Saturday Night Live

It started out as Saturday Night… Saturday Night Live title belonged to ABC for a show hosted by Howard Cosell who was out of his league. ABC let Saturday Night have the Live part after Cosell’s show was over.

Who was the best cast through the years? This is a question that is debated over and over again. The people arguing usually picks the cast they grew up with. I grew up with Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Personally, I always thought the original cast was the best and it wasn’t even close. 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.

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 didn’t but they were different from anything on TV at that time…and also at this time. That cast pushed the envelop to use a worn-out phrase but in this instance it is true. Lorne Michaels guided the show and even the musical guests were usually hip bands and artists unknown to the general public and some are legendary now. No way would Michaels ever dream of that now…he usually gets whoever is the most popular to draw in the ratings. He could not do what he did in the 70s anymore because of ratings…and it is sad. Michaels also used the complete ensemble. It was not the Eddie Murphy and the Joe Piscopo show of the early eighties. It was about getting an unknown cast and building them and all of them having a shot…not a star-driven show that gave all the best bits to the stars.

A lot of the skits are now famous… Ackroyd’s Bassomatic, the Samurai, the uncomfortable but funny Word Association with Richard Pryor, 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 Carol Burnett 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 dark 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 two members that didn’t get as much publicity as the others were Newman and Morris and are not as well remembered today. Newman and Ackroyd were the best character actors on the show…they could play anyone.  That cast tried to test all the limits. SNL has turned into just another comedy show through the years. The original group also did some serious skits along with comedy and trips into the bizarre (See Mr. Mike). …It separated the original from any other cast.

There were other great casts but none resonated like the original to me. It was also the timing of when they debuted…and look at the talent in that cast…

The host each week was usually under the radar actors, writers, musicians and sometimes athletes. You usually didn’t see A-list actors but if you did they were carefully chosen. The one big mistake was Milton Berle…how he got to host I don’t know but that is the only show of the first five years I will try to avoid… He was that bad.

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

Cheers to the show that introduced Acapulco Gold to a television audience.

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The Bassomatic…something you cannot explain with words.

The best Star Trek parody…

Howard Cosell

Young people will not remember this man. He was a journalist, lawyer, and sportscaster and more (even a spot in a Woody Allen movie). Along with all of that, he was egotistical, insecure, annoying, opinionated, cruel, obnoxious, jealous, petty but yet I still liked the guy.  This man was once voted in a TV Guide poll as the most disliked and the most liked sportscaster of the time. He didn’t care who he upset and according to him he always would “tell it as it is”… He did elevate sports reporting that is now prevalent to this day.

He probably is most remembered for three things. He championed Muhammad Ali and when Ali refused the draft Howard stood by him. Helping boxing become a huge sport. Being Jewish he knew bigotry and always stood for equality. He is also remembered for being in the original Monday Night Football crew… He made it THE show to watch and the NFL owes him quite a bit. Whether you loved or hated him, you would tune in and watch.

The original MNF crew was Cosell, Don Meredith and Keith Jackson (to be replaced by Frank Gifford). I never understood Keith being replaced by Frank…Keith was by far the better broadcaster but Frank looked better for the women viewers. Howard never liked the thought of ex-jocks being sportscasters. He felt like they were taking over and called it jockocracy. Cosell and Meredith made a great team. Meredith didn’t give a care about the game and supplied the humor while the photographic memory of Cosell would rattle off stats without cheat sheets most of the time.

In 1974 during an MNF telecast, the crew were joined by John Lennon and Ronald Reagan. Cosell told Frank Gifford you take the governor and I’ll take the Beatle. Howard wanted to interview John because there were only 4 Beatles in the world but a lot of politicians. Lennon and Regan actually hit it off well while Reagan explained American Football (I would have loved to hear that conversation) to him. Cosell actually talked to John a few years later wanting him and the Beatles to regroup on a terrible show that Cosell was hosting…of course, Lennon politely refused.

Cosell and Ali were linked together for the rest of their lives. Ali would pick on Howard in front of cameras but Cosell loved the attention. Ali helped Cosell and Cosell helped Ali… two completely different people in all ways except both loving the limelight. Cosell’s most famous call? “Down goes Frazier” “Down goes Frazier”  “Down goes Frazier”

 

Only in the 1970s could this pairing happen

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When John was assassinated in 1980 Howard broke it to the world on MNF.

