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Mixed Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 29, 2012

Rounding up "Anger Management" ratings, Savannah Guthrie on "Today,": and other info not in previous posts.

FX is celebrating its Thursday ratings, officially presented this way: Last night’s series debut of Anger Management (9P) was the most-watched scripted comedy primetime series premiere in cable history in delivery of Adults 18-49 (2.65 million), and Total Viewers (5.47 million, excluding children’s programming). It also ranks as the most-watched series premiere in FX history in Total Viewers. Episode 2 of Anger Management (9:30P) grew to 5.74 million Total Viewers, and the demo also grew in the second half hour to 2.89 million A18-49.

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More "Dallas" Coming - TNT Orders Second Season

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 29, 2012

The official word: TNT has renewed the hit series Dallas for a second season. The Warner Horizon Television-produced drama, which ranks as basic cable's #1 new series, is currently averaging 6.9 million viewers in its first season. TNT has ordered 15 episodes for its second season, which is slated to air in 2013.

Currently airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT), TNT's Dallas marks the return to Southfork of J.R., Bobby and Sue Ellen Ewing, who bring with them their arsenal of secrets, schemes and betrayals. This time, they’re joined by the next generation of Ewings, who take ambition and deception to a new level. The series stars Josh Henderson as John Ross, the son of J.R. and Sue Ellen Ewing; Jesse Metcalfe as Christopher, Bobby’s adopted son; Jordana Brewster as Elena Ramos, John Ross’ girlfriend; Julie Gonzalo as Rebecca Sutter, Christopher’s wife; and Brenda Strong as Bobby’s wife, Ann. They are joined by the original series’ iconic stars: Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing, Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing and Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing.

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TNT Renews "Rizzoli & Isles"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 29, 2012

The official word: TNT has ordered a fourth season of its hit drama Rizzoli & Isles, from Warner Horizon Television. The series has drawn 7.1 million viewers in its new Tuesday 9 p.m. timeslot and ranks as summer's #1 returning scripted series on basic cable. TNT has ordered 15 episodes of Rizzoli & Isles, with the fourth season slated for 2013.

Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander star in Rizzoli & Isles, which was developed for television by executive producer Janet Tamaro from characters created by best-selling crime novelist Tess Gerritsen. In the series, Harmon plays Jane Rizzoli, a tough-as-nails Boston police detective, and Alexander is Maura Isles, a smart, impeccably dressed medical examiner from a privileged background. Despite being complete opposites, the two women share an offbeat chemistry and strong working relationship that lets them solve complex murder mysteries in the city of Boston.

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NBC Sets Live "Sound of Music"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 29, 2012

The official word: NBC is partnering with the acclaimed "Smash" producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (film versions of "Chicago" and "Hairspray") to present a live broadcast of "The Sound of Music," based on the original Broadway musical, it was announced today by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.

"It is our supreme pleasure to broadcast -- live -- a new version of the seminal Broadway musical 'The Sound of Music' for a whole new generation," said Greenblatt. "There used to be a tradition of broadcasting musicals live back in the 1950s and we're thrilled to do it once again with a musical that has been a family classic for five decades. There is no more talented and creative producing team than Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to bring Rodgers and Hammerstein's final - and most beloved - collaboration to network television in this groundbreaking live telecast."

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USA Orders "Graceland" Series

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 29, 2012

It is not about Elvis. The official word: USA Network announced today the series pick-up of GRACELAND, a one-hour drama that follows a group of diverse agents – from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and U.S. Customs – whose worlds collide while forced to live together in an undercover beach house in Southern California.

The project is from Jeff Eastin, the creator and executive producer of the network’s critically acclaimed original series WHITE COLLAR and Fox Television Studios. Sean Daniel served as executive producer on the pilot. USA veteran Russell Fine (WHITE COLLAR, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS) directed the pilot. The announcement was made today by USA Co-Presidents Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel.

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"Alex Cross" Trailer Released

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 28, 2012

You may remember the movie, starring Tyler Perry, shot scenes in Akron (including Stan Hywet Hall and Glendale Cemetery) and in Cleveland last year. (You can find one of  my stories about it here and some photos here.). It opens in October, but here's an early look:

 

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Mixed Notes - June 28

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 28, 2012

R.I.P., Don Grady, the affable actor best known as Robbie Douglas on "My Three Sons." Some obits here and here. Local folks may particularly remember an episode where Robbie tried to build a Soap Box Derby racer, with a dream of competing in Akron.

