Wednesday, December 30, 2009

JEFF DUNHAM SHOW Canceled By Comedy Central

At first, THE JEFF DUNHAM SHOW, was one of Comedy Central's biggest hits by far, bringing in a huge audience. Then the wheels started to fall off. Critics attacked the show as wallowing in bad racial and ethnic stereotypes, while others claimed that the show just wasn't very good. Now, Comedy Central has decided to not renew the show. However, Dunham still remains under contract with the network to do specials or other projects.

If anything, the failure of the program seemed to prove the power of some critics to supposedly shame the public for enjoying a guilty pleasure if it proved anything at all. But that's too bad. I liked the show myself. It was certainly funny enough to satisfy me.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rare AMC AMX Prototype Stolen

There was only one of these rare very AMC AMX prototypes ever produced and the proud owner of this extremely rare car was no doubt heartbroken when it was stolen off the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin without a trace. Just like the old CBS drama.

Did some collector steal it? Was it parted out or crushed by some scrap metal guy? It's a valuable item, and part of automotive history. So where is it?

"Bad Boy" Colin Farrell Is Actually A Good Guy

Too often bad news about celebrities makes the news. I'm happy to report some really good news today about actor Colin Farrell. The fact of the matter is that this actor with a sometimes bad reputation is actually a great guy. Farrell played secret Santa to a children's hospital in Dublin recently, buying expensive and great toys such as Wii machines for the ill children.

What can you say? This "bad boy" is actually a great guy.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jon Gosselin's NYC Apartment Contents Trashed

Jon Gosselin's NYC apartment contents were badly damaged by a knife wielding vandal. Clothes and shoes were slashed. A 100 year Ming vase was smashed. The total destruction might run several thousand dollars, and left the former reality star with few good clothes left to wear.

A note calling Jon a "cheater" was found stuck in a dresser signed by his former girlfriend, Hailey Glassman. Police are investigating and fingerprinting the crime scene. Through his attorney, Jon Gosselin, had expressed hope that culprit is found and that felony charges will be filed.

Rare Tucker Automobile Prototypes

As rare as the 1948 Tucker automobile was, Preston Tucker also had a few more rare prototypes that were even more rare. Some never went past the drawing stage, including the last concept, the Talisman sports coupe. Preston Tucker died before he was able to realize building this last unique automobile.
The actual production 1948 Tucker automobiles featured a rear mounted helicopter engine and a third headlight that turned with the steering wheel to light the road ahead. Legal problems for Preston Tucker and production delay problems eventually did in the Tucker company which really needed more money to operate. At one point, some customers had only received a set of suitcases that were meant to fit in the front trunk because the actual cars were late being produced. Although Preston Tucker was eventually cleared of any allegations of stock fraud, serious production delays, bad publicity, and a serious cash shortage really doomed this tiny upstart auto brand. Around 50 actual Tucker automobiles were produced or built from parts. Many survive in museums or private collections.
Preston Tucker was an honest man, and a mechanical genius. But perhaps his unconventional designs just weren't quite ready for a mass audience of buyers. They were cool cars, but just not what had real mass appeal.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Charlie Sheen: Two And A Half Domestic Violence Charges

It's entirely possible that popular TWO AND A HALF MEN actor Charlie Sheen may be the victim of some exaggerated, if not false allegations of domestic abuse by his wife, Brooke Mueller. It appears that when Mueller made the 911 call to police, she was not only legally drunk with a blood alcohol content of .13, but later recanted the claims she made to a female police office before a bail hearing for Sheen was set to take place. However, the actor still apparently faces a February 8, court date.

It will be up to Aspen, Colorado prosecutor, Chief Deputy D.A. Arnold Morkin whether formal charges are filed. However, it was disturbing that Mordkin noted that his office often files charges against "someone who falsely accuses someone". That's hardly a reassuring statement for the actor who might have only been "defending" himself during an angry incident. Sheen might well be the victim here since his wife backed down from her previous statements. Regardless, the whole incident has forced Sheen to have to hire top Colorado lawyer Richard Cummins to defend him.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Paul Anka Has The Police Over For The Holidays

To say that singer Paul Anka is having a few problems over the holidays would a gross understatement. The singer had to call the police on both Wednesday and Thursday after some incidents with his wife whom he is locked in an ugly divorce battle with.
On Wednesday, Anka had to call the police after a dispute with his wife when wanted to visit his son and daughter for the holidays. Then again, on Thursday, Anka had a series of problems when his wife was uncooperative when he wanted to see his kids again, and a dispute over security camera issue led to another call to the police.

In another incident in 2008, Anna Anka, who is Swedish, was arrested on a felony domestic battery charge after she reportedly hit the singer in the head with a chunk of hard ice. The resulting injury sent Paul Anka to the hospital for stitches for the head wound. But the charge was later dropped when the Ventura County DA decided not to prosecute the case.

Paul Anka was once best remembered for his song, "Having My Baby". But now it seems that parenthood is not quite so romantic when kids are caught in the middle of this ugly divorce.

Kardashians Ring in Christmas With Bloody Fight Outside Of Home

Last night, Christmas outside the Kardashian home turned into a little bloody brawl with the minister, Pastor Brad, who married Khloe Kardashian getting a bloody chin after her tried to calm down a drunken situation with a neighbor over the valet parking situation outside the home.

