Saturday, September 09, 2006

Are You Following Jesus' Final Instructions?

How well are you doing at following Jesus' final instructions?

Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.

Mark 16:15 NLT

"'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Matthew 22:37-38 NLT

The real work

On October 20, 1968, a dramatic moment took place at the Mexico City Olympics. A few thousand spectators remained in the almost-dark Olympic Stadium awaiting one last runner.

Finally the wail of police sirens ripped the air. As all eyes turned to the gate, a lone runner wearing the colors of Tanzania staggered into the stadium. John Stephen Akhwari was the last contestant to finish the 26-mile contest. He had injured his leg in a fall and entered the track bloodied and crudely bandaged. While he hobbled the final, lonely lap, spectators rose and applauded him as if he had won.

After the race, someone asked him why he had refused to quit. "My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race," he replied simply. "They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it."

To help us achieve a strong finish in our race of faith, Jesus Christ promised that "Whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man will also confess before the angels of God."

You too can finish the race well by eagerly confessing Christ before others.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy 40th Anniversary Star Trek!

In the 1960’s there was a former policeman, Gene Roddenberry,who was also a part time writer. He wrote many short stories for science fiction magazines and sold some scripts to some television shows. Roddenberry said that his experience as a policeman helped his writing as he got to see first hand the human emotions during times of crisis. In 1963 he produced a show called The Lieutenant. It starred Gary Lockwood as Marine Lieutenant Bill Rice and Robert Vaughn as his superior officer Captain Ray Rambridge. The Captain gave the Lieutenant a hard time. Not because he didn’t like him but he thought he would be a good officer and tried to show him how to be a good officer. The show was on NBC from September of 1963 to September of 1964. Roddenberry had no new show ready but started thinking of his first love, science fiction. Since science fiction is mostly futuristic the plots can be more flexible and he could showcase the more touchy subjects in modern society with little worry if he would anger anyone. So in 1964 he developed the idea and wrote a script for what would become Star Trek. Science fiction was a hard sell to the networks. Especially one that the creator wanted to appeal to adults. In the 1950’s and early 1960’s science fiction was low budget shows that was aimed at children. Every company and network he took the idea to turned him down. He heard that CBS was having producers come in and pitch their ideas for new shows and went to them. He was there quite along time telling them about the science fiction show he wanted to produce and how he had ideas to cut the cost of what would be an expensive show to make at that time. When he was done they said thanks but we already have a science fiction show in mind that we are going to produce. In 1965 he saw CBS use many of his ideas on that show. It was called Lost In Space. Roddenberry still kept trying. Then Desilu studios showed interest and produced the pilot. The pilot was screened for NBC executives and was almost passed over but one executive said the episode actually made him feel like he was on a spaceship. A second pilot was ordered. However, a lot of time had lapsed between the two pilots. As a result the first star of the pilot was unavailable as were some of the other actors. I have read that even if Jeff Hunter, Capt. Christopher Pike in the first pilot, was available they would still have recast his role. The producers liked Mr. Hunter. His wife was his manager and she didn’t get along with the producers so they didn’t want her around. So Mr. Hunter was out and Mr. Shatner was in. The first show aired on September 8th 1966 on NBC. The producers tired hard to get the ratings and to show that it was a program that adults could watch. However, when reporters were on the set to see what made this a series for adults they arrived on the day when the scene that was being shot was one of Dr. McCoy reviving Mr. Spock who described how he was attacked by "the monster." It didn’t come off sounding like a show that many adults would want to watch or let their children watch. Ratings were poor and NBC was losing faith in Roddenberry and company. The show was only saved from cancellation by write in campaigns from die hard fans. This didn’t mean that the network gave them the best facilities to work in. The worse the ratings got the more the floor squeaked and the pipes dripped. The sound man had his work cut out for him in covering up those sounds on what was suppose to be a top of the line ship of the future. While the show was on the air Mr. Roddenberry tried for a spin off that would have been more grounded on earth. It was to star Gary Lockwood from The Lieutenant as Gary Six and Terri Garr as his assistant. The pilot was filmed as an episode of Star Trek but the network was not interested in a spin off from what they saw as a failed series.
On September 6th, 1969 their five year mission came to an early end when another write in campaign failed to save the show and NBC canceled the series. This should have been the end but it wasn’t. In his book Star Trek Movie Memories William Shatner recalled in July of 1968 being asked to appear at a celebration for the scientist and astronauts involved with Apollo 11. He said he was greeted with much more attention then he deserved as he was a pretend hero and Neil Armstrong and the others were real heroes. Other members of the cast echoed this when they have been told that they were role models for many who later went to work for NASA as astronauts and scientist. One of the space shuttles was even named the Enterprise after the ship on Star Trek. When Mr. Shatner left he was to begin filming the third season of Star Trek and felt the show would be around for a long time. Since that was Star Trek’s final season it would be years before Mr. Shatner’s feeling would prove to be true.
During the 1970’s Mr. Roddenberry tired to get other science fiction series like Planet Earth, Genesis II or Strange New World going but had no luck. Paramount bought out Desilu studios and owned the rights to shows like Star Trek and Mission Impossible. Paramount wanted to start a new TV network and asked Roddenberry to produce a new 2 hour pilot film for a Star Trek series. The pilot was given a lukewarm response and the idea for a new network was forgotten. However, since the film was already made so it was released as a feature film to get some of the money back. Because of syndication the fans of Star Trek had grown and were eagerly waiting on a movie based on the series. The film made a small profit. I felt it was ironic that this film was given a G rating and the Disney produced science fiction film, The Black Hole, was released the same day with a PG rating. During the filming of the movie there was tension between Paramount and Roddenberry so they got a new producer for the 2nd film when they hired Harve Bennett. The result is one of the most successful film series in the history of film and many spin off series. Mr. Roddenberry had finally gotten the spin-off from the show that he created with Star Trek: the Next Generation. However, it was in name only. He lent his name to the series but had very little to do with the production of the shows.
After Mr. Roddenberry died his widow, Majel Barrett, kept producing shows based on scripts that he had written but never produced. It resulted in long running syndicated shows like Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda. After he passed away Mr. Roddenberry’s ashes were sent into space. Recently Paramount has been talking about the 11th film in the Star Trek series. Not too bad for a failed show. So Happy 40th Anniversary to a show that doesn’t know when to quit. Posted by Picasa