Former local resident Holly Durst (of "Bachelor/Bachelor Pad" fame) and Blake Julian have wed (she's now Holly Julian)  and you can find a wedding video here.

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Nora Ephron, R.I.P.

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 27, 2012


The journalist, writer and director has died. Los Angeles Times obituary is here. Above are clips from two movies Ephron had a hand in -- as director and co-writer of "Michael," with John Travolta, and as writer of "My Blue Heaven" (directed by Herbert Ross). Both movies are uneven but, to me at least, filled with amusing and endearing moments. That said, I admred Ephron more as a print writer -- I still carry around, and re-read, collections like "Crazy Salad" and "Wallflower at the Orgy" -- than I did as a filmmaker. As a writer, she was always on a quest for understanding; she was not only good with words but as an observer -- and one who saw things that others missed. .Look for her discussion of "Deep Throat," with an insight I do not forget (and one that was so on-point that Gloria Steinem would quote it in her own essay on Linda Lovelace). She had her failings -- "Heartburn," a novel inspired by her failed marriage to Carl Bernstein, is a bad book -- but she had many more triumphs.

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"Indiana Jones" Blu-ray Plans

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 27, 2012

The official word, including release date: In June of 1981 director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas introduced the world to Indiana Jones when the unforgettable Raiders of the Lost Ark debuted in theaters. Exploding to instant acclaim, the film has now been carefully restored, alongside remastered versions of the archaeologist’s other thrilling adventures—Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Prepare for excitement, adventure and snakes—why did it have to be snakes?—all with pristine picture and sound when INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures debuts on Blu-ray September 18, 2012 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Media Distribution.

 

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"Magic City" DVD/Blu-ray Coming in October

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 25, 2012

The official word: Nothing is what it seems in Magic City. Anchor Bay Entertainment releases the hit STARZ Original Series “MAGIC CITY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON” on a 3-disc Blu-ray™ and DVD set on October 2nd. SRP is $54.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $44.98 for the DVD. Pre-book is September 5th. The release contains all 8 memorable episodes of the sizzling mob drama plus bonus features including behind-the-scenes footage and featurettes exploring the cars, fashion, glamour, set design, music and history of Magic City!

 

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"Community" Season 3 on DVD 8/14

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 25, 2012

From the official word: Classes resume at Greendale Community College, as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases COMMUNITY: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON on DVD August 14th. ... COMMUNITY: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON contains all 22 episodes on a three-disc DVD set and is loaded with bonus material, including fan-favorite spoof episodes full of mystery, crime and even some glee!

Special features also include cast and crew commentary on every episode, “This is War: Pillows vs. Blankets” mockumentary featurette, “A Glee-ful Community Christmas” featurette, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.

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Drew Carey Joins "Wait Wait" Cleveland Show

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 25, 2012

Drew Carey will appear in the "Not My Job" segment when the NPR series "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me" tapes a show in Cleveland's State Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The segment of the quiz/comedy show has celebrities answering questions whimsically connected to their work. For instance, "Stand By Me" director Rob Reiner answered questions about people you would not want standing by you, and "The World According to Garp" author John Irving answered questions about gorp, another name for trail mix.

Carey is a fan of the program, having done "Not My Job" before in 2008 and being a guest panelist that same year. Where some celebs are on the show by telephone, I am told Carey will be in the State Theatre on Thursday.

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WNIR Starts Search for Howie Chizek's Successor

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 25, 2012

From the station:

The WNIR radio family is still in the process of mourning our beloved Howie Chizek. While we are grieving we must move forward to continue his legacy of no-guest, live, local talk radio for the community. Now we must begin that process. So WNIR is now accepting applications for a radio talk show host. To qualify you must be an exceptionally engaging person with a good speaking voice, a strong vocabulary, a healthy sense of humor, a quick wit, and an interest in everything. While radio experience would be beneficial it is not required. If you believe you are the person we are looking for send your resume to wnirradio@gmail.com. Please attach an air check or a one to two minute audio file describing, in your own voice, why you are the right person for this job. Media-Com is an equal opportunity employer.

