Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lick of paint, lick of paint

I couldn’t help but admire some of the new looks that one or two of my valued blogging compadres (namely Easily Mused and Oh Crap, I Have a Crush on Sarah Palin) adopted with the new templates, so I decided to fiddle around with the template here at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear—and you’re looking at it now. I’m sort of insecure about the change because once I started to tweak it here and there I began to think: “I should have just left well enough alone.” So if you like it, please say so in the comments section—and if you don’t, well…whisper to your neighbor while my back is turned (“That template makes him look fat”).

The main problem with the new look is that it keeps crashing my Safari browser—which means I ended up having to find a new one, and so I’m now down with the Chrome, y’all. (Firefox users—step away from the comments section. I have heard your siren song in the past, only to discover that you guzzle down memory like thirsty revelers on a tailgating party keg.) I’ve said to myself for some time now that I should invest in a new computer (or at least some more memory) but since someone here has emptied the contents of the Castle Yesteryear cash register that won’t be happening any time soon. So with Chrome in hand, I can now visit my pal Raquelle at Out of the Past – A Classic Film Blog—every time I’d click on her link in the blogroll Safari would yawn and say something to the effect of “Well, I think I’ll have a lie-down for the next three hours…wake me when you’ve navigated somewhere else.”

As for finding the time to sit down and watch one of the several million movies I seem to be recording from Turner Classic Movies of late—well, I’m not having a lot of luck in that department. I had planned to sit down and watch an old favorite last night, Monte Walsh (1970), but I was so busy putting together the birthday list for today’s post that I ended up having to just set the DVD recorder to go and letting events take their course. I’ve already seen Walsh (though TCM was showing it letterboxed, which was an added treat), but in light of the recent passing of cinematographer William A. Fraker (one of his few forays in the director’s chair) I was curious to revisit it—and I know I shouldn’t laugh at this but it was obvious from last night’s presentation that host Bobby Osbo had recorded the introductory and closing remarks well before Fraker’s demise because he mentioned that “Bill” was still with us. (I know it’s not Osborne’s fault—I don’t know if anyone can really be assigned blame, since it would require whoever is in charge of those things to remember that Bobbo's remarks were, again, taped before we lost one of the silver screen’s finest craftsmen.)

I did, however, finally manage to quit the NewsRadio episodes I was devouring like cocktail peanuts—but the show I found to replace that itch will probably surprise you. If you glance over at the picture underneath the caption “In the Player,” you’ll see the Mitchell folks—Alice (Gloria Henry), Henry (Herbert Anderson) and Dennis (Jay North), the familial unit that dropped in on America’s television households on Dennis the Menace (1959-63)…adapted from the popular comic strip created by Hank Ketcham. Don’t ask me why I started watching these reruns (I bought a set off of a good while back…when I had money) but I have, and once I tuck enough of them under my belt I may be able to squeeze a post out of it.

Speaking of when I had money (it’s like falling off a bike—it all comes back to you), let me just take a quick second or two to appeal to those of you who might have a bit of loose change jingling in your pockets. (Those of you of a more conservative bent might want to skip this paragraph and go onto…oh, I don’t know…Blake Aued at—the blog site for the Athens Banner-Herald (Motto: “Discreetly wrapping fish since 1921”)—is all pissy at Georgia Liberal for suggesting Clarke County doesn’t need a new jail—have fun with that…) As you may or may not know, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear would probably have never come into being (I know, it only sounds like a good thing) had it not been for the valiant efforts of a humble blog whose twisted takes on politics and pop culture earned it the respect of individuals such as myself who love nothing more than to poke merciless fun at the comfortable and powerful. Well, the individual who’s currently piloting that blog—a frequent commenter you may know as Scott—has hit a financial rough patch of late, and any little amount that you could drop into his guitar case would be greatly appreciated. Heck, even I kicked in some fundage…and I owe so much in medical bills they’re threatening to put the tumor back. So in honor of the fine folks at World O’Crap—this Johnny Paycheck classic goes out to you:

And now—back to our regularly scheduled blogging, already in progress.

Fifty years ago on this date, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic black comedy/horror film Psycho (1960) premiered in theaters—Moviefone has an appraisal to commemorate its golden anniversary, as does Facebook chum Ali Arikan at Edward Copeland on Film. Kim Morgan at The Sunset Gun also has a nice piece, which compares and contrasts the original with the 1998 remake. Psycho, not surprisingly, secures a spot on a list at Like Me//Daily entitled 10 Horror Movies Everyone Should See—thanks to Bill “Killed him a gator when he was only three” Crider for the link.

Nothing coincidental ever happens on the Internet—over at Movie Classics, I got a heads-up about a John Huston Blogathon being hosted at Icebox Movies from August 5-12—and seeing as how I just completed that essay on Prizzi’s Honor for Copeland it’s…it’s like fate. I’ve already put in an RSVP—not sure which film I’m going to tackle yet, but I’ll come up with something (it’s not like I’m starved for Huston product here at Rancho Yesteryear). Adam Zanzie, who calls the shots over at Icebox (he looks a little like a Russian doctor I once met), has a banner promoting this auspicious occasion but it’s not going to fit into the sidebar I generally use for blogathon announcements so I think I may have to construct my own. (The fact that the banner promoting Chuckie Award-winning blogger Stacia Jones’ Shatnerthon is overlapping into the margins is okay because Shat’s been getting a bit chunky in his advancing years anyway.)

