Monday, September 1, 2008

“But the days grow short/When you reach September…”

Normally, TDOY’s vast readership would be reading a tantalizing review of a classic film lucky enough to be released on Region 2 DVD…but since I didn’t get around to watching anything on disc over the past few days or so; it will be postponed until next week. (Yes, I know you’re disappointed, especially since "Region 2 Cinema" has become the most popular feature on this blog, surpassed only by my constant mockery of Senator John McCain.) Blog activity might be a little spotty tomorrow: sister Kat has concocted an evil scheme whereupon she will drive to Augusta, GA tomorrow to pick up some books and she’s taking me along as leverage (she and the ‘rents have a birthday bash planned…she’s in charge of cooking…party can’t start until I’m there…I think you’ve figured out how this works…). I always begin to worry when she announces “I have a plan” because that’s when I’m suddenly hurtled through space and time into a Lucy rerun.

I do have a few announcements, however. First—it being September 1st—the First (lot of “firsts” in this sentence, isn’t there?) Generation Radio Archives is rolling out a new Premier Collection; the first one entitled The Big Bands on One Night Stand, Volume 1. For the uninitiated, One Night Stand was a legendary late-night Armed Forces Radio Service program featuring the crème de la crème of America’s gargantuan musical aggregations (which is just a fancy way of saying “Big Bands”); spotlighting the likes of Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Ray Anthony, Harry James, Louis Prima and oh-so-many more. This set, containing twenty live remote broadcasts on 10 CDs, features liner notes by Harlan “Jazzbo” Zinck and if it’s anything like previous FGRA big band releases, fans will eat it up like two-for-one Publix ice cream. (Okay, it’s late—and I don’t have a better analogy.) Twenty live broadcasts from Radio’s Golden Age of the Big Bands on ten CDs…and only $39.95—“a mere bag of shells,” as The Great One himself would say.

FGRA also has two new Radio Legends sets for sale, the first being a second volume of Nightbeat—the critically-acclaimed “radio noir” starring Frank Lovejoy as Chicago Star columnist Randy Stone. Nightbeat only ran a couple years over NBC back in the 1950s, but I think the writing/overall quality of the show is such that it can easily stand up to the “big boys” of radio drama; such usual suspects as Suspense, Escape, Dragnet, Gunsmoke, etc.

The second Radio Legends set is something no self-respecting old-time radio fan can be without: the legendary recording of the complete broadcast day of Washington, DC’s WJSV from September 21, 1939…available in a nineteen-disc set for $37.95. Let me just say that when I purchased the copy I currently own from FGRA I didn’t pay nearly that price; so this offering is an incredible bargain. This historical recording covers the complete broadcast day from sunup to sundown, and features “radio legends” like Arthur Godfrey (who hosted The Sun Dial/”Musical Clock” program at that point in his career), Robert Trout, Amos ‘n’ Andy, Joe E. Brown, Elmer Davis, Major Bowes and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt—not to mention a Washington Senators/Cleveland Indians ballgame and more soap operas than you can shake a stick at. You will be positively mesmerized by this recording—it’s that special—and it would also make a great gift for the history buff in your family as well.

As always, when you purchase any or all of these incredible collections you receive a complimentary bonus CD—selected at random from one the Archives’ renowned Premier Collections—but FGRA is also offering until September 5, 2008 FREE Media Mail postage on all domestic orders received. You place an order, big or small (experience has proved to me that the Archives likes the bigger orders for some reason) before September 5 and you won’t pay a single, solitary dime for Media Mail shipping. How do they do it, you’re no doubt asking. Well, don’t ask…just order up and enjoy!

In other news, I wanted to congratulate my very good friend “Laughing Gravy” on his third anniversary of swinging the mighty flashlight In the Balcony. The website, a dream he personally made happen on September 1, 2005, is still one of the best devoted to movies both old and new and features a colorful cast of misfits on its bulletin boards that I would post a photo of were it not for the fact that some of you might be eating. Mazeltov to you, Gravy old biscuit! (Mmmm…biscuits and gravy…)

I also wanted to give a big shout-out to my pal Tom Sutpen, who was selected recently as the subject of Film on Focus’ “Behind the Blog” series of profiles due in large part to his incredible photo blog, If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger… Not only is it a good interview with the tortured genius that is Tom, but it contains a photo of him that finally allowed me to see what he looks like in person. (His former pic showed a young man who looked as if he was just picked to be hall monitor, and I sometimes had trouble reconciling that with the author who writes so knowingly and passionately about film.) I’m not sure what Tom is laughing at in the picture, but if I had to guess it’s probably a cache of previously undiscovered Joan Blondell stills.

Finally, I urge everyone to waltz right over to World O’Crap and bust into the joint, acting you like own the joint. And then sit back for a riotous series of sitcom pilots featuring the new GOP veep nominee, Governor Sarah Palin. My personal favorite is That Gov, a wacky outing in which the small-town mayor of Cicely, Alaska unwittingly ends up in the number-two slot on the ticket. This week, a dinner with some bigwig GOP functionaries goes horribly awry when Sarah is determined to whip a batch of her patented moose burgers! (The scene where she and Cindy McCain attempt to get the moose out of the deep freeze is worth the price of admission alone.)

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