24
Jun
13

Twilight Zone, the movie the 30th anniversary

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On June the 24th, 1983, the much anticipated Twilight Zone the Movie is released.  This was one of my most favorite summer of ’83 films; and it is a wonderful piece of work based on Rod Serling’s incredible TV show from the 50’s and 60’s.  John Landis and Steven Spielberg teamed up with Joe Dante and George Miller to make this motion picture homage to one of the greatest shows from the golden age of Television. I am a huge fan of all four of these talented story tellers, and the sequences are masterfully directed by each man. The stories are all intricately and beautifully connected by an emotionally moving and haunting score by the late Jerry Goldsmith. Each story stands on it’s own as the directors take us into new and revisited territory.  The segments by Joe Dante and George Miller really stand out and show case these two directors’ great talents.  This is a very good film on so many levels and I recommend it highly.

Below is a synopsis provided by Wikipedia that really gives a wonderful insight into each man’s story.  Tragically, the film’s production suffered the great loss of veteran actor Vic Morrow and two young children due to a helicopter accident on the set a year before the film was to be released.  The tragedy is heartbreaking to be sure, not only for those that lost their lives, but also for those that were there and have to live with the pain of what happened.  Thirty years later and my heart and prayers still go out to everyone that was a part of this production.  When and if you do revisit or watch this film for the first time, do remember those who passed on with special reverence.  Thanks.

Continue reading ‘Twilight Zone, the movie the 30th anniversary’

27
May
13

the gold diggers of 1933, the 80th anniversary.

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This movie is a gem if your a big fan of Busby Berkeley’s choreography as I am. Berkeley’s magic with the camera and setting up lavish and extremely gorgeous dance number’s  is without measure. At times he would take advantage of every inch of stage space from wall to wall and floor to ceiling to capture  his vision on film. This was the day of practicality and I highly doubt that anything he did in the 30’s could be matched today without the help of CG!!!  Gold diggers featured 4 big dance numbers and featured a very young Billy Bartie who was just getting his start into motion pictures. All of Berkeley’s work is nothing short of breathtaking.  His eye for capturing the  brilliance, beauty, and elegance of theatrical dance pieces is extraordinary and is like nothing you have ever seen. Below is a quick plot summary of the film provided from Wikipedia and also included are some of the dance numbers from the film. Enjoy and happy 80th to Gold Diggers of 1933.

the plot

The “gold diggers” are four aspiring actresses: Polly the ingenue (Ruby Keeler, Carol the torch singer (Joan Blondell), Trixie the comedienne (Aline MacMahon), and Fay the glamour puss (Ginger Rogers).

 

The film was made in 1933 during the Great Depression and contains numerous direct references to it. It begins with a rehearsal for a stage show, which is interrupted by the producer’s creditors who close down the show because of unpaid bills.

 

At the unglamorous apartment shared by three of the four actresses (Polly, Carol, and Trixie), the producer, Barney Hopkins (Ned Sparks), is in despair because he has everything he needs to put on a show, except money. He hears Brad Roberts (Dick Powell), the girls’ neighbor and Polly’s boyfriend, playing the piano. Brad is a brilliant songwriter and singer who not only has written the music for a show, but also offers Hopkins $15,000 in cash to back the production. Of course, they all think he’s pulling their legs, but he insists that he’s serious – he’ll back the show, but he refuses to perform in it, despite his talent and voice.

 

Brad comes through with the money and the show goes into production, but the girls are suspicious that he must be a criminal since he is cagey about his past, and will not appear in the show, even though he is clearly more talented than the aging juvenile lead they have hired. It turns out, however, that Brad is in fact a millionaire’s son whose family does not want him associating with the theatre. On opening night, in order to save the show when the juvenile (Clarence Nordstrom) can’t perform (due to his lumbago acting up), Brad is forced to play the lead role.

 

With the resulting publicity, Brad’s brother, J. Lawrence Bradford (Warren William) and the family lawyer, Fanuel H. Peabody (Guy Kibbee) discover what he is doing, and arrive in New York to prevent him from being seduced by “gold diggers”. Their goal is to break up the romance between Brad and Polly.

