Broken Hearts and Random Notions

This week’s List Inconsequential at Spectrum Culture Online is about our favorite breakup songs, just in time for that inevitable post-Valentine’s Day heartbreak. And even if you aren’t going through a breakup right now, you’ll feel miserable by the time you listen to all the songs on the list… which is exactly as it should be.


As you know, Bob, I have a lot of photos I’ve been meaning to post, which is why I finally stepped into the year 2007 and started a Tumblr blog. Are they really called Tumblelogs or is Wikipedia just playing a prank? I’m going to assume it’s a prank. Anyway, all those random photos of mine will be posted over at the Tumblr version of SBBN, so if you’re interested in crazy random old Hollywood pictures, check it out. The larger galleries will still be posted on the SBBN Flickr page, and I’ll post here to let you know when I have a new gallery up. I’ve got links to both the SBBN Tumblr and Flickr accounts on the sidebar.


For about two months now I have been unable to add anyone new to my Blogroll gadget. It’s a problem a lot of people are having, Google is aware of it, and as usual, they don’t give a damn. I’m not ignoring any of you who should by all rights be on the Blogroll, but until Google stops spending all their time ruining Gmail and Reader and starts fixing the bugs, my hands are tied.

What with Blogger frequently going tits up on a regular basis, I am very close to moving my blog to another platform entirely. I’ll let you know if I do, but it should be a painless, invisible move as I’ll simply redirect my URL to the new blog and leave this one up as an archive.

And now a random photo, more Neil Diamond just to piss some of you off:

Neil Diamond on a rainy September 26, 1967 at Geauga Lake Park in Cleveland. Photo by George Shuba.


  1. Speaking of Neil, he turned up yesterday on the soundtrack to a movie I hadn’t seen in like 40 years (my God, what a frightening assertion): WUSA (1970). I saw this on ABC when I was a kid and, of course, it made no sense to me. It still has problems 40 years later, but it also had some nice parts, too: Joanne Woodward gives an excellent performance, stealing the film from her husband; both Lawrence Harvey and Chloris Leachman have really fine supporting parts (one of his last roles, and for her it foreshadows just a bit her epic performance in The Last Picture Show the next year). And then there is Neil–he’s heard earlier in the film (what song, I can’t recall), and his Glory Road is put to good use near the end.

    PS: You also get to see what a Tea Party rally looked like 40+ years ago–Faith, Flag & Family indeed.

  2. I’m shocked by the sight of that rough looking fellow with the billy club standing beside Neil Diamond.
    I crossed Neil Diamond on the back stairs of the Four Seasons in Seattle. He wsa with two people , he was coming up and I was going down. When I got close to him he turned his head to the wall and hid his face in his hand. I was disappointed. He could have said hello but he acted like a star. On the other hand maybe we expect too much of famous people. There are days when I don’t really feel like talking either.

  3. I like this particular photo because of the good ol’ boy security man. It’s such a product of the era, an indicator of how the establishment felt about the evil hormonally-charged rock menace turning teens into hoodlums.

    KG, I got a copy of WUSA a few months ago without knowing Diamond sang “Glory Road”. Then I was listening to a b**tleg of a 1977 concert and heard people shouting “Play Glory Road!” and I about fell out of my chair. I hope the movie is wacky. It seems wacky. I saw part of it on TBS I think many years ago, right around the time I first saw “Smile!”

  4. James, that is extremely interesting. Neil, I think, likes being The Star and getting tons of attention, but at the same time is obsessed with being left alone (to the point of paranoia) and is easily spooked by crazy fans. It’s weird because he wants to be seen as personable, but he really isn’t.

    Then again, maybe all celebs are like that. George Brett’s security personnel were assholes back in the 80s. And I remember almost getting tossed off a mountain by Robert Plant’s security men in the late 80s, too. He was sightseeing before a tour and ended up at the same scenic lookout a group of us high schoolers were at. I was so busy talking to friends I didn’t see them, ran into and bounced off a security guard (who looked like a hood from The Rockford Files) and thought the guy was going to kill me.

    Plant is surprisingly tiny, by the way.

