Not that long ago, I posted the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show as interpreted by Minneapolis Punk band Husker Du. Now I’m posting it because Mary Tyler Moore has left this plane of existence. (I hate saying “died.” Yes, her physical body has died, but her spirit and energy will always be a part of the Universe.)
I like this clip because it includes just a bit from the final episode. You can here the rest of the WJM gang singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” as Mary takes one last loving look at the newsroom before turning out the lights and closing the door. It was a great good-bye then, and it’s a great one now. So long, Mary. I’ll be sure to laugh as hard for you as your TV namesake did for Chuckles the Clown. (And please, jukebox listeners, for your own sakes track down the episode “Chuckles Bites the Dust” if you haven’t seen it. You will never be sorry.)
Am I the only one who thinks this is the coolest theme song to come around in years?
Television theme songs might be a dying art form, but don’t tell Jean Batiste & Stay Human that. This music swings and grooves and funks along like nothing else I’ve heard in a long time. I included a clip of an actual opening from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, but if you want to hear the music without any of the surrounding stuff (crowd cheering, guest line-up, or really awesome graphics), click here. It’s even funkier, even if the clip is reallllly boring.
I don’t pretend to fully understand how my brain works. Although I can usually connect the dots between Point A and Point B, sometimes the route is so twisted and obscure that even I can’t make it out. Sometimes I end up at Point B without ever even knowing where Point A was. Case in point (as it were): Yesterday, for no apparent reason, this song popped into my head.
I admit I watched and enjoyed The Love Boat as a kid. I’ll also admit that the theme song is one of the most recognizable TV themes ever. Beyond that, I admit nothing since I’m not entirely sure what I’d be admitting to.
On a semi-related note, did you know that Fred Grandy, aka Your Ship’s Purser, aka Gopher, used to be a United States Representative for the good state of Iowa? My father’s family is from Iowa, but none of them had anything to do with electing Gopher to the House of Representatives. We’re strange, but not quite that strange.
Hey, y’all! I’m back! It hasn’t been that long since I posted, and it’s not like I don’t have some ideas (I got some new music, and there’s always the massive collection living in my closet after all.) But I’ve been saving my posts up because I became a Pepper for the month of November.
The lovely and wonderful Rarasaur (who is just as lovely and wonderful in three dimensions as she is on the interwebs) has recruited myself and a number of other bloggers for Nano Poblano, an easier to say name for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo. . . or something like that; her name is so much better). The goal is to post something every day for the month of November. This is good for me, because I have fallen out of the habit of posting regularly. I like to keep the jukebox stocked with great music, and my lack of posts has been weighing on me a little (not too much, to be honest). I’ve heard it takes about a month for something to become a habit, so I’m going to make the most valiant effort to post every single day this month. That may mean a lot of reposts and quickies, but so be it. I am determined to be an active part of the blogosphere again.
I chose this classic little bit of advertising cheese from the seventies because it relates to the quality of being a Pepper, not because I drink Dr. Pepper (it’s not bad; I just prefer Coke). This is one of those classic commercial jingles that they just don’t write anymore–it’s another dying breed along with the great TV theme song. David Naughton really sells it, too. It was probably one of his earliest paying gigs as an actor, and it showed his potential. After all, if he could convince people to buy a weirdly flavored soda, then he could do just about anything. (“Just about anything” for Naughton turned out to be a great turn as a werewolf in An American Werewolf in London, but that was also pretty much the peak of his career.) People of my generation grew up on this commercial, so I hope others feel just as fondly for it as I do.
According to my clock (PST in the U.S.), I’ve got just about an hour and twenty minutes left to celebrate Winnie the Pooh Day. January 18th is the birthday of A.A. Milne, the creator of Pooh Bear and all his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. So pull up your favorite teddy bear and sing along.
This is the way I remember Pooh best. We used to watch The Wonderful World of Disney on TV, and sometimes they would show one of the Winnie the Pooh shorts during the program. I also remember being read the Milne books as a very small child, three or four at most. They’re some of my earliest memories and probably the reason why I love these characters so much.
Maverick (the original TV show, not the movie). Move Over, Darling. The Great Escape. Murphy’s Romance. Victor/Victoria. What do these things have in common? The wonderful and talented James Garner. (They’re also some of my favorite performances by him.) Garner’s screen presence was such that you liked him the moment you laid eyes on him. You trusted him. You knew that even if he was pretending to be a bad guy, he’d do the right thing in the end, even if it meant he would lose. The real James Garner, of course, didn’t lose; he had a long and successful career, and a happy personal life. But his charisma, personality, and presence made him perfect for the role that will always define him in my eyes.
Jim Rockford never did seem to catch a lucky break, but he never let it get him down. Not for long anyway.
James Garner died yesterday at 86. It’s a celebrity death that hits me pretty hard. Not just because I liked Garner, but because enjoying his work was something I had in common with my father. It was a link between us. I hope in whatever afterlife there is, Garner will have a drink and a laugh with my dad. I know the real man was just as personable as he was on-screen, so I think they would like each other.
While the rest of us have lost a great talent and nice guy, I know his family and friends have lost so much more. My heart goes out to all those who loved the man.
I guess I’m just feeling a little bit like a kid lately. Or maybe this is an antidote to the episode of Penny Dreadful I just watched (dreadful things happened, which means the show is living up to its title). But I feel the need to turn off real life and slip back into my five-year-old self in front of the TV on Saturday mornings. In between episodes of Scooby Doo and Captain Caveman, I just might be lucky enough to see this particular song from Schoolhouse Rocks.
This lesson on pronouns was one of my favorites, but they didn’t play it that often (stupid conjunctions!). I don’t know what made it so much fun–maybe I just really liked aardvarks. It’s fun to sing along with, too; trying to get those crazy names right makes the song just the right amount of challenging.
Really, I was led back to Schoolhouse Rocks by this post on Dangerous Minds. Watching the stylized 70s animation of John David Wilson in these bumper cartoons/videos from Sonny and Cher’s variety show reminded me of the style of the classic children’s interstitial cartoons/videos that taught my generation basic multiplication, grammar, science, and history. There was something eye-catching about the primary colors and stock repetition of movement and scenery.
When you think about, these all these cartoons from the 70s helped make my generation the ideal audience for music videos and MTV. Because of our childhood viewing habits, we were primed to accept songs and visuals as a unit, storytelling as another outlet for the music. (Was I the only one who watched various variety shows as a child? There were others out there, right? I mean, you almost couldn’t turn on one of the half a dozen channels that were available back then without running into a variety show.) In spite of all that talk about groups like the Beatles helping to create music videos, the truth was that cartoons had as much if not more to do with creating a generation of couch potatoes who expected everything to come in three and a half minute spurts.
At least that’s how I see it.