MTV – what’s old is new again?

The new head of Viacom, which owns MTV, wants MTV to get back to music and reality shows. He says, New Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said, “Music and live is going to be an element of our strategy.”

I remember when MTV first started, it was August 1, 1981, it was just music, all music videos, all the time. We had it on in our house all day and night, it was like having the radio on. I don’t know when it got into other types of programming or why. It’s sort of like the Travel Channel, which I love, but that channel is not much about travel.

When MTV was new, we didn’t have cable at our house yet and a friend was telling me about it. I couldn’t grasp the concept of just having music on the tv non-stop. I guess with all new things, until you see it, you can’t grasp the idea.

This Billy Squire video above, “Rock Me Tonight,” was shown what seemed like non-stop in 1984. I don’t know why, but I liked it at the time, now it seems silly, but it brings back so many memories seeing it. I also remember the first video shown right after midnight on 1984 was “Jump,” by Van Halen. I also remember calling up MTV on Friday nights for the Friday Night Video Wars, where they had two videos going up against each other and you would vote on one. I remember Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” as being number 1 for nine or 10 weeks in a row. Funny the things you remember.

The first 30 videos that showed on MTV can be seen here. Do you know the first video that was ever played on MTV without looking? That’s a common trivia question. It was the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

And remember the original VJ’s – Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and JJ Jackson? I saw Mark Goodman and Martha Quinn on tv recently, they still look good.

Better call . . . your friends

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Photo courtesy Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

Wish I was in NY this week. They’re having a two-day pop up of Los Pollos Hermanos, that’s the chicken restaurant from Breaking Bad and now Better Call Saul. The whole thing is a promo for the upcoming season of Saul, which starts April 10, the pop-up is at 243 Pearl Street on April 9 and 10 only.

This season, the restaurant owner and drug lord Gus Fring will be popping up on Better Call Saul, a prequil to Breaking Bad.

Not sure what type of food they will have in a the popup. In Austin, TX where the first of three debuted during SXSW, they had breakfast tacos, burritos, burgers and curly fries, no chicken though. The third stop other than Austin and NY is Los Angeles.

A few years ago, the Seinfeld apartment set was set up in New York in a storefront, on 14th Street, right near the Underline. I never got inside because the lines for the couple of days event was an hour or two, or more. I did see the apartment from the glass plate window though. It was the actual set, not a duplicate. Very cool. It was Jerry’s living room and kitchen and you could see the bathroom and hallway in the background as you would have seen it on tv. It was some sort of promo for Hulu I think, that was promoting it’s airing of the show.

The Laramie Peacock

This is the Laramie Peacock. Those of you of a certain age have probably seen it 1000 times. It was used to introduce color programs on NBC.

It’s called the “Laramie Peacock” because the first time it was shown was right before the tv western Laramie. It was the first time the peacock fanned out with the soft woodwind music played in the background. I just thought it was funny that of all the names it could have been called, it’s named after the first show that it lead into.

The Laramie Peacock ran from 1962 to 1975.

nbcIt sure beats this “N” that was used from 1976 to 1979.

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Laramie cast on TV Guide

Remembering Mary

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In the past couple of days, after Mary Tyler Moore’s death, I have been hearing about how much she influenced the women and girls at the time. I feel as if it’s some inside joke that I wasn’t a part of, but it’s  not a joke, she affected women deeply, being a guy, I didn’t know. I’ve watched so many women tv reporters and anchors speak of how she showed them how they could make it on their own. How they would be strong and single and do their own thing. Even Oprah Winfrey, the queen of it all was influenced by Mary.

A friend wrote on Facebook of how she felt the first time she moved from Queens to Manhattan on her own, as she drove over the 59th Street Bridge, she was crying, tears of emotion and joy, and she had Mary on her mind as she made her way to her new life! Amazing.

I enjoyed the show, I don’t think I missed an episode. Saturday night was Mary Tyler Moore night along with Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett and All in the Family and of course I have always enjoyed the Dick Van Dyke reruns. I enjoyed Mary because she was funny and her shows were well written and funny, but I admire her so much more now for seeing how she influenced so many women over the years. I didn’t even know it. I didn’t know how important she was to young women everywhere.

