Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Jerry Lewis

Like everyone else in America, I was saddened to learn of the death of Jerry Lewis.

I can't say I was a fan of his movies of his slapstick, but there was much more to Jerry Lewis.  I'll bring out two things here.

The first is Lewis' acting chops.  He had talent.  I simply point to Lewis' performance as Jerry Langford in 1982's "The King of Comedy."

The second is Jerry Lewis' work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  He was there, every Labor Day for weekend, for decades.  The telethon lost a lot of its luster, its fun, when Lewis cut back.  There was great enjoyment in watching how Jerry held up during the Sunday night to Monday afternoon marathon.

I will admit to something that really bugged me.  There was a span of years when Jerry Lewis would make a pre telethon appearance on Larry King's TV show.  I can quote one appearance exactly, and he said basically the same thing in others:  "Larry, we're close."  Lewis meant scientists were close to finding a cure for muscular dystrophy.  King, one of American broadcasting's most overrated interviewers, would never challenge him, never ask a follow up question.  The truth is,  tremendous strides have been made.  Close?  Sadly, not yet.  I pray that changes soon.  I suspect Lewis said the "close" thing to generate telethon interest and goose donations.  You can decide if the end justifies the means.

Lewis' critics claim he was condescending to muscular dystrophy patients.  I didn't see it, but then I'm again, patients would have a different perspective on Lewis' behavior.

Jerry Lewis helped raise $ 2 billion during his 40 years of telethons.  History will be exceptionally kind to him, as it should be.

Jerry Lewis was 91.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Day

I have to admit I'm sick of the eclipse hype.

Let's go back to 1979. This is ABC's coverage of the last big eclipse to be seen over the United States.

It's only ten minutes. Watch it.

I love the sense of wonder and excitement in Frank Reynolds' voice.

Frank Reynolds is one of the underrated anchors in TV news history.

It's all on YouTube. Search for Reynolds' last commentary before being removed as ABC Evening News anchor in December 1970.   It's great for two reasons. Reynolds makes no secret that he's not happy with the demotion. Second, he makes no apologies for his commentaries irritating some people.

Frank Reynolds returned to the ABC desk as one of the original World News Tonight anchors. A big part of the reason for the return was ABC News president Roone Arledge couldn't lure Tom Brokaw away from NBC or Dan Rather away from CBS. No matter. Frank Reynolds did an outstanding job until his death in 1983.

Enjoy the video, and enjoy the eclipse. Safe viewing, and let's hope the clouds stay away.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Andy's Angles: The Kirby

One of the happiest and most satisfying days of my career was the day my old radio station spent the day broadcasting live from a decrepit old building that was eventually turned into the FM Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.

I don't remember how much money we raised that day, but we brought something much more valuable to the table-- publicity.

It's always a tickle to see old buildings repurposed and saved.  yes, it takes a fortune and it can't always be done.  There has to be a vision and a purpose.

There are two gems a short distance from this building on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre-- the Irem Temple and an old train station.  It looks like the train station will be saved.  The temple is still in the study phase.  It would be a tragedy to lose it.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Andy's Angles: RR8

I shared this photo on my Facebook page the other day, but I really didn't have much to say about it.

This is a rare photo of the morning team, in the same place, at the same time.

It's an interesting dynamic after the broadcast ends each day.

Tom and Mindi are usually at their desks, going over the past broadcast and thinking about the next day's effort.

Joe is over in the weather office, either working on the noon forecast, or making some graphics for the next day.

I'm usually at my desk, or out on the road.

Ryan is either still out on the road, or camped in an edit room.  He's always putting together a piece for the afternoon broadcasts and thinking about how the next day's morning news will work.

Tuesday was an off day.  The planets aligned.

I was over in the Tom and Mindi area, talking with them about some of the news stories we'd been covering.  Ryan approached.  He grabbed Joe.  We all headed out into the backyard and Corey Burns snapped the photo.  I was originally in the middle, but I thought the key slot should go to Mindi.  I should have nudged closer to the rest.  I seem rather aloof on the side, which was not my intent.

You see, we all work in the same place, and at the same time.  Getting us together isn't as simple as it might seem.

By the way, it's a great shirt.  I wore mine to the gym Wednesday morning.

Good luck to Ryan and everyone else involved in this year's run.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Long Ranger

The National Weather Service's fall outlook is pictured above.

If it's true, look for above normal temperatures with an equal chance of being wetter or drier than normal.

I am a professional skeptic, so I don't put much stock in any forecast more than seven days out.

However, I will admit that the long range forecast did bring a smile to my face.  The only time I don't like above normal temperatures is during the summer.  Average is good enough for me.

I should add that there could be a pair of big storms entering the Gulf of Mexico in the coming week.  Interesting days ahead.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's passing.

Elvis was never my thing, but I do respect his popularity and his ability to draw a crowd.

