Land Of The Lost

I watched this as a kid and loved it…I also learned a new word…Chroma Key…they used that to do the special effects.

The plot was that a family…the Marshalls…Rick, Will, and Holly are out rafting apparently and suddenly they go through an open portal to a different universe. A world with dinosaurs, crystals, pylons and time doors. They find a cave to hide in after waking up in the raft to a very bad looking T-Rex looking down on them.

Yes, the special effects were bad regardless of Chroma Key or whatever…It did have two redeeming qualities… The writing and the introduction to Sleestaks and which were really cool lizard-like things that could not hit a broad side of a barn with their crossbows…and

The stories. This show used a lot of the writers from the original Star Trek… With the pylons, skylons, different crystals that controlled time, the weather and everything else. The acting could be sketchy at times but Spencer Milligan as Rick Marshall was really good.

I always wished they would remake this with modern effects with the same storylines. They actually had some good sci-fi stories in this show. People who criticize the look of the show must remember that this was a Saturday morning show….the budget was low… I still would rather watch this…bad effects and all to the awful 2009 movie of the same name…

This was made by Sid and Marty Krofft. They had some of the strangest shows for kids…they were unique, to say the least.

Wikipedia

A number of well-respected writers in the science fiction field contributed scripts to the series (mostly in the first and second seasons), including Larry Niven,[6] Theodore Sturgeon,[6][7] Ben Bova,[6] and Norman Spinrad, and a number of people involved with Star Trek, such as Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana,[6] Walter Koenig,[6][8][9] and David Gerrold.[6] Gerrold, Niven, and Fontana also contributed commentaries to the DVD of the first season.

Marshall, Will, and Holly
On a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known.
High on the rapids
It struck their tiny raft.
And plunged them down a thousand feet below.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
land of the lost2.jpg

Life On Mars…

2006 Life on Mars is simply great. Now 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 a cop (Sam Tyler) in 2006 gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973…he doesn’t know if he has traveled through time, going mad or in a coma. When he wakes he is a cop 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.

Great characters and stories make this the best show of the 2000’s to me. It only lasts 16 episodes and all of them are top notch. This show did have a spinoff… Ashes to Ashes…basically the same story above but with a female detective going back in the 1980s but she does meet most of the same characters except Sam. Ashes to Ashes does have its moments and it does wrap up all the reasons for  Life On Mars….but it doesn’t top it.

Almost better than the series is the soundtrack…. Performers from Atomic Rooster to David Bowie. A few songs that caught me by surprise that I thought how have I missed these all of my life?

Frankie Miller – I Can’t Change It

Atomic Rooster – Devil’s Answer

To see the others check it out here.

 

 

 

Green Acres

One of the most surreal shows to ever be on television.

I was too young to catch this show when it was on originally. I never thought too much of it but I started to watch it later on in life. At first look, it looked like a rural show with country humor….wrong wrong wrong. Yes, it was wacky but it broke through the 4th wall… You can see it’s influenced in the Simpsons and more shows. Poor Oliver was surrounded by crazy people and the craziness infected him at times. The show takes place in the fictional town of Hooterville…they never reveal the state but it doesn’t matter. The characters of this show were classic.

It’s really hard to describe this show. It was intertwined with 2 other shows…The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction…BUT it’s nothing like those other two. Not in the same zip code or planet. Basically…a New York Lawyer with his rather ditsy socialite wife moves to the country. He bought…or got conned into buying a broken down farmhouse (The Haney Place?) with his dreams of being a farmer. I will say the first few episodes kinda follows a normal sitcom template but then it gets really surreal. This is one show that would work today with no problem.

This website is a great acres resource.

The characters

Mr. Haney – Probably the biggest con-man in television history. He will stop at nothing to make a buck and he finds a sucker in Oliver many times.

Eb – The somewhat slow farmhand that calls Oliver and Lisa mom and dad much to Oliver’s annoyance. He asks for everything but gets out of work as much as he can…plus he tells Oliver what a bad farmer he is….

