Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday’s checklist

The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™’s salute to the Whistler film series rolls on this Saturday (September 22) at 10:45am with the fifth movie in the B-movie franchise, Mysterious Intruder (1946)…something I also bring to folks’ attention at the Radio Spirits blogIntruder sort of holds a special place in my classic film heart because it was the first of the Whistler movies I ever glimpsed; back in 1992, I taped it and two other films—The Fortune Cookie (1966) and Go West Young Man (1936)—off of The Movie Channel thanks to a preview weekend, and after watching Intruder I knew I had to see the rest of them.  It was also the last of the Whistler flicks directed by William Castle, who as you know went on to gimmicky film glory with movies like Macabre (1958) and 13 Ghosts (1960).

Intruder’s a nice little entry in the franchise—interesting plot, and some appearances from character faves like Mike Mazurki and Kathleen Howard…she has a nice bit here as a sinister woman who agrees to keep tabs on the woman in peril (Pamela Blake), and it’s a far cry from the comedic matron roles she played in such W.C. Fields films as It’s a Gift (1934) and Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935).  Brent McKee fave Barton MacLane is also in the cast—his role here as a police detective is certainly nothing new on his resume, but he’s partnered with Charles Lane…whom I don’t remember ever playing a cop before (he’s usually the guy who’s about to foreclose on your mortgage).  There’s no Jungle Queen connections here, as I’ve witnessed in past Whistler vehicles, but a player from The Green Hornet does turn up in a bit part…

That’s Selmer Jackson on the left (with Pamela Blake on the right), whom you’ll remember played the ineffectual District Attorney in two installments of the Har-nut chapter play.  In other serial news…

…Stacia fave Regis Toomey is there on the left, who is currently co-starring as the indestructible G-Man Jim Daly in her write-ups of The Phantom Creeps (1939).  The gentleman on the right is Arthur Space, whom you might recognize (though he was a lot younger) as the Hollywood producer repeatedly pestered by pedantic county clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson) in the Mayberry Mondays episode, “Palm Springs Cowboy.”

Speaking of Stacia—this segueway stuff just clings to me, does it not?—her Camp & Cult Blogathon is in full swing at She Blogged by Night from September 17 through 28; the first of what (I hope) will be many TDOY contributions was posted early this morning, and while I originally had planned for the movies showcased to be thoughtful pieces of film criticism (he said, puffing on his pipe) a package of free swag from the generous folks at VCI Entertainment has irrevocably changed the course of where TDOY’s participation will go.  Included in the box o’swag were several DVDs of the company’s Scream Theater, which allows them to do double features of horror movies that may not have been necessarily clasped to most critics’ bosoms.  (Oy…I have to stop writing sentences like that.)  What I’m trying to say in the politest way possible is that these collections contain a great deal of gouda, and while blogging about horror movies isn’t my particular bailiwick (well, unless they’re in black-and-white) I’m going to give it the old college try for good ol’ Stacia U.  I hope to have the next one up by tomorrow evening.

This past Saturday, I arranged to have the blog’s weekly Serial Saturdays entry finished early in order to enjoy INSP’s The High Chaparral marathon, which started at 1pm.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have rather hazy memories of the show (other than Linda Cristal…who is anything but hazy if you get my meaning and I’m sure that you do) so I was curious to check out a few episodes…and was very pleased that I did.  It’s definitely a series to plan a schedule around—very ahead of its time and far superior (I’m going to get some grief about this, I know) to executive producer David Dortort’s better-known creation, Bonanza.  It is isn’t perfect—World O’Crap’s Scott C. was right on the money when he posited that the “Billy Blue” character no doubt took the short buckboard to school—but I was pleasantly surprised at how mature the show was, particularly in the relationships between the characters.  I had kicked around the idea of whipping up a big honkin’ blog post on the subject…but my friend Laura at Miscellaneous Musings was there first, so I’ll let her do the heavy lifting (it really is a splendid piece).

In other parts of the blogosphere, the True Classics gang (get them, with the new domain and everything!) are doing a series of animation posts this week to commemorate the centennial birthday of Charles M. (Chuck) Jones, Esq. this September 21st.  Several posts on the man who both created the Road Runner and reminded us that it’s rabbit season (duck season!) will be featured this week…plus a chance to win fabulous prizes!

