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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Chesley Bonestell: Futuristic Artiste

Titan Viewpoint

DATELINE: Sci-Fi Art 

An artist you likely never heard of by name may be one of the most intriguing personalities of the 20thcentury. His name is Chesley Bonestell, and you have seen his work all over the world.

A staggering biographical documentary called A Brush with the Future tells his amazing story.

Living to be nearly 100 years of age, he passed away in the 1980s But, his life transcended the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake to days of Old Hollywood and New York City at its pinnacle.

He managed to succeed in whatever he put his energy. Though he preferred to be an artist, his first years in a profession was work as an architect. After the great earthquake in his hometown, he helped to re-build the city with Willis Polk. It was Chesley who drew the illustrations for investors and made the schematics come to life.

When he went to Los Angeles in the late 1930s, he took a job for several studios as the matte painter. You’d think that to be a rather anonymous job, but he transformed it into a peak of success by making all the set designs for Orson Welles in Citizen Kane and also Magnificent Ambersons.  It was his vision of Xanadu, interior and out.

Between jobs, he did the design brochures for Golden Gate Bridge and made it a popular idea across the world with its startling originality and beauty.

Later, he designed the architecture for the movie version of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.  Then, in New York, he worked on the Chrysler building. It was a full life: but not his true fame.

Yes, in 1944 for Life magazine he did some color illos of the planet Saturn that looked like a rover had landed. It was a true vision of the future, and made him a staple of science fiction.

His terrain paintings of Mars, the Moon, and other planets, decades ago showed a man who saw the future and painted it as it is. It was his teaming with scientist Willy Ley (from TV’s Tom Corbett Space Cadet)  who  co-authored a book called Conquest of Space.  Ley was a friend of Frank Thomas and Jan Merlin,  stars of the show (who later teamed with this writer). How many degrees is that?

Jan Merlin and Dr. William Russo collaborated on six books.

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.

 

 

 

Downtown Blast by ET Lizard Conspiracy Theorist

Miss Petula Clark

 DATELINE: Christmas Mess

The dismay and surprise is now palpable over the bombing in Nashville by Anthony Quinn Warner.

An alleged alarm expert, Warner parked his RV in front of AT&T and let off a tremendous explosion on Christmas morning. He apparently did this heinous act when few people were in the area, as if that somehow ameliorated his nutcase action.

Now we have learned that he played on loudspeaker, the seminal 1960s hit song, “Downtown,” by the perky Petula Clark. The actress and singer, now a grande dame, expressed shock that of all the housands of songs, the mad bomber chose her iconic little tune.

“Downtown” has been satirized many times over the decades as a happy song about ghettos, but no one has had the nerve to blow up the downtown of a city. The bomber could have proceeded a few blocks to the Country Western Hall of Fame, but chose not to.

The late actor Anthony Quinn (known for playing Zorba the Greek) would also probably object and wonder why someone named after him would turn into a mad bomber.

We have also learned that Anthony Quinn Warner (no relation to the movie studio however much like a movie it seemed) was a fan of Ancient Aliens. He believed that extra-terrestrial lizard people who lived underground have been trying to take over the Earth. 

We are sure more weird parallels are about to emerge.

 

 

Autopsy on Andy Warhol

No House Calls Please: Dr. Hunter

DATELINE:  Squeamish Forensic Show

Dr. Michael Hunter, host of the Reelz network series called Autopsy, is said to be a leading forensic pathologist in a major American city. It’s unnamed to protect the innocent.

In his series, you must come to trust his judgment and theories, as he either confirms or adds to the official closing on the lives of famous singers, celebrities, or people in the news. We thought to look at his outlier, Andy Warhol, surely a famous figure, but one highly misunderstood and often dismissed.

Since Warhol died in 1987, at age 58, there are only a few first-person friends who agree to be interviewed for their insights. These include a biographer, a fellow photographer of lesser note, and Warhol’s two nephews. They are all highly devoted and deeply mournful over his loss, even decades later.

