Is This a Photo of the Alcatraz Prison Escapees?

The photo above is purported to be Clarence Anglin and John Anglin, two of the three convicts who escaped from Alcatraz prison in 1962.  This picture was reportedly taken in 1975 on a farm where they allegedly lived in Brazil.

The Alcatraz prison break is probably the most famous prison escape ever since it was thought to be impossible and the three convicts were never caught.  Of course the Clint Eastwood movie, Escape from Alcatraz, probably helped with public awareness a bit.

At any rate, if you’re interested you can see vintage photos of the convicts, their cells, escape route and more at  Could the Alcatraz Escapees Still Be Alive? Here Are Some of Historical Photos of The Great Escape from Alcatraz in 1962 at Vintage Everyday.

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.”

10 Facts About Jupiter That Will Blow Your Mind

Rebecca Harrington and Business Insider present 10 Facts About Jupiter That Will Blow Your Mind.  Here are three of my favorites…

  • Jupiter is twice as massive as all the other planets combined.

 

  • The planet has a swirling storm twice the width of Earth that’s raged for at least the last 150 years called the Great Red Spot.

 

  • As a gas giant, Jupiter is mostly made of hydrogen and helium, so its surface isn’t solid.

15 Not-So-Simple Facts About “Blood Simple”

Garin Pirnia and Mental_Floss present 15 Not-So-Simple Facts About Blood Simple.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. ITS TITLE WAS INSPIRED BY DASHIELL HAMMETT’S RED HARVEST.
“It’s an expression he used to describe what happens to somebody psychologically once they’ve committed murder,” Joel Coen told Time Out. “They go ‘blood simple’ in the slang sense of ‘simple,’ meaning crazy. But it’s left up to the audience to ponder the implications; they’re never spelled out in the film itself.”

3. THE COENS—AND MANY OF THE CAST AND CREW—HAD NEVER BEEN ON A FILM SET BEFORE.
Joel Coen admitted in My First Movie, “The first day of shooting on Blood Simple was the first time I’d ever been on a feature movie set in any capacity, even as a visitor.” Coen had previously worked as an assistant editor on horror films, including 1981’s The Evil Dead. Coen mentioned how Sonnenfeld would throw up after looking at the dailies, because he was so nervous working on the film. “Everyone was in the same boat,” Joel said. “The gaffer had never gaffered a feature. The sound guy, the mixer on the set, had never mixed a feature.”

4. THE COENS CHOSE TO MAKE A FILM NOIR BECAUSE OF THE GENRE’S PRACTICALITY.
The Coens liked hard-boiled fiction authors James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler, and used them to their advantage in writing the script. “It’s certainly a genre that is entertaining, and we also picked it for very practical reasons,” Ethan said. “We knew we weren’t going to have a big budget. The financing would not allow it. We could build something on the genre and the appeal it has.”

“It’s also a genre that allows you to get by rather modestly in some ways,” Joel added. “You can limit the number of characters, put them into a confined set. There’s no need to go for large-scale effects or scatter them through the film, and those cost a lot of money. So it was a pragmatic decision that determined what film we would make.”

High Sierra (1941) / Z-View

High Sierra (1941)

Director:  Raoul Walsh

Screenplay: John Huston and W.R. Burnett from a novel by W.R. Burnett

Stars: Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Curtis, Henry Hull and Cornell Wilde.

The Pitch: “Raoul Walsh. John Huston. WR Burnett. Ida Lupino. Bogart.”

Tagline: “The Blazing Mountain Manhunt for Killer ‘Mad-Dog’ Earle!”

 

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Roy Earl [Bogart] an infamous bank robber [think Dillinger] is sprung from prison by an old crime boss who wants Earl for a big robbery.  Obligated for his freedom, Earl drives west to check out the set up.

Once he meets up with his old boss, Earl discovers the robbery plan is good and the money is right, but his partners are young, inexperienced thugs looking to make a name for themselves… plus they have a woman [Lupino] with them and everyone knows women weaken legs and crime plans don’t work out.

Before it is over there will be a robbery, people killed, double-crosses and a manhunt for the “Mad Dog Killer” Roy Earl.

 

Rating:

11 Complicated Facts About “Shaft”

Kristin Hunt and Mental_Floss present 11 Complicated Facts About Shaft.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. A WHITE NEWSPAPER REPORTER CREATED SHAFT.
John Shaft made his debut in Shaft, a novel by Ernest Tidyman. Tidyman was a reporter for The Cleveland News, The New York Post, and The New York Times before he began writing the Shaft series, which included seven detective stories. Along with John D.F. Black, he adapted his first Shaft book into the screenplay for the first film. He would later go on to write the screenplays for The French Connection (1971) and High Plains Drifter (1973) as well as Shaft’s Big Score! (1972) and the Shaft TV series (1973-1974). His work earned him an NAACP Image Award.

