Archive | Television RSS feed for this section

Talking About Acting in a University Cafeteria

15 Mar

Today, I had lunch in our campus cafeteria. The big crowds had yet to arrive, and I saw our Theater Director eating alone. I loaded up with my grilled cheese sandwich and french fries and sat at his table. We have had many conversations through the years, but I had never asked what everyone should ask a Theater Director.

Who, in your opinion, is the greatest actor of all time?

His immediate answer was Laurence Olivier. He also thinks that James Dean was a natural and that Marlon Brando tried too hard. When I asked about current actors, he said that Denzel Washington is at the top of the list along with Meryl Streep. Although, Streep probably gets nominated for awards when she should not because of who she is.

It was an interesting conversation that delved into acting styles, acting teachers and the mistakes that he feels people have made with each. However, it got really interesting when he asked this question.

Have I ever told you about my older brother?

This is the story that followed.

His older brother dropped out of college and went to Hollywood. He was a handsome guy with dark hair, green eyes and a great smile. In short, he fit the mold. Like most people, he struggled for work and was constantly being turned down at auditions. However, there was a time when everything clicked.

He auditioned for a new television series and got the call. He had a role in the show.

Unfortunately, he received another call from a friend with news that he did not want to hear. His name had come up, and he was going to receive his draft letter. The friend said that there was no way to stop it. If he wanted to get out of being drafted, then he had to immediately sign up for the National Guard. That meant giving up the role in the new television series.

The decision was made. He turned down the role and went into training with the National Guard. The producers of the show replaced him with a slightly older actor who was beyond draft age.

The television show was Rawhide. The role was Rowdy Yates. The replacement actor was Clint Eastwood.

Our Theater Director’s brother returned home to Nashville, fell in love and got married.

Clint went on to a modicum of fame.

Advertisements

A Tuesday Night in December

20 Dec

The Christmas Tree is lit up.

The Voice is on.

A performer from Lebanon may win.

My family is in the floor wrapping gifts.

Our dog Daisy is sitting in the chair next to me.

I am typing on my laptop.

I Never Thought About 2017

25 Nov

Today is my birthday. I was born in 1968, one of those pivotal years in United States history. When I was a kid, I would calculate how old I would be at the turn of the century. The year 2000 looked to be far off in the future, and, well, it was the future. The 1900s would be gone forever.

I never wondered about the years after 2000, but here I am seventeen years later. It is funny that I do not remember much about the year that I thought about as a child. I know that I was not yet teaching. That would begin in 2001. I know that life is better now than it was then. That may be why I do not remember much about it. My mind has blocked out the details.

When I was a kid, I thought a lot about the year 2000. Now, it is fading from memory as the years pass. It is strange how our minds work. It could be that the anticipation sometimes leaves a deeper imprint than the actuality.

Anyway, that is the kind of stuff I think about on my birthday. It is a day in which I go deep inside my mind. There was a time when I tried to do the Magnum, P.I. birthday thing. That show had several episodes about Magnum’s birthday. He always went somewhere to be by himself. However it always turned into a deadly disaster from which he had to be rescued. When I say that I tried to do the Magnum, P.I. birthday thing, I mean that I tried to be by myself all day. It was never deadly, but it never worked.

I guess that is what Magnum, P.I. was trying to show the audience. Birthdays are meant to be shared with people who care. When I was a kid, I thought about where I would be in the year 2000. I never thought about other people being around. I never thought about 2017, but it is great because there are people everywhere.

Remembering Road Music

23 Sep

Today, we had a delivery to our house. However, this one was a little different from the typical visit from UPS or FedEx. A big rig, 18-wheeler semi-truck and trailer pulled into our driveway and parked at the side of our house. When the stuff was unloaded, the driver headed through the gate and turned around in the pasture behind the house.

I immediately started singing, “Give me 40 acres to turn this rig around.” My wife looked at me like I was nuts, and I had to explain that it was an old Country song.

When I was a kid, they sold albums on television. The commercial played snippets of songs on the album, and the announcer gave out a phone number to order it. Those commercials always got my attention, and I always wanted to buy the albums.

Certainly, my mom did not buy all of the albums that I wanted, but she bought one of the all time greats – Road Music: 23 Truckin’ Hits.

