Saturday, January 06, 2007

God is Mercuful Have you received God's Mercy?

Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives my sins> and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.
Psalm 103:1-4 NLT
Having chosen [his people], he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.
Romans 8:30 NLT
The essential act of mercy was to pardon; and pardon in its very essence involves the recognition of guilt and ill-desert in the recipient. If crime is only a disease which needs cure, not sin which deserves punishment, it cannot be pardoned. How can you pardon a man for having a gumboil or a club foot? But the Humanitarian theory wants simply to abolish Justice and substitute Mercy for it. This means that you start being "kind" to people before you have considered their rights, and then force upon them supposed kindnesses which no one but you will recognize as kindnesses and which the recipient will feel as abominable cruelties. You have overshot the mark. Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful. That is the important paradox. As there are plants which will flourish only in mountain soil, so it appears that Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice: transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed, all the more dangerous because it is still called by the same name as the mountain variety.
C. S. LEWIS in God in the Dock

Tabitha on DVD

Recently as a Christmas gift my wife got me the DVD series Tabitha. It was a spin off of the old Bewitched series in the 60’s. Tabitha and her brother Adam were now in their 20’s and working at a local TV station. It was full of lighthearted fun that it parent series had. It stared Lisa Hartman as Tabitha and Robert Urich as her co-worker Paul. While both became famous for their dramatic acting they proved in this series that they could handle comedy. Especially, Mr. Urich as he played the Ted Baxter type role that Ted Knight made famous earlier on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. However there were several things wrong with it that doomed it to be done in less then 13 weeks. First is for fans of Bewitched they got the continuity wrong. Tabitha and Adam would have been children in the 1970’s. So it really should have been a school comedy more like Sabrina was years later. Secondly, Adam in the first episode referred to Tabitha as his kid sister. That was wrong as Tabitha was born first. Her character was added to the Bewitched series in 1966 and Adam was born in 1971. So Adam was her kid brother. The only way to have done this series the way they did it was to ignore continuity and that is what the producers did. Either that or they never were fans of Bewitched to begin with. The third thing wrong is that the show was mediocre comedy. When watching the DVD set I had to admit I had seen better sit-coms. However, I also had to admit that I had seen worse and most of that was recently. Being mediocre in television is worse then being bad because rotten TV grabs the audience attention and if they comeback to watch each week then the show will stay on and it has a chance to get better. If you are mediocre then hardly anyone watches and you get canceled. Another thing that killed the show was its time slot. It was on Saturday nights at 8 pm. It replaced the show Fish that stared Abe Vigoda. The main competition was on CBS. It was the Bob Newhart Show in its last year. Perhaps in time Tabitha could have grown into a really good comedy. However, the audience didn't want to wait for that when it already had a seasoned show already in that slot for them to watch. Still I liked the show and I am glad to see it again. It was gone so fast that I missed half of the series and now I can catch up. It was lighthearted innocent fun and we need to see that now more then ever.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Breast Cancer Benefit at Comic Book World

Just wanted to tell you of what my local comic book store did this past New Years Day. They held an auction of rare and signed comic books and posters to benefit the I Have Wings Breast Cancer Foundation. You can click on the article to read more about it and you can click on the link to Comic Book World at the right to go to their site and e-mail them with any questions you have about getting in touch with the Foundation. Sorry for the askew scan. I tried to fix it but this was the best I could do. You can click on the title above or on the link on the right to go to Comic Book World's website.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

This Day In Music History: Bobby Vinton and There! I've Said It Again

On this date in music history, January 4, 1964, a line was about to be crossed that signified that music was changing. On this date Bobby Vinton had the #1 hit with There! I’ve Said It Again. The era of the safe white bread rock and roll star and the crooners was about to come to an end and Mr. Vinton is were the dividing line starts. With Bill Haley and the Comets and Elvis the rock era started and it took on a rebellious sound. By 1960 rock and roll in America was starting to sound safe and content with singers like Bobby Vinton, Pat Boone, Bobby Vee and even Elvis was not sounding so rebellious anymore.
There! I’ve Said It Again was #1 for the first four weeks of 1964 and was the third #1 single for Bobby Vinton. He said the song was brought to his attention in an odd way. He was performing in Cincinnati, Ohio when he saw a long haired, bearded DJ who he found intimidating. He said as he went on stage the man was screaming at him “Come here!” He asked him what he wanted. The DJ told him if he recorded There! I’ve Said It Again he would have a #1 hit. He went on and preformed his act but wondered why that man was so concerned about him and why he thought he should record that song.
When he did record it he said it only took him 5 minutes. They had booked studio time till 10 pm. The session started at 7:10 pm and they were done by 7:15 pm. Mr. Vinton said “I could sing this all night, but it’s not going to get any better. It’s a hit the way it is, goodnight everybody.”
The song dominated the charts for the first month of 1964. In February the USA would start getting even more hits from overseas. Singers like Mr. Vinton would still have hits but they would be few and far between as time went on. Music would never be the same again.
You can click on the title above to be taken to a site where you can get the photo. It says it is signed by Mr. Vinton.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hawaii Five-0 and McHale's Navy

Just a heads up that both Hawaii Five-0 and McHale's Navy season one are coming out in March of this year. You can pre-order them at Amazon right now. No cover art on McHale's Navy yet but one of the extras is to be a reunion of the surviving cast memebers Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Carl Ballantine, Edson Stroll and Bob Hastings from when they held a party announcing the DVD release date. Click here to buy Hawaii Five-O season one from Also, you can click here to buy McHale's Navy Season One on DVD from Amazon.

