Category: Celebs

Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974 – “The Rumble in the Jungle”

Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974 is a new graphic novel that combines the famous Abbas photographs with a story by writer JD Morvan and artist Rafael Ortiz that gives context to the pictures.  Abbas was in Kinshasa, Zaire to photograph the political unrest at the same time the famed Rumble in the Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place.  As things worked out Abbas was able to chronicle events leading up to an including the fight.

Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974 is an interesting idea and looks like a well done book.  If you’d like to see more than the cover above and preview page below, click over to an interview with JD Morvan which provides more insight and preview pages.  If you’d like to order Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974, it is available now.  (I will get a small percentage of each sale made using the link.)

RIP: Joan Weldon

Joan Weldon’s family announced yesterday that the singer and actress, died on February 11, 2021, at the age of 90.  No cause of death was given.

Weldon was best known for her co-starring role in the sci-fi, horror classic Them!  Weldon’s career began her singing in the San Francisco Grand Opera Company. She later sang in the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera and on Broadway,  Weldon’s acting career began in 1953.  She appeared in eleven films and made eleven guest appearances on television shows including roles on Cheyenne, Perry Mason, Have Gun Will Travel and Maverick.

After her acting career, Weldon returned to her first love, singing. She appeared in many road show productions including The Music Man and Oklahoma.  Joan Weldon retired in 1980.

I had no idea that Joan Weldon was a singer.  I knew her best from her role in Them!  I thought she was excellent.  I appreciate that she came off as smart (if not smarter) than the men in the movie and she wasn’t there to be saved.  Weldon’s career in movies and television was relatively short, but what an impact she made.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and fans.

“Without Remorse” starring Michael B. Jordan – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  Finally a movie I cannot wait to see.  Check out the poster above and trailer below for Without Remorse starring Michael B. Jordan and Guy Pearce based on character created by Tom Clancy.  I know what I’ll be watching on April 30th.

In a war-torn region of Syria, an elite team of Navy SEALs led by Sr. Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) rescues a CIA operative taken hostage by ex-Russian military forces. Three months later, in apparent retaliation for his role in the mission, Kelly’s pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London) is murdered in the U.S. by a squad of masked Russian assassins. Despite being shot multiple times himself, Kelly manages to kill all but one of the attackers before being rushed to the hospital.

Meanwhile in Washington D.C., Kelly’s friend and former SEAL team member Lt. Commander Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) meets with CIA agent Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) and Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce) to discuss their response options. Leaked news of Russia’s unprecedented attack on American soil has caused the already-strained relations between the two nations to sour further. If something isn’t done soon the result could be a full-scale war.

Healed from his injuries, a rogue Kelly tracks down the corrupt Russian diplomat who issued the passports to his wife’s murderers, and forces him at gunpoint to give up the name of the surviving assassin. Sent to prison for the crime, Kelly bargains his way out by revealing the escaped operative is one Victor Rykov (Brett Gelman), an ex-Special Forces officer currently hiding in Murmansk, Russia.

With Secretary Clay’s reluctant approval, Kelly joins Greer and Ritter on a top-secret mission to capture Rykov and bring him back to the U.S. to face justice. But en route to Murmansk, their plane is shot down by the Russian Air Force and plummets into the Bering Sea. Using their SEAL skills to survive the crash, they eventually make their way to Rykov’s location, only to discover that the murder of Kelly’s family was part of a vast international conspiracy orchestrated by powerful political figures. Torn between personal honor and loyalty to his country, and with the fate of nations hanging in the balance, Kelly has no choice but to expose the truth, no matter the cost. The explosive origin story of action hero John Clark, one of the most popular characters in author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe, Without Remorse is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Stefano Sollima (Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Gomorrah, ZeroZeroZero).

