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Operating as usual

03/04/2022
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A slight rant.

Yes, we run VHS tapes at VHS Insanity, but my passion is top quality cinema. I can appreciate a movie in nearly any format, but I prefer a superior clarity that best represents the filmmaker's vision.

That said, I went to see The Batman last night.

This is not about The Batman, this is about the local AMC Theater.

The first 20 minutes of the movie, in theater #9, the audio was so low that I had to cup my ears and lean forward to hear the normal character conversations. My buddy went and asked them to turn it up, and they eventually did, but by this time, the poor sound had given me time to notice the poor projection quality.

Colors were muddy and there was a softness to the entire image on screen. It was most apparent when I watched the Dr Strange 2 trailer, which I've seen several times at home in 4k UHD on my TV.

The Dr Strange trailer was also muddy and soft and the colors were flat and muted. It looked 100% better at home.

If this is how movie theaters intend to bring people back, they are doing it wrong. The quality was so poor that I decided to not bother to see the other movie I have been waiting for. Why pay $14 for a poor theater experience (I'm not even mentioning crowds, here) when I can buy a 4K UHD disk and enjoy it in excellent quality at home in a couple months to add to my permanent collection?

Quality matters. The poor quality genuinely hurt my enjoyment of The Batman.

For those interested, The Batman is good! Is it the best? I don't think so, but It's a fresh perspective that I enjoyed.

03/01/2022

"I was five years old. And I was preoccupied with the prop that was in my hand, because it was a toy turtle. But I had to pretend it was a real turtle that the audience just wasn't seeing, and it was dead, so I was supposed to be crying and very emotional, and I remember him looking at that little turtle and talking to me about how it was kind of funny to have to pretend that was dead. So I recall just a very relaxed first impression."

In 1959, Ron Howard had his first credited film role, in "The Journey." He appeared in "The Twilight Zone" episode "Walking Distance," a few episodes of the first season of the sitcom "Dennis the Menace," as Stewart, one of Dennis's friends, and several first- and second-season episodes of "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." In 1960, Howard was cast as Opie Taylor in "The Andy Griffith Show." Credited as "Ronny Howard," he portrayed the son of the title character (played by Andy Griffith) for all eight seasons of the show.

In the 1962 film version of "The Music Man", Howard played Winthrop Paroo, the child with the lisp; the film starred Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. He also starred in the 1963 film "The Courtship of Eddie's Father", with Glenn Ford.

"You're 14 or 15, and they can hire an 18-year-old and not have the child-labor law restrictions, and so they do. Just at the point when you're feeling confused and vulnerable, you're being rejected."

Howard has said he knew from a young age he might want to go into directing, thanks to his early experience as an actor. His directing debut with the 1977 low-budget comedy/action film "Grand Theft Auto". This came after cutting a deal with Roger Corman, wherein Corman let Howard direct a film in exchange for Howard starring in "Eat My Dust!" (1976). His big theatrical break came in 1982, with "Night Shift", featuring Michael Keaton, Shelley Long, and Henry Winkler.

Howard directed Bette Davis in a 1980 television movie, "Skyward." Discussing the experience, Howard said, "She didn't much like that there was this 25-year-old from a sitcom that was directing her. I was talking to her on the phone and I said, 'Well, Ms. Davis, I'll protect you as the director and make sure you're prepared and that your performance will not suffer,', and she said, 'I disagree, Mr. Howard.' I said, 'Ms. Davis, just call me Ron,' and she said, 'No, I will call you Mr. Howard until I decide whether I like you or not.' And then [on the set] I gave her a note. And she tried it, and it worked for her. She said, 'You're right, that works much better. Let's shoot.' And at the end of the whole thing, I said, 'We'll, Ms. Davis, great first day. I'll see you tomorrow.' She said, 'Okay, Ron, see you tomorrow,' and she patted me on the @ss." (IMDb/Wikipedia)

Happy Birthday, Ron Howard!

Despite my great love of the character of Carl Kolchak, I only recently read the original novel by Jeff Rice. It was spe...
02/28/2022
Jeff Rice, creator of 'The Night Stalker,' had an enormous influence on horror entertainment (appreciation)

Despite my great love of the character of Carl Kolchak, I only recently read the original novel by Jeff Rice. It was spectacular. The tv series was only a pale imitation of the vivid and seedy Las Vegas of the original Kolchak Papers, later re-titled “The Night Stalker.”

I hate that I didn’t get a chance to thank Mr Rice during his lifetime for planting the idea of a crusading newspaper reporter wearing a pork pie hat that had a supernatural obsession with the Truth wherever it may lead him. I was glued to the TV when I was barely 4 years old and creeped out in a way that I couldn’t get enough of to this day!

Jeff Rice, who wrote the horror novel that became the hit 1972 TV movie "The Night Stalker," died on July 1 at 71. His story and character had an enormous impact on the horror genre.

