Alarm – Sixty Eight Guns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sixty Eight Guns

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unbreak it)

When you’re young
Have no illusion, no disillusion

Unbreak the promise
Unbreak the vow
Uphold the promise

SIXTY EIGHT GUNS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fabulous Thunderbirds – Wrap It Up / Tuff Enuff

I couldn’t pick between these two songs from The Fabulous Thunderbirds so I thought we would have two songs today. I love the riff that kicks off Wrap It Up. It was a minor hit for The Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1986. The band featured Jimmy Vaughan on guitar who was the older brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan. This band helped a blues revival in the 1980’s that included Robert Cray and SRV.

I must admit when I heard these songs for the first time I liked them a lot. I thought the band would have more hits.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds didn’t just hit out of nowhere. They formed in 1974 with original members Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson (singer), Keith Ferguson, and Mike Buck. Austin vocalist Lou Ann Barton also performed occasionally with the group during its early years.

These two songs were on their 5th album Tuff Enuff, produced by Dave Edmunds. The album peaked at #13 on the Billboard Album charts, and eventually went platinum. It was their breakout album and one they could not duplicate.

Tuff Enuff and Wrap It Up received heavy airplay on MTV. That was the secret of success in the 1980s…if you have MTV pushing… you would probably be alright.

Tuff Enuff peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100 in 1986 and Wrap It Up peaked at #55 in the Billboard 100.

They are still touring today with Kim Wilson (lead singer) the only original member left. Jimmie left the band in 1990 to work with his brother. Stevie and Jimmie made an album together that was released in 1990 called Family Style. It was released on September 25, 1990, and Stevie died a month before on August  27, 1990.

Art Honoring Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan Planned for Dallas –  Billboard

Stevie Ray Vaughan talks about his older brother Jimmie:

“Jimmie would leave his guitars around the house and tell me not to touch ’em. And that’s basically how I got started. I actually wanted to be a drummer, but I didn’t have any drums. So I just go into what was available to me at the time.”

“I was little brother, especially then” 

“What happened was he was moving ahead a little faster than me and I guess I was dragging it down a bit, so that didn’t work out too well. But I think with any brothers there’s a period of time when the little brother always gets in the way. That’s just brother-to-brother shit. It wasn’t anything between us that lasted. Hell, now we can’t see enough of each other.”

After being told that Jimmie brags on him in interviews Stevie said…”Well, I think he’s the better guitar player – so there.”

Eric Clapton just announced a tour with Jimmie Vaughan later this summer in the US.

Wrap It Up

I’ve been watchin’ you for days now baby
I just love your sexy ways now baby
You know our love will never stop now baby
Just put your lovin’ in my box now baby

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Well no more will I shop around now baby
I know I got the best thing in town now baby
I’ve seen all I want to see now baby
Bring your lovin’ straight to me now baby

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Well I’m gonna treat you like the queen you are
Bring you sweet things from my candy jar
You’ve got tricks you ain’t never used
Give it, give it to me, it won’t be abused

I’ve been watchin’ you for days now baby
I just love your sexy ways now baby
You know our love will never stop now baby
Just put your lovin’ in my box now baby

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Wrap wrap
Wrap wrap
Wrap

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 5 – Keith Selects – Get Smart

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

It’s time for my next pick in the Hanspostcard TV Show Draft. My next pick is sort of a guilty pleasure. So many of the gags are ones you see coming a mile away, but they still crack me up. It is another one of those shows that was loaded with great guest stars and a solid cast. My next pick is Get Smart.

In the early 1960’s, America got their first look at James Bond and the secret agent/spy genre took off in full force. In 1965, Daniel Melnick, who was a partner in the production firm of Talent Associates in New York City, decided that it was time for a TV series that satirized James Bond. He approached Mel Brooks and Buck Henry to write a script about a “bungling James Bond-like hero.”

mel and buck

Mel said that Talent Associates had a pool table. He and Buck met at the pool table and while playing discussed the show. Mel says, “I knew we could do this thing together because we couldn’t stop babbling about things like the Shoe Phone and the Cone of Silence. These things just rolled out of our mouths.”

Henry said they created the script for the pilot in about three months around the pool table. “We decided on a secret agent named Smart – Maxwell Smart – and gave him, as his most sterling quality, a remarkable lack of insight. Nevertheless, since he was our hero, he would always win out despite his inspired inefficiency. We also gave him a number, which all operatives must have.” The number they chose was 86, which was chosen by Melnick and derived from the slang expression “to eighty-six someone.”

The show was pitched to ABC. The pitch was pretty much exactly what the show ended up being: Max would work for the Chief, the head of the Washington-based US intelligence agency Control. He would have a beautiful and brilliant young partner known only as Agent 99. Loaded up with gadgets, they would fight against the evil agents of Kaos, an international organization seeking world domination.

Originally, Mel Brooks considered playing Smart himself. Orson Bean was also considered. ABC decided that if it aired the show, Tom Poston (best known for his work on the Steve Allen Show and Newhart) would star as Agent 86. ABC liked the pilot, but wanted to change things up. They wanted Max to have a mother and a dog on the show. Brooks hated the idea of Max coming home to his mother at the end of every show and explaining everything to her. When they told ABC “no,” they passed on the show calling it “un-American.”

They took the script to NBC. NBC had already spent all the money allotted for making pilots. Grant Tinker was contacted about the show and was told that he “had to” read the pilot. “I read it and I just loved it. It was exactly the kind of thing that makes me laugh.” He called the head of programming at NBC and convinced him to come up with the money for one more pilot. They did so one one condition – Tom Poston, who was not under contract at NBC, would be replaced by Don Adams, who was.

The Cast

s-l400

Maxwell Smart – Agent 86

You have to wonder how Max keeps his job! He is extremely clumsy and forgetful. He’s forever on the Chief’s last nerve, yet he always wins. He is a proficient marksman, skilled in hand to hand combat, and incredibly lucky. Believe it or not, he is one of the top Control agents!

Once Don Adam’s was brought in as Max, many of his routines from his stand up act were incorporated into the character. He had used his “Would you believe…” before, but it became a staple on Get Smart.

Smart: At this very moment, 25 Control agents are converging on this building.

Kaos Agent: I don’t believe it.

Smart: Would you believe 2 squad cars and a motorcycle cop?

Kaos Agent: No

Smart: How about a vicious street cleaner and a toothless police dog?

Agent 99

e25e819b3d06dee354505946e6d1efb7

Played by Barbara Feldon, whom Buck Henry says he fought for from the beginning. Despite some sources, the creators of the show and Feldon herself say that 99’s real name is never mentioned. Originally, they wanted her to be Agent 69, but Henry says, “We knew it would never get past the censors. So 99 was our little joke.”

