Category: Trivia

The Best Movies NOT to be Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar!

Film School Rejects took a look at The 100 Best Movies That Were Not Nominated for Best Picture.  They came up with a good list of films that they feel should have been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.  Using their list, I came up with my top nine and one that I added that didn’t make their list, but would have made mine.

  • Planet of the Apes (1968)
  • Night of the Hunter (1955)
  • Die Hard (1988)
  • The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
  • The Searchers (1956)
  • Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • Touch of Evil (1958)
  • Se7en (1995)
  • Psycho (1960)
    Plus my addition: Cop Land (1997)

The Best Prime-Time Line-Ups of All Time!

In these days of streaming with hundreds of cable channels and options specifically geared to taste, when we look back at the days of three basic network options, it is funny to think of how limited our viewing choices were.  It also brings to mind how difficult it must have been for television programmers to put together that magical line-up that would keep viewers on their network.

The fine folks at MeTV decided to look at all of the line-ups from the dawn of television through our current options to determine What was the Best Network Television Lineup Ever?  Looking at their top ten, here are my thoughts and choice for the best line-up ever.

10. CBS Friday 1979–1980: The Incredible HulkThe Dukes of HazzardDallas. (I’ve watched a couple of episodes of The Incredible Hulk and have never seen a complete episode of Dukes or Dallas. – Craig)

9. ABC Friday 1971–72:  The Brady BunchThe Partridge FamilyRoom 222The Odd CoupleLove, American Style. (I’d watch The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, occasionally The Odd Couple and usually Love, American Style. – Craig)

8. CBS Sunday 1956–57: LassieThe Jack Benny ProgramThe Ed Sullivan ShowGeneral Electric TheaterAlfred Hitchcock PresentsThe $64,000 ChallengeWhat’s My Line?  (Since I wasn’t born yet, I didn’t see any of them that season.  I am a fan of The Jack Benny Program and Alfred Hitchcock Presents which I’ve seen in reruns. – Craig)

7. ABC Thursday 1966–67: BatmanF TroopThe Dating GameBewitchedThat Girl.  (I never missed Batman, occasionally watched F Troup and The Dating Game.  I usually would watch Bewitched and occasionally That Girl. – Craig)

6. ABC Thursday 1972-73:  The Mod SquadKung FuThe Streets of San Francisco. (I always watched Kung Fu but neither of the other two. – Craig)

5. Fox Sunday 1999–2000: FuturamaKing of the HillThe SimpsonsMalcolm in the MiddleThe X-Files. (I didn’t watch any of these shows. – Craig)

4. NBC Thursday 1993–94:  Mad About YouWingsSeinfeldFrasierHomicide.  (I always watched Mad About You, Wings, Seinfeld and FrasierHomicide was the show that kept this line-up from being a clean sweep for me. – Craig)

3. CBS Saturday 1959–60:  Perry MasonWanted: Dead or AliveMr. LuckyHave Gun, Will TravelGunsmoke. (I was too young to watch. – Craig)

2. NBC Thursday 1984–85:  The Cosby ShowFamily TiesCheersNight CourtHill Street Blues. (I always watched all of these shows.  This was a perfect line-up for me. – Craig)

1. CBS Saturday 1974–75: All in the FamilyThe JeffersonsMary Tyler MooreThe Bob Newhart ShowThe Carol Burnett Show. (I always watched all of these shows.  This was also a perfect line-up for me. – Craig)

So there were two line-ups that I stay tuned to for the entire evening, but which was the best?  I give the nod to CBS Saturday 1974-75

The All-Time Best TV Friendships!? C’mon, Man!


 Allison Keene and the Paste TV Writers posted a fun piece titled The 25 Best TV Friendships.  Their list isn’t a bad one and contains many of the tv friendships you’d expect to see including…

  • Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • Hap and Leonard from, uh, Hap & Leonard  
  • Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza from Seinfeld

But I have to question any list of The 25 Best TV Friendships that doesn’t find a spot for…

  • Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton from The Honeymooners
  • James T. Kirk and Spock from Star Trek
  • James West and Artemus Gordon from The Wild, Wild West

C’mon, man!

Elvis Presley’s Graceland – Facts You Might Not Know!


