Thursday, January 18, 2018

Celebrity Rock: Beyond The Sun (1962)

Most of you know that Clint Eastwood managed to find his way onto the country charts in the 80's, teaming with the late Merle Haggard on "Barroom Buddies", for example. But, did you know that Clint's singing debut came during his run on Rawhide?

It's true, and here's the proof. From March 1962, Rowdy (Eastwood) sings "Beyond The Sun". Special guest star Buddy Ebsen (Ex-Davy Crockett, a few months away from The Beverly Hillbillies) is his accompanist, at least for the cameras.

I forget who the other artist was that Clint worked with in the 80's, but there was another track that made use of "Dirty Harry"'s signature line in the song "Make My Day".

Forgotten TV: Good Sports (1991)

Ryan O'Neal hadn't done a television series since leaving Peyton Place. Long time live-in honey Farrah Fawcett had made some TV movies after leaving Charlie's Angels, as well as some theatrical releases. Neither would ever have been thought of for their comedic skills.

Producers Bernie Brillstein & Brad Grey thought otherwise, and put the sweethearts together in a short-lived CBS sitcom, Good Sports, in 1991. O'Neal wasn't quite in demand for movies by this point as he had been in the 70's & 80's, but as they say, any old port in a storm.....!

O'Neal was an ex-jock who had a one-night stand with Fawcett's character, now a TV sports anchor., before reconnecting. Out of the 15 episodes ordered, only 9 aired. Following is a sample clip with Arthur Burghardt (ex-One Life to Live).

Co-stars Lane Smith & Cleavant Derricks would find success in the dramatic arena later in the 90's (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman & Sliders, respectively), but this was the last tango on TV for O'Neal and Fawcett.

No rating.

High school this 'n' that

The season can't end fast enough for Troy High's women's basketball team.

The Lady Horses dropped their 3rd straight on Tuesday at Niskayuna to fall to 3-10 on the season, nowhere near contention for the Suburban Council Grey Division title, which for all intents & purposes, Averill Park has already clinched. Coach Paul Bearup's team will finally play Shaker today, then return home for what amounts to a breather vs. Burnt Hills tomorrow night. The way the schedule is set, the girls will have their Senior Night on January 30 vs. Colonie, then go on a season-ending 3-game road trip.

Given that the Lady Horses have no seniors on this year's team, perhaps it was expected to be a rebuilding year.
Meanwhile, the Troy boys are now 7-4 overall after blowing out Nisky on Tuesday night. Coach Greg Davis' squad will be on the road this weekend, at Burnt Hills tomorrow night before a rematch with Kingston on Saturday. The impetus now is to keep winning to put the pressure on Grey division leader CBA, which lost to Shenendehowa on Tuesday. Troy will visit CBA's McGraw Gym on February 9. CBA has just 2 losses in league play to Troy's 3, so if Troy completes the season sweep, assuming both teams run the table up to that point, then beats Schenectady on Senior Night (February 13), they would win their 2nd division title in 3 years.
It's safe to say the skating Cadets of LaSalle have shaken off their overtime loss in the Mohawks tournament 3 weeks ago. Coach Tim Flanigan's team has now won 4 in a row after posting its 2nd straight shutout, 1-0, over Shenendehowa on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, league leader Bethlehem also won, blowing out Adirondack, 8-1, and now lead 2nd place CBA by 2 1/2 points. LaSalle is in 3rd, 4 points back. The Cadets host Shaker-Colonie on Saturday night for Cadets for Vets night, then welcome the Brothers next Wednesday, looking to avenge an earlier loss. Even if they don't come all the way back and win the regular season title, LaSalle is still looking at a favorable seeding in the tournament next month.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Musical Interlude: Livin' on a Prayer (1986)

Back in the 80's, Bon Jovi looked like another hair metal band, but the truth was, these Jersey boys were aiming at the pop charts, and had been since their 1984 debut.

1986's "Slippery When Wet" produced back to back #1 hits, the second of which, "Livin' on a Prayer", tells the story of two average kids trying to survive despite individual hardships. If you were watching Supergirl on Monday night, this was on the soundtrack.

Anyway, let's take a trip back to the fall of '86 for the video, which was all about the band and not the story.

Sounds like Jon Bon Jovi was trying to mine the same trail as fellow Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen, doesn't it? Sounds like "The Boss"' kind of tale.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On The Air: Black Lightning (2018)

In the winter of 1976-7, DC Comics introduced Black Lightning, the first series from the company to be headlined by an African-American hero. Jefferson Pierce returned to his hometown of Metropolis to become the principal at Garfield High, and adopts the identity of Black Lightning to fight the 100, an inner city gang fronted by Tobias Whale, posited to be DC's answer to Marvel's plus size mob boss, the Kingpin. Series creator and fellow blogger Tony Isabella has reset the series in his hometown of Cleveland in the current Cold Dead Hands miniseries, which has been met with glowing reviews since its premiere a couple of months back.

