Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

From my family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays, and the best wishes for a healthy, happy new year filled with love and good fortune.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Muppet Family Christmas

Gadzooks! Christmas is less than a week away and I've barely posted anything! I'd better get hoppin', and I'll do that with the help of a frog. And a pig. And a bear. And a weirdo.

A Muppet Family Christmas first aired on ABC during Christmastime 1987, and features Fozzie taking his Muppet friends to his grandmother's house for an old-fashioned family Christmas. Problem is, Grandma rented to the house to Doc, the human star of Fraggle Rock. Soon enough, the special becomes a Christmas Muppetpalooza--which I'm always up for.

Perhaps the most bittersweet moment of the special is the cameo of the late Jim Henson himself at the very end. No one could have guessed that two and a half year's later, he'd be gone.

But don't let that ruin the mood of this joyous, heartwarming special. Enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Cuento de Navidad (A Christmas Tale)

Just like my first Christmas-themed Tuesday's Forgotten feature this year, this is another one that is off the beaten path, in that it's a horror tale: the Spanish-language film Cuento de Navidad (A Christmas Tale).

The film is set in 1985 and centers on five 12-year-old Spanish youths. The kids, who live in a coastal summer resort town, stumble across a mysterious figure dressed as Santa Claus in a deep ditch in the woods. When they go to get help, they learn that the person is a woman wanted for stealing two million pesos from a nearby bank. Instead of alerting the authorities right away, they (foolishly) decide to keep her in the ditch until she reveals the location of the loot and a reward is posted for her capture. This leads the youths on a downward spiral a la Treasure of the Sierra Madre, as they fight internally over the woman's fate.

Oh yeah--two of the kids perform a voodoo zombie rite that they've seen from their favorite horror movie, the fictitious film within a film Zombie Invasion, scenes from which are interspersed throughout the main movie. If you want to see if their attempt to turn the criminal into a zombie is successful, you'll have to see the movie.

The film, directed by Paco Plaza of [REC] fame, does a good job of holding your interest to see how the various seeds that have been planted will grow. It's also interesting to see how American pop culture of the 80s influenced other countries: one of the children is obsessed with The Karate Kid, and they all adopt code names from The A-Team around their hostage to protect their identities. The scenes from Zombie Invasion are also amusing in their intentional cheesiness and grindhouse sensibilities.

The film was created for Spanish cable television as an entry in an anthology series, and was released in the States as part of a six-film horror DVD collection called 6 Films to Keep You Awake. If you have digital cable, you can see the film for free for a limited time on FearNet's on demand service, as I did.

Here is the film's trailer. Thanks!

Friday, December 14, 2012

List O' Links Christmas Edition

We're less than two weeks away from the big day, so it's officially crunch time. Get your presents, hang up your decorations, and when you're done, kick back with these cool Christmas links.

The most important link I can give you is the excellent Santa's Working Overtime. Consider your one-stop shop for online Christmas entertainment. Music, novelties, and yes, links. Highest possible recommendation!

To learn the latest in Christmas music, there are two great sites for you: Stubby's House of Christmas and Mistletunes. They both have a wealth of information.

Want some fun Christmas wallpapers based on comic book covers? Neato Coolville has you covered!

Again with the Christmas music: two great destinations for out-of-print Christmas music ripped from vinyl, you should--nay, you must!--go to Ernie (Not Bert) and Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else. They're good folks.

Finally, for some great downloads of clip art , games, and recipes, among other great Yuletide items, check out XmasFun.com. I've visited this site every Christmas for years. Great stuff.

Have a great weekend! Finish your shopping! Don't drink and drive!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's a Bad Brains Christmas, Charlie Brown

I just saw this the other day and laughed my ass off. It's footage from A Charlie Brown Christmas mashed with a song by the Washington, DC-area punk band Bad Brains. You can tell how much I'm not hip on my punk rock history as I've never heard of the band before, yet Bad Brains was a prominent punk band. I saw this courtesy of freeform noncommercial radio station WFMU in Northern New Jersey.


It's A Bad Brains Christmas, Charlie Brown from Tad Was Here on Vimeo.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: A Pinky and the Brain Christmas


This week's Forgotten TV is the 1995 special A Pinky and the Brain Christmas. In traditional P & The B style, the duo plot to take over the world, this time on Christmas Eve via a doll invented by Brain. They trek to the North Pole to trick Santa and his elves to create enough of the mind-controlling dolls to enslave the world's children. All the while, Pinky works on his letter to Santa, much to Brain's annoyance. However, that letter turns out to be a key component in the special's resolution.

I admit that the special isn't exactly on par with the classics such as Charlie Brown and Rudolph, but the ending is so great--and unexpectedly touching--that it's well worth an annual viewing. I was in college when this first aired, and I remember my jaw dropping at how things played out.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Knight Movie Trailer

This is a project that I heard about back in August on the pop culture Web Site Geek Tyrant, and I've saved it all this time just for the blog. Christmas Knight is a movie project by British filmmakers Jessica Capasso and Mike Hill that they hope to make into a full-length film. Although a full film has not yet been made, they have a completed script ready to go and have created a four-minute trailer demonstrating their concept for the movie.

Evil aliens have made contact with Earth, threatening total destruction if humanity doesn't send its strongest hero to fight their alien champion. After an exhaustive search, someone is finally chosen--Santa Claus. He's reluctant at first, but with some prodding from Mrs. Claus, he trains to become the hero Earth needs to fight the alien menace. It's a pretty cool concept, and the trailer is intriguing and well done.

It would totally be better than Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Here is the official Web site for the project, and the trailer is below. Dig the awesome Batmobile-style sleigh that looks like Rudolph, right down to a pair of antlers and a red "nose" at the end of it, and the cool superhero duds Santa wears. Nicely done! Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: The Gift of Winter

There's SNOW Tuesday's Forgotten like this week's Tuesday's Forgotten!


