Kurt Russell Trivia!

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Jake Rosen at Mental Floss presents 8 Fascinating Facts About Kurt Russell.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. KURT RUSSELL PASSED UP A CHANCE TO BE IN STAR WARS TO DO A TELEVISION WESTERN. (Since he hadn’t been offered either of the Star Wars roles he was up for, he made the right decision.  A bird in the hand… – Craig)

5. KURT RUSSELL WAS PAID TWICE HIS GOING RATE FOR STARGATE BECAUSE HE WAS CONSIDERED IMPOSSIBLE TO DISLIKE.  (Who doesn’t like Kurt Russell?  I went to see Stargate and didn’t particularly like it.  I went because I like Russell, so it was money well-spent by the Stargate producers. – Craig)

6. KURT RUSSELL MAY HAVE STEALTH-DIRECTED TOMBSTONE. (Turns out that Russell may have directed Tombstone the way that Stallone directed Rambo, First Blood: Part Two! – Craig)

RIP James Randi aka The Amazing Randi

James Randi aka The Amazing Randi died on Tuesday at the age of 92.  Mr. Randi began his career as a magician (that’s where the Amazing part of his name came from).  He was a different kind of magician though.

Sure, he could perform mind-reading stunts, bend spoons just as those who claim to do so via mental powers, escape from padlocked chains and the like, but The Amazing Randi claimed no supernatural powers.  In fact he offered his own money (eventually getting the amount to one million dollars) own money to anyone who could show scientific evidence of supernatural powers.  No one ever collected.

James Randi became famous for debunking spiritualists, mind readers and the like who claimed supernatural powers to defraud people.  He had his own radio show, television specials and was a popular guest on television shows.  Randi was also the author of ten books.  By all accounts he was a fun guy to be around.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to James Randi’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Conchata Ferrell

Conchata Ferrell passed away yesterday as a result of complications following a cardiac arrest.  She was 77.

Best known as Berta on Two and a Half Men, this is just one of her 131 acting credits!  Check out all the appearances.  What a career, but even if Conchata had only been on Two and Half Men, her career would have been made.  She was perfect in that role.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Conchata Ferrell’s family, friends and fans.

The All-Time Best TV Bromances

The fine folks at Me-TV decided to take a look at The 10 most timeless TV bromances that all friends should aspire to.   Their list is a good one.  Here are my three favorites from their list (and my thoughts), followed by some that didn’t make the cut but should have.

  • James T. Kirk and Spock – ‘Star Trek‘ came in at number 8.  I would have put them in the #1 spot.  Kirk and Spock’s friendship was never in doubt despite them often having different points of view.  Probably the most “equal” friends on the list.
  • Andy Taylor and Barney Fife – ‘The Andy Griffith Show‘ came in at #4 and would have gotten my #2 spot.  Another great example of male friendship.
  • Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton – “The Honeymooners”  got the top spot on the Me-TV list.  Ralph and Ed were great friends although Ralph wasn’t above taking advantage of Ed when it served him best.

Here are some bromances that I would have included…

  • James West and Artemus Gordon “The Wild, Wild West” would have been in my #1 or #2 spot.  
  • Matt Dillion and Festus Hagen – “Gunsmoke“.
  • Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza – “Seinfeld“.
  • Walter White and Jesse Pinkman – “Breaking Bad“.
  • Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter – “The Big Bang Theory“.
  • Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali – “The Big Bang Theory“.

Who did I miss?

“Thief” Gets the Cinephilia Treatment!

Thief, directed by Michael Mann and starring James Caan gets the Cinephilia and Beyond Treatment.  Click over and you’ll get…

  • Rarely seen production and behind-the-scenes photos
  • Thief script
  • Michael Mann video interview
  • James Caan interviews
  • Johannes Schmoelling of Tangerine Dream interviewed about Thief
  • Michael Mann on his filmmaking process
  • An evening with Michael Mann
  • Robert Rodriguez’s The Director’s Chair with Michael Mann
  • and much more!

RIP: Helen Reddy

Helen Reddy, the multi-talented singer and actress died yesterday at age 78.  Reddy became widely known on the music scene in 1971 when she recorded, I Believe in Music by Mac Davis and I Don’t Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar.  The A-side wasn’t showing much impact but when some DJs started playing the B-side (I Don’t Know How to Love Him) people took notice.

Reddy followed up with the song she co-wrote and is most known for, I am Woman.  The song went to number one and earned Reddy a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  Reddy went on to record hits such as Delta Dawn, Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress), You and Me Against the World and Angie Baby.

