television

desert island tv shows

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we watched the last episode of ‘justified’ last night. it has to be on a great TV show list for sure. elmore leonard was the best. i’ve said it before, he was and is an inspiration to me. rest in peace, elmore. so, i guess that’s what this one is going to be about.  a TV show list. though there’s other stuff crashing through my frazzled brain that needs to come out at some point. perhaps another time.

before i completely go off on some weird tangent or another i suppose i need to get back to the title of this mornings epistle.  desert island tv shows. this has appeared here before. back in july of 2008. just before things got serious with the brown eyed girl and i. after watching the finale of ‘justified’ last night it became apparent that this needed to be trotted out once again with a couple of additions.

i’ve been down this road before music in several blogs, movies and books.  why not tv shows?  they are for the most part all out there on dvds these days so i may as well. at my advanced time on the planet i’ve seen a few more tv shows than a great number of you folks.  well, unless you are around my age.  i’ve been watching tv longer than a large number of you have even been around to watch tv.  we got our first tv, a packard bell black and white number in 1950.  i was 2 years old. 

yeah, i’ve seen me some tv that’s for sure. the problem being i’ve seen so much tv it’s really really hard to pare the list down to even 20 tv shows i’d drag out to the island along with all the other stuff, books, movies, and music.  plus the surfboard and swim fin.  plus the vino and chinese beer.  oh, yeah, and a case or two of abslout vodka.  i’m still trying to score some sort of gig with them.  is anybody listening? after all these years obviously not.

i don’t watch as much tv as i used to.  so the list is pretty much top heavy with stuff maybe you haven’t even heard of.  though i’m sure it will or they will ring bells for the older ones in the peanut gallery. i’ve got 30 on the list.  to put them in any sort of numerical order descending from number 1 to the last one would probably take me hours or days to muddle through and the only thing to come out of that toil and trouble would probably be another 30 or so old tv shows.  get the picture?  perhaps. so here they are in no particular order other than the way they jumped into my head and i wrote them down.

the adventures of ozzie and harriet- one of my faves.  it’s top 10 for sure but there must be 20 in the top 10 as it is.  ozzie nelson was probably a genius.  plus very funny.  then there’s ricky.  more to come on this but later.

the lone ranger- great western show.  i used to work with a guy who was clayton moore’s stunt double for the feature length movie of the same name. he also did a bunch of other stunt double work as well.

adventures of wild bill hickock- childhood memories of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich here.

maverick- they jumped around with the maverick bros and cousin in this one.  i’m talking the james garner mavericks.

77 sunset strip- a friday night mainstay for a number of years.  along with the friday night fights brought to you by gillette. who could ever forget heavyweight fighter, scrap iron johnson?  this is a twofer.  lucky you.

have gun will travel- great show.  understated, dark and brooding.

wanted: dead or alive- steve mcqueen.  nuff said.

the jackie gleason show- another comic genius and a great show.

the red skelton show- either one.  the half hour show or the hour show.  wonderful stuff.

combat- vic morrow. the marlon brando of tv land.

the rockford files- james garner again. edgy pi show in 70’s l.a.  for the most part very good stuff.

bob newhart- any of his numerous shows.  another comic genius.

steve allen’s westinghouse show- late night every night but i could only manage to watch it on friday night.  brilliant stuff plus the jazz greats of long ago.  it didn’t get much better.

the a team-  yes, what can i say other than george peppard was a very good actor.  anybody remember ‘breakfast at tiffany’s’?  another nuff said.

miami vice- pastels and no socks. plus an edge. the sopranos- maybe the best show ever.

monk- good stuff though he’s sorta wearing thin these days.  first four years were stellar.

the deadliest catch- if you haven’t watched this one you really should.  a white knuckle ride for sure.

magnum, pi- this one is top 5 all-time.

columbo- peter falk.

laugh-in – probably a bit dated these days due to the topical humor but good stuff.

the smothers bros- funny stuff plus hot rock ‘n’ roll acts.

the avengers- the first one with patrick macnee and diana rigg.

the prisoner- perhaps the strangest show ever to hit the tv airwaves.  top 10 for sure.

the man from u.n.c.l.e.- great cold war angst.

