Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Old Time Radio: Mercury Theatre of the Air - "The Man Who Was Thursday"

Today's OTR entry is an Orson Welles/Mercury Theatre adaptation of G. K. Chesterton's novel "The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare." Described as a metaphysical thriller Chesterton's novel details the efforts of poet Gabriel Syme to topple the Anarchist group, the Council of Days, and defeat its ingenious leader known only as "Sunday."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday Night at the Movies: My Man Godfrey

A screwball comedy set at the height of the Great Depression My Man Godfrey suggests that you never underestimate the "forgotten man." Starring William Powell and Carole Lombard and directed by Gregory La Cava My Man Godfrey was nominated for six Academy Awards and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

All that and it's fun too.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons - Terror on the Midway and Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom

And still more of the classic Superman cartoons of the forties, here is Terror on the Midway!

From 1953 the Oscar-winning Disney cartoon, Adventures in Music - Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hooray for Santy Claus!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! It's time to spend Christmas with that beloved holiday classic, "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!"

Now with Added Stocking Stuffers - SCCTM Trivia! Amaze your friends! Confuse your enemies! Embarrass your loved ones!

Did you know??

- The Martians family's names are abbreviated compound words KiMar is "King Martian," Momar is "Mom Martian," "Bomar" is Boy Martian, and Girmar is "Girl Martian."

- The wisest man on Mars is named "Chochem" which is yiddish for genius.

- Bill McCutcheon who played "Droppo" went on to a career as an Emmy and Tony Award winning actor, and played Uncle Wally on Sesame Street for eight years.

- This was Pia Zadora's first film! (Aw, everyone knows that!)

- Milton DeLugg (who wrote the theme tune, "Hooray for Santy Claus!") is the musical director of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, produced Buddy Holly's "Rave on!" and served as musical director of "The Gong Show."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Old Time Radio- A Christmas Carol - Part 1 with Ralph Richardson

From BBC Radio Ralph Richardson plays Ebeneezer Scrooge and narrates Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Writing News

- To all my friends out there - thanks for all the compliments on my flash fiction story, "On the River." There's now a permanent link to the story on the sidebar.

- At the WGA website Denis Faye sits down with Santa Claus to discuss his opinion of the many Hollywood biopics based on his life.

- Also, the WGA has announced the 2010 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, New, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees.

- Another example of why you should never respond to negative reviews... (Thanks to SFWA for the link.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Night at the Movies: His Girl Friday

In 1940 Howard Hawks was auditioning actors for his upcoming remake of the Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur stage play, The Front Page. Hawk's secretary read lines with the actors. Legend has it that's what gave Hawks the idea to change male reporter Hildy Johnson to Editor Walter Burns' star reporter and ex-wife, Hildegard Johnson.

Rosalind Russell was not Hawks' first choice to play Hildy (his first was Carole Lombard), and Hawks approached quite a few actresses before settling for Russell. Russell was not the kind of woman who appreciated being an also-ran. When Hawks treated her with disdain on the set Rosalind let him have it.

Russell's performance is nothing short of brilliant. Reportedly her Hildy inspired the Fleischer Bros.' portrayal of Lois Lane in their classic Superman series.

Cary Grant apparently had a lot of fun making this film. He remarks that Hildy's fiancee played by Ralph Bellamy "looks a lot like that fellow in the movies, you know, Ralph Bellamy!" He also describes the terrible fate of Archie Leach, which happens to be his real name.

Known for its smart rapid-fire dialogue, His Girl Friday is an American Classic and tonight's feature.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons- Volcano and Gerald McBoing-Boing

Continuing our string of the classic Fleischer Superman cartoons, here is "Volcano."

Adapted from a story by Dr Seuss, directed by Robert Cannon, and produced by John Hubley here is the Oscar winning animated short from 1950, "Gerald McBoing-Boing."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Old Time Radio: Vic and Sade - "Sleepers Beware" September 1940

It was a pleasant surprise to see how many of you fine folks stopped by to check out the Old Time Radio programs we spotlighted here at Halloween. I'm a big fan of OTR and it's a great joy to share some favorites.

Someday I will write a long heartfelt essay on the late great Paul Rhymer. This man could write. His work was subtle, his situations broad but familiar, his characters were finely observed, and his love for the English language contagious.

His crowning achievement was the wonderful radio show "Vic and Sade." He wrote 2500 episodes featuring "radio's home folks" from 1932 to 1944. Fans of the show included James Thurber, Ray Bradbury, Jean Shepard, Ogden Nash, and FDR.

Today's OTR program "Sleepers Beware" is a fine example of Rhymer's art and beautifully performed by series regulars, Art Van Harvey, Bernadine Flynn, and Bill Idelson. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ghosts of Christmases Past: The MQN Edition

Today's Christmas memory could easily fit under the Museum of Questionable Nostalgia banner as well. According to the folks at "Your Hit Parade" noting says Merry Christmas like a carton of Luckies... (well, maybe that and a bottle of Night Train...)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"On the River" at Burst Literary Ezine

My flash fiction story, "On the River" is one of the ten stories just published in the Winter 2010 issue of Burst Literary Ezine. Burst is first literary magazine designed for mobile devices.

