Monday, December 26, 2022
It's December 26, Boxing Day! My favorite way to celebrate both Premier League Soccer and HAPPY FISTICUFFS DAY is with classic comedy. Chaplin the reluctant pugilist in CITY LIGHTS works for me!
How do we follow Chaplin? With the great movie comedy teams of yore, beginning with Laurel & Hardy in ANY OLD PORT (1932).
What Boxing Day entertainment can equal Laurel & Hardy? Our pals, The Three Stooges, who actually get story credit on the following, their second Columbia 2-reeler, PUNCH DRUNKS (1934).
PUNCH DRUNKS emphatically illustrates what Stooge-o-philes have long suspected, that Curly Howard's prodigious comedy talent was held substantially in check by how he, Moe and Larry were subservient as Ted Healy's Stooges. The break with Healy, who is terrific in such feature films as SAN FRANCISCO and HOLLYWOOD HOTEL, worked out well for all concerned.
For some reason, spending Boxing Day with The Three Stooges brings to mind Warner Brothers cartoons. Turns out there were actually Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies featuring boxing matches very early on, long before the Termite Terrace days.
There, in the screen credits of this 1932 Looney Tune, is the guy who worked on more WB cartoons than anybody, Friz Freleng.
The following Merrie Melodie, COUNT ME OUT, is a tie with BARS & STRIPES FOREVER as the best cartoon made by the directing duo of Ben "Bugs" Hardaway and Cal Dalton.
For some reason, this blogger finds the ever-cheerful yet unbelievably clueless Egghead, distinguished by his "Joe Penner" voice, to be weirdly endearing.
Not to be outdone, Chuck Jones took on Marquis Of Queensberry rules and brought Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd into the ring in TO DUCK OR NOT TO DUCK.
Never to be outdone, a few years later Chuck Jones and crew produced the boxing cartoon to end all boxing cartoons - Bugs Bunny in RABBIT PUNCH, a perennial favorite of this blog.
At Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog, every year, the ceremonial December 26 blog entry shall feature the 1929 Fox comedy short subject Waltzing Around.
Waltzing Around stars the darkest, zaniest and most unpredictable of all movie comedy teams, Bobby Clark & Paul McCullough.
It's among only two existing examples of the team's 1928-1929 series for Fox.
All conventions involving boxing sequences in comedy films are turned upside-down, and the results are hilarious.
Paul McCullough has much more to do in Waltzing Around than he does in the team's subsequent RKO series, and, not surprisingly, he is very funny!
We sincerely hope more of Clark & McCullough's 1928-1929 Fox comedies turn up.
Happy Boxing Day!
Friday, December 23, 2022
Sending best wishes for a very Merry Christmas - and a Happy Hanukkah and Colossal Kwannzaaa - bringing 2022 to a close just right, with family and friends.
Season's Greetings commence with some of our favorite holiday season tunes.
The holidays can be great, but they can also be rough, especially for those who lost family members and friends at Christmas time. The first holiday season without a lost loved one can be gut-wrenching.
Strongly suggest finding a copy on vinyl or CD of this classic 1956 Capitol Records Xmas compilation album (or at least reconstructing its contents via YouTube) to. Even in a difficult year, music will make the spirit bright!
The splendid music of Capitol Records Xmas (Frank, Nat, Dino, Les Paul & Mary Ford and more) goes along quite nicely with traditional Yuletide liquid assistance - and, of course, good company!
Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog wishes all a Merry Christmas with 1960's toy ads!
How do you wish all a Merry Christmas? Of course, with a few apropo and inevitable Yuletide film clips.
Binge-watching comedy is a good way to celebrate the holidays!
For some reason, Bob & Doug McKenzie's 12 Days Of Great White North Christmas gets me ROFL every time.
And, speaking of SCTV, what would Christmas be without Johnny LaRue!
Or Mayor Tommy Shanks!
In closing, here are two standup comedy routines by Patton Oswalt. The first is a rather unconventional look at "Christmas Time Is Here" by David Seville & The Chipmunks.