Howard faded out in the 80s but took shots at everyone in one of his tell-all books. Again he really didn’t care who he upset.

The Twilight Zone

The way Rod Serling handled social injustice and racial bigotry all with a science fiction twist was compelling. He had to do it that back then because of sponsors. Picking a favorite episode (Walking Distance is hard to beat) is almost impossible. Black Mirror covers some of the same territory but nothing beats the intelligence of Twilight Zone.

Hands down my favorite show of all time. I never get tired of it. 5 seasons of quality 30  minute stories. Season 4 has hour long episodes. Just a few of them are a little forced but even the weakest are very watchable. Rod Serling was a great TV writer and he picked some great writers like Richard Matheson to contribute to the show. The show doesn’t age and the black and white only adds to it.

I would really look forward to labor day because one channel would always play Twilight Zones for 24 hours. I then just went out and bought the complete collection on DVDtwi.jpg.

The Twilight Zone has been revived a few times. In the 80’s and 2000’s but they didn’t come close to the original. A movie was made in 1983 called Twilight Zone: The Movie  but it came with a tragic a cost. Vic Morrow and two child actors died needlessly in a scene with a helicopter.

The movie was alright…I liked the Vic Morrow story but my favorite part was the intro with Dan Aykroyd “You want to see something really scary”and Albert Brooks. Again not even scratching the surface of the original series.

You could always depend on a twist in the smart scripts. I’ve seen all of them probably 5 – 10 times each. The one that is the most haunting to me is “Come Wander With Me”… It’s not the most famous one but I loved it…if you haven’t seen it check it out. A lot of future stars were on the show from Robert Redford to Jack Klugman.

Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks

 

 

 

Rock Music… Where have you gone?

Rock Music… Why is it not breaking through to the mainstream anymore? Yes, there are a lot of good bands out there…just check on Youtube and you will find many that are really good and some great. That is the problem though…you should not have to search them out. Mainstream rock stations will not play them…they play classic rock (which I love for the most part) but artists today have a bleak way of life. The only way they make real money is to tour and tour and tour. Since downloading began they are left with ticket sales. There are college radio stations and less powerful stations that play new rock but they are not prevalent.

The older rock stars really made the money… Album sales, tours, 8 track sales, cassette sales and CD sales and some download sales. Today’s artist has downloads on Itunes and CD’s that sell at concerts Some are releasing vinyl which is on the rise and that is cool. My son is 17 and he likes some new acts like Jake Bugg, Foster the People and The Black Keys. Mostly though it’s the Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Band etc…

I don’t think people take music as seriously as before because there are so many other options to do. When an album came out we would rush to the record store (Cats, Port 0 Call, Tower or Columbia House) and study the album’s artwork and liner notes. Music was a big part of a teenager’s life in the 60’s through the 90’s…. With me, I bought a lot of older albums but I would get new ones also. Bands that came to town were announced on the radio and also posters on telephone poles everywhere. It was hard to miss a band or artist coming. We would line up and wait for tickets. I can’t say that I miss that part but I do in a way. I appreciated the concert more because of the effort and the long wait times. We would all talk while waiting in line on how much we liked the artist we were getting tickets for…. Talking face to face and not on a phone or in a chat room…a different feel altogether for all of us kindred souls. It was not a concert…it was an event. An event that you planned for weeks or months to attend and get excited about. After the concert, we would wear our concert shirts…bootleg or otherwise like a badge of honor.

We would go to school arguing over rock groups and music in general…. like The Kinks “You Really Got Me” or Van Halen‘s cover of the song….I sided with the Kinks. New Wave vs Rock… Heavy Metal vs just rock n roll.

Yes, some weak music appeared in the 60-90s as in every decade but no one took music from The Partridge Family etc… seriously. Now boy bands or “divas” are embraced with corporate driven muzak. Record companies want a sure thing and will not try anything new….just the proven formula. Why can’t they put muscle behind more talented rock bands? I would like to see a revival of rock bands that you don’t have to search for on the internet.

In high school, there were a lot of bands. The group I was in played more straight rock and roll but we had bands that played heavy metal to punk. Today in that school…no bands exist. We would play in the gym for the entire school and the theater. During the time in high school (sneaking into bars that would let us play being underage on weekends). After we graduated from high school we would play bars and clubs. It was fun, exciting and we made a little money doing something we loved. The customers which included bikers were always great to us because they wanted entertainment. If anyone tried to mess with us they are surrounded by bikers who loved their rock and roll…thank goodness.

