One Fictional Night

Bill Russell Joins Ali & Brown 3 Years Later

 DATELINE: One Night in Miami

Upon hearing that a storyline made into a one-set play and thence a movie concerned a one-night meeting of Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown, all black men in the early 1960s on the cusp of change in civil rights for oppressed people, it’s hard to believe. It sounds like a fantasy of historical fiction.

Yet, it really happened.

The opening of the movie is not part of the original play and historical theories, though based on fact. The director Regina King had to open it up with white actors.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had his bugs planted to listen in on a hotel room chat among these men in February of 1964.  It’s hard to believe they even knew each other or would have anything to say to the other. Yet, they did.

In fact, Muhammad Ali (not yet Cassius X) was a close friend of Sam Cooke. They truly hit it off:  an intellectual who read avidly like Cooke would seem to be swayed by the egotistic charm of Clay, but they had a kind of fame and cultural tie.

The training camp of Ali, he would attract the attention of Malcolm X and/or football star Jim Brown. Yet, it did, but the movie broadens the tale to include white hangers-on like Johnny Carson

Would a gospel Christian like Cooke even speak to a Muslim? Well, Cooke had been called the devil for singing pop tunes, and it would not be a big reach to be condemned for cavorting with a Muslim.

Would men whose personal ego and self-absorption in their careers be even remotely interested in anything larger? Well, segregation and racism would be a factor.

We suspect that Hoover had a detailed transcript of the discussion these men held: whatever fanciful chat that derives from the play/movie.  Two would be dead within a year, and one would become a political controversy. Was Hoover’s unseen hand involved? This story doesn’t say.

The film blatantly ignores Jim Brown’s assault history on women, which could also be a Hoover set-up, but this is not explored.

Only Brown still lives, having gone into movies (Ali later followed).  We suspect Cooke would have been a bigger star than all of them had he not been murdered (assassinated for black power over-reach?).

The movie is akin to a stereotype acting job, broad as a Marx brothers farce anchored in political doom. It’s ironic and iconic, but we’d rather see J. Edgar Hoover’s actual transcript of the night they all met.

On Jan. 22, Sam Cooke would have celebrated his 90thbirthday.

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 .

 

 

 

Brady Humiliates Belichick

SuperTom’s botox image

DATELINE:  Botox Notwithstanding

You cannot put any fancy spin on this: Tom Brady has willed himself into another Super Bowl, his tenth, while his nemesis coach will be sitting home watching on TV.

On a bad team, the Buccaneers, where everyone claimed Brady would flounder, he took his TB Tompa Bay mentality to the limits. He raised the dead and cleansed the lepers. Tom is heading to Super Bowl LV at age XLIII. He sounds like the ultimate pope to poop on the Patriots.

There will be no nachos and parity party at the Belichick house where his fake coach sons and he will stew in their own juices. Brady will adorn himself with youthful passing whilst bypassing Belichick.

Belichick had no use for Brady and threw him out with the trash. He refused in the final few years in Foxboro to pay any receivers or keep any that Brady liked or preferred. He had a hit list, and the last name on it was Tom.

This is not to take any humiliation away from Robert Kraft, the baloney-ridden owner of the Patriots and his awesome and legendary (in his mind) franchise. With the lowest payroll, it finally bit the dust.

Maybe we will hear that Kraft has taken solace in some seedy massage parlor and Belichick has hired new videographers for next season.

New England looks like a frozen tundra next to Tompa Bay.

It doesn’t matter when the New England Patriots said Tom Brady was ready for the knackers yard.  It appears the tables have turned, and the Russian roulette bullet chamber is squarely spinning on Belichick’s brain-trust. “In Bill we trust”  now seems to be the mantra of idiots.

Tom Brady at 43 has turned Belichick into a man who might well consider his Social Security as the soft landing spot to blow out his overblown legend. This has not been a good year for Trump supporters, rioters, or Patriot coaches.

 

 

 

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.

Shatner Looks for Atlantis

Edgar Cayce

 DATELINE: Visionary and Cautionary Tales 

 Every other weekUnXplained gives us chopped liver, but in between we have some gemstones and meaty insights. Will William Shatner’s search for Atlantis, the Lost Continent, fall into the good group, or the stinkeroo group?

Shatner is in fine fettle for the opening, always a good sign as he laces his intro with skepticism. And, the episode starts off with Plato’s “metaphor” that one expert notes has a kernel of historical truth. Well, not usually in poetry, but so much for the experts.

The real fad of Atlantis arose out of the 1880s when Jules Verne science fiction was at its height, and a book about an antediluvian world caught the public fancy. A philosophic allegory became a visionary and cautionary tale.

Reputable archaeologists indicate that many clues from Plato indicate that the word “island” has been misinterpreted: it means peninsula, and that leads them to the coast of Spain and Portugal where layers of methane indicate many dead bodies deep under ground.

However, Edgar Cayce had a different take: his visions indicated that Atlantis was located in the Caribbean and has since become the many disjointed islands. He thought it was destroyed by self-used crystal death rays. It sounds like Tesla lived there.

There is also a consideration that the Atlanteans were hybrid extra-terrestrials with both paranormal skills and technological genius.

Shatner saves his best wild attitude for the final push: that Atlantis was a community of space aliens. But, the final note is that Walt Disney planned EPCOT as a concentric utopian Atlantis.

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?

 

 

 

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.

Deeply Boring on Oak Island

1st Appearance of Dr. Christa This Season

DATELINE: Boring Deeper

One friend who tunes into Curse of Oak Island  on a now-and-then basis claims that she never knows it’s a new episode. It seems every week they find an old coin and are boring into the ground looking for a new entrance to the Money Pit.

