Saturday, December 08, 2007

This Day in Music History: Guy Mitchell and Singing the Blues

On this day in music history, December 8, 1956, Guy Mitchell had the #1 song on the Billboard charts with Singing the Blues. It was written by Melvin Endsley and produced by Mitch Miller. Melvin was a victim of polio when he was three years old. He was confined to a wheelchair. This was his first successful that he wrote.
Marty Robbins was the first to record the song for Columbia Records. It was the same label that Guy Mitchell recorded for and Mitch Miller was one of their producers/executives.
Before he became Guy Mitchell he was Al Cernick from Detroit, Mich where he was born Feb. 27, 1927. His parents moved to Los Angeles when he was 11 years old. It was during the train ride west that Little Al was heard singing on the train. An Agent heard him and told his Mom her son had a beautiful voice. He gave her his card and told her to call him when they got to LA. She did and the agent got Al signed to a contract with Warner Brothers where they planned to groom him to be a child star. He was given acting, singing, dancing and diction lessons. He was heard singing on radion station KFWB. Then his parents moved to San Francisco and that ended his career as a child star.
He still continued singing and in 1947 he became the vocalist for the Carmen Cavallaro Orchestra. It was with them that he made his first recordings. It was with Decca Records and they were called "I Go in When the Moon Comes Out" and "Ah But It Happens."
His biggest break came years later when Frank Sinatra refused to record two songs for Mitch Miller. The studio was already booked and the band was waiting. Mitch had to find a replacement fast. He remembered hearing a demo for Al Cernick. Two hours later, after making some calls, Mitch had Al in the studio. He recorded "My Heart Cries For You" and the flip side "The Roving Kind." Both made the top 5 on the charts.
Mitch Miller didn't like his name. So he had him change his name. Mitch gave him the name Mitchell and Guy came from Mr. Miller saying that Al was a nice guy. Hence the name Guy Mitchell.
Later Mitchell heard Marty Robbins version of "Singing the Blues" and wanted to record it. He asked Mich Miller if he could record the song. He was given the go ahead. Both versions entered the charts on November 3, 1956. However, Robbins version stalled at #17 while Guy Mitchell's version went to #1 for 9 weeks.

Thor and Hostess in Good Overcomes Evil!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Speed Racer:The Movie

Here he comes
Here comes Speed Racer
He's a demon on wheels.

Warner Brothers also hopes he will be a demon at the box office also. The movie comes out in May of 2008 and will star Emile Hirsch as Speed. Matthew Fox is Racer X. Other in the cast are Kick Gurry, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon,Paulie Lit and Christina Ricci as Trixie.
While I have never been a fan of Speed Racer I can't wait to see this movie. The trailer below can make anybody want to see it if they are looking to see a good popcorn movie.
While Speed Racer is from Japan he has become a pop icon in America. Baby boomers and NASCAR fans should make this movie a must see for the summer. As I said before Emile Hirsch is the star in the role that I heard rumored before that Johnny Depp was asked to play. Emile is not familiar to me but if you have seen Into the Wild, Alpha Dog, The Girl Next Door then you have seen some of his work. Most of the others in the film are already pop icons themselves.
The film was done by Andy and Larry Wachowski who created the Matrix. The Matrix was too avant garde for me. However, that type of film making is just what this movie needs. An askewed view of the family/racing dynamics of the film.
Speed Racer is so much a part of popular culture that just when you think he is gone he pops up again. Not long ago he surfaced in a Geico insurance commercial. According to USA Today that was Christina Ricci's first time to ever see Speed Racer.
I have a humorous story that has a slight mention of Speed Racer that I may share with you soon. Till then look at and enjoy the trailer. Coming in May next year I will see you at the movies.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Skit from Bob Hope Christmas Special from 1970's

Keeping in the vein of Christmas and Star Wars here is a skit from a Bob Hope Christmas Special.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Star Wars Christmas Special

Here is a video of the Star Wars 1978 Christmas special with the first appearance of Boba Fett in Star Wars history. I had always heard that it was held back from any other showings or release on video as they didn't like the looks of it. For the most part it isn't as bad as I thought but some of the facial expressions don't look too good in this video. Still it was a kick to see it for the first time for me to see it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chipmunk song

After seeing This post at Booksteve's I looked for this video on You Tube. This was the Chipmunks I grew up with. It's good to know that Hollywood hasn't forgotten them.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Publishing Contract

Keep an eye out for my name at your local bookstore. I just signed a contract with a small publisher called Morning Sun Publishing to publish a children's book that I wrote. They want to get it out in time for Christmas this year as it is a Christmas story. I hope they do but I think it will be closer to next Christmas but I'll take it whenever it comes out. I had a short story published once but this will be the first time I will have written a book.

The story use to be on this site but I have taken it off since then. Long time readers of this site may take the above photo as a hint to the title. I don't want to say much more till I know when it will definitely be coming out.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

All Fun Must Come To An End Sometime

The year was 1982. I had been a comic collector for years but had been to very few comic book conventions at that time. A small con was being held not far from my home in Ky at the Drawbridge Inn. I went with my friends Chuck and Mike. While there we ran into my cousin Steve. Now it was fun to be attending such a thing with 3 men who I was very close to. But amongst all of the fun I learned something that day.

You see it was close to my birthday. Chuck and I had become fans of the Pacific Comics publication called Starslayer. It was created by Mike Grell who wrote and drew the stories. For those of you who don't know the story it is about a time-displaced Celtic warrior named Torin MacQuillon. He was taken seconds before he may have died. I say may have as in the first issue it was said that according to history he just disappeared. Now he was traveling through space in the far future. It was near impossible to take him back as it may change the time line. Anyway, I didn't catch on till halfway through the first 6 issues. So I was always looking for the first 3. By this time I had 5 of the 6. However, I was missing the first issue.

Later that day Chuck came up to me and gave me the first issue of Starslayer and told me Happy Birthday. He found it at the convention and bought it as a gift. I was very happy and quickly read it when I got home. However, since the series was originally conceived as a mini-series it now meant that I had the entire series. My happiness turned to sadness when I suddenly realized that my fun was now over. I was enjoying the hunt for this series. Each time I found an issue I felt like I had discovered buried treasure. I treasure this memory and thank my friend Chuck again for getting it for me if he is reading this site. However, I will always remember the lesson that half the fun of collecting anything is the search.

I know the series was continued eventually at First Comics. While it ran for over 30 issues and even had a successful spin-off with Grimjack, it wasn't as much fun anymore so I only bought the first 6 issues. Part of the reason it wasn't fun anymore is I could easily keep up with it each month. The thrill of the hunt was gone.