i, spy- more cold war angst.  robert culp. what could go wrong?  i got a ‘d’ in a chemistry class while going to college.  i had the class on monday night.  all i wanted was for the damn class to be over so i could scream down the hill and catch whatever i could of this show.

navy log- if only for the lovely hymn sung at the beginning and end of this ww2 show.

victory at sea- ww2 brought to your living room in living black and white.

seinfeld- what can i say?

bosch- the amazon TV production of the michael connelly’s harry bosch books. outstanding reading and an all time great TV show. a top 5 for sure.

justified- of course. if you didn’t watch it you missed something grand. elmore leonard at his best and final work. another top 5 for sure.

during the current edit i’ve added:

married with children. i don’t know how this one slipped my mind.

yes, the top 5 has been tossed around so, here it is.
1. the sopranos.
2. justified.
3. the rockford files.
4. magnum, pi.
5. bosch.

that’s it kids.  you all have your faves and these are just some of mine.  feel free to comment and add your own.  i know it’s only old tv but i like it, like it. yes, i do.

jmh

TV binge watching

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the brown eyed girl and i spent a good deal of time in front of the TV binging away yesterday. we may do so again today. or at least i hope so. the point of our binge was amazon’s new TV show “bosch”. i’d been wanting to watch it since i’d first read about it. as i’ve been a huge fan of michael connelly’s harry bosch books since i first discovered them back in the early 90s. so much so a fan that i’ve read his bosch books at least three times each. yeah, you read that right. there aren’t too many contemporary authors i enjoy more other than perhaps, james ellroy, charles bukowski, hunter thompson and elmore leonard. i’m sure all five have had a major influence in the writing style. one way or another.

anyway, the brown eyed girl figured out our TV was amazon capable and she figured out how to make it happen. it took some time but she managed to figure it out. me? i probably wouldn’t have been able to. that pesky getting old gene and new techno stuff just don’t mix at times. at least for me.

so, we watched four episodes one after the other yesterday. amazing TV and i’m so happy harry is finally on the screen in whatever form. so is the brown eyed girl who had never read any of michael’s books before. yeah, it’s that good. 5 stars good. well worth whatever effort it takes to see amazon’s new “bosch” TV series.

michael connelly is the executive producer and one of the writers.

jmh

dinner dinner applebee’s not a winner

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The brown eyed girl and I had sworn years ago we would never go to Applebee’s again. Never say never. We were seduced by their new TV ads for their diet friendly menu. We decided to give them another try. Last night was the night. Both of us ordered the diet friendly shrimp and steak dinner, medium rare for the steak. It did look good on the menu.

When the food finally arrived we were appalled. It looked disgusting. More like vile and looked nothing like what was on the menu let alone the TV ads. Plus, it was as if someone had just thrown the food on the plate in some haphazard insane manner. To make matters worse, the steaks were far from medium rare. Way too far from medium rare.

Somehow, when the waitress sat the food down in front of us she knew we weren’t happy. I wonder why? The manager appeared soon after and wanted to know if things were cool. Far from it. He said he would take care of it and asked if we wanted something else. We opted for leaving post haste vowing this time never to go back ever again. Regardless.

Yes, I lodged a formal complaint with the company this morning via email. Their web site is so lame it allowed me to enter a completely bogus telephone number after prompting me I had to enter one in order to file the complaint.

At any rate, we ended up going to a Chinese place that has some pretty good mu shu chicken, among other stuff. A much better experience all around.

jmh

2010 college football predictions week 1

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this marks the beginning of my fourth year of doing these predictions, and it’s time to break my summer writing fast. autumn is almost upon us and that means college football. usually i’m stoked and chomping at the bit for the season to get out of the blocks and down the road. not this year.

the off season has been a sad beginning for some of us old timers. sad because something a few of us have been yammering about for a number of years is finally out in the open. and in the light of day it is just as bad or worse than we imagined.

though in hindsight i suppose allegiances were never as much of a part of the college game as we had thought. allegiances, like in the pros, where buckets of money are trotted out and the fan is left wondering what truck just ran over him and what’s that hole doing over there where my team used to be?

yeah, kids, college football is at the brink. it is standing on the edge of the grand canyon and about ready to leap off into space and land on top of a huge pile of money, or more to the point, the super conferences. we dodged that bullet this past summer. although for a time it looked like that deal was going to go down. thankfully it didn’t. however, the ground work has been laid by the greedy humps and scoundrels in their once ivory towers. as they plot and salivate at the future and the boat loads of money associated with said future. money they can set fire to and squander. the fans be damned. full speed ahead. there’s money money money to be made.

