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Guaranteed to drive you crazy
I had vague recollections of seeing this short on TV when I was just 4 years old in 1966 and living in Warren, Michigan; we could receive CKLW (now CBET)-TV, Channel 9 in Windsor, Ontario, very clearly (Windsor was right across the river from Detroit), and sometimes the CBC would air shorts like this one when time permitted. Sad to say, this film was a *waste* of time; having seen it again on You Tube recently, it also helped cement why math was *never* one of my favorite subjects.
The worst aspect of "Rhythmetic," however, had to be the soundtrack, which consisted of drum-like sounds and mouth noises a la Victor Borge's "Phonetic Punctuation" monologue; that, coupled with the lifeless and limited animation, becomes tantamount to Chinese water torture after 2 minutes. For anybody who has to endure sitting through this, might I suggest you synchronize it to some *music* of the same tempo and length; perhaps then it might be more tolerable (some ideas: Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women," Pink Floyd's "Money," or Amii Stewart's 1979 remake of "Knock on Wood," preferably the album or 12-inch single versions).
"Ryhmetic" is thus *not* recommended, especially for anybody like myself who has bad memories of math classes in elementary and/or high school. But, replace the inane soundtrack with some *real* music of the same beat and it *might* turn out to be funny.
Way too overdone
....especially in some of the musical numbers. For example: Connick plays piano and a mini-drum set simultaneously, then after the audience applauds him he stands up on top of his white piano and conducts his band in a contrived and unconvincing dramatic manner.
And some of the other segments are just plain *dumb, goofy, and idiotic* (e.g. "Animal Idol," "My Hidden Talent").
Only for those who can stand this clown, his "square" music, and his over-the-top theatrics; not recommended otherwise. As dbborroughs said in his review of the "Our Gang" short "Doin' Their Bit" with regard to this program, "Take a pass."
(Postscript, April 10, 2017: It was announced on NBC Universal Television Distribution's website that Connick's show has been renewed for another year. Sad - or, like just about every big celebrity today with deep pockets, did he bribe the NBC moguls into keeping it on? Wouldn't surprise me one bit!)
Split Second (1972)
Wish I could see the lost shows again, too
I remember "Split Second" very well.
When it premiered on ABC in 1972, I had just turned 10, but watched it when I was home during summer vacations or any days off I had from school. Moreover, I had a better appreciation for cars after watching that show; I never really noticed the makes and models of cars I saw on the road before "Split Second." Whenever I saw a Pontiac Grand Prix or Chevy Corvette, for example, I would say, "That's the car I saw on 'The Car Show' (my alternate title for "Split Second")!" And, I also remember for Christmas 1972 I received a model car kit (remember those?) of a 1973 Corvette, which my dad (may he rest in peace) helped me put together and paint. And, many times when I was 11, I remember telling my dad "I want a Pontiac Grand Prix when I grow up!" (Sadly, GM discontinued Pontiac in October 2010, and as of this posting I drive a 2008 Chrysler Sebring convertible - but that's *nothing* to sneeze at, and if that's about as close as I get to owning a sports/luxury car in my lifetime, I'm indeed *lucky.*)
To answer kayakkenn's question about the cars "Split Second" featured: They were only *General Motors* products, namely, Chevys one week and Pontiacs the next, although in early 1974 for one month instead of the Chevys they had *Buicks* on one week and Pontiacs the next. (It's too bad when "Split Second" featured the Buicks they didn't have the then-futuristic-looking Riviera among the lineup.)
And I remember some of the (now-lost) episodes very distinctly: In early 1973, a lady who called herself "Beaver" won a 1973 Chevy Monte Carlo after turning the key and the car started; on an earlier episode, a Kathleen Schmidtke won a 1973 Chevy Impala (I believe). And then on four 1974 episodes, a returning champion named Barry Coleman was wearing his family's "good luck pants" (some brown plaid trousers, but then, that was early 70's fashion) and tried to win a Pontiac Grand Safari wagon, but couldn't start the car and on the fifth day was defeated by somebody else.
I was also always hoping that whenever the Chevys were featured the contestants would go for the Corvette, Camaro, Chevelle (especially if it was the Super Sport model), or Monte Carlo, and when the Pontiacs were featured they would choose the Grand Prix or Firebird. I also began to suspect "random" meant "rigged" after a while (at the close of each show, Jack Clark was heard saying, "The car that started today and the cars that were blacked out were selected *entirely at random* just prior to the start of today's program"), because I noticed the cars that started - particularly the Pontiacs - began to follow a pattern; for example, the Ventura would start on Tuesdays, the Grand Safari wagon on Thursdays, and the Firebird on Fridays. Shades of the Quiz Show Scandals of the late 50's I heard about, maybe?