Lawrence mistakes Carol for Polly, and his heavy-handed effort to dissuade the “cheap and vulgar” showgirl from marrying Brad by buying her off annoys her so much that she goes along with the gag in order to eventually pull the rug out from under him. Trixie meanwhile targets “Fanny” the lawyer as the perfect rich sap ripe for exploitation. But what starts as gold-digging turns into something else, and when the dust settles, Carol and Lawrence are in love and Trixie marries Fanuel, while Brad is free to marry Polly after all. All the “gold diggers” (except Fay) end up married to wealthy men.

were in the money

were in the money

shadow waltz

shadow waltz

 

 

27
May
13

Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the 25th anniversarry.

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May the 27th 1988 and the world is introduced to the theatrical release of Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  My Buddy Nelson and I  was there and this has been a favorite ever since. The film is the brain child of three brothers. Charles, Edward and Stephen Chiodo, or for short the Chiodo Brothers.  These three individuals are brilliant artists in all realms of the imagination. They sculpt, They draw, They write, Direct and they dream with endless creativity. The brothers got their start in 1980 providing animation for the film “I Go Pogo” This film led to many more shorts as well as providing an incredible piece of work for Tim Burton’s first shorts called “Vincent”. Their resume is long and full of contributions to every form of television show. feature film, and also to a host of Commercials.  Their latest project is due out this year and is entitled, “Once upon a Christmas Dream”.  Killer Klowns was written, directed, produced, production designed and puppeteered by the trio with a brilliant soundtrack by John Massari and the theme song written and performed by the Dickies. This is a tale of space invaders that have come to earth to feast upon the human inhabitants. Everything that you find creepy and scary about clowns, the brothers have taken and twisted into a dark comedy filled with zany characters and incredible disturbing moments featuring the Klowns themselves. Everyone wants to go the circus is the lure and once inside their big top circus tent shaped space ship, the only act performed is to turn the town folk into giant balls of Cotton Candy. The film is a masterpiece of it’s genre and has reached the renowned cult classic status. This is a very fun ride filled with a lot of laughs, screams and imagination. For a great time at the movies and a flashback to the mid 1980’s Killer Klowns is a must see. be sure to check out the Chiodo Brothes website by following the link below.  Happy 25th  guys and thanks for this gem of a motion Picture.

http://www.chiodobros.com/

The Chiodo's and some of their Klown friends

The Chiodo’s and some of their Klown friends

evil

evil

Officer Mooney is turned into a human puppet.

Officer Mooney is turned into a human puppet.

a devilishly disturbing moment as one of the Klowns tries to lure a little girl away from her mother.

a devilishly disturbing moment as one of the Klowns tries to lure a little girl away from her mother.

checking on some of the town folks recently turned into cotton candy

checking on some of the town folks recently turned into cotton candy

 a parade to capture more victims from town. This scene is filmed in pre earthquake Santa Cruz CA

a parade to capture more victims from town. This scene was filmed in pre earthquake Santa Cruz CA

the big top takes off

the big top takes off

the 25th anniversary poster

the 25th anniversary poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27
May
13

memorial day 2013, in honor of those whom we have lost

Today is the day we take a moment to remember those brave men and women who have fallen while serving the country that they loved. God bless all of them for their ultimate Scarface to protect our country and our freedoms. May we all bow down in prayer as we hold up these fallen warriors and their families on this beautiful memorial day. We salute those in the United States Army, The US Army Air Corp, The United States Marines, The United State Navy, The United States Coast Guard and the United States Air Force. Thank you all and may we never forgot the meaning of this day of remembrance. Below are some pictures to set the words to motion and three videos in honor of our service men and this great country. The first is the pledge of allegiance by the late Red Skelton, Taps by the US Navy Band and one of the most beautiful renditions of the National Anthem sung by Leeann Rimes.

the missing man formation which is a way of honoring a fallen service man or women by having a single plane missing from the formation.

the missing man formation which is a way of honoring a fallen service man or women by having a single plane missing from the formation.

rest in peace brave soldier

rest in peace brave soldier

we bow our heads

we bow our heads

25
May
13

the north american yf-100, the 60th anniversary of her first flight.

