Archive for the ‘Classic Television Shows’ Category

What Lies Out There in the Infinite “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey?”

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

There is excitement in the air, and for good reason!  An event that has been in the works for some time is finally coming to fruition.  Fans of previous iterations are flocking to this newest incarnation in droves, but it remains to be seen if this year’s edition can live up to the hype.  All the pieces are in place for it to be successful, but then again, it has barely begun, and everything could change on a dime.  But enough about WrestleMania 30 (even though the new Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery movie does look very entertaining, I must say).  What I really want to discuss today is the new incarnation of one of television’s most revered science series, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey.  The original version hosted by Carl Sagan in 1980 and its companion book published the same year opened millions of eyes (mine included, years later) to the wonder of the universe and everything within it.  Can the 2014 version with Neil Degrasse Tyson do the same, or is it as devoid of life as the vast expanse between galaxies?

I tuned in to the first episode of the new Cosmos with my family the night it premiered, and I really liked what I saw.  I had seen a handful of episodes and clips from the original series and was impressed with just how many big scientific concepts and ideas Carl Sagan was able to explain in the most eloquent, memorable ways, and how he was able to effectively convey how they all fit together.  One such feature which made a big impression on me, and an icon of the series as a whole, was the Ship of the Imagination, a sleek, futuristic vessel in which Sagan and the audience could head anywhere in the universe and anytime in history.  On the ship, we could travel to a giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, back in time to witness Sir Isaac Newton getting clunked on the head by a falling apple and discovering gravity, or shrinking down to the size of an atom and flitting about the protons, neutrons, and electrons.  The new series has some big shoes to fill in this regard, and with even less time to do it in (the original show’s PBS airings had 60 minutes per episode, but this one has just 44 with commercials).

One thing the new Cosmos has going for it are some very nice visuals which take full advantage of modern technology to bring science to life.   The new Ship of the Imagination swoops, dives, and curves through space and time, flying past incredibly detailed planets, asteroids, comets, stars, and other space phenomena all the while reflecting everything in space off its shiny outer hull.

Neil Tyson gives a tour of an updated version of the Cosmic Calendar, a device from the original series which condenses the whole of the universe’s billions-of-years old history into a single calendar year.  This time, however, the months and days literally come alive with computer animations of each cosmic event mentioned.  Thus, we get some amazing versions of the Big Bang, the formation of galaxies, stars, planets, and moons, and even a very cute take on animals climbing out of the water to kickstart evolution.  Cosmos certainly offers a feast for the eyes and a constant reminder that the universe is full of amazing things for us to discover.

This journey of scientific awesomeness is guaranteed  to lead us to some surprising places.  I think the first episode has some very note-worthy destinations .  To start us out, Neil Tyson opens the upper and lower windows on the Ship of the Imagination to offer overhead glimpses of Earth from space as it appeared roughly 100 million years in the past and how it might appear approximately 250 million years in the future.  The differences between both Earths from our own present planet were simply staggering to me.  Prehistoric Earth’s continents were lumped together as a single giant landmass, Pangaea, with endless oceans surrounding it and little to no signs of civilization as we know it.   In fact, instead it had a lot of green stuff; grass, trees, and thick forests.  Future Earth appears to have the same continents we currently have, but cities have grown noticably larger and use a heck of a lot more electricity. On this Earth, North America looks like a blinding-light advertisement for Thomas Edison’s most famous creation.  Not to mention there’s a lot of muddy brown on the continents:  where did all the green go?

These views of Earth in different times raised a few questions in my mind.  How accurate will the placement of the continents in the Cosmos version of future Earth really be in 250 million years?  Continental drift has created radically different Earths in the past 100 million years; who’s to say if it’ll still look like it is now well into the future?  How much electricity is being used by those cities, and if they’re using alternative energy sources to get all their power, which ones and how effective are they in providing the energy modern society needs to survive on a day-to-day basis?  Did the cities/humanity play a role in the sudden disappearance of green from the world map?  I’m also pretty sure the oceans looked a lot less blue in the show’s future model; a very alarming sign to me that trouble is surely on the way if we don’t watch out.

Cosmos also uses portions of each episode to present intriguing philosophical questions which relate to the scientific content, a feature I greatly appreciate as a seeker of knowledge.  For example, the first episode relays the story of Giordano Bruno, a Dominican monk with a vision of an infinite universe.  A vision he was ultimately condemned to die for.  I did a little research on Bruno after hearing his story.  As well as being a monk, he was an avid astrologist, and I feel that his story brings up a good point about scientific investigation which is worth some due consideration.  Bruno had little to no way of proving the existence of an infinite expanse of space (aside from Greek writings from 1500 years prior to his time and Biblical accounts which support exactly that conclusion, but apparently no one else besides him bothered to look up those references; it pays to read, kids!), but his vision was later proved to be accurate by scores of scientific studies and other observations.  That’s the beauty of science: an idea deemed ludicrous at one time can later be proven as truth through research and observation, or vice versa, and what remains in the end is factual information.  Science supports the same notion Bruno perceived:   that the universe is endlessly vast, is wonderfully complex, it opens up anew, and offers continual surprises to humanity.   We just have to search for them.

All in all, I’d have to say I really like the new Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey.  It’s a fascinating journey through the width and breadth of outer space and challenges our understanding of our place in the universe and how we choose to view it.  I think it paints an awe-inspiring picture of the world (worlds?) we call home and all the neat stuff we’ve discovered and hope to find out more about.  Definitely must-see TV to me!

What do you think of this new Cosmos?  If you’ve watched it, what did you like/dislike about it?  If you’re a fan of the original series, how do you think it compares to the new version?  Is there anything you’d change about this new show, and if so, why?  Are there any other scientific figures you’d like to see represented here?  Expand your view of the universe, and mine as well, by leaving your thoughts in the comments.

