Monday, May 26, 2014

Mad Men Season 7 epi 7 Waterloo

Bert Cooper singing The Best Things in Life Are Free
Last night was the mid season finale of the final season of Mad Men and it did not disappoint. Many story lines where tied up and another fresh start was secured for our boy Don Draper. All of this was anchored with the historic moon landing. It was one of those rare episodes where we get to see all the shows main characters develop simultaneously.

Things start out pretty scary with Ted taking Sunkist on a flight that it looks like he's not too interested whether they ever come back from. Telling them that if the astronauts don't make it all their troubles will be through. He really is off the deep end, wandering into to bleakest Don territory.

Lou  has a fit that SC&P lost the Commander cigarette account, worried that all the reputation he built up before coming to their firm will be squander and Cutler tells him they don't owe him anything and he's a hired hand. Looks like he's on his way out. Then Cutler, without consulting the other partners, decides to serve Don breach of contract papers for his Commander Cigarettes stunt. Don has a more successful fit of his own bringing all the partners together to vote on it immediately. Don wins by one vote, his own. Cutler voted for himself and Ted and shocker Joan votes to send Don packing. Benedict Joan as Roger later says.

The shock of the finale was the passing of Bert Cooper who dies watching the moon landing with his housekeeper. I couldn't help but be reminded of his line when Ms. Blankenship died about her being born in a barn and dying on the 23 (?) floor of a Manhattan skyscraper. She was an Astronaut.(Something like that)

Don knows he is hanging on by a thread even with the vote, but when Bert Cooper dies he thinks all is lost. In a rare selfless act he tell Peggy that she should now do the Burger Chef pitch so that when he is gone the business will be unequivocally hers. Peggy is terrified at the prospect but nails it in the room.

Roger takes his final conversation with Bert to heart and becomes the leader they all need and works out a deal with McCann to protect his team, as Bert told him a leader does. After Don convinces Ted, who really just wants to curl up in a ball and die, The deal is made with even Cutler voting for it. They will all be very rich selling their share to McCann and Roger will be the King.

The final scene finds Don imagining the ghost of Bert doing the above pictured musical number The Best Things In Life Are Free. Funny advice from a man whose greatest pleasure seemed to come from really expensive art, to a guy who is about the be a multimillionaire. But maybe this is setting up Don for the completion of this last season. Will he be able to create real connection with his kids and co workers? We'll have to wait till next year to find out.

There was so much in last night episode so stay tuned for more details on tonight's Mad Men Podcast Or join us live at 9PMet/6PMpt

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Enter @Omaze Drawing To Be In #StarWarsEpVII

Omaze has another insanely fabulous fan experience drawing! They have teamed up with JJ Abrams, and Disney to launch Star Wars Force For Change to help the most vulnerable children around the world with UNICEF Innovation Labs. As little as $10 gives you a chance to be in the next Star Wars film and at the same time help UNICEF help these children.

Here's how you can enter for a chance to be in the next STAR WARS.

Fans can contribute directly at for a chance to appear in Star Wars: Episode VII. For each $10 contribution made through the Omaze fundraising platform, eligible participants will be automatically entered for a chance to win this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The campaign runs from 12:01am PST on May 21stth until 11:59pm PST July 18th.

The Star Wars: Force for Change Grand Prize includes:
  • Airfare and accommodations to London for one winner and a guest
  • Behind-the-scenes access on the closed set of Star Wars: Episode VII as VIP guests of J.J. Abrams
  • Winner will have the opportunity to meet members of the cast
  • Winner and their guest will then be transformed by makeup and costume teams into a Star Wars character and filmed for a scene in Star Wars: Episode VII
Here's JJ with the video announcement of the campaign. You can also visit the Omaze site for all the details

For free entry: send post card to Sponsor at PO Box 3190, 1217 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, California 90408

May The Force Be With You!

This just in!

From now through this Friday (June 6th), anyone who contributes just $10 or more to the Star Wars: Force for Change campaign to benefit UNICEF Innovation Labs and programs will ALSO be automatically entered for the chance to win a second once-in-a-lifetime experience, an exclusive trip for 2 to Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mad Men Season 7 Epi 6 The Strategy

A great episode of Mad Men last night. It was good to see Bob Benson and Trudy again. AMC had teased that there would be some old faces and though I had hoped for Sal, this was good too.

I felt like the episode was about loyalty and all the allegiances that have been made over the last 10 years. Pete is loyal to Don, bringing him into the Burger Chef pitch. Don is loyal to Harry for his loyally reporting to him about the cigarette account and votes for Harry to make partner. Bob loyally keeping Bill Hartly's secret and bailing him out. And on and on.

