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Mourning the King of Comedy.

In Entertainment, history, Media, Movies, Opinion, television, Theatre, Uncategorized on August 21, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

The world lost a veritable comic genius this week as we mourn the passing of Jerry Lewis. From his early beginnings as a stage comic, to the magical fundraising power of his telethons to raise money in the search for a cure for Muscular Dystrophy, Lewis was many things to many people.

Lewis had his faults. He was said to be difficult to work with at times, a bit of a control freak, probably from the desperation he felt as an upstart comic in the 1940s. But the fact is he was a writer, director, producer and a technical innovator in film as well. He invented something called the video assist, which allowed a director to instantly watch what they’ve just shot.

Of course, it’s the French who are fabled to have loved Lewis’s movies and considered him a genius. But, like with so many tales of the famous, much of that is exaggerated or taken out of context. According to some reports, if you ask a French person to name a Lewis movie, they usually have a tough time coming up with an answer. Seriously? I mean, who doesn’t know, “The Nutty Professor?” (No, not that terrible Eddie Murphy remake. Don’t get me started.)

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were a comedy team for just 10 years.

You can probably find countless tributes and retrospectives on the King of Comedy, so I’m not going to lay out another laundry list here of his successes and failures. But I wanted to share my thoughts as somewhat of a student of his craft and fellow writer and performer.

If you follow my work regularly, or Google my name, know that I’ve led a dual life in the professional and stage worlds for most of my time on this earth. Beginning at the age of 5, as a budding ventriloquist, I have won awards for my talents, written comedy scripts and produced all manner of shows, from the musical stage to Vaudevillian-style variety shows.

Not much in my repertoire could even begin to compare to a giant like Lewis, but comedy was always the foundation for a great deal of my work. I’ve always believed that if you could make people laugh, no matter what you were doing, singing, dancing, writing, juggling, whatever, they would be entertained.

For me, Jerry Lewis was a one-of-a-kind, a true struggling artist, always trying to get people to take him seriously through laughter. You read that correctly. It’s tough to get people to take notice when your entire goal is to make them laugh. It’s even more difficult when your whole self-worth is wrapped up in that laughter and thunderous applause.

Gery Deer and Jim Karns in Whips and Wands …

Lewis’s physical comedy, funny vocalizations and incredible timing is what I enjoyed and what I have always emulated. I’m a one-liner, storytelling kind of comedian on stage. I do a little physical comedy, but it’s generally centered around hand gestures or other smaller movements. Jerry Lewis could leave an audience in stitches with a simple facial expression – that’s talent (and a rubbery face helped too.)

For nearly two decades, my dear friend Jim Karns and I have worked together on stage much like Martin and Lewis in their early years. Our timing and banter is very similar, as was that of Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy (after the silent days), and so many other comedy teams. The dynamic duo of Jerry’s goof to Dean’s straight man, which kicked off in Atlantic City in 1946, became a national phenomenon lasting a mere 10 years, though to many fan it’s unimaginable it was such a short time. Regardless, the pair was unstoppable during their run, and watching anything they did is still a pleasure.

I ignore the public negativity surrounding most celebrities I admire, whether they brought it on themselves or not. After all, they’re only human, good people trying to entertain people in an unforgiving and sadistic industry. I left the big stage behind many years ao in favor of smaller one with kinder audiences.

But no matter how large the stage, Jerry Lewis’s influence will be there, for me and for many generations to come. “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” – Jerry Lewis.

Gery L. Deer is a writer, producer and performer with “The Brothers & Co Variety Show.” More at thebrothersvarietyshow.com.

 

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Sharing Your Labor of Love, To Boldly Go

In Entertainment, history, National News, Opinion, television, Uncategorized on October 17, 2016 at 11:16 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOI recently returned from a trip to Ticonderoga, New York where I visited one of the most unlikely attractions for an area rich in American revolutionary history. Hidden away in a repurposed storefront of this tiny, historic town, one man’s childhood dream has become reality that he’s chosen to share with the world.

James Cawley is, by profession, an Elvis Presley tribute artist. But his lifelong love of the original Star Trek television series drove him to construct one of the single most accurate recreations of the classic show’s space-going sets. Wise men may have said only fools rush in, but Cawley did it full throttle, going where no few fans had gone before.

