What I learned About the Quarterback Battle at Ohio State

Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Mid-American page. Last week I got to travel to Columbus with my gorgeous girlfriend to watch my team, THE Ohio State Buckeyes, spring game. Many people are aware that in the past Ohio State has definitely had their picks at Quarterbacks. Well this year, I believe will be the hardest. This year, the Buckeyes have three QBs who look and have proved that they are ready to go.

Continue reading “What I learned About the Quarterback Battle at Ohio State”

The Most Essential Kraftwerk Songs

I’ve been on a massive Kraftwerk kick lately, so, for today’s article, I thought I’d share some of their tracks that I think are great for someone who’s not too familiar with the group to get their feet wet with. So, let’s dive right in!

Continue reading “The Most Essential Kraftwerk Songs”

The Miseducation of Ben Reilly Part 1.

It’s funny how you get to a certain age and for a brief moment you can hyper identify with music and literature, film and heroes real and fictional. At around 18 your life is changing and a person looks to make their own way in the world. For some it’s a journey of figuring out who you are and who you wanna be.

I have always been a massive comic book geek. I lived for the first 7-8 years of my life in a trailer park in Proctorville, Ohio. The trailer park was just off of State Route 7 and ran along the Ohio River. Well across the main drag of my trailer park was a little mom and pop convenience store called Holderby’s. I used to go to this store a lot with my folks and the deal was always that if I was good, which I always was, I’d get a quarter for the Ms. Pac-Man standup and a comic from the spinner rack. The time period here is the early 1980’s and Spider-Man was hands down my favorite character, still is for the most part.

After my folks had returned their soda bottles for change and I had fallen to the 4 bit ghost of the arcade game, we’d return home and just before bed one of my parents would read me my fresh new comic as a bed time story and show me the art as the story went along. Soon I’d fall asleep to dream about what is certainly Stan Lee’s most famous creation, Spidey and his friends.

Eventually when I was nearing the end of my High School years in the mid 90’s Marvel drops a bomb shell on it’s readers. The Peter Parker/ Spider-Man we’d been reading for years may not be the real thing. A clone of Parker’s created by his college professor, Miles Warren had returned.

The 1990’s was the most gimmicky time in the history of comics. All the heroes were either being killed off or changing into grimacing anti-heroes. Superman died, Batman had his back broken, Green Lantern was evil and called all the GL corps. Tony Stark was an evil teenage version of himself. Plus all the cover were holograms and bagged.

The gimmick was that a throw away clone character, who supposedly died at the end of a story in the 1970’s was actually alive and back in New York and he’d crossed paths with the original.

The Peter Parker clone would take the name Ben Reilly. Ben from Peter’s uncle, the Power and Responsibility, one and Reilly was Aunt May’s maiden name. After being back in NYC for a bit in a story called The Exile Returns Ben decides he’s gonna stay, he’d been living on the road for years always on the move. Partially because he didn’t feel like he was a real person and didn’t belong. There was also the fact that another failed Parker clone named Kaine was out to kill him. Comics right?

So Ben adopts the alias of the Scarlet Spider. It was a totally throw away costume designed by comics legend Mark Bagley. The outfit was made up of a plain red Spidey type outfit with a blue hoodie he bought at zoo gift shop. I gathered he felt like a cheap knock off so why not go with it?

So now the Scarlet Spider is making a place for himself in the world. This goes back to my original point. I was 16-17 at the time and I strongly identified with the character, I too was ready to go out into the world and find my own place. Plus Ben was super poor and worked in a coffee shop. I didn’t have a lot either and worked in a grocery store.

Well as it turned out the character was I initially super popular. He had beaten Venom, which Spider-Man never had. People really liked the character, and Marvel really liked money. So, it all gets amped up and the slide to Hell begins. Marvel gets the idea that maybe Been was the real Spider-Man the whole time! So in a story designed to last 6 months, we get drug out for over a year. The Peter we’ve followed for 20 years is married to M.J. Watson and he’s going insane or something. All to comfort the blow of the rug being pulled out from the feet of long time readers.

When Ben is revealed to by the real Spidey, comic fans lose their minds. It’s hate mail and boycotts. This was Marvel Pre- Disney ownership and money was a worry in the late 90’s. So marvel has to reverse course after a year of Ben as Spidey and Peter and M.J. off having a baby in Portland, Oregon.

The best way the editors decided was to bring back ole Norman Osborne, the original Green Goblin. He’d also been dead for quite some time. However the whole Clone Saga was simply a big gotcha to Peter.

