RIP: Elliot Silverstein

Elliot Silverstein died on November 24, 2023.  Mr. Silverstein was 96.

Mr. Silverstein’s career began in 1955 when he directed eleven episodes of the tv series Omnibus.  For the next forty years Elliott Silverstein directed television projects and feature films. When Mr. Silverstein retired from directing he taught film at the University of Southern California.

Mr. Silverstein was nominated for a Directors Guild Award in 1965 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Cat Ballou. In 1985, he won the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America.  In 1990, the Directors Guild named him a DGA Honorary Life Member Award.

Some of Elliot Silverstein’s television projects include:  Omnibus (11 episodes); The United States Steel Hour (2 episodes); Suspicion (2 episodes); Alcoa Theater (2 episodes); The Westerner; Route 66 (5 episodes); Have Gun – Will Travel; Naked City (8 episodes); Dr. Kildare (14 episodes); Channing (2 episodes); Breaking Point (2 episodes); The Twilight Zone (4 episodes); The Doctors and The Nurses (4 episodes); The Defenders (4 episodes); Kraft Suspense Theater (3 episodes) and Tales from the Crypt (4 episodes).

Some of Elliot Silverstein’s feature films include: Cat Ballou; The Happening; A Man Called Horse and The Car.

I’m not sure the first time I saw something directed by Elliot Silverstein since he directed several shows I watched when I was young.  My favorite project directed by Mr. Silverstein is The Obsolete Man episode of The Twilight Zone.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Elliot Silverstein’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Jean Knight

Jean Knight, born Jean Caliste, November 22, 2023, of natural causes.  Ms. Knight was 80.

Jean Caliste began singing professionally after she graduated high school.  In 1965, Ms. Caliste was signed to Jet Star/Tribe records.  At that point she changed her professional name to Jean Knight.  With Jet Star./Tribe she released four singles.  Although she attracted local attention, the records never took off nationally.  Jean Knight began working as a baker to make ends meet.

In 1970, songwriter Ralph Williams and record producer Wardell Quezergue heard some of Jean Knight’s songs.  They brought her in to Malaco Studios for a recording session where she recorded Mr. Big Stuff.  The song was shopped to several record companies.  It was rejected by everyone.  Then in 1971, King Floyd’s hit Groove Me went to #1 on the R&B charts. It was recorded at Malaco Studios.  At that point the producer at Stax records remembered another song recorded at Malaco Studios.  That song was Mr. Big Stuff,

When Mr. Big Stuff was released it shot to the top of the charts.  It went to #2 on the pop charts and #1 on the R&B charts.  It sold over two-million copies and was awarded gold and platinum status.  The song was also nominated for a Grammy award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female.  Although Ms. Knight never had another major hit, she continued touring for years.

Mr. Big Stuff is one of those songs that everyone knows the words to.  Years after it was popular, I gave my best friend the nickname Big Stuff.  It gradually morphed into Big Time.  He’s sometimes still called that today when friends from our group get together.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jean Knight’s family, friends and fans.

“The Accountant” (2016) starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal & John Lithgow / Z-View

The Accountant (2016)

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Screenplay by: Bill Dubuque

Starring: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, John Lithgow, Alison Wright, Jason Davis, Robert C. Treveiler, Seth Lee, Ron Prather and Jean Smart.

Tagline: Calculate your choices.

The Story:

Christian Wolff (Affleck), a mathematics savant, was diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum as a child.  His father, a military vet, forced Christian to deal with the things that triggered him.  Dad also provided martial arts and weapons training for Christian and his brother.

Now an adult, Wolff uses his math talents as an accountant to criminal enterprises.  He operates out of a small office that is a front.  Wolff also owns several businesses used to launder money.  Wolff is hired by Lamar Blackburn (Lithgow), the billionaire owner of Living Robotics, to check his books.  What Wolff discovers puts in motion a chain of events that result in several murders.  At the same time Wolff is dealing with this, he learns that the Treasury Department has been investigating him and are about to close in.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers) 

Ben Affleck is excellent as Christian Wolff.  He is supported by an amazing cast.  Standouts include Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow.  Kudos to the always excellent Jon Bernthal, who owns every scene he’s in.

The Accountant features a cool twist that I didn’t see coming.

