Tidbits - June 27 2019

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



GOOD OLD DAYS

  When I saw all the flashing clocks Friday morning when I got up, I realized the power went out over night.
  When I turned on my TV, I got a “no device attached” screen. It took me ten minutes or so to figure out the input had changed, so I grabbed the remote and changed the input to HDMI 2, and all was right with the world.
  To that television, I have a DVR, a DVD player, and an Amazon Fire Stick attached to the HDMI ports.
  My DVR is “smart” in that is has Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu available.
  If I want to see something on HBO Now or FX Now, I have to change the HDMI setting to use my Fire Stick.
  The Fire Stick remote is connected with Alexa and has a microphone, so I just say, “Alexa, play a Star is Born,” and  an icon immediately pops up for the movie.
  I’m glad I am technologically savvy enough to do all this techno stuff in my old age.
  I do not want to go back to the “good old days,” when the kids were the remote.
  We had to physically get out of our chairs and turn the channel, while saying, “Nobody get my seat.”
  If we wanted to watch a channel in the Greenville-Spartanburg or Augusta areas, we had to go outside and turn the antenna by hand.
  You needed a spotter inside to tell you if the picture was clear, but if you were by yourself, you had to go outside, turn the antenna, run back inside, and if it wasn’t clear, you’d run back outside, turn it some more, and run back in.
  On Friday nights, I made sure the antenna was turned toward Greenville-Spartanburg before it got dark, because “Shock Theater” came on Channel 13 in Asheville at 11:30 that night. I was not going outside to turn the antenna in the dark to watch horror movies.
  “Shock Theater” led to one of my most traumatic moments of my teenage years.
  After watching the “Werewolf,” I had to get up a few hours later to milk.
  In the dark I gingerly made my way to Daddy’s pick-up. An important fact in this story is the last person to drive the truck left the driver’s side window down.
  I got in the truck, which had no interior lights, and stumped on the clutch. What I didn’t know was under the clutch was a cat sleeping on the floorboard, who let out a death curdling scream as it scrambled to escape!
 It wasn’t scrambling to escape any more than I. When I pulled my head out of the headliner, I dove out of the truck. Then I realized I was in the dark, so I got back in.
  From that moment on, I shined a flashlight in the floorboard before I got in that truck in the dark again. I, also, think I started watching the “Tonight Show,” instead of “Shock Theater,” on Friday night after the incident.
  I was six-years-old before our family had a full-time TV. You  have to remember television was still in its infancy stage back then.
  My grandmother, Elizabeth Killingsworth, was a school teacher in Rock Hill, but every summer she would work as the hostess at the Kit Kat Hotel in Myrtle Beach. The hotel was owned by a family friend.
  When Mamama went to the beach, Daddy and one of his brothers, would drive to Rock Hill to get her TV and bring it back to Saluda. We had an antenna, just no full-time TV. When it was time for school to begin, the TV was returned to Rock Hill.
  To be honest, I don’t remember those days without a TV.
  In 1957, we got our first full-time TV, a 19-inch  black and white model in a metal cabinet that would shock you every now and then.
  When I was a high school senior, I went to the Carolina-Duke football game one Saturday, and when I got home my mother was watching the highlights of the game on the news.
  It took me a few seconds to realize she was watching our first color TV!
  I was 17-years-old before I learned when Dorothy landed in Oz, everything turned to color!
  With the new TV came the Channelmaster power antenna. We no longer had to outside. A motor turned the antenna.
  The new TV still did not have a remote control. It was years later before we got one of those.
  My first VCR had a wired remote!
  Kids today have no idea the ordeals my generation faced! Like adults, they can watch TV on a telephone!

WEST SIDE

  I saw where Steven Spielberg is going to remake the movie musical, “West Side Story.”
  Upon seeing that, I realized I had never seen the original 1961 movie. Oh, I’ve seen clips and am familiar with the music, but I’m sure the complete movie had alluded me through all these many years.
  As it happened, Amazon Prime has the movie, so I watched it last week.
  In case you don’t know, “West Side Story” is based on “Romeo and Juliet,” so you know some people you’ve grown to like are going to die!
  While watching an old movie, I like to look up some history on the web.
  Except for Natalie Wood, most of the cast were unknowns. Rita Moreno won a best supporting actress Oscar for her part in the movie and she’s still performing today at 88. The rest of the cast never made it as big stars.
  The producers wanted Elvis Presley to play Tony (Romeo), but his manager, Col. Parker, turned down the part. Would his career have taken a different path?
  Can you imagine the talk had Elvis and Natalie acted together as Romeo and Juliet take-offs and years later they both died tragically in their early 40s.
  Also, considered for the Tony role were Burt Reynolds and Robert Redford.
  Richard Beymer got the Tony role, and he did not do his own singing. Elvis could have definitely handled the singing parts.
  Natalie sang along with her own recorded singing voice during the filming, but her real voice was only used in the final scene when Tony dies and she sings “Somewhere.”
  Yes, Tony dies, spoiler alert. It’s only been 58 years. I told you, Romeo and Juliet. Unlike in Shakespeare, Natalie’s character lives.
  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I generally don’t like remakes.
  In 1961, “West Side Story”  was nominated for 11 Oscars, and won ten, the most by any musical in history. The American Film Institute has named it the second best musical ever made (Singing in the Rain was number one).
  What can Spielberg do to improve on that?
  The new version has already been cast, and it’s filled by people I do not know, except Ansel Elgort, who will play Tony. Unlike the 1961 Tony, he can actually sing.
  Ansel was in “The Fault in Our Stars,” and, as in that movie, he going to die, unless Steve changes “Romeo and Juliet!” He’s Spielberg, so he might!

LEGGETT LEGACY

  Clemson never won a national baseball championship under Jack Leggett, but the coach certainly knows how to hire assistants, like current football coach Dabo.
  Did you know the two teams meeting this year for the NCAA baseball national championship, Vanderbilt and Michigan, are both coached by former Clemson assistants under Leggett?
  Vanderbilt’s Tim Corbin was a longtime Clemson assistant. In 2002, Michigan head coach Erik Bakich was a volunteer assistant at Clemson, and impressed Corbin.
  When Corbin was offered the head coaching job at Vanderbilt, he hired Bakich as an assistant. Now, their two teams are playing for the national title.
  On the Tiger staff with Corbin and Bakich was Ken O’Sullivan, who coached Florida to the national title in 2017. I saw a picture on Twitter of Leggett and his three national title contending coaches.
  That was quite a staff, wouldn’t you say?