Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wuxtry! Wuxtry! Read all about it!

I’m still knee-deep in outside projects here at Rancho Yesteryear, so this is going to be another one of those “you-gotta-read-this-and-you-gotta-read-that” posts. Hopefully I’ll be able to sit down in front of the television set this week and take a peek at some of these DVDs of recorded movies that—I swear this is happening—seem to be procreating while I’m taking another one of those eight-hour naps at night. I did, however, manage to complete a post commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the U.S. premiere of director Jules Dassin’s 1950 noir classic Night and the City—but you’ll have to mosey on over to Edward Copeland on Film to read it. Edward has some fine individuals contributing well-written essays to his blog (which sort of makes you wonder how I managed to crash the party) while he continues his medical convalescence—as someone who’s been in the same life raft recently, I wish him the speediest of recoveries.

I spent a small part of the morning on a brief grocery excursion with mi madre—and because she needed some taco salad shells that she can’t purchase at her usual hangout (Publix) we made a trip to our favorite mom-and-pop (more like tattooed mom) store, Bell’s. I went into Bell’s for the specific purpose of tracking down some of that Faygo Diet Root Beer that TDOY comrade Jennifer Baldwin (by the way, Jen’s the one who persuaded Libertas Film Magazine into adding me to the blogroll…thanks again, J!) raved about at Dereliction Row…but alas, all I could find was the high-test…and in two-liter bottles. (I settled for a twelve-pack of diet orange soda—two for five bucks—and once I’ve sampled the beverage I’ll be sure to let you know how it is. Jennifer says that no less an authority than Bon Appetit ranked Faygo’s root beer number one—so this must really be some kick-ass soda.)

If you’ve ever glanced at the many comment left by this blog’s many reader you might be familiar with the name “Jeff Overturf” as one of the frequent individuals kicking in a pair of copper pennies. Jeff has a blog (I know, who doesn’t) that I like to visit on a regular basis because he’s quite fond of classic comic strips (don’t tell anybody, but we may have been separated at birth) and because his mother didn’t throw out his back issues of Nemo: The Classic Comics Library he’s able to reproduce these splendid pages at Inside Jeff Overturf’s Head. Today’s post centers on Gasoline Alley creator Frank King (Alley was one of my father’s all-time favorite strips) and Krazy Kat’s George Herriman—but you might want to take Jeff’s WABAC machine for these earlier posts on Hagar the Horrible creator Dik Browne (Jeff takes a few potshots at Garfield’s Jim Davis in this post, a practice I heartily endorse), Cliff Starrett (creator of the underrated Polly and Her Pals) and Milton Caniff (Terry and the Pirates).
Writer-director-producer Joseph Strick passed away last Tuesday (June 1) at the age of 86 and earned a reputation as an artist who brought seemingly “unfilmable” novels to celluloid. Among the films on his resume: The Savage Eye (1960), Ulysses (1967), Tropic of Cancer (1970) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1979); he was also one of the producers of the Disney favorite Never Cry Wolf (1983). Having not seen any of Strick’s films I can’t really comment on his career—but he will certainly be missed. (Thanks to Bill Crider for this one.)
The Onion also reported another notable passing:

(A doff of the TDOY chapeau to blogger Ann Marie Miani of for that little chuckle.)

Speaking of the Peach State, I got a kick out of this blurb from Blake Aued’s blog (both he and Ann Marie work for the Athens Banner-Herald….because they apparently can’t find real work) about how the Georgia Democratic Party’s chairwoman, Jane Kidd, is threatening to keelhaul any Dems who buck the party line by criticizing Representative John Barrow (D-Gutless) in his primary race because of Barrow’s spineless vote against health care reform. Two things about this made me grin, the first being that Aued’s tag reads “John Barrah”—which is precisely how the congressman pronounces his name. The other is that his primary opponent is former state senator Regina "Check out the hat" Thomas—and even though I no longer have a dog in this fight (having vacated “the state of Chatham” two years ago) I hope she kicks his ass. Seriously. I know Ms. Thomas, and she’s the kind of representation that district needs. “Barrah” has the intestinal fortitude of Cool Whip.

Here’s the other big political story (well, to me, anyway) of the day, courtesy of HuffPo: a “stealth candidate” wins the Democratic Party’s primary race for Senate in South Carolina…and will go on to face U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-Numbnut) in the fall election. Alvin Greene put up no website, didn’t pay for any annoying television or radio commercials or make infuriating phone calls to voters…and beat his primary challenger in the process. We could learn something from this man. (Addendum: And then again...there are things we should not learn from Mr. Greene. Apparently, according to Salon's War Room, he's on a first-name basis with our venerable legal system. No wonder this guy kept such a low profile...)

Here’s a gala I’d dearly love to attend: the PaleyFest Rewind Classic TV Festival that will be held at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills from June 15-21. Among the events to be scheduled: a Room 222 cast reunion with Denise Nicholas (hotchi motchi!). Karen Valentine, David Joliffe and Judy Strangis; a salute to the 50th anniversary of My Three Sons with members of the cast including Barry Livingston, Stanley Livingston & Tina Cole in person; a Leave it to Beaver reunion with Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, Ken Osmond and Frank Bank; and archival screenings of sitcoms like Love on a Rooftop (which starred Pete Deuel and Judy Carne) and The Mothers-in-Law (a TDOY fave—I’ve got the DVD box set ordered, baby!). There’ll also be a showing an episode of the rare 1969 comedy-musical series That’s Life, with stars Robert Morse and E.J. Peaker in attendance for a Q&A. Yowsah!