The second Patton Oswalt routine, extremely NSFW but hilarious, has been made into the following animated film. The topic? What is hands-down, the worst, the absolute worst Christmas-related song ever: the unrelentingly dreadful "Christmas shoes." The animation deftly illustrates Patton's descriptions of the content and utter loathesome-ness of the "Christmas Shoes" song.
How is it possible to follow Patton Oswalt? Hmmmm - how about HOORAY FOR SANTY CLAUS from Santa Claus Conquers The Martians?
Ah, darn - after seeing that, simply must watch the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode featuring Santa Claus Conquers The Martians in its entirety.
Merry Christmas and Cool Yule, everybody!
Thursday, December 15, 2022
This Sunday, December 18, silent era animation expert and showman Tommy José Stathes of The Bray Animation Project presents his last cinematic Cartoon Carnival extravaganza of 2022 at Rubulad in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
The all-16mm Cartoon Carnival returns, with a special Yuletide program.
Shows will be at 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. that will bring pen-and-ink magic to the holiday season.
Sunday's program, We Want Santa! is a fundraiser for the Cartoon Carnival Recovery Fund.
Tommy José Stathes elaborates: "DO YOUR LAST MINUTE XMAS SHOPPING WITH US! - we'll have various goodies for sale—such as DVDs, collectible enamel pins (Betty Boop, Gumby, Koko the Clown, and others!)
Additional swag includes brand new cartoon character t-shirts in various sizes!
This will be the perfect opportunity for you to grab some last minute stocking stuffers and to support our film series at the same time."
For more info, go to Cartoons On Film and/or Tommy José.com.
Now, as far as those last-second stocking stuffers go - and, no, the 2023 Rolls-Royce will not be among them - at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog, we'll delve into the latest and greatest books about classic movies and animation. One stellar tome by Keith Scott has been covered enthusiastically here - and it bears repeating, his 2-volume work on Cartoon Voices Of The Golden Age 1930-1970 (Animation and Radio) is AMAZING.
Jerry Beck covers quite a few of the favorite books about animation by Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog in his My Way Overdue 2022 Book Reviews piece on Cartoon Research.
There are also two books on silents the gang at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog love. One is an outstanding biography, ten years in the making, of the great movie comedienne Marion Davies, by Lara Gabrielle.
In such classic late silents as The Red Mill, The Patsy and Show People, Davies proved a frequently inspired mimic and comic actress.
Miss Davies followed The Patsy and Show People by bringing her considerable comedy chops and joie de vivre into talkies in such 1930's films as Peg O' My Heart, Blondie Of The Follies and It's A Wise Child.
Lara has done a terrific job tracing the life and times of an inspired and very funny comedienne who remains better known as the mistress of publisher-magnate William Randolph Hearst than as a notable actress in movies.
The other incredible book, Lame Brains & Lunatics Volume 2, the latest by silver screen comedy expert Steve Massa explores the nooks and crannies of silent era comedy films.
The author of Lame Brains And Lunatics: The Good, The Bad And The Forgotten Of Silent Comedy, Slapstick Divas: The Women Of Silent Comedy, Marcel Perez: The International Mirthmaker, Rediscovering Roscoe: The Films Of "Fatty" Arbuckle - and co-star of YouTube's Silent Comedy Watch Party - has done it again.
Lame Brains And Lunatics 2: More Good, The Bad And The Forgotten Of Silent Comedy is yet another treasure trove of classic movie research, a Super Bowl - World Series - NBA - NHL Finals of screen comedy scholarship that also turns out to be a great read. . . and a Buy This Book proposition.
We raise the goblet, toast all of you and all the luminaries mentioned in this post. Prost!
To all reading Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog, it's a Christmas season Prost! (Proust?)
Sunday, December 04, 2022
The KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival returns to Foothill College this Saturday. Against all odds, we are back for our 30th Anniversary Show!
