Who's this guy?


Who's this guy?



You know them. Believe me, you know them. Answer later.


So there’s a Dark Shadows movie, eh? Fine; hope everyone who made it had a nice time, and hope the people who greenlit the thing and shoveled money at Tim Burton have saved some cash so when the studio jobs run out and they’re head of a production company in the Valley that puts together money for straight-to-YouTube documentaries about Nazi UFOs and the plan to create a Wermacht out of genetically modified Bigfeet, they’ll have enough cash on hand to meet the mortgage.

I remember when it was on TV - I was a kid, but my older cooler cousins liked it. Barnabas Collins was dreamy, I guess. In that dark tragic fashion. I watched the first episode a few months ago, and there was great promise in the idea, at least in the soap opera vein. (Ha! See what I did there? Bigfeet.) Most soaps look unwatchable from the distance of 40 years, but that had some style.

And some story. I don’t know if anyone watches a soap for the story per se; they watch it for the characters plowing their way through the interminable tales. In a period of underemployment I watched “The Young and the Restless,” because it had Eileen Davidson, who was gorgeous but unattainably classy, as we said back then, and Tracey Bregman, who I found knuckle-chewingly attractive with an 80s spiky hair-thing. Also a great semi-villain in the form of Jack Abbott, and of course Eric Braeden from “The Forbin Project,” and one episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show, wandering around with a distant scowl and speaking in an accent you couldn’t quite place. And, of course, Jeanne Cooper, who appeared to be the world’s oldest functioning alcoholic in the show, about 92. That was 25 years ago, and she’s still on.

She was on Perry Mason once.

But who wasn’t. Question is, does she have Star Trek connection? Yes: her son is Corbin Bernson.

You know, Q.

Q2, if you want to be specific. I thought they were all named Q.

So I google around to get the names, and discover that Eileen Davidson was fired from Y&R yesterday. To make room for someone new, probably, because that’s what soap viewers want: new stuff at the expense of tradition and decades-long plot lines.

But why a Dark Shadows movie? Because vampires are hott!!! and because Tim Burton + Depp is BO gold, right? I like Depp fine, but the staring-with-momentary-surprise-while-processing-befuddlement thing is old, and I’m tired of Burton’s creepy-gloomy campy aesthetic. Beetlejuice said it all, and that movie’s loved for Keaton’s rotten hunk-of-ham routine and the oddly endearing sequence with the “Jomp in De Line” end music: it left you liking everything. Then “Batman,” which looks like a stuttering mess now, child’s play compared to the reboot.

It’s just a series of boxes someone ticked: vampires, remake, Depp, artsy-weirdo. I'm just surprised they didn't combine forces and set the thing in a "Battleship" context to fold in that 60s game, then have "Mystery Date" as a subplot and make the villain turn out to be the kite in the "That Girl" opening sequence. That thing creeped me out. I had a crush on Marlo Thomas, but it just seemed odd that she had her own logo.



Speaking of which: here's the theme. There were many.



Apparently there was another:



She was like Mary Tyler Moore with a bit of the Susanne Pleshette voice. There's a full episode here, with commercials. That Girl! brought to you by L&M Cigarettes! It's written by Arnold Margolin, the brother of "Angel" on Rockford Files. But is there a Trek connection? Sure. The guest star in the episode, Sally Kellerman, was in the second pilot.

I think it goes without saying that sound was by Glen Glenn.

(Obviously, an offhand "That Girl" remark led to YouTubery which resulted in the pictures at the top of this post. I haven't planned this. Nay, I had to go back and reconstruct the entire Bleat. Worth the bother? You'll see.)



A day of spry bright hell, at work: had to line up a guest for Friday’s video, and since the mandate requires NEWSMAKERS, this means I have to wait until the end of the week to see what’s, well, news. What’s news on Monday is fishguts on Friday. I put out many calls, waiting for the little buzz-in-the-back-pocket to tell me someone had reached out and goosed me; by the end of the day most of the calls came back with a sad nix or a hadn’t been returned at all. Then at day’s end, a call: sure, we can come in tomorrow, within the hours of 9:42 and 9:55, because there are meetings and reports and so on, and I thought: gosh, that’s a complex schedule for someone in the city planning office. But then I realized this wasn’t John from City Planning but John from the Mayor’s office. Oh! Well. Great.

So up on Friday morn to talk about the stadium with the Mayor, and what it means for the neighborhood. The pictures show a bright gleaming building across the street from my office, and a broad veldt where people will Throng, and buildings alongside where other people will experience the joys of Urban Life, except for the Sunday mornings when the tailgaters flood the zone and the air is thick with the sizzle of bratwurst and the sour tang of vomit, but it’s all a trade-off.

I don’t believe a flourishing nightlife will arise around the building, or that it will revitalize the area. If there were 150 games per year, at night, maybe. But expecting bars and clubs and shops to appear around a structure that hosts a few games a year during the winter - no. Not when there’s already an established entertainment district seven blocks to the north. This is pure speculation on my part, of course; it’s possible that the stadium will cause the area to become Vibrant, to use the designated word. There’s no way of knowing until you spend the billion.

What’s that? Oh: yeah, that’s true. There is a stadium on the spot right now. I suppose you could take a look around and see what it’s done. Well, there’s a bar. A bar. One. That’s it; that’s all. But I don’t think you can draw any conclusions from thirty years’ worth of experience, because the old stadium doesn’t have bit shiny spotlights lancing the night sky like you see in the proposals. And there’s really no way for people to get there - well, except for the light rail, which was supposed to create Dense Vital Vibrant spots wherever it deigned to pause.

But what about the Twins stadium? The area around there is doing great. Yes, because it was already the entertainment district. Because gentrification of the old warehouses was already underway, and the density is much higher. A decade-long redefinition of the area was underway, thanks to scores of individual initiatives. A top-down plan that tries to manufacture a dense community will fail. You have two instincts at work in city planning: make it happen, or let it happen. The former looks great on paper. The latter is a better place for living.

In the American context, anyway. I’m not talking about favelas piling up on the hillsides of Rio.

Hey! New Wards 1961; Older Woman is still barging into the junior lines, and women are holding hands. It’s pretty gay. Or pretty and gay. That's it for this week - five bleats, ten matchbooks, one comic, ten Disney titles, four postcards, and ten pages of an old catalog.

Doesn't seem like enough, but I've enjoyed it. Hope you did too. See you around!

Oh, that guy?



The guy with the glasses:






















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