Saturday, November 27, 2010

Psychotronic Paul's Post-Turkey Day Activity

Since I consider shopping about as fun as a colonoscopy sans anesthesia, my immediate post-turkey day activity invariably devolves into passive, slack-jawed television viewing - even if it is watching Richard Pryor clips from Live At The Sunset Strip and Live In Concert on YouTube.

Here's a meditation on that "watching TV" concept from Cinema Insomnia, concept by horror host Mr. Lobo; music, design and vintage film clips by Psychotronic Scott Moon; lead vocals by the king of commercial jingles (as well as 1960's bubblegum pop: The Archies, The Cuff Links, etc.), Ron Dante; inspiration by Creature Features,
The Banana Splits, misunderstood movies and the cheesy re-use of animated chase scenes in Scooby Doo - Where Are You!.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My New Favorite Song

This has become my favorite song from post-Production Code Of 1934 musicals - take it, Yacht Club Boys!

And, dear readers, I ask that, for the sake of historical integrity, make a point of shouting WOO-WOO whenever the phrase is sung here!



Also duly noted in this clip from Pigskin Parade, a 1936 Fox musical in which 14 year old songstress Frances Gumm, A.K.A. Judy Garland, made her feature film debut: Jack "The Tin Man" Haley, brassy (and in the right roles hilarious) comedienne Patsy Kelly, Betty Grable as the ingenue and silent-era Our Gang stalwart Johnny Downs as the big man on campus.

While Garland, admittedly, is a legend, how do I know about The Yacht Club Boys? When I worked for a classic film distributor back in the 1980's, I screened two very entertaining early talkie era Paramount one-reelers, On The High Cs and Deep "C" Melodies, which alternated the boys' novelty tunes with equally witty, double-entendre filled numbers sung by Broadway star Frances Williams (my favorite was "Let's Don't And Say We Did"). I wondered why these films didn't make the cut for Kino Video's Hollywood Rhythm release and would love to see them turn up on DVD sometime.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Burt Bacharach Day

Burt Bacharach and Hal David, interviewed on May 5, 2010 for the Fresh Air show.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Psychotronic Paul's Quote Of The Day

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

- Bertrand Russell

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Classic Movie Events: Vern N' Clubfoot


Vernon Dent (1895-1963), from Good Morning, Eve!

Only momentarily satiated with trailers from misunderstood movies, today this blog plugs classic movie events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While too late to mention last night's screening of From Here To Eternity at the fabulous Paramount Theatre, I would be remiss to not say anything about this weekend's classic film events : Vern and the return of Clubfoot Orchestra.

Vern refers to the hard-working and prolific character actor Vernon Dent, who gets a long overdue spotlight in
tonight's 7:30p.m. show at the Edison Theatre in the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.



Author Bill Cassara will be on hand to sign copies of his new biography of the talented and underrated Mr. Dent. As Bill's Edgar Kennedy bio was an entertaining read, I look forward to his latest tome.

While Vernon Dent is best known as the "sultan of scorn" and ill-fated authority figure from more Three Stooges comedies than a sober mathematician can count (and it seems like Dent and fellow Columbia 2-reeler mainstay Bud Jamison pretty much appeared in every 1920's and 1930's comedy short ever made), his career dated back to the silent era. At
Mack Sennett's Fun Factory and other studios, he filled in wherever, however, whenever anyone needed a foil. a heavy, a comedian, straight man, or character role, in a way that recalls the very different but equally versatile Phil Hartman in more recent memory. His two decade screen partnership and offscreen friendship with Harry Langdon, the most startlingly original and fearless of 1920's movie stars, arguably deserves a book in itself.

Clubfoot refers to the
Clubfoot Orchestra, who have been providing original, non-traditional accompaniment for silent movies for more than two decades. I attended the ensemble's 1993 Memorial Day Weekend marathon at the Castro Theatre and was so impressed by the unorthodox blend of 1920's images with genre-busting modern sounds (drawing upon klezmer, classical, swing, reggae, rock, Frank Zappa, blues, ultra-lounge, bebop, show tunes, you name it) that I subsequently hired Clubfoot stalwart Beth Custer to team up with multi-instrumentalist Ralph Carney for several extravaganzas of silent animation and surrealist mayhem.

Clubfoot Orchestra returns to the Castro to perform with Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr and hallucinatory German Expressionist classics Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu tomorrow,
November 14.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yet More Trailers From Bad - I Mean Misunderstood - Films

To brazenly and shamelessly purloin a phrase from Mr. Lobo of Cinema Insomnia, "they're not bad films - just misunderstood."









Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson: The Amazing Criswell

Yes, not all that fresh from Criswell's star turn in Plan 9 From Outer Space, A.K.A. The Magnificent Ambersons of B-movie auteur Edward D. Wood, Junior: a film that manages to be entertaining, incoherent and a textbook case of critic Andrew Sarris' auteur theory.



The amazing one appeared on one of this blogger's all-time favorite television programs, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (note Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog thanks, grovels and genuflects before whoever posted this clip, since television history - thanks to the fact that stations, always looking at that business bottom line, taped over damn near everything to save money - was neither preserved for posterity or posterior).