02/28/2022

Zero Mostel had long been a leftist politically, and had made contributions to progressive causes. His nightclub act lampooned the red-baiters rampant at the time, and featured the character of a pompous senator called Polltax T. Pellagra. When he and the wife of his good friend Jack Gilford were named by Jerome Robbins before the House Un-American Activities Committee as being communists, Zero was subpoenaed to testify by HUAC.

Mostel testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee on October 14, 1955. In a playful mood, he told the Committee that he was employed by "19th Century-Fox." Zero denied he was a Communist, but refused to name names. He told the Committee that he would gladly discuss his own conduct but was prohibited by religious convictions from naming others. Consequently, he was blacklisted during the 1950s. Shut out from the movies, he also lost many lucrative nightclub gigs, and he had to make do by playing gigs for meager salaries and by selling his paintings.

In the 1950s, Mostel bumped into Elia Kazan on the street in New York City, and the two reminisced. Kazan said Mostel chided him for putting Mostel through the paces in "Panic in the Streets" (1950), forcing him to run more than he ever had. The two retired to a bar, and as they began to drink, Mostel kept muttering, in reference to Kazan's naming names before HUAC, "Ya shouldn't a done that. Ya shouldn't a done that."

There was no blacklist in the theater, and his friend Burgess Meredith, a noted liberal, offered Zero the lead role in his 1958 Off-Broadway production of "Ulysses in Nighttown," based on the Nighttown episode of James Joyce's novel "Ulysses," that Meredith was directing. Mostel's performance as Leopold Bloom, Joyce's Jewish Everyman, was a great hit with audiences and critics alike, and he won an Obie, the Off-Broadway equivalent of a Tony.

Zero and Gilford, who had also been blacklisted due to Robbins having named names and hadn't worked for many years, were both cast in the Broadway musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." However, the show, under director George Abbott, was troubled. When Stephen Sondheim pitched Robbins to producer Harold Prince as the savior of "Forum," which was floundering in its out-of-town tryouts, Prince phoned Mostel to ask whether he would be prepared to work with Robbins. "Are you asking me to eat with him?" asked Mostel.

"I'm just asking you to work with him," Prince replied.

"Of course I'll work with him," Mostel said. "We of the left do not blacklist."

When Robbins showed up at his first rehearsal, everyone was terrified of him because of his reputation as a tough taskmaster and perfectionist. Robbins made the rounds of the cast, shaking hands. When he got to Mostel, there was silence. Then Mostel boomed, "Hiya, Loose Lips!" Everyone burst out laughing, including Robbins, and the show went on.

The character of Hecky Brown portrayed by Mostel in "The Front" (1976) was loosely based on both himself and real-life actor Philip Loeb, a personal friend of Mostel who had been black-listed and later committed su***de. (IMDb)

Happy Birthday, Zero Mostel!

02/23/2022
Director of tonight‘s film, Savage Steve Holland, loved animation in all forms so he always found a way to sneak in eith...
02/17/2022

Director of tonight‘s film, Savage Steve Holland, loved animation in all forms so he always found a way to sneak in either hand drawn or stop motion into his movies.

Tonight‘s movie has a stop motion sequence plopped down in the first half! See if you can spot what famous guitarist they are emulating with this hamburger in love.

The restaurant owner is NOT playing Porky while totally playing Porky...

come see why everybody wants some more VHS Insanity at The Hideaway brought to you be the fine folks at Lost State Audio/Video Club!

A/V Club media swap begins at 8pm and I'll tell you all about the making of this 80s teen comedy classic and it’s influence on modern filmmaking starting at 10pm!

“ Four weeks, twenty papers, that's two dollars. Plus tip.” -Johnny

A little geometry problem to ponder before Thursday night’s VHS Insanity by Lost State Audio/Video Club!Shop for vintage...
02/17/2022

A little geometry problem to ponder before Thursday night’s VHS Insanity by Lost State Audio/Video Club!

Shop for vintage media 8ish, I'll tell you all about the making of the movie and how you are Better Off joining us at 10pm sharp!

This is one of the best. You will want to see this hilarious classic!

Thursday night we will be watching my favorite 80s teen comedy that asks the question, “I heard you broke up so would yo...
02/17/2022

Thursday night we will be watching my favorite 80s teen comedy that asks the question, “I heard you broke up so would you mind if I went out with Beth?”

We will also have a big vintage media nerd giveaway!

View a lot more information over at Lost State Audio/Video Club because it’s VHS Insanity 80s Edition!

Switching it up a bit with a slapstick, screwball comedy. Join us for a swap and hang around for a flick. We will have a raffle with loads of prizes such as VHS tapes, DVDs, paperback books, comics, stickers, toys and more! So bring your tapes and folding money!

02/15/2022
"This is pure snow! It’s everywhere! Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?" - Charles Lost Sta...
02/08/2022

"This is pure snow! It’s everywhere! Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?" - Charles

Lost State Audio/Video Club is showing ONE OF, if not THE GREATEST, 80s teen movies of them all coming up at The Hideaway February 17! Dress 80s...wear a tophat!