Rock music may remain underground but I hope not…

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Paintings and Artists that I like

Painting is something I could never do. I would be lucky to paint stick figures. Like music, it is a great form of expression. If I were an artist I would do pop art paintings and…black light poster art… I would be a very poor artist because the demand for those styles in 2018 would be close to non existent to say the least.

I do get into Art a bit. I’m not an expert nor will I ever be…I like what I like….A friend I have is a great artist and over the years I’ve learned things from him. The art styles that I like the most are Pop Art, Expressionism, and Surrealism… Some of the artists I like are Andy Warhol, Peter Max, Edvard Munch and Salvador Dali. I cannot tell you about their technical skills…which yes they all had but it was the feel or soul they all  had in their paintings. The way Warhol could make some simple advertisement into art. The way Peter Max can take you places by just looking at his work. Salvador Dali taking you places where you may not want to go but enjoy it all the same.

Andy Warhol

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Peter Max

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Edvard Munch

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Salvador Dali

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I also like some vintage commercial art. The art that hung in business offices across the land. A company call Marushka had many that I liked. Art for mass consumption is looked down upon at times but there are many prints that I like from them in the 70s and 80s. Below is one of them

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I also like black light and some think it’s lowbrow but I don’t care. What imaginations artists had when they painted them…sober or otherwise.

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I can also say that my taste in art is the same as in music…having feeling or soul is the reason I never got into progressive rock bands….I could care less if you know every chord in the book and are technically advanced…if music doesn’t have soul…I want nothing to do with it. Just because you can play fast or do guitar gymnastics doesn’t mean anything without soul. Some music I do think is art. A Day in the Life, Bohemian Rhapsody, Overnight Sensation and others.

 

Ken Stabler: No cooler athlete ever walked the earth. He is missed.

No cooler athlete ever walked the earth than Ken Stabler. He was THE rock star in sports…he was more of a rock star than rock stars. Passing the ball left-handed with deadly accuracy along with the cool nickname… “The Snake”. The way he carried himself with the salt and pepper hair coming out of the back of his helmet while sporting a beard. Always looking like he was having the best time of his life.

He didn’t just exist he lived…and he lived with style. Never saw him panic on a football field.  His teammates said he would never call someone out for not blocking or missing someone to get him sacked. John Madden has said that the more pressure Ken was under the calmer he got.

He did what he wanted to do how he wanted to do it. Yes, there are a lot of bar room stories of Ken Stabler like reading the playbook by the jukebox light. He and his teammates made training camp fun… If that is a possible thing. John Madden had the good sense to let men be men and off they went. The rest of the Raiders all respected Stabler and followed him…they had his back and he had their back.

The Snake should be remembered not just for his cool personality… He was a great quarterback and should have been in the Hall of Fame long before he got in… I heard one commentator say that he would rather have Tom Brady etc… nope not me… I would rather have Stabler because for most of his career he played without the Blount rule and the timing plays that modern quarterbacks do would not run as well without that rule that was enforced in 1978… The receivers could be pretty much be beat all down the field…timing was much harder then.

Plus Stabler was just damn tough… all of them were tough back in the 60s-70s. Ken paid for that in the last few years of his life…

Some of the most well-known games in history he was in the middle of… the Holy Roller, The Sea of Hands, The Ghost to the Post and unfortunately the Immaculate Reception game which went the Steelers way but it may be the most memorable game ever.

The 1970’s team was full of outcasts, free thinkers and characters…also amazing football players. I recommend this book about the 1970’s Raiders called Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders.

Easy read and great stories. Makes you want to youtube and find all of the games you can find of that era’s Raiders.

The NFL would not know what to do with him today. He had a personality…that goes against the game now.

Sadly Mr. Stabler passed in 2015…He is a man I wished I would have had the honor to meet.

New book about Stabler called Snake: The Legendary Life of Ken Stabler

Ken’s autobiography called “Snake” that was published in 1986.

Needless changes to the original Star Wars

In 1977 a New Hope (then just called Star Wars) came out. It blew out records and changed Hollywood. The original first 3 came out at a perfect time. Science Fiction was not a sure box office hit then and it’s a wonder George Lucas got it made. Some of the script writing was iffy but as a whole, it was a wonderful saga. Not only were the movies good but the merchandising went crazy.

