Yesterday's self-imposed silence seems to have given my tongue some time to heal from a mysterious injury, perhaps caused from biting my tongue in my sleep. The Gryphon tells me I no longer sound like the sloth from Ice Age. Hopefully, it will get even better if I'm a bit sparing with my speech today, as well.
Since we're entering the height of the summer movie season, I'd like to share some found items that could very well be turned into popcorn flicks.
First up, a page from a coloring book, which as far as I can tell, appears to be a Power Rangers rip-off, featuring a character called Thunder Griffin (close to the Thunder Zords of the Power Rangers universe). On the back is an unnamed female character who looks a little bit like the robot from Metropolis, sporting a kabuki mask.
Given the success of Iron Man this summer and Transformers last year, Hollywood is anxious to jump on the bandwagon. Why not give Bryan Spicer a second chance at the silver screen? He directed Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie in 1995 and since then has refined his technique directing television episodes for such series as 24 and Bones. Hire a bunch of unknowns with some martial arts ability (after all, they'll be wearing suits anyway), splurge a little on special FX and voila! A straight-to-video hit!
Next is a script under development. It's called Super Girls! by Pinky Molley and Artho and Kamy. The creative team got as far as designing a cover page and stapling together six pieces of blank pages before the project fell victim to creative differences.
The Super Girls fiasco was a classic example of behind-the-scenes feuding. Pinky Molley insisted on getting primary writing credit, because she claimed, "They're my crayons." Meanwhile, Kamy soon grew disillusioned, insisting that "You're not the boss of me." Like the classic feud between Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford in Grand Hotel, Kamy and Pinky Molley began snubbing each other openly, with even-tempered Artho trying to patch things up. But when Kamy saw Pinky Molley had placed her own self-portrait on the cover page of the script, she abruptly withdrew from the project, which was shelved indefinitely.
As you may or may not know, an adaptation of Darren Shan's horror novel, Cirque Du Freak, directed by Paul Weitz (American Dreamz), and starring Salma Hayek and John C. Reilly, is currently in production. I didn't know this until I did a Google search on Cirque Du Freak, spurred on by this gripping book report. It reads:
The name of my book is Cirque Du Freak.
Darren is a half vampire. He wasn't born that way. He lived at home with his parents and younger sister Anne. A Freak Show came to town and his best friend Steve got tickets and they went together. At the show Steve recornize one of the proformers form a old book he read. The proformer name was Mr. Crepsley, and he was a vampire. After the show Steve told Darren to go home. Steve went to the vampire and told him he wanted to be a vampire assitant. But he told Steve he was evil by the test of his blood. Darren was up in the balcony listening to every word. Steve ran out. Darren didn't care about the vampire, he wanted his spider. One day he stole the spider, he told Steve that. And he started to do tricks with it and it bit Steve, Steve was in the hospital and Darren went to find Mr. Crespley for a position to heal Steve. But in return, Darren had to become his vampire assitant. He agreed and became a vampire assitant but he had to escape his family and Mr. Crespley help him fake his death and the rest was to be continue.
Actually, this is the very plot summary that convinced Universal Pictures to greenlight the project. Reading the summary, John C. Reilly immediately signed on to play Mr. Crepsley, and Chris Massoglia was cast as his vampire assitant, Darren.
And finally, a little nostalgia. Step back in time with me to an earlier, more innocent time, when screen heroes like Steve McQueen prided themselves on independence and on being a thinking man. I found this ad insert in a used book. It reads (emphasis added):
"Every man should think for himself about filter
cigarettes," says Steve McQueen. "I did studied
the actual facts on filters, and then chose Viceroy.
Viceroy changed the smoking habits of the nation.
"A thinking man's filter... a smoking man's taste
... that's Viceroy. And that's for me!"
© 1959, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.
Also be sure to watch these other exciting
shows brought to you by Viceroy:
THE TEXAN NAKED CITY WEDNESDAY
Starring New York's NIGHT FIGHTS
Rory Calhoun. own drama. The best
Mondays Tuesdays in boxing
CBS-TV ABC-TV ABC-TV
Rarely in the history of advertising has there been a more appropriate ad campaign. A cigarette company sponsored a program called Wanted: Dead or Alive. If you're a thinking man, it might be enough to give you pause.
On the back of the ad is something called "TV Teletype," with the latest entertainment news from circa 1959. Here it is, along with my commentary.