I was happy to see Joan turn down Bob Benson's offer an "arrangement" marriage. Is it possible she has actually realized that love is the goal in a relationship. I am concerned about her mother's line about her disappearing. As I have said many times Joan has some secret respiratory malady, if she is losing weight it may be something other than a diet. I'm guessing we are being set up for something in the final half of this last season.

I loved the scene with Don and Peggy working on the new Burger Chef campaign. They are both in the same boat with their fear that they have wasted their lives building nothing for no one. But if nothing else they do have each other. The two of them having a very father/daughterly dance to Sinatra's My Way couldn't have been more perfect. "regrets I've had a few" check "I did it my way" check.

Stay tuned for tonight's taping of The Mad Men Podcast or join us live at 5pt/8et

Until then here's the number If They Could See Me Now from Sweet Charity, Bonnie and Pete are watching on the plane before they join the mile high club. They bit they show is around 4:06. Again a very apropos song for our characters.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

PBS Annual Meeting

Cookie and Me

Last week I was invited to spend a few days in San Francisco with PBS at their annual meeting. I was joined by 25 or so of my fellow PBS Kids VIPS. A great bunch of family bloggers who love the amazing educational and fun programming PBS Kids produces. We got the opportunity to see some of our old favorites, like Sesame Street's Cookie Monster and some new shows on the horizon for young and old. Here are just two I'm particularly looking forward to!

PBS' Odd Squad
PBS will debut a new live action show ODD SQUAD November 26th. Designed to help 5-8 year olds learn math, the show focuses on two young agents, Olive and Otto, who are part of an agency whose mission is to come to the rescue whenever something "odd" happens. I think everyone will enjoy the ubiquitous grouchy chief depicted by the young actress in the foreground of the above picture. You haven't been yelled at till you've been yelled at by someone holding a juice box and in the middle of building a Popsicle house.

Ken Burns and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (Photo Courtesy PBS)
Lastly, I want to share everyone's favorite documentarian's next PBS production Ken Burns' THE ROOSEVELTS: An Intimate History. This will be a 14 hour exploration of the life of Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt's lives. Franklin and Eleanor's granddaughter, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, joined us at the PBS annual meeting (and gave us all goosebumps at her resemblance to her grandmother). While Anna didn't know either Franklin or Teddy she did have lovely stories about the attention her grandmother, Eleanor, gave her.THE ROOSEVELTS will air it's first episode September 14th.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mad Men Season 7 Episode 5 The Runaways

Last night's episode of Mad Men The Runaways was so busy, even if we only saw a handful of our characters they were all up to so much. We also got to see a character we've been talking about but haven't seen in a long time.

First off there is Lou Avery's comic book or strip or whatever that was about Scout the inept recruit. When he defended it mentioning Under Dog written by Danser Fitzgerald's Chet Stover, it reminded me of Pete's effort to be a writer like Ken several seasons ago. Though I think Pete was trying to be arty and I think Lou just covets the extra income. Still it allowed the boys in the art department ample material for their boyish camaraderie. Unfortunately, for Stan it may have left him in the dog house with Lou.

Don seems to have made peace with Peggy and is doing the work to climb back up the latter of respectability. I wonder how long Meredith is going to last as his secretary, after that dictation scene, where he first spells a word for her and then feels it necessary to tell her he spelled it so she would know how to spell it and don't spell it out in her typing. YIKES!

Sadly this episode marks what we all have know was coming for Ginsberg for a long time, almost since the character was introduced, his totally schizophrenic break. I hope that they will somehow keep his character in the show. Although, if wetting your pants gets you fired, I'd imagine cutting off a nipple is a pretty permanent farewell at SC&P. I doubt anyone was surprised to see his exit on a gurney. Stan was sweet to go down in the elevator with him and I, for one, think this will bring Stan and Peggy closer together. Peggy who is spending her Saturday night watching TV with the kid neighbor from upstairs.

Calling in from the left coast we find Stephanie, Anna Draper's niece, calling Don for help. She is very pregnant and dirty. Don is happy to help and sends her off to Megan (FYI it would be a very strenuous walk from the Capitol Records Building to Laurel Canyon). Megan on the other hand is very threaten and sends her packing with a hefty check for $1000. Megan continues to seem less than confident at her party when Don doesn't notice her dancing with another man. Finally after the party is over Megan arranges a three way to get Don's attention. Even there she has to convince him. I'm still expecting to see Megan offed by the Manson Family any episode. I wonder if Don will notice?

Betty and Henry seem to really be struggling, Betty and Sally get to have one of their touching mother/daughter shouting matches, and Bobby wants to runaway. Also Don gets a tip from Harry Crane, of all people, that may save his job at SC&P but I'll save all that for tonight's Mad Men Podcast which we'll tape tonight at 5pt/8et join us at Mad Men Podcast Live.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Million Dollar Arm is BaseBolly

Million Dollar Arm Opens May 16th

Million Dollar Arm opens May 16th. It's the true story of JB Bernstein played by Jon Hamm, who is a sports agent who can't sign an athlete and is about to lose his agency. In a last desperate attempt to save himself he hatches a plan to run a televised competition show in India to find an undiscovered possible baseball star in the cricket crazed country.