that bullet we dodged a few months ago is still speeding on it’s path.unfortunately gravity has no affect on the super conference bullet. it is heading straight toward a point where it will ricochet and head back at us and into the heart of the sport we love. the holy grail of the regents and deans alike is the green carrot TV holds in front of them. sadly, it’s only a matter of time.

yeah, college football is here. it seems that i have another year or so before the greed heads get their way and ruin my sport forever. they’ve sown the seeds for it’s destruction. i guess i can salvage something out of this mess and season we are heading into. however, my heart just can’t seem to get behind it. perhaps when the season gets rolling that may change. i don’t know. time tells.

once again i’ll be doing ten games per week. ten games that i have some interest in or games that have some sort of national significance. or then again maybe not. but for sure, games i have an interest in watching or in the outcome.

so, to paraphrase president lyndon johnson, it is with a heavy heart i come to you today with my first week of college football predictions for the 2010 season.

as usual, this is for fun only and using the stupidity i dish out here for monetary gain would be total insanity on your part. save your money for more important stuff like food and rent. only fools bet on football games.

i’m also writing and hanging this up a bit early. there aren’t any points spreads up as yet. i do have a life and no time early in the coming week for filtering through the stuff and then dealing with it. so, i’m just doing straight up picks with no spread this week. also due to said life, this might be the theme of the whole season this year. we shall see.

so begins the autumnal equinox of my discontent.

numbers in parentheses indicate preseason AP poll rankings.

rock ‘n’ roll.

9/2 pittsburgh(15) at utah. the first game of the season for me on TV and thankfully it should be a good one. pitt should run all over utah in more ways than one. the only thing utah has going for them in this game is it is at home. i wish i had a spread for this one but…i don’t. take pittsburgh to win.

9/2 usc(14) at hawaii. the trojans travel to the land of the trade winds and sun, among other stuff. if they can keep their mind on the game at hand they should have no trouble with the warriors. take usc to win.

9/4 jacksonville st at mississippi. ole miss looks strong again this year and with the addition of jeremiah masoli at the qb spot they just might crack the top 10 and maybe even higher if masoli can stay out of trouble and play football instead. i for one hope the young man does just that. this one just should be a fun game to watch if you’re a fan of offense. well, on the part of ole miss. take ole miss to win.

9/4 purdue at notre dame. an interesting early season match up for both teams. a new coach at the home of the dome. another game where i’d like a spread. though i figure the golden domers to be favored i’m taking purdue to win.

9/4 new mexico at oregon(11). my beloved ducks start the season at home against the place where i hope i end up living one of these days. be that as it may, new mexico is in for it on the 4th. duck home crowd and 18 returning starters. it doesn’t get much better. take the ducks to win. on a side note, depending on the spread when it comes out you may want to cast aside my sage advice and double down on the ducks. yes, they have a qb problem with the departure of masoli. just don’t get too stupid. QUACK QUACK.

9/4 oregon st(24) at tcu(6). a fine game to be sure. watch it. i’ve gone back and forth on this one. the beavers are my pick to win the pac 10 this year. that is if the brothers rodgers stay healthy. tcu will probably be favored. i’m taking oregon st. honk honk i’m a pac 10 homer.

9/4 washington at byu. another good one here, kids. the huskies make a statement. take washington to win.

9/4 wisconsin(12) at unlv. i’m a bit confused as to why i picked this game. maybe because the badgers are supposed to be good again this year. yeah, that must be it. take them to win.

