Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Night at the Movies: "Stamp Day for Superman" and "Wilbur gets the message... about Payroll Savings!"

Let's try something a little different, just for fun...

While not actually a movie "Stamp Day for Superman" is an eighteen minute short made to sell stamp day savings plans to children. As a government film "Stamp Day" is the only produced episode of "The Adventures of Superman" that is in the public domain. Made in 1954 it stars series regulars, George Reeves, Noel Neill, and Jack Larson.

And since we're doing TV episodes produced on behalf of the US Treasury, here is a public domain episode of Mr. Ed, "Wilbur gets the message... about Payroll Savings." Featuring the multi-talented Alan Young, Connie Hines, Mister Ed, and George O'Hanlon. (Ex-cowboy star Allan "Rocky" Lane was the voice of Mister Ed when he talked. Ed's singing voice was Sheldon Allman, except in the theme song when Ed is voiced by the song's composer Jay Livingston.)

One final note before we move on -- This short features two of television's great voice talents: Alan Young and George O'Hanlon. Alan Young was also the voice of Scrooge McDuck, and George O'Hanlon provided the voice of George Jetson...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons: The Mummy Strikes! and Three Little Pigs

From February, 1943 Superman returns in The Mummy Strikes!

From 1933 Walt Disney's Silly Symphony, The Three Little Pigs.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Old Time Radio - Dimension X: With Folded Hands...

From a 1947 science fiction novella by the legendary Jack Williamson "With Folded Hands..." was one of the first of Astounding Magazine's stories to be adapted by NBC's Dimension X. It's a classic story which proves the road to hell really is paved with good intentions.

From April 15, 1950 here is Dimension X's dramatization of "With Folded Hands..."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writing News - January 26, 2010

- Thanks to Gila Queen for her mention of "On the River" in her latest Guide. You can read "On the River" by following the link on the left.

- January 28th is the final date to Opt out or Opt back into Google Book Settlement.

- On January 20th the ASJA, NWU, SFWA, and ISOC-NY held a workshop on the Google Book Settlement. SFWA has the audio of the panel. (Thanks to the very able Michael Capobianco for representing us.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Night at the Movies: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Still the most famous and striking of all the film adaptation, Universal's Phantom stars Lon "The Man with a Thousand Faces" Chaney in the role that made him an icon. It is reported that back in the day when Christine (Mary Philbin) pulled the mask from the Phantom's face audiences screamed and some fainted.

It is the success of this film that sparked the Universal Horror line and lead the studio to create the Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, and Mummy films.

Universal still maintains a piece of the Opera House set from Phantom in Soundstage 28, also known as the Phantom Stage. Some claim Chaney's Ghost haunts the set.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Destruction, Inc. and A Sundae in New York

From Christmas, 1943 the thirteenth of seventeen technicolor Superman shorts, Destruction, Inc.:

1983's Oscar-winning animated short subject is the claymation film "A Sundae in New York" by Jimmy Picker.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Old Time Radio: Vic and Sade - Razorscum's Photograph Album

From July 23rd, 1940 Vic and Sade and son Rush sit down to examine "Razorscum's Photograph Album."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Writing News January 19, 2010

- Victoria Strauss gives us the details regarding con artist/UK film producer Robin Price, and his recent court appearance at Writer Beware!

- The website for Russell T. Davies' book, The Writer's Tale (now updated with another 300 + pages of material and called The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter) has RTD's Doctor Who Scripts for the last year of specials and beyond available for download in .pdf.

- WGA's Dylan Callaghan interviews screenwriter/director Scott Cooper about his film, Crazy Heart.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Night at the Movies: Tarzan of the Apes (1918)

Made in the Louisiana swamps near Morgan City (the bayou standing in for the jungle, who'd have an insane idea like that?) this silent version of the Edgar Rice Burroughs book follows the novel more closely than most adaptations. (Although it only adapts the first half -- the second half of the book is adapted in the sequel, The Romance of Tarzan.) Its fidelity is no surprise considering that Burroughs supervised the production.

