JFK.. 50 Years Later

•November 16, 2013 • 4 Comments

jfk speaksIn less than a week, we as a nation will remember the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I was not alive at the time, having been born eight years later. However, I have been fascinated with all things JFK for most of my life. I am not alone. 50 years later, Kennedy continues to have a very strong grip upon us both as a country, and as a people. He was the young, charming, charismatic, handsome president. A slew of brand new books about the assassination alone have recently hit the shelves, to go alongside the numerous ones which have been previously written. His name has come up probably more than any other president within pop culture. From “Good Times” to “Sex in the City”, he’s been mentioned. He remains the one with an incomplete, unfinished legacy. How differently would the world be today had he not lost his life?

Some feel the story of the Kennedy assassination is old, and should be put to rest. I disagree with that. Whether you remember that tragic time or not, we all lost something.Those who remember the era of Camelot lost their leader within a matter of hours. For those of us who came along later, we were deprived of gettiing to know him at all, except via books and TV footage. It’s something we have been trying to duplicate for decades. From Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, we’ve compared them and their families with the Kennedys one way or another. However, there was something dynamic about JFK we have not seen since that time, which makes him nearly impossible to forget.

He was a flawed man. There were blunders made during his brief presidency. He didn’t have all the answers. He was on intense doses of medication in an effort to conceal his severe health problems. There were the other women. In spite of this, he remains one of our most beloved Presidents. Perhaps to some it makes him seem more human. To others, the way he lost his life overshadows all of that. I prefer to focus on his expertise during the Cuban Missile Crisis, creation of the Peace Corps, drafting of the civil rights bill, his decision not to accept a salary.

Whether you admire JFK, dislike him, or are indifferent towards him, this is a time for respect and reflection. In this fast-paced Twitter/ Instagram/ Facebook, i-phone society we live in, I am both pleased and surprised to see the extensive amount of programs being shown on TV in his honor during this time.  Allow him to have this moment in the spotlight. It is something so many of us need, and something he deserves.

Cabbage Patch Dolls 30th Anniversary

•September 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I didn’t realize it’s been 30 years since the country went into a mad obsession over the Cabbage Patch doll. Parents were fighting it out in the stores. It was so intense, the entire fiasco made the evening news. I too found myself caught up in the craze. I might have been 12 at the time and starting to wear makeup, but I was one of those who was not eager to run away from playing with dolls either. I wanted a Cabbage Patch doll, too. It would prove to be a very difficult task.

We searched high and low for a Cabbage Patch doll. Everyone was out. By December 23rd, I had pretty much given up hope. We stopped by Kmart one afternoon. I headed over to the toy section. Naturally, the shelves were empty. As I was leaving to find my family, I looked over toward my right. Amongst the towels was what I had been looking for- a Cabbage Patch doll. I noticed that familiar, much sought-after box I had been seeing on TV. I turned it over and saw a bald doll dressed in purple. I couldn’t grab it fast enough. I ran across the store, and showed it to my Mom, who was elated for me. We bought it, and took it home. I would wait until Christmas day to open it. I received other gifts as well, but this one stood out the most. It was a dream come true.

I still have that doll. I even found the adoption papers some years ago. Most of all, I treasure the special memory of it all. It was an unforgettable time and experience. Happy Anniversary.

Arsenio Is Back

•September 13, 2013 • Leave a Comment

After a 19 year absence, Arsenio Hall is finally back on late night TV, ready and willing to reclaim the throne as THE host to watch. In the late ’80s and early to mid 1990s, Arsenio Hall was must-see TV. Even Michelle Tanner on “Full House” wanted to watch him. He became the first real threat to Johnny Carson. I remember when it was Johnny’s last week in May, 1992. Out of respect, and give him the farewell he deserved, Arsenio only showed reruns. From Luther Vandross to Ron Howard, not to mention Bill Clinton, Arsenio had the best guests. While my sister and I watched intently every night, Mom paid closest attention to his monologue. He was hip, attentive, avoided overshadowing his guests, and hilariously funny.

