Bowling for Muppets

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Long after taking Manhattan, the Muppets are going to grab hold of the famed Hollywood Bowl for their first-ever live performances.

"The Muppets Take the Bowl" will reign over the Los Angeles amphitheater for three nights, September 8–10.

Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and pals will be joined by "special celebrity guests" and conductor Thomas Wilkins' Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. The program will feature the latest adventures of "Muppet Labs," "Pigs in Space," and "Veterinarian's Hospital," sketches made famous by the syndicated "The Muppet Show" from 1975-81.

Each performance will be capped by fireworks—assuming Miss Piggy ever relinquishes the spotlight.

By Kevin Haynes |

Dolly for Kids

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Dolly Parton is tapping into the fountain of youth for her first-ever children's album, "I Believe in You," available September 29 for download and October 13 on CD and vinyl.

"Since I'm getting so old, I'm going back into my second childhood," the 71-year-old country legend announced.

Parton wrote and recorded 14 songs for her 44th studio album, which includes a fresh take on "Coat of Many Colors," the 1971 track inspired by her impoverished childhood in rural Tennessee. The other 13 new songs boast life-lesson titles like "Makin' Fun Ain't Funny," "You Can Do It," and "Responsibility."

"I Believe in You" is coming out 50 years after Parton's debut album, 1967's "Hello, I'm Dolly."

All proceeds from the children's album will be donated to the Imagination Library, the nonprofit organization that Parton established 20 years ago. The charity provides a new book every month to more than 1 million infants and toddlers in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

By Kevin Haynes |

'Close Encounters' at 40

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Get ready for a close encounter of the fourth kind: a chance to see a spiffy new print of Steven Spielberg's classic sci-fi flick in a movie theater.

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind," remastered in 4K, will hit big screens nationwide for one week beginning Friday September 1, the start of Labor Day weekend.

The re-release coincides with this fall's 40th anniversary of the eerie drama, which premiered November 16, 1977.

"Close Encounters," signaled by composer John Williams' now familiar five-tone motif, was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Melinda Dillon). Alas, it won only one Oscar, for Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography.

Richard Dreyfuss stars as the UFO-obsessed electrical lineman who knows all about the three kinds of alien close encounters: sightings, physical evidence and direct contact. In a case of life imitating art, Dreyfuss had to endure a few close encounters of his own before getting the role, which was originally offered to Steve McQueen, who turned it down. So did Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino.

Co-stars include Terri Garr, Bob Balaban and famed French director Francois Truffaut as the government scientist who investigates UFO sightings throughout the U.S.

Can't make it to the cineplex for the special screening? Fear not. The remastered "Close Encounters" will be available on Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD starting September 19.

By Kevin Haynes |

Stills and Collins Unite

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Consider it a golden anniversary celebration. Fifty years after launching the romance immortalized in "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," Stephen Stills and Judy Collins want their relationship to be on the record—their first album of duets, "Everybody Knows," is coming out September 22.

Under the billing of Stills & Collins, the 10-song collaboration includes covers of Stills' pre-"Suite" ode to Collins, "Judy," and the first song the couple ever recorded together, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," which appeared on Collins' 1968 album of the same name.

The title track was written in 1988 by Leonard Cohen, whose songwriting career got a jumpstart from Collins when she recorded some of his early songs, like "Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire."

The duo also cover Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country," the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care" and rework "Questions," an old Stills song that was incorporated into "Carry On," the opening track of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 1970 magnum opus, "Déjà Vu."

Another highlight: a new song by Collins, "River of Gold."

"Everybody Knows" is being teased by Stills, 72, and Collins, 78, on their first-ever nationwide tour as a duo, which kicked off at the end of July and wraps up November 5 in Santa Rosa, California.

By Kevin Haynes |

Purple Reign

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Now you can paint the town purple with Prince.

Pantone, the color-crazy company famous for its swatches of every shade under the rainbow, has unveiled Love Symbol #2, the official purple of Prince.

The new custom hue, inspired by the late legend's purple Yamaha piano and endorsed by his estate, is described by the company as "emblematic of Prince's distinctive style."

