saturday Night Live, sung about jokingly by Weird Al Yankovic and plays a part in the plot of Groundhog Day. Few and far between are those of us who’ve not at least seen part of an episode in passing somewhere along the line. Such an iconic part of the culture it’s become that even the opening theme with booming introduction – “this is JEOPARDY!” – is instantly identifiable by most. But that aside, let’s look at the show a little anyway.

Jeopardy! Is a long-running game show, in which three contestants play against each other trying to answer questions correctly to win. Or actually, answer “answers”…we’ll get to that. How long-running? It premiered in 1964, and has been running most of the time since, although in slightly different formats and shown on different providers. The current version has been running daily since 1984. Merv Griffin created it and also created the similarly-popular Wheel of Fortune which not coincidentally often runs right before or after Jeopardy! in many markets. Although he’s credited with creating it, and his name appears on the credits day after day, he credits his wife with being the one who had the basic idea.

Back around the end of 1963, he and his wife were sitting around, talking about his desire to create a game show for TV. She commented that quiz shows were popular and quite good, but there hadn’t been any since the 1958 “Game Show Scandal”, in which it was found certain contestants on the shows Dotto and Twenty-one had been given the answers so the producers could control who would win and come back, based on who they felt would be most popular with their viewers rather than their skill or even luck. The game idea was still good, but the concept had been tarnished. They wagered almost six years was enough time passed to give it another go. She then suggested the twist – why not give answers and have contestants guess the question. Merv recalled “she fired a couple of answers at me – ‘5280’ – and the question of course would be ‘how many feet in one mile?’” He liked it and quickly took the idea to NBC, who bought it sight unseen.

jeopardy early board

NBC ran it, filming in New York, weekdays from 1964 through ’75, and added a nighttime weekly version which they syndicated in 1974. All the time, Art Fleming was the host who introduced the contestants and asked the, err “answers.” It had finally run its course by summer ’75, but they resurrected it again for the ’78-79 season, again with Fleming at the helm in the Big Apple. That lasted just one season, but it didn’t stay gone too long. In 1984, a new version began, running daily (five days a week), still produced by Griffin’s company, but this time shot in L.A. and sold for syndication. It wasn’t exclusive to one network, but most local stations in the U.S. had an hour of free time to program what they wanted between the evening news and “primetime shows”, so in the vast majority of cities, (as well as in Canada), one station or another ran Jeopardy!  The basic show was still the same, but this time there was a new host – big-haired, moustached Alex Trebek, a Canadian with limited experience as a game show host but a personality that fit.

In case you’ve not seen it, the game is broken into three parts, “Jeopardy”, “Double Jeopardy” and “Final Jeopardy.” The first two take up most of the show, and consist of contestants picking mystery questions (or “answers”) from a board, which is made up of a grid of 30 boxes. There are six categories, and five question/answers in each. Each one is worth a certain value, in the first round being $200, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 and in “double Jeopardy” , you guessed it, double that amount. (If you didn’t guess it, you might not quite be Jeopardy! material.) Players who buzzed in first and gave the correct response for each won that amount of money…but if they were wrong, the amount was subtracted from their score. So it paid to be quick on the buzzer…and sure of your knowledge of the category. “Final Jeopardy” consisted of one answer all three would be given and had to answer (with the question) in 30 seconds. They could wager any or all of the amount of money they’d accrued so far in the game, and like the earlier bits, they’d win it if they were right, but lose it if wrong. Put together a run of correct answers and a bit of moxie in “Final Jeopardy” and you can do very well – James Holzhauer won a record $131127 in a 2019 episode. The game winner went home with that money, and got invited back to play the next day, whereas the second and third place finishers got a small consolation prize – typically $1000 and $2000 , which some bitterly noted didn’t pay their costs to actually go to L.A. and pay for a hotel … the show doesn’t pay expenses.

The game demands quick reflexes and a good, wide-ranging knowledge of…well, the more the better. While Art Fleming has criticized the “new” version (new as in the past 38 years), for being “dumbed down” by Hollywood, and it is true there are often some questions about pop culture, there are also still more about things like ancient history or American geography. Esquire tabulated many years of shows and found the most frequently-used categories were “Before and After”, “Literature”, “Science” , “Word Origins” and “American History” while the most-used ones for Final Jeopardy are “American Presidents” and “Word Origins.”  Readers Digest compiled the ten that seemed to be hardest for contestants, and they included “Classical Music”,and “Canadian Cities” (sample : “Residents of this Saskatchewan city are called ‘Moose Javians’” , for question “What is Moose Jaw?”) . But it wasn’t only Canadian geography the mostly-American contestants had trouble with; so too did their own American because “States that Flow Together” also made the difficult list. That one had two states, with the last letter of one being the first of the next. Somehow no one could figure out “MissourI and Illinois” for the clue “one has St. Louis, the other has East St. Louis!”  Of course, sometimes they like to have a little fun too, and at times the categories seem a little loopy – “Superb Owl” (all about owls on , yes Super Bowl week); “Songs for Your Cat,” “Hertz so Good” (about electricity)…

The show seems to hit the sweet spot between being so esoteric it requires a phD and so simple or celebrity-based anyone who watches Entertainment Tonight could run the board. Similarly, Alex Trebek hit the perfect spot as the host (for over 8000 episodes from ’84 until his death late in 2020; the final one he made aired in January ’21; until the final days of his illness he missed just one show…an April 1 edition where he traded places with Wheel of Fortune‘s Pat Sajak as an April Fool’s joke); warm and fatherly enough, with just enough self-deprecating humor to balance his occasional raised eyebrow and seeming hint of condescension when dealing with less-than-swift contestants. He won seven Emmys for it and became a household name and beloved celebrity; so much so that just who was going to replace him became headline news for months.  So far, the answer appears to be Ken Jennings, who along with Big Bang Theory-alum Mayim Bialik have hosted the vast majority of post-Trebek shows. Jennings is an obvious choice, himself being the most famous, and by some accouts, most successful contestant ever on Jeopardy! Jennings won 74-straight shows in 2004, winning over $2.5 million and later won $1 million more on a “Greatest of All Time” tournament between past big winners. (From time to time, they have special tournaments, like ones for college students and “Celebrity Jeopardy!” where stars – mainly actors, but some athletes, writers, even politicians – try to win money for charity. Takeaway from those – no wonder Stephen King can cram so many details into his novels. The man seems to know everything!)  Jennings turned his run on Jeopardy! Into several books, online and magazine columns and a rare level of celebrity based on…just being pretty darn smart!

