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Final High School Football Poll 2022

November 21, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

It was an interesting fall season again here in 2022.

While there were definitely some surprises (as there usually are) as this season’s high school football season unfolded (with several teams still playing–and winning–as the state playoffs opened this past weekend).

But as is often the case, thanks to the time, effort and insights of our rotating selection of pollsters each autumn, we pretty much gave our audience a very accurate overview of who the top teams were in each league, both before, and throughout, the season.

Don’t believe us?

That’s fine, because we ALWAYS hold ourselves accountable and look back at our preseason polls before we unveil our final poll results.

So here we go with our pre-season polls posted online back in mid-August.

EPC-LV TOP 5 (PRESEASON POLL)

  1. Freedom
  2. Nazareth
  3. Parkland
  4. Emmaus
  5. Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

And here is how things ended up…

EPC-LV TOP 5 (FINAL)

  1. Parkland
  2. Freedom
  3. Nazareth
  4. Emmaus
  5. Central Catholic

In defense of selecting Nazareth ahead of Parkland, I would still say it was a good “pick” as the Blue Eagles lost their best player (and league “MVP”) Sonny Sasso the week before the playoffs started.  The Blue Eagles were the undisputed EPC-South Champions at the end of the regular season.  During the regular season, Nazareth beat Parkland (who did have several injured players at that time) but the Trojans returned the favor in the first round of the playoffs, when Sasso was the player who was sidelined.

While football is more than one person, there’s not a person in the Valley who would say this team was clearly not the same by losing their leader the week before.  It also didn’t help Nazareth’s cause by being paired with a surging Parkland team–one that had several injuries themselves during the regular season, but got healthy at just the right time.

*****

As for the Colonial League…

COLONIAL TOP 5 (PRESEASON)

  1. Northwestern
  2. Notre Dame-GP
  3. Northern Lehigh
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

And here are the final results…

COLONIAL TOP 5 (FINAL)

  1. Northwestern
  2. Northern Lehigh
  3. Notre Dame-GP
  4. Southern Lehigh

Clearly, there weren’t too many surprises for our Colonial League poll-from start to finish.  In fact, the only other team that entered our poll at all, was (for two weeks) Saucon Valley, before losing several games in a row mid-season, including one to Southern Lehigh and fell back out of the poll.

While the teams did rotate spots throughout the fall, (especially when Northwestern beat Nolehi week two and Notre-Dame beat Northwestern week six, etc), our Colonial picks were as close to spot on as you could get.

Both Northwestern and Northern Lehigh ended up winning their respective district classifications, so it was appropriate that both schools ended 1 and 2 in our rankings–similar to the way they had started the year for our preseason poll back in August.

Thanks to all the people who participated in our polls for both their time and their insightful opinions throughout the football season.

Feel free to email me for your thoughts and check back to the SportsTalk Shop over the next several weeks as we recap the fall season in other sports and bring you the area’s “All-Star” lists as they become available to us.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Jack Haley

November 18, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

 

Perhaps the most popular movie anywhere that is traditionally shown this time of year is the timeless classic – the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz.

While many people know the story of the film’s leading lady Judy Garland, most don’t realize that her supporting cast members had stellar entertainment careers even before this version of “Oz” made its debut.

One of the biggest stars was the man that played Tin Man and Hickory – an actor who wasn’t even a part of the movie when “Oz” began filming.

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Jack Haley was born August 10, 1897 in Boston, Massachusetts to Canadian-born parents of Irish descent.  Within months of his birth, his father died due to a tragic accident and Jack later lost his brother to tuberculosis.

Haley quickly became a success in vaudeville and began appearing in films with the 1927 flick, Broadway Madness.  Some of his standout performances in the cinema include Poor Little Rich Girl with Shirley Temple, Higher and Higher with Frank Sinatra, and People Are Funny with Rudy Vallee.  

Jack also had a very popular variety radio show in the mid-1930s…one regular cast member on his show was a young, at that time blonde, showgirl, named Lucille Ball.