99 is another of Control’s top agents and often works together with Max. One had to wonder what an intelligent and sensible woman like 99 sees in a goofball like Maxwell Smart!

The Chief

36c1d166f3793f32ae9ddbde2dd0dfb5

For the Chief, Mel Brooks and Buck Henry wanted someone who would “personify authority and grave intensity all while delivering ludicrous information with a stern voice and fatherly demeanor.” They had seen Ed Platt in North by Northwest and Rebel Without a Cause and knew he was their Chief.

He is the head of Control. He oversees all of Control’s activities and missions. He frequently speaks to the President over a direct line. He considers 86 and 99 to be Control’s best agents and his best friends, even though Max seems to be a continuous thorn in his side.

Chief: All we know is that they threaten to wipe out the city containing our finest intellectual minds and greatest leaders!

Max: Well, at least Washington is safe.

Larabee

cd648b6cd5cb7758082c19e4cc56a1e7--the-chiefs-vintage-tv

Larabee (played by Robert Karvelas) is the Chief’s right hand man and assistant. In all honesty, he is even more slow-witted and incompetent than Max! Don Adams said that they used Larabee for the jokes that were “too dumb for Max.” Despite his stupidity, his unwavering dedication and extremely simple mind make him an indispensable government employee.

Hymie The Robot

Hymie-e1638322712559

Hymie (played by Dick Gautier) was a robot originally designed by Kaos to battle against Control. However, in his first appearance on the show, Max mistakes him for a rookie Control agent and takes him under his wing. When Hymie is ordered to kill Max, Hymie shoots his creator instead. Max then reprograms him to work for Control.

Hymie often takes things literally. When told to get a grip on himself, he grabs himself. Many jokes of this type were Hymie oriented (“Kill the lights,” “Grab a waiter,” “Hop to it,” “Knock it off,” and so on.

Agent 13

getsmart

Agent 13 (David Ketchum) is forever spying from odd places. You will find him in washing machines, in mailboxes, file cabinets, lockers, fire hydrants, and other small places. He is loyal to Control, but often complains about his assignments. Though he complains, he always gets the job done intercepting messages, overhearing plans, and often coming to Max’s rescue.

From 1965-1966, Agent 44 was played by Victor French and was also confined to small spaces like Agent 13.

Professor Carlson

MV5BM2E3Yjc4MDktMGFkNC00Y2IwLWFiNzQtZWJhYjBjNDI2MmZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjA3MTcwMzc@._V1_

Carlson (Stacy Keach Sr.) is a Control scientist and inventor. He often presents Max with gadgets that will be used on his assignment. Carlson succeeded Professor Parker who was played by Milton Selzer.

KAOS

2971765847_6a84c9d07c_z

Maxwell Smart calls Kaos “a monstrous organization of evil dedicated to the destruction of the free world and the systematic subjugation of every man, woman, and child on this planet. Kaos Agent Omar Shurok describes it as “the international organization of evil formed in 1904 in Bucharest , designed to foment unrest and revolution throughout the world.”

Ludwig Von Seigfried

Bernie-Kopell-and-Don-Adams-e1473733166271

Seigfried (played wonderfully by Bernie Kopell) is described as “the merciless, fiercely conceited, preeminent Kaos kingpin” who “considers himself vastly superior to his underlings and his adversaries.” He is also described as “undeniably sinister, shrewd, underhanded, conniving, contemptuous, haughty, scornful, and explosive. He considers all Kaos agents thick-witted, nitwits, fools, incompetents, bunglers, dummkopfs, dunderheads, and sissies, and he is easily angered by the slightest display of incompetence or silliness.”

Seigfried (on the phone with Max): Your Chief was just silenced by a pistol butt.

Max: That’s a little drastic, wasn’t it, Seigfried? Couldn’t you have just shushed him?

Seigfried: We don’t SHUSH here!

Shtarker (or Starker)

c2c40de05e3936fba37a30673d5ccbc2

(King Moody) He is Seigfried’s ruthless, but often inept henchman. Shtarker is the Yiddish word for a “strong-arm man” or a “tough guy.” He certainly is a towering bodyguard, but he is nothing more than a goofball.

Gadgets

Throughout the show there are many gadgets. No doubt, many of these were inspired by the James Bond series. There are too many to list here, but there are a couple that have become synonymous with the show.

Shoe Phone

backdrop-1920

Mel Brooks is credited with coming up with the idea for the Shoe Phone. It came to him one day when every phone in his office started ringing and he took his shoe off and began speaking into it.

In 2002, the prop shoe phone was placed on display in an exhibit called “Spies: Secrets from the CIA, KGB, and Hollywood” which featured real and fake spy gear in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Cone of Silence

Buck Henry claims to have come up with this recurring gag.

Whenever something needed to be discussed that was sensitive, Max would insist on Control’s protocol of using the Cone of Silence. It was designed to keep whatever was discussed audible to whoever was in it. However, it almost never worked. Many times the people under it could not hear each other, or couldn’t understand what the other was saying. Sometimes they had to yell so loud that the people outside the Cone of Silence could hear better than the ones under it.

Catchphrases

cf277eca5bc9b072fcf5f635a09653af--smart-quotes-tv-quotes

Get Smart contributed many catchphrases that were popular among viewers. “Would you believe…” which I already mentioned was just one of them. Others were:

  • “Missed it by that much.”
  • “Sorry about that Chief”
  • “I asked you not to tell me that”
  • “….and LOVING it!”
  • “Of course, the (such and such). Just one question. What’s the (such and such)?
  • “The old (such and such) trick”

Passwords

Sometimes a password was needed to enter Control buildings. Other times a sign and counter sign was needed.

Passwords include:

  • Ricardo Montalban hates tortillas
  • Herb Alpert takes trumpet lessons from Guy Lombardo

Signs/Countersigns include:

Sign: Camptown ladies sing this song

Countersign: Doo-dah. Doo-dah.

Sign: Camptown racetrack five miles long

Countersign: Oh Doo-dah day.

The Show

Get Smart aired for 5 seasons. The first four seasons were on NBC and when faced with cancellation, it moved to CBS for it’s fifth and final season. In the final season, the show “jumped the shark” and 86 and 99 got married and had kids, which many say is what killed the show.

get-smart-wedding

Afterward

In 1980, Don Adams starred in the theatrical film, The Nude Bomb. It lacked much of what made the show so good. Max is not working for Control, 99 is not present, and it lacked all the fun of the show.

In 1988, many of the original cast reunited for Get Smart Again, a TV movie that aired on ABC. It reunited 86, 99, Larabee, Hymie, and Agent 13. Seigfried and Shtarker return as Kaos agents. It was more true to the original series and it helped spawn a short-lived weekly series on Fox in 1995.

Why I Picked It

Today, we are bombarded with all kinds of shows on TV that try to push a political or social message. Get Smart makes me laugh. It is one of those shows that I wish didn’t have a laugh track (the only thing I hate about it). I love to watch the interaction of the characters and enjoy the guest stars. It’s one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

The theme song is one of my favorites, too! When I worked at one hospital, I used to have to walk down a long hallway and I would often find myself humming the theme! Silly, yes! Incidentally, it is interesting to note that in 2010, TV Guide ranked the opening title sequence at number 2 on its list of Top 10 credits sequences as selected by readers. It’s classic!

Thanks for reading!!

Ramones – Judy Is A Punk

The Ramones played the most basic form of rock but it never gets old. I’ve heard them described as punk, bubblegum, rock, hard rock, punk/pop/rock, and everything in between. They were greatly underappreciated in their time.

This song was released in 1976 on the Ramones’ debut album. In that year you had disco and slick pop going on everywhere…on the other hand, you had the Ramones. They bucked the trend of radio at the time. They developed a reputation in 1975 for playing rapid sets in and around New York City, often blasting through about 12 songs in 25 minutes. By the time they recorded this, they had honed their songs during many performances and included it on the album.

I first heard this album in the early 80s…and I liked the simplicity of their sound. There was a reason for that. The Ramones had a very sparse budget at the time… The entire album cost just $6,400 to make.

They were no-frills and to the point. No long solos or instrumental breaks. Just 2-minute blasts full of energy.

Like many Ramones songs…it is not your typical song story. This song tells a very vague story of two adventurous girls… Jackie and Judy. We know that Jackie is a punk and Judy is a runt, and they’ve decided to join the SLA – the Symbionese Liberation Army. The SLA was a fringe political group that was in the news for kidnaping the heiress Patty Hearst in 1974.

Lead singer Joey Ramone wrote the song and we think it was purely fictional.

The Ramones recorded a sequel song… “The Return Of Jackie And Judy” on their 1980 album End Of The Century.

Sequel Version

Judy Is A Punk

Jackie is a punk
Judy is a runt
They both went down to Berlin, joined the Ice Capades
And oh, I don’t know why
Oh, I don’t know why
Perhaps they’ll die

Jackie is a punk
Judy is a runt
They both went down to Frisco, joined the SLA
And oh, I don’t know why
Oh, I don’t know why
Perhaps they’ll die

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 4 – Dave Selects – Ed

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

Illusionist David Copperfield once made the Statue of Liberty seem to disappear in front of a live audience.  Perhaps I should give him a call and see if he could make a terrific TV show reappear.

In this day and age of bargain-priced DVD sets of just about everything ever to grace or disgrace the boob tube screen, cable networks galore and a new streaming service every week offering up even old chestnuts like Green Acres and Dad’s Army for insomniac subscribers, you’d think a hit show from this century would be easy to find. Hard to avoid even, perhaps. Particularly if it starred one of the leads in one of this decade’s most popular shows,  was created by TV “royalty” and kicked off the careers of a couple of movie stars plus the star of the most popular sitcom going these days. Sadly you’d be wrong.

Despite having Modern Family‘s “Claire’ (Julie Bowen) as the female lead, being the first place anyone saw Jim Parsons (now Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory) or Justin Long on the screen, despite being a product of David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants,  and having the Foo Fighters do the theme song, Ed has become a ghost. TV’s equivalent of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker – well-loved but known these days only through rumors, memories of old-timers and grainy photos. That bugged me back in 2005 after it ended; it bugs me more now. It was one of the few shows of that era that I made a point of watching every week …ironically until the finale, on a night in which I was working and …yes, my VCR malfunctioned!!

 Ed (not to be confused with the similarly-titled movie, Ed TV)  was a rather brilliant but hard to define show that ran for 83 episodes from 2000 through early 2004 on NBC. It was a dramedy before that term – or genre- was well-known. A drama with a sense of humor; a comedy that at times could be heart-wrenching at times. Lovable, Relatable. Quirky as Seinfeld but a version where the characters weren’t obnoxiously self-absorbed and were dropped into a small town.  It was also could be seen as something of a male bookkend to The Gilmore Girls which debuted the same autumn. Just like Ed, Lorelei and Rory, those Gilmore Girls had oddball small-towners to contend with, lots of music and main characters looking for love. Unlike Ed, however, The Gilmore Girls live on in Walmart discount video bins, Sunday afternoon reruns and most notably, in a limited four-episode resurrection from Netflix. All accomplished while averaging only a little over half the number of viewers as  Ed scored in its first run. The TV gods aren’t always fair.

Ed was several shows in one really, a somewhat risky proposition for TV of the day.  Romance, workplace dramas, lightweight legal eagles. Sounds messy, yet it worked. Wonderfully.

The central story was based on Ed Stevens (played by the affable Canadian actor Tom Cavanagh, little known outside of his homeland at the time. In Canada he starred in a series of popular Labatt beer ads in the ’90s) and his search for love.  Ed was a big money, big city lawyer, we’re told, who had one bad day. A missed comma in a business contract cost his firm millions and led to him being fired. When he returned home early after being sacked, he found his pretty wife in bed with a stranger.  Ed decides he’s had enough of that life, and – cue the TV show’s beginning – returns to his hometown, Stuckeyville, a smallish town in Ohio stuck in a Frank Capra movie.

Having tasted a good deal of failure in his life, but also some success after his school days, he decides to look up his high school crush, Carol (played by Bowen.) He falls back in love with her and spends four seasons wooing her with up-and-down results and the sexual chemistry of David and Maddie from Moonlighting…another show someone should cover here, by the way!

Of course, just as in real life, there was more to both their lives than their oft-thwarted attraction to each other. Ed needs to do something to keep busy and as he’s a lawyer, he goes into practise in Stuckeyville. But instead of working on behalf of big business, as in his past life, he looks after the town’s good people … the gal being sued by her lecherous used car dealer boss for back wages after she turns down his advances; the beloved Stuckeyville Stan, magician whose tricks are being explained to the town by a malicious rival… even Carol’s boyfriend (played by a pre-Mad Men John Slattery) when the rival was falsely accused of causing a car crash. In short, the good guy everyone loves.  Oh, and since he liked bowling, he decided to buy the town bowling alley and work from there!

Stuckeybowl offered up its own storylines and weird but pleasant characters and stories, most notably the good-hearted Phil, (Michael Ian Black), the highly ambitious but quite so clever manager. Kind of like a slightly less obnoxious and better coiffed Kramer, Phil always seemed to have plans which were big on dreaming but not quite so much on practicality. He of course tested Ed’s patience but the lawyer grinned and bore it, being far too nice to fire people.

