Wednesday, September 2, 2009

s'Newz occasional series of stories which recently caught my eye...

There was some big comic news released yesterday, and by that I mean news regarding comic books. Disney has paid billions of dollars to acquire Marvel, gaining control of buttloads of super heroes, super villains, and other types which appeal to the teenaged male. I was never a big reader of those types of literature as a kid. Don't tell anybody, but while my cohorts were clamoring for the next installment of the Incredible Hulk, I was reading Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo? Now that was a master of disguise). And the X-Men hadn't even been invented. So I think the bigger news in the comic book world was released a couple of weeks ago:

After about 70 years of waffling, Archie is finally ending the eternal speculation: Betty or Veronica? Spoiler Alert: he's choosing Veronica, the rich bitch. Betty, the girl-next-door, is being left in the dust. I read a few Archie comic books during my childhood, but can't claim to be a fanatic. I had an unusual attraction to Miss Grundy, go figure that one out.

Whatever, I think Archie is making a terrible mistake in choosing Veronica as his spouse. No, I wouldn't pick Betty either, nor Sabrina the witch, nor any other gal in the Riverdale universe. If I were Archie, I would have made this, much better, choice:

You go, Reggie!

Hey, did you hear this guy died?

John Quade

Maybe you recognize his face, from dozens of appearances in TV and film westerns. He never set out to be an actor, in fact, he was working in the aerospace industry when a Hollywood producer spotted him in a restaurant and asked if he wanted to be an actor. I hate stories like that. Don't get me wrong, I love it when some schnook is discovered while he's paying his dues, performing at some tourist attraction (like this guy), but I hate it when someone lands a career just because he has "a look." Makes me feel foolish for spending years training. Quade was a regular supporting player in Clint Eastwood's films, and appeared as the motorcycle gang leader in Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can. He appeared in Patton, Papillon, and Roots, among other high-profile projects. Politically, Quade was a right-wing reactionary, who opposed all types of government interference. He believed social security numbers and drivers licenses were unconstitutional, and is remembered (by those who remember people like him) as an "actor, aerospace engineer, and Christian activist."

If you've ever visited the TKTS booth in Times Square, you've seen this guy. Even in the dead of winter, he can be found at the statue of George M. Cohan, with his guitar and his tighty whiteys. He is the Naked Cowboy, and he's running for mayor of New York. I have no idea what his platform is, but don't you kind of hope he wins?

I've been following this story for months, and it has finally reached its conclusion. Remember when Jeremy Piven deserted his Broadway role in Speed-the-Plow, claiming mercury poisoning? Nobody really thought that excuse held much water, he was just finding the 8-show a week schedule too difficult. Playwright David Mamet had a classic reaction: he reported that Piven was giving up show business to take up a career as a thermometer. Anyway, our boy had to appear before an Equity committee to explain his actions; when AEA decided that he did not break any union rules, the producers of the show demanded further arbitration. That took a while, but the decision has finally been made that Piven did not breach his contract by bolting the show. The damage to his reputation has been done, however, and some folks think he lost the chance at a Tony nomination because of his behavior. And he was conspicuously absent from this year's Emmy nominations as well; he has dominated the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category for several years, but this year, he was not even mentioned. I guess Broadway and Hollywood can agree on one thing: nobody likes a quitter.