GOOD MORNING, CAPTAIN
I can't even begin to top what Nolan has written about the late Bob Keeshan. Like him, I have many fond memories of waking up and running down stairs to catch Captain Kangaroo before school. I distinctly remember his train set that usually brought around a bowl of what ever Kellogg's cereal was out then (does anyone else remember "O K" cereal? Kind of like Cheerios, but in the shape of O's and K's?) In my profession I have had the opportunity to meet dozens of celebrities. I've shaken hands and chatted with everyone from the entire cast, minus D. Kelley, of "Star Trek" to Sean Connery. But one of the best days of my life came when I got to meet Bob Keeshan, in full Captain garb, at the Baltimore City Fair in 1991. Much older and wiser then I remembered him, he was still the main attraction. I marveled at how many people mobbed him. People of all ages who he had touched with his warmth and humor. In answer to a couple of questions Nolan pondered in his piece, the role of the Banana Man was credited to an actor known only as A. Robbins and Lumpy Brannum played the role of Greeno the Clown.
GOOD NIGHT, JACK
How bizarre that during the same week we lose two true pioneers that shaped the way we still view television today. While Captain Kangaroo set the tone for such early morning shows like "Mr. Rogers" and "Sesame Street," it was Jack Paar who made the late night talk show the very first "must see t v." In July 1957, Paar took over "The Tonight Show" from Steve Allen. Paar did fewer skits and comedy pieces and based his show around occasional guests and his own style of commenting on the events of the day. Long before Bill Clinton played the sax on "Arsenio!," Parr invited both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon to appear on his show. On obvious Kennedy supporter, his guest the night before the presidential election was younger brother Bobby. Paar was known as much for his wit as he was for his temper. In one of the most remembered moments of early television, he walked off the set while on the air because the network censors would not let him use the term "W.C." (which stood for "water closet,' what we call the bathroom) on air. He stayed off for a month before returning to the show. He retired from the show in March 1962. Mr. Paar passed away this past Tuesday at the age of 85. He had been quite ill for some time.
THE GOLDEN GLOBES
Can't argue too much about the Globes. They have certainly come a long way from when a weekend on a yacht earned you the Most Promising Newcomer award (hello Pia Zadora.) Of course, after his role in the film "Stay Hungry," Governor Schwarzenegger won the same award. Moment I wanted to see was when Nicole Kidman read the nominees for Best Actor, including ex-husband Tom Cruise. I so wanted her to say, "the nominees are: the cheating, lying bastard who ran out on me and my two kids for "The Last Samurai."
Let me say here, before I go into my Oscar predictions, that I don't understand the whole "Lost In Translation" buzz. I thought the performances were excellent, but that the film was very middle of the road. And even though every time I see or hear Sofia Coppola I scream, "You ruined "GODFATHER 3!," I can't deny that the apple hasn't fallen too far from the family tree. I enjoyed her first film, "Virgin Suicides," very much. And I must give her props for becoming the first American woman director to ever be nominated for an Oscar. But I think the race for Best Picture and Director is between "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" and "Mystic River." I think "LOTR" is pretty much a shoo-in, but then I thought the same about "Saving Private Ryan." "Ryan" lost to the actor-friendly "Shakespeare in Love." As the majority of voters are in the acting branch, "Mystic River," which contains not less then 6 incredible performances, is definitely an actors movie. I was shocked that Albert Finney was not nominated and even more so that "Cold Mountain" was almost completely snubbed from the major categories, which ends Miramax Studios 11 CONSECUTIVE YEARS with at least one Best Picture nominee. With my sleeper picks, I only matched 74% of my choices this year. I must say that the entire "Cold Mountain" freeze out (ha ha, a pun, if you will) hurt me. That and I only voted for films/performances I have seen and I haven't seen "In America" yet. And I will admit here that I just basically covered my ass with my choice of "Lost In Translation" on the Best Picture ballot. I would much rather have been wrong and seen "Big Fish" nominated.
HOW ABOUT THE BAD ONES?
Not to be lost in the hoopla, congrats to the film, "Gigli," which led the voting for the annual Razzie awards with nine "worst" nominations. Close behind with eight nominations each: "The Cat in the Hat" and "From Justin to Kelly." All three were nominated for "Worst Picture," along with "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "The Real Cancun." Ben Affleck was nominated for "Worst Actor" for his trifecta work in "Gigli," "Daredevil" and "Paycheck." And special congratulations to Sylvester Stallone, a nine-time winner, including the prestigious "WORST ACTOR OF THE 20TH CENTURY." Sly picked up his record 30th Razzie nomination for his supporting work in "Spy Kids 3-D."
PIRATES, AS IN "AARRGH?"
While Johnny Depp was earning his first Oscar nomination for playing a pirate, a very sorry Carmen Caridi faces law suits from every major studio for allowing the 60 movies he received as screeners to be put on the Internet by a man in Illinois. Thinking that Russell Sprague was just "a big movie fan," Caridi now admits to sending Sprague his collection of academy screener tapes. I can't believe this guy was that damn stupid. Most of the films I received had a small number in the top left corner of the picture. That means that Miramax knew that "Bad Santa" # 32 was sent to me! Sprague has been arrested on piracy charges and faces HUGE fines and jail time if convicted. Hey Russ, thanks for fucking it up for the rest of us!
GAME SHOW MEMORIES
Thank you to Hugo Morely for your great piece on trying out for "The Weakest Link." Let me say here that I thought Robert Morely was one of the greatest character actors ever. My personal fave film of his is "Who is Killing the Great Chef's of Europe?" I auditioned for the show back in January of last year and also made it through to the final game playing round. To my knowledge, the only person ever to make the show from Kansas City was a local disc jockey, Randy Miller. When I lived in Baltimore, I also auditioned for, and secured a future spot, on Bill Cosby's version of "You Bet Your Life." Sadly, the show was canceled soon afterwards!
MEET THE BEATLES - 3
January 30, 1967: About to release the "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane" single, the boys begin filming their promotional films for these two songs in Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent. The films were shot in 35 mm color for airing on US television as the BBC still only broadcast in black and white. While the lads are filming, producer George Martin was back at EMI Studios, producing a mono mix of "A Day In The Life."
Well, that's all for this now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 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 ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.