Saturday, August 18, 2007

FREYED: Even in remote Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, folks can take a few minutes away from Race Point Beach and their tea dances to figure out that lying about your self-published novel being an Oprah Book Club pick will eventually be found out, and telling one big lie probably means you're lying about other things too.
NO TEA PARTIES: Four Square is making a comeback.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I MAJORED IN VACATION: Things to love about HSM2:
  • So many big dance numbers. It's a fun movie to watch.
  • Increased roles for secondary characters like Kelsi, Martha, and Zeke
  • Sharpay's Tina Turner number, and her new friends the Sharp-ettes. And the Esther Williams number.
  • That corkscrew move during the opening number.
  • That three songs were co-written by Robbie Nevil, of "C'est La Vie" and "Wot's It To Ya" fame, as there were in the original.
  • The whole Troy-Ryan switcheroo.
  • Troy's pouty-face on the bridge during the breakup number.
  • The line "I don't even know who I am anymore." If you're going to write a formula movie, give us the formula line.
  • The Troy-Sharpay dressing room scene.
  • Freud's going to have a field day with that penultimate scene on the golf course.
  • Not enough Lucas Grabeel. Not that there's ever enough.
  • Never has Zac Efron looked as short as when he stood next to the basketball players. And did he have Extra Shirtlessness written into his contract?
  • Also, his voice double from the first movie has a better singing voice than he does.
  • Also, the Angry Zac In Black number was the musical equivalent of Kevin Bacon's solo dancing in the mill in Footloose, except without being awesome. Especially because, as Virginia Heffernan notes, his spray-tan got a little out of control.
  • And, in general, the songs just felt too processed, a bit too non-diegetic. And nothing's as catchy as "We're All In This Together" or "Get Your Head In The Game," but I haven't seen this five times yet.
Thoughts, comments?

Facebook | ALOTT5MA

WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER: And it was about time I established the ALOTT5MA Facebook group accordingly. Join in.
IN A WORLD WHERE DAVID DENBY SAYS "APATOVIAN" IS AN OFFICIAL PROPER ADJECTIVE, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN: Sure, we'll talk about Superbad and HSM2 this weekend, but if you're ready for the next next big thing, it may well be Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, the musical biopic of the year coming this December from Mr. Apatow and co-writer/director Jake Kasdan. John C. Reilly is your the titular lead, supported by Jenna Fischer, Kristen Wiig, and Tim Meadows, with Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzman and Justin Long as the Beatles.
THEY CAME, THEY SAW, THEY CONCHORD: Via Sepinwall, the irritatingly-delayed but never-really-in-doubt decision has come down. We can expect more global robot depression, more boom-booming 'til the break of boom, more getting diseases from monkeys, more foux de fa fa, and more rhymenaecology, because HBO renewed Flight of the Conchords.

