For the third year in a row, TVLand has honored some of the best television of the past with it's annual awards show. While such classic shows as "The Bob Newhart Show" and "The Carol Burnett Show" were deservedly praised, I was taken back to my teen years when a special award was given to the Saturday afternoon staple, "Soul Train." In Tampa, I lived across the street from the Forney family. Their oldest son, Paul, was the bass player for the popular band The Jimmy Castor Bunch. Many a Saturday morning Mrs. Forney would wave to me across the street and remind me that "Paul is on "Soul Train" today." Congratulations to Don Cornelius and the whole "Soul Train" gang. I wish you all peace, love and soul!
In late November, 1963, a man was seen sneaking into a Dallas, Texas movie theatre without buying a ticket. The police were called. Within minutes, over 30 police officers arrived. One of the cops, Nick McDonald, put the cuffs on the man after a brief scuffle. That man was Lee Harvey Oswald. Meanwhile, across town at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dr. Charles Baxter, emergency room director and surgeon, was working furiously to save the life of the man Oswald would later be accused of shooting, President John F. Kennedy. Recently both Officer McDonald (age 76) and Dr. Baxter (age 75) passed away. Conspiracy buffs - start your engines.
OK, correct me if I'm wrong here. Our country is still at war, we are in a staring contest with both Iran and North Korea and I'm paying $2.25 a gallon for gas. Yet, the major problem facing our country is whether or not a baseball player took steroids?? Who voted for these idiots? If one of my elected officials was taking part in this farce I would be the guy heading up the recall election. With all of the problems we as a country are facing the fact that baseball players may be juicing don't, in the words of Humphrey Bogart, "amount to a hill of beans." I type this with mixed emotions. I have been a fan of the game for as long as I can remember. I've played the game since I was 7 and my son went to college courtesy of a baseball scholarship. We were both in attendance in St Louis when Mark McGwire hit his then record 62nd home run of the season in 1998. Today I was saddened to see Big Mac almost reduced to tears in trying to explain his position. I kept waiting for McGwire to leap from his seat and jump on his accuser, Jose Canseco, who was sitting four people down from him. Most defiant was Raffi Palmiero, one of my beloved Baltimore Orioles. His voice full of rage, Palmiero pointed his finger defiantly at the panel while maintaining the fact that he NEVER took steroids. Also denying their use was Frank Thomas, former Oriole Curt Schilling and current Oriole Sammy Sosa. Though I was curious why Sosa's attorney read his statement of denial. Sammy does have a strong Dominican accent, but he's always understandable when he speaks. And where in the hell was Barry Bonds? If anyone needed to be there to protest his innocence it was this surly guy. Apparently Bonds had to have more surgery today on his knee. What a coincidence. I'll be honest, his bad attitude and increasingly large head not withstanding, I have no proof that Bonds took steroids or any other performance enhancing drug. It's just my opinion. Of course, if he only hits 30 home runs this year he'll be able to say it was because he had a bad knee. Yeah, that's right.....a bad knee. Maybe he's not juicing. Maybe he's just an asshole.
Sad to report the death of Danny Joe Brown, lead singer of the band Molly Hatchet. Brown died this week at the age of 53 due to complications from diabetes.
JAWS THE STORY - PART 10
With filming underway, many on the set waited anxiously for the film's "star" to arrive. Having been convinced that, a. 25 foot long great white sharks were hard to come by and, b. that even if you found one, they wouldn't be very easy to train, the production ordered the construction of a mechanical shark. It was up to production designer Joe Alves to design the ultimate man eater. According to author Nigel Andrews, there are a series of drawings in the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that have never been released to the public. Alves idea was to create a monster...a Moby Dick with teeth. Among the sketches is a shark's eye view of an attack, as seen from inside the shark, looking out through the teeth. Alves used this effect to some success when he directed the 3-D film, "Jaws 3." Robert Mattey, who had designed and built the giant squid seen in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," was commissioned to do the same for the shark. Three sharks, nicknamed "Bruce" after Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Ramer, were built. They each measured 25 feet long. Two of the sharks were "side" sharks. Basically a left side shark and a right side shark. These could be used when only one side of the shark needed to be visible.
The third shark was complete. When he wasn't needed on the set, Bruce was kept hidden under a veil of secrecy. Spielberg was furious when a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor took a couple of unauthorized photos of the shark and security was beefed up so that the mystery of the shark was maintained. Of course, with every good idea a few bad things must befall you. The constant submersion in salt water wreaked havoc with the pneumatic tubing used to control the shark and, as Richard Dreyfuss likes to relate when he talks about the film, the air was often filled with the crackle of radios proclaiming, "The Shark is not working." However, these problems proved to be a plus to the production, with director Spielberg having to convey the fear and anxiety of the shark without having it in the scene.
A true confirmation of the statement "less is more."
Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.