Category Archives: television

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone by Mark Dawidziak (2016)

Twilight Zone

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone
by Mark Dawidziak
Thomas Dunne Books, 2017

There are a handful of television programs I keep in my Netflix queue, even after I have watched every episode, because I can go back and watch them again and see something different. Many shows are disposable, but then there are series like The Twilight Zone that endure despite repeated viewings. The reason is quite simple: there are lessons that can be learned, and in many cases must be learned. Rod Serling was a masterful storyteller, and his work on The Twilight Zone will be revered as long as the series is available for new generations. Author Mark Dawidziak writes, “The Twilight Zone not only was a series with a strong social conscience, it was television that believed there was intelligent life on the other side of the television screen.”

Dawidziak offers up fifty lessons gleaned from The Twilight Zone in Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone, including simplistic yet important lessons like “follow your passion” and “nobody said life was fair,” to it’s-better-to-learn-from-others-mistakes lessons such as “read every contract…carefully” and “the grass is always greener…or so you think.” Dawidziak writes, “Lurking in almost every episode of The Twilight Zone is at least one guiding rule, one life lessons, one stirring reminder of a basic right or wrong taught to us as children. There are lessons for individuals. There are lessons for our society. There are lessons for our planet.”

It would be impossible to pick out the best lessons presented by Dawidziak, just as it is a daunting task to rank episodes of The Twilight Zone itself. But consider, if you will, lesson twenty: “If life gives you another chance, make the most of it,” utilizing the episodes, “Third from the Sun” and “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank.” A new venture may be just what you need to turn your rut of a life into a joyous existence.

In addition to Dawidziak’s fifty lessons, which are gleaned from about one hundred episodes, the author also concedes the page to guest lessons. These guest lessons come from such esteemed individuals as Jack Klugman and James Best, who both appeared in multiple episodes of The Twilight Zone, Mel Brooks, Robert Redford, Mick Garris, Carol Burnett, and Dick Van Dyke.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone is a fun way to revisit the timeless works of Serling and other Twilight Zone writers, highly recommended for fans of the iconic television series.

Learn more about Thomas Dunne Books.

Purchase Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone by Mark Dawidziak.

Goodbye, John Hurt

(January 22, 1940 – January 27, 2017)

johnhurt1

Veteran actor John Hurt succumbed cancer at age 77. His career dates back to the 1960s; his notable recent roles included the War Doctor in the Doctor Who television series and Ollivander in the Harry Potter films.

johnhurt2

Fun Cards: 1982 Topps Joe Dunning, Ted What’s-His-Name, and The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk premiered in 1978 starring Bill Bixby as David Bruce Banner and Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk. The program is currently available to stream on Netflix, but I received a notification that it would be removed on January 1. The show only lasted five seasons, and the fifth season was a mere seven episodes.

Joe Dunning 1982 Topps Incredible Hulk

The first episode of the fifth season was called “The Phenom,” guest starring Brett Cullen as pitching prospect Joe Dunning, who was trying to make the Roosters’ squad out of spring training. I decided to take a crack at some “fun cards” from this episode, but there were very few names used and IMDB does not identify very many of the guest stars, including “Ted What’s-His-Name” below. Nor is he named in the end credits of the episode. The actor looks vaguely familiar…but I have no idea who it is.

Ted 1982 Topps Incredible Hulk

There was one other identifiable “player.” Near the end of the episode, David and Joe are attacked by a sleazy agent’s henchmen. David is thrown behind a car where he transforms into the green creature known as the Incredible Hulk. He saves Joe, carries him into the stadium, and another player throws a baseball bat at him. The Hulk catches it and proceeds to slug a baseball that is thrown at him.

Hulk 1982 Topps

The Hulk is not on the Roosters’ roster, so I decided to change the team name. I started to go with Marvel, but instead changed it to “The Lonely Man” as a tribute to Joe Harnell, the composer of the show’s theme music.

Another interesting tidbit about the series, which I did not know until looking through the IMDB information: the narrator is Ted Cassidy, who is best known for his role as Lurch on The Addams Family.

Goodbye, Doris Roberts

(November 4, 1925 – April 17, 2016)

Doris Roberts

Perhaps best known for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond, Doris Roberts will by remembered by me as Mildred Krebs on Remington Steele. She passed away on Sunday at the age of 90.

Who wants a free year of MLB.TV Premium?