The prequels I just didn’t like. The feel of the originals was gone. Lucas said he wanted a change but he changed it just to another space flick. Anakin Skywalker played by Hayden Christensen just wasn’t right. Either bad casting combined with a bad script but to me, he was not convincing. He did do better in Revenge of the Sith but still, in my opinion, it wasn’t where it should have been. Ewan Mcgregor was wonderful as Obi-Wan and the standout to me in all the prequels.

What Lucas did to the original three re-releasing them caught backlash from fans. Changing some scenes…where Han shoots first and adding more decoration throughout the films. What made me upset is Lucas only offered a poor quality DVD set of the original three in 2006 without the changes. One dedicated fan Petr Harmáček spent half a decade tracking down high-quality prints of the 3 original films and put them back together and it’s called “Star Wars Despecialized Edition” that you can download. Petr did a great job with these and it shows you how great these looked when they were released.

There was no need for extra CGI decoration when these movies were re-released. I have nothing against CGI but I do like to see the films as the audience did way back when. When I went to see “The Force Awakens” I knew within the first 5 minutes that Star Wars had the same feel as the first ones. I also liked Rogue One and The Last Jedi…The Last Jedi got some complaints but I still liked it. It was a great send off for Carrie Fisher.

 

Clara Bow… The Only IT Girl

My favorite eras in the 20th century have always been the 1960’s, 1970’s and the 1920’s. I was looking through some books in the early 90s inside some a long forgotten bookstore and a picture of an actress caught my eye. There was something about Clara Bow that grabbed my attention. I had read about her in a terrible slanderous book called Hollywood Babylon by  Kenneth Anger and I was compelled to get the book just by her stare from the cover. The book was written by David Stenn called Clara Bow”Runnin’ Wild… I finished it in one night. The book impressed me so much that a few years later I tracked down David’s phone number (again pre internet) called Mr. Stenn just to tell him how much I loved the book. After I explained to him that he made me a lifetime fan of Clara he graciously sent me an autographed copy of the book to replace my worn out (loaned out again and again) to my friends.

David Stenn actually had facts about Clara unlike Anger’s book of sensational garbage. Reading that book introduced me to the world of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks. From there my interest in silent movies grew. I always thought all silent movies were grainy unwatchable films where all the actors were on speed. I soon was educated that most of those movies where played on the wrong projector at different speeds and that is the reason for the sped up action. The quality of many of those movies from the 20’s is better quality than movies made in the 60s-80s when mastered right. Stunts where not faked and CGI didn’t exist….everything is real.

Clara had a terrible childhood where her mother was mentally ill and tried to kill her. Her father may have sexually abused her on top of everything else. In her movies, she sold the tickets. Paramount built movies off of her name and didn’t always give the best scripts but she was electric on film. Your eyes will automatically go to her. She could convey more in one look than actresses today can say in 10 minutes. She was never appreciated as she should have been and that is sad. She was never accepted by her peers and never invited to Hollywood parties because she was straight up and said what was on her mind. She was great with fans but stardom took its toll on her. She ended up marrying a western actor named Rex Bell and went into seclusion.

She did some “talkies” and they are enjoyable but nothing beats her silent movies like IT (no Pennywise) and Wings. Call Her Savage was her best talkie film. Check her out when you can… She is worth it.

 

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Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton

Charlie and Buster were two of the best screen comedians ever to walk the earth. They both had similar upbringings. Buster and his family in American vaudeville. Charlie worked in British music halls. Charlie rose to stardom in silent movies in the 1910’s beginning with Keystone, Mutual (where he made his best short comedies)  Essanay and then he confounded United Artist with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and W. D. Griffith. After that Charlie went into full feature films.

Buster started silent shorts in 1917 with Roscoe Arbuckle. After Roscoe broke out on his own so did Buster….he did some more short films which were brilliant. He then went into full features. Buster was just so different than anyone else. He was so still while the world moved into chaos around him. He was a brilliant actor-director and also writer which he often didn’t take credit for doing. If Buster would have just made “The General” his place in film history would be cemented. The same can be said of Charlie Chaplin and his masterpiece “The Gold Rush.”