NA YF-100

 YF-100

Today is a milestone in aviation history with the first flight of North Americans YF-100 from Edwards Air Force Base…

The YF-100A first flew on 25 May 1953, seven months ahead of schedule. It reached Mach 1.05 in spite of being fitted with a de-rated XJ57-P-7 engine. The second prototype flew on 14 October 1953, followed by the first production F-100A on 9 October 1953. The USAF operational evaluation from November 1953 to December 1955 found the new fighter to have superior performance but declared it not ready for widescale deployment due to various deficiencies in the design.

A wicked looking fighter and this was one of my first model kits that I built as a kid.

25
May
13

it came from outer space, the 60th anniversarry.

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Return of the Jedi is not the only movie celebrating an Anniversary today.. Lets go back 60 years to the date of May the 25th 1953. Universal releases one of it’s first big sci-fi films. “It Came from Outer Space”  The film is directed by the incredible Jack Arnold who brought us the creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954, Tarantula in 1955, and Was a big contributor to the early episodes of Gilligan’s Island. This movie is very unique in the fact that it was based on a Ray Bradbury story and is played off very seriously in it’s tone and visual style. The monster a hideous ethereal creature that we both see as it terrorizes it’s victims as well as from it’s liquidy point of view. This is an early alien invasion masterpiece that set the stage for more of it’s kind to follow. Lots of fun and I highly recommend it if you have not already.. below are some plot and production notes from Wikipedia.

PLOT

An Author and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Carlson) and schoolteacher Ellen Fields (Rush) watch a meteorite crash near the small town of Sand Rock, Arizona. After visiting the crash site, John notices a strange object in the crater and believes that it wasn’t a meteorite that crashed after all, but an alien spaceship. After a landslide covers the mysterious craft, John’s story is ridiculed by the townspeople, sheriff (Drake), and local media.

Even Ellen is unsure of what to believe, but agrees to assist John in his investigation. Over the next several days, a number of local people disappear. A few return but they seem distant and dazed. Eventually, Sheriff Warren becomes convinced that a meteorite wasn’t involved and he organizes a posse to hunt down the invaders. Alone, John hopes to reach a peaceful solution, so he goes into a mine which he hopes will lead him to the buried spacecraft and its occupants.

It transpires that the aliens are benign beings whose spacecraft crashed because of malfunctioning components. They planned to stay on Earth just long enough to replace the parts, and then to continue their voyage. Whilst the aliens true appearance resembles a large one-eyed jelly-like being that glides over the ground, leaving a glistening trail, they are also able to shape shift. To allow themselves to move freely in human society to collect the parts they need to repair their ship, they subsequently kidnap and take the form of some of the local townspeople. However, they are unable to reproduce the townspeople’s personalities, leading to suspicion, and eventually the deaths of two of the alien crew members. After John Putnam manages to seal them off in an abandoned mine to protect them from the advancing posse, and to give them time to repair their ship, they do so and leave, but not before releasing all of the missing townspeople unharmed.

production

The screenplay was by Harry Essex, with input by Jack Arnold, and was derived from an original screen treatment by Ray Bradbury (although it is said Ray Bradbury wrote the original screenplay and Harry Essex merely changed the dialogue and took the credit).[2] Unusual among sci-fi films of the day, the alien “invaders” were portrayed as creatures without malicious intent. The film has been interpreted[who?] as a metaphorical refutation of supposedly xenophobic attitudes and ideology of the Cold War.

“I wanted to treat the invaders as beings who were not dangerous, and that was very unusual”, Bradbury said. He offered two outlines to the studio, one with malicious aliens, the other with benign aliens. “The studio picked the right concept, and I stayed on.”[3] He has called the movie “a good film. Some parts of it are quite nice.”[4]

In 2004, Bradbury published four versions of his screen treatment for the movie as a single volume, It Came From Outer Space.

The uncredited music in the film was by Irving Gertz, Henry Mancini, and Herman Stein.

The Universal make-up department submitted two alien designs for consideration by the studio executives. The design that was rejected was saved and then later used as the Metaluna Mutant in Universal’s This Island Earth (1955). The special effects created for the spacecraft in flight consisted of a wire-mounted iron ball, with hollowed out ‘windows’, and ignited magnesium inside. The Arizona setting and the telephone lineman occupation of two of the characters are elements from Bradbury’s younger life, when his father moved the family to Tucson.

