Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday Evening Post for February 27th, 2021: The Who Knows What Best and How Old Edition

Soft city dusk, 2000 block Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:18 p.m., Feb 23, 2021

OK, this entry is a truncated version of a larger and quite political-themed one. But I decided to remove all of that and keep it just on the lighter side. I may try to post the political part in a second entry.

*******


Saturday night.

This is my third-to-final (or maybe "second-to-final" if "first-to-final" is the one BEFORE the final) Saturday night in Washington, D.C., before I move away to Miami Beach and start that new life.


With that in mind, it seems a good idea for a Saturday Evening Post-type of entry like I used to write on a weekly basis.

Home tonight watching the Super Sci-Fi Saturday night lineup on MeTV to include monster movie, Star Trek: TOS, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Lost in Space, and Land of the Giants, among others.

The Svengoolie-hosted monster movie was the 1964 psychological - horror film Devil Doll about a dementedly evil hypnotist / ventriloquist with his dummy "Hugo."

This 1964 British black and white film should not be confused with the 1936 horror movie of similar title called The Devil-Doll (yes, with a hyphen in the title).

Honestly, I couldn't make frickin' heads or tails out of the movie.

Of course, I had my window a/c purring away and it was a little hard to hear the movie dialogue.

Earlier tonight, and right as I got back home, I watched the last few minutes of the first episode and all of the second episode of a pair of Father Knows Best episodes.


Above: The cast of Father Knows Best including Robert Young and Jane Wyatt (who later played Spock's mother in the Star Trek series. The three children actors in the series, Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin, are all still alive, ages 83, 83, and 75, respectively.

In one of the two episodes, there a guest character named "Utah" who was played by a curious 1950s-era beefcake of an actor named John Smith (pictured left). Smith was born Robert Errol Van Orden -- and, yes, he agreed to use the stage name "John Smith" despite having THAT birth name.

Alas, John Smith / Robert Errol Van Orden died at the relatively not-old age of 63 in January 1995 due to cirrhosis of the liver and heart problems.

I couldn't find much about Smith's personal life, though his Wiki page states he was a descendent of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of the colony of New Netherland, which would later become New York, New Jersey, and adjoining regions.


Smith does not appear to have had any children but he married for about four years in the early 1960s to actress Luana Patten. But I found this lovely photo montage tribute on YouTube to John Smith set to Elvis singing "Memories":


While rooting around for information on Smith, and via a connection to Mamie Van Doren, I came across the fact that Ray Anthony -- American bandleader, trumpeter, songwriter, and actor -- is the last surviving member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Ray Anthony with his trumpet, circa 1950

Ray Anthony, now 99, is the father of Perry Anthony by Mamie Van Doren, who is now 90. Here is a video of Ray Anthony playing the trumpet on the occasion of his 95th birthday in Jan 2017:


He looked pretty damn good and spry there for 95, although it looks like he's performing in a hotel lobby bathroom.

Oh, and this Ray Anthony should not, obviously, be confused with the Ray Anthony who is known as the rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot of "Baby Got Back" infamy. Yeah, that's not a mistake I'll be making.

Photo montage of Norman Lloyd at different ages in his long life with illustrious career

Speaking of elderly performers, actor and producer Norman Lloyd (pictured in a photo montage above) is still alive at age 106 (!). I remember him form his St. Elsewhere role. Even at 51, Norman Lloyd is still more than twice my age.

And with that, I am ending this particular entry. I would like to post my strongly political-themed entry after this one, except part of me really just wants to avoid any such entries until I have moved -- at which time, I may be in a different and frame of mind and not want to post them any longer.


Above: The trees that grow on a patch of the National Mall bewteen what is technically the unit block of SW 14th and 15th Streets. I probably won't ever feature another image of what is a trio of what I think are white pines.

*******

Earlier today, I ventured over to the Washington Harbour area of Georgetown -- trekking through what is to me an intolerable, indeed, sociopathic sociopolitical culture in the time of the twin totalitarian fundamentalisms of WOKE politics and Covid hysteria -- but I ended up having a very nice solo outdoor dinner at Sequoia by the bar area.


For tomorrow, as is my Sunday wont, I'm going to go down to Old Town Alexandria, to go to one or both of my usual places -- O'Connell's and Union Street Public House. And with that, I'm ending this entry.

--Regulus

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Late Night and Chronic Headachy Ruminations As Remaining Time In D.C. Approaches Zero... Just 3 Weeks to a New Place and Life in Miami Beach

Shortly after sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, Bal Harbour or Miami Beach, Fla., Feb 22, 2021

Of note, Tim (semi-)coincidentally spent the past week in Miami Beach and Miami-Dade reconnoitering for a possible new place, and he sent me a series of just-after-sunrise pics, a handful of which are featured in this entry.


Above: The same picture as the lead one, but close up (or rather, at the pictures's actual size) centered on the sun and foreground ocean surf, with the whole image cropped.

As for the topic of this entry, I would like to note that I've begun the process of sorting things out ahead of my move to Miami Beach that is just three weeks from now.

Shortly after sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, Bal Harbour or Miami Beach, Fla., Feb 21, 2021

However, I'm not really feeling that well. I feel tired, fatigued, and chronic headachy. In short, living here in D.C. is now physically damaging my health. As it is, I should be gone three weeks from tonight -- en route to my new life in Miami Beach after 28-1/2 years in this area including 20 years in the District itself.


Sometimes, I genuinely fear I'm going to have a brain hemorrhage or something of that nature that ends my life either outright or functionally incapacitates me.

Or maybe all these headaches -- aural migraines and otherwise -- are just some combo of daily alcohol withdrawal and wearing reading glasses for 10 hours a day in front of a goddamn glaring computer.

Stormy morning looking north from Bal Harbour or Miami Beach, Fla., Feb 23, 2021

Tonight, I went through my stash of toiletries (I tend to hoard them) but it turns out I didn't have as many as I thought -- at least after I partitioned out what I want to and can reasonably take. I was going to give some away and donate others (as in, to a homeless shelter), but now it looks like that won't even be necessary. There aren't that many remaining. Besides, any homeless shelter donation attempt would almost certainly end up a dark farce of a good deed.

Shortly after sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, Bal Harbour or Miami Beach, Fla., Feb 24, 2021

Remember that my apartment down there is furnished, and I'm taking as little as possible. With Chester's help, I'm trashing the two rickety, small tables and four rickety, small chairs I have. The only furniture, if you want to call it that, is my TV, a computer monitor I'm getting from work (in addition, of course, to my laptop), a lamp, and a box fan.

The Atlantic Ocean surf shortly after sunrise, Bal Harbour or Miami Beach, Fla., Feb 21, 2021

I'm not taking any kitchen crap. Everything I have is junk anyway, except for two dinner plates with dandelion designs that were a gift to my mother when we married my father -- almost 52 years ago in a marriage that notionally lasted a year and legally about five years.

Most of transport method will involve bins -- many of which I got from my now-ex-friend, Fred, and his husband -- that go into a car belonging to a good friend that will go on the auto-train from Lorton down to Sanford before we drive the rest of the way.


My dad, who lives in Florida but almost on the opposite end of the Atlantic coastline, knows I'm moving. My mother does not. We've not talked in a month, and things between us have been shit-bad for a while now. There was that period of maybe 18 months after my stefather Ray passed in early 2017 that we were kind of close, but that was the aberation in the past half century of my existence.

It was mildish today under sunny skies but with widely varying temps based on proximity to water. The Wednesday ASOS station high temps across the region were (and departures from normal daily highs):

KDCA: 60°F (+11°F)
KBWI: 63°F (+16°F)
KIAD: 66°F (+17°F)
KNAK: 55°F (+8°F)

It's supposed to rain a lot between Friday night and Monday. At this point, I think snow chances are almost over this season.

Oh, yes, in my new apartment, I am going to be responsible for the electricity, and today I set up an account with Florida Power & Light.

I tried to do it over the phone, but that didn't work. The voice listening function is far too sensitive and one-way emphatic, and there's not human operator option. I did it instead online. I also cancelled my RCN internet service here as of March 15th, but I have to return the modem and power cord.

I will mail it in (via the FedEx system RCN has set up) because I'm not schlepping over to dangerous parts of D.C. where its two drop-off stores are located, nor spend $50 and wait all day for some scary guy to show up at his leisure.

Winter bare trees, 1900 block Virginia Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:37 p.m., Feb 20, 2021

My idea is that on March 17th, when I leave, I have as little as possible to load into my friend's car for our journey down to Miami Beach -- hers, roundtrip, mine, one way.

I'm home tonight watching TV, the window a/c purring away. I just finished watching Perry Mason ("The Case of the Envious Editor," although I didn't pay any attention to it). I've now flipped the channel from MeTV to Cozi TV to watch The Nanny and a quartet of Will & Grace reruns.

Constitution Gardens, National Mall, Washington, D.C., 2:44 p.m., Feb 20, 2021

OK, I think I'm going to sign off now. Honestly, I may not have a lot of entries between now and when I leave.

I intend to have a few goodbye luncheons or goodbye drink-eons with some friends, mostly in Old Town Alexandria given how open-ended Covid hysterical, repressive, and deeply unpleasant it is here in D.C.

Reflecting Pool sparking in the Sun, National Mall, Washington, D.C., 2:44 p.m., Feb 20, 2021

About that, last night I went to Joe's down by the White House where I met Brian and Chris, and we had a very nice time. But I took the Metro from Dupont to Metro Center. To clarify, I worked home both on Monday because the weather was sleety nasty and on Tuesday because I was so busy and it didn't make sense to walk down to L'Enfant Plaza.


The walk from Metro Center to the restaurant was through part of downtown D.C., and it is absolutely horrible in a sort of vaguely dystopian totalitarian yet lawless way. The whole city is this grotesque and scary, loveless, joyless, outright frightening place where I can simply no longer live. It's destroying my mental and physical health.


However, to reiterate, dinner with Brian and Chris was very nice, and, yes, Joe's is quite expensive. Brian drove me home, which spared me having to take the fucking ghastly, horrific, disgusting Metro or walk through this dystopian hellscape.

