Monday, January 31, 2011

The Man Who Fell Off the "Internet"

When I was a little kid, there used to be something called "The Big Show" on TV when I got home from school. Gee, isn't this so fascinating already? Don't worry, it gets duller! "The Big Show" was an old movie, hosted by a man named Mac or Max (turns out his name was Max Goodman, more on that in a postscript below - are you pinching yourself?). He was the biggest square you have ever seen, a guy in a dark suit and glasses, standing in front of a marquee. Once he made a mildly off-color remark about a Deanna Durbin movie. No offense to Max Goodman or his descendants, but he really did! That wasn't his usual style. I remember the remark exactly, though I won't trouble you with it. There is probably some important conversation I had with one of my grandparents which has been pushed out of my brain by Max Goodman's Deanna Durbin joke. I was so young I didn't even understand it at the time, but I could tell it was wrong! Perhaps Max Goodman cringed at himself or something, or maybe he even apologized, and that's how I knew I had witnessed something untoward. Wow! I'm really off-track here. This isn't what I meant to talk about at all. Good thing this is a "blog" and nobody cares! I don't even care if you stop reading right now. In fact, I recommend it. What I meant to tell you is that WHO'S MINDING THE MINT? came on TCM last night. I haven't watched it yet. I have it on the dvr. When I was a child, there were no dvrs! Gee this is interesting! So I had to wait for WHO'S MINDING THE MINT? to come on "The Big Show," which it did over and over and over, to my great pleasure, instilling in me my first precocious desires to pull off a big heist - an ambition which has to this date gone unfulfilled. It's probably terrible. I will watch it and let you know. Yet until I came across CAPRICORN ONE, I considered WHO'S MINDING THE MINT? the pinnacle of humankind's artistic longings. "The Big Show" seemed to have a limited number of available films. One was about a giant tarantula. I think they showed practically everything by Abbott and Costello, including a dispiriting little bagatelle titled ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KEYSTONE KOPS. Even as a child I could tell that no one's heart had been in that one. Everybody looked worn-out and sad. On Fridays it was Tarzan, or so I recall. Are you asleep yet? Because listen! By the time I got to high school, "The Big Show" had a rival on channel 10. It was called "Movies 10." There was no square host! There was no host at all! Just an animated opening, kind of groovy, in which a movie camera assembled itself out of some geometric shapes over a red background, I think, and suddenly the cameraman was pointing the camera at YOU, the viewer! Freaky! Then straight to the movie, which was usually groovier fare than ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KEYSTONE KOPS, such as POPI starring Alan Arkin or THE HOT ROCK or CALIFORNIA SPLIT or THE PINK PANTHER. So is it possible that I am misremembering such a vital event of my childhood, and that I first saw 1967's WHO'S MINDING THE MINT? on "Movies 10," not on "The Big Show"? I refuse to believe it! Now for the promised postscript: how did I find Max Goodman's name? It wasn't easy! There is only ONE mention of "The Big Show" hosted by Max Goodman on the whole "internet" as far as I can tell. It is buried deep inside the "web" site of some guy who summarized every episode of a local AM talk-radio show in Mobile, Alabama. Unless you are some weirdo stickler for corroboration, I strongly advise that you do not "click" here. Let me sum it up for you. Here is some of the talk-radio show, as presented by the "blogger" in question: "Third half-hour begins with audio of Reagan during his re-election campaign at his political party's national convention. Caller George has childhood memories of a ferryboat service long ago, including a memory of being told to 'turn around' after his mother dresses up in a bathing suit, which bothered George throughout the years." Much later, the relevant portion: "Former WKRG personality Max Goodman spoke with John Nodar this morning about his career at the station from 1963 to 1985. Goodman held positions such as morning weather forecaster, newscaster, announcer, and host of TV5 programs such as the movie showcase 'The Big Show'(aired daily from 3:30 PM-5:00 PM) and 'Channel 5 Bingo', in which viewers with bingo cards from Greer's Food Market can play along from home. One of Max's most cherished memories is when general manger C.P. Persons asked if he would go to Washington, D.C. for an interview with Attorney General Katzenbach." And that's it for "The Big Show" on the "internet." Not even a photo of Max Goodman that I can find. So we will have to settle for Deanna Durbin. The "blogger" in question stopped "blogging" in 2009 because he got depressed about the tone of talk radio.