November 27, 2014

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Who has more ‘pop’ credibility? C-town

Boston has Sam Malone.

Cleveland has Drew Carey.

Both towns have been the settings for long-running hit sitcoms.

The town famed for baked beans and the Big Dig gave us “Cheers,” a hilariously written and cast show built around the colorful, quirky denizens of a Boston tavern run by Malone, a good-looking, cocky, if-none-too-bright ex-Red Sox pitcher played to the hilt by Ted Danson.

“Cheers” may have been slick, but “The Drew Carey Show” was a shot-and-a-beer kind of sitcom with a working-class atmosphere that fit it to Cleveland like a glove. The Warsaw Tavern was the neighborhood bar where lovable loser Drew, (a real Cleveland native) who worked in personnel for a downtown Cleveland department store analyzed his life’s ups and downs and those of pals Diedrich Bader and Ryan Stiles.

“Cheers” may have had the edge laughs-wise, but Drew Carey unmistakably gave his show an everyman quality that endeared it to Clevelanders.

On balance, this may be a draw.

As I and the kid across the aisle (the one in that silly Red Sox cap) wait for the Tribe to duke it out with Boston in the American League Championship Series, here’s a snapshot of other pop cultural bookmarks for both towns.

Boston’s fame song-wise is limited (to me it is). One that comes to mind is “Dirty Water,” a 1966 ditty by The Standells that honors the city and its formerly polluted Charles River and Boston Harbor. At least we’re not the only ones with a history of polluted waterways.

“Cleveland Rocks” got a new lease on life thanks to Drew Carey, while Huey Lewis and the News mention C-town in their hit “The Heart of Rock and Roll.” OK, OK — they mention Bean-town first.

One thing those chowder lovers can’t top us on is I.M Pei’s shining temple to rock ’n’ roll music alongside Lake Erie. Other towns squawked about where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum should go, but it wound up in the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll.

Yeah, Boston has appeared in way more movies than Cleveland, but we get the prize when it comes to baseball flicks. Beantown has that kinda cute  comedy “Fever Pitch.” But we’ve got the big bats in “Major League,” a raucous comedy about the luckless Indians (the 1989 movie preceded Cleveland’s big turnaround). Let’s agree not to bring up the fact they shot the game scenes in Milwaukee.

For a genuine Cleveland curiosity piece, there’s “The Kid from Cleveland,” a 1949 movie filmed entirely in Cleveland that starred a young Russ Tamblyn as a troubled boy whose fortunes turn around when he’s around the 1948 World Series team, including Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau and Larry Doby.

Try topping that, B-town!

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7139 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.