9/5 smu at texas tech. the red raiders have a new coach. smu has coach june jones. take smu to win. and as always pay a visit to: http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu

9/6 boise st(3) at virginia tech(10). big first game for both schools and a fine way to end a labor day weekend of college ball. boise st has a lot on the line here being tech and oregon st are the only schools on their schedule this year that can actually play good football. the boys of the smurf turf will probably be favored. and it will be a fun game with no sucker punches at the end of the game no matter who wins. however, take viginia tech to win.

there it is my first weeks picks. once i got rolling on the writing the juices began to flow a bit. maybe i can get into this year after all. there are only a couple more left. be smart and be safe over the holiday weekend. yes, i know you’re now confused.

jmh

merle, willie, ‘justified’, and hank III

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i have a few things i need to yammer on about. two of which are music related and the other is TV related. i won’t boor you with the details on any of them but just enough detail to maybe make you want to go out and score the stuff yourself or watch the show.

first off, merle haggard has a new CD out. it’s called, ‘i am what i am’. he sure is and i’m glad he is. a fine CD by one of the legends of country music. if you like your country real and not the pussy crap nashville is pumping out these days you’ll like this one by merle. it’s a great CD and i’m glad he’s still hitting some notes. yes, sir.

secondly, willie nelson has a new CD as well, ‘country music’, and it most certainly is. for my money this CD is pure country. country what it used to be. and willie and his band have found it again. not that they ever lost it. but i think you get what i mean. this CD has the feel of a 21st century gene autry CD. that is if gene were still around and recording. pure simple acoustic country done from the heart. you need to buy this CD.

ok. now for the TV riff. in case you’ve missed it you need to check out, ‘justified’, tuesday nights on FX at 10pm eastern. though i think they run re-runs during the week. at any rate, a great show with a wonderful old western movie vibe to it. the brown eyed girl and i both think ‘justified’ has the feel of the old westerns we grew up watching. although the show isn’t a western per say. for my money, i think it’s the best show on TV since, ‘the sopranos’, and i don’t want to see ‘justified’ disappear. check it out.

and since i’m here…hank III has a new CD, ‘rebel within’, hitting the streets on may 23, if i’m not mistaken. i hear hank is back doing some kick ass country again and it’s good. something else for you to check out. this is hank’s last contracted CD for that slime, mike curb. i’m looking forward to hank’s future indie country recordings. i’ve pre-ordered this one on amazon. i think you should too.

there ya go. just because i can…again.

jmh

2009 college bowl wrap-up

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yes, there are still a few games left in this bowl season.  however, i’m done.  hence, the wrap-up.  the sad state of the pac-10’s play in the bowl games has nothing to do with it.  i have been promoting non-watching these bowl games any the ways.  shame on you for watching.  shame on me for watching a couple of them as well. 

the most shame coming from yesterdays rose bowl lose by my beloved ducks.  they had a chance to sorta make a statement for the pac-10 and came up short.  well, so did the cal bears, the stanford trees, and the oregon st beavers for that matter.  what happened?

no player motivation and no motivational coaching are probably the answers.  plus these games come too long after the regular season.  players have other things on their minds.  things like, free suvs, crack pipes, armed robbery, no show jobs, rape, free rent for mom and dad, and assorted other felonies and misdemeanors.  plus the coaches that keep a blind eye on such behavior.  and then wonder why they can’t motivate the team.

yes, of course i’m a bit over the top on that stuff.  but am i really that much over the top?  i don’t think so.  anyways, that’s not why i’m here. 

i’m here, once again, to remind you not to watch the rest of the bowl games.  yeah, ok.  i confess.  i may watch a bit of the tcu boise game.  and yes, i love bama.  i have since i was a kid.  just like the ducks.  but i’m not watching that game.  and neither should you.

the point being we need playoffs.  and a very strange thing has happened in that regard.  i’m not sure why just yet, though i may figure it out eventually.  there are some in the media who have long been advocates of a playoff system.  now some of those same folks are against a playoff system.  say what?  maybe they got their hands on some of that money being tossed around this time of year.  i don’t know.

at any rate, they are now saying no to playoffs because as it stands now every game counts.  if there is a playoff the regular season won’t matter.  we the fans won’t watch regular season games anymore.  they will become meaningless.  those guys now sound like politicians.  they think we are stupid.  just like the pols think we are stupid.

media types site college basketball as an example.  no one watches the games until march madness and the big dance.  the same thing would happen with college football.  we can’t weaken the regular season.  tell you what.  nobody watches college basketball until march because the damn season is six months long!  it starts sometime in october and goes till the end of february.  the only folks watching the whole deal on a regular basis are mom and dad and degenerate gamblers.  and the gamblers are only watching the last three minutes of the game!  