The case of Andy Warhol starts in youth, as Hunter points out that he had rheumatic fever as a child and watched his parents succumb to hospital ineffective treatment. It made him cautious of hospitalization, and finally terrified of even driving past one.

Andy never took recreational drugs, which seems a surprise to Hunter, but he leaps on two points. Warhol took one diet pill every day and was hooked on painkillers like Demerol (and for good reason).

Despite his suffering and weird social life, Warhol was a hard-working and productive artist whose playful media image made him seem slightly ridiculous.

Hunter does describe the horrific attack by nutcase Valerie Solanis who shot Warhol multiple times in 1968 and left him a pitiful shell. He had incisive hernias and had to wear a girdle to hold in his intestines for 20 years. Adhesions and scars gave him intestinal pain, and he never wanted to see his naked body, riddled with scars.

What Hunter fails to note is that Warhol’s would-be killer was a free woman after 3 years in a mental hospital. He was terrified she would return and finish the job. He used body doubles (also apparently unknown to Hunter) and photos may be of a double, not Andy. He also used assumed names and avoided public appearances where Solanis might find him.

He refused gall bladder surgery for years, and finally relented. It went well, but the patient still died mysteriously. Warhol’s death is inexplicable even by modern pathology, and you may feel Andy’s pain. He did not deserve the horrid fate he suffered.

Part Two on History’s Roswell

DATELINE: More Roswell Insights

History’s Greatest Mysteries starts off the second of three episodes with a bang:  the journal of Maj. Jesse Marcel was written by someone else, likely one of the fellow officers at the base where he found the UFO (or weather balloon) wreckage.

The researcher for this miniseries seems to be hot on the trail of something, and Laurence Fishburne intones that we are in “uncharted territory.”

The real issue of this episode is the “Memo” held by Gen. Ramey after a press conference with the weather balloon. Whose signature is on the telegram? They hint it could be J. Edgar Hoover and his code name “Temple.”

Whatever, they bring in microscopic and electronic microscopes to read the memo.

Of course, these shows have attention deficit issues and are back at Roswell, visiting the “Impact Site.”  Here is where witnesses saw little men wandering and others dead in a craft about the size of a Volkswagen bus about 40 miles north of Roswell.

Marcel’s journal is brought to a York, PA, professor of math who is a cryptologist. One look at the journal and he sees a cipher with “biliterate code.” That’s using cap letters in mid-printed word.

Ben Smith, main researcher, also consults a body language expert to show Marcel interviews from years ago. She seems to think he believes what he says.

The sheriff’s elderly daughter reports with a broken heart that what the Roswell officer saw and the pressure the government put on him drove him to lose his mind within a few years. He claimed to have seen the alien bodies.

The final five minutes seem a rush to bring together all the expert points—but fear not. There is another episode coming. History Channel is truly investing in this historical issue, making a miniseries within the miniseries. 

 

Ancient Aliens Take on Noah & the Great Flood

Ganymede: Boy-napped!

 DATELINE: They’re No Angels!

You can call this week Land of the Giants, Part 2. After looking at the Big Deal of Big Men around Campus, we turn now to a Biblical evidence of angels and cutting problems down to size.

Ancient Aliens love a tall tale. This week we continue to rattle off pie in the sky.

The theory is that Noah was a giant albino, genetically engineered to save mankind from a group of unpleasant giant aliens. And, for good measure, those angels were actually physical beings working as messengers.

So, we have Enoch and some of the first alien abduction stories. This includes Zeus boy-napping Ganymede with a giant eagle for more than prurient reasons. It was truly abduction with an abusive angle.

These are dangerous texts not meant for everyone’s eyes. So, the Hebrew and Christian Bibles were much smaller than the Book of Giants that predates Genesis. It seems those Big Boys weren’t playing nice, being cannibals of human flesh. Noah had to rid the world of these pests.

And, Noah had help: 200 Watchers, who were angels with clipped wings. They were using misunderstood technology to ferry around the world. The Great Flood is more likely to be indicated by geological evidence.