“The 7th Day” Starring Guy Pearce – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I’m a Guy Pearce and Keith David fan so I am looking forward to The 7th Day.  The fact that Keith didn’t make the poster doesn’t bode well for him living to the end of the film.  As to the poster it is okay.  I did like the trailer.  If I watch The 7th Day, I know that I’ll be doing it without my wife.  She hates exorcism movies.

A renowned exorcist who teams up with a rookie priest for his first day of training. As they plunge deeper into hell on earth, the lines between good and evil blur, and their own demons emerge.

Starring: Guy Pearce, Keith David, Stephen Lang
Directed by: Justin P. Lange

How Tom Cruise Pulled Off All Those Crazy Stunts – Video is Here!

The video below on How Tom Cruise Pulled Off All Those Crazy Stunts is worth a watch.  Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but you have to admit that no one else in the movie business takes it to the limits that Cruise does almost every time out.  He must truly be an adrenaline junkie.

Tom Cruise is perhaps most famous for doing almost all of his own stunts, which have intensified throughout his career. In the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, he climbed part of a 2,000-foot cliff in “Mission: Impossible 2” and then climbed 1,700 feet up the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in “Ghost Protocol.” In “Rogue Nation,” Cruise did not one, but two dangerous stunts. First, he hung off the side of a plane that took him up 1,000 feet in the air. He then had to hold his breath underwater for about six minutes, a stunt that required military-style preparation. In “Fallout,” he jumped 25,000 feet out of a plane and filmed a helicopter stunt that required him to get 2,000 hours of training and learn how to do a 360-degree corkscrew dive. Outside the “Mission” franchise, he filmed a scene on a real zero-gravity plane instead of a soundstage in “The Mummy” and learned how to do action in an 85-pound suit in “Edge of Tomorrow.” He is soon set to return to one of his most iconic roles in “Top Gun: Maverick.

Keanu Reeves’ BRZRKR Trailer is Here!

Here’s something you don’t see very often,  No, not the cover to BRZRKR #1 above (although that’s pretty rare, too).  I’m talking about a trailer for a comic book.

Yep, a trailer for a comic book.  And it is narrated by Keanu Reeves!

BOOM! Studios is proud to announce BRZRKR, a twelve-issue limited series from the iconic Keanu Reeves in his Must Read comic book writing debut, alongside New York Times bestselling co-writer Matt Kindt (Folklords, Bang!) and acclaimed artist Ron Garney (Wolverine, Captain America), colorist Bill Crabtree (BRPD), and letterer Clem Robins (Hellboy) in a brutally violent new series about one immortal warrior’s fight through the ages. BRZRKR #1 is available in comic shops March 3rd. The man known only as B. is half-mortal and half-god, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, B. may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B. will be granted the one thing he desires—the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence…and how to end it.

Read a sneak peek: https://bit.ly/3cDtQam

To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com

The “Army of the Dead” Trailer is Here (and so are Craig’s thoughts on it)

Today the Army of the Dead trailer dropped.  I like Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, 300 and Watchmen.  So I’m looking forward to seeing what Snyder will do with Army of the Dead.  The story holds a lot of potential and Dave Bautista will make a good lead.  My only concerns are that it doesn’t get silly.  I like some humor in my horror, but the focus needs to be on the scary stuff.  Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead had the right balance, I hope that Army of the Dead does as well.

A Zack Snyder film. On Netflix May 21.

Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

Starring Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Raúl Castillo, Michael Cassidy, and Garret Dillahunt.

Story by Zack Snyder
Screenplay by Zack Snyder & Shay Hatten and Joby Harold
Directed by Zack Snyder

The Bee Gees’ Record-Breaking Trivia!

Me-TV posted There’s no jive talkin’ in these 12 fascinating facts about the Bee Gees. As an unabashed Bee Gees fan, I’m happy to see it.

