The Sunday Magazine: The Star Wars Holiday Special

In just a few days I will continue a tradition I started forty years ago….in a galaxy far, far away. I have been at the first local showing of every Star Wars movie since the first one in May of 1977. On December 14th I have my ticket for the newest; Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Like many, Star Wars has been a big influence on my personal perspective. I’ll write about the new movie sometime after the New Year and after most have had the opportunity to see it. For now, this is the time of year when I write about Holiday-themed things at The Sunday Magazine. You might not know that there is something called The Star Wars Holiday Special. There is, and it was such a disaster that it only aired once and has never been released on any of the DVD extras in any Star Wars set. That’s how bad it was. It is an example of how so many people didn’t know what to do with Star Wars as it met The Carol Burnett Show and produced a misfit toy.

No one had seen anything like the phenomenon Star Wars had become which then became a line of people approaching creator George Lucas about what they’d like to partner with him on. I’m not sure why in mid-1978 when he was approached by CBS on doing a Holiday special it was agreed to. The studio told him it would promote the movie and the toys. With no blueprint to follow the green light was given. Then things took the first of many wrong turns.

They hired writers Pat Proft and Leonard Ripps, veterans of TV variety shows. Upon meeting with Mr. Lucas he gave them the idea of a holiday called Life Day and setting the special on the Wookie home planet of Kashykk with Chewbacca trying to get through the Imperial blockade to be home with his family. Which is the skeletal story frame of what the Holiday Special would become.

Bea Arthur jamming with the Cantina Band

The problem was CBS wanted a traditional assortment of stars to be added into the mix as you would find on any variety special. Which meant Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, The Jefferson Starship, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur. Each of these were central to typical sketch comedy acts within the show with Mr. Korman playing three different roles as he was accustomed to doing on his regular gig on The Carol Burnett Show. The writing team was supplemented by vets from that show to help “punch up” the comedy material. According to one story there was a moment when Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ann-Margaret were considered. I can only imagine what the segments featuring them would have been.

The Jefferson Starship as The Holographic Band

After a chaotic shooting schedule where the movie’s stars didn’t want to be caught “slumming” on television while the television stars didn’t understand a thing about the universe and story they were inhabiting. It all ended up being aired a week before Thanksgiving in 1978 on November 17.

That was the last time it officially appeared.

It was criticized on all sides. What was being thought of as a new Holiday perennial before it aired was quickly buried; but not forgotten. It has become that bit of Star Wars which gets shared on the down low among fans; usually with a knowing grimace. There is a ten-minute animated short within the special which introduces bounty hunter Boba Fett into the greater story. That was the only thing that felt like Star Wars on the night it aired. Everything else from Ms. Arthur singing to the aliens in the cantina to Mr. Korman’s slapstick antics just felt wrong.

If you want to see just how bad it is I include a YouTube link here.

My favorite piece of the bad parts is when the wookie family attempts to distract some stromtroopers with the musical stylings of The Jefferson Starship as The Holographic Band.

There is a reason this is lost to time even Mr. Lucas has said if he had the time he’d track down every copy and smash it with a sledgehammer. Even so I can’t completely hate it, but it is terrible. I watch it almost every Holiday season on my bootleg DVD.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Holiday Snickerdoodles

After unpacking the lights, ornaments, and trimming the next phase of getting into the holiday spirit is baking cookies. It usually means seasonal twists on things I already bake year around. Candy Cane kisses on thumbprint cookies or peppermint chips mixed in with the chocolate chips. The one cookie I only seem to make during the Holiday season probably has more to do with my odd sensibility because there isn’t anything particularly Christmas-like about snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles are the soft chewy version of a sugar cookie coated in cinnamon sugar prior to baking. I bake them this time of year and use green and red sugar in the place of regular sugar for the coating mixture. I got curious about their history and found out some interesting tidbits.

Snickerdoodles, by that name, are a purely North American creation. Although it is thought they are probably a variation on a German cookie called Schneckennudel, which translates to “snail noodle” the truth is probably more prosaic. They originated in New England and some baker liked the nonsense sound of the word. Because it seems like they first appeared in New England with the earliest mentions of them from that region. The earliest printed recipe is found from 1902 by a pair of Iowa housewives, Mrs. Barnum and Mrs. Delavan. The origin will probably never be fully uncovered.

