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November 26, 2006 - December 2, 2006 Archives

November 26, 2006


I got my All Access stuff done early today, and we took a lovely walk along the cliffs under a warm blue sky, nearly picture-perfect. So why am I in a bad mood?

It can't be football. Don't expect anything from the Iggles, and the Giants got humiliated today- a fourth-quarter meltdown? Been there- so even the expected quick strike for a 7-0 lead by Indianapolis in tonight's game didn't sting. It's not work- no problems there. It's not family or friends- all's quite good in that regard. And my knees aren't hurting lately, either- I feel pretty well.

But I'm still in a weirdly snarly mood. I'm not sure what I want to do with myself, other than not wanting to do whatever I happen to be doing at the moment. I'm resting? I want to do something. But I don't want to get up from the couch to do anything. And I'm strangely resentful over the thought that I might be indecisive, although that is exactly what I am right now.

I don't even want to be doing this.

So I won't.

Maybe tomorrow will be an improvement. You know it's trouble when you look forwatd to Monday.


November 27, 2006


I haven't been scanning much for a while, but while I was scanning some stuff for a friend, I found some stuff in old TV Guides that we can kinda fit to a holiday theme, like this cheery ad from a 1959 Boston area issue:

Yes, a white glob of unidentified gelatinous substance does indeed add that "Holiday Touch." (The "Holiday Touch" normally involves inappropriate manual contact by a mall Santa, from what I've been told) I'm not much for gingerbread, so the recipe sounds unappetizing, but I wouldn't be the best judge, not being of the goyische persuasion. I do like the note at the bottom, though: "EXCITING TELEVISION! 'THIS MAN DAWSON' EVERY THURSDAY 7-7:30 PM" It looks like they were contracturally obligated to stick a mention in the ad someplace; they didn't even bother to tell you the channel. The show starred Keith Andes as an internal affairs type, and William Conrad- THAT William Conrad- was one of the show's directors. It lasted about a season in syndication.

In the same issue, this:

The holiday cheer is provided by the 5:00 show, which was old even then. But what's most interesting is what's obviously the LEAST important program of the afternoon, and given the least space. Even Akim Tamiroff gets more play than Frank Gifford vs. Jim Brown. Times change.

And they did change. Here's a page from a St. Louis TV Guide in 1974:

On top, an enduring slice of Americana, or a piece of animated schlock, your choice. They reran it every year, but despite the participation of Fred Astaire, it was no "Rudolph." Or "Frosty." Or, for that matter, the Norelco commercial- "Noel-co." (Which is not on YouTube- someone fix that, pronto) Below that, what appears to be a hastily composed clip-art ad (check the misaligned lettering) for the World Football League title game. (The Birmingham Americans beat the Florida Blazers at Legion Field in Birmingham, 22-21. Neither team survived for the next season- Birmingham got a replacement team called the Vulcans and Orlando was abandoned) I love, by the way, that groovy 70's logo for channel 11- everything back then looked like it was designed by some grey-flannel-suit guy trying to be "relevant" and "hip" and "groovy" for the "kids." Look, it's, like, a stalk of broccoli! Or maybe a tree or something. Wow, man, heavy.

And, groovier and heavier and wow, mannier, from the same magazine:

And in case you were wondering, Bernie lives! Although the red 'fro is history.

No, I don't know whatever happened to Heshimu (as Jason).


November 28, 2006


Yesterday's fleeting references to David Joliffe and Heshimu from "Room 222"- I didn't even get to Ta-Tanisha or Judy Strangis- got me thinking about people we know from one show or movie who seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth. And, lo and behold, while perusing another old TV Guide from June 1978, I saw this:

The one on the left has this credit:

"And introducing Lark Ruffin."

Introducing? I couldn't recall her in anything else. So I checked- she played Cassie in this two-part TV movie, and that's it.

One show and out.

Here, look for yourself.

In fact, go ahead, Google her. Lots of references, but every single one is to this show. And nothing else.

That's hard to do. I'm hardly famous, but Google my name- it helps to put it in quotes- and there are several references and quotes. Pretty much everyone around these days will show up in a Google search. There isn't even a Lark Ruffin in ZabaSearch. Lark Ruffin apparently came to being in 1978 and promptly disappeared. I thought maybe Lark Ruffin became Lark Voorhees- Lisa Turtle on "Saved By the Bell"- but that Lark was 4 years old when "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" was telecast.

Where'd she go?

You could ask that of countless actors appearing in any old TV Guide listings, but for someone to get the special billing- "Introducing..."- and to just plain walk right off the planet is hard to pull off. Did she go on to happiness or tragedy? Did she become a doctor, a lawyer, a businessperson, a criminal, an average person? I wonder. And in an age where everyone's easy to find on the Net, for an actress, even a child actress in 1978, to not be found is a little strange.

Where have you gone, Lark Ruffin? A nation... er... doesn't really remember you.


November 29, 2006


More perusal of old TV Guides, more magic. From February 22, 1980:

The jokes, they write themselves.

O.J. as a bus driver! Arte Johnson as a tour guide! Lorenzo Lamas as the busjacker! And, in an uncredited bit part as one of the passengers, NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON. Really. Their only on-screen pairing.


Seriously, we HAVE to see this.

And virtually nobody saw it the first time around. Why? Because it was on opposite this:

Do you believe in miracles? Yes!


November 30, 2006


And the TV Guide hits just keep on comin'. On December 19, 1976, ABC aired a busted pilot, an attempt at a live-action "Archie" show. Here's the ad:

See who's playing Archie? Here's a better look:

Still don't recognize him? Well, here's the mystery. The listing says that Archie is played by this guy:

Yes, David Caruso as America's Favorite Teenager. Can't imagine it? Neither can I. But then there's the IMDB listing that says this:

He was cast as "Archie Andrews" in a 1976 pilot based on the "Archie" comic strip, but did not work out. He was replaced before shooting began by Dennis Bowen.