"Love Symbol #2 enables Prince's unique purple shade to be consistently replicated," says a Pantone executive, "and maintain the same iconic status as the man himself."

Look for Love Symbol #2 to pop up on Prince products everywhere.

By Kevin Haynes |

Eagles Announce Fall Tour

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This fall, the Eagles will resume running down the road, trying to loosen the load of losing co-founder Glenn Frey last year.

The band will host "An Evening with the Eagles" in four cities in October, supplementing a previously announced September 30 concert with the Doobie Brothers, The Classic Northwest, at Seattle's Safeco Field.

The just-announced arena shows will be October 17 in Greensboro, North Carolina, October 20 in Atlanta, October 24 in Louisville, Kentucky and October 27 in Frey's hometown, Detroit.

Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m.

Eagles drummer and co-founder Don Henley, guitarist Joe Walsh and bassist Timothy B. Schmit will once again be joined by Frey's 24-year-old son, Deacon Frey, and country legend Vince Gill. They performed last month at two all-star stadium festivals in Los Angeles and New York, The Classic West and The Classic East.

The shows marked the Eagles' first appearance together since they paid tribute to Frey a month after his death by singing "Take it Easy" at the 2016 Grammy Awards.

Frey was 67 when he died January 18, 2106 in New York after a brief illness.

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: Sonny & Cher

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Grammar teachers cringed, but pop music lovers swooned 52 years ago today when Sonny & Cher scored their first No. 1 hit with "I Got You Babe." The love-conquers-all duet topped the charts for three weeks in August 1965 and later became the signature song of "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" on CBS. But did you know…

· Sonny Bono wrote the song as a sentimental antidote to Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe."

· Cher was unimpressed when Sonny woke her up to play it for her for the first time on their living room piano. "I didn't like it," she tells Billboard. "I just said, 'Okay, I'll sing it and then I'm going back to bed.' So I was never a very good barometer" of a song's potential to be a hit.

· Like Cher, Atlantic Records' legendary founder Ahmet Ertegun wasn't a big fan of the song either. He relegated it to the B-side of Sonny & Cher's first single on the Atco label, "It's Gonna Rain." The tide turned when a Los Angeles radio station started playing the other side instead.

· The success of "I Got You Babe" put an end to the couple's days as backup singers. The hit singles they had contributed to include "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers and "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes.

· The song's staying power has transcended genres and generations. UB40's reggae cover cracked the Top 40 in 1985, with vocal help from Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. In 1994, Cher recorded a new version—with Beavis and Butthead.

· In 1993's "Groundhog Day," Bill Murray's character was awakened every morning at 6 o'clock sharp by an alarm clock radio playing "I Got You Babe." He got to live the same day over and over again, babe.

Photo: Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

'Bonnie and Clyde' at 50

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Here's a fun way to ambush your weekend plans: Celebrate the 50th anniversary of "Bonnie and Clyde" by checking out its rare reappearance on the big screen.

The 1967 gangster flick starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway will be shown in select theaters nationwide on Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. There will also be encore screenings on Wednesday August 16.

The special showings are presented by Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events.

"Bonnie and Clyde," directed by Arthur Penn, is best known for its unflinching violence, including a climatic roadside ambush that plays out like a slow-motion death waltz.

The drama was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor (both Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard). The only winners were Best Supporting Actress Estelle Parsons and cinematographer Burnett Guffey.

By Kevin Haynes |

Peter Pan at 70

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The impish kid who famously sang "I Won't Grow Up" sure is getting old. A new play, "For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, " begins previews next week at Playwrights Horizon in New York.

Kathleen Chalfant, 72, stars as the suddenly senior believer in Neverland. The Tony Award-nominated actress ("Angels in America," "Wit") portrays one of five older siblings who embark on a search for renewed youth, "even if flying is harder than it used to be," notes the New York Times.

"For Peter Pan…" was written by Sarah Ruhl, 43, who has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her plays "The Clean House" (2004) and "In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)" (2009).

Peter Pan, created in 1902 by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie, has inspired a number of memorable films and plays, including the 1953 Disney animated movie and the 1954 Broadway musical starring Mary Martin. That production became the first play broadcast live and "in living color" on NBC a year later.

