Friday, November 10, 2006

Odd Couple On DVD

I wanted to tell you that Time/Life has the Odd Couple coming out soon on DVD. You can get it if you click here. It has many extras like Tony Randall and Jack Klugman on the Mike Douglas Show, audio introductions by Garry Marshall, Tony and Jack in a scene from a play and a Gag Reel. This was a favorite in my household when I was a kid. However, the show was never a hit on TV back in the 70's. While most network shows these days would probably kill for the ratings they got back then, the ratings were not that good for the 70's when there were only 3 networks on the air. Why was it kept on? Rumor has it that a powerful network executive really liked the show. Part of the time it was up against the powerful show The Waltons. That was a huge hit at the time and since it was before VCR's you could not tape the Odd Couple while you watched the Waltons. I believe it was suring the last season they were againt The Waltons and not many people, myself included, ever got to see the last episode of the Odd Couple where Felix got re-married to Gloria and moved out of Oscar's apartment.
I really like the show but I did have one small problem with it. In the opening introduction the voice over artist (who was that anyway?) said that Felix moved in with his childhood friend Oscar Madison. Then in flashback episodes we see that they either met on Jury duty or in the Army. Not realizing how big syndication would be for network shows in reruns I guess they ignored or forgot about the continuity.
An interesting bit of trivia is that when the creator of the Odd Couple, Neil Simon, visited the set Mr. Marshall found out that Neil didn't like the TV show. It was mainly because he signed away the TV rights years earlier and was not seeing a dime from the show. Garry found out later from someone close to Mr. Simon that the comedy on the show was so well done that it won him over and he watched it every week.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

This Day In Music History: The Fifth Dimension and Wedding Bell Blues

This day in music history, November 8, 1969, the #1 hit in the country was Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension. The song was recorded as a joke as two members of the group, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., were engaged. The first line of the song starts off with “Bill, I love you so, I always will.” Producer Bones Howe had Marilyn sing lead on the song. The song was written by Laura Nyro. Bones Howe was a fan of Miss Nyro. She had preformed at the Monterey Pop Festival and had a top 30 hit with Wedding Bell Blues in 1967. Her performance at the Monterey Pop Festival was not well received and she moved back in with her parents in New York. Dave Geffen got in touch with her and offered to manger her. He got her a recording contract with Columbia Records and she recorded the album Eli and the 13th Confession. Bones heard the album after Geffen gave him a copy. He told Bones if he wanted to record any of the songs that he would have to wait to see which song was released as the single from Laura’s album. The song they picked as the single was Eli’s Coming and Bones had The Fifth Dimension record Stoned Soul Picnic and Sweet Blindness. Eli’s Coming was eventually a hit for the group Three Dog Night.

Wedding Bell Blues was the second #1 hit for the group. Their first was Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In. The follow up was Workin’ on a Groovy Thing. However, at that time radio stations were starting to play the album cut Wedding Bell Blues. Al Bennett was the head of the record company and refused to release it as a single for a long time. He didn’t think it would be a hit. When it hit #1 for three weeks he was given the Tin Ear award.

When the group first formed they called themselves the Versatiles. They were signed to Johnny Rivers Soul City Records. Rivers said the name was out of date. When they came up with the then more modern name of The Fifth Dimension everyone liked it. They had a few minor hits but the song that brought them fame was Up, Up and Away. Surprisingly, while this song was very popular and heard on radio and TV, it was never a #1 song on the Billboard charts. Up Up and Away won four Grammy awards in 1967. Those awards included Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Would You Ever Renounce Your Faith?

Arise, O Lord! Do not let mere mortals defy you! Let the nations be judged in your presence.
Make them tremble in fear, O Lord. Let them know they are merely human. Psalm 9:19-20 NLT

Forty matryrs

"History knows them as the 40 martyrs of Sebaste. They were soldiers in the famed Twelfth Legion of Rome's imperial army, around A.D. 320. One day the captain informed his troops that Emperor Licinius had sent down an edict commanding all soldiers to offer a sacrifice to his pagan god. Forty of the soldiers were followers of Christ, and they refused.

The emperor decided to make an example of the soldiers, so he marched them onto a frozen lake and stripped them of their clothes. "Renounce your God and you will be spared from death," he told them. Not one man came forward. Throughout the night the men stayed together, singing their song of victory: "Forty Martyrs for Christ."

When morning came, 39 of the men had frozen to death. The one survivor recanted his confession of faith. The officer in charge that night had been so moved by the scene that during his watch he'd come to Jesus, so he broke rank and walked out onto the ice. Stripping his clothes he openly confessed his faith in Christ. He refused to renounce his new faith. When the ordeal was over, the Roman soldiers carried 40 frozen men off of the ice.

