Friday, September 2, 2016

RIP The Waco Kid

The news that Gene Wilder had passed away left TigerBlog a bit saddened.

Back in his days at the newspaper, before the internet, he used to his breaking news on the AP wire. He worked then with a guy named Tony Persichilli, and any time the death of someone famous came across the wire, he'd simply shrug and say "that's someone else I never met who died." In fact, the only time he showed any emotion was when the woman who played Aunt Bea on "The Andy Griffith Show" died.

The last time TigerBlog spoke to Tony Perch, as he was known, was when he called the newspaper a few years after beginning work at Princeton. What's new, TB asked him. The response? TB can still hear Tony's voice as he said "What's new? Nothing. I'm still sitting in the same chair I was sitting in the day you left. And I'm probably wearing the same shirt."

Tony passed away in 2012, at the age of 59. TigerBlog thought about both of those little anecdotes when he heard the news. He was quite a character, Tony Perch, and a good man.

These days, it's usually a bad sign for older stars who have been out of the public spotlight for awhile to be trending on Twitter. It usually means something bad has happened to them.

Such was the case with Gene Wilder. When TB saw he was trending on Twitter, he figured that the end had come.

Gene Wilder was always one of TigerBlog's favorite actors. He wasn't quite a Hall-of-Famer, but you could be pretty sure that whatever he was in was going to be pretty good.

And in some cases great.

Wilder made three great movies, TB would say. Two are obvious. The other isn't as much.

The one that isn't obvious is "The Silver Streak," a movie TigerBlog saw in the movies when it was released in 1976. It paired Wilder with the brilliant Richard Pryor, had Jill Clayburgh as the love interest, and pieced together some hilarious scenes over the course of a fluffy little plot about murder and international fraud aboard a train.

Pryor is the one who gets the frantic laughs. Wilder is the one who gets the subtle, understated ones. Between them, they made for a great comedy team for the four movies they did together.

The two that were clearly great included "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." TigerBlog is almost certain he saw it at Camp Toledo on movie night in 1971 or so. Either that or his grandmother took him to see it. But he's going with Camp Toledo.

Wilder played the title role in "Willy Wonka" and did so pretty much perfectly. You've seen it. You don't need TigerBlog to explain it to you.

The other one that is obviously great is one TigerBlog would consider among the five funniest movies of all time - "Blazing Saddles." If you haven't seen this one, then make sure you do. It's Mel Brooks at his best, with Wilder and Cleavon Little at theirs.

Wilder plays The Waco Kid, a gunslinger with lightning fast hands who has become a drunk. Little is the new sheriff. It's insanely funny, with humor that is sophisticated and slapstick at the same time. And not exactly PC, but that's the point of the humor. It's all subtle.

There were other movies with Wilder that TB really liked, including the incredibly obscure but very funny "Hanky Panky," in which the female lead is Gilda Radner, who would go on to be Wilder's third of four wives before she died of ovarian cancer in 1989. TigerBlog probably found out about it from Tony Perch off the AP wire.

So RIP Gene Wilder. And thanks for the laughs.

Wilder passed away Monday, which was Aug. 29. TigerBlog again would like to say how shocked he is by how quickly the summer has zoomed by.

Is it really September already? Miss TigerBlog had the first day of school yesterday. TigerBlog Jr. is finishing Week 1 of classes, and he said that he has one class, a politics class, in which everyone in the class but him - the professor and all of the other students - are women.

As you probably know by now, TBJ goes to Sacred Heart University. The Pioneers open their football season tomorrow at Stetson, which is coached by former Princeton coach Roger Hughes.

Princeton football is two weeks away from opening day. This, though, is the first fairly busy weekend of the Princeton Athletic year.

The first two events of 2016-17 were last weekend, when the women's soccer team swept Fordham and Villanova. Princeton plays two more women's soccer games this weekend, but this time there are four other Princeton teams who jump in.

Only one of them is at home, and TB will get back to them shortly.

The women's soccer team is at Delaware tonight and Howard Sunday. The big story there, other than the on-field results, is whether or not this will be the weekend that Tyler Lussi breaks Esmeralda Negron's school goals-scoring record.

Lussi has 45 for her career. Negron had 47. No other player, male or female, has ever had more.

There's more than just Lussi's chase for the record, and you can read about it HERE.

The men's soccer team opens its season tomorrow night at West Virginia, who is ranked 24th nationally after a 1-0 win over No. 10 Georgetown and a 2-0 loss to No. 14 Seattle. More than the record and the ranking, maybe the biggest advantage for the Mountaineers is that they have played two games, while Princeton is playing its first.

You can watch the men's soccer game for free HERE.

The men's water polo team, ranked 11th in the preseason, opens this weekend at Navy. The Tigers will be home next week, including a game against No. 1 UCLA, the two-time defending NCAA champ, Sunday the 11th at noon on ESPNU.

If you want the water polo preview, it's HERE.

The women's volleyball team is also playing this weekend, with its opener in California. When last we left the women's volleyball team, it was staging a wild rally to get a share of the 2015 Ivy League championship.

More on women's volleyball? It's HERE.

The only team on campus this weekend is the field hockey team, who plays No. 1 North Carolina today at 4 and then Bucknell Sunday at 1.

The big story for Princeton, other than the chance to knock off the defending champ, is that it's the debut weekend for Carla Tagliente as Princeton head coach.

You can read about it HERE.

And that's your weekend in Princeton Athletics.


Steven Feldman '68 said...

The preview (on the Princeton sports website) for the field hockey game against #1 North Carolina fails to mention that North Carolina has already lost their first game this year to Michigan 1-0. North Carolina then came back and beat Iowa 4-1 in their second game.

Anonymous said...

TB, yesterday I answered the athletic department's fan survey to enhance marketing and, more specifically, to design ticket packages. I didn't think of it at the time, but here's an idea inspired by my 84-year-old mother. She doesn't move around as sprightly as she used to but, until a couple years ago, you could still see a hint of the athleticism and especially the competitiveness which made her a national caliber hurdler in college. One of her regular quotes when attending athletic events is, "I'm not here to see a good game. I'm here to see [my team] win."

How about implementing some sort of results-oriented ticket pricing?

It would probably be most attractive to Princeton fans for big games against emotional rivals, say, this year's home contest against Harvard. Fans would have the option of buying tickets at the regular price of $10, as per usual policy. However, fans would also have the option of paying a premium price of $20.

In the event that Princeton wins, no further action ensues. But if Princeton loses to Harvard that day, premium ticket holders could redeem their ticket stub on the way out the gate for a full refund. And if Princeton loses by more than two touchdowns, fans get a full refund as well as a free ticket to another home game later this season.

The goal of any aggressive marketing executive is to avoid pricing his or her product on the cost of production or where competitors price their offerings. The ultimate goal is always to price based on the value to the customer. On that day, my 84-year-old mother and many other fans place value on only one thing: beating Harvard.

Price the product on whether the value is delivered to the consumer.