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John Ratzenberger Filming Shifting Gears in North Carolina

John Ratzenberger Filming Shifting Gears in North Carolina

Written by Owen Covington, Reporter – Triad Business Journal Click here to read the full article online >> A star from his days as Cliff Clavin in the TV hit “Cheers,” and later as the voice of Hamm the Piggy Bank in the “Toy Story” trilogy, John Ratzenberger is used to everyone knowing his name no matter where he goes. “I go to strange places I’ve never been before, and somebody walks up and all of a sudden you’ve got an instant friend,” Ratzenberger told the Winston-Salem Journal during an interview Thursday. Ratzenberger, 68, has been in the area for the filming of the film “Shifting Gears,” directed by Jason Winn and also starring R. Keith Harris. He visited the Journal Thursday to provide national commentary for Fox Business Network and took time to talk with a reporter with the newspaper while there. The movie, which has been in production since mid-March, tells the story of a man who tries to reconnect with his family by taking over his late father’s business — an old service station in rural North Carolina — and also gets involved in his father’s side business of dirt track racing. Ratzenberger plays Conrad Baines, a rich local who plans to buy the property and tear down the garage so he can build a retail superstore. He told the Journal he’s enjoyed his time in the Triad, and named among his favorite restaurants in the area Mary’s Gourmet Diner and Sweet Potatoes in Winston-Salem, Undercurrent Restaurant in Greensboro and Phil’s Bar-B-Que Pit in...

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Birthday Trivia for John Ratzenberger

Birthday Trivia for John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff on “Cheers,” turned 68 on April 6. Here’s some trivia about him: Born in Bridgeport. His mother worked for Remington Arms and his father drove a Texaco truck. Attended St. Ann’s School in Bridgeport and Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. He worked as a tractor operator at the original Woodstock festival in 1969. Moved to London in 1971 and started his career in the performing arts. Played Rebel Force Major Derlin in 1980’s “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back” and 1st controller in 1978’s “Superman.” As published on Rep-Am.com...

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Let’s Bring Back Shop Class to Educate and Inspire

Let’s Bring Back Shop Class to Educate and Inspire

Written by Orion Jones on BigThink.com >> Click here to read the full article online. Millennials are the first American generation who have not been taught how to use tools — wrenches, screws, saws, etc. — and that could have a negative effect on the country’s trade industries. Skilled labor is in increasingly high demand as manufacturing jobs trickle back into the country, but as shop class has steadily disappearedfrom the high school curriculum, there are not always enough skilled laborers to fill the positions, according to the Foundation for America, a nonprofit that invests in creating a skilled labor force. The foundation is run by John Ratzenberger, an actor who has done many voiceovers for Pixar, including Hamm in the Toy Story series. He began his career as Cliff Clavin, the affable postman on the television show Cheers. To demonstrate his commitment to teaching tool use, and the joys of working with one’s hands, Ratzenberger has donated $1 million to the state of Georgia to begin the National Education Initiative. Ratzenberger said in a recent interview that teaching tool skills is about making young people more well-rounded individuals: “It makes you a more well-rounded human being, more capable and self-reliant if you can fix your own screen door. … There are a lot of jobs in manufacturing right now, a lot of jobs in construction, and there’s nobody to fill them because we neglected to teach our children how to use tools and we’ve denigrated the image of...

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“Inside Out” to Premiere in June 2015

“Inside Out” to Premiere in June 2015

“Inside Out” is an upcoming American animated fantasy-comedy film, which follows a girl named Riley and the characterization of five human emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness. The emotions live in the control center in Riley’s brain and they help her by giving advice in everyday life. Adjustments must be done since Riley’s family moved to a new home in San Francisco as her father starts a new job. The film voice cast stars Amy Poehler as Joy, hyllis Smith as sadness, Bill Hader as fear, Lewis Black as Anger, and Mindy Kaling as Disgust. Kaitlyn Dias stars as Riley Anderson, Diane Lane as Riley’s Mom, Kyle MacLachlan as Riley’s Dad, and Richard Kind as Bing Bong. John Ratzenberger has an unrevealed role. The film is produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios. It will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios and Motion Pictures. Meet the little voices in “Inside Out”, which is slated to premiere in the theaters and cinemas in the United States on June 19,...

