Getty Images/Jason LaVeris
"It's Saturday Night Live!" will forever be the four words we associate with Don Pardo, announcer for the NBC variety show for nearly 40 years, who passed away Monday night at the age of 96 (via CBS News). Since 1975 — with only a single season-long hiatus in the early '80s — Pardo's inimitable timber introduced us to SNL’s stars, featured players, musical guests, and episode hosts, earning a permanent residence in the pop culture realm’s collective auditory cortex. But there’s more to the man than his weekly exclamations from the announcing booth at Studio 8-H. Pardo’s 75-year-long career took him to a multitude of interesting corners that we so often overlook:
Let the Games BeginA staff fixture at NBC, Pardo announced the original iterations of many of its game shows, including The Price Is Right (from 1956 to ’63) and Jeopardy! (from ’64 to ’75), as well as later programs Three on a Match, Winning Streak, and Jackpot! between ’71 and ’75.
Happy Turkey Day!For many years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade presented its army of inflatable cartoon characters with the gravitas of Pardo’s smooth baritone. Pardo announced the annual event for NBC straight up through 1999.
NBC via Getty Images
And That’s the NewsPardo boasted a longstanding career as a news broadcaster, both on radio and television; he started out as a World War II reporter for NBC Radio. On the date of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Pardo announced the tragedy to NBC’s television audience, becoming one of the first parties to report on the death of the 35th president.
He Also Had a Musical SidePardo proved his tastes in music to be rather esoteric when he teamed with the likes of Frank Zappa and Weird Al Yankovic for performances and recordings. Pardo first collaborated with Zappa in 1976 on a rendition of “I’m the Slime,” and then again joined forces with the innovative rock artist for his live album Zappa in New York in ’78.
Five years later, Pardo would pay homage to his game show era by contributing vocally to Weird Al’s “I Lost on Jeopardy” as well as appearing in the music video.
Of Course, He Had His Woody CredAn honorary New Yorker, Pardo managed to work his way into the filmography of Woody Allen, appearing in the 1987 comedy Radio Days as a host of the Name That Tune parody “Guess That Tune.” His acting career beyond the Allen picture includes Honeymoon in Vegas and the John Ritter comedy Stay Tuned.
And He Could Take a JokePardo was a hard worker until the very end — flying back and forth between his home in Arizona and New York City every week to announce episodes of SNL — but was hardly a man who took himself too seriously. This is evident by his self-parodying appearances on The Simpsons and SNL vet Tina Fey’s 30 Rock.
Naturally, we will always remember Pardo best for his work on Saturday Night Live, but there is clearly a lot more to celebrate about the man, his indomitable career, and his unmistakable voice.
Legendary British boxing manager Frank Maloney is undergoing a sex change. The famously tough-talking manager/promoter, who guided Lennox Lewis and David Haye to success, is undergoing gender reassignment treatment. He is now living as a woman and known as Kellie Maloney.
Maloney tells Britain's Sunday Mirror newspaper, "I was born in the wrong body and I have always known I was a woman. I can't keep living in the shadows, that is why I am doing what I am today. Living with the burden any longer would have killed me... What was wrong at birth is now being medically corrected... I have never been able to tell anyone in boxing... Can you imagine me walking into a boxing hall dressed as a woman and putting an event on?... But if I had been in the theatre or arts world nobody would blink an eye about this transition."
Maloney managed Lewis from 1989 until 2001, and also worked with Haye and Rendall Munroe among other fighters.
Getty Images/Kevin Winter
Do you remember where you were when Batman V Superman was announced? When the first glimpse of Avatar was bestowed upon the world? Probably not, but for the Comic-Con faithful, these moments are gospel. San Diego Comic-Con has become the destination for any geek worth his salt, and a select few moments throughout the convention's history have become legendary to fans across the world. Here are the most memorable moments from Comic-Cons past.
The Batman V Superman announcementRight at the tail end of the 2013 Warner Bros. panel, a Jittery Zack Snyder turned up to announce that he was working on a sequel to Man of Steel. Then, with help from the booming voice of Harry Lennix and a choice excerpt from Frank Miller's classic Batman tale The Dark Knight Returns, Warner Bros. dropped a bomb on Hall H with the announcement of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (which was then untitled). When the logo blazed on screen with all its glory, SDCC 2013 had hit its definitive peak.
Michael Keaton earns the cowlEveryone remembers the ballyhoo made about Heath Ledger being cast as the Joker in 2008's The Dark Knight, but comic book fans had been complaining about casting long before then. All the way back at Comic-Con 1988, the fervor about the new Batman movie was high; many fans didn't think Michael Keaton could pull off the Caped Crusader. But most of these detractors quieted down when the original creator of Batman, Bob Kane himself, stopped by the Con and gave the actor and Tim Burton's production his blessing via a set visit. He also showed up with a ton of set photos and production designs to ensure fans that his creation was in good hands.
