Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Robert Wagner Wags His Tongue

TV and movie star Robert Wagner is out plugging his new autobiography, Pieces of My Heart. I caught a radio interview with him yesterday on a local station and one of the questions that the DJ asked was how old he was when he lost his virginity. "I was 12," he answered without hesitation. "And it was wonderful."

If Wagner were a gentleman he would've eluded to the fact that he doesn't kiss and tell. But at a time when school administrations everywhere are scrambling to prevent teenage pregnancy, and when parents on going on Oprah and Dr. Phil because their middle schoolers are admitting to having oral sex, I thought his response was rather disgusting. My mother had a more poignant opinion: "He's full of sh*t!"

Anyways, if you're still interested, Wagner's book chronicles his rise to fame and his many love affairs, including his infamous marriage to Natalie Wood. Heart to heart indeed!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mad About Retro Ads

"Where's the beef?"

"Mama mia, that's a spicey meatball!"

"He likes it! Hey, Mikey!"

I bet you recognize these lines from memorable commercials. So does New York Magazine, which featured them last month in a list of the top 20 television commercials from the past 40 years. Other ads that made the list include the fast-talking UPS guy, the American Tourister gorilla, and the iconic Volkswagen ads. You can see the whole list and view them online here. But one of my all-time favorites has to be the 1970s "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" ad for Coca-Cola. Because nothing says soda pop goodness like a bunch of hippies on a hilltop.

How many commercials running today do you think people will remember 40 years from now? Yeah, I thought so, too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Opie and Richie Cunningham for Obama!

Ron Howard took a break from directing to visit his former television costars for some retro fun and to help promote Obama in the process. Is it just me, or does the backdrop for the Andy Griffith Show look like a fake set? Alas, the segment isn't as funny without Don Knotts around, but Fonzie has the best line when he confuses "moose" with "loose." See for yourself:

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Monday, October 20, 2008

RIP Mr. Blackwell and Levi Stubbs

Sadly, there are a few recent deaths in the news that I feel compelled to talk about.



First, Richard Blackwell aka Mr. Blackwell, best known for skewering poorly dressed celebrities with his annual Worst Dressed List, has passed away at the age of 86 from an intestinal infection over the weekend. He first started criticizing the famous fashionably clueless in 1960. Some of his zingers through the years include these priceless gems:

Madonna: "The Bare-Bottomed Bore of Babylon."

Barbra Streisand: "She looks like a masculine Bride of Frankenstein."

Christina Aguilera: "A dazzling singer who puts good taste through the wardrobe wringer."

Meryl Streep: "She looks like a gypsy abandoned by a caravan."

Sharon Stone: "An over-the-hill Cruella DeVille."

Lindsay Lohan: "From adorable to deplorable."

Patti Davis: "Packs all the glamour of an old, worn-out sneaker."

Ann-Margret: "A Hells Angel escapee who invaded the Ziegfeld Follies on a rainy night."

Camilla Parker-Bowles: "The Duchess of Dowdy."

Bjork: "She dances in the dark — and dresses there, too."

Spears: "Her bra-topped collection of Madonna rejects are pure fashion overkill."

I'm gonna miss you, Mr. Blackwell!



And secondly on Friday one of my favorite 60s Motown groups, The Four Tops, lost its lead singer, Levi Stubbs (second from left in above photo), at the age of 72. Stubbs sang the lead on all of the Tops' greatest hits including Baby I Need Your Loving, Same Old Song, Sugar Pie (Honey Bunch), Bernadette, and Reach Out I'll Be There. Stubbs' authoritative, powerful voice ensured that the Four Tops' music wasn't the same ol' song. What I find as remarkable as his career is that Stubbs was married to the same woman for over 40 years.

Both will be missed. Who will take over for Mr. Blackwell? If only there was a place I could send my resume to...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Musical Debate with Hall and Oates

OK, so it's not the real Hall and Oates but this recent SNL clip made me laugh so hard I had tears coming out my eyes. This catchy tune also pretty much summed up their working relationship.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

GoRetro's Retro Hottie of the Month: John Lennon

Happy Birthday.

Cained Heat

What's this CD all about, Alfie? Apparently renowed British actor Sir Michael Caine is involved in the music business now, too. Earlier this year while promoting The Dark Knight on The View, he mentioned that he had a new CD out called Cained. I finally got around to looking it up and this is what Amazon.com had to say:

"In 2006, Cinematic Legend and Icon of '60s Cool Sir Michael Caine Surprised his Friend Elton John with his Expansive Knowledge of Music, in Particular, Chill-out Tracks. He Further Revealed a Penchant for Making his Own Compilations and Distributing them Among Friends. Word Spread and the Man Best Known for his Roles in Films Like "The Italian Job", "Alfie", "Get Carter", "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "The Ipress File" Presents his First Commercially Available Compilation of Favorite Tracks. "Much to My Surprise, and Probably Everybody Else’s, I Am Now in the Music Business." The Result is this Eclectic, Often Surprising Mix of Chill-out Classics of the Old Cafe Del Mar Style, Along with Selections of Jazz, World Music and Soul."

