Classic Video Showplace #1: Tales of Tomorrow

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

For over a hundred years the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.


Imagine “The Twilight Zone” LIVE!

That’s what you’ll experience when watching Tales of Tomorrow, a precursor to the classic Zone series that featured legendary TV and cinematic names.

Each week, Tales of Tomorrow viewers tuned in to see supernatural adventures performed live in front of television cameras.

And unlike other science fiction comic stories of that era aimed at children, Tales of Tomorrow targeted adults and geared its stories for more mature audiences.

This sci-fi thrilling series features an anthology format, with reoccurring characters traveling through the supernatural, taking on new adventures weekly in a style used decades later by shows such as The X-Files, American Horror Story and True Detective.

Included in Tales are early screen performances from:

Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cars 3)

Lon Chaney, Jr. (Wolf Man series, Son of Dracula)

Leslie Nielsen (Scary Movie, Naked Gun film series)

Cloris Leachman (Malcolm in the Middle, Young Frankenstein)

Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas) Bruce Cabot (King Kong)

Lee J. Cobb (On the Waterfront, The Exorcist)

Several of its featured stars would go on to become Academy and Emmy Award winners and nominees.

Furthermore, one of the series directors was Charles S. Dubin, who later directed more episodes of M*A*S*H than anyone else.  His other directorial credits include Hawaii 5-0, Murder, She Wrote, The Rockford Files and the 1965 television production of Cinderella, starring Lesley Ann Warren.

Tales also serves as an early vehicle for Arthur C. Clarke who, in addition to writing novels that would be made into the 2001: A Space Odyssey film series, would later be regarded as one of the “Big 3” science fiction writers of all time.

Some of the storylines for Tales of Tomorrow were “borrowed” by Rod Sterling a decade later when he made The Twilight Zone.  Tune in to see if you can spot any of the original plots that would resurface again years later.

There was also one episode in which an actor forgot that the show was live and made a classic blooper – see if you can spot it. 

Catch the RCN-TV debut of Tales of Tomorrow this coming Tuesday night at 10:30pm. The pilot episode, “Ice From Space,” features Paul Newman and Raymond Bailey. Bailey would later enjoy cult TV status as banker Milburn Drysdale on the long-running TV hit, The Beverly Hillbillies.

To see all of the classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

 

 

State Playoff Recaps #2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

The high school basketball season came to a grinding halt once the PIAA followed the NBA, NCAA, NHL, Major League Baseball and other major sports organizations in cancelling sports events due to the Coronavirus.

It was disappointing that a number of schools in the RCN-TV viewing areas in both Pennsylvania and Washington, DC were literally having their greatest seasons ever.  However, caution won out and the 2020 campaign for several local teams came to a quick end, or, in Pennsylvania, “on hold.”

In the DMV, where play was stopped right before the respective championship games, the governing bodies made the quick decision to declare all remaining teams “co-state champions.”

In Pennsylvania, it’s a much tougher call with three rounds of playoff games yet to be played and 96 schools on the boys and girls side still “alive” in state play, waiting anxiously for their season’s fate to be determined.  According to a statement released by the PIAA last week, those basketball playoff games, as well as the swimming championships, are still technically postponed until a later date.

One Lehigh Valley athletic director shared with me that, after checking with the Pennsylvania Department of Education late last week, the earliest possible start to any spring sports action would be April 7.  Another AD had opined to me on Saturday that the winter playoff games could resume as early as April 13, if all went well in dealing with the coronavirus situation.

However, President Trump’s message Sunday night calling for continuing social distancing, reduced travel and “stay home” initiatives through at least April 30 have suspended those plans now as well.

With the PA state playoff games in mind, here are highlights of our last (for now) high school state basketball broadcasts on RCN-TV for this season.

 

Don’t forget, all of our high school broadcasts are available for purchase–check out the contact information here on our website for details.

Just because games are halted doesn’t mean there’s no sports news to report.  One of the things I am working on this week is contacting our local athletic directors, administrators and coaches as we get a jump on recapping the winter sports season’s All-Star teams and post-season award listings.  Check back next week for those honorees!

 

State Playoff Recaps #1

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Before the high school playoff season came to a grinding halt due to the world health concerns, we had a number of competitive PIAA state basketball teams on RCN-TV, involving teams in and around our coverage areas.

