Saturday, January 31, 2009


Speaking of radio or television commercial word manipulations (as touched upon in my previous blog posting below), how many script/copy writers -- or whatever the hell they call themselves -- and voice-over artists say "wanna"? As in: I wanna cookie! "Ma, ma! I wanna cookie, ma!"

"Do you wanna save money on your car insurance?" Sure I do, buddy. As soon as you speak proper English, I might consider calling your company.

What's the real word again? Oh... "want to". Hey, that's two words. "Wanna" is what Archie Bunker might have called a "constraction".


Here we go; here we go; here we go! February is arriving tomorrow. The low temperatures are not what is causing me to impulsively note this: A news reader on Toronto "All News Radio" station 680 News (CFTR) just said, moments ago, I did hear it, "Febuary". (No, you do not have astigmatism.) This particular person should not feel alone -- I hear this word corruption way too much these days, on commercials (pre-scripted which makes such an error of pronunciation unforgiving), regular speech, and, as I like to say, all things in between.

The word is "February" (feb-rew-air-ee)...

Friday, January 30, 2009


Tonight I went to see my first Toronto Marlies ice hockey game since they became part of the American Hockey League (and moved to Ricoh Colosseum). Ah, yes, ice hockey. See one live and you might be convinced there is no team sport like it: The match-up between Toronto and the Hamilton Bulldogs (which the Marlies won 4-2) was not a great game in itself but the evidence for my claim was. I am aware that American broadcaster Larry King is a big fan; he said something about the sound of the game... the sticks and puck on the ice. That there is, and the speed.

I have had a theory as to why ice hockey has slipped in popularity in the U.S. No matter what the 'league' of play, the sport has become faster and faster over time. This might be the real reason. That speed! Hockey players are in such great shape. The skill level is so high.

The game tonight...


Someone just told me that I bear a striking resemblance to the villainous Col. Green. Considering we dress the same, I never noticed that fact before. (I now sport a goatee.)


My surfing report: I just came back from a brief visit to and saw a headline mixed in with some others: "Did Angie have an affair?"

I don't know! Did she?! Does Brad know?! Does he read '' ?!


I should have remembered. It is an anniversary of sorts; a year ago I saw my first Superbowl game. While my friend was a lovely host, the game itself was anti-climactic: Although, "anti-climactic to what?" might be the question. Time for me to read a book.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yes, I know I sound like a broken record with the issue of fighting in the National Hockey League; so on that note I thought I would pass this on to you...

There are a few points brought up about how to improve the game: The one I am a big/huge/massive fan of is the push to make the ice surface bigger. As I have joked about before, the current 200 by 85 foot dimension is too small and has been since about 1970!

I'm sure some fans would lose interest -- a little bit -- if fighting were to be outlawed, but I do, no surprise, agree with those who believe that, overall, this small rule change would make "the world's most exciting team sport" more marketable in the States.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

CHARLES H. SCHNEER (1920 - 2009)

Hellcats of the Navy, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, Mysterious Island, The Valley of Gwangi, and Clash of the Titans. As the song goes, which one does not belong? Well, they all do; to producer Charles H. Schneer (even though you would be forgiven for picking Hellcats). I remember recognizing his name on certain movie credits as there was a synonymy between a fantasy film with cool stop-motion animation (as in Ray Harryhausen) and that big producer name. How could I not notice? After all, these movies enjoyed a very high rotation on television when I was young and, what often happens with kids, as any parent can tell you who's kid has a VHS or DVD of The Little Mermaid, I would watch every time.

Charles Schneer was a showman although not one in the public eye, like Irwin Allen was in the '60s and '70s, but through osmosis, he was one for many.

Pictures like 7th Voyage and Mysterious Island are outstanding but Jason and the Argonauts is my favourite.

Internet Movie Database entry for Charles H. Schneer...

Monday, January 26, 2009


Pardon me if my German is off; I am still trying to master English.

