20171013

THE FALL GUY

Glen Larson ranked with Norman Lear and Aaron Spelling as one of television's most prolific producers. "('The Fall Guy') wasn't an easy show to sell," Glen Larson explained. "We didn't sell this in a conventional way. This is the most unusual pitch that ever took place in television … We took this idea of this song ('The Unknown Stuntman') and instead of going in pitching anything we just went in and sang the song. At the end of the singing of the song, they (the ABC buyers) said, 'Go write the pilot.'" 'The Unknown Stuntman' was written by David Somerville, Gail Jensen and Glen Larson. 

"The pilot was a joy because it just came together," Glen Larson recalled. "We kept evolving even during the pilot, you know, we found some other ideas; what we can do." In all, 112 episodes were produced and originally ran between 1981 and 1986. Described as "a prime-time extension" of the 1978 picture 'Hooper' about Hollywood stuntmen, Glen Larson said of 'The Fall Guy', "I think everything is derivative. It's derivative of life. It's not so much what you're doing as how you do it. You sit behind a desk and you'll be surprised at how alike all the ideas are. The networks knew what they're looking for, and if you sell a show it's because it's something the public wants." 

At the time, stuntmen were said to be in vogue - in the movies and on television. Glen's idea was each episode would feature a few scenes showing "an insider's view of moviemaking with the accompanying stunt work that may or may not have any bearing on that episode's story." Heather Thomas remarked, "I think it's one of the first shows that showed behind the scenes as far as stunts were concerned. They didn't have extras on CD in those days that would show you the making of and they never even thought the public would even be interested in the making of. Something Glen touched on." 

Lee Majors played Colt Seavers, who earned $5,000 a day doing two jobs: as a Hollywood stuntman and in his spare time working for a bail bondswoman as a bounty hunter, tracking criminals who had jumped bail. "I really wanted to do a show about a modern-day bounty hunter because our peculiar bonding system makes them a free agent," Glen Larson continued. 

Originally, 'The Fall Guy' was sold to ABC as a children's program because of the stunts. In its first season, 'The Fall Guy' was shown back-to-back with 'The Greatest American Hero' and provided lead-in for 'Dynasty'. However Glen Larson insisted, "We want to make this a show for adults. I'm convinced we're doing a more sophisticated show than ABC expected." 

At its peak, "The show ('Dynasty') was seen by a hundred million people a week globally," Catherine Oxenberg remembered. Pamela Bellwood added, "It really became known for the kind of superficial excess that the '80s represented." Esther Shapiro concurred, "I like to think of the show, as I've said before, like a glass of champagne between friends and lovers at 10 o'clock (at night). It's just pure enjoyment." 

Bill Conti expressed, "It's a brand new show. The very first thing that was going to be said about it is its little main title. No matter how everyone think you're waiting for the first word while subliminally the music comes on first and no one is talking. That's a heavy message to carry." Lloyd Bochner believed, "This was a kind of fantasy world many people admired. This kind of heightened picture of American riches. And many people strove for that kind of existence. It was pop culture. It had quality. It had class. It had style." 

On 'The Fall Guy', Lee Majors had his own stuntman Mickey Gilbert who doubled for Lee for the more dangerous stunt work. "But I do as much as I can," Lee had said. "I used to do a lot more of my stunts. But I'm 42 (in 1981) and it's about time I slowed down a little bit. That's an age when you’re old enough to know better but young enough to try." 

Glen Larson also pointed out, "The only people who thought the show would be a hit were the few who had seen the pilot before it went on the air. Even if we stopped the show today (in 1982) Lee would come out of it with a turned-around career. There was no audience sitting out there by the dial waiting for Lee Majors and everyone who saw it said, 'I had no idea Lee Majors could do that kind of humor and grace and charm.'… I ran into Lee Majors in an airport and I had worked with Lee on 'The Six Million Dollar Man' - I developed that show. So we stood there, he was going one place and I was going another, and we made the deal in the terminal." 

As co-producer, Lee Majors observed, "It was a benefit for Glen being in the office and for me being on the set. It worked well ... I also made some creative suggestions. For instance the star cameos in every episode were more or less my idea." Heather Thomas was 23 when she played the part of stuntwoman-in-training Jody Banks on 'The Fall Guy'. Heather told 'TV Star' in 1985, "Anyone can make it in Hollywood, if they know the right people. But the trick is to stay there. If a beautiful girl has a boyfriend who knows somebody, then she can get a small part on someone's show. But once you've got the role, the hard part is staying around." 

Growing up in an upper-middle-class, liberal intellectual family in Santa Monica - mother was a social education administrator, father held a PhD in psychology and headed institutional research for the California State University and sister Carol was a university teacher - Heather Thomas made known, "I felt that if I told them I wanted to become an actress they would look down on my choice so I went to UCLA and took courses in writing, film editing and film documentary." 

A 1980 graduate, Heather Thomas wanted to become a director but a friend working for a talent agency that needed a new blonde encouraged her to pursue acting. She won the part in the sitcom 'Co-ed Fever'. "It was a pathetic show," Heather lamented. "I was only picked for my looks – the blonde California girl. Producers just think blondes should be considered sex objects or victims. I wasn't that good an actress when I started in this business and I admit it, but, from the minute I decided I was going to work professionally, I took (acting) classes. But I do admit it was my looks, not my acting ability, that got me started in the business." 

The role in 'Co-ed Fever' afforded Heather the opportunity to meet with Glen Larson who casted her in an unsuccessful pilot for a spin-off of 'BJ and the Bear' before 'The Fall Guy'. "We were looking for a fresh-looking young lady but one who could also act. Heather had the right combination of looks and talent. She could easily be taken as just fluff – she can play that empty-headed quality so easily – but she's really a very bright lady," Glen Larson told the press. 

Heather said at the time, "Just a few years ago, I was a student at a TV station, hauling cable and running out for tacos. Now, I'm meeting producers, directors and lots of big-name stars." It was reported one of the highest-rated episodes of 'The Fall Guy' was in 1984 when Heather Thomas came through the bat-wing doors wearing the blue bikini. At the time, Heather's posters outsold every other poster on the market. 

Paj Night of the Starmakers Poster Corporation informed, "She was of course well known as a pin-up before she became an actress, Heather and Christie Brinkley are our best-selling poster subjects. In fact, they are the only two really big ones. In this one, she wears a blue bikini, and we are hoping to sell 5 million of them around the world. Her other two (posters) – one a swimsuit and another in a bikini – sold millions." 

