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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. HARDING

IT’S A SWAMP THING — From June 2019 — Swamp Thing is about to sink back into the bog it just came out of. DC Universe has cancelled the sci-fi drama less than a week after its May 31 premiere, TVLine has learned. 

A rep for the digital subscription service declined to comment on the super-quick cancellation, but sources confirm to TVLine that the freshman series will not be back for a second season. UPDATE: An accounting error regarding the series’ North Carolina tax rebate may have led to the series’ swift cancellation. 

The live-action drama, which stars Crystal Reed (Gotham) as Abby Arcane, follows Abby as she investigates what seems to be a deadly swamp-born virus in a small Louisiana town. Not long after she starts poking around, she discovers that the local swamp holds mystical and incredibly terrifying secrets, and when unexplainable and chilling horrors emerge from the marsh, no one is safe.

The series’ titular monster is played by Andy Bean (Power).  Swamp Thing‘s cast also includes Ian Ziering (Sharknado), Kevin Durand (The Strain), Will Patton (Falling Skies), Jeryl Prescott (Ray Donovan), Jennifer Beals (The L Word) and Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen.

Swamp Thing‘s episode count was cut from 13 to 10 in April, in what would turn out to be a harbinger of the show’s eventual fate. A source confirms to TVLine that the remaining nine episodes of Season 1 will continue airing each Friday through the Aug. 2 season (and now series) finale.

For some reason: the CW started airing the full-run of shows last week and I must tell you, the entire production is an absolute winner. Apparently the so-called tax problem was one in the neighborhood of some 25 million, so it was not all that small of a matter and the producers probably felt that to cut their losses was the best thing to do.

Louis Jourdan

Of all the questionable comic-book-to-movie productions, I must admit to an undying fondness for the original 1982 Wes Craven (written and directed) Swamp Thing movie, that starred Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau and Ray Wise, as Alec Holland, the man who would become the monster – who was played by the terrific Dick Durock.

The movie was full of the type of flourishes one would expect from a comic turned into a movie, but did contain some terrific acting from Jourdan and Barbeau and even Wise, who would hit it big years later in a little-known show (!!!) called Twin Peaks. And, two of the movie’s producers were Benjamin Melniker and Michael Usland, who would go onto success producing the Batman-movies.

With the Fall-TV season just now starting (and, in all truth, in dreadful disarray), I’m sure the CW had this on hand and since they paid for it, are burning it off. Crystal Reed is just terrific, and a perfect lead for the series. The effects are pretty spectacular too.

There’s no question in my mind that this series could have made it.

WONDER BACK — Stevie Wonder has released two new songs, his first new songs since 2016.

Wonder’s last album A Time To Love was released in 2005. His last song was “Faith” with Ariana Grande in 2016 for the movie Sing.

The new songs “Where Is Our Love Song,” features Gary Clark Jr. and “Can’t Put It in The Hands of Fate” features Rapsody, Cordae, Chika and Busta Rhymes.

Proceeds from “Where Is Our Love Song” will go to Feeding America.

The new music is released through Wonder’s new label So What The Fuss Records. Stevie has also confirmed that he is no longer signed to Motown Records for the first time since 1962. However, his So What The Fuss label is distributed by Universal, which owns Motown.

 Stevie Wonder was 11 years old when he signed with Motown. He is now 70.

 Check them out: 

STAR TREK DISCOVERY — When this show was announced in 2017, with Bryan Fuller at the helm, I knew his take would be interesting, His Pushing Daisies is one of the all-time famous failures, yet it definitely defined him as an auteur of the highest order. 

Also, the fact that the show would essentially lead off CBS’ new streaming service, CBS All Access, was pretty impressive. That said, I have enough streaming services and certainly didn’t want one more … especially for an untried series.

This September, with the TV season is total disarray; CBS opted to put the show on the network fee starting with Season One.  

I watched the first episode and while the tech was fascinating (and, the timeline was set well before even the original Trek-series) there was no real, for me at least, human touch. Certainly that first Star Trek, with Shatner and Nimoy, brilliantly had that and face it, that’s why the whole Trek franchise has lasted as long as it has. 

Remember “City On The Edge Of Forever?” (1967) Season 1 episode 28.

Discovery lost me in the first half hour.

Now, since that first season, they’ve just started their third; Fuller has left the show; a number of showrunners have come and gone; and, the second show of the season had a new captain (Jason Isaacs) who seemed to have ulterior motives. 

The end of the second season closed with the ship being stuck in wormhole and being flung some 900 years in the future. What?

So, the original plan for the show has been thrown out the window and with this new season, they’ve introduced a new story-line … how to get home. Some of the original characters have remained (Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp) but, they’re still very light on character development IMO.

Amazingly, the show was just renewed for a fourth season.