Naturally, some are already blasting the new show in its first week. When someone comes back after a lengthy absence, I think they should be given a break. We tend to expect them to be exactly as they were last time we saw them. When Richard Dawson returned to hosting “Family Feud” in 1994, similar complaints arose. The pressure is on, as nostalgia runs high. The show is in its infancy, still trying to find some balance, footing, and direction. The late night landscape is overrun with hosts to choose from, so Arsenio is no doubt working to set himself a part from the rest. One thing about him that has not changed is he remains very likeable. He can easily take that, and go from there, one step at a time. Other than David Letterman, I personally do not find any of the others particularly entertaining. Unlike Letterman, Arsenio is not as cynical.

As for the claims he remains in the past, if you think about it, that could be his edge. In small doses. In this high-tech, fast-paced society of ours, nostalgia easily creeps in. Sure, he can bring in current entertainers, but also maintain that slight throwback to the ’90s. For one thing, he was so big during that time, it can be hard to separate the two. He has the ability to make it work for him, and keep the big audience garnered from his first show. No matter what, he deserves to be given a chance.

I hope Arsenio remains around for a while. It’s great have him back again. Now I have a reason to watch late night TV again.

Remembering John Ritter

•September 11, 2013 • 2 Comments

jack tripper

John Ritter was one of my first and biggest crushes. Thing is the crush probably lasted all but a good six months or so. During the latter part of first grade, I developed a serious crush on Jack Tripper. She was cute, goofy, funny, and he could cook. I often found myself jealous of Janet and Chrissy getting to hug and kiss him all the time. I stumbled across “Three’s Company” by accident one night, during their one and only Christmas episode. By the time the first commercial break came along, I said to myself “ooh I like this show.. ” When it was over, I ran to the kitchen to tell my Mom about this new terrific show I found, and what it was about. Pretty soon, she was watching with me every week. The first People magazine I bought had John and his wife at the time Nancy on the cover. By the time second grade rolled around, my crush had subsided. However, my admiration for and of John Ritter would continue. It is alive and well today.

It is hard for me to believe 10 years ago John suddenly passed away at the age of 54. I was shocked and horrified when I heard the news. I felt like I was in a trance for the rest of the day. It was like losing a close family friend, although I had never met him. Despite his success, he seemed so friendly and assessable, just like a regular guy. I think that’s why there was so much sadness by his passing.

John Ritter possessed the gift of being able to make us laugh, which he did so well. Although he is no longer with us, that gift continues to nourish us, which is the best way to remember him. For me, the memories of him will live on.. that crush still roaming through my mind.

How I still miss you, John…

Valerie Harper

•September 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

imagesCA1R5O75

There has been a lot of talk in the news about Valerie Harper. After the announcements her brain cancer is close to remission, and she would be among the upcoming cast of “Dancing With the Stars”, a lot of people seem to be very puzzled. Or disappointed. Quite a few seem to think she has made up her illness, that she faked the whole thing in an attempt to get attention. To get back in the spotlight. I don’t know Valerie Harper personally, but I don’t think anyone would go that far to make the cover of People magazine.

I’ve read some rather startling comments across the internet. Some claim that Suzanne Somers and Aretha Franklin also falsely claimed to have cancer. Both were cured too quickly, too easily. There are those who feel they, along with Valerie, did this to get sympathy, and to get a career boost. What kind of people have we become? Now I have heard of people pretending to be ill for such sick reasons as to get money, or to keep their husband from leaving them, but it still boggles my mind to see so many people appearing to be upset that Val is not on her death bed. I guess they were looking forward to yet the loss of another celebrity being in the news. That is water-cooler talk for some, status updates for their Twitter and Facebook pages. Yes, there have been celebrities who have defeated cancer. Among others are Diahann Carroll, Olivia Newton-John, and Fran Drescher. Sadly, many were not so fortunate. Bill Bixby, Bonnie Franklin, Richard Dawson, and Farrah Fawcett come to mind.

I don’t know what the future holds for Valerie, but I wish her well. I’ve never watched “Dancing With the Stars” before, but now I have a good reason to.

The Star of The Show

•September 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’ve always fan a huge fan of TV, mainly when I was growing up. I recently thought about breakout stars from various TV shows. The series was not created to revolve around them, but they became the fan favorite, literally overnight. The star of the show. Here are a few classic, unforgettable examples-

The Fonz (Happy Days)- Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli was initially a brooding tough guy who rode a motorcycle. He didn’t talk much, which to me made him even more cool. However by the fall of 1975, he had jumped to number two in the opening credits, and become the surrogate son of the Cunninghams, phasing out older brother Chuck in the process. “Aaaayyyy” was a catchphrase, and producers toyed with the idea of changing the name of the show to “Fonzie’s Happy Days”. The rest of the cast balked at the idea. Pretty soon, more storylines were revolving around The Fonz than Richie, who left the show in 1980.