Reddy made many appearances on variety shows in the 1070s and even hosted her own.  Reddy also acted in movie and tv roles and probably best know for her roles in Pete’s Dragon and Airport 1975.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Helen Reddy’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Mac Davis

Mac Davis, the multi-talented singer-songwriter and actor died yesterday at age 78 from complications of a recent heart surgery.

Davis was an award-winning song writer who first came to notice for writing the popular Elvis Presley songs, In the Ghetto, Don’t Cry Daddy and A Little Less Conversation.  Other singers such as Kenny Rogers, B.J. Thomas, Perry Como, and Helen Reddy (to name just a few) were happy to cover Mac Davis songs.

Davis wrote hits for himself such as Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me, Stop and Smell the Roses and One Hell of a Woman.  In 1974, Davis was named the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year.  This success led to The Mac Davis Show which ran from 1974-1976.  Davis caught the acting bug and began his career in North Dallas Forty.  Davis would spend the rest of his life singing and acting alternating between movies and television and live concerts.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mac Davis’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: Jacqueline Stallone

Jacqueline Stallone passed away this morning at the age of 98.  Best known as the mother of Sylvester and Frank Stallone, she was much more than just the parent of famous brothers.

Here is part of what Frank posted on his Instagram

This morning my brothers and I lost our mother Jackie Stallone . She was the mother to four children, Tommy, Sylvester, Frankie and my late sister Toni Ann. She was a remarkable woman working out everyday full of spunk and fearless . She died in her sleep as she had wished. It was hard not to like her, she was very eccentric and flamboyant person.

Jackie, as she was known, was indeed a remarkable woman.  She was always into fitness and training.  As a young woman she performed as a trapeze artist!  She was also a nightclub dancer.  Jackie Stallone was the first woman to have a daily exercise and fitness show in Washington, D.C. Later in her career she owned Barbella’s, a gym for women.

Jackie became a popular guest on talk shows where she discussed not only her famous sons but also her astrology books and psychic hotline.  She also became involved with GLOW – the Gorgeous Women of Wrestling!

Jackie Stallone was a powerhouse.  Frank was right in describing her as eccentric, flamboyant, fearless and hard not to like. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jacqueline Stallone’s family, friends and fans.

JOE LANSDALE’S HAP AND LEONARD: An Overview by Scott Montgomery


THE EVOLUTION OF JOE LANSDALE’S HAP AND LEONARD by Scott Montgomery at CrimeReads is well worth a read.  If you’re already a fan, you might get a little more insight into the stories and if you’re not a fan, you should be.  Well done, Mr. Montgomery.

Our header art today is a detail from the cover of the Subterranean Press trade edition for Dead Aim and was created by Glen Orbik.

COLUMBO: “Just One More Thing…”

Not quite two weeks ago I posted that my wife and I had been watching and enjoying Columbo.  We still are.  It seems that many of the folks who stop by here have a fondness for Columbo as well.  One of them, Papa Stas, even directed me to a site called The Columbophile: The blog for those who LOVE Lieutenant Columbo.

The Columbophile has everything that a Columbo fan would want including an episode guide, episode rankings, Columbo facts, links to resources including where you can view full episodes, gifts and more!  Before you click over, let me share three of the facts I learned while there…

  • Peter Falk won 4 Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Lieutenant Columbo in 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1990.
  • In 1997, Murder by the Book was ranked at No. 16 in TV Guide‘s ‘100 Greatest Episodes of All Time’ list. Two years later, the magazine ranked Lieutenant Columbo No. 7 on its ’50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time’ list.
  • Peter Falk had a sometimes fractious relationship with Universal. During the filming of Season 1, and believing the studio was trying to renege on an agreement to let him direct an episode, Falk was even barred from the set. Filming of Dead Weight and Lady in Waiting was affected.

TV Western Stars – Which Role was Better?

MeTV put together a piece on The Overlooked Second Roles of TV’s Greatest Western Stars and it’s a good one.  I actually liked some of the second roles better than the ones the stars are more famous for.

James Arness began world-famous for his role as Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke.  The show ran for 30 years and then spun-off into tv movies when the series ended. Yet, I prefer Arness as Zebulon “Zeb” Macahan in How the West was Won.  I used to make it a point to see each weekly episode.  Remember this was back in the pre-dvr, pre-vhs days.  I wonder if the show holds up.