The hype, for lack of a better word, surrounding Trebek’s unfortunate demise (losing a long battle to cancer) and picking his replacement has only helped Jeopardy! Its ratings have risen of late, with some of Trebek’s final episodes being watched by over 14 million at time or airing and many more later on streaming services; Entertainment Weekly reported this year that it currently is the most-watched “regular” TV show based on viewers watching it live…an amazing feat for a game show which through syndication doesn’t even necessarily play in every market. Maybe it’s Trebek and Ken Jennings, or maybe I hold out hope, it’s something different. At a time when everything seems to be being dumbed down from our news to our movies to our elected officials, maybe some of us are appreciating a show where it actually pays to be smart… to know a little about the Nile River or European history or great American literature.

Jeopardy! is a show I’ve enjoyed now and then since I was a kid and Trebek was young and had a huge Afro. As I got older and Trebek’s facial hair shrank, I actually found myself watching more, playing along. It was also one of the few shows my parents were both fond of too; my Mom sometimes would phone me up and ask in exasperation “did you see Final Jeopardy? How did they not know Dickens was the answer!!” or the like; when I spent about half a year living with my Dad as he got on in years, it became nearly a nightly routine for us to go down to the basement after dinner and watch Jeopardy!, trying to shout out the answers fastest. He never did well if it was about Lady Gaga or baseball, but he could rock the history and current events categories. Needless to say, I miss both my parents, and also Alex Trebek but I’m pretty glad I can still try to fit  a bit of Jeopardy! in to the routine still and learn a little something with it. Memorable contestants, every topic under the sun, learning while playing… what is “great game show” Merv?

So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead …. by David Browne

I’ve read a few books about the Dead but this one is probably the best I’ve read. I just finished re-reading it after finishing it three years ago. It is their complete history from beginning to end. The book I enjoyed the most was Deal: by Bill Kreutzmann The Deads drummer. He has some great stories and Steve Parish’s book is good also…but as far as the history…this has been the best.

This is not like reading a book about the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, or even the Allman Brothers. The Grateful Dead were totally different in the way they came about and what path they took. They were such a hippy band but along the way they turned into a corporate organization…a different kind of organization but one all the same. Their crew was known to be loud and sometimes violent along with the Hells Angels by the mid-seventies and the craziness wore off on everyone around them.

I always thought of them as this loose ensemble that just loved playing. Yes, they loved playing but they weren’t above pointing fingers when something went wrong on stage. At one point Weir and Pigpen were “fired” although accounts differ on if they really were let go. In other words, they were human… like anyone else. They did however think differently and for a bunch of hippies…they were very ambitious.

Speaking of Pigpen (Ron McKernan)… that was a wonderful thing about this book…his importance is highlighted and you see how important he was to the Grateful Dead. Jerry wasn’t the key focus when they started…it was Pigpen. Although he looked like a biker…he was described as an incredibly nice and sensitive man. He was the showman of the band and Jerry commented that he was the best musician in the band in the beginning.

The book covers their entire career and along with the way, there are many twists and turns. They cover Garcia’s slide down until his diabetic coma in 1986 when he had to re-learn how to play guitar again. Less than a year later they were back on the road and then recorded the In The Dark album.

The band never had a big hit single and now…over 20 years of being together and touring they were suddenly huge with the song Touch Of Grey. They even agreed to play the game with the record company and they made a video. They were signed to Arista Records and the record company and band were at a meeting. Garcia suddenly asked, “I don’t have to do Dick Clark, do I?” With that, the executives laughed at the thought of the Grateful Dead appearing on American Bandstand.

There were points where it looked like Garcia would beat his addictions but the threat of him going back to heroin was always there. They also cover all the members rather well…Garcia wasn’t the only one with drug problems but his problem probably affected the band the most.

If you want to learn about their history…this is a really good read.

TV Draft Round 8 – Pick 7 – Keith Selects – Sherlock

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

Sherlock

We have come to the eighth round of the Hanspostcard TV Show Draft. I have already picked Columbo and Perry Mason, and for this round I have another mystery show. I’ve noticed a few of the other participants have picked some great BBC shows, so I guess it is now my turn. For this round, I pick Sherlock.

The series ran from 2010 – 2017. Series 1 aired in 2010, Series 2 in 2012, a Christmas mini-episode ran in 2013, Series 3 ran in 2014, a special “period” show aired in 2016, and Series 4 aired in 2017. What I love about this show is the modern take on a classic character. Having Sherlock Holmes solving crimes in modern day was the draw for me and it did not disappoint.

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The Premise

The show features Sherlock Holmes, who is a “consulting detective”, along with his flatmate Dr. John Watson solving crimes in a modern-day London. He helps Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade, who at first is a bit suspicious of Sherlock. Over time, however, he realized Sherlock’s intelligence and ability to help solve various crimes and considers him an asset.

Dr. Watson documents their adventures on his personal blog and Sherlock becomes a sort of celebrity. This leads to a lot of press coverage and ordinary people and the British government seeking out Sherlock for help with cases.

The show features various crimes and villains, however, a recurring feature is the battle between Holmes and his archenemy, Jim Moriarty. Many of the stories in the series have been adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books.

Who’s Responsible?

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Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were both writers for another BBC show – Dr. Who. They were both huge fans of Sherlock Holmes. They were both no stranger to taking Victorian stories and adapting it for television. The two men spent many hours during train rides discussing creating a new series featuring Sherlock Holmes. Moffat’s wife suggested that the two begin developing the show before someone else stole the idea.

The Cast

Sherlock Holmes – Benedict Cumberbatch

Sherlock

According to Moffat and Gattis, Benedict Cumberbatch was immediately the guy they wanted to play Holmes. They had seen him perform in Atonement and thought he was perfect. A producer said that he was the only one they actually saw for the role. According to one article: “The part is modelled as a charismatic secondary psychopath or “High functioning sociopath” as Sherlock self-describes, unlike Doyle’s rendering as a primary psychopath, thereby allowing more opportunity or ambiguity for traits of empathy.” Cumberbatch told the Guardian, “There’s a great charge you get from playing him, because of the volume of words in your head and the speed of thought—you really have to make your connections incredibly fast. He is one step ahead of the audience and of anyone around him with normal intellect. They can’t quite fathom where his leaps are taking him.”

Dr. John Watson – Martin Freeman

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Actor Matt Smith was originally the actor Moffat and Gattis had in mind to play Watson, but there was something about him, the chemistry with Cumberbatch, and the way he played the character that they didn’t like (They would eventually cast him in Dr. Who). Eventually, Martin Freeman won the role. Moffat says of Freeman, (he is) “the sort of opposite of Benedict in everything except the amount of talent… Martin finds a sort of poetry in the ordinary man. I love the fastidious realism of everything he does.” Freeman, when considering his character, says he is “a ‘moral compass’ for Sherlock, who does not always consider the morality and ethics of his actions.

