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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Makin' It

This is a blog post all about making it. And to begin this post, I thought that I would share a story about someone I know who has done exactly that.

Since I started this blog back in May 2011, I have managed to get in contact with several people whom I probably would not have met otherwise. And as someone who wants to actively make a career goal out of writing, I've had the pleasure of befriending others who either have made it big as a writer, or who are following their dreams just as I'm doing. Having the chance to communicate with these people gives me some sense of belonging. Although I'm basically just starting out in this career, I've had an interest in writing for several years now, so it's good for me to have these friendships with people who know what it is like.

Granted, I realize that in rare cases, some authors and writers willingly throw their peers under the bus in order to get more attention. I suppose that's the case with almost any profession. That's why I consider myself lucky that I have had nothing but positive experiences with my writer friends. We're not only very respectful of each other, but we're always willing to give constructive criticism when needed and kudos to each other when it is deserved. And whenever one of us has a success story, we're all extremely happy to recognize their achievements.

That's what I'm going to do here. Don't worry...this intro is related to the song that I have chosen to spotlight today in this week's edition of the Sunday Jukebox.

I'd like to promote the work of my writer friend, River Jordan, whose literary work Riftglade will be published and available to the public very soon. I've read the story myself, and I am proud to give it the very first Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life Stamp of Approval!

( it's just the logo redone in's still good!)

In all seriousness, River has been a huge support system for me – not just for my dreams of being respected as a writer one day, but she's also been a great friend. I would be more than honoured to help her out by promoting her work. So, please, go out and support my friend River by buying and reading her work. It may not be suitable for young kids, but it's certainly a piece that stands out! Remember, the name of the story is Riftglade.

You know, I always loved hearing about stories of people making it in the field that they have always wanted to be in. For my friend River, she's one step closer to achieving that dream. I think that for those of us who really want to make strides in our careers, no matter what they might be, we all have the dream of making it.

Oh,'s the perfect song to illustrate this point...and this week, we're going disco!

ARTIST: David Naughton
SONG: Makin' It
ALBUM: N/A (was strictly a single release)
DATE RELEASED: March 31, 1979

Nineteen-seventy-nine was both a good year and a bad year for disco. On one hand, 1979 was the year in which almost every song that topped the charts during the first half of the year were disco songs. On the other hand, 1979 was the year in which a huge backlash against disco music was kicked off, and one summer day in '79, a demonstration was held in which thousands of people destroyed thousands of disco records. By the end of 1979, the disco music was being phased out in favour of classic rock and roll.

You couldn't blame David Naughton for wanting to jump on the disco train. It's just that when he jumped aboard, the train was already plunging over a mountain. Still, the song ended up peaking within the Top 5 during the summer of 1979.

And David Naughton's singing voice was already fairly recognizable to people who grew up during the late 1970s. After all, for four years, he was the official voice of the soft drink, Dr. Pepper. Wanna watch a couple of his Dr. Pepper commercials? Well, luckily I found a couple of them, but I warn you...the Dr. Pepper jingle is quite catchy, and you run the risk of having it playing inside your head over and over again. Consider yourself warned.

MINI-CONFESSION: I was tempted to do a blog entry on this song after someone posted the Dr. Pepper commercial on my News Feed on Facebook!

We've already established that David Naughton had a singing voice that helped him release his one and only hit on the charts. But did you know that the very song ended up being the official theme song for a short lived 1979 television series that also starred Naughton?

The show was appropriately enough called Makin' It, and Naughton played the role of Billy Manucci, who was essentially trying to inject a little Saturday Night Fever into his day-to-day life. By day, he worked at the Tasty Treats ice cream night, he was disco dancing all evening long at the Inferno discotheque.

The show, in addition to Naughton, also featured Greg Antonacci, Ellen Travolta, Denise Miller, Rebecca Balding, Ralph Seymour, Gary Prendergast, and Lou Antonio.

On paper, the show should have worked. It was jointly produced by Happy Days creator Garry Marshall and Saturday Night Fever producer Robert Stigwood, so it definitely had some skilled professionals behind the scenes. Unfortunately, it had two things that sealed its fate...bad scripts, and bad timing.

The show probably would have lasted longer had it debuted three years earlier...but it debuted on February 1, 1979, just months before the fated Disco Demolition Night. Only nine episodes aired before the show was put out of its misery on March 23, 1979. Weirdly enough, the theme song was released as a single a week after the show was canceled.

The single also made an appearance on the soundtrack of the 1979 movie Meatballs, and was prominently featured in the 1999 movie Detroit Rock City (which was a bit of a blooper, as the film was supposed to be set in 1978, yet the single wasn't released until 1979).

As for David Naughton...did he end up “makin' it”? Well...yes and no.

Shortly after Makin' It was canceled, he starred in the 1980 movie Midnight Madness, and a year later, he played the title role in the 1981 Academy Award-winning film An American Werewolf in London. Now, I won't talk too much about this movie until I feature it as a Monday Matinee at some point, but I will say that the transformation scene is still one of the most talked-about horror movie scenes over the last four decades. He remained busy throughout the 1980s, having a role in the 1984 film Hot Dog...The Movie, and enjoying a two season run on the sitcom My Sister Sam.

But after the 1980s were over, the work began to dry up...though he still managed to land guest roles on Melrose Place, JAG, Seinfeld, and MacGyver.

It's up to interpretation as to whether you think Naughton made it...but in my eyes, anyone who graduated from doing soda commercials to having lead roles in television and movies has to have done well for himself. Even if he has slowed down his television and film appearances in recent years, I still consider him a success.

And, that's my blog on making it. I hope you all enjoyed it.


  1. Very interesting point of view, Matthew. To me, everyone has a different interpretation of what success means. For example, my sis married shortly after graduating and had children. It was her dream to do so and she did it. So hers is a success story.

    Thank you for the introduction and official seal of approval!! I'm so very glad you enjoyed the story!!

    1. I did enjoy it, and thank you for allowing me the privilege of reading it!

      That's very true what you say about how "making it" can mean so much. I admit that I have had some instances in which I can see successes, but for whatever reason, I feel as though I can always do know?