Category: Humor

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.

Sources:

RIP: Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman, whose acting career spanned over 70 years, died yesterday of natural causes at the age of 94.  It is hard to say the role that she was best known for since she had so many memorable and award-winning parts.  Leachman was nominated for 22 Primetime Emmy Awards (earning her the record for the most nominations).  She won 8 Primetime Emmy Awards (tying her with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the most actress wins in Emmy history.)  Leachman also won an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award!

My first memory of Cloris Leachman is from her role as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Her character was so popular that Leachman played her in two spin-off series; first on Rhoda and then in her own show simply titled Phyllis.  Although my first memory of Cloris Leachman is from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, there is no doubt that I’d seen Leachman in many other television guest appearances.   Her tv credits include dozens and dozens of appearances on popular shows… everything from Lassie to The Twilight Zone.

Cloris Leachman wasn’t just limited to television roles.  Her appearances in Mel Brooks’ films were always funny, welcome additions. Her role as Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein is a classic.  Who can forget her first major movie role as Christina Bailey in Kiss Me Deadly?  Leachman also appeared in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Last Picture Show (where she won the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress), High Anxiety and many other features.

Cloris Leachman has nearly 300 acting credits on her resume and she made everything she was in better by her presence.  She will be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go our to Cloris Leachman’s family, friends and fans.

 

    

“A Ghost Waits” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I’m not a fan of the poster, but the trailer for A Ghost Waits has won me over.  I want to see this film.  It appears to be a mash-up of Beetlejuice (confirmed in the synopsis) and Ghost (speculation by me).  Check it out!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

An ingeniously unique and unpredictable combo of horror, humor and heart, A Ghost Waits is a DIY labor of love years in the making from first-time writer/director Adam Stovall and producer/star MacLeod Andrews.

Tasked with renovating a neglected rental home, handyman Jack (MacLeod Andrews, They Look Like People, Doctor Sleep) quickly finds out why the tenants keep leaving in droves – this house is haunted. The ghost in question is Muriel (Natalie Walker), herself employed from beyond the veil to keep the home vacant. Against the odds, Jack and Muriel find they have a lot in common… pulse notwithstanding. Having found a kindred spirit in an otherwise lonely existence, they must fight for their newfound affection as pressure mounts for them each to fulfil their “cross-purposes”.

From its opening spectral assault to its achingly poignant conclusion – as well as a witty depiction of afterlife bureaucracy in the vein of Beetlejuice and A Matter of Life and DeathA Ghost Waits has shocked and surprised audiences around the world, and now makes its home video debut stacked with insightful bonus features that take you inside the process of creating this phantasmagorical monochrome marvel.

Two Posters & a Trailer for “Sky Sharks”

Now we have two posters and a trailer for, I kid you not, Sky Sharks.  I would normally say this is doomed to flop, but then I remember there have been about a billion movies about Sharknadoes.

Directed by Marc Fehse

After an arctic research team discovers a long-lost Nazi warship, they inadvertently unleash the Third Reich’s unknown secret weapon: Sky Sharks.

Joe Dator’s Rediscovering “Columbo”


Over the last year I’ve posted about my wife’s and my renewed interest and love for Columbo starring Peter Falk.  Because the series is so popular it appears on several networks daily which makes recording episodes easy. My wife and I have been working our way through every episode.  Joe Dator is doing the same thing.

Joe Dator is an accomplished cartoonist whose work can regularly be found in The New Yorker, often be found in Mad Magazine and Esquire and believe it or not, at his personal website.  Joe was a winner of The National Cartoonists Society’s 2018 Silver Reuben Award.

I tell you all of this as a way of introduction into Joe Dator’s Rediscovering “Columbo” in 2020.  The cartoon strip first appeared in The New Yorker last October, but can be seen in full at Joe’s website.  I agree with everything Joe says about the joys of watching Columbo.  The one thing I would add is that while Columbo’s first name is never spoken it does appear to eagle-eyed viewers when Columbo shares his ID in a few episodes.

Craig’s Best of 2020: Novels, Movies and Blog Posts

End of the Year lists are fun and so I decided to compile a few of my own. I hope you enjoy them.

Movies

In 2020, I watched 453 movies. Most were streamed. I usually see a little over 200 movies per year so retirement and the pandemic helped increase my viewing. My favorite films released in 2020 included:

  • Arkansas: An under-rated, quirky crime drama.
  • Dracula: Technically a 3 part mini-series, but the first two episodes were near perfect and the third didn’t ruin the experience (but did fall off quite a bit).
  • Extraction: A surprisingly well done action film that had heart.
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: My favorite film of the year – the screenplay, acting and direction were top shelf. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom deserves a boatload of Oscars.Who’d have thought that two of my favorite films would star the Hemsworth brothers?

Books

In 2020, I read 34 books. I usually read about 20 – 24 per year so retirement and the pandemic also worked to increase my novel consumption. My favorites from this year included:

My Most Popular Posts of the Year

I always find some surprises in the most popular posts from the year. Here are the top ten for 2020 and some thoughts for each…

10. David Fincher’s “Mank” – The Poster and Trailer are Here! Fincher is always a fan favorite, and Mank’s poster and trailer were no exception.

09. Facts About Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. The popularity of this post surprises me since it deals with a short story, but horror is always a favorite subject with many of our readers.

08. Peter Stults’ “28 Days Later” Starring Richard Burton. I love that this remains a top post. Stults’ alternative movie posters are a blast. He chooses great stars to recast in cool movies.

07. Jack Benny in “Casablanca”. This one makes me smile. I love that it made the top ten.

06. Sly Stallone Starring in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” Video! Sly Stallone makes the list!

05. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! I told you horror posts are popular.

04. Dracula Through the Ages. I wasn’t kidding. Horror posts are popular.

03. Jackie Daytona Commercial for “Lucky Brews Bar and Grill”! The popularity of this post surprised me. Sure, it has the horror connection, but mixed in is a great amount of humor. Add to that it is for an under-rated horror/comedy (that I hope you are watching) and we get our third most popular post of the year!

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer. Any post about the Zodiac Killer always get a lot of views. This one has even racked up the most comments. 

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”. This posts gets more hits than any other post on the site. It’s not horror, it’s not about a real life killer or Sly Stallone, but it is our #1 post again this year.

My All-Time Most Popular Posts

I thought it might be fun to close out with a look at our all-time most popular posts. Did any or most of 2020’s greatest hits make the all-time list? Let’s see…

10. The Life and Times of Deputy U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves. I’m glad that this post remains popular. Our post about Marshall Bass Reeves (a true life hero) went up years before a comic series and movie about him were made. Don’t you love it when we’re ahead of the curve?

09. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose. Of course two of the most popular movie stars in the world together in a candid would make our most popular list.

08. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! Our #5 most popular post for 2020 is our all-time #8 most popular post… and of course it’s horror.

07. Real Clown Or Horror-Movie Clown? This is creepy. Normally I don’t have a problem with clowns, but some of those real clowns were downright scary.

06. Joel Osteen in Jacksonville This has been popular one since it first appeared.

05. Steve Reeves as Superman Of course Steve Reeves never got the chance to play the Man of Steel, but if he had, he would have made a good one.

04. New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered This posts hits on crime and history with the chance of a new discovery. That’s a great combination of topics and popular with a lot of folks.

03. Zodiac Killer Code Cracked? Again we have crime, history, a new discovery and I would even argue horror to make for a popular post.

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer This was not only our #2 all-time favorite, but also the #2 favorite for 2020. And it generated quite a few comments and e-mails.

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”.01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The #1 post for 2020 is also our #1 all-time favorite. 

It’s always interesting to see which topics resonate with fans and continue to be popular longer after the initial post.  I wonder how many of our all-time favorites will make the list in 2021?  Time will tell… and so will I…. next year!  

“My Name is Roscoe: The Life and Legacy of ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle” by Joe Ramoni

I love movies.  Because of my love of film I search out older movies.  Thanks to TCM that’s not as hard to do as it once was.  So whenever there’s an older film that I think I might like I check it out.

I’ve watched a lot of silent films.  I started with the horror films and then worked my way to comedies.  Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd are considered the comedy kings of the silent film era.  As I began to watch and learn more about this time period, I was surprised to find that funny man Fatty Arbuckle wasn’t better known.  The films I saw with him were as good as any other comedian of the time.

When I came to learn that Arbuckle was the first comedian to be paid one million dollars from a studio, that Arbuckle had mentored both Chaplin and Keaton, that he started his own studio, that he wrote and directed films… well, I needed to know more about this man.  What I discovered was pretty sad.

Joe Ramoni has created an excellent overview of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s career.  It is worth a watch.

He mentored Charlie Chaplin, discovered Buster Keaton, and changed film comedy forever – before a scandal destroyed his career. His name was Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. Though you may recognize his name or face, few know the heartbreaking story of his life. This documentary short takes a look back at his controversial life & career to highlight what an instrumental figure he was in the evolution of cinema and why he should be more remembered today.

Written, Compiled and Presented by Joe Ramoni
https://twitter.com/joeramoni

Source: Mark Evanier.

The All-Time Best Comedies

Matthew Jackson at Mental Floss posted his choices for The 30 Best Comedy Movies of All Time.  I’m a big fan of lists, more for the discussion they create than any definitive ranking.  Jackson’s list is what resonates with him.  My list, or your list would be different.

