Only in Jersey: 3/7/12

It’s Wednesday! We’re halfway through the week, and it’s time for another edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

Who would've thought of West Orange as "status symbol land"?

In the wake of Davy Jones’ untimely death last week, I’ve discovered at least two connections The Monkees have to the Garden State. First, I was very surprised to learn that one of their hit songs, “Pleasant Valley Sunday,’ was written about life in West Orange, of all places. Yup, that’s right: the tune, penned by Carole King and her then-husband, Gerry Goffin, was inspired by their time living on Pleasant Valley Way in the township’s Watchung Mountains. Kinda gives new meaning to the lyrics, huh?
The local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn their song
Serenade the weekend squire
Who just came out to mow his lawn

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care

See Mrs. Gray
She’s proud today
Because her roses are in bloom
Mr. Green
He’s so serene
He’s got a TV in every room

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Mothers complain about how hard life is
And the kids just don’t understand

Creature comfort goals
They only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see
My thoughts all seem to stray to places far away
I need a change of scenery

The second Monkees/Garden State connection, which I recall but had forgotten, is that the band filmed the video for its ’86 comeback hit, “That Was Then, This Is Now,” at Great Adventure’s arena in Jackson. The song and video only feature Monkees Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, although apparently Davy was part of the tour.

Only in Jersey: 3/6/12

It’s Tuesday! Time for another edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

The Vanity Fair spread includes new images of the cast (some of those last seen alive, above, and dead, below) by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz./Photo credit Vanity Fair

This year marks five years since HBO’s brilliant, Jersey-immersed series “The Sopranos” ended. And the April issue of Vanity Fair commemorates the anniversary with a look back at the show, which includes new interviews with all of the principals, including Clifton/North Caldwell-raised creator David Chase and stars James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) of Park Ridge, Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi) and more. Among the interesting tidbits:

Steven Van Zandt (Silvio Dante) talks about the infamous (off-camera) scene in which he kills Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo): “So for – whatever – six hours, you have to beat this girl up, drag her out of the car, throw her on the ground. That was really difficult. I felt so exhausted at the end of that day. I said to Drea, ‘You better win the damn Emmy after all this, you know, make it worth it.’ And she did.”

David Chase originally wanted Steven Van Zandt for the role of Tony Soprano.

Tony Sirico (Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri) and Frank Vincent (Phil Leotardo) auditioned for Corrado “Uncle Junior” Soprano, but Dominic Chianese got the part.

Steven Schirripa (Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri) wore fat suits for the first two seasons of the show: “And then I guess, in Season Four, David thought I was fat enough on my own, so he let me get rid of it.”

Steven Schirripa talks about the pay dispute between James Gandolfini and HBO, which delayed filming: “After Season Four, Jim called all the regulars into his trailer and gave us $33,333 each, every single one of us… That’s like buying everybody an SUV. He said, ‘Thanks for sticking by me.'”

Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) on the series controversial ending: “I thought it was a great ending. A lot of people hated it and thought it was a cop-out, but I thought it was the proper way. Knowing David Chase, he never liked to wrap things up neatly. I never expected it to be either a cliffhanger so people would wait for the movie or wait for another season or just some like really final thing. But I think he’s (Tony) dead, is what I think. David was trying to put us in the place of the last things you see before you die. You remember some little details and something catches your eye and that’s it. You don’t know the aftermath because you’re gone.”

You can see more of Annie Leibowitz’s images here. If you are a big “Sopranos” fan, you will definitely want to pick up Vanity Fair this month!

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“The Sopranos”: Lorraine Bracco speaks from the heart

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Dr. Jennifer Melfi may have been primarily concerned with the health of her psychiatric patient, Tony Soprano, in ‘The Sopranos,” but her alter ego, actress Lorraine Bracco, has made her own health a top priority. And she has her late parents to thank for it.

Lorraine Bracco signed copies of her memoir, "On the Couch," during her appearance in Martinsville, NJ, on Feb. 19./ Photos by Ava Gacser

“I don’t want to put off anything until it’s too late like they did,” Lorraine confessed to a crowd of about 250 during a Somerset Medical Center program entitled “Talking about Your Heart!” held on Feb. 19 at the Martinsville Inn.

“I want to be healthy,” she said, adding that she quit smoking years ago. “I want to do whatever it takes me to enjoy my children and my future grandchildren.”

Lorraine lost both her mother and father to heart-related diseases within 11 days of one another in November 2010. That time – and the many months of illness leading up to it – was a “huge roller coaster ride” for her.

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