Around 2004, he rounded up friends and associates in the entertainment business to produce a web-based continuation of the Starship Enterprise’s five-year mission. Titled first, “Star Trek New Voyages,” and later adopting creator Gene Roddenberry’s planned second series name, “Star Trek Phase II,” Cawley and crew made nearly a dozen full-length episodes and shorts featuring Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the rest of the original series characters.

Using his own time, effort and money and thanks to the care and hard work of his associates, Cawley’s dream became a reality as he, himself, took up the center seat on the web show as Captain James T. Kirk. With computer generated special effects, hand-crafted costumes and painstakingly detailed sets based on the 1960s series, his vision was to capture the appeal of the original show, and that he did.

Unfortunately, that dream was cut short when CBS Paramount, the owners of Star Trek, issued highly restrictive rules for fan-made Star Trek productions. Although no revenue was generated by Cawley’s show and any donated funds were used for production costs, not paychecks, the company still saw it as a copyright infringement.

Unwilling to let all of this hard work dry up and blow away, Cawley and company worked with CBS Paramount to officially license his production sets into an attraction that fans could visit and appreciate along with them.

Transporter set from Star Trek Set Tour in Ticonderoga NY

Transporter set from Star Trek Set Tour in Ticonderoga NY Photo by Gery Deer

Now open to the public, the Star Trek Set Tour is a one-of-a-kind fan experience. Built from and arranged according to the original Desilu Studios stage plans, the tour includes a complete bridge set, transporter room, hallways and much more. Several areas of the ship’s interior sets are still under construction and more are planned, but that only adds to the value of the experience.

While there is a charge to visit the sets, volunteers still do nearly all of the labor-intensive and highly skilled creative work. And it is clear Cawley sees this project as his way of sharing what he’s built with all of us. Chatting with him during my visit, I made a comment referring to “his” ship but he was quick to correct me.

“This is ‘our’ ship,” he responded, looking across the bridge set from where we stood watching fellow fans marvel over the realism of what he’d built. It was clear this is his labor of love and he’s proud to share it with us.

Star Trek Tour creator, James Cawley with Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer on the Enterprise bridge set.

Star Trek Tour creator, James Cawley with Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer on the Enterprise bridge set.

At this point, it’s important for me to tell you that other than having been yet another visiting fan transported back to my childhood as I sat in the recreated captain’s chair I have no affiliation with the exhibit. But I bring all of this to your attention because I can relate to Cawley’s vision, his desire to see a dream to reality and bring it to others who will enjoy it with him.

We should all have a labor of love in our lives, something that earns us no money but serves to enrich others and ourselves. For some, it might be volunteering as a sports coach or tutoring underprivileged children. Others may see community theater or serve in public office in such a way.

You don’t have to go where no man has gone before to do it. But, whatever yours may be, when we are able to share our interests with other similarly impassioned people, it makes us better and more well rounded human beings.

Click for a fun video of Gery entering the Enterprise bridge!

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Catch Deer In Headlines, the podcast, on MyGreeneRadio.com. New episodes every Tuesday.

Here are some of Gery’s photos from The Star Trek Set Tour … For more information visit http://www.startrektour.com

Hogan’s hero: author celebrates life of slain actor

In Books, Charities, Education, Entertainment, Local News, National News, Opinion, television, Uncategorized on June 13, 2016 at 8:20 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOIn 1978 “Hogan’s Heroes” star, Bob Crane, was murdered in his Arizona hotel room. The scandalous details of his death have been the subject of speculation and salacious headlines ever since. Crane’s murder was never solved.

I won’t give more press time to the dark circumstances surrounding this man’s death, except to say that Americans can’t seem to ever get enough of sensationalism when it comes to celebrity. Over the years a great deal of negative material has been written about the actor’s life, troubled marriage, divorce and personal addictions, and that was all anyone ever seemed to say about him.

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Gery L. Deer, with author Carl M. Ford at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Always left out of those stories were the facts about Crane’s long career in entertainment and the character he couldn’t leave behind. Barely spoken of were his level of commitment to his colleagues, to his children and to the armed forces to whom he felt a deep responsibility and connection through his “Hogan’s” character and his older brother, Al, who was severely injured while serving in World War II.

