Saturday, November 28, 2015

Washington Irving Dies

Washington Irving died on November 28, 1859.
November 28, 1859
American writer, Washington Irving who is probably most famous for writing the short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, died at the age of 76 in Sunnyside, New York on this day in 1859. He was buried shortly in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery located in New York. Irving is also famous for writing the story of Rip Van Winkle and a number of Christmas stories found in “The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” Despite his success with fiction, much of his later works were focused on biographies and history.

Friday, November 27, 2015

First Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The First Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was presented on November 27, 1924.
November 27, 1924
On this day in 1924, Macy’s department store in New York presented the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. The story goes that many of the store’s employees were first-generation immigrants who were proud to be American citizens and wanted to celebrate that fact through a Thanksgiving parade; an event that their parents had enjoyed in Europe. From the very first outing, the parade included elaborate costumes, floats, professional bands and even live animals that were borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of the parade when Santa made his entrance, he was escorted to the balcony of the 34th Street store entrance where he was crowned the “King of the Kiddies.” Three years later the parade saw its first large balloon character – Felix the Cat.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Video of the Day: 'Friends' Thanksgiving

Friends was one of those shows where it was its funniest when it wasn't trying to be hip or controversial. Here is one of the best clips from a Thanksgiving episode. (By the way, Monica is wearing a raw turkey on her head in an effort to cheer up Chandler.)

Here's Looking at You Kid

Casablanca premiered in New York on November 26, 1942.
November 26, 1942
On this day in 1942, of all the gin joints in the world, Ingrid Bergman walked into Humphrey Bogart’s in the World War II classic, Casablanca. The movie’s premiere was in New York. The film wouldn’t open nationally until January 23, 1943. Directed by Michael Curtiz, Casablanca is known for its iconic quotes like “Round up the usual suspects” and “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” it was nominated for eight Academy Awards and took home three including Best Actor.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Video of the Day: 'Mad About You'

This is one of the funniest scenes ever on NBC's Mad About You. It guest-starred Carol O'Conner and Carol Burnett who play Jamie's parents who have sold everything to live in a motor home. It's not a Thanksgiving episode, but it might as well be.

‘The Good Dinosaur’ is an Emotional Rollercoaster for Dino Lovers

Review of "The Good Dinosaur"
"Spot" and Arlo (Disney/Pixar)
Unlike my family, I was moved but not crushed while watching UP. I was touched with Brave and I got a little lump in my throat while watching Inside Out. But The Good Dinosaur? That flick messed me up.

The Good Dinosaur is really one of the more unique Disney/Pixar films. It’s a western that features dinosaurs with creatures that eat other creatures and there isn’t a single frilly princess. It deals with themes that include the importance of family, facing your fears, and making your mark in this world. That doesn’t sound like the making of an emotional film, but then again, neither did story about a house elevated by balloons.

Some families will take issue that the story begins with Darwin-like principles. For those that do, try to take solace in the fact that it is just a story without any agenda attached. Instead, it illustrates real-life scenarios in a make-believe world. 

The premise is that the supposed asteroid that wiped out all of the dinosaurs on the planet, missed the earth entirely. Dinosaurs supposedly grew to build homes, till soil and grow plants all on their own. Arlo is the youngest of three children to grow up on the farm with Momma and Poppa who encourage their children to do something great to make their mark in the world. Although all three kids work hard, brother Buck and sister Libby make their marks fairly early on by mastering their daily chores. Arlo’s job is to feed the chicken-like creatures whom he is terribly afraid of. Poppa wants nothing more than to get Arlo to not only face his fears, but to conquer them. He helps Arlo to set up a trap to capture the creature that is stealing corn from the family. As it turns out, the “creature” is actually a little human boy. Feeling sorry for the boy, Arlo lets him escape. When Poppa finds out that the boy has been let go, he takes Arlo on a dangerous journey to get the kid.

Being that this is a Disney film, a life-altering event happens – actually twice – which leads Arlo on a journey that will change his life. Arlo finds himself lost and in need of getting back to his family and who shows up? The kid. 

Amy Grant is Born

Amy Grant was born on November 25, 1960.
November 25, 1960
Singer, songwriter and even actress, Amy Lee Grant was born on this day in 1960. As of 2009, Grant remains the best-selling contemporary Christian music singer ever and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. She received her first recording contract at age 15 and her first self-titled album was released in 1978. After years of successful Christian music career, Grant “crossed over” to pop music with her hit single, “Find a Way” from the album “Unguarded” where she posed with a leopard-print jacket. Some praised her for reaching out to a larger musical audience while others shamed her for “selling out.” Since that time, she has won over more fans than she lost and continues to be a powerful force in Christian music.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

‘DWTS’ Winner – is Anyone Really Surprised?

Bindi Irwin won Dancing With the Stars.
Derek Hough and Bindi Irwin celebrate their win. (ABC)
In the two-hour season finale of Dancing With the Stars, Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough were awarded the coveted mirrorball trophy for the 21st season of the show. But this is hardly a surprise as Irwin started out in top form from the very first episode and never really had a bad night. The ever-smiling and humble proved to be the most likeable contestant ever on the show. Some wonder if the pairing of her and Derek wasn’t a form of stacking the deck. Hough has won the competition many times in the past and ABC did its best to remind its audience every week that Irwin is the daughter of the late Steve Irwin, the former “Crocodile Hunter” which brought her to tears nearly every week and heartstrings were pulled everywhere.

Sharna Burgess was gracious that she missed the win again with partner Nick Carter who came in second. Lindsay Arnold and Alek Skarlotos came in third.

The two-hour finale included reuniting all of the seasons contestants (except for Tamar Braxton who is still receiving medical treatment for blood clots found in her lungs) including the infamous Gary Busey and the sassy Paula Dean who were featured in a “Twas the Night Before Christmas” spoof serving as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Jockey Victor Espinoza appeared as an elf.

It was also announced that Dancing With the Stars will return in the spring and head judge, Len Goodman, will be back.