Martin remained in the role when the musical was restaged by NBC in 1960, a production that was rebroadcast in 1963, 1966 and 1973 and later reissued on VHS and DVD.

In 2014, NBC aired "Peter Pan Live!," starring Alison Williams ("Girls") as Pan and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

By Kevin Haynes |

Munsters Return

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Crank up the ol' surf guitar music: "The Munsters" is coming back to network television—and moving to "hipster-infested" Brooklyn.

NBC is reviving the classic CBS series that aired in glorious black and white from 1964-66.

No word yet on when the show will premiere or who will play Herman and Lily Munster, the very odd couple made famous by Fred Gwynne and Yvonne De Carlo. But the reboot will be set in oh-so-suddenly trendy Brooklyn, the New York borough that won't even flinch at the sight of 1313 Mockingbird Lane. The original Munsters—including Eddie, Grandpa and freakishly normal Marilyn—lived in a fictional California suburb.

The pilot is being written by Jill Kargman, the creator and star of Bravo's "Odd Mom Out." She will also serve as executive producer, along with "Late Night" host and SNL alumnus Seth Meyers.

By Kevin Haynes |

In Praise of the Typewriter

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Millennials will probably think of it as a history lesson in old-school texting and hipsters might appreciate the same retro vibe as vinyl. But movie audiences of a certain age are likely to feel a nostalgic twinge for the clatter and ding of "California Typewriter," a documentary about the machine that revolutionized the written word.

"Unorthodox and delightful," says The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, opening August 11 in New York and Los Angeles, was written and directed by Doug Nichol, who won a music video Grammy Award in 1994 for his work on Sting's "Ten Summoner's Tales" and was the director of photography on Madonna's 1988 documentary "Truth or Dare."

Nichol's latest labor of love, five years in the making, celebrates the century-old technology with help from Tom Hanks, who has collected more than 250 manual typewriters. "Ninety percent of them are in perfect working order," he notes.

Fellow fans of bygone brands like Brother, Royal and Smith-Corona include musician John Mayer, playwright/actor Sam Shepard and the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, which delivers a hunt-and-peck performance.

The documentary's title character, however, is the repair shop in Berkeley, California, that dates back to 1949. The owner reports that business is better than it was a decade ago, though its days may be numbered. The total number of factories producing typewriters today: one, in India.

But that doesn't stop Nichol from delivering a rousing Typewriter Manifesto. "We affirm the written word and the written thought against multimedia, multitasking and the meme," it says, in part.

Historian David McCullough is an enthusiastic supporter, pointing out that he still writes on the same typewriter he bought in 1965.

"There's a tactile satisfaction in it that's part of our humanity," says the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Truman" and "John Adams."

Ding!

Photo: American Buffalo Pictures

By Kevin Haynes |

Dave's Back

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After two years of relative silence, David Letterman wants to talk.

The 70-year-old late-night host is returning to TV with a new show for Netflix. Letterman has signed on for six episodes of the yet-to-be named series, which will feature hour-long interviews with a guest and "segments in which he explores the wider world," reports the New York Times.

Letterman says one guest is already confirmed, though he declined to reveal more details. His booking strategy: "Write down a list of people that you know you're not going to be able to talk to, and those are the people that I want to try to get to talk to."

No word yet on when the new show will premiere on Netflix. Letterman retired in 2015, ending a 33-year run on late-night TV at CBS (1993-2005) and NBC (1982-1993).

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Glen Campbell Dies

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Ever smilin', ever gentle on our minds, Glen Campbell hosted a goodtime hour that lasted a lifetime.

But behind the good looks and aw-shucks grin, there was a weariness that served his music well. The ache in Campbell's down-home voice came through loud and clear in his best-known hits from the 1960s and '70s.

He was a "Wichita Lineman," a homesick soldier in "Galveston," the observer of "True Grit" (and John Wayne's co-star in the 1969 movie). And, of course, he was a "Rhinestone Cowboy," his biggest hit, No. 1 for two weeks in September 1975.