college football is only three short months.  one game a week for everybody.  not several like basketball.  the media anointed think we the fans won’t watch those 12 games if a playoff system is put into place.  i say, we the fans will watch the regular season because we love college football and we are salivating for a playoff system.  the media don’t know what they are talking about.  i say screw em.  we don’t need them when they come up with some good playoff ideas then do an about face and say, no to playoffs.  i don’t get it.

what i do get is we need playoffs and we need to stop watching these bowl games or playoffs will never happen.  and we need to stop listening to the anointed media hypers who tell us they know more than we do.  tell us one thing then tell us another.  just like the tools in washington.  screw em both.

jmh

stuff i don’t watch on tv anymore part 2

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there’s plenty of stuff i don’t watch on tv anymore.  mostly it’s sports stuff but then of course there are plenty of other things on tv that are just beyond the pale bad as well.  however, i’m probably going to stick to sport stuff or semi sorta sports stuff for this.  just like in part 1.  for those that missed it.  you may want to take a look.  or maybe not.

as i said the last time, this is my list.  not necessarily your list.  or likes and dis-likes.  ok?  good.  so in no particular order.  onward.

my friend, triggerman brought up a couple in a comment he made in my other place.  two venues or sports i was going to bring up any the ways.  the first being, the X games.  ok.  yeah, i’m an old guy.  so what?  since when has skateboarding become a sport other than an annoying venal sin?  or jumping over stuff on a motorcycle?  or doing loopty loops on same said motorcycle?  trying to kill yourself while also trying to impress babes is pretty lame.  keep it off tv, please.  it’s stupid.

the olympics.  or as dfr and i call em, the old limp dicks.  i find it amazing that anyone watches the stuff anymore.  in particular stuff where you win or lose on some dumb ass paid off judges decision.  yes, there was a time years ago i would watch this lame tv presentation.  hours upon hours of the stuff.  no more.  the insipid up close and personal stuff sent me over the edge years ago.  why anyone would want to host this turkey is beyond me.  unless of course, it would be for the sole purpose of ripping off the rubes who actually show up to watch the insanity.  all that being said, i do enjoy watching curling and i eagerly await the winter festivities in vancouver so i can get my fix.  i’m serious.

bowling.  i’m not even sure if anybody even bothers to show this game anymore on tv.  they probably do and if they do i’m not watching it because earl anthony and dick weber are dead or are too old to make a decent score if they can still even play.  buy a wii game and bowl in your living room.  it’s fun and good exercise.  plus, no stinky used rental bowling shoes are required.  a plus if there ever was one.

poker.  ok.  i can sorta see skateboarding as a sport.  but a world series of poker?  world series implies sport.  poker is not a sport but a game and, well, why in god’s good name are you people watching other people play this game on tv?  barnum was right.  you are a sucker and you and many others are being born every minute.  then there’s the fact they are playing bleeding texas hold em.  a girls game for crying out loud.  wyatt earp didn’t play texas hold em.  count on it.  wild bill hickok wasn’t playing texas hold em when he was dealt that famous dead mans hand of aces and eights.  no sirree he was playing five card draw.  a man’s game.  a man’s game like five card stud or seven card stud.  simple.  if you watch poker on tv you need to find a life someplace and fast.

the tour de france.  there was a time a number of years ago i watched this turkey on the tube.  all the little girl crap about lance and his blood samples just wore me out.  i don’t watch anymore.  lance can run the table for the rest of his life for all i care.  big deal.  i don’t care.  the tv nonevent has spawned any number of lance wanna bees with their nasty ass biking costumes out clogging up road space all over this once great nation.  please, just get the hell out of my way and go ride your bike someplace else or i swear i’m liable to run over forty or fifty of you at one pop.  just kidding.  maybe.  but they are a menace and it’s because of the tour being on tv.  you dumb asses, would be much cooler if you put some playing cards or baseball cards on your spokes with a wooden clothes pin.  i would respect you more.  and take off that damn bike suit.

drag racing.  ah, another speed sport.  one i used to love to watch unlike nascar or formula one.  pure speed.  peddle.  metal.  woo hoo.  trouble is try and find a real car drag racing these days.  what you’ll find, for the most part are plastic fantastic sleds that resemble a car but really aren’t a car.  what happened to real 55 chevy’s?  real bored and stroked 51 merc’s?  real chopped and channeled anything?  see my point?  it is a damn shame.  no, not my point.  sheesh.

