MAYBE IT WAS NESSIE!
You may remember last December when the body of a federal prosecutor had been found face down in a creek outside Lancaster, PA. Having just put away a major gang member, Jonathan Luna left his home at midnight, went to his office, then to a local ATM. No one knows why he did any of these things. The state of Pennsylvania has yet to find a lead and recently said they may categorize the death in one of two ways: A random act of violence is one. The other, possible suicide! If they go with suicide, it will be the first time someone took their own life after stabbing themselves 36 times! Wow, good thing the Manson family didn't live on the East coast or they may have never been caught! "Sorry, Mr. Polanski, looks like your wife stabbed herself repeatedly then threw a rope around her neck."
TVLAND AWARDS #2
This Wednesday brought us the second annual TVLand Awards. Once again, a great celebration of the television many of us grew up with. Among the shows honored were "Gilligan's Island," "The Andy Griffith Show," and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." In accepting the award, Mary Tyler Moore pointed out that the show is STILL the worst-tested show in CBS history. It was, as always, great to see many of the original cast members, though I was shocked at how many of the "Andy Griffith" cast members had aged. Sometimes I forget that these shows have been in RERUNS for over 40 years! I was also moved to the heartfelt tribute that comedian George Lopez paid to "Chico and the Man" and it's late star, the great Freddie Prinze. Prinze was truly on his way to greatness when the pressures of his career caused him to take his own life. Also moving was seeing Freddie Prinze, Jr., who never knew his father and, in fact, for many years did not know the entire facts of his father's life, accept the award. With long time Prinze friend Tony Orlando in the audience, the emotion of the moment was well felt. More funnier highlights included an appearance by a trio of classic Catwomen: Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar and Lee Merriweather. They all looked purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-fect! Also funny was the "Sex and the City" reunion show, featuring Bea Arthur, Sally Struthers, Katherine Helmond and Charlotte Rae. Also great to see teenage crush Lisa Welchel (Blair on "Facts of Life" and before that from the New Mickey Mouse Club) still looks good! Only quibble was with their choice of what they consider a "Future Classic" show. This year's choice was the not-even-one-year-old program "Arrested Development." Good show, but a "classic?" Oh well, maybe that was the only way to get Liza to show up! Happy to report that Wonder Woman was voted best TV super hero!
MAYBE HIS UNDERWEAR ARE TOO TIGHT
Unless you're a baseball fan or follow the career of former underwear models, you may not know who Jim Palmer is. If you lived in Baltimore, like I did, you know him as a hall of fame pitcher for the Orioles and a local baseball broadcaster. I had the opportunity to meet Palmer many times and have a great story about him in my still-in-progress book about my exploits in the theatre business. This week, with no proof what so ever, Palmer has come out and accused former Oriole Brady Anderson of taking steroids in 1996 when Brady hit a whopping 50 home runs. According to Palmer, there is no other explanation. You're right, Jim. I mean, he hit almost 30 more home runs then he had ever hit in a season, and his home run total fell to his usual numbers the next season. It must be steroids. Hell, I know of another player that the almost identical situation happened to. He hit 22 more home runs then he ever had before one season and then hit 28 less the following year. It happened in 1961 and the player was Roger Maris. Do you think Maris was on 'roids too, Jim? I've learned two things in being a long time fan of the Orioles. #1, if Jim Palmer isn't the center of attention, he likes to complain. He was on the mound when Cal Ripken, Jr. began his incredible consecutive streak. When they celebrated Cal's achievement, they were able to bring back ALL of the Orioles that had been part of the game, including outfielder Dan Ford, who only a few days earlier in a newspaper article, had been listed as "whereabouts unknown." Need I add that Palmer wasn't there? When they closed Memorial Stadium in 1991, they had the all time Oriole greats take the field one last time. Word is that Palmer complained because he took the field after Brooks and Frank Robinson. #2. Brady Anderson is one of those physical marvels. The man has, on a bad day, 5% body fat. He is a work out monster. For Palmer to diminish Anderson's accomplishments, especially with no proof, is childish. Maybe it's because Brady looked better in his poster then Palmer ever did!