Of the 1982 movie, 'Zapped', "I held off from that role for 3 months because I didn't want to do the nudity. It wasn't pornographic, they just wanted me to go topless … Basically I didn't want to be the brunt of a Scott Baio joke. In the nude scene, he was supposed to look at me and my dress pops off. And in another scene, Willie Aames, who plays my boyfriend, holds up a nude picture of me. But I never posed for that shot – they stuck my head onto a nude model's body." 

In 2008, Heather Thomas' first novel, 'Trophies', went on sale. 'Trophies' "lifts the veil on the already well-exposed world of Hollywood trophy wives," 'Publishers Weekly' noted. In October 1984, 'People Weekly' reported Heather Thomas, then 28, decided to enroll in the detox program at St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica, to beat a cocaine addiction said "dates back to the 6th grade in Santa Monica and persisted through junior and senior high school." 

Heather told 'People', "I was taking acid and making straight A’s. I just thought it was mind expanding." During the years on 'The Fall Guy', 'People' reported, Heather became "a regular user of the diuretic Lasix." Heather elaborated, "At first I was in a honeymoon stage with the drug. I felt that I was getting a lot for my money. It enabled me to stay up all night and then work all the next day." Heather also stressed, "Cocaine is not approved of on sets. It’s not clubby to do it anymore. It is just a private hell." 

'People' continued, "When she passed out in front of Majors last year (1983), Heather says Lee called her manager, who alerted her parents." Heather told 'People', "It was a big relief to me. I'd been on a roller coaster and I wanted to get off. If my family hadn’t intervened, I probably would have gone on my merry way until I lost my job or I died. The doctors said I should have been dead three years ago (in 1982)."

Douglas Barr had thought of becoming a diplomat  He studied political and international affairs at the University of Northern Colorado and World Campus Afloat. However once Doug Barr called "the CIA switchboard in Langley, Virginia to inquire about starting salaries, $13,000 didn’t sound like much to him. He decided to try breaking into films and television. Until he could make a living as an actor, he picked up money modeling in Paris and New York."

On 'The Fall Guy', Douglas Barr played Colt Seaver's Ivy League cousin Howie Munson, a stuntman-in-training. He told 'People', "Basically I'm the leading man type. At least that's how I'm listed in the Players' Guide. To be sent up on a part like this was fairly inconceivable, but they were down to the wire in casting, and when I read with Lee, it just worked." He also stated, "When I took the job initially, I looked at the formula. The show had a story unique enough to be interesting."

20171012

THE USERS

Joyce Haber died in August 1993. In 1968, the 'Los Angeles Times' named Joyce Haber as a successor to Hedda Hopper, who had died in 1966. Louella Parsons had retired in 1965. In hiring Joyce Haber, then associate editor of the 'Times', Jim Bellows, made the argument, "She wrote an extremely well-read column day after day. She was a hot ticket for many years." In those days, 'Women's Wear Daily' hailed Joyce Haber "one of the most powerful American women in the media." 

In 2002, Jim Bellows wrote his memoirs, 'The Last Editor' and revealed in 1970 the FBI with J. Edgar Hoover's approval used Joyce Haber's column to plant a story suggesting Jean Seberg (of 'Joan of Arc', 1957) was pregnant with Ray (Masai) Hewitt's child. At the time, the FBI was carrying out Counterintelligence Program, or Cointelpro. Jean Seberg had donated $10,500 to the black revolution. 

Raymond (Masai) Hewitt was the minister of education for the Black Panther Party from 1969 to 1971. He died in March 1988 of a heart attack. Jean Seberg was 40 when died in 1979 in Paris. Her last husband Ahmed Hasmi told the press she was last seen carrying a bottle of barbiturates prescribed by her doctor. In 1986, Raymond (Masai) Hewitt reportedly "helped to organize a 20th-anniversary reunion of the Black Panthers in Oakland. Hewitt had hoped that the anniversary would be the first step toward getting the former revolutionaries to analyze the successes and failures of the party."

Former member Bobby Bowen told the 'Los Angeles Times' in 1988, "He (Masai) did not like to dwell on the past but he always said that there were some important lessons to be learned from history." Since the fall of the Black Panthers, Bobby Bowen was understood to have "enrolled in a trade school studying to be an electrician." Bobby Bowen recounted, "I put in three years of my life in the party. We took militancy to the ultimate. Here we came with guns and black leather jackets. 

"We didn't realize that you can't get people to understand what you are saying by waving guns in their faces. We were angry militants who heard a call for revolution so what we did was run and pick up guns." Bobby Bowen contributed the downfall of the Black Panther Party "to the increasing use of drugs by some of those in the party's leadership, particularly former party Chairman Huey P. Newton, who was not invited to Hewitt's funeral."

In 1976, Joyce Haber wrote her best-selling novel, 'The Users' about Hollywood's pecking order. In its review of the book, 'Time' magazine called Joyce Haber "Hollywood's No. 1 voyeur." Joyce Haber's former husband,  Douglas S. Cramer, told Associated Press, "It's a very cynical book and Joyce is a cynical lady. She wrote the book after she was fired as gossip columnist for the 'Los Angeles Times'. I think she learned more from the outside than the inside. She learned more about people. When you have power and lose it, it gives you insight. You quickly learn who your friends are." 

As reported, "When the book was published, it set off a guessing game of who was who. The story is based on truth and each character has at least one authentic counterpart. A few characters are composites of several movie celebrities." In 1978, Aaron Spelling Production adapted Joyce Haber's blockbusting book for television starring Jaclyn Smith and John Forsythe of 'Charlie's Angels'. 

Aaron Spelling stated, "It's a combination of real people that will have people guessing." 'The Users' was originally intended to be made into a mini-series. Douglas S. Cramer disclosed, "But it was felt by ABC, that a Hollywood story wouldn't hold that long and that the characters were too unusable. But I think we have characters who are likable, or at least understandable. I think we convey the essence of the book but in good taste." 

'The Users' content was sexually explicit - so explicit it was reported two writers initially attempted to write a script from the 400-page book but could not meet the standards set by the censors until Aaron Spelling decided to bring in Robert J Shaw who "finally came up with an acceptable story." Jaclyn Smith, then 31, played a $100-a-night call girl from Arizona who married a fading movie star and became the social queen of Hollywood. Douglas Cramer had described the book as "light pornography." Jaclyn Smith made known, "I don't read dirty books. After 10 pages, they're all boring. I won't be using the language that was in the book." 