Check out some of our high school basketball postseason highlights…


 


PROGRAMMING NOTE:

Out of concerns for our residents with the current medical issues going on right now, we are not going to be bringing in any guests on our live “SportsTalk” programs on Thursday evenings.  Instead, we are going to be bringing you encore editions of some of our most popular shows over the last few years.  Keep tuning in at our program’s regularly scheduled times for some of your favorite all-time guests and topics on our show.

Once the sports world starts resuming activities, we’ll resume our live programs each week.  I am in contact with a number of interesting guests that I have been in continued contact with to reschedule once our shows resume and we will also have features on your favorite local sports teams once the spring seasons are permitted to return to their respective fields of play.

 

Winter Recaps/Thinking Spring

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

This week is an interesting week for those of us heavily involved in local sports.

The winter sports playoff season is currently suspended due to the health concerns over the coronavirus, but the spring sports teams already have been practicing for two weeks, although things are currently “in-limbo” with the “first games” now postponed until at least March 29th.  Who knows which sports season will resume activities first, and how will schools proceed when/if both start play at the same time?

So for this week here at “The Shop,” we’ll highlight some of our recent high school winter sports coverage…


 

Winter Playoff Recaps #2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Traditionally, the first weekend of the PIAA playoffs isn’t all that revealing.

I’ve seen some of the most lopsided blowouts in the first round of state post-season action–and that was BEFORE they expanded the number of teams that qualified for the playoffs.  Now, it’s not uncommon to see teams with records below .500 matched-up against some of the best in the state…resulting in some rather ugly final scores.

Fortunately, we’ve had some competitive games over the last 10 days…feel free to check out the highlights below.


To see the entire broadcasts, RCN customers can check them out for free through RCN On-Demand.

Also, you can purchase DVD copies of these games by calling 610-443-2909 and see more information about purchasing shows and games produced by RCN-TV here on our website!

 

Natalie Kucowski

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Natalie Kucowski is on the Lafayette women’s basketball team.  She hails from Philadelphia.  She is one of only three Lafayette basketball players (men and women) to have scored over 1000 points and pulled down over 1000 rebounds.  She is the only woman to accomplish this feat.  To put that in perspective, Lafayette has been playing women’s basketball since 1972.  More shocking – she is only a junior!

But Natalie is more than just a basketball player.  With permission from both Lafayette and author Mandy Housenick, I will allow Mandy to tell the rest of the story:

Fully Commmitted:  Natalie Kucowski
By Mandy Housenick GoLeopards.com Featured Columnist

Dr. James Schaffer likes to get to his work area inside Lafayette College’s Acopian Engineering Center early.

The chemical and biomolecular engineering professor often has company on those weekday mornings: junior Natalie Kucowski.

“She will have had a game the night before and she’ll already be in the lab at 7:15,” Schaffer said.

Kucowski is fully committed in all aspects of her life. The chemical engineering major excels in the classroom and is approaching legendary status as a member of the Lafayette women’s basketball team.

The forward is close to becoming the first in program history to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in a career.

“I have been here 30 years,” Dr. Schaffer said, “and I remember a lot of the students, particularly those who have something special about them. It might have been raw intellect and how they combine their academic passion with something else.”

“I have never seen a student who works harder and cares more about her teammates than Natalie.”

Kucowski’s athletic accomplishments are impressive. The Philadelphia native owns the school’s single-season rebounding record (343 last season; she’s about to break that mark this year) as well as the career mark. She is the only Leopard to win Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year.

On Jan. 11, 2020, the 21-year-old became the 19th Lafayette women’s player to reach 1,000 career points. She is on pace to finish among the league’s career top 10 in that category. Barring injury, the 6-foot-3 junior will break the PL record of 1,152 career rebounds set by Holy Cross‘ Lauren Manis this season.

In addition to being a solid student, Kucowski is a peer mentor because she felt it was important to give back to a program that helped her a freshman.

“(Current senior track & field team member Kate Mozzochi) was extremely helpful,” Kucowski said, “and the experience I had with her was the reason I decided I wanted to become a peer mentor. She was awesome. She was just a resource I had in helping me adjust to being in college.”

