Sunday, April 24, 2016


Let's set the record straight on a misconception or mistake in labeling. You've seen it on YouTube or on video compilations for years. It still circulates on social media still, but has been misidentified. I first saw it on a video compilation of old TV commercials that I bought in high school. It was put out by a company called Goodtimes. It also appeared on the Floor Sweepings videos sold through Filmfax magazines. It also turned up on the old USA network Night Flight program.

It became popular because it is the definition of irony caught on film. Gig Young talks to James Dean, on the set of the film, Giant, on the subject of safe driving in your teen years. The only thing that could make this more ironic would be if Gig Young told kids not to drink alcohol. People have marveled at the spooky irony of James Dean telling teenagers to drive safe, because they might have a wreck with him, in a 50s PSA for TV. However, it is not a PSA, but a loose segment from a very staged infomercial.

I discovered this when I bought a special edition DVD of Rebel Without a Cause. One of the extra features on the DVD was an ABC TV show called Warner Brothers Presents. It was a wheel program that consisted of the popular Western, Cheyenne, and TV shows based on the movies Casablanca and King's Row. At the end of the show was a 15 minute infomercial for the latest Warner Brothers movie called Behind the Camera, hosted by Gig Young.

One episode promoted Rebel Without a Cause. The first segment featured Gig Young schmoozing with Natalie Wood about "growing up on a movie set." The second segment, Gig talks to Jim Backus about being a comedian playing a serious role. Backus makes some bad jokes, but never gets too deep into Gig's question. The third segment is what we have always been told is a safe driving PSA. Gig Young ask James Dean about his hobby of automobile racing. Gig then asked Dean to advise young people on the dangers of drag racing in traffic.

What is odd watching this with the other segments, not out of context, is that Gig Young sort of veers off (no pun intended) the subject of movie making into safe driving.

Many websites have different versions of the history of this clip, which has lead to the confusion over it. There is also some debate on whether it ever aired or not.

Now we know what it is we are watching. Of course, this still doesn't make this any more eerie watching James Dean talk about the possibility of being involved in a car accident.


Saturday, April 23, 2016


I was attracted to Prince, not just because of his music was great, but because he was considered "evil" by adults. Most people seem to have forgotten about this in the passing years. Of course, the right-wing arm of the media is trying to remind us of this, while scandalizing his death. I notice they leave out the name of the person, who brought Prince's erotic hits to public scrutiny: Tipper Gore, ex-wife of former Vice President Al Gore Jr.

I spent most of one summer trying to tape a perfect recording of "When Doves Cry" from the radio. I loved the opening fuzztone guitar solo.

Remember these are my personal rankings, not anything official.

1. "When Doves Cry"
2. "Little Red Corvette"
3. "Let's Go Crazy"
4. "Peach"
5. "Delirious"
6. "Darling Nikki"
7. "U Got the Look"
8. "1999"
9. "Raspberry Beret"
10. "Purple Rain"
11. "Kiss"
12. "Take Me With U"
13. "I Would Die for You"
14. "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
15. "Controversy"

Saturday, April 16, 2016


I had promised to do this at the time of his death. I said I was going to compile a list of my favorite David Bowie songs. These are just my preferences.

Before I get into this list, I have something to admit. When I was small, there was a TV special called NBC: The First 50 Years. There was a segment, narrated by Dean Martin, on the history of music and variety program on the NBC network. He was doing the voiceover of clips from these various singers. There was a clip of some singer, like Eddie Fisher, then Dean Martin says something about The Midnight Special showcasing "current singers like David Bowie." On screen was this strange, inhuman looking person with bright red hair singing. It scared me to death. From that moment, I was frightened of David Bowie. There was a copy of the Pin Ups LP at the Consumers Supermarket in Lebanon and I would try not to walk past it. I was scared of this guy.

What changed this was his appearance on the Bing Crosby Christmas special. He looked normal on that. A few years later, I saw an attempt to bring back the old TV series Omnibus, which feature a segment on David Bowie appearing in The Elephant Man on Broadway and a debut of the video for the "Fashion." I was later delighted, when a college, my drama teacher told how she had got to meet him, after a performance, and he ask her to meet his personal trainer the next day.

However, my love for his music really started with a syndicated radio show, where there was a profile on his career and it featured music from his new LP called Let's Dance. I taped the music from it. From then on, I was hooked.

1. "Rebel Rebel"
2. "Panic In Detroit"
3. "Golden Years"
4. "1984"
5. "Blue Jean"
6. "Suffragette City"
7. "Space Oddity"
8. "The Man Who Sold The World"
9. "Ashes To Ashes"
10. "Modern Love"
11. "Fame"
12. "Lady Grinning Soul"
13. " Let's Dance"
14. "Day In - Day Out"
15. "The Jean Genie"

Let me add as an extra, I will also mention favorite covers David Bowie did.

1. "Wild Is the Wind" (Johnny Mathis)
2. "Knock On Wood" (Eddie Floyd)
3. "Let's Spend the Night Together" (The Rolling Stones)
4. "White Light/White Heat" (Velvet Underground)
5. "Friday On My Mind" (The Easybeats)

And three early Bowie tunes:

1. "You've Got a Habit of Leaving" - David Jones & the Lower Third
2. "Liza Jane" - Davie Jones & the King Bees
3. "Good Morning Girl" - David Bowie & the Buzz
4. "Love You Til Tuesday"
5. "Laughing Gnome" (It is probably the worst thing he ever did, but I like it)

R. I. P  Ziggy Stardust 1947 -2016         

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I found out something this week. I must be the only person on the planet who didn't like Merle Haggard's music. Facebook has bombarded me with Merle Haggard tributes and I quickly scrolled past them thinking, "Why did you like him?"

I can remember hearing his songs as a kid on the radio and disliking them. He always sounded like some cranky old coot that would get ahead of you at the barber shop. Everyone would be forced to hear this loud-mouthed moron rant and rave about college students partying, teenagers with long hair playing rock music too loud, little kids watching cartoons on Saturday morning, instead of doing chores. Even I as a child, I knew I was intellectually superior to those old, white guys.

Likewise, Merle seemed to be against a lot of stuff: cities, The Beatles, long haired men wearing beads and Roman sandals, pacifist, people on welfare, people eating popcorn at Christmas time and Utopian governments that hand out complimentary, carbonated soft drinks to their citizens. Instead of "Mighty" Merle, he should have been "Cranky Negativity" Merle.  

Granted, I can understand I those old, cranky, white guys liking Merle Haggard's music, but why did my former classmates from Lebanon R-3 Schools like him?  I think it is a symptom of the problem of growing up in the Ozarks that I have talked written about before on this blog and the old blog, they were conditioned to like his music by the old, cranky, white people in charge. They were conditioned to think like the old, cranky, white people in charge.

I tried to tell them in back as far as junior high school, "YOU ARE TEENAGERS! YOU SHOULDN'T LIKE THIS CRAP! IT HAS FIDDLES AND DOBROS IN IT! YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO MUSIC WITH SYNTHESIZERS AND FUZZTONE GUITAR BY BRITISH GUYS WITH MAKEUP AND BLEACHED, SPIKED HAIR OR GUYS FROM CALIFORNIA WITH LOG HAIR IN LEATHER PANTS! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? CAN'T YOU SEE THEY WANT YOU TO LIKE THAT MUSIC! THEY WANT YOU TO CONFORM AND BE LIKE THEM!" Sadly, they never listened. Now they are bitter mean-spirited adults, posting memes about the pleasures of being beaten with a belt by their fathers or how they don't think every kid should be given an award in sports.  

There is only one song Merle Haggard I ever liked. He recorded a theme song for a mid-70s TV show called Movin' On, staring Claude Akins and Frank Converse as truck drivers named Will & Sonny. I remember my family enjoyed watching this program, which is sadly not on DVD. The theme song had a longer life on country radio stations playlist than TV show did (only two seasons).

Here are the opening credits with an abbreviated version on the song.

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