Everyone knows Chuck Connors as The Rifleman, but I preferred him as Jason McCord, the only survivor of Custer’s Last Stand, and wrongly accused of being a coward and kicked out of the army.  Again, I haven’t seen Branded in years and wonder if it would still be as enjoyable.

Richard Boone’s most famous role was as the gentleman gunfighter, Paladin, on Have Gun Will Travel.  I liked him better as Hec Ramsey, an older cowboy in a world that has moved on to the early 20th century.

I also watched and enjoyed Nichols starring James Garner.  It’s another show I’d like to revisit.  I do remember being surprised and disappointed when they killed off the character and brought in his “twin brother” for the second season.

“Columbo” Trivia!

My wife and I have been watching Columbo quite a bit lately.  Since the show is available on several networks throughout the week, we’ve been DVRing them all to watch at our convenience.

I watched Columbo pretty regularly when it first aired, but I was at the age where I missed more than a few due to other priorities.  My wife never really tuned in.  We’re both enjoying the show now.  It’s fun to see the number of stars appearing as the murderer (or murdered) and even more fun spotting future stars getting their first breaks as a background player.

The fine folks at MeTV posted 13 Little Details You Probably Missed in Columbo.  It’s a fun piece you’d probably enjoy even if you don’t watch Columbo.  Before you click over here are three of my favorites and my thoughts (but for the full details click over)!

Columbo does secretly reveal his first name, once.

(This was a surprise to me.  I didn’t think Columbo’s first name was ever revealed.  In fact we just watched an episode where Columbo was flat out asked his first name.  His response was something to the effect of only his wife uses it and everyone else calls him, “Columbo”. But thanks to MeTV, now we know! – Craig)

The author from the first episode has books in later mysteries.

(I love this.  It shows that the people who made the series were paying attention to what went on before, and it creates a universe for Columbo that feels real. – Craig)

Captain Kirk makes a cameo.

(Ha!  This is a great trivia item.  Captain Kirk makes a cameo. Not William Shatner – he guest stars, but Captain Kirk appears in the same show.  Eagle eyed viewers would catch that.  I’ll be on the lookout when I see the episode. – Craig) 

“John Wick” Trivia

Jake Rosen at Mental Floss presents 8 Fully-Loaded Facts About John Wick. Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each.

1. JOHN WICK WAS ORIGINALLY TITLED SCORN.
Screenwriter Derek Kolstad wrote a revenge thriller titled Scorn that first circulated back in 2012. Kolstad said he was inspired by films like 2008’s Taken and 2004’s Man on Fire, which both featured determined men with special skills out for revenge. By the time the movie was released in 2014, it had become John Wick. The reason, Kolstad explained, was that Keanu Reeves kept referring to the script by the character’s name and distributor Lionsgate believed it would be too much free publicity to lose.

(I did not know this.  Scorn is nowhere near as good a title as John Wick.  Thank you Keanu! – Craig)

7. JOHN WICK HAS A HOBBY THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE FINAL CUT.
While John Wick’s interests in life seem to be mostly restricted to killing people in creative ways, he’s apparently able to express himself through less violent means, too. According to Reeves, the script for John Wick included a scene in which Wick works on restoring old leather-bound books. It was filmed but didn’t make the final edit.

(I understand why the scene didn’t make the movie, but what a cool choice for a hobby for Wick.  – Craig)

8. A JOHN WICK TELEVISION SERIES—MINUS JOHN WICK—IS IN THE WORKS.
Each John Wick film reveals more about the professional code of conduct governing the assassin’s trade. Their common ground is the Continental, a hotel designed to cater to killers without fear of being attacked. (This sometimes doesn’t work, as people try to kill John Wick there anyway.) Lionsgate is pursuing a television series, The Continental, based on the hotel, that’s expected to premiere sometime following the release of John Wick 4, which is currently scheduled for May 2022.

(I love the idea of a tv series set in John Wick’s world as long as it doesn’t become “the hit <as in execution assignment> of the week.  – Craig)

“Young Wallander” – The Trailer is Here!

Check out the trailer below for the new Netflix series Young Wallander. Wallander first appeared in novels created by Swedish author, Henning Mankell.  Kenneth Branagh played Wallander in a series that ran from 2008 to 2016.  Young Wallander is a prequel and here is the synopsis and then the trailer.  Looks pretty good!

Uncover the case that made the man.

Kurt Wallander (Adam Pålsson) fresh out of police academy witnesses a brutal crime and is pulled into solving it under the wing of superintendent Hemberg (Richard Dillane).