Unfortunately I don’t think enough people give the Bee Gees enough credit for their impact on music and culture.  Although they were making and releasing great music in the 60s, they peaked in the 70s and then continued to write and produce hits well after.  I was (and am) a Bee Gees fan.  I still love their music — it brings back great memories and makes me smile.  Before you click over, here are my three favorite facts from the Me-TV post…

  • They released eight songs in 1978 that reached number one.  (Their #1 hits were “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever” and “Too Much Heaven.” They wrote and produced the hits “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” and “Shadow Dancing,” for their little brother, Andy Gibb.  That year they also are credited for Frankie Valli’s “Grease” and Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You.” – Craig)
  • In 1978, they accounted for 2% of the entire record industry.  (Please see above! If the Bee Gees had done nothing else before or after 1978, their success in that one year would have put them in the record books.- Craig)
  • After the public lost interest in the Bee Gees, the Gibbs quietly wrote and produced massive hits for other artists.  (Hits that they wrote for other artists include: Barbara Streisand’s “Woman in Love“, “Islands in the Stream” for Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers, “Emotion” for Samantha Sang, “Chain Reaction” for Diana Ross, ‘If I Can’t Have You‘ for Yvonne Elliman and many more. – Craig)

RIP: Peter S. Davis

Peter S. Davis, best known as the producer of the Highlander movie, television and video game franchise died on February 21st.  Mr. Davis was 79.

Peter S. Davis was CEO and President of Davis-Panzer Productions (DPP) and Davis Merchandising.  He was a former lawyer on Wall Street as well as an  entrepreneur who owned several business’ outside of movie-making.  Davis began his Hollywood career in 1976 as an Executive Producer of The Death Collector which featured Joe Pesci in a co-starring role.  Davis followed that up as Executive Producer of the movie Stunts starring Robert Forester and Ray Sharkey.  Peter Davis was producer of Sam Peckinpah’s last film (The Osterman Weekend) as well as one of Brad Pitt’s first films (Cutting Class), but it is the Highlander series where Davis made his biggest and best contribution.

Davis pushed to get Highlander to the big screen.  He is also credited for getting Sean Connery in the co-starring role that gave the film gravitas.  The success of Highlander created a franchise that included a sequel, an animated series, a television series, tv movies and video games.

The original Highlander film is one of my all-time favorite films.  Everything from the screenplay to the acting, direction and soundtrack/score came together.  Although I wasn’t a fan of the sequel and didn’t get into the other Highlander ventures, I am such a fan of the original Highlander film, if that was the only contribution that Peter S. Davis made in his career, it would be worth noting here.

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

“The Penthouse” Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like both the poster and trailer for The Penthouse.  Michael Pare and Nicholas Turturro may have a winner.  This looks like a pretty good film.

This dark, gripping thriller shows that evil lurks where we least expect it. In sunny Carolina Beach, Peter and Amanda’s new penthouse condo has a perfect view of the marina. One day they notice a couple bickering aboard a docked sailboat. Amanda befriends frightened Tess, but soon afterwards Tess vanishes without a trace. After Peter confronts her boyfriend Charles (Michael Paré, GONE), Charles vows to make the nosy couple’s life a living hell, stopping at nothing until he gets revenge.

Winston Churchill – The Things I Just Learned

I don’t know as much about Winston Churchill as I’d like.  Sure, I know he was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, but aside from a few quotes and broad strokes about his life, I don’t know much else.  That’s why I found Carla Delgado’s 7 Fascinating Facts About Winston Churchill at Mental Floss very interesting.  Before you click over, here are my three favorites and my thoughts on each.

THE ABBREVIATION “OMG” WAS FIRST USED IN A LETTER TO WINSTON CHURCHILL.  I don’t know why I find this piece of trivia so appealing.  I guess because it is so random.  I wonder what possessed John Fisher to use the abbreviation. How did Churchill know what the letters stood for? (Context, I guess.) And why did it take so many decades for the abbreviation to catch on?  OMG – so many questions.

WINSTON CHURCHILL LIVED WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS.  Churchill suffered from “long periods of despair and lethargy” which some have diagnosed as bi-polar disorder.  I’m surprised at the high percentage of “great” people from history who had to overcome things that cripple others.  I guess that is part of what makes them great.

