“HOLIDAY” PROGRAMING HAS RUN ITS COURSE..?

As you may be aware, those movies and TV programs once called “Christmas” programs, now being labeled as “Holiday” programs, have been airing through all of the media portals since the Labor Day weekend. (No kidding!) 

Some viewers expressed through social media that many of them have overstayed their welcome. That is, those titles have been airing on TV just too many times, almost to the point that they became rather stale.

This theory is far from being new. In fact, we reported some ten years ago, long before streaming media became a practical method of getting one’s television programming content, that some Christmas/Holiday movies and TV shows were being run to death.

The article that we reported on this fact under the title You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out…Again first appeared in Vol. 17-No. 51-Week of December 10th, 2012. Some of the elements within this article still ring true to this very day. See if you can “price and compare” to what we were writing about…

Vanity Fair magazine in conjunction with CBS News conducts opinion poll questions on various topics, usually taking subjects that involve subjects from domestic life to pop culture. As reported in VF’s December, 2012 issue, one of the questions asked by some 1100 adults via phone calls nationwide involved the burning topic: “What holiday movie is the most overplayed on television?” 

According to the poll, the top six titles that the poll revealed are (with the percentage number as replied):

1-A Christmas Story (23%)

2-Elf (14%)

3-National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (13%)

4-A Charlie Brown Christmas (13%)

5-It’s A Wonderful Life (12%)

6-Miracle on 34th Street (9%)

OK…let’s perform a breakdown on these half dozen titles on why (or how) are these classics became overplayed.

Starting off on the first selection. A Christmas Story, a 1983 MGM release that stars Peter Billingsley as ten year old Ralph whose Christmas wish is to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun for the season while living in Cleveland, Ohio c.1940. Based on a short story written by humorist and one-time WOR late night radio personality Jean Shepherd, it’s a charming tale of a kid’s desire to get a BB gun in spite of his mother’s warning that “it will shoot your eye out”, and his dad’s obsession with a prize that he won; a table lamp consisting of a woman’s leg in a stocking. This film, recently added to the Library of Congress’ film registry, is noted as “overplayed” since The Turner Network (a.k.a. TNT) who owns the rights to this film, hosts a 24 hour marathon where on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it’s run consistently back to back. Thus, its overplaying is lumped into a 24 to 36 hour run. Outside of that, it’s only aired so often.

Number 2 in the selection. Elf, 2003 New Line Pictures release, features comic Will Ferrell playing one of Santa’s elves who discovers that he’s actually human, setting off from the North Poll to New York City to seek his long lost father. Although this title doesn’t have the charm charm as A Christmas Story, it’s still an amusing title for a post 2000 creation. As to its overplaying on TV? This selection may fall into that category as a handful of TV outlets tend to run this title for what it is. Perhaps its “modern” setting (rather than from a movie made in the 1940’s or 50’s) is the reason for its overplaying.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation coming in at number 3 can also be lumped for the same reasons as Elf. Released by Warner Bros. in 1989, Chevy Chase stars as the head of the Griswold family (first appearing in National Lampoon’s Vacation a few years before) who makes an attempt to spend a Christmas with his family, in spite of the fact that he’s a bungling disaster prone idiot. This movie holds plenty of slapstick and is amusing, but far from memorable. This title, along with Elf, holds on to the same reason for its overplaying as local TV stations and a few cable/satellite outlets post this feature on their December TV schedule.

Number 4-A Charlie Brown Christmas, should not belong to this group since it’s not a “movie”. It’s a 1965 TV special that first aired on CBS and its long time sponsor was the Coca-Cola Company, is a cartoon that features the Peanuts gang where CB (with the help of Linus) seeks the true meaning of Christmas. The story line, based on a series of daily and Sunday strips that first appeared in newspapers in December of 1962, had been aired each Christmas since ‘65, and made its first appearance via home video in the middle 1980’s. It’s “overplaying” has been spread out for fifty years. Nevertheless, it’s not a movie, but a 26 minute short. 

It’s a Wonderful Life is the only film in this list that (at one time anyway) holds the distinction of being overplayed. First making an appearance in 1946 and released by Frank Capra’s Liberty Pictures (and distributed by RKO) stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey of Berford Falls, USA who makes a wish that he was never born and discovers that things would become a lot worse without his presence! Another title registered by the Library of Congress, this movie is perhaps the most beloved Christmas film ever released. However, it became discovered (and overplayed) when in 1974, this title did not get its copyright renewed. (At the time, copyrights lasted 28 years, and had to be renewed in its 28th year to extend its legal protection for another 28 years.) Because of this legal goof, TV stations starting in 1975 ran this movie without paying for any TV rights. Because of this overplaying, TV viewers discovered its charm and appeal. This overplaying lasted throughout the 1970’s, 80’s and well into the 90’s. (Not counting the flood of videotape releases by various companies in the 80’s.) However, Republic Pictures, a descendant to the original “B” movie company active in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, hired an army of lawyers to find some loophole to renew some form of legal protection. It seems that the music score was the element found to remove its public domain status. Today, NBC holds the exclusive TV rights to this title, and only aires it occasionally, usually on times where the rating would be low(er).

Finally, rounding out the list is Miracle on 34th Street, a 1947 20th Century Fox release that stars Edmund Gwenn, an elderly man who is hired to play Santa Clause for Macy’s Department Store on the titled street, who insists that he is the real St. Nick. This feature was later remade twice as a 1974 TV movie starring David Hartman and a 1994 theatrical release featuring film director turned actor Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle. The poll doesn’t state what version was the one as overplayed. However, it’s assumed that it’s a tie between the original ‘47 release and the ‘94 remake. (The original because that version has been running on TV since the 1960’s, and the ‘94 version because it’s more up-to-date!)

So there you have it! However, there are lots of Christmas theme movies to see via one’s video device, many well loved and others long forgotten if not forgettable! So as one decks the halls, shops like there is no tomorrow, and programs tunes for the season (again, well loved and overplayed), just remember that if you were not born, you would never ask Santa at Macy’s (now nationwide) to get that Red Ryder BB gun, go shopping for a scrawny tree while Santa’s elves seek for his dad, and perhaps getting a jolt stringing up Christmas lights! After all, all of this takes place but once a year!

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Theater West presents WINTER WISHES: A HOLIDAY CABARET THEATRE, a musical review program featuring seasonal songs and stories.

In this stage program, a talented group of players consisting of Luis Anduaga, Amanda Boutaud, Harleigh Ford, Stella Grimaldi, Cody Kelepolo, Mimi Kmet, Robert W. Laur, Constance Mellors, Zoe Miner, Scottie Nevil, Alyssa Rupert, and Michael Van Duzer offer a performance review that consist of a blend of seasonal favorites along with a few charming monologues peppered with humor that speak itself up for this time of year.

Backed by a quartet of musicians consisting of Bill von Ravenberg on bass, Pete Snell on guitar, Jim Varley on percussion, and Paul Cady on keyboards as well as serving as musical conductor, the mini orchestra resting off stage right gives their musical chops a go while the repertory of players perform the classic tunes of yore as well as the more contemporary favorites. And since this is a holiday program, they even include tunes for Chanukah! (The Latke Song is rather catchy!)

The stage setting itself holds a selection of seasonal lights as arranged among a darkened backdrop. Yet everyone performing through voice and music are highlighted among the electric tinsel and holly.

Overall, this show is very pleasant and operates through the time-tested rule of “less is more”. It’s more of a “show and tell” than something that’s overwhelming and elaborate. Yet it’s been staged for the holidays that won’t overload one’s senses! It’s for those that desire to experience a program that is upbeat yet mellow,and this cabaret lineup will fit that bill. It’s the ideal stage show for all ages to desire and appreciate.

WINTER WISHES: A HOLIDAY CABARET THEATRE, present by and performs at Theater West, 3333 Caluenga Blvd, Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until December 11th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (323) 851-7977, or online at http://TheatreWest.org

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THE SEASON IS HERE-LIKE IT OR DON’T!!

We don’t have to inform you that the season now known as “The Holidays” is already upon us! You already know!! That’s now considered as old news because that season, still known as “Christmas” , has been around as early as the Labor Day weekend!

Since that first weekend is September, a whole lot of stuff has been coming down, from the mid-term election, from the changing of the weather, to the bickering of high(er) prices for almost anything and everything. But this time of year, now already inside what one journalist called it “The Seasonal Bermuda Triangle” is going at full tilt.

There’s the usual antics that take place right now. Now that the Thanksgiving Day dishes have been washed (or at least they should have been, unless one used paper plates and plastic utensils to plop their share of turkey and all of the trimmings), it’s time to continue shopping for those gifts people are supposed to give and get. For those that have been savvy enough, many folks already did their shopping. Thanks to the virtual universe, it’s a whole lot easier to get anything they desire without venturing away from one’s domicile. Get online, pick what you desire, type in that credit card number, hit “send” or something to that effect, and before long, that delivery person will be right at one’s doorstep delivering a box, bag, envelope, or related container with that worldly possession one saw as a pixelated photo on one’s video screen. Done, done, and done!!

Some people have done their shopping already. A few are starting right now. Others won’t start until the eleventh hour. And a number of folks didn’t start or end. They conduct this activity throughout the whole year! 

One person this writer knows of starts their shopping season the day after Christmas, which this year falls on Monday, December 26th. This party heads off to the mall (the “real” version of the mall versus a virtual one) and gets the items deemed worthy enough to give as gifts. From there, the person places the goods inside of a box, labels the box as “Xmas gifts”, and places that box on a shelf inside of a garage. Throughout the year, the person places other goods inside of that same box, and adds boxes to the pile once the first (or second) box is filled up. This retrial continues through the months right up to the Thanksgiving weekend. That same person pulls out the items found in these boxes, wraps them with wrapping paper obtained at garage and estate sales for as little as five cents per roll of paper, and before long, the gifts are given to that person’s gift giving list. After all of that is said and done, then the cycle continues on December 26th. Get the idea??

Thanks to everything costing a whole lot more than what it once was priced for the previous year, some folks are being creative with their gift giving. Another person that’s a colleague of this writer will do a lot of baking this season, creating cookies and related goodies. In fact, yours truly will assist that person in spreading the cheer. I’ll take part in making some cookies from a kit I received from all sources, the U.S. Marines. For their annual Toys For Tots campaign, they provided me with a cookie recipe called “Sgt. Clause Cookies”. Now only they sent the recipe to mer, but they provided three cookie presses. One consists of a star, the second one is an image of an old fashioned train engine (part of the logo for the Toys For Tots campaign), and the third one is the Mariners logo consisting of an eagle perched upon a globe with an anchor leaning toward the right behind the globe! Along with this kit is a glass milk bottle (empty) that has on its side “Marines-Toys For Tots”. So it’s cookies and milk (you provide) courtesy of the Leathernecks. 

