Friday, January 29, 2010

PERNELL ROBERTS DIES (AP news Blog-stolen)


After he died, if you wanted to know details about Pernell Roberts, Googling his name didn't help. It gave you the same AP wire service report...not only used by legitimate online newspapers who can no longer afford their own writers (and can only afford to pay a smaller price to use AP's obit) but stolen by hundreds of bloggers.

If a blogger can't write, then what's the point? Why steal the AP report? Out of ego? To try and make sure people visit your site rather than one run by professionals? These guys are, to use Ellis Henican's phrase, "the bathrobe boys." Henican, a real writer, not a wannabe, wrote a piece on Net Narcissists, the scabs who grab the creativity of others for their own use.

Ellis scorned the "self-absorbed nitwit sitting in front of a computer in his bathrobe....stealing the facts that some hard-working, low-paid newspaper drone just spent hours collecting."

A lone exception among blogs was a post at sunny.kraje.org, aka "sunny worlds, just another WordPress weblog." Here was something unique: a wire service report translated into this blogger's native language, then thoughtfully re-translated so that everyone who checks "sunny worlds" before anything else, would instantly get the news:

"Pernell Roberts, a ruggedly large actress who repelled Hollywood by withdrawal TV's Bonanza during a tallness of a recognition, afterwards found celebrity again years after upon Trapper John, M.D. has died. He was 81."

http://sunny.kraje.org/pernell-roberts-last-star-of-tvs-bonanza-dies-ap/



What's not so funny is that the Internet is killing off magazines and newspapers, and putting out of business the reporters, proofreaders and editors who know how to give a fact-based and detailed presentation. What bloggers should do, if they can't report or interview, is to be original and give their own view (as worthless as it may be). Don't steal verbatim from somebody else (usually without even saying AP or All Music or the source). Either hot-link to the real source without stealing it, or use your own creativity to hopefully come up with a "think piece" or editorial that is worthwhile.

Worthy or worthless, below is the Illfolks take on Pernell Roberts, using facts (no copyright on them) and original observations:

Pernell (the Latin word for "Stone" or "Rock") Roberts (May 18, 1928 – January 24, 2010) always wanted to be a serious actor. If he wasn't serious about it, he would've changed his name to "Rock" Roberts. He worked his way through odd show biz jobs as both a singer and actor, to win a Drama Desk award for the 1955 off-Broadway production of "Macbeth."

Often cast as the good looking bad guy, the sinister-looking actor paid the rent via guest roles in TV westerns, including "Bronco," "Lawman" and "Have Gun Will Travel." Cast as Adam in "Bonanza," he presented a dark, thoughtful balance to the show's other brothers, the fat and jovial Hoss, and naive prettyboy Little Joe. The brooding Mr. Roberts gradually lost interest in "Bonanza." While doing the series, he complained, " "Isn't it just a bit silly for three adult males to get Father's permission for everything they do?"

His run (1959-1965) ended after many disagreements over scripting and character. By leaving, he got a reputation for being difficult, irascible and not a "team player." TV history will note Roberts as one of the first successful actors to make the "suicidal" move of leaving a money-making hit show because of "serious" ambitions. Sean Connery would be another example, a few years later, giving up a fabulous series franchise, and his toupee, in order to get more satisfying work.

Like Connery, the bald version of Pernell Roberts was so far removed from his successful leading man identity that he could finally take on serious character roles. He also delighted in playing summer stock, particularly in musicals, including "The King and I," "Camelot" and "The Music Man." He ultimately starred in "Trapper John M.D.," and he played that bald, gray-bearded character longer than he did Adam Cartwright on "Bonanza," (1979-86).

He didn't do much TV work in the 1990's, with his last two small screen roles in episodes of "Murder She Wrote" in 1994 and 1997. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about two years ago.

Though Roberts loved to sing, he only made one solo album, plus some appearances on "Bonanza Cast" albums.

Compare the two samples below: "Skip to My Lou," with Lorne Green, Michael Landon and Dan Blocker taking part, and "Lily of the West" from his 1963 solo record. Which would you be proud of?

That Roberts' solo album wasn't a huge hit is probably due to two factors. First, there was no shortage of "he can sing" albums at that time (Richard Chamberlain, Vince Edwards, and on and on). Second, Pernell's singing style was very traditional. You can easily imagine him singing a song from "Camelot," but listeners into folk music or Southern music, expected their balladeer to have a lot of warm twang in the throat and not be so articulate.

"Bonanza" and "Trapper John M.D." are still well remembered, but perhaps the enduring respect Pernell Roberts has achieved, is for his courage in leaving a hit show and setting an example for others, that it's not always "about the money," it's about being true to yourself.

"The bathrobe boys" who copy what they see at AP or All Music or even from other blogs, need to ask themselves the question Pernell Roberts asked back in 1965: what is the point? Why be a pretender instead of yourself? Pernell Roberts wasn't a "bathrobe boy," he was a man.


SKIP TO MY LOU from the BONANZA CAST

LILY OF THE WEST sung by PERNELL ROBERTS
Instant download or listen on line. No pop-ups, porn-ads, or captcha codes.

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