I remember hearing about the death from my brother.  I was in the living room, watching a Hogan's Heroes rerun.  It wqas between 5:30 and 6:00 PM.  My brother was apparently watching something else in his bedroom.  He emerged with the news that Elvis had died.

The people who run Elvis' home, Graceland, have started charging $30 for the right to file past the grave.  You do get some other considerations for the admission price.

I'm reminded of one thing, and it came from the great Johnny Carson:  "If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."

Relax.  It's just a joke.  No one wants to see anyone go.  Elvis died at the age of 42, and that's the most unfair thing of all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


We'll fight over anything in this country.  The latest case in point is "riced vegetables."

There's no rice in them.  It refers to the tiny cut.  Cauliflower resembles rice.  Hence, the name.  I should add this is American marketing genius at its best.  Green Giant uses the scraps, cuts them small, and them sells them.  Brilliant!  By the way, I've had them and they're very good.  I'd still prefer big, chunky cauliflower and other vegetables.

That brings us the the rice growers.  CBS News did a report the other night, and the rice people aren't happy.  Apparently, they've never heard of an old hand appliance, called a ricer, that can turn anything into tiny bits.
The real rice people want the vegetable rice people to change the name of the product.

Really?  Are you kidding me?

I know there is frozen rice, but the majority is dried.  You can't confuse it with riced vegetables.  Read the bag.  It says "100 per cent vegetables."

The "Battle of the Side Dish" is on the way.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Favorite Year

courtesy:  Variety

Joseph Bologna died Sunday.  Pancreatic cancer.  82.

Bologna had a huge role in my favorite movie, "My Favorite Year."  It chronicles the adventures of a young assistant on a fictional variety show set in the 1950's.  The young assistant, played by mark Linn-Baker is assigned to keep an eye on continuously drunk movie star Alan Swan, played perfectly by Peter O'Toole.  From what I've read about O'Toole, playing a drunk movie star wasn't much of a stretch.  He was nominated for an Academy Award.

Bologna played the host of the fictional TV show, King Kaiser.  The thing I will remember most about Bologna's performance (and O'Toole's) was the swagger.  He was confident and cocky, and he didn't take stuff from anyone-- including the mob boss Kaiser's show poked fun at.

I loved every second of the film.  It often pops up on cable, and do yourself a favor.  Watch it.

As I've noted here before, I think a big reason I enjoyed the movie was I saw it at the old
Ritz Theater in downtown Scranton with a group of college friends..  A good movie.  Good performances.  Great companionship.  Can't be beat.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Scrapple

Why can't the soy sauce in packets taste as good as the stuff that comes out of the bottle?

I can gaze at a full moon for hours.

Old Drew Carey shows still make me laugh out loud.

Can Stephen Colbert do anything in addition to Trump bashing?

Home made pickles are outstanding.

I'm ready for fall, and I really look forward to rainy days.

I must have listened to "Wichita Lineman" 20 times last week.

How did I live without diet peach iced tea?

I've really grown to enjoy wandering around supermarkets in the middle of the night.

Even though just about every Duluth Trading, LL Bean and Land's End catalog looks the same, I still look forward to their arrival in the mail.

Why is The River 104.9 FM still fading "Baker Street" out early?

I'm a huge Letterman fan, but I doubt I'll get a Netflix subscription to watch his new show next year.

Charlottesville.  Why?

I topped 2,000 Twitter followers a few days ago.  Thank you.

Can't believe most schools reopen in just two weeks.  It seems like Memorial Day was yesterday.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Andy's Angles: More Piggies

My name is on the story, but the story also belongs to the photographer.  Corey Burns shot the Monday morning pigs in the blanket making story at St. Mary's Church in Mocanaqua.

Corey came armed-- his usual news camera, plus two wireless microphones and a tiny Go Pro video camera.  Time is usually our enemy, but is actually on our side that morning.  The piggy making operation began early.  All the activity was in one place.  Mocanaqua is an easy drive.

Corey stuck a wireless microphone on one of the volunteers.  She was nervous at first, but eventually loosened up and didn't even remember the microphone was there.  The Go Pro got some tight shots.  Corey's other camera took care of the rest.

I did some interviews and a short on-camera piece.  It was then back to the station to write and edit.  On the way back, we talked about our vision for the piece.  Once we put the video in the computer system for editing, I asked Corey if any "nat sound" popped out.  A couple of pieces did.  Inside baseball:  nat sound is non interview sound-- candid conversations, sound of machines and activities, etc.  Corey played what he had.  I liked one piece.  Corey favored another.  Thankfully, Newswatch 16 at Noon producer Teresa gave us time to include both.

As I've noted earlier, I'm exceptionally critical of all my work.  This one came out great.  Thank you, Corey and the piggy makers of Mocanaqua.