Carol had become a school teacher since Ed left town, and the other half of the story  involved her work and the high schoolers she taught, as well as her co-workers, including her best friend Molly and in the first couple of years, Slattery as the principal and her beau. Two of the high schoolers are Warren and Diane, high school nerds played by Justin Long (before the Apple ads) and Ginnifer Goodwin, some nine years before they sizzled together in He’s Just Not That Into You.  Warren has a thing for Carol, which frustrates Ed, but doesn’t stop him from trying to help the youth find his way … and see that his soulmate is his classmate, Diane.

And of course, Ed has a school buddy too – Mike. Mike is now married and a young doctor struggling to win respect from the townspeople and the crusty old doctor, Dr. Jerome whom we always expect to prescribe leeches or bloodletting. Of course the old goat gets Mike’s goat… while quietly admiring and pushing the young one to be the best he can be.

Mike and Ed hang out together and relive their youth, often with a running series of “ten dollar bets” in which one bets the other ten bucks to do something crazy. Mike bets Ed he can’t meow loud enough in a park to make a stranger turn around, bets Ed he won’t play “It’s Raining Men” on his bowling alley jukebox on a busy night and so on. Ed inevitably is not one to turn down a challenge.  At the end of the day, they all tend to hang out in the neighborhood pub, The Smiling Goat, rather like the characters in How I Met Your Mother socialized at their bar, albeit with a lot less intoxication in Stuckeyville. Oh, and yep, …Mother‘s Neil Patrick Harris showed up on Ed too, as a competing bowling alley lawyer. Jim Parsons, Rena Sofer and Kelly Ripa all made appearances before becoming household names.

 For all the laughs and romance, from time to time the show broached serious material. Perhaps a decade before it became trendy or even polite, it dealt with obesity with sensitivity, with Carol’s friend Molly (Jana Marie Hupp) being a little curvier than most and at times fighting prejudices because of it. Then there was Mark, a school kid who was largely unpopular and always self-conscious because of his own  more-than-ample weight, leading him to consider gastric bypass surgery (which the actor, Michael Genadry had in real life.)  Fast forward to today when This Is Us is called “brave” and ground-breaking for having plus-sized Chrissy Metz as one of its stars.

Critics adored Ed. I did too. I’d happily buy a box set of it on DVD… were such a thing available.

The rest of the public liked it, but not as much as the critics and I. It typically ranked in the middle of the ratings, with an average of between 10 million (in its first season, when it was in an unfavorable Sunday night slot against The Simpsons and Touched by an Angel) and 8 million in its last few months. It bears mentioning that if a show had those numbers these days, it would be a blockbuster hit. The aforementioned This Is Us averaged 5.4 million viewers at its peak, according to Nielsen, about the same as the apparent breakout hit of the decade, Black-ish. Even stalwards like Grey’s Anatomy dip below 10 million some weeks.

All of which might make its cancelation  marginally understandable …after all, how many quirky characters can one small town offer up, and sooner or later we knew Ed and Carol had to figure out what we all knew –  that they belonged together.  What makes no sense is that the show has disappeared into the ether in a time when almost every program ever made is available in any number of formats.

Fans and creators Rob Burnett (formerly the head writer at Letterman) and Jon Beckerman have constantly been reported as disappointed to quite pissed off the show hasn’t made it onto the DVD shelves or Netflix playlist yet.  We’re told problems with doing so abound, owing to the show’s unusual production (David Letterman’s company, NBC and Viacom were all part-owners and distributors creating some problems on figuring out the copyright, costs and revenue-sharing)  and with another one of the show’s appealing features – the music.  It seemed there was always music playing on the show. In the bowling alley, in the cars, in the bar… even background music to serious walks in the snow to think!  A number of great tunes, largely ’90’s alt rock ones but including at time everything from classic rock to old fashioned torch songs, appeared in the show. I used to try and track the songs episode by episode. It was a chore! From K’s Choice to Weezer to the theme by the Foo Fighters…even a big set with a song by Toronto’s Blue Rodeo (there were a few nods to Cavanaugh’s real-life Canadian background, including him drinking the Labatt’s beer he once pitched at his bar) . It made the show as good-sounding as it was looking. But…, all that music, as the creators of WKRP In Cincinnati likewise found out, makes the legal work more difficult. Every musician or publisher needs to be individually negotiated with in terms of future royalties, which is why a lot of non-descript elevator music appears in WKRP videos instead of the old Foreigner, Earth Wind and Fire and Stones stuff you might have remembered hearing Johnny and Venus spin. So far, no one’s seemed to find it worth trying to do the paperwork and make all those calls to have it happen and from what I understand, the music in the bar and the bowling alley wasn’t an overdub…it was actually being played on the set while they filmed, making covering it up much more difficult.

Whatever the reason, I wish they could put the differences aside and sign some papers and bring back Ed for those of us who remember it fondly. The sweet, gentle comedy was especially refreshing by the second season when the world was thrown into disarray (the season premiere was scheduled for Sep. 12, 2001 and was pushed back by three weeks by… well, you remember) . Its light-heartedness and big-hearted message seems needed and once more.  Paging David Copperfield… or maybe Viacom and NBC should go bowl a few frames and get a certain small town lawyer to draw up the papers.

Although Ed is still unavailable streaming or on DVD , I do see that a number of episodes of it have appeared on You Tube recently. I haven’t yet checked them out, so I can’t attest to how high the quality of picture or sound is, but it gives me some encouragement that the show may not be lost entirely now.

Bobby “Blue” Bland – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

When I listened to this for the first time, my first thought was… Damn this is good! When I read music books about artists…one artist will talk about another and they will talk about another. It’s like a river with all the twists and turns and you never know who you will hear about next.

If you listen to this song grab some headphones and listen to his wonderfully smooth-rough voice. Also, keep an ear out for the fuzz guitar doing runs in the background. When you hear someone like Gregg Allman say that Bobby “Blue” Bland is one of his singing idols…you know something great is there waiting to be heard. This I have heard before and was impressed even without Mr. Allman’s recommendation.

“Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” was written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh, a pair of journeymen songwriters who wrote different kinds of music like The Grass Roots’ 1970 hit “Temptation Eyes.”

Bobby was the first to record this song and it was released on his 1974 album Dreamer. The song peaked at #9 in the R&B Charts and #91 in the Billboard 100.

Bland began his career in Memphis, Tennessee, with bluesman B.B. King and ballad singer Johnny Ace (all three were part of a loose aggregation of musicians known as the Beale Streeters). He had some hits in the 50s and early 60s but had some financial troubles in 1968 and had to break up his band.

His record company was then sold to ABC Dunhill and he started up his career again and continued to chart til the 1980s. Of all bands…Whitesnake covered this song in 1978 and it charted in the UK in 1980.