There is another kind of debate about snickerdoodles. Do you like them soft or crisp? That comes down to the way you bake them more than any change to the basic recipe. The other unique piece of making a snicker doodle is the ingredient “cream of tartar”. It is a more critical addition if you like them soft because cream of tartar helps make things fluffier by activating some of the other ingredients. It is not a dealbreaker if you don’t have it on hand but the ones with it in the recipe are chewier.

The recipe is as simple as it gets:

½ cup room temperature butter

½ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¾ cups flour

Mix the butter, shortening, sugar, brown sugar and eggs together with a beater until they form a smooth batter then add in the cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract; beat until they are all mixed in. Then add in the flour a little at a time until it all forms a smooth mixture. Take a tablespoon out and roll into a ball. Then roll the ball through the coating mixture of 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

Put the balls evenly spaced on a cookie sheet and cook for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.

After they are done transfer to a wire rack to cool. This recipe usually makes thirty or so cookies.

As I mentioned above I use a holiday sugar mix of red and green colored sugar with the cinnamon to give them a holiday theme.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: A Universal Translator for the Holidays

As anyone who reads this column knows we have now entered my favorite time of the year. Starting on Thanksgiving and lasting until the New Year everything about these next few weeks are what makes me happiest.
As I have mentioned in the past beginning from from the day after Thanksgiving I wear a Santa hat and a different Holiday themed earring until January 2nd. Dressed up like that I receive many smiles followed by “Merry Christmas!” Because anyone wearing that hat and that earring “Merry Christmas!” is the thing to say. It has also been a great way to start conversation while waiting in lines or attending tree lighting ceremonies or The Nutcracker. When I say this time of the year makes me happiest it is because it is when I feel like we are more connected to each other. Which is why the few who insist on policing the way we greet each other during this joyous time put some frost in this jolly old gentleman’s beard.

Last year I saw more than I ever have of people correcting others when they wished some one a “Merry Christmas!”. “I’m not a Christian.” “We’re Jewish!” We don’t celebrate that!” were among the answers I heard. I was wondering why there was a need to correct someone who was clearly wishing you the Joy of the Season. Which then got me to thinking about Star Trek.

One of the great things about Star Trek from the very beginning was creator Gene Roddenberry realized if different races and species couldn’t communicate living peacefully would be nearly impossible. The whole concept of trying to communicate with another intelligent life form and the difficulties inherent in it were displayed beautifully in last year’s movie “Arrival”. So, Mr. Roddenberry’s version of the future included a device known as a “Universal Translator”. This allowed any race to speak to any other race in their own language translating to the listener’s language simultaneously. Throughout the series in all its incarnations the ability to speak to someone else in their own frame of reference while using your own words is what leads to a wide universe where words can rule over phasers. Which brings me back to Holiday greetings.

I am hoping that more people will employ their own Universal Translator when people wish them a happy greeting. When I say, “Merry Christmas!” Please translate that to Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, Happy Festivus or what ever you celebrate over the next month or so; because that’s what I mean.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Back at the beginning of the computer age the most speculative science fiction extrapolated the future in a genre called cyberpunk. They would correctly foreshadow a time when the world was more plugged into cyberspace than the real world. The problem is once the real world catches up to the printed page it is time to reset. What this means lately is that new writers are looking at recent developments and wondering what can be extrapolated from its new scientific infancy. Some of the best new science fiction has been considering what the new genetically derived pharmaceuticals might mean for the world. In my mind I’ve begin thinking of these novels as pharmapunk. I’ve been waiting for the novel which captures that. Autonomous by Annalee Newitz is that book.

I became aware of Ms. Newitz through her co-creation of the website io9. The name comes from a fictional piece of hardware which allows one to see into the future. The website focused on the intersection between sci-fi and actual science. Ms. Newitz was uniquely positioned as a forerunner of this kind of writing as she straddled both worlds. Autonomous is her first novel but she had written several non-fiction books as part of her early career in journalism. Her background comes out in every page of Autonomous.