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John Ratzenberger Donates $1 Million To Bring Shop Classes To Schools

John Ratzenberger Donates $1 Million To Bring Shop Classes To Schools

Actor John Ratzenberger is donating one million dollars from his foundation to bring back “shop” classes into schools to teach students how to work with their hands and learn a trade. The initiative is designed to help young people learn to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. Ratzenberger stated that, “tradespeople should be given the same amount of respect as doctors or scholars.” He promotes the German model: “Whether you take shop classes or go into academics, you’re given the same amount of dignity and respect. Whether you’re a brain surgeon or a plumber doesn’t make any difference. And that’s crucial,” said Ratzenberger. Mr. Ratzenberger said that it is important for people to learn a skill “that nobody can take away from you.” This empowers a person to earn a living anywhere on the planet. The actor’s non-profit organization, Foundation For America, believes that economic freedom and innovation is possible by investing in America’s people by providing educational resources. The Foundation for America is dedicated to educating the public and policymakers on the growing decline of skilled labor in the United States. Ratzenberger also informs the public about the crisis of American manufacturing’s lack of skilled workers to replace retiring baby boomers through the Center for America, also a nonprofit organization that brings people face-to-face with issues that affect the future quality of life, economic prosperity and freedom in...

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Initiative aims to rebuild image of manufacturing

Initiative aims to rebuild image of manufacturing

Initiative aims to rebuild image of manufacturing Announcement coming Wednesday for project that will launch in Georgia schools By Kristen Oliver, Gainsville Times All of Georgia’s 932 public middle and high schools will soon be the first schools to join a national initiative encouraging careers in manufacturing. Gov. Nathan Deal and celebrity, actor and entrepreneur John Ratzenberger will announce Wednesday the statewide implementation of the National Educational Initiative, designed to redefine the image associated with jobs in manufacturing and to reinforce the importance of the field. Ratzenberger is best known for his role on the television show “Cheers,” but more recently for producing and hosting the television show “Made in America,” which highlights American careers in manufacturing. The Georgia Department of Education and Board of Education both endorsed the initiative and its use of science, technology, engineering and math content. Wanda Creel, Gainesville City Schools superintendent, said the Gainesville school district already encourages students in the STEM fields and offers opportunities for students in manufacturing, including courses in construction, carpentry and masonry. “We have a person at the district level that is dedicated to helping us pursue not only STEM, but STEAM, which is science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics,” Creel said. “And many of our schools have an emphasis on STEM. For example, Gainesville Exploration Academy has a STEM lab.” The district is also putting an emphasis on professional learning opportunities for teachers to help them incorporate these fields in the classroom. Will Schofield, Hall County School District superintendent, said the county schools have helped students to numerous internships in manufacturing. The district has STEM charter and magnet schools starting at the elementary level and programs through the high school level. It offers International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses in the fields and has additional opportunities for students including robotics and engineering clubs. “The best thing you can do to support STEM careers is to offer the most rigorous academic coursework in those areas available to children, and we certainly feel like we’ve done that,” Schofield said. “… Certainly what the governor is saying is very consistent with what we’ve tried to do with our children here locally.” The National Educational Initiative is launching for the first time in Georgia, but may eventually be implemented in all 50 states. The launch in Georgia will reach more than 500,000 students annually. “One of the most critical issues confronting Georgia manufacturers today is the shallow pool of work-ready talent interested in and capable of embarking on well-paying careers in manufacturing,” said Roy Bowen, president of the Georgia Association of Manufacturers, in a press release Monday. “Achieving success with this endeavor is absolutely essential to ensuring the long term viability of Georgia’s manufacturers and for Georgia to maintain its distinction as the No. 1 state in the U.S. for...

