SUPER BOWL NOTES
Good game, fair commercials. My favorite was the FedEx ad with Burt Reynolds and the bear. Hat's off to Sir Paul McCartney. You have to admire a man who can rock a stadium with songs that were 30 plus years old. I found it funny that the FCC received 33 complaints about the content of the presentation, including four that complained about McCartney's singing about "California grass" during "Get Back." At least he got away with "Live and Let Die!"
SCHOOL HOUSE LOVE
What the hell is going on in this country. It seems like every week I read of another female teacher taking advantage of a teenage student. This week's instructor who went above and beyond the call is 27 year old Pamela Turner of McMinnville, Tennessee. Ms. Turner is faced with 15 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure for her extra curricular activities with a 13 year old male student. In high school, I secretly lusted after one of the school librarians and my senior year drama teacher. Sadly, neither of them was from Tennessee.
JOSÉ IT AIN'T SO
I only have a couple of Jose Canseco stories from my adventures in following baseball and they are all pretty positive. Long suspected of using enhancement drugs during his career, Canseco is set to release a book next week that accuses such major league stars as Mark McGwire, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and others of taking steroids while playing. Many players and coaches are quick to point out that Canseco has a book to sell and may be jealous of others whose careers surpassed his. Once thought of as a lock for the hall of fame, a series of injuries slowed his career until he was no more then a body on the roster. Part of me hopes that Canseco just has an axe to grind. However, I think if he's naming names that his publisher must have believed him. I'm sure this isn't the last we'll hear on this bombshell.
Great to see "Couch Potato Confessions" and "The Creature" back where they belong!
HELLO THERE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that last week my son, Phillip, and I attended a concert by Cheap Trick. One of the influential bands of my high school years, I'm happy to say that the very first song our kitchen band, the HATS, played together was "Surrender." 25 years later, the boys from Illinois are still rocking. If they come your way, I urge you to see them. A little secret was revealed to the audience when guitarist Rick Nielsen led the group in the theme song from "That 70's Show." I had no idea it was the band that did the tune, though the "We're all alright!" at the end always made me wonder.
This past week we lost three members of the entertainment community:
John Vernon, probably best known as Dean Wormer from the film "Animal House" and it's television counterpart "Delta House" died last Thursday from complications following heart surgery. He was 72. Born Adolphus Raymondus Vernon Agropowicz in Canada, Vernon attended the London Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Returning to Canada, he plied his trade in theatre and on television. He made his US film debut in 1967s "Point Blank." His other well known roles were in Alfred Hitchcock's "Topaz," and Clint Eastwood's "The Outlaw Josey Wales." He had previously starred with Eastwood as the Mayor of San Francisco in Don Siegel's "Dirty Harry." He is survived by his wife and three children. His two daughters, Kate and Nan, are actresses.
Ossie Davis, whose 50-year career spanned all forms of entertainment, died Friday in Miami from natural causes. He was 87. Born Raiford Chatman Davis, he took the name "Ossie" from the way his mother pronounced his initials, R.C. He first appeared on Broadway in the early 1940s and slowly gained recognition as a talent to be reckoned with. In 1946, he appeared with a young actress named Ruby Dee in the play "Jeb." Though the show was not a success, two years later he and Dee married and remained so until his death. Davis and Dee soon became compared with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy as a true couple of the theater. He made his film debut in 1950s "No Way Out." In 1963, he wrote the play "Purlie Victorious," which was later reborn as the Broadway musical "Purlie." He made his film directing debut with 1970s "Cotton Comes to Harlem." A long time leader in the civil rights battle, Davis was very friendly with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and delivered the eulogy for Malcom X. In later years, Davis was best known for his work on television's "Evening Shade" and for appearances in several of Spike Lee's films. As 'da Mayor in "Do the Right Thing," he dispensed wisdom for all to follow. "Doctor," he said, "always do the right thing!" Wisdom indeed.
Keith Knudsen, longtime drummer for the Doobie Brothers, passed away early this week at the age of 56. Cause of death was given as pneumonia. Knudsen played with the band from 1974 through their farewell tour in 1982. He rejoined them when they regrouped (without Michael McDonald) in 1993 and played with them until his death.
JAWS - THE STORY: PART 5
Two of the leads had been cast when director Steven Spielberg contacted Sterling Hayden, his first choice for the role of Captain Quint. Best known as the crooked police captain shot by Al Pacino in "The Godfather," Hayden, living in Paris and writing novels, explains that, due to tax problems, he is unable to accept the role. Due to past problems with the IRS, any income Hayden earned from acting was subject to being grabbed by the government. However, as an author his book royalties were untouchable. Spielberg then turns to gruff actor Lee Marvin. Marvin tells him that he would rather hunt for sharks then make a movie with them. Shot down by his two choices, Spielberg consults with producers Zanuck and Brown. Brown suggests an actor they just finished working with in the Oscar-winning best picture of 1973, "The Sting." As Doyle Lonnegan, the mobster who gets "stung," Robert Shaw showed a quiet power that would fit the role of Quint well. Oscar nominated for his work in "A Man for All Seasons," Shaw also was known for portraying villain Red Grant in "From Russia With Love." and had just completed "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three." He was also an accomplished playwright. Among his works is "The Man in the Glass Booth." Being a British citizen, Shaw too would be under the watchful eye of the IRS. He takes the role when it is agreed that, any day he wasn't needed on the set, he could go to Montreal or the Bahamas, thereby not being in America and drawing a penalty against his work visa. Now that the leads have been cast, Spielberg turns to casting the rest of the film. Incidentally, Peter Benchley also had ideas on who he wanted cast. Sadly, we'll never know how Brody, Hooper and Quint would have fared if played by Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.
Next week: the role of Mrs. Brody is decided with a phone call.
Well, 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.