Kucowski’s basketball statistics are ridiculously impressive, but it is her work ethic in the classroom, on the court and on campus that make her special, according to those who know her best.

For every double-double she produces, there are countless ways in which she brings out the best in her teammates.

She is as supportive as she is talented.

“She puts her teammates first,” senior guard-forward Tasha Vipond said. “If the coaches want her to focus on making free throws, they’ll threaten to make the rest of the team run if she misses (in practice). She doesn’t want to let the team down, so she’ll make them.

“And off the court, she’s there for everyone.”

Vipond knows first-hand how generous Kucowski is. The Iowa native does not go home during many holiday breaks. Kucowski made sure Vipond was not alone on campus. She invited Vipond to her northeast Philadelphia home to spend Thanksgiving and Easter with her family.

“She’s a great friend,” Vipond said. “She genuinely cares for me. She’s looked out for me as a friend. She’s the type of person that if you tell her you’ve got a big exam coming up, she’ll always check in and ask you about it.”

Kucowski came to College Hill after a stellar career at Saint Basil Academy. She was a four-year varsity letter winner, helped the team to three consecutive District 1 titles and served as team captain during her senior season.

The daughter of Kenneth and Kathleen Kucowski built a well-rounded resume before Lafayette. She graduated with high honors, was a member of the National Honor Society and served as class president as a junior and senior.

But she arrived at Lafayette like many others. She needed to adjust to life as a college student and athlete. That required a lot of work.

It never scared Kucowski. It motivated her.

Kucowski worked hard in the weight room to strengthen her chances to survive the battles with more seasoned, bigger, stronger post players. She studied the finer points of a college defensive system so she could be a steady contributor even when her offense came and went.

“When you look at most players’ stat lines from high school,” Lafayette coach Kia Damon-Olson said, “there is a transition regardless of what they accomplished. Their college stats don’t mirror them exactly.

“Particularly with post players, the transition is a little slower because of the physicality. I will say that Natalie has had one of the more seamless transitions to college in my coaching career.”

Kucowski has proven that rebounding is an art born out of effort and desire as much as talent and size. She recognized that it is one of the many ways a player can contribute aside from scoring.

The three-year starter also recognized that preparation is a necessity no matter what you’re doing on the court in college.

“The biggest and hardest transition for me was the mental engagement side,” she admitted. “In high school, you can get away with maybe not being in position or not being 100 percent dialed in on the defensive plan.

“But in college all of that changes. Communication on defense and knowing different coverages is a big adjustment that just takes time and experience to be able to understand and to be able to execute.”

Kucowski averaged 10.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game as a freshman at Lafayette. She had 15 double-doubles last year as a sophomore and already has 17 this season.

But there’s more to her game. She’s never met an open teammate she didn’t want to pass to. That is her helpful nature coming out again.

“Anything you ask Natalie to do,” Damon-Olson said, “if it’s about the team she’s all for it. If it’s about the team winning, she’s for it.”

Kucowski is a major reason why Lafayette has its most Patriot League victories in a season since the 1993-94 campaign. Her current season rebounding average (12.9 per game) would be the fourth highest in league history and is currently second in the nation.

“It’s just as rewarding being a rebounder,” she said.

The junior is considering a career in the renewable energy sector. She’s enjoying one of her current classes in which the students are using algae to make biofuels.

Schaffer has seen Kucowski’s enthusiasm, dedication and selflessness come out in the classroom and lab settings.

He said she’ll go above and beyond in group projects and is willing to put in extra time to get the desired grades.

“I just see that drive in her to want others to do well and be willing to carry more than her fair share of the load,” Schaffer said. “I see that when I watch her play. She takes as much pride in assists as she does points.

“She is going to be so successful when she leaves here no matter what she decides to do.”

