Monday, May 29, 2017

SOBEWFF 2017: Marc Summers Talks the Perfect Burger and the Return of Double Dare

By David Minsky | Thursday, February 23, 2017 AT 8:30 A.M.

Marc Summers is about to stuff his face with burgers.

The former host of Nickelodeon's Double Dare, a TV game show where kids (and families) got covered in green slime, will judge the Best of the Bash award at this year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash. The award, sponsored by restaurant chain Red Robin, gives a chef $10,000 and a chance to get his or her creation on the eatery's menu.

What makes Summers a qualified burger judge? For starters, this is his 12th year at SOBEWFF. He's also the host of Unwrapped, the longest-running show on Food Network, which first aired in 2001. 

For many chefs, Burger Bash is their chance to make the burger big-time. But they shouldn't get carried away with elaborate creations. A fancy burger might wow other judges, but it'll be difficult to convince Summers. His advice: Keep it simple, but pay attention to detail.

The TV host recently spoke with New Times about burger tips, being a granddad, and the possible return of Double Dare

New Times: What makes a good burger?
Marc Summers: Here's my feeling, because everyone has an opinion on this: You have to be able to taste the meat, number one. And I think the biggest problem people have done recently is that they try to overload it with too many flavors. They put mushrooms and bizarre things on it. I want to go back to the traditional hamburger that I had as a kid growing up in Indiana. That's meat, maybe some cheese, lettuce, tomato, some sort of interesting dressing — Thousand Island — with maybe a little bit of a kick. And that's all I need.

I just don't want something, also, that I can't put in my mouth. People make these burgers that I find crazy, that are so huge, and they take one bite at Burger Bash and then they throw it away. It's such a waste. I think if they made sort of like sliders as opposed to full sandwiches, you'd get a chance to taste more. When I first started going to Burger Bash, there were maybe 15 to 18 contestants competing for the best burger, and you could try pretty much all of them. Now there are like 50 places, so you have to be very selective. What I generally do is walk around and eliminate people by ingredients that I would never eat on anything and go from there.

What are some ingredients you think don't belong on a burger?
I'm also a purist. I don't want to combine pork and veal and beef. To me, that's a meatball with sauce on it, and that's got a whole different feel to it. But now there's the foie gras burger: I'm not against foie gras for all of the obvious reasons of being politically correct — I just don't want that on my burger. I don't want truffles on my burger. I don't want truffle oil on my burger. This whole high-end [burger] for $100, make it as expensive as you possibly can so you can charge the customer, is not my cup of tea. Once again, maybe growing up in the Midwest and having your simple burger as a kid is what impressed me, and it's actually hard to find that.

How do you judge a burger? Do you get some training from your colleagues at Food Network?
Actually, I do. Bobby Flay taught me years ago that if you don't season your meat, he will eliminate you from working in his restaurants. Salt and pepper, which is often not used on burgers, is key; that's number one. Certainly, the type of beef that you use. Everybody has their favorite butcher or their favorite company that provides their beef, so that's key. And also, and this is also an opinion thing, medium-rare is what I like. I don't want it too juicy. I hate to pick up a burger and the bun is just wet because the juices are too much. The other thing is that you've got to let your meat rest — even a burger. You can't take it right off the grill and put it on the bun, because then it's going to leak. Some people like stuff well-done. I don't like that because it sort of tastes like charcoal. It's not a feeling that I love in my mouth. Medium-rare is what I'm looking for.

Any new episodes of Unwrapped coming?
It's the longest-running series on Food Network, but we haven't shot any new ones in a couple of years. I did 11 seasons of Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible. I'm in development right with a new show with Guy Fieri, as a matter of fact. He and I will be producing something together. Can't talk about it just yet, but it's something to look forward to. We're developing a couple of things. We've been friends for years, and I've been a regular judge on Guy's Grocery Games and came up with a project that we originally pitched to him, and we partnered up on it. I was the host of The Next Food Network Star when he won. That was 12 years ago. That's where our friendship began.

Are you bringing back Double Dare?
We did the 30th-anniversary show the night before Thanksgiving, and it just killed in the ratings. I'm in negotiations right now to bring Double Dare back in some form or fashion. I'm not allowed to talk about it just yet. That is a big possibility that after 16 years of not being at Nickelodeon, I will be back throwing green liquids at kids, and not just kids, maybe adults.

You're a grandfather now?
I'm a grandfather now. I coached baseball for eight years when my son was playing, and [Red Robin] was always the go-to spot after we got done playing... It's kind of fun to go back and do the tradition of what I did with my kids and to be representing them at Burger Bash.

South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash
7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, February 24, at the North Venue, beachside at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, 1 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $250 via

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Special Delivery – Double Dare We Say It: A Nickelodeon Historical Celebration

Mathew Klickstein has written a non-fiction book titled SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age, which covers the early development of Nickelodeon. SLIMED! was featured on Parade's "Year’s Best Books About Movies and TV" for 2013, listed as one of the top four tell-all books of 2013 by Entertainment Weekly and picked as one of the top ten social science books by Publishers Weekly.