Random Top Five: Shows That I Think Need to Be On the WWE Network

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Paragon Fantasy Wrestling ArenaStarting on February 24 at 11:05 P.M., WWE (a.k.a. “The Artist Formerly Known As World Wrestling Entertainment”) will begin broadcasting a new Internet-based television network.  The WWE Network looks promising to me, with a wealth of shows that I am genuinely excited about watching.  From the blow-by-blow account of the epic battles between WWE and WCW that constitute The Monday Night War  to the novelty of a group of wrestling legends living together in a luxurious home on Legends House and even the untold possibilities offered by the prospect of live Super Bowl-esque pre- and post-shows for Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, the WWE Network will have a lot of great stuff to offer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The WWE Network will also have a Netflix-like archive with over 100,000 hours of content, just in case there’s nothing on the main channel that looks good at the moment.  I like the idea of being able to go into wrestling’s past and digging up old shows and pay-per-views to pass the time with, and there are already some shows that I have made a mental note to definitely check out.  Still, there are some shows that I would really like to see that haven’t yet been announced.  My personal vision of what the Network could be has about as good a chance of coming to fruition as Gorgeous George’s ghost has of winning this year’s Royal Rumble.  I can still dream, though, so here’s my wish list of shows which I hope the Network might show one day, whether on the main channel or stored in the archive (but preferably the archive; I don’t have as much time these days to veg out on the couch, so the archive part of the Network is the one I’d probably count on the most for my entertainment).

5. Global Wrestling Federation

WWE recently put out a DVD in which they discussed the content they have in their tape library (which will be heavily drawn from in order to program the Network).  They then showed a graphic of the logos for all of the different wrestling companies and other sources of material in the archive.  At the bottom of that pile of logos were three peculiar initials: GWF.  I had heard of those initials before, but I couldn’t remember what they stood for, so I looked them up on Wikipedia and found they belonged to a short-lived company called the Global Wrestling Federation.  As I read through the description, I couldn’t believe how awesomely weird  the GWF’s product sounded on paper.  Some of the storylines they presented sound incredible to me.  What would you say about a “bungee” match in which the loser is attached to a bungee cord and “launched” all the way to the moon?  How about one of the show’s announcers getting amnesia and believing he’s Elvis Presley (I guess Jerry Lawler’s not the only “King” in wrestling!)?  They even had a storyline in which a psychiatrist evaluated the wrestlers’ mental health (not the kind of “wrestling psychology” I’m used to, but I’ll take it for what it’s worth)!  I sincerely hope some GWF content is included in the WWE Network’s archive so I can watch it at a time that’s convenient to me and see how well these strange storylines hold up today.  Those 2 A.M. ESPN Classic reruns just simply aren’t an option!

4. WWE Saturday Morning Slam

This show actually ended in 2013, but I think there could still be a place for it, or at least a show like it, on the WWE Network.  It was a half-hour show targeted at kids who watched the CW’s Saturday morning cartoon lineup (It shared space on the schedule with the Justice League, Spider-Man, and the Power Rangers; not too shabby!).  Wrestling moves aimed at the neck weren’t allowed to be shown on camera, so the in-ring action tended to skew more toward comedy routines, but that just made the show cooler to watch in my view.  After all, it’s not every day you get to see Santino Marella square off against Heath Slater in an air-guitar contest!  The show ran for only one season on the CW with no indication if it was ever coming back.  I’d like to see a second season with more sensational silliness.  It would definitely bring some of the fun back to wrestling, something I believe it sorely needs these days.

3. WWF(E) LiveWire

During the announcement of the WWE Network, it was stated that it would soon feature a live in-studio broadcast as part of its programming.  I’ve heard rumors that it might be similar to ESPN’s SportsCenter in that they would cover the events of WWE programming and possibly other sports and pop culture topics of the day (which sounds more like ESPN2’s SportsNation, but enough of my kibitzing).  Personally, I think WWE had a show like that already which would be a good example for the new show to follow.  It was called WWF LiveWire.  Back in the days when “the ‘E” still had an F as part of its initials, WWF LiveWire was a live studio show where viewers could make a phone call and talk to their favorite WWF wrestlers.  A show of this nature could be a good way to get viewers more invested in the network, and the myriad methods of communication available to most people today could lead to a wider variety of conversation pieces.  You could still have phone calls, but also e-mails, Twitter posts, Facebook messages, Skype video chats, and all types of other ways to facilitate interaction.  A show like this could be the most well-connected show around.

2. WWF Wrestling Challenge 

A few years back, I was a loyal subscriber to WWE’s old video archive service on-line.  One of my favorite features of this archive was its collection of episodes of WWF Wrestling Challenge.  Each episode was mainly comprised of “squash matches” in which the big boys of the WWF routinely beat various no-name wrestlers as well as a mixture of promotional interviews and recaps of current storylines.  For some strange reason, I found this show incredibly entertaining.  The wrestlers all had colorful personalities which grabbed my attention very quickly, and the witty banter between the show’s commentators, Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, was even better than the matches themselves most of the time.  This was popcorn TV at its finest, and I regret to say that there isn’t really a show like this in WWE’s current TV output.  Sure, Main Event and Superstars come close in terms of format, but my overall opinion of these shows is that they are a little underwhelming.  If the WWE looked back on its rich, colorful history, particularly this show, and applied what worked back then to today’s product, I am sure the shows would be much more exciting.  It would certainly make the Network a lot more fun!

1. Tuesday Night Titans

Now here’s a real gem of a show that needs a reboot, stat!  Before Ted Turner founded Turner Network Television in 1988, this original TNT was blowing viewers’ minds in 1984 and ’85.  Vince McMahon made for a surprisingly witty Johnny Carson wannabe as he made light conversation with all of the movers and shakers in the wrestling world.  This show was full of memorable moments such as the Iron Shiek showing off his pet camel, Hulk Hogan getting his famous “24 inch pythons” (his arms folks, not actual snakes) measured by female wrestler Wendi Richter, and Rowdy Roddy Piper starring in a supremely corny rendition of the Christmas Carol story.  Tuesday Night Titans was the place where the WWF’s stars could unwind in between slugfests and have a grand old time.  I wonder if the talk show format could still work in 2014, in an age where the wrestlers’ personal lives are well-known and broadcast on all different forms of social media.  Maybe there’s some sides of them that have never been shown for whatever reason, and a show like TNT could help them to kickstart their careers in a bold new direction.  The WWE has a new network to fill with lots of original programming; I think a revival of TNT could fit in very nicely in the new program lineup.

The WWE Network will be starting up very soon, and I am looking forward to see what the future holds for it.  WWE has a TV lineage dating back almost a century, and in all that time, it has produced a lot of good television, so I have high hopes that the Network will be a great addition to that legacy.  

