The Making of The Lords of Flatbush by Stephen Verona (2008) / Z-View

The Making of The Lords of Flatbush by Stephen Verona (2008)

Paperback: 155 pages
Publisher: Creative Book Publishing International; First Edition ~1st Printing edition (June 15, 2008)

First sentence…

When I was single and dating I would regale girls with these stories of my childhood and the guys I hung with.

 

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Stephen Verona, the writer and director of Lords of Flatbush, takes us on the amazing trip to get Lords of Flatbush, one of the first truly independent films made.  Along the way, we’ll learn how Verona got started (becoming friends with John Lennon and working with Lennon to animate the Beatles song I Feel Fine) and the long process to get Lords of Flatbush made.

Verona worked with many big names [Lee Strasberg, Janet Leigh, The Beatles, Chicago, Barbara Steisand, etc.] prior to writing and directing Lords of Flatbush and those stories are fun but the heart of the book is of course getting LoF made.  Verona provides many anecdotes and behind the scenes photos and trivia.  (Did you know that Richard Gere was originally to play Perry King’s role? Stallone and Gere had a falling out and one had to go!]

Verona writes in a conversation style that’s easy to read.  Fans of LoF will love the behind-the-scenes peek and prospective film makers will learn from the mistakes Verona as a first time film-maker made.

Rating:

11 Fab Facts About The Beatles’ Revolver

Jeff Merron and Mental_Floss present 11 Fab Facts About The Beatles’ Revolver.  Here are three of my favorites…

7. IT WAS ALMOST TITLED ABRACADABRA.
All four Beatles liked that name, wrote Barry Miles in his Paul McCartney bio, Many Years From Now. Also considered: Four Sides of the Circle and Fat Man. Ringo, noting that the Rolling Stones had just come out with Aftermath, suggested After Geography. They finally settled on Revolver, because an album spins, man.

8. WITHOUT REVOLVER, THERE’D BE NO “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.”
Up until the spring of 1966, The Beatles had used a fairly conventional studio technique to make vocals sound richer: double tracking, in which the lead singer would simply record his vocals twice onto different tape tracks. But John Lennon hated doing this. So to accommodate him, EMI engineer Ken Townsend invented “automatic double tracking,” which allowed one performance to be recorded on two tape machines—with one delayed by about 100 milliseconds, automatically creating a nice, thick sound.

11. THEY NEVER PLAYED ANY PART OF THE ALBUM LIVE.
The Beatles were near the end of their touring days, but not quite. They began a 14-city North America circuit in Chicago on August 12, just four days after Revolver’s U.S. release. But they didn’t feel it was possible to reproduce the album’s technically sophisticated, studio-crafted songs on stage. The most recently recorded track that audiences heard was “Paperback Writer,” the number one hit single they had released on May 30, 1966. The Beatles’ last concert was on August 29, 1966, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. But nobody outside the band knew it at the time.

13 Nostalgic Facts About American Graffiti

Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 13 Nostalgic Facts About American Graffiti.  Here are three of my favorites…

3. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, THERE IS NO ACTUAL CONNECTION BETWEEN AMERICAN GRAFFITI AND HAPPY DAYS.
Happy Days premiered five months after American Graffiti was released. It was set in the ’50s, had Ron Howard playing a teen very similar to his American Graffiti character, used “Rock Around the Clock” as its theme song, and even borrowed the American Graffiti font for the credits. You’d think that Happy Days was somehow a spin-off of the movie, but you’d be wrong. It actually began as an unsold pilot in 1971 and aired in 1972 as part of the anthology series Love, American Style. (Lucas watched it at some point when he was considering casting Howard in American Graffiti.) After the movie took off, and with ’50s nostalgia in high gear (Grease was burning up Broadway), ABC reconsidered the Happy Days pilot, ordered a series, and did everything they could to make it remind people of American Graffiti. It ran for 10 years and was one of the most popular sitcoms in TV history.