On September 27, 2013, Matthew moderated and produced a three-hour long series of panels with more than 40 creative members of the Nickelodeon community, including actors, producers, writers, show creators and network personnel at the 92nd Street Y in New York called Double Dare We Say It: A Nickelodeon Historical Celebration. The event was hosted by Marc Summers and included the first live performance by the Beets, a fictional band featured on the animated Nickelodeon series Doug, made up of Fred Newman and Dan Sawyer who produced the music and sound effects for the show.

Similar reunion and panel events followed at Book Soup, Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe, Iowa City's FilmScene and, in 2014, various others as part of a short Jewish Book Council tour.

Matthew Klickstein Official Website

Official SLIMED! Site

Nickelodeon's Glory Days (Full)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

At Last, Children’s Programming That’s Fit For Children

Toedo Blade – Feb. 21, 1980

The debate about what kids watch on TV continues. Certainly everyone is concerned about it. And experts on both sides of the issue will, undoubtedly, continue to juggle their ways through research studies and case findings to arrive at their respective conclusions. But that still leaves the kids caught in the middle.

            That is, until now.

            We, at the CableSystem, are proud to announce that the void in solid children’s television has been filled.

            The CableSystem is now offering a selection of 10-11 hours of daily, Nickelodeon. Children’s programming experts convinced us that the best way to get kids away from the violence and commercials they’re constantly subjected to on regular TV is by offering them something they like better.

            They’ll like Nickelodeon better.

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10:00 - 3:00 weekdays
9:00 - 2:00 weekends

Pinwheel is the nationally acclaimed creation of a talented group of professionals including veterans of the Children’s Television Workshop. Specially tailored to the interests and attention span of the preschooler, each Pinwheel segment averages about three minutes. Blended into the format are award wining animated films as well as live action films.

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3:00/4:30 weekdays
3:00/4:00/ 6:30 weekends

The half-hour Video Comic Books show is a unique reading experience for children. Starring favorite super heroes like green Lantern and Space Ranger, this show is devoted to paging through comic books panel by panel. The visuals with printed captions are arranged for easy reading and viewing. Voice-overs and sound effects are used with the exception of one comic adventure per show during which the children are compelled to read the dialogue for themselves.

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7:00-7:30 weekdays
2:30-4:00 weekends

Children’s Classics are high-quality presentations from the British Broadcasting Company. With universal appeal to children of all ages. BBC Children’s Classics include such timeless tales as “The Prince and the Pauper,” Robin Hood,” “Heidi,” and “David Copperfield.”

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6:00-7:00 weekdays

America goes Bananaz is a teen variety show offering a multitude of happenings molded to meet the needs of the American adolescent. In addition to being an entertaining talent showcase for young artists, it also provides a great information service providing a stimulating array of suggestions on such important toics as choosing the right college and how to manage money. 

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3: 30/7:30 weekdays
5:30-6:30 weekends

Seven to twelve year olds explore the world around them through the eyes of the host character Kryspen, a medieval time traveler who comes to learn about life in the 20th Century.

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5:00-6:00 weekdays
4:30/7:00 weekends

First Row Features are special one hours children’s films broadly ranging from comedies and adventures to dramas and semi-documentaries.

Now, you can breath your sigh of relief. Worry no more about what the kids are home watching.

There’s loads of healthy, educational commercial-free viewing enjoyment for your kids on Nickelodeon. And it’s available at no additional charge to our regular subscribers. The usual monthly charge of $7.50 (plus installation) gets your kids Nickelodeon and your get all the great entertainment variety the CableSystem offers you. See for yourself. Call 535-0081

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of our amazing mothers. Hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Special Delivery – Micky Dolenz Interview

The Monkees originally aired from 1966 to 1968 and became a real band when their hits singles like "Last Train to Clarksville", "Pleasant Valley Sunday", "Daydream Believer", and "I'm a Believer". They have sold more than 75 million records worldwide and had international hits and at their peak in 1967, the band outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined.

1986 saw the Monkees’ 20th anniversary and once again they found themselves in the limelight singing their longtime fan favorites but adding new hits like, “That Was Then This Is Now,” with Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. By that time, Davy Jones had joined them once again as they released “Heart and Soul.” 

Micky Dolenz - Raw, Uncut, Unedited Interview (February 1986)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

New Blog Logo!

Brand new, hot off the press is my brand new blog logo! I'm toying with the idea of having this logo put onto ceramic cups and having some professional stickers created so if any of you are interested PLEASE, PLEASE let me know! 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Classic Nickelodeon Wednesday – Black Beauty

This week I would like to look at one of literature's most beloved, and well known, characters of which several book series, movies, two television shows and a stage play have been based. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to Black Beauty, a beautiful, intelligent, lightning fast, black horse.