In comparison, my life is like a long night on a soft mattress. I may one day be faced with serious consequences for my faith. You may, too. Will we have the strength of character and heart and faith to stand strong just the same?

Election Day is Here

Election Day is here. If you live in the Northern Kentucky area and still have not decided who you want to be your State Representative then take a look at the site for Randy Blankenship for Ky. State Rep. Randy is a good Christian family man. He is a local lawyer and city councilman who has helped our city to grow while keeping taxes down. Many programs that he helped to put together are award winning programs that are the best in the state. When he was younger Randy had an interest in the law and politics as well as in music and comedy. Those interest led him to become a trombone player and a ventriloquist. He preformed both at local chruches, schools and other community events. Sometimes on his own and somtimes with his Dad and Brother. His Dad is Gospel singer and his Brother is too as well as a concert trained pianist. As he grew up Randy decided to become a lawyer instead of an entertainer. However, he always considered spreading and educating people in God's word more important then anything else. As well as preforming his music and ventriloquist act in church he has taught Sunday School, coached his churches softball team and been chairman of the Deacons. So on this election day elect a trombone playing ventriloquist to office.

Monday, November 06, 2006

God Comforts Those Who Are Persecuted

Bearing up to persecution

But I know the Lord will surely help those they persecute; he will maintain the rights of the poor.
Psalm 140:12 NLT

Praising God in suffering

"Young Charles Simeon had reason to question Psalm 140:12. A recent graduate of Cambridge, he had been installed as rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity in that college town, much to the dismay of the liberal-thinking parishioners, who couldn't abide the evangelical preaching of this Bible-loving cleric. When the old-time members locked their pew doors to keep out other worshippers, Simeon put seats in the aisles. Then members came early and threw out the aisle seats.

Nicknamed Sims, Simeon was hooted at when he walked in the town. "I was the object of much contempt and derision," he admits. One day he took a walk, asking God to guide him to "some text which should sustain me." Opening his New Testament, he read about Simon of Cyrene, who bore the cross of Jesus. Simeon found this to be great encouragement indeed, partly because he thought they might have given Simon of Cyrene the nickname of Sims, too! "To have the cross laid upon me that I might bear it after Jesus. What a privilege! Now I would leap and sing joy, as one whom Jesus was honoring with a participation in his sufferings."

If you're facing times of persecution and feel that you're misunderstood, learn a lesson from Sims and start praising God.

The Last Days of Robby Reed

I was talking to Booksteve last night. I hadn't looked in much on Dial B For Blog lately. I knew they were doing the origins of the site. However, he told me that their last posting had killed off Robbie Reed and on November 7th they seem to be going to reveal who Robbie Reed is. No one knows who runs the site but now it looks as if we will. Click here to go to Dial B For Blog to see Robbie Reed unmasked. Hopefully the site will stay around for those of us who came in late and want to catch up.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

This Day In Music History: The Monkees and Last Train to Clarksville

On this day in music history we got an early lesson on how powerful TV could be. It was on this date November 5, 1966 that the Monkees had their first #1 hit in America when “Last Train to Clarksville” was at the top of the pop charts. So today is the 40th anniversary of The Monkees first #1 single in America. Would this song have been a big hit in America without being heard on TV every week? Maybe, but I doubt it would have reached #1. Their competation that week came from Herman's Hermits, The Four Tops, Johnny Rivers, and ? and the Mysterians. Most of that was heavy competation for a new band unless they had their onw TV show. The song was not a world wide #1 hit. In other countries where their show was not on the air it made the top 40 but only in America did it reach #1. Their next single would become their first world wide #1 hit. The songwriters were Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. They wrote the theme to their show and had written many hits earlier for other artist. Later they would have some hits on their own. Bobby Hart said he got the idea for the song when he heard the Beatles “Paperback Writer.” He thought the lyrics said something about a last train. When he realized the song had nothing to do with a train he thought they should write their own song about a train. The Clarksville town that he and Boyce wrote about was in Arizona. Clarksville became the fourth American city to be mentioned in a number one song title.

The song was really a protest song. You see the man was leaving his Army basic training camp in the morning. He was going off to Vietnam to fight in the war. He was calling his girlfriend to tell her that he bought her a ticket on the last train to Clarksville so he could see her one more time because “I don’t know if I’m ever comin’ home.”

As many know the group was upset that they were kept out of the recording process of the records when it came to laying down the instruments. When their next #1 would come in a few weeks the feelings of animosity would reach a breaking point. Unfortunately it would also hasten the beginning of the end that would eventually come. Still fans of the Monkess should celebrate as this is the 40th anniversary of their first #1 hit song.