Twilight comes to Comic-ConFor nearly 40 years, Comic-Con had been a place for more male-focused geekery. But in 2008, the playing field was leveled when the Twilight saga was given a panel in the hallowed nerd pantheon that is Hall H. This of course brought droves of Twilight fans to the convention center, who of course butted heads with seasoned veterans of the Con who though the new visitors didn't belong. But Twilight's domination of that year's festivities were undeniable. The vamps were here to stay.
The Avatar preview screeningIf there's one thing to learn from Comic-Con, it's that you shouldn't always buy into the hype. Hyperbole flows through San Diego like a river, and people will champion anything and everything as a gamechanger. But the hype around the preview screening of Avatar at 2009's convention was so massive, it was hard not to believe. The preview of James Cameron's spectacle-laden adventure left many Con-goers slack-jawed with awe.
The Avengers assemble in Hall HJoss Whedon has long been a popular face at comic-con, but he might as well have been coronated as king when he brought every member of The Avengers on stage for the first time in 2010. It was a moment that Marvel studios had been steadily building up to for years, but seeing all of those heroes (albiet in street clothes) in one place at the same time was magical.
The Iron Man trailer premiereUnsuspecting fans at the first ever Iron Man panel were greeted with a surprise visit from Jon Favreau, and an even bigger surprise: the first look at a new trailer for Iron Man. The trailer was only a few seconds long, showing Iron Man shooting through the sky, but it was enough to send the hype for the upcoming film skyrocketing. It was surefire proof that Marvel was doing right by all these heroes.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World wows the crowdIn a rare treat, fans at the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World panel were treated to a screening of the film. Edgar Wright's dazzling comic book adaptation won heaps of praise from attendees, and Hollywood's relationship with the convention was riding high. Unfortunately, the studios soon found out the convention hype doesn't always equal ticket sales, and the film fizzled out of the box-office without recouping it's budget.
Karen Gillan goes baldMaybe it was just a really convincing wig, maybe we just couldn't wrap our heads around those deep red locks being fake, or maybe we just don't usually expect to see people ripping hair off of their heads at Comic-Con. But at the panel for Guardians of the Galaxy, after being confronted by host Chris Hardwick with accusations that her character in the upcoming space opera is bald in the comics, the actor unleashed her buzzed head to the world, and everyone lost their minds.
SLASH, Joan Jett and Billy Corgan were honoured with career achievement prizes at the inaugural Alternative Press Music Awards (APMA) in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday night (21Jul14). The former Guns N' Roses star was presented with the Guitar Legend Award by Aerosmith rocker Joe Perry, Jett accepted the Icon Award, and Smashing Pumpkins rocker Corgan was handed the Vanguard Award during the ceremony at Voinovich Park, behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame building.
Corgan said of the awards ceremony, "What's great about Alternative Press is it still kind of stands for the alternative counter culture. Maybe it's not as much of a counter culture as it once... I'm happy to just be part of the alternative culture," while Slash added in a post on Twitter.com, "Receiving the Gtr (Guitar) Legend award from APMA was quite the honour. Receiving it from friend & mentor Joe Perry put it over the top."
Other winners included Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendon Urie, who won the Best Vocalist prize and took to the stage to perform Frank Sinatra classics Luck Be A Lady and Fly Me To The Moon with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra.
The show, hosted by Blink-182 star Mark Hoppus, also included performances from The Misfits, Fall Out Boy and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett surprised a group of students in New York City by hosting a masterclass on their final day of school. The duo reunited at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a facility Bennett opened in 2001 in his hometown of Astoria, Queens.
The legendary crooner usually attends the annual graduation ceremony, but is unable to make it to this year's (14) event due to his hectic tour schedule. To make up for his absence, he recruited Gaga to join him for a special performance and masterclass at the school's Tony Bennett Concert Hall on Monday (16Jun14).
Bennett and Gaga began the event by discussing jazz music before answering questions from members of the 700-strong audience. Bennett gushed about his eccentric pop star pal, telling the crowd, "When I first heard Gaga sing, my reaction was that she is going to be bigger than Elvis. "She is so bright and intelligent and she has 'it'. In jazz you either got it, the syncopation, the rhythm, or you don't, and when I heard Gaga I said she's got it!"
The pair then performed for the audience - Bennett sang The Very Thought of You, while Gaga performed a cover of Cole Porter's Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye. They then came together to sing the standard I Can't Give You Anything but Love, while dancing cheek-to-cheek. A student choir gave the final performance of the event with covers of Bennett's Smile and Gaga's hit song Applause.
Bennett and Gaga first collaborated on his Duets II album in 2011, covering The Lady Is A Tramp, and are currently working on a jazz record slated for release later this year (14).
