All posts by Paul Stroessner

Trivia Tuesday: 12/7/10

Question: Who was the original lead singer for Journey?

Last Question: What was the name of the program that aired on the Disney Channel in the late 80s/early 90s that featured musical performances as an integral part of the plot and show. The show featured pre-Party of Five Scott Wolf and Jennifer Love Hewitt as well as Martika?

Answer: Kids Incorporated

Kids Incorporated (or Kids Inc.) aired in syndication from 1984-1985, then moved to the Disney Channel from 1986-1993. The series revolved around a group of children and teenagers who performed in their own rock group, Kids Incorporated. The band members struggled to deal with issues ranging from child abuse to peer pressure to schoolyard crushes while performing regularly at a local former musical club (now a kid’s a hangout), The P*lace. The members of Kids Incorporated ranged in age from eight to mid-teens. From 1987 to 1988 there were six members of the group; in other seasons, the band always consisted of three girls and two boys. Actors left the series when they “aged out” of their roles as kids. Many of the actors from the series went on to successful careers, such as:
Stacy Ferguson (Fergie)
Martika (1-hit wonder with “Toy Soldiers”)
Mario Lopez (“Saved by The Bell” and “Dancing with the Stars”)
Eric Balfour (24, Haven, Skyline)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Party of Five, The Ghost Whisperer)
Brittany Murphy (Clueless, 8 Mile, King of the Hill)
Scott Wolf (Party of Five)

Here is the theme song from 1986:

Here is Fergie singing “Say You, Say Me”:

And is the gang singing Taylor Dayne’s hit “Tell It To My Heart”:

Ronald Reagan Quote of the Week – 12/6/10

However, our task is far from over. Our friends in the other party will never forgive us for our success, and are doing everything in their power to rewrite history. Listening to the liberals, you’d think that the 1980’s were the worst period since the Great Depression, filled with suffering and despair. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting awfully tired of the whining voices from the White House these days. They’re claiming there was a decade of greed and neglect, but you and I know better than that. We were there.

* Speech at 1994 Gala on his 83rd Birthday February 3, 1994

Captain EO

Well, I could not resist. While in Epcot this past Monday, I found time to go see Captain EO. I actually don’t regret seeing it. Of course, it was no Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Splash Mountain, or Tower of Terror, but it was kind of cute. Some parts were very cool, and some parts were really stupid.
For those of you who may not know, Captain EO is a 3D movie (although I think this is technically a 4D movie), starring Michael Jackson, that was released in the Disney parks in 1986, and ran through the mid-90s.
After Michael Jackson died, as with his music, interest in Captain EO was renewed. Disney reopened Captain EO in Disneyland on February 23, 2010, Disneyland Paris on June 12, 2010, Tokyo Disney on July 1, and in Epcot on on July 2. I’m not sure about the other parks, but the Epcot version replaced the 3D movie “Honey I Shrunk the Audience” (which had replaced Captain EO in the first place).
Captain EO was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and also starred Anjelica Huston, who played the Supreme Leader. Also, George Lucas was the executive producer. The pre-show was the same exact pre-show from 1986. It just basically showed scenes of a very young Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas working, preparing to film the movie. And it showed the secondary characters getting their makeup put on.

**Spoiler Alert – Don’t read the description if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to be spoiled**

The movie tells the story of Captain EO (Michael Jackson) and the ragtag crew of his spaceship on a mission to deliver a gift to “The Supreme Leader”, of a world of rotting, twisted metal and steaming vents.
The movie starts with a space battle, which was the best part in my opinion. You can definitely tell that George Lucas had a major influence on this. And what made this even better was the 4-D experience that I mentioned earlier. As the ship is getting banged around, it feels like you are in the ship because the whole theater shakes and bangs around. It wasn’t like a motion ride, but it was just enough to make it really cool. During this space battle you meet all the characters of Captain EO’s crew. Again, you can tell that Lucas had a hand in this, because you feel like you’ve seen these characters in Star Wars’ Cantina. The crew consists of his small flying sidekick Fuzzball, the double-headed navigator and pilot Idey (Debbie Lee Carrington) and Ody (Cindy Sorenson), robotic security officer Major Domo (Gary Depew), a small robot Minor Domo (who fits like a module into Major Domo), and the Jar-Jar Binks of Captain EO, the clumsy elephant-like shipmate Hooter (Tony Cox).

Separated at Birth?