Cinema Styles’ Greg Ferrara is apparently folding up his tent at both The Invisible Edge (“commentary without meaning…pictures without purpose”) and Unexplained Cinema—which just goes to show how sucky this economy is in that blogs are being let go left and right. I hope this doesn’t mean Greg is going to start selling off pieces of Styles, too—I was worried, for example, that we might have seen the last of Larry Aydlette (aka That Little Round-Headed Boy) but fortunately he’s back in the blog bidness with Welcome to L.A.

The Large Association of Movie Blogs has handed out a few more LAMMY Awards since yesterday’s post, and it looks like I spoke too soon regarding my handicapping talents. The winner for Best Horror/Sci-Fi Blog was not TDOY fave The Lightning Bugg’s Lair but Invasion of the B-Movies—our pal Zach did finish a respectable third…and he kept his uniform clean, which is really what counts. (I’ve really been digging on his current series on unknown B-picture directors over at the Lair entitled Who the F**k is Vernon Zimmerman?—which has produced some first-rate reviews of Fade to Black [1980; not a particular fave of mine—save for Linda Kerridge—but well-written nevertheless] and Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw [1976].) Congratulations, however, do go out to Jason Soto at Invasion for a repeat of last year’s win.

TDOY Facebook muchachos Ed Howard and Marilyn Ferdinand finished third and second, respectively, in the race for the LAMMY’s Brainiac Award—with the final accolade going to The Mad Hatter at The Dark of the Matinee. As the saying goes, “There can be only one”—so while I’m sorry to see both Ed and Ferdy go home sans trophy I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it was a close race…and kudos to his Hatness for a clean, no-kicking-gouging-or-biting win.

Never fear, though—there is joy in Mudville. The 2010 LAMMY Award for Best Classic Film Blog goes to our very own Stacia at She Blogged by Night. I don’t have to tell you that this was a particularly difficult race to vote in—it’s sort of like choosing which of your children is your favorite…if I had kids, that is. But I also want to offer a hearty handclasp to all the other nominees in what is my favorite LAMMY category despite what that strumpet at Rachel’s Reel Reviews says.

Into everyone’s life, however…a little rain must fall. I received a phone call from my best friend The Duchess earlier this evening that the best damn English/journalism teacher I ever had has passed away at the age of 86. Everything I know about slapping a noun up against a verb I learned from the woman we affectionately called “CBD.” She was a true treasure, and she shall be sorely missed.

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Bill Crider said...

Like the look, and the Johnny Paycheck song, too.

Anonymous said...

I use Firefox , and I am not changing. I have visited your wonderful blog every day - no more. Your "lick of paint" has caused me 6 crashes today ; I experience none on any other blog site. I love your stuff , but I'm too old to spend time repeatedly hitting Control-Alt-Delete.
Rancho Yesterday should not have been redecorated.

I'll try once more in a week or so - with fingers crossed.

Rats !

I sincerely wish you good health.

Stacia said...



OK ok fine. I can resize the banner if you want me to, by the way.

I like the new look, but am a bit ambivalent toward this lavender background color. Oh yeah, I went there.

KC said...

The new look is lovely--clean and simple. This John Huston blog-a-thon intrigues me. . .

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Sorry about the multiple crashes, Anonymous. Can you access TDOY through a reader maybe?

M. Bouffant said...

New look looks great, a bit more streamlined, but not a disconcerting change for the tradition-minded reader.

Works fine in Chrome, Firefox & IE7 (well ...) for me.

Scott said...

Thanks for the plug, Ivan, you're a Southern Gentleman (and I mean that in a good way this time).

On the Memorable & Meaningful Teacher subject...Mr. Curtis. Taught freshman English, and he was the most brilliant, and the sneakiest lecturer I've even seen. He'd start off on some bizarre tangent that made us all exchange puzzled, occasionally worried looks, then somehow weave in plot threads from the book or story we were reading, and finally tie it all together just as the bell rang. What he was doing teaching in a high school rather than a college baffled me, but I assumed it was by choice. He taught us to look beneath the hood of just about anything I ever read -- hell, he found Dantesque grace notes in The Andromeda Strain -- and could spark an intelligent conversation about literature between three football players and a tackling dummy. Died way too young, alas.

On the browser issue: I like Chrome fine, although I find it a bit annoying that I can't keep my bookmarks in a column on the left, as I'm accustomed to. I've been using the Opera beta for awhile, and it's lighnting quick (especially in comparison to Firefox, which I used for years), but it ain't the most stable.

On the Design question: Thumbs up. Nice and clean, and gives some breathing space to your many sidebar links.

VP81955 said...

I know relatively few bloggers use LiveJournal, but one of its advantages is that it's relatively easy to customize your look. For example, when I began "Carole & Co." a little over three years ago, the surrounding background color was red; now it's purple. Copy was initially black on a white, then pale blue background; for legibility's sake, I altered it to white print on a dark blue background. Nothing against Blogspot -- it has some certain advantages over LJ -- but here I don't feel limited to a few styles.

Andrew Leal said...

Actually, here's an oddity: I was getting frequent freezes and crashes in IE *before* (for several months really). Now, I can view the site fine in either IE or Firefox.