Sunday, September 20, 2009

Charlie Don't Surf

I'm watching this lame Manson docudrama that's been playing quite a bit on the History Channel. I can't help but compare it to the vastly superior 1976 TV-Movie Helter Skelter, based on prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's book of the same name. (Speaking of Bugliosi - man, talk about defining one's career around a single specific event.  This guy continues to milk that cow as though the heifer wasn't dead, dry and rotting. He grabs onto any anniversary or parole hearing or what-have-you to spout the same eerily encyclopedic recall that he unloaded into his original book and has continued to spout on the talk show circuit ever since. I have no ill will toward the guy: he did society a good service by locking these swine away.  But find something new in your life, Vince!)

The 70's Skelter movie was brilliant on many levels and for my money the first and last word on this twisted story.  We don't need to keep regurgitating the thing.  Yet here I am watching this low rent History Channel "reenactment".  I guess anything that mixes psychedelics, cultism, insanity, hippies and mass murder is bound to be a ratings grabber in 2009, much as it was in 1969 and 1976 - probably more so, with the nostalgia factor at play.  But no more of this crap for me, time to lift up anchor and surf on to another beach (Ooh, Dr. G is on!).

Steve Railsback did Manson better than Charlie himself in the '76 treatment.  He looked and acted more "Mansoneque" than the real deal ever could, try as he might.  So having some other joker on the History Channel attempt to inhabit this lune doesn't do anything for me.  It's like Ned Flanders doing Stanley in the Springfield production of Streetcar.  Ned's fine, but he's not quite Brando. Grab the Skelter movie DVD and watch Railsback if you want to see evil personified.  Or turn on Fox News and catch Glenn Beck. Your choice. But do yourself a favor and skip History Channel's Manson.

Let's flip on Dr. G - but first, of course, some commercials ...

Speaking of commercials, let me give props to one advertisement out there in La La Land: the most creative casting award goes to the Tony Stewart Burger King spot with Carrot Top and Erik Estrada!  I especially dig the Estrada shades - gotta get me some of them.  E.S.T.R.A.D.A.  Yeah.

But it's back down the green-gray cadaver corridor, in through the double doors to the fab lab with today's stiffs on the slab. Doctor Garavaglia is in and she's got a couple of real live ones today - just kidding, they're dead, natch, and in fact so were their back stories.  The methods by which the dearly departed on Dr. G's table slipped off this mortal coil are key to the show - if they're pedestrian, the doc can only do so much to spice things up.  The catch is that you don't actually know the sorry truth about their demise until the end of the segment (when you can then reflect on the half hour of your life you'll never get back).

I surfed back and forth between this and UDub's stunner over #3 USC, finally settling in on the latter. Alright, Huskies!!

Well, well, well.  Looking back, this is a pretty meandering and all together pointless post.  As they often are, alas.

All Apologies.  I click off the tube and crank up Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York on the stereo, another night in the books.


  1. Reading your latest offering, I was curious if there might be a connection between ‘cadavers’, ‘people whose career is tied around a single specific event’ and the Manson trial. Nothing immediately came to mind, but I did discover that the bailiff from the Manson trial; Rusty Burrell, who later
    served as bailiff on the reality television show "The People's Court" (presumably on the strength of his performance supporting Vincent Bugliosi's and the California court) died earlier this year. Dr Garavagina, he's your corpse.

    In contrast, I saw through my own surfing experience that Robert Shapiro, who was on the defense team which successfully defended O.J. Simpson, was on a commercial hawking the online services of, a company that he co-founded. He's not dead, but his legal career seems to be.

    ...Still trying to find out where I can get those ultra cool ESTRADA shades as well!

  2. I did sort of think they were beating a dead horse when I was flipping back and forth between Dr. G and Manson until I moved onto the the Huskies/Trojans game. But nothing beyond that. I guess all the big trials have been both blessings and curses to the litigators involved.