Category: History

“Attica” – The Trailer is Here!

The Attica prison riot/takeover lasted for 4 days beginning on September 9, 1971.  Over 1,000 of the 2,000 prisoners rioted and took over the prison.  When the siege ended 43 people were dead (10 correctional officers and 33 inmates).  I was 12 years old at the time and remember being shocked at how long the takeover lasted.  I’d be interested in seeing this Attica documentary.

Attica details the five-day prison rebellion that transpired in the fall of 1971 in upstate New York and still stands as the largest and deadliest the country has ever witnessed. More than a simple recounting of the five days of rebellion, ATTICA will also offer a broader understanding of the Attica tragedy in the crosscurrents of politics, race, power and punishment during the early 1970s. Through expert voices and archival images of urban and suburban life, the film explores the tensions between a young, radicalized population of mostly Black and Latino inmates, and correctional officers from a predominately white company town, where the Attica prison was the primary employer for generations of families. ATTICA examines inmates’ demands for recognition of their humanity at the culmination of a moment where racial justice activists embraced prisoner rights as an extension of their fight for civil rights. Premieres November 6 only on SHOWTIME.

Bram “Dracula” Stoker – Facts You May Not Know!

Almost everyone knows that Bram Stoker wrote one of the pillars of horror fiction, Dracula.  Brigit Katz at Mental Floss dug deeper and came up with 11 Enlightening Facts About Bram Stoker.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites with my thoughts on each…

IT TOOK BRAM STOKER SEVEN YEARS TO WRITE DRACULA. (What’s interesting is he liked to say the story came to him in a dream after “a too-generous helping of dressed crab at supper.”  I’ll admit his version is more fun than the reality of seven years of writing, research and rewriting. – Craig)

DRACULA WAS ALMOST NAMED “COUNT WAMPYR.” (Count Wampyr!  C’mon, man, you know that sounds wimpy compared to Count Dracula.  Plus “DRACULA in Wallachian language means DEVIL.”  Thankfully Stoker changed his mind and went with Dracula! – Craig)

BRAM STOKER SENT FAN MAIL TO WALT WHITMAN. (Whitman responded and the two authors actually did meet three different times.  I love it when I learn trivia like this.  It makes both men seem more down to earth. – Craig)

“Fauci” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster and trailer for Fauci are here.  The poster is about what you’d expect — a straightforward ad for the movie.  The trailer makes me want to see and learn more about the man who has advised Presidents for decades.

Crafted around unprecedented access to Dr. Fauci, National Geographic Documentary Films’ FAUCI is a revealing portrait of the nation’s top infectious disease expert and one of our most dedicated public servants. The film will debut in select theaters on September 10.

“Live at Mister Kelly’s” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like both the poster and trailer for Live at Mister Kelly’s.  Plus it has a great tag line: The World’s Biggest Stage was a Small Nightclub in Chicago.  I look forward to this documentary.  Save me a seat.

The iconic Mister Kelly’s, once called a “supernova in the local and national night life firmament,” illuminated legendary Chicago’s Rush Street, and the entire country, by launching talent like Barbra Streisand, Richard Pryor, Bob Newhart, Bette Midler and Steve Martin. Its visionary owners George and Oscar Marienthal smashed color and gender barriers to put unknown, controversial voices on stage and transform entertainment, as America knew it in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ’70s.

Now, with the club long gone, and its star talent reaching its golden years, George’s son David and director/screenwriter, Theodore Bogosian, go on a quest to collect the memories of the clubs before they are lost. Celebrity interviews now include Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers, Dick Gregory, Lainie Kazan, Herbie Hancock, Dick Cavett, Tim Reid, Fred Willard and Ramsey Lewis.

The film will portray through interviews, live footage, photos, music, and song, the most beloved and famous talent of our time at the decisive moments when they showed up, dug deep, and broke in. How do you change the world with a laugh and a song? Find out in a film that documents the rise and fall of one of American entertainment’s great proving grounds.

“Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan” – The Trailer is Here!

I’ll say it again, Netflix comes up with interesting documentaries.  I hope that Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan is as good as the trailer below.  Deal me in.

Have you ever seen someone change personalities right in front of your eyes? Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan is only on Netflix September 22.

“Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Netflix comes up with interesting documentaries and Blood Brothers looks to be another good one.  Deal me in.

Blood Brothers tells the extraordinary and ultimately tragic story of the friendship between two of the most iconic figures of the 20th century: Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, and Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam’s – and black America’s – most incendiary and charismatic leader.

This was the unlikeliest of friendships – the brash Olympic Champion who spoke in verse to the amusement of the white press and the ex-con intellectual-turned-revolutionary who railed against the evils of white oppression and dismissed sports as a triviality. But their bond was deep, their friendship real.

“Untold” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster for Untold is okay, but the trailer makes me want to learn the rest of the stories.  Deal me in.

From the creators of WILD WILD COUNTRY, comes a five-part sports docuseries event that brings fresh eyes to some of the greatest stories in sports. From tennis to boxing to basketball, these stories aren’t the ones you’ve heard before, even if you think you have.

