Author: Craig Zablo

RIP: Suzanne Pleshette

Suzanne Pleshette, best known for her role as Bob Newhart’s wife, Emily Hartley, on “The Bob Newhart Show” passed away yesterday at the age of 70 from respiratory failure.

The first time I remember seeing Suzanne Pleshette on screen was in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” She played Rod Taylor’s ex-flame, Annie Taylor [who to me was more appealing than his new love interest, Tippi Hendren]. I know I saw her in other things [since she turned up in a lot of guest star roles], but my next memory is of her co-starring with James Garner in “Support Your Local Gunfighter.” Not long after that came the classic role on Newhart.

Suzanne Pleshette was pretty, fun-loving and brought a sparkle to the roles she played. She will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and fans.

RIP: Allan Melvin

I just discovered via Mark Evanier’s site that Allan Melvin passed away last Thursday. While you may not know his name, I’ll bet you’ll know his face. Melvin was probably best known as “Sam the Butcher” from the Brady Bunch, but there was a time when Melvin was, as Mark Evanier states, “in everything.”
Melvin appeared repeatedly on “The Phil Silvers Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Andy Griffith Show” [my favorite Melvin guest roles], “Gomer Pyle,” “Lost in Space,” “All in the Family” and so many more shows. He made every show he was on just a little bit better just by being there.Mr. Melvin was 84 years old and is survived by his wife, his daughter, his grandson and many fans. My thoughts and prayers go out to them all.

UFC 80

B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson headline UFC 80 today live from Newcastle, England. Although there are, of course, other fights on the card, the main event is the only one that I am really interested in. My guess is that Penn will win, but given the right odds I would swing over to Stevenson [ya gotta love an underdog].

Maybe It’s the Poster

Unfortunately these days it’s rare that a movie uses actual artwork to attract viewers. Perhaps that’s why I have an interest in “Hellride.”

Then again maybe it’s because it’s about a biker gang out to avenge the murder of one of their own. Maybe it’s because it’s got a mix of horror thrown in. Or maybe it’s because it stars Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones and Dennis Hopper and is “presented by” Quentin Tarantino.

Then again, it could be simply because I like the poster.

Sketch Society

My buddy, John Beatty started up Sketch Society a while back. Sketch Society is a group of artists [amateur and professional] who would get together for informal sketching sessions. Although not an artist, I would go just to hang out and shoot the breeze [and occasionally live blog]. The meetings were irregularly scheduled but always a blast.

This year John has decided to have regularly scheduled meetings with the same informal “let’s get together to shoot the breeze, sketch, laugh and have a good time” atmosphere. The first is scheduled for January 26th. You can read more about the whole shebang HERE. Hope to see you there!

Doomsday: Drive-In Appropriate

The trailer for “Doomsday” makes it look like a riff on “Escape From New York” and I loved “Escape From New York.” I don’t think that I’ll love “Doomsday.” It’s more like one of the movies that I’d go to see at the drive-in where it would be playing with a couple of other movies. Many times none of ’em would be well worth seeing except as part of a triple bill.

Man, I miss those days.

Marx Best of the West

Boy, did the tv commercial below bring back some great memories. When I was a kid growing up in the 60’s, I loved my action figures. My favorites were General Custer, Johnny West and Chief Cherokee all from Marx’s Best of the West Series. Hard to believe how many hours I spent playing with them… and my guess is kids today would enjoy them if we could pry them away from their video games.


 

RIP: Maila "Vampira" Nurmi

Maila Nurmi, better known as Vampira, passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Although few would recognize Ms. Nurmi’s name, almost everyone knows her “Vampira” character.
Maila Nurmi was born in Finland, but moved to the US with her family while still in her teens. Maila dreamed of stardom on the silver screen and headed for HollywoodAlthough romantically linked to Marlon Brando, Orson Welles and even James Dean, it was a masquerade ball in 1954 that led to her pop culture iconic status. Maila attended dressed as Mortica Addams [from Charles Addams New Yorker cartoons which later became the basis for the popular Addams Family tv series]. Maila won the contest by beating out nearly 2,000 other contestants.
Maila made such an impact that several months later she was offered the role as host of KABC’s late Saturday night horror movies. With a few costume modifications and new name, Vampira was born! Maila and the show were an instant hit and provided the framework for all of the horror hosts that would follow. Vampira was profiled in Life and Newsweek [within a month of each other] and Maila began guesting on nationally syndicated shows. She was even nominated as the “Most Outstanding Female Personality of 1954” by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.Judging by her impact on popular culture, you’d probably think that Vampira’s horror host role lasted years, immediately led to movies, comics, and more — but you’d be wrong. Despite the show being a smash hit,.it lasted just over a year. Some say that Maila was difficult to work with, while others say that the FCC and network blackballed her due to her on-air comments and double entendres.

Maila did make appearances in a few movies after her tv show was cancelled; most notably Ed Wood’s infamous “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” Maila left show business in the early 60’s, but her spirit lived on through the antics of dozens of other horror hosts such as Zacherley, Sammy Terry, and even Elvira [who was later unsuccessfully sued by Maila]. With the growth of the goth movement, the “popularity” of “Plan 9” and Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood” film, Maila enjoyed renewed popularity in her later years.

It appears that Maila died leaving behind no family members. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and many fans.

Iron Man!

This very cool shot of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark on his way to becoming Iron Man is showing up all over the net. But you’ll have to go HERE to some really cool shots of the first Iron Man suit that Stark makes while held captive.