Great B Movies

The Car (1977) – One of my personal favorites…I actually talked my mom into taking me to this in 1977. I loved every minute of it. My son and I have watched it over and over.

It’s Alive (1974) – The trailer use to scare me to death as a kid. I would hear that scream in my sleep… Someone took me to see it and I loved it but was scared… Pure seventies joy.

 

The Spirit of 76 (1990) – A time machine with David Cassidy at the helm going back mistakenly to 1976 instead of 1776 from a grey future… Who could ask for more? It’s complete with Devo and they got the seventies down well. Fun movie to watch.

Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry (1974) – Another movie that I got to see in the theater that I will never forget. It does have a powerful ending…Peter Fonda was great in this and I loved the car they drove.

Gone In Sixty Seconds (1974) – This one is special to me because parked in the lobby of the Theater was Eleanor the car that was actually in the movie. I got to touch it and it was like touching gold to a 8 year old. I remember watching the trailer and my aunt taking me to see it.

A Boy and His Dog (1975) – I wont even try to explain…look at wiki…

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1958) – So bad that is it good. Watching the cardboard tombstones move as people walk near.

Superfly (1972) – Great movie…. A lot of the cops are real cops, hookers….real hookers…low budget with a great ending. Curtis Mayfield recorded the soundtrack…you can’t get better than that…As with another post…where is that car now?

 

Shallow Wondering and Searching

I often wonder where things end up… When I watch a television show, a historical video, a movie, famous concerts, or whatever… I do the stupidest thing and I admit it. I always wonder…where is that prop today? Where is Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hat? Where is the M that is hanging in the Mary Tyler Moore show now (I’ve read where Mary Tyler Moore still had it when she died)? Where is the Car from the B movie “The Car” at now? Where the cars from Death Race 2000….the original ended up? Where is the original Eleanor from the original Gone in 60 seconds? Where a prop is from a long-ago variety show. Very trivial stuff and not worth the effort but I cannot help it.

Then if I have plenty of free time…If I don’t I make it… I google through the night. Trying to find any clue to where they have gone. It is a sickness and a waste of time… I could do much more constructive things but I look at it as a shallow hobby…  Where certain guitars are now…that is the easiest thing to find but some things are impossible but I have a lot fun searching.

Land Of The Lost

I watched this as a kid and loved it…I also learned a new word…Chroma Key…they used that to do the special effects.

The plot was that a family…the Marshalls…Rick, Will, and Holly are out rafting apparently and suddenly they go through an open portal to a different universe. A world with dinosaurs, crystals, pylons and time doors. They find a cave to hide in after waking up in the raft to a very bad looking T-Rex looking down on them.

Yes, the special effects were bad regardless of Chroma Key or whatever…It did have two redeeming qualities… The writing and the introduction to Sleestaks and which were really cool lizard-like things that could not hit a broad side of a barn with their crossbows…and

The stories. This show used a lot of the writers from the original Star Trek… With the pylons, skylons, different crystals that controlled time, the weather and everything else. The acting could be sketchy at times but Spencer Milligan as Rick Marshall was really good.

I always wished they would remake this with modern effects with the same storylines. They actually had some good sci-fi stories in this show. People who criticize the look of the show must remember that this was a Saturday morning show….the budget was low… I still would rather watch this…bad effects and all to the awful 2009 movie of the same name…

This was made by Sid and Marty Krofft. They had some of the strangest shows for kids…they were unique, to say the least.

Wikipedia

A number of well-respected writers in the science fiction field contributed scripts to the series (mostly in the first and second seasons), including Larry Niven,[6] Theodore Sturgeon,[6][7] Ben Bova,[6] and Norman Spinrad, and a number of people involved with Star Trek, such as Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana,[6] Walter Koenig,[6][8][9] and David Gerrold.[6] Gerrold, Niven, and Fontana also contributed commentaries to the DVD of the first season.