 

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More Notes: LeBron With Oprah, Paige Davis Returns, Bond Movies on Encore

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 25, 2012

LeBron and company to chat with Oprah. The official word: OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today that Oprah Winfrey will sit down with NBA superstars of the Miami HEAT including 2012 NBA Finals MVP LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena. Winfrey will talk with the world champions about the challenges leading up to their historic win, their friendships on and off the court and the women in their lives. The episode is set to air next Sunday, July 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Paige Davis of "Trading Spaces" fame is coming back to TV. The official word: Broadway star* and reality TV host Paige Davis will co-host the new Hallmark Channel Original Lifestyle series, “Home & Family,” it was announced today by Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Programming, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. Davis joins Emmy® Award-winning journalist Mark Steines when “Home & Family” premieres weekdays beginning October 1.

A groundbreaking new series that will premiere as part of Hallmark Channel’s robust Lifestyle block of programming, “Home & Family” comprises 220 original two-hour shows over 44 weeks from award-winning production company Woody Fraser Productions (“Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” “The Dick Cavett Show”). The series is the ultimate destination for innovative home improvements, crafts, parenting tips, lifestyle, health and fitness enhancements, as well as the place for the latest information, trends and products for everyone in the home.

(*According to Hallmark, "Most recently Paige received rave reviews for her performance in the Broadway revival of Boeing Boeing, and before that, she traveled the country performing the title role of Sweet Charity. Davis starred on Broadway as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago and played Babette in the first national tour of Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast.")

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Mixed Notes - June 25

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 25, 2012

Lots on the plate, and the mind, lately.

Our younger son, Conor, is en route to Afghanistan -- he is a combat medic -- and we did some messaging via Facebook over the weekend after he arrived at the transit center in Kyrgyzstan, a place I knew nothing about before now. He has been blessed by many good thoughts and prayers, and I hope you will keep him in yours.

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Jennifer Hudson Joining "Smash"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 22, 2012

The official word: Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy-winning actress-singer Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”) will appear in a multi-episode arc on NBC’s “Smash” beginning with the second-season premiere when the musical drama returns to the NBC schedule.

Hudson will portray Veronica Moore, a Tony Award-winning Broadway star who impacts the lives of Karen (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy (Megan Hilty).

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Mixed Notes - June 22

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 22, 2012

I was off from work and the blog yesterday and spent the bulk of it on family business. Also, as those of you who follow me on Facebook know, I have been bracing for my younger son's deployment to Afghanistan as an Army combat medic. He is now on his way. I thank all of you who have offered good thoughts and prayers for him, and hope you will keep doing so.

On the work side of things, you can read my review of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" here. The link also includes my weekly video, about "Vampire Hunter" and "Brave." You can read my print review of "Brave" here.

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Video: Heldenfels on 'Brave' and 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'

By Dan Kadar Published: June 20, 2012

This week, Akron Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels offers reviews of Brave and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

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Mixed Notes - June 20

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 20, 2012

Here's my story from today's Beacon Journal about Howie Chizek, the WNIR radio host who passed away Saturday. And, in case you missed it, here's thefine previous story the Beacon Journal's Cheryl Powell did about Chizek.And thank you to the commenter who recognized that Powell's story was not only good, but done on a very tight deadline.

Today's grab-bag of HeldenFiles items, including more about Arsenio Hall getting back into late-night talk, is here.

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Arsenio Hall Coming Back to Late-Night Talk in 2013

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 18, 2012

WJW would be the local home for the show from the "Celebrity Apprentice" winner, one of Northeast Ohio's own.

The official word: CBS Television Distribution has signed actor/comedian Arsenio Hall to develop a syndicated late-night talk show for Fall 2013, it was announced today by John Nogawski, President of CTD.

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Fox Announces New-Season Premiere Dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 18, 2012

They begin with "X Factor" on Sept. 12 and continue to "Touch" on Oct. 26.

The official word: The 2012-2013 season begins with the spectacular return of THE X FACTOR, last fall’s No. 1 new unscripted series. The hit music competition series, featuring Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, L.A. Reid and Demi Lovato, will launch with a two-night season premiere event on Wednesday, Sept. 12 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Sept. 13 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT).

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Cleveland Film Festival Ready for 2013 Entries

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 18, 2012

The official word: Calling all filmmakers: The 37th Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) Call For Entries is now open! For submission details, deadlines, and fees visit www.clevelandfilm.org.

 

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"Project Runway" Announces New Designers

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 15, 2012

They are:

· Alicia Hardesty, 27 - Hometown: Brandenburg, KY; Resides in: Los Angeles, CA
· Andrea Katz, 58 - Hometown: Oceanside, NY; Resides in: New York, NY
· Beatrice Guapo, 29 - Hometown: Orange County, CA; Resides in: Marina del Rey, CA
· Buffi Jashanmal, 32 - Hometown: London, England/Dubai UAE; Resides in: New York, NY
· Christopher Palu, 24 - Hometown: Brooklyn, NY; Resides in: Massapequa, NY
· Dmitry Sholokhov, 33 - Hometown: Novopolotsk, Belarus; Resides in: New York, NY
· Elena Slivnyak, 28 - Hometown: Kiev, Ukraine; Resides in: Daly City, CA
· Fabio Costa, 29 - Hometown: Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Resides in: Brooklyn, NY
· Gunnar Deatherage, 22 - Hometown: LaGrange, Kentucky; Resides in: Louisville, KY
· Kooan Kosuke, 30 - Hometown: Himeji-shi, Japan; Resides in: Queens, NY
· Lantie Foster, 48 - Hometown: Sacramento, CA; Resides in: New York, NY
· Melissa Fleis, 31 - Hometown: Rogers City, MI; Resides in: San Francisco, CA
· Nathan McDonald, 33 - Hometown: Zanesville, OH; Resides in: New York, NY
· Raul Osorio, 27 - Hometown: Canoga Park, CA/Honduras; Resides in: Minneapolis, MN
· Sonjia Williams, 27- Hometown: Boston, MA; Resides in: Woodside, NY
· Ven Budhu, 28 - Hometown: Berbice, Guyana; Resides in: Kew Gardens, NY

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For Your Video Amusement

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 15, 2012

New "Singin' in the Rain" Blu-ray/DVD Set Coming

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 14, 2012

The offiiclal  word: On July 17, the musical treasure Singin’ in the Rain ends an 18-month moratorium to celebrate its 60th anniversary in harmonious high style with the debut of a three-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray & DVD Pack from Warner Home Video.

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NBC Announces Fall Premiere Dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 14, 2012

A couple of shows will get Olympics-boosted sneak previews in August. The official word:

NBC announced today the premieres and sneak peeks of its new Fall 2012 primetime schedule that capitalize on the launch and promotional platforms provided by the network’s coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, the finale of “America’s Got Talent” and the return of “The Voice” and “Sunday Night Football.” Most of the new fall shows will premiere in advance of the start of the season.

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New "Bachelor Pad" Cast Set

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 14, 2012

Super fans compete, Ed is back and there's going to be a "mystery man" from the current "Bachelorette."

The official word: Hosted by Chris Harrison (“The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette”), “Bachelor Pad” returns MONDAY, July 23 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET) with its most controversial cast to date, as 15 unforgettable characters from the “Bachelor” franchise – those we love and those we love to hate -- gather back at the mansion to live together to possibly find a second chance at love and compete for $250,000. Last season, Michael Stagliano won the money but lost at love – this season he moves into the mansion and will put everything on the line, even his winnings from last season, to find love. Also, fresh off the wrath of Emily on this week’s episode of “The Bachelorette,” Villain Kalon McMahon decides to lick his wounds and move into “Bachelor Pad.” Other residents will include “Bachelorette 5” fan favorites Ed Swiderski, winner, and contestant Reid Rosenthal, who proposed to Jillian Harris.

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Mixed Notes

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 14, 2012

I had high hopes for "Rock of Ages" as silly fun. Alas. I spent much of its two horus recalling epic musical misfires like "Can't Stop the Music," the  1980 "story" of the Village People. I offer a sample of that here:

 

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"Wait, Wait" Sets Cleveland Guests

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 12, 2012

I am shocked that Bodden's bio does not list his "stroke's no joke" spots, which i think I have heard more than "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me."

