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Category: Celebs

“The Terror” Trailer is Finally Here!

Posted in Celebs, History, Horror, and TV

In 2007, I wrote about The Terror by Dan Simmons.  Here’s what I said then:

The Terror by Dan Simmons is a novelization of the true doomed 1840s Franklin expedition to find a Northwest passage. History tells us there were no survivors and the men died from exposure, starvation and worse. Simmons’ story combines all of the interesting historical details and adds a new menace, a creature which feeds on men. The Terror was a national best seller. Stephen King listed it as one of his favorite books of the year. Who am I to argue with Stephen King?

Then in July of 2016 I posted

AMC has greenlit 10 hour long episodes to air in 2017 with Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker serving as Executive Producers and David Kajganich on board to write and take the reins as showrunner.  This is a project worth keeping an eye on.

You can imagine my thrill at seeing this…

8 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT ‘THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW’

Posted in Celebs, Humor, and TV

Me-TV presents 8 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT ‘THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW’.  Here are three of my favorites…

EACH EPISODE WAS TAPED TWICE.
Despite having the feel of a live TV program, each episode was taped twice in front of different studio audiences. That meant that if an actor flubbed a line in both takes, it was still included in the final edited episode.

DICK VAN DYKE WAS A CAST MEMBER.
Although Burnett was the star of the show, she was supported by an incredibly talented cast that included Lawrence, Korman, Waggoner and Conway. When Korman left after the tenth season, Dick Van Dyke replaced him. The lack of chemistry among the cast members and Van Dyke proved to be a disaster, which is why he left after three months.

THE SHOW NEVER RANKED IN THE TOP 10.
The Carol Burnett Show is consistently ranked on critics’ lists as one of the best television programs of all time. However, the series was not a ratings juggernaut when it aired from 1967 to 1978. Although the show peaked at No. 13 in the Nielsen ratings during the 1969-1970 season, it consistently ranked in the 20s for the first nine seasons.

12 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT ‘BRIAN’S SONG’.

Posted in Celebs, Movies, Sports, Trivia, and TV

Me-TV presents 12 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT ‘BRIAN’S SONG’.  Here are three of my favorites…

JAMES CAAN WAS THE FASTER RUNNER IN REAL LIFE.
It seems James Caan grew up playing high school football and could run circles around Billy Dee Williams, so when they had to film their racing scene, Caan had to make himself go real slow to convince viewers that Williams’ was the speedier of the two.

BILLY DEE WILLIAMS WAS NOT THE ORIGINAL ACTOR CAST AS GALE SAYERS.
Louis Gossett Jr. was originally cast as Gale Sayers, not Billy Dee Williams. Just before shooting started, Gossett managed to tear his Achilles’ tendon. That’s when Williams stepped in and took over the role, shattering Gossett’s spirit worse than the pain of his injury. As the story goes, producer David L. Womper made a big promise to cast Gossett in the next beefy part he could place him in to cheer the actor up. That promise took six years to fulfill, but it was worth the wait when Gossett’s 1977 performance as Fiddler in Roots won him an Emmy and made him a star.\

‘BRIAN’S SONG’ WON MORE AWARDS THAN ANY OTHER ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK
For airing Brian’s Song, ABC took home four Emmys and a Peabody Award. They also received commendations from both the NAACP and the American Cancer Society. In total, the movie was nominated for eight Emmy Awards. The only other ABC Movie of the Week films to get that kind of attention was The Immortal in 1969 (1 Emmy nomination) and That Certain Summer in 1972 (7 Emmy nominations, 1 win).

Mike Zeck & Dan Gearino Chronicle the 1971 Comic Art Con!

Posted in Art, Celebs, and Comics

Cosplayers are extremely popular these days.  Some of the best are listed as featured guests at comic conventions around the country.  The Black Bolt player above came in first place in one of the first large comic cons ever – the 1971 Comic Art Convention in New York.  What makes this even more interesting is that the person playing Black Bolt is Mike Zeck.