HOLLYWOOD Dan Jenkins reports:
Biggest potential blockbuster of the fall season has been set for Oct. 19, when both BING CROSBY and DEAN MARTIN will appear on FRANK SINATRA's first hour-long ABC special which means that SINATRA and MARTIN will each do a CROSBY show, CROSBY and SINATRA will each do a MARTIN show before the season is out.
Really? This is your selling point? That they'll be appearing on each other's shows? I'm not sure you know what "blockbuster" means, "Hollywood Dan Jenkins."
PATRICIA DRISCOLL, Robin Hood's Maid Marian, and her husband, British actor DUNCAN LAMONT, will make their first American TV appearance as a murder-bent British couple in the second episode of Warner Brothers' new Hawaiian Eye series for ABC. Air date: Oct. 14.
Wait a minute. On second thought, the Sinatra-Martin-Crosby thing is sounding much better. The episode, by the way, was called "Malihini Holiday."
Peck's Bad Girl, starring PATTY McCORMACK, is the new season's first casualty. It's 13-week summer run ends this week... DAVID JANSSEN, RAYMOND MASSEY and ANNE FRANCIS will co-star in "Two Counts of Murder" for Desilu... An English novel, "Ghost Squad," a spy story out of World War II, has been bought for a television film series.
According to one critic, Peck's Bad Girl was a deconstructed sitcom that was ahead of its time, which contributed to its short run. You know Patty McCormack better for her role as Liz LaCerva on The Sopranos. The series Ghost Squad doesn't seem to have made it to the small screen, unless the name was changed. A short-lived 1961 series by the same name focused on an undercover crime unit at Scotland Yard, not on World War II spies.
NBC is now figuring on 155 specials for next season, an average of just about four a week, at a cost of $45,000,000, an average of $290,000 each. (Ten years ago the announced $40,000 production cost of BOB HOPE's first hour-long show was a bombshell that many said would ruin the entire television industry.
Specials were the reality shows of the late '50s and early '60s. While they might sound like a huge financial investment, they no doubt made the money back in advertising. And in the days when viewer choices were more limited, such specials were practically guaranteed a large audience, as people tuned in to see all the stars.
After it finally came through, ART LINKLETTER's Russian visa was summarily canceled, possibly proving that people aren't funny in Russia... JANET BLAIR's first post-summer chore will be the female lead opposite ROBERT TAYLOR in a feature picture, "Project 9"... The new Johnny Staccato series henceforth will be known simply as Staccato... And Challenge, the new GEORGE NADER series, will also get a new title.
Maybe the Russians canceled Art Linkletter's visa as a practical joke. Has anybody asked them? Also, any time you consider a new film to be a "post-summer chore," it's a bad sign. Staccato starred John Cassavetes, better known for his role in Rosemary's Baby and for directing cinema verite films. The George Nader project was renamed The Man and the Challenge, and survived only one year. He starred in many B films and, when an accident forced him to sideline his acting career, penned the gay-themed SF novel, Chrome.
"The Defender," written by REGINALD ROSE as a two-part Studio One presentation, is planned as a weekly hour-long series, with LLOYD NOLAN penciled in for the title role... TOD (The Gray Ghost) ANDREWS will star in a new series, Counterthrust, for ABC syndication.
Reginald Rose was the playwright who wrote the classic film, 12 Angry Men. Tod Andrews did star in the series Counterthrust, and went on to appear in a number of B movies before dying of a heart attack in 1972.
Screen Gems has joined the history recorders, is planning a 39-episode half-hour series based on the Civil War... A 90-minute film special, "Race for Space," is being filmed both in the United States and Russia for projected airing in the fall.
I'd love to see that special. I bet it has some great archival footage from the space race.
Something new an hour-long situation comedy series is being prepared by NAT (Phil Silvers Show) HIKEN and long-time Hollywood comedy writers ARNIE ROSEN and COLEMAN JACOBY... Test film of the long-planned Mr. Belevedere series goes into production here this week with HANS CONRIED in the title role.
That new hour-long situation comedy series? Most likely, it was Car 54, Where Are You? starring Fred Gwynne, which debuted in 1961. And yes, believe it or not, Mr. Belevedere predates the 1985 series starring the late Christopher Hewett. The role was originated in the 1949 film Sitting Pretty by actor Clifton Webb, who patterned him off his own mannerisms. An unsuccessful 1956 pilot starred Reginald Gardiner, followed by Hans Conried in 1959 and then another failed attempt by Victor Buono in 1965. Finally, Christopher Hewett got it right.
The more that changes, the more stays the same.