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About exapno

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  1. The host for the January Friday Night Spotlight: Neil Simon will be.....(drumroll)...Ken Levine Who's Ken Levine, you might ask? Ken Levine (pronounced La- VINE, not La Veen), is a veteran TV writer/director, whose credits - usually with partner David Isaacs pretty much cover the cream of the late 70s/80s sitcom crop. Levine and Isaacs produced/story edited the Silver Age of MASH after Larry Gelbart left. They were the prime writing force for the initial (and series defining) season of CHEERS, and after leaving there, still contributed many, many fine scripts for that show. they also wrote and story edited WINGS, and also wrote many , many scripts for FRASIER and the underrated BECKER. Levine himself has directed many fine sitcoms. and still story consults on shows today. Levine also has a daily blog, called 'by KEN LEVINE' - http://blogspot.kenlevine.com, which is something all interested in show business, especially the creating of television comedy should read - you should be warned,,,,it is very VERY addictive. Actually, reading the blog, you will understand just why he was picked to host the Spotlight, a trip through the archives will kill....several days, and never fail to entertain!
  2. My 80 yr old was born in Missouri...then moved to Kansas - the real family home. She spent her life from age 12 on in Salina, Ks. I got to spend several summers out there as a kid (Im from Orange Co NY), so I always try to catch Picnic whenever TCM shows it, as several scenes were shot in Salina. The very beginning of the movie, with William Holden hopping of the freight train, and the grain elevator scenes were shot there - in fact, if you look closely you can see a grain elevator with 'Salina' on it! And all the scenes in the 'rich' part of town were done at Salina, where the well off part of town perches on a rare hilly section with curvy roads.
  3. Joe Adamson's classic, GROUCHO, HARPO, CHICO, and SOMETIMES ZEPPO, sums up pretty well the difficulty surrounding the production of COCOANUTS (proper 'improper' spelling) - which included the idea that no one had any clue how to make a musical! Also somebody at Paramount concluded that they needed to feature Oscar Shaw and Mary Eaton more than the Marxes - to the point of giving THEM the fade out!. And lets not forget that, the brothers were still on Broadway with ANIMAL CRACKERS, so, they were shooting COCOANUTS during the day, and then running to the 44th St Theater to do ANIMAL CRACKERS at night (plus 'mutinies Wednesday and Saturdays'). And it did not help that the director did not think the Marx Brothers were funny! Not to mention the brothers were not used to playing in front of just a camera. By the time they got to filming ANIMAL CRACKERS, they were more confident, the director knew what he was doing, the screenwriter Morrie Ryskind cut a lot of the crap out, and the tech people had figured out most of their problems...
  4. Just about all the kids in A Christmas Story were real good - and the adults too. And I will make the obligatory Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th St reference before anyone else! Only the Barone kids of Everybody Loves Raymond were shown less than poor Larry Mathews in TDVDS.... Edited by: exapno on Nov 14, 2012 11:07 PM
  5. Love thelittle programmers RKO used to do with nothing but character actors in it. Stuff like the 1937 THE LIFE OF THE PARTY, that has as its 'stars' : Joe Penner (that should be enough right there), Gene Raymond, Harry 'Parkyakarkus' Towne, Harriet Hilliard (pre-Ozzie), Victor Moore (of course), an at best 14 year old Ann Miller, Billy Gilbert - because they needed an orchestra leader, Franklin Pangborn, and best of alll - the one and only Margaret Dumont. Several thoughts occur viewing that list 1. Yes, Joe Penner and Parkyakarkus do schtick together - a sight most memorable.. 2. Was there a California law saying that Franklin Pangborn had to be in every comedy in the late 30's? 3. For those who did know, Parke/Towne was the father of both 'Super Dave Osborne', and Albert Brooks. TCM hasn't shown this one for a while....