The entire year plus story line known forever as The Clone Saga, would be wrapped up in 4 issues spread out over one month. The story was called Revaltions.

Marvel needed their corporate icon back to normal and it was deemed that Ben was out. All the way. 💀

Ben would die saving Peter from Norman’s Goblin Glider. He’d die thinking he was the real deal. It was sad.

It was also here that Pete and M.J. would lose the baby or it was kidnapped or something. It was all retconned away later any how. From here Ben Reilly would be forgotten for about 5 years then he was teased repeatedly for another decade plus. However we will get to that next Saturday in The Miseducation of Ben Reilly part 2. Thanks for reading and have a great week.

How Does a TV Channel Launch?

The current gamut of television channels seems to have reached the point where all genres and interests are now covered. Drama, comedy, animation, and reality all have bases on various channels. However, these channels had to come from somewhere, and it can be interesting to see where they came from and how they launched. Thanks to YouTube (this seems to be a trend in my articles), TV channel launches can be relived. I think they’re interesting, so I decided to talk about them. Continue reading “How Does a TV Channel Launch?”

A Gem of 1950’s Television

Earlier in the week, I was watching videos of some of the greatest speeches in history, because I am a nerd. However, after a video of Robert F. Kennedy’s announcement and subsequent speech regarding the assassination of MLK (which, if you’re interested in such a thing, is a must-watch speech), I stumbled upon something entirely different. In the list of suggested videos, I was enticed to click on a video titled “Last Witness to President Abraham Lincoln Assassination I’ve Got A Secret”. To my surprise, it was a clip from a 1950’s gameshow called I’ve Got A Secret.

I was immediately hooked. I found the premise of the show, as well as the retro 1950’s television style to be immensely entertaining. The basic premise of the show is that a contestant with some sort of secret or quirk is brought out by the host, and their secret is subsequently told to the host and the audience. Following this revelation, a panel of four people (whom, based on my research, are all relatively famous personalities from that era) ask the guest simple yes or no questions regarding their secret in an attempt to guess what it is. Each panelist is timed, and following the questioning period of each panelist, the contestant is rewarded with $20 until their secret is guessed, or until each panelist has had the opportunity to question them, resulting in a total potential winnings of $80.

The host and panel of I’ve Got A Secret are a huge part of what makes the show so entertaining. During its nearly 15 year lifespan, the show had a number of hosts and panelists. My personal favorite lineup consists of Garry Moore as host, with a panel of Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, and Faye Emerson. Their back and forth banter and witty personalities make for some of the show’s best content. It is worth mentioning that Betsy Palmer is also a fairly entertaining panelist. However, based on what I have seen, a lineup consisting of anyone else is inferior comparted to the one mentioned above. They make for the most entertaining episodes by a long shot.

 

panel.jpg
Cast: Host (standing) Garry Moore, Panel (seated from left to right) Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, Faye Emerson

 

 

There are many different aspects of I’ve Got A Secret that make it so entertaining. On the surface, it is a fun game show. The very nature of the guessing game makes it very fun to watch. But beyond that, the show is downright fascinating. It provides a glimpse into American culture from a time before many of us (or even our parents) were alive. Things were so much different in the 1950’s. I’ve Got a Secret is a prime example of both the good and bad of 1950’s culture and society. Much of the fun in the viewing of this show is comparing and contrasting the differences between then and now. For much of the show’s run, its primary sponsor was Winston Cigarettes. Not only is the show littered with Winston advertisements (something that would never fly today), but a carton of Winston cigarettes were given to each contestant in most of the clips I have found. This could absolutely never happen today. As a matter of fact, in one clip, which I was unfortunately unable to find again to put in this article, host Garry Moore gave a carton of Winstons to his guests, who were two small boys who couldn’t have been more than 12 years old. While he did tell them to be sure that they gave them to their dads, could you imagine if a television host today handed two small children cartons of cigarettes? It is small cultural differences like this that make the show so interesting. If you can look past the occasional comment that could be deemed as sexist or inappropriate by today’s standards, the show has great entertainment value.

 

I would highly recommend the show to anyone who thinks they might be interested in this glimpse of 50’s culture. There are literally dozens upon dozens of clips from the show available on YouTube. All you have to do is search “I’ve Got A Secret” and you will be provided with hours of quality content. Just make sure you have plenty of free time before you start watching. I have spent hours watching clips and full episodes of I’ve Got a Secret since I discovered it.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out some of the other articles from me and the rest of the Mid-American Culture staff!

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

Mid-American Culture Twitter: @M_American_C

Weekly Playlist: I’m Just Sayin’ You Could Do Better