Friday, October 20, 2017

New Book: "Talking Sixties Drive-In Movies"

Buster Keaton and Bobbi Shaw in Pajama Party (1964)
I enjoyed Tom Lisanti's latest book, "Talking Sixties Drive-In Movies," for its interviews with a number of lovely drive-in movie actresses, including Bobbi Shaw, Mimsy Farmer, Arlene Charles, Diane Bond, Jan Watson and Nicoletta Machiavelli.  The interviews are open and informative.  A standout is a fascinating talk with Mimsy Farmer, whose career took her from Gidget to Giallo.

Mimsy Farmer, Gene Kirkwood and Paul Bertoya in Hot Rods to Hell (1967)

Buy here.

Spotlight on Frank McCarthy

When I was a kid, I would walk through a movie theater lobby to study the posters.  I remember being mesmerized by the artwork featured on the poster for Valley of Gwangi (1969).  The artist, Frank McCarthy, also created epic posters for The Ten Commandments (1956), A Distant Trumpet (1964), Thunderball (1965), The Venetian Affair (1966), Around the World Under the Sea (1966) and The Green Berets (1968).  Filmmakers could never make films as exciting as McCarthy's artwork.

The Ten Commandments

A Distant Trumpet 


The Venetian Affair 


Around the World Under the Sea 

The Green Berets

The Campaign of the Nitrate Film Interest Group to Identify Untitled Silent Films

Fred Ardath
The Nitrate Film Interest Group, part of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, has set up photo albums on Flickr to allow scholars and film enthusiasts to scrutinize frame scans from film prints that archivists have been unable to identify.  The prints fell into anonymity because the frames at the head of a reel, which included the opening title and credits, were long ago damaged through repeated efforts to thread the reel into various film projectors.  Also, the fact that the footage was more openly exposed to fingers and climate made it more likely to deteriorate.  The frame scans have been viewed by dozens of experts, who have been able to apply their great collective knowledge to figuring out titles. 

The frame scans (which can be found here) are a treasure trove for me.  The films come from several archive sources, including Library of Congress, EYE Filmmuseum, George Eastman Museum and Cinémathèque Française.  It is fun to visit the site and get a glimpse of a rare George Ovey comedy.

Or I can get a look at Sid Smith in action.

A balloon man, which was once a  fixture in haunted house comedies, gives Monty Banks a fright in this scene from Spooks & Spirits (1923).

I wrote about this film, Homer Joins the Force (1920), in my book "Eighteen Comedians of Silent Film." 

The film's star, Fred Ardath, had a long career on vaudeville and Broadway stages, but he never had the good fortune to achieve success in films.

Ardath in 1948 Broadway revival of "Show Boat."

Classic Television Commercials

Pryor Engagement

Woo-hoo, it's done!  I just completed my newest book, which takes an in-depth look at the films of Richard Pryor.  It was a challenging book to write, but I am very pleased with the results.

The book took up so much of my time that I had to set aside work on my blog.  I expect to post new articles to the blog in the near future.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Voldemort is Donald Trump?


Today, many Hollywood films should come with a warning label to let consumers know that the filmmaker seeks to expose them to a virulent and insidious form of political indoctrination.

I have created a video on the subject for my YouTube channel.

No More Arrests


Florida Senator Anitere Flores has filed a bill, Senate Bill 196, that will prevent police officers from arresting juveniles for the most common crimes.  The bill could not occur at worst time.  At present, the seriousness of juvenile crime is at a dangerous high and the public is in desperate need of strict law enforcement policies that will effectively address the problem.

Juvenile criminals who are allowed to go free will just continue to commit crimes until one of their victims is seriously injured.

You can learn more on the subject by visiting my YouTube channel.