I’m a huge fan of The Strain and am always on the look out for ways to get more people on board. With that said, I wasn’t expecting The Strain’s Kevin Durand, David Bradley and Miguel Gomez performance of Vamps Boom!
Jason Latour is the subject of a piece at Entertainment Weekly. When asked about the tv adaptation of Southern Bastards, Latour responded…
“We’re hopeful that it will move forward… It’s a slow, slow process, but there’s really good people behind it and excited by it. At some point now, to do the comic everyday, you have to forget that there might be a TV show.”
A tv series would be icing but as long as Jason Aaron and Jason Latour keep the comic coming, that’s the cake, baby.
Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 13 Fascinating Facts About The Bridge on the River Kwai. Here are three of my favorites…
1. ITS OSCAR FOR BEST SCREENPLAY WENT TO SOMEONE WHO DIDN’T WRITE IT.
The process of adapting Pierre Boulle’s French-language novel Le Pont de la Riviere Kwai was difficult (more on that later), but the two writers ultimately responsible for it were Carl Foreman (High Noon) and Michael Wilson (A Place in the Sun). Neither of them got credit, though, as The Bridge on the River Kwai was released during the three-year period when people who’d ever been Communists (or who refused to answer questions about it before Congress) were ineligible for Academy Awards. The screenplay was instead credited to the novelist, Boulle—which was quite a feat, since he didn’t speak or read English. (He didn’t attend the Oscars, either.) In 1985, the Academy officially recognized Foreman and Wilson as the screenwriters and posthumously awarded the Oscar to them.
4. DAVID LEAN NEEDED THE WORK.
Though he’d already earned five Oscar nominations (three for directing, two for adapting the Dickens novels) and would soon be widely celebrated for Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and Doctor Zhivago (1965), at this stage, Lean was in trouble. He’d just been through a costly divorce from actress Ann Todd. According to one biographer, he was “broke and needed work; he had even pawned his gold cigarette case.” This, plus the fact that he loved to travel, plus the fact that shooting a film in Southeast Asia would be good for him tax-wise, motivated him to accept a project that was bound to be grueling.
10. WILLIAM HOLDEN GOT A BETTER DEAL THAN THE DIRECTOR.
Lean wanted Holden, a big star and recent Oscar winner (for Stalag 17), to play American prisoner Major Shears, over the objections of producer Spiegel, who wanted Cary Grant. Once Spiegel relented, he realized Holden was a box office draw and offered him a great deal: $300,000 salary (about $2.5 million in 2016 dollars), plus 10 percent of the gross. Lean only got $150,000 himself, but he always said Holden was worth it.
Way back in 2007, December 31st to be exact, I wrote about my five favorite novels of the year. The Terror by Dan Simmons made the list. 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?
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.
One of the things the fourth of July weekend means is Syfy’s Twilight Zone Marathon. About one third of all the episodes will be shown and you can see the schedule here. Hope you rediscover a classic or discover a new gem!
3. JOHN ASTIN WAS ORIGINALLY CONSIDERED FOR LURCH.
Though John Astin auditioned for the role of the butler, it’s no wonder casting directors assigned him to Gomez, instead—the actor and the character apparently share a lot of similarities. “My brother said that Gomez is the clearest extension of my personality than anything else I’ve done,” Astin said. “That’s really who I am.”
5. LURCH WAS INTENDED TO BE MUTE.
But then actor Ted Cassidy ad-libbed the line, “You rang?” and Lurch was given a voice. He still wasn’t one for much conversation, but he did spit out a few words here and there—and even had a brief side career as a rock star.
12. THE NEW YORKER REFUSED TO RUN THE CARTOON WHEN THE SHOW CAME OUT.
Despite the fact that Charles Addams had been illustrating the creepy characters for The New Yorker since 1938, the esteemed publication didn’t want to be associated with the television show. Still, Addams was occasionally able to sneak them into other cartoons he drew for the magazine.
The Strain Season 3 Trailer!
I am a huge fan of The Strain which is one of the best-kept secrets on tv. If you’re a fan of horror or apocalyptic stories, then you should be watching The Strain.
“I have some ideas where Vic Mackey is, but I don’t know where Vic Mackey is until someone puts me in a writers’ room with a group of these people and some people who aren’t here and give us a week to sort it out,” Shield creator, Shawn Ryan said, pointing to the rest of The Shield writers on stage, including Kurt Sutter, Glen Mazzara, Scott Rosenbaum and Chic Eglee.
Shawn Ryan said this to an audience at the ATX TV Festival last Saturday. I sure hope someone at FX was listening. Who wouldn’t love to see a Shield mini (or even on-going) series? It worked with 24. FOX is doing it with Prison Break. C’mon FX, let’s do this!
Garin Pernia and Mental_Floss present 15 Solid Facts About The Flintstones. Here are three of my favorites…
4. THE FLINTSTONES DIDN’T COPY THE HONEYMOONERS.
It’s true that Fred was based on Jackie Gleason’s Honeymooners character Ralph Kramden, but Joe Barbera made him different. “So many people say, ‘Did you copy The Honeymooners?’ I said, ‘Well, if you compare The Flintstones to The Honeymooners, that’s the biggest compliment you can give me,” Barbera told Emmy TV Legends, “but The Honeymooners don’t have all the gags that we had in there,” including a Stoneway Piano and the Polarrock Camera.
