Saturday, February 13, 2016
Unlike his father’s intrepid WW2 generation, this blogger did not fight in The Battle Of The Bulge. Did not even serve tea cakes at the U.S.O.
Then again, EATING tea cakes and losing the admittedly exponentially less titanic struggle against an ever-expanding waistline - kind of like the 1962 New York Mets playing the '62 San Francisco Giants - well, that is quite another matter altogether!
Fitness? Closer to the regimen of Johnny LaRue than exercise guru Jack LaLanne.
The very thought of jumping around in a class recalls The Little Richard Simmons Show, a brutal but funny SNL sketch in which Eddie Murphy sand-blasted exercise programs, TV "sweatin' to the oldies" star Richard Simmons, anyone dealing with weight issues and especially rock n' roller Little Richard.
And there’s also the abject fear of executing John Candy’s maneuver on an exercise bike from Who Is Harry Crumb?
Exploring that subtopic of "if you could be. . . like Little Endorphin Annie", it seems that instructors in exercise videos are too perky and those in the classes invariably way too happy! That said, we get it - if the “Let’s Exercise!” DVD or streaming video is full of miserable bastards, and the class consisted entirely of the dour dwarves who repeat "we're happy to be saaaaaaaaaaad" in Ted Eshbaugh's epic cartoon The Sunshine Makers as a mantra, the result would not be boffo sales.
With the full awareness that Alexander Woolcott, Oscar Levant, Billy DeWolfe or Clifton Webb (in his Laura role as Waldo Lydecker) would not have quite worked as an exercise class leader, unquestionably an ingredient seasoning an exercise video that would be surefire for comedy geeks, 1960's pop music fans and culture vultures in general would be to do exactly what The Monkees - Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith - do at 0:48 of the opening titles of their TV show.
One must resolutely poo-poo the very idea of a spinning class unless it only involves listening to jazz giant Herbie Nichols play The Spinning Song or consists entirely of the following maneuver, seen performed by noted workout junkie Homer Simpson.
The writers of The Simpsons clearly intended Homer's spinning move as a homage to the bit's originator, Jerome "Curly" Howard.
A fast-paced dance class would certainly be a hard sell, but if it was possible to hire this dance instructor. . .
Another strategy that would make yours truly just a tad more copasetic about doing knee lifts and June Taylor Dancers/Rockettes kicks to an exercise video would be to replace any segment in which a perky, smiley AND overly enthusiastic instructor yells WOOOOOOO! with the following routine.
And speaking of bustin' a move, how about hiring whoever taught these two randy sailors the samba!
For the Psychotronic Paul workout video, another surefire exercise routine would be the "choo choo-train" bit - starts at 4:24 - from Tex Avery's Looney Tune cartoon Porky The Wrestler.
Of course, we could just GIVE UP, say "why bother" and watch clips from producer Joe Rock's 1920's slapstick comedy series TON OF FUN instead.
The stars: Frank "Fatty" Alexander, Hilliard "Fat" Carr and Kewpie Ross - three very large and very funny guys.
These are admittedly guilty belly laughs, but laughs, nonetheless.
Monday, February 08, 2016
The 2016 Buster Keaton blogathon, which began on Stupor Bowl Sunday, continues on through today, bringing splendid writing about classic movies as the debates about Broncos vs. Panthers fade into the rear view mirror.
Alas, this blogger could not participate this time around, but a slew of fine writers and historians have contributed top-notch essays for the 2nd Buster Keaton Blogathon.
Here's the lineup:
Big Riot V Squad - Buster Keaton and the Passing Show of 1917
Critica Retro - Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton: when the student surpasses the master
Dinner And A Show (tgreywolfe) - Buster and the Tragic Mask
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. - TV episode - The Awakening
The Lost Laugh - Ghostly Gold & Grand Slams: Buster Keaton At Educational and Keaton & Karl (Buster and Karl Dane)
MIB’s Instant Headache - The Buster Keaton Short Films Collection
MOON IN GEMINI - Seven Chances
MovieFanFare - Three Ages
MovieMovieBlogBlog - Our Hospitality
Nitrate Glow - The Top 10 post-1940s Buster Keaton appearances and a review of Buster Keaton: The Persistence Of Comedy by Imogen Sara Smith.
An Ode to Dust - Doughboys
The Scribe Files - Buster, Italian Style
Second Sight Cinema - Buster Keaton's Most Amazing Stunt
Silent-ology - Thoughts on Le Roi des Champs-Élysées
Silver Screenings - Buster Keaton: The Last Action Hero
Special Purpose Movie Blog - Big Joe Roberts: An Appreciation
thefyuzhe - Favorite Buster Keaton poses
Welcome To My Magick Theatre - The Tintype Daredevil: The Cameraman
We extend respectful tips of the Buster Keaton pork pie hat, Roscoe Arbuckle's derby, Charley Chase's straw boater AND the Max Linder top hat to film historian Lea Stans of Silent-ology for hosting the blogathon.