But only time will find out folks will be doing their things buying their goods, even though they are paying more for them. But it’s not all about shopping. It’s the moment to take part in what this season is all about. There’s enough Christmas (or “Holiday”) music to beat the band out there. And there are those Christmas movies to embrace found on all forms of media. One can take upon the beloved from It’s A Wonderful Life to A Christmas Story as well as the forgettable! (This writer would rather soak up such “classics” as Santa Claus Conquers The Martians or even The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t starring Paul (“Mr. I Magination”) Tripp!) than other seasonal titles out there!) There’s the never ending supply of Christmas themed rom-coms appearing on The Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, UpTV, etc that tend to have the same plot line presented over and over again that tend to target middle aged women. As the old line goes, give the people what they want!

We’ll continue this essay for the season again, since it makes more sense to debate about it right now rather than, let’s say, in the month of May. Then again, perhaps that would be an ideal time to rant ‘n rave! Whatever…! 

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The Sierra Madre Playhouse presents A PATSY CLINE HOLIDAY CONCERT, featuring Cori Cable Kidder as the title Country & Western vocalist.

In this event, Cori portrays this star that recorded a number of songs that went “crossover” to both the C&W as well as the popular (“pop”) charts during her active years from 1955 through 1963. In this production, Cori as Patsy stands in front of the mic on stage to sing a selection of her hits as well as a few Christmas themed tunes as well, making this program a Christmas theme concert with a few non seasonal tunes tossed in and vice versa. She’s backed by a four piece band consisting of Mike Flick on bass, Jim Miller on percussion, Kevin Tiernan on guitar, with Sean Paxton on the keyboards. Sean also serves as musical director.

This concert (it’s really a concert as there is no “plot” to this show per se verses a standard play) is one that would make one’s spirit bright and merry. It’s also great for those that appreciate Pasty’s musical talent as Cori’s vocal talents are dead on to its original source–not high pitched or low, but unique enough where others in the musical circles attempt to mimic her range and style.

The stage itself has a selection of holiday decor dressed as designed by Orlando de la Paz, never forgetting this time of year. It’s a pleasant program that all can appreciate. 

Patsy Cline is one of the legions whose life and career was cut short. But as long as her music lives on, so will Patsy, and this concert lives toward that point.

A PATSY CLINE HOLIDAY CONCERT, presented by and performs at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre until December 23rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 PM. Other performances take place on Wednesday and Thursday, December 21st and 22nd at 7:30 PM. 

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (626) 355-4318, or online at http://SierraMadrePlayhouse.org

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BLACK EYE FRIDAY

Once upon time slightly before the turn of the 21st century, there used to be a day called “Black Friday’ ‘. This was a day created by retailers for those stores to start out the annual Christmas/Holiday shopping season with a bang. The idea of this day is to offer deep discounted bargains on selected items found within their stores to encourage their shoppers to not only buy what’s on sale, but to keep the store’s bookkeeping for the season period in the “black”. That is, making the store is making a profit rather than a loss. That loss was calling itself “in the red”. (This writer assumes that these colors were associated in creating spreadsheets with black ink used detailing a profit, and red ink signifying a loss.)

This “Black Friday” shopping period, or “BF” for short, would take place the day after Thanksgiving, the official start of the Holiday season. (Note: Although this period that usually ran between the last Friday in November through December 24th has traditional been called “Christmas”, is now known as “The Holidays” or “Holiday” because of other seasonal holidays where the exchange of gifts are part of its rituals usually fall within this time period. So this writer will call this time “The Holidays” or “Holiday”) Here, selected retail outlets, usually in the “discount department store” range, although other retailers would participate, would offer great deals in items from the store’s opening as early as 5:00 AM, and offer the goods until supplies last. There would be no rain checks or layaways. You had to get the goods right then and there, and if you missed out, that was tough beans!

This notion worked for a while. News reports would show people camping out in front of the retailer’s doors overnight just so they would be the first inside to grab the goods. Once inside the stores upon opening, crowds would grab the discounted goods however they could. Fights would sometimes break out with folks just getting hell bent on making sure that got that big screen TV set as much as 40% off, or that new fangled whatchamacallit for the incredibly low price of low prices. In spite of the mob riots, most stores came out rather well for how it stood. Folks did get their discounted goods, and retails were able to finish off their seasonal year writing their spreadsheets in that black ink.

If there is a way to complete a task, somebody is going to attempt to buck the system by making it better (or worse!!). The “hack” in this case is to offer BF sales a day earlier–Thanksgiving day! Selected outlets would open on Thursday afternoon or early evening. (Around 6:00 PM local time). This would mean that instead of camping out in front of the store overnight where the weather may be cold(er), one can enter the outlet from one’s Thanksgiving table to grab the goods. Those working at these outlets would have to work on a holiday, meaning that the retailer would have to pay time-and-a-half wages to those employees on duty. Still, folks would still be roaming in to get what’s available, even if they still carried half noshed turkey legs while in the process. 

Then something else occurred. Retails started to push BF much earlier. A week before Thanksgiving. Then right around Veteran’s Day. Then on Halloween. However, perhaps the biggest culprit of them all was another retail outlet that was nowhere in a physical sense, but everywhere, and everywhere! That “store with no store” was Amazon, and thanks to their version of BF called “Prime Day”, they can offer discounted items on selected goods to whoever desires to get them. There would be no camping out in front of a retailer for hours at a time. One could order online, have that credit card handy, and before you knew it, that item would be plopped on your doorstep within 48 hours! 

And “Prime Day” would be offered in October. To sweeten the pot, Prime Day (or “Prime Days” as it was a two-day event) would also take place in middle July, perhaps as a “sneak preview” to the event in October. Before long, folks would take upon membership in Amazon’s Prime club to not only take advantage of those Prime Day specials, but to get other incentives such as “free” shipping, getting your goods within that two day period extended no matter what day you ordered, as well as getting access to Amazon Prime, their entry to the “over the top” streaming TV service. And for you football fans out there, in 2023, they will be offering NFL football on the day after Thanksgiving, so you can get your football jones while shopping for goods you will get my cyber Monday i.e. The Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend!!

As one can expect, BF was getting a bad rap. There were tiffs going around for folks breaking out in riots just so they can get discounted items for cheap. Stores open on Thanksgiving to jump ahead of Friday wasn’t solving the problem. And stores that pushed BF well into September were making this shopping day lose its luster, assuming that there was luster to be lost to begin with.

So retailers such as Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and other places announced that they would be closed on Thanksgiving Day. And they would offer BF deals online, meaning no camping out and breaking into fight modes. And among these so-called deals on can get, the question remains. What kind of deal one is getting? Is the item on sale even something worth its purchase? After all, how many big-screen TV sets one can have, unless one has the hot nut to have a TV in every room of their homestead.

If one view that cyberspace has to say on this, one suggested that grocery stores should offer BF deals on everyday items such as meats, dairy, vegetables, and so on. With inflation as it stands, getting a deal on something for everyday consumption really makes it a deal. Ditto for gasoline! Anyone that operates a vehicle could use a BF deal while at the pump. Granted, getting a tank full of gas may not be a holiday gift to somebody, but it does help with the discount.

So come this Friday, November 25th, take it easy shopping wise. You can always find a price breaker on just about anything nowadays thanks to online shopping. And retailers will offer bargains through the season and the rest of the year. Download a retailer’s app on your phone, follow them on social media, and join their mailing list so you can be informed when the next sale will take place. No camping out at a store’s doorstep and/or participating in a riot, It’s that easy if you know how to buck the system!

PS..if anyone knows a gas station that will offer a BF deal, let this writer know. That gift will wind up as something “from me, to me”! So much for pathos!

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Theater 40 of Beverly Hills present as its third production for the 2022-23 season is GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?, Todd Kreidler’s stage adaptation of the story of a young woman’s marriage announcement to her family with a man that is different than the rest based on not who is is, but what he is!

The setting is San Francisco c.1967. The city is undergoing some changes with the rise of the presence of “flower children” as well as a progressive music scene. In the Drayton household set in a well-to-do community, Joanna Drayton (Abigail Stewart) arrives at the residence of her parents, Matt and Christine (Larry Eisenberg and Diana Angelina) bringing her fiancé Dr. John Prentice (Marc Antonio Pritchett) home for dinner. He’s a well respected doctor who will be traveling to Geneva, Switzerland for a research project he’s involved with. With the credentials Dr. Prentice possesses, he would be perfect to have this man as part of the family. But there is one element that the doctor holds, and has nothing to do with his practice. He just happens to be “Negro”, something that doesn’t bode too with Christine and Matt. 

This play, adapted from the feature film of the same title and from William’s Rose’s original screenplay, speaks upon a situation that was going on during the period of the 1960’s between the fine line of blacks present in a so-called white society. The civil rights movement was in full swing and not too far removed from the period of a “whites only” dividing line. It shows what this era was dealing with where the Negro race (the term used during this period of time) were beginning to be intergraded with the rest of the “majority” population.

As to the cast of players appearing this his production. The four leads appearing are very prime to their roles that they present. Taking a note to the film itself, Larry Eisenberg and Diana Angelina hold a resemblance to Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tracy where Eisenberg mimics much of Tracy’s mannerisms. Marc Antonio Pretchett as Dr. John Prentice is more robust in stature than what his character appeared in the feature. (The legionary Sidney Poitier appeared in that role!) Along with the other players that appear in this stage production, Frederick Dawson and Patricia A. Lewis as John Prentice, Sr. And Mary Prentice, John Jr.’s parents, stand out on their own. And following up are Jenn Robbins as Hillary St. George, an art dealer that works with Christina, David Hunt Stafford as Monsignor Ryan, Matt’s friend and golfing buddy, and Crystal Yvonne Jackson as “Tillie” Binks, the “colored” domestic help a.k.a. maid.

Another element to note is Michael Mullen’s costuming that harks from the period of the 1960’s, Judi Lewin’s hair, wig, and markup design that complements the costuming, and Theater 40’s resident set designer Jeff G. Rack creates the Drayton residence that is ultra modern for the era from its furnishing, the fixtures and artwork that line the walls, as well as its color scheme.

This play’s focus as directed by Cate Caplin is how race relations were set domestically during the second half of the 20th century. Since that period, much of what is spoken about within this program has eased up a bit. However, its full potential is still a work in progress. Only time, as well as its full integration, will allow this transaction for completion. But for now, it’s a stage production that is crafted very well and shows that everyone can indeed get along, assuming that its acceptance is fully unabridged.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until December 18th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. Additional performances take place on Wednesday, December 7th and 14th at 7:30 PM. No performances on November 24th and 25th.    

For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org

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THE FABELMANS (Universal) stars Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy Fabelman. He lives with his family that are of the Jewish persuasion consisting of his dad Burt (Paul Dano), an electrical engineer, mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams), who plays classical music on the piano for mostly her family and nobody else, and his three sisters Natalie (Alina Brace, Keeley Karsten), Reggie (Birdie Borria, Julia Butters), and Lisa (Sophia Kopera). And there’s “Uncle” Bernie Lowet (Seth Rogen), who really isn’t their uncle, but Burt’s co-worker and best friend. He’s so close to the family, Sammy’s own clan adapts him as an uncle.