He also performed as Davey Lane in the Irving Berlin musical Alexander’s Ragtime Band and starred in a 1936 film called Pigskin Parade, in which his supporting cast members consisted of a new, still relatively unknown singer at that time–Judy Garland.

While Garland was not Metro-Goldwyn-Mayers’s first choice to play Dorothy in Oz, Haley wasn’t brought into production until a near fatal accident befell Buddy Ebsen, the man originally pegged to play the Tin Man.

According to features that accompany the DVD release of Wizard Of Oz, Ebsen was rushed to the hospital early in the filming process when his make-up, made of real aluminum powder, became trapped in his lungs and led to a severe bronchial infection that sidelined him for months.

(Ironically, Ray Bolger was initially slated to play the Tin Man but he persuade

d Ebsen to switch roles, claiming that his body was better suited to the more wiry frame of the Scarecrow.)

Haley was brought in to replace Ebsen and made the role his own.  It was reportedly not the most enjoyable experience in Haley’s career. Dancing in his cumbersome costume was a chore, and the aluminum “paste” they used as a replacement makeup on him also caused recurring health issues and damage to his eyes.

Jack would continue working as a live entertainer and appear in films and television appearances for the next several decades.

Haley appeared with “Oz” co-star Ray Bolger as a presenter for the 51st Annual  Academy Award show weeks before his death.  He was 93 when he passed on.

Jack had two sons–one, Jack Jr. became a two-time Emmy Award winner (and producer of the Academy Awards specials). Jack Jr. also married Liza Minelli, the daughter of another former “Oz” star … Judy Garland.

You can see one of Haley’s starring roles in the 1946 film People Are Funny along with his guest starring roles on classic television shows on the Astound TV Network.  To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Football Playoff ‘22 Polls: Week 3

November 14, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

We had a great week of high school football playoff action last week!

While the weather continually altered plans leading up to last Thursday night’s action, it made for a bunch of entertaining (and rain-free) games over the last few days.

Considering:

  • The District XI 6A semifinal went down to the final position and a one-point win for Freedom
  • A 62-yard touchdown pass with three seconds left for a dramatic come-from-behind win in the District XI 2A championship game
  • A come-from-behind, one-point win by underdogs from Northwestern in the 3A semifinal
  • A 4A championship that was a 4-point game up until the final three minutes, and the losing team driving down the field for a third time in the fourth quarter–only to have each drive result in an interception

We talked last week about how it’s not easy to pick which games we can and cannot broadcast this time of year.  But in terms of excitement and entertaining ball games, there were clearly no other games that were as close nor any other contest that was settled by less than three scores by any of the other games in our coverage area!

Be on the lookout for this weekend’s broadcast schedule posted soon right here on our website

 *****

   Next up, here are highlights from some of our recent high school football broadcasts on ATVN…

  1.   Astounds Sports:  Emmaus vs. Nazareth (10/22)

  2. Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Bethlehem Catholic (10/22)

  3. Astound Sports: Freedom vs. Bethlehem Catholic (10/22)

  4. Astound Sports: Nazareth vs. Whitehall (10/22)

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That brings us to this week’s input from the ATVN SportsTalk pollsters — a random (and rotating, each year) collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.  Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on the Astound TV Network and available to watch at any time for free through ATVN on Demand.

This year, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area.  With the Colonial teams will be cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playing different “crossover” teams, our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not have the same opponents on their schedule.

With all that said, here are our second to last poll results for this fall’s high school sports season.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Emmaus
  3. Parkland
  4. Nazareth
  5. Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Allentown Central Catholic, Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northwestern
  2. Northern Lehigh
  3. Notre Dame-GP
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information as we the playoffs roll on.

 

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

The Loretta Young Show

November 10, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

 

One of the classic television shows “new to ATVN” this fall is one of the first successful drama programs of the medium, The Loretta Young Show.

