Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
PopCereal holiday shares. Please enjoy, and have a happy!
Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol film strip
Kenny and Corky 45rpm: Nuttin' for Christmas and Suzy Snowflake
Mitch Miller and The Sandpipers (featuring Bob Keeshan) 45 rpm: A Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas and A Happy Little New Year
For your viewing pleasure... one of Mr. Miller's favorite Christmas ads: The Staples Snobot finds his jealousy chip.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Santa loves Rock-n-Rhodes music!
From the size of those collars one could easily determine that these cats were happening straight out of the 70s, all polyester clad and uncoifed. The Rhodes Kids had their brush with fame and fortune, but unfortunately never rose to the bubblegum level of teen idol fame of similar family acts, like the Cowsills or the Partridge Family. It's not that they didn't have their opportunities. They were plastered on the pages of Tiger Beat and Sixteen, they played in the same Las Vegas venue where Elvis was playing, they took a spin on the stages of the Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffen Show and American Bandstand, and they played Disneyland (with Pat Boone) and Disney World.
As far as bubblegum pop goes, Won't You Be My Friend is about as light as cotton candy, and twice as sweet. It's no Sugar, Sugar, but it ain't without it's catchiness. Mr. Miller here has yet to dig up any more Rhodes Kids LPs, other than the Xmas one, so it's hard to get the real feel on these kids. But, if Mr. Miller only had this Xmas LP to go by, then I gotta wonder why the Kids didn't have teen girls swarming them everywhere they went.
Rock-n-Rhodes Chritsmas is sprinkled with catchy original bubblegum pop tunes, like Santa Loves Rock-n-Roll Music, as well as some tasty takes on old standards, like Jingle Bells. And what's really great about these kids is that they have some real talent. They didn't wear the rock-n-roll family guise as a come on, these kids were real hard working musicians with an obvious trunk full of musical skill -- if you have a chance, check out the linear notes and you'll see that the older Rhodes kids, Gary and Ron, split the vocal arrangement duties on the album. The result is not just a cool holiday album, but a sack full of some real catchy kernals of popcorn that ping around inside your head long after your egg nog buzz has melted away.
For a more intimate account of the brief pop life of the Rhodes Kids check out the interview with Ron Rhodes (the accomplished author), and an email response from the Donny Osmond of the group, Mark Rhodes, sent to the King of Jingaling over at the fabulous Christmas website FaLaLaLaLa (if you're liking the Christmas music this time of the year, trust me -- you don't wanna miss this website!). By the by, the sharity of this tremendous Xmas LP is straight from The King himself, since Mr. Miller's digatized version of the LP is vastly insuperior.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Mr. Miller here was none too happy about missing out on all the Halloween sharing tricks or treats, but I hopes to make it up with the upcoming Christmas holiday. To kick it off all proper like, here's the man Johnny Cash to lead us in a Thanksgiving prayer.
Remember when holidays were all about entertaining the kids? What ol' Mr. Miller here wouldn't give to have a cartoon line-up like this on the tube on Turkey Day Morning.
Okay, listen up class. Today we're going to watch a film that will teach you all about the true spirit of Thanksgiving. Albert, get the lights please.
To part with, Mr. Miller here wants to give a word of caution to all you Black Friday hooligans... watch yer step!
PopCereal wishes all you turkeys a Happy Thanksgiving. And don't forget to pop another hole in the ol' belt strap!
Sunday, May 06, 2007
JASON OF STAR COMMAND -- The Entire Series (BCI Ecplipse)
Working from within a secretive section of
JASON OF STAR COMMAND was a hit when it aired on Saturday mornings, beginning in 1978 on CBS. The most expensive children's show on television, the series utilized sets and props from its predecessor, SPACE ACADEMY (also released on DVD by BCI), and featured veterans of Star Trek among its cast, plus special effects personnel who had created the visuals of Star Wars! With its action-oriented serialized plots and a memorable space-age villain in Dragos, JASON OF STAR COMMAND was a hit for two seasons, and entertained audiences worldwide in syndication thereafter.
And some interesting trivia – featured guest star Rosanne Katon did a centerfold spread in Playboy Magazine just prior to the debut of this Saturday morning program. The show’s Producer Lou Scheimer was terrified that with one of its stars doing girlie mags, his kid show would be ruined. Oddly, CBS (who ran the program) didn’t seem to mind much.
Even odder is that the new king of ghoulishness Sid Haig, from Devil's Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses fame, was the regular bad guy Dragos. Geesh, with Playboy girls and serial killers running amok, Mr. Miller wonders if his Saturday mornings were really that wholesome afterall.
