Category: Celebs

RIP: Charles Grodin

Charles Grodin, the multitalented actor and author, died today at the age of 86 from bone cancer.  Mr. Grodin, whose acting career spanned over 60 years worked in feature films, television and on Broadway. 

His first role was an uncredited part in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  He then transitioned to television making guest appearances until his role in the feature film Rosemary’s Baby.  For the rest of his career Charles Grodin alternated between feature films, television movies and tv series.  Along the way, Mr. Grodin wrote plays, books, hosted his own talk show and was a political commentator for 60 Minutes.

Before researching Charles Grodin’s acting resume, I would have said that the first time I saw him was in Rosemary’s Baby.  I would have been wrong.  Prior to that film, Mr. Grodin had made appearances on television programs for well over a decade.  I must have seen him in The F.B.I., Captain Nice, or The Guns of Will Sonnet first. 

My favorite Charles Grodin movie role was in Midnight Run with Robert DeNiro.  I’m surprised there never was a sequel since Midnight Run was so well received by critics and fans.  Other memorable Charles Grodin movie appearances included roles in King Kong, Heaven Can Wait, Seems Like Old Times, and Beethoven

Charles Grodin was able to stay active over the length of his acting career (on stage and screen), had the talent to write plays, memoirs, screenplays, an award-winning television special as well as host his own show — all of this is evidence of his many talents. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Charles Grodin’s family, friends and fans.     

“The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” – the Poster and Trailer are Here!

The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 – the Poster and Trailer are Here!  I applaud the poster.  Finally, real artwork and not just photoshopped heads of the movie’s stars.  The trailer has a good mix of humor with a horror theme plus a little blaxploitation thrown in.  Call me crazy, but call me when this movie premieres.  I want to see it.


“Nighthawks” Overseas Poster

Here’s a cool International poster for Nighthawks starring Sylvester Stallone, Rutger Hauer. and Billy Dee Williams.  Lindsay Wagner, Persis Khambatta and Joe Spinell also are featured.  Nighthawks was Rutger Hauer’s first US film.

If you haven’t seen Nighthawks you should consider giving it a view, it is more than worth your time.  You’ll find Nighthawks was ahead of the curve in regard to terrorism on US soil (I remember some folks saying it would never happen here) and buddy cop movies.  Click on the photo to see a bigger version of the poster.

Poster Source: Brian Stooss.

“The Big Heat” – Dave Bannion by Patrick Zircher!!

One of my favorite movies (it gets my highest recommendation) is The Big Heat.  Released the year I was born  (1958), The Big Heat was directed by Fritz Lang and starred Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby and Lee Marvin. 

I probably watch The Big Heat at least once a year.  TCM was showing it the other night.  I was checking out Twitter when the drawing above came into view.  Yes!  Patrick Zircher aka Patch must have been watching!  How cool is Patch’s take on Glenn Ford as  Dave Bannion?  Too cool not to share! 

Patch is pretty active on Twitter.  His posts are thoughtful and his art is wonderful.  Often we get both in a single helping.   

Boris Karloff – Trivia That You Might Enjoy!

Mark Mancini at Mental Floss came up with 13 Facts About Boris Karloff and they’re worth a look.  Before you click over, here are my three favorite…

BORIS KARLOFF WAS IN THE ORIGINAL SCARFACE.  (When we think of Karloff, we think of horror movies, but he played in all types of movies.  It is strange seeing him show up in Scarface though. – Craig)

VAL LEWTON’S HORROR MOVIES WERE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR BORIS KARLOFF.  (Karloff loved acting and felt that the roles that Lewton provided allowed his to showcase his talents.  I like that Karloff gave credit to Lewton for the opportunities. – Craig)

BORIS KARLOFF POKED FUN AT HIS OWN CAREER IN THE HIT PLAY ARSENIC & OLD LACE. (I love this bit of trivia. Karloff played the role on Broadway, but due to his lack of experience had to be convinced. I’ll let Mark Mancini take it from there —

“You have just murdered a man,” (Producer) Crouse said (to Karloff), setting the scene. “[And] when questioned about it, you say ‘I killed him because he said I looked like Boris Karloff.’” Karloff loved the idea of ribbing himself on stage and took the part.

I love that Boris Karloff had a sense of humor. Can you imagine the audience’s reaction when he said that line? It’s too bad that Boris Karloff was unable to play the role when Arsenic and Old Lace was turned into a feature film (no discredit to Raymond Massey intended).

The All-Time Best Sitcoms!

Alan Sepinwall, Maria Fontoura, David Fear and Rob Sheffield at The Rolling Stone took on the monumental task of Ranking the 100 All-Time Best SitcomsKen Levine (who’s written for shows that made the list) explains why creating this ranking is a fool’s errand.  While I agree with Ken, I’m fool enough to play along. 