Sammy’s own journey in life starts out when he’s seven years old when Burt and Mitzi take him to the movies to see the film The Greatest Show On Earth. He becomes mesmerized by what he sees on the screen. Mitzi, always doting on her kids especially Sammy, knows that he was fascinated with the movie that he saw, and gives him Burt’s 8mm movie camera to play with. From there, he makes little films with his camera to entertain his family. Things change for the family when Burt receives a job transfer to Phenix, Arizona having the group relocate. While in Arizona, Sammy continues to make movies shot on 8mm film with his boy scout troop, eventually graduating to 16mm. The family’s third (and final) relocation takes them to “Northern California”. Although Sammy, or now called Sam as he phases himself in his teen years, discovers more about his family than he ever expected. As Sam’s folks begin to head off toward one separate direction, Sam phases into another that will later involve photographing images that move at twenty-four frames a second.

This title can be called “The Steven Spielberg Story ” as this film parallels the early life of Steven S. as he witnessed what was really going on through his personal life and the family members that came with it all. Although much of what is depicted on screen is generally influenced on Steven’s early days, it’s not necessarily a factual or even true “bio” film in the traditional sense. It mostly plays out as a medium-light melodrama that depicts his mom and dad, his siblings to a lesser extent, as well as other friends and relations that make up how Steven got his growing pains while playing with his film camera creating scripts, shooting the said script, editing the exposed imagery, and winding up showing his mini movie epics to whatever audience is accessible and available. 

The feature, written by Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, never strays off into the world of stereotypical biographical-type productions that depicts the central character progressing into the life and style that the protagonist will always be known for. It mostly depicts many of the invisible skeletons that exist within Sam’s virtual closet(s). Such as a teen attending high school, he runs into a group of guys that serve as his bullies, even ragging on him because of his spiritual persuasion i.e. being a Jew. (Diversity wasn’t practiced by teenagers in the early-middle 1960’s!) And the movie concludes with Sam meeting with a well known film director of “oaters” that gives him some hard advice. Whatever he did with that device made him well known and respected within the annals of moviedom.

But there’s more to this feature than the players that speak the lines and act them out. Rick Carter’s production design along with Karen O’Hara’s sets show off the eras that this film depicts. (1952 through 1965.) Janisz Kaminski, Steven Spielberg’s cinematographer, is back with making sure that the images photographed are to Steven’s linking. (Steven Spielberg also directed this film in case you didn’t know!!) And another cronies of S.S., John Williams, also scored the music even though there are other period music numbers that’s scattered throughout the movie’s soundtrack, from period rock ‘n roll to music scores from other films released around the time Sam desired to squint through an eyepiece of a film camera to capture the imagery best to his liking.

Two more players that appear in this film to make note of. Judd Hirch is featured as Sam’s Uncle Boris. (A “real” uncle than an adapted one!) His character just drops in from nowhere (or so it seems) to give Sam some important advice found in life, only to leave the family right away in the same way as he arrived–by way of catching a cab! And Jeannie Berlin appears as Hadassah Fableman, Mitzi’s elderly mother who is a classic example of a Jewish mom/bubbie that is from the old county and plays it strictly old school. (Both of these characters appear too briefly to make any real impact to what this feature is really all about!) 

We can also mention a monkey named Crystal billed as “Bennie the Monkey” in the end credits. This reviewer won’t make any note of his/her appearance since this isn’t a film featuring a boy and his monkey. Besides that, the animal serves as Mitzi’s pet!

The movie itself is rather entertaining, never becoming too sweet, too sappy, and keeps the melodramatic elements appear toward its point. And since Steven’s own movies are titles that are bigger than life, this notion could become the reason why it stuck to being a theatrical release rather than a title appearing on Universal’s streaming service Peacock. Besides, playing this movie in theaters will allow it to become eligible to win major movie based awards, including a possible Oscar or two. But that award giving will be up to the voting members of those groups that fob off such awards! But as for now, this title will play in theaters first and streaming for later! (Check your local listings!)

THE FABELMANS is rated “PG-13” by the MPA for occasional cussing and mild TV style violence. Now playing in real movie houses nationwide.

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There have been movies that made their mark over the many decades since movies became a way of life within the domestic lifestyle. Some titles become fast hits. People flocked to their movie theater houses to catch a glimpse of these features making them instant classics. And there are movies that came and went, only to be discovered long after the fact. These titles were not appreciated when first released and were not necessarily artistic in any ways or means. However, they gained a following emphasizing something of value toward these films. Its circle spans from becoming unique in their own right, to being a movie that became so bad in quality, they were good in appeal!

These types of movies were called “cult movies” since they attracted a small yet devoted audience. Sometimes they are called “underground films” because they fell under the radar so to speak, only to pick up their momentum to be obliged for what they are: movies that can be campy, schlocky, unintentionally comical, and are so distinctive, other filmmakers make an attempt to copy and possibly upstage them, even through its original source wasn’t very good to begin with.

Millie De Chririco, programmer for TCM’s Underground slot to highlight these sort of features that almost became forgotten, and Quatoyiah Murry, former editorial programmer at TCM, compiled their book TCM Underground: 50 Must-See Films from the World of Classic Cult and Late-Night Cinema (Running Press) that write and compiles fifty of these titles that made them what they are: Movies that grew in stature because a dedicated audience discovered (or re-discovered) them again, enough to earn these feature titles into the annals of cult status.

In their book, the authors write and review these movies that range from comedy, drama, action/adventure, and fantasy. (The core of these movies were released in the 1960’s through the 1980‘s, yet a few 1950’s titles were added for their “artistic” value!)

In their book, Chririco and Murry divide their fifty into categories such as crime features loaded with action, and plenty of it with an emphasis of using black/ghetto culture as its origins. (Across 11th Street, Friday Foster, and even I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, a parody of “Blaxploitation” features!) There are films consisting of domestic families that are twisted, weird, and even homicidal. (Eating Raoul, Secret Ceremony, and Fleshpot On 42nd Street). Horror titles fall into cultdom rather easily since horror titles carry themselves on their own (Blackula, The Brood, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, etc.) Then there’s the youth rebellion titles featuring teenagers and young adults (under the age of 25) that start taking over the joint because they can and even succeed in the process! (Born in Flames, Little Darlings, Roller Boogie) And rounding up this collection are movies that fall into the category of so-bad-it’s-good, such as Mac And Me and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. The former title is a cross between an “E.T” rip-off and a ninety minute commercial for McDonalds, complete with an appearance of Ronald McDonald!! The latter title is based on a bubble gum card series featuring ugly kids dwelling in garbage cans that itself was a parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids line of plush dolls. There are musicals that went bad to good, such as Xanadu, a big budget film from Universal Pictures featuring Olivia Newton-John following up to her previous appearance in Grease for Paramount, and dancer Gene Kelly appearing in his final feature. And there’s the comedy Thank God It’s Friday, an ensemble piece that takes place on a “typical” night at a disco. Its song, “Last Dance” sung by Donna Summer was even good enough for voting members of the Motion Picture Academy to award an Oscar to that movie for “Best Song” that year!

Of course, there’s a lot more movies they write about in this book. And most, if not all, of these titles were nearly ignored by movie goers through their theatrical runs. They were discovered later through cable TV showings as well as home video releases, making them available for multiple runs on odd hours of the day, as well as seen on videotape to screen as long and as often as the viewer desired. Just long as they don’t forget to return the tape back to the video store it came from and didn’t forget to “be kind-rewind!

These kinds of movies have finally deserved their spotlight that the filmmakers never thought that they would wind up at. Now these movies that do exist are appreciated because they are different and very unique. After all, such cult titles as David Lynch’s Easurehead and John Water’s Pink Flamingos were worthy enough to be listed as registered films through the Library of Congress’s Film Preservation board. (Who would ever know??)

With an introduction by Patton Oswald and loaded with photos, illustrations, as well as sidebar notes that range from “OMG” to “WTF?” moments to look for in the said film, Underground is a book that would fit nicely into anyone’s book collection of movies that are deemed classic in their own right. Perhaps over the years, other titles released in the 1990’s and even into the 21st century will be cult enough to have its own tally into cultdom. A few titles are already earning that status. Just give it more exposure on the streaming sites or on DVD to find its devoted audience. Time and taste will tell!

TCM Underground is available wherever finer books ore sold, both in store and online.

Also available as an electronic “e” book.

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On behalf of the staff and management of Accessibly Live Off-Line.com, we wish each and everyone of you folks out there a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

-See you next week!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

BACK FROM THE BRINK or PICTURE PERFECT AGAIN!

A reader recently informed us that Eastman Kodak, still located in Rochester, New York, is ramping up their film industry again to develop film (pun intended) for use in still cameras.

The reader named “DogMa’sSon” sent us a link to Kodak’s Twitter account at https://twitter.com/Kodak that came with a message from Jim Continenza, Executive Chairman & CEO through his Linkedin page https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/back-from-brink-leading-kodak-comeback-jim-continenza/  with its headline Back from the Brink: Leading the KODAK Comeback informing those that Kodak is getting back on its feet with the revived interest in film for taking still pictures and well as making moving ones.

First and foremost, we congrads Kodak for weathering out the storm so to speak in never giving up on the idea that capturing pictures on film will last as long as one keeps the prints and its negatives in a safe, cool, and dry place. Those pictures will last as long as intended while digital pictures ave yet to see any longevity in their creation.

Of course, it’s rather obvious why regular folks (as well as a few “non regular people”) aren’t using film to capture their Kodak moments as they once did. Although prints still will look good, people aren’t necessarily concerned in keeping pictures as archival gems. They just want to snap a picture for the moment, taking pictures as often as they can just because they have the ability to do so.

Back in the days from not so long ago (mostly, 20th century), picture taking was used often, but only for moments where snapping a trigger from a camera really meant something on both sides of the camera device. Because with only 36 chances to take a pic with a camera, one had to be rather picky on how many pix one would use with their camera. This could be using a standard 35mm camera including those “point-and-shoot” lines of camera that were simple and rather easy to use, to a “pro” camera where one had to focus the lens as well as making sure that the exposure was done properly, using a lot of “mumbo-jumbo” techniques adjusting of all of the knobs and tiny levers that were on the camera body.

And there were the slim sized pocket cameras that used 110 sized film that were housed inside of a plastic cartridge. All one had to do was to open the door located in the back of the camera, slip the cartage inside of its measured slop, close the door, wind the film to its first exposure, and snap away! Granted, those 110 cameras didn’t give out a high quality picture as the 35mm camera did, but those pix were those taken at the moment. It was a created camera to have on one’s person just in case one wanted to take a picture right then and there–sometimes at the spur of the moment!

