Friday, May 21, 2010


Stephen Bowie has posted the conclusion of his interview with the great character actor Jason Wingreen over at The Classic TV History Blog…so if this is the first thing you’re reading in the blogosphere today, you should really be reading Stephen’s conversation instead. Great anecdotes about Edmond “Jesus, but I’m sweaty” O’Brien, Allan “Magilla Gorilla” Melvin and Andy “Gooooood cracker” Griffith (the last two contain revelations that may surprise you)—but my favorite is the story involving Joe Flynn, Bill Quinn and Quinn’s daughter Ginny’s wedding (she was getting hitched to a man named Bob Newhart on that momentous occasion).

I want to get in a plug for the Chuck Norris Ate My Blog Contest blogathon that starts next Monday (May 24th) at Chuck Norris Ate My Baby…and to pass on a bit of good news in the bargain. I left a comment for CNAMB’s proprietor, Dolewhite, that I had planned to tackle the 1977 AIP Norris opus Breaker! Breaker! here at TDOY and that I probably wouldn’t be eligible for a prize because the film features Chuck sans his trademark chin whiskers. (I interpreted Dolewhite’s original post—in which he states “My only rules are that it has to be bearded and has to be posted with in the time frame”—to mean that any movie with a clean-shaven Norris was persona au gratin as far as the fabulous prizes go.) But he’s notified me that—in the words of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca—“I was misinformed,” so I’m pleased to be able to participate in this truly noteworthy endeavor…I watched the movie via IFC On Demand the other evening, and I’ll probably give it a second once-over in case there was something I missed.

Another blogathon (well, of sorts) that has attracted my attention comes courtesy of the Director’s Chair series at The Large Association of Movie Blogs, which is being spearheaded by D.J. Heinlein of Matte Havoc fame. The purpose of this series is to write a review or editorial on the selected director—and in this case, the individual in the chair with his name on the back will be Stanley Kubrick. This event will take place from June 8th-10th…and the deadline on submissions is June 7 at 10:00pm (is this EDT? It doesn’t say). I’m still trying to decide whether I’ll throw my hat in the ring on this one, but I did feel it was important enough to mention.

I got this via Caffeinated Joe:

Ahhhh!!! It burns!!!

I realize that the only other person who’ll be interested in this is my good friend from across the pond, Matthew Coniam—but Network DVD has a couple of interesting Britcom releases in the pipeline…both of which are shows in which the entire runs are not available, owing to the ravages of time and the practice of “wiping” videotapes of recorded programs to reuse. First up is Dear Mother…. ….Love Albert, which stars Likely Lad Rodney Bewes (who co-wrote and produced the show, basing it on the letters he wrote his mother during his halcyon acting days) as a young Northerner who moves to London with dreams of becoming a big success…but winds up toiling in a candy factory and falling for a young girl (Liz Gebhardt) who works in the PR department. Dear Mother…. ran for three series between 1969 and 1971 on ITV (Yorkshire Television)—the first series has vanished into the ether, but Series Two and Three are intact (totaling thirteen episodes); there was also a sequel to the series in 1972 entitled Albert! which lasted a single series of seven episodes. All twenty episodes will be included on this set, which has a release date of June 14th.

The other release is Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width—a sitcom from the prolific pens of Vince Powell and Harry Driver (Bless This House, Nearest and Dearest) that stars John Bluthal (who you may know as Frank Pickle from The Vicar of Dibley) and Joe Lynch as a pair of tailors (one Jewish, the other Irish) from London’s East End who struggle to put aside their cultural and religious differences in their never-ending desire to make a living. This popular series—telecast from 1967 to 1971 on ITV (Thames Television)—is also not available in its entirety; only series Three through Six (1969-71; twenty-six episodes in all) and a 1968 Christmas special survive. This set has a street date of June 28th. Of the two collections, I’d really like to get Quality on the basis of being a fan of Powell and Driver’s earlier shows (particularly Nearest).

Mark Evanier mentions that the fast food chain known as Five Guys Burger and Fries is setting up a store closer to his neck of the I sent him a brief Facebook note asking him to use his considerable influence in seeing that the East Coast gets an In-N-Out Burger in reciprocation. (He's promised me he'll get right on that.) I certainly can understand why he's stoked; we have one here in Athens and the grub is mighty tasty.

And finally…your Moment of Zen, courtesy of Greg Ferrara at Cinema Styles:

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Stacia said...

I thought the same thing about the beardedness of the entries in the Chuckathon (I made that up) and was glad to hear that the movie didn't have to be bearded! I believe Chuck has a moustache in the movie I'm going to see, but Netflix has tersely informed me it will be "late" because "my local center" (i.e. Topeka) didn't have it. I should have it in time for the 30th, though.

I am loving the interview with Wingreen. As bad as I am with faces, he is one of the few character actors who I recognize by name alone, instead of the inevitable "Oh hey that guy" that I use to identify an actor. Sometimes even sweaty Edmond O'Brien gets an "oh hey that guy", that's how bad with names-to-faces I am.

Oh Crap said...

Hey - OT but did you get to catch the Lena tribute yesterday? Waiting to hear...

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Hey - OT but did you get to catch the Lena tribute yesterday?

I missed the first feature but managed to revisit Cabin in the Sky. That film gets better every time I see it--it is truly one of my favorite musicals.

I was about fifty minutes into Panama Hattie when I just couldn't keep my eyes open so I called it a night. I left the DVD recorder running to catch the remaining half-hour, so I'm going to try and watch it sometime today. From what I did see, Lena isn't seen to her best advantage (which was so often the case, sadly) but she did get to sing Just One of Those Things. Not too shabby a musical number!

VP81955 said...

Good news about Five Guys going west, and I concur about In-N-Out Burger. Now all you and Mark need is to get a Ledo Pizza in your necks of the woods.

Dolewhite said...

Awesome...can't wait for you thoughts on Breaker! Breaker! It's a Norris favorite and one I have been wanting to revisit it. Thanks for the plug too and I hope not too many people were thrown off by the bearded stipulation! I can't even do something as simple as a contest right!

Matthew Coniam said...

You predict accurately, sir! I've long wanted to see some of Never Mind the Quality. And to any Spike Milligan fan John Bluthal is well known as his regular co-star and truly one of the funniest men who ever lived.
By the way, I have a new blog entirely devoted to British rubbish that might give you the odd moment's innocent amusement: You'd be most welcome...