Mr. Drucker – out of all the residents of Hooterville  he is at times the most normal of the crazy lot…but that is not saying much. He operates the general store, post office, the newspaper and is the the notary public. I’m sure I’m missing something else.

Fred and Doris Ziffel – Fred and his long suffering wife Doris. They have no children so they raise a pig named Arnold as a child. He goes to school and does every kids do.

Arnold – The pig which is probably the character best remembered to the public.

Hank Kimball – My favorite character hands down…you talk about short term memory…this guy has it. He is the county agent and helps…or something like that Oliver with his farm.

Ralph and Alf Monroe – Two inept carpenters that are brother and sister and the sister’s name is Ralph. They work on Lisa’s and Oliver’s bedroom the entire show’s run and never gets it done.

Oliver and Lisa Douglas – It’s a wonder that the show didn’t end up with Oliver in an insane asylum after dealing with everyone in Hooterville. Lisa, as the show goes along starts think and act like the Hooterville residents. Lisa is a terrible cook to say the least that specializes in hot cakes…that are used to seal cracks and as a head gasket and she cooks a great hot water soup.

Eleanor – Oliver’s and Lisa’s cow. About the only good deal they ever got from Mr. Haney.

Some more info on Green acres.

 

Best Sitcoms of the 1970’s

The 70’s were the golden age of sitcoms. I am a sitcom connoisseur…these were my favorite in no particular order.

Barney Miller – The writing for this show was great. The setup was great in getting character actors in this show week after week because you would have a shop lifter, a flasher, a robber… usually no criminal too bad.

Mary Tyler Moore – Ground breaking show with great writing. The greatest sitcoms had a great ensemble of actors and actresses. This one seemed so natural that it seemed that you knew these people in real life.

Taxi – This one did not receive the praise that it should have at the time it was on. Reverend Jim is one of the great characters of television.

WKRP – This show rocked…literally…Some great music and a great cast.

All In The Family – Very topical and it probably would be harder to follow for younger people now but they would get the points. This is probably the most un PC show of the 70s. That makes me like it all the more. It exposed bigotry but also had a caring side to the show. The family fought but they were a close family.

The Bob Newhart Show – Bob’s dry sense of humor and the relationship with his wife Suzanne Pleshette seemed legit. The cast of quirky characters drove Bob crazy which showcased Newharts comedy.  This show should not be confused with the 1980s Newhart…this is the one where Bob is a psychologist…some people get them mixed up but this one is the best in my opinion….nothing against Newhart at all. Newhart had the same theme but to me this one has the best writing and more believable characters.

Good Times – The first sitcom that featured an all black cast. When I was growing up my mother and father had divorced. I was a latch key kid living with my mom and she worked three jobs and I didn’t get to see my father much. I was a white kid living in the country but John Amos’s character was a great father figure. He could go from happy to angry in 5 seconds. I know some people had a problem with Jimmie Walker’s character but I knew people like him even in a rural country school. When John Amos left…the show was never the same.

The Bob Newhart Show’s kitchen…Love that kitchen

bn kitchen.jpg

 

 

If you could have dinner with 9 people dead or still living…who would they be?

My list is pretty shallow sounding vs what some people would say… like Lincoln, Washington… Nope…no politicians, generals, or leaders…

1: John Lennon – He could be a walking contradiction but so were a lot of British rock stars but he was very intelligent and a superb songwriter. He loved to shock at times but could be very warm, generous and very honest. After he was killed his legend made him out to be some saint…he would have been the first to say he was not one….he didn’t suffer fools well.

2: Babe Ruth – What a guy… To me the best all-around player…Not only was he one of the best power hitters he was also a great left-handed pitcher…I would love to talk to him…get some dogs and beer and enjoy my time with the Babe. Yes, others have broken some of his records…but do they have 94 wins? On top of everything else… he had a huge personality.

3: Harpo Marx – The Marx brother that is my favorite. Yes Groucho is better known but Harpo was one of the most decent guys you could ever be around…he also hung out with the Algonquin round table crowd in the 1920s with writers Alexander Woolcott, brilliant playwright George Kaufman and many more. Harpo came from a very poor family at the turn of the century and he came to know some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.