Gee, what would Christmas be without a little interesting Kardashian story.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Most Disturbing Santa Magazine Cover Ever!

CREEPY Magazine was a great magazine for horror fans to enjoy. However, this classic Christmas-themed issue stands way out there for very disturbing Santa content. A real collector's item for sure!

Vanessa Hudgens Goes To Court To Remove Photos From Websites

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL actress, Venessa Hudgens, 21, is trying to sue some websites that continue to post some self-photographed nude photos that she apparently sent to a friend. Hudgens apparently is attempting to even sue for copyright infringement, even though she actually only copyrighted the photos after they had been published.

The case might involve some interesting limitations to the extent that fair use may allow for the publication of some photos. Hudgens photographed herself, and then supplied the pictures to a friend, which seems to imply that she gave some consent. Yet, she is bothered about the mass publication of photos that she considers private. Also can copyright laws later be invoked for materials that weren't even copyrighted in the first place. The main website in question,, seems to be standing tight on their refusal to remove the photos. Hudgens might not have many legal options here because of the circumstances. But the outcome of this case might have some interesting legal aspects for bloggers.


AMERICAN CHOPPER dad, Paul Teutal,Sr. is suing his son, Paul, Jr. over $1 million in stocks. According to the conflict between the two, the father is apparently exercising his option to buy the son's stock which the son refuses to give up. Besides seeking to gain the son's stock holdings in Orange County Choppers Holdings, Inc., the family motorcycle business, the father is also asking for some financial damages as well.

Well, it's so nice to see folks getting along for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Outrageous DEADLINE Brittney Murphy Poster Will Be Pulled

The now highly controversial promotional poster of the late actress laying lifeless in a bathtub for the movie DEADLINE will be pulled by Redbox and other distributors in the coming days. Ironically, the late actress was very ill, and then collapsed into a bathtub with a cardiac arrest and later died after she could not be revived. Strangely, the movie poster closely resembled the circumstances of her death.
The same promotional picture is also on the DVD as well. However, an alternative picture has been seen as well. So it might be expected that the DVD cover might change as well. But in the meantime, the cover becomes a gruesome collector's item.

Amy Winehouse Gets Herself Arrested For Christmas

UK singing sensation, Amy Winehouse, has managed once again to make news for all the wrong reasons. Now, it appears that the troubled singer has managed to get herself arrested on assault charges in some sort of a bizarre theater dust-up. Earlier, this year Amy Winehouse was charged with pushing a female fan, but was later acquitted on the charge.

Winehouse turned herself in to police at the Thames Valley Police Station. She was booked and released, but faces assault charges . She also faces a January 20, court appearance.

Winehouse supposedly repeatedly interrupted an all-star stage performance of CINDERELLA in London by shouting out crazy comments during the performance. At one scene she shouted out, "He's fucking behind you", at an actor and later called the wicked step sisters, "Bitches". On one level, it almost seemed like self-parody comedy for Amy Winehouse to act so bizarre during a public performance. ROLLING STONE Magazine compared her behavior to a SNL skit. But the events took an even worse turn when she fought with a theater manager, which resulted in the criminal assault charge. It was a true Amy Winehouse classic.
The revival of CINDERELLA included actors such as Mickey Rooney. However, the audience had to indeed be shocked at the outrageous and disruptive behavior of Amy Winehouse during the show. She seemed intent on becoming part of the show instead of just a viewer. Now she has a court appearance to explain her behavior.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bad Santa Of The Day: Stinking Drunk Santa

Looks like this Santa's had a little too much holiday cheer.....

Marilyn Manson Settles 2007 Lawsuit

The drama in Marilyn Manson's life never seems to slow down very much. Manson worked out a legal settlement with former band-member Madonna Wanye Gacy(Stephen Bier) who had contended in a lawsuit that Manson spent band funds on personal use for himself and his former wife. Madonna Wanye Gacy sought $20 million in damages in the 2007 lawsuit.

In January 2009, the lawsuit was finally dropped, and now the undisclosed settlement has been reached between the rival parties.
Here's a photo of the outrageous rocker from a former run-in with "Johnny" from the Oakland County Sheriff's website sans makeup.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Worst Nativity Set Ever: Goose Nativity

My mother had a wonderful highly detailed nativity set imported from Italy with a large straw manger. It was a real work of art that I looked forward to her setting up every year. However, not everyone has the same taste. Especially, not with this simply awful nativity set found out there on the web. It's probably the worse that I've ever seen.

The Last Days Of Brittany Murphy

Actress Brittany Murphy was very ill with flu-like symptoms the last days of her life. However, it has not been determined whether it was In the bathroom where she died, police noted a lot of vomit as the actress had become very ill and had a lot of weight loss recently. Today, an autopsy is being performed to determine a cause of death.

In a last interview video available for viewing at the TMZ website, the actress looked thin and nearly corpse-like. She looked as though she had been experiencing some health problems for some time by her thin appearance. Strangely, the actress had joked about her "next life" during the interview.
The actress was very hard working, completing three movies and two TV movies just this year alone.