A large cruise ship on the Atlantic Ocean, silhouetted on the morning sky, as seen from Miami Beach, Fla., Feb 24, 2021

OK, now I really will sign off. My next entry will be in a few days.

--Regulus

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tuesday Late Morning Interim Update: Zoomable-Virtual Working, Out-of-Sync Sleeping, and an Attempt at a Sunday Funday in a Warped Time

View from Constitution Gardens of the Reflecting Pool, Washington, D.C., 2:44 p.m., Feb 20, 2021

The pictures in this entry were taken on Saturday when I walked into the office to finish a labor-intensive recurring monthly task. Except for the lead one, I'm not captioning them.


The trees in the above two pictures are the elms along the northside of the Reflecting Pool between the WWII Mem'l and Lincoln Memorial. I estimate that no more than half of them are the original 1920s ones. I believe they came from a tree nursey in Great Britain, so literally were transported (when young and much smaller) by some sort of cargo ship across the Atlantic Ocean. Think about that.

*******

OK, this is just an entry to replace the lead post.

My intention is to post another entry tonight.

I've actually been very busy with work-related matters for the past several days -- but in the open-ended, now-entirely-phoney Covid horseshit time, since I have a Zoomable white collar job, that means "virtual" is the ONLY way things are done.


Being a contractor and ostensibly filling in for someone on vacation, is difficult, to say the least. This is all the more so if the agency sees its contractors as a sort of combo admin/servant class workhorse.

Of course, I'm glad that I didn't have to get up early, get ready, and physically travel into an office. My sleep cycle and quality are bad enough, out-of-whack, with a strongly nocturnal existence, that trying to fit into a daytime office job is unworkable (pun intended) agony.


I am really hoping, or maybe I should say that I will really try, once I move away from D.C. and to Miami Beach next month to adjust this schedule to a more normal daytime one. And I'm hoping being so close to a tropical ocean in a vibrant location will facilitate that.

About that move and work, I'm doing so with no change to my job, a fact for which I am quite grateful.

Lastly, I should point out that I'm still trying to recover from my Sunday activities in Old Town, which ended up knocking me out more than I anticipated. That's because I'm getting so old. To be clear, all I did was go to O'Connell's and then Union Street Public House.

Even in WOKE-infused, totalitarian time of Covid, things managed to get a little raucous at the latter.


OK, signing off for now. Again, the plan is to post another entry tonight, probably a topical one.

--Regulus

Sunday, February 21, 2021

France Fights Islamo-Leftism: Some Thoughts On Why European Countries Are Resisting the Socio-Cultural and Human Destruction Wrought by the American Virus of CRT-Infused Wokeism While the U.S., In Its Present Form, Is Probably Doomed

A sleet coating on the ground by the "Spanish Steps" at the dead end of the 1700 block of 22nd St NW, Washington, D.C., 4:06 p.m., Feb 13, 2021

The steps are technically called Decatur Terrace and are in the Sheridan-Kalorama Historic District.

The images in this entry were taken on Feb 13th (two Saturday ago) when the region had a sleety/icy weather event that wasn't as disruptive as was initially feared. Interestingly, snowfall totals were 0.2 inches at each of the three airport stations, KDCA, KBWI, and KIAD.


The images were all taken just outside my apartment in this part of D.C., an apartment I am soon to vacate as I move down to Miami Beach next month. I also got an early dinner at La Tomate. I am not captioning the pictures except the lead and last ones, although the file names contain place / time information.

*******


Below is linked an interesting article on RedState.com about the French Government's increasing fear and efforts to curtail the Critical Race Theory-infused virus of WOKEISM that was created in its reverse racist and feudal Frankensteinian form in the United States but that has spread to both the UK and European continent.



This Cultural Marxist pathogen is especially acute in the UK, but France has not been immune to it and the French President Emmanuel Macron himself has let it be known that his country will resist this dangerous garbage.


In the U.S., the Illiberal Left -- deeply racist, hateful, mass psychotic, and now beyond authoritarian and into outright totalitarian through both its systemic efforts at cultural annihilation and Orwellian policing of language and thoughts -- is running amok thanks to the seemingly unstoppable combination of Big Tech, Corporate Oligarchy, and Big Academia all violently amplified by the Borg-like Mass Cultural Media / Entertainment Complex juggernaut and the Democrat Party.

The suffocating fixation on assorted "biomarker" identities, real and imagined to include the Alice-in-Wonderland array of genders represent the Left's wholesale attempt at the destruction of any semblance of what it means to be a human being. By this, I mean a human as an individual in all his or her (or lack of a better term) "quantum foam" complexity and contradictions but with a fundamental primacy of inalienable rights -- the very Western concept of a person.


All Marxist movements throughout history use some form of liberation theology involvoing any economic, social, or cultural grievance, real or imagined. America's Khmer Rouge uses the liberation theology of reverse racism, language control, and thought policing by the very Big Media itself. This is epitomized in the New York Times, the "paper of record," by dangerous malevolencies such as Taylor Lorenz.

