Truth vs Hollywood
Truth vs Hollywood
Aug 28, 2020
12: American Gangster, Part 2
53 min
In the conclusion of American Gangster, Frank and Richie finally meet and join forces. Joanna and Dave talk about the fun of gangster movies’ obtuse language, Ruby Dee being awesome, and the FBI trying to sue this film for some reason. Plus, where are they now! 

This episode is sponsored by:
Pretty Litter (Code: TVH)

Truth vs Hollywood’s theme is “Temples” by Six Umbrellas. Music in this episode is “Distilled” by Nctrnm; “I Bet You Wonder Why” by Lee Rosevere; and “Passages” by Kai Engel

Futility Closet
Futility Closet
Greg Ross
321-The Calculating Boy
George Parker Bidder was born with a surprising gift: He could do complex arithmetic in his head. His feats of calculation would earn for him a university education, a distinguished career in engineering, and fame throughout 19th-century England. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we'll describe his remarkable ability and the stunning displays he made with it. We'll also try to dodge some foul balls and puzzle over a leaky ship. Intro: John Clem joined the Union Army at age 10. Actress Tippi Hedren kept an African lion as a house pet in the 1970s. Sources for our feature on George Bidder: E.F. Clark, George Parker Bidder: The Calculating Boy, 1983. Steven Bradley Smith, The Great Mental Calculators: The Psychology, Methods, and Lives of Calculating Prodigies, Past and Present, 1983. Frank D. Mitchell, Mathematical Prodigies, 1907. Henry Budd Howell, A Foundational Study in the Pedagogy of Arithmetic, 1914. A.W. Skempton and Mike Chrimes, A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland: 1500-1830, 2002. George Eyre Evans, Midland Churches: A History of the Congregations on the Roll of the Midland Christian Union, 1899. David Singmaster, "George Parker Bidder: The Calculating Boy by E.F. Clark," Mathematical Gazette 71:457 (October 1987), 252-254. Antony Anderson, "Fairgrounds to Railways With Numbers," New Scientist 100:1385 (Nov. 24, 1983), 581. Frank D. Mitchell, "Mathematical Prodigies," American Journal of Psychology 18:1 (January 1907), 61-143. Richard A. Proctor, "Calculating Boys," Belgravia Magazine 38:152 (June 1879), 450-470. Martin Gardner, "Mathematical Games," Scientific American 216:4 (April 1967), 116-123. "A Short Account of George Bidder, the Celebrated Mental Calculator: With a Variety of the Most Difficult Questions, Proposed to Him at the Principal Towns in the Kingdom, and His Surprising Rapid Answers, Etc.," pamphlet, 1821. Louis McCreery, "Mathematical Prodigies," Mathematics News Letter 7:7/8 (April-May 1933), 4-12. "Memoirs of Deceased Members," Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 57 (1878-1879), Part III, 294. "George Parker Bidder," Devon Notes and Queries, Vol. 2, 1903. "Calculating Boys," Strand 10 (1895), 277-280. "Bidder, George Parker," Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911. H.T. Wood, "Bidder, George Parker," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Sept. 23, 2004. Listener mail: Todd S. Purdum, "His Best Years Past, Veteran in Debt Sells Oscar He Won," New York Times, Aug. 7, 1992. "In Financial Straits, Actor Sells '46 Oscar," Chicago Tribune, Aug. 7, 1992. "Harold Russell Selling 'Best Years of Our Lives' Oscar," Los Angeles Times, July 31, 1992. Heathcliff Rothman, "I'd Really Like to Thank My Pal at the Auction House," New York Times, Feb. 12, 2006. Stephen Ceasar, "You Can't Put a Price on Oscar: Even Heirs of Winners Are Bound by Rules Against Selling the Statue," Los Angeles Times, Feb. 25, 2016. "Orson Welles' Citizen Kane Oscar Auctioned in US," BBC News, Dec. 21, 2011. Allen St. John, "Does Japanese Baseball Have the Answer for MLB's Dangerous Foul Ball Problem?", Forbes, Sept. 30, 2017. "Foul Balls in Japanese Baseball," Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, HBO, April 20, 2016. "A Look at Some Extended Protective Nettings in the KBO and NPB," Fan Interference, Feb, 2, 2016. Andrew W. Lehren and Michelle Tak, "Every Major League Baseball Team Will Expand Netting to Protect Fans From Foul Balls," NBC News, Dec. 11, 2019. Bill Shaikin, "A Lawsuit Could Make Baseball Teams Liable for Foul Balls That Injure Fans," Los Angeles Times, Feb 20, 2020. This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Jon Jerome. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at Thanks for listening!
33 min
A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs
A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs
Andrew Hickey
Episode 106:"Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen
Episode 106 of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen, and the story of how a band that had already split up accidentally had one of the biggest hits of the sixties and sparked a two-year FBI investigation. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode. Patreon backers also have an eight-minute bonus episode available, on "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore. Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt's irregular podcasts at and ----more---- Resources As always, I've created a Mixcloud streaming playlist with full versions of all the songs in the episode. The single biggest resource I used in this episode was Dave Marsh's book on Louie Louie. Information on Richard Berry also came from Marv Goldberg's page, specifically his articles on the Flairs and Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns. This academic paper on the song is where I learned what the chord Richard Berry uses instead of the V is. The Coasters by Bill Millar also had some information about Berry. Love That Louie: The Louie Louie Files has the versions of the song by the Kingsmen, Berry, Rockin' Robin Roberts, and Paul Revere and the Raiders, plus many more, and also has the pre-"Louie" "Havana Moon" and "El Loco Cha Cha Cha" The Ultimate Flairs has twenty-nine tracks by the Flairs under various names. Yama Yama! The Modern Recordings 1954-56 contains twenty-eight tracks Richard Berry recorded for Modern Records in the mid-fifties, including the Etta James duets. And Have "Louie" Will Travel collects Berry's post-Modern recordings, including "Louie Louie" itself. Patreon This podcast is brought