Enter author Carol M. Ford, who has written a new biography about Bob Crane in a dedicated effort to celebrate the life and career of this beloved actor. Her care and commitment to restoring this man’s honor and humanity is nothing less than incredible.

I had the good fortune, recently, to meet Ms. Ford and talk with her about her experience in writing this book. She was holding a signing at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. Next to her table was a display featuring a very important artifact – Col. Hogan’s leather flight jacket from the “Hogan’s Heroes” series.

“We all have those parts of our lives that we’re not proud of,” she told me. “Divorce, family strain, addictions, whatever it is, everyone has something. The sad part about Bob’s death is less about how he died but that how he lived had always been so completely overlooked. This is a celebration of his life.”

Ford’s new book, “Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography,” is a fitting tribute to a man whose life is, to most fans, a blur between fact and fiction, where the focus has been for more nearly 40 years on his death. This book chronicles, in great detail, Crane’s life as told by family, friends, colleagues and fans who had the good fortune to share a moment with him.

Ford’s research is impressive, having collected interviews from nearly 200 people who actually knew Crane. Going as far back as elementary school, the interviews, photos and stories provide us with a real picture of the man we loved as Colonel Hogan but who was obviously so much more.

Bob Crane's costume jacket from Hogan's Heroes is on display at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Bob Crane’s costume jacket from Hogan’s Heroes is on display at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH

Crane’s character of Hogan was a hero to me, and to countless others of my generation. But, like so many celebrities, most of us never knew who he was outside of Stalag 13 or away from the microphone.

As a fan, I am grateful to Ford and her colleagues for writing this book to focus on the life of a man I had admired since childhood. Much of my stage persona comes from watching him – and Colonel Hogan. I’m glad I get to understand the man over the mystery.

This wasn’t intended to sound like a book review, but I have a great respect for the effort, time and commitment that went into this book. As a fellow writer, I can’t imagine the work, personal expense and thoughtful insight that went into the attempt to capture the life of someone whose life was so full and still resonates today with all those who knew him.

You can find the book Barnes & Noble, on Amazon and at the website for the official campaign to have Bob Crane entered into the National Radio Hall of Fame www.vote4bobcrane.org. I highly recommend the hardback version, filled with historical documents, more than 200 pictures and more. So, all my thanks to Bob for his talent, and to Carol Ford for hers.

*******

Author’s Note: I strongly related to the idea of writing the positive of a celebrity’s life after they’d died in scandalous circumstances. A colleague and friend of mine, well known in the media, passed away suddenly after a long struggle with addiction and depression. The only things the media would write about seemed to be the negatives in her life and the circumstances surrounding her tragic death. I couldn’t let that stand. I wrote a piece, from her own word as she had told me, of the good in her life, the promise and the hope. It is my hope that her legacy carries more of that than of her ending, as I hope with Carol’s book and Bob Crane’s story. 

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com.

Learning from McHenry’s vicious rant

In Business, Entertainment, Media, National News, Opinion, psychology, television, Uncategorized on April 24, 2015 at 10:07 am

DIH LOGOHave you ever had a really bad day? I mean one of those days when the slightest thing will set you off and you bite someone’s head off for no particular reason? Having a rough day can cause anyone to lash out for no apparent reason. The unfortunate recipient of such wrath could be your kids, a co-worker, or even a clerk at a towing company.

Last week ESPN sports broadcaster Britt McHenry did just that, but she added a few frills and dressings that she now most likely regrets. More accurately, she probably regrets that there was a security camera recording every moment of her vicious tirade leveled at a towing company clerk in Arlington, Virginia.

Britt McHenry on security camera ranting at towing clerk.

Britt McHenry on security camera ranting at towing clerk.

By suggesting that McHenry may have been reacting to a bad day, I am certainly not defending her. She clearly has some deep-seated personal insecurities to be so mean to, well, anyone. She had her back to the wall and we may have seen a glimpse of the real person behind the media façade. But, ignoring the woman’s obvious personal shortcomings, how many of us would be appalled to see our behavior replayed for the entire world after a difficult experience?

As for McHenry, I’ll grant her that it’s not easy to be a normal human being in the public eye, although, in truth, not being a sports consumer, I’d never heard of her until this incident surfaced. Still, no one is perfect. We all have our warts, but, for some of us, sometimes they’re a bit uglier than we realize, no matter how much we try to conceal them.

