Category: Music

Peter Tork – R.I.P.

Peter Tork died today after a long battle with cancer at the age of 77.

Born Peter Thorkelson on February 13, 1942, Peter was, of course, better known as Peter Tork a member of The Monkees.

The Monkees [Peter, along with Davy JonesMickey Dolenz, and Michael Nesmith] took the world by storm in 1966.  The group was hand-picked by Screen Gems in an effort to create a tv show about a group of young musicians.  Lightning struck and the group not only had a hit tv series but became one of the biggest selling bands of the 60’s.  In 1967, The Monkees sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.  The Monkees even appeared in a feature film called Head that was co-written by Jack Nicholson!

I was a huge Monkees fan like many kids my age [7].  I collected their albums, trading cards, comic books and magazines.  I had a model of The Monkeemobile.  I even followed The Monkees after Peter, then later Mike, quit the band.  Sadly, I never got to see them perform live when they reunited for several reunion tours.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Peter’s family, friends and fans.

The Impact of The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”

On February 9, 1964, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.  In this age of hundreds of channels, the internet and celebrities having personal access to multiple social media outlets, it may be difficult to understand the impact that the Beatles performing on Ed Sullivan’s show had for those not alive during that time.

I was five.  My mother got me out of bed to watch.  We weren’t alone, as nearly 40% of the US population had tuned in.

Stacy Conradt presents 10 Facts About The Beatles’s ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ Debut,  Here are three of my favorites…

Much like The Tonight Show today, being asked to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960s was a huge honor for up-and-coming (and established) artists in the 1960s. The publicity generated from an appearance on the show was enough for most talent to say yes. But The Beatles would only agree to appear if the show covered their travel expenses and paid them a $10,000 fee (which would be just over $80,000 in 2019 dollars). Sullivan and his producers agreed, but only if The Beatles would commit to making three appearances. They had a deal.

Though forking over travel expenses and an appearance fee wasn’t the norm for The Ed Sullivan Show, it ended up being a great deal for the program, and proof that Beatlemania was just as thriving in America as it was in the UK. It’s been estimated that close to 74 million people—40 percent of the country’s population at that time—tuned in to watch The Beatles play.

Davy Jones was also on The Ed Sullivan Show that night, but not as part of The Monkees. Jones was performing with the cast of Broadway’s Oliver! Jones played the Artful Dodger, first in London then in New York, and ended up being nominated for a Tony for the role.

Our Top 2018 Posts and All-Time Favorites!

As we head into 2019, I thought it would be interesting to see our top 2018 posts and our all-time favorites.  So, without further adieu, here are the 2018 most viewed posts…

  1.  Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”
  2.  Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer
  3.  “Dancing in the Sky” by Dani and Lizzi
  4.  11 Nightmarish Facts About “Nosferatu”
  5.  The Final “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” Trailer is Here!
  7.  Steve Reeves as Superman
  8.  New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered
  9.  Bruce Lee in The Matrix and More
  10.  “Creed 2” Poster by Gerardo Moreno!

And our all-time favs…

  1.  Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”
  2.  Zodiac Killer Code Cracked?
  3.  Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer
  4. New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered
  5.  Real Clown Or Horror-Movie Clown?
  6.   Joel Osteen in Jacksonville
  7.  Steve Reeves as Superman
  8.  “Fast 7” Teaser: This is Where Roads Part
  9.  The Life and Times of Deputy U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves
  10.  “Dancing in the Sky” by Dani and Lizzi

Thanks to everyone who checks in here.  I hope your 2018 was a good one and your 2019 will be even better!

The Secret Behind Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” Gravity-Defying Lean!

 Nishant S. Yagnick, Manjul Tripathi and Sandeep Mohindra are three neurosurgeons (and big-time Michael Jackson fans) who’ve published an article explaining how the King of Pop was able to make his gravity-defying lean while keeping his spine straight, not just in his Smooth Criminal video, but also in live performances.

While the secret has been known for quite a while, the illustrations used by Yagnick, Tripathi and Mohindra make it clear that the shoes aren’t the only thing required to make the illusion work.  You must also have an extremely solid core.  They explain…

“Several MJ fans, including the authors, have tried to copy this move and failed, often injuring themselves in their endeavors.  Trained dancers can lean forward a maximum of 25 to 30 degrees, but even then, it can put serious strain on the Achilles tendon.”

Jackson and some of his dancers were able to hit 45 degree angles with their lean!

If you check out Michael Jackson’s Gravity-Defying Lean Continues To Fascinate by Lars Gotrich at The Record you’ll get more details plus the extended version of Smooth Criminal as well as a link to Michael Jackson’s patent for the Method and Means for Creating Anti-Gravity Illusion!

A special tip of MJ’s fedora to Nishant S. Yagnick, Manjul Tripathi and Sandeep Mohindra for writing an academic paper for neurosurgery that is fun!

How “Gonna Fly Now” Made It Into “Rocky”

Rocky’s theme, Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti, Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins is arguably one of the greatest movie songs of all-time.  Over 40 years later, Gonna Fly Now is still instantly recognizable by folks of all ages, is used at sporting events of all kinds and remains a popular (and inspirational) workout song.

Surprisingly, another song was set to be Rocky’s Theme!  (One of the lyrics: “He has a Sunday punch that will knock you in to Monday!”)

Check out the short video below to learn how Gonna Fly Now made into into Rocky and film/music history.


“The Monster Mash” Guy’s “Monster Holiday” Song!

Bobby “Boris” Pickett is best known for his cult classic hit, The Monster Mash.  Later than same year Pickett tried to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time with Monster’s Holiday.  Check it out below and I’ll see you after the video.

Obviously Halloween is a better fit for monsters than Christmas, but I was surprised that Pickett’s Christmas song isn’t better known.  If you’d like to learn more about Pickett and his songs check out The Monster Mash Guy… at PaleoFuture.

13 Intriguing Facts About the 1962 Graveyard Smash the “Monster Mash”

Me-TV presents 13 Intriguing Facts About the 1962 Graveyard Smash the Monster Mash.  Here are three of my favorites…

“The Crypt-Kickers” band behind the original “Monster Mash” recording featured Gary S. Saxton, who wrote the 1960 smash hit “Alley Oop” that Pickett said inspired his song. The flip side of the record featured Leon Russell (whose “A Song for You” has been covered by more than 200 artists) on “Monster Mash Party.” Russell played piano, which he also did on songs for bands like the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. Elton John calls Russell a mentor. Considering this track record, it makes even more sense why the “Monster Mash” single took off.

Several successful cover versions of “Monster Mash” exist, including a memorable version by the Beach Boys. They made it a feature of their live show, where Mike Love came out of “his cage” to step up on vocals and the audience would flip out. Later the punk band the Misfits would revive the song again for audiences in 1997, as it was a favorite childhood song of the band’s bassist, Jerry Only, who said the decision to cover it was a “no-brainer” for the heavily Halloween-themed band who performed on the holiday every year. We wonder whose fans loved it more. Hear Beach Boys fans lose their minds screaming in response to the song below. (Click over to see the video of the Beach Boys playing the Monster Mash.)

When Pickett wrote “Monster Mash,” he was also an aspiring actor. He went on to appear in a handful of films that matched his heavy sense of genre, including the beach party movie It’s a Bikini World (1967), a foray into biker culture in Chrome and Hot Leather (1971) a horror movie (of course) Deathmaster (1972), and a novelty sci-fi film, Lobster Man From Mars (1989). Additionally, he wrote a bunch of musicals like Frankenstein Unbound.