Elmo Lincoln is famous as the first celluloid Tarzan, although strictly speaking, this isn't true. Gordon Griffith was the first Tarzan. He portrayed him as a boy in this film (see the poster). Still, Elmo was the first adult Tarzan, and despite being what we would consider a little out of shape for the role, he was a sensation. He was often mobbed by adoring fans in the years that followed. (Burroughs was not one of Lincoln's adoring fans. He had wanted Winslow Wilson for the role, but Wilson had been called up to active service in the Navy.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons - The Eleventh Hour and The Dot and The Line

Another wartime Superman cartoon, from 1942, The Eleventh Hour:

And from MGM and Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble, the 1965 Oscar-Winning Animated Short, The Dot and The Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Old Time Radio: X Minus One - "A Logic Named Joe"

From December 28, 1955 X Minus One presents a story set in the futuristic world of the 1970s that eeriely predicts the creation of the personal computer and the internet. It's Murray Leinster's "A Logic Named Joe."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Places - La Canada

The La Canada- Flintridge float for the Tournament of Roses is dismantled. From Saturday, January 9th.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Writing News - January 12, 2010

- The Clarion Writers Workshop at UC San Diego is now open for submissions. The Instructors are Delia Sherman, George R.R. Martin, Dale Bailey, Samuel R. Delaney, Jeff Vandermeer, and Ann Vandermeer.

-The WGA interviews Nancy Meyers the screenwriter of "It's Complicated."

- Ursula K. Le Guin resigns from the Authors Guild over the Google settlement.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Night at the Movies: Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari

Famous for its expressionistic setting "The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari" is a classic German silent film from 1920. The evil Caligari and his somnabulist slave Cesare visit the little mountain village of Holstenwall and a series of strange murders ensue. The film's sets were designed by Herman Warm, and it was directed by Robert Weine.

Being Human: Season 2

The popular BBC series Being Human returns tonight for its second season. You can visit the website for extras here. We in the states are probably not going to see this soon, since Syfy is creating an American version of the show.

Series creator Toby Whithouse has also penned a script for the 2010 series of Doctor Who entitled "Vampires in Venice." The episode was shot in Croatia just prior to the Christmas holidays. Mr. Whithouse had previously written the episode "School Reunion" for the 2006 series.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons - Showdown and Munro

From October, 1942 the Superman series of cartoons continues with "Showdown."

From Jules Feiffer and Gene Deitch the 1960 Oscar-winning animated short, Munro.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Old Time Radio: Dimension X - "Destination Moon"

Since Sunday Night's Movie was George Pal's "Destination Moon" I thought it might be fun for you to hear the radio broadcast that resulted from the film. Here from June 24th, 1950 is "Destination Moon" an episode of the science fiction radio classic, Dimension X.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year's Present

Friend and artistic genius Kellie Strøm sent me this terrific image last week as a New Year's hello and agreed to let me share it with you. That's just the kind of guy he is.

Click on his name to check out his site. Be sure and say hi to Sadie!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Doctor Who: A Second Opinion

As all Who fans know, David Tennant's last episode as the Doctor has aired and the new (11th) Doctor is the youngest actor to ever play the role, Matt Smith.

Here's the trailer for the upcoming 2010 series featuring Mister Smith with new Doctor Who showrunner, Steven Moffat. Vampires, Daleks, and Angels! Coming this spring.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Night at the Movies: Destination Moon

I grew up watching George Pal's films and some of his movies still rank as favorites -- The Seven Faces of Doctor Lao, The Time Machine, When Worlds Collide. And don't get me started on the love I have for Puppetoons. Tonight's film is George's 1950 space adventure, Destination Moon. It was directed by Irving Pichel who also directed The Great Rupert and Mister Peabody and the Mermaid. Science Fiction Legend Robert Heinlein served as technical director on the film.

A couple of highlights I should mention: There's a fun Woody Woodpecker cartoon in the film that explains the difficulties of space travel and the matte paintings for the film are the work of the amazing Chesley Bonestell, "the Father of Modern Space Art."

(Aside: I had the great pleasure and privilege of seeing one of these paintings up close thanks to Bob Burns. Thanks again, Bob.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons - Japoteurs and When Magoo Flew

We continue our Fleischer Superman series with a cartoon obviously made in 1942, Japoteurs.

And from UPA, the 1954 Oscar-winning short, "When Magoo Flew."

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Decade...

Happy New Year to us all! May 2010 bring you happiness and prosperity.