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‘The Big Yin’: Vintage interview with Billy Connolly from 1975
08:24 pm



Back then, Billy Connolly walked on water, and turned it into wine. Or, so it seemed. He was “The Big Yin,” Glasgow’s favorite son. Every household seemed to own a Connolly album, or had been to one of his sell-out concerts, where even grannies queued for tickets, and wee kids knew the patter for his routines “Jobby Weecher” and “The Crucifixion” off by heart. He was a phenomenon, and in 1975 Connolly was on the verge of national and international success.

This short film captures Connolly at home in Glasgow, where he performs to a sell-out audience, visits his school and the Clyde shipyards where he first worked, and talks about his life.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

When Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly were The Humblebums

H/T NellyM

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Is this the single best segment of ‘The Colbert Report’ ever? It very well might be!
12:56 pm



One of the most eloquent men in America.

Stephen Colbert is a national treasure, we all know it, and this is perhaps the single best segment that I have ever seen on The Colbert Report.

Huffington Post said that it’s likely to leave you in tears and that’s most certainly true, but this is also absolutely hysterically funny. It’s a cute, sweet, feel-good tale, but when you see the preacher with the oxygen container, well, it goes into the comedic stratosphere after that. The producers and writers, and Stephen Colbert himself, of course, deserve a standing ovation.

I don’t really need to describe this to you, do I? Just hit play and meet Mayor Johnny Cummings of Vicco, Kentucky and the many wonderful people who live in his town (If you are blocked from the Comedy Central link, here it is on YouTube).


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Stay sick: Cleveland’s legendary 1960s horror host ‘Ghoulardi’ is Paul Thomas Anderson’s father
12:28 pm



In the city of Cleveland, people of a certain age get all misty-eyed when the name “Ghoulardi” is uttered in their presence. He was a mysterious, anarchic, goofy “degenerate” Beatnik character who hosted a Friday late-night horror movie show from 1963 to 1966 on WJW-TV, Cleveland’s channel 8. Ghoulardi was more daffy than scary. You can see traces of Lenny Bruce, Soupy Sales and Ernie Kovacs in his shtick—the Bruce influence is evident in Ghoulardi’s slogan, which was “Stay Sick!”, whereas the Kovacs influence was demonstrated by Ghoulardi actually appearing in the monster movies thanks to a camera trick that superimposed him over the film chain. He would also use sound effects, shoot off fireworks and employ his own soundtracks for comic effect, often “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” by The Rivingtons. The Soupy Sales influence came with the general anarchy on the live TV set and Ghoulardi’s jabberwocky catchphrases like “Cool it with da boom-booms!” and “Turn blue!” There might have been a soupçon of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth in the mix, too.

Many of Ghoulardi’s baby boomer fans might be only dimly aware that Ghoulardi—real name Ernie Anderson—was also the father of some big-shot director who’s been making waves in Hollywood lately, P.T. Anderson or something like that? That’s right, Paul Thomas Anderson’s production company is called “The Ghoulardi Film Company” in honor of his father. Ernie Anderson died in 1997 and the movie Boogie Nights is dedicated to his memory.

Given how fondly his fans remember his show, Ghoulardi’s tenure in Cleveland was surprisingly brief—but this was an era in which television dominated everything (and with far fewer distractions). Ghoulardi was a huge influence on The Cramps, so much so that they titled their 1990 Stay Sick album in homage to him. When Anderson died, they dedicated their 1997 album, Big Beat From Badsville to the memory of Ghoulardi. David Thomas of Pere Ubu once complained that The Cramps were “so thoroughly co-optive of the Ghoulardi persona that when they first appeared in the 1970s, Clevelanders of the generation were fairly dismissive,” but from the vantage point of 2013, as John Petkovic wrote earlier this year in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ghoulardi (and his rock and roll progeny) “altered the gene pool, leaving a legion of freaky followers to continue in his wake.”

Ernie Anderson left Cleveland for the warmer climes of Los Angeles, where he became a respected voice-over artist and more or less the voice of the ABC television network. In 1983 he demonstrated some of his voice-over artistry on Late Night with David Letterman.

This November 1 marks the start of the three-day Ghoulardifest in Cleveland to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the show.