last but certainly not least, would be any sort of a state of the union message from any politician of any party.  or any other political party message.  well, unless it’s the party animal party which might be a hoot of sorts if only for a short while.  i gave up on those messages long long ago.  nothing but lame propaganda by lame stooges who want only to fuck with us and steal our money.  screw em.

jmh

stuff i don’t watch on tv anymore

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ah, make that sports stuff.  tv is annoying at best.  sure, i can waste away a day or days watching the damn thing but, hey, there’s a bunch of stuff i can’t watch anymore.  so, let’s get started and see just where this ends up.  there’s no particular order or rhyme or reason to the list.  it is what it is.  pure and simple.  you may agree or disagree.  it’s a semi free country, for the time being, and you’re entitled to your own opinion.  fine.  but this is my list.  it may piss you off but that isn’t my intention.  figure it out.  do your own list. 

the first thing that comes to mind is the, NBA.  god, i hate watching those guys.  i used to like watching pro basketball but i lost interest in it during it’s thug era and i’m not going back.  plus, it’s kinda fun being one of the few folks here in so calif that can’t stand kobe and/or the lakers.  elgin baylor, kareem, jerry.  fine.

MLB would be next on the list.  another of those deals where i used to enjoy watching their games.  i lost interest in them after the last strike for more money so they can play a kids game.  um, you could toss the NBA back in this area as well.  at any rate, who can enjoy a world series that is gonna drag on to maybe the second week of november?  the first week being bad enough.  or how about a bunch of steroid pumpers, period.  no way.  no thanks.  plus the fact bud selig is an idiot.  although had the angels gone to the series i may have watched an inning or two if only for the old cowboy, gene autry.

the NFL is next.  another of those days gone by thingys.  more steroid pumpers and a greedy bunch of owners with no real love for their fan base or the cities where they play.  show me the money.  some big mogul is going to build a new stadium out in these parts if he can con some team into leaving their sorta home.  any number of teams have been mentioned,  even one of yours.  i don’t care.  screw em.  the only thing the stadium will do is make an already totally screwed up freeway interchange even worse.  the players?  yeah, they are the best and can come up with some amazing plays but i just don’t care anymore about them or their league.

the Super Bowl.  sure, this is a part of the last one but even non fans watch this turkey every year.  hours and days of non stop hype.  a blizzard of supposedly new improved funny ass commercials that the mad men pay primo dollars to place strategically in the game.  a big yawn, for the ads and the game.

tennis.  not that i ever watched it much but i don’t ever anymore.  oofa.  useless and stupid.

soccer.  ok.  so like just what the eff is up with soccer?  totally off the tv radar.  or more importantly, my radar.  dumber than tennis.  yeah, it is.  i don’t want to hear about it.  say nothing.  it is. 

the NHL.  as a so calif native i guess that could be a reason for my aversion to the game.  but when i was a kiddie, i tried watching the likes of gordy howe and bobby orr on the saturday morning games.  i never understood the rules and it was pretty boring even with the fights.  no thanks.  not even the great one could change that.

the WWE WWF or whatever it is they are calling it now a days.  more steroid monsters with the same act since gorgeous george and freddie blassie.  an act that was pretty cool back in the 50’s and early 60’s.  and ok even for a few years in the early 80’s.  but an act that just grew so wearisome and lame that no sane person over the age of 12 can possibly watch it anymore.  yeah, fine, the sorta hot babes wandering around in the ring.  lame as well and just masturbatory imps for the porn challenged among us.  speaking of which, if i were 12 i wouldn’t waste my time on them.  no sirree.  i’d be TIVOing ‘dancing with the stars’ and watching those lovely ladies frame by frame.  count on it.  but i digress.

boxing.  i used to love watching boxing.  i grew up watching it every friday night.  the friday night fights brought to us by gillette razors.  then of course there was sugar ray robinson, jake lamotta, rocky marciano, sonny liston, george foreman, floyd patterson, joe frazier, sugar ray leonard, danny lopez, alexis arguello, and larry holmes, god bless him.   then of course, the greatest of them all, mohammad ali.  i could go on but if you weren’t there you missed it.  totally.  the current crop?  no thanks.

nascar or formula one.  i get the speed but i just don’t get much else about it.  never one of my favorites and i avoid them like the plague these days.

