I WAS A TEENAGE FIGURE SKATER…!!

This piece was originally published February 22nd, 2010.

Glam RedheadWatching the XXI Winter Olympics currently taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has been an enthralling and really fun experience.

It’s always great to see each of the world’s varied nations send their finest athletic representatives to volley for a gold, silver or bronze medal and the bragging rights that go along with it. Over the top commercialization not withstanding, the Olympics still enchants and delights me with a certain innocence about the whole thing, and I wish it were an every year event instead of just once every four years.

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Your hosts/mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympics: Quatchi, Miga, Sumi and Mukmuk

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This being the Winter version, I have been especially drawn to the insanity that is the Skeleton, the Luge,SnowboardingBobsleigh, the Biathlon, SpeedskatingCurling, and of course, the usual suspects that are Figure SkatingSkiing and Hockey.

Seeing the skaters brought back many thoughts of ice from my childhood times spent as a kid growing up in New England. Some of these thoughts were filled with a wonderful sense of nostalgia, while others the horror of remembering my attempts to master the, how should I say, Blades Of Glory.
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MY TOP 13 BRADY BUNCH OBSESSIONS

This piece was originally published February 15th, 2010.

Johnny Bravo IconHere at Mystery Box H.Q. we spent a couple of months watching the entire run— all five seasons, 117 episodes— of The Brady Bunch.

As I have mentioned before, there is no other more enjoyable way for me to watch a television series and appreciate all the continuity, or lack of continuity, the scripting, progression of an actor’s character development and seeing just how a show is brought to a final ending, or if it just hangs there forever in limbo without any closure.

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Hey Arnold Stang!

This piece was originally published January 25th, 2010.

Arnold Stang IconIf ever there was a legend worthy of writing about here at The Mystery Box, then Arnold Stang is one of those legends.

On December 20th, 2009 Arnold Stang left the world for that great comedy club in the sky.

I grew up with such admiration for Stang that I felt the indebted to include Arnold Stang, the 2nd selection for this installment of a regular Mystery Box feature called Great Comedians Of The Past.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you:

GREAT COMEDIANS OF THE PAST #2: ARNOLD STANG

Arnold Stang migrated from his 1918 birthplace of Chelsea, MA to Brooklyn and grew up as as a young kid chasing showbiz, stardom and everything else that a lifestyle in the big city could offer him. He was savvy from the get go, winning an audition for a children’s radio show at the age of nine.

Unlike say, the naive child actors who would become the Brady Bunch kids, Stang had drive, focus and adult ambition.

 

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FRANK NELSON: Comedy’s Original Yeeeesssss Man

This piece was originally published October 5th, 2009

Harpo IconWelcome to a new column feature that I will be often revisiting here at The Mystery BoxGreat Comedians Of The Past.

With this feature, I look forward to paying tribute to the many wonderful actors and actresses of comedy who have helped me to laugh throughout my life, with the hopes that you may find a particular one that you may have not known of before and will add to your own list of favorites.

Warning: Obscure and yet, not so obscure, comedic character actor alert!
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TOP 13 PHONE BOOTHS: A TRIBUTE TO BOXES OF COOL

This piece was originally published September 14th, 2009

Happy Telepghone Icon jpgThe other day while driving around town, in an area that could also be called the wrong side of the tracks, my girlfriend and I were surprised to see an actual pay phone booth that not only still seemed to be in usable service, but it also had a door for privacy!

If you really look around they are still out there, as are public telephones sans the booth part, but they are fast becoming both obsolete and some, very rare objets d’ art.

These days I would wager that the majority of folks around the world in most developed or even semi-developed nations, own and use a cellular telephone.

Most people no longer own land lines, and therefore very few people find the need to use a public telephone. I am positive that there are some people alive today who do not even know what one is.

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THE GREAT BASEBALL RIOT OF 1974 a.k.a. 10¢ BEER NIGHT!

This piece was originally published September 7th, 2009

Baseball Head Girl IconIt seemed like a good idea at the time.

Have a promotional event that would increase poor ticket sales and give all baseball game attendees a nice, fun evening out at the ballpark.

Hell, it kind of worked once before, one week earlier: Same teams, The Texas Rangers vs. The Cleveland Indians.

This one was played at Arlington Stadium in Texas.

A gem of a game.

Players involved in a little forearming and face punching, throwing at the head. You know, light stuff. This time the “cheap beer night” promotion only ended with a bench clearing brawl that turned into fans hurling food and beer at various players and coaches coming out of the dugouts and a large crowd of drunken fans jumping onto the field.


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MAD Magazine 500th Issue Celebration!!

This piece was originally published July 20th, 2009

Alfred E. Newman IconMAD Magazine: Fine purveyors of outstanding highbrow literature, anthropological exploration, critical analysis and scientific socio-political satire for over 55 years, now gives their fans a reason to be cheerful (and dumbfounded).

Currently on newstands and available at overpriced booksellers everywhere is their…drumroll please… 500th issue!

That’s right folks, the “What Me Worry?” kid a.k.a. Alfred E. Neuman, and “the Usual Gang of Idiots” are still going strong and surviving in 2009.

Take that, Cracked Magazine!

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LUAU HUT PART 1: Chasing the Polynesian Dream…

This piece was originally published June 22nd, 2009

Tiki Mug IconWelcome to a recurring new Mystery Box series: The Mystery Box Luau Hut — my ongoing look at all things from the world and history of Tiki Culture and Exotica music.

Since childhood, like many other fans, I too have fallen under the spell of all things Polynesian themed a.k.a. Tiki.

Never a month goes by that I don’t rekindle that fondness in some way.

So I am happy to report that Tiki style not only manages to still exist (if you seek it out) but also continues to inspire newer artists, designers, and musicians who wish to escape into its dreamy world of imaginary exploration.

First, a look at the origins of this colorful style.

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JAWS WEEK: A Tribute to the Scare of ’75

This piece was originally published June 15th, 2009

Jaws IconJAWS.

The mere mention still brings me back to the days of 1975 when it was the scariest film of the year.

The film was the first true summer blockbuster, and a cultural giant of a movie about giant of a shark that radically changed and forever crushed our innocent view of a happy day at the beach.

As a kid I grew up by a beach and spent much of my outdoor time swimming in its water and goofing around on the sand. It was the days of carefree (and legal!) bonfires, diggin’ up cool “stuff” and consistently being amazed at the hundreds of primitive monster-like horseshoe crabs that would wash ashore each year.

Little did I know that the most amazing of all monsters of the sea was soon to be unleashed upon us all.

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A Tribute to Allan Melvin: Character Actor Extraordinaire and the Voices of Magilla Gorilla and a Banana Split!

This piece was originally published on May 25th, 2009

Greg Brady IconOn January 17th of 2008, Allan Melvin passed away and television lost one of the great and perhaps more unsung character actors to ever traverse the world of sitcoms, animation and commercials; he was always working, always memorable.

Who else could have a list of credits that includes boyfriend to the Brady Bunch’s housekeeper, best pal to both Sgt. Bilko and Archie Bunker, and the voices of none other than a Banana Split and that very large Gorilla for sale in the window ?

Lately, here at Mystery Box Manor, we’ve been watching episodes of The Brady Bunch on DVD. A big green fuzzy shag rug of a box set for the entire series run. These days this is my preferred way of viewing any television show—chronologically, in back to back chunks—which is made easier now that more and more entire shows are available in this way.

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