Were you expecting a cameo by Bruce Willis on Chuck tonight? I was. The moment I saw Reginald VelJohnson in cop blues as Al, I just expected that John McClane might turn up at the Buy More looking to buy an iPod for his daughter or maybe a toaster for ex-wife Holly.
Yes, the connection to Die Hard was a major theme, especially with the Buy More staff (and Chuck's family) being held hostage by Ned, a supposed down-on-his-luck schlub who ends a high speed chase through L.A. by driving his compact through the entrance of the store.
Ah, Christmas music. A lot of people hate it. Those people are called "Scrooges."
I love Christmas music. The classic stuff, that is. Sinatra, Clooney, Como, instrumental music. If I hear Bruce Spingsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" or anything by Mariah Carey or U2 or McCartney or any rock band (though I love "Jingle Bell Rock," "Christmas Wrapping," and Darlene Love, which are all great), I'll strangle an elf, I swear.
After the jump I've posted many classic moments from TV specials and Christmas episodes of shows. You'll find everything from Dean Martin to a classic soda commercial and even a part of the male anatomy, placed in a square receptacle.
Splitting Images is a celebrity lookalike company in the U.K. They have a ton of people that can be hired for your next party, corporate event, or other entertainment-related function, though some of the lookalikes look more like the celebs than others.
For example, these guys look like Rowan Atkinson so much that they could probably commit some crime and he'd be blamed for it, and this guy could probably do the same for Bing Crosby, if he wasn't, you know, dead and all. But a lot of these people seem to be stretching things a bit. Do these woman really look enough like Pamela Anderson? And does this guy really look like Mr. Spock? I guess wearing a costume and/or having a pic taken in a particular setting helps.
Of course, you could get a Leo Sayer lookalike, though hiring the real Leo Sayer now would probably be cheaper now.
[via Marty Beckerman]
Many people know the classic trivia fact that Bing Crosby was approached to star as Lt. Columbo but said no because it would interfere with his golf. And many know that Columbo actually started on stage as a play. Prescription: Murder, the first Columbo movie, was first a stage play, with Thomas Mitchell (Uncle Billy in It's A Wonderful Life) as the detective and Joseph Cotten as the murderer. But did you know that there was another version, several years earlier, in 1960? And on television.
The first version was an episode of the anthology series The Chevy Mystery Show. William Link and Richard Levinson wrote an episode entitled "Enough Rope," which is basically Prescription: Murder with a few differences. Columbo was played by Bert Freed (that's him as Columbo on the right).
The episode still exists on kinescope. It might make for a fine extra on one of the Columbo DVD sets. Though I think I can say even without seeing these two other versions that no one could top Falk.
You probably remember the classic Sesame Street album Sesame Street Fever (on the right), a takeoff on the movie soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever and the disco craze in general. The producer of that best-selling album died of bladder cancer on Monday in New York City.
Arthur Shimkin also produced the Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer album sung by Jimmy Durante and came up with the idea that spawned Little Golden Records, which included such artists as Bing Crosby, Alfred Hitchcock, Roy Rogers, and Burl Ives. He also produced the 1961 version of Peter and the Wolf, with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. I remember that album really well. When I was in fourth or fifth grade, if you finished your work in class early, you got to go over to the corner of the room, sit in a comfy chair, and listen to albums on headphones, and that was one I listened to over and over again.
The obit says that Shimkin produced over 3000 records, and that is quite an achievement.
It's f#$in hot! How hot is it here on the East Coast? Well, it's so hot that . . . .well, it's hot! So, in order for you, the adoring TV Squad fan-base, to feel just a tad bit cooler while you watch an egg fry on the pavement I thought I'd spread a little early Christmas cheer around.
If you look back at the history of television Christmas specials perhaps the weirdest pairing of two individuals appeared in 1977. This was when Bing Crosby invited a young British singer named David Bowie to appear on his Christmas special. According to the David Bowie FAQ site Bowie was invited to the show after several people, including Crosby's kids, mentioned him. Bing decided to duet with David on Little Drummer Boy, but then added Peace on Earth for Bowie because he felt that it matched the younger man's singing voice. Bing took an immediate liking to Bowie and even gave him his phone number after the show's taping.
One month after the special finished taping Bing Crosby died, and the public didn't see the performance until after his death. However, once it aired it became a best-selling single (on a 45-rpm, you remember those) and a perennial music video. And now, thanks to the newfangled Internet, you can see it as many times as you want. So, put on that turtleneck sweater, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and snuggle up in your flannel blanket for this chilly Christmas treasure.
I know how you feel. Really, I do. A TV show comes along that seems so obvious in its mediocrity you can't fathom why so many people enjoy it. You list myriad examples of how the show is sub-par, or a blatant rip-off of another show, or too reliant on "easy" jokes, but no one will listen to you. They just keep watching and touting the show as if it's some work of genius. It's enough to make you go insane and eat your own face.
Family Guy may be popular, but there's still a lot of people who don't like it. My feelings on this subject are paradoxical. I like Family Guy, but I still have to agree with people who say the writing isn't always up to snuff, and that the show relies too heavily on pop culture references as a substitute for humor. Brian has a line in one episode that always makes me cringe: describing New York City, he claims it's "like Prague, sans the whimsy." Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like some college freshman trying to sound smarter than he is.
I think this might be the reason white people tend to freak out non-white people so much. Actually, who am I kidding? Watching that clip freaked me the heck out, too. It's from an old variety show called The Hollywood Palace which aired in the late sixties. That's before my time, anyone out there remember it? Anyway, it's a medley of Beatles songs, but sung by the likes of Bing Crosby, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gwen Verdon, Bobbie Gentry, and Dick Shawn. Actually, they're not so much "sung" as they are "badly lip-synced" but that's par for the course with variety shows. I'm pretty sure if you watch Crosby's mouth he's not singing the words at all, he's actually saying, "For the love of god, just shoot me now." Now I want to go rent one of the road movies he did with Bob Hope so I can erase this embarrassing image from my brain.
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