Category Archives: TV

Ten things I’m thinking….


1. Van Morrison is singing better than ever, this proves it.

2. Cerphe’s Up should be on every music lover’s bookshelf.

3. We need John Lennon today more than ever.

4. It’s scary times when elected officials, especially Congress, are more afraid of the President than the power of the people.

5. The half hour black and white Gunsmoke episodes are better than the full hour color episodes.

6. Saturday morning cartoons suck. I’m so happy I grew up with Hanna-Barbara and Warner Brothers toons.

7. The new Tarzan movie was great and critics are wrong most of the time.

8. Jim Gaffigan, Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer and Conan O’Brien have never made me laugh.

9. The Beatles could have thrown their careers away in 1964 when the refused to play America’s segregated venues, instead they changed the world.

10. The bottom line is not money, it’s people.

If I owned…


If I owned a TV Network

Primetime would start at 7pm, I know it would put Pat Sajak and Steve Harvey out of some work but shit, they got enough.

Any writer submitting an evil twin or doppelgänger script would be immediately fired and that goes for goofy-ass time travel, too.

A Western and a Star Trek series would always be on the schedule, it’s my network right?

We would do an hour-a-week of classic Warner Bros and Hanna-Barbara cartoons,  uncut dammit. Frying pans, eye balls bulging out of the sockets and the Coyote getting’ his ass flailed while consistently trying to kill RoadRunner, hell every kid needs to see that shit. Hell, I need to see that shit!

The only reality show would be The Kardashians Krumble and a show that follows that TMZ ass around all day with a camera asking him stupid inappropriate questions.

Finally this cat below would never ever be an actor on any show on the network. He may be a fine guy and a good actor but … never mind I just can’t stand him.


If I owned a Rock Radio Station

I would have Cerphe as my only radio personality.

The only musical mandates would be, Foreigner and Styx are never to be played. Hotel California, Dream On, Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Free Bird, Turn The Page, Good Ol’ Rock n Roll, Black Water, Satisfaction, The Joker, Another One Bites The Dust and More Than A Feeling are off the playlist.

You would hear more 50’s and early 60’s stuff, more Dylan, more Elvis, more The Band, more Kiss, more Beatles and early British invasion, more prog rock, more singer/songwriters and only the good new rock, which face it aint much, so it will be heavy on the classic shit but with…wait for it… deeper tracks.

Did I say no Foreigner and Styx?

Top Cat was the top night cartoon for me.


Today with The Simpsons, Family Man and loads of cable cartoon fare, it’s normal to have cartoons on during prime time. But when I was a kid, OK when I was a young kid, prime time cartoons were very rare. As a matter of fact, I can only remember three, all by the Hanna-Barbera studio. (Note here: H-B studios ruled the mornings and after school hours with Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Auggie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Pixie and Dixie and Jinx and a host of others. I grew to love Warner Brothers’ Toons but I was a H-B loyalist) Oh yea, the three nighttime toons were The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Top Cat.

It is not as well known as its two evening cohorts but it is by far my favorite. In 1961 and 1962, Wednesday nights at 8:30 on Channel 7, ABC, you could find me glued to our old black and white Zenith singing along with the theme song.

Top Cat and his gang, Fancy-Fancy, Spook, Benny the Ball, Brain, and Choo Choo, lived in Hoagy’s Alley in Manhattan. They were always trying a new scheme to raise some money, find a new place to live and even get a meal. These schemes were not always on the up and up and usually crossed paths with Officer Dibble. Dibble was their main foil but you knew deep inside they all cared about each other. He even took the boys in during a real cold spell and cartoon hilarity ensued.

I think the reasons I love Top Cat so much was that it was so different at that time. It took place in a real American city, using New York’s backdrop as a character. It was totally urban, something foreign to a country boy. The characters had an edge to them, they were not all warm and fuzzy, they had an Our Gang/Bowery Boys grit to them. Every character had a distinct tone that was consistent from episode one to thirty. And it was funny without playing down to  kids.  It did not rely solely on visual slapstick, even today it holds up.