But then you check the "Archie" page and it shows the air date as in 1978. And if he was replaced "before filming," why was he listed? Surely the thing was filmed in advance of the TV Guide deadline. And what's this July 15, 1978 thing? And why does the reference to his removal read exactly the same on every page where it shows up on the Net? And doesn't the Archie in the ad look plenty like a very young Lt. Horatio Caine?

This is another thing we need to see. We need proof. Where's the DVD? Can someone post it on YouTube? There has to be a copy someplace. The world demands it.


December 1, 2006


This week's edition of the All Access newsletter is intended as a ray of hope in an otherwise dark and gloomy night:

"I've had it."

That's what I've been hearing from several friends in the business over the last month or so. Not enough work, cutbacks everywhere, heavy pressure from management to save money or work longer hours or get rid of essentials like producers. And I've even had some friends talking about what they'd be interested in doing other than radio. That's been striking to me- I'm hearing less hope and more resignation in people's voices as they talk about what's likely to come.

That's not good. And, look, I've counseled you before, right here in this Letter, to make sure you have something else you can do to keep earning the rent money, but it's only when I hear very talented people talking about doing something else with their lives that the reality of this wave of cuts kicks in. Man, it's tough out there.

So, what do you say when talented people are looking to leave the business? I don't know, but I do know one thing that's a common trait of many, maybe most of you: you do this because you have to. I don't mean that you have to as in "I have to work or they'll repo my Ford Focus" (although that may be true, too). I mean that you're COMPELLED to do this. You talk on the radio because you need the outlet. You need to talk to people, to entertain and argue and perform. If you take a job at McDonald's, you'll end up on the drive-thru mic cracking jokes and arguing with the customers. If you take an office job, you'll start a blog, a podcast, a MySpace page. You're a performer. That's what you do.

And that's why, whatever may happen in the short term, there'll be a need for you on the radio of the future. Broadcast, satellite, HD, streaming, podcasts, every possible delivery system will need someone like you, and you're going to want to communicate however you can. As I've written before, I don't know how some of this stuff will make money for you, but if you can combine your talent for communicating with the technology and an enterpreneurial spirit, you'll be fine, even if there might be some stretches when you'll be doing some other job. What I'm saying is that even if the short term is rough and you find yourself in a suit and tie surrounded by cubicles and you're being lectured by Bill Lumbergh about the TPS reports and he's telling you that he's gonna need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow, you're still a talk show host and you'll be back, somehow, some way. It's in your blood.

Why else would you have started doing this in the first place? It sure wasn't the money.

Okay, that's enough pep talk for today. Now, on to the plug for All Access News-Talk-Sports and the Talk Topics column, where there's plenty of show prep for your use on your radio show or podcast or the McDonald's drive-thru mic, including stories about misbehaving at the office party, spray-on condoms, nekkid crack addicts being eaten by alligators, trainers being attacked by killer whales, basketball teams being attacked by recalcitrant superstars who shoot 35% and hate practice (sorry, but it's tough to be a Sixers fan this, er, decade), a special tip on how to keep the peace in bed, the end of warm weather and the beginning of Windows Vista, the guacamole that isn't, another drunk celebrity, another inadvertently unclothed celebrity, how a guy got fired for smoking off the job, a stupid obvious crude joke about the renaming of the Wang Center, and lots of items about poisoned Russians and Kramer outbursts and other stuff that'll certainly get the conversation going, plu s "10 Questions With..." talk radio consultant and syndication pioneer Maurice Tunick, the Talent Toolkit with celebrity dirt sources, and the rest of All Access with the industry's first/best/most accurate/most good-looking (we're vain) news at Net News, great columns, Mediabase charts, the incredibly complete Industry Directory, and interviews with guys named Bruce Da Moose and Fook, which you're not gonna find at your lesser sites like CNN or the BBC, are you? I think not. Plus, it's all free. And let me just add a plug for pmsimon.com, my other site, which is not related to All Access (so Joel's off the hook) but this week includes documentary evidence of an O.J. Simpson TV movie (featuring Nicole Brown Simpson! And Arte Johnson!) that must be seen to be believed, plus the reason why nobody likely saw it when it aired back in 1980. Not to be missed.

Next week: I gotta write another one of these? Isn't it Christmas yet?


December 2, 2006


We were at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley and I was waiting for Fran up front by the door, and there were menorahs. There were two small glass displays with menorahs given to President Reagan, and I was looking at them when an older woman spoke to me.

"Isn't it strange?"


"Isn't it strange that these menorahs are up here?"

Strange? How so?

"Well, they're menorahs."

Yes, that's right. They certainly are menorahs. Is that a problem?

"Well... he wasn't Jewish."


"So why are they up HERE?"

I don't see why not. Do YOU have some sort of... PROBLEM with that?

"It just doesn't seem... RIGHT." And she walked away.

I guess I don't look Jewish. The blond hair and blue eyes throw some people off. And it's been a long time since anti-Semitism paid me a visit. But I don't get out much these days.

The rest of the afternoon was pleasant, other than the male janitor who walked into an occupied ladies' room and refused to come out until security came over (and even then, he didn't seem to understand what the commotion was about). And after the menorah incident, there was one surefire way to fix things, to return to our roots: dinner at the best authentic Jewish deli in Southern California, Brent's in Northridge. Let that woman be anti-Semitic. It just leaves more kishka and brisket-on-rye and kasha varnishkes for us.


About November 2006

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in November 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006 is the previous archive.

December 3, 2006 - December 9, 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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