Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thursday’s checklist

It seems like no sooner do I take a second to grab a treat from the snack room I return to my office and find my inbox full.  Among the items on today’s agenda: my recent nomination for the coveted Liebster Award, bestowed upon me by screenwriter-blogger Dave Enkosky at KL5-FILM (For All Your Movie Needs).  “Liebster,” a German word meaning “favorite,” has also come to symbolize a certain excellence in blogging…so the fact that nearly 5,000,000 blogs have also received this honor within the past two weeks shouldn’t tarnish its distinction in the least.  (Okay, I’m just having a bit of fun—I really do appreciate Dave passing this along to me, he's good people.)

Now…normally there is no one in the blogosphere more enthusiastic than I in keeping a meme going—but I’m really working double-time on cobbling together a “Coming Distractions” post, so I am going to shamelessly violate some of the tenets of this award—I need to also explain that I don’t mean this as a slight to Dave, it’s just that the Distractions pieces do take up more than the usual amount of blog preparation time.  (Those Margaret O’Brien jokes don’t write themselves, you know.)  The rules applied to the Liebster are as follows:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions the person who has given the award has set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you are giving the award to.
4. Choose 11 people and send them a link to your post.
5. Go to their page and tell them.

Posting things about me is always the difficult part of these memes because…well, I don’t think there’s anything earth-shattering that I haven’t already shared with the TDOY readership in the past.  I do have this interesting tidbit:  I “crossed over” in the recent Georgia primary election and voted as a Republican.  Now—before there’s a scrambling for an intervention as folks become convinced this is one of the Signs of the Apocalypse…I need to point out that the reason I did so was because I wanted to vote against a Ga. House legislator—Rep. Doug McKillip—who was elected as a Democrat in 2006 and then went running for the tall grass in 2010 by switching parties (McKillip apparently got religion in 2009—whatever his reason, I don’t really give a damn).  He put through a draconian anti-abortion bill in the state House this year that even his Republican primary opponent thought a bit beyond the pale…and so I decided to help her vanquish him, which she did.  (McKillip kind of brought this on himself, really; he foolishly came by the house one day seeking our vote and left to the accompaniment of my father’s derisive laughter.)  So I’m not succumbing from Lyme disease or anything—I just felt like being a supervillain (all I need is a white cat on my lap to stroke and I’d be in business).

Oh, and I can answer the questions that Dave took the time to create…don’t want to be a total ingrate…

What's your favorite movie decade?
Probably the 1920s—when the great silent clowns of yesteryear were at the peak of their filmmaking powers, and when movies made the (some say unfortunate) decision that they needed to “talk.”.

Warren Oates: awesome actor or awesomest actor?
Oh, Warren was all sorts of awesome sauce…though I don’t think I could ascribe to him the “awesomest” appellation because I think he knew he functioned best as the “glue” in each film he appeared in and rarely aspired to anything more.  (Though he was robbed of an Oscar nomination for Two-Lane Blacktop.)

What is a movie you wish had a greater following?
I’ve mentioned it on the blog in the past, but I’m a huge fan of His Kind of WomanTargets is another film with which I’d like to see people become more familiar.

What is a movie you feel is unduly praised?
2001: A Space Odyssey.  Sorry, folks—it’s like watching paint dry.  (I’d rather watch Quatermass and the Pit.)

What is the proper punishment for people who talk on their cell phones in a movie theater?
In the afterlife, they will live in a cramped studio apartment with a DVD player…and a library filled with nothing but Adam Sandler movies. (Maniacal laugh, strokes cat.)

Which deceased or retired director do you wish could make just one more movie?
I’d be up for something by Billy Wilder or Preston Sturges.

Are there any movies people are surprised you like?
I don’t think there’s enough bandwidth for a list of films people have commented: “You liked that?”  (It’d be easier to drop by the house and have a chat with my father one afternoon.)

How often do you go to the theater?
The last time I saw a film in the theater was in 2008, as folks who read my submissions to Dennis Cozzalio’s exams know by now.

Which movie have you seen the most?
Undoubtedly CasablancaNorth by Northwest is a close second, though, followed by Citizen Kane, The Glass Key and Winchester ’73.

What was your most awkward movie date? (Make one up if you've never had an awkward movie date)
I’m not sure if I’ve told this story before but my BFF The Duchess and I once went to a double feature of Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th 2 at a theater in Huntington, WV during our college days.  She had seen the first one but remembered nothing about it because her eyes were closed the entire time—so she kept asking me when she could open her eyes.  I foolishly assumed that the movie was over (but wasn’t aware of the shock at the end—you know which one I mean) and told her to open ‘em…whereupon she gave out an ear-piercing scream that rendered me deaf for the next hour or so.  (We never did see the second feature—she ran out of the theater, swearing she’d never see another horror film.)