Campbell died today at 81, six years after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He began his battle with the disease by heading out on a farewell tour, chronicled in the recent documentary "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me."

"I have cried and I have laughed," says the son of an Arkansas sharecropper. "Laughing is a hell of a lot better."

By Kevin Haynes |

'Godzilla' Star Dies

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Know this about Haruo Nakajima: That man was a monster.

Nakajima, who died of pneumonia Monday at 88, terrorized Tokyo and moviegoers as the original Godzilla, the giant beast who wreaked havoc throughout the land with his sheer brawn and sinister "atomic breath." One blast could pulverize everything in Godzilla's path, much like the nuclear weapons that inspired the creation of the 1954 movie monster.

Nakajima's costume was made of ready-mixed concrete and weighed more than 200 pounds. "It was so heavy and hot," he once recalled, "and with the lighting, it was even hot just to touch it. I was sweating all over my face, but I did the best I could."

The Japanese actor would reprise his role in 11 more Godzilla movies and expand his beastly repertoire by playing other monstrous movie stars like King Kong, Mothra and Rodan.

Nakajima took pride in knowing that his greatest role would far outlive him. "The Godzilla I played remains on film forever," he told an interviewer. "It remains in people's memory, and for that, I feel really grateful."

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: Elton & Kiki

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Elton John's first crack at "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a month beginning this week in 1976, could've been dubbed "Don't Go Hogging the Mike."

At first, the Rocket Man didn't leave much wiggle room in the Motown-inspired duet for his singing partner, Kiki Dee, a last-minute substitute for the ailing Dusty Springfield.

"He actually sang about three quarters of the song and gave Kiki about four lines," producer Gus Dudgeon later recalled. "I said, 'Hang on a minute, is this supposed to be a duet or a guest appearance?'"

Realizing the error of his ways, John reworked his vocals in a Toronto studio and sang Dee's parts in a high-pitched voice so she would know which lines to claim when she went to work in London.

The playful duet—written by Ann Orson and Carte Blanche, aka John and longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin—was the first collaboration between the two 29-year-old British pop stars, born 19 days apart in March 1947. They were originally going to cover the Four Tops' 1966 song "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever."

"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was John's sixth No. 1 single in the U.S., but his first in his native England. Though recorded while working on his "Blue Moves" album, it wasn't included on the double LP released that fall. The hit duet did, however, end up on 1977's "Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II" and 1992's "Greatest Hits 1976–1986."

Woo-hoo!

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Number One With a Bullet

'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' Premiere held at the TCL Chinese Theatre - Arrivals

Bruce Willis channels Charles Bronson in the upcoming remake of "Death Wish," which opens, eerily enough, on November 22, the 54th anniversary of JFK's assassination.

This time, the vigilante wet dream is set in drug-addled Chicago, not the New York mean streets depicted in the 1974 classic that made Bronson a one-man justice system. It spawned four sequels and countless "This time it's personal" action flicks like Steven Seagal's "Hard to Kill" and Denzel Washington's "Man on Fire."

Willis, a la Bronson, plays an upstanding citizen hell-bent on revenge after his wife (Elisabeth Shue) is murdered. The first trailer, set in part to AC/DC's "Back in Black," depicts an impressive array of weapons, creative torture and murder techniques, and a dizzying body count.

The "Death Wish" remake is directed by Eli Roth, who has previously helmed horror flicks like "Cabin Fever" and "Knock Knock." (He's also an actor, perhaps best known for playing Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds.")

Willis' co-stars include Vincent D'Onofrio ("Full Metal Jacket"), Dean Norris ("Breaking Bad") and comedian Mike Epps.

By Kevin Haynes |

Glory Days

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It'll be 1977 all over again on Friday, when two Bruce Springsteen concerts from the pre-"Darkness on the Edge of Town" days are released on nugs.net, a repository of live shows and albums.

The two gigs, recorded in upstate New York, are the first of 25 Springsteen shows that will be made available in the months ahead. A concert recording from the vault will be released every Friday.

The first two audio releases are in mono, culled from soundboard recordings made by Springsteen's sound engineer at the time, Chas Gerber. There's 45 minutes from a concert in Albany, New York, and about two hours of a show recorded in nearby Rochester.