Surely next season they can work in Petrov, Yelyena and Me (please tell me I haven't missed it while, or whilst, without TV).
A GROGNARD MOMENT: In case you're still looking for something to do this weekend, how about starting a fun game of The Campaign For North Africa? That should keep you busy not just for the whole rest of the weekend, but almost through Columbus Day (estimated playing time is 1,200 hours, and requires 5 persons per side to administer the various logistics).
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR: I am a little bleary this morning after having watched four straight hours of SYTYCD last night, and thus will take the lazy bulletpoints approach to posting:
  • Generally speaking, as with so many other things, Nigel Lythgoe should apply some of SYTYCD's finer points to that other little show he produces. Cat wasn't kidding when she said there wasn't going to be a lot of filler. Sure, I never care about the guest performers (who was that chick-in-a-box past whom I fast-forwarded, anyway?), but redancing the best dances of the season is both (a) excellent advertising for the tour and (b) infinitely preferable to the customary bloated ridiculousness that is the annual AI coronation.
  • One obvious complaint, however: one would think that in a two hour finale packed to the gills with umpteen different dances, someone might have thought to leave enough room at the end for something more than "and the winner is . . . SABRA!" [Roll credits while sparkly things fly through the air.] Just a smidge on the anti-climactic side, especially since Lacey and Neil got to have all sorts of retrospective celebration that neither Danny nor Sabra received. (Not that I minded seeing clogging guy and small-movements-to-that-awesome-Christina-Aguilera-song guy again, but I didn't really need the live performance of the goodbye song.)
  • Did anyone else find it jarring to see Cat in casual clothes during the clips from the audition process? I've grown so accustomed to seeing her in full-blown regalia twice a week. I will miss Cat -- I particularly appreciate her breezy, vaguely maternal rapport with both the dancers and the judges.
  • Was there any doubt in anyone's mind from the instant Nigel started talking about "choreographers using their dancers' strengths" that this was the lead-in to the hummingbird dance? You may recall that I was irate when Hok was cut prior to the top ten -- the main thrust of my pissed-off-edness being "you idiots, now you can't have the hummingbird dance on the tour!" But of course Nigel is an enterprising soul, and thus we now have the disclosure that hm, perhaps those alternates will do a little dancing on tour. So we'll get the hummingbird, and perhaps also that lovely Danny Astaire / Anya Rogers routine as well.
  • I thought it was interesting that Sara was in so many of the judges' picks for favorite dance.
  • As for the final dances themselves: I personally really enjoyed the foxes routine, and thought that both Lacey and Sabra captured it beautifully. I hate the fact that when the choreographer has an off night in the eyes of the judges, they have such trouble putting aside their gripes with the choreographer and focusing on the performance. Mia's Two Princes dance was fine, but it wasn't fair to kvell over Danny and Neil to such a degree just because Wade's choreography pissed them off. (I am totally on board, incidentally, with Isaac's theory that The Powers That Be obviously insist on a total desexualization of any same-sex dance.) As for the co-ed dances, I hated the hip hop, loved the waltz, and was fairly ambivalent on the cha cha (cha?) and lindy hop. Ultimately, I thought that the dancers had way too many dances to learn in much too short a time -- and it showed.
  • The lindy hop did, however, prove up one axiomatic truth of SYTYCD: anything in the swing family invariably impresses both the judges and the audience. It's the luckiest draw one can get.
  • I would have been fine with either Danny (those leaps across the stage during his solo? Genius.) or Sabra as America's Favorite Dancer, but I am particularly pleased with Sabra's win. I don't know that Danny's career would benefit from the added push to the same degree that Sabra's likely will.

I am also happy to report that on October 9, I will take the heretofore unprecedented step of driving to the Nassau Coliseum to see the tour. I've never gone to any sort of post-reality-show concert or appearance, so I'm expecting it to be quite the interesting experience.

WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND: Usually, it's the Post or the Daily News that wins the "awesome tabloid cover headline" sweepstakes here in New York. But today's clear winner is free paper AM New York, which goes with a probing expose of "why do so many subway stations smell so bad?" on the cover, with the headline of "GRAND FUNK RAILROAD."
DON'T THINK FOR A SECOND THAT JEN ISN'T ALREADY TAUNTING ME: Princeton tops the 2007 US News list of America's top national universities, with that school down the road from scenic North Adams topping the liberal arts list.

Is there any purpose for US News & World Report existing other than these annual lists? When was the last time you went to a newsstand and say, "Yeah, I see Time is there, and Newsweek, and The Economist, but, gosh, I'd really rather read US News instead."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A List Of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago

PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE, AND LET'S GO PLAY SOME FOOTBALL! One tv show that is certainly not disappointing in its third season is HBO's Hard Knocks, which this season takes us to River Falls, Wisconsin for the Kansas City Chiefs training camp. I was a huge fan of the show's first season with Baltimore, and all the strong elements remain -- the compelling human drama of athletes fighting for jobs, insight into the game of football, more humor than one would expect, and just tremendous cinematography and documentary craft from NFL Films crew.