We don’t have to state that nowadays, everyone has a camera on their person that is disguised as a phone. And unlike the 110 camera of yore, the quality of the pictures are high-def quality. And depending on what type of phone one is capturing the moment, those pix can be used for professional purposes. Apple has stated for many a year that their ever lovin’ iPhones can put us high quality pix enough for some pix captured on an iPhone are just as “pro” as one can get. Ditto for capturing moving imagery!

Even though Kodak is raving about their film industry making its welcomed comeback, there are a few things to note. First of all, finding rolls of 35mm film are a little tough to come by. Places known for grabbing films such as Walmart, Target, and any drugstore chain no longer carries their film stock. One would have to go to a dedicated camera outlet to grab a roll, or head on over to Amazon and get it online. And when it comes to processing? Lotsa luck on that side of the tale! Target no longer offers film processing and hasn’t done so since the late aughts! Walmart used to offer film processing off site. In  return, one would get a CD with their photos as digitized JPEG films, but would not receive the negatives!. And besides, film processing as well as the film stock isn’t cheap. In this day and age, people take pix with their phones for free!

So go ahead folks. Take all of the pix you desire. Post them through your favorite social media outlets for others to see then or not! But make sure you thank Kodak for keeping the idea alive! Make that “Kodak moment” something to cherish for the many years to come! (PS..don’t forget to smile!!

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HOME MADE MOVIES (& TV!)

Back in September, Universal Pictures released through its social media portals, the “official” trailer to The Fabelmans, a dramatic story on how a nice Jewish kid living with his family in post-war America took his passion in making movies and how this passion became his life long career.

The feature, written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner and directed by Spielberg, is generally “The Steven Spielberg Story” that takes the protagonist named Sammy Fabelmans (played by newcomer Gabriel LaBelle) and how he discovered movies by not just watching them in a theater, but how he can create them with the aid of an 8mm movie camera, and telling his stories through the magic of what movies were all about.

This notion of taking media and using it as a “voice” isn’t new. Back in the so-called “good old days”, if one wanted to create some type of artistic expression, one really had to work with it either as a hobby or as something one can actually get paid to maintain this passion one may hold true to their heart, mind and soul.

Now when this writer speaks about what may be called “the good old days”, we will be speaking before that notion of “The Internet” became accessible to the public at large. This would mean anytime up to the end of the 20th century. (2000) Back then, one had to use whatever tools that were available through manual and antilog that showcased the ability of its user, or “fan” so to speak!

Of course, this creative and perhaps artistic talent could be based on the written word (a manuscript) or through an artistic object. (Painting, objet d’art, etc.). However, for simplicity’s sake, we will limit this artistic expression based on electronic means, such as making a movie or even a video (TV) production.

Back before the days of what the internet and all of its gear connected to this network was just a novelty, it was possible for kids (boys mostly, but a few girls did participate) to grab dad’s and/or mom’s camera to show to the world they had access to that they too, could make a movie or a TV show! The latter choice of TV was added in the 1980’s when video cameras, along with the decks that could record such media on videotape only a 1/2” wide, were available to the general public.

Many of these kids teetered toward videotape mostly for economic reasons. Blank video tapes were cheaper to get than a roll of Super 8mm film. In 1982, the cost of a blank tape made by 3M under its Scotch brand cost around $10.00, and could record images at a minimum of two hours (120 minutes) in time length. A roll of Kodak Super 8mm film cost around the same price. One can shoot footage with a three minute running time, and the price did not include the processing of the film! (That was around $5.00!) And one had to wait a week’s time to get the film processed to see if whatever was shot was suitable for use. On videotape, one watches the imagery almost immediately. And the best part of using tape. If one didn’t like the imagery that was shot, one can erase the tape and start over. For film, once that was exposed, then one was stuck with what was shot. Many budding filmmakers shot dozens of rolls of film to create their next epic, only to discover that the imagery was over exposed, under exposed, out of focus, or a combination of all three! And if one wanted sound with that film, then that should have to be recorded onto a separate tape recorder, and wouldn’t necessarily be in sync to the picture. There were Super 8mm sound movies, but those setups were rather pricey.

But getting back to shooting movies. For those kids that were privileged enough to have access to a film camera, it was more of a passion that was also a challenge. Yours truly was one of those many sets of youth that held on to that passion! Although I adored movies (and still do), I had a bigger interest in TV, since television was “everywhere”. Just about everyone I knew had a TV set, and one can watch this device in the comfort and privacy of one’s homestead. Movies have to be seen inside of a theater or a place that resembles a theater, a big darkened room with a row of seats facing a white screen where the image can be projected.

Even though I had interest in making TV shows, I didn’t know where (or how) to begin that process. I could not walk into a TV station and say “Can I play with your TV cameras?” I’m sure as a dumb kid, I would be laughed at first, and to be thrown out of the station’s building the next. I only knew the type of shows I would watch, but really didn’t know how to make them. The idea was there, but not the concept.

That did change when I was a teen. At my local high school, they did have a working TV studio. This school was a first for a high school to provide television production as it was first set up in the 1960’s. (Time Magazine wrote up an article on this video service back in 1967!) By the time I was a student at the school,their video services were up and running.

But it wasn’t a few years later in the 1980’s when I began my video production career through public access TV, where this “passion” became a “career”. That tale of where I journeyed and how I arrived has been told through isolated means many times through the pages of this news service. But for those that have that same desire that I did back in the day, they have the world at their feet.

Thanks to portals connected through social media from YouTube to TikTok, they can create content that can be seen by not just a few folks, but my millions, and even have the chance of being discovered by those that can lead them into fame, fortune, and both! And they don’t have to necessarily go through any formal training to get their points across. All they do is to hold up their phones, hit a few apps, and get started. They can even do their thing live for all of the world to see for its better or for its worse!

Again, getting this quick and easy way of fame through media in today’s landscape may not hold the same drama as Spielberg’s feature may contain, but it shows that a kid such as Steven could make it to the movies, even though that his story is just another isolated episode out of many. And of course, his feature does cater to a specific demographic that sadly, holds little to no room (or interest) for their participation in the TikTok world. That discrimination may not be ethical or legal, but that is the way things tend to be. If somebody has to pass the torch to somebody else, it would be from the “film makers” to the social media “influencers”.

And the cycle continues.

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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MUSIC TO YOUR EAR PODS

This article will speak (or “sing and vocalize”) about popular music. You know, the form of music that is within the world of what’s new, what’s popular, and the state of where it fits within this society we live in for real, rather than through a virtual reality avenue.

There are a lot of choices of where one can get access to music. Depending on one’s preference, there is no shortage in where to find the tunes to keep one amused with.

There are many basic formats to the stance of music that’s available at this time; Rock/pop, country, rhythm and blues, jazz, classical, and so on. There are various versions to these form of music, many times blended or presented in a hybrid form. (Progressive Rock, Urban Country, Latin Hip-Hop, etc. etc.) Of course, the personal tastes of all said music depends on the person who consumes it and where they stand within their own lives.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the way to hear music was through a live performance, followed by recording transcribed on phonographs, as well as through media, mostly on radio. Over time, that extended through other forms of recorded media, from magnetic audio tapes, compact disks, digital files on MP3 and its many offshoots, and leading up to the ol’ internet where any kind of music could be found, along with the musical artists that could showcase what they want the public to hear, enjoy, and even possibly buy recordings of! This is important to those that desire to become well known within their leagues a.k.a. “become famous”. A band or individual artists making it big in the music biz would be able to present their music online to those that could hear it for the first time or for its last.

Before the internet, the recorded media of music could be obtained through a retail establishment better known as a “record store”, were a retailer would offer thousands of titles on the widest known form of media, be it records (known known as “vinyl”, named after the type of material these records are created, magnetic audio tape from cassettes, 8-track tape cartridges, or even reel-to-reel 1/4” tape. Then came the compact disks, (CDs) that nearly killed 12” records.

Finally, there is digital, an audio based format that can’t be seen physically but can be heard. This format is one of the most popular forms of audio since one doesn’t have to “build” it on any fixed physical element.

Apple paved the way for this digital format with its iPod devices, a sound player where one can carry thousands of sounds in their pockets. Here, musical sounds of any type can be heard where one roamed. When it came to voice, there was the talk program that wasn’t found through the radio. This gave birth to the “podcast” because one can hear this talk show through their iPods, as well as the many audio device knockoffs that came and went.

But music remains and rules! And no matter what kind of music is preferred and desired, it’s out there for those to enjoy, share, buy, sell, and even trade. The list is endless.

What makes collecting music appealing is finding a specific recording of a song, an album, a specific artist or band that performs the music, and so on. Yours truly who has a small yet impressive collection of music mostly on records/vinyl, would always be on the lookout for a specific song or collection of songs. I would prefer the best known medium to where the song would likely exist on, but at times, any format would be OK! Just as long as the recording it at its maximum audio quality, I would take the media and keep it until a better recording would be discovered, if that would occur at all!

To give one example, I was looking for a novelty record recorded by The Nutty Squirrels. This “band” consisted of a pair of squirrels that would sing in a high pitched tone of voice that would be backed up by a jazz band while the squirrels would sing scat vocals; nonsense words such as “hmmm”, “doo-wee”, or the title of their biggest hit “Uh-Oh”. (To give a brief background, The Nutty Squares was a creation of jazz musicians Don Elliott and Granville “Sascha” Burland that performed the jazz music and provided the vocal played back in a speeded up tone, cashing in to the popularity of Ross Bagdasarian’s Alvin and the Chipmunks.)

Anyway, I was seeking this album for years. I used to score through record collecting shows, garage and estate sales, and even look inside of garbage cans to find this album. No such luck! That is, until I did an online search for the sounds extracted from this album. Sure enough, I found them. So now on my Apple Music/iTunes account, I have every single album The Nutty Squirrels ever recorded! And I found them all within a twenty-four hour period versus the years(!) of searching for a physical album. And if I do find such an album, I’ll grab it! Until then, it’s a whole load of MP3 audio files to keep this fan amused!

As to what’s popular, the best way to hear the songs that were the “hot hits” of the day was to tune to any radio station that programmed what’s known to the public as “Top-40” and what the radio industry just calls Contemporary Hit Radio, or CHR. These stations would program the 40 top songs as listed on the Billboard magazine music charts. Many communities have their own version of a top-40/CHR station where one can hear what was at its peak of popularity. And this type of radio programming portal was very active from the latter part of the 1950’s right up to the turn of the 21st Century.

Today, although some of the legacy stations that were around at the time of the top-40 heyday (KIIS-FM in Los Angeles is an example) are still around, their programming isn’t limited to the “hot-hits”, but their format of music and the artists it comes from this era remain on the air.

But music as a whole holds a very long shelf life. Many people prefer the music that they knew of while in their formative years, and still stick to that era. If you were first aware of music during the so-called “grunge” period of the 1990’s, then you still latch on to those sounds. If one was a fan of the heavy metal a.k.a “headbanger” sounds from the 1980’s, then you still have that type of music programming into your music portals. And the list goes on.

However, not all music keeps its popularity over time and tide. Music from the Big Band era (1930’s through 1950’s) has lost some of its luster since those that grew up with those sounds during its active period are either very old or are deceased. And unlike rock ‘n roll from the 1950’s that eventually replaced it, it hasn’t been passed down over the generations. On a side note, those that grew up with rock from the 1970’s did pass those sounds to their kids or those younger people within their domain. And many of those younger ones did attach themselves to those sounds! I recently saw a teen aged girl (age 15?) donning a reproduction design of a Led Zeppelin t-shirt c.1977. Compare this to me as a fifteen year old wearing a t-shirt with a likeness of Ben Bernie on its front side. Then again, I wouldn’t mind wearing a shirt with a photo of Glen Miller holding a trombone on his shoulder as he was seen within his publicity pictures. Then again, I can only speak for my musical and fashion tastes.

So no matter what one desires to hear or hear again, the notion is the same. It’s all about the music no matter what it is, where it is, or how it’s consumed. As long as there are notes, it’s the tunes that make it all happen. Just put another dime in the record machine…

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Pasadena’s A Noise Within theater continues its run of August Wilson’s RADIO GOLF, a drama about an influential real estate developer that desires to renew a local community in his native Pittsburgh while running on the ticket for mayor, and the struggles he must face based upon his business partner’s actions and a man living in the neighborhood for generations that stand in the way of progress.

The physical setting is an area known as “The Hill District” or simply “The Hill”, a collection of neighborhoods populated by the local African Americans community. It’s 1997, a period where many urban cities were undergoing a phase of post-modern civic renewal, building structures consisting of newer housing and retail outlets normally found in suburban landscapes. Christian Telesmar plays Harmond Wilks. He’s a college educated man running a real estate business he inherited. He becomes involved with a new development in his district that will feature a housing complex complete with such retail outlets as a Starbucks coffee house, a Barns & Nobel Booksellers and a Whole Foods grocery outlet. Harmond also has his eye on running for Mayor with the possibility of becoming the first African American to hold this post in Pittsburgh, with his wife Mame (Sydney A. Mason) serving as his campaign manager. Meanwhile, his best friend and golfing buddy Roosevelt Hicks (DeJuan Christopher) holds interest in this development, in addition to a local radio station serving the American American community. But there is something blocking their progress, a dilapidated and broken-down house owned by Elder “Old Joe” Barlow (Alex Morris) who lived in the area for generations. It’s a story of how a man that wants to do well for his community has to face a series of situations that make his work more complicated than he realized while attempting to “keep it real”.

This play is part of the ten part cycle that playwright August Wilson created during his career in the realm of theater. This chapter is its latest period wise (1990s), as well as serving as his final work. (Wilson completed this play in the middle 2000s, and died in 2005). In this production, the cast of five players that are featured in this piece including Matt Orduna as Sterling Johnson, a local contractor that wants to assist in this development while keeping his notions of protecting The Hill, performs within their method of stage and artistic harmony. The drama it presents is more of an urban practice setting rather than a domestic version of such. (Family fights are never implied!) It also presents how the American American community is rising to stand for itself, in spite of the fact that they (unintentionally) must cater to the white community. (Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Barnes & Noble are labeled as upscale retail outlets usually found in such communities with a demographic considered as “white”!)

But race isn’t the real measure here. Its the level of understanding of what serves as ideal to those that may benefit. As such, this play presents itself as a blend of an upbeat and down ridden mood piece of stage theater. There is good to Harmond’s intentions in saving his neighborhood from blight, while attempting to please those that live and dwell with it.

As to the production aspects, Sibyl Wickersheimer’s set design shows Harmond’s office space as serious, complete with the standard office pieces found in real estate offices and political campaign headquarter locations. Mylette Nora’s costuming also reflects these aspects with Harmond and his colleagues dressed up smartly and professional while Old Joe and Sterling are more “working man” down threaded. Most importantly, Gregg T. Daniel’s stage direction makes it all happen with its cast. The five stage artists show how something that links between urban gentrification and saving the neighborhood for its people can become great theater. And this play falls within this category to its maximum stance.

PS…The title of this play connects itself to the hint of a radio show that speaks about the game of golf, very much akin to a “podcast” of today’s landscape whose topical matter is all about hitting the links with a golf club and ball along a green fairway. A “hole-in-one” indeed!!

RADIO GOLF, presented by and performs at A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd. Pasadena, until November 13th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Special “talk back” sessions featuring the ensemble cast will take place following the performances held on Friday, November 4th and 11th.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 356-3100 or via online at http://www.ANoiseWithin.org


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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

ANOTHER RETRO FLASHBACK

This humble reporter will be going out of town the week this edition hits to attend a family based event in central Florida located near Orlando. This is an area that was spared from Hurricane Ida, and it will be interesting to see how this community weathered out the storm. Because I won’t be at my post, I through we would dip into our archives to place another article of interest

This article reprint (or “recycle” in order for us to appear hip and trendy), comes from something we wrote upon way back in 2005 when Eastman Kodak, the folks that nearly “invented” photography as we knew it, was faltering upon their success on not jumping on the digital bandwagon that seems to be the only method to capture imagery. Call this ploy a labor of love with the labor and not the love.

Anyway, here was our take on that issue that was published in Vol. 10-No. 37, week of September 12th, ’05…..

PICTURE PERFECT-NOT!!

On August 25th, Eastman Kodak of Rochester, New York reported that the company would lay off some 1000 jobs in its plants in Middleway, West Virginia, Rochester, NY, and in Xiaman, China. In addition to those locations, a recycling plant that handles polyester waste will shut down and reduce an operation that processes polyester raw material. Kodak will use new raw materials and farm out its recycling needs to an outside firm. Next Spring, it will also close a printer plate plant in West Virginia, and cut back on operations in China. The company presently has less than 50,000 employees worldwide, down from 75,000 in 2001, reflecting a peak of 145,300 in 1988. Sales of photographic film have been down some 30% from the past year.

So what does the above news story have to do with anything that this news service reports on? Plenty! This means that people that take photo pictures, either for professional reasons or just for fun (the majority) are not using the industry standard–film! They are using a camera all right, but a digital camera; a device that can capture photographic images, but recording those images on a computer based file to be later stored on a hard drive or other computer file storage aspect. These images can be placed on a website, e-mailed to anyone who has an e-mail address, printed on a paper element, or if the photographer doesn’t care for the image, it can be deleted, never to see the light of day again!

Let’s face it. People like to take pictures, be it for a special event (holidays, weddings, etc.) for prosperity (family portraits, etc.), or just for the hey of it! (Birthday parties, group shots of “the gang”, etc.). To encourage the joys of picture taking, Eastman Kodak, the inventor of modern photography, sold cameras by the truckload. The cameras were mostly the point-and-shoot variety. No need to fool around with f-stops, light meters, and other mumbo-jumbo. Just point the camera to the spot of what you want a picture of, press the shutter button, and you’re good to go! Film was rather inexpensive for what it was worth. Film from Kodak was readily available, sold anywhere from drug stores, gift shops, etc. Other companies, such as Fuji, Agfa, Ilford, etc. also made film. Some were more of the professional variety, meaning that the film captured the image to a better liking. The film itself may have been a bit more pricey, but one got their money’s worth if they wanted the best photos they could shoot!

Kodak, the leader of them all, had their industry all sewn up. The processing of film has remained unchanged since the 1880’s until the introduction of color film around 1939. Here, for the first time, amateur photographers can take pictures in vivid colors that are outstanding! Reds were reds, blues were blues, and greens were, well, green! Of course, it took a while until color film caught on with the public (around the 1960’s), but the idea was, anyone can take great pictures that would last nearly forever–just as long as the pictures and negatives were kept in a cool dry place, away from heat, extreme cold, and moisture!

Then, things began to change, slowly but surely. In 1990, Canon introduced the first digital cameras at the 1990 Summer Consumer Electronic Show in Chicago. These cameras took pictures like any other camera, but it didn’t use film! It stored a digital image onto a tiny hard drive built within the camera. It took a maximum of about 25 images. Once the hard drive was full, one could hook the camera up via a cable onto a desktop computer and download the images onto the computer’s hard drive. Once that was done, one can see the images to later save, print, or erase and start over. The camera on display was not going to be cheap, but it was something new and quite different. As the 1990’s progressed, other companies such as Olympus made digital cameras that used the same process as the early Canons. The D-200L, made by Olympus c.1996, looked like a point-and-shoot camera. It was rather heavy for what it was, (11 oz.) and took 40 “low resolution” pictures, or 20 “high-res” picks! The images had to be downloaded via a cable onto a desktop computer, and could be later retooled using some sort of picture imaging software, such as Adobe’s Photoshop.

To make a longer story shorter, since 2000, digital photography has taken the consumer world like gangbusters. Today, most cameras sold are digital cameras. The majority (if not all) new cameras used by consumers are digital. The camera today can take pictures far superior to the original digital cameras from a few years ago. In short, film is out, and digital is in!

That is why Kodak is downsizing. For the first time in a long time, a consumer mainstay originating from the 19th century is finally meeting its match! Photography on film, as we know it, is doomed, and may not even exist in the next 25 years–based on what is going on now!

So will digital photos take over pictures shot and recorded on film? It’s hard to tell right now! However, one element we can state. It cannot be predicted on how digital photographs will be preserved! Will they last, or will these pictures become obsolete? We are keeping a watch over this fact. And once we have updates on the state of keeping and preserving digital photography, you will read it right here via Accessibly Live Off-Line! Stay tuned!

A bit of an update of the above article. This article was written slightly two years before the first iPhones were released by Apple. Their smartphones had a built in camera attached, so taking pictures became not only easier, but changed digital photography. There was no longer a need to use a dedicated digital camera. Nowadays when folks want to take a picture on the fly, they whip out their phones to capture the moment. No longer one would use a separate device.

Also, Kodak is still around, but not in the same form as it once was. They still make commercial film stock, both for still imagery and for the moving kind. There is still a demand for this product, but not necessary for the consumer.

But photography is still alive and living. Just don’t expect to get your film from that yellow and red colored box.

So capture that selfie of yours! Everyone else seems to be at it…!


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THE BEST TV SHOWS–EVER!!

Ever since the medium called “television” started to program content that was worth viewing here in the USA, folks that eyeballed this device had started their own list of the best TV programs to tune to. These lists of course, was based on one’s personal tastes in programming.

Rolling Stone magazine has been presenting article listing their “Top 100 Shows of All Time” for a number of years, the last time was back in 2016. They recently revised that list to create another Top 100. The list itself was compiled by asking those folks that wrote about television (“the critics”) as well as those working in the industry including actors, creators, show-runners, writers, directors, producers, along with the for noted critics with the question “Give us your top 50 shows of any genre — no restrictions — defining “best” as whatever it means to you.”