I, too, remember all the blurbs about "It's a Brand New Day on ABC!" and their adding two more soap operas right before the show got canceled in June 1975; I thought, "Well, it may be a brand new day for soap fans (especially the target audience), but it's a *sad* day for me (as well as other "Split Second" fans) now that 'The Car Show' is going off!" But, since I was 13 at that time, that gave me more time to spend outside on nice days during summer vacations, as well as more opportunities to do other things during fall and winter on other days off from school.
I also remember I often fought with my mom when I was home to see "Split Second," as she usually watched "Search for Tomorrow" on CBS, which was on against it (most of the time, she would let me see "Split Second;" you have to remember VCRs weren't around in the early 70's). But I *do* remember seeing that 1975 "Split Second" finale; I distinctly remember my dad was home on a week's vacation and he told my mom, "I don't want to listen to any soap operas." Thanks, dad!
I was sorry to hear recently ABC brainlessly "wiped" (erased) about 97% of all the "Split Second" episodes in 1976 to use the tapes for other programming (boo-hiss!). I was recently able to see those surviving six episodes on You Tube; one contestant chose a 1972 Grand Prix and won it after turning the key. And, I also saw the 1975 finale once again - what memories. (Besides the modification to the intro Richard Wagoner mentioned above, Jack Clark also changed the closing spiel on that last show: "'Split Second' *was* a Stefan Hatos/Monty Hall Production.")
I read at Wikipedia that the UCLA Film and Television Archives has about 15 other episodes of "Split Second" in their collection. I can only hope Monty Hall's production company can strike a deal with UCLA and put those other surviving "Split Seconds" out on DVD or You Tube. (For the record, I *never* had a chance to see the 1986 revival, which *is* still surviving; at that time - after just graduating from college - I was busy trying to get my career off the ground.)
In any event, "Split Second" was great fun. I'll give it a 9.
NC-17 and childish throughout
Please see the first line of my review of the Our Gang "comedy" "The New Pupil" for more information.
Although - since 20th Century Fox, who co-produced and released this sorry waste of time *and* money - also made the equally disgusting "Myra Breckinridge" 46 years ago, maybe they should have lifted the scene from that film and inserted it somewhere into this one (possibly after the fight scene in the junkyard) where Raquel Welch prepares to rape Roger Herren and just as Ms. Welch was about to "do it" after she dons a holster with something attached - well, I'll leave that to your imaginations - Alice Faye is seen singing "America, I Love You." That would have fit right in *very* nicely in the context of a piece of trash like this. (Or did I just give Fox and Marvel an idea for what to put in a sequel? My Lord, it makes me want to *hurl* just contemplating that!)
In fact, Time Magazine put it very succinctly when they reviewed "Myra Breckinridge" in 1970; it *most definitely* also applies to "Deadpool," and I paraphrase:
"'Deadpool' is about as funny as a child molester!"
(Do you suppose in addition to being crack addicts and perverts, the "writers" and "director" of this crap are also closet worshipers and/or disciples of Kenneth Parnell, the creep who kidnapped Steven Stayner in 1972 when he was 10 and sexually molested him until Parnell was arrested and finally bought to justice in 1980? I *guarantee* it! And if any of them are reading my review and they're offended - GOOD!!!! Now we're EVEN!)
And yet, this was the top movie in the country this week. I guess that proves very well where the mentality of the American public lies, eh? And it *ain't* in their heads!
Masquerade Party (1974)
Would have been nice to see this when it first aired
I heard much about this revival of "Masquerade Party" when it first aired in the 70's via magazine and press reviews (I was then only 12), and now having read F. Gwynplane MacIntyre's review of it, made me wish I could have seen this revival of the show (I, too, never saw any episodes of the 1950's original via film or home video, and when that version originally aired I *wasn't* even around - I was born in April 1962!).
Why couldn't I see this version of "Masquerade Party?"
Because this show was *syndicated* (20th Television was the distributor), and having lived in Lansing, Michigan at that time, *no* receivable stations in that area (including Jackson, Flint, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids) bothered purchasing and airing the show. Instead, we got crap like local outdoors shows, nationally syndicated nature shows, old movies, "That Nashville Music," and "Hee Haw" (yeecch!). I don't doubt this "Masquerade Party" revival *was* shown in major markets like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago - lucky for them!