4: Buster Keaton – Probably one of the best filmmakers of the 20th century. He gets overshadowed by Charlie Chaplin. Buster didn’t fake his gags…he didn’t cut away from shots…what you saw on film is what he did. He was a brilliant filmmaker.

5: Charlie Chaplin – Charlie and Babe Ruth were two of the best known celebrities of the 1920s. Charlie’s character The Tramp is still one of the most recognizable characters in history.

6: Jackie Robinson – Yes he was a Dodger and I’m a Dodger fan…but it’s more than that. He had to take so much abuse that probably contributed to his early death. He was a pioneer and should have been just another player if not for stupidity.

7: Keith Moon – I would prepare myself and sleep for as long as possible the day before and then try to keep up with him for as long as possible.

8: Clara Bow – My favorite actress hands down. The original and the only IT girl and could say more with her actions than anyone else with words…she lit up the screen.

9: Keith Richards – The only living member of my wishlist (though some would argue that fact) Keith is just cool period. If I had to describe rock and roll to an alien… I would hand them a copy of Brown Sugar and a picture of a 1972 Keith Richards… I love that he has survived…God Bless you, Keith.

 

 

You traveled into a worm hole through space and time and all you brought back was Keith Moon?

I awoke from a dream. I dreamed I was at an opening of some club and I was in the parking lot and here comes Keith Moon. He was laughing madly and asked me if I was enjoying myself…I was amazed and happy…. Someone in the background of this dream asked the above long question that is the title. I didn’t answer but if I did it would have been a resounding YES…who else? If I could have met any rock star…I would have picked Keith Moon. He was the ultimate definition of a rock star. Some people would pick Jimmy Page or Robert Plant…but to me Led Zeppelin always had a dark cloud around them. They were not the most inviting band. The Who on the other hand seemed open and at least trying to connect with the audience. The concert footage I have of them with Moon they would act silly between songs and be human and light…until they played…when they played in their prime…no one could touch them live. Plus musically I just liked them much better…I brought Zeppelin up because they  covered some of the same ground at the same time as the Who. I don’t care if I hear Stairway anymore in my life…but when Won’t Get Fooled Again comes on….I still turn it up. But this is about Keith Moon and me dragging him to the current age. He would not have survived now because he had fun and lots of it. Excess yes and too much. He was arguably the best drummer in rock ever….he usually comes in 1st or 2nd in polls to John Bonham. He had an ability and a rare ability….it doesn’t seem he could be embarrassed. I use to really want that trait…but it was his undoing also. With all of his mad escapades it has been said by many that he never wanted to hurt anyone. He once got a hotel clerk fired by stealing chicken from the kitchen…the next day he got the mans job back. The only person he ended up hurting was himself. He wrecked plenty of hotel rooms but he did it with style…one time nailing the furniture to the ceiling at the same location it had been on the floor.

I feel guilty sometimes enjoying reading about Keith…yes he had drinking problems and some mental problems that went undetected in the seventies. You will see these old jaded rock stars start smiling when talking about him now. A smile that says that they don’t have the time or the memory to tell you all the stories. He had energy to burn and finally did just that…burn out. He wore people out that tried to hang with him.

Keith’s stories have entertained generations after his lifetime….he paid the price. He was trying to clean up before he died and died on an overdose of a drug to wean him off of alcohol.

Check youtube out for Keith Moon and you will find some great videos….If you want a quick read find a copy of Full Moon I had a copy when I was 13 and I wish I would have kept it when I saw the price…you can get the audio version pretty cheap. If you really want to know about Keith get this one.  Better price and it covers his entire career. Yes I would bring him back just to see the reaction of today’s PC world. Their heads would explode. He would give this boring corporate world a hot foot….which it needs desperately. If only I could Keith….you would be here but I would rather go back to your world when the rules were broken and you could have a bit more fun. To this day I’ve never seen nor heard a drummer that could match him.