According to RS, only 46 entries were replied to from the others that were sent. RS never stated how many inquiries were send, how they were sent (electronically one can assume) as well as who didn’t necessarily reply. The ones that did are listed through this link, https://www.rollingstone.com/tv-movies/tv-movie-features/best-tv-shows-all-time-voters-1234599937/ and the 100 list can be found at https://www.rollingstone.com/tv-movies/tv-movie-lists/best-tv-shows-of-all-time-1234598313/

This writer never received the inquiry to place my two cents worth. (Maybe they were limited on how many to ask, or maybe I just lost the entry form!) However, I did compile such a listing for another medium source–not so much a top 100, but a number of “top fives”. Here’s how that call began…

In 1977, William Morrow & Company published a book called The Book of Lists that was compiled by writers David Wallechinsky, Irving Wallace (his father), and Amy Wallace, Irving’s sibling. This book consisted of lists that dealt in subjects that were historical in nature, as well as unusual and downright amusing and hilarious. Their list consisted of such topics of “Those people of interest that died while on the toilet” or “Most common (and not so common) breed of dogs used as domestic pets”. It was a book that could be read in one sitting, or a book that can be read on a realized basis. It was a best seller through the latter part of the 1970’s. It was first a hardcover book, later becoming available in paperback.

Three other volumes were released shortly after. The second one came out in 1980, the third book of list was leased in 1983, as well as a revised paperback version sometime around 1993. More unusual facts and figures were published and were used by many folks. Radio station DJ’s used selections of the facts as part of their “morning drive” pieces, and newspapers and magazines played their part of points made through these lists for news articles. In short, it was the get-go source to discover these lists that were just as serious as they were funny!

In the 1983 version and on its last page, there was an open solicitation for readers out there to compile their own lists to submit to the publisher. The editors would pour over the submitted lists, and if they found something that would be suitable, that list would be included in the next edition to be published within a few years time. The solicitation included the mailing address to the publisher based in New York City.

When yours truly first glanced through the 1983 edition while browsing through the book at the Waldenbooks outlet once located with the Southdale shopping center in suburban Minneapolis (and later finding the same book in the reference section of the Hennepin County Library, located not too far away from the Southdale shopping complex), I wanted to take advantage of this offer. All I had to do was to jot down my personal list(s) on paper, seal that paper into an envelope, and mail it off to the editorial team at William Morrow & Company when it was part of the Hearst Corporation at the time. Then I would have to wait for an unspecified amount of time to find out if my list would become part of the forth edition of The Book of Lists. I just did this to prove to the book world that I can become a contributing editor of some kind. I never knew if they would even pay be for my entry should it become published. I assume that they would.

So what list could I can compiled that would be of interest to those far beyond my social circles? I knew I could not compose a list of the top five annoying habits of member of my “gang” that I once hung around with. I had to think of some subject that would be of interest to the masses.

Of course, I did find a subject to speak about that was centered around what I did as a job–my identity so to speak! And that subject was television!

Since I was an avid TV watcher from the moment I discovered this magic machine when I was a wee tot, I thought it would be fun to list the top ten favorite TV shows. It was somewhat hard to break that list down, so I condensed it with a top five. Then I realized that my taste for television came and went based on various factors. Mostly, from stages in my own life. I knew that a show (or shows) that were a favorite of mind didn’t hold out through the test of time, while other titles I discovered became my faves long after the fact. So I broke down the lists (more than one list) based upon my own age in life. Since I was starting to compile that list in 1984, I divided my life based upon my age broken down in six year time stretches as I was twenty four at the time. So my lists consisted of my top five TV shows when I was at the age of six, twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four.

So rambling behind my Smith-Corona portable electric typewriter, I typed up my list with this ever-so-important entry. After that list was typed up, I placed that list along with a cover letter, and addressed to the address placed within the book. Now all I had to do was wait for a reply, if I was even going to get a reply. (For the record, I never heard from them!)

So with that being stated, I will reprint that top five list of my favorite TV shows during those landmark stages in my life. I placed them in alphabetical order since I didn’t necessarily have a title I enjoyed better that the other. It was a program I would watch for whatever reason I did. And within this reprint, I will explain in detail toward my reason why I enjoy this program–something I didn’t include to those at William Morrow and Company.

What I will do for this article, I will list my favorite titles from age six, twelve, eighteen, twenty-four, twenty-eight, and so on right up to the age that will be an even number of my six year age cycle. That will end at age sixty. I have yet to reach the age of sixty-six, an age where I can “retire” to live out my life in one of those 55+ active adult communities where I can play golf and pickelball during the day, drive my golf car(t) around the community, and do other things that domestic retirees do when they have nothing else to do but keep busy for the sake of keeping busy!! (Sorry about the editorial there! Perhaps that may be an idea for a future TV series??)

Anyway, for those that are TV history and trivia, one can guess the eras these programs were around and in production. It may give my age away, but that is the way these things seem to work out!

RICH B.’s TOP FIVE FAVORITE TV SHOWS OVER THE YEARS
(Listed in their alphabetical order)

(Age Six)
Batman
The Danny Kaye Show
The Jackie Gleason Show
The Monkees
The Red Skelton Hour

I enjoyed Batman because it came out of comic books as my elder brother became a comic book collector when the modern era of comic book collecting started in c.1964. I was also like a live action cartoon. Ditto for The Monkees as the four Monkees consisting of Peter, Mickey, David, and Mike were just as comical. Besides, they played songs that were rock ‘ roll that I heard on my local top-40 radio stations. I also enjoyed the Danny Kaye Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, and The Red Skelton Hour as my folks also tuned into those shows. I found Danny Kaye and Red Skelton very childlike as they were grown-up kids. And Jackie Gleason and Red also did skits done in pantomime, something I enjoyed as some of the jokes and gags presented may have been too “grown-up” for me. Jackie did some pantomime, especially when he played his character known as “The Poor Soul”. Red made an effort in appearing in skits without words. In fact, the last skit of the program was called “The Silent Spot” where announcer Art Gilmore would introduce each skit with David Rose and his Orchestra providing the underlined music score while Red was doing his thing. (Jackie’s music score was supplied by Sammy Spear.) In spite of my parent’s interest in these variety shows, they were still my favorites.

(Age Twelve)
All In The Family
The Dean Martin Show
The Flip Wilson Show
Love American Style
Sanford and Son

Variety shows of the musical variety were still part of my favorites, but for different reasons. As a “tweener”, I controlled what I wanted to watch without my folks getting in the way, if not controlling the actual TV set! So everything I was watching was picked by me. However, there was influence such as the case with All In the Family.

That program because the hottest show around dealing in subjects where only a scant few years before, was too “taboo” to speak upon, especially in a situation comedy! Granted, I didn’t necessarily understand the entire scope of subjects that went out in around the Bunker residence located in Queens, New York–even through each episode was introduced by a CBS staff announcer as “From Television City in Hollywood”. (And for the record, that “Television City” wasn’t in “Hollywood”, but on 7800 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles California 90036 as Johnny Olson would say if I wanted to write in for tickets to see The Price Is Right in person–another favorite show of mine that didn’t make the list!)

I enjoyed The Dean Martin Show and Love American Style for different reasons. Dean-o would play the sexy (if not drunken) tux donning host with a bevy of young women that would appear in scantly clad outfits. This bevy of “girls” was billed as “The Golddiggers” that danced and sang on occasion. They were very sexy as well. And Dean would appear in skits and comic routines that played upon their sex appeal that appeared on that NBC program each Thursday night. Love American Style was a program that consisted of an anthology of comical skits and stories that dealt with love, marriage, romance, divorce, and sex based upon the standards and practices that ABC dictated. These two programs were the ones where I learned my lessons in sex education. They didn’t talk about “the birds and the bees” per se, although some skits in LAS hinted on those facts.

I liked The Flip Wilson Show because of the characters he played on the program, very akin to Red Skelton’s collection of characters as well as Jackie Gleason’s. My favorite character the Flip portrayed (and everyone else’s favorite for that matter) was Geraldine Jones, a sassy liberated woman that knew what she wanted using catchphrases such as “The Devil Made Me Do It’ and “What You See Is What You Get”-terms that eventually fell within the American English lexicon. (WYSIWYG is still used by computer programmers and graphic arts designers to this very day!) And I also enjoyed recreating the Flip Wilson “handshake” that consisted of multiple hand slappings, elbow bumps, and butt knockings.

Sanford And Son was a program that took a while for me to get into. I enjoyed Red Foxx playing the childlike Fred Sanford (the “fall guy”) while Demond Wilson played his son Lamont as he was the “straight man”. It was a whole lot better than what The Brady Bunch presented that played opposite of S&S every Friday night. (And no offense to Sherwood Schwartz!!)

(Age Eighteen)
NBC’s Saturday Night Live (on occasion)
“Old movies on TV”
60 Minutes
The Tomorrow Show
Weekend with Lloyd Dobbins

This is where the list becomes interesting. It appeared that I was beginning to “grow up” as I was turning into the shows that were geared toward an audience that was far older than me. I started to shift from sitcoms and variety shows into news and information programs, as well as a program I tuned into to based on having no choice, followed up with a show that wasn’t a show at all! It was mostly content airing within a time slot.

The Tomorrow Show was a talk program hosted by Tom Snyder that aired Monday through Thursday nights on NBC right after The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and was part of the trio of shows that NBC offered with Today as its first entry, Tonight as its second, and Tomorrow as its third. (There was no “Yesterday” show on NBC’s schedule!) The subjects and guests that Tom had on ranged from topics in the news to those that only can be discussed after 12:00 AM central time, and 1:00 AM eastern/pacific. And many of these topics were sexual in nature. They spoke about the rising porn industry, wife swapping, homosexuality, and where I first heard about transgenders. But they also dealt with lighter topics including those involved in vintage television with guests as Ted Mack who once hosted Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour, Shirley Dinsdale who was a ventriloquist active in the late 1940‘s-early 1950‘s that was the first female to win an Emmy with her dummy Judy Splinters, as well as a program dedicated to NBC’s first late night show, Broadway Open House. And as an adolescent, I did have an interest in vintage TV–an interest I still hold to this very day!

60 Minutes was a program that CBS first aired in 1968 and consisted of a weekly news magazine that resembled a physical magazine complete with article sections, opinion pages, as well as a comical column written and reported by Andy Rooney. It was rather hard to tune in at first as it floated around the CBS schedule that bounced on every other Tuesday nights, Friday nights, and late Sunday afternoons if it wasn’t preempted by professional sports coverage! After the cancellation of the family friendly melodrama series Three For The Road, CBS plunked in to its time slot at 7:00 PM eastern/pacific (6:00 PM central) in December of 1975, where it has remained on the CBS program schedule to this very day. (I didn’t like Three For The Road as I found it as rather silly and stupid!!)