What was your best movie date? (Make one up if you've never had a good movie date)
It wasn’t technically a date: I knew a woman (also during my Huntington college days) from a sci-fi club I belonged to and I thought she was a bit of a flake, to be honest.  Anyway, I was attending an afternoon showing of Key Largo and before the picture started I looked up to see her standing over me—she asked if she could sit in the seat next to me because she didn’t know anybody else in the theater.  We ended up talking quite a bit before Key Largo started and for about a half-hour afterward; it turned out that we shared a lot of the same likes and dislikes, movie-wise.  I’d like to say there was a happy ending involved but we never “hooked up” or anything—it did teach me, however, that you can’t always judge a book by its cover…and that cinema is a universal language.

The next item on the list involves more shameless self-promotion: I got an opportunity to watch Inner Sanctum (1948) yesterday—a noir that was definitely made on the cheap (hence its inclusion in the great reference book Death on the Cheap by Arthur Lyons) but actually wasn’t all that bad for a B-pic: the acting is better than usual (courtesy of Charles Russell, Mary Beth Hughes and a few really good character thesps) and there’s a nifty twist ending.  You can read a little more about this neglected gem at my latest blog post at Radio Spirits if you’re so inclined.

Okay: last instance of tooting my banjo and then I’ll stop.  I mentioned three weeks ago that according to (someone saw the item advertised at Shout! Factory was planning on releasing a DVD set entitled The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes in September…the eleventh, to be exact, which would work out splendidly for me, birthday-wise.  An announcement a few days later then corrected that September date, stating that the release probably wouldn’t see the light of day until some time next year.  So that kind of shot my birthday present plans to H-E-double hockey sticks, and necessitated a backup plan.  I gave some serious consideration to investing in Shout! Factory’s Route 66 box set—but according to some reviewers and The Classic TV History Blog’s Stephen Bowie the company made no effort whatsoever to correct the technical messes made by Infinity Entertainment when they released the first three seasons to disc.  (One reviewer made me laugh when he mentioned that a Shout! rep named Brian Ward “has an EXTENSIVE history of lying to Shout's consumers concerning various TV show releases,” and then followed this bulletin with the news that sugar is sweet.)

After spirited negotiations with the ‘rents (specifically my mother—Dad kind of acted purely in an “I’m not interested” capacity), I have arranged to welcome two nice TV-on-DVD box sets into Rancho Yesteryear.  One of them has already arrived: it’s the Timeless Factory Video collection of the 1961-62 crime drama 87th Precinct, which I am very stoked about (gotta wait until the actual natal anniversary to tear it open, though).  The other will hopefully get here soon—I decided that the MPI Home Video release of The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes (1951-1957) had to have a home here (seeing as I already have the classic 39), particularly since I’ve been seeing them early in the a.m. on Me-TV.  A review at DVD Talk mentions that this is a must-buy, so I’m really looking forward to devouring its contents.

On a related note: Me-TV has been running a few promos of late announcing the arrival of Emergency! and Remington Steele to its fall lineup.  I’ve a Han Solo-esque feeling about these developments, particularly since I’m concerned that some of my current favorites will be put out to pasture (I’m also worried Me-TV will start morphing into RTV, which did a similar thing when they couldn’t come to terms with Viacom).

But back to TV-on-DVD news: TSOD has the official press release up for Shout! Factory’s upcoming Peter Gunn: The Complete Series collection due out October 23rd (they corrected the number of episodes, too)—I thought about acquiring this when shopping for presents but I think I’m going to wait for a sale for the simple reason that I have the first two seasons on Region 2.  There’s also an announcement that Sony Pictures Entertainment will release a honkin’ big box set entitled Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Series on September 25th—a 27-disc collection containing all five seasons (110 episodes) of the iconic 1976-81 T&A crime drama.  The fifth season of Angels has not been previously released, and the press release does say that it will be issued separately in the future for the benefit of those of you who’ve bought the previous four seasons…but you know me—I’d get it in writing.  (This is a set that I won’t lose too much sleep over not having; I thought the show was inane and would cringe when my sister Debbie would watch it religiously during its heyday.)

In split-season CBS DVD-Paramount news, the company will manage to finish the disc releases of The Streets of San Francisco on October 30th with The Streets of San Francisco: Season 5.  Both volumes of this final season will be released at the same time (*sigh*) and they can either be purchased separately (at $39.98 SRP each) or as a “shrink-wrapped bundle” for $69.98 SRP.  Seems like an awful lot of money to fork over for a show that no longer had Michael Douglas in it (he left after four seasons) but then, I’m not a DVD company executive…though oddly enough, I found myself thinking like one when I was in the voting booth.  Hey—now that you guys have finished San Francisco—how about some more Phil Silvers Show releases so that future generations might know what an incredibly funny sitcom it was?

Also on the schedule for a future release is the third season of TV’s Cannon…and like the old saying goes, I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that CBS DVD Entertainment has finally wised up and will release William Conrad’s junior year in a single set—six discs containing all twenty-four episodes of the third season.  The bad news?

Wait for it…

…it’s going to be one of those Amazon CreateSpace MOD affairs.  There’s a listing already up for it at the giant bookselling behemoth, but still no news as to what date you can expect it.  Poor Bill Conrad…he deserves better than this injustice.

