I class myself as blessed. I know the strangest people, and they in turn introduce me to others. Oh, do not get me wrong, I love all of these people. I feel privileged to call them friends. But, to the average person some of them may seem just a little eccentric.

Several weeks ago I was having a conversation and the name Andy Sidaris cropped up. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I certainly knew the name. He was a huge power in bringing sports to TV. Andy racked up seven Emmy awards in his sporting career. The one best remembered is for his coverage of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The Olympics are no strangers to controversy, and Mexico City was right up there with the rest.

Two American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the gold and bronze medalists in the men’s 200-meter race, took their places on the podium for the medal ceremony with no shoes, lowered their heads and each defiantly raised a black-gloved fist as the national anthem was played, the Black Power movement had found an international stage.

Andy Sidaris had a natural talent for bringing sports into peoples homes. He was involved in hundreds of basketball and football games in his 25 years as Director of ABC’s Wide World Of Sports. Andy Sidaris had an eye for a good camera shot, a Sidaris broadcast would always catch the cheer leaders in their best light!

Andy moved on from sports and for a while moved into the role of directing TV series such as  Kojak and Nancey Drew. But this was just a passing phase, the movie world awaited.  In total Andy Sidaris directed 12 movies. He traded the cheer leaders from his sporting career for gun toting Playboy centerfolds playing the role of secret agents, who didn’t mind being frisked or strip searched by the bad guys. The movies did not get any Oscar nods, but they certainly made their mark on late night cable TV.

Pretty much they were a combination of The Man From Uncle’s Nieces, Charlies Naked Angels and Jane Bond 36dd.

Alas Andy Sidaris lost his battle with cancer in 2007, but his fame lives on.

What people may not know about Andy Sidaris is that for many years his business partner was also his greatest friend, confidant, and love of his life, his wife Arlene Sidaris.

OK, I know you are asking, what the hell has this got to do with Valentines Day?

Well actually quite a lot. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk with Arlene Sidaris on a radio program. On it she mentioned that all 12 movies are going to be re-released as a set. In the mean time Malibu Films via www.andysidaris.com would be running a special on the 5 titles currently available. Hey 5 movies for less than a pizza is way cheaper than roses, and they last longer!

Of course this gift may not work for everyone. Arlene Sidaris kindly sent me a sample Valentines package. Living in the Bible belt I was relieved to discover that it came in a plain brown box. I presented my wife with her early Valentines gift and she became unglued. I found it hard to understand. When I had mentioned the name Andy Sidaris she gave me chapter and verse on the movies. She had seen them all. She is a docent of the late night TV channels.

The one thing that I will say about Andy Sidaris is that he never crossed the line. Yes there was nudity, yes there were very suggestive scenes. In some ways Andy Sidaris and Hugh Heffner shared more than just an eye for a pretty Playmate as the centerfold. Naked, yes they were and are. But never was it done in bad taste. Andy Sidaris was famous for Bullets, Bombs, and Babes.

Simon Barrett

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