Annalee Newitz

The plot follows two sets of characters as they travel through a post-apocalyptic world. This time the apocalypse comes in the forms of multiple plagues as nature rebels by thinning the herd. The saviors are the drug makers who come up with pharmaceutical solutions and save the world. Naturally, they also take over the world each controlling different economic zones. The world remains safe if they supply the drugs which keep it spinning. One of these drugs is called Zacuity which enhances focus while giving a pleasant emotional reward for tasks completed.

As it is in the present day there is a black market for pharmaceuticals where new drugs are reverse engineered and made illegally. One of our antagonists is one of these pirates, Judith Chen, who answers to Jack. After she starts to sell her underground Zacuity people begin to die. When she discovers that it is a real side effect and not a mistake in her production she wants to engineer a cure and expose the manufacturers.

Law enforcement in this dystopian future consists of robot trackers and their human handlers. The newly minted robot Paladin is put on the trail of Jack. Paladin’s handler is named Eliasz. Some of the most provocative writing in the early chapters is focused on the idea of property and who is owned by whom. Throughout the parallels between owning intellectual property and beings is compared and contrasted. Ms. Newitz plows some new territory within the area of robots being sentient with this perspective.

Gender norms are also highlighted as Eliasz feels an attraction to Paladin but can’t fully let himself go until he determines Paladin’s gender which in a manufactured being is meaningless.

Ms. Newitz places our characters in a Canadian setting where current Canuck touchstones pop up throughout. The more you know about Canada the more Easter Eggs you will find.

Autonomous brims with challenging societal conundrums served up with spare prose. Ms. Newitz writes in a straightforward manner similar to a news article especially when some of the words turn to the higher concepts.

I have been enjoying the whole idea of the pharmaceutical industry becoming the next bleeding edge of science fiction discovery. Autonomous is the first great pharmapunk novel.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Can you put some Humor on my Popcorn?

When I walked out of Thor: Ragnarok last weekend I had a smile on my face. I also remembered that I had the same smile on my face from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider -Man: Homecoming, and Wonder Woman earlier this year. The grin came from the fact that these movies had significant comedic moments added in with the typical heroics. It has been something sorely lacking from some of the bigger popcorn movies of the last few years which embrace a kind of steely-eyed nihilism paired with fatal bon mots.

I prefer a little fun with my popcorn because I am going to the theatre to escape into fantasy for a couple hours. If I want to be emotionally challenged there are any number of art house movies which will speak about serious topics unflinchingly; without a stitch of spandex in sight.

This past year has seen laughter become as big a part of the equation as action. Which was how it was in the beginning of the modern superhero revival begun with 1978’s Superman: The Movie and would continue into the sequel two years later. In fact, the comedic tone of characters like Lex Luthor were the things which were heatedly debated down at the comic shop. I would always be quick to point out that Star Wars was also played mostly for laughs.

When we entered the age of Computer Generated Images (CGI) the ability to bring almost any superhero to the screen became possible which has seen an acceleration of these stories being filmed. There can be a sameness to the “Hero’s Journey” which is the basic plot device a comic book movie generally follows with a few extra bells and whistles to make it stand apart. Humor would be the device but too much humor could also be detrimental. The best example is the series of Batman movies from 1989 through 2012.

Batman made his return to the movie theatre with two films by director Tim Burton in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns. With Michael Keaton under the cowl Mr. Burton had a natural comedian to deliver his style of sardonic humor to great success. Which would lead to the next two movies directed by Joel Schumacher doubling down on the funny quotient with 1995’s Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman & Robin. There was a clear demarcation between both sets of movies. Mr. Burton found his humor in the inherent comedy of a millionaire playboy playing superhero. Mr. Schumacher found his comedy from slapstick humor which didn’t serve the character at all. By the time Batman & Robin tried to embrace the funny it lost the plot amidst the punchlines.

In a reaction to the declining box office when Batman would return in the series of three movies directed by Christopher Nolan the funny was almost completely squashed. While Mr. Nolan’s trilogy is at the top of the superhero genre in the movies it isn’t funny; ever.