Toronto's mayor, David Miller, has been in Los Angeles (home of the big U.S. film studios) trying to drum up business by reminding them that the Canadian dollar is back down low. I'm sure that the Americans don't really care anymore -- there are too many other options, towns that encourage production within the U.S. border, and running away to the country next door at this economically stressful time is tantamount to treason. (Perhaps "treason" is too much, but the idea is not off, I don't think.) There are a few new production hot-spots in the States attracting producers. For example, Austin, Texas, has done a fine job at converting an airport and its aircraft hangers into a studio complex.

Mr. Miller, please come home. The Toronto film industry (there never was one) is dead. It would not come back alive even if you put a hundred million volts through it!

Toronto Star story...

Sunday, January 25, 2009


TVOntario at this very moment is playing the documentary The Art of Spain: The Moorish South. Host Andrew Graham-Dixon is an energetic host, carrying us through many examples of architecture, doing so with great enthusiasm and by applying mostly good English. Graham-Dixon is British. He actually said, a few minutes ago, in what context I do not remember, nor is it really important, the word "orientated". (Oar-ee-en-tay-ted.) What is it with British hosts? A few years ago, I was watching a music documentary hosted by then City of Birmingham Symphony conductor Simon Rattle, and in the man's voice over out came the word "orientated". I winced. A few months ago, I was watching the Canadian based home-sale (for lack of a better term) show The Unsellables; hosted by the incredibly lovely Sofie Allsopp... of England. In one 22 minute episode she uttered, three record-setting times, the word "orientated". I winced three record-setting times in 22 minutes.

Do the English no something we Canadians do knot?

Don't worry, Sofie, I'll save you from the evil English language!

Humour aside, this link will help answer the big question...


My favourite sports team -- the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League -- is 100 years old this year. The CBC screened an hour-long documentary, these past two nights, on the history of the club, its cultural impact, including interviews with some surviving players, celebrities who speak of their affection and appreciation of the "Habs", and archival footage of years past. The film spent a few minutes talking of my all-time favourite Stanley Cup playoffs: The 1970-71 finals between the team in question and the Chicago Blackhawks. The couple of clips I saw sent chills through me. I cannot believe that event was 38 years ago.

The host of this fine, fine documentary (The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years, 100 Stars) was none other than George Sroumboulopoulos. This was a big mistake. The Corp uses this guy for far too many programs or events. Living here in Canada -- or watching from the U.S. border -- makes you think that we have a population of 1,000 people. Its kind of like growing up in a small town and the same guy hosts all local events: The beauty pageant, the Fair, and everything in between.

The CBC has to do some serious casting for more hosts. George is not a smart or quick enough guy to be interviewing name-the-person on the weekday program The Hour, and he is not charming.

The biggest reason George should not have been chosen to host The Montreal Canadiens, is because he can't skate. It was bloody embarrassing!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Back in the 1978-1979 television season, ABC ruled the North American airwaves. The top four shows that year were Laverne and Shirley, Three's Company, Mork and Mindy, and Happy Days. (In that order.) I guess times were different then; the cellular structure of prime time TV programs certainly was. What are the top four shows this 2008-2009 broadcast year? Are they really any better? Or were series from thirty years ago any worse? Crap by any other year is still crap.

What is a little remarkable about the above order of popularity is the fact that Happy Days had premiered in early 1974. I remember... I was there watching it.

(The pic at the top is from a period of Happy Days that I was definitely not watching.)


Ontario Premiere Dalton McGuinty has set the wheels in motion to end the months long strike at Toronto's York University. What took so long? I'm all for mediation, after all, in our society there should be time for two disagreeing parties to work through an employment issue (no Ronald Reagan-style implementations needed in this case), but there should be a time limit imposed. This is serious business. These thousands of students have been held hostage and they are a chunk of Canada's future. What a waste.

Toronto Star story...