Tmobile offering free mlbtv to subscribers

Wouldn’t it be cool to watch or listen all the out-of-market games you wanted? Wouldn’t it be cooler to do it for free? Thanks to T-Mobile, you can! T-Mobile customers get a free 1-yr subscription to @MLBTV Premium by clicking this link through April 10. I watched a few minutes of the Rays/Jays game last night, and even switched between the Tampa and Toronto broadcasts a few times. I’m hoping to watch some of the White Sox game later tonight and see Todd Frazier play his first American League game. I think I might watch a few Marlins games this year too and see what Giancarlo Stanton and Ichiro Suzuki are up to. I’ve never had such unlimited access to Major League Baseball before, so I’m pretty excited. There are, of course, blackout restrictions on local market games, so I won’t get to watch my Reds play unless they’re on the road (if I understand the restrictions properly, which I probably don’t)…but I might watch the opponent’s feed in those cases just so I don’t have to hear the homerism of the Cincinnati announcers. Jeff Brantley is especially horrible. In any case, it’s very cool promotion from T-Mobile and MLB.TV and I can’t wait to be immersed in non-Reds baseball every day, since the Reds will be so awful this year!

Goodbye, Garry Shandling

(November 29, 1949 – March 24, 2016)

Comedian and actor Garry Shandling passed away yesterday at the age of 66 from a heart attack. In the 1970s, he wrote for classic television sitcoms such as Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. Recently, Shandling was seen in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Senator Stern.

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner with David Fisher (2016)

Leonard Nimoy William Shatner book

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man
by William Shatner with David Fisher
Thomas Dunne Books, 2016
288 pages

The entertainment industry lost an icon in 2015 when Leonard Nimoy passed away, but his impact and work will be forever remembered. His close friend and co-star on many Star Trek projects, William Shatner, delivers a touching memoir in Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man. Shatner shares several stories that will bring a smile to the reader’s face, whether he is a “Trekkie” or not.

While the majority of the book deals with the time Nimoy and Shatner spent together on Star Trek, as well as an examination of the Spock character, the actor was so much more. He was a fighter for the benefits of his fellow actors, standing up to Filmation when they attempted to create a Star Trek cartoon without George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. Filmation relented, because, as Shatner writes, “They company had no choice; without Leonard or me, there was no Star Trek.” Shatner also recalls Nimoy’s time as director of a couple of the Star Trek films and Three Men and a Baby. Mention is made of the Golden Throats recordings, and the emergence of Star Trek conventions is given a fair amount of ink. Shatner also touches on Nimoy’s alcoholism and the negative effects that it had on his life.

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man is a story of true friendship, ups and downs, good and bad. There is nothing scintillating or derogatory, nor does it seem to be a cash-grab designed to capitalize on the late actor’s relatively recent passing. It is an honest, heartfelt remembrance of a man that touched the lives of many through his work in film and television.

Learn more about Thomas Dunne Books.

Purchase Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner.

Goodbye, George Gaynes

(May 16, 1917 – February 15, 2016)

George Gaynes

Two roles defined George Gaynes’ career for those who grew up in the 1980s: Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy series and Henry Warnimont on the Punky Brewster television sitcom. He also had roles in The Boy Who Cried Werewolf, Trilogy of Terror, Tootsie, and Roger Corman’s unreleased The Fantastic Four movie. Gaynes died at the age of 98 at his home in Washington on Monday.

Doctor Who: The Secret Lives of Monsters by Justin Richards (2014)

Doctor Who Secret Lives of Monsters

Doctor Who: The Secret Lives of Monsters
by Justin Richards
Harper Design, 2014
214 pages

There is no shortage of publications covering the British television show Doctor Who. Justin Richards, the creatie consultant to BBC Books’ range of Doctor Who titles, authored the 2014 release, Doctor Who: The Secret Lives of Monsters, examining some of the most popular baddies in the fictional universe.

While the layout leaves something to be desired, Richards’ treatment of the subject matter is top-notch, first looking at each creature as if they were real beings. Richards goes on to take a behind-the-scenes look at them, including the inspiration for them and showing photographs of actors behind the masks and props makers. The author also takes the reader on a trip through time and space by looking how each incarnation of the Doctor dealt with the monsters.

A collection of sixteen removable color prints of original artwork by concept artist Peter McKinstry is included inside an envelope in the back of the book, making this volume all the more enjoyable. Doctor Who fans will no doubt find The Secret Lives of Monsters informative and educational, especially when they come face-to-face with some of the most terrifying aliens in the universe.

Learn more about Harper Design.

Purchase Doctor Who: The Secret Lives of Monsters by Justin Richards.

Goodbye, Abe Vigoda

(February 24, 1921 – January 26, 2016)

It’s real this time. People called him “the late Abe Vigoda” in 1982, and WWOR made the same mistake in 1987. Today, Vigoda passed in his sleep at his daughter’s home in New Jersey, four days after being placed into hospice care. Vigoda is most remembered for his roles in The Godfather, Barney Miller, and Fish.

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