Bill Newcott

TV’s Funniest Moments Minus the Laughs

Posted on 09/4/2013 by | Movies & TV | Comments

EntertainmentThat’s what I get for actually planning my weekend around a TV show. After reminding myself for two days not to miss it, I actually sat down in front of the tube to watch Sunday’s NBC special, TV’s Funniest of the Funniest: A Paley Center for Media Special. Who could resist that? The show purported to feature the 30 funniest moments in TV history, and it was curated by the nation’s most esteemed television archive. How could they screw that …

A Lost Fourth of July Classic: ‘This Is the Army’

Posted on 07/1/2013 by | Movies & TV | Comments

EntertainmentThe Fourth of July usually brings TV reruns of Yankee Doodle Dandy, with James Cagney hoofing up a storm as uberpatriot-composer George M. Cohan. It’s a great film directed by Michael Curtiz, but may I direct your attention to another red white and blue epic, directed by Curtiz the following year, 1943. It’s one of the great forgotten blockbuster movies. This is the Army is little more than a musical revue; one production number after another with a cast that includes …

The Day Sinatra Reimagined His Life

Posted on 06/20/2013 by | Movies & TV | Comments

Entertainment  My morning routine involves getting to my office around 7 a.m., sitting down with a cup of coffee and cranking up my record player. Today I slipped Frank Sinatra’s post-retirement album, Ol’ Blue Eyes is Back, out of its sleeve and gave ‘er a spin. And that’s when serendipity took over. As I read the liner notes (record albums, you’ll recall, often had wonderful essays printed right on the sleeve, and you could read them without use of MIT’s …

Trivia Countdown! One Day to Movies for Grownups on Turner Classic Movies

Posted on 05/14/2013 by | Movies & TV | Comments

EntertainmentI’m counting down the days until May 15, the night I get to introduce four great Movies for Grownups with Robert Osborne on TCM. Here’s today’s trivia bit about one of the movies we’re showing: Besides its eerie dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali, Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound is noted for its unforgettable, Oscar-winning musical score by Miklos Rozsa. He makes great use of the theramin, that haunting device that makes the spooky “whoo-OOO!” sound that later became popular in science …

Trivia Countdown! Two Days to Movies for Grownups on Turner Classic Movies

Posted on 05/13/2013 by | Movies & TV | Comments

EntertainmentI’m counting down the days until May 15, the night I get to introduce four great Movies for Grownups with Robert Osborne on TCM. Here’s today’s trivia bit about one of the movies we’re showing: Moviegoers who saw the Steve Martin musical Pennies From Heaven were pleasantly surprised by Christopher Walken’s athletic dance to the song “Let’s Misbehave.” But Walken trained as a dancer early in his career, and among his early jobs was a role in the Broadway musical …

Trivia Countdown! Three Days to Movies for Grownups on Turner Classic Movies

Posted on 05/12/2013 by | Movies & TV | Comments

EntertainmentI’m counting down the days until May 15, the night I get to introduce  four great Movies for Grownups with Robert Osborne on TCM. Here’s today’s trivia bit about one of the movies we’re showing: The iconic spaceship in Forbidden Planet didn’t retire from show biz after the film wrapped. It was re-used several times on the MGM lot; most memorably in several episodes of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. And Robby the Robot, built at a cost of $125,000 for …