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. The Philadelphia Flyers‘ young goalie, Carter Hart. is 20-2-2 and has led the Flyers to nine straight wins. They last lost on February 15.  They have a tough week starting with the Bruins at home on Tuesday and they are at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
  1. 76ers head coach Brett Brown was on the West Coast this weekend when his son, Sam, came to the Allen Phys. Ed. Center to play for Lower Merion in their state playoff game against Northampton. Sam plays for Lower Merion High School, the former high school of Kobe Bryant.  He is a freshman starter and scored 14 points.  He will be one to watch as his career continues.  Lower Merion won the game.
  1. Lafayette’s men’s basketball season came to an end Sunday. They were never in the game with regular season champion Colgate.  Colgate now takes on Boston University for the Patriot League championship.  My money is on Colgate to win back-to-back titles.
  1. For the Phillies to succeed this year, they will need better starting pitching than they had last season. They have added a new pitching coach, Bryan Price, and a new starter in Zack Wheeler.  If Nola, Arrieta, and Eflin stay strong, the pitching staff may not be a weakness.
  1. Congrats to Central and Freedom boys and the Nazareth, Freedom, Bethlehem Catholic, and Central girls for advancing into the second round of the PIAA basketball playoffs. Keep it going!!

 

 

Winter Playoff Recaps #1

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

The high school and college playoff seasons are in full swing and the RCN Sports crew has been busy bringing you the best of the post-season action on RCN-TV.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights of our recent playoff games. For RCN video customers, these will be available free for the next two months On Demand. DVDs of these games in their entirety also can be purchased by calling 610-443-2909.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Be sure to bookmark and keep checking the RCN-TV website for the latest on our broadcast schedule over the next few weeks as we commence with our PIAA State Playoff games and cover even more high school and Lafayette basketball playoff games over the next month!

Winter Regular Season Recap #2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

The playoffs have already gotten underway for basketball, wrestling and swimming in Pennsylvania.

As we turn our attention to the post-season, here are video highlights of recent basketball games and wrestling matches broadcast on RCN-TV…

 

And, as a special treat for our high school wrestling fans in Eastern Pennsylvania, here is…hot off the “press”… the schedule and brackets for this weekend’s Northeast Regional wrestling tournament, featuring not only some of the top wrestlers from Pennsylvania, but a number of student-athletes ranked among the wrestling elite nationally.

Feb 20 NEAAA Bracket

Be sure to bookmark and check out the RCN broadcast schedule as we embark on the playoff runs for both high school basketball and wrestling, along with the best of Lafayette Men’s and Women’s Basketball as the Leopards look to make a run in the Patriot League playoffs!

All-Stars Recap

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Periodically,  the local sports governing bodies single out the top individual players for the different sports.

To that end, our thanks to the league and district representatives who sent me their “All-Stars” and post-season award winners  for their respective sports. Below is everything I have received.

*PLEASE NOTE:  The Colonial League decided this year to do away with their “All League” teams (with the exception of a couple sports) and is not signally-out any standout athletes for their schools–therefore those schools and their athletes are not listed, unless identified as such by District XI.  There are a few sports in which the coaches disagreed with the decision to do away with these honors and therefore are compiling their own “lists.” In those circumstances, it is up to the coaches to disseminate that information to the media and the league administrators want to make it clear that coaches are doing this of their own volition.  We are not trying to avoid showcasing these schools as this decision was made completely by the Colonial League administration and not anyone at RCN or by anyone in the media.

As always, we welcome any information sent to us regarding such honors and awards and would be happy to promote any all-star lists as assigned by teams and organizations in the RCN coverage area.

2019 EPC Football All Stars FINAL South

2019 EPC Football All Stars FINAL North

And here are the football MVP and title winners:

NORTH OFFENSIVE MVP – Tyrese Brandon, Running Back (Northampton)

NORTH DEFENSIVE MVP – Wayne Hamilton, Outside Linebacker (Stroudsburg)

SOUTH OFFENSIVE MVP – Jared Jenkins, Offensive Athlete (Freedom)

SOUTH DEFENSIVE MVP – Jake Wilson, Defensive End (Nazareth)

Congratulations to the E.P.C. South Division Champion – Nazareth 

Congratulations to the E.P.C. North Division Champion – Northampton 

2019 EPC Golf Results & All-Conference

2019 Field Hockey All-Star Teams

2019-20 Girls Tennis All Conference

2019 EPC Girls Volleyball Allstar results

EPC GSoc AllStars 2019

2019 EPC Boys Soccer All Stars 1st Team

Last but not least, the EPC’s scholar-athlete winners:

Boys’ Cross Country – Nathan Reimer – Parkland

Girls’ Cross Country – Pia Mazzella DiBosco –Easton

Field Hockey – Riley McDonald – Easton

Football – Benjamin Carbonetto – Allentown Central Catholic

Golf – Connor Houghton – Easton

Boys’ Soccer – Palmer Posten – East Stroudsburg South

Girls’ Soccer – Avery Francis – Stroudsburg

Girls’ Tennis – Priyanka Bhashayam – Allentown Central Catholic

Girls’ Volleyball – Lexi Cole – East Stroudsburg South

Congratulations to all of the award winners!

