Original Aerosmith tour van found in Massachusetts woods

A piece of American rock 'n' roll history was discovered in western Massachusetts: the original Aerosmith tour van.

Boston.com:

In a recently aired episode of the hit History Channel show, “American Pickers,” hosts and antique scavengers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz tracked down the band’s original tour van in Chesterfield that the group used to schlep to gigs around New England in the early 1970s.

Not much was initially known about the rusted, 1964 International Harvester Metro van, buried in the woods, said the property’s owner, identified only as Phil, who told Wolfe and Fritz the vehicle was there when he bought the land.

Founding Aerosmith member and guitarist Ray Tabano confirmed the find, calling it the band's "rolling hotel." Wolfe and Fritz purchased the historic van for $25,000.

(Nag on the Lake)

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The guy who slated classic Star Trek takes was unfazed by the whole thing

Bill McGovern worked as a second assistant camera on a lot of shows, which is why he seems pretty unfazed to have handled the clapper and slating duties on some iconic Star Trek episodes. Read the rest

Money Mark and Roger Federer's excellent tennis racket TV commercial

My bud Money Mark joined tennis champion Roger Federer in the Mojave Desert to record this fantastic commercial for a new Wilson racket. It's titled "Play Your Heart Out." Below, Mark explains the method behind the mad beats. The extended mix is available as a 7" vinyl record as part of a limited edition box set that includes the racket, photo book, and other accoutrements.

“Play your heart out” 45rpm instrumental....’Roger Federer meets Money Mark’—How I made this track. (For my nerdy music fans) First you hear Drumfire 808, then the classic MOOG filter then the Yamaha MR10 drum machine snare sound, Blofeld Waldorf kik drum and hi hats, then, you hear again, the tough Moog baseline that pairs with the vintage Crumar Orchestrator ‘string’ melody(same as I used with Atomic Bomb Band).....then throughout there is a Moog noise bed with one hand on the ladder filter cutoff frequency rotary knob simulating desert wind.....on the actual location I was rocking out w the Moog DFAM and Casio drum pad. @farmleague and @charliemcdowell made sure the sound system was in effect and beats rocking for the various takes. Music created a perfect vibe and tempo for a desert scene and for @rogerfederer be able to move to the rhythm.

A post shared by Money Mark (@moneymarkofficial) on Jul 22, 2018 at 10:21pm PDT

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And now, 35 minutes of commercials directed by David Lynch

It's the only mainlined injection of capitalism worth your time this week. Read the rest

Stranger Things teaser: Hawkins gets a new mall!

I hope Dustin gets a job at Spencer Gifts.

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New game show pays off winner's student loans

There's a long history of TV programs that exploit the personal struggles of individuals for ratings. Now there's a new game show that tackles the student loan crisis. Like its predecessors in this genre, it's bad. Read the rest

Why Michael Scott from The Office is actually an exemplary manager

"I swore to myself that if I ever got to walk around the room as manager, people would laugh when they saw me coming, and would applaud as I walked away." Read the rest

The making of the Upside Down

Stranger Things special effects producers Paul and Christina Graff explain the season two VFX of the Upside Down, the demodog Dart, and that shadowy motherfucker from the finale.

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Watch Piers Morgan try to embarrass a reality TV star but make an ass of himself instead

Piers attempts to embarrass UK reality TV star Hayley of "Love Island" by asking her, "Do you know Pythagoras's theorem to the nearest five decimal place?" Um... wut?

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The Jerry Springer Show ends production

Since 1991, The Jerry Springer Show offered America an unevenly-distributed taste of its own future. But we're settled comfortably in, now, and the present has no need for its harbingers. So long, Jerry.

Syndicated talk-show staple The Jerry Springer Show has ceased production of new episodes, a source confirms to TVLine, and will only air pre-taped episodes and repeats when it moves to The CW this fall. (Broadcasting & Cable first reported the news.) The CW is still considering ordering fresh episodes of Springer down the line — the deal is for multiple years — but as of now, the show has finished filming.

