Governor Bill Ritter and Mayor John Hickenlooper were feeling no pain the day they filmed a promotional ad for the 9HealthFair, an annual community project that KUSA Channel 9 has been running for close to thirty years. To hype this year's incarnation, which runs April 12-20, Ritter and Hickenlooper filmed a commercial in which the pair, looking dignified (or close enough) in business suits, chatted as they filled balloons with helium — the fair had a lot of locations, they noted — and then, after a cutaway showing how to find those locations at www.9news.com, the camera returned to the politicians, now giggling and speaking in squeaky voices. Clearly, they'd inhaled.
It was fun while it lasted, but the contact high quickly wore off — particularly after viewers called the station, and City Hall and the Capitol, to suggest that it was inappropriate for two elected officials to be huffing...even huffing helium. "They were having some fun," news director Patti Dennis says of good sports Ritter and Hickenlooper. But after about a week, the complaints outweighed the fun factor —particularly since the 9HealthFair is supposed to promote clean living — and the station decided to simply snip the offending footage from the commercial. "We upset them enough," Dennis says of the station's regular newscasts.
Comedy clubbed: Denver's always been short of celebrities, so we tend to cling to anyone with a slight Colorado connection. Sinbad, for example, the comic whose lackluster career got an unexpected boost last week when the Barack Obama supporter shot down (under heavy fire) a story that Hillary Clinton had been repeating on the campaign trail about a trip she took to Bosnia in 1996, when her plane reportedly landed in sniper fire and she had to run for her vehicle, missing the welcoming ceremony. But Sinbad, who'd accompanied Clinton, daughter Chelsea and singer Sheryl Crow on that mission (they were there to entertain the troops), told a much different version — one backed by other witnesses and video from that day, which showed Hillary being greeted by a young girl, who read a poem without any punctuation by gunfire. The former First Lady has since said she "misstated" her memories.
This may well be Sinbad's biggest moment, in a career arc that goes like this:
1956: Born David Adkins in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
1974-1978: Attended the University of Denver on a basketball scholarship. Lettered twice, but his days on the court were ended by an injury.
1983: Began first standup comedy tour.
1987: Parlayed jobs on Star Search and The Redd Foxx Show into role as Coach Walter Oakes on Cosby Show spinoff A Different World.
1991: Began movie career. Starred in family comedies such as Necessary Roughness, Houseguest, First Kid and Jingle All the Way.
1993-1998: Wrote and starred in a series of successful HBO comedy specials, taking time out for a relaxing vacation in Bosnia.
1999-2007: Um. Sinbad?
2007: Died. At least according to an erroneous Wikipedia post that quickly spread to websites around the world. So many people believed it, however, that news sources like the Associated Press wrote stories explaining that Sinbad was still alive.
March 2008: Resurrected, and in great demand as a guest star on news shows across the country, where he debunked Clinton's story.
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Will Sinbad's journey bring him back to Denver for the Democratic National Convention this August? Only time will tell. Obama and Sinbad in '08!
Scene and herd: And speaking of the DNC, it makes sense for the city to spiff up its image in advance of the convention — but someone's apparently gone a little far. On the Tonight Show Monday night, Jay Leno held up a postcard of Denver that a viewer had sent, one of a pretty nighttime scene with the Capitol and downtown in the foreground and the Rockies in the back, and noted that "Denver's the only place in the world where the moon is lower than the mountains." Yes, someone had Photoshopped the moon in front of the mountains (and seems to have done some cosmetic work on the downtown skyline, too). See for yourself here.
And there may be some cosmetic work on tap at the Coors Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village as well. Created two decades ago as Fiddler's Green, the outdoor arena got the Coors brand several years ago. But we've just learned that the Coors deal has expired and the venue name will officially go back to Fiddler's Green. You hear that, Invesco Field? Watch your back.