This week, it's the 1974 Canadian animated special The Gift of Winter. This special introduced the characters that would gain greater exposure in the 1978 Halloween special Witch's Night Out. Here, characters Small, Tender, Bazooey, Goodly, Nicely, Malicious, and Rotten march to see the spirit of Winter himself to protest the harsh temperatures that threaten to ruin the town's Christmas. It's a long, exhausting trek, and when they arrive at Winter's headquarters, they get a frosty reception.


As with Witch's Night Out, The Gift of Winter features the voice talents of Gilda Radnor as the narrator, Nicely, and Malicious; this time, she costars with her future Saturday Night Live castmate Dan Akroyd in the roles of Goodly and Rotten, one year shy of their not ready for primetime debut. Although the animation of Witch's was on the crude side, it's even moreso here, but not in a bad way. The characters look like sketchbook pencil drafts come to life, which gives the special an earthy appeal. With their heavy winter gear on, they look not unlike South Park characters!  It looks every bit the independently produced cartoon from 1974 that it is, and it's actually refreshing to see animation this raw in an age where so much animation is computer generated (as delightful as much of it is).

As in Witch's, the characters live up to their sobriquets: Nicely is nice and considerate, Goodly is righteous and an activist, Bazooey is a hippie, Small and Tender are...you know, and Malicious and Rotten? Let me put it this way: their idea of dealing with Old Man Winter? Sneaking in dynamite to blow up his headquarters. I kid you not! They literally plot to commit an act of terrorism! I love you, 1974!

This is one of the VHS tapes I picked up at the Goodwill store in my neighborhood earlier this year, and I'm glad I did so, as I highly enjoyed it.  Here below is the special in its entirety for you to enjoy. Please leave a comment after viewing if you can. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Old Promos for Classic Christmas TV Specials

It's no secret that one of the rituals of celebrating Christmas in America is enjoying the classic Christmas television specials that have aired for decades, such as Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, and my personal favorite, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

In the spirit of my Christmas TV commercial post I made the other day, here are promotional spots for these specials from years past. I'm sure when I was a young boy that I saw these promos air just as they did in these clips. I was going to be really industrious and put them in chronological order, but it's getting late and I'm feeling tired :)   Please enjoy them just the way they are.

They are a bit repetitive, showcasing some of the same specials, but it's interesting to see how they were paired with each other differently year after year. For my money, Charlie Brown was best paired with the Grinch, while Frosty was better paired with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, but however they aired, they were required viewing, especially in the days before VCRs and DVDs were widespread. If you missed them, you missed out for a whole year. Oh the humanity! Enjoy!

Oh, one more thing...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV-Movie: Home for the Holidays aka Deadly Desires (1972)

Today I bring you the first Christmas-themed Tuesday's Forgotten selection of the season. Surprisingly enough, it's a thriller.

Home for the Holidays (aka Deadly Desires) is an ABC TV-movie about four adult sisters who return home to spend Christmas with their ailing father. Much to the girls' surprise, the father asks them to kill his new wife, who he believes is poisoning him. The women write off their father's belief as the paranoid ramblings of an old man; but soon, strange events lead the daughters to think that, just perhaps, the old man isn't so crazy after all.

The film stars Sally Field, Julie Harris, and Walter Brennan, to name a few, and was written by Joseph Stefano (who adapted Robert Bloch's Psycho for the screen), produced by Paul Junger Witt, and executive-produced by Aaron Spelling.

Here, almost exactly 40 years to the date (November 28, 1972), is the telefilm in its entirety. I love that this video includes the ABC movie night intro of the time. This movie is not to be confused with a previous Tuesday's Forgotten Film, the 1995 Thanksgiving comedy of the same name.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Classic Christmas Commercials

Ho Ho Ho! Welcome boys and girls to Christmastime 2012 here at Me and You! This is without a doubt my absolute favorite time of year--always has been, always will be. As much as I love the Countdown to Halloween, Christmas is my first love when it comes to holidays. And until the new year arrives, I'll be all Christmas, all the time--and Chanukah and Kwanzaa and New Year's Day, if I can. I may not post every weekday, as I do with Halloween, but every post I make will be Christmas-related.

And now, on with the yuletide festivities!

First, as I usually do, I start with some cool Christmas-themed commercials. Here's a fun one for Verizon Wireless featuring the Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Verizon Wireless strikes again with a reveal of what naughty kids receive from Santa these days.

Here is a two-minute commercial break from Christmastime 1981 with several holiday ads, including a commercial for Polaroid featuring the Muppets I've never seen before.

It's fallen on hard times these days, but back in 1983 Sears was one of the most important places you could go Christmas shopping!

I know when I think Christmas, I think of...Pizza Hut?

Finally, as long as we're eating fast food at Christmas, we might as well go to Burger King!

There are plenty of great Christmas commercials out there, so I may feature more of these in the future. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Cornucopia

I'm sure you're all either traveling or expecting guests at your home, so I'll leave this post up for the whole weekend so that you can check it out at your own convenience. You can consider the next few clips to be either appetizers before the big day or palette cleansers after the meal. Either way, let's get to it!

First, when cooking your turkey, make sure you baste it with a lot of butter. Then wrap the bird in cloth soaked in butter. Then add more butter. Then eat. Then call your cardiologist. That's the Butterball way!

Next, Thanksgiving is very big in Sicily!

Finally, here are some old clips from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. I love Thanksgiving parades, and I really enjoy watching parades from years past.

As always, I'm very thankful for you, my great readers. Happy Thanksgiving!

But wait, what's this?

IT'S THE HOLIDAY SEASON! Roll out the holly, hang the mistletoe, hang the stockings, trim the tree, bring it all on! Come Monday, I'm all Christmas, all the time! I love it! See you then!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't

It's a crazy busy day, so I'm making this a fast one. For Tuesday's Forgotten TV, I offier the animated TV special The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't.

