Fans of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery television series are going to be happy to hear about RodSerling’sNightGallery: TheArtofDarkness by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson. Every week Rod Serling would introduce each Night Gallery story by talking about a painting representing the tale to be presented. The book will be a treasure trove for fans…
The nearly 300-page book is brimming with hundreds of rare, behind-the-scenes photos and artwork. It documents each of the paintings, and traces the complicated (and often twisted) tale of how these iconic masterpieces slowly disappeared from view — only to find their way back, lovingly displayed in two gallery exhibits for appreciative connoisseurs 50 years later.
I saw the MGM 31 Day Movie Challenge and thought it would be fun to play along. Except for days that ask for a very specific movie I’m going to use favorite films that are great but less likely to be chosen. Here we go…
Day 1: Movie I’ve watched the most – Rocky. No surprise there. Also in the running would be some other Stallone films, Enter the Dragon with John Wick and World War Z offering some newer challenges to the throne of most watched.
Day 2: Movie that makes me cry – Saving Private Ryan. When old man Ryan asks if he is a good man.
Day 3: Movie that make me laugh – Steamboat Bill, Jr. Made over 90 years ago by the great Buster Keaton. It’s a silent film that still resonates.
Day 4: Movie with a number in the title – District B13 (2004). A little know action film with tons of parkour and fun.
Day 5: Movie with a teacher – Rope directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Two college men host a dinner party with their murder victim hidden in the same room. James Stewart plays their college professor.
Day 6: Movie from the 90s – Last of the Mohicans. I’ve been wanting to watch this again… now even more!
Day 7: Favorite musical – The Wizard of Oz! Musicals aren’t my favorite genre, but The Wizard of Oz is one of my all-time favorite movies.
Day 8: Movie from the 80s – Nighthawks. Sly Stallone is ahead of the curve with a buddy movie about terrorism in the United States. At the time a lot of folks thought and said, “That could never happen here.”
Day 9: Movie with a person’s name in the title – Rambo. Stallone returns to the character with one of the best films of the series.
Day 10: Movie that reminds you of your mom – Conan, the Barbarian. My wife and I took my mom to see it and she spent the last half of the movie in the lobby. She hated it.
Day 11: Movie with a color in the title – Black Rain. Another under-rated film.
Day 12: Your favorite Rom-Com – The Apartment. I’m not a huge Jack Lemmon or Shirley MacLaine fan, but they are perfect in The Apartment.
Day 13: Movie from the year I was born – Elevator to the Gallows. A man murders his boss who is also the husband of his mistress. Unexpected events lead the police to his trail…
Day 14: Your favorite horror flick – Night of the Living Dead. George Romero’s movie’s impact is felt to this day.
Day 15: A movie from the 70s – Enter the Dragon. The best Bruce Lee and martial arts movie of all-time. Pure perfection.
Day 16: Your favorite movie to quote: Rocky Balboa. “Life ain’t all sunshine and roses… It’s not how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can be hit and…”
Day 17: Movie from the 60’s – Requiem for a Heavyweight. One of the best boxing movies of all time. Written by Rod Serling, directed by Ralph Nelson and starring Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason and Mickey Rooney.
Day 18: Film based on a book – To Kill a Mockingbird. Classic book and classic movie.
Day 19: Favorite Action/Adventure movie: Since I’ve listed Enter the Dragon, Rocky and Rambo and because John Wick is an obvious choice, I’m going with The Adventures of Robin Hood directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn in his greatest role.
Day 20: Favorite comedy – The Great Race. I’ve come to love this movie more with every viewing! (Maybe I’m more of a Jack Lemmon fan than I knew.)
Day 21: First movie I saw in a theater – It may have been Goldfinger, Help! or Mary Poppins.
Day 22: Movie that stars my favorite actor or actress – Cop Land. Sly held his own with Deniro, Keitel and Liotta.
Day 23: Favorite cult classic – From Dusk Till Dawn. I love this film!
Day 24: Favorite film series – Rocky. No surprise there.
Day 25: Favorite remake – Dawn of the Dead directed by Zack Snyder.
Day 26: Favorite Holiday Movie – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. (Yeah, I love A Christmas Story, too.)
Day 27: Movie with the Best Soundtrack – Sharkey’s Machine directed and starring Burt Reynolds. More folks should give that soundtrack a play.
Day 28: Movie made by my Favorite Director – Paradise Alley directed by Sylvester Stallone. His first directorial effort and it is under-rated.
Day 29: Favorite Animated movie – The Incredibles.