There was no competition between the two in popularity. Charlie won hands down over Buster and probably everyone else in comedy and drama. His character “The Tramp” was internationally loved. All in all, Keaton was a better filmmaker. They were two different comedians. Chaplin would reach for pathos…sometimes a little too much. Keaton seemed much more real. Keaton’s sight gags were incredible and sometimes dangerous to his health…like have a front of a building that weighed a ton (so it wouldn’t twist in the wind) fall on him with the upstairs opening clearing him around 2 inches on each side. He never smiled because it would have ruined his character. Both are worth watching and with Keaton’s films like Sherlock Jr…you wonder how he did some of the things he did with the primitive camera’s they used.

Both were funny men. The other big comedian was Harold Lloyd but he was more of an actor playing a comedian….he was really successful though… second to Chaplin in making money.

 

Charlie and Buster older both appear in Charlie’s Limelight.

Doctor Who…NOT Miss WHO

I have always loved Doctor Who. I remember it in the 1970s on PBS…Tom Baker was fantastic. The special effects were not great but it did NOT matter. As long as the story was conveyed that is all I cared about. They brought it back in 2005 and I’ve liked all the Doctors since then until now. Now they cast a woman as Doctor Who….I have nothing against women….I was raised by my Mom and sister and I have nothing but respect for women. It’s not about hating women…it’s about miscasting.

The BBC did it to be politically correct.  They didn’t care if it would be good for the show or not…it’s all about making certain people happy.

and this from the BBC:

It was always unlikely that the Doctor would continue to be white and male, especially as the BBC has committed itself to greater diversity on its programmes

but yet this also right before…

 

It should be about making the show better not for greater diversity. To me it’s about the same as a man being cast as Wonder Woman, A giant spider being cast as King Kong.

I would have been just as angry if they would have made the Doctor an American man. It doesn’t fit.

Well I have all the old classic shows and the shows since 2005 to keep me entertained. I least I won’t have to take time every Saturday night to watch it anymore. As much as it pains me to say….I could care less if it ends up cancelled.

Darth Vader to Luke: “I am your mother” How would that have gone down?

Steven Moffat…the Show Runner…said he would not cast a woman….then the BBC stepped in and now all a sudden he agrees with the decision.

Some people may like it…more power to them…but it’s not just the fact HE turned into a woman…it’s the fact that it was just done for diversity. Yes Doctor Who is a fictional character but also an icon. Some change in life is good…but change for the sake of changing is not….

I was so angry when this was announced….Well I’ve had more time to think about it and ….I’m more angry. I would have like to go on a swearing rant here but I won’t do that.

I’ve heard the saying “change with the times” over this subject…well I will only when the changes make sense. To me this doesn’t at all…

Anyone who disagrees with the choice is called a woman hater. No I’m a political correctness hater….and that is why this happened.

From the Dailystar

Comments on social media and fan forums included: “Female Doctor – tick.

“Middle aged white man – tick. Young black man – tick. Young Asian girl – tick

 

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Tom Baker my favorite Doctor

 

IT 1990 and IT 2017

The new trailer for IT Chapter 2 is out now.

I’ve never seen IT as a horror story…I’ve seen it as a coming of age story with scary twists. I really like the novel and I wanted to see something as close as possible to the book. The book is much better than either the movie or miniseries but that is usually how it is.

I went to see IT (2017) with very high hopes. I realized before I traveled to the theater that they could never meet my expectations. My hope (and far-fetched dream) was that they would have made an HBO series of the novel. It would have been fifteen to twenty hour-long episodes. I wanted so much for the novel to come to life on screen. That wasn’t going to happen in one movie but I will say that yes I enjoyed it.

I’m not one of those who dismiss the 1990 mini-series. They were working with a low budget and the constraints of television. I thought the children were perfectly cast. The first episode was superior to the second episode but the second had it’s moments…not counting the terrible spider or the ponytail on Richard Thomas. The one thing IT 1990 had over 2017 is overall creepiness. Maybe it was Tim Curry and the late 80s sound effects.

IT 2017 was much better looking and I liked Bill Skarsgård’s version of Pennywise. The way he toyed with Georgie was classic. They revealed way too much in the many trailers and sneak peeks. Most of the movie you knew what was coming next. My biggest problem is the kids really didn’t have time to bond. Also, the time change from the 1950’s to the 1980s…did Andrés Muschietti just think the audience today could not comprehend the 50’s? The reason I liked the 50’s backdrop is that kids were more innocent then and Pennywise in that era would be more of a shock.

It’s not really fair to judge the new IT until Chapter 2 comes out in September but Chapter 1 was enjoyable. I’m happy the story has been revived again.