John Forsythe as multimillionaire Reade Jamieson: But in this town, power and romance seldom mix. This town is a game and the only real thrill is winning and the people here they're like the set on the movie lot. All façade! What's inside is not important, what's appear on the outside is. We're all existed to be used. We think of being useless as dead.

At the time, Aaron Spelling observed television stars such as Henry Winkler and John Travolta had become box office attractions, "They have shown that people will pay money to see them in the movies. I think more than anything else it's the snobbery of the higher echelon of Hollywood that's kept TV stars out of the movies. The reason stars are so anxious to get out is that they feel television is holding back their careers. I think the whole thing was a myth perpetuated by the movie moguls, who always looked down on television. I'm not that interested in movies. I feel movies are a director's medium and TV is a producer's medium. You don't have the creative control. You tell me who produced 'Star Wars' or 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.'"

Aaron Spelling was regarded the most successful independent producer in the history of TV, "I guess I hear at least once a day by innuendo that I've got too many shows on the air but that's tough. I know why we're on the air because we get the ratings." As the '70s was near the end, Aaron Spelling made the forecast, "I think the Western will replace the police show because the public wants law and order. It's the old morality play. People like to be reassured that good triumphs over evil. They may be frightened by what's happening in the world, but Kojak and all the other bigger-than-life heroes will make it all right."

20171010

CHARLIE'S ANGELS

In May 2017, Sony Pictures announced it was planning to release the third 'Charlie's Angels' picture on June 7, 2019. The 2000 movie grossed $264.1 million around the world and the second film, 'Full Throttle' earned $259 million. 'Time' magazine had described the original series as an "aesthetically ridiculous, commercially brilliant brainstorm surfing blithely atop the Zeitgeist’s 7th wave." 

By 1986, 'Charlie's Angels' could be seen in about 90 countries, from Sri Lanka to France, from Italy to Bangladesh. In 2011, the American Broadcasting Company ordered 8 remake episodes of 'Charlie's Angels'. Seven went on air. The pilot episode attracted over 8 million viewers but the numbers gradually reduced to 5 million plus viewers for the next few episodes. It was noted the show never came first place in its Thursday time slot. 

'Charlie's Angels', about three private investigators, was created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts. Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg Productions made 115 episodes which originally ran for 5 seasons between 1976 and 1981. Tanya Roberts told 'People Weekly', "People talk about how silly the scripts are, how formula. Well, let me tell you, there are only eight basic plots in life and this show covers them all." 

Kate Jackson came up with the 'Angels' in the title and ABC chose the name Charlie. In the series, John Forsythe played the voice of Charlie Townsend, the owner of the detective agency. Fans of John Forsythe could hear him when he spoke to the Angels through a Western Electric Speakerphone. Episode 4 'Angels In Chains' was the most popular. 

One production crew recounted, "If it wasn't for the physical appeal of its 3 stars, particularly Farrah, it would be an also-ran. Frankly, many of us were surprised when in the 4th week of the survey period, it grabbed a 59% share of the market. This means that something like 23 million people are watching – and that's one giant-sized audience." Leonard Goldberg stated, "'Angels In Chains' was my favorite episode. 'The New York Times' ran a huge photo of the girls chained together wading through a swamp. The show got a 56 share. The rerun got a 52 share. I told Aaron we should just run it every week until it dropped below 40 and then make another show." 

Farrah Fawcett revealed, "One week, they didn't have a script so they gave us a 'Mod Squad' script. They just crossed out the title." By the end, Cheryl Ladd commented, "We became cardboard characters, Beverly Hills Girl Scouts. We'd talk to Charlie, we'd do the caper, then gather in the office and talk about the caper. It became a one-note song." 

Aaron Spelling conceded, "In my career as a producer, the line I hate to hear from an actor more than any other is 'I won't say this; this is s---.' Once fame sets in, the actors want to cure the common cold instead of reciting dialog." Jaclyn Smith made known, "Family, religion and morality are what I'm all about. Dennis (Cole of 'The Young & the Restless') is more old-fashioned than I am. Once in a while I let a vulgar word slip out at home and Dennis goes crazy. He turns into an iceberg. He doesn't even like to hear me say 'dammit'. One day he said, 'I wish you wouldn't use that language. Your image is so sweet and pure, if people hear you cussing, I'll get blamed for it.'" 

At 16, Cheryl Ladd left her home town of Huron in South Dakota to go on tour singing with a trio. They broke up when the group arrived in Hollywood, "In my (first) 7 years in Hollywood I've had more than my share of disappointments." Cheryl Ladd told the press until 1980, "I had stopped going (to church) because in California I was afraid that being religious wouldn't fit in. So I learned to cuss a lot. I don't do that much any more, and if I slip and use the Lord's name in vain, I apologize."

Cheryl Ladd remembered, "Farrah was a big deal. Suddenly within a year, she became the US sex symbol, and created the most excitement since Marilyn Monroe. Viewers fell for Farrah in a big way, and I was afraid they might resent anyone who took her place. So don't say I'm her replacement. I'm her successor." Tanya Roberts concurred, "I sort of see this (changing characters) as a continuing saga, it's like musical chairs at this point (by the 5th season). To me I'm just another person on the show and I’m not replacing anybody. There are two actresses and they wanted a third. If Jackie leaves next season, which she says she will, they'll hire another girl and the public will either accept it or they won't, like they accept me or they don't." 

Jaclyn Smith decided not to renew her 5-year contract initially at $5,000 per episode when it expired in 1980. Jackie told the press, "I'd really like them to bring back Farrah and Kate for my last show so the three of us could be together one more time, but the series will probably run for another 20 years, so I don't suppose they'd do that." It was understood in addition to their 'Charlie's Angels' pay packets, the stars could earn other incomes such as endorsing cosmetics, toys, games, posters or starring in the movie of the week. A working day on 'Charlie's Angels' reportedly started at 5 o'clock in the morning and may not finish until after 7pm.