Friday, January 23, 2009


There was a period around 1974-75 where I would watch the television series Ironside every week. Raymond Burr played the titular character -- Detective Robert Ironside -- who was wheelchair bound after taking a bullet (described in the opening credits underscored by Quincy Jones' brassy music). A variety of character actors made up the constabulary underlings. Barbara Anderson and Don Mitchell were two of these... and Don Galloway was another. Galloway passed away on January 8th. As regular viewers of our favourite programs we naturally peg the continuing characters as certain types or representations. To me, Don Galloway was one cool Detective Sgt. Ed Brown; a man who barely ever cracked a smile and never failed to look as though he just stepped out of "makeup", "hair", and "wardrobe".

The busy actor appeared almost exclusively in television but did land a substantial part in 1983's landmark flick The Big Chill.

Internet Movie Database entry...


Yesterday I wrote/joked about not being able to read this year's Oscar nominations due to the dinner bell calling my name. Well, I still haven't but I did come across a headline a few minutes ago which was hard to avoid -- something about The Dark Knight getting passed over for "Best Picture" and "Best Director".

Even I am surprised; and that is saying something. I have an honest question: Does that mean The Dark Knight has no chance of winning the Academy Reward in those categories?

Just askin'.


... Speaking of "Looney Tunes"...


I was just on the National Post website. This caught my eye...

I did not know that atheists were "hilarious"; quite the opposite, really. I admire anyone who thiiiinks for themself.

Imagine that!

Columnist Barbara Kay is a typical angry, right-wing, name calling... now I'm doing it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The news is posted everywhere I go (news websites). The Oscar nominations were announced this morning! Can't wait to go through the list! Oops, can't do it now. My Kraft Dinner is burning on the stove...

Did I just hear a bookcase fall over somewhere? I heard that some of them even have books on them.


Some music can be both relaxing and energizing at the same time. Franz Schubert's "Piano Works for Four Hands" is really a series of musical pieces he wrote for his friends and also as exercises for students. As what sometimes happens with art works that are low balled or done for practical reasons, they take on a perpetual life of their own. I suppose the worst thing a musician can do is wake up in the morning and say, "I'm going to make a great album -- man. Everyone is going to line up at the record shops for this one".

I do not know what made me grab this album out of the bin; maybe it was something Divine or the fact I was well aware of Naxos and their high quality (and affordable) recordings. An all round pleasant listening experience it was; instantly becoming a disc way up on my list.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Internet Movie Database
Movie and TV News
Wednesday 21st January 2009

1. Sex And The City Stars Agree To Sequel Deals.

2. Zellweger Dating U.S. TV Star?

3. ER To Be Saved?

4. Barry Smight Admitted To Betty Ford.


Try popping on the tube late at night when the CBC is playing a movie and try guessing what flick it is. Fine. That's what happens whenever you join something in progress, but the Ceeb raises the stakes by never saying what the movie is on any given night. You'd think that when they go to a commercial an announcer would say something like, "Day of the Jackal will be right back". No. Why would they? I guessed Jackal this evening mainly because I recognized Edward Fox right away... just needed a few minutes. It has been years since I've seen this one.

The CBC screened Cinema Paradiso last week; nailed it right away simply because I love this movie (even with Ennio Morricone's grating score). However, there are some movies that I can never peg.

"Sweetie, I'll get back to you as soon as I figure out what this blasted movie is... "

Invite friends over late one night, pull out the beer and weed, and play "guess the movie".


Just as I uploaded the posting below (BRITNEY'S BOOK), Johanna Wagstaffe -- a meteorologist for CBC news -- appeared on my TV to give her report. Is she not one beautiful lady?


You know the song: You're on a website and just before you click away to visit another, the page you are on reloads with a small line of text that makes you go, "stop, stop, stop... go back!" Too late. Go back and you get everything else but the intoxicating mix of letters that made your heart palpitate as you kept slamming on the stop button. I was on '' when this very thing happened. The text? "Britney Spears offered millions to write a book." At least I think it was exactly what it said; cannot be sure as I was electronically dragged away.