8. THE PRODUCER HAD TO BECOME MACKENZIE PHILLIPS’ LEGAL GUARDIAN FOR THE SHOOT.
Mackenzie Phillips was just 12 years old when she arrived to make the film, and though she had showbiz experience (her father, John Phillips, was in The Mamas & the Papas), neither she nor her parents realized that California law required her to have a guardian present. “They were almost going to have to recast me, but Gary Kurtz”—a producer on the film—”and his family said, ‘We’ll take her,'” Phillips said in 1999. ” So they went to the courts in San Francisco and got guardianship of me.” Phillips lived with the Kurtzes for the duration of the shoot and described it as a happy experience.

2. IT WAS SAVED FROM BECOMING A TV MOVIE BY THE GODFATHER.
Universal Pictures gave Lucas a budget of $600,000, or about $3.5 million in 2016 dollars, to make the movie—in other words, not very much. When Coppola came onboard as a producer shortly after the release of The Godfather, Universal gave Lucas another $175,000. Later, when the film was finished and had test-screened positively, Universal inexplicably wanted to drastically re-edit it and release it as a TV movie. Lucas objected but had no clout. Coppola, on the other hand—by this time an Oscar-winner—could make studio executives listen. He convinced them to do only a little bit of trimming (the deleted scenes were reincorporated for home video release) and to release the film theatrically.

Cabin in the Sky (1943) / Z-View

Cabin in the Sky (1943)

Director: Vincente Minnelli, Busby Berkeley (uncredited)

Screenplay: Joseph Schrank based on the musical by Lynn Root

Stars: Ethel Waters, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, Lena Horne, Butterfly McQueen, Louis Armstrong, Rex Ingram, Kenneth Spencer, and Duke Ellington.

The Pitch: “Let’s make a movie version of ‘Cabin in the Sky!’”

Tagline: “Broadway’s big, fun-jammed music show is on the screen at last–crowded with stars and songs and spectacle in the famed MGM manner!”

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Little Joe [Anderson] dies after being shot during a night of gambling and fast women. Before his soul can be claimed, Little Joe’s wife, Petunia [Waters] prays so hard for Little Joe that angels show up just as the Devil’s soldiers prepare to wisk him away.  A decision is made that Little Joe will be returned to the living and have six months to earn his way heaven or be claimed by the devils.  The catch is Little Joe will remember none of this.

The devils plot to place every obstacle possible in Little Joe’s path from fast women like Georgia Brown [Horne] to fast cash and no-account friends.  Will Joe make it to the Cabin in the Sky?

Rating:

16 Things You May Not Know About Ringo Starr

Eddie Deenzen and Neatorama present 16 Things You May Not Know About Ringo Starr.  Here are three of my favorites…

10. In 1964, when the Beatles first came to America, Ringo was actually the most popular Beatle. At least he received the most fan mail of the four.

16. In 2015, Ringo was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (the Beatles had been inducted as a group in 1988). But now Ringo was (finally) elected on his own

3. Ringo was so sick as young boy, three times his doctors told his mother he wouldn’t survive the night. He was indomitable and did survive. Because of his incredible ability to survive, his grandfather’s nickname for him was “Lazarus.”

11 Facts About Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 11 Facts About Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. THE TITLE CAME FROM AIRPLANE SALT AND PEPPER PACKETS.
By the time The Beatles took a three-month vacation in the latter part of 1966, they were all tired of being The Beatles. McCartney and tour manager/assistant Mal Evans ruminated on this problem as the two traveled together, ending their international adventures in Kenya. On their flight back to London, McCartney was developing an alter ego for the band for their next record.

“Me and Mal often bantered words about, which led to the rumor that he thought of the name Sergeant Pepper,” McCartney explained to author Barry Miles about how he came up with the name. “But I think it would be much more likely that it was me saying, ‘Think of names.’ We were having our meal and they had those little packets marked ‘S’ and ‘P.’ Mal said, ‘What’s that mean? Oh, salt and pepper.’ We had a joke about that. So I said, ‘Sergeant Pepper,’ just to vary it, ‘Sergeant Pepper, salt and pepper,’ an aural pun, not mishearing him but just playing with the words.” McCartney then added “Lonely Hearts Club” to “Sergeant Pepper,” and figured it would be a “crazy enough” band name, “because why would a Lonely Hearts Club have a band?”