Weekend with Lloyd Dobbins was a “hipper” version of 60 Minutes than only aired once a month on Saturday nights, usually the last Saturday of the month when Saturday Night Live took a break. Many of their segments on Weekend were lighter in nature, some slightly tongue in cheek with subjects never taken seriously. It has the same humor level as SNL, but without using a repertory cast of players and having a studio audience to laugh and applaud with all of the action.

Old movies consisted of time slots that featured old theatrical movies that were released from the 1920s (soundies mostly) through the 1960s. I discovered old movies a few years before, and now I was really taking them seriously rather that watching something that was old and creaky looking, if not having seeing them as black & white. I was lucky enough to live in a major city (Chicago) that has many local channels in my disposal that programmed old movies on their many times slots. CBS affiliate WBBM (channel 2), ABC’s WLS (channel 7), and independent station (and my old movies-on-TV “god”) WGN at channel 9 programmed old movies on Saturday nights from 10:30 PM until its conclusion. Sometimes one channel had a movie that I had an interest in looking at. Sometimes two did, other times all three had a good movie on, while at some time, nobody has a movie that I wanted to watch. They is why I tuned into SNL. It served as a place mark when channels 2, 7, and 9 weren’t “putting out”. Besides, some of the skits and players were indeed funny enough to hold my interest.

(Age Twenty Four)
60 Minutes
“Old movies and new(er) movies on the pay channels”

This list has shrunken over the years as many of my faves from the previous years were either gone or took another direction. 60 Minutes was still informative, but I wasn’t devoted to it was I used to be. Old movies still kindred my interests, but I became tired to see them chopped up so the local stations could cram in more commercials. And by then, such cable channels as HBO, Showtimes, Cinemax, and The Movie Channel would air recent (one year after its theatrical release and older) titles without cuts or interruptions, meaning if there were cussing or extreme violence depicted within the movie, the viewer heard and/or saw it as originally intended. Of course, one had to pay for the privilege to see such movies on those channels as they were not advertiser supported. But since I worked for a cable company, I was able to get access to those channels either as free or for a reduced monthly price. Since I now had a VCR at my disposal, I would record those movies off-air to watch them later. That is, if I could find the time to watch my videotapes, let alone TV itself.

(Age Thirty)
60 Minutes
“Movies on pay TV” (on occasion)

As I got busy within my life, and with the ol’ VCR (and a mess of black videotapes) at my disposal, I was able to record these shows off-air to watch them later–or not! Sometimes it would take me weeks, months, and even years to “get around” to watching something I taped over the air a long time before. I started to limited my taping because I would have tapes from years before that still remained on my “to watch later” pile. Some of those tapes are still sitting on that same pile to this very day!!)

(Age Thirty Six)
60 Minutes (on occasion)

By now, my life got complicated that ever before. I stopped recording shows off the air knowing I would never look at them. So if I did watch anything on TV, it was something that was only for the moment. Around my thirty-six year age bracket, I recall watching the Golden Globe Awards on NBC because my girlfriend at the time was interested in seeing this awards show. I personally didn’t care for the Globes (something that also remains within my personal tastes), but I did so as an excuse to have her cuddled with me on her couch at her small condo with was slightly messy. She had a comforter thrown on her couch that was handy enough to snuggle up in!

(Age Forty Two)
60 Minutes (on occasion)

By now, “on occasion” meant I would tune in once or twice a season. It was only watched when I had access to a TV set. Then again, local CBS radio affiliate KNX-AM would air the audio portion of 60 Minutes for those that wanted to tune in but didn’t have access to a TV set. Most of what was programmed one can follow by its soundtrack and didn’t necessarily need pictures to follow the news story discussed. I believe KNX still offers this radio version each week.

(Age Forty Eight)
“Nothing”

Thant’s right folks. During this age, I tuned into nothing. Following 60 Minutes each Sunday was too bothersome for me. Besides, I had a ton of videotapes as well as DVDs of content that I will yet to access.

(Age Fifty Four)
Mad Men

I had an interest in this series since I was involved in the production of this title that aired on AMC (formally American Movie Classics that programmed older titles and were the dominant source of uncut films before Turner Classic Movies took over the reins!) My involvement in MM was working with its first set decorator, Amy Wells providing props from the mid-century modern era of the late 1940’s through the 1960’s. Not only I enjoyed the stories and its characters, the “eye candy” was just too much and it was accurate to a “T”! (She knew how to dress the inside of a Catholic Church from its pre-Vatican II days!) My first involvement was to provide a sound clip of a telephone dial tone that was used in the early 1960’s. (It wasn’t a sound that was “hummmm” like today, but mostly as a sharp sounding “eehhhh”.) This entry morphed into providing physical props I would find in garage and estate sales I attended each weekend. I got a cheap thrill to see props and set dressings that I provided that may still have my fingerprints on ‘em! One prop I sold to the production crew that I regret doing so was a copy of the 1962 edition of the yellow pages as issued by Pacific Telephone for the San Fernando Valley. And I never saw that prop in any episode! Besides, what would the folks at Sterling Cooper Advertising do with a yellow pages directory for the San Fernando Valley area? (Amy, if you still have that phone book, please contact me!!)

(Age Sixty)
“Nothing!”

I turned sixty about a month after the pandemic was rearing its ugly head where folks were forced to batten down the hatches because somebody big, bad, and unknown was out there ready to grab (and kill) you! Folks did hunker down, this time armed with the big-screen TV devices, as well as their laptops, electronic pads, and their smartphones. Streaming media was being introduced, and became part of the “new normal” that lives on today. I myself started to watch a massive collection of videotapes consisting of vintage TV programs that were recorded off the air by a person from the early 1970’s until he passed away in the middle 2010’s. One program I would watch again was The Tomorrow Show (see my list of favorites as age eighteen) that a TV fan recorded off the air. Many of these episode I recall watching back in the day when they first aired, in addition to a few I missed for various reasons now long forgotten. What made it interesting that I was watching these episode again with an “adult” mind, rather than as a younger kid that stayed up late at night (on a school night as that) just because I wanted to see such guests as Soupy Sales, or an episode that featured those involved in creating animated cartoons.

I did try some feeble attempt to watch some “newer” TV titles, only to discover that those titles may be the greatest thing to binge upon, but not for me! I personally watched the first ten minutes of the Netflix documentary series Tiger King after shutting the program off! After all, I knew this pandemic would be over soon so I can do out and do my normal stuff. One can only participate in Zoom meetings so many times!

So that is my list of favorite TV shows. It won’t be another four years until my next entry of six year apart will be due. But I don’t think it’s going to hold a list of titles. By then, TVs and the programming with it will be bigger, badder, and more accessible that ever before. As to being better? That’s another a subject limited to taste and accessibility. And the notion as The Book of List still remains. This time, it’s hidden and found through blog posts, podcasts, TikToc entries, and other portals that make up the world of social media. And yours truly entered that realm by placing this list in this edition of AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com found in cyberspace. I try to get within the flow!

And as the late Tom Snyder would say at the end of his program, “Goooood Night Everybody!!”

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SCREAMING STREAMING-PLUS OR MINUS

It isn’t really any surprise that streaming video, the type of programming content that is accessible through a broadband internet connected source, now dominates the ways folks can get their television and related programming for those to consume.

Horowitz Research, a media research group, recently released a survey report conducted earlier this year that asked some 2200 domestic video content users of adult age on their habits on viewing content through streaming services as well as alternative outlets. (Cable and traditional over-the-air sources.)

Based on the report, some two thirds of those replacing (66%) stated that they mostly watch video content through streaming service, while one to three hours per week are devoted to cable and over the air.

The ones that stream state they use an average of seven ‘channels” for streaming, four that are subscription and the remainder are free a.k.a. ad supported.

As to the ones that are paid/subscription, Netflix still dominates. However, thanks to Netflix raising their prices, as well as the heave source of competition that’s been springing up of the last few years, they don’t have as much subscribers as they once held on to as they hold 22% of the market, down from 39% as found in the last survey that Horowitz Research relieved.

The report also asked what elements would these streamers like to have when it comes to managing their access to content. Two-thirds (66%) want universal search across competing services and would like to be able to manage their streaming subscriptions in one place. 65% stated that they would like to see streaming services merge to assist in that happening.

They also wanted to shop for products that are advertised through a link from their video device or their phone, and a method to use group viewing from other people connected to their subscription–mostly through family, friends, or those the subscribers know rather than perfect strangers a la those that play video games through a network.

It’s really interesting to note how streaming is part of the new phase of the “second coming of television” that’s been around  for the last forty plus years. And when this writer uses the term “forty plus years”, this is not to be consumed with a streaming service that uses the “plus” moniker after its title as there are more “plus” services out there than one can count. In fact, starting in January of ’23, EPIX, which is part of the subscription service operated by MGM, will be renamed as (get ready for this title), MGM+! (Original name, hah??)

This change is a far cry from when cable TV was once the be-all-to-end-all way to grab more content for Mr. & Ms. John and Jane Q. Public for watching programming on their television machines.

And rightly so. Thanks to the ease of getting video through a broadband connection, one doesn’t have to use the classic method of gaining access through content through a coax cable. Even though those “cutting the cord” (so to speak) were doing such for economic purposes, getting access to streaming is starting to become a bit costly over the past few years. It still makes sense to use streaming as its prime source for watching video since one can use a larger screening TV, but can also use any device that can connect to the ‘net. So one isn’t limited to watching TV at one’s homestead.

Of course, watching video through a TV device beats all of the other sources. This is from the picture quality as well as how the sound, well, sounds like! And since TV sets are getting smarter, one doesn’t have to rely upon using the streaming box one had to use for getting access to content. However, even if one uses a set that isn’t so smart, one can connect those boxes that can be of a stick variety or one that resemble a hockey puck. This is in reflection of using a classic CRT set that was once “cable ready”, a set that one didn’t have to connect a cable box to. However, unless one had a subscription to a pay TV channel such as HBO, Showtime, and others, one has to use the box as provided by the local CATV outlet.

It’s going to be rather difficult to predict if traditional cable TV will remain through this decade. However, over-the-air content will still be around for a while since some folks have over the air signals as their only source for TV due to their circumstances or their own choosing. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that those over the air TV stations remain as over the air TV stations. Not many people may be using their signals, but then again, most stations in local communications have been around for generations. In Los Angeles, KTLA-TV is using their logo with the number “75”. This year marks their seventy fifth anniversary of going on the air. Never mind the fact that a few people had TV sets, but they were around just in case somebody plunked down $350 (1947 dollars mind you) to get a set to view that single channel. However, the next year (1948) had other channels going on the air, including the three television networks offering a selection of programming, mostly placed during the evening hours, where people would most likely be at their homes (or bars and taverns) to view whatever came their way.

