Archive for the ‘Andy Griffith’ Tag

The Chronicle: News from the Edge–Episode 18: The Stepford Cheerleaders (2001)   2 comments

Above:  ROBOT CHEERLEADER TERRORIZES!

All images in this post are screen captures.

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The Stepford Cheerleaders

Canadian Television Rating = PG

Hyperlink to Episode

Aired February 22, 2002

Production Number = 5009-01-104

Starring

Chad Willett as Tucker Burns

Jon Polito as Donald Stern

Reno Wilson as Wes Freewald

Rena Sofer as Grace Hall

Curtis Armstrong as Sal the Pig-Boy

Sharon Sachs as Vera

Main Guest Cast

Christopher Glenn as Sperry

Nicholas Gomez as Lyle

Bryan Greenberg as Damon Furberg

David Purdham as Lionel Carson

Alicia Leigh Willis as Alexis Carson

Kathy Wagner as Jennifer

Behind the Camera

Writer = Henry A. Myers

Director = Perry Lang

Consulting Producer = Naren Shankar

Above: Too Old to Pass for Teenagers

Brief Summary

Something is odd at Robertstowne High School, Robertstowne, New York.  Recently, someone has bent parking meters, ripped off locker doors, and torn a metal bleacher in two.  Last week, in August 2000, someone also beat up a drunken, randy quarterback (Lyle) who was assaulting a cheerleader (Jennifer) and hung him by his shirt from the top of a football goal post.

Donald Stern sends Tucker Burns, Wes Freewald, and Grace Hall undercover as high school students for a few days.  Tucker is concerned that they are too old to pass for adolescents.  Grace, however, cites the example of the high school students in Beverly Hills 90210.  How old were they?  The publisher has two theories of the cause of the recent, unusual events in Robertstowne.  The culprit may be either a mutant swamp monster from New Jersey or an extraterrestrial acting out adolescent aggression.  The culprit, Stern insists, cannot be a pixie, for pixies have not been in the United States since 1982.

The undercover reporters split up and pursue leads.  Tucker makes contact with Damon Furberg, the editor of the campus newspaper.  Damon cares nothing about journalistic integrity; he wants to get the story, win awards, and get ahead.  Tucker offers Damon a joint credit on a story in the World Chronicle.  The high school newspaper editor agrees.  Wes Freewald meets a bullied geek, Sperry, and follows a chemistry teacher, Lionel Carson.  Grace Hall meets the injured Kyle, cheerleader Jennifer (who takes the same hormone supplement Mark McGuire did) and her best friend, head cheerleader Alexis Carson.

Something is suspicious about Mr. Carson; acid does not burn his hand.  He has a bionic limb.  He has had that limb for a year and a half, since an automotive accident.

Grace tries out for the cheerleader squad, but Alexis declares her moves too “Paula Abdul.”  The current moves are “Britney Spears.”  However, Grace does notice that Jennifer exhibits physical weakness.

One night, after Damon and Tucker break into an office and read personnel records pertaining to Lionel Carson, someone attacks Damon’s vehicle, rips the roof open, and attacks him.  The next day, Wes discovers evidence that the attacker had a prosthetic arm.  Our heroes immediately suspect Lionel Carson, formerly the Head Designer for Experimental Bionics at Dynomec.  They read that he resigned after his wife died of cancer.

Wes, Tucker, and Grace drive to the Carson residence.  They peak through a window and observe Lionel Carson remove one of his daughter’s artificial arms, to repair a damaged hand.  He also tells her she should control her temper and stop attacking people.  Alexis attacked Kyle and Damon.  Damon is still unconscious in the hospital.  Alexis lost both her arms in the automotive accident a year and a half prior; Lionel fitted her with artificial limbs.  Now she feels like a freak.  She would feel less like a freak if someone else (other than her father) were like her.  Wes’s cellular phone gives our heroes’ location away.  They escape, with some difficulty; Alexis briefly prevents Wes’s car from leaving by holding the front bumper.

Jennifer, the only other person who understands Alexis, wants to become a cyborg.  Jennifer despises her weak body.  That night, our heroes return to the Carson residence.  In the laboratory in the basement, Mr. Carson is preparing to transform Jennifer into a cyborg.  Alexis lifts Wes and Tucker with one arm each.  She finally releases them before they choke.  Then Alexis attacks Grace.  Lionel prevents Alexis from harming anyone else by using a remote device to disable her bionic arms.  Jennifer does not become a cyborg.

A few days later, Tucker mails the newest issue of the World Chronicle to Damon Furberg, wearing a neck brace.  Damon sees the joint byline.  Lyle, reading the story in another copy, turns to Lionel Carson and makes a request.  Lyle’s injury sidelined his plans for a football scholarship.  Would Mr. Carson give him two bionic arms?

Above:  Lyle, Hanging from the Goal Post

Character Beats

Tucker Burns was the editor of his high school newspaper.

Wes Freewald was overweight in high school.

Grace Hall was a cheerleader in high school ten years prior, before her first alien abduction.

Above:  Lionel and Alicia Carson

Great Lines

Wes Freewald, on Damon Furberg’s vehicle:  “Man!  It looks like the canned ham minus the ham.”

