Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Another memorable element of this movie is the soundtrack. The movie featured the song Five Hundred Miles sung by The Kingston Trio. It's a haunting folk song that was popularized by The Longest Hundred Miles.
Yo Brook - do you have this in your DVD collection?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
But I digress - Now if I did take a lunch to school it was in a brown paper bag. It just wasn't the same. Sure, I could draw Batman & Robin on the bag, but that didn't make it cool. Nothing like the look and feel of full color superheros stamped into tin. It was the Batman & Robin lunchbox that was the lunchbox to have if you were a boy (or a cool girl). Now I wasn't completely without Batman stuff. I did have a cool Batman & Robin coloring book based on the popular television show of that day. I remember Dad offering to have a Batman costume made for me but I lost interest quick when he insisted on having the name Batboy sewn onto the chest of the outfit. We were both quite insistent and I lost out on being my favorite cape crusader. The idea never got off the drawing board. I didn't want to be BatB-O-Y!!!! I'M BATMAN!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
This song will be familiar to all you babyboomers out there. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy released this song to all public schools throughout America as an exercize inititive.
Robert Preston (of The Music Man fame) is the fellow that performed the song.
I remember us kids gathering at R.A. Mitchell Elementary School - gathering in the back area of the lunch room (an area in front of the stage) and the P.E. teacher would lead us all in exercising to the song Go You Chicken Fat, Go!
The P.E. teacher would get us all in a circle and then drop the needle on the old 45. The old institutional looking player was positioned at the edge of the stage and the static riddled song blarred across the entire lunchroom. It was a daily thing and it's what we did every school morning.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So Polaroid is no more! That's all folks! Remember when it was the new technology. All one had to do was aim and shoot and out popped a picture? It's the end of an era and quit frankly - it's about time.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I didn't read many of his comic books when I was a kid, so the old televison show starring George Reeves was my first image of Superman. Superman was just as big a hit then as he is now.
In this commercial - Clark Kent is hawking his television show's sponsor - Kelloggs brand Frosted Flakes. I think the commercials are kind of creepy because ol' Clark is using his super powers to sell cereal. I know that capitalism is part of "the American Way" - but does it also encompass going around neighborhoods peeping in on people? I don't think so!
Friday, July 18, 2008
Ever been asked the question Disney or Warner Brothers? I have always been a fan of WB. WB to me is the best. Disney made wonderful movies and humorous short cartoons but Warner Brothers owned the shorts. Chuck Jones and his crew made cartoons that were funny on so many different levels. Their cartoons offered something for grown-ups as well as for kids. Back in the day - I heard tell that the big stars of the silver screen would drop by the animation studio to peak into the window to see what was going on.
Through out the sixties, I used to wake up every Saturday morning and head straight for the old Zenith. I loved the Bugs Bunny Show and still do.
By the way, Gina for some reason is wild about my PePe Le Pew imitation. I don't think she's caught on to the fact that I am impersonating that romantic cartoon skunk. Don't tell her my secret - it drives her crazy. "Ah my little skunk that does not stink!"
Thursday, July 17, 2008
There was an attempt to revive the cartoon in the late eighties. Eight shows were made and only five aired. This last reincarnation was produced and directed by John Kricfalusi, who later created Ren & Stimpy.
I once saw an interview with Harpo Marx's son (Marx Brother's fame) who said that his dad, Harpo, didn't watch much television but loved to watch Beany & Cecil. The episodes were filled with slapstick and puns. I can see where Harpo got a kick from that particular show.
Another tidbit of information. Joel Hodgson said that Beany & Cecil was an inspiration for his show Mystery Science Theatre 3000. You may recall that Beany & Cecil Show had a character named Crowy....MST 3000 had a character named Crow. Perhaps Joel was paying homage to B&C.
Here's an image of the outside of Bob Clampett's business card. Pretty cool huh? Upon opening, there are various illustrations of his cartoon characters. Bob was a cartoon pioneer that was involved in a lot of the early Warner Brother's cartoons. If you have the time - go check out some of the Beany & Cecil cartoons posted at YouTube. It might bring back some old memories for some of you older Babyboomers out there.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
All artists are influenced by other artists. John Sturges turned Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai into the westernThe Magnificent Seven(1954). The inspired Sergio Leone picked up the torch and remade Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961) into Fistful of Dollars (1964). Everyone seemed to be influenced by Kurosawa’s great work but Akira Kurosawa once stated that his primary influence was none other that the American filmmaker John Ford.