Here's a link to the Winter 2010 issue and here's a direct link to the story.

Hope you enjoy it.

Cinematic Titanic New Release.

Fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 do not need an introduction to Joel Hodgson's new venture, Cinematic Titanic. He and MST3K alumi Trace Beaulieu, MaryJo Pehl, Frank Conniff and J. Elvis Weinstein have been continuing the fine tradition of riffing bad movies. and today marks their latest release, kung-fu exploitation film, East Meets Watts (formerly known as "The Dynamite Bros.")

This is the first CT release to be recorded live. Here's a sample:

You can order "East Meets Watts" on the CT website or download it at EZTakes.

Thank you. Won't you?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Writing News - The Blacklist 2009

Hollywood's list of the most popular unproduced screenplays of 2009, The Black List is available for download here.

Here's EW's Article on the List.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Night at the Movies: The Last Man on Earth

The Last Man on Earth is the first film version of Richard Matheson's "I am Legend" made in 1964. Starring Vincent Price "Last Man" was filmed in Italy on a small budget. In the years that followed Price would profess a fondness for the film while Matheson said he didn't care for it, and that Price was miscast.

"Last Man" is still very popular with fans of the genre and George Romero acknowledged its influence on his own low-budget classic, Night of the Living Dead.

Download The Last Man on Earth.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons - Electric Earthquake and The Milky Way

Continuing the Fleischer Superman Serial here is The Electric Earthquake:

And from 1940 the first MGM animated short to win an Oscar, The Milky Way:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ghosts of Christmases Past - The Jack Benny Program 1956

One of the truly great funny men in the history of the world was Jack Benny. Here from 1956 (We seem to be developing a trend here...) is The Jack Benny Program's Christmas Show with Guest Edgar Bergen, and the usual gang of regulars including cartoon legend, Mel Blanc.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Writing News and Notes

- Legendary literary agent, Don Congdon, passed away on November 30th. Here's the NYT Obituary.

- The Mystery Writer's of America have delisted Harlequin and its imprints. Board member Lee Goldberg has the decision and the letters exchanged between the two organizations.

- Here is Writer's Digest's 101 Best Websites for Writers, 2009.

- BBC Writers Room no longer accepts unsolicited adaptations, short film scripts, or scripts from abroad.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

At Night I Dream of Mars...

I'm sure you'll all indulge me in a moment of spousal pride -- My wife, Dr. Susan Gendreau, spent the summer at JPL where she researched, chose the content, and wrote the text for the Top Ten Discoveries of the Mars Exploration Program at the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) web site. The site has garnered a lot of positive comments. I encourage you to visit it as well.

Sunday Night at the Movies: The Brother from Another Planet

Tonight's film from 1984 is The Brother from Another Planet starring Joe Morton and written and directed by John Sayles. A mute escaped slave from another world splashes down in New York Harbor and tries to make his way in the alien landscape of New York City. The film also features the great David Strathairn, and Rosanna Carter.

So the big question is -- why is this Public Domain? As near as I can discern this is what happened:

The Copyright Act of 1989 required any film prior to that date to file for copyright notice in order to be protected under copyright law. Apparently "The Brother from Another Planet" was never registered.

For Download from Internet Archive

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons - The Magnetic Telescope and Ferdinand the Bull

The sixth cartoon of the Fleischer Serial, Superman -- The Magnetic Telescope.

And from 1938. the Oscar-winning short, Ferdinand the Bull.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ghosts of Christmases Past - Ozzie and Harriet 1956

In an attempt to provide a little holiday cheer and a bit of the unusual here is the first of some public domain echoes of Christmas long past. The show is from 1956, the commercials and wrap-around are from 1964 (I leave it to you to figure it all out), here celebrating Christmas with Ricky and Dave are Ozzie and Harriet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Writing Resources

-- Writer's Beware is "a publishing industry watchdog group sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America with additional support from the Mystery Writers of America, shines a light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls. "

If you are a novelist (or aspiring novelist) you owe it to yourself to check them out.

-- And speaking of SFWA The Nebula Awards site carries information on past winners, interviews with authors, guest commentaries, links, and pictures of past ceremonies.

(Oh, and btw, the Nebula Award Nominations are happening now through February 15th, 2010.)

-- WGAW offers the FYI Listings that provide contacts to available experts to help with technical information you may need for your next film script. Areas of expertise include:

Government Departments
Medical Authorities
Religious Information
Psychological References

among others.

Don't forget that you should register your finished scripts with WGAw before you send it out. You can do it online at the WGAw Registry page. Takes just a couple of minutes.