Legend of Rocky and Sylvester Stallone

Hollywood Today is reporting that the legend of how Sylvester Stallone only sold the rights for the first Rocky movie that he wrote to United Artist is not true. The legend is that he sold the rightst to them but only if he could star in the movie. Now some people are stepping forward to say that it was all made up by the executives of UA to help promote the film and that they thought they actually had hired Perry King to star in the film. I am not sure I believe this new version. Why wait 30 years to tell the truth? You can read the Hollywood Today article if you click on the title above or you can click here.

This Day In Music History: the Bay City Rollers and Saturday Night

On this day in music history, January 3, 1976, the Bay City Rollers had the #1 song in the USA with Saturday Night. They had been making hits overseas for years and were huge in England. The Bay City Rollers were on Bell records. When Clive Davis took over he changed the name to Arista and cut some of the lesser known artist but kept the Bay City Rollers. He tried to get them hits in America by releasing the songs that had been hits in England but none of them made a dent in the charts. Not wanting to give up Clive decided to release one of their album tracks that he thought would be a hit in the US. That song was Saturday Night. He gave the song a big promotional push and the group was booked on many TV shows. The first of which was Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. After this the group had fans in the US and was constantly in the top 10 with songs like Money Honey and You Make Me Believe In Magic. They also made appearances on American Bandstand and the Midnight Special. Perhaps Mr. Davis should have made sure that their previous releases were promoted better. Until Saturday Night I had never heard of the Bay City Rollers. They were so big in England earlier and had become so big in America that by the end of 1976 critics said they could be the new Beatles. That turned out to be premature. When the Beatles broke up in 1970 everyone waited with baited breath to see when the next super group would arrive. While many music stars have risen to the top none of them have captured the listening public’s attention like the Beatles. The Bay City Rollers were no exception. By the end of 1977 it was all over. The mop top, plaid clad young men’s fifteen minutes of fame was over.
The Rollers had been playing for years in there hometown of Edinburgh Scotland. An executive for Bell records had missed his flight to London, England and went to nightclub to pass the time. The Rollers were playing there and he signed them to a deal immediately. While the group is from Edinburgh Scotland, they were named after a town in Michigan. How did that happen? When it came time to name the group they just stuck a pin into a map and it stuck in Bay City Michigan. They thought the name Bay City Rollers had a good sound to it so that is what they named the group. I think they were right. After all I’m not sure I would want to hear a group called the Edinburgh Rollers.
If you want a copy of the photo above you can click on the title and it will take you to the auctions site for the photo.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stan Lee's Soapbox

Back in the 1970's Marvel comics and their distributors were accused of buying up issues of certain comic books to create a demand for them and therefore increase the price of them in the collector market. Here is one of Stan's soapboxes where he addressed the issue. The complaint as he addressed it is that they are selling out too fast. One of his suggestions is to subscribe but that might have been hard as the first issue of Howard the Duck is the one that brought the issue to light. Back then it was hard to subscribe to a book that hadn't been published yet. This soapbox came out from Black Goliath #5 cover dated November 1976. Click on the picture of the soapbox to enlarge and read.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Anniversary Fred Hembeck

Just a quick note to say Happy Anniversary to friend, Marvel Universe destroyer, cartoonist, talk show host, blogger and all around good guy Fred Hembeck. He is celebrated four years of blogging last night. Thanks for keeping us entertained all of these years on your site and in your comic books. His site is called Fred Sez and you can go there if you click here or click on the title above. Looks like Stan Lee isn't the only one we can call ole' smiley. Sorry for the poor scan.