WINSTON CHURCHILL WAS AN HONORARY AMERICAN.  I didn’t know that Churchill’s mother was American and that he was granted honorary citizenship.  I like that fact a lot.  We can always use more good Americans.  ; )

Marlon Brando in “Rambo III” – The Offer was Made!

Here’s something you don’t see everyday.  It’s a letter that along with a copy of the Rambo III script sent to Marlon Brando from Mario Kassar back in 1987 in an effort to get Brando to play Russian Colonel Zaysen! 

While it would have been interesting to see Sly playing against Brando, I think it would have created a much different film. 

The letter and script sent to Brando is currently for sale with an asking price of $1,500.00 from CFMemorabilia

Sybil Danning / Paul Gulacy / Bill Black and Me

The Black Diamond comics shown above each feature a cover drawn by Paul Gulacy.  A fan of the series and actress Sybil Danning recently posted the covers on Twitter with this response…

I responded to his Tweet with, “Funny story – I was Bill Black’s connection for both Paul Gulacy & Sybil Danning!”

I thought I had told that story here before but a search of the site indicates I didn’t… until now.  Let me take you back to 1980…

It’s about 10 at night and I’m watching tv.  The phone rings and I answer.  The voice on the other end asks to speak to “Mr. ZAB-blow.”  Dead giveaway that he doesn’t know me since he mispronounces my name. (For the record it sounds like ZAY-BLOW.)  I think he’s a nervy sales guy and am ready to hang up when he says, he got my name from a Bill Black publication that listed me as an editor.  The guy wants to get in touch with Bill Black.

Little does this guy know, my editing amounted to either putting Bill in touch with artists or copies of convention sketches.  My biggest contribution in this area was that I introduced Bill to Paul Gulacy.  Paul was my favorite artist, we talked fairly regularly and I had commissioned a few pieces from Paul.  Bill wanted to get Paul to do some art for him.

Ah, but back to the Sybil Danning phone call.

The guy says that he couldn’t find any phone number for Bill, but he was able to locate mine.  I tell the guy, that I can’t give out Bill’s number but would be glad to take a message for him.  The guy proceeds to tell me he is Sybil Danning’s manager.  He asks if I know who she is.  I do.  He says that they want to do a comic with Sybil as the main character.  They want Bill to publish it.  I take his number and tell the guy I’ll pass Bill the info.  We hang up and I go back to watching whatever I was watching.

I’m pretty sure it was the next day that I reached out to Bill to let him know that I had received a call from a guy saying he was Sybil Danning’s manager and they wanted to do a comic with him.  If you know Bill, you know how enthusiastic he gets.  Bill begins rapid fire asking questions, “When did he call – do I have his number – why didn’t I call him last night to tell him – etc.”  I explain to Bill it was late, I don’t know if the guy is on the level, etc.

Needless to say, Bill was able to contact Danning’s manager and the rest is history.

The Jaffee Project!

Here’s a cool opportunity to make someone who probably brought you at least a smile or two over the years very happy.  Al Jaffee, award-winning cartoonist, inventor of Mad Magazine’s beloved fold-in page as well as Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, turns 100 on March 13th.  Sam Vivano, former MAD Art Director and friend of Al’s is putting together a surprise to help Al celebrate…

…(T)he legendary Al Jaffee will celebrate his 100th birthday on March 13. You are invited to send him greetings at the post office box shown in the graphic (above).

Please be sure to put your full name and address on the envelope. This will help me keep track of everything that comes in.

The box is active for the next six months, so don’t worry if you think your greeting won’t arrive by the 13th. I’m sure Al will be happy to continue celebrating his birthday even after it’s passed!

Although the project will run even after Al’s birthday, it would be cool to have Al’s party flooded with messages from fans around the world on his birthday.  Please consider sending in a card.

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