Building on Loretta’s blockbuster success in films, including her late 1940’s hits like The Farmer’s Daughter and Come To The Stable, NBC decided to try a brand new idea to initiate an anthology dramatic series with Young as the host/star.  (She was nominated for Oscars for both of those films and won for the former movie.  We’ll have more on Young’s lengthy and tremendously successful cinematic accomplishments coming up in a future “Showplace” blog entry).

The initial name for her program was called Letters To Loretta.  The original premise for the show started with Young speaking directly to the audience.  She began the show by reading her “fan mail,” which included a question addressed to her.  In answering the “fan’s” question, it started that episode’s story for the evening.

Not only did this unique start to every episode resonate well with audiences, but Young’s lavish clothing and styles were all-the-rage for audiences, as they would tune in to see what stylish outfits and new hairstyles she would showcase each week.

Young would then often star in most episodes of the program, portraying a different character, only to return at the end of the show – as “herself” –  to “wrap up” the program and wish the audience a good night.

Halfway through the program’s first season, the show’s name was changed to The Loretta Young Show, even though the practice of each program’s letter kickstarting a new storyline lasted through the show’s first five years.

Young used her star power and cinematic influences to entice well-established movie stars onto her show (it was extremely rare for major film stars to guest star on 1950’s television).   Additionally, the show attracted young stars who would go on to become major personalities in their own right.

Just a sample of the featured performers on this program include:  Van Johnson, Ellen Burnstyn, Claude Akins, Eddie Albert, Ethel Merman, Mike Connors, Chuck Connors, Mae Clarke, Jackie Coogan, William Frawley, Dennis Hopper, Charles Bronson and many others!

The program was also well-received by viewers and critics alike (it was ranked as the third-best dramatic TV series in the mid-1950s by “Billboard” magazine), but it also received strong financial support.  The show’s main sponsors were Procter and Gamble and Listerine (both companies still exist today) and the cigarette juggernaut, Phillip Morris, who, during their heyday, also backed other hit shows of the time period like I Love Lucy.

The Loretta Young Show ran successfully for eight years and was always popular in the ratings throughout the show’s run.  However, for its final season, the show was opposite the wildly popular CBS comedy, the original Candid Camera, and Young’s show was beaten soundly in the head-to-head Nielsen share numbers.  Despite finishing with a very respectable amount of viewers, NBC summarily canceled the “Young” after that eighth season wrapped up in 1961.

The show immediately went into syndication and was also popular with 1960’s television viewers.  However, Young ordered that the original introductions and “wrap-ups” be removed because she was afraid that her mid-1950s hair and wardrobe styles would date the show and hurt the re-runs’ success.  Thankfully those original introductions and wrap-arounds, once thought lost, now can be seen with the corresponding drama and the programs shown in their initial entirety on the Astound TV Network this fall.

Be sure to tune in (and set your DVRs) for The Loretta Young Show, Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and Fridays at 1:30 pm, as well as other TV classics on the Astound TV Network.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

Football Playoff ‘22 Polls: Week 2

November 7, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football game highlights and poll results for teams in the ATVN viewing area, a quick heads-up regarding this weekend’s coverage on ATVN.

There will be a number of big playoff matchups coming your way on Friday night and Saturday. I have already been asked quite a bit over the last 24 hours which games we will broadcast this weekend, and, when you get to this time of year, there are always some tough decisions that have to be made.

This year is no exception and it’s even more of a difficult chore due to the high quality of the teams participating in this weekend’s playoff games and several other issues beyond our control. For Friday’s broadcast, we will have a rematch of last year’s District XI 6A title game – Emmaus versus Freedom, which also is a game featuring the two squads that nearly everyone in the area has been dubbing the top two teams in our region (both have also been ranked in statewide polls). On Saturday, with both games being played at a neutral site (Whitehall High School Stadium), we can cover both the 2A championship featuring Catasaqua and Executive Charter (both schools will be making their first appearances on ATVN this fall), followed by the 4A championship between Bethlehem Catholic and Allentown Central Catholic.

Unfortunately with so many games being played at the same time and at different sites, it is beyond our control to feature everyone this weekend. Hopefully, as many of our local teams keep winning as possible and we will have a chance to broadcast another one of the teams’ games that we will not be able to see this weekend.

