During World War II (and for several years after), Bing Crosby was just about the biggest popular entertainer the USA has ever known: he was the #1 actor at the movie box office, the #1 recording artist in the world and the hosted the top-rated radio show in America. It’s like he was peak Tom Cruise, peak Michael Jackson and peak Johnny Carson all at the same time.
A big reason for that success was the song “White Christmas,” a throwaway tune from the 1942 movie Holiday Inn that became the biggest record of all time and a poignant reminder of home for millions of troops stationed overseas during World War II. People remember Bing’s movie partner Bob Hope for his tours to entertain the troops, but no one did more than Crosby to promote the war effort in the Forties.
Merv Griffin started off as a big band singer and ended up one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood after his company created both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, but he spent most of his career as the host of a talk show that somehow managed to combine light entertainment with some serious discussion of the issues of the day. The Merv Griffin Show — 1962–1986 is a new 12-disc DVD box set that presents 44 classic episodes and a wealth of bonus material. +Continue Reading
After a career in national service, most everyone still has to get out there and make a living. Former CIA counterterrorism head Henry Crumpton has found a new vocation in show business and he’s created a new NBC drama series called State of Affairsin association with Rodney Faraon, his partner at the Crumpton Group and a former CIA officer who was a member of the Daily Briefing Team for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. +Continue Reading
Navy SEALS — Their Untold Story, a two-hour documentary premiering tonight on PBS, tells the story of the commando units starting with their Navy Frogmen predecessors in World War II all the way up through the raid that took out Osama bin Laden.
Director Carol L. Fleisher gets a lot of men on camera telling stories that start with the D-Day demolition team and cover the entire pre-history of the SEALs and carry on through the Vietnam war and up through the ‘80s. There’s as much context as can be fit into a two hour-slot. Narrated by Gary Sinise, the film gives valuable context to America’s current fascination with the SEALs. +Continue Reading
Anyone with really young kids and a cable package knows about Disney Junior, the channel aimed at preschoolers. Doc McStuffins is a show about a little girl who fixes broken toys in her backyard with the help of her friends Lambie, Stuffy, Hallie, Chilly and Bronty. None of this is likely to make sense to anyone who’s never had kids, but ask a three-year-old: they can give you the full rundown on the premise and the plots and the power dynamics between all the characters. +Continue Reading
Chris Rock hosted Saturday Night Live this week and really shook things up with an opening monologue that featured jokes about the Boston Marathon and the 9/11 memorial Freedom Tower. Rock asked if the building’s corporate sponsor was “Target” before going on a long rant about how he’d never go into the building, not even“if Scarlett Johansson is buck naked on the 89th floor in a plate of ribs.” He ended the bit with some jokes about the commercialization of Christmas that somehow managed not to seem stale.
Of course, Twitter exploded with folks upset that the comic used the two terrorist attacks as the basis for a standup routine. Check out the entire performance below and decide for yourself. +Continue Reading
Dogs of War is a new A&E documentary series that follows PTSD veterans as they are paired with shelter dogs who help in their rehabilitation. Premiering on Veterans Day at 10pm Eastern/9pm Central, the show follows Jim and Lindsey Stanek, the founders of the Paws and Stripes, a charity that trains adopted dogs and pairs them with veterans at little or no cost. +Continue Reading
Daniel Boone: The Complete Series (50th Anniversary Edition) has just been released on DVD and contains all 165 episodes of the NBC series that ran from 1964–1970 and all through the ‘70s in after-school reruns. Fess Parker starred as the pioneer legend, with pop singer Ed Ames as his Native American sidekick Mingo. +Continue Reading
As anyone associated with the military knows, lying about service is not something to be taken lightly. Veterans will immediately spot falsehoods and call them out. What may be even worse than a civilian faker is a former service member who lies about what he accomplished. Such may be the case with Joseph Teti, a former Marine and Army special operator. Most know him as one of the stars of Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival, a show about outdoor survival. However, to many veterans and former operators, Teti is a veteran who has dishonored the brotherhood. +Continue Reading