Saturday, November 7, 2015

Comin' Round the Mountain-1940

Here's one I've never seen and can't even find online anywhere. Looks great, though, and was real-received in its day. The attraction is, of course, that the cast list is loaded down with a bunch of radio stars headed by Bob "Bazooka" Burns and Jerry Colonna and with Covington, KY's own Una Merkel as leading lady. Perhaps even more enticing is the early film appearance (his first?) of Hal Peary as The Great Gildersleeve and Bill Thompson from Fibber McGee and Molly. Even Jack Benny's Don Wilson turns up in what looks like a fairly standard hillbilly feud story, the likes of which were redone endlessly in B films and TV for at least 3 decades! 

Sunday, October 11, 2015


I first heard of WHO? when I saw an ad for it playing second pr third feature at a drive-in in the mid-seventies. As an Elliot Gould fan and a fan of little-known movies in general, I've maintained an interest in it for the last 40 years. Today I finally saw it and quite loved it. It's low budget shows but its photography, direction, and acting all help to bring about a most unusual story. One IMDB user described it as follows: This interesting and underrated movie is not a spy story (well, in some ways it is, but only marginally) nor is it a sci-fi flick or a movie about a robot. What we have here is actually a rather deep philosophical piece on the ultimate unknowability and unprovability of subjective reality. 

A flop in its day, later video attempts were made to make it seem very unlike the think-piece that it is. The comment below that its from the man who directed BUGSY and RAIN MAN is also incorrect. In his commentary, Gould points out that it's a different Barry Levinson entirely. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Skip Homeier

A child actor on radio in the late '30s, "Skippy" Homeier made his mark as a Hitler Youth member in films and went on to memorably play bad guy character parts in movies and on TV ever after, even going so far as to revisit Nazism in one of his two STAR TREK roles (the other being the infamous space hippie with the cauliflower ear). He retired in the '70s to a private life but remains a welcome presence in any old movie  in which I find him.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Champagne for Caesar

A spoof of both mindless television and intellectualism, debonair Ronald Colman is classy and funny as the genius who decides to break a game show run by network producer Vincent Price--said to be playing a thinly veiled version of NBC's Pat Weaver. I first saw it on television in the early 1980s and  found it one of the funniest films I'd ever seen. Watching it again tonight on YouTube, I stand by that...although modern audiences aren't likely to appreciate the topicality of it all.

Colman and Price were reunited nearly a decade later for THE STORY OF MANKIND, often present on lists of the WORST movies ever made!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jimmy Durante

A TV fixture when I was a kid, the Great Schnozzola had a long and fascinating showbiz career behind him including early talkie film success, as seen here in this 1934 article by his former Vaudeville partner. (Pardon a certain word in this vintage article)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Two On a Guillotine

The passing of actor Dean Jones today reminded me that I once won the grand prize on the TV game show SCREEN TEST because I had just watched this horror film/black comedy on TV a few days earlier. I was give the initials DJ and had 20 seconds to name the actor. For each clue--in the form of one of the actor's film credits--I would lose points. The host said, "The initials? D...J. His movie, TWO ON A..." At that point, I shouted out, "DEAN JONES!"

About ten years later, Dean Jones came through town appearing in the musical, SHOWBOAT. I wrote to thank him for helping me win the prize and he actually called me at the book store! BUT I WAS OFF THAT NIGHT!!!! 

R.I.P. Dean Jones.