Alright, I'll come clean. I was exaggerating about implementing desperate measures to stay on the important news. But, it sure did bring a smile to my face when I thought, "what would be a good name for the book?"

In all seriousness, isn't Britney Spears a little young to write a...? Hold on, I was just assuming it was an autobiography, a "memoirs" (like Richard Nixon's). It could be a children's book. Could be. I do not know for sure; might have to go back one more time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Way, way back in late 1976 or early 1977, when I was in high school, all those many, many years ago, a friend of mine by the name of Chris (and one two years my senior) was into a lot of cool music. One group he introduced me to was Kraftwerk (from Germany). One album I remember him giving a turn at 33.3 -- for my edification and education -- was their 1975 release, Radio-Activity. I remember liking it even though it was a little off the beaten path, sonically speaking, for this young man.

Years later, how many I cannot be sure, I bought Kraftwerk's 1977 album The Man Machine. How do you say in English? "Buckin' A." Of course, there is the fairly well known song "Metropolis", but I discovered two little gems; they being "The Model" (a big hit in England), and what is probably my favourite, "Neon Lights"... the tune that is so dreamy and surreal and a total pleasure to listen to when you are in that 'bagged' zone. As a note, I would be terrified of taking a hit of acid and popping on "Neon Lights". I would be afraid of what would happen. What could happen? Maybe on my lunch break at work, some day, I will try this daring mix of chemicals and audio. I'll let you know.

By the way, "Kraftwerk" translates into English as "Power Station". Kraftwerk, the group, is a musical dynamo; influencing so many others. Listen to their stuff and their fall-out is so apparent.


I started watching Barack Obama's inauguration with about five minutes left in his speech; things are wrapping up as I write this. No denying he is a great speaker and I'm sure much of what he says will, ultimately, ring true and meet fruition. Perhaps Obama is also something rare in a U.S. president -- a gentleman. Most Americans and much of the world's population are so exhausted from the corruption and inhumanity inherent in the previous administration.

Speaking as a Canadian, and a very patriotic one at that, I do admire what America represents (at least what the people think it represents -- times are changing). As many of my fellow countrymen and women say, whether it's envy sprinkled with seriousness, or in pleasant admiration, "why can't we do that?"

Only in America. Good for them -- and the world. They are still a great power and only a fool would deny that the man in office has the ability to push that first domino... as we have been reminded for all the wrong reasons, these last eight years.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Bob May, the man who sat inside and operated the robot from the 1960s television series Lost in Space has died at the age of 69. (LIS was produced from 1965 to 1968... he was a young man then.) Even though Dick Tufeld was the voice of the machine, May was responsible for infusing the prop -- designed by Robert Kinoshita -- with some kind of personality. I think he succeeded.

Washington Post obit...

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I made the mistake of watching a few minutes of Entertainment Tonight tonight. Global Television, here in Canada, plays some version of the long running show late on Sunday night -- actually Monday morning. (This episode focused on the suds of actors Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson, and was about as exciting and interesting as you can imagine.)

I remember when Entertainment Tonight premiered way back in September of 1981. For this movie fan such a concept appeared to fall from the sky: A show dedicated to movies, television, and music every week night and done in the style of a regular or traditional newscast. Two people (Ron Hendren being one of them) sitting at a news desk delivering the stories in a straightforward manner. Of course, this is a format long gone. Years ago I watched an installment and was taken aback at the amount of needless junk in the half hour... lots of junk. Oh well, I thought, it lasted for a while; how long, I was not sure.

For some reason a few years ago I watched three consecutive shows (Tuesday to Thursday?) of ET while I was working at the desk or drafting table on a project. By the third day I stopped what I was doing, looked to the television and said, "what the hell does Monica Lewinsky (and Bill Clinton) have to do with Entertainment Tonight?!" (In case you haven't figured it out, this was during those heady days of Monica and Mr. President. Those "stories" were actually the top of all three ET newscasts! That was probably what alerted me to the incongruity.)

We sure do live in interesting times.

