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Showing posts from April, 2020

Geektoons: Mighty Mouse

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Today I am going to talk about that super powered rodent who comes to save the day, Mighty Mouse. Initially named Super Mouse and sporting a very familiar blue and red costume, his name was switched to Mighty Mouse and his costume to yellow and red. The early cartoons would have the mice in peril, with a voice over explaining what was happening. Mighty Mouse would show up at the end to save them. There was no dialog from the characters in these early shows. Later episodes took an operatic approach with characters singing their lines. Mighty Mouse gained a love interest in Pearl Pureheart, and a recurring nemesis in Oilcan Harry. Legendary animator Ralph Bakshi brought Might Mouse back in 1987, for a short run that strangely involved a controversy about Mighty Mouse doing cocaine. This was the last Migh ty Mouse series, though with the current glut of nostalgia movies being made I would not be surprised to see him hit the big screen again. Mighty Mouse is not a serious supe

Bad Bat Timing

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When ABC cancelled Batman they decided no one was going to pick it up and bulldozed all the sets. Two weeks later NBC said they'd run it for a fourth season but only if the sets were intact.

The Jazz Singer Not Silent Enough

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It seems like there is always controversy about which movies get nominated for The Academy Awards and which don't. This isn't new.  In 1927 The Jazz Singer was ruled ineligible for best picture at the academy awards because it was deemed unfair for a sound movie to compete against silent.

Entitled Tourists

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Sometimes watching someone on television week after week can create a sense of closeness for the viewer. At times it can go to far. For instance Carol Burnett once had a family of tourists walk into her kitchen and demand a tour of her house. When her daughter asked them to leave they refused saying "We came all the way from Ohio for this"

A Salute To Dirk Benedict

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The other day I watched a couple of episodes of the original Battlestar Galactica  followed by a couple of episodes of The A-Team. Both were popular shows from my childhood, both stand up for me now, and both feature Dirk Benedict in a prominent role. This made me start to wonder how Benedict has not gained a cult following in the way that William Shatner, Bruce Campbell, or even David Hasselhoff has.

Dick Cavett Helps Sell the Devil

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Proving the power of television in the late 20th century, William Peter Blatty's new novel wasn't selling well at all until the author took advantage of a last minute cancellation on the Dick Cavett Show to fill in and pitch his book to the tv audience. As a result The Exorcist became a big hit, and a movie was made.

Vice President of Rock and Roll

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Charles G Dawes wrote a song in 1912. He later became the Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge.  In 1951 Carl Sigman wrote some lyrics for the tune and it became It's All In The Game. The song was recorded by several different artists, but it was Tommy Edwards 1958 rock and roll version (he had originally recorded the song 7 years before) that finally reached number 1 on the charts. This Makes Charles G Dawes the only Vice President to have written a hit rock and roll song.

Dangerous Wings

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During the making of the 1929 film Wings, one Air Corps pilot was killed in a crash and a stunt pilot  broke his neck. The stunt pilot later made a full recovery.

Geektoons: Johnny Quest

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There was a time when cartoons were seen as almost exclusively being for children. That attitude has since been broken down, with shows like South Park and movies like Sausage Party being aimed at adults and not kids. Japanese anime helped bridge this gap, but there were some innovative American animated series that helped too. Johnny Quest was one of these shows.

Crocodile Quotes

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Movie studios often underestimate the intelligence of movie goers, but there is one instance that is especially silly. Executives were afraid people would think Crocodile Dundee was an animal movie, so they added quotation marks around the word Crocodile.

It Turns Out He Was Right

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It was obvious to most people that the makers of X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn't much care about the source material. One surprising person who agrees with this assessment: the director of the movie Gavin Hood. When talking about getting the job he said "I love Wolverine partly because it will pay my daughter's college fund...When Wolverine was offered to me I went Well I'm the wrong guy for this...I was raised on Greek mythology, not comics".

Batgirl Objects To The Killing Joke

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For many of us who grew up watching the 60's television show Batman Yvonne Craig IS Batgirl. In fact, she  herself felt such an affinity for the character that when Barbara Gordon was show and crippled by the Joker in The Killing Joke she wrote a letter to DC Comics in protest

Very Bad Things

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Where has the time gone? Very Bad Things came out over 20 years ago. I started to realize that it had been a while when I would make a reference to it and only get back blank stares. Then when I found out my romantic partner had never seen the movie, I decided it would be a perfect time to re-watch it. 

