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Aaron Spelling, R.I.P.

I had no idea he worked on Moesha. Remember Moesha? Obviously, 90210 changed my life. I also recall that the dubbing on episodes of Dallas being broadcast on Russian television circa 1998 was so poorly done that you could hear almost all of the underlying English dialogue making it one of the few shows I watched the summer I was over there. Never got the Melrose Place bug somehow.

June 24, 2006 | Permalink


Snark is gay.

Posted by: Gary | Jun 24, 2006 12:27:22 PM

Obviously, 90210 changed my life.


Posted by: Al | Jun 24, 2006 12:29:11 PM

There was the one discrimination case. And I never really watched much of his stuff. But my partner has followed "Charmed" thru it's entire run, and we were just talking about Spelling the other day.

He provided jobs, especially for actresses. I guess if you were loyal and dependable, he would try to get you a paycheck for decades. So many actresses made livings or comebacks thru Spelling's studio. Joan Collins, Heather Locklear, Shannon Doherty, Alyssa Milano. I don't know if he was a feminist, I don't know if he was cheap or an asshole, but he got women good work. It was always about the women.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jun 24, 2006 2:12:35 PM

Jeez, reading the obit. What a career. It apparently become more about women later rather than at the beginning. But I remember, as an example, Kate Jackson in "The Rookies" and then later in "Charlies Angels". The male actors didn't seem to carry thru as much.

Jobs are important. It wasn't great art, just good enough.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jun 24, 2006 2:19:33 PM

"It was always about the women."

And he had good taste therein. I've always thought Carolyn Jones was totally babe-a-licious.

Posted by: Petey | Jun 24, 2006 3:20:09 PM

"I've always thought Carolyn Jones was totally babe-a-licious."

Oh yeah. Spelling obviously wasn't scared of smart or strong women. As you can see, I really liked the guy.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jun 24, 2006 4:02:54 PM

And this is probably a good moment to recommend the movie Nowhere, which is exactly what an Aaron Spelling project would look like if had been gay and on acid.

Posted by: Petey | Jun 24, 2006 4:17:52 PM

Didn't know he was a decorated Air Force vet (or rather, Army Air Force vet to be precise). His obit says during Word War II, he earned the Bronze star and the purple heart with oak leaf cluster (IIRC, the cluster means he earned another one).

Now the Air Force throws out Bronze Stars like candy, but Spelling had to be doing something dangerous to get himself wounded a couple of times. Has anyone read what he did in the war? If I had to guess, bomber crewman.

Posted by: beowulf | Jun 25, 2006 12:10:15 AM

Greg Araki proves douchebag-ness like no other pop culture figure. Good work, douche.

Posted by: MOESHA | Jun 25, 2006 12:42:29 AM

To answer my own question, the Times obit says he wrote for Stars and Stripes and was wounded by a sniper:

"He served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, entertaining on a troop ship and eventually writing for Stars and Stripes. A wound from a sniper left lasting damage to one hand and earned him a Purple Heart..."

Posted by: beowulf | Jun 25, 2006 1:02:17 AM

"the dubbing on episodes of Dallas being broadcast on Russian television circa 1998 was so poorly done that you could hear almost all of the underlying English dialogue"

That's still the most common practice on Russian TV (I have a channel in my cable line up).

And it's not that it's so poorly done that you could hear all the dialogue, they just do the voice overs on top of the original soundtrack rather than the 'international' soundtrack (with dialogue removed) usually prepared for countries that dub. Sometimes I rent dvd's with a Russian track and it's usually dubbed in the international manner.

It's still better than what they do on Polish TV, which is a single voice over (monotone) translation over the orignal soundtrack, which is still partly audible.

Posted by: michael farris | Jun 25, 2006 12:37:15 PM

Ultimately, Melrose will live on as his greatest achievement. It had it all: A Shue sibling or two, a gay Savant, Marcia Cross's gross skull scar, Eternal Guest Star Locklear, THOMAS MUTHAFUCKIN CALABRO, Jack Wagner (was that the guy's name, or the character's?), Josie Bissett, Billy!, 90210 was great but I jerked off in the Melrose pool.

Posted by: NoTORIous RIP | Jun 26, 2006 10:31:59 AM

I agree that at it's peak (early 94) Melrose Place was a staggering achievement.
It was also the most nightmarish picture of Hell ever put on film: Doomed souls endlessly repeating the same mistakes and feeding on each others' soul essences in a joyless carnival bally of desire, degredation and damnation. All this and Heather Locklear too, the blood chills.

Posted by: michael farris | Jun 26, 2006 3:34:55 PM

Courtney Thorne-Smith's cheekbones alone were enough to whip me into an apoplectic frenzy.

Posted by: Greg | Jun 26, 2006 4:01:21 PM

The judgment of someone who
1) disliked most of his "product" immensely. (I consider watching "Love Boat" or "Fantasy Island" to be pure torture, and that's not coming from a TV snob, that's coming from a lifelong fan of things like "Green Acres" and "Leave It To Beaver")
2) has had the privilege of occasional encounters with the man & close knowledge of his personal life:

He was a real mensch.

The genuine article, the personification of the word.

There wasn't a speck of cynicism or noblesse oblige there. He never forgot where he came from, he was obviously still the same person. (All the stories you might read of personal excess? Think of the poor kid's dreams of winning the lotto, simple joy of life.)

His success (including several "comeback kid" instances) was a continual wakeup slap in the face to cultural elites of all types who think they had American pop culture all figured out. All who ignore his legacy risk great misunderstanding of what the "little guy" wants in entertainment.

Posted by: artappraiser | Jun 27, 2006 12:49:13 PM

That's cool about 'Dallas' and all, but Spelling had nothing to do with that show.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 28, 2006 2:55:09 PM

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