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News of the Week: Blockbuster, the World Series of Poker, and Why You’re Storing Bread Wrong

Published: July 20, 2018

One Is the Loneliest Number

All the things we used to love are going away.

Post Archive Director Jeff Nilsson highlighted some of them in this piece from earlier this year, and in addition to things like neighborhood mailboxes, department stores, and bank branches, he included Blockbuster Video. He mentioned that there were 10 Blockbuster stores left (there were almost 9,000 in its heyday), with seven of them being in Alaska. As of a few weeks ago, there were only two left in Alaska, and those two stores closed last week. What all that video store math means is that there is now only one Blockbuster left anywhere, and I’m running it out of my apartment.

Well, no. Actually, the last Blockbuster is in Bend, Oregon. Yup, you can still go there and rent movies! In an odd way, the closing of all of the Blockbuster locations might be a blessing to the last location, because now they’re getting a lot of press for being the last one, and maybe they’ll get more customers, the ones who might want to go there out of a feeling of nostalgia or don’t want to stream or rent from that Redbox at the supermarket. CBS’s Jamie Yuccas visited the store and filed this story.

 

All In

Poker isn’t as popular as it once was. There actually might be more people playing it these days — especially online — but it’s not as “hot” as it was 10 or 15 years ago, when ESPN and other networks started televising tournaments and a different kind of “sports” star emerged. It pretty much started when unknown Chris Moneymaker (such a perfect name) won the World Series of Poker in 2003. He made people think they could win too.

This year’s winner was crowned last week at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. John Cynn beat Tony Miles in an epic showdown that lasted 10 ½ hours and 442 hands, including a spectacular made-for-TV hand where Miles made a successful $95 million bluff.

Cynn won $8.8 million and a nice World Series of Poker bracelet. He had a nice run in 2016 too; he came in 11th.

On Broadway

There’s a scene in the original 1933 film version of King Kong where the giant ape is unveiled on stage at a Broadway theater. I’ve always wondered why the people who captured Kong would unveil him in that matter (with all those people, not knowing how strong he is?). But it’s a great idea and a great visual: A giant ape on a stage in front of an audience escapes and goes on a rampage.

Now we’ll be able to experience that same scene with King Kong: Alive on Broadway, the Broadway version of a show that ran in Australia and has been in the works for several years. It’s going to include some impressive animatronics and special effects, as this Hollywood Reporter behind-the-scenes video illustrates.

Previews of the show start October 5. I wonder how (or if) they’ll re-create that escape-from-the-stage scene?

Green Acres: The Musical

It probably won’t be as exciting as King Kong, but maybe you’d like to see a stage show based on a ’60s sitcom.

We could probably think of a lot of TV sitcoms that might work as stage musicals. Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie come immediately to mind, not only for the plots and settings that would lend themselves to the stage, but also for what they could do with the magic scenes. But I wouldn’t have thought at all that Green Acres would be coming to Broadway, though that’s exactly what is in the works.

If you don’t remember the show, lawyer Oliver Douglas and his wife Lisa move from New York City to a small-town farm. He wants to do it; she hates the idea. Wacky chaos ensues. The official press release for the stage show says, “What happens when two people in love find themselves wanting opposite lives sends us on a journey that is both hilarious and filled with heart.” That certainly sounds more ambitious than the TV show.

Coming soon: F Troop: Alive on Broadway! 

Blondie Won’t Be Coming to Blu-ray (Not Yet Anyway)

You might be familiar with the series of Blondie movies released in the 1940s, based on the classic comic strip. Turner Classic Movies runs them. You might not know that there was a TV series in 1957, however. It starred Arthur Lake and Pamela Britton and ran for 24 episodes. Recently there was a campaign to get the series released on Blu-ray and … well, it failed.

David Kawas, founder of ClassicFlix, created a Kickstarter for the project, which needed to reach $20,000. Unfortunately, when the campaign ended last week, it had only reached $6,626. Oh well. Maybe he’ll try it again in the future.

Interestingly, there was also a 1968 Blondie sitcom that ran for only 13 episodes.

How Do You Store Bread?

