July 31, 2006

Not that Courteney Cox picture

Bing is currently sending a lot of traffic my way, with people searching for a certain Courteney Cox picture.

Making of "It Was a Very Good Year"

Frank Sinatra's version of "It Was a Very Good Year" won the Grammy for Best Male Vocal Performance in 1966. Arranger, conductor Gordon Jenkins was awarded the Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for the same track.

In November 1965, a CBS television film crew, including Walter Cronkite and Don Hewitt, spent six weeks with Sinatra. The footage was used in a program about the entertainer, and was reused in May 1998, the week after he died, for a 48 Hours special devoted to him called "Sinatra: Living With the Legend."

I'm going to show the interview segment, with Cronkite (reportedly a big Sinatra fan, perhaps the reason the singer agreed to it) doing the interviewing, in another post. This time I'm focusing on terrific footage of the recording session for "It Was a Very Good Year." It sounds like the album version was put in during the post-production of this footage, as opposed to hearing live mikes picking it up live, right as it's being filmed. But I think this is the recording of the version actually on the September of My Years album.

The aging crooner falls back on tried and true asides and jokes he no doubt had used numerous times before, on dozens of recording dates. He refers to an incorrect musical note as a "clam," and when his voice breaks a little bit at the end of a practice verse, he claims to have "swallowed a shot glass." Sinatra also momentarily lapses into his impression of Kingfish from the old Amos 'n' Andy radio show: "I do believe. If it don't say it on the paper, don't play it!" The last bit he got from Count Basie.

The Chairman seems alot more mindful of Gordon Jenkins than might be expected.

Despite the somewhat dark and somber tone of the song and the overall concept of September of My Years, Sinatra seems very upbeat, making jokes about his p-popping (plosive sounds such as "p" or "b" are usually bursts of low-frequency energy caused by a blast of air).

Walter Cronkite calls attention to the usual "friends and friends of friends" in attendance for a Frank Sinatra recording session.

It's cool how he looks directly into the CBS camera during the third verse:

When I was thirty-five/It was a very good year/It was a very good year for
blue-blooded girls of independent means/We'd ride in limousines/Their chauffeurs would drive/When I was thirty-five

How can he not be thinking about North Carolina-born Ava Gardner right then? You know he is. He's practically chuckling over a private joke while singing the final "when I was thirty-five." You can watch and see for yourself.

In the video, I cut to the final part of the recording session, during the studio playback of what had just been recorded. Sinatra seems a little spent, but artistically satisfied, even stimulated.

July 29, 2006

Wouldn't like to be a Pepper too

I personally have no interest in this other than I saw the book in a shop window, know what I'm sayin', I'd never heard of it, and my curiousity was piqued. Aight?

Here is some information from Amazon:

"This is one of the seminal books of American children's fiction. First published in 1881, eleven more volumes followed in the Pepper series, making Harriet Mulford Stone Lathrop internationally famous (as Margaret Sidney.) The series still enjoys wide readership today. It's the story of how the Peppers cope with poverty and difficulty, always with courage and cheer, after the death of Mr. Pepper."

Sounds like a lot of laughs! This is from an Amazon customer review:

"Today, it seems rather dismal to me - horrible poverty, illness, the pat happy ending and children who are horribly gushing over their mother."

My god! No wonder I've never heard of these books. I feel sorry for the kids who's life situation was such that these books were lying around.

The Peppers have been updated for new generations of misery and despair:
Looks like they've added a Pepper. Or maybe it's their case worker. And yes, there is a gold piano pendant on a gold chain superimposed over the Pepper picture. I assume that's explained in the book. You know, give those kids some guitars and a tambourine, and you've got The Cowsills, or The Peppers, anyway.

July 28, 2006

King of recaps

Look who's in the August issue of Rolling Stone:

Of all the time to have a (creative? critical?) blockage. Congratulations, Rich! I'm not surprised.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood was released in 1973, long after Disney's golden era of
animated films had passed. I was completely captivated by it, the last time that would happen with me and a Disney cartoon. I can remember sitting in The Rescuers, four years later, and thinking it was for babies.

Robin Hood has a nice little tune in it, titled "Love," by Floyd Huddeston and George Bruns, sung by Nancy Adams. As you can see in the video, it's used in a "romantic" scene between Robin Hood and Maid Marian, yet the song seems to be about the love of a mother for her child. This makes lyrics such as "you're all grown up inside of me" seem rather odd, at best. Quite frankly, while the lyrics seem to have a nice message, they don't make a whole lot of sense if you analyze them too closely ("Life is brief, but when it's gone/Love goes on and on"???). But I do think the melody is very nice, though perhaps a little schmaltzy. The fairly prominent presence in the mix of guitar and electric bass marks another departure from the more traditional sound of classic Disney cartoon music.

click to enlarge

July 26, 2006

When TV networks were king, and viewers suffered

Hey, Philip Michael Thomas, what's on NBC, Friday night?
On Knight Rider, a situation in which any one of us could easily find ourselves, at any moment:

"Michael and Bonnie are trapped in a woman's prison with only one way out..."
I hate when that happens! I think Michael got the better end of the deal, though:
Herr David Hasselhoff--what a career he's had! Who would've thought back then he'd still be around? He was one of the best things about Click (other than Kate Beckinsale), and I say it's officially time we all give him a break.