Yes, pretty young females euphemistically called "journalists" are today the Cancel Culture shocktroops of the larger Thought Police army. More generally, electronic Big Media -- MSNBC, CNN -- plus Big Tech social media supra-state leviathans are the instruments of this control.


As for France's resistance to this, in one sense, it really isn't that surprising. Many European countries reflexively fight to protect their cultural identity. You see it in Germany, Denmark / Scandinavian countries, France, and even to some extent in the UK (although, again, Great Britain has been badly infected with the American woke virus). Keep in mind some of these countries prohibit wearing full Muslim garb in public.

You also see it in the strongly nationalist mindsets and political parties in countries such as Poland, Hungary, and the Balkans.

The reason, I would assert, is that these countries are just: Old countries (sometimes 1,000+ years or older) that even in the early 21 Century are based on all the traditional markers of a country in terms of ethnic make up, shared culture, sociology, etc. And for whatever the drawbacks of a potentially heavy-handed nationalism, it does keep a society more or less cohesive, unlike the United States of America with its rapidly fraying culture and disintegrating institutions.


But any attempt at keeping a nation cohesive socioculturally is utterly anathema to the hardcore Maoist Cultural Marxists of the illiberal, authoritarian American Left, which seeks to destroy all nation-states and replace it with its high-tech totalitarian yet racist-feudal supra-state.

Yes, in the end, America's sprawling, diffuse, and decentralized society in which the crazy notions that Mass Man would forever be on an upward trajectory of economic prosperity and classically liberal enlightenment may be its undoing. Entering into this ultra-open society yet a multiethnic empire with a psychotic relationship to racial identity entiers the virulent virus of CRT-infused wokeism to destroy it in the next two decades or so.

And, no, I don't have a good solution for this, though.


But make no mistake: The CRT virus and its little RNA strands of extreme wokeism essentially annihilate society's social bonds and creates a highly self-destructive mass psychosis and suicide. Ultimately, people don't even identity as humans beings anymore, just a collection of weird biomarkers, real and made up, locked in a zero-sum war against others.

As weird as it sounds, there is more than a passing similarity between extreme wokeism and Islamic fundamentalism. So France's concern over what would have once seemed an oxymoron -- Islamo-Leftism -- is actually quite a legitimate worry.

The statue of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the founding President of the former country of Czechoslovakia, Washington, D.C., 5:22 p.m., Feb 13, 2021

This statue is in the tiny triangular "park" patch formed by the intersection of Massachusetts Ave and Q and 22nd Streets NW that is directly outside my apartment building. I figured I should reference it and include a picture of it at least once in the time that I live here.

--Regulus

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Three's Company Deep Thoughts: The Show's Characters and Suzanne Somers Drama Including Her Rapprochement 31-Years-Later with Joyce DeWitt; Plus, Trying to Find the Season 1 Opening Sequence Spot of John Ritter's Bicycle Pratfall


OK, this is an entry that I've had in draft for two months -- waiting for some ideal time to post it -- and that I spent two months prior to that trying to complete. It features a deep dive into the 1977 - 1984 American television situation comedy Three's Company.

Yes, Three's Company.

The entry includes (1) an overview of the characters; (2) the off-air situation involving the original three main characters that culminated in a rapprochement 31 years after the fact between two of them, namely, Suzanne Somers, and Joyce DeWitt; and (3) locational trivia involving the early seasons' opening sequence, specifically, finding the spot where John Ritter's character had his famous bicycle beach-side path pratfall in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles, Calif.


Upfront, though, let me say that Three's Company is a show that I've been aware of since it was being made -- which is to say, the late 1970s, quite possibly all the way back to when the show debuted on March 15, 1977 when I was just 7 years old and living in Long Branch, N.J., with my grandparents and dad. I certainly was watching the show when the Ropers were part of the regular cast. Now 51 years old, this means I've been aware of Three's Company for 42 to 44 years.


Secondly, and for a variety of reasons, Three's Company is a show that for nearly that entire stretch of time, I didn't like and found difficult to watch. As a young child, I didn't understand all the sexual innuendo-based, libido-driven comedy of errors, misunderstandings, and outright farce that resulted in conflict-freighted sexual slapstick.


As I got older (into my teenage years), I disliked the fact that John Ritter's character Jack Tripper was supposed to be gay so that he could live there with two young women with the approval of his landlords -- first, Mr. Stanley Roper (Norman Fell) and then Mr. Ralph Furley (played to farcical effect by Don Knotts). I disliked this because, as a gay guy myself at a time when it really wasn't OK, it was so transparently obvious that Jack was not gay. That just offended me.


To be clear, it was a totally different world when the show was made and even into the 1990s in terms of having a gay character on prime time, open or stealth, or in the case of Three's Company, pretending to be when he so clearly wasn't.

In today's world, everything is so altered that simply having a straight horndog of a young white guy perfunctorily pretending to be gay wouldn't pass muster given Hollywood's and the larger leftwing identity politics-fixated pop culture.


Today, movies, TV dramas and sitcoms, and plays requires all manner of non-binary and non-cisgendered, BIPOC-focused this or that. Far more likely today, it would be a story about an 11-year old "coming out" as transgendered and being guided by some beneficient fully WOKE BIPOC adult on which of the schizophrenic collection of made-up gender pronouns to use. In short, a comedy like that couldn't even get off the ground today because pop cultural reality itself is so warped.