(The picture I found and affixed above from Entertainment Tonight just about sums up the intelligence level of the show today.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009


There are some things we hear about but never seem to know anything more about them; with the Net this all changes, if we wish to do some exploring. I was on Wikipedia, surfing within, looking at various subjects like Creature Feature host Bob Wilkins, when one thing led to another and I keyed in "Captain Midnight". I have very slight memories of watching the television series starring Richard Webb -- a few years ago I rented a VHS tape of two or three episodes. Yep, I do seem to remember watching this as a little scanner-scanner. Captain Midnight was over ten years old at that point but it would make sense that it would be rerun in my era.

What is in the lexicon for some of us is the saying (for lack of a better term) "Ovaltine Captain Midnight Decoder Ring". Ovaltine took the show over from the Skelly Oil Company during the 'radio days', eventually taking the concept to television in 1954. This is the version that most of us remember.

As per usual Wikipedia has links to various websites. This one is a lot of fun...


The LP for the original Broadway production of South Pacific sat in my house for all the years I spent (too much time) growing up. It was one of many albums on the record shelf -- along with Kiss Me Kate, Mary Poppins, fill-in-the-blank classical vinyl (of which there were quite a few), and so on. One day in my teens I decided to put South Pacific on the record player.

I came up with a little blurb on how to sum up that record: That is one powerhouse album! (Those Rogers and Hammerstein guys are pretty talented dudes.)

Friday, January 16, 2009


After making it back alive to my house -- from the bitter cold -- I put on the TV for a local newscast (there are power outages here in Toronto), and had a commercial spit in my face. It was wet, it reeked, and it took some time to clean up: An advert for Happy Days the Musical.

You have to be effing kidding me.

Back to my piece on Patrick McGoohan.


Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Fired up the computer, went onto the IMDB, read this with a certain amount of... 'what the fuck?'... (glee).

"Sheridan Denies Dating Spade."

Then I went back to working on my Patrick McGoohan blurb.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ricardo Montalban's splash into Hollywood via the musical was before my time. Like many, I was introduced to and transfixed by the actor through his portrayal of Khan Noonien Singh on the Star Trek episode "Space Seed". The Mexican born actor made a role, which could have been a stock villain-of-the-week guest shot, into something immensely memorable. (Admittedly, Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilbur's script is outstanding, giving the cast some juicy moments and dialogue. In one scene, Kirk and Khan sit and have a confrontational conversation and Khan throws something onto the table between them by saying with no slight amount of intimidation, "Ah, yes Captain... it appears we will do well in your century".)

As some know, Khan made a return in the Trekkie feature The Wrath of Khan fifteen years later (that's all?), playing the part a little more in the comic book spectrum -- so too did the film itself -- as opposed to the very dark installment of the old show. But, in 1982, Khan was back and we got to see the man give James T. Kirk a run for his money; at least making the famed captain earn his Starfleet pay.

I am less familiar with Montalban as Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island, but his run in that long running program is how many in the general public would remember him.


So, I thought I would take a trip to the Internet Movie Database (, a few minutes ago, to check up on entertainment news. My eyes caught "Patrick McGoohan dead at 80".

"Oh no", I said to myself.

Right above that headline?... "Actor Ricardo Montalban dies at 88".

It is not a good day in the neighbourhood.

Last night I decided, somewhat impulsively, that I must have the 1967 series The Prisoner on DVD. I have not seen it in two or three years and need my fix. Of course Patrick McGoohan was the creator and star of that superlative (and limited!) series. It used to freak me out when I was a little one.

I must collect my thoughts...


Time does wonders for the memory. How could I have missed this one as an album I liked very much? "Time Out" by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Great stuff! I had heard much of it before in piecemeal form, but when I bought the disc and played it the first time, I knew that Dave, Paul Desmond, and the gang were/are the coolest.


A news breaking item is on today. It reads "Love At First Listen: Albums That Changed Your Lives".