Yojimbo was a revision of a detective short story Red Harvest written by renowned noir author Dashiell Hammett (Hammett as your recall was the writer that originally sculpted the classic Maltese Falcon). Seeing these different treatments to Hammett’s original Red Harvest never gets old. Kurosawa, Leone, and recently Walter Hill (Last Man Standing 1996) took the same storyline into different settings, genres, and centuries - each making their own retelling of Hammet's idea unique.
My favorite telling is Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars. I see the artfulness in Yojimbo but Fistful of Dollars was the movie that transformed the western genre. Fistful of Dollars, though not the first spaghetti western ever made, Leone was the one that put the Italian-made western on the map. His imprint has been on almost every western film made ever since.
Another reason Leone is my favorite is because it was the first time I experienced the storyline. I vividly remember my older brother re-enacting the entire movie scene by scene for me as I sat on the back porch one Summer’s evening. Who was this man with no name? The scenes and dialogue that Brook acted out were different from any kind of western I had previously seen. Why was Brook so excited? I wanted to see this western but wasn’t old enough to go at the time. I could go see John Wayne, but I had to wait for this violent western. It wasn’t until the last installment of The Man With No Name trilogy that I was finally allowed to watch what I had heard so much about. My anticipation wasn’t misspent. I was not disappointed that evening at the Rebel Drive-In. Brook was right - this was a new kind of western - a different kind of hero.
Neither Yojimbo or Last Man Standing have a soundtrack like that of Fistful of Dollars. Ennio Morricone orchestrated an incredible audio landscape to all of Sergio Leone’s work. The Dollar Trilogy were full of visual and sound textures that made these Leone’s movies stand out from the rest.Like John Ford made John Wayne – Sergio Leone made Clint Eastwood. Sergio made Eastwood into an international movie star. Henry Fonda was Leone’s first choice for the roll of The Man With No Name but Fonda was too expensive. Then there was James Coburn and later Charles Bronson. But it was that television sidekick that reached out for the narrow cheroot.
Though Clint Eastwood has evolved into a great director himself - he has never been better than the unnamed role he played in the Leone films. To think that the only reason Eastwood originally accepted the part of The Man With No Name was his interest in a free trip to Italy. Clint borrowed a poncho from the prop department of Rawhide, took up smoking, and made his way out West –via Italy.
ennio morricone - a fist full of dollars
Thursday, July 10, 2008
When I was in Junior High School, I used to have to watch these drug scare films. They were outdated even for our day. We never got anything new and hip - just old and hippie.
The trips these hippies went on were pretty psychedelic and FUNKY MAN! I wonder if the Peter Max like imagery of some of these old films ever turned kids off to reality and ON to drugs.
I have a friend that said he started using drugs after his mom and dad gave him anti-drug literature to read. The anti-drug reading materils just got him curiouser and curiouser - and he then down the old rabit hole he went. Don't worry - he eventually found Jesus and came out the other end okay.
Even though these outdated films were cheesy - I still liked them because if we were watching a dumb movie, meant we were not doing real school work.
Just remember to keep away from LSD kids - be smart and STAY OFF THE GRASS!!!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Most mothers in the fifties and sixties didn't coddle their young ones like they do today. Sure bad things happen to kids - but in those carefree days - parents made sure they made plenty of babies just in case they lost a few along the way. It's good to raise children up to have nerves of steel. After all - it's a tough world out there!
The mother in this video is typical of most mothers who lived in Boomerville, USA. Not only did fathers build fallout shelters and brick barbeque pits in their backyards. They also built backdrops in which their lovely wives could show off their knife throwing prowess. My mom was tops in our neighborhood!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Remember the sound of those glass milk bottles jingling as they were being carried to the door? We had an aluminum milk receptacle at the stoop of our back door for years. Some houses even had a little nook/door built into their modern home to receive the milk delivery without having to open their door. Yes, I can still see him in my mind's eye driving up, the kids gathering at the door of his truck, the sights and sounds. These memories will probably be nestled in my mind for the rest of my life.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The show was SKY KING. I was just a tot when the series aired, but remember well this cowboy in the clouds western.
I also vaguely remember a show called Whirlybirds.
This was all during a time when westerns were king of television. Roy, Dale and Trigger had the top bunk back then. Yet - a flying cowboy sure can grab a kid's attention.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
The Jet Fighter in color at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmlFaSBPguc&feature=related
I remember this toy. No it wasn't mine - Brook got it for Christmas and I wanted it! I remember the helmet had STEVE CANYON across the front. There's a picture of him playing with it somewhere among the old photographs. I'll see if I can dig it up and post it soon.