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Archive for June, 2009

  images-2Accomplished academics have written about how “Charlie’s Angels” – “jiggle” television that it was – has its place in feminist history, pop-culture division.

   I’m not an accomplished academic _ or any kind of academic _  just someone who’s watched an inordinate amount of 1970s television. So what I offer here, in tribute to the passing of Farrah Fawcett, are a few thoughts about “Charlie’s Angels” and the concept of teamwork. 

   When “Charlie’s Angels” debuted in 1976, there really had never been a television show quite like it. Three women who were, obviously by choice, devoted to their careers and not married. Nor were they even the slighest bit worried about that. They were in a dangerous profession, but they never seemed too concerned about that either. 

   We’d seen women on TV shows as competent, smart and brave police officers/detectives/spies before “Charlie’s Angels.” But they were always paired with at least one man; think Mrs. Peel of “The Avengers” or 99 from “Get Smart” or Pepper Anderson of “Police Woman.”

  What made “Charlie’s Angels” SO different was that it was three women working together – and they really liked each other. The characters were all youthful and beautiful, but they never exhibited jealousy or competitiveness toward each other.  When one was in trouble, the other two were going to do everything possible to get her out of it. Even if it meant risking of their own lives.

   Had a television series ever presented this kind of friendship between women before? I really don’t think it had.
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   Today is the 37th anniversary of Title IX being signed into law by Richard Nixon. As anniversaries go, No. 37 isn’t necessarily very notable, but still worth mentioning.

  In “honor” of that important date – June 23, 1972 _ I was trying to think of something a little different to write in this blog entry. And from some vault in my brain came this: Give John Davidson his comeuppance.

  OK, not exactly him. His character from a 1970s TV show. I’ll explain.

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  d2cb42800b8ea6d4In a recent conversation with a new acquaintance, the name “Crematia Mortem” came up. I can’t remember just how, but it did, much to my delight.

  She was the “ghostess” of the Creature Feature on Saturday nights during the 1980s on a Kansas City television station. Crematia was played by Roberta Solomon, a very talented radio/TV personality in KC . She would introduce each week’s dreadful horror film, plus make comments/do skits going into and coming back from the commercials.

    The show had a bargain-basement budget, but Crematia had such a clever, campy sense of humor that she made cheesy seem classy. I loved the character, and if anyone in my presence had made the mistake of calling her the Midwest’s Elvira, I would have growled that Elvira couldn’t carry Crematia’s candelabrum.

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images It was June 19, 1999, and that ‘N Sync song was playing again. And again. And one more time.

I didn’t really know anything about ‘N Sync except that a curly-haired kid named Justin was the lead singer. And I only knew this because I’d seen it on magazine covers at grocery stores.

But on the field down below me at Giants Stadium was ‘N Sync, rehearsing for a performance later that day. I didn’t know any of their songs, but this particular one was being embedded into my brain by repetition.

“It’s tearin’ up my heart when I’m with you …”

It was hours before the United States’ opening match of the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, but many of us sportswriters were already there in the press box. We had been told the place would be packed, so we’d better not risk getting stuck in traffic.

Instead, we risked getting an ‘N Sync song stuck in our heads.

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   When Don Zierden resigned from the Minnesota Lynx a couple of days before the season started, I blasted him and called the move unprofessional. When Bill Laimbeer resigned from the Detroit Shock on Monday, a little over a week after the season started, I did not criticize him. 

  While the timing is still bad, I didn’t begrudge him leaving now. So some folks have asked me, “What’s the difference?”

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   Bill Laimbeer is on his way out as Detroit Shock coach, and he leaves trusted assistants Rick Mahorn and Cheryl Reeve to take over.

  The Detroit Free Press and Mel Greenberg _ who always has a Philly connection to everything (Reeve is from that area and played at La Salle) _  both reported this Monday morning. The Shock’s official announcement is Monday afternoon.
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   How do you measure positive “impact” on the world and other people? Three stories to consider …

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  imagesThis particular interview with Tennessee coach Pat Summitt was eight years ago, not very long after 9-11. We were talking about various things, and at some point I asked her how difficult it was for her – as it is for many of us – to see the horrifically difficult lives of women in places such as Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

 I remember the tone of her voice changing, the edge to it, the way the question affected her. How obvious it was that just the thought of such things made her furious. And made her all the more determined to do whatever she could to help women and girls everywhere.

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