Check out what else was on the Saturday morning schedule, along with Jason:
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Mr. Miller here was not what you'd call a raving fan of Mr. Johnny Paycheck. Sure, "Take This Job and Shove It" was a perfectly pitched anthem for the pissed-off working man in the 1970s (I wasn't exactly a working man in those days, just an average teen washing dishes and stuff like that -- but the angst wasn't lost on me). And i couldn't help but appreciate the "outlaw" antics, his surly wit and overall drunken persona.
The thing is, I never felt the need to dig into his discography to have a listen at much more than what I'd already heard -- that was until after he blew off a free outdoor concert with BR549 because he was too shitfaced to crawl outa bed. Mr. Miller and his buddies all thought that he was worth a listen to after that stunt.
Here's Mr. Paycheck's first LP The Lovin' Machine (1966). It was the age of theNashville sound, and a jokester like Paycheck would seem an ill fit. But the rebel rouser had a proven background in Country music, having played back-up for other stars and penning a hit for George Jones. On this first album you'll hear the crass wit behind "Take This Job..." (even though that was written by David Allen Coe), but surprising is his turn as country crooner, trying to belt out the ballads in a George Jones drawl.
Here's a copy of The Lovin' Machine that's been tooling around online (I'd love to give credit to the original poster of it, but it's been around the bend a few times, and that info is unavailable).
Download it here!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Thank the Gods of TV that many of these funtime programs are resurfacing on DVD.
I have to admit that I was not a regular fan of Space Academy when it originally aired (Saturdays mornings from 1977 to 1979). Frankly, by the time this show came on I was starting High School and had other, more pressing, matters on my mind (girls just don’t dig a guy who sits at home watching cartoons). The fact that the show starred perennial 70s kid actress Pamelyn Ferdin didn’t make it any more appealing to me. You may remember her as Felix Unger’s whinny little daughter, or the whinny girl on Lassie, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Sealab 2020, or a thousand other TV shows and movies. Now, in nostalgic reflection, I kinda dig her – maybe that change of heart came about when she played a whinny victim in the first Toolbox Murders.
Other notable actors on Space Academy are Brian Tochi, who played the Asin dude in Revenge of the Nerds and the Police Academy flicks. And, of course, there was Jonathan Harris, who is best remembered as Dr. Smith from Lost in Space. For fans of the flamboyant and dastardly Dr. Smith, Harris’ turn as the more sedate Commander Isaac Gampu must have surely been a disappointment, for this role as the Academy leader lacked the twitchy charm of dubious doctor.
This Saturday morning treat was sort of like Star Trek for the junior set. The racially mixed teenaged cadets of the academy were culled from the most brilliant and talented of the young Earthlings of the 33rd Century. Under the tutelage of Commander Gampu and his robot Peepo (voiced by Lou Scheimer’s daughter Erika), telekinetic siblings Laura (Ferdin) and Chris (Ric Carrott) join forces with, Tee Gar (Tochi), a martial arts expert, Paul (Ty Henderson) the doubting Thomas of the group, and Loki (Eric Greene) a playful alien orphan who can turn invisible, to explore the Universe. And just as Kirk and his crew did, the youngsters constantly happen upon a planet or space ship where the inhabitants force the cadets to mull over some very complicated ethical and moral conundrums.
And just as Jonathan Harris traversed many a planet where the vegetation was always sparse and usually shoulder height, so to the young cadets journeyed. For me, this is the beauty of shows like this – the simplicity. Even though the show was decked out by the same special effects team from Star Wars (which premiered the same year as SA debuted), it still maintained a low-budget, staged personality – which, for my moneys worth, is what makes these make believe shows seem oddly more believable.
BCI Eclipse, for the past couple of years, has been releasing the Filmation catalog for all of us hungry PopCereal eaters. Look for Space Academy at their website, or your local video mall.
And while you're at it, check out these handy sites for more on SA.
70s Live Action Kid Vid
Welcome to Space Academy
Pamelyn Ferdin's Official Website
THE COMPLETE SERIES
COLLECTOR'S DVD SET
Released by BCI Eclipse / Ink & Paint
In Stores January 16, 2007.
• Four discs, all 15 episodes
Bonus material includes:
* 35 minute Documentary, "Back to School with Space Academy"
* Audio Commentary tracks for two episodes
("Phantom Planet, "Countdown")
with Lou Scheimer - Executive Producer,
stars Ric Carrot, Brian Tochi, and Eric Greene,
and Special Effects Supervisor Chuck Comisky,
hosted by Andy Mangels
* Behind-the Scenes photo gallery
* Cast Reunion photo gallery with interview clips
* Memorabilia photo gallery with interview clips
* Promotional photo gallery
* Booklet with Episode Guide and Trivia
* All 15 Scripts (DVD-ROM)
* Series Bible (DVD-ROM)
* Easter Eggs
* Trailers - Ink & Paint Previews