As fate would have it, the guys who produce this extravaganza, curators du jour Sci Fi Bob Ekman, Paul F. Etcheverry and Scott Moon, will be on KFJC plugging the heck out of it from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday evening!
On hand: our distinctive hallucinatory excursion through the irritated bowels of popular culture.
This includes 1950's commercials, phantasmagorical and forgotten animated cartoons, Z-movie trailers, Pre-Code musical excerpts, monster movie clips, oddball TV shows and, of course, bloopers.
Also on the bill: whatever unintentionally funny educational or advertising films and the campiest of uber-campy musical shorts (Soundies, Snader Telescriptions and especially Scopitones).
It's that time of year, so we'll run whatever cheesy Christmas films we can find.
In other words, we proudly present yet another freewheeling improvised program of questionable entertainment, a veritable winter harvest of pop culture mayhem.
When: Saturday, December 10, 2022 at 7:00 PM
Where: Room 5015, Foothill College campus
12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills (El Monte exit off 280)
Why: We like cheesy movies.
How Much? $5 Donation Benefits KFJC.
Parking: Lot #5 and Rumor has it that there will be Free Parking!
Public Transit: Cal Train and VTA
Info: Foothill College Transportation & Parking.
Arrive early, as the shows often sell out. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
Be seeing you!
KFJC "listen & obey" poster by Judy Zillen. "Greetings from the Psychotronix Film Festival" postcard by Scott Moon. KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival "Evolution" graphic by Sci Fi Bob Ekman.
Sunday, November 27, 2022
Much of this blog over the past 15+ years has been devoted to plugging screenings. Love classic movies, so am quite pleased to finish 2022 going to actual public screenings. Movie events we love in Northern California and have promoted repeatedly here: silent movies at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, the Psychotronix Film Festival, Noir City and San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The Psychotronix shows, at Foothill College and the Orinda Theatre, express a love of film humor, intentional and unintentional, in all its forms
After experiencing an extended period that included a year of lockdown and NO SCREENINGS, ZERO, NONE (!!!) for way too long, it boggles the mind that there are actually two classic film events in one geographic area on the same day.
Next Saturday A Day Of Silents plays the Castro Theatre while the Psychotronix Film Festival presents its 2022 Christmas show at the Orinda Theatre. Here’s a cool trailer promoting the latter. . .
Now, in all honesty, the guy who writes this blog co-founded the KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival with Sci Fi Bob Ekman and KFJC’s intrepid movie soundtrack expert Robert Emmett back in 1992.
Bob Wilkins/Creature Features historian and publisher of Planet X magazine Scott Moon of Cinema Insomnia joined the merry band of psychotronic 16mm purveyors in 1997.
After yours truly moved to upstate New York, Sci Fi Bob and Scott have carried on and continue to carry on the Psychotronix spirit and brand with a series of shows at the Orinda Theatre, beginning in 2016.
I'm very proud of the work I did with Sci Fi Bob and Scott, both talented, knowledgeable, resourceful and inspired film collector/curator/programmers.
We shall return to Foothill College for the 30th Anniversary KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival on December 10!
Also on December 3, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents A Day Of Silents at San Francisco's Castro Theatre.
There will be tributes to Sessue Hayakawa in The Cheat, Anna May Wong in The Toll Of The Sea, and the new SFSFF/Cinématheque Française restoration of the 1921 film Pour Don Carlos starring Parisian producer-director-scriptwriter-actress Musidora.
Hands-down, our favorite from A Day Of Silents is Marion Davies and William Haines in King Vidor's Show People.
The tribute to Davies, the great movie comedienne of silents and early talkies, will be introduced by biographer Lara Gabrielle, author of Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies.
If you are a blog reader geographically in the greater San Francisco Bay Area on December 3, we suggest doing both events - first checking out the early shows of A Day Of Silents.
And then, it's time to head for the Orinda Theatre to see the Christmas Psychotronix.
In closing, we note that the excellent Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum has re-opened and is doing programs every other Saturday at the Edison Theater!