This 1972 Hanna-Barbera special is an oh-so-fictional telling of the first Thanksgiving day involvingtwo young boys (one Pilgrim, one Indian) and several talking animals. See, fictional.


Friday, November 16, 2012

List O' Links for Friday November 16, 2012

It's the last Friday before the holiday season, so enjoy it now, because every weekend for the rest of the year will be consumed with shopping and holiday parties. Get in the groove with these loopy links!

I'm not sure what the hottest toys are this year, but if you want to know what some of the hottest toys were from 1952 through 1983, I can help you with that.

Here is some cool looking retro artwork of the original Star Trek crew.

Speaking of cool artwork, no one was cooler than Dr. Seuss. He even made advertising look great.

Instant Cosby's gonna get you, gonna look you right in the face.

So there was that time Yvonne Craig appeared on the Merv Griffin show in full Batgirl costume...

Finally, with the Hostess family of baked goods on the verge of disappearing, now is a good time to remember the joyous creations that were comic book ads for Hostess cakes and pies.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles--The Thriller!

I've spoken before about my love of the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It's one of my favorite comedies of all time. But one creative fan, however, saw something different in the film--something terrifying.

Below is a YouTube video someone made of the movie, reimagined--or "recarved," as the video title puts it--as a psychotic thriller. It also borrows from the John Candy film Uncle Buck. Nicely done. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Pieces of April

Because of its early arrival this year, Thanksgiving is just a little more than a week away. Time to start turning our attention that direction, and we start with this week's Tuesday's Forgotten Film, the 2003 comedy drama Pieces of April.

The movie stars a pre-Tom Cruise Katie Holmes as April, a Bohemian in Manhattan who invites her strait-laced suburban family to her apartment for Thanksgiving dinner.Suffice it to say, April isn't exactly on the best of terms with her family--"never have"--but she does her best to make an effort to reconnect, despite hesitation from her family, especially her sister. Throw in her total lack of cooking acumen, the reluctant involvement of a reserved neighbor (with a working oven), and her family's surprise to April's African-American boyfriend, and you have a traditional, and traditionally dysfunctional, family Thanksgiving.

Here is the film's trailer. Thanks!

Friday, November 9, 2012

List O' Links for Week of 11/9/2012

I haven't done a List O' Links post in a long time, so it's time to rectify that. Here are a few links to keep you from getting work done this fine Friday!

For those looking forward to the holiday season, especially holiday music, SiriusXM satellite radio has announced their holiday channel lineup for 2012.

Do you think today's comics are an unreadable, sophomoric mess? Don't be such a cranky pants. The comics back in your day weren't always so great either. Case in point: the ridiculous Justice League lineup DC tried to pass off in the 1984 annual.

Chevy Chase has made quite a spectacle of himself with his frequent public battles with his bosses on the NBC comedy Community. However, he's had a very long track record of being, well, an a-hole.

Here's a casual perusal of the Fall Preview issue of my former employer, TV Guide, in the season of my birth, the fall of 1974. Anyone up for Sonny Bono as a solo act?

Finally, with the new James Bond flick drawing everyone to the multiplexes in the US this weekend, here is what fans have long needed--a scientific chart of his sexual exploits.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Monkees Screen Tests

One more Monkees post this week won't hurt. Here are the boys taking their screen tests before they were cast. The Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones tests are featured on an episode of the series, but I've never seen Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork's screen tests before. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monkees Demos Performed by The Original Songwriters

Continuing the Monkees theme a bit, here are a couple of demos for the band recorded by the original songwriters.

Carole King performs "Pleasant Valley Sunday." It's great to hear her take on this classic Monkees song (which, of course, is really her song).

I have a great version of her singing "The Porpoise Song," which she also wrote, but the audio quality isn't the best. I'll try to get that uploaded in a future post.

Here, Harry Nilsson demos "Cuddly Toy;" the Monkees would record this song for their Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones Ltd. LP. Nilsson would become a close friend of Micky Dolenz.

This last song isn't a demo, but it is an interesting listen nonetheless. This is Neil Diamond's version of "I'm A Believer," which he wrote (as well as "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and "Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow"). I don't know whether he or the Monkees released it first, but they both, along with modern band Smash Mouth, have embedded the song in pop culture consciousness.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: The Monkees on The Hy Lit Show, 1968

The Monkees are about to start a nationwide tour this month (minus Davy Jones, of course), so in preparation for the occasion, here is one of a few Monkees posts to appear this month, starting with a Tuesday's Forgotten TV moment.

Here, the boys appear on the syndicated Hy Lit Show to promote their movie Head. Hy Lit was a legendary radio DJ here in Philadelphia, who briefly had a weekday TV series that appeared mostly on the Kaiser/Field stations such as WKBS-TV Channel 48 in Philadelphia and Kaiser flagshipWFLD-TV Channel 38 in Chicago.

The boys are their usual silly selfs, joking around with Lit as well as fellow radio DJ Long John Wade. Enjoy Peter Tork's beard!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy 5th Anniversary to the Blog!

Hello everyone! As you can see, I've put away the blog's Halloween decorations for another year. I really hope you enjoyed the Countdown to Halloween here. Whether you did or didn't, please let me know in the comments. I'm always looking for ways to make the blog better.

Speaking of the blog itself, a momentous occasion has passed. Last Tuesday, October 30th, marked the fifth anniversary of the blog! It's hard to believe it's been that long. But I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I love writing here!

The blog is my one creative outlet. It allows me to blow off steam, escape from the everyday toils that we all have, and just gives me a small bit of pleasure, seeing what I've posted and being able to say, "Hey, look what I did!" The blog has been a very positive experience for me, and for however long you've been reading, I hope it's been a positive experience for you.