The Brodie Croyle/Damon Huard QB battle and Priest Holmes comeback are strong narratives upon which to hang this season, and the Chiefs' coaches are also making a strong impression. Herman Edwards is just a fun guy to watch, and as fun as he is, Gunther Cunningham's just a total jerk -- and that, too, makes for good tv. Add a wide array of football hairstyles, rookie hazing and an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea, and you've got must-see television, even for non-football fans.
"IF THE SAME RATIO OF NFL PLAYERS IN THE SAME TIME FRAME DIED BEFORE REACHING AGE 50, MORE THAN 430 CURRENT OR FORMER PLAYERS WOULD HAVE DIED PREMATURELY": So, yes, I'm a broken record on the topic, but the WaPo's Paul Farhi is as tired of seeing wrestlers die young as I am, and he details today the painkiller and steroid problems that the WWE has refused to control, and which have led to the deaths of ~60 current and former wrestlers under the age of 50 since 1997. As Glen "Disco Inferno" Gilberti notes in the lengthy piece, letting Vince McMahon run his company's drug testing -- given the economic incentive to keep his stars wrestling -- is like "putting Keith Richards in charge of doing drug tests for rock stars."
YES, BUT WILL WE GET TO VISIT THE HUFFLEPUFF COMMON ROOM? Jim Hill has a plethora of details on Universal Orlando's planned Harry Potter-themed attraction, including a possible Disney plan to counter with, yes, pretty much what I predicted -- retheming the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland as Pirate Land. Apparently, at some point in 2004-05, Disney had to choose between pursuing J.K. Rowling and pursuing the deal for Pixar, and, as Hill put it,
Yeah, I'm sure that they'd express some regret that the company wasn't ultimately able to acquire the theme park rights to the Harry Potter characters. But then when you compare that lost opportunity with being able to own Pixar (More importantly, to own all of the merchandising rights to every single one of the characters that John Lasseter & his talented team have created and/or will create) ... It's really not a contest.
Kim Masters adds that "Rowling's vision supposedly was that each person would enter through the Leaky Cauldron, tap on a brick, gain access to Diagon Alley, then proceed to a platform in a version of King's Cross station and take a train to Hogwarts. Disney figured it would have had to build multiple Leaky Cauldron entrances to cycle in small groups every two minutes. Admission to the attraction envisioned by Rowling would have run north of $800 per person. Disney's thought it might be able to drive the cost down a bit to make it comparable to Anheuser-Busch's Discovery Cove, where folks pay a few hundred bucks to swim with dolphins. But in the end, Disney and Rowling could not come to terms."
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DRINK: Last night, whilst four dancers were dancing, I was participating in a somewhat different ritual: three ladies drinking margaritas. Consequently, I have not yet watched the penultimate SYTYCD. Nor have I watched last night's Top Chef, and thus did not know that the ThingThrowers were hijacking the Top Chef discussion thread with their quest for a SYTYCD discussion thread. Our Fearless Leader having enlightened me as to all of this, I continue to have nothing to say on the dancing at this time, and so will stop talking and let you all discuss Danny, Lacey, Sabra, and Neil by yourselves. I'll chime in again tonight after I watch both the dancing and the results.

Edited by Isaac to add:

Earlier this season, I posted about the weird case of SYTYCD’s inclusion of what I interpreted as a coming-out story, meaning a coming-out-as-a-gay-man story, edited as a coming-out-as-a-dancer story. My take on it was that the show has a weirdly ambivalent relationship with homosexuality. It operates in a world, like the art and fashion worlds, in which a disproportionate number of prominent people are gay, it frequently celebrates the work of gay artists (how many times have they trotted out Adam Shankman?), and it appears – though I hesitate to say this, because I can’t confirm – to select contestants on a sexual-orientation-blind basis. On the other hand, the show needs to appeal to the broadest audience possible, which includes viewers who may not be as disinterested as the producers and judges in sexual orientation.

The show’s compromise appears to be: (1) assume an implicit don’t-ask-don’t-tell agreement with its audience; and (2) promote the (implicitly heterosexual) masculinity of the male dancers at all times (SYTYCD, like a lot of other things, has this problem only with male homosexuality). Hence Cat Deeley, who already comes across as the most genially-clueless giantess in Hollywood, repeatedly talking about how Pasha and Neil made the girls go crazy with their shirtlessness; hence the camera shots of the Claymatesque tween girls with their Neil signs; hence Nigel’s manic-repetitive proclamations that this contestant or that one has made dancing cool for tough boys in the inner city. To people who haven’t chosen to pretend that homosexuality doesn’t exist, two of those three things may actually seem more unintentionally gay than intentionally butch, but whatever.

Last night, the show found itself with a dilemma. I don’t know if it has done this in past seasons, but it committed itself to having each dancer pair up for a piece with each other dancer. M-F dances, no problem. Two women, no problem (well, slight problem in that nobody knew what to make of it – what’s the deal with Robson and the Wild Kingdom, anyway?). Two men, problem. I think the program didn’t want to show men dancing together – not together as a couple, mind you, but even the kind of together you might see at any dance recital, with dancers creating space with their bodies and doing synchronized jumpy-stuff and what-not, not to get too technical on you. Too confrontational for our audience, one might imagine Lythgoe saying. So I am guessing (and it’s just a guess), that the show asked Mia Michaels to choreograph something totally ungay. And what’s less gay than senseless violence? Voila, Sharks vs. Jets dance-fighting, but with totally-not-phallic sword-handling. I don’t know, I just find it comical the extent to which this show will go to avoid alienating bigots (or at least the advertisers who fear them).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A WARM SANDWICH IS NOT A BURGER: Is that really something you have to tell a Top Chef? It would appear so, based on this week's Quickfire challenge, in which a French Chef presided over the preparation of that American classic with the German name. Maybe you learn so many amazing things in culinary school that some of the basics inevitably get pushed out of the way to make room? It's not hard to respect taking a stand on principle here, but on an unspecialized scale from one to lunch, I have to say that Tre and Dale's non-burger burgers looked pretty yummy to me.

(On a related note: 1. There is no such thing as a "wrap". Make a burrito, or don't make a burrito. It's your choice. 2. Whoever is responsible for the unending deluge of awful dry non-burritos and chewy "pressata" sandwiches currently overflowing from every mediocre lunch counter in midtown should be strung up. Or incarcerated and reformed, at least. Did you think we wouldn't notice that you're just putting the tomato husks into the sandwiches?? What are you doing with the tomato middles? And sweet lord, how old is that flank steak?? I demand an investigation.)

But more importantly, on to the Restaurant Wars Elimination Challenge. This week saw two teams of four contestants face off, completely creating restaurants from the blank canvas of ... two adjacent two-car garages attached to the Top Chef Kitchen. The long shot of the side-by-side spaces felt like the dumpsters had been wheeled away only moments ago. Delicious. -- One other, likely trivial production note: there was a glaring overdub in Padma's list of contestant roles for the challenge. Just a sound quality issue, or did she say something else the first time instead of "Design"?

Any thoughts on the Quickfire winner's selection of teammates? Personally I thought he chose well, though in his shoes I would have taken Dale over Brian (with disastrous stinky-candle-related results -- what were they thinking?). His selections neatly divided the remaining eight along a functional/disfunctional axis, and, more or less, likely segregated the drowned from the saved. Wrong? Tell my why I'm wrong.

Pressed on Brian v. Dale, I'd have to admit that I just don't like Brian and that this is not Brian's fault. He seems competent, even creative. He has a go-get-em attitude and shows a good capacity for working and playing with others even when he gets out of his depth, and turned around, and flustered, and panicked to the edge of helplessness at a moment crucial for the success of his team. It's not him though. It's me. I think he sucks.

Dale's shortcomings, by contrast, might be summed up with his comment about front-of-the-house work coming down to being "half prostitute, half performer." Why on earth would you employ the former sensibility while decorating? Good grief.

A lot of the food looked really good, though the judges had a raft of complaints including a blanket "seasonality" objection to one team's menu. In the end though, the bigger question is whether the difficulties of a "soft opening" should excuse making a hard decision.

A chat with the ''Kid Nation'' pioneers | The Q&A | TV | Entertainment Weekly | 1

IT'S HARD FOR ME BEING 15 AND HAVING A 9-YEAR-OLD BE THE LEADER. BUT A 9-YEAR-OLD COULD BE A BETTER LEADER THAN GEORGE BUSH. I THINK ANYONE COULD BE, BUT WHATEVER: Only a month away from its September 19 debut, some of the kids from the reality show "Kid Nation" chat with Entertainment Weekly. Yeah, I'm excited ... this show could be, as I've said before, anywhere between "totally awesome" and "an embarrassing failure on the level of Temptation Island and Who Wants to Marry Rick Rockwell (Who's Not Really A Millionaire)".