The official word:Panelists have been announced for a live presentation of NPR’s Peabody Award-winning Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! on Thursday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the State Theatre at Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare. The popular fast-paced news quiz challenges panelists and listeners with a series of games based on current events. Host Peter Sagal and Official Judge and Scorekeeper Carl Kasell will be joined on stage by Mo Rocca, Kyrie O’Connor and Alonzo Bodden. Along with competing for points, the panel’s role is to assist in making light of the week’s news. Favorite segments include, “Who’s Carl This Time?,” “The Limerick Challenge,” “Not My Job” and the final panelist lightening round.

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R.I.P., Ann Rutherford

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 12, 2012

Update: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will remember the life and career of actress Ann Rutherford on Tuesday, July 3. ...

6 a.m. – Of Human Hearts (1938), with Walter Huston and James Stewart; directed by Clarence Brown
7:45 a.m. – Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland; directed by George B. Seitz
9:30 a.m. – Four Girls in White (1939), with Florence Rice and Una Merkel; directed by S. Sylvan Simon
10:45 a.m. – Pride and Prejudice (1940), with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier; directed by Robert Z. Leonard
12:45 p.m. – Washington Melodrama (1941), with Frank Morgan and Kent Taylor; directed by S. Sylvan Simon
2:15 p.m. – This Time for Keeps (1942), with Robert Serling and Guy Kibee; directed by Charles Reisner
3:30 p.m. – Whistling In Dixie (1942), with Red Skelton and George Bancroft; directed by S. Sylvan Simon
4:45 p.m. – Two O'Clock Courage (1945), with Tom Conway and Richard Lane; directed by Anthony Mann
6 p.m. – Adventures of Don Juan (1948), with Errol Flynn and Robert Douglas; directed by Vincent Sherman
8 p.m. – Gone with the Wind (1939), with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh; directed by Victor Fleming

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Rock Hall Sets "Thunder Soul" Screening, Discussion

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 11, 2012

The movie is worth your time, whether you check it out on DVD or attend the presentation at the Rock Hall. You can read my review here.

The official word: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is pleased to host a film screening of Thunder Soul (2011, 88 minutes) on Tuesday, July 10 at 7 p.m. in the Foster Theater. The documentary Thunder Soul chronicles the history of Houston’s Kashmere High School Stage Band and its legendary band director, Conrad “Prof” Johnson. This event is presented in conjunction with the Rock Hall’s annual Summer Teacher Institute, a week-long workshop for teachers dedicated to bringing rock and roll into the classroom. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Craig Baldwin and Jimmie Walker, former members of the Kashmere Stage Band, as well as Conrad Johnson Jr., son of the group’s founder. This event is free with a reservation. Seating is limited. RSVP information is as follows:

ROCK HALL MEMBERS
Rock Hall Members can RSVP starting at 10 a.m. EST on Monday, June 18 through the Rock Hall website at https://tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall Box Office.

GENERAL PUBLIC
Non-Rock Hall members can RSVP starting at 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday, June 19 through the Rock Hall website at https://tickets.rockhall.com or at the Rock Hall Box Office.

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Talking "Dallas"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 11, 2012

In case you missed it in Sunday's Beacon Journal, I had a column about the new "Dallas" series and about the making of the previous one. You can read it here.

When "Dallas" was in its glory days, I was a semi-young TV critic in Schenectady, NY, and got to see some of the frenzy surrounding the show. I remember one press session in California in 1986 where the critics had stacked up umpteen deep around Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy, who had made his famous Bobby-in-the-shower appearance at the end of the previous season. There was enormous interest in Duffy's return, and how it had happened, and both men were chatting away, tape recorders catching their every word.