"Then the Misfits of Science must team up with a super secret agent or die spying." Ooh, that's just bad.
Misfits of Science was really an awful show, significant only because it was Courtney Cox's first big gig after appearing in Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" video, and it starred Dean Martin's son, Dean-Paul Martin.
Based on the quality of the clip NBC used for this promo, apparently a mitochondria also made occasional appearances:
This episode really was its best work. I couldn't find an IMDb entry for it, but I did manage to track down this picture:

Dean-Paul had a short life, but what a life! In addition to being the son of Dean Martin, and growing up around guys like Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., he was a member of the 1960s pop/rock band Dino, Desi & Billy and made an attempt at an acting career (appearing in films such as 1979's Players, in addition to crap like Misfits of Science). He was married to Olivia Hussey, who portrayed Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo: O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

He was also married to Dorothy Hamill. It was good to be Dean Martin's son!

But perhaps the most amazing thing about Dean-Paul's life (and a reflection either of incredible bravery, nepotism, stupidity, ego, or guts) was he became a pilot with the US National Guard in his mid-thirties. Tragically, he died at 36 after crashing into this mountain:
Mount San Gorgonio, California

Coincidently, Frank Sinatra's mother, Dolly, died in a plane crash on the very same mountain, in 1977, ten years earlier. I no lie.

What's on next, Philip Michael Thomas??

Oh, look(!), it's your show:
"Crockett gets a chance to bust G. Gordon Liddy."

Only in the 1980s could someone like G. Gordon Liddy have a career as a TV villain.
Don Johnson's gut also made an appearance in that episode:
Thank you, Philip Michael Thomas!

See for yourself:

July 25, 2006

Keep out the bushes!

Photo by Chad Greene, The Galveston County Daily News

Jesse Jackson was on the Texas Gulf Coast, Monday, to march outside BP in Texas City, protesting gas prices and worker safety. This reminded me of back in 1984 when he was a presidential candidate, and I "covered" his arrival in Galveston for my high school's newspaper. I thought I'd share some of the pictures I took, forever putting them "out there," into the vast internets.

Arrival at Scholes Field

Security was tight. Apparently, the sky was completely white back in those days.
I became very self-conscious, and even paranoid, whenever I raised my camera. It seemed like that officer was always looking at me. I guess I shouldn't have shown up looking like this:

The sea of jerry curls parted, and I got my shot, er, my picture.

Somewhat unrelated, but because I found it with the Jackson photos, I include it:
The only white guys to participate in the Ball High School, end of school year talent show. Yes, we had groupies. At least I did. Good times. I'm rocking out on the Les Paul. We were playing The Police's "Wrapped Around Your Finger," hence our singer's outfit. You see, there used to be these things called "music videos," and in the one for that song, Sting wore.....oh, nevermind.

Grand Theft Auto-mania

I just completed Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (on PS2), and besides the occasionally dark, impossible-to-see-a-damn-thing graphics, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Maybe Rockstar will fix that problem before they transistion Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories from PSP to PS2 (assuming they do). GTAVice.com has a shot of that game's cover art:

I grew up on Galveston Island, during the 1980s, so playing GTA: Vice City was sometimes, oddly, yet pleasurably, like time travel.

The countdown for GTA IV has begun, and someone from Planet Grand Theft Auto has created this cool teaser trailer (it's really more of a history of the franchise than a teaser, but it will get you excited if you like the games).
The waiting is the hardest part, and the buildup for these games is intense, once it begins. Until then, to tide over rabid fans, there's this series of films entitled "PEDS" (pedestrians). It is a machinima based off of the GTA: Vice City game engine. Over the course of its fourteen episodes, the creators imagine what would happen if a few of those various pedestrians, mindlessly wandering around the game environment, saying those random, bizarre things, suddenly became aware of their own existence, and questioned it. It's fairly hit and miss, but a humorous concept, overall. Season one is available for Podcast or at the official website.

Related posts:
  • Good news for Grand Theft Auto fans
  • GTA4 announced
  • July 24, 2006

    Kirk's 11

    Ain't It Cool News has a link to this teaser poster for a film currently titled Star Trek XI:
    The movie is scheduled to be released in 2008. It is said to be a return to, or relaunch of, the original series. Seeing the poster elicited a resounding "Huzzah!" from my action figures (McCoy felt particularly spry).Currently set to star as Captain James T. Kirk?
    Surely Ben Affleck won't be cast as Mr. Spock....Will he? Please no? Please?? That would make it too much like a Saturday Night Live skit, or something.

    Speaking of action figures getting their collective freak on, you've seen the promos for g4tv's asinine (yes, it is) Star Trek 2.0? This one is hilarious (it's the parody of MTV's Cribs with Charlie Murphy voicing Spock):

    Previous treks:

  • Gene Roddenberry
  • animated Star Trek
  • I grock Spock
  • July 22, 2006

    Sun-N-Pines Motel

    I noticed LILEKS (James) has a picture of this Lufkin, Texas, motel back in its prime as a part of his excellent "the american motel" series he's just completed.
    Lileks' summary:

    “Sun” isn’t exactly a rare commodity, which is perhaps why they added “Pines” for that extra oomph. This motel still exists in Lufkin, but I can’t vouch for the sign. The pool, incidentally, was “Tropically Heated.” You know, the tropics. Where they have all the pines.

    I can vouch for the sign, as well as the tropical heat:
    Not quite the same, is it? Why would it have been dismantled? Either it changed hands, and the new owners felt the sign looked too dated (I can't imagine that), or it was damaged, somehow, beyond repair.

    At least the office has retained some of its retro appeal (curved lines, etc.):

    Also, I imagine these letters would have been pretty cool back when they worked:
    I bet the pool is no longer "tropically heated." The effects of global warming here in Texas has taken care of the need for that!