Detective Inspector Lestrade – Rupert Graves

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According to Moffat and Gattis, many auditioned for the role, but they all seemed to have a comedic take on the role. The creators liked Graves’ approach to it and he was cast. There is some great interplay between Lestrade and Holmes throughout the series. He works for Scotland Yard.

Jim Moriarty – Andrew Scott

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Scott is fantastic as Moriarty! Moffat said, “We knew what we wanted to do with Moriarty from the very beginning. Moriarty is usually a rather dull, rather posh villain so we thought someone who was genuinely properly frightening. Someone who’s an absolute psycho.” They certainly achieved this. There were times I was genuinely freaked out by his performance! The creators never intended to have a “confrontation” scene between Holmes and Moriarty, but then they saw Scott’s audition and they knew that they HAD to!

Other Cast Members

Amanda Abbington – Mary (Morstan) Watson

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At the time of the series, Amanda Abbington was Martin Freeman’s real life partner. She was cast to play John Watson’s girlfriend/wife.

Mrs. HudsonUna Stubbs

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Mrs. Hudson is Holmes’ and Watson’s landlady. She brings a wonderful bit of comedic dialog to every interaction and scene. Interesting story – Una has known Benedict Cumberbatch since he was 4 years old and she has worked with his mother!

Molly HooperLouise Brealey

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Molly Hooper works at a morgue at a London hospital. She also has an apparent crush on Sherlock. Because of her work position and crush on him, Sherlock frequently exploits her to let him examine or perform experiments on victims’ bodies. In the first episode of the series she allows him to hit a corpse with a riding crop to see how it might bruise in post mortum.

Mycroft Holmes – Mark Gattis

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(SPOILER ALERT) When Mycroft first appears in the series, you really have no idea who he is. He is this mysterious man who tries to get Watson to spy on Sherlock for him. You only learn later on that he is Sherlock’s brother. Mycroft is even more skilled at deduction, correcting Sherlock on occasion and beating him in deduction exercises, as well as lacking enthusiasm for “legwork”. His intellect is borderline superhuman. The sibling rivalry between the two lead to some very good scenes.

Sally Donovan & Phillip Anderson – Vinette Robinson & Jonathan Aris

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Srgt. Sally Donovan often works with Lestrade on cases. She resents Sherlock’s presence at crime scenes and treats him with extreme disrespect and rudeness, cruelly calling him a “freak” to his face, and warns Watson that Sherlock is a psychopath who will one day get bored of catching killers and become one himself.

Phillip Anderson is originally a member of the Metropolitan Police’s Forensic Services. From the series opening, it is clear that Anderson and Sherlock have history of mutual dislike with Sherlock repeatedly humiliating Anderson and Anderson refusing to assist him at crime scenes.

Why I Picked It

Growing up, I had read a few of the Sherlock Holmes books. I has seen Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in movies, and certainly heard many old time radio shows featuring Holmes and Watson. I was intrigued to see just how Sherlock would play out in modern times.

I began to watch the first episode and all it took was the first meeting of Sherlock and Watson, and I was hooked. The way Sherlock is able to tick off things about Watson after just a couple minutes was awesome. Here is that scene:

Pardon me while I sort of digress for a moment.

One of the shows I considered picking in the draft was House, M.D. starring Hugh Laurie. I had heard it said that House was based on Sherlock Holmes. House would often make brilliant deductions about the his patients, and often was able to rattle off things about people because of his keen sense of observation – just like Sherlock Holmes. When I began to watch Sherlock, I immediately noticed just how much the two were alike.

The two characters are very similar. Check out the following links:

https://screenrant.com/house-ways-similar-sherlock-holmes/

https://screenrant.com/house-show-sherlock-holmes-comparison-similarities/

Now, back to why I picked it. I love a good mystery, obviously. I was fascinated by the way Sherlock worked and how he figured things out. Sherlock is a bit different that my earlier picks of Columbo and Perry Mason. I loved watching him sort through all the things that helped get him to the final conclusion.

I love good characters. This show is full of them. There are times I laugh out loud at some of the interactions. One of my favorite exchanges between Sherlock and Lestrade happens in the first episode. Sherlock, Watson and Lestrade are in a room and Sherlock yells, “Shut up!” Lestrade answers back, “I didn’t say anything.” Sherlock adds quickly, “You were thinking. It’s annoying!”

Holmes and Watson are the perfect team. They play well off each other. The same holds true for Cumberbatch and Freeman. Their chemistry is magical. I remember seeing the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and thinking they had good chemistry, but Cumberbatch and Freeman’s chemistry is far superior.

In between Series 3 & 4, Sherlock aired a special on New Years Day of 2016. The Abominable Bride was set in Victorian London. Set in the time of the original books, it takes Sherlock out of the modern day and places him back where we all know him from. Moffat stated that “The special is its own thing. We wouldn’t have done the story we’re doing, and the way we’re doing it, if we didn’t have this special. It’s not part of the run of three episodes. So we had this to do it … It’s kind of in its own little bubble.”

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The special won an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards. If you only watch one episode – I’d suggest this one.

The final episode of Sherlock aired in 2017. Steven Moffat stated that He and Mark Gattis had fifth series plotted out, but weren’t ready to fully produce it. Whether or not a new series of shows will come to fruition is still up in the air.

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When Benedict Cumberbatch was asked about whether or not Sherlock would make more episodes, he said, “I’m the worst person to ask because my slate’s pretty, pretty full at the moment, as is Martin’s and all the other key players involved. So, who knows? Maybe one day, if the script’s right. And I say ‘the script,’ maybe it could be a film rather than the series. Who knows?” 

Sherlock is a multi award winning show full of mystery, adventure, comedy, and fun. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it.

The game is on!!

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TV Draft Round 8 – Pick 6 – Liam Selects – Siskel & Ebert

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

  • Opening Soon at a Theater Near You (1975–1977) – WTTW, Chicago
  • Sneak Previews (1977–1982) – PBS
  • At the Movies (1982–1986) – Syndication
  • Siskel & Ebert & the Movies (1986–1999) – Syndication

In 1975, WTTW-TV (the local PBS outlet for Chicago) brought together two film critics, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert for a movie review show called Opening Soon at a Theater Near You. Siskel wrote film reviews for the Chicago Tribune starting in 1969 while Ebert began his career as a film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967.  In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to receive a Pulitzer Prize.  This was a time when there was a heated rivalry between the two Chicago newspapers, and members of the small field of film criticism, there was a professional rivalry between Siskel and Ebert as well, bordering on animosity.

The show started off roughly as each critic attempted to assert their personality and get one over on their opponent (not to mention that neither one had much experience in front of a camera).  Over time they gradually eased up and started having more of a conversation about the movies.   Working together proved to be more effective inspiring one another with insights.  Siskel and Ebert started to become friends in real life as well. Despite all of this, some of the best TV drama came when they disagreed and argued about a movie, but always with respect for their opponent as an individual.

