Time Traveling

“Once confined to fantasy and science fiction,
time travel is now simply an engineering problem.”
Michio Kaku

Mr Peabody

Mr. Peabody, his boy Sherman and the “Wayback Machine”

The concept of traveling backward and forward in time has always held my fascination. My interest began as a child. Introduced to the idea of time travel by none other than Mr. Peabody and his Wayback machine.

Conceptually, time travel goes back several centuries. Long before H. G. Wells wrote the book, The Time Machine, Japanese, Hindu, and Buddhist all wrote about time travel. In more recent times, people such as Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku have discussed the possibilities of traveling back and forth in time.

Time travel will forever be one of my favorite genres of novels and movies. Whether I’m reading Stephen King’s novel 11/26/63 or watching, Midnight in Paris, and Back to the Future for the hundredth time, the idea of going back to a time before I existed will always hold my interest in time traveling.

Shine On

Laugh Your Ass Off

“If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth,
inventor of television, we’d still be
eating frozen radio dinners.”
Johnny Carson

iTunes Radio

As you loyal blog followers know, I’m a longtime fan of Steve Martin. The last few years I’ve been listening to his banjo music, most of which he writes and performs.

I fell in love with Steve Martin in the 1970s when he was known for his comedy. I had all his comedy albums and listened to them often. Now, I have his comedy albums on iTunes and enjoy listening to him when I’m cruising in my car.

The other day while syncing my phone to the car, I accidentally discovered iTunes Radio. I know what you’re saying, where has she been?  But, with the new car and the technology that we now have access to, I’m able to use my iPhone in the car.

Anyway, I typed in Steve Martin into the iTunes Radio search and up popped Steve Martin Radio. This radio station is the best. They play comedy routines from Billy Crystal to Chris Rock. They even play some of George Carlin’s and Woody Allen’s old routines.

For the last few days, I’ve been smiling and laughing so much my jaw hurts. If you’re feeling down from all the holiday hassles, tune in to Steve Martin Radio, sit back and be ready to laugh your ass off.

Shine On

The Comedy of Steve Martin

“Comedy may be big business but it isn’t pretty.”
Steve Martin

Comedy Isn't Pretty

There’s times in our lives  when we remember every little detail of a day. That day for me was September 29th 1979.

A gentleman client of the company I worked for was smitten with me. He knew I was married, but after several attempts by this man to take me to lunch, he just wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I went to lunch with him on September 29th.

While at lunch he mentioned that his father was a CEO at Universal Studios. I remember him asking me who my favorite entertainer was? That was easy, Steve Martin was my favorite. Martin recently appeared on SNL and had sung his famous King Tut song. I can remember us mostly talking about Steve Martin at lunch and how much I enjoyed his type of humor.

Later that afternoon, my gentleman friend called to tell me he had left me two tickets that evening at will call at the Universal Amphitheatre.  I was shocked and overjoyed and couldn’t thank him enough. He told me that he was happy to get me the tickets and wanted my husband and me to have a good time.

When we arrived at Universal that evening and picked up the tickets, I never realized where the seats were located until we walked into the Amphitheatre and walked from the top of the stadium down to the bottom. We were seated front and center, one row from the stage.

We also didn’t realize that The Blues Brothers were opening for Steve Martin that evening, so we got a double treat. Seated directly in front of us was Steve Martin’s personal photographer. Throughout Martin’s performance I was laughing quite loud and he kept turning around smiling at me knowing how much I was enjoying the show.

At the end of Steve’s balloon animal routine, Steve Martin handed the photographer the balloons from his routine. Without hesitation, the man turned around to me and asked if I wanted the balloons? Sure, I said. I couldn’t stop screaming with joy and hugged and thanked him.

I kept those balloon animals for years, until they were just shriveled up rubber stuck together and deflated. I’ll never forget that evening and how I laughed and smiled until my jaw and cheeks hurt by the time I got home.

Recently, I found a YouTube video from that warm September night with the memorable comedy of Steve Martin.

Shine On

And Loving It

“It was a special show that became a cult classic.”
Don Adams

And Loving It

Barbara Feldon tied up with Don Adams

Would you believe… Get Smart has turned 50?

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of this Emmy-winning show created by comedy legends Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, starring Don Adams as Maxwell Smart.

Get Smart was an instant hit, thanks to the writing and delivering of some of the most famous quotes in TV history.

Catch phrases like, “sorry about that, Chief”, “the old (such-and-such) trick”, “And … loving it”, “I asked you not to tell me that”, “missed it by that much,” and “would you believe” became pop culture staples in the 1960s and are still used commonly today.

The show was inspired by the success of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. series. Talent Associates commissioned Mel Brooks and Buck Henry to write a script about a bungling James Bond-like hero. Brooks described the premise for the show they created in an October 1965 Time magazine article:

“I was sick of looking at all those nice sensible situation comedies. They were such distortions of life. If a maid ever took over my house like Hazel, I’d set her hair on fire. I wanted to do a crazy, unreal comic-strip kind of thing about something besides a family. No one had ever done a show about an idiot before. I decided to be the first.”

In my opinion, one of the best comedies to come out of the 60s was Get Smart. I’m lucky to have access to MeTV Network that shows Get Smart episodes each week. And, I still find myself laughing out loud at the humor from Get Smart, and loving it.

Shine On

Irving Brecher

“I’ll bet your father spent the first year of your life
throwing rocks at the stork.”
Irving Brecher

Irving Brecher

Irving Brecher with Groucho Marx

I happen to be watching one of my favorite musicals, Bye Bye Birdie the other day. I’ve seen this movie a dozen times, but I was unaware who wrote the screenplay, so I Googled the movie.

The screenplay was written by Irving Brecher. Known by his friends and colleagues as one of the funniest, wittiest men on the planet.

What’s that you say, you’ve never heard of Irving Brecher?

Yes you have. Have you heard of the Marx Brothers? Milton Berle? The Wizard of Oz? Meet Me in St. Louis? Then you’ve heard of Irv Brecher.

He was born in the Bronx on January 17, 1914, and grew up in Yonkers. After a brief stint covering high school sports for a local newspaper, he took a job as an usher and ticket taker at a Manhattan movie theater, where he learned from a critic for Variety that he could earn money writing jokes for comedians.

So at just 19 years old, being the resourceful young man he was, Irving Brecher placed an ad in Variety that read in part: “Positively Berle-proof gags. So bad not even Milton will steal them.” Milton Berle saw the ad and hired him immediately.

This launched Brecher’s career and in 1937, he moved to Hollywood and began working on scripts for Mervyn LeRoy, a prominent producer at MGM. He was an uncredited script doctor on The Wizard of Oz and was hired to punch up the comedy scenes in the movie. Mostly the vaudeville-like bickering between the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. He didn’t get credit for this gig but his lines helped make the film a timeless classic and prompted Groucho Marx to begin calling Brecher, “The Wicked Wit of the West.”

Mr. Brecher received sole screenplay credit for two Marx Brothers films, a feat in itself. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his musical screenplay for Meet Me in St. Louis. The musical was one of Judy Garland’s biggest hits. The story goes that Garland initially didn’t want to make the movie, but Brecher talked her into making the movie by reading her the script.

In a 2001 interview Brecher was asked who he liked writing for the most? He said he found it easiest to write for Groucho. “I’m a complainer, a dissenter and a put-downer,” he said. “He was my alter ego. I liked the anarchism.”

He died in 2008 at the age of 94. He was one of the last great golden-age screenwriters of his era.

Shine On