Monday, November 28, 2016

EDITORIAL ABOUT WHY SO MANY CELEBRITY DEATHS IN 2016

Much has been said by so many people about why so many famous people have passed away in 2016; seemingly much more than in any other year in our history. This may or may not be true, but I have some theories.

Of course, I am the purveyor of bad news and virtually every day this year, I have posted the death of someone or other, but why? Why this year? People die all the time. Granted there are more people alive on this planet now than at any other time in this planet's history, so the odds are that much greater that more people will also die each year, simply due to that fact.

A MAJOR factor is that the 1960s as a decade is now 50 years old. I, myself will be reaching that milestone on December 15th. About a month ago, I posted that NBC was the first television network to broadcast a full-color primetime programming line-up and that fact alone was a game changer, although no one really knew it at the time.

Let's go back to the 1960s. My grandfather turned 50 in 1964. When he turned 50, there was probably some nostalgia for things that happened in the 1910's, and people that were prominent back then were dying off in the 1960s and 70s. People like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin and others, but the number of deaths of famous people were fewer and farther between compared to now since the amount of famous people who retained their fame for over 50 years was far fewer than now, so if someone who was big in the 1910s, they weren't necessarily still big in the 1960s.

Why? The difference is that in the 1960s, precious little material from the 1910s was still being shown as it was black and white and SILENT. Also, much material was not even archived as Vaudeville was still all the rage, so all of those performers and performances who never appeared on film was lost except to the memories of those who lived back then.

Now, because of color and the omnipresence of television, color TV shows and series (especially the more popular ones) have been aired endlessly since their debuts. Prior to the color transition, there were black and white series, but the ones that kept getting reran were ones that were filmed instead of done live and filmed as kinescopes. So, shows like "I Love Lucy" and the 39 episodes of "The Honeymooners" were and still are reran endlessly, while the kinescopes fell by the wayside.

Then, in recent times, with the advent of digital technology, the color masters (and even the black and white ones) have been digitally remastered and cleaned up so that they look like they were shot today. Coupled with that, the shows have aired in syndication, have been issued on tape and DVD, have been resurrected for oldies TV stations like MeTV and are now streaming.

Because of this, the aging stars who were in their 20s and 30s in the 1960s are now in their 70s and 80s, but because they appear on TV every day in their youth, they don't seem to have aged and are always on our TVs. So when they die, it's more of a hard hit because we all grew up with these people and they still look so young and vibrant.

Granted, some of the deaths this year have been a true shock like David Bowie, Prince and Florence Henderson who were still being very active and making regular appearances in concert and on TV.
So, will this stop now that 2016 is over? I'm afraid not. 2017 will probably continue to be the demise of more of our favorite celebrities from the 1960s and 1970s and 1980s and the remainder of those from earlier times, and it will only get worse as these people will continue to be shown in our homes on a regular basis making them also seem like they are eternally young. Fortunately, we have the memories and the footage so they will continue to live on.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder, R.I.P.

Another major 2016 blow today. Gene Wilder has passed away. I met the man quite a few years ago...in 2005 to be exact. He was a sweetheart. Since "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is my favorite movie of all time, and "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" are up there, this is a great loss.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jack Davis: 1924-2016

So I guess I will write a few words about Jack Davis since I've posted so many images on Facebook.


















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My first exposure to Jack Davis was in "Sesame Street" magazine back in 1970 where he illustrated the occasional cartoon. I then saw Davis' work on Rankin-Bass' "Jackson 5" TV show in 1971. Moving on to 1974 where I first started reading "Mad" and in my house were copies of "Time" and "TV Guide" which also featured Davis covers.
There was a magazine in 1983 called "Fanfare" that covered Jack Davis' LP covers and I also discovered he did a lot of movie posters and other EC Comics covers and other humor magazine covers and just a lot of artwork in general.

He is one of my favorite artists of all time and although the rumors of his death in 2013 were false, it was known that he may not be long for this world when he announced his retirement at age 90 in 2014.
I never met Davis in person, but did speak to him on the phone once for my "Cracked" book. He was very nice to me, despite the fact that he admitted not having a good time at "Cracked".