This Day in Music History: Simon and Garfunkel and The Sounds of Silence

On this day in music history, January 1, 1966, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel got a late Christmas gift when their song The Sounds of Silence went to #1 on the Billboard chart.
You see Paul Simon wrote the song in 1963. It was two years later that they recorded it for their first album on Columbia.
The two men have been lifelong friends since they met in the sixth grade. Thankfully they are still friends today. They began performing together and tried together and sometimes separately to get their musical careers going. Sometimes they tried under different names when they recorded their music. Their most famous one was Tom and Jerry. It was under that name they nearly got started when their song Hey Schoolgirl peaked at #49 on the Billboard charts. They even got to appear on American Bandstand. Their next two singles flopped and they both went to college.
Paul continued writing songs and with Art he preformed in coffee houses. He took his songs to producer Tom Wilson at Columbia records. He liked what he heard and signed them to the label. They recorded some of their songs and other folk tunes with just vocals and an acoustic guitar. This became their Wednesday Morning, 3a.m. album. It was not well received. Thinking that their best chance at musical stardom was a flop Art went back to graduate school and Paul went home to England where he had moved the year before.
However, a radio station in Boston had put The Sounds of Silence into their rotation. It was such a big hit there that Columbia records released it as a single with a new backing rhythm track. At that time Paul was working in London, England as a record producer. He was producing an album when he got a call from America that he and Art had the #1 single in the USA. The careers of Simon and Garfunkel where now off and running.
The song was #1 for two weeks but not in a row. They yielded the top spot to the Beatles and their song We Can Work It Out. But they retuned for an additional week to the #1 position.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

I had to add this today as I thought this was a funny photo from an old calander and I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

I am sorry

I must say I am sorry to all music fans who read this site. Earlier I stated that on December 29 1983 the #1 song on the Billboard charts was Islands In the Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. I have had to remove that from the site for now as I was wrong. It was #1 on October 29,1983. The #1 song on December 29,1983 Say, Say, Say but Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Their first day at that point was on December 10,1983 and they were there for 6 weeks. Perhaps I will write more about that on December 10, 2007 if I remember. Till then you can scroll down or click here to see what song was #1 on the Billboard chats on December 29, 1973.

Melanie Safka is Still Making Music

A reader wrote in to tell me that Melanie Safka, who had hits with Brand New Key and Lay Down (Candles in the Rain), is still recording and touring. She has her own website. You can go there if you click here or click on the title above. According to the site she has just completed a tour of Korea. You can also buy her new CD's like the one above which is her Christmas CD. The Christmas CD is out of stock right now but it is still available for download.

This Day in Music History: The Monkees and I'm a Believer

On this day in music history, December 31 1966, two worldwide recording stars were made when I’m a Believer by the Monkees went #1 not only on the Billboard charts in America but also was #1 in many countries overseas. The previous song, Last Train to Clarksville, only went to the top of the charts in the USA a few weeks earlier. With the help of their TV show being shown overseas, as it had not shown in other countries yet when Last Train to Clarksville was released, the Monkees became worldwide rock and roll stars. I’m a Believer was #1 in the USA for 7 weeks.
Who was the other star that got a boost from this song? It was of course the writer Neil Diamond.
Their first single and album sold well but their musical supervisor, Don Kirshner, didn’t think they had reached their full potential. He asked his friend and producer Jeff Berry to find a song that would sell millions. Mr. Berry had recently discovered Mr. Diamond when he saw him singing in a Greenwich Village coffee house. He was working with Neil at that time and he thought I’m a Believer would be the song that Kirshner was looking for to have the Monkees record. Of course he was right. While the label the Monkees recorded for was Colgems they were distributed by RCA. I’m a Believer had the largest advance order of any RCA record since Elvis. While headlines overseas may have made many of their albums and TV show producers happy when they said “Europe’s Gripped by Monkeesteria”, the Monkees themselves were not. Especially...Mike Nesmith. The second album was released without any advance notice given to Mike, Micky, David or Peter. They found out while on tour and had to go buy a copy and listen to it in their hotel room to hear what it sounded like. The covers of the albums upset Nesmith also. He knew they were not a real rock and roll group and the albums were only soundtracks to the TV series. While TV audiences know they were only the cast of a sit-com, radio listeners who had not seen the show yet would think they were a band who happened to be cast in a sit-com based on the photos on the albums. He said that he thought they had crossed a line here and were conning the public. Therefore, if they were going to make them look like a real band then they should allow the four guys to play their own music on the albums. Nesmith continued to rally in this direction. While he eventually won the battle there were some casualties in this war. The press was starting to be denied access to the Monkees and to strike back at them they made a big deal that they didn’t play their instruments on the records. Never mind that the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, etc. were not playing all the instruments on their records. No one seemed to care about that but the world was going to come to an end because the Monkees didn’t play theirs. The press kept that up even after the Monkees started playing and producing their own music. It still comes up today.
Another causality to the Monkees was that Kirshner was going to have Mike Nesmith sing lead on I’m a Believer. There were recording sessions with him singing the song but the war between Nez and Kirshner became so heated that they abandoned those sessions. Rhino may have those recordings locked away for future release or perhaps they are lost. Either way it is a shame we have not heard any of those recordings. The song was given to Micky Dolenz. Micky was the best singer in the group and it became his signature song.
When it became a huge hit it made Neil Diamond an in demand songwriter. As we all know he started to record his own material and became a bigger star then the Monkees. But it all started with I’m a Believer. When Mr. Diamond was in concert here a local paper reported that his contract stated that he had to have a satellite dish so he could watch reruns of The Monkees. What better way to pay tribute to the men who helped jump start your career?

I'm A Believer