Marshall, Will, and Holly
On a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known.
High on the rapids
It struck their tiny raft.
And plunged them down a thousand feet below.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
To the Land of the Lost.
land of the lost2.jpg

Life On Mars…

2006 Life on Mars is simply great. Now I’m talking about the BBC original version… NOT the American version. Sometimes I wonder why instead of remaking a series as great as this… why not just show the superior British version in America in prime time? Do they think that it would be impossible for people to understand British accents? Why remake something that is inferior to the original?

The plot is a cop (Sam Tyler) in 2006 gets hit by a car and wakes up in 1973…he doesn’t know if he has traveled through time, going mad or in a coma. When he wakes he is a cop in 1973 and has to deal with a non PC world that is vastly different from where he just came from… People do things with feel more than data gathering etc.

Great characters and stories make this the best show of the 2000’s to me. It only lasts 16 episodes and all of them are top notch. This show did have a spinoff… Ashes to Ashes…basically the same story above but with a female detective going back in the 1980s but she does meet most of the same characters except Sam. Ashes to Ashes does have its moments and it does wrap up all the reasons for  Life On Mars….but it doesn’t top it.

Almost better than the series is the soundtrack…. Performers from Atomic Rooster to David Bowie. A few songs that caught me by surprise that I thought how have I missed these all of my life?

Frankie Miller – I Can’t Change It

Atomic Rooster – Devil’s Answer

To see the others check it out here.

 

 

 

Green Acres

One of the most surreal shows to ever be on television.

I was too young to catch this show when it was on originally. I never thought too much of it but I started to watch it later on in life. At first look, it looked like a rural show with country humor….wrong wrong wrong. Yes, it was wacky but it broke through the 4th wall… You can see it’s influenced in the Simpsons and more shows. Poor Oliver was surrounded by crazy people and the craziness infected him at times. The show takes place in the fictional town of Hooterville…they never reveal the state but it doesn’t matter. The characters of this show were classic.

It’s really hard to describe this show. It was intertwined with 2 other shows…The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction…BUT it’s nothing like those other two. Not in the same zip code or planet. Basically…a New York Lawyer with his rather ditsy socialite wife moves to the country. He bought…or got conned into buying a broken down farmhouse (The Haney Place?) with his dreams of being a farmer. I will say the first few episodes kinda follows a normal sitcom template but then it gets really surreal. This is one show that would work today with no problem.

This website is a great acres resource.

The characters

Mr. Haney – Probably the biggest con-man in television history. He will stop at nothing to make a buck and he finds a sucker in Oliver many times.

Eb – The somewhat slow farmhand that calls Oliver and Lisa mom and dad much to Oliver’s annoyance. He asks for everything but gets out of work as much as he can…plus he tells Oliver what a bad farmer he is….

Mr. Drucker – out of all the residents of Hooterville  he is at times the most normal of the crazy lot…but that is not saying much. He operates the general store, post office, the newspaper and is the the notary public. I’m sure I’m missing something else.

Fred and Doris Ziffel – Fred and his long suffering wife Doris. They have no children so they raise a pig named Arnold as a child. He goes to school and does every kids do.

Arnold – The pig which is probably the character best remembered to the public.

Hank Kimball – My favorite character hands down…you talk about short term memory…this guy has it. He is the county agent and helps…or something like that Oliver with his farm.

Ralph and Alf Monroe – Two inept carpenters that are brother and sister and the sister’s name is Ralph. They work on Lisa’s and Oliver’s bedroom the entire show’s run and never gets it done.

Oliver and Lisa Douglas – It’s a wonder that the show didn’t end up with Oliver in an insane asylum after dealing with everyone in Hooterville. Lisa, as the show goes along starts think and act like the Hooterville residents. Lisa is a terrible cook to say the least that specializes in hot cakes…that are used to seal cracks and as a head gasket and she cooks a great hot water soup.

Eleanor – Oliver’s and Lisa’s cow. About the only good deal they ever got from Mr. Haney.

Some more info on Green acres.