If you’re wondering why there was a Great Flood after the Great Pyramid, you have to look for solar flares that melted the ice caps and flooded the world. This burnt layer is 50 feet deep all around the world, proving the theory, say the alien theorists.

Enoch took off with his alien buds, but announced he’d return eventually.

 

 

 

Keyless or Clueless on Ancient Aliens?

Marty & Giorgio Team Up Again

 DATELINE:  Keyholes Everywhere 

Ancient Aliens has provided us with another fascinating topic for the 16thseason. “The Galactic Keyhole,” looks at ancient structures built in the shape of keyholes (though they are not uniform in style or relative shape).

 The suggestion is that the metaphor of keyhole unlocks a gateway in the universe.

Almost immediately, you have Giorgia Tsoukalos jumping the gun to call these structures “sacred.”  They may be old, and they may have even had some religious significance, but burial mounds are not always sacred. Sometimes they are egotistical, like a pyramid to one man.

However, Ancient Aliens begins to catalogue these items to all parts of earth, all cultures, and now a shape of keyhole can be seen on the Mars surface. Whether it is shadow, like the infamous face, will await personal visits by people. 

One of the highlights of the show is when Marty Lagina from Curse of Oak Island rejoins Giorgio Tsoukalos on the Italian island of Sardinia. The keyhole mystery is tied into the Knights Templar, but do not go to Oak Island this time.

Here they examine some keyhole shaped cisterns built thousands of years ago, as precise as the pyramids from a society that had no engineering math. It’s a wow moment for Lagina. He is there only for a few moments and feels like a sequence filmed a few years ago.

The Sardinia keyhole is a mirror of one likely from the same timeframe in India.  However, they fail to note that many of these keyholes are different, some like St. Peter’s Square ae gigantic, which experts theorize mean the Holy Grail whose shape in profile is a keyhole is in Vatican City, not Oak Island.

 The best theory from Giorgio is that Buddha in the Stupah is a cross-section of a man going up in a space capsule.

 All in all, it is way beyond the anthropology skills of most college students and a highly intelligent discussion, which we always appreciate.

 

 

Misalignment on Oak Island

Peter with Gary

DATELINE:  More Templar at Nolan’s Cross

In case you missed the pandemic, the series Curse of Oak Island is here to remind you that some of what they planned must be postponed till next year.  We wondered how the virus stops a Big Dig for the Money Pit.

Everyone danced around the big issue: obviously, Marty Lagina was not about to spend the big bucks on the Big Dig. But, they’ll never say that!

Since they will save the work on the Money Pit until next year, we know already they have a commitment for another season.

The other point made was Rick Lagina’s high praise for Tom Nolan, son of the crusty old man who was Dan Blankenship’s arch-nemesis for decades. Now, Tom is the active, productive, and cooperative new partner:  so long, Dave Blankenship.

The show immediately went for the gold: not treasure, but Gary Drayton who will find something every time. This time, for unknown reasons, Jack Begley is not there—and Peter Fornetti, the Lagina teen nephew, is the digger. He is affable and handles the spade well enough.

Almost immediately they come across a plethora of axe blades, buried for centuries. The archaeologist thinks they are several hundred years old. So, Gary has found an old camp.

They also call in some “theorists” from Europe, experts in Templars and math arcs. They have plotted a perfect menorah design on Oak Island that matches one in Jerusalem. They have whittled it down to two spots: Dig there. And, how a straight line goes from the Temple Mount, through the front door of the Palace of Versailles to Oak Island is quite amazing.

Right where they were told to look, there are man-manipulated dig sites going back 300 years, according to Dr. Ian Spooner’s sludge test.

They’re cooking now.

 

Second Monolith Bites Dust

Criminal Intent

DATELINE:  Monkeys Win.

After a heist of art critics of the Utah monolith, there has now been a second brazen attack in Romania. The bad copy of the first monolith has now disappeared into the night.

Apparent vandals who moonlight as art critics came to the national park with a wheelbarrow and a brazen attitude, telling people to take their pictures now because the monolith would soon be gone.

