Thirty-Five Years Ago
America remains unique in turning popular culture into an industry. A book or movie with wide appeal will create the demand for subsidiary items that flourish momentarily in our national consciousness and then vanish.
In like manner, The Godfather so captured the imagination of the public that despite its depiction of violence, greed, and gratuitous murder, it managed somehow to become synonymous with “family.”
Surely the concept of family — ritualized in this case by dining — was uppermost in the minds of the owners of the new restaurant, the Godfather.
— “SAUCED,” Eleanor Widmer, February 19, 1976
Thirty Years Ago
In addition to all the water sloshing around in Altered States, there’s a torrential downpour of typical Chayefsky dialogue (Hospital, Network), which never resembles a conversation between two human beings so much as an explosion in a dictionary factory. After one week together on set, Chayefsky (the Jewish intellectual) and Russell (the Catholic showman) had a tiff, Chayefsky departed, taking his name with him and leaving behind a nom de plume (Sidney Aaron) and a script of unmistakable academic speak.
— “GOING APE,” Reno Wix, February 19, 1981
Twenty-Five Years Ago
It wouldn’t be quite as tall as Godzilla, but the colossal statue would certainly loom above the power lines in Leucadia, seizing the attention of motorists on the nearby freeway. Which is the reason the Fares family says it wants to erect a 32-foot bronze figure of the Madonna on a parcel of land they own next to Interstate 5, at Plato Place and Peraeus Street. They want people to drive up to the statue, look at the surrounding garden, and think spiritual thoughts. The Fareses assumed that local residents would welcome a work of art into their neighborhood. But last week the family learned that tall can mean monstrous to those who don’t want Leucadia known as “the town with the great big statue.”
— CITY LIGHTS: “THIRTY-TWO FEET WORTH OF FAITH,” Brae Canlen, February 20, 1986
Twenty Years Ago
There are times to dance like a duck, there are times to leave your spouse, there are times to quit your job, there are even times, they say, to drop cluster bombs on strangers; but this is not the time to sell recreational vehicles.
— “A ROAD LESS TRAVELED,” Patrick Daugherty, February 21, 1991
Fifteen Years Ago
I have in my hot little paws a picture — well, sort of a picture — of KGTV’s Carol LeBeau.
Carol’s likeness is drifting around out there on the infinite internet, and just any Tom, Dick, or Harry, from here to Moscow to Auckland, New Zealand, can pick it up and download it at will from KGTV’s website.
Does this make Carol an international celebrity?... She is, to me at least, a folksy icon of home. A San Diego gal. A heartwarming touchstone of stability, like Captain Mike, Bob Dale, Helen Copley or, bless his heart, Roger Hedgecock. A reassuring face promising that in this world of constant change, certain things will forever remain the same.
— AS SEEN ON TV: “CYBER-LEBEAU TV,” Abe Opincar, February 15, 1996
Ten Years Ago
George Leonard, author and cultural critic, says “suicide” was one of three taboo words before the ’60s. No one used it. (The other two words were “cancer” and “homosexual.” My mother was later to bring personal meaning to the first word. I would bring same to the second.)
— “GENERATIONS,”Jangchup Phelgyal, February 15, 2001
Five Years Ago
After broadcasting for more than 50 years in English, last week the Rosarito-based 690 AM dropped American music for noticias, chismes, and deportes (news, gossip, and sports). Clear Channel sold the station to Spain’s Grupo Prisa, which flipped it to Spanish talk February 6.
“My first year there we taped our we taped our DJ shows at the Mission Valley Inn,” says [Ernie] Meyers. “Someone had to drive the tapes down to TJ all day long.... 690 had the best transmitter in town, 50,000 watts. It went all the way up to Canada.”
— BLURT: “ONE FOR THE ROAD,” Ken Leighton, February 16, 2006