then there’s the most insidious non sports related show of them all.  the view.  a total piece of crap and a waste of time and electricity.  a propaganda show worthy of chairman mao or joe stalin.  i was never a fan or a watcher but i do get a glimpse of it now and again.  oh oh, i’m gonna hurl and/or shoot the tv ala elvis.

yes, the last one wasn’t sports related but i couldn’t resist tossing it in as a sorta grand finale to this messy epistle.  after all, this is my list.  i may have forgotten a few things but i think i covered stuff pretty well for now.  there’s always the possibility of a part 2 somewhere down the road.  i’ve been talkin’ to my oldest friend, dfr.  and yeah, count on it.  there will be a part 2.

on a tangent, today is gram parsons birthday.  happy birthday, my cosmic country brother.  wild horses.  we’ll ride them someday.

jmh

the saga of denny paine, the short version

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it’s been a few years but i used to work with an ex hollywood stuntman. actually, i was his boss for a time.  and for our purposes here he will be known as, denny paine.  denny paine was the name a certain government alphabet group wanted to give him way back when.  he declined their offer.  at any rate, denny is a southern california native.  though these days he’s living in arizona.  over the years i’d lost track of him. 

a few weeks ago, jwfh, and myself along with someone else were chatting away a hot afternoon in the claremont village.  the lone ranger came up in the conversation of old tv/movie cowboy stuff.  i thought of denny paine, and told the guys he was clayton moore’s double in the color movie, ‘the lone ranger’, circa 1956.  clayton’s real name was, jack.  denny paine told me that.  denny paine told me lots of stuff.

denny paine had quite a career in the movies.  he doubled for buster crabbe and lash larue, among others.  have you ever seen the movie, ‘vanishing point’?  well, he did all the stunt driving for barry newman in that great oldie.  remember the beginning of the old tv show, ‘then came bronson’?  that was him on the motorcycle.  how about, ‘chips’?  yeah, he did all the riding for larry wilcox, or john.  that is when the bike wasn’t hooked up to a trailer for close-ups.  he also did location searches for the studios when he wasn’t doing stunt work.  denny found the old virginia dare winery around these parts that was used for an old ‘combat’ tv episode.  a place i’ve written about in the past.

during korea, denny, was in the army and a member of the 25th or 26th regimental combat team, a fore runner to the green berets.  he was out front gathering intel.  while doing so he received a purple heart and bronze star.  president harry truman pinned the purple heart on him while he was in a hospital bed in tokyo.

after korea he went back to work in the hollywood industry.  i met him years after those days.  he was retired from two jobs plus the movies and was working on his third retirement check.  yeah, god bless him, he’s one of those triple dippers.  we always had a good time working together.  he was always full of great stories.  a time or two he even let me wear the buckskin jacket, guy madison or wild bill hickok of tv fame, wore in the rose parade one year.  or maybe fool around with a gold plated 100th anniversary winchester 30-30 he owned.  ah, sweet.  

i lost track of denny.  probably because he was a crazy old coot.  for example, we played a lot of golf together in those days and he ALWAYS cared a loaded pistol in his golf bag.  or on his person.  ‘you never know when you’ll need it, hombre.’  is what he used to tell me.  that in itself wasn’t so bad.  trouble was he was liable to whip it out and fire off a few rounds anytime anywhere just for the fuck of it.  yeah, denny paine. 

that hot afternoon conversation of a few weeks ago got me thinking about him.  once again.  with the help of the brown eyed girl and the internet we found him or more to the point his long time companion, miss penny.  since then i’ve spoken to him on the phone a few times.  he even sent me a photo of himself taken in 2006 in knabe, utah.  the photo was taken to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the long ago lone ranger movie shot there in 1956. 

that’s denny paine in the picture.  i’ve missed you, hombre.  i hope you still have the buckskin jacket and the 30-30.  see you soon.

jmh

a long ago so cal winery with some tv history w/photos

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 i’ve been on a so cal winery binge, as it were, the past few days.  i’ve been on it been before.  the last two were old stuff from the vault.  this blog is new stuff and will soon be in that same vault.  i’ve  been wanting to do this blog for a long time.  what made it happen was i finally got serious about finding a few more photos to make the blog more complete.  plus, when we drove by the winery, or what used to be the winery, on christmas day my 93 year old dad told me a story i hadn’t heard before or more than likely had forgotten.

