Sunday, April 27, 2008

How 'Dallas' Won the Cold War

I barely remember this series and I became a fan much later on when this show aired on the network now called SpikeTV when they used to be TNN (The Nashville Network). Anyway apparently this show played a role in beating back Communism in the 1980s...

Let us now pause in somber tribute to the 30th anniversary of a momentous -- and shockingly unremembered -- turning point in the long twilight struggle between communism and capitalism. An event every bit as important as the Nixon-Khrushchev Kitchen Debate, Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down this Wall" speech and Yakov Smirnoff's defection to the West.

We write, of course, about the debut of "Dallas," the 13-year soap opera that shook the world.

Yes, April 1978 was the first time our nation turned its lonely eyes to Southfork Ranch, the winningly diabolical genius of J.R. Ewing (as played by Larry Hagman) and Victoria Principal's high-waisted pantsuits. It was the booze-and-sex-soaked caricature of free enterprise and executive lifestyles that proved irresistible not just to stagflation-weary Americans but viewers from France to the Soviet Union to Ceausescu's Romania.

"Dallas" wasn't simply a television show. It was an atmosphere-altering cultural force. Lasting nearly as long as recovering alcoholic Larry Hagman's second liver, it helped define the 1980s as a glorious "decade of greed," ushering in an era in which capitalism became cool, even though weighted with manifold moral quandaries. Beginning with the famous "Who Shot J.R.?" cliffhanger at the end of Season Two, "Dallas" was either the highest or second-highest rated show in the United States for a half-decade, showing up in Abba songs and Ozzy Osbourne videos, spinning off the mega-hit "Knots Landing" and inspiring such book-length academic analysis as French academic Florence Dupont's "Homère et 'Dallas': Introduction à une Critique Anthropologique."

After a long hip parade of unironic countercultural icons such as Luke of "Cool Hand Luke" and Randle Patrick McMurphy of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Dallas" created a new archetype of the anti-hero we loved to hate and hated to love: an establishment tycoon who's always controlling politicians, cheating on his boozy wife and scheming against his own stubbornly loyal family. But no matter how evil various translators tried to make J.R. and his milieu ("Dallas, you merciless universe!" ran the French lyrics added to the wordless theme song), viewers in the nearly 100 countries that gobbled up the show, including in the Warsaw Pact nations, came to believe that they, too, deserved cars as big as boats and a swimming pool the size of a small mansion.

Read the whole thing! Via Instapundit.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Matrix Brothers to open a studio in Chicago

From the Sun-Times today...
The reclusive Wachowski brothers, two of Chicago's creative sons best known for their Matrix movies, have found an equally unassuming North Side spot to edit their projects.

City officials say a post-production studio will open in what has been known as the Ravenswood Studio, 5645 N. Ravenswood, just north of Bryn Mawr.

Late last year, Andy and Larry Wachowski, who grew up in Beverly Hills -- the South Side neighborhood -- approached Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th) about the vacant North Side building in his ward.

"Actually, they came in to see me. [They] wanted to talk about what their plans were and that there were no impediments or prohibitions to putting it there," O'Connor said.

"They did say that they had had a fairly good search going on and this place fit their needs very well, and that they wanted to be in Chicago and on the North Side in general. . . . They said they loved the idea of doing work in Chicago and being in Chicago, and that was enough for me," he said.

"I did ask for a small part in one of their upcoming projects, but I don't think that will happen," the alderman quipped.

The brothers couldn't be reached for comment. But the city's building department records show that permits were pulled in recent months for interior renovations, a new roof, roof-mounted equipment and window replacement, according to agency spokesman Bill McCaffrey.

It is not clear whether the Wachowskis were able to use the studio -- where crews continue to work -- to finish their upcoming film "Speed Racer," an update of the 1960s cartoon out next month.
Perhaps Chicago can be a media mecca of sorts as New York and LA are at this moment.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I don't know how this is possible

I didn't think this blog could be anywhere near post-grad, but then some of these trinkets online doesn't always reflect the quality of the content. lol!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Another film on the needs list

Cooley High.

I don't think I have ever seen this movie all the way thru. Just now on Turner Classic Movies, a channel I don't normally get at home, I saw the last two or three scenes of this movie. The one actor you might know from this film is Lawrence Jacob Hilton who many of you might know from Welcome Back Kotter.

Anyway, this movie was set in 1960s Chicago. I started paying attention when I saw a scene on the Chicago L. Dude was on the train with some girl and then he tells her that he had to get off the train. He's frantically trying to find his buddy it turns out.

Just one this, his buddy was getting beaten by some thugs. Beaten within an inch of his life literally. The number 1 thugs kicks him telling him to get up, but then realizes this "turkey" ain't gettin' up. After the other two hoodlums run away so does the number 1 thug. And dude finds his friend, the beating occurred under some dark L tracks.

Anyway I don't want give away too much of the ending. But I enjoyed the retro (at least for that time) soundtrack full of 1960's MoTown hits. Well this film was based in the 1960s. Surely this movie was a departure from 1970s blaxploitation.

If I don't find this film, perhaps you will!