Catch some of Ghoulardi’s comedy stylings from 1963. Only 18 minutes of his programs actually survived. In this clip he opens up his mailbag, a format that Letterman himself would later make hay with. Ghoulardi gets away with an “racy” joke about poker that wouldn’t make an 11-year-old blink today.

After the jump, the Emmy-winning Ghoulardi documentary, ‘Turn Blue: The Short Life of Ghoulardi’

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Pre-sellout, proto-punk Jerry Rubin accuses Phil Donahue of slingin’ dope in balls-out anti-war rant
11:26 am



Jerry Rubin, one-time Youth International Party ringleader, turned grown-up at 37, turned Wall Street businessman, turned ‘90s jaywalking casualty, lets Phil Donahue have it in this endlessly entertaining hyper-caffeinated near soliloquy on why you have to be a freak to get the attention of the suits.

Highlights include the dope dealer accusation mentioned in my title, Jerry calling “Phil or Tom or whatever” constipated, a shameless book promotion and an astute Nazi comparison for Dick Nixon. Rubin comes off here like he’s just snorted about a pound of cocaine.

After serving a short prison term in the early ‘70s, Rubin went through what you might call a spiritual crisis. When he came out on the other side of it, he had invested some cash in a little company called Apple Computer, married a former debutante and by the mid-80s was hosting late-night networking parties for “young urban professionals” at places like the Palladium nightclub in Manhattan. Long story short, he straight-up became, well, you know, one of the very rich, white men that he rails against in this rather one-sided “interview.”

Amazingly, during the mid-80s, Rubin would eventually travel the country on a speaking tour called “Yippie vs. Yuppie” with old pal Abbie Hoffman sticking up for the counterculture.

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
‘Lucy In London’: When Lucille Ball went ‘mod,’ brought to you by Monsanto!
12:22 pm



Lucy In London was an hour-long 1966 Lucille Ball musical variety TV special that jumped off from a regular episode of her sitcom, The Lucy Show called “Lucy Goes to London.” The comedy of that episode revolved around “Lucy Carmichael” never having been on a jet before as she travels to New York (en route to London from Los Angeles) with lovable curmudgeon “Mr. Mooney” (Gale Gordon) on a free trip won in a dog food jingle contest.

In the special though, she’s actually in London, where the entire thing was shot. Lucy is expecting a limo, but instead she gets Anthony Newley, her Cockney motorcycle-riding tour guide who manages to get Lucy dumped in the Thames, takes her shopping for mod togs on the King’s Road and performs “Pop Goes the Weasel” with her. There is mime involved. The whole thing is supposed to happen during the course of just one day, as this is what the prize calls for, a single day in London.

Of note is that the special was sponsored by none other than the Monsanto Company. Another point of interest might be the Phil Spector penned and produced title tune (several sources on the Internet say that’s Spector singing, too). And then there’s the matter of pervy actor Peter Wyngarde (yes, THAT Peter Wyngarde) whipping her ass repeatedly as they act out a scene from The Taming of the Shrew!

In the Wikipedia entry for Lucy In London, it mentions that Lucille Ball wasn’t really happy with the way it turned out (despite the show tying for #1 that week on the Nielsen ratings) and so she let it pass on her contract with CBS to do two additional specials. Too bad because the among the ideas that were discussed for a follow-up included a Middle Eastern comedy to be called “Lucy in Arabia”!!!

Can you imagine? This might have been Lucille Ball’s The Day the Clown Cried, you know? I’d pay $100 to see “Lucy In Arabia” right now, wouldn’t you? It’s a crying shame that never got made.

Sadly, the entire thing isn’t online, but does appear as an extra on the DVD box set of The Lucy Show: The Official 5th Season. This clip, however, will probably suffice for most people. Note cameos by Twiggy and The Dave Clark Five, who sang “London Bridge is Falling Down” in the special.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Let Nixon play Nixon! Listen to Tricky Dick tickle the ivories, on a composition by Richard Nixon
10:17 am



Nixon at the keys
Sure, you know him as the only president to resign in disgrace as well as the guy who turned Cambodia into a mass graveyard to little gain, but back in the day Richard Nixon was quite the charmer.