Friday, June 03, 2016

Good Times with The Monkees

Since The Monkees have a brand new album out, I might as well share this again (from 2013). In 2012-2013, I had the pleasure of meeting and seeing all four of the former Monkees (yes, Davy, too, two weeks before he died in 2012), and see three of them perform together (Micky, Peter and Mike) and all four separately (though Davy's wasn't a concert, but he did pull out a guitar and sing at one point at the autograph show I was attending). I also saw Micky some time earlier in 1993 when he wrote a book and saw the Davy/Micky/Peter version of The Monkees twice; once in 1987 and once in 1997 (I think). In any case, I've seen them a lot and am a fan.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My First "Star Wars" Experience

I saw it with my dad in Mountain View, California, in June 1977. There were lines by then and as a 10-year-old, I found that quite odd. We never had to stand in line for a movie before. I wasn't the pop culture maven as I am now, so I had no knowledge of the film beforehand. My dad read about it in "Time Magazine" and asked me if I wanted to see it. I said yes because I always liked to go to the movies. My older sister said no because she had no interest. My brother was too young and my mom stayed at home with him. I was blown away by it and when we exited, my dad asked me, "So, what did you think of Luke Skywalker?" and I said, "Who?" I didn't catch names. I was just so blown away by everything else I saw that the character names were not important to me. I learned them later.

Monday, January 04, 2016

My TV Show DVD Update II



In 2007 and 2010, I made a list of TV shows I would like to see on DVD. Now it's 2016, let's see the progress. Below is the original list with an asterisk (*) by those shows that have made it to DVD since I originally posted this:

In no particular order:

Don Adams' Screen Test
Animals Animals Animals
Make a Wish
Norm*
The Alvin Show*(three episodes only)
Fernwood 2Night/America 2Night
The Great American Dream Machine*
When Things Were Rotten*
The Bob Newhart Show (1961 version)
Vision On
The Brady Brides
The Bradys
The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine
The Goodies* (import only)
CPO Sharkey*
Silver Spoons* (1st season only)
A Few Minutes With Stan Hooper (I have a bootleg of this now)
Curiosity Shop
Delta House
The Paul Hogan Show
The Beagles
Fridays* (some episodes)
Herman's Head
International Festival of Animation
It's About Time
Michael Nesmith in Television Parts
Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures*
The New Show
Operation Petticoat
Quark*
Square Pegs*
It's Garry Shandling's Show*
The Great American Dream Machine*
The Mouse Factory
Make a Wish
Marshal Efron's Illustrated, Simplified and Painless Sunday School
Marlo and the Magic Movie Machine

And...
Mother's Little Network*
Sgt. Swell (seen now on YouTube)

Batman with Adam West is also out now. I'd still like to see Julia with Diahann Carroll and a few other sitcoms like The Ropers.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chris Barat 1962-2015


I already posted this on Facebook, but this is for my blog, which I rarely update these days.

One of my friends for the past 25 years, Chris Barat, passed away yesterday. He was 52. Apparently, God meant to take him home.

Chris wrote a Richie Rich column for my own "The Harveyville Fun Times!" publication from issue #10 through the end of the run to #75, a period of 18 years! He said at one time it was the longest tenure he ever devoted to any one thing. I'm flattered.

Chris actually got his NAME printed in a Harvey Comic. Due his correspondence with Ernie Colon ...and Lennie Herman at the time, he was able to get his name mentioned on a bank window name plate in a story in "Richie Rich" #208, November 1981!

The last time I saw Chris was in 2009 when I flew to New York for the Harvey Art Show and he and his wife Nicky and friend Joe Torcivia made the effort to show up to the show opening, for which I am very grateful. It is the way I would like to remember Chris as strong and healthy.

My other close Harvey friend from the "THFT!" days (besides Joe) was Quinton Clem, and like Chris, I was aware that he was ill, but not to what extent. Quinton got cancer and died in 2012. I've recently completed the manuscript for "The Harvey Comics Companion" for TwoMorrows and I dedicated the book to Quinton. I will revise that to also dedicate it to Chris. Both Chris and Quinton were two people more than anyone else I wanted to see the completed book. Now neither of them can.

I did ask Chris a few questions for the book and if he wanted to contribute anything in the early days of writing it in early 2014, but he said that I could handle it, but he said to feel free to contact him if I got stumped on anything. It was probably the last time I communicated with Chris.

I have attached a photo that I plan to use in the book from the Harvey Art Show featuring a Q&A panel featuring Chris and myself (as well as the back of Joe's head!). From left to right are Paul Maringelli, Chris, me, Jim Salicrup, Rick Parker and Angelo De Cesare. Joe is sitting in the far left seat closest to the camera in the purple sweater.

I love and miss you Chris. You were a good soul.