Which leads to the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. Iron Man would come out a couple months before The Dark Knight would. The powers that be at Marvel decided they wanted to have a sense of humor and in no small part due to the charisma of actor Robert Downey Jr. they found the right balance of humor and superhero earnestness. Even then Iron Man kept the laughs dialed down.

It would take six years for them to find the right vehicle to get primarily funny again. Director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy defined the modern formula for being funny in a superhero movie. It came naturally out of the characters and the silliness of the situations. That success would lead to even more humor being injected into the Marvel Cinematic Universe which reaches its height with two of their most iconic heroes, Thor and Hulk, in the comic book version of a buddy cop movie. Director Taika Waititi, of Thor: Ragnarok, knowingly winks at the audience from beginning to end as the God of Thunder and the Green Giant save the day.

The DC version of the movie universe finally found its sense of humor with Wonder Woman which again flowed out of the reaction of normal people to the presence of a goddess. Director Patty Jenkins directed with heart and humor in equal quantities. With the involvement of Joss Whedon in the reshoots of the upcoming Justice League I am hopeful for more of this approach than the previous gritty to the core versions we had been presented with because I’ve realized I want some laughs with my saving the world, or universe.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Ladycastle

Every year I attend New York Comic Con it seems like I discover a new comic while standing on line for something else. This year it was author Delilah S. Dawson who was sitting at the Boom! Studios booth. In front of her was a comic named Ladycastle. By the time I had moved away I had the first issue in my bag. I would download the remaining three issues on my bus ride home to finish the series.

I knew of Ms. Dawson through her urban fantasy series on the world of Sang where she fuses steampunk, vampires, and romance together. They were good reads but it isn’t one of my favorite series in the genre. When I asked what Ladycastle was about I was told that the men all rode away on a quest only to be killed leaving only the women behind to defend the castle from the monsters. I am a fan of twists on fairy tale formulas so that was enough to get me to buy the first issue.

Delilah S. Dawson

What greeted me on the pages drawn by artist Ashley A. Woods was better than that description. It is what happens when the women of Mancastle realize they’re in charge; first the name changes. The opening of the comic is Princess Aeve who wakes up and immediately breaks into song. Through her overture we meet the other women in the story while we learn Aeve is only valuable to the kingdom as part of a marriage. Aeve is the prototype princess. When the news is given to the women there is a moment when the new Queen goes up and releases Aeve from her room atop the tower. She asks, “Can I come out now?” when she is told she can there is a moment where she stands in front of a mirror and cuts off her flowing hair signaling the princess is ready to do her part in the defense of Ladycastle.

Ashley A. Woods

Ms. Dawson crafts a fun twist as the women are not all bluster and bludgeon. They find more creative ways to deal with the monsters who show up. It is another in the string of pop culture female empowerment stories which have remembered a message can also be fun. Ms. Woods’ drawing style is assured with a fairy tale palette of colors it is what this story needs to go with the words.

If you like the television show Once Upon a Time or you found the movie Wonder Woman another fun tale of women taking charge I think Ladycastle will be something you’ll enjoy. The four issues of the comic have just been collected in a single trade paperback volume so the entire story is available to read.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Is It Suspense or Horror?

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Earlier this week in the hive mind that is Facebook a friend put out the following question, “Could you recommend a not bloody horror movie to watch with her teenager?” Always happy to participate in these kinds of things I immediately typed out “The Sixth Sense”. That was when it got interesting as one of the other worker bees responded, “that isn’t horror that is suspense.” As soon as I saw it I knew I agreed which got me thinking about the difference.

Alfred Hitchcock

I began my thought experiment with Alfred Hitchcock who was dubbed the “Master of Suspense”. His movies were all about slowly bringing a viewer along with a plot where the threads slowly braid together, then continue to tighten until the strands break. One of the best examples of this type of suspense is in the 1954 film “Rear Window”. The main protagonist is confined to a wheelchair and spies on the neighboring building. Early on he thinks he sees a murder. The rest of the movie is the question of whether he saw what he saw and if he did is he in danger?