Day 30: Favorite Childhood movie – The original Planet of the Apes!
Day 31: Movie that starts with the first letter of your name: Cabin in the Sky. Made in 1943 with an all black cast and it is amazing. One of my all-time favorites.
Jerry Stiller died today from natural causes. He was 92. Most folks know Jerry Stiller as the father of either Ben Stiller, George Costanza . Ben is, of course, Mr. Stiller’s real-life son and George was his son on Seinfeld. Others may recognize Jerry Stiller as Arthur Spooner, Carrie Heffernan’s dad on The King of Queens.
I first knew Jerry Stiller as one half of the comedy team Stiller and Meara. You’ve probably figured out that he made up the Stiller half of the duo, but did you know his wife, Ann Meara, made up the other 50%? I can’t tell you how many times I saw them turn up on The Ed Sullivan Show and other variety series. I enjoyed their humorous routines. It was (and still is) unusual to see a husband and wife comedy team. Especially one that lasts over 60 years.
Mr. Stiller’s resume contains 115 acting credits but it was his roles on Seinfeld and The King of Queens that I’ll remember best. Often Jerry Stiller got the biggest laughs and considering the talent involved that’s saying a lot. From all accounts Jerry Stiller was a humble, giving man and one that made everything he appeared in better.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.
When I was a little kid for most of the country The Jackie Gleason Show was must-see tv. As I got a little older I discovered, in reruns, The Honeymooners. Then in high school Jackie hit big again with his classic role as Sheriff Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit.
Gleason was also great dramatic actor (see The Hustler and Requiem for a Heavyweight if you don’t believe me) but comedy was where Gleason spent the majority of his career. Gleason was a true talent making it big on stage, television, radio and movies.
If you don’t know much about the man known as The Great One, check out 18 Fascinating Facts about Jackie Gleason presented by the fine folks at MeTV. Here are three of my favorite facts and my thoughts on each…
When you see him pat his stomach on The Honeymooners, it’s because he forgot a line. Well, perhaps it wasn’t 100% photographic. The sitcom was filmed live, so there were no do-overs.
(If you’ve never seen The Honeymooners you owe it to yourself to check it out. Classic comedy! – Craig)
His debut album still holds the record for most consecutive weeks in the Billboard top ten — a whopping 153. Gleason was a massive music star. In a way, he was a forerunner of ambient pioneer Brian Eno, in that he wished to craft records of what he called “musical wallpaper.” His easy listening instruments, especially Lonesome Echo, remain cult favorites. His first album, 1952’s Music for Lovers Only, spent a mind-boggling three years near the top ten. To put that in perspective, Thriller only managed 78.
(Who’d a thunk it? – Craig)
He believed in aliens. Gleason studied the paranormal and UFOs. It is rumored that President Nixon shared secret information about UFOs with the Hollywood star.
(Gleason told people that then President Nixon actually showed him a captured alien ship and alien corpse! – Craig)
Christopher Dale at Listverse presented his list of the Top 10 Funniest Movies Of All Time. While Dale picked some good comedies, my list would have looked a lot different. First, here’s Dale’s top ten and my rankings of his choices.
10. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
10. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) I’ve never seen the movie or the tv show…
and don’t have plans to. – Craig
9. Airplane! (1980)
9. Superbad (2007)
The other movie on the list I’ve never seen but may watch it at some point. – Craig
8. Caddyshack (1980)
8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
I saw this in a theater and was underwhelmed. I’m in the minority though. – Craig
7. The Naked Gun (1988)
7. Borat (2006) Borat had it’s funny moments. – Craig
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
6. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
It’s funny but not as funny as some of Farrell’s other movies that didn’t make the list. – Craig
5. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
5. Caddyshack (1980)
I saw Caddyshack in a theater and liked it a bunch. – Craig
4. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
4. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
So funny… more so if you like the 60era Bond! – Craig
3. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
3. The Naked Gun (1988) The Naked Gun is truly funny – especially the Umpire scenes. – Craig
2. Borat (2006)
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
A Christmas classic that never fails to entertain. – Craig
1. Superbad (2007)
1. Airplane! (1980)
I saw this in a crowded theater and the experience was one of my favorites. Watching it at home without a crowd and it is just not as funny. – Craig
Movies I would have included but didn’t make the cut… Stepbrothers; Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Great Race, Arsenic and Old Lace; Dr. Strangelove; The Princess Bride; Richard Pryor Live....