Hooter from Captain EO

Max Rebo from Star Wars

After Captain EO and the gang wins their battle, they crash land, they are captured and meet the Supreme Leader. This is where the movie kind of falls of the deep end. The Supreme Leader sentences the crew to be turned into trash cans (!), and Captain EO to 100 years of torture in her deepest, darkest dungeon. Before being sent away, Captain EO tells the Supreme Leader that he sees the beauty hidden within her, and that he brings her the key to unlock it: his song, “We Are Here To Change The World”. As he is singing the song, Captain EO is zapping the robot bad guys with beams from his arms and hands, and turns them into human dancers. Although the idea is pretty ridiculous, the effects are awesome – especially for the time that this was created – and the music is great. You actually feel like you’re transported back to the ’80s. There are warriors swing whips, and you can feel them go by you.
Of course, Captain EO transforms all the bad guys, and gets to the Supreme Leader. He zaps her, transforming her into a beautiful woman, her lair into a peaceful Greek temple and the planet into a beautiful place.

A celebration breaks out to “Another Part of Me”, as EO and his crew triumphantly exit and fly off into space.

This was a nice nostalgic trip back to the ’80s. I would recommend seeing this once. I don’t think I would go back over and over, if at all. But it is worth seeing once.

Music Video of the Week: 11/30/10

Since tomorrow is going to be a travel day for me (going from sunny 70-80 degree Florida to freezing my ass off in New England), this week’s video is a day early. Since it’s Christmas season, how about “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid:

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. Geldof put together a group called Band Aid, consisting of leading Irish and British musicians who were among the most popular of the era. The 1984 original became the biggest selling single in UK singles chart history, selling a million copies in the first week alone. It stayed at Number 1 for five weeks. Here is the list of participants:

Adam Clayton (U2)
Phil Collins (Genesis, solo)
Bob Geldof (The Boomtown Rats)
Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet)
Chris Cross (Ultravox)
John Taylor (Duran Duran)
Paul Young
Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17)
Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran)
Simon Crowe (The Boomtown Rats)
Keren Woodward (Bananarama)
Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
Jody Watley (Shalamar)
Bono (U2)
Paul Weller (The Style Council)
James “J.T.” Taylor (Kool & the Gang)
George Michael (Wham!)
Midge Ure (Ultravox)
Martyn Ware (Heaven 17)
John Keeble (Spandau Ballet)
Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
Roger Taylor (Duran Duran)
Sarah Dallin (Bananarama)
Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama)
Pete Briquette (The Boomtown Rats)
Francis Rossi (Status Quo)
Robert ‘Kool’ Bell (Kool & the Gang)
Dennis J. T. Thomas (Kool & the Gang)
Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)
Jon Moss (Culture Club)
Sting (The Police)
Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)
Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran)
Johnny Fingers (The Boomtown Rats)
David Bowie
Boy George (Culture Club)
Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
Paul McCartney
Stuart Adamson (Big Country)
Bruce Watson (Big Country)
Tony Butler (Big Country)
Mark Brzezicki (Big Country)

Trivia Tuesday: 11/30/10

Question: What was the name of the program that aired on the Disney Channel in the late 80s/early 90s that featured musical performances as an integral part of the plot and show. The show featured pre-Party of Five Scott Wolf and Jennifer Love Hewitt as well as Martika.

Last Question: Who was the lead singer of Genesis before Phil Collins stepped into the role?

Answer: Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel founded Genesis in 1967 along with Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, and drummer Chris Stewart. In 1970, Phil Collins answered a Melody Maker classified ad for “…a drummer sensitive to acoustic music, and acoustic twelve-string guitarist” Genesis placed the ad after having already lost three drummers over two albums.

While Gabriel was the lead singer, Genesis became a flamboyant progressive rock band. Gabriel’s stage persona, led to tensions within the band. The breaking point came with the difficult pregnancy of Gabriel’s wife, Jill, and the subsequent birth of their first child, Anna. When he opted to stay with his sick daughter and wife, rather than record and tour, the resentment from the rest of the band led Gabriel to conclude that he had to leave the group. “Solsbury Hill”, Gabriel’s début single as a solo artist, was written specifically about his departure from Genesis. The song also charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978, reaching the Top 70, though it was recorded in 1976, and appeared on the ‘Car’ album in 1977.