In 1962 Nixon campaigned to be governor of California and lost the race to the incumbent Pat Brown (father of the state’s current governor, Jerry Brown), an outcome humiliating enough that Nixon groused in a press conference afterward, “You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore!” (Well, that certainly proved not to be the case.) A few months later, on March 8, 1963 (the 1961 date on the video’s splash screen appears to be wrong, or else a reference to the date of composition, which given the context is idiotic), Nixon went on The Tonight Show, then under the stewardship of its second host, Jack Paar, and affably showed America his less pinched, less gloomy side. Given that he became president a scant five years later, this video arguably shows a key point in the transformation Nixon needed to effect in order to achieve that lofty goal. His laughter at Parr’s remark about “fifteen Democratic violinists” is genuine and likable; his crack about the Republicans not wanting “another piano player in the White House” is apparently a reference to Harry Truman, who was known as a piano player. (Also note, in the same sentence, the reference to “last November.”) The “Concerto” is a little dreary, but what the hey, we bet that Roger Sterling would have found something cheeky to say about it. For some reason the audio kicks out at the end, but the video is too delicious not to share.

In his 1983 book P.S. Jack Paar, the host reminisced:

He had been on the Tonight program with me, and against his own judgment and that of his many advisers, I got him to play the piano. It was an unusual moment, with Richard Nixon playing a ricky-ticky tune that he had composed. Marshall McLuhan, the media analyst, had written in his first book that if Nixon had played the piano on the Tonight program in the 1960 campaign, he would have won the election.

Paar had the McLuhan comment right; McLuhan wrote that “a few timely touches like this would have quite altered the result of the Kennedy-Nixon campaign.” Whether that’s really true, who can say? Nowadays all the political scientists insist that elections are all about the fundamentals. But one thing is for sure: the 1960 election was veeeeery close, and Nixon probably would have won the damn thing if not for some shenanigans on the Democratic side in Chicago…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Christopher Hitchens interviewed ‘In Confidence’: Relevant and controversial to the end
03:28 pm



Christopher Hitchens was a prisoner of chemotherapy, when he gave this interview in 2011. As Hitchens explains, the worst part of his treatment for cancer of the oesophagus was the effect of “chemo brain,” where a mental fog impeded his reading and stopped him writing—which was intolerable as writing was central to his sense of self. Moreover, Hitchens adds with typical aplomb, he feared “chemo brain” made him boring.

Hitchens was rarely boring, and here, the writer, polemicist and broadcaster gives a good account of his life, career, politics and values to Laurie Taylor, for his series In Confidence. Even in the midst of his chemotherapy, Hitchens had lost none of his combativeness or desire to settle old scores.

“I hate the idea that somebody like Henry Kissinger is what, well into his 80s now, or Pope Benedict likewise, would live long enough to read my obituary when I had fully intended to be writing theirs and I make no bones about it. That’s why I don’t ask for sympathy because I’m not intending to dish it out.”

Hitchens died in December 2011, and while it is inevitable to say how much he is dearly missed, etc, I note that since his death, his writing has received a wider readership than it did during his lifetime. With this in mind, it is worth considering that rather than continuing to bewail the loss of such a great journalist and polemicist, it may be worth looking to those who are alive and writing today.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ask a Homosexual: Historically important call-in TV show from 1972
06:31 pm



This is one hell of an extraordinary document of the immediately post-Stonewall gay rights movement. It was posted by Randolfe Wicker himself, the very fellow you see here speaking so articulately, intelligently and engagingly about homosexuality for a mainstream Pittsburgh audience that, for the most part, were pretty unlikely to have had much of an idea of “what” a gay person really “was” or “did.”

In 1972, gays answering blunt questions on television was new territory. I was the first homosexual to appear on television, full-faced & undisguised, in NYC on The Les Crane Show in 1965.

I went to Chicago to be on the Kupcinent show in the 1960s because there was no homosexual willing to appear on TV in Chicago.

I used the first money I made in the hippie-oriented anti-war slogan-button business to buy the first portable Sony CV video system. Using that equipment saved this one Pittsburgh appearance from the trash-bin of history. TV stations didn’t save tapes of even nationally broadcast shows, so virtually none of the early appearances by LGBT activists even after Stonewall and into the 1970s have survived.
I consider this my best appearance as an early activist—taking on all callers. I always could talk grin. Even the Hotline host made a joke about that.

