Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones, 1945-2012

I didn't think I'd be writing this any time soon. I was out having lunch with my boss and coworkers this afternoon and came back to hear the news. I was totally blown away.

I can't emphasize enough how much the Monkees have had an effect on me. I loved watching reruns of the show on UHF TV in the early 80s, as did my childhood friends. When they went on their first 20th reunion tour in 1986, I saw them peform at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia; it was my first ever music concert. At the same time, my friends and I began collecting their old albums that were being reissued in light of the highly successful tour. It was from then on we began to listen to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and other classic rock acts, and from then on we really began to determine our musical tastes, as I imagine most of us do. Yet at the very start, the Monkees were our gateway drug to all that.

At the time, we didn't dig on Davy too much, as his stuff was geared to the teenage girls, which we clearly weren't.  But as I grew up, I began to realize Davy for the talented performer he was. I also saw that he was as funny on the show as any of the others.

Davy was to appear at the Philadelphia Comic Con this upcoming June, and I was looking forward to seeing him there. Man, have I missed out.

Rest in peace, Davy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Mumford

This week's Tuesday's Forgotten Film is the 1999 movie Mumford.

The film takes place in an idyllic small but well-to-do town called Mumford, which attracts a mysterious new psychotherapist coincidentally named Dr. Mumford (Loren Dean), who has an unusual but effective way of treating his patients, who include the likes of Alfre Woodard, Jason Lee, and Mary McDonnell.

When he begins to siphon patients away from two rival therapists, the two look for ways to discredit Mumford. As they go digging through his elusive past, they discover that--well, I'll let you hunt down the movie to find out. The film is available on Amazon video streaming and possibly other services as well. It doesn't appear to be available on DVD at this time, but you may find used copies in the usual outlets.

Here is a TV commercial for the film's theatrical release. Thanks! For more forgotten goodness, click here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Adventure Time Pilot Episode

Lately I've been watching episodes of the hit Cartoon Network series Adventure Time. I had heard so much about it from my comic book podcasts and message boards that I thought I'd check it out, so I began watching episodes on demand. While I can't say I'm a die-hard fan yet, the show is definitely growing on me.

If you're unfamiliar with the series, you can read about it here. What I find interesting is that the very first pilot/demo for the series first aired on Nickelodeon on their animation anthology series Random! Cartoons. Yet when the creators pitched a full series to Nickelodeon, the network declined. Nick's loss has become Cartoon Network's gain, and the Nick executives are probably kicking themselves in the ass for not greenlighting it themselves.

Here is that series pilot. The animation is more crude than the series version, but the voices are mostly the same. The lead character of Finn is named Pen here, after series creator Pendleton Ward. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Frequency

It's a Tuesday after a nice long weekend--I hope you enjoyed yours. If so, let's keep the good feeling going with a Forgotten Film. This week, I present the Dennis Quad/James Caviezel film Frequency.

Caviezel plays John Sullivan, a New York City cop and son of a firefighter (Quaid) who died on the job back in 1969. Sullivan finds an old shortwave radio his dad used often, and after turning it on one night, finds he is able to communicate with his father in the past. Sullivan warns his father about the impending accident and saves his life, but in a strange butterfly effect, the change of events leads to his mother's murder! Father and son in turn work together across decades to prevent the murder before it's too late.

My brief summary doesn't quite give the complex story justice. Suffice it to say that the main themes of the movie are the bond between father and son and the different paths our lives can take just by making one choice over another. Performances are strong and the story solid, as long as you have a generous suspension of disbelief. The ending is particularly satisfying!

If you're curious, check out the entire film right here. For more overlooked film, TV, and music gems, read Todd Mason's blog here.Thanks!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Saturday Morning Previewed: ABC, Fall 1982

A few weeks back, I presented an edition of Saturday Morning Recreated that focused on the lineup for ABC in the fall of 1982. In researching that article, I came across a great treat.

In addition to advertising the kids' lineups in comic books and other places back in the day, the networks also created prime time preview specials of the upcoming lineups as well. Here, including commercials, is the special ABC created to promote the very same lineup I featured last month. How 80s is it?  It's hosted by Dick Clark on the American Bandstand set with guest stars Willie Tyler and Lester.

You remember Willie Tyler and Lester, don't you?

There's no mistaking the fact that ABC had their hopes pinned on the Pac-Man cartoon to help it's lineup succeed, as Pac-Man is clearly the star of this show. The very name of the special itself is "Pac Preview Party." The voice of Pac-Man, the late Marty Engels, makes an appearance later in the special.

The sad thing? I remember almost everything about this special when it aired that one time in 1982!

I hope you enjoy. If you like this, I'll keep a lookout for more of these specials. Thanks!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film, Valentine's Day Edition: Only You (1994)

"Love is in the air, it's everywhere I look around..." Hello lovers! Yes, it's Valentine's Day, a day to express your undying devotion to your significant other. I wish a Happy Valentine's Day to my bride of 12 years (I love you!) as well as to you and yours. To mark the occasion, I present a special edition of Tuesday's Forgotten featuring the romantic comedy Only You.

This movie stars Marisa Tomei as a Catholic grade school teacher who has spent her life as a dreamy-eyed believer that everyone is destined to meet their true love. A flashback to her childhood shows that a carnival fortune teller claims she will one day meet her intended love named Damon Bradley. Back in the present, a tip leads her to Italy to find the mysterious Mr. Bradley, with her older sister (played by the excellent Bonnie Hunt), a woman who thinks her husband is cheating on her, in tow.

There Tomei meets a man, played by Robert Downey Jr., who claims to be Damon Bradley at first, then quickly admits the truth, rightfully ticking off Tomei. Downey stands his ground, stating that perhaps fate has brought the two of them together instead. Does destiny bring Tomei in union with her dream man, and if so, is his name Damon Bradley?

You can find out through the usual retail and online outlets, as the film is readily available on DVD. Here is the film's trailer. Thanks, and once again, Happy Valentine's Day! For more overlooked audio and video, please visit my friend Todd Mason's blog Sweet Freedom here.