Gabriel went on to further solo success with his groundbreaking music video for “Sledgehammer”, as well as the song “Big Time”, and my favorite Peter Gabriel song – “In Your Eyes”, which was featured in the movie Say Anything…

R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen (February 11, 1926 – November 28, 2010)

“Shirley” he will be missed. But don’t call him Shirley! Leslie Nielsen, star of the great ’80s comedies Airplane! and Naked Gunmovies passed away yesterday at the age of 84. Nielsen died of complications of pneumonia in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, surrounded by family and friends, a family statement said.

Early in his career, Leslie Nielsen was a great serious actor. He got raves for his roles in the science fiction movie Forbidden Planet (1956) and disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

But it was his role as Dr. Rumack in Airplane! that shot Nielsen up to superstardom. He then starred as Lt. Frank Drebin in the short-lived comedy, “Police Squad.” The show failed but it inspired the creative team behind it to make a big screen version with The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. The movie was so successful, that there were 2 sequels, Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.

Unfortunately, this also spawned off some other slapstick comedies that paled in comparison such as, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Spy Hard and Wrongfully Accused.

Nielsen had been ill for over a week, getting treatment for a staph infection in a hospital in Fort Luaderdale when he contracted the pneumonia. His nephew, Doug Nielsen, confirmed the rumors of his uncle’s death by a call-in to a Manitoba radio station, CJOB on Sunday stating that “today at 5:30, with his friends and his wife, Barbaree, by his side, he just fell asleep and passed away.”

Nielsen is survived by Barbaree Nielsen, his fourth wife, and his two daughters, Thea and Maura, whom the actor had with his second wife, Sandy Ullmann.

Music Video of the Week: 11/24/10

Today’s selection is a clue to where I am this week, “Mickey” by Toni Basil:

“Mickey” was one of the most popular early MTV videos. In the video, Basil wore her head cheerleader uniform from Las Vegas High School from which she graduated. During an interview on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of The 80’s”, Basil revealed that she still owns the same cheerleader sweater she wore in the video. The song reached #1 for one week. In 2003, VH1 ranked “Mickey” Number 6 on its list of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the ’80s.

Trivia Tuesday: 11/23/10

Question: Who was the lead singer of Genesis before Phil Collins stepped into the role?

Last Question: At the end the Cheers Thanksgiving episode “Thanksgiving Orphans”, who gets hit in the face with a pie?

Answer: Vera (Norm’s Wife)

In my opinion, this Cheers episode, “Thanksgiving Orphans” was one of the best ever. It aired on November 27, 1986. Thanksgiving is approaching, but only Diane (Shelley Long) has made plans to celebrate the holiday. So that no one will be left out of the festivities, Carla impulsively invites the Cheers gang to dinner at her place. Much to her dismay, Diane ends up coming to their dinner. Then Norm is cooking the worlds largest turkey, and it takes an extremely long time to cook. While the gang is impatiently waiting, one of the greatest food fights ensues. Things calm down afterwards. Then Norm’s wife, Vera, (who the audience has never seen) shows up. But the audience still doesn’t see her since Diane throws a pie, and it lands on Vera’s face!
Here is the last (and best) part of the episode:

Ronald Reagan Quote of the Week – 11/22/10


America has much for which to be thankful. The unequaled freedom enjoyed by our
citizens has provided a harvest of plenty to this nation throughout its history.
In keeping with America’s heritage, one day each year is set aside for giving
thanks to god for all of His blessings.

On this day of thanksgiving, it is appropriate that we recall the first
thanksgiving, celebrated in the autumn of 1621. After surviving a bitter winter,
the Pilgrims planted and harvested a bountiful crop. After the harvest they
gathered their families together and joined in celebration and prayer with the
native Americans who had taught them so much. Clearly our forefathers were
thankful not only for the material well-being of their harvest but for this
abundance of goodwill as well.

In this spirit, Thanksgiving has become a day when Americans extend a helping
hand to the less fortunate. Long before there was a government welfare program,
this spirit of voluntary giving was ingrained in the American character.
Americans have always understand that, truly, one must give in order to receive.
This should be a day of giving as well as a day of thanks.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in 1981, we should reflect on the full meaning of
this day as we enjoy the fellowship that is so much a part of the holiday
festivities. Searching our hearts, we should ask what we can do sass individuals
to demonstrate our gratitude to God for all He has done. Such reflection can
only add to the significance of this precious day of remembrance.

Let us recommit ourselves to that devotion to God and family that has played
such an important role in making this a great Nation, and which will be needed
as a source of strength if we are to remain a great people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do
hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 1981, as Thanksgiving Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of November, in
the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-one, and of the Independence of
the United States of America the two hundred and sixth.