Much of what we consider suspense these days are new artists riffing on the playbook Mr. Hitchcock created. Despite the sobriquet lauding his skill at suspense he also made two of the all-time horror movies; “Psycho” and “The Birds”. The difference in both is the monster is evident with our heroes trying to find a way to survive.

Which is what makes “The Sixth Sense” suspense. The movie spends its running time revealing a secret. The pinnacle of modern suspense is director David Fincher’s “Se7en”. The movie chronicles two detectives tracking down a serial killer inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins. As each murder scene is discovered it brings the policemen ever closer to the killer until the movie reaches a chilling climax. “The Silence of the Lambs” is another movie where the monstrous villain is but a piece of the ever-tightening tension within the overall movie. Because both are seen from the perspective of law enforcement instead of the killer we are drawn in as an audience to want resolution while it seemingly stays out of reach.

Horror displays its wares out in the open from early on. From the moment the young girl Regan is possessed by the demon in “The Exorcist” the question is not where is the monster but how can we stop this? It applies equally as well to the slasher automatons like Michael Myers of “Halloween”, Jason of “Friday the 13th” or Freddy Krueger of “Nightmare on Elm Street”. One of my favorite scenes in this movie is after Michael Myers has been stabbed in “Halloween” the young child says, “Don’t you know you can’t kill the boogeyman?” Just as he rises up in the background. The audience screams and the final act is underway.

There are elements of both horror and suspense in many of the films mentioned but in the end they tend to reside mostly on one side of the horror/suspense divide more completely. It is the time of year to for fear to be in the air whether it is through suspense or horror it is part of what makes movies magical.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Spider-Man: Homecoming

I’m used to getting behind on my reviews especially as the days left in the year seem to be greater than the amount of perfume on my desk. In this column I usually enjoy writing about whatever is right in front of me. Which is why I don’t know why I failed to write about Spider-Man: Homecoming when it was in the theatres. I’m going to rectify that since it just got released on home video.

If there is something that irritates me when they reboot a superhero franchise it is that they feel like they must repeat the origin story as part of that first movie. I think audiences have long passed not-knowing why a hero has gained their powers especially the biggies like Spider-Man. The first thing Homecoming got right was they didn’t do that. We meet Peter Parker as he narrates his cameo, into his phone video recorder, in Captain America: Civil War. This introduced this version of Peter Parker and Spider-Man way better than another version of Uncle Ben dying would have. It also sets the stakes as less world threatening and more neighborhood threatening. Another thing about this version I admired was returning to the teenaged high school version of the character. It keeps everything on a smaller level as Peter’s relationships get put at risk because of Spider-Man.

Tom Holland as Peter Parker/ Spider-Man

The villains are equally smaller in scope. The Vulture, played by Michael Keaton, and his gang are a bunch of guys who have figured out how to profit off the stray pieces of alien technology strewn throughout New York City in previous Marvel movies. They just want to keep the job they made for themselves. This is a small-scale conflict which never felt small as a story. When it all comes together in the final act the world itself isn’t at stake but a teenager’s world is what’s on the line and it works.

When we first met Tom Holland, the actor portraying Spider-Man, in Captain America: Civil War he felt right in those few minutes he was around. After Homecoming he is my favorite of the three actors who have portrayed the web slinger on screen. I think the choice to focus on a kid with superpowers, and explore that, works because Mr. Holland conveys the thrill of that through his performance. There is a scene very late in the movie where he gets a very unique version of “the dad talk” from his date’s father. His reaction feels authentic throughout as it catalyzes the action in the final act of the movie.

The final choice in the movie is whether to stay in the neighborhood or save the world. The choice is never in doubt because of everything that has happened before. If you stayed away from movie versions of Spider-Man because they didn’t meet your expectations give Homecoming a viewing I think it can bring you back home to the movie franchise featuring your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Fear the Walking Dead, A Second Look

Two years ago, I wrote in this column after the first four episodes of Fear the Walking Dead had aired, “Because right now the only fear I have is that “Fear The Walking Dead” will continue shambling along; a zombie incarnation of its predecessor.” All throughout that first season I was pulled through by characters who grew on me and it paid off with a back third of the season which had dealt with much of my annoyances laid out back then. Now two years later I enjoy Fear the Walking Dead as much as The Walking Dead.