virginia dare winery was one of the staples in the winery making history of so cal and cucamonga to be specific.  it was owned and operated by the garrett and co out of new york city.  they were the folks who bought secundo guasti’s winery in guasti as well.  garrett and co owned them both for a number of years.  they eventually sold out to united fruit co.  who sold out to…yeah, the wine business never was a big money maker.  not like it is today.  well, for a few wineries.

back in the day virgina dare winery was one of those lovely pieces of old california architecture.  you can see that from the photos i found.  the primary eye catcher was the semi sorta almost church like steeple.  today, the old winery is long gone.  it was razed back in the late 70’s and/or in the early 80’s to become a shopping center.  thankfully, the local pols of cuca had enough sense to incorporate the old steeple in the new design.  i wonder if any of the current bunch would have that much sense?  but that’s a veer.

before i forget i need to tell my dad’s story about the place.  after he got out of the army in 1946 he went to work for garrett and co as a carpenter.  he worked in guasti and at the virginia dare winery up in cucamonga.  the winery stood on the northwest corner of route 66 and haven ave.  in those days the area was nothing but vineyards.  it was still nothing but vineyards when i was going to chaffey college back in the late 60’s.  more drifting.

my dad had put a new roof on one of the buildings in guasti.  the bosses thought he had done a bang up job so they wanted him to put a new roof on the virginia dare steeple.  he figured he would have use a ladder to get to the upper windows and then crawl outside one of them somehow and toss a rope over the roof which would have to be anchored to the other side.  then he would have to climb the rope to get up on the roof.  plus how was he going to get the materials up there safely?  he told them he wouldn’t do it.  it was to dangerous.  he stood his ground and he didn’t do the roof or get fired for not doing it.  at any rate, by the middle of the 1950’s virginia dare winery was closed.

the winery’s next claim to fame or at least around these parts occurred in late 1963(?).  the old great tv show ‘combat!’ filmed an episode there.  one of my all time favorite shows and one of my favorite episodes as well, ‘the hunter’.  the episode aired in the second season on 2/25/64.  though on another site they claim it aired in the third season.  the thing about it is, if it was indeed the second season none of my friends or myself would not have been old enough to drive there and visit the filming.  which we did. in the grand scheme of things i guess it really doesn’t matter. 

what does matter is one of the sites says the winery was ‘the mission winery’ in cucamonga not virginia dare.  they also claim the winery is still in business.  like i said, the winery is long gone and the only business going on there now is a small shopping center.  the original place is long gone.

at any rate, it was fun going up to the winery after school to stand outside the chain link fence and watch them film that episode of ‘combat!’.  one evening after the days filming was done a few of my mates followed vic morrow back to the motel he was staying at here in upland.  they just wanted his autograph.  he wasn’t very happy or friendly about being tailed and told them all to fuck off.  oh, well.  as a side light, at one point in time i worked with an ex hollywood stuntman who also did location casting for tv and movie companies.  he found the old virginia dare winery for the ‘combat!’ folks.  i remember an old b/w photo he showed me of him sitting in a lincoln convertible in the courtyard of the old virgina dare winery.

the other virginia dare winery claim to video/tv fame came in 1967 when the tv show ‘the rat patrol’ used the winery and the area around it for an episode.  i’m not sure but i think the episode in question is ‘the fire and brimstone raid’,  season 1 episode 31.  i can’t find any photos or any info on the net about it other than what’s here.  i want to thank my friend, dfr, for reminding me ‘the rat patrol’ filmed an episode at the winery.

by the time “combat!” and ‘the rat patrol’ filmed there the winery was about to fall apart.  it was the perfect setting for a winery that had seen better days before living through a world war 2 ravaged europe.  in it’s last days virginia dare winery became a place for kids to go and smoke dope and other wise party.  which is probably why the city razed the old hauntingly beautiful place.  i miss the winery and all of it’s splendor and history of my youth.

an old virginia dare print ad.

virginia dare winery and the steeple.

an aerial photo of the winery.  route 66 is the road at the bottom of the picture.

more or less what the place looked like during the tv filming. 

a nice shot apparently taken not long after it got it’s new life as a shopping center.  the grapes in the foreground are long gone.

virginia dare winery as it is today.

jmh