3. SHAFT’S MUSTACHE WAS NON-NEGOTIABLE.
The Los Angeles fiasco was behind him, but Parks immediately faced another scare when he spied his star, Richard Roundtree, heading to the bathroom with a towel and razor. Producer Joel Freeman had asked him to get rid of his soon-to-be legendary mustache. Parks told Roundtree emphatically, “Shave it off and you’re out of a job.” And with that, the ‘stache stayed in the picture.

11. THERE’S A SHAFT COMIC BOOK SERIES.
There hasn’t been a new Shaft movie since the 2000 reboot starring Samuel L. Jackson, but Dynamite Entertainment began printing a Shaft comic book series in 2014. The comics are penned by David F. Walker, who also published the first Shaft novel in over 40 years this February. The latest comic series finds Shaft as a part-time consultant on a blaxploitation movie; Walker intended this meta subplot to be a commentary on “clueless producers who think they have their finger on the pulse of blackness.” And yes, that was an intended slam on the upcoming remake.

15 Out-of-this-World Facts About “Men in Black”

Garin Pirnia and Mental_Floss present 15 Out-of-this-World Facts About Men in Black.  Here are three of my favorites…

9. MEN IN BLACK IS THE HIGHEST-GROSSING ACTION BUDDY COMEDY OF ALL TIME.
Rush Hour 2 almost dethroned Men in Black from the top spot in 2001, but with a gross of $250 million, Men in Black held onto its position. 22 Jump Street comes in third, and Men in Black II and Men in Black 3 rank fourth and fifth on the list, respectively. On the sci-fi comedy chart, the Men in Black movies corner the top three positions.

11. WILL SMITH CAME UP WITH THE PLOT FOR MEN IN BLACK 3 WHILE FILMING MEN IN BLACK II.
One night while on the set of Men in Black II, Smith told Sonnenfeld his idea for a third film. “At the beginning, something has happened and Agent Kay is missing and I have to go back to the past to go try to save young Agent Kay,” Sonnenfeld recalled to CNN. “In doing so, myself and the audience find out all sorts of secrets about the world that we didn’t even know were out there.” All Sonnenfeld could muster was, “Can we just finish this one?” Over a decade later, the plot to Men in Black 3 did revolve around time travel and saving a young Agent Kay, played by Josh Brolin.

15. THE RAY-BAN GLASSES WORN IN THE MOVIE ALMOST DIDN’T GET A SHOUT OUT.
The sunglasses Smith and Jones sport in the film are Ray-Ban Predator II glasses. According to a 1997 article in Promo Magazine, a special coating was applied to the glasses to limit reflection, which meant removing the logo. Without the logo, nobody would know what type of glasses they were (Sonnenfeld edited out a previous line in the movie where Jones says “that’s why they call them Ray-Bans”). Ray-Ban tried to convince the studio to reinstate the logo, but they refused. After some coercing, Smith compromised and name dropped the company in the “Men in Black” song: “Black tie with the black attitude / New style, black Ray-Bans, I’m stunnin’, man.” The popularity of the movie and the song’s music video gave the $100 Predators a four- to fivefold increase in sales, and a boost to Ray-Ban’s entire catalog of shades.

10 Huge Facts About “Big Trouble in Little China”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 10 Huge Facts About Big Trouble in Little China.  Here are three of my favorites…

7. THE STUDIO DEMANDED THAT THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM  BE CHANGED.
Barry Diller felt that Jack Burton wasn’t heroic enough, so after production wrapped, Carpenter went back and shot an introductory scene where Egg Shen (Victor Wong) says Jack is a courageous man. Had Diller not said anything, the film would have begun with Jack driving. Carpenter didn’t necessarily want Burton to be seen as the hero; he wanted both leads to be considered the film’s heroes.

9. KURT RUSSELL WAS LED TO BELIEVE IT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST MOVIE OF 1986.
Russell had never, before or since, been asked by so many members of the press what it was like to be in the biggest movie of the year than when he was promoting Big Trouble in Little China. After the test screenings went really well, Russell said he “kept waiting to see ads and things that just didn’t happen.”

10. THE ROCK WANTS TO REMAKE IT, WITH CARPENTER.
Carpenter said he’s “ambivalent” about the idea. New movie or not, there’s been a comic book series that picks up from where the movie ended. And if you can find it, there was a Big Trouble in Little China video game released in 1986. A secret screen on the DVD contains images from it.

