Episode 18: She Is Not Playing with a Full Set of Bocce Balls
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I've been looking forward to doing this episode for a while because The Competition is kind of a forgotten early episode of the show that illustrates just how ingrained sports jokes are to The Golden Girls. The dialog is no natural and funny that you don't even realize they're making them.
The reason for waiting was to spread out the sport-centric episodes throughout this series. I was also looking forward to learning more about bocce, a game near and dear to all Italians hearts, especially as those hearts advance towards old age. I guess old guys love bocce because it's a sport that requires skill, but not the physical exertion of, say, basketball. Also, it can be played in a vineyard, which is a huge plus for a lot of paesans.
I can't believe I forgot to mention that Ralph Manza was also on Seinfeld, and played the shopkeeper who sells Jerry the Cigar Store Indian that he gives Elaine in front of her Native American friend. Manza was very much a "That Guy," who seems like he's been on everything because he has even if you can't always remember as who.
Alex Rocco will always be remembered as Jo's dad on The Facts of Life, at least by people around my age, even after they see The Godfather. Finding out he was a real life hood before he became an actor gives both Charlie Polnaiczek and Mo Greene a whole new context.
Lee Majors will always be remembered as The Six Million Dollar Man. But now I can't stop wondering what out world would have been like had he played the rebuilt Steve Austin. With those bionic body parts, it probably wouldn't have been wise to take that later job as a lifeguard. Better have some of Rosie's Bounty paper towels handy.
Colucci, Jim. Golden Girls Forever. Harper Design, 2017. (Amazon link)
Ralph Manza; Television, Film Character Actor. LA Times, February 4, 2000
http://superm.math.hawaii.edu/_lessons/ninth_twelveth/ulu_maika.pdf (link is dead now)
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Alex Rocco dies at 79; actor played mobster Moe Greene in 'The Godfather', LA Times, by Elaine Woo, July 19, 2015
Alex Rocco, 79; left a Somerville gang, rebuilt life as noted character actor, Boston Globe, bu Bryan Marquard, July 21, 2015
An Historical Look, usbf.us
A Brief History of Bocce, World Bocce.org
History of Bocce, Sportsknowhow.com
Bocce fact sheet, Special Olympics.org
Feisty Nancy Walker loses long battle with cancer, UPI, March 25, 1992
Nancy Walker, 69, of 'Rhoda' And TV Commercials, Is Dead, New York Times, by James Barron, March 27, 1992