By the time I was in my 20s, I guess I wanted to like Jack Tripper and the actor John Ritter, but in the end, I never quite could. Of course, it was a terrible shock when Ritter died unexpectedly on Sept 11, 2003 six days shy of his 55th birthday resulting from an aortic dissection that arose, as I understand it, from an undiagnosed enlarged aorta.


I also didn't quite understand why Suzanne Somers character, "Christmas Noelle" (!) Chrissy Snow, disappeared and was awkwardly replaced by her cousin, Cindy Snow (Jenilee Harrison) and in the next season, by the nurse, Terri Alden (Priscilla Barnes). More on Somers' departure below.


As for the other main character, Joyce DeWitt's character, Janet Wood, I guess I was never really sure why, amid that sea of sexual slapstick, she was such an unrelent and even self-righteous killjoy. I guess it was meant to be a character counterpoint kind of thing.


In terms of the other characters and the sitcom's story arc, I especially didn't like it when the Ropers left since I liked Audra Lindley's character Helen Roper, wife of Stanley Roper. Mrs. Roper was a very likable character what with her fun-loving but perennially sexually frustrated personality expressed in comically sarcastic ways.

With her frizzy 'fro of hair that was sometimes flaming red, other times more muted, Mrs. Roper had, as aptly stated here: "a signature look featuring colorful flowing caftans and muumuus and oversize chunky necklaces."

I didn't like it when the Ropers left precisely because I liked Mrs. Roper. By contrast, I didn't even understand the character of Mr. Furley, the Ropers' replacement.

The Roper's eponymous spin-off sitcom, The Ropers, lasted for all of one season. I recall Jeffrey Tambor was on the show.

As an aside -- and I'm not making this up -- I distinctly remember associating Mrs. Roper's first name -- Helen -- with the eruption of Mount St. Helens. (Yes, she was gone from the show by 1980, which indicates that I had been watching the show back into the 1970s.)

As for Audra Lindley's first name, it confused me: Not only did I not know anybody with that name, but it was so similar to and yet oddly different from "Audrey," a name I knew because I had a great Aunt Audrey. (She was a wife of one of my paternal grandma's dozen brothers). Oh, and just fyi, I have yet in my life to meet anyone named "Audra."

One other point about Audra Lindley: Her big pile of red hair and her comedic persona suggested a sort of down-market, flea-market version of Lucille Ball's Lucy Ricardo. This is relevant in that Lucille Ball herself was a big fan of both John Ritter as an agile and talented physical comedy actor and the show Three's Company.

Simply put, if Lucille Ball liked you for those reasons, you were doing something really right.


Ball even guest-starred as a sort of MC of the synopsis episode "The Best of Three's Company" consisting of Parts 1 and 2 that aired in an hour-long special on May 18, 1982. During her appearance, she remarks how much she personally enjoys the that the comedy of Three's Company is designed not to solve the world's problems but simply to make people laugh.


That last point brings up something I'd like just to say flat out here: If only Debra Messing could have dispensed with the bull-dozing, suffocating, soul-crushing, social media-based social justice shit, she could have really been a present-day version of The Queen of Comedy. Indeed, Ball's daughter, Lucie Arnaz, seems to agree in principle. Alas, given Messing's relentless behavior, it's too late now.


As for Don Knotts' neurotic, sex-starved, preeningly officious yet regularly sniveling character, Mr. Furley, he just annoyed me -- unlike now when I watch it and find him quite funny. As an adolescent and a teenager, I didn't understand his humor or role in Three's Company, as opposed to these things in The Andy Griffth Show.


Oh, and I really hated Richard Kline's Larry Dallas character and to some extent, I still do. As played too well by Richard Kline, Larry Dallas was a free-wheeling sexual perpetual motion machine and sleazy moral gigolo who -- looking back on it 40+ years later -- was a real-time parody of the 1970s Sexual Revolution.

The character's cocky arrogance and his bushy bouffant of hair combined with a caricature of a 1970s wardrobe that consisted of plunging neck-lined and thoroughly gaudy polyester shirts, brightly-colored slacks, and general "bling" jewelry, made him (to me) deeply unappealing and tremendously annoying.

It's worth noting that in 1996, Kline reprised elements of this Larry Dallas character on -- where else?? -- Married, With Children, specifically, in the episode "Torch Song Duet" when he played the publisher of Al Bundy's favorite nudie rag, Big 'Uns.


Kline played Flint Cuccione, a hilarious portmanteau, of sorts, of the names "Larry Flynt" and "Bob Guccione," not to mention the word "coochie." Flint Cuccione wasn't just the publisher of Big 'Uns, he was also ran the Big 'Uns Brothel.


In the episode, which coincided with the 1996 Summer Olympics, Al unfairly loses out on winning a radio contest involving the Olympic torch and, in turns out being named the Big 'Uns "Man of the Year" -- a title that would have won him a "lifetime key" to the Big 'Uns Brothel and presented by Cuccione himself.