I like Elvis Presley’s music and maybe even a few of his movies.  So I’m not what you’d call an Elvis fanatic, but truth be told, I wouldn’t mind visiting Graceland.  There’d be something cool to be able to walk around in Elvis’ mansion (now a tourist hot spot) that has been kept like it was when Elvis lived there.  

Ellen Gutoskey posted 9 Rockin’ Facts About Elvis Presley’s Graceland and it was a fun read.  Before you click over for the full story, here are my three favorites…

ELVIS BOUGHT GRACELAND WHEN HE WAS ONLY 22 YEARS OLD.  (Elvis paid $102,500.00 for the mansion and almost 14 acres of land.  $102,500 in 1957 dollars equals $950,127.58 in 2021.  That shows you how popular and how much dough Elvis was bringing in at such an early stage in his career.  – Craig)

GRACELAND’S JUNGLE ROOM DOUBLED AS A RECORDING STUDIO.  (This is probably the most famous room in the mansion.  Elvis recorded his second to last studio album in the Jungle Room.  It’s cool to know that John Cougar Mellencamp, Kid Rock, and Lisa Marie Presley (Elvis’ daughter) also recorded albums in the Jungle Room. – Craig)

ELVIS KEPT GRACELAND’S KITCHEN STOCKED WITH VERY SPECIFIC ITEMS.  (A lot has been made over the years of Elvis’ love for fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  Other items that Elvis wanted to always be available included: banana pudding, ingredients for meatloaf, fudge cookies, fresh orange juice, ice cream, brownies, shredded coconut, hot dogs, ground round steak, biscuits, and gum. 

Looking at that list I’d  say: banana pudding only if it contained Nilla Wafers, meatloaf is a good idea for leftover sandwiches, I’d substitute chocolate chip for fudge cookies, fresh orange juice is good but with Elvis money I would have a McDonald’s Iced French Vanilla Coffee maker installed, ice cream is a must and make sure we have Hershey’s syrup, brownies are a big YES, pass on the shredded coconut, yes to hot dogs (all beef), yes to ground round steak, big YES to biscuits and pass on the gum. – Craig)

The OSCARS All-Time Greatest Best Picture Winners


Brian Truitt at USAToday came up with his list of The 25 greatest Oscar best picture winners, ranked.  I enjoy lists and playing around with them.  So using just Truitt’s list I came up with my top five.  Here’s a chart comparing our choices:

TruittZablo
1. ‘The Godfather’ (1972)
1. ‘Rocky’ (1976)
2. ‘Casablanca’ (1942)
2. ‘The Godfather’ (1972)
3. ‘Schindler’s List’ (1993)
3. ‘The Godfather Part II’ (1974)
4. ‘On the Waterfront’ (1954)
3. ‘Casablanca’ (1942)
5. ‘All About Eve’ (19/50)5. ‘Gone with the Wind’ (1939)

Pony Express – Facts You May Not Know!

When I was a kid Cowboys were king. Westerns dominated movie and television screens. Cowboys even regularly appeared in comic books. Kids loved tales of the West. There were so many heroes and we knew their names. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Bat Masterson, and Wild Bill Hickock just to name a few.

What’s interesting is that there was another group of real-life western heroes — Pony Express Riders. We all knew how they rode the mail across hostile country (weather, terrain and Indians) at breakneck speed, only stopping after they’d ridden dozens of mile and only after they had passed the mail on to the next rider.

Its interesting that what we think we knew about the Pony Express is often wrong.  Evan Andrews addresses this in post 10 Things You May Not Know About the Pony Express.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

2. It was a financial flop.  (I really never thought about the financial aspect of running the Pony Express.  There’s the cost and upkeep of the horses.  Paying the riders as well as those that ran the relief stations and the cost of keeping them stocked.  Estimates run as high as $200,000.00 were lost for the investors behind the Pony Express. That translates to about $6.5 million today.  Keep in mind the Pony Express was only in operation for about one and a half years! That is another fact that blows many people’s minds. – Craig)

8. Riders didn’t have the deadliest job on the Pony Express. (I found this to be a surprising fact.  More relief station workers were killed than Pony Express Riders.  The relief stations were in remote locations and vulnerable to attacks by bandits and Indians at war.  – Craig)

7. One rider completed a 380-mile run in less than two days.  (Most Pony Express riders rode about 75 miles making horse changes along the way.  They would they pass off the mail and rest up for their next trip.  Robert “Pony Bob” Haslam had ridden his route but the next rider refused to take the mail on.  Paiute Indians had been attacking relief stations and the rider was afraid to head into their territory.  Haslam grabbed the mail, jumped on a fresh mount and completed the run!  After delivering the mail and a brief rest, Haslam completed the return trip, a total of 380 miles in less than 40 hours! – Craig)

The Twilight Zone: “It’s a Good Life” Trivia

The Twilight Zone is one of my all-time favorite shows.  Some of the original TZ episodes rate with the best television has ever had to offer.  One of the most popular Twilight Zone episodes is “It’s a Good Life” which starred Billy Mummy as a little boy who could read minds and would destroy anyone or anything that displeased him.

MeTV posted 9 Little Details You Never Noticed in the Twilight Zone Episode ”It’s a Good Life” I was surprised by some of the facts listed.  Here are three and my thoughts on each before you click over.

It has the longest opening narrative in Twilight Zone history.  (Serling’s intro clocks in at 2 minutes which doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that is 10% of the episode’s running time, it is quite a bit.  Still I wouldn’t change a word. – Craig)

They made a sequel in 2003. (The sequel appeared on the rebooted Twilight Zone tv series.  Both Billy Mummy and Cloris Leachman, as his mother, returned to reprise their roles.  I had no idea that there was a sequel!  I need to find and watch it. – Craig)

Rod Serling was working on a feature film adaptation when he died. (Sadly, Rod Serling died at such a young age.  I wonder if there is a surviving script?  It would be cool to at least know how he planned to handle the story for a feature length film. – Craig)

Today We Received Our 1st Covid-19 Vaccination!

This morning my wife and I received our first COVID vaccinations.  I’m happy to report the whole process went smoothly.  We arrived at 7:15 for our 8am appointments, which were the first of the day.  We were the very first car in line.  I thought we would receive the shots without getting out of the car, but it was set-up so that you were directed to a parking spot and then allowed to enter the building.  They had folks monitoring the line so that people went in according to their appointment time.

We entered the building and it was laid out so that everyone stayed spaced apart.  Although I felt some heat when getting the shot, my wife said she didn’t feel a thing.  After getting the vaccination we moved to an adjoining room for a 15 minute waiting period to make sure we suffered no ill after-effects.  Because my wife has a medical allergy, we were required to wait an additional 15 minutes.  Neither of us had any reactions so we left and again, the layout made it a breeze.

We were told that we may have some arm pain tomorrow, and if so Tylenol should take care of any discomfort.  We get our second vaccination on April 15th.  I can’t wait.

Behind the Scenes: The Making of “Raging Bull”

Raging Bull fans will want to check out Jay Glennie’s The Making of a Heavyweight: Scorsese and De Niro Behind the Scenes of Raging Bull – in Pictures at The Guardian.  If you click over you’ll enjoy:

  • Behind the Scenes Photos of Michael Westmore’s Make-Up Effects for De Niro.
  • Jake Lamotta & De Niro and the Inscription LaMotta Gave Him
  • Photos from De Niro’s Private Collection
  • A Sample of De Niro’s Heavily Annotated Script
  • Photos from Scorsese’s Private Collection
  • A Handwritten Note from Al Pacino to Robert De Niro

RIP: Lou Ottens

It has just been announced that Lou Ottens has died at the age of 94.  If Mr. Ottens name doesn’t ring a bell, don’t fell bad.  Mr. Ottens wasn’t famous, but I promise if you’re a certain age, you’ll appreciate his invention because of the hours you spent with it and the enjoyment it brought you.

Mr. Ottens invited the first cassette tape!

Mr. Ottens wanted music to portable, assessable and affordable.  He succeeded on all counts.  I can remember how exited I was to get my first cassette player and blank tapes.  If you’re of a certain age, I’m sure you remember making mix tapes for different occasions and friends.  How cool was it to be able to take your music with you and play it anywhere?  Very cool.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lou Ottens’ family, friends and fans.