One big reason for my enjoyment is I don’t know what is coming. These are all characters that do not exist on Robert Kirkman’s comic book page. Mr. Kirkman created a whole new set of characters. Early on they seemed two-dimensional. As time has passed the backstory has been filled in providing the emotional connection to the characters. In hindsight I must admit I was being unfair. When The Walking Dead came on the air I already knew those people on the TV screen. My feelings about them had already been determined years earlier. Fear the Walking Dead did not have that advantage and I showed impatience early on. Now at the end of season three the cast of Fear the Walking Dead have won me over.

Ruben Blades (l.) and Colman Domingo

On The Walking Dead most of the characters are clear-cut heroes or villains. It is only with the recent introduction of Negan that the concept of whether they are “heroes” has been explored. Fear the Walking Dead has done this with characters made up of deep gray hues. The mother who will do anything to save what’s left of her family. Actress Kim Dickens plays Madison Clark with a surety of purpose. Except in decidedly small steps it seems like she might be sliding down a slippery slope to something less heroic. Actor Domingo Colman plays the hustler Strand he is the quintessential out for himself con man. The interesting thing here is even through trying to look out for himself he manages to save others. The final character in this trio is played by Ruben Blades, Daniel Salazar. He carries the burden of his past life as a secret policeman in a dictatorship. He fled to the US with his wife and daughter to start over. As the dead have shambled into his life the old habits of his original life have proven useful. The open question is does he want to fully embrace them or find a way to keep as much of his new life he had before the zombie apocalypse. These three are the heart of Fear the Walking Dead.

The show by using its California and Mexico border setting has explored all kinds of modern themes like immigration, water rights, and Native Americans. Without a previous story to adapt it feels like the writing team has more freedom to create more contemporaneously. It has felt like they have a grasp on where the show is heading.

Next weekend with the season eight premiere The Walking Dead will celebrate its 100th episode. Two years ago, I didn’t think I wanted Fear the Walking Dead to reach the same milestone; now I do.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: Tom Petty

I first became aware of Tom Petty when he played a show in July 1978 at the Miami Jai-Alai Fronton. I was deep in the middle of my punk rock infancy and the main reason I went to the show was because of the opening act Patti Smith. Tom Petty was an afterthought. Which is pretty much metaphor for his career. Tom Petty was the overlooked influencer of a generation.

Tom Petty (1950-2017)

That show in 1978 was momentous for another reason it was the night Mr. Petty’s heart stopped, for the first time. It was a typically rainy S. Florida July evening. The jai-alai fronton was old and the roof leaked; right over the space where Mr. Petty’s microphone was. It wasn’t until he returned for the encore and he stepped forward to touch the microphone that it became obvious. There was a thunderous pop through the speakers and Mr. Petty was thrown backwards; only to get up and finish the song. He walked off stage and it was months later I found out, reading in Rolling Stone, that he collapsed and had to be resuscitated. That meant the show went on while his heart was giving out. It is what made him stand out he just kept going and doing his thing.

Another by-product of that 1978 show was he had already won my respect before the encore. I was enjoying punk rock because I felt the rock played on the radio had left behind being made up of guitars, drums, and keyboards in place of synthesizers and orchestras. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were closer to what I found so appealing in the punk aesthetic. I went out and picked up his first two albums. Songs like “American Girl” and “You’re Gonna Get It” found a place on my mix tapes next to “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “God Save the Queen”. He was the radio-friendly punk rock star.

As the video age arrived with MTV Mr. Petty would produce some of the very best videos. He was an act for whom the visual added another layer to his musical vision. My favorite is the one accompanying 1985’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More”. Mr. Petty plays an especially sinister Mad Hatter menacing a bratty Alice sneering the title line where the acid drips from every syllable. The ultimate revenge at the end of the clip seems appropriate. As with so much of his career his isn’t the first name you think of if I say “best videos” but his were right up there.

That’s the story of his career one of quiet excellence. It is always those you end up missing most because their importance doesn’t become clear until they’re gone which is probably exactly the way Tom Petty wanted it.

Mark Behnke