Bat-Signal to shine over Los Angeles in memory of Adam West

The iconic bat-signal will shine on the tower of Los Angeles City Hall tonight in memory of Adam West, the (best) Batman actor who died on Saturday. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetii and L.A. Police Department Chief Charlie Beck will flip the switch at 9pm at City Hall. From the Hollywood Reporter:

For fans who can't make it to the ceremony, West's family is encouraging people to donate to the Adam West Memorial Fund for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Donations can also be made to Camp Rainbow Gold, an Idaho-based charity for children battling cancer.

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Watch Parks And Rec’s Jim O’Heir play with puppies and kittens

Because sometimes you just need to watch something that’s purely good, The A.V. Club invited Parks And Recreation’s Jim O’Heir (a.k.a. Jerry a.k.a. Larry a.k.a Terry) to play with some puppies and kittens at PAWS Chicago. You can learn more, make a donation, and even adopt a pet on the PAWS Chicago website. Read the rest

Is binge watching bad for you?

AsapSCIENCE digs into a question you might not want to know the answer to. Read the rest

Anderson Cooper rolls his eyes

Does Shep Smith ever roll his eyes? Asking for a friend. Read the rest

Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Sonny Liston, and Whitey Ford's TV commercials for Braniff Airline

When you got it... flaunt it.

"As we eavesdrop on these odd couples trying to outflaunt each other, we hear everything that has to be said about Braniff (International airlines)," wrote famed designer and adman George Lois of his 1968 campaign for . "We also imply that you might bump into a celebrity or two on a Braniff flight...They are not idealized celebrities—they are famous people who are portrayed as lovable extroverts, combined to radiate a surreal kind of believability."

(r/ObscureMedia and Dangerous Minds)

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The X-Files is coming back

Fox (Broadcasting Company, not Mulder) announced that ten new episodes of the X-Files will air in 2017 and 2018. Last year's excellent six-episode mini-series was a fantastic teaser of what's to come. Trust no one.

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Mystery Science Theater 3000 does Stranger Things

Here we go, "into the grayish brownish world of the early 80s..."

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St. Elsewhere and the snow globe ending

An all-star cast, brave writers, and a catchy theme made St. Eleswhere a phenomenal medical drama. In the final moments of the series finale, however, a twist was introduced wherein a minor character, the autistic son of one of the lead doctors, imagined the events of the entire series.

Starting with a cross-over on Homicide, it turns out Tommy Westphall likely imagined vast amounts of our television landscape. As of August 2016 there were 49 shows airing with connections to St. Elsewhere.

The folks at Tommy Westphall Universe track it all. Read the rest

Shark Tank tonight: Ingenious pop-up shelter invented by Pesco's brother

Under The Weather is a single-person pop-up shelter to sit inside that my big brother Rick came up with a while back. (He was sick of getting soaked at his kids' soccer games and was inspired by a portable toilet he saw by the field.) Under The Weather is designed for spectator sports, fishing, and other outdoor events where it's raining, windy, or cold, but you are either obligated to watch or having so much fun you don't want to leave.

Tonight, Rick and his wife/partner Kelly present the product on Shark Tank! No matter what happens, I can guarantee it will be very entertaining. I'm so proud of them!

And if you want one, don't be fooled by crappy knock-offs. Please buy directly from Rick and Kelly here: Under the Weather

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Tribute to Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island

No, she's not dead. But over at Neatorama, actor Eddie Deezen wrote a delightful tribute to Dawn Wells who from 1964 to 1967 famously played Mary Ann, one of seven stranded castaways there on Gilligan's Island. Of course during the first season of the show, she (and the professor) weren't even named in the theme song, having been unfairly lumped in under "and the rest." But for the many young people who didn't dig the movie star, Mary Ann was the down-to-earth object of their affection. From Neatorama:

In 1964, Dawn auditioned for a new show on the CBS schedule called Gilligan's Island. She met with the show's creator, Sherwood Schwartz, where the two chatted about the character she was up for- Mary Ann Summers, a farm girl from Kansas (based on Judy Garland's "Dorothy" character in The Wizard of Oz.) Before officially testing for the role, her agent/husband Larry called and asked how Sherwood liked her. He was told, "She's too smart to play Mary Ann," to which he replied, "She can play dumb."