This week, one lucky reader will win the Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection, Volumes 1 and 2, on DVD! Together, these compilations feature 58 of the best and most entertaining shorts to come out of animation’s Golden Age, starring such popular characters as Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Pepe Le Pew, Sylvester and Tweety, and many more! The sets include a number of Chuck Jones-helmed cartoons–including what many consider the best animated short ever produced, 1957′s What’s Opera, Doc?–among many more memorable classics. These discs are a great way to start or supplement your personal animation library (and I can tell you, my sets get broken out for frequent viewings around here!).

All you have to do to be entered into the drawing for these DVDs is to leave a comment on any of the Chuck Jones pieces that will be posted here at True Classics between tomorrow (Monday, September 17th) and Saturday (September 22nd). And yes, you can increase your odds to win by commenting on multiple entries. The winner will be notified on Sunday, September 23rd, and will have forty-eight hours to respond before another winner is drawn. Note: this contest is for residents of the United States and Canada only (apologies, international readers!).

I won’t be entering this, only because I already own copies of the two sets (they get broken out for frequent viewings around Rancho Yesteryear, too) but I thought some of you cartooners out there might be interested in entering.  One of Brandie’s animated essays is even featured over at Wonders in the Dark’s Comedy Countdown.

Well, I’ve got a few minutes till the end of the post so let’s get a few Classic TV-on-DVD announcements out of the way…the Warner Archive released the second season of Medical Center to MOD DVD yesterday (September 18), and I keep telling myself that as soon as I turn in those pop bottles I collected with Robert Blake and Scott Wilson I’m going to invest some of the scratch in these sets.  I was a big fan of Center back in the day—preferred it to the other medical series on at the same time, Marcus Welby, M.D. (though I did watch both…but then I watched practically everything then).  These Center sets are still a little on the pricey side—Season 2 is a 6-disc collection containing 24 episodes with a sticker price of $49.95 SRP—so perhaps it’s a good thing I’m holding back.

CBS DVD-Paramount has some good news for us fans of the dean of TV westerns—they’ll be rushing out the first volume of Gunsmoke’s seventh season before Christmas with a 5-disc collection that will no doubt contain half of that year’s thirty-four episodes.  The set will be released on December 11th, but no SRP has been announced yet (and I’m too tired to make any “arm-and-a-leg” jokes).  I still haven’t picked up both volumes of Season 6 (and probably won’t until things themselves pick up around these parts) yet, and technically I have all the seven season episodes on DVD when I recorded them off Encore Westerns (I’m only missing one, which for some reason was never put into the rotation).  But I am a fan of the show—in fact, I always preferred the hour-long episodes to the half-hours, which I thought were done better on radio—and I’ll no doubt make the purchase in time to indoctrinate my nephew into the joys of Gunsmoke.

The other big news on CBS-Paramount’s plate is that also on that same date (December 11) the company is planning to release all nine seasons of Mission: Impossible in a big honkin’ collection shaped like a stick of dynamite.  (Yeah, that was kind of my reaction, too—I could see somebody grouping Looney Tunes cartoons that way, but…well, anyway…)  “Nine seasons” includes the show’s original 1966-73 run and the 1988-90 revival series…and since I already have all the 7 season sets (you can have the revival—the only episode I would be interested in is the one where Greg Morris’ character guest stars) I guess this is one stick of TNT I can take a pass on.  It’s priced at $379.99 SRP (for 56 discs), and you can probably find it online somewhere cheaper—the 56th disc is supposed to have some bodacious extras talked about here…but really, what else can you offer people unless it’s all the AIG spots Peter Graves did?  Still, for those who haven’t purchased any of the show’s seasons it’s nice to have it in a big bundle of…no, I’m still having trouble with that dynamite thing. 


Brandie said...

Ivan, many thanks for the mention of our Chuck Jones-apolooza over at the blog! And yes, we are quite enjoying our new joint--it is quite spiffy. :D

Laura said...

Ivan, thank you so much for the link and the very kind words. I'm so enthused about this show, having spent time revisiting it over the last few days, so I hope more folks will find and enjoy it thanks to our combined posts! And if you ever want to write on it, I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on the topic.

Best wishes,