The first thing that most people would say about Randolfe Wicker and this clip is that he was “brave” to go on television and represent his community in this way, and at that time. It surely was, but it’s more than that. What’s so fantastic about this and seeing it some 40+ years later in a vastly different context really brings this quality to the fore, is this young man’s open, engaging and generous attitude towards gently and respectfully educating people about homosexuality, a topic most folks were probably blissfully unaware of at that time. [Few people wondered if Elton John was gay then, I remind you. The thought simply did not occur to most people.]

This is an absolute must-see, I thought. Really incredible. It belongs in a museum’s collection. (Wicker’s papers are at the New York Public Library. Aside from his longtime activism, he was the co-author, with Kay Tobin Lahusen of The Gay Crusaders, an influential collection of in-depth interviews with fifteen homosexual people.).

Note that when the host asks Mr. Wicker what the gay rights movement wants, he lists a lot of things—like simple respect, as homosexual acts were still outlawed in many states at that time—but being able to be married and all of the legal protections (and tax breaks) that come along with that aren’t mentioned. It probably seemed almost inconceivable back then, even to most gays.

I also love the anecdote he tells about the article that no one else would publish save for the great hero of the underground press Paul Krassner in The Realist. You can hear that bit at about 7:30 in.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Catwoman turns 80: Thanks for everything, Julie Newmar
10:29 am

Pop Culture


Julie Newmar was the first Catwoman on the 1960s Batman TV series, and for some of us she will always be the best and the coolest Catwoman. However much love I have for Eartha Kitt, Julie is still my favorite. She has been the subject of musical and film tributes for decades, something I can’t really see happening with more recent screen portrayals of the character.

This month Julie turns 80 (what?!), and here are some excerpts of what she had to say about the experience:

It’s time to rewrite the rules

It was only two years ago that youth left me.
Hate me or not, middle age didn’t happen to me; a privilege undeserved, or unobserved.
In August of this year, I will be 80.
It is time to cross the Rubicon and come to terms with the best of myself.
There is no more time for “unsuccess”.
I give myself four seconds to go from a losing to a winning thought, a life giving one.
What if Sydney Pollock or Elizabeth Taylor lived to be 80?...

What’s so great about “agefying”? It is the power that having distance gives us. It’s the view from the top.
At 80, you have patience. Patience is like a magical chess game; the magic part is being able to see six, seven steps ahead. Been there, done that stupid thing.
Don’t need this strife anymore. 
As my thinking goes today ― I win and I do, by making sure I always see others as winners…

Another great virtue of age is to rise above the need to be seen or carry weight in situations of unnecessary stress.
Strife is wholly unnecessary.
Strife wins you nothing.
It is self-inflicted and tenders depression.

Being thin is good, though not necessary.
You don’t see an 80 year old weighing 300 pounds.
Nor any 60 year old weighing 300 pounds who are actually healthy.
Eat less, it’s cheaper. Then you can have, like me, anything you like.

The other evening around 8 PM, when the light outside was what cinema photographers refer to as golden, I sat silently for over an hour with my son observing the intense, almost palpitating color of the flowers in my garden. The hummingbirds were still sipping sweet nurture from their favorite tubular blossoms.
Bliss, ecstasy and a good garden can extend life…

Perhaps, if we get out of our own way,
we can desire and let be. Yes, that’s it.
To age successfully one must not be in resistance.
Resistance and ill health go together.
So there you have it.
Now let’s have fun.

Via Julie Newmar Writes
Below, ‘Catwoman Goes to College’:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Julie Newmar Asks “What Turns You On?”

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
‘My father is a CIA clone’: The day the paranoid conspiracy theorist held a newscast hostage
12:55 pm



A clip of one of the more extraordinary moments that has ever taken place on a local newscast is currently zooming up the charts at reddit.

The incident happened in Los Angeles at the studio of KNBC on August 9th, 1987. A mentally unwell man by the name of Gary Stollman—convinced that he knew about government cover-ups of nefarious conspiracies—held a gun to the back of David Horowitz—consumer advocate reporter and later the host of the popular TV program Fight Back!—and forced him to read a rambling manifesto.

Fearing for the worst, the station cut-away, and the diatribe went un-broadcast, unbeknownst to the participants. When Horowitz finished, Stollman put the weapon—a BB gun—on the desk where it was quickly grabbed by anchorman, John Beard.