If you’re a wrestling fan, are you looking forward to the Network and would you consider subscribing to it?  If you’re still hesitant, is there anything WWE could do in terms of programming that might make you change your mind?  Let me know in the comments, and please give this thing a chance.  It could turn out to be something really special if we support it in the right way!

Pop Culture Haikus: Disney Renaiisance Edition

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

When I was growing up during the 1990s, there were a lot of great entertainment options available to me.  Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Fox Kids, and Kids WB all had great lineups of live-action and cartoon shows that could keep me entertained for hours before and after school.  I subscribed to a host of interesting magazines (Nick Mag and Disney Adventures, you will be missed!) and read through an endlessly-growing collection of books.  One of the most memorable entertainment sources for me during this time, though, was the long string of fantastic animated films released by Disney during this time.  This period has become known as the Disney Renaiisance because the quality of the animation, artistry, music, and other elements of these films were amazingly high; I was a bit too young to appreciate such finer details, but I did really like these movies.  As a small tribute to this period from 1989 to 1999, I present the following Pop Culture Haikus, one seventeen-syllable poem for each film released during this time.

The Little Mermaid

Sea girl meets nice boy./Mean witch steals ocean girl’s voice./Witch becomes fish food.  Nice boy is confused./”Why does the nice girl have fins?”/Just kiss the girl, boy!

The Rescuers Down Under

Aussie boy is kidnapped./Cute U.N. mice rescue him./Boy saved by vermin!  This had an eagle/that the Aussie boy flew on./That’s all I recall.  (Still, that eagle ruled!/Come on, a freaking eagle!/I ride eagle next?)

Beauty and the Beast

Girl meets furry boy./Beast defends her, loves her true./Aw, they got married!  Gaston was a jerk./He didn’t treat Belle nice much./Furry boy much nicer!  Feel bad for Gaston, though./Being thrown off cliff must hurt./Hope landing was soft!

Aladdin

Boy meets nice princess./Boy uses magic to impress./Girl likes real men more.  Jafar wants power./Magic makes him more snake-like./Audience: “Boo!  Hiss!”  Genie is funny./True, he turns into weird things./Still, he’s pretty nice.

The Lion King

Mufasa has son,/Dies at hands of jerk brother./Can son become king?  Son gets two new friends./They tell him, “Not to worry.”/I think he should care.  Simba faces Scar,/Surrounded by hot lava./Better than Ali fight!  Peace reigns in Pride Lands/Because Simba won the battle./Life’s circle rolls on!

Pocahantas

Princess meets nice boy./It’s reverse of Aladdin!/Disney recycles plots!  John Smith is nice man./He loves native princess much./Doesn’t quite get girl.  Radcliffe big, greedy./Cares nothing for natives, only gold./He’s a blowhard jerk!  Pokey and John meet,/Get along though differences/Keep them both apart.

Hercules

A kid from the gods:/”Greece is chock-full of monsters./Let me save it, please?”  Hades, big bad guy:/”Jerkules wins, I burn up./Get me an aspirin!”  I like the muses much./Best Greek chorus ever filmed!/”That’s the gospel truth!”  Pegasus was neat./Large white winged horse impressed all./Rainbow Dash still coolest!

Mulan

Legendary girl/Saved China from the Hun hordes,/Also found husband.  Mushu is cute help./He’s rivals with small cricket./They’ll soon get along fine.  Shang is big captain/In fledgling Chinese army./First big test is Huns.  Mulan can help out./She’ll go as a boy soldier./She’s tougher than most!

Tarzan

Legendary man/Raised by apes, king of jungle/Heard this all before?  Terk’s Tarzan’s best friend./Brooklyn accent in Africa?/Normal for Rosie!  “Trashin’ the Camp” song/Backstreet Boys sing great doo-wop!/Too bad the camp’s trashed…  Clayton hunts big apes/Tarzan says, “That’s not okay!/This hunt is postponed!”  Ape man meets Jane girl/Ape man likes Jane girl heap lots/Maybe they’ll elope?

Do you like Disney?/How about these haikus?  Hmm?/Leave comments below.

Random Top Five: Snoopy Personas

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
"Contact!" he shouts.

Here’s the World War I Flying Ace, looking proud on his Sopwith Camel featured on an emblem for the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron.

One of my favorite characters in all of popular culture is Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s beagle from the Peanuts franchise.  Ever since I first laid my eyes on him in a videotape recording of A Charlie Brown Christmas, I have grown to love Snoopy immensely and take great pleasure from seeing his antics.  I like the idea of a dog standing up on his hind legs, walking around, and hanging out with a little yellow bird.  The one aspect of Snoopy that I love the most, however, is that he has an overactive imagination.  Not content with being merely a dog, Snoopy has decided to fill the dull moments of his life with fantastic adventures in which he is the hero of epic stories, usually taking on some truly iconic identities in the process.  It is these alternate personas of his that stand out the most in my mind whenever I think of Snoopy.  Here is a small appreciation of five of Snoopy’s most famous personas and why I like them so much.

5. The World-Famous Novelist, a.k.a. The Literary Ace

“It was a dark and stormy night.  Suddenly, a shot rang out!”  If you’re reading a Peanuts strip, chances are you will see these words hovering over Snoopy’s head while he is banging on the keys of a typewriter on top of his doghouse.  You will then have witnessed one of the most harrowing moments in all of literature: here is the World-Famous Novelist making another attempt at writing the Great American Novel.  It’s just unfortunate, though, that he is borrowing his opening line (the “dark and stormy” part, anyway) from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s Paul Clifford, an 1830 work whose beginning sentence is apparently considered one of the world’s worst story starters.  Despite the continuous stream of rejection letters that arrive from various editors and publishers, Snoopy still persists in writing, always with that line as his lead-off hitter. 

I was inspired to become a writer partly because of Snoopy’s attempts to be a writer.  I admired how he never gave up on his dream despite everyone else telling him he should stop.  He kept on writing anyway just because he was that dedicated to his craft.  It just so happens that his work has been published at least one time, believe it or not, and I acquired a copy of it myself a couple of years ago.  The year 1971 saw the publication of It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, a book based on several different Novelist storylines and featured a special reprint of Snoopy’s written work.  I highly recommend hunting a copy down for yourself on Amazon, especially because of the beagle’s account of a surprisingly awesome pirate fight.

4. Legal Beagle

Snoopy has a secret second life separate from his regular existence as a dog and even from his other personas.  In this other life, he is one of the USA’s most elite trial lawyers.  Here is the world-famous lawyer, easily recognized by his bowler hat, bow tie, and carrying a briefcase filled with legal papers (and doughnuts and cookies).  This stalwart defender of truth and justice, sometimes seconded by loyal assistants Linus and Rerun Van Pelt, has had an ecclectic list of clients, including most notably Peter Rabbit (It turns out Mr. McGregor can be far more deadly with a lawsuit than he ever was with a shotgun and rabbit traps.) and the Knave of Hearts (who may have stolen some tarts, but the evidence seems to be circumstantial; it may be that Snoopy himself had a nibble of some of the tarts in question). 

I like this persona mostly because of the absurdity of Snoopy being a part of the legal world and all of the unusual situations that would bring about, and also because I have seen it more in the comics than in the TV specials which makes it stick out more in my mind.  I wonder what would happen if Snoopy went up against Phoenix Wright in a real “trial by fire?”

3. Beagle Scout

When Woodstock and his identical yellow bird friends want to go camping, hiking, sailing, or engaging in nearly any other outdoor activity they can think of, they know the beagle to call.  Snoopy is the loyal den dog to the Beagle Scouts, a group of young birds working to earn merit badges in a variety of disciplines.  Sometimes their excursions take them out onto the neighborhood golf course, marching through sand traps and around holes, frequently taking some treacherous hiking paths through the nearby woods.  There is plenty of risk of being hit with flying golf balls or being chased off the course by its owners or by Charlie Brown and the gang, but the experience of being outdoors is well worth the effort to Snoopy and his young scouts.  The rest of the time, they hike and set up camp through some beautiful countryside; how much of this is really part of the neighborhood or just part of Snoopy’s imagination, the world may never know.

The Beagle Scout persona is a Snoopy persona I can particularly admire because he and his bird friends get to walk through some exquisite outdoor settings.  Charles M. Schultz drew amazing depictions of lush forests, wide meadows, craggy mountain passes, sheer cliffs, calm rivers and streams, and other outdoor locales for the Beagle Scouts to explore, ones which remind me a lot of nearby parks and woods near my home.  They look well-suited for places to spread out one’s sleeping bag and stare up at the stars.  Snoopy is truly an appreciative outdoorsman (or is that outdoorsdog?).

2. Joe Cool

Snoopy’s salute to the BMOC (Big Man on Campus), Joe Cool is undoubtedly one of the hippest (in his own mind) personas the beagle has.  The sweater-wearing, sunglasses-sporting “student” is not as concerned with making good grades as he is with making a name for himself around Charlie Brown’s school, hanging around the water fountain and flirting with the girls.  Whether this approach makes Snoopy/Joe any more popular is up for debate; if You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown is any indication, he certainly isn’t popular with teachers and other faculty who do not want a beagle leaving pawprints all over the school. 

Personally, I think Joe Cool lives up to his name, if only in that he knows how to make a sweater with one’s name plastered on it look like the coolest sweater in the world.  This somehow, by extension, makes the wearer himself look cool, so maybe the beagle is on to something here.

1. World War I Flying Ace

Here is what is undoubtedly Snoopy’s most famous persona, immortalized through his show-stealing appearance in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the Royal Guardsmen’s top musical hits “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron” and “Snoopy’s Christmas,” and even a couple of video games (a different Snoopy vs. The Red Baron and Snoopy Flying Ace).  The World War I Flying Ace is a living tribute to all of the men and women in the armed forces, a pilot who is still fighting the war even though it officially ended when Germany signed an armistice on November 11, 1918.  The Flying Ace climbs on his Sopwith Camel and flies once more into the wild grey yonder (it would’ve been blue if only all those guns stopped blasting ordnance for a second), searching for the “bloody” Red Baron.  Even though the Baron is credited with a long string of successful wins in dogfights, his winning streak of  “ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or more” pales in comparison to his legendary rivalry with that ace of aces, Snoopy.  Thank goodness it’s a relatively bloodless rivalry.  Every time they meet, the Baron just shoots a few holes through the doghouse and forces his opponent to make a rough landing, free to repair his “plane’s” smoking (?) fuselage while shaking his fist (It’s astonishing that dog is even capable of making a fist.  Cartoons, gotta love ’em.) and shouting, “Curse you, Red Baron!”  Snoopy and the Baron even seem to have come to an uneasy truce: every Christmas, they land their planes and share a cup of tea together, wish each other a Merry Christmas, then fly away until their next aerial clash. 

This part of the Flying Ace’s legend is one that I really like to reflect on.  How cool is it that even though they’re such fierce rivals usually intent on “rolling out the score,” Snoopy and the Baron have enough respect for each other to reenact the famous “Christmas truce” from the 1914 portion of the War to End All Wars every single year?  It makes me hope that others will be willing to take up the cause of “…bringing peace to all the world/And goodwill to me-e-e-en.”

I have read many times that Charles Schultz stated that people could interpret his work however they wanted; that all he was trying to do with Peanuts was to make people laugh once a day every day for fifty years.  Well, he certainly made this reader think a lot about life while he was laughing.  In regards to Snoopy, Schultz said that despite the character’s sensational popularity, he himself tried his darndest not to let the beagle completely hijack the strip.  However, I personally believe that Snoopy is the best part of Peanuts.  His boundless imagination and creative flights of fancy are a wonderful respite from the usual storylines of Charlie Brown’s hangups and everyone else’s insecurities.  Snoopy is almost never depressed; he is astoundingly happy all the time and completely engrossed in his fantastic adventures.  Even if the rest of Schultz’s Peanuts work is forgotten over time, I hope Snoopy will remain popular for a long time to come.  I think the world would just be a lot sadder without him.

What do you think of Snoopy and his numerous personas?  Which one is your favorite?  Make sure to fly over to the comments and leave your thoughts, and here’s to hoping you don’t have any “dark and stormy nights” anytime soon!

Random Top Five: My Favorite Halloween Costumes

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Pumpkin Witch Husband says hi, too.

Pumpkin Witch Bride wishes you a hauntingly happy Halloween!

