Friday, May 28, 2010

"What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?!"

Just got the sad news that Gary Coleman passed away this afternoon at the age of 42.

Even before he played the iconic character of Arnold Jackson on the '80s hit sit-com "Diff'rent Strokes," I became a fan of his work on a 1979 TV movie called "The Kid From Left Field," in which he played the young son of a San Diego Padres player (portrayed by Robert Guillaume) who eventually takes over the managerial duties of the team, leading them to success on the field and in the standings. It was one of the roles — along with those big, adorable cheeks — that springboarded him to stardom. Between guest appearances on shows like "Good Times," "The Facts of Life" and one of my personal favorites, "Silver Spoons," Gary was seemingly everywhere on the TV dial when I was a kid.

Of course, playing Arnold is the role for which he'll always be most memorably known. Perhaps you've heard of Arnold's catch phrase? A little something goes like this...Never gets old, does it? Some three decades after it was first uttered, it's still as funny as the first time we heard it.

"Diff'rent Strokes" was must-see TV in my house every week when I was a kid.

One of my favorite "Diff'rent Strokes" episodes was the classic when, to impress the girl that he and Dudley both liked, he dressed like another '80s icon, Mr. T, when the Drummonds let NBC tape an espisode of "The A-Team" in their Park Ave. penthouse. Then there was the one when Muhammad Ali meets Arnold. And, of course, there was the "very special episode" when Arnold met First Lady Nancy Reagan during the "Just Say No" days. All the "Diff'rent Strokes" success spawned "The Gary Coleman Show," a Saturday morning cartoon that aired on NBC during the 1982-83 TV season, in which Gary played (ironically) an angel.

For all the problems (financial and the like) in his later years, Gary Coleman really did live a hard life, requiring two kidney transplants when he was a kid and daily kidney dialysis.

Like the theme song said, "Everybody's got a special kind of story/Everybody finds a way to shine," and Gary did indeed have a special story and he still found a way to shine.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Readers: Crystal Bowersox wins "Idol"

More than 1,600 "Sean's Space" readers have christened Crystal Bowersox as the Season 9 "American Idol" champion!
For the past month-and-a-half, I'd been running a poll asking "Idol" fans to vote for their favorite contender; perhaps you've seen it in the right sidebar here (right above me and the New Kids On The Block). Since Day One, Crystal has been the clear favorite, easily earning more than half the votes.

These results, however, are clearly unscientific and not necessarily a representation of who will win the title later tonight.

Two seasons ago, for example, "Sean's Space" readers correctly predicted that rocker David Cook would beat teeny-bopper David Archuleta by garnerind almost twice as many votes as his younger runner-up. (Cook, as it would turn out, later came to Poughkeepsie, where I got to meet and interview him.) That's the good news when it comes to "Sean's Space" readers choosing the "American Idol" winner.

Almost 3,300 fans voted in last year's poll, with differing results, however.

Seemingly everyone's favorite to take the title, Adam Lambert, overwhelmingly won my "Idol" poll, receiving more than 2,200 of the votes. Of course, as luck would have it, who won the championship? Yes, Kris Allen! (Though in another ironic twist, Adam is coming to town, and we're working on an interview with him.)

So, what have we learned from all this?

While Crystal is the winner in the unofficial "Sean's Space" tally, Lee DeWyze might very well walk away with the "Idol" crown and the $1 million contract. We'll all have to wait an hour until the season finale begins. Stay tuned...

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Kids on cruise control

So, my favorite group of all-time has again hit the high seas.
Yes, the New Kids On The Block have just left the dock for their second annual, three-day Caribbean cruise out of Miami, following last night's pre-cruise concert there.

Last year's jaunt on the sea offered fans concerts and even a "Family Feud"-style game show with the New Kids — that's Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jonathan Knight, Jordan Knight and Joe McIntyre — and gave them more of a chance to meet the guys.Videos and stories from last year's cruise made the event seem like a blast, though tickets for each were way out of my price range, let alone the airfare to South Beach.

But it's all good: Each of the times I've met the New Kids on dry land — both here and here — have come for free, so I'm hoping that streak continues.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

YOU can ask Adam Lambert a question!

We at the Poughkeepsie Journal are going to interview Adam Lambert, and we're letting his fans in on the action!

Fellow Journal reporter John Barry is working on setting up the phone interview with the "American Idol" runner-up, and I'm going to supply him with one question for Adam — one that I'm asking you, Adam's fans, to supply! (Adam is coming to town next month for the annual K-Fest concert.) Just as I did before when I interviewed the Jonas Brothers, "American Idol" champs David Cook and Taylor Hicks, "Idol" finalists Kellie Pickler, Clay Aiken and Blake Lewis, as well as "Celebrity Apprentice" star and Posion frontman Bret Michaels, I'm giving you a chance to ask Adam a question when we interview to him! It's my way of bringing fans closer to their favorite celebrities.

Now, all you've got to do is e-mail your first name, your hometown and your question for Adam to me at by May 25. (Please do not post your questions in the comment section below, because they won't be read, published or counted!)

I'll pick the best one (and only one) out of all the questions I receive and ask it to Adam we speak to him. Then, I'll post his answer to your question right here at "Sean's Space."

Be creative! Ask the Adam a question that no one else has ever asked him. Then, check back here to see if he answered your question!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NKOTB doubles down on tour

The New Kids On The Block are back!
Yup, my favorite group of all-time kick off their "CasiNo Tour" tomorrow night in Las Vegas, the first of just 16 shows they'll have this year. If their last two times out — both their 2008 reunion tour and last year's summer tour — are any indication, this "non-tour" is going to be amazing!

And tomorrow's show at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas is just the beginning.

The guys — that's Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood — are playing mostly arenas inside casinos, mostly on the weekends from now through mid-June. (Hence the "CasiNo Tour" moniker.) But ... the New Kids end their string of shows June 17-19 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City; a handful of tickets remain for only that first RCMH concert.

Until then, though, they'll be "Hangin' Tough" through the "Summertime," taking things "Step By Step!"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From Bayside to Barnes & Noble

His famous character, A.C. Slater, might have only gotten a 1050 on the (old) SAT test, but actor Mario Lopez has just released a third book.
My copy of "Extra Lean" here was signed by the former "Saved By The Bell" star recently at a book signing Mario held at Foxwoods Resorts Casino. Yesterday was the official release of the book.

Being a huge "Saved By The Bell" fan — I still watch re-runs every day, either on TBS or DVD — I just had to get a signed copy.

Loyal "Sean's Space' readers know I have an ever-growing collection of autographed books. Additionally, I'm now trying to collect the autographs of the entire "Saved By The Bell" cast, having already snagged the signatures of Lark Voorhies — she played Lisa Marie Turtle on the show — and Dustin Diamond, who I met when he tried stand-up comedy after his days playing Samuel "Screech" Powers on the show and its spin-offs came to an end. Mario's autograph now brings me half-way to my goal! (Not counting Mr. Belding ... or Tori Scott, who only spent half a year at Bayside and didn't even graduate.)

"Extra Lean," which teaches readers better ways to burn fat, is actually Mario's third literary offering, following an earlier work-out manual and a children's book. Not bad for the captain of the Bayside Tigers' wrestling and football teams!

In between his current duties hosting the nightly "Extra" entertainment show, Mario will he holding a handful of more book signings in support of "Extra Lean," including one tonight in White Plains. You can click here to see more of his dates, so you can add his signed book to your collection. Go, Bayside! Beat Valley!