Category: Celebs

RIP: Peter S. Davis

Peter S. Davis, best known as the producer of the Highlander movie, television and video game franchise died on February 21st.  Mr. Davis was 79.

Peter S. Davis was CEO and President of Davis-Panzer Productions (DPP) and Davis Merchandising.  He was a former lawyer on Wall Street as well as an  entrepreneur who owned several business’ outside of movie-making.  Davis began his Hollywood career in 1976 as an Executive Producer of The Death Collector which featured Joe Pesci in a co-starring role.  Davis followed that up as Executive Producer of the movie Stunts starring Robert Forester and Ray Sharkey.  Peter Davis was producer of Sam Peckinpah’s last film (The Osterman Weekend) as well as one of Brad Pitt’s first films (Cutting Class), but it is the Highlander series where Davis made his biggest and best contribution.

Davis pushed to get Highlander to the big screen.  He is also credited for getting Sean Connery in the co-starring role that gave the film gravitas.  The success of Highlander created a franchise that included a sequel, an animated series, a television series, tv movies and video games.

The original Highlander film is one of my all-time favorite films.  Everything from the screenplay to the acting, direction and soundtrack/score came together.  Although I wasn’t a fan of the sequel and didn’t get into the other Highlander ventures, I am such a fan of the original Highlander film, if that was the only contribution that Peter S. Davis made in his career, it would be worth noting here.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Peter S. Davis’ family, friends and fans.

“The Penthouse” Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like both the poster and trailer for The Penthouse.  Michael Pare and Nicholas Turturro may have a winner.  This looks like a pretty good film.

This dark, gripping thriller shows that evil lurks where we least expect it. In sunny Carolina Beach, Peter and Amanda’s new penthouse condo has a perfect view of the marina. One day they notice a couple bickering aboard a docked sailboat. Amanda befriends frightened Tess, but soon afterwards Tess vanishes without a trace. After Peter confronts her boyfriend Charles (Michael Paré, GONE), Charles vows to make the nosy couple’s life a living hell, stopping at nothing until he gets revenge.

Winston Churchill – The Things I Just Learned

I don’t know as much about Winston Churchill as I’d like.  Sure, I know he was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, but aside from a few quotes and broad strokes about his life, I don’t know much else.  That’s why I found Carla Delgado’s 7 Fascinating Facts About Winston Churchill at Mental Floss very interesting.  Before you click over, here are my three favorites and my thoughts on each.

THE ABBREVIATION “OMG” WAS FIRST USED IN A LETTER TO WINSTON CHURCHILL.  I don’t know why I find this piece of trivia so appealing.  I guess because it is so random.  I wonder what possessed John Fisher to use the abbreviation. How did Churchill know what the letters stood for? (Context, I guess.) And why did it take so many decades for the abbreviation to catch on?  OMG – so many questions.

WINSTON CHURCHILL LIVED WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS.  Churchill suffered from “long periods of despair and lethargy” which some have diagnosed as bi-polar disorder.  I’m surprised at the high percentage of “great” people from history who had to overcome things that cripple others.  I guess that is part of what makes them great.

WINSTON CHURCHILL WAS AN HONORARY AMERICAN.  I didn’t know that Churchill’s mother was American and that he was granted honorary citizenship.  I like that fact a lot.  We can always use more good Americans.  ; )

Marlon Brando in “Rambo III” – The Offer was Made!

Here’s something you don’t see everyday.  It’s a letter that along with a copy of the Rambo III script sent to Marlon Brando from Mario Kassar back in 1987 in an effort to get Brando to play Russian Colonel Zaysen! 

While it would have been interesting to see Sly playing against Brando, I think it would have created a much different film. 

The letter and script sent to Brando is currently for sale with an asking price of $1,500.00 from CFMemorabilia

Sybil Danning / Paul Gulacy / Bill Black and Me

The Black Diamond comics shown above each feature a cover drawn by Paul Gulacy.  A fan of the series and actress Sybil Danning recently posted the covers on Twitter with this response…

I responded to his Tweet with, “Funny story – I was Bill Black’s connection for both Paul Gulacy & Sybil Danning!”