Again, if there’s any additional awards or post-season honors, please feel free to pass them along to chris.michael@rcn.net so that we could recognize those accomplishments here on this blog or on our “SportsTalk” program!

 

HS Basketball “Awards”

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Keith Groller and I recently gave our takes on the Lehigh Valley high school basketball season on “SportsTalk,” along with (some of) the following different categories for this season.

As we approach the final few weeks of the regular season, here’s a sample of some of our responses to these topics.

1) Team to Beat in the EPC & Colonial Leagues

 In what should be a great winter basketball season with lots of quality teams, you have to give the nod to the defending District XI 6A champion Allen Canaries.  They have most of their core returning and haven’t hurt themselves with their summer performances and could repeat–although they probably will have tougher competition come playoff time.

In the Colonial League, I put my money on Southern Lehigh to repeat again this year.  They feature too much talent not to successfully retain their title. 

2) “Surprise” Team 

Bethlehem Catholic

I know what you’re thinking–how can one of the premiere basketball teams and a perennial state playoff team be considered a ‘surprise?’  But consider, the Hawks lost perhaps the two best players (a point guard and a 6’10” center, no less) in the Lehigh Valley, yet hardly missed a beat, including incorporating two new players, both 6’6” and both can shoot, play inside and on the perimeter, defend, rebound…you name it.

Plus, the returning supporting cast looked good–especially having the rock and filling in the large departed shoes of Justin Paz.  You lose the players Becahi lost to graduation and you most certainly would have expected some semblance of a step back–at least to start. 

3) Most Intriguing Team to Watch 

Nazareth

Another team that lost a ton to graduation–although they were incredibly inconsistent last season, but Joe Arndt’s kids have been working hard this offseason and he is VERY high on the incoming players.

4) MVP 

This was not an easy topic to answer and the term “MVP” sometimes can be open to different interpretations…you might want to listen to our podcast to hear my entire “thought process” for this one. 

5) Biggest Question Mark This Winter 

I saw Freedom six times in a row last January and, during that stretch, no team looked better–especially defensively.  After that three week stretch I didn’t see Freedom again until the final week of the regular season, and, by that time, they had fallen from the #3 seed to a #9 seed and failed to qualify for the league playoffs and were non-factors in district.

This year, I’ve once again had the opportunity to announce a number of Freedom games and, once again, they’ve looked impressive–but have had trouble getting over the hump in winning big games.

What happened last year?  Can they avoid a similar fate over the next few weeks?  We’ll delve into the Patriots’ psyche as Head Coach Joe Stellato and members of his team (including the Mims brothers–both of whom eclipsed the 1,000 point plateau this month) will be in-studio guests on Thursday’s “SportsTalk” program. 

6) Underclassman to Watch 

Allen’s Nate Ellis

The freshman may have made some early season “ninth grade” mistakes, but he looked awfully impressive down the stretch, guiding his team to a championship.  Nate’s ceiling is already pretty high but certainly he has the potential to go down as one of the best point guard all-time in the rich Allentown basketball history books.  Should be a great story to watch over the next several seasons. 

7) Most Anticipated Colonial League Playoff Matchup 

Notre Dame at Southern Lehigh.

The defending Colonial League champs against the team with the most incoming talent…couldn’t get much better than this. 

8) Most Anticipated EPC Playoff Matchup 

Parkland vs. Allen.

Parkland, after having some issues during the regular season, came on strong late and played the Canaries tough in districts during Allen’s great run.  Would love to see what the Trojans can do with a full year of consistency in the rematch between these two schools. 

9)  New Head Coach with Biggest Impact 

We had a chance to interview the Lehigh Valley’s new coaches on “SportsTalk” recently.  Why don’t you watch those interviews and tell me your thoughts to this topic by emailing me at chris.michael@rcn.net ?  I’d love to hear your opinions!