 

Best Sitcoms of the 1970’s

The 70’s were the golden age of sitcoms. I am a sitcom connoisseur…these were my favorite in no particular order.

Barney Miller – The writing for this show was great. The setup was great in getting character actors in this show week after week because you would have a shop lifter, a flasher, a robber… usually no criminal too bad.

Mary Tyler Moore – Ground breaking show with great writing. The greatest sitcoms had a great ensemble of actors and actresses. This one seemed so natural that it seemed that you knew these people in real life.

Taxi – This one did not receive the praise that it should have at the time it was on. Reverend Jim is one of the great characters of television.

WKRP – This show rocked…literally…Some great music and a great cast.

All In The Family – Very topical and it probably would be harder to follow for younger people now but they would get the points. This is probably the most un PC show of the 70s. That makes me like it all the more. It exposed bigotry but also had a caring side to the show. The family fought but they were a close family.

The Bob Newhart Show – Bob’s dry sense of humor and the relationship with his wife Suzanne Pleshette seemed legit. The cast of quirky characters drove Bob crazy which showcased Newharts comedy.  This show should not be confused with the 1980s Newhart…this is the one where Bob is a psychologist…some people get them mixed up but this one is the best in my opinion….nothing against Newhart at all. Newhart had the same theme but to me this one has the best writing and more believable characters.

Good Times – The first sitcom that featured an all black cast. When I was growing up my mother and father had divorced. I was a latch key kid living with my mom and she worked three jobs and I didn’t get to see my father much. I was a white kid living in the country but John Amos’s character was a great father figure. He could go from happy to angry in 5 seconds. I know some people had a problem with Jimmie Walker’s character but I knew people like him even in a rural country school. When John Amos left…the show was never the same.

The Bob Newhart Show’s kitchen…Love that kitchen

bn kitchen.jpg

 

 

If you could have dinner with 5 people dead or still living…who would they be?

Mine are pretty shallow sounding vs what some people would say like Lincoln, Washington… Nope…no politicians, generals, or leaders…

1: John Lennon – He could be a walking contradiction but so are a lot of British rock stars but he was very intelligent and a superb songwriter. He loved to shock at times but could be very warm, generous and very honest. After he was shot his legend made him out to be some saint…he would have been the first to say he was not one….he didn’t suffer fools well. I remember when I was 13 and I heard about the shooting. The guy that shot him…I won’t mention his name is kept from the other prisoners for safety reasons. John had already signed a document saying he would get together with the other Beatles for what turned out to be the Anthology. At the time it was called The Long and Winding Road.

2: Keith Moon – I would prepare myself and sleep for as long as possible the day before and then try to keep up with him for as long as possible.

3: Babe Ruth – What a guy… To me the best baseball player period…there is no one close. He was the best all-around player…Not only was he one of the best power hitters he was also a great left-handed pitcher…I would love to talk to him…get some dogs and beer and enjoy my time with the Babe.

4: Harpo Marx – The Marx brother that is my favorite. Yes Groucho is better known but Harpo was one of the most decent guys you could ever be around…he also hung out with the Algonquin round table crowd in the 1920s with writers Alexander Woolcott, brilliant playwright George Kaufman and many more. Harpo came from a very poor family at the turn of the century and he came to know some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.

5: Buster Keaton – Probably one of the best filmmakers of the 20th century. He gets overshadowed by Charlie Chaplin. That is not a knock on Chaplin but Keaton not only was a great screen comedian but the better filmmaker out of the two.

 

Honorable Mention

The two that I hated to leave out but one of the these two could substitute if two of the ones mentioned above could not show up.

Clara Bow – My favorite actress hands down. The original and the only IT girl and could say more with her actions than anyone else with words…she lit up the screen.

Keith Richards – The only living member of my wishlist (though some would argue that fact) Keith is just cool period. If I had to describe rock and roll to an alien… I would hand them a copy of Brown Sugar and a picture of a 1972 Keith Richards… I love that he has survived…God Bless you, Keith.