I thought I had told that story here before but a search of the site indicates I didn’t… until now.  Let me take you back to 1980…

It’s about 10 at night and I’m watching tv.  The phone rings and I answer.  The voice on the other end asks to speak to “Mr. ZAB-blow.”  Dead giveaway that he doesn’t know me since he mispronounces my name. (For the record it sounds like ZAY-BLOW.)  I think he’s a nervy sales guy and am ready to hang up when he says, he got my name from a Bill Black publication that listed me as an editor.  The guy wants to get in touch with Bill Black.

Little does this guy know, my editing amounted to either putting Bill in touch with artists or copies of convention sketches.  My biggest contribution in this area was that I introduced Bill to Paul Gulacy.  Paul was my favorite artist, we talked fairly regularly and I had commissioned a few pieces from Paul.  Bill wanted to get Paul to do some art for him.

Ah, but back to the Sybil Danning phone call.

The guy says that he couldn’t find any phone number for Bill, but he was able to locate mine.  I tell the guy, that I can’t give out Bill’s number but would be glad to take a message for him.  The guy proceeds to tell me he is Sybil Danning’s manager.  He asks if I know who she is.  I do.  He says that they want to do a comic with Sybil as the main character.  They want Bill to publish it.  I take his number and tell the guy I’ll pass Bill the info.  We hang up and I go back to watching whatever I was watching.

I’m pretty sure it was the next day that I reached out to Bill to let him know that I had received a call from a guy saying he was Sybil Danning’s manager and they wanted to do a comic with him.  If you know Bill, you know how enthusiastic he gets.  Bill begins rapid fire asking questions, “When did he call – do I have his number – why didn’t I call him last night to tell him – etc.”  I explain to Bill it was late, I don’t know if the guy is on the level, etc.

Needless to say, Bill was able to contact Danning’s manager and the rest is history.

The Jaffee Project!

Here’s a cool opportunity to make someone who probably brought you at least a smile or two over the years very happy.  Al Jaffee, award-winning cartoonist, inventor of Mad Magazine’s beloved fold-in page as well as Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, turns 100 on March 13th.  Sam Vivano, former MAD Art Director and friend of Al’s is putting together a surprise to help Al celebrate…

…(T)he legendary Al Jaffee will celebrate his 100th birthday on March 13. You are invited to send him greetings at the post office box shown in the graphic (above).

Please be sure to put your full name and address on the envelope. This will help me keep track of everything that comes in.

The box is active for the next six months, so don’t worry if you think your greeting won’t arrive by the 13th. I’m sure Al will be happy to continue celebrating his birthday even after it’s passed!

Although the project will run even after Al’s birthday, it would be cool to have Al’s party flooded with messages from fans around the world on his birthday.  Please consider sending in a card.

Sources:

Steranko’s Nick Fury (in Living Color) and Two Suggestions!

Check out this way cool Steranko Nick Fury art!  Someone should put together a sketchbook of Steranko’s Nick Fury drawings.  Not his Marvel Nick Fury stories, since that’s been done, but a nice sketchbook of Steranko’s Nick Fury art.  Trust me on this one.

Also, I’m still campaigning for a Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD series set in the 1960s.  One of you Hollywood types should get on this!

If you’d like to see a bigger version of the art above (and who wouldn’t?), click over to I Can’t Stop Thinking About Comics.

“The Seventh Day” Starring Guy Pearce is Here!

I’m a Guy Pearce fan and his latest is The Seventh Day.  The trailer is below.  This will be a view on streaming for me.

There has been a drastic increase in possessions across the country. Father Peter (#GuyPearce​) a renowned exorcist is serving the church by overseeing trainee priests while they take the last step in their on-the-job training – identifying possession and learning the rites of exorcism. Father Daniel Garcia is Father Peter’s latest trainee. As the priests plunge deeper into hell on earth, the lines between good and evil blur, and their own demons emerge. #TheSeventhDay​

RIP: Leon Spinks

Leon Spinks, Olympic Gold medal boxer and former Heavyweight Boxing Champ of the World, died yesterday at age 67 from prostrate cancer.

Leon Spinks won three consecutive national AAU light heavyweight boxing championships.  He was a light heavyweight bronze medalist in the 1974 World Championships, a light heavyweight silver medalist in the 1975 Pan Am games, and a light heavyweight gold medalist in the 1976 Olympics.

