Pop Culture

Pop Culture

Boom! Look Familiar? That’s Because It Is

Boom

Pop Culture Chronicles

A couple weeks back, I got a surprise when I heard about plans by two ’70s bands that swore they would never reunite.

ABBA flat-out refused to revive their act for many years and even declined an invitation to perform when it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Turns out the band has just secretly recorded two new songs. Is this a big deal? Again, the respect thing. CSNY’s David Crosby described their music as “dog poop,” but their stuff has been covered by everyone from Culture Club to U2’s Bono.

When Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham died in 1980 after drinking 40 shots of vodka, the rest of the band said Zeppelin was done. The band did perform at the induction and later at a tribute show for Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun, but since then, zilch. Now there’s word that Zeppelin is talking about a possible reunion gig to mark the band’s 50th anniversary. The past is roaring back.

 

LPs and TV, Too

With so many people downloading music and stores dropping compact discs, long-playing vinyl records are showing increased sales, and it’s the same for live music. I was at the Streetsboro Family Days in July and the entertainment included Mr. Speed (a classic KISS tribute), Rubix Cubed (’80s music), Disco Inferno and Michael Weber, a guitar phenom who was born 25 years after some of the music he plays was written.

Look at your TV. Reboots of “Magnum P.I.,” “Hawaii Five-0,” ”Alf,” “Will & Grace” and “Dynasty” are all on the schedule, and Norman Lear is talking about re-imagining “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “The Jeffersons.” Nostalgia is big business, and not just on the entertainment front.

My wife, Janice, and I were walking through the Heinen’s in downtown Cleveland.

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And More Movies…

Ah, fall, the season for comfort food, cozy sweaters and great movies. Head over to the Cleveland Jewish FilmFest which starts this week at theaters throughout Greater Cleveland. They've got a great lineup, but you'll have to bring your own cozy sweater. ...
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Like Movies? Here are a Few Adult Films (Not That Kind) You’ll Probably Enjoy

Sure, it's fun to see car chases and buff superheroes on the big screen, but when fall arrives so do movies with a bit more substance. Here's a rundown of films coming to local theaters that appeal to our inner (and outer) grownup. ...
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Dave Sheridan: Cleveland’s Comic Book Genius

Some of Sheridan’s best work is in strips featuring his notorious characters Dealer McDope and the Leather Nun. Read into those stories whatever way you like, but a lot of art does spark controversy. ...
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The Ghoulardi Factor: It’s Alive!

Those were the halcyon days of horror hosts. Vampira started it all in Los Angeles. Pete “Mad Daddy” Myers had a show for a month on Channel 8 in the 1950s. There was Fritz the Nite Owl in Columbus, Zacherle in New York, Chilly Billy Cardille in Pittsburgh and others who took their places when they retired. Even little Mansfield had Roger Price as “The Baron.” But no one had the following of Ghoulardi, who at one time was on six days a week. ...
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Pop Culture Chronicles: Fishing, Camping & a Dog in Heat

My family had two St. Bernards, male and female, and it was the dreaded “slobber season.” The female was in heat, The male howled along with the 8-tracks. I refused to sleep in a two-room tent with six people and a dog, so I spent three weeks in the station wagon — with the other dog. ...
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Boom! Broadcasters in the Rearview Mirror

 

Ever think we’d see the end of radio? Many of us remember when radio personalities were as important as the artists they played, and competition between stations raised the bar on creative programming.

Consolidation, cable TV and the internet all played a role in the diminished importance of over-the-air programming. There’s still great radio, much of it on satellite or online, but let’s not forget the folks who made radio great.

Why isn’t there a legitimate statewide broadcasters hall of fame? A lot of major names have worked here in radio and TV. Jack Paar, Soupy Sales, Casey Kasem, Nancy Dickerson and Alan Freed, to name just a few, went on from Cleveland media to national prominence. Even more stayed here. We should preserve their legacy and their important part of our media history. It’s time for that hall of fame.

There were a couple at one time in Northeast Ohio, but they didn’t last. Maybe it’s time for a respected institution like the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, or an independent panel of historians, academic types and broadcast professionals to establish a real hall of fame that’s aimed at documenting these important accomplishments in a serious and, most importantly, impartial manner.

Let’s also preserve the artifacts, audiotape and videotape that still exist for future generations. The banner welcoming the Beatles to Cleveland in 1964 is sitting in a basement. Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson’s personal effects were auctioned off on eBay. Tapes and other memorabilia often find their way to the curbside when estates are left behind. Libraries could be great repositories. Like the idea? Let me know. The email is listed below.

 

Whatever happened to movie palaces?

I remember when the really big first-run films would open first downtown. I saw “The Sound of Music” at the Palace Theatre at a weekday matinee.

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Pop Culture Chronicles – Signs of the Season

Boom

Pop Culture Chronicles

Mike Olszewski

 

Springtime Harbingers

Opening Day, Drive-Up Restaurants and … Wizard World?

 

We’re finally shaking off Old Man Winter. When the Indians’ equipment trucks head West, you know more daylight, warmer weather and the opening of drive-up restaurants are right around the corner.

For my wife and me, it’s pop culture convention season. Now let me make this clear. We stand in line for tickets just like everyone else, but we stand in a lot of lines because there are so many of them. Most are just an hour or two away, and most have a Cleveland connection.

The Wizard World show at the Cleveland Convention Center in March is huge, and there’s always plenty of star power. There’s Wizard World Columbus in June, and both shows are similar to the San Diego Comic-Con International.

What started out as comic book conventions are now about TV shows, pro wrestling, movies and more. You see Lou Ferrigno, the guy who played the Incredible Hulk, at a lot of these. He used to live in Columbus and he visits friends when he travels to Ohio.

Which brings us to movies. Last issue I mentioned Cinevent 50 in Columbus, and I got a couple of emails asking what it was about. It’s one of the oldest film conventions in the country, an annual event that marks 50 years this Memorial Day weekend. Morrie Everett from Cleveland sets up his movie poster auction there that brings people in from around the world.

Just over the state line in Mars, Pennsylvania, is Monster Bash. There are two of them, one in June and one in October.

I’ve said before that so many Clevelanders show up there you think Mars is in Northeast Ohio. Promoter Ron Adams convinced Joe Flaherty from the old SCTV show to make an appearance in October.

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