A difficult experience can bring all of that ugliness to the surface with great force, sometimes beyond our awareness. And, once it’s out there, it’s out there, particularly if you happen to be a public figure in a world of constant surveillance and instantaneous social media.

One op-ed I read after the incident commented more on McHenry’s apparent self-image, suggesting that she clearly exhibited an, “overblown sense of entitlement and evidence of a mean girl who never left high school.” The writer then went on to defend her somewhat, noting how quickly she was judged by the public without the other side of the story ever being revealed.

Well, since this is my op-ed column, I will say that, given her behavior, the other side doesn’t really matter much. Being angry at the situation and lashing out is understandable, particularly if you just had your car towed. But McHenry’s personal, demeaning attacks against the clerk were just plain vial. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say she was arrogant, snobby, and just plain brutal.

Others in defense of McHenry call the release of the video a “public shaming,” but I can’t agree. McHenry shamed herself, no one made her behave that way. We all make choices and we have to live with the consequences. The pretty, popular and famous people of the world can’t be held to a higher standard (since they’re human too), but they are certainly no exception.

One thing struck me even more oddly. I have worked in media for many years and I have to ask how it never occurred to McHenry that there were probably security cameras on her? Even after the camera was pointed out by the clerk, she continued her rant, which became even more despicable.

After that, she got what she deserved. In my professional opinion, from a public relations standpoint, the best thing her bosses could do is show her the door – permanently. She’s bad for business and constant judgment and public scrutiny are the price of life in the media. Those who choose that life don’t get to whine about it.

Everyone has the right to be upset in difficult circumstances but no one has the right – not even the rich and famous – to belittle a person because of his or her own delusions of grandeur and privilege. Perhaps we could all learn an important lesson from McHenry’s behavior? Difficult situations might be more tolerable if everyone involved behaved as though the cameras are on them.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com.

Remembering “Spock,” actor Leonard Nimoy

In Entertainment, Movies, National News, Opinion, television, Theatre, Uncategorized, World News on March 3, 2015 at 1:43 pm

DIH LOGO

In 1982, fans of the science fiction franchise, “Star Trek,” more commonly referred to as “Trekkies,” or the more accepted, “Trekkors,” took a kidney punch when Leonard Nimoy’s character of Mr. Spock died at the end of the film “Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan.” But, thanks to the miracle of science fiction, Spock was resurrected and the Starship Enterprise continued to boldly go where no man had gone before.

Sadly, fans must now face a more painful and permanent fact of life as they mourn the passing of the actor who, for nearly a half century, portrayed their favorite pointy-eared alien. Leonard Nimoy passed away on February 27th at the age of 83 at his home in Los Angeles following a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

As a lifelong fan there is no way to adequately convey the sadness of losing such a talented performer whose on-screen character inspired so many. Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew, were great sources, not only of entertainment, but incredible inspiration for individual achievement and social change.

spockNetwork executives originally told Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to, “get rid of the guy with the ears.” But, thanks to Mr. Nimoy’s talented development of the character,  Mr. Spock became a quintessential part of “Star Trek’s” hopeful future in which everyone worked together to eliminate hunger, pettiness and poverty.

Such a vision is still somewhat unique – and often poked fun at – in the science fiction genre, which more often paints a dark, pessimistic outlook for man and a holocaust-ravaged world of tomorrow.  But with Spock’s presence, a bright future for mankind seemed more plausible. In Spock, Mr. Nimoy created the embodiment of chaos with focus, logic with feeling, and understanding with wonder.

I have been incredibly fortunate on a couple of occasions to have had the chance to meet and speak to Mr. Nimoy, as well as see him perform. At one Star Trek anniversary convention I attended, he invited questions from the audience. He chose my raised hand from several dozen other hopefuls seated nearby and I didn’t waste the opportunity.

A bit stunned at having been selected, I stood up and managed to ask something from the original “Star Trek” pilot episode that I’d been wondering about for years. With a genuinely amused laugh, he thought for a moment and informed us that he’d never before been asked about it.

Then, he answered with a detailed, behind the scenes story and directly thanked me when he finished. I will never forget that. Naturally it was cool even to be picked out of hundreds, but I was far more privileged to have given Leonard Nimoy even a tiny moment of entertainment in return for all he’d given us.

Mr. Nimoy played Spock for the last time in the most recent “Star Trek” film, “Into Darkness,” and, although he will be most remembered for his logical alter-ego, he also performed in dozens of other movies and television programs over the years. Besides “Star Trek,” he’s probably most remembered for his time on “Mission Impossible” and, more recently, in the TV drama, “Fringe.”

Besides being a gifted actor, Mr. Nimoy was a director, poet, photographer and activist. In the “Star Trek” animated series Spock is quoted to have said, “Loss of life is to be mourned. But only if that life was wasted.” Clearly, his was certainly not wasted.

Any of us should be so lucky as to have touched even a fraction of the lives Mr. Nimoy did, and in so many positive ways. To all those mourning a loss, remember the burden will ease over time and those we lose really aren’t gone, as long as we remember them. Live long and prosper.

If you would like to know Gery’s convention question to Mr. Nimoy and what answer he gave, read the BONUS MATERIAL at the end of this article.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com.

  

BONUS MATERIAL:
Question from Gery Deer to Leonard Nimoy in a talk at the Star Trek 35th Anniversary Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gery L. Deer: Mr. Nimoy, in the Star Trek pilot episode, “The Cage,” you beam down to the surface of planet Talos IV with Captain Pike and a landing party. As you walk around the planet set, you appear to be limping and I wanted to know if you could tell us why? I’ve heard people say it had something to do with your boots, or the set floor, whatever. I just wondered what the real reason was.

Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer in one of the uniforms designed for Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan

Deer In Headlines author, Gery L. Deer in one of the uniforms designed for Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan

Leonard Nimoy: (Laughing) You’ve been worried about that all of these years, why I was limping? Well, I have to say I have never been asked about that before.

(The crowd of about 1,200 in the room was really laughing at this point and applauding.)

Leonard Nimoy: Well, I’ll tell you because I really don’t want you to be troubled by this any longer. (More laughter). If you remember in the story there was some discussion about a fight that had taken place on a planet several weeks prior.

As the story goes, the Enterprise crew was ambushed and there was a battle in which crew members were killed or injured. Spock was supposed to have hurt his leg in that fight. In television and movies, you often shoot scenes and story lines out of sequence and the scenes where the fight takes place would have been in another episode to go before the events in The Cage had Star Trek had been picked up without any changes. Then you’d see Spock get hurt and know why he’s limping later. (Crowd applauds.)

Leonard Nimoy: (Nimoy, looking back again at Gery) That’s why I was limping and now you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Thank you for that question, that was really the first time anyone has ever asked me that. (Mr. Nimoy gives Gery the Vulcan salute and the crowd applauds again.)

END.

 

 

Zombies, the lamest monsters

In Books, Entertainment, Movies, Opinion, sociology, television, Uncategorized on October 20, 2014 at 11:28 am

DIH LOGOHalloween is upon us and, once again, zombie-mania continues to reign supreme. From so-called, community “Zombie Walk” events to AMC’s season premier of the “Walking Dead” boasting the highest-rated cable television show in history, Americans certainly seem to be zombie-obsessed. But why; what is it about an animated, decaying corpse that seems to capture people’s imaginations and gets them to shell out millions of dollars in search of the next big zombie fix?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word, “zombie,” has its origins in West Africa, but the concept of the animated corpse most likely comes from Haitian folklore. Legend suggests that the dead are raised by magical means to walk the earth again and do the bidding of the one who performed the revival ritual, as a sort of creepy slave.

Zombies first appeared in American popular literature as early as 1929, then shortly after, actor Bela Lugosi, famous for his portrayal of “Dracula,” starred in the film, “White Zombie,” which introduced the familiar personification of the creature. The modern American zombie pop-culture most likely took hold after the release of George Romero’s 1968 film, “Night of the Living Dead,” although they were never actually referred to by that word in the movie.

zombiesZombies in modern tales aren’t usually created by magic, but science. Today’s authors have penned a more realistic origin for what has become known as the “zombie apocalypse.” In most current story plots, a rogue virus escapes to the population, infecting everyone and turning them into, essentially, zombies. Instead of one or two slave zombies on the loose, entire populations of walking dead murderously meander across the globe, destroying civilization as they consume the living for sustenance; right, whatever.

