Saturday, April 30, 2016

Moontide (1942) Part I: An introduction

After writing about Ida Lupino's role in "The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine," I realized I knew very little about her and wanted to learn more about this intriguing lady and see more of her films. I was surprised to discover that I had already seen her in two films, Search For Beauty and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but had not recognized her as the actress I knew from the Twilight Zone episode I had seen many years prior.
Ida Lupino and Buster Crabbe in Search for Beauty.

Adventures with Nigel Bruce and Basil Rathbone.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention also seeing her fantastic TV appearance as evil-doing swinger, Dr. Cassandra, in the penultimate episode of the Batman TV series from the 1960s. I have also seen television episodes she directed from Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone, but have yet to see a film she has directed, which I'll be seeking out next. You can learn more about Ida in this documentary.

Super cool Ida with then groovy hubby, Howard Duff.

After searching for movies with Ida Lupino,

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

TV Time Portal: Lost in Space or Batman?

On Wednesday, April 27, 1966, TV kids were faced with a difficult choice. At 7:30 pm, they had to choose to watch the last episode in the first season of Lost In Space, "Follow the Leader," or Batman, which was airing the 31st episode of the season, "Death in Slow Motion." Since Batman would be showing the second part the next night, and was ending its first season the following week, I suspect most youngsters chose to watch Lost In Space and flip over to Batman during the commercial breaks. The choice was between seeing if possessed Father Robinson would push Will off a cliff, or watching the Riddler make a silent movie with the help of lovely Sherry Jackson, which also included past silent film star, Francis X. Bushman, in the cast. Nowadays most children have access to some sort of recording mechanism so they don't have to contend with such choices.


1966 was a good year to be a TV kid, with shows like Lost in Space, Bewitched, Batman, Get Smart, and Star Trek to keep a youngster tied to the tube. It was certainly a magical time, and I will be celebrating the 50 year anniversaries with episodes from some of the TV series of this year. It's possible that some strange TV time portal will open up by watching these episodes on the same day and same time they originally aired. Fire up these episodes at 7:30 pm tonight and see if it happens. Which episode will you choose?


Monday, April 25, 2016

Mountain of Movies: Making a Media Cabinet

Has this ever happened to you? I'm referring to the photo and not the horrible overuse of alliteration in the title.

Perhaps you find yourself enjoying a performance by an actor or actress, causing you to seek out other films with the favored thespian, and suddenly you find there is no more room on your shelves and movies are spreading across the floor or amassing in great looming towers that are sure to topple when the next quake hits. You tell yourself that you truly must stop buying more movies, but you know it's not going to happen because those missing film noirs have been found, there are still a few Hitchcocks you do not yet own, and classics you didn't even know existed with your most cherished actors or directors continue to be released. You wonder how many more media storage units can possibly fit in your domicile. What's an insatiable movie fan to do?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Getting Schooled in Hollywood History
Click on this image to learn more about the course.
I have always loved movies, but it's only been within the past decade that I've become an avid classic movie fan, and have really begun to pay attention to all the players that come together to make a movie. The long list of credits that roll by were once something I ignored. I was interested in the movie stars, but not the writers, directors or composers. There is still much I don't know about the workings of Hollywood, so when I came across this edX course, "Hollywood: History, Industry, Art," I was intrigued, and decided to enroll. Hooray for Hollywood!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Merrie Melodies Short: Hollywood Steps Out (1941)

Directed by Tex Avery
Music by Carl Stalling
Original Release Date: May 24, 1941
Voices by Kent Rogers, Dave Barry, Mel Blanc, Sara Berner

There is nothing quite so nostalgic for me as watching Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoon shorts and fondly remembering Saturday mornings with the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner show.


I recently acquired the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection DVDs and found that these were not the cartoons I remembered watching 30+ years ago. These cartoons had beautiful, vibrant color and far more gun suicides, drinking, smoking and racial and ethnic caricatures than I recalled. I discovered that what I had always thought of as my Saturday morning childhood routine had once been the added attraction at the movie theater in the 1930s through 1960s, and were initially intended for adult viewing.

"Hollywood Steps Out" is an amusing cartoon that pokes fun at the celebrities of the day, and is entertaining for the classic movie fan to try to identify the stars and understand the subtle jokes. Watch this cartoon here and see how many famous folks you can name before reading further.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Twilight Zone: The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine (1959)

Season 1 Episode 4
Director: Mitchell Leisen
Writer: Rod Serling
Stars: Rod Serling, Ida Lupino, Martin Balsam
Music by: Franz Waxman

Barbara Jean Trenton (Ida Lupino) is an aging actress who spends all her time in her darkened home theater, watching her old movies and longing to return to the glorious 1930s. Her agent, Danny Weiss (Martin Balsam), thinks she needs to get out in the Beverly Hills sunshine and live in the real 1950s world of actors in undershirts, jukeboxes and rock 'n' roll. She is thrilled when Danny tries to hook her up with an acting job, but is dismayed to be offered a small part as a mother in her forties, which she rejects. After receiving a tongue lashing from the head of the studio, she returns to the comfort of her projection room and finds that by wishing hard enough, she is able to go back in time and rejoin her acting friends on screen.

I have always been extremely fond of The Twilight Zone and its cosmic genius, Rod Serling. Here is how he opens this episode: