LikeTelevision Blog

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Movies, TV, Toons & More !

And so, here we are again. Be patient and do not worry - Christmas comes in just a few days (and for those hum buggers, Christmas comes just once a year, relax). For those filled with joy - Alleluia! The holiday is celebrated in many different ways - my favorite is a Catholic tradition, which feels compelled to spread it out over 8 days, the Octave of Christmas. Oddly enough, the 25th day of Decemeber, the day chosen on around 337 AD to celebrate Christmas was picked in an attempt to get rid of a Pagan holiday celebrting the Sun God, Mithras. Since I suspect 99.9% of you had any clue about this, so...i can safely say - they were successful! But - what a lovely holiday it has become, a day to celebrate God coming to be with us. Immanuel or Emmanuel is really 2 Hebrew words [ עִמָּנוּאֵל }, meaning God is with us. So relax, and get ready to rejoice.

Rest assured, we do not have any creepy political and commercial type of ads for the season, I believe we have been blessed with enough of those already from all the challenged Presidential challengers. Here's some fun videos for the holiday season. Some are sweet, some are poignant, but most are pretty light and silly.

1) Dragnet - Big Little Jesus. It's Christmas Eve, and Sgt. Joe Friday is under major pressure, because he has to solve a difficult case in less than 24 hours. It seems someone has stolen the baby Jesus statue from Father Rojas' Catholic church. Excellent TV viewing, back in the day (1953) when no one cared if you mentioned Jesus' name on a TV show.

2) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians - check out Frank Random's preview.

3) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Killer 1944 Fleischer cartoon of the oddball cervine with the halogen proboscis.

4) Beverly Hillbillies - Home for Christmas Granny takes her first plane ride. She thinks it is a bus, going real fast on takeoff. Pre homeland security airplane fun. Flying back then was actually really fun.

5) One Step Beyond Ordeal on Locust Street Sorry no details, I don't want to spoil the fun.

6) Caste in Bronze a band with a carillon plays Christmas bells live onstage. This is really cool. Feel pity for the roadies.

7) Jack Frost - just a cool cartoon, perfect if it is freezing cold outside.

8) Short History of Christmas Learn why the date December 25th was selected for the date we celebrate Jesus' birthday.

9) The Shanty where Santa Claus Lives Another charming early Fleischer animation.

10) Christmas at the Clampetts Another hilarious Christmas special at the Clampett's Beverly Hills mansion.

Ok - how could leave out, Larry K, who played the hammer dulcimer live in our studio, Little King, in Christmas up north, or for all of us Linux Geeks, check out Peeking Penguins, where Tux makes his film debut. The debate was heated folks, but those were the top 10 for this year. Got more free Christmas videos too if you like. Merry Christmas! Watch all these online videos free.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Watch the Office

Like most corporations, LikeTelevision's corporate office is kinda weird and funky. Doesn't every office have the inept boss who is living proof of the Peter Principle? and the young cute girls like Pam who make the day to day grind easier to bear... and on and on. Well, ok - none of that applies to LikeTelevision, except maybe the inept manager stuff, but i digress. Of all the current shows on TV today, my favorite is The Office. Would you like to watch an episode right here and right now. Ok. Here you go. This full episode is called Money and comes to you via Hula, which is still in private beta - and only for US users. (if you are from out of town, please send us an email- I am curious to see how it plays in London or Deli or Munich or Prague. I think it will still work outside of the USA, despite the warnings. Please advise, tee hee).

Friday, December 14, 2007

Baseball - Say it Ain't So

On Monday, about the same time as Evel Knievel was getting his eulogy read at his funeral, a car pulled in front of me while I was riding my motorcycle. I did my best to get out of the way - no to be, as it came at me way to fast to veer left or right. Next move... brake like crazy, trying to slow down the bike speed from 45 mph to about 25. Ok... but this was still not enough, so i had to lay it down as we say. Thank goodness i had on a leather jacket as this kept a large part of my body from becoming a huge scab. And then - the guy sees me - so what does he do? Why, he slams on the brakes of course. So - WHAM !!! I got to slam into his car. Next thing I remember was waking up in the ambulance, attempting to answer a bunch of questions that for the most part seemed rhetorical. And here it is, 4 days later and it still feels like somebody beat me senseless with a baseball bat. So please, if you are so inclined, I'd really appreciate your prayers and kind thoughts while I do my best to recover. ouch! And by all means - be careful out there and look out for my brothers on motorcycles. Thanks.