Police noted a great of prescriptions in house. However, the actress had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before, so medication for the condition would be entirely normal. No illegal drugs were found in the home according to reports from the authorities.

Strangely, Murphy's husband, Simon Monjack, was also rushed to the hospital this morning after landing by passenger jet for symptoms which included "incoherence" according to sources at TMZ. Some thought that asthma might be the cause, others thought the symptoms were a sign of more serious illness. It is not known, whether he is also suffering flu-like conditions at this time as well.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Absolutely The Worst Christmas Movie Ever Made

Christmas is a great time for some very enterprising persons to line their pockets with cash. However, one Christmas movie was so bad that it should have been a felony offense. SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS was absolutely the worst Christmas movie ever made. This awful film is so bad that it has even become a cult favorite among bad movie fans. Even worse, young actress Pia Zadora was forced to wear the worst grease makeup ever. Where were the child welfare authorities when this film was made?

Jamie Farr who would later star in the far better TV series, MASH, was also cast in this mess of a Christmas movie. And perhaps the most stupid scene ever filmed, an inane toy fight with the villain, is downright laughable nonsense.
Unbelievably, this 1964 stinker of a holiday movie even had a comic book issued as well. This is probably a real collector's item right now.
Interestingly, this film recently passed into the public domain, so everyone including their brother has probably issued a bargain basement priced DVD of this terrible film by now. On lists of the worst movies ever made, this film is a perennial contender for the top spot.

Saab Just Might Have Life Yet

Breaking news from Europe is that exotic Dutch carmaker Spyker has made an unusual Sunday morning request to GM to look at a new offer on the table to rescue the beloved Saab brand. The Dutch automaker sure hopes that GM might accept this new offer, otherwise the Saab brand will almost certainly die. On Friday, GM announced that a breakdown in talks resulted in a decision to phase out the Saab brand. Previously, a Chinese firm made an offer to purchase older model Saab technology and tooling for some Chinese brand intended only for China's growing domestic car market which now exceeds the United States market in production.

Will GM accept the new offer? Monday morning financial news might prove real interesting.
Saab has plenty of cool concept cars in the works such as this one. Will they ever see the light of day?

Shocking News!: Actress Brittany Murphy Dead At 32

Young versatile actress, Brittany Murphy suffered a serious full cardiac arrest and could not be revived and died early this morning. Her husband, Simon Monjack made a frantic 911 call from their Los Angeles home to get help. But despite the best efforts of paramedics, the young actress was declared dead on arrival at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A.

Brittany Murphy had a wonderful film and television career, starring in great films like GIRL INTERRUPTED, CLUELESS, 8 MILE as well as TV shows ranging from MURPHY BROWN to BOY MEETS WORLD, and even providing voice work for the satirical cartoon, FUTURAMA. She was simply a great young actress. Just this year alone, the actress completed three films as well as two made-for-TV films.

Murphy also was a fine singer, who recorded a number of songs as well performed free shows for American service-persons at USO shows.

At one time Murphy was dating hot young actor, Ashton Kutcher, and the two were featured in the romantic comedy, JUST MARRIED.

Murphy had an interesting childhood. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but her parents divorced at the age of 2. Her father, Angelo Bertolotti, is now a convicted mobster. Her mother raised young Brittany in both New Jersey and later, Los Angeles. When young Brittany was a mere 9 years old, her immense talent landed her a singing role in a stage version of LES MISERABLES. By the age of 13, she signed with a talent agent and her career zoomed along until her death early this morning. There had been no known signs that she had been ill.

Brittany Murphy was raised as a Baptist, but had also attended private Lutheran schools while growing up. She was a non-denominational practicing Christian at the time of her sudden and unexpected death.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bad Santa Of The Day: FrankenSanta

A rare copy of the long defunct monster film magazine, MONSTER WORLD, featured this great classic holiday cover. A true rarity for sure. If you're a lucky film buff, then you own a copy. Otherwise expect to pay plenty if you can even find a copy.

Jim Morrison, Stand-up Comic?

Strangely, on the new LIVE IN NEW YORK release by The Doors, Jim Morrison, in his own unique and menacing style manages to tell a little joke. Here it is for your enjoyment.....

"Hey listen, listen....Did you ever hear the one about the blind man who walked past the fish store. You know what he said?.... Hi girls!"

Move over Henny Youngman?

Michael Jackson's FBI Files Will Be Released On Monday

On Monday, The Federal Bureau Of Investigation intends to release the 333 page of files that were kept on the late pop icon. It appears that much of the information was information in regards to his 1993 and 2004 child molestation cases. Interestingly, nothing appears to relate to the recent questions about the questions surrounding Dr. Conrad Murray.

TMZ is speculating that the information most interesting might relate to extortion cases against the late pop star. In the case of Anna Nicole Smith, the information about a possible plot to kill the son of her late 89year old husband proved to be the most interesting reading of her FBI files.

The files might shed light on how much extortion against the late singer fueled the two cases against him. Michael Jackson's own wealth, childlike behavior and bad judgment all left him open to such accusations from others.