There are more than 130 live Springsteen outings currently available on nugs.net, the bulk of them stemming from 2014-2017. The archive includes just one show each from 1975, 1978, 1984 and 1988 and two concerts from 1980.

Now, 1977 is about to join the set list.

Photo by Tom Hill/WireImage

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'Wild Thing'

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"Wild Thing," you made our hearts sing, topping the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1966. The quirky come-on by British proto-punk band the Troggs knocked "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells out of the No. 1 position and remained there until it was supplanted by the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City."

Some more fun facts:

· The song was written by Chip Taylor, the stage name of James Wesley Voight, the brother of actor Jon Voight (and later uncle of Angelina Jolie). Taylor also wrote "Angel of the Morning," a Top Ten hit for Merilee Rush in 1968. A 1986 version by Juice Newton topped the charts for three weeks.

· A distribution dispute caused the Troggs' 45 to be released on two labels, Atco and Fontana. It's the only time two companies have simultaneously shared a No. 1 single.

· Jimi Hendrix chose the song to close his set at 1967's Monterey Pop Festival, dropping to his knees at the end to set his guitar on fire. You can see the entire scene unfold in the acclaimed documentary "Monterey Pop."

· Also in 1967, a comedian imitating then-Senator Robert F. Kennedy released a novelty version that actually made it all the way to No. 20 on the pop charts.

· Over the years, "Wild Thing" has been covered by an eclectic group of artists, including Jeff Beck, the Runaways, Cheap Trick, the Divinyls, Hank Williams Jr., Liz Phair, Prince and the Muppets.

· It has turned up in the movies "Major League," "Encino Man" and "D2: The Might Ducks."

· Rolling Stone ranked the Troggs' rendition of "Wild Thing" No. 261 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Photo by Syndication/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Portrait of a Lady

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"The Story of Diana," ABC's upcoming homage to "the People's Princess," will be a family affair, with never-before-seen home movie footage and an exclusive interview with her younger brother Charles.

The two-part special, airing August 9-10, commemorates the 20th anniversary of Diana's tragic death in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997. The 36-year-old princess was the mother of two young boys.

"One of the reasons I want to talk now," says Charles, 53, aka Earl Spencer, "is because after 20 years I think somebody shifts from being a contemporary person to one of history."

"Diana deserves a place in history," he adds. "It's important to remember… that this was a special person, and not just a beautiful one."

"The Story of Diana" was produced in conjunction with People magazine. Other friends and confidantes interviewed include the princess' longtime driver, who helped return her body to England, and Virgin Group billionaire Sir Richard Branson.

Photo: Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Rock and Rolls

John And Julian Lennon In Liverpool

We all live in a yellow submarine, but John Lennon pretty much drove around in one—an electric yellow 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V adorned bumper to bumper with all kinds of psychedelic scrolls.

The custom-made limousine, one of the first vehicles with tinted windows in England, is on display in London to commemorate the rollout of the Phantom VIII, the newest model in the nearly century-old line. "The Great Eight Phantoms" exhibition also includes Phantoms driven by Queen Elizabeth II and Fred Astaire.

Lennon, 24 at the time, reportedly paid nearly $250,000 for the three-ton Phantom V, which was a truck-like 19 feet, 10 inches long and 6 feet, 7 inches wide. It was also painted Valentine Black when it rolled out of the factory in 1965. Two years later, Lennon hired artist Steve Weaver to perform the flaming yellow paint job and add trippy frills, including his Libra birth sign on the roof.

Owners of traditional Rolls-Royces and other members of polite British society were appalled by what was quickly dubbed the Psychedelic Rolls. "It's like putting graffiti on Buckingham Palace," quips Rolls-Royce design director Giles Taylor in an interview with Rolling Stone.

Car nuts can delve into the mechanical minutia of the one-of-a-kind Rolls, but Beatles fans may be content in the knowledge of two fun facts. On the day Lennon ordered the car in 1964 he didn't have a driver's license—and the Beatles had just started working on a ditty called "Ticket to Ride."

Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |