Category Archives: Commentary

Blazing Sadddles – Mongo Deleted Scenes

Mongo’s (Alex Karras) Cut Scenes From Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles (1974) would never get made today. The genius humor of writers Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Andrew Bergman, Alan Uger and Norman Steinberg is now politically incorrect. Yes, the movie is vulgar and over the top.  But it remains undeniably one of the funniest movies ever made.

Some of the best scenes in Blazing Saddles belong to the half-wit behemoth Mongo, played by former NFL star Alex Karras.

Here are two of the scenes involving Mongo that were not in the final cut but were broadcast  when eventually shown on television.

So why were these two scenes cut? Continue reading

Making Metal Out Of Rock – Hit Cover Songs & Originals

Making Rock Harder…and Better?

Metallica’s James Hetfield on stage with flying V guitar photo credit : unknown c. 1984

I’ve always wondered how rock bands feel when they’ve written what they believe to be a great song and later another band records it and has equal or greater success with the song. I guess it’s one thing if the original band is successful with the tune, makes money and has an appreciative fan base. The alternative of a band making music and toiling in relative obscurity with little to no exposure and then having another band come along and make a big hit out of your song does not sound appealing. The original writers receiving composing royalties may take some of the sting out of the situation.

When a heavy metal band covers a song and makes it their own, sometimes the original rock version languishes in obscurity. Years pass and more people are familiar with the cover version and think the cover version is better than the original. Whether that’s true or not is up to the listener.

7 Examples of Rock Songs Covered and Made Popular by Heavy Metal Bands.

We’ll start off with Peter Green and the extremely original British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac. This was before they became a huge pop hit machine after Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan left the band and Fleetwood Mac added Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. The song is the enigmatic Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) from 1970.

In 1979 Judas Priest put their indelible mark on Green Manalishi with dual guitars and Rob Halford’s soaring vocals. Just what is the Green Manalishi? Continue reading

The Post Office Considered This Magazine Cover Too Racy

Magazine Censored By The Post Office – 1914

What was considered obscene 100 years ago? The publishers of a monthly magazine, The International, devoted to fiction, music, drama and politics, were told the January 1914 issue could not be mailed.

Why? The magazine’s cover.

Here is the cover in question. Continue reading

Baseball Was Better – The Broadcast & The Game Itself – Watch Game 1 Of The 1970 World Series

50 Years Ago Today, Game 1 Of The World Series Was Played

See How Baseball Was Played & Covered By NBC & Decide For Yourself If Anything Is Better Today

The Cincinnati Reds swept the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles swept the Minnesota Twins in the 1970 playoffs. The Reds and Orioles faced each other in game one of the 1970 World Series, 50 years ago today, Saturday, October 10 in Cincinnati.

Here is the entire broadcast of the game Continue reading

Eddie Van Halen and The Band At Their Peak, Live -1979

The Late, Great Eddie Van Halen Demonstrates What A Guitar Can Do In The Hands Of A Genius 1979

David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony and Eddie Van Halen on stage July 1979

To express the magnitude of the importance of the passing of Eddie Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020)  in words is impossible.

It’s better to let Van Halen’s music speak for itself.

From Fresnomediarestoration is this live clip from March 25, 1979.  Eddie Van Halen and the band are juggernauts in their desire to wow the audience.

Anyone who was fortunate enough to attend this tour got to see what made Van Halen so special. And for those who only know David Lee Roth as a frontman who doesn’t stick to the proper lyrics, changes phrasing and sings haphazardly, then this will be a pleasant surprise.

The first four songs performed in this video are:
Light Up The Sky.
Somebody Get Me A Doctor.
Running With The Devil.
Dance The Night Away.

As a guitar player Eddie Van Halen Continue reading

Excepting Eddie Van Halen, The New York Times Continues To Ignore Rock Star Deaths

Bands Lose Key Members & The New York Times Neglects An Obituary

Steve Priest – The Sweet

Pete Way –  UFO

Paul Chapman UFO

Paul Chapman – UFO

The Grim Reaper has had a robust 2020 taking more than his normal share of victims.

Celebrities, especially rock n’ roll musicians who are all approaching the age of inevitable demise have been dying at an alarming pace.  But you would never know it if you rely on the New York Times for the obituaries.

Eddie Van Halen obituary placed below where the paper is folded in half NY Times October 7, 2020.

Mega-music stars are the exception and get some sort of recognition.

Eddie Van Halen was just too big to ignore. While the Times placed Van Halen on October 7th front page, it put him below the fold. Continue reading

A Great Beatles Cover Band – Blac Rabbit, Live In Central Park

A Central Park Treat

Blac Rabbit Plays The Beatles “If I Needed Someone” & “She Said”

Blac Rabbbit performs The BEatles If I Needed SomeoneIf you search on YouTube you will find many  videos of Beatles covers done by hundreds of artists. I think these guys are among the best.

Twin brothers, songwriters, singers, and guitarists Amiri and Rahiem Taylor from Rockaway Beach, NY, make up the nucleus of Blac Rabbit. The brothers have been featured on the Ellen TV show.

Here the duo play at the Mall in Central Park on September 4, 2020.

While videotaping I was flabbergasted that no one stopped to listen. People kept walking by Continue reading

Really Bad 1970s Horror Movie Theatrical Trailers

The 1970s Saw The Release of The Exorcist, Carrie, The Omen and Halloween

It Also Had These Horror Movie Clunkers…

1970s audiences had the opportunity to see some of the all-time great horror classics when first released in theaters.

There were also imitators of horror. Low budget affairs plagiarizing a title or borrowing a plot. Many of them downright laughable, like Beyond The Darkness and The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave.

A trailer is akin to a writer describing his vision for a film to a studio executive. The two minute trailer is supposed to convince an audience to see a movie. Picture some producer listening to a writer’s pitch and then signing a check to get a turkey made. And the 70s saw lots of ’em. For every Alien (1979) that was made, there were a dozen horror catastrophe’s like Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977).

Based on these trailers, who in their right mind would pay money to see any of these?

Maybe I am being too harsh. Continue reading

Nolan Ryan Sets A Record Striking Out 383 Batters In A Year

Nolan Ryan Displays The Baseball From His 383rd Strikeout -1973

Nolan Ryan 383 strikeouts 1973

Nolan Ryan holds the baseball used to set a single season record of 383 strikeouts. September 27, 1973 AP wirephoto

Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer are amazing pitchers. In 2019 Cole struck out 326 hitters in 212.1 innings and Scherzer fanned 300 batters in 220.2 innings in 2018. Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw have also struck out more than 300 batters in the past five years.

You’d think in this age of batters striking out more frequently than Le Pétomane farting, a pitcher will one day break Nolan Ryan’s 1973 single season record of 383 strikeouts. But unless Chris Davis, Joey Gallo or Gary Sanchez is the opposition at every at bat, Ryan’s record is probably safe.

It comes down to the number of innings pitched. Modern managers and baseball analytics have pitchers rarely going through the batting order a third time. A “quality start” is one where the pitcher has completed six innings – a ridiculous two thirds of a game. That’s quality? Continue reading