Nickelodeon in the early 80's was very different from the sort of corporate, mainstream channel of today. It was, frankly, a weird channel in those early days.
They had all sorts of shows that no one seemed to know about, or talk about. Many were imported from Canada.
One of the strangest, and most popular for the channel, was another Canadian import called YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION.
Wildly popular with those who watched the channel (such as myself) the show was sort of a Benny Hill like sketch comedy show, with teen hosts and I think only one adult on the show.
I mainly watched the first few seasons (and it had been airing since the 70's in Canada).
Here is the opening credits sequence (a montage of all the openings, including the early Canadian series).
Today, the show is best known as the series that gave Alanis Morrisette her first shot at stardom, as she was a cast member in later seasons. I don't remember her from the show. When I watched, the star and host was Christine "Moose" McGlade.
Even as a kid, I knew the show was inappropriate. And not because my parents would often tell me I shouldn't be watching it. The humor was lowbrow, gross at times. That was part of the fun.
Here is a typical skit, featuring Barth (played by Les Lyle), the cook at the local diner.
And yes, that is Alanis in the clip.
The show ran until 1990. And then, was forgotten.
What is interesting though, the show's legacy still lives on, even though most younger audiences may not know of it.
On the show, whenever someone said "Water" they had water dumped on their head. Whenever they said "I don't know" they were slimed. This sliming still goes on during the Nickelodeon Awards. Audiences watching today weren't even alive when the show aired.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
You may not know the name Walter Mirisch. But, if you are a movie fan, you know his work.
Mirisch was the producer behind such films as WEST SIDE STORY, SOME LIKE IT HOT (and most of Billy Wilder's films), THE PINK PANTHER, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and many more.
In his new autobiography I THOUGHT WE WERE MAKING MOVIES, NOT HISTORY (published by the University of Wisconsin Press), Mirisch talks about the making of these films and his life.
Growing up in New York, he got into the movie business early. His older brother worked for a distribution company, and Walter got a job as an usher. His brothers connections were helpful so that after college (at the University of Wisconsin and later at the Harvard Business School) he headed off to Hollywood.
He began at the low-rent Monogram Pictures. He used his business sense to get the most of the films being created. Checking the stock footage libraries, he would often create films around this footage, leading to the sucessful BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY series of films.
With Monogram being a B movie company, they had trouble attracting name talent. To try to change this image, Mirisch created his own production company with his brothers. The first film of this arrangement was the very successful John Huston film MOULIN ROUGE. Unfortunately most of what had been earned by this film was lost on Huston's next film, MOBY DICK which went over budget.
Mirisch goes on to tell of his years working with Billy Wilder, John Ford, William Wyler even Elvis and the making of his subsequent films. As the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for several years, he spends a chapter discussing the Awards ceremonies during his reign. There is a great story about trying to get Katherine Hepburn to make a presentation at a ceremony.
This isn't a typical Hollywood tell all. Mirisch is above that. He only wants to talk about the work and not the gossip. While he tells of the troubles with Peter Sellers during THE PINK PANTHER and the nightmare production of HAWAII, he is very diplomatic, remembering the best of everyone.
I THOUGHT WE WERE MAKING MOVIES, NOT HISTORY is an excellent look at the movie business, from the producer's vantage point.
Posted by TALKING MOVIEzzz at 9:10 AM
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
YES, GIORGIO (PG) – No, Pavarotti.I knew enough to stay away. And, for 26 years managed to. After a recent rare airing on TCM, I decided to see for myself what the film was like.
It opens with the text “This story is dedicated to lovers everywhere.”
Pavarotti plays, what else, a famous opera singer. As it opens, he is singing “Ave Maria” at a friend’s wedding in Italy. He sounded great, the locations were interesting. He has to leave. On the way to the airport to a big concert in Boston, he stops to pick up a nun whose car has developed a flat tire. She doesn’t believe he is a famous opera singer, so he demonstrates, by singing to her as the car travels through the Italian countryside.
At the ten minute mark, I was thinking “You know, this isn’t that bad. The music at least is great.”
He arrives in Boston and, instead of continuing to speak in subtitled Italian, he speaks in English. Or, I should say, the words that come out of his mouth are English words, but I don’t think he really knows what they mean. Let’s just say his command of the English language isn’t very good.
Before his Boston concert (where there are 80’s rollers skaters as background action), Pavarotti develops a throat problem. His manager (Eddie Albert) calls on the greatest throat doctor (Kathryn Harrold) to cure him. She thinks it is all in his head, and makes up an illness to convince him he is being treated. It works, and the two fall in love.
The rest of the film has the two traveling together, on hot air balloon rides, even having a food fight. It all leads to a big performance of Puccini’s TURANDOT at the MET.
YES, GIORGIO is essentially an endurance test. It is literally one of the dullest films you are likely to see. There is so little going on that I found myself picking up a book, playing with my cat, doing anything but watching the film.
I wish something had been done with the story to make it more intesting. Maybe have him meet up with his look-alike American half brother Dom DeLuise. Anything but this. Director Franklin J. Schaffner (PATTON, PAPILLON, PLANET OF THE APES) should have stuck to movies beginning with P.
Kathryn Harrold has been an actress that I always wondered why she didn’t become bigger. In the Albert Brooks film MODERN ROMANCE she was lovely. In this however, she and Pavarotti have zero chemistry. It probably was the reason why she didn’t do more.
The music though is wonderful. If you are a Pavarotti fan, I really can’t blame you for wanting to see it. You are likely to have more fun listening to one of his CDs, and maybe making Pavarotti puppets and dreaming up your own movie.
Released by MGM, it aired on TCM in a letterboxed print. I guess they know how bad the film is and don’t want to release it. You can’t blame them.