The Bridge - Peter J. Tomasi - Sara DuVall - Abrams Comicarts

The Bridge Is A Beautiful And Moving Graphic Novel

It shouldn’t shock a single soul that visits this site, that history is important to us. Sure, we spend most of our writing time pointing out the best in retro pop culture. However, even then we have constantly gone back and shared real moments of history. Whilst in my case it might focus more on horror films, video games, and animation. The truth is I of course am always eager to learn more about significant history. Which is exactly the case with Peter J. Tomasi and Sara DuVall’s upcoming graphic novel, The Bridge. I have not had the pleasure of reading a more entertaining as well as fascinating graphic novel in some time.

Abrams Comicarts was kind enough to send me a review copy of The Bridge. I picked it up last evening to read, and the 200 pages all but flew by. I will certainly admit I had never heard of Washington and Emily Roebling before opening the book. Nor of course, was I aware of how truly remarkable a journey Washington’s life had been. Thankfully through Peter J. Tomasi’s dream project, in addition to the beautiful artwork by Sara DuVall. You too will have the chance to find out, the type of vision and determination that was needed to see the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. As well as the absolute toll it took on both Washington’s health and the tragic loss of life it required to bring such a marvel of engineering to fruition.
The Bridge - Brooklyn Bridge

Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay Tomasi is he forced me to seek out more books about the Roeblings. The Bridge starts out in 1852, with a young Washington in some ways being molded by John Roebling, his Father. Or rather being forged into the type of person who could successfully bring about the Brooklyn Bridge. A project planned out by John and begun with his Son in 1869. It was however Washington who oversaw the actual construction.
The Bridge - Sara DuVall

A Civil War veteran, whose actions would be quite befitting a film itself, Washington Roebling wasn’t alone in his vision of the bridge. Emily Roebling proved what those of us who live in an “enlightened” age already know. There is not a single job or task that a Woman isn’t equally capable of performing. When her Husband’s health was threatened, it was Emily who ensured the project was on schedule. Supporting the Roeblings was a dedicated crew, men truly risking their lives to see the dream take shape. Just as, of course, Washington did himself – which is how he earned that respect.
The Bridge - Washington Roebling

With Tomasi and DuVall’s The Bridge, I have no doubt you will be just as amazed as I was. The story is both exhilarating and uplifting, a reminder of the good that can be accomplished for a noble endeavor. You can pick up a copy of the book on April 17th at better book dealers everywhere. Of course you can visit Abrams Comicarts official page to pre-order your copy today.

While you are waiting to grab your copy of The Bridge. Why not check out this clip from PBS America?

[Via] PBS America

Trying Times

This Needs To Be On DVD: Trying Times

It’s hard to argue that we’re approaching the twilight of physical media. That makes me a little bit twitchy – stuff that hasn’t made it to DVD needs to make it to DVD soon, while there’s still a DVD market to make it to. The manufacture-on-demand DVD market is one of the best things ever, giving some real niche material a fresh lease on life…but could it be that some things are too niche even for burn-on-demand?

Case in point: the ultra-obscure PBS-produced comedy anthology series Trying Times, which aired two six-season episodes in 1987 and 1989. Produced at KCET, the PBS affiliate in Los Angeles, the show had access to big names, some just before their big breakout, and some who were already household names – Robert Klein, Jean Stapleton, Carrie Fisher, Geena Davis, Tim Matheson, Rosanna Arquette, Judge Reinhold, Keanu Reeves, and even David Byrne of Talking Heads fame. Each half-hour episode was its own little universe of ennui and social awkwardness, a one-act play unto itself.
Trying Times
Trying Times

There was talent aplenty behind the cameras too.
Trying Times

With writers like Spalding Gray and Terrence McNally aboard, and directors such as the late Jonathan Demme, Buck Henry, Christopher Guest, and Alan Arkin, the question becomes…how has this evaded a DVD release for all these years?

[Via] ThorC1138

Trying Times is a rare specimen of PBS in more daring times: rather than British imports or documentaries or filmed stage plays, this was a unique attempt to generate an original comedy just for PBS. Somewhere between its lack of commercial breaks and its short seasons, Trying Times felt like American comedy having taken notes from British comedies. Of course, it’s almost inevitable that someone, somewhere, protested that this wasn’t what they thought their pledge drive money was going toward. How different would PBS be if this had been just the beginning of original comedy or dramatic programming?

What’s amazing is that there’s precious little evidence of Trying Times’ existence anywhere – IMDB listings are vague at best, and I could only locate two episodes on YouTube. On the one hand, I’m relieved that at least one or two other people remember the show. On the other hand…wouldn’t it be great if we could all see this again?

[Via] Dads Volunteer’s Channel

So my challenge, to the DVD publishers of the world, is to ease our anxieties and give us a chuckle in these very real trying times…by bringing back Trying Times for an encore.

Search

The superspy Search engine of the ’70s

It’s 1972. Missions to the moon are still being launched. A space station is about to go into orbit. Live television broadcasts and telephone communications via satellite are becoming commonplace, as are computers capable of handling and sorting immense amounts of information. In this context, the idea of one man, an Aston Martin, and a martini (shaken, but not stirred) standing between the free nations of the world and domination by evildoers seems quaint.
Search

At least that’s the idea in NBC’s Search, a short-lived “spy-fi” series dreamed up by Leslie Stevens, the producer who had brought us The Outer Limits in its original 1960s incarnation. Search involves the top-secret World Security Corporation, evidently a commercial entity with connections in all the right (high) places. Deep inside World Security’s office building lies PROBE Control, a kind of “mission control” guiding the activities of an elite handful of special agents around the globe.

