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‘Suicide Is Painless’ (AKA the theme from ‘M*A*S*H’)—the disco version


 
Not much to say about this one. If you’ve ever wanted a reason to picture Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III doing the Hustle, here’s your chance.

In Tom Moulton’s “Disco Mix” column in Billboard of March 5, 1977, he wrote, “The strongest [of three recent singles from FARR Records] is ‘Song From M*A*S*H’ by the New Marketts. Here is a beautiful and well-orchestrated melody featuring guitar and synthesizer playing the melody line and pleasing synthesizer solo in the vamp. The record was produced by Joe Saraceno.”

It’s well known bit of movie-making lore that the lyrics of the song were written by Mike Altman, the son of Robert Altman, director of the original movie. Appearing on Carson in the 1980s, Altman stated that his son had earned more than a million dollars for his part in writing the song, while Altman himself made just $70,000 for directing the movie.
 

 

 
via Ken Levine’s blog

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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You HAVE to see this live footage of John Lee Hooker from 1970. Really. Just drop what you’re doing.
01.27.2015
10:28 am

Topics:
History
Music
Television

Tags:
Detroit TV
John Lee Hooker


 
Early ‘70s Detroiters were fortunate to have a still-thriving auto industry, the Motown scene, tons of badass underground rock bands, and on top of all that, they had WABX’s music TV show Detroit Tubeworks. That awesome footage you’ve seen a million times of Captain Beefheart doing “Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop” is from that show, as is approximately a shit-ton of other brilliant material from the post-hippie/pre-punk era. Perfect Sound Forever has a great post about the show’s history.

Tubeworks was one monster of a music TV show. These shows were (and are) mean enough to make the entire staff and stockholders of both MTV and VH-1 start crying and hide in the bathroom. And to boot, Tubeworks was on an early version of analog cable TV. Detroit Tubeworks was a superb example of what was really good in 1969-1974 in rock and roll. It all makes you wonder what would happen if rock and roll on TV in the ‘70’s and the ‘80’s had followed Tubeworks’ lead. Detroit Tubeworks definitely relieved the doldrums of “just the five or six channels we had otherwise then. It was really the only place where we could SEE for ourselves the jams getting kicked out by a righteous bunch of motherfuckers.

Over the weekend, the Detroit alt-weekly Metro Times dug up some incredible footage from Tubeworks of none other than the man who brought electric guitar to Delta blues and brought Delta blues to Detroit, John Lee Hooker. I can’t find the exact date of the filming or broadcast, but it’s sometime in 1970, and there’s a generous 21 and a half minutes of footage. The video is degraded, but the sound is terrific. Per the Metro Times post:

This video features two of Hooker’s own kids plus legendary percussionist Muruga Booker. It was shot in the studio in 1970 for the local Tube Works show. Make sure you turn your device up loud before you hit play on this thing. Hooker was tuned in to a cosmic frequency of electric boogie drone, after all.

 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Friday Night Tykes’: Shocking youth sports docu-series exposes gladiator-style kiddie football
01.27.2015
08:46 am

Topics:
Sports
Television
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
Friday Night Tykes


 
As passionate fans of the Friday Night Lights TV series will tell you, you don’t need to care that much about football itself to care deeply about the carefully drawn characters of that much-loved small town drama. Something similar can almost be said of the Esquire Network’s returning youth sports docu-series Friday Night Tykes, but there’s a frankly shocking level of car crash brutality—that’s all being egged on by the “adults” in charge—that completely subverts what you think this show is going to be all about.

Friday Night Tykes focuses on the teams of the Texas Youth Football Association, the most popular, competitive and well-supported league of its kind in the United States. TYFA also has a reputation for controversy, and for the violent intensity of its pre-teen players, some who are as young as eight or nine. There is no size limit for these kids, either. The bigger the better. And did I mention the crazy parents? TYFA’s got its share of lunatics in the bleachers.

As season two starts, we get a recap of some of the most eyebrow-raising moments from last year. Answering the big question in many viewers’ minds (“WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING?!?!?!”) some of the coaches from the first series are gone, one for flagrantly encouraging viciously unsportsmanlike behavior (all of which this psycho was, for some reason, completely unashamed to allow the Esquire Network’s cameras to capture). There is a “welcome to the Terrordome” element to the TYFA—these little kids are encouraged to act like MMA gladiators. Tackle ‘em sure, but make sure to hurt ‘em real bad when ya do it. In TYFA, the all-American sport is sport is often enacted with the sort of violence associated with backyard wrestling. They just need to outfit their eight-year-old fullbacks with 2x4s and nunchucks and stop beating around the bush.
 

 
To be honest, I was left mouth-agape by this show within the opening moments. The thing that will probably occur to you as you watch it, as it did to me, is that these people are willing to subject their own children to something that is not really a great distance from cagefighting, but cagefighting done with little kids who are crying and puking! It’s so twisted! Some of the parents are so harsh, aggressive and downright nasty towards their children in public that you don’t have to use your imagination much to wonder how they might behave in the privacy of their own homes.

A narrator asks “But how hard is too hard? [Pediatricians warn against any sort of full body tackle until a child is at least 14 years of age] How far is too far? [Just wait!] Is youth sports truly about the kids, or is it truly about the parents?”

That last question is left shrewdly unanswered by the filmmakers.

Watch the entire first episode of the Esquire Network’s second season of Friday Night Tykes here.

Below, the trailer:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Andy Warhol shoots and paints Farrah Fawcett

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If it’s true that all’s fair in love and war, then it’s the share of the spoils after death and divorce that cause the most problems.

When Charlie’s Angels actress Farrah Fawcett died in June 2009, her will donated all of her art collection to the University of Texas—her old alma mater where she had studied before becoming an actress. Amongst Farrah’s treasured possessions was a portrait painted by Andy Warhol in 1980. This was in fact one of two paintings Warhol had made of the actress—the second was very soon to become the focus of a trial between the University of Texas and Fawcett’s ex-lover, the actor Ryan O’Neal.

O’Neal’s claim to the second painting rested on his testimony that he had first introduced Farrah to Warhol and had asked him to paint Fawcett’s portrait. He also claimed he had asked Warhol to make a second portrait so he and Farrah could have one each.
 
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Andy Warhol shoots Farrah Fawcett.
 
In 1997, Fawcett split-up with O’Neal after she caught him in bed with another woman. O’Neal kept his portrait of Farrah above his bed, but as his girlfriends found the picture a tad off-putting, he asked Fawcett to hold on to it for him.

This Fawcett did until her death, when O’Neal removed the 40-inch by 40-inch silkscreen from her house. This action led to a trial between O’Neal and the University in December 2013 as to who was the rightful owner of the Warhol painting.
 
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During the trial lawyers acting on behalf of the University of Texas attempted to discredit O’Neal’s story by using an edition ABC’s 20/20 where Fawcett is apparently seen asking Warhol to paint her portrait and is later filmed by the ABC news crew as Warhol snaps thirty Polaroid pictures of the actress in preparation for making the portrait.

O’Neal did not dispute that one of the Warhol’s belonged to his former long-term partner, it was the second painting that he claimed was his. Without any evidence to dispute this claim, the University were unlikely to win the case. O’Neal upped the ante by telling the jury he spoke to Farrah’s portrait every day:

“I talk to it. I talk to her. It’s her presence in my life and her son’s life. We lost her. It would seem a crime to lose it.”

O’Neal was on an operating table having a skin cancer removed when he heard the jury’s verdict that he was the rightful owner of the painting by nine jurors to three. Though the painting has an estimated worth of $12 million, O’Neal said he would never sell the picture as it meant too much to him, and it will be handed-down to their son Redmond after he dies.

This is that episode of 20/20 which featured so prominently in the trial. Originally made as a profile of Andy Warhol this short documentary does give some insight into the pop artist’s working techniques and has some typically Warholian moments.
 

 
Part II after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Revolt in the Fifth Dimension’: Spider-Man goes psychedelic in his weirdest adventure
01.26.2015
10:56 am

Topics:
Animation
Television

Tags:
Spider-Man


 
“Revolt in the Fifth Dimension” is a 1967 episode of the old Spider-Man cartoon which was directed by a then 25-year-old Ralph Bakshi. It was in part fashioned from reused animation cells from an episode of a Canadian cartoon called Rocket Robin Hood that Bakshi had recently produced. Spider-Man was simply substituted for Rocket Robin Hood on the animation backgrounds. This el cheapo production method ended up yielding an episode of Spider-Man where the plot was more Doctor Strange than the kind of stuff everyone’s friendly neighborhood webslinger usually got up to.

The synopsis from TV.com:

A dying scientist from the destroyed planet Goth in the deceased galaxy of Kamosah must land his crippled spaceship on Earth and, before expiring, entrusts Spiderman [sic] with a tiny but encyclopedic library of information, including the secrets of a dimension of living thought, whose one-eyed, skeletal ruler, Infinata, wants this information destroyed.

 

 
For reasons no longer specifically recalled, this was the only episode of the Spider-Man cartoon series that ABC either chose not to air in the first place, or when they repeated the series, although it lived on in syndication for years afterward. Reports are conflicting.

The possible reason they didn’t transmit (or rerun) this memorable episode might be how acid-tinged and druggy it is—not that the overt death theme and flying sperm wouldn’t have been enough!

It’s worth recalling that Bakshi, who famously animated Robert Crumb’s horny Fritz the Cat, the race fable Coonskin and the first big screen adaptation of Lord of the Rings, made a controversial episode of Mighty Mouse in the 1980s where the main character is seen charging up for battle by inhaling a “special powder” out of a flower!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The Marvelous Mage of Manhattan TV: Joe Franklin R.I.P.

image
Photo by Jim Herrington.
 
Joe Franklin died on Saturday. He was 88. The cause was prostate cancer. The world has lost one of TV’s weirdest and most wonderful wizards of the airwaves.
 
Joe Franklin was to late night cable TV in New York City what Papaya King was to hot dogs: Manhattan through and through. I watched his show religiously during the late 70’s/early 80’s. After a few shots of Jack Daniels and half a dozen lines of Peruvian flake, there was nothing more mesmerizing than the loopy surrealism of Joe Franklin. His stream of consciousness raps, fractured and deliriously deft, coupled with his vast knowledge of TV, music and movie trivia, was like listening to the Akashic Record of 20th century pop culture being transmitted through an Elf on meth. Franklin was a character in a David Lynch movie before David Lynch had even made a movie. He was a trip. And most of us punk rockers and downtown artists loved him.

My show was often like a zoo,” Franklin said in 2002. “I’d mix Margaret Mead with the man who whistled through his nose, or Richard Nixon with the tap-dancing dentist.

Here’s a wonderful clip from 1988 of Joey and Marky Ramone on The Joe Franklin Show. As you will see, Joey is somewhat in awe of the genius of Joe. And they respected him too much to correct his pronunciation of their name as The Raaaymones.

I gotta give props to Joe’s sidekick, bug-eyed deejay Paul Cavalconte, for being ultra-hip, despite The Smiths question.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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That time when Shelley Winters dumped whisky on Oliver Reed’s head for being a sexist ass, 1975


 
When two of the best and most unpredictable talk show guests in all of television history—boisterous Oscar-winning actress Shelley Winters and alcoholic Brit leading man, Oliver Reed—ended up as consecutive bookings on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on September 25, 1975, it seemed like an occasion where sparks might fly. And they did. At least something flew. It was a clash of the talkshow titans.

Winters was there because, well, because she was always on 70s talk shows (and gave good value as a guest, you can see how she makes Johnny’s job easy during her segment) while Reed, his first time on the program, was there to promote his role in Ken Russell’s Tommy. Winters comes out first and makes some cougar-ish observations about younger men. She’s her normal charming self. Then Reed is introduced, who declares that he’s “Quite extraordinary”—and I think it’s also fairly safe to assume completely drunk out of his fucking gourd—before going off on an offensive tangent against women’s liberation and feminism causing an incensed Winters to dump her drink squarely on his head.

While she’s still on the couch, Winters gets in a LOL adlib at Reed’s expense that demonstrates why she was such a popular fixture on talk shows. Watch for it.
 

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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A paler shade of White: ‘The History of White People in America’


 

“Not all white people are the same, don’t get me wrong, but they all have a few things in common that make them inescapably white.”

In Martin Mull’s pioneering 1985 mockumentary, The History of White People in America he makes a journey into the heart of whiteness examining the life of a stereotypical white suburban family, the Harrisons of Hawkins Falls, Ohio. They own a Weber self-cleaning barbecue grill, they all have personal jars of mayonnaise and they are not terribly self-aware people. (Sound like anyone you know? Of course not, I’m only joking.)

“No bargaining, no finagling. Full price. The white person’s way.”

The Harrison family’s patriarch is played by Mull’s Fernwood 2Night co-star Fred Willard in what is probably one of his best-remembered roles. Certainly it’s a role that he was… er… born to play, having been type-cast for his entire career as the ultimate clueless Caucasian guy. Cast as Willard’s wife is another Caucasian comedic genius, the very wonderful Mary Kay Place (Mull’s Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman co-star in the mid-70s). Mull and his mockumentary crew also visit The Institute for White Studies in Zanesville, Ohio (where scientists try to prove that white people aren’t boring) and Dinah Shore Junior High School.

“Look how clean this place is!”

Written by Martin Mull and Alan Rucker and directed by Harry Shearer for the Cinemax Comedy Experiment. Produced by Mull and future Friends producer/director Kevin S. Bright. There were two sequels, the superior The History of White People in America Volume II (on YouTube in several parts) and Portrait of a White Marriage, which was still funny, although less successful than the first two installments.
 

 
After the jump, part II

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’ sung by Cookie Monster


 
Catman Cohen is an obscure but tenacious vocalist with an improbable, gravelly bass voice and a catalog of four self released CDs that feature absurdly portentious song titles like “If I Could Divide the Smell of Flowers,” “How I Want to Die,” “Metaphorical Dreams of a Broken Soul”... you get the picture. He’s very much a destitute man’s Leonard Cohen attempting to sing like Albert Kuvezhin, and on his 2009 opus How I Want to Dream: The Catman Chronicles 3 he covered Mazzy Star’s unforgettable 1993 single “Fade Into You.” Terribly. He also made a terrible video for it. Watch it here if you like, but I much prefer the version below, mashed-up by an internet smartass with footage of Sesame Street‘s Cookie Monster.
 

 
Many thanks to Valerie Johnson for this find.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
J Mascis singing Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’
Cookie Monster sings Tom Waits’ ‘Hell Broke Luce’
Tuvan throat singer takes on Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk, Beefheart, Joy Division & more

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Will the real Stan Lee please stand up?’: Comics icon appears on ‘To Tell the Truth,’ 1971
01.19.2015
11:13 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
comics
Stan Lee
Marvel Comics


 
If you skip past the first fourteen minutes of this edition of To Tell the Truth from 1971, you can bypass some desultory business with a palmistry expert and get to the good stuff—one of the founding figures of modern comic books, Stan Lee! This episode was shot in color, which made it much easier to savor the grooooovy, Laugh-In-inspired decor.

Of course, Stan Lee had an enormous impact on the development of comic books as well as their current dominance in Hollywood. Along with Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, Lee created most of the iconic characters whose names adorn the top-grossing movies of the last several years—Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and so on.

I won’t say which one of the three fellows it is, but I will say that two of the four panelists (Peggy Cass and Bill Cullen)* were able to suss out who the real Stan Lee is.
 

 
via The Untold Story
 
* Blew this detail the first time around. Thanks to herschel for pointing out my mistake.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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