 

 

 

Some overlooked solo Beatles songs.

Not much by the Beatles have been overlooked. As a group their songs have been inspected, dissected and analysed more than any other rock group. That doesn’t mean there still isn’t some out there hidden a little bit…. But this is for John, Paul, George and Ringo on their own…some songs you don’t hear as much. Just one each right now.

I Know (I know) – John Lennon off of Mind Games. Some say it was written as a message to Paul and it does have some Beatles references in there. John said later it was about Yoko…it could be both or neither…Personally I think it’s about both…It’s a wonderful pop song nonetheless. I just recently started to listen to this song again. My favorite Lennon solo song after 1971.

Junior’s Farm – Paul McCartney…It was an A side to a single… It was a hit but it’s not played much anymore. It was recorded in Nashville. I wished he would have made more like this…the rawness that Paul can do well when he wants to…which is not very much. Sally G the B side is a quaint country song of it’s time. It was also recorded in Nashville. It’s a fun song  that was influenced by his trip to the Music City in 1974.

Any Road – George Harrison recorded this for his last album Brainwashed before he died. It was finished up by his son Dhani Harrison and Jeff Lynne. It has the trademark slide guitar by George who had a slide style completely his own. George always got swallowed up by the enormity of John and Paul but he wrote some great songs.

Early 1970 – Ringo Starr wrote this song and is it a great song? No not really but he makes it perfectly clear he wanted to play with the remaining Beatles…and what he felt about each one at the time. For a Beatles fan it is interesting to hear this. Ringo had a lot of hits in the early 1970’s and this one was not one of them. As a fan you were pulling for him.

A few things from the 70s

If I could have been a teenager in any decade it would have been the 1970s. I barely remember the 70s  I grew up mostly in the 80s. I was always envious of people who grew up in the decade before I did…. Great music, split level houses, earth tones, funky clothes, cool cars, great tv shows and bad variety shows…so bad they were great…. Everyone and everything had their own personality. It was a decade where all generations intersected with each other. You had a Halloween Special with Tim Conway, Kiss, Florence Henderson (singing That Old Black Magic no less), Margaret Hamilton, the eternal Betty White and Donny and Marie! What other decades would have that and Saturday Night Live….with Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, and Chevy Chase…

I’m not saying anything bad didn’t happen…they did… Jonestown, Kent State, Watergate, Iran hostages, inflation and gas shortages and more. But every decade has its tragedies and bad things.

Really good things were no cell phones, no AIDs, we had vinyl records and we would study the front cover art or picture and the fold out for hours, real honest to goodness rock stars who had talent, no auto-tune, pictures that were not doctored so much you weren’t sure they were real, Intellivision, Atari games, libraries were still relevant, hanging out with friends after school, not nearly as much commercialism (fewer choices to make), more freedom, individualism, you could tell a Ford from a Chevy, Now everyone wants the same things because we are hit with ads 24/7 to be like everyone else.

The 1980s is when commercialism really started in full earnest.

In the 70s people and companies were not afraid to take chances to do something different and new…like movies, houses and cars….even if you didn’t like them (AMC Pacer!) at least you weren’t seeing the same thing in different colors. Yes disco was there but I still like it better than boy groups now. Real musicians played on them. I will admit the lit dance floors were pretty cool…that’s all I will give disco. You could go and see The Who, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder for 12 bucks and under…sometimes cheaper.

Many people would disagree with the 70s but I still like the chaise lounge chairs with the groovy fuzzy feeling (I have one), green shag carpet the dark restaurants and Star Wars! Before the awful….for the most part Star War prequels.

I can think of many more things both good and bad. I just wish I could have seen more of the seventies at an older age than I was then. But I enjoyed what I had of them…I just wished we had more individualism now.

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Can’t forget the Pacer (rolling fish aquarium on wheels)

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The best Peanut Butter ever…KOOGLE… it came in 4 flavors and Banana was my favorite. I so wish Kraft would bring this back…I really miss this…

1980’s Music

To be truthful I never was enamored of the 1980s very much. I spent my teenage years stuck in that MTV decade. As far as music…I didn’t give up my loves…Beatles, Who and Stones although that was not the most popular choice then. Personally, I didn’t like the 80’s music much at all…Michael Jackson, Madonna and a long string of synth and big hair bands were terrible to me. I hated the sound of fake drums and the tinny guitars from the so-called heavy bands. Raw was out in the 80’s in popular music and it showed.

