Funnyman Tracy Morgan Not Laughing – Sues Walmart Over Car Crash

by Shannonn Kelly
08:38AM, EST, July 12, 2014

Crash Impact On Tracy Morgan's Limo Bus, June 07, 2014
Crash Impact On Tracy Morgan’s Limo Bus, June 07, 2014

On June 7th, the entertainment world was stunned to hear funnyman Tracy Morgan was involved in a fatal car crash, killing one and critically injuring Morgan and others. Many originally though it had something to do with Morgan driving.

Not so. It was a WalMart employee, now revealed to be tractor-trailer driver, 35-year-old Kevin Roper who was “awake for more than 24 consecutive hours,” who allegedly nodded off at the wheel and crashed into Morgan’s limousine bus, as Morgan was returning from a show at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Delaware. Morgan’s limo was overturned by the collision with Roper’s 18-Wheeler on a New Jersey Turnpike.

Following the accident, Roper, was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.

In Morgan’s suit,  other plaintiffs include: comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, who died from the crash, Mc’Nair’s wife, Krista Millea, Jeffrey Millea, Morgan’s assistant and comedian Ardie Fuqua.

According to an Article in Variety

A rep for Walmart said in a statement that the company is “committed to doing the right thing for all involved.”

“This has been a terrible tragedy. We wish Mr. Morgan, Mr. Fuqua Jr., and Mr. Millea full recoveries,” the statement reads. “Our thoughts continue to go out to them, their families and friends, as well as to the families and friends of everyone involved, including Mr. McNair, who lost his life. We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved. As we’ve said, we’re cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation. We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved.”

 

‘Tis the Season of ‘Peanuts Creator’ Charles M. Schulz

Peanuts creator, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz
Peanuts creator, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz

by Shannonn Kelly
09:12AM, EST, November 26, 2013

There’s something very special about waking up and realizing it would have been the 91st birthday of Charles M. Schulz. From October to December, it’s really, the Season of Charles Schulz, the cartoonist who created warm and funny scenarios to take us through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with his “Peanuts Gang”, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty and my personal favorite “Pig Pen”.

I wrote a blog last year which you can read here, so I wondered what should I write this year..?

I enjoyed writing my 2012 blog, and I really researched it a lot. In my mind, nothing could really top it. But then I read the Huffington post this morning and I thought, okay, here’s another angle. But then I read that they too, revisited their blog from last year and tweaked it for this year.

So with permission, I’m re-posting their article below. I just don’t know who it’s written by because I’d like to give them their props in my blog.

I hope you read my blog from 2012 right here. I’d love to know what’s your favorite Charlie Brown special? Who’s your favorite Peanuts character? Please leave me a comment and enjoy your day!

Re-posted with Permission from Huffington Post

Today is the birthday of American cartoonist Charles Monroe Schulz, that beloved “Peanuts” creator who would turn 91 years old if he were still alive today.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Schulz is remembered most fondly for the wholesome characters he created throughout his 50-year-long illustration career. Among them are the eternally hesitant Charlie Brown and the mischievous Snoopy, two characters who came to represent the iconic four-panel gag strip known as “Peanuts.” Schulz devoted much of his life to the American comic standard, which ran up until the day after his death in 2000.

In honor of the 91st anniversary of Schulz’s birth, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the man behind the cartoon, so we’ve put together 20 facts you might not have known about the great American artist. Behold, the quirks of a “Peanuts” legend:

1. The man, Charles Schulz, and the comic character, Charlie Brown, are pretty similar.

charles schulz

Schulz’s father was a barber and his mother a housewife, just like Charlie Brown’s parents. Plus, as the youngest in his class at Central High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Schulz was famously shy.
2. Schulz’s childhood nickname was based on a comic strip.

charles schulz

Schulz’s childhood nickname, Sparky, was given to him by his uncle and refers to the horse Spark Plug in Billy DeBeck’s comic strip, “Barney Google.”
3. Schulz had his own unusual dog named Spike.

When Schulz was a young boy, he submitted a picture of his dog, Spike, to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! His drawing appeared in Robert Ripley’s syndicated panel, describing Spike as an usual dog who ate pins, tacks and razor blades.
4. Schulz served in WWII but never fired his weapon.

charles schulz

In 1943, Schulz was drafted into the United States Army where he served as a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in Europe. During his service as a squad leader on a .50 caliber machine gun team, his unit saw very little combat, and Schulz later explained that during the only opportunity to fire his machine gun he discovered that he had actually forgotten to load it.
5. Schulz debuted his two most famous characters in a comic strip known as “Li’l Folks.”

charles schulz

The name of Schulz’s most famous character — Charlie Brown — first appeared in an earlier cartoon written by the Peanuts creator titled “Li’l Folks”, which was published from 1947 to 1950. That same series also featured a dog that resembled Snoopy.
6. Schulz didn’t actually name “Peanuts.”

