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Post Week in Review: August 17–23

RIP Don Pardo

Don Pardo, of course, is best known for being the voice of Saturday Night Live since its debut in 1975 (“Liiiiiiiiive from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”). But the announcer, who passed away Monday at the age of 96, did a lot of other work you may remember, but never knew was him.

He broke the news of John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, to NBC viewers and was the announcer on the original Jeopardy!, as well as being an announcer on The Price Is Right, news shows, even soap operas. Don Pardo was one of the people who composed our history of television and radio.

His career spanned more than 70 years. He moved to Tucson, Arizona, several years ago and traveled back and forth from there to announce SNL in New York. He pre-recorded his announcements for his last seasons of the show from his home.

Good-bye, Movie Guide

In the ’80s and ’90s, one of my favorite things to look forward to every year was buying Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide. This was before the Internet and Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and a million websites that reviewed movies. It was rather incredible to have one big book (and it got bigger every year) that had thousands of movie reviews!

I’m one of those regular readers who stopped buying it about a dozen years ago — and that’s the reason why Maltin is ending it after the 2015 edition comes out on September 2. It will be sad to see it go. Sure, the Internet is bursting with movie reviews and trivia, and coming out with a print edition that offers the same thing you can get for free seems almost quaint. But there’s something to be said about not only holding something like the Movie Guide in your hand but also the fact that we’ve come to trust Leonard Maltin and his reviewers over the years. It would be great if Maltin would put the reviews online, but he says he has no plans to do that.

The Ice Bucket Challenge

Unless you’ve completely stayed offline and also haven’t watched any television for the past few weeks, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. And you’re probably thinking that it’s such a fantastic cause that there can’t possibly be anyone who has a problem with people dumping cold water on their heads to give attention and support for the fight against ALS, right?

Well, you’d be wrong. At least in California.

Do they have a point? Let us know in the comments below.

Is There a “Sleep Switch” in Our Brains?

Are you a senior citizen who finds yourself waking up in the middle of the night? Researchers say a “sleep switch” turns on in our brains as we get older. There’s a group of neurons in the brain that degenerate as we reach our 60s, 70s, and 80s that causes us to wake up in the middle of the night. It might also be related to the insomnia that causes sudden wandering in people with Alzheimer’s.

This may sound like an awful thing to anticipate going through, but doctors are surely working on a pill for it. Soon there will be a pill for everything, including a pill so you don’t have to take any more pills.

Pay to Play

In an alternate universe, the National Football League asks me to play the Super Bowl halftime show. Since I have very little musical talent — I can sing OK, but my air drum solo during the big drum section of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” is fantastic — and this gig could lead to some great offers, I might actually decide to pay them for letting me play a concert seen by a gazillion people (and I promise I wouldn’t pull a Janet Jackson).

Of course, I’m not a professional musician. If I were someone well known and popular — say, Rihanna or Coldplay or Katy Perry — it would be ridiculous to ask me to pay to play during the show, right? Right?

Wait, that’s exactly what the NFL is doing.

I didn’t realize the league was so hard up for money. Maybe they should do a Kickstarter to get a good band to play.

Eat a Peach

​That’s the title of a classic Allman Brothers album. But today is also ​
National Eat a Peach Day​. I’m not really sure why it isn’t just called National Peach Day. I mean, what else are you supposed to do with peaches, tile your bathroom?

Actually, August is National Peach Month, so I guess every day this month is Eat a Peach day, if you think about it.​ To celebrate, how about a pulled-pork salad with peaches and cilantro?

Upcoming Anniversaries

Young Suffragette by Violet Moore Higgins

Seven years before women had the right to vote in the United States, Violet Moore Higgins’ Young Suffragette appeared on the cover of the Post on June 14, 1913.

August 25
American ingenuity. John Fitch built a steamboat on the Delaware River under the eyes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and other members of the 1787 Constitutional Convention before receiving a U.S. patent for the invention on August 25, 1791.

August 26
Votes for women. The 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote takes effect when Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certifies the ratification on August 26, 1920.

August 27
Hail to the Chief. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama received presidential nomination by the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

August 28
Sweet dreams. In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

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