5. RINGO REFUSED TO SING ONE LYRIC.
The song originally began with the hypothetical, “What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and throw tomatoes at me?” Starr remembered what happened years earlier when fans constantly threw jelly babies on stage, after Harrison mentioned that he liked them. The drummer worried he would just be asking for it and take tomatoes to the face and other parts of his body for the rest of his life, and informed Lennon and McCartney there was”not a chance in hell” he was going to sing the line as written.

8. “SHE’S LEAVING HOME” WAS WRITTEN ABOUT A TEEN WHO REALLY RAN AWAY FROM HOME, AND HAD MET THE BEATLES YEARS EARLIER.
McCartney wrote “She’s Leaving Home” after reading in the local newspaper about 17-year-old Melanie Coe, who went missing without her car, checkbook, or any spare clothes. It turned out that Coe was shacked up with a croupier she had met at a nightclub, and ended up coming home 10 days later. What McCartney never realized was that he actually met Coe on October 4, 1963, when she won a miming contest on the TV show Ready Steady Go!. McCartney was the judge.

10 Things You May Not Know About The Monkees

MeTV presents 10 Things You May Not Know About The Monkees.  Here are three of my favorites…

ONLY PETER TORK AND MICKY DOLENZ APPEAR IN EVERY EPISODE OF THE TV SHOW.
Don’t worry, the other two had good excuses. Davy Jones had to be written out of an episode so he could attend his sister’s wedding. Michael Nesmith missed three shoots due to a tonsillectomy, the birth of his son Jonathan and a family trip to Texas.

PAUL WILLIAMS AND STEPHEN STILLS AUDITIONED TO BE MONKEES.
More than 400 young actors and musicians auditioned for the four roles. Stephen Stills and Paul Williams were among those who did not make the cut, as were Danny Hutton (of Three Dog Night) and Harry Nilsson. The original idea was to cast an existing act, specifically the Lovin’ Spoonful. Both Stills and Spoonful frontman John Sebastian bristled at the idea of turning over their song publishing rights to the studio. Contrary to urban legend, Charles Manson did not audition.

MICKY DOLENZ AND MICHAEL NESMITH BOTH AUDITIONED TO PLAY THE FONZ ON ‘HAPPY DAYS.’
Hey, hey, we’re the Fonzies / People say we Fonzie around… There is no bigger “What If?” surrounding Happy Days than the potential casting of Arthur Fonzarelli. The creators were keen on Dolenz, and even Henry Winkler thought his chances were slim when he spotted this adorable pop star at an audition. But it came down to inches. Six of them. Dolenz was deemed to be too tall, towering over his costars. Nesmith also auditioned and was considered too tall. The 5′ 6″ Winkler fit the frame perfectly. Aaaaaayyyyy!

15 Facts About “Twister”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Facts About Twister.  Here are three of my favorites…

5. BOTH HELEN HUNT AND JAN DE BONT WALKED AWAY FROM OTHER MOVIES TO WORK ON THIS ONE.
Helen Hunt (Dr. Jo Harding) passed up working with John Travolta in John Woo’s Broken Arrow (1996). After more than six months of pre-production, de Bont left his Godzilla (1998 version) directing gig because of studio feuds over the budget and immediately agreed to direct Twister instead.

9. THE TORNADO SOUNDS ARE MADE UP OF VARIOUS ANIMAL NOISES.
According to Variety, an altered recording of a camel’s moan helped create the storm sounds. It was reported elsewhere that a lion’s growl and a tiger’s snarl were remixed as tornado audio.

14. BILL PAXTON THINKS THEY MADE THE “PEPSI LITE” VERSION OF THE MOVIE.
“I’d love to direct a sequel to that movie,” Paxton said. “I’ve always felt like there was a Jaws version of that movie. I always felt like we did the Pepsi Lite version of that movie.”

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