In 1950, Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with his comic strip Li’l Folks. The syndication company accepted Schulz work but decided that the name “Li’l Folks” was too close to the names of two other comics of the time: Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” and a strip titled “Little Folks.” So, to avoid confusion, United Feature Syndicate settled on the name “Peanuts” after the peanut gallery featured in the “Howdy Doody” TV show. In the end, Schulz did not name his famous work.
7. And he hated the name.

charlie brown christmas

Schulz always disliked the title of his famous comic strip, “Peanuts”. In a 1987 interview, Schulz said of the name: “It’s totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing, and has no dignity — and I think my humor has dignity.”
8. Schulz wanted to call Snoopy “Sniffy.”

charles schulz

Schulz was originally going to call his star dog character “Sniffy”, that is until he discovered that name had already been used in a different comic strip. So the cartoonist changed it to “Snoopy” after remembering that his late mother Dena Schulz told the family that if they were ever to acquire a third dog, it should be called Snoopy, an affectionate term in Norwegian. (The word is “Snuppa”.)
9. And Schulz wanted Snoopy to be entirely silent.

snoopy

Schulz originally imagined Snoopy as a silent character. It was only after two years of the comic that Snoopy verbalized his thoughts to readers in a thought balloon in 1952.
10. Schulz named many of the other “Peanuts” characters after his friends.

charles schulz

Linus and Shermy, prominent characters in the Peanuts comic strip, were named for good friends of Schulz, Linus Maurer and Sherman Plepler.
11. Relatives served as inspiration too.

peanuts comic

The character of Peppermint Patty was inspired by Patricia Swanson, one of Schulz’s cousins on his mother’s side. Schulz came up with the full name when he saw peppermint candies in his house.
12. And ex-girlfriends.

The character of the Little Red-Haired Girl (Charlie Brown’s love interest in “Peanuts”) was based on a woman in Schulz’s life named Donna Mae Johnson. She was an Art Instruction Inc. accountant with whom the cartoonist had a relationship, but when he proposed to her, she turned him down.
13. Schulz was adamant about “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

charlie brown christmas

For “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, network executives were hesitant about a scene involving Linus reciting the story of Christ’s birth. But in a documentary about the making of the program, Charles Schulz states, “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” And so the scene remained. Schulz also felt strongly about the absence of a laugh track in the televised cartoon, maintaining that the audience should be able to enjoy the show at their own pace, without being cued when to laugh. CBS created a version with a laugh track, but that version never aired.
15. Schulz was an avid hockey fan.

hockey charles schulz

Schulz was an avid hockey fan. In 1998, he hosted the first Over 75 Hockey Tournament and in 2001, the city of Saint Paul, MN renamed the Highland Park Ice Arena the Charles M. Schulz Highland Arena in his honor.
16. Schulz loved the Space Program.

charles schulz space

Schulz was also a huge proponent of the space program, so much so that the 1969 Apollo 10 command module was named Charlie Brown and a lunar module was named Snoopy.
17. Schulz was pals with Reagan.

ronald reagan

Ronald Reagan once wrote a fan note to Schulz saying that the president identified with Charlie Brown.
18. Schulz really wanted Charlie Brown to kick the football.

When Schulz was asked if Charlie Brown would finally get to kick the football in the final “Peanuts” strip, his response was: “Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn’t have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century.” But in a December 1999 interview, Schulz recounted the moment when he signed the final comic panel, stating, “All of a sudden I thought, ‘You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick — he never had a chance to kick the football!’”
18. Schulz was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

peanuts met life ice

Schulz was posthumously inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2007.
19. Schulz was published in 75 countries.

peanuts comic

At its height, Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip was published in 75 countries, in 21 different languages.
20. Schulz created one of the longest stories ever told by one human being.

peanuts comic

According to Robert Thompson of Syracuse University, Schulz created “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being”. In total, Schulz produced 17,897 published strips from 1950 to 2000, with reruns continuing after.

In honor of Charles Schulz birthday, we are revisiting a post originally published last year honoring the artist’s life and work.