Sarah Palin's Hawaii Vacation Interrupted By New Controversy

Sarah's Palin family expected to have a quiet and private Hawaii vacation. She was hoping to go undercover and have a little private time and not be bugged by the tabloids or other reporters by blocking out John McCain's name on an old 2008 campaign hat with a marking pen. Instead, when she was photographed wearing the hat with McCain's name blocked out, reporters seized upon the issue wondering if if it was a form of protest or disrespect for her former running mate.

Palin was forced to cut her Hawaii vacation short as well as to issue a statement of respect and support for her former running mate.

Certainly, the issue didn't amount to very much. Yet, with Sarah Palin's life so much under the media microscope compared to many politicians, it only proves the ease at which some of her choices, even if innocent, can be open to wide media interpretation.

Just like Tiger Woods has recently discovered, once a celebrity is caught in the media headlights, then it is difficult to regain your privacy. That's part of the public image problem for Sarah Palin and her family. Their lives seem to cross lines with serious political news on one hand and tabloid news on the other hand. Everything comes under the microscope because of this. Even innocent little things like getting a little private time with their handicapped child in Hawaii.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bad Santa Of The Day: Rob Zombie Santa

Rob Zombie is a great head banging rocker. He's a great horror film maker as well. But is he a great Santa? You decide....

Saab Hits The End Of The Road

The much admired Saab automobiles will end their production life soon as GM plans to phase out the regal Swedish brand. GM had been in talks with Dutch producer of exotic automobiles, Spyker, to rescue the brand. But talks yielded nothing. So a Chinese firm will buy the old model equipment and produce some sort of brand in China, but not Saabs.

Saab's biggest problem had always widespread critical acclaim for quality and innovation, while perpetually losing money. GM soon came to regret their purchase of the company, and sought to unload the brand this year as their financial situation became dire and the company struggled for survival. But unloading a money losing business is difficult in these times. No one wants to buy more problems than they can financially handle.

GM promises to offer both parts and service through existing GM dealers as Saab dealerships shut down. And all creditors will be paid for services rendered. But it's a sad end of the line for a very good product that had a long life of cult status and appeal among fans of the quality brand.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bombshell News!:NBC Might Replace Conan O'Brien With Jerry Seinfeld

Shocking rumors are circulating that NBC executives are looking to shore-up rapidly sagging TONIGHT SHOW ratings by firing Conan O'Brien and replacing him Jerry Seinfeld. If these rumors are true, then they are terrible news for red-haired comic whose former 12:35 show once struggled with cancellation to become an acclaimed favorite by critics and Emmy nominated. However, as the host of the 12:35 TONIGHT SHOW, the ratings have fallen to a 15 year low for the program.

With ratings sliding 52% in just one year for the TONIGHT SHOW, and David Letterman stealing back viewers in droves from Jay Leno's former show, NBC is hard pressed to take some drastic action. The 10pm prime time version of THE JAY LENO SHOW has also been a ratings disaster as well. NBC's musical chairs of moving Leno to 10pm and Conan to 11:35 has been an absolute ratings disaster for the "Peacock" network.

The story from sources connected to the Conan claim that nothing is wrong and that his job is secure, however that doesn't square with the rumors circulating. Things are looking bad for Conan O'Brien right now according to the rumors.

There's a major monkey on Conan's back right now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bad Santa Of The Day: Dropbox Santa

Today's bad Santa is shopping for Christmas gifts in dumpsters. What do you want for Christmas, little girl?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

DVD Review: Ten Years After GOING HOME

Just released this year, this excellent DVD of a classic 1983 concert by British rock-blues masters Ten Years After makes a great stocking stuffer. CD Universe is offering this great DVD for a very low discounted price of just $13.59 with 60 minutes of searing performances of classics like "I'm Going Home", "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and "Love Like A Man".

Alvin Lee has always been one of the greatest guitar supermen in the world. And this DVD filmed during a concert at the Marquee in London is great entertainment. Maybe this DVD isn't quite as electrifying as their Woodstock performance. But heck, this is great Ten Years After here, with excellent camera-work and sound. A must have. Highly recommended!

Bad Santa Of The Day: Santa Bin Laden

From the wide and wild world of the Web, we find yet another bad Santa for this funny daily feature leading up to Christmas day. Here's Santa Bin Laden. Well, at least he's got a long beard.....

The Entertainment Business Barometer: Wall Street Stock Performance & Washington

The entertainment business, like other business segments is certainly linked to the larger economy as well as the performance of Washington during economic crisis times. Modern American business community history of performance of Wall Street stocks also seems to be an important barometer of ultimate Washington performance approval more than any other measurement tool. Individual Washington public approval polls overall don't seem to matter quite as much as this important Wall Street stock value performance barometer.

Starting with Herbert Hoover as an example, the American stock market suffered a decline of nearly 30% in value. Hoover was not re-elected. However, his successor, Franklin Roosevelt witnessed a nearly 25% stock market value increase during his first administration, although the war later lowered stock values somewhat as the production of some products suffered during the war, while other products flourished with military spending. In the 1949-53 years under Truman, Wall Street did have a slight 10% value increase, but did seem to be under-performing somewhat without the added value of huge war spending pumping up some industries.