Who knew that Caine knew his way around two turntables and a microphone (and that he's really a ginger, judging by the album's cover.) Some of the songs include remixes and covers of Lay Lady Lay and Fields of Gold. Sounds interesting - too bad I can't listen to it, as it's available only in the UK and the site won't let you preview the tracks. Amazon.com will import it to American customers, but it's gonna cost you $46.98 (I think I'll pass in this current economic meltdown.)

Too bad - I would like to Get Cained!

That 70's Show: Life on Mars Begins

Photo courtesy ABC.com.



Remember the 1980s series Quantum Leap? I caught a vintage episode on some obscure channel not long ago, and had forgotten what a great show it was at the time, at least compared to some of the current crap on TV. Dr. Sam Beckett (played by Scott Bakula, back when he was actually cute) would find himself transported to a different era in history each week, where he would help someone solve a problem, with the assistance of Al, a hologram that only Sam could see (God love the 80s television writers.)

Anyways, the reason I mention it is because a sort of similar show makes its debut on ABC tonight, only the main character becomes stuck in the year 1973 for no apparent reason. Life on Mars is based on a popular UK series (because television writers no longer have any imagination) but I'm still psyched about watching it, if only to see retro fashions and furnishings on the small screen (I could do without Michael Imperioli's huge pornstache, however.) Jason O'Mara stars as the cop who suddenly finds himself in a land without Starbucks and Blackberries, but plenty of bellbottoms and feathered hair. The impression cast includes Harvey Keitel, Lisa Bonet (wow - where has this former Cosby Show child been?), Gretchen Mol, and Imperioli. The time warp begins tonight at 10 PM EST. I'll be there.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fashion is Crashing

Extra, extra, read all about it! The stock market is seesawing, our government is in shambles, and people are struggling to pay for gas, heat, and groceries.



1929? Nope, it's still 2008, but you wouldn't know it by the daily headlines and what you can find to wear in your local mall. Depression Era chic is in, so says a story that ran on Inside Edition a couple of weeks ago, plus the usual chain retailers like the Gap, Banana Republic, and Macy's. Call it a sign of our current downer time. That means lots of newsboy caps (weren't these in style already, like 5 years ago?), menswear inspired vests and baggy pants and lots of drab shades such as gray, black, and brown. Here's a cute herringbone vest I found on the Gap's site for $58.00.



And the colors aren't all bleak. Cloche or flapper hats, like the ones that Angelina Jolie wears in her new movie The Changling are very much in style as well. I found this bright red one in The Limited for $24.50.



Cute, huh? As cute as Christian Bale in Newsies.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Separated by a Past Life: Retro Couple of the Day

Red hot redhead alert! When Daniel Craig took over the James Bond role a couple of years ago, there were many comparisons to Steve McQueen. But someone who I always thought more closely resembled the King of Cool is a British actor named Damian Lewis, who’s currently starring in the NBC drama “Life” and who had the lead role in the critically acclaimed HBO series “Band of Brothers” and the BBC’s “Forsyte Saga.” Lewis has said in interviews that he’s a Steve McQueen fan and if they ever made a biopic about the sexy 60s star that he would love to be considered for the part. I concur – they’d just need to tone down the carrot top a bit. See for yourself.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hotdog!

Martha Stewart opened her show sometime last week with this 15-foot long hotdog. The first thing out of her mouth was, "They say that length doesn't matter, but I disagree, especially when it comes to wieners." Martha, my dear! I nearly fell off of my chair! That Martha sure can be naughty sometimes. What's that old saying about being a gourmet chef in the kitchen, a housekeeper in the living room, and a tiger in the bedroom? Something like that.



Anyways, this post does pertain to something retro, if you'll bear with me. Since the whole show was devoted to hotdogs, she brought out vintage collector Charles Phoenix sporting his "hotdog suit" and cool looking "Astro Weenie Pineapple" party display, made of marischino cherries, pineapple, and cocktail weiners. Martha marvelled at how retro it was, and you have the option of inserting birthday candles in the weiners and firing them up. I could make a joke here about flaming weenies, but I'm keeping it clean.



Charles then showed several vintage hotdog related photos from the 50s and 60s. He actually has a pretty cool site full of retro pictures down memory lane, so check it out sometime.

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