In other steroid-related news, I'm glad to see that some players, like Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon, are speaking out on the subject. Sometimes association is the worse form of flattery as many players are finding out. Anytime a home run heads out of the park, the thought in the back of your mind is always, "Hmmmmm..........is he juicing?" Schilling has stated that he feels that many baseball players would agree to more stringent drug testing if a third party administered the tests. According to Schilling, there is no trust between the players union and the owners. Schilling points out that the "anonymous" tests administered last year did not stay anonymous. Even commissioner Bud Selig is contemplating what measures he can take to assure the fans the game is on the level. Good luck, Bud. You no longer have a Cal Ripken streak or a McGwire/Sosa home run chase to breed good will. Sadly, the face of baseball is the 'roid bloated one of Barry Bonds. Sorry, now I'm becoming Jim Palmer. I have no knowledge Barry Bonds took steroids. I do know he's an asshole. So I guess the image of baseball is Barry Bonds' asshole. Pretty shitty picture if you ask me.
A few prominent deaths were reported this week. Among them:
Alf Bicknell, official chauffeur to the Beatles and inspiration for the song, "Baby You Can Drive My Car," passed away this week in London. He was 75. Bicknell first began driving the group during the filming of "HELP," and stayed with the group until they stopped touring in late 1966.
Mercedes McCambridge, Oscar-winning actress best remembered for her vocal work in "The Exorcist," passed away March 2 from natural causes. She would have been 86 this past Wednesday, March 17. Born in Joliet, Illinois, McCambridge began her acting career with multiple appearances on some of the greatest radio shows ever, including "I Love A Mystery" and "Studio One." I remember her fondly from the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre, where she often appeared opposite Fred Gwynne. She was referred to by Orson Welles as "the world's greatest living radio actress," to which she replied "better than being the world's greatest dead radio actress." She won an Oscar as best supporting actress for her film debut in 1949s "All the King's Men." She was nominated again in 1951 for her role as Rock Hudson's sister in "Giant." She was chosen by director William Friedkin to provide the demonic voice of possessed Regan O'Neil in "The Exorcist." Originally uncredited, she had the Screen Actor's Guild plead her case and she was given screen credit. That credit almost cost Linda Blair her Oscar nomination as the academy debated how much of the performance was Blair and how much was McCambridge. In the end, Blair got a nomination but lost to another youngster, Tatum O'Neal.
Carl Anderson, talented performer who received multiple Golden Globe nominations for his role in the film, "Jesus Christ Superstar," passed away after a long battle with leukemia. He was 58. After appearing on the soap "The Guiding Light" in the mid-60s, Anderson tried his luck on Broadway. In 1971, he replaced an ill Ben Vereen in the role of Judas in "Jesus Christ Superstar." Two years later he made his film debut, reprising his role in the film version of the popular musical. Both he and costar Ted Neeley received Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Musical and Best Newcomer. He only appeared in a few other films. One, "The Black Pearl," played forever at the Twin Bays theatre in Tampa. His other well known film was "The Color Purple." In 1986 he scored a number-one hit song with his duet with Gloria Loring, "Friends and Lovers." I had the great opportunity to meet Mr. Anderson when he was preparing to tour with the 20th Anniversary production of "Superstar." A kinder man, truly marveling at the fact he had fans, I have never met. As "Superstar" is a powerful film memory for me, it was a great thrill meeting him. Like the Jim Palmer episode, my meeting of Mr. Anderson and Mr. Neeley is also highlighted in my book. Perhaps, with Nolan's OK, I can excerpt it here at another time. (By all means! ---N)
2nd TIME IS THE CHARM
After readying himself during Tobey McGuire's hesitation on "Spider-Man 2," Jake Gyllenhall appears to be director Kevin Smith's first choice for the lead in his film version of "The Green Hornet."
MEET THE BEATLES - Part 9
March 20, 1969 - Like the song says, today is the day John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married "in Gibraltar, near Spain." They spent several days "honeymooning down by the Seine" and then "drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton," where they spent their honeymoon "talking in (their) beds for a week." Yes, it was the very first, of many, Bed-Ins! The newlyweds spent 18 hours a day for seven days entertaining any television, radio and print journalists who made their way to the hotel room. The Lennon's had their assistants film the entire proceedings, which was later edited down and released as a 60-minute film, "Honeymoon."
Well, that's if for 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.