During the first Eisenhower Administration, Wall Street did see about a 15% bounce in value. However, during the second term as the American economy cooled, stock markets values became flat. During the Kennedy Administration, there was a 10% market value growth again. However, during the Johnson Administration, while the American economy continued to grow, the weight of the Vietnam war seemed to drag down stocks once again and Wall Street performance seemed flat despite the overall economy growth. During the 60's full size Chevrolet models would sell around 800,000 units a year, a production figure never to be again matched.

As the Vietnam War drug on, Wall Street performance under Nixon was actually flat, although Nixon won a massive re-election in 1972. However, under Gerald Ford, Wall Street performance actually worsened with a sort of stagflation(a stagnant economy and inflation both). Surprising, as bad as the recession was under Jimmy Carter, Wall Street performance did increase by a mere 5% in value, which was considerably better than the 5% market value decrease under Ford.

During the first Reagan Administration, the Wall Street market performance actually worsened from the 5% growth under Carter, to a flat growth level. However, during the second term, a modest Wall Street growth of about 8% in stock values was recorded.

During the only term of the first President Bush, Wall Street stock values again became flat and experienced a zero market value growth rate. However, during the first Clinton Administration, stock values underwent a 10% value growth and then a value growth of about 17% during the second term. The stock market value also increased to around 11,000 points.

However, during the George Bush Administrations, stocks dramatically tumbled to around 6,600 points. Yet, voters seemed forgiving enough of the president's performance because of the 9/11 attacks and military action in Afghanistan and Iraq to re-elect him despite terrible Wall Street stock value performance.

So far, Wall Street has some interesting perspectives about the young Obama Administration, not even in office one full year. Wall Street has rebounded to the 10,000 point level, which isn't quite as good as the high mark under the Clinton term, yet is a significant watermark level. Further, both the banking community and the auto industry were at least made stable by Washington performance actions. Certainly, Wall Street stock values would have suffered a serious hit if there were major manufacturing or banking institution losses if Washington didn't act.

Still, there is strange unevenness in the business community right now. While many Wall Street stock values are soaring, and some companies that were so close to bankruptcy only a year ago are recording huge recent profits while many small businesses are experiencing very difficult times. Many small businesses can't get the credit they need to survive financially. Some businesses may be hiring, but others are cutting jobs as consumer spending remains fairly flat. Yet, Goldman Sachs is now paying huge bonuses.

Washington action on the economy might have prevented a second version of the Great Depression, but it has also created a climate where some major Wall Street businesses were major beneficiaries of Washington aid and doing well, while main street businesses continue to lag near to economic death. Unemployment might have declined slightly from a 10.2% to 10.0% level, with the fewest number of jobs lost since the start of this recession. However, that's little comfort to millions hurting in this Christmas season. It's also little comfort to many small struggling businesses.

The ultimate verdict on the performance of Washington during this crisis has not yet been yet set. There are still many factors and time to be played out. But retail products such as DVDs, Cd's, and other entertainment goods are all likely to experience lower sales than could be expected during better times. A lackluster Christmas for many retailers is probably to be expected.

Monday, December 14, 2009

30 ROCK Star Needs Kidney Transplant

Tracey Morgan's tough sidekick on NBC's 30 Rock is seriously ill and is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. The bad news for the 35 year old tough guy actor, Grizzwald "Grizz" Chapman became public today. It is surprising how the seriously ill actor continued to perform with his health in such bad condition as this. He has only a 5% kidney function level. He now receives dialysis three times a week because his health problems have grown so serious

The muscular 6 foot 11 actor also needs to lose about 78 pounds before surgery as well. He weighs in at 378. Chapman also suffers from severe hypertension problems as well. Hypertension is a serious health problem among the African-American community in the United States where better information and treatment are sorely needed to help combat this serious condition.

The news about the seriously ill actor became public during a filming of THE DR. OZ SHOW early Monday morning.

Bad Santa Of The Day: XXX-Mas Santa

This outrageous Santa from the Web brings along plenty of "North Pole Dancers" and "erotic elves" when he performs his yearly Christmas duties.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where Aging Actors Spend Their Final Days

Earlier this year, the Motion Picture and Television Fund announced plans to eventually close the retirement home and hospital it operates for aging actors claiming that it was losing money. However, tax returns from the organization dispute MPTF press releases claiming revenue losses, and even show increasing revenues for the MPTF organization.

Many famous actors with little in financial means were residents of the facility for senior actors run by the MPTF. 87 years ago, actors Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford helped to establish this organization to care for aging actors. Actor Gene Barry was apparently a resident of the Woodland Hills hospital at the time of his death last week.

Some famous residents have included Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Jay Silverheels, DeForest Kelley, Robert Cummings, Yvonne DeCarlo, Bud Abbott and many others. At one time in the 1950's both Abbott and Costello had serious back tax problems and were forced to sell most of their assets just to pay their IRS taxes. In later years, Abbott died in near poverty and relied on the MPTF for help.

Many aging film and television stars also often die in poverty because when Ronald Reagan was the head of the Screen Actors Guild, he signed a bad agreement with the major studios where stars that appeared in television or movies shot prior to 1960 would not receive any royalties when their works appeared on TV. Unfortunately, many like the Three Stooges had much of their popularity during the 60's when their old short films shot during the 30's, 40's and 50's were aired on TV. The Three Stooges needed to find some creative ways to generate some income since they were not receiving it from TV.