So, if you love the old cartoons or you spend a lot of time watching TV with your young children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, and you find today’s cartoon insipid, stupid, boring and crass, I recommend you put a little T.C. on the menu. I bet you even watch it while they’re asleep.

You can find a number of episodes on YouTube and the full DVD collection is available here.  After all he is the leader of the gang.


The Andy Griffith Show and Me






I’ve been meaning to write this love letter for awhile, the passing of Andy Griffith pushed me to the keyboard. I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS). It was a must see in our house. We all loved the antics of that Mayberry crowd and it remains a favorite of my Mom’s today.

If you know me, then you know that the show is ingrained in my humor, hell I can recite most episodes by heart. Note here: My love for TAGS is deep, but the color episodes do not resonate with me. And it’s not just the loss of Don Knotts and Barney, it is the loss of authenticity. I think the characters moved into caricatures of themselves and became stereotypical urbanite visions of small town folk.

This deep love did not manifest itself until college. Every weekday at 5pm a few of us met in my room to watch TAGS. The few became almost 20 people by year’s end. I smile now to think what the other residents of the dorm thought was going on in that room, with the laughter and noise emanating out from it like clockwork daily. If they only knew that we were reveling in the antics of Ange, Barn, Otis, Floyd, Rafe Hollister, Ernest T. Bass…well I don’t know what they would think, but I bet our cool factor would’ve taken on a little heat.

My wife and daughter were forced to watch TAGS. We had one TV and every night at 6pm on WTTG channel 5, no matter what the news, we watched Andy. When we finally had cable, Super Station WTBS made their early bones on TAGS and I was an orthopedist of grand scale. Today both my wife and Morgan know almost as much about the show as I do, and can recite a line when an opportunity for it presents itself. Hell, Tammy traveled with me to Mt. Airy, North Carolina to a TAGS convention. There I met many of the actors, writers and producers. We toured the downtown and ate a pork sandwich at The Snappy Lunch, visited the original Floyd’s Barbershop, nope I did not partake of any of their services, and had an unforgettable weekend with my favorite characters and places come to life. My wife may not agree with that assessment but she allows me to include her in my wonderment.

TAGS rings true to me because I grew up in a Mayberry. Leesburg Virginia in the 1960’s and early 70’s had a lot in common with that fictional town. Neighbors knew and loved their neighbors. There wasn’t a door I could not have knocked on for help or comfort. Pleasures were parades and bike riding, playing in the dirt, grabbing a soda at Edwards Drugstore or a grape “tiny” from Whitmore’s Store, a frozen Snickers from Atwell’s store and a comic book at Drug Fair. We didn’t have Floyd the Barber but we had Big Jim Fitzgerald (bowl 1, 2 or 3). We didn’t have Ernest T. but we had Welby. As I grow older I recapture those moments of small town life in the black and white images flickering on the screen and it makes me feel connected to my past, and it reminds me of the loved ones here and too soon gone.

TAGS also taught me about the real art of fiction and great writing, that the beauty of the work is in the details. One episode Andy and Barney are sitting on the front porch talking about Barney’s parents’ upcoming anniversary. Andy asks him what is he going to get them. Barney replies that he’s going all out this year, he’s getting them a new septic tank, to which Andy says “You’re a good son, Barney.” That small exchange doesn’t push the plot forward, it just deepens the characters and deepens your love for them. By today standards that small dialogue would not make it into the script. I don’t know Jerry or George or Kramer, I laugh at them but I don’t know them. I know Barney and Andy, their richness was written into the matrix of the show along with all the characters.

I’ll close this rambling with my favorite vignette from TAGS, it is from the episode “The Loaded Goat”. Hudge has come to Mayberry for some shopping, this time he decided to bring his pet goat Jimmy with him, Jimmy doesn’t get to town much. Unbeknown to Hudge, Jimmy has put the whole town in danger by eating a whole bunch of dynamite which he found in a shed in the back of the dry goods store. Upon hearing from Andy and Barney about Jimmy’s endeavor, Hudge looks at the goat, shakes his head and says: “Aint that just like him, come to Town and try to do everything.”

No better way to see than when you want to.