And, recently having read a trade ad for the show in a 1975 issue of Broadcasting Magazine online, that heightened my wanting to see this 70's revival of "Masquerade Party" even more.
(I remember one station in the area, WOTV - now WOOD-TV - Channel 8, in Grand Rapids aired some syndicated 20th Television programs during the 70's, including "Circus!" from 1972 and "That's Hollywood!" from 1976. Unfortunately, the brain trust who was then the program director at that station made the *big* mistake of electing not to buy this "Masquerade Party" revival from 20th, which I understand lasted *only one year.* Sad!)
I myself submitted this version of "Masquerade Party" to TV Shows on DVD.com; as of today (December 9, 2015) it has been posted on that site. I *strongly* suggest for anybody who *was* lucky to see the show back in the 70's when it first aired, or for others like myself who are curious to see what this version was like, go to TV Shows on DVD's website and *vote* for the show. If it eventually amasses 100> votes, then maybe 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (if they still own the rights) or Monty Hall's production company, who could maybe lease the rights out to Shout! Factory or a similar TV nostalgia DVD label, would release "Masquerade Party" on DVD. (Hall's company *is* still in business; they co-produce the current revival of "Let's Make a Deal" starring Wayne Brady in association with Fremantle Media for CBS.)
*Then,* hopefully, I'll be able to see what these avant-garde (or, more appropriately, "below-grade") TV station programmers in Michigan blithely denied us of in September 1974, and I'll get a good laugh.
Would also like to see all the other shorts again
I *totally* forgot about "Dodo" until I saw a few clips of it again on You Tube recently (the one I saw was about where Professor Fingers threw a first anniversary party for Dodo, and he and Dodo recall how they met each other; unfortunately, the soundtrack was *out of sync* on that You Tube video). One short I remember in particular was the one in which Professor Fingers takes How, Why, and a group of kids to the ice-skating rink; Dodo just sat on the side wall and dangled his feet while everyone else was skating, and the Professor fell flat on the ice!
When "Dodo" premiered in 1965, I was only 3, but I don't recall seeing these shorts until 1967, when I was 5. At that time, they were shown daily as part of the "Bozo the Clown" show on CKLW-TV (now CBET), Channel 9, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada/Detroit; I would watch that every weekday afternoon after coming home from kindergarten.
Although I couldn't find any info on the voice cast, I'll probably bet Dodo was voiced by Lucille Bliss ("Crusader Rabbit" and Smurfette in "The Smurfs"), How and Why by June Foray, and Professor Fingers by Don Messick. As I said, this is only a *speculation,* so once I get more facts about who voiced whom, I'll start a thread on the bulletin board for this show.
I also wondered what that drawing was in the lower right corner of the Halas/Batchelor title card during the opening credits; I thought it was a smiling worm or possibly a representation of an alien from Dodo's home planet. It turned out to be a drawing of an artist's palette with a smiling paintbrush! I also thought the singers sang "lone pixie-dixie" in the theme's lyrics, but it was actually "science fiction pixie" (which I didn't find out until recently).
I believe "Dodo" is now in the public domain, since I discovered somewhere on the web a DVD was put out by one of those small-time video companies that made the disc compatible for all regions; I'll bet they *didn't* remaster the shorts and used scratchy, deteriorating film elements. I can only hope Shout! Factory or some other "TV classics" DVD company might contract with Halas and Batchelor's estates themselves (John Halas and Joy Batchelor were husband and wife; Halas died in 1995 and Batchelor died four years earlier) - perhaps they have archival copies of "Dodo" - and give the series a *proper* treatment for a DVD box set!
("Dodo" was first syndicated by Embassy Television, when Joseph E. Levine was President of the company; the company became Avco Embassy Television in 1968, and held onto the TV syndication rights until the early 1980's, although most stations were no longer airing "Dodo" by then. In 1982, Norman Lear purchased Embassy from Avco and renamed the company Embassy Pictures, then around 1985 Embassy was bought out by Coca-Cola and finally - in 1989, three years before "Dodo"'s copyrights expired - by Sony Pictures Entertainment, who promptly absorbed Embassy Television into Columbia Pictures Television. It is a *real* shame Sony wasn't even aware they had this series in their vast library and didn't even bother renewing the copyrights on it - sad for us baby-boomers!)
