News of the Week: Why 1964 Is Like 2016, How Much David Letterman Has Aged in a Year, and the Case of the Time-Traveling Twins

Bob Sassone looks at an aging celebrity, an age-old food brand, a sage broadcaster, raging superheroes, and more in the latest installment of “News of the Week.”

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Confessions of a Republican

From the “the more things change, the more they stay the same” department comes this video. It has been making the rounds the past couple of weeks, and whatever your opinion of Donald Trump is, it’s rather fascinating. If you replace the name Goldwater with Trump, you can see similarities to some of the criticisms Trump is getting in 2016:

By the way, the actor is William Bogert, who has been in many movies and TV shows and is still acting. He was picked for the Lyndon Johnson spot partly because he really was a Republican.

Wait … That’s David Letterman?!

Have you been wondering what David Letterman has been up to since he retired last year? Apparently, he’s been training for the annual Andrew Weil Lookalike Contest. Here he is photographed while out for a run on vacation:

 

RIP Garry Shandling, Joe Garagiola, Ken Howard, and Peter Brown

Garry Shandling
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Garry Shandling died suddenly on Thursday. The comedian and writer called 911 himself from his home but collapsed during the phone call. He was found by paramedics but later died at a Los Angeles hospital.

It’s hard to overestimate how much of an impact the late night talk show satire The Larry Sanders Show had on television. It was one of the early must-see shows on premium cable and set the tone for other shows and movies that skewered what happened behind the scenes of a television series. Before Larry Sanders, he starred in the Fox comedy series It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, which, like The Larry Sanders Show, was ahead of its time. As an actor, Shandling appeared in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Town & Country, The X-Files, Caroline in the City, and other movies and shows, and at the start of his career wrote for Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. He was 66.

Just a few months ago, Shandling was a guest on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in an episode eerily titled “It’s Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive.”

Well, I feel bad now. Just one week after I wondered why BUZZR had included Joe Garagiola and not John Daly in its new brackets game, word comes that Garagiola has passed away.

He had an incredible career, if you think about it. A baseball player on several major league teams; a sportscaster; a co-host on The Today Show; guest host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show; a panelist on shows like What’s My Line?, To Tell The Truth, and Match Game; host of his own game show, He Said, She Said; author of three books, and supporter of many charities and causes. Garagiola passed away Wednesday in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of 90. A great life.

Ken Howard also passed away this week. You might remember him as the coach on The White Shadow, as the crazy cable company owner on 30 Rock, and from many other roles. Howard was also the current president of the Screen Actors Guild-AFTRA. He was 71.

Peter Brown was probably best known as the star of the 1960s western TV series Laredo and Lawman, but it’s amazing how many other TV shows and movies he was in, including The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Magnum, P.I., Wings, Charlie’s Angels, and JAG. He also had regular roles on most of the soap operas over the years, including The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, One Life To Live, and Generations. Brown passed away in Phoenix at the age of 80.

Kraft Mac and Cheese: New Formula, New Spokesman

Speaking of former late-night talk show hosts, I have a confession to make: I liked Craig Kilborn’s stint as host of The Daily Show more than Jon Stewart’s. Well, maybe not more, but certainly just as much. Kilborn has always been derided as the show’s host, with most critics falling all over themselves to praise Stewart. But they hosted very different shows. Stewart skewered politics and the media, while Kilborn’s show was more of a straight comedy/talk show. Both shows were funny in their own way, and I really liked Kilborn’s take. I still wish he hadn’t left CBS’s The Late, Late Show.

I also like Kraft Mac and Cheese, and now the two have finally come together. If you’ve been wondering what Kilborn has been up to the past several years (he really has kept himself out of the public eye), he’s the new spokesman for the boxed pasta, which has gotten a recipe makeover to take out preservatives and dyes. Let’s hope it tastes the same even if it doesn’t look the same. Here’s the new commercial:

Obama’s Trip Reminds Me …

This week, President Obama made the first trip to Cuba by a sitting U.S. president since President Coolidge in 1928. He spoke to the Cuban people in Havana and even went to a baseball game (which was seen as a bad move after the terror attacks in Brussels). But it got me thinking: Havana is a really great movie!

That’s the 1990 Sydney Pollack film with Robert Redford as a gambler who falls in love with the wife of a revolutionary in late 1950s Cuba. It has always been, well, dumped on as a film that’s boring and overlong and tries to be Casablanca but isn’t. It was even insulted in an episode of Seinfeld! I don’t get any of those criticisms, because it’s an incredibly well-acted, engrossing, and beautifully filmed drama. Go stream it — or better yet, buy it because it’s pretty cheap now — and tell me I’m wrong.