Was Neal Adams’ Ending Better Than Denny O’Neil’s

When I was a kid, one of the most controversial comic book stories played out in Green Lantern / Green Arrow #85 and #86.  In the story written by Denny O’Neil and pencilled by Neal Adams, Green Arrow discovers that his ward is a drug addict.  

What was interesting to learn about the 45 year old story was that artist Neal Adams actually added and wrote the last two pages of the story to change the ending so much so that writer Denny O’Neil didn’t like it.

I agree with Neal Adams that his ending makes for a stronger story. Check out CBR’s Comic Book Legends Revealed #581 for the full story and see what you think.

13 Thrilling Facts About The Original “House of Wax”

Mark Mancini and Mental_Floss present 13 Thrilling Facts About The Original House of Wax.  Here are three of my favorites…

8. IT COMES WITH AN INTERMISSION.
Prior to the late 1970s, “epic” films would often treat their viewers to a built-in bathroom break. Midway through screenings of Gone With the Wind and other, extra-long classics, the action would pause, the theater lights would brighten, and the word “Intermission” would appear onscreen. Ordinarily, this practice was reserved for movies with bladder-testing runtimes of two and a half hours or more. By comparison, House of Wax flies by with its breezy 88-minute runtime. Yet, unconventionally for a short picture, it contains an intermission. Why? Screening the 3D film required two projectors running simultaneously. The respite was necessary because it allowed theater employees to change both reels an hour into the movie.

9. A FUNCTIONING GUILLOTINE WAS USED IN THE CLIMAX.
Toward the end of the film, Igor gets into a big fight with Sue’s boyfriend, Scott, played by Paul Picerni. From the get-go, there’s no doubt about which one has the upper hand, as Igor seizes poor Scott and shoves his head under a guillotine in the museum’s French Revolution display. Luckily, the police arrive in time to rescue our hero, pulling him out of harm’s way seconds before the blade comes crashing down.

Just like his character, Picerni came dangerously close to getting his head chopped off, Louis XVI-style—because this guillotine was 100 percent real. Rather than film the scene in segments, de Toth wanted to shoot the whole thing in one take. With blithe nonchalance, he told Picerni to go and stick his head under the razor-sharp blade of this death device.

Naturally, Picerni objected. At a 2006 House of Wax Q&A, the star reminisced at length about the argument that followed. “I asked de Toth, ‘How are you going to control the blade?’ He said the property master was going to sit on top of the guillotine, holding the blade between his legs, then let it drop after my head was removed.” When the actor opined that this sounded dangerous, de Toth replied, “What are you, chicken sh*t?” In the end, Picerni agreed to do the scene in one take, on the condition that a metal bar be inserted under the blade to keep it from falling prematurely.

11. BELA LUGOSI ATTENDED THE PREMIERE—ALONG WITH A GUY IN A GORILLA SUIT.
Although the star of Universal’s Dracula (1931) did not appear in House of Wax, he did help promote it. The film’s world premiere was held at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles on April 16, 1953. As a publicity stunt, Lugosi was invited to attend the big event. Clad in a vampire cape, he emerged from his limousine with a chain link leash, which was attached to an actor in an ape costume—a clear homage to the 1952 comedy Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla.

Promising Anti-Aging Drug Ready for Human Trial

I’ve always said, “If you can live long enough, you can live forever.”

A compound called nicotinamide mono nucleotide (NMN) has been shown to slow down the aging process and extend the lifespans of mice. We’re about to find out if it does the same thing to humans.

A planned clinical trial devised by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and Keio University in Japan is set to test the effectiveness and safety of the compound. Starting next month, about 10 healthy people will be administered NMN to see if can improve bodily function and stave off the effects of aging. Should it work, it would become the first bona fide anti-aging intervention available on the market.

Can you imagine if this drug (or another like it) works on humans.  Our first thoughts are probably how cool it would be… but if we deleve a bit deeper, my guess is the drug would create more problems than it would solve.  Could we deal with the extra (longer living) mouths to feed?  Would there be enough jobs?  Who would get access to the pills?  Would the extra years be quality?

I guess if we live long enough, we’ll find the answers to those questions and more.

Source: Gizmodo.

13 Kooky Facts About “The Addams Family”

Stacy Conradt and Mental_Floss present 13 Kooky Facts About The Addams Family.  Here are three of my favorites…

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.

 

15 Solid Facts About “The Flintstones”

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.’”

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