I'm still trying to think of one. I remember the first time I heard Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band... I did like it very much (years after it was first released). There were bits and pieces, but no albums. No (original) album would or could have 'changed my life'. May I say that would be one tall order!

I just remembered the time a friend played his Frank Zappa album "Sheik Yerbouti" for me; the one with the song about chutes...


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


As I like to tell my public from time to time, I much prefer 'techs' to actors; besides, have you ever had (tried!) to work with "thespians"? I'll stop there.

I came across this terrific interview with the late composer Derek Wadsworth...

I had read before that he was very generous with his fans, taking the time to answer any questions they may have had. His was British... that might have something to do with it.

DEREK WADSWORTH (1939 - 2008)

A few months ago a posted a blog about musician and composer Derek Wadsworth. He is best known, to cult television fans, as the composer of the theme and background music for Space: 1999's second season. As I noted, Wadsworth conjured up some outstanding music for the less than stellar space epic.

Just after Christmas I heard the news that this very talented man had passed away...


Blog themes come in waves. I just read that key Doctor Who Dalek operator John Scott Martin has died. To those who are not aware, or plain just don't care about behind-the-scenes people from movies or TV, Martin was with the series for decades, playing the famed interstellar bad boys -- from inside the props -- and many different latex and fabric concoctions; sending many a young boy and girl behind the sofa.


Monday, January 12, 2009


I am not a big fan of the 'new' Doctor Who program; one with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and soon to star Matt Smith. However, I am fan of 'old' Who; one with William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, (I'm out of breath). To be more specific, I like the show before Davison, although he could be good and I enjoy some of his stories.

New Who has been going for a little while and I admit I watch the show very intermittently more through duty than anything else. For me, viewing this program is often brutal, painful -- my butt actually hurts through some sort of sympathetic pain with my brain -- and about as exciting as going to a Toronto Raptors game. Okay, it's not that bad an experience.

The CBC insists on presenting Doctor Who in the most confusing and irregular schedule you can imagine. There is no rhyme or reason as to how they slot it in. The Corp used to be investors in the show but don't seem to have the nerve to drop it from their lineup. It's not as though they are trying to build an audience or anything. After all, their excellent website has absolutely the latest information for the surfer to check the latest news... not! The site is great, but Who is a neglected orphan. During the summer I went onto to see when they were planning on premiering the new season. Well, the idea was sweet, at least. No info, period!

Where is the Doctor Who Christmas Special, 2008 version? I had just assumed it was going to be on that network. Nothing.

Who is in control at the CBC? Who?! It's like no one is really at the helm of the ship. And if there is, he or she doesn't know that "it's tiller steering".


A wolf has entered the blog fold, and it wears sheep's clothing. Too heavy, I know. An ol' pal of mine has decided to set himself up with a regular blog, one which promises to be not only entertaining in its wit but also in opinion. He has that commendable 'to each his own' take on all things subjective but is not afraid to invoke discussion.

There is already a nice variety of bits...

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I was watching the CBC news the other night and the final story was about Herr Katze deciding he wanted in on some TV studio action.

Of course, this item is now on Youtube; the unofficial cat video data-bank...


In pursuit of checking out what others have to say about the arena of fighting in ice hockey, I decided to do some quick rounds. Here is one quick hit. SPiN columnist Clay Travis opens up in a most chilling manner. Read this...

I agree with just about everything Travis says. It is not rocket science, afterall.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I watched the Toronto Maple Leafs get their butts kicked tonight by the Philadelphia Flyers (by a score of 4 to 1).

Don Cherry does his "Coach's Corner" thing between the first and second periods on the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. The issue of fighting in ice hockey came up with side-kick Ron MacLean pointing out that many people feel that when players duke it out on the ice they should be automatically ejected from the game. My short and long answer to that is "yes". Cherry, of course, tried to explain his way around the argument -- which for him is a "no" answer to the proposal -- and capped off by stating that fighting will always be a part of the game. Hey, I do not argue with that. But fighting players should be told to leave the game after they settle down. "Get out of here, now!" That easy. But hard for some, Cherry included, to understand. A very simple concept it is and one even the average hockey player can grasp.