I’d love for Affleck and Bernthal to return in a sequel.

RIP: Marty Krofft

Marty Krofft died yesterday at the age of 86, the result of kidney failure.

Marty Krofft was born on April 9, 1937 in Montréal, Québec, Canada.  Marty’s older brother, Sid, was a famous puppeteer.  Sid worked in vaudeville, as a featured player in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and toured with a one-man puppet show.  In the mid-1950s, Marty joined Sid.  They began touring as well as making television appearances with their puppets.  

Marty and Sid became even more famous when they designed characters and sets for the Saturday morning television series H.R. Pufnstuf.  For the remainder of their careers, Marty and Sid would produce series, specials and movies for television.  

Some of the projects produced by Marty and Sid Krofft include: H.R. Pufnstuf (17 episodes); Pufnstuf (feature film); The Bugaloos (17 epsides); Lidsville (17 episodes); The Brady Bunch Meets ABC’s Saturday Superstars; The World of Sid & Marty Krofft at the Hollywood Bowl; The NBC Saturday Morning Review; Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (29 episodes); Far Out Space Nuts (15 episodes); The Lost Saucer (16 episodes); ABC’s Saturday Sneak Peak; Land of the Lost (43 episodes); Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (16 episodes); Dr. Shrinker (16 episodes); Donny & Marie (37 episodes); The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (9 episodes); Wonderbug (22 episodes); Magic Mongo (16 episodes); The Krofft Supershow (32 episodes); The Bay City Rollers Meet the Saturday Superstars; Bobby Vinton’s Rock ‘n Rollers; The Bay City Rollers Show (13 episodes); Bigfoot and Wildboy (20 episodes); Pink Lady (6 episodes); Middle Age Crazy (feature film); Oral Roberts Celebration; Harry Tracy: The Last of the Wild Bunch (feature film); Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters (35 episodes); The CBS Saturday Morning Preview Special; Saturday’s the Place; Pryor’s Place (13 episodes); All Star Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular; The Patti LaBelle Show; D.C. Follies (45 episodes); Krofft Late Night; Land of the Lost (9 episodes); Toby Terrier and His Video Pals (8 episodes); Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (2001); Family Affair (2002 – 16 episodes); Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (2016 – 8 episodes); Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (2016 – 7 episodes); Mutt & Stuff (74 episodes); The Bugaloos (2017) and Mondays with Marty (7 episodes).

Marty Krofft’s award nominations and wins include:

  • 1985: Nominee – Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Series for Pryor’s Place
  • 2003: Winner – Lifetime Achievement Award from Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  • 2016: Nominee – Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series for Mutt & Stuff
  • 2017: Nominee – Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series for Mutt & Stuff
  • 2018: Winner – Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement
  • 2020 Winner – Star on the Walk of Fame (Television)

I was at the top end of the right age for H.R. Pufnstuf.  I can remember my youngest sister getting my mom to tell me to stop calling her Witcheepoo.  Looking at Marty Krofft’s resume shows an impressive body of work.  Marty and Sid Krofft were called the Kings of Saturday Morning Television, but as you can see they were much more than that. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Marty Krofft’s family, friends and fans.

Two Vintage INTERVIEW Interviews with Sly Stallone!

As I was going through the Zablo vault I came across the October 1994 issue of Interview magazine.  The photo header is NOT that cover.  Instead the picture above is of the September 1985 issue of Interview.  Let me explain.

As I was going through the vault, I found my copy of the October ’94 issue.  In it there is a new (for that time) interview with Sly Stallone.  But instead of a new photo, they reprinted the cover of the September ’85 issue. Well, as it turns out, you can read that interview here.  (By the way, I love the cover art of Sly,)

Getting back to the Interview October 1994 issue.  Below is that interview. Click on the photos to see a larger version, Enjoy! – Craig
PS – The thing that really struck me about the interview below is the question about Sly always having a sense of mortality.  Even then Sly new that time was our greatest currency.

“The Eagle” (2011) starring Channing Tatum & Jamie Bell / Z-View

The Eagle (2011)

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Screenplay by: Jeremy Brock based on THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH by Rosemary Sutcliff

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Paul Ritter and Julian Lewis Jones.

Tagline: The destiny of a soldier. The honour of a slave. The fate of an empire.