The motion pure and television industry owes a great deal of respect to it's stars. Let's all hope that organization founded to take care of these motion picture and television legends continues it's obligation to care for the actors.

Bad Santa Of The Day: Heroin Drug House Santa

Holy crap! Who ever knew that drug houses had their own Santas. Time to pass out on Santa's lap?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Conan O'Brien's TONIGHT SHOW:Sarah Palin Has A Little Fun At William Shatner's Expense

On Conan O'Brien's TONIGHT SHOW, William Shatner occasionally does some mock serious dramatic poetry readings of a few of Sarah Palin's more unintentionally funny quotes from her popular "Going Rogue" book. Well, Friday night the former Alaska governor got the opportunity to return the favor to Shatner by reading some select passages from Shatner's "Up Till Now" autobiography book for laughs. It was one of the best moments on the TONIGHT SHOW in some time. It was great TV.

The guest appearance was also a great ice-breaker for Palin, who has sometimes appeared as thin-skinned and resentful of the jokes told about her. Earlier, this year Palin and David Letterman had a feud over a botched-up joke that Letterman told that Palin claimed made inappropriate sexual humor out of her younger daughter. Letterman was forced to make several apologies. But it made Palin look humorless to many. The TONIGHT SHOW appearance was a good attempt to improve her image. Previously, John McCain had recorded several funny bits for Conan O'Brien's old 12:35 show which were helpful to his reputation, which can at times be a little caustic.

Business: Tiger Woods Exit From Golf Will Cost The Sport Millions

Golf just won't be the same while Tiger Woods takes a leave from the game. He's like pure gold for the sport. When Tiger Woods plays on TV, ratings sometimes jump 83% compared to events where he doesn't play. All of this will translate into lost ratings, and also lost millions from the sport.

The sordid personal life of the athlete is like a body-blow to the sport. Tiger Woods wholesome and squeaky-clean image was especially appealing to both younger as well as older fans. But with that reputation now badly frayed, the sport is only expected to lose lots of appeal. The personal fall of arguably the greatest golf player of our generation will not be easy for the sport to endure.

Advertisers loved Tiger Woods. He was wholesome, with a great natural smile. He was a great commodity to market. Even when he returns to the sport, advertisers won't want to follow him. He's now damaged goods. Gatorade announced that it break their advertising campaign with him. And you can expect many more companies will begin to follow as well. It will become like a domino effect.

A few years ago popular TV preacher Dr. Robert Schuller explained why adultery is such a damaging thing for any person in business. If they will cheat on their spouse, then they cannot be trusted by any business associates. Further, adultery makes a fool of the person as well as damages the relationships around them. It's like a form of reputation suicide. And for a major celebrity like Tiger Woods, it will cause huge financial harm as well.

Once a person finds themselves to be the punchlines of jokes by the late night comics, then they know that their reputation is toast. About all that Tiger Woods do now is to take a little break, and attempt a comeback of sorts. But there will be plenty of bad days in the between time while the healing starts. But a bad sign for the marriage relationship is that the wife of Tiger Woods has now purchased a home in Sweden.

Ironic Tiger Woods Ad Of The Day

Sometimes the story writes itself....

Bad Santa Of The Day: Michelob & Sexy Babe Santa

Just like the legendary "12 days of Christmas", we're starting a new funny feature here, a daily feature of bad Santas scouted out from the web. Today's winner is a bad Santa from a Facebook page in Paris, France, whose good cheer includes plenty of Michelob beer and sexy babes to sit on his knee. Yes, Virginia, there is indeed a sleazy Santa Claus. Funny stuff!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Great Actor Gene Barry Dead At 90

Gene Barry, the great actor of both film and television has passed away at the age of 90 at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California. The grandson of Jewish emigrants from Russia, Barry whose real name was Eugene Klass went on to a great career in films such as the great WAR OF THE WORLDS(1953) and memorable TV roles as the cool and suave Western star BAT MASTERSON(1959-1961) and in BURKE"S LAW(1963-1966, 1994-1995) and other roles.

Gene Barry became a little bit type cast as the cool and dandy gambler and marshal in BAT MASTERSON. The skillful actor played the role so well that no doubt many a young boy wanted to be a coolster like him. But before that role, his 1953 role in the excellent film adaption of H.G. Welles WAR OF THE WORLDS won him huge respect. This movie was one of the best science fiction movies ever produced. It was a simply excellent film.

In the 2005 remake of WAR OF THE WORLDS with actor Tom Cruise, Gene Barry had a cameo role. Yet in so many ways, the 2005 film just did not seem as fulfilling of a story as the original 1953 version. Some science fiction classics are so good that remakes just seem unable to top them in quality. According to Rotten Tomatoes the 1953 version draws an 84% approval from critics compared to 73% for the 2005 version. Both are great films, but the original 1953 version just seems like a greater film by far to me.