Reports are now circulating that these were Trump supporters who believe they can make a monolith disappear at will—and they plan to make the recent U.S. presidential election disappear too.

The culprits include a man who has boasted of his crime against crime, setting himself up as a vigilante to remove “trash” from pristine desert areas. It turns out this cretin was banned from the national parks for his own abusive behavior.

Self-styled art critics, trash collectors, and Trump conspiracy theorists, now have combined to steal whatever is not nailed down. Ballots are next.

Whether the same crew flew into Transylvania, or whether it was a local group of crypto-Nazis we have not yet determined.

 

In any respect, the people above the law are now making the law the rest of society. So it usually is before a Hitler take-over.

 

From dust to dust, so goes the short lifecycle of a monolith.

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond Oak Island, Beyond Belief

Jean-Boy

DATELINE:  More Oak Island Spin-offs

 Well, here’s another Oak Island series with the Lagina Brothers. If there is one thing you can count on, they do not share the limelight or the revenue. Anyone could have hosted this new series, but no.

Beyond Oak Island, a Lagina production could have become more than a commercial for their hit series, the Curse of Oak Island.

No, the Lagina brothers are interested in making another series that is merely a commercial and advertising for their brand.

So, as useless as it is, each show will start with the Laginas in their “War Room,” setting up some other international search for treasure.

Another callow hotshot pays homage to the Lagina team and explains he is after one billion dollars in gold from the lost Jean Lafitte treasure. It makes Oak Island look like a pittance, though the Oak Island case has far more interesting historical implications, whether you are talking Knights Templar, or Ark of the Covenant, or Shakespeare’s manuscripts.

This new series will have a strong overdose of Lagina-itus. But, our mission is to stick with it so you don’t have to. When Lagina water boy Matty Blake shows up, late to the party, we know what we’re up against.

The story of Jean Lafitte is compelling, and he was a faithful ally of the United States during the War of 1812. Rather than run afoul of America, he moved his pirate operation to Galveston and disappeared from history with a cool billion in booty. Pirates are also celebrated here as multi-cultural, politically correct people. Hunh?

The show actually improves when it moves into history of pirates and away from the Laginas. Voice-over Robert Clotworthy is perfect here. Alas, one segment does not a series make. If you think they find silver ingots at the end of the hour, you are the audience they play to.

Eulogy for Tommy Heinsohn

Soul of a Team

Tommy Heinsohn is gone. For the past few years, he had been less likely to broadcast games, giving up road trips entirely. But he still went to the studio into his eighties to provide insights no one else could know.

He has gone off now with Red and the Leprechaun to a better place.

And what he had to give may be matchless: he knew them all in basketball. He played with them all, coached them all, advised them all. He was one of the original Celtics—and his fiery attitude made him like someone from Mount Olympus on a holiday among mortals. From the 1950s to the 21stcentury, he made an impact on the Boston Celtics.

We do recall the crew-cut blond who had a passion for play that struck us many decades ago. We watched him every chance.. How thrilling it was that he never went away from Boston. He stayed as coach, holding such old-fashioned loyalty. And when the team moved away from his bombast and ref-bashing, he would not take another coaching job anywhere else. He was a Celtic.

He gave counsel to all—from Rondo to Couz. When irked with Bob Cousy, he called him “Robert.” When Dave Cowens in retirement and in an interview complained he never got a Tommy point, Heinsohn rolled his eyes, “Okay, okay, you have a Tommy Point.”

He was immutable and beyond the adjectives of media where they change voices like some people change T-shirt slogans. Tommy Heinsohn was indelible.

It’s not to forget that he was a cultured man who had a skill for painting, perhaps as a form of therapy or relaxation. But like basketball, he mastered whatever he put his talents to doing. How we would like to have one of those prized watercolors.

How we will miss his insights and his colorful expression. He knew what to say and how to say it. And, now that is gone from us. Oh, let’s not be selfish: he shared all those gifts with us for a long time. We should not be greedy. He deserves his time in immortality, high above the parquet for real.

Adieu, Mr. Celtic.