The Real JB Bernstein, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel

With supporting cast Alan Arkin as his scout, the two manage to find two likely suspects (Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal) and bring them to America to begin training. The film is mostly about the journey of JB from heartless business guy to sensitive nurturer. Even though we've all seen this premise, when done right it always works and this is just one of those cases.

This is a great feel good movie and good for the whole family.

I would love to see another film that focus' on Rinku and Dinesh's characters. While we do get to get a feel for their lives, we really don't get too in depth and now I'm curious. It could be called BaseBolly. Feel free to use that, should any film producers be reading this.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mad Men Season 7 Episode 4 The Monolith

Mad Men Season 7 Episode 4 The Monolith was a really mysterious episode. To begin with when Don first arrives at work and finds the place deserted, as though the entire staff had been evaporated by aliens, leaving phones off the hook. I actually thought he was dreaming until he heard the voices upstairs.

It turns out the entire staff had been yanked from their desk to hear about Harry Crane's new computer that would be replacing their Creative Lounge. We are also introduced to Lease Tech the company that will be installing the computer room and it's owner Lloyd Hawley.

Immediately the tension between creative and the computer is felt. Mathis bemoans the loss of the lounge as being what "made this place unique". Ginsberg yells into the void that they can't be erased. When Harry tries to sooth Don with "this is not symbolic" Don retorts "No it's quite literal." Don asks Hawley, who is replacing more human his company or IBM. The message is clear Man Vs. Machine.

Then I googled Monolith. At the risk of having trash heaved at me from my classic film circle, I will now admit I have never watched 2001:A Space Odyssey. But it turns out, now that I've read a film synopsis, that this episode is largely pulling from that film. The film is about these big black monoliths that have effected mans development. Teaching them to use tools as cavemen and on from there. Several lines from the film are used throughout this episode.

Which is how I know Lloyd Hawley is a bad guy. In 2001 HAL is a bad computer on a space ship who is killing off all his astronauts and blaming it on "human error" just like Lloyd does with his lighter to Don. There is also Don and Lloyds talk about the fear of tech and Lloyd's comments about it being "Godlike to possess infinite knowledge" through mastering computers. Sounds a bit like the snake and the tree of knowledge to me.

In other stories Pete gets a new account Burger Chef and Peggy gets to be head of creative on it. The good news bad news is she gets $100 a week raise and she has to have Don on her team. Don has been sitting around for 3 weeks twiddling his thumbs and I think the partners want to give him as a hard as a time as possible. He gave them all the worst time and if he wants to return he is going to have to be cleansed by fire (earlier reference to evil and the bible intended)

Of course, Don does not like this one bit. First lashing out by throwing his typewriter at his window, then just leaving for the weekend early, then he tries to change the conversation by bring in a new client and is shut down by Bert, and as his final act of aversion, he gets drunk. Fortunately, he sees Lane's Mets pennant and decides to call Freddy to go to a game. Freddy shows up and gets Don out of the office without anyone realizing he's wasted. With the possible exception of Lloyd Hawley who he more or less calls the devil on his way out the door.

Joan and Peggy have one of their pow wows, that we all love. Discussing Don and the partners. Peggy telling Joan that she can't make Don do his assignment and wondering what the motives were of the partners, putting them together on this account, other than to see which of them would survive the test. Joan assures her that Don is not up to his full powers as a partner and that in all probability the partners had not given it that much thought. The old, don't worry what others are thinking of you because they're not.

Our third story line bring us to the Sterling Clan. Roger's daughter Margaret has abandoned her family and gone to live in a commune (that looks suspiciously like Don Drapers early childhood home). Mona and Roger go up to try to convince her to return to her family, but she refuses. When they try to play the mother card on her she throw it back at them. First confronting Mona with her apparent hiding in the bathroom with a 1/5 of gin. That's all Mona needs to hear and she leaves. Roger stays and tries to finesse the situation. But in the end says she needs to go home and take care of her son. Margaret asks him if he had any problem leaving her and having his secretary buy her birthday gifts. Roger has no answer and also sulks off.

At the end of the episode we find Freddy waking Don with coffee and giving him a tongue lashing for getting drunk and encourages him to quit drinking. Don resists but Freddy is persistent and manages to convince Don that he needs to shake off his pride and do the work to regain respect and his place at the office. And it works, at least for that day. We cut to Don in the office telling Peggy he'll have his work in by lunch and we go to black with The Hollies song On A Carousel.