The 1953 film also had some interesting and important to the story references to both faith and God in the film. Actress Ann Robinson was raised by a minister who unsuccessfully attempted to reach out to the creatures from outer space in peace. The actress later sought refuge in a church when it appeared that the end of mankind was near. And when all Earth-produced weapons failed to penetrate the protective shields of the alien invaders, it was the tiny germs produced by God that were fatal to the aliens causing them illness and ultimate death. With these heavy spiritual story elements, this original WAR OF THE WORLDS had some unique story elements not seen in later films. The film strangely seems like a nearly Biblical account of a great crisis for mankind which would have resulted in the end of the human race without the intervention of God. This unique faith element is sorely missing in the other versions of WAR OF THE WORLDS and makes them appear to be less important films for this reason. The sense of urgency in the other films also suffers somewhat from this lack of a faith center in the other films. On some many levels this film works so well that it really helped to propel Gene Barry as an actor and earn him respect.
The 1953 film also had some interesting references to current technology. In one scene, the experimental Flying Wing YB-49 aircraft was used to unsuccessfully bomb the aliens. The Flying Wing aircraft project was actually dropped some years earlier, but the strange and futuristic design added a cool element to the film.
But in 1953, when George Pal was producing this film, the FCC approval for the RCA red-blue-green electronic color system for TVs won approval over a CBS whirling color disc system. This battle for color TV standard technology was such big news that the Martians in the film strangely seemed to reflect this news. Much of their technology not only came in three's, but the Martians own eyes and camera systems were based off a three color red-blue-green color system as well. Today, that NTSC color standard still remains for television technology.

Gene Barry was a terrific actor. One of the best. He leaves a great legacy of films and TV shows behind him as a testament to his terrific skills and absolute perfection and polish. He was a versatile and very serious actor whose last role was in that 2005 remake of WAR OF THE WORLDS. This great actor will be missed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Renault May Attempt U.S. Market Return

Renault has never had an easy time in the American market. In fact, it's been like the Ross Perot of carmakers; in the American market, out of the market, back in again. But now with the eye-pleasing and low cost Duster SUV, Renault is looking ready to take another entry again.

Renault's last U.S. attempt ended in 1987 with the fall of American Motors Corporation, and Chrysler buying that struggling company's assets so that it could acquire the Jeep brand. Renault had designed some new Eagle brand cars for little AMC, most of which Chrysler tried for a short time before dropping the Eagle brand to concentrate on the Jeep line.

To keep labor costs low, the Dacia Duster is built in Romania, but will eventually be sold as a Renault model throughout Europe and likely, North America as well. This gives the Dacia Duster a real price advantage in the marketplace. The SUV will also be produced in Moscow, Russia and other countries including Brazil and Mexico. With so much American auto production running of to Canada or Mexico to save on labor costs, Mexican production of the Duster might become a real option.

Part of the appeal of the Duster is not only the low price which is around $22,000 in Euros, but decent fuel mileage as well. The engines tend to have enough power as well as being eco-friendly.

Engines range from 85 to 11o horsepower, including a diesel version.

Will Americans be seeing the Renault brand again? It's real likely and the Duster might just be the first wave of cars from the French brand.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Kelsey Grammer Yanks His Own HANK(TV Show)

Reportedly, actor Kelsey Grammer thought the new comedy, HANK , was pretty unfunny and felt very disappointed in the project and played a major role in urging ABC to cancel the show. This is highly unusual. But, as much of a perfectionist as Kelsey Grammer is, he just didn't view the program as his best possible work due to unfunny scripts to work with. The program had also experienced some piercing critical reviews as well as slipping ratings. The project would have probably been doomed anyway.

But Kelsey Grammer still has his great MEDIUM project on CBS which is still doing well. CBS has ordered a full season of episodes, while it has cut the order of NUMBERS to just 16 from 22, which is a bad sign for that show.

You can expect Kelsey Grammer to back on the small screen once a great new script comes along.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Idiot Arrested For Throwing Tomatoes At Palin Book Signing Event

Everyone's a critic it seems. But some idiot carried things way too far by throwing two tomatoes at former governor Sarah Palin during a book signing event at the Mall Of America on Monday. 33 year old Jeremy Olson was arrested on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct by Bloomington police after witnesses claimed that Olson hurled two tomatoes from a second floor balcony at Palin while signing copies of her new book, "Going Rogue".

Palin had drawn a big crowd to the massive Minnesota mall for the book signing event, when reports claim that Olson attempted to disrupt the book signing with his tomato attack. While not a real serious security incident, the incident still begs for better security for major political figures because of the danger from lone screwballs. This is the second major security breach story since the White House gate crashers story of recent days.

Palin's book has been selling very well, and has been reviewed here on Wizbang Pop only recently. However, some critics have attacked the book, disputing some accounts as well as facts. However, as a personal first person account of the inner workings of the failed 2008 McCain-Palin Campaign, the book was recommended here as a important document.

Fortunately, no one was harmed in the tomato attack.

Comcast Deal To Purchase NBC Is Complex

The tentative deal for cable TV giant Comcast to purchase a 51% share of NBC is a complicated deal meant to free up capital for GE to concentrate on their highly profitable jet engine and medical equipment businesses. But before GE can sell NBC to Comcast, GE has to purchase a portion of NBC that is currently owned by the French company, Vivendi. GE had to strike an agreement with the French company for a price to be paid. It's like a form of corporate musical chairs.