All 'trapped in the closet' Posts - New York Magazine's Entertainment Blog

A CARNIVAL PROCESSION OF MIDGETS, GUNS AND LOVERS: For those who are as fascinated with "Trapped in the Closet" as I am -- now up to a smoke-filled and decidedly NSFW Chapter 15 (featuring references to Rick James, mandatory minimum sentencing and the 2007 SCOTUS decision in Scott v. Harris) -- there are recaps being provided daily by, among others, Kiki and Herb for New York magazine, TimeOut Chicago, Vibe, and Saul Austerlitz for
LIVE TO TELL: I had mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike ride across Massachusetts to raise money for cancer research. An awe inspiring number of you were kind enough to give money to the cause. I'd like to thank all of you for your incredible generosity (proper thank you notes are also in the works).

I did in fact finish the nearly 200-mile ride. You can read my description of the experience here (best viewed using Internet Explorer). The Boston Globe's front page story is here . The Pan-Mass Challenge is the most successful athletic charity event in the world. This year, we expect that we will end up raising over $28M. Thanks again, all of you!
I STILL WANT A COPY OF FIREBALL ISLAND: Something that has occupied more of my time today than it should have is reviewing old "Weekly Thrift Store/Bargain Finds" on BoardGame Geek. Share the joy at finding deeply discounted, near mint copies of Dark Tower, Axis and Allies, and great "eBait!" like Moods (which apparently goes for $40+ on eBay).
I DON'T THINK HE'LL BE SETTLING THIS ONE: You've probably seen Jonathan Lee Riches' suit against Michael Vick, claiming that Vick stole Riches' (a federal prisoner!) dogs, violated Riches' copyright in his name, stole his identity, has bought weapons from Iran, and sworn allegience to Al Qaeda, and demanding "$63,000,000,000.00 billion dollars backed by gold and silver delivered in an 'UPS'" to him. You might have missed Riches' earlier suit, which begins as a normal prisoner lawsuit (naming every member of the Bush administration as defendants), but then branches out (in 57 increasingly bizarre pages) to celebrities (Tony Danza, Jessica Alba, "Shawn John Combs d/b/a Puff Daddy d/b/a Mr. Ditty," Charlie Sheen, "Philadelphia Eagles, 2005 Roster, Including Donovan McNabb), the geographic (Saudi Arabia, "Jewish State of Israel," Mount Rushmore, Green Bay's Lambeau Field), and the nonsensical ("Jewish Workers at NBC Universal," "Thirteen Tribes of Israel," "Mein Kampf," "Nordic Gods").

The case was dismissed for failure to serve/prosecute (and how does one serve the Nordic Gods, anyway? Care of Marvel Comics?), and in an appeal statement, Riches claimed that was because he had been in a deep "trance-like state" approaching a coma for a year and a half and was unable to respond or review his mail.
YOU'RE FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIFE INSIDE A THRILLER, KILLER, TONIGHT, AND BY THE WAY, I MEAN THAT LITERALLY: It is possible that I am the last person on earth to see this, since there has already been a story about it on ABC LA's web site, but for the record, yes, I have always wondered what it would look like if 1500 Filipino prison inmates reenacted Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video with a 40-ish grimacing thug playing the lead. I mean, when the orange-jumpsuited zombies descend malevolently upon the muscular "girlfriend," it was real for me in a way that it hadn't been in the original.

Content aggregator: Defamer
STILL NOT LUPUS: Dr. Hizzy will invade your CD player this fall with a soundtrack. Two tracks of particular interest--Elvis Costello's "Beautiful" cover will be released for the first time on the album, and it will close with Band From TV (featuring Hugh Laurie and Greg Grunberg) performing (naturally) "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

E! News - Van Halen to Tour Like It's 1984 - Van Halen | Sammy Hagar

JUMP BACK. WHAT'S THAT SOUND? David Lee Roth and Van Halen to tour this fall for the first time in 22 years, with Wolfgang Van Halen -- Eddie's 16 year-old son -- replacing Michael Anthony on bass.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Trapped in the closet

RANDOLPH! RUFUS! TWAN! ROSIE THE NOSY NEIGHBOR! You thought this was a big summer for Sequels That Delivered? Well, America, chapters 12.5 (recap), 13 and 14 of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" are now online, and it is, indeed, the awesome, with a new chapter being rolled out daily. **

Cliff Notes for the preceding chapters can be found here (ch. 1-6) and here (ch. 7-12), plus we've got Ticky's recap here on chapters 6-12.