That may seem like an odd question, but not if you think about it. There are many ways to close and store a bag of bread, as shown in this illustration by graphic designer Kallista Zhang. Which do you do?

 

I’m a Lawful Neutral person (even if the artist did confuse things by calling the twist tie that comes with bread a “bag clip,” which is a different thing). I don’t trust Chaotic Evil people.

RIP Nancy Sinatra Sr., Roger Perry, and Ron Satlof

Nancy Sinatra Sr. was the first wife of Frank Sinatra and the mother of his three children (Nancy, Frank, and Tina). She died last Friday at the age of 101.

Roger Perry was a veteran actor who appeared on such shows as Star Trek, Arrest and Trial, The Facts of Life, and Falcon Crest, as well as cult classic movies like The Thing with Two Heads and Count Yorga, Vampire. He died last week at the age of 85.

Ron Satlof was an assistant director on the Martin Scorsese film Mean Streets and director of eight Perry Mason TV movies and dozens of episodes of other shows. He died earlier this month at the age of 79.

This Week in History

First Atomic Bomb Test (July 16, 1945)

The test, code-named “Trinity,” happened in the New Mexico desert and was the result of years of testing as part of the secret Manhattan Project.

The Catcher in the Rye Published (July 16, 1951)

The classic J.D. Salinger novel is one of those books that every American should read, and you can for free at the Internet Archive.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Lookout Point (July 18, 1953)

Cover

Tennessee Point Lookout
Richard Sargent
July 18, 1953

This Richard Sargent cover shows a family on Point Lookout at Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. Point Lookout is now called Sunset Rock.

How dare those kids actually have their noses in books! Today, those kids would be on their phones.

Quote of the Week

“Order Restored: The Guy in the Office Who Was Always Watching the World Cup Is Back to Having Nothing”

headline at ClickHole, sister site of The Onion

Fortune Cookie Day

I don’t eat as much Chinese food as I used to, so I haven’t opened a fortune cookie in a few years (the person who delivers my pizzas never has any fortune cookies). Today is Fortune Cookie Day, and you can celebrate in one of two ways. You can order some Chinese food tonight and get one, or you can play with this online fortune cookie generator.

I got “A great person was born on your birthday.” It’s nice if they’re talking about me, but they’re probably referring to Cole Porter.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Shark Week (starts July 22)

This is the 30th anniversary of Discovery Channel’s annual extravaganza of shark-related programming. Here’s the Post’s Bill Newcott with a montage of great film and TV moments involving sharks.

System Administrator Day (July 27)

If your company’s computer network is up and running, this is the day to thank your SysAdmin.

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  • Jennifer Bortel

    Thanks for your comments, Bob! We always appreciate your insights.

  • Thanks for the feature on Blockbuster, the CBS report on it, and Jeff Nilsson’s article from just 6 months ago. Ten then, now just one. If only this had happened to Starbucks instead.

    I kind of like the idea of Broadway ‘King Kong’ but much prefer ‘Green Acres: The Musical’ because I absolutely LOVE ‘Green Acres’!!!! A brilliantly clever sitcom disguised by simplicity, that continued the vaudevillian humor of Burns and Allen in a whole new fresh way; with fantastic, unforgettable characters!!

    It has all the makings of a hit! I’m looking forward to seeing it onstage at the Pantages. The last time I was there was in 2012 to see ‘Chicago’. Why? Because of the incredible, talented and gorgeous Christie Brinkley; even more so now!

    I never really knew there was a Blondie TV show at mid-century until now, just some of the movies from the ’40s. One way or another, please keep us posted on this show.

    Roger Perry was a very fine actor that could do drama or comedy with the same quality of ease. Too many shows to mention, but Barnaby Jones was/is one of my favorites. Lucille Ball not only green-lighted Star Trek when no one else would, she lit the match to ignite Perry’s long, successful career.

    We end with Richard Sargent’s ‘Lookout’ cover. Today, not only would the kids be completely into their tech devices, dad might be in a tank top with a weird beard, covered in tattoos, with his earlobes stretched, containing a ring. And mom? Most of this would apply to her too! She might even have her head shaved on one side, and who knows WHAT colors on the other!

    The family (SHOCK!) would most likely be visiting from California.