A night out downtown; drinks and dinner. The 25th anniversary of the Center of the American Experiment, gala event (the first word is inseparable these days from the second; should be just galevent) with P.J. O’Rourke as the speaker. Haven’t seen him in, like, three weeks, so I got to rib him about leaving EARLY the last time, at 2 AM, ya wimp. We nipped out for a small cigar before the dinner, and then upon return to the ballroom, there’s my wife, who was looking just radiantly lovely, and I got to introduce them. So that was nice.

After the event I found him talking to some folks, and he says let’s get a drink. Sure, pal, sounds good, and I’m still thinking inside holy crap how did this all happen I mean, P J Fargin' O'Rourke. On the elevator on the way down there’s a really tall old guy chatting with PJ, and as we leave the elevator I realize holy crap redux, it’s Rudy Boschwitz, former Senator. Now. Very early in my career I wrote a piece about Rudy that used the slogan he employed in his TV commercials (He was head of Plywood Minnesota before he became a Senator), and Rudy wrote a note in reply that just thrilled me, because, well, Senator. So I got to thank him for that.

All in all a time that made me feel very grateful.

So once again, one of those days where I was too busy having a life to write a lot about not having one, which requires writing long pieces about string or old gum commercials or something, but that'll happen. At least there's more below and elsewhere, so let's gird up and get through this Bleat together.

A rare old strange thing found at . . .


It has the eerie feel of a Twilight Zone episode:


It’s this: Video Village. Wikipedia to the rescue:

Jack Narz served as the host (introduced on-air as "the Mayor") from the show's premiere until September 9, 1960, after which he departed for personal reasons. Red Rowe filled in as Mayor for the week of September 16 (including the final nighttime episode); the following Monday, Monty Hall replaced him and hosted through the remainder of the show's run.

Kenny Williams served as the announcer (the "town crier") throughout the show's run. Joanne Copeland (later to become the second Mrs. Johnny Carson) served as the show's original hostess during its time originating from New York City.

So it was a game show based on a board game, which makes this a board game based on a game show based on a board game.

Here’s a segment.

Mr. Red Rowe's daughter is keeping his memory alive on Facebook. More Jack Narz here; he had a long and distinguished career, as they say. A radio guy who made the leap. But his wikipedia page says the producers asked him to leave Video Village for "personal reasons," which seems mysterious. Hell, it is mysterious. He'd been caught up in the rigged game-show scandal - his show, Dotto, was the first to be suspected - but he was found blameless, and Video Village came afterwards.

New York Times obit:

His career never stopped paying off. In 1951, Mr. Narz narrated the opening episode of “Superman.” At the end of the show, with his voice crescendoing, he said, “Join us every week for the adventures of Superman!” He was paid $150.

Almost every year thereafter he received a residual royalty check of $1.98.


Kenny Williams did announcer duty for many shows, including Hollywood Squares - and did some radio drama.

Oh, there was a kid’s version of the show, and here's Monty Hall to kick it off!

Quite the assemblage of stories and lives, now represented by a box in a store on the bottom shelf.




Yay! War!


If you recall the last cliffhanger, Ted's airhose was severed. Oh no he will die because there is no air on the Moon. A technologically advanced civilization, yes, but no air. However:


So Cody attaches the air and they run away and they get back to the ship, But oh no! Oh no! A Moon soldier breaks in! Ted really takes on in the noggin.

And the ship staggers along until Ted recovers - which takes about 7 seconds - and he rights the ship. More fistfights until Ted shoots the Moon soldier in the gut. This has consumed seven minutes and 52 seconds, including the recap. Where do we go from here? Back to the office of President Moon, who’s been wearing the same tutu the entire serial.

He calls the sniveling minion Kronk, and tells him that Cody stole some Lumarium, and he needs to be blasted out of the sky before he lands on earth. Tell me if you find something odd about this:


Yeah, when my life is on the line, I'd entrust my plans to the Criminals again. Sure. Well, Kronk no doubt believes a good manager delegates and leads by example. Doesn’t get caught up in all the details.

So basically it’s the same drill: ray gun in the back of the truck, aimed at something - in this case Cody’s moon rocket. And let me spoil things right by suggesting that bungling may indeed be in the cards. Cody suits up and flies out to fight the Criminals. He keeps them pinned down with gunfire, so they decide to shoot the rock above him to crush him.

And so:

Another brisk and well-done entry, devoid of innovation in the Codyverse, but it had everything except a car chase. And that’s just fine by me.

Next week looks like fun:

Don't miss the mass execution, kids!

Below you see a new feature. Ed-U-Cards! Four per week through the summer.

Hope you found this a satisfying entry, all things considered. See you around.


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