J. Edgar Hoover – Some Surprising Facts You May Not Know!

J. Edgar Hoover is an interesting character.  The fact that he was the head of the FBI and able to stay in office for decades, that even President’s feared him, and that he had “the goods” on anyone who was anyone has always intrigued me.  He wasn’t a good guy and there are many rumors that surround his personal life. 

Scott Beggs touches on many of these things and more in 20 Surprising Facts About J. Edgar Hoover.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

.J. EDGAR HOOVER DIDN’T HAVE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE UNTIL HE WAS 43.  (This was the same year his mother died and there is speculation “that Hoover, who persecuted Black civil rights leaders, had a secret African-American heritage.” Wouldn’t that be something?  I wonder if the rumors are true. – Craig)

RICHARD NIXON WAS AFRAID OF J. EDGAR HOOVER.  (Hoover apparently had “dirt” on every President and they were afraid to fire him.  It is especially telling that “Richard Nixon, thought Hoover might ‘bring down the temple’ if he were sacked.”  We have learned over the years the indiscretions of many of our Presidents but Hoover had the goods at the time. – Craig)

J. EDGAR HOOVER HAD WHAT WAS POSSIBLY THE WORLD’S LARGEST COLLECTION OF PORNOGRAPHY. (Reportedly it contained photos of celebrities and politicians. The craziest rumor about it: That it contained nude pictures of Eleanor Roosevelt given to him by W.C. Fields!?  Really??  Also, why would he keep the collection — perhaps for his own enjoyment or more likely to have something on these folks should he ever need to it. – Craig)

“9/11: One Day in America” – The Trailer is Here!

Below we have the trailer for 9/11: One Day in America.  I plan to watch the mini-series.

9/11.  If you’re old enough you know exactly where you were when you learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.  Seeing images brings back memories of that terrible day.  Yet in the days that followed I never felt our country come together more.  It is sad that it sometimes takes a tragedy to bring us together.  

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the six-part limited series 9/11: One Day in America will premiere August 29 at 9/8c National Geographic

“The One and Only Dick Gregory” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like both the poster and trailer to The One and Only Dick Gregory.  I don’t have Showtime, but am interested in seeing this documentary at some point.  I know very little about Dick Gregory, other than he was an activist.  The clips of his standup comedy were funny and he appears to have been for the betterment of all.  We need more of that..

In writer-director Andre Gaines’ THE ONE AND ONLY DICK GREGORY, extraordinary archival footage and new interviews put a spotlight on this icon’s journey from influential comedian to on-the-ground activist — which is discussed by modern legends including Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, and Wanda Sykes, along with commentary from Harry Belafonte, W. Kamau Bell, Lawrence O’Donnell, Gregory’s wife Lillian Gregory, Medgar Evers’ wife Dr. Myrlie Evers-Williams, and others. Most essential is Dick Gregory himself, whose insights before he died in 2017 provide a crucial through line to what Gregory gave voice to during the Civil Rights era — and which continue to be vital today. Watch the premiere on Sunday, July 4 at 9/8c on SHOWTIME.

The History of the Hollywood Movie Poster & Six Legends Who Made Them Video!

If you’re interested in the history of movie posters, movie poster design and some of the legends in the field, then this video is for you.  If you’re not interested in history of posters but want to jump in to learn about Hollywood movie posters, then skip ahead to the 4 minute mark.  If you’re here for the movie poster legends (Bill Gold, Saul Bass, Bob Peak, Richard Amsel, Drew Struzan and John Alvin) then fast-forward to 11:23.

The Movie Poster has been around since the beginning of the Movies – in this course we will explore the earliest history of poster making and Lithography, the monopoly of Hollywood movie poster production by the National Screen Service and look at the artwork of influential artists working the field of poster design.

Thanks to Papa Stas for the heads-up.

Burger Chef: Reasons We Miss You!

If you’re old enough to remember Burger Chef restaurants, you probably miss them.  I used to be surprised at how much love the fast food joints had built up with those that ate there.  The first Burger Chef opened in 1954 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  By their peak year in 1973, there were over 1,000 locations throughout the US and Canada.  Less than 15 years later the last Burger Chef closed.  

The fine folks at MeTV posted 10 Reasons We Really Miss Burger Chef Restaurants.  Before you click over, here are thoughts on three of my favorites…

The Works Bar.  Burger Chef was the first to come up with the idea of a works bar.  It contained all the items you could want for your sandwich – lettuce, pickles, onion, tomato, as well as condiments.  This allowed customers to customize to perfection.  We had customers who would come in, order a sandwich and drink then would go to the works bar and make a salad using the items for sandwiches.  

Star Wars Posters.  Burger Chef was ahead of the other fast food joints when they began including Star Wars posters with the purchase of a meal.  If you don’t know my Mike Kott/Burger Chef/Star Wars posters story, it’s worth a click over.

The Big Shef (and Fun Meals).  The Big Shef was Burger Chef’s signature sandwich.  It was basically a Big Mac without sesame seeds, pickles, onions or special sauce (Thousand Island dressing).  What was their true claim to fame were Fun Meals. geared towards kids. Each Funmeal came with a sandwich, small fries, small drink and a toy! Five years later McDonalds started serving Happy Meals using the same concept.

I worked at Burger Chef for a couple of years while in college.  Those were fun times.  Yeah, I miss Burger Chef restaurants.  

Al Capone: Interesting Trivia You May Not Know!

Sean Hutchinson at Mental Floss recently posted 17 Facts About Al Capone.  You know the drill, before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

AL CAPONE GOT THE NICKNAME SCARFACE FROM A BARROOM FRACAS. (It’s not surprising to note that Capone hated the nickname Scarface.  Even more interesting is that he preferred friends to call him Snorky.  Somehow Snorky doesn’t seem as threatening as Scarface, and you can be sure if Capone was around and he wanted to be called Snorky, Snorky it would be. – Craig)

AL CAPONE’S “CHICAGO OUTFIT” MADE A LOT OF MONEY.  (Reportedly Capone’s outfit made $100 million in 1920.  Today the equivalent would be $13,352,700,000.00.  That’s 13 Billion plus dollars!  Wowzers! – Craig)

AL CAPONE RAN A SOUP KITCHEN DURING THE DEPRESSION.  (You’d think that this showed that Capone had a good heart.  Remember this was the same guy who beat to death three men with a baseball bat after serving them dinner, and the same guy who killed or had killed many, many people.  The soup kitchen was done to win public good will for his upcoming trial! – Craig)

“An Unknown Compelling Force: The True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster and trailer for An Unknown Compelling Force are here. 

The Dyatlov Pass Incident really happened.  In 1959, 9 experienced Russian hikers were found dead, inadequately dressed for the snowy, freezing mountain temperatures.  Investigation revealed that they had cut their way out of the tent and fled their camp site.  From their remains, it was determined that six died from hypothermia, while three met strange, violent deaths.  Two had major damage to their skulls, two had severe chest trauma, two bodies were missing their eyes, one of the bodies had its tongue removed, one was missing its eyebrows.  The initial investigation determined that a “compelling natural force” was the cause of the hikers’ deaths.  Speculation grew that there had been a coverup… that it was a Yeti, or aliens, a Russian government experiment or, well, you get the idea.

I like the poster and the trailer isn’t bad either.  I’m familiar with the The Dyatlov Pass Incident and what really happened, but I just may give An Unknown Compelling Force a view to see if I can learn more.

The truth of Russia’s greatest unsolved mystery, the Dyatlov Pass Incident, is uncovered in this compelling documentary. Available June 15th. Order Now:

In 1959 a group of nine student hikers were attempting a difficult winter expedition in the remote Ural Mountains of Russia, when a mysterious event lead to their horrific deaths, shocking the nation.

The Soviet Government and fellow students uncovered the grizzly remains of the hikers. Found a mile from their shredded tent, the hikers seemingly fled into the freezing temperatures without their winter clothes or boots. Adding to the mystery, many of their bodies had suffered brutal and inexplicable injuries, and some even showed traces of radiation.

The investigators at the time closed the case, stating that the hikers died from “An Unknown Compelling Force.” For more than 60 years the story has been shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories, suggesting everything from UFOs and murder to a Soviet Government cover-up.

This documentary features interviews with Russian investigators, a former Moscow Times journalist, and friends of the hikers. Adding new perspective to the case, the film also interviews U.S. experts including a former FBI Agent, to finally reveal the stunning truth of The Dyatlov Pass Incident.

DIRECTED BY Liam Le Guillou
FEATURING Liam Le Guillou, Svetlana Oss, Yuri Kuntsevich, Oleg Demyanenko, Natalia Sakharova & Mick Fennerty

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? by Eric Powell and Harold Schechter is Coming!

It seems that everyone has heard of Charles Manson, The Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, The BTK Killer, and other infamous psychos.  Not as many folks have heard of Ed Gein.  Gein is a true life wacko who inspired Psycho (the book and film), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and even The Silence of the Lambs (book and film).  Eric Powell is teaming with Harold Schechter to tell Ed Gein’s story.  Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

One of the greats in the field of true crime literature, Harold Schechter (Deviant, The Serial Killer Files, Hell’s Princess), teams with five-time Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist Eric Powell (The Goon, Big Man Plans, Hillbilly) to bring you the tale of one of the most notoriously deranged serial killers in American history, Ed Gein.

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? is an in-depth exploration of the Gein family and what led to the creation of the necrophile who haunted the dreams of 1950s America and inspired such films as Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Silence of the Lambs.

Painstakingly researched and illustrated, Schechter and Powell’s true crime graphic novel takes the Gein story out of the realms of exploitation and gives the reader a fact-based dramatization of these tragic, psychotic and heartbreaking events. Because, in this case, the truth needs no embellishment to be horrifying.

If this sounds like something you’d like, you can use this link to pre-order Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?

Here’s an interview with Eric Powell on the killer behind the monster in DID YOU HEAR WHAT EDDIE GEIN DONE?