Classic Celebrity Commercials

Hi-yo, Pizza Roll!

DATELINE: Olde TV Bad Habit 

Back in 2013 there was another compilation of “hucksters,” from advertisements and commercials on TV in the mid to late 1950s. It seems a bit unfair to call these old stars “hucksters,” as appearing at the end of their series or show (often in character) to sell a product was just a means of enhancing their income.

This delightful collection is a bit tiresome. Who wants to sit through one hour of commercials, even in fun?

A couple of points are particularly distressing. Most of the commercials were done in black and white, and most of them actually run for a full sixty seconds, which is maddening in our attention deficit age.

In particular, Steve Allen takes a Polaroid photo of Lou Costello and we actually wait while Steve talks for sixty seconds for him to show us the newly developed photo.

Yet, the compilation also features some fun moments and images we’ve never seen:  John Wayne sells Christmas Seals on set, and his director really is Wild Bill Wellman!

We were thrilled to hear the William Tell Overture selling some Jeno pizza rolls—and at the end of the commercial, in color no less, Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels show up in costume as the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

One funny bit features a color King Kong climbing off the Empire State building and driving off down the avenue in his king-size car. He puts his little blonde companion in the passenger seat.

Almost as stunning is to see Marilyn Monroe in full throttle, selling gasoline.

A montage of TV western stars of the era each smokes a different cigarette. We almost want to cry out to stop, please!

Leo G. Carroll as Topper smokes too, as do his ghosts, Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling as Marian and George Kirby.

We also see James Arness smoking away with Today Show host Jack Lescoulie! We had not seen him in fifty years.

Quite a collection.

 

 

 

 

Pascali: No Man an Island

Dance & Kingsley Top of Acting Game!

 DATELINE:   Extraordinary Movie

Over 30 years ago, we missed Pascali’s Island, one of those “think piece” movies that have already become an extinct movie genre. It was too good for Masterpiece Theatre in 1988, and it is too smart for audiences today.

It’s a spy story set in the Ottoman Empire of 1908 where a lowly informer, Pascali (Ben Kingsley), toils without much appreciation, stuck in a backwater.  Into the mix comes a British archaeologist Bowles (Charles Dance) who immediately charms artist Lydia (Helen Mirren). You won’t trust any of them from the earliest moments.

Mirren was not yet big enough to have her name over the film title, but this is a 3 character drama of high order. Performances are stunning, and direction from James Dearden is top-drawer, and you won’t find a more spectacular setting or production.

It’s apparent that a minor functionary spy is in over his head when it comes to stolen antiquities. He knows he is caught in the middle of intrigue with a Pasha who will execute and ask questions later.

The Greeks are ready to overthrow the Sultan and a bloodbath of revolution is ahead for Pascali, though he won’t accept this fate.

Kingsley is marvelous as the man with nightmares, and spying that borders on voyeurism as he watches Dance and Mirren cavort naked. His own peccadilloes entail the Turkish bath boy who resembles, not accidentally, the 2000 year old bronze boy they dig up and plan to steal.

Kingsley is a tortured soul as Pascali works against himself and ultimately must find meaning in meaningless acts of violence. This is a brilliant film, worth waiting thirty years to see. Alas, there will likely be few more in this genre.

The days of moral turpitude being punished may be over in movies, and in life. This movie hales poetic justice .

 

 

 

Lucy & Desi: Together Again

Home Movie

DATELINE: Being the Ricardos 

  With the recent controversy over the casting of a new biographical movie about Lucy and Desi, it seemed like a good time to reconsider daughter Lucie Arnaz’s 1993 documentary about her parents, Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie.

Lucie Arnaz is defending the casting of Nicole Kidman as Lucy and Javier Bardem as Desi. Indeed, we think it is most interesting to see them play the real people during one dramatic week that the couple played the Ricardos.

They are not remaking I Love Lucy.

Back in 1993, Lucie Arnaz directed and produced, interviewed people, collected film clips, and put together a fairly honest and direct look at her famous parents, warts and all. She never received the full commendation she deserved. As she said, her mother was a “pack-rat” and kept all kinds of home movies that Lucie never saw. They were from the decade before the TV show and before the kids arrived.

What can you say about two people who were always “on.” They were the epitome of show biz, but alas, when home, their love story didn’t have a script they could embrace.

Lucy was the Queen of Comedy and pratfall on screen, and she loved being a performer and working. Off-screen she might have given Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford,  a run for the roses.

 Desi was a talented man of show biz, and even more talented with business acumen, but never came out of the shadows. He loved Lucy too much. Their cultural differences, cute and remarkable, were also their downfall.

Desi’s Latino view of philandering infuriated Lucille Ball, but he was the love of her life. When two titans fall in love and clash, you have a big production called DesiLu, and you have shambles that make for great theater.

The home movies their daughter puts together are stunning and insightful. We suspect the movie docudrama of their lives by Aaron Sorkin will be even more stunning with brilliant actors playing the first great TV stars. We are, of course, most interested in who will play Fred and Ethel in Being the Ricardos. No word yet.

 

 

 

 

Geopolitical Prejudice of COVID

Not for You, Buddy!

 DATELINE:  Wrong State of Being

When your doctor’s office tries to tell you to register for the coronavirus vaccine and realizes they made a mistake, you may be generous enough to overlook it.

In matters of life and death, however, overlooking an attempt to kill you makes you a candidate for the Congress. Every state in New England has a different way to deal with administering the COVID vaccine to senior citizens.

If you live on the border of a state, like New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and your doctor is in the other state, you are likely about to be victimized by ludicrous geopolitical medicine.

Hospitals have put profit over patients. Several doctors at the nearby clinic have quit in disgust over political football with patient lives.

Yes, in New Hampshire Senior Citizens can now register to receive the vaccine. If you live one mile from the border in Massachusetts, you may not be vaccinated until this summer at earliest.

If you are 65 in Massachusetts, you are a dead man walking, but you can walk to the clinic in New Hampshire for your shot. In some states, you can go for an injection and find out they don’t have any vaccine.

And, in incompetent Mass., you may notice that one hospital unplugged the freezer this week, spoiling almost 2000 doses of the vaccine. If your name was on the vial, you are a dead man walking.

If your doctor’s office thinks you are in New Hampshire, you are given a green light to receive the vaccine—until they realize you live in the wrong neighborhood. Talk about a new version of red-lining.

So, a nation divided along lines of COVID treatment is not a unified country. When your neighbor may be protected and you are not, despite being old and having a pre-existing condition, there may not be enough vaccine for you in any respect. Good luck, pal.

 Well, they say it’s only temporary. You will eventually be a recipient of the vaccine. The race unfortunately is between you and infection.  You are now Seabiscuit.

Alas, you may be a dead horse when the injection arrives.

Lauren Boebert: Nutcase in Congress

Packing Heat is Not Hot

DATELINE: Not Annie Oakley

Treason by any other name is a crime for more than a few enablers of riotous sedition koo-koo birds. Rep. Boebert claims she only gave tours to her “family,” when all tours were banned. It seems her family is an off-shoot of the Manson Family. Her tours included would-be rioters whom she still shields.

An investigation will likely lead to her expulsion from Congress.

This woman is packing heat. She refuses to give up her concealed pistol, hidden either in her bra strap or pocketbook. We haven’t heard of a search yet as she dodges the metal detectors. Broebart insists that her gun will protect her if deranged Biden supporters storm the Capitol.

Don’t confuse her with another female sharp-shooter who finds her company among Cowboys for Trump. No, this is the GOP grandstander who is accused of giving reconnaissance tours to the potential rioters. Yes, she told them where the key offices can be found.

Next day, sure as shooting, the insurgents went looking for Speaker Pelosi. Her hidden location was not kept secret for long, as Boebert tweeted out to protesting and murderous Trump thugs that she was on the move. 

She spells her name differently every time we type it. Broebart, Brobert, Broebert, Broebart, alias is a good way to get elected on write-in ballots.

You guessed it:  Broebart kept them informed on Pelosi’s whereabouts in case the necktie party turned into a moveable feast.

She doesn’t like being called an accessory to murder. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like voters will go for it as a campaign slogan.

Who is this frosh representative with all the aplomb of a Middle Eastern terrorist?  It’s Lauren Boebart who matches up on any website looking for partners for Benedict Arnold.

Is there a congressional committee on expulsion by firing squad?

 

 

 

Oak Island Teases Again

Ersatz Gold

DATELINE:  Missing in Action 

If there is any major development in the 11thepisode of the season, it is that there is a reference to the likely deterioration of weather ahead. Yes, another season os summery digging is about over. The Curse of Oak Island may be one for the books.

What has emerged in the recent episode is a continued absence of major figures. There has been another week with no direct appearance of Marty and Alex Lagina, nor Peter Fornetti. It is about the length of time for a quarantine. They’d never tell you that detail.

 

The two doctors, Ian Spooner and Aaron Taylor, have taken up major roles as advisors again this week.

Most of the on-site work has been hosted by Rick Lagina and the supporting workers. Marty shows up in a later filmed narrative analysis.

A growing chorus of responders keep asking us about Dave Blankenship, but he is gone for good, bought out by the Laginas and sent packing.  Nor is cartographer Erin Helton mentioned this week.

We spend much time again in the boring down to 180 feet where splinters of wood should not be. There is talk (again) of being near the money pit, with Money Bags 1 and 2 giving approval to dig.

Gary Drayton again is central to the discoveries of the week: a mysterious gold colored knob from a chest of drawers. Gary contends it belonged to a ship’s captain, and there is nothing to disprove his usual insight.

He later discovers a large post buried in the swamp with two massive spikes. It is a dock for a major ship.

In your usual disappointing news, the serpent mound is dismissed finally as a rubble field. Yet, the night’s show has been eventful and interesting.

UnXplained Tackles Endangered Monuments

 DATELINE:  America’s Monuments Features Trump

By sheer coincidence, after an attack on the great monument of the Washington, now under National Guard protection and fencing, UnXplained  has an interesting take on the locations. Included in this potpourri is, naturally, the U.S. Capitol Building.

The Capitol was designed to be the Temple of Democracy and has 600 rooms, far more than a mob can circumnavigate without help. It is a special place with a space alien goddess, an Iriquois, on top of the dome. She may not be related to the Qanon Shaman who attacked the Capitol, claiming too to be a space alien ET.

Shatner laconically tells us of the crypt in the basement and the ascendant painting on Washington on the inner dome. It becomes all the more appalling to think Trump rioters crashed and vandalized this magnificent structure.

The show also deals with the Washington Monument, recently renovated against terrorists!  The show is downright sentient.

Another sequence deals with Mt. Rushmore and its white supremacist connections, built on sacred Native land. But the true piece de resistance belong to treasonous Trump himself who shows up in a sequence to discuss the Empire State Building.

You got it: the guy who turned in his New York citizenship to move to Florida and has denigrated American monuments (except Rushmore where he thinks he ought to be) is cited as an expert. Yikes.

The episode ends with the near catastrophic Golden Gate overload of 1987.

If irony and shock is your thing, this episode of UnXplained is both shocking and ironic.

 

Ivanka’s Wacky Future

Next Door Neighbor and Political Ally?

DATELINE:  Like Father, Like Daughter 

Where will the President’s First Daughter go after four years of delusions? She said she won’t go to the Biden Inauguration. She has that right: she wasn’t invited.

She has burned the New York Brooklyn Bridge to her former home.  She and hubby Kushner have bought property on Indian Creek Island, a billionaire playground in Florida.

She plans to build a new mansion, worthy of her. What’s interesting is that she purchased the land within days of Tom Brady also buying into the 30 manse island, with security that US Capitol would envy.

They both will build as neighbors. In fact, Brady once was the marriage partner choice of Daddy Trump, but Brady knew better. His wife is a genuine billionaire.

And, Giselle has social contacts that will open up the private golf course for Tom. It seems the residents are rather cool to Trump and his family. Ivanka and hubby Jared are not golfers, and they likely will be shunned by the community.

However, Ivanka is thinking politics. She may be on a crash course with Tom here too. Rumor has it that she wants to be a US Senator, and will challenge Rubio in 2022.  

Tom will have to wait for the next seat. They both will feel more comfortable with the conservative, senior voters of Florida than anything in the Northeast where bad weather and bad politics go hand in gloves.

By the time Tom Brady is ready to venture out from his Indian Creek luxury life, Ivanka will be running for president and Tom can step into her senate seat.

Poor Marco Rubio. All that loyalty to Trumps will end with ashes in his mealy-mouth.

Proof is Out There, Way Out

DATELINE:  Faster than a speeding bullet…

A new history show is mercifully short, only thirty minutes in an age when an hour or more is standard.

The Proof is Out There has a host, a former journalist named Tony Harris, who introduces videos of strange phenomena—and throws it to the various science experts in fields of computers, meteorology, audio, and so forth. They are to determine if the video submitted, and often viral on the Internet, is fake stuff.

On the night we caught it, the show seemed to focus on ball lightning, mysterious orbs (only outdoors), and strange horn-like, prolonged sound recorded in someone’s backyard.

One scientist sees bird wings flapping as a big ball of light comes out of a cloud. It is going like a jet, and we see nothing remotely like wings. Of course, we were not hired as a consultant.

You will hear terms like glitch in the matrix, and the parallax effect. It may be more like the B.S. Effect.

Of course, we hear all the theories—from apocalyptic Biblical evidence to foo fighters or government technology.