I’ve seen 23 of Jackson’s 30 listed films.  My favorites from his top 30 are Dr. Strangelove, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

Movies that didn’t make his list but would have made mine include…

  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Christmas Vacation
  • A Christmas Story
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • The Great Race

And that’s just off the top of my head.

“Columbo: Prescription Murder” Trivia

My wife and I are working our way through the Columbo series and really enjoying it. Columbo is experiencing a revival of sorts with the series running in several places and more social media posts about it.  I watched and enjoyed Columbo when it first aired, but it is all new to my wife.

Columbo first appeared in a tv movie in 1968.  It wasn’t until 3 years later that the series of Columbo tv movies started.  It then ran from 1971 – 1978; 1989 – 1995; 1997 – 1998, 2001; and 2003.

Getting back to the first Peter Falk Columbo: Prescription Murder, Me-TV takes a look at 7 Things You Never Noticed about the Columbo pilot, Prescription: Murder.  Here are my three favorite facts and thoughts about each…

  • Peter Falk does not appear until 30 minutes into the story.  (This is one of the things that made the Columbo series unique.  The star doesn’t appear until well into the movie and viewers know who the killer is.  What makes it fun is watching how Columbo figures it out. – Craig)
  • Lt. Columbo had more stylish footwear.  (At this point, Falk had not worked out all of Columbo’s unique traits – the crumpled, old raincoat, the scuffed shoes, his beat-up foreign car and more. – Craig)
  • This was not the first time Columbo had appeared on TV.  (Bert Freed first played Columbo in an episode of an anthology series.  Freed is probably best remembered from his role in Billy Jack or any of his dozens (and dozens) of guest appearances on popular tv shows from the 1950s through the 1980s.  – Craig)

“O.I.” – Some Ideas are Dangerous! Check Out this Fun Short!

O.I. is one of the best short films I’ve seen in a while.  Hats off to all involved!

Barry has a unique problem. He came up with a truly original idea. And sharing it has consequences.

Chris revisits the Tiki bar where he made his first ever deal. He wants to celebrate the biggest deal he’s ever made by drinking down memory lane. It is early morning and there is only one other customer, Barry, and the Barman.

Barry is drinking to forget and is in no mood to celebrate anything. Only Chris’ offer of free drinks for a week if he can’t solve Barry’s problems makes Barry change his mind. Barry has a unique problem. He came up with a truly original idea. And he is the only one immune to it. Chris doesn’t believe a word of it and is determined to prove Barry a liar and win the bet.

Written & Directed by N’cee van Heerden

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.

“Freaky” Starring Vince Vaughn – The Trailer is Here!

The trailer for Freaky is here and hear me out before you click away.  Yes, the concept is stupid.  In fact I almost didn’t check out the trailer.

A “Jason-like, Friday the 13th-style killer and an unpopular high school girl magically trade bodies like in Freaky Friday, except with the, you know, killing.  But I like Vince Vaughn and decided to give it a look. The Freaky trailer was funny.  Check it out and see what your mileage is.

This November, on Friday the 13th, prepare to get Freaky with a twisted take on the body-swap movie when a teenage girl switches bodies with a relentless serial killer.

Seventeen-year-old Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton, Blockers, HBO’s Big Little Lies) is just trying to survive the bloodthirsty halls of Blissfield High and the cruelty of the popular crowd. But when she becomes the newest target of The Butcher (Vince Vaughn), her town’s infamous serial killer, her senior year becomes the least of her worries.

When The Butcher’s mystical ancient dagger causes him and Millie to wake up in each other’s bodies, Millie learns that she has just 24 hours to get her body back before the switch becomes permanent and she’s trapped in the form of a middle-aged maniac forever. The only problem is she now looks like a towering psychopath who’s the target of a city-wide manhunt while The Butcher looks like her and has brought his appetite for carnage to Homecoming.

With some help from her friends—ultra-woke Nyla (Celeste O’Connor, Ghostbusters: Afterlife), ultra-fabulous Joshua (Misha Osherovich, The Goldfinch) and her crush Booker (Uriah Shelton, Enter the Warriors Gate)—Millie races against the clock to reverse the curse while The Butcher discovers that having a female teen body is the perfect cover for a little Homecoming killing spree.

The film also stars Alan Ruck (HBO’s Succession), Katie Finneran (TV’s Why Women Kill) and Dana Drori (Hulu’s High Fidelity).

From the deliciously debased mind of writer-director Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day, the Paranormal Activity franchise) comes a pitch-black horror-comedy about a slasher, a senior, and the brutal truth about high school.

Freaky is written by Christopher Landon and Michael Kennedy (Fox’s Bordertown) and is produced by Jason Blum (Halloween, The Invisible Man). The film is produced by Blumhouse Productions in association with Divide/Conquer. The executive producers are Couper Samuelson and Jeanette Volturno.