Really, except for the fact that they’re pretty gross to look at and can sneak up on people, as far as monsters go zombies are probably the lamest (pun intended) and least scary creatures ever dreamed up. Think about it – re-animated dead people, hobbling along with one foot dragging behind them and moving so slowly, any granny on a walker could whiz past. What’s scary about that?

These monsters have no motive for being bad and there is no end goal or desire for world domination. They’re just hungry. They wander the night, aimlessly, hoping only to happen upon a fresh brain to consume.

And would someone please explain why they even need to eat anything? They’re dead! What possible nutritional value could there be in anything for a zombie? And why are they bleeding always? Does it need to be pointed out again, they’re dead – there shouldn’t be any blood pumping.

Add to that killing them is really a piece of cake, depending on which version of zombie lore you adhere to. In the modern, “Walking Dead” style, all you need to do is smash in their heads or decapitate them or something. But, according to Haitian lore, the goal was not to destroy them but to release these poor souls from their magically-induced, wandering purgatory and there were several methods available to do that, like pouring salt on them.

In any case, zombies are just not all that intimidating compared to vampires or werewolves (ignoring the Twilight-styled, sparkling, Calvin Klein model types). And yet, inevitably, story protagonists nearly always get caught by the marauding zombies and get their brains eaten. Really, how dumb does someone in a monster movie need to be to actually get caught by a crippled, decaying dead guy?

So, here is the best possible advice for escaping zombies – run! Or, just walk fast; it’s not that hard to get away from zombies. Just be sure to sacrifice the comic relief character first, giving you extra time (not like you need it).

If for some reason the zombie gets too close, and yes, that will be because you are really, incredibly stupid, just grab the arms and pull them off – how hard can it be? They’re dead and decaying, right? Hopefully the zombie fascination will diminish soon, leaving room for even more ridiculous obsessions, like brooding, teenage werewolves. Oh wait, that’s been done already too. Oh well. Happy Halloween!
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is a production of GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. More at gerydeer.com.

 

Celebrating the paramedic and EMS

In Health, history, Jobs, National News, Opinion, Science, television, Uncategorized on July 21, 2014 at 11:44 am

DIH LOGOWhen was the last time you felt the urge to run into a burning building? What about cutting your way into a mangled car to extract an injured child after a wreck? It takes a particularly kind of person to reject self-protective responses and dive in, head first, to help others. Fortunately, our first responders – firefighters, emergency medical services (EMS) and police officers – never hesitate to do exactly that.

Firefighters and police officers have been around for centuries, but can you remember a time when no one had ever heard of a “paramedic?” Actually, it wasn’t that long ago, only about 45 years. Although there’s no officially recorded origin, the word “paramedic” can be loosely broken down to two parts. The Latin prefix, “para,” means, in this context, “apart from, or beyond,” and “medic” referring to “physician.”

The first paramedic training began in California in the mid 1960s. But in January of 1972, television producers Jack Webb and R.A. Cinader (“Dragnet,” and “Adam 12,”) helped introduce the rest of the country to the concept in a new show called, simply, “Emergency!.”

Each week, viewers rode along with a pair of fictional, Los Angeles County Station 51 firefighter paramedics named Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto, portrayed by actors Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe. Back then, firefighters were skilled in only a minimum of first aid techniques. Paramedic training allowed more advanced medical treatment for victims at the scene, when time is critical, performed at the time under the direction of a hospital physician communicating by radio.

Emergency! aired on NBC for six seasons and introduced the country to the job of the paramedic. (Kevin Tighe as Roy DeSoto and Randolph Mantooth as John Gage).

Emergency! aired on NBC for six seasons and introduced the country to the job of the paramedic. (Kevin Tighe as Roy DeSoto and Randolph Mantooth as John Gage).

For six seasons, using real-life, contemporary techniques, the fictional team of “Squad 51” demonstrated how vital paramedics could be to accident survival rates. Additionally, by shining some Hollywood light on the subject, the show helped ease resistance by doctors who fought the adaptation of advanced medical field support, referring to it as, “remote controlled medicine.”

Paramedics are sometimes referred to inaccurately as EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), but there are differences between the two, although regulations and educational requirements can vary. According to the University of Southern California Los Angeles’s Center for Prehospital Care, “EMTs usually complete a course that is about 120-150 hours in length. Paramedic courses can be between 1,200 to 1,800 hours.” But that’s not where the difference ends.

Both fields of study include lectures, clinical and field internships and hands-on skills training such as CPR, administering oxygen, glucose for diabetics and helping to treat asthma attacks. “With very few exceptions, such as in the case of auto-injectors for allergic reactions,” UCLA’s website states, “EMTs are not allowed to provide treatments that require breaking the skin: that means no needles.”

At the time of the “Emergency!” TV series, Los Angeles County, had only about 36 paramedics. But after the show became a hit, applications came pouring in anywhere the programs were offered. As of 2012, StudentDoctor.net reports that there are an estimated 142,000 paramedics and 600,000 EMTs currently working in the United States and that number is growing. From big cities to rural communities, paramedics and EMTs are regularly in great demand.

On September 11, 2001, first responders took center stage, paramedics included, with hundreds giving their lives trying to save the victims of the World Trade Center attacks. Hopefully, our local fire and rescue personnel will never be required to perform such a dire duty, but you can rest assured that if the need would ever arise, they are ready and willing.

I can’t convey how grateful my family was to the men and women of our local EMS (New Jasper Township, in Greene County, Ohio) when I was helping to care for my mother who, in addition to Alzheimer’s disease, also suffered from heart disease. Our emergency medical responders see us at the most difficult, stressful moments of life. So, since we often forget at the time, “Thank You,” from a grateful public to our fire and EMS providers, for all you do to help keep us safe.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.gerydeer.com

Cause and effect of drug advertisements

In Business, Education, Health, National News, Opinion, television, Uncategorized on June 26, 2014 at 10:37 am

DIH LOGOAccording to a 2008 study by the peer-reviewed medical journal, PLOS Medicine, pharmaceutical companies spend nearly twice as much on marketing than research. In a review of the study, the consumer advocacy website, Consumerist.com, indicates, “Drug companies pour $57.5 billion into marketing, dwarfing the comparably paltry $31.5 billion devoted to research.”

Pharmaceutical manufacturers have rigid guidelines for promoting their products, but the question lingers: should non-over-the-counter drugs be promoted to the general public at all? The short answer is, probably not. The longer answer is more complex. Since, as a rule, Deer In Headlines deals with “fact,” not “truth,” here are some facts about drug advertising. Incidentally, if it is truth you’re interested in, check out a philosophy column (thanks Dr. Jones).

The official website of the United States Food and Drug Administration states, “Prescription drug advertisements can provide useful information for consumers to work with their health care providers to make wise decisions about treatment.” Leading the pack of heavily-marketed drugs are prescription sleep aids, blood thinners, anti-depressants and erectile dysfunction remedies. Most of the television ads for these medications appear during the day, carefully targeting certain markets.

What the general public fails to realize, however, is that these ads are intended to plant an idea in the head of the consumer who, in all their medical wisdom, will take the information to a doctor and insist on a prescription. Mission accomplished; more drugs are sold and the company’s stock goes up a quarter of a point, not to mention the fact there is one more person who simply can’t live without the latest pill. Perhaps a better understanding of how these ads are structured might help.

pillsThe FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion classifies medication advertisements into three categories: Product Claims, Reminders, and Help-Seeking ads.  The product claim ad names the drug, the treated condition and lists the benefits and risks. A reminder ad shows the name of the drug, but not its use. Finally, the help-seeking advertisement is directed at people with a particular condition for which they are trying to find a remedy. There is, however, no guideline for how much money a drug company can spend on advertising and some consumer advocates argue that it’s wrong for them to be able to spend more on marketing than research.

The fact is that it’s really hard to say exactly how much any one drug company spends on research vs. marketing because reported advertising expenditures are mixed in with the accounting category which also includes other figures, such as executive salaries. Research money is usually accounted for in a separate line item (R&D), even though it technically could be in the same classification with general operation costs.

Another fact is that everyone is a medical expert – yes that’s sarcasm. From the neighbor with every ailment more painful than the last or the relative who insists his doctor is an idiot but goes back every time his prescription runs out, self-diagnosis and treatment are a real epidemic in America.

There is also the concern that these advertisements actually plant the idea of a particular illness in the mind of the viewer who then heads to the doctor with a new problem, and a new prescription demand. Studies show that about 40-percent of all doctor visits are with the intention of getting a prescription. Since people keep going back, it’s safe to assume there are plenty of doctors obliging, and that needs to change as well.

Prescription medication should be marketed to the experts who will be prescribing it to the patient. Drug companies already spend billions on advertising and on-site sales representatives who offer samples and various other motivators to get the doctors to push their products for various ailments. The patient has no business self-prescribing and doctors need to be more responsible.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. Side effects of reading Deer In Headlines include a more open mind, alternative points of view and a better understanding of the world around you. No prescription necessary.

 

LIVE! With Michael and Kelly announces Gery L. Deer as guest host.

In Environment, Local News, television on April 1, 2014 at 10:14 am

Gery_Live_April_FoolNew York, NY – April 1, 2014 – Producers of the hit daytime television program, Live! With Michael and Kelly, announce the newest guest host. Writer, entrepreneur Gery L. Deer will join the list of guest hosts to head up the popular morning entertainment show after a successful run as a regular guest on the popular Dayton, Ohio talk show, “Living Dayton.”

An award-nominated writer and marketing expert, the Jamestown, Ohio native is no stranger to the national television stage, having appeared on programs like America’s Got Talent, The Bonnie Hunt Show and Steve Harvey’s Big Time.

An attempt was made to contact Deer, but the only word from his representative, one Bray T Cat, was, “Meow.”
YES THIS WAS AN APRIL FOOL’S DAY JOKE. THANKS FOR PLAYING! (But if Kelly and Michael are reading, I’d be happy to co-host! – Gery D.

 

 

 

 

Jamestown business celebrates 15 years with televised ribbon cutting

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Jobs, Local News, television, Uncategorized on September 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Deer In Headlines author and Living Dayton business contributor, Gery L. Deer in the "Stafford Jewelers Diamond Room" at WDTN.

Deer In Headlines author and Living Dayton business contributor, Gery L. Deer in the “Stafford Jewelers Diamond Room” at WDTN.

DAYTON, OH – On Thursday, September 5th, GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing in Jamestown will celebrate 15 years in business with a televised ribbon cutting event on the set of the WDTN-TV2 daytime talk show, Living Dayton. Viewers can see the program live on Dayton channel 2 or streaming online at http://www.livingdaytontv.com.

In March of 1998, Gery L. Deer, of Jamestown, started the business from the spare bedroom of a London, Ohio apartment. Originally called GLD Enterprises & Productions, the company had two areas of focus: on-site computer support and entertainment development. It later expanded into variety talent placement and commercial public relations services.

The name and focus have changed slightly over time and today GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing specializes in communications services for all types and sizes of business including commercial copywriting, public relations and marketing consulting. The company also has two separate divisions for IT support and entertainment development, each serving a limited and exclusive clientele.

In addition to the anniversary celebration, the firm is also launching a totally re-designed website at www.gldenterprises.net and recognizing the addition of its first outside sales and business development specialist. Karen Schroeder joined up in August to help develop house account projects and provide a liaison to the growing community of women-owned companies in the area.

An award-nominated freelance writer and entrepreneur for more than two decades, Deer has also served as the on-air business expert to the Living Dayton program since it started in February of 2012. His educational background is in engineering and writing, but he learned his business sense from his family’s entrepreneurial history.

GLD_Enterprises_ol“We’ve had to make a great many adjustments to the business over the years to keep going, sometimes even altering it into a part-time status,” Deer says. “But this is an important milestone for us and the local economy, particularly since we hire so many other freelance professionals, from graphics artists to research analysts.”

Deer says his company is one of the most streamlined independent businesses in the area. “We do everything we can to save money, get the most from our efforts and act as a partner to our customers in their long-term success,” he says. “We are grateful that we have such a loyal clientele and we hope the next 15 years give us the opportunity to help more Miami Valley businesses succeed and grow.”

More information about GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing and the televised event is available online at www.gldenterprises.net or by calling (937) 902-4857.