Yep.  Mike Zeck.  The uber-talented artist that went on to draw professionally for Marvel, DC and others.  The Mike Zeck known for his work on The Punisher, Batman, Spider-Man, Secret Wars… well, you get the idea.

Not only was Mike the winner at the 1971 Comic Art Convention but he took photos of his time at the show and the guests there — Frazetta, Gil Kane, Harvey Kurtman and others.  You can learn more about the con and see some of Mike’s photos by clicking over to Dan Gearino’s site.

50 Movie Trivia Facts You (Probably) Don’t Know

Posted in Celebs, Movies, and Trivia

Gem Seddon and GamesRadar present 50 Movie Trivia Facts You (Probably) Don’t Know.  Here are three of my favorites…

46. Rocky (1976)  Did you know? There’s a scene when Rocky Balboa points out a mistake in the poster at the match venue, and it was in fact entirely unscripted. Sylvester Stallone was forced to add the line because the art department made a genuine mistake when producing the prop, making the Italian Stallion’s boxing trunks completely the wrong colour. Although, it does work to signify how Rocky isn’t treated with much respect as an underdog.

41. Alien (1979)  Did you know? When the Nostromo crew explore the Derelict ship they discover a gigantic chamber full of xenomorph eggs. It’s a dark, sinister room that required a certain type of lighting to create the right feeling. Ridley Scott found a practical solution to lighting it by borrowing blue laser lighting from The Who, who were rehearsing their stage show in the soundstage next door.

31. American Psycho (1998)  Did you know? After catching an episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, on which Tom Cruise guest-starred, Christian Bale decided to base his portrayal of Patrick Bateman on the actor. According to director Mary Harron, Bale said it was Cruise’s “very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes” that he thought would be perfect for Bateman.

How Rocky Props Saved Paul Wintner’s Business in 2017

Posted in Celebs, Movies, and TV

Paul with Sly at The Expendables Premiere (Thanks Randy!)

Paul Wintner is a long-time SZoner and one of the most die-hard Sylvester Stallone fans in the world.  We’ve shined a spotlight on Paul’s Stallone Collection several times over the years. It’s always a pleasure interacting with Paul.  Until you see his collection, you’d never know the quality of his pieces or the number of props he has.  You probably wouldn’t know that he is also the CEO of Wintner Artists where he works with voice-over talent for movies and television.

When I recently visited Paul’s business site, I noticed he had a new logo (Hey, Yo! Eye of the Tiger!) and had posted on his front page the famous quote from Rocky Balboa (“Life is not about how hard you can hit…).  I knew that Paul’s agency had worked on several of Sly’s biggest films (Rocky Balboa, Rambo, The Expendables) but I wondered if something else was at play.

So, I asked.

Paul went on to tell me how Rocky saved him again.  Let me turn it over to Paul…

Last year my business partner and best friend of over 22 years decided to leave Wintner Artist Management.  Looking back, the signs were all there, but at the time it came as a huge surprise.  Over the years I had worked extremely hard to help talent of Wintner Artist Management build their careers.  My company became much more successful than most thought would be possible with me as the CEO (myself included).  And then an unfortunate thing happened.  I became complacent.  Like Rocky Balboa in Rocky III, I lost the eye of the tiger.

Paul's Rocky Fedora and Glove

Things were going well.  The company was established. I had guided some of these guys from their first jobs to being the biggest names in the business. I had taken my huge love for films and memorabilia and turned it into a career I loved.  My partner was working closely with the talent.  I was steering the ship and we were coasting along.  Maybe, looking back it was me who was coasting along.  It was like the saying, “Things were going great, until they weren’t.”  When my partner decided to quit Wintner Artist Management, every single voice-over artist except one decided to go with him.

Who could blame them?  He had been working closely with the talent.  He had their booking schedules and spent more time dealing with the daily grind.  Lately they felt he was their manager.  While I was still there making sure our talent were reading for the projects I wanted them to land since I had always kept a log of all the great movies coming soon. But I had lost some of the old Wintner fire. Going with my partner must have seemed like the smart move to all of them… all of them except one.

