Thursday, September 30, 2010


Here are a couple of early Dalek designs as sketched by Raymond Cusick.


The Daleks are one of my favourite pieces of production design from any television series. Raymond Cusick was the designer since he was assigned to that story of Doctor Who by the BBC. (In the Beeb's drama department, a crewmember, such as Cusick, rotated between shows on a regular basis; one week they could be working on Z-Cars, and the next, plying their trade on something like Doctor Who.)

Back in the 1970s blue-prints and plans were published showing how to make your own Dalek.

In today's online edition of the Daily Telegraph is a story on Dalek-building...


Hollywood is dying: Film director Arthur Penn, actor Tony Curtis, and then character actor Joe Mantell. I really liked those guys. The respective movie match might read as Bonnie and Clyde, The Sweet Smell of Success, and Marty.

I remember the first time I became aware of Joe Mantell: He was in a standout Twilight Zone episode by the name of "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room".

"Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room"...

Part 1...

Part 2...

Part 3...

Saturday, September 25, 2010


No, no, tell me it isn't so! Although just the preseason, NHL ice hockey action makes its return to the CBC tonight. I could not believe it when I saw the advert trumpeting the premiere of this new long-long season.

As much as I love ice hockey... give me a break! September to June?!



Glad I saw this listing: Tonight at 8pm, TVO (TVOntario) is playing a one hour retrospective show titled "30 Years of Conversations". For those of you in the Ontario television market, the title might be self explanatory. For over three decades now TVO has been running a Saturday night staple framework program by the name of Saturday Night At the Movies. Formerly hosted by unofficial film professor Elwy Yost, this long running film school in a box has featured many classic and more obscure movies in addition to interviews, through the "Conversations" segments, with a wide selection of people who have made and analysed these films. (Some names: Jimmy Stewart, Michael Anderson, Gene Kelly, Linwood Dunn, Tony Thomas, Donald Spoto, Betty Garrett, David Cronenberg, Kenneth More, and on and on...)

I understand that TVO donated a whack of these archived interviews to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a few years ago. Those recordings are most valuable documents and historical records.

We in Ontario -- and upper New York State -- were blessed for years. (Of course, with the proliferation of satellite and cable, this uniqueness is more or less gone.)

If you get this 'message' in time, be sure to watch or TiVo (hey!) TVO tonight starting at 8pm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The power of Youtube. The original North American release trailer for Starcrash (1979) is here...

Track in a John Barry score and somehow the quality of your movie goes up, or at the very least the proceedings feel more legit (witness the '76 King Kong).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


A few weeks ago I was looking through my VHS collection in order to find something, anything. Once I saw that I had a dub (off a pre-record VHS rental) of 1979's super space epic Starcrash, the door flap on my VCR flew open.

Two hours later I was a little giddy. It had been years since I last saw the film -- when I made the dub. Bad? Really bad? Maybe yes on both counts, but that does not necessarily make Starcrash something to be avoided. Besides, it was released last week on DVD and Blu-ray. And not in a basic package. But one with lots of extras... extras worth checking out, unlike many of the kind packed with the latest Hollywood garbage movie oozing in pretention.

Fun movie.

A sales clip for the Starcrash DVD and Blu-ray...

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I did not realize that someone has uploaded a load of All in the Family episodes. Oh no.

Here is one of the earliest episodes...

Why is this series -- the greatest of all time -- as relevant as ever? Just think of the current "atmosphere" in the good ol' U.S. of A.

Part 1...

Part 2...

Part 3...

Thursday, September 16, 2010


This does not surprise me at all...

In standard fashion, news like this makes the Business pages first... someday will make the Entertainment pages.

Remember that any figure 'reported by Box Office Mojo' is not the amount of cash that is considered profit. If BOM reports 124 million, then about 50-55 million of that makes it back to the producers. (Less than 50%.) So it is worse than even the article is suggesting.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


My evil side made me look up some info on Trekkie clubs -- no intention of joining, sorry.

I went to one such site and saw the following, which was made all the more funny when the ol' mental imagery kicked in...

Refreshments (chips, chocolate bars, pop) are for sale at meetings at very reasonable prices.


Holy crap, I almost died.


A friend of mine is a big Lost fan. He has suggested, not unreasonably, that I should watch that series from head to tail. That one cannot properly enjoy the show without watching every scrap and trimming. Understood, although I am certainly not going to spend all those hours of my life watching a television show in a relatively compressed period of time. I told this friend that I heard this very same thing as a tiny tot back in the early 1970s when a local TV station started re-running the super-classic Gilligan's Island. "No, no... you must watch from the beginning in order to properly understand all the themes and subplots" is what a very dependable road-hockey-playing buddy of mine used to tell me over and over again.

Guess what. I held out. I jumped right in. I think the first episode I saw was the one where "they search for gold". It made no difference. Brilliance can be approached from any angle and any order.

My friend back in 1973 was right about one thing: The Gilligan's Island theme is great.

Note: CITS ("Crossroads Television System") here in the Toronto area is re-running Gilligan's Island, starting tonight at 7:30pm . It seems I will again revisit a certain "desert isle". And Lost will have to wait... perhaps to be lost at sea forever.


First, (the slight of mind) Sarah Palin ruined the name "Palin" and its immediate identifiability with comedy, albeit a different kind, and now we have the Reverend Terry Jones of the something-something church (in Florida) destroying "Terry Jones" simply by declaring that he will burn 200 copies of the Qur'an on September 11th.

Makes you want to be an atheist... if you are not already.