But beyond this complicated agreement, there are many issues to be raised. Satellite TV providers are unhappy that Comcast may attempt to control the access to some channels or programming with such a deal that allows them to own a network like NBC Universal which includes not only NBC, but cable TV channels such as the USA Network, TELEMUNDO, SYFY, CHILLER, MSNBC, CNBC and more channels. Comcast could become like a gate keeper for many entertainment channels and control the flow of entertainment to a near monopoly degree according to some fears of the satellite providers. However, that' probably unlikely, as Comcast would probably still provide service at some price to all other providers.

But there is also those nasty programming wounds that NBC self-inflicted on itself with their excessive cost cutting moves. THE JAY LENO SHOW has been a real ratings disaster for NBC and has even drug down the ratings for many other NBC shows. Even Conan O'Brien's serious TONIGHT SHOW ratings drop might even be partially blamed on Jay Leno's failure and dragging down the whole NBC brand. Comcast might have several options at hand: Buy out Jay's contract, which is unlikely. More likely is to move Jay to a cable channel and get a decent string of 10PM dramas back on the peacock network and rebuild NBC into a competitive channel once again.

But even on cable, NBC did serious damage to itself. The highly successful cable series MONK was killed off by the USA Network for no other good reason but cost cutting. Comcast would be real smart to continue the series. The show still has plenty of life left in it. It always seemed like a quirky little show that seemed cheap enough to produce. But NBC Universal wanted to spend even less money yet to put programming up on the network. The series finale of MONK last Friday pulled in an awesome 9.4 million viewers, proving what a mistake canceling the series really was. Those are huge figures for a cable TV show. In fact, awesome figures. MONK was like the flagship show over at the USA Network. Now, it's gone only because the network didn't like to spend money.

NBC Universal made a bad situation worse with their absurd cost cutting moves and canceling decent programs. Now, Comcast gets to buy this mess to fix. Good luck!

Monday, December 07, 2009

It's Musical Chairs Over At ABC As Diane Sawyer Gets Ready To Take On The Evening News

ABC is playing a bit of musical chairs as of late. As Charlie Gibson prepares to step down from anchoring the ABC evening news, GOOD MORNING AMERICA hostess Diane Sawyer is preparing to leave GMA to replace Gibson. But that's not all. George Stephanopoulos has reportedly been asked to host GMA, leaving a possible hole over at THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS for ABC to fill. Need a score card yet?

While this may sound like a complicated game of musical chairs, there are some reports of nasty office politics that further taint things. Some reports claim that Charlie Gibson is extremely unhappy at the choice of Sawyer to replace him. Some time ago, reports claim that a feud of sorts started with the two which has never healed.

Audiences have been very satisfied at both Gibson and Sawyer for their respective programs, so it is unlikely that any serious audience fall-out will occur as a result of switching anchors. However, the rumors of some nasty feelings between Gibson and Sawyer is indeed sad if true. Both are top flight anchors in their own right.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

New Gus Van Sant Film Features Some Cool Surreal Scenes; But Security Is Tight On The Set

Sony Pictures is attempting to tightly control the publicity surrounding the new Gus Van Sant film, RESTLESS, being filmed in Portland, Oregon right now. An official of Sony forced me to delete some digital photos taken of the project for secrecy reasons last Tuesday. But Sony did offer to provide me with some approved photos in the near future. However, I can report that some very strange and surreal sets are being used in the filming of Restless by directing genius Gus Van Sant.

Sony and Restless Productions(owned by Ron Howard and his daughter) have blocked off several Southeast Portland streets for the last several nights and have moved in some huge crane camera and fog machines. For the last two nights, the streets were filled with fog as extras and cast members filmed amid tight security some very surreal scenes that supposedly take place during Halloween. A former Wild Oats Natural Foods store has been used as a staging area for some wild extras dressed as nuns and other characters as well. Some prop items to be used in the film were purchased from my Clinton Market as well which is included in at least two scenes in the movie.

Director Gus Van Sant is usually pretty security conscious as well, really limiting press access to his projects. Even KOIN TV, the local CBS affiliate was only allowed a very limited photo opportunity of a camera crew to use to air this past week. But likely, once all of the filming wraps up on about December 18, and the film begins to get edited together, some sort of approved movie trailer should be released by Sony and Gus Van Sant.

Restless features the upcoming Australian actress, Mia Wasikowska, as a 16 year old who is terminally ill and dying of cancer who falls in love with an offbeat boyfriend played by the son of Dennis Hopper, Henry Hopper, who is strangely attracted to death.

The other day, I told the young Australian actress when she was filming at my Clinton Market that I really expect her to become a huge hit in the U.S. She's also featured as "Alice" in Tim Burton's new Disney 3D version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND scheduled for release sometime in 2010. Johnny Depp also stars in the film as well. The twin vehicles of RESTLESS as well as Disney's ALICE IN WONDERLAND such propel Mia Wasikowska into U.S. market stardom. Very likely she will be forever known as "Alice" with the Disney film which could also mean dolls and other toys with her likeness. Her star shines real bright.

With all the buzz about surreal sets and the real offbeat love story, RESTLESS might just be one of the best Gus Van Sant movies ever shot. I can't wait for the Bluray to be available for purchase. I'm definitely buying one. This looks like another great Gus Van Sant classic film. Look for a 2010 release date.