  5. Weird coincidence, Stacia–I was sick this weekend, so we watched 6 movies, all early to mid 70s…and one of them was Smile! The others (in addition to WUSA) were The Conversation, The French Connection, The Laughing Policeman, and The Panic In Needle Park, which I think is criminally obscure to most people today.

    WUSA is wacky, but as I said, it has a few redeeming elements. It wouldn’t be my first (or second) choice out of these six, but you could do worse. I do find Anthony Perkins rather annoying here (and I generally like him).

  6. WHY have I not seen Panic in Needle Park?! I have been meaning to for about 1000 years.

    Back in the early 1990s, Encore and Starz and TBS (even TNT I think) showed a lot of early 70s films, and I really didn’t care for the era at all. Smile! was the first early 70s flick I really warmed up to, and since then I’ve become more fond of that era, although I still do not understand the 1970s.

  7. People think now is weird and contentious–it not even CLOSE to the late 60s, early 70s, socially. Combine that with the not unrelated death of the Production Code, the preceding decade of incredible European film imports and their influence, and the so-called “New Hollywood” era (which really had its heyday from about 1969 to 1974, although there were precursors before 1969 and substantial trailing effects throughout the decade), and you have the ferment needed for some really incredibly interesting films between say 1967 and 1980. A way, WAY disproportionate number of the Hollywood films I truly love are from that era, particularly the ’69-74 “core”. In fact, if asked, I’d probably label 1971 as my favorite film year, although 1974 was top heavy on quality (just look at the Best Actor nominees and realize that Gene Hackman didn’t even get nominated for The Conversation). For me, 1939–not so much. In fact I really dislike some of the most “beloved” films of that year (GWTW, Mr. Smith) and find several others just OK. Out of that endlessly touted lot I probably enjoy Goodbye Mr. Chips and Only Angels Have Wings the most.

    Whenever somebody asks me to explain the 70s (which was in fact a very diverse era–there is no resemblance between 1970 and 1979, just as 1960 and 1969 might as well have been different planets), sometimes all I can say is “It was the 70s, man.” That’s not even a joke half the time.

  8. PS: In early January, you asked me to suggest some films. Here’s a few, avoiding 70’s Hollywood–hell, ALL of Hollywood–altogether.

    Umberto D–dammit, I love this movie!

    Kes (be prepared to use CC, even though it is nominally in English)

    Pather Panchali

    The Virgin Spring

    Wild Strawberries

    Forbidden Games

    The Exterminating Angel (Bunuel, not some other crap with a similar title)

    The Spirit of the Beehive

    You’ve probably seen at least a couple of these I’m sure, so I hope no insult is taken. I avoided listing stuff that is on TCM all the time (like Black Narcissus).

  9. If I had forgotten how much the culture changed in the 1970s, I remembered it while doing this Neil Diamond project. It’s amazing how much had changed during his 39-month sabbatical from January 1973 to March 1976, just a little over 3 years.

    Absolutely inconceivable that Hackman was not nominated for The Conversation. I knew that, but I am surprised every single time I hear it.

    I don’t care for Mr Smith either. It’s treacly pseudo-patriotic crap, with such mild jabs at a serious political issue and a ridiculous populace-pleasing ending (*wave tiny American flag*) that I can almost not stand it.

    But I was very put off by Black Narcissus as well. The racism and sexism, which I know were common for the time in UK cinema, was more overt than I had expected. In fact, I’m put off by a lot of Powell’s films. He treats women as oddities, slightly freakish creatures to populate his almost-surreal cinematographic and literary designs.

    I know I’m pretty alone in those thoughts, though.

    These new CAPTCHAS are crap. Blogger sucks so much nowadays.

  10. Thanks for the suggestions, KG! I’ve seen Virgin Spring and Wild Strawberries, loved them both. Saw most of Exterminating Angel on TCM a couple years ago and immediately felt shame for not catching the whole thing. SHAME.

  11. LOVE Peeping Tom so much. I actually find Powell’s treatment of women more understandable in that film because it mimics how Mark sees them. Even Moira comes across as irritating and shrill. But the whole notion of Powell using his own house and kid for Mark’s early life gives me the chills. The movie is creepy in large part because Powell is creepy.

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