In the meantime, *please* be sure to vote for "Dodo" at TV Shows on DVD.com; so far, it has amassed a puny *43* total votes. If the number of votes is 100 or more, then it just might get Shout! Factory's, or another DVD label's, attention. (You might also want to telephone or e-mail Shout! Factory about "Dodo;" their addresses and phone number are given at their website. That should also help influence them to get the DVD rights to "Dodo.")
Alias St. Nick (1935)
Surprised to see this again on You Tube
I remember first seeing "Alias St. Nick" in 1971 when I was in fourth grade at Lewton Elementary School (which I dubbed "Auschwitz I") in Lansing, Michigan. I remember our homeroom teachers (it was one of those "team-teaching" schools then) surprised us with a showing of this short on the Friday afternoon before Christmas break that year. I just ran across this short on You Tube, and was surprised to see it again after so long.
Although I am not really a fan of the MGM cartoons (I always liked the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies better), "Alias St. Nick" ranks as one of those rare exceptions. Especially amusing was the "train" sequence; I always remembered those tracks running across the far-back hallway of the mice's cave home.
(For some strange reason, the print of "Alias St. Nick" I saw in school was in black and white, or maybe the print began to deteriorate and the colors were fading; obviously, in 1971 there *wasn't* any such thing as "digital remastering." And, ironically, *Warner Bros.* now owns this short today; Time Warner, Inc. bought out Turner Entertainment Company in 1998, which in turn had bought out the pre-January 1986 MGM library of films and TV shows in September 1986, including this short subject.)
I give "Alias St. Nick" a 7, especially for the (few good) childhood memories (at that time) it evokes. (To be sure, later Christmases became *much* better.)
El gran circo de TVE (1973)
*Please* vote for this show at TV Shows on DVD.com
In June 1983, my family and I moved from the Chicago area to Saddle River, New Jersey, a New York City suburb (I was then 21, and about to begin my sophomore year at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck). One Saturday afternoon in July, after we had settled in, I was watching TV and perusing the channels when I came across "El Gran Circo" on WNJU-TV, Channel 47 in Linden/Newark.
Just for kicks, I checked this show out (I understand Spanish a little bit). It was rather funny to watch, and somehow it seemed to evoke fond memories of shows of this same genre my younger sister and I used to watch when we were youngsters living in Warren, Michigan in the 60's (e.g. "Bozo the Clown," "Oopsy"). And for some reason, I always thought the song heard over the opening credits was funny, especially while watching the kids in the audience rocking back and forth in their seats singing along!
One episode of "El Gran Circo" I remember watching on WNJU featured one of the clowns, Fofito, playing the song "People" (from the musical "Funny Girl") on his clavinet in one segment (a clavinet is an instrument that resembles a mini-keyboard; you blow into it, and it sounds a little like a harmonica). I don't remember the comedy sketches in that particular episode, however.
A few months ago, I checked You Tube to see if any episodes of "El Gran Circo" were posted. Sure enough, there *were* - but *not* the one I saw in New Jersey in the summer of 1983 (one of those You Tube videos of "El Gran Circo" featured a literal remake of a "Honeymooners" sketch, and another featured a medley of songs from "Mary Poppins," naturally sung in Spanish). Still, just seeing those few episodes again made me long for my college days.
I recently submitted this show to TV Shows on DVD.com; to date, it received only *2* (!) paltry votes, one from myself and another from somebody else who also remembers this show.
I appeal to anyone else who remembers "El Gran Circo" and would like to see it rereleased on DVD - *please* - go to TV Shows on DVD.com and vote for it. If it gets more than 100 votes, it might attract an American DVD label's attention, and maybe the original Spanish producers could arrange to have it issued here in the States. (And to said producers - do you think you could also include English subtitles? After all, it seems no less ridiculous when you consider many movies and TV shows on DVD are either dubbed into another language on a separate audio track or have subtitles in said language that can be selected from the DVD menu. Indeed, "El Gran Circo" can be enjoyed by *all* ages.)
So *don't* wait - vote for "El Gran Circo" at TV Shows on DVD.com *now!*
Dance Fever (1979)
Well, again, as I said in my review of "Puttin' on the Hits," if you can't say anything nice....
But, here are three observations that should easily exceed the 10-line minimum:
(1) The only good part of this show was after the closing credits rolled, the copyright notice was shown at the top of the screen with the "Ownership of this program is protected by copyright and other applicable laws...." warning at the bottom with the IATSE union bug and the AMPTP (Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, of which production company 20th Century Fox Television was - and *still is* - an active member) logo in between - superimposed over the crowd - then cutting to the pretty woman proclaiming "Dance Fever" was recorded live, then the animated Merv Griffin Enterprises "blinking eye griffin" logo and then - the *best* part of all - the "20th CTELEVISION FOX" (as it was sometimes humorously referred to) logo with the short version of the Alfred Newman fanfare. Fade to black;
(2) For those who wondered why this ultra-cutesy and insipid personality parade managed to survive six years after the disco craze ended in 1981 and despite poor ratings, former Chicago Tribune TV critic Gary Deeb - who rightly labeled "Dance Fever" as being "fatuous" - observed that Merv Griffin had "deep pockets, and as long as his bankroll holds out, the show will be around for a while." Mercifully, in the spring of 1987 Griffin and Fox finally saw the writing on the wall; and
(3) As with "Puttin' on the Hits," because of ultra-expensive music clearances - the majority of the music on this show was recorded - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, glad to say, has *no* plans to release "Dance Fever" on DVD anytime soon, nor will they lease the rights out to other companies like Shout! Factory, who also complained of the same problem. One might remember when Fox decided to release the first season of "WKRP in Cincinnati" on DVD in 2007, they could not afford to include the original recordings featured in the episodes because of said high royalties and instead used "generic" music, causing an uproar among many fans. With regard to "Dance Fever," however, it appears Fox is acting *very* wisely in their decision to withhold any DVD releases.
(April 22, 2014. Update:
According to an article at Wikipedia.org listing all shows syndicated by 20th Television - the current syndication arm of 20th Century Fox - "Dance Fever" is *no longer* owned and syndicated by 20th but - along with all other Merv Griffin Enterprises properties - is now owned and syndicated by Sony Pictures Television. Still, although they inherited the original "Dance Fever," Sony is *also* very smart in *not* doing anything about putting the show on DVD at this time.)
*Touche! Au revoir!*
The Barkleys (1972)
Would very much like to see this show again
I remember "The Barkleys" very well. It, along with "The Roman Holidays" and the live-action kids' game show "Runaround," was one of my favorite shows on NBC's Saturday morning schedule of 1972-73 (I was then 10 years old).
Two episodes I especially enjoyed were "The Great Disc Jockey," in which Arnie becomes a DJ at a local radio station playing old-timey music after he got fed up hearing the music the kids liked, and became spurned by said kids even more (son Roger was a DJ at the opening of that episode as well), and "For the Love of Money," in which Arnie sets Roger up with a haughty, high-society girl named Elsie Schnauzer.
And if Arnie Barkley's voice sounded familiar, it was because Henry Corden - who voiced Arnie - went on to become the full-time voice of Fred Flintstone after Alan Reed, who originally voiced Flintstone, died in 1973. And Joan Gerber, who voiced wife Agnes, was also heard in a concurrent animated "All in the Family" derivative, "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home," as matron Irma Boyle (both Agnes and Irma sounded very much alike).
I understand Disney/ABC (!) now owns all the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (aka DFE Films) shows (with the exception of "The Pink Panther," which is owned by MGM). Although select episodes of "The Barkleys" were on VHS tape in the late 80's and are now unavailable - long before Disney acquired DFE's backlog - the show has yet to make a DVD appearance. If Disney did renew the copyrights on "The Barkleys," then I can only hope someone like Shout! Factory or some other "video nostalgia" label will get the rights to all 13 episodes and put them on DVD; it would especially be nice to see the "Great Disc Jockey" episode again. It would be awful if "The Barkleys" was in the public domain because small-time video companies would snap it up, and they would very likely use poor-quality, unrestored film elements. (DFE Films, by the way, went out of business in 1981 and was ultimately absorbed into Marvel Comics Animation - which is now a division of Disney/ABC - thus explaining Disney's current ownership of "The Barkleys.")
As I've stated in other comments, all I can suggest is: (1) contact Disney, Shout! Factory, etc. and tell them you'd like to see all 13 episodes of "The Barkleys" on DVD; and (2) be sure to vote for it at TV Shows on DVD.com. If "The Barkleys" gets over 100 votes at that website, it might get Disney, etc.'s attention and they'll get it out of the vaults, renew the copyrights on the show if they haven't done so already, and get it on DVD (as of this posting, "The Barkleys" received only 38 paltry votes at TV Shows on DVD.com).
So for anybody else who remembers "The Barkleys" and would like to see the show again, don't delay - *take action now!*