Happy 40th Anniversary That Girl!

As TV Land has reminded us another show began a long run on September 8th 1966as well. It was That Girl starring Danny Thomas’ daughter Marlo Thomas. Many people have said that the Mary Tyler Moore Show was the first to show what life was like for the single woman in the city. It was really That Girl that showed that part of life first from September 8th 1966 to September 10, 1971. That Girl was the first of the new wave of shows that showcased an independant woman as the main character. That wave included MTM, The Doris Day Show and Rhoda. Miss Thomas played Ann Marie who moved from a small town to New York City to become an actress. She met Donald Hollinger played by Ted Bessell who became her boyfriend. Lew Parker played Lou Marie Ann’s father. Other comedy greats and future greats showed up from time to time. Like George Carlin, Ronnie Schell, Bernie Kopell, Ruth Buzzi and Dabney Coleman. Many of Ann’s big breaks came in the form of TV commercials, Soap Operas or as an understudy for a Broadway show. In one I remember her being upset when she was suppose to play a woman who was just killed and her eyes were open as the camera came in for a close up. The show was live and it could not be edited out. I couldn’t understand why she was upset. I had just learned in school that when a person died the muscles contracted and the eyelids sometimes would open. I thought she was playing the part accurately. Another stand out episode was when she was an understudy in a play that starred Ethel Merman. It was funny to see what she went through to meet Miss. Merman and introduce her to her friends. Now some people who have not seen the show may wonder where they got the title of the show. Well imagine a producer looking to cast a role. He says he is not sure what he wants but will know it when he sees it. Suddenly he sees Ann Marie and knows she is what he is looking for and says “I want That Girl!” Cue the theme music.
Ann and Donald dated the entire run of the show and did get engaged. However, they never got married. I guess they thought it would end any hope for syndication success. Syndication was starting to become a big player in contracts with actors and producers of TV series. This was a fun series to watch for all ages. You can get the first season on DVD at Amazon or catch it in syndication on a local station.
Miss. Thomas did show up on other TV shows from time to time but never had her own series again. She became a spokesperson for her fathers charity and later married Phil Donahue. Mr. Bessell had been on Gomer Pyle USMC as Gomer's friend Frankie Lombardi before he was cast on That Girl. In 1972 he got his own series called Me And The Chimp. He played Mike Reynolds. He was married with two kids and his kids found a chimp named Buttons in the park. His kids kept it as a pet. Mike never got along with Buttons and the show centered on how Buttons got the Reynolds family into trouble. It was Mike's duty to get them out of trouble. The show was never a big hit and only ran from January 13, 1972 to May 18, 1972. Later, he had a summer series of his own called Good Time Harry. He played sportswriter Harry Jenkins. Harry was also a playboy and his adventures in that area always got in the way of his assignments for the paper. He kept getting fired but he was such a good sportswriter that they always kept hiring him back. The show had a steller cast that included Eugene Roche, Marcia Strassman and Barry Gordon. It was a very funny show that I had hoped would graduate to become a regular series. Unfortunately it did not. The show only ran from July 19, 1980 to September 13, 1980.
Mr. Bessell became a respected TV director. They were in the planning stages of doing a TV reunion movie for That Girl with him as the director when he passed away. Others would have recast his part and gotten a new director but they decided not to do the movie. It was better to leave how good the show and Mr. Bessell was to the memories of fans of the show. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Official Website of Pierce Brosnan

Fans of Remington Steele, James Bond and/or Pierce Brosnan here is where you can go to visit his official site on the internet.
I just thought you would like to know. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

This Day In Music History: Mitch Miller and The Yellow Rose of Texas

On this date in music history the Yellow Rose of Texas by Mitch Miller was the #1 song in the country on the Billboard charts. It was the 2nd #1 song in the history of the rock era. Mitch Miller was a critic of rock music but was a major influence of rock in his position as one of the heads of Columbia records. He was thrust into the limelight when his song, a new version of an old Civil War tune, went to #1. When Miller produced the record he liked it so much he ordered 100,000 to be pressed. One of his executives disagreed with the order and Mitch said he would buy back any unsold copies. He didn’t have to buy any of them back. The song was #1 for 6 weeks. His next project was an album called Sing Along With Mitch and was one of the first albums that included the lyrics so the listener could sing with the record. It was a huge hit. NBC gave him a special on TV. It did so well that they gave him his own show, Sing Along With Mitch, which ran from 1961 to 1966. Posted by Picasa