SHORT TAKES — Is it me or was that Willie Geist/Lorne Michaels interview bumped a week? Seems to me it was originally promoted to be seen last week on Willie’s Sunday show … but, moved because of a tennis match to this Sunday? Geeze, Michaels was once thought to be the primary force behind NBC. Guess with Comcast onboard now, his presence has been shifted somewhat …

Tom Cuddy; Donny Osmond; and, Micky Dolenz

Kent Kotal’s always-enjoyable Forgotten Hits ran a great article on Donny Osmond’s radio-comeback with the terrific “Soldier Of Love” in 1989. He also ran a great shot of Donny, with WOR’s Tom Cuddy (who organized it all when he was at WPLJ) and Micky Dolenz, when Donny appeared at the much-missed Feinstein’s at The Regency. Here it is …

Gene Cornish

Am halfway through the book Good Lovin’ by The Rascals’ Gene Cornish and am just loving it. His stories, his memories … all just brilliant. July of 1964, he’s on a tour of Puerto Rico (!!!) and is talking to his keyboard player David Hucks and asks, if he could believe all the excitement. Hucks says, “The only time I got my picture taken was when I got arrested.” Priceless. More to come on this one … Remember that Kid Creole and the Coconuts’ 40th anniversary re-release of their debut set, Off The Coast Of Me?  We hear that England’s The Guardian and Mojo both wanted to do major articles on it, but couldn’t get a response from management. Never heard of someone turning down ink … We hear a Tick-reunion is in the works featuring all the current and past members, like Patrick Wharburton and Micky Dolenz. More on this shortly … It seems one chapter of The X-Files is permanently closed, as creator Chris Carter has plans to continue the franchise with an upcoming animated spinoff that is in the early stages of development. Carter also apologized for how he ended the series; with a series of unanswered questions. Animated series? Never going to work …

Robert Miller, of Project Grand Slam, releases his first-ever solo album Summer Of Love (2020) next month. Skope magazine said: “ Robert Miller’s foray into the world of solo performers in Summer of Love is nonetheless a profound way of debuting a new dimension of his musical profile. Stylized with the ambitiousness of two extended plays that have been combined into a single disc for convenience rather than aesthetics, this isn’t an album that I would recommend for the casual passerby as much as I would the devoted fusion enthusiast, but all the same, it’s a five-star effort without question.” … The second episode of Fox’s NeXt, was as brilliant as their debut one last week. John Slattery is off the charts … Happy Bday to royal photographer Jeff Smith!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kurt Loder; Melissa Davis; Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Al Martino; Tony King; Toby Emmerich; David Geffen; Al Coury; Ron Alexenburg; Howard Bloom; Ida Langsam; Jane Berk; Ebet Roberts; Vic Kastel; Jimi Celeste; Tony Krasinski; Pete Gidion; Donna Russo; and, CHIP!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

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Book Reviews

Mark Bego: The Prince Of Pop Biographies Gets Political With Yorkshire Publishing’s Campaigning For President

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What is the best-selling rock & roll biographer in the show business realm doing, writing a book on politics with “Campaigning For President?” asks author Mark Bego, “One of the reasons why this is a viable transition into another literary genre for me, is that political campaigns are 90% show business, and the act of finding an audience and playing to it—just like the music business.”

Mark Bego

Bego, whose last two books— “Band of Gold” with Freda Payne, and “Joe Cocker:  With A LOT of Help from His Friends”—both from Yorkshire Publishing—electrified the charts and further solidified his position as “the Prince of Pop Biographies” (a title given to him by Publisher’s Weekly).  On the heels of the Cocker biography, Bego was approached about reviving and updating the popular 2008 book: “Campaigning For President.”  According to him, “I am always up for a new literary adventure—and this seemed like a fun and historically relevant one to be involved with!”

Jordan M. Wright was the owner of the world’s most extensive collection of U.S. Presidential campaign memorabilia when he published the original 2008 book, “Campaigning For President.”  Only months later Wright tragically died, and his collection eventually found a permanent home at Long Island University. Since that time there have been five new presidential campaigns to write about, including the current 2024 Trump vs. Biden battle.  Bego was approached by Wright’s widow, Pamala Wright, about writing five new chapters, a new beginning, and re-imagining the original coffee table book.  “It intrigued me, and I was up for the challenge,” proclaims Bego.

According to Mark, “The five political campaigns that I have written about for this book have undoubtedly been the most dramatic ones ever mounted. And, the best part of this assignment is the fact that the book does not take political sides.  It is all about the memorabilia that is created for a presidential campaign, not the politics of it.  You can be a Republican, an Independent, or a Democrat, and still find everything in this book to be fascinating and of historical significance.”

“In my mind, a political rally can unfold the same way as a rock concert,” says Bego. “People can walk away from such an event with a Donald Trump ‘MAGA’ hat, or an ‘I’m With Hillary’ bumper sticker, or any number of catchy marketing items.  While I have spent my time collecting PEZ dispensers, and memorabilia on The Supremes and The Beatles, the original author of this book—Jordan M. Wright—was busy collecting political campaign items from George Washington in the 1780’s, up to George W. Bush in the 2000’s.  It is basically the same act, just a different arena.”

This new and fully updated version of the lavishly illustrated book “Campaigning For President,” with all new Bego material, is due to be released on June 4 from Yorkshire Publishing.  It represents Mark’s 69th published book.