 

 

From Death in Dealey Plaza to Life on Film…50th Anniversary JFK Assassination

by Shannonn Kelly
04:31AM, EST, November 22, 2013

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the first president born in the 20th century to become president during his time and the youngest elected president to date.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
(May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963)

The question most asked today will be: “Where were you when JFK was shot?” Many people I know were not even born yet. But some of my FaceBook friends had this to say: Continue reading “From Death in Dealey Plaza to Life on Film…50th Anniversary JFK Assassination”

Glee Future Up In Air As Show Prepares for Cory Monteith Tribute

by Shannonn Kelly
09:42AM, EST, August 02, 2013

Glee's Cory Monteith and Lea Michele in 'Happier Times'...
Glee’s Cory Monteith and Lea Michele in ‘Happier Times’…

With Twitter still alight with news about Cory Monteith’s death, fan support and condolences, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly announced at the Television Critics Association 2013 Summer Press Tour that “GLEE” plans to write the “Finn Hudson” character out of the show by episode 3 in the upcoming 5th season.

Episode 3 plans to directly deal with the circumstances around actor Cory Monteith’s death but Reilly didn’t specifically say that the character dies of an overdose.

“The third episode will deal with the Finn Hudson character being written out of the show. That episode will deal directly with the incidents surrounding his death and drug addiction … Ryan Murphy is going to film PSAs with the cast, as cast members, as friends of his, they’re going to speak directly to the audience.

The episode may feature old footage of Monteith:

“It’s a possibility because we do have some of that footage, but I can’t speak to it because Ryan and the guys are working through it right now.” Continue reading “Glee Future Up In Air As Show Prepares for Cory Monteith Tribute”

Chicago Cop Turned Actor – Dennis Farina – Dead at 69…

by Shannonn Kelly
04:45PM, EST July 22, 2013

Today I’m sad to report we have lost another wonderful character actor.

Chicago Cop turned Actor Dennis Farina... (Photo by Frederick M. Brown)
Chicago Cop turned Actor Dennis Farina… (Photo by Frederick M. Brown)

Best known for playing tough guy roles in films such as Midnight Run, Snatch, Get Shorty and as TV’s Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order, Chicago cop turned actor, Dennis Farina is dead at the age of 69.

It’s reported that Farina died in a Scottsdale, Arizona hospital after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

I first saw Dennis Farina in a short-lived TV series I personally believe was ahead of its time called “Crime Story” (1986-1988).

Director Michael Mann, who actually left the hot Miami Vice to helm Crime Story, produced it. The premise was a young made mobster from Chicago was sent to Las Vegas to expand the Chicago mob’s casino interests.

Dennis Farina played Lieutenant Mike Torello. His antagonist in the series was Ray Luca, a mobster played by Anthony Denison. They both were obsessed with bringing each other down on the mean and dirty mobbed up streets of early 1960’s Las Vegas.

The series also brought to the front more character actors such as complexly talented yet, under-rated Hollywood work-horse Bill Smitrovich who played Torello’s right-hand Detective Danny Krychek. Stephen Lang, now every movie’s bad guy or power-mad megalomaniac, played the sensitive, nerd-hot ginger haired bespectacled attorney David Abrams. Continue reading “Chicago Cop Turned Actor – Dennis Farina – Dead at 69…”

One of Canada’s Bright Lights Goes Dark – Actor Cory Monteith Dies of Heroin and Alcohol…

by Shannonn Kelly
02:44AM, EST, July 16, 2013

One of Canada's Bright Lights Goes Out... Actor Cory Monteith
One of Canada’s Bright Lights Goes Out… Actor Cory Monteith

It’s always sad when anyone dies. When it’s a young, good looking celebrity, it’s felt around the world.

Canadian born actor Cory Monteith was found dead this past Saturday sadly, at the age of 31. Monteith was found dead by cleaning staff who came to his room when he missed check-out at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Cause of Death: An autopsy and toxicological analysis show the actor died on from a “mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol.” A lethal combination of Alcohol and Heroin.

Best known as ‘Finn Hudson’ on the Fox television series “GLEE“, Monteith was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and then raised in Victoria only 43 miles from Vancouver.

What non-fans of Glee, might not know is that Monteith had issues with drugs and substance abuse since he was in junior high. Continue reading “One of Canada’s Bright Lights Goes Dark – Actor Cory Monteith Dies of Heroin and Alcohol…”

Beloved Stage and TV Actress Bonnie Franklin – Dead at 69…

by Shannonn Kelly
05:03AM, EST, March 02, 2013

Bonnie Franklin with TV Daughters Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli
Bonnie Franklin with TV Daughters Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli

Beloved TV actress Bonnie Franklin who’s been suffering complications from pancreatic cancer is dead. She passed away yesterday at the age of  69.