The Story:

The year is 140 AD.  Marcus Aquila (Tatum) has grown up in the shadow of his father, the Commander of the Ninth.  Twenty years ago, his father and the Centurions he led disappeared.  Also missing was the golden eagle – the standard they carried into battle.  Rumors persist that his Marcus’ father died a coward.  Some say he was a terrible leader and blame him for the loss of the golden eagle.

Marcus, in his first command at a remote Roman garrison, proves himself.  His decisive actions turn the tide of the battle and save the fort from being wiped out.  Sadly, Marcus sustains an injury that prevents him from continuing his career as a soldier.  While recuperating, Marcus hears a rumor that the golden eagle has been seen deep in the wilderness held by Pict warriors.

Still not fully recovered, Marcus and his slave, Esca (Bell) travel deep into territory held by warrior tribes hostile to Rome.  There Marcus will learn the truth about his father and the loss of the golden eagle.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers) 

The Eagle starts off like Gladiator and ends like a buddy movie.  If you compare the battle scenes to the last shot of the film, they are like two completely different movies.

Donald Sutherland seems so out of place in this film.  I have a hard time seeing him, looking like he always looks in modern movies, as a character in 140 AD.

I love the depiction of the Pict warriors.  I think the chase and battle scenes are the best parts of the film.

Ray-Anthony Height Gets Carter (with an interesting story)

Today we have Sly Stallone as Jack Carter by Ray-Anthony Height.  It’s my third piece from Ray-Anthony and it has an interesting story.

My buddy, John Higashi was at a convention.  He saw this piece on display at Ray-Anthony’s table.  John told RAH that he had a buddy, Craig Zablo, who collected Stallone sketches.  RAH said that the art was originally for Craig, but that it got lost.  So he refunded Craig the money.  RAH later found the sketch and decided to see if it would sell at the convention.

And it did.

I’ve darkened the piece a bit for display here.

Rare Arnold Schwarzenegger Photos – “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” – Interview Magazine, June 1991

The photo above comes from the Zablo vault.  It’s a centerspread from the June 1991 Interview magazine.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is featured on the cover and an interview.  This was prior to the release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  Here’s an interesting exchange…

Interview: You’ve got a sequel coming to The Terminator, a film that did a lot of things for you.
Arnold: Pumping Iron was a good vehicle for me.  Conan the Barbarian was a good vehicle for me.  But, Terminator, which came three years after that, was a great vehicle.  It took me from the Conan-like parts that were being offered to me because of my body – which of course I understood, because that was my big asset then – and created good box office.  And that sent a whole new signal to the community.

Interview: This time there’s another terminator who’s badder than you.  Was it a concerted decision not to have you play the film’s villain this time?
Arnold: We talked about me playing the good guy and the bad guy – two terminators with two different missions.  Both look alike, but when they were taken off the rack they were programmed differently and then sent to the past.  We played around with the idea, but the more we talked about it, the more, I think Jim [James Cameron, the director of both Terminator films] felt the new terminator should be a streamlined-looking character.  It should look the opposite of me.  Very lean.

It’s interesting to read Arnold’s thoughts prior to the success of Terminator 2.  What do you think?  Would T2 worked as well with Arnold playing both parts?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

“Monster on the Campus” (1958) / Z-View

Monster on the Campus (1958)

Director: Jack Arnold

Screenplay by: David Duncan

Starring: Arthur Franz, Joanna Moore, Joanna Moore, Troy Donahue, Phil Harvey, Helen Westcott, Helen Westcott, Whit Bissell, Ross Elliott, and Eddie Parker.

Tagline: Co-ed beauty captive of man-monster! Campus terror! Students victims of terror-beast!

The Story:

Professor Donald Blake (Franz) accidently cuts himself on the teeth of a well-preserved million-year-old fish fossil. Right after, while putting the fossil away, his injured hand dips into the water holding the specimen.  Later Blake learns the fossil had been preserved using gamma rays.

