Saturday, March 30, 2019

One Week Later...

...and all is well in Vintage TV appears I should have been more confident in the folks at Blackie's TV Repair.

By their own admission they didn't exactly "repair" it...took the back off, removed the boards, cleaned them, checked for loose solder joints, put them back in, turned it on...and voila!  Functioning TV.  They let it run for 20+ hours then called me to come pick it up.

It's not outside the ream of possibility that the 35+ mile ride from my place to theirs in the back of my pickup truck - and here you'll have to forgive me for using a technical term - "jiggered" something - and by the time I dropped it off it was magically fixed.

Kinda reminds me of my dad smacking the side of our old black and white TV back in the day when it was acting up with the same desirable results.

Either way it's working now and our mid century modern living room has one of its stars back in place...
...I'm so happy...
To celebrate, Karen and I had dinner at the Irish pub here in Holland...
...Blue Moon...dee-lish...

I'd include the picture Karen took of me sipping a Guinness but unfortunately it looks too much like me and I don't want to spoil anyone's appetite.

We're enjoying these last few days of culinary freedom bc I've been informed we're going on a diet starting this coming Friday.

I admit I could stand to lose a svelte 225 pound figure would look better at, say, 210 or so...but I'm not looking forward to the process of shedding those 15 or 20 pounds at diet boot camp...
...hopefully there won't be guns involved...
Watched a couple of good flicks this past week...
...The Setup starring that almost-a-leading-man / character actor Robert Ryan (1909 - 1973).

At 6'4" with chiseled features, Ryan was a blue collar type, always working, and along the way was involved in some pretty good films.

He was also an experienced boxer, the heavyweight champion at Dartmouth College 4 years in a row when he attended in the late 1920's / early 1930's, so this was his kind of film.

In it he plays a washed up club fighter who loses far more often than he wins now.  Even so he labors on, looking for one last payday to help fund his modest dream - owning a cigar stand - for he and his long suffering wife, Julie.

Unfortunately, his dishonest manager has promised a local gangster Ryan will take a dive in this last fight against a promising up and comer.

The manager doesn't bother telling Ryan about the deal for two reasons: 1) he doesn't think it will be necessary; he's convinced Ryan will be knocked out early against his younger, more impressive opponent, and 2) he knows Ryan would never take a dive.
By now you've guessed the story line...Ryan digs deep, finds a spark of his former self and knocks out the younger heavyweight.

Of course there's hell to pay with the gangster, but this is 1949 and even though it's cinema chiaroscuro, there's still a happy ending.

I'll be honest - the boxing scenes are not impressive.

It must have been difficult for Ryan to bear.  His character was supposed to be a stumblebum, and to watch him staggering around the ring looking awkward and ungainly, when in fact he was a champion boxer...well, that had to be tough for him to endure.

Even so, this one is worth a look, if only to see Robert Ryan put in an honest day's work in front of the camera.

Continuing in the boxing / film noir category, I also cued up a good one from 1962:  Requiem For A Heavyweight, starring Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney and Julie Harris.

Written by Rod Serling, this was originally a teleplay that made its debut in 1956 on Playhouse 90.

The television version starred Volodymyr Palahniuk and Keenan Wynn.

What?  You've never heard of Volodymyr before?

Sure you have...better known as Jack Palance...
many years later as Curly in City Slickers...
The live television version from 1956 is definitely a worthy effort, but the theatrically released film got more attention.

In it Anthony Quinn plays a washed up heavyweight - Mountain Rivera - suffering from dementia caused by too many blows to the head.

The film opens with a famous scene in the ring, looking through Rivera's eyes, as he fights his last round against the young and powerful Cassius Clay...
...2 years before Clay would defeat Sonny Liston for the heavyweight title.

As in The Setup, this story involves a sleazy manager betting against his own fighter and getting into trouble with gangsters.

Maish Rennick - played by Gleason - laid down big money that Rivera wouldn't last 4 rounds with Clay, but Rivera soldiered on til the 7th round before he was knocked out.
The rest of the movie is all about Rivera trying to find his way in his new world without boxing, while his manager tries to save his own skin by convincing Rivera to get into the clownish and humiliating world of pro wrestling.
Unlike in The Setup, there's no happy ending here (Dave: take note).

A telling line early in the film signals where we're going when Maish says of boxing matches: "If there was head room they'd hold these things in the sewers."

If you're looking for an escape into sunshine and roses, move along now, nothing to see here.

On the other hand, if you want to see some great acting and feel some raw emotion for the fallen human condition, tune won't be disappointed.
As I look around me I see the weekend is once again trying to escape, so I needs must go capture the slippery creature before it gets away.

later, mcm fans...

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