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Earl Camembert

Earl Camembert (pronounced “Canen-bare”) is a fictional news reporter and anchorman portrayed by Eugene Levy on the Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV, which aired in the 1970s and 1980s.

Camembert, named after Canadian broadcaster Earl Cameron and after camembert cheese, was actually modelled more closely as a parody of Buffalo, New York newscaster Irv Weinstein (both Weinstein and Levy were Jewish and lived in the Buffalo Niagara Region most of their lives) best workout belt. He was a recurring character alongside Joe Flaherty’s character of Floyd Robertson; the two co-anchored the SCTV Network’s “SCTV News” program.

Camembert always appeared with thick-rimmed eyeglasses and checkered suit with matching bow tie, along with his black hair in a near-afro style. Robertson, who was portrayed as the respectable, well-dressed anchorman how to tenderize meat quickly, reported major news stories (often including wars and disasters involving the semi-fictional African nation of Togoland), while Camembert was stuck with frivolous items.

The two characters’ on-air friction is caused not only by the differences in their journalistic credentials, but also their status at the TV station. While Robertson receives a lucrative six-figure salary to anchor the evening news, Camembert is paid union scale and must anchor and host a number of news programs from early morning to late in the evening. As it is, his poor journalistic skills tend to indicate he is fortunate to be employed at all; for instance, one interview with Melonville mayor Tommy Shanks ended poorly, with the mayor becoming so enraged that he immediately stormed the studio to assault Camembert on air.

However, on occasions when Robertson was drunk (semi-frequently in the later days of the show), he would tend to have to try and stick to the news while his co-anchor was inebriated; on another occasion, Robertson was among the station staff who were being mind-controlled by the alien Zontar via mind-altering cabbages, with Earl (who had not been placed under Zontar’s control) being confused and irritated by Robertson’s state and frequent references to Zontar.

Camembert also often presented editorials, which earned Robertson’s scorn. In one episode, Robertson laughed through Camembert’s entire piece. Camembert’s editorials were usually followed by his signature on screen, which appeared scribbled and disorganized. Camembert headed the election campaign for SCTV personality Johnny La Rue (played by John Candy) during the Melonville town elections, ignoring the principle of journalistic neutrality. After La Rue was soundly defeated, Camembert was fired by La Rue. Robertson then informed Camembert that he would be reported for his journalistic violations.

Like Robertson who also appeared as Count Floyd on “Monster Chiller Horror Theater,” Camembert also “doubled up” at SCTV, but his ventures were less than successful. One of his earliest “other” gigs was as host of a children’s television series, “The Uncle Earl Show,” but that show was cancelled. His next attempt at a “regular” show was a news magazine-type program, “60/20” (a spoof of both 60 Minutes and 20/20), and he also hosted an edition of SCTV’s attempt at their own sketch comedy series, “Thursday Night Live.” His longest-running series was a show in the vein of PM Magazine, “One on the Town,” but that effort too was short-lived. Towards the end of SCTV’s run, Camembert became the final host of that station’s version of Dialing for Dollars.

Earl Camembert was the son of a former SCTV station manager, Merle Camembert (also played by Levy), who had a reputation for buckling under to the slightest pressure, as during an early 1950s McCarthyist hearing when he “named names” of alleged Communists, including his own mother (and Earl’s grandmother).

Camembert also has one son, Earl Junior, (play by the real-life son of Joe Flaherty), who tried to fill in for Camembert in one episode due to Robertson’s tardiness. Typical of Robertson’s crassness, upon returning to the studio, he bullied the younger Camembert, who looked identical to his father.

Levy’s portrayal of Camembert made him a sympathetic figure in light of Robertson’s success and his mistreatment of Camembert.

Secret O’ Life

“Secret O’ Life” is a song written by James Taylor that first appeared on his 1977 album JT. It has since appeared on several of his live and compilation albums. It was also included in the Broadway musical Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life and has been covered by many other artists, including Art Garfunkel best workout belt, Richie Havens, Nancy LaMott, Rosemary Clooney and Shirley Horn.

