Thursday, May 21, 2020

Billy Joel - Uptown Girl (1983)

For some, Billy Joel is one of the greatest artists of all time, especially if you're from the Tri-state area.  He was big in my house, particularly because playing his music was the only way to get me to sleep as a baby I'm told.  That did not translate into adulthood (except maybe for Piano Man) as I enjoy many of his songs from the late 70s through the late 80s.  And he puts on a great show.  I was lucky enough to see one of his concerts at Madison Square Garden a few years ago.

Uptown Girl was the second single released from Joel's 1983 album An Innocent Man, which was an ode to doo wop groups from the 50s and 60s.  For the video, which is a very literal take on the song's lyrics, Billy plays a downtown mechanic who gives full service to an uptown beauty, played by supermodel and future wife Christie Brinkley.  After some cringeworthy choreography, the two ride off into the night on a motorcycle followed by a personal lube job ;-)

Uptown Girl was filmed in New York, NY

Location: The Gas Station
Address: Bowery & Bond Street, New York, NY

As if there wasn't already a shortage of gas stations in Manhattan, the one used in the video eventually ran out...gas.  Even the buildings you see briefly on Bond Street have changed over the years...

Location Visited: June 2019

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Amen (1986-1991)

Earnest Frye is a deacon at Philly's First Community Church in addition to being a lawyer.  When he's not involved in some scheme, he's butting heads with Pastor Rueben Gregory.  Earnest's daughter Thelma sets her sights on the new pastor and they eventually tie the knot and have a baby.  The series dealt with its fair share of social issues without being too preachy ;-)

In the 1980s, NBC's Saturday Night Lineup was a powerhouse.  Early pioneers included Mama's Family (1983-1990)Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986)The Facts of Life (1979-1988) and Gimme A Break! (1981-1987).  The latter half of the decade had a pretty consistent lineup of 227 (1985-1990), The Golden Girls (1985-1992)Empty Nest (1988-1995) and Amen, a vehicle for Sherman Hemsley, who was hot off his ten year run on The Jeffersons (1975-1985).  The show enjoyed a prime timeslot its first two seasons, comfortably nestled between The Golden Girls and Hunter.  Ratings began to falter over the remaining seasons when the series moved to the 8:30 timeslot.  Unfortunately prayers went unanswered in the spring of 1991 and NBC turned all the lights of heaven off ;-) 

Location: First Community Church
Address: 428 N 41st Street, Philadelphia, PA  Mt. Pisgah AME Church

Location: Deacon Earnest Frye's Townhouse
Address: 4107 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA

Located just around the corner from the church... 

Locations Visited: December 2020

Sunday, May 3, 2020

My Girl (1991)

Quirky Vada Sultenfuss lives with her funeral director dad in Madison, Pennsylvania.  She spends the summer of '72 crushing on her teacher, Mr. Bixler, taking his creative writing course and hanging out with her best friend, the allergy-prone Thomas J.  The summertime blues begin to set in as Vada learns of her father's budding romance with the funeral parlor's makeup artist, Shelly.  To boot, she finds out Mr. Bixler is engaged.  And tragedy strikes with the death of Thomas J., whom the bees more than envied ;-)  But Vada puts her grief all into her work, writing a poem about Thomas' death before hopping on her bike with a new best friend.

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day.  I even got the month of May.  It's only the 3rd, but thanks to the Coronavirus, it feels like the 31st.  I only saw My Girl for the first time about a week before a trip to Florida a few months back.  It never looked my type of movie but I figured I'd give it a try since it had Jamie Lee Curtis in it, star of my all-time favorite movie Halloween (1978).  I ended up enjoying it more than I thought.  It was a cute, little coming-of-age dramedy with some good tunes and a post Home Alone (1990) Macualy Culkin.  Critics were split down the middle, but the film did well at the box office, which usually translates to... sequel!  I did not watch My Girl 2, but based on the reviews, it sounded like something the birds in the trees would drop on your car.

My Girl was filmed in Bartow, Sanford, Plant City, Ocoee and Clermont, FL

Location: The Sultenfuss Funeral Parlor
Address: 555 East Stanford Street, Bartow, FL

Location: Mr. Bixler's House
Address: 605 Magnolia Avenue, Sanford, FL

Location: Thomas J.'s House
Address: 603 Myrtle Avenue, Sanford, FL

Location: Riding Bikes
Address: E First Street between Park & Palmetto, Sanford, FL

Location: The Alley
Address: behind 228 E First Street, Sanford, FL

The buildings seen just before Vada and Thomas J. cut through the mechanic shop have all been demolished...

However, the buildings on the left side of what was the alley are still recognizable...

Location: Dr. Wexley's Office 
Address: 113 Magnolia Avenue, Sanford, FL

Location: The Cafe
Address: 112 East First Street, Sanford, FL  Breezeway Restaurant

Location: Bingo Night
Address: 15 South Bluford Avenue, Ocoee, FL

Locations Visited: March 2020