After two seasons on WTTW, the show was retooled as Sneak Previews and broadcast nationally on PBS.  The pair left PBS in 1982 for a syndicated show produced by Tribune Entertainment called At the Movies.  In 1986, after a contract dispute, they created another syndicated show called Siskel & Ebert & the Movies (later shortened to Siskel & Ebert) produced by Walt Disney television. All the shows shared some common characteristics, reviewing a handful of new releases in each episode, with special episodes focusing on the Oscars, Siskel & Ebert’s best movies of the year, and a deep focus on the work of an individual artists.  The shows ended with a roundup of the movies discussed with Siskel & Ebert each giving a thumbs up or thumbs down for each movie.  “Two thumbs up” became a coveted phrase for movie promoters to include in their advertisements.

It’s unfortunate that the whole thumbs up/thumbs down thing became such a cultural touchstone, because Siskel & Ebert offered a much deeper appraisal of movies than that shorthand could ever offer.  I found a website called Siskel & Ebert Movie Reviews where full episodes of the show have been uploaded.  Watching some shows reminds me how deep they would go into their discussion of the films as well as sharing extended clips of the movies.  It seems a foreign concept today when everyone is so worried about “spoilers,” but I remember going to the movies back in the 1980s knowing a whole lot about what I was going to see thanks to Siskel & Ebert, and it helped me enjoy the movies more.

Siskel & Ebert essentially democratized film criticism.  When the show started in the 1970s, it was a time when foreign films were getting screened regularly in the U.S. for the first time, and older American movies were getting rereleased.  Siskel & Ebert loved “highbrow” art movies, and promoted them on their show but never in a snooty manner.  Instead they made these films more accessible to wider audiences.  In the 1980s, home video made even more movies more widely available and the always included home media releases in their shows as well.  The duo could also find great entertainment in “lowbrow” Hollywood movies and weren’t afraid to say what they liked and why they were still great movies.  Of course, they also didn’t hold back on bad movies, and covered them in features like “Dog of the Week” with Spot the Wonder Dog barking an introduction.

Gene Siskel died of a brain tumor in 1999.  A private man he did not share the extent of his illness outside his family so his sudden death took his partner Roger Ebert off guard.  Ebert continued the show with rotating guest hosts for a time before partnering up with Richard Roeper from 2000 to 2008.  Ebert was struck with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands in 2002 and in 2006 had his lower jaw surgically removed.  Always contrary to Siskel, Ebert was open to sharing his health problems with the public, particularly in the intimate documentary movie Life Itself.  Unable to speak, Ebert continued to review movies in print, publishing them on his website RogerEbert.com until his death in 2013.

TV Draft Round 8 – Pick 3 – Max Selects – WKRP In Cincinnatti

***I have a bonus below the videos…an interview I did with a real DJ…Keith Allen (who is in our draft) about WKRP.***

I was 11 when this show aired. It was one of the shows from the late 70s that I wouldn’t miss.

This show was not like the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bob Newhart, or All In The Family. Those are great shows…some of the best ever sitcoms…but they were aimed more at adults while this one I always felt was largely aimed at teenagers. The show aired from 1978 to 1982. Rock and Roll on a sitcom was not common at that time at all. It was the hippest show on television in primetime.

WKRP in Cincinnati” was produced by MTM – the studio Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker built that produces shows such as The Bob Newhart Show, Mary Tyler Moore Show, Phyllis, The White Shadow, Rhoda, and many others.

The episode I remember the most having an effect on me was about the horrible event in 1979 when eleven people were killed at a Who concert in Cincinnati’s Riverfront Park. The show handled the tragic situation very well.

42 years ago, 'WKRP in Cincinnati' made its debut

The plot…to make it short was about a Program Director (Andy Travis) who had a perfect record in turning bad radio stations around joins the staff at WKRP. The station is at the bottom of the ratings and he wants to change the format to Rock from Laurence Welk type music which is met with trepidation from the oddball staff. Actual radio DJs were excited because they loved that the show portrayed sides of the industry you never see. They were such big fans that they would send in bumper stickers, posters, and other items that were used to decorate the walls in the TV radio station studio. Howard Hesseman who played Dr. Johnny Fever was a DJ in the 60s in San Francisco.

The show would feature new rock music as well as old. Blondie gave the show one of their gold records in appreciation because the show played “Heart of Glass” and helped to make it number 1.

When you watch the reruns…they don’t look as clear as some of the other shows of the era. Unlike Cheers, The Bob Newhart Show, Mary Tyler Moore, or M*A*S*H… WKRP was shot on videotape instead of film. That’s why WKRP reruns are murky, instead of the pristine clarity of filmed shows

The show also caught radio before it started the change. The change was giant companies buying radio stations and having them pre-program shows without local flavor. It was beginning during the show’s run. Slowly but surely the radio would be taken over by monopolies and we would lose some of the attachments we had to local DJ’s… MTV came and made the divide wider. 

Close to 10 years after WKRP in Cincinnati had left the air, The New WKRP in Cincinnati premiered in 1991. Rejoining the cast was Gordon Jump (Arthur Carlson), Richard Sanders (Les Nessman), Howard Hesseman (Dr. Johnny Fever), and Frank Bonner (Herb Tarlek). Both Tim Reid and Loni Anderson made guest appearances but Jan Smithers and Gary Sandy decided to skip it.

Before I end I must mention an iconic episode that is always remembered. The Turkeys Away episode. Forty live turkeys were dropped from a helicopter onto an unsuspecting Cincinnati shopping mall below. In what was supposed to be a Thanksgiving giveaway promotion, the station’s manager… Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson….decided to drop live turkeys from a helicopter.

At the end, Mr. Carlson says the phrase that elevates the episode to a classic. “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”

How close was WKRP to real stations? See below the videos…

The extended theme song by Steve Carlisle Wkrp In Cincinnati peaked at #65 on the Billboard 100 in 1979.

The Cast

Jan Smithers – PowerPop… An Eclectic Collection of Pop Culture

Bailey Quarters – Jan Smithers – A shy soft-spoken lady in charge of billing and station traffic soon worked herself up to an on-air personality and other duties. She and Jennifer on the show were a bit like Mary Ann and Ginger on Gilligans Island…my pick is Miss Quarters any day of the week!

WKRP In Cincinnati: Andy Travis -- Leadership Lessons

Andy Travis – Gary Sandy –Andy comes to the station as the new Program Director to turn the station around and finds the station’s employees…are like from the Island of Misfit Toys. He finds their strengths and tries to make it work. His character was based on real-life Program Director Mikel Herrington.

WKRP in Cincinnati - Johnny Fever Speaks His Mind on the Air - YouTube

Dr. Johnny Fever – Howard Hesseman – Fun Fact…David Cassidy was offered this role but turned it down.  The role ultimately went to Howard Hesseman, but only after he was invited to read for Herb Tarlek’s character and flatly refused to read anything but Johnny.

