News of the Week: Dick Van Dyke, Digital Clothes, and the Debate Over Pie vs. Cake 

Dick Van Dkye Show
CBS. ©Calvada Productions

Ohhhhhh Rob! (In Color)

I’m not usually a fan of the colorization of movies and TV shows. I believe they should all be shown in their original, glorious black and white. But CBS has been doing something the past few Christmases that I think is fun: They’ve been colorizing episodes of I Love Lucy. They’re not replacements for the original black-and-white episodes, but they are interesting little curios that make you see the show in a different light.

The episodes always get great ratings, too, which is probably one of the reasons CBS is doing the same thing withThe Dick Van Dyke Show. I’ve seen color photos from the set, but this will be the first time that entire episodes from the classic sitcom will be shown in color. The two classic episodes will be “That’s My Boy,” where Rob thinks that he and Laura have brought the wrong baby home from the hospital, and “Coast to Coast Big Mouth,” where Laura accidentally tells a national TV audience that her husband’s boss is really bald.

Sometimes the colors on these things seem really off, but creator Carl Reiner oversaw the colorization process, and that gives me hope. The special airs on December 11 at 8 p.m.

If You’ve Been Waiting for Digital Clothing, You’re in Luck

Our clothing is now going to be connected to the web. While I applaud the use of this technology to, say, create overalls that prevent utility workers from being electrocuted, I know that it’s also going to be used in more ridiculous ways. The technology was showcased last week at the General Electric’s Mind + Machines conference, part of the “internet of things” we’ve heard so much about, where everything we have will be connected to each other, from our televisions and computers to our refrigerators and lightbulbs.

Someday soon we’ll be able to update our Facebook status via our Wi-Fi-enabled shoelaces. And we’ll post to our friends, “Hey, I’m updating my Facebook status via my Wi-Fi-enabled shoelaces!

RIP Florence Henderson and Sharon Jones

When I was a kid, my sister and I used to go down to the corner store on Friday nights and get a giant bag filled with candy and other snacks to eat while watching The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories, so it’s sad to hear that the woman who played Carol Brady, Florence Henderson, has died at the age of 82.

Besides the iconic role on that sitcom (and it’s many spinoffs and TV movies), Henderson was a singer and appeared in starring roles on Broadway, including the original Fanny. She appeared in shows like The Love BoatFantasy Island30 RockAlly McBealMurder, She Wrote, I Spy, and…well, too many others to list. She had her own talk shows, was a “Today Girl” on The Today Show in the 60’s (doing weather and some news), co-hosted Later Today in 1999-2000, and appeared on many game shows and in tons of commercials. She hosted a couple of cooking shows as well, including Country Cooking and later Who’s Cooking with Florence Henderson, and was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.


You may know the song “100 Days, 100 Nights” from its use in a FitBit commercial last year. The singer of that song, Sharon Jones of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, passed away from pancreatic cancer last Friday at the age of 60. She also suffered two strokes earlier this month.

Jones was the subject of a 2016 documentary titled Miss Sharon Jones.

Believe It or Not, Marilyn Monroe’s Dress Sells for $4.8M

Lots of old celebrity clothing in the news lately. A few weeks ago we told you about the restoration of Dorothy’s shoes from The Wizard of Oz, and this week we saw the auction of a famous dress worn by a sex symbol while she sang “Happy Birthday” to the president.

The crystal-embossed dress that Marilyn Monroe wore when she serenaded President Kennedy at his 45th birthday party in 1962 sold for a record $4.8 million this week at an auction in Los Angeles, the highest amount for a dress at auction. The buyer? Ripley’s Believe It or Not. It will be shown at their Odditorium museums during a worldwide tour.

By the way, this dress is the old-fashioned, nondigital kind.

This Week in History

President John F. Kennedy Killed (November 22, 1963)

CBS’s Walter Cronkite broke into As The World Turns to give viewers the news that Kennedy had been shot in Dallas:

President Franklin Pierce Born (November 23, 1804)

2016 wasn’t the only year we heard insults and crude language during a presidential campaign.

Howard Carter Enters King Tut’s Tomb (November 26, 1922)

Was there a curse that plagued Carter and others who opened the tomb?


National Cake Day

There are many food arguments: tea vs. coffee, McDonald’s vs. Burger King, chicken vs. fish, Coke vs. Pepsi, and of course cake vs. pie. It’s a battle for the ages. Cooks from CNN and The New York Times debated it a few years ago, and it was even discussed by several celebrities during the Mark Twain Prize for Humor ceremonies. For the record, Jon Hamm is a pie man, while Tina Fey doesn’t even understand why it’s a debate because cake is clearly superior.

I don’t know where I stand. If you’d asked me a couple weeks ago, I would have said cake. If you ask me this week, I’ll say pie because Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about pie. But since tomorrow is National Cake Day, how about making this Black & Blue Berry Cake, this Irish Apple Cake, or this Peach Johnnycake.

By sheer coincidence, “Peach Johnnycake” was the name I used when I was an exotic dancer.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Stockbridge’s “Main Street at Christmas” Norman Rockwell Celebration (December 24)

The Massachusetts town has lights and decorations and a concert to celebrate the iconic “Home For Christmas” painting Norman Rockwell created for McCall’s.

Advent begins (December 3)

Advent is “a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.” It’s also a time to eat a lot of chocolate.

Black & Blue Berry Cake

Memorize this recipe; it’s your new best friend. Whether you’re thanking the neighbors for dog-sitting, bringing someone a get-well treat, or meeting some friends in the park, this simple cake spreads smiles.

Black & Blue Berry Cake (But any fresh berries will do)

Black and Blue Berry Cake
Black and Blue Berry Cake

Makes 8 to 9 servings

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease and flour 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, add 1/3 flour mixture, then 1/3 buttermilk and repeat in 3 batches until just combined. Drop/pour batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Sprinkle berries over top and gently (if at all) push berries into top of batter. (Cake will rise over berries while baking.)

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack for 10 minutes before moving to plate.