WGN America Debuts “Manhattan” on July 27 9/8C!

Images courtesy of WGN America.

Images courtesy of WGN America.


This Sunday at 9/8C WGN America will debut it’s second original program for the cable channel entitled “Manhattan”. Which you might correctly guess deals with the Manhattan Project, the building of the first atomic bomb, though for this series it is using fictional characters to tell that story.

As you can see from that trailer, the series certainly looks period perfect and it seems the production designers went out of their way to ensure that the cast felt while on set that they were truly living at a top secret location in Los Alamos, N.M. in the 1940s. Especially with the liberal sprinkling of these types of propaganda posters.

Espionage Poster - Manhattan - WGN America

Silence - Manhattan - WGN America

See Something - Manhattan - WGN America

This series has an excess of talent with its cast and crew. The show itself was created by Sam Shaw (Masters of Sex, The Evidence) and is being produced by Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), who also has directed one of the episodes.

Head of the Manhattan Project is Frank Winter, played by John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C, Law and Order). He is a singularly focused man that cares little for social niceties, and seems to not suffer fools lightly.

Glen Babbit is played by Daniel Stern (Diner, City Slickers) and was Winter’s former mentor and responsible for not only getting his friend and pupil assigned to the Manhattan Project but also bears the burden of keeping him out of trouble.

Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman) is the youngest winner of the Forbes prize in physics and newest member of the team. He brings with him his wife Abby and their young son. He has a connection with Winter as he was the sole voice of discontent on a popular theoretical paper the young man wrote.

As you saw in the trailer for the series, not everything is peachy for the families on the base, and that certainly includes Abby Isaacs, played by Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards, The Blacklist).

Liza Winter is a Botanist, played by Olivia Williams (Rushmore, The Postman), and finds herself in a position of derision from the housewives and the scientists on the base, not being accepted by either side in social or professional circles.

So tune in or set your DVR to WGN America this Sunday at 9/8C and buckle up for what looks to be quite an enjoyable ride with Manhattan.

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Is “Family Guy” a Remake of “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home”?

It’s a safe bet that Family Guy was created to cash in on the popularity of The Simpsons & everyone assumes that it’s some sort of ripoff of the Simpsons, but really the only things the two shows have in common is that they’re about a family with a fat dopey father. Family Guy actually has much more in common with the 70s cartoon Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. Look at the characters:

A wife with a pointy nose and a whiney nagging voice:
famhome-1

An older son who’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed:
famhome-2

A homely daughter who looks remarkably similar in both shows:
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A younger son who seems to be the smartest person in the entire house:
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…And even a chubby father who wears green pants:
famhome-5

Why, there’s even a neighbor who acts like he knows everything:
famhome-6

Basically, if you start with Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, take some of the father & oldest son’s intelligence away and give them to the dog, and you have Family Guy!

The similarities even extend into the musical style of the theme songs. Family Guy‘s theme song has always been in a retro/70s style, which just so happens to be the same era that Wait Till Your Father Gets Home is from.

Wait Till Your Father Gets Home intro

Family Guy intro

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Lost Memory, fun with MS-DOS

Travel back in time with me to the mid 1980s a time before the wonder that is Direct X. If your computer has the hardware and processor speed displayed on the box it is installed and will play automatically for computer games….

In 1985 my parents got a computer, a 286 IBM clone. I was overjoyed I could finally play a mysterious game I had heard kids talk about in elementary school, King’s Quest. I finally played the game a year later. I was a kid I did not care that the graphics were 4 color CGA. I did not know anyone who had a better computer. That game was awesome, played it for hours, yet could never defeat the game, a witch always killed me or I forgot to find an item so I could not complete the game.

I thought to myself, graphics can’t get better than this, as I tried in vain to beat King’s Quest and in 1987, Space Quest. Then in 1989 in junior high I went to a friend’s house, Nick who had a commodore 64, “Man I wish the IBM had such great games as Mail Order Monsters, and others” I thought to myself. I was impressed with the graphics, (more than 4 colors!) and the sound on the C64 was light years beyond the beeps and bops of my internal sound card heard through a PC speaker.

In 1990 I went to my friend Adam’s house and he showed me Kings Quest IV. “You mean there is a game with great sound and more than 4 colors on an IBM computer” I told him. He said yes. When I saw the game, I had to borrow it from him and play it on my home computer. He came over to my house and that is when disaster struck.

The bane of my existence

The bane of my existence

Adam and I tried to install the game without success. We kept getting error messages, not enough memory. We had to get this working. He asked if he could change the autoexec.bat file and config.sys file on the hard drive. Me being a dumb kid, who thought he knew everything about computers because I could run games that met the requirements of my computer, I said sure, go ahead. He tried in vain to allocate more memory on my parent’s ancient system to get the game to work and somehow the computer stopped working. He reset the computer, and then we got some weird error message, but the computer was not working as it had before. I told him he better leave.

My parents as you can imagine, were not pleased, they banned Adam from using the computer when he was over, and I was grounded for a while, as my parents had to go to a computer repair shop and fix the damage that I let my “friend” do to “their computer” just to get a “stupid game to work”.

Years later I finally got my own personal computer a Pentium with a CD-Rom drive and Windows 95. I had moved on to CD-Rom games and from adventure games to RPG games and sports games. One of my fondest memories of that time was when I finally got my favorite RPG to work, Wizardry 7, on my computer. After hours changing my config.sys file on my hard drive by using the game manual’s recommendations, I finally took a 3.5 floppy disk and created a boot disk for the game. And it finally worked, MIDI sound and 256 color VGA graphics. I finally had 591 kilobytes out of 640 kilobytes of RAM available to play the game! I then played the game for several hours before going on to something else.

My party in 256 color VGA!

My party in 256 color VGA!

Whenever I want to play the old DOS computer games from my childhood, I just go to Good Old Games, spend a few bucks, to download the games and play them on my computer, without having to worry about dreaded memory management because the “experts” have taken care of it.

I’m off to kill some Kilrathi, Wing Commander II is the best ever!

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Pac-Man Coaster Set

Artist, Sara Passamonti, has found a good use for the smaller pieces of tile or stone that are often wasted after being cut off larger pieces, turn them into Pac-Man coasters. Sure, they could really be any type of coasters, but Passamonti has excellent coaster instincts and decided to craft 4 coasters in the shape of Pac-Man and 3 ghosts.

pac-man-coasters-01

What video game or nostalgia fan wouldn’t like a set of these on their desk or coffee table?

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[via] Sara Passamonti

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The Word interviews Bill Hicks

Bill Hicks sharing screen time with Captain Kirk, a Troll and a terrible British TV presenter...

Bill Hicks sharing screen time with Captain Kirk, a Troll and a terrible British TV presenter…

I’m a big BIG fan of the late Bill Hicks. He didn’t make it on to British TV screens that often but when he did, he was always brilliant. This interview with him on a 1992 episode of late-night variety show The Word was one such appearance and it is equal parts funny and horribly awkward.

Bill Hicks seems somewhat bemused by host Terry Christian and by the end of the interview (where he is also joined by Oliver Reed and a Russian supermodel), he looks quite agitated by the ordeal. I don’t blame him, I despised the show and its’ hosts when I was younger and that hasn’t dissipated in the last 20+ years.

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WABC-TV 4:30 Movie “Science Fiction Week” Promo

430-movie

If you grew up in the New York Tri-state area, between 1968 and 1981, than the “4:30 Movie” or as it was known early on “The Big Show”, is probably something you remember. The “4:30 Movie” was famous for running a theme and each film they showed that week was aligned with that theme. So when a promo came on that mentioned the new theme and it was something you enjoyed, say like Sci-Fi or Planet of the Apes, you made a mental note to get in front of the TV at 4:30. Since they often showed older films, for many people, this was their film education.

Promos were narrated by the legendary announce and newscaster Scott Vincent from January 1968 to December 1978. After that, announcing was divided among Gilbert Hodges, Fred Foy, Joel Crager and Ernie Anderson.

Here is a promo for a Science Fiction Week from 1970. Films included in this promo are “When World’s Collide,” The Day The Earth Stood Still,” “Battle of the Worlds,” “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea,” and “The Angry Red Planet.”

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It Is Time To Ask Dr. Honeydew (1985)

Ask. Dr. Honeydew - Muppet Magazine
Even though these questions were asked all the way back in the Fall of 1985 in the pages of Muppet Magazine, the answers revealed by Dr. Bunsen Honeydew are still as relevant today as when they were first printed. Answers pertaining to fish sticks, playing cards, and the eating of spaghetti are presented below!

Ask Dr. Honeydew A
Ask Dr. Honeydew B
Ask Dr. Honeydew C
Ask Dr. Honeydew D
Ask Dr. Honeydew E
Ask Dr. Honeydew F

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