October 4, 2001

Entertainment News

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Keeping Things in Perspective

Chubby Checker recently took out a full-page ad in Billboard magazine demanding a statue in the courtyard of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. Checker argued that he’s one of rock’s most important figures for creating “The Twist.” If he doesn’t get a statue, he’ll refuse induction into the hall — even though he hasn’t actually been voted in yet.

To add credibility to his demands, Checker is also suggesting that not only did rock and roll have no dance before he did “The Twist,” he also deserves a Nobel Prize for its creation. “The Twist,” by the way, is a cover of a song by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters.

What More Can They Want?

Endemol Entertainment, the Dutch company behind the privacy-raping reality show Big Brother, has unveiled its new creation, entitled The Master Plan. The plan apparently calls for participants not only to give up their privacy, but also control of their lives for an entire year. The show is currently being planned only for Scandinavia, Germany, and Portugal.

Chopping Block

Rental behemoth Blockbuster Video is currently eliminating 25% of its VHS inventory to make room for more DVDs. By next year, DVDs will account for 30% to 40% of the chain’s retail inventory, said Blockbuster chairman and CEO John Antioco. Older VHS titles will be the first to go.

However, entertainment industry rumor site Ain’t It Cool News (http://www.aintitcoolnews.com) is reporting that there is a darker side to this upgrade. According to the site, Blockbuster is not selling its VHS tapes to independent video stores, customers, or donating them to charity. Blockbuster is apparently asking stores to throw away or destroy the tapes. Considering the vast majority of cult B-flicks and old martial arts movies out there that haven’t been released on DVD yet, fans of such things would be well advised to make copies of them while they can before they’re lost forever to a landfill.

You’re Next

The record industry continues its war on copyright violations, declaring that they are suing Morpheus, Kazaa and Grokster on Tuesday. The three are among the largest services music fans have used to trade files over the Net since the fall of Napster.

“We cannot sit idly by while these services continue to operate illegally, especially at a time when new legitimate services are being launched,” Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) president and CEO Hilary Rosen said in a statement. Each of the five major record companies is backing either MusicNet or Pressplay, two services that promise to offer subscription downloading services by the end of the year.

Politically Corrected

The White House has added its voice to the ranks of people condemning Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher ’78 for comments made last week describing recent U.S. military actions as “cowardly.” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says that Maher’s comments, made on the ABC show last Monday, were “unfortunate” and “a terrible thing to say.”

Although he hadn’t actually seen the broadcast, Fleischer said it was a reminder that Americans “need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.”

Wait, isn’t free speech one of those things that’s supposed to separate us from totalitarian countries?

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