Category Archives: Film, TV, and the Arts

Andy Griffith Was Something Before Sheriff Andy
Film, TV, and the Arts

Andy Griffith Was Something Before Sheriff Andy

Before Andy Griffith became TV’s sheriff of Mayberry, he played two roles that are considered classics: “A Face in the Crowd” and “No Time for Sergeants,”

Burl Ives Played A Southern and Western Big Daddy in Two Films
Film, TV, and the Arts

Burl Ives Played A Southern and Western Big Daddy in Two Films

Burl Ives’s big daddy in The Big Country” has more honor than his Big Daddy in “Cat on A Hot Tin Roof” by Tennessee Williams. Both tyrrant father roles were written with Burl Ives in mind, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing them.

Did “The Russians Are Coming…” Change Cold War Attitudes?
Film, TV, and the Arts

Did “The Russians Are Coming…” Change Cold War Attitudes?

The 1966 comedy “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming” raises the ancient question: does art change values or reflect them. This movie did both. It reflected changes that were already underway, and also pushed those changes along.

Judge John Wayne By His Movies, Not His Politics
Film, TV, and the Arts

Judge John Wayne By His Movies, Not His Politics

Many peoplw still dislike John Wayne’s movies because of his outspoken conservative political opinions. His work is too important dismiss for that alone. He filled every screen he ever appeared on, and embodied much of our national folklore.

Jewish Immigrant Wrote “White Christmas” and “God Bless America”
Film, TV, and the Arts

Jewish Immigrant Wrote “White Christmas” and “God Bless America”

“White Christmas,” is the most popular Christmas song of all time. It was written by a Russian Jewish immigrant, Irving Berlin, who also wrote “God Bless America,” the best American patriotic song.

Pete Seeger: Folk Music Never Died; You Can’t Revive It
Film, TV, and the Arts

Pete Seeger: Folk Music Never Died; You Can’t Revive It

A new oral history says there were three “folk revivals” in the 1900′s. The one that shaped the Baby Boomers was the second. Pete Seeger says you can’t revive something that never died.

Can Disco Be Revived: Reliving “Saturday Night Fever”
Film, TV, and the Arts

Can Disco Be Revived: Reliving “Saturday Night Fever”

A 35-year-old saw “Saturday Night Fever” for the first time and wants to wear the clothes and dance to that music at a disco. Is it time for a revival?

Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn’t Help It*
Film, TV, and the Arts

Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn’t Help It*

In the 1950′s, Jayne Mansfield competed with Marilyn Monroe for the title “blonde bombshell of the decade.” The contest was never close. Jayne never escaped the straight jacket of her perfect hourglass figure. “The girl” couldn’t help it.

Playing Hot Jazz With Depression-Era Housewares
Film, TV, and the Arts

Playing Hot Jazz With Depression-Era Housewares

Improvisational musicians always keep half an ear tuned to the bass. It’s their grounding force. So unlike the other musicians in a band, the bass is playing for the other musicians, more than the audience. Only the most sophisticated groupies seek out the bass player.

Vanilla Fudge (1967): The Soundrack for My Coming of Age
Film, TV, and the Arts

Vanilla Fudge (1967): The Soundrack for My Coming of Age

In 1967, my junior year in Oberlin College, this band , Vanilla Fudge, released an album that became wildly popular, and the sound track of my coming of age.

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