You see, it was Al who gave his coworker, Griff, the correct answer to the radio contest winning question -- and did so because, in quintessential Al Bundy fashion, he had previously been banned from having anything to do with the radio station for some weird infraction.


Returning to Three's Company: There was also a recurring character of the angry and bad-tempered restaurant owner Frank Angelino (Jordan Charney). I found him both annoying and intimidating. (Remember that Jack was a gourmet chef and worked in various restaurants, eventually ended up as the chef in Angelino's restaurant.)


Finally, there was the busty sex kitten, Lana Shields (Ann Wedgeworth), whose weird accent and very presence didn't make a lot of sense. But then again, the show in its farce really wasn't supposed to.


I won't even touch on the endless parade of dates that they roommates had to include all of Jack's ladies. That was, after all, the heart of the show's sexual slapstick and endless comedies of error, often physical in nature for John Ritter.


Now, of course, no discussion of Three's Company is worth anything without delving into the real-life drama that led to Suzanne Somers' departure in the 1980 - '81 season. My understanding way back then had been that Somers was just super greedy -- wanting a multi-fold increase in compensation.

However, it appears the story was somewhat more complicated. As she explains in a series of three clips from a FOUNDATION series interview from 2012 (posted below), she was just trying to get paid on par with what Ritter was receiving. What's more, given that she had played a key role in helping the show become as popular as it was, her request to the network wasn't unreasonable.


Somers explains (as she has in other interviews), she genuinely believed she was just asking for her due precisely because John Ritter, the show's notional star of stars, was earning vastly more than either she or Joyce DeWitt and yet it was the trio of them that made the show such a success.

Now older and a lot wiser, she also admits that she and her husband, Alan Hamel, who was negotiating for her, really had no idea what they were doing and sort of barreled into something that required a lot more finesse. To that point, Sommers also didn't anticipate the anger bordering on hatred that the show's producers felt toward her for what she was doing.

Suzanne Somers, her husband, Alan Hamel, and her son, Bruce Somers, Jr., in an Instagram photo from, I think, October 2020.

As an aside, Hamel is Somers' second husband and they are appear to be happily married after 44 years. Born Suzanne Marie Mahoney, Somers takes her last name from her first husband, Bruce Somers, who is also the father of her only child, Bruce Somers, Jr., age 55. (She had Bruce Jr rather young at age 19.)

Part 1: FOUNDATION interview with Suzanne Somers

In the FOUNDATION series interview Suzanne Somers from in which she explains everything that went down (obviously, from her persective) to include the tacit role John Rittet. More interestingly, Somers also discusses how she and Ritter had an unlikely reconciliation literally just a month before his very untimely death in 2003. Part 1 of the interview is above and Parts 2 and 3 are below.

Part 2: FOUNDATION interview with Suzanne Somers

In listening to Suzanne Somers in this interview, I realize not only had I never given her credit for having any acting talent, but I didn't realize what an insightful, wise, articulate, and decent person she seems to be. Those qualities come through in the trio of YouTube videos of that FOUNDATION interview from 8 years ago.

This is portion of interview is where she explains why and how unceremoniously she was let go from Three's Company.

Part 3: FOUNDATION interview with Suzanne Somers

Even more uplifting, in putting together this entry, I came across a YouTube video showing the genuinely moving reunion of Somers and DeWitt in February 2012 -- in what I estimate was a full 31 years after they had last interacted following the former's unceremonial departure from Three's Company. The 8-1/2 minute video is from Somers' short-lived Web series "Suzanne Somers Breaking Through" that was from an outfit called CafeMoms Studios.

First part: Joyce DeWitt - Suzanne Somers reunion, 2012

Above and below: Two video segments of the televised reunion of Somers and DeWitt. In the meeting, they discussed multiple items including, poignantly and with a weird synchronicity, their last encounters with John Ritter -- each about a month or so before he died. (Two of the images in this part of the entry are screenshots of that reunion.)

Second part: Joyce DeWitt - Suzanne Somers reunion, 2012

For Somers, it was his unexpected telephone call while she was at the hair dresser. For DeWitt, it was when they both, by chance, were staying in hotels in Central Park South. Both instances involved aspects of Ritter's final sitcom. Oh, and they even tried to sing the Three's Company theme song, but it turns out neither of them really knew all the lyrics. That's actually kind of funny.

That theme song is in the form of the upbeat ditty "Come and Knock on Our Door" may be the show's most famous and enduring feature. The song with its lyrics were written for the show by producer Don Nicholl and prolific song-writer / lyricist Joe Raposo (pictured left). It was sung by Ray Charles and Julia Rinker -- where Ray Charles refers not to THE Ray Charles but rather to this fellow.

Just FYI, the tongue-twisting part of the lyrics is: "We've a lovable space that needs your face / Three's company, too..." Once you know that, then the lyrics are obvious.

"Three's Company" seasons 1, 2, and 3 opening title card

This brings me to the next section of this entry, namely, the opening of Three's Company, in particular, the first three seasons of the show's eight-season run. Those featured intro snippets of a very "beachy" Southern California seaside location involving John Ritter on a bicycle -- from which he falls onto the sand while gawking at some wiggly, bosomy young woman whose back is to the camera.