Farrah Fawcett's manager, Jay Bernstein, informed 'People Weekly', "She was the female Robert Redford, the healthiest role model America ever had. In 4 years she made about $17 million (including $4.5 million from Fabergé)." David Doyle as John Bosley remarked, "The time I spent waiting for the girls' hair to dry probably put one of my girls through a year of college." One director disclosed, "The director’s job was easier than the hairstylist's job."

It was reported Jaclyn Smith at the time signed a contract worth $100,000 a year with Wella Balsam. On reflection, David Doyle added, "Without that show, some of us would be worth about $3.50 a week." Aaron Spelling acknowledged, "I can't say this of every show I ever produced, but I loved 'Charlie's Angels'. It put us over the top and made our company financially secure and incredibly desirable."

In May 1988, Aaron Spelling held a press conference to launch 'Angels '88' to be shown on the Fox network. As noted, "The show will not be a sequel of its predecessor. There won't be any Charlie, there will be 4 Angels instead of 3, and one is black." Aaron Spelling advised, "These angels will not report to any man. The premise is that they're actresses whose show went up against 'The Cosby Show' and was canceled. They stumble upon a case and solve it. It's a contemporary show. We'll also see their private lives. They'll date, we'll get into sex, safe sex, but it's not going to be sexy. It's action-adventure with a lot of comedy."

Cheryl Ladd continued, "I’m acting on this show the way I would on any other and I'm developing my own character. By working with the show's writers, I've established my character, Kris, as a human being. Kris brings comic relief to the show. She is funny, and doesn't do everything exactly right. I like her, and she is the kind of girl many people can relate to.

"My agent submitted me for the part. The show's producers decided I had the blonde hair and the looks they were seeking, that I was sufficiently similar to Farrah to be convincing as her sister. They knew I could act because I was not some untried starlet and I have been a guest star on several top TV shows. My work in such series as 'Switch', 'Ironside', 'Happy Days', 'The Rookies' and 'The Partridge Family' had not gone unnoticed. I have a 5-year contract, but it allows me to do other things during our recesses. I'm very happy doing 'Charlie's Angels' and delighted with the many side benefits it affords me (such as a $25,000 caravan, an ever-available limousine and chauffeur, and all expenses for location trips)."

Tanya Roberts told 'People Weekly', "I hate driving. If I ever have enough money, I'm going to hire a guy to chauffeur me around in my Volkswagen." It was reported Tanya Roberts came from a well-to-do family, one of the richest in Toronto society. Growing up, "I was a wild, rebellious kid" and it was her rebellion which led Tanya to give up that life of security to become a runaway, living on the street, and joining some street gangs.

Her years on the street was said had introduced Tanya to poverty for the first time and on occasions Tanya and her friends had to steal food in order to survive. Fortunately for Tanya, she did not fall into serious trouble and managed to overcome the hardship she faced to become one of the top models in New York - arguably one of the world's toughest city - earning over $100,000 a year. At one time Tanya also dated Saudi-Arabian film producer Dodi Fayed, the then 29-year-old nephew of Adnan Kashoggi, one of the world's richest men.

Tanya told 'People Weekly', "I'm not the all-American-girl type. I'm real New York. Once Jackie Smith and I were sitting around on the set and this guy was driving us crazy. I told him to buzz off and Jackie said, ‘You really are tough, aren’t you?' I tried to tell her there's a difference between tough and direct. I say what's on my mind, but I think I'm sensitive."

In California, Tanya Roberts confessed, "Jesus, L.A. drives you crazy. I'm used to weather and walking and people who say what they mean." She liked the characterless two-bedroom apartment she lived in once "because it has wood floors. My God, every other apartment in Los Angeles is done up with orange or green carpets. Jesus.

"Rona Barrett, for God's sake, can you believe it? She asks me all those questions - Do I think it ('Charlie's Angels') will last? I say, of course, I'm going to bust my chops. She asks me about the degradation of having to wear a bikini on the show, and I tell her that I'm really into women's liberation but I wear a bikini on the beach, why not on the show?" At the time, Tanya's sister, Barbara, was married to the drug guru Timothy Leary. Tanya was adamant, "I don't like to talk about their marriage. I don't think people in the Midwest would understand."

TELEVISION

Martin Caidin's 1972 book 'Cyborg' inspired the TV series, 'The Six Million Dollar Man', first went on air between 1973 and 1978. Of his character, Lee Majors maintained, "I want to stay away from anything deep. If it gets too talky you're going to lose the kids … I've heard a lot of comment that it's like 'Batman' but you really believe the guy. He still has feelings."

Richard Anderson as Oscar Goldman, head of the OSI government agency, remarked, "I handle Steve Austin in 'The Six Milion Dollar Man' differently than I do Jaime Sommers in 'The Bionic Woman'. Lee Majors is a right guy both in person and in character. You have to reach him simply and directly. Steve respects force, power, strength and he has to know you mean it. With Lindsay Wagner, you're working with the chemistry between two people. She has a delightful sense of humor so the approach there is much lighter and buoyant."

In 1977 the pilot movie, 'Exo-Man' went on air. Martin Caidin drafted the initial script. Writer and producer Lionel E. Siegel reasoned, "It's easy to say that this or 'The Six Million Dollar Man' is a comic strip. But I try to make you believe this is possible and the only way I know how is to try to make the man real and his motivations real." Harve Bennett of 'Star Trek' added, "I said the only way I'd do it was to make him credible within the incredibility of having bionic limbs. I had a clear cut image of Lee Majors in the year of Watergate as a bonafide American hero. He's the man in the white hat. It was a case of the actor and the role coming together, providing I thought of him as the traditional outdoors Western hero."

Of 'Exo-Man', Lionel Siegel insisted, "My personal fascination has to do with two things. First, my belief that machines can do anything. Second, my fear of machines. Machines – computers – could take over. It's fascinating and scary. We have a great dependence on machines but we don’t understand them … I think this show relieves our anxieties about machines … I think it makes the audience feel in control and the master of the machine." Lionel also made the comment, "I personally like to write about people who are vulnerable, to show and dramatize those scenes. What I did was work with the characters until I liked them and understood them and put them into situations that exposed their anxieties, their fears and their strengths."

"Speaking as a producer and a writer," Harve Bennett observed, "as long as you're doing an anthology, the fewer the restrictions the better... 'Rich Man, Poor Man' – call it soap opera, melodrama or high art, I don’t care, because that is spontaneous and surprising. Once they get into it, the audience is not sure how it will come out." Based on Irwin Shaw's 1970 novel, 'Rich Man, Poor Man' chronicled the lives of two men over a 20-year span (1945 to 1965).