Boz Scaggs: “I made a point of getting to know him over the years, not that I knew him well. But he came down to the studio when we were making the Memphis record a couple of times. He sat in the control room and listened to the playback of some of the songs, and he was treating me very fatherly, where he’d say ‘Here’s where you’re going to go here,’ and he was singing to me as the track was playing back. Then we got a chance to talk.

“It was like a lot of that part of his life, his music, was intact, and he was very vivid about that, vivid in talking about his early influences, it was all there. He was obviously frail, and it was hard for him to get around, but when he settled down, he loved talking about his life and his craft.”

Gregg Allman: “We were doing “Turn On Your Love Light,” because we had heard Bobby “Blue” Bland do it, and, man, you talk about an original talent—there will be, and can be, only one Bobby “Blue” Bland.”

Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, and it’s sure ’nuff a pity
Ain’t no love, ’cause you ain’t around

When you were mine
Oh, I was feeling so good
‘Cause your love lit up this old neighborhood
And now that you’re gone
You know the sun don’t shine
From the city hall to the county line
That’s why I said

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, and it sure is a pity
Ain’t no love, ’cause you ain’t around

Every place that I go
Oh, it seems so strange
Without you there
Things have changed
The night time calls
There’s a blanket of gloom
Another teardrop falls
In my lonely room

I said ain’t no love
In the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, ain’t any pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around

And now that you’re gone
Oh, the sun don’t shine
From the city hall to the county line, I said

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, it sure is a pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around
‘Cause you ain’t around

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in this great big old town
Ain’t no love, and ain’t it a pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of this town

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 3 – Lisa Selects – My Name Is Earl

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

My Name Is Earll.-l.-r. Catalina, Darnell, Joy, Randy, and Earl

My Name is Earl (2005-2009) 96 episodes, originally on NBC.
S1 24e
S2 23e
S3 22e
S4 27e

Starring:
Jason Lee is Earl Hickey, the star of the show and also acts as narrator. Earl has been a no-good boozer, junkie, thief, and all-around sleazebag; he has hurt a lot of people along the way. When Earl wins the lotto, against all odds, he thanks God and commits his life to steps 8 & 9 in the 12-step program, where you make a list of those you have wronged and make amends to them. The whole premise of the show is how he seeks out and finds those he has harmed and tries to make amends to them, if possible.
Ethan Suplee is Randy Hickey, Earl’s needy brother and faithful sidekick.
Jaime Pressly is Joy Turner, Earl’s ex-wife, who is now married to Darnell. Joy is a ditzy blonde, loud, and has a lot of unfulfilled dreams. She has some charm but it takes awhile to find her heart.
Nadine Velazquez is Catalina, a friend of Earl’s and a maid at the hotel Earl and Randy eventually live at.
Eddie Steeples is Darnell “Crab Man” Turner, Joy’s husband and a cook at the bar that they all like to hang out at. Darnell is a cool guy with a certain type of zen wisdom to him. I can’t remember why, but he is in a witness protection program.
Trey Carlisle is Earl, Jr. Funny thing is, he looks just like Darnell.

Well-known actors that put in appearances for mostly one or two episodes: Burt Reynolds, Beau Bridges, Michael Rapaport, Craig T. Nelson, Marlee Matlin, John Leguizamo, Norm MacDonald, Ben Foster, Erik Estrada, Geraldo Rivera, Montel Williams, Clint Howard, Dax Shepard, Jon Favreau, Juliette Lewis, Christian Slater, Amy Sedaris, Roseanne Barr, John Waters, Charles S. Dutton, David Arquette, Jerry VanDyke, Betty White, Danny Glover, Joan Van Ark, Bernie Kopell, Don Swayze (Patrick’s brother,) Howie Mandel, Paris Hilton, Scoot McNairy, Michael Pena, Tiffany Haddish, Trace Adkins, Timothy Olyphant, and Morgan Fairchild. There are dozens upon dozens of other actors that show up also.

Directors: directed by a long list of directors
Writers: Gregory Thomas Garcia wrote all 96 but there is also a long list of contributing writers for the show
Genres: comedy
Synopsis: As stated above, Earl wins the lotto, decides to get clean, then determines to find those he’s done wrong to during his druggie villain days and try to make amends to them. Earl has done a fearless inventory and has made a list. As he has hurt many along the way, it’s a long list. His sidekick brother, Randy, sometimes helps but often mucks it up. Joy and Darnell are always in the picture in some way to either help or hinder. The voice of reason in what is often chaos is Earl’s friend, Catalina.
Impressions: It’s been awhile since I saw the show, but I remember it fondly. I remember laughing often and also being genuinely touched in the serious moments when Earl and those he wronged have their small moments of truth, sincerity, and what some might call mutual spiritual redemption and/or peacemaking. I like the often-messy atmosphere of real life, where anything can and does happen. Jason Lee as Earl stole my heart from the beginning.
Grade: 9
Awards: Won 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 10 wins & 74 nominations.

From imdb trivia:
The items in Earl’s list shown during the opening sequence read as follows: – 56: Stole liquor from liquor store. – 57: Told Joy Dan Dodd messed himself on the (rest cut out of frame). – 58: Fixed a high school football game. – 59: Everything I did to Dad. – 60: Pulled fire alarm – 61: Stole Mom’s car (but I gave it back). – 62: Faked death to break-up with a girl. – 63: Wasted electricity. – 64: Spray painted the bridge. – 65: Cost Dad the election. – 66: Let mice out at school play. – 67: Stole beer from a golfer. – 68: Blew up mailboxes. 69: Cheated on school tests a lot.

Led Zeppelin – D’yer Mak’er

I know some Zeppelin fans who hate this song with a passion. For me it showed the band had a sense of humor instead of just glowing red eyes, naked children climbing rocks, and symbols that looked like ZoSo.  Jimmy Page had an interest in the occult and Robert Plant often wrote mystical spiritual lyrics…so this one comes out of the blue.

Is this Led Zeppelin’s best song? No, not even in their top 50 but a fun romp through reggae or their version of it anyway.

I bought the single at a yard sale when I was around 10 and there was something wrong with it. On one side “The Crunge” was printed and on the other…D’yer Mak’er was there. The only problem was that the labels were reversed. This was before I knew anything about Led Zeppelin. For years I thought D’yer Mak’er WAS called The Crunge and the opposite. It was not until later when I got the album Houses of the Holy that I found out. I then thought they had the album listing wrong. I wish I still had that single!

The song was one of the few singles released by the band in America. They never released a single in the UK while they were still together. The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 and #24 in Canada in 1973.