The proof may be in the pudding, but it seems never to be in these videos. One is called “doctored,” but most are simply inexplicable. They seem better suited for William Shatner’s kookoo bird show, UnXplained.  So, you watch and you consider, but don’t expect proof. It ain’t here.

We suspect this series won’t be out there for long.

 Out, Out, Damned Spot! Trump Cut!

Trump Cut Out of Movie

DATELINE: Fans Direct Home Alone Cut

You know Donald Trump’s legacy is in trouble when his innocuous scene in Home Alone 2 is now under editorial attack. You can yell, “Cut” or “Hang Mike Pence,” but Trump is about to be given the digital age’s equivalent of Marie Antoinette’s fate.

Called Lost in New York, the sequel to the beloved movie that launched Macauley Culkin now will cast fate to the wind and Trump to the dust bin.

Off with his head is now a movie production shot heard round the world. Donald Trump is being digitally removed from a scene of several seconds as he gives Macauley Culkin direction to the hotel lobby.

Culkin has given his imprimatur to the action.

Not since Kevin Spacey was edited out of a finished and unreleased movie two years ago have we seen such a use of movie-making techniques. Spacey was sliced and diced out of the movie for his sexual peccadilloes. Trump now shares an infamy with sex abusers (though that is another story).

Not safe for children may be the new mantra when parents want to show Home Alone 2 to their kids: you better make sure that liars, provocateurs, and sedition-guilty insurgents are out of the picture.

An adult Culkin not only supports the move, but is prepared to replace Trump as the man in the lobby. So, an adult version of himself addresses the child, which is fairly funny and poetic justice. It’s also a little creepy.

Trump may suffer more inglorious fates in the years ahead, but like Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr, he has reached a new low in American movie history.

 

Belichick Declines Trump’s Medal

Thanks and No Thanks

DATELINE:  Hard Man Makes Harder Decision

We may never know how much angst and conflict New England Patriot coach Bill Belichick suffered in coming to his decision to turn down the Medal of Freedom. A few have pointed out that he did not actually turn it down, but may have faced forces in the sports world that required him to say, “no.”

The honor came from a political ally whom he supported once upon a time. Today is not a time to be nostalgic for past loyalty when present conditions may be dubious.

It is a prestigious award, and under normal circumstance, it would be the culmination of honor in a life. Yet, after sedition broke out in the Capitol and some died as a result, the 6-time winner of the Super Bowl knew that honor and flattery must never cover up a cynical attempt to be used by a friend for political reasons.

Yes, it’s true that Belichick would look like a man who condoned a set of values that might reverberate in negative ways among players and fans.

Though he always disdains media, the New England fixture cannot lose sight of the prize: his eye is on the sparrow, not the fake glory that comes from accepting a tarnished award.

It may be that another president will give him this honor. We hope so. Representing the concept of American victory in sports may not be what some consider a worthy reason. Perhaps not, but Trump has given this award to plenty of people who never deserved it.

Some have accepted the award under dubious clouds, like Rep. Jim Jordan, a water-boy, not a coach whose career and attitude belie the Medal of Freedom. Others could return the honor, like Boston Celtic legend Bob Cousy, but he hasn’t.

We apologize for thinking Belichick a lesser man.

Trump’s Alamo Visit

Cheaters United

 DATELINE: Taking Belichick Down with Him

All metaphors are imperfect, and nothing could be more imperfect than the notion of Trump at the Alamo. It’s the ultimate union of insanity and patriotism.

The fighters who died to the death at the Alamo wanted to have a separate country in Texas. They were the original Republicans.

In movies and TV, you saw John Wayne and Fess Parker play their careers to the hilt of martyrdom on the screen. And, now the disgraced POTUS who instigated sedition and high crimes on a level with Aaron Burr wants to play himself as the end closes in.

He makes it worse for his supporters when he decides to give the Ultimate New England Patriot, Bill Belichick, a gift for his support; the Medal of Freedom as one of his last disgusting acts. It’s typical for a man who started his political rise by bashing Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers and ends with the symbol of a wall against Mexico at the bastion where Mexican soldiers  killed Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie.

Belichick intends to visit the White House as the Congress votes a second impeachment of Trump. Who is the mad man here? We count Belichick among the NFL cheaters with Spygates 1 & 2 and Trump with Impeachment 1 & 2.

And, now, the Patriots should fire Belichick, sacrifice to the cause of a coup d’etat,the supporter of Trump and coach of historical arrogance and now hostage to his own hubris.

Losing the season, losing Tom Brady, and losing his mind, Bill Belichick now will regain infamy by going to the White House and accepting honor from a man who has made honor a badge to kill legislators at the U.S. Capitol, and claim he was a victim of voters.