The Adventures of Black Beauty was originally produced by London Weekend Television and shown by ITV in the United Kingdom between 1972 and 1974 and was distributed internationally by London Weekend International. William Lucas stars as Dr. James Gordon, a widower who is raising his two* children on his own.

In a continuation of the Anna Sewell novel we first meet Black Beauty in the series premier “The Fugitive” where Samson Ryder is breaking in his uncle’s horses. Beauty throws Samson then runs away. Later he is discovered by Vicky and Kevin Goren while they are exploring their new surroundings. Beauty has been badly beaten, his eye is infected and he has the chills after his long run.

The children take him home for their father, widower Dr. James Gorden, to mend but when Samson discovers that the Gorden family have his horse he attempts to reclaim him only to find out that the horse must recover before the Dr. Gorden will allow him to be moved. Naturally by this time the children have fallen in love with him and beg their father to buy him from Mr. Ryder, which he is unable to do because of the horse’s great value.

By the end of the first episode Dr. Gorden saves the life of old Mr. Ryder and in return Mr. Ryder gives the black horse to the Gorden family. It is at the end of this first episode that Vicky names him claiming that his name should, describe him, thus settling on the name “Black Beauty”.

From that point on the series focuses on the Gorden family and their everyday life as they do their best to help their friends and neighbors always with the aid of Black Beauty.

As stated above Dr. James Gorden is a widower but has employed a strong, but kind-hearted, woman named Amy Winthrop as his housekeeper. Very little is known about either of these characters but in the second season we are introduced to Ned Lewis who is Amy’s nephew. It is also in this second series where we are introduced to Dr. Gordon’s second daughter *Jenny, “who has been away at school and has only just returned” however we do not see Victoria again.

The show was cancelled in 1974 but in 1990 new life was breathed into the series with the arrival of “The New Adventures of Black Beauty” which, like its predecessor, lasted a full two seasons from 1990-1992 however it is only the first season which is directly tied to the original series picking up 20 years after the first series. It stared Stacy Dorning and William Lucas reprising their roles as Dr. Jenny (Gordon) Denning and Dr. James Gordon with both actors appearing in the first season only from 1990-1991 for a total of 26 episodes.

Both series featured the theme song, "Galloping Home", which was written by Denis King and performed by the London String Chorale and both are currently available on DVD.

Personal Note:
I remember watching this on Nickelodeon in the very early 1980’s so I was around twelve or thirteen. Back then I liked it because Beauty was a beautiful black horse, Vicky and Jenny were young girls who I wanted as my friends or sisters, Kevin, Ned and Albert were kinda cute and Dr. Gorden was so handsome. It was the perfect show for girls of that age but now that I’m an adult I still think all of those things are true but now I can see what I didn’t back then.

This show wasn’t just entertaining, it was educational as well. It taught children how to respect their elders (something that they are very lax in these days), it taught them not to lie no matter what the consequences, it taught them to always be kind to animals and not to be afraid to get involved and help your neighbors. This is one of the most wholesome shows that I would personal allow my children, whenever I have some, to sit and watch all day if they wanted too because of the strong moral values it contains.

Original Series Main Cast
William Lucas as Dr. James Gordon – (52 episodes, 1972-1974)
Charlotte Mitchell as Amy Winthrop – (52 episodes, 1972-1974)
Michael Culver as Squire Armstrong – (31 episodes, 1972-1974)
Judi Bowker as Vicky Gordon – (26 episodes, 1972-1973)
Roderick Shaw as Kevin Gordon – (51 episodes, 1972-1974)
Stacy Dorning as Jenny Gordon – (25 episodes, 1973-1974)
Kenneth Thornett as Police Constable Dickins – (16 episodes, 1972-1974)
Tony Maiden as Albert Clifton – (14 episodes, 1972-1974)
Stephen Garlick as Ned Lewis – (11 episodes, 1973-1974)

Main Cast – New Adventures of Black Beauty
Dr. Jenny Denning – Stacy Dorning (26 episodes, 1990-1991)
Manfred Groenwald – Gedeon Burkhard (26 episodes, 1990-1991)
Dr. James Gordon – William Lucas (26 episodes, 1990-1991)
Victoria 'Vicky' Denning – Amber McWilliams (26 episodes, 1990-1991)
Frank Coats – David Bradshaw (24 episodes, 1990-1991)
Hilda Burton – Ilona Rodgers (24 episodes, 1990-1991)
Samuel Burton – Bill Kerr (24 episodes, 1990-1991)
Isambard –  Claire Chitham (9 episodes, 1990)
Constable Carmody – Andrew Robertt (5 episodes, 1990-1991)
Lewis Duncan – Timothy Raby (3 episodes, 1990)
Farmer – Bruce Hopkins (3 episodes, 1990-1991)
Lord Fordham – Frederick Treves (2 episodes, 1990)

Nigel – Christian Burgess (2 episodes, 1990)