Be advised that we will preview this weekend’s games on our Thursday “SportsTalk” show to feature all our local teams in action this weekend.

*****
Next up, here are highlights from some of our recent high school football broadcasts on ATVN…

1. Astound Sports: Northwestern Lehigh vs. Saucon Valley (9/22)

2. Astound Sports: Emmaus vs. Bethlehem Catholic (9/22)

3. Astound Sports: Northampton vs. Bethlehem Catholic (10/22)

4. Astound Sports: Allentown Central Catholic vs. Nazareth (10/22)

5. Astound Sports: Bethlehem Catholic vs. Freedom (10/22)

*****
Last but not least, here are our poll results with two more weeks remaining in our “poll season.”

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Emmaus
  3. Parkland
  4. Northampton
  5. Nazareth

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Allentown Central Catholic, Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northwestern
  2. Northern Lehigh
  3. Notre Dame-GP
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):
Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information as we the playoffs roll on.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Jack Palance

November 2, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.


This month we look back at the anniversary of the passing of a unique Hollywood icon.


Of all the actors in the latter half of the 20th-century, very few film stars had a more deliberate delivery than the man often featured as a lead villain in many films–Jack Palance.

Jack was born Volodymyr Palahniuk to Ukrainian immigrant parents in Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania on February 18, 1919. The son of a coal miner, Volodymyr took up boxing at an early age, but, upon losing an unsanctioned fight before his 18th birthday, he decided that acting on stage would be a “safer” profession.

He then accepted a football scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina but stopped playing after two years because of, according to his obituary, the “commercialization” of the NCAA.  Upon the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted into the United States Army Air Force, using the name “Walter Polanski.”  It was during his training that a report surfaced of a training accident involving “Walter,” where he was severely injured jumping out of a burning plane while on a base in Arizona. Upon his entrance into film acting a few years later, this incident was embellished by Hollywood press agents to claim the actor had his entire face reconstructed from this accident, which brought about his strong cheekbones and unique facial features.

After receiving an honorable discharge after the end of WWII, Polanski then attended Stanford University but left one credit short of graduation to start his acting career in the theater.  To support himself he also worked as a photographer’s model, a waiter, short-order cook, a lifeguard and a soda jerk.

He made his Broadway debut in 1947’s The Big Two, portraying a Russian soldier before being selected as Marlon Brando’s understudy in A Streetcar Named Desire.

It was at this time that his stage name was briefly changed to “Walter Palanski” before the actor himself heard too many people mispronouncing his name, so he later changed it to Walter Jack Palance.

In 1950 he began his film career, mostly playing “mean” characters, by portraying a gangster in Panic In the Streets, and received second billing behind Joan Crawford in just his third film, Sudden Fear, which earned him an Oscar for best supporting actor.

In the very next year he earned another Academy Award nomination for his role as the hired gunslinger in the western, Shane.

Throughout the next 30 years, Palance often worked in various films and television shows outside of America (he starred in three Italian-based films in 1976 alone).  This fact was lost on many United States viewers who lauded Palance’s performance when he “returned” to TV with his 1980’s hit show as the narrator of Ripley’s…Believe It Or Not.

He would also return to more commercially appealing, American-produced movies in the later 1980s with hits like Batman (starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicolson), Young Guns and Tango and Cash.

But perhaps his most beloved character ever came about when Billy Crystal, who was a fan of Palance’s career as a boy, approached him about playing the cantankerous but true cowboy hero, Curly Washburn, in the 1991 smash hit, City Slickers.  

His performance (turned in at the tender age of 76) earned him his second Academy Award.  His nearly forty-year gap between winning Oscars was the longest “drought” in the long running award’s history, until Alan Arkin claimed that distinction in 2006.

The movie (and Palance’s role in particular) was so popular that it spawned a sequel, in which Palance returned, even though his character died near the end of the original.  (He came back as Curly’s twin brother in City Slickers 2).