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Watch Steve Martin do Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean"

Steve Martin takes a walk in Michael Jackson's loafers for "The New Show," a 1984 sketch-comedy TV program from Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. The New Show only ran for one season but this clip lives for eternity.

(via r/ObscureMedia, thanks, UPSO!)

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Dan Harmon weighs in on Rick & Morty's most viral moments

What's Dan Harmon's secret to creating viral moments in cult hits like Rick & Morty? He and co-creator Justin Roiland have license to "take this really dumb thing incredibly seriously." Read the rest

Ambien maker Sanofi responds to Roseanne, who blamed drug for racist tweets

Ambien manufacturer Sanofi issued a masterfully worded public statement on Wednesday in response to recently-fired ABC TV star Roseanne Barr's latest Twitter meltdown.

In a series of wackadoodle tweets she posted late last night, 'Roseanne' blamed Sanofi's prescription sleep medication for the racist tweets that got her eponymous show canceled. Read the rest

Some Simpson jokes that go over kids' heads

Children's shows often include jokes to give a little "nudge nudge wink wink" to grown-ups. I mean, who could forget the subversive bits in Looney Tunes or, say, Pee-wee's Playhouse?

But this compilation by YouTube channel Best of Simpsons Characters is different, because The Simpsons isn't really a show for kids. It's just the Simpsons' jokes that they didn't get when they were little. Read the rest

Secret history of classic TV's laugh tracks

When I watched the Brady Bunch as a youngster, there was one particular deep guffaw that always caught my attention. I knew the laughs were pre-recorded but always assumed that there was just a laugh track tape and they'd press play at the appropriate times. I liked (and still like) the faux communal experience that laugh tracks provide when watching the Bradys, Bewitched, the Beverly Hillbillies, and other great vintage sitcoms from the 1960s an early 1970s.

Turns out, that the rise of the laugh track was due to Charles Douglass (1910-2003), a Navy-trained electronics engineer/maker who went on to build a custom "Laff Box" of several dozen tape loops triggered by keys and dials. After its initial use on the Jack Benny Program, the machine, officially called the "Audience Reaction Duplicator," took the TV industry by storm. Douglass "played" the Laff Box like a proto-sampler and for years had the monopoly on TV laugh tracks. It was a process that the TV show producers and Douglass himself liked to keep secret.

It wasn't until 1992 that Douglass and his pioneering work at the intersection of media, psychology, and technology was recognized with a lifetime Emmy award for technical achievement.

For the whole story on Douglass and the Laff Box, don't miss this episode of the Decoder Ring podcast.

And here is an Antiques Roadshow segment appraising a Laff Box.

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Infographic of each US state's favorite 1990s sitcom

USDish analyzed Google search data for the last 15 years to create this map of the United States showing each state's "favorite" sitcom. The Midwest loves Friends, four states and Washington DC prefer Friends, and (hooray!) California digs The Simpsons.

"Can You Guess Your State’s Favorite Sitcom from the ’90s?" Read the rest

The Simpsons overtakes Gunsmoke as America's longest-running scripted TV show

With episode 636 on Sunday, The Simpsons finally outran Gunsmoke as America's longest-running TV show, as counted by scripted episodes. It overtook it about a decade ago in terms of how many seasons it's been on TV. That said...

“Gunsmoke,” however, was an hourlong program for about half its run, while “The Simpsons” is half-hour, and so the former retains the record for most hours of television. As well, the Western series had begun on radio in 1952.

The closest other scripted prime-time series, the family drama “Lassie,” about an ingenious collie, ran on network and then in first-run syndication from 1954 to 1974, for 591 episodes.

In a welcome coda to the Apu imbroglio, Hank Azaria (who also voices other characters on the show) is planning to let a South Asian actor take over the role and help transition the character to a less stereotypical portrayal. Read the rest

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