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"Mad Men": The Inadequacy of Deeds

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 11, 2012

Back in the heyday of "Hill Street Blues" and "St. Elsewhere," I used to think of them as Old Testament and New Testament. "Hill Street," it seemed, believed you could be redeemed by your deeds while "St. Elsewhere" said that deeds were not enough -- that it would take some kind of divine grace to bring you peace. Argue about that if you will, the idea of deeds vs. grace now seems to have been where we have headed all season on "Mad Men," at least where the men are concerned. You have the countering images of Don Draper trying desperately, again and again, to do the right thing -- and of Pete trying again and again to do the wrong thing -- and the result for both men is the same. Their deeds don't alleiviate their basic unhappiness. Lane did not kill himself because of his embezzlement and disgrace; he killed himself because he carried unhappiness (embodied by that little photo) which no change in his life circumstances could relieve. Roger believed his LSD-taking had listed his pain, but it hadn't; the effects wear off.

In contrast, the women on the show seem to find their way to satisfaction through what they do: Peggy is now the professional equal of Don (as he acknowledges in their movie chat), Joan has gotten her partnership, Megan got a commercial. Does this mean they are already in a state of grace? And is part of that state simply a matter of knowing what they want and then being able to get it? (The general absence of Betty from this season also hints at her separation from this equation -- since Betty never knew what she wanted, only that she was unhappy with what she had; she was Don's mirror in that respect.)

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Robin Roberts' New Medical Issues

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 11, 2012

She announced the following this morning. A medical note about her condition follows.

Here we go again…

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"American Masters" Johnny Carson Documentary Coming to DVD, Blu-ray

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 10, 2012

You can find a column I wrote about Carson and the filmhere.

The official word: PBS Distribution ... is releasing “AMERICAN MASTERS: JOHNNY CARSON: KING OF LATE NIGHT” on DVD and Blu-ray. Johnny Carson (10/23/1925– 1/23/2005) was seen by more people on more occasions than anyone else in American history. Over the course of 30 years, 4,531 episodes and 23,000 guests, he became a fixture of national life and a part of the zeitgeist. In a 2007 TV Land/Entertainment Weekly poll, Americans voted Carson the greatest icon in the history of television. Two-time Emmy®-winning filmmaker Peter Jones explores his life, career, complexities, and contradictions in the two-hour documentary “AMERICAN MASTERS: JOHNNY CARSON: KING OF LATE NIGHT.” 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Carson taking over “The Tonight Show” from Jack Paar and the 20th anniversary of his retirement. The DVD and Blu-ray will be available beginning July 17, 2012. The program has a run time of 120 minutes. The DVD has an SRP of $24.99 and the Blu-ray has an SRP of $29.99.

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"Chariots of Fire" Coming to Blu-ray

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 10, 2012

The official word: Oscar® winner Chariots of Fire, the inspiring true story of two very different men competing in the 1924 Olympics, will become available on Blu-ray Disc™ for the first time on July 10 from Warner Home Video (WHV). The title’s release will coincide with this year’s Summer Olympics in London which begins at the end of July.

The four-time Academy Award®-winning film, named Best Picture in 1982, also won for Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score, and received three additional nominations. Ben Cross (Star Trek) and Ian Charleson (Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan Lord of the Apes) head a stellar cast, which also features British luminaries Ian Holm (Lord of the Rings series), John Gielgud (Gandhi, Arthur) and Lindsay Anderson (O Lucky Man), in this powerful and emotional true story of British sprinters Harold Abrahams (Cross) and Eric Liddell (Charleson). Eric, a devout Scottish missionary runs because he knows it must please God, while Harold, the son of a newly wealthy Jew runs to prove his place in Cambridge society. Ian Holm was nominated for an Oscar® as Best Supporting Actor in his role as Abrahams' coach.

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I'm Back

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 10, 2012

Well, vacation is basically over. Which means, among other things, that I have been plowing through tons of mail, both standard and e-. And now that I have bunch of viewing to catch up on, some welcome ("The Newsroom"), some not ("Snooki and JWoww"). And some things to chat with you good folks about. So keep an eye on this space.

The vacation, by the way, was your most basic form of resting for the bride and me: Sitting in the sun in the Outer Banks (aside from some blasts of wind and cold), good eating (I put up some enthusiastic Facebook posts about Duck Donuts, Sooey's barbecue and Kill Devil's hamburgers) and very light TV viewing mixed with a lot of reading. Went through Caroline Moorehead's biography of Martha Gellhorn, John Gregory Dunne's novel "Nothing Lost" and Ben Fountain's novel "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." All impressive work (and the Fountain novel came from a recommendation by Nick Hornby).