Jack continued to star in movies and make television guest appearances until 2002.  He died four years later, much like Curly Washburn did, in his sleep.

He was 87.

You can see Palance starring in the Italian-produced blockbuster, The Cop In Blue Jeans, airing on the Astound TV Network.  To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Playoffs ’22 Storylines & Polls

October 31, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

Before we take a look at this week’s high school football polls, here are a few of the storylines heading into this fall’s postseason action…

  • Can Freedom repeat its 2021 storyline…PLUS ONE?
    Last fall, the Patriots started the year losing two of its first three games before running the table through the remainder of its Lehigh Valley schedule, capturing a district title and coming within a whisker of upsetting a District 12 powerhouse.  Freedom has taken a similar course here in 2022, led by a great running back and solid defense.  IF it can win another title, can it also take the next step and win a state playoff game?
  • Can Northampton get over the “Southern Bump”?
    Northampton chose to play in the “north” division of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference a few years ago and played a much weaker schedule while setting school records in back-to-back seasons with new regular season win totals.  The gripe against the K-Kids’s success carries weight when they don’t beat teams from the southern division of the conference, but Northampton has proven itself with four wins over those teams in their last four tries.  Can they win one in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen?  Many insiders say this year’s team has the ability to do just that.
  • How will the expanded “3A” playoffs shake out?
    One of the changes to the District XI playoff structure this year involves adding more teams (and more playoff spots) to the 3A classification.  There’s a number of teams that had success, but with completely different styles.  Which team’s strengths will win out and which “side” of the district will bring home the gold medals this year? (there were no Lehigh Valley teams in last year’s 3A championship game).
  • Will it be an “All Lehigh Valley” 6A Championship game in three weeks?
    Another playoff change for this fall was the addition of a “sub-regional,” with teams from District 2 and District 4 competing for postseason spots with District XI.  Standings-wise, there were no non-Lehigh Valley teams in the top four spots, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see one of those teams going deep into the playoffs (anyone remember Nate Eachus from Hazelton?)  Any District XI team would be wise not to look past any “outsider” squads this fall.

We’ll be talking about these and other things to watch for as we embark on the playoffs this season (check out our website for our coverage schedule).  To further help you get ready for the local post-season action, we will have a special guest on this Thursday’s “SportsTalk” show. Former Easton Head Coach Steve Shiffert, one of the winning coaches in Pennsylvania history, still remains active watching and attending local games and will be a panelist on this week’s program to break down all the “film” from the regular season’s games.  He will be joining us to give his insights and predictions for many of this weekend’s big games.

You can email me, with your question or comment about local football and we may read it on this Thursday’s program at 7pm on the Astound TV Network.

Also, be sure to tune in this weekend for ATVN’s coverage of the first round of the playoffs!

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Additionally, a big “thank you” to our friends from the Pennsylvania Cable Network for selecting ATVN to broadcast our feed of last Friday’s Parkland/Emmaus game to a statewide audience!

It’s always an honor when they select a station to broadcast their “game of the week”. To have the rare distinction of being asked to do it twice in eight weeks (something that hadn’t occurred in my 20-plus years working in the cable television industry) was truly a reflection of the outstanding work by our ATVN sports crew members.

The ladies and gentlemen manning the cameras and all the technical positions in the production trucks did their usual stellar job for both games we broadcast on PCN this fall.  The teams also accommodated us for both contests by giving the Commonwealth audience good, competitive contests that were fun to broadcast!

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Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Nazareth
  3. Emmaus
  4. Northampton
  5. Parkland 

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northern Lehigh
  2. Northwestern
  3. Notre Dame-GP
  4. Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information as we the playoffs roll on.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

Night of the Living Dead

October 26, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

As we countdown to the Astound TV Network’s special Halloween Marathon (24 hours of specialty Halloween-based movies and shows, starting at 9am on Monday, October 31st), we focus this week on one of the all-time classic horror films!

There are quite a few classic horror films that provided the genesis to a seemingly endless supply of successful film series, sequels and spin-off ideas.

But one of the biggest “landmark” films of the genre was Night of the Living Dead.

The film’s producer/director/writer/editor George Romero graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and embarked on a career in the film industry in the early 1960s.  His first job was directing and producing industrial films and commercials for television before he decided to venture into horror films.

He teamed up with his friends John Russo and Russell Streinder to form their own production company, The Latent Image, later to be called Imagine Ten, and wanted to capitalize on the flurry of scary films that remained popular during the 1960s.

Originally written as a horror-comedy under the title Monster Flick, the concept was reworked several times by Romero and Russo.  Ultimately, the final concepts involved a young man who runs away from home and discovers rotting human corpses scattered across a meadow that aliens use for food.  “Flesh eaters” and reanimating human corpses were also thrown into the script, with several of these last-minute ideas paving the way for later-produced sequels years later.

The film initially had trouble getting picked up by film studios, with rejections including calling the script “too cornballish.”  

Undaunted, Romero took $6,000 and found ten partners to also invest the same amount to raise money to produce the film independently.

Money was still an issue when it came to shooting the actual film locations and sound stages.  Several shooting sites consisted of condemned buildings scheduled for demotion, cemeteries or structures that needed significant renovations.

Chocolate syrup drizzled over bodies were used for blood and roasted ham and other donated meats were used for body parts and charred flesh.  Most costumes consisted of items found in second-hand stores and others were bought on the cheap from Goodwill.

Also because of budget constraints, Romero had to use cheaper 35mm film to shoot.  Ironically, critics praised the decision to use lower quality video to give the film a “grainy” feel and enhance the scary aspects of the film’s content.

Romero also caught a break casting university professor-turned-actor Duane Jones in the starring role.  Jones found the writing low-brow and the unintelligent dialogue insulting and refused to read the lines as written.  Instead, he rewrote much of the dialogue on his own.

Co-star Judith O’Dea also didn’t like her lines and stated in several interviews that both she and most other cast members actually AD-LIBBED most of the lines throughout the entire shooting of the film!

Another unique aspect of this movie: the film distributors originally would not send the pictures out with the ending they shot and insisted that Romero and his team re-shoot the final sequences.  They stated that moviegovers would not accept the ending as-is and ordered that a “Hollywood” ending be inserted.

Romero refused and the film’s ending stands today as it was originally intended.

To say that the film proved to be a success and has withstood the test of time would be an understatement.  In addition to originally grossing more than $30 million at the box office (on an original budget of $114,000), the film was deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1999.

We will look at more of Duane’s starring performance in this film and his trailblazing legacy in a future blog entry here at the “Showplace.”

In the meantime, be on the lookout for Night of the Living Dead along with other Halloween holiday favorites coming up as part of Monday’s 24-hour “Halloween Takeover” marathon on ATVN.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on the Astound TV Network, check out the weekly listings here

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

“Regular Season Finale” Polls

October 24, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

There’s a lot to talk about on this week’s “SportsTalk” show this Thursday at 7pm on the Astound TV Network and we have a special guest to do it with us.

ATVN’s Okezie Alozie, who has been busy working the sidelines for us most weeks on our high school football broadcasts, will be on to talk about his new career with us, his thoughts on the high school football season, early predictions on the playoff possibilities as well as sharing his own experiences and “things to watch for” in this weekend’s Freedom/Liberty game (Okezie is a former standout running back / linebacker from Freedom HS who will also be broadcasting with me this Saturday).

Alozie will also talk about broadcasting last week’s game for us, which included many of his Patriots fans welcoming him back to his former home field, Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.

You can email me with your question or comment about local football and we may read it on this Thursday’s program. 

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We have had a number of great sports broadcasts over the last month, including last Friday’s latest chapter in the Bethlehem Rivalry series, featuring Freedom beating Bethlehem Catholic 24-13.

Here are highlights of some of our recent broadcasts on the Astound TV Network:

  1. Astound Sports: Easton vs. Allentown Central Catholic (9/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Nazareth (9/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Parkland vs. Freedom (9/22)

  1. Astound Sports: Emmaus vs. Allentown Central Catholic  (9/22)

 

It’s a busy weekend for us coming up as we will broadcast the “last chapter” in this year’s “Battle of Bethlehem,” which features not just the Liberty and Freedom football teams but the biggest halftime band spectacular, complete with all of Bethlehem’s junior schools’ bands participating with the high schools’ musical groups.  It is a great event that we invite you to see in person at least once in your life, but if you can’t make it to the game this year, be sure to check it out this Saturday at 7pm on ATVN.

Preceding that will be one of the biggest high school regular season contests of the year–not just in the Lehigh Valley, but in all of Pennsylvania.  ATVN will broadcast Parkland versus Emmaus live on our network, plus our production will once again air on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, available to all residents in the Commonwealth.  (FYI: this will be the first time in PCN’s history that any one cable television station (us!) broadcasts TWO “games of the week” in one season for them.

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Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the ATVN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5

  1. Freedom
  2. Nazareth
  3. Emmaus
  4. (tie)  Northampton / Parkland 

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Allentown Central Catholic, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

COLONIAL TOP 4

  1. Northern Lehigh
  2. Southern Lehigh
  3. Northwestern
  4. Notre Dame-GP

Eligible Teams from our viewing area (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh.

Be sure to check back to our website for next week’s poll results and come back frequently for any changes to our ongoing broadcast schedule information as we embark on the playoffs.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

George C. Scott

October 20, 2022 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

 

You will probably have a chance to see George C. Scott in his iconic role as “Patton” in the film of the same name, traditionally shown around Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the Independence Day holidays.

But there is a much different side to Scott’s acting career in his role as Edward Rochester in the classic story told in the 1970 film Jane Eyre, which you can see on ATVN.

The story revolves around Eyre’s character (portrayed by Susanna York, who would go on to play Superman’s birth mother in the 1976 motion picture Superman)–an orphan who is hired to serve as a governess for Rochester–an English manor lord.  The two eventually fall in love and decide to marry, but Rochester houses a dark secret from Eyre.  When Jane discovers this enormous secret…well, no spoilers here–you’ll have to watch the film for yourself!

Scott’s role as Rochester was not unlike many of his performances as strong-willed characters.  For this role he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Lead Actor in an Anthology, Movie or Limited Series.  But Scott’s life was filled with extraordinary accomplishments.

According to David Sheward’s book, “Rage and Glory: The Volatile Life and Career of George C. Scott,” this legendary actor was born on a kitchen table in the small town of Wise, Virginia.  After a four-year stint with the Marine Corps from 1945 to 1949 and a brief venture into journalism, Scott developed the acting bug and quickly ascended to becoming a lead actor on the Broadway stage.

Before the 1950s were over, he captured his first Academy Award in Otto Perminger’s Antonomy of a Murder, which also starred James Stewart, Eve Arden, Lee Remick, Murray Hamelton and Orson Bean.

Scott owned the 1960s, starring in long-running shows on Broadway and classic films like Dr. Strangeglove, or How I Stopped Worrying and Love The Bomb, The Bible: In the Beginning, The Crucible and others.  He was also a highly sought after television guest star, appearing in some of the 1960s most popular shows like Ben Casey, The Virginian, The Naked City, The Road West and frequently appeared on Bob Hope’s celebrity specials.

Scott would also go on to star as iconic characters after 1970, including Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Benito Mussolini in Mussolini: The Untold Story, Fagin in Oliver Twist, The Beast in 1976’s Beauty and the Beast, Sherlock Holmes in They Might Be Giants, the controversial Juror #3 in the 1997 remake of 12 Angry Men, and even returned to his role as Patton in the biopic’s sequel, The Last Days of Patton.

But arguably his two greatest movie contributions came in 1970 when both Patton and Jane Eyre were released.

Be on the lookout for Jane Eyre coming up this Monday at 9am on ATVN.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here.

 

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

 

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