I don't post as often as I used to, but I have no plans whatsoever of stopping. In fact, I'd like to do some different things with it in the future. I've really enjoyed the interviews I've done with comic creators such as Chris Sims and the Virtual Comic Con, and I plan on doing more interviews in the future. For years I've wanted to try podcasting, but my increasingly limited time plus total ineptitude with the necessary software has pretty much squashed those plans.  Of course, if you have a pop culture podcast and ever need a guest, I'm available (wink wink).

After every anniversary, I go back through the past year's posts and label my favorites as Best of Me and You. They are the posts that I like the most or represent the kind of material I enjoy featuring here, so if you're new to the place and want a better sense of what the blog is about, those posts are a great place to go.

I've patted myself on the back enough for one day, so I'll wrap up by asking you to take part in the survey along the right of the blog. Please be brutally honest with what you think, and I will take all advice and criticism seriously. I can't make the blog better if I don't know what you the reader like and don't like. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting the blog, and stay tuned--the best is yet to come!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012!

Man, I can't believe it. The big day is finally here! 31 days feels more like 31 minutes. I'm sure you feel the same way--and some of you started in September or even earlier! Of course, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, trick or treating will be delayed by a couple of days for hundreds of thousands on the East Coast.. My town is having it tomorrow night, while others towns around me are having it Friday or Saturday. To those folks, I say look on the bright side--you get to celebrate the Halloween season that much longer! And to help you do so, please check not only this year's Halloween posts at the blog, but from past years as well.  And always, go to the Countdown to Halloween site for all your Halloween blogging needs!

With all that said, here are the last of my Halloween treats this year!

First up, an early cartoon version of The Headless Horseman, even older that the Disney animated version!

Next, Happy Halloween--from Hot Rod himself, Rowdy Roddy Piper!

Finally, we end the season the way we began--with Halloween wishes from the Cool Ghoul himself, Zacherley!

And...that's it.

I'm going to take the rest of the week off from blogging, to allow the Halloween posts to "breathe" a bit while readers catch up on posts they may have missed--I know I plan on doing that for the blogs that I read. Please stick with the blog going forward. There's much more here than Halloween, so if you enjoyed the blog this month, please stay tuned, as there's plenty to enjoy year round.

I find myself feeling bittersweet and wistful. There's only one thing left to say...


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Innocent Blood

The Countdown to Halloween seems trite compared to all the bad news about Hurricane Sandy. I hope everyone is safe and sound. Please leave a comment and let me know you're OK. My family has been very lucky, with no property damage or power loss.

With any luck, the only inconvenience you're suffering is the possible crimp in your Halloween plans. My town has postponed trick or treating until Thursday November 1st, and I suspect many towns will also postpone festivities, if they're fortunate enough to have them at all. Again, I'd like to hear what's going on in your town.

With that said, if you're able and in the mood for some distraction from the storm, I offer the last Halloween-themed Tuesday's Forgotten Film of the season--the John Landis-directed vampire film Innocent Blood.

Innocent Blood stars Anne Parillaud (La Femme Nikita) as Marie, a "good" vampire who only drains the blood of heinous criminals. One of her victims is a ruthless mob boss (Robert Loggia), who instead of dying, becomes a fellow bloodsucker. He decides to create a vampire mafia to take over the city. It's up to her and her police detective lover to stop him.

To be honest, I haven't seen this film, but it sounds intriguing, and the movie is offered with much humor (Don Rickles is featured as Loggia's right hand man). The film is readily available on DVD and online streaming services. If you've seen it, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

Here is the film's trailer. Thanks!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mr. Magoo, "Magoo Meets Frankenstein"


Yes, Sandy has put more than a damper on the Eastern seaboard's Halloween spirit. I hope everyone within Sandy's path (which includes me) is safe and sound. If you're bunkered down in your homes, pass the time with some Halloween goodness.

Today (later than anticipated, sorry!) I offer a fun cartoon featuring everyone's favorite near-sighted senior citizen, Mr. Magoo, in "Magoo Meets Frankenstein." Enjoy! Be safe!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Film Classic Halloween Re-released in Theaters

Holy schnikeys! The last full week of the Countdown to Halloween is almost over! I feel like we just started yesterday. Let's make the most of what time we have left by revisiting one of the true all-time holiday classics.

In case you don't know, the original version of Halloween is being re-released in theaters for a very limited time. It opened last night and continues through Halloween night. Theaters and screen times vary, so check the official re-release Web site for a theater and showtimes near you.

I've never seen a horror film in a theater before, so I don't know what the experience is like. I can't make it to the screening in my area, but if I could go back in time and see the film in a theater when it was first released in 1978, it probably would have gone something like this. This is a clip of the climax of the film with audio recorded on a tape recorder and dubbed over the movie to recreate the audience reaction. There really is a distinct difference between seeing a horror movie in a theater with other people and seeing it at home by yourself.

The making of the film is a fascinating one; here in its entirety is the documentary Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest, which explains how the film came to be.

Finally, here is an animatic (an animated storyboard for a movie) created by an aspiring filmmaker featuring his vision of the opening sequence of a new version of the movie should he be fortunate to make one. Very different from the John Carpenter and Rob Zombie versions, and well done!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Punky Brewster, "Halloween Howlers"

Today's post is strictly for the kids. Today I offer a Halloween episode of the Punky Brewster Saturday morning cartoon series. I posted a Christmas episode last year, and I go into details about the cartoon series there. Here, Punky, her friends, and her magical pet Gloamer get into trick-or-treat shenanigans in "Halloween Howlers." Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saturday Night Dead starring Stella, KYW-TV Channel 3, Philadelphia

I've talked about local TV horror movie hosts several times before, but that won't stop me from talking about them again. Today I mention a fun show that aired through most of the 1980s here in my beloved Philadelphia, Saturday Night Dead.