Of the top 100 on their list, I’ve seen less than half.  41 to be exact.  Since we’re just going to compare their top 10 to mine, that won’t be an issue since I’ve seen all of their top choices regularly except for two.  So without further fanfare, here are Rolling Stone’s All-Time Best Sitcoms compared to mine.

Rolling Stone Craig
10. Larry Sanders Show (HBO, 1992-1998) 10. Andy Griffith Show (CBS, 1960-1968): Episodes featuring Barney are among the best sitcom episodes ever.
9. Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2009-2015) 9. Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970-1977): was must-see tv.
8. Honeymooners (CBS, 1955-1956) 8. Modern Family (ABC, 2009-2020): Started as a fun watch and then became must-see.
7. Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS, 1970-1977) 7. Frasier (NBC, 1993-2004): I’m one of the folks that prefer Frasier to Cheers.
6. M*A*S*H (CBS, 1972-1983) 6. Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2007-2019): I came to this one late, but then caught up.  BBT became must-see for us.
5.  All in the Family (CBS, 1971-1979) 5. Sanford and Son (NBC, 1972-1977): S&S is often compared to All in the Family, but I think that S&S holds it’s own against AitF (and is better when comparing the later seasons of each)
4. I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-1957) 4. Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS, 1996-2005): I didn’t start watching ELR until near the end of the run.  It grew on me and I’ve now seen every episode at least once.
3.  Seinfeld (NBC, 1989-1998) 3. I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-1957): Every episode until they move to the country is classic.
2. Cheers (NBC, 1982-1993) 2. Seinfeld (NBC, 1989-1998): was required viewing since everyone discussed the latest episode the day after it aired.  Holds up under multiple viewings. 
1. Simpsons (Fox, 1989-Present) 1. Honeymooners (CBS, 1955-1956): Simple format, perfectly cast and still funny over half a century later.

I was surprised that Two and a Half Men didn’t make the All-Time Greatest list. The years featuring Charlie Sheen would have made mine. It just didn’t work for me once he was gone. Jon Cryer was still funny but, for me, the magic left with Charlie. (And while we’re on the topic of Jon Cryer — wouldn’t he have made a great Barney Fife??)

“Death in Texas” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Death in Texas hits my sweet spot.  The poster ain’t bad, but that trailer pulled me in.  Ronnie Gene Blevins, Lara Flynn Boyle, Bruce Dern and Stephen Lang and  look to deliver the goods.  Deal me in for this crime flick.

Billy Walker is finally let out of prison after serving a seven-year sentence for manslaughter, only to find out that the only person who stuck by him during the entire ordeal, his mother, is now dying of liver failure. After visiting her doctor, Billy learns that he must break a few more laws in order to get his mother to the top of the transplant list in order to save her life.

Starring: Ronnie Gene Blevins, Lara Flynn Boyle, Bruce Dern, Stephen Lang
Director: Scott Windhauser

“The Protege” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Wow!  The Protege has a lot going for it.  The poster works (I didn’t see the Maggie Q image the first couple of looks at it), and the trailer makes me want to see more., Martin Campbell knows how to direct action and the three leads, Michael Keaton, Maggie Q. and Samuel L. Jackson put butts in seats.  I think The Protege is going to be a winner.

On a side note, I like Michael Keaton better as a bad guy and why don’t we see Maggie Q. in more stuff?

Rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody (Samuel L. Jackson) and trained in the family business, Anna (Maggie Q) is the world’s most skilled contract killer. But when Moody – the man who was like a father to her and taught her everything she needs to know about trust and survival – is brutally killed, Anna vows revenge. As she becomes entangled with an enigmatic killer (Michael Keaton) whose attraction to her goes way beyond cat and mouse, their confrontation turns deadly and the loose ends of a life spent killing will weave themselves even tighter.

Directed by Martin Campbell and written by Richard Wenk, the film is produced by Arthur Sarkissian, Moshe Diamant, Rob Van Norden, Yariv Lerner, and Chris Milburn.

Lionsgate and Millennium Media present, a Millennium Media / Fourteen Films / I Road production, in association with Campbell Grobman Films / Ingenious Media.

RIP: Norman Lloyd

Norman Lloyd, actor, director and producer with a career that spanned over 70 years, died yesterday in his sleep at the age of 106.  

Mr, Lloyd began his career as a spy in Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur.  He acted in Charlie Chaplin’s classic Limelight.  Throughout his career Norman Lloyd alternated between acting in feature films and television, directing and producing.

In addition to Saboteur and Limelight, some of my other favorite Norman Lloyd roles could be found on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, St. Elsewhere, and Wiseguy.  In addition Mr. Lloyd could be found acting in Night Gallery, Audrey Rose, Kojak, Dead Poets Society, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Modern Family just to give you an idea of the range he played.  What a career.  What a life!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Norman Lloyd’s family, friends and fans.  