The title, frequently mispronounced as ‘Dear Maker’ or even ‘Dire Maker’, is actually meant to be pronounced “Jamaica” in a double-edged reference to the old joke that Robert Plant told in a Rolling Stone interview and also the way in which locals pronounce the name of their Caribbean island. I looked this up on the title… D’yer Mak’er (intended to be pronounced with a British non-rhotic accent as “jah-may-kah”)

Plant has confirmed that the title “D’yer Mak’er” does, in fact, come from a bit of Cockney humor, which usually goes something like this:
Cockney Man 1: My wife is going on holiday.
Cockney Man 2: D’yer make ‘er? [“Jamaica,” but pronounced quickly so that it sounds just like “Did you make her?”]
Cockney Man 1: No, she’s going on her own accord.
The allusion to Jamaica made sense for the song: “D’yer Mak’er” is Zeppelin’s reggae move.

John Paul Jones didn’t like the track and he said that Bonham didn’t like reggae period.

John Paul Jones: “John was interested in everything except jazz and reggae, he didn’t hate jazz but he hated playing reggae he thought it was really boring.”

JImmy Page: “I didn’t expect people not to get it. I thought it was pretty obvious.”

D’yer Mak’er

Oh oh oh oh oh oh,
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go

Ay ay ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry, ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry, oh oh ah ay
Baby please don’t go

When I read the letter you wrote me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it told me, it made me sad sad sad
But I still love you so
I can’t let you go
I love you
Oh, baby I love you

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Every breath I take, oh oh oh oh
Oh, every move I make
Oh, baby please don’t go

Ay ay ay ay ay ay
You hurt me to my soul, oh oh oh oh
You hurt me to my soul oh, oh
Darling please don’t go

When I read the letter you sent me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it brought me, it made me sad sad sad
But I still love you so
And I can’t let you go
I love you
Oh, baby I love you, oh

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh
Oh, baby
Babe, please, please, please, please
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh, baby
Oh oh, oh I really love you, baby

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 2 – Paula Selects – Tell Me Your Secrets

Tell Me Your Secrets

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

Tell Me Your Secrets

I recently binged this thriller drama series on Prime, and I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with it. None of the characters are likeable, not even in a Tony Soprano funny but loveable mafia thug way, but it was hard to look away from the show. The story was strangely compelling, and I needed to know what happened to these fictional people I didn’t like at all! I guess that makes the writing successful.

The series was created by Harriet Warner and premiered on Prime in February 2021. There are four main characters: Emma Hall (played by Lily Rabe), Mary Barlow (Amy Brenneman), John Tyler (Hamish Linklater), and Peter Guillory (Enrique Murciano). I would also argue that there is a fifth main character, shown only in flashback, and that is Christopher (Kit) Parker, played by Xavier Samuel.

The show begins with the imprisoned Karen Miller agreeing to give up some info on Kit Parker, her former boyfriend who is also in prison for murder, and thus Karen is rewarded with a new identity as Emma Hall and placed into witness protection. One of the first problems for Emma is that due to PTSD she is able only to summon up vague flashes of unreliable memories, though it appears she is trying to cooperate with Peter, her parole officer. Some of her flashbacks make her appear to be an accomplice to Kit’s abductions/murders, and other times she seems like a victim who narrowly escaped, though Emma isn’t sure and neither are we. Peter sets her up in an old house in Saint James, Louisiana, which is located conveniently close to his own residence. It turns out that he has an unsavory history involving some other locals, and this takes a while to untangle, and he seems creepier as time goes by. Emma finds work in her former profession as a hairstylist, and she makes a few friends as well as enemies. Soon Emma becomes romantically involved with a local police officer, Tom Johnston (played by Marque Richardson), which brings a new set of complications. We also discover that Kit killed himself in his cell after reading a goodbye letter from Karen (who is now Emma), and Emma’s reaction is confusing. Did she love him, or was she terrified by him? Maybe both.

Simultaneously, back in Texas, Mary is obsessed with finding her missing daughter Theresa. She believes that, unlike Kit’s other victims, Theresa is still alive somewhere. Her husband and son disagree and urge Mary to accept that Theresa is dead and move on, but she refuses. John Tyler, a convicted serial rapist who has done his time, shows up at Mary’s foundation one day for a meeting and offers his services to help women feel safer, as he says he knows all an abductor’s tricks, and supposedly his motivation is redemption for his past crimes. Mary says no thanks because he won’t specifically focus on Theresa, but a bit later in the episode when Mary offers him a job with an expense account to find Karen (Emma) instead, John agrees. It is driving Mary nuts that the system is helping Karen (Emma) create a new life after they failed to find Theresa ~ and Mary believes that Karen (Emma) helped Kit with his abductions.

OK, so this might be an unpopular opinion, but I actually found John to be the most interesting character, though of course he’s still a bad guy overall. But his motivations are layered, while the other characters are much less complex. Mary is just an annoying beyotch, though I can certainly understand her unrelenting focus on her daughter. Emma grates on my nerves with her wishy-washy behaviors and bad decisions. Peter begins to seem more and more sinister as the episodes roll on and not in a sexy way despite his appearance. Some of the side stories are fascinating in their own right, such as the complex dynamics within one of the town’s prominent families, the Lords. Bodie Lord (played by Richard Thomas) has an increasingly dramatic role in the second half of S1. Emma has a run-in with Bodie’s daughter Rose (Chiara Aurelia), due to breaking up a fight, and her mother Diana (Katherine Willis), due to a hair coloring mishap, but Emma and Rose eventually become friends. The girl Rose was fighting with turns up dead, and when Emma shows Pete where she found the body, the body has disappeared. Meanwhile, John methodically runs down every possible lead within Karen’s former life to try to locate her in the present time with her new identity. It’s fascinating how he manipulates people, and you can easily see how his skills can be used for bad or good.

But what absolutely blew me away, and made the whole series worthwhile, was the E10 season finale. In no way did I ever see that coming! Honestly, I don’t know how the writers could top that shocker in a second season, but we’ll see. So far, no word on whether S2 will be happening.

Side note: some may find the storyline involving Bodie particularly relevant due to the current SCOTUS leak regarding Roe v Wade.

~*~

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.

Tremeloes – Here Comes My Baby

This is a fun mid-sixties pop song by The Tremeloes. I like the live party atmosphere they created. Here Comes My Baby was written in 1966 by Cat Stevens. It was almost released as Steven’s first single, but “I Love My Dog” was thought to be stronger.

After “I Love My Dog’s” success, “Here Comes My Baby” was shelved for several months. The Tremeloes picked it up and it became their breakthrough hit in America and their first hit in the UK since their lead singer Brian Poole left them. The song’s success helped establish Cat Stevens as a songwriter and he included it on his first album Matthew And Son.

The Tremeloes had been a backup band for Brian Poole and when they split in 1966 after 8 UK hits, they looked to be another backing band set for junk pile. They bought in Len “Chip” Hawkes as their bassist and lead singer and their career took off.