The Halloween season is upon us once again, and with it will come a collection of kids in creepy, kooky, altogether ooky costumes to my family’s front door for Halloween candy.  I love seeing the continuous parade of different costumes and designs, taking note of which classic monsters I see and which new characters in pop culture have been transformed into costumes.  Here are some of my favorite Halloween costumes that I watch out for every year; I wonder how many of them will show up on my doorstep tonight?

5. Vampire

A formal ensemble, a toothy grin, a telltale widow’s peak: all of these are the classic signs of a vampire showing up at your door.  I remember going as the close cousin of Grandpa Munster once myself for Halloween, complete with a cape, a widow’s peak, and a set of fake fangs that made it hard for me to talk but certainly helped me to look the part.  It was one of my favorite costumes and I am glad it still seems to be popular among today’s kids.  I am not sure what it is about a formally dressed blood-sucker that appeals to people, but at least it teaches kids the value of a good outfit for a black-tie dinner.

4. Princess

 A majority of the little girls that stop by for candy every year are often dressed as princesses, queens, or other royalty.  It is a credit to their parents, guardians, and friends that their crowns don’t go to their heads and they gain a kingdom-sized ego.  A lot of the princesses I see on Halloween are dressed in a multitude of colors, not just pink.  I’ve seen princess costumes decked out in blue, green, red, purple, aquamarine, neon yellow, mint green, and many other colors.  Truly a rainbow of royalty!  I wonder if I’ll see anyone dressed as princesses from TV and movies tonight.  I always see a few Disney princesses here and there, but will Disney’s newest and youngest, Sofia the First, be represented?  How about a few My Little Pony princesses like Celestia, Luna, Cadence, or even Twilight Sparkle?  Whether two legs or four, there’s going to be princesses for sure!

3. Frankenstein

For the record, I am referring to Frankenstein’s monster, not Dr. Frankenstein himself; I don’t really like the idea of a scientist who decides to “play God” and reanimate the dead.  Regardless of my feelings for the man who created him, I think the monster himself is A-OK.  I love the look the Frankenstein monster was given: the green skin, the rectangular cranium, the neck bolts, the simple brown coat and pants, the plain black overshoes.  It’s a clean, uncluttered design that screams “instant icon.”   I think it looks great as a Halloween costume, a statue, a hood ornament, or even an airbrushed T-shirt drawing.  Boris Karloff made it menacing yet sympathetic, while Herman Munster made it unusual yet ordinary and genial.  Both emotional extremes suit the design just fine in my opinion, and it is definitely one that brings a smile to my face.  Just keep me away from the Bride of Frankenstein, though: I just keep picturing the rats and other vermin that must infest that tall hairdo of hers, so gross!

2. Mummy

It’s a dead guy wrapped in a whole hospital supply closet’s worth of gauze returned to life and shuffling around, scaring the populace with every step.  For some strange reason, though, I don’t find the sight of this creature as terrifying as I used to.  It probably started with that cute little-girl mummy in that one Scooby-Doo movie, or maybe with the notion that in The Scorpion King, the guy who will eventually become the star of The Mummy Returns is played by Dwayne Johnson, one of humanity’s living definitions of the word “cool.”  It could have been that one attempt I made to dress up as a mummy with a bunch of toilet paper wrapped around myself (it kept falling off because I didn’t want to use tape).  Somehow or other, I’m just not scared of mummies anymore.  A while back, I watched The Mummy’s Curse, the final appearance of Lon Chaney Jr. as the original movie mummy, Kharis.  I expected to be scared out of my wits by the mummy’s shuffle-step, but I instead became endlessly fascinated by the way he gave Mr. Spock a run for his pointy-eared money by successfully applying the Vulcan nerve pinch to all his victims roughly two decades before the heyday of Star Trek.  He could give most professional wrestlers a lesson or two as well in the intimidation department.  I guess I just like mummies a lot more these days than I am scared of them, and what’s wrong with that?

1. Ghost

Whether or not you believe they actually exist (TV says “yes,” my beliefs say “no,” the ghosts themselves would probably say “maybe” if they had mouths and vocal cords), you can’t help but smile at the sight of a kid with a plain white sheet draped over their heads with a couple of big eye holes cut out.  Even though I’ve rarely ever seen anyone at my front door dressed in this exact costume,  it is a design which I still like seeing every year in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  Mr. Brown’s ghost design is a little different from all the other ghosts in that special.  His ghost costume has more cut-out eyes than a potato and his line, “I had a little trouble with the scissors,” is such an understated and hilarious line that I break out into a huge grin every time I hear it.  It is for that very line that I think of the ghost as my Halloween costume of choice.

What’s your favorite Halloween costume?  What was the best costume you ever wore?  Do you think today’s costumes are better or worse than the costumes of the past?  Let me know in the comments, and have a happy and safe Halloween!

Pop Culture Haikus: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

A haiku is a beautiful type of poem with a certain number of syllables for each of its three lines: five for the first line, seven for the second, and five again for the third.  I was inspired by last night’s premiere of the new Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show (you can watch that episode here) to try my own hand at writing some haikus.  The following haikus are based on some of the characters and moments that stuck out to me the most from the first episode.  I think this show has a lot of neat ideas, and I cannot wait to see what else it has up its sleeve.

Agent Phil Coulson

He died but still lives/Still brings loners together/Same old tricks, “new” dog?

Rising Tide/Agent Skye

Crusading blogger/Spoke loudly against black suits/Now sleeping with enemy.

The Hooded Hero

Average worker/Not-so-average powers/That’s a bad mix, yes?

Agent Grant Ward

New kid on the block/Too serious in fun world/Loosen up, kiddo!

Agent Melinda May

Veteran spy girl/Played by one who voiced Mulan/She knows how to fight!

Agents Fitz and Simmons

Resident techies/Solving problems in nick of time/Good minds think alike.

Lola (Coulson’s Car)

Refurbished classic/Hidden features under wheels/Sounds just right for spies!

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Spies in heroes’ world/Movies part of TV now/Comics do no wrong!

I think I will post more haikus in the future if that is all right with everyone.  What do you guys think?  If you saw the first episode of S.H.I.E.L.D., what did you think of it?  How awesome is it that we now get to see Clark Gregg on ABC TV each week?  Leave your thoughts in the comments, and please watch S.H.I.E.L.D. in the coming weeks.  I think we’ve got a really special show on our hands here!

Pop Culture Questions: Twilight Zone Edition

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
I bet in the show itself, this photo would be in color.

Serling: Picture if you will, a famous TV writer and host talking to himself in the middle of a hotel room, desperate for a meaningless distraction to come from outside the space he inhabits.
Room Service outside front door: Um, Mr. Serling, I’m still waiting for you to pick up your prime rib out here.
Serling: Tonight’s tale of meat consumption and satisfying hunger, in the Twilight Zone.

The Syfy channel’s annual Fourth of July Twilight Zone marathon aired on Independence Day a short while ago.  I watched a few episodes in the morning and was delighted to see how well a lot of these stories hold up decades after they originally aired.  Still, like most great pieces of science fiction (or any kind of intellectually stimulating media for that matter), it did raise a few questions in my mind.  These are not the usual questions of morality and the natural feel of the unknown that Rod Serling and company raised practically every episode, but rather little queries about the events of the episodes themselves that figure prominently in how I view them.  For instance, have you ever considered…

Is Mr. Bemis’s fate at the end of “Time Enough at Last” really such a bad thing?  (I didn’t actually watch this one on the 4th, but since we’re talking Twilight Zone, I figured I might as well talk about it here.)

From what I have learned about the series over the years, it seems to me that the ending of “Time Enough at Last” is one of the most famous moments the original Twilight Zone series ever produced.  The plot in a nutshell for those of you who have never watched it (here’s the whole kit and kaboodle for you to enjoy, I know I sure did): Mr. Henry Bemis, a book-a-holic and professional windbag (played wonderfully by Burgess Meredith), locks himself in a bank vault for some peace, quiet, and good reading.  Meanwhile, World War III breaks out outside (we know that because the newspaper Bemis brought in with him conveniently says so).  When Bemis climbs out of the vault, he steps into a nightmarish landscape devastated by the atomic bomb.  After wandering around for a considerable length of time, he comes across a library literally overflowing with books of seemingly every type.  Just as he’s about to settle down for a lifetime of reading pleasure, he trips and breaks his glasses on the pavement.  As his vision blurs and goes out of focus, Bemis proceeds to whine like a little girl and complain about how true happiness will be denied him for the rest of his life, just because he can’t see anything he reads as clearly anymore.

Personally, I don’t think Mr. Bemis’s situation is quite as dire as the ending makes it out to be.  I remember from watching the episode (and confirming my suspicions via Wikipedia) that Bemis has enough food to survive for the long haul, so he certainly shouldn’t starve to death any time soon.  In addition, who’s to say that there isn’t some remains of an optometrist store left in all the ruins that he could raid for some new glasses or a pair of contact lenses?  He’s bound to find the right prescription for his eyes if he looks hard enough.  I bet he will soon indeed have all the time he needs, all the books he could ever want, and all the vision he can handle before he inevitably dies of radiation poisoning (well, what did you expect from this episode, a happy ending?).

How has the computer in “The Old Man in the Cave” managed to keep running for all this time without breaking down?  (Enjoy this two-minute version.)

In this episode, it is revealed that a giant computer has guided the lives of a small U.S. town’s residents for roughly a decade following a nuclear-fueled World War III (there’s that subplot again!), telling them which foods are safe to eat, where to go for fresh non-contaminated water, etc.  In 1974, after discovering the true identity of the “person” who has told them to go without canned food for more than a week, the townspeople show their gratitude by demolishing the computer into itty-bitty pieces.  The impressive thing about this is that it’s not your average run-of-the-mill laptop they’re smashing to bits.  This is a huge UNIVAC-type vaccuum-tube model you can normally only find in cheap sci-fi comic books.  I’ve always wondered just how this machine came to be placed in the cave and how it’s been able to operate so smoothly for such a long time after a nuclear war.  From the way it gives the townspeople weather reports and food health analyses, I believe it might be used for some type of farming program.  The cave residence might likely be to protect it from inclement weather and wanton marauders looking to destroy anything they can get their hands on.   How the thing’s been operational for so long, though, is beyond me.  There is a guy named Goldsmith who appears to know what the machine does within the episode itself, but who knows if he’s been with it from the beginning?  Also, where can I get one of those giant computers?  I wouldn’t mind one taking up most of the room in a corner of my house; I wouldn’t do anything with it of course, but it could just sit there and look important.

Is Rod Serling a figment of the imagination in the Twlight Zone universe?

Picture if you will: Your humble host, Rod Serling, is wrapping up a typical Twilight Zone episode with some long-winded closing narration.  You’re not really paying attention because you’ve heard this guy’s schtick a hundred times before (there are 154 episodes in the original series, after all).  Suddenly, he does something you’ve never seen him do before in any of his TV appearances.  He walks into the camera’s view, one of the story’s principal characters in the background tells him not to talk that way, that guy throws a paper into the nearby fireplace, and Serling suddenly disappears.  No folks, that’s not your nightmares coming true.  That’s actually a real ending to an early episode, and when I learned about it, it scared the living daylights out of me.

The episode in question is called, “A Room of His Own” (part 1 here, part 2 over yonder), a sleepy little yarn about a guy with a dictaphone who can make anything he speaks into it come to life.  For some strange unexplained reason, Rod Serling just so happens to be one of the things he has made.  This set of circumstances made me think: What if in all the other episodes, Rod Serling happens to be just as fictional as he is here?  After all, he has delivered his opening narrations from the weirdest places (his “fly on the wall” routine in “Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room” comes to mind).  Who’s to say that, in the show’s context, he isn’t some kind of ghost or other unnatural being who has a predilection for finding weird, unsettling sci-fi stories and telling them to an unseen audience, all the while oblivious to the characters around him who are fully aware of his presence but choose to ignore him in the hopes that he’ll find some other poor freaks to rattle on about.  I’d be interested in seeing a Twilight Zone show like that someday; it might attract viewers interested in seeing just how this young man became so fascinated with the paranormal.

Any other strange questions you’ve ever had about The Twilight Zone?  Jot them down in the comments; I’d be up for a good chat concerning  any one of these episodes.

Pop Culture Questions: Pest Control Edition

Friday, July 5th, 2013
Say "cheese," Ronald! See what I did there?

This little rat was thankfully spared during the most recent dungeon raid. He is currently enjoying a steady recovery at Dr. Rodent’s Rat Rehab, home of the world-famous “Vermin Swimmin’ Spa,” in Reno, Nevada.