The season 1 opening sequence and theme song to Three's Company along with the closing sequence / credits.

Note: The closing sequence provides a few extra locational images.

While the Season 3 opening had the same footage, it used a faster-tempo intro with more musical flourishes:


Later seasons had different openings including the Santa Monica Pier (seasons 4 and 5) and Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens in sprawling Griffith Park (seasons 6, 7, and 8).


I'm not going to focus on those later season openings, but it is worth noting in the seasons 6, 7 and 8 opening sequence the weird and funny Richard Kline-groped-by-an-elephant scene in which Kline's exaggerated expression makes it clear that the elephant's trunk is probing his privates (see image directly above).


The zoo-based opening sequence also features Joyce DeWitt feeding a goal while kneeling by a little blond boy who, it turns out, is one of John Ritter's real-life children, namely, actor Jason Ritter at about age 2 (see image above).

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Let's return to the seasons 1 - 3 opening sequence, specifically, the first 10 to 15 seconds of it. As shown in the title card image (farther above) and the image without the title card (directly above), this opening sequence begins with a panoramic shot of the Pacific shoreline in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles.


In it, you can see a portion of what is Ocean Front Walk (lower left), the sidewalk along it, an irregular grassy area with a number of palm "trees" (yes, palms are technically not "trees") to include short and squat and tall and slender (the latter presumably the ubiquitous Mexican Fan palms), and an wending bicycle path along the inside edge of the expansive beach.


As shown in the marked up image below, you can also see a distant pier-like structure jutting into the ocean, what appears to be a rocky breakwater with whitewater surf breaking on it, and closer in, a series of sand-break fences, as well as barely-discernible poles that are part of volley ball nets. As for the lone bicycle figures, that is probably John Ritter himself. I say very likely because of the memorable sequence that plays out within seconds.


On the southern/southwestern horizon is an elongated hilly ridge that are actually the Palos Verdes ("Green Sticks") Hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula just beyond Redondo Beach and the City of Torrance (a name that always calls to mind for me The Shining since that was the surname of the family). (No, I've never actually been to Torrance, as I've never actually been to the Los Angeles area, only as close as San Juan Capistrano.)


A few seconds into the sequence, John Ritter (as Jack Tripper) is transfixed by a thin, young, brunette woman with a giant pile of hair sashaying toward him in exaggerated fashion -- her back to the camera -- and he promptly veers off the trail and falls off the bike onto the soft beach sand.


This pratfall actually sets the tone of the show as Jack being something of a good-natured horndog and involved in lots of associated comedic pratfalls. For me, it totally piqued my interest: Where is the PRECISE location of that fall??


Before getting to that, though, this webpage indicates that the brunette woman is actually Suzanne Somers herself in a big, brown wig. (Wigs were big, no pun intended, in the mid-20th Century including through the 1970s. Indeed, I remember that my mother had at least one wig -- and I even remember the weird Styrofoam "head" on which she stored it when not wearing it.)


So, let's delve into the BIG QUESTION of this blog entry: Where PRECISELY did John Ritter sheepishly fall off that bike??


Before I answer that, a quick spoiler: While I don't know the EXACT spot, in the process of putting together this entry over the past few months (!), and despite the fact that I've never been to Venice Beach, I have what I believe is a very good idea of the location -- as in, within a few tens of meters.

I should point out that in putting this post together over nearly 3 months (clearly the longest time it has ever taken me to compose one), I went through several iterations of where I thought that spot was. But a chance Google street view image involving an unlikely hotel across the street answered has answered the question almost definitively.

Google aerial view showing the bike fall area and the opening vantage point location; the Venice Breakwater, the Venice Fishing Pier, and the rocky groin.

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In looking again at the opening panoramic shot, you see a rocky breakwater with waves breaking noticeably on it that is the Venice Breakwater (it is there today and presumably it was there in 1977). There also appears to be a smaller rocky outcropping (groin) nearby -- and, in fact, there is such a groin located about midway between the Venice Fishing Pier and the Venice Breakwater.

Distance wise, the pier is approximately 3,000 to 4,000 feet away (i.e., under 1 mile) from the middle of the breakwater, which for its part, I estimate to be about 600 to 700 feet in length. As shown in the marked up Google images directly above and below, the opening panoramic view spot is a bit farther to the northwest -- at a distance, I estimate, between 1,800 and 2,000 feet from the breakwater and about 1 mile from the pier.

Marked up Google aerial view showing line-of-sight between panoramic viewing spot and the Venice Breakwater (blue arrow), Venice Fishing Pier (orange arrow), and rocky groin (brown arrow).

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My big assumption in all of this is that that the bike fall point is across the street from the panoramic view spot (as I explain below). And using that line-of-sight argument involving the pier and the breakwater, it leads you to what is to this day a sinewy bike path running along the inside edge of the expansive beak along Ocean Front Walk. Below is a marked up freeze frame of the pier and the breakwater / whitewater surf, as well as the Palos Verdes Hills about 12 to 15 miles away.


