EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS: Bret Michaels in Critical Condition at Hospital: Connections (#17)

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels

LOS ANGELES — Rocker turned reality star Bret Michaels is in critical condition at an undisclosed hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage Thursday night.

According to Michaels’ reps, the singer was rushed to a Los Angeles area hospital after complaining of an excruciating headache late Thursday night.

A source close to the situation told People Magazine doctors discovered Michael’s had suffered a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding at the base of his brain stem).

After several CAT scans, MRIs and an angiogram, [doctors] decided to keep Michaels in the ICU and are running several tests to determine the cause.

“[It] will be touch and go for the next few days while he is under intense observation,” People reported. Copyright  © 2010 KTLA.COM

Bret is a real nice guy and a great talent, and it’s with deep sorrow that I have to report this.  Let’s all hope and pray that he makes a speedy recovery.

For more on Bret Michaels,  see my Blog: EXTRA! EXTRA! Back Into the Limelight: Connections (#7) Published  03/12/10.


EXTRA! EXTRA! TV Academy Considers Dropping The Theme Song Emmy Prize: Connections (#16)

I’ll be brief.  It started with the category of TV Theme Music being shut out of the prime-time telecast.  Now the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is considering eliminating this category all together.  What a shame!

Once-upon-a-time, there were the effervescent Latin pop of “I love Lucy,” the dark march of the “Dragnet” theme, the hopeful soft-rock of the theme to “The  Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Remember the reign of Mike Post, whose vast catalogue of themes included “The Rockford Files” and “Hill Street Blues.”?

Now some theme music amounts to pieces too short to nominate, like giving out an acting award for best “sigh” or a screenwriting prize on the basis of a well-chosen adjective.

Indeed, host Neil Patrick Harris joked about this very thing on last year’s Emmys broadcast, comparing the rustling cord that introduces “Lost” — the Ad Reinhartd “Black Painting” of TV openings — to that of “Gilligan’s Island”:  The last time there were people on a desert island, there was a song about it and, dagnabbit, it was awesome.”

Nevertheless, TV Theme Music — old-style, original singable themes are still standard in “tween” television, which at the moment is dominated by actors who have  secondary, or in some cases primary, singing careers: Miley Cyrus of “Hannah Montana” (theme song: “The best of Both Worlds” top 20 in Ireland) is only the most successful example). Copyright © 2010 Los Angeles Times

So, the verdict is still out.  Is the pace of television so fast as not to have the time for theme music? And what about the end credits?  They’ve been reduced in size and move so fast they’re illegible. You be the judge.

Earlier this year Nathan Scott died at 94, film and TV composer, arranger and conductor.  He was the arranger for composer  Walter Schumann, who wrote the famous DUM-DE-DUM-DUM theme for Jack Webb’s popular police show “Dragnet.”  The theme for “Dragnet” cracked Billboard’s Top 10 at number 3 in 1953.

In 1969 I filmed the “This is the City” mini-documentaries that proceeded each episode and were accompanied by this same theme music.  Who can forget DUM-DE-DUM-DUM: “Dragnet’s” theme song.

Sgt. Dan Cook, whose badge was 714, and became the title of the “Dragnet” re-runs in syndication, was the LAPD’s Public Information Officer.  I met him while  directing the TV documentary “Police Unit 2A-27,” for KNBC and its O&O Division.  Sgt. Cooke  showed the documentary to Jack Webb, who invited my associate Noel Nosseck and me  to a screening of our TV documentary, “Police Unit 2A-26” at Universal Studios.  I’ll never forget that day in the screening room when Jack Webb showed the documentary to the Universal Executives, including Sid Sheinberg and Frank Price, and at the conclusion of the screening asked, “How come these two kids made a better show for $3,500 than I was able to do at Universal for $100,000? The silence was deafening. In a nutshell, that’s how I ended up filming the mini-documentary openings for “Dragnet -69,” and later on with the help of this introduction, I signed a seven-year term contract as a Producer, Writer, Director with Universal City Studios — now NBC Universal.