In junior high, Franklin had two un-credited film roles – The Kettles in the Ozarks (1956) and The Wrong Man (1961) by famed director Alfred Hitchcock. She eventually graduated from Beverly Hills High School that produced other famous movie alumni such as Nicolas Cage, Betty White, Gina Gershon, and Crispin Glover to name a few.

A long standing advocate for Women’s Rights especially in the story lines for her famous sitcom “One Day At A Time” (1975-1984), Franklin also starred in stage productions, most notably in “Applause” oppsite the great Lauren Bacall. Here’s a clip of Franklin’s Tony Award nominated performance.

Franklin’s TV daughter from “One Day At A Time”, Valerie Bertinelli wrote on her website yesterday:

My heart is breaking.  Bonnie has always been one of the most important women in my life and was a second mother to me.  The years on “One Day At A Time” were some of the happiest of my life, and along with Pat and Mackenzie  we were a family in every way.  She taught me how to navigate this business and life itself with grace and humor, and to always be true to yourself.  I will miss her terribly. Continue reading “Beloved Stage and TV Actress Bonnie Franklin – Dead at 69…”

Mindy McCready :: Troubled Country Music Star – Dead at 37…

Troubled country music star, Mindy McCready Dead at 37...
Troubled country music star, Mindy McCready Dead at 37…

by Shannonn Kelly
05:39AM, EST, February 18, 2013

It’s reported that troubled country music star, Mindy McCready, 37 is dead of an apparent suicide after Sheriff’s deputies found her body on the front porch of her home around 3:30PM, EST, Sunday.

It also appears that McCready shot her dog before taking her own life. Sadly, she leaves behind a 10-month old boy and a 6 year-old boy who prior to the incident was placed in foster care.

In the last 10 years, I started to get into country music as a result of long road trips in the American South-West and nothing else on the radio. I can’t name a lot of artists, but Lyle Lovett, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash have become favorites.

However, because I’m a big baseball fan is how I became aware of Mindy McCready. Huge rumors were swirling around that she was involved in a long-term affair with the already married Cy Young Award winning starting baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees, Roger “The Rocket” Clemens. Continue reading “Mindy McCready :: Troubled Country Music Star – Dead at 37…”

The King That Wouldn’t Die – Elvis Presley

by Shannonn Kelly
07:31AM, EST, January 08, 2013

Elvis Aaron Presley would have been 78 years old today had he not died 36 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee,

Elvis Presley - Long live "The King"...
Elvis Presley – Long Live “The King”…

The undisputed “King of Rock and Roll” is a phenomenon who single-handedly changed the entire music scene and what we now call ‘pop culture‘ back in 1956.

Most importantly, Elvis crossed racial barriers and brought all people together under one collective rebellious roof of music that parents deemed “Satanic”.

My first time entering Memphis, Tennessee back in the end of the 90’s, I absolutely had to immediately drive directly to Graceland.

It was a wet, chilly and dreary night and I was struck by how it seemed everything – – and I mean everything was named after Elvis or in the least, inspired by Elvis or one of his songs. EP Motors, Hounddog Cafe, Elvis Gas, Presley Pizza, etc.

When I got to Graceland at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard (right on Highway 51 South) , I actually noticed something other than the house right away. The big, white private plane parked across the street from Graceland in a gated carport. On the side of the body near the tail were words painted on the side – “Lisa Marie”. Continue reading “The King That Wouldn’t Die – Elvis Presley”

Golden Globe® Winning – Multitalented Actor – Charles Durning – Dead at 89…

by Shannonn Kelly
10:20AM, EST December 26, 2012

Actor Charles Durning – Dead at 89…

Christmas eve angels were on double duty as another terrific character actor, Charles Durning died. He was 89 years-old.

In 2003, I worked on the set of a fairly forgettable MOW called “A Very Married Christmas” that starred Joe Mantegna, Jean Smart and Charles Durning who played a “a volunteer Santa”that helped the two lead characters get together.

I remember at one of the first evening meals, I kept watching Mr. Durning hoping he would be the wonderful person I thought he was. He did not disappoint. Warm. Genuine. Accessible. Continue reading “Golden Globe® Winning – Multitalented Actor – Charles Durning – Dead at 89…”