Monday, June 22, 2009

The With Sincere Regrets... Post.

William Gaines swore that he'd never run advertisements in Mad magazine (other than the fake kind) and he kept his word. Now that he's passed on, it's a whole 'nother story. Running colour stories is a good change, mind, but still.

Like the late Bill, I don't want to do something I said I'd never do - but unlike Bill I'll have to go back on my word. To free up disc space, I'll have to delete downloaded-and-saved pictures. So farewell to Aria Giovanni, Erica Campbell, the Krupa sisters and Katharine McPhee... but Jessica Alba is forever safe. So are Mariah Carey, Monica Bellucci, Laetitia Casta and Hayden Panettiere.

And yes, so is Cindy. Seen here in Argentina on Remington-related business, looking all soft and luscious in blue. I wish I could get more on here. Fortunately lots more here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Give Danny Elfman A Break Dammit Post.

A few moments ago I was taping the end credits of Wanted, featuring Danny Elfman scoring plus the man singing in rock song form for the first time in a movie in years (and also, unfortunately, featuring Claire "World's Most Annoying Continuity Announcer" Sturgess talking over the front of it - hence the existence of soundtrack albums). Several hours ago I was in a cinema watching Terminator Salvation, which also features Danny Elfman scoring. And it doesn't have much in the way of his usual tropes (other than being a fine composer) - the two don't sound much like each other, which sort of spits in the face of those who insist all his stuff sounds the same. In fact Wanted has more Elfmanisms than the T-Whatevernumberitis stuff; no children's choir but heavy marching strings and a bit of eccentric percussion. Both are ones to get in their own right, though.

Not that Terminator Salvation is a good movie, mind.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The A Lot More Than 35 People Agree Post.

In a 1991 Pepsi commercial, supermodel Cindy Crawford steps out of a red Lamborghini at a remote roadside rest stop. Wearing a white tank top and denim cut-off shorts, she flicks her hair and saunters over to a vending machine, where she buys--and drinks--a can of ice-cold Pepsi. She's oblivious to the two young boys who are watching, spellbound.

The Pepsi commercial, which was created by Omnicom agency BBDO and last aired during the Super Bowl 17 years ago, was rated as the sexiest TV commercial among 35 viewed by eight judges from the advertising industry.

So sayeth (also making the cut: ads for Levi's with Daniela Pestova, Calvin Klein with Brooke Shields - yes, that one - and, of course, beer and perfume spots).
The complete article is here.

The original...

...and the remake.

Sure they were looking at the Pepsi can, in either version. Sure they were.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Cindy In Florida And Canada Post.

Not at the same time, obviously.

First at the opening of the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale:

Then up in Quebec for her successful Cindy Crawford Home line:

Busy lady, and such a foxy one! Maxim calling again, please? Or another men's magazine?

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Play That Truncated Music, White Boy Post.

Jon Burlingame in Variety:

Nearly 35 years ago, producers Thomas Miller and Edward Milkis put together a 20-minute presentation to convince ABC that two guest stars on Happy Days could be spun off into their own series.

They shot just a few new scenes of Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams as Laverne & Shirley but, recalls composer Charles Fox, they insisted on a 75-second main-title sequence with a fully produced song, "so, right from the beginning, people would know what it was about."

Fox and lyricist Norman Gimbel came up with "Making Our Dreams Come True." It became a top-25 hit -- one of many TV theme hits for Fox, who won an Emmy for Love, American Style and wrote themes for Happy Days, The Love Boat, Angie and others.

Today a composer is happy to get 10 seconds on a broadcast skein, and hit TV themes are rare.

Over the past 15 years, the broadcast networks have demanded shorter main-title sequences, preferring to jump into the action faster and thus reduce the chance that viewers will flip to another channel. Emmy's Main Title Theme Music category, however, disallows themes under 15 seconds, so many network shows are ineligible.

Last year's theme-music Emmy winner, Russ Landau (Pirate Master), says, "It's getting tougher and tougher to convince (decisionmakers) to spend the time that they would normally be making on advertising dollars.

But some producers like music -- Mark Burnett (Survivor) likes a good, long-line theme. It sets the tone for the show."

Jeff Beal, who scores ABC's Ugly Betty, gets 12 seconds -- so short a time that the music can't really be called a theme.

"It's a little sonic signature that says a lot about the style of the show and who the character is," he explains, its prominent marimba suggesting Betty's Mexican heritage.

For USA's Monk, Beal got 45 seconds (and won one of his three Emmys), and for HBO's Rome he got a minute and a half. Longer openings offer a chance "to tell more of a musical story," he says.

Heroes, by contrast, gave composers Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin just 10 seconds. "You have to think in terms of 'stings,'" says Coleman, referring to the film-music tradition of brief but impactful musical statements. "We knew it had to be big and somewhat supernatural sounding. It didn't need to be terribly melodic, just atmospheric."

This year, PBS producer David Horn wanted to reinvigorate the opening sequence of Great Performances for the high-def era and called five-time Oscar winner John Williams to compose new theme music. Williams' piece debuted March 25 and is only his third primetime series signature in 25 years.

"It is elegant, and it sneaks up on you," says Horn, who previously had commissioned Oscar winners John Corigliano and Maurice Jarre to write Great Performances themes.

"I wanted to use a full symphonic orchestra, to invite the viewer to come in to a series that we like to think is classy," says Horn -- "one week the Metropolitan Opera, next week Carnegie Hall, then a musical theater piece, Shakespearean drama, a lot of different things."

In contrast, say many observers, the commercial networks are missing a bet by ignoring the power of a good theme.

"Quickening the pace, getting into storylines faster, all conspire against the theme," says
Cleveland Plain Dealer TV critic Mark Dawidziak. "But on cable, the name of the game is people knowing who you are -- FX viewers, USA viewers, HBO viewers -- and this is where that old-fashioned network thinking comes into play. They hear that music and they remember that opening."

However, even some cable shows suffer from Tiny Open Syndrome, like USA's Burn Notice. Anyway, carry on.

"Eighty years from now," he adds, "today's kids, sitting in their wheelchairs in the nursing home, will be humming the SpongeBob SquarePants theme in much the same way that we know the theme songs of our youth. It's more than just a TV theme. It becomes a communal thing, a shared cultural point among your friends, your community."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Double-Edged Sword Post.

The Sun's Page 3 Idol contest (oh dear) was won this year by a very lovely girl called Kelly Hall. The paper says the eighth winner (eighth?) will follow "in the glamorous footsteps of Keeley (Hazell) and Nicola T." (Short for Tappenden.)

Hopefully she won't follow in the footsteps of
last year's winner, mention of whom is notably absent from the appropriate section of the paper's site.