Johnny had been around for a while and was fired off a Los Angeles radio station for saying booger on air. He was probably my favorite character…next to Bailey…on the show when I first watched. Dr. Johnny Fever was based on real DJ “Skinny” Bobby Harper.

WKRP in Cincinnati: Cincinnati Tech – T-Shirts On Screen

Venus Flytrap – Tim Reid – Venus was the night DJ and was one of the smoothest DJ’s ever…Venus wears 70’s type flashy clothes and in the series eventually becomes Assistant Program Director. Venus was the coolest character on the show.

Super 70s Sports on Twitter: "Herb Tarlek was so far ahead of his time that  his legal address was “The Vanguard of Fashion.” https://t.co/a4vKnVUH6b" /  Twitter

Herb Tarlek –  Frank Bonner – Herb was a salesman and dressed very tacky and loud. He hits on Jennifer at every opportunity, despite being married… but gets turned down constantly.

Loni Anderson as Jennifer Marlowe in WKRP in Cincinnati 1978 to 1982 (AIC)  : r/Celebhub

Jennifer Marlowe – Loni Anderson – She was Ginger to Bailey’s Mary Ann. Mr. Carlson’s receptionist…she was the highest-paid employee at the station even though refusing to do most things that receptionists are required to do. She was very intelligent though and Anderson demanded that before taking the role.

T.V. Boss Hall of Fame - Arthur P. Carlson — Dan Saraceni

Arthur Carlson –  Gordon Jump – The lovable but ineffective station manager who is the son of the station’s owner. He never wanted to know what was going on…, but when he tries to be hands-on…it leads to disastrous results (see Turkey’s Away episode)

Les Nessman - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

Les Nessman – Richard Sanders – The incompetent News Director…Les was obsessed with the region’s hog farming industry…constantly mispronounced names… ignored obvious news stories for Hog Reports…but he would win the Silver Sow Award and The Buckeye Newshawk Award. He also had an invisible office with invisible walls that the station could not afford to build.

I interviewed a DJ…and he is Keith Allen who is in the TV Draft. I asked him

  1. WKRP, what about it is realistic and what is not?

    LOL – DJ’s and other radio people get asked this a lot! I guess it depends on who you ask. Here are my thoughts –

    Are there sales people like Herb?  Yes.  Are they as annoying?  Yes!

    Are all news people like Les?  No, but there are plenty other folks in the biz like him.

    Do all stations have a sexy secretary/receptionist?  Some of the stations I worked at did.

    Are all General Managers like Mr. Carlson?  No, some are actually quite bright and know their stuff.

    Do DJ’s usually give their program directors (like Andy) a headache?  Yes.  Very much so!

    Do Programmers and General Managers often not see eye to eye on what’s going on with the station?  Many times this is true.

    Can you get fired for saying “booger” on the air?  I don’t think so.  We spent an entire morning talking about how those green raisins look like boogers and we weren’t fired.

    Do many DJ’s have big egos like Venus and weird idiosyncrasies like Johnny?  Yes, and you know it almost immediately when you meet them.

    In many ways, WKRP is very realistic and while radio people probably find the show funnier than the average viewer, we also find one thing particularly annoying – the DJ’s don’t wear headphones in the studio.  When a DJ turns on the microphone, the speakers in the studio shut off so there is no feedback.  The DJ can hear the music and his/her voice in the headphones, so they know when to stop talking.  These guys never seem to have headphones on and it has always bothered me.

    They also seem to have the uncanny ability to throw a record on the turntable and have the song cued up immediately.  I never had to spin vinyl until I moved to the west side of the state.  I can tell you, you have to put the needle on the start of the groove, play it through a small cue speaker and wait for the song to start.  You then stop it and turn the record back a ¼ turn, so that when you hit start, it plays at the right speed and doesn’t wind up to it.  Carts are a whole lot easier, but almost all the music on WKRP is on vinyl.

TV Draft Round 8 – Pick 2 – Dave Selects – SCTV

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

SCTV

For my next pick in this TV event, I go to a show that always made me laugh hysterically…and make me feel a bit proud. SCTV was not only one of the funniest and most creative shows of its era, it was Canadian to boot.

SCTV stands for “Second City Television”, because it sprung forth from Second City. That was (and remains to this day) a ground-breaking comedy troupe and theater from Chicage (America’s “Second City”). It opened its doors in 1959, and by 1961 was making stars out of people like Joan Rivers and Alan Arkin with their creative comedy sketches. But instead of just playing their home city, the organization had big dreams – ones they’ve fulfilled as they describe themselves as “the most influential and prolific comedy empire in the world.”  They began touring with their show and found an enthusiastic response in Toronto when they played there in 1963. Second City took note, and ten years later opened a second club there, in its early months “no air conditioning, no liquor license and almost no audience.” That quickly changed though as they moved to a bigger venue and found homegrown wits like Catherine O’Hara, Dave Thomas and John Candy.

Only a couple of years in, there was interest in making it into a TV show. Once the idea was hatched to do a show about “the world’s smallest TV station”, the cast was on board. They saw endless possibilities of skits involving actual TV shows they could satirize, goofy commercials and behind-the-scenes follies involving the fictional station’s management. Global TV (a Canadian network) was interested and put them on air in 1976, with a half-hour show. After a couple of years, they canceled it but soon an independent company in Edmonton bought the idea, moved the players to the Prairies and resurrected it, soon selling the show to Canada’s premier network, CBC. A few stations in the U.S. began running re-runs, and soon NBC came knocking, wanting a replacement for the Midnight Special. They ran it for a couple of years as a 90-minute late night show (rather akin to Saturday Night Live)  but were said to be rather lacking in commitment to it, and after two seasons axed it when the crew refused to re-jig the show to run on Sunday evenings against 60 Minutes. (NBC also wanted it made much more G-rated, family-oriented humor rather than the edgy satire they SCTV was making.) At that time Cinemax cable in the U.S. and a Canadian subsidiary revived it for one final season of 45 minute shows. By 1984 when it wrapped up, they’d made 135 episodes of varying length and production quality…and created both some big-name stars and some entirely memorable characters.

SCTV‘s original cast was largely kept in tact through the years and was a goldmine of comic talent. They were essentiallly unknown then but wouldn’t stay that for long.  Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Joe Flaherty, Harold Ramis… funny each one in their own right but brilliant together in an ensemble. Of them, only Ramis was brought in from American Second City; Moranis came in directly from a background of being a radio DJ in Toronto! We see their ongoing work in so many great comedy films like Home Alone, Ghostbusters, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Splash and TV shows like Schitt’s Creek.  In terms of launching great careers in comedy, it’s probably second only to Saturday Night Live…and that one has had an advantage of  40 more years of talent to be culled from.

