Sunday, November 29, 2009

Boris Karloff Blogathon Ends Today

The Boris Karloff Blogathon started a few days ago, bringing forth throngs of scholarly and well-written tributes - I especially like what John McElwee posted on his exceptional Greenbriar Picture Shows blog, both on November 23 and in his 2006 Karloff tribute - to the icon of Universal and AIP terror.

Here's Boris, in his element as host of the early 1960's Gothic horror-suspense-spook story-noir anthology series, Thriller. Imagine, in 1961 one could watch Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Thriller back-to-back on freakin' network television!




A tribute that Boris' daughter, Sara, presented at the Balboa Theatre a few years back included a splendid home movie clip of the horror movie icon making funny faces in full Frankenstein makeup; this, to me, capsulized just why we like this guy so much - and was also the funniest thing I had seen along these lines since Karloff's classic Butter-Nut Coffee commercial and the episode of The Jack Benny Program in which Peter Lorre sings "I Want A Gal Just Like The Gal That Buried Dear Old Dad".

Those glimpses of wry humor were, with his willingness to tackle
varied genres and mediums (radio, film, recordings, voice-overs for animation, television shows and ads) among the reasons why Boris pulled off that rarity in show biz, a lengthy and rewarding career, while both embracing and transcending the inevitable typecasting that comes with scary movie stardom.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009 From Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog

No matter how thankful one is, everyone can use a laugh. Here are quite a few, courtesy of Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and their crews of ace animators at Warner Brothers.


Looney Toons - Bugs Bunny 189 - Bugs Bunny's... by jomjul-supafreak

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lillian Roth, 1934

Here's a bit from Story Conference (1934), a far better Vitaphone musical short than the one I posted a couple of days ago. This peppy production number stars the fabulous singer-dancer-comedienne Lillian Roth as "Little Alimony Sal".

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nothing Ever Happens

Since Warner Archive has just issued a 6-DVD box set of Vitaphone musical shorts (about which I will scout around for discount deals online), that gives me an excuse to post a 1933 Vitaphone two-reeler.

This mini-sendup of Grand Hotel has a few fun moments, mostly involving gratuitous high-kicking showgirls. Granted, this is not as anywhere near as glorious as the "Grand Mills Hotel" feature-length spoof concept Buster Keaton pitched to Irving Thalberg (which, alas, was rejected, very likely by Louis B. Mayer). And even considering that the hilarious Lyda Roberti, at that time starring in feature films, was not cast as "Madam" and that neither Vernon Dent nor Lupino Lane are among the leads, this remains a diverting bit of early 1930's fluff.






Vitaphone musical shorts were issued in the 1990's briefly on laserdisc and didn't sell, so classic movie buffs, support this endeavor and enable more stuff from the vaults to get restored and released on DVD! Supposedly, plans are in the works for further restorations of 1920's and early 1930's Vitaphone short subjects.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How To Yodel

While I have no idea where Weirdo Video found this footage from the Hadley's Town Hall Party TV show, it definitely features the best yodeling I've seen other than Republic Pictures western and 50's television star Roy Rogers.



Do any of this blog's readers know anything about the strummin', yodelin' vocalist in this clip, Diane Jur (pardon me - I have difficulty understanding the Hadley Town Hall Party host's introduction)? She sings, yodels and plays the acoustic guitar with panache and would appear to be a contemporary of Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson. The honky tonk style pianist is good, too.

And, speaking of Patsy Cline, also a quite capable yodeler. . .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bay Area Sports News Flashes by Paul F. Etcheverry

The Golden State Warriors traded Monta Ellis to the Memphis Grizzlies for a bologna sandwich, with bologna to be named later. Coach Don Nelson is currently publicly humiliating two pieces of Wonder Bread. Team President Robert Rowell is at Retro Fit Vintage getting properly fitted for a Napoleon-style commandant outfit. Owner Chris Cohan is on his knees thanking God for Al Davis.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lowe, Hite & Stanley, 1945

Here's a clip which emphatically illustrates why vaudeville died. Still, I've thought about obtaining this Soundie to spring on an unsuspecting KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival or Lobo-tronic Show audience (hmmmm . . . must be my Andy Kaufman-esque desire to watch people squirm). The tall guy has a couple of nice double-jointed dance movies towards the end, but admittedly, this doesn't hold a candle to Reg Kehoe And The Marimba Queens, let alone such iconic risqué Soundies as Row Row Row.



Could these guys have been openers for Bert Lahr and Joe Frisco? Maybe, but they were certainly lower on the bill than both boxers-turned-comedians Mitchell & Durant and the toy poodle act.