A one-night-only production of American composer Cole Porter's variety show The Ambassador Revue is set to be staged in New York, 85 years after it debuted in Paris, France. The original 1929 show featured singers like Morton Downey and Evelyn Hoey performing a collection of Porter tunes, but the production closed after a few months and the tracks were never heard outside of Europe.
The songwriter went on to return to the U.S. and find fame with hits like I Get a Kick Out of You from Broadway musical Anything Goes, What Is This Thing Called Love from Wake Up and Dream, and one of his most popular releases, Night and Day, which was covered by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Eartha Kitt, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
The revue songs were long thought lost until musical theatre historian Ken Bloom and bandleader Vince Giordano discovered the missing compositions in an archive at Universal Music's offices in Milan, Italy, and tunes like Boulevard Break and Blue Hours were heard in a revived production in Paris in 2012.
Now the pair is taking The Ambassador Revue to the Big Apple, where Porter fans will be treated to a collection of 'lost' tracks with singers, tap dancers and showgirls taking part in the one-off show at The Town Hall in New York on 27 June (14).
Former The Dukes of Hazzard star Tom Wopat will star, while Bloom will direct and Giordano, who arranged the show, will perform with his band the Nighthawks.
Fox phenomenon Sleepy Hollow may be enjoying its first hiatus after a banner freshman season, but star Orlando Jones hasn't spent it hanging about. The actor and comedian has led the way in the show's online fan interaction, live-tweeting new episodes, tumbling fan art, and even recommending a few naughty pieces of fan fiction to his 114,000+ followers. Now he's doing his part to change the way we tweet and text.
Emoticons cover all manner of moods and activities and can be used to communicate anything from "I'm laughing at what you just wrote," to "I'm being chased by a headless horseman, please send help." But through his daily virtual interactions with friends, family, and an adoring fanbase, Jones noticed that the standard emoticon apps don't offer any racial or cultural diversity. So, to represent a wider range social media users and avid texters, Jones' company iROC Emoticons will produce smileys that deviate from the standard sunshine yellow.
Jones debuted a few of iROC's creations when he appeared on Arsenio. Rick James and Arsenio himself have been immortalized as emoticons, as has Miley Cyrus, who Jones notes once tweeted about the lack of diversity in the smiley library. The actor claims not to be an effusive emoticon user himself ("That ain't sexy for me."), but maybe iROC will change the mind of its own CEO. It's sure to be a favorite with Jones's daughter; especially since he took on the project to enable her to feel better represented in pop culture.
The app is gearing up for launch right now, but you can sign up to receive updates at the iROC Tumblr page.
Will you use iROC for your emoticon needs? Let us know in the comments!
Actor/singer Cheyenne Jackson and Glee star Jane Lynch are set to take on classic standards for a Mad Men-themed concert at Los Angeles' famed Walt Disney Concert Hall. The seventh and final season of the Emmy-winning drama starring Jon Hamm kicked off in America on Sunday (13Apr14), and on 26 April (14), fans can enjoy a night of music inspired by the hit show.
Jackson, Lynch and X-Men beauty Rebecca Romijn will all make their Walt Disney Concert Hall debuts in a show titled Music of the Mad Men Era, a one-night-only performance.
The trio will be backed by the L.A. Philharmonic orchestra as they sing classic tunes from the 1950s and '60s, including tracks by artists Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
Megadeath frontman Dave Mustaine is planning to perform more classical music in the future after hailing his one-off turn with the San Diego Symphony orchestra a success. The heavy rocker joined forces with the group in San Diego, California on Saturday night (12Apr14) to perform Symphony Interrupted, which included a number of classical masterpieces including concertos from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.
After the show at Copley Symphony Hall, Mustaine admitted he still has a lot to learn, but is keen to perform more classical shows.
In a post on his Facebook.com page, he writes, "I sooo (sic) badly want to say thank you for being here at the first Symphony Interrupted. To all the fans that were not able to attend, don't worry, there will be another SI and this being the first and all, we have already started to plan on how to make it even more enjoyable... (The show) was an experiment; a challenge that I was up for... We did not record the show because we knew I was going to be still getting used to this whole thing, that I would have a little getting used to this new environment... I want everyone to hear this venture with everything just right... For the next Symphony Interrupted, as Frank Sinatra said, 'The best is yet to come!'"
Boxing legend Mickey Duff has died, aged 84. The revered trainer, who was born in Poland in 1929, emigrated to England in the late 1930s and changed his name from Monek Prager.
He started boxing as a teenager but retired in his early 20s and became a young promoter.
He was involved with a stable of top British fighters, including Frank Bruno, Joe Calzaghe, John Conteh, Lloyd Honeyghan and Alan Minter.
Duff was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999.