Monday, March 27, 2006

The 2006 TV Land Awards.

A couple of weekends ago TV Land held a Sanford and Son marathon. I throughly enjoyed it. The only downside was that I couldn't get The Ink Spots’ song If I Didn’t Care out of my head when the marathon was over. I'm not complaining, in fact I got an article out of it (CHILD OF TELEVISION: If I didn't care). Last week TV Land aired the 2006 TV Land Awards. I thoroughly enjoyed that too. We live in a time where there is a glut of award shows. Their sole purpose is to cater to the lowest common denominator that wants to see celebrities in designer gowns and tuxedoes walking the red carpet. The TV Land Awards stands apart. Sure the TV Land Awards do have their cheesy moments like some of the over rehearsed or over produced acceptance speeches. Or when two of the three nominees for an award are dead and the sole survivor winds up winning. But what makes the TV Land Awards different? Most award shows will feature several artists in one category whose work from the past year is in competition with each other, and somewhere in the show there is one award dedicated to an individual's lifetime achievement. The TV Land Awards really honors classic TV stars, shows and the individuals whose work has endured the test of time and they dedicate one award to a current show that is sure to be a Future Classic (This year it was Grey's Anatomy).

Other awards included The Pioneer Award presented to Sid Caesar, The Pop Culture Award presented to Dallas, The Legend Award presented to Cheers, and the Impact Award presented to Good Times. Every year TV Land Awards open with a medley of TV theme songs either sung by the artist who originally recorded the song or show's stars. For me the highlight this year was José Feliciano performing the theme to Chico and the Man.

Oh Great, now I can't get that song that song out of my head.

Since the term classic is often misused I decided to quote,
clas·sic adj.
a. Belonging to the highest rank or class.
b. Serving as the established model or standard: a classic example of colonial architecture.
c. Having lasting significance or worth; enduring.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Thursday, March 23, 2006

If I didn't care.

This past weekend I was watching the Sanford and Son marathon on TV Land. I have always been a fan of the show and Redd Foxx (whose real name is John Sanford), was a brilliant and dynamic presence. My wife also pointed out to me that Demond Wilson’s contribution to the show has been grossly underrated. Something that was painfully obvious in the Sanford and Son spin-off Sanford (1980-1981). One of my favorite comedic bits that Redd Foxx did, besides having the fake heart attacks and insulting Aunt Esther (LaWanda Page), was singing The Ink Spots’ song If I Didnt Care, or as Fred Sanford liked to call it "The Anthem" (His best rendition was on the Hawaiian episode). He always sang the line, "And would I be sure that this is love beyond compare? Would all this be true if I didn't care for you?" Redd Foxx was a huge fan of the '30s vocal group but the network would not pay the expensive royalties. Out of his love for the group Redd Foxx paid the royalties out of his own pocket.

My dad is also a big Ink Spots fan as well as a Sanford and Son fan. When I was visiting my family in Orlando, my brother wanted to check out this new Virgin Megastore. He was told that this was the greatest music store in the world and that this place was so big that you could find any music you could ever want there. When my dad saw the inside of the store he knew that amongst the thousands of CDs, he could find The Ink Spots. Normally when you are at a Virgin Megastore you can go to one of many computer terminals and look up a song or an artist. Of course when we are there the computer system was down so we had to look for it on our own. Being guys we didn’t need to ask for help. We started with the Oldies section, where there were hundreds of CDs, but no Ink Spots. We went to the Classics section, again hundreds of CD, but no Ink Spots. We went to the Black Artist’s section, again hundreds of CD, but no Ink Spots. After dedicating all this time looking though thousands of CDs, we broke down and went to ask for help. Several twenty something employees who pride themselves on their vast musical knowledge, had never heard of the Ink Spots. One employee suggested that we check the Vintage section. Vintage? They have yet another synonym for old. The Vintage section consisted of 2 shelves with half a dozen CDs, but no Ink Spots. I went through the plastic tabs that separate the CDs and found a tab marked Ink Spots. I showed the tab to the employee who then takes a key and opens a cabinet. Under the shelves, we found The Ink Spots Greatest Hits 1939-46 the Original Decca Recordings.

We went home and got some beers and listened to the CD. I was still bothered that these music experts did not know who The Ink Spots were. I know who the Ink Spots are and I'm not a music expert, I'm a TV expert (I learned about The Ink Spots thanks to Redd Foxx). My 25-year-old sister Rachel comes home. Rachel was a week away from graduating Law School, well read, cultured and the smartest of the Figueroa children. I had to ask Rachel, "Who are The Ink Spots?" She said, "Weren't they a cartoon?" I guess I can’t be to judgmental. When my friends were buying music I was buying comedy albums. Funny that I learn music appreciation from a comedian or should I say from his alter ego Fred G. Sanford, that's S-A-N-F-O-R-D-Period, and the G. stands for Golden Oldie.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

Friday, March 17, 2006

Handwritten Theatre Five: "One side is windy, the other is not." (Click Podcast)

Handwritten Theatre is a series of brief dramatic pieces originally composed in a Small Black Notebook with a Fountain Pen by Joseph Dougherty.

"One side is windy, the other is not."
Performed by Donna Allen Figueroa and Moira Quirk. The original engineering for the project was done by Lance Anderson.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The REAL Daisy Duke.

Recently I was at an event at a major Hollywood Movie Studio. Impressed? Don't be. I was working the event. In attendance at this event was the original Daisy Duke Catherine Bach. She was invited to the event not working it. I was a fan of The Dukes of Hazzard as a pre-teen, then teen. I wanted to go up to her and say something, but something that did not make me sound like a geek, dork or trekker. I'm sure that Ms. Bach is well aware of all that she did for prepubescent boys during the last few years of the sexual revolution. I did not want to say anything that sounds cliche like, "I'm your biggest fan" or "I love your work". Then I remembered that she was my generations Daisy Duke. I went up to her and said, "Jessica Simpson has got nothing on you". She looked me in the eye and said, "Thank you. You are so sweet to say that". When she left the event she gave me a wink and I graciously tripped over my shoe.

Since I am on the subject of The Dukes of Hazard. My friends at the ARK theatre company here in Los Angeles are presenting the West Coast Premiere of Hazard County written by Allison Moore and directed by Richard Tatum. Cast: Michael Agrusso, Chairman Barnes, Tracy Eliott, JoBeth Prince, and Mary Pringle.

Hazard County is the story of Ruth Horton (Tracy Eliott), a young, single mom raising two kids in rural Kentucky. Eight years after losing her husband to a murder-turned-media circus, she and her kids find themselves homeless and helpless. Her life takes an unexpected tailspin when she meets Blake (Michael Agrusso), a FOX News producer looking for his next big idea. But are Ruth and Blake telling the truth about who they really are? The action of the play is framed by monologues about the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, creating a theatrical event that blasts past the Red State/Blue State debate and into a portrait of the contemporary South, where reality collides with politics, racism and mass media.
Plays Thursdays & Saturdays @ 8pm and Sundays at 2pm thru April 30
Purchase tickets online! CLICK HERE

To quote Bo & Daisy Duke,
Bo Duke: Daisy Duke if you wasn't my cousin, I'd marry you!
Daisy Duke: Never stopped anybody in this family before.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa