Monthly Archives: February 2012

Back to the Future Time Machine to be Restored

A group of restoration experts have gotten permission to carryout a museum quality restoration of the “A” model DeLorean Time Machine used in all three parts of Back to the Future. On the group’s Facebook page, there is a message from Bob Gale, the producer of the BTTF trilogy, encouraging anyone who has images of the car or parts from the car to contact them.

The “A” model DeLorean was one of several used for the series, but the “A” model was the most complete and used for external shots of the car. Since the filming of the series completed in the early 1990s, the car has been displayed outside in the elements and it has taken its toll on the car. The restoration team, consisting of Joe Walser, J. Ryan and Terry Matalas, have built other BTTF DeLorean replicas and they have the full support of the trilogy’s creators.

What they need is your help. If you have any pictures of the car from your trips to Universal Studios in Orlando, or if you have any of the original parts from the cars used in the movie, they would like to hear from you. You can contact the restoration group at TimeMachineRestoration@gmail.com.

For all other interested fans of the trilogy, you can follow their progress on Facebook and Twitter.

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Week of Outtakes: Day 3 – M*A*S*H

Here is another series of outtakes from M*A*S*H. The series was on for eleven years and produced 251 episodes, so there were plenty of opportunities to screw up!

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M*A*S*H Finale: Videos

I decided to post two more videos to go along with the other posts for the 29th anniversary of the M*A*S*H finale, “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.” The first video is not from the the final movie, but he final half-hour episode entitled “As Time Goes By.” The famous M*A*S*H finale was filmed before the fifteen episodes of season eleven. This meant the last day of filming was not the infamous goodbye scenes in Goodbye” Farewell and Amen,” but a scene in which the cast buries a time capsule. A fitting farewell. The set was croweded with press that day to capture the filming of the final scenes. This video is from that day:

The most famous scenes from “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” are of the characters saying goodbye as they depart the 4077th. The most poignant scene is when Hawkeye leaves by helicopter and discovers the message BJ left for him. It was written to serve not only as a goodbye from BJ to Hawkeye, but also as the a goodbye to fans as well. Clearly it worked. The video below features the goodbyes by Col. Potter (it was made as a tribute to Harry Morgan who passed away December 7, 2011), but you can skip ahead to 2:32 to watch the final scene of the series:

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Week of Outtakes: Day 2 – M*A*S*H

On the 29th anniversary of the conclusion of M*A*S*H, I am posting a series of articles highlighting the end of the series. This is the first of the day and is not necessarily about the finale itself, but is a series of outtakes from the series. Enjoy!

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Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen…the end of M*A*S*H

Twenty-nine years ago today, M*A*S*H concluded in grand fashion breaking all viewership records. To this day, many of those records still stand and are likely to never be broken as there were not as many station choices in 1983 as there are today.

The series finale of M*A*S*H is perhaps one of the greatest in television history. The end of the series eleven year run (more than three times longer than the actual Korean War) was watched by an overwhelming majority of television viewers. In San Francisco, for example, 82% of those watching televsion on February 28, 1983 were watching M*A*S*H.

The shows title was fitting closing to the series. I urge everyone watch the classic finale at least once. The emotion of the actors are genuine as it was not just the Korean War coming to an end, but the end of a brilliant series.

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“GM Wants to Kill Saab”

Last week it was reported that as many as seven companies have expressed interest in purchasing Saab. One of those buyers backed out today and had some fairly harsh words about General Motors. Turkish Brightwell backed citing GM’s attitude as their primary concern. Zamier Ahmed reports “Everything was under control and we where excepting final feedback from GM. They changed their position in the very last minute. I am sorry to say that I have never seen such behavior from a company of that size ever.” While it is possible that GM and Saab’s creditors have simply not accepted Turkish Brightwell’s bid, there are other companies, larger companies such as BMW and Volvo have also placed bids. But there is some evidence that GM is interested in killing Saab.

GM supplies parts for the entire Saab line, but Saab does own its own Phoenix platform that could serve as a next generation 9-3. This is what the majority of the interested parties have proposed. This would cut GM out of the supply chain. This puts GM in an awkward position. They can either allow Saab to continue and sell parts to produce Saab vehicles, or they will be forced to give up all say in Saab and have yet another competitor to deal with. The later seems to to be the real issue. GM is uncomfortable with having to face Saab as a competitor, not so much in the United States, but in Europe.

Saab's Phoenix Concept

GM took over Saab in the late 1980s and their relationship has always been strained. GM was never happy with the modifications Saab made to the platforms they provided to Saab. Nevertheless, GM was in a very similar position in 2008, but they seem to have short memories. There would not be a GM as we know it today if the American government had not bailed them out. While Chrysler was also bailed out, GM has been heavily associated with this bailout in the automotive community, and it has become a stigma in many circles. Their handling of the Saab situation since 2008 has angered yet another crowd within the automotive community. There are a number of people who do not want Saab to fail, myself included. This is an opportunity for GM to step-up to the plate and ensure that Saab does not die. Having Saab as a competitor could be less damaging then their current hardball strategy which would only result in Saab’s death. If that happens, those interested in Saab will almost certainly blame GM for Saab’s death resulting in a hit to GM’s already soiled reputation.