** Said awesomeness qualified by the fact that Mr. Kelly is accused of serious sexual offenses against a minor, for which he will finally go on trial in September.
YES, I DO BELIEVE YOU CAN PERFORMANCES OF THIS QUALITY ON A CRUISE SHIP: Not all ends well for your former Idol favorites -- see clips from recent weeks of Constantine Maroulis performing an Aerosmith song at Six Flags Great Adventure, Clay Aiken singing a medley of your favorite tv theme songs, Anthony Fedorov and Justin Guarini butchering Bernie Taupin & Elton John, or Ace Young, Kevin Covais and Chris Richardson discussing the allure of a "Gold Digger".

e.t.a.: Not to pick on Clay Aiken, but whatever he's bringing back in this concert clip, it ain't "sexy".
MUD IS NOT SO BIG, AFTER ALL: HBO has cancelled John From Cincinnati, and a question for The Hollywood Reporter--in what universe are Rebecca De Mornay and Bruce Greenwood "well-known leads?" Surprisingly, no decision on Flight of the Conchords yet, perhaps because the Conchords are running out of songs.
YOU PICK THE HAMMER UP AND THEN YOU PUT THE FIRE OUT / NOW WE THINK YOU KNOW WHAT DONKEY KONG IS ALL ABOUT: I hope there's no Holocaust movie this year, because The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters has my vote already.

I leave as an exercise to the reader to discuss their own personal coin-op game best.

Monday, August 13, 2007

THE BIG SUMMER: It has occurred to me for quite some time that we haven't seen a summer like this before in the popular culture, one in which there were so many strongly anticipated cultural attractions which came and, by and large, delivered -- the third editions of Spider-Man, Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean (all three of which feel like they were years ago already), Bourne and the Oceans franchises; Potter 5 (film) and Potter 7 (book); the long-awaited Simpsons movie; a pair of Apatow-related films and a pretty solid Hairspray adaptation; Bonds' home run chase ... basically, television has mostly stunk this summer (except for all those basic cable shows I know I'm not watching), but everything else has been pretty satisfying.

2006 had only one film gross more than $300M (Pirates 2); 2007 will have at least five. [BTW, how the hell did Wild Hogs gross $168 million? Who saw this movie?]

And we still have HSM2 this week. What a country. - TLC adds 'Miss America Pageant'

THERE SHE IS .... ON YOUR BASIC TIER: The Miss America Pageant is moving from Country Music TV to The Learning Channel, and adding a reality tv component.
AMBASSADORS IMAN AND JOLIE WELCOME CAL TO THE PRACTICE OF PSEUDODIPLOMACY: Cal Ripken has been named by the State Department as a "U.S. Sports Envoy." To demonstrate his commitment to serving our country in the important cause of international sport-encouraging, Ripken will participate in every athletic event occurring anywhere in the world for the next sixteen years.

By the way, I really don't mean to start another debate about The Streak. I mean, I really, really don't.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

WHAT TIME IS IT? So, this coming weekend presents two decidedly different visions of high school in pop culture--what are you more looking forward to--High School Musical 2 or Superbad (NSFW!)? And which is a more accurate representation of high school? Ladies--McLovin, George Michael Bluth, or Troy Bolton? Panama or You Are the Music In Me? So many questions--so many choices! (Related--The Times' second-string drama critic, Charles Isherwood, takes a look at HSM as theatre and dares to ask the question--is Ryan gay or not?)
SUITS BY BOTANY 500: Merv Griffin has died. Among Griffin's achievements (per Wikipedia)?
  • First "open-mouthed" screen kiss in the U.S.
  • Recorded the first U.S. album on magnetic tape, generating #1 single "I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts."
  • Creator of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune and writer of the famous theme and "Think Music" from Jeopardy!
  • Owner of various hotels and casinos (most notably, the Beverly Hilton).

Griffin's final project, a new game show called Merv Griffin's Crosswords, appears in syndication this fall.