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October 10th, 2006

Ben Vereen

Sure, on this day I’ve talked about David Lee Roth, Mario Lopez, and Theloneous Monk – still with good reason. Today I’d like to put the spotlight on one Mr. Ben Vereen.

My knowledge of Ben comes from two possibly equally geeky places. The first was a kids show that I truly hated (due to its theme song), Zoobilee Zoo. Many a high school or college sick day was spent just staring at this show. I suspect it was a big hit with stoners, in addition to kids, but it just bothered me.

On the flip side though, I know Ben through his work as Geordi LaForge’s father Edward in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Of course.

I can’t say I’ve seen Roots, though. Still: a big happy birthday to Ben.

Posted in Pop Culture

Ryan October 10, 2006, 2:20 pm

I remember Mr. Vereen from two equally geeky places as well:

1. His participation on Webster (you’re not going to correct me here, are you, Maria?)

2. A verse from an early Art Of Origin track where Chino XL says: “I’m running your shit over like I’m a truck and you’re Ben Vereen,” referring to an accident in 1992 where he was hit by a car driven by David Foster.

Maria October 10, 2006, 4:21 pm

Actually, Ryan, it is a common misconception that Ben Vereen was ever on Webster. In fact, it was really…no I’m just kidding!

Paul, I used to like Zoobilee Zoo, but I really hated the Cockatoo character. P.S. Happy Birthday!

Ryan, this is totally off topic, but I’ve been wanting to ask, have you ever seen the movie “Frog” with Shelley Duvall, Elliott Gould and…Elizabeth Berkley?!

Joe Revees October 10, 2006, 6:26 pm

Great. Now I have that stupid Zoobilee Zoo theme song in my head.

I think I stumbled upon that show when I was 10 or so, and watching it was addicting. So stupid, yet you couldn’t walk away… Now I’m having flashbacks!

Oh yes, Ben Vereen is cool, too. (Since this Ping was about him)

Ryan October 11, 2006, 1:22 pm

Maria — no… never even heard of it! Is it a classy vehicle for Ms. Spanno or another Showgirls?

Maria October 11, 2006, 3:34 pm

It’s family fare from Wonderworks. I used to love it, but it’s been ages since I saw it and I don’t know anyone who remembers it! You could pick up a used VHS copy on Amazon for $1.58, but unfortunately it hasn’t been released on DVD or it would get prime placement on my Netflix queue.

Long story short, it’s about a boy who buys a frog for his science fair project, and the frog talks to him and says that he’s a prince. The kid gets his love interest to work with him on the science project in an attempt to win her over and, hopefully, kiss the frog too. Elizabeth Berkley plays the love interest’s friend. I want to re-watch it for a young Hal Sparks, who also has a role.

Back to Ben Vereen, because I meant to say this in my first comment, I remember him from a Muppet Show special, not his original appearance on the show, but a clip show that featured a lot of celebrity guest appearances, but I can’t seem to remember what he sang. We had recorded it from TV after a broadcast of “Superman.” I think I need to go to my parents’ house and look through the old VHS tapes now!

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