LA residents and Arrested Development fans, will, of course, recognize longtime—even iconic—Los Angeles newscaster Beard, a guy who stood his ground against having to read constant news stories about Michael Jackson and other trivialities and who lost his gig for these efforts. (John Beard is now on television in the Buffalo, NY market and has also appeared, as himself, on 24.)

My god was David Horowitz cool under pressure!

An August 20, 1987 story in the Los Angeles Times explained what had happened:

Thousands of viewers, however, witnessed the drama as the man, later identified as Gary Stollman, 34, of Tallahassee, Fla., son of former KNBC pharmaceutical reporter Max Stollman, walked up behind Horowitz and handed him the statement.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Horowitz said calmly, taking out his spectacles and putting them on, “there’s a man here who wants me to read a statement. Could we get your name, sir. . .And, Gary, where are you from?”

But Horowitz said later he was anything but calm.

“The guy came up and put a gun in my back,” he said. “My first reaction was ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’ His first words to me were, ‘Read this or I’ll shoot you!’ People later told me how calm I looked, but believe me, I wasn’t!”

KNBC News Director Tom Capra ordered the program cut off the air.

“The guy came on at 4:42 p.m.,” Capra said, “and 28 seconds later we went to black. . . . We cannot allow people with guns or weapons of any kind to take a television station hostage.”

Capra said the station was entirely off the air for several seconds, and then began broadcasting the NBC logo along with a voice-over message asking viewers to stand by because of technical difficulties.

About a minute later, Capra said, the station began broadcasting promotions for its evening programming. And after a little more than seven minutes, the news broadcast returned—with an explanation of what had happened.

Kirstie Wilde, co-anchor of the 4 p.m. news broadcast, said Stollman had been able to bypass security at the station by exploiting his father’s former position with KNBC.

“He scoped the studio out before.” she said. “He came last Thursday and called me to get in. He said he was Max Stollman’s son and he lives in the East and he never had the opportunity to see his dad while he was on our air and could he come down and watch.

“I felt kind of bad because Max’s contract was terminated and he hadn’t had a chance to see him, so I said come on down. . . . “

But what bummed me out was that in the clip, you never get to hear what had Mr. Stollman so agitated. Luckily, one Redditor, EskayPen did a little digging and found this:


Well, as if this weren’t enough, let’s examine the basic allegations that were raised by Gary Stollman when he held an empty BB gun to David Horowitz on KNBC Channel 4, Los Angeles, in October, 1987. Gary clearly though that he was alone in his knowledge, and evidently turned to desperation to have the public become aware of what he knew. For the sake of brevity, I will simply summarize the allegations, and make comments where I wish to do so:

His physical father is in fact a clone created by the CIA and alien forces.

Cloning is a part of a plot to overthrow the U.S government.

The CIA maintains mental-retraining hospitals.

Phones were turned off at Rohlman Psychiatric Hospital in Cincinnati for 48 hours after his arrival.

A former CIA official had an interview on KPFK radio in which he told a college audience that the CIA has towed barges across New York Harbor that were disease-ridden.

The CIA may have created the AIDS virus to wipe out the gay population. Comment: Hmmm, where have we heard THAT before?

The CIA assassinated John F. Kennedy and the 22 material witnesses who died with two years. Comment: Hmmmm, I have heard that as well.

He demands that the Air Force release all information on UFOs.

He demands that the information about Hanger 18 at Wright-Patterson [AFB] be released.

He relates that he spoke to a girl at Florida Junior College who told him that seven of her friends had been “replaced.”

The CIA doesn’t trust people on computers.

Individuals at the Optimist Boys School in Pasadena were recruited by others and given false IDs and birth certificates.

There is a secret group led by the President’s own staff.

There are beings around with the power to teleport instantly and do the same to others; who can read and control minds, and transform matter into other forms and create it at will.

He asks for a congressional investigation and federal protection.

He states that he cannot harm anyone with an empty BB gun.

If the name “O.H. KRILL” doesn’t ring a bell—and for most people it probably won’t—the so-called “Krill Reports” could be counted as among the most far-out of the Kinkos copied and bound conspiracy literature that started showing up during the ‘zine era. Because they were each individually “published,” they were pricey, like $30 in the late 80s. Eventually the “Krill Reports” started showing up on various computer bulletin boards in the early 90s and you can easily find them on the Internet today, although not with the 2-inch thick photocopied dossiers of the “proof” that came with them.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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