J.J. (Good Times) – Eldest child James Evans Jr got the best punchlines and dialogue from the start. “Dyn-O-Mite” was one of the biggest catchphrases of the day, while Jimmie Walker was featured in Time magazine. Before long, J.J. was garnering the lion’s share of attention. More episodes focused on J.J.’s life, while the rest of the Evans family was in the background. The jokes and comedy began to drive the show, to the intense dismay of both Esther Rolle and John Amos. Both would leave the series, although Esther would later return. Among her stipulations- J.J. be toned down a bit.

Jill Munroe (Charlie’s Angels)- Kate Jackson, fresh from another Spelling/Goldberg show on ABC, “The Rookies”, was the first angel to be cast. The show was intended to be a vehicle for her, as she would be the leader of the trio, the “smart” angel. This was still the case, but Kate was not to be the star after all. Athletic blonde Farrah Fawcett-Majors stole the show from the first episode, with her bright, ivory smile and thick mane of feathered hair. Not only were women flocking to salons in droves to get their own version of “The Farrah”, but men were buying her red swimsuit posters by the dozens. It remains the top-selling poster in history. To this day, when the average person thinks of “Charlie’s Angels”, Farrah is the angel that comes to mind first.

J.R. Ewing (Dallas)- “Dallas” was a modern story of Romeo and Juliet. Two lovebirds marry, despite the intense hatred their families have for one another. Pamela Barnes and Bobby Ewing were to be the central focus of the show when it made its debut in 1978 as a miniseries on CBS. However, it was big brother J.R., initially intended to be a supporting character, who gradually eased into the forefront. Larry Hagman shot to superstardom, and J.R. Ewing became the man everyone loved to hate. The “Who Shot J.R.?” storyline was a ratings smash, and “Dallas” would became an obsession around the globe. As a classmate told me in third grade, forget about the alphabetized opening credits. J.R. was THE star of the show. “Dallas” and J.R. will forever go hand in hand.

Alex P. Keaton (Family Ties)- Children of the ’60s Steven and Elise Keaton and their three kids were intended to be on equal footing on “Family Ties”. Over time, Michael J. Fox became the breakout star of the show, mainly due to his successful movie career. Before long, it was all about Alex, and less about the rest of the Keatons. Even when another family member was the focus of an episode, Alex was always the funniest. He would be the only member of the cast to win an Emmy for his role.

Sandra (227)- Similar to Mae West, man-hungry Sandra Clark was to simply be one of the neighbors in the building, while the Jenkins family was to be the primary focus of the show. From the jump, she was the scene-stealer with her sexy walk and provocative fashions. At the height of the success of the series, Jackee’ would win an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress. Word has it she was not congratulated by any of her fellow cast members. When she left the show in the final season, it was almost unwatchable.

Had each of these breakouts had never happened, I wonder how differently each show would have been. Who knows.

The Miley Mess

•September 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

It’s been over a week, and the slutty antics of Miley Cyrus are still in the news. There was a time when the evening news would not have reported on such of a ridiculous story, however I have seen it on both the NBC and CBS newscasts. My how far we have fallen. How does this continue to be headline news?? She’s not the first celebrity to make a complete fool of herself. She has plenty of company. Nor will she be the last. Miley has gone to incredible lengths to distance herself from the Disney/ Hanna Montana image she created. However, dancing around in a nude bikini, twerking around a married man is not the way to prove you have grown up. It only displays how confused you are, and in desperate need of attention. If Miley wants to show the world she is an adult, go enroll in some college courses. Write a book. Start a blog. Try hosting an online talk show, or a decent reality show. Maybe then people will begin to take her seriously, and have some respect for her, instead of laughing at her and calling her unflattering names. There are other former child stars she should take a look at, including Ron Howard, Janet Jackson, and Kristy McNichol. No doubt they too had the desire to shed their kiddie image, and transition into the world of adulthood. However, they knew how to do it without turning into a clown. I’ve never been one of Miley’s fans, but I hope the girl can turn her life around before she does more permanent damage to her image, and finds herself with no career at all.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 159 other followers

%d bloggers like this: