TS Fay

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In typical fashion, the local weather gurus have absolutely NO IDEA what Tropical Storm Fay is going to do, or what effect it will have on us here in central North Carolina.

“Our next weather-maker is likely to be Fay” after drier days early this week, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. “Will it stall to the south, stall over us or swing over the mountains?”

A high-pressure area building into the South from north will determine what areas of the state receive rain and how much they get. Different models have the remnants of Fay moving through western North Carolina or stalling south of the state.

“The track of this storm is quiet uncertain, depending on what happens with this high-pressure system,” Gardner said. “The track looks kind of wacky.”

Will tropical storm stall over N.C.? :: WRAL.com.

Gits and Shiggles

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Something Awful’s Photoshop Friday this week pays homage to Star Trek. These folks have put together some wonderfully fun stuff for all of us Trekkies. My personal favorite:

more-power.jpg

Go check it out!
H/T to El Capitan at Baboon Pirates for the chuckles!

Jack Wild, Rest In Peace

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Jack Wild, best remembered for his role as “Jimmy” on the Sid & Marty Krofft puppet show H.R. Pufnstuf, passed away earlier this week from cancer. Jack is also remembered as “The Artful Dodger” in the 1960’s production of Oliver!. He was 53.

For Jack Wild, success came early and big. Discovered by an agent while playing soccer in a London park with his older brother, Arthur, Jack was enrolled in a actors school and began going on auditions at the age of 11.As with many other boy-actors in the London area, he was cast in the stage production of Oliver!, and joined with hundreds of other castmates at the audition for the film. Jack won the plum role The Artful Dodger, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his efforts.

At the Hollywood premiere of Oliver!, Jack was introduced to puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft, who decided that Jack would be the perfect young actor to play the lead in their upcoming saturday-morning kids program, H.R. PufnStuf. Jack and his brother left London for the US, and moved in with Marty Krofft and his family while they filmed 17 episodes of the series plus a feature film based on the show.

A true sensation, 15-year-old Jack Wild became the darling of the teen magazines with a profitable recording contract and active career in films, incluing a starring role Alan Parker’s first fim, Melody.

After a few years, Jack faded from the limelight, and as with many of his idol cohorts fell in to several years of obscurity, depression and alcohol abuse.

Once again clean and sober, Jack appeared n several productions in the past few years, including a role in Robin Hood: Prince of Theives and a more recent part in a London stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz (as the Cowardly Lion). Tragedy struck Jack in 2004, when he was diagnosed with mouth cancer and had to have dramatic surgery that left him mute.

Rest In Peace, Barney Fife

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dk.jpggun_barney_bullet_small.jpgDon Knotts, whose portrayal of the wonderfully bumbling Deputy Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show” inspired legions of would-be comics and made the scrawny West Virginian a beloved icon to three generations of television viewers, died Friday night. He was 81. Knotts did it all, did it well and did it like no one else before or since.

The role of Barney Fife, nervous sidekick to the laid-back sheriff of fictional Mayberry, N.C., was Knotts’ signature work and the performance of which he remained enormously proud for 40 years.

For five years, from 1960 to 1965, Barney fought what little crime he could rustle up on the streets of the sleepy little town, searched for love in the arms of Thema Lou (with the occasional dalliance with that trashy Juanita down at the diner) and set a new standard for bullet maintenance.

Few actors have ever been more right for a part than Knotts as Barney Fife. Barney, as seen through the heart and mind of Knotts, was the everyman who lives inside us all. Oh, we may pretend we’re cool, calm, collected and wise like Andy, but deep inside we know there is a nervous, unsure nerd who may often come up short, but never for lack of trying. Barney Fife often failed, but he always tried.

The Barney Fife who came from Knotts’ mind and heart may not have been a great lawman, but no town ever had a better friend and no television fan a funnier performer to watch. Small-town North Carolina could not have had a better ambassador.

Andy said it often about Barney, and it rings as true about Knotts today as it did on the gentle streets of that sweet town: “You beat everything, you know that?”

Post excerpted from the Raleigh News & Observer.

Classic TV

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paul_centersquare.jpgIf you remember the Original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this may bring a tear to your eyes. These great questions and answers are from the days when “Hollywood Squares” game show responses were spontaneous and clever, not scripted and (often) dull, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course.

Q. Do female frogs croak?
A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q. If you’re going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it..

Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.
A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q. You’ve been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A. Don Knotts: That’s what’s been keeping me awake.

Q. According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he’s married?
A. Rose Marie: No, wait until morning.

Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?
A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say “I Love You”?
A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q. What are “Do It,” “I Can Help,” and “I Can’t Get Enough”?
A. George Gobel: I don’t know, but it’s coming from the next apartment.

Q As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking?
A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I’ll give you a gesture you’ll never forget.

Q. Charley, you’ve just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I’m too busy growing strawberries.

Q. In bowling, what’s a perfect score?!
A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?
A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?
A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I’m always safe in the bedroom.

Q. Can boys join the CampFireGirls?
A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?
A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?

Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q. According to Ann Landers, is their anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.

Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?
A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn’t neglected.

Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Q. When a couple has a baby, who is responsible for its sex?
A. Charley Weaver: I’ll lend him the car, the rest is up to him.

Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
A. Charley Weaver: His feet.

Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?
A. Paul Lynde: Point and Laugh

K9TV

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Whatever happened to the family dog? Growing up, every sitcom family had a sitcom family dog. There was Lassie, of course, who had her own show. So did Rin-Tin-Tin. But I’m not talking about K9 stars. I’m talking about dogs who were incidental to the show they were in (except for the obligatory episode where the dog got lost, or ate the Christmas Turkey while the family had their back turned). They showed up on nearly every episode, but didn’t really have any lines.

Like Tramp, from My Three Sons. (left)

And Ladadog, from Please Don’t Eat The Daisies. (right)

Even The Munsters had a dog. Well okay, a dragon, that lived under the stairs. He was whimsically named “Spot”, and his favorite sport was chasing cars. Spot was rarely seen but for his large tail and portions of his face when he breathed fire.

The Brady Bunch had Tiger; at least for a little while. The dog that played Tiger was hit by a car and killed early in the first season. When a replacement dog proved problematic, the producers decided the dog would only appear when essential to the plot, and eventually the dog was phased out altogether. According to Barry Williams, the doghouse remained because it was needed to cover holes in the artificial backyard. His short time on the show is probably why I can’t find a picture of him.

The folks at Green Acres didn’t actually have a dog; the best they could come up with was Arnold, the pig. But their sister show, Petticoat Junction, had “Dog”. The ‘actor’ who played Dog is the same one who played “Benji” in the movie of the same name. His real name was Higgins.

Little Ricky got a dog on I Love Lucy; two episodes later, the family moved to the country.

Nowadays, the only TV dog I can think of that’s a regular on any sitcom is Eddie from Frasier. And he’s been canceled.

Favorite Fictional Characters

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Confession time: I stole this idea from El Capitan at Baboon Pirates, who in turn stole it from someone else. It’s a good idea. And imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

No, I didn’t read El Capitan’s list … I wanted to make sure I wasn’t unduly influenced. But since I got the idea from him, I chose to follow his rules. That means, not more than 3 characters from the same source. Since I tend to favor certain authors over others, and certain actors over others, this means that I can’t use more than three characters played by the same actor, or three characters from the same author, even if they appear in different books. Where I can, I’ll link to the book or movie on the web, in case you want more info. Below are 10 … El Capitan came up with 50, but I’m not that ambitious; maybe I’ll add more at a later date.


10. Angus MacGyver from the series MacGyver (1985). Put him on a deserted island with nothing but a Q-Tip and a Hershey bar, and he’ll build you a smart bomb complete with launcher.

9. Philip Kent (Phillipe Charboneau) from The Bastard, by John Jakes. Raised a poor bastard in France, Philip comes to pre-revolution Boston to escape the wrath of his father’s wife, and finds himself caught up in the cause for independence. Given the choice of taking the easy way out (by marrying his half-brother’s widow and claiming his inheritance) or standing up for his beliefs (by fighting with the rebels), he makes the hard choice and makes his own fortune. I’ve read the entire Kent Family Chronicles series by Jakes; I haven’t seen the movie, which I gather was a bomb since (a) I didn’t know there was one till just now; and (b) Netflix doesn’t even have it, and this is the first movie ever that I haven’t been able to find there.

8. Raymond Babbitt (Rain Man). Dustin Hoffman plays this character so well, and makes him so likeable, in spite of his disorder. The scene where Tom Cruise (Charlie Babbitt) realizes that Raymond is the “Rain Man” he remembers from his childhood brings tears to my eyes.

7. Luke Danes (Gilmore Girls – Tuesday night at 8 on The WB). Scott Patterson plays this taciturn diner owner to perfection. His eccentricity complements the rest of the town’s quirkiness, and he’s not hard to look at, either.

6. Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls, see #7) . Played by Lauren Graham, Lorelai is the mother I always hoped I could be, but I don’t have that gift of the one-liner that Lorelai’s scriptwriters blessed her with.

5. Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding from The Shawshank Redemption (played by Morgan Freeman). Red is, above all else, a “man’s man”. A convicted murderer, he’s nonetheless loyal and trustworthy, and he calls ’em as he sees ’em. He also posesses uncanny insight into the motivations of the people around him.

4. Captain Steve Hiller (played by Will Smith) from the movie Independence Day. “I have got to get me one of these!”

3. Idgie Threadgoode (aka Towanda) from Fried Green Tomatoes, by Fannie Flagg. Mary Stuart-Masterson played her in the movie, which also starred Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy.

2. Morgaine from The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. She’s a Druid Priestess. She can do magic. Her brother is the High King of England. And in this version of the classic Tale of Arthur, she’s not the villian. She’s the heroine. Her motives are pure and good, despite the end result. For what it’s worth, the book is better than the movie (of course), but the movie is pretty good, too.

1. Jamie Fraser, from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. This 18th-century Scotsman is every woman’s dream man. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, was born at twilight on the first of May, in the year of our Lord 1721, at the estate of Broch Tuarach, also called Lallybroch, near the small village of Broch Mordha in the Highlands of Scotland, the son of Brian Fraser and Ellen MacGibbon MacKenzie.