Tag Archives: entertainment

When CBS Humiliated Judy Garland

Even though I know my showtunes, I’m not particularly a Liza, Barbara, or Judy Gay. (I didn’t really get the affection for Liza until I saw Liza With a Z which whether you are gay or straight or whatever is a fucking stunning movie of her a musical revue written just for her where she stomps through one song after another like some sort of musical super soldier.)

In 1964, Judy taped the final episode of the first (and only) seasonof The Judy Garland Show. Browbeaten, humiliated, over-medicated, and defeated, she tore through a performance of “By Myself” so raw and dark, CBS cut it from the final episode. Here’s the video and the background:

“CBS execs.. sought to topple the #1 show on TV, NBC’s Bonanza, by treating audiences to Judy every week. … CBS exec James Aubrey, known as ‘the smiling cobra’ for his ability to flatter and wheedle to one’s face while at the same time ruthlessly manipulating situations behind the scenes, played on Judy’s desire for financial and familial stability and convinced her that a weekly TV series was the answer to all her problems. …

“Judy and the production team had been promised a relatively free-hand in creating the format for her variety show, but almost immediately CBS began interfering. … Their version of comedy relief was Jerry making jokes about Judy’s struggles with weight and self-image (Garland had been gotten quite heavy prior to slimming down for her show).

“The humiliation comes into play because, while CBS bought a sophisticated musical variety show for grown-ups, when it came to actually tape the episodes they used a heavy hand in attempting to channel Judy into something she wasn’t.

“Judy, for her part, was a phenomenally good sport for the first 13 episodes and gamely went along with skits and jokes she must have found hurtful and unfunny. The tide began to turn when she was called from taping to a CBS board room for notes.

“Judy was told that her frequent hugging and hand-holding of guests was making audiences uncomfortable – that CBS test audiences didn’t feel comfortable having Judy in their homes. With that, Judy requested a telephone and called her very good friend, President John F. Kennedy, in the presence of the board. After confirming that Kennedy had seen the previous week’s show, Judy asked how comfortable he and Jackie were with having her in their home every week. Kennedy replied he was very comfortable with Judy and looked forward to the next time they could get together. Judy’s power play backfired and William Paley, CBS head, began the process of gutting her show budget, which would hopefully lead to cancellation – his words “I don’t want that cunt bringing down my Sunday evening.” JFK’s death in November of that year saw the loss of one of Judy’s biggest supporters and the struggle she had over performing a tribute to Kennedy on the show sealed the deal. In the end, CBS, allowed Judy to sing ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ but not dedicate the performance to “Dear Jack.”

“As kind and supportive as CBS appeared to be when wooing Garland was as mean and vindictive as they became when it was clear Judy would never beat Bonanza. Instead of moving time-slots and giving the show a chance, as they did with many of Judy’s peers – particularly Danny Kaye – they unceremoniously cancelled the series – WHILE THE FIRST SEASON WAS STILL BEING TAPED!

“Judy Garland not only had to face the negativity of the CBS publicity machine working against her, she had to suffer the humiliation of finishing out her contract when she knew there would be no second season. Her dreams of stability shattered, and with only enough budget remaining for ‘concert-style’ shows, Judy kicked it up a notch and gave some of her finest, rawest performances in the final episodes.

“I’m sad for the circumstances surrounding The Judy Garland show, but it resulted in some of the best performances of Judy’s career and gives us and idea of how electric and amazing Judy was live.”

Full discussion in context.

How Big Music Labels Fake Indie Cred

I’ve always told people that nobody comes from nowhere. There is no such thing as a self-styled or self-made or overnight-sensation anything anyone anywhere. From Reddit:

“You can’t pump a pop star onto the radio and have people accept it anymore, you have to tap into the rest of the market that still gobbles up that sound, but wants to avoid being force fed music.
So you put the artist in the inbox of the right ‘music journalists’, set up a front label, and let the virality do the work.

I’ve made a little hobby out of taking fast rising content in this sub, and when I can’t figure out who the label really is – I rip the song and upload it to youtube, then wait for one of the big 3 labels to claim their content.

Remember indie sensation Ryn Weaver with her song of the Summer Octohate, which she made in her basement and uploaded to her soundcloud?

She even showed up in the comments of her Stereogum piece to say how indie she is. She was on a label that was nothing more than a twitter account, turned out to be created by the famous producer that made her hit single.