Sly Stallone Directed Films, Ranked

Jake Dee at ScreenRant looked at the IMDb to come up with Every Movie Sylvester Stallone Has Directed, Ranked.  I decided to compare the IMDb rankings with my own.  After the chart are my thoughts…

Jake Dee (ScreenRant)

Zablo

1. Rocky II

1. Rocky Balboa

2. Rocky Balboa

2. Rocky III

3. Rambo

3. Rambo

4. Rocky IV

4. Paradise Alley

5. Rocky III

5. The Expendables

6. The Expendables

6. Rocky II

7. Paradise Alley

7. Rocky IV

8. Staying Alive

8. Staying Alive

Dee and I agreed on two rankings: #3 – Rambo and #8 – Staying Alive.

I placed Rocky Balboa in the #1 spot for a few reasons. Sly did a wonderful job of capturing the feel of the first movie, but making sure that it also captured how things had changed with the passing of time. I also have a special place for Rocky Balboa because it was such a longshot to be made and it gave the series a wonderful bookend closing.

Rocky III made the #2 spot because Sly was able to take the classic Rocky format (from 1 and 2) and modernize it. It was a dangerous move (Rocky loses, Mickey dies, new music, fast pace, add pro-wrestling) but it worked.

Rambo is #3. Sly placed Rambo with a team and made the battle scenes more graphic. Many thought an older Rambo wouldn’t work, but Sly showed that it would not only work but be one of the best films in the Rambo series.

Paradise Alley comes in at #4. Paradise Alley doesn’t get enough love. Sly’s directorial debut and he chooses a period piece that walks the fine line between drama and comedy. I’m a huge Paradise Alley fan.

#5 is The Expendables. Don’t call it a comeback. What a cool idea. Sly brings together fan favorite action stars and he makes it work not only for this film, but also a new movie series.

Rocky 2 is #6. Sly taking over the directing chores from the man who won the Oscar for directing Rocky. It was a big step, but Sly didn’t falter. Rocky II is a worthy follow-up.

Rocky IV comes in at #7. I like the idea for Rocky IV but it falters just a bit with the Miami Vice quick-cut editing to music. I have grown to enjoy Rocky IV more over time and especially with the way it sets up Creed.

The final spot goes to Stayin’ Alive. I enjoyed this film, but one of Sly’s movies has to come in at #8. Taking on this movie was a huge challenge and props to Sly for stepping up.

“Star Trek: The Animated Series” Trivia

I’m a fan of the original Star Trek series that ran on NBC from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969.  79 episodes aired before it was cancelled.  Dedicated fans of Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and the rest of the crew made Star Trek so popular in syndication that Star Trek: The Animated Series was created in 1973.  The animated series ran for 22 episodes over two seasons.   

The fine folks at MeTV have posted 12 Fascinating Facts about Star Trek: The Animated Series.  Before you click over for the full story, here are my thoughts on three of my favorite facts…

Leonard Nimoy demanded that Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were cast.  (The budget for Star Trek: The  Animated Series, like most cartoon series of this era wasn’t huge. There wasn’t enough in the budget to bring back Walter Koenig who played Chekov.  Some members of the cast had to provide the voices for multiple characters.  Hats off to Leonard Nimoy for taking a stand to keep Nichols and Takei on board. – Craig)

It was the first Star Trek series to win an Emmy award. (This is surprising since most folks would figure that the original series would have won at least one Emmy along the way. – Craig)

Filmation originally wanted the series to be about adolescent Starfleet cadets. (I’m really glad that this idea didn’t win out.  Star Trek: The Animated Series provided more proof that the original series was still popular with fans and helped pave the way for the big budget Star Trek feature films with the original cast returning. – Craig)

The Top 10 All-Time Most Memorable Movie Songs (and One That Should Have Made the List)!

Jonathan Blaauw at Listverse recently posted his choices for the Top 10 Memorable Movie Songs.  His list is a good one.  I was happy to see that Eye of the Tiger by Survivor for Rocky III came in at the number one spot.  Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees for Saturday Night Fever came in at #9.  I would have put Stayin’ Alive in the top spot, but who am I to quibble.  The songs in Blaauw’s Top Ten were all excellent choices.

If I was making the list however, I would have found a place for Queen’s Who Wants to Live Forever from the movie  Highlander.  I think that Who Wants to Live Forever is not only a cool song, but perfectly fit the film.  There are many other songs that I also might have picked for my top ten but watch the video below and tell me if you don’t agree, Who Wants to Live Forever is one of the great movie songs of all time.