We’re glad she didn’t tune in to this show tonight. It’s more déjà vu than we can handle.

The eighth show of the eighth season is notable for who’s not there. Marty Lagina is on Zoom and not even on the island, and his son Alex doesn’t show up until he fills an empty seat in the final sequence. Peter Fornetti is nowhere. You won’t find Dr. Erin Helton either.

However, a couple of notable faces do come on board. First, making his initial island appearance is Mr. Moneybags, Craig Tester. He is the bank of Oak Island, and then at the end of the show, we have our first appearance of one of our perennial favorites, Dr. Christa Brousseau. We add Drs. Spooner and Aaron Taylor to the mix.

She has the most intriguing info of all:  she notes that two rose-head nails from different locations, one in the newly discovered serpent mound and another from a tunnel are the same, made at the same time. That connects the dots.

Once again, Gary Drayton is also on site as they uncover some kind of road out of the swamp, leading up to the pit areas. He finds another coin, likely from the late 1600s.

There are no additional confirmations of Templar work at the serpent mound from 1400, which is the most exciting part of this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, Mummy! Daddy Shatner Tells All

Missing Booth Mummy, 1920s

DATELINE:  UnXplained Makes Dead Speak Again

 

After several dull weeks, the series UnXplained  now gives Shatner some outrageous narration—and he delivers as only he can. From his opening warning that the show will depict mummification and viewers are advised to be ready for the horror.

Mr. Shatner is never more amusing than when he must play archly ironic. Discussing bringing the dead back to life seems to energize him.

This wild episode casts a wide net. It begins with the most famous ancient mummy, King Tut, found in 1922 by Howard Carter, recapping that legend. It shifts to the self-mummification practice in Japan several hundred years ago when living Buddhist monks slowly poisoned themselves, in a drying out process, to become mummies.

Shatner’s onerous tones warn us several times about “disturbing imagery,” but it is likely the enhanced, colorized photos of the alleged mummy of John Wilkes Booth that might be rather startling.

Recounting the tale of how Booth escaped, and how he was mummified by arsenic by a local undertaker, his body was taken by Finis L. Bates, now called a carnival barker, who showed the body at the St. Louis World’s Fair. After that, it was displayed for twenty years before disappearing.

Other notable mummies are not to be outdone. Take Bernadette, born in 1844, who saw the Virgin Mary 18 times before she died. Once dug up, she was perfectly preserved to become a saint. However, they had to coat her body with wax and put her in a hermetically sealed glass coffin.

The same for Lenin is explored. He is systematically “recharged” every few years by scientists who make him look younger for public display.

Shatner takes some pleasure in explaining about cryogenics, or freezing dead remains for later reanimation. He also notes that an Egyptian mummy recently had its voice box enhanced to create his “voice” 3000 years after the fact.

All in all, this remains one of the most death-defying of all shows in the UnXplained series.

 

 

 

Titanic/James Cameron 2020 Vision

DATELINE:  More Underwater Pix

Titanic: Into the Heart of the Wreck  is another new documentary on History Channel that gives us the lowdown on how the shipwreck is melting away in those frigid depths, owing to an iron-eating microbe.

What an ignominious end to a grand liner.

There is a history of underwater diving, photography and subs, which calmed down the divining rods.

James Cameron was the star of this documentary, the primary witness, though one Russian oceanographer has done 57 dives to the wreckage. A handful of people have gone to it many, many times.

James Cameron admits he made the famous movie version because he wanted to dive on the ship—and has done so over 30 times.

Cameron mentioned that his camera was in D-deck D35, which was next to passenger Richard White’s compartment. He switched out of D-26 one day after they sailed because a room was empty and he preferred not to share with his father.

Cameron also mentions that he does not believe in ghosts, but the pairs of shoes indicate victims. He did not believe artifacts should be taken from the inside of the ship, though that now is debated and legally challenged.

As for seeing ghosts, Cameron disbelieves—except for an overlay of memory that he feels is present. He is no scientist, holds no science degrees, but he has had 30 trips to Titanic, ahead of legit scientists.

This is similar to the electrons never die theory of Thomas Edison who felt traumatic memory was far more likely to survive as electrons in the atmosphere.

Nothing is discussed of the recent efforts to retrieve the Marconi radio. And, experts now believe the ship may last up to 500 years underwater, despite 27 forms of bacteria eating it.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Bela Lugosi’s Death Kiss

No Deadly Kiss from Bela Lugosi

Only rarely do we have a chance to see or to review a Poverty Row movie from 1932 that stars Bela Lugosi.  Death Kiss was made on the heels of Dracula. (1931) and provided the cast to reunite and play it for laughs.

Death Kiss starts out like a house afire. Its opening scene is well-produced and puts a movie within a movie. The star is shot to death in pivotal scene while on the sound stage. It seems real enough.

The film released 90 years ago, almost to the day, features colorized, tinted scenes. That alone was intriguing enough to want to watch a bad murder mystery.

Lugosi is a studio manager working under a bad impression of L. B. Mayer in New York Yiddish accent. The studio novelist/writer thinks he is Angela Lansbury, but acts like a supercilious Hercule. He is insufferable, as played by David Manners.

On top of interfering with inept Los Angeles police (how things never change), he is having an affair with the leading lady who is prime suspect as the ex-wife of the victim who is in for an insurance wind-fall.

Adrienne Ames is stunning in the movie star role. Her B-movie career was short and she died young, but she is highly watchable here.

Lugosi telegraphs villainy at every step. Indeed, he seems to be the shadowy killer in at least one scene where he can identified. He is the tallest member of the cast, imperiously straight-backed.

The film progressively deteriorates, but does end with a surprise or two. As far as the color tints are concerned, it was a weird experiment to say the least. It is minor and pointless.