"It is such a distinct form of television because it has two things not usually seen on television – growth of character and a continuing story," Brandon Stoddard expressed. The 12 hours mini-series went on air in 1976. Harve Bennett revealed, "I resolved the biggest problem by combining 3 of the major female roles into one character. That makes for a tighter story and the audience gets the chance to identify with one woman from the beginning." That one woman was played by Susan Blakely. Shown over 8 nights, 'Rich Man, Poor Man' attracted an average of 43% share audience.

Kenneth Johnson created the character of Jaime Sommers who after a near-fatal sky-diving accident, underwent bionic surgery. As a result, Jaime Sommers could run 60 miles an hour, could lift a ton using her right arm and could hear whispers from a mile away with her right ear. However "even the expanded reality of the bionic world had to have its own internal truth," Kenneth Johnson told fans in 2004.

"In an effort to make her ever more accessible and closer to the truth of the everyday life which audiences young and older were leading", Kenneth Johnson made Jaime Sommers a junior high school teacher, teaching a mixed class of 6th, 7th and 8th-graders at the Air Force Base school. "Few of us have ever known tennis stars, but we’ve all had teachers."

On 'The Bionic Woman', viewers followed Jaime Sommers as she tried to start a new life in the small town of Ojai, California, where she grew up. "If she rescues a child in a fire, the smoke would probably get in his eyes so that he would not see her bionic feats," Kenneth Johnson stated at the time, "and in many cases she prefers to foster the belief that someone else was the hero."

Lindsay Wagner noted, "She (Jaime Sommers) teaches a mixed class of 6th, 7th and 8th-graders as I had done in drama classes at a private church affiliated club in Los Angeles. The children I work with in the classroom set in the series are wonderful. In the series, Jaime, the teacher, arranges the class so that she is part of the student circle formation. From my own experience, I believe strongly in this for all the energy is focused within the circle so that all function as a unit and no one is left to hide in a back seat as a non-participant."

In September 2006, the world was introduced to the first woman with bionic arm using electrodes, then 26-year-old Claudia Mitchell, a former officer in the US Marine Corps. Following a motorcycle accident, the $60,000 woman had her left arm replaced with a computerised and motorised arm which worked the same as a normal human limb. The UK 'Telegraph' explained, "The bionic limb works by rerouting nerves from the brain that once terminated in the hand. These are redirected from the shoulder to the chest, where they grow into the muscle. From there, commands are directed to the bionic arm using electrodes. Doctors said the blend of surgery and engineering was in its early days, but future versions would provide a sense of touch."


20171009

RAY OF LIGHT

Madonna explained the 1998 single, 'Ray of Light' "is a mystical look at the universe and how small we are." 'Ray of Light' was the 3rd track on Madonna's 7th album also called 'Ray of Light'. It was the first song of Madonna to made its debut at its peak position of No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her vocals throughout the 'Ray Of Light' album were described as a game changer. 

Speaking to 'Spin', Madonna made known, "I studied with a vocal coach for 'Evita' and I realized there was a whole piece of my voice I wasn't using. Before, I just believed I had a really limited range and was going to make the most of it." Of her newly-trained vocal chords, Madonna maintained working on 'Evita' had "really strengthened my voice. I learned how to sing in a way that I never did before." 

'Ray of Light' was No. 1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play for 4 weeks. In all, the song spent 14 weeks on the chart between May and August 1998 and 20 weeks in the Hot 100 from July to November 1998. Some 3.9 million copies of the 'Ray of Light' album were sold in the US in 1998. To create the electronic music with pop sound which was popular in the UK and Europe at the time, Madonna collaborated with William Orbit. 

Speaking to 'Q', Britain's biggest music magazine, in August 2002, William Orbit conceded, "Madonna was itchy to make a change and I came along at the right time. It bothers me when the press say, 'William Orbit revived her dwindling career'. It's so not the case. If anything, she revived my dwindling career." Madonna had stated, "I started studying the Kabbalah, which is a Jewish mystical interpretation of the Old Testament. I also found myself becoming very interested in Hinduism and yoga, and for the first time in a long time, I was able to step outside myself and see the world from a different perspective." William Orbit added, "Long before we started working on the album, Madonna was going through changes. I think she was heading in the direction we eventually took anyway." 

'Ray of Light' was a re-write of the 1971 folk song, 'Sepheryn'. 'Ray of Light' was written by Madonna, William Orbit, Clive Muldoon, Dave Curtiss and Christine Leach. Christine Leach recounted, "My uncle, Clive Muldoon, and his partner, Dave Curtiss wrote a song in the '70s called 'Sepheryn', which became 'Ray of Light'. I'd been working with William one fateful night in 1996, in London. and he played me a backing track that fitted so well with the lyric to 'Sepheryn' that I just started singing it."

William Orbit mentioned, "It was excellent, and I said so. I thought she'd written it, and she didn't say she hadn't. So that was among the (13) tracks on the original DAT (digital audio tape) I sent to Madonna." Christine Leach continued, "Later, I was sent a cassette in the post, of Madonna's version of the track and I nearly fainted. She must have loved the track – even her ad libs are the same as mine."

Dave Curtiss recalled, "I didn’t even know 'Ray of Light' had been recorded. A friend heard about it on the radio and told me. I was a bit annoyed at first because Madonna wanted 30% just for changing a couple of lines, but then I realized that 15% of millions is a lot better than 100% of nothing. I did very well out of it. It’s been a life-changing experience. I'd say I'm financially secure for at least the next 5 to 10 years as a result of 15% of one track by Madonna."

'Ray of Light' originally ran for over 10 minutes. "It was completely indulgent, but I loved it. It was heartbreaking to cut it down to a manageable length (over 5 minutes)," Madonna told 'Billboard'. In March 2013, Rick Nowels told 'Idolator', "Madonna and I wrote 9 songs together over a two week period in late April 1997. Madonna would show up at 3pm and we would start from scratch. She would leave at 7:00 and we would have a finished song and demo with all her lead and background vocals recorded.

"She is a brilliant pop melodist and lyricist. I was knocked out by the quality of the writing. The lyrics to 'The Power of Good-Bye' are stunning. I love Madonna as an artist and a songwriter ... I know she grew up on Joni Mitchell and Motown, and to my ears she embodies the best of both worlds. She is a wonderful confessional songwriter, as well as being a superb hit chorus pop writer ... She doesn't get the credit she deserves as a writer."

