Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sissy Spacek 'John You've Gone Too Far This Time'

In 1968 Sissy Spacek recorded a flop single called 'John You've Gone Too Far This Time'. It was in reference to the Two Virgins album cover that showed John and Yoko in the nude (front and back).

Spacek recorded the song under the pseudonym 'Rainbo' and I recently heard her discuss it with Terry Gross on NPR's 'Fresh Air' program.

What I found interesting was that while Spacek was willing to discuss it, she wouldn't cop to how dumb it was or any regret or embarrassment. After all, making a record criticizing one of the most beloved figures in pop music, a song that expresses shock and disappointment over nudity, is not something I'd want on my resume.

I guess I was expecting her to say something like 'I'm just thankful I did it under a fake name and that nobody bought it.' Or, 'I was young and offered the job and didn't actually condone the message of the song'.

Instead, she just sort of dismissed it and deflected Gross's attempt at getting at how she actually felt about it some 40 years later.

Here's a link to the song.

Rip Torn on 'Columbo'

Just watched a 1991 episode of 'Columbo' titled 'Death Hits the Jackpot' with Rip Torn.

This is one of the post-'NBC Mystery Movie' shows (ABC was doing them by then) where the novelty of Columbo had become old-hat and the franchise was losing steam.

The story, a guy wins the lottery and his uncle (Torn) kills him for the loot is not that interesting. In fact, the opening bit where the victim watches the lottery results on TV is just plain dumb, and I felt I was in for a bad ride.

But Rip Torn is so charming and interesting that I just loved it. So much so, I'm looking forward to watching it again. Torn is a super actor and I think we forget just how good he is. And he makes the other actors around him seem better as well.

Check this one out. It's a winner.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pat Robertson Hates Mormons

In the late 1980's Pat Robertson's cable network, The Family Channel, purchased the 'Bonanza: Lost Episodes' package.

Robertson felt that five of the 170 shows were not suitable for 'family' viewing. One had a character with occult powers, another had a picture of a nude woman hanging in a barroom.

Another one, a two-parter titled 'The Pursued', concerned a Mormon rancher and his two wives who arrive in a new community. The locals don't take kindly to them and their ways, and make their lives a misery. It's a good show and a great cast including Eric Fleming (of 'Rawhide' fame), Dina Merrill and one of my all-time favorites, Lois Nettleton.

The Cartwrights, of course, have a more tolerant view, as they apparently believe in the Mormons right to worship as they see fit.

It's obvious that Robertson felt the show had to be pulled because it showed Mormons (and polygamy) in a favorable light. The only other possible explanation is that it shows a Protestant minister as a fanatic who is responsible for riling up the town.

However, at the end of the show, another Protestant minister is portrayed as a good guy. And besides, crazy ministers is a dramatic staple. There's even another 'Bonanza' episode with Edward Andrews as an insane preacher. While not one of the 'Lost Episodes' that Robertson was able to censor, I have to wonder if he would have pulled that one as well. I doubt it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

'Magical Mystery Tour' on Blu-ray

Rumor has it that 'Magical Mystery Tour' will be released on Blu-ray on John Lennon's birthday, October 9th, 2012.

Also rumored are plenty of extras and commentary by Paul McCartney. Extras may include videos like the one they did for 'Hello Goodbye'.

I guess I'll have to break down and finally get myself a Blu-ray player.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Linda Thorson: Mainy

Linda Thorson is a definite mainy of mine. And I know it is sacrilegious to say so, but I liked Tara King better than Emma Peel.

And while I adore Diana Rigg, and acknowledge that 'The Avengers' was a better show with the Mrs. Peel character, I always thought Linda Thorson was more appealing (pun intended).

A pity she joined the show when they decided to go in a 'new direction'.

And Ms. Rigg also had the good fortune of being with the show when it was bought by ABC.  That meant a bigger budget and color. Americans were knocked out by it and had no idea the show had been around for years. And unlike the British audiences, we got to skip the cheap (and dull) video tape episodes. They were lousy. Like 'Dark Shadows' with spies instead of vampires.

I was surprised years later when I found out that Linda Thorson is a Canadian and had to put on a British accent for the show. There's one episode where she goes 'undercover' as an American and uses (I assume) her real accent. She's been in tons of shows since 'The Avengers' including soap operas and 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. I even caught her on a 'Law and Order' episode once.

Cool fact: She shares the same birthday, June 18th, as Paul McCartney. Which is not that big of a deal, except her name is 'Linda'. Okay, it's a stretch, but I find it interesting.

They May Be Comin' To Your Town

I see the Monkees are doing a 12 city tour in the Fall. The big news is that Mike Nesmith will be coming along. The bad and sad bit is that Davy Jones passed away last Winter so the band will be missing it's #2 singer.

I don't plan on going to the Bay Area show, but not because I don't love The Monkees. I do. And I'd love to see it on TV. I just don't really enjoy concerts much anymore. Too much ear damage from too much punk rock.

But I'm happy to see the boys getting together. I have a very warm place in my heart for that group and feel that Micky Dolenz has never been recognized as one of the great rock singers of his era. Which he was.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

See Pernell Roberts Drive a Corvette

The new DVD release of 'Bonanza' Season 3 is a real treat. The picture and sound quality are top-notch.

But the best part is the extras. They have the famous NBC peacock opening each episodes and bumpers, e.g., 'Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of tonight's episode of Bonanza!'. There are some great audio commentaries, including my favorite episode, 'The Crucible', co-starring Lee Marvin. Sue Ane Langdon (yes, she's still with us) does one for a comedy episode, 'The Many faces of Gideon Finch'. The most interesting commentary is probably by the little girl (now grown up) who played the title character in the Christmas episode, 'Gabrielle'.

The greatest extras are the Chevrolet commercials in which the actors appear as themselves. I haven't plowed through the entire set, but most seem to be in black-and-white, but at least one (a Christmas theme with the Cartwrights throwing packages into a Chevy) is in color. Not sure why they don't have color for all of them. They may be lost or were in black-and-white originally.

In one of them, all four actors pull up in the 'new' 1962 models. And of course, the coolest Cartwright, Pernell Roberts, gets to drive the coolest car, the Corvette 'String Ray'.

Poor Michael Landon has to settle for the dorky Corvair.