I always had her up there with Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, but now I see her in a different light.

Criminals on Canvas

December 22, is the last day of a three-day “Criminals on Canvas”exhibit in Sun Valley, Idaho. The great part is that the art is by TV’s 1960s Batman, Adam West, who lives in Idaho. The exhibit is at the Gilman Contemporary Gallery, where they describe the exhibit: “Gilman Contemporary is thrilled to present “Criminals on Canvas” and other works by Adam West. This three-day guest exhibition will feature original works along with newly created prints of the villains and characters from the original classic Batman Television show that rose to popularity in the 60s. Join us for an artist reception with the man himself December 21st.”

Love the work, this should possibly be a traveling show, maybe at ComicCons’ things like that. I think it would be cool to have certain characters, say from Star Trek, draw Star Trek criminals or characters from the show, same with other shows like Game Of Thrones, etc.

88-year-old Adam West’s work goes from about $6000 up to $10,000 per piece.

My favorite Publix commercials

These are two of my favorite Publix commercials. My all time favorite is the Last Train Home commercial which they showed for many years in the 1980s and 190s. While it reminds me of that time in my life now, I remember loving it when it was new.

The music in Last Train Home is from Still Life (Talking) an album by Pat Metheny Group, released in 1987. This Publix commercial ran from 1987 to 1996.

To this day, when Pat Metheny is performing, he’ll refer to the song as, “The Publix song.”

And this year, I love this one below, which I think is from 2015, but they’ve been showing it a lot this year. Sorry about the Lovely Legs commercial on top of it, guess they feel they can steal the Publix commercials and make them theirs.

Remembering friends from my youth

A friend sent me a  notice that it’s the anniversary of Tom & Jerry. I’m not sure why, maybe because my name is Tom, but I never really watched Tom & Jerry growing up. I was a big Hanna-Barbera fan and that was one of their first cartoons, created in 1940, but I was a big Hanna-Barbera fan of the 1960s cartoons like Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear.

I’m wondering what makes a kid a fan of certain cartoons or cartoon studios. I’ve never been into Warner-Brothers cartoons or Disney. Not sure why, but most Hanna-Barbera stuff I loved and grew up with. I loved Fractured Fairy Tales, too. I had forgotten about them but a friend recently has been posting episodes on Facebook and it all came back to me. And I loved Rocky and Bullwinkle, which I think featured Fractured Fairy Tales and Sherman and Mr. Peabody, they were by Jay Ward Productions.

This is true: my earliest memory is me at age two or three, running around our Brooklyn apartment, with my mother chasing me, trying to get me into the bath and Huckleberry Hound was on the tv. The show was just coming on, I could hear the theme music in my head as I ran around trying to avoid bath time. That’s it above.

And the first character I can remember drawing is Fred Flintstone. I used to draw Fred daily I remember, from when I could first hold a pencil. So along with Huckleberry Hound, I loved The Flintstones and The Jetsons.

I loved Magilla Gorilla and Yogi Bear, Quickdraw McGraw, Wally Gator, Peter Potamus, Jinxie and Pixie and Dixie, Touché Turtle and Dum Dum, etc.

I remember Huckleberry and Magilla and Yogi and the others being on certain nights at about 7 or 7:30 pm on New York tv. They were reruns at the time and for instance, Huckleberry Hound was on Monday night and he had three parts – his own adventures, and Pixie and Dixie and Hokey Wolf, then Quickdraw McGraw might have been on Tuesday nights and he had his adventure and then showed Auggie Doggie and Doggie Daddy and Snooper and Blabber.

The Flintstones were on in prime time, so were the Jetsons and also Top Cat, I remember.

I remember watching the Wacky Races on Saturday mornings with one of my brothers. We would watch each week, cheering on our favorite character. I don’t think the show was on very long, maybe two years, but we watched the reruns over and over again.

Here’s a list of all the Hanna-Barbera shows.

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Some of my favorites: Yogi, Huckleberry, Snagglepuss, Pixie & Dixie, etc. Friends from my youth.