Meanwhile, it seems Baseball itself got hit with a huge baseball bat yesterday as the report on steroids seemed to say that the entire sport was as dirty as a crooked boxing match. All the greats and hereos of this day were on drugs to enhance performance. As a kid who lived and breathed baseball - the news was not unexpected, but it still floored me. A part of me wished that they would do what they used to do back in the day - Throw out the bums. Another part of me was thankful that such decisions were out of my hands and that baseball had drifted from being as important as it once was. Needless to say - it was a really sad day for the sport, and my heart goes out to all the fans, especially the kids. If you wanna see some great baseball from back in the day - you've come to the right place. My top pick is The Jackie Robinson Story - but you can also check out some other great baseball videos here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Jethro Bodine's 70th Birthday

On Dec 4, 1937 Max Baer jr. was born in Oakland, California to the former heavyweight boxing champ, Max Baer (see the June 3, 2005 entry for an interesting take on the real Cinderella Man History or check out this article defending Max Baer Sr.).

Anyway - if my ciphering is correct, I think that would make Jethro Bodine, um I mean Max Baer Jr., 70 years old today. Here's a few classic episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies to watch to honor Mr. Baer on his 70th birthday. First - Jethro Goes to School is a classic, where Jetrhro tries to continue his education by matriculating into the 3rd or 4th grade in swanky Beverly Hills (that's where he last graduated his schoolin' career). Another personal favorite is The Clampetts Meet the Dodgers, guesting starring Leo the Lip Durocher. Looks like Jethro might become a major league pitcher, until that possum fat doctoring comes into play. (somehow, this is less disturbing than steriods, but I digress). And our third selection is Clampetts Get Culture, which is a Christmas special episode and features an old flame of Max Baer's in the real world, Sharon Tate - who had a recurring role in the Beverly Hillbillies Tv Show as Janet Trego. Unfortunately, Sharon Tate is probably most famous for the tragic night she was murdered by the Charlie Manson whackos. A beautiful and talented actress, Sharon Tate was also carrying a child - Roman Polanski 's child, best known for his very creepie movie Rosemary's Baby starring Mia Farrow and produced by none other than William Castle, the king of the gimmick horror films. Small world or what?

Now for all those folks who think they are so smart, and that Max Baer is an idiot - well think again. He not only did very well for himself in the very popular Beverly Hillbillies series, Max was also a very shrewd business man, who until recently had the best returning movie of all-time. Yep, before the Blair Witch project, Jethro held the record for the least in, most out ratio of US dollars. The 1974 film was called Macon County Line, cost $110,000 to make and made over $25 million at the box office. He also started a trend of buying the movie rights for a hit song and making a movie out of it. The first film in the genre was Bobbi Gentry's Ode to Billy Joe and starred Robby Benson and Glynnis O'Connor. Since then, this idea has been a pretty successful formula for making a pretty safe profit in the risky business of making movies.

And let's not forget - I suspect Max Baer will really hit pay dirt with his very good business move to build a theme based casino, something he has been trying to do for many years, only to be bullied by "city hall" time and time again. But this time around, I suspect he might finally get his fair stake in the claim. Read all about it at Max Baer jr.s web site - Jethro's Casino, and by all means, write a letter in support of the project. This thursday, Dec 6, 2007 - we will find out if the derrick at the casino gets approved. Hey, what can say - I love this crazy country and all the characters in it, and certainly Max Baer is an entertaining character. And if you think he's just some bozo hick, ummm that the character he played on a tv show about 40 years years ago. Maybe you need to go school, duh.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Evel Knievel Makes Last Jump

On Friday November 30, 2007 Evel Knievel died in his Clearwater Florida condo after many years of a variety of serious health problems. Having grown up watching Evel Knievel as young kid (I was about 9-14 in his heyday), it is a sad loss for me. Yes, I know he was a hard living, thick skinned, tough little son-of-a-gun - but Bobby Knievel from Butte Montana was a childhood hero for me, like it or not. I mean, back in the day - no one else was doing the kind of wild stunts Evel did whenever he felt like it. And yes, he sure paid a price too. I watched some of the recent History channel bios - and also heard his son Robby speak less than highly of his dad, rest assured i have been made aware of the man's sins - I still liked him and respected him. One time, I even got to hear the inside story from an ESPN executive of how he pummeled Shelly Saltman with a baseball bat for insulting his family (it is not pretty story at all). What can I say - I still have some respect for the knucklehead.

Check out the 1971 movie about Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton, see a commercial for the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, or watch Evel Knievel totally wipe-out at Caesar's Palace. And if you like all the crazy BMX and dirt bike races today - give Evel Knievel some props. He did a lot of groundwork to make those sports the big draw they enjoy today.

Another interesting tidbit regarding the big jump at Caesar's Palace, ABC declined to cover the event for their show The Wide World of Sports - so Knievel got John Derek to film it. To try and save some coin - Derek had his wife Linda Evans work as a camera operator. (he married Bo Derek later, and Ursula Andress before Evans). And yes, it was Linda Evans - aka Crystal from Dynasty who shot the footage of Evel skipping across the Dunes parking lot next to Caesars. Learn more from Wikipedia's entry on Evel Knievel.

And one more thing - I rode in to work Saturday morning on my motorcycle in low 30 degree weather just to post this blog entry. I hope Evel made the jump all the way to heaven. Every now and then, doing something crazy is good for you.