Although not released as a single, Allmusic critic William Ruhlmann considered “Secret O’ Life” to be the key track on JT with its message that the secret of life is “enjoying the passage of time.” Authors Don and Jeff Breithaupt deemed the theme of the song to be the importance of “living in the moment Fashion Jewelry for Women.” Self-help book authors Pete Forantale and Bill Ayres regard the song as giving the listener permission to meditate, reflect and daydream. Taylor regards it as a spiritual song. He has said that he used the title “Secret O’ Life” rather than “Secret of Life” because the latter seemed too presumptuous and preposterous. He felt that the “O” would make it seem a little more irreverent, evoking the names of Life Savers candy flavors such as “Pep O Mint” and “Wint O Green,” and offset some of the presumptuousness of announcing the secret of life.

Taylor recalls having written the song at his home in Martha’s Vineyard during the late spring with the sun shining in. He recalls that the song, or at least the first verse and the refrain, came to him quickly and he felt lucky to have been playing his guitar at the time. Despite the positive lyrics, “vivacious” music, and the fact that Taylor claims he felt “great” while writing the song, Taylor’s father, Dr. Isaac M. Taylor heard a different message when he heard the song. Dr. Taylor heard a note of apprehension in the song, and felt that James Taylor was “wondering where his career was leading” when he wrote it. Taylor biographer Mark Robowsky similarly notes that although the lyrics are generally optimistic, the optimism is undercut by the line “Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill/But since we’re on our way down, we might as well enjoy the ride.”

Music critic Robert Christgau rates the song as evoking “comparison with betters on the order of … Randy Newman.” Taylor biographer Timothy White regards “Secret O’ Life” as an indispensable song in the Taylor canon. White describes it as a “folk haiku” that is “touching” but with a “sly Scottish twinkle in the eye.” Rolling Stone critic Stephen Holden described it as having “delicious ironic glee.” Tom Waseleski of Beaver County Times pointed to “Secret O’ Life” as a prime example of the fact that Taylor is an introspective writer and is at his best when he allows his songs to reflect that. Holly Gleason of The Palm Beach Post described the song as “understated.” Fornatale and Ayres regard Taylor’s vocal performance on “Secret O’ Life” as being “better than ever.” Robowsky describes it as a “beautiful ballad” and “an unapologetic toast to simple truths.” Taylor regarded it as one of the few songs he wrote in the late 1970s that was as good as the songs on his first album.

“Secret O’ Life” has been a staple of Taylor’s live concerts at times, and has been included on the live albums Live and One Man Band. It has also been included on the compilation albums Greatest Hits Volume 2 and The Essential James Taylor glass bpa free water bottles. A version Taylor performed on Saturday Night Live was included on the multi-artist compilation album Saturday Night Live: 25 Years, Vol. 1.

“Secret O’ Life” was used in the musical revue Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, which appeared on Broadway in 2005. Singer Rosemary Clooney recorded “Secret O’ Life” and regarded it as one of her favorite songs. Allmusic critic Scott Yarrow regarded the song as one of the weakest on her 1998 album 70: A Seventieth Birthday Celebration but colleague Richard S. Ginelli, reviewing her 1999 album Songs from the Girl Singer: A Musical Autobiography described it as an “affectionately sung capsule of philosophy.” Shirley Horn recorded a jazz version”Secret O’ Life” for the 2001 album Sketches of James. JazzTimes critic Kilarie S. Grey described her version as “world-weary” and “striking.” Nancy LaMott included a version of the song on her 1995 album Listen to My Heart and her 2005 album Live from the Tavern Green. Art Garfunkel included the song on his 1997 album Songs from a Parent to a Child. Secret O’ Life was also featured in the 3rd Rock from the Sun pilot “Brains and Eggs”.