Category Archives: In the News

Shirley Temple Dead at 85, Leaves Behind Classic Film Legacy on DVD

Iconic child star Shirley Temple Black, who sang signature hits like “On the Good Ship Lollipop” and starred in movies like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Heidi and Bright Eyespassed away at age 85 in the San Francisco suburb of Woodside, Calif.

The adorable curly-haired Temple was a top box-office draw between 1935 and 1938, and saw a cottage industry of products featuring her likeness flood store shelves. A nonalcoholic cocktail was even named after her. The movie-going public largely lost interest in Temple after she grew out of childhood, and she retired from acting at age 21. She then pursued a successful career in conservative politics, eventually becoming a U.S. ambassador.

For the most comprehensive look back at Temple’s short-lived but meteoric career, check out the Shirley Temple Little Darling DVD Collection, featuring restored versions of 18 of her classic films, in both color and black-and-white.

Post Links to Clutter-Free YouTube Videos With ‘Surprisely’

New site adds element of ‘Surprisely’ to YouTube vids

When you’re enjoying a video of, say, a mailman battling a ferocious feline or an owl and a cat playing together in a tree, the last thing you want to see are those annoying pop-ups containing links to other videos or advertisements. Other things, such as top reader comments, video title and view count can also be annoying because they influence our perception. A new site has done away with these things, providing a clutter-free, more enjoyable YouTube viewing experience.

Just plug the video’s URL into the very simple interface at the Surprisely site, and it plays a full-screen version of the video with all the metadata scrubbed. To send or post the video, just copy the URL from the address bar. The link doesn’t even tell your email recipient or Facebook followers the name of the video, offering a surprise element that’s been all but lost to cynical web surfers. Surprisely is a surprisingly innovative use of Google’s YouTube Data API.

“Like telling a punchline ahead of the joke”

“In 2012 it occurred to us that the context of YouTube was affecting our relationship to it,” Surprisely cocreator David Lewandowski told Wired. “The video title, the view count, runtime, related videos, top comments—all of these shape your response to the content, often to its detriment. It’s like telling a punchline ahead of the joke.”

 

‘Secret Project’: ‘Seinfeld’ Reunion Confirmed

It’s unclear exactly what form it will be in, but the cast of Seinfeld has definitely reunited to film . . . something. Creator and star Jerry Seinfeld called it a “secret project.”

“I think it’s one-and-done.”

Seinfeld and costar Jason Alexander (George Costanza) were recently spotted walking into Tom’s Restaurant in New York City, the gang’s hangout for nearly a decade, for some sort of shoot. Larry David, a writer and creator of the show, was also there, Seinfeld confirmed on the sports talk radio show Boomer & Carton. Seinfeld was cagey about what exactly they were filming, but did answer in the affirmative when asked if it would be a one-time thing. “I think it’s one-and-done,” he said. 

“Very, very soon.”

Seinfeld also said that whatever they are making will be available for viewing shortly: “Very, very soon,” he said.

So does that mean they’re merely reuniting for a Super Bowl commercial? Nope. He said it’s definitely longer than 60 seconds.

Our favorite minor ‘Seinfeld’ characters

seinfeld j. peterman
J. Peterman

Elaine’s boss J. Peterman (played by John O’Hurley) was always smartly attired, even when hanging out in Far East opium dens.

 

 

 

Uncle Leo
Uncle Leo

Uncle Leo (played by Len Lesser, who passed away in 2011) was one of TV’s greatest cheapskates.

 

 

 

seinfeld mr wilhelm
Mr. Wilhelm

A shining moment of the series was when George’s boss Mr. Matt Whilhelm (played by Richard Herd) joined a carpet-cleaning religious cult.

 

 

 

seinfeld joe davola
“Crazy” Joe Davola

Perhap’s TV’s greatest sociopath is “crazy” Joe Davola (played by Peter Crombie, and named after a TV producer of the same name).

Get free shipping on Seinfeld: The Complete Series, now for $79.99 at Amazon.

Infomercial King Kevin Trudeau to Remain Locked Up

Pitchman Trudeau pleads for mercy

Product pitchman Kevin Trudeau will remain behind bars for his cat-and-mouse asset-hiding scheme, despite his throwing himself at the mercy of a court.

“I would even submit myself to water-boarding.”

“I will do anything to get this over with,” Trudeau said at a federal hearing in Chicago. He even offered to undergo torture: “I don’t want to spend another day in prison more than I have to. I would even submit myself to water-boarding.”

Trudeau will spend at least another six weeks in jail. He was first put away in November 2013 for contempt as he battled the Federal Trade Commission, which had accused him of scheming to avoid payment of a $37.6 million sanction. The FTC went after him for making false claims in late-night infomercials for the book The Weight-Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.

Commercial: Stay in School . . . or Get Blown Up!

Bikinis + beach + trespassing = death!

An Australian advertising firm has resurrected the spirit of those 1950s “educational” shock films with a slick commercial that warns young people of the potentially deadly consequences of skipping school to frolic on a beach.

