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"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.
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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.
The cast and producers of NBC's post-apocalyptic drama Revolution made the long journey out to the California Commonwealth from their home region of the Monroe Republic for their Paleyfest panel Saturday night, and it was not a journey made in vain. Executive producer and creator Eric Kripke was quick to reveal that when the show returns, we won't be in the dark (pun definitely intended) about why the lights went out in the first place. "You find that out in episode 13," Kripke says. Given the fact that when Revolution returns Monday, March 25, with episode 11, that's not too long of a wait!
"We are revealing that, actually, and shockingly sooner than anyone thinks, because I’m not particularly precious with secrets," Kripke told Hollywood.com before the panel began. "I think it’s a really interesting answer that opens the door to more questions. And screw it! Why hold it off from the fans for three years, because whatever answer you give them, they’re going to be irritated because they had to wait three years to get it. So I’m giving them the answers and we’re going to ask more questions."
In addition to raising more questions, the scope of the show is going to expand in the back half of Season 1, both storywise and geographically. That's right, we're going to get to see what life is like outside of the Monroe Militia for the first time! "We start to move to other nations which is exciting," Kripke revealed. "We need to go to Georgia for help, kind of like how we got help from the French in the Revolutionary War. And we go out to the Plains Nation and we see the wilderness that’s out there."
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Kripke always wanted to expand the geography of the show to explore what life is like in other areas of the country after the blackout. "You start to see what is in effect other kingdoms," Kripke says. "There is sort of a Game of Thrones idea that we’ve always been wanting to angle towards, where it’s about different kingdoms and different leaders and how they’re all clashing with each other. And our characters start to move into these different areas. So it’s a much larger focus in the second half of the season."
We're also going to finally see Aaron Pittman (Zak Orth) reunite with his wife that he left immediately after the blackout. "He sees her again and they’re able to work out their issues and they do have a face to face," Kripke revealed. "She’s in present day so you catch up to where she’s been the last 10 years or so. It’s interesting because he left her because he thought he was protecting her, but he was a coward to do it. And since then he’s found his strength. So now that he sees her again, what does that mean for them?"
The cast also revealed during the panel that the love story between Jason Neville (J.D. Pardo) and Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos) is going to heat up. "It’s really like a Romeo and Juliet type story, it’s like a forbidden love," Pardo says. "And what is really at the essence of it is family. Family on her side, family on Jason’s side, and they get to explore each other through that."
Revolution returns with all-new episodes on Monday, March 25th on NBC.
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[Photo Credit: Brownie Harris/NBC]
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If there's a cinematic alchemy award to be given this year director Bill Condon deserves to take it home after magically turning the tedious Twilight franchise into entertainment gold. 2011's Part 1 was a horror camp romp that turned the supernatural love triangle — the naval gazing trio of Bella Edward and Jacob — on its head. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 continues the madcap exploration of a world populated by vampires and werewolves mining even more comedy thrills and genuine character moments out of conceit than ever before. The film occasionally sidesteps back into Edward and Bella's meandering romance (an evident hurdle of author Stephenie Meyer's source material) but the duller moments are overshadowed by the movie's nimble pace and playful attitude. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will elicit laughs aplenty — but thankfully they're all on purpose.
Part 2 picks up immediately following the events of the first film Bella (Kristen Stewart) having been turned into a vampire by Edward (Robert Pattinson) to save her life after the torturous delivery of her half-human half-vampire child Renesmee. She awakes to discover super senses heightened agility increased strength… and a thirst for blood. One dead cougar later Bella and the gang are able to focus on the real troubles ahead: Renesmee is rapidly growing (think Jack) and vampiric overlords The Volturi perceive her a threat to vampiric secrecy. Knowing the Volturi will travel to Forks WA to kill the young girl (a 10-year-old just a month after being born) The Cullens amass an army of bloodsucking friends to end the oppression once and for all.
Packed with an absurd amount of backstory and mythology-twisting plot points (some vampires can shoot lightning now?) Condon and series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg mine revel in the beefed up ensemble of Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and thanks to a wildly funny cast it never feels like pointless deviation. Along with the usual suspects Lee Pace adds swagger to the series as a grungy alt-rock vampire Noel Fisher appears as a hilarious over-the-top battle-ready Russian coven member and Michael Sheen returns has Volturi head honcho Aro and steels the show. Flamboyant diabolical and a steady stream of maniacal laughter Sheen owns Condon's high camp vision for Twilight and he lights up the screen. There are a few throw away nations of vampires — the oddly stereotypical Egyptian and Amazonians sects are there mostly there to off-set the extreme whiteness — but the actors involved bring liveliness to a franchise known for being soulless. Even Stewart Pattinson and Taylor Lautner give personal bests in this installment — a scene between Bella and her dad Charlie (Billy Burke) is genuinely heartfelt while Jacob's overprotective hero schtick finally lands.
Whereas Breaking Dawn - Part 1 stuck mostly to the personal story relying on the intimate moments as Bella and Edward took the big plunge into marriage and sex Part 2 paints with broader strokes and Condon has a ball. Delving into the history of the vampires and the vampire world outside Forks is Pandora's Box for the director. One scene where we learn why kids scare the heck of the Volturi captures a scope of medieval epics — along with the bloodshed. Twilight might be known for its sexual moments but Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will go down for its abundance of decapitations. The big set piece in the finale is something to behold both in the craftsmanship of the spectacle and in its bizarre nature.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 had the audience hooting hollering and even gasping as it twisted and turned to the final moments. There's little doubt that even the biggest naysayer of the franchise would do the same. No irony here: the conclusion of Twilight is a blast.