Lucky for me, it was my number one guy, Ashton Smith, who decided to stay with me.  Ashton had done voice-over work for Rocky Balboa, Rambo and Creed.  It meant the world when Ashton told me, “I’m staying with you my man, you always believed in me and I will always believe in you. I sit here in my studio in my beautiful home with my plane all because of you!”  It was almost like Burgess Meredith as Mickey, telling Rocky to get up ‘cuz he didn’t hear no bell.

As I sat in the middle of my office I realized I was CEO of a talent agency who after 20 plus years was left with no partner and one voice-over artist.  The odds against being able to start over again at 46 were against me.  I looked up and found myself staring at some of my most treasured Rocky memorabilia.  Stallone and Rocky had always resonated with me.  Like them, I was considered a longshot for success.  School was hard for me.  Sly and Rocky had made it.  So had I… once.  Could I do it again?  Could I regain the Eye of the Tiger?

It was almost like I heard the Rocky theme in my head.  I knew what I had to do.  First, I was going to give Ashton the attention he deserved for staying.  He had been my Mickey to inspire me, but now I would be his Mickey and promote him like the champ he was.  I immediately started looking for new voice talents – I wanted a big voice for blockbusters, a nice midrange guy and a few more to round out the roster.  I also knew that I would re-design my logo incorporating the Eye of the Tiger.  I went home and told my wife, my Adrian the news.  And like Rocky’s Adrian, she believed and encouraged me every step of the way.

My talent search led me to Matthew Rhode.  In just ten months I made Matthew a top-notch competitor.  Matthew landed Logan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Blade Runner 2049Ghost in the Shell, Kingsmen 2, The Mountain Between Us, American Made, 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Jumanji, and is now heard on Star Wars: Last Jedi Verizon commercials.  Matthew even landed Star Trek: Discovery for the CBS network.  Ashton Smith (my Mickey) had his best year ever with film campaigns.  Jamie Anderson came on board just two months ago and out of the gates landed four films Roman J. Israel, Esq.; The Star,The Greatest Showman and I, Tonya.  2017 was one of the best years ever for Wintner Artists.  Talk about a comeback!

When I think back to me sitting alone in my office, at the lowest point of my business life, I can truthfully say, that it was my Rocky props and what they represent that gave me the strength and courage to get back up and go the distance!

I also want to thank my family for their love and support.

+++

I asked Paul if he ever speaks to his former partner/best friend.  Paul’s response was perfect: “Absolutely.  Things happen for a reason.  Rocky and Apollo stayed friends,” he laughed.

As my conversation with Paul came to a close, I asked, “So your Rocky props really saved you?”  Without hesitation, Paul responded, “My props, Ashton Smith and every Rocky film ever made and my family.  Because it ain’t over till it’s over.”

Paul’s story is truly inspiring and I’m grateful he was happy to share it.  Paul wishes some how Sly, who is probably sick of hearing it, knew how much that character has inspired people like him.  Like many Stallone fans, Paul was inspired to make fitness a part of his daily life since he was a teenager.  It was Rocky who got Paul through his rough teenage years, gave him the inspiration that he could succeed in business when he was just starting out and it was Rocky again who inspired Paul to make a comeback in business when others thought it would be impossible.

Thanks Paul for sharing your story (and Rocky props)! – Craig

“Life is not about how hard you hit.  It is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa

21 Things We Learned from “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” Commentary

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Movies, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 21 Things We Learned from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

7. The novel doesn’t spend much time at all with the transit cop character played here by Walter Matthau as Lt. Garber, and the book actually has a separate character named Garber as well. The actor loved the script, written by Peter Stone — who had written two previous films co-starring Matthau — and once he expressed interest they began beefing up the role.