Using Urban Cowboy For Porn

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While filming the 1st Amendment case in First Monday  In October, director Ronald Neame showed footage from a real porno film. When watching this footage over and over got boring, he screened portions of Urban Cowboy upside down instead.

Ronald Reagan's Last Role

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Ronald Reagan's last role before running for office was as the villain in 1964's The Killers.

Nancy Sinatra Gets Nude

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Nancy Sinatra did a photo shoot for Playboy in her 50's. She looked damn good too.  Even at that age, she got her father Frank's approval before she did the shoot. A couple of examples are below.

Mae West Way Out West

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Mae West was once infamous. In the 20's she was arrested for her play Sex, wrote another play about homosexuality, and of course became famous in the movies for her double entendre one liners. During the 50's she made some television appearances and released an autobiography.  But by 1966 she was 72 years old and hadn't had a hit movie in a couple of decades. So of course the logical thing would be for her to make a rock and roll record, right?

Gregory Hines Pays Tribute To A Friend

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Gregory Hines' character in Cotton Club is named Delbert after a friend of his who died.

Robert Conrad's Night at the Theater

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When he was a kid Kevin Spacey was a big fan of Wild Wild West and invited star Robert Conrad to come see his high school production of the Sound of Music. Conrad accepted and brought his family to the play.

Rolling Stone Reconsiders Black Sabbath

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Black Sabbath were never critical darlings, despite being so good and so influential.  Even in 1983, when the genre they helped create was beginning to take over the charts, the Rolling Stone record guide only gave their albums one star. In the nineties after several grunge bands cited Sabbath as an influence, Rolling Stone upgraded the review for some of their albums to three stars, still too low but at least a little better.

Little Shop of Horrors

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The 1986 musical film Little Shop of Horrors has an interesting backstory. The original movie wasn't a musical. It was a cheap Roger Corman horror/comedy filmed on leftover sets over a few days. Jack Nicholson was in a small part, which is probably the main reason the film is even remembered today. Well, that and the fact that, for some reason in the early 1980s, someone saw this goofy 1960 movie and thought it would be a great basis for an off-Broadway musical. The show premiered in 1982, and it became the basis for the 1986 movie. So the movie is based on a play that is based on a movie.

Burt and Hal

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Hal Needham directed Burt Reynolds in some of his best known movies, including The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, and Cannonball Run. The two first met when Hal was hired as Burt's stuntman on the tv  show Riverboat.

The Brady Brood

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A network exec wanted to change the name of the Brady Bunch to the Brady Brood, thinking that Bunch might be tainted by the movie the Wild Bunch.  I bet he was relieved they didn’t change the name after the horror movie The Brood came out the same year the Brady Bunch aired.

Man From Atlantis In China

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Man From Atlantis isn't a show that's particularly well remembered now. But it does hold one distinction. It was the first American show to be shown on television in the People's Republic of China

The Addams Family

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There are a few pop culture choices that can help you figure out what kind of person someone is. Are you a Beatles or a Stones person? Star Wars or Star Trek? Pepsi or Coke? In the realm of horror inspired sitcoms, the question is , do you prefer The Munsters or The Addams Family? I fall squarely on the side of the creepy and kooky Addams clan on this question. The show ha its faults, but in the end none of those faults makes me feel any less happy when I'm watching the show.

Newhart, Cheers and St Elsewhere Shared Universe

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Marvel Studios gets all the credit for creating a shared universe, but it's hardly a new concept. One shared universe that many people  may not be aware of is one that crosses over popular television  shows of the 80's.  Characters that appeared on both Newhart and Cheers also showed up in St. Elsewhere.  It creates an interesting situation since St. Elsewhere was shown to be taking place in a boy's imagination, and Newhart was shown to be a  dream by Bob Newhart's character in his previous show.

Walt Disney, Salvador Dali, and Aldous Huxley

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Walt Disney may be the epitome of the corporate beast now, but Walt himself wanted to make real art with his company. This impulse not only led him to make Fantasia, but also to team with Salvador Dali for Destino (which was finally made in 2003) and Aldous Huxley on a live action version of Alice in Wonderland. Apparently nothing from Huxley's draft made it into the animated version that was eventually made.

The Original Shrek

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Chris Farley was originally cast as the voice of Shrek, and even began work on the movie. Unfortunately he passed before finishing recording his dialog. He was replaced by his friend Mike Myers, who took the character in his own direction.