 

The Beatles or The Stones

The choice is an old one. I like both groups they are two of the greatest rock groups of all time. Keith Richards said without the Beatles there would be no Stones because the Beatles kicked the door in…in America for the Stones to follow. The soul  of the two groups were John Lennon and Keith Richards. They were the honest ones…the ones that would tell you how it really was but sometimes offended…but who cares? Keith is “The Human Riff” and has more than earned that name. John also came up with some classic riffs… Day Tripper, I Feel Fine, I Dig a Pony, And Your Bird Can Sing… Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger were the PR of both bands.

George Harrison and Brian Jones were in similar positions… both were in bands with with two great songwriters. George finally broke through with some great songs but Brian’s tenure ended sadly.

The first statement from a Stones fan is…but The Beatles were a pop band and The Stones were a rock band through and through. Not really…. The Stones wrote alot of pop songs like Ruby Tuesday, Waiting on a Friend, Dandelion and We Love You. The Beatles wrote some rock songs Day Tripper, Come Together, Revolution and probably the hardest and raunchiest song of the two groups…Helter Skelter.

The Stones were not above copying the Beatles at times. The most blatant was after Sgt Peppers came out the Stones release Her Majesty’s Request. Take a look at the Beggars Banquet Cover and The White Album covers. Yes the Stones delay in release of that album was over a cover the record company rejected but it was released after the White Album… Let it Be and Let it Bleed…a little too much of a coincidence. Glyn Johns was involved with both albums and it’s been said that the Stones heard Let It Be before it was released. John and Paul even wrote the Stones first hit I Wanna to Be Your Man. It wasn’t a bad thing…most groups followed in the Beatles wake.

Arguably the Stones were much better after the Beatles broke up. They formed their own identity.  Unless you like the Brian Jones era more than the Mick Taylor era.  Personally I think the Mick Taylor era was superb. I did like the texture that Brian would add to the Stones but with Mick Taylor they were a great rock band. When Taylor quit they lost a lot. Ron Wood looks more like a Stone than Taylor but the group with Wood is not comparable to the Taylor version of the Stones. It’s not just the songwriting…the guitar playing Taylor did with them between 69-74 was great. The Beatles were much more flexible than the Stones…just listen to the White Album. They could bend to any genre better than any band. Popularity is not even comparable between the bands. Mick Jagger has admitted that the Stones were outshone by the Beatles. 

It depends on taste but there is not a reason why you can’t like both…but the arguments are fun though. Personally The Beatles are my favorite of the two because they covered much more ground.

My thought on the dynamic of the groups is the Beatles truly loved each other like brothers and when they broke up…it was much more personal and more feelings were involved. The Stones were not as close. Keith and Mick were close for a little while until the drugs set in with Keith. I think that helped them stay together longer. I also thought they treated Bill Wyman terrible like not giving him credit on coming up with the riff on Jumping Jack Flash and he only got one of his songs on an album. John and Paul would write songs for Ringo and early on for even George. I can’t imagine Mick and Keith writing one for Brian…Brian didn’t do himself any favors because of the antics he pulled…but he did start the group and contributed a lot until around 67.

The argument will go on and on between fans of both groups. The images of both are really skewed. Supposedly to Stones fans the Beatles were soft and the Stones were hard men.. The Beatles were from Liverpool, a tough blue collar town and not soft at all. They were not to be messed with at all…After going to Hamburg and carousing with gangs, hit men and mobsters they were far from innocent but the Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham wanted the Stones to be the anti Beatles and it worked great but was far from the truth. The two bands were actually friends and would time their singles to come out at different times as to not compete with each other.

The Beatles live and The Stones live…The Beatles were excellent live but stopped playing live in 1966…one because of the constant screaming and inadequate equipment. The also had the time to devote to make some of the greatest albums ever…When the Stones hit their stride live the equipment improved greatly and the screaming was for the most part over. The Beatles only played live one more time just a few songs on top of their Apple building. This is interesting… both bands early on share a stage with each other and a lot of different  acts including the Animals, Them and The Kinks.

The best live band ever? My choice would be neither the Stones or Beatles. That will come later.