HeldenFiles: ‘Cards’ back, Conway retirement talk and more

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal pop culture writer

Tim Conway introduces the Life Achievement award at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 30, 2011 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Notes on this and that …

Not So Fast. Northeast Ohio’s own Tim Conway caused a bit of stir when it appeared he had retired from entertainment. The funnyman, known especially for his work locally with Ernie Anderson and nationally with Carol Burnett and Don Knotts, canceled several stage performances set for Florida in March. And an announcement said he was retiring from the road after the exhausting promotional tour he did recently for his book What’s So Funny?

Somehow that morphed into Conway retiring completely, which is not the case. Although it did give him a chance to make more jokes.

“I did retire for about an hour and I got tired of it, so I went shopping and that was pretty much it,” Conway told Broadway World.

And on his Facebook page, Conway said, “I just read an article saying I am retired. These last 4 hours of retirement were great, now back to writing my 2nd autobiography.”

As should be clear, a couple of weeks shy of his 80th birthday Conway is slowing down but not stopping. He is planning a second book as well as TV work. He told Broadway World he has made a pilot for a series with Robert Wagner.

Well, Shoot. You may have seen and heard recently about a survey claiming Ohioans curse more than people in other states. Any other state, in fact. TheAtlantic.com and Buzzfeed, among others, breathlessly reported the results of the study, and it spread wider as a result.

Only the study was not new. The Marchex Institute, which made the analysis, released the results back in May, and our own Bob Dyer included it in a June column. That’s not to say that we somehow have cleaned up our act. But it is another indication of the way older information finds new life online.

It’s not unlike those emails you get breathlessly attacking “the media” for not covering something, Only the something happened years ago, and not in the way the emails describe, and what did happen was covered, and you should have gone to Snopes.com before forwarding the email. Such missives almost always make me want to curse.

Cards Dealing Again. House of Cards, the acclaimed Netflix series starring Kevin Spacey, will begin its second season on the Internet service on Feb. 14. Once again, all 13 episodes will be available immediately, so set aside enough time for binge viewing.

According to the network, Francis Underwood (Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) “continue their ruthless rise to power as threats mount on all fronts.”

Reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) is still investigating them, billionaire Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney) wants favors, and the Underwoods’ private life may be exposed. Through it all says the network, they must deal with “dangers — past and present — to avoid losing everything, regardless of collateral damage they leave in their wake.”

I’m ready now.

Schumer Sets Shows. Comedian Amy Schumer will hit the road with her Back Door Tour in January, and the dates will include one on Feb. 15 in PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre in Cleveland.

You may know Schumer from her gleefully vulgar appearances on Comedy Central roasts and her own Inside Amy Schumer sketch-comedy series on the network, which has been renewed for a second season. In the roasts and in clips I have seen of her standup, her comments can be scathing — and somehow seem more so because she delivers them in such a cheerful way. She is especially smart in dealing with relationships and how they are viewed by both men and women. I’d expect a very funny evening, though not one for those easily offended by frank talk.

Halle and Hannibal. Cleveland’s own Halle Berry has certainly been filling up her calendar. She is set to star in Extant, a series set for summer 2014, where she will play an astronaut back on Earth after spending a year alone in space. And she is set to be executive producer of a History miniseries about the African general Hannibal.

In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Berry said, “Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live, he may have been the greatest general, period. His story is an intricate and captivating ride, and I’m thrilled to get this project off the ground with our partners at History.”

Jeffrey Caine is set to write the production. He was nominated for an adapted-screenplay Oscar for his script for The Constant Gardener. (Brokeback Mountain won.) Other credits include the James Bond film GoldenEye.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online blog, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com.

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