Saturday Night Dead aired at 1am Saturdays on KYW-TV Channel 3, then an NBC affiliate, now a CBS O&O, immediately after Saturday Night Live (get it?). The program aired the standard cheesy, low budget horror flicks you'd expect to see on such a show. The hostess of the program was Karen Scioli better known as Stella, the "Maneater from Manayunk" (a posh section of the city).

Stella, along with her butler Hives and several other silly/creepy cast members, would make fun of both the movie and themselves until 3am every week, and as a preteen boy, I ate it all up, even though I was afraid of horror films, even the bad ones. I would stay awake as long as I could just to see the antics of Stella and Co. Such programs are very rare anymore, and I'm glad I kept my eyes open to catch all the laughs.

Here are some segments from various broadcasts over the years. Enjoy!

Also, and completely by coincidence, Karen Scioli gave an interview with the New Jersey publication The Aquarian just this morning. I didn't know until I did research for this blog post! Here you can find out what she's up to these days. Click here!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV-Movie: The Midnight Hour

Time of another horrifying Tuesday's Forgotten selection. This week, it's the obscure 1985 TV-movie The Midnight Hour.

One eerie Halloween night, a group of fun-seeking teenagers sneak into their small town's history museum (always a bad idea) and steal some old vintage clothing and come across an old scroll containing an ancient curse. The foolish teens read the curse off the scroll for kicks (always a bad idea) and go on their merry way to their big Halloween party, unaware that they've unleashed evil forces throughout the town, turning the teens into vampires and raising the dead (dumb kids). It's up to one young man and a mysterious high school cheerleader he's never seen before (hmmmm) to put an end to the curse.

The plot of the film isn't anything that hasn't been done a thousand times, but it's unusual to see something like this made for TV, and the execution is quite enjoyable. The movie also introduced me as a child to what is one of my all-time favorite songs, Baby I'm Yours by Barbara Lewis, used memorably at the end of the film.

Plus, Dick Van Patten.

Unfortunately, it's not currently available in print; it was last released on DVD in 2000, so you'll need to hunt the movie down through the Ebay/Craigslist/Internet retailer route.

Here is a musical number featuring Shari Belafonte singing the original tune "Get Dead." Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bite Size Halloween Treats for the Eyes

The Countdown to Halloween is now well over the halfway point, which means we're rolling downhill to the end and picking up speed! You may be getting hungry, so I've brought along some bite size treats to tide you over to the big day. That is, I have some short segments for you to enjoy.

First up: a Halloween innovation courtesy of Muppet Labs. The Carve-O-Matic!

Next, a little witch girl gives payback to some joking bunnies--which comes back to get her in the nose, so to speak.

Next--Halloween can be real dangerous business!

Finally, here is the opening and closing to "Creature Double Feature," the Saturday afternoon horror movies airing on WKBS-TV Channel 48 in Philadelphia from the early 1980s. It's really creepy and well done. I love it!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Saturday Matinee Halloween Special: Vintage Horror Movie Trailers

This is a revival of sorts of a feature I used to have on the blog called the Saturday Matinee. Each week, I would feature a chapter of an old movie serial along with a clip or two of old movie trailers, advertisements, and snack bar commercials to create the feeling of being at an old matinee.

I don't have a creepy serial, but I do have some fun horror-related trailers which look like they sat in a vault since they were first used--which makes them look perfectly not perfect! This reel also features movie theater buffers and snack bar plugs. Grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Season's Greetings" Animated Short starring Sam from Trick 'r Treat

This past week, I finally watched the film Trick 'r Treat, a beloved favorite of many fellow Countdown to Halloween bloggers. The film had a good balance of laughs and scares, with a bit of gore thrown in. I usually don't gravitate to intense horror flicks such as this, but I found it clever and fun, with some nice twists in the story and not taking itself seriously. Little did I know until after seeing the film that the "host" of the movie has made an appearance before.

The adorably terrifying character that unites the several tales told in the film is Sam, an assumed defender of Halloween traditions, and he will literally defend those traditions to the death, including his very first appearance in this 1996 short animated film created by the feature film's creator, Michael Dougherty.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Zombie Makeup Special Effects Time Lapse

I just came across this interesting video a month or so ago. Microchip maker Intel is currently hosting a contest which solicits videos from contestants to create a commercial demonstrating the concept of "change over time." This is a rather frightful but cool Intel-produced example of what they're looking for.

A young attractive girl gets the zombie makeup treatment, only to become a zombie herself and decay--all in less than two minutes. Very cool!

Now, the making of the video.

The contest is still accepting entries until next Tuesday, October 23rd. If you think you have what it takes to create a cool video of your own, enter here.

If you're into zombies (and I assume you are), then you probably like the AMC TV series The Walking Dead. If you are a fan, you may enjoy my alter ego I manage on Twitter, the fictitious "Zombie Sophia." The character is the undead version of young character Sophia, who, in my twisted corner of Twitter, just happens to have an account from which she spews hopefully funny, and sometimes profane, passages and sound bites.They're usually about the series, but sometimes they can be about anything at all.  It's stupid, it's unnecessary, but I love it! Please follow me there, if you will.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Winter of the Witch

Tuesday's Forgotten Film this week is the short children's film Winter of the Witch.

Winter of the Witch stars veteran actress Hermione Gingold as a lonely witch who must learn to come out of her shell when her home is occupied by a single mother and her son, who move to the country to put the hustle and bustle of city life behind them.

This obscure film has an extra reason for being included under the Tuesday's Forgotten banner: this was released only as a classroom film strip in 1968 or '69 (different sites have different dates) rather than movie theaters or TV. If you were of school age at the time this was released and enjoyed this movie, today is your lucky day.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Animaniacs, "Scare Happy Slappy"

Today I revisit one of my favorite cartoon series of all time, Animaniacs. This segment features eternally cranky Slappy Squirrel taking her nephew trick-or-treating and running into her old villains attempting to get revenge for years of torture and defeat in "Scare Happy Slappy".