That alone made the show noteworthy, but it was great because of the strength of the shows themselves and the sketches they created. The station which was set in the imaginary town of Melonville was run by Guy Caballero, a boss played by Joe Flaherty, whose character was as shady as his suit was blinding white. Guy was confined to a wheelchair… but quick to jump up and run away when threatened. His station was inhabited by regulars like boozy, washed up playboy-type Johnny LaRue (Candy), and the owner, leopard-print clad cougar Edith Prickley (Martin), and the hapless local news team of dim-witted Earl Camembert (Levy) and hard-nosed Floyd Robertson (Flaherty). Between the workplace bits we got to see the fine programming of SCTV…things like Bill Needle’s ascerbic talk show, Count Floyd’s “Monster Horror Chiller Theater” (which sometimes boasted titles like the “3D House of Cats”… you simply had to see it to appreciate the “3D” effect!) , kids show “Mrs Falbo’s Tiny town” and various movies, usually parodies of real hit ones. And in between we’d get commercials for local businesses like Harry, the Guy with the Snake on His Face and his adult video store.  Like the Simpsons later, the shows were funny enough at face value but took on an added level of hilarity when one was wise to exactly what they were spoofing.

About 40 years has passed since it went off the air, but even the thought of things like the opening scene of “Mrs. Falbo’s Tiny Town” (remember her trying to drive?), Flaherty as Count Floyd (the frustrated late night movie host dressed as a vampire who often had to admit, “well that wasn’t very scary, kids…”) John Candy as Paul Fistinyourface, the angry high school teen on the TV dance show or as Gil Fisher “The Fishin’ Musician” crack me up. Speaking of the last, “The Fishin’ Musician” with Candy as Gil, the fisherman with his guide Ol’ Willie (who looked a lot like Willie Nelson and took the fishing boat ‘out into the weeds’ every time, natch) was their way of allowing for musical numbers. Through the years bands like Rough Trade, The Tubes and Boomtown Rats went fishin’ with Gil…and playing a little number or two. In retrospect, years later it became even funnier seeing Bob Geldof as a disgruntled punker with the Boomtown Rats and acting as a high school tough in their parody of To Sir with Love , “Teacher’s Pet” (with Eugene Levy as Ricardo Montalban, an ongoing spoof on the show, being the Corinthian lether-loving teacher).

It was a different kind of humor, probably ahead of its time and perhaps to Americans, a wee bit odd. I’m frequently told, living in the U.S., that I have a different sense of humor than many Americans; I think Canada is a cultural “bridge” between the States and Britain, and that applies to our comic sensibilites too. SCTV found the happy medium to be edgy for the mainstream but not so much so as to be confounding or alienating.  All that said, ironically, the ongoing skit on SCTV I found the most tiresome was the one that was probably it’s most popular and the one which reveled in its Canadianism – Bob and Doug McKenzie and the “Great White North.” But no one hits it out of the park every time…SCTV is remembered because it did more often than not. When a show of largely social satire from four decades back can still make me fall on the floor laughing, they must have been something special. And they were.

Grateful Dead – Don’t Ease Me In

I first noticed this song on the concert film The Festival Express a few years ago. I’ve heard the two studio versions but that live version is the one I like best. It’s something about it I really connect to. Garcia and Weir sound great singing together along with Pigpen playing the harmonica. It’s just a simple blues-type song but it works well for me anyway.

As soon as I heard it I took one of my acoustic guitars off the wall and kept running back the video file back and playing with them…I didn’t think they would mind.

This song was first released by the Dead in 1966 as their first single with Stealin on the flip side. That version is good and it reminds me of the band Them…not the voice but the music. They also released it again on their Go To Heaven album in 1980 but that version to me is a little too slick. The version on Festival Express shows all the ragged edges in the best way. It is pure Americana. They would do it live many times later on but I still go back to the Festival version.

They also covered it before they were the Grateful Dead. They started off as a jug band called Mother McCrees Uptown Jug Champions and most likely covered it when they were called the Warlocks.

They might have heard the version of the song by Henry Thomas…an old blues artist that lived from 1874 to around 1930. If you want to learn more in detail about Thomas and this song go here to Jim’s site. It also sounds close to a song by Jelly Roll Morton called Don’t You Leave Me Here. On the Go To Heaven album, it’s credited to “traditional arranged by The Grateful Dead.” The single that was released in 1966 was credited to Garcia but I’ve read where he didn’t authorize that and didn’t ask for a credit.

Speaking of the Festival Express…it was The Transcontinental Pop Festival… better known as the Festival Express. Great idea on paper… rounding up musicians in 1970 and placing them on a train going across Canada and stopping along the way to play festivals. What could go wrong? Actually, I would have loved to have been on that train. The lineup: The Band, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy Blues Band, The Fly Burrito Brothers, Sha Na Na, and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends.

There were artists that were not in the film like Traffic, Ten Years After, Tom Rush, Ian & Sylvia, Mountain, and more.

A DVD was released of this in 2004. All these musicians were on a train full of liquor and an assortment of drugs… liquor was the popular choice among the musicians on this ride. The tour was to have events in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver. The Montreal event was canceled as was Vancouver. In Toronto, protesters were saying the festival promoters were price gouging so The Grateful Dead played a free concert in a park nearby to ease tensions with the protesters.

When watching the film you can see the performers are having a ball jamming with each other because they didn’t get a lot of chances to do that on the road.

Here is the link to the full movie free on youtube…if you have time…it’s worth it!

Bill Kreutzmann (drummer for the Dead): We celebrated Janis Joplin’s birthday at the last stop the traditional way: with birthday cake. In keeping with our own kind of tradition, somebody—within our ranks, I would imagine—had secretly infused the cake with a decent amount of LSD. So it quickly became an electric birthday celebration. Allegedly, some generous pieces of that birthday cake made it to the hands and mouths of the local police who were working the show. “Let them eat cake!” (To be fair, I didn’t have anything to do with that … I was just another cake-eating birthday reveler, that night.)
And that was it for the Festival Express. It was a wonderful time and I think what really made it great was the level of interaction and camaraderie among the musicians, day and night, as we were all trapped on this train careening across the great north. It probably helped that we were all trashed the entire time. Whiskey was in the conductor’s seat on that ride.

I would recommend getting the DVD of this event. It’s a great time capsule of that time in music and culture.