Welcome to another installment of my series, Pop Culture Questions.  This time, I’m going to tackle two conundrums involving things that I find annoying, irritating, or just a big old pest.  Get out the DDT and mousetraps because it’s time for some long-overdue extermination.

How come medieval dungeons are always filled with giant rats and spiders?

I have been playing a new game, Warhammer Quest, on my iPad and am repeatedly running into dungeons filled to the brim with orcs, goblins, and all sorts of other nasty creatures.  The most revolting creatures I’ve come up against so far, however, have been some grossly oversized rats and spiders.  It seems to me that in every castle dungeon I have ever seen, whether in movies, TV shows, or, lately, video games, I have always seen a healthy (or is that unhealthy?) assortment of jumbo-sized rats, spiders, bats, and other humongous vermin.  What compelled these critters to reside in such dark, dank, miserable places?  I think it’s probably due to the cold, moist environments and the steady supply of fresh meat in the form of traveling adventurers hapless enough to walk into the next random cave entrance only to find it’s a den of starving creatures waiting for a human feast.  The real question on my mind, though, as stated above, is: How come the majority of these rats, spiders, etc. are always of the “Triple Deluxe Whopper” variety?  From whence did these rodents and their disgusting friends gain the ability to grow to such a large size?  Someone must have left a magical potion lying around or been dumping something especially powerful into the sewage, because it looks like these huge monsters are here to stay, especially if they keep breeding like, well, rats.

What is “The Most Annoying Song in the World?”

A little while back, I came across a video for a song from the Disney TV show Phineas and Ferb called, “This Is the Most Annoying Song in the World (Woop Woop).”  Despite the claims of Dr. Doofenshmirtz, the show’s resident mad scientist and the lead singer here, that  his creation is the most mind-numbingly annoying song ever, I find that a bit hard to believe.  I think the song is actually quite catchy and pleasing to the ear.  In fact, I can come up with much more annoying songs than this pathetic attempt.  For instance, I personally don’t mind Barney the Dinosaur’s “I Love You, You Love Me,” but apparently there’s many other people who, if they don’t have any preschool-aged children around, set up bunkers and call civil defense authorities once this song starts playing on their TVs.  How about “The Song That Doesn’t End,” the classic that’s great for ending an episode of Lamb Chop’s Play Along  but turns into sheer torture when you’re forced to listen to it for 10 hours straight?  On that note, there’s also a lot of YouTube videos of annoying songs played on near-infinite loops, or at least as long as the person making the video can stand before finding something better to do with their time.  For example, have a taste of the “Nom Nom” song accompanied by 10 hours of hamsters and gerbils eating food, or for something a bit shorter, Pac-Man eating  dots for 58 seconds or one minute of some bizarrely cute Photoshops

I think I’ll pass this question on to you now, too.  Are there any songs that drive you up the wall any time you hear them?  Leave your songs in the comments, and if possible, give links to videos or sound files of the songs in question so I can hear them as well.  Hope you don’t find my request too annoying! 🙂

Considering Closing Credits

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

I was checking out YouTube the other night when I came across a video of the closing credits for one of my favorite shows from the past.  Watching it again, it moved me in a strange way and it caused me to think of other closing credit sequences which have stayed in my memories, in some cases long after the shows they were part of stopped airing.  The shows may now be over, but the curtains have never closed on these end title gems in my mind.

Astro Boy- 1st ending theme, Japan only

The video above is the one I was watching that inspired me to write this blog post.  It’s from the 2003 Astro Boy TV series that aired for only a short while in the U.S.  I’m a big fan of Osamu Tezuka’s Japanese robot hero, and I think this series is one of the best depictions of him ever done outside of the comics.  There were a lot of changes made to the series for its U.S. airing, though, including changing the closing credits sequence.  The end title sequence in the video (without all those annoying names in front) is one of the things that I was never able to see in the show’s original U.S. run, but I discovered it a few years later on YouTube, and boy, did we miss out on a real gem!  In the sequence itself, the main character, Astro the boy robot, is looking out over Metro City during a sunset, possibly contemplating some mystery of life judging from his tapping feet and his apparent wiping away of a tear (don’t laugh, he does shed a few tears in the show’s final episodes).  As the sequence ends, he looks over his shoulder at the viewer and gives a big smile, as if to say, “Don’t worry, it’s all right.  We’ll meet again soon.”  I find this sequence very moving in its simplicity, speaking volumes in a minute and a half.  I wonder why this sequence was never used in the U.S. version (or on the DVD either, for that matter).  Is it because Astro is sitting on top of a building and the show’s translators were afraid kids might duplicate such an action?  Darn shame, because I think this thing is just beautiful, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it used in some way if the series ever comes back on the air.

Blue’s Clues– Clap, Sweep, Clap, Clap, Clap

I loved Blue’s Clues when it started airing in 1996.  It’s combination of simplistic problem solving, cute visuals, and the seemingly naivete of host Steven Burns was very appealing to me for the longest time, and I’ll still watch an episode from time to time for nostalgia’s sake.  One part that I think a lot of people forget about when they talk about the show, however, is the closing credits right after Steve’s “Now It’s Time for So Long” song.  Most viewers might flip to another channel after that song, but not me.  I stuck around just to see Blue, Tickety Tock, Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, and all the other characters dancing around while the credits rolled, something you don’t really see these days because they speed the credits up to add more commercials.  Also, I wanted to hear what instruments or sounds would be added to the theme’s basic bass line and “clap, sweep, clap, clap, clap.”  Depending on the subject being addressed in that particular episode, you could hear anything from wind chimes to industrial machinery to an energetic piano solo.  It was an extra thing that made each show that much more special for me, like a unique snowflake.