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Hollywood report: Disney has many big movies planned in 2015

Hollywood report: Disney has many big movies planned in 2015

This news was published by Tony Rizzo on the Fontana Herald News. Click here to read the full article online. HOLLYWOOD — Disney, long the undisputed leader in creating animated films such as “Cinderella,” “Frozen” and “Peter Pan,” and turning them into franchises (Tinker Bell has had six movies without Peter Pan), now is cornering the super-hero and “Star Wars” market. Last year, “Guardians of the Galaxy” grossed $772 million, “Captain America: Winter Soldier” grossed $714 million and “Maleficent” (spun off of “Snow White”) grossed $758 million at the box office alone. Disney is headed for more of the same in 2015: In June, the animated “Inside Out” comes from Pixar, with the voices of Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLaughlan and “Cheers” vet John...

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Superbowl 1997: John Ratzenberger’s Voice

Superbowl 1997: John Ratzenberger’s Voice

In 1997, the #2 Superbowl ad (as rated by the USA Today Ad Meter) was Nissan: Pigeons Fly Over Nissan. Check out the video below and see if you can find John’s voice as a pigeon! As reported on USA Today: There are a bunch of talking pigeons attempting to, well, mess up a Nissan. Also, John Ratzenberger voices one of the pigeons. This spot finished third in the Ad Meter and was the last time a Nissan spot appeared in the Super Bowl – until this year. The car maker will had a 60-second commercial in Super Bowl...

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John Ratzenberger Visits Atlanta, Georgia

John Ratzenberger Visits Atlanta, Georgia

Journalist Rodney Ho wrote the following article, published on AJC.com. Click here to view the full article online. John Ratzenberger (‘Cheers,’ Pixar, DWTS) pushes ‘Made in America’ John Ratzenberger, best known as know-it-all postal worker Cliff Clavin on “Cheers,” swung through Atlanta earlier this week to push his long-running “Made in America” campaign, highlighting manufacturing jobs and vocational training. This is just the type of program patriotic know-it-all Clavin would have embraced. Ratzenberger’s Travel Channel show ‘Made in America,” which debuted in 2003 and went for five seasons, paved the way for Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs” and a raft of similar shows. Ratzenberger, a trained carpenter before he pursued acting, linked up recently with the Made in America stores (www.madeinamericastore.com) to create gift boxes that consist solely of U.S.-created items, one of women, one for dudes and one for children. “The entire package is sourced and made here in America,” he said over lunch at Roxx Tavern off Cheshire Bridge Road. “Even the boxes and ink used to print the boxes. It’s turned out to be really popular.” He notes that environmentalists should note that China, where many manufacturing jobs have gone, pollutes far more than we do and a lot of that air pollution makes it to California shores. Manufacturing jobs, he notes, have disappeared by the millions. “A welder can make $80,000 a year,” he said. When factories shut down in many small towns in America, the people left behind often end up having to rely on government and taxes end up going up. He said he saw this happen in his hometown of Bridgeport, Conn. “It’s okay if kids don’t go to college,” he said. “They can become a welder or plumber. All my relatives worked in manufacturing. All made a great living and lived in nice homes. But the media makes us think if you work with your hands, somehow you’re not smart.” He thinks TV focuses too much on failure, not on success, citing the “Locked Up” series on MSNBC that highlights felons. While in Atlanta, he met with incoming Senator David Perdue, who supports many of Ratzenberger’s initiatives. And Ratzenberger is looking to direct a fil in Atlanta. He has seen studios here and is duly impressed. He also visited a grammar school friend who works at a big construction firm here that builds high rises. When at home in Connecticut, he dabbles in his own construction projects on a much smaller scale like a play area for his grandson, all from scratch. Not surprisingly, Ratzenberger has ties with Atlanta-based Home Depot. Both work on the “Building Homes for Heroes” initiative to help get affordable homes for veterans. And he’s friends with founder Bernie...

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What’s John Ratzenberger’s Favorite Pixar Voice?

What’s John Ratzenberger’s Favorite Pixar Voice?

Can you guess the answer? Watch the video “What’s John Ratzenberger’s Favorite Pixar Voice?” from ABC – Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis.

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