Don’t Ease Me In

Don’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me in

I was standing on the corner, talking to Miss Brown
When I turned around, sweet mama, she was way across town
So I’m walking down the street, with a dollar in my hand
I’ve been looking for a woman, sweet mama, ain’t got no manDon’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me inThe girl I love, she’s sweet and true
You know the dress she wears, sweet mama, it’s pink and blue
She brings me coffee, you know she brings me tea
She brings about every damn thing, but the jailhouse keyDon’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me inDon’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me inDon’t ease, don’t ease, don’t ease me in
I’ve been all night long coming home, don’t ease me in

Talking to Miss Brown
Well I turned around, sweet moma
She was way cross town

So I’m walking down the street
With a dollar in my hand
I’ve been looking for a woman, sweet moma
Ain’t got no man

The girl I love
She’s sweet and true
You know the dress she wears, sweet moma
It’s pink and blue

She brings me coffee
You know she brings me tea
She brings ’bout every damn thing
But the jailhouse key

Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street

I first heard this song in the 80s and later on, I heard it in a Tarantino movie called Jackie Brown. You feel like you are walking down that Street in 1973 with this song. You can see the sights and feel the grime as the song finishes. It’s R&B, Soul, and a touch…just a small touch of Motown in the background.

Across 110th Street
Pimps trying to catch a woman that’s weak
Across 110th Street
Pushers won’t let the junkie go free
Across 110th Street
Woman trying to catch a trick on the street, ooh, baby
Across 110th Street
You can find it all in the street

Bobby Womack’s 1973 hit single Across 110th Street was the title song from Barry Shear-directed movie starring Anthony Quinn for which Womack provided the soundtrack music. The song peaked at #56 on the Billboard 100 and #19 in the R&B Charts. The song was written by Bobby Womack and J.J. Johnson.

It was used in the movie by Quentin Tarantino “Jackie Brown” in 1997 and featured in the 2007 movie “American Gangster.” I’m glad that it has had a revival of sorts and didn’t get lost in history.

Bobby Womack was asked if he noticed his audience changed after this song.

Bobby Womack: I did simply because, at that particular time, that was a change for me, to record with orchestration like that. Across 110th Street had meaning, because although I lived on Central Avenue in Cleveland Ohio [growing up], it was like Across 110th Street. That’s what made me in the frame of mind to write the lyric as I did, because it sort of typified me and my brothers growing up.

Carol Kaye plays bass on this song.

“Across 110th Street”
Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

I was the third brother of five
Doing whatever I had to do to survive
I’m not saying what I did was all right
Trying to break out of the ghetto was a day-to-day fight

Been down so long, getting up didn’t cross my mind
But I knew there was a better way of life that I was just trying to find
You don’t know what you’ll do until you’re put under pressure
Across 110th Street is a hell of a tester

Across 110th Street
Pimps trying to catch a woman that’s weak
Across 110th Street
Pushers won’t let the junkie go free
Across 110th Street
Woman trying to catch a trick on the street, ooh, baby
Across 110th Street
You can find it all in the street

Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, oh-oh-oh

I got one more thing I’d like to talk to y’all about right now

Hey, brother, there’s a better way out
Snorting that coke, shooting that dope, man, you’re copping out
Take my advice, it’s either live or die
You got to be strong if you want to survive

The family on the upper side of town
Would catch hell without a ghetto around
In every city you’ll find the same thing going down
Harlem is the capital of every ghetto town
Help me sing it

Across 110th Street
Pimps trying to catch a woman that’s weak
Across 110th Street
Pushers won’t let the junkie go free
Oh, across 110th Street
A woman trying to catch a trick on the street, ooh, baby
Across 110th Street
You can find it all
In the street
Yes, you can

Oh, look around you, look around you
Look around you, look around you
Yeah
Yeah

Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh

Jerry Garcia – Sugaree

I remember this song on the radio in the seventies. Of all places, it was played a lot at our local skating rink. It’s high on the list of my favorite songs. It wasn’t the best song written by Garcia and Hunter but I can listen to it at any time. Probably the first Dead…or close to a Dead song I ever heard. The song has stuck with me my entire life.

Jerry Garcia played most of the instruments on this album except drums and Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann handled those. Sugaree was on the Garcia album released in 1972. He had teamed up with other players in the past but this was his first solo album. The song peaked at #94 on the Billboard 100 in 1972. I always liked the vague lyrics to this song. I first thought it was about death… you can take it a lot of ways.

The Grateful Dead did this live many times…Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter wrote this song. The Dead made their reputation live. They got very little radio play and didn’t sell many albums, but they are one of the top-grossing concert acts of all time.

Like the Allman Brothers, they formed a family atmosphere with their crew and it extended to their audience. From the early Kool-Aid acid tests to later on allowing the audience to tape their shows drew their audience closer. They would later give them their own section to record in…while other bands like Led Zeppelin would send people to bust their tape recorder or head. Garcia commented: Well, my feelings are, the music is for the people…I mean after it leaves our instruments it’s of no value to us, ya know what I mean? it’s like, ya know…what good is it? So it might as well be taped, my feeling is that..and if people enjoy taping it and enjoy having the tapes to listen to, that’s real great. “

They never played the same show twice. They would take songs in different directions and Garcia has said that he couldn’t play something twice the same. He just wasn’t built like that. That made every show unique…not that every show was great. The Dead has admitted they had their share of bad ones.

On Deadheads following them around the country: “Well, it’s obviously very important to them. And more than that, it’s giving them an adventure. They have stories to tell. Like, “Remember that time we had to go all the way to Colorado and we had to hitchhike the last 400 miles because the VW broke down in Kansas.” Or something like that. Y’know what I mean? That’s giving them a whole common group of experiences which they can talk about. For a lot of people, going to Grateful Dead concerts is like bumping into a bunch of old friends.”

Bill Kreutzmann…if you get a chance read his book Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams, and Drugs with the Grateful Dead. I covered it here a while back. It’s an education in the rock world…or the Dead world of the 60s through the 90s. If you are offended by drugs, sex, and great music…pass it by.

Robert Hunter: “Sugaree was written soon after I moved from the Garcia household to China Camp. People assume the idea was cadged from Elizabeth Cotten’s ‘Sugaree,’ but, in fact, the song was originally titled ‘Stingaree,’ which is a poisonous South Sea manta. The phrase ‘just don’t tell them that you know me’ was prompted by something said by an associate in my pre-Dead days when my destitute circumstances found me fraternizing with a gang of minor criminals. What he said, when departing, was: ‘Hold your mud and don’t mention my name.’

“Why change the title to ‘Sugaree’? Just thought it sounded better that way, made the addressee seem more hard-bitten to bear a sugar-coated name. The song, as I imagined it, is addressed to a pimp. And yes, I knew Libba’s song, and did indeed borrow the new name from her, suggested by the ‘Shake it’ refrain.”

Bill Kreutzmann Drummer for the Dead: The album, Garcia, was cut at Wally Heider Studios in July 1971 and released by Warner Brothers the following January. There are a lot of songs on there that became Grateful Dead mainstays, in addition to “Deal”—we’re talking about straight-up classics like “Sugaree,” “Loser,” and “The Wheel.” Also, “Bird Song” is on there, which, to this day, is one of my all-time favorite Dead songs and one of my absolute favorite songs to play live (along with “Dark Star” and “The Other One”).