However, even though there are more programs to view, finding the one that is of one’s interest is another factor to deal with. Back in 1948, it seems that “everybody” was turned to The Texaco Star Theater to watch Milton Berle mug the camera telling jokes going back to the days of vaudeville and burlesque (“Berle”-esquk??), and seeing “Uncle Milty” with his other stars in comical skits that were just as old! As long as the content was entertaining if not downright corny, nobody seemed to mind.

So as more channels are added in the “plus” level, keep those video devices handy to see more programming come your way. Some will be great, others will be “OK”, while the rest will be “ecch”! But one thing about streaming and its services. They will be in the same category as the weather. If you don’t like what you are seeing, wait for a moment and the options will change for the better or for the worse! Take your pick!!

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BASEMENT FOLLY, David Datz’s comic play about a mysterious person living in the basement of a married couple’s home and the others that desire that same living space, performs at Theater 40 of Beverly Hills as a world premier.

Matt Landing and Caroline Westheimer play married couple Adrian and Aubrey. They live within a home located in an urban cityscape. It seems that Aubrey is hosting a person living inside of their basement. This person isn’t a relative or friend. Adrian attempts to see who this person is and why this person is living there. Meanwhile, their adult age daughter Alex (Tammy Mora) is having some problems with where she is living and who she’s living with. She seeks that same basement space as temporary quarters. Meanwhile, Ray  (Michael Robb) , a friend of Adrian’s, pays a visit. He has his own problems as he’s in a down-and-out situation. To complete things further, Kim (Kat Kemmet) who was living with Alex, arrives at the home, adding more to Adrian and Aubrey’s household dilemmas. With all of these people settled within, the question remains. Who will be taking shelter where? And who is the person inside the basement? Is it really a homeless person, or is it somebody else for the better or for the worse?

This single act play written by David Datz is a comedy that is long on quick and witty dialog. It ramps itself up toward various complex situations dealing with a climatic peak that poses as a domestic state of affairs viewing itself on how life isn’t what it can be for the sake of comical results. The cast of five players show themselves akin to characters as seen in a postmodern sitcom one could find in today’s video landscape. However, this is a stage play rather than another video based segment, and its stage presence is what makes this production stand out. It’s funny in nature and holds a lot of intentions, even if those intentions take a while to get itself going. Carol Becker directs this show as a program that runs on a smooth and faster pace that doesn’t quit until its conclusion.

Jeff Rack, Theater 40’s resident set designer, once again provides his talent to show off the living space of this home in various shades of purple making it a “royal” place. With such places, it holds a basement that is referred to, but never seen or depicted.

BASEMENT FOLLY is a program that is very amusing and original in concept. This reviewer won’t spoil it for all by revealing just who is living in that basement. We will state that it isn’t a creature or some other being that lives in underground spaces with evil intentions in mind. After all, this play is a light comedy, not a heavy handed horror piece!

BASEMENT FOLLY, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until October 26th. Showtimes are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at  7:00 PM.  

This program performs in repertory with A CLEAN SLATE that performs Thursday through Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons . (See review-Vol. 27, No. 39)
       
For ticket reservations for both programs, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at
http://www.Theatre40.org

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

YOU LIFE YOUR BET!

If anyone has been watching sporting events on your video imaging device, you have been aware of how easy it is to place a bet on sporting events. Thanks to lax laws on sports book-type wagers, the accepted notion (in general) to call a bet or two (or three-maybe more) on sporting events, as well as how it’s a whole lot easier to place a bet on a game through online sources and the outlets that allow such wagering, sports betting seems to be the new(er) sport in town. (Pun?)

With companies such as BetMGM (connected with the MGM casinos), FanDuel, Fox Bet (connected with Fox Sports) DraftKings, that at one time concentrated on fantasy football and related fantasy sports matchups, and a host of other outlets, betting a wager on a game or its related outcomes has grown over the past few seasons. And with an app provided by the outlets in question, one can whip out their smartphone, place a bet on the game of choosing, and hope for the best. One doesn’t even have to keep tabs on the game itself. The outlets will let you know how lucky (or not) you became thanks to their high tech notions of tabbing your winnings and/or your losses.

Once upon a time, long before this “hobby” of placing a friendly bet on a game became this easy, betting on a game, no matter what the game was, was available but not necessarily easy or even legal! Sports books have been available in many of the casinos in Las Vegas where many of these same casinos had sport bet parlors that were placed in very large rooms or spaces within their casino floors consisting of rows of tables resembling a very long bar with bar-type stools set from behind. The bars faced a wall were dozens of big screen TV screens showing games on whatever sporting match was being televised. On the side of these screens were monitors that resembled spreadsheets giving the stats of all these games and others that may be played somewhere else.

And there was horse racing, perhaps the only source available to many on planning a bet on a game. In this case, the racing of thoroughbred horses. This type of betting was portrayed in many movies during Hollywood’s golden era, especially if it was based on a Damon Runyon story. Sheldon Leonard would be a classic example of those involved in horse betting movie scene as he would play a character known as a “tout”–somebody who knew that a specific horse would be an ideal bet to win, place, or show. Bob Hope played another comic foil in many of the movies he appeared in as released through Paramount Pictures in the 1940’s and 50’s. And there was the stage musical Guys and Dolls whose opening number featured Nicely-Nicely singing the praises that he had the horse right here his name is Paul Revere.

But horse racing lost its luster as the 21st century came rolling in. Horse racing tracks closed down. Some of its tracks were being renovated into something else from shopping and dwelling spaces to mega sized sporting complexes. Hollywood Park, once located in Inglewood, California (not “Hollywood”) was knocked down to have SoFi Stadium set in its place. Arlington Park, located in the bedroom suburban community of Arlington Heights, Illinois wants the Chicago Bears to relocate from where they are placing at Solders Field near downtown to move to their new spot. If that ever occurs, that won’t be for quite a while since the track has yet to be torn down with its new stadium complex set in place!

But betting on a game is just as old as betting itself. It was of course, never out in the open as placing wagers on a game wasn’t legal in just about everywhere where betting on anything resembling betting was ever allowed. For many years in some company offices, there was the “office pool” where an employee or two would circulate a sheet of the odds of a match about to take place in the near future. This “sport” was usually placed by the men in the office as this office pool was part of the “old boys club” that many offices held. This type of betting was usually done year round,. During the football season, it went full tilt since football games were usually played on a single day–Sunday. There was the Monday night game, but it was close enough to be latched onto the Sunday afternoon match ups.

For those that were not fortunate enough to work in an office that had an active office pool, there was the off-sight bookie that did the same thing–release stat sheet to those that subscribed to the bookie’s tote sheets, and then to have the bookie take wagers usually over the phone. From there, the bookie would tabulate the wagers, only to release the results that Monday morning. (Tuesday morning for the Monday night games!)

When I was getting myself started to live a so-called “adult” life, I lived in a large multi roomed house in south Minneapolis with three other roommates as well as the guy that owned the home–my landlord so to speak. One of these roommates was a gambler. He used outside bookies that took his wagers when the desire called for it. During the football season from September up to the bowl games in January, he placed bets of both college games played on Saturdays and the NFL games played on Sunday/Monday night. What he would do is to get his stat sheet of point spreads for the games placed the upcoming weekend. (Where he got his stat sheet was unknown to me!) On late Friday afternoons, he could place a call to his bookie by leaving his name and phone number on the bookie’s answering machine. Within fifteen minutes, the bookie would call back. Then this guy would read off the wagers he placed on the games he picked, usually giving point spreads on each matchup along with other stats connected to the games. After reading off the stats, he would hang up the phone without saying anything else to the bookie, not even a token “goodbye”! I knew all of this because there was only one phone line coming into the house. There was an unwritten rule that on Friday afternoons between 5:00 and 6:30 PM, nobody was to use the phone! He said that when he would call and leave his name and number on the answering machine and the bookie would try to call back and there was a busy signal, the bookie would never call back. If that ever happened, the better (the roommate) would lose out on participating in the bets of the week. (This happened a few times, usually unintentionally by the person using the house phone!) I can’t say how lucky this roommate was since he never told me about his winnings and I never asked. But it was worth his time to go through this ploy for the two seasons that he and I lived within this household located just walking distance from the shores of Lake Nokonis.

When I worked at Group W Cable in suburban Columbia Heights, there was an active office pool that floated around the place. Although I did get access to a stat sheet on occasion, I never participated in any other betting games since I didn’t know how it all worked out. One person I knew, a video engineer, told me that from all of the bet he placed, it was enough to pay off his union dues to the IBEW. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as the union was called at the time.) He was also into something called “Fantasy Football” where he placed talented players into teams that may have existed or not. This was rather odd to me as I thought Fantasy Football would consist of make believe games that played inside of one’s head! Perhaps that was what one did when one wasn’t near a TV set on a Sunday, or what one had to do when the NFL players went on strike during the middle of the 1982-83 season. But I digress!

But thanks to these lax betting laws as well as what the ‘net can do and with the devices connected to the World Wide Web, betting on a game is just a tap or swipe away. No calling bookies on their answering machine to take bets, and no office pools to dive into. (Pun intended!!) It’s now to just pick a team, play out a wager, and hope for the best. And best of all, it’s not just limited to football as the four major leagues are participants as well as any other team or league that is worth betting on! Some leagues such as pee-wee football, little leagues, and AYSO teams are not included. Ditto for high school sports as well as the college level leagues such as the NCAA. Those players within most of those teams and leagues are under the age to legally gamble. Besides, that may lead into “fixing” games. There could be a parent or caretaker that may have a kid in such a league that may hold access to anything on the “inside”. Besides, why waste their time and effort on betting on a team or league whose interest and media coverage is limited to a local community and/or online presence that’s only seen (and cared for) on all of the social media platforms used by domestic middle class post-modern society.

On a side note, unless Proposition 27 that legalizes online betting within the state of California passes in the upcoming midterm election this November, folks within the Golden State won’t be able to place their bets online, or at least not legally. Then again, if there is a will, there is a way. Leave it to those that can hack the system. And they will! We can bet on that! (Another pun intended!)

Again, this writer won’t encourage those to wager on sports or not. That is their decision if they wish to participate or not. This writer doesn’t play since I have little to no knowledge in placing a bet that would hold any big(er) payout. I don’t necessarily watch sports as a whole either. The last game I did see was the Super Bowl played in early February. Of course, it was at somebody’s home and the real star of the televised match was the TV commercials (some great, some amusing, and the rest that were what they were), as well as the halftime “concert”. (It wasn’t catered toward my demographic!) Maybe one day, I’ll head off the racetrack to plunk down two dollars on Fast Philly to place in the sixth race. And as I ramble up to the wage cage window, a mysterious tout leaning against a post will say “Psst..Hey Bud..C’mere”. I’ll respond by saying to the tout “Who Me?” The tout will reply “Yeah you! What ‘cha betting on?” Me: “I’m betting two dollars on Fast Philly to place in the sixth!” Tout: “Eh-eh!”

I guess you just has to be there to get the humor behind this encounter. Better luck next time I suppose…!


ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
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(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!