During the fall-off-the-bike scene, the camera view is too tight to get any real clues, but it turns out that the YouTube video of the season 1 opening also includes a closing sequence. In the closing scene, you can see that the trio of Jack, Chrissy, and Janet appear to be by the same sand-break fences and volley ball nets that appear (1) where Jack falls off his bike and (2) Jack riding his bike along the path. Regarding (2), based upon the Sun angle, that occurred earlier in the day.

A screenshot from that closing sequence is below. In it, you can see that Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers are riding a bicycle for two. What's more, you can see the same sand break structures that are visible in the sequence as Jack falls and that appear in the opening panoramic view:


There is also a flash of an image in the closing sequence (see directly below) in which you can again see waves breaking on the aforementioned Venice Breakwater. The only uncertainty I have here is that the bike path seems to be a bit different -- and the image is such that you don't see the multiple (Mexican fan?) palms. Nor is there evidence of Ocean Front Walk. However, if that is the Venice Breakwater, then this must be the same general areas as the opening panoramic image shown above.


About the Venice Breakwater, it consists of a manmade agglomeration of rocks in the surf running parallel to the beach for about, what I estimate, is 400 to 600 feet. It's quite possible that the Venice Breakwater was different in 1976 - '77, maybe smaller, but I'm assuming some structure was there. As for the rocky groin (outcropping), as noted above, it is about midway between the pier and the breakwater, so in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 feet from each. The groin runs perpendicular the beak - i.e., running directly into the surf.


Now it is quite possible that the Venice Breakwater was different in 1976 - '77, maybe smaller, but I'm assuming some structure was there. I should also note that there is another rocky outcropping running perpendicular to the beach -- i.e., running directly into the surf -- a short distance south(east) of the Venice Breakwater.

Image of Venice Beach Breakwater taken from a drone or low-flying air craft. You can see the Venice Fishing Pier in the distance and (to the left) the rocky groin.

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About the admittedly distracting term "groin," folks often call such a rocky outcropping a "jetty," but a groin and a jetty are structurally and functionally different). As noted, the groin is close to the pier, as well as the Venice Beach lifeguard operations center. The image directly below shows this nicely:

The Venice Fishing Pier and nearby rocky groin, along with the Venice Beach lifeguard operations center.

Note in this image you can actually (just barely) see Santa Catalina Island in the distance on the horizon.

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If you've been paying attention, you'll notice that I've talked about the panoramic vantage spot shown in the first few seconds of the seasons 1 - 3 opening sequence. And I've noted that I think the bike fall spot is across the street (Ocean Front Walk) from it.

So where is that spot??

Well, in putting together this entry, I discovered that there is a hotel across the edge of the beach on Ocean Front Walk called the Venice Breeze Suites. The hotel's street address is specifically 2 Breeze Avenue and is between a thoroughfare called Speedway and Ocean Front Walk.

Google street view image of Venice Breeze Suites, Sept 2019

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Venice Breeze Suites is a four-story brick hotel that was constructed -- I found out in a phone call to the hotel -- in the 1930s, so whatever it was in 1976 - '77, the structure itself it was definitely there by then. The hotel also has a rooftop deck that is equivalent to a fifth story view.

I also discovered there are at least two sets of panoramic views as part of the Google Street view imagery from the top of the building. The collection of images below are from the first set of images.

Venice Breeze Suites rooftop Google street image: Southwest view

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I took a series of screenshots of the first set when I found them, but unfortunately, I didn't get the web link at the time, and now I can't find it. Instead, I can only this second set. For purposes of this entry, I am featuring the first set because the daylight is better. (The second set were taken at sunrise -- remember, you're on the Pacific in California.)

I created the following comparison of the initial image of the Seasons 1 - 3 opening sequence and the Google street (rooftop) view to the southwest, top and bottom, respectively:


SO!! If you look at the southwest view, and compare it to the opening sequence, I'm fairly certain I found the spot where John Ritter was riding his bicycle. What's more, based upon the clues in the images where Ritter falls and the closing scene images, to include the sand break fences, the volley ball nets, and Venice Breakwater, I think the bike fall spot is captured somewhere on one of those two sinewy bicycle path curves.

To be clear, I realize this sequence was filmed 43+ years ago and certainly many things there have changed including the nearby (Mexican fan?) palms, other structures (including all those sand break fences), and even the view of the Venice Fishing Pier -- it's not visible in the current Google street views because there are far more palms growing between on the line of sight. But the bike path appears to still be there and it's basic shape hasn't changed and the Venice Breakwater appears to "anchor" the whole thing.

Venice Breeze Suites rooftop Google street image: West view

Now I realize that Ritter could have fallen off his bike not in the southwest view but perhaps "directly" across from the hotel -- i.e., as captured in the Google street (rooftop) west view. Or even in the northwest street (rooftop) view, as shown in the image below. The point is, it is somewhere on the path captured in those three images.

Venice Breeze Suites rooftop Google street image: Northwest view

And with that, I will (finally!) end this entry. PHEW!! And just fyi, I'm going to keep this entry as the lead one for upwards of one week, so barring some major news requiring an entry, my next posting won't be for at least four days, maybe as much as a week.

--Regulus