[Via] Warner Archive

Sitting in the big chair at the center of PROBE Control is V.C.R. Cameron (the simply amazing Burgess Meredith), a veteran at the spy game who now turns his expertise toward guiding younger agents in the field. Surrounding “Cam” is a circle of specialists in data retrieval and analysis who, together with PROBE’s amazing computer power, can piece together information on the fly to help agents in the field.
Search - Burgess Meredith

Those agents are themselves called Probes. Each agent has been fitted with an implant that allows them to hear and speak to PROBE Control via satellite, and each agent has a tiny camera, worn either as a pendant or as a ring, allowing PROBE Control to see what they say, analyze things or even people at the spectroscopic level, and monitors and records the agent’s vital signs.

Perhaps most importantly, there’s more than one agent, and an acknowledgement that each Probe needs time off to recover from each taxing adventure. One of three agents leads the charge in each episode: Hugh O’Brian as Lockwood, a.k.a. “Probe One”, the best and brightest of the agents; Anthony Franciosa as Nick Bianco, a.k.a. “Omega Probe”, a former cop with deep knowledge of the criminal underworld; and Doug McClure as the carefree C.R. Grover, the Backup Probe, who gets the assignments no one else wants – or inherits hazardous assignments from Probes who die in the line of duty. (On a purely logistical level, this arrangement would allow for multiple filming crews to be filming multiple scripts at multiple locations, and future-proofs the show against such real-world incidents as a star being hurt…or demanding a larger salary.)


The action starts with the pilot movie PROBE, which aired early in 1972, starring Hugh O’Brian and no less a guest star than Sir John Gielgud. Introducing the show’s jetsetting international scope, flashy stunt work, and the seemingly vast PROBE Control set, the movie can’t have been cheap, but it sets up the concept and some of the characters – and hooked enough viewers to get a go-ahead as a series.

There’s just one problem: PBS was airing a documentary/news series called Probe at the same time, and the producers were asked to change the name of the series when it returned in the fall, hence its rebirth as Search. O’Brian and Burgess Meredith were still aboard, along with many of the same actors who played the PROBE Control computer operators, but O’Brian began rotating episodes more or less evenly with Franciosa and McClure, and the settings changed drastically from week to week.

Search is fun in that early ’70s gotta-have-a-car-chase-if-it’s-on-TV kind of way. Each of the leading men have their own quirks and charms (though Franciosa, as Nick Bianco, emerges as an early favorite just for his character’s Rat-Pack-worthy swagger), and Burgess Meredith anchors each episode, providing his trademark good-natured crankiness.

And that awesome spy tech? The funny thing is, in this world of the internet and cell phones (and, yes, cell phones that can get on the internet), Search’s technology is just now landing this side of the “plausible” line. In 1972, the technology depicted, and its abilities, were pure science fiction, an attempt to transplant the NASA technology that everybody had seen get men to the moon into a spy thriller setting.

After decades of obscurity and being forgotten, Search is back, with the full series available on DVD. PROBE is available on its own disc. It may not be worthy of binge watching as we now know it, but it’s fun to watch an episode now and again. And how did Search fans enjoy the show after it played on their local NBC stations? Believe it or not…there was an official set of Search ViewMaster reels…because nothing is more fun for kids than reliving Hugh O’Brian stoically putting down a terrorist plot!

As cool as that is, however, Search – and its whistle-able theme song and neat spy tech – signed off after a single season. Over the course of its months on the air, the expense of mounting weekly international spy capers (even if “international” meant “Hollywood backlot”) was evidently getting to be a bit much, as PROBE Control shrinks noticeably as the show wears on.

Had the show stayed on for a second year, it would seem like getting the three leading men together, either for a one-off mission to save the world, or as part of an all-hands PROBE effort to stop some global scheme, would’ve been a no-brainer for a sweeps month – kind of like doing Doctor Who’s celebrated Five Doctors episode in year two instead of year 20.

Is this one of those underground classics that needs a modern reboot? Should the Search continue? Seek out the original and judge for yourself.

Kenny Loggins (And Michael McDonald)…on PBS!

So…did I ever talk about how much I love Kenny Loggins’ music?

Kenny Loggins and David Foster Brag, Then Perform Forever

And the Only Way to Start Your Set at a David Foster Concert? Heart to Heart!

Oh.

Well then.

Ok, so I love Kenny Loggins music – I know, I know, tell you something you don’t already know – but this was shared on my Facebook timeline the other day (thanks to Claire M. for making sure I saw this).

Kenny Loggins

And it was accompanied by this explanation, as written by Michael McDonald…

“Yacht rock smooth” takes “Other Worldly Funk” prisoner back stage at PBS taping of Kenny Loggins Soundstage performance!… Lol! Kenny, Steve ( aka Thunderkat!), and me. This young guy is ridiculously talented! A real inspiration! Had a blast doing the taping in Chicago! The performance chronicles the amazing career of my old friend, recording artist, performer, and composer extraordinaire, Kenny Loggins.

After I picked my jaw up the floor and stopped screaming (within, since I was at work) like the untamed fangirl I tend to be in these situations, I tried to find some information about when this will air. I’m not a fan of PBS (I only watch the David Foster concerts that originally aired there), but you best bet my TV will be tuned in that night!

I haven’t found any information yet, but I promise as soon as I do find out, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops!

And another thing you best bet?

giphy

#WhitePeopleGrooving

Allison loves her music. She especially loves anything that has to do with Kenny Loggins. For some reason, he is her current music addiction (besides Chicago, of course). She’s never seen Loggins in concert, but she has seen Chicago perform. She brags about that AND has plenty to offer on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can also follow her blog on Facebook, and she’s on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Allison is capable of #WhitePeopleGrooving.