Some trivia about the Tremeloes. Decca was looking to sign a guitar group in 1962 and the Tremeloes (at the time known as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes) and The Beatles auditioned… Decca picked The Tremeloes over The Beatles mostly because they were closer, based in London…while The Beatles were far away in Liverpool (Whoops!). That decision would haunt Dick Rowe (Decca Executive) for the rest of his life…He did end up signing The Rolling Stones though after a suggestion by George Harrison.

The song peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100, #4 in the UK Charts, and #7 in Canada in 1967.

This is one of those songs that I never get tired of and it always makes me feel good.  They did have some success after this song…Silence is Golden #13, Even the Bad Times Are Good #37, and several successful singles in the UK.

Cat Stevens version

Here Comes My Baby

In the midnight moonlight hour
I’ll be walking a long and lonely mile,
And every time I do,
I keep seeing this picture of youHere comes my baby, here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy,Well, here comes my baby, here she comes now,
Walking with a love,
With a love that’s oh so fine
Never to be mine, no matter how I try,

You’ll never walk alone,
and you’re forever talking on the phone
I try to call you names,
but every time it comes out the same

Here comes my baby; here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy,

Here comes my baby; here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy

Here comes my baby.

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 1 – Max Selects – The Twilight Zone

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

There are a few older shows that a younger generation has heard of…I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, All In The Family, and a few others…but The Twilight Zone…  most generations have actually watched. It still stands up today.  I was reminded of how great of a show it was when I recently went through every episode on this blog.

The Twilight Zone contained 156 episodes and I graded them on a 1-5 scale and out of those episodes…I only had 4 total episodes that were under a 3. How many TV shows have that kind of ratio? Not that I am the official grade on The Twilight Zone but there are not many bad ones…even in IMDB’s 1-10 ratings there are only 3 episodes graded below 6.

I’ve seen reviews on every episode and they differ like night and day. People get passionate talking about this show. “Hey, do you know the one where all the guy wanted to do was read but broke his glasses?” “Yea but what about the one with Captain Kirk…oh yea I mean Shatner in the plane with the monster on the wing?” “How about the one where the humans find the alien cookbook that was called To Serve Man” “That’s a good one but do you remember the episode about the beautiful woman getting her bandages off of her eyes and everyone else is ugly?”

I’ve read reviews of my personal favorite episodes and they might be the polar opposites of someone else. They are all over the map because they mean something different to everyone.

The way Rod Serling handled social injustice, racial bigotry, the Cold War, McCarthyism, consumerism, and hatred with a science fiction twist was outstanding. He did this without preaching, exaggeration, or shoving his views on people. He used the art of subtlety that has been lost through the years. It was the way he could convey these thoughts that didn’t drive people away from the message… but brought them closer to it. In turn, he brings us closer to each other.

In a 1959 interview when the show just started, Mike Wallace suggested to Serling that by working on this series he had “given up on writing anything important for television.” Wallace missed the point of the show entirely. Serling DID write important material for the show…but through science fiction. It’s the only way censors and advertisers would allow it.

This show is hands down my favorite TV show of all time. I never get tired of it….even after over a year of posting about the show. Rod Serling was a fantastic writer and he picked some great writers like Richard Matheson, Earl Hamner Jr, Charles Beaumont, and  George Clayton Johnson to contribute to the show. The show ages well and the black and white only adds to it.

The Twilight Zone has been revived a few times. In the 80s and 2000s but they didn’t come close to the original. A movie was made in 1983 called Twilight Zone: The Movie but again… it didn’t scratch the surface of the original series.

TV can be a vast wasteland but Serling believed TV could matter. He refused to cater to the lowest denominator. He wrote intelligent stories and screenplays to challenge his viewers. He went to battle with the network censors, executives,  and advertisers to improve and protect the show. He succeeded in creating a show that still resonates today.

You could always depend on a twist in the smart scripts. Sometimes the guilty finger would point at the viewer… we would find out who the monster really was… it would be us… the human race. We all know the twists now, but the sense of justice is why The Twilight Zone is still relevant, and we keep coming back for more.

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space, and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.”

“A sickness known as hate; not a virus, not a microbe, not a germ – but a sickness nonetheless, highly contagious, deadly in its effects. Don’t look for it in the Twilight Zone – look for it in a mirror. Look for it before the light goes out altogether.”
― Rod Serling

Wilson Pickett – Hey Jude

It’s rare that I post a cover of a Beatles song but this one is worth it. This song was a groundbreaker in the world of R&B and Soul because of the song selection and Duane Allman. This is a great performance of a great song. For me, it’s up there with Joe Cockers With A Little Help from My Friends as one of the best Beatle cover versions.

Duane Allman was working at Muscle Shoals playing on records in 1968. He played on some Clarence Carter records and then in walked Wilson Pickett. The problem was they had no song for Pickett to sing at the booked sessions. Duane Allman brought up Hey Jude to cover in front of Pickett and Rick Hall the producer.

Wilson Pickett and Rick Hall said no they didn’t want to cover the song. Hall and Pickett had objections that the song was currently moving up the charts and  the length of the song made getting it played on the radio almost impossible if you were not the Beatles,

Rick Hall told Allman that it didn’t make sense…the Beatles were the biggest band in the world and their version was clearly going to number 1. He told Allman it would be crazy to do it. Allman shook his head and said no it wouldn’t be crazy. Yes, he said the Beatles are the biggest band in the world and yes it will hit number 1 but that is the reason we should do it. He said just think of the attention we will get having a black artist cover this new Beatle song. Hall thought about it and soon agreed with Allman.

Rick Hall: ‘Their single’s gonna be number one. I mean, this is the biggest group in the world! And Duane said, ‘That’s exactly why we should do it — because [the Beatles single] will be Number one and they’re so big. The fact that we would cut the song with a black artist will get so much attention, it’ll be an automatic smash.’ That made all the sense in the world to me. So I said, ‘Well, okay. Let’s do it.’”

Pickett was not as easy to persuade.  Allman was firm but gentle with Pickett and finally, Wilson relented and he recorded it. It turned out to be an R&B classic. The head-turner was when Pickett started to scream and in came this electric slide guitar of Allman. At that point, you didn’t hear much electric slide on records outside of the blues. After this record, R&B and soul producers started to bring in more rock guitars to compliment what they had.

This record changed Allman’s career in ways he couldn’t have known. One of Duane’s guitar heroes heard this version and called Atlantic records (Wilson’s record label) and asked who is that guitar player? I want to know now. That guitar player who asked was Eric Clapton.

Later when Clapton was recording the Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album his producer Tom Dowd asked him if he would mind if Duane Allman dropped by and watch him play. Clapton turned and confirmed that Allman was the guitar player on Pickett’s Hey Jude and when Dowd said yes…Clapton said yes tell him to come by because I want to see HIM play. Allman would end up playing and contributing to most of the Layla album.