The final item on the agenda is an event that’s definitely out of my bailiwick…but I thought there might be some parties in that area interested in a film series that will be hosted by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, starting tomorrow at 7:30pm and continuing through September 28 at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood Village.  It’s called “The Two Faces of Jean,” and the “Jean” in the title is the lovely Jean Arthur, who will be in several films that are not easily accessible to classic film fans like The Defense Rests (1935) and Most Precious Thing in Life (1934), and there’ll also be restored prints of such Arthur favorites as If You Could Only Cook (1935) and The More the Merrier (1943).  (There’ll also be a free showing of 1939’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at a Sunday matinee on September 23 at 11am.)  Here’s where you’ll find the details, and here’s a nice article in the L.A. Times talking about the event.  I wish I could be there.


Kevin Deany said...

Anyone who champions "His Kind of Woman" is OK in my book.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Anyone who champions "His Kind of Woman" is OK in my book.

You're a righteous dude, Kev.

Dave Enkosky said...

Loved it. I particularly liked your punishment for people who talk on their phones in the theater. Maybe a little too cruel, though.

Stacia said...

You did in the primaries what I've been threatening to do for years, though in KS we have enough fake Democrats that it's worth it to stay registered Dem just in case. Though I note I didn't register Dem, I registered indie and then someone at City Hall re-registered me as Dem for reasons I have never fully understood.

Speaking of Quatermass (smooth as glass, learned it from the best) I just wrote a Criminally Underrated article for that movie over on Spectrum Culture.

Sweet news on the DVD sets!

hobbyfan said...

Ivan, mi amigo,

ME-TV, you'll recall, had shared rights to Daniel Boone, Peter Gunn, Rifleman, and Naked City with RTV for a while, and no sooner than RTV's contract for those shows ended, poof, RTV left the Albany NY market, replaced by the LiveWell Network, which in turn is now getting some sample time on SoapNet. AAAAAAAHHHH!!

Anyway, the more diversified ME-TV becomes with its programming, as long as it retains the classics people love (i.e. Honeymooners, Dick Van Dyke), it won't end up like RTV. Now, all I need is for them to score the Green Hornet, and I'm all set!

Mike Doran said...

MEtv has had The Green Hornet (the TV series, anyway) in its inventory from as far back as I can remember. They trotted it out most recently for a St. Patrick's Day Marathon (green, get it?).

AS for Ivan:
I take your concerns seriously.
I'd love for the ME guys to put shows like The Rogues, Naked City (both forms), M Squad, Highway Patrol, Route 66, and others of that kind in prime time, where the younger among us could enjoy the benefits of a classical education.
My hope is that the national success that MEtv is enjoying will lead to an expansion to more stations by MEtoo (so the whole country can see Stooge-A-Palooza), and perhaps even lead to still more new/old channels for our pleasure.
Hey, it could happen. Nobody thought that the first, part-time MEtv would fly, and just look ...

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I started getting RTV from the moment I moved to Athens in May of 2008...and it was still when they had their agreement with Viacom, so they were showing programs like Perry Mason and The Fugitive in the mornings and Mission: Impossible and The Untouchables at night. When RTV and Viacom couldn't come to terms, RTV signed an agreement with MCA-Universal...and while there were a few classic goodies in the mix, a lot of that programming consisted of The A-Team, Knight Rider and Magnum, PI...stuff I didn't watch the first time around. and had no desire to see in repeats.

Mike is kind of on my same wavelength...there seems to be a correlation between the more popular a "nostalgia" cable channel becomes and its programming -- when their audience gets bigger, the programming gets newer. It happened with The Nostalgia Network/GoodLife TV; it happened with Nick at Nite; it happened with TVLand; it happened with RTV. I'm just worried that Me-TV will be next because I think of all the stations that feature the "oldies but goodies" it's the best I've watched.

Mike Doran said...

I seem to be coming to the realization that I'll always have that old/new disconnect when I watch older shows on TV.
I'm old enough to remember these shows in first run - from the '50s forward. When I add up the years, it actually throws me that the color shows from the mid-'60s on are over thirty years old - because I still think of them as "new shows" (mainly because of the color).

A typical disconnect happens when I see a Mission: Impossible from 1966 in close conjunction with a Law & Order from the '90s. I have to make the connection of the tall, dark-haired, highly active spy boss from M:I with the grouchy, slouchy, balding, laid-back boss DA from L&O. Strange, but there they are: Steven Hill, 30-odd years apart, only the voice unchanged.
This is how I know I'm gettin' old.

And how was your week? :-)

Chris Vosburg said...

Mike Doran writes: Strange, but there they are: Steven Hill, 30-odd years apart, only the voice unchanged.

In a different twist on this, I first saw Adventures of Robin Hood when Gilligan's Island was still in its original run, and in my youthful ignorance, marveled at how gracefully Alan Hale had aged in the intervening years.

Well really, [laughing] it was striking how much alike Sr and Jr sounded and looked.