The 'Ray of Light' video was filmed in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sweden and directed by Jonas Åkerlund. As reported, the fast-paced dance song showed ordinary people doing their daily routines on the high-speed video, "All these images are intertwined with the beauty aspects of life. In between Madonna shakes to a great dance routine." The video was awarded 'Best Video', 'Best Female Video', 'Best Direction', 'Best Choreography' and 'Best Editing' at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, and 'Best Short-Form Music Video' at the 1999 Grammy Awards.

Jonas Åkerlund told 'Rolling Stone' in 2015, "It's probably, to this day (17 years on), the longest shoot ever for a music video. I think we shot 14 shoot days or so. But, we were the smallest crew. My idea was to fit the crew into one car. We found an angle, then we set it up, and then we were talking s---- for a half-hour, waiting for it because it took forever to do these shots.

"We did a few tests in Stockholm with a film camera so I could show her (Madonna) the technique I was talking about, and the test actually came out so good, that it ended up the final video. So there's a lot of shots from Stockholm in there. Of course, we didn’t shoot digital - we shot with a big, 35mm camera. We had this diagram that I had in my pocket for the whole production where it said how many frames per minute or per second that we needed to do in order to get the certain amount of footage.

"So let's say you shoot one frame every 10 seconds or so? Then you have to do that for 30 minutes to get like 5 seconds. Stuff like that we mounted the camera on a bus, I remember, driving around in New York. That was like a pretty big effort for a 20-frame thing [laughs]. Everything was like a huge thing considering how much that actually ended up in the video because it's happening so fast.

"Every shot was just like such a big deal. I think we ended up using everything we shot, too. The song was long - I remember in the edit thinking that the song was too long because I used up all the footage. At the time, I really didn’t think about it (winning the VMAs). I was there with my Swedish friends, just drinking beer and though it was great that the beer was for free. But looking back, it was a life-changing moment for me."

20171008

THE OMEGA POINT

Guiss created the replicate robot, Atlas by copying Astro's original designs, making Atlas and Astro brothers, according to episode 37 of the 1982 'Astro Boy' animated TV series. Viewers learnt Skunk had helped Guiss to get hold of the blueprints from the Ministry of Science. The difference between Atlas and Astro, viewers were told, was Guiss had built the Omega factor in Atlas' brain which made Atlas different than a normal robot, more human-like. "In fact, his is more complex and intelligent," Guiss guffawed, "because his mind is superior. To Atlas, humans are as simple as animals."

Theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who died on Easter Sunday 1955, viewed evolution as growth in consciousness and the whole evolutionary process of the universe would culminate in the Omega Point, "Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow." Peter Fallon of 'Second Nature Journal' elaborated, "For Teilhard de Chardin, evolution is a Divinely-directed process. There is indeed a power, an intelligence, which drives and directs evolution toward a pre-ordained end. There are no accidents in Teilhard de Chardin's view of evolution; or, at the very least, what appear to humans as accidents are in fact inevitabilities pre-programmed – by God – into the process."

Between 1923 and 1946, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was sent to China and there he assisted in the discovery of Peking Man, the 'missing links' in the human fossil record. Peking Man was the remains of a human who lived at Zhoukoudian some 750,000 years earlier. Based on new research in 2009, anthropologist Russell Ciochon told 'National Geographic' "there was a prolonged mass migration of Homo erectus from Africa, which began about 2 million years ago.

"Reaching southern China, the early humans would have come upon a subtropical forest, which would have proved uninviting to Homo erectus, who were accustomed to savanna and open woodlands. One group probably turned southeast and settled in Southeast Asia. A second group likely turned northeast and moved into what is now China. Part of the group settled the Zhoukoudian region and eventually evolved into the Peking man subspecies, Homo erectus pekinensis."

Speaking to 'The Guardian' in April 2017, German scientist Jürgen Schmidhuber made the forecast, "Very soon, the smartest and most important decision makers might not be human. We are on the verge not of another industrial revolution, but a new form of life, more like the big bang. In the year 2050 time won’t stop, but we will have AIs who are more intelligent than we are and will see little point in getting stuck to our bit of the biosphere. They will want to move history to the next level and march out to where the resources are. In a couple of million years, they will have colonized the Milky Way."

In her 1995 report for 'Wired' magazine, Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg noted, "Teilhard de Chardin saw the Net coming more than half a century before it arrived." John Messerly of 'hplusmagazine.com' pointed out, "Some contemporary commentators view the World Wide Web as a partial fulfillment of Teilhard de Chardin’s prophecy." Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg continued, "We stand today (back in 1995) at the beginning of Teilhard de Chardin's third phase of evolution, the moment at which the world is covered with the incandescent glow of consciousness." Cyberbard John Perry Barlow believed, "Teilhard de Chardin's work is about creating a consciousness so profound it will make good company for God itself. With cyberspace, we are, in effect, hard-wiring the collective consciousness."

Eric Horvitz maintained, "AI doomsday scenarios belong more in the realm of science fiction than science fact." However Stephen Hawking argued, "Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. In the near term, world militaries are considering autonomous-weapon systems that can choose and eliminate targets. Humans, limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded by AI."

Bill Gates stated, "I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned."

M. Castillo of the 'American Journal of Neuroradiology' March 2012 reported, "Reaching the Omega Point may not be possible without possessing the 5 attributes assigned to it by Teilhard de Chardin. These are pre-existing, personal, transcendent, autonomous, and irreversible. We humans are getting closer to the Point, particularly with the aid of computers and related technology. The Omega Point is the final step before 'Singularity' takes place. Once we achieve (or cross into) Singularity, which will be the first and truly major evolutionary step in mankind, we cease to be humans.

"In the near future, computers will surpass our collective intellect, and our only way to maintain our place in the universe will be to merge with them. When transhumanists speak about the Omega Point, they refer to the point when our use of science and technology will improve our human state, making conditions such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and even death a thing of the past."

Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg continued, "Teilhard de Chardin imagined a stage of evolution characterized by a complex membrane of information enveloping the globe and fueled by human consciousness. It sounds a little off-the-wall, until you think about the Net, that vast electronic web encircling the Earth, running point to point through a nervelike constellation of wires. We live in an intertwined world of telephone lines, wireless satellite-based transmissions, and dedicated computer circuits that allow us to travel electronically from Des Moines to Delhi in the blink of an eye."