  6. *Capuchin:* The only things they did with the reworked was: Replaced all the flybys with new ones, instead of having the same old fly by and orbit shots, there are slightky different ones for each show - and even then they pretty much followed what had been there before - only done better. all of the space effect shots of course - things like the Fesarius in the Corbomite Maneuver are subtly awe inspiring now A lot of the old matte paintings were upgraded - in Requiem for Methusalah, they had reused the fortress from The Cage, but now its a grand original palace for Mr Brack some subtle things too - for the Imperial Starship Enterprise, they made it a nice dark battleship grey, and also made it more like the old Enterprise model from the pilot episoes with the little antennae protruding from the nacelles. and they couldn't do anything with like the transporter effects, as they did not have the original inserting negatives to work with. Overall, its pretty cool, and worth a look - and no they didn't touch a hair on the tribbles head - wherever that might be
  7. .*UniversalHorror:* Are seriously comparing Ray Harryhausen's work to the stuff done by Hollywood optical houses like Westheimer and Cinema Research?? I have found it amusing that some Trek fans have been so...inflexible in their thinking about the CGI upgrades in these episodes - to the point of not even TRYING to watch one or two see what they are like! I think Roddenberry would be horrified that some of his 'people' have grown to be so intolerent of change and so set in their ways, they could not even try and look at one or two, Considering that it was supervised by people that are very closely connected to the Trek world like the Okudas, and that people connected to the original show like Bob Justman thought they were done very well, and had no serious objections to the project as a whole, really makes me wonder. It is funny, also, how you made a point how you liked the 'Directors Cut' of ST:TMP with the completed effects. In many ways, that is an almost toally different movie from the original version: not only did they add effects, but they edited the more boring moments out (much less of seeing Sulu's adams apple bob up and down as he stares at Vger, for instance),added a couple of very important scenes left out of the original - including only the most important scene in the whole damn movie, which clears up just about all of the plot points - and they also totally redid the sound tracks so it did not sound so sterile. So you liked that, but won't even take a look at these 'new versions' of the old episodes, where the only thing they did was upgrade what were VERY creaky SFX (even for 1966/7/8/9), done on a shoestring budget, with visuals that make the show look a little better, and in some cases ENHANCES some of the plot points and dialogue. I think a certain Vulcan would consider that a little illogical. It should also be mentioned that the new effects were done by CBS?Paramount, to insure the viability of the franchise for the future - they are, after all, a profit seeking entity. An also should be mentioned the remastering itself is second to none - the shows themselves look and feel brand new. On my HDTV, streaming through Netflix on my Roku box, it looks amazing. Actually looks better than the TNG episodes that were transferred to video tape look now.
  8. A good use of CGI in 'helping' an old piece out was in the recent reworking of the original *Star Trek* series. The original model effects in the show were at best OK - even for 1966/7/8/9, so any reworking of then would have been helpful, but there are certain episdes where there was marked improvement to the point of making the episodes even better. The classic case of this was the already superb episode, "The Doomsday Machine", where instead of a crude sock for the title machine, and an AMT model kit for the crippled starship Constellation, you now get a fully realized and SCARY machine/monster, and a realistic looking crippled starship. Plus, the battle scenes are extremely mobile and exciting. This makes for a an episode which was already near the top of most Trek fan's lists, a near perfect combination of story, acting and visual pleasure.
  9. John Landis in his heyday seemed particularly fond of the 'curtain call' end credit sequence. In *Trading Places*, the shot used for each performer was one where there were breaking up or smiling at the end of a take - all except Don Ameche. And in *Animal House,* if you did not stay to the end of the credits, you missed the wonderful bit where they added on to the 'When in Hollywood, visit the Universal Studio Tour', with 'ask for Babs'! And of course, the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker team practically put a patent on the 'inserting funny asides into the end credits' thing, the first, for *Airplane!*, being the best, The kicker at the end being, at the end of the standard copyright/all rights reserved notices, a big fat SO THERE! And one of the nicest ways to end a movie, was with what they thought would the last STAR TREK movie with the original cast, *The Undiscovered Country* - after the Enterprise almost literally rides into the sunset, filling the screen with each original cast member 'signing' their name. Pretty effective...
  10. I remember Tony Martin mainly from TV shows like Dean Martin and The Hollywood Palace while I was growing up then, of course, as the "composer" of the Tenement Symphony in Four Flats from THE BIG STORE. RIP BTW-I think you're right about him being the final Marx movie survivor. Bruce Gordon was in LOVE HAPPY and he died in 2011. Other than the uncredited kids from THE BIG STORE furniture department, there's no other possibilitiies. Maybe some of the kids in the Punch and Judy segment of MONKEY BUSINESS.might be around. The last writer was Irving Brecher, who passed in 2008 The last director was probably Eddie Buzzell It is still really tough for me to call LOVE HAPPY a 'Marx Brothers Movie' - if that counts, so does THE STORY OF MANKIND!
  11. No Margaret Dumont? Actually, the challenge would be to schedule her day without overloading on the Marxes....but it is doable...I think....
  12. *http://tinyurl.com/c6688av* {font:Verdana,Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif}{size:16px}Not many left, are there? Without having to do much research, almost a certainty that he was the last living participant in any Marx Brothers film...unless there is someone I am unfamiliar with. {font}
  13. In Horsefeathers, Groucho, as papa Quincy Adams Wagstaff, is only 11 years older than 'son' Zeppo.....but who expects realism from the Marx Brothers?
  14. Million Dollar Legs would have been perfect to show to honor the Olympics...
  15. Ham: Since the 1945-52 Occupation, English has been freely mixed in with Japanese in commercial usage. Look up some Japanese commericals on YouTube, and you will see what I mean. The Japanese pro baseball leagues using English on their uniforms is another good example. Actually just about every product in Japan uses English on its packaging in some ways. My brother in law has traveled over there a few times for work (he is a cartoonist/caricaturist), and even knowing just a small smattering of Japanese symbols, found it fairly easy to get around there.
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