The Heavy Metal guitar players would learn classical riffs and then continue to put them in every solo. It was more about technique than feel. Feel and looseness was gone. It was about who could play the fastest and it didn’t matter if it fit the song or not… It seemed no one played for the song anymore.

Not saying I hated everything…I really liked… Bruce, Tom Petty, Prince, John Mellencamp, The Bangles, The Wilburys, U2, REM, Dire Strait and some great one hit wonders. AC/DC I didn’t appreciate as much at the time but they at least had a rawness to them.

I remember the radio stations playing Phil Collins over, over, over and over some more. If they weren’t playing him…they played Genesis. I had my fill of Phil…I believe everyone did then…

It was the era of big-selling albums…. Born In The USA, Purple Rain, Thriller, Pyromania, Back In Black, Brothers In Arms, 1984, Synchronicity and The Joshua Tree.

The performers I held high…The Stones (Dirty Work), The Who (It’s Hard) and Paul McCartney (Pipes of Peace) made the worst albums…in my opinion of their careers…all in the 1980’s. You can hear the 80’s sound infiltrated all of them.

ZZ Top made Eliminator and Aerosmith made Permanent Vacation and then continued to make the same album over and over again…

I am not the biggest fan of Guns and Roses and Nirvana but I do credit them for helping to wipe the 80’s of big hair bands…like squashing an irritating bug.

There are songs that take me back to good times in that decade. Salt In My Tears, Going for a Soda, Come on Eileen, Darlington County, Raspberry Beret, All The Good Ones are Taken, Walking on Sunshine, Starting Over, Old Man Down the Road, Video Killed the Radio Star etc….

It wasn’t enough to listen to the radio but we just had to see the video. Videos took over as the most important thing. Videos had been an important tool since the 60’s but in the 1980’s they were the driving force…. A bad video could kill a career…. ask Billy Squire.

Video killed the radio star… truer words were never spoken.

 

 

The Traveling Wilburys

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For the Love of the Dodgers

What if my dad would have been a Yankees fan like his brothers? I would have grown up rooting for a team that won more than any other. My life could have been different….nah….I’m happy that he passed down his love of the Dodgers. His brothers grew up in the 50’s fans of the Yankees…My dad always went for the underdogs which would have been Brooklyn then….the only championship they won was in 1955 before moving to LA. I remember when I was a small kid, my dad, watching a World Series with the Dodgers against a team in yellow and green uniforms…That would have been the 1974 world series against the Oakland A’s.

I started to watch baseball in 1977 and started to follow the Dodgers. Once in a while I would be lucky and catch them on Saturdays and Monday nights on the 3 channels we had then. I also would be able to listen on the radio when they played the Reds, Cardinals or Braves…. I never lived anywhere near California but that doesn’t matter. Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Steve Garvey and Bill Russell were in that great infield. My favorite player was Ron Cey….I played 3rd base in little league just because of him. They made it to the World Series that year….I thought that happened every year…. They lost that year to the Yankees and Reggie Jackson hit 3 home runs…I still don’t like that man. I liked the Dodger’s Reggie (Reggie Smith) much better…The next year they made it again….again they were beaten by the Yankees…helped by a terrible call when Reggie Jackson…see a pattern here?…intentionally stepped in front of the ball to deflect it…but it wasn’t called. I knew how my Dad felt in the fifties. They made it to the World Series again in 1981 and finally,…finally they won…not only did they win that year….they beat the Yankees…It was my happiest time being a Dodger fan. It even beat 1988 when Kirk Gibson hit his home run and they won.

After 88 they changed owners to Fox….which sucked because they didn’t know how to run a baseball team and was only interested in broadcasting rights. Then a carpet bagger named Frank McCourt bought the team in 2004. That was probably the worst day in Dodger history. The guy was/is a crook and would not spend on the team. He used the team as his personal piggy bank. I wanted to use him as a piñata and beat him until he sold the Dodgers to a real owner. MLB finally took the team away from the jerk…

Now in 2017 they finally made it back to the World Series. My son who really started to watch seriously for the first time this year saw them one game away from winning it all….He was disappointed but I’ve been here before…They will win it with the ownership and the front office they have…..

I love the new team Kershaw, Turner, Jansen, Bellinger, Seager etc… I do believe they will win it all…..

But…you never really forget your childhood heroes…

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The Roster of the 1977 Dodgers

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