That evening a woman is savagely attacked.  Her corpse is found hanging from a tree.  Professor Blake is found barely conscious on the ground nearby.  He has no memory of what happened.  When the police find a huge deformed handprint they believe it to be the killer’s.  While the police begin a hunt for the monster, Professor Blake worries that he is devolving into a creature from the past.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

At the start of the movie on a shelf in Professor Blake’s lab is a series of molds showing the evolution of man’s face.  The very first mold looks a lot like The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Jack Arnold, who directed Monster On the Campus, also helmed The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Jack Arnold was the go-to director for horror/sci-fi movies in the 1950s.  He helmed It Came from Outer Space; The Creature from the Black Lagoon; Revenge of the Creature; This Island Earth; Tarantula; The Incredible Shrinking Man; The Space Children and Monster on the Campus.

Monster on the Campus was Troy Donahue’s last film for Universal.  The following year he signed a contract at Warner Bros. and soon became a top name star.

“GyeongSeong Creature” – The Poster and Two Trailers are Here!

I wasn’t aware of GyeongSeong Creature until just now when I saw the poster and two trailers.  Sounds and looks like it could be a winner.  Since GyeongSeong Creature is going to be on Netflix, checking it out will be a no-brainer.  Deal me in.

Spring of 1945
All suspicions led to a hospital in Gyeongseong where there were humans and creatures.
Gyeongseong Creature Part 1 | December 22, only on Netflix


Neal Adams’ Bruce Lee / “Enter the Dragon” Art for Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #17

José Villarrubia recently posted this cover saying that he wasn’t a fan of the subject matter, but the Neal Adams painting was one of his favorites.  I’m on board with Villarrubia’s assessment of Adams’ art.  I am/was the perfect demographic for the subject matter.  Bruce Lee is a legend.  Enter the Dragon remains one of my all-time favorite films.

Thanks José Villarrubia for a post that took me back to my childhood.

“Chrome and Hot Leather” (1971) starring William Smith / Z-View

Chrome and Hot Leather (1971)

Director: Lee Frost

Screenplay by: Michael Haynes & David Neibel and Don Tait from a story by Michael Haynes & David Neibel

Starring: William Smith, Tony Young, Michael Haynes, Peter Brown, Michael Stearns, Larry Bishop, Kathrine Baumann, Wes Bishop, Herb Jeffries, Bobby Pickett, Cheryl Ladd (aka Cherie Moor), Robert Ridgely, Erik Estrada, Dan Haggerty  and Marvin Gaye.

Tagline: A terrifying look at Motor Cycle Savagery – from the same studio that made “Born Losers”

The Story:

When a US Special Forces sergeant learns that his fiancé was killed by the member of a motorcycle gang, he recruits three of his service buddies to track down the murderer.  Four Viet Nam vets against an entire motorcycle gang?  Yeah, that sounds about right.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

William Smith and Peter Brown co-starred in the television series Laredo before working on this film.

Chrome and Hot Leather features some interesting cast member trivia…

  • Cheryl Ladd made her feature film debut billed as Cherie Moor.
  • Marvin Gaye, best known as a multi-Grammy award-winning singer, made his feature film debut as well.
  • Bobby Pickett, best known as the writer/singer of the classic The Monster Mash appears.
  • Herb Jeffries, a popular jazz singer and actor in films made for African-American audiences in the 1930s/1940s, shows up.
  • Erik Estrada can be seen in an uncredited role in only his second feature film.
  • Dan Haggerty also has an uncredited role.  He plays a bearded member of the biker gang.

Chrome and Hot Leather (1971) was made to cash in on the biker craze of the era.  It’s a low-budget drive-in film.  William Smith was built for biker films.  If he was a bit younger, he’d have been an action movie star of the 80s.  Still playing Conan’s dad is quite a notch on your resume.

“Day Zero” (2022) starring Brandon Vera / Z-View

Day Zero (2022)

Director: Joey De Guzman

Screenplay by: Ays De Guzman

Starring: Brandon Vera, Pepe Herrera, Mary Jean Lastimosa.

Tagline: When the dead rise, humanity falls.

The Story:

As a zombie virus spreads like wildfire, Emon (Vera) fights to get home to his wife and child.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Brandon Vera is a former MMA fighter.  He has the potential to become a better known action star.

Day Zero is low budget zombie film.  It also had potential.  Pepe Herrera was Vera’s comic relief sidekick.  Thankfully, the comedy wasn’t over the top.  As Vera and Herrera fought their way to save Vera’s family the action became to repetitive.  I taped out after 43 minutes.