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Frankenstein (1931)

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In 1931 two movies were made by Universal Pictures that created the genre of horror movie. The first was  Dracula . That one made a boat load of money, so of course the studio wanted to make more movies like it. As a result, they made Frankenstein. The original intent was to have the movie star Bela Lugosi, since he was now bankable as a movie monster. Lugosi didn't like the character, which in the original version of the script had been imagined as a savage killing machine and not the sympathetic creature that we ended up getting. He passed, and the original director was taken off because the studio had promised James Whale any property he wanted, and he wanted Frankenstein. Whale reworked the script, and also found Boris Karloff. Thus while Bela Lugosi lost his chance to be the king of the monster movies, the world was gifted with the talent of Mr. Karloff. He went above and beyond for Frankenstein, enduring physical torment to play the creature. Whale also insisted on Colin Cliv

Swamp Thing #1

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If you are familiar with Swamp Thing you likely know this story. Dr Alec Holland and his wife Linda are taken to a secret lab in the woods by Matt Cable. Cable obviously works for the government in some capacity, though it's not made clear what that capacity is. He just as obviously gives not a single shit about either Dr. Holland. He is only interested in them finishing their formula that makes plants grow, and that formula not making it into anyone else's hands. This fact makes some of what happens next odd. Three thugs (led by a man who looks like a sinister Mario) find the doctors at their hidden swamp lab and try to make them an offer they can't refuse. They do refuse and the thugs leave with a warning. Cable is distraught that Dr. Holland didn't somehow alert him of their presence, telepathically I suppose. Now, one would think that since their security has obviously been compromised the smart thing to do would be to move them to a new hidden location. But no, Cab

The Ghost Busters Season 1 Episode 1

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Ghostbusters is one of those franchises that inspires fan frenzy from 80's and 90's kids. Whether it's the live action antics of Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd and company, or the animated adventures of Slimer and the boys, every iteration of Ghostbusters has a devoted following. The Ghost Busters however is another story. The Ghost Busters was a Filmation show from 1975. It featured a trio of detectives named Spenser, Tracy and Kong. One of them is a gorilla, but not the one you'd think from the names.  The premier episode of the show opens on a couple of gangsters in their castle hideout discussing bringing back the ghost of a dead gangster to help them acquire an item. Johnny Brown plays the fat man, doing his best Sydney Greenstreet impression, and Billy Barty is hi sidekick doing something approximating a Peter Lorre impression. The gangster Big Al is played by Forrest Tucker, who is also the Ghost Buster Spenser. Forrest Tucker is all over the place, doing Brando, Cag

Salute to Hedy Lamarr

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Hedy Lamarr has long been recognized as one of the most beautiful women of the classic Hollywood era. It hasn't been until more recently, however, that she was also recognized her her inventive mind that ended up helping shape the modern world. She was born in Austria in 1914, which had her coming of age in the 30's, which you may know was a dark time for that part of the world. She was starting to work in movies by the time she was 16, and gained some international notoriety for a movie she did titles Ecstasy. In this film she was not only nude, but had a simulated orgasm scene, possibly the first in movies. She made this movie under the name Hedy Kiesler, her real name. After she came to Hollywood she changed her name to Lamarr in part to distance herself from that scandalous movie. Before the lights and glamour of Tinseltown though, she married an arms dealer in Austria. Her husband of course was doing business with Mussolini and the Nazis. He didn't want her acting and

X-Men #1

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It was 1991. The X-Men were a hot commodity, but as so often happens with comics there was so much continuity to deal with in the series that it was hard to pull in new readers. Marvel had two options, reboot the series or try to create a jumping on point for new readers. They went with the second option. It feels like they may have been trying to lure back old readers as well, since this book took old characters and put them back in familiar positions that they had strayed from. This series was running when the popular animated show started, and though the stories were taken from older books the team makeup and look was definitely influenced by this run. The story starts with some mutants who have hijacked a space shuttle being chased by agents in 3 other ships. The mutants are looking for Magneto, who has withdrawn from the world on his asteroid sanctuary. Even though he proclaims he wants nothing to do with world events, he is rather easily suckered into going down to earth to start

Magnum PI Season 1 Episode 1 Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii part 1

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The first half of the pilot, originally broadcast as one long episode but now broken into 2 parts, starts off with Thomas Magnum narrating as he breaks into the estate of author Robin Masters to steal his Ferrari. Magnum explains that he is doing this at the behest of Masters, who has hired him to test his security. We get an explanation of Magnum's living arrangements and see his skills at getting past obstacles. We see his ring and the Vietnam flashback it triggers. Everyone in his unit had one of these rings. Cut to the title sequence. This is not the one I am familiar with. It had more of a 60's feel with a jazz inspired theme song and the emblem from his ring making a cutout into the credits sequence.  The rest of the first half of the episode is very 80's but also timeless in a way. It is obviously of it's time, the technology and vibe all scream 80's even though the decade had barely begun. Magnum and his friends were all Vietnam vets, just like in every othe

Favorite Friends

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  Who was the most popular Friend on Friends?  We don’t really know about the audience, but we can tell who was most popular with the writers by looking at who got the most screen time all to themselves.  Monica had 69 scenes with none of the other Friends present.  Chandler got 88 scenes to himself.  Rachel was in 105.  Pheobe had 117 scenes. Ross got 139 scenes to himself.  Joey is the king of popularity, with 151 scenes that didn’t involve anyone else from the main cast.