By 2034, the Internet of Things (IoT) was expected to add up to $15 trillion to the global GDP. In 2014, some 4.9 billion objects were reportedly connected to the internet. Futurist Jacob Morgan explained in 'Forbes', "The IoT is a giant network of connected 'things' (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things. The new rule for the future is going to be, 'Anything that can be connected, will be connected.' The reality is that the IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place, many of which we can't even think of or fully understand the impact of today (in 2014). It's not hard to see how and why the IoT is such a hot topic today; it certainly opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also to many challenges."

'Wired' continued, "Pierre Teilhard de Chardin believed this vast thinking membrane would ultimately coalesce into 'the living unity of a single tissue' containing our collective thoughts and experiences." John Perry Barlow clarified, "What Teilhard de Chardin was saying here can easily be summed up in a few words. The point of all evolution up to this stage (in 1995) is the creation of a collective organism of Mind."

'Wired' continued, "Teilhard de Chardin argued there have been three major phases in the evolutionary process. The first significant phase started when life was born from the development of the biosphere. The second began at the end of the Tertiary period, when humans emerged along with self-reflective thinking. And once thinking humans began communicating around the world, along came the third phase.

"This was Teilhard de Chardin's 'thinking layer' of the biosphere, called the noosphere (from the Greek noo, for mind). Though small and scattered at first, the noosphere has continued to grow over time, particularly during the age of electronics. In introducing the idea of tangential energy – the energy of consciousness – as a primary factor in evolution, Teilhard de Chardin opened the door for a new level of meaning. The history of the world, he wrote, 'would thus appear no longer as an interlocking succession of structural types replacing one another, but as an ascension of inner sap spreading out in a forest of consolidated instincts.' This could very well be what the Net is doing – consolidating our instincts – so that consciousness can continue to develop."

20171002

1992 SUMMER OLYMPICS

In July 1992, Barcelona played host to the summer Olympics. As reported, "For the first time since 1972, the Games were boycott-free, due to important global political changes. Apartheid had been abolished in South Africa. Then there was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of West and East Germany. Communism had ended and the Soviet Union was divided into 15 separate countries which participated as a 'Unified Team' (and won 2 bronze medals in tennis)." 

South African Wayne Ferreira told 'The New York Times', "When we were growing up, we never had the chance to play Davis Cup or the Olympics, and there wasn't a lot to look forward to. We hope this will inspire them. Coming into the Olympics, we weren't going to play for ourselves, only for our country. If it is only one we bring back, we wanted to be the ones." The South Africans won the silver in the men's doubles tennis event. 

In all, some 9,356 athletes from 169 countries were competing in 257 events. In tennis, 64 men and 64 women representing 32 different nations were entered into the six-round Grand Slam-style format. There were also 64 doubles teams. The event would be held on the slow red clay surface at Vall d'Hebron which comprised "a 10,000 seat stadium court, two show courts with a 3,500-seat and 1,500-seat capacity, and 5 auxiliary courts." 

Goran Ivanisevic representing "the newly born nation of Croatia" made the comment, "It's not the same as Wimbledon but I'm a Croatian, we are a new country and any medal is important." Croatia won two bronze medals in the tennis men's singles and doubles. Boris Becker and Michael Stich won gold for Germany in the men's doubles. Boris insisted, "It can not compare to winning Wimbledon. You win that for yourself. Today I was playing for my country." 

Jim Courier remarked, "I see it as kind of the 5th Grand Slam of the year." Jennifer Capriati defeated Steffi Graf to win gold for the United States and at 16 at the time made history being the youngest Olympic tennis champion. In her semifinal match against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Jennifer Capriati was leading 6-3, 2-2 when King Juan Carlos, Prince Felipe and the rest of the Royal family of Spain took their seats alongside the 8,500 spectators. "I didn't know who they were," Jennifer recounted. "I just thought, 'I wish those people wouldn't come in now,' and then when the trainer told me who they were, I thought, 'O.K., you can come in and go out any time you want to.'" 

Adam Taylor of 'Business Insider' reported in 2012, "Nowadays we think of the Spanish city as a land of sun, sand and sangria, but it was easy to forget that before the Games in 1992, it was a somewhat different place. For one thing, it didn’t really have a beach before — the city created 2 miles of beachfront and a modern marina by demolishing industrial buildings on the waterfront before the Games. 

"The city had become an industrial backwater under the long rule of General Franco, who was perhaps angry at the city’s Catalan population for its resistance during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The Olympics represented a significant effort to restructure the city. Crucially the Games seemed to change the way people (around the world) thought of Barcelona. Between 1990 and 2001 the country went from being the 11th 'best city' in Europe to the 6th, according to one ranking. The International Olympic Committee says that 20 years after the Games, Barcelona is now (in 2012) the 12th most popular city destination for tourists in the world, and the 5th in Europe." 

Justin Clark of the 'Los Angeles Times' reported in 2015, "Prior to the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona was known as the regional capital that Spain’s long-reigning dictator Francisco Franco had purposely forgotten - as retribution for opposition to his rule. When Barcelona was awarded the Games in 1986, more than a decade after Franco’s death, the city still had a dysfunctional airport, maddening congestion, and an inaccessible waterfront blighted by industry. Then it won its Olympics bid. 

"Channeling an extraordinarily high percentage of its Olympic budget - nearly 85% - toward infrastructure improvements, Barcelona converted its waterfront into a center of nightlife and tourism and became the rare major European city to offer an enjoyable sand and surf experience. It also constructed a ring road, and brought its airport up to international standards, eventually becoming the 5th-most visited city in Europe and halving its unemployment rate in the process." 

Reporting from Barcelona back in July 1992, Phil Hersh of the 'Chicago Tribune' informed the American public, "On July 25 (1992), when the King of Spain enters the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremonies, he will be saluted with a pair of flags. One will be the flag of his country, the other the flag of its most prosperous region, Catalonia. Both flags are red and yellow, a similarity tinged with irony. 

"For Spain and Catalonia have a relationship colored deeply by historical, political and cultural differences that will only be underlined by having the XXVth (25th) Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Take the name of the Games. In Spanish, it is 'Los Juegos Olimpicos'; in Catalan, 'Els Jocs Olimpics'. The variation there is slight, but language is one of the many important barriers between Madrid, the Spanish capital, and Barcelona, the Catalan capital. 