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Heldenfels on the movies: Weekend DVD choices

By Ohio.com Published: June 8, 2012

Too tired to go out this weekend? Akron Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels has some DVD options for you.

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Richard Dawson, R.I.P.

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 3, 2012

I am on vacation, so am not sure how much blogging I will do in the days ahead. Most of my focus has been on things like sunscreen and what to have for dinner. (Tonight: barbecue.) But entertainment news (or news generally) has not paused. Saw that insane shot Tiger Woods made at the Memorial, for one thing. And made note of  the passing of Richard Dawson.

Dawson had a real edge. His "Hogan's Heroes' character was a bit of a scalawag, and there was always a sense on "Family Feud" that his kisses were not necessarily just affectionate. Rakish sort, that Dawson. And with a tough attitude, which was visible more than once. His performance in "The Running Man" indicated it. And there's a vintage episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" where he played a less than likable personality, which seemed to be based more than slightly on the real Dawson. (Rob et al., if memory serves, didn't like him but saw a longing in Dawson's character that made them want to write a great show for him.)

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Mixed Notes - June 1: "Bachelor" Wedding Bells, Comic-Book Prize Winner

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 1, 2012

Northeast Ohio's own Holly Durst ("The Bachelor," "Bachelor Pad") is getting married tomorrow to another veteran of the "Bachelor/ette/Pad" franchise, Blake Julian. The publisher of Holly's book "Chocolate Socks" sent along a reminder including this:

People magazine will be covering the event and dozens of Bachelor and Bachelorette stars will be attending the South Carolina affair.

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Black Keys in Johnny Depp Tribute

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 1, 2012

From MTV:  Johnny Depp will be honored at the “2012 MTV Movie Awards” with the MTV Generation Award for his exceptional contributions to the film industry and for entertaining generations of the MTV audience throughout his illustrious career, live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, CA on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. One of Hollywood’s iconic movie stars, Depp is considered one of the most talented and accomplished actors of his time and continues to dazzle moviegoers across the world with his exceptionally diverse range of roles.

As part of the celebration, rock duo The Black Keys will perform a special rendition of their hit single “Gold On the Ceiling” in Depp’s honor.

“Johnny Depp is a fearless, once-in-a-generation talent with a chameleon-like ability to inhabit any role,” said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV. “With years of astonishing performances, Johnny has truly earned this Generation Award, and we look forward to honoring him with a can’t-miss tribute at this year’s Movie Awards.”

 

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Movie Watch: "Snow White and the Huntsman"

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 1, 2012

For the first 20 minutes or so of the latest take on "Snow White," I was more than happy with the ride. It was dark, it was unsettling, Charlize Theron was thoroughly scary -- and the whole look was unsettling. Sure, it was extreme -- Theron was not about to underplay this part -- but that worked, too. This was not just a retelling of the Snow White story; it was a reinvigoration of it. I even hoped Kristen Stewart, as Snow White, would break out of her "Twilight" vacuum  to remind people she's a respectable actress. (See my previous note about "Welcome to the Rileys.")

Would that the movie as a whole had sustained that early tone. It did manage to keep it going trhough Snow White's escape from the Evil Queen, and her flight into the dark forest (although there were some chuckle-inducing moments, such as the sudden appearance of a white horse to help sav e Snow). But the movie seemed to lose its grip with the arrival of the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth of "Thor" and "The Avengers"). Hemsworth, and his conversations with Stewart, made the movie seem more pedestrian, as if you were suddenly stuck at a concert with people nattering behind you.

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"Great Performances" Sets Complete "Ring" Cycle Telecasts

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 1, 2012

The official word: Robert Lepage's acclaimed new production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, will air on Great Performances at the Met, September 11-14 in primetime each night on PBS stations (check local listings), as a major television event.

The operas - Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung - will be preceded on Monday, September 10 at 9 p.m. (check local listings) by the airing of award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke's documentary Wagner's Dream, which chronicles the backstage story of the creation of this ambitious new staging.

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