19. Sargent recalled it being a “golden safety rule” during filming that no one get close to the electrified third rail despite the mostly confident belief that it was powered off by the transit authorities. There was apparently always a risk that someone might turn it back on again by accident or because they were unaware that it was off for a reason.

20. They rightly point out that today’s action films would rarely allow the villain to take his own life. “He would have to be shot eighteen times by Walter Matthau, and then fall and then a train would run him over, and that would propel him into the street where he’d get hit by a bus.”

 

9 Tough as Leather Facts About “Rawhide”

Posted in Celebs, Movies, Trivia, and TV

Me-TV presents 9 Tough as Leather Facts About Rawhide. Here are three of my favorites…

EASTWOOD WORE HIS ‘RAWHIDE’ BOOTS IN ‘UNFORGIVEN.’
No need for a wardrobe department when it comes to Clint. To bookend his career as a cowboy, Eastwood wore his same Rowdy Yates boots in his Oscar-winning 1992 masterpiece Unforgiven.

LOADS OF SOON-TO-BE-FAMOUS FACES APPEARED ON THE SHOW.
That’s Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery taking aim in “Incident at El Crucero,” in a guest role that would foreshadow her gig as Mrs. Sundance. Star Trek crew members Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley appeared on the Western, too. Sitcom legends Buddy Ebsen, Barbara Eden, Alan Hale, Jr., June Lockhart, Gavin MacLeod, Marion Ross and William Schallert also pop up — just to name a few. Then there’s Martin Landau, Frankie Avalon, Anne Francis, Peter Lorre…

TWO EPISODES WERE SLAPPED TOGETHER TO FORM A MOVIE, UNTIL EASTWOOD PREVENTED ITS RELEASE.
Rawhide finished its run in the first week of 1966. By that year, Eastwood was a star of small and big screen. The classic Spaghetti Westerns A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) revolutionized the genre. To further capitalize on Eastwood’s fame, Jolly Film, the studio behind A Fistful of Dollars, pieced together a couple old episodes of Rawhide, primarily “The Backshooter” with Louis Hayward and Slim Pickens, and labeled the flick The Magnificent Stranger, the original shooting title for A Fistful of Dollars. However, Eastwood sued and had the 1967 film withdrawn.

21 Things We Learned from Rob Reiner’s “Misery” Commentary

Posted in Celebs, Crime, Horror, Movies, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 21 Things We Learned from Rob Reiner’s Misery Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

2.  James Caan was not his first choice for the film, and he instead was turned down by Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, William Hurt (twice), Richard Dreyfuss, and others. “But at the end of the day you can’t imagine anybody else playing the part.”

13.  Bates was stage-trained and preferred excessive rehearsals while Caan is more “instinctive and naturalistic,” so they had to balance the rehearsal time to make it less than she wanted and more than he wanted.

18.  The novel has Annie chop off Paul’s feet and cauterize the stumps, but they opted to simply hobble him instead by having her break his feet with a sledgehammer. Their thinking was that they wanted him to be victorious in the end, and losing his feet would be too high of a price. “It was pretty darn painful to look at, so I don’t think we compromised it too much.”

 

 

“Bright” Starring Will Smith & Directed by David Ayer

Posted in Celebs, Crime, and Movies

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Bright stars Will Smith add is directed by David Ayer which is enough to get me to tune in.  I kind of dig the Alien Nation vibe Bright is giving off, so that’s a plus.  I just hope that the focus is on action, not comedy.  If so, Bright could be a winner.

Ric Flair Faces the Music with Regret but No Excuses

Posted in Celebs, Pro Wrestling, and Sports

Odds are, pro wrestling fan or not, you know that the photo above is of the “styling-and-profiling, limousine-riding, jet-flying, Rolex-wearing, champagne-drinking, kiss-stealing, wheeling-‘n-dealing, dirtiest player in the game,” Ric Flair.

Yahoo Sports!, Dan Wetzel has written an excellent profile – Ric Flair Faces the Music with Regret but No Excuses – and it is well worth a read.