Archive for July, 2013

FDR’s “Green Light” Letter

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

By the time 1941 turned into 1942, the exclamation point in the phrase “Play Ball!” became a question mark with the nation at war in two theatres, European and Pacific.  Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis sought counsel from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt regarding baseball as a continuing industry.  The commissioner’s missive of January 14, 1942 shows deference with a hint of wonder in the closing.

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“The Sopranos” and Food

Friday, July 26th, 2013

After James Gandolfini died last month, HBO announced that it will make The Sopranos available on demand.  I just finished screening Season 1.

Being a native of northern New Jersey, I get a kick out of seeing or hearing places mentioned that I know.  Los Angeles can take that kind of thing for granted.  Garden Staters, not so much.

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“Crime Story”

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

In the 1980s, an NBC show about cops had it all.

A new look.  Story arcs existing through several episodes.  And the elevation of lesser known actors to household name status.

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“thirtysomething”

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Yuppies existed on prime time television before we had a word to describe them.  Yuppie, of course, is a slang word for young, upwardly mobile professional.

Dr. Bob Hartley was a Chicago yuppie on The Bob Newhart Show.

Rob Petrie was a television comedy writer yuppie on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

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Lessons of “The Brady Bunch”

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Like most television shows, The Brady Bunch is a fantasy.  How many families have superstar athletes and iconic entertainers visiting their homes?  Unlike most television shows, The Brady Bunch is a tremendous instructor of life lessons.

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1960s Sitcom Music

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

If music be the food of 1960s television sitcoms, play on.

In the 1960s, the Beatles captained a British invasion across the Atlantic Ocean.  John, Paul, George, and Ringo inspired sitcom versions of themselves after their first American television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964 captured America’s attention, not to mention Hollywood’s creative community.

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James Bond: Spoofs, Parodies, and Parallels

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then James Bond should be very flattered indeed.

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James Bond: Gadgets and Gals

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

James Bond has gadgets that would make Thomas Edison green with envy for not inventing them.  Q, of course, monitors Bond’s gadgets from conception to execution.

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James Bond: The Beginning

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

When President John F. Kennedy declared Ian Fleming to be a favorite author, he unknowingly triggered a popular culture trend.  Kennedy’s statement established Fleming’s creation of fictional spy James Bond as the standard against which spy genre characters are measured.

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Archie Andrews: The Beginning

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Popular culture loves its icons.  Archie Andrews is one of them.

He doesn’t have superpowers like Superman or Spiderman.

He’s not a vigilante like Batman or the Lone Ranger.

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