EXTRA! EXTRA! When I’m not Alone: Connections (#15)

My wife Marcia does video editing for Board Resource Center, an organization working with the California Department of Developmental Services to help adults with developmental disabilities become more self-reliant.  Through this relationship I was introduced to a unique individual, Sam Durbin. We instantly bonded and I volunteered to be his mentor, guiding him toward his goal of writing a book, his 2nd.   He lives in Orange County, so we usually communicate via phone and email, and on occasion meet in person.  Our initial meeting was at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in (of course) Beverly Hills.  The meeting was about individual self determination and that grand hotel was the perfect setting for it.  I’ll let you in on a little secret.  You sacrifice nothing to become the mentor of a person with disabilities. In fact, I’ve been inspired in my role as Sam’s mentor.  Part of this process has been to attend meetings with persons with developmental disabilities in Sacramento, California. On several occasions I’ve volunteered as a video cameraman, helping to shoot projects that Marcia edits. On  one such occasion, I shot video for a project dealing with the fact that all people have human rights.   While in Sacramento I had the good fortune to meet  Rhianon Gutierrez, a student at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Video Arts in Orange, California, who decided to do a documentary of Sam’s life – “When I’m Not Alone” – as her senior thesis. The documentary has won many awards, including the Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship from the College Television Awards, held by the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences Emmys Foundation.  I’m proud to have a “Thank You” credit on this important documentary film.“When I’m Not Alone”

Rhianon & Sam at Emmys

Rhianon Gutierrez & Sam Durbin at Emmys

Sam’s story is gripping and it took a lot of courage to reveal it.  Born female, Sam’s father raised Sam as a male for 28 years.  During that time Sam suffered unspeakable abuse, escaping only after his father died, and drifting in and out of institutions. After finding Integrity House, in Orange County, he learned to read, write, and advocate for himself and others with disabilities.  I am so proud to know Sam.


Emmy Statue

“When I’m Not Alone”  will screen at the Newport Beach Film  Festival on April 23rd.  It will screen along with three other films, including fellow CTA Winner and Academy Award nominee for Best Live Action Short, “Kavi.Extra.”

“When I’m not Alone” has also been accepted to screen at the Society for Disabilities Studies Conference at Temple University in Philadelphia this June!

Three years ago, Marcia and I were invited guests at the Newport Beach Film Festival for the screening of “Camille,” directed by  Gregory Mackenzie, produced by Mackenzie and Academy Award winning Producer Albert S. Ruddy, starring James Franco and Sienna Miller.  I was Post Production Supervisor on this wonderful comedic heart-felt movie.

Sienna Miller & James Franco

EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS: Bret Michaels Recovering From Surgery in Facility for Diabetics: Connections (#14)

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels is recovering from an emergency appendectomy at a private facility specifically for diabetic patients, according to his Bret Michaels website.

“While the surgery went well and doctors are optimistic that the rocker will make a full recovery, the fact that he was exhausted due to his rigorous schedule prior to the surgery and coupled with the fact that he has diabetes, the surgery has taken its toll,” his rep tells PEOPLE in a statement.

“Even for non-diabetic patients the recovery from surgery can be long and painful,” the statement continues. “Doctors were amazed at how good of health Bret was in being a 47-year-old diabetic. However the main focus and concern right now is that he is able to rest, recover and maintain good blood sugar levels while doing so.”

Michaels was discharged from the Christus Santa Rosa Hospital-Westover Hills in San Antonio, Texas, on Wednesday, the hospital confirmed to local newspapers.

The rocker, who currently appears on “Celebrity Apprentice,” is also in the middle of an extensive North American tour. “It is unclear at this time exactly how many of Michaels tour dates will have to be moved,” his rep says. “However it has been noted that the singers dates through April 24th are currently being rescheduled and new dates should be posted to his Web site soon.”  Copyright © 2010 People Magazine

For more on Bret Michaels,  see my Blog: EXTRA! EXTRA! Back Into the Limelight: Connections (#7) Published  03/12/10.

EXTRA! EXTRA! “Bones” 100th Episode: Connections (#13)

I’m not a big fan of Fox TV, but I am a big fan of Fox’s “Bones,” which celebrates its 100th episode today.  The producers call it “Crimedy,” and it’s good television with a bit of tongue-in-cheek in every episode.  If you can’t eat your dinner, then they doing something right.  The formula is simple yet elegant  — not Albert Einstein’s E=MC2 — more like each week there’s a mystery — what, or who, killed this body?  And each week, a romantic comedy between two leads (a social misfit forensic anthropologist and an FBI special agent with his own issues.)

