Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oscar Oscar Oscars!

In the early 1970’s, television was king and a young playwrite named Neil Simon -fresh off discovering that live theatre provided virtually no cultural enrichment to anyone…ever- wanted in.

While attending (serving at) a lavish Hollywood party, Simon lucked into a chance meeting with a man named Jim Henson. Henson was a puppeteer beginning to take the world by storm and determined to change the way that showbiz felt (FELT! Hah!) about his craft.

The two began to talk and soon discovered they had something in common; they both just knew they had a story to tell but weren’t sure how to break into the business. They decided that the one element they were each missing, was each other.

Neil Simon had to date, only created a single character; a half developed, slovenly man name Oscar Madison from his one man broadway show “The Odd Guy”

Henson on the other hand had created a virtual world filled with colorful characters. Each one more spectacular than the last and filled with more life than even your most realistically built actor. There was one character though that was destined for greatness. A green star in the making who would become as iconic as greats like Mickey Mouse! Bugs Bunny! Even Ed Grimley!! A character that would be forever tied to the legacy of Mr Henson. This character was, of course, Oscar the Grouch.

Simon had always wondered what his dialogue filled production about the interpersonal relationships of a recently divorced man trying to make his way in the world, would have been like with more than just one character…and thought that Henson’s lovable, trash can dwelling grouch might be just the guy to bring balance and stardom to his creation. After some quick television series development -which, as you probably know, is a very quick and smooth process, usually lasting only a matter of hours- A brand new, sure fire hit TV show was born! And on Tuesday September 24, 1974 viewers everywhere caught the very first episode of “The Oscars”

The show began with the following narration:

On November 13, Oscar The Grouch  was asked to remove himself from his place of residence; that request came from Gordon. Deep down, he knew that Gordon was right, but he also knew that some day he would return to his trash can. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his friend, Oscar Madison. Several years earlier, Madison's wife had thrown HIM out, requesting that HE never return. Can a divorced man and a furry green puppet who lives in a trashcan shaped portal to an alternate dimmension share an apartment without driving each other crazy? 

The setup had the potential to be entertainment gold. Two people who’s lives were turned upside down suddenly thrown together. One was a curmudgeonly grump who seemed to prefer living in filth living in his own garbage, who angrily rebuffed any outside attempts to better his hygiene or his attitude…and so was the other one! Could these two identically acting men ever learn to get along?

It turns out they could. They got along perfectly from episode one and their friendship grew as fast as the piles of garbage in their Manhattan apartment. The always bloodthirsty American TV viewers, after realizing that the show presented to drama or conflict whatsoever, soon turned on the show and after only seven episodes, NBC pulled the plug on “The Oscars”

However, out of the ashes a new show would be born. The idea was simple. Take the basic premise…two bachelors living together in a New York apartment. But make them different! One fun loving, one stuffy! One Messy, One Organized! Fill the show with conflict and the ratings would explode!

And explode they did As Burt and Ernie, the Odd Couple finally brought Jim Henson the stardom he was destined for!

Neil Simon, finally realizing that maybe this writing thing just wasn’t for him formed the Simon &Simon detective agency with his lifelong friend and failed musician Paul Simon

While not the respected script master he had hoped to become, Neil Simon had finally achieved happiness. Simon and SImon could often be seen, cruising the streets in their muscle car, solving crimes and blasting the latest single “Bridge Over Regular Water” By Rock Superstar Art Garfunkel! Their adventures were often punctuated by hilariously snappy dialogue, nearly half of which was actually improvised by Neil Simon!

It’s funny sometimes, how life turns out.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A very merry unbirthday to the League!

The league Of Extraordinary Bloggers has been quite a ride. The experience of a lifetime. A real game changer! Seriously though there have been times that it has honestly been the only thing that kept me blogging at all.

I remember when Brian first brought up the idea on Twitter. I had been talking to my fellow bloggers about putting together some kind of blog community with cooperative promotion and so on... It had several names from The Brotherhood of Evil Bloggers to a bunch of names that I can’t remember. Anyway it all fell apart each and every time. egos and attitudes always got in the way untill a hero arose. I was having an awkward conversation with some folks on twitter just after the most recent failure of a bloggers league when Brian walked up all cool and collected (see what I did there?) and said “Friends...I have discovered the secret. A way that bloggers can unite, work together and not get into weird passive aggressive arguments while doing it! Come with me to this land I have forged and join me. Join me!!”

It may not have been exactly like that but you get the idea. A few of us signed up. Then, more people signed up. Then everybody signed up. Everybody in the world! And the history.

I’ve never been a fan of doing list blogs. I know a lot of people love them and they are VERY popular even here in The League. I can never get myself to do a simple list, even when I try it just becomes several small essays instead of one giant one.
My favorite posts have definitely been the ones that inspire the most creativity. EXPECIALLY The one word prompts. The system of reading a prompt and then trying to come up with an fiction etc is actually my favorite way of writing. Just go with what you immediately think of in relation to the prompt and don’t let yourself hesitate just put it all out in words, for better or for worse.

Some Of My Favs:

-Kurt Russell: My Number one favorite!!! From the moment I saw that prompt I knew it was going to lead lots of people to blog gold!!

-Baseball: Just like “Kurt Russell” this post allowed me to go down a ridiculous rabbit hole of writing trying to tie together a completely unrelated chain of events only this time with a different personal favorite icon. Mr Tom Selleck!!

-Sequels!: I really really really enjoyed writing my Monster Squad Revenge! Sequel the point that by the end of it I had to sit down with myself and calmly explain that it was a pretend post and I hadn’t actually been given the rights to write a sequel to Monster Squad...

-Michael Bay: Brian was gracious enough to allow me to “grandfather in” my Michael Bay post “What if Michael Bay turned the children’s book: A Button For Corduroy into a movie?” This was another blast to create and even cooler was one of my comments by Food Junk was actually a hilariously rad sequel to my post! Best blog comment I have EVER received!

-1992: I never realized how big a year this was until I sat down to write the post, from forging the dreams that I’m still chasing to this day, to (more importantly) Meeting the future Mrs Werewolf! it was a heck of a year and an awesome walk down memory lane!!

-True Confessions: My most controversial blog ever and my league post with the most comments (wasn't always a good thing lol) It felt great to get some of that stuff off my chest and take on the entire geek community!

-Mash Up: This is one that I basically just wrote for myself. A Eureeka’s Castle/Evil Dead mashup movie. I never got any comments or feedback for it but it was a BLAST to write!


But Enough about me!! Here are just a few of the gems that I loved throughout my League Experiance.

Life With The Fandom also wrote a Bay post imaging a Bay Bravestarr or “Bay-ve Star” Movie. The result was filled with so much epic potential it made my head explode with joy (I got better)

Geeky Vixen tells of her days as a witch (I mean the halloween costume) a very fun nostalgic piece from a very clever and talented writer. Great photos and a personal essay on her views of Halloween costumes in general. Enjoy!

Fortune and Glory Days to us down an incredibly nostalgic and fun to read walk down memory plank with his Pirates Post!

It was tough to pick a post from ShezCrafti (she is a hilarious writer and just great people in general) but I went off the beaten path and chose her Christmas post where she actually offered to send her devoted followers a REAL LIFE CHRISTMAS PRESENT How cool is that?

A very funny (and in my experience of being around my wife while she is costume crafting) very true depiction of How To DIY a Halloween Costume from a guest blogger on Talk Star Wars To Me!

Finally, Christopher Tupa. If you don’t know who that is, go educate yourself. I honestly don’t know why this guy isnt yet making tons of money from his wicked art skills! If any of my hairbrained schemes ever actually go anywhere and I “make it” I can’t think of many other people I would rather work with (too sentimental?) anyway here is his response to who he would have with him during a Zombie Apocalypse and seriously, check out his art while you’re there!

As far as ideas for future topics go, I definitely have a few!

-Extended cut: What happened right after the closing scene of your favorite movie or tv show season finale? Example: In The Twilight Zone's "Time Enough At Last" We close with our hero surrounded by books and he has just broken his glasses. It's a heartbraking scene for a bibliophile such as myself but in the extended cut the camera pans accross town to a man in similar torment. He is surrounded by pairs of glasses and glasses making equiptment and he wails to the sky "I finally have the time to practice my optometry craft...but no one to make glasses for!!! Why???"

-Master of ONE Universe! If you were suddenly give any intellectual property ever created, which one would you choose and what would be your first project?

-Characters in search of Romance! Create a dating site profile for a famous fictional character. Include responses!

-Once More With Feeling! If you could revive any tv show to make a made for tv movie what would you choose and what would be the plot. Do you want to tie up loose ends left by it's cancellation? Do you just want to see more of these characters?

-The Twilight Zone- Turn a famous film, book or tv show into an episode of The Twilight Zone!


I want to wish The League a very happy birthday and I hope it keeps rocking and rolling for many years to come. And here's to me getting off (or should that be ON) my lazy butt and writing blogs for it more often! See ya in the funny papers guys!

Meanwhile at League of Extraordinary Bloggers headquarters...

Thirty Year Old Boy has some GREAT ideas for future prompts!

That Figures is also a veritable good idea machine!

Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks Paints a nice and humourous picture of his history with the leaque and some ideas for it's fture. Also this is my Favorite Post of the Prompt!