Alas, it could be argued that Criswell's fortunes did not exactly skyrocket after a stint hobnobbing with Johnny on The Tonight Show. Here is the amazing one's next gig: the introduction to the mind-numbingly inept entry in the "nudie horror" genre Orgy Of The Dead (1965 - screenplay by Ed Wood).



We can only hope that some conscientious film archivist will find, buried inside the same deep, dark cool cave that contains complete, pristine 35mm nitrate prints of Tod Browning's London After Midnight, F.W. Murnau's 4 Devils and Emile Cohl's "The Newlyweds" cartoons, a stack of ultra-rare kinescopes featuring Sid Caesar, Steve Allen and, of course, Ernie Kovacs.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Trailers From Ed Wood Movies

As your correspondent is dealing with jet lag and a full week of fighting a losing battle with "gravel pit" throat - persistent cough - fatigue - general bleccchness (as well as the happier problem of prolonged astonishment over the 2010 Giants' World Series victory), he is yet again way, way too damn lazy to write much of anything.

That said, here are theatrical trailers plugging the entertainingly execrable "cinema on a shoestring"- invariably sans the possession of an actual shoestring - of Edward D. Wood, Jr.







Can you "top" those trailers? Er. . .uh. . . in a strong effort to at least equal them in sheer WTF value, here's Bela Lugosi, waxing poetic in Wood's Citizen Kane, the 1953 opus Glen Or Glenda, A.K.A. I Changed My Sex.



The barrage of bizarreness continues with the worst starring performance by a guy in drag - including The Milton Berle Show - from Glen Or Glenda, sometimes known as Look Back In Angora.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Congratulations 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants

The 56 year wait at long last is OVER - congratulations to the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants!




Culminating a wonderful and improbable season, the San Francisco Giants clinched the championship by winning Game 5 against the mighty Texas Rangers (led by big bopper Josh Hamilton and pitching stalwart Cliff Lee - and managed by Ron Washington, well known in the Northern California as the Oakland A's third base coach/baseball guru for more than a decade) by a score of 3-1. 2010 World Series Most Valuable Player Edgar Renteria, previously one serious tormentor of the Giants as a member of the 1997 World Champion Florida Marlins and 2004 National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals, smacked a three-run homer to seal the deal.



The afterglow is sweet for long-suffering Bay Area fans, as three San Francisco Giants World Series appearances ended in heartbreak. They lost in 1962 to the New York Yankees (and specifically a superb, acrobatic play by second baseman Bobby Richardson to spear a screaming line drive by Hall Of Famer Willie McCovey), got swept a pitching-rich and powerful juggernaut of an Oakland A's team in the 1989 "Bay Bridge" series (quite literally delayed by the Loma Prieta earthquake) and were beaten in humiliating fashion after a 3-2 World Series lead by a combination of timely hitting by the California Angels and a painful Giants pitching meltdown.

And don't get us "orange and black" fans started on the years when the Giants enjoyed superb regular seasons only to either get eliminated during the regular season's final weekend (1982, 1993, 2001, 2004) or lose in the Round One of the playoffs (1971, 1987, 2003). Arguably the mightiest of all the Giants teams, the 1993 squad (103 wins, 59 losses), which featured a lineup led by Barry Bonds, Will Clark and Matt Williams, were edged out on Game 162 by the sole team with a better record in MLB, the 104-58 Atlanta Braves.

Without a doubt, this World Series victory is especially sweet for the many stellar players who have worn the Giants uniform.



To quote the article by John Schlegel regarding today's parade in San Francisco on MLB.COM

"The Giants are getting ready to party like it's 1958.

The parade route taken when the Giants were first welcomed to The City by the Bay will be used once again, this time when the World Series trophy is welcomed to City Hall.

The parade will conclude on the steps of City Hall, where Mayor Gavin Newsom will present the team with the key to the city.

The Giants clinched the first World Series title since the team moved to San Francisco in 1958 with a 3-1 victory over the Rangers on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, with ace Tim Lincecum throwing eight innings and Brian Wilson -- sporting his best "Fear the Beard" facial hair -- sealing the deal in the ninth inning.

No doubt, there will be plenty of beards among the fans on the parade route -- men, women and children. Also, figure on a lot of references on signs to torture, the team's unofficial theme for the year after dozens of close games and agonizing defeats steeled their will to win into the postseason.

They'll be there by the thousands to honor the Freak and the rest of the pitching staff that took the trophy one zero at a time, to cheer Aubrey Huff and his red rally thong, to bask once more in the postseason heroics of World Series MVP Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe and Cody Ross.

Figure on an orange river flowing through the streets of San Francisco.

The last time San Francisco hosted a sports parade of this magnitude was in 1995, when the city celebrated the fifth Super Bowl title won by the 49ers of the National Football League.

This time, an unlikely mix of homegrown talent, outcasts and misfits will be honored along a parade route in downtown San Francisco, carrying a very special item the city has waited since 1958 to bring home:

The World Series trophy."