Friday, December 01, 2006

My Two Cents: Deck the Halls

Well Christmas is almost here and Hollywood is giving us as many Christmas movies as we can handle. To the best of my memory I only recall one Christmas movie per year in the past. So for this year there seems to be four. This seems to me like a major break through. Those movies are the Santa Clause 3, Deck the Halls, Unaccompanied Minors and The Nativity. Today I am giving my two cents on Deck the Halls. I really liked this film. Now the plot was predictable but its heart was in the right place and it had one of my favorite types of comedy. Slapstick! I may be a bit over protective when it comes to what kids see on the screen but a couple parts of it I would have rated PG-18. For most the PG rating is appropriate. Matthew Broderick is Steve Finch and is the local eye doctor in town. He is so organized about Christmas and is love for the holiday is well known in town. So he is the citizen who always puts together the towns Christmas activities. Buddy Hall is played by Danny DeVito. The Hall family moves to town when they lease the house across the street from the Finch family. While both men share the star roles, it is Mr. DeVito who is the star in the old Hollywood style. That style is if an actor’s character is mentioned in the title then that actor is the star of the film. So Mr. DeVito is the star as Mr. Broderick’s character gets angry at them and wants to Deck the Halls.
Buddy Hall moves to town to take a new job as a car salesman. He is a great salesman but can’t keep a job as he is still searching for something to fulfill his life. He wants recognition that he doesn’t feel he is getting at his job or at home. When his two daughters find a site that shows what everybody’s home looks like from space but they can’t find their own home it adds to his feeling of being invisible. He decides to do something about it. He wants to light his home so it can be seen from space. He does it so well that it makes the news and the town starts thinking of him as Mr. Christmas instead of Steve Finch. Steve Finch’s reaction to this is beautiful and very funny. Buddy gets back at him by having the lights and loud music stay on till 4am. Now Steve can’t get any sleep. He strikes back by buying fireworks and shoots them at Buddy’s home. However, one gets away from Finch and goes down his chimney. He does more damage to his home then to Buddy’s. In the end both men see that their fighting is hurting both families and they try to be friends.
Does Buddy ever get his house seen from space? Buy a ticket and see the movie to find out. You won’t be disappointed. This is one movie that is worth the price of the ticket. You can’t say that about most movies these days.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This Day In Music History:The Beatles and Come Together/Something

On November 29th 1969 this day in music history the Beatles had their first two-sided number one single on the Billboard charts. Recently I found out that this had something to do with a policy change at Billboard. Previously I stated in an earlier posting that stations put a b side on the charts due to having a lot of request for that song. I now believe that was only for the local station charts. It seems that Billboard back when it started had standard operating procedure to list both sides on the charts in separate positions. It is that procedure Billboard was using when the Beatles single Come Together with Something as the flip side came out.
Both songs competed on the charts and seemed stalled the week of November 15th with Come Together at number two and Something at number 3. If this procedure continued neither one may have made it to the top of the charts. Then Billboard changed its method on how they put together their chart rankings and listed all two-sided hits in the same position. Under this method the Beatles had both songs were listed as number one the week of November 29th of 1969. This was only the second time both songs of a two-sided hit reached the top spot since Elvis did it in 1958 with Don’t and I Beg of You.
In England Come Together/Something only reached number 4. It was the Beatles lowest ranking in their home country since Love Me Do only went to number 17. Come Together/Something was the Beatles 18th number one record. It broke the record that Elvis set when he reached his 17th number one record earlier that month with Suspicious Minds.

Catching up with Jack

Well last spring I finally got hooked on 24. So much so that I had to find out what happened the previous 4 years. Thanks to a friend at work and to the public library I have been able to catch up on them with DVD's and video tapes. Who knew Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer was North Americas answer to James Bond? The only probelm I have with the show is that ion the last episodes of each season it ends in cliff hangers that get resolved off screen. For example season two had the terror threat resolved but a new one came up when the President shook hands with a terriost who infected him with a deadly virus. At the beginning of season 3 that has already been taken care of and the President is running for re-election when a drug lord threatens to release a virus in L.A. unless his brother is released from prison. How did they take care of the terriost who infected the President? Why start a new story when you really had not finished the first one? Other then that the series is very well done. I can't wait till season 6.

