Saturday, August 19, 2017

This Day in Pop Culture for August 19

The first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was on August 19, 1909.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s First (Deadly) Car Race

The first race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway didn’t involve cars. About two months before the classic oval raceway was completed, the Speedway launched a balloon race where nine gas-filled balloons raced while 40,000 spectators watched. However, the main event happened on this day in 1909 when 15 drivers and their teams showed up. During the practice, the cars (and drivers) got covered in dirt, oil and tar from the track caused by chuckholes. During the first 250-mile race (with about 15,000-20,000 people in attendance), the leader of the pack, Louis Chevrolet, became temporarily blinded when a rock jumped up and smashed through his goggles. Wilfred Bourque flipped end over end just before hitting a fence post during the last part of the race. He died at the scene. Though there were two more days of racing planned, they were almost scrapped due to safety concerns. However, after assurances that the track would be safe to drive on, no major accident occurred on the second day of racing. However, during the grand finale 300-mile race held on the third day, Charlie Merz’s front right tire blew out. The car crashed through a fence and into many spectators, two of which died. Then, another driver, Bruce Keen, hit a pothole and crashed into a bridge support. Obviously, this halted any more races for the track unless significant improvements were made. Less than a month later, the track was paved the rest is history.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The 'Munsters' You Didn't See - Video of the Day


Those who consider themselves fans of The Munsters maybe surprised to learn that the show we got was a little different in its early stages. Here are the opening scenes and credits for the unaired pilot of the series that features Joan Marshall as "Phoebe" instead of Yvonne DeCarlo as "Lily" and Happy Derman instead of Butch Patrick as "Eddie." Oh, and it was in color too.

This Day in Pop Culture for August 18

Don Pardo passed away on August 18, 2014

Don Pardo Dies

It was on this day in 2014 that Dominick George “Don” Pardo passed away. The radio and TV announcer’s career lasted over 70 years. Pardo began his voice work for NBC in 1956 announcing The Price is Right game show. In 1964, he moved over to Jeopardy! where he stayed until 1975. He continued to be an announcer for various other TV game shows and announced for NBC’s Saturday Night Live from it’s beginning in 1975. He partially retired in 2004 but due to executive producer Lorne Michaels’ insistence, continued on with SNL under the assumption that Michaels would find a replacement. In 2006, Pardo would tape his announcements from his studio home in Arizona, but producers of the show insisted that he do the announcements live and so he would travel to and from New York every week. In 2009, Pardo was inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame and he suggested that that year would also be his last with SNL, but he continued on through 2014. While some may say that SNL was his greatest achievement, his family might think otherwise. He married Catherine Lyons in 1938 and stayed married until his death in 1995. The couple had five children together.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"Bee" Inspired with Mickey Mouse - Video of the Day


This new Mickey Mouse short features Mickey's trials with a bee while trying not to disturb Minnie. Be sure to watch to the end to see a surprise. (From Mickey Mouse)

This Day in Pop Culture for August 17

"The Time Machine" opened in theaters on August 17, 1960.

‘The Time Machine’ Opens in Theaters

Based on H.G. Well’s book of the same name, The Time Machine was released in movie theaters on this day in 1960. The time traveling science fiction film was made by MGM and was produced and directed by George Pal who also directed the 1953 version of Wells’ The War of the Worlds. The movie starred Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, Alan Young, David Duncan, Whit Bissell and Sebastian Cabot. The film was a huge hit earning the studio $1,610,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $1 million more from everywhere else. The movie received an Oscar for the time-lapse photography elements. Pal had intended on making a sequel to the movie, but died before he could. However, in 1993, a combination sequel/documentary short titled Time Machine: The Journey Back, featured a scene where Duncan, Taylor, Young and Bissel reprised their roles from the original film. In 2017, ABC debuted the short-lived TV series, Time After Time, that featured H.G. Wells as a time traveler chasing Jack the Ripper.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

NBC’s ‘Marlon’: This is an Update to the Classic Family Comedy?

Review of the TV show "Marlon"
(L-R) Marlon Wayans as Marlon, Essence Atkins as Ashley,
Amir O'Neil as Zackery, Boris Kodjoe as Devon, Notlim Taylor as Marley
(Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)


Tonight NBC is airing the pilot episode of Marlon, starring Marlon Wayans, which the network has dubbed as an “update to the classic family comedy.” Say but you will, but Father Knows Best this ain’t. Wayans is a talented comedian and his antics in the show does provide a few chuckles, but the show is a few steps backward for men, fathers and even modern families.

In Marlon, Wayans plays a version of himself as a divorced (or separated – it’s not entirely clear) husband who still wants to have “family time” with his kids and ex-wife at her house, but also date other women on the side. The show wants to present that this is a great arrangement until his ex, Ashley (Essence Atkins), decides to go out on date of her own with Devon (Boris Kodjoe). Marlon admits to Ashley that when he sees her with Devon, he feels scared that he will lose his family and get this, Ashley actually comforts the guy! I get that divorce is a challenging reality for many families, but this isn't a solution I can get behind.

It is explained in the first episode that it was Ashley’s choice to separate from Marlan and it’s not hard to see why. Other than video blogging, it is unclear what Marlon’s occupation is. He thinks it’s cute to use his children to promote non-alcohic liquour, gives his daughter uncensored “advice” on how to handle bullies at school, shows up late for important events, swears sort of like a sailor (he is only allowed to say “hell” and “ass” during this “family” sitcom) and the list goes on. Ashley is the ying to his yang as the long-suffering, yet fully supportive, mother figure. Of course, the worst offense is that the show isn’t all that funny. The show’s only saving grace is that the two kids, Zackery (Amir O’Neil) and Marley (Notlim Taylor), are adorable.

So, bravo NBC for bringing us yet another show where the dad is seen more as a buffoon than a role model and providing us with yet another “family show” that is too inappropriate for families living outside of TV land to watch.

Marlon airs on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.

'Batman vs. Two-Face' - Video of the Day


Trailer for Adam West's last voice work in Batman vs. Two-Face.

This Day in Pop Culture for August 16

A gorilla saved a 3-year-old boy in 1996.

Gorilla Says 3-Year-Old Boy

It was on this day in 1996 when a 3-year-old boy fell more than 20 feet into the gorilla pit at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois. The boy laid lifeless for a few moments until Binti Jua, an 8-year-old gorilla, picked him up, cradled him in her arms and protected him from the other apes. She later handed the boy over to zookeepers who then rushed the boy to the hospital. The zookeepers said that since the ape was raised by humans, she was more “people-oriented.” The boy made a full recovery and the story warmed the hearts of many.