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Showing posts from March, 2020

Evils of the Night

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Evils of the Night is ostensibly about a group of horny teenagers being preyed upon by two evil mechanics who have been hired by aliens who need blood to save their race in some way that isn't really explained. The real purpose of the movie is to show off nubile young female bodies to a synth-pop soundtrack. It can be fun to watch if you are one of those people that likes bad horror movies. (My Mystery Science Theater 3000 dvd collection attests that I am one of those people.) If you like your horror movies to actually be scary, and not inadvertently funny, this movie might not be for you.

Aretha and Sly

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Long before he made it big with the Family Stone, Sly Stone had a reputation as a musician in the San Francisco area. When Aretha Franklin was trying to make a name for herself, she thought on way might be to record with Sly. Her label, Columbia, said no since Sly wasn't well known at the time.

Annabelle Gurwitch and Thundercats

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Annabelle Gurwitch is known as an actress and host on several television shows and movies. She cohosted Dinner and a Movie for 6 years. What many don't realize is that sheis also a writer, and wrote two episodes of the popular cartoon Thundercats.

Beetlejuice

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Beetlejuice is a comedy movie with horror trappings that manages to deal with some dark themes without actually getting too dark itself. The movie starts with married couple Adam and Barbara relaxing and enjoying each other's company in their dream home. They are visited by a realtor who seems unusually determined to sell their home that they obviously don't want to part with. The realtor mentions a family from New York that is interested in the house. Adam needs to go into town for some supplies for a table top model of the town that he is building. He convinces Barbara to go with him. As they are going across a bridge they have to swerve to avoid running over a dog and the couple both die in the resulting crash.

Sam Phillips Calls Castro

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Sam Phillips is best known for introducing the world to great musicians like Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Cash, and a greasy haired kid named Elvis. Sam was an idealist. He thought he could end racism if he could only get white people to enjoy the music that black people were making. During the Cuban missile crisis, his idealism led him to get involved. He thought Castro seemed like a pretty reasonable guy, so he decided he would just call him up and end this whole fiasco. He didn't get Fidel, but he did get the other Castro brother Raul on the line. We don't know what was said or if that conversation helped lead to the de-escalation of the tense situation.

Westerns in 1959

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Westerns aren't much in fashion these days, but they used to be the most popular genre of screen entertainment, movie or tv. In fact westerns were so popular that in 1959 there were 28 westerns in the prime time network line-ups.

Blood Mania

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Blood Mania really wanted audiences to think it was a horror movie. What it actually was, was a combination of soft core porn and bad drama.  The soundtrack often sounded like it was lifted from the Emmanuelle movie franchise. When it didn't, it sounded like outtakes from a Vanilla Fudge album. The cinemaphotography sometimes looked like someone was using a home movie camera to film the actors from afar without their knowledge. The story was so slow that I was really looking forward to the blood mania getting started and all these assholes getting wiped out.

Don Dokken and Blue Cheer

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Despite garnering a loyal following, Dokken never made it as big as some of their 80's hard rock counterparts like Motley Crue or Def Leppard. It wasn't lead singer Don Dokken's first experience with a band that didn't quite make the top tier. As a teenager he sang a few gigs with hard rock band Blue Cheer.

Mary Tyler Moore's Variety Show

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Mary Tyler Moore has earned a permanent place in our hearts from her roles in The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Most people don't remember that she had another show, a variety show that lasted only 3 weeks. It didn't sink due to a lack of talent though. Besides Moore  the cast included Michael Keaton and David Letterman.

Warner Brothers vs Marx Brothers

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Warner Bros threatened to sue the Marx Bros for copyright infringement for A Night In Casablanca (they had made Casablanca) Groucho sent a letter to their legal dept threatening to counter-sue for the word Brothers stating "Professionally we were brothers before you were".

Dracula (1931)

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The 1931 movie of Dracula was the first authorized motion picture of Bram Stoker's famous vampire novel. The silent movie Nosferatu had already been made, but without the permission or cooperation of the Stoker estate, and thus the vampire in that movie was not named Dracula. There had been a popular play based on the novel, which this movie used as a blueprint. The story is changed slightly from the original.

Disney School Dedication

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In 1958 Walt Disney had a school in Anaheim CA named after him.  At the dedication he declared school was out for the day and had all the kids bused to Disneylad

Alice Cooper Sized Headache

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In December 1969 Alice Cooper (the band before the singer appropriated the name for himself) made an Excedrin commercial portraying the personification of a headache, surrounding a man sitting on a chair and banging their instruments. Excedrin decided not to run the commercial.

Venom's Gender Switch

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When David Michelinie was creating Venom for the Spider-Man comics he was working on at the time, he originally wanted the character to be a woman who Peter didn't know, but lost both her husband and her unborn child as an indirect result of Spider-Man's crime fighting escapades. The idea was nixed not because of the darkness of that story, but because editor Jim Salicrup didn't think a woman could bbe threatening enough to make a good villain.

His Girl Friday

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If you are a fan of classic "golden age" Hollywood, names like Cary Grant, Gene Lockhart, Rosalind Russell, Howard Hawks, and Ralph Bellamy will ring an instant bell. You will also be familiar with "screwball" comedies. And if this is the case for you, His Girl Friday is a movie that you need to see. Based on a hit play titled The Front Page , which had been adapted into a movie once with the same name as the play, His Girl Friday came out in 1940. It was directed by Hawks, and was about newspaper reporters. The film is careful to mention with an opening screen card that it portrays reporters of a vague earlier time, and is not indicative of the behavior of newsies of the time. It doesn't quite mention what earlier era the movie is supposed to be set in.

Dell Bucks the Code

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During a time when most comic book publishers had to conform to the comic book code or face not being able to distribute, Dell Comics never joined the CMAA and never carried the Comics Code seal of approval. Besides Charlie Chan, they published licenses such as Get Smart, The Lone Ranger, Looney Tunes, Walt Disney, and many others along  with their own titles. They even got away with doing some classic horror titles like Dracula and Frankenstein.

Also on the Beatles' First Sullivan Show

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February 9, 1964  is a night that changed music and pop culture forever. That is the night the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Of course the Fab Four weren't the only guests that night. Also on the show were Frank Gorshin, soon to be known as The Riddler in Batman, and future Monkee Davy Jones in the cast of Oliver!

Marq Torien's Missed Opportunities

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Before making it in his band BulletBoys, Marq Torien had a couple of near misses with fame.  He played guitar in RATT before they made it big, and he auditioned for Ozzy's band after Randy Rhoads' death.