If the owners of the Patriots do not fire Bill Belichick for this egregious act, then we have the demise of a franchise, self-perpetuated by the Kraft family (Trumpists too and big lonely New England supporters of the American Hitler) in the most of antithetical states standing against Trump: New England went overwhelmingly for anybody but Trump.

We are watching the spectacle of the last gasp of a political movement and the gasping greed of a sports dynasty. America never had it so wrong and may be sinking into its own miasma of Nazism, white supremacy, and stupidity.

Don Trump, Mafioso Thug

DATELINE: Mad Dog Donald Trump

If you are the Secretary of State of Georgia, you have been served a warning by the head mobster of the United States, the Don of the Trump Family.  He has promised a dangerous end for crossing Trump.

All he wants is 12,000 votes to be “recalculated” to give him an undeserved, unwarranted, and unvoted win. If you don’t do it, he threatened the elected and not rich Republican of Georgia.

Trump has money and wants to keep his power. Look out! When you have a man who calls democratic elections “illegal,” you are walking in the shadow of Adolph Hitler.

There may be something to the Trumpist threat. We recall another man who crossed Trump was named Jeffrey Epstein. He ended up in prison with a couple of bedsheets tied around his neck.

Raffensperger could end up in the Potomac River with cement overshoes. It is not beyond the reach of a billionaire who hires hitmen with aplomb.

Some of Trump’s supporters, like Louis The Gun Guhmert, have promised violence in the streets. He hasn’t threatened the life of President-Elect Biden, but he is a razor blade to the throat close.

When you run with criminals, you have the godfather part 4.  Yes, we are worried about the future of the United States and its shredded Constitution of genius. Mad bomber Anthony Quinn Warner had one point correct: a reptilian ET is now in the White House.

 

UnXplained Returns an Empty

fe, fi, fo, fumble

DATELINE: Been There, Done That

 After a short hiatus in its second season, William Shatner’s UnXplained  is ready to tackle more mysteries, but the latest episode is a dud.

In fact, it may be worse. If you have a sense of déjà vu, it isn’t because you know your Bible stories. This episode is a duplicate of Ancient Aliens  that appeared just a few weeks ago, down to the same stories, illustrations, and standard talking heads.

“Mysteries of the Bible” might seem like Shatner, with wide-eyed skepticism, taking on God, but there is little here of controversy. The usual experts from Ancient Aliens check in with their usual comments. It is either embarrassing or insulting.

Flip the coin.

Both shows zero in on the Book of Enoch, an apocrypha O.T. tale about giants and God sending the flood to rid the human race of these big pests who were perverted the countryside.

There were thousands of these big bad boys seduced little women.

The Bible history is put down to religious factions, various authors, and bad translation. Oh, it tells us about those who dared to put the words into a local language and suffered execution, but this is old hat.

We have the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls also retold without much new insight or latest shocking findings. Maybe there are none. The show takes a few additional pokes at the Ark of the Covenant, the Christmas stories of Jesus, and Gnostic gospels. Nothing new.

We hear as a throwaway that Henry VIII needed his own Bible for political reasons. He wanted a divorce.

Producers are cutting corners by merging the shows with more than less brazen contempt for the audience.

 

Feeding the Birdies

Bye, bye, Birdie?

 DATELINE: Keep Your Eye on the Birdie

Not quite having devolved into the state of Nikola Tesla feeding pigeons in Central Park, we have nonetheless taken a turn toward pity toward fellow creatures.

With the overnight ice storm, the ground is a white frozen tundra and the little chickadees and finches in the backyard seem forlorn. They hop in and stand there as if frozen to the ground.

So, we went out to spread good cheer and a little birdseed.

What then transpired from the vantage of the patio window was Nature’s call in spades. It was an all-you-can-eat bonanza in town. It was also the only eatery open. So, the birds descended like Hitchcock nightmare.

It was like McDonald’s drive-thru with crash cars. IN an expanse, the birds came crashing down on top of the previous eater, knocking him away. So much for good manners. It was also eat and run.

The chickadees seemed to take one seed and fly up to the tree to eat in peace. They returned a few seconds later to repeat the ritual dining.

A little flinch stayed and gobbled up all he could as fast as he could. These are notorious sloppy eaters. If you drop a seed, the next bird quickly devours it. Table scraps are at a premium. The birds clocked in every three seconds.

We found they went for the large black seeds first. They disdained the small white seeds, and only when the first choice was gone did they partake of the left-overs.

We had our culinary lesson of the year. Birds do not keep social distance when it comes to a food fight.

Tesla was on to something by watching this sideshow.