's The Birds, when the drunken man lights a cigar, unaware that a pool of gasoline in swirling around his car? As
, voice of Archie, Gumby and Ben Franklin in The American Adventure, is Sam the cook, yelling right beside her. It wasn't in the imdb so I added it. For you, Dal.
THREE'S THE CHARM, THE TEARJERKER AND PERHAPS THE BEST
Posted on Nov 07 2010 by Greg
Pixar already has Hollywood dumbfounded by its unbroken track record of solid box office hits. Now Toy Story 3
has surged ahead of its sister films and become the leader. It has also done what even Coppola
couldn't do: make a third sequel that arguably tops the first two films.
Much has already been said and written about Toy Story 3
. While the majority of opinions have been positive, it has also been called the "darkest" of the Toy Story movies. Some have also expressed displeasure at the cruelty of the Lotso character. [Spoiler alert] One might wonder if there were some behind the scenes debates; there had to been some concern that the fluffy pink bear's misbehavior might have affected merchandising and such (though to our family's thinking, we've reconciled the plush and theme park versions of Lotso as "other Lotsos" and not the discarded, bitter bear we saw in the movie.Toy Story 3
, like all of Pixar's features and shorts, seem to have a creative vision funneled through a singular director. Even though TS3's director, Lee Unkrich
, has been with the franchise since the beginning, this particular film really has Unkrich's humor and intensity.
This theory is based on the extensive and detailed audio commentary he does with producer Darla K
(for Kay) Anderson
, in which explains the stories behind the story decisions and even the little jokes (for instance, Michael Keaton
mispronounced "library" as Ken and Unkrich left it in and overruled requests to the contrary -- and it does get a laugh in theaters). But on a larger scale, if one were to take the caricature of him literally (which you can see in a bonus feature about the crew shaving their heads), he seems to be perceived as a pretty intense fellow.
I saw the movie three times in theaters and my family saw it twice. It made me misty eyed every time, both at the beginning and especially at the end. Like Walt Disney
's classic animation, these CG-generated creatures have the ability to elicit real emotion from viewers. When Andy explains each toy to little Bonnie, it's truly touching, not contrived for effect. And yet the film is laugh out loud funny in other places, such as Mr. Potato Head's makeshift "base bodies." Much of these ideas are explained in the commentary too.
Nearly every animated feature today uses celebrity voices, but to the new and carryover casts of Toy Story 3, this isn't just a pick-up-the-check-and-mention-it-to-Leno deal to any of the stars involved here. They know they are part of something special and don't take it lightly, I'm certain. My favorite performances have to be Jodi Benson
as Barbie and the aforementioned Keaton as Ken. The apparently did their lines together and the timing pays off (many voice actors, especially stars, do their lines separately). It's even funny when Ken is reading the roll and, angry at his lady doll, call her name out with middle-school disdain ("BAR-bie.") Things like this make repeated viewings fun.
Most of the extras are on the 2 Blu-ray discs, though the commentary and a few of the "animatic"-style behind the scenes features are also on the single DVD. I was particularly pleased that there is also a narrative audio option for the entire film, so those with sight challenges can enjoy the film as a narrator explains the action. This is actually quite nice as a bonus feature too, because you don't have to stare at the screen and you can get a "Disneyland Storyteller" LP-type experience. Perhaps this service, produced by WGBH in Boston, will be included on future Disney and Pixar releases.
"HASENPFEFFER INCORPORATED...DIDDLY-DIDDLY-DAH-DAH! WE'RE GONNA DO IT..."
Posted on Nov 02 2010 by Greg
The theme songs to Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, Love American Style, The Bugaloos, ABC Wide World of Sports, The Love Boat
and many more, all icons of 70's TV, were composed by Charles Fox
, who also composed hits like "I've Got a Name," "Ready to Take a Chance Again" and "Killing Me Softly with His Song."Killing Me Softly
is the name of his new memoir. You can hear him interviewed by author Ed Robertson
on TV Confidential
, which will be repeated three times at day througout the week on shokusradio.com
. Next week, you can download the two-hour program as a podcast on iTunes or on the TV Confidential website
Some cool things I learned: Fox chose Cyndi Grecco
to sing "Making Our Dreams Come True" after hearing her perform during a day at Magic Mountain with his kids. And he has donated the prop 45 rpm record that was in the jukebox at the beginning of early Happy Day
s episodes to the Smithsonian, which also displays Fonzie's jacket.
My personal favorite Charles Fox score is the magnificently groovy and glorious soundtrack to the movie version of Pufnstuf
HEY, MULLIGAN! WHAT HAPPENED?
Posted on Oct 30 2010 by Greg
made a lot of TV appearances as a guest on other people's shows -- and won acclaim in the Rod Serling
-scripted drama The Comedian
, but like a lot of film stars, he never was able to sustain a long running regular series.
The one with the most potential for longevity was The Mickey Rooney Show - Hey Mulligan!
(having two titles made things confusing right there). It ran one season in 1954-55 on NBC against The Jackie Gleason Show
Each show began with someone shouting "Hey Mulligan!," a title format adopted over a decade later on That Girl.
I don't know if those "Hey Culligan Man!" commercials had any connection or not. Anyway, Rooney played a twentysomething Andy Hardy living with his parents (played by Regis Toomey and Claire Carleton), courting a longtime girlfriend (Carla Balenda) and somehow keeping a job as a network page for a fictional TV network.
The network page idea is a great one for a sitcom, not fully realized again until 30 Rock, though Rooney plays it strictly for broad slapstick. Blake Edwards
wrote many of the episodes, foreshadowing the legendary success he had with another bumbling character, Inspector Clouseau.
Guest cast members included Angie Dickinson
, Guy Williams
(Zorro, Lost in Space
); Alan Reed
); Pat Carroll
(The Little Mermaid
, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
); and Robert Shayne
(The Adventures of Superman
One of the strongest assets of The Mickey Rooney Show
was the underrated Joey Forman
as his "Ethel Mertz." Forman became a favorite featured player in sitcoms and movies of the '60s (Harry Hoo of Get Smart
among others) and was a very talented comic actor. This series doesn't maximize his talents as much as it could, but he and Rooney have a good chemistry and it would have been nice to see how the series progressed had it lasted.
Why didn't it last? The competition, first of all, but perhaps more than that, it was an incident in which Rooney was rude to the sponsor at a social gathering. He described it very honestly in his autobiography, Life is Too Short
. He felt as if he was being pressed into service as a performer for their social amusement and chose a very off putting way to strike out at the president of the company.
Interesting series, available complete in one DVD set. Interesting book too.
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