"The two cities are separated by 360 miles and immeasurable distrust. The last time King Juan Carlos attended a ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, for instance, he was whistled by some 6,000 Catalan nationalists. Whistling is the European equivalent of booing, and booing the king is considered somewhat more insulting and unusual than, say, razzing Richie Daley (the 43rd Mayor of Chicago). 

"While some passed it off as the action of a few, others would say it accurately represented Catalans' reaction to everything coming from the province of Castile and its capital, Madrid, also the seat of the Spanish government. That is why the King was politely and firmly told to stay away when the Olympic torch, lighted in Greece and carried across the Mediterranean on a ship, made its Spanish landfall last month (June 1992) in the Catalan city of Empuries, colonized by the Greeks 2,600 years ago (in 575BC). 

"Instead of the King, the torch greeting party included a young man carrying an English banner that said, 'Freedom for Catalonia'. He was uninvited but not unwelcome. And, while the rest of Spain celebrates the 500th anniversary of (Christopher) Columbus' first voyage to the New World (the US in 1492), the Catalans want little to do with it, even though a huge Columbus statue stands in a prominent position on Barcelona's waterfront. 

"Catalans note that Columbus' purpose in coming to Barcelona after the first voyage was to be received by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, those interlopers from Castile. Among the graffiti in Barcelona today (in July 1992) is this politically correct message: 'Columbus genocide'. Consider also the case of Olympic tennis player Emilio Sanchez and his sister, Aranxta Sanchez Vicario, whose family has lived in Barcelona for two decades (since 1972). 

"He was born in Madrid, speaks mainly Spanish and is routinely jeered in Barcelona, including the day when he won a tournament at his own club. She was born in Barcelona, speaks fluent Catalan and is a local hero. The locals would like there to be no doubt that these are the Olympics of Catalonia and not of Spain. That issue has been debated since October 17, 1986, when the International Olympic Committee finally awarded them to Barcelona, an unsuccessful bidder for the Olympics of 1924, 1936 and 1972."

It was noted the Ottoman Empire which emerged in 1300 was abolished in 1924 when the empire was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. In 1993, then Turkey's Prime Minister, Tansu Ciller made the point why Istanbul should host the 2000 Summer Games which went to Sydney, Australia, "Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived together there for centuries." Tennis was part of the first Olympic Games in Athens 1896. However after Paris 1924, tennis was removed from the Olympics because of the amateur rules of the time - until Seoul 1988 when tennis became an official medal sport at the Olympics again.

The 'Chicago Tribune' continued, "The IOC's president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, is a personification of the problem. Even the spelling of his name, which he prefers in its Castilian form rather than the Catalan (which would be Joan Antoni), causes him contention. Samaranch is a native of Barcelona who spent much of his adult life in the civil service of a federal regime that repressed his fellow Catalans.

"In his home town, Samaranch is both blessed for having brought the economic boon that came along with the Olympics and damned for having been a functionary of dictator Francisco Franco. It must be remembered, however, that most everyone in power in contemporary Spain had some affiliation with Franco's government … But the flag of Catalonia will be raised and its anthem heard at the Opening Ceremonies.

"And what is Catalonia? It is one of Spain's 17 autonomous regions, encompassing 5% of Spanish territory and 16% of its population while producing 25% of the country's industrial production and tax revenues. But the system of regional autonomy does not allow Catalonia to levy its own taxes, a point stressed by those who seek Catalan independence.

"Catalonia was a powerful independent country throughout the Middle Ages, with its 12th-century domain extending west through Aragon and north into France. Its independence ended in the Spanish nationalism of the late 15th century, and separatist sentiments have remained part of the Catalan political fabric ever since. The main Catalan independence group, Terra Lliure (Free Land), generally has lacked the terrorist orientation of its Basque counterpart, ETA.

"While Terra Lliure announced it had been 'officially' disbanded a year ago (in 1991), explosives discovered last month (in June 1992) in Barcelona were linked to its organization. Catalans' resentment of Spain peaked during the 39 years of Franco's government, which ended at his death in 1975. After overcoming Catalonia's resistance during the Spanish Civil War and consolidating his power, Franco immediately carried out political and cultural reprisals against the region.

"The most symbolic was banning the use of Catalan and calling it a dialect, not a language. Franco's death led almost immediately to the restoration of Catalan as the first language taught in the region's schools. It will be one of the official languages of the Olympics, joining English, French and Spanish and marking the second time the Games have had four official languages.

"In track and field, the starter will call the runners to attention with the words, 'Als vestries llocs', which mean, 'On your marks'. Like Catalonia itself, the Catalan language is more closely related to southern France and its language, Provencal, than it is to Spain. Catalonia also has little in common with the touristic cliches of Spain-flamenco dancers, bullfights and siestas. A visitor to Barcelona will find flamenco and bullfights only because the Catalans, businessmen first and foremost, know these are money-making attractions.

"And no Catalan would be caught napping if those hours could be used more profitably. In Catalonia, the native dance is the sardana, which has its origins in sun worship. It is performed without folkloric pretense in villages and cities throughout the region. The popular image of Spain as passionate and welcoming does not hold in Catalonia. Its modern residents inherited suspicion and aloofness from ancestors who retreated to safe havens in the mountains during the Moorish invasions 12 centuries ago (711-788). 

"One day, an American who has lived in Barcelona for more than a year decided to try a little experiment. He would walk down a main street and smile or say hello - or both - to everyone he passed for 30 minutes. The response? Silence and expressionlessness. 'We are the north of the south,' Barcelona mayor Pasqual Maragall said. Barcelona itself is a political hybrid. Its central city residents are mainly rightist.

"The more populous suburbs are mainly leftist, filled with workers from poorer southern Spain. That is how Maragall, a socialist, wins elections as mayor in the capital of a region that elects a conservative, Jordi Pujol, President of the Generalitat, Catalonia's regional government, to head the Catalan government. Spain's Prime Minister is also a socialist. The general relationship between Barcelona and Madrid is not unlike that between Milan and Rome. From the perspective of their second cities, the Spanish and Italian capitals look like dinosaurs bloated by bureaucracy and frivolity. In Catalonia, the disdain for Spain is ever so plain."

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