to you by the generosity of my backers on Patreon. Why not join them? Transcript Today we're going to look at what is arguably the most important three-chord rock and roll record ever made, a song written by someone who's been a bit-part player in many episodes so far, but who never had any success with it himself, and performed by a band that had split up before the record started to chart. We're going to look at how a minor LA R&B hit was picked up by garage rock bands in the Pacific Northwest and sparked a two-and-a-half-year FBI investigation, and was recorded by everyone from Barry White to Iggy Pop, from Motorhead to the Beach Boys, from Julie London to Frank Zappa. We're going to look at "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen: [Excerpt: The Kingsmen, "Louie Louie"] The story of "Louie Louie" begins with Richard Berry. We've seen Berry pop up here and there in several episodes -- most recently in the episode on the Crystals, where we looked at how he'd been involved in the early career of the Blossoms, but the only time he's been a signficant part of the story was in the episode on "The Wallflower", back in March 2019, and even there he wasn't the focus of the episode, so I should start by talking about his career. Some of this will be familiar from other episodes from a year or two ago, but here we're looking at Berry specifically. Richard Berry was one of the many, many, great musicians of the fifties to go to Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, and was very involved in music at that school. When he arrived in the school, he had an aggressive attitude, formed by a need to defend himself -- he walked with a limp, and had first started playing music at a camp for disabled kids, and he didn't want people to think he was soft because of his disability. But as soon as he found out that you had to behave well in order to join the school a capella choir he became a changed character -- he needed to be involved in music. And he soon was. He joined a group named The Flamingos, who were all students at Jefferson and proteges of Jesse Belvin, who was a couple of years older than them. That group consisted of Cornell Gunter on lead vocals, Gaynel Hodge on first tenor, Joe Jefferson on second tenor, Curtis Williams on baritone, and Berry on bass -- though Berry was one of those rare vocalists who could sing equally well in the bass and tenor ranges, and in every style from gritty blues to Jesse Belvin style crooning. But as we've seen before, the membership of these groups was ever changing, and soon Curtis Williams left, first to join the Hollywood Flames, and then to join the Penguins. He was replaced, but Gunter and Berry left soon afterwards, and the remaining members of the band renamed themselves to The Platters. Berry and Gunter joined another group, the Debonairs, which was originally led by Arthur Lee Maye, with whom Berry would make many records over the years in the off-season -- Maye was a major-league baseball player, and couldn't record in the months his main career was taking up his time. Maye soon left the group, and in 1952 The Debonairs, with a lineup of Berry, Gunter, Young Jessie, Thomas Fox and Beverly Thompson, visited John Dolphin and made their first record, for Dolphins of Hollywood. The A-side featured Gunter on lead: [Excerpt: The Hollywood Blue Jays, "I Had a Love"] While the B-side featured Berry: [Excerpt: The Hollywood Blue Jays, "Tell Me You Love Me"] The group were disappointed when the record came out to discover that it wasn't credited to the Debonairs, but instead to the Hollywood Blue Jays, a name Dolphin had also used for other groups. The record didn't have any success, and so the group started looking for other labels that might record them. Cornell Gunter sat down with a pile of records and looked for ones with a label in LA. They decided to go with Modern Records, and ended up signed to Flair records, one of Modern's subsidiaries. The label suggested they change their name to The Flairs, and they eagerly agreed, thinking that if their band had the same name as the label, the label would be more likely to promote them. Their first single for their new label was produced by Leiber and Stoller. One side was a remake of their first single, in better quality, with Gunter again singing lead, while the B-side was another Richard Berry song, "She Wants to Rock": [Excerpt: The Flairs, "She Wants to Rock"] Apparently in 1953, when that came out, the title was still considered racy enough that the DJ Hunter Hancock insisted on them going on his radio show and explaining that by "rock" they merely meant to dance, and not anything more suggestive. Over the next couple of years, the Flairs would record and release tracks under all sorts of names -- as well as many Flairs records they also released tracks as by The Hunters: [Excerpt: The Hunters, "Rabbit on a Log"] as Young Jessie solo records: [Excerpt: Young Jessie, "Lonesome Desert"] And as the Chimes. Several of these records were produced by Ike Turner, who by this point had moved on from working with Sam Phillips and was now working for the Bihari brothers, who owned Modern Records. Berry also released solo recordings, and recorded with a group led by Arthur Lee Maye, first as the Five Hearts (though there were only three of them at the time), then as the Rams, before the group settled down to become Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns: [Excerpt: Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns, "Set My Heart Free"] At one point in 1954, Berry was in three groups at the same time. He was in the Flairs, the Crowns, and the Dreamers -- the group who became the Blossoms, who we talked about two weeks ago. And on top of that he was also recording a lot of sessions both as a solo singer, and as a duo with Jenell Hawkins, who also sometimes sang with the Dreamers: [Excerpt: Rickey and Jenelle, "Each Step"] The reason Berry was working on so many records wasn't just that he loved singing, though he did, but because he'd learned from Jesse Belvin that it didn't matter what the contract said, you were never going to get any royalties when you made records. So he sang on as many session…
55 min
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