“Bones” was created by Hart Hanson and stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz, Michaella Conlin, Eric Millegan, T. J. Thyne, Jonathan Adams, Tamara Taylor, John Francis Taylor. The theme music is by  The Crystal Method.

"After" Poster

"After" Poster

I worked with the über talented Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, two electronic musicians who go by the name of The Crystal Method, on the feature film “After,” a Horror/Thriller directed by David L. Cunningham. The movie’s about Urban Explorers who are extreme sports’ answer to computer hackers: a growing breed of thrill-seekers who thrive on infiltrating the planet’s most dangerous man-made structures… Just because they can.

Crystal Method

Ken Jordan & Scott Kirkland

“After” is a wonderful film and The Crystal Method ‘s contribution helped make it even better.

EXTRA! EXTRA! Astronaut Buzz Aldrin Dances with the Stars: Connections (#12)

Buzz Aldrin walks on Moon

No one can say “Dancing With the Stars” eldest contestant,  Buzz Aldrin, isn’t up for a challenge.

The 80-year-old former astronaut has rapped with Snoop Dog in “Rocket Experience,” has been on a Russian nuclear icebreaker to the North Pole and a French submersible down two-and-a-half miles in the ocean to the Titanic — oh, and he’s planning on driving a Hummer to the South Pole next December.

His current challenge:  learning to dance in front of millions of people on “Dancing with the Stars.”

“It been quite a bit harder than I thought it would be,” Aldrin told  Zap To It during an interview. “I’m glad it’s a taxing challenge, and I’m very glad to have passed that first milestone.”

Aldrin, one of the lowest scoring contestants so far (right down there with Kate Gosselin), made it through the first week without spending any time in the dreaded bottom two. While Aldrin wasn’t too shocked that his space fans came through for him, he was surprised to see Pamela Anderson get sent to the hot seat.

“I couldn’t explain that really because I thought she performed quite well,” says Aldrin. “I think the judges maybe had her a little higher, as I recall.  Maybe she just didn’t get that many votes, but I can’t understand that because she’s such an unusually attractive person.”

While Anderson’s looks didn’t earn her votes, Kate Gosselin’s tabloid appeal certainly did (in case you missed it, her dancing was abominable). But as far as dance ability goes, Nicole Scherzinger seems to be the one to beat — and Aldrin thinks we’ll see her around for a while.

“[Nicole]’s going to rank right up there when the final reckoning is being made. She along with Evan Lysacek…. He’s certainly very good on the dance floor too.”

Aldrin knows his limitations, but the high-energy octogenarian is approaching his latest challenge with a positive outlook.

“About all I can do is hope for the best. I hope, because that’s the reason I got involved in this. When people see my name out there … they’ll be reminded of the wonderful success of the Apollo program we had 40 years ago.”

That’s right, he’s hoping he gets the man-on-the-moon sympathy vote, and he’s not ashamed to say it. As former “DWTS” contestant Adam Corolla pointed out in a segment poking fun of the show during last week’s elimination episode, Aldrin shamelessly wears a rocket t-shirt every opportunity he gets.

But when you’re the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11 (a.k.a. the first manned lunar landing in history), you can wear the t-shirt all you want.

Aldrin will see if the space-loving community comes out in full force again to keep him onboard for another week when he competes next  tonight (April 5) on ABC.  Zap To It 04/05/2010©

USC Fan Buzz Aldrin Chows Down

In 2006 I met Buzz Aldrin at the USC vs. Texas National Championship football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  It was being promoted as possibly the Greatest College Game ever, and it was!  I don’t think the TV audience watching at home ever realized  that 100,000 fans, young and old, stood on their feet for the entire game,

Prior to the game, I was wearing my USC colors and walking in the Rose Bowl parking lot where I met a young woman who invited me to attend a tailgate party.  She said, casually,  “It will be fun.  An Astronaut’s going to be there.” Kathryn handed me her business card.  I looked at the card. “One of the attendees will be an Astronaut?” I asked. Well, folks, she wasn’t kidding.  I can tell you from personal experience that Buzz Aldrin is a very nice “down to earth” guy and a rabid USC Fan.

On “Dancing with Stars” Buzz Aldrin’s speciality has been the cha cha.  Not bad for an 80-year-old man, but then again, he walked on the Moon.