UPDATE: Offical statement from Brightwell:

It is with great regret that we must inform you that we have withdrawn from the race for Saab. GM’s intransigence to cooperate and forge a relationship to revive Saab and additionally create revenue for GM was “not in the interests of its shareholders”. We remain bemused, shocked and above all disappointed that we could not join the Saab family. We hope that Saab finds a home where its new owner will sustain the company’s heritage as we planned to.

It appears that Brightwell was planning to continue to use GM parts. Most likely, GM prefers another option.

Source: SaabsUnited

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Week of Outtakes: Day 1 – Cheers

This year, two of my favorite television series are celebrating major milestones. In September 1972, M*A*S*H first aired. It had a dismal first season, but it went on for eleven season, enduring cast changes, crew changes, and shifts in televisions shows. When the series concluded on February 28, 1983 (I will have a special post tomorrow and that is why there is a special header for the website), it had a record audience. While recents events, most recently this year’s Super Bowl, have eclipsed M*A*S*H in the number of viewers, no show will ever surpass the percentage of television viewers that watched M*A*S*H that night. Over 70% of Americans watching TV night watched M*A*S*H. In some cities, San Francisco for example, 82% of television sets were tuned to M*A*S*H according to the Nielsen Ratings. M*A*S*H may have had a slow start, but it went out with a bang!

The other show celebrating a milestone this year is Cheers. Thirty years ago, Cheers debuted. Like M*A*S*H, it had a dismal first season. In fact, when Cheers debut it was ranked 77th out of….77. But, like M*A*S*H, the population slowly came around and the show began to rise in the ratings. Cheers was number one in the ratings in its 9th season, something M*A*S*H never achieved (its highest was third in its 11th season).

Nevertheless, I really like both shows. They are completely different in content and acting styles, but, in a way, they are connected. They are one of the few shows in television history to reach eleven season and they were both almost canceled following their first season. They both over came a number of cast changes, but both Cheers and M*A*S*H had great casts.

This week, I want to highlight them both by showing a series of outtakes from both shows. Today we begin with the bar Where Everybody Knows Your Name:

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Saab Update: 7 Buyers Interested

SaabsUnited reports that during today’s weekly press conference, the bankruptcy administrators reported that 7 serious bidders have lined up to purchase Saab. This is certainly more interest than had been previously reported. Mahindra and Youngman have been widely covered in the news, but this has allowed other companies to quietly place bids.

The press conference suggested that one of the bidders was a European based car company. While that leaves the possibilities wide open. They let slip that the company was based in Munich, Germany. That, of course, only leaves one option…BMW.

The administrators have expressed that the higgest bidder may not necessarily win. In this case, the creditors have to agree and they will only consider a company that could continue Saab using a non-GM platform. This would certainly bode well for BMW.

I really have mixed feelings about BMW taking over Saab. Saab, a Swedish company, has always been viewed as an alternative to the German cars that have taken over the European market. However, this would allow BMW to incorporate their technology into Saab. If the pricing remains as it was for the 2011 models, the future BMW backed Saabs could compete with Lincoln, Lexus, Infiniti, and, most importantly, Buick. GM does not want Saab to survive simply because of the competition. With BMW backing, Saab would only be better equipped to compete with GM and the other mid-level luxury car makers.

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The Lonely Mercedes

Four months after the death of Steve Jobs, people are still driving by his house to pay their respects. The above photo was taken last week and shows Jobs’s Mercedes SL55 AMG still parked out front. The car, without a license plate, was leased by Jobs on a 6-month basis. He was able to do this after he discovered a loophole in California law that allows a car to go 6 months before registration. Jobs took advantage of this fact.  Just one way Steve Jobs thought different.

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SS United States Conservancy Announces 2012 Plans

The SS United States Conservancy announced their plans for 2012 last week. This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the ship’s maiden voyage. It is also the make-or-break year for the Conservancy. If they are not able to save the ship this year, they will be forced to sell the SS United States for scrap. They have set an ambitious schedule for 2012 beginning with the premier of a new documentary, SS United States: Made in America, this Thursday, February 9, at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia. Presenting the documentary will be the Conservancy’s executive director, Susan Gibbs.

The new documentary is only one of the many upcoming plans from the Conservancy. Others include:

-Releasing a made-for-television Public Service Announcement, featuring Super Bowl-winning head coach Dick Vermeil
-Unveiling a new museum installation at the Forbes Gallery in New York City in May, 2012 as a preview for our larger shipboard museum      planning efforts
-Hosting several new member cultivation events, including a gala in New York City in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the ship’s maiden voyage
-Launching an interactive, online, grassroots fundraising campaign — “Paint the Big Ship”
-Holding a ceremonial lighting and painting of the ship’s funnels

The Conservancy is working with the SS United States Redevelopment Project to ensure the ship is preserved for the future. The current plans are for the SS United States to become a mix-use stationary attraction in either New York or Miami. The Conservancy and Redevelopment Project have made important corporate connections, but private donations are just as important.

The ship has not been saved yet. There is still a great deal of work to be done and all donations will help the Conservancy develop the SS United States.

Today, the Conservancy announced that work has begun to prepare the SS United States for redevelopment. A sign that the plans are well underway.

I do not want to see the SS United States sold for scrap. She represents a lost age of Transatlantic sailing and American ship building. I encourage everyone to become a member of the Conservancy. They offer a number of membership levels to fit every budget.

Keep up with the latest Conservancy news by visiting their website or by following them on Facebook and Twitter.

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