Loved it!

I'll post our wrap up from tonight's Mad Men Podcast this evening

Friday, May 2, 2014

PBS KIDS Peg + Cat Super Peg Week

Peg + Cat is my favorite PBS KIDS program. It's the Downton Abbey of kids programming. The animation is so cool, as are the songs, and the way they make math seem not only fun but useful! I could go off on a whole thing about them using a girl on this show too, but I think they know how happy that makes everyone who is interested in leveling the playing field for girls in math and science.

PBS' “Super PEG Week” begins May 5th airing 4 new episodes of Peg and Cat. In “Super PEG Week,” Peg and Cat go on all-new adventures and journey to a variety of places, including the town of Mathtropolis, where “Super Peg” and “Cat Guy” (comic book superhero versions of the dynamic duo) must use math and creative thinking to defeat the “Arch Villain” and save the day. The action-packed episodes include challenges that highlight foundational math concepts such as shapes, lines, ordinal numbers and spatial relationships.

“PEG + CAT Super PEG Week” – Episode Air Dates and Descriptions

“The Arch Villain Problem/The Straight and Narrow Problem” (#120) – Premieres May 7, 2014
“The Arch Villain Problem" When the Arch Villain wreaks havoc on the city of Mathtropolis by turning everything into arches, Super Peg and Cat Guy come to the rescue. 

“The Straight and Narrow Problem”: Super Peg and Cat Guy trail the Arch Villain, who has given up his archways and gone on a rampage with straight and narrow shapes instead.

Included Math Concepts: Understanding straight, narrow and curved line shapes; counting sides to determine shapes; counting by tens to 100.

“The Play Date Problem/The Blabberwocky Problem” (#122) – Premieres May 6, 2014

“The Play Date Problem”: Peg and Cat use the power of music and patterns to help their friends Beethoven and the Three Bears play together – and make incredible music together.

“The Blabberwocky Problem”: Peg and Cat are back as the Knights of the Round Table to reclaim their friends’ missing shapes – and their own Round Table– from the mysterious 100-headed creature, The Blabberwocky.

Included Math Concepts: Identifying patterns audibly; identifying shapes.

“The Perfect Ten Problem/The Long Line Problem” (#117) – Premieres May 7, 2014

“The Perfect Ten Problem”: Peg and Cat are judging a singing competition in which all performers must get a rating of exactly ten stars.

“The Long Line Problem”: While waiting in a long line, Peg and Cat try to help Richard realize his dream of being first in line for the first time.
Included Math Concepts: Ordinal numbers, how to use a number line; counting to 20; positional relationships.

“The Clown Problem/The Ninja Problem” (#121) – Premieres May 8, 2014

“The Clown Problem”: Peg and Cat help Mac achieve his dream of being a clown in the circus by teaching him how funny it can be when things are exactly the wrong size.

“The Ninja Problem”: Peg and Cat help their young Ninja-wannabe friend Aki find the fifteen missing cherry blossom trees by using Ninja skills and math skills.

Included Math Concepts: Sizes and shapes; numbers and counting.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bonham's Entertainment Memorablia Auction

Ted Allen Signed Lithograph of Groucho Marx
Bonham's, International Auctions and Appraisers, is holding an auction of Entertainment Memorabilia this Sunday May 4th- Monday May 5th in Los Angeles. The auction includes items from 1910's through present day and spans Film, TV, Music and animation.

  Design Sketch Bacall Designing Women

Incredible Shrinking Man

It's pretty exciting to see a final script from Nothing Sacred, not to mention actually owning it and being able to flip through it!

Nothing Sacred Final Shooting Script

The auction also includes a vast amount of animation

Disney Animation from Camping out

You can also find a wide array of music memorabilia everything from Liberace to the Police is represented

Liberace costume
Arguably my favorite items at this auction are the huge collection of Norma Shearer photographs. The one below was from a series to convince the studio she would be right for The Divorcee. The collection includes everything from random publicity shots to beautifully executed Hurell portraits. There are some from Idiots Delight I would love to have.

George Hurell photograph of Norma Shearer

To see all the amazing lots up for auction visit The Bonham Entertainment Memorablilia site.

Below you will find my wish list. On the off chance any of you were wondering what to get me for Mother's Day or Memorial Day, or 4th of July, or hey my birthday is in September. No pressure...

Audrey Hepburn Givenchy Hat from a Vogue Shoot

The Big Lebowski Bowling Set Pieces

More Norma Shearer Portraits

Wabash Avenue Lobby Card

Monky Business Lobby Card

Silk Stocking Poster Kapralik cutout illustrations

King Creole Poster

Sunset Blvd Poster

Born To Be Bad Poster

Mildred Pierce Poster

The Killers Poster

English Silent Film The Strong Man's Burden Poster