Friday, August 3, 2018

Norman Lear Is Inaugural Nominee for TV for Grown-Ups Award

Entertainment icon Norman Lear, 95, is AARP's first TV for Grownups honoree. But while his hit-making TV career will be celebrated with an event in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Lear points out his work is far from over. "I have not a plan in the world to retire. Life will retire me at some point," Lear says, chuckling, "but I won’t."
In fact, Lear says, working on One Day at a Time — the reimagined Netflix version of his 1975-84 show, now starring Rita Moreno — feels "every bit as good and wonderful and exciting and interesting as it did 30 years ago, or 40, or 50." 
Moreno, 86, will present Lear with his TV for Grownups honors. They'll be joined by stars such as Dick Van Dyke, Frances Fisher, Marla Gibbs, Bob Saget and Adrienne Barbeau.
Lear may be the most important TV showrunner in history. He's had as many as nine shows dominating the airwaves at once, and he changed the TV landscape with boldly innovative Emmy-magnet series like All in the FamilyMaude and The Jeffersons, as well as wildly experimental shows decades ahead of their time, such as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Fernwood 2NightOne Day at a Time was TV’s first show about a single mom raising kids; the current version breaks new ground by focusing on a Latino family.
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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Don't

The most notorious song during the Beatles’ sprawling sessions associated with The White Album was, bar none, the tension-riddled recording of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” The song would require some 42 hours to record, with Paul McCartney leading his bandmates through numerous takes of the composition in a host of different styles.

The elaborate recording sessions for McCartney’s “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” began on Jul. 3, with McCartney on Fender Jazz Bass and piano, John Lennon on maracas and backing vocals, George Harrison on his Gibson J-200 acoustic, and Ringo on the drums. The song found its inspiration in the words of Jimmy Scott, a Nigerian Conga player who was fond of repeating the Yoruban expression “ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on.” In an early rendition of the song, the Beatles fashioned a south-of-the-border reading of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” complete with Lennon’s enthusiastic preface: “Yes, sir! Take one, and the Magic Jumbo Band!”
Over the next several nights, the composition underwent numerous takes as the group attempted different versions of the song and Paul continuously tinkered with his vocal, testing his colleagues’ patience in the process. Things finally came to a head on Jul. 9, when John contrived the tune’s jangly piano introduction. “I am fucking stoned!” he announced upon entering the studio that evening. “And this is how the fucking song should go,” he said, before pounding out the famous piano opening.
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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sean Connery Co-Wrote a Bond Film That Was Never Made

James Bond has done some memorable things in his time, from dodging laser blasts on a space station to driving an invisible car across a glacier. 

One thing he hasn’t done, however, is deactivate a robot shark which is carrying an atom bomb through a Manhattan sewer. But he very nearly did. 

In 1976, a Bond screenplay revolved around a shoal of remote-controlled, nuclear-weaponised robo-sharks. Its title was Warhead. And one of its three screenwriters was none other than the original big-screen 007, Sean Connery.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What the South of 50 Years Ago Foretold of the Nation's Future

During the 1950s and ‘60s, New York-based publications like TIME, Newsweekor Harper’s regularly devoted special issues or special sections of regular issues to the South. 
All of them focused in one way or another on assessing the region’s progress in surmounting the barriers of racism, poverty and educational backwardness that continued to separate it from the rest of the country—meaning, effectively, the northern states, which had long served as the embodiment of American ideals of virtue, enlightenment and prosperity.
This was no random practice. After all, America was in the throes of a civil rights movement whose primary objective at that point was toppling the institutionalized Jim Crow system that still set the South apart. By the middle of the 1960s, however, forces were already stirring that would soon shatter the perception of a southern monopoly on racism and cast serious doubt on the presumption of superior northern virtue. 
However unwittingly, the editors’ southern focus in the 1960s might have served another purpose as well, for, in retrospect, developments then underway offered a glimpse into a future marked by dramatic and unforeseen change, not just for the South but for the nation as a whole.
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