PREVIOUSLY IN STEVE'S BLOG, we counted down the Top 10 Naughtiest Newsmakers of 2015:
10. SESAME STREET
9 THE DESNUDAS (NAKED WOMEN)
8. THE BRONX BUMMER
7. BAD SANTA
6. THE HOUSTON ASTROS
5. DR. BEN CARSON
4. DONALD TRUMP
3. WICKED CITY
2. BILL DEBLASIO
And the countdown continues...
10. NINA'S WORLD
This original animated series from NBC Universal's Sprout Channel teaches kids (Sproutlets) about the world around them, adjusting to people of different cultures, and even American Sign Language! Kudos to Nina herself (from the Good Night Show also on Sprout), Michele Lepe, Isabelle Ferriter who plays young Nina, the star of the show (Sorry, Star, Nina's talking pillow and best friend!), Rita Moreno who voices Nina's Abuelita (Granny) Yolie, Mandy Patinkin who plays her papi (I STILL can't shake, "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. PREPARE TO DIE."), and Esai Morales who gives voice to her music-making uncle. Visit http://www.sproutonline.com to find out how to make NINA'S WORLD part of your kids' world!
9. THE MUPPETS
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Dr. Teeth and all your favorite furry and fuzzy friends star on this new ABC comedy for the whole family, and adults who grew up on THE MUPPET SHOW in particular!
8. BINDI IRWIN
Good on ya, Sheila, for winning DANCING WITH THE STARS! I bet Steve, your old man, is smiling down from Heaven!
7. LAURA BENANTI
This West Sider has played an internet billionaire in the Radio City Spring Spectacular and tons of characters on SUPERGIRL, THE GOOD WIFE, LAW & ORDER :SVU, THE PLAYBOY CLUB, and other shows and she STILL finds time to emcee the Lincoln Square Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony! Now THAT'S a Santa's Helper!
6. NOAH SYNDEGARD
The Mets' thunder god was the closest thing New York had to a real life super hero! ( So we didn't win the Series. Hey, we tried!)
5. KENNY ROGERS
The Gambler knows when to walk away, and he leaves behind a winning hand of great music and memories!
4. MARISSA BENOIST (SUPERGIRL)
The latest in a long line of performers to don the famous Big Red S, not only does she make you believe a girl can fly, she also makes you feel like flying with her uplifting performance!
3. ROWDY RODDY PIPER
He may have played a bad guy in the WWE, but he was one of the nicest grunt-and-groaners I have had the pleasure to meet.
2. SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
LIVE FROM NEW YORK, it's a 40-year old comedy institution that has introduced comedians from Gilda Radner to Adam Sandler and characters from the Coneheads and Wayne and Garth to Opera Man and (one of my all-time favorites, for obvious reasons) nightclub expert Stefon. As long as there are easy targets, and as long as people want to laugh, SNL will never go out of style.
Before we put the crown on the head of this year's nicest newsmaker, a special HONORABLE MENTION
goes to a nice lady who left us this past year, the one and only LISA COLAGROSSI. As mentioned in this blog, she was a broadcast journalist in many important markets, particularly here in New York where she did her best work for ABC 7 EYEWITNESS NEWS. She was a hard-working reporter who never let anything get in her way, until she was felled by a brain anyuerism.She was also a loyal Ranger fan with goalie Henrik Lundquist her special favorite as well as a proud hockey mom. In recognition of everything she did on Earth. this blog donates $7 to Lisa's Legacy.
And now, we're up to the nicest newsmaker of the year, and the story of a man who convinced the world that even the most powerful heroes in the universe are only human. When 16-and-a-half year-old Stanley Martin Lieber went to work for Timely Comics in 1939, he was a fan of Robin Hood and King Arthur and he aspired to write the Great American Novel. He was a jack-of-all-trades performing menial tasks for his boss Joe Simon and publisher Martin Goodman until seventy-five years ago this coming year when he wrote his first original story, "Captain America Foils The Traitor's Revenge," which starred the patriotic super hero
created by Simon and artist Jack Kirby.(CAPTAIN AMERICA v.1 #3, May 1941) and was written under the pen name Stan Lee. Stan also wrote under the names Neel Nats and S.T. Anley because he didn't want Stanley Martin Lieber to squander his reputation on funny books for little kids. Stan would later create HEADLINE HUNTER, ROVING REPORTER and his first super hero creation, THE DESTROYER. When the Second Great War broke out, Stan served in the Signal Corps before writing training films for the Army. Stan returned to what had become Atlas Comics in the 50's where he worked on an adaptation of the Marie Wilson series MY FRIEND IRMA among others. Stan almost left the business to write the Great American Novel until Julius Schwartz at rival DC Comics created what would be known as the Silver Age of Heroes with revitalized versions of heroes such as the Flash and Green Lantern and a new super hero squad, the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.
Stan had been dissatisfied with the then-current state of super heroes, perfect people who could do no wrong, often accompanied by painfully cute teenage sidekicks. Inspired by the JLA, he and Jack Kirby created a team of completely different super heroes. The leader, Reed Richards, was the plastic-skinned Mr. Fantastic, his fiance Susan Storm was the Invisible Girl, her hotly-tempered kid brother Johnny was the Human Torch, (the first character to bear that name since the Second Great War when the original Torch fought, and fought alongside, the Sub-Mariner) and Reed's best friend Ben Grimm was the mighty muscled Thing. Together they were the FANTASTIC FOUR, and their new and realistic stories created a following among college audiences. In time, Stan introduced the INCREDIBLE HULK, a green-skinned powerhouse who was actually a brilliant scientist who saved a reckless teenager only to be belted by his own gamma rays, the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, another reckless teenager who learned that with great power there must also come even greater responsibility, the MIGHTY THOR, God of Thunder, and two more legendary super teams, the X-MEN and the AVENGERS. No doubt about it, the Marvel Age of Comics had begun, and wouldn't abate when Stan was promoted from writer/editor to publisher. Stan's unique style had inspired new generations of writers, in the comics and other media. Stan continued to play an active role in the day-to-day operations of Marvel until 1998 when he founded his own company, Stan Lee Media. Unfortunately,
SLM ended in tragedy due to stock manipulation from partners Stan THOUGHT he could trust.
Today, with super heroic strength, Stan continues to work as the co-president of his new company POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment, his new Kids Universe imprint for 1821 Comics, and of course, his cameo appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Through it all, Stan has never forgotten the great responsibility that comes with great power, and he continues to be a fixture at comic cons from Maine to Mexico and an influence on generations to come. It could be said that he, alone, creates more fascinating treasures than Santa and his elves combined. Naturally...(Drumroll, please.)
!. STAN LEE
Stan The Man Lee is our Number One Nicest Newsmaker of the Year in advance commemoration of the 75th anniversary of his first published comics story. Stan, in recognition of your work, this blog will donate $19.41 to The Stan Lee Foundation, and we can think of no better way to end than with the word you helped popularize, a word which means "Onward and Upward": EXCELSIOR.
And there you have 'em. The 10 Naughtiest and Nicest Newsmakers for the year ending December 1,2015.We would like to thank longtime friends of this blog, Nicole Vranzanian, Chelsea Duffy and Gretchen Muller, OF COURSE, Bettijane L. Eisenpreis, Alice Steinberg, Scott Shannon, Patty Steele,Todd Pettengill, Jayde Donovan, Joe Pardavila, and the cast of SONGBIRD whose "acceptance speech" will be featured prominently in our first WELCOME TO STEVE COUNTRY blog of 2016. Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't thank all our readers around the world, many of whom serve our country in the defense of freedom. Until January 2016, when once again we will cover the world from our own unique perspective, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!