Spinks was best known for his upset victory of Mohammad Ali which catapulted him in the national spotlight.  Spinks got the opportunity to face Ali after just 8 professional fights.  Ali was looking at Spinks as a tune-up for a tougher rematch against Ken Norton.  Spinks was a relatively inexperienced pro who had fought most of his career as a light-heavyweight.  Surprisingly, Spinks out-boxed Ali over the course of 15 rounds and won a split-decision victory!

The boxing commission wanted Spinks to next face Ken Norton who was the number 1 contender for the title.  Spinks refused, instead opting to give Ali a rematch.  Spinks was striped of the title.  Ali came to the rematch in shape (no longer under-estimating Spinks) and easily won.  Spinks continued fighting in both the heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions,  In 1981, Spinks fought Larry Holmes for the Heavyweight Championship, losing by TKO in the 3rd.

I remember watching the first Spinks/Ali fight and being surprised at Leon’s performance.  As the fight wore on it became clear that history was being made.  I also was impressed that Spinks was willing to give up the title to give Ali a chance to avenge the loss.  He said he wanted to return the opportunity that Ali had given him.

Leon Spinks won three consecutive national AAU light heavyweight championships.  He was a light heavyweight bronze medalist in the 1974 World Championships, a light heavyweight silver medalist in the 1975 Pan Am games, and a light heavyweight gold medalist in the 1976 Olympics.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Leon Spinks’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: Mike Henry

Mike Henry, best known for his roles as Tarzan in three feature films and Sheriff Bufford T. Justice’s son in three Smokey and the Bandit movies has died.  Henry died at age 84 on January 8th, from chronic traumatic encephalopathy after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Henry was a standout linebacker at USC and went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1958 – 1961) and the Los Angeles Rams (1962 – 1964).  Henry had played a few minor roles prior to his retirement from football and in 1966 he got the lead as Tarzan in three feature films.  

After playing Tarzan, Henry alternated between guest spots on television and co-starring roles in feature films.  Mike Henry appeared in an episode of Burt Reynold’s series, Dan August and also had a role in Reynold’s feature film, The Longest Yard.  Henry also appeared twice in Charlton Heston films (Soylent Green and Skyjacked) and twice in John Wayne movies (The Green Berets and Rio Lobo).  Most fans may know Henry best as Jackie Gleason’s sidekick in three Smokey and the Bandit films where Henry played Sheriff Bufford T. Justice’s dimwit son, Junior Justice.

I first saw Henry in his Tarzan trilogy which was a new take on the King of the Jungle.  Now Tarzan was an educated, almost James Bond type character.  It was a shocking change, but one that was interesting.  Henry definitely had the physique to play Tarzan.  After the three films, Henry was offered the chance to play Tarzan in the television series that was being developed, but he declined.

In 1988, Henry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and he retired from acting.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Henry’s family, friends and fans.

 

The “Cosmic Sin” Poster & Trailer Starring Frank Grillo and Bruce Willis!

What do you think about the poster and trailer for Cosmic Sin starring Frank Grillo and Bruce Willis?

I like the poster okay, but Willis’ suit looks a bit wonky with the placement of his “belt”.  The trailer is okay as well.  I was a bit surprised that Grillo got top billing since it looks like Willis is in the film for more than a cameo.  I’ll watch once Cosmic Sin comes to a streaming service I get.

RIP: Hal Holbrook

It has been confirmed that Hal Holbrook, award-winning actor, director and author died on January 23, 2021 at the age of 95.  Holbrook is best known for his one man show portraying Mark Twain which he began in the 1950s and continued well into this century.  In 1966, Holbrook’s portrayal of Twain won him the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.

In addition to his stage work, Holbrook could often be found adding class to television and movie roles.  Holbrook was a 5 time Primetime Emmy Award winner.  Holbrook’s IMDb resume includes 136 acting credits.  Some of my favorite Hal Holbrook roles were in Magnum Force, All the President’s Men, Capricorn One, The West Wing, Lincoln, and Sons of Anarchy.  Whenever Hal Holbrook appeared on the screen the tv show or movie got at least a little bit better.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Hal Holbrook’s family, friends and fans.

Stephen King’s New Novel BILLY SUMMERS is Coming!

Stephen King has a new book coming out on August 3rd.  Billy Summers is described as “…a thrilling new novel about a good guy in a bad job.”

Tell me more.

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He’s a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This spectacular can’t-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

You won’t put this story down, and you won’t forget Billy.

Entertainment Weekly has an excerpt if you’d like to know more.  As for me, I’m in.