Now in our fourth calendar year!|
PCR #182. (Vol. 4, No. 38) This edition is for the week of September 15--21, 2003.
WHAT'S IN A WORD?
Hello gang! News, notes and, once again, more legends pass on. Shall we begin?|
Apparently plenty! Comedian Tommy Chong was sentenced to nine months in a Federal Penitentiary for selling a water pipe over the internet. Oops, sorry. If it had been a water pipe, which can be used for tobacco, he wouldn't have had any trouble. Unfortunately he advertised the item on his web site as a BONG. Saying that the use of that word constitutes it's use with marijuana, the judge found him guilty of selling illegal drug paraphernalia. I'm sure there will be more to come on this.
MICHAEL, VAL, GEORGE.............CHRISTIAN?
Warner Brothers has announced that the old "American Psycho" himself, Christian Bale, will don the cowl and cape for the next Batman film, which will be directed by Memento director Christopher Nolan.
HE'S GOING TO SING! HE'S GOING TO SING!
Oscar winner Mike Nichols has agreed to direct the Broadway musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, tentatively entitled "Spamalot!" The show is scheduled to open in 2005.
SLIP AND SLIDE AND SUE
Last week I mentioned that the people at Wham-O were suing Paramount Pictures for misusing their "Slip and Slide" in the film Dickie Roberts. Their suit claims that having David Spade use the item is in violation of the age rating (for 12 and under) that is clearly marked on the box. Also, his not using it with water was also a direct safety violation, also clearly marked on the box.
I'm sure I've mentioned in past articles that Ron Santo, former 3rd Baseman for the Chicago Cubs in the 60's and 70's, was a favorite of mine. As far back as I can remember, from little league to high school to the softball league I now play in, I have worn his #10 proudly on my back. Even prouder, my son, Phillip, has also worn that number throughout his career. This week, the Cubs announced that they will retire Santo's #10. Congratulations, Mr. Santo. An honor well deserved and late in coming.
This year's first time nominees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame include Prince, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne and George Harrison. Harrison, already inducted as a member of the Beatles, is a shoo in. If I had a vote, I'd also add Prince and Mellencamp (even the "Johnny Cougar" stuff ain't too bad). Holdover nominees include the Sex Pistols, ZZ Top, Black Sabbath and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The new members will be announced in December.
The guitar Harrison played during the Beatles final concert on the roof of the Apple Building in 1969 sold at auction for $434,750. Apparently Nolan's top bid was $434,000. Too bad, buddy.
It pains me to be writing this on what would have been John Ritter's 55th birthday. Mr. Ritter passed away this past Sunday due to an aortic dissection. He was stricken while filming the season's fourth episode of his television show, "8 Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughters," and died shortly after being taken to the hospital. Born on September 17, 1948, Ritter was the son of famous singing cowboy "Tex" Ritter. He attended Hollywood High School, where he was elected student body president. After attending an acting class at college, he changed his major to theatre and graduated from the University of Southern California in 1971 with a degree in Drama. On his summer breaks from school he would travel around Europe, appearing in local theatre productions. I first remember seeing Mr. Ritter when he played the tennis playing minister who married Ted and Georgette on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." He later had a recurring role on "The Waltons." But it was as Jack Tripper on ABC's comedy "Three's Company," that he entered the highest realms of comedy. Ritter won an Emmy for his work on the show. His other notable tv work was as the voice of Clifford the Big Red Dog and in the private investigator show, "Hooperman." He also successfully branched out into films. Among my favorite of his: "Hero at Large," "They All Laughed" and "Noises Off." He received critical raves for his portrayal of the gay store manager in "Slingblade." September was a very important month for Ritter and his family. His daughter, Stella, turned 5 on the day he passed away. His wife, actress Amy Yasbeck, had a birthday on the 12th. And their wedding anniversary is the 18th. ABC has announced that it will air the three shows completed with Ritter, then, after a brief hiatus, return with a show that deals with the death of Ritter's character. Henry Winkler, a long time friend who was on the set when Ritter died, was scheduled to appear on the show as an uncle to the daughters. No word on if Winkler will join the cast permanently. Readers who would like to extend their condolences can send them to Ritter's long time personal assistant, Susan Wilcox. Her address: 15030 Ventura Blvd, Suite 906, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Sheb Wooley, actor and country western star, passed away this week at the age of 82. Cause of death was leukemia. As an actor, Wooley was best known for his work in such films as High Noon, Giant, Silverado and Hoosiers, as well as the long-running television show, Rawhide. In 1958, his song "Purple People Eater" sold 3 million copies in three weeks and was the number one song in the country for six weeks. In 1969 he not only was an original member of the cast of "Hee Haw," but he also composed the theme song.
Jules Engel, animation educator best known for the dance sequences in the 1940 Walt Disney feature Fantasia, died in Simi Valley, California at the age of 94. After leaving Disney, he founded the program in experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts in 1970. He also founded the UPA animation studio, where he helped develop several popular cartoon characters, including Mr. Magoo.
Hy Anzell, theatre veteran best known as Alvy Singer's uncle Joey Nichols in Annie Hall, died of kidney failure in Fresno, California. He was 79. "Remember, when you think of me, think of Joey Five Cents!"
Only 4 months after burying his life's love, Johnny Cash died Sunday from complications from diabetes. He was 71. Known as The Man In Black, Cash had more then 100 country hits, with many of them crossing over to the popular music charts. J.R. Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas on February 26, 1932. While stationed in Germany in the Air Force, he learned how to play the guitar. He also adopted his full name - John Ray Cash - from the initials he had been given at birth. After his discharge in 1954, Cash went to Memphis to pursue his music career. Signed by Sam Phillips' SUN Record label, he was, for a short time, part of the Million Dollar Quartet, which consisted of Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. He had his first in 1956 with "I Walk The Line," following it up with "Folsom Prison Blues." The song hit the charts again in 1968 when a live version, recorded in the prison, was released. His other notable songs include "Ring of Fire," "Jackson," "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and his biggest crossover hit, "A Boy Named Sue." He also had a 2 season stint as host of his own ABC variety show. I can remember having to go to bed at the same time it started. About the time my head hit the pillow, I could hear, from the television in the living room, the four words he always used to introduce himself: HELLO, I'M JOHNNY CASH. A man who went his own way and didn't care what others thought of him, Cash was very outspoken on many subjects. When radio stations refused to play his 1964 song, "The Ballad of Ira Hayes," (a native American Indian who helped raise the flag at Iwo Jima), Cash took out an ad in Billboard magazine, asking "Where are your guts?" He married June Carter Cash in 1969, and the two were inseparable until her death in May of this year. His daughter from his first marriage, Rosanne, also had a successful country music career. Cash's last success was his aching version of the Nine Inch Nail song, "Hurt." A man who fought for the poor and downtrodden, he sang, "I wear the black for the poor and beaten down - Living in the hopeless, hungry side of town."
Bow your heads, readers. A true American legend has left us.
That's it for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 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 ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.