My money's on Slappy. Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Burger Chef Monster Records

Holy Halloween, the Countdown is almost half over already! Time really does fly when you're having fun, and it has indeed been a blast this year, as it always is.

Last year, I posted this commercial for a now defunct fast food restaurant chain called Burger Chef, featuring the character Wolfburger the werewolf.

After posting that clip, I started getting other Burger Chef clips in my YouTube profile that featured audio records that were given as free gifts with Burger Chef meals back in the day. These records feature a variety of other spooky-themed characters, such as Fangburger the vampire, Cackleburger the witch (I like that name in particular), and Crankenburger the Frankenstein monster.

These stories are very cute; I would have loved these as a kid, but I didn't have any Burger Chef restaurants near me that I recall. I had never even heard of the chain before I came across the Wolfburger commercial. If you ever ate at a Burger Chef restaurant, please tell me what they were like in the comments, especially if you received one of these records yourself. I'm also curious to know if these characters were only around during Halloween time, or if they were used year-round. Thanks!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Regular Show: Terror Tales of the Park 2011 Halloween Special

Since this past winter, I've become a big fan of Regular Show on Cartoon Network. As a fan of both the show and Halloween, I'm looking forward to this year's Halloween special airing next Monday at 8pm (check local listings for channel number on your cable or satellite system).

In anticipation of this year's special, I present last year's special, containing three separate stories in one. Enjoy! Hmm hmm!

Regular Show - 3x04 - Terror tales of the park... by Snak32012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Making of Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion

I'm not into scary horror attractions at amusement parks. I'm much too squeamish for them. One attraction I have enjoyed, however, is The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World. My family went there in April 2011, and my daughter wanted to go into the Mansion. I decided to go with her, as I figured, "It's Disney, how scary can it be?" And while it was cleverly creepy, it was by no means intimidating or horrific, but instead a lot of fun. I'm glad we went in--and came out alive!

Here is a short but interesting look at the early development of the attraction. It's obvious Disney and his Imagineers put a lot of care into their work.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the ride is the voiceover narration by one of the greatest voice actors of all time, the late Paul Frees. Here are some outtakes of his Haunted Mansion recording sessions.

Finally, a discussion of the Mansion wouldn't be complete without a round of the hauntingly awesome song that plays throughout the ride, "Grim Grinning Ghosts."

Thanks for visiting. Next time, be sure to bring your death certificate!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: The Video Dead

It's a Tuesday during the Countdown to Halloween, which means another scary entry in Tuesday's Forgotten Film. This week, it's the 1987 comedy-horror The Video Dead.

The film, predating The Ring by 15 years give or take, is about a television that shows only one program--a zombie movie that comes to life, producing flesh eaters straight out of the tube! Without giving the rest of the plot away, that's pretty much everything that happens. But for a fun, cheesy 80s horror flick, especially one that was, appropriately enough, released directly to video, what more do you need to know?

I can tell you that the movie is currently available on Netflix, and that Scream Factory, the newly formed horror division of Shout! Factory, is releasing the film on Blu-Ray for the first time in 2013.

Oh, and here's the film in its entirely. Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Return of the Children's Television Workshop--of Horror!

Welcome to Week 2 of the Countdown to Halloween! Happy Columbus Day as well, if you're lucky enough to enjoy the holiday.

Today I offer a trip to the scariest place for children 6 and under--the Children Television Workshop of Horror! Actually, it's just spooky but harmless clips from Sesame Street.

First up: although the Count is the most famous spooky Sesame Street character, the show also had more than its share of sketches involving witches. Here are several.

Wanda the Witch, brought to you by the letter W.

In case you didn't catch that, W stands for witch. Just want to reinforce the lesson.

Witches can be quite vain; they're always checking themselves out in mirrors. Especially magic mirrors.

Here, three witches learn a lesson in cooperation.

Witches aren't the only Halloween monsters on Sesame Street. Frankenstein has made a couple of appearances as well, as you can see below.

This post has been brought to you by the letters W and F. Thanks!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Challenge of the Super Friends: Swamp of the Living Dead

With today's post, my first week of the Countdown to Halloween comes to an end. Wow, that went fast! But don't worry, there are still 3+ weeks to go, so there are still plenty of scares on the way!

When at our most frightened, our thought is usually, "I need a hero!" That's just what you get today, as I present a fun episode of one of my favorite Saturday morning shows of all time, the Super Friends. Today, the Justice League once again faces the evil Legion of Doom; this time, however, the Legion has command over a horde of zombies. Please enjoy the Challenge of the Super Friends episode "Swamp of the Living Dead." Thanks!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Halloween TV Commercials 2012 Edition

As in previous years, today I have some Halloween and spooky TV commercials to share. I don't see them very often, so when I do, I consider them a treat.

First, a quick one for M&Ms.

Next, a Halloween Countdowner's favorite, the monster cereals from General Mills. I love that this commerical is tailored specifically for Halloween!

Here is a creepy and fun commercial for Milton Bradley's Dark Shadows board game. This black and white commercial aired while the series was still on the air in the late 60s.

Long-standing staples of the blog are McDonalds commercials. Here is a great Halloween-themed one from 1979. I was just starting to really get into trick or treating when this aired (I was five at the time).

Finally, here is a funny commercial for Cingular cellphone service (now merged with AT&T). My daughter is almost at that age where she'll be begging for a cellphone. That's scary!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tom & Jerry Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Day 3 of the Countdown to Halloween rolls on with this fun cartoon from the Hanna-Barbera produced Tom & Jerry TV series from the early 70s. Here, the cat and mouse team work with the infamous Dr. Jekyll to create what the doctor hopes is a growth formula, but instead turns out to be..well, you get the idea.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: Horror Host Zacherley on Philly and New York TV

Today the Countdown to Halloween begins in earnest, and we do that with the help of a feature known as Tuesday's Forgotten.