To this day, there is nothing on the internet saying who her label actually is, and the only reason I know she is on Universal Music Group is because UMG claimed her content on my youtube upload This is how it works now.”

http://np.reddit.com/r/listentothis/comments/2esk9y/catey_shaw_human_contact_pop_2014_i_just_found/ck2luyq?context=3

Ryn Weaver’s song :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUvwNR8-NQc

Colonel Henry Blake’s Final Exit on M*A*S*H

Found this Snopes entry linked on a Metafilter thread about the lasting impact of M*A*S*H. I always credit watching that show in syndication every night at dinner with making me wanting more out of TV and narrative media:

Producer Larry Gelbart on the night of shooting the last scene of that season:

“I did not want to rehearse it; we would shoot it only once. Then, Gene and I took the cast aside and I opened a manila envelope that contained the one-page last scene, telling them I had something I wanted to show them.

… I gave each [actor] a copy of the scene to read to themselves. Each had a different reaction.

“F**king brilliant,” said Larry Linville.

“You son of a bitch,” Gary said to McLean. “You’ll probably get an Emmy out of this!”

After Gary [Radar] finished reading his message, there was a hushed silence on the set as B.J.’s camera panned the stricken faces of the cast, and then someone off-camera accidentally let a surgical instrument drop to the floor. It was perfect, that clattering, hollow sound, filling a palpable void in a way that no words could. ”

Full entry on Snopes http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/mash.asp

Why The Great Old Ones Make You Lose Your Sanity

One of the biggest influences in modern horror is H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos and stories. Cthulu and the Great Old Ones are elder gods who – unlike deities from ancient religions – don’t give a shit about humanity and simply to gaze upon them makes mortals lose their minds:

The Abominations, as you aptly described them, are to us as we are to that benighted creature. They exist in dimensions beyond our own, whose nature we can hardly guess. When they appear to us, we see only fragments of their bodies – long stretches of writhing flesh, glistening with juices that should not exist outside of a body, which whip through the air and vanish back where they came from in a way that our minds simply refuse to accept. Witnesses have tried to describe these as great tentacles, words failing them in the presence of such incomprehensibility. Those who heard the stories seized on this, and explained them as resembling cephalopods. This is a comforting lie, as there is nothing in the most stygian depths of the darkest sea that is not our beloved brother compared to the horrors of the Abominations.

This is a creature who is incomprehensibly alien, and our only glimpse is a sickening flash of writhing, elongated flesh that slips into our world and back out. Worse than the appearance of the creature, though, is it’s disappearance – your mind knows, on some level, that this creature – this hateful, hungry god of a creature – is not moving it’s body between “here” and “away”, but between being a glimpse of a writhing horror, and a horror that watches unseen.

Imagine our two-dimensional creature again, and imagine yourself to be a cruel child. If you chose to torment the creature, it would be powerless to resist. It cannot perceive you unless you chose to intersect it’s plane – you can watch it’s every move, and it cannot hope to escape your gaze. It would be the simplest thing in the world to push a pin through it, like a butterfly on a card. Take a glass of water and push it into the creature’s plane and it will find itself trapped, drowning, in an inescapable sea. The creature is entirely at your mercy, and always will be.

Same as you. Same as me.

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/AskScienceFiction/comments/1zwhxf/what_makes_eldritch_abominations_like_the_old/cfxmqcz

Cthulu illlustration from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cthulhu_by_Alexander_Liptak.png

Ladies’ Night Explained

From a Mefi thread about gay privilege:

“When you see a club or bar admitting women for free, or providing free drinks, it may be worth bearing in mind the truism noted on MeFi many years ago: if you’re getting something for free you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”

Commenter on Metafilter http://www.metafilter.com/136030/No-Broads-Allowed#5390868

CGI vs Puppetry

“About a year ago I got to listen to a talk by a FX guy who works for one of the large houses — he’s done work on several $200m movies… He said an interesting thing about CGI. While you can do stuff with CGI you can’t do with practical FX, you basically do it to spec. If you do an animation of, say, a dinosaur foot squishing into the mud as it takes a step, and you do it CGI you get a bill for $35,000 and a file. If you decide you want something changed, like different lighting or camera angle, you get another bill for $35,000. Whereas once you’ve made the investment in the puppet, if you want to change the camera angle or lighting you just get the FX guys to reset the mechanism and 15 minutes later you’re set up for another take. Plus, of course, if there are human actors in the shot they can see what they are interacting with. Lack of interaction with their supposedly rich environment was one of the (many) things that simply didn’t work on the Star Wars prequels, for example.”

Discussion abut Stan Winston and the Alien Queen puppet from Aliens