The Flintstones/The Jetsons– Pet Peeves

I am attracted to closing credits that give the viewer something extra beyond just listing the names of the show’s production crew.  In the case of The Flintstones and The Jetsons, I was able to see a few more minutes of funny cartoon scenes, an awesome way to end a show.  Both of these shows’ iconic ending sequences involve household pets.  Fred Flintstone gets locked out of his house by a smart-aleck saber-toothed cat, pathetically calling out, “Wilma!”  George Jetson gets stuck on the treadmill while Astro the dog (Wow, Astro’s both the name of a robot boy and a dog!  That name sure gets around the cartoon world!) and an unnamed cat watch with delight as George calls out pathetically, “Jane!  Stop this crazy thing!” (You’d think she would; maybe she lets it happen to deal out some kind of cosmic justice to George or something.  It certainly couldn’t be for his health.)  These things will happen every single episode until the end of time (or until people get sick of watching these shows, but I don’t think that’ll happen for a long time).  I have never thought that these endings were particularly funny in any way, but I do smile when I see them.  They’re like comfort food, one last warm feeling before heading back to the present day where cats don’t have saber teeth and treadmills don’t normally suck people under them repeatedly (and don’t hang out in midair on the outside of a building, for that matter).

Spongebob Squarepants– Ukelele Ditty

You may not know it from watching it today, but Nickelodeon shows used to have closing credit sequences, too.  A few years back, though, they stopped showing these for some strange reason, probably to fit in more commercials, I guess.  It’s too bad, though; I used to enjoy listening to the familiar strains of some of them, but none more so than the Spongebob Squarepants closing music.  It plays over a static screen of flower print and standard credits, but I feel that the music is much more outstanding than the visuals.  It’s a continuous ukelele riff that was sometimes used as background music within the show itself, and I guarantee that you’d likely know what show it’s from just from hearing it.  In my mind, it’s an encapsulation of all of the happiness and simple pleasures I have gotten from watching Spongebob’s antics for the first, tenth, hundredth, maybe even thousandth time.  The only place I usually see this sequence now is in “Nick on Demand” showings of Spongebob on digital cable systems and on DVD compilations.  It’s quite the reversal from how often I saw it just a few years ago.  May it rest in peace, floating ever on through the flotsam and jetsam of TV’s past.

Before this discussion of closing credits comes to a close, I’d like to know: Do you have a favorite TV closing credit sequence?  What do you like about it?  Do you still see it anymore?  Open up about your favorite closings in the comments.

“The Price Is Right Live” in Syracuse: Coming On Down, Moving On Up

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
I'd like to imagine he's sitting over three feet of shark-infested waters. Makes him seem more heroic in my eyes.

The set looked pretty much like this, only in full color, without Bill Cullen, and with slightly less wood trim. Oh yeah, and we wore the price tags on our chests, too.

“Here it comes!  From the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, New York, television’s most exciting hour of fantastic cash and prizes, it’s ‘The Price Is Right Live!”  When that opening line reverberated throughout the spacious theater on Sunday, June 9, 2013, the whole place erupted into cheers and wild shouts of joy.  I was one of those screamers, thrilled to be part of the viewing audience for the first performance in my area of the touring version of one of my favorite game shows.  True, I didn’t get to be a contestant on this night, but at least I had a chance to potentially be one, along with about three thousand other people, all adorned with yellow price tags proudly announcing their first name to the world.  The stage was set up to look like a close approximation of the original Price set with huge double doors and swinging ’70s color schemes; it looked very impressive for such a small stage.  In addition, all of the sounds and music I heard during the show were exactly the same sounds the viewer would hear on the TV show.  It was the closest most of us might ever get to actually attending a taping of the Price TV show at CBS Television City in California, so being able to get even a taste of that experience was rewarding in itself.  It also helped that it was an inexpensive endeavor that gave a lot for my money.

The live show was set up in the same way that a typical episode of the TV show would play out, with a few small differences, mostly in terms of how many people were selected to participate.  Four people at a time were called out from the audience to “come on down” to a small “Contestants’ Row” where they would place bids for a prize.  The contestant closest to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price without overbidding won the prize and got to come up on stage to play one of the world-famous pricing games.  (Incidentally, one of the winning bidders managed to bid the exact correct price.  She won a gift card for her perfect bid, a pretty rare feat, so way to go, kiddo!)  Four new contestants were called down for each new game (twenty-four people in all), four more were selected for two spins of the big “Showcase Showdown” wheel, and at the end, one more contestant was picked to take on the Showcase, in this case a normal pricing game, “10 Chances,” but with more exotic prizes including a new car.  In all, whereas a typical TV episode would see only nine contestants play out the whole show, our live show saw closer to forty people able to play along on stage, not to mention the people who won Subway and Home Depot gift cards.  I was surprised to see just how many people were picked, but I think it’s cool that this show opens up so many more opportunities for the audience to play along.

The game’s host was just as impressive to me, and, I hope, to everyone else in the theater by the time the show was over.  Todd Newton has had years of experience hosting numerous game shows including Hollywood ShowdownWhammy! The All New Press Your Luck, and Family Game Night, and it certainly showed during his time in Syracuse as our master of ceremonies (apparently, he’s been hosting the touring live show for most of its existence, so I am sure he has this gig down to a science by now).  He was warm, genial, and always worked to keep the mood light and breezy.  The games may have been the star attraction, but in my view, Todd did an excellent job of making them larger than life for everyone watching; he even led everyone in chants of the show’s signature catchphrases, “Come on down!”  and “Spayed or neutered!” (Todd joked afterward that that was probably the only time those words would ever be chanted anywhere; we did it a total of three times throughout the show).  In fact, I’d be interested in him hosting the show on TV if he ever gets the chance to do so; he showed a lot of respect for the show and its history, and he seemed able to handle the show’s signature brand of organized chaos very well.

The selection of pricing games for Price‘s first night in Syracuse included some of its most famous ones.  Right off the bat, the first game played was Cliff Hangers; Todd led everyone in a rhythmic clapping along to the game’s iconic yodeling theme which kept the energy up in the room (the mountain climber fell off the mountain, in case you were wondering).  We also had a relatively low-stakes version of Plinko where the top amount on the board was $2500 (the contestant walked away with a only a small amount but it wasn’t too shabby).  The other games included Any Number, Punch a Bunch, and Hole in One (or Two), in which I thought the contestant’s first putt would be a sinker, but it just missed the hole.  Overall, there weren’t any huge money winners on this night, but having so many well-known games as part of our show felt really special to me.

This first Price is Right Live show in Syracuse was a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  It almost perfectly captured the feel of the TV show and enthralled all who attended.  It was good-old-fashioned entertainment that delivered a lot of bang for the buck.  I hope it can make it around to Central New York again because I would definitely consider “coming on down” again!