To this day it’s hard for me to believe that anyone would greenlight a TV comedy about a World War II prisoner of war camp. But that’s exactly what happened. Hogan’s Heroes ran for 168 episodes, premiering in September 1965 and airing the last original episode in April 1971. Hogan’s Heroes is the longest running American TV series inspired by World War II. Who would’ve thunk it?
The actors playing the four main German roles were Jewish. Klemperer (Klink), Banner (Schultz), Leon Askin (Burkhalter) and Howard Caine (Hochstetter) were Jewish, and all but the latter had fled the Nazis during WWII. Additionally, Robert Clary, who played the cooking French corporal, LeBeau, had been interned at a concentration camp. Klemperer stated at the time, “I am an actor. If I can play Richard III, I can play a Nazi.” The actor insisted that Hogan always won out over his captors.
(I remember at the time there was a bit of controversy from World War II vets, and some who had been in POW camps, as well as those who felt nothing about WW2 was funny. – Craig)
The set was blown up during the making of Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. What an ignominious fate. Hogan’s Heroes was filmed on Desilu Productions’ RKO Forty Acres backlot. In the making of the trashy 1974 exploitation film Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, the set was destroyed for the final scene. Hogan’s producers were okay with it, as it saved the cost of having the set demolished.
(What a way to go! – Craig)
The show used the tagline If you liked World War II, you’ll love Hogan’s Heroes! The tagline was sarcastically suggested by comedian and author Stan Freberg in an interview with Bob Crane in The Sunday Times, on September 15, 1965. “Shall we say, ‘If you liked World War II…you’ll love Hogan’s Heroes?'” Freberg dryly asks. “No, let’s not say that, no,” Crane responds. Nevertheless, it became the tagline.
(I wonder if in this age of political correctness, would Hogan’s Heroes ever make it to production? – Craig)
When I was a kid growing up in Indiana, I looked forward to staying up late each weekend and watching a horror movie. They were hosted by Sammy Terry. It was something most of my friends did and it was always cool either watching with them or knowing they were watching too.
These days you don’t have to stay up late (unless you call 8 – 10pm late) and you can still catch a weekly horror movie. These monster films are hosted by Svengoolie. A lot of folks watching post comments on Twitter and it’s almost like watching with friends when I was a kid. You might want to give it a try if this sounds like fun.
Each week, Bernie Gonzalez, the creator, artist and writer of Midnight Mystery (highly recommended) posts foreign movie posters for the film Svengoolie runs. This week he posted the cool French poster for The Horror of Dracula. Gonzalez’s posts are just another good reason to join in the fun!
Screenplay: Sean O’Keefe & Brian Helgeland based on characters created by Robert B. Parker and the novel by Ace Atkins
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Marc Maron, Donald Cerrone and Post Malone.
The Pitch: “Let’s turn Ace Akins’ Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novel into a movie!”
Tagline: The Law Has Limits. They Don’t.
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
If you’re not a fan of Robert B. Parker and Ace Atkins Spenser characters there’s an outside chance you may like Spenser Confidential. If you are a fan of the books, my guess is that you’ll hate this movie. That’s because not a single character goes unchanged to something fundamentally different from the novels.
Spenser goes from an intelligent, wisecracking ex-cop to a less than stellar (IQ-wise) ex-con who aspires to be a trucker. In the novels, Susan is a Harvard-educated, calm, supporting soul mate to Spenser. In the movie she becomes a foul-mouthed, crazy girlfriend that Spenser works to avoid until he needs sex or help with the “case”. In the novels Hawk starts out as a respected rival who works on the fringes of the law and ultimately becomes Spenser’s best friend (outside of Susan). In the movie Hawk is a big, nerdy, untrained lug who dreams of being a MMA Champion who is forced to be Spenser’s roommate.
Peter Berg is usually a director that makes fun movies. Not here. Brian Helgeland wrote the screenplays for LA Confidential, Payback, Mystic River, and Man on Fire. Spenser Confidential isn’t in the same ballpark… not even the same continent.
You may be thinking that if I wasn’t such a big fan of Parker and Atkins’ Spenser novels I would have liked Spenser Confidential better. Perhaps I would have liked it a bit more… but not much.
Above is a pretty rare video of Lyle Waggoner & Peter Deyell and Adam West & Burt Ward in screen tests for the original Batman TV series. While Waggoner looked more like Bruce Wayne, West was the right choice.
Here are two posters and a trailer for Arkansas. I like both posters – love the Arkansas logo with the skull – and the clever tag line “Kyle and Swin are working their way to the top… but the top has other plans.” The trailer shows how quirky Arkansas will be. The question is will it be too quirky?