This Day In Music History: Tennessee Ernie Ford and Sixteen Tons

Ok this should have been put up earlier. I got my dates mixed up and thought that this song was #1 starting on November 29th of 1955. However, it started its run on November 26th of 1955. It was still the #1 song on this date and stayed there for an incredible 7 weeks. It is of course Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Mr. Ford had a popular television show in the 50’s and I am sure that helped sales. The previous sales record was held by Mitch Miller and the Yellow Rose of Texas. Sixteen Tons beat that record when it sold more then a million copies in 3 weeks and reached the top of the Billboard charts.
Mr. Ford was a country singer with a booming baritone voice. However, when he was acting on shows like I Love Lucy or any other shows of the day he would talk in a high pitched voice with a southern twang and called everybody cousin. This must have endeared him to his audience but there was a startling change when he started to sing. Out came this deep and powerful voice that could give Bing Crosby, Dean Martin other male singers of the 50’s a run for their money. You would see the same thing happen in the 1960’s with Jim Nabors.
Sixteen Tons was written by Merle Travis in 1947. He was recording his album Folk Songs of the Hills when his label asked him to include some songs about miners. When he could not find any he wrote some of his own. Sixteen Tons was one of those songs. Mr. Travis’ Dad worked as a coal miner in Kentucky. Everyday he would come home and say “another day older and deeper in debt.” He included that phrase in the chorus of the song.
Mr. Ford was so busy with his new TV show that he didn’t record new material for his record label. When they told him he had to record something for them to release he picked two songs that he sang on his show and went into the studio to record them. The songs he picked were “You Don’t Have To Be a Baby to Cry” and of course “Sixteen Tons.”
Ford got his start in show business as a country music DJ. He worked at KXLA in Pasadena and just for fun, when Ford had the time, he would rush over to his friend Cliffie Stone’s show. They would tell jokes and Ford would sing a hymn and then leave. He said “It was all for fun and didn’t pay a thing.” At least it didn’t when he started doing it. He became so popular on the show that they asked him to become a regular on their Saturday night show.
One morning while driving to work the A&R man for Capitol Records heard Ford singing along with a record on the air. Once he got to his office at Capitol he called up the station and asked to see Ernie right away. Later Tennessee Ernie Ford was signed to Capitol Records and began recording a string of hits for the label.
His biggest success in music was Sixteen Tons. He had continued success in television well into the 1960’s. Most of it in the 60’s was as a guest star on other peoples programs. He was the star of his own program in prime time for NBC from 1956 to 1961. In a strange twist of irony the program was called The Ford Show but it was not named for Tennessee Ernie Ford. It was named after the programs sponsor, Ford automobiles.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I think I can now add photos

See that smile on my face. Well it is on my face in that photo because I was graduating from high school. If you could see me now I would have a smile bigger then that because I think I have figured out how to add photos to my postings. I have already added two new photos to previous post and will try to do that for others. So look to other postings you have read before to see the pretty pictures. You may even find something that you missed the first time.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rest in Peace Dave Cockrum

I just heard the sad news of the passing of artist Dave Cockrum. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Cockrum at my local comic book shop. I believe it was in the mid to late 90's. I had a plesant conversation with him as did many people who were there at the time. I forget what we talked about but I was left with a good feeling and hoped to see him at the store again someday. That was the only time he would be there and only time I would ever see him. It was the first time I bought original art. He sold me and signed a page of art that he did for a promo for the X-Men series on the Fox Network. Unfortunately I don't have the art anymore. Last I heard is that it was hanging in a comic book shop in Lexington, Kentucky. It was a thrill to meet such a famous and well respected artist like Mr. Cockrum. It was a great feeling to meet one of the creators of the New X-Men as well as the artist for the Legion of Super-Heroes. I was never a big fan of either but I loved seeing his art on them. From time to time I would buy the X-Men and I would sometimes read Legion when I would be at my cousin Randy's house. They were one of his favorites so they would always be around somewhere. Dave Cockrum you will be missed.

Would you believe Get Smart on DVD?

It's the old releasing the entire box set first trick. Most of the time they release the DVD's of tv shows season by season and then give you the entire series run in a boxed set. However, Time Life (logo):  Not Sold in Stores is releasing the boxed set first and then releasing the seperate seasons. The box set is coming out on November 15, 2006 for $199.96. The seperate seasons are being released next year at $40 each. Just an FYI for Get Smart fans. Posted by Picasa