Urban legend has it that an extra in an army corporal’s uniform at the “meteor” crash site is comedy writer-performer Morey Amsterdam. While the briefly glimpsed man does indeed resemble Amsterdam, no hard evidence (e.g., cast call bureau records, interviews with Amsterdam) has ever confirmed it is actually him. The most recent of Universal’s 2002 DVD release of the movie comes with a documentary, “The Universe According to Universal,” written and directed by David J. Skal, and an audio commentary by Tom Weaver, in which Weaver also notes the similarity of Morey Amsterdam.

the discovery of the space ship

the discovery of the space ship

the creature

the creature

when in trouble with aliens, call the cowboys

when in trouble with aliens, call the cowboys

it's the professor,,, Russell Johnson in one of his early roles

it’s the professor,,, Russell Johnson in one of his early roles

 

 

 

 

25
May
13

return of the jedi turns 30

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May the 25th 1983, Return of the Jedi makes it’s theatrical debut, and we were there.   “Revenge of the Jedi” was the original name of the film until the last several months of the production.  Something happened story-wise that caused the big name change, and there was a rush to pull everything that was printed, whether it was posters or articles in Star Log, to be quickly replaced with the new title.  As anxious fans, this title change was an enormous event and we were all scrambling to get anything that had “Revenge of the Jedi” in the title.

Anyways it’s now May the 24th and a bunch of my friends, including Rod Andrewson, Scott Rigler, Brian Siken and a host of others made the big trek to Scottsdale, AZ to camp on the night before so we could be at the first screening of the final segment of the original Star Wars trilogy. It was a long night, and from our point of view, we felt like we were the only normal people in a sea of crazy fanatic fans.  There was girl that decided to walk out in the intersection at about 3:00 in the morning and pretend to control the traffic lights with her own Jedi powers.  At any given hour cars of thrill seekers would drive by and throw eggs into the crowd or hose everyone down with high pressure fire extinguishers. It was definitely a night to remember. The first showing was at noon so once we all got inside and to our seats, all the excitement began.  The Kachina was a big Cinerama theater and the best seats were about the 5th row from the front and in the center.  From these seats the screen seemed to wrap around and fortunately we got petty close to the E ticket seating. Finally noon comes and the movie begins.

Following one of SCI-Fi’s  greatest films of all time, “The Empire Strikes Back”, the anticipation for this installment was without measure.  The movie starts and the entire film is filled with screams and howls from the crowd.  The new visual EFX by ILM are breathtaking as well as the score by John Williams, but about half way through the movie I was really not thrilled by what was happening on screen.  As the stage was set with “Empire” as a dark, intense and very serious story line with deep character development, took a hard turn to whimsical and campy in Jedi… Teddy bears in the woods,  a pathetically wimpy  Han Solo who suffered from teen jealousy attacks.  Darth Vader turns into a softy and when he takes his helmet off we find out he is really Humpty Dumty.  The “other”, that Yoda had spoken of was Princess Leia who really didn’t hold up for any greatness.  And the final blow of Luke and Leia being twins.  I was very disappointed as the film played on but I thought it must have been because I was tired so I went again and, NO I was right it wasn’t anywhere near what I was expecting.  I went several more times to watch the speeder bike chase and the end attack on the Death Star but story wise I just hated where it went, or didn’t go.

Writers Kasdan and Brackett, as well as the directorial vision of Irvin Kirshner were deeply missed and their labors were tossed aside for cute, cuddly and silly humor.  Although the disappointment is still there 30 years later, I still love the film even though it was a far cry from what I was expecting to see.  Ewoks are still a lot more palatable than Jar Jar Binks.  HAAA HAAA! So with all that said, Happy 30th to RETURN OF THE JEDI!!!!

revenge poster

revenge poster

the Kachina!

the Kachina!

Jabba and Slave Leia.

Jabba and Slave Leia.

some of ILM's magic

some of ILM’s magic

the speeder bike chase, The highlight of the film.

the speeder bike chase, The highlight of the film.

Even more ILM Magic, It's a Trap!!!!

Even more ILM Magic, It’s a Trap!!!!

And may we present, Humpty Dumpty.

And may we present, Humpty Dumpty.

and to end it all we were treated to the atrocious Zug Zug song!!!!! OH what a world, Happy 30th jedi

and to end it all we were treated to the atrocious Zug Zug song!!!!! OH what a world, Happy 30th jedi




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