Sunday, February 07, 2016
This blogger is a sucker for football cartoons and simply MUST watch all of these before the Super Bowl kickoff.
And then there's the Marx Brothers. . .
And then there's that Three Stooges gridiron opus, Three Little Pigskins, that features, in the supporting cast, a very young, platinum blonde Lucille Ball.
And then there's Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. . .
For more, read 50 Funny Football Films on the Travalanche website.
Monday, February 01, 2016
Thursday, January 21, 2016
The long-awaited annual tribute to cinema chiaroscuro, Noir City, returns to San Francisco's palatial Castro Theatre for its 14th edition, starting with some cool Sir Alfred Hitchcock flicks tomorrow night.
This year's theme is The Art Of Darkness and if one spends this existence on Earth as a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker/animator, photographer or painter/illustrator/sculptor, the concept that the act of creation can lead directly to a dangerous, scary place or two (or three) provokes a "yes, indeedy" response.
Eddie Muller, Noir City producer/co-curator, host and Film Arts Foundation head elaborates: "We're expanding the limits of traditional noir to enhance this year's theme. There's always been a dark side to the way The Arts are represented in film, and I thought it would be intriguing to include some unexpected films, like Love Me or Leave Me, The Red Shoes, and Blow-Up, that have trace elements of noir in the way they explore the more treacherous aspects of creativity."
The 2016 Noir City paints from an expansive palette - and, after all, The Picture Of Dorian Gray is part of the festival's lineup. There are films from Sweden (The Girl With Hyacinths), Great Britain (Corridor Of Mirrors) and Argentina (The Bitter Stems a.k.a. Los tallos amargos).
Such famed corrosive noirs as In a Lonely Place and Scarlet Street will be alongside movies from other genres that are characterized by more than a hint of foreboding and dread (and we don't mean natty dread - that's another topic for another post). The festival includes enduring mega-stars Bogie and Stanwyck in The Two Mrs. Carrolls, as well as the ever-versatile actress and future comedy queen Lucille Ball in The Dark Corner.
The Noir City XIV spotlight is on the innovative producer-director-writer Michael Powell, whose highly creative use of color cinematography on the surface differs from the subterranean black & white world of film noir, but whose story choices and themes frequently can be as dark, violent and obsessive as a gun-wielding femme fatale in a Joseph H. Lewis picture.
The last night of the festival will include what this writer considers arguably the single creepiest film ever made - a gritty psychological thriller that makes Hitchcock's movies look like Mary Poppins by comparison - Powell's brilliant, frightening and highly disturbing Peeping Tom.
Who: Host and curator Eddie Muller, a.k.a. The Czar Of Noir
What: Noir City 14: The Heart Of Darkness
When: January 22-31
Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street (at 17th)
Why: Proceeds benefit the splendid film preservation efforts of The Film Noir Foundation - and the fact that Noir City is by far Your Correspondent's favorite film fest (that he doesn't personally provide footage for)
Tickets: Brown Paper Tickets
Info: Noir City website
As with yours truly's KFJC Psychotronix Film Festivals, be there or be oblong - and pass the popcorn, please.
Friday, January 15, 2016
The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum will be paying tribute on Saturday and Sunday to one of the first child stars in movies, Diana Serra Cary, a.k.a. Baby Peggy.
The museum's Baby Peggy Movie Weekend includes her 1924 starring vehicle Captain January (made 12 years before the version starring Shirley Temple), the 1925 Universal film The Family Secret and a documentary on her career, The Elephant In The Room. Funds raised from the Saturday and Sunday shows will help Ms. Cary out with her basic living expenses.
Besides her exploits on the silver screen, Diana Serra Cary is a prolific author and historian who has penned the following splendid and informative books about Hollywood:
- What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy: The Autobiography of Hollywood's Pioneer Child Star
- Jackie Coogan: The World's Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood's Legendary Child Star
- Hollywood's Children: An Inside Account of the Child Star Era
- The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History
With the passings of Barbara Kent, Mickey Rooney and Our Gang's Jean Darling, Ms. Cary, now 97, is also the last person standing who starred in silent films.
The shows hold forth at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's Edison Theater at 37417 Niles Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94536-2949.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
On the heels of the Classic Comedy Festival presented by the Kobe Film Archive last weekend and preceding the Noir City extravaganza later this month comes Saturday's Classic Science Fiction Film Fest at The Rheem Theater on 350 Park Street in Moraga. This year's festival features two of this blogger's favorite films, The Time Machine and When Worlds Collide.
The day of big screen fun will also include classic 1950's time capsules featuring giant bugs and that recurring theme (especially beloved and repeated by Bert I. Gordon) of miniaturization.
The esteemed Lord Blood-Rah will host a program that is sure to be a blast, as well as an opportunity for science fiction and classic movie buffs to hang out. To contact the box office of The Rheem Theater, call (925) 388-0751. Main office: (925) 388-0752.