The song peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100 and #13 in the R&B Charts in 1969. The rhythm guitar player in Muscle Shoals Jimmy Johnson later credited Allman’s performance on Wilson Pickett’s album Hey Jude as the beginning of Southern Rock. This was recorded a few months before the Allman Brothers formed.

Eric Clapton: “I remember hearing ‘Hey Jude’ by Wilson Pickett and calling either Ahmet Ertegun or Tom Dowd and saying, ‘Who’s that guitar player? To this day, I’ve never heard better rock guitar playing on an R&B record. It’s the best.”

Wilson Pickett: “He stood right in front of me, as though he was playing every note I was singing, and he was watching me as I sang, and as I screamed, he was screaming with his guitar.”

As a Beatle fan…the ironic thing about this song is that George and Paul got into a big disagreement with the Beatle version. George wanted to add guitar fills in between lines to echo them…that is what Duane Allman did in this version.

Hey Jude

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin,
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Hey Jude, don’t let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you, hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin,
Then you’ll begin to make it
Better better better better better better, (make it Jude) ooh

Na na na nananana, nananana, hey Jude (Repeat)

Yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Ju- Jude-y Jude-y Jude-y Jude-y Jude-y oow-wow

Elvis Presley – Good Rockin Tonight

When I think of Elvis …I admire him on one hand and on the other I pity him for how he ended up. When the big E was coming out of the Memphis radios on Sun Records…there was not anyone around that could touch him as a live rock and roll performer. Then came Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis became a huge star but with a steep cost.

Roy Brown first wrote and released this song in 1947. Elvis covered it and released it in 1954. His release was his second Sun Record release and the B side was a song called “I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine.” I wish Elvis could have stayed on Sun a little longer. Soon he would be gone to RCA. Great records but he had a sound on Sun that he never got back. His band was Scotty Moore on lead guitar and Bill Black on the double bass. The song didn’t chart many places but it did peak at #10 in Sweden.

His first single for Sun was “That’s Alright Mama.” On June 7, 1954, WHBQ Radio in Memphis became the first station to play this song when their disc jockey Dewey Phillips aired it on his Red, Hot and Blue show the day after Elvis recorded it. It soon built up regionally after that.

A Sun Records Tribute Assembles Old Timers of Rock & Roll - Frank Beacham's  Journal

On November 20, 1955, Elvis signed with RCA and after that, his records were everywhere. RCA could give him distribution all over the world but I wish they would have kept recording the Sun Studios with Sam Phillips. Mr. Phillips owned Sun Studios since 1952 and he would have a star-studded roster of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and more.

He was also an early investor in the Holiday Inn chain of hotels and an advocate for racial equality, helping to break down racial barriers in the music industry.

The B Side I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine

Good Rockin Tonight

Well, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight
Well, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight
I’m gonna hold my baby as tight as I can
Tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty, mighty man
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

I said, meet me and a-hurry behind the barn
Don’t you be afraid ’cause I’ll do you no harm
I want you to bring along my rockin’ shoes
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna rock away all our blues
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

Well, we’re gonna rock
We’re gonna rock
Let’s rock
Come on and rock
We’re gonna rock all our blues away

Have you heard the news, everybody’s rockin’ tonight
Have you heard the news, everybody’s rockin’ tonight
I’m gonna hold my baby as tight as I can
Well, tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty, mighty man
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

Well, we’re gonna rock, rock, rock, rock
Come on and rock, rock, rock, rock
Let’s rock, rock, rock, rock
Well, let’s rock, rock, rock, rock
We’re gonna rock all our blues away

Cowboy – Please Be With Me

Beautiful melody and touching lyrics…this song is a lost gem. It would later be covered by Eric Clapton but I favor the 1971 original by Cowboy. If you don’t know this one…give the Cowboy version a listen.

Cowboy was a Southern folk-rock band formed in 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida, by singer-songwriters Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton.  The band also featured pianist Bill Pillmore, bassist George Clark, guitarist Pete Kowalke, and drummer Tom Wynn.

Please Be With Me was one of the last songs Duane Allman recorded before his tragic motorbike accident on October 29, 1971.  He played the dobro and it made the song. This song appears on 5’ll Getcha 10, the second record by Cowboy, a band that had landed a contract thanks to their friendship with Duane.

Please Be With Me — Cowboy | Last.fm

The band opened up for the Allmans on their 1970-1971 national tour. The album came out in October 1971. They would go on to release four albums in the early seventies.

Galadrielle Allman, daughter of Duane Allman, used this song title for her book title instead of one of many Allman Brothers songs. It’s a very good book.

Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman - Allman, Galadrielle

Butch Trucks (Drummer for ABB): ‘A few weeks after Duane died, when I still hadn’t really let loose or accepted it, I put on Please Be With Me and the dam burst and I started crying and crying, just racked with grief. I was sitting there listening to the song over and over and crying. To this day I can’t hear it without getting choked up.’

Scott Boyer:“I was sitting in this motel room all by myself and just for busy work I grabbed a pad and pencil and started writing freeform. Whatever popped into my head. About 10 minutes later and I had like 10 verses and three choruses, but nothing rhymed and nothing made any sense. It was just right out of my head and onto the paper. And I started connecting things. Put the third line from the third verse with the fourth line in the eight verse. Not necessarily because they made sense but because they rhymed. And I put together like three verses and a chorus and I put the pad down and I rolled over and went to sleep. And Duane (Allman) came into town the next day and said, ‘I want to play on this record with ya’ll but I want to play something brand new.’ We started tossing things around. And I said, ‘Well I wrote this thing last night. There’s nothing much to it.” And I played the song for Duane and (producer) Johnny Sandlin was also in the room and when I finished it they both went, ‘Wow, you wrote that last night, man? That’s beautiful.’ It is? [Laughs.] But that’s how the song got recorded because Duane wanted to play something brand new and I had this thing I had tossed off the night before. And I loved what Duane played on it. That dobro he played on it just comes to life when that thing comes on, man.”

Gregg Allman: The group Cowboy was on Capricorn, and we played their album 5’ll Getcha Ten quite a bit at the Big House. Scott Boyer had been in the 31st of February with Butch, and Cowboy had a sort of southern-folk sound to them. 

Please Be With Me

Upon my word what does it mean?
Is it love or is it me
That makes me change so suddenly
From looking out to feeling free?

I sit here lying in my bed
Wondering what it was I said
That made me think I lost my head
When I knew I lost my heart instead

So won’t you please read my signs
Be a gypsy
Tell me what I hope to find deep within me
And because you can find my mind
Please be with me

Of all the better things I’ve heard
Loving you has made the words
And all the rest seem so absurd
‘Cause in the end it all comes out I’m sure

So won’t you please read my signs
Be a gypsy
Tell me what I hope to find deep within me
And because you can find my mind
Please be with me