There was a match up between the loser Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens a few nights ago. I did not see the show but I heard the next day -- including from a non fan friend of mine -- that the Leafs were always trying to start, and did, a scrap. To make things worse, the Toronto coach said something about being proud that his boys are being more physical. My answer to that? Fine the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club a few tens of thousands of dollars and administer this prize with a public statement that a conscious attempt to mar the NHL with fisticuffs will not be tolerated.

You see, the above is direct, succinct, and easy to understand; even for the average Leafs coach.


One of the 'Mouseketeers' has died. I came along a little late to enjoy, Annette, Tommy, Doreen, and the rest when they were in first run, but CKVR or CBLT replayed The Mickey Mouse Club in the early to mid 1970s at noon hour. This is when I was contaminated by that theme song, which the gang sang in the utmost earnestness making it even more sticky. Walt Disney sure knew how to market an empire.

Cheryl Holdridge died at the age of 64. Like most my age, I remember her more for her intermittent role in Leave it to Beaver. Now there is a show for the ages.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Former studio executive Ned Tanen died on Monday (January 5th). He was staff at two big studios, Paramount and Universal. My favourite Tanen story is recounted in Dale Pollock's outstanding, albeit, unauthorized, 1983 biography on filmmaker George Lucas: Way back in 1973 Universal test screened American Graffiti to a youthful -- therefor target -- audience in Westwood (if memory serves me), California to see if what Lucas was taking forever to edit would make any waves in the marketplace. This day turned out to be a legendary event in the legend of test screenings. The audience went wild for American Graffiti, so much so that Lucas would gage any film premiere of his own movies against how high the bar was set by this one. However, there was one dude in the audience who not only went against the prevailing opinion of the few hundred souls, but outright hated it. Hated it. (Double dangling.) Dude Tanen: Important executive who was supposed to be won over but was not; just the lesser audience members were. But they did not count. At the end of the screening was Tanen screaming his displeasure. Several other important movie people were there, including Francis Ford Coppola, and they were stunned by the young exec's hate-on for Graffiti.

Tanen admitted years later that he had always been a manic depressive sort. More movie executives could use this cynical view... but American Graffiti went on to clean up in its eventual release, earning back many, many times its cost. Called "profitability" in the movie business.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


When I first saw the news on-line that Jett Travolta had died, it was one of those cases where my eyes see the item but my brain does not. Later it sunk in when I actually read the news. It goes without saying that losing a child is something you would not wish on your enemies, and John Travolta strikes me as one of those level headed super-nice guys who happens to work in the movies. Besides, he has been with his love (Kelly Preston) for years... throughout actual "Eras" or "Kingdoms", in Hollywood terms.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I did my round of the British tabloids on-line and came across this breaking news from two days ago...

So he's the new Doctor Who; the title character. The excitement is too much for some to handle. As a joke the BBC should fabricate a fictitious actor and release 'him' to the media. That would be pretty funny: The geeks could post comments on their favourite message boards (the ones they spend their entire days on) to the effect, "Best Doctor Who... ever!"

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The CBC is premiering their new series Being Erica tomorrow evening (Monday, January 5th) at 9 pm. I read somewhere recently that this is just a retread of at least two previous shows that were quickly cancelled. That does not surprise me.

My only question is why does the CBC have such a narrow view of how to promote a show? The ads I have seen on the mother network for Being Erica seem to be identical to ones placed a year ago when they were pushing Sophie: That is a shot of the lead actress goofing off before the camera. Is the CBC so cursed with a paucity of ideas that they see no other avenue?


Toronto entertainment writer Bruce Kirkland of the Toronto Sun wrote an interesting, although not news breaking, piece about the state of affairs with the 'hi-def' format, Blu-ray...

Blu-ray is too expensive on a hardware and software level. As Kirkland correctly points out, most people are content with their regular DVDs (which can be "upconverted" on a capable machine).