What’s Underneath the CBS Broadcast Center?

Mo Rocca guest-hosted CBS Sunday Morning last weekend and did a fantastic job. (Charles Osgood is out for a while after having surgery.) In one segment, he took a tour of the CBS Broadcast Center, the massive New York City studio where the show originates. It’s almost like its own city. There’s also an interesting world beneath the broadcast center that most of the public hasn’t seen until now. And because the show seems to like helping me with the topics I pick for this column, there’s even a section on the aforementioned 1964 Presidential election:

Superman v. Batman v. Superman v. Batman v. Superman v. …

Over at The New Republic, Will Leitch and Tim Grierson rank all of the various Superman and Batman movies, in celebration — if that’s the word for a movie a lot of critics hate — of the release of Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice. (That v. should really be a vs.; we’re not talking about a court case here.)

It’s a fine list, and I mostly agree. I’d put the first Superman a little higher and probably wouldn’t put The Dark Knight at number one, but those are minor quibbles. I also like the love for Batman Returns, which I think is an underrated movie. Christopher Walken is great in it, and the movie is like an off-kilter superhero noir.

The Case of the Time-Traveling Twins

If I had an identical twin, I think I would have played a lot of tricks on my family. I mean, what’s the point of looking exactly like someone else if you’re not going to irritate people?

This improv group decided to play a prank on some people, a very public one. They went on a subway and decided to pretend that they were visited by their future selves, who tried to stop their past selves from raising money to build a time machine in the first place. It’s a great idea. I don’t know if the acting is good enough for the other people on the subway to actually believe them (plus it’s, you know, time travel), but you can tell they’re very amused.

It’s probably the greatest thing that has ever happened to these people while riding the New York City subway.

National Make Your Own Holiday Day

There’s a holiday for everything, and I mean everything. National Fluffernutter Day? That’s October 8. National Flip a Coin Day? That’s June 1. And if you like to play the saxophone, set aside November 6. That’s National Saxophone Day.

Tomorrow is National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. It’s the day you can make up your own special day and celebrate it every single year. So many holidays are already taken, so you have to be a little creative.

With that in mind, I hereby declare that March 26 is now Read An Issue of The Saturday Evening Post While Drinking a Glass of Wine Day. Take a picture of yourself doing it and post it on Facebook or Twitter.

On an unrelated note, tomorrow is also National Spinach Day.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries​

Worst aviation accident in history (March 27, 1977)

It was a runway crash between two Boeing 747s at the Los Rodeos Airport on Tenerife in the Canary Islands in which 583 people were killed.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg convicted (March 29, 1951)

The couple was convicted of spying and sentenced to death.

Eiffel Tower
Shutterstock

Eiffel Tower opens (March 31, 1889)

I bet you’ve always wondered what do your bones have in common with the famous Paris landmark?

President Lyndon Johnson announces he won’t seek re-election (March 31, 1968)

Johnson remarks about not running for a second term came at the end of a speech about the status of the Vietnam War.

April Fools’ Day (April 1)

​To celebrate, you can browse this gallery of Norman Rockwell April Fools’ Day covers for The Saturday Evening Post​. Or you can just torment your family and friends with a prank. And if you’re a twin, try the time travel prank above.

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Comments

  1. Bob, I found the “Why 1964 is like 2016” headline a disturbing comparison (to put it mildly) but did see some of the Goldwater/Trump similarities in the video, which was pretty interesting.

    Between astronomical air time costs and flea length attention spans, I find an almost 4 1/2 minute political ad such as this nearly impossible to fathom.

    Has David Letterman gotten gone this bald in only one year? I had to really look closely at his face otherwise to tell who he was. If I saw him casually in passing I wouldn’t have recognized him, and he’s pretty famous.

    Something’s wrong in the death of Garry Shandling, I’m sorry. I had a gut feeling about it almost right away, only for it to be confirmed by his Dr.’s refusal—several times, to sign the death certificate. It may take several weeks, but this needs a full investigation.

    Forget Obama’s trip to Cuba. The Rolling Stones looked/sounded as great and energetic as ever from the coverage I saw of their free concert!

    The improv group (I know they meant well) had me clicking out of their prank/twins video before 2:00.

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