Ranking the Films of Stanley Kubrick

Robert Vaux at decided to look at the Rotten Tomatoes ranking of every film by Stanley Kubrick.  I enjoy this kind of thing and decided to see how I would rank Kubrick’s films..  Here’s how the rankings compare.

Rotten Tomatoes


13. Fear And Desire

*** Fear And Desire

*** Lolita

*** Barry Lyndon

I haven’t seen the above films so my rating will be for my top 10 Kubrick films.

12. Eyes Wide Shut

11. Killer’s Kiss

10. The Shining

10. 2001: A Space Odyssey: I’ve watched this several times over the decades, but it is just not for me.

9. A Clockwork Orange

9. Eyes Wide Shut: I didn’t care for it. I plan to give it another shot some day to see if my opinion changes.

8. Lolita

8. Killer’s Kiss: I liked it. Another viewing might even move it higher on my Kubrick list.

7. Barry Lyndon

7. Paths Of Glory: I liked Paths of Glory, but not as much as most folks. Perhaps a new viewing will give me a new opinion.

6. Full Metal Jacket

6. The Shining: I think the, uh, shine has come off this one over the years. I still like it although it is more Kubrick than King.

5. 2001: A Space Odyssey

5. A Clockwork Orange: Such a strange film. I look forward to seeing it again since it has been a while.

4. Spartacus

4. Full Metal Jacket: One of my favorite war films.

3. Paths Of Glory

3. Spartacus: Perhaps the greatest epic of them all!

2. The Killing

2. The Killing: If you like crime/noir, The Killing is for you (and me, too).

1. Dr. Strangelove

1. Dr. Strangelove: I love Dr. Strangelove. The perfect mix of humor and drama.

The Monkees: Behind the Music and Farewell Tour Coming!

I was the perfect age to enjoy The Monkees.  They already had a #1 single (Last Train to Clarksville) when their series premiered in September 1966.  I was a month away from turning 8.  The Monkees were instant stars.  In 1967, The Monkees sold more records than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.  

Little did fans know that behind the scenes there was turmoil.  The Monkees had some of the best song writers (Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, Carole King to name a few) and studio musicians (Glen Campbell!) playing on their songs, but The Monkees weren’t allowed creative control or even allowed to play instruments for their records.  They were told what to sing, and when to sing.  Of course this didn’t sit well with them.  Tensions grew after The Monkees went on a sold out tour where they did sing and play their own instruments.  

Despite a popular television show, a feature film, and three number one albums in a row things were about to come off the rails.

The Monkees: Behind the Music is an extremely well done short documentary that looks at the rise and fall of The Monkees.  It’s interesting to note the number of comebacks the group has made over the years with different combinations of Davy, Mickey, Mike and Peter… as well as one outing with Davy, Mickey and song writers Boyce & Hart (who wrote some of the Monkees’ biggest hits).

The Monkees (Mickey and Mike, Davy died in 2012, and Peter passed in 2019) are doing a farewell tour that starts in September 2021, runs for over 30 performances and concludes on November 14th.  I just might have to see them live.  I know that would thrill the 7 year old in me.



RIP: Tawny Kitaen

Tawny Kitaen, the model and actress, died yesterday at the age of 59.  No cause of death has been released.

Born Julie Kitaen, she began using the nickname Tawny while still in junior high.  Kitaen, who was dating Ratt band member Robbin Crosby while she was still in high school, appeared on Ratt’s first two album covers.  In 1984, she earned a part in the Tom Hanks’ comedy, Bachelor Party.  In 1987, Kitaen rocketed to fame after appearing in three Whitesnake music videos.

Tawny Kitaen’s career spanned 36 years with 45 acting credits.  She was a regular on The New WKRP in Cincinnati which ran for 2 seasons.  Other notable roles included characters on Seinfeld, Married with Children, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.  

Tawny Kitaen’s private life got as much press as her professional career.  In 1989, she married Whitesnake lead singer,  David Coverdale.  They divorced in 1991.  She had an affair with O.J. Simpson while he was married to Nicole Brown Simpson.  In 1997, she married professional baseball player, Chuck Finley.  They had two daughters during their five year marriage which ended in 2002.

I’ll always remember Tawny Kitaen from her appearances in the Whitesnake videos.  I was teaching junior high at the time and 9 out of 10 boys had pictures of her on their notebooks and in their lockers.  According to Marty Callner, who directed the famous Whitesnake videos:  “She (Tawny Kitaen) had so much magic, so much charisma, so sexy, so sweet, I loved her immediately, and I knew, and was right that she would be not only the first, but the ultimate video vixen.”  Who can argue with that?

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tawny Kitaen’s family, friends and fans.