When I want musicians I’m playing with to learn any of those songs, I give them the Garcia versions. They’re just so good. I had a really great time making that album. Dealing exclusively with Jerry was the most effortless thing in the world. I didn’t have to do anything other than be myself. And play.

Cocaine was our special guest throughout those recording sessions, but you’d never be able to tell because everything was very laid back. I have no idea how we were able to do that, because cocaine isn’t exactly known for its relaxing properties. Maybe it was just the dynamic between us that made it all so … easy.

Sugaree

When they come to take you down
When they bring that wagon round
When they come to call on you
and drag your poor body down

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don’t tell them that you know me

You thought you was the cool fool
Never could do no wrong
Had everything sewed up tight
How come you lay awake all night long?

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don’t tell them that you know me

You know in spite of all you gained
you still have to stand out in the pouring rain
One last voice is calling you
and I guess it’s time you go

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don’t tell them that you know me

Shake it up now, Sugaree
I’ll meet you at the Jubilee
If that Jubilee don’t come
Maybe I’ll meet you on the run

One thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
my darling Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
but don’t tell them that you know me
Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don’t tell ’em that you know me

TV Draft Round 7 – Pick 4 – Max Selects – Life On Mars

One of the reasons I started to blog in the first place back in 2017 was to tell people about this British show. The storyline is perfect for me. Life On Mars was made in 2006-2007 so for me, this is brand new! This one caught my attention immediately. The series only has 16 episodes total so it doesn’t take a lot of your time. Unlike America…they don’t usually milk a program to its last drop. 

If any of you are looking for something different…watch it! 

This is the show I most wanted to post about other than the Twilight Zone. It has Time Travel and the early seventies…whats not to like?

Life on Mars is simply great. I’m talking about the BBC original version… NOT the American version. Sometimes I wonder why instead of remaking a series as great as this… why not just show the superior British version in America in prime time? Do they think that it would be impossible for people to understand British accents? Why remake something that is inferior to the original?

The plot is about a police officer (Sam Tyler) in 2006 who gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973…he doesn’t know if he has traveled through time, gone mad, or is in a coma. When he wakes he is a cop (Detective Inspector) in 1973 and has to deal with a non PC world that is vastly different from where he just came from… People do things with feel more than data gathering etc.

Same begins to understand that the modern world he came from didn’t have everything right. There is room for hunches and gut feelings. Gene sees that some of Sam’s ways work well on cases. The continue to learn from each other but it takes a while. Gene is not above framing a guilty man with little evidence while Sam pleads with him not to. Sam also learns to trust his inner instinct instead of just by the numbers police work. 

Sam had grown up in that neighborhood and he meets his mother and father but of course, they don’t see him as their son…he was only 4 years old at that time. None of the characters know he is from 2006. He only tells one person…Annie Cartwright and she doesn’t believe him. She thinks he received a concussion and this is a side effect. When Sam watches TV by himself…sometimes the people on a show will know who he is and try to communicate. The famous UK Test Card Girl will also come to life. 

They get the era down almost perfectly. The soundtrack is outstanding. The song in which the show is named is my favorite David Bowie song. I found music in this show that I had never known about…like Atomic Rooster’s  The Devil’s Answer…just to pick out one. It has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard. Plus I never get tired of hearing the title track. 

They asked Paul McCartney if they could use Live and Let Die and he flatly refused. They sent him a few episodes to look at…he agreed instantly after that. The sequence to Live and Let Die is great. This show borrowed heavily from the UK 1970s Cop show The Sweeney…which is a great show itself. 

They made a sequel later on called Ashes To Ashes about a modern female police officer that gets trapped in the 80s with an older version of the original characters except for Sam and Annie. I would recommend watching that one also. I know of two bloggers (Hanspostcard and Lisa) who have watched this show because I recommended it…they both seemed to have liked it. Just DONT get the American version…it’s very cheesy and ends bad.

You can watch this show on Amazon Prime. 

For fans of the show… this was announced in March of 2022.

Life on Mars co-creator Matthew Graham has confirmed that he and his longtime collaborator Ashley Pharoah have scripted the pilot episode to a proposed sequel series.

News broke in 2020 that the team were developing a follow-up titled Lazarus, which would tie up the story that began in Life on Mars and continued in Ashes to Ashes.

The Characters are:

Gene Hunt

Chief Inspector Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister): – One of the best tv characters…EVER. Politically Incorrect to the core but a decent human being although he doesn’t always show it. He is Sam’s superior and although he won’t admit it much…he does respect Sam and Sam begrudgingly respects him. He does police work the old way…by feeling and hunches and it irritates Sam to no end. One of my favorite lines by him is “You are surrounded by armed bastards.” and “Your son, Mrs Bathurst, was a cold-hearted killer. And if there is a hell, he’s going there to be poked up the arse with sharp fiery sticks, forever and ever, Amen!”

The interplay between Gene Hunt and his crew is great:

Gene Hunt: “I think you’ve forgotten who you’re talking to.”
Sam Tyler: “An overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding?”
Gene Hunt: “You make that sound like a bad thing.”

Chris Skelton: “I wonder what killed him?”
Gene Hunt: “That would be the bloody enormous hole in his chest where the bullet went in!”

Sam Tyler

Sam Tyler (John Simm): A modern man stuck in 1973 and he must work on police cases without a computer or data. He learns from Gene also…he doesn’t want to admit it but he finds out that the old hunches work out at times more than the data gathering. Both Sam and Gene need each other and when they are not fighting…they compliment each other rather well.

Annie Cartwright

Annie Cartwright (Liz White): A female in police at a time where women were often ignored, underused, undermined, and taken for granted. Annie is a bright woman, she studied for a psychology degree, wants to help people, deals with sexism well, has to be wary of what she says in front of the men, and leaves the situation otherwise she may get sacked. She slowly gets accepted by the team as a detective and helps solve a lot of cases. She ended up being one of my favorite characters. 

Ray Carling

Ray Carling (Dean Andrews): Ray is a tough-minded man who prefers brutality and corruption to do things Sam’s way. He is the one against Sam the most. Carling had applied for promotion to DI (Detective Inspector) that Sam got.

Chris Skelton

Chris Skelton (Marshall Lancaster): Chris is extremely naive and is learning on the job. He is generally regarded as a waste of space by Hunt throughout both series and plays only minor roles in the storylines that unfold. Skelton finally proves himself by saving Hunt, Tyler, and Annie Cartwright from death when he shoots and kills a criminal at point-blank range.

Here are some clips…the bottom three are short. 

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.

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