Four friends hit the road in a microbus, then trespass behind a chain-link fence to get to a pretty perfect beach. While they’re performing said frolicking, we see the young people start getting blown up one by one in an explosively blood-red manner until there’s just one bikini-clad girl left, staring at the gore she’s now covered in—the dark-magenta remains of her now-blown-up friends. Then the camera pulls out for the big reveal: According to a sign on the fence, they’ve trespassed onto an explosives testing site. Then these words appear on the screen: “This is what happens when you slack off. Stay in school.”

“It’s a bit of a f–k you to advertising.”

The ad is “about contradicting standard advertisements — it’s a bit of a fuck you to advertising in general,” said ad cocreator Henry Inglis of production company Henry & Aaron, which made the film for the nonprofit Learn for Life Foundation. “It’s playing on those idealized commercials of people breaking free from their confines. We completely reverse that.”

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Facebook, Google Unkind to Marijuana Advertising

Young woman smoking a marijuana joint
Facebook, Google cold to pot ads

The big Internet companies are behind the “high” times when it comes to legal weed. Even though they’re able to localize advertisements to niche geographical markets, Google and Facebook currently refuse to run ads from the burgeoning marijuana industry in places like Colorado and Washington state, where it’s now legal to buy and sell the once taboo drug for recreational use.

“It’s pretty ridiculous and short-sighted — not to mention hypocritical — for them to leave those legitimate ad dollars on the table,” wrote Taylor West, of the National Cannabis Industry Association, to GigaOm.com. “We are told that our posts ‘violate content guidelines,’ or something along those lines.”

Facebook cites — but does not define — “risk” associated with running pot ads. “The risk of attempting to allow ads promoting the drug in certain states or countries where it is legal is too high (no pun intended) for us to consider at this time,” Facebook rep Tim Rathschmidt wrote to GigaOm.

Twitter is also cold to pro-marijuana advertising, reports AdWeek.com. But  marketing insiders tell AdWeek they expect this to change when the industry’s huge returns become evident. And when the celebrity endorsements start going viral.

“Snoop Dogg can be the Michael Jordan of the weed market,” said Nick Adler of lifestyle marketing firm Cashmere Agency.

It’s only a matter of time until Snoop and other pot luminaries, like Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson, are being courted with huge deals to endorse what was once the scourge of society.

Old Spice ‘Momsong’ Commercial: Creepy or Cool?

In its latest revival campaign for its perennially old-guy products, Old Spice is creeping out viewers with moms who are way too concerned with their sons’ sex lives.

The “Momsong” commercial for Refresh body spray, part of Old Spice’s “Smellcome to Manhood” campaign, features various frantic moms following their sons around town, and has racked up over 5 million views on YouTube. There’s a mom disguised as a janitor watching over her son in the lunchroom as he canoodles with a hot high schooler. One mom is buried up to her head in sand as her son canoodles beachside with a hottie. Yet another mom holds onto a car bumper and goes laundry-basket surfing as her son canoodles in a convertible.

There’s a whole lot of sweaty moms and a whole lot of oblivious canoodling.

So what kind of message is Old Spice trying to convey to the teen and twentysomething consumers it’s trying to ensare? It probably just comes down to, “You’re a big boy now, and look how funny it is that Mom’s confused by your burgeoning sexuality.” Of course, some viewers have been left creeped out by the spots.

One tweet called it “both genius and disturbing,” according to CNN. Another tweeted, “BTW the Old Spice Smellcome to Manhood lamenting moms commercial creeps me out AND pisses me off.”

But CNN also highlighted one tweet that nods to the masterfulness of the campaign: “To you fine advertising folks who worked on that Old Spice moms commercial: you silenced a room of football-watchers last night. Nicely done.”

If you’re not creeped out, you can buy the complete line of Old Spice products at Amazon.

BILLY MAYS MEMORIAL CAPS LOCK DAY, 2011

BILLY MAYS MEMORIAL CAPS LOCK DAY, 2011Some folks call it BILLY MAYS MEMORIAL CAPS LOCK DAY, some call it BILLY MAYS REMEMBRANCE DAY, but we all TYPE IN CAPS TO HONOR BILLY’S UNIQUE PITCHING STYLE. LOVE IT OR HATE IT, PUMP UP THE VOLUME OR HIT THE MUTE BUTTON, WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT BILLY MAYS CONVINCED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE TO BUY THE PRODUCTS HE PITCHED. HE WAS A FULL-VOLUME PITCHMAN, AND A STAND-UP GUY, AND THAT’S WHY TODAY WE SHOUT OUT IN ALL CAPS.

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PitchMen Returns to TV January 18

PitchmenI was alerted last month to the return of the aborted second season of Pitchmen. Being a cautious sort, your Savvy Shopper decided to wait to announce this happy news until I actually saw the show scheduled on Discovery Channel’s Pitchmen Episode Guide. Today, it’s official. Pitchmen returns January 18th at 7pm EST/PST, a less competitive pre-prime-time time slot. The sophomore season was canceled after two episodes when it aired in August 2010. Disappointing ratings were why the show was pulled. Let’s hope it does better at its new day and time.

Season two of PitchMen follows Anthony “Sully” Sullivan as he attempts to pick up the pieces and continue making inventors’ dreams come true after the sudden death of his longtime friend and pitch partner, Billy Mays.