Meanwhile, Black Lightning becomes the 5th DC Comics series adapted for television by Greg Berlanti and his staff, and gets the cushy slot behind The Flash. That's the good news. The bad is that the first season is just 13 weeks, and will wrap in mid-April.

In this series, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams, ex-Hart of Dixie) had been Black Lightning until retiring 9 years ago. The setting is different, too, having shifted to the fictional town of Freeland. Pierce is the principal at Garfield High, where his youngest daughter, Jennifer, is a student, and his oldest, Anissa, is a teacher. They also happen to be metahumans, just like their father, as we will see over the course of the next three months.

Whale is here, too, but, as embodied by rapper Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, isn't a Kingpin wannabe any longer. Bear in mind, too, that it was assumed that a short-term Arrow villain last season, Tobias Church, was meant to be an analogue for Whale, but now we can't be sure.

Pierce is at a crossroads as this series begins. He would rather focus on his day job and keep his kids and the school safe. Of course, gang violence is bound to find its way to Garfield High. He's also looking to make amends with his ex-wife, Lynn. Well, not everything's meant to go according to plan......

For now, Black Lightning will not intersect with the rest of the Berlanti-verse family of shows, but, then, they also said the same thing about Supergirl, and we all know how that went.

What works in this show's favor is that it has the seal of approval of Tony Isabella, who's worked closely with the creative staff. That may make all the difference in the world, considering how the other shows have fallen off the rails, or are threatening to, of late.

Rating: A.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Musical Interlude: Dreams (1992)

The Cranberries' "Dreams" was first released as a stand-alone single in 1992, then included on their major label debut the following year. It took a while, but the song did manage heavy airplay on MTV, largely because the network had three versions to choose from.

In memory of vocalist Dolores O'Riordan, who passed away at 46.

The NFL's Final Four: Can a new champion arise?

We are now down to four in the NFL playoffs. All but one of the weekend's games were packed with enough drama to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Can you care to guess which one lacked drama?

Saturday: Old Man Winter's latest barrage in the Northeast suggested that both games would be played in sloppy conditions, but that wasn't the case. NFC East champion Philadelphia, the conference's top seed, took the insult of being a 3 point home underdog against defending NFC champ Atlanta as motivation, and ensured there would be a fresh opponent on the NFC side at the Super Bowl on February 4, taking down the Falcons, 15-10. Ye scribe only saw less than half the game due to other commitments, but from what I did see, it was a good game.

The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots spotted the Tennessee Titans an early touchdown, and then did their best impression of a horde of vampires, sucking the drama out of the game by blowing out the Titans, 35-14. Reading an article on Yahoo! Sunday morning, I noted that the author, speaking for Patriot haters other than me, felt the officials were favoring the Patriots a little too much. Seeing as how I didn't watch the game, I can't rightly judge. I won't be watching the AFC title game next Sunday, either, but if the Patriots think the road to Minneapolis got a little easier, well.......

"Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it."---George Santayana.

Sunday: AFC South champion Jacksonville jumped out to a 21-0 lead early against North champ Pittsburgh, and had to hold on to advance to their first AFC title game in 19 years. Forced to abandon the running game, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin relied heavily on QB Ben Roethlisberger to bring the team back. However, a late field goal by Jacksonville's Josh Lambdo, coupled with a botched onside kick by the Steelers, sealed a 45-42 win for the Jaguars. If Tomlin didn't have Santayana's famous quote on his bulletin board, he should have, considering that Jacksonville won at Heinz Field for the 2nd time this season (they upset Pittsburgh back in October).

Patriots coach Bill Belichick should consider putting that quote on his bulletin board. The Jags went into Gillette Stadium in August and knocked off the Super Bowl champs in a preseason game. Patriot Nation might think it was a fluke then, but considering the banner year the Jaguars had under coach Doug Marrone, it really wasn't. Not only that, but Jacksonville has some Kryptonite in the front office for New England to worry about. Former Jags/Giants coach Tom Coughlin is now in the front office with Jacksonville, and all he needs do is flash his 2 rings, and give coach Marrone a primer on how to beat the Pats when it counts.

Meanwhile, the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings moved a step closer to their first Super Bowl in 41 years, and becoming the first team to actually be a home team at the Big Game, by holding off New Orleans, 29-24. The Vikings, the NFC's #2 seed, needed a miracle on the last play of the game, and got it when Case Keenum hit Stefon Diggs for the game winner, a 61 yard TD catch & run that sent the fans into a frenzy. Minnesota now travels to Philadelphia next Sunday night for the right to go home and not only host the big dance, but play it, too. The Vikings avenged a loss in the NFC title game 8 years ago in beating the Saints, who put down Minnesota in 2009 en route to their only Super Bowl victory.

If anything, if the Pats lull people to sleep again, wake up call will be 6 pm (ET) for the NFC title game.