December 30, 2006

U.S.S. Enterprise ornament

Received a new Hallmark (click on the link to find a short video of it "in action") ornament this year:

Too bad they sold out of this one:

Check out this short video. I'm transfixed by it.

Elvis, '73

Candid Central has a few "new" pictures of Elvis, backstage at an Atlanta concert on June 29, 1973. Then Governor Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn were there, too. Strangely enough, the majority of the pictures feature just Elvis and Rosalynn.....

December 29, 2006

"Circle of Life"

Combining Hamlet, Bible stories of Joseph and Moses, and their own Bambi (1942), The Lion King (1994) was at the time of its release the culmination of the Disney animation team's fifty-plus years of experience and hard work.

I remember reading a review back in 1994 in which the reviewer pointed out how The Lion King was the first cartoon to accomplish this foreground/background focus shift effect.

And in an era of computer-animated films, it is doubtful Disney will return to creating such types of work any time soon.

I was fortunate enough to see the Broadway production back in 1999. Anyone who has seen it knows how during the opening number ("Circle of Life"), every square inch of the theater is used - every aisle, every balcony - thereby knocking down that "fourth wall," and intermingling audience with performers.
The result was a genuinely moving and transcendent moment I shall not soon forget. Obviously, the Broadway production was competing with and trying to accomplish what the animated film was able to achieve.

The "Circle of Life" segment, alone, qualifies The Lion King as a masterpiece. If you aren't moved by it, you may already be dead, so check your pulse:

The Lion King reference in The Simpsons "Round Springfield" episode

December 28, 2006

"Stay out of the cradle, nose!"

Phil Hartman as Sinatra in the Saturday Night Live parody of the Duets album (here's the transcript):

While Sinatra was well known for allowing his film directors only one take, he was a bit more of a perfectionist when it came to recording music. But by '93, he was probably a bit like he's portrayed: "Okay, cut it, print it and ship it - I'm buying that one!" I know he was reported to have said out loud in the studio while recording Duets: "Why are we doing this one (any of the songs, which he had already recorded and sung for years) again?"

Giving it to Bozo

Obviously, the meeting between Frank and Becca's favorite guy went a whole lot better than portrayed:

Previously: "The Sinatra Group"


Athens, Texas ( 73 miles SE of Dallas), is the Henderson County Seat.

The Henderson County Historical Museum is housed in the l896 Faulk-Gauntt Building. the second floor of the museum is a recreation of a turn-of-the-century law office, parlor, bedroom, bath, kitchen, and schoolroom.

Henderson County Jail

This building has one of the nicest murals I've seen. To Lady Justice's right is Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956), and to her left is Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).

The quote is from Proverbs 22: 22, 23: " Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them." And bonus points for the old Jim Garrett ghost sign! Around the corner, on the other side of this building is much less pleasant, modern advertising:

December 27, 2006

"Don't Let Me Down"

"Don't Let Me Down"

From 1969 on to the end, except for parts of Abbey Road, it was very rare to see or hear The Beatles as they might have been in Hamburg or Liverpool (with the addition of Billy Preston on organ) - rocking like no other band could:

How cool would it have been to be walking around the financial district of London on that cold, winter day (January 30, 1969)?! London swings - one last time.
The echo must have been tremendous. I love how together they seem (they were supposed to be "getting back" after all) and the way Ringo cracks up after John flubs that line. George's green pants are pretty gear, too.

December 24, 2006

Natchitoches (NAK-uh-tush)

Natchitoches, Louisiana, is the sister city of Nacogdoches. It was originally a French colony, established in 1714. It's about 120 miles east of Nac. Once there, I headed straight for the thirty-three block Historic District.

Front Street

100 year old Exchange Bank, one of Louisiana's oldest banks

Down along the Cane River, each lamppost (of which there were several) had two speakers through which holiday music was piped in. It was surreal but wonderful.

Great old buildings on Church Street (perpendicular to Front Street):

Church of the Immaculate Conception - The history of the church dates back to the very early 1700s. The present church at Church and Second Streets was built in 1857 and completed in 1892.

The Old Courthouse building, which now houses the Old Courthouse Museum, is an example of a style labeled Richardsonian Romanesque. Popular between 1880-1900, the style contained characteristics such as rough-faced masonry, heavy rounded arches and towers. It was constructed in 1896.

On the corner across the street from both the Church of the Immaculate Conception and the Old Courthouse building, the Central Fire Station sits in lime green, Art Deco indifference.

I almost drove right past the house used in Steel Magnolias.

L.H. Johnson Wholesale Sales Co. - still in business as a tobacco wholesaler.