When Dawn heard of this conversation, she quickly disagreed. "Mary Ann's not dumb," she declared, "She's not very experienced, she's kind of naive, but she's not dumb." It was as if she already fully understood the character she was to make immortal, before she even had the role.

Trivia: Another young, beautiful actress named Raquel Welch was also up for for the Mary Ann role....

And here's Wells on a couple of her castmates:

Jim Backus (Mr.

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Why Breaking Bad grabbed you at the first episode

This episode of "Lessons from the Screenplay" analyzes how the Breaking Bad pilot set up the show to be so, er, addictive.

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Burt Ward's "Boy Wonder" song, a collaboration with Frank Zappa

In 1966, Burt "Robin" Ward recorded with the Mothers of Invention under the direction of Frank Zappa. The result is really something.

From Burt Ward's autobiography Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights:

The image of the Boy Wonder is all American and apple pie, while the image of the Mothers of Invention was so revolutionary that they made the Hell’s Angels look like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Even I had to laugh seeing a photo of myself with those animals.

Their fearless leader and king of grubbiness was the late Frank Zappa. (The full name of the band was Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.) After recording with me, Frank became an internationally recognized cult superstar, which was understandable; after working with me, the only place Frank could go was up.

Although he looked like the others, Frank had an intelligence and education that elevated him beyond brilliance to sheer genius. I spent a considerable amount of time talking with him, and his rough, abrupt exterior concealed an intellectual, creative and sensitive interior...

In an attempt at self-preservation, the record company had me just talk on the second two sides I recorded. That I could do very well! The material for the song was a group of fan letters that had been sent to me. Frank and I edited them together to make one letter, which became the lyrics for the recording. Frank wrote a melody and an arrangement, and we titled the song, “Boy Wonder, I Love You!”

Among the lyrics was an invitation for me to come and visit an adoring pubescent fan and stay with her for the entire summer.

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Sesame Street has been trolling Trump for three decades

Trump's distaste for publicly-funded children's programming may or may not be connected to Sesame Street's character Ronald Grump, a grouch who finagles Oscar into relocating from his trash can to Grump Tower. Read the rest

Julia, the muppet with autism, joins Sesame Street's TV show

Julia, the muppet with autism, will join the Sesame Street TV show in April. She appeared last night on 60 minutes during an interview segment with Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro. From NPR:

"The character Julia, she has wonderful drawing skills. She's like a little budding artist," said Rose Jochum, director of internal initiatives at the Autism Society of America, which characterizes itself as the nation's oldest advocacy group for people with the disorder. "You know — autism — it brings wonderful gifts..."

"It's not like there is a typical example of an autistic child, but we do believe that [with] Julia, we worked so carefully to make sure that she had certain characteristics that would allow children to identify with her," (Sesame Workshop executive vice president Sherrie) Westin said. "It's what Sesame does best, you know: Reaching children, looking at these things through their lens and building a greater sort of sense of commonality."

Here's the 60 Minutes segment script.

And more about puppet designer Rollie Krewson.

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Animated interview with Alfred Hitchcock

"We all have fear in us and we like to enjoy a vicarious, shall we say, toe in the water of fear," said Alfred Hitchcock in 1957. (Blank on Blank)

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New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is a big improvement over the previous model

We have Apple TV, Roku, and TiVo but I haven't used them in months. We use our Fire TV Stick for everything, because it just seems to work more smoothly (the Apple TV is the worst of the bunch), also we are Amazon Prime subscribers, so we get a lot of free shows (like the excellent Z, about Zelda Fitzgerald, starring Christina Ricci).

Recently Amazon introduced the new Fire TV Stick, which is better in many ways than the old version. It has Alexa voice control built into the remote, so you can just ask it to play or search for a show. The new processor makes it run faster that the old version. It also has better WiFi.

I'm going to bring the old one with me when I travel. Read the rest

Stranger Things: watch the teaser for the next season

Who you gonna call?

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