For Countdown readers not familiar with this, Tuesday's Forgotten (also referred to as Tuesday's Overlooked) is a weekly feature shared across several blogs noting a movie or television program that has been ignored, missed, or indeed, forgotten, that the participating bloggers feel deserves a second look. The meme is curated by my friend Todd Mason, and you can see more Tuesday's Forgotten at his blog Sweet Freedom.

My choice this week is almost certainly familiar to Countdown readers. The distinguished gentleman you see above is Zacherley, aka John Zacherle (the Y was added to his name for more accurate pronunciation), one of the most famous TV horror hosts to grace the boob tube. He first appeared at WCAU-TV Channel 10 in my hometown of Philadelphia, under the name Roland, then left for New York City, where he would appear on several stations for many years as well as host his own radio show on several progressive FM stations.

Although I've seen Zacherley on various interview shows and other late career appearances, I'd never seen him in action from his TV horror hosting days--until now. Earlier this year, someone posted well over 90 minutes of Zacherley doing his thing in both Philly and New York, uploaded from an out-of-print VHS tape. Here he is in all of his glory.

Enjoy--and "good night out there, whatever you are!"

Monday, October 1, 2012

Countdown to Halloween 2012 Opening Ceremonies


Hello everyone to the 2012 Countdown to Halloween! I've been waiting for this year's Countdown since the end of last year's Countdown. It's an absolute blast to bring you the best spooky, scary, and silly Halloween and horror-related material I can find for an entire month. Of course, I'm far from the only one doing it. Go to the official Countdown site to see all the blogs participating. Thanks, as always, to Countdown curators John Rozum, Shawn Robare, and Jon K for their hard work in gathering all the blog links, maintaining the main site, and creating the badges that appear on each participating blog. Without them, there would be no Countdown. Raise a pumpkin-flavored latte in their honor!

Many blogs will have a particular theme throughout the month--all vampires, all werewolves, etc., while others just post whatever cool stuff they can find--like me. As always, my first post of the month is a variety pack of weird, wild stuff just to get you into the mood. So, without further ado--

--let the Countdown to Halloween begin!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Virtual Comic Con: Tony Trov and Johnny Zito, creators of Alpha Girls

The fifth and final day of Virtual Comic Con is here! We close out the event by talking to Tony Trov and Johnny Zito, creators of comic and movie production studio South Fellini. Tony and Johnny discuss their various comic series, their new movie, and baby mammas.

Brian: You've published five comic series with various publishers such as Red 5 and Image, and also published directly via Comixology. Do you approach publishers differently from one another, and have you learned different things about publishing from dealing with multiple companies?

Tony: Each project is unique so it kind of gets started in its own way.  But in the end we look to get the comics into as many platforms as possible.  We want to be on-line, in phones, floppy issues and graphic novels.

Johnny:  The only thing we know for certain about comic book distribution is that everyone reads comics differently.  We want to get our stories into as many people's hands as possible.

Brian: With Moon Girl, you took an obscure public domain character created by Gardner Fox/Sheldon Moldoff and managed to both keep her true to her roots in the 50s, yet also modernized her well for today's audience. What were the challenges in doing that?

Johnny: We wanted to work on something super hero based because of Rahzzah, the illustrator of Moon Girl.  His very realistic, painterly style lent itself to making incredible seem credible in a cinematic way.  So we started looking for something in the public domain, something that had roots in the shared past of super hero comics.

Tony: Moon Girl took a lot of inspiration from books like Marvels and New Frontier.  Super heroes seem to function best when they're recontextualized to that 1950's setting.  So when we stumbled onto Moon Girl these ideas all came together at once.

Johnny:  The comic is about social unrest in America in a time after a great war.  There are some parallels to the world we live in today.  Everyone is looking inside themselves, flush with possibility, trying to decide the kind of future they're going to build together.

Tony: All five issues will be collected into a graphic novel this year.

Brian: Carnivale de Robotique is the only all ages comic South Fellini has done. Did the story itself dictate that direction, or did you decide first that you wanted to try an all ages series and go from there?

Tony: We self-published Robotique for Indie Comic Day or Skip Week, some special event where all the big publishers were not going to have any new releases.  So a lot of us independent folks put out books on our own.  We called comic shops and solicited the comic ourselves.  And we got lucky, the stores were very supportive of the event.

Johnny: It's a four-part comic about Wendy the nanny droid, who runs away to join the robot circus.  And she kind of finds her way in the world by persuing her dreams.  We tried to tell a fairy tale from the future and Mark Fionda brought some gorgeous water colors to the mix.  I think the comic is still very adult but the images hide the subtext.

Brian: DOGS of Mars has often been compared to Alien for obvious reasons, but takes a unique approach with its art,  in suggesting rather than explicitly showing the creatures and most of the violence they cause, and also in the color scheme (only black, white, and shades of red). Was that your idea or did the artist conceive of that approach?

Johnny: We met Paul Maybury, the artist on DOGS of Mars, at San Diego Comic Con in 2010.  All three of us had shuffled through DC Comics digital imprint and come out the other side looking to work together on something genre.  We talked a lot about Japanese gore core, war movies and real world robots.  Paul came up with the red color scheme based on the submarine lighting and the traditional tones of Mars.

Tony: DOGS isn't really about the monster.  It's about the people the monster is trying to kill.  There are obvious allusions to Aliens but the Lord of the Flies-style breakdown in society is what's really terrifying. Friends are turning on one another and rivals are the only people you have left.  Trapped at the edge, these people have to give up their humanity if they want to survive.

Brian: Your latest project is the live action film Alpha Girls, about a satanic sorority. Judging by the trailer, there is a definite 1970s grindhouse influence. What is it about the horror films of that era that resonate so strongly with audiences today?