7. PEBBLES WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A BABY BOY.
In 1962, during the show’s third season, the producers decided Fred and Wilma should have a child. Barbera told Emmy TV Legends the plan was for their child to be a boy, until Ideal Toy Company (the company that created the Rubik’s Cube and Betsy Wetsy) changed his mind. One day, Barbera received a call from the guy in charge of Flintstones merchandising. “He said, ‘Hey, I hear you’re having a baby on the show.’ I said, ‘Yeah,’” Barbera said. “He said, ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ ‘What else, a boy. A chip off the old rock.’ He says, ‘That’s too bad. I have the ideal toy. If it was a girl, we could’ve made a hell of a deal.’ I said, ‘It’s is a girl.’” They sold three million dolls within the first couple of months.
8. MEL BLANC KEPT VOICING BARNEY DESPITE A HORRIBLE CAR ACCIDENT.
The Man of a Thousand Voices portrayed Barney Rubble, even following a devastating head-on car collision in 1961. Blanc didn’t let a 70-day hospital day deter him too much, and when he got out of the hospital, the cast and crew came to his home to record episodes. Blanc recounted the experience in his book, That’s Not All Folks, writing: “Tangles of wires were scattered all over the floor, and chairs and microphones were arranged around my hospital bed.”
The cast gathered around Blanc, and the producers talked to him through a built-in speaker. “Every couple of hours Joe would ask if I was too tired to carry on, but I insisted on completing the show,” Blanc wrote, saying that they recorded about 40 episodes in that manner. “Thankfully, by September, my doctors allowed me to sit up a bit, elevated by way of a pulley-cable system, to a semi-sitting position. It was no more than a few inches difference, but as I laughingly told my colleagues, ‘How nice is it to be able to look at your faces instead of at the damned ceiling.’”
If you’re a fan of the original Star Trek you’ll get a kick out of Dusty Abell’s authorized tribute poster.
Dusty has 123 people and items for super Star Trek fans to identify. Here’s a larger version of the poster so you want have to strain your eyes. If you need some help, you can see an answer key chart /Film.
If you really like the poster you can buy a copy at Dusty’s site. And Star Trek fans will want to be on the lookout because word is that Dusty’s poster is being turned into a 1,000 piece puzzle.
Kara Kovalchik and Mental_Floss present 11 Fun Facts About My Three Sons. Here are three of my favorites…
1. THE STAR MANAGED TO NEGOTIATE A SWEET SET OF WORKING HOURS FOR HIS SCHEDULE.
Fred MacMurray was a well-established film star when he was approached by executive producer Don Fedderson about starring in a TV series. MacMurray agreed with two conditions: one, that he would own a percentage of the show, and two, that he only would be required to work three months of each year. In reality, MacMurray was a dedicated family man, and after years of being away on movie sets had planned to retire early and spend the majority of his time at home with his wife and four-year-old twin daughters. But the money Fedderson offered him was too tempting to pass up—and would secure his children’s future—so he signed on to play the widowed patriarch on My Three Sons.
MacMurray’s “three month” stipulation meant that the writers had to have each season’s scripts ready in advance so that MacMurray could film all of his scenes in one fell swoop and have them edited into the various episodes of the series after the fact. Years later, several other actors caught on to this concept and agreed to star in a project only if it was filmed in “the MacMurray Method.”
4. BILL FRAWLEY CARRIED A GRUDGE … TO GREAT LENGTHS.
That there was no love lost between former I Love Lucy co-stars William Frawley and Vivian Vance was certainly no secret in Hollywood, but Frawley had been willing to set aside any personal differences when Desilu proposed a spin-off series starring Fred and Ethel Mertz. Vivian Vance absolutely refused, however, and Frawley never forgave her for denying him a steady paycheck.
“On the third season of our show, lo and behold, Lucy decided to do The Lucy Show and they were on the next stage over from ours,” Stanley Livingston recalled. “She probably picked that stage knowing Bill and Vivian would have to pass each other. When Bill saw Vivian, he’d yell some sort of obscenity at her. He got me to participate in a couple of his pranks. When she was doing a scene, he’d get us kids on the show to sneak in and knock over a stack of empty film cans or throw them like a Frisbee to make a big racket and ruin her scene so she’d have to do it again.”
8. THE SERIES CHANGED NETWORKS MIDWAY THROUGH ITS 12-YEAR RUN.
My Three Sons was effectively cancelled by ABC in 1964 because the network was bowing to pressure from rival networks and slowly converting their black-and-white prime time shows to color. All things considered, in their opinion the added expense of filming My Three Sons in color was not worth it, so they axed the show from their schedule. CBS, however, thought the series still had some legs so they picked it up for the fall 1965 season (and continued running it through 1972).