Cliff Aliperti has a nice composition on character great Dudley Digges at his blog Immortal Ephemera, and I mention this not only because it’s an entertaining read but because I considered picking Digges for today’s TDOY birthday spotlight (I also considered The Rockford Files’ Joe Santos). Clearly, Cliff does justice to Digges’ career far better than I could have hoped to do. Other blog posts that you may want to take a gander at include a review of No Highway in the Sky (1951) from Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings (I'm not recommending you see this movie just because TDOY fave Glynis Johns is in it...okay, maybe I am), and a lovely musing on actress Alexis Smith and her appearance in two underrated Humphrey Bogart vehicles, Conflict (1945) and The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) from Movietone News’ own Matthew Coniam.

Lou Lumenick reports over at the New York Post that the Warner Archive has some real treats to be trotted out on MOD come June 15—including the two early versions of the John Ford/John Wayne classic 3 Godfathers (1948)— Hell's Heroes (1930) and Three Godfathers (1936)—and a slew of Bette Davis titles: Bureau of Missing Persons (1933—why doesn’t TCM show this one anymore…it’s one of my favorites), Fog Over Frisco (1934), The Girl from 10th Avenue (1935) and The Golden Arrow (1936). (I know a certain online movie critic who blogs by night who’ll be quite pleased with this news.)

Speaking of blogging by dusk, I’d like to congratulate kemosabe Stacia for cleaning up big-time by winning first prize in the Chuck Norris Are My Blog blogathon sponsored by Chuck Norris Ate My Baby. She’s entitled to a victory lap (she wrote a devastatingly witty review of my favorite Norris vehicle, Silent Rage [1982]) and from now on will be referred to at TDOY as “Chuckie Award-winning blogger Stacia Jones.” (That’s not her pictured on the left—just an actress who’s also in one of those auto insurance commercials.) Kudos also go out to Emily C. at The Quest to Watch Every Movie Ever and Zach at The Lightning Bug’s Lair for their silver and bronze finishes. (Sure, I may not have taken anything home with my entry, but at least I kept my uniform clean...and isn't that really what counts in the final analysis?)

I hate to close this admittedly lengthy post on a note of sadness, but Mark Evanier notes that disc jockey Barry Hansen—better known to a generation of listeners starved for comedy and novelty records as “Dr. Demento”—is adjusting his “cans” for a streaming Internet show and will no longer be heard on conventional radio. This article gives the whats and why fors, but as a fan of the good medico it’s a shame—because Dr. D educated me in the appreciation for Tom Lehrer, Stan Freberg, Allan Sherman and all those other practitioners of making people bust a gut with song. Good luck with the new venture, Doc.
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Stacia said...

Finally with the Bette at the WB archives! I think I have all of those except "Bureau" already, but I'm glad you mentioned it because it's something to add to my upcoming post about "10th Ave". Also, I stole the poster picture. In return for the poster .jpg, I will deign to forgive you for not mentioning Joe Santos' birthday.

Tom said...

I'm relieved that the news "of sadness" about Doctor D was the move to streaming-only; I thought this was going to be another obit. His program was my absolute favorite during my college years. In recent years I struggled to find stations that aired his program at a decent time, so I plan to follow him online, but like you I'm a little sad that others won't have the same experience of discovering those comic legends on the radio. I love his seasonal programming, and all the Christmas songs: I need to hear "Green Christmas", "The Twelve Pains of Christmas", and the barking dogs at least once a year.

Cliff Aliperti said...

Thanks so much for mentioning my Dudley Digges post, really hope you enjoyed it--he was far more interesting than I expected!

Very excited by this round of Warner Archive releases, the 30's seemed to hit a slump for a few weeks there. Great that there's an opportunity to buy Fog Over Frisco now.

Jeff Overturf said...

Thanks for the tip o' the hat my long lost brother...and thanks for the head's up about the good Dr. D, I've been searching for him of late and am glad he is still about and doing his thing. Here's hoping it won't just be streaming, but an actual podcast I can download.

Scott C. said...

Oh sure, Love on a Rooftop, but no sugar for Occasional Wife?

The Derelict said...

Aw, I'm sorry you couldn't find any diet Faygo root beer. :(

How was the diet orange? I was a big fan of Faygo orange pop back in my elementary school days, but haven't tried it in awhile. I should swing down to Kroger and pick some up!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Faygo's diet orange soda is, hands down, the best I've drank in a long while. (If the diet is that good, the non-diet must kick much booty.) I've tried the Fanta Zero and it's horrible--it tastes like water with orange food coloring. (Though my Mom says it's not too bad if it's real cold.)

Had I known the Faygo diet orange was going to be so delicious, I would have bought another 12-pack. I guess this means another trip to Bell's...don't fret, my little tattooed bakery worker--I'm on my way!