Friday, June 4, 2010

News on the march

Back in February of this year, Farran Smith Nehme (that Self-Styled Siren) and Marilyn Ferdinand (of Ferdy on Films) sponsored For the Love of Film: The Film Preservation Blogathon—an event in which I was ecstatic to participate, even though my plans for multiple posts were scotched due to that pesky malady that ended up sticking me in the hospital (I did manage to complete one, however, about the two versions of Fred Allen’s It’s in the Bag! [1945]). The blogathon was created for the purpose of raising funds for the National Film Preservation Foundation, a most worthy organization dedicated to helping save America’s film heritage—and at the time, I very much wanted to “put something in the pot, boy,” as Jack Kirkwood was famous for saying…but I was a bit “down on my uppers,” as they say across the pond.

Well, I learned via Facebook that an announcement will be made Monday (June 7) as to which films will be funded by the efforts of the Blogathon, and that a special screen credit will accompany these restored productions (click on the image on the right to “embiggen,” as my blogging colleague Elisson would say). I also learned that it’s still not too late to donate money to this project—I received a small “stipend” in the mail (and I’m not kidding when I say small; I had to run it by the bank yesterday morning because it was too little to walk by itself [rimshot!]) that allowed me to kick in a few coins and I feel tremendously satisfied in doing so. As an added inducement, one of the funded films will appear on the fifth DVD collection in the Treasures From American Film Archives series…and as such, the contributions raised in the Blogathon qualified for matching funds from the federal government. It’s not too late to contribute—every dollar counts.

I mentioned in a post yesterday that the BBC is bringing television’s longest running sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine, to an end this summer after thirty-one “series” and thirty-seven years on the air. I don’t know if this is a coinky-dink, but has an announcement that the Beeb and Warner Home Video will release Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1985 to DVD on September 7th. From the looks of things, the set will contain the 1983 and 1984 Christmas specials as well as the six episodes from the eighth series originally telecast in 1985. The SRP is $34.98, so you might have to shop around for an online bargain.

While I’m on the subject of British comedy, I thought this discovery was very interesting in light of the review I wrote back in August 2005 of At Last the 1948 Show, a sketch comedy show that featured a pre-Monty Python John Cleese and Graham Chapman in addition to Marty Feldman and future Goodies member Tim Brooke-Taylor. In addition to locating the lost 1948 Show episode, an January 15, 1965 installment of Frankie Howerd’s 1965 BBC comedy series has also turned up—said episode being penned by Steptoe and Son creators Ray Galton and Alan Simpson…and featuring a sketch in which Howerd is vamped by the great comic Yootha Joyce of George and Mildred fame. I’m not as familiar with Howerd’s work as I should be, though I do remember watching his successful Up Pompeii sitcom, which was a staple on West Virginia Public Television in the 1970s.

Okay, I have no idea what the above photo is all about...but it's not everyday that the Vice-President (along with Mrs. Veep) takes a stroll down Sesame Street.

Over at Lost Highway's B-Movie Reviews and Cult Films, I’ve been alerted to another online movie service in…and among the delights to be sampled gratis include The Astro-Zombies (1966; Stacia saw this one recently and remarked in an e-mail: “Wow, John Carradine is a long way from Stagecoach, isn't he?“), The Blob (1958), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964), Starship Troopers (1997) and Taxi Driver (1976). There’s also an entertaining essay entitled “7 Things the [Three] Stooges Did Better…and First.”

Finally, courtesy of, a list of The Top 10 Spin-Off Characters of All Time. I liked how the author of this tally (John R. Platt) even-handedly chooses candidates ranging from The Jeffersons, Frasier Crane, Popeye, Lou Grant and Uncle Scrooge. But I particularly enjoyed seeing The Great Gildersleeve at #6.

And now, your Moment of Zen—with a doff of the TDOY chapeau to Toby “Inner Toob” O’Brien for tracking this down:

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Scott said...

That drive-in shot may be my favorite title graphic in the long and storied history of TDOY.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

That drive-in shot may be my favorite title graphic in the long and storied history of TDOY.

It's become my favorite as well -- I generally like to change the banner every two weeks (or quicker, if something commemorative comes up) but it's really starting to grow on me and I think I may hang onto it a while.