Thanks to last year’s SYFY Twilight Zone Marathon which ran every episode in order, I can now say with complete certainty I’ve seen every Twilight Zone episode. Rod Serling deserves all the praise he’s received for creating not only the best television anthology series but one of the overall best tv series ever. Sure, there were some episodes which didn’t quite work, but overall the excellent episodes outweighed those that fell short.
There were eleven episodes that earned my top rating. These are the episodes that can be watched repeatedly without losing their impact. Here they are…
- Time Enough at Last [Season 1, Episode 8]
Poor little, nearsighted, henpecked Henry Bemis [Meredith] loves to read. Reading is his passion but sadly life deprives him of it. A twist of fate provide Bemis with time enough at last to read to his heart’s content… until another twist of fate proves this is The Twilight Zone.
- The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street [Season 1, Episode 22]
It’s a beautiful summer afternoon until a strange sound and vibration brings neighbors outside. Paranoia soon takes over as the thought of an alien invasion takes hold. Who among them isn’t human?
- The Howling Man [Season 2, Episode 5]
David Ellington [Wynant] while on a long hike alone in the woods in Europe becomes ill. Ellington stumbles across a monastery. Initially told he cannot stay, Brother Jerome [Carradine] allows him to stay until he is well enough to travel.While recuperating, Ellington hears a man howling in pain. The screams lead to a cell where a man is being held prisoner. Before Ellington can release him, Brother Jerome arrives and explains that the thing in the cell is not a man, but the devil!
How could the devil be held in a cell? Are the monks insane? If so, Ellington is in danger as well. Isn’t his duty to help the man escape? These are the thoughts that race through Ellington’s mind before he makes a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
- Eye of the Beholder [Season 2, Episode 6]
Janet Tyler [Stuart] is lying in her hospital bed, her head and face totally covered by bandages. Tyler nervously waits for her doctor to remove the bandages hoping that her latest (and last) surgery will make her look normal.Sadly Tyler is hideously ugly and lives in a society where the less desirables are sent away. As the bandages are removed her worst fears are revealed.
- Nick of Time [Season 2, Episode 7]
While driving through a small town heading for their honeymoon, Don [Shatner] and Pat [Breslin] Carter’s car breaks down. The mechanic says it will take a few hours to repair, so the newlyweds head into a small cafe for lunch and to pass the time.Don is nervous to hear about a possible promotion but is afraid to call his boss. There’s a little penny fortune-telling machine at their table, so Don jokingly puts in a penny to get the answer. When it appear that the machine got the answer correctly, Don asks more and more questions and the machine answers with startling accuracy… or does it?
- The Invaders [Season 2, Episode 15]
An old woman who lives alone in a rural shack with no modern conveniences finds herself under attack when small visitors from another planet land on her roof. Contains one of the best Twilight Zone twist endings of all.
- Will the Real Martian, Please Stand Up? [Season 2, Episode 28]
On a dark, snowy night, two deputies respond to a call about a crashed spaceship. Tracks lead to a remote dinner where seven bus passengers and the diner’s owner are waiting out the storm. The funny thing is there were only supposed to be six passengers on the bus and strange things are starting to happen at the dinner. Coincidence or is there an alien among them?
- The Shelter [Season 3, Episode 3]
Several families from the neighborhood have come together to celebrate a birthday. Just as toasts are made with everyone expressing their friendship, an emergency warning announcing an imminent nuclear attack is broadcast.As each family prepares for the incoming bombs, they realize that one of the families has a bomb shelter. Sadly it is not big enough to hold everyone.
- It’s a Good Life [Season 3, Episode 8]
Little Anthony Fremont [Mumy] has extraordinary mental powers. Anthony has made all of the world outside of his small farming town disappear. He’s done the same or worse to anyone of anything that displeases him.
Anthony demands that everyone think happy thoughts. The town people live in fear that they will displease Anthony and they will be next.Tonight is Anthony’s birthday. Let’s hope he’s not disappointed.
- To Serve Man [Season 3, Episode 24]
Aliens come to earth promising peace and shared technology. They seem to be making good on their promise to turn earth into a paradise, yet some doubts linger… This is one of the best Twilight Zone episodes made.
- Nightmare at 20,000 Feet [Season 5, Episode 3]
Bob Wilson [Shatner] and his wife are flying home. Wilson has just recovered from a nervous breakdown and a storm is making the flight less than comfortable. Wilson becomes alarmed when he sees a creature on the wing of the plane tearing at wires. His wife and others think Bob is suffering a relapse but he’s not…
Twilight Zone: “The Bewitchin’ Pool” [Season 5, Episode 36]
Original Air Date: June 19, 1964
Director: Joseph M. Newman
Writer: Earl Hamner, Jr.
Starring: Mary Badham, Dee Hartford and Tod Andrews.
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
Two young children of self-centered divorcing parents who are always fighting find a portal at the bottom of their swimming pool that takes them to a better place.
Twilight Zone: “The Fear” [Season 5, Episode 35]
Original Air Date: May 29, 1964
Director: Ted Post
Writer: Rod Serling
Starring: Peter Mark Richman and Hazel Court.
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
A woman in a remote cabin. A state trooper sent out to check on her. Strange sounds and the trooper’s patrol car turned over as night sets in and you have the right set-up for The Twilight Zone.