Tucker Burns:  “Great!  We have a six million dollar science teacher here.”

Grace Hall:  “It’s always been my experience that the deepest, darkest secrets come packaged like Mayberry.”

Headline:  “SNIPER HIRED TO THWART CRAZED POST OFFICE TERRORISTS.”

Above:  Wes, Tucker, and Damon’s Damaged Vehicle

In-Universe

Tucker Burns and Wes Freewald are roommates at 7657 Main Street, New York, New York.  (In real life, this is commercial property.)

Donald Stern and Vera are hilarious on the telephone as they pretend to be Tucker’s parents.

The registration of Damon Furberg’s vehicle expires in May 2001.

Above:  Jennifer

Comments

The Stepford Cheerleaders is the fifth episode produced and the eighteenth one broadcast.  The temporal setting is late August-early September 2000.  I recommend watching The Stepford Cheerleaders immediately after Baby Got Back, for reasons of internal chronology.  Baby Got Back is the third episode produced and the fourth one broadcast.

In I See Dead Fat People (the fourth episode produced and the fifteenth episode aired), Tucker learned that Wes Freewald had been an overweight teenager.  The temporal setting for I See Dead Fat People is July 2001, however.  Now the internal chronology does not work on this point.

For more commentary on screwy internal chronology and production order versus broadcast order or episodes, see Hot from the Oven.

Watching guest actors who were 23 or 24 years old at the time of episode filming play high school students is not a new experience.

At the time of filming, Chad Willett was 29, Reno Wilson was 32, and Rena Sofer was 33 years old.

David Purdham played the noble and patriotic Captain James at the tail end of the fourth season of Babylon 5.  Captain James was captain of the E.A.S. Agamemnon, succeeding John Sheridan in that post.  Captain James and the crew signed on with Sheridan’s rebellion against the evil Earth Alliance President William Morgan Clark, who had his predecessor assassinated then transformed the Earth Alliance from a republic into a xenophobic, totalitarian state modeled on 1984.  After President Clark committed suicide rather than accept arrest and trial, James helped Sheridan save the Eastern Seaboard of North America from destruction by the planetary defense system, which Clark had turned against the Earth.

The Stepford Cheerleaders is odd to watch in broadcast order.  It feels like an early episode because it is one.  The balance of the serious and the whimsical holds up well, though.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Feast of Edward Timothy Mickey, Jr. (December 1)   3 comments

Hymnal and Liturgies Title Page

Above:  The Title Page of the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969)

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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EDWARD TIMOTHY MICKEY, JR. (MAY 5, 1908-DECEMBER 1, 1986)

U.S. Moravian Bishop and Liturgist

Winston-Salem Journal, December 8, 1921, page 3

Above:  Winston-Salem Journal, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, December 8, 1921, Page 3

Accessed via newspapers.com

Edward Timothy Mickey, Jr., came from a family of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  He, born, at Salem (now Winston-Salem), North-Carolina, on May 5, 1908, was a son of Edward Timothy Mickey, Sr. (1877-1949), a businessman, and Ada Fogle Mickey.  Our saint attended local schools before studying at Moravian Church and Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, graduating from the college in 1930 and the seminary in 1933.

Reading Times, April 29, 1929, page 22 01

Reading Times, April 29, 1929, page 22 02

Above:  Reading Times, Reading, Pennsylvania, April 29, 1929, Page 22

Accessed via newspapers.com

During 45 years (1933-1978) of active ministry Mickey served 10 churches.  In the early 1940s our saint was the pastor of Grace Moravian Church, Mt. Airy, North Carolina.  The local schools lacked a music education program, but Grace Moravian Church did.  Thus, in 1942, Mickey began to give voice and trombone lessons to a young Andy Griffith (1926-2012), and to function as his mentor.  Our saint helped Griffith to matriculate at the University of North Carolina a few years later.

Our saint married Helen Schimmel (1910-2004).  The couple had two sons.  Edward Timothy Mickey, III (1935-2008), installed pipe organs, and David Charles Mickey, Sr. (1943-1993), was a merchant.

Our saint, a bishop from 1977 to his death (1986), was a liturgist.  He chaired the liturgical commission that prepared the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969), which succeeded the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923).   He also wrote Let Us Worship–A Study of the Hymnal of the Moravian Church, the 1985-1986 study guide for the Moravian Women’s Fellowship.  Furthermore, Mickey altered Arthur Tozer Russell‘s translation (“How Shall I Meet My Saviour“) of a hymn by Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) to remove awkward repetitions.  Thus the Hymnal and the Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969), offered both versions of the hymn, although the committee which prepared the Moravian Book of Worship (1995) dropped the unaltered translation.

Mickey was, toward the end of life, the Bishop-in Residence at the Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Although our saint lived in Winston-Salem, he visited Bethlehem frequently.

Mickey died at Winston-Salem on December 1, 1986.  He was 80 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RUTH, ANCESTOR OF KING DAVID

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONAVENTURE, THEOLOGIAN

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Edward Timothy Mickey, Jr.)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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