VHS Tape Trading/Movie Novelization store opens at 8pm! I'll introduce the movie with fun behind the scenes trivia and a giveaway at 10!

"C’mon Dude, It’s Christmas Eve. I could be home right now, drinking this monster eggnog my brother makes with lighter fluid." -Charles again

Switching it up a bit with a slapstick, screwball comedy. Join us for a swap and hang around for a flick. We will have a raffle with loads of prizes such as VHS tapes, DVDs, paperback books, comics, stickers, toys and more! So bring your tapes and folding money!

One of my favorite actors, John Carradine!
02/06/2022

One of my favorite actors, John Carradine!

"I've made some of the greatest films ever made--and a lot of crap, too."

A member of Cecil B. DeMille's stock company and later John Ford's company, John Carradine was one of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood history, best known for his roles in horror films, Westerns, and Shakespearean theatre. He was married four times, had five children, and was the patriarch of the Carradine family, including four of his sons and four of his grandchildren who are or were also actors.

Carradine's son, David, claimed his father, born in Greenwich Village, NYC, ran away from home (Philadelphia, PA) when he was 14 years old. John lived with his maternal uncle, Peter Richmond, in New York City for a while, working in the film archives of the public library. David said that while still a teenager, his father went to Richmond, Virginia, to serve as an apprentice to Daniel Chester French, the sculptor who created the statue of Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. He traveled for a time, supporting himself painting portraits. "If the sitter was satisfied, the price was $2.50," he once said. "It cost him nothing if he thought it was a turkey. I made as high as $10 to $15 a day." During this time, he was arrested for vagrancy. While in jail, Carradine was beaten, suffering a broken nose that did not set correctly. This contributed to, as David put it, "the look that would become world famous."

David Carradine said, "My dad told me that he saw a production of Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' when he was 11 years old and decided right then what he wanted to do with his life". He made his stage debut in 1925 in New Orleans in a production of Camille and worked for a time in a New Orleans Shakespeare company. He then joined a tent repertory theater under the management of R. D. MaClean, who became his mentor. In 1927, he took a job escorting a shipment of bananas from Dallas, Texas, to Los Angeles, where he eventually picked up some theater work under the name of Peter Richmond, in homage to his uncle. He became friends with John Barrymore, and began working for Cecil B. DeMille as a set designer. Carradine, however, did not have the job long. "DeMille noticed the lack of Roman columns in my sketches," Carradine said. "I lasted two weeks." Once DeMille heard his baritone voice, however, he hired him to do voice-overs. Carradine said, "the great Cecil B. DeMille saw an apparition – me – pass him by, reciting the gravedigger's lines from 'Hamlet,' and he instructed me to report to him the following day."

"I never made big money in Hollywood. I was paid in hundreds, the stars got thousands. But I worked with some of the greatest directors in films, and some of the greatest writers. They gave me freedom to do what I can do best and that was gratifying." (IMDb/Wikipedia)

Happy Birthday, John Carradine!

01/30/2022

This has to be one of the greatest pictures ever!

#zed #sweetchuck #policeacademy #bobcatgoldthwait #timkazurinsky #the80s #80s #80smovies #80scomedy #1980s #1980smovies #theeighties #eighties #eightiesmovies #totallyawesome80s

“Too bad she won’t load!”
01/29/2022

“Too bad she won’t load!”

Thursday night at The Hideaway, Lost State Audio/Video Club is back with one of my favorite exploitation horror films! I...
01/26/2022

Thursday night at The Hideaway, Lost State Audio/Video Club is back with one of my favorite exploitation horror films! I’ll tell you all about this mind expanding film about a boy and his brain parasite as well as about its director’s equally great other films and his continuing efforts to preserve lost exploitation movies for future generations!

I’m going to be a Basket Case! Be sure to get there before the movie starts so I can tell you all about it!

01/26/2022

While filming the shower scene with Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green" (1973), Leigh Taylor-Young tried to break tension by joking that perhaps Heston could part the shower water, a reference to his star-making role as Moses in "The Ten Commandments" (1956). Heston allegedly did not understand the reference.

Principal photography for the New York skyline was shot in 1970, before construction on the World Trade Center was finished. Due to this, the towers aren't featured in any shots of the skyline. Therefore the film inadvertently predicts 9/11 by showing a future New York City without the towers.

During shooting, Edward G. Robinson was almost totally deaf. He could only hear people if they spoke directly into his ear. His dialogue scenes with other people had to be shot several times before he got the rhythm of the dialogue and was able to respond to people as if he could hear them. He could not hear director Richard Fleischer yell "cut" when a scene went wrong, so Robinson would often continue acting out the scene, unaware that shooting had stopped. SOMETHING SPOILERY THIS WAY COMES: Robinson knew he was dying from cancer, and kept it from the cast and crew. He knew it would be his last film, and his death scene was the last scene he ever filmed. He died ten days after shooting wrapped. (IMDb)

Happy Birthday, Leigh Taylor-Young!

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