Looking back, the producers were certainly trying to capitalize on the trucking and CB craze of the time. However, they also mined some classic Country hits of the trucking genre. It included artists like Minnie Pearl, Del Reeves, Jimmy Martin and Red Sovine, who made a career out of trucking songs.

Of course, I did not know all of that when I was a kid. I just knew that it was a cool commercial with cool sounding songs. It also had a cover that attracted my young attention.

I listened to the album over and over. My favorite songs were:

“Six Days on the Road” by Dave Dudley

“Convoy” by T.H. Music Festival

“Give Me 40 Acres to Turn This Rig Around” by The Willis Brothers

“Phantom 309” by Red Sovine

It was a great album. Now, I have to see if I can find a copy out there somewhere. No more phone numbers. I will just Google it.

Whatever Happened to Sandahl Bergman?

14 Sep

My wife has an addiction, and it is called Outlander. I would have watched it with her, but she binged the first season before I could catch up. That is fine. Now, she cannot make fun of me for being addicted Game of Thrones. By the way, Outlander is tiddlywinks compared to Game of Thrones.

Anyway, I am sitting in one room watching Conan the Barbarian while she sits in another room watching her show. Actually, I am listening to Conan the Barbarian while I type this post. Without a doubt, the best scene in the entire movie is when James Earl Jones turns into a giant snake.

When I was at work, something entered my mind that I wanted to write about. Now, I cannot remember it. I reckon that is what getting older does. Hopefully, that thought will come back before the typing stops. There is nothing worse than having a blogging idea and having it disappear. Well, there are worse things, but that is the worst thing that happened today.

Whatever happened to Sandahl Bergman? She played Valeria, Conan’s love interest. Man, she was something. In fact, she was so great that I included her in one of this blog’s earliest posts.

That is all I have for now. My mind needs to prepare itself for tomorrow’s classes and the test I have to create for next week. I wonder how difficult I can make it. Perhaps I should ask them whatever happened to Sandahl Bergman.

The Movie That Launched a Thousand Television Careers

2 Jul

Last week, my family was traveling, and I spent a lot of time watching movies with my dad. I write that because I have been working on a post about those movies. However, another movie has interrupted the process.

This afternoon, I visited my parents, and my dad was watching a Western that I had never seen. There was a scene with a man and woman talking in a restaurant. The woman looked familiar, and I asked my dad to hit the Info button.

The movie was The Hangman, which was released in 1959, and the cast listing confirmed my suspicions. The woman was Tina Louise, who, in a few years, would gain fame as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.

It is always cool to find familiar faces in old movies. It is almost like telling someone’s fortune. Do you know that you will soon become famous for being stranded on an island after a three-hour boat tour gone wrong?

Then, the waitress walked up, and she looked familiar. Yep, it was Betty Lynn, who, in a few years, would gain fame as Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show.

At this point, soon to be famous television actors were popping up everywhere. Jack Lord was in jail. In a few years, he would gain fame as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O.

Fess Parker was the sheriff. At this time, he was once and future famous. In the 1950s, he helped start the coonskin cap craze as Davy Crockett. After this movie, he would attempt to relive the magic as Daniel Boone.

Then, there was Lorne Greene who played the marshal. The same year that The Hangman was released a new television show called Bonanza debuted. In a short time, he would be known throughout as Ben Cartwright, the patriarch who owned the Ponderosa.

As the title of the post says, The Hangman is the movie that launched a thousand television careers. Well, maybe not a thousand, but it came close.

Things I Think

25 Mar

I think…

the speed limit means that you can actually go that speed.

cracks in concrete are canyons for ants.

Escape from New York is the best movie Kurt Russell ever made.

the Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings version of “Suspicious Minds” is almost as good as the Elvis version.

the iPhone is the most addictive drug in the world.

that only rocks live forever.

the Freedom of Speech is under attack from people who only want to what they want to hear.

more people need to like history.

John Wayne and Clint Eastwood should have made a Western together.

people who are famous for no reason should lose their fame immediately.

people who throw chewing gum on the ground should have chewing gum stuck on them.

trees communicate with each other.

a remake of Escape from New York is a bad idea.

married life is a great life.

football, my favorite sport to watch, will one day be banned.

truffled macaroni and cheese is terrible.

I need to buy more vinyl.

reality television is the worst form of entertainment ever invented.

chairs are better than couches.

blogging is awesome.