Johnny:  I think we were really inspired by Suspiria, Heathers, and Evil Dead. These movies served as the visual vocabulary between people creatively involved in the project.  These are the films that get you excited to make something of your own.  There’s an energy and excitement on screen that translates so well because the people making it love what they do.

Tony: Alpha Girls was going to be a comic book originally.  We got really into the sorority/coven idea ourselves and after a few weeks it was like, hey… I think we can make this. There's a universal appeal to the horror genre because it's about revealing a hidden world that we all secretly believe could be true.  How did all those people get rich and famous? The devil did it.

Brian: All of your work, up to and including Alpha Girls, features women characters guiding almost all of the story, yet South Fellini consists of two guys from South Philly. Why has featuring women characters in the forefront of your projects been so crucial creatively?

Johnny: They told us to write what we know.

Tony: We love our bad-ass mothers very much.

Brian: If Alpha Girls is a success (and I hope it is for you), will movies be the main creation of South Fellini going forward, or will comics still be a creative outlet in the future?

Johnny: We wanna make all our comics into movies and all of our movies into comics.

Tony: For all of the Baby Mamas, Baby momma momma’s and Baby momma’s mommas of the world.

Thanks Tony and Johnny!

Alpha Girls will be screening at the Trocadero in Philadelphia next Wednesday, October 3rd, and in Washington, DC at the E Street Theater next Saturday, October 6th. For full details, click here.

Here's a glimpse of what you can expect from Alpha Girls (NSFW). And yes, that is who you think it is as the priest!

And with that, we wrap up my first-ever Virtual Comic Con! I want to thank all of my guests who have made this a great event: Jeff Parker, Shawn Aldridge, Joe Rybandt, and Tony Trov and Johnny Zito. I couldn't have done it without you!

Most of all, I want to thank you, the reader, for taking part. I hope you enjoyed my version of a comic con. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments sections or at phillyradiogeek@gmail.com. I definitely want to do this again next year--perhaps more than once.

It's only fitting that I close out the con with news of a horror film, because it makes a perfect segue to my next blog event--the Countdown to Halloween! It's a mere three days away. I have tons of great stuff to share with you, so please stay tuned. It all starts Monday, October 1st. See you there!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Virtual Comic Con: Joe Rybandt, editor at Dynamite Entertainment

Welcome to Day 4 of the Virtual Comic Con. Today I'm speaking with Joe Rybandt, editor at Dynamite Entertainment.

Based in Runnemede, NJ, right outside my hometown of Philadelphia and next door to my current town of Bellmawr, Dynamite Entertainment publishes a mix of original characters, such as Garth Ennis' The Boys, and licensed properties such as The Shadow, Red Sonja, and The Green Hornet. Dynamite has also been known to collaborate with other comic companies on projects such as Avengers/Invaders with Marvel. Dynamite's sister company, Dynamic Forces, creates collectibles such as special edition comics and prints. I talk with Joe about these projects and what makes Dynamite different from the competition.

Brian: When did you first become a comics fan, and how did those early experiences inspire you to enter the comics industry?

Joe: It was in the 4th grade, when a friend brought in a copy of an X-Men comic. It was a reprint of a Lee/Kirby issue, #4 I think. I read some more of this friend’s comics and then eventually started buying my own from the local pharmacy or grocery store. I wasn’t until right before high school I found the comic shop in town. Those early years were consumed with Marvel and the X-Men in particular. My palette expanded later…

Brian: What eventually led you to Dynamite Entertainment?

Joe: A series of happy coincidences which really kicked off when I moved from suburban Chicago to just outside Baltimore, MD. I had worked comic book retail in IL while figuring out my life, and when I met who would become my wife and moved to MD, a series of events led me through several employers and states over the next decade or so. I’ve been with Dynamic Forces for 11 years, and the bulk of that now has been under the publishing division, Dynamite Entertainment.

Brian: Creator/publisher relationships have been under scrutiny lately. Dynamite has been publishing work by the same creators for a long time, such as Alex Ross, Kevin Smith, Garth Ennis, Stephen Segovia, and Frank Cho to name a few. How does Dynamite maintain good relationships with its creators?

Joe: Most of these relationships started well before we started publishing comics. Alex and Nick [Barrucci, CEO of Dynamite] have been friends for years before we ever published a comic. Creators like Garth started with us when we were publishing, but in all cases, I think our approach and relatively small size helps creators find a comfort level that layers of corporate bureaucracy can’t provide.

Brian: Dynamite has had a lot of success with licensed properties, where some other comics publishers have stumbled. How does Dynamite approach licensed properties differently than other companies?

Joe: We started with licensed comics and I think that making those early titles work just set a paradigm that continues to this day. The key is finding the right talent and that starts with the writer, if you hire the right talent you make every aspect of the process easier to manage and we’ve been very fortunate in that regard.

Brian: Dynamite is in competition with other companies of course, yet you've also co-published with those same publishers (i.e. Avengers/Invaders with Marvel, my first exposure to Dynamite comics) and also create collectibles with other companies through Dynamite's sister company, Dynamic Forces. Is it ever awkward to be both a collaborator and competitor at the same time?

Joe: Not for us! These types of things come and go and when they happen, they’re a lot of fun, but they’re certainly not constant…

Brian: I really enjoyed Kirby Genesis. That series was my first experience with those Kirby characters. How did that project come about, and what was it like to edit that series?

Joe: It came about by building up a relationship with the Kirby family and then putting the creative team together. We did this one a little different than we do most others in that once Alex and Kurt were on board, we all got together at Alex’s house and put the main series together (Kurt and Alex in the lead, of course!). It was a lot of fun and made for a memorable experience to be sure. A lot of this job is sitting in an office and banging away at a keyboard, so to be in the presence of other humans, making comics, was really unique.

Thanks Joe!

You can download Dynamite comics at Comixology, or find print copies at your local comic shop, which you can find at Comic Shop Locator.