Bego explains, “There is flattering memorabilia in this book about every candidate, and there are also some unflattering memorabilia about many of them too.  My task here is to present both sides of the coins, and to view the items in this book for their cleverness, their bitchiness, their ideals, their humor, and—ultimately—their effectiveness in the political outcome.”

Mark Bego’s next literary effort will undoubtedly return him to his musical wheelhouse. “I have several titles in my head; and in fact, have already begun writing one of them,” confirms the author.

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Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

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“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is  filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Douglas J Cohen, Stephen Cole ,Alison Louise Hubbard and David Spencer, musical theatre writers, who all have books out.

We are so proud because the show and our guests are now featured on the TV screens in the lobby and the hotel rooms.

I am so grateful to my guests Douglas J Cohen How To Survive A Killer Musical: Agony and Ecstasy on the Road to Broadway, Stephen Cole Mary & Ethel… and Mikey Who?, Alison Louise Hubbard The Kelsey Outrage, The Crime of the Century A historical true crime novel and David Spencer The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, the audience who showed up to support us, Rommel Gopez and The Hotel Edison for their kindness and hospitality.

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

https://www.pandora.com/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/PC:1001084740

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/1084740

Spotify:

Amazon:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/e3ac5922-ada8-4868-b531-12d06e0576d3

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/id1731059092

We hope to see you there on April 24th. We will be announcing our guests tomorrow.

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Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

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I am so pleased to announce our guest for next Wednesday’s show on April 17th are four award-winning musical theatre writers who turned to writing books.

For a veteran musical theatre dramatist, getting a new musical on is rarely easy, even at the healthiest of times. But when a pandemic stops everything cold—and a restless creative spirit is driven to both keep writing and reach an audience—what can be done? Well, four musical dramatists independently decided to meet the challenge head on with the same answer: Write a book! But their creative paths to near- simultaneous publication would be as unique as the rave-reviewed books themselves. And when they realized that their musical theatre backgrounds cast them as an equally unique quartet…they decided to come full circle back to the theatre community …to tell that story…the story of how their incredible books came to be…which in its way is also a universal story; a story for our time. A story of taking stock, taking a deep breath, taking new steps…and turning the page. Here are our writers:

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David Spencer is an award-winning musical dramatist, author, critic and musical theatre teacher, whose work has been produced in the US, Canada and England. His most well-known credits as lyricist-librettist are two musicals in collaboration with composer Alan Menken: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, based on the novel by Moredecai Richler (original cast album on Ghostlight Records) and Weird Romance (co-librettist: Alan Brennert; original cast album digital-on-demand from Columbia Masterworks). He made his professional debut writing the acclaimed colloquial English-language adaptation of La Bohème for the Public Theatre; and as composer-lyricist wrote scores and orchestrations for Theatreworks/USA’s young audience versions of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables (librettist-director for both: Rob Barron). His published books are The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide (Heinemann), the acting edition of Weird Romance (Samuel French)—and, pulpsmith proud, Passing Fancy, an original novel based on the TV series Alien Nation (PocketBooks). He recently completed a draft of his first straight play, Spirit Run (story by him and Jerry James).

David is an ex officio steering committee and faculty member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where he taught for over 25 years, and has also taught at HB Studio, Workshop Studio Theater in New York; and Goldsmith’s College and BML in London.

His book is The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

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 Stephen Cole is an award-winning musical theatre writer whose shows have been produced from New York City to London to the Middle East and Australia. His off-Broadway musical with Matthew Ward, After The Fair, was nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London to great acclaim. The Night Of The Hunter won the prestigious Edward Kleban Award and was produced in New York City, Dallas, and San Francisco, where it was nominated for several Bay Area Theatre Awards. The award-winning 1998 concept CD features Ron Raines, Sally Mayes, and Dorothy Loudon. Saturday Night At Grossinger’s has had successful runs in Texas (starring Gavin MacLeod), Los Angeles, and Florida. Broadway legend Chita Rivera toured in Casper, and Hal Linden and Dee Hoty starred in the world premiere of his musical adaptation of Dodsworth. In 2005, Stephen was commissioned to write Aspire, the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. This experience resulted in another musical about the creation of that show entitled The Road To Qatar!, produced to rave reviews and awards Off-Broadway, in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, garnering a Best Musical nomination. Among his other produced shows are Rock Odyssey, which played to hundreds of thousands of kids for ten seasons of productions at the Adrienne Arscht Center in Miami, and Merman’s Apprentice, presented in concert at Birdland in New York City, followed by an all-star cast album on Jay Records, and an acclaimed premiere production in Sonoma, CA in 2019. Stephen’s latest critically acclaimed musical is Goin’ Hollywood. Stephen’s published books